Monday, May 31, 2010

Starting Chemo Again

This is the Mamma again!
Good News, Surprising News... and I am adjusting.
My liver counts are still high (400) and should be at 80.

They cannot risk the cancer cells multiplying and so they are starting the chemo tomorrow.
They will give me a lower dose to try to compensate for the liver levels...
For those of you praying... the request would be for my liver to take and process the chemo doses, without creating more halucinagetics or other side effects!

They are also doing a Spinal Lumbar tapp tomorrow morning. I will have 4 appts. this week with two kinds of chemo, (one which has a side effect of nausea) and 4 appts. next week.

Thank you for remembering us! We are blessed!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


First of all, thank you so much to those of you who have provided us with delicious meals over the last few weeks-some of you more than once. It has been such a blessing!!

We have begun to settle into more of a routine, especially as Mom has more home days than hospital days. The need to coordinate meals has diminished so Ericka Taylor will no longer be organizing a meal schedule for us. If you would like to bring a meal by you can call us at the house and let us know what day you were thinking.

We have appreciated each of you as you have come along side us in your own way, whether that has meant bringing a meal, driving Mom to the hospital, visiting with us or sending encouraging notes, and especially praying. Each of you are an invaluable part of our journey. Thank you!


StarBucks Blessing!

Hello Friends and Family
From the Leukemia Mamma!

This is the Photo to go with the posting about the Starbucks Fundraiser! A very blurry cellphone photo of Angela and her Starbucks Co-worker, Leah.... Before they had their hair cut off for the "wig". I do not have good "after" shots yet, but will send when I do. I read my last posting and have decided I am writing like I talk right now.... Nonstop with a fuzzy brain dictating what comes out! Sorry for the endurance test!

My Liver counts are still high and toxic. So, it is a waiting game to begin the chemo again. I did get a long weekend off though! Praise God! 3 days home without going to VGH! So good to be in church today for the servcie! I am feeling much better just a little shaky and still tire easily. But my heart is rich and full of such blessing!

Thank you again to EACH one reading, praying and writing notes! Hmmmm... I cannot even tell you how powerful you have been to our hearts! What a Great Blessing YOU are!

Lorna with Love!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No Hair

My Rob Rande Cyndy Lavoii and Murray Hay, all taking off their hair for me!! But please do not take this as a suggestion for you to do the same!! But for those of you who have....
I cannot help but weep!
Thank you!

You prayed that "God would be with me, wherever my body takes me". Yes, where my body takes me.... on the weekend that ended up being an "out of body experience' as my body produced toxins like LSD!! It felt like my brain was on top of a mountain and my body was 55 miles away down in the valley! I had this thick layer of insulation between what was happening and what a "felt". Very Odd, each day it is better.

But I wanted to tell you about an exciting event. This last Tuesday Evening, Angela and her co-worker at Starbucks; Leah had a fund raiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. They both had their hair cut off into pony tails with the intent of making a natural hair wig for Angela's Mom. These girls both so blessed my heart.
What a gift! And about 20 plus Starbucks Employee's all came out to have a bowling game, watch the hair cuts in process and to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society. Starbucks matched what they gave and it is a tidy sum! THANK YOU to each one who gave..... (you will find a big box of Purdy's Chocolates at Clayton Crossing Starbucks, for you today)! What a blessing each one is!

AND I was able to go and be there.
Thanks to finding out that if I keep horizontal, I will not be sick!

I found 0ut at Out Patient on Tuesday with Heather that if I stay laying down the nausea and headaches will go away. Also taking caffeine will help the headaches that have now come...
and, as I am not a coffee drinker or black tea drinker... that means "Chocolate".... So it is now part of my "medication" to eat a square of dark chocolate before I travel!! How funny!
But they are concerned as my liver counts have jumped up even higher from Sunday to Tuesday.
So, no more little blue pill to help me sleep. They have said I can take the little white pill that you put under your tongue... Can I remember the name?? Amy can. She is 'dispensing all my meds'. She really is a great nurse and has been changing the dressings for my Hickman line and being a real Gift from God. How grateful I am to have her home... but yesterday she was getting a little weary with all that Mom needed. Some of you may not receive what my heart would like to give you.... be patient with us! You are loved.

