Sunday, December 26, 2010

Radiation Consult Part Two

I had my follow-up consult with the radiation department last week.  I got measured, tattooed and situated just right on the zapper.  The purpose of the tattooes are so they can line me up perfectly when they do the radiation so they don't radiate any part of my body that shouldn't be... like my heart or lungs. Hmmmm.   I start the actual treatments on January 3rd and go five days a week for six weeks.  I should be done right before Valentines Day! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Phase Three

I've made it through surgery, (having a baby), and chemotherapy.  Now for the last phase of this... Radiation.
I met with the Radiation Oncologist last Friday.  It went well.  It was just a short consult to talk about the pros and cons of radiation.  I haven't loved the idea of having so much... 5 days a week for 6 weeks!  However, after hearing the statistics, I feel it is a must.  With the type of cancer that I HAD (triple negative), without radiation therapy there is a 30%  chance of local recurrence.  With radiation therapy that slides way down to only 3%.  It is something that I must do.  Luckily, the side effects are minimal (fatigue) and localized to the treatment site (redness and slight swelling). This  means my hair will keep growing back :)!  I have a little peach fuzz.  Boy, I thought it was exciting to watch grass grow from seed, but watching my hair grow back is much more exciting!  A good friend of mine gave me some hair products that I use religiously in hopes that my hair will grow back thick and maybe sooner than later.  I'm hoping by spring to have a little pixey hair style.  That  is an exciting prospect.  The hair loss hasn't been that hard for me, but now it seems like a constant reminder of what has happened.  Although I am learning so much through this process and I will never be the same person that I was (in a good way), I am ready to have this be a thing of the past. 

From my reading this morning:
"And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.  And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."     Mosiah 24:13-14  Book of Mormon

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Be Still and Know That I Am God

I think I am ready to post again.  I haven't been able to bring myself to.  It's been a hard few weeks.  This will explain why.

After I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I was quick to do a thorough self breast exam.  To my relief, I couldn't feel anything other than what had already been found.  Nothing.  Well, a few weeks ago, for some reason, I was doing a self exam over an undershirt.  To my surprise, I felt something.  My heart sank.  This was on the opposite side nearly in the same location as where the cancer had been.  I had Talmage feel it.  He could.  The interesting thing though, is that I still couldn't feel it on my bare skin.  I had to be sliding over a shirt in order to feel it.  This was about a week before my last treatment.  I had been looking so forward to being done with the treatments and now with this bump looming in the back of my mind I felt nothing but more worry and couldn't be excited for my last treatment.  I wanted so much to celebrate and be happy and excited and to run to my children and say, "I'm Done! We did it!".  I tried, I mean really tried to not let it get the better of me, but it was hard.  I was pretty down that week before my treatment.  Almost like I couldn't accept that it was going to be my last, but that I may need to have more.  All of the "what if's" were starting to surface.  Well, I went to my appointment for treatment and had my Oncologist feel it.  She could, but really wasn't too concerned about it.  That didn't necessarily comfort me because we all weren't "too concerned" about what ended up to be a grade 3 cancer.  I went through the treatment and tried my hardest to accept that it was my last.  There was no celebration after.  No running to the kids and saying, "I'm done."  I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  Another week went by. 
After dealing with the side effects of the treatment, Talmage and I had an opportunity to get out and go to a church function.  I had been looking forward to this for days.  I needed to get out of the house.  I wanted to spend time with Talmage and just enjoy an evening together.  The program consisted of a singing group.  They sang songs and in-between songs, would share a personal story.  One of the ladies started sharing hers.  It was about her sister who had been ill.  Suddenly, I was afraid again.  I had a strong feeling that she was going to say that her sister had breast cancer.  She did.  When she uttered those words, my heart sank and I think my body temperature rose to be 105 degrees.  I wanted to run.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to curl up in fetal position.  Instead, I sat there and listened.  What else could I do? I think it was just as hard for Talmage. Truthfully, the story was a beautiful story full of miracles.  However, she still died.  After the program, there was some small talk with friends, who I'm sure were concerned about how I was feeling, and then we went home.  After making sure the kids were in bed, I sat down to the computer to check e-mail etc.  I pulled up my facebook account and one of the first things I read was about Elizabeth Edwards passing.  I just couldn't take it.  I immediately turned it off and went to bed.  What very little sleep I got that night, was full of dreams of dieing.  To say I was consumed by it would be an understatement.  It's like I couldn't get away from it... not even in my sleep.  Again, all of the "what if's" were surfacing and I was afraid.  The next day was a teary day.  While going through this whole process, the scriptures have been a great source of strength to me. Today was different.  I was too afraid to open them up.  This is when I knew I was in real trouble with my emotions and with fear. To my relief, my mom called.  She could tell something was bothering me and I let it all out.  It felt so good.  Even now, as I type this, I can't hold back the tears.  I have said this before, but it seems like when I am the most down or feel the most alone, tender mercies are given to me.  At that moment, it was my mom -  who has been a rock for me through all of this.  She is so calm and reassuring and faithful.  I love her.   That evening when I went to bed, I could actually feel the inside of my body trembling.  I could feel and hear my mind going a hundred miles per hour.  Then in the quiet of the night as I tried to calm myself down, a scripture came strongly into my mind: "BE STILL and know that I am God".  I have read that scripture before and thought about it many times, but this time it came with force as if a father were taking me by the shoulders sternly, but lovingly and saying, "Calm down, it will be alright".  I closed my eyes and finally got some much needed, peaceful sleep.
As I go throughout my days and nights, I will often repeat to myself positive affirmations.  This has helped me to try and block out any negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.  That probably sounds hokey, but for me, it really helps. One of them that I repeat to myself over and over is,"I am a cancer-free, strong, healthy, happy, daughter of God."  I believe that and it gives me courage and strength.
Well, this last Friday, I went in for my first mammogram.  I told the tech that I had felt a lump and asked if she could really be sure to get good pictures in that area.  She was great and then led me to a room to have an ultra sound of the lump.  I was so grateful to be taking some action.  I thought either way, knowing is better than wondering.  The ultra sound tech checked for the lump and sure enough it showed up on the screen.  Another heart sinking feeling.  She went to get the Dr. to come and read it.  It happened to be the same doctor who presented my case to the tumor board and was very familiar with me and my case - even though I had never actually met him.  After looking at it carefully for a few minutes, he very confidently decided it was a benign adenoma.  However, because of my history we are going to do a biopsy on it on December 29th  - right after I have an MRI.  After he and Talmage looked at the image and both agreed that I shouldn't worry, I felt an enormous amount of relief.  I finally felt like I really had had my last chemotherapy treatment and that good things are to come. 
I am so grateful for the tender mercies that I have received this past week as I went through this very dark time in my life.  I have witnessed over and over again the love and understanding of a loving Heavenly Father.  I have seen it in timely phone calls from loved ones, beautiful and thoughtful messages sent to me through e-mail or facebook, thoughtful gifts in the mail and most recently, a visit from faithful and inspired Home Teachers who came and offered such a beautiful prayer on our home, on me, on Talmage and on each of our children.  It was just what I needed and my heart was truly touched. 

