This is me starting a blog for the purpose of updating loved ones on my condition as I am currently going through the lovelies of breast cancer. I have found that talking with others and sharing my feelings through this experience has really helped me get some things "off my chest" as I literally get things off my chest. Hopefully it will be helpful, insightful, and maybe we'll get a little laugh. Thank you all for your prayers and love. I feel so very blessed. DeLayne

Friday, May 13, 2011

The end of Annie

I have not written for a while as I have been consumed with rehearsals and performances of "Annie" at the Scera these past few months.  Tomorrow (Sat May 14) will be our final show.  I have had a blast playing Miss Hannigan and performing along side my daughters, Brinley, Bailey, and Olivia.  I am anxious to resume the home life and get back to a little more normalcy.  Still, I have loved being part of the creative process of this show and the thrill of performing.  Brendon has been so supportive and good to me once again, taking on the night watch while I am gone.  It has been a fantastic cast full of a lot of great people--some old friends and many new.   And great bunch of kids that have been crazy but so talented as the orphans.  So grateful to my director, Jennifer Reed, and choreographers, Sunny Watts, and Shawn Mortensen, and music director, Kathryn Little.  I still can't believe I walked in to that audition bald as can be and a bit sickly, still going through this cancer process, and they took a chance on me...pushing me to do my best and supportive all the way.  They made the show so awesome.  I feel so grateful to have been able to do this and push myself.  It was so hard at times.  I stressed and worried and was tired and run down so many times during rehearsals.  At times I wondered what I had gotten myself into, doubting if I could pull this part off with the effects of radiation still so strong.  I have felt the power of the Lord in helping me along this journey.  Trying to remember lines, blocking, dance moves, songs etc. finally came.   I'm grateful to have shared this experience with my daughters.  It brought some fun and joyful memories to lighten the load of some unpleasant ones of the recent past.  I am so grateful to the family, friends, and neighbors who showed up in support.  Those shows were so much fun and amazing to be surrounded with so much love.  2nd night open groups of my family and friends came to the show wearing pink in support and I could not hold back the tears at the sight. A week later more groups of neighbors and friends came in support.  And many shows since have been filled with supportive friends and family.  It is overwhelming to me.  And often folks will come up to me after the show to share their story of cancer survivor or of someone they knew.  It is humbling.  I did it.  I am happy for this opportunity and blessings which are so prevalent.    It is thrilling to work hard and feel happy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


One of my goals was to make it through some of the difficult parts of this cancer journey and come out the other end ready to keep living.  I decided to audition at the Scera for Annie the musical as Miss Hannigan a few weeks ago.  I got the part!!!  I have been cast as Miss Hannigan and my daughter Brinley is July, an orphan, and Bailey is in the ensemble.  Having both of them in the show with me is extra awesome.  I am so grateful to have this opportunity and to be on this end of those long chemo months.  I am ready to do this and so excited!  I feel this is my way of "kickin' it" to cancer and showing that we ARE survivors and still go on living.  I am tired.  I am sore.  This is going to be hard but I am committed and happy to be a part of it.  Brendon is fully supportive and so helpful.  He was just part of the Lone Peak Varsity basketball team becoming the State 5A champions as one of their assistant coaches.  That was awesome and they worked hard.  Congrats to Lone Peak!  He is a fantastic coach and they love him.  So, he was able to enjoy his extra-curricular activity and now I get to enjoy mine.  Annie runs April 22-May14th.  It is sure to be a great show!