Lorna... the Leukemia Mamma!
Photos to come!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Some days it seems like there's just nothing to write about; it's all we can do to keep up with the "new normal". Right now we are waiting until Mom starts her next round of chemotherapy, but there are some changes to let you know about.

I think I mentioned earlier that we are waiting to start chemo until Mom's liver has recovered from the last bout of chemo. Her counts were improving and coming back to normal ranges and the doctors, after seeing the results from Mom's bone marrow biopsy, were able to decide what course of treatment they would follow. On Friday Mom went in for her spinal tap, or lumbar puncture, called so because they insert the needle between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae-below the point at which the spinal cord stops so there is minimal risk of injury. They removed some spinal fluid for analysis and replaced it with some chemotherapy just in case there are free roaming cancer cells in her spinal column. I think Mom wrote about the procedure. Everything went really well.

Mom's WBC counts have been really high so Mom went to church yesterday morning. She has really missed worship and being at church since she's been sick. It was a very full morning, with wonderful worship and Gretchen dancing during the service. Mom began to get a headache and feel nauseated so she left right after church. At VGH that afternoon for her routine blood work and fluids she found out that her liver counts have gone back up showing high toxicity, likely because of the chemo she received in her spinal column on Friday.

Today Mom is again feeling headachy and nauseated and has thrown up several times. I am not sure if this is because of the chemo she received in her spinal column on Friday or because she has been doing too much and her body is reacting to the over stimulation. Please pray that Mom will begin to feel better. There is a delicate balance between fluids and electrolytes in your body and it is very important for Mom to maintain that balance, but it gets difficult to do that when you are losing fluids by throwing up!

Thank you so much for the support we have received from you, it means a lot to us to know that you are carrying us in your prayers.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Here is my Jessica who also shaved her hair off for her Mamma... with my dear friend Lynn! They are in the Out Patient room with me!

The beautiful photos in the background are taken by a couple of photographers. One, from BC and one from Ontario. They are part of the renovation of the "Krall Center" that was done a few years back after some huge fundraising done by Diana Krall, after her Mother had been to the "Bone Marrow Transfer Out Patient Unit" when her Mother had Leukemia.

So every room has beautiful photos in them. It is so lovely to have such inspiration to look at each day! (Especially while waiting for platelettes or blood to arrive! )

The nurse I had yesterday; ( Robert, or "Nurse Bob")
who has a website giving movie reveiws and had some great recommendations of beautiful movies to watch, from a photographers view point! ( I had shown him some of my award winning images, which he loved!)
"Piercing Reviews of Movies You've Never Even Heard of!"
Said that they should have named "The Krall Centre" ~ "The Krall Space" but it didn't go over with the rest of the Administration! He was really quite delightful and entertaining... which was such a good thing.... as Heather and I waited from 8:30 when we got there (with IV drip and meds given until 10:30 or so) till 1:30 before they did the Spinal Lumbar Tapp!!! I guess the Doctor who was to give me the procedure got sick and had to be replaced and the chemo that they inject into my spine when they take the fluid out to check for the cancer count.... did not arrive either till about 12:30! So, we had a 7 or so hour day, listening to 'Nurse Bob' tell us about 5 different movies that we would enjoy artistically!

Oh, and the Spinal Lumbar Tapp, was absolutely fine... a little poke when they first put the freezing in, and that was it, just to lie really still in a curled up position with Heather speaking the verses of Psalm 23 into my ear as I stayed still and "relaxed". And the beauty of "green pastures and still waters" filling my thoughts! God is so good! And I appreciate all of your prayers!! What a delight to be a child of the King!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here is Richard Mathews... with little Ava Lynn Bailey.
Thank you Richard for "taking off your hair" for me!!

I am so blessed by the many who have shown such care for me!!

Thank you, SO much, Lorna

It has been quite the journey so far... and God just keeps blessing and blessing... through so many of you... and by the richness of His vast presence! It is such a joy to be a child of the King!
Spinal Lumbar Tapp This morning!! 8:30!
Heather is taking me in!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Hair Style!!

Hello Dear Friends.
Monday was the first time I was in one of the rooms with chairs... About 4 to a room.
Angela had taken me to the Cancer Societies "Wig Lending Library" before my appointment! (what fun to try different styles!)
Then my Angela got me up to Out Patient.
The doctor who had seen me last week, walked into the room looked around and walked out, saying "wrong room". 10 minutes later he came in the room pointing to me and saying in his lovely Taiwonese accent, " you have a wig!!" He had not recognized me!!
There were two friends in the room with us. We had a lovely visit with them. The one Gal, had been through her cancer journey 7 years ago, and her friend had walked it with her. Now, the friend has been walking a 3 year journey with cancer, and her friend is walking it with her.

