Friday, February 27, 2009

25 Random Things About Shauna You Didn't (Want to?) Know

The 25 things you didn't know about me are....

1. I once had a gun pulled on me.

It happened in college while at UCLA. My then boyfriend and I were driving around Westwood looking for a certain restaurant where we were meeting people. We were coming up to a light, but noticed the parking lot was before the light, so at the last minute we turned left without a blinker. While getting out of our car, the car behind us screeches to a halt at the curb, this big guy gets out, opens his trunk and pulls out a gun and points it at us and starts screaming profanities! My then boyfriend starts apologizing while the gunman's friend gets out of the passenger side and is yelling at him to put it away and we ran into the restaurant as fast as we could and called the police! They never found them. Talk about road rage.

2. I was once an unwilling passenger in a car involved in a high speed chase.

The driver ended up going to jail. We had to spend the night sleeping on the grass in a park in Yakima until he was released the next day. I have never been so scared in my life. Had I known this person was the driver before my plans with my friend were made to go to the Tri Cities to watch the Hydroplane races, I would have chosen NOT to go on this particular road trip. And obviously, my instincts would have been right.

3. I have been punched in the face by a guy. (I'm starting to sound like a real hoodlam aren't I? LOL I'm sooo not! That's why this is all so RANDOM.)

When I was in 8th or 9th grade, and my little brother, who was in 4th/5th grade, was beat up by a boy who lived down the street from us in Kent on Lake Meridian. I can't remember his name now. He had sat on my brother and covered his mouth and nose so he couldn't breath. I was so mad at this boy, that I began to torment him at school by calling him names whenever I saw him. One day he said to me, "If you call me one more name, I'm going to have to hit you." I then said "@!&%$" and he punched me square in the face and kept coming at me. He had me up against the lockers and people had to pull him off of me. We both got sent to the principals office. He got suspended and I got lunch duty and maybe afterschool service for "provoking it" and for "bringing stuff that happened at home, to school." You would have had to have known me in Middle School to really appreciate this. I NEVER got in trouble. I was very quiet and shy and the total teacher's pet type. I followed all of the rules. All of the time. I got straight A's. After this happened, this boy got beat up a lot for hitting a girl. I'm sorry that my friend Mike got suspended for beating him up but I will never forget him standing up for me like that. Thanks Mike!!!! :)

4. I know for a fact that it is way more important to have eyelashes and eyebrows than it is to have hair on your head.

5. If I could have one superpower, it would be time travel or to be able to see into the future.

This would allow me to see how my children turn out. To see them become teens, play sports, become adults, graduate, go to college, marry, have kids, etc. I would give anything for this. I would sell my soul to have this gift.

6. I was a NCAA athlete while at UCLA.

I rowed crew on the women's varsity lighweight crew team. We rowed 4's and 8's. Practice was at 5am sharp every morning in Marina Del Ray!!! Best shape of my life. EVER.

7. My first choice of colleges was University of Texas, but I didn't get in. So I had to go with my second choice. UCLA. Worked out well for me. :) Things usually work out the way they are supposed to.

8.My husband Dave was my 2nd choice too and I never let him forget that! LOL Those of you that know me, know that Troy Aikman was my #1 choice! ;) I'm still never washing my hand!!!!!!! LOL

9. While at UCLA, I was named ASUCLA Employee of the Year and received a cash reward.

I ran the little cafe in the John Anderson Graduate School of Business and hired all of my friends!!! Worked there through college, usually the 7am shift!

10. I'VE never broken a bone in my body, but have had several extensive surgeries Oh, except my jaw (and no, it wasn't from #3)

When I was 2? I was biting on a shopping cart and MY MOM went to pick me up and I was still biting. Broke my jaw. At least that's the story she tells and she hates that story to this day. (Sorry mom)11. In my high school senior polls, I was voted "Best Legs" and "Most Talented."

