Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hello and Merry Christmas to you all!
I hope you are all still marveling in the joy of the season and I hope you are still in your pajamas like we are. It is a balmy 58 degrees here in Kansas and the girls are itching to get on their new razors that Santa delivered.
Hal and I are happy just sitting and enjoying the time. We received the best present of all on Christmas Eve when I woke up and was feeling better. My balance has improved and I don't find myself puttering around as much. The girls and I made our cutout cookies and lots of good stuff for Christmas breakfast. We also had fun making lots of yummies for our special Christmas dinner at the Book house where we were blessed to meet six young nuns here form France. I cannot begin to tell you the impression they left in my heart with their stories of their travels of evangelizing all over the world. The kids especially enjoyed them so and Zoe was quick to get an interview of each of them. Thanks Mike and Sarah for such a special day!
Well our next step is to get my vocal cord fixed. Once again we are blessed by friends who can help us out quickly. Dr. Garnett who is the guru of voice just so happens to be a friend and has gotten me in so quickly. This Monday at 1:00 he will put me under for a short time and inject my cord with a solution that will temporarily get my voice back and improve my swallowing. This will last about three months and then it will be an ongoing process to get the cord back to normal but he is confident it will come back with time.
I have completed nine rounds of radiation and should be done by Jan 5th.
Thank you everyone who has driven me to and from the hospital countless times in not such great weather and for always offering up your time in any way. My love and whole heart goes out to Hal who has taken care of this family over and over again. I always knew he was a gift to me but these days he my lifeline, my rope and he is forever pulling me back in. Please continue to pray for us, for strength and healing and for you we will continue to pray as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nothing Beats Home

It is so awesome to be home and so comforting to be home with my family. This past week was certainly unexpected and stressful but at the same time gave us some peace and much needed calm to our lives. I am doing well but a bit shaky and uneasy on my feet. I am not sure if it because I have been in bed all week or if it is symptoms from the radiation. Regardless, if you see me lost I know you will all help me find my way back on the right path. I have completed five out of fifteen treatments and should be done by first week in January. I have started on another anti hormonal therapy drug which will be a wait and see if this works kind of thing. I wish I could be more specific with what the plan is but that's the beauty of life, we have no control nor plan, just the peace and trust in God to see us through. I hope you are letting Him see you through your tough days. Not just the trying to catch up with presents and Christmas cards, but the hard times,the crosses that we all bare and are sometimes just too busy to see. Take the time to listen to what you most need right now. I dare you to sit down and look out your window at the beautiful arrangement God has put before you today. Give your crosses to Him and begin a new day!
I can't tell you how overjoyed I was at being able to attend the girl's Christmas show last night.They were so excited and so beautiful and so darn grown up. It was also so nice to see alot of you and be enveloped with so much love and warmth. Thank you over again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Hi everyone -- Hal again....

Through the many caring hands God provided over the past days, Ann was well enough to come home tonight! The family was able to sit down together for dinner provided by friends and light the candles on the Advent wreath as we talked about the day's events. I commented that I thought our family had received an early Christmas gift -- Ann coming home. And, that it was about the best gift we could receive. It was then that Grace piped up and said "Except for Jesus being born"...Ann and I smiled and cherished the moment.

So, I type this message of praise and thanks to all who helped us thus far through this journey. There remains 11 additional radiation treatments, recuperation from being in the hospital and whatever else lies ahead but we know that God works all things to good if we cooperate in His plan with each other. It is really an amazing thing to watch God at work through each of you -- please know that you are remembered in our prayers each day.

This was likely my last ghost writing session as I expect Ann to take back over this blog tomorrow and beyond -- this is good news as her humor is much better than mine.

May God bless you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bring on the radiation

Greetings all -

This is Hal -- I'm filling in for Ann today on the blog...

Just the facts:
Ann received her first round of radiation today and the "zapping" takes about 10-15 minutes. A simple in and out. She is doing well after the treatment but does best when she lies flat in bed -- hence my duty on the blog.

The hope and plan is to have a few rounds of the radiation and see the symptoms abate -- a decision regarding discharge from the hospital will depend on progress on the symptoms (lots of pain and pressure in the neck/head/shoulder).

Ann and I continue to be blessed by so many wonderful people that take their time this holiday season to go out of their way to pray for Ann and contribute so many other acts of charity towards our family. Thank you so much from both of us.

A wonderful Advent:
We reflect what a great Advent Season that we are having -- we are able to enjoy this time where things have slowed down for us to reflect on preparing the way for Christmas. Isn't it amazing the way that God can get our attention? We hope that you too are able to simplify and spend time and create wonderful memories for you and yours this season as well.

So, take care and Prepare the Way...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can You Say Whirl Wind?

