I'll never capitalize cancer

I have alot going on in my life, more than just cancer and chemo. Sure it's a big part of my life right now, but it's not the most important part of my life. You will never see me spell it with a capital "c".

I'm a Wife and Mom. I love my Family. I have good Friends. We do fun stuff and dumb stuff and sometimes we argue and then we laugh again. We go to work and to the grocery store and we go swimming and have birthday parties and get ready for the first day of school.

I keep saying that I don't want ovarian cancer to define me, but sometimes I just can't help it.

A good friend put it this way for me "cancer may be defining your life for the moment, but it is not your entire life. You seem to just make time for it." That made me feel better.

If you want to see it from the beginning, my cancer story begins in March.

The rest of my story is happening now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Get lean by Christmas

Yes, it can happen. Join us on tonight's webinar to find out how.

Click here for all the information.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advocare in the Houston area this Saturday

If you are in the Houston area, click here to find out about this fantastic Advocare meeting in Baytown.

This is where I will be Saturday afternoon - finding out about new products and events to close out the year and start a new one. A perfect time to learn how to help folks with New Year's resolutions and shedding those winter pounds. Or, finding ways to earn additional income and pay for travel & gift expenses.

I am so excited about the direction that Advocare is going and I want to go right along too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Advocare Event in Houston

Who Do You Know in Houston?

Get the group together and join Advocare Tuesday, October 13th at 7:00 PM for a Business Opportunity Meeting & "Human Performance Night " with special product training by Rob Graf, Director of AdvoCare Sports Endorsements and Dean Miller, Advocare Sports Advisory Council Member and Athletic Trainer - Motorcycle World Champions.

We'll be in North Houston at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Houston North Greenspoint, 425 North Sam Houston Parkway East.

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Friday in Groves tonight!

Look for me under the Advocare tent tonight at First Friday in Groves. Come by to sample Spark and find out about our newest products and learn more about Advocare's financial opportunity.

First Friday in Groves Invites TJ Graduates for Reunion Night.

First Friday is a merchant-sponsored street fair held on the first Friday of every month on Lincoln Avenue in Groves. This month, First Friday extends a special invitation to all graduates of Thomas Jefferson High School for Reunion Night on Friday, September fourth, from six to nine P.M. Come clad in your school colors and join in on the fun.

The amazingly talented Bryce Shaver Band will be playing live music. Comprised of highly skilled musicians all younger than sixteen, this band is unique to say the least. These young artists play classic rock hits from the seventies and eighties as well as original songs. The band will perform at Celebration Park.

Disc Jockey Donna Marx will preside entertainment including recorded music and trivia, while Sunny the Clown and the Jester will paint faces and give away balloon animals. Shops will remain open until nine P.M and various merchants will display their merchandise along the avenue between Capitol and Jefferson.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Latest on the cancer Saga

Again, I have not been a good Blogger, but I can cut & paste what others have written. Here is the latest email update from my Husband Brian:

Since I sent the picture, I thought I'd better bring you all up to speed on her prognosis.
Teresa had what hopefully will be her LAST chemo treatment last week.
She had an allergic reaction and had to deal with hives that day. And she was out of it all weekend.
But she's back to her old, energetic self, (I get tired watching her buzz around) and all is good.
We go to MD Anderson in two and a half weeks for a checkup to make sure the cancer cells are gone.
Then it's every six months.
With Abrianna finally starting real school, kindergarten, I need her at her top speed. ;-)
Hope all is well with all of you.
Thanks again for your good thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ladies Call today

Ladies, another call done by Robbie Page for you! Product info, facts of AdvoCare and stories to validate.
Today (Tuesday) 12:00 CST
Dial 712-432-0075
access 377712

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ladies' Product & Opportunity Call

Time to take care of some business.

I just found out about a special conference call where we'll hear about the benefits of AdvoCare - especially for Women:

Tuesday August 25th @ 12:00 Noon CST
Dial in:712-775-7100
Access code:462259

This is a special call with a focus on WOMEN. We have just introduced some fantastic new products. You'll hear about those and more with an emphasis on weight loss, energy and female nutritional support! We'll also learn about AdvoCare's financial opportunity.

If you have any questions or miss the call, be sure to contact me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Post Surgery

I can hardly believe it has been so long since my last post.

I had another round of chemo, a couple of garage sales, and then my surgery on June 18. I spent a week in the hospital and then some rest and recovery. Dad came to MD Anderson for my surgery, then Mom came to Beaumont to spend time with Abby and help out during the first week home. I went back to Dallas with her and stayed at my Dad's where everyone entertained Abby and made sure that I took naps and didn't do any heavy lifting. Lately, I've just been busy celebrating my good news and living life.

Brian & I finally bought a new camera. Just an easy point & shoot that has a few features to help me out with out of focus faces and dark backgrounds. We have had some wonderful visits with Friends and Family and I want to be sure to capture the memories. I will post them soon.

For now, I'll just put up Brian's email update:
I wish I could say it was all over but we still have work to do.
Teresa had her hysterectomy today and it was a resounding success.
Her doctor says only 10 percent of ovarian cancer patients responded as well to chemo treatment as Teresa did.
She told me she saw tumors that had been melted away by the chemo that she's never seen melted away before.
All the small tumors outside the uterus are gone and the hysterectomy removed the few tumors that were left.
And that doubles the life expectancy that most such patients get.
I am thrilled and grateful but selfishly was hoping for more than a few more years to hope for a cure or better treatment.
The doctor did say that Teresa's spirit is amazing and she fully expects her to cheat her prognosis.
We can only hope.
All the folks at MDAnderson were wonderful and the level of service seems higher than any other medical institution I'm familiar with.
She begins another round of chemo in just a few short weeks even before she's completely recovered from this surgery.
The doctor is hoping to strike while the iron's hot and nail the cancer cells that remain.
That means chemo every three weeks for three treatments.
Then a bi annual or yearly checkup or treatment from now on.
Abby just knows her mommy was treated by the doctor and will be home soon to recover.
I wish I had time and memory to list all the things our wonderful friends have done for us and have offered to continue doing.
Keep us in your prayers as you are all in mine and ours.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Feeling Great!

