Saturday, May 30, 2009

A lazy Saturday

What a beautiful day to be lazy and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I've been sitting in my new lounge chair on my deck, just enjoying the warmth and napping now and then. I'm very tired today but feeling OK otherwise.
Meet my niece, Erin, the one who set up this blog for me way back in February. Thanks so much for doing that, Erin! I hope you're enjoying a lazy day, too, after your big evening last night! Only a few more weeks of school and then another school year is over again. It's almost June already - can you believe it?

Content in His love and care,

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's going well!

Wow! I can't believe how well things are going this time around! I have had a good morning and though I am ready for a little time to lay down, I have had a good amount of energy. I am keeping up on the anti-nausea medication to keep the nausea at bay and that is going well. I had a phone call from Holland this morning, a visit from my mom and dad, and I've been to the neighbours for a bit. I think I'm just so excited to know this is the last round and I only have to recuperate from this chemo and there will be no more!!! I got an appointment to see my radiation oncologist next week Thursday for a consult and then radiation will probably start the end of June sometime. I'm excited to have a break and time to just heal from the chemo. Continue to pray that things go well and that no infection will set in this time around. Oh, I've gotta go - my niece is coming over to show me her beautiful grad dress before the big grade 12 dinner this evening.

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chemo is finished!

This is Ardie writing. Once again Sandra is asleep after her 4th and final round of chemo. Everything went really well today. We were finished in only 3.5 hours including the pre-chemo drugs to combat an allergic reaction. This treatment seems to have gone the best. That's a good way to end.

Now we just pray that the side effects are minimal over the next few weeks and that no infection sets in this time! Even though Sandra doesn't have to have any more chemo treatments, she won't feel really finished until about 3 weeks have passed when her body can be recovered from the treatment today.

Sandra gave a thank you card to the chemo nurses today that she had made. It was a "never-ending" card. The nurses loved it and all came to find out how she made it. They said it inspired all of them to get crafting.

I'm hoping this is the last posting I have to make--that all goes smoothly from here out. We won't talk about radiation yet--don't want to think about that yet--that's a month away.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To God be the glory!

This morning I went for blood work and to see my oncologist. Both visits went well, although it took an extra poke to get blood this time. My neutrophils and white blood count were nice and high again, thanks in part to the antibiotics, so I'm hoping there will be no episode with infections this time. I am on track for my LAST chemo treatment tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10:30 a.m. The oncologist couldn't say why the infections continue to come, nor how to stop them, but he's hoping this will be a good round, as was my second round. That's what we will pray for, right? About four weeks after tomorrow I will begin radiation for 23 days so I will have an appointment with the radiation oncologist in the next couple of weeks. My oncologist also couldn't say why the nausea has been worse this last time around; all I can do is keep popping the anti-nausea medication consistently. One more round just sounds so good to me - the oncologist said the radiation should be easier on me. That would be wonderful!! I'm just thankful that I have been able to continue through with the chemo on schedule. Thanks again for all your prayers. Like a friend just said to me when she called this afternoon from Ontario, "We'll give God all the credit!" To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Grateful, truly grateful,

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Perfect Hat

OK - Jeanette and I were at the camera again making pictures with all sorts of head coverings that I have. So here's to Friesland - dit photo is voor mij familie in Holland - de volmaakt hoed voor en sonnige dag.
I had a good day today and enjoyed a visit with my aunt in Ontario over the phone as well as a visit from a friend this afternoon.
Please pray for my sister, Audrey. She begins her first chemotherapy treatment tomorrow here in Abbotsford, a whole new phase of her breast cancer journey. I'm looking ahead to my last treatment and Audrey is just beginning her six rounds of chemo. Much strength and many blessings in the weeks ahead, Audrey!