This week did not start out nor is ending the way I had ever planned but then again when do they ever? As I blog, I am sitting in a very comfy bed at the KU Med Center Hospital where I have been since Monday morning. It all started with some scary dizziness and severe pain from the top of my head down to my shoulder all on the left side. For those of you at church last Sunday you may have noticed my personal escort service helping me out to the hall. I became really lightheaded and a little out of it. Thanks to the Bechles and Petersons for acting so quickly and taking such great care of me. Again the entire Sacred Heart community astounds me with their love and devotion to me and my family. I could not have been in a better place to pass out.
Anyhow Hal took me to the ER where they ran some tests, scratched their heads and sent me home. Another episode happened when I was dropping the girls off at school the next morning. Thankfully it occurred after I left. It came on pretty quickly while driving and I pulled over to the nearest street where I quickly called Hal. This time it was really scary and much much worst. Hal was there within 5 minutes and brought along a blood pressure cuff. The docs in the ER told us if it happened again to get my pulse and BP. He couldn't get a reading the first two times but then came up with 80/60 and I was sweating profusely with no relief. We decided the best thing to do was to call the ambulance where they escorted me back to KU ER. This time we got the oncologists called in and started to get the answers we needed. Apparently I have a few tiny tiny lymph nodes hinging on a pretty important nerve that controls the left side of my face neck and shoulder. When the nodes are just in the right position they can cause my bp to decrease and all kinds of other not so fun stuff. I have been in lots of pain, mostly severe headaches and shoulder pain but no more episodes since being admitted. So the plan is to radiate the nodes that are involved to shrink them and release the pressure off that nerve. I start therapy tomorrow and will have fifteen treatments once a day. I should be done by Jan 5th and they believe that by the second or third treatment I should definitely be feeling tons of relief. I will be staying here until at least Friday where they can monitor my symptoms and make sure I am responding.
Now, for those of you who are worried or upset or frustrated. Please don't be. This is not a big deal. As a matter of fact, the doctors say that this is a rare case and quite interesting to them. If it wasn't for the tiny nodes being right on top of that nerve they wouldn't have even taken any action against them. This is just another bump in the road and is not a turn for the worst..
For those of you at school with the girls please give them an extra hug a wink a laugh just to let them know that things are fine. They have been hearing things through classmates and their concerns are up a bit. Hal brought them by last night which gave them relief to see just how mom is doing and what a hospital even looks like. They especially though it was cool to go to the cafeteria and pick out anything they wanted and then eat in bed with me.
Thanks to all of you who call and offer your time to me and the family. I usually say it amazes me at how everyone is so giving but it is just how you are and how you have given your life to Christ and in return live your life as He did.
Thanks to ALL! Love, Ann

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ann Experiments With Drugs

Tuesday was filled with one scan after another. They looked at everything from the top of my head to the tips of my toes and thankfully found nothing of concern. Another appointment with the doc Wednesday and then up to the treatment room for my very first dose of an experimental drug they have no idea what will do to me (sounds like I am back in college again). I asked if they gave out special t-shirts to the very few of us who have been "chosen" for the clinical trial but no such luck. The med was uneventful and I was home by 7:30. My love and thanks go out to my wife Sarah for dropping what she had planned on her day off and coming with me. You can always ease my mind and make me laugh even when I am sitting naked in a room with you awaiting the results of some pretty scary tests. Thanks friend!!!
I feel good today and did my usual things. I will be back at the cancer center every two weeks for the treatment until they tell me to stop coming.
To those of you who are concerned. We are doing well. The girls have been informed that a wee little bit of mom's cancer either stuck around after chemo or missed me so much they have come back. They give me extra loving which I will take any day and they remind me of pure acceptance and love no matter if mom's hair looks like a boys'.
Happy Advent to all!

Friday, November 28, 2008

WOW She's Good!

Well, perhaps my doctor is not so over the top and yes, she does deserve every bit of salary that she receives. And unfortunately that means that the biopsy did come back as positive for malignant cells. It's unbelievable and a little scary that nothing showed up on any of the scans yet there was in fact something there. So now we regroup and begin a new plan. I have been enrolled in a clinical study of a brand new drug called IMCA12 manufactured by the company Imclone Systems (this is the company that got Martha Stewart in trouble for insider trading). The drug is a monoclonal antibody which targets and blocks a specific type of growth factor receptor on cancer cells which can help cancer cells grow and survive anti hormonal therapies which is what I have been on since my first diagnosis six years ago. Evidently my body has grown resistant to the anti hormonal drugs and we are now going this route. The IMC-A12 can block receptors on tumour cells that may cause tumors to grow. Like I said before this is a brand new drug and has only been available since July and is not approved by the FDA. I have always said that I wanted to help other women who suffer from this dreaded disease and now I can. If this drug proves to be a breakthrough in the advancement of breast cancer then I will be forever grateful for being in the study.
So next week I have to be at the hospital all day doing screening tests which include an MRI of the brain, CT of the abdomen,bone scan, and blood work. I will then begin my treatment on Wednesday. The drug is an IV every two weeks at the cancer center and then I follow up with Dr. Fabian every four weeks. She measured the lymph node in my neck and will continue to measure it throughout treatment. If the node stays the same or shrinks then I will remain on the study. If it begins to grow I am kicked out of the club.
Hal and I pretty shocked to say the least that this node actually came back positive but with everything else, we just kinda go along and take it day by day. The good news is that we are on top of it and it is slow growing. The bad news is that we just can't get rid of it once and for all.
We had a low key Thanksgiving with our friends The Coffmans' and are now decorating the house for Christmas. I am really looking forward to enjoying this Advent season and reflecting on the important things....each other.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vacation Over

Well it was back to the dreaded cancer center last Wednesday to find out the results of my CAT scan. There is nothing worst than sitting in a waiting room with no clothes on for an hour. Not to mention on an uncomfortable table with paper sticking to your butt.
Anyhow, the scan came back okay. I say okay because I don't think that my doctor would ever say "everything is perfect, no worries"! There was a tiny tiny node that showed up and I was all but on my way until I mentioned that I was having pain in that some area. Then I was whisked off to get an MRI of my chest and neck and then the next day back in for another CT of my neck. The story is that I am still suffering from pain in my shoulder and it has now turned into nerve pain in my neck. When I wake up in the morning I have to pop a few Advil and workout (move around a bit) before the pain subsides. My doctor feels my left lymph node to be hard (which is where my nerve is). And even though the scans are clear, she still wants me to go in for a biopsy of that node this Thursday. I appreciate her thoroughness and trust her exclusivly but I feel the biopsy is a bit much. She deserves every bit of her paycheck if indeed there is something in that node! We will meet up again the day before Thanksgiving to find out what the next plan of action will be.Please continue to pray for me and my family.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ohh The Waiting