11. In my high school senior polls, I was voted "Best Legs" and "Most Talented."

A the time, I was a bit disappointed I didn't get "Best Body" or "Most Popular" or "Best Hair" or "Most Wanted to be Stranded on a Desert Isle With" (you know ,the important things when you are 18), but now, looking back. I'm REALLY happy with these! Especially since I had a 4" scar and spent most of my senior year with one leg in a full legged cast from ACL reconstruction! :)

12. My very first car was a 1968 Blue/purplish Porsche 912.

I loved that car. My grandmother loaned me the money after I graduated from high school in 1984 but then wouldn't let me pay her back. I left it at home when I went to UCLA and my dad had the engine rebuilt for my college graduation present. I loved that car. Did I say that already?? I had to sell it when I was pregnant with my son, Spencer in 1995. The first vanity plate read "Gremlin" and the 2nd and last one read "Brewin" as in UCLA. :)

13. I had a crush on my husband Dave when he played basketball for UCLA and promised I'd marry him one day.

I lived with 2 boys and another girl for the first few years while at UCLA. I announced "I'm going to marry Dave Immel" to them on several occasions, even though I had never met him in person and wouldn't until just before I graduated in 1990, 2 years AFTER he graduated in 1988. (Andy, that's a true story isn't it? Remember me promising you guys I'd marry him, and I did????)

14. I'm an all or nothing kind of person and a perfectionist.

If I can't do something, or if I can't do something the way I want it done, in it's entirity, I won't even start it. And my 9 year old daughter is exactly the same.

15. I've always been very shy and insecure. I have never had a lot of outward confidence. (see #14). Nor have I been one to crave the center of the attention in a crowded room. I prefer to sit back and observe. Sometimes I may come off as "standoffish" because of it. Again, my 9 yr. old daughter takes after me. Although I believe she is pretty comfy in her skin and very secure with WHO she is, what she likes etc. Me, not so much. But I'm learning from her.

16. I didn't have a TV growing up.

I think the last time we had a TV was when we lived in Canoga Park, CA and I was in 5th grade. We moved to Hawaii and didn't bring it with us. I didn't have a TV again until I graduated from college and moved in with Dave in 1990. I used to spend a lot of time at the library reading and I did a lot of drawing. Played outside a lot too, on top of sports. Used to get my school work done and would go to bed around 8ish unless there was a game or party in High School.

17. I always wanted more than 2 kids.

I've actually been pregnant 5 times in all. I guess life works out the way it's supposed to. Had I had any of those babies before Kaelin, I probably wouldn't have had Kaelin. And I can't imagine life without Kaelin.

18. I'm only 5'5 3/4" but was a middle blocker/hitter in volleyball and I had the high jump record at my high school for many years.

I also was part of the 800 meter relay team that held the school record and placed at state when I was a junior. I didn't get to run track my senior year in high school as I had my knee reconstructed. I used to run 100 and 300 meter hurdles, run the 400 and some relays, and also the high jump. I'm sure both of my records are broken by now though. I had "hops". Kaelin is going to be the same way, fast and springy, but she's going to be tall!!! Lucky girl!

19. I always wanted to be tall.

I would have loved to have been a 6 footer. I've also always been attracted to tall men and I find tall women breathtaking. If only!

20. I was only allowed to have sugar cereal on the weekends when I was a child.

My mom called it "weekend cereal." I have to say I've adopted this practice with my kids as well, but there are very very few weekends I actually buy "weekend cereal." It's more like "Holiday Cereal." LOL But I love me some Captain Crunch!

21. I have probably kept in touch with everyone I've ever met.

And once you are in my address book, you are on my Christmas card list forever. If cards come back without a forwarding address, or as undeliverable, I then send them to your parents house, which I still have the address from when you lived with them in elementary, jr and senior high and college. If they come back after that, I actually get very excited to cross them off of my list and remove them from my address book! One less card to address! I am very sad though that my best friend from 3rd grade is lost to me now. Her fault. :( If anyone knows Stacey Miller Steed from Canoga Park, CA and then Midlothian, TX, tell her to get in touch with me! She knows where to find me! I've lived in the same house since 1995!

22. I live in the first and only house we've ever bought as a couple.

I plan on living here as long as I can so that my children can grow up in one place. I moved around a lot as a child, went to many schools, and still long for those young friendships, like the ones my brother has with his 4th grade buddies still. I know growing up, I went to preschool in Sunnyvale, CA and Kindergarten in Bakersfield, CA and 2nd grade in Huntington Beach, CA and 3rd - 5th grade in Canoga Park, CA and 6-7 grade in Kailua, Hawaii and 8th - 12th grade in Kent, WA. But I have many many close and great friends from Kent and my best friend from 3rd grade was actually my matron of honor in my wedding in 1990.

