Friday, May 29, 2009

In The Hospital

Just a quick note to let you know that I just received the results of my last bone marrow biopsy. My oncologist called (so nice of her to call on a Sunday) to tell me that I have Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which is cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Justin (our son) surprised us on Monday and drove from Hermiston to be with us. Julie (our daughter) and her family, Justin, Denny and I went out to dinner at Newport Bay that night. It was a nice family time. On Tuesday morning, Julie, Justin, and Denny checked me into Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital. Oncology is in the new wing of the hospital so I have a beautiful private room with a super view of the mountains.

I have pictures of my family and friends on the shelf and the employees love looking at them. I had a MUGA scan of my heart and it was good. I am lucky because my oncologist was the oncologist on duty at the hospital when I checked in.

So, she was here to help us make decisions about my treatment. She told us that my AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) was brought on by Myelodysplasia (a disease of the blood and bone marrow). Because of this, my outcome will not be as good. She thinks the Myelodysplasia developed because of my past chemo treatments. So all my cancers (metastatic, Myelodysplasia, AML) are all because of my breast cancer. Darn breast cancer!!

My oncologist said that I should be walking and expects me to get up and walk while having my chemo. We have been out walking outside in the my pajamas!

Since my AML developed because of Myelodysplasia, I will be having an even more aggressive chemo than previously scheduled. My oncologist has been in contact with an oncologist at OHSU, who specializes in AML. They both think the more aggressive chemo will benefit me more, even though it will be harder on my heart, there is a greater chance of infection and I will have to stay in the hospital even longer than the scheduled 30 days. I started the nasty chemo Wednesday and will have it five days. I thought it would be given ten days, so I am feeling good about the reduced days. After the chemo, I will be monitored carefully to make sure my counts go up and the chemo did its job. I will have transfusions and IV's since I will not be able to eat because my esophagus will be raw from the chemo. So you would think I would lose weight, right? WRONG! The IV actually makes you gain weight! Now that's not fair! I am feeling strong and ready to "kick butt" with the chemo.
Some of you have asked if I can receive cards. Absolutely. I would love to hear from you. Please send them to: Georgia (Jo) Paola, Room 461, Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center, 10180 SE Sunnyside Road, Clackamas, OR, 97015. Julie has set up a CaringBridge site for me. I don't think I will be blogging for a while so you are welcome to access my CarngBridge site at :

Thank you all for your prayers, support and love. I am a lucky gal to have such a wonderful family and friends!

Love to you all,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch and Ouch!

I had my port flushed and CT scan last Wednesday. My oncologist decided that I should have a bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday (yesterday) when I had my scheduled appointment with her. I was told to come at 7:30 AM, an hour before my biopsy, so I could have my pre-med injection. A half hour later I was to have a pill to relax me. So I checked in at 7:30 and sat in the waiting room. At 8:00 I went to the receptionist and told her that my biopsy was in half an hour and I still hadn't had my injection. She called back to the nurse's station and was told that it would be taken care of. At 8:15 she noticed I was still sitting there so she called again and an advise nurse came out and said that my doctor was late and my biopsy would be a little later. I was taken back to the nurse's station where a nurse accessed my port. It took her TWO stabs before she got the needle into my port. She then walked me to the biopsy room to lay on the table and she injected me with, I think, morphine. She sat by me (although Denny was also with me) to keep an eye on me. I can't say that I felt any different. No more than 5 minutes later, in walks my doctor, ready to do the biopsy. She stuck the long, huge needle into my lower back and then extracted some bone marrow (fluid). Then she had to push harder and deeper, to get into the bone area. She used something like a cork screw. Well, she couldn't get any bone fragment. So, she had to pull it out and go to a different area..........................THREE more times. That is why I titled this Ouch, Ouch, Ouch and Ouch. It took her four tries before she got a bone sample. I was squeezing Denny's hands like crazy. I'm sure the pain med had not taken affect. From there I had to go to the lab to get my blood drawn and the gal in the lab said that she heard I was a real tough gal! I was just glad the biopsy was over and I was really more concerned about the results than the procedure. I will find out the results next week.

I told my oncologist that last week when I talked to the advise nurse about my counts being so low, she said that I should be taking my temperature four times a day, be on a neutropenic diet (no fresh fruits, vegetables, deli meats, etc.) and stay away from sick people. My oncologist said to eat a salad if I wanted to and live my life like I usually do. I think my immune system is pretty strong (and it shouldn't be with my white blood cells being so low) because Denny has had a terrible cold for three weeks and I haven't gotten it. BTW, I had a huge salad tonight!

I went to my support group meeting today and it was nice to have Shauna back from her fantastic trip. She looked like a million dollars and said she felt the best she has felt in years. Oh, I am so glad that she was able to go the the Galapogus Islands.

