Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I cannot even explain the emotions still running through me! It's OVER! Can you believe it?!? I left that office building and as soon as I took a breath of fresh air I screamed at the top of my lungs! (If any of you have ever sat by me at a basketball or football game, you know I am loud!) But, this...this was louder than ever before! Ask my sister-in-law, Vick, because the poor thing was on the phone with me at the time. As we were getting into the vehicle, Nurse Sherry opened a window in the clinic and asked if I could do that one more time because they did not hear me very well inside.

I sit here with goosebumps, tears welling, hands shaking...WE DID IT!!! The Chemo is OVER! I am thrilled! I am strong! I am a BELIEVER! I will continue to ask for guidance, strength, and courage as we head into the next rounds of this fight.

Monday was almost an information overload because lots of decisions will be made in the next few weeks. I see Dr. Silva, the oncologist surgeon, on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010. We will discuss the surgery at that time. Dr. AJ is considering me for a breast cancer survivor study. Lots and lots of things going on. I am ready to finish this fight!

Thank You! Thank You! Your support is unbelievable! Do me a favor...TRUST IN THE LORD!

Monday, December 21, 2009

15 Down with a KO - 1 To Go

OH Baby! I can smell victory! I am so thrilled to be preparing for my LAST chemo treatment. The feelings and emotions are out of this world! YES! YES! YES! 1 more! I cannot believe it. It has taken its toll and provided many challenges along the way, but I am so proud to proclaim that prayers and support of family and friends have helped me win this fight. This is truly an adrenaline rush. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

And...Thank You God for holding me in the palm of your hands and providing me the strength, the courage, the will, and the spirit to finish my fight! I will continue to Fight Like A Girl!

Now it is time to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Thank goodness there are still a few shopping days left for me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Round 14 Chemo - KO

Praise the Lord! Two to Go! I have been overwhelmed this week and a little panic stricken because the end is near. My excitement turned to panic and doubt and fear. I needed to talk through it with family and friends, and most importantly, I needed to offer up the new emotions to my God. I am officially in his hands, with all my prayer warriors surrounding me and assisting me!

Thank You! Thank You! I am ready to finish strong!

Monday, December 14, 2009

National Champions!

Got Soy?!? I did after the National Championship game in Florence, AL. The article in Saturday's St. Joe News Press indicated he catches anything thrown at's true...passes or kisses. Last week at the semifinal game in Maryville, with Kim as my witness, Soy caught my blown kisses and placed them on his cheek. This week I was on a mission to find Soy after the game and give him a real kiss and I DID JUST THAT! OK, so I gave him 2...1 on each cheek. And he took a pic with me...

He is simply a genuine kid! A couple other stories to convince you how special he is. Friends of ours are die hard Bearcat Football fans and Max wore his Number 1 jersey to the National Championship game. During the celebration after the game, Max showed his jersey to Soy and Soy tossed his National Championship hat to Max. Max's Dad confirmed that Max has rarely taken the hat off since. I also met up with Troy and his Dad (they are my Hi-5 buddies in our section at home games). Troy said, "Look what I got, Mary" and he holds up Jake Soy's Nike sweat bands. Of course, I had to touch them and smell them! Troy told me, "All you have to do is ask." Soy is just one of many...he is surrounded by special young men, I mean special young champions, on the Bearcat Football team.

The National Championship game trip was unforgettable! We had an awesome time and laughed tons. We left at 3PM Friday afternoon and returned at 4AM Sunday morning. We joked on the way down that we basically had time to jump out of the car and chant a B E A R C A T S cheer and get back in the car for the ride home. It WAS a quick trip, but it was TOO FUN! The WIN made the ride home that much better! My stomach muscles still hurt from screaming like crazy during the entire game. Thanks to Aunt Diane, Sister Sashy, Godson Mitch, and Husband Dan for the memories that will last a lifetime! And Thanks to Grandma Kate and Cyndi Lou Who for keeping the kids so we could enjoy the National Championship!

PS My chemo treatment today is rescheduled for tomorrow in St. Joseph due to the icy weather.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

'Bama Bound

Back To Back To Back To Back To Back To 'Bama! Dan and I are going Back to 'Bama with the Northwest Bearcats. The Bearcats are returning for the 5th straight year and we plan to help them bring home the hardware this year! We haven't been since the 1998 National Championship! We are riding with my Aunt Diane, my Sister Sashy, and my Godson Mitch. Mitch has sent a text nearly every day this week asking if it is time to go yet. We are so excited!

If you get a chance, watch the National Championship game on ESPN2 on Saturday at 12 NOON CST. Check out No. 1 (Jersey Number), Bearcat Wide Receiver, Jake Soy. He is my current favorite Bearcat!

Tonight my prayers go out to my Godfather (and Godmother too)! He had triple bypass surgery today and the family reports that he is doing great! Hopefully I will get to see him tomorrow before we leave.

Wishing everyone a safe weekend. Go Bearcats!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Countdown!!!

YES! YES! YES! 3 cheers for ONLY 3 chemo treatments left! Round 13 is a KO. I did take my "sleeping pill" this morning because I could not get settled down before my treatment. I was grouchy, grumpy, high-strung, and simply could not relax. Once the nurse started the Zofran, she looked and me and said, "Your eyes are doing THAT THING again, aren't they?!?" I agreed with her and told her I was going to close my eyes and rest during the Zofran. Next thing I knew, a couple hours had passed and the nurse was shaking me to wake me. I think I did some sleep walking to the car and straight to bed once we were home. I slept all afternoon and feel really good tonight!

I did have to agree with Dr. AJ today...he said, "I told you that Taxol would be much easier for you to handle." And it definitely has made a big difference.

It is very tough for me to express how much I appreciate the prayers and support! THANK YOU SO MUCH for choosing my corner and actively supporting my Fight!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Round 12 Chemo - KO

4 left...4 left...4 left! I am so excited it is finally December...the month of my last chemo treatment. Amy's comment was right on target...the mental anguish, preparation, and exhaustion is much worse than the physical impact at this point. Several people are finally admitting to me that I look exhausted. I still think some of it (OK, most of it) is due to the loss of the majority of my eyebrows and eyelashes, but I truly am more and more tired. I am praying for a burst of energy heading into these final 4 rounds.

I can feel the shrinkage in the cluster again this week. It seems like it shrinks after 2-3 treatments of Taxol, so hopefully it has some more shrinking to do before surgery. Surgery is inevitable...the decision will be lumpectomy vs. mastectomy. All along I have prepared myself for a mastectomy and I think I am completely comfortable with that. I have prayed that my physicians use their expertise to make the very best decisions in my best interest and that I have the strength and courage to accept whatever happens.

Thanks to all my prayer warriors as we finish this fight in style!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Football Frenzy

What a great and more football amid all the holiday activities. It was too cool watching the Maryville Spoofhounds on TV as they dominated both sides of the ball and won a State Championship! The ending to the Northwest Bearcat Football game was nearly too much to handle...the Bearcats blocked an extra point attempt with 6 seconds on the clock to win the quarterfinal game 21-20. I am thrilled to get a chance to see the Bearcats play in Maryville under the lights on Saturday night in the Semi-final game. Dan received 8-Man Coach of the Year Honors from the KAAN Radio Station at the annual KAAN All-Star banquet tonight. He accompanied 3 seniors that made the 2009 KAAN All-Star team. You Gotta Love Football doesn't get much better than this!

And here we are...the eve of another chemo treatment. Jeez, the weeks fly by so fast! I can count the remaining chemo treatments on one hand...only 5 left. I am super excited for Christmas this year because if we stay on schedule, my last chemo will be the 28th of December. Needless to say, I have been listening to Christmas music for weeks and today, the girls helped me put up our Christmas decorations. As my sister noted, this is the earliest I have ever decorated for Christmas.

To any of you that dread the Monday morning work day (just like I used to every Monday) thankful!! My alternative is not much fun. I cannot wait to be able to go to work on Monday mornings.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

TOO Much to be Thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone of you! Hope you are able to enjoy the holiday with family and friends. Even though this day has always provided a solid reminder to me to be thankful, this year is more special than ever. Thanks to ALL OF YOU for your continued support and prayers!

Round 11 was a huge success. Dr. AJ shared with me that my levels were at bare minimums and he offered to take a week off from chemo due to the holiday. But, I really did not even consider it. I am so thankful that we have been able to keep on schedule this long and I continue to do the best I can to rest and take care of myself in preparation for my chemo Mondays.