23. If you were to look at me, you would NEVER know I've been battling Stage 4 cancer for the last 2.5 years.

You would just assume that I am fat and don't exercise or color my hair. I wear it very well and I don't lose very many steps in my life. I have a high pain tolerance and I am a very strong, determined person. However, if you were to see the inside of my house or my garage, (which you won't if I can help it!) you would know something was seriously wrong with me. I am usually a total neat freak, very organized, and on top of most things with everything in it's place. My house is total chaos. I can't keep up. With the cleaning or the organizing and my mom now lives in my spare room and my dining room is now our office and everything from my spare room has been sitting in my living room for the past 2.5 years, growing. It sickens me. It drives me crazy. I hate it. It overwhelms me. And I am so tired from doing all of the kid things that I don't want to miss. And going on playdates to escape and distract me. So it sits and sits and waits and waits. It would have been gone long ago if I was the same person I was 2.5 years ago. I can't do everything anymore. I have to use my energy sparingly and wisely and I choose to use it to watch my kids play their sports and do those sorts of things. Which is A LOT! I am embarrassed and ashamed of the state of my house. But like I've said before, I am an all or nothing kind of person. I don't have my all to give it so I don't start. It's too big of a job. It's all I can do to keep up with the laundry, grocery shopping and cooking, which isn't saying much as my mom helps me out so much. So if you happen to see the state of my house, please try not to "judge" me. I'm doing the best I can.

24. I graduated from UCLA with a BA in Art, but then went back to school (took night classes at UW) to become a physical therapist and then changed my mind again and went to Seattle Pacific University to become an elementary school teacher, specializing in art and children's literature.

I was one quarter (just my student teaching portion) away from graduating from SPU with my teaching certificate when I had Spencer in spring of 95. And then we moved to Portland and I never finished. Things have a way of working out as they should, because after having kids, I never wanted to teach!! I worked in a physical therapy clinic for about 5 years total as a PT Aide and Dave and I were live in caretakers for a quadrapelegic man for 3 years while going to school at SPU etc. After living with him, that kind of steered me away from wanting to be a PT. A great experience though and met some wonderful people and enjoyed our time there with him. Moved out when I was about to have Spencer.
AFter we moved to Oregon, I worked in a Physical therapy clinic and then I ran the cafe at The Hoop. I finally got my dream job as an in house designer for Hot Off the Press right after Kaelin was born, being able to use my Art Degree! I worked there for 9 years before they let me go due to my not being able to work full time because of my chemo schedule. I miss it every day. I loved that job.

25. I have a friend who won 3.2 million dollars in the Washington Lottery.

He's a fellow UCLA Bruin. He was a Sigma Chi and gradated before I did. His parents had moved to Kent while he was still at UCLA. So he was living with them after he graduated and working Graveyard at some factory. He and I were friends, although if he had his way, we would have been a lot more than that. He just wasn't my type. Anyways, he spent $40 on lottery tickets. He called me one evening and asked
"what are you doing right now?"
I said "watching tv."
he said "turn it to channel 7."
"you'll see"
So I tuned in just in time to see them handing him that big giant check for 3.2 million dollars. He and another woman had split the 6.4 million jackpot.
I'll never forget going to Longacres horse racetrack with him for a day of fun. He hit some big jackpot there too. I couldn't believe his luck. Changed his life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

CA125 and chemo/cancer update

Once again, I must apologize for staying away so long! Eeeek! I want to blame it all on my Facebook addiction, but I can't! My blog time is usually late at night after I get the kids to bed. Well, to tell you the truth, I have been soooooo tired lately that I've been going to bed when they do, and sometimes even before they do! SO I'm not getting my time in to write at night. So please accept my apologies! Once again, I'm going to promise to do better. You might have to be a little patient or send me emails to "nudge" me!

Went to the oncologist on Monday and met with my old oncologist who retired in April and had been with me from the beginning. I had my filmmaker following me around (he's doing a documentary, following me outside of my Write Around Portland life) and I knew something was up when the doctor asked him to leave the room. He didn't think this time was a good time to film since we had some "important, sensitive, juicy" stuff to talk about and we really needed to focus.

My CA125, is up again from 134 3 weeks ago to 147. Normal is 35 or below. The lowest I got it after surgery and chemo in the beginning was 22. The highest it's been, was before my surgery and chemo at 174. So 147 for me is high, whereas most doctors wouldn't be alarmed until it was in the 1,000's. For me, nothing is normal or usual. I've always been way out of the norm. Everything about my cancer and this stupid journey has been odd.

