Monday, December 27, 2010

Update on Mom

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Mom was able to be discharged from the hospital on Christmas Eve and spend the holiday with us at my grandparents' house. She was able to celebrate at Mass. She was very tired, and not able to eat much, but the doctors prescribed her some medication to stop the spasms of her esophagus. This is what is believed to have been making eating and drinking difficult.

Christmas day was another story. She was sick pretty much all day and night. On Sunday, my dad called her oncologist who said to go to the ER for fluids and then she would probably be admitted. Mom was getting sick about every 30 minutes. She was moved to a room after a few hours in ER. The blood work showed that her kidney levels were good though, which was a blessing. I spent the night with her and she did well last night and it seems the medicine is getting the nausea under control. The doctors are still unsure why she is getting so sick. She will have a CT scan in the am. Hopefully we will have some answers. Thanks for all the prayers!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Prayers needed please..

I have several posts to about this Christmas season and Lucas' visit to see Santa, but right now I am asking for your prayers.

Mom is in the hospital. She is OK, but Tuesday, when she went for her weekly check-in with the Oncologist her kidney levels were high. They told her to come back Wednesday morning for an ultrasound. Wednesday morning came and the doctor told her that once she is done with the ultrasound to come to the office to talk and that she might be admitted.

The ultrasound came back normal (Praise God!) and this determined that she did not have blockage. The past few weeks she has had a tough time eating and drinking, so they determined that she was probably more dehydrated than anything. They have been pumping her full of fluids with the biggest saline bags I have ever seen and I worked in a hospital for 5 years. Her kidney levels have gone down which leads the doctors to believe that it was dehydration.

The nephrologist (kidney doctor) ordered for Mom to have a procedure this morning that would basically stretch her esophagus to help her with swallowing. She went this morning for the procedure and the doctor then determined that her esophagus was working properly and that was not the problem, which is of course good news, but we are now back at square one with this and Mom still cannot eat or drink much. This is not a good thing for someone going through chemo. They need to eat and drink not only to help keep strength up, but to also help flush out all the toxin that is the chemo. They did a biopsy of her stomach lining because the doctor noticed that it was red and irritated. Hopefully this will give us some information and the problem will be easy to solve.

We are hoping and praying that they will let her come home tomorrow. They will as long as her kidney level keep going down. If she is still not able to eat or drink then she will have to go home with the IV and have home health nurses come periodically to change the bags. All this means that Christmas is going to be quite different this year.

Christmas is my mother's favorite time of year. You should see her house! It is beautiful! We will still have a wonderful Christmas, because all that matters is being together and loving one another. This year has definitely taught my family this fact.

We covet your prayers at this time. Please pray that Mom will be able to come home tomorrow (she HATES being in the hospital) and that she will be able to eat and drink. Please also pray that we will have answers soon so that she will not have to be on IVs for long.

Thank you and we wish all of you a blessed Christmas. Hug your loved ones extra tight this year...I know I am!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Update on Mom

Mom is doing well. She finished her last round of chemo today! She has been going for treatments 1x/month with weekly blood tests. It is a relief to have this round behind her. She will have a CT scan in the next few weeks which will tell us if there are any other areas that detect cancer.

Her CA125 is in the 60s which is not in the normal range, but it has been coming down steadily. There have been a few jumps back up, but typically it drops. Normal is under 35, but to be honest her doctor is surprised she is under 70 so this is good news.

She has an appointment January 13, 2011 with MD Anderson in Houston, TX. I am sure you have heard of MD Anderson since it is the foremost authority on all things cancer related. This is just to see if there is anything else that she can be doing or if there are any clinical trials she can become a participant. There is no cure (as of yet) for ovarian cancer, so we are just covering our bases. Her doctor here is such an amazing man. He in no way is offended by her wanting to go to Houston. In fact, he is encouraging her because in his eyes it lets him know if there is anything else he needs to be aware of.

She is tired, and of course she is tired of being tired. My mother has been dealing with cancer for over a year and some days it takes its tole. She remains in good spirits though and has a faith that is unshakable! She is a remarkable woman who continues to love God and knows that He is with her.

Please continue to pray for my mother. Thank you!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Updates below


I quit my job!! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being an OT! I truly believe that God put me on this Earth to serve Him through being an OT. I was working for a home health agency based in Tuscaloosa, which had me covering 6 counties alone. Not an easy task considering they are very rural counties. I loved treating the patients, but there were times (like 2x/wk when I was 2 hours away from home and hence 2 hours away from Lucas. This was unacceptable.