It has been a while since I updated this, so here is a quick post.

I had my 3rd chemo treatment Wed and things went smoothly, kinda becoming a routine now. I am feeling fine, no nausea. Went to Abby's Field Day today and am finishing up getting things together for my garage sale this weekend.

I have been planning this garage sale for probably a year now. I can't belive how much stuff we have in boxes that we had forgotten about. Baby girl to 4 toddler all going to a new home for someone else to love on.

Good news from my Doctors last week. I was having one of my "Oh, woe is me" days. I told Dr Schmeler at MD Anderson that I wanted to teach my daughter to ski and take her on a cruise on the Big Red Boat and I was worried I was not to going to be around to do either. She told me to go ahead and plan on going skiing next Spring but I should wait until next Summer to take the cruise. And to quit reading the magazines in the waiting room.

Dr Lavalais at the Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Center here in Beaumont told me that my blood tests were looking good. Especially the CA 125, which is a tumor marker. Normal people who do not have cancer will have a test number of about 30. When I started chemo, my number was 365, now it is 81. That means that the cancer cells are not reproducing as rapidly and are not producing the fluid that was causing problems before. Also, my cysts and other stuff (tech term) are shrinking. Mostly it means that I am having a positive response to the chemo therapy.

Other things keeping me busy - Abby's end of the year school programs and rehearsals for her upcoming dance recital. And we are getting a ton of mail. The bills are coming in and I have to be sure that we keep it straight. I am filling out aps for financial assistance and arranging payment plans.

Keeping my calendar is really important now. Drs appts, rehearsal schedule, payment deadlines, playdates and family visits ...

To add to it, there is a condition called "chemo brain" where you tend to lose focus and forget things. Yes, even more than usual!

That's the quickie version. Thanks again to everyone who has been checking in and keeping in touch. Give me a few days after the garage sale and I will try to have more and include some pics.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Friday in Groves

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again during First Friday in Groves. Be sure to stop by under the blue tent to sample some Spark and find out more about Advocare nutritional products and the financial opportunity.

Advocare helped me get back into shape after my pregnancy and has since kept me and my Family fit and healthy. The additional income that I have earned each month has made it possible for me to be a work from home Mom and enjoy more time with my Family.

My cancer is inherited from my Mom's side of the family. We have cancer back through at least 5 generations of Women. There probably is nothing I could have done to prevent it. But, the excellent nutrition that I get from Advocare supplements has helped keep my body and my immune system strong through this recent health crisis. And the income each month has helped keep our bank account strong, especially during these times of economic uncertainty.

I'm feeling especially good today, and the weather is perfect for some outdoor family fun. So come on out and join us.

First Friday in Groves is three full hours of non-stop family friendly enjoyment. The monthly celebration along Lincoln Avenue offers free entertainment on Friday, May 1, from 6 to 9 pm. Highlights include door prizes in honor of Mother’s Day, a Cake Walk, the Mexican Heritage Folkloric Dancers, and a Community Blood Drive.

There will be door prize drawings throughout the event. Door prizes include gift baskets, gift certificates, plants, and flowers. Entry forms available at participating shops along the avenue. Entrants must be female, 18 years or older, and present at the time of the drawing.

Val Verde will host the Cake Walk and bake sale. Beginning at 6:30 with the first cakewalk at entertainment center.

The Mexican Heritage Folkloric Dancers, group of girls and young women, will begin the Cinco de Mayo celebration by performing several symbolic dances beginning at 7.

The LifeShare bloodmobile will be parked at the intersection of Lincoln and Jefferson from 6:30 – 8:30. Blood donors may credit the community, their church, place of employment, or a family blood plan with their donation.

Healthy donors weighing at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood every eight weeks. Diabetes and hypertension under control will not prevent blood donation. Potential donors must have photo identification and should know what medications they are taking.

First Friday, a merchant sponsored event, is celebrated the first Friday of every month and provides free family entertainment, special sales, food and door prizes. Most stores along Lincoln Avenue will remain open until 9 and The Courtyard Café buffet line is open from 5:30 to 8.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cutting my hair!

Cutting off my hair!

It wasn't as traumatic as I thought.

Having Brian and Abby cut it, and having cousin Kimmee and Sarah there actually made it fun.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Second Cycle of Chemotherapy

Dad came in from Dallas last night. Just in case you are looking, we found that the new Ramada Inn at I10 & College is clean, safe, quiet, has a pool, a gym, FREE breakfast & WiFi, and is convenient to our Home and the Hospital, and they gave us a great rate. Oh and here's a bonus, it's right next door to the Harley Davidson store.

He came to spend a few days with us and to sit with me today at the Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Institute while I had my chemotherapy. It was a long day, but I am glad he's here.

I wasn't sure if I would be. I mean, it's not going to be a fun weekend. I'm losing my hair, I've lost alot of weight, we spent all day sitting in a room full off sick people and IV's, and it is possible that I will be throwing up all day Friday. We did get to watch some interesting videos about chemotherapy and cancer. And they fed us lunch.

Abby was in school for most of the day and my dear friend Whitney brought Abby home to play with her son till Brian could pick her up. She also fixed up some homemade chicken soup to send home with Brian.

I'm a little tired.

