Answered Prayers

Warning: another scary photo of my stomach in this post.

Yesterday, Brett and I woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Loma Linda for my post op appointment and another round of chemotherapy.

The desert is gorgeous at sunrise and you can see the windmills in the background too….it’s a peaceful drive. I love long drives with my hubby because we get to talk about so many things we don’t get to on an everyday basis.

 

First, Dr. R removed my staples and then I got my chemo shots (sorry no more butt photos):

 

 

My battle scar! It’s looking much better……and I still have a belly button….woot woot (it was hiding under the staples)!  My belly button is about a half inch off center now…..hey, not many people can say that! The smaller incision was from the laparoscopy. The incision itself doesn’t hurt but it just feels like they took a baseball bat to every organ on the inside. I was in a deep sleep…..so maybe they did!

 

So here’s my update!

We weren’t able to get the blood results from yesterday until this morning……but it was the best phone call ever. My HCG levels are at 7,800…..they were at 17,000 right before my first chemotherapy injections. Before my hysterectomy they were 123,000!  What does this mean? It means the chemotherapy is working! God is good!

Two months ago I’d never even heard of a molar pregnancy but that’s how all of this started. My family and I learn something new about it every day . Basically, a molar pregnancy results from over-production of the tissue that is supposed to develop into the placenta. The placenta normally feeds a fetus during pregnancy….but in my case it was feeding a tumor. The tumor became invasive and grew through the wall of my uterus which is what eventually caused the uncontrollable pelvic bleeding.  I’m still in shock that I had a 4″ x 6″ tumor in my uterus…..but I think I’m even more in shock at how quickly it was able to metastasize to my lungs and liver. The good news is that these cancerous cells are very responsive to chemotherapy.  I’ll continue chemotherapy until my HCG levels come down to zero and remain at zero for three consecutive treatments. Then I’ll have another CT scan to see if the spots on my lung and liver have gone away (because we are assuming those spots are from the molar pregnancy) and we’ll pray that is the case!

The biggest challenge right now is keeping weight on. I haven’t wanted a donut in weeks. Since my body thought it was pregnant, I weighed 158 when I was in the hospital. I’ve lost about 15 pounds since then (5 of which was probably poop). I’ve been mostly successful eating small bits of sourdough bread dipped in balsamic vinegar. I still don’t know what symptoms are from surgery and what is from chemo. I guess I’ll start figuring that out in the next few weeks.

 

Highlight of the day yesterday: I sat at my computer for the first time in a few weeks!

 

 

My mom leaves tomorrow. So sad! But she’s been such an great help this past week…..cleaning, grocery shopping, picking Boo up from school and getting her ready for bed……not to mention waiting on me hand and foot. So many friends have been bringing meals to help out which has been amazing.

My father-in-law is my angel. He has coordinated care and chemotherapy here in the desert at the Lucy Curci Center so we won’t have to drive to Loma Linda anymore. It will make things much more manageable over the next few weeks.

Now all I can think about are things I want to make! My list is getting longer by the day. I’m feeling more inspired than ever. I feel like I have 3 moms here: my mom, Lisa and Gicela. Anytime I get up and try to make something they say I’m overdoing it…..and usually they are right….but I’m so bored! I’m resting all day today so maybe I can finish up a fun project I’ve been working on tomorrow. Baby steps, right?

Thank you for your continued prayers everyone.  My family and I appreciate you more than you could ever imagine. I am so overwhelmed at the outpouring of support still.

I’ve linked all the posts about my recent health “adventure” and the loss of my father here. Thanks for reading…..I hope my stories will help others that might be going through similar experiences.

Photo of the Day: An Outing

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween! We went to another neighborhood where my friend Todd had a golf cart for me to use so I could be a part of the festivities.  I actually ended up walking and it felt really great to be out with friends.


 

 

October Tutorial Roundup

For previous tutorial roundups click here!

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Photos of the Day: Beauty Parlor and OX Pumpkins

Hope everyone had a great weekend! My sister Perry and Boo painted all our extra pumpkins to look like OX Boo’s favorite ugly doll. Boo made a “girly” OX on the right adding lipstick and eyeshadow:

 

My mom took Boo to church this morning and my sister Perry dried and curled my hair. It was perfect because we had a bunch of company visiting off and on today.