Resting in Him,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24

What another beautiful day! I spent sometime sitting outside reading a book. I did a lot of reading today and talking to various family members on the phone. This evening I was invited to the neighbours' house for supper and we just sat around and talked. Thanks, Gordie and Karen (I even ate some supper!) It was nice to have a change of scenery. We watched a little bunny sitting perfectly still in the grass. I wonder what it was thinking about! I was going to post some new pictures on the blog but I think I'll do that another day instead.
I hope you had a refreshing Sunday and blessings to you in the week ahead.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunshine Galore!

Friday afternoon already and another week has almost gone by. Antibiotics are finished and I am feeling a little stronger each day, although eating is very difficult. I just don't have an appetite and when I eat, I feel nauseous afterwards. I was outside earlier, enjoying the warm, sunny weather. Wow, is it ever beautiful! I pulled a few weeds from my garden and removed the worn-out tulip leaves. Now I think I'll sit on my deck for a bit and read.
I think they're building another new house behind my complex. I've been hearing the bulldozer digging all day. (Oh, it must be quittin' time - the machine has just been turned off!) It definitely was quieter when the land behind me was cattle pasture. I'll have to go and take a walk out there a little later.
Have a sun-filled and happy weekend. Rejoice in God's Son in your life!

love, Sandra

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Psalm 16

The fever is gone and hopefully those little neutrophils are replenishing themselves once again. The treatments are definitely leaving me with less energy. My stomach is also not very agreeable to eating so that doesn't help either. But my sister made a pot of mashed potatoes for me (my favourite food lately for whatever reason) and so I have that to eat. Thanks, Sharon! It is delicious!
I think I'll go and pick up my mail and walk outside while it is still dry. Thank you so much for continued prayers, and visits, and phonecalls. I do love hearing from you all.
Psalm 16 is my favourite Psalm and here is a verse from a song based on that Psalm that my sister Sharon calligraphied (?) for me 24 years ago through my first round of chemotherapy.
Protect me, God: I trust in You.
I tell you now, "You are my Lord;
On You my happiness depends."
Protect me, God: I trust in You.
I have to remind myself to keep trusting, even through the more difficult times because I know for sure that God is protecting me and holds me firmly in the palm of His hand!

Protected in His care,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Victoria Day!

Just to keep in touch with you all... I am ready to sit on my couch and watch a movie. I don't have a lot of energy to do much (same old story) and so watching a movie seems to be a good thing to do. My family has gotten together for dinner but that was too much for me and I'm not feeling like dinner anyways. Yesterday everyone was over for tea - 16 family members: sisters, brothers, parents, nieces, and nephews. It was great! I didn't have to do a thing and it was so good to see everyone.
This morning Ardie and I went back to the hospital to check out my blood work since the doctor had asked us to do that on Friday night. We waited a long time (3 hours) and received no answers; only more questions. My neutrophil count went down from Friday night and I'm on antibiotics. I'm still running a fever and that doesn't seem like a good thing to me but the doctor just told me to go home because there were too many germs in the emergency room anyways. I don't know what I'm supposed to do now but I'll just wait until tomorrow when I can talk to the cancer clinic, I guess. It's all a little frustrating and a little tiring and calling people about my health concerns is certainly not my favourite thing to do. Oh dear, oh dear... if only I could teach - that's much easier and more pleasant!
OK - no more complaining, eh? Time to relax and take it easy. My sister will spend the last evening here yet tonight and then she'll head back to Alberta with her children tomorrow. I hope they don't have to drive in any snow!

Take care,
Love, Sandra

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I am doing pretty well - tired and a bit nauseous but otherwise OK. But here's the surprise. This afternoon the doorbell rang and my nephew, Jon, was at the door. It was great to see him - I knew he was coming out with his two sisters, but behind him was my sister, Sharon. She had come as well and surprised us all!! Wow! That is so neat - and she is staying at the house with me for the weekend! Now I'm so glad to be home for the weekend - instead of in the hospital. I hope the antibiotics continue to do their job well. And now it's time for some supper.

Love, Sandra

Emergency Room Deja Vu

Tonight Sandra and I had a sense of deja vu. She had to make a 2nd trip to the emergency room for an infection. Everything happened exactly like it did in early April with the first emergency room visit. Friday was the 8th day after chemo treatment #3. Once again a fever spiked on the 8th day. She called the oncologist, he told her to go to the hospital. After the initial intake with the triage nurse Sandra was put in Exam Room #4--same one she was in last time.

But that's where the similarities stopped. This time we were wiser and took our own water along so Sandra could keep hydrated. We also wouldn't let anyone draw blood until her arm was wrapped in a warm towel for a while. That made a huge difference. The lab assistant got the blood with 1 poke and hardly any bother for Sandra. The blood cultures all came back clear and this time the white blood count and neutrophils were above 1.0 so they sent Sandra home with a prescription for antibiotics. No intravenous needle needed!

The hospital was out of the antibiotic she needed to take. I ran to the new Shoppers Drug Mart (which I found out is the only pharmacy open 24 hours in Abbotsford--I knew the store was open but didn't realize you could get a prescription filled in the middle of the night!). Sandra took her first antibiotic pill around 1:30 a.m. enjoying a chocolate cappuccino muffin (thanks Kim and Becky!) with the pill since she has to take them with food. That was a delicious middle of the night snack to take with an antibiotic.

Sandra is now at home resting. Hopefully she can sleep in late Saturday morning and get lots of rest this weekend. She has to go back to check the blood levels on Monday morning. We pray the numbers will be as good or better!

Once again, no cut flowers or live plants please as they pose a health risk. Also, please call ahead before visiting--Sandra probably won't be up to much visiting this weekend at least.

Thanks for all of your prayers! A special thanks to Sid and Sue for being with Sandra this evening and praying with us before the trip to the hospital!

- by Ardie

Friday, May 15, 2009

Couch Potato

Friday already and the end of another week, and a week ago since my third round of chemo. It's been a rather rough week, especially with nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. Today was pretty good, although I still find it very hard to eat much and I was very tired so the couch looked very inviting most of the day.
Yesterday my sister had another appointment with her oncologist here in Abbotsford and tests showed that the cancer had not spread elsewhere in her body. That was absolutely great news for her and now she can get ready for her chemo, which will begin on May 26th. She'll basically be starting when I am done.
OK - I'm headed back to the couch but it has been nice to chat with you. I hope you have a fantastic long weekend - and I just hope the sun keeps on shining! Two nieces and a nephew are traveling down from Alberta this weekend. It'll be good to see them sometime tomorrow. I hope the snow is gone from the Coquahalla by the time they go over it.

In Christ's love,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back on Track

Today was a much better day than the last two days. Since Monday I was unable to keep food down and that was a new development for me. I wasn't expecting that at all - and it brought too many memories back of 24 years ago. However, yesterday the nurse helpline gave me new suggestions for medication and yesterday afternoon and today I have been able to eat a little again. Toast and gingerale work wonders when you're struggling with nausea and don't have an appetite. I don't have a ton of energy but at least I could do some knitting, and updating my journal, and playing piano.
Time for a cup of tea... have a relaxing evening!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

PINK Greetings to you, ACES!

Dear students and staff at ACES:

I know you are wearing pink today and collecting quarters to raise money for breast cancer research. I wish I could join you at school but these pictures will have to do instead. I am wearing pink at home today, you can be sure of that! Thank you so much for raising money for breast cancer research. The money helps to find a cure for breast cancer but also helps to make the treatments a little easier to manage. Thank you so very much, students and staff, for all your continued prayers and loving support. I know God is answering prayers every day and helping me to get through this one day at a time. I know He loves me, as He loves you, and watches over me, especially on the hard days. Keep on praying for complete healing so I can come back to school and sing, sing, sing again!
Have a wonderful day in pink and God bless each one of you with His love and tender care.