Monday, May 17, 2010

wigs and things

Blood work today showed Mom's liver counts dropping again! It's nice to have good news - one less thing to worry about!

Mom has been very tired and shaky. Her fingers have been tingly because of the Vincristine, one of her chemo drugs. The doctor says she likely has nerve damage in her hands which will get better, but it will take time. It is frustrating for Mom not to have full use of her hands. Things like writing notes or calligraphy are difficult with tingly fingers! Please pray that the recovery from this side effect would be quick. Pray also for continued strength and encouragement as Mom deals with the every day strain of being sick and not being able to do all that she is normally able.

Mom has had a quiet day today. She was able to sleep in, her appointment at the hospital wasn't until 2:30 this afternoon. Angela picked Mom up and brought her downtown early so they could stop at the Canadian Cancer Society office. They have a wig room full of wigs that people who have lost their hair because of chemotherapy are able to sign out. Mom and Angela picked out a wig for Mom to use for the next little while! Hopefully we'll be able to get a picture of Mom's new hairstyle up soon so everyone can see it.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

liver update

I just have a couple quick updates for you today.

Mom has been going into the hospital every day for the last few days so that the medical team can keep close tabs on her liver. Today's blood work came back showing the liver counts coming down out of the toxic ranges. Good news!

We also learned today that we should have the results from Mom's bone marrow biopsy by Friday this week. From there the doctors will decide what the protocol will be for the next six months of treatment.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.


Friday, May 14, 2010

There is a bit to update you on, but sometimes it's hard to sit down and write it all out.

First of all, the results from Mom's bone marrow biopsy were inconclusive. The bone marrow was hypo-cellular which means it did not contain enough cells for them to get an accurate reading of how the leukemia has responded to the chemo. One possible reason for this could be that the biopsy was done too early. Mom had another bone marrow biopsy done this morning which hopefully will give us clearer results. It is important that we have results soon as the rest of Mom's treatment hinges on how the cancer has responded to chemo thus far. They need the results to determine what the rest of Mom's chemotherapy will look like.

Secondly, Mom's liver is not holding up against all of the chemotherapy she has been receiving. This is partly to be expected, the doctors have been monitoring her liver very closely to make sure it's keeping up. Your liver filters all the toxins out of your body. Chemotherapy is basically high doses of toxins that have specific actions against the cancer cells with the intention to get rid of them. But while the chemotherapy is in the body the liver gets busy getting it out of the body. The problem is that there is a lot of chemotherapy and only so much liver, eventually the liver is not able to keep up with all the toxins being pumped into the body and it will begin to shut down. Mom's blood work on Monday showed that her liver was not doing good; she did not receive her chemotherapy that day, and the remaining treatments of L-asparaginase were terminated. Since then blood work results have continued to come back with poor liver readings. Today the doctor told Mom to stop all of her other medications. I am not sure that this is normal. Please pray that Mom's liver would begin to recover from this last dose of chemotherapy (since they still need to give her more chemo!)

Also, please continue to pray for Mom's strength. She is very tired and is beginning to feel the emotional drain of everything that is going on. This is a normal stage in the process of grieving losses in life and Mom is definitely experiencing loss! We have been so blessed by each of you who have reached out to us with notes of encouragement, meals and love. Your prayers have been like a life vest keeping us afloat in the sea of unknown. Thank you!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

In the day of trouble He will conceal me...

Hello Dear Ones.
Wonderful to have a complete day at home and rest.

"For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me." Psalm 27:5

Father, Thank YOU that You take me up and care for me... hide me, conceal me. You use many hands and forms to accomplish Your purposes. Thank You that You conceal what Kings and great Doctors can discover and put all of it to good use! You are Good!

No Bone Marrow Biopsy report. It may have been taken too soon to get accurate reports.
So, maybe another will need to be done next week. So, a small break from the chemo is helpful.

Thank you again for your care for us. We love you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

two treatments cancelled

Hello Dear Ones - this is the Mamma Speaking...

