Wednesday, April 30, 2008

pickles

Oh my gosh, I just ate half a jar of Dill Pickle Spears. I bought them this weekend to go with sloppy joes that I haven't made yet, but I really wanted to eat them. So, I had four. I made myself stop so I didn't get sick, but really I think I could have eaten the whole jar. I know its weird, but that is why I wanted to share.

Ok, so I know this steroid is helpful. But, I cant go to sleep. I want to sleep and I need to sleep, but I cant I mean really.

So, I'm reading this book that is on loan from the Hodgkiss'. It is a journal story of Meg Brown, a girl who was a Basketball player at UT (that's THE University of Texas for those of you around here who may be confused!) and found out, while her mom was going through treatment for Breast Cancer, that she had Non- Hodgkins Lymphoma. A much harder treatment process than I will have to face, but it is so interesting. I love how honest she is. I haven't gotten to the part yet where I find out if she sat in her bed at night wanting to sleep and not being able to.

I'll be super honest. I'm fighting the urge to go down stairs and get that jar of pickles and eat the rest. That would not be good, but I can just taste them.

y'all come eat

Last night I had so much fun. Kirt, Justin and I cooked dinner and watched American Idol. Justin just got a new book Y'all Come Eat. It is a new cookbook by Jaime and Bobby Deen (aka Paula's boys). It is a great cookbook and has just moved up in my list of "soon to gets". Plus who doesn't love a book full of pictures of those boys. I'm hoping my listing it here increases sales of the book so much that Bobby Deen thinks I need to take the empty seat next to him at the dinner table. Can you imagine this loud mouth in the mix of all that?

No really, we made Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Cheddar Cheese Sauce and Potatoes and Green Beans. It was so yummy.




Then we watched American Idol. I'm so mad that Jason Castro is still on there and if he is not kicked off tonight I will threaten to help the decrease in viewers this season by adding to the herd. They are foolish. Bring back Carly!!!

Today, I can tell my counts are dropping a little. I was really tired this afternoon and right now it is 6:00 and I'm in bed. No more for me today. I'm worn out.
I did link the cookbook off the Food Network website if you click on the title of this blog. Enjoy!

brag

Well, I have felt SO good the last two days. I went in late today. I woke up and just knew I needed more sleep if I was going to make it through. Sleep is such a healing medicine! It helped tremendously. Honestly, I really felt like myself today. And when I said something stupid, I had "chemo brain" to blame it on. I am so fortunate.

I will admit, this mornings chapel was super moving. It started off with over 90 student athletes marching out on stage. Our Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving teams made it to Nationals, our Men's Basketball team were Co-Conference Champions and made the schools first appearance at the NCAA tournament and beat the host team in the first round, our Nationally ranked Men's tennis team just competed in the Conference Championship and our Men's baseball team will play in the opening game of the conference tournament this coming weekend. If you know me, you know my heart belongs to the Tigers and it was really overwhelming to realize how God has blessed our athletic program this Spring and to be so proud of so many students. Then, one of the girls I recruited has headed up a fundraising effort that our President challenged our student body with. At the first chapel of the semester, he challenged our students to raise $10,000 over the course of the semester to build wells for women and orphan children in a village of Zimbabwe. Well, as our students do so well, they exceeded the challenge in the last week and this morning it was announced that over $13,000 has been raised. What an amazing thing. Some our students and a local church will be able to take this money on a trip this summer to that village in Zimbabwe and help purchase a drill that will be able to drill wells for many months to come. Moments like that are overwhelming when you realize your job is to recruit students to come to a place that will not only change their lives, but use them to make a difference in the lives of people across the globe from them.

The last two nights I have not been able to sleep and it looks like since it is 12:16 right now, that this may be another. It might be the steroid, but on Sunday night, I had a conversation with the Lord that went something like this: "Ok, Lord I know you are keeping me awake for some reason (I had laid here for 2 hours). So, since that probably means that we have something to talk about, can we get to it...I'm really tired. (Leave it to me to get sassy with the Lord...but hey, He created me, He knows what He is dealing with)" Honestly, I'm not really sure why I couldn't sleep, but I took advantage of the moments to just praise Him. I thanked him for the opportunity of this experience, for the ways He is already using me and that He will receive the glory, for my amazing friends and the way He has surrounded me with very specific people, for allowing me to not be sick in ways that would be so common, for giving me great parents who are able to come see me and take care of me, and so many more things. Then, I just took a few moments and ran praise songs through my head. Now, I will admit there was a selfish part of me that went to the praise song part. I remember as a girl, not being able to sleep and getting frustrated and telling my dad and he would say (get ready this will make you laugh out loud, especially if you know my dad and his heart for worship), "that is Satan trying to keep you awake, so either pray, or sing praises to Jesus. Satan doesn't like that and he will leave you alone."