Please take some time to truly reflect on this wonderful opportunity we have been given...LIFE! Share your blessings with those around you! Hugs & Kisses! Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Round 10 Chemo - KO

YAHOO!!!! Half-way done with Taxol!!! I'M SO EXCITED AND I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT!!! Only 6 Taxol treatments left and I am still throwing punches! I was able to take a long nap this afternoon and I feel great tonight...first time I have actually cooked supper on chemo night. The Taxol treatments have been much easier to battle than the first 4 AC treatments. And it still seems to be working and doing it's job.

My sister sent cinnamon rolls with me to chemo today for me to share. One of my chemo buddies said he was scared to eat one in fear that he would get punched with my pink boxing gloves. I tried to convince him he was safe, but he just laughed and shook his head.

I talked to the nurse navigator in Omaha last week and we scheduled an appointment for January 5th for a consult prior to surgery. She indicated that surgery is typically within 2-3 weeks of the consult. The decision for lumpectomy vs. mastectomy will probably be made at the consult appointment. I am already starting my list of questions for the surgeon.

Thanks so much for the prayers! I sit here with tears streaming down my face. I sense victory and it simply feels so good. I am so grateful for the continuous support and prayers.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heartbroken, but PROUD close! It was well into the 4th quarter before Mound City could have been comfortable with the thought of winning the semifinal game. The Bulldogs fought hard and played to the very end! But, they played a talented, disciplined football team and came up short...32-7. I am SO PROUD to be a Stanberry Bulldog Football Fan! The guys had an awesome season and have so much to be proud of! They were IN IT TO WIN IT! They can proudly hold their head high. The tradition lives on.

I am so fortunate to be feeling so good. Last night at the game was one of the best nights I have had since chemo started on August 17th. Other than the menopausal hot flashes that caused me to shed my coat and hat, I felt great. may have been in combination with my frantic cheers for the Bulldogs. But, I have been without head gear/cover for a couple weeks due to the hot flashes. Some people have not recognized me and many make comments about me being bald with Dan. I'm sure I make some uncomfortable, but do not intend to do so. I shopped at the mall this week without anything on my head and a little girl yelled at her Mommy, "Hey, that lady does not have hair!" Her Mommy calmly reassured her it was OK, and some people do not have hair. The little girl immediately began combing her fingers through her own long, golden locks and with the most priceless look on her face, said, "NO HAIR?!?!?" It was too cute!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Awaiting Victory

Finally!!! The eve of the State Football Semifinal game between the Stanberry Bulldogs and the Mound City Panthers is here. Seems like it has been a longer week than normal! I am so excited the guys are still playing football and very proud they are 1 of 4 teams left in the 8-man division in Missouri. I am anticipating a night of successes and victories tomorrow night. The football season has definitely been a great distraction for me and given me the opportunity to concentrate on something fun that I love! Go Bulldogs! You will always be #1 in my heart!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Round 9 Chemo - KO

More good news today...almost half way done with Taxol, my levels were the best they have been in weeks, I am healthy, and I feel great! We did discuss surgery a little today and Dr. AJ informed me it will be Dr. Silva's (Surgical Oncologist in Omaha) final call, but the surgeons typically wait 2 weeks after the final taxol treatment to allow the body and system to recover and rebuild all the necessary levels prior to surgery.

I am starting to freak out about my eyebrows, my eyelashes, and my complexion. I am really feeling like a cancer victim. Thank goodness I had the thick, bushy eyebrows and eyelashes to begin with because they are getting very thin and I am missing sections of each. Last week I started wearing some cover and blush to give my face some life. Wish I knew what I was doing...I have probably only worn make-up a handful of times in my entire life!

People continue to remind me of prayers and support for my family and me! Again...THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My BABY is 1

We have a Birthday Boy in the house today...Bo is 1. His first mission this morning was to pull every puzzle off the shelf and the big sisters immediately told me that I could not tell him "NO" because it is Bo's special day. And...that is exactly how the entire day went! We had too much fun! Thought I should share pictures of Bo's first birthday...

Still in the box or backward...Bo did not care...he was happy as could be on his new fire truck...

The girls were trying very hard to keep Bo out of the cake so we could get a picture of the 3 of them, but Bo was determined to get to that cake...

And he succeeded!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Great News!

Prayers are working...keep them coming! We received great news today! Dr. AJ completed a breast exam and was VERY, VERY EXCITED! He exclaimed, "YES! This is what we've been waiting for!" He confirmed that the cluster is much, much, smaller. It is much, much, much, more mobile and no longer hardened. He told us several times how excited he is! He said we are going to stick with the original plan and finish the Taxol treatments and then prepare for surgery. I am 1/3 done with the Taxol...4 down and 8 to go. Hey, that means only 8 weeks until Christmas! And I heard that my favorite radio station is playing Christmas music already...yeah for Star 102.

Today is the best I have felt in about 10 days. So, hope that "virus" is finally out of my system. My immunity and bacteria fighting levels are very low, so Dr. AJ advised me to be VERY SMART! He is an advocate of sanitizer and instructed me that I can not use it too much for myself and my family. We talked about masks and he advised that if I feel like I need to wear a mask, I should probably choose not to be in that environment instead. I simply need to keep my hands free of germs and my hands away from my eyes, mouth and nose. Cheers to a germ-free winter! KO Germs and USE SANITIZER!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spooktacular Halloween

Hope everyone enjoyed a safe Halloween. My kids enjoyed the tricks and treats...

We had a little skeleton, a unicorn princess, and Malia originally decided to be a ghost. The night before the costume party at school, she changed her mind and chose to be Freddy Holtman...a local Dad and mechanic that is notorious for his beard and bib overalls. The girls love visiting with Freddy at the local MFA.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

District Champs!

District Champs! 9-1 record for the regular season! The tradition stays alive in Stanberry. It has been a great year; but more than that, it is an awesome tradition. We are very lucky to be part of the journey. The Bulldogs will host a state play-off game at home next Friday night. I am very excited for the opportunities for this team! Go Bulldogs! Go Hit Somebody!!!

Bummed I had to miss watching the football game last night, but I did get to listen to the game on the radio thanks to KAAN. I kept throwing punches this week and I think I am finally on the mend. I have basically been sleeping for 3 days and nights, so I do not have a lot of energy. But I do know I am feeling much better! I woke up feeling great this morning. I will continue to rest this weekend and prepare for chemo on Monday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fever Frenzy

Well, CRAP! I cannot seem to get this fever out of my system. It is staying low at 100-101, but it is kicking my butt. Of course, I had a big week planned, but had to change some plans. Dan and I were planning to go to a Pink Out Football game last night between Lawson and Plattsburg. Tonight is Stanberry's District Football Championship at Worth County. I have only missed seeing one other game against Worth County since Dan and I started dating in 1995. However, thanks to Regional Radio KAAN, I was able to listen to that game on the intranet while I was in New Orleans. I am hoping that Stew is broadcasting tonight's game on KAAN Radio 95.5 FM. GO BULLDOGS!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Keep Praying!

Mary is not feeling so well, darn it! She was doing so good and then WHAM, she took a punch and is now feeling just plain crappy. She went to work yesterday but didn't make it today. They started her on an oral antibiotic yesterday so hopefully that will kick in and help her feel better real soon. I'm sure she will be back in the ring before long and handing out her own punches;) Thanks for the continued prayers and please keep them coming. She is doing an AMAZING job just needs to get back on track and hand the beast a much needed KO! Fr. Emil Kapaun PLEASE KO the beast and heal my baby sis COMPLETELY, AMEN! Love to you all, Theresa

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Round 7 Chemo - KO

Yeah!!! Shouts of Joy Raised to Heaven! The Best Round Yet!

I went into Round 7 Monday expecting to get sent home and rescheduled. Instead, I got the go-ahead to fight and it was the easiest round by far. I did not take my "sleeping pill" Monday morning because I did not think I would get the chemo, so I did not sleep the day away. Then I was able to sleep like a baby Monday night and even though I felt damn good when I woke up today, I decided to stay home and rest. And I did just that! I feel so good tonight!

Just realized that I have not even taken my anti-nausea meds today...and I have not had any nausea...I am so excited! Time flies...only 9 weeks of chemo left. It will go so fast!

Together, let's say a prayer for all those experiencing the flu bug, sickness and illness. Dear Lord, Please send down your healing power upon your children in need. Amen!

Speaking of Our God and Savior...I feel like a kid again. My Road of Life has slowed down immensely and I am noticing the greenest of green pastures and lawns, and the calendar is approaching November. I have always despised burnt, brown grass. And I thought it always burnt up in the August time frame. How wonderful to still have green grass! The leaves on the trees are more vibrant than I ever remember...fall has always been my favorite time of year! But Fall 2009 may go down in history with me as the best ever!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Power of Prayer!!!!!!

