Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Mother, My Hero.

To those of you who have not already heard the news, it is with great sadness I must tell you that Joanne passed away early this morning.

For those of you able to attend, we will be having a memorial service for my Mom at Riverside Chapel in Waterford, MI located at 5630 Pontiac Lake Road. Visitation will begin at 1pm with service at 2pm. There will be a reception to follow at her beloved school, Riverside Elementary located at 5280 Farm Road in Waterford, MI.

Please join us in celebrating the amazing life of the most brave and inspiring woman I have ever known. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Joanne's memory to:

Pink Ribbon Trailblazers
Patricia Nolf, Chair
831 Tonkawa Trail
Lake Orion, MI 48362

Thank you for the continuos outpouring of love and support during this difficult time for our family. May she rest in peace.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Updates and random stuff

I could not figure out how to add more text to the previous post so I just started a new one! :) I have now had my third round of the "new" chemo, and I've got to tell you that I feel GREAT! Well, definitely a lot better than when I was on my first chemo. I even have HAIR! Yeahhh!! I am going to be scanned on Wednesday, because no matter how great I feel...its all about what's going on INSIDE that counts. I won't get any results until the Monday after the scan...so keep those prayers coming!

As if I don't have enough on my plate, I am halfway through 2 college classes at the local community college to keep my teaching certificate current. Every five years teachers have to take classes in order to renew their certificates, and I never planned to wait until the last minute, but cancer kind of got in my way! So here I am...taking naps in the afternoons to make it through my night classes! lol The summer classes only run for 8 weeks, but they are 15 week classes crammed into half the amount of time!! I have been doing "homework" like CRAZY!!! (my students should be very proud of me...although I forgot to put my name on one assignment and almost did not get credit for it! And I am the one who has been yelling for years, "PUT YOUR NAME ON YOUR PAPER!!" lolol) I had my first mid term this past week and I am happy to report that I received 29 points out of 25!! Extra Credit DOES pay off! That would be one A
+ for Mrs. Sheiman! :)

On the "daughter front" Jessica has been asked to stay with Harpo in Chicago, but she will have a different job when she returns to work in July. She will be working for the new "Rosie O'Donell Show" which will be taping in the studio that Oprah taped her show in. She will also continue to bake and sell our wonderful "Clearly Cookies" and has been freelancing and baking for a dessert truck in Chicago called "Sweet Ride. She made cookies that look exactly like the truck, and they sold out! You can check out the truck here!


Carly, daughter #2, out in L.A. has been asked back next season at the ELLEN Show...and she is very happy about that! (Mother is too...MORE Ellen T shirts and STUFF are once again in my future!)

Rachel is home for the summer and gainfully employed with TWO jobs!! She is working as a cashier in local grocery store on nights and weekends, and in two weeks will start her job as a day camp counselor. (she even gets to drive the van to pick up campers! scary! lol) It's been wonderful to have her home!

My left hand was cooperating this morning, so I jumped at the chance to blog a bit for all of you!

I am praying every day to return to school in the Fall, and with all of your continued prayers I know that it can happen!

Love to you all

P.S. Relay for Life is June 11 at Pierce Middle School! I will be there and would love to see anyone that can make it out there. You can check it out at the link below. Food, fun, and friendship...all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society! :) :) :)


Another Step Closer!

Race for the Cure! Detroit May 2011...A wonderful day wirh 44,000 of my closest friiends! Of course the most important are right here with me! It was a beautiful day for the race, and quite warm! I forgot to wear sunscreen and was a tad bit "rosy" when we got home! Thank you so much to my family and friends that were there to support me!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hello World :)

I have not been lax in writing (well ok, maybe i have lol) but the truth is...my left hand does not cooperate on the keyboard, and I wind up doing everything one handed...which is a major pain!
But, I know that I have to keep you informed so you don't think the worst...DON'T THINK THE WORST! :)

I have now had two rounds of my new chemo, and what can i say...I feel pretty darn good! So I am praying that it is doing what it's supposed to be doing. (You may all pray for the same thing lol) The strangest thing though, my hair has begun to grow back..YES while on chemo! I talked to my doctor last week about it, and as we all know, every chemo is different, and this one doesn't seem to affect hair growth :) I have been happily leaving the house with a fuzzy head, and loving every minute of it. I decided that bald men don't get any stares, do the heck with everyone else, and let me be the one to "educate" people on (semi) bald ladies!

