Quote for October

A Prayer for the Ephesians Eph. 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!

Friday, June 17, 2011

I've Passed a Milestone on my Journey

Dear Friends,

I had my appointment with my oncologist last week. For the last 4 months, we have been meeting every two months because I have been staying stable. My labs have been good: my gastrin was at 33 and my Chromogranin A was at 1.4 this month. So we made my appointment for two months from now.
However, I have not been just fine. Since May 1, I have been flushing everyday. It covers my whole face, instead of just my forehead, as it had done for the previous month. Also, the heat that causes perspiration on my head and neck has increased. Now I feel as if there is a heated circle in the middle of my back spreading from one shoulder blade to the other. I perspire more and I am redder.

My oncologist said he doesn't doubt that my symptoms are caused by the carcinoid tumor. Also, I was red-faced and hot the whole time of my appointment. I didn't have to say much, before Dr. Z decided to increase my medication.
So I reached a milestone in the progress of my cancer. The standard dose (30 mgs) of the Octreotide that I have been getting every 28 days is not enough to control my tumor. I didn't think it was controlled last fall when I had diarrhea daily for 2 1/2 months, but the doctor didn't want to increase my medication because of that. He went for finding a medication that would treat my symptoms, and I started taking Welchol for diarrhea. Now, we have no other way to curb the activity of a neuroendocrine tumor, except to increase the dose of Octreotide.

I have read many accounts on Cancer Compass of other carcinoid patients who add shots to the usual routine of Octreotide. One mother wrote me that her 32-year-old son had fewer problems as he changed his diet in addition to incresed medication. He found he got more relief from a diet of fish, chicken and vegetables.

So I joined the ranks of those of you giving yourselves rescue shots. One more step closer to uncontrollable symptoms. I am giving myself a 100 mcg shot every morning. It doesn't take the flushing away. I have to give myself two shots away to do that, but I will follow the doctor's orders and just use 100 mcg.

Thank you for being here for me. I know some of you are on the same journey that I am on. I see the keywords you look up on Google that bring you to this blog. Thank you to the few people in Germany and the US who read every new post right away. You bless my heart. Thank you for joining me on my journey. It's easier when I am not alone.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

You CAN Change Some Things

Hello! Happy June!
I was looking at the statistics for this blog today. It was interesting to see that someone had chosen to read my post from April 10, 2010 titled "I am the Scourge of Crabgrass, the Defender of the Iris". I reported there how I worked hard for months to remove all the crabgrass from a rectangular flower bed on the east side of my backyard: pulling weeds, spraying with crabgrass killer, pulling weeds again, spraying with Round-Up, and finishing with a pre-emergent crabgrass killer. It's been a year since I reported last, and that garden plot has no crabgrass in it now.

Two years ago, my husband and I began to work on the "no mans land" in our backyard. It was just a section in the southeast corner with nothing attractive planted there. Richard wanted to help make my dream about our backyard come true. It, literally, had been a dream of bowers of azaleas circling the yard. However, azaleas can't survive in the hot sun in Ontario, California. So we planted a camellia and five azaleas in the shade of a large bush, and four Our Lady of Guadeloupe roses beneath the palm trees. I added more paperwhite narcissus and daffodils in the original crabgrass-laden section, threw in some deep red geraniums and blue lobelia, and we finished up with alyssum and California poppies from seed.

It has been lovely to look at the yard this year. I'm just dealing with powdery mildew on the roses because of the recurring rains and shade from the blasted palm trees. However, temperatures over 90 degrees F will soon take care of mildew. My niece came over on Memorial Day and exclaimed, "Everything's blooming!"

Yes, everything that is supposed to bloom in May and June is blooming! There is no crabgrass in the flower bed on the east side of the backyard. The new plants we added are doing well. The three camellias (our first) have gone through their first summer and winter in good health, and the additional azaleas have all bloomed.Therefore, it is true that I can change some things.

So I have tried to derive some principles from this experience:

1. I have to keep working at things I want to change and be consistent in my work. Only attacking the crabgrass once or twice a year had no lasting effect. The weeds would come right back from their roots the next spring. I had to start working in November when the crabgrass was waining, and keep on top of it right through spring when the weeds would have come back again.

2. I have to know what I am dealing with. (Know your enemy.) What I plant has to be appropriate to the environment. Within my yard I have several little micro climates, and I need to know where they are. Our camellias are larger and greener than our neighbor's camellias because we made sure they are shaded by a fence, the house or a tall bush. Our new neighbors had planted two camellias in the middle of their front yard, which faces west. Their bushes are now covered with crunchy brown leaves. Actually, I'll need to look and see if they have any leaves left.

3. God can heal relationships. When my husband heard about my dream of a yard with bowers of blooming azaleas, he said, "We can make your dreams come true." I was moved that he would work on a project just to make me happy. It softened my heart toward my husband.

4. One success can inspire us to try a new one. Now I know I'll have few problems filling in the patch of land that is 18 inches by 5 feet outside the dining room window. My big new project is to put a planter in the front yard where there is none. I want to take the over-abundant plants from the side yard and add two of the roses from the backyard to create a curving planter in front of the house. The planter will have drought tolerant plants in it that will look better than the thinning grass. I estimate this will take two years! I will have to let you know how it goes.