Helene the Fighting Machine!!!

Hope 4 Helene

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, December 16, 2010

9 days and counting

Can you even believe that Christmas is almost here??? 9 days and I still have shopping to do...

Last week I had an appt. with the neurologist who operated on my back and put the cement in. The results were not as good as we had hoped. He showed me on this hi-tech computer where the cement is. I still get quite a bit of pain from the tumor pressing on the nerves in my spine. So- he ordered another MRI which I had on Monday. This test was the worst.....over 2 hours in the machine, loud, pounding noises and I was not supposed to move. I had tears in my eyes when the tech pulled me out and then I just lost it. My legs and back were so cramped up I couldn't even put my shoes on..... So- tomorrow I will probably get the results from Dr. Kash- my oncologist. I get blood work, see him and then will have treatment. Hopefully it won't be chemo...I am trying to hold off on that nasty stuff for as long as I can. I bought trashy magazines and snacks for Linda and I while we wait during treatment. Yo gotta do what you gotta do to get through this...

Keep your fingers crossed that the mri is good and the blood work remains steady...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

back on schedule

I start treatment again Friday. Not the nasty chemo, but the Avastin and the bad boy shots. I have been off schedule due to back surgery. So.... once again every other week I go in to the Cancer Center.

I tried some shopping today and I don't really think that the back surgery was all that successful. There is one spot that I had radiated and shot up with cement that still bothers me. I guess I was hoping for a miracle but that tumor must really be rubbing on the nerves. I see the neuro dr. next week. I am suppose to be doing some back exercises but........ I have gotten kinda lazy with that.

It was great seeing my friend Kim over Thanksgiving break. She comes in with her husband to see her mom-in-law and George's family. You can blame her for this blog thingy...... I am grateful she started it tho. It helps me keep in touch with family and friends.


Monday, November 29, 2010


"Thank-You" for coming out and the yummy lunch! I am so sorry for the goof up...if you know what I mean! Hope you found a great tree, and happy decorating! Tis the season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A "52!"

About 6:30 last night I got a call from Dr. Kash, my oncologist. Needless to say, I was really nervous. I had blood work yesterday, saw the dr. and had 2 nasty shots in my butt. He called letting me know that the blood work came back really good- especially something they call cancer markers. I measured a 52 which is down quite a bit from before. I think I had highs in the 80's and am usually in the 60's. A normal non-cancer person would measure in the 20's I think. So- he was happy with the report and wanted to share the info. before he went out of town. This really impressed me. He was still at the hospital and took the time to call me to let me know the good news. He feels that these nasty shots are working- as they are estorgen inhibitors. My cancer is estrogen positive- so to not feed the tumors- I can't have any estrogen in my body.

Happy Thanksgiving to all- celebrate the little things.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Post Surgery

Hey there,

I am home already! The surgery went well and the dr. said I could go home if I wanted to. Soooo- home I am with plenty of pain killers. At least I think the dr. said surgery went well- I don't remember much. Rob, Linda and Denise joined me for the hospital party at Edward's. They would know more. I thought it would be best to sleep in my own bed and see Tyler. We have a standing appointment on Thursday night to watch Mentalist together. I sooo enjoy our time together- and I don't know how much longer he wants to hang with his Mom....

The operating room was quite intimidating! 6 huge computer screens were set up at the end of the operating table. I think it was a florascope (sp?) The dr. works at Edward's and Northwestern and is very confident in what he is doing. Called this his favorite surgery- a Kyphoplasty. I asked him if he had a good night's sleep and a good breakfast....his response "I went to church, too". Gotta love a dr. with a sense of humor.

Molly Jo is being a major PITA. She is not crazy about me sleeping in the middle of the day and when she does settle down, she likes to lay on top of me which causes mucho back pain today. She saves this shrill, sharp bark for me and does it right in my ear. Such a doll. Rob took her for a walk to "get the stink outta her." (Lynn's favorite saying)

Well- gotta go find my narcotics- and no I won't share.....

Thanks for your positive thoughts and prayers.
xoxo, HTFM

Monday, November 15, 2010

The b'day that just continues!

I received a great box of goodies from Kim who lives in AZ and started this whole blog thing....It is so much fun to receive gifts after one's actual b'day!

Tonight is the final celebration with Toni, Laura and Doreen. We always treat each other on our b'days. I am so fortunate to have such a huge circle of friends.

Thursday I am suppose to go in for back surgery. The dr. will drill holes in my vertebrae and fill the space with cement. YIKES! I will be over night at Edward's for pain control and to let the "cement" set. I don't even want to think about the next back surgery on my lower back- that will be more invasisve. Hopefully I will be able to get off a lot of these pain killers. I feel like a walking pharmacy sometimes.

Once again, thanks for all of your support and prayers.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

So Overwhelmed!!!!!

This whole b-day celebration has gotten out of hand!!! I am so humbled by the surprise party that Linda and the Bunco Babes had for me today! I don't even know where to begin! I know I will leave something out...... I am so tired but soooo excited with my celebration today!!!!

Linda, Tia and Sharon wanted to take me out for a b-day lunch, Sharon picked me up and we went to get Linda and lo and behold!!! The whole crowd was there, the house decorated to the nines (with pink!) there was food galore and wonderful presents to boot. A pink lit flamego joined us, along with balloons, flowers, pink paper balls hanging from the celing, a pink pig dressed with a boa- the list goes on. 2 Bunco Babes were missed- yet Kaleigh and Shea were able to party with us. (Kaleigh is my neice and Shea is Tia's daughter) The group-Tia, Alice, Kelli, Lisa C, Lisa G, Jenn, Sarah, Leane, Jana, Terese, Linda, Sharon, Meg (who did I leave out?) went in and got me the coolest shoes ever! Even Tyler thinks they are "swag." They are pink patent leather Dansko shoes that have the b/c symbol on them. I told them that the shoes reminded me of a little girl getting her first pair of "Mary Janes.". Sooo totally cool and comfortable. Everyone gave me some kind of "pink" or sparkly ornament- then Linda had a 3 foot bag filled to the top with every imaginable gift- she went overboard this year! The sweetest thing is a silver bracelet that is engraved, "chance made us sisters, hearts made us friends." That about covers it all.

I went home with tons of food, which of course the boys tried to devour as soon as I walked in.

This party is so memorable and I am so thankful for my family and friends. I need to celebrate every day as a "birthday" am am grateful for the funs times I am able to have. It was so nice to be together on a Saturday afternoon- we have such hectic lives with family, work and obligations- that we need to take time and be together. Getting a little teary eyed- and Molly Jo is fighting for my attention once again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lisa G the cooking Machine!

Lisa G is such a hoot! She just complains that she can't cook- what a bunch of hooey! Lisa brought dinner over for my family and we ate her beef for 3 days!!!!! Of course the brownies went in 2 days. You go girl!

This week has been one of birthday celebrations! Rob and Tyler celebrated last night with me as Rob has parent conferences tonight. Jean-Marie treated me to lunch today and Mollie Jo treated me to a nap this afternoon. I just can't get over this tiredness. I go in for treatment tomorrow but I am hoping my energy level will improve.

I will be having back surgery on the 18th- the neuro surgeon will drill holes in 2 of my vertebrae and put in cement to block the tumors from the nerves. I am getting quite nervous about this procedure. If I can get off some of the pain meds I may have more energy.

Here's to celebrating more birthdays! I still get to go out for lunch on Sat. with my "peeps." A week long b-day party!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time has gone by...

Hey there,

Seems like I have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to blog. Karen, my former next door neighbor from Naperville, came up to visit this past weekend from Kentucky. Karen was my friend who got us the house in Sanibel last May. I still think about how beautiful that trip was. Our boys grew up together for awhile and we have shared some great times together. So this past weekend was quite the whirlwind. The "girls" went out Friday night and then couples came over Saturday night. Our get-together turned in to my own b-day party! Liz, Holly, Karen, Denise and Julie were so generous and gave me fabulous gifts. I was overwhelmed. Thanks to Denise and Rob, things got cleaned up and we got to bed by midnight- which was pretty late for me. I miss Karen already! More on presents later. I have to much to tell!

My energy level is not quite what I hoped it would be. When I don't have to work or have a dr. appointment, I seem to sleep like a teenager- one day until noon! I don't like this aspect of this disease as I feel I am wasting time by sleeping. I did make it through today and yesterday without a nap. So maybe slowly I will regain some energy. I go to the Cancer Center this Friday for shots, an infusion of Avastin and an infusion of a bone drug. No chemo!!!!!! I still experience daily nose bleeds from the Avastin. That I can live with.

The wonderful people at work had a little b-day party for me yesterday. What a surprise! Karen- who retired- came in to help celebrate. She knows me so well.....she gave me a Bear's t-shirt that says "Real Bear Fans wear Pink"! I think Judy was the instigator of the beautiful pink and white pearl bracelet that is the Breast Cancer bracelet from Zales. I love presents! Barbara found this really cool b/c pin that has some funk to it!

Gotta go...Rob brouight home dinner- Ribs! Yum


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kaleigh and her New "Do"

My neice Kaleigh got a pink hair extension put in her hair for a breast cancer donation! There are some salons who are sponsoring this during October. I told Kaleigh that next year- I want one, too! My hair has been growing a little- it is about an inch long, but it it very fine like a baby's. I have some bald I still can't go without a hat or wig. Around the house the boys are ok with it. I have to keep a hat handy near the door in case someone stops by. The color is a little lighter- but still no grays! That's right.... my sister and I don't have any grays, either did our Mom when she passed. We swore she dyed her hair cause she was 74 and had no grays. I am hoping that since I am off the Taxol my hair might grow a little more.

My bottom is still so sore from those shots! I think I get the double shots again in 2 weeks. It was kind of nerve racking having 2 nurses come at me with big ol' needles and giving me the shots in tandum. I guess that's better than chemo.

As my friend Kim says, "Gotta go burn dinner."


Friday, October 22, 2010

Guarded Good News!

The CAT scan showed the tumors as being "stable", however there are 2 "hazy spots" that are new on one of my lungs. They don't know what the spots are. Sooooo- I am officially off of the chemo drug- Taxol and still on Avastin- which is an infusion drug that is suppose to limit the blood supply to the tumors. The Avastin causes me to have bloody noses and makes it more difficult to heal sores. I started on shots in my butt today that are estorgen inhibitors. It was weird- both nurses came in and gave me the shots at the same time in either cheek. It was better than doing one and then the other as the serum is very thick and hurts going in- better than chemo. I will still be on a monthly bone infusion drug. If the blood work comes out ok and I feel ok, the plan is to rescan in 2-3 months, based on the tumor markers in the blood work. This is sure more info. than you want to know!!!!

