Tuesday, March 25, 2014

1 week down!

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! What a week! First week of treatment + having the kiddos here + settling into the apartment + trying to spend as much time as possible with the visiting fam = exhausted! I had every intention of writing each evening, but after the kids were in bed and I was faced with the choice to write or sleep.......I chose sleep every time! What can I say, my Casella blood runs deep! We like to sleep! But here I am, 1 week in, and I still feel great! There were a few days following chemo that I had a queasy stomach and just felt kinda yuck, but by Thursday evening things were looking up and I started to feel like eating again. I have to admit, even the queasy days weren't terrible though. I just felt ehhhhhhh. I couldn't find anything that really sounded good to eat until I discovered smoothies later in the week! So now for this week, my fridge is stocked with all the veggies and fruit I'll need to stay nourished during those ehhhhhh days: spinach, kale, broccoli, greek yogurt, coconut milk, chia seed, flax, banana, blueberries and strawberries. This is my sister-in-laws specialty smoothie! Thanks Angie!  Don't worry Mikey....I'll juice everyday too! :) As far as treatment goes, the week was relatively painless. Chemo on Monday, radiation everyday. The radiation got better as the week went on. Less discomfort with laying in that mold and the sessions weren't nearly as long as that first day. All of that combined with them streaming the Dave Matthew's Pandora station in made it almost enjoyable! DMB saved my radiation sessions, now I just have to try to stay still on that table while my body says it wants to get up and do some fancy feet! July can't come fast enough!! I'll be ready for my 2 day DMB concert bender....get ready Abbotts!
One new development this week that I'm super excited about is the yoga sessions they offered me 2 times a week to help with relaxation! They're doing a research study to see if it has positive effects for lung cancer patients. They're looking at the effect it has on relaxation for the patient and also at the effect on the lungs themselves. There is a big focus on breathing during the sessions in hopes of keeping the lungs flexible. It didn't take much convincing.....yoga, relaxation, the caregiver goes too, AND a total of $50 in target gift cards for each person! What?!!!! Score! This study had my name written all over it! My mom will be joining me for most sessions (she's as excited as I am) and my dad will be joining me for the rest (he's less excited, but for anyone who knows him.......you wish you could be a fly on the wall in that room, huh! LOL!) I keep teasing him by saying we have to hurry and get him his yoga pants! He doesn't think it's very funny though! My mom and I started last week and it was great! I didn't even realize I could get into deep relaxation like that! Amazing! Like I said, the main focus is the relaxation and breathing. Half of the hour is spent with joint exercises and poses (with proper breathing of course) and the other half with the deep relaxation and meditation. So far my mom and I are sold! My dad starts this week.....I'll let you know how it goes! ;)
The week wasn't all doctor visits though! Uncle Jamie, Sam and Aunt Deb were here visiting and helping along with my mom and Joe. It really was great to be able to spend some time with them. Sometimes life gets in the way and too long goes by without spending time with the people you love. This week made me realize that I need to get to Tampa, Omaha, and Kansas City more often to visit both sides of my family that reside there. Family is everything! Make room on your couches familia! Needless to say, we had a great time. Lots of showing them around Houston, laughter and catching up! The love was defiantly felt! Priceless! Unfortunately, my apartment got really quiet on Saturday as I said goodbye to all of them. Uncle Jamie and Sam drove back to Kansas, Aunt Deb hopped a flight to Tampa and Mom and Joe started the long drive back to WPB. It was a bummer but it wasn't long before the next wave of visitors and helpers made their way in. My dad got in Sunday morning and Brandt Sunday night. Now the house is filled again and it feels good. The kids were adorable with Brandt when he got in! Both fell asleep in his arms trying to talk over each other to tell him about the zoo, and Rain Forest Cafe, and the train! We all fell asleep last night feeling complete! I think I was able to squeeze one of his fingers as we drifted off, the kids hogged him! It makes everything so much better to have him here!
So that catches us up to this week. I had Chemo this morning and it was a super long session! It took forever to get in there and then it took the nurses quite awhile and quite a few tries to get the IV started. I hope it isn't that hard every time! My arms are all beat up, but luckily they have a week to recover since Chemo is only Monday's! I still feel good right now but based on last week's session...Tuesday and Wednesday are my ehhhhh days. Lots of sleep, water, fresh air, smoothies and Jude and Riley hugs are on my agenda for the next 2 days. I'll be fine! Plus who knows, I may be able to get Brandt and my Dad to wait on me hand and foot!
Keep checking back this week! I promise to be better with posting!

