Thursday, August 29, 2013

I'm Taking A New Blood Thinning Medication

Good news..... Last week, I had another Doppler to check and see if my blood clots have dissolved. The results are mostly positive, as the larger clot in my subclavian vein seems to be gone. I have good blood flow in my arm and the swelling is gone!

There is, however, still a small clot in my jugular vein (in my neck). I had an appointment with my Oncologist yesterday, and he said I will still need to be on some sort of blood thinning medication for awhile. The Tamoxifen I am taking has a slight risk of causing blood clots, so there is a very good chance the clot will get worse if I don't take a blood thinner.

Instead of giving myself shots of Arixtra every day, we are trying a newer medication called XARELTO. It is a small pill, taken once a day, and I do not need to get regular blood work like those who take Coumadin/Warfarin. I am happy about that.

Another Doppler is not scheduled until two months from now; and I will see my doctor again one week after that.

Aside from the clot, my blood pressure was back down to normal yesterday, and I continue to improve with my energy level. The pain in my joints also seems to be improving, as well as the numbness in my fingers.

I am beginning to feel more like "myself" again.

God is good.

Monday, August 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Plastic Donuts by Jeff Anderson

Plastic Donuts is a small book with a big topic - the topic of financially giving to the Lord. In the book, the author shares some questions many of us have had regarding giving, such as:

  • What is the right amount to give?
  • Does the tithe still apply to today?
  • Is the first 10% required and everything else is a free will offering?
  • What should be our motivation for giving?
  • Does it even matter what we give as long as we have good hearts?

There has been plenty of debate about these questions, but the author shares how the instructions in the Bible focus more on the heart of the matter rather than following a specific set of rules. He gives a different perspective on giving, and has good insight into what makes our gifts acceptable to the Lord.

The author uses an illustration of the pleasure his little girl showed when she gave him a plastic donut and he took it at "ate" it. There are numerous times when I have played with little plastic donuts as a result of my children's pretend restaurant or kitchen. So, I understand what the author is saying. I recall the delight on my children's faces when they served the food to me and I would pretend to eat it. This type of pleasure seen in our children should be the same as when we give our gifts to the Lord. If we are genuinely pleased to give to Him, then He is genuinely pleased with our gift. This, in turn, brings us closer to the Lord in our relationship with Him.

It is a book worth picking up. To learn more, head over to

NOTE: I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

EL's 2nd MRI

Three weeks ago, I mentioned my daughter's MRI results, and said she would be going back for a 2nd MRI to get a closer look at two spots. (Note: In order to give her a "name" and make things easier as I write, she will be known as EL instead of just "my daughter"). The 2nd MRI was on August 9th. Things went well, overall, although EL woke up a lot grumpier this time than she did after the first one.

One week later (which was this past Friday), we finally received a call from the doctor regarding the results. This is what we currently know:

1.  The spot in the Pineal gland looks to be a fluid-filled cyst. It may or may not be causing any problems. Many people have cysts like this for years and don't ever know about it unless they have an MRI done for some unrelated reason.

2.  The Pituitary gland is enlarged, but they still do not know the cause of the enlargement.

3.  The good news is that both of these spots have not increased in size since the first MRI was done, so they are not growing (at least not very fast).

4.  The next step is to have her seen by two different specialists. One will be a Neurosurgeon, for an evaluation and opinion of the spots. The other is with an Endocrinologist who will check her hormone levels. If her hormone levels are high, that could be the cause for the Pituitary enlargement. If they are normal, then something else is the cause.

The appointments for these specialists have not been made yet, but we are going to try and get them made for the same day to save on time and travel. 

One thing "nice" about traveling to St. Louis for EL's appointments (we've had 3 so far), is that we have been able to spend some extra time with my parents. It has worked out for them to watch our son, JJ, with each trip we've made. I am grateful to them for their help and support.

As always, God is good.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Update on My Health - Prayers Are Working!

Today's doctor visit went well. The doc was running an hour and a half behind schedule, so the waiting was long, but we are used to that. He often runs behind, due to the way he takes time with his patients, including us. So, we just accept the fact that we will probably have to wait. Its the "price" for having a good doctor.

1.  The swelling in my arm is almost gone, which is a good sign the blood clot has dissolved or is almost dissolved. However, the doc wants me to continue with the Arixtra shots (a blood thinner) a little while longer, just to be "safe." In two weeks, I'll have another Doppler done to check the status of the clot. Then, I will see the doc again one week after that to discuss the results.

2.  My blood pressure was high today. It was also high 2 weeks ago when I was seeing the doc. Not sure what is causing that, but we will keep an eye on it.

3.  I have been having a lot of pain and stiffness in my joints for the past few weeks. The doc said it could still be a side effect of the chemo, or it could be a deficiency in Vitamin D. They drew blood on me to check my levels for that, and I will know the results in a couple of days.

4.  I am doing good on the Tamoxifen. I'm thankful for no major side effects so far.

5.  My hair has been growing back! Right now, it is very soft and seems to be a bit darker than it was previously, but we shall see what its like as it continues to grow.

Over all, I seem to be making progress with my health. I'm so glad for that. Thanks again for all the prayers. God is faithful.

Psalm 119:89-90 - Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations.