Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wrapping Up the Year with Chemo

I'm so impressed Sarah is spending the last day of 2008 having her 4th chemo treatment. It is hard not to think what I  would do in Sarah's situation. Of course one doesn't know- it takes being there and then you see.  Well what I see with Sarah is unbelievable strength, determination and  acceptance.  I'll keep you posted how her day goes as I'm able.  

In the mean time I know Sarah wishes each of you reading this a happy and healthy new year! Your love, faith and support of her are making a huge difference.  Her charm bracelet is at the jewelers- she has four unique beautiful hearts for it that have come from a variety of places in her life, locations/ages and it is perfect! Each card, email, phone call that comes to Sarah or family members delights!  I'm sorry if each blog is repetitive with what might feel like a "statement of appreciation" but it is true and a key part of this journey with Sarah and her cancer. So again- thank you for all you have done, do and will do!

The holiday Stoner celebration was fantastic.  Photos will make their way to my shutterfly blog and maybe here eventually. Sarah looked incredible. She is a wonderful mother, wife, sister, daughter and aunt!  Like all good things it had to end- we've all returned to our homes and will continue to email, call, text and look forward to the next visits in the new year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Greetings from Hagerstown, Maryland!  Sarah continues to look and feel good. It is a special holiday and we're happy to be together.  Louisa had a great Dr appointment and couldn't be a better addition to the family. A baby's first Christmas is filled with awe and wonder, even at 4 months!   The crazy, wild, fun will get only better when Matthew's family arrives tomorrow! We can't wait.

We wish each of you hope, joy, peace and love. We hope you enjoy wrapping up the holiday month with family and friends.  We continue to be so grateful for your support.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gaining energy

All is well! The last chemo did leave Sarah weak but the nausea and other side affects didn't (in my opinion from Ohio) seem as tough as last time!  Sarah and Louisa did some r and r (rest and recovery) in Hagerstown and Greg joined them a day or so later.  They're happy to be back at home in Baltimore.   I talked with her today and she seemed quite herself which was great.  She'll venture to Louisa's 4 month appointment which will be great since she was in the ICU for the 2 month appointment. 

We're really looking forward to returning to Maryland for Christmas.  Matthew and family will be up so all Stoners will be under one roof and the 6 cousins (Louisa the youngest and Clare (8) the oldest will be reunited- they adore one another.  Actually it is the grandkids that Nana and Pap host while lucky parents go to the hotel!

You all are outdoing yourself with prayers, calls, cards, gifts- thank you, thank you, thank you. It means so much and it is working.  Sarah's strength is good- keep that focus but also keep in mind the perseverance this is going to take.  We all appreciate the love and we feel the warm it and healing it brings.  Communications is a tough part of all this cancer stuff- what to say, what to write, who to call, who to call back when (it takes energy), how much to say.  I'm happy to help get messages on to Sarah and family and to get you in touch.  Again- email me with questions, suggestions, comments.  In the mean time enjoy this beautiful time of year and one another.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happenings in Baltimore

Thanks for reading about a day at Chemo for Sarah.  I won't turn this into a day by day description of what is happening with Sarah.  We've had a good day today. Sarah had a good night's sleep based on some advice from her chemo nurse.   We met Mom to pick up Louisa in Mt Airy for lunch, the french fries had a bit of a metal taste.  Sarah has always loved McDonald fries (by the way so does Sally) hopefully this will be one of the only chemo side affects she experiences this time.  Sarah also picked up her revised wig and it looks good- really good.  I told her today that once she is cancer free and not using it I want to borrow it!  We're having a good time together- I LOVE Baltimore and seeing it through Sarah's eyes.  She found these cookies that bring back instant memories of shopping at Hutzler's (downtown department store) with Mom at the holiday season.  I loved the flavor (butter) and texture and the special time with Mom.  So all is well here, Sarah will head to get her white blood cell booster shot and we hope to make it to her work holiday party.  So I'll sign off for now and probably post again when I return to Ohio.  Enjoy the weekend, make it special as it is a magical time of year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

LIVE at chemo-Dec 11

Greetings from the 4th floor of Mercy Outpatient Cancer Center. I'm (Susan) here with Sarah for her 3rd chemo treatment.  This is a lovely facility and Sarah is quite popular.  Greg is home with a crummy cold, Louisa is with Mom in Hagerstown and we're enjoying quality sister time- we've updated cell phone contacts, talked about movies and worked on christmas lists!  

So here is how the day went:

7:00 am- Sarah dressed and ready to go wakes me up, makes me a latte!! She has a tea latte and bagel with cream cheese. I have raisin bread with butter!

7:45 we arrive at Mercy, greeted by great valet
8:00 Sarah checks in, changes name to married Christopher with updated insurance card
8:45 Sarah in her cubical area, nice view of hotel across the street, rainy day- 40 degrees.
Her blood was taken and we're waiting to get started.

1:00 Sarah is receiving meds- first stuff is to help her accept the chemo drugs.  The chemo therapy drugs she receives are Carboplatin and Docetaxel.    It took a bit longer to get her blood work, all looks fine. Marker number is the same and that is good.

We had lunch- Sarah had me grab some fresh air and walk to a great Greek place where she use to eat when she worked downtown.  We enjoyed yummy pitas with lots of veggies. Then Sarah tried the hospital chix noodle soup and chix salad- not bad.  Good to see her with appetite to tide her over when the chemo kicks in an appetite disappears. 

2:07 Sarah is uncomfortable- restlessness due to steroids in meds- slowing down chemo being administered....she is such a polite nice patient- they all want things to go well for her.