I have back surgery scheduled for Nov. 18th. The neuro surgeon will go in and drill holes in 2 vertebrae and fill the area with cement. This will hopefully get rid of some of the pain in my upper back where the tumors are. Later on, the other surgeon wants to go in and file down the stenosis that has developed in my lower back. What a life it would be to have less back pain!!!!

Football for Tyler is over and I am grateful we made it through without an injury. Only 3 more years to go. He made a touchdown last night which was cool. I was happy that I was able to go to all 9 of his games as I missed so many baseball games in the spring and summer.

Molly Jo is getting bigger and bolder. Like a 4 year old, she gets annoyed when I am on the phone. She is a diva dog, as she sleeps in with me when I need to. Hopefully- I will gain back some energy in a few weeks as I am off the Taxol. The pain meds cause me to be very tired but if I have the surgery- who knows? I may get that Type A personality back.

My Bunco Babes have been so helpful in making my family and I meals. It has been such a blessing. Two associates at work- Jenny and Barbra have also made me meals the past 2 weeks. Then Denise sent Chuck over with homemade stew and a homemade apple pie this week. I just wish I had more of an appetite- I am sure that will come with being off the Taxol. The boys are sure appreciative of all of the food. Having the meals has really helped me not to have to worry as much.

I so appreciate all of your prayers, good thoughts and positive karma. Keep it going....

xoxo, HTFM

Monday, October 18, 2010

A no chemo week

I was off chemo last Friday and started to feel a little better. It takes me longer to get back my energy now than when I first started treatment. I had a CAT scan last Thursday and see the dr. this week for the results. If the tumors are still "stable" I may be going off chemo for what I call a chemocation. We won't know for how will depend on the next set of scans and an MRI. I will have to go in to the Cancer Center every other week for an infusion of Avastin- a drug that cuts off the blood supply to the tumors, have a monthly infusion of the bone drug and have a monthly shot. Not quite sure what the shot is for- possibly a maintenance drug to cut off the estrogen to the tumors. So- pray for good results for this Friday......I will be so disappointed if I have to continue chemo. The chemicals seem to be just building up in my body and it is so difficult to rally and feel better. Still all I want to do is sleep. I woke up at 6 this morning to see Tyler off to school. Molly Jo and I went back to bed until Linda Sue called at 9:45 wondering if I was still sleeping! I was never a sleeper or a napper and that is all I want to do- sleep late and nap in the afternoon. (So does Molly Jo my diva dog!)

Tyler is finishing up football this week. It will be nice to have him home before 6 at night. His last game is Th and I will just be overjoyed if we get done with the season injury-free! Then only 3 years to go hoping he doesn't get hurt! I am such a mom....

Please keep the prayers and positive karma going. I appreciate everything!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Black Monday...

Yesterday was the worst ever. I am really weak today and am forgoing work tonight on the advice of my friend Denise. I am so hoping that last Friday was the final chemo for awhile. I think the toxicity is just building up too much and attacking everything else in my body. I am a strong lady and this sh_t is just bringing me down. I never miss work! Oh well, Chuck- Denise's husband - thinks I should just retire and play with him and his grandkids. Not a bad idea....

I think it is almost official....Karen from Kentucky is coming up for a weekend on the 22nd!!!! I just miss her so much. She was my next door neighbor in N'ville and our boys grew up together. Karen knows how to have fun and always cheers me up with her cards and gifts she sends in the mail. Just thinking about all of the fun times we have had makes me tear up. More later....


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sending hugs your way!

Hi Helene, I'm sending you strength to make it through your next chemo on Friday. Then-chemo holiday. I think you should not be nervous about taking a break. You are going to be monitored all the time. It will be nice to hopefully feel better for a longer length of time. Nancy's mom has had a few holidays from her chemo and has had good results for a couple years now. If need be, she started it up again, then took a break when the doctors said so. You need to regain your strength!

I'm so proud of you! You have powered through this like a super woman with special strength. When you are feeling better, we need to go out and pamper you with a fancy dinner.

Hang in there this week! And remember, sleep when you need to, eat when you want to and smile lots-it helps. Oh, and a glass of wine once in a while does wonders!

Love ya sister, Julie

Friday, October 1, 2010

23 down and 1 to go!

I had my 23rd chemo treatment today....Linda took me and just in her "spare time" made choc./peanut butter bars and oatmeal apple bars- some for me and some for our fabulous nurses. I don't know how she gets everything done! At the drop of a hat, she was here on Tuesday to take me to the pain clinic at Edward's in Naperville. I was going to go by myself, but she drove over when she found out I was going that morning. Thank goodness, as I had a really awful Monday and was not feeling the greatest on Tues. The neuro doctors want to put cement in my back where the tumors are to separate the nerves that cause me pain. Then after this heals, another neuro doctor wants to go in and scrape or file off all of the stenosis in my lower back. The pain I have in my lower back is from back surgery I had 25 years ago. I would love to not have so much pain and not have to take so many pain pills. The pain pills also cause me to be tired and lethargic. So..... more dr. appts. to schedule and another CAT scan and MRI.

Doreen called me on Monday afternoon and from what I must have said to her, she said that she would drop off dinner around 6 pm. This was such a blessing, as the thought and smell of food was making me nauseous. Tyler and Rob come home starving and I had a nice meal for them. What a friend!

I was lucky to be able to go to Tyler's football game on Thursday. I ran all of my errands on Thursday and was really tired by the end of the day. It felt good to be able to do "regular" stuff.

Continue those prayers and positive thoughts!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Plan and the Party

Rob, Linda and I met with my dr. on Friday and here is the plan:

I had chemo this past Friday and will have 2 more treatments.

The week I am off I will have a CAT scan. If all is well... I will go off the Taxol (the main chemo drug with all of the nasty side effects) I will stay on the Avastin every other week, have a bone infusion drug once a month (like I currently do) and then have some kind of shot once a month. I am hoping that my energy level will return and maybe my hair, too! Then wait 2-3 months with monitoring of blood work, then recan to see if I can continue on maintenance meds. I am very nervous about going off the chemo....I am afraid the tumors may return- or come back in other places......I guess we have to take a chance.

So, I leave the dr. office and go back for chemo- to the room I usually have that has a view of the waterfall and has 2 windows. I opened the door and closed it becasue someone was in there! Low and behold it was Tia and Sharon- who with the help of Linda decorated the entire room in pink: pink balloons, pink circles on the wall (pealable) pink candy, pink cupcakes, pink presents, pink streamers, pink suckers, the list goes on! What a surprise and the best chemo day I ever had! Linda baked sweets and Tia made the ham" sammies" and Sharon got these to die for gooy pink cupcakes....I was vaclempted!!! Then the gifts! Tai had on this really cute pink sweatshirt that said "Pink- the color od courage" then Linda put hers on, Sharon who was dressed in pink went and got hers- then I got one! More later on the party....I am burning dinner.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chemo and dr. day

I am sitting here, drinking my diet coke and eating my muffin- contemplating today and having chemo another round. I soooooo enjoyed feeling almost "normal" this week. I was able to go to our first bunco of the year and enjoyed seeing all my bunkettes- except for a few who were out. Last weekend I was able to go to Galena with 3 friends- Laura, Toni and Doreen to relax, shop and eat! Probably overdid it a little- as I slept until 10:30am on Mon. when Mollie Jo wanted to get up.

Rob is meeting Linda and I at the Cancer Center to go to my dr. appt. By now, my dr. should have gotten a note from my second opinion dr. at Rush. My dr. is a little more conservative and I am ok with that.

Well, Linda Sue will be here soon to drive Miss Daisy. Thanks for all of your support.
xoxo, HTFM

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thinking of You

No matter what the doctor says tomorrow about whether or not you will continue chemo I want you to remember this: you WILL NOT give up, you WILL NOT be defeated and you WILL remain Helene the Fighting Machine. Taking a chemo vacation just means you get to really enjoy all of the holidays that are coming, you have a birthday in November that we are going to celebrate to the fullest. We will eat so much chocolate that we will actually much fun does that sound?
Thinking of you always,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

so so tired...

I just can not get over how tired I am all of the time. I have been sleeping in as late as 10:30 and feel like I could sleep all afternoon- even tho I go to bed around 10pm. I have to go in to work this afternoon and I am gonna need some kinda pick me up. Chocolate????? diet coke?????

I am really mulling over the decision about stopping chemo. This weighs on my mind almost 24/7. My main fear is tumors coming back in other places- like my organs. The cancer is in my spine and I deal with the pain with a mess of drugs. This accounts for some of the sleepiness- taking the pain medication. Rob would like me to go to a pain clinic to discuss some of the concerns we have. I guess he doesn't want an addict on his hands! nI just hate making more dr. appts.

I am grateful that I can attend Tyler's football games. He only has 1 per week- unlike Baseball where he could have 5-6 per week and more if they had a tournament. He only has about 6 weeks left and then he will be in training mode for baseball. He won't officially start practice until Jan. (indoors!)

We had a great meal last night thanks to Jenn. She walked in with the food at the same time we came home from football. Tyler just started eating right out of the containers as she set them down. Trying to feed a growing teenager who exerts so much energy is a challenge! I appreciate all Tia has done to get the meals on wheels for our family. It has really helped out more than you can imagine....

Please keep up the postive flow of energy and good karma.

Friday, September 10, 2010

turned "21"

I had my 21st chemo treatment today and boy did this one zap me out for the whole day! Linda and I left at 9am, and basically I have slept off and on since we got home at 12:30. Linda made the nurses and chemo workers some delish treats and gave us a whole platter, too of homemade Twix bars.....I had lost a few lbs. but I imagine I will put them back on. I was sooooo needing a smoothie today around 3, Tia- bless her heart- went out and got me one from McD's. I am still a little nasuseous and my tongue is so tender that it tastd great and felt wonderful going down.

I think why I had such 2 bad days Wed and Th is because I screwed up some medicine......I went off it cold turkey because I thought I had ordered some in the mail - the 3 month version. Appartently I didn't and going off this med. cold turkey caused me to be so dizzy, lethargic, nauseous ect. Back on it today and hopefully I will recoup faster. It is difficult to keep all my meds sorted out. I am on 16 different RX ones and 5-6 OTC meds.

