Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I'm packing up tonight to head to Nashville at the crack of dawn, to see my cousin Tim marry his beloved Katelyn. All the Bakers will be there-- I can't wait. Except, it's going to be about 100 degrees. Alas.

I'm lucky to be able to go. For the past few weeks, it's been a wait-and-see thing. Waiting to see if I'd feel well enough to travel, to "party" in the heat, to be away from my bed. I've still got pain from the stent. It's not as horrible as it was last time, but it's there. I can't go a day without taking a Vicodin at some point. Great! Maybe I'll develop an addiction in addition to everything else. Who's counting? Also, if I eat too much, it really hurts. So I haven't been eating much, and I'm getting really thin, which is not my goal. It's a permanent stent. I wonder, will it be like this forever? Is this my new normal?

The goal of the stent is to open up my bile duct. Once it's open and my bilirubin levels fall, I can resume chemo. (Currently, we're set to resume chemo next Thursday). I've also been doing radiation the past 2 weeks to hit the problem from another angle.

Meanwhile, I'm aware that the rest of the cancer is growing while we deal with this liver problem. So that's something that simmers in my mind 24/7.

My state-of-mind lately is that I'm TIRED of all this. I have been through the ringer. I just want things to change for the better, even if that's only slightly better. Living pain-free would help. Or getting some sort of good news, any kind. My doctor has seemed more "serious" about all this than he used to seem. It's just a lot for a person to think about. I don't seem to have a coping strategy in place, so I'm flailing a bit. The radiation makes me very tired. My house is a mess, and today I took two long naps in the middle of the day!

Tonight, while folding laundry, I turned on the tv. "Sleepless in Seattle" was on. It was terrible timing. The little boy was having a nightmare and screaming out in the night for his mommy, who was now dead. The dad ran up to comfort him, and he asked the boy, "What songs did mommy used to sing to you when you were scared?" Then the boy asked the dad what happened to people after they were dead. I was frantically pushing buttons on the remote, trying to rid myself of this storyline. Sure, it's just a cheesy movie, but it was playing out one of the many scenes I've already imagined happening with my own kids. Cancer sucks. At least with a heart attack, you're gone in a few minutes. With cancer, you get years to ponder your mortality, years to imagine and consider all the horrendous ways your death will hurt the ones you love most. Actually, I suppose, you're lucky if you get years to do it. Actually, I don't know if that makes you lucky or unlucky.

So I'm writing you tonight in a bad mood. There you have it.

I know being with family will lift my spirits.


  1. xoxo Shel. Hope you get to enjoy Nashville -in an air-conditioned room without any pain. Big love to you. xoxo Heidi

  2. Aw, Shelly. I hope you have a lovely, pain-free time in Nashville with your wonderful family. Serious love is coming your way from a very rainy Vermont today. xoxoxo

  3. Shelly, You've had a rough few years and usually keep your spirits up, so it's okay to have some bad attitude days. There is going to be some bright news around the corner, there has to be!!!!! Everyone is always thinking of you and want the best for you. Have fun in Nashville, I miss you!! Mo

  4. Shelly, you amaze all of us, and if I were in your shoes, I don't think I could handle this with the grace and fortitude that you have shown through this ordeal. You are allowed to be tired and to have bad days. I hope that Nashville brings you some good feelings and some joy and peace. Your family loves you so! (So do your friends.) XOXO, Mere

  5. HI Shelly,

    I'm sorry to hear it's been rough lately. I hope you feel well enough to party with the family in Nashville. And that treatment can get back on track asap.

    xoxo, Moogs

  6. Hi Shelly,

    Sydney sent your blog a while back. Thought I'd check in since I don't see you too much anymore. I sure wish audrey and Betty were in school together! it'd be great to see more of you. I hope Nashville takes your mind off your pain and worry a bit. Thinking of you. Take good care. Krista

  7. Have a wonderful time in Nashville with the family. We are sending you lots of love.

    Todd, Shannon, Colin and Erin

  8. shel, so great to hear from you, even if the news is that you're weary. Knowing the Bakers, I have a feeling the time with family has buoyed you. Let us know how you're doing--it's always so so good to hear from you. much love, Jules

  9. It was great to see you in Nashville Shelly, I love you so much, and hope we were able to take your mind off things, even for a moment. Plus, hey, NOT 100 degrees! xoxo, Carrie

  10. I feel so lucky that you're willing to share this awful journey with us, both the good and the bad. Thank you.