Hi everyone.  Another month is almost over.  I can't believe it.  27 days until mine & Dan's trip to Puerto Rico.  I can't wait.  Life is getting back to our boring normal.  I get the older kids off to school, I take care of Caleb & Ammon, feed them, clean up after them, play with them.  Blake, Bekah, and Abby get home from school.  I feed them, clean up after them, help them with homework, piano practicing, chores...  I cook dinner, we clean up after dinner.  I run the kids to their various activities.  I teach piano lessons.  I try to catch up on my scrapbooking.   We read scriptures, watch Jazz games.  I break up fights between the kids over and over and over.... 

I still have pain in my hip and back when I over do.  I have a hard time sleeping at night because I hurt, worry, and have hot flashes. 

So, basically, life is returning to normal, but now I have constant fear and worry about the cancer growing again.   I hope it stays stable for a long time, but the fear never seems to leave.  I think about cancer 100 times a day.  I hope someday I can get to the point where I don't think about it so much anymore.  I guess because cancer has dominated so much of my life during treatment, it is hard to push it back.   I am trying.....  Maybe once more time has passed I can feel more secure. 

At least now when people ask me how I am doing, I can honestly say "Really good!!!"


Here I am holding my certificate of completion from the Radiation Oncology office.  It says that I completed my course of radiation.  Way cool.  I hung it on my fridge like a report card, or a diploma!

Here are my kids helping celebrate.  We had IBC root beer!!! 

As I was laying in bed last night, I had a very vivid memory come into my mind.  I remembered that night a year ago, when I was surfing the internet trying to figure out what was wrong with my back, leg and knee.  I had been having quite a bit of pain, and it was to the point that I couldn't lift 1 year old Ammon.  I couldn't walk up the stairs without tons of effort and pain.   I had been to see an orthopedic surgeon, and he told me he suspected I had a bulging disc in my back which was pinching on a nerve and causing my pain.  A couple of weeks before that I had been to my OBGYN and had asked about my swelling and red breast.  He had said that it was probably just scar tissue causing engorgement from milk in the ducts.  So I decided to google that, and read about it, and that was when I first stumbled over the term inflammatory breast cancer.  I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I briefly allowed my mind to wander and imagine what would happen if I indeed had breast cancer.  I thought about how hard it would be to go through treatment, and how hard it would be for my family.  I told myself not to be silly and worry about something like that, and tried to put the worry out of my mind. 
Now here I am, 8 months later, having successfully battled cancer.  I just feel like dancing!!!!  I am DONE with treatment.  My mantra the last 8 months has been, I have to get through chemo, I have to get through surgery, I have to get through radiation.  Now here I am, DONE.   I got through it!!!!!  I don't have this big obstacle to overcome in front of me anymore.  I feel like I have finished a marathon.  I never thought I would actually be able to do it, but here I am, DONE!!!!  Did I mention I'm DONE!!!!!  

Now, DONE is a theoretical term.  I will have to take a pill daily, and receive an hour and a half IV infusion of Herceptin every 3 weeks, and a 30 minute IV infusion of Zometa monthly for the rest of my life.  I will have to do these treatments to keep my cancer stable.

A lot of people have asked, so are you in remission now?  The answer is that once you are stage 4 cancer with multiple metastases, there is no remission.  No matter how well the treatments work, there are still going to be cancer cells left.  My oncologist told me that remission translates to cure in people's minds, and stage 4 cancer is incurable.  However it is treatable, with pretty good quality of life.  I have  a long ways to go to get my energy and strength (AND HAIR!!!!) back.  I still have pain where the cancer damaged my bone, and I have a lot of healing to go from radiation.  My quality of life is better now than it was a year ago.  I hope to continue to get feeling even better, and have this period of "stable disease" (Which is how my onc defines my condition) for months and hopefully years.  We have already seen so many miracles, I am sure that we can have a miracle of having no progression of cancer for a long, long, time.  

Now all that being said, please know that there is no way in the world that we could've made it through all of this treatment and sickness without all of the help from our family, friends, and people we don't even know.  All of the prayers, all of the service, all of the child care, all of the meals, kindnesses more than I can even count, have made it possible to endure our trial.  Thank you again.  I know I say it a lot, but I mean it.  THANK YOU!!!!!!


I'm feeling better emotionally today.  Not so down.  Yesterday I had a triple dose of Herceptin, so once I finish my LAST 2 DAYS of radiation, I will have a couple weeks off from hospital and doctors visit.  It just seems unreal that I am almost done with radiation.  Yesterday I had 3 appointments at the hospital:  A muga scan (where they make sure my heart is still functioning well enough to continue Herceptin) radiation, then my oncologist visit and herceptin infusion.  Makes for a long day!  I'm feeling quite tired and a little nauseated tonight.  Hopefully it won't last too long.  My kids had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner tonight! 

I went to Kathy's funeral on Monday.  Something one of the speakers said has really stuck with me and put things into perspective.  He said, "Birth is not the beginning, and death is not the end."  It was a beautiful uplifting service.  I am so glad that Dan was able to go with me.  The speakers said over and over how great Rick (Kathy's husband) took such good care of her, and you could say the same thing about Dan.


I have kind of had a bad week.  I hate to complain when there are so many more out there that are so much worse off than I am. 

I have had a sinus infection this last week, and then on Wednesday night my eardrum ruptured.  Boy did that hurt.  My ear has been draining infection since then, and it is quite gross.  Loud noises (children) make it hurt more, so my sweet mother in law has taken the kids for the weekend.  I am just so worn out and dog tired from radiation, it is hard to have energy to do anything.  I hope to just rest and rejuvenate this weekend.  I only have 1 more week of radiation.  They will be doing what is called a boost this week, where they beam extra radiation along the mastectomy scar and where the tumor was.  25 treatments down, only 5 to go.  Almost done!!!  Then I will go in every 3 weeks for a triple dose of herceptin, instead of every week.  My life may be able to return to normal soon!!!!!!!!

Then I feel so guilty for feeling sorry for myself.  Last night we found out that a dear family friend, Kathy Blacker, passed away from esophageal cancer.  Dan and I went to visit her on Monday, and I am so glad we did.  We had such a good talk, and I am so glad I had the chance to give her a hug and tell her I love her.  She has been battling cancer for more than a year, and I would see her periodically at Dr. Hansen's office where we both were receiving Taxol.  Kathy was an amazing woman, and her attitude and strength was such a strength to me. She has been so sick for such a long time.  She hasn't been able to eat and had a feeding tube.  I am glad that her suffering is over, but my heart breaks for her family.  I pray that they find strength and comfort at this difficult time. 

I wonder sometimes, why chemo treatments work for some, and not for others.  There have now been 2 people that I know who were battling cancers at the same time as me who have passed on.  (plus there have been 2 others who I met at Dr.Hansen's office who were receiving treatment who have also died in the last couple of weeks.)  I have had such a miraculous response to all of my treatments.  I feel so guilty sometimes that the treatments have worked for me, and not for others.  I know it is not in our hands, and that everything happens for a reason, suffering and trials, but I am having a hard time shaking the guilt that I feel.  I know that it could be me someday, and I struggle with that thought.  My heart breaks at the thought of dying and leaving my family and friends.  I know that this life is not the end, and that there is an eternal life, but the separation from loved ones is never an easy thing. 

I just pray that those who have cause to suffer and mourn may find comfort.  I know we all have trials, and I hope that we can all help others bear their burdens, and show charity and love to those around us.

Here is a picture of how long my hair is now.  Picture taken Jan 6th, 2008

Let them eat cake!!!  A dear lady in our stake, Jean Davis, brings us dinner on Tuesdays after my treatment day.  This is the fabulous cake she made last week.  Yum!