I was able to go to Tyler's football game Thursday and they got a win!! 14-0 vs. Plainfield South. I look like an old lady with my back supported chair- but with as many herniated discs as I have I would have a difficult time with the bleachers.

Those Bunco babes in Plainfield really are taking care of my family and me. We even had a friend of a friend- Tammy- volunteer to make a meal 2 weeks ago and this week Sarah really out did herself~ Tyler loved his special dessert! Besides helping out my family, it is fun to see what other people can cook. Again- much appreciation goes to Tia for organizing this. Through Tia~I have learned to be gracious and not say no when people are wanting to help me out. I guess you can teach a "seasoned" dog new tricks!

We are just taking it easy this weekend- may have over done it last weekend. I need to "save" my enregy as I am going to Galena with Toni, Doreen and Laura on the 18th- just one night. we plan to relax, shop and eat! I am so thankful to Laura as she is helping me out with all my medical bills- and just tells me what ones to pay. It is such a relief to have this off my mind. Some days I just can't think! I am grateful for her accounting assistance.

So off chemo next Firday :) :) then I see my dr. the week after to discuss what the plan is. Kinda scared.....
xoxo, HTFM

Friday, September 3, 2010

2nd opinion and chemo # 20

Denise drove Linda and I to Rush Hosp. in Chicago to see my 2nd opinion dr. This basically took the whole day with driving, parking and waiting over an hour to see the dr. she also said I am "stable" but more in a good way. she would like me to take a chemocation, stay on the zomata (for my bones) and on the Avastin (suppose to cut off the blood supply to the tumors- currently being looked at to NOT be approved by the FDA- which then our insurance won't cover. this medication costs $100,000/year. YIKES!) The Avastin woud be everyother week with the zomata only once a month. This is something I look forward to, yet also am impossibly nervous about going off the Taxol- the actual chemo drug. My fears include the tumors returning in other organs or places.....or them getting so out of control that they can't be shrunk. There is just so much to think of.

Today mi amiga Karen Morrison took me to chemo appt. #20. Mollie Jo really liked meeting Karen esp. when Karen took her for a walk after my chemo appt. Karen stopped at Panera and brought our favorite Cinnamon crunch bagels. I feel so bad that I just doze off after the IV benedryl......then the Taxol takes over and I am out.

I am looking forward to going to Tyler's football game Sat. at 9:30. Just a low key weekend- having some family time and maybe some retail therapy!

Shake the beads, bang the gong, cross your fingers that we make the correct decisions.

Monday, August 30, 2010

19 and counting...

I had my appt. with my oncologist last Friday. He described my condition as "stable." Not what I really wanted to hear.....the tumors are about the same and no new ones have developed. I am back on chemo- 2 more weeks on, off a week, 3 more weeks, then ?.... On Thur. Denise and I are going to see my dr. at Rush who I saw last in April. I just want to make sure they are not missing anything or maybe there is a new drug out there with less side effects. Being tired, nauseous and lathargic were my major issues this weekend and today.

I was fortunate that I got to see my friend Kim from AZ for a couple hours this Sunday. She and George, her husband, came in to see George's mom and family. It is so hard to say goodbye after I see her. She is the one who started this blog and made all the wristbands. If you haven't gotten a wristband- they are going fast and I only have a few left. If I fail to give you one, I apologize! I have chemo brain and the papers to prove it....

Keep on prayin'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Semi-Normal Week

That's right- a semi normal week- and I have been doing so much I haven't had time to blog!!
Today Denise and I went to see the Tall Ships at Navy Pier. We had a wonderful boat ride on one of the largest ships "The Windy." It was an absolute beautiful day- it almost made me cry.

Tomorrow I get the results of the Cat Scan and the MRI I had done. So far, I have had 18 chemo appointments. It would be a miracle if the tumors had totally disappeared- but I know this is not possible. I feel like I will have to continue with chemo for a while longer. The neuropathy in my feet has worsened a little, but I don't have it in my hands, yet. I will post the results on the blog- if I can understand what the dr. says. Sometimes he talks in a roundabout way..... and doesn't answer the questions I have. There may be no real answers- as what I am going through is so individualized.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Looking forward to no Chemo

Thanks right- I am off chemo this week. On Friday I have a CAT scan, Monday I have an MRI, Fri. the 27th I see my doctor for the results and then Sept. 2nd I have an appointment at Rush with Dr. Lincoln.

There has been some news discussion about the drug Avastin that I am on every other treatment. The FDA may take away its approval as they feel the drug does not have enough proof that the benefits outweigh the side effects and costs. . Should this happen- the ins. companies won't cover it and this drug costs about $100,000/year. This drug does cause me to have alot of nose bleeds, but the premise is that the drug shuts off blood supply to the tumors. We shall see.

I am having quite a bit of neuropathy in my feet and some in my calves. This is a side effect of the Taxol that I am on. It is also the drug that causes hair loss- but shrinks the tumors. I have been a little unsteady on my feet at times- esp. if I have been on my feet all day. The dr. needs to monitor this as the neuropathy can become permanent. Anyone know any cures for neuropathy? . My friend Karen sent some peppermint lotion and moisturizing footies. I will try this tonight. My little friend Shea made me a pink, purple, and white braided band to use as a bracelet- maybe I can use it as a ankle bracelet and all the love she put in to it will help my tired dogs....

Tyler starts High School next Wed. My Baby!!!!! He has had double football practices- yet loves going. I have lucked out a little as the other Mom prefers to drive the mornings at 6:45 am- when she can in our carpool. I think I have to get up early Th and Fr. I am so not ready to get up at 5:45 when he starts school. I love to sleep in and Mollie Jo is starting to like it, too!

Keep shaking those rosary beads, bang the gong, pray to the east- whatever ya got- for good results on my tests.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Feelin' All Righty

When I just have 3 days of feeling ok- I tend to get in as much as I can and I tend to over do it. Wasn't too exciting- Polish Cleaning Day- me being Polish and the one cleaning...

Yesterday a former student invited me and 2 other COD people out to lunch. I have worked with her for 3 years and it is hard to say goodby! It was really nice to have a student buy me lunch!

Thanks to Lisa C. for a delicious meal on Monday. I can't believe that there are still people out there who make homemade pies- including the crust! Lisa made these wonderful chicken enchiladas, homemade salsa and this incredible chocolate pie.
the pie was hard to hide from the boys as the pie needed to be refrigerated. However, I did hide the pink m and m's that Tia and Shea brought over- yep- PINK M & M's!!!! Tia aslo brought over her homemade chicken soup (also good for the soul)great bread and cookies I couldn't hide- but did divide so everyone gets their fair share. Shea made me the sweetest pink, purple and white braided bracelet- I am all set with my M & M's for Friday- chemo factory day.

Miss Molly Jo is still a pickle and still has not decided that she wants to be potty trained. Yes- she is so aware of what to do and almost makes a game out of going potty inside at times. We have our last session of puppy kindergarten tomorrow, a couple weeks off then we graduate to continuing puppy class.

Tomorrow Jean-Marie and I are going to visit resale shops to get ideas for her shop. She is still negotiating on a store and is hopeful things will work out. Unfortunately- many store assoc. don't allow resale shops in their strip mall or center. So please keep saving things you normally would give to Goodwill or AmVets for her shop. Remember- 100% of the profits after expenses- will go to charity.

My baby started hs football today- 90+ degrees - 2 practices then lifting. He hasn't passed out yet- but I am hoping he goes to bed early. Enough of this sleeping until 11 stuff!

Keep the prayers and + thoughts coming.
xoxo, HTFM

Sunday, August 8, 2010

got a buzz on...

That's right- you read it correctly! I decided I was NOT going to go through what I did last I started in right away with the "happy" drugs and the pain killers this am. So, I am doing much better than last Sunday- not weepy, not as tired, not suicidal and less pain- but it will probably catch up with me tomorrow. I kinda am jumpy and got the hoo-hoo going on, hopefully this blogy thing will make sense.

Had treatment #17 on Friday. I was thankful that Sharon could go with me. She had a goodie bag of treats and a trashy magazine- we were set to go. As usual, I fell asleep and don't remember getting home then slept it off for a few hours. I am just in a fog after getting all of the pre-treatment drugs and the Taxol aslo makes me sleepy.

Don't know if I mentioned it, but Jenn brought over a fabulous meal last Monday- Italian beef with peppers and cheese, cheesy potatoes and this jello fruit salald that we just devoured. Having friends cook once in awhile really has been helpful- esp. on Mondays when I am so tired.

Gotta go- tough to type with the jitters and a broken nail!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Krafty Kim"

Yes, my friend Kim who started this whole blog thing has been up to some pretty nifty crafting and you my friends will be the receipients of her work. Kim ordered "Hope for Helene" wristbands in hot pink! She added a pink bling to them and also made mini magnets that say the same thing. She is so darn creative and thoughtful. I will give them out when I see you and if I forget- remind me! They are very cool- may not go with all of your outfits- but who doesn't love pink! She sent them in this box that I thought was a cool gift and I opened it up and out poured all of these bracelets and magnets in little pink jewelry bags. Thanks my friend. Wish you lived closer..AZ is kinda a hike!

Feeling just ok today- took some anti nausea medicine and it helped. Mollie Jo and I went for a little walk- her 8 lb. body can't make it very far- only to the front of the suvbdivision and back- with a few reststops..... That is about as far as this body will take me- still having quite a bit of back pain. The boys are working out and it is jice and quite- I should take a little nap but am in the middle of laundry.

Once again- thanks for all you guys do.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chemo # 16 today

Linda Sue, Rob, Tyler and I talked to the oncologist today. Some confusion over what to do next...I will have 2 more chemo appts. then a CAT Scan and MRI. Then after those results we will decide what the course of actions is- possibly start an oral medication- that would inhibit estrogen production. The IV avastin I get by IV every other appt. has been in the news lately... The FDA is saying it is possibly not working so then insurance and Medicare won't cover it....The dr. said out of pocket costs a year is about $100,000. YIKES.

I received a package in the mail from Tracy, my sisrer-inlaw, Billy's wife. She sent me 3 different comfy caps to wear around the house and possily to bed! I am having trouble keeping caps on my head when I sleep. Two of these caps Tracy sent have ties in the back- which might help with my small head. One of them is white and super soft. It looks so comfy!
How very thoughtful! I guess the hats are handmade at an Artisans Exchange in Oak Park. At home, I never where a wig around- too uncomfortable.