All you prayer warriors are as AMAZING as my sis! Thanks to all of you Mary is getting her chemo right now. I just can't believe 16 hours ago, we had Mary in ER and they pumped two different IV antibiotics in her and gave her a booster shot. The shot brought her white count from 2000 to the much needed 9000 range and she got to go ahead and get her chemo! I am just in awe at how the power of prayer is working! If you haven't read Mary's post from 1 a.m. this morning she didn't think that she would be able to get chemo today. Now lets all pray that she has a great week and gets some much needed rest. Thanks again for all the Love and Support you have shown Mary and our whole family, please keep the prayers coming, they are working:) Fr. Emil Kapaun, PLEASE KO the beast and Heal my Baby Sis COMPLETELY, AMEN! Love to you all!

The Calm After the Storm

Wow! Things are finally beginning to settle down from the crazy weekend. They that it is only a few hours away from the Monday work day!

We began the weekend on Thursday Night at the Northwest Missouri State University Homecoming Variety Show & Coronation. My beautiful, little cousin was a Queen candidate and there were 40ish friends and family there to provide the support she well deserves. She did not win the crown, but she will continue to be a queen in our eyes. We are so PROUD of her!

My niece's team won the state softball semifinal game on Friday. Guess What?!? She hit another homerun. Jillian is nominated for athlete of the week in the St. Joseph News Press. Please vote at by Wednesday if you get a chance. Immediately following the softball game in St. Joseph, we made a quick trip to Stanberry for the Homecoming Football game. The Bulldogs won easily and the game ended after 3 quarters due to the point spread. I was officially frozen by the end of the night.

Saturday was completely packed with events. We started at the Northwest Homecoming Parade, then football game. Dan was not so happy with me when I made him leave the Northwest Football game early so we could see Jillian and the Eagles play in the softball State Championship game. The Northwest Bearcats won in overtime and the Eagles earned a second place finish! After the softball game, we went shopping for costumes. Malia will be a ghost. Maggie wanted to be Ariel, but settled for a pink unicorn. Bo will be a skeleton.

Today was the day of rest! I rested throughout the day in between house and van cleaning. All of a sudden, this afternoon, I started getting this tingling and chilling feeling. I finally decided to take my temperature and discovered I had a 101.8 fever. Based on my instructions from Dr. AJ, I called the doctor for help and ended up in the ER. My strep test was negative and my flu test was negative. My white blood cells were low indicating my immunity and ability to "fight off" infections is low. They also drew blood to culture and will test it over the next 5 days. They gave me IV antibiotics. Sounds simple enough...but, I had a slight reaction to the Vancomycin. The first thing I noticed was my throat constricting, then Dan said it looked like I had a sunburn on my bald head. Next, I felt like my neck and shoulders were burning hot, and then had some hives on my neck and shoulders. I was able to take some Benadryl and am feeling better, not great, but much better. I thought the entire day today was going to be calm, but it did not work out as planned. Finally, I think the storms have passed and my body truly is ready to rest.

Sooooo...doubt I will get chemo on Monday...Bummer!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Round 6 Chemo - KO

Yeah...I breezed through chemo treatment today (once it got started). I was an emotional wreck leading up to it. Dan says I became edgy and irritable last night and he should have known why, but did not make the connection. We were sitting in the exam room awaiting Dr. AJ and Dan asked me, "Where are you at today? What is your deal?" Tears immediately began streaming and I just shook my head and said, "This is not my most favorite place to be!" Nurse April came in and wanted to ensure I was not crying because of "this place", but I told her I was. She said Dr. AJ doesn't necessarily agree with her, but she has witnessed young ladies and the effect on the hormones. Well, I can tell you...mine are out-of-whack!

Dr. AJ examined the cluster today and Dan and I both told him if he had been able to do so late last week, we think he would have been excited, but today seems like it is back to normal size again. He agreed that was possible and gave a medical explanation using scarring that neither Dan nor I grasped. But the main thing he shared was I had only been through one Taxol treatment and we have several more to go. So, stay tuned and we'll see what happens.

Dr. AJ was nearly ready to leave the exam room and asked if I had a stuffy nose and if I was sick. I told him it was from crying. He asked, "From WHAT?!?" And I simply replied, "You heard me!" So, he talked with us for several minutes. I am wired for RESULTS. When I work, when I play...I am all about results. And I am not convinced I am getting the results I had expected. He reminded me there are 3 things we are dealing with in my breast...invasive cancer that has reached the lymph nodes, DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ...cancer contained inside the milk duct wall), and calcifications. In the beginning, the first biopsy of the breast resulted only in DCIS and if that had been the only biopsy, they would have done surgery first and then chemo if necessary, then radiation. The reason because the chemo attacks fast growing, easy-to-get-to cells. The cancer inside the milk duct are slow growing and contained, so the chemo has little effect on DCIS. The size of the cluster that I can still feel, may be the DCIS and the calcifications. Dr. AJ is convinced the chemo is doing its job on the invasive cancer like it is supposed to. He ended the conversation with a challenge, "Where is that tough, spirited, girl who came to me at the beginning of this? I want her back!" I don't know if you know me well or not, but I love challenges!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Victorious Weekend

Two shut-outs...Stanberry Bulldog Football on Friday Night was 51-0 and the Jefferson Lady Eagles Softball on Saturday was 13-0. Jillian hit a was SWEET!!! Everyone of her teammates contributed as they cruised to victory and a return trip to the State Tournament next weekend. I am praying for a successful week so I can support those memories that last a lifetime! I don't have time to, just kidding...I have done a decent job getting plenty of rest. I took a long nap with Bo today and if tomorrow is similar to last week, I will be Sleeping Beauty for the day.

Patiently praying and waiting for a small victory of my own tomorrow. Size isn't everything, but I am ready for this cancer cluster to decrease in size. I am not as confident today that Dr. AJ will admit tomorrow it is getting smaller. But, hopefully in 4 weeks he will be able to tell it is smaller and the chemo is making progress. Continuing to pray for health, faith, strength, and courage to FIGHT!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great Week

What a great week! I feel so much better! I was able to enjoy my niece's softball game tonight. It was an awesome win. 0 to 0 going into the last inning and Jefferson scored 2 huge runs in the top of the 7th to seal the deal. My choice for play of the game goes to my niece and her shortstop as the duo worked to precision to gun down a base runner attempting to steal second base. It was fantastic! The Jefferson Eagles will play in the Quarterfinal game on Saturday...looking for a return trip to the State Tournament. I am so glad I am able to be there and make some noise!

Everyone continues to be healthy this week and I seem to handle the minor set backs much better when I am feeling good. I am praying that Dr. AJ's commitment is true throughout all the Taxol treatments. Remember? I have in writing from him that the Taxol is to be easier on me than the AC was. And I am praying that the chemo is working. It may be my imagination, but I am thinking my cancer cluster in the breast is finally getting smaller. I am looking forward to Monday to see if Dr. AJ agrees.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Round 5 Chemo - KO

YaaaaHoooo!!! Feelin' great! I actually have a note in writing from Dr. AJ..."You will not feel as bas as with AC. AJ 10/12/09" I teased him and asked him if he was willing to put it in writing and he was. When the chemo treatment first got started I was beginning to wonder. My niece, Cyndi, went along with us today...the RN in her was very curious and it was great to have her clinical brain along with us. They were giving me the anti-nausea and benadryl through the IV port and I had not even gotten the chemo drug yet and I kept warning them that I was going to puke. Sure enough, I yelled to Dan to get me to the bathroom and I took off on a sprint to the bathroom. All I could think of was it started at 5 pm last week, no way could it be starting all over at 12 pm this week...yuck!

But, I was in good hands! They gave me an additional med and it literally knocked me out. I fell asleep and woke up at 5:30 tonight. Dan said he called and checked on me this afternoon and I do not remember that conversation. I do remember talking to my Sister on the phone and I think I about fell asleep talking to her. I can barely remember my niece driving me home. The afternoon is pretty much a blurrrrrr. Now that I am awake...I feel great!

Dr. AJ was able to get the results of my tests from last week. The ECHO results of my heart were perfectly normal. The results of the mammography were "acceptable". He said the radiologist was having difficulty reading the results and identifying changes from the initial test. The good news is there is no increase in size and no new cancer spots are identifiable. More good news is the calcifications are less dense...on the first test there is a white cloud about the size of a golf ball where the calcifications were so dense the entire area looked like a pure white cloud. On this test the area now has speckles of white, so it is less dense than before. They are struggling to tell whether the calcifications are dead cancer cells or not. Dr AJ has a plan and he spoke to my Surgical Oncologists today and they both agree 100%. We are going to do 4 more Taxol treatments and Dr. AJ will continue the breast exams. If he does not notice any change in the cluster after the next 4 treatments, I will have a MRI of the breast and they will make a decision at that time whether or not to continue the Taxol treatments. They may opt to do the surgery, then more chemo, then radiation.

I know I had lots of prayers coming my way today and in preparation for today...THANKS SO MUCH! Those prayers are working.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Not So Healthy...

OK, so within hours of posting the message earlier this week, I was up at 3AM vomiting once again. Still getting that nasty stuff out of my system. Dan was not quick to offer help (even though he did) because he was fighting a fever and the craps. Neither Dan nor I worked Tuesday and Wednesday. The kids and I stayed with Mother on Tuesday night in an attempt to stay away from Daddy while he was sick. Today I was leaving with Maggie and Bo when Malia broke down in tears because her throat hurt so bad she could not swallow her breakfast. Sashy was kind enough to take Malia to the doctor today and Malia was confirmed with strep throat. She got a shot in the buttocks and should only be contagious for 24 hrs. BIG SIGH!!!! And it's only October! YIKES!!! Hope we all get it out of our systems!

I did have a couple tests this week. Mother took me to my ECHO on Tuesday and MAMMO on Wednesday. I heard some preliminary results of both, but will wait to post the official results after I talk to Dr. AJ on Monday. 12 weeks of Taxol start on Monday...yeah, cannot wait...hey do you detect the sarcasm in my "voice"????

Continuing to pray the chemo keeps working!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

No Chemo This Week - YEAH!!!

My last week that is free of chemo until 2010...sounds kinda crazy, huh?!? I am excited to have a chemo-free week! After last week...I think I deserve one. Last week, at 9AM on Friday morning, I started craving Wendy's French was the first sign that indicated I was on the road to recovery. I ate a cheeseburger and fries for lunch on Friday and felt amazingly wonderful...almost immediately! Just in time for the most exciting Stanberry Bulldog Football game of the season thus far. The Bulldogs scored twice in the fourth quarter to win the game 20-14. It was the first district game of the season and a huge victory! That is how football should be...exciting to the end!

Saturday was jam-packed with events to choose from...Paint the Parkway Pink in St. Joe on Saturday morning and Bearcat Football at Missouri Western in St. Joe on Saturday afternoon. But instead, my motherly instincts took over, and I awaited the arrival of my son to come home. He was happy to see me, but even happier to see his Big Sisters! It is wonderful to have everybody home and healthy again.

It is hard to admit, but last week was the first time since July 24th that I really felt like "Damn, I have cancer!" The black, dark circles appeared under my eyes and I felt like crap! It is true...I have cancer. Do you think I have been in denial?!? My heart wrenches for those who are alone or do not have the family and friends surrounding them and for the children who cannot even begin to understand. Hell, I am 36 and I am struggling to understand! It simply breaks my heart! Please pray for those less fortunate! I am so lucky to have all of you in my corner. Thank You!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Round 4 Chemo...OVER!

It definitely wasn't a KO and I am not even sure I would get the decision in this round, but I am glad it is over or nearly over! I could tell almost immediately on Monday that it was not going to be good again this week, but had no idea it was going to be worse. Dan ratted on me on the way out of chemo and the nurse gave him a sample pack for me...unfortunately it did not work. I started vomiting at 5PM on Monday and did not stop. I told Dan to call the doctor at 10PM and the doctor on call gave me some tips to get through the night. Dan took me to St. Joseph to the Cancer Center for my neulasta shot on Tuesday (I was planning to work so thought St. Joe would be closer for me than Maryville...ha ha) and we decided we were not leaving without seeing Dr. AJ. When I was checking in at the nurses' station I made eye contact with Dr. AJ and he immediately came to my aide and took great care of me. He gave me some IV fluids and anti-nausea meds and a very special anti-nausea 7-day patch ("ridiculously priced" at $800...I refused it until he convinced me it was a sample). I am not impressed with the pricey patch! Dr. AJ really is baffled...he is determined that I should have handled every treatment the same. He tried to encourage me that the next 12 weeks of Taxol (starts 10/12, so I have a week off...yeah!!!) will be a breeze, but I simply told him I would have to see it to believe it!

I was able to finally keep some soup down last night and I made it to work today. It helped to have somewhat of a normal routine today, but I still do not feel the greatest...still nauseous, tired and weak.

Then, to make me even more sad, Baby Bo is sick and we have to be separated for 2 days. He has double ear infection, upper respiratory viral infection, and who knows what else and the doctor does not want me taking any chances. The doctor thinks "normal" folks could get the common cold from him, but I have a chance of getting something more severe. Thanks to Aunt Krissy for taking Bo to the doctor because I have no business being in that kind of environment. Thanks to Uncle Bull for entertaining Maggie (or did Maggie entertain Uncle Bull?!?). Thanks to Aunt Sashy and Uncle Chester for loving my sick baby. I am sure Bo loves staying with Godmother Sashy anyway!

Keep those prayers coming! I am using every one of them! THANKS SO MUCH!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Keep Praying

Hey all, this is Mary's sister, sorry it took me so long to get on here! Mary is still having quite a time today. She felt terrible last night and threw up most of the night and more today. Dan took her to St Joseph to get her shot and they also gave her some IV fluids and a patch for nausea, she is sleeping now and we sure hope she is better when she wakes up! Her boss called me this afternoon and I think she will try to get ahold of Mary and tell her to stay home until she feels better, THANKS so much Staci. Fr. Emil Kapaun Please KO the beast and heal my baby sis COMPLETELY, AMEN! Please pray hard that tomorrow is a better day and she will have that sparkle back in her eye, also pray for strength for Dan, he is doing an awesome job taking care of her and the kids. Thanks so much for checking on Mary and hopefully she will feel like posting before long!

Monday, September 28, 2009


This is Mary's sister, as you all can imagine we ALL were ready for round four to be done and was praying real hard that Mary would dance through it! Dan just called and Mary is already feeling nauseated and just plain wiped out. Please pray hard that they can give her some medicine to get her comfortable. I just hate seeing her like this but I also know that it means the Chemo is working and getting the beast out of her body. I will try to let you know how things are going tomorrow or heck maybe she will feel good enough to do a post herself. OK prayer warriors, she is done with the AC and now in a couple weeks she will start the T and she will have twelve weeks in a row of it, lets pray hard that those twelve weeks go smooth! Fr. Emil Kapaun PLEASE KO the Beast and heal my baby sis COMPLETELY, AMEN! Thanks so much for checking on her and please keep Mary, Dan and the kids in your prayers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Genetic Testing Results

I received word today that the results of my Genetic Test are NEGATIVE! YEAH!!! I am getting ready to celebrate with some wine...OK, Strawberry Hill...remembering the good ol' days. My worries are now gone...worries about my Mother, Siblings, Nieces, Nephews, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and most of all My Children. So glad! So happy! Time to celebrate a victory!

I am also preparing for another Friday Night Bulldog Football game. The boys did not win last week and have another fierce competitor this week. Not sure how well you know me, but I want you to know that even though I do refer to Wins and Losses...a Win in my book is not simply outscoring the opponent. Winners hold their head high, give 110%, and fight to the finish! That is what I look for in every competitor! I will be looking for that kind of victory tomorrow night!

Victory is My Only Option...I will hold my head high, give 110%, and fight to the finish!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Results Are In

Hey All!! Can’t let the gals have all of the fun…it’s Crock’s (Mary's Big Brother's) turn to post.

The highly anticipated results of the extremely competitive golf outing are in!! Sorry I did not post quicker…took me that long to get our scorecard added up. The competition was fierce…the teams were loaded with ringers from all corners of the nation...

I will echo Mary’s thoughts…WOW!!! We can’t begin to thank everyone enough for all of the hard work & support that went into the planning and execution of the day. Sponsors, helpers, friends, family, golfers & those who were unable to attend that kept us in their prayers…it would not have happened without each and every one of you!!!

Here are the results…

We ended up with 31 teams in the morning and 31 in the afternoon. The morning flight was cut short due to time constraints. A Big Thank You to the golfers for your patience and understanding…it is very much appreciated!!


Morning Flight

61 – Shane Sims
63 – Chris Henry, Rod VanNordstrand
65 – Sullins/Peterson
67 – Kim Feldkamp #1, Curt Maughan
68 – Huey Heflin, Bob Hedinger
69 – Brian Schmitz #1
70 – George Bliley, Adam Wiederholt, Clint Ross, Kellie Bergman, Brian
Schmitz #2, Shelly Deen #2, Kim Feldkamp #2
71 – Vick Adams #2, Jeff Farnan, Brett McQuinn, Tim Tobin, Kenny
Schieber, Dennis Henry
72 - Vick Adams #1, Team Walter, Kevin Archer, Mike Cameron, Deb
Schieber, Shane Hilton, Troy Greenfield, Lori Smothers, Shelly Deen #1

Afternoon Flight
**We still have one team under investigation for recruiting violations, apparently Granny Henry was picked up at the last minute & then posted a 62…kinda fishy...