Dad was OK during the chemo. He got to see why I think that my oncology Nurse, Pam, is just the best. She totally knows what she's doing and explains everything as it is happening and the sticks hardly hurt. (I am fortunate that I have not had to have a medi port, today they just stuck it in the other arm) Since his heart attack and quintuple bypass, rotator cuff surgery, skin cancer and hip replacement, I think Dad has become pretty familiar with hospital stuff. And I think that if you talk about it all in technical terms, it's almost like it's not really happening right there in front of you - or to you.

Dad had his Iphone and a USA Today, I had my cel phone, my calendar & my List and a magazine. We talked in between. Anyone else notice the big elephant in the room? Dad had loaded up some special tunes for me on the Iphone and I listened to ABBA through his very cool Bose headphones.

Dr Lavalais changed my before & after meds to help control my nausea. Last time I didn't get sick until the next day, so she prescribed something that has a longer half life.

Have I mentioned how wonderful the people at the Cancer Institute are? Dr Lavalais is brilliant, and Pam is way more than capable and calm and friendly. Everyone - the RN's, the LVN's, the Aides, the Receptionist even the billing office when they call are very considerate and helpful.

Afterwards, we went to the drug store to pick up my Zofran ODT, picked out a gift for the Birthday party that Abby has been invited to and showed Dad where the Bounce Zone is so that he can take her to the party. Now we're ready for a big high calorie, high protein no sugar added Smoothie King. Then we went home for a rest before Brian's fantastic dinner.

Today was fine afterall, considering. Dad told me not to worry, he came here for just one reason - to give me a big hug and make sure that I am doing OK.

Tomorrow morning I go back to get the infamous $9000 shot! Neulasta helps my bone marrow stimulate white blood cells. Sure, why not? What's another $9000?

Then Abby will get to spend the rest of the day with Granpa.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Integrating Nutritional Supplements into Cancer Treatment Plans

Dr Judith Smith of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the Advocare Sci/Med Board sent me this article that she had written about nutrition. I am going to share it with you here.

Remember that I mentioned that my blood tests were good this week, I just need to be sure to keep eating and get enough good calories everyday.

Well, I'm not a doctor and I cannot make medical claims, but for me personally, this is what I am doing. In addition to Dr Smith's recommendations, I have been trying real hard to stay away from refined white sugar and red meat. Lots of fish, chicken, raw veggies, fruit, good fats and whole grains. I also have been using Rehydrate to keep my electrolytes balanced. I have been thinking that I will try Excel Gel for my electrolytes after this next round of chemo. Keeping fluids down while I was nauseous was a problem this last time, and maybe the gel will be easier. For good easily digestible protein, I drink a Muscle Gain shake for a snack. Sometime I mix a Peaches & Cream Fiber Drink with Vanilla Muscle gain for added calories and to help keep me regular (still not pooping everyday). The branch chain amino acids in Catalyst feed my lean muscle and keep them tight so I don't get flabby. And this week, I have started adding Post Workout Recovery to my shakes because they are higher in good calories.

My Hair Has Started to Fall Out

I was wondering when this would happen.

It's not that bad really, just annoying. I thought it might come out in big chunky patches. But today it's more like you know when you brush your hair for the first time in the morning? Or when you you take your hair down from a ponytail and you just get an extra bunch of hair in your hand?

It's annoying because I was trying to rinse and get out all the loose hair, but it just kept coming.

I was shaving my legs and thought about what other hair I was going to be losing - my eyebrows and eyelashes, legs and underarms, and yes even down there. Losing my eyebrows and eyelashes will be odd, but I sure won't mind not having to shave this summer!

Abby was taking a shower with me. She already knows that I am taking really strong medicne to get rid of the big ball of skin in my tummy. And I have told her that the medicine will make my hair fall out. Really, through this whole orderal, as long as we let her know some of what is going on and don't get too weird and freak out, she just figures it's another event in life.

Abby said it was OK about my hair. It'll grow back and in the meantime, I can borrow her Hannah Montana wig.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Such a Good Day

The weather is fabulous and that certainly helps. I am feeling better than I felt before I started my chemo. I still have to take my painkillers, but the swelling from the excess fluid in my abdomen has gone down, feels like my cyst and enlarged uterus & ovaries are down, I don't have the shortness of breath from having fluid in my lungs, and I'm hungry and eating and have so much more energy.

It has been such a good day that I didn't even mind getting pulled over by the Policeman this morning. It was a goober thing to get pulled over for. He was on a motorcycle and when I turned past him, I could tell he was taking a good long look. I thought maybe it was because I was drinking and driving. I had a
Shake and was turning the steering wheel with just one hand. NOOOO, it was my inspection sticker! Hmm so that's 09/08, not 08/09? And of course I had cleaned out my purse so that I could carry Easter eggs this weekend, which means that I had taken out my BIG wallet, the one that has the proof of insurance... At least I wasn't speeding!

Not a problem, it still is a fabulous day!

Continuing on to the
Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Institute to get some blood drawn. This is what I now know to be called my "labs". I will be getting them every week while I am having my chemotherapy. It doesn't take long. Parking is easy (it's Beaumont) I check in, they draw 2 vials... "Hello Mrs Burns" "Hi Mrs Burns" "How're you doing today Mrs Burns?" "Right this way Mrs Burns" "Your haircut is really cute Mrs Burns".

I don't want to be part of this club, but they sure are friendly.

"Don't worry this won't a bit" "Make a fist and squeeze".

Quick and easy. Now I need to go get my car inspected. I also need an oil change and a car wash so I can just get it all done in one place. Cross a few more things off my List, pick Abby up from school, have a snack, throw in some laundry, Brian's home.

"How was your day?" "What did you do in school?"

