Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy Fall!

Happy Fall!  The boys had a blast creating this and I spent less than $7!  I will work on updating everyone but know I am doing well. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Surgery Update

Well it has been a month since I have posted so I better update you all.  I have been lounging and being lazy trying to heal from all these darn surgeries.   My double mastectomy is behind me and I am healing nicely with that surgery.  However, a few days after surgery I was told the cancer was in my left lymph node so I needed another surgery.  On June 24th I had all my lymph nodes removed from my left arm pit.  This surgery has been a major obstacle!! It was really, really painful and I am still feeling the pain today.  I don't have full arm movement and to top things off I got a fungal infection at the site as well.  Ughh.... I am sooo over surgeries!  The results from my lymph node removal came back and they removed 5 nodes and none of them were cancerous!  Yeah!! 
On July 20th I met with my plastic surgeon so she could fill up my tissue expander's.  I now have 550 cc. of saline in them and I will have one more fill and they are full! I still dislike them VERY much.  I have some nerve pain/damage (not sure) from my shoulder to my elbow.  It is hard to describe the pain.  I don't really have any feeling but when you rub the area it is painful.  I hope this goes away soon.  Also the weirdest feeling is when I have an itch on my breast but it is not a skin itch just an itch that I can't get to.  I told you it was weird.  My next plan of action is to have my DIEP flap surgery in October.

I snuck in to talk to my oncologist and she is taking my case to tumor conference on July 27th to determine if I need radiation or not.  I am PRAYING that I don't have to do radiation. I have been told I need 6 weeks 5 days a week of radiation.  We will see...

 I am now taking 2 aspirin a day to keep my blood thinned which means that I have finished my Lovenox injections.  I was getting those daily for 90 days at the local hospital.  I am so thankful they are done.  I will be starting an IV infusion of Zometa to prevent me from getting bone cancer.  I will go every 3 months for 2 years and the treatment is about an hour long.  I am hoping that my local hospital can do these treatments.   

On another note we took Owen to see his pediatric endocrinologist  for his growth hormone medicine.  He started up last night and did fine.  I am looking for him to start sprouting really fast.  He was -4.0 on the height chart. 

Here is a pic of my new hair with Owen and the other pic is an update on this post.

Owen, Grandma JJ, and I stopped to pick sunflowers to give to Aunt Ellen.

Here is an updated pic of my nails. If you look close you can see discoloration and white lines.  Those white lines are really fragile and the nails just peel when they get close to the white portion.  I also lost one toe nail so not too bad considering the thought of losing them all.  

Yes, that is my wedding band!  The nurses just taped my wedding band but my surgeon needed it removed b/c of all the tools he was using could cause the metal to do damage to my finger.  Well the only problem was I haven't been able to get that ring off for who knows how long. Obviously they couldn't either so they cut it off me. I feel naked now that I don't have my wedding band and I can't wait to get it fixed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let's breast it down

Okay well I am back! I feel pretty good considering the surgery I went through. It was a tough surgery and I am STILL healing! I am feeling lots of pressure and I really dislike the tissue expanders. So here is the breast break down.

My surgery was at KU hospital and while we were waiting I had my grandma, my dad and his wife Cheri, Brian's father Frank, my Pastor, and of course my husband. Before I was sent to prepare for surgery my pastor said a prayer which was a powerful feeling and gave me the strength I needed, thank you Pastor Dale!

I really dislike needles and am "one of those patients" so I hear. It always takes at least 2-5 attempts to draw blood or get an IV. So I was a nervous wreck regarding the IV and for good reason b/c it took them 4 attempts! Ugh!

My surgeon removed my breast tissue (which I donated to KU for further research) and 2 lymph nodes on the right and 1 lymph node on the left to see if the cancer had spread. The right nodes were free from cancerous cells but we found out that the left node was cancerous. That was a HUGE blow! I go this Friday to have all my lymph nodes removed on the left side and then will have 6 weeks of radiation Monday-Friday sometime after I heal. The good news is they will let me do my radiation in Manhattan rather than KU!

My plastic surgeon went in and placed an expander under the muscle and shaped the breast with Alloderm(cadaver cartilage and filled them to a size B). They placed drains in each of my armpits to allow the fluids to escape. The surgery lasted about six hours.