4:30  Sarah finally was able to fall asleep and finish the 1st chemo and start the 2nd.  She is resting very well now. She is so peaceful and needed this, plus it is the better way to let the chemo enter her body. The last two nights have prevented sleep- she has pre-med to prepare her, help with side affects- it is the steroids that limit her sleep and give her body impulses to move.

5:30 Sarah wakes up at the very end of the 2nd chemo and we're out of appointments confirmed- she'll go in tomorrow for an injection to boost white blood cells, she goes weekly for blood checks and the next chemo is December 31st.  

The above is fyi about what goes on during chemo days.

Yesterday's shopping and lunch was quite special.  We realized that I've now known Greg three years- we met at Mom's 65th birthday party- boy have they been busy!  It was great to celebrate Mom's birthday with lunch at Nordies.  After Mom left with Louisa, we had some big time shopping- taking in just about all of Towson Town Center.  My goal was to help Sarah with activity so she could sleep- the night before chemo usually is sleep free. My efforts failed- the meds she takes to help with chemo got in the way...oh well!  She needed some new pants and we found some great deals while shopping.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Epithelial Carcinoma Endometrioid Stage 3C, Ovarian- there it is in writing. I know I haven't done a great job sharing details and have even shared some misinterpreted information.  Sarah and Greg also shared that her marker number that they track to see how the cancer is responding to treatments is going down and that is the right direction. So it appears that the chemo (two meds, don't ask me names) are the right ones.   The next scan of her body (i think at the end of the month or early January) will be the true indicator of how things are progressing.  No one wants to get too excited as the chemos coming up aren't easy.  But the good news helps!  

Chemo 2 was tough- nausea, weak, bone ache from the white blood cell booster.  And now Sarah has a cold, a stye and thrush....but she reports these things with acceptance that it goes with the territory.  She looks fabulous with very very very short hair and the wigs are being adjusted.

THANK YOU for all you are doing and please keep sending positive thoughts, prayers, cards and emails to Sarah- they're working!

Anyone have questions we can answer on the blog or via a direct email? Send them to me at

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Good News

We're just home from a great time connecting with the Christopher family in Hagerstown. Clare, Peter and Sally adore Louisa- this was obvious by their 6:30 wake up  on Saturday morning to sit googlie eyed and watch Nana feed her!  Sarah and Greg arrived mid morning to see us and the beautiful Louisa.  Mom keeps Louisa in Hagerstown during Sarah's chemo treatments.

Sarah looks fabulous. The 2nd round of chemo went okay and they were given good results to share.  The chemo is working, but it does make her pretty sick a number of days post procedure. So keep the cards and words of support coming!  Greg summarized it this build up your strength and feel okay, then you're taken out and do the cycle all over again.   

Greg and Sarah also shared the good news from pathology- we'll get those details up on the blog soon.  The bottom line is her body and the cancer are reacting well to the treatments! She continues to gather strength from rest and the love and support of so many!  Thanks for reading and posting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Checking in Nov 18

It is great to see the comments on the took me a bit to figure out how to see them? I'm headed to Maryland this weekend and will post more information when I'm back.  I took my own little break and spent a long weekend in St. John with some amazing Denison Pi Phis.  I can't wait to help Sarah turn 40- it rocks!

In the mean time Sarah has her 2nd chemo on Thursday and is working on wigs this week. She has loved the quality time with family and friends and has been feeling good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

FYI- we're working on music for Sarah during chemo. If you have suggestions of her favorites, some that you think would entertain, inspire, amuse Sarah please email Sarah's brother in law, Joe, at

We're also giving Sarah a silver charm bracelet- she'll receive a heart charm for every chemo treatment she gets- just a little way to send her some love. The idea came from a survivor in Granville with a great story. She received saints for each chemo....we figured the hearts were a good tie to her Valentine birthday.  So if you see good heart charms- unique and special- let me know!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sarah Catherine Christopher

So who is Sarah Catherine Christopher? Her nicknames have included Boo, Sweet Pea, Stoner. She is the wife of Greg, mother of Louisa (cute picture on blog), sister to Susan and Matthew, sister in law to Joe, Gary, Laura and Dawn. Aunt to some nieces and  nephews on both sides that adore her.

She is also an amazing friend and I can say that because I LOVE her friends. It has been a joy to know her friends all her life- being four years older I can say I've gotten to know many of them...the latest opportunity being the best wedding I've ever attended (is the matron of honor allowed to say that??) back in August 2007.

What else about Sarah? She was born on Valentines Day and came two months early and is a survivor. Today she was told by the guy who is making her wig that she has a calming personality. She is someone with amazing integrity, commitment and style.

So blog away. This is new for us. My hope is this blog gives us a place to stay connected to support Sarah on her journey with cancer.   

Monday, November 3, 2008

Getting up to speed

It is hard to believe that a few weeks ago (the week of 10/15) Sarah was diagnosed with bi-lateral Ovarian Cancer.  She is receiving wonderful care from top medical professionals in Baltimore, MD.

Sarah started chemo and is on a three week regime.  She has a fabulous attitude. She is tired and still managing the pain and side affects of chemo, she is getting stronger daily.  She is home spending as much time with Greg and 11 week old Louisa.  Louisa couldn't be a more perfect baby.

Friends and family are asking what can we do to help. The answer is simply keep thinking positive thoughts and giving Sarah time to adjust to this new battle. Time is what they need most, please be patient with the return of calls/emails/etc... We'll post opportunities to assist here and do our best to keep this updated with her progress. 

Your love and support means so much to Sarah, Greg and the Stoner/Christopher families.