Today was Abby's day for Show & Tell, and the letter of the week is "W". We had gathered up a bunch of things that start with "W" and put them in the big Show & Tell container for her to take this morning. Sometimes you have to be creative - wig, a tiny wagon, a piece of watermelon in a zip loc, wood, wool scarf, t-shirt with a picture of a witch, whale, a picture of a web, wallet, Ariel in a wedding dress, watch, gummy worms, etc.

And, Abby is the leader this week. Which mean that she gets to be in the front of the line and lead the class whenever they go to a new activity.

Time for bed. Flossing, brushing, flouride rinsing, potty, 2 stories, prayers.

This was such a good day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Sunday

Such a great day! We went to early Mass with our Easter bonnets and white shoes, then headed out to Crystal Beach!

Sure it was chilly, but remember when you were 4? It doesn't matter, it's the Beach!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Neighbors

Have been wonderful. They have kept my garden lovely. Actually, it looks better than ever. They bring me homemade soups and casseroles and watch Abby when I have to run a quick errand. One woman even cut my hair so that it will not be so weird when it starts to fall out.

Today, a couple of them showed up with a fabulous card that had been signed by just about everyone in our complex. In the envelope with the card was an incredible amount of cash.

Where will I ever find the words to say "Thank You" or express how that makes me feel. Brian & I are just blown away by the genuine good spirit and generosity of the people around us.

Almost normal, and HUNGRY again

The next round of chemo will be easier because now I know that it does get better. That was seriously 4 days of the worst flu type symptoms ever. Now, I am just kinda feeling funky because I haven't eaten much for 4 days. I have kept up with my CorePlex with Iron and OmegaPlex. The Meal Replacement Shakes and Muscle Gain for protein and nutrition have been very easy to keep down as well as the Rehydrate for keeping my electrolytes balanced. I'm drinking Spark again. And even taking Catalyst, because I am losing weight, mostly muscle, pretty quickly. I will have some blood work next week and I will learn more how I am doing then.

I am getting lots of advice about nutrition. Much of it similar - stay away from red meat, dairy & sugar. Raw is best. Stay hydrated. Most appealing to me now is comfort food - homemade soups, pasta, casseroles. Vegetables are good, as well as apples, grapes & watermelon. But sweet is just TOO sweet. I think the Hydrocodone is affecting my sweet taste buds.

Dr Judith Smith at MD Anderson Cancer Center has written an article about Cancer and Nutrition. And this article about integrating nutrional supplements into cancer treatment plans. This is what Dr Smith has to say about the after effects of chemotherapy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Updates

Keeping this blog updated is not easy for me. I love to write, but it comes in spurts. My wonderful husband on the other hand is a fabulous writer - everyday. I have gotten replies to some of the email updates that he has sent out. Interesting to see what he has sent. It's his perspective on this whole thing. He's a journalist, so the facts are of course accurate, but at the same time personal.

This is the email he sent out after my chemo:
Teresa went to the Ben & Julie Rogers Cancer Center in Beaumont on Thursday. Our doctor told us some disturbing news. Teresa has Stage 4 advanced ovarian cancer. He told us the cancer has spread beyond the uterus and is serious. However, it is treatable and the prognosis is still positive. To underscore the diagnosis, they started her on chemo immediately after the consultation so we spent the day with Teresa undergoing an IV drip. We return tomorrow for a bone marrow injection to stimulate good cell production. She will undergo two more 6 - 8 hour IV drips, one every 21 days and then the doctors here and at MD Anderson in Houston will consider doing her hysterectomy. They may decide to further delay it depending on her response to the chemo treatment. Please feel free to call Teresa. Your prayers and stories have done her attitude wonders and we both appreciate you all more than we can say. Abby is fine and just knows mommie is sick but the doctor will make her better. I was doing fine until trying to tell this to family members on the phone but other than that, I'm ok.
I hope to talk to you all soon. Brian

Here's the lastest:
Thanks for all your phone calls and emails... and don't stop... I think messages from all of you have meant the world to her. After her chemo treatment on Thursday, she went through everything we were warned of... Vomiting every waking moment, and horrible weakness and exhaustion. Teresa did have a friend cut her hair on Sunday. She didn't want to go through watching it fall out. And we didn't want Abby to watch that either. Many of you have asked... and yes Abby knows Teresa is sick and that she's going to the doctor to get better. A couple of our good friends here in Beaumont have included Abby in their family for a day or two at a time and it's been very much appreciated. But we're keeping her close most of the time and she's a trooper... just like her mom. I'm fine... just tired... She has answered the phone a couple of times... Our home number is at the bottom of this email. And she does check her email several times a day... I have forwarded all you have sent. It's
teresa@getadvocareonline.com That's Get Advocare Online . com For those of you who don't know, she's a distribtor for that line of vitamins and supplements. Her next chemo is scheduled for Thursday, April 23. And then again 3 weeks later. That is when her doctors will decide if it's time for her hysterectomy.
Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers, Brian

See what I mean.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Meeting my Chemo Doctors

Thursday morning I meet Dr Kong and Dr Lavalais at the Julie & Ben Rogers Cancer Institute.

Briefly, here is what I understand about what is going on :
I have a cyst about the size of a large orange near my right ovary, both of my ovaries are enlarged, my uterus is enlarged due to fibroids, and my colon and small bowel also may be involved. This is making things kinda crowded and uncomfortable in my belly. It's also crowding my lungs so i can't get a deep breath, so my lungs have fluid in them. At MD Anderson, they drained off just over 2 liters of fluid from my right lung. The pathology on the fluid showed malignant cancer cells, so I do have cancer. The cells are gyncological in origin and my CT scan did not show any nodules in my lungs, so most likely I do not have lung cancer.
I was told that cancer cells produce a fluid. The fluid along with the cyst and enlarged ovaries and uterus is adding to the distention and is why I look like I am about 3 months pregnant. It's also why I ache and can't stand up straight and have to take painkillers all day long.

