Thursday, April 30, 2009

Early in the Morning!

Are you surprised to be getting a message so early in the morning? It must be the sunshine that's waking me up so bright and early. Or maybe the energy I got from quilting last night at Elsie's! That was so much fun and has me motivated to get moving on my new quilt. I am feeling better than the last couple of days; the nausea has subsided and I didn't have to take any anti-nausea medication this morning.
Now I'm going to meet my sister and my niece because they've just been to a chemo teaching clinic this morning here in Abbotsford. I love it that Audrey is going through the cancer clinic here so we can see each other more often and talk and compare notes.
Just thinking this morning about "the communion of the saints" and the fellowship we have with one another through Jesus. I found myself humming the song we composed with the household I was a part of when I was going to college based on I John 1:5-7.
God is light and in Him is no darkness at all;
And when we walk in that light in Him
We have fellowship one with another;
And the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sin.
(And here's that beautiful Greek fellowship word:)
Koinonia, koinonia, koinonia.
Have a wonderful day!

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hope and Cheer

Today my sister went for her first cancer clinic consultation. She will need 6 rounds of chemotherapy each three weeks apart but they will wait another 2 weeks or so to give her more time to heal from her surgery. After their consult Audrey and Joe came over for lunch and we compared notes. In some respects we're pretty similar, but in other things we're very different. Well, that's how we are as sisters, too. In some ways we're a lot the same and in other ways we're very different, right, Audrey? She will receive 2 drugs the same as me, and 2 different ones.
I'm feeling OK but my stomach has been more upset and I've had a headache this afternoon. At least I know my body is fighting on its own this time, without the help of any antibiotics. Keep going, little neutrophils. You can do it!!
Here's a verse someone wrote in a card for me and I want to share it with you, too.
"When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer." Ps.94:19

Hoping in Him,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oops - almost forgot...

Oh dear, I almost forgot to write an update. I was watching The Amazing Race this evening and knitting on a little baby sweater. I realized I hadn't written anything on my blog the last 2 days. Today was so beautiful that I went for a walk this afternoon to my brother and sister-in-law's house. Mom and dad came over as well and we had tea together. I'm looking forward to a good week and I'm hoping that I continue to feel so well. I hope you have a great week, too.

Love, Sandra

Friday, April 24, 2009

Evening Ramblings

It's been a better week overall than the first chemo time around. I did a few house chores today, like some laundry, and read a little, and did a couple of sudoku puzzles. It was so nice to see the sun out again today. There are some beautiful azaleas around the complex that are really starting to bloom nicely. It's just so great to see the green coming out more and more. What with all this sunshine I'm going to have to buy a lounge chair soon so I can sit outside on my deck.
And a special congratulations and best wishes to all my Trinity Western students who are graduating this weekend! God bless you as you look ahead to new paths, whether that be travel, new jobs, or more studies.
Have a good weekend all of you out there!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baking Cookies

I baked cookies! Of course, they were already frozen pucks so I didn't have to do too much but nevertheless, I baked cookies. So come on over for a cup of tea and I'll serve you one of them! Things continue to go well. I am in a little more pain today but I still feel like this time around is easier. What else can I say? It makes me think of a song by John Bucchino:
I feel a hand holding my hand
It's not a hand you can see.
But on the road to the promised land
This hand will shepherd me...
Through delight and despair.
Holding tight and always there.
Grateful, grateful Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful Truly blessed and duly grateful.
Sometimes I do get discouraged and wonder why I have to go through this again, but I am so thankful for God's hand holding tight so I can smile on the road and bake cookies!

Enjoy the sunshine of God's love today,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hopeful signs!

You know what? I think things are going better this second time around. I had a pretty good day today even though I am still taking pain medication to keep the pain under control. It's not as constant as the first time, however, and I am not struggling as much with heartburn. I'm sure the beautiful, warm sunshine also helped to perk me up and I even sat outside for awhile this afternoon with my neighbour. Though this is my "low blood count" week, I do feel like things are going better. Please pray that no infection will set in this time and my white blood count will stay high enough. I'm just encouraged to be feeling this well. Yeah!
"This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hanging in there!

It's a quiet, slow, take-it-easy, fight-through-the-nausea, kind of day. Good thing I have some medication options to keep the food down. I'm not doing too much, although I did take a little walk outside just to check up on my tulips. I'm feeling pretty tired and a little unfocused on any one thing but I'll just chalk that up to chemo.
Hey, I'm listening to my ipod music through my stereo and the African Children's Choir is just singing "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands." Oh, I needed that reminder - yup - He's got you and me, brother and sister, in His hands! I'll just go on from there... Take care!

Love, Sandra

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chemo round #2 (halfway!)

