Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nothing New Under the Sun...

Same old, same old - pain is still there, radiation went smoothly and I even dropped into school today. I went down into the music room this afternoon just to have a look and feel the music around me. It was so familiar and yet so strange not to have been there since February. Talked to both of my sisters on the phone today and visited with my aunt in Ontario over a telephone call as well.
Looking forward to a one day break tomorrow because it's Canada Day, therefore, no radiation treatment. Small blessings...
Happy Canada Day!

P.S. Victoria - could you please contact me if you are reading this entry? You can email me at selgersm@uniserve.com. Thanks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Visits are great!

Just had tea (juice, actually) with my niece and we had a nice visit together. That took my mind off the leg pain that was there as soon as I got up this morning. I did supplement with some extra pain medication just to make things a little more bearable.
It certainly has been, and still is, a beautiful, sunny day. I'll have to get back to sitting on my deck again, especially since the forecast is for a sunny week.
Enjoy the sunshine!

Love, Sandra

Friday, June 26, 2009

A very full day!

This morning I went to see my own doctor since I needed more pain medication. He asked if it was effective and I said it wasn't totally taking the pain away. He said that I am not up to the full strength of the drug so we are continuing the same drug and I am going to slowly increase it until the pain goes away without me having to take additional Tylenol 3's. I am hoping we can soon reach pain-free days because today was a pretty pain-full day again and I had difficulty walking well.
I joined my school staff for our end of the school year lunch. It was good to see everyone, but unfortunately I couldn't stay long because I had to go for a radiation treatment. It was very emotional to be with my staff. It reminded me so much of the teaching time I had missed this year and how much I missed them all. [Sorry, I snuck out on you, ACES staff - it was just too hard to say goodbye.]
My radiation treatment went smoothly and quickly today. The technicians didn't need to take any more pictures - they strictly did the treatment and I was done in 30 minutes. That's how quickly it should go from now on. That's fast, eh? I was back in room #3 - which is my treatment room so I didn't get to see any new ceiling pictures.

Love, Sandra

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In A Tropical Paradise

Today my radiation was in a different treatment room and there were palm trees waving in the sky this time. I suppose it was intended that I think of myself on a sandy beach, soaking up those wonderful "radiation" rays! The second radiation treatment took a little longer than yesterday but all went well. I don't notice anything yet but it's a little early for that, I imagine.
I joined the Bible study group in my complex this morning. It was good to be a part of that and delve into I Peter 3 and pray together. How wonderful is the communion of the saints!
I wanted to go to my niece's graduation this evening but that was just a little too much for one day so I passed on that. Sorry, Erin, but I know you understand. Congratulations, girl, and I know you are excited about what's ahead!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First ZAP done!

Well, that first radiation treatment went smoothly. It really is painless and easy, other than the fact that one of my arms went to sleep because you lie still for awhile. And the picture on the ceiling of a sky with clouds and trees waving in the breeze is very calming and restful. They really should put some birds flying around, I think. And then add some bird songs, etc. to make it authentic. OK - just trying to create some more atmosphere if I'm going to be in the same room for 24 additional times!
Thank you for your prayers - I was apprehensive this morning just because this was an unknown - now I know what it is like and it's not claustrophobic at all. That's a very good thing because I don't like that closed in feeling.
The pain was in my legs yesterday but today has been another good day so far. Yeah! I'm starting to feel like doing a little more. Yesterday I even baked almond squares and rhubarb muffins!

Continuing on...

Monday, June 22, 2009


Hi everyone,
I'm so happy to report that I've had no pain today. The last couple of days were pretty much constant pain but today was a very good day. As well, I had some great visits today and they warmed my heart and gave me encouragement. I really hope this freedom from pain lasts - thanks for your prayers. Pray with me that I will stay pain-free as I go into radiation on Wednesday.
I continue to be unable to do much but I am resting a lot and sleeping well and long at nights. Resting and sleeping in peace is a gift from God and I am grateful for that.
I was reading in Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning and it just reminded me so much about living one day at a time, living in the here and now, living in the present. God is present with me right now, in the here and now, giving me hope and peace, patience and joy - to live in His grace and love.

Love in Him,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer's Around the Corner

School is out for another year at ACS. I've been thinking today about the students cleaning out their desks and teachers taking down the bulletin boards of another school year. I was happy to be able to send a "summer message" via video this morning to the students in their "end-of-the-year" chapel. And now it's summer break - I wish I could have the summer break, too. I don't look forward to 5 weeks of radiation. I want this cancer stuff to be done - but I will press on and hope the pain subsides. Yesterday and overnight were not good - the pain persists and I can't keep it under control unless I double up on pain medication. Maybe the pain is my body's way of cleaning out the chemo drugs.
Please keep praying for freedom from pain, and patience to endure. And I know I'll be alright because God's right here - He makes the sun peek out from around the clouds.
I'm going outside to pick up my mail now.