I am told that the chemo will shrink my cyst and dry up the fluid so I should begin to feel better within a couple of days of my first treatment.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Messenger

My Friend Kevin called me today. Kevin was on the way to the Fair and he just had to call to let me know that He is going to make sure that I get through this. Kevin told me that he's been praying for me, and this is the Message that he was supposed to deliver.

I've said it before and I'll say it over and over again, I am so thankful to have people around me who are not afraid to pray OUT LOUD.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Here's What Happened

If your looking for facts from the experts, here's some good reading about Ovarian Cancer

If you'd like to come along with me on my journey, I'll write you a little story.

I am having a tough time with this because if I take enough pain killers to sit for a while to post, I start to get sleepy - vicious cycle, but here goes.

I figured my first appointment at MD Anderson mostly would be full of paperwork, questions and moving from one diagnostic test to another. So I convinced everyone that I would be just fine going by myself. Brian and Abby need to keep home life as normal as possible, my cousins Kimmy and Jenny have told me over & over again that they are on stand by anytime I need them, Dad says he'll be on the next flight - just call, and so many other dear Friends and Family have told me that they will drop everything to be with me even if all I need is someone to hold my hand. But really, I can do this.

My appointment with Dr Kathleen Schmeler is at 830AM Mon, need to get there by 730AM to start the paperwork. A few days prior, I received my "Welcome Packet" in the mail. Kinda feels like what you get for Summer Camp - a map, driving directions, what to bring, important phone numbers, 8 pages of medical history to fill out. Seems that the women on Mom's side of the Family have some history of Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer.

Brian already had made plans for us to see Elmo & his Sesame Street friends Sunday afternoon, so we kept that date and took one of Abby's little friends along with us. Afterward I packed enough for a couple of days and headed to Kemah to stay with my good friend Brenda.

Monday morning she asked me again if I wanted her come along with me, but I assured her that "No, I'll be fine." Brenda's made this trip with friends a couple of times before, and helped me pack for the day - my paperwork, some snacks, water, cel phone, my laptop, the new MajikJak and phone that Brian got for me, a blanket and Brenda tossed in a pair of warm comfy socks for me, the ones with the rubber ridges on the bottom.

Traffic into Houston that early in the morning was easy, driving directions were excellent, I found entrance 7 and Valet parking is free on your first visit - convenient!

I have a little cart that I got from Office Depot, I just threw everything in there and followed my directions to the Laura Lee-Blanton Gynecologic Oncoloogy Center on the 6th floor.

So far so good. I'm pretty calm, just pulling along my little cart. Everyone from the Valet to Security and Informtion to Reception at the Gynecologic Oncology Center is smiling and friendly and helpful. I'm actually early, and for those of you who know me, that's pretty amazing.

I step up to the counter and turn in my paperwork, Kegan lets me know my Medical Record Number and hands me a clipboard with my Oncology team's names and important contact info, and a couple more pages to fill out.

The waiting room is very comfortable. Glider rockers, Recliners, Sofas, Club chairs - something for everyone. 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles laid out on the coffee tables, magazines, paperbacks, coping with cancer brochures, fliers on upcoming seminars for Patients and their Families, a huge aquarium, a bubbly waterfall sculpture, coffee, ice water, little cross stitch kits.

As I'm looking around I can't help but wonder why each of them is here. I overhear some conversations. One Family is from Cinncinnati, another from Witchita Falls. "This is your 2nd visit?" "We've been making the trip for just over a year now". I see a couple of Translators helping to fill out the clipboard pages.

Some Women already are wearing cute little hats and scarves ... and now it starts to feel surreal. It's like I'm in some kind of weird dream. Everyone is oddly cheerful. Talking about their trip, their hotel, some are just looking around at each other

My friend Sally found out a couple of months ago that she has Breast Cancer. She already has been doing her chemo. She said this would happen - the odd moment that I realize that I'm not the only one, poor little me is not so unique, there are at least 20 other Women just like me here, in this one waitng area - and it's just Monday morning - it's just one day, on one floor - tomorrow there will be more.

But they made me feel like I was the only one that mattered.

Wow, this is more than I had planned to write.

Later this weekend I'll post some more. I'll finish up Monday's visit, then do a quick run through of what happened when Brian came with me on Wednesday's visit. Time to take a couple more Hydrocodone and get some sleep. The next post, I'll explain why I need the pain killers.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My first appointment at MD Anderson Cancer Center

I want to write something, I just don't know what or how much.

The OCD part of me wants to write a perfect little story, but that perfection has me stifled. I think I will just enter my observations. Like how this is all so surreal. This place is HUGE. And everyone has a story. Like when you tell your Hurricane story - Where were you when the storm came in? Did you evacuate? Did you have any storm damage? We're all the same. No one really is unique, we all are trying to figure out if we have cancer and what are we going to do about it. But then again we are unique - different cancers different stages.

I'm drinking Barium again.

Now this is weird. I am here in the Imaging waiting room, and there are all these people sitting around sipping on their little bottles of Barium through a straw.

Telling their story - I'm from Ft Worth... We drove in from Cinncinnati... This is our third visit... I've been coming for 18 months... Breast... Kidney... Lungs... We love to travel, last month we went to Italy, I think it will be our last time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Story

I'm going to tell it like it is. I'm going to mention poo and my period and maybe a few other things, nothing horrible, I've said all of this out loud, even in a group, just be aware.