The team at the Bone Marrow Transfer Clinic have been carefully watching my liver stats to make sure they are not pushing it too hard. Yesterday, they canceled the chemo and for today. I go in again to make sure all is okay and get wed and fri off! I am so ready to be home those days.
I will have the other chemo on thur as scheduled.

We continue to be blessed by you! Thank you for your love and prayer!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother's Day has always been the one day of the year when Mom gets to choose what we are going to do and we go along without complaining. Historically that has meant going to a beautiful place like the beach or a park and letting Mom take pictures of us. I certainly never thought I'd be spending Mother's Day in the hospital, but that is just what we did this morning. We all went together as a family with Mom for her chemo treatment, which went smoothly. We were out of the hospital by 12:30, a mere 2 and a 1/2 hours after we arrived. Then Mom wanted to go out for lunch. Since she can't be in a public place she opted for the carhop at White Spot. A first time experience for most of us and a memorable one. We were there in our two-door car with us three girls in the back seat. Our tray came in side-ways through the front passenger window barely making it past the headrest. Then there was a slight issue with elbow-room, but we made it through the meal with all of our body-parts in place and no bruises!

I have the best Mom in the world! It is important that she felt loved and celebrated today. She is caring, courageous and strong. She has incredible artistic ability coupled with a deep faith and a passion to use her gifting to honor God. She has a huge heart that can not stop caring regardless of what is happening around her. But I think you all know that about my Mom; I think Mom's heart has a lot to do with why you're here reading this blog, caring for us and praying for us. I know Mom has touched so many people.

Mom's love has been the rock in my own life. Despite all the chaos that was going on at home as we were growing up and the turmoil in my own heart, I have always known that my Mom loves me. She expresses her love in very tangible ways, like lots of wonderful hugs and kisses. Her prayers also have carried me through. Whenever I would go to Mom with a problem she would always turn to her bible. If I was scared, it was Psalm 91:1-5 and I learned that God could carry me. When I was questioning life, Mom would turn to what is most likely her favorite book, Isaiah, and share some of God's promises with me. Promises that God had given her as she was praying for me and my sisters which she had claimed and then continued to pray over us. There is a legacy of faith that Mom is passing on to us and I am forever grateful for that.

If Mom has touched your life in some way that you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment here, or to send her an email or message via facebook.
The bible has some things to say about doing good works in secret, not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing. I don't mean for this to be an opportunity to glorify Mom, I think she would want the glory and honor to go to God, rather an opportunity to speak blessing and encouragement into Mom's life by affirming how she has used her gifts to bless you.

Thank you once again for walking with us.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

4 days to go

The countdown continues for Mom as she goes into the hospital every day. Only four more days and then we're hoping for a little break. Mom is very tired and discouraged by the length of the therapy. She found out this week that of all the treatments, hers is the longest at 6-7 months. She is able to keep up her positive attitude, Mom said "with all the good news we've been receiving (treatable leukemia, the 'normal' kind instead of the 'bad', etc.) there had to be something that wasn't positive." Please pray that Mom would be encouraged and have the strength she needs as she goes through this treatment. We walk in the promise that God will never bring us a trail that He will not also give us the strength to stand up under it. And we are grateful that you are walking with us. Thank you for your prayers, your notes of encouragement and the delicious meals that have been coming.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bone Marrow Biopsy Day

Today Mom had her second bone marrow biopsy.
If you weren't aware that this was happening, let me explain. The Doctors do a second bone marrow biopsy a few weeks after chemotherapy is started to see how the cancer is responding to the treatment. If it has gone into what they call 'remission' or less than 5% leukemia cells in the bone marrow, they will continue the plan of action they are taking. If it has not gone into 'remission', a number around 20% or 60% leukemia cells would be bad, they will switch to a more aggressive plan of attack.
Rob went with Mom to the hospital this morning and Mom called around 9:15 to say that the biopsy went really well. Mom's first bone marrow biopsy was difficult. They had to try five different times to get a sample of bone marrow. It sounds like it went much better this morning. I don't know that Mom will get the results today, but most likely by tomorrow. After we get the results we will be told what the next phases of Mom's treatment will be. How long each phase is and how much of a break she'll get between.

Please pray for good results! Either way though, we know that God is in control and He has a plan for Mom's life.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

hair, hospitals and hot meals

It's fun to get some alliteration in from time to time!