Tomorrow I am meeting Amy and Carolyn for some shopping and then we are going to lunch with Julie D. and Eileen. Fun day.

My two friends who recently had double mastectomies, are doing great.

Hope all of you have a nice Memorial Day weekend.

Love to you all,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blood Test Results, CT, Bone Marrow Biopsy

It seems like a lot has been happening lately. One of my girlfriends had a double mastectomy last Wednesday and another one had one yesterday. Both are doing well. Neither will have chemo or radiation since their cancer had not spread. Yea!!!!!!

I went to my support group meeting today. It was nice to see Pam since she has been in San Diego for several weeks. She looks great and had on a beautiful scarf (she has lost her hair) and she had to show everyone how she tied it because it looked so cute on her. Shauna is still in the Galapagos Islands. This is a once in a life time vacation for her. All of us are so glad that she was able to go. If anyone deserves a fantastic trip, it is Shauna.

After my meeting, I went to Kaiser to have my port flushed. While I was sitting in the waiting room, my phone rang and it was my oncologists nurse. She didn't know I was sitting about 20 feet from her! She called to tell me that Phoebe (my oncologist) wants me to have a bone marrow biopsy. I think she saw the results of my last blood test and decided it needed to be done. Almost all my counts had dropped (platelets, hemoglobin, white and red blood cells, etc.) Most cancer patients have low counts because of their chemo treatments but I am not currently having any treatments and haven't for about two and a half years. I have been very, very fortunate. So I am scheduled to have a bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday, May 19th. That is the day I was scheduled to meet with Phoebe and talk about what she thought about my counts dropping and if I should have another bone marrow biopsy. Guess she decided to just go ahead and get'r'done! I talked to several nurses today and they all suggested that I have pre-meds prior to the procedure. I didn't last time because I didn't realize that was an option for me. Denny REALLY wants me to have them because he said it was terrible watching the biopsy. He wants some meds too, but too bad...............

I am having a CT scan in about an hour. I just drank my first 16oz. glass of barium. That stuff sucks. I will drink another 16oz. in 20 minutes and then head off to Kaiser for the scan. My last scans were good. They have shown my cancer is in remission and my tumors are so small that they don't show up on the CT scan. I have one every 3-4 months. So if I hadn't developed this blood disorder (or whatever the hell it is), things would really be lookin' good!

This has been a big day for me and it isn't over yet. Lots of medical things happening.............

On to brighter things. Kyle is off to outdoor school for three days. Scott went with him. Tori is going to spend Friday night with us because Julie has a Bunco party to go to. Both kids have games on Saturday so we will go to those. The weather is suppose to be warm (over 80!) This white body isn't ready for shorts, etc.!!!!!

Justin called on Mother's Day and they have all been so busy. They are in charge of the concession stand at all the baseball games. It is so time consuming. It is sure nice of them to do that. We plan on going to one of Dakota's games, just have to decide which one.

Tomorrow I am going to Janii's funeral. What a great lady she was and what a courageous battle she fought with her cancer.

Hope all of you are having a great week and will be able to enjoy the nice weather we are suppose to have this weekend.

Love to you all,


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful Mother. She did such a good job of raising us four kids. We used to come home from school and immediately sit at the kitchen table and do our homework. Mom wouldn't even be there because she worked at Tektronix and got home after we did. Weren't we good kids?! Looking back, I feel bad that I didn't help Mom more with dinner. She used to come home from work and then have to cook dinner for all of us. Dad was easy to please so we never had elaborate meals. Mom is one of the most compassionate people I know. She is always thinking of everyone else. Everyone who meets my Mom, loves her. Thank you Mom, for being such a great role model for me.Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be a Mother. I loved playing with dolls. We were married almost three years before Julie was born. I think Denny and Grandpa wanted a boy because they are such avid hunters and outdoors men. So, the best thing happended.... we had a GIRL. It was perfect because she got so much attention because she was the first born. And what a cutie she was. This is one of my favorite pictures.

She was just like a doll. This is the honest truth.............I used to lay Julie on the bed and then change her clothes. Then I would change them again and again.... It was like I was playing with a doll and changing her clothes all the time.! She was so patient with me.

About two years later, we had our BOY, Justin. We were so excited to have a girl AND a boy. Because of his Dad and Grandpa, we knew that he would grow up loving hunting and sports. And did he ever.

He received a full ride to play basketball at a division one college. He shot his first deer when he was only nine years old. Hunting and sports are still a big part of his life. His son, Dakota, has already gotten two deer, an elk, and every bird (duck, pheasant, chucker, goose, etc.) there is to hunt. He got his first deer when he was eight (had to beat his dad).