"Be still and know that I am God"  
Doctrine and Covenants 101:16

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Came down with a cold... my last treatment will have to wait until next week :(
At least I won't be knocked out for Talmage's birthday and Thanksgiving :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Eyelashes - A Lesson in Faith

When I first found out I was going to have to go through chemotherapy, I was surprisingly alright with the fact that I was going to lose my hair.  What I didn't realize, however, is that it was possible I was going to lose my eyelashes and eyebrows as well.  This made me really sad.   However, when I first met with my Oncologist she gave me the good news that because I only had to have four treatments, I would most likely NOT lose my eyebrows and eyelashes.  I was so relieved to hear that.  Well.... shortly after my third treatment I noticed that I had lost some eyelashes.  I felt so fragile and vulnerable.  I started to go without make-up for days at a time for fear that I would rub off my eyelashes when I washed my face.  I even woke up in a panic one morning thinking that my eyebrows had rubbed off during the night and I ran straight to the mirror to check if they were still there.  It was an awful way to feel and live.  After a few days of this, I realized that I was so focused on doing everything I could to not lose them, that I was forgetting that I HAD them and I should enjoy them!  So I picked up my mascara and put it on.  I felt so much better and a little more human again instead of some crazy thing constantly checking in the mirror.  I also realized that by not wearing make-up, I was living in a state of fear and fear just can not be present with faith.  I wanted to CHOOSE faith!  That's not to say that I won't still lose my eyelashes, but at least I am being grateful that I still have them now, and if they are lost, they will grow back ... along with my hair.  It is easy to be afraid... It takes courage, determination and hope to have faith.  I am trying to muster all the courage I can as I go through this.  Some days it is easier than others.  When all of this started, a sweet friend of mine gave me a ring that is engraved with the scripture Joshua 1:6 that says, "Be strong and of a good courage..."  I wore it until it totally wore out and made my finger green.  I still repeat it to myself many times, though.  I am grateful for the lessons that I am learning. It will be alright.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 
2 Timothy 1:7

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Down And One To Go!

     I just got back from my third chemo treatment.  This was the smoothest one so far.  No reactions at all.  I guess my body is getting used to what they are pumping in me.  The GREATEST NEWS again.... NO NEULASTA SHOT - which means no shattered bone feeling!!!  My blood counts were all in a good range.  I am so thankful!  I guess washing my hands 1000 times a day is working. ;)  Thank you all so much for your prayers.  Again, I can't tell you how much they mean to me.  Last night Talmage gave me a priesthood blessing.  It brought me peace and comfort.  I know I am not alone.  For that I am truly grateful.

So this was my last treatment at this current treatment center.  I was sad to say good-bye to my awesome nurse.  She was so great.  I always felt cared for and like I was in very good hands.  Thanks so much "T" for getting the IV in the first time EVERY TIME :)    My  LAST treatment will be at a different center because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Wow!  Do I ever have a lot to be thankful for.

Well, I feel the effects starting to kick in.  I will probably post again in about a week after I wake up from my chemo hibernation.  haha

My deepest love and gratitude to you all.
"Behold, I am the law, and the light.  Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."  3 Nephi 15:9  Book of Mormon

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Round Three

Tomorrow is my third treatment.  I am both looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.  At least I'll be one step closer! :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some Days Are Better Than Others

So, last week I had some really crappy (am I allowed to say that?) days!  I think Tuesday I spent most of the day crying for one reason or another. My eyes were swollen the next day.  I guess it didn't help that I had a major tooth ache and had spent Monday and Tuesday afternoon trying to get it resolved.  It was kind of an ordeal.  Anyway, I just had some really down days emotionally.  It seemed like I couldn't get past the baldness, or the puffyness, or my hijacked body, or the up-coming chemo treatment or the fact that I was even on chemo.  It just all hit me.  I really am not trying to complain.  I know it could be so much worse.   I just want to be honest with how I am feeling since this is not all roses and daffodils. 

It seems like when I am most down, something happens to bring me back to a sense of gratitude and awareness of a loving Heavenly Father.  I remember that this is just a small moment that will pass and that I am not alone in this journey.  So many people have lifted me in so many ways for which I am truly, truly, grateful.  On Tuesday, I received a beautiful poem in the mail from a beautiful person.  It was very timely.  I have read it many times since and have felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and peace.  It reads:

My life is but a weaving between my God and me. 
I do not see the colors; He worketh steadily. 
Oft times He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper and I the under side.

Not til the loom is silent and the shudders cease to fly
Will God unveil the canvas and reveal the reason why
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful weavers hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the patterns He has planned. 

I know that although these are hard or "dark" times for me, that there is a greater plan and that good will come from this experience IF I keep my faith in God.  He can turn the sorrow into joy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Mean.... NOW I'm Half Way Done!

