Terri Gray's Update

Hello. Welcome to my Blog. I will use this form of communication to keep all my family, friends and others who are interested in my life experiences living with cancer up to date. I have been battling inflammatory breast cancer since May 2003. Every day I pray "May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today!" Please subscribe to my Blog by entering your email address in the subscribe box located in the right column below my book.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Hello friends and family,

It's Friday, and I realize I haven't written to you since my Wednesday update a week ago. I apologize. It's been quite hectic here...lots of emotional ups and downs. Now, I think everyone has allowed my news to sink in, they're doing ok. As you read this, I hope you're ok, too. I've had such an awesome time with the Lord this past week. He has been my refuge, my strength at all times.

Yesterday, I had my first meeting with the hospice nurse case work manager, and it was quite a pleasant experience. Donna Green, RN, explained how she could help make me more comfortable, and that has already taken place. She had a very well organized binder for me to keep with everything we discussed inside, so that we could feel confident in our part of making it all work out.

Thank you to all who have brought meals, walked the dogs, and come to visit. Since so many of you just want to help out, I must tell you that we have an abundance of meals coming, so if you wish to help with a meal, please call our new meal coordinator, Cheryl Pilkerton, at 735-8242, to find out when that would be best to deliver, and what our current needs are. Thanks so much!

Many of you have asked how I'm feeling, what my symptoms are currently, etc. Mainly, I have extreme fatigue, and that makes long visits a little difficult, as I might fall asleep on you while we're talking. Sorry if that has already happened to you!

We had the most wonderful visit with David's family this past weekend, and now my brothers, Sean from Houston, and Stuart from Lolo, MT will be here this evening, along with Juliana, Sean's fiancé and Dad and Mom Julian. So we will have plenty of guests! It's so nice that everyone wants to visit. I love to see each of you.

I promised myself to keep this brief, and so I shall. Just wanted you to know how much I love each and every one of you.



May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The latest news.

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you're having a wonderful week so far. As you all know, each day is a treasure to me, and especially today, I am reminded of the treasure of the day. Dr. Lossing called me in today for an appointment and to talk about my prognosis. He advised me that my red blood counts along with my platelets were lowered by the first dosage of Doxil, so I took a Procrit injection for the hemoglobin. There isn't anything to take for the platelets, except to wait for them to rise again.

Then, Dr. Lossing closed the doors in his office and faced David and me in a more serious and somber glance. "How are you feeling?" He inquired. I told him that I noticed the fatigue was worsening, and that it seemed to make me want to sleep most of the time. Then, he went over all the boxes Cara had checked off on the sheet in my chart. Finally, I asked him to be honest with us. "Where am I at, Dr. Lossing? Is the feeling of fatigue due in part to the Doxil and pain meds, or is my body just shutting down?"

He responded with the fact that my assumptions were correct. He said I could no longer tolerate the Doxil because of my jaundice, and that the body was shutting down. Unless I had a miracle, we had done medically, all we could do. I shed a few tears and then explained that I knew this in my heart, but that Dave and I were trusting God for a miracle. He said that we all are. Because I really need one more Procrit to bring up my red blood counts from the Doxil, he wants me to wait until next Wednesday to go onto hospice. After my Procrit, he wants to put me on hospice. Hospice does not pay for Procrit. So this is where we're at.

I need all of you to understand that I have not given up on God. Medically, we have done above and beyond what any body can tolerate. Now, we shall allow my body permission to rest and wait upon the Lord for His answer to my needs. I'm sure many of you are asking yourselves "How much time?" I want to take you back to my earlier e-mails back in 2003, when I explained that "all our days ordained for us are written in the Book of Life...Psalm 139" and that I won't enter into eternity one day earlier than God plans for me to be there. Dr. Lossing said weeks as opposed to months. I'm a firm believer in God's miracles, and I'm waiting upon mine....any time now! This is a very difficult time for my family, and I would covet your prayers for them. Dave, Jen and Chris have stood strong with me throughout this long and difficult journey, and I ask you to do the same with them. God is so great, and in my heart of hearts, I know He's working out His perfect plan. Let's wait expectantly for what He will do!

With my love,


May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Two new friends (3/7/06)

Hello to all,

Wow...another e-mail so soon, huh? Just wanted you to know what went on over the weekend. Unfortunately, I had a rough time over the weekend with low-grade fever, pain, aches, etc. I thought I was coming down with something, and e-mailed Dr. Lossing. But he didn't e-mail me back....I found out he was out of town. Anyway, by Sunday night, the pain was getting pretty intense, so I asked Dave to e-mail Dr. Lossing from his computer. Dr. Lossing wrote back...he had returned. He told Dave he'd fax some lab/x-ray forms to the hospital, and for me to go to the hospital first thing Monday to take care of it all. Then, he wanted to see me in his office.

My mom agreed to take me to the hospital and Dave stayed home with Dad. Thankfully, I had a wheelchair to go to the hospital with, because there was no way I could walk around feeling like I felt. It took especially long for us to get finished at the hospital, because although the fax to the lab made it there, the fax to x-ray did not. And when I did get the x-ray done, it had to be retaken, because the first pictures didn't take properly.

Once we returned home, Dad was anxiously pacing back and forth, waiting to go home to Sonora. Over the weekend, he had an especially difficult time with wanting to leave and go home. His repetitions were unstoppable, and I was so impressed with mom's ability to stay calm and reassure Dad that he would go home on Monday. Mom, you deserve an extra jewel in your crown!

