Archive for May, 2011

I’m In!!
May 26, 2011

I spent three hours at the Cancer Center today. I had to meet with someone in charge of clinical trials and discuss the possibility of participating in the clinical trial for Use of American Ginseng in Treating Patients With Cancer-Related Fatigue. We went through all aspects of the study, requirements for participation, possible side effects, etc. Had to sign a bunch of paperwork – almost like buying a house. ūüôā Then I had to get some blood work done and finally an exam. The end result? Looks like I’m in. It will be interesting to follow this and see how these studies work. I have to be formally admitted into the program, randomized, complete some initial interviews and clinical tests and then will be given my medication, which will either be 100% American Ginseng or a placebo. I should hear from them sometime next week to get the¬†ball rolling.

My labs, for the most part, were good but, unfortunately my white counts had slipped again. The last time I was there, my white counts were normal for the first time in a year and a half. Today, they had dropped down below the normal level again. This brought up the subject again of a possible bone marrow test. I have another appointment in June, after the wedding, so that is plenty soon enough to worry about that. There’s nothing I can do about my white counts anyway, so no sense dwelling on it.

So that’s that. Looking forward to the long holiday week-end. Wedding plans are moving along. Won’t be long now. Hope you all have a great week-end.


Dare I say woe is me? :)
May 22, 2011

It’s been awhile since I used a post for the purpose of¬†whining…been quite awhile in fact. But today has just been kind of a¬†downer and I don’t necessarily think it is bad to whine once in awhile, as long as you don’t make a steady diet of it.

I got up this morning feeling absolutely exhausted, right out of bed. I slept late too, but this is not all that uncommon. Week-ends are usually pretty full and typically involve using more physical energy than a week day so this happens. But, I have much to do and so little energy sometimes, to do it. To top it off, I grabbed a pair of capris¬†out of the drawer…ones I had bought before our South Padre trip back in March. I hadn’t worn them for awhile¬†and was devastated to find that they are now so big on me that they are unwearable. I know some of you are going to think I’m bragging, but trust me, I’m not. I have been on both sides of the weight issue and, while I don’t want to go back to being overweight, I am sick and tired of what is happening right now. I have no explanation for the fact that I just seem to be shrinking. There is no other way to put it. I buy new clothes, wear them for a short time, and all of a sudden, they’re too big and I have to start over. Poundwise, I’m losing less than I was previously, but size-wise, something is really messed up.

I have a Cancer Center appointment coming up on Thursday. The good news it that I will find out if I qualify for the Fatigue Clinical Trial. The bad news is, that I will have to have labs and an exam which means that I will have to once again face the weight loss issue. I have no explanation for it. I’m tired of having to address it. I had Thyroid tests run a couple of weeks ago and they were perfect. There just seems to be no answer.

I knew when I walked out of the Cancer Center following my final treatment, that I wouldn’t automatically just all of a sudden be back to normal. It takes time. But now, I’m wondering just how much time does it take? How freaking much time does it take? Sorry.


From my friend, Sue…
May 20, 2011


To my Family and Friends, 
I “rang the bell” at the Cancer Center today.¬† I am done with my treatment!!!!!¬† I have attached a couple pictures.¬† This is a tradition at the Cancer Center and then everyone cheers. When I started treatment-April 9, 2010 to be exact-I wondered if this day would ever arrive.¬†
Thank you all for your prayers and support.
Love, Sue

Sue Nielsen ringing the bell

If you’ve never been through this, you can’t imagine how special this day was to her. But I’ve been there and¬†I salute you, Sue.¬†You’re a survivor. Congratulations.


May 20, 2011

Sue is having her last treatment today. She emailed me last night and mentioned that, as much as she had been anticipating and looking forward to this day, she is now feeling some apprehension. I can totally relate. As unlikely as this may sound to most of you, when chemo and the Cancer Center have been your life for the better part of a year and a half, cutting that cord can be difficult. In spite of all the negative aspects, it has been like a crutch…a comfort zone…a lifeline. And, giving that up is difficult.

The good news is…that feeling doesn’t last long. In a very short period of time, the highs of having your life back…regaining control of things, takes over and the Cancer Center moves into a part of your past where it belongs.

I am excited that Sue has indicated an interest in helping with a Komen committee. That is a fantastic way to heal and to try to make some sense of all that has happened. It is the beginning of your life returning to fast forward. You soon realize that you have been putting a lot of things on the back burner for a long time and now it is time to move ahead. I had a dental appointment this week. An insignificant thing in the overall scheme of things, but dental appointments¬†just didn’t happen when I was going through treatment. They weren’t even on the radar screen. I also had a voice mail this week reminding me that it is been¬†over a year since I had an eye exam. Oops. Guess that will be next on my medical “to do” list. Oh, not to mention that I, personally, just can’t seem to actually cut that Cancer Center cord. I have an appointment there next week and a couple more in June. Oh, well.

Congratulation Sue on moving into the light. It’s been a long journey and I’m proud to be one of the first to welcome you to the other side. You’re a survivor.

Jury Duty
May 15, 2011

I guess you know you’re back to normal again when you get a summons to Jury Duty. That is what I was greeted with when I got home from work on Friday. So, it’s been sitting in the dining room and every time I walk through there I see in big letters, JURY SUMMONS. It’s haunting me.