It has been just over a week since my second treatment.  I realized that I had jumped the gun when I declared that I was half way done just by simply having my treatment.  That was the easy part.  To FULLY be half way done, I still had to get through the side effects that came with that treatment.  They came.  
Actually, Thursday and Friday weren't too bad.  I even went to Lagoon with my family and rode "Wicked".  (Truthfully, during the whole ride I kept thinking, "What the HECK was I thinking???")  Anyway, then starting Sunday, I got SOOOO TIRED!  It really wasn't until yesterday (a week later) that I started to get my energy back.  I didn't expect to be so tired for so long.  It pretty much wiped me out along with all of the other little side effects that go with it....  achey, upset stomach, burning tongue and esophogus, plus a few that just don't need mentioned.  UGH!   We continue to be cared for by loving neighbors, friends and family.  My beautiful Mother moved in for the week and took such good care of us.  It was such a comfort to know that the kids' schedule just moved forward like normal.  I think they need that.  Thanks, Mom for all of your help, love and support.  We couldn't have gotten through this week without you!

I just started reading the biography of Thomas S. Monson, "To the Rescue".  There is a quote in there that really stuck out to me.  It says, "I am daily impressed that the majority of the good people in the world do not receive any accolades or any publicity but live good lives within a small circle and one day will merit eternal reward."  So many have included our family in their "small circle".  I have been so touched by the generosity and love of so many and I pray that the Lord will bless each of you with his choicest blessings.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Half Way There :)

Yesterday, October 14, 2010, I had my second chemo treatment.  It went really well.  Again, I love my nurse.  She is SO competent and happy.  You can tell she loves her job which makes it so nice for her patience.  They started me with a big dose of Zophran - which made me totally loopy, but at least no headache this time.  Then the Cytoxin and Taxatol.  I started to have a slight reaction to the Taxatol: tight chest, flushed face... and then it stopped and so I was able to continue with my treatment without having to reverse anything.  I was really happy about that.  The best news came next.  I wouldn't need the Neulasta shot the following day because all of my blood counts were in a good normal range.  HOORAY!!!!!!  That was such a relief.  That shot makes you feel like you are constantly being electrocuted and like an 80 year old lady whose bones are about to shatter!  I am SO THANKFUL!  SO.... Two down and two to go.  We (I say "we" because this is affecting so many more people than just me) are going to make it! 
I received a lovely card today in the mail that reminded me this is but a "small moment".   It will pass.

My [daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.
                                                            Doctrine and Covenents 121:7

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Big Shave... A Picture Paints 1000 Words

 the kids wanted me to "rock on"  I guess that was it ???

We have started singing a song to the tune of U2's "With or Without You"  it goes....

"With or without HAIR, with or without Hair , Ohhhhhh  I CAN LIVE with or without hair"

One Hot Date!

How many  husbands get to go on a hot date with their wife to the local Wig Shop?   I know, I know, every guys fantasy - hee hee.  After Talmage got home from working ALL NIGHT, we took Caleb to our lovely neighbor who was so gracious to watch him (that is no easy task!) and we headed down to find a wig.  I thought it was going to be really hard and depressing, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.  The lady who was helping us had a great personality which made it a lot easier, too.  Here's what we found... 

 um...... no

 Red... it was a fun idea.

 This was SO TEMPTING!

Hey, look.  It's ME (before I cut my bangs)!
This wig just felt more natural than the others.  Hopefully,
I won't regret going long, but o-well.  It's fun!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


It's starting to fall out :(   A strange reality.  I had to look at myself close in the mirror and tell myself it would be okay.  It will.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Good Week and Some Crazy Dreams

I have been feeling really good lately.  I am so thankful.  After having a few rough days last week, this week is much more of a normal  week.  I am thankful to have enough energy to get things done throughout the day and to have time to spend with my family.  They are my treasures.  My neighbors and friends have been so helpful with carpool and spoiling us with delicious meals.  There is no way to properly express my deepest gratitude for their service to our family.  They are making this heavy load so much lighter.  Thank you!

On a side note, I have been having crazy dreams the past few nights about various ways I am going to lose my hair.  I guess I am thinking about it more than I realized.  Any day now...  should be interesting. 

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom;  that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.   Mosiah 2:17 Book of Mormon

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Kick-Off to Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I thought it would be fun to make these pancakes for breakfast.  The kids loved them and I think talking about it occasionally is good for them - especially when we can turn it into a positive conversation.  Awareness is good and CRITICAL in curing this disease.  It can be done.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Little Naive... and a Week in Review

Tomorrow will be one week since my first treatment.  Up until yesterday, I thought this wasn't going to be too bad.  I guess I was being a little naive for thinking I was going to escape without any major side effects.   I was anticipating being "sick" over the weekend and so when I made it through that, I felt like I was home free.  I was wrong.  Out of the blue it hit me.  I think one of the worse side effects for me is the bone pain.  I had felt a little uncomfortable for a few days, but nothing a good ol Lortab wouldn't take care of.  Then the pain was instantly unbearable, and just bearable with a Lortab.  I felt like my legs and hips were going to shatter.  Then came the nausea.  Not a great combination.  Today, after a good nap and some meds, I am feeling much better.  The nurse called to see how I was feeling and she recommended keeping a journal since chemotherapy kind of follows a pattern.  This way I will be able to anticipate certain symptons and be able to get the meds in sooner.  So here is the last week:
Thursday - 1st treatment.  Came home and slept most of the day because of all of the Benedryl.
Friday - Flushed and a little dizzy.  Went in for my Neulasta shot.
Saturday - Feeling pretty good.  A little achey
Sunday - Feeling pretty good.  A little achey
Monday - Woke up with a sore, swollen throat.  Felt like I had the flu.
Tuesday - Throat felt a little better.  A little achey.  By Tuesday late afternoon I could barely walk.  Extreme pain in my back, legs and hips.  Felt like electrical shocks going throughout my body.  Lortab did not help that much.  Tried to sleep it off and took a Claritin which I think helped my bones.  I know that makes no sense, but the nurses said sometimes it helps and I think it did.  During the night, around 3:00 am got really nauseous.  Yuck!  Went and took an anti-nausea pill and it helped get me through the rest of the night.
Wednesday - Felt much better as far as my bones, just weak and a lack of appetite.  We'll see what tonight brings.