After Chemo today, I slept from 1 until almost 6 pm! Yikes- I have never taken that long of a nap. Mollie Jo isn't in to that long of a nap. I think the boys left at some time, left her out of her cage, tried to block the stairs, but that little devil dog (DD) got around the fence, made her way upstairs and was crying out side my dooor.....true love!

I actually got to go out lasr night with 3 girlfriends to celebrate one of their birthdays! Big news-I had a Blue Moon beer and didn't get an upset stomach! We walked around Oakbrook and I just felt so normal, like a regular person- that is what I am hoping for- just doing normal things with friends, being a mom, wife, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, mentor, friend-nothing special- just a normal everyday person.

Keep shakin' those rosary beads, banging on the gong, saying the prayers- I truly believe all of your positive thoughts are helping.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hi Helene!

Hi girlfriend, thinking of you. I love reading your posts. I'm so proud of you and feel lucky that I get to experience a little of your journey through this blog thing! I love that you share what folks send your way, whether it be food or trinkets. No one takes it as you want "stuff." We all appreciate hearing what is going on in your day to day!

I'm glad you are feeling good on your one week chemo holiday! I can't imagine what you are going through and I pray for you every day. You don't deserve this AGAIN! Kiss that puppy for me and enjoy the feeling good days!

Love ya, Julie

Monday, July 26, 2010

Appreciate feeling "normal"

Since last week was NO chemo- I realize how wonderful it is to feel "normal". No nausea, not as tired and even had a mimosa last night! I just dread starting a new cycle this Friday. I will be seeing my oncologist, too. I have had 15 chemo sessions since this all started. I gotta remember the "normal" days when I get to feeling so down. I know I have already over done it today, as my back is really hurting and I had to up the pain meds and ice. This is such a hard thing to do- remembering to take it easy- even if I am feeling semi ok.

I received the sweetiest pink bracelet from Kaleigh's friend Haley. Haley goes to MI with her family and rents a cabin close to Linda's. I think Haley is in 5th or 6th grade. The bracelet has the b/c symbol on some of the beads. How thoughtful of her. Our family rented a cabin at the same beach- starting when I was 7- and my parents went for about 25+ years. Some of my best growing up memories were from Gregory Beach. The beach is very rustic, the cabins are around 100 yrs. old and have pot belly stoves for heat! They added on indoor plumbing before we started going there. Anyway, Linda Sue brought me home the cutest light pink t-shirt with "Gregory Beach" sewn on it with the b/c symbol below it. So thoughtful- my sister. I don't write about people giving me stuff to get more stuff....... I just am so appreciative of what everyone does for me. I receive cards in the mail sometimes, and they usually come on a day or time that I really need a little tlc. I know alot of you are praying for me and that too, is very much appreciated.

I think I will follow suit with Mollie- she is taking a nap and I am running out of steam- overdoing things.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's Been a While

Hey there,
This has been a hectic week and I kinda forgot to blog this thing. With potty training, early childhood puppy school and having to get up early with Molly- I can see why my friend Karen Mo. wants an older dog! She(Mollie Jo- not Karen!) had a vet visit and is up to 7 lbs. but should get to about 18ish lbs.

Thanks to Jana for a wonderful meal that she cooked on Monday. Tyler sure chowed down! I have talked to Tia ALOT- about just acepting what people are willing to do for me, as I don't want to take advantage of my friends. So, thank you Tia for straightening me out.

Last week, Sharon gave me the most delicious chocolate for my "stash" for chemo day. This chocolate that she got locally, is better than Godiva! But as you all know my "boys", I have to hide my stash- literally!

I finished up my summer semester with students and just need to do grades and paperwork. I start back up Aug. 24. I was suppose to work 1 night and 2 days next semester but thought long and hard about those 3 days are the days I feel the closest to "normal". So I am not working on Thursdays for COD but am going to work at Jean-Marie's Resale shop on Thursdays for a few hours and try and see friends etc. I am limited to how much time I can volunteer with the chemo schedule. I am hoping that I can "drop in" and help out when I feel well enough. Remember to save your items for her resale shop. If you need to get the stuff out of your house, I can come and pick it up. Jean-Marie is still negotiating on a store site and is getting frustrated it is taking so long. My sister, Linda Sue, volunteered (kinda) to help Jean-Marie with the store floor plan and store arrangement. Thanks to Judy, Sandy P. and Doreen for donating their items for the shop already. The only items that Jean-Marie is not taking are electronics.

Once again, thanks for your continued support, prayers and + karma!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sandy, Scott and Luke

We were able to finally see the Pederson's who live in Oak Park. Between Tyler's baseball and football schedules and Luke's baseball and wrestling schedules, we haven't had time to get together. They came over Saturday loaded down with food! Like Sandy says, "That's how we show our love."..... I felt ok enough to go out to eat- had some trouble with my tongue- still burns a lot from the chemo. Sandy made this amazing desert-like a brownie truffle with Heath bars- to die for!!! Then Sandy had made us dinner for Sunday night and brought flowers on top of all that! We left and Luke at our house with a pizza (they were happy) and we went out to catch up. Just wish I could have a beer once in awhile.....I tried a few weeks ago and just felt really sick to my stomach. Booze and chemo aren't good mixers.

I think the extra pain meds are making me even more tired.....I am definitely in nap mode lately- esp when Mollie Jo gets me up at the crack of dawn. I am so looking forward to not having chemo this Friday- my week off!!!!! Hopefully I will get a lot of things done around here and get a head start on the fall term. I finish up summer term this week at COD.
Thanks again for the positive karma!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I literaly have a PITA......the nerve endings in the butt coming from my back are on fire and causing a lot of sciattica. I missed Lynn's going away party last nite and felt bad I couldn't go...but low and behold- Lynn came over after chemo today with her famous ham sandwiches made with pastry puff dough and rollie polllies! Not only did I get some good food I can eat - but I got Lynn to myself for an hour! (except for Mollie Jo who adored Lynn.) Lynn gave me her "sercret" recipes...but she just cooks with a little of this and that method...I don't think mine will turn out the same way. We sure will miss Lynn with her sense of humor AND all the wonderful things she cooks and bakes.

Linda went with me to Chemo today and we read our trashy magazines. I brought in the homemade caramel corn mix for the nurses and gave Linda a big container to take to the lake- also gave Lynn her own stash of the mix. That stuff with the cashews in it is so addicting!

I am wearing a new bright pink shirt today.... it says "Fight Like a Girl" with the b/c sign and boxing gloves! I love it - Denise found it and sent it. The people at the cancer center get a hoot out of Linda and I when we come in dressed in pink- with pink bracelets and me with my big pink polka dot bag with all my "babies" and pink blankie Shea made me! Whatever it takes people.....

I am hoping to find that you tube video Tia talked about. Don't think I have ever seen a you tube video- I am so behind the times...

Go to YouTube for Dance Video

Well, it looked like it would work for a minute there but I guess you need to go to YouTube for the video. When I clicked play from the blog you couldn't hear the sound of the music and you REALLY want to hear the music on this one. I'm pretty sure the file is just too big.

Just go to "So You Think You Can Dance FIX YOU" and its the 2nd one under chiclou that has the best quality. Enjoy...

Helene - we REALLY missed you last night at Lynn's going away dinner.

Thinking of you - through dance

I'm not sure if this will work right the first time but will try to figure it out. I don't know how many of you watch the show "So You Think You Can Dance", but its one that I actually record and watch on occasion. This last week one of the dances was to the song "Fix You" by Coldplay. The choreographer did this thinking of his mother who just had a major surgery. I, on the other hand, thought of Helene the Fighting Machine through every step they took. So I wanted to share it with you all.

So You Think You Can Dance - FIX YOU

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Feeling kinda okay

I guess my new normal is how I feel today. Tired- but not overly, no nauseousness and a little itchy. I wish I could feel this good everyday! The neuropathy in my feet is getting worse- which is not a good sign for continuing chemo. It feels like my feet are always falling asleep. If the neuropathy gets too bad- it could become irreversible. I see the dr. again July 30.

I actually did some cardio the last 2 days, but took today off from exercising so I could rest up to go to work this afternoon. I only have this week and next at COD and then I am off until the 3rd week of Aug.

Linda surprised me last night and brought over dinner! She made this summer salad with chicken, lettuce (she said it was argula???) strawberries, homemade dressing and cashews. Then, like she doesn't have anything else to do...she made desert. There is enough salad leftover for me to eat before I go to work. YUM!!

It is just so difficult to figure out a short vacation for this summer. With treatment, football, Rob working part of the time and Mollie Jo- it would take a lot just to get away. Plus, Tyler does not want to hang with us- he wants to hang with his friends that include girls. I am just not ready for all this social stuff with him.

This is just one thing I can not even believe: I had a lot of dental work done- major bucks that we are paying off a little at a time. This has been ongoing for the last 5 years- with implants, surgery, caps, et. (many many caps) I got a call from the dentist's office and the woman who runs the office said that Dr. Crombie won't be sending me any more bills- that my balance is zero! I was totally dumbfounded! We owe over $2000. !!!!!! I guess the dentist (who I really like) found out I had cancer and 2 weeks ago the office sent me flowers out of the blue! Then this phone call....I just teared right up. Talk about a random act of kindness. How do you thank someone for doing that? I know we have payed out thousands of $$$, but then to do this? SO....if you need a good dentist, let me know. He is a regular dentist, but does alot of cosmetic dentistry and is a little anal about how the caps look- which is great for the patient.

Linda is taking me to chemo Friday am- then she is off to MI. I bought us "treats" and the rag magazines to read....until I fall alseep after the drugs hit me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chemo Factory Day

I had an early chemo appt- 8:30. Tyler and Rob came with me, then Rob took Tyler to Linda's to cut her grass and Rob came back to the Cancer Center. Denise arrived with these delish turtle brownies, then Rob had to go pick up Tyler so Denise drove me home. I am lucky that they built the Cancer Center so close- less than 5 minutes away if you catch the light. Who knows how long if you catch the train.....

I made a decision not to work all 3 of my "good" days next semester at COD. I think it will be too much and I don't want to rest all the time just to work. This was difficult for me to make this decision as I really enjoy what I do and I like my students. Sooo...this gives me more time to help out Jean-Marie with her charity shop. Remember to save your stuff! If you absolutely need to get it out of your home, call me and Tyler and I will pick it up. Jean-Marie is currently in negotiations for 2 sites so we may be able to drop stuff off soon.