An opening for a job at a preschool that serves children with and without special needs came open last month and I jumped at the opportunity. I will start in January!! I am so excited!! I will be working with kids again, which I missed a lot more than I thought I would. It is a great organization and has so many plans for the future on ways to expand the services. Have I mentioned that I am excited?!

My husband is an IRONMAN!!

Not too many people can say that they are an Ironman, but my husband can proudly say that he is an IRONMAN!!

On November 6, 2010 Eric O'Neal crossed the finish line after 15 hours to hear the words "Eric O'Neal, you are an Ironman!"

What a week leading up to this amazing moment. We left the Monday before the race to head down to Grayton Beach, FL where Eric's family was staying for the week at Aunt Debra's (thanks so much Deb!). Cheryl and Buddy (Eric's parents), Mamaw and Papaw (Eric's grandparents), Melissa (Eric's sister), Jackson and Langdon (Melissa's kids) were there to meet us. Eric's Aunt Debra and Uncle Rusty live in Grayton and so it was so good to spend time with family and "relax" before the big weekend. I use relax loosely since it was hard to keep our mind off of anything else than Ironman. I think everyone was nervous!

On Wednesday my mom, grandmother, and aunt came down to Panama City and Eric and I headed over to see them. Eric had booked a room in Panama City at the race site and that is where he stayed Wednesday and Thursday. Lucas and I stayed with my family - the original plan was for Lucas and I to stay with Eric, but let's just say that the accommodations at the Boardwalk Beach Resort were not quite 14 month old friendly.

Thursday night we at a a Japanese steak house with the whole family. My brother John and cousin Briana came down on Thursday too, so they were able to join in on the fun. It was great to get everyone together. After dinner Eric and I went to the meeting for all the participants. It was so inspirational to see all the athletes. There was an 81 year old man, an 80 year old man, a 67 year old woman, and a man who is blind participating in the race. It was incredible. There was also a man who had completed more than 100 Ironman races. (I said that he obviously does not have a wife and kids!)

On Friday we took it easy and Eric, Lucas, and I went to lunch and then Eric and Little Man took a long nap together. That evening Eric and I went back to the hotel. Eric woke up at 3:00 am Saturday a.m. to eat breakfast and get his nutrition going. It was going to be a long day.

We met up with Eric's family and my family on the beach prior to the start of the swim. Eric was nervous, but he had it under control. My dad and uncle Bob and Melissa's husband Keith all came on Friday, so it was good to see them. We all wore orange shirts with WDE on the front and War Damn Eric on the back. This was one of the best things we could have done because it helped Eric find us while he was out on the race.

It was crazy to say the least! He did awesome on the swim! While he was out on his first lap I took my family up to the hotel room since it overlooked the swim and they were able to warm up (because it was so cold that morning) and get some great pictures. They had to make 2 laps for the swim and so we were able to see Eric running on the beach to start the 2nd lap. Eric's family made some great signs which also helped him see where we were. Once he had started his 2nd lap we made our way to the chute that led to the bike transition. We met up with Jason and Julie Carroll and Sophia. Jason and Eric have been friends since college and Jason is the reason Eric got started in triathlons. Sophia is Eric doctor and fellow triathlete who has been so helpful with "fixing" his knee and ankle. We were able to see Eric head to transition and the we moved on to where we could see him head out on the bike. My family was able to see Eric from the balcony and get some great pics of him heading to his bike.

We were able to cheer for him as he zoomed by at the bike start. Then we had some time to kill while he was making the 112 mile loop. Eric's Aunt Debra, Uncle Rusty, Mamaw, and Papaw left to run some errands and they were able to meet him along the way, which was huge for him to see them! My dad and cousin Briana were also able to meet him along the way. We saw him come out to start the run and he looked great. He did really well on the bike. Now was the toughest part...the 26.2 mile run. He had to make 2 loops and we were able to see him at the turn around point for the 2nd loop. He was tired and cold, but he persevered.

Around the time that he was to come to the finish we went to the bleachers they had set up for spectators. It was so much fun to see all these people come through after a grueling day with huge smiles on their faces. It was so exciting! Then we saw Eric. I grabbed Lucas and we went down to the barrier and cheered for Eric! That is when the water works started...and I am NOT a pretty crier at all! I couldn't help it though. There was so much emotion for me because I knew how hard he had worked for this moment! We met up with him and I got one of the biggest hugs I have ever received from him. He was crying too when he saw us and Lucas was I'm sure thinking "You people have lost your minds!" It was such an amazing time. Read Eric's blog to know what he was thinking while on the race.