Tomorrow I go in for my one week check.  This is where they will do blood tests and make sure all of my counts are good.    I (think) I should start feeling better now until my next treatment. 

Lila made this for me and stuck it under my door.  Notice the breast cancer yogurt lid taped to it.  So sweet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow... Part One

I thought it would be a good idea to go and get my hair chopped off for an easier transition into being El Natural... aka BALD.    I have had some doozey hair cuts in my day, but this one was a biggy!  I hit the local Great Clips - I figured why pay a fortune for a haircut that will be gone in a week?  The good news is that I was able to donate 13 inches of my own hair to Locks of Love.  It might as well go to a good cause.  Normally, I would have bawled coming out of the salon, but in a strange way I felt somewhat liberated.  Like I was taking charge of the situation.   Actually, when I look at the picture of my long hair, it looks so heavy and burdensome.   It has been nice to have a change and not worry about how it looks.    Now, I am just waiting for the signs that it is going and then I will shave it.   Wow, wonder what that will feel like?! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

1st Chemo Treatment

Thursday, September 23, 2010, was my first Chemo treatment.  It wasn't THAT bad.  My nurse was amazing and I felt like I was in good hands.  I was thrilled that she thought my veins were "a treat".  It only took her once to get the IV in.  I was so happy!  When I was in the hospital having Emma, it took the nurses 5 tries to get the IV in and then they had to get the phlebotomist!  Anyway, that was a good way to get started.  She hooked me up and started the meds.  First she gave me Aloxi which is an anti-nausea medication, then the Cytoxan and then Taxotere.  I felt "normal" until the Taxotere and then all of the sudden I had an allergic reaction.   Tight chest, flushed red and a paralyzing pain in my back, hips and legs.   This is not un-common.  The nurse loaded me up with Benedryl and some other meds and soon the symptons were gone.  Then she started the treatment back up again and I did fine.  I'm SO THANKFUL that I only have to do this 3 more times!  After each treatment, I have to go in the next day to receive an injection of Neulasta.  This helps stimulate the production of white blood cells which will help to fight infection.  It causes some bone pain.  Nothing a good Lortab can't handle :)
And so it's began...  Over the weekend I actually felt pretty good.  Today (Monday) is a little different.  I woke up with a sore, swollen throat.  I'm hoping it goes away soon.  Also, poor little Emma hasn't been herself today.  She threw up twice today and just doesn't seem to be able to get comfortable.  Finally, tonight she is resting and I am praying for a good night and a better day tomorrow.  Poor little girl.
We'll get through this. 
I have to say a special "thank you" to my mom who has been slaving away all day with the kids, laundry, errands, preparing food for the future etc.  I couldn't have gotten through today without her and good friends who have helped with Caleb and a delicious dinner.  We feel so loved and taken care of.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!


Friday, September 24, 2010

For Me...

I know I need to post about my first Chemo treatment, and I will, but I couldn't let this experience be forgotten.  I almost didn't post about it because of it's personal nature, but then I remembered this is my record of all that is and has happened.  And this experience was too tender for me to not write it down.

The day after I had Emma, my doctor put me on a medication to help dry up my milk since I would not be able to nurse her.  With just having a lumpectomy,  my surgeon was worried that I would get an abscess or something that would cause complications at the surgery site.  Also, with chemo in the future, breast feeding was just not going to work out.  I was sad.  I had a little mourning session and then accepted it for what it was.  It would be alright.  And it really was.  However, the Lord once again was merciful to me.  About 5 days or so after I finished with that prescription, I started to have milk let-downs.  I was really surprised.  This was about 3 weeks after I had given birth AND been on medication.  After about two days of this, I decided and felt like it was happening for some reason and so I decided to try to nurse Emma - 3 weeks after she was born!  It worked and together we had a very tender, loving moment.  I was touched and recognized this as a tender mercy from the Lord.  I got to have a small nursing moment with my daughter  It was one of the most beautiful experiences that I will always cherish.   And then my milk stopped... all on it's own. 
The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.   Psalm 145:9

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chemo 101

I have always wanted to go back to school, but this is not exactly what I had in mind...
Last night I went to "Chemotherapy Class" with Talmage and my Mom.  They are my "advocates".  They come with me to help me remember everything I am told and to make sure I am getting what I need.  I guess I will be getting "chemotherapy brain"  which is a little scary considering I am just trying to recover from "pregnancy brain"  haha.
Anyway,  our "room" was the lobby and when I walked in, there were a lot of gloomy faces.  I understood.  They were scared.  Scared of cancer, scared of their diagnosis, scared of their prognosis, scared of not knowing, scared of chemotherapy, scared of side effects, scared of dying.  With all my heart, I understood, but I did NOT want to be another gloomy face in that room.  I tried to smile and talk about "normal" things, like: "Honey, how was your day?" etc.  Plus, it is just nearly impossible to be sad when Emma is around.  She is such a cheer up.
They gave us each a large folder ... kind of like your Chemo Syllabus.  The nurse went through all of the side effects and talked about each of the drugs that we will be getting.  We watched a question and answer video and then went to see the "treatment room".  It was a whole bunch of cubbies that will soon become a very familiar place to be - starting tomorrow.
One lady, when asked what chemo was said, "poison".  You could tell the nurse had heard this answer before and was prepared for a proper response.  She said, "Well, yes.  It is like a poison because it will kill the bad cells in your body."   I am trying to remember that although the chemo is going to take my hair, make me tired and who knows what else, it is NOT the ENEMY.  It is helping me to make sure I did everything I could and everything medically possible to make sure the cancer is GONE!  And I believe it IS!  Then, I pray and turn it over to God.  It will be alright.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Appointment with the Oncologist

