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To chemo or not to chemo…

Hubs was supposed to start chemo this week.  He had a port put in and was ready to go…

However, it has been weighing heavily on him.  He was told, “We (medical professionals and us I suppose) will go with the chemo until it stops working or your body cannot take it anymore.”  So… until the end of his life? For some reason and I did not get to attend all of his doctor visits with him, he was under the impression he would be on a six week treatment plan. Six weeks vs until we can’t anymore is quite a different outlook.  He would be placed on 3 month cycles.  Chemo for 3 months, take ct scans.  3 more months… Not very promising.   We attended a class about using the port/chemotherapy and the side effects were pretty damn scary.

A lot of people have an opinion about this.  I suppose some of them just don’t know what to say so they offer any personal experience they have with cancer.  “Well, I know someone that knows someone and they survived cancer without chemo” or “Chemo saved my life” or “Why would you not do what your doctor told you?”  or “Yeah, chemo kills.” etc.

I asked him how he was feeling the other day (Something I am going to stop doing as I feel  I know I am annoying him and it seems everyone else is already asking that question.) His response, “Today, I am pretty sure I feel better than I would if I were on chemo.”

So for now, not to chemo.

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Uncategorized

When your spouse receives a cancer diagnosis…

At the end of February my husband went in for a check-up after not feeling well for a few months.  The general practitioner suggested perhaps it was IBS but prescribed a take home colorectal screening  “just in case”.

After the test, he received a call that the test was positive and he would need a colonoscopy.  This was scheduled in March. After that test we were told he has colon cancer.  Ok… deep breath.  Then a ct scan was ordered. I was at work the day he texted me to tell me that the ct scan results showed the cancer had metastasized and had spread.

Since then it has been a whirlwind of  two er visits, an emergency surgery and four day hospital stay, another ct scan which showed more tumors had grown in 2 weeks, numerous doctor’s appointments and tests, the installation of a chemo port and beginning tomorrow- chemo. (Neither one of us are excited about this.)

He was told to stop working end of March.  I took as many days as I could off to take him to appointments and stay in the hospital with him but in mid April my boss suggested I take full-time FMLA and be with him. (I had recently been approved for intermittent FMLA.) Since I had depleted my sick days earlier in the year by taking my mother to appointments for HER cancer treatments (it’s been a year!), my co-workers were kind and donated sick days for me to use during this time.  Will they be enough to cover the seven and half weeks remaining in the school year?   I don’t think so, but their kindness has been greatly appreciated.

Everything has been so fast and with work, family, and appointments I don’t think I have fully processed this diagnosis and the “what next” and “what ifs”.

I have had moments of optimism, moments of crying, moments of anger, moments of intense grief.  I either want to take on the world or curl up in a ball.

What I have gleaned from this so far is:

  1. Go for check-ups! Could this cancer could have been caught before it was so large and had spread? Seems like it.
  2. Have a big fat emergency fund.  No one wants to worry about the health of their loved ones (or themselves) AND worry about bills.
  3. Health insurance- maybe (That’s another story.)
  4. If that cancer insurance or Aflac salesperson comes to work, maybe, just maybe-  listen to the benefits
  5. Don’t procrastinate on dreams. (My husband had FINALLY scheduled to do something important for his career that he had been talking about for years.  It was scheduled to occur one week after his cancer diagnosis.  It did not go on as scheduled.)
  6. Love each other and get over what needs to be gotten over!

For now, it’s 2 months in.  I’m tired.  I’m sad.  I’m grieving.  I’m worried. Everyone says to “stay positive”.  I am trying- we are trying- but sometimes that is hard.

However, keeping a sense of humor helps.

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Sewing

Happy New Year!

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Yikes!  I have not been a very active blogger- what has it been?  Seven months?

Well, here we are and Happy New Year!

One of my goals this year is to spend more time sewing and building up my Etsy shop.  To be honest, after teaching my 23 little darlings in my first grade classroom and being mom chauffeur I usually do not do feel like much of anything.  But this is a new year and my fabric stash is not going to sew itself! 🙂

I did manage to post a few handmade items as well as some vintage goodies I have been hoarding to my Etsy shop this weekend.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/riverwalkcottage

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Herbals

Women’s Herbal Tea

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A couple of years ago I was told by a doctor I may have uterine fibroids.  After testing, it was found I did not.  I was maybe beginning to go through perimenopause.  I was told by that doctor I could still have an endometrial ablation and my symptoms may improve.  With the possible side effects and the $3,500 co-pay, I decided the ablation was not for me.  I was then told I could begin taking oral contraceptives to regulate my periods.  I have had a tubal ligation and I have no desire to take oral contraceptives.  My other option was do nothing and deal with the symptoms.  Since my symptoms are annoying but not threatening, I decided to seek out more natural relief.

The first thing I discovered is to clean up your act.  Get enough sleep, exercise, don’t drink, don’t smoke, cut back on caffeine, meditate, be happy ALL the time (just kidding- manage stress), and eat healthy.

I also discovered certain herbs could help.

I started making a tea very similar to the tea I made years ago when I was pregnant and nursing.

I purchased several herbs in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbals. (No affiliate program, I have purchased from this company for years and have always been pleased with their quality and service.)

 

I mix equal parts raspberry, alfalfa, and red clover.  All are said to be high in nutrients.

 

Then I add nettle leaf.  Nettle leaf is said to help with anemia.   It has a strong taste but I have found it helps when I am low in iron and at times I have craved it.  Other times, I find it too strong and just don’t drink it.

To this mix, I also add vitex/chasteberries.  Chasteberries are said to be good for menstrual cramps, pms, menopause, and uterine fibroids.

I mix all the herbs together.  To make my tea I add a handful to a glass jar and steep with hot water (or make sun tea in summer months).  I strain the herbs and drink either hot or over ice throughout the day.

 

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How do I feel?  Well, I still have heavy periods and I still get cramps BUT not as painful and not as heavy AND I no longer have an issue with anemia.

*PLEASE NOTE:  I do not take any medications but if you do please check to see if your medications could interact with any of the herbs.  Also, before beginning any type of herbal or vitamin supplement check to see if it is safe for you to consume.   The ideas and information contained on this web site are not meant to be used for diagnosing, prescribing, treating, curing or preventing any disease or illness. The information provided at appointments and contained on this web site has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is presented for informational purposes only, for use in helping to maintain and promote health in cooperation with a physician. Nothing found anywhere on this web site should be construed as an attempt to or offer to diagnose, prescribe or recommend in any manner a treatment, cure or preventative for any illness or disease.