Eric, I am so unbelievably proud of you. You worked so hard for this moment! You are an Ironman!! Lucas is so blessed to have you as a father. You are going to teach him what it means to work for what you want in life and to not let anything stop you from achieving your dreams! What a great gift to give to your son! I love you!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Design

OK, I put a new background design because we are heading to Panama City, FL for Eric to participate in IRONMAN FL!!

A year's worth of training and shedding blood, sweat, and tears comes to a head next weekend. He goes through stages with his nervousness. It is like this before every race, but this time is it maximized x 10. It is usually just a few days before the race that gets a little anxious, but this has been going on for a couple of weeks now. He has his periods of calmness, then it transforms into distraction, and to now where he is pretty much good for nothing because the only thing on his mind is getting down to FL and making sure that he has everything that he could possibly need. He has lists that list that he needs to make a list. He is too funny. He sent me an email last week with a link for two "different" bike helmets for the race. The reason why different is in quotes is because it was the EXACT same helmet only one was blue and the other was white. He wanted to know which one I liked better...

Seriously though, I am SO proud of my husband. He has worked so hard for this. He has trained for hours upon hours to prepare for this. He is has found a love for this sport and I am so amazed at his dedication. Eric has never been a quitter, but there have been many times in this journey where he could have quit and no one would have blamed him. He has always had bad knees and this sport is not exactly known for being easy on joints. He has gone through physical therapy and been shot up to combat this. He loves this though. There have been some missteps along the way where he has wrecked on his bike, but it hasn't stopped him.

He is going to be amazing Saturday. There are a lot of family and friends that will be there cheering him on along the way. We are wearing orange shirts that say WDE on the front in blue and on the back it says War Damn Eric. It is going to be a long week for him, and my job is to try to keep him as calm as possible.

Eric we are so proud of you and just think this time next week Lucas is going to be able to say, "My Daddy is an IRONMAN". That is if he could talk...

We love you!!

Once a Chi Omega...

Here is our pumpkin this year. I saw the owl design and just couldn't help myself.

Lucas is going to be a gorilla tonight. Unfortunately, our new camera that we bought does will not work with Macs. GRRRR!! So, I will have to post pics of him either from my camera phone or wait till Eric can take the camera to work.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Updates below

Head Over Teal

The Head Over Teal event was a HUGE success!! Over $40,000 was raised for ovarian cancer research and early detection!!! My dad is on the board and said that the expectation was for $10,000, but obviously that was blown away!!

Mom's team was Teal for Toni (teal is the awareness color for ovarian cancer). Dad came up with the name (he was quite proud of himself). Mom's team was huge!! There were people from church, friends, co-workers, and of course family. Our team also raise the most money! Mom was overwhelmed with the out pouring of love from family, friends, and strangers! What a great day!

I made Lucas a onsie that had Head Over Teal on the front and I (heart) GG on the back. Mom LOVED it!! Mom took a ton of pics so I will post those as soon as I get them from her. Thanks to everyone who participated/donated/prayed!

Mom is doing well. Her numbers are consistently coming down. She is going for treatment 1x/month and the weekly for blood work. She is tired, and sometimes doesn't feel the best, but like always she moves forward and keeps her spirits high. Praise God for that!


Lucas' birthday was so much fun! We had a Surfin' Safari themed birthday party with family. It was a ton of fun! Our camera died during the party so I do not have any pictures from my camera, but I will get some from my mother-in-law to post. We had a kiddie pool set up in the back for all the cousins to play. We had so many family members here to celebrate our little man. Here is the run down (this list is more for me for later so I can remember so feel free to skip this part):
Nana and Poppa (Eric's parents), G.G and Pop (my parents), Mamaw and Papaw (Eric's grandparents), Mimi George (my grandmother), Meme and Grandaddy (my grandparents), Melissa, Jackson (4), and Langdon (1.5) (Eric's sister and her family), Julie and Hannah (9) (Eric's sister and her daughter), John (my brother), Bob, Bobbie, and Briana (my uncle, aunt, and cousin), Berniece, Jim, Mandy, Kimberly and Liz (6) (my aunt, uncle, and cousins), Britney, CJ and Avery (3 mo) (Eric's cousin and her family), Brantley, Ali and Cam (1) (Eric's cousin and his family) Whew 29 people there to celebrate!!