This morning I went for my second chemo treatment. I know you were all praying for a vein and one was found, small but nevertheless, it worked! Those nurses in the chemo clinic are absolutely wonderful! They know how to do it and I commend them for a job well done. We did have a little drama. About 5 minutes after the first chemo drug was injected I had an allergic reaction to the drug. It was a little scary and caused everyone in the chemo clinic to move quickly. I got very flushed, had trouble breathing, and my heartbeat and blood pressure jumped. So they stopped the drug, gave me a dose of Benadryl through the IV, and then I had to sit for awhile until everything calmed down and went to normal again. The Benadryl made me drowsy so I slept much of the time away. When they resumed the chemo drug they made it drip extremely slowly and they continued going slowly with the next drug as well. They watched very closely. A nurse was sitting beside me most of the time making sure nothing happened again. As a result of this I will need 2 antihistamines before my next treatment to combat the allergic reaction. My, my - the drugs I am going through! Because of all this, the whole procedure took over 4 hours. Now I am fighting nausea with more drugs, but I am keeping it under control. I am pretty tired but I am thankful that all turned out well. The nurse said she was a little dubious about how things were going to go after that reaction but at least I can keep going with the drugs. They decreased the one drug by 25% today so hopefully I will steer clear of infections this round and not have so much pain.
Thank you for your continued prayers. I feel God's presence very strongly, especially when these little speedbumps keep coming up and I feel totally out of control of what's going on. I wonder, what's next? Just some smooth, relaxing days, I hope.
Thank you, Ardie and Nathaniel, for your presence today, too. Wow, you are amazing!

In His care,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Doctor's visit

This afternoon I went for blood work and then to see my cancer doctor at the hospital. It went very smoothly - only one poke for the blood work! Yeah! The doctor said they would lessen the dose of chemo drugs a little so that hopefully I won't have a problem with infection again and the pain won't be so severe. They are certainly working hard to eliminate all negative factors of the chemo. My blood levels were back up today so we can go ahead with chemo on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m.
I am feeling very good and that is such a blessing! I have energy and I'm eating well. I am enjoying this good week and pray that this next chemo treatment won't be as harsh as the first round.
I'm loving the sunshine and can't wait to be able to sit outside on my deck!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Today was a wonderful day! I would have liked to go to church today but that would not have been wise so instead I played piano and worshipped at home. We got together with our family this afternoon at Nathaniel and Ardie's to celebrate my birthday with the family and be together for Easter. Joe and Audrey came, too, with their family so we were all together with the 13 of us. It was a great family time and we could eat, laugh and talk and just be together. Audrey took it real easy but it was so good to see her there and though she is sore and tires easily, she also could enjoy the time.
You know, 24 years ago, this was about the time I was finished 8 months of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It was around Easter time and we sang Because He Lives in church then. Today that still is such a powerful and meaningful song for me and it holds just as true today as it did then.
Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Wow! What a wonderful day it has been. I have felt so good and you spoiled me with a perfectly wonderful birthday! Thanks for your visits, phone calls, cards, email wishes, and gifts both yesterday and today! I am blessed and overwhelmed with joy and gratitude! I just praise God for an absolutely great day!! It is so good to feel "normal" and energetic (and hip and modern with that new hair of mine!) I keep patting my head to make sure the wig stays on. I'm still getting used to the feel of different hair. I do like my hats, too, but when I'm all alone, I'm just as happy to be plain bald!
Now I'm tired, but it's a healthy, "what-a-full-day-it's-been" kind of tired. I know I will sleep well.
Easter joy and blessings to you all!

Love, Sandra

Friday, April 10, 2009

On Good Friday

It has been a very good day today. I am feeling more energetic and I finally feel like eating again. I lost so much hair when I took my shower this morning that I wore a head covering today, and I even wore my wig for awhile this afternoon. I had friends come for tea and the afternoon just flew by. I saw my first red tulip bloom in my garden. I did have some yellow tulips already out. I love spring and all the flowers coming out again!
Beneath the cross of Jesus, His wounded hands say "come." Beneath the cross of Jesus I follow in His footsteps and know the hope He gives. On this Good Friday I stand assured as God's child.

Beneath the cross,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Restful and Relaxing

Just a quick hello to everyone. It's been a quiet and restful day. I have very little energy - but that's OK. I took a nap this afternoon (which is so very unusual for me), and just laid on the couch a lot. It was so good to be in my own home again and of course, I slept so well in my own bed last night.
I'm sorry I could not finish my last class at Trinity Western this evening but I have to guard my immune system now and I just do not have the energy to expend for that anymore. I almost made it through the term.
Time for bed now and another good night's sleep. Good night, all!