My arm has its ups and downs, which it will sadly always have, but I am learning to deal with my new "normal," and Steve has become my own personal lymphedema massage therapist, and he helps me every night. xox I am just thankful for warmer weather, because short sleeves are so much easier with a wrapped up arm. I do not have to wear X large baggy shirts, and have actually gone out looking like a real person and not a homeless bag lady!

I will be having another chemo treatment a week from Thursday and then more than likely, yet another PET scan. Let's hope there is nothing but good news at that time.

My daughter Rachel is on her way home from college, and is now officially a SENIOR! I am so glad to have her home for the summer! My sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks as well.

She will be here for the "Race for the Cure" in Detroit, which I will be attending! Jessica and her boyfriend will be coming in from Chicago as well. I am inviting ALL OF MY FRIENDS to come and join us on our walk on MAY 21. If you are in the Detroit area, I would love to have you join us! All you need is to wear PINK and some comfortable shoes for the walk. If you would like to "officially" register, you can (and will get a cool t shirt!) at:


but it is not necessary to register. Bring your strollers with your little ones, your friends and family, or just bring YOU! Help join the thousands that will be in attendance to show your support for ENDING THIS HORRIBLE DISEASE!! Hope to see you there! You can email me (jlj914@gmail.com) and let me know if you would like to join us, and we can all meet at the race (which is a walk lol) or even car pool.

I will try hard to update more frequently...now that Rachel will be home...she can be my typist!

Love to all,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's chemo day

I'm getting ready to leave for camp chemo. "Activities" begin at 8 a.m. sharp! I also started a new oral chemo today that goes along with my infusion. I will be taking these pills every day (yes every day) while I'm on chemo. I need to pop FIVE of these little beauties one hour before I eat, so I was up at six to take the pills. Then I let the dogs out (pouring down rain...YUCK) took a shower, fed the dogs first, got dressed, then finally fed myself. I'm hoping there are no horrible side effects with these new pills. I am told that I should have a bottle of "Imodium" on hand, just in case. And you know what's associated with Imodium! (if you don't, feel free to google)

I've got my trusty Vera bag loaded with snacks and things to keep me occupied. Maybe I'll be lucky and just sleep through the whole thing.

Alrighty, off I go...I'll let you know how things went. (I typed this message before wrapping up the 'ol arm...which is why I haven't been on here as often. It's VERY hard to type with a "mummy arm."

Love to all of you reading this,

Monday, April 18, 2011

M.I.A. but now I'm back

"Whew!" Feels like I've been MIA for quite some time, and I have so much to tell you. I guess I need to go backwards to fill you in and that will then allow me to bring you up to speed.

If you go back two weekends to the March Madness final game, I was thrilled to have Jessica drive in from Chicago, and Rachel drive up from Indy to spend the weekend with me. Yes, I tried to talk Rachel into staying in Indy for the "Big Game" but she told me that she would rather be home with her good 'ol mom! Both girls decided to come to home to cheer me up a bit after the results of my second PET scan showed that my current chemo treatments were not being as successful as hoped, and a new drug had been ordered. I would begin the new treatment the following week. Having two of my daughters home with me would give me the needed distraction to keep my spirits up while waiting for my new chemo and it's always a thrill for me when they are here. We just hung out, did a bit of shopping, and they cooked some yummy food. Jess left to go back to Chicago on Sunday, but Rachel was lucky enough to stay through Tuesday since the Butler campus had been given Monday and Tuesday off due to the March Madness Finals. Rach left Tuesday morning, I met my friend Peggy for lunch at Panera (where else) and then headed home. By the afternoon I wasn't feeling well not sure from what) and went to lay down for awhile
That little trip to my bed T uesday afternoon turned into five days of sickness and complete bed rest! By Tues. evening I felt a fever coming on, and my throat was beginning to hurt. I woke up Wednesday feeling TERRIBLE!! I confirmed with the trusty thermometer that I indeed, did, have a fever which went up and down all day, topping out at 101.something. My throat was by now KILLING ME and it hurt to even swallow water. Eating was out of the question. Steve stayed with me in the morning and went in late to work. I slept most of the time he was at work, and then he left early to come and check on me. Good thing too...I was kind of "out of it" by then.
He brought me some yummy "Ensure" (not) and a big bottle of Pedialyte. (another "yum") but with eating out of the question, I knew I needed to drink things that would have something to nourish my body! By now I was even more stressed because I thought that they would not give me my new chemo the next day (Thurs) because I was so sick. Steve called up there for me,
and was told to bring me in for an evaluation and they would see if chemo could be administered.
Usually fever and throat infections pre chemo treatments rule out actually GETTING your chemo.