We served BBQ, baked beans (thanks Mamaw!), Chinese slaw (thanks Meme!), potato salad (thanks Mimi!), and of course the cake. Let me tell you about this cake! A HUGE shout out to my mother-in-law, Cheryl (aka Nana) for this cake!! She is so talented and we tell her all the time that she needs to go into business for this! She made a 2 tier cake complete with "sand" and surf boards! I will HAVE to post pictures because it was incredible! I will dedicate a post to just Cheryl's cakes soon so you can see how talented she is!

Lucas did not disappoint with eating his cake. He was a little slow to start, but Mommy and Daddy helped out. Lucas and I helped "share" cake with Daddy and smashed it in Eric's face. Then, not to be outdone, Eric smashed cake in my face when I wasn't paying attention.

Lucas received SO MANY wonderful gifts! Everyone was so generous! He LOVES all of them. He played and played that night with all his treasures.

Eric and I feel so blessed to have this little boy entrusted to us. We are humbled to be his parents. We both feel that he is the best thing that has ever happened to us and has helped both of us grow so much. It is sometimes hard to be parents, of course, but we would not trade those hard moments for the world. He can brighten any day with just a smile, which he does all the time. We love you Lucas and can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

1 year check up

Lucas did not like his check up one bit!! He was fine and dandy until the sweet little nurse came in to prick his finger. You would have thought she slit him open with a knife the way he screamed! He was wary from then on and did not trust being lain on the table to be measured. Then with the doc came in Lucas was having nothing to do with the stethoscope. I mean really son, you are going to cry about the stethoscope?? We calmed him down just in time for another nurse (I guess the first one was too scared to come back) to come in with 3 shots for my poor little guy's legs. Once again SCREAMS ensued and we had to calm him down again.

He is 95th percentile for head circumference (gets that from his daddy), 90th percentile for height, and 30th percentile for weight. He moves so fast crawling and creeping that he has really shed that baby fat...*tear* The doctor says he couldn't be more pleased with Luke's development...Praise God!!

After the doctor I took Lucas to my grandmother's for the day (we are having daycare issues) for him to be loved on all day. He had a good time at her house. Just what the little guy needed!

I have misplaced - NOT lost - the cable for the camera to download pictures. I will do a post with just pics as soon as I locate said cable.

Busy Weekend!!

To say that the O'Neals had a busy weekend is an understatement. Like the last post said, Lucas turned 1 year old on Friday!! What a sweet day! I know it is so cliche, but it is true that time does fly! This has been the best year of our lives thus far and we know that the best is yet to come!

On Friday, we left around 1:00 to head down to Auburn to mark of the tailgate spot and buy Eric and Lucas new game day attire. We then left from Auburn to go to Columbus, GA to Eric's sister, Melissa's, house. We went to eat at a great Mexican restaurant where I enjoyed my first Margarita in FOREVER (it was delicious - on the rocks with salt) and then headed back to the house to celebrate our precious boy. Eric's mom, Cheryl, had bought cupcakes and balloons for us to celebrate. We stripped Lucas down to his diaper and let him have at the cake. He did not disappoint! He got cake and icing everywhere and loved playing in all the crumbs. It was a crowd at Aunt MO's: Cheryl, Eric's grandparents (Mamaw and Papaw), Aunt MO, Uncle Keith, and cousins Jackson and Langdon. Jackson and Langdon enjoyed the cakes too. Sweet Langdon (Langdy Bug as I like to call her) had purple icing all over her sweet smile too.

Note to self: Do not give Lucas a cupcake at 9:30 at night!! Makes for a long restless sleep for everyone in the room! We would do it all over again though to celebrate our little man though!
The next day Eric and Keith left early to set up the tailgate, while Melissa, Cheryl, and I got the kids ready at home. Langdon stayed at home with Mamaw and Papaw and was of course spoiled rotten and loved having two peoples' undivided attention and not having to share the spotlight with 2 crazy boys. Cheryl, Melissa, and I loaded up Jackson and Lucas to go to the Auburn game. We had a great time tailgating with great friends. There were 5 kids at the tailgate with ages 4, 2, 2, 1, and 10 months. My how the tailgate has changed!! It looked more like a daycare! It was fun though to catch up with everyone that it seems we only really get to see during football season. Lucas did great even though he only had 1 nap all day - Thanks Nana for taking care of him during nap time. We went to the game and had a really good time. We left at half time since Eric had a race the next day. Lucas was about done by that point too.
On Sunday, we left to go cheer Eric on at the Callaway Gardens Triathlon. He did great!! His goal was to finish in 2 hrs 20 min. He finished in 2 hrs 7 mins!!! Go Eric!! You can go to his blog for his rundown of the race.