 

Our friends Ben and Staci brought us a gazillion “Choose Joy” bracelets they had made! Love them. Now I just have to figure out how to distribute them!

 

 

Thanks for all the prayers for Cole last night from Facebook. He’s my mother-in-law’s nephew and was in a car accident Thursday night and is in a coma. I just know he’ll pull through….if anyone can Cole can…..he’s so young and full of life. I will keep you posted.

 

 

Tomorrow we’ll wake up bright and early to head to Loma Linda for my post op and chemotherapy. I’m excited to get my staples out!

Photo of the Day: Girl Time

I love having my mom and sister here. We spent all afternoon in my bed watching Bridesmaids……holy hilarious. Mr. LBB spent the day planting some new flowers in the front….it was a beautiful 89 degrees here today!

Note to self: need to straighten pictures above the bed…..was there an earthquake recently in SoCal?

 

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Saturday!

Photo of the Day: Old Tater

My friend Shari (of Soren Lorensen Design) magically made some walkie talkies appear at my doorstep today. Lisa and I use them to talk across the house. I used this CB Handle Generator to pick our names and I think I busted a few staples from laughing so hard.

Lisa: Old Tater

Mine: Hot Lips

 

Here’s another one to try: Quizopolis Trucker Name Generator

A Strawberry Shortcake Dress (A Tutorial)

Silhouette just released their new 12″ cutting machine the CAMEO! Here’s my first project with it:

 

I purchased a simple 99 cent strawberry image from the Silhouette online store and had the machine cut it out onto vinyl shelf paper.

 

 

Many of you know that I haven’t been feeling well so I had a TON of help with this tutorial. Gicela brought fabric samples of scraps we had and I picked them out and she cut out the dress pieces and made them into a t-shirt dress style. You can use my Sienna Dress Pattern as a starting point.

Lisa used my strawberry cutout to make a contact paper silk screen (you can see the full contact paper silk screen tutorial here):

 

Basically the contact paper adheres to the screen (I use 110 mesh YUDU screens (without the machine) because they are flat and easy to store)……

 

……and you pull the ink (Versatex Ink) across the screen to push the ink through for your image:

 

 

Lisa also printed some polka dots onto some pink fabric and used my free beret pattern to make the hat. We already had the leggings but you could use my li’l leggings pattern to make a pair with a ruffle at the bottom too.

 

Boo loves it so it made my day! Here she is at school today with my mom:

 

 

 

Use the discount code LILBLUEBOO through October 31st you’ll get:

The brand-new CAMEO and your choice of a starter kit (Fabric Ink, Vinyl, Heat Transfer, Rhinestone) for $299. There are a limited number of Cameos for this promotion and they will sell out so if you want one don’t wait!

The Silhouette CAMEO™ is an electronic cutting tool that connects to your computer allowing you to cut fonts and images in cardstock, vinyl, heat transfer material, etc.

Guard Dog

Take away the 8 inch incision, hysterectomy, chemo, cancer, pain and nausea…….and it looks like I could be on holiday.

Until a week ago, our dog Diesel thought I was chopped liver….this week he won’t leave my side. He wants to sleep with me, accompanies me into the bathroom, and follows me everywhere. Go figure.

 

 

Nothing is worse than not feeling like yourself. But I’m on a mission to make myself get up everyday and work through it. My sweet hubby does so much for me right now……adjusting my covers at night and putting lotion on my legs since I can’t reach them. He even brushes my hair:

 

 

Last night I figured out how to sleep on my side a little…..it involved about 14 pillows and it was like heaven for 45 minutes. I had really weird dreams about Project Runway.

Monday we go back to Loma Linda for a post op appointment and chemotherapy…..they should know by then if my current chemotherapy is working and we’ll hear the pathology results from the tumor they removed. Pray that the chemotherapy is working….that would be a miracle and I wouldn’t have to go to a stronger version of it.