It has been two weeks and I still have the draining tubes in and have a constant ache in my chest. The tissue expanders are ROCK HARD and uncomfortable! I am trying to stay grounded to my initial size decision which is hard b/c having your expanders stretched to MY size will be more uncomfortable and a longer process. They will fill the expanders every 2 weeks for anywhere from 2-4 months to get to my size. I am going to try to get as much as my surgeon will allow so I can speed up the process but I don't want to be in too much pain either. Tough calls I tell you!

It's funny how your image of breasts change with each chapter of your life. For instance when you are single they mean sexuality then you have children and they are no longer sexual but for nourishing your child, then after nursing for three years you realize they are just blobs. Am I the only one who feels this way?!  I went back and fourth deciding if  I should show you what my expanders look like but will leave that decision up to you individually.  If you are interested in seeing let me know and I will show you or email you the pics.  I know that my mind always wanders to the worst so I would want to see but I am also weird but you all know that already :)  I hope to help anyone else who has to endure this journey and have no shame in sharing pics but thought this was the most appropriate way to do so. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Hello blog family and friends! I will be away from the blog for a week and a half. I am headed to KC today and my double masectomy is scheduled tomorrow (Monday) at 11am. Please pray for my medical team, strength, and a quick recovery!

God's blessings!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homemade sidewalk chalk

This is the tutorial that I shared over at Couturier Mommy on May 16th. This is a simple project and they can be using the chalk the same day :)

I enjoy crafting and LOVE that other bloggers share their creativity! I try to keep my busy children occupied with new and exciting projects. I don't know a child who doesn't enjoy coloring. I hope you recreate this project for your children this summer.

Items Needed:
Toilet paper rolls
Plaster of Paris
Washable paint
Painter's tape

Here are the supplies I used. I would recommend wearing gloves as this plaster will dry out your hands. Please NOTE: Do not rinse these containers in your sink or you will clog your pipes!

You will need to make sure that the clay around the bottom of the toilet paper is sealed tightly or it will seep out the bottom.

I used 2 parts plaster and 1 part water and mixed well. Then poured liquid into the rolls.

Here is Miles helping me!

I let the plaster sit for a little over an hour then you just start peeling the toilet paper off.

The boys really like when I put in two different colors. Here they are ready for use!

Miles was overjoyed when he could finally use his chalk for hopscotch.

Thanks for checking out the tutorial! Please stop by again soon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

How could you NOT want one

The boys are loving the mail they have been receiving lately!  I sent out an email/facebook that the boys are coloring on luminaries in honor or memory of someone.  The other day my dear friend Pixie sent a letter to the boys and Owen could read almost all of it.  He was so excited!  Here is a picture of his luminary in honor of his mommy :)  I love how he puts talking bubbles in his pictures. 

Luminaries are $10 per bag and YOU still have time to send the boys a letter.  Please make checks payable to Marshall County Relay for Life and address the envelope with Carpenter Children. You can also make an online donation by simply clicking on my Courtney's Crusader button on the left side of my blog.

My relay for life is the second weekend in June and I am speaking.  I am nervous but also excited to share my story. 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest blogging...

Good Morning!

Today I am guest blogging at Couturier Mommy! Go check her blog out and look at my tutorial I posted. If you have children this is a must do summer craft!! Guaranteed.

If you are new to my blog, WELCOME! Take a look around and let me know where you are coming from so I can check your blog out!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chemo is OVER!!

It has been pretty busy around here lately now that I don't feel sick.  My last treatment of chemo was April 27th!  I was suppose to have one more treatment but they found a blood clot from my elbow to my shoulder.  I am now going to the hospital DAILY for Lovenox injections in my stomach and legs.  They have also moved my surgery date to June 6th instead of July.  I am excited about the surgery date but not the surgery itself.  I am nervous and scared but in the end this is the best decision. 

I will have a skin saving double mastectomy and removal of the nipples and then they will put in tissue expander's. The reconstruction surgery can take between 2 to 3 hours and they say it is extremely painful.  Ugh...  I believe the children will go to Manhattan to be cared for by Grandma JJ.  I will have family here to help me with my care.  I will have draining tubes to monitor for awhile.  I am hoping that I will be able to attend my Relay for Life here in Marysville on the 15th but we will see.

The next surgery will be a robotic hysterectomy and that will be done at the end of the summer.  That surgery takes an hour to complete.  My oncologist has recommended this because of my onco type test.  My test showed an intermediate risk for recurrence of cancer so we are going to take this to prevent another cancer.

The last surgery is called DIEP or Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery flap and it will take 12+ hours in the operating room.  This is a very time consuming surgery b/c they have to reattach the blood vessels.  I went with this option for many reasons but the main reason is because it is permanent.  Instead of implants they will use my skin and fat of my abdomen and move it to my chest creating breasts.  I know it is AMAZING what my Dr.'s can do!  What is not to look forward to :)  I will have new breasts, flat stomach, and 2 tattoos GONE!!

Oh and my hair is coming back in and so I will be feeling like a new woman before Christmas!

Please continue to pray for strength and healing during these surgeries.  I am confident in my Dr.'s and the teams at KU but nervous about the healing and pain as you can imagine.  However I am ready to feel "normal" again and look forward to these steps being completed. 

Thank you for your continued prayers, calls, cards, food, etc. I am one BLESSED MAMA!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sermon Sunday

Yes ME!  I know this comes as a shock to some of you but yes I did the sermon on Sunday!  We called it Adventures in Mommyhood and it was two parts.  The first part regarding my cancer and the second part was the adventures of mommyhood. 

I talked about the new word that I have been using since I have found out about cancer.  The word  BEATIFIC means displaying great happiness, calmness and I want to be seen with a beatific smile. :) I also talked about how God prepared me for this journey, you can find the post here.

I also had photographs of the boys making food and creating a big mess but having a blast.  Then I created a top 5 list.

5 Games Children want to play instead of Chutes and Ladders

1.  You'll never guess what I'm going to bring into the house!  (We had 2 wolf spiders, 2 butterflies, and 1 caterpillar)

2.  Let's see how long we can say MOMMY!  (Oh so many times I can't count them all)

3.  Let me tell you when I'm full (Lila throws her food in 1 BIG sweeping motion)

4.  Guess what I just put in my mouth (Lego, paper, food, goldfish, sock)

5.  Bet I can reach what you think I can't! (getting step stool, climbing on counter, reaching for the toy that is ON TOP of the refrigerator in time out!)

It made me nervous and excited to stand up and share my stories but in the end I had a great time and thought it was successful!

Friday, April 22, 2011

1/2 way there

They have not been able to get on the computer, watch TV, play wii, or even play on the leapster. However mommy has had computer time (limited!) and TV time after the boys went to bed.

We are almost finished with screen-free week and it has actually went pretty well.  I am loving the time with my children and boy it has been exhausting me.  I know that once this chemo is out of me I will have more energy but WOW these kiddos are busy! :)  I love watching them play nicely and use their imaginations!

On day two Owen had a meltdown and said, "He was sick of it and just wanted to play wii!"  Well I can tell you today is the first day he hasn't asked to play.  He did sneak in some screen time at a friend's house for approx. 30 min.  Little stinker :) 

LOVE this verse it is a FANTASTIC reminder: Children are a gift from the Lord: they are a reward from him  Psalm 127:3

We still have several more activities planned:

Put a puzzle together
Make slime
Make sugar cookies
Have a Fitness Treasure hunt with Easter eggs

Here are some highlights of what we have been up to!

 Lots of pictures were painted
 Don't judge the artwork just the painting!
 Playing "dolls" in the only boyish way :)
 April 26, 2011 is Drug Endangered Children Awareness Day and we are donating
a couple of blankets to a local family who is collecting blankets and diapers.
Playing Hullabloo

Friday, April 15, 2011

Screen-Free Week-Ready or Not

We are going to be participating in our 1st screen-free week and let me tell you I am a little nervous!
Just a couple days back I told Owen he needed to play outside and put the wii away and he pouted all the way to the door and then shouted, "This is the WORST day of his life!"  So I am planning ahead and thinking of projects to do so we don't have any meltdowns! Wish us luck! 

Here is some startling information regarding our children and screen time.  Oh and please know that I am one mom who really needs to work on this.  Since having cancer I have let them sit in front of the TV for WAY too much time.   This will be really good for our family and I am pretty excited to have some fun play time with the children and hubby!

I am praying for nice weather so we can do some field trips outside but here are some of the projects we will be doing.

1.  Put a  puzzle together
2.  Go to the trail with the bicycles
3.  Go to the ball field and practice playing t-ball
4.  Visit the Library
5.  Do some crafts

Please link up if you will be participating and what you will be doing to occupy your children!
I look forward to all the ideas!