Eric left from the race to go to Atlanta for the NASCAR race. Keith works for Aflac Racing (Carl Edwards' team) in marketing and Eric watched the race from the pits. He was excited and even made it on TV when they were interviewing the crew chief. Thank Keith! Eric had a great time.

On Sunday during dinner Lucas was cruising around holding on to the wall when his little bare feet came to the air grate. Well, he did not like this at all so Papaw went to him and held out his hands for Lucas and he took 2 steps!!! We all started screaming and clapping. Lucas had no idea when he had just done, but he loved the attention! We have tried to get him to do it since, but he hasn't. He is doing of great job of standing for longer periods of time though! We are getting closer. We are going to work on it this week in hopes that he will walk by his party this weekend. (Watch...he will walk 30 minutes after everyone leaves Saturday!).

On Monday we left to come back home after stopping by my parents' house to see them and let them get their Lucas fix. We were exhausted by the time we got home. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but we had a blast! Thanks MO and Keith for having us. Thanks Cheryl, Mamaw, and Papaw for all the help! Thanks for loving Lucas and us so much!!

We go for Luke's 1yr check up tomorrow morning so I will post his stats then.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Posts Below!!

Head Over Teal

Here is some information about Head Over Teal, which is an event to raise $$ for Ovarian Cancer Research. If you would like to join my mom's team: Teal for Toni (isn't Dad clever) just follow the links below. We are trying to raise as much money as possible to assist with the early detection of ovarian cancer and treatments. We would love for you to join us for the day!! It is going to be a lot of fun and VERY family friendly!!

Hello everyone!

We hope all of you are doing well. Toni is doing pretty well right now. She’s very tired all the time, but still manages to keep her big smile and laughter through it all. Praise God!

You may remember me commenting in her Journal that currently there is no reliable early detection test for ovarian cancer. Most patients are diagnosed in the later stages when it’s more difficult to treat. Well, I’ve joined a group of people trying to do something about that! A few months ago, I joined the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation, whose mission is to fund research to find a reliable diagnostic tool to detect ovarian cancer in it's earliest stages. If it is caught early, it can be successfully treated.

We’re raising money for that research and I’m writing today to ask for your help. I ask that you please consider participating in our First Annual "Head Over Teal" 5k, 1 Mile Fun Run and Family Day to be held Saturday Sept 18th from 9:00 am until 3:pm at the Preserve in Hoover. There will be numerous fun activities for families with kids of all ages as well as the serious runners. This is a pet friendly event so bring the pooch! The Alabama and Auburn games are scheduled later in the day, so don’t let that stop you!

There are several ways you can help!

  • You can support or join our team, Teal For Toni”, here. Click on the green “Register Now” icon. Register and select “Teal for Toni” in the Team drop-down list.
  • You can Create Your Team here. Recruit friends and co-workers. You can also register as an individual runner. It's simple and fun.
  • You can Donate online here.
  • Or, you can simply donate by check, payable to The Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation. Please send it to Dave Keyes, 523 Highland Park Circle, Birmingham, AL 35242

The Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible.

I have attached the Registration Forms and other information about the event so please download and read the details.

I have also attached a sponsorship form if your business or employer would like to help sponsor this event. Please think about asking others you know to help support us by being a business sponsor.

Please register today and plan to join us. If you can't come, register anyway and we will send you your T-shirt and Goodies Bag.

Thank you all for your continued support of the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation. I hope to see all of you there. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks for supporting us to help find a way to detect this cancer in the early stages to give folks like Toni and Laura a chance to fight it, to beat it, to live without it!

God Bless!

Dave and Toni

Update on Mom

Here is an email that my dad sent today:

Hi folks,
Just wanted to give everyone an update on Toni. A little background - while on the chemo drug Doxil for two monthly treatments, she's been doing very well and was feeling pretty well, just really, really tired as you know. She's pretty wiped out most afternoons from normal activity.
In spite of looking very good and feeling ok, her CA125 blood marker number has really shot up the last month or so. That's the blood marker test that indicates if the cancer is active or not. The normal range is 35 or below. At diagnosis in 4/2009, Toni's was 285. Through the various chemo mixes, it dropped to 13-14 in 11/2009, but then started rising again. It's jumped around, but in the past few months it's gone up sharply. It went from below 100 to 120, 170, and it was measured at 242 last week, almost as high as the original number. Since it's not unusual for CA125 #'s to jump around sometimes, Dr. Yeilding did a CT scan to learn more. We got the results today. Fortunately, it still is not in the organs, but there's a little more fluid in the abdomen, around the liver, about 8 oz., a little more than the last CT scan in June. It's not in the liver, but in the fluid around it. This Friday, they're going to drain some of the fluid around the liver to test it. It's done outpatient at Brookwood, so that's good.
Dr. Yeilding believes the Doxil is not working, so he's moving her to something else, a combo of Cisplatin and Gemzar (Gemcitabine). She's had Cisplatin before briefly and experienced nausea, almost daily. The Gemzar evidently has some similar side effects - low blood counts, etc. If that test on the fluid doesn't cause him to change the treatment plan, Toni will start the new mix on Tuesday, 9/14.
This is not a really big negative. In fact, it's great to know that it's not in the organs. Toni asked the Dr. today "I'm still in good shape, correct?" and his reply was a hearty "Yes", and he's still positive, especially since the organs haven't shown any cancer. Dr. Yeilding says we still have several options.
I'll keep you posted on progress, but I wanted you to know about this latest change.
Please keep her on your prayer list - I know you haven't stopped! - and thank you for that blessing and support.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Lucas!!

My precious little man turns 1 year old today!! Mommy and Daddy love you Lucas!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Goodbye to friends...

On Thursday we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a going away dinner for our friends the Austins. Cliff has accepted a new job in Austin, TX...yes, we gave them a hard time about the Austins being in Austin! Cliff left on Friday and Alice is going to stay here until their house sells. I think there is some apprehension, but I know they are going to be fine. Eric and Cliff are fraternity brothers. Also joining in on the good time were Beau, Brenna, and their PRECIOUS son, Cooper. Beau is also a fraternity brother.

I mean, how cute is Cooper?? He is so sweet! It was so funny when they first arrived because Cooper just kept staring at Lucas as if to say, "Who IS this CRAZY baby next to me??", "Don't leave me alone with him!!". After a few minutes though of Lucas trying to reach out and grab Cooper's face/arms/hands/ears/etc. Cooper warmed up and they had a good time together! I think that they are going to be really good friends as they grow up together. There are plenty of stories about their fathers getting into "trouble" together, so I can only imagine what the future will bring for these two.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Well, I have been hit by the stomach bug. No fun! It really messed up plans for the weekend, too!
Eric and Lucas left this morning to go to Max's birthday party. He turned 3 this year! Happy Birthday Max!! Eric said it was a great time and that Lucas behaved himself really well. Always what a mother wants to hear. He has been pretty fussy the past few days due to teething, so I was glad that he did not show that side of himself at the party today. Max is such a precious little boy. His dad, Jeff, and Eric work together and we have gotten to know their family well over the years. They are a great family. They just welcomed precious Greenlee who has more jet black hair on her head than any other baby I have seen. She is beautiful. I know that all babies are beautiful, but Greenlee is gorgeous! Max is a really good big brother to her too.

Eric then took Lucas to stay with Nana and Papa (Eric's parents) while he goes to a wedding in Tuscaloosa for a high school friend/fraternity brother's wedding. I don't know how my VERY loyal Auburn Alumna husband is handling being in enemy territory, but I think he will find that Alabama has a pretty nice campus.

So I am sitting at home, although I was able to catch the 90210 marathon on Oxygen this morning. Guilty pleasures, although I did find myself going "This is ridiculous!" on more than one occasion. Eric has been wonderful taking care of me and leaving me alone, which is what I want when I am sick. Anyone else that way? I think I am on the upswing now's hoping anyway!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jewelry, Jewelry, Jewelry

I don't know if you all know this, but I am not only an Occupational Therapist. I am also a "Jewelry Lady". I have had a business with Premier Designs Jewelry for 3 years now. I have loved going into women's homes and playing in jewelry. It is GORGEOUS jewelry at FABULOUS prices!!

My job does not allow me to wear jewelry other than small earrings and a watch for obvious reasons, so it is a lot of fun to play dress up at the parties that I get to do for the sweetest people. I have met so many wonderful people through this experience!

Such Godly women surround this business and challenge me to not only grow my business, but in my walk with God as well. Premier is a Biblically based company that supports missions not only here is the great USA, but in 63 other countries as well! Their 2 main purposes are to Honor God and Serve Others. What a great company to work for!