Yesterday, Talmage and I met with my Oncologist.  That sentence is still strange for me to say... MY ONCOLOGIST.   I now belong to a group that I really had no desire to be apart of, but here I am.
She was very nice and apologized first for me having to be there.  As a breast cancer survivor herself, she was very empathetic and seemed to be very knowledgeable and competent.  We felt good talking to her.  I had mixed emotions about being there, though.   I was anxious to get started and at the same time I dreaded it.  I think that was probably a pretty normal way to feel, but it was harder than I thought it would be.  It seems like since the surgery and having the baby that it was all over.  I feel so normal and good!  So to volunteer for chemotherapy is a little hard to swallow, but I know it is the right thing to do.  My treatments will start next Thursday (September 23, 2010) and I will go every 3 weeks for 4 cycles.  Not too bad.  The good news is that I will be done with it the first part of December and can enjoy Christmas!  AND, the best news is she thought I wouldn't lose my eyelashes and eyebrows.  I can't tell you how happy that made me.  My hair is going for sure, but that is A okay!  Luckily, it will be cold outside and I will just get some stylish hats.. or something.   Now that yesterday is over and facing the reality of it all, I feel better.  It will be alright. 
I am just so grateful for the gospel.  I know that I am being strengthened and supported by a loving Heavenly Father and by all of you.  Thank you.

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation"  2 Nephi 22:2

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Almost There

Over the weekend the reality of chemo started to set in.  And so did the fear.  The fear of being really sick, the fear of going bald, the fear of not being able to take care of my family, the fear of how we are going to get through the next few months.  For an afternoon I was overwhlemed and probably a little depressed.  Then I got an email from my dear friend that told me to "stay strong" and to "keep my faith in Jesus Christ".  It was perfect timing as I was about to have a serious pity party for myself.  And then I looked at my new born baby and all my children and my husband and a fire lit up inside of me that said, I CAN DO THIS!  IT WILL BE ALRIGHT!  IT WILL BE HARD, BUT IT WILL BE ALRIGHT AND IT WILL BE WORTH IT!

We have had a steady flow of people coming and offering to help, share their concern, bring food and thoughtful gifts for the baby.  It has been so humbling to be on this side of the fence, however, we have been so grateful for everybody's love.  We can't thank you all enough.  You have blessed our family more than you will ever know.  Thank you.

Today I tried on some beautiful scarves that my Aunt sent to me.  They are colorful and bright.  It took me a minute to figure out how to best tie them.  Lila helped me.  I let the ends hang down like it was my hair.  Then I walked into the kitchen and Collin said that I looked very pretty.  It melted my heart. 

Tomorrow I go to the Oncologist.  I am very anxious to know what my treatment plan will be.  It seems like it has taken a long time to get to this point (even though it has only been 2 1/2 weeks since it all started)  but now it's nearly here and I am as ready as I will ever be.  We are almost there... almost done.  One last big haul.  It has been a step by step process and I am looking forward to having this last step done.  It will be alright. 

The other night, while Talmage and I were talking, I opened up his scriptures randomly.  He was worried I was about to read something about "trials", but instead it read,"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give."  Matthew 10:8    It was perfect.  I know miracles happen today and they have happened to me.  I know I have "received freely" and oh how I hope to "freely give"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Appointment with the Oncologist

I finally have an appointment with the Oncologist.  It is for next Wednesday at 2:00 pm.  We are anxious to meet with her (Dr. Anna C. Beck) and find out what my treatment plan will be.  I am ready (mostly) to get started and get it over with.  It is a strange reality only because I feel well.  It will be alright.

Miracles - Things I don't want to forget

I started this blog about a week after I was diagnosed and so there are a few things missing that need to be written down about that week.

Friday -  Found out I had breast cancer because Talmage made all of the appointments for me to have an ultra sound and a biopsy.  If it hadn't have been for him 6 months from now could have been a totally different story.  I am thankful for a good, inspired husband.  He quite literally saved my life.  We were able to get an appointment with the surgeon for Monday.  I was so thankful that we could get in so quickly.
That day was a rollar coaster of emotions and we got very little sleep, but exchanged a lot of tender hugs.

Saturday - We went boating with the family for Collin and all the family August birthdays.  I tried to put on a happy face.  It was hard.  I think it was just as hard for Talmage. Again, lots of tender hugs.  There came an opportunity to share this information with one of my sister-in-laws.  It was actually a relief to talk about it.  I kept staring at the mountains.  I realized that God made those magestic, beautiful mountains and if He could do that, if it was right, he could heal me.  I believed he would.
Late that night we pulled the kids together and told them. Talmage first asked them what they knew of cancer and then explained more about it.  He told them that Mommy has a small cancer.  I think they were afraid.  "Cancer" is such a scary word.   We prayed together, started a fast together and had a good cry together.  It was actually beautiful.  I felt like we were all so united and we would get through this together.

Sunday - We got up and went to church.  I nearly cried all through Sacrament meeting.  Sometimes I felt really strong and then other times there was nothing I could do to hold back my emotions.  A member of the Relief Society Presidency talked to me afterwards and I told her about it.  I think "shock" is the only way to describe it.  By now, I had composed myself again.
During primary, my son got up to say the monthly theme and then say a prayer.  When he said the theme, I had such a sweet, warm feeling come across me.  He said, "Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He is a God of Miracles".  It was a very profound moment to me and one that I will cherish. 
Well, the word got out and we have received an outpouring of love, support and prayers from so many people ever since.
That night we went to my parents house to celebrate my dad's birthday.  Later, my dad and Talmage gave me a Priesthood blessing.  Again, I felt peace.

Monday - Talmage and I went to meet with the Surgeon.  Before we met, Talmage had another Tech do a quick ultrasound on me to see if we could see any other tumors up in the axillary area.  I think of everything, this was what I was most nervous about.  We prayed fervently that the cancer was contained and had not spread.  Thankfully, nothing apparent showed up.  While meeting with the surgeon we scheduled an operating time.  That very Wednesday - just two days later.  I was SO happy to get in so soon.  Especially as I was 8 months pregnant. 
For the first couple of days I completely ignored my left breast.  I loathed it!  I didn't want to give it any more energy than what I already had.  Then something hit me.  I had a very strong impression that instead of resenting it, I needed to love and accept it.  I forgave the situation and my heart felt better.