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Hello one and all
We are growing big and tall

We have had some ups and downs

But this summer we will run around like clowns

Where? At my mommy’s relay

Want to remember a loved one?
Well leave it to us we will draw on a luminary, we will take a picture when it is done!

Join us in raising money, don’t delay!

We love and miss you

And those that join the team we can’t wait to kiss you!

You will see the link on the sidebar-Courtney’s Crusaders!

You can also make checks out to Marshall County Relay for Life and send to:

Carpenter Children:
email me for address (court_carpenter(at)hotmail(dot)com
Marysville Kansas, 66508

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

IT'S PERFECT (with italian gestures of course)

Look at that spaghetti smile!!

I think she liked my spaghetti!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 8-Coat Closet

Well I only have chemo treatments every 3 weeks now and so I feel a little "normal" if that is even possible. My "normal" consists of feeling like I am just about to catch the flu, does that make sense to you? I feel tired, have body aches, and my eyes are always blurry. HOWEVER, that is my normal right now and I feel great!

So good that I am going to finish my 21-day challenge. I may not get to them everyday but I will finish at some point. I am thankful that Toni had these challenges and my first 7 still look fantastic. The challenges sure have helped my day to day duties. I can't wait to show you all the before/after photos. I also have viewed other blogs to get more ideas too. :)
I finally added hooks to the closet so the boys could hang up their coats and backpacks on their own! As you can see this has helped and has kept my floor clean!

 Before: Notice the huge pile of coats & backpacks
 After: The backpacks and coats hung up!
Close up of the hooks (purchased at Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Well not exactly but this will be as close as I get!  Ha, ha.

Let me start from the beginning.  I had all intentions to create cards to give to everyone at the cancer center but then was hit with chemo!  So I asked for help from my Utah Diva gals (my former SU group) and Splitcoaststampers (LOVE this site!) Well the support has been huge and I have received soo many beautiful thank you and birthday cards from friends and complete strangers!   THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!! 

I love doing this and most of the time they already know who they are going to send their card to which is fun to hear about!  I also love all the happy smiles :)

I also leave a thank you card on the table for the next chemo patient with a note that says, " Have a great day I know you can use this. From one chemo buddy to another!"  I know that we all go through a lot of thank you cards b/c everyone is doing something for us during our time of need.  I know I feel blessed by the support I have received!!

So last time I received chemo a lady delivered a bouquet of daffodils to me and in return I gave her a thank you card.  I remember her saying, "I was giving you a gift and you are now giving me one, how sweet!"

Well to my surprise that nice lady returned five minutes later with a camera crew, she is a  news reporter and wanted to do a story about my cards.  So here is my 1 minute of fame! Pretty cool, huh.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lila loves...

her baby dolls!!

I can tell you this girl stuff is soo much fun! I have had a blast playing dress up with her too.
Here are some adorable pics of Lila playing with her dolls. She is such a cuddly little gal and loves caring for her babies. She will be an amazing mom one day!  Here she is practicing! :)

Oh and the cradle is mine that my grandmother Joan had made for me years ago. I am thankful that my dad kept this so I could pass it down to my daughter. I am hoping next time grandma comes to visit I can have her paint Lila's name on it too.

 This is my favorite picture of her!
 Blowing a kiss to her baby.
 Patting her babies back.
 Pressing her babies belly to hear the baby giggle.
 Hugging her baby!
 Rocking her baby.
I think we have another child with an eye fetish! Ha!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Why, because God created me just that way! 

I think it is funny that some (a small group) of peope think that you can't be loud, extrovert, and sometimes obnoxious and not be a christian.  Doesn't that surprise you!?   It does me.   I remember one time at a church many years ago we had to fill out a survey about where our needs would best be met.  The lady that was seeing where they should place me looked up and said to me, "I am surprised by your answers I didn't realize you had such a strong faith?"  To this day I can't get that statment out of my mind.  I was shocked, stunned, amazed that someone of her cailber would say such a thing.  I mean she didn't really know me personally.  I do like to have fun and I am loud and I say it like it is but I can't change ME that is DNA genetics and frankly wouldn't change! 