Today was my return visit to the doctor. We started at 9:00 and got home at 1:30. I started with lab draws, a visit with my oncologist and then off to the treatment room to get my bone hardening iv. The results of my CAT scan were clear and my PET scan showed a bit of activity. A little lesson on what these tests are...... the CT scan is a very detailed invasive look at my body where a PET scan looks at metabolic activity. They inject a glucose material in my IV.Cancer cells are very active and "light up"when they are happy on the PET scan. Activity is assigned an SUV number.The higher the SUV number, the more likely there is cancer present. A high SUV number is in the 20-30 range. Mine was 3. My doctor seems to think that this number could be caused by the drugs that I am taking. Just to be sure we will repeat the scans in six weeks.
While this is not super great news, it is good news and I feel so blessed to be watched so closely by such a great team of doctors. I have to tell you that I was so saddened and helpless seeing so many people walk in and out of that office today. I did a lot of praying that's for sure! It was such a relief to get out of there and breathe in the beautiful weather we have been having.
The girls are getting accustomed to school. They are still so tired and at each other come dinner time. I am enjoying my free time by getting my jewelry business back up and going and by cleaning out all the closets and drawers that I have been shoving crap into for the past eight years. My friend Tawnya from Florida will be here and I will spend the whole weekend with her. I am so looking forward to enjoying our time together and not having a care in the world like the good ol' days.
Our love to all. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

People have been asking me what has been going on with me lately, that I haven't blogged in a while. Well the truth is I have been enjoying what is left of the summer. Since I started feeling better it has been just time spent with the girls and Hal. We did end up going to Colorado to see my family. It was a great trip and good to see everyone. Our next trip was to Lake of the Ozarks along with some other families. The girls loved the lake and the condo we stayed in. Thanks Gwen and Ryan for your generosity. Even with me being so sick most of the summer, I honestly have to say that this was the best summer ever. We just had so much fun hanging out and not having to be anywhere. School started back this week and Grace started kindergarten. She absolutely loves it and was so ready. After I dropped them off I came home and just sat in the silence. I have been feeling good. My joint pain still bothers me but not to the degree that it limits me. I have started working out again and have put some weight on. Hal says I no longer look so frail. I go in for another PET scan on sept 10th with a follow up with the doctor on the 17th. I hate the fact that as the date approaches I start to think that the cancer could be back. If it does we'll beat it up again that's all. Can't think like that anyhow, too much of life to live and enjoy. Please continue to pray for us and for all those who suffer each day.
As Hannah Montana would say..... "Life's what you make it so let's make it rock". Love to all!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I saw my doctor yesterday and we discussed my next plan of action. I will go on a new anti hormonal drug which I will take everyday, go in to the cancer center monthly for an iv drug called zometa which is used to harden my bones and hopefully prevent any more spread of cancer. I will have another PET scan in two months to see how this new treatment is doing and then a PET scan every three months for the next year. That's it! Praise God!
I am feeling better, doing more but trying not to over do which is hard because I have been laying on this couch or in my bed for so long that I just want to go. There is plenty of time for that but for now the girls and I are just chilling together and getting caught up on things.
Although it has been agonizing, my cancer has brought me closer to Jesus. There is no better place to get to know our king then on your knees my friends. People have asked me how I can have so much faith with everything our family has been through. Don't get me wrong,of course I have questioned my faith at times but then I remember how much God must truly love me to allow all these miraculous things good and bad to make me into who I am today.
On another not so far off note..... Hal and I were driving last week and I saw someones vanity tag read Psalm 91. Neither Hal nor I could recall what it was so he looked it up and here is what I leave you with. Isn't it awesome how He even speaks to us on licence plates!
PSALM 91 1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 This I declare about the Lord:He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;he is my God, and I trust him.3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.4 He will cover you with his feathers.He will shelter you with his wings.His faithful promises are your armor and protection.5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,nor the arrow that flies in the day.6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,nor the disaster that strikes at midday.7 Though a thousand fall at your side,though ten thousand are dying around you,these evils will not touch you.8 Just open your eyes,and see how the wicked are punished.9 If you make the Lord your refuge,if you make the Most High your shelter,10 no evil will conquer you;no plague will come near your home.11 For he will order his angelsto protect you wherever you go.12 They will hold you up with their handsso you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.I will protect those who trust in my name.15 When they call on me, I will answer;I will be with them in trouble.I will rescue and honor them.16 I will reward them with a long lifeand give them my salvation.”

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Well, I went in for my last treatment last Thursday and they told me my counts were too low and that I could not have treatment that day. I pleaded saying it was mt last one but after looking at my white blood cell count, it was pretty evident that it wasn't happening. They gave me another shot in the arm to boost my counts up and I was on my way. The good news is that I don't have to make up the treatment, I am officially done. The bad news is the shot has given me joint and bone pain, really bad headaches, and I am having trouble sleeping. I love to sleep and just cannot get my mind to rest and get a good deep sleep which leaves me in a trance all day. I am not sure how long this is supposed to last but just keep praying that it is soon. It will probably be another month before I get my energy back and another two before my hair starts to grow back. God has a plan, this I know but I keep pleading with Him to just let me get back to my old self again. In time I know I will get there, for now I will just continue to learn more and be amazed about life, God, family, and friends.

Monday, June 30, 2008

One More To Go!