Hopeful in Him,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Feeling stronger...

Hi everyone,
I have had a pretty good day and felt like I had a little more energy. I have been eating a bit more lately as well. I have had no pain at all today, which is the first time in a long time. My new medication (in place of tylenol 3's) must be working. The doctor did say it would take awhile for it to build up in my body. It feels good to be on the up and up again. I have one week to get back on track before radiation begins.
I did some reading today, and some visiting, and some more reading, and the day just flew by!
Take care and have a good day tomorrow!

Love, Sandra

Monday, June 15, 2009

Radiation Preparation

This morning first thing I went back to the hospital with my brother for a radiation preparation appointment. They marked my body so they know exactly where to do the radiation and took some pictures to make sure they are accurate. What an exact science this radiation is! My first radiation treatment will be next week Wednesday at 2:36 p.m. (!) and will go on for 25 days. If all goes well and smoothly, the Lord willing, I will have my last radiation treatment on Wed., July 29.
I did go to our family celebration yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed just being at Mom and Dad's with everyone and laying back and taking in the time together. Family is the best and I just love you all so much! It was cosy and comfortable, and I was so glad to be out of the hospital and able to watch hummingbirds chase each other away from the feeder. Now why would they do that?
The rest of today I just read, and slept, and read, and slept. I am happy to be feeling as well as I do with no sign of infection and minimal nausea. I am tired and though the pain is still present, it is controllable and hopefully will soon be gone.
My sister, Audrey, goes for chemo round #2 tomorrow. I will pray that all goes well for you, Audrey. Much strength to you, girl!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home, sweet home!

It's SOOOOOOOO good to be home again and before I lay outside on my lounge chair and take a nap I just want to say thank you to everyone for your thoughts and concern, for updating the blog, Ardie and Erin, and especially your prayers. It is miraculous that the count just jumped up to 1.7 today! That is so great! I am looking forward to spending some time with my family tomorrow!
I feel good, although still somewhat tired, and needing rest. I know my body has a lot of building up to do and I know that I have to give it time. I'll just keep on reading books - I've been doing a lot of that lately. My cancer doctor did tell me in the hospital that 4 rounds is all my body could handle, and he wasn't surprised that it was taking longer to rebuild this time. He said my body is more fragile now and I will have to continue to be careful for infections. I am on a new pain medication as well because it will take longer for the pain to also go away. The new medication takes awhile to build up in your body but I am taking less and less Tylenol 3's. That's a good thing!
Time to lay down for awhile. It's just so good to be home again! Thank you, Lord!

In His love,

Home in time to celebrate!

Hey all, this is Erin (Sandra's niece, Ardie's daughter),
I just got a call from Sandra in the hospital and she recieved the good news that she's going home today! A day earlier than expected, which is amazing! And the best part is her count is up from 0.6 yesterday to 1.7 today, a near normal level! Sounds pretty miraculous to me...
So, we just wanted to share the good news with you before we hear the final word that we can go pick her up...but we're excited to have her home again, and to (maybe, hopefully) gather with the rest of our family tomorrow!

Keep praying that the count stays up!

Enjoy the beautiful Saturday,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Halfway there!

On Thursday the blood levels jumped up to .50. The neutrophils need to get over 1.0 so at least we're halfway there. Sandra's hemoglobin (red blood count) had also been extremely low and that is also starting to climb, so that is a good sign as well. Sandra seemed to be feeling quite a bit better and you could tell she is on the mend so we are thankful for that!

Continue to pray that those neutrophils will keep on climbing quickly so she can be out of the hospital by Saturday.

Sandra also received a visit from the dietitian on Thursday. That was really helpful because she hadn't been eating much. The dietitian found out some of Sandra's likes and dislikes and is now including chocolate milk with her meals, lots of yogurt, soup, bread and cheese. Much better than the Irish stew globby looking stuff she was served earlier this week. I didn't see it, but I guess it was pretty disgusting looking and tasting. Thursday night she ate almost her whole plate of broccoli, fish, and rice. That's also an encouraging sign that she's eating!