Radiation update

It has been almost two weeks since I began radiation.  It is a trip to be going through this.  The technicians and doctor have been so informative and caring with my concerns.  I go in every work day in the morning. They align me up just right to match the grid and I lay there while this big machine stops three different times on the target area.  I have felt a little tightness on the radiation side but not redness yet.  I can feel the heat on occasion from that side.  I really have felt the fatigue.  It's hard to be feeling so tired all the time when I am trying to keep up at my usual pace.  It appears the radiation has had some affect on my throat area causing me to feel like I am swallowing glass all the time, and causing swelling.  They are adjusting the grid a bit to see if that will help.  It's painful but Radiation is much better than chemo.  Looking forward to April when this phase is over.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Setting up for Radiation

After a few weeks recovery from my very last chemo we are beginning the Radiation phase of this whole process.  I just noticed that I say "we" a lot.  I suppose this is all happening to just ME but it is a process that AL my family has gone through and been affected by so maybe that is fair to say.  Anyway, we had our first appointment with my oncology radiologist, Dr. Clark, who is incredible.  We spent quite a while discussing what to expect from radiation and it's purpose.  Basically, chemo targets the cells in my entire body through the chemotherapy drugs given intravenously through my port-o-cath, hoping to kill off any remaining cancer cells.  Radiation will now target only the area were the cancer was found, in my left breast area.  It is like getting an x-ray.  From what we understand Radiation will cause fatigue and sunburn to the area being radiated.  We learned a lot today and our doctor is so good to us.  Then they set me up.  This part of the appointment took just under an hour of me laying flat with my arms above my head so they could measure out the area that will be targeted.  It was fascinating to see the precision with which they use.  My body was contorted to lay just so.  Every millimeter mattered.  It was painful to lay with my arms up for so long in a funny position.  I finally had to ask if I could put them down but was denied or it changed the grid they were mapping out on me.  Again...fascinating.  I also received my first tattoos which are really only little freckle dots that mark the region.  But that hurt too.  A little ink on the spot and then a pin prick.  About 8 of those.  I'll never be a good tattoo candidate.  I'm a wuss.  I do hate all these doctors appointments.  There is such a vulnerability I feel when I experience a new test or process.  Still, I feel this is the right course for me and trust my doctors with my care.  Radiation starts in 2 days.  It is scheduled for every work day Monday-Friday for 6 weeks.  That is 28 times.  The actual radiation appointment should take only about 20 minutes.  Here we go with the next round of this cancer process.    

Friday, January 28, 2011

6th and final chemo treatment

Well, it was a go!! 6th and final chemo was yesterday (thurs.) on a beautiful sunny, birds-chirping, angels singing, rainbows and bucket of gold kinda day.  Maybe that's just how I felt to have it happen.  Levels were still a bit low but where they needed to be to continue.  Looks like I am taking a beating like Rocky when he fights againstApollo Creed,  Mr. T, and Ivan Drago ("I. WILL. BREAK. YOU.").  After a few rounds of getting a beating, my cells, blood, and heart are just not as strong and resilient.  But I am planning on coming back with a good whoopin' of my own.  Why can't the Rocky theme music just spontaneously play outloud in my life like it does in my head?  That would be awesome!  I'll work on that.  After much thought the Dr. decided to lower the dosage of chemo 1/3rd since it has been too toxic for my body the last two treatments.  Not desirable but he has no choice.  He doesn't want to kill me on the very last one.  Thank you for that.  All should be just fine.  Radiation begins in about 1 month.  So the schedule is to feel yucky for the week and then party planning shall resume.  Thanks for your thoughts and support.  Love you all.  

#6 chemo support group
Brandalee, Brendon, Audralyn, DeLonne w/ kids, me, mom

Thursday, January 27, 2011

6th Chemo....psych!