My counts were up and I was able to have chemo last week. I never thought I would ever pray that I could have chemo, but that's exactly what I was doing. I was afraid that my cold would bring my counts down even more which would make the docs say my body wasn't up for chemo and then I would have to postpone until this week. My counts were really good and the pee scare turned out to be no big deal. So this Thursday will be my LAST treatment. The thought of that is what gets me through these days. I expect it will take some time before my energy returns completely just as long as I can start playing with the girls and making the rest of their summer really fun. Of course they are real troopers and with the help of all of you have been enjoying their vacation. I am thinking about taking them to Colorado at the end of the month to visit my family but that will be a last minute decision based on how I am felling and if I can handle driving 10 hours with my little beauties.
Our Relay for Life was a great success and as usual very emotional. We raised as of today $141,000. Thanks especially to the Giving Girls team who were formed in my honor and consist of all my friends and their kids. You guys rock and are so impressive with how much you care about others and can come up with the greatest ideas on how to take care of them. I love you guys!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The first of three more treatments was last Thursday. My blood counts were still really low and so I had to do a round of shots to boost my counts up. I also had protein in my urine which is an indicator of kidney problems so they gave me a jug to pee in for the next 24 hours and I spent the weekend at the cancer center getting my shots. The one chemo I get is known for causing possible kidney problems so they held off on giving me that one. No news on the pee yet, I guess I will get those results on Thursday when I return for round two of chemo. I had been feeling pretty good up till last Saturday when I got a cold so feeling tired and achy from that.
Not much new to report. I see my doctor in a few weeks and we will find out the plan of action then. I have a feeling I will be having PET scans fairly often for the next year or so. I did ask my doctor what I could do to prevent my cancer from coming back. Her reply was that there is no magic wand Ann.Wouldn't that be great if they could wave a magic wand over my body that would tell me exactly what it is that causes my cancer. Wouldn't it be great if it was something like housework, or eating broccoli? Not that easy unfortunately.
This Friday is our Relay for Life. I am hoping to make it till the luminary ceremony because it is always such an emotional time to remember all of those who have suffered from cancer. If you are local, I encourage you to come on out to the Bonner track as it is such a great time for all and raises so much money and awareness for such an awful disease.
Until I get more news, everyone have a great day and rest of the week.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


It is only by the grace from God and the love and prayers from you that I am elated to tell you that my cancer is gone. Yes, GONE!!!! The PET scan says "Resolution within the sternum and neck consistent with positive response to therapy by the patient's known breast cancer." My prayers were always directed at the cancer to respond to the chemo and perhaps shrink the amount of cells involved, but never did I expect total resolution this quickly. After a bit of negotiation with the doctor,the next step is to complete one more round of chemo (equal to three more weeks), then maintain treatment with oral medications to combat estrogens in my body.

It is because of the deep faith and love you all have given to me and my family that has held us up and God has heard you and has healed me. Before I received the results of the scan, I began a pity fit for my self. I glanced over at my wedding picture and began to cry. Hal had no idea what he was getting himself into that's for sure. For better for worst for richer and poorer in sickness and in health. Here I was bald and sick and on the verge of having a good cry but I felt something in me say don't go there, get up, I will help you. As I got my shower ready the phone rang.It was my nurse telling me to break open the wine. The scans were clear. Obviously that something in me was Jesus. He has always been with me and will continue to hold me up as my life will always be a continuous roller coaster, always waiting for the next result of a scan, always uncertain of what's to come. My life really is no different from anyone else's though. Aren't we all on some sort of roller coaster? Don't we all have crosses to carry? I guess that's why I share with you my cross. My hope is that I can help someone else find Christ and see the greatness that he does for us everyday. Not just the big things like heal us from deadly diseases but even things like fear uncertainty or depression. Get down on your knees and ask Him to help you.
Not only have I heard Him, I have seen Him through all of you. When you come to clean my house deliver a meal or see me out and about and give me a hug. When you show up at my door and take my kids for a few hours so I can rest or take the time to pray for me, that's Christ in you.
Thank you for letting Him in and doing His work. Thank you for your unselfish desire to always be there for the Schierts family. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The last two weeks have been my worst yet. My energy level has been low and I cannot get enough sleep. It is a terrible feeling to take a nap and feel just as fatigued as when you laid down. Damn chemo! As I write this I am sitting in the treatment room awaiting my chemo cocktail. My red and white blood cell counts are very low which accounts for my fatigue. This will be the last of this cycle which marks the half way point. Three months down three to go. Tomorrow I will go in for my PET and CT scans but will not get the results until next Wednesday when we meet with the doctor. Please say extra prayers that the tumors are shrinking and that I can retain my energy.
Much love and gratitude go out to my lovely ladies who made my birthday not pass by with out a little fun. Thank you for the great gifts and for the fun night at the movies. I feel like I should apologize for my lack of spunk but I know that you guys understand.
Even more love goes out to my husband as he has taken on the role of mom and dad. It saddens me that I cannot do most of what I used to not not only because what I do has somehow defined who I am, but also because he now has to carry the load for the family.Of course he does it with a smile and always a kiss on the top of my bald head. He does have a lot of help from all of you guys too. We are so blessed to have help with housekeeping, meals, and childcare.
That's all for now. Remember to kiss your kids and spouse today!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Schools Out

