Traces - One artist's Breast Cancer Journey. Finding wellness through art, writing, photography, and travel.
 
It's been nearly a month since I wrote last, which is mostly due to my being lazy, but not entirely due to that. So many new experiences in a month can be overwhelming, and this month has been full of them for me and my family. I'll take these firsts in chronological order, being the organized person I like to dream I am...

First, let me tell you what a great time we had in Idaho with our friends, Randy and Annick Shipley. We've taken little weekend trips with them several times, and we just love their company so much! We have a lot of common interests (photography, long drives on dirt roads, Idaho, good food, genealogical research, birds in the wild, forests, antique shopping, and ghost towns). Wherever we've gone (and for some reason, it always seems to be to Idaho) we have found these interests have made it so enjoyable to spend time together. This last trip to the Sawtooth Mountains was no exception.

Steve and Annick cooked for us most of the time, and the food was plentiful and so tasty - at least they tell me it was. I am currently having tasting and smelling issues, rather like morning sickness without the bonus at the end of 9 months. It all looked wonderful, and I was able to enjoy some if it, but I keep going through this crazy circle of nausea, gastro-intestinal upset, back to being rather fine, and then it starts over again. I never know what any given day will bring, so I'm learning that I can't schedule things very well, or feel comfortable about making plans that might lead me very far away from a "powder room".
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The orange pill on the left is the Tykerb. I put it next to an ibuprophen so you could see its size in comparison. I take four of these every night.
The nausea issues have greatly affected my appetite, as you can imagine. In the three weeks between oncology visits I think I dropped 10 lbs. On a body my size, 10 lbs is hardly noticeable, but the doctor keeps notes, so he asked me about it. I was really reluctant to tell him of the side effects I am having with the Tykerb, because I don't want him to take me off it and put me back on chemotherapy. I have high hopes of this drug doing a good job on the cancer cells, so I want to give it as long as I can. In the meantime, I hope you don't mind it too much if I whine just a little.

For those of you who come to this page because you, too, are taking Tykerb, you will likely share some of the same symptoms. For those just new to the drug, like me, it was helpful to have an idea of what to expect, so I'm going to tell it like it is. Keep in mind that these seem to come and go in waves and since I started the Tykerb on the heels of finishing up 15 radiation treatments, I can't say with absolute certainty that they are all due to the new drug. My assumed side effects are:
1. gastro-intestinal upset
2. nausea
3. mouth/tongue sores
4. skin rashes - every day, somewhere new - this is definitely the Tykerb
5. severely dry skin - ditto above
6. some dizziness, although I don't really know if that is from the Tykerb or not, as I had some issues with it prior to going on the drug

None of these issues are unbearable, as long as I know it's all going to be worth it in the end. Of course, there's no way of knowing that with any degree of certainty, but I'm going to assume the best, and then deal with whatever happens when the time comes.


ON A MUCH MORE EXITING NOTE...
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Baby Noah Quinn - 12 Aug 2012
Alex and Jill welcomed a new member into their family on July 27th. They let me name him. They gave me a list of approved names, and there were so many cute ones, I mean "manly" ones, that I had a hard time choosing - until I came to Noah's name. The minute I saw it, I knew that it was the one. He has the sweetest little face, and his big brother and sister love him. He was just an ounce shy of 9 lbs at birth, and from the looks of things, is thriving! Good job Jill and Alex (mostly Jill - let's be real here). He's an angel, and we're so happy he's here.

Alex and Jill live near Chicago, and will be coming for a visit in just a month, so we're looking forward to seeing baby Noah in person. We also can't wait to see Nate and Abby. We hate being so far away from them, but we're so happy for them to make lives for themselves. They just bought their first home, and after 6 or 8 weeks of renovations, just moved in last weekend. Such exciting times for their young family.

AND THEN...
Our eldest granddaughter, Aria, was baptized on August 4th. Her Papa Quinn performed the baptism, and her Grandpa Conlin the confirmation. Her Grandpa and Grandma Conlin bought Aria her very own set of scriptures and a darling little cotton dress to be baptized in. Her primary presidency gave her a fluffy white towel with the CTR symbol monogrammed in pink fabric and stitching. It is so cute! Steve and I bought her a special dress to wear on the special day, and to church, of course. Her home teacher brought a big picture of the Salt Lake Temple (Aria had stated it was her favorite temple) to her a few days after her baptism. He is such a thoughtful man. He's only known the family for a few weeks, but was there for Aria's baptism and came to the family gathering afterwards. Very impressive. 

Aria looked so pretty in her white dresses, and she loved being the center of attention, as you may imagine. She baked a cake all by herself, according to her dad. The only thing she needed help with was in adding the eggs, because she didn't want that eggy stuff all over her hands. Once baked, she frosted it and covered it in chocolate sprinkles. Her Grandma Conlin brought a bucket of mint chocolate chip ice cream to serve with the cake, and we all had a feast. It was one of the few times that something tasted good to me. Steve and I had fun visiting with all of the Conlin family.  

Last week, our good friends, Andy and Lisa, had their eldest daughter get married, and their eldest son give his mission farewell - and these events only one day apart. It was a lot for Lisa to go through.  

Lisa took these photos of Heather and Taylor. I stole them from her facebook page. Hope you don't mind, Lisa.
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Heather and Ian Francis
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Taylor Gemperline
So, these have been some pretty great summer weeks, in the midst of some pretty challenging days. I still fill my days with indexing and sourcing my ged.com file, and I am currently photographing a book about Elmore County so that I can index it on my own (unless it's already been done - which I haven't found out yet). Steve and I are looking forward to taking another short weekend trip over the Labor Day weekend - this time with the Gemperlines to St George. We plan to see both shows at the Tuacahn theater, Hairspray & Aladdin. Can't wait!
Bess Eads
8/22/2012 10:31:57

I didn't know this was happening to you.....my thoughts and prayers are with you.....think positive!!

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