Miss Elgersma

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picture gallery

Jeanette and I were having fun with pictures this afternoon - can you tell? Each time I learn a little more about blog layout.
It's been a bit of a pain-filled day, with the muscle aches and pains again. I have to keep taking pain medication now to keep things under control. I'm pretty tired and not able to do too much. It's hard to think I have to go through these days again, but I know that the pain will ease eventually.
"Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently... He will provide."


Saturday, May 9, 2009


Thanks for the update on Thursday, Ardie. I was so out of it and now I've swung completely to the other side. Today has been a bit of a hard day because I've been so very restless. I have calmed down the last few hours so that feels good - I think it was from all the steroid medication that they gave to combat any allergic reaction. From very tired to hyper - what a swing! I did get out for a little walk around the neighbourhood and I even managed to go out and pick up a few groceries. I sat outside on my deck for a bit as well. My deck is mostly in the shade so I can sit outside in this beautiful, sunny weather.
Onward and forward... one day at a time - in His grace and strength.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

3 down 1 to go

We are home again after the 3rd chemo round. It went very well today. No surprises, which is a good thing! Sandra slept through most of it thanks to heavy doses of Benadryl to start the chemotherapy. It was slow going--almost 5 hours at the hospital. They are dripping the chemo into her veins very slowly to minimize the allergic reaction. We'll take slow and steady instead of scary allergic reactions!

Sandra is already crashed out on the couch and I would guess will sleep most of the day. Each chemo round will bring more tiredness.

We are just thankful that this went well and pray the next 3 weeks stay infection free.

Thanks for all of your support!

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

oiehjxadwoiefn (Bandaged thumbs makes typing hard!)

Today was a tired day - not a lot of energy. I have to take a certain drug already a day before my chemo starts and I think that was affecting me. My stomach has not been great and I've had very achy legs, too. That means I just took it real easy today. I did some visiting,too - over the phone with my sister and others, and in person with friends from school. I'm not looking forward to round #3, but I'm ready. Please pray for smooth sailing tomorrow - a good vein, no allergic reaction, and no infections later. My chemo begins at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow but the doctor wants the drugs to be injected even slower, so it could be a long procedure.

Resting in His care,

Monday, May 4, 2009


Today I went first to get my blood work done and they found a vein again in one poke! Then I visited the doctor and she said my blood work was good. My little neutrophils were at a respectable level and so I can go ahead with my next treatment on Thursday (May 7). I am staying on schedule! I have to bandage up my thumbs because the nail beds are very sore and the doctor said the nails might fall off. Eww!! I hope that doesn't happen. I'd rather lose hair than nails, don't you think? Anyways, it was a good doctor's visit and I am thankful that everything looked so good. Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers.
Have a good evening!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

He's Got the Whole World In His Hands!

Hey, I just posted a new picture on my blog. Something like that is such a big deal when you don't consider yourself a computer kind of person. That's my sister, Audrey, beside me.
I have had a good day - my eyes have been bothering me yesterday and today. They're sore and a bit teary but I can put up with that. It's another side effect of the drugs. Isn't it great to have an excuse for everything that happens to you? I can certainly tell that the drugs are building up in my body because fatigue is more pronounced the last couple of days. I go to bed earlier and get up later and still nap during the day!
We went to see my mom and dad this afternoon and had such a wonderful visit. We sat outside on the deck - it was so pleasant. We watched the hummingbird feed and the bunny rabbit hop around and the newly-shorn sheep grazing in the field. But no fish in the pond - oops, I think the heron's been grazing as well. My dad was playing his harmonica when we arrived. Nathaniel made a video of you, Dad. We listened and watched on the way home - very cool!
Tomorrow morning I go for blood work and have a doctor's visit in preparation for chemo round #3 on Thursday (May 7). I can definitely say now that I am halfway through the chemo. Yeah!
Have a great week!

Marvelling at God's handiwork,