This is the first week that school has been out and I am just waiting to hear the kids tell me that they are bored. It has been nice to slow the pace down and especially nice not to have to get up early and get out the door. Judith (Hal's mom) has been here for two weeks and has been keeping the girls busy while I nap or go here and there for appointments. Thanks Judith. My mom arrives next week and will stay less than a week and then we are off to Minnesota to visit the Schierts clan. Isabella, I cannot wait to see your new purple room.
Sorry my blog entries become fewer and fewer but it does take energy for me, energy I am very much so lacking. Last weeks visit to the doctor was good. She says I look much better and I have gained a couple of pounds (thanks to DQ blizzards). I am scheduled for PET and CT scans for June 6th to see if the chemo is doing what it is supposed to be doing.. zapping the cancer. Please please pray that the cancer has shrunk and that the chemo is working.
Last week's treatment left me wiped out. I have been sleeping much better and seem to not be able to get enough even though I get9-10 hours a night and naps daily. Routine chores leave me tired and I have to sit down quite a bit as standing for long periods leave me a bit dizzy.
Even having conversations leave me exhausted so if you call me and I am not chatty, please do not take offense as it is the evil chemo poison which circulates throughout my body. Those closest to me have realized when Ann is feeling good she makes her round of phone calls to check on everyone.
Today, I decided I was ready for hair to start growing back, ready for the treatments to end, I am ready for life to be filled with energy, love, laughter, and long conversations but then I remembered that those are the things I want and that whatever I or anyone else is to learn from me, from this illness, has not yet been achieved. God only knows what lies ahead for me and it is His plan for now. I thought the other day how I am either praising God by telling him thank you for this or that or I am asking for His mercy to help me get through another day. It made me smile because then I thought, it's nice to talk to Him everyday. I didn't do that before, I was too busy. Another Deep Thought by Ann.
Anyhow, another kick cancer butt day tomorrow and again next Thursday. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Pink Can

What an emotional week it has been for the Schierts family. Grace graduated from preschool on Friday. Her ceremony took place after mass where they wore their cap and gowns and received their diplomas. Afterwards the graduates put on a musical extravaganza and then presented me with a gift. Not only was I surprised but BLOWN AWAY at what they gave me. Those little people (all four classes) made me a can. The can is adorned in pink fabric with beautiful pom poms and a beautiful butterfly sits on top. As if the can wasn't enough, those sweet little preschoolers along with the Sacred Heart community were raising money for the Schierts family for the past few months. They had bake sales, garage sales and took donations. On the day of graduation, each one of the preschoolers approached me with a wad of bills and stuffed them into the can. The smiles on their faces told me the story of how proud they were of themselves for helping Grace's mom, for having Jesus in their heart, and for being part of something that really made them feel good. What a day it was. Thank you seems like such a small gesture to you Ms.Megan, Ms.Michelle, you are such beautiful women who give your heart and soul to our children and teach them more than just their letters and colors but about love. To Leigh Ann for opening your heart and garage and spending so much time on the garage sale. To all those anonymous people who made donations to the can, thank you thank you. Zoe's first grade class teachers and parent's were just as sneaky it seems. I just got back from visiting their class and they presented me with more generosity. It seems they have contributed to my house cleaning fund which will pay for the rest of the summer. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this. Our friend Penny and Denice have so graciously come to our home and cleaned from top to bottom. It has been such a God send for us as it takes so much energy for me to do much around the house.
You all have blessed us with such love, compassion ,and generosity. I have learned so much about the power of prayer and how it can make not only me stronger, but our entire community.
Thank you Mrs Gardner and Jes for being two of the finest people I know. I have learned more from you then you know and my daughter is a better person because of your love of your job and the example that you lead. We love you so much! Tears tears and more tears of gratefulness!!!!!!

I am doing well this week and enjoyed my week off from chemo. The Police concert was so much fun! Thank you Erin and Mark for inviting us. Sarah and I had a day of shopping and lunch. I think the best part of that was the lunch. We just sat and talked. something we haven't done in months either because there are children running around or I am just too tired.
Today I went back in for an echo on my heart. The unofficial word is that it looks much much much better. Way to go prayer warriors!
Wednesday is the beginning of the next round of chemo. Bring it on I say!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