My faith in God has only increased with each obsticle my family and I have faced.  I can't imagine walking through life and not hearing the Holy Spirit that we each have inside of us.  I didn't realize my Holy Spirit was even talking to me until I lost Graycee then in reflection realized God was talking to me to prepare me for the upcoming loss of Graycee (stillborn at 38 weeks).  I also told you about the time where he was preparing me for breast cancer.  I hope and pray that each one of you can find your Holy Spirit!  It is a powerful tool that I reach for, listen to, and react to almost on a daily basis.  So yes I am fighting cancer but I am just as excited to see what God has in store for me at the end of this journey and that is exciting!

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you Acts 1:8

Does that mean I am perfect, absolutely NOT!  I put my foot in my mouth CONSTANTLY, I lose patience with my children, I cuss sometimes, and I told Brian that Cancer SUCKS, but that doesn't mean I am not Christian.  I know when I have fallen off and I work on getting back on that fence.  Here are some tools that I use to get back on.  These tools really help me get back on track and I know that when I am currently doing these activities that my attitude has changed, I am more patient, I am watching my words. I hope these help you too!

1. Read the bible
2. Look up verses that will help me
3. Read christian books
4. Start/Join a bible study
5. Right now I am reading Standing Up For Your Child without stepping on toes by Vicki Caruana! (See I know my faults and try to prepare myself in how to handle the situation in a christian manner! :)


Friday, March 4, 2011

My pill organizer


I was once a gal who couldn't swallow pills without having a mouth full of water and still gagging as they went down.  Now not so much! I can swallow 3 small pills at ONCE.   Big steps my friends, ha!  Well I take anywhere from 16-19 pills per day.  I also receive  a shot in the stomach everytime I have chemo and another one in the stomach every month.

My port was placed in KC on Monday and that went smooth. They were able to access the port on Wed. 16th (SWEET Lila's 1st birthday!!) and I had my second treatment of chemo. The Dr. walked in and said, "Well we about killed you, huh!" I said I felt like it and she said she wouldn't do that again. We have tweaked chemo and I am no longer taking Taxotere and they reduced the doses on both of the other chemo drugs (Epirubicin, and Cytoxan). I will have chemo every two weeks now with my 3rd treatment on March 2nd. I have lost all my hair but can't keep my hats on b/c princess keeps pulling them off. :) 

I did have my 3rd treatment on the 2nd and they have bumped up the Epirubicin and Cytoxan to 100% so hopefully this weekend won't be too bad!  We will see.  My 4th treatment in on March 16th.

The tumor on the right breast took the ultrasound 35 min. to find it b/c it had shrunk soo much. :) The left tumor was measuring 7cm x4cm and that has shrunk IN HALF!!! It was now measuring 3cm x3cm. Our oncologist doesn't get too excited about things but yesterday she was grabbing my breast saying, "It feels like it evaporated!" Needless to say we are ecstatic of the news and continue to pray that we keep having positive results! The food, calls, emails, cards, have all been wonderful. We feel the love of the community, family, friends, blog friends and are humbled by all the outpouring of love and support we have received, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Here is a scripture I read A LOT!

Nothing that happens is beyond the Lord's domain. Nothing can touch us that the heavenly Father can't deal with, and no event can ruin His plan for good in our lives.  All things, He promises, will work together for our good, if we love Him.  (Romans 8:28)  I LOVE HIM and I know he walks with me in my journey!

Friday, February 25, 2011

All the hair changes; BRACE YOURSELF

Well I have had good hair days, bad hair days, and no hair days! We have kept the boys entertained through this journey to try to seem "normal".   For the most part it is working! :) 

Here are some pics starting from the beginning.

My hair long.
Miles cutting my hair!
Owen cutting my hair!

I decided from the beginning that I would cut it short so it wouldn't be so dramatic when I did lose my hair. The boys had a BALL cutting it off.  They were giggling the whole time.  I did have the "talk" about no cutting hair on sisters, dolls, school classmates, etc.  So far so good!

Then I had a friend cut it short and I really like how it turned out, thanks Lacey!