The next morning, my friend Jan from school, showed up at 7:15 a.m. (now THAT is a friend!) to take me to chemo, also know full well they might not be able to give it to me. Once there, they checked my blood cell count, and by some miracle, it was high enough for me to receive my new chemo medications. Jan helped the time pass, we were there from 8:00 until 1:30...yes it seemed like forever and my throat was still really bothering me, and I told my nurse. She told me that tomorrow I needed to come back for a white blood cell booster shot, and at that time someone would look at my throat if it was still hurting. Jan and I stopped at Panera on the way home. I ordered soup, but was unable to even swallow soup. I just packed it up hoping that SOON I'd be able to eat it. I was going on my third day of not eating. I drank chicken broth and water to keep me going. On Friday,Steve took me up to get my "booster shot" and my throat was finally checked. I was told it was red and swollen, and given the Z pack.Steve drove me home and i went back to bed. In three and a half days I had not eaten anything, I had a fever and severly swollen throat, received a new chemo (with unknow side effects), had a shot to boost my white blood cell count, and given Z pack antibiotics. :( Needless to say, I spent two more days in bed. The chemo made me coma tired, an upset stomach, and a trip to the "bathroom" and new on the hit list of side effects, some weird sores down around my ankles on each foot.

By Sunday afternoon I began to feel slightly better and managed to eat a bit of solid food...encouraged long distance from my sister in Dallas. She even stayed on the phone with me to make sure I ate. I felt a bit better afer eating, and continued to eat small amounts of food the rest of the evening. Slowly each day I began to feel a bit better, and continued to eat small amounts over the days. I had my one week post chemo checkup and was told my throat was no longer swollen, but still a bit red. That was three days ago, and my throat is finally beginning to feel normal. UGHHHHH it was a terrible, no good, very bad week! I am so glad that is over!!!

Well, I'm going to go and try and go back to sleep now...I started this post at 3:00 a.m. (yup back to getting up in middle of the night...thanks chemo)

Hope all you had a better week than I did!!


Thursday, March 31, 2011

I've finally come up for air!

Oh my goodness! During the last week I have felt like I've been on a merry go round and I could not get off. Today I finally feel as if it's slowed down and I can catch my breath. A week ago Wednesday was my PET scan, two days later was the results of that scan. Then it was off to U of M on Monday (not a good day) and then back to the oncologist's office Tuesday morning to discuss what had happened at U of M the day before! At that meeting, Dr. K discussed my new plan for the drug changes, and later that same afternoon, I went to P.T! Yesterday, I met with a counselor for the very first time (it's ABOUT time, don't you think!) and I had to tell my entire story from beginning to end. That in itself is an epic seldom told, and would wear anyone out! By the time yesterday afternoon rolled around, I was exhausted, to say the least. And what did I do? Well, you know me....I made cookies for a dear friend at school who is leaving for maternity leave! Sometimes a girl just has to BAKE. Well, at least this girl does! It was tough going (one armed you know) and took a bit more time that usual, but it was a labor of love, and I was happy to do it.

