Sunday, September 6, 2009

Goodbye Sweetheart!

It is bittersweet to post the news that on September 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm, Sheryl was set free from her battle with breast cancer. She did not die, but peacefully transitioned to her Heavenly Father as I held her hand, prayed with her, kissed her and soothed her. She is the most courageous person I know and through her entire fight, she never lost sight of her sons, me, her friends and family, and what mattered most. As we celebrate her life there are 5 things I want to share with you.

First, her humor was infectious. She made everything easier to handle because she had a gift of lightening the load. Second, her courage was amazing. Up until two weeks prior to her passing, she was still staring down death, doing chemo, going to the ER and making choices. Just last week she looked at the Hospice Director and said, "get me out of here. If I'm going to die, I'm doing it at home with my husband and sons." Third, her love for her boys, me and her friends and family was unconditional. Just one week ago, she spent an hour with me and the boys and without question, let all three of us know how much she loved us, and while sitting with her, and in no uncertain terms, she told Jon and Matt that she is most proud of them when it comes to looking at her life's accomplishments. Fourth, her generosity was contagious. Her life was largely defined by her unselfishness. She was a giver and not a taker. And last was her faith - she counted on the Lord to give her strength and to take her home. Her signature verse during her battle is from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Chapter 40, verse 31, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and will not faint."

Having her gone from our presence is excruciatingly difficult. We miss her every second. But knowing she is pain free and smiling down on her family and friends should bring us all some joy, and certainly an appreciation for an unbelievable woman who fought hard and gave it everything she could.

Sheryl - we love you immensely and look forward to seeing you again someday.

With deepest gratitude and a million memories - your husband, Todd.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

SATURDAY From Sheryl at Home

OH WOW! How time is flying by. My last post was in January it's August already. I kind of go on the concept of no news is good news. My hope is that you'll follow that plan as well. I've been overwhelmed with kindness and good thoughts and prayers, friends stopping by and just falling into what is now normal patterns in my life. What is normal anyway?

As a family we have been having a fun relaxing summer which started with the boys going on a 2 week Christian Sport Camp on Bass Lake in California. While the boys were at camp Todd and I got to spend time together in Mammoth. We were in Mammoth with the boys after they finished their camp, right up to the 4th of July! We had Todd's family down for the week-end. Five cousins all together makes for a lot of fun, pushing limits, tattling, laughing, shouting, screaming all the while jumping from the trampoline into the pool. (Sorry, I just had to take an ice cream break; mint chocolate chip the hard shell chocolate with whipped cream on top. We will call it our little lunch break, okay?) Some where in between there a pineapple Cunard became a member of our family. Very pretty bird but what were we thinking?

All summer I have kept up with my weekly chemotherapy and weekly blood testing, Everything was status quo..until just recently. Apparently the chemo has stopped doing it's job on my cancer. The lesions on my liver have begun growing instead of shrinking and there are new spots showing up. There is growth to a lesion in my spine around T=9 that is cause for concern. I have been going through a battery of tests. I'm still undergoing tests that are more accurate then the regular testing. In new MRIs and CT scans they have found a tiny spot on my brain. It is so small that before they even call it cancer, they need to use a special MRI to confirm findings and look for any other brain abnormalities there (Now you be careful, you know how sensitive I am on those brain I can blame all of my forgetfulness, odd behaviors, and general suspicions to chemo brain...and it's the truth.)

I promise to keep you more informed now that I have something stirring up. I'm in for many tests this week and I will go into more detail as I have those tests along what they are for and the results. It is frustrating to have to wait for information, I have gone from a PIC line in my arm to a port in my chest wall where they can get blood with ease and where my chemotherapy is administered. It is an area with easy access for injections and drawing blood..

I am on a new for me but older chemotherapy drug, Gemcitabine Hydrochloride Solution also called Gemzar. I am much more sensitive to the side effects of this drug; weak, tired, breathing problems, chest pain, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, pain, swelling, numbness in the hands and feet, stomach pain, constipation (oh yeah) loss of appetite, diarrhea and hair loss. Lucky me! I've got it all going on.

I will try to answer any questions you may have through blog responses. I feel this is just a bump in the road and with your prayers and support God will stand here with us as we go through the ups and downs together. Please continue to pray for me. I have prayed for all of you, if not by name than through my prayers for all the many angels that lift me in thought and payer and remind me of God's promises and His calling my name. It is all for the glorification of God, and while I don't understand it all and how it works. It is through Faith that I Trust God's promises to me and to all of us.

I love you all. We will have a lot more laughter, maybe a few tears and we are doing this together because, IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TOGETHER. I hope you've had a wonderful summer. Sheryl

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rainy day vrs Sunshine

Good day to all of YOU!
It's raining outside, I've got a fire in the fireplace.  I love days like this as long as they come around once every six months.  This is the kind of day that inspires me to get on my blog since I've been remiss about staying in contact with you.  I apologize....again.  It's also Friday, so TGIF to you as well.  So many ups and downs since I've been in touch with you.

Oh my, I just had an interruption.  My home health nurse, Ruth (that sounds so geriatric) has just arrived. (sounding geriatric is not Ruth, rather the idea of a home health nurse.  Anyway I will share with you a typical (typical????) visit.  Ruth comes to visit once a week.  She changes out the tubing and dressing on my PIC LINE (this tubing starts in my right forearm and goes beneath the skin to my heart where it dumps the medications. The PIC LINE also allows for drawing blood for testing.  I'm not a good vein person (veins are too small).  I was told that my veins "hide from me" when they see the needle coming.  Oh come on, I'm 50, I don't have veins "hiding" from me.  If anything my veins have sunken below the wrinkles and fat.  Don't give me that "hiding story".  Okay, I'm getting tedious and rambling.  Anyway Ruth makes sure everything is running as it should be and cleans up the sites of any concerns.