After having some lunch, Dave took me over to see Dr. Lossing. He read the reports from my morning hospital testing, and you're not going to believe this...but I have two new friends, Billy and Reuben. That's right. No one invited them, but they managed to find their way into my blood stream. LOL. The only thing that showed up on my tests was an elevated bilirubin count. On a lab report, it gives the highs and lows of what's normal. Anything below those numbers is considered LOW...and anything above is considered HIGH. My bilirubin was 3.9. Now the high end of normal is 1.0, so mine is slightly elevated. But it's enough to make me jaundiced. Dr. Lossing said I could have a blocked bile duct in the liver, or the tumor could be growing. The interesting thing is that my other liver function tests are all lower than the last blood tests. So we'll have to wait and see with this. In the mean time, Dr. Lossing had me call the Home Health Nurses to increase my hour pain med rate, so I didn't have to be in such pain. I've kind of felt like a zombie today, but not much pain at all, so I guess it's working.

On a happier note...people have blessed me over and over again. On Friday, Pastor Ron and Vicki came over and brought us one of their famous Costco meals to share with my parents. Thank you!!! Martie and Dori came for a visit on Sunday and Dori loaned me her rigid wheelchair to use as needed until I can start feeling better. Thank you both for making the drive up from Santa Barbara. And Al and Joyce Morey showed up on Sunday afternoon with an entire "cool" meal! Nothing was hot, so I could eat it. Everything was delicious, and we thank you for that. My parents enjoyed sharing it with us. This helped so much since I wasn't feeling my best.

Tomorrow evening is going to be very special for us. A while back, Martie Levy asked me if I could send her a list of "things" I would love to do...that others could do for me. At first, I drew a blank because everyone's been so good to me over these past three years (almost) since my b/c diagnosis. Then, little ideas started coming to mind, and I made my list and sent it to Martie. Well, one of the things I've wanted to do is ride in a limo, just for the fun of it. So Martie has arranged for a limo to pick us up tomorrow at 5:30 and drive us to Los Olivos for a meal at the Fess Parker Inn's Wine Cask restaurant. It'll be our family of four going, and everyone's very excited. Since tomorrow makes a week since chemo, I am officially allowed to eat heated foods, although I'm going to take that in moderation, just to play it safe! It's always nice to have something to look forward to...so to Martie, everyone else involved in making this happen, thank you.

My mom called today to share that my brother, Brian, is having some pretty extensive surgery in his mouth, including having his tonsils removed. Please keep Brian in your prayers, as I've heard this can be more painful when you're an adult, than for children. Brian, you have my prayers!!!!

Love to you all,


May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.

Friday, March 03, 2006

How the new chemo is going

Hello dear ones,

I imagine you're all curious as to how Wednesday's chemo went...and how I'm doing now. I needed to give it a few days just to know what to say. First of all, the chemo lasted 5 hours, and seemed to take forever. But Dr. Lossing took every precaution to keep me from having any reactions, which...looking back now, I do appreciate. He decided to put a small butterfly IV in the back of my right hand for attaching the pain meds from my pump system, instead of trying to share the Port-A-Cath with two needles, and I agreed to it. After three attempts, he did successfully get the IV going...ouch. (Sorry...that was my moment to whine). Dr. Lossing researched the Lapatinib and learned that I am not a candidate for it due to my Her2Neu status. Oh well, it was worth a try. This Doxil just HAS to work, that's all there is to it!
This is the first chemo drug I've ever taken that is not taken with saline solution, but instead, D5W...which is more like a sugar solution. Some sort of incompatibility issue. Once I finished the red Kool-Aid, which is what the Doxil looked like, he ran the D5W. I did not have any nausea or vomiting during the treatment, for which I'm very grateful. When I got home, I was slightly fatigued from the long day, so I rested. Then, I had a good long sleep! Amazing, because I did receive the normal pre-chemo steroids in my IV, which normally kept me awake! Thank God for the sleep.
The next day brought with it stomach pain after eating each meal, and has continued today, so I'm going to assume that this will be the side effect I"m going to experience with the Doxil. It's not nausea, just pain. I'm taking Reglan to try and counteract this problem, but so far, it's not helping too much. The main problem with this side effect is that it is affecting my weight again. As you'll recall, I lost 35 pounds since Dec. 21st when I had the chemoembolization. My friend brought over a cookbook for me to pick out some recipes I might enjoy. Right now, in order to prevent certain side effects, I have to avoid anything that is not room temperature. So I'm going to choose salads. I love pasta-type salads, and that should add some calories to my meals. Thank you Cindy for the yummy cook book. And thank you to Pamela Walton, who showed up at my door last week with home made, still warm, cookies! They're the best, and everyone enjoyed sharing them with me!
The precautions I have to take with this chemo is slightly unusual. I have to avoid anything both inside and outside my body that is not room temperature. That means cool showers, and no hot or cold foods. My gums are already slightly sensitive today, so now I understand why I have to avoid these things. Fortunately, I only have to do this for the first week of chemo. The chemo is an every 4 week regimen, so that should give me ample time to recover.
My parents are on their way as I type this letter. I always look forward to their visits, as Mom is so helpful around the house, and our talks and prayers together are priceless. I love all of you for standing by my side throughout this long long journey. I know it's like being on a roller coaster, but none of you has jumped off! Thanks.



May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.