About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An interesting mix

I did something interesting at the gym today. I played my "purchased" playlist on shuffle. I never knew what song was coming up next. One song would be a contemporary worship band like Kutless singing "We Bow Down" the next would be a bizarre bluegrass version of "Auld Lange Syne."  (That was from a free iTunes holiday mix I downloaded last year!) Add some random Madonna and Lady Gaga (when did I BUY those??) and it made for a fun workout.   And I KICKED BUTT at the gym today.  It is strange the day before chemo. My heart rate is slightly elevated, even though I feel normal.  Even more strange, the elevated heart rate does not transfer over to my perceived exertion. So my heart rate reads at 150 (which is about 80-80% of my target heart rate zone), but I feel like I'm at about 135 and could run forever.  So I kept upping the speed on my running intervals. It felt great. I sweat so much that I had to change my bandanna because it was dripping! Ick! But cool. Very good for my pre-chemo workout. I left feeling stronger than ever. Thank you Lord for that blessing!

The rest of the day was an interesting mix as well.

I had a bit of a stressful time in the car dropping kids off this morning. We had to take the dog because I was going to drop her off at the groomer before I went to Kaiser. Lucie HATES the car, so she was whining and barking. I couldn't wait to get her out. We drop the middle school boys off and start to go over the mountain on Twin Oaks Valley Road to drop Isabelle off at her friends. My low fuel light had gone on last night, and there aren't gas stations between our house and the middle school. So I needed to make it over the hill, and preferably get kids and pets sorted out first. But it was a big hill and I kept getting stopped at lights. So I started stressing out about running out of gas. Just as we reach the peak, Jean-Marc chimes in from the back seat saying "pee pee!  pee pee!"  Oh my goodness! What next? I didn't have the little potty in the car with me, but he was in a pull up. So if he had an accident, it would be a bummer, but not the end of the world. After dropping Isabelle off, I decided gas was more critical than getting the dog off first, so we went to the gas station with the dog barking and Jean-Marc chirping "pee pee! pee pee!" I was glad to be able to get out of the car to pump the gas!  When we got to the groomer, I asked if they had a bathroom we could use.  My little guy had stayed dry through all of that, and it had been at least 10-15 minutes! I was so proud of him!

We met my mom in the parking lot at Kaiser next. She was going to hang out with Jean-Marc while I did my pre-chemo day stuff.  She took him to Wal-Mart where she got me some really cool bandannas that I can wear to the gym. I love them!  

The lab visit went as expected. They drew blood for a CBC (complete blood count).  Then I had an hour to kill.  I have this new game for my iPhone called "Angry Birds" that a friend got me into. (You know who you are!) I found a big chair in a corner of the building and played that until it was time for me to see the oncologist, Dr. P.

The visit with Dr. P went without incident.  I was surprised to find out that my Vitamin D levels are very low. Imagine that, living in San Diego.  He told me to supplement 1,000 - 2,000 units daily. The blood counts were good, so I'm on for chemo tomorrow.  Round 4, here I come.

You know your administrative nightmare is bad if it is easier to work out a problem with the DMV!  I'm still in beauacratic hell with Kaiser over my deductible status.  Every lab visit, pharmacy pick up, and doctors appointment makes the mess more difficult to sort out.  They want the co-pays according to what their computer is telling them. Unfortunately, the computer is wrong!  I just paid the $10 at the lab and the $9.75 at the pharmacy. But when it came to the $70 for Dr. P, I tried to explain to the receptionist about it. She was really nice about it and gave me a financial responsibility form to sign. She suggested I go down to member services and talk to the boss in person. I thought that was a good idea.  I'll go down looking like a cancer patient and see if that motivates them to figure it out. This is the last thing I need as I go through this treatment!  I did get a voice mail from someone I spoke to on Tuesday and she said they are trying to sort it out and will call me on Tuesday or Wednesday. Lovely. I just hope I'm out of the chemo fog by then.  I had so wanted to get it worked out this week before then. Oh well.

As for the DMV, my license is set to expire next Tuesday. I sent my renewal in the 3rd week of August and they cashed the check. This week I spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to sort it out. As it turns out they put a "hold" on my renewal so they could run me through some national database to make sure I wasn't tagged for something that they could withhold my license for. Why did I get tagged for that? Anyway, that department is "backed up" and I was given a number to call.  A number that was perpetually busy. I finally got through this afternoon and talked to a person.  She lifted the hold on my license, but said it would take 4-6 weeks to get my actual license in the mail. What??!  My choices were either to have her issue a temporary and send it out today or go into my local DMV office.  Guess which choice I made?  In any event, it is apparently taken care of. Thank you Jesus for taking that off my plate!

I'm all set for chemo tomorrow. Eric is going to take the morning off to be a daddy since my mom is going to be on her way to greet Jared home from Iraq. (Thank you Jesus for that too!)  I'm actually looking forward to having 2-3 hours to myself, to read, listen to music....or try to bust through a few more levels in "Angry Birds."

My prayer requests:

  • That chemo go well.  That I tolerate it as well as I have the first 3 rounds. That it does what it is supposed to do...KILL CANCER CELLS! 
  • That I don't get totally wiped out this weekend.  In addition to the normal mom stuff, I have the Charger game thing ("A Crucial Catch") this Sunday and I'm hoping that I'm not completely wiped out on Monday. If you have time on Sunday, check out the Charger vs. Patriots game--especially the pre-game stuff and the anthem. I'm going to wear something pink and plaid on my head! 
  • Travel mercies for Jared and my parents. They are going to Savannah, Georgia to greet him. We aren't sure exactly when Jared gets in--probably late Saturday night or early Sunday. 

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