This has been one of the longest Springs I can remember since I've lived in KC. It's 60 and sunny today, a bit chilly with the wind but we have had a great Mothers Day thus far. It started out with a massage from the whole family followed by breakfast. Since then we have just enjoyed looking at old pictures and relaxing on the back deck watching the girls swing. Oh, it's so nice that they can finally pump their legs and not require a push every ten seconds.
My second month of six treatments came and went this past Thursday. Thanks and love to Amy and Deb who escorted me the last two weeks. As usual, I was able to get caught up on what was going on in their lives and actually listen to what they were saying. I have been keeping up with the acupuncture and now go the day before chemo. I have been thinking that my days following chemo have gotten easier because of the acupuncture and while that may be true, I know the real reason is because of the tremendous amount of prayers that are being said for me.
My shoulder pain has improved significantly as well and I am sleeping better. If it wasn't for this cancer thing I'd say I was healthy!!!!! It is amazing how we take our health for granted.
Many of us who are struggling with an illness tend to see it as a strong clarifier. It clarifies the importance of life, family, a beautiful day, or the way your daughter says Happy Muders Day.
Don't let it get to the point of an illness or some other suffering for you to take the time to thank God for everything.
This week I am off from chemo and plan on enjoying it by seeing the Police concert with some great friends and by watching Gracie graduate from preschool on Friday. Lots of tears for sure!!!
Dr. Fabian had made mention that we would do more scans after two months of treatment so I guess that will occur in the coming weeks. Keep those prayers coming and ask that the cancer is responding! I love you all and wish all of you mothers a glorious day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Last Wednesday I returned to the dreaded cancer center. After having almost two weeks off I actually caught myself acting feeling and thinking like "what cancer"? but just like a great vacation from work or school it was back to work on kicking some cancer butt.
This last appointment was a long one as I have to see my doctor and check in with her. She basically has to look at my labs and me to make sure I am hanging in there. I must say, she is usually one that doesn't beat around the bush so that when she told me I have lost too much weight and looked dehydrated I knew I better start eating and drinking more. Much love to my friend Diane who waited out the day with me and was not timid in the least to get me good pain drugs so that I can sleep. Thanks Diane, I had so much fun with you and cannot believe how the day just flew by. I paused many times in that chemo room praising God for the laughter and obvious presence of the Holy Spirit. Even when I thought the nurses were going to have to call security on you and Hal. You have a way about you that comforts me and reminds me that things are going to be okay. You are a true angel and I love you dearly!
Diane is not the only outward reminder that I have of God's love and true concern for me. Last night Linda had a scarf party for me where everyone brought a yard of fabric to make a hat with. The room was filled with so many women whom I love so much and I cannot begin to express my gratitude for who you are to me and my family. Thank you all for the beautiful material and fun night. Thank you Linda for opening your home to us and for always trying to figure out another way to make my life easier and better. I love you.
Hal's mom Judith will be arriving on May 15th to stay with us off and on during the summer. What a blessing she will be to me and the girls. Don't forget to pack your bathing suit grandma!
While I am on the subject, big love to Robin, Terry, and Timmay. We had such a great time on our weekend together. It is so great how we can just pick up where we left off and never have blink. I will see you again very soon!
My week off was great. I have learned that as long as I get good sleep, it makes a tremendous difference in how I feel DUH! The last 3-4 nights I have slept great (thanks Diane) and come Friday (2 days after treatment) while I could feel the chemo hit me, I was still able to do a load of laundry or unload the dishwasher and not be attached to the couch or bed.
My week consists of PT on Tuesday, acupuncture on Wednesday and chemo on Thursday.
PT continues to strengthen me and I can really see results. Acupuncture really helped me with digestion last week. He gave me an extra needle in the stomach and immediately my appetite returned.
As always, thank you for your prayers. It is an unbelievable feeling to know that so many people are praying for us and it really makes a difference. God's plan is working, it is working through each one of us. Keep it going.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bald Is Beautiful

I couldn't stand it any longer. The hair had to go so we made it into a little party. Each kid and even some friends got a chance to cut a piece of my hair before Hal shaved it all off. All of the kids were so fearless and accepting of what was going on. I guess that is what Jesus means to be childlike. Look at things as a child does, with love and acceptance. Just when do we lose those traits?
Thanks to everyone who attended and thank you so much for your support and love. Thanks especially to Kathy Minor for coming over on a moments notice to take some great pictures. I love you Kathy!
This will be short as Grace has been sick and now Hal has caught it. The Schierts family could use a good night sleep tonight!
One last note, I mentioned earlier in my blog that Blingspirations was having a jewelry party at Heidi's tomorrow evening. This has been cancelled as I am embracing my truthfulness and the truth is I just don't have the energy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What aSurprise

Well, just when we thought things couldn't surprise us! I had my bags packed and the girls taken care of overnight, but God had his own plans it turns out. My echocardiogram showed that the fluid had shrunk form 1.1 cm to .8 in a week and there was no reason to do an extraction. The power of prayer really does work or perhaps Jesus didn't like the thought of being sucked up by a needle from my heart and decided to take up residence somewhere else. Anyhow, I was free to go but will be watched closely form here on out. The doctor does not think that this amount of fluid can account for any fatigue or shortness of breath. The chemo can take full responsibility for that. Anyhow, I plan on taking the next two weeks off and relaxing with good friends and a good bottle of wine! Depending on how I feel this Sunday, all are welcome to come over to the house. I thought it would be fun for all the kids to take a whack at cutting my hair and voting on the best hairdo. After that we could shave it all off. How many opportunities does a child have at cutting someone else's hair?
Please continue to pray for us. We can feel it! Love to you all,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One Month Down!

My last treatment in this first cycle is done. I have two weeks off from chemo now so will not have to return until April 23rd. My doctor has said that would stay this course for six months so only five more to go! For those of you who have been asking, the chemo I am on is Avastin and Abraxane. I get the Abraxane one times a week for three weeks with one week off and the abraxane every other week with one week off. Today's treatment was just as uneventful as the past. Uneventful as no reactions to the drugs, no problems accessing my port you know medical stuff. Linda went with me this time and we got a little bit of Relay For Life work done. I think she was glad to have my attention as I have not been the best at checking e mails and attending meetings. Thanks Linda for always knowing what I can handle and always lifting the load for me. Linda has also brought to my attention that I am not being truthful in my blog. Yes, I am a farce.
See how she knows me? I am sure I am not fooling anyone else out there either! Thanks Linda, only a true friend could tell someone on their way to chemo, "hey tell the people the truth not what they want to hear". So here it goes. I am not doing well. I am tired all the time. I am frustrated that I cannot be a good mom, I am mad that this is my life!!!!!!!!!!
Ughh, and my hair is falling out! Ok, I feel better now. Actually I do feel better. God sent Marisue and Diane a little whisper to call me, I needed them. Marisue thanks for reminding me that it's okay that I don't get out of my pajamas until noon some days. So what? I don't have to be anywhere. Diane reminded me (for those who are reading A New Earth) that it is important for me to live in the present even though the present sucks. That this is my life right now and is here before me just like any other part of my life to learn something. While I can still count the months down before chemo will be done or the cancer will be gone, I must live today and make today count even if I feel like crap. Thanks Marisue and Diane.
As I stated earlier, my hair is falling out. I did my usual pull on the hair test and lots came out. It looks like a head shaving party is in our midst perhaps this weekend. For those of you who are local, I ask that you talk to your kids about Mrs. Schierts sudden haircut, since it is sudden and pretty weird.
More news that we got yesterday is that they are going to drain the fluid around my heart tomorrow. I requires an overnight stay in the hospital so that they can monitor my heart. It also entails them sticking a long needle under my rib cage into the peritoneal cavity and extracting the fluid. For those of you that watch ER this is that same cool thing they do when someone has had a massive heart attack and the fluid has really built up and is life threatening and they stick the needle in their heart without any anesthesia. Anyhow, I should be home on Saturday sometime.
I am really excited about my great friends Terry and Robin coming into town next week. Zoe and Grace are really excited as they love to hear old stories about mom.
Thanks to all of you for the prayers, cards, meals, childcare and calls. They really keep me going and remind how much we are loved.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