62 – Don Edwards **(not confirmed, still under investigation for recruiting violations)
63 – Don Combe, Lloyd Bliley
64 – Team Walter
65 – Team Buffalo
66 – Renee Sturm
67 – Kenny Henry, Larry Jones
68 – David Law
69 – Josh Schieber
70 – Jeremy McQueen, Rhonda Carroll, Mike Wilmes
72 – Kevin Schieber, Mitch Holtman, Bryce Nielson, Brad Wilmes,
Frampton #1, Frampton #2, Ronnie Stoll, Kara Mattson, Josh McMillin,
Denise Bracken, Cyndi Henry, Andy Schieber, Team Borey/Healy,
Todd Jacobson, Karri Schieber, Deb Schieber, Marty Wilmes

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Words Cannot Express...

WOW!!! I'M SPEECHLESS!!! What an Awesome Day! Words Cannot Express our Gratitude! Thank You So Much to Each and Everyone of You for your generosity and support as I continue this fight against breast cancer.

To My Wonderful Family and Friends that coordinated the fun-filled event...I LOVE YOU GUYS!

To those of you that pitched in and helped in various ways to pull-off the unbelievable day...THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

To all of you that shared in the blessed day with us...YOU ARE MY MOTIVATION!

Victory is My Only Option!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Round 3 Chemo - KO...FINALLY!!!

Whew!!! I took some major punches and maybe even a knock-down or two; but with the support of family and friends, I think I finally landed a KO this round. I had a rough day yesterday and could not keep anything down. I felt miserable and my skin was a strange sensation. A long-time friend of the family lives just a few minutes from my work and she graciously opened her home to me so that I could crash yesterday afternoon. I did not even put up a fight when my sister and brother wanted to come to St. Joe and drive me home. Several in the family helped with our kids and cleaned our house. So, I did not have any worries! I was able to rest! Today continued to get better and better and I feel so much better now.

I am ready for the family and friend filled weekend...Friday Night Football (cheering for another W), Saturday Bearcat Tailgate and Football, Saturday Night Nodaway County Relay for Life (I will proudly be wearing purple in the Survivor Lap), and Sunday Golf Outing! I am welling with tears as we prepare for Sunday. I am very overwhelmed with the outpouring of generosity! I have such a feeling of guilt; but I am SOOOOO EXCITED to see family and friends.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rough Day!

Hello all, This is Mary's sister Theresa. Have I told you all lately CANCER SUCKS, Mary did have her third chemo treatment on Monday and it is trying to knock her on her butt but we aren't going to let that happen! She has been pretty sick today and is even going to let us come and pick her up from work! Please pray extra hard that she gets over this real soon and is ready for the Golf Benefit on Sunday, she is really looking forward to seeing everyone and I know many of you need to see for yourself that she is hanging in there, doing great and still has that beautiful smile and sparkle in her eye! Thanks so much for checking on her and she just really enjoys hearing from all of her prayer warriors. Fr. Emil Kapaun PLEASE PLEASE KO that beast and Heal my baby sis COMPLETELY! AMEN!
Thanks again for everything and we can't wait to see you all on Sunday!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gotta Have Fun

Bulldogs were victorious again last night! Another thriller that ended early due to the mercy rule. Unfortunately, the STATE officials were on the sideline observing the officiating crew so there was more penalty yards than actual yardage I think. It was so frustrating...cannot imagine what the boys felt like!

In preparation for the game this week, I decided to have a little (OK, a lotta) fun with my bald head. I talked to a friend at work and she agreed to paint my head for the football game. It was so fun it may become a weekly ritual, but I am afraid it may get too cold one of these weeks. We'll see...


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Genetic Testing Today

Today I completed the testing portion of the genetic pre-disposition. Surprisingly, they hope to have results within 2-4 weeks. Originally, they told us it would take 2 months for results. It was a very interesting session and we learned lots of details.

The genetic counselor created a color-coded family tree based on the data we submitted. She laughed and told us normally the information fits on one page...mine is an 8 page banner. Her personal assessment is my family (Father's and Mother's) is very fortunate to not have more cancer simply based on pure numbers. She ran our family data through 3 different genetic breast cancer models and summarized there is a 5-7% chance that my breast cancer is genetic. They performed a simple blood draw today and will test 2 breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2). Within the 2 genes, they will look for missing DNA, DNA in the wrong sequence or abnormal DNA. If they discover something wrong with the DNA in either gene, my breast cancer will be genetic in nature. I did learn that even though the cancer could be genetic, something else (the unknown...environmental, lifestyle, etc) still occurs to affect the good gene and cause the cancer. Each of us has 2 BRCA1 from Father and one from Mother. Only one gene is affected due to genetics. However, both genes have to be affected for the cancer cells to grow. I always thought it was purely genetics, but there is still some "bad luck" involved.

What does all this mean to me and why am I doing this? For me personally, if my breast cancer is genetic there will be discussions about some preventative surgical procedures. Also, we will know to have my children (girls and Bo) tested at the age of 18 and we will keep a close eye on my girls and begin mammograms at the age of 25. Each child has a 50% chance of having the bad gene if I test positive. If it is genetic, they will offer testing to my mother, my brothers, my sister, my aunts and my uncles. The counselor informed us that some people do not want to know and the testing is all voluntary. The testing only involves the 2 breast cancer genes they know about today.

It was a very interesting session. I am patiently awaiting the results!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Who Needs Hair, Anyway?!?

I decided Dan has been able to pull this off for 10+ years, so I should be able to do so for a few months! It's Gone! We had our own, little "Shave Mary's Hair Off" party last night...just Dan and Me. Dan finished with the razor and shaving cream at 2 AM. Not only is the man a perfectionist at his woodworking projects, he is a perfectionist at shaving.

At one point last night, I could not take it any longer! I could feel the hair falling on my shoulders and neck and it was driving me insane. When we were finally settling down for the night, I told Dan it was the first thing on the agenda for today, but he could not wait that long. It actually made my night, because now I do not have to worry about the hair. Other worries, maybe...probably, but no more bad hair days! And, I still got the biggest smile out of Baby Bo this morning, so he still knows who I or no hair!

Friday Night Football Update...the Bulldogs won easily and we were sent home at half-time due to the point spread. The boys, as an entire team, are hitting harder than I ever remember. We have always had stand-outs in the past, but this is a genuine team effort and everyone seems to take their part! I feel for the opponents on the receiving end, but I enjoy every tackle! Just "Put Me In Coach...I'm Ready to Play!" I really think I'd love to do it...just once!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Weepy Wednesday, Better Today

I feel better than I did after Round 1 and my feet do not hurt at all this time, but my emotions are nearly out of control. I tried to tell my friends and co-workers to simply ignore me yesterday at work. It was simply Weepy Wednesday! I am thinking it is the timely combination of the book and my hair actually starting to fall out Wednesday morning. The bottom of the shower was sprinkled with black hair and I could feel the hair fall on my shoulders as I styled it yesterday. Exactly what I was hoping for...UNTIL it became real. Every day is just more and more real and every day I am ready to fight and fight harder! The hair continues to thin today and Dan was excited to get the "buzzer" and take care of it, but I am hoping to get a few more days out of it...hopefully the hair will make it through the crazy, jam-packed, event-filled weekend!

The shirts are awesome and you can e-mail me at to place an order. They are selling YS (2-4) to 3X sizes. The pink and black are available in all sizes. The granite grey is in adult sizes only. The ash grey is in youth sizes only. The shirts are $12 each and $14 for 2X and 3X. They are hoping to place an order immediately after Labor Day.

Wishing everyone a Safe Holiday Weekend! Hope to see some of you at the Jefferson Reunion!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Girl Power

This is my Support Structure...

Not sure where I would be without my Mother, my Big Sister, and My Beautiful Daughters! They have taken extra special care for me and my family since day one. Together, we have a lot of Girl Power and we are Fighters!

I was surprised with the Fight Like A Girl shirts that were created by my department co-workers and friends at Heartland and given to us. We are modeling them in the pictures above...they are awesome. Daddy and Bo have shirts too. Maggie was a little concerned about Bo wearing pink, but we convinced her it was OK because Daddy has the same shirt and the shirt is for Mommy's Cancer. The gang at work is currently selling them and I hear they are selling like crazy.

