I Will Do It With You!

It has been a while since I sat down and blogged. This is mostly due in part to a depression that I was wollowing around in. This year has not been an easy year for me.  I felt as though every thought that was in my head was so negative I could not bring myself to spew anymore negativity out into the world. Then last week I received a text message asking me to watch a movie. It was followed by another text that said, “I will do it with you!”

Let me rewind myself a little, this actually all began about a month ago. A friend of mine was mulling around on Netflix for something to watch when she came across a movie called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. She called all excited about the movie and exclaimed, “I want to juice! You should watch the movie!”  I thought about it, downloaded it to stream, but never go around to watching it. The next day I received a message that said “It taste like vomit!” And the juicer was sent away. I should point out that my friend hates vegetables and there have been very few veggies that have crossed her lips in her lifetime until her attempt at juicing. At this point I deleted the movie from my queue. After all, who wants to drink something that taste that awful.

A few weeks went by when my phone rang. It was my father. “Are you watching the Revolution?” he asked. To which I replied, “Nope, don’t like the show so I don’t watch it.” He began to tell me about this woman, my dad is not good with names but remembered Crazy Sexy Cancer and said I needed to watch the show.  I have Tivo and my tuner was already set on the channel so I was able to rewind the past 30 minutes, so  I flipped the channel. There she was, a skinny, energetic happy-go-lucky blonde shoving veggies down a juicer. I sighed because I knew what he was going to say and I knew I was going to break his heart. “I am not going to juice dad, I know I won’t like it.” Needless to say he went on a campaign to change my mind, but I wasn’t listening. But, he doesn’t give up very easily when it comes to the important things like his children.

I love my dad. Things haven’t always been perfect in our relationship because we are so much alike. But he is the one that taught me to always be there for my family no matter what. And, if you mess with one Espinal, you mess will all of us. He is the one that taught me how to be strong. He’s not for everyone. Some people, or should I say one person, who is narrow-minded and, well, let’s just say lacks a sense of humor, finds him embarrassing. Some would say he is a natural flirt, so I guess I know where I got that from. And, some would say he is funny. He likes to joke, laugh and have a good time. He is the kind of man who if you ask him his opinion, he is going to give it to you his truthful opinion whether you like the answer or not, he will not sugar coat it.  But the thing I love about his the most is that we can always count on him. No matter what he has our backs. Not everyone is fortunate to have that, so disappointing him is hard.  When I said I didn’t want to juice I could hear the disappointment in his voice.

Last week I went to see my doctor at MD Anderson Cancer Center. My last treatment was done October 7th last year because of several complications I had after receiving an emergency surgery. Prior to the chaos that occurred I was on a study for a drug that, while it was working slowly, was working. However, due to several surgery complications that they believe could be a result of being on the medicine, I was removed from the study in December. You were only allowed to have an 8-week gap between treatments. Anyway, I was going to see about making a plan to get back on track with treatment.

In order to move forward with a plan I first needed CT Scans. So, I downed some prednisone, zofran and benadryl followed by some oral contrast, can you “yuck”. Juicing can’t be as bad as that crap. Anyway, after choking it down I headed off to the table to have my innards scanned. I hate the process, but it is a necessary process. The next day I went to see my doctor with optimism. Things were great! Tumors had remained stable during the past couple of months, so no new growth. Another positive was that the doctor said she thought we could continue with Avasatin. I was happy because since 1998, it is the only drug that had ever worked. In January Dr. Brown did not think it was a viable option. Then the hammer dropped and I was a mess.

The payment assistance that I thought was going to be there was actually non-existent. My heart sank to my feet. My share of the cost of the drug was $9,756 per treatment. I needed treatment every three weeks and probably for at least two years. That is just the medicine. I needed money to pay the doctor, pay for the process of receiving the treatment, money for meds they had to give me in conjunction with the Avastin. I needed money to see the ENT specialist, Nephrologist and my general medicine doctor because of the side effects that I have from it. I needed money to pay for the medicine to control the side affects. I needed money to travel to Houston to receive treatment. I needed gas money, which $20 used to fill my tank now it takes  $50. I needed money to pay for parking at the hospital. I needed money to pay for the hotel. And, last but not least, I needed money to eat while I was down there. Sadly, my piggy bank was empty. So, I then had to reconcile in my brain if I wanted to bankrupt my family and put them in debt for more than half a million dollars, maybe more, within the next two to three years. What do I do now? And, the depression set in until one day I received a text that said, “I will do it with you!”

So, I went to Netflix and downloaded  “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” along with the other movie my friend said to watch “The Gerson Miracle” into my Instant Queue, and ordered the DVD ” Crazy Sexy Cancer “. The stories hit home and I felt the need to try. After all, it won’t make things worse, getting extra veggies and I don’t hate veggies. It would help me to lose weight, which after years of abuse to my body, I have more than a few pounds I could stand to see go away. And finally, how can you turn down a friend, who hates the thought of consuming veggies and already referred to it as tasting like vomit, who was offering to do it with you.

So I have done some research. Have learned that lemon and lime help with the taste, as well as not using the rinds for them or grapefruit. And, this weekend the hubby and I are going out to buy the supplies and equipment to get us started. Yes, I said us. My meat and potatoes husband is willing to forgo his love of beef, starches, beer and chocolate to do this with me. Wish me luck and If you want to follow me on this journey, I will keep try to keep you posted on how it all goes.