In God's care,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Good news continued...

Home, sweet home! I got home this afternoon about 3:00 p.m. and it is so nice to be in my own home again. My sister Sharon is staying with me overnight before she leaves for Alberta again tomorrow morning. My blood counts had risen very well this morning, the fever has stayed away and the infection is under control. My cancer doctor said last evening when he came to see me that one of the cancer drugs that I am receiving unfortunately wreaks havoc with your immune system very quickly (by day 5) and as a result I had an infection in my body by day 9 that I could not even feel. My white blood cells that attack infections (neutrophils) were down to .1 when they should be at 2. I had nothing to fight with, which was a little scary. They stayed at .1 through Saturday and Sunday, although I was given a strong antibiotic. By Monday morning they had gone up to .7 and this morning they were at 1.3. Thank the Lord for quick healing!! Now I am praying for one good week before we start this all over again. I must say that I am a little worried since this was only the first round, and it will be harder for my body to fight with each round. I am going to have to trust God powerfully for strength, endurance, and enough neutrophils!
But I'm home before my birthday, Amanda! For that I am thankful!
Thanks once again for all your prayers, thoughts, and love. I know you were behind the scenes with me all that time in the hospital, even though you couldn't come by. And now you are welcome to visit, but I am going to be fussy about you using hand sanitizer when you walk in (I have some at my front door). That's what the nurses did everytime they walked in my room in the hospital.
And, oh yes, the hair is a-comin' out, slowly, daily, and steadily but I have more than you yet, Roy!

Love you all,
P.S. Sharon says hi to her family in Alberta. "Get the house clean before tomorrow morning!"

Good News

Things have really improved in the last 24 hours. Sandra's blood counts are up--the fever is down and the pain from the chemo is gone. We find out today if she can possibly come home yet today or tomorrow. She needs to be fever free for at least 24 hours.

Audrey is home now too, so that's good.

We'll keep you posted on the progress...

- Written by Ardie

Saturday, April 4, 2009

2 Sisters and 2 Hospitals

Not much has changed today. Sandra will be in the hospital for probably some time to come. They haven't identified the source of the infection yet. Today they drew blood through her toes, and that appeared to be more a more successful source to find a good vein.

Because Sandra's white blood cell count is still so low she shouldn't have visitors in the hospital. If you didn't catch it on the last blog post--no flowers either. Bummer, eh?

Unfortunately Audrey wasn't able to go home today. She will be in the hospital at least another night.

Sharon is out from Alberta to visit her sisters and both of them are in the hospital. It's not turning out quite how it was planned. But we're very glad to have Sharon here!

- written by Ardie

The 1st Trip to the Emergency Room

This is Ardie writing again. It's about 4 a.m. Saturday morning. I just got home from being with Sandra at the hospital. At about 9:15 p.m. Friday night Sandra took her temperature, and it was in the "danger zone" they had warned us about at the chemo classes. So she followed protocal and phoned the oncologist on call. After talking with Sandra he told her to get to the emergency room.

When we arrived at emerg, they took Sandra in right away. The oncologist had called and told them she was coming. They were very concerned that she not be in a waiting room of sick people. We knew pretty much right away that she would be admitted. However, because the oncology wing of the hospital is new and the oncologist Sandra had talked to is from Surrey Hospital and doesn't have admitting privileges at Abbotsford Hospital, the paperwork to get her admitted took forever and was still not done when they finally moved her to her room at 3:30 a.m.

In the mean time, Sandra was a human pin cushion for the blood work and then later the IV. It was not good. We lost count of how many times she got poked. It was evidence of the need for a port-a-cath.

Sandra's white blood count is very low so until they figure out what is causing the infection, she will be in the hospital. She has already had an antibiotic and been tested for some infections. The oncology nurses said they will start with antiviral and if necessary antifungal medications.

For visitors at the hospital because of the danger of infections.

Second, the oncology nurses requested that I spread the word to not send Sandra flowers or plants right now--I guess they tend to harbor other bugs that could be harmful to Sandra.

I'll update the blog when I know more.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One week since chemo

I got up fine this morning and even made a list of things I wanted to do. But after breakfast I did not feel good - I got very nauseous. So I took some anti-nausea medication and laid on the couch and slept. Some days are like that - you never quite know. I am feeling better now again but to eat is a real challenge. I just have no appetite.
Audrey had her second surgery this morning and was doing pretty well when my sister-in-law went to see her this afternoon. She'll be in Langley Hospital a couple of days. I'm praying that your recovery goes very smoothly, Audrey!
Maybe this evening I'll have the energy to do some knitting. It's amazing how a day goes by and nothing gets done! How can that happen? Oh well!

Wrapped in God's love,