Malia brought home a special book from Mrs. Swinford's Library tonight. Titled Hair For Mama by Kelly A. Tinkham. Mrs. Swinford warned me it would be a tear-jerk er and it is. At one point, Malia looked at me and said, "Is THAT what you are going to look like?" This is all tough for little kids to understand. Heck, it is even tough for me to understand sometimes. So far, I have been so blessed to have my support structure in place and they, along with Dan, take my place during the tired, weak days and my kids do not even notice a difference. As far as my kids are concerned, they do not think or know that Mommy is sick and I hope to keep it that way. We will deal with the "No Hair For Mama" thing whenever that happens.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Round 2 Chemo - KO

Round 2 is complete and a success. I felt really good all day and I was even able to take a 2 hour nap this afternoon. After Round 1 last week, I was wide awake and could not even wind down through the night and I did not get tired until mid-Tuesday afternoon. Tonight, however, I am already feeling tired and ready for bed. So that is a relief. I like to sleep.

We are excited the chemo appears to be working. Dr. AJ reinforced with Dan today that he would not say the cluster is smaller, but "medically speaking" the cluster is less firm and more mobile. He said he was excited about that, especially after only one treatment.

I was also encouraged today because the attack of my immune system only occurs with the first 4 treatments. The other 12 chemo treatments attack the nerve system, so Dr. AJ anticipates I may experience numbness and tingling in my extremities with those 12. I was thrilled to think I only have to be extra cautious about getting sick for the next 6 weeks...sounds much easier than fighting it for 18 weeks! Do not worry about me getting plenty of sleep. As I mentioned before, I like to sleep!

I mistakenly told Fr. Allen at church this morning that I feel so lucky because I have felt so good thus far. I should have told him that I am standing proof of the Power of Prayer! I think he knows that, but I do completely appreciate the thoughts and prayers and the continuous support! This is Our Fight to Win!

I will go for my booster shot tomorrow after work and re-start all my prescription and non-prescription meds to prevent the nausea and bone pain. I should be ready for Friday Night Football!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Eve of Round 2

Just patiently waiting for Round 2 tomorrow, Monday, 10 AM. Today actually went fast for me. We spent the day at Mother's and she helped me finish the genetic questionnaire. I am going through a genetic pre-disposition testing because I am diagnosed at such a young age and a piece of it is the questionnaire. Mother, my Sister, and I started it last week and were cruising right through it...until...we came upon questions asking for Your Mother's Sisters and Brothers and Your Father's Sisters and Brothers and it also wanted the children of the Sisters and Brothers. I laughed out loud...they allowed for 4 Brothers and Sisters for each my Mother and my Father...My Father is one of 12 and My Mother is one of 14 and I have 50+ cousins on EACH side of the family. Needless to say, I made a phone call to the genetic counselor and asked for permission to send an electronic file because I was afraid I may get a hand cramp from all the writing. Thanks to Aunt Liz in the Schieber Family and Cousin Vicki and My Sister in the Henry Family for maintaining the Family Calendars...they were a lifesaver! We were able to compile the necessary information fairly quickly. As soon as I get the questionnaire sent in, I will be scheduled for some counseling and blood work to complete the genetic testing. The final result is supposed to help the doctors determine if the root cause of the Breast Cancer is Bad Genes or simply Bad Luck!

Thanks also to the LOYAL friend of my Sister's that posted the Fight Like A Girl song on my blog. So, turn up your volume! I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Huge Bulldog Football Win!

YES!YES!YES! A Huge Stanberry Bulldog Football Win tonight...55-6. The boys scored early and often and I enjoyed every minute of it. Bo and I were able to do the "touchdown signal" several times and we cheered a bunch for "Daddy". I am very honored with the PINK breast cancer ribbons on the football helmets (Thanks Coach Hilton). And Thanks Boys for wearing them in style! I was shocked to be the recipient of too much money the girls raised for their face painting efforts tonight! The students are very thoughtful and I am very PROUD to be a part of it all! Go Bulldogs! I continue to pray that I will successfully handle future chemo treatments and be healthy enough to attend the Friday Night Football games! I go for chemo treatment number 2 on Monday...2 weeks just flew by really fast!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Excited for a Normal Week

If you could see me, you would witness the twinkle in my eyes and the smile on my face. If you could hear me, you may cover your ears...I am shouting my excitement and joy to the heavens. I do not even feel like a young mother with breast cancer. I am truly blessed to feel so good and so healthy! Today is the first day of the most normal week scheduled since July 24, 2009! I ONLY had 1 doctor's appointment scheduled the entire week and it was today with Dr. AJ, Medical Oncologist. It was a consult follow-up to my first round of chemo last Monday. I am SO EXCITED! Dr. AJ indicated that 99% of chemo patients have a similar experience and reaction to every chemo treatment as they did to the first. This FIGHT is all mine! I was weak and very tired for 3 days after, but I had so much support and help to get my family through the week. And, most importantly, I was more than ready for Friday Night Stanberry Bulldog Football. YEAH!!! If I can handle every treatment in similar style, I will have a ton to be THANKFUL for...remember...Have You Thanked God Today?!? Now, I Thank Him several times a day!

We will Win This Fight! Thanks for your continued support and acts of kindness and generosity!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to Normal

Thanks to my Big Sis for stepping in and posting a note in my absence!

WOW! I was zapped! I have not had mono, but I am guessing that my symptoms this week would be similar. I lost the pep in my step. I was very weak. I did not even have the energy to change Bo's clothes after Dan dressed him in Super Hero Jammie shorts and a nice, striped polo shirt yesterday. Today, however, I feel like a million bucks...better than I did before chemo started. The Jamboree sealed the deal for really is FOOTBALL season and I could not be more excited! I need the distraction now more than ever. It will be so nice to live for Friday nights with the Stanberry Bulldogs and Saturdays with the Northwest Bearcats!

We did have our 1st day of 1st grade this week and Malia is, once again, in her element. She is meant to be a schoolgirl! Everything was ABSOLUTELY fantastic or ABSOLUTELY fun or something dramatic. Even Maggie is excited about school. She will go to pre-school playgroup in the spring semester, but on Tuesday, she had her backpack so full I thought the zipper would pop. She packed her own lunch (peanut butter sandwich, pudding cup, granola bar, and gum). And she had money in her wallet just in case they were selling monster cookies. Dan swears they are not his kids because they enjoy school so much!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hanging in there!

Hello all, This is Mary's sister again, just wanted to give you a quick update on Mary. She did have her first treatment on Monday, even though she got through it like a trooper, it has wiped her out! She seems pretty good just very tired. I know she will be updating her blog real soon just keep checking as she has a lot of things going on. She is VERY excited for the football scrimmage tomorrow night, so go BULLDOGS!! Thanks so much for checking on her and please Fr. Emil Kapaun heal Mary completely and KO that darn BEAST, AMEN!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Join us for some fun


----Benefit Golf Tournament----

4 Person Scramble
Stanberry Golf Course

September 20th, 2009
tee times: 8:00 am or 1:00 pm

$30 per person
Carts are available for an additional charge
Carts must be reserved at sign-up to ensure availability

Hole in one on hole four wins $10,000!!

BBQ Pork Lunch available 11:00am until ??
Free Will Donation

Door Prizes & Flag Prizes!!

To Register:
David Henry: 641-782-0852

All proceeds go to the Mary Collins Benefit Fund to assist
Mary’s fight against Breast Cancer
Donations can be sent to:
Theresa Schmitz
24709 Olympic Road
Ravenwood, MO 64479

This is Mary's sister, in case you haven't heard we are having a benefit golf tournament. Please come join us even if you don't want to golf there will be great food and lots of visiting. If you are going to turn a team in, please have tee shirt sizes of your team mates to turn in also! If you have any questions please e-mail me at or call 660-937-2338. Thanks so much for all the prayers and support you have given Mary, Dan, their kids and our family, we really appreciate it! Fr. Emil Kapaun please give Mary a full recovery and help her KO the beast, AMEN! Thanks again and hope to see you all the 20th.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Round 1 Chemo - KO

Round 1 of Chemo is complete. I know, I know, it really isn't complete until I start Round 2 and there is still a lot of unknowns about the next few days, but the chemo is in my system and doing it's job. I feel great! I am a woman that does not even take a daily vitamin and they sent me to WalMart for 3 prescriptions and 3 over-the-counter meds. Whatever it takes! I am In It to Win It!

I am on the ACT plan. I will receive the A & C once every 2 weeks for 4 treatments. I will get a Neulasta shot the day after each of the 4 treatments to boost my white cells. Then I will receive the T once a week for 12 treatments. Amidst all this, I get more anti-nausea meds than I ever knew existed. I already looked at the calendar and if all goes well, I will be more excited than ever for Christmas this year. Looks like the last treatment will be the Monday before or after Christmas. We will have a lot to be Merry about this year!

A = Adriamycin
C = Cytoxan
T = Taxol

Thank You for Supporting My Fight Against Breast Cancer!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Strengthened for My Task On Earth

The first line of the closing song at mass this morning was "God's Blessing Sends Us Forth, Strengthened for Our Task On Earth"! Exactly the message I was looking for today. I am so Blessed! I continue to seek the strength I need! My strength is a piece of each of you...thanks so much for your support! My Strength comes from My Reasons...Malia, Maggie, & Bo...and don't forget Dan the Man! Hugs & Kisses!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fighting All Directions

WHEW!!! Big Sigh! I was polishing my gloves and continuing my fight against breast cancer and quickly realized I could "put up my dukes" and fight in several directions at once. Wednesday morning, my sister took Bo to the doctor for us (afraid he had ear infection) and my brother Bull took me to my echo cardiogram. Bull loves the back roads and just so happened my van broke down "in the middle of nowhere"...Bull still thinks he knew where we were. I was thanking God that Bull was with me and I was not by myself! He had it all under control and took care of all my needs in an affordable style. Needless to say, it was an entertaining ride home and the memories will last a lifetime. Fast Forward to Thursday...My Sister was very worried about Bo's breathing throughout the day. I received a call from Dan on my way home from work and he said, "I have Bo in the ER. Go on home and we will meet you at home." He should know better than to tell a mother to go home when her Baby is in the ER. I turned around and a few hours later, Bo was admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Maryville. The final diagnosis was croup. We spent lots of hours under the tent, had lots of breathing treatments and IV antibiotics and fluids. We finally made it home earlier this evening. I called the girls this morning to check on them and I barely recognized Malia's voice when she answered the phone. She and Maggie both have a terrible head cold, so our doctor was willing to treat them as well. Tonight we had our only little pharmacy distribution center right here at home.

I did receive the call from Dr. AJ today that I was waiting for. The HER2 is negative and chemo is set for Monday, August 17th. However, I am not sure if we will be able to start chemo or not because I have poison ivy and a rash from the surgical tape. I was starting to panic and realized I simply need to continue my prayers and when it starts, it starts...and I will be READY!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Port Is In

The port is in. I am not sure how my follower Sue was able to go shopping because all I want to do is sleep. I am getting plenty of rest today (maybe catching up a little from the last couple weeks). On my way to the hospital I received a couple text messages and a phone call from special people in my life and Dan asked what they wanted. I simply said they were checking in before the port procedure even though they were sending birthday wishes as well. Dr. Faris came by first thing and said, "Happy Birthday!" Dan said, "Well, #@%!" The nurses loved it...Dr. Faris remembered my birthday and Dan forgot! The surgical crew sang Happy Birthday to me, brought me a piece of cake, and gave me a pink, glass rose. Dan has a little extra on his mind these days. He started football practice yesterday in the midst of all this chaos. He is confident in the group of young men he has this year. Thanks to his coaching staff for their flexibility and willingness to help him (us) out! I am looking for some WINS in the ring and Dan is expecting them on the gridiron. I will continue to be the #1 Stanberry Bulldog Football Fan! Go Bulldogs!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Received News before Tuesday

Not often do we receive news before expected, but I received a phone call from the Medical Oncologist, Dr AJ, in St. Joseph, today. Dr. Silva had called him with the results of the lymph node biopsy. I wanted results and I wanted a plan and I wanted to fight, but when I heard Dr. AJ say the results were positive (cancer is in my lymph nodes) was a right hook and maybe even a combo with an upper cut. It really was the news that I was convinced I would receive after 3 physicians shared their strong intuitions with me, but it still hurts! Dr. AJ is energized because the news gives him an opportunity to put a plan in place and he quickly coordinated a busy week of chemo preparation for me. I met with the General Surgeon in Maryville today and had all my pre-op "stuff" completed. I will get my port (for chemo) tomorrow, Tuesday, in Maryville. I have an echo cardiogram in St. Joseph on Wednesday. Dr. AJ is awaiting the HER2 results from the lymph node biopsy (Sorry...I cannot tell you in my terms what HER2 is, but do know that it is a critical piece of the puzzle to identify the appropriate chemo drug) and we will hopefully have those results by the end of this week. If everything falls into place this week, I will have my first chemo treatment on Monday, August 17th, in Maryville, under the supervision of Dr. AJ.

My mother posted a comment about Fr. Kapaun and we will be praying to him and asking for his healing powers. We are proud to have a Conception Seminary graduate considered for sainthood.

Also, please say an extra prayer for a special friend of mine. She had a mammogram after hearing my results and she is heading back for an additional ultrasound tomorrow.

Hugs & Kisses! The Fight Is On!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Walk

Unfortunately, I have had an avenue to participate in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. My cousin and her husband rallied together after the loss of 8 month old Baby Morgan to form Morgan's Team. They are active contributors and even were the Chairpersons for the Gentry County Relay for the Stanberry rotation. Their dedication to the Relay and the Search for a Cure is an absolute inspiration! Reluctantly, I attended the Relay for the first time a few years ago...thinking I really had nothing to offer. The opening ceremony was the Survivor Lap and I was a proud, emotional wreck as I witnessed my sister complete that lap in the sea of purple. Some of us joined in on the next lap with her and the other survivors for the caregiver lap. For the next 12 hours, we had a team member on the track, completing THE WALK portion of the Relay. A representative from the American Cancer Society explained the symbolism of THE WALK at several intervals throughout the night. I cannot explain what that first year of THE WALK did for me, but I was hooked! I soon realized...for me, it's not what I can do for THE WALK, but what THE WALK does for me.

This past year, there were very few team members able to stay all night and complete THE WALK. I was thrilled that my little cousin offerred to stay...she'll never understand the motivation she provided me. But I can guarantee you, I would have done it by myself...that is how much it means to me! Every year, I felt it was the only opportunity I had to even begin to understand the battle my sister had survived and the only possibility I would ever get to remotely experience the emotional roller coaster of those who have lost loved ones to cancer. For me, it was my only hope to connect and to remind me to constantly Thank God for all the people committed to make a difference.

I recently talked to my cousin that lost her baby to cancer and shared with her that I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would truly experience the fight myself! I tried to explain to her how THE WALK changed my life forever because it was the symbol of what my loved ones had experienced and I thought it was the closest I would ever get. She kindly sent these words to me and I wish to share them with you...

The Relay begins when the sun is setting. This symbolizes the time that the person has been diagnosed with cancer. The crowd of people represents the strong support structure the survivor needs.
The day is getting darker, and this represents the cancer patient's state of mind as they endure the emotions of being a cancer patient.
As the evening goes on, it gets colder and darker, just as the emotions of the cancer patient. Around 1 or 2 am represents the time when the cancer patient starts treatments. They become exhausted, some sick, not wanting to go on, and possibly wanting to give up. Participants in Relay feel much the same way while walking during these hours. They cannot stop or give up, just as the cancer patient cannot stop or give up.
Around 4 or 5 am symbolizes the completion of treatment for the cancer patient. Once again they are tired, but they know they will make it.
The sun rising represents the end of treatment for the cancer patient. They see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that life will go on. The morning light brings on a new day, full of life and excitement for the cancer patient. Participants feel the brightness of the morning and know the end of the Relay is close at hand.

A reason I walk...............

I Walked a Track
I walked around a track today....
I walked to help a disease go away.

I walked because there is a need.
I walked that bodies could be freed.

I walked to give a small child hope...
I walked to help someone cope.

I walked for a husband or a wife.
I walked to give someone life.

I walked with my head held high...
I walked for that one about to die.

I walked excitedly not demure.
I walked to help find a cure.

I walked for everyone to see....
I walked for you....I walked for me.

We will continue to walk.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Patience is a Virtue

Today was THE day...I anticipated all the test results would be back and the plan would be put into action today. However, the test results were inconclusive or the best way I understand is the results did not confirm Dr. Silva's intuition! Let me share that Dr. Silva is thrilled the cancer does not exist in my organs nor bones. In his mind, his initial plan has not changed...chemo before any type of surgery. However, the current results do not warrant chemo and he still has concerns with lymph nodes in the left arm pit. Today, I had a ultrasound guided core biopsy of the lymph nodes in the left arm pit. We should get the results by Tuesday (hopefully) next week. As an analyst, I am very familiar with flowcharting and even though I hesitate to create flowcharts, I understand the philosophy and purpose. In my mind, we are near the beginning of the flowchart at a Decision Making point...a HUGE Decision Making point. I believe that Dr. Silva is taking the appropriate precautions to ensure he makes the right decision in my best interest. The decision will be chemo vs. mastectomy. I will continue to pray, pray, pray!