What a great promise to grow up knowing. So, that's what I did. One of the songs that came to my mind on Sunday night was Be Thou My Vision. I was already tearing up when I saw the stream of students piling on stage this morning (I'm pretty weepy), then Katelyn gave the report about the Zimbabwe trip and I leaned over to one of my co-workers who was with me and said I don't think I'm going to be able to make it through the rest of this. And I was right. The piano starts playing and the first verse of Be Thou My Vision pops up on the screen. No way! I was pumped. I couldn't remember all the words in my sleep, but how amazing, with the Ouachita family to sing it. The second song we sang was With All My Heart. Again, another promise of God's amazing love and intervention in our lives. I still don't know how people go through life suspecting that chance puts things together and that there is not a plan. Again, I'm a fan of coincidence and will take advantage of it, but I know for a fact that it alone cannot be the reason for believing in chance.


Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.


Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.


Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

t-shirt

Some of you have asked, so I've asked as well. You can buy one of the team Relay shirts:

They are $15 and you can order one by emailing me at pittmank@obu.edu with your t-shirt size. I will also need you to mail a check to:

Keisha Pittman
410 Ouachita St.
OBU Box 3776
Arkadelphia, AR 71998

We will take orders for a couple weeks and then get them, but I will need money to be able to place the order. (If you are in Dallas, mom and dad are coming often, so I can send them back with them) All proceeds will go to Relay for Life. Thanks for even thinking to ask, I am honored!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

end of the bench

One of my friends and I guess co-workers (it seems like such an impersonal word for the people I "work" with at Ouachita) writes an article in the Daily Siftings Herald, our local paper. Below is the article from this week:

The End of the Bench
Chris Babb
April 24, 2008

Last year, my wife and I got involved in the Clark County Relay for Life event as co-chairs along with another couple for our team. Part of our interest on our particular team was because one of our co-workers was diagnosed with cancer a few months before the fundraising efforts for Relay began and we wanted to honor him.

We enjoyed the event and hope that we honored Joe along the way.

This year is another reminder of why events like this are necessary each year. Yet again, another co-worker has been diagnosed with cancer, this time Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The time from discovery to diagnosis to treatment has been exactly one month now and it has again been a reminder that cancer can strike a totally unsuspecting person in the blink of an eye. This time last year our friend was staying out all night with us at Relay. This morning, she just had her second round of chemo.

Constant attention needs to be given to efforts like the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life so the need for money for research will always be at the top of people’s minds when deciding what medical causes to support financially.

This year, it’s a little bit closer to home because my friend is in her mid-20s, far too young to have to deal with such things.

To see her remain her always vibrant self, cracking jokes (sometimes at her own expense) and continuing on with life as usual is a tremendous encouragement and we only hope that we can be just as encouraging to her.

As the time for Relay for Life gets closer, I realize that we are not alone. Many groups form teams and participate in Relay because there is a personal touch. A friend or family member has been affected and this is one way to honor that person and bring attention to a great cause.

If you haven’t been to the opening ceremonies and seen the survivor’s lap to kick the all-night event off, it’s well worth it.

Tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. at HSU’s Carpenter-Haygood Stadium, the participants in Clark County Relay for Life invite you to come celebrate life with those who have conquered cancer and those who are battling right now. In case of rain the festivities will take place inside the Duke Wells Center.

This group, which now includes a close friend, is proof that cancer no longer has to signal the end of the race– today, it can be just a big pitt stop.

We love KP

CB, you Rock and I am so honored to have a friend like you!!!

weekend

well, I made it through chemo weekend 2. I will admit today has been hard. My best friend Heather left this afternoon. I made the mistake of watching the "I do's and I don'ts" marathon on Lifetime. That just made me lonely. I've gotten where I like being around people, but I feel bad because I just want to lay on the couch or in the bed. Oh well. That just comes with the territory. This afternoon at the peak of my loneliness, my phone rang out of the blue and it was one of my friends calling to check on me. I thought he had my apartment bugged. I was sitting here thinking man I wish there was someone here and literally within seconds he called. He will never know how much that meant.