Tuesday - I began to notice simple pleasures.  A butterfly on a flower, the sun coming through the windows, my children laughing, a Sunflower reaching up to the light.  This inspired me and I felt closer to Heavenly Father.  It was mine and Talmage's 16th anniversary.  We went to the temple to do sealings.  It was just what we both needed.  I thought I would be an emotional wreck through all of it, but not one tear fell.  I was happy and felt such strength from both sides of the veil.  This is a moment that I will always cherish as well.

Wednesday - The day of surgery.  My sister-in-law came to stay with our children.  It was such an answer to our prayers.  I didn't worry for a second that they weren't being loved.  She also had just recently had a lumpectomy and so she was able to comfort and explain about the surgery.  The kids had a great day and even got all their homework done! :)
The greatest news of the surgery is that the cancer had NOT spread.  I was SOOO thankful!

Thursday - Rested and toughed it through contractions that had started since the surgery.  Prayed a lot.

Friday - For our anniversary, before all of this came up, we had planned on going to Park City to celebrate.  We decided to still go and just relax and sleep since we knew our baby would be on her way shortly.  It was quite and peaceful.  Thanks to Grandma for staying with the kids ... especially since we are trying to potty train ;)

Saturday - LOTS of contrations.  I decided that although I had a month left, I needed to pack my bags.  Thankfully I listened to that prompting because that night .... actually Sunday morning at 3:00 am. my water broke.  We were going to have a baby!  Here is the post from my personal blog about the birth:

Wow! What an intense couple of weeks it has been. After learning that I had breast cancer, I was scheduled for surgery immediately. I still had a month before the baby was due, but right after the surgery, my braxton hicks turned into real contractions. Surgery was on a Wednesday and by Saturday, I was miserable. The contractions were strong, but too spread apart to justify going to the hospital. I kept praying that either they would stop or get close together so that I could go to the hospital. At the same time, in the back of my mind, I knew that this was early for the baby and I wanted to make sure she would be alright.

Around 3:00 am Sunday morning, during a hefty contraction, my water broke ... or exploded would be more accurate. Aaaahhhh. We were going to have a baby. I was nervous and relieved all at once.
We got to the hospital, checked in, and then I labored for about an hour while we waited for the Anesthesiologist - who happened to be our neighbor. The epidural was perfect and FINALLY I could sleep. I felt like it had been months since I had gotten any real rest. It was wonderful!
(I just don't know how the pioneers did it!)
Because I was so early, they had to treat me with Penicillin for 4 hours before they could turn on the Pitosin. Once all of the penicillin was in, they turned up the Pit and at 8:01 am, our sweet little Emma Jane was born. She is perfect and a true miracle in everyway possible. She weighed 7 lbs. and was 19 1/2" long. We were astonished at her size for being 4 weeks early. We truly feel that Heavenly Father prepared her so that she would be ready to come early because of all that is going on. We are so grateful that everything went so beautifully.

Emma Jane Shill

Born August 29, 2010

7 lbs.

19 1/2" long

Our little Emma is a miracle. We are so relieved that she got here safely.  My family is my greatest motivation for fighting this disease. 

I can't thank everybody enough for all the prayers, fasting, support and love that you have sent our way.  We have been truly blessed and I pray that the Lord will bless each of you for your kindness.

My three motos that I am learning through this process:

1. Faith not Fear
2. Enjoy the Journey
3. Patience

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To Chemo or Not to Chemo? That Was the Question.

Last Tuesday, while I was still in the hospital from having Emma,  our surgeon called on my cell phone.  She asked if I had heard of the results of the pathology report from my surgery.  I hadn't.  My heart stopped for just a moment... I thought we had all the news.  Thankfully, it was good news.  The invasive part of the tumor was only 4mm and the non-invasive part of the tumor was 7 mm.  She told me there was a chance that I would NOT have to go through chemo.  I have to admit, I was hopeful at that prospect, but did not count on it.  I figured I would rather be surprised on that outcome than count on it.  Well, the tumor board met together on Thursday to go over my case.  There were 5 medical Oncologist.  After reviewing everything, it was unanimous 5 - 0 that I should go on chemo.  Again, because of my age and the type of cancer it is - or WAS.  I had a moment of tears.  It is just really strange to me only because I feel well.  I don't feel sick or tired and so to face chemo in the next few weeks is just really strange.  I understand it, but it is just strange - mentally.  I am over the tears and have come to terms with it and I am okay!  It will be okay!  Talmage and I were praying that whether I went on chemo or not would be difinitive ... and it was, so we feel at peace that we are doing everything we can to make sure the cancer is gone.  I think we are both even grateful that I am going on chemo, so that we don't have to always wonder if we did everything we could.  It is worth it.  I would way rather be a mom and a wife than have long hair. 
Now, we are waiting to make an appointment with the Oncologist to discuss exactly what the treatment plan will be.  Hopefully we can do this very soon so we have time to figure out how to schedule help when needed.  I am hoping to not have too many sick days.  We'll see.   We have had an amazing outpouring of love, prayers and support from SO many people.  We are all so grateful. 
We love you!
Danae, Talmage and Family

D&C 68:6
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am and that I am to come."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Surgery Update

Dear Friends and Family -

I wanted to share with you how the surgery went on Wednesday and what the day was like for me. I meant to do this yesterday... I was just so tired. There will be more information in this e-mail than what you need or want, but I am trying to keep a journal for myself without having to type everything twice. Sorry. (you can skip to the bottom to get the facts about the results of the surgery) I am making a blog to put these entries on and when I have it up and running I will send that email address and you can get an update whenever you would like.

When Talmage and I got to the hospital, my dad was already in the waiting room. It was his birthday. I was glad he was there and then shorlty after, my mom came in. It was the kind of moment that you just want to be that little girl who skinned her knee and your mom puts a bandaid on it and everything is better. No bandaid, but a lot of love and hope.