Ovaran Cancer Info

If you can't read, just click on it to enlarge it. I don't know the name of the person that put this together but I know the wording is from the American Cancer Society

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Creating Art Out Of Sand

ImageIt seemed like a simple task. All I needed was one of those kits that have a bucket, a shovel and a few tools, the kind they sell at Walmart every Summer, and some sand. That’s it. Simple enough. How hard could it be to build a sandcastle anyway? At least that is what I used to think up until a couple of years ago when l I signed the family up to take a sandcastle building lesson.

That day I learned that it was a lot more complicated, but a lot more of fun as well. The tools, while still simple, were not at all what I had pictured in my mind. Mark had a full size shovel, some paint buckets and for sculpting, a plastic fork, knife and spool; with a few modifications to the fork and knife.

It was about that time I also learned that building a sandcastle wasn’t just dumping a bunch of sand in a pile and packing it down. The best sand seemed to be right on the edge of the water and a few feet down. Mark dug a hole and scooped out some sand and made some sand pies. Kind of like making mud pies when I was a kid. However, it is not always the best place with the waves crashing in and filling the hole with water.

Next we had to scope out a good spot to build our castle. Then we learned how to mix the sand, make and stack the patties and sculpt. Seems easy right? Well,  you have to make sure there is nothing in the sand, like seaweed. You have to make sure you shake the patties to get the air bubbles out, then once stacked make sure it is solid enough to carve. And, that it doesn’t get too dried out while you are creating you sculpture. Otherwise it will crack and crumble.

ImageAs we were stacking our patties I learned another key component to building a sandcastle; the story telling. Mark was really great at story telling and it made the day   more entertaining. The next thing I knew we had sandcastles in the sand. While they may not have been the prettiest ones on the beach, we definitely felt like we accomplished something. More than that Kat and Christina had a lot of fun and it was a great bonding experience.

Mark said it just takes practice to get good. Sounded like a great excuse to make more trips to the beach the next year. Overall, I have a much greater appreciation for the art work I see when we are strolling along the beach. Kat started college in Corpus this year, so it gives us more opportunities to go down and play in the sand. Who knows, maybe we will get good enough to enter an amateur contest one year. For now I just leave it the professionals at the annual Texas Sand Fest they have in Port Aransas.

If you would like to learn more about Mark, he has a blog with photos of others enjoying playing in natures sandbox.

Ugggh, Coffee Please!!!

My friends at Spirit Hoods posted the above photo on their Facebook wall. I decided to repost because it described exactly how I felt. But, I guess that is to be expected when you are sleep deprived. So forgive me if I ramble today, my head is a little foggy.

After four hours of sleep, I found myself driving down the road on the way to the doctor’s office for an appointment I scheduled a few weeks ago. All the while thinking, What the heck was I thinking? I am so not a morning person. My sleep deprivation is a result of anxiety I guess, have a lot on my mind these days.

If you read the About Me page, then you already know I have been fighting cancer, GCT,  since 1998. I have never been in remission. My tumor re-growth usually occurred within months of have a debulking surgery. I have had several surgeries and each one has more and more complications. Last year I underwent a treatment of Avastin through a clinical trial, which was working, but the doctor’s had to take me off of it in October because I needed to have an ER Surgery for a hernia. After the surgery were several complications which caused me to ousted from the program. You can’t miss more than 8 weeks between treatments. It was the first time since my diagnosis that a treatment actually worked, so I was devastated. Now they want to try another treatment they refer to as BEP .  This treatment can effect lung function. Therefore, I have to be admitted into the hospital for four days each cycle. That side effect alone is a little scary. And, since I am no longer in a clinical trial, my medical cost will increase significantly. Insurance only covers 80 percent. So I have been thinking about the medical bills. I almost passed out on Saturday when I received the bills from both the hospitals I had been admitted to recently. On top of everything else, I my left brain wants to clean, organize and label everything so that Kat and my husband can find things while I am out of it or for the just incase scenario.

Most people hate when I mention the “just in case scenario” and respond with “think positive”. However, I tend to have this “I do, but I also live in the real world” mentality. And, truth is my right brain is lives life, plans for a future and doesn’t think about cancer . My left brain, which unfortunately is on overload right at the moment,  knows I need to be prepared and I need to prepare my family.

I worry about Kat, her schooling, and her future. I worry about who is going to take care of my puppies like I do. I worry about all the things that need to be done around the house. I worry about my husband and how he is going to handle things. I worry about loading him up with expenses that I will exceed our income at a minimum by 400 percent this year. And, I worry about  being stuck. Stuck in a rut because of the effects of chemo. I really want to get back into the real world and have a job again, but then I worry about who would hire me with all my cancer problems. I worry about being in a bad space with my brother, he is not speaking to me at the moment because I had the audacity to talk to my father about how I felt about his decision-making after college. Because I was worried about him.  He in only 26, I am 45. My father says I need to quit worrying about everything and everyone else, but it is a little hard to. Anyway, I guess I just worry, so therefore tend to be sleep deprived.

Anyway, sorry for ranting and rambling one, but I do want to say one more thing. If it were cold enough here, I would so rock a Spirit Hood because they are about feeling young, having fun and animal conservation. We all need a little of that now and again. Who knows, maybe I still will when the chemo makes my hair fall out. After all, if people are going to stare I might as well give them something fun to stare at. Oh, they also have a blog at the link above if you want to read it.

Well, I guess I better go, Jake is letting me know it’s feeding time.