Yesterday Tyler and I went to "Early Childhood Class"- also known as Puppy Kindergarten! What a hoot- we have homework.... Mollie Jo is responding-as puppy treats (thanks to Sharon!) are a motivator. Hopefully this is the first step in getting her trained to be a therapy dog at Edward's. That is down the road but it is good to have goals.

Mollie Jo and I are home alone as the boys went to a bb tournament in Orland Park. I must have been sound asleep when they left, becasue Mollie was next to me on the couch in the sunroom napping with me.

Keep up the positive karma, mojo, prayers- whatever ya got going!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Over Did It

I think I over did it this weekend..... I so want to be "normal" but I think I need to remember that I have this nasty disease and can't do what I want to. I am paying for it now. Thankfully, Tyler got up at 6 am with Mollie Jo...of course I came downstairs at 10 am and he had his 6 ft 1 inch body stuck in a love seat, there was Mollie running in circles and a little pile of poop on the floor while he snored away. Too cute except for the poop!

I did have fun at 2 bbq's- one on Saturday and one Monday. I think the Monday one put me over the edge- energy wise. I had fun shopping with a friend- "Retail Therapy"- I recommend it! Denise came over with a frozen 2 lb meatloaf- my boys do like their meat! It is really helpful to have meals in the freezer. Leanne offered Tim (who is a chef) to cook for us Monday- but we went to Liz's for a bbq. I talked to my brother Billy- which was nice getting caught up with him and what his kids are up to. Linda is in MI but keeps checking in. I am glad she got it in her head that she could go away and not have to be there for my chemo appts. i appreciate all she does- but she needs a life!

Going to work this afternoon- hoping the pain meds take hold soon. Since I overslept- I took my meds late. On Fri. at the dr. appt- we discussed pain management. I am worried that I will become addicted- however, Dr. Kash isn't. He said he does not worry about his cancer patients and esp. with me as I am trying not to take the drugs. I take 2 oxycontin a day (with a vicodin chaser or dialudid) and can't imagine how people take up to 50 of these pills a day. I don;t really think the radiation was a true success....I still have a lot of back pain where the tumor is near the spinal nerves.....

Many thanks go out to Laura- as she is helping me keep track of all the medical bills! What a huge relief for me. She came over yesterday and had figured out what we had paid, what we need to pay and where I am with my lifetime $. Our insurance only has a 2 million lifetime cap- which is not alot when I am looking at long term treatment. We are at about $225,000 right now. I am hoping that Obama's lift of the liftime cap happens sooner than 2014. We may have to have some lemonaqde stands or bakesales....... The hospital charges about $45,000 per month for chemo treatment! After our ppo deductions it is about $25,000 which is what they count for the cap. A lot depends on the new contract that they are working on in
Rob's district....they still have not finished it.

Sorry I am going on and on.....Billy said that this is probably therapeutic for me to write things out- and he is right.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Up with the "Baby"

Once again, Mollie Jo got me up way before 6 am....hence the early morning blog. I feel like I have a baby in the house- just one that I want to pee outside!

Had a busy weekend which helps me keep my mind off of "stuff." Katie and Tom visited from Iowa Friday after my chemo nap. We went to a party Sat. night with neighbors from Linda's subdivision- I have to borrow her neighbors as we are somewhat limited where we live... Sunday we stayed home and watched fireworks from our backyard- where we saw about 5-6 town's going off. Much to my displeasure, Rob and Tyler bought fireworks coming home from a tournament in Indiana.....Fireworks must be a right of passage for boys or something. I was worried he would loose a thumb and then how would he pitch or throw the football?? Last night I almost felt "normal" (my new normal) and had a bbq at Liz's house. When I am busy I don't have as many "pity parties!"

I caught up with my brother Billy who lives in Oak Park. I haven't heard from my brother Jimmy in a while. Linda is enjoying her family at their cottage in MI for another week. She was at last Firday's appt which was good, since I never remember fully what the dr. talked about. The dr. did comment on my Notre Dame t-shirt that Meghan got for me when she went to basketball camp there. "The Fighting Irish Fight Cancer"- very cute.

Thanks again for all of your support, prayers and positive karma....

Monday, July 5, 2010

We love Shrinkage!!!

So glad to hear about the shrinkage!!! We love shrinkage!!! Keep fighting girl!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Alleluia, Helene!!!! That is absolutely wonderful!! You ARE fighting this thing and WILL beat it.

After visiting with you the other day, all three of us agreed that you have an incredible positive attitude and that is half the battle! You go, girl!!

It was so fun visiting with you on Tuesday. Let us know when we can do it again. Next time I'll try to get Linda Rosensteil, (Ooops! Make that Vandre.) to join us!!


Hey there,

Saw the dr. yesterday. Rob, Tyler and Linda were there- what a support group! Linda came in from MI and the news was positive! The tumors are continuing to shrink and he rec. 2 more months of chemo and then another scan. I think that will be the protocal for awhile. Rob asked if I could go on some kind of maintenance pill instead of the chemo.....the long and short of it is not likely but maybe down the road. We discussed pain management for most of the visit, then I had chemo. Tyler and Rob stayed until I fell asleep, then Tyler had to Cut Linda's grass and Rob came back to sit with me. We got out of there around noon (can't ever remember going home) took a nap and then Katie and Tom from Iowa visited for a couple hours. Then they were off to north Chicago to visist their son, daughter-in-law and cute as a button grandson

I am looking forward to going to a BBQ this afternoon in my sister's subdivision. Sarah invited her bunco group of which I am lucky to be a part of. The bunco girls (or thier husbands!) really have helped me out making meals on the Mondays after chemo. That seems to be my worst day.

Here's to a wonderful holiday weekend for everyone. I think the positive thoughts and prayers have definitely made a difference- so continue them! Thanks...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday July 1

Hey there,
I have been on the go all week- when I feel better I try to jam in everything I can in a few days. Monday night I got to go out to celebrate Doreen's birthday with Laura and Toni. The 4 of us enjoy catching up. It is difficult to schedule these nights out with my chemo schedule, Toni, Laura's and Doreen's work schedules, mom stuff, sport stuff, etc.

Molly Jo went to her first baseball game with me on Tuesday night. She did pretty good, but had trouble keeping score... She is still getting us up at the crack of dawn- Rob got up early today and I slept in. She has about doubled in size and doesn't seem afraid of much.

I taught on Wed. and that went much better than last week. Yesterday I was able to go with Jean-Marie to visit sites for her new resale shop, "Sweet Charity Resale Shop." Remember to save your good stuff that you would normally give to Good Will for this shop. We are also saving plastic bags, shopping bags and hangers that you might get from a store- the plastic ones with metal. Sometimes stores will let you take the hangers home. The name of the charity is "Hearts for Service" with ALL proceeds going to people in need. Spread the word!

Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow- I find out the results of the CAT scan I had on Monday at my dr. appt. Then it is back to the chemo regime......gotta keep the faith

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday 6:15 am

Oh yes, Golly Miss Molly! Up today at 5:30 am......The boys had to get up to be out of here before 6 for a bb game in Lynwood. I actually felt semi normal for the first time in a while (since FL). I went to Tyler's game yesterday for this tournament. They won 16-0, but what was so great was just forgetting about the cancer thing, seeing him play and catching up with all the families on his team. If they make it into the championships later today, I am hoping I feel well enough to go. Thankfully Courtney and Holly came and let Molly out yesterday and gave her some company as I was gone for 5 hours.
Well, someone is chewing on my toes and wants to's not Rob! GTG!!

Friday, June 25, 2010


I's a no chemo Friday. YEAH!!!!!! I forget how wonderful it feels to not have to go get the poison dripped in to my body. I just want to feel normal again.

I had trouble blogging and honestly didn't feel much like typing this week. Thankfully Kim figured out how to get me back on. I finished radiation on Monday and with the chemo combo I really felt like sh_ _. I missed a dinner out with friends from work and struggled through work on Wed. It does not seem like the radiation worked as well as I was hoping. The pain near my upper spine is still there.... I have a CAT scan scheduled for Monday (so shake those rosary beads) and will get the results on Fri. July 2 when I see Dr. Kash.

PUPPY!!! Her official name is Mollie Jo. I really liked Lexie (Courtney Schmidt came up with that) but the boys liked Mollie Jo or MoJo. Teri G. got me started on MoJo which then became Mohamed Josephine.....but she is a Mollie. At 6 am I call her "Double D" for Devil Dog or as Denise said "Sybil Jo." However, no one sees her at 6 am but me. Oh no...when people see her she is the sweetest, cutest little puppy there is. She is usually very sweet. I got Tyler up this am to babysit her so I could sleep in. When I came down stairs he was wrapped in my pink and white polka dot blankie that Shea made for me and he was sound asleep. Mollie on the other hand was chewing on the blanket......those 14 year olds- they are all talk.

I am hoping to see Tyler play bb this weekend. I have missed so many games and that really pisses me off with this whole cancer thing. I like going to his games. He seems to understand, but I know it bothers him a little that I can't be there. When it is so bloody hot out- I can't be outside. Not too much shade at bb tournaments.

Keep those positive thoughts and prayers coming. Hopefully the CAT scan will show more shrinkage of tumors.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where's Helene???

Hi everyone!!! This is Helene's friend Kim!!! She is having trouble getting on the blog to be patient, I am trying to figure it all out! Hopefully she can post soon!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

So happy to hear that you got that new puppy!! She sounds like just what you need with the boys being off at BB so much. Now if I could just figure out how to find the picture of her that you posted!!

Somebody just sent me a short 12 minute film of Tom Petty making is latest CD titled Mojo! I vote for that name! Here is what I found as one of the definitions on the web: A magic charm or spell; Supernatural power or luck; Personal magnetism; charm; Sex appeal; sex drive; Illegal drugs. Which one works for you??

I hope you are doing well enough for Becky and me to come visit next week!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Way too Cute!!

This puppy is an absolute doll!!!!! Haven't firmed up a name, the boys have been gonesince 5:45 am for a bb tournament and should be home soon as it is 6 pm.
Thye may want to have a say so in the name category. I need to figure out how to post a picture of her on this blog thingy. We are 6-6 in pottying outside :) She loves t5o snuggle, play. sleep, snuggle. Her temperment is so easy going!!! She likes my sandals a little too much..gonna have to watch that stuff.

Feeling a little better today compared to yesterday. Glad I have someone to snuggle with on the couch with. The soreness is still in my esphogus and kinda in my throat. Free week from chemo coming up!!! Then next week after-cat scan then results July 2. Please keep those positive thoughts and prayers coming!

Yeah...puppy day!!!!

I think I am as excited as you about your new baby!!! Can't wait to see pix and hear about her!!! And...still waiting for the name!!!

pos from earlier post...

PLEASE do not think that I am asking for more gifts when I tell you about things that people have sent me. I am just letting people know how much I apprecdiate things and thier thoughtfullness. Many of you are still sending cards and making dinners for Monday nights (my worst day). HOWEVER- the most important things to me are the prayers and positve thoughts you are sending. Remember- it takes a mess of girlfriends and family members to kick this cancer in the ass- once and for all.

How much is that Doggy in the Window???

Today is the day!!! Holly will be picking me up in 2 hours to go get the new puppy. I am so excited that I couldn't go back to bed when the boys left at 6:45 am for a tournament game in Evanston. They drove all the way there yesterday in rush hour traffic and 10 minutes later they had to turn around and come home in rush hour traffic due to the game being cancelled due to the weather. SWo. far I have cought up on email, done 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and still have dusting to do. I need to pace myself as I am sure this new puppy will require a ton of energy.

Teri G got me started on a name for this little girl. I had some really girlie names picked out with the help of friends and Courtney. Teri said MoJo, which became Mollie Jo. I need some MoJo to get through this cancer thing.....Lexie Jo is still in the running along with Tessie Jo (Julie's fav). The boys couldn't come up with something sporty so they'll have to live with whatever I come up with. Tyler still wants to call her Boss.....BoJo just doesn't cut it for me.

Rob took me chemo yesterday. I ended up getting extra fluid as I was starting to dehydrate because swallowing hurts so bad due to the effects of the radiation. We got home -which I don't even remember- and then I slept for 4 hours after having slept an hour or 2 at the cancer center. My stomach is really giving me problems and I know I sound like a whiner.....sorry. No pity parties today!
Take care,xoxox
Ps. Julie sent me the cutest had in the mail- light pink with the workds believe across with the l being the cancer logo. Then she had HTFM embroidered on it. When does she have time to do this while working, taking her daughters to and from dance is beyond me! Too cute. My wardrobe is getting more and more pink things and I am loving it! Linda Sue gave me the sweetest shirt- light pink with hot oink letters I Fight with the i's dotted as b/c ribbons. How fun. Next time or so will tell you about the interesting Robin shirt she found for me.....But that is another story

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Still takin' naps...

Just like the life of a baby...I need to take a nap to make it through the day. Today I slept 2 hours before I went in to work at 2. Still weak in the knees and refluxish- but a little better today.

Found out I can bring my new puppy home on Sat.!!!!! Linda has a crate, a cute little dish and a small collar left over from Maggie. Can hardly wait until sat.

Work is going well- my students are great. One student who has spina bifida was back in the hospital and hasn't been able to come to class. It is exciting to see them make progress-even when they are 40 or 50 or 60 years old. These are the students who really appreciate all that I do with them.

time for ice cream...(I hear it is good for reflux..)

Monday, June 14, 2010

muy crappola

This seems to be my worst day so far.....last day of radiation and hopefully those side effects will ease up soon. It could be a couple of weeks before the radiation starts working. I am just not feeling well and am having a pity party. I am looking forward to that puppy to take my mind off of my troubles. 6 more days!!! Katie- Rob's cousin from Iowa- sent us a hot pink Susan G Koman leash- way cute. can't wait until she is walkable and I can walk again. I really miss my walks with Payton Jo.

I was so fortunate today with getting food! I am not real hungry (sweet tooth still reigns) but the 2 boys are hungry and I have no energy to cook. Linda Sue brought over this really refreshing frozen lemonade from Panera with soup and bread. I can always eat fresh bread. For dinner, Terese made moscacholli (sp?) casserole, g-bread and wonderful brownies with choc. frosting. How she had time to pull this off with a toddler and a newborn is beyond me. Don't know if I mentioned it, but Lynn brought over her famous rollie pollies and ham sandwiches after chemo on Friday. It only took us 2 hours to figure out how to post pictures to people of the new puppy. I am such a loser with technology.

I was so fortunate to have Karen M. take me to chemo last Friday. She has been through this herself and understands how much support it takes to kick this disease in the ass. I may have mentioned this earlier- but I do have chemo brain and am very forgetful.Gotta go- I need to lay down.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Puppy Pix!!!

That is the sweetest face!!! What a cute baby!!! I think you should go with Saddie Jo, Bella Jo, Daisy Jo, Emma Jo, Foxy Jo, Gabby Jo, Gracie Jo, Hailey Jo, Hannah Jo, Lacie Jo, Lexie Jo, Lilly Jo, Molly Jo, Roxie Jo, Sassy Jo, Tootsy Jo or Zoe Jo!!! If you do not like any of those...can not help you out!!!

My fav...Lilly Jo!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Puppy in 10 days!!!!!

Today Denise and I drove out to Peru, IL to visit some cockapoo puppies. In 10 days I am bringing a little girl puppy home!!!! I just can't wait, but they have to be 8 weeks old before they are separated from their mom. Soooo...I need a name and Tatiana won't cut it! Suggestions are welcome- but her middle name will be Jo after Rookie Jo and Payton Jo. Full grown she should be 15-20 lbs, and is darkish apricot in color- medium curly hair, with a white spot below her mouth- or as Denise calls it- "a soul patch." It was so difficult picking just one puppy out. The mom and dad dogs were on site- as they are family pets and are very well behaved, not yippy and are very social. Since Payton has been gone, this house is just too quiet- esp. with Rob and Tyler in MI for a bb tournament. I will sleep with a bb bat next to the bed. I did think about having a knife near me the last weekend when they went to IN, but I would probably cut myself.....

On the negative side, I am having some bad reactions to the radiation on my back. I had that severe back pain that I still am on meds for, but I also started getting nauseous, the chills, then the sweaty feeling, acid reflux and icky feelings in my throat and esphogus. The radiologist said it should eventually go away once I finish the radiation, and my last radiation appt. is next Mon.

Tomorrow is Round 4 treatment 2. Mi amiga Karen Morrison is going to be "Driving Miss Daisy" and staying with me during treatment as Linda Sue is in MI already. Linda needs a break from me and the whole chemo thing. I used to work with Karen at COD and we continue to keep in touch. I am so grateful for all the support I have had through this ordeal. Tia cooked homemade chicken and dumplings for us on Monday. Talk about home cookin'!! She also made cornbread, southern green beans and ginormous chocolate chip cookies! Yum!!!! It reminded me of my Grandma Brade's cooking as she used to make the same meal- but without the cc cookies!

Keep shaking those rosary beads and keep me in your thoughts!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back pain from HELL

I am soooo drugged up right now- but at least the back pain has abated somewhat. I was ready for Rob to take me to the hospital on Th- even the vicodin wasn't working. The pain coincided with the start of radiation. The radiologist thinks that the back pain in not related to the radiation- I disagree. His thought was that lying on the hard surface for 1/2 hour put my back in distress. The oncologist does not think that the severe back pain is related to a new tumor- who knows? I haven't lifted anything- my peeps covered me in FL and Tyler went to the grocery store with me to carry stuff.

Linda, Rob and I saw the oncologist on Fr- he wants to do another round of chemo(3 weeks on Fridays), then have another CAT scan to determine the treatment plan. There really is not a set program for this type off all depends on the results of the scan and how well I tolerate the chemo. They worry about non reversible neuropathy.

The boys are in Indiana for a bb tournament. It was weird being home by myself- no snoring husband or dog needing to go out.....I watched TV until 2:30 am- Mash, Friends, Criminal Minds.....

OK- so back to FL- Karen- the Queen of fluff and creativity came up with a rap that the group did- wearing hot pink swimming caps and our TEAM HTFM t-shirts with the sort of crooked lettering....What a HOOT! Each had their own verse- too long for me to write out- but the gist of it was being the fighting machine kicking cancer in the ass. Karen being the my old bf next door, Liz the southern bell, Holly and our kids being family and a mention of Thom and his short shorts, and then Denise and I as past teachers and fighting the fight with me. Too bad we didn't record it for You Tube.....what a fun memory.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I started radiation on Tuesday for a tumor on my spine that is causing me some pain. The actual radiation lasts 45 seconds, the set up takes a while. I now have different back pain that is pretty severe. I am icing and taking 2 vicodin at a time. I see the radiologist and the oncologist Friday. I am so hoping that they won't want to do another MRI or CAT scan- as the costs add up.

I am so missing my long walks on the beach......there were so many beautiful shells. I found a 5-6 inch conch shell that had someone living in it. I debated keeping the shell- but ended up throwing the shell and it's owner back in the ocean. I couldn't have that on my mind- the slimy creature had a right to live, too.

Karen decided to make us all TEAM HTFM hot pink t-shirts- what a hoot!!!! She ironed on the white letters and she has all the "fluff" going, but making t-shirts is not quite her cup o' tea. My t-shirt turned out fine- the letters were not all attached all of the way, Denise's t-shirt was pretty much straight, however Karen ran out of M's and Denise had an upside down W instead. Then it got interesting..... Karen must have been having a little splishy splash as the iron on letters became more and more crooked and off center. Those t-shirts gave us such a laugh. I am hoping we all save them for next time!

Next blog....."THE RAP!"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am jealous!! But I am SO SO glad that you had such a wonderful time! How could you not?

Back to Reality..

Words can not describe how beautiful Sanibel is!!! The house Karen was able to get for us- I walked out 20 feet from the patio and there was the ocean! The house had 4bedrooms, 3 baths, living room, family room, huge kitchen with a table that could seat at least 10! (not that we cooked!) The weather was gorgeous- hot, but usually there was a breeze and who cares about heat when one is walking along the shoreline, seeing dolphins, shells, sting rays, boats... The island was really not very crowded until we went to Captiva and then it was just because there is one basic road.

No needles, dr. appts- just forgot my cares, and was spoiled by Karen, Holly, Denise, and Liz. I slept late- and was able to take 2 long walks along the beach each day. We ate at great restaurants- I was in shrimp and crab heaven. One night I overdid the adult beverages and had taken vicodin and scared the crap out of Denise with my nightmares.