Thursday night, just before Mardi Gras, some friends had us over for a wonderful dinner. We had Brie & crackers, drank wine, Tara made a fantastic baked chicken in her dutch oven - it was fall off the bone juicy with carrots, onions and cute little fingerling potatoes. We had more wine a couple VO and 7's and of course finished off with a King cake.

You know that feeling you have, just after Thanksgiving dinner? All fat & happy, when your belly is full and all you want to do is take a nap & then have a big burp & a poo? Well, that's kinda the way I felt - only I never had the big burp or poo. For the next few days I was feeling kinda bloated and gassy and ... I'm pretty regular, something goes in, something comes out. So this was unusual.

My usual day I have a Meal Replacement Shake for breakfast, that has plenty of fiber and probiotics, but I added extra Fiber Drink and a couple Probiotic Restore to my day as well. I was thinking back to what I had learned about easing symptoms of IBS. I made sure to take plenty of OmegaPlex - fish oil should help things move along, Calcium and Magnesium for intestinal muscle function and ReHydrate.

I also went to the drugstore and got GasX, Colace, Senakot S, Tums ... it had been FOUR days and I was trying anything. My tummy was kinda swollen.

I went to San Antonio the last weekend of February. I had a one day booking, but I brought Abby with me and we made it a long weekend and stayed with my good friend Sally. I still was very bloated. Still hadn't had the "big poo". A couple of mornings there was a little bit, I was burping alot and I had diahrrea, but just not regular like I should be. I had to wear super control top panty hose to work.

I was glad to have the chance to visit with my friend Sally. She had just told me that she had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and every couple of weeks she had to take her pills for chemotherapy. She talked to me about the whole ordeal. Her appointments, how she felt, what she was thinking.

Now, remember, at the time, I still thought I just had some GI issues. Sally talked to me about how she was coping, but it wasn't really sinking in for me. I love her as my friend and care deeply about what she must be going through, but I never really had known someone close to me who had been diagnosed with cancer, so I didn't have have a complete understanding.

Anyway we had a nice weekend, took the Riverboat Tour, then Abby & I drove home. San Antonio to Beaumont is about a 5 hour drive. But when you are uncomfortably bloated and on the lookout for clean facilities because you can't figure out if you're constipated or have diahrrea - it seems like forever. And here's a bonus, I started my period that morning.

We got home late Sunday night. Monday I was miserable and called all over town trying to get a doctor's appointment. Called a Gastroenterologist, they said I need a referral. Tried to get an appointment with a Gynecologist, but they are booked til April! And they can't do the referral anyway, I need to see my Primary Care Physician.

OK, now I have to admit something. During the 4 years that I have lived in Beaumont, I have not gotten a Primary Care Physician. I have had seen a Gynecologist for my annual exams, but I don't get sick. And since I am self employed, i have limited medical insurance, so I just never did it. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, I was really feeling bad. I called Brian and he came home to take me to the Emergency Room at Christus St Elizabeth.

It was still early afternoon, so the ER wasn't too crowded. We got into a room relatively quickly. The nurse talked to me about my symptoms, and asked "Have you tried a laxative?" Well of course I have, and maybe this ER trip is going to be just a really expensive enema, but I need to feel better!

I kept thinking about that show on Animal Planet, Emergency Vet, how someone's puppy is acting strangely and they bring him in and take X rays and find out that he's swallowed a sock. The Vet does surgery and everyone is fine - I am hoping that will be me. But when they took my X rays they were hazy because of excess fluid in my abdomen. The ER Doctor came in to announce this to me and told me that this was called ascites, which is caused by malnutrition, liver failure which could be due to cirrohsis, caused by blood transfusion, hepatitis, sharing needles during intravenous drug use, or cancer.

What?! That would be impossible. Oh no Ma'am, nothing's impossible.

So, here's some Lasix in your IV to help keep the fluid down and here's a prescription for Lasix, a diuretic and a potassium supplement. Be sure to follow up with your Doctor, thanks for stopping by.

Of course I didn't appreciate her bedside manner, but the ER Dr did freak me out enough to be sure to follow up with a personal Physician. Fortunately, one of the best in town had a 230 cancellation the next afternoon. He ordered up some blood tests and a CT scan. I fasted and got my blood tests the next morning. There were at least 7 different tests that were ordered, but a CA125 was not one of them. Google ascites, ovarian cancer will come up on the list. Why not include a test for cancer?

I couldn't get in for a scan for a week. Looking back, I don't know why I waited, I could have gotten a CT scan in Lake Charles, Mid County, Conroe ... hindsight.

Another week goes by, I just want to feel better. Finally, that next Thursday morning, I drank my Barium and went in for my CT scan. Friday morning I went in to discuss the report with my Doctor. That's when he told me that I have a cyst about the size of an orange near my right ovary. Am I understanding you? Should I start crying now? Yes, and there is nothing further that we can do for you here. You need a Gynecological Oncologist and there is not one in Beaumont.

Well, good thing I happen to know a Gynecological Oncologist.

Brian is the first person that I called when I left the Dr's office. The next person I called was Mike Wade at Advocare Corporate. He got in touch with one of the members of Advocare's Sci/Med Board, Dr Judith Smith - a Gynecological Oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

It's Friday afternoon, 10 days since my first ER visit, the one where they told me that I had liver failure, and I really am uncomfortable. I'm bloated to the size of 4 months pregnant, and it has happened over just a couple of weeks. So Brian takes me to Memorial Hermann ER to have the fluid drained off my abdomen.

I took my cel phone and my laptop with me. Dr Smith was in a meeting all afternoon, but left a message to get the appointment process started, and she would call me back. I was in the ER waiting room filling out a patient self referral form on
mdanderson.org. I followed up with a phone call and a wonderful facilitator completed everything for me and had a confirmed appointment for 830 AM Mon March 23. But that's over a week away.