My 6th and final chemo was scheduled for Jan. 17, 2011.  There was great rejoicing and happy anticipation for this chemo.  Is it possible to rejoice for a chemo?  More like we were excited to be done with this leg of the journey.  My most excellent big sister, Audralyn, came up from Katy, Texas to be with me for this last chemo and help take care of me and my family all the next "sick" week.  I was so looking forward to have her be a slug with me.  I felt prepared and ready.  The night before, all the YW and leaders in my ward had a "congrats on your last chemo" party for me with pink balloons, cupcakes, and the dearest notes expressing their love and support.  I was ready to go.  Still, I couldn't help but feel like maybe it wasn't going to happen.  I didn't want to be a stinkin' thinkin' kinda gal but I had noticed a lot of bruising on my legs, knowing that may very well be the result of low  levels.  Upon meeting with the doctor he thought it was my 5th chemo.  I was QUITE sure I have been counting and it was my 6th and final.  As he looked up my info and read my blood levels, he announced, "Well, this would have been your 6th.  We will not be doing chemo today."  I was devastated.  My mom was there, my Texas sister, and my oldest brother, Larry, who had taken the day off from work.  I was stunned and really bummed.  The doctor said he did not know how I was walking around with my levels so low.  He could not understand why my body is reacting the way it is.  Everyone is different.  Mostly, I felt fine and dandy but as he questioned me, I realized that was why I was so out of breath, so tired, and bruising so easily.  He directed me immediately the next day to get a blood transfusion.  I guess my state was a little more alarming than I realized.
I still received the Herceptin medication but I left feeling just about the same as when I came.  We decided to go to lunch to celebrate just being together.  My oldest brother, Larry with all of his sisters and my mom.  I was in a bit of a mourning state and very sad.  It is frustrating to continue to try and schedule my life only to be reminded that I am not in control here.  How is it that my body can be so foxy on the outside yet so sick on the inside?:)  Went home totally wiped out, white as a ghost.  Enjoyed a dinner with my family and parents provided by my younger brother, Brian (who lives in Oklahoma and arranged it for us to help during chemo).  Oh yeah--I didn't have chemo....blasted!
And so, I spent 8 hours the very next day receiving some wonderfully generous stranger peoples blood.  4 units exactly.  The nurses couldn't believe I was walking in there with so much pep.  I didn't really know I shouldn't have pep.  They explained to us that if you place sand, dirt, rocks, and gravel in a jar then fill it with water the levels are good.  But take away all the dirt, gravel, etc. substance and the water level lowers.  The dirt represents my cells that chemo is killing off so without them (red, white, platelets) then the blood level decreases greatly.  To give an example, my platelet level was at 18, but needed to be between 130-440.  They could not remember the last time they gave 4 units of blood to someone.  Sure must be special.   Audralyn and I sat and chatted soon to be joined by my other sisters, Charalece, DeLonne, and Lareen, and my mom, Dayton in-laws,  great friend Michaun, and wonderful husband, Brendon.  It was deemed the "party room" whenever someone came.  Although the experience felt a little creepy,and definitely not desired at all, it turned out to be a great time visiting with loved ones.
How lucky am I to just be able to visit for 8 hours straight with awesome people!
Now my REAL 6th and last chemo is scheduled for tomorrow, Thurs. Jan. 27.  Well, let us pray that it happens.  I did feel better after receiving my new blood and am sure I either got blood from an extra menopausal woman or some spicy Latin blood cause my hot flashes have sure kicked it up a notch this past week.  "I'm hot blooded" as the 80's song proclaims.  I have endured all the vampire jabs and jokes of all the multiple personalities I have absorbed into my blood.  One brother, Greg, offered to give me his BYU blue blood.  So generous.  Well, here's to hoping for the best.
Friend & sisters group attending the temple the morning of chemo #6.  Ali Rae Mecham (pretty much my sister), and sisters Audralyn, DeLonne, me, Lareen, & Charalece
#6 Fake chemo treatment support group.  Mom, Larry (oldest brother), DeLonne, (twin sister), her son Ashton & daughter Brooklyn, and Audralyn (older sister).  No chemo this day because of low blood levels.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