I Love to Be a Mom

Kids can do wonders and provide great distractions. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful, healthy family. My baby boy is a Mama's Boy and I love every minute of it! My girls made cards for me! My 3 year old drew a fire breathing dragon...the art work reminds me of her imagination when we are cloud watching and finding images in the clouds. My 6 year old made me the biggest card I have ever received. The message reads...Dear Mom, I hope you survive cancer. I hope your hair gros bac. I hope they get that thing out of your boob. I Love you to the moon and back.

What more can I say? The cards and the message are priceless. I am so thankful to be a Mom and be surrounded by my "babies".

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fight Like A Girl...

My Big Sister sent this song to me today at the request of my brother-in-law's cousin with a note that she will pray for me when she hears this song...Fight Like A Girl. The lyrics are below.

Also, we had a MVP celebration at Heartland today and honored ONE superstar employee. It was the first MVP reception for our new President and CEO and he shared a few words that hit very close to home for me and will stick with me forever. I will not quote him, but he indicated that ONE person cannot run a hospital (or fight breast cancer in my case) because it takes a team...a team with superstars. We are continuing to build our team of superstars and I would wager us against anybody or anything. Hey Team, Let's Go...Fight...Win!

Fight Like A Girl Lyrics...
Little girl alone on the playground
Tired of gettin' teased and gettin' pushed around
Wishin' she was invisible
To them
She ran home cryin
'"Why do they hate me?"
And Mama wiped the tears and said
"Baby, you're brave and you're beautiful.
So, hold your head high.
Don't ever let 'em define
The light in your eyes.
Love yourself, give them Hell.
You can take on this world.
You just stand and be strong
And then fight
Like a girl."
At 31 she was wheelin' and dealin'
Kept on hittin' that same glass ceilin'
She was never gonna be one of the boys, no
She coulda gave up on her ambition
And spent the rest of her life just wishin'
Instead she listened to her mama's voice sayin'
"Hold your head high.
Don't ever let 'em define
The light in your eyes.
Love yourself, give them Hell.
You can take on this world.
You just stand and be strong
And then fight
Like a girl.
"Oh, with style and grace
Kick ass and take names
Ten years of climbin' that ladder
Oh, but money and power don't matter
When the doctor said "the cancer spread"
She holds on tight to her husband and babies
And says "this is just another test God gave me.
And I know just how to handle this
"I'll hold my head high
I'll never let this define
The light in my eyes
Love myself, give it Hell
I'll take on this world
If I stand and be strong
No, I'll never give up
I will conquer with love
And I'll fight like
Like a girl

Monday, August 3, 2009

I smell VICTORY today!

I was scheduled for a pre-op physical (prior to the procedure to place the chemo port) today with my PCP. He made my day by sharing the results of all the tests on Friday. I had a MRI, 3 CTs and a Bone Scan. All the test results contained no specific evidence of metastatic disease. In my terms, the cancer exists only in the left breast and has not yet invaded my lymph nodes, bones, nor any other organ in my system! Can you hear me?!? I am shouting shouts of joy and praising our God! Thanks for the prayers! Keep them coming!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thank You with Hugs & Kisses

Big Sigh...Where to Start?!? I cannot begin to express in words the overwhelming emotion of gratitude I have! I have experienced so many acts of kindness, heartfelt gestures, words of encouragement, prayers, and hugs & kisses. To each of you I simply say, "Thank You, Your Rewards will be Great!" This fight is not mine to win alone, but WE will do this together. The end result may not be a KO, but I am determined to win by decision. With my support structure, I am prepared to fight to the very last bell...through every round. The boxing gloves in the picture are MINE. My oldest niece, Cyndi, gave them to me with the inspirational message...ARE YOU READY TO FIGHT? Fortunately, I have lots of motivation to answer, "Damn Right, I am!" I took a picture of my 3 adorable children with me to share with Dr. Silva and staff to help them understand just how serious and competitive I am. I told them, "This is my motivation!" as I shared the picture. Dan immediately realized he was not in the picture, but as you all know, Dan and I are meant to grow old together. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this year and plan to celebrate many more together! I also have my mother, my rock! She led this family through my Big Sister's battle with cancer and several other trials along the way and her faith never faltered. Not sure she was prepared to lead the way again for her baby girl, but she did not hesitate. She gave me a relic from Padre Pio, the saint who cured hundreds from cancer. She visited his shrine in Italy on a previous trip. I also have my Big Sister! She has shown me the way with her toughness and persistence and proudly wears the purple survivor shirt during the annual Relay for Life walks, which my daughters call "Sashy's Walk". I have my guardian angel in heaven, my Daddy, looking over me and guiding me every step of the way. I have the strength from my brothers that I can always depend on in any time of need. I also have my own health. I struggle to remember a time that I have felt better. And I have all of, nieces, nephews, friends, parish members, co-workers. We will WIN this fight together!

We have witnessed the Power of Prayer in my family and community and with my friends. And I will be Proud to be added to the list!

I had a couple reminders that my prayers were not complete as of late. A marquee in St. Joseph contains the message, "Have You Thanked God Today?" And the opening song in daily mass last Thursday was Now Thank We All Our God. Dan and I both admitted that we were behind a few days, but I can promise you that I have caught up. I do have too much to be thankful for...Life is Good, the Fight is On!

Friday, July 31, 2009

All in 1 week

Friday, July 24, 2009 - Mammogram & Ultrasound of breasts scheduled. Mammo results were conclusive and Ultrasound cancelled. We left St. Francis Hospital in Maryville, MO, with a follow-up appointment scheduled with my Primary Care Physician, PCP, and a strong indication of cancerous growth in the left breast.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - PCP shared the official Mammo results which are listed below and referred us to the General Surgeon at St. Francis Hospital the next day.
The medial half of the left breast shows a dense mass with multiple calcifications.
Size of this abnormal area is nearly 9 cm.
Left breast neoplasm.
BIRADS 5, highly suggestive of malignancy.
Appropriate action should be taken.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - The General Surgeon recommended a transfer to the Olson Breast Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and she coordinated a consult with Dr. Silva the next day. I also visited the Breast Center at Heartland Regional Medical Center, HRMC, to register and explore possible options.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 - I arrived at the Breast Center with my Boxing Gloves, committed to convince Dr. Silva and crew that I AM READY FOR THIS FIGHT! Dr. Silva and the entire staff convinced us that we are in good hands...he is intelligent, intuitive, an expert, an educator, and passionate for the quality of life of his patients. He performed a fine needle aspiration and confirmed the presence of cancer within 30 minutes. A core needle biopsy followed to take a core cross-section sample to determine the specifics of the cancer. Unfortunately, the results of the core biopsy take days instead of minutes. Dr. Silva ordered a MRI of the breasts (both) and armpits, CT of the chest/abdomen/pelvis, Nuclear Medicine Bone Scan. Amazingly, the leadership at my employer, HRMC, in St. Joseph, MO, was willing to coordinate and arrange for all the tests to be completed the next day. Dr. Silva is very supportive and tolerant to allow me to complete as many of the tests and procedures as possible closer to home during this entire process. Dr. Silva's plan is to begin chemotherapy as soon as feasible after he shares the results of the above tests and biopsy. Chemo will last 4-6 months with the goal to reduce (ideally eliminate) the cancer. The cancer will be monitored during the chemotherapy to ensure the shrinkage. He will have the ability to adjust the chemo meds if necessary and place markers to aid in future surgery. During the chemo, I will go through a complete genetic test and counsel to determine genetic predisposition. Surgery will follow the completion of the chemo. Ideally, the cancer will be eliminated and based on the marker(s) placed during the chemo, Dr. Silva will be able to remove the tissue surrounding the original location of the cancer. We bought into his philosophy and plan of treatment. There are several factors that will affect the final plan and outcome, and we will hopefully hear the final results and plan of action at the scheduled appointment on Thursday, August 6, 2009.

Friday, July 31, 2009 - We were able to successfully complete ALL the tests at HRMC that Dr. Silva ordered. My Heartland co-workers went above and beyond to make this day a success. Now...the waiting game...expecting results next Thursday.

Just getting started...

As soon as I get more organized, I plan to post the history of the last week of our lives. Long Story Short...breast cancer confirmed...Biopsy, MRI, CT, Bone Scan completed. We will receive results and put all the pieces of the puzzle together Thursday, August 6, 2009, in Omaha, NE, at University of Nebraska Medical Center Olson Center for Women's Health under the care of Dr. Edibaldo Silva, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., Surgical Oncologist.