So obviously, the oral chemo, Zoloda is not working. I had the holidays off of chemo and my numbers were slowly creeping up. After the holidays I started on Zoloda and infused with Avastin every 3 weeks. The Zoloda is an oral chemo, I take 4 every night and 3 each morning with meals for 2 weeks straight. Then I have a week off and I start again. The biggest side effects that I've experienced have been fatigue and an underlying nausea. But I can still function on a daily basis and drive and live my life, just a little more tired and running late for most things! LOL

Unfortunately, we need to decide now whether I go back to the Oxcilliplatin, that was part of the FOLFOX chemo cocktail I was receiving before. It's what we started with back in August of 06. It's a very very aggressive chemo. It's every other week. It has the most intense side effects. Not pleasant at all. I need to take a lot of meds to get through it and I am pretty much down for a week, and out of commission completely for 2 days. I'm talking not even able to lift my head from the pillow. It's so hard to function and live my life like that. And it's hard on my family. I did 11/12 rounds of it the first cycle, as the naropathy (numbness in hands/feet got so bad I had to stop) and then I got through several rounds of the oxcilliplatin last spring before I had an adverse reaction to it and they had to stop. I had developed an intolerance/allergy to it. Now why would they willingly give it to me if they know for a fact that I have an allergy to it??? That scares me. Because of this, they will have to give me a lot of premeds beforehand. And they will have to infuse it over a 6 hour period of time. EVERY OTHER week. This regimine is so hard to keep up with!!!! Ugh. It's so old. And it's so hard. And I so hate it. I HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT.

We needed to decide on Monday if we were going to switch to this. I had a little chest cold starting and we had run out of time (need 6 hours), so I opted to do one more cycle of the Zoloda and then in 3 weeks switch to the Oxcilliplatin so I can schedule our lives around it. By then hoop season will be over and Dave will be able to drive the kids at night/afternoon I hope. We may have to hit some of you folks up for carpooling/rides as I will pretty much be out of commission every other week. :(

This CA125 is the only indicator we've ever had (sort of) to follow my sneaky, stealthy cancer. It doesn't show up on PET scans. It doesn't show up on CT scans. It's very mysterious and devious. So the rise in the number is the only thing we have to go by, and the fact that I have been not feeling well, have had some pain and have been VERY tired.

That's my update on my health. Wish it was better news.

On a happier note....Spencer leaves for Japan on March 11 and thanks to so many wonderful people and their donations, he is able to go and has spending money covered!! We are so grateful to you all!

I am still on target to go to the Gallapagos in May. I will get this cancer under control again and go get my passport!

The Southridge Skyhawks girls won their first round playoff game and play at Oregon City Friday night at 715pm. The winner of that bloodbath between two of the state's powerhouses, will go to the State Tourney the following weekend.

I promise to add some photos and writings from recent weeks soon! xoxoxoxo

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

Elite Acro 3 Dance Comp at Parkrose HS
Saturday Kaelin's Elite Acro group performed their "Topsy Turvy" (Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame). They are clowns/jesters and do a bunch of team tricks and tumbling.Kaelin and her buddy Alaina before her "Quick Change" into a clown/jester!

One of Kaelin's signature poses. Flexible you think???

Valentine's Day
Dave spent the day in Forest Grove at the Hoop Tourney while we were at the dance comp at Parkrose High School. My mom had to work and Spencer spent the day playing video games. Dave had to work the SRHS Hoop tourney that night, but we all got spoiled with goodies inbetween. Gotta love the handmade cards...
Here's our loot!
This beautiful bouquet was from my UCLA college friend Joni, from Southern Cal...She said I was probably "the sweetest person she'll ever meet." :)
My mom put together these really cute tins of chocolates! They are loose tea tins!

We finished up our weekend in Forest Grove with two games on Sunday in the 5th/6th grade Hoop Tourney. Dave coached Kaelin's team to a 45-23 win and they took home the trophy! Kaelin played some great defense! They look better every game! Look out for The Sting! Bbzzzzzz

Friday night SRHS girls beat Sunset, but lost to Jesuit earlier in the week, so they will get the #2 seed into the tourney and have to play Oregon City @ Oregon City. This is their last week of league games.

We've been having really really rotten luck lately between troubles with all of our cars and our water main breaking last week! Dave and his step dad had to go out the day it snowed/rained and dig up the pipes before calling a plumber to fix it. The city won't take down the tree who's roots keep growing into it. This is the 2nd time it happened. Here are a few photos of the nightmare. Poor Dave is stressed and run down and not feeling well at all. It's just one thing after another around here. I would imagine he feels like he's drowning at times. I feel terrible for him and somewhat responsible for the situation because of my health and all that brings with it. :( So if you see him, just take a moment to say hey and check in with him. Maybe give him a pat on the back, a hug or a handshake. It's all catching up to him.

