Journal

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

Today is Palm Sunday.  As I worshiped online, I realized just how everything that is going on in the world right now has affected me and the situation I have with my health.  As we enter Holy Week, I am missing the blessings I have gotten all these years from singing in the choir during this special week in our church.  I'm truly grateful for the online services to support and uplift me, but it's not the same as being there to worship together.
I am thankful that the one constant thing in my life is my treatments every 3 weeks.  Even though I know they will go on indefinitely, it's still comforting to know that I will continue to battle this no matter what else is going on.  There are so many things outside my control, and I'm thankful knowing that I am not "in charge".  Remembering that, is difficult, especially when I have this wonderful husband, who loves me and takes such good care of me, wanting to plan out what to do in cases one of us contracts the virus and we have to quarantine from each other.  Yes, I'm proactive too, but I prefer to deal with the present situation of how we get groceries and keep him out of situations for him to contract the virus.  I'm grateful for my faith that gives me peace, knowing that He is in control and I can only do so much.  I pray that peace for Rick, that he would have faith in a higher power to watch over us and get us through this pandemic.  I don't tell him enough how much I appreciate him and the unconditional love he has for me, as he cares for me and our home.
My prayers are constant for our family scattered across the nation, especially our children and grandchildren.  Our friends and family have been so supportive and you all are in my prayers.  I especially am grateful and pray for Sara, JW, brother, Scott, and my SIL, Kelly, who watch over my 90 year old Mother and are there for her in Texas.
Your love and support are what keeps me strong in this battle!  Thank you for the caring ways you remind me of the army I have with me in this fight!  
Bless each of you to stay safe and well,
Cara
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Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

As I sit here during my 4th treatment, I thought I'd bring you up to date on what I found out with my appointment with the Oncologist.  My thyroid levels are at .09, so they're referring me to Endocrinologist at SLE. He has ordered a PET Scan for 4/14/20, to see what results the treatments have had on my affected lymph nodes.  I will also continue on maintenance treatments of Immunothetapy indefinitely every 3 weeks until I cannot tolerate it or more cancer shows up. I will have a PET Scan every 3-4 months to see what's going on.
He reminded me that since it's Stage 4 & Metastatic, we have to stay on this to hopefully kill it, contain it or prevent it from spreading if possible!  I guess I'm going to have to send videos to the twin grandbabies so they'll know who I am? It's so hard to stay away from my 10 grandkids & all of my family! I was so grateful to have my S-I-LOVE & her daughter-in-love come to see us before the lock down. We also enjoyed our daughter, Heather,  for a week before we got seriously quarantined. Ascentist Ear. Nose, & Throat where I work, has furloughed 75% of their staff without pay. Of course, I'm included. It's probably a blessing in disguise with my health issues. Of course,  we're going to miss the pay, since Rick is retired.
I guess I'm going to need lots of your prayers & support for a lot longer than I anticipated & for lots of different reasons. So, hang tight & pray this COVID-19 is extinguished over the world. I pray for you & your safety.
Thank you for your constant love & prayers,
Cara

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

As I stay quarantined in some fashion, I am blessed to have had my youngest daughter, Heather, here last week to love & pamper me. She didn't realize how much it helped me to stay away from places that were potentially germy that I would haven't thought twice about going. It was therapeutic for both of us. I'm fortunate to be able to work from home, so I didn't mind having her just hang out while I worked. She left my grandsons home with their Dad so she could "just be a daughter"❣
Sometimes we don't know what we need until it's shared with us. Rick's love & support has been amazingly comforting. My sons have shown me their love & concern, which isn't always easy for guys. They don't realize how much it means to me. My oldest daughter texts or calls almost every day to check to see how I'm feeling. She questions every new symptom & makes me ask questions to my Oncologist that I wouldn't think about. The love, prayers & support I've been getting from all over the nation just fills my heart until my eyes overflow❤
This Coronavirus will not stop me from healing. I am stronger than any of this💪💥💣