5th Chemo--A real Merry Christmas

Thurs., Dec. 23 was the scheduled date for my 5th chemo.  We were not super excited about that knowing the beginning of the hard days would fall on Christmas.  Still, we are well aware that one "hard" Christmas of chemo will hopefully allow me many more wonderful Christmases in the future.  And so, we were well prepared mentally for the occasion.  We made sure presents were bought and wrapped beforehand.  In fact, my wonderful neighbors have come in each week to help clean my home, helping in that capacity, and one great friend, Tawnie, stayed behind to help wrap gifts with me.  What a wonderous act of kindness that was as I, in turn, was able to focus on doing activities with my kids and create some fun memories.  Brendon took Jaxson and Bridger down with him on Dec. 20 to help coach the Lone Peak basketball team in a tournament in St. George (they won).  They had a blast for 4 days.  I stayed behind for fun with our 4 girls. My in-laws took us out to dinner, on the 20th-- always a treat.  We celebrated Millie's 3rd birthday on the 21st (we celebrated Bridger's superhero 7th birthday on Dec. 16th).  We had just had a big snow storm so we went sledding all day for her birthday topping the day off with a birthday/Christmas celebration at our good neighbors, the Lindley's.  That was a fun day.  Dec. 22, the girls and I, along with two cousins, decided to go ice skating.  They all did great.  Millie used a little ice walker freeing me up to take video and pictures.  Finished the day off with a trip to BYU bookstore and dinner with Granna.  It was a busy and quite fulfilling few days.  I know I was packing in the activities knowing I would be out of commission for the next few days.  Well worth it.
     Chemo day came Dec. 23rd.  I was ready.  Brendon's mom, my daughters, Brinley and Bailey, and my sister, Brandalee all joined me in support for my 5th chemo session.  They hooked my port up and drew blood.  Soon after I met with Dr. Bott.  We talked about my health.  Turns out my body is NOT in  good shape to receive the chemo right now.  The concern is my platelet and red blood cell levels.  I learned a few things.  I've been so focused on the white blood cell levels (the affects on my immune system) that I didn't realize that chemo is really affecting my platelet levels, the bone marrow, which is what controls the clotting of my blood.  I am at 43 and the target level needs to be 130-440.  My red blood cell level is low as well.  Everything is low which is to be expected to a certain extent but if levels are too low, it can be dangerous to proceed.   It is a reminder how brutal chemo is on our body.  I tried to protest exclaiming that I feel just fine.  But Dr. Bott reminded me that I do not want to end up with spontaneous bleeding inside and land in the hospital.  I have to admit that I was bummed.  I was mentally prepared and all planned for the next week of yuckiness.  This now pushes everything back one week and I just want to be done.  But then I remembered what a Christmas miracle this is!  Now I was able to feel fantastic for Christmas which I am so grateful for.  It WAS hard to walk out of there with STILL 2 chemo treatments left  but it has been a wonderful time with my kids and husband and I don't take that for granted at all!  We had Christmas Eve with my in-laws and Christmas Day dinner with my parents.  My mother-in-law, Judi had someone make awesome pajamas with the breast cancer ribbon and hearts pattern for all the girls in the family,  So darling and thoughtful!  We love them!
     So now, chemo will be this week, Dec. 30 just in time for Jaxson's 14th birthday on Dec. 31. (yes, that is 3 of our children with December birthdays.  That's how we roll around here).   We will be welcoming a New Year full of hope, only 1 chemo left and so much gratitude for life!  Thank you to amazing family and well wishers at this Christmas season.  We are especially thankful to remember the birth of our Savior.  It has been a very Merry Christmas!!!
#5 "fake" treatment support group
Judi (mom-in-law), daughters Bailey & Brinley

sister, Brandalee at #5 fake chemo

Christmas FHE with Gpa and Gma Dayton

Millie's 3rd birthday

Sledding for Millies 3rd Birthday

Christmas story at the Lindley's

DeLayne and my girls in our new Christmas PJ's

Jaxson, Brinley, Bailey, Bridger, Olivia, Millie in 2010 Christmass PJ's

#5 real chemo treatment support group--My mom, Jaxson (my son), Tricia (my sister-in-law)
#5 real chemo treatment

After chemo treatment with sister, Lareen, her daughter, Bethany, and sis-in-law, Tricia