More later as I am in the midst of laundry, putting my stuff away and catching up. I am so grateful that I was able to go and really enjoy myself. I did miss Tyler's tournament, but he and r Rob managed to survive without me. Tyler pitched in the championship game and they won their tournament in DeKalb.
Life is Good!
xoxo, HTFM

Monday, May 31, 2010


We are all waiting to hear about your trip!!! Hope you had an awesome time!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Our trip is finally here- Denise picks me up in 30 min. and we are meeting Holly and Liz at the arirport. Can't believe we are getting away!!!!! No needles, drs, appts- YEAH!!!!! Sun, fun and girlfriends. I only wish Linda could go- she needs a break as much as I do. She and her famiy are going to Michigan to open up the cottage. Linda has her work cut out for her there- hopefully they'll have nice weather.

Gotta go.....


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What a scare with that headache! Glad to hear that all is well and that your trip was not cancelled! Enjoy! (Why would I think you need to be told that??) Live it up!! I'll be thinking of you!


I hope your trip is awesome! You deserve to just go and relax and forget about life for awhile!

The "New" HTFM

Yes! The new HTFM could also be Helene The Foxy Mama - especially with that blond pony tail! - Teri

A New "HTFM"

Its so great to hear how excited you are and I know in the next couple of days you will be feeling so great because you will be with your girlfriends and not be anywhere near hospitals, needles and chemo. I truly hope you have the best time ever and just remember to take lots of pictures so those of us that aren't with you can experience it as well.

I think its time for a new "HTFM". How about:
Hope Time in Florida is Magical

Lots of love!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Being a "blond"

Teri Goralski cracks me up!!!! I was out getting more medicine for my migraine and I got home and on the front porch a personaly made "HTFM" hat with a 2 foot long blond ponytail to attach to it!!!!! Now I can have a blond moment!!!! Watch out- I have a lot of blond moments (no meanness meant for any real or faux blonds out there!)

I had a visit from Kim today. She is my amigo from AZ who started this whole blog thing. Kim was in for her father-in-law's memorial service in Joliet. George- her husband understands our need to hook up once in awhile and she came to Plainfield. No Red Lobster this time...... Monday's and seafood????? Not happening. It waws just great catching up.

I am so excited about our trip to Sanibel!!!!! We have talked about a girl's trip for the last few years and now we are actually going!!!! I wish everyone I know could join us! A beach, a pool, is good!

Rest and Relaxation

Hi, Helene! I have been tuning into your blog the last few days to follow your saga. Your dog and then your health takes a turn for the worst. Well, at least you scored some narcotics! Seriously though, I hope things are on the up swing and I hope your trip is the pinnacle. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs on your blog. I know it beats repeating your story like a hundred times. Wishing you well and happy travels, - Teri

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What a week...needs my "peeps"

Hey there,

Friday was extremely stressful at chemo- the FL trip was almost cancelled for me.......

Started off with a sinus infection and strep (we thought) on Monday with a headache everyday since last Sat.- a killer headache I woke up with every day. The dr. thougt I just the headache due to the sinus infection. When we went th to the chemo factory- I had to see the nurse practioner because I still had the stinikin' headache. She was really concerned- could be the cancer was in my brain (or a severe migraine)and the one chemo I take does things to the blood vessels (thus the nose bleeds). If I had chemo I could get bleeding in the brain. YIKES. Sharon, my friend was there to relieve Linda as - Linda was hosting bunco for me at her house and had tons to do. Linda wouldn't leave and was more nervous that I was! I was in a daze, to be honest.

So the soonest they could get me in for a CAT scan was 3:00 which meant I could't get chemo until next week! I was in tears!!!!! So I played the woe is me card- played my little bunny that says a prayer for the dr (Tia had given it to me).....and they called a tech in for an emergency CAT scan. Then Tia showed up as Linda had texted her....So the 4 of us went over to get the CAT scan, waited anxiously for the results AND I do not have any cancer in the brain, was able to squeeze in chemo, got narcotics for the headache and am good to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still have a headache- but it is not as strong. YEAH!!!!!!!! Chuck- Denise's husband came to visit me at home with a little chocolate, something, something...(not for the boys) and he took had to go to Naperville to that Cancer Center as the drug is one that needs a dr's signature. The nurse practioneer can't sign it, a fax or phone call wouldn't work- so he drove to N'ville, got the RX filled and saved me! What a guy.

Plus I get to see my dear friend Kim from AZ (who is the culprit who started this whole bog thing) on Monday, as she will be in town for her father-in-law's memorial. Just seeing her will make my yucky day better....we usually treat ourselves to Red Lobster when she comes in as both of our husbands won't go with us- but RL might be a little too much for me. Then we usually shop for a while- it is hard to pass up a shopping trip- esp. with FL next WED!!!! So I will hopefully loose the headache, suck it in and go shopping with Kim!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sending warm wishes your way

I hope you are feeling better. I know how it is when your immune system is compromised and then you catch every virus and bacteria out there. Do you want to live in a bubble with me and my girls? That's my solution!!!

Good luck with chemo tomorrow. I hope you are strong enough to handle chemo and Bunco!

Miss you and always sending prayers your way.

Hey friend!!!

Hope you are feeling well, you haven't posted for a few days! See you soon!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

S & S

Mondays suck for the most part- but throw in strep throat and an sinus infection and you have a recipe for feeling really crappy. I was able to see a dr. by noon and started these big honker antibiotics by one yesterday, so I hope I feel better soon. I am taking it easy- the semester at COD is over and I just have to go in and finish up some paperwork. I have to get better- as I am having Bunco Friday- but Linda has graciously volunteered to have Bunco at her house. My Bunco Babes are each bringing something- as Friday is Chemo Factory day and we see the dr.

Jana brought over a chicken dinner last night- which as I told her was a saving grace! I needed to eat something and Tyler and Rob ahome ravenous- esp. Tyler the eating machine.

I am looking for a cock-a-poo puppy. I have looked to adopt- but most of the dogs available are huge- and have a lot of pit bull types out there. I just want a dog I can walk and cuddle with. The house is way too quiet without my Payton Jo.

xoxo, HTFM

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh, Helene, I am so sorry to hear about Payton Jo. I can sympathize with you and the quiet house...but I still hear our 2 cats walk through the house "crying" to us. And I am still careful with the doors, not to "let them out". We had to put Benny down almost 2 years ago and Simon was the year before. I miss them. You have my sympathy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Payton Jo

Yesterday, with the help of my peeps, I had to take Payton Jo in to join Rookie Jo, Maxine, TJ, Dryfus, Anja, Bluebell and Bitsie (and any doggies I left out) in puppy heaven. Payton went downhill really fast the last few days. I thought we had the diabetes under control but she stopped eating, and had trouble in the elimination department. It is so darn quiet in the house this am. Tyler wants to get a puppy NOW but I want to wait until he is out of school- he thinks he will train the puppy-HA- can't see him getting up all thru the night.... Tyler wants a big dog- I on the other hand want a small one as I am the one cleaning up the yard. My friend Karen M is also looking for a dog- she wants an older one that is potty trained. We may start making the rounds at the pet adoption places- as she said, she'll take the mom and I can have the puppy.

"Chemo Friday" and I get to wear my new PINK White Sox shirt that I got from Linda and Tom when they went to the Mother's Day Sox game with Kaleigh and Sam. The nurses all wear their baseball gear on Friday's- there are some white Sox fans and those unfortunate Cub fans- who have a little competition going there... all in good fun.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


You just would not believe what a sweet, talented girl dropped off this afternoon!! Shea Johnson, daughter of Tia, made me the cutest snugglie blankie that she brought over. It is pink with white polka dots and sooo soft!!! Shea- who is 9 or 10- had been making the blankets in Girl Scouts for a service project for sick children. She had a light bulb moment and wanted to make me my own blanket- this blankie is big enough to wrap myself in. I am hoping to take it to chemo with me- I will need a wagon to carry all of my "babies", food, magazines, pop and blanket to the Cancer Center. The nurses will get a hoot out of me bringing in my own blankie! Shea is one creative girl. The cutting and the knotting look so perfect! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

Got tatooed today for radiation....I wanted to get my eyebrows tatooed but they don't provide that service at Edward's. Trying to get everything done at COD before Linda and I go on our next trek for Chemo on Firday. Keep those positive thoughts comin!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday- boyfriends.....

Feeling better. Yesterday Linda and I found out that my vocal cords have no paralysis- the raspiness and hoarseness is because of the chemo- not the tumors. So...may need speech therapy once this is over- I would rather skip that. Today I go have a CAT scan to determine where the radiation will go for the tumor causing the most pain in my back. Then I think I start radiation for 10 days - maybe starting Th.

Denise brought over a meal yesterday- as it was her day for visiting the "sick and infirm". She keeps me grounded and is such a good listener (heck- she is free therapy- since she is a trained therapist!!!) Still can't believe we will be in Sanibel in 15 days!!!!!! It will be so good to see Karen again- we were going to meet in Indy after Christmas but with family stuff going on-we were unable to meet.

I have to admit to something....I have several boyfriends at my health club...Okay- maybe boyfriends is a stretch- they are all around 70 and have been really worried about me. I was able to go to the health club this am for a little cardio and they came running (walking fast?) once they saw me. So great to be loved! Jimmy even gave me a card with cash in it to take to FL!!!! I have to try and work out- not that I will ever be a size 4 again- HA! but I just enjoy the feeling I get once I am done- plus I get to see my boyfriends!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Answered prayers!!!

From your friend far, far away...I am so excited to hear the great news!!! God is good!!! Will continue to talk to the man upstairs!!! You go girl!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chirstmas in May!

Some of you people need to restrain yourselves!!! I am feeling totally unworthy of all of things that people send, do and give!!!I truly am blessed and to have such a
great family and friends... I keep forgetting who I have sent thank you notes to and who I have I have thanked on this blog thingy. So if I have forgotten- I plead a cancer pass as Linda calls it.

Got a very cool Edible Arrangement of fruit from Sandy, Scott, Claire and Luke. Healthy and beautiful at the same time! Almost too cute to eat...but when there is fresh fruit involved that I don't have to cut up....I can't hold back.

Now I officially HTFM....Holly and Liz sent me a beautiful Tiffany (yes the little blue/green box Tiffany) bracelet and engraved on the back of the heart is HTFM. Gorgeous and creative at the same time- and hopefully something I will be able to wear for MANY years to come.

Karen sent a whole bunch of matching bracelets that all go together in a theme of pink! I guess I will have to start buying more pink outfits- HA- like that hasn't happened yet.

Three of Rob's co-workers sent a gift certificate for the Spa at Coldwater Creek! When this stupid tumor gets zapped- I am hopefull that I can go in for a relaxing massage.