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

It's been a week tomorrow since my 3rd treatment. I'm having headaches almost daily that get pretty painful by the end of the day. Other aches & pains that move around my body on a daily basis. It's all tolerable enough for me to be working. My body is feeling the halfway mark of treatment.  I'm trying to be conscious about the events I attend & even the public places I'm going to.  I have to be careful going to our offices & not frequent them often to avoid sick folks in our doctor's offices.
Your love, prayers & support are getting me through this!  I love you❣

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

Today was my 3rd treatment of 6. Getting there at 8am & leaving at 4:30pm makes for an exhausting day.😘  I forgot to take my steroids last night, so they gave me a big dose of benadryl in my IV. That really slowed me down today. Thanks to Lynn Schwenn for lunch & teaching me how to play Frakel. That really helped the day pass by quicker❣ Thank you, God, for wonderful friends who gather around me & Rick to love, support, feed & pray for us❣❤  I'm hoping the side effects are minimal & with the addition of Immunotherapy, it helps to do just that.  They also give me an anti-nausea drug before they start my treatment.
My 4th treatment is March 25th.  I'm halfway through💪🤺👑 with my treatments. 
Your cards, blankets, & messages are getting me through. They encourage me & even give me a good cry sometimes.
Love each one of you & especially Rick, the most committed partner, who loves me unconditionally.  Dear God, please ease his anxiety & give him peace knowing it's all in your hands.
Love & prayers to each of you❣

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

I feel like celebrating!!  It's only been a week since my treatment and I'm feeling really great!!  I had a couple of tough days on Monday and Tuesday, with fatigue and leg pain, but it's gone and I'm doing great!  Maybe the Immunotherapy is offsetting the Chemo side effects?  I hope so!  All of you have been sending cards & gifts & love and so many prayers!  I'm so blessed!  If prayer could kill this cancer, it would already be DEAD!!!
We are looking forward to having a visit from Rick's sister and niece next week!  It will be so wonderful to have family here and be surrounded by their love.  Heather is planning to visit from Houston in a few weeks and I'm going to be overflowing with love!!  It sure does give Rick and I both something to look forward to!  Since we can't travel right now, it's great to have family coming to see us!
Thank ya'll for loving me and praying me through this journey!

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

It's been an emotional few days after I got what little hair I had left shaved on Friday.  I look in the mirror & wonder who that bald person is looking back at me?  Another reality check. Then on Saturday,  Rick took me to Designer Wigs & we found one that he picked out & likes a lot better than the one I got online. I wore it to church today & got lots of nice comments, which I needed to hear. 
Today was the first time my stomach was on a rollercoaster ride most of the day, & I felt a little queasy & weak. Since they've added Immunotherapy to the Chemo, I'm hoping my side effects aren't twice as bad. Lord, help me to be strong & give me courage to fight this battle & overcome this cancer!  My next treatment is March 4th. 
Thanks to all of you for your love & prayers that will get me through!

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

I had my 2nd treatment today. The Oncologist added Immunotherapy to my Chemo today. He's excited about the results Immunotherapy has been getting in it's initial treatments.  Of course it has some of the same side affects,  so I'm concerned that I may have double trouble for the first 10 days now. Pray that doesn't happen. They give me an Anti-nausea drug before every treatment so that worked last time. Fingers crossed! 
I was anxious about my first treatment using my port. It was a great experience & much more comfortable than I ever thought.
I'm attaching a picture of me in my first wig. The hair loss came on fast & is going fast. I'm ready to get the rest shaved instead of having hair all over everything & my clothes. No, I probably will not be proudly displaying my bald head. We'll see? Lol!
Your love, prayers,  texts, cards & support are so very important to me. They lift me up more than you can imagine. Makes me "Courageous Cara"!!
Bless each of you!