When I got in to the little room to have the fluid "tapped", they drained about 2 liters of fluid - think really big soda bottle!

Of course I was anxious about my appointment at MD Anderson - a week away. But the ER Doctor got on the phone with Dr Smith, they discussed it and agreed that it would be OK to wait the week. The next day, Saturday, Dr Smith talked with me some more about my symptoms, the process, what to expect. I felt better about the wait. It was going to be OK. And I was able to prepare emotionally for the trip and discuss more with Brian and make arrangements for Abby during the day that I was gone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I have Cancer

Two months since my last post.

Well, I have been feeling pretty lousy lately, and Friday I found out why. I have a cyst about the size of a large orange near my right ovary, fibroids in my uterus and a panus of tissue near my colon and small bowel. None of these are supposed to be in there.

I'm sad, scared and angry.

Fortunately, I am just down the road from the best cancer treatment facility in the nation - MD Anderson at the UT Medical Center in Houston, TX. And thanks to some help from Advocare VP Mike Wade and Advocare Sci/Med Board member Dr Judith Smith, I have a better understanding of this disease, the treatment and possible outcome.

Should I put this personal information out there for anyone and everyone to read? Of course!

We all know to do our monthly Breast Self Exam, and what to do if we find a lump. But do you know the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer? Do you know what to do about it?

I think it is important that I share my story. Not for drama but for awareness.

My first appointment at MD Anderson is Monday morning.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Business Op call

Join us for a powerful opportunity that will provide REAL ANSWERS for 7 out of the Top 10 New Years Resolutions in America.

If someone has a resolution to get out of debt or to earn more money in 2009, odds are their solution will not always come in the shape, form, or fashion in which they thought it was going to come!

Most of the positive changes our in lives that lead to advancement and promotion come through relationships and/or meeting new people. Solutions are usually brought to us in the form of "PEOPLE". Your solution could very well be packaged in this 15 minute presentation that has the potential to unlock the key to your 2009!

This is a listen only web presentation, so there is no obligation for you to talk. Just sit back, watch and listen!

Here are 2 different times to join in:

Click Here to Register for 8:38 PM Central
If you are only able to join us via the phone, here is the phone number and access code to join the listen only call: Dial In Number:773-945-1011, access code 639-284-149

Click Here to Register for 8:38 PM Pacific
If you are only able to join us via the phone, here is the phone number and access code to join the listen only call:Dial In Number:Attendee: 773-945-1011, access code 288-261-525

Trim in 24

That's my goal. I have realized that for the past week I've been walking aroung in stretch pants and a big shirt - a sure sign that things need to change!

Great weather today, too. So I have no excuse for not at least taking a walk around the block.
Of course Advocare is going to help me do this. I need to be sure that I get good nutrition in my body so that it works more efficiently.

Here's the plan -I do a 10 day Herbal Cleanse and then Lean in 13. Lean In 13 focuses on eating clean protein, from lean meats and Muscle Gain, as well as fruits and vegetables in a "zig zag" kind of combination that helps you burn fat, cut cravings and get over that plateau.

After that I get back to the everyday routine that I learned with Commit2Fit. You know, 5 small meals, lots of water, etc.

I am doing the Citrus Herbal Cleanse. I like the "scrub ya clean" type of fiber. It's Old School, you have to stir it up & drink it fast - not for everyone. Peaches & Cream Herbal Cleanse is smoother and may be a better choice for most.

I have to remember what the Herbal Cleanse is all about - CLEANSE. So the only other supplements I will be taking are OmegaPlex and Catalyst. Of course I also will drink Spark or Slam and have a Meal Replacement Shake for breakfast.

As for what to eat, pretty simple really, just stay away from alot of fat and don't eat anything white (rice, sugar, flour). And drink lots of water.

It's just a couple of weeks, and a great way to get back to healthier eating, drop a few pounds and have more energy.

MyFitnessPal.com is an excellent free website to use to keep track of your daily foods, calories, protein & carbs.

This is a good time to get started. Advocare Success School is coming up Feb 20, I don't want to be wearing stretch pants that weekend.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Advocare Endorser Drew Brees: AP Offensive Player of the Year

Congratulations to Advocare Endorser Drew Brees
Brees named AP Offensive Player of the Year.

The New Orleans Quarterback threw for 5,069 yards, only the second time in history a player has surpassed 5,000 yards passing in one season.

Brees' performance earned 22 votes in a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the league.

Click here to learn more about Brees' accomplishments and his favorite Advocare products.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Team Call - listen here to the recording

We had a fantastic team call Sunday night with Hall of Famer Mark Leitgeb and other Advocare leaders.

For those of you who missed it, CLICK HERE to listen now.

8 Top leaders gave their insights for exploding your business in January.

This is an enormously important training/team call. Hope you enjoy...and pass on to your new team members! You are champions, and we appreciate each and every one of you...and your contribution to this incredible company!

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

We're almost 2 weeks into the New Year, how's it going so far?

Our wonderful contributors at Advocare have some things to say about New Year's resolutions. You can read about them on our blog SupplementalScience.com and I have posted them here:

Making a New Year’s Resolution is a practice followed by millions of Americans at this time of year. The most popular ones seem to repeat year after year - you can probably guess what they are (and maybe you made some of these yourself):

Lose weight
Manage debt
Quit smoking
Eat right
Reduce stress

Such resolutions have the potential to change our lives in dramatic ways, but remaining committed to them throughout the year(s) can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

Try again. Everyone has made, and broken past resolutions, that does not mean that you won’t succeed this time. Start with a positive approach, including thinking about what has disrupted your good intentions in the past. Don’t discourage yourself with a negative outlook.