I guess the reason that I am posting about this now is that I have recently renewed my membership with Premier. I am also hoping to grow my business to the point that I can go part-time with OT and be home with Lucas the rest of the time. How I miss my Little Man during the day!! It is has just been on my heart a lot lately to be at home more with him. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being an OT! God put me on this Earth to serve Him through being an OT. I feel very strongly about that. I also have those days where I am all to happy to hand him over to his wonderful teachers for the day, because let's be honest EVERY Momma needs a break sometimes! I just want to I guess have the best of both worlds...anyone else feel this way?? What do you do??? I need advice!!

So...If you are interested in having a fun girls' night and get a ton of FREE jewelry I would LOVE to send you a catalog. Or, if you know of someone that might be interested in having a party please send me their information! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


This seems to be the theme of this blog lately is just updating...I need to be better about that!
Sorry that I haven't updated in a while especially since the last blog was sorta sad.

Mom is feeling much better. The new chemo gave her HORRIBLE mouth ulcers. She was prescribed medicine that worked for about an hour and then wore off, but she could only take it every 4 hours so that was just great. Bless her heart, between the awful nausea she had from the old chemo treatments to the ulcers in her mouth she lost about 20 lbs in about a month. For a person on chemo this is NOT a good thing. She needs to keep her strength up and eat. She heard from the doctor that she could actually take the medicine every 5 minutes if she wanted to as long as she didn't swallow the medicine and just swished. This made a world of difference and her mouth is healed PRAISE GOD!! She only has to go once a month for treatments and then weekly blood work. Her CA 125 is down to 104!!! YAY!!! God is so good!

We just got back from the beach with Eric's family. We go once a year to Grayton Beach, FL (next to Seaside). We stay at his Aunt Debra's beach house that she rents (sleeps 20). It is right on the beach so it is absolutely gorgeous. The water was beautiful other than some seaweed right up front, but once you passed that part it was gorgeous. No oil. GO TO THE BEACH!! His family arrived on Thursday and we came down the following Wednesday thru Saturday. So it was a short trip for us (don't you feel horrible for the rest of his family having to stay at the beach for 10 days??), but just what we needed. It is nice to get away.

The crew consisted of Eric's parents (Nana and Papa), his grandparents (Mamaw and Papaw), his sister and her family (Melissa, Keith, Jackson, and Langdon), and his Uncle Rusty and Aunt Debra and cousin Colby who live in Grayton. Debra and Colby own a restaurant called JC's Off the Hook. It is off of 30A and you HAVE to go there if you are in the Destin/Panama City/Seaside/Grayton area. Rusty runs the kitchen and it is FANTASTIC food!! VERY reasonably priced too.

While we were there we surprised Eric's mom, Cheryl, for her birthday. Her birthday is August 25th, but since all of us were together we wanted to make this the celebration especially since it is her 60th birthday. (Don't be mad Cheryl - you don't look a day over 35!) She was shocked. Eric and his sister and their dad had been working for weeks planning this behind her back. We had the party at JC's and it was a blast. Buddy, Eric's dad, gave her a beautiful necklace with her birthstone and us kids/grandkids gave her a Kitchen Aid mixer. She has been commenting for years that she wanted one of the big stand mixers so we decided that this was the year! We had ulterior motives in giving her this gift though. She makes the best cakes and is fantastic at decorating, so we wanted her to have the best so that we could have the best!

Lucas had a blast playing with his cousins. Jackson and Langdon were so sweet with him too. He did not stop moving unless it was to eat or sleep. He was spoiled rotten by his family, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Jackson and Langdon were so much fun. Jackson turned 4 in April and Landgon turned 1 in February. It is so much fun to watch these kids grow. They are precious and so much fun. I was stupid and forgot my camera at home (UGH!!), but everyone else got some great photos so I will post those when I get them.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cancer sucks... put it mildly.

My mom has a Caring Bridge site and this is what my dad posted today.

We met with Dr. Yeilding yesterday to hear about the CT scan results. It's mixed news, not good, but not terrible. All we knew going into the meeting was what the nurse told us - that there has been "increased progression" in the abdomen. Two things have happened over the past 5 months since her last CT scan. There's about a cup of fluid in her abdomen that contains cancer cells. That was about a thimble quantity last time. He said that on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worse, this is a 2 or 3. Not too bad. They can't go in an remove the fluid without causing all kinds of other problems, so there's not much we can do about that. The other problem is that the scan also showed a thickening of the abdomen lining. This wasn't seen in the last CT scan, so it looks like we've caught it early. Even so, he rated this about 4-5 on the 1/10 scale - more serious than the fluid. He also told us that the scan picked up cells in the lymph nodes in the abdomen. That was the scariest sounding news to us, but he quickly said that the lymph nodes in the abdomen don't spread the cancer like those you hear about with breast or lung cancer. That’s some relief, but this thing is acting up a bit and we need to change things up to hold it back.