After getting my IV put in, a nurse and her assistant came to do a stress test on the baby. This was the comical relief that we all needed. They could not figure out how to turn on their machine and tried for a good 5 minutes. My confidence was dwindling. Finally, Talmage spoke up and asked if he could help. He went to the back of the machine and pushed the button that said, "power". It turned on. Whew! They watched the baby for about 15 minutes and this little girl proved that she was strong and ready for the day. It was a joy to listen to her and her her hiccups :) While we were waiting, a lullaby would play over the loud speakers. This meant that a baby had just been born. I was really wishing that I was there to have a baby instead of what I was about to go through. After the fetal stress test, I was sent down to have a Sentinel Node Injection. I was a little nervous for this, but it turned out to be nearly painless. I was grateful. This is where they inject a small amount of radioactive material through the breast that travels through the Lymphatic channels. This is how the surgeon would see if the Cancer had spread. We went back to the room and waited to go into surgery. A short while later, the stretcher pulled up. I really didn't love the sight of it. They wheeled me down the hall, I said "see ya later" to my parents and Talmage and I continued on to meet with the surgeon. We went over the information to make sure we were all on the same page and then they rolled me out. The plan was to do a Lumpectomy, Sentinel Node Biopsy with possible Axillary disection. It was hard to let go of Talmage's hand. As they wheeled me down the hall, we turned a corner and stopped. Right above me was a big, silver, bulb that acted like a mirror. I could see my whole body on the stretcher as if from a bird's eye view. It was surreal. All I could do is look at myself and repeat the same phrase that I had been saying hundreds of times a day since the diagnosis. "Faith not fear". We rolled into the operating room, transfered beds, got oxygen and then I felt my arm sting. I knew they were putting me to sleep. I instantly saw double and then I was out. Operating time.

When I woke up, I remember the first thing I asked was if they had to do the Axillary disection. I knew if they didn't then the Cancer hadn't spread. Nobody answered. They rolled me directly to Labor and Delivery so that we could monitor the baby to make sure she was well. She was. Unfortunately, my OB is out of town and has been for a while. So, I didn't really have somebody who wanted to be responsible for me, plus my OB is at McKay Dee Hospital and my surgery was at LDS. After serveral hours, they decided the baby was strong enough for me to go home .... JUST then I had a contraction and her heart beat dropped and they wanted me to stay for 2 more hours... which turned into nearly 4 more hours. As time went on, I started having pretty strong contractions about every 5 minutes. I think this was due to the stress that my body was under and plus I hadn't had anything to eat in nearly 24 hours. Finally, around 9:30 pm they sent me home. I had contractions all the way home and thought we might be driving straight up to McKay to deliver this baby. When we got home, Talmage made me some oatmeal and I slowly ate and worked through the contractions. Thankfully around 12:30 am they started to subside. I could finally go to sleep.

The night before surgery, Talmage and I went to the Temple to do sealings. It was our 16th anniversary. It was peaceful, beautiful and comforting. I thought that I would be really emotional and cry the whole way through, but not one tear fell from my eye. I could even say I was happy. I felt surrounded by love from both this side of the veil and beyond the veil. It is something I will always cherish. My friend from highschool sent me a scripture ... one that I love, and it is what I thought about the whole day of the surgery. It is:

D&C 84:88 ..."there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." Each of you have been my angels. Thank you so much.

The tumor they took out was 1 cm and they also took out 1 lymph node that was part of the Sentinel Node Biopsy. This showed that the cancer had not spread and so we have every reason to believe that they were able to remove it completely! I am SO THANKFUL! However, because of the size, my age and the type of cancer (3 negatives) I will still start Chemotherapy shortly after the baby is born. This is simply a precaution. This Thursday, my case will be presented at the Tumor Board and all of the doctors attending will decide the appropriate course of action to take. So for now, we wait for this little girl to make her appearance. Hopefully she can wait a couple of weeks so that I can heal from surgery and not have any complications due to lactating. We are just taking it one step at a time and are so thankful for all that has occured. Our family is being blessed. Our children are staying strong and faithful and I feel the love of all of you and from a loving, merciful Heavenly Father.

All Our Love,

Danae, Talmage and Kids

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Up Date

Dear Family and Friends -

I can't thank you enough for all of your faith, prayers and fasting. I am so humbled by your love and concern and I know that prayers are being heard and answered. Thank you!, Thank you! Today was a big day in figuring out what the next steps are going to be. Talmage and I met with the surgeon today and THANKFULLY I will be going into surgery this Wednesday at LDS hospital. We feel very confident with the surgeon and she came highly recommended. Here is what the next several months will entail. So, Wednesday afternoon I will have a lumpectomy with radiation, recover as much as possible, have the baby whenever she is ready and then a couple of weeks after she is born I will start Chemotherapy every 3 weeks for 4 rounds. Sounds like a bummer, but I am surprisingly alright with this. It's amazing how the Lord can and does strengthen you in your hour of need. I know it will be a tiring few months with a newborn and chemo and we'll get to see if I have a round head, oval head, flat head or a lumpy bumpy head. Those falls off the bicycle when I was little might really show up now. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. I am grateful that the doctors are being aggressive to give me a better chance of not having a reoccurance. Plus, i'm going to find some really cool bandanas or maybe see what it is like to have black or red hair. ;) I feel much better today just knowing that we have a plan and can move forward.

If you feel so inclined, we will be having a fast starting Tuesday evening specifically for 1) that the cancer has not spread (2) that the surgeons will get all of the cancer out and (3) that the baby will be safe and all will go well with the surgery.

I love you all so much and have felt the strength of your prayers and the tender mercies of a loving Heavenly Father. There is no way I could do this alone. I am grateful for strong and valiant children who are being so brave and a husband who gives unconditional support and love. Can you imagine having to be the one to tell your wife she has cancer? I love him.

Thank you again and again for your faith and prayers. They carry me moment to moment.

All Our Love,

Danae, Talmage and Kiddos.

p.s. Here is my thought for today. I received this book from my visiting teacher who is also batteling cancer and has been for 16 years! She gave this to me two months ago. The title is "Counting Blessings" by Kerry Blair and in her introduction of why she is writing this book she says, "But why do it? Why venture into that dark hole of uncertainty and possible failure in the first place? Kate Douglas Wiggin answered that question in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm": "Going to Aunt Mirandy's is like going down the cellar in the dark. There might be ogres and giants under the stairs, --- but, as I tell Hannah, there might be elves and fairies and enchanted frogs!"