Last year this time, I probably could have gotten out of it. But since life moves on and I am now able to enjoy the pleasures of normal life again, I guess I also have to share in the responsibilities. Their timing could not be much worse, however. My term of service is 6/06/11 – 6/17/11. Kelli’s wedding is 6/11 and my next Cancer Center appointment is 6/16. So, that just isn’t going to work for me. They’ll have to reschedule. Of course, the last time I had Jury Duty I had to reschedule and that involved a penalty. I had to call in every day instead of just a couple of times or something like that. Don’t really remember. I have never been a fan of Jury Duty.

Going Up!

But, enough of that. As promised, here are a few photos from the Komen Race For the Cure, compliments of my husband and my sister. Can’t believe that was a week ago already. Sure glad it was last week rather than today. Much nicer weather.

What a "high"


Handing the flag off to Barb


Anxiously anticipating crossing the finish line


Our runners, Sara and Michelle, join us after they finish for our walk to the finish line



Getting closer...


Almost there...


Crossing the finish line, 2010


Crossing the finish line, 2011. WOW!!


And there you have it. What a “high” in more ways than one. What a difference a year makes. Last year I completed the one mile, with a cane for balance. This year, the 5K…no cane and my husband, three kids, daughter-in-law, soon to be son-in-law, two grandkids, two sisters and multiple friends by my side. Life is good!


A New Day
May 12, 2011

The early risers on the team. There were more to come.

I think I’m finally starting to wind down after last week-end. I was never so tired in my life as I was last Monday. But, it was a good tired. I will never forget that week-end.

Now, without missing a beat, it is on to work, wedding and the Komen Educational Symposium committees. Life is on fast forward right now and I’m struggling with the energy to keep up with it. I was also approached this morning about possibly contacting someone who was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is waiting to¬†find out what¬†her treatment schedule will be. I would like to be a support to her if I can.

I think I really need to find time to read through the information on the Ginseng trial. All I know is that it is a study on the use of Wisconsin Ginseng to improve cancer-related fatigue: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III Study…whatever that means. But, if there is a possibility that it really can reduce the fatigue that continues to linger after the chemo has gone away, it would probably be worth being a guinea pig. That will definitely be on my “to do” list for this week-end. Then I can contact the Cancer Center next week to let them know my decision.

Leading the survivors to line up...just prior to Opening Ceremony. My neighbor, Barb, is in black.

In the meantime, I’ll just have to do what I did during the entire time I was in treatment…just get up every morning, ¬†put one foot in front of the other and do whatever needs to be done. It’s finally spring and with it comes the hope and renewal I need to take each day as it comes. I have so much to look forward to.


Wonderful Day
May 8, 2011

5:45 AM…the alarm goes off. After a late night last night, I didn’t feel real positive about crawling out of bed, but wait…

The Siouxland¬†Komen Race For the Cure was today and, after all, I was the Honorary Race Chair. Wouldn’t want to be late. One by one all six of us managed to get up and ready as did the many other fantastic members of my team in their respective homes.

Love and thanks going out to all of the following people who joined me in today’s walk:

Ken Stueve РMichelle Stueve РMatt Stueve РSara Stueve РKelli Stueve РBrett Werner РDonna Michalski РLindsay Michalski РMarilyn Clifford РSusan Highstreet РTyler Stueve РKeisha Stueve РPatti Robinson РBill Van Dyke РEsther Van Dyke РMeghan Locke

I must admit that I was a bit nervous about the fact that I had agreed to climb into a scissor lift and be raised into the air to be introduced, interviewed and officially kick off the race.  But it went well and I am so honored to have been a part of this. Here is a home video of the ceremony.

What an emotional high. While the day started out a bit cool and drizzly the sun later broke through and it was beautiful Unlike last year, when I was barely able to make if through the one mile course, I made the decision to do the 5K this year. I will admit to the fact that I was struggling a bit by the time I crossed the finish line, but I did it. Ken and I finished the race together and it was all I could do to hold back the tears when they announced my name.

All in all a perfect Mother”s Day. Our entire family was together and the Race For the Cure. How could I ask for more? Will post some photos later.¬†

Happy Mother’s Day.


May 4, 2011

As we put hump day behind us, the anticipation of the incredible week-end ahead is increasing. Kelli and Brett will be here tomorrow night. There will be so many wedding details to discuss and firm up since this will be the last time they are in town until wedding week. There will be a shower on Saturday afternoon. And then Sunday, of course, is the Race For the Cure.

I so pray that the race is not marred by controversy. It is such an incredibly emotional and positive experience. And, it needs to remain just that for those who choose to participate.¬†¬†¬†The number of participants is now approaching the 3000 mark and the donations raised, as of this afternoon, surpassed $150,000. I’m betting they will reach their goal of $200,000 and then some. I am so honored and excited to be a part of this. As Honorary Race Chair I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know many fine people who work hard and truly believe in the cause. I do too. Take 30 seconds to learn the truth.¬†

Komen¬†Siouxland is Growing and that Means We’re Saving More Lives [HD]

¬†My whole family and many friends will be with me to share in this and words just can’t express how much this means to me.

United For a Cure!

Again, I would like to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all of your love and support during the past year and a half. That is what got me through this.I’m hoping to have some good photos to share after Sunday and, who knows, maybe even a video clip.

Hope you all have an enjoyable Mother’s Day. I know I will!


The Siouxland¬†Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure is Sunday, May 8.¬†There’s still time¬†to make a donation. Just¬†click here.¬† Thanks so much!