(written by Ardie)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No progress

Unfortunately today, the neutrophil count didn't budge. Sandra had originally hoped to be out of the hospital by Thursday so she could attend her nephew Eric's graduation ceremony. Unfortunately she won't be making that. Now she's hoping for the weekend. Please pray that her blood counts move up in amazing strides in the next few days so she can get out before Sunday. We are planning a big Elgersma party on Sunday to celebrate lots of family June birthdays, father's day, Eric and Erin's graduations and the end of chemo for Sandra. We really want her there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Very slow progress

There's 2 ways of looking at the progress of the blood count in the last 24+ hours. On the one hand, the count doubled--that sounds great, right? However, considering the neutrophils started at .1 doubling means they are now at .2. At least they are going up!

Please pray they will increase more rapidly over the next few days. It's looking like the hospital stay will be several days as the neutrophil count has to get above 1.0.

Other than that, Sandra is sleeping lots--her body's working hard!!

(posted by Ardie)

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the Hospital Again

Hi Everyone--It's Ardie here. I hoped I wouldn't have to write again, but unfortunately Sandra was admitted to the hospital tonight--actually during the wee hours of this morning. As she wrote earlier today, her fever has been going up and down, but was hovering just below the critical point until tonight. It spiked this evening and stayed up so the oncologist on call told her to go to the emergency room.

This emergency visit went better than the last few. She was seen right away and given an isolation room and they did an IV right away to give her antibiotics. Her neutrophils, however, were only at 0.1 which is dangerously low.

Unfortunately, she can't have visitors at the hospital. Please don't send flowers or plants either because of the risk of infection that they can have. I will keep the blog updated until we know more. Just pray that the neutrophil count comes up so she can go home soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Up and Down

I had a pretty good day today and worked on getting my journalling book up to date. I put all the pictures in the right spot and got caught up on some of the writing. I enjoy journalling, even though my thoughts are not profound, I like just telling what is going on from day to day. When I'm teaching I don't always make the time to journal and now I can do it.
I am feeling OK, other than the fact that my temperature keeps rising and falling. I keep having a low grade fever, so I know my body is working hard this one last time. My mouth is full of mouth sores so it's hard to talk and eat but smoothies go down well.
Yesterday I ran some errands with my sister-in-law and picked up some groceries. I enjoyed just getting out of the house for awhile and seeing some different scenery. I hope I can do that more this week, too. Once the pain is gone and I don't have to be on pain medication, I can do some driving again.
Well, enjoy your Sunday evening. God be with each and every one of you and may He bless you with a good week!

Love, Sandra

Thursday, June 4, 2009


This morning I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist. He explained a little of what would be happening in the next phase of my treatment. I will be given radiation for 5 weeks, or 25 days, beginning sometime around June 22. [Originally I was told I'd have 4 and a half weeks of radiation; 5 weeks sounds so much longer]. I will have radiation in three spots - the lymph nodes in the neck, the lymph nodes under the left arm, and the chest wall. The two main side effects of the radiation are fatigue and the soreness of the skin. That seems less severe than the chemotherapy, doesn't it? I'll just stock up on books and movies and the couch and my lounge chair will become my best friends for the month of July.
The rest of today I have just been lying on the couch. I am so tired and even though I like to read, I keep dozing off. My temperature is normal right now so that's very good. Pray that it stays like that because I don't want to visit the emergency room again.

In His love,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, MOM!

Today my neighbour, Karen, drove me to my parents' house in Surrey as she headed out to Burnaby to visit her mom. I spent the day with my mom and dad, and my sister, Audrey, came over as well. We had such a good day together, just visiting and being totally laid back. It was too hot to do any strenuous labour so we all celebrated my mom's birthday in the coolness of the living room. I just enjoyed hanging out with my family on my parents' couch instead of being on my own couch. I was pretty tired and my body is working hard because my temperature is going up minimally but at least it's not getting too high.
What a nice, relaxing day!

In His care,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

God is Good!

Today was a better day. I didn't have as much pain and though I laid on the couch most of the day, at least the pain was under control. How thankful I am for that. Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement.

Just resting,

Monday, June 1, 2009

God is my Rock!

It's been a difficult day because the pain is pretty severe. I called the helpline this evening, and though there isn't a solution to the problem, the doctor said that because it's the fourth treatment, the pain is building up. Therefore, I'm glad it's my last treatment. The Tylenol 3 isn't really taking the pain away because my body is building an intolerance to the pain-killers and the pain is really a nerve pain, not a pain that responds well to pain-killers. All in all, I just have to keep remembering this is the last of the pain. Please pray that I can sleep in peace and have patience to bear the pain. I know there is an end to this - hopefully sooner than later. Meanwhile, I keep taking the pain medication so I'm not up to doing very much at all. I'll just keep on enjoying that lounge chair on the deck.
My neighbour read Psalm 18 to me this evening. "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." (Psalm 18:30-32)

Strengthened in Him,