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

This song has just lifted me up so much this week that I had to share it with you!  After our choir sang it in church yesterday, I sat down next to Dorothy and she said, "I was looking at you while you were singing the song.  Did you see me?"  I told her, "No, I couldn't look at you or I never would have made it through the song."  You see, Dorothy is very ill and her husband brings her in a wheelchair with her oxygen to church and they sit in the 2nd row, right in front of the choir.  Then at the end of the service, she leaned over and said, "I pray for you every day!"  
There are so many prayers over me from all over the nation, and I feel every single one.  I really need them this week as I prepare for my 2nd treatment and see the Oncologist on Wednesday.  Bless each and every one of you!
Help me Lord to stay strong and fight with all I have to beat this!!!

Somebody’s Prayin’

Words & Music by John Elliott

Arranged by Mark Hayes


Somebody’s prayin’, I can feel it.

Somebody’s prayin’ for me


Mighty hands are guiding me to protect me from what I can’t see

Lord, I believe, somebody’s prayin’ for me.


Angels are watchin’, I can feel it.

Angels are watchin’ over me.


Weary miles ahead ‘til I get home, still I’m safely kept before the throne.

Lord, I believe, angels are watchin’ over me.


Well, I’ve walked the barren wilderness where my pillow was a stone

And I’ve been through the darkest caverns where no light has ever shone

Still I went on ‘cause there was someone who was down on their knees, 

And I thank the Lord for the people praying all this time for me.


Somebody’s prayin’, I can feel it.

Somebody’s prayin’ for me.

 

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

Today was another realization that this journey is real.  I had my first little clump of hair fall out and
noticed that there is more coming out, little by little.  I have a new wig, but I'll salvage as much of my own hair as I can before I resort to the wig.  I kept hoping this day wasn't going to happen to me, but it did and it's real.  I laugh at the thought of going bald, and my daughter has offered me a pink wig!  I think I'll take this one step at a time....who knows, I may try the pink wig!!!  The Oncologist said I would possibly start loosing my hair in 3-4 weeks, but Rick had to remind me that he said that because I didn't hear it.  Well, it's been 3 weeks, and I have my next treatment next Wednesday.  I've also heard and seen others feeling better as the next treatment draws closer.  I am feeling good and my side affects have been minimal.  Aches and body pain, sores in my throat and mouth, headaches, and fatigue are the main affects.  I have been able to manage them and work, and hopefully the next round of treatment will be kind to me.
Thank you to all of you who are sending cards, texts, and just checking on me to see how my day has been.  Yes, Holly, I'm referring to my oldest daughter who checks on me almost daily.  I love you all and I appreciate the prayers, love and support I'm getting from some I don't even know.  My family, and especially Rick, are so supportive and listen when I need to cry or whine.  I'm anxious to see the Oncologist on Wednesday to find out if we might be able to switch from chemo to immunotherapy.  They've been waiting on test results to see what the cancer responded to the best.  Keep those prayers going and believe me, I feel them!!
We're singing a song tomorrow at church, "Somebody's praying for me", and I couldn't even sing the words the first time we sang through it.  It's been going over and over in my head this week and I'm feeling each and every one!

Journal entry by Cara McElhaney

Since my chemo on Thursday, I've been doing rather well. So far, I'm experiencing a sore throat & some muscle aches & pains. I've been lucky enough to not be nauseated & sick. I'm a little "shakey", but I try not to overdo it so not to make things worse.
The love & prayers you are sending mean the world to me & will help me battle this! 
Cara’s Story

Site created on January 21, 2020

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
I have been diagnosed with Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma that was found in a groin lymph node while trying to find out why my left leg has been swollen for 6 months.  All the testing has not been able to reveal the source, but it is in a few more lymph glands.  The Oncologist tells us that it is a "good" stage 4 and that it's treatable!  They are doing Molecular testing to see if chemo or Immunotherapy would be the best treatment.  First indications are Immunotherapy will be the best, but all the testing is not complete.  In the meantime, I will have chemo treatments every 3 weeks for 6 treatments.
I will keep you posted as to how I'm doing and what the effects are.  Hopefully, I will skate through this and this bad dream will be over!!
Your love and prayers will get me through!  Feel free to text and email, and phone calls are always appreciated!
Love and blessings,
Cara

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