This has been an internally emotional weekend. I jumped through some big mental hurdles and I'm glad to have gotten through them. Everyday is a new set of emotions and a chance to handle them in the most appropriate way. I ask for God's strength and He has been so gracious.

I finally got some Spaghetti. Heather made it last night and it was so good. Better than I expected it could be. I even had leftovers today for lunch. Between the bar-b-que for lunch on Friday, Goulash for dinner on Friday, and Spaghetti yesterday and today, I've had my Citric Acid intake for a month. Oh well. Now, I'm enjoying a Frosty from Wendy's. I figured I might as well give into my cravings while I actually want something to eat.

It is still so surreal that this journey has been laid in front of me. I think back to March 25 and the innocent drive I made with two of co-workers to Southhaven, MS and now 5 weeks later those two along with the rest of my staff are standing in the gap for the days I'm too tired to be at work. God truly has a sense of humor. Not that allowing me this process reveals it, but I will assure you that He has surrounded me by the right people at the right time. How people live life without believing in Him is crazy to me. I've always had a very simple type of faith. It is hard for me to think that people could not see "coincidence" as an actual plan. He is in control, there is no doubt about that!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Relay for Life

Clark County Relay for Life was last night. I cannot describe to you how much fun I had. I truly have the most amazing friends. It rained last night, and they knew that was going to happen, so they moved the event inside the gym at Henderson. But, they surprised me and our team shirts for this year looked like this:

I mean really, how lucky can a girl get that her friends have shirts made like this and then wear them all night. What an awesome surprise. At 6:00, the event kicked off with a Survivors lap. It was a very weird moment to be out there. Several of the ladies around me could not believe that I am going through chemo right now. I really am so lucky. But, it was great to walk with some people that I know and all the people at the campsites, came out and clapped for us as we walked by. A group that I never thought I would find myself in, but it was a very supportive place to be at that moment. It was great to know that, that many people right here in my town have been through this journey. We stayed for a little bit after that lap and then I went home, had dinner (mom made goulash...I love that stuff) and then took a two hour nap.

I left out the part where Heather, my bestest friend came to see me. She got here around 4:00 in order to go with us to Relay. I am so glad that she is here. I know it may be a boring weekend, but this is her first trip to the Delph and maybe this was a fun way to see how awesome this community is.

Around 11, we went back up to the gym. I wanted to get a couple laps in and at Midnight, I had signed Justin up to represent us in the Relay Idol Contest. I am his official booking agent now, so if you need entertainment, let me know. He was awesome and while he lost a singing contest to a lady who did sign language, he is such a sport and represented us so well. Enjoy the pictures below:

(Melissa Collier, a student at Ouachita that I walked the Survivors lap with)

(The Tiger opened the lap)

(Joe Franz, the gentleman behind me, was in the middle of treatments at the event last year. He was who we honored last year. What a difference a year can make. I cant wait to be finished with treatments next year and be that strong.)



(The Ouachita Tiger)
(A new thing they added this year was the wagon lap. Chris and Jason were in charge)
(The theme this year was Mardi Gras...can you guess who this is?)
Avery and Mary Lynn joined in the excitement.
The caterpillar crawl. They really needed knee pads.
Work it!
Heather, Mom and I making our laps. Dad was taking pictures and eating sno cones!

Heather S and Lisa G
Kody, Mom, Justin, Me and Heather...
hey, it was approaching midnight..everything gets funnier at that point
Mom and dad with our team baton
The star
Me and Kirtie
Kody, me and Justin..waiting for Round 2 results
Lisa G. Rocks
Get It!
Hold Me, Thrill Me
Whitney, Kirt, Justin, and Me
Me and Heather...she is amazing
Mom and Dad
The Babb's and The Jones'
They are amazing. I loved my shirt and was so honored that you chose me.