 One night around the two week mark I noticed that my hair was falling out and Brian and I agreed it was time to buzz it. So this is my hair buzzed and my boys' comments:

Owen said, " You look like a MAN!" ha ha (oh the honesty, gotta love it! :)
Miles said, " You look cute mom!" Awww
Brian said, "You have a great shaped head! ha

 Then one day for lunch we were sitting on the couch and daddy asked Miles to, "Pull on daddy's hair and see if hair falls out!" Well as you can imagine this was great fun for Miles. So he tugs on daddy's hair and nothing. Then Brian says, "Pull on mommies and see if you get any hair!" Well you guessed it mine fell out. Miles thought that was sooo cool and for the rest of the day the boys would walk by and grab a pinch and so for awhile I looked like a spotted leopard.
I know this may sound disturbing but it did not hurt and it was falling out anyway. So no harm done except for belly laughs from the kiddos! I am thankful that we have our humor to make this journey fun for my children, I wouldn't want it any other way! So please no mean comments!

This is a picture right after my port was placed.

This is my current pic.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I have GREAT...


I know I know not what you expected me to say!  Ha!  Well I share this because their is a possibility that I will lose them from the chemo.  Some women have experienced loss of nails and I am hoping mine don't go but if they do then you have proof that my nails are GREAT :)  I have never had any problems growing long, strong nails.  I also have always wanted to be a hand model, so here you go!  Nice huh!?  I am currently using nailtiques which is a nail protein to make them stronger. 

I also had to have Brian buzz my hair on Tues.  I had started losing it on Monday but by Tues. it was getting worse.  Everyday it gets thinner and thinner.  I don't understand how bald men can walk around without a hat! My head is freezing all the time.  I wear head covers most of the time.  I also have had some incredibly talented blog friends want to make me hats so I will showcase those soon! 

I have surgery on Monday for my port and start my 2nd round of chemo on the 16th.  I will update you when I am able. 

My friend Melissa gave me this verse and I wanted to share it with you all.  I know it will help me during the chemo days! 

Don't be afraid, for I am with you.  Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.  Isaiah 41: 10

Friday, February 4, 2011

OH holy chemo!

Warning: LONG POST but it will catch you up from the beginning to now.

Well I have all the tests finished up. I head to Manhattan on Monday for the last set of tests. The first day was strictly tests (mri's, labs, mammos, ultrasounds, etc) We were there from 10:30am-4:30pm. The next day was meeting with Dr. Fabian and her staff. We had a wonderful warm welcome from everyone involved! We were told that they found 5 tumors on the left breast and 1 on the right. It has doubled in size and is growing into one big mass. The measurement was around 5 cm. Dr. Fabian believes it is late stage 2 beginning stage 3 breast cancer. The FANTASTIC news is it is NOT in the lymph nodes or bone marrow!!! God is good!! The stage 3 is solely based on the size of the tumor so although it sounds scary it is not :) I start chemo on January 25th and will return for chemo in KC every 2 weeks for the next 4-5 months. I am so blessed of the amount of support from you all!
Oh one more thing I started menopause too. My tumor is growing b/c of hormones so they shut them down! We will see what this brings :)

I did a genomic test which shows your oncotype DX. Oncotype DX breast cancer assay uses RT-PCR to determine the expression of a panel of 21 genes in tumor tissues. The Recurrence score is calculated from the gene expression results. The results score range is from 1-100. I scored a 28 which puts me in the intermediate risk group to have a recurrence at 10 years after 5 years of Tamoxifen treatment. This will help me to know what type of breast surgery we will do when chemo is over. I will most likely have a bilateral mastectomy with a complete hysterectomy as well.

I am currently taking 3 chemo meds they are called Taxotere, Epirubicin, and Cytoxan. Have fun researching :)

Oh holy chemo!!  Well my first round of chemo was on the 25th and for the following 2 days I felt okay.  I could walk, talk, hug, laugh, etc.  On Friday  I was starting to feel the effects of this poison.  I had horrendous chest pain, couldn't eat, couldn't lift my head for longer than 15 seconds it was ROUGH.  I don't even know if rough is the word.  I have never felt so close to death ever.  I know some of you are laughing, oh this is Courtney being dramatic, but really it was bad!  I laugh as I type this because the worst is over and I look back and think WOW I made it through that .  This second round is going to be a breeze :)

I went to the hospital on Monday where they pumped me full of fluids and meds and by the evening I was a new person.  What an iv bag can do is miraculous!   The lab report showed that my white blood count was 0.3!!  A normal person's wbc is 4-11.  No wonder I felt yucky.  My oncologist nurse called and said that we won't be able to do chemo on the 9th but will do it on the 16th.  I will leave Monday evening for KC to have my port placed in my chest by my breast surgeon. 