Don’t make too many resolutions. Trying to eat better, exercise more, quit smoking, and reduce stress is too much to tackle at once. Pick a realistic, attainable goal with a reasonable time frame.

Choose your own resolution. Make sure this is something that you want to accomplish for yourself and not for friends or family. When you attain the goal they will benefit from your success as well.

Make a plan and write it down. Plan what you’d like to accomplish in three or six months. Achieving small goals over time gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going. Writing your goals down is a good way to keep track of your progress.
Involve friends and family. They can support your efforts, and can motivate you to keep going. Setting a personal goal is not a “promise” which can never be broken. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by overstating what can be a realistic change you plan to make.

Forgive yourself. If you get off track, don’t think that you failed. Review your plan and make adjustments.

Congratulate yourself. Reward yourself when your intermediate goals or resolutions are met.
The most important point to consider when deciding on your resolutions is to decide if you are truly willing to make the change in your life. Deciding to make the change just to have a resolution will not keep you motivated to attain your goal. Many people fail because they are afraid or don’t fully realize how the goal can benefit their every day lives.

When you decide on your resolution, make a plan of action and list the ways it will improve your life. When you can see the prize, you are more likely to keep up the fight.

Possibly related posts:
10 Great New Year’s Tips
Reinvent Yourself! 20 Tips to Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolutions
Stick to your New Year Fitness Goals!
Ring In The New Year With Resolutions You Can

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Team Call Sunday night

Sunday, January 11th 8:00 PM Central
Call in: 773-945-1010 Access Code: 381-974-948

This call will be conducted again 9:30 PM Pacific
Call in: 484-589-1010 Access code: 475-977-860

Join Advocare Hall of Fame member Mark Leitgeb and a host of other major company leaders on this dynamic team training call.

You will get insight on:
1. Daily Method of Operation
2. Next Saturday's nation wide Two Thousand and Now training day
3. Information on the next big recruiting call to get you business!
4. Insight about the upcoming, explosive NEW product launch at Success School!

This training will range from 20-30 minutes in length. If you have a desire to make money in 2009, you do not want to miss this call. Your Check growth is parallel to the amount of distributors that you have on these calls. Help keep your team in "the know" by calling and promoting the call personally....The #1 reason why people fail in this business is lack of communication.

$500 Bonus

Advocare is offering up a $500 bonus to everyone who qualifies - no limits. Believe me when I say that it could be easy - but you have to be an Advisor.

Do you know 10 people who are disgusted with their health and want to lose weight and gain more energy? Do you know 3 people who are disgusted with their financial situation and want to earn an additional income every month.

Let's go - we'll do it together. Give me a call and let's get started and put some money in your pocket now.

A No Brainer

I was just thinking about what a great deal these bundles are. Discounted retail is great, but add to that your Distributor discount, and it gets even better.

So, If you would like to get the absolute best nutritional supplement products on the market at the absolute best price, now is the time to get on board with Advocare.

Buy a bunch of bundles to reach the Advisor level and you can get alot of product for your money. And be at the 40% discount level for life.

Besides the benefit of just taking the products and looking better and feeling better. You have an opportunity to turn around and sell them to make a profit, get tax benefits as a small biusiness owner, you'll get the award winning Debt Buster program for FREE and you'll be eligible for all kinds of great incentives and bonuses from Advocare.

Now is the time to do it. The prices are fabulous and Success School is just around the corner.

Look beter, feel better, make more money - it really is that simple.

Oh, did I mention the money back guarantee.

Give me a call so that I can share with you more how Advocare has changed my life and see how it can change yours.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Let's get this New Year started off right!

OK - No excuse - my little distraction is back to school today, Hubby's at work, got a few more 'Thank You' cards to get out, still gathering stuff for my garage sale, but right now I gotta focus, get back on track.

I need to drop a few Holiday pounds. I think I'll start with an Herbal Cleanse, and do the Lean in 13. I need to restock my Advocare shelves. This is a perfect time to do that now since Advocare is running some special pricing on bundles. Really, you need to check this out!

Advocare Trim bundle includes the new MNS Max3, Catalyst and ThermoPlus - Core nutrition, fat burning and toning, and energy for just $80! these normally retail for $104.40. And if you are an Advisor at the 40% discount level, it's just $48.

Advocare Active bundle includes a canister of Spark, Slam and Chocolate Nougat Snack Bars - that's your morning & afternoon beverage & a snack, a healthy sugar free pick me up, for $90! regularly $113.85. Advisors get the 40% discount making this bundle just $54.

A guy called me this morning, wants a canister of Spark - that's all. He's paying retail, that's $51.50 just for the Spark. I'll just order the Active bundle. So for me, with my discount, it's like I get the Slam and Snack Bars FREE.

Advocare Performance bundle includes a canister of Muscle Gain, Muscle Fuel and Nighttime Recovery - No matter your age or fitness level, feed & strengthen your muscles with this bundle for just $110! 40% discount makes this bundle $66 - about equal to the retail cost of a canister of Muscle Gain alone.

By the way, I cannot tell you enough about how great Nighttime Recovery is. If you have Tylenol PM in your medicine cabinet, you need to throw it away and replace it with Nighttime Recovery. Of course it's great for achy muscles after a workout, or anytime, like after a long day of driving or any kind of stress. And you won't have to worry about ruining your liver. Has a bit of Arginine too. Guys, try it and see what happens when you have increased circulation and try to roll over in the morning - I think you know what I'm talking about!

There's more -
including the incredibly easy way to get a $500 bonus! But it's late.

I'll finish this up tomorrow with hot links and pics. Call me if you need something sooner.