Emotionally I feel great today. Physically not so much…..I can’t tell what are effects from surgery and what is from chemo:
I’m still bruised all over my body. There is bruising covering my entire buttocks area and I don’t even now what it’s from…..maybe from the operating table? Can you bruise from pooping?
The pooping situation has gone the other way and now I can’t stop. My poor insides feel like they are on fire.
I have zero appetite and the nausea medicine at least keeps me from vomiting. The only thing I can really stomach right now is McDonald’s sweet tea…..so I’m surviving on sugar. Better than nothing right?

I made it to Sienna’s “Trunk or Treat” at school for an hour today. Everyone was so nice and Lisa’s husband made sure I had a chair to sit in. Gicela and Lisa pitched in to make Sienna’s costume….they did a great job and I’ll share pics later today.

 

Playing Card Favor Bags (A Tutorial)

Circus playing card muslin party favor bag tutorial via lilblueboo.com

 

Part of Miss Elle’s Circus Party! I helped Lisa make these cute party favor bags using some old vintage playing cards I found at my Mom’s house this summer.

 

Circus playing card muslin party favor bag via lilblueboo.com

 

Vintage circus playing cards are by Whitman.

 

Vintage Circus Playing Cards via lilblueboo.com

 

Each card has a different circus image on it and I scanned a few into my computer so I could print the images onto transfer paper. I’ve seen some great vintage circus images at Silver Crow Creations if you can’t find playing cards. 30-One on Etsy has some fun sets of playing cards too including the circus ones.

 

Vintage Circus Playing Cards via lilblueboo.com

 

I was able to print 8 card images onto each piece of transfer paper. I used super soft transfer paper from Dharma Trading and Lisa ordered muslin party favor bags from Spice Shoppe.

 

How to make favor bags with any image via lilblueboo.com

 

Transfer paper makes an easy iron on:

 

How to make favor bags with any image tutorial via lilblueboo.com

 

Cut out the transfer and place face down onto the bag. The trick is NOT to use an ironing board…..you should use a hard surface like a table or the floor and place protective brown paper or an old t-shirt on your surface to protect it. Follow the directions of the specific transfer paper you are using. Then you peel the backing off of the paper and the bags are done:

 

 Favor bag tutorial via lilblueboo.com

 

A cute circus themed treat bag for your guests!

 

 Circus theme favor bag tutorial via lilblueboo.com

 

More printables and tutorials to come! Click below to see all the posts related to the circus party so far!

 

Circus Party via lilblueboo.com

Photo of the Day: Tick Marks

One thing I really love about Loma Linda is how quickly they encourage you to recover. The same day I was moved from ICU the nurse said to me “just so you know, you need to get up and walk at least 4 times today.” Huh!? Are you serious?! Of course it’s scary the first time….but after that I’d get help out of bed and baby step around…..catheter, IVs and all…..no shame in my gown flapping open accidentally. No wallowing in pain or self pity allowed. Like with my c-section I’ve learned little tricks to help me get up…..like bending one leg and using that to pull my body upright.

Each day I try to do the same thing….get up and walk a bit. Today I walked around our pool 15 times….the safety fence is the perfect hand rail. 5 times around and then I’d rest on the lounge chair in the nice weather until the next 5 laps. You’d think I was on vacation or something! Ha! You can see Diesel following me from a distance in the background under the lounge chair:


 

Lisa said this needed to be the photo of the day……to show my OCD with numbers. I carried a big piece of chalk and each time I walked by I made a tick mark on Boo’s easel chalkboard. I had to end in a multiple of 5 and I kept having anxiety that maybe I’d missed a lap and it would only be 14 laps…..wouldn’t that just be the end of the world?!

 

 

Listening to music as I walked I started making up funny names to tag my posts with like: Mission Kick It’s A@# and Operation No Compromise (from Whale Wars). It’s just another adventure right?  That’s how I’ll treat it right now….like a mission…..maybe that will resonate with Boo better. We are on a big “mission” to help mommy recover. Any name suggestions out there?

P.S. It’s kind of fun having  photographer around to help me remember these things…..laying in the sun soaking up some Vitamin D and listening to my iPod, I opened my eyes to see Lisa on the ground with her camera shooting Diesel and my little nap. Sneaky but funny.

I’ve linked all the posts about my recent health “adventure” and the loss of my father here. Thanks for reading…..I hope my stories will help others that might be going through similar experiences.

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