Grandma JJ has taken all three children to Aunt Ellen's house for a cousin's party!! They are having a fantastic time and I can't wait to see them on Sunday.  I am tired, weak, but able to do small tasks.  The best way  I can describe it is with my toaster.  I have stood and waited for toast soo many mornings for my boys but now I have a hard time standing to wait on it.  Everyday gets better and better.  I wake up each morning reaching for my hair to see if I still have any and I do!  Here is a recent pic of me and I am wearing THE SCARF that my girlfriend is making in my honor!  LOVE IT! 

Thank you all for the meals, cards, calls, etc.  I am humbled by all the love and support my family and I have had!!! 

Next time I will get a shot of all my meds I have to take :(  I have the BIGGEST pill organizer in America.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My dear friend Kylee's project

Kylee is one of the sweetest gals you will ever meet!  I met her in college and we have been friends since.  I have watched her become a wonderful mom.  I am lucky to have her on my side.   I LOVE her scarfs and can't wait to get mine in the mail!  Kylee has decided to make scarfs in my honor.  Here is her blog for more information.

Kylee I love you!  You are an amazing friend, THANK YOU!!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Well as I can imagine changes are just beginning.  I am scared, hopeful, sad, happy, devastated, grateful.  I know some of those words sound bizarre but I have FAITH!   I have been through some tough times before and I have only become stronger. 

I always lean on this scripture in my time of need!  We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly god loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
-Romans 5:3-5

Okay on to the changes.  First change is I will be going to KU Med for my treatments.  I have 2 appointments the 1st one is humongous amount of labs, x-rays, and body scans.  Oh and you can believe I told them that I have a vasovagal response when it comes to needles so they are just going to start an IV instead of many needle pokes! :)    I will then meet with my new oncologist the following morning to see what the plan of action is.  Dr. Fabian's nurse believes they will start chemo to shrink the tumor before we do surgery.  I did get some good news regarding my markers.  I don't know what some of these terms mean so I will just add links for you to research on your own if you wish.  I found out that estrogen/progesterone is highly positive which is good news as well as the her2 protein being 1+.  The tumor growing rate is 41% so it has been there awhile but I personally have felt the lump for 2 months.  So that was nothing new.    The radiologist new right away just by looking at the tissue which is why we really had the blow last Friday and was prepared on that following Tuesday.  They test your tissue with histological grade and I have Nottingham grade 3.  YUCK! :(   My total score was 8/9.  

Oh and one really sweet story!  This made my day yesterday! I was dropping Miles off at preschool and one of his classmates was headed inside and looked at me and said, Hey your sick!?  I said yes, but the Dr.'s are going to make me feel better really soon!   It is at those times that I smile and say I can do this!  I will beat this. 

Thank you sooo much for all your prayers, phone calls, visits, cards!  I feel soo supported and know that I can get through this.  I know the first lesson I will be learning is that the laundry and dishes can be loaded multiple ways and they get clean the same way!!! GASP! Ha!  I laugh just thinking about this :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Today I was diagnosed with Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma another name for breast cancer.  I am 30 years old with 3 children the youngest not a year.  I had been waiting on the results since last Friday and got the call at 12:15pm from the clinic to come in at 1:30pm.  I hung up the phone and quickly called my husband as he was an hour away in Hiawatha working.  My in laws were eating at Nelson's Landing and they rushed over here too. 

 On our drive to the clinicI kept telling Brian that god was preparing me for this news.  I believe these are not coincidences but message from god.  The 1st one was 3-4 months ago when my mom was having an ultrasound on her breast (luckily it is nothing!) however I told her she shouldn't hide that kind of information from us girls because one of us could have cancer!   The second one is that my mother in law every year for the past 6 years has purchased a yearly calendar for me and this year is the only year that I have received that is dedicated to breast cancer.  So we were talking about this and we pull up to park and the car in front of us has a breast cancer license plate.  I know that God is here with me and will guide me through this journey and I love how he sends me messages.  So yesterday diagnosis day was 1-11-11 so I am praying that this is another message and that I only have stage 1 breast cancer.  We won't find out anything until I have surgery next week.  

Thank you, thank you for all your kind words and prayers!   I feel blessed to be going through this because I know that I have a HUGE network of family and friends willing and ready to do anything to help me or my family out. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 7-Pantry

Day #7 ~ Getting Organized Challenge (The Pantry)

Well I was off to a good start then the news hit on Friday so I was really unmotivated to do anything and I mean anything.  Laundry, cook, clean, etc.  Luckily my mother and father in law came to town and helped me take down Christmas, make supper, and helped me organize the pantry and cabinets.  So I am a couple days behind but will catch up soon!

This isn't my pantry but a really disorganized cabinet that holds all types of food.  Oh and the best part was finding 3 yes 3 candy bars.  I am one to hide chocolate from my children and eat it DAILY :) I have such a weakness for chocolate. I am still working on my pantry and will post pics later but for now enjoy the look of the clean cabinet.  Thanks Janis and Frank for all your help!!!

Thank you all for the prayers!!  I have an amazing support network of family and friends and feel sooo blessed!

Please pray...

 Let me start from the beginning.

At the end of November beginning of December I felt a lump in my breast.   I nursed Lila from birth until she reached 7 1/2 months old.  We were told at her 6 month check up we needed to be supplementing her with formula.  My breasts were starting to go down to regular size when I felt the lump.  I just assumed the lump was either a clogged milk duct from drying up or the start of mastitis.  So after 1 1/2 months of the lump not going away we felt we needed to follow up with a Dr.  My neighbor and friend is a new Nurse practitioner and I saw her on January 3rd.  The nurse practitioner then scheduled me for an ultrasound the following morning at the local hospital.  The ultrasound found 3 lumps the first being 2 cm by 1.6 cm and the other two lumps are 1 cm. each.  I received a phone call shortly after from a Dr. in the same practice as the nurse practitioner.  She called to tell me that I would need a biopsy on the lump for more information.  On Friday, January 7th I had my breast biopsy.  The procedure was a little painful.  The radiologist numbed the area and stuck a large needle into the lump then another needle was inserted.  The second needle would remove tissue samples from the lump.  The radiologist removed 4 samples of tissue.  After the procedure the radiologist took my hand and told me that the tissue did appear to be cancer.  I looked at him in shock and just said matter of fact (Courtney style)  "You do realize I have 3 small children at home and they are my whole world!"  He replied that he was sorry but this wasn't his first time and he understands my pain.  He said it is 50-60% likely that it is breast cancer.  I look over at my husband who at this point is headed my way and all I can think about is how sad and devastated my husband looks.  I told him it would be okay we can get through anything.  We were told that the results would be back January 11th.  I have been praying hard that he is WRONG and that he made a mistake and that it is mastitis scar tissue but I don't know.

Please pray!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 6-Dresser Drawers

Day #6 ~ Getting Organized Challenge (Dresser Drawers)


Well, well, well, bet you weren't expecting me to say this...

That is one thing I have done!!! Whoohoooo!  I am thankful that this is completed b/c I am out of commission today.  I will be back and ready for tomorrow's challenge.  I am going to spend this evening having my husband help me take down Christmas!  See you tomorrow!

 My dresser
Boys dresser

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 5-Under the Kitchen Sink

Day #5 ~ Getting Organized Challenge (Under the Kitchen Sink)

Well it is day 5 and I have enjoyed getting this house organized!!  I am a little embarrassed at how disorganized my house is however it eases my mind that I am not alone in this.  I have seen some great blogs with awesome organization going on!  Keep it up ladies. 

HOWEVER, I do feel as though we should have 1 challenge strictly for the husbands! :)  ha ha!  I say this b/c my husband is loving the work I am doing and I keep hearing these comments. 

a) Sooo what is your challenge today?
b) I really like these challenges!
c) I hope one of the challenges is ____ and ____ and ____!!
d)That is a good one!
e)That needed to be done!

This list could go on and on but I will stop with these few! :)  This of course is all in fun but you know just 1 challenge for my hubby would be nice!

Well as you can see by the pics this was a mounting pile as well.  I didn't realize I had so many multiples.  I took wipes to each bathroom, car, etc.  This isn't perfect but my Walmart didn't carry the door hangers so I will have to drive an hour to the closest Target and find something there.  One of my friends is now a Shaklee member so once these are done I will be purchasing from her.  We are transitioning to a greener home.  It takes time but we will get there.

 Rows of Multiples/Piles of Dust cloths

Item Needed:
Wire Door Organizer