Evidently the chemo mix that she's been taking for the past 4 months hasn't been working too effectively, so Dr. Yeilding is changing it up a little. We're hopeful that a change can stop it or slow it down considerably. We’ll stay on Avastin for now. Fortunately, the one he's stopping, Cisplatin, is the one that has caused the worse nausea. He's replacing that with another one, Doxil, that's also been around awhile. It probably won't cause nausea and hair loss, but it could. It has a different side effect called hand-foot syndrome (HFS). HFS makes the palms of your hands and soles of the feet red, tender and painful. Not sure that's better than nausea, but Toni's looking forward to any change right now. The symptoms can be lessened somewhat by dosage changes so hopefully this will be manageable. The good news is that she'll only go every 2 weeks instead of 3 in a row, off a week, 3 more... This will give her a little break so she should feel better between treatments.

We continue to have the utmost confidence in Dr. Yeilding and his staff at Brookwood. They are very compassionate, extremely competent and we trust them completely. Dr. Yeilding regularly refers to “God-directed scientific research” that continues to make progress. His goal for Toni is to keep this as a “chronic illness instead of a fatal illness” while research progresses toward a real cure. He still refers to her prognosis as long-term and that she should look forward to years, not months. I said this before, but it’s worth repeating, just to show you what kind of man he is. Toni told him a number of months ago that she prayed for him every day. His immediate response was “just pray that I will listen to the Holy Spirit.” We couldn’t be in better hands.

Our trust remains in the Lord who is really the only one in control of anything in our lives. He’s given us a peace about this that I’ve mentioned before. That’s what sustains us and helps us through this roller coaster ride of tests and treatments. Toni’s attitude is still 100% positive. She’s been on chemo for almost 14 months now with only a few weeks off. She’s a lot tougher than I am and has never once complained. We thank God for his many, many blessings and know that we’ll feel his love as he helps us cope with this.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. Your cards, calls, and emails with words of encouragement really boost her spirits and mean so much. Please keep them coming. If you’d like to send Toni and e-mail note, please do. Or, you can sign the Guestbook here on CaringBridge.

We continue to pray for all of you and thank God for our family and friends who have been so supportive and helpful. We’re richly blessed with so many wonderful friends and family. Everyone wants to know if they can do anything for us. Right now, we’re handling things ok and I’ll speak up if there’s anything we need. Just please send your prayers for remission and comfort for Toni as we continue this journey.

We love you. Have a great 4th of July!

Toni, Davis, John, Heather, Eric and Lucas

P.S. Please go to this web site to learn more about this disease – and spread the word to those you love. The Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation is a local group whose mission is to provide funding in support of research in the early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer. I’m now one the Board and would like your support to help us find a way to detect this cancer in the early stages to give folks like Toni a chance to fight it, to beat it, to live without it!

Thank you, Dave

So that is where we are now. Like Dad said, it isn't good, but not terrible either. We know that we could be in a much worse situation.

I need to brag on my dad real quick. John (my brother) and I have been so blessed by my parent's marriage. They showed us what it means to have a loving, healthy, God-focused marriage. This is probably the best gift they could have ever given to us! My father has been by my mother's side from the beginning of this ordeal. He has cooked, cleaned, held, comforted, re-dressed wounds (believe me my father is a VERY squimish man and cannot handle "gross" things well at all so this was huge!), and made my mother laugh (which is has always been so good at doing). Now, I know that many men would do these things in a heart beat for their wives, but my dad is special. My dad looks at this as his OPPORTUNITY to SERVE my mother. WOW!! He does not complain about this. He follows Christ's example and chooses to take this time to show his love the best way possible...service. He loves to take care of her. My parents have been married for over 30 years and I only see their love growing stronger.
Mom is in good spirits. Her attitude is "OK what do we do now?" She NEVER complains. She trusts God completely and is such an amazing witness of what it means to completely surrender to God.

We know that God is in control and we know that everything is going according to plan. We may not always like the plan or understand the plan, but too much good has come from this situation to question the plan. Please continue to pray for my mother. Thank you so much!! I am adding Mom's Caring Bridge site to my side bar so you can keep up with her through there or sign the guest book if you would like to leave her a note.