She's Up She's Down

My treatment was on Thursday and I started feeling it this time on Friday. Thank goodness Hal's parents were here to sweep the girls off after school and take them out for some spoiling. Saturday also had me either on the couch or in bed and then half of today (Sunday) while I was still tired, I was feeling much better and then by end of the day even took a walk with the girls.

So, it looks like I can depend on 2 1/2 days of feeling awful and 4 days of feeling semi human.

My thanks to Heidi for bringing me to treatment last week. I love the fact that we can talk about anything at anytime and obviously anywhere! I love you and am so thankful for your help and constant care for me and my family. Another huge hug and bowing down to two friends Lori and Kelly who finished the St. Louis marathon on Sunday. Your endurance, strength, commitment and craziness amazes me. Lori even called me in the middle of it (can you believe that she could talk)? and told me she was thinking of me. I know how much pain she must have been in yet took the time to call. That gave me such strength for the remainder of the day. Thanks friend!
It is a dreary rainy day in Kansas but the sun is still shining for the KU fans. Rock Chalk Jayhawks. It's a good day to get caught up on mundane chores and snuggle with Grace.
I have treatment on Thursday and another echo cardiogram on Friday. These are getting tiresome and hope they can end soon.
For those of you locals, I am having a Blingspirations party at Heidi's house next Wednesday. I haven't been taking orders due to my lack of energy but this will be a fundraiser for our Relay for Life team. So stop over and take a look at my photo jewelry as I have a few new pieces.
That's it for now. Sorry for the lapse in blogging but you would be amazed at how much energy it sometimes takes to type.
It is such a great feeling to have so many prayers being said for me and my family. Keep it up, He hears you! Be good to one another......
The Lord sends us tribulation and infirmities to give us the means of paying the immense debts we have contracted with Him. Those who have good sense receive them joyfully, for they think more of the good which they derive from them than of the pain they experience on account of them.
-- St Vincent Ferrer

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spoke Too Soon

Okay, so maybe I spoke too soon about feeling so great, but maybe also too I overdid it yesterday. Perhaps it was Grace's soccer game at 8:20am in the tundra of Kansas that did me in, but I got hit hard with a headache and was on the couch the rest of the day. This morning after 13 hours in bed I could have slept another 10 but forced myself out and down the stairs. By the time we were getting ready for church I thought I wouldn't make it but felt God's presence telling me that I could. I did make it and had such a wonderful time being with Him. I felt Him so strongly today and it was an added bonus that it was Divine Mercy Sunday. The second reading especially made me smile and cry at the same time...
1 Peter 1: 3 - 9
who by God's power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It's all about having faith and trust. Unfortunately we all must suffer trials in our lives, or be tested by fire but it gives me such joy to know that it is not wasted or of no use to me or anyone else. Suffering doesn't just happen for no reason, it happens for your salvation. I can actually be responsible for helping someone go to heaven. If that is not accomplishing something I don't what is. How many of us would love to get just one thing accomplished in our day? I've also realized that it' s not just in our sufferings that we can obtain salvation but it's in our actions. Our goal or perhaps question each day when we wake up in the morning is "How can I bring someone to God's Kingdom today"? How can I let go of my needs and help someone else? How can I serve?
Okay, sorry to go on like that but like I said, I felt God 's presence today and I can never stay quite about that!
The rest of the week includes another echocardiogram tomorrow, two more rounds of PT, an acupuncture treatment (really excited about this) and chemo. Having cancer really is a full time job! Hal's parents arrive on Thursday which will give me time to rest. We are all excited about Zoe doing the reading at all school mass on Friday. She is so excited but also nervous. I really don't think she will even need to bring the reading up to the altar with her as she should have it memorized by now!
Another big hug and abundant thanks to all of you who are wanting to help our family. The amount of love is overwhelming and so appreciated! Thanks to Sarah and Linda for revamping my calendar and "taking over". Everyone have a fabulous week and remember to help someone get to the kingdom today! Love, Ann

Friday, March 28, 2008

One Great Day

You probably think that I didn't have chemo yesterday judging by the title of this blog. But it truly was a great day. I finally started physical therapy yesterday and most definitely felt the presence of Jesus through my therapist. When my doctor suggested PT I admit I thought that all they would do is make me move my shoulders and hips until I screamed but that was not the case. My therapist knew exactly what to do and was able to get my shoulder to raise almost 90 degrees. Before I couldn't even put my jacket on. That doesn't mean that I am able to that this morning however, I do feel the difference and am feeling so much better just knowing there will be an end to this pain!