I have so much more to update on the last few weeks, but I don't want to overwhelm myself or you guys! I promise to keep up better!!! Thanks for reading!!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Write On!

Tuesday I started another Writing Workshop put on by Write Around Portland called "Write On". It's for continuing writers who have done at least 2 Write Around Workshops before. It's a 10 week workshop. They had limited space so they used a lottery format to select the participants this time. I was one of the lucky ones chosen!

I really enjoy and look forward to these workshops. They give me an appt. and a time and place to write. Writing allows me to take my fears and insecurities and anxieties and put them down on paper, to get them out of my head. To give cancer, which I cannot see, a face and place to battle it on paper.

The following are the two pieces from the first workshop on 2/10/09.

1. Writing prompt given: Describe your morning in the 3rd person. (5 minute write)

The alarm went off at 5am and she awoke with a start and nudged her husband to turn it off. She didn't have to get up for at least 2 more hours. Then she drifted back to sleep, only to be awakened again 3o minutes later. She nudged her slumbering husband again, a little harder this time. He rolled over and reset the alarm. She asked him "don't you have to get up?" and he answers "I don't have to get up until late today, the early morning session isn't going". The half asleep woman, who had just been pulled out of her dreams twice now for no good reason, snapped back "then why does the alarm keep going off?" The husband mumbles "sorry" as he rolls over and easily drifts back to sleep as always and the woman lays there wide awake."

2. You awaken with amnesia in what appears to be an igloo. You have $4 and a rock in one pocket and a toothbrush in the other. Someone is staring at you. Write this scene. (10 minute write).

I chose to not use the prompt and use something that I had been pondering in my head since my support group started the discussion on "Living in Limbo."

The Ledge
by Shauna Berglund Immel

I'm on a ledge. Scaling the side of a cliff.
Like a tight rope.
It's a long way down.
So far down I'm afraid to look.
I'm afraid of heights
But I can't help but sneak a glance.
Darkness as far as my eye can see.

Above me, out of my reach, is flat ground.
And light.
The summit.
But between me and the summit
lies a vertical wall of sheer jagged rock.
And I must scale the face of this mountain to reach it.
Without the safety of climbing equiptment.
With just my bare hands.

It's a long ways up.
I've climbed this mountain before. I know this path well.
I've almost made it to the summit on several occasions.
Where one feels safe, warm, secure and protected.
But I lost hold and slid back down to this ledge.
Where I have been clinging to with all that I have ever since.

My hands, covered in callouses, are tiring from gripping so hard.
My fingers ache, exhausted from the brute strength it takes.
My nails are bleeding from clawing my way up the steep bluff.
It's getting harder and harder to pull myself up and onto this ledge.
This place, this limbo, that hovers between life and death.
Where I sit and try to regain my strength to attempt another climb.
Wondering if it would just be easier to throw myself off of the cliff
Into the dark abyss.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

She's Back.....and it's not pretty!

The latest from my oncologist:

Hi Shauna, the CA 125 is up again, it is up to 134. Keep in mind that was the result from 2/2/09, and so you had only 1 cycle of the xeloda and avastin at that point, which is not enough to know if it is working yet. So this next number will tell us more. However if it is still rising, I do think it will need to be considered to add the oxaliplatin back into the chemotherapy regimen again as we had previously discussed. Because of your previous allergy, we will need to give this slowly, over 6 hours, and we will give you medications to prevent allergic reaction. I see that you will see Dr. Leimert again on 2/23. I will ask the nurses to tentatively plan that we will give you the oxaliplatin that day, in case that is what you and Dr. Leimert decide to do.

But again, please do not get discouraged yet as that value was from 2/2/09 and we may see it going down with the next blood draw. In order for Dr. Leimert to have the results on 2/23/09, please have the CA 125 drawn by the lab by Wednesday 2/18/09.

I am happy to talk further with you also.


Normal is 35 or below. I'm not surprised since I haven't been feeling great. I knew something was wrong. I got a chemo break for the holidays, and have not been feeling right since around Thanksgiving. I think that my numbers have been rising steadily since stopping the Oxcilliplatin. So I think that's what we have to throw back in. That's a brutal one and kicks my @$$. Sigh. I just can't seem to get the upper hand on this stupid beast. I HATE cancer!!!!!

I promise to get back into blogging. I have so much to catch you up on. I started a new writing workshop and have some writing to post. I have to run to soccer and gymnastics though, so will have to wait.

Thanks again for all of the love and support!!