Like I said- you people are going overboard! Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming. Monday I go to an ENT to find out why I am so hoarse and raspy all
of the time and Tues I go in for another CAT scan to figure out where to zap the tumor that is on the nerve near my spine that causes a lot of pain.

HTFM (officially!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Helene, I am in VA right now visiting Michael. Am on the computer trying to catch up with emails and stuff after being gone for a week. Had to check in on your blog! I have tears in my eyes right now thinking about those tumors shrinking!! That chemo may be hell to go through but it sounds like it is the answer!! Way to go, woman, putting up with those awful Fridays!!! I'm rooting for you!

HTFM= Hope Today-Found Miracles

LOVE what Tia came up with!!! Just checked my email before I take off for the chemo day from hell and here is Tia with this uplifting phrase for HTFM!!!! Tia is so darn creative- you guys should see her picrures that she takes and all the scrapbooking she does- way too talented!

Denise's husband- Chuck- stopped by just to drop off a chocolate mousse that he got at the bakery in Chicago yesterday. It is to die for!!!!! Chuck babysits his grandaughter Zahra on Th and their regular stop is this bakery near their Zahra's house. I will cetainly enjoy this special treat when I get home from chemo. Once again I hid it in the vegetable drawer in the fridge- where the boys will never look. Any sweets are at risk in our house.

Jean-Marie dropped off another delicious meal yesterday. She is such a good cook and really helps us out with her meal on wheels! The boys went gaga over her peanut butter brownies!

Gotta go- Driving Miss Daisy is here!
xoxo, HTFM

A New "HTFM" Day

Helene, I am so happy for you and your good news! I started crying when Linda told me on the phone yesterday and everytime I think about you I get misty eyed! I think its time for a new about:
HOPE Today - Found Miracles
I know there are so many wonderful friends of yours that are praying for you every day. The hope we carry for you every day has already found a miracle for you, and the hope and prayers will continue and spread like wildflowers.
I'll be thinking about you today.
(Just let me know if you want a Portillo's Chopped Salad...hee hee)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

GOOD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi there,

Today Linda, Denise and I went for a consult with an oncology radiologist AND the tumors are shrinking!! A few of the lymph node ones have disappeared and no new ones have been discovered!!!!! I couldn't believe it!! Linda jumped up and hugged me and I think I started crying- for happiness this time. The dr. wants to do specific radiation to an area near my spine that is causing me a lot of pain. I would have 10 treatments- starting with a CAT scan next Tues. Yikes!!! This chemo crap is working!!

To celebrate we had lunch at Kaitie O'Connors- our new favorite restaurant in P'field. Enjoyed a very fattening bacon/cheddar burger and onion rings.....however, I did take 1/2 of the burger home for Tyler.

Keep those prayers coming- they are working!!!!

xoxo, HTFM who is now a tumor shrinking chick :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Sometimes I wonder what I did to have such wondeful friends....When we got home from the flea market, sitting on my front porch was the most gorgeous basket of outdoor flowers, a card and a gift bag. I already thought I had hit the bonanza at the flea market! Liz brought these gifts over - and the flowers match the wreath I had made for my front door- in yellow and purple silk flowers. Inside the bag was a b/c koozie- and for those of you who know me well- I love my diet coke zero in a koozie every morning. (sometimes I sneak another diet coke- I did try to quit)

What would I do without my family and friends? I can't imagine getting through this horrendous disease without some support.

Now I am getting a little too serious and I have to gear up the laugh factor to get through Friday. Once I get home and wake up from my nap on Fri., I will send out the results of the tests- praying those friggin' tumors have shrunk.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Chillin' With My Peeps"

That's right- Chillin' With My Peeps" and we have t-shirts to prove it!!!! Linda and I found these t-shirts with this saying and a little Easter Peep on them. So- 6 Kohls stores later...we had the sizes we needed to each have one and gave one to Tia, Sharon and Lynn- AND we all wore them at the flea market on Sunday! What a hoot! We had such a great day at the flea market and bought all kinds of things. It was a beautiful day, no needles, no stress- just being kinda silly.

I feel a little like a bad mom because Tyler was in a tournament and I missed a game that he really pitched well in. I did get to go to half of his 2nd game and the championship game after that. It was a long day- but I felt pretty good- yet am tired today. The port site is still painful so I talked to the nurse and basically I need to suck it in and keep taking the pain medicine.

Tomorrow I have the MRI so keep your fingers crossed. Th. is the radiologogy consult and then Fri. we see the dr. for the results and I have to start back on chemo.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tryin' to feel normal..

Hey there,
Sometimes I wonder if people get tired of reading this blog thingy- I don't want to bore someone to death. Seems like a good way to keep people up to date, tho.

Linda's scoping went well- the dr. stretched her esophogus a little- maybe related to how she was born. Always something with the "Brade" girls....

The port site is still very sore- I am icing it and taking my nbf vicodin. It is refreshing not to have chemo and to start feeling semi normal. I am looking forward to going to the flea market with my "peeps" tomorrow. I will take it easy and just go along for the fun and to get away from thinking of hospitals, needles etc. We always have such a great time- just looking at stuff, people watching and getting "bargains". Hopefully the weather will hold. As Lynn B put it so graciously, "Go out and get the stink out of ya."

Lynn B cooked us a great dinner last night- something a little on the fancy smancy side! Beshamel sauce pasta, a salad, log cabin or camper roll things, and peach cobbler. That girl can cook! I didn't know there was such a thing as beshamel sauce.... Lynn also helped out Linda by cooking her and her kids dinner on Wed or Th. With Linda "Driving Miss Daisy"- she hasn't had the time to cook as much as she likes. I am grateful for all of the support Linda is getting, too. Maybe Lynn should have her own cookbook, - but then again- Lynn said she doesn't like to follow the recipes. I am trying to get the recipe for Rolly Pollies (not the bugs!) out of her. She keeps that info. pretty close to her chest.....

Going to Tyler's game soon- I feel bad that I have missed so many this year. I think he understands, but he is still just a kid- in a man's body.
xoxo, HTFM

Friday, April 30, 2010

Praying for you!!!

Praying for your test results. Sending warm thoughts your way!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the new is good from the CAT scan! I know you will keep us posted.

I'll bet you look beautiful with blond bangs peeking out of your hat!


My friend Kim- who sent me a beautiful card today- asked when I was going to FL. I am going at the end of my next treatment- the week I am off is Memorial Day Weekend. Denise, Holly, Liz, and our friend Karen from KY are "hooking" up in Sanibel. Karen has a relative that is letting us use thier house on the beach- with a pool. How lucky are we? Wish I could have everyone I know go- it will be hard to leave the boys- but they have a bb tournament and will get along fine without me- esp. knowing that I won't be here to get on their case when they have a fastfood bonanza!
ps. and the port still hurts- but vicodin is my new bf

port from hell

This darn port was suppose to be no biggie. Hah! hurts like hell. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow or I will call the dr. Probably shouldn't have worked yesterday....
I had the CAT scan today, but won't get the results until next Fri. when I also get the results of the MRI.

Denise got me blond bangs to velcro inside of my hats! Do blonds have more fun? hah!

Having sweet and sour meatballs compliments of Jean-Marie. I am feeling kinda hungry but will wait for the boys to get home from bb. I took a "cancer pass" for the bb game with the wind 45 plus mph. I would have to duct tape the hat to my head and under my chin and my stomach is icky after drinking the crap from the CAT scan. Hopefully after going thru this- I will find out positive news.

I will be stylin' in FL- as Karen sent me a cute blue floppy hat that has full coverage for my baldy sour head. Plus some other "fluff" as she is so good at. Can't wait to get away for a few days- just gotta get thru this next round of chemo starting next week.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have a new "baby" and her name is Portia after me getting a port yesterday! Linda had her strapped in to the seatbelt, sitting up all pretty with a pink bow on her head and her paws laced together with the ribbon. Sharon sent her to me and she is just too cute! They even let me take Portia in to the operating room with me! I held her all day yesterday and now she is with my other 3 "babies"- the one Karen gave me 8 years ago, Tasha the one Tia gave me- she even says a prayer- and I think we call the 3rd one BOO BOO- Linda got her at Sox park- she is pink and wears a white hoodie. The nurses at chemo think I am already nuts- and now Portia- who is real baby sized- will be going to chemo, too. The nurses said I should get a pink wagon to carry all of our stuff. You guys should see Linda and I come in to chemo- 2bags each and Linda with this big honkin'(but beautiful) Coach purse. So Sharon- we named her Portia without your input- but it is a beautiful name for a cute baby! Linda showed me how Sharon put her Portia's paws to her eyes and cried- no more needles!

xoxo, HTFM

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Everytime I get on this blog and read about all your wonderful friends in the area, all I can say is "Wow!! Are you blessed!" They sure are taking good care of you! I wish I lived closer.


Tulips...a sign of spring, new beginnings and hope. Linda...what a beautiful move!!! rock Martha Stewart!!! Wish I could be like that!!!

So glad to hear from you on here everyday!!! Hoping your Tuesday was better!!!

Tip Toe Thru the Tulips..

Monday was a real sucky day....probably the worst so far. I guess after another 3 weeks of chemo- my body has just had enough. Linda called me at a bad moment (fetal position crying on the floor) and even though I tried to cover it up- she knew something was up...later on I opened the front door and there was a beautiful bouguet of flowers- pink and yellow tulips- and a crack me up laughing card!

Denise came by on her day to visit "the sick and infirm" loaded down with meals and a salad to make me eat something healthy. She made turkey, homemade stuffing, gravy and broccalli. I hid it all in the vegetable drawer (the boys never go in there!) so we can have a nice meal tonight after bb. Last night I had to drag myself to work- and the boys feel they have a pass to get fast food on Monday nights- even if there is food in the fridge. So- they would have eaten the turkey had they found it-along with whatever fastfood they had. Just don't tell them my hiding place..... Denise also brought another meal and more turkey for a meal that we froze. She is also on a knitting roll- has made me 2 soft cotton hats to wear at home- kinda like those baby knitted hats.

Linda and I leave today around 11 for a port. Wish they had a drive thru for that....Even though it is only a 30 min. procedure- I will be at Edward's 4-5 hours. Wed. will be a work day- should be feeling ok, Th is a CAT scan and Fri the roles are reversed as I take Linda to her procedure.

Keep up the positive karma and prayers.....

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Royal Treatment

Wow Helene...people sure care about you!!! That's reversal of roles...right??? Glad to hear everyone is treating you like a Princess!!!

Feel well my friend!!!