-the ehhhhhh days (Tuesday and Wednesday)
-saying goodbye to my visitors (especially my mom!)

-My dad and Brandt made it here safely
-1 week down! Only 6 more to go!
-I feel great 5 out of 7 days of the week!
-radiation sessions are much more tolerable (thanks Dave Matthews Band)
-spending a wonderful week with Uncle Jamie, Aunt Deb and Sam. They were the best cheerleaders, nurses, babysitters, make you feel good-ers a girl could ask for!
-2 new "jewels" for my Pandora bracelet: STRENGTH, embrace your inner force. you are more powerful than you realize and POSITIVITY, the light that you cast will shine warm and bright to all and everything. I just love the symbolism behind this gift, my mom is a true star!
-The continued out pour of support from family, friends, friends of friends, and strangers! You guys are amazing and wonderful. Greenacres Bowl, COT Kirklane, GONZ Auto Collision and Palms Wellington surgical center to name a few. Not to mention the countless individuals who have reached out to try to make my life a littler easier.  So far donations have helped us get to Texas for the 3rd time this month, get an apartment in Houston and everything that goes with it (you take all the little stuff you have in your home for granted until you get to a new place and ask, "Where are the pens? Uh oh, Jude needs a band-aid, where are the? Pass the cutting board. Can you go get the broom? Hey, put those leftovers in a Tupperware.....Target has seen a lot of me this past week!), pay medical bills (OMG! I have to pay how much extra for an over 45 minute doctor's visit that I'm pretty sure wasn't over 45 minutes and for the breathing treatment that I didn't need...both the medicine and the throwaway case they put it in), pay insurance premiums for the kids that had to come out of pocket after I went on leave, fix our van that died as soon as I left for Texas and countless other things like parking in the ridiculously expensive parking garage at MD Anderson! Thank You, Thank You! Your generosity has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated! We are forever in debt to you!

I say week 1 was mine! Hurdles didn't stand a chance!
Can you spot the photo bombers?

The idea was so great, we all ended up with one! Go team!

Oh my god! I love these kids!

The week 1 team!!

Jude really wasn't angry, I think he was trying to be tough...even though he was scared of the animals at the Rain Forest Cafe!

This may or may not be a wig possibility when the time comes. You just have to wait and see!



  1. WOW! Mary...you sure did bring us all up to date! I LOVE reading your Blog and share with everyone. I'm so happy Brandt is there with you ...but...we MISS our Brandt here too! We will continue spreading the word here at every possibility and continue to do all we can with more events and donations, raffles,etc. Hugs to you and your family! <3 Jeanne

  2. I second what Jeannie just said. SO happy you have Brandt there with the babies.
    WOW you have me thinking of going to Tampa to see friends have not been there in a very long time. Keep strong.

  3. Can't wait to get there for a visit! I miss your face. <3

    1. ^^^This is Jenni by the way...dang it MOM, you didn't sign off of my google mail!!!!

  4. Thanks so much for keeping us up-to-date! I love reading your blog! I told Brandt that I feel like a blog stalker because I'm checking back for updates all the time. =) It's how I'm keeping all of my peeps informed too, so I appreciate how detailed you get. Thanks for taking the time to do it! Here is my standard go-to smoothie recipe: 1 banana, handful of broccoli, handful of spinach, any frozen or fresh fruit (I usually use about a cup of frozen mixed berries along with fresh strawberries or blueberries), 1 mandarin orange, flax seed, chia seed, almonds, 1 cup or so of: almond milk, coconut milk or water, and pom juice. It usually makes a blender full. I don't add ice because of the frozen fruit/broccoli. (My friend got me started on the smoothies. I haven't tried kale, so I'll put that on my shopping list..) Oh, do you know about the BRAT diet? I don't know how it would work in your situation, but a school nurse once told me the best foods to eat when you have an upset stomach, nausea, etc. B=banana, R=rice, A=applesauce, T=toast. And, I had the stomach bug recently & didn't eat for about 3 or 4 days. These foods saved me, they were the only things my body would accept. =)
    Love ya & can't wait for your next update! Love, Angie

  5. Glad to read up on your Week 1 and hoping that Week 2 is full of jewels as well :) Thinking about you and sending you some mucho positive Violet Vibes...also she was overjoyed seeing the pic of Jude & Riley on Instagram lol!