One of the cool things about being a Mother is watching your kids become parents. Julie and Justin are the best parents in the whole world. Their kids are their lives. I hope their kids realize how lucky they are to have such wonderful parents. If they don't, they will some day. Here are my babies now!

And here are my babies with their babies!
And here I am with my grandkids during our last deer hunting trip.
I love being a MOTHER and GRANDMOTHER. Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers!

Love to you all,


Friday, May 8, 2009

Will Miss You, Janii

My friend, Janii, passed away today. She had only been retired for a short time from the Hillsboro School District. She worked in the business office. She was diagnosed with lung cancer (less than two years ago) and then it metastasized. She was such a fighter and always had a positive attitude. I feel so lucky to have been her friend and to have been there for her during her highs and lows. After one of her chemo breaks, I can remember meeting her and Kay J. for happy hour. She looked wonderful and I wished I looked as good as she did. I didn't have any hair at that time and her's was growing back and really looked cute. I remember her being in the hospital and going to visit her and wondering if she would make it out of there. She did and had some good times after that. I don't think I ever talked to her when she didn't mention her wonderful family. She loved being involved in their grandkid's activities. She was going to be a great-grandma soon and was really looking forward to that since the baby is going to be named after her. I am sorry that she had to pass away so close to Mother's Day. I am going to miss Janii and am so blessed to have had her as a friend. This is the picture she sent out at Christmas time showing her and Jerry with their grandkids. She looks like one of the kids..............she is the second one from the right.Love to you all,


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

On Friday, I had my car's oil changed in Beaverton, so I met my good friend, Kay, at the Muffin Store (great place). That night, Jan and I went to the art show in Richfield. Our friend, Susan, had a display with her beautiful pictures. She won a first place blue ribbon for her Venice Canal photo. All of her photos are amazing. She takes pictures while she and her husband travel to different places. Good job, Susan.

On Saturday, I drove to Newberg for Tori's and Kyle's baseball games but they both ended up being cancelled because of the rain. Here are a couple of pictures I took last week.

Yesterday we went to Denny's uncle Tony's funeral. He was such a terrific guy. We enjoyed getting together with all his family after the service.

I went to my support group meeting today. It was such a treat to see Shauna because she is taking off tomorrow for the Galapagos Islands. It is a dream come true for her. Have fun, Shauna, I will miss you.

I want to wish a late Happy Birthday to Madeline and Kay C.

My friend, Lois, is having surgery today. I stopped by to see her but I wasn't allowed to go into the surgery unit. She will be in the hospital for two days. Good luck, Lois. I am thinking about you.

I hope all of you are having a great week. I will be so glad when it stops raining!

Love to you all,


Monday, April 27, 2009

"Girl's Day"

We had a busy week. I went to my support group meeting on Wednesday. Thursday, we went to Kyle's baseball game in St. Paul and then left it early to attend Tori's music program at her school. It was real cute. Both kids had games on Saturday. Tori's was at the Dundee Elementary School. We arrived a few minutes early so we drove around the neighborhood and saw these deer in some one's yard!

Here is a picture of Kyle batting. He is a great hitter and an even better base runner. You can always count on him getting home if he gets on base.

I thought this picture of Tori on third base was cute. Julie is third base coach. Look how "ready" the third baseman is!

Now look to see where this third baseman stands! Guess Tori ran "around" him! It is so much fun to watch these kids play T-ball. After the team had batted, the coach was looking for his kid to go out into the field and he was over at the play ground playing on the equipment!
We brought Tori home with us so she and I could have a "Girl's Day." Denny had taken Kyle skiing and snowboarding the week before so I wanted to do something special with Tori.
First I painted her fingernails and toenails.
The next morning, she read a story to Denny and I as we all laid in bed.
Then we played on the Wii. She beats Denny and I every time when we bowl. Then she and I went to the Hannah Montana movie. It was really good and she was up dancing in the row of seats.Then we rode Max into Portland and walked around.
She was interested in the dirty people sitting on the sidewalks singing or playing instruments. But her favorite was a guy that had a long beard that came to a point and had TWO mohawks, one on each side of his head! Here she is sitting by one of the water features on one of the sidewalks.
She had to throw money into the fountain while making a wish.It was in the courtyard where the KGW broadcasts from.Then we went to Pioneer Place for some lunch and shopping. Here she is standing in the walkway between the two sides of Pioneer Place. She is going to have her ears pierced soon and watched a young gal having it done. Boy, she sure turned away quickly as she saw the "piercing guns." She bought some earrings that look like she has pierced ears.When we got home, we rode our bikes to the school so she could play on the playground equipment.

We both had such a great time. I will have to admit that we should have ridden our bikes and gone to the playground first and then gone to the movie last because I did get tired towards the end of the day. Great memories. I know how blessed I am to have enough energy to be able to do this.Hope all of you had a great week.

Love to you all,