Chemo went as planned and didn't take as long as we expected. Thanks Sarah for coming again. And thank you Hal for always putting me first and surprising me with just what I need at the time I need it. You never cease to amaze me with your devotion and unselfishness to me and our girls. Thank You. I love you.

Anyhow, this morning I was starving and feel as though I could even jump on the treadmill (don't worry Hal I won't). I take this as great news and a reason to scream Alleluia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll take it easy and will follow the rules I promise.

Next week I go in for another echo cardiogram. The frequency of these should start slowing down unless the amount of fluid has increased. My blood pressure has been running high lately and it could be due to the fluid. If he were to remove it I am sure that would end my fatigue and weakness as well.
Thank you brother Tim for your post. I like to be reminded that God has a plan for me and for my salvation and not just for me but all of you as well.
Have a great day! Ann

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ready! Set! Come Back Tomorrow

It was a long day at the Cancer Center yesterday. First to the lab to access my new port which was NO FUN. I am still pretty tender since they just put it on Monday, so when they come at you with a big needle and put it right where it is sore, ya tend to jump a bit. The good news is they were successful and the chemo nurse can now use the same spot without sticking me again.
An hour in between was a nice lunch break. Sarah came with me and spent the day keeping me smiling. After lunch it was on to meet with my doctor. She was swamped as usual and way behind so we ended up waiting quite a long time. When I did finally see her we talked about my pain. She remains stumped as to why I am still in such dire pain. She plans to contact the arthritis doctor again and talk about possible cortisone shots in the joints. She made mention that she doesn't think that the pain is from the drug I was taking but possibly from the tumours themselves. I really doubt that since the onset of the pain began when I started taking the drug. I just have to believe that the pain will disappear at some point. I do start physical therapy today so I am hoping that it will help somewhat.
Well, by the time we got to the infusion room for my chemo it was already 4 o' clock and too late to start. It would take three hours to infuse and by that time everyone would be gone home.
So we have rescheduled for today at 2. I think the nurse was ready for me to complain and give her a hard time but the reality is everything happens for a reason and the good lord was helping me out in some way.
Thank you Sarah and mom and dad for arranging your schedule around me. Thank you all who are jumping in and offering to pick up the girls and get them to where they need to go. I have said it before and I will continue to praise our wonderful Sacred Heart community for your unselfish love and devotion to our family.
Take the time today to slow down, be still for a moment and give thanks for the many blessings that you have.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mom's got a Big Boo Boo

Grace was impressed with the bandage on my chest and thought I deserved to watch what I wanted to on TV.

The procedure was pretty uneventful and I was home by 11 am. I am still very tired and am laying here with Grace because she woke up at 5 am with the stomach flu. Yuck!

Thank goodness I have the world's best husband as he took care of her needs so that I could sleep. Tomorrow will be my first round of chemo. People ask me how I'll do. The answer is I have no idea. Only time will tell.

Thanks to all of you for helping our family. All of the meals, childcare, inspirational cards, letters, and e mails are all such blessings to us and we so appreciate you!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Day at KU

I had another echo cardiogram on my heart today. No change fromlast week but he would like to keep an eye on it still so I will have another next week. The fluid remains but has not increased. I like to think of it like my sweet Sarah does. "Think of the fluid as being Jesus, then your heart will be surrounded by Jesus". Thank you Sarah for your continued optimism and smile. You always make me feel better!
The plan of action continues as planned. Monday morning back to KU for a port placement in my chest. This will be helpful as they will not have to stick me with a needle each time.
Wednesday will be my first chemo treatment. I am not sure what to expect this time around but I am ready to do what I always do in a difficult situation.. roll up my sleeves, close my eyes and start swinging.
You may have noticed that I attached a note to this blog with Sarah and Linda's e mail addresses. My lovely ladies have volunteered to coordinate my calendar. Mypinkcalendar was created by a local gal who wanted to create an organizational tool for families in need of help during an illness. In order to view my calendar you have to be signed up on the site. Sarah and Linda will get you started and guide you through the process. Thanks you friends!
Happy good Friday everyone and a glorious Easter.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Round 2 Ready For The Fight

Some of you know that my breast cancer came back in October of 2007. We were shocked at the news and just like last time prepared to fight. Although the cancer is not in my other breast, the little demons are in several lymph nodes behind my chest wall and in my sternum. They are fueled by estrogens that still remain in my body even though I had a partial hysterectomy when I had Grace. Since October we have been able to control the cancer with anti hormonal meds. The meds however were hard to handle as they gave me severe arthritis in all of my joints. I've been off the drug for over two months now but the pain remains. Last week my PET scans showed that though the nodes in my chest were shrinking, the sternum was not responding to the meds. It's time for me to attack with chemo. I really did not want to do chemo again but it's not a choice at this time. The plan is six months of chemo. I will get a port a cath put in my chest on March 24th and have my first chemo treatment on March 26th. The plan is to have weekly treatments for three weeks with one week off. I saw a cardiologist last week because the PETis showing increased fluid around my heart. I had an echo cardiogram that confirmed this. Another one is scheduled for next week to see if it continues to rise.If so, they will have to extract it via a needle. You may remember that I have been having severe pain in my joints due to the oral meds I was taking last fall. Well, fluid is showing up on my joints as well so the fluid around my heart could also be due to the Femara drug I was on.

Zoe and I talked this morning about mom being bald. She cried because she thought mommy would look weird. This broke my heart but then we talked about how we love people because of how they are on the inside. She perked up a bit when she came up with the idea that I could wear her Hannah Montana wig. My hope is to let the girls be a part of the head shaving ceremony and make light of the situation.
I will let you know what the cardiologist has to say whenI see him on Friday.