Isn't that wonderful? Something that seems so dark and scary can actually have something magical and beautiful. I believe that to be true with this situation. I know something good will come of this.

I Need Your Prayers

Dear Family -

There is no easy way to say this and so I will just come straight out with it. I have breast cancer. I never thought I would have to utter those words, but there they are and it is a reality. Last January I felt a small lump and so Talmage set up an appointment for me to get an ultra sound. The images were vague and did not resemble a cancer. The doctor asked if I were pregnant and I told him there was .1% chance that I was. Well, little did we know, I was pregnant. This little girl is a miracle in every way possible. When we found out I was pregnant, we sort of chalked up the lump to hormones and changing breast tissue and kind of forgot about it. Within the past month, Talmage has been bothered by the lump and got me an appointment to have a biopsy done, just so we could get it out of our minds. The biopsy was done this past Wednesday and again it was small and hard to find. I was actually embarrassed for being there thinking that they must think I am paranoid. The results were expected to be ready by Friday. Friday morning I called Talmage at work and he hadn't had time to look at the results because of a conference. Later I tried calling again ... and then again... and then again. No answer. I started to get a little anxioius, but thought he must be very busy and would be calling me with the negative results any minute. I went to lay down and as I did Talmage walked through the door. My heart sank. I knew it was serious. Can I just tell you what a brave Son/Brother you have. I love him so much and am grateful to be his wife. Here are the facts. The lump is about 8 mm. Can you believe something so small can cause such disruption to somebody's life? It is a grade 3 which means that it has gone through the wall duct ... or something. (I should have Talmage write this part) Anyway, from the small biopsy, it appeared to have not spread into the Lymphatic System. On Monday, we go and meet with the surgeon to talk about getting into surgery ASAP before the baby is born. At that point we will know more information and what course of action we will need to take. Our BIG PRAYER AND HOPE is that the cancer is contained and has NOT spread to the lymphatic system and that they will be able to remove it, radiate it and be done with it!

This is where I am begging for your faith and prayers. I would SO appreciate your specific prayers that the cancer has NOT spread. And as with Jon's request, please include that it be the Father's will. I know He loves me and I know He can heal me if it's right. Tomorrow Talmage and my Dad will be giving me a blessing. I am so grateful for the Priesthood. Also, we told our children tonight and they are pretty somber. They could also use some prayers.

I love you all so much. I will keep you up-dated on what we find out and when this little girl arrives to our family. I am so excited to meet her.

All Our Love,

Danae and Talmage

D&C 101: 16 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

Facing the Truth

As I sit here and think about times in my past where I have been on the verge of receiving critical information, I am first taken back to each of my pregnancies... Is it a boy or a girl? Are they growing the way they should be? Or, when Talmage was opening up his test results from his Oral Boards... Pass or Fail? Or, waiting for test results of a loved one who is sick... Will he be okay or is this more serious than we expected? Each of these times and many more times I have thought about that small window of the "unknown" right before you get that critical information. How will I react if it's not favorable? What will I do? What will be the next course of action? Will I still have faith? On all of these occasions, thankfully, the results WERE favorable and I could breath deeply and peacefully knowing that all was well.
Today is a different kind of day, a different way of thinking. A realization that not all information comes back the way you hope. And in that moment of the unknown you have to prepare yourself for the possibility that it is not the information you want to receive. This is my personal account of that situation.
I actually don't know where this began exactly. I'll try to do my best. When I was towards the end of my pregnancy with Caleb, I felt a small lump in my left breast. We had it looked at with an ultra sound and it appeared to be nothing of significance. (that was another time of waiting for critical information) so we forgot about it. Now, 3 years later, I am pregnant with our 5th baby. At the very beginning of the pregnancy - even before we knew I was pregnant, I felt that same lump. I wasn't worried, but I noticed it. After discovering that infact I WAS pregnant - which is a beautiful miracle - we thought maybe the lump was a result of hormones and changing breast tissue. I went in for another ultra sound in January of 2010 and the images were really vague. Nobody seemed concerned, but thought we better follow up "just to be safe". Two days ago, I went in for a biopsy just so we could know that it was nothing serious and not have to think about it again. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Today the results came back. I had called Talmage a few times at work to see if he had gotten the results and he wouldn't answer his phone. I was anxious, but figured he had a busy schedule and would call me back with the negative results any minute. I went to lay down and a minute later, Talmage walked through the door with a serious look on his face. I instantly knew that this was serious enough for him to leave work and come home to tell me the test results in person. What a terrible thing for a husband to have to do. He was so brave and I love him so much for that. Before he said anything, I wanted that moment of the unknown to end the same as all of the other times. It didn't and now I have to face the "known". I have breast cancer. Wow! I said it. I acknowledge it. Technically I have "Invasive ductal cell carcinoma". Doesn't that just sound ugly? I loath it! So now that I have that information, what am I going to do about it? Pray, love and FIGHT.
On Monday, I go in for a consultation with the surgeon on what the best way is to go about getting rid of this. It is a very small tumor (8mm) however it is a level 3 which means it has gone through the wall. Our big prayer is that it has NOT spread to the lymphatic system. If that is the case, then they will remove the tumor and surrounding tissue, radiate it and be done! Hopefully this can all occur before the birth of our next baby which is due in 4 weeks. I can't wait to meet her. She must be so valiant to be coming to earth under these circumstances.
So here is what I know and believe. God loves me. He loves that I am a mother. He wants me to see and meet my potential. He loves me enough to test me and to help me become a better person. He loves my family. I know He sent His Only Begotten Son to the earth to set the example for us, to suffer the pains of the world for us, to give us a way to return to Him. I know I am not alone in this process and that gives me all the courage I need. I am grateful for these truths and for a family who loves me. As Talmage put it earlier, "we are in battle mode".