When I woke up this morning, I said to myself, "What? Nowhere to go today?" It seems like I've been "running around" for an entire week. Oh wait...I HAVE!! I think I will take a day and RELAX, if I can remember what that's like! Because later today Jessica is driving in from Chicago, and Rahel is driving up from Indianapolis! They both said that they would just like to come home and visit for the weekend. If L.A. and Dallas was a drivable distance I know that Carly and my sis would be here too! (love you both) So I will have company this weekend, and I'm looking forward to it!

I know you are wondering what Dr. K. has in store for me next. New drugs have been ordered, and I'm waiting for a phone call today to tell me which day to come in next week (probably Monday or Tuesday) to start the new chemo. I will one new drug infused at camp chemo, and the other drug is in pill form. So I get to take that one at home! Somebody called me yesterday to confirm that the pills will be sent directly to my house (very convenient) and I will begin to take them starting the same day as my infusion. The pills must be taken every day. The new chemo will also be infused every three weeks, just like the last one. Everyone alert their respective prayer chains...let's pray that this drug not only works, but CONTINUES to work! That's the goal. I guess hats are just in my future for quite some time.

I'm also planning on going to Indianapolis in a few weekends to visit Rachel for Butler's parent weekend, AND to walk in the Indianapolis "Race For the Cure." I can't thing of one thing more important than a CURE for cancer. The Detroit "Race for the Cure" is coming up May 21, and I'm planning on being there too. Please mark that date on your calendar NOW, and save the date. Please join me, and thousands of others, while we walk to show our support to wipe out breast cancer. It is a very emotional day, and I would be HONORED to have all of you (in the area of course) walk with me. We will talk more about this in another post.

One of the most special times in recent years that I can remember is when I walked with my sister, Jessica, Carly, and Rachel in the Chicago "Race for the Cure." All of my female family, along with a city full of supporters, walking in unison as one giant pink ribbon which stretched out for miles and miles. It's really a sight to see, and you truly feel like a part of something much bigger than yourself. Not to mention that I could draw strength in knowing that I am not alone in this nightmare of a disease.

My daughter Jessica also phoned me last night. She told me that she has signed up to do the "THREE DAY WALK" in Chicago this year. I was very emotional when I talked to her, and am thrilled that she is going to do this for me. (I know that they sleep in tents during the walk!) My sister in Dallas has also been a top contributor in raising funds for Komen the last few years, and I am equally proud of HER efforts. Think about what you can do. Because together, we CAN move mountains. Sooner or later there IS going to be a CURE!!! Of course in my case, I'm praying for the "sooner!" :)

Let's end this post on a happy note...because I don't know about you, but flowers and chocolates ALWAYS make ME happy, especially after the crappy week that I've had. I was pulling into our driveway with Steve on Tuesday night, and I noticed there were FLOWERS sitting by our front door. Of course I was VERY excited! Steve carried them inside (it was a VERY large arrangement) and he unwrapped them for me. Of course, the first thing you think about when you receive flowers is, "Who are they from?" I was thrilled to read the card, and to see that they were from Bobby, my daughter Jessica's boyfriend! (that has such a nice ring to it...Jessica's boyfriend!) It is without doubt the most lovely bouquet that I have ever received. Number one,
the flowers were BEAUTIFUL! Number two, there was a DOG made out of flowers!! (and we all know how much I LOVE DOGS) Number three, there was a HUGE box of chocolates that came with the flowers!! (and I'm talking a big honkin box here) Now does this guy know the way to my heart or what?! I called him immediately (didn't even take off my coat) to thank him for such an amazing gift...but I will tell him again right here...Bobby, I just LOVE my flowers and chocolate, and I love you too! It was so sweet of you to send that to me, and it definitely put a smile on my face for the first time that week. I shared a few of the chocolates with Steve, and BOY ARE THEY GOOD! yummmmmmmmmmm I wish the flowers would last forever. Wait, they will, because I took a TON of pics! So here are a few, so the rest of you can enjoy them as well.

Don't look too closely...there were already pieces missing when I took this pic! :)

Love to all of you