So, I'm doing great.  All of my tests are positive (in a good sense).  My tumor markers via blood work are decreasing which is wonderful.  Truly your good wishes and prayers are getting to God's ears.  It is truly a miracle.  And, I thank you for your caring and loving thoughts along with your prayers, gifts and cards.  I haven't gotten through all the notes you've sent.  I'm getting to a few of them each day.  I deeply savor all the sentiments.  I am taking the time to look up referenced scriptures.  It's a blessing.  I love it.  Thank you.

My rainy day has turned to sunshine, everything green is glistening.  I can see myself riding down the highway in a fancy, bright, stylish convertible, my hair blowing in the wind.  Then I realize I don't have a convertible and I don't have hair.  It doesn't hurt to imagine....

Thank you again, for all you do and all of your caring thoughts and prayers.
God bless you and yours.
Thank you.
Love you
Sheryl (imagining)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Free at Last!!!!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!! Sheryl's New Year is off to a good start.  Over the past week she saw several improvements.  I stayed with her throughout the week, while Todd and the boys took a vacation in Mammoth, so I've witnessed these changes first hand.  Doctors visits reported good news throughout the week.  Her pain management is under control and her scans (comparing the cancer to October scans) show the cancer is stable (i.e. no better, no worse, which is very good - it means the chemo is preventing the cancer growth!).  They also show her broken bones are continuing to heal!  (Thank you, again, to Zometa!)  Additionally, Sheryl 1) ended her treatments of antibiotics, eliminating one infusion medication; 2) switched medication for pain management, eliminating the second infusion medication; and, 3) as a result of these changes, ended her need for Home Health Care!!!!!!!  So, when I say "Free at Last!!!" now you may understand why!  Sheryl is free of tubes, infusion pumps and the need to be bound by Home Health Care visits.  She has continually demonstrated improvement in physical strength and is the "best she's looked in weeks" according to two doctors we saw this week.  The one disruption she's facing now, which is why I'm posting this blog instead of her, is that she's been inflicted with the 24 hour stomach bug overnight.  We expect this to improve throughout the next day or so - from this blog post to God's ears!!!  Thank you for all of the prayers you all sent to Sheryl. They were nicely boxed and presented to Sheryl which she proclaimed "the best Christmas gift ever!"  ALL OF OUR PRAYERS ARE WORKING SO KEEP THEM COMING!!!!!  Sheryl continues to be grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.  Thank you for all you are doing and continue to do to support the Duncan family.  Your generosity and support is amazing!  With endless love and gratitude, Deb (on behalf of Sheryl and the Duncan Family).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thank you for your patience in awaiting this blog update.  Masterpieces always take time. That, of course, is why I am not healed yet.  I resumed Chemo treatments on December 3rd with doses of Zometa and Avastin.  Sounds like my great-aunt and uncles' names.  At that time, Hospice Care ended and Home Health Care began.  

My pain levels increased the following weekend, causing me to be admitted to the hospital again on Sunday, December 7th.  During my stay, the doctors ran CT scans and other tests. They discovered that my scans were stable from those taken in October, indicating that the cancer had not spread.  Additionally, there are signs that the broken bones are beginning to heal -thank you Zometa!  A new Chemo drug was given on Wednesday called Abaraxane, which is in the Taxol family of drugs.  It will have an impact on my blood counts and will cause me to lose my hair again.  Xeloda also resumed.  I developed a topical infection in the epidural catheter port, so it has been removed.  I am on a two week course of Oxacillin to prevent further infection.  As you can see, I am highly susceptible to infection right now, so please understand. I returned home on Friday night and am now under Home Health Care again. It feels good to be sleeping in my own bed once again! 

Thank you all for your loving prayers and your continued support.  I love you all.  
XOXO - Sheryl

Monday, November 24, 2008


Good evening ladies and gents.  Short one again tonight.  I'm waiting for a night nurse (who by the way if they are sending night nurses, they can start to resemble cabana boys any time now)  My pain pump is shouting "high pressure" in my ears, both ears, same time, same frequency, same annoying dear little pitches.
So quick on to some answered prayers and thoughts and energy..........There appears to be NO CANCER in my lungs!   There are some little nodules in clusters around the lung that do have cancer but is not in the lung tissue.  Good news came over the weekend.  I'm feeling energized, slightly but for me it's a dream to get to this state again.  I'm still getting organized and and need plenty of heavy duty naps (2 a day at 2 hours apiece )  You may be  weeping, happy or disgusted with me.  It is so  wonderful. (Okay....I'm starting to tap my toes and this isn't any boot scoot'n boogie.)

As an aside, Mammoth is up for rent this winter season.  Don't know details, you may call Todd, 858-775-9396 on his cell to get more answers.

More to come but I have to go put my head under a pillow with my ear plugs in.

Love you and miss you.
Happy Thanks giving Love and prayers coming your way.  Take an extra moment around the table and share one of two things (or more) that you are thankful for....AND MEAN IT!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Home Again

Sweet Dreams Tonight,

I'm sleeping in my own bed tonight at home.  It's truly wonderful.  I have a team of doctors coming by tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.  I will need the morning to prep for them.  I look forward to catching up over the weekend.

We will have to discuss my dilemma soon.  Should I use Dr. Scholl's brown shoe polish on my head or have a colorist come in.  I will share the details next time and why I will need some coloring.

Dr. Spock  to Elf Ears,
Pleasant dreams.
Love and God's blessings...........