I must say that Mom certainly carries her new hairstyle well :)

I went in to the hospital with Mom today and it was a nice quiet morning. Mom had the routine blood work, once that came back they gave her the chemo and then the nurse taught me how to flush Mom's line. The lines on her Hichman Line will have to be flushed on a regular basis; when Mom is not going to the hospital every day that is something that I will be able to do from home.
It is nice to be able to go to the hospital with Mom, but I have also really appreciated those who have been taking turns to drive Mom in, it is such a huge blessing. I know that Mom enjoys the opportunity to visit with you as well.

There is one other thing I wanted to bring to you. So many of you have asked if you could help us out. One very tangible way to do so is by providing meals. It has been very helpful not to worry about preparing food with everything else going on. Our dear friend Ericka Taylor has been organizing meals to be delivered to the house. If you would like to prepare a meal for us, you can call Ericka at 604-882-5063 and she can put you into the rotation.

Thank you!


Moulting Sheep Dog Shorn

Thank you for walking this journey with us

Sheep dog Shorn

Hello Friends and Family
Lorna Speaking..... after two days of hair everywhere... all over my shoulders and on every seat, clothing article.... My limit was reached!

So, last night Rob and Jessica buzzed my hair off... Jessica buzzed hers off the night before too.
Such a gift my family is to me! So.... here are the photos....I certainly don't look the same and Joan, I am grateful for the scarf already given!

Love to each of you!
Wonderful meals! Taco's last night!
Rich words of encouragement. Know that we are so grateful to have you walk with us!
May God's rich blessings abound over each of you ~ in abundance. Must get ready to go in!! Lorna

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's starting to sink in now

It's been a rough few days around here, at least for me. I am beginning to realize what the next several months will look like and it really isn't easy. Remember when I said that I didn't want to be "one of us"? Now that I have a better understanding of what this club looks like, I like it even less. I think though, somehow, that it will be easier if I can accept this new and unwanted membership and allow myself to process what is happening.

Mom's been going in to VGH for treatment every day since Friday. Three days down, nine more to go. It is wearying for her to take the trip everyday, she is so tired when she gets home and usually lies down for a nap. It is hard for me to see Mom like this, and yet we have so much to be thankful for.
Mom is not in pain, nor is she nauseated. She has not been carsick once in all the trips she's taken with all of the amazing friends who have been escorting her (thank you!). If you know Mom at all, you know this is a miracle!
Despite all these things though, Mom is getting tired. She is weak right now and I think that is what is so hard for me. Mom has always been so strong, I didn't see it before, but these last few weeks have really shown me her strength.

I have a confession to make. We have been very clear about staying away if you at all suspect that you could be sick. Well, I think with everything that has been going on, all of our immune systems are starting to wear down. I have a sore throat so the doctor put me on antibiotics-because of Mom. Rob has a nasal drip and is taking antivirals-same reason. Jessica is also not feeling so good and will see the doctor tomorrow.
Today the team at VGH concluded that Mom now has a runny nose and some congestion, she has caught the bug. She is on strict instructions to monitor her temperature and come right in if she spikes a fever. Please pray that the antibiotics Mom is already taking will work against the germs that have "moved in" so she doesn't get terribly sick.

A bit of housekeeping.
Because Mom has been so weary, we are asking that there be no visitors for the next few weeks. Mom needs to rest as much as she can. She loves seeing you, her friends, and she would never want to say it, so we are drawing the line for her. It is very taxing on her to visit with people, I think partly because she cares so much! Please also refrain from calling as it is also draining for her to talk on the phone.
Mom has received so many cards through the mail in the last week and it is such an encouragement to her. If you would like to support Mom at this time, sending a short note (whether electronically or "snail" mail) would be the best way as she can then receive your words at a time when she has strength and is able to read them.

I really can not say enough how grateful we are to have you walking with us.

In deep appreciation,

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Glorify" comes to Lorna

I was given a great gift on thursday...
Three painter friends from a ministry painting group called "Glorify" came to visit me and set up their paints and easels and music and painted for me and prayed over me. What a rich gift. Beyond what I could have even asked for!!

Thank you Janie, Janice and Valentina. You have blessed me beyond measure! Psalm 104 "Being carried on the wings of the wind."

I have been carried, and God is so good.