This event has always been special to me and supporting The American Cancer Society was something I did because of the people I have known who have been affected by this disease. My mom's mom, my dad's dad, two of his brothers, and several friends have experienced the breathtaking news that Cancer can bring, but each one of them paved the way for me and handled it with such grace. That manner has given me the confidence I am drawing on to fight and beat this battle. God has blessed me with the opportunity to go through this and while I am already seeing Him at work, I am continually amazed and the promise of the future.
If you are not involved, find a way to get involved with your local community. Relay for Life is such an honorable way to honor those who are struggling with this disease and who are warriors, survivors of this battle. With each step on the survivors lap came a hope for the future where others will not have to make this same trek.

chemo day 2


Chemo Day 2 went well. Thanks Terri King for taking me up to Little Rock. This time was so much better because I knew what to expect. And, the PORT was AWESOME. I have a cream that I put on it before I leave Arkadelphia that makes is numb so when I get there, I don't feel the prick. I put it on there and cover it up with Press and Seal Glad wrap. It was kinda weird, but hey, you can buy that at Wal-mart (the world's largest retailer). So, when I got there all they have to do instead of getting an IV in my hand, is they push an IV into the Port. That way, my hands are free and they are able to take my blood for lab work and give me chemo that way. So, after I get my lab work, I went over and sat in the big room. The nurses were all funny and gave me a hard time about graduating up to the main room. Of course I picked the chair by the front so I could see all the coming and going. But, it really was so much easier.

A really nice lady sat across from me. Toward the end, I had a chance to visit with her. I figured I might as well start making friends with these people that I will be in here with. She has a very aggressive form of Breast Cancer, so be praying for her as well. She has a much harder treatment process than I do. But, she was very strong and it was good to be able to talk to someone while I was in there.

I think the nurses are beginning to figure me out. One asked if I could have some friends come warn them about me. One of the reasons I sat in the area I was in was because it was on channel 7 (ABC) and I knew that The View would come on at 10. So, it came on and I was watching a very lively discussion. My parents called (they were on their way up from Dallas and just checking in), and Tim, one of the nurses went over and changed it to the People's Court. I will be the first to admit that I don't like that show. I have enough drama in my life to concern myself with the dumb stuff other people get themselves mixed up with. So, I looked at him and said, "hey, I was watching that". I could see in his eyes, a moment of confusion. What I didn't know was that a woman who had come in and sat down in my section had asked him to change the station. Once I realized that was what had happened, I apologized and said to leave it. I had activities that I was working on and if that would help make that day happier, then I was fine with that. It was funny though. Leave it to me to speak out. So, the joke of the day became me giving directions. The nurse there are really fun and very nice.

This time went so much quicker. They put your medicine on an IV and each time a bag is empty, it beeps and they come over and change to the next one. Being out in the main room, they were able to hear my machine quicker. The first medicine takes about 90 minutes, then they do a saline wash between each one. Another takes 20 minutes, another 30, I get a steroid and then they push the last medicine through. It really was a quick process and I was able to keep myself busy so the time passed so quickly.


After chemo, we went across the street and ate a McBrides. It is a really neat sandwich shop in the Baptist Rehab building. If you are up here and need a place to eat, it is very yummy. They had brownies that dad really liked. I think we have established and addiction and I can assure you that he will have at least one everytime we are there. I had an appointment with the surgeon who did my port to make sure the incision looked ok and if I had any questions. They were great to be able to work out that appointment so I didn't have to come back up next week. I really liked Dr. Tucker. He did a great job with the surgery and has been great to work with. I don't have to see him again until it is time to take the port out. I did ask him to explain what it is like so I could tell you better. The way I understand it is that it is about the size of a half-dollar and metal. In the middle of it is a polymer that can be stuck a thousand times and reseal. That is why the port was such a great invention. People can have these for years and they reseal and that way can be restuck. If it were to not seal back up, you would have to have it taken out and redone. I don't know if that helps or not, but I have included a picture so you can see it. It is all under the skin.

Sleeping with it has gotten better. While I cannot sleep on my left side, I can finally sleep on my right side and that has made things so much better. I am a side sleeper and laying on my back all night long was keeping me from sleeping very well and made my back hurt. So, it is great to be able to sleep through the night.

After chemo we ran some errands in LR and then came on back to Arkadelphia. Mom and I cooked dinner and we watched some TV. Grey's is Back!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hat Party

Oh my gosh, I work with the most amazing people. Avery and the staff in my office pulled of a big surprise today. They had a Hat and Scarf party for me. And, they invited everyone at Ouachita. How amazing. I really cant say much. It was so overwhelming. I'm not used to being the center of gift giving. I more like to give gifts. It is amazing how supportive people have been. I got the most beautiful scarfs and cutest hats. As I said to Lisa, I hope I loose my hair or I'm going to be embarrassed that I got all this cute stuff. We decided worst case scenario...I'll pay if forward. Enjoy the pics:













Oh how I am blessed.