About Me

My photo
I have breast cancer and am a snappy dancer

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dina's memorial information

My Friends: I want to first off say thank you for all of your kind words. They provide such love and comfort such that I can never say thank you enough. Every day I'm reminded how far-reaching Dina's influence has been and I'm sure we will all continue to see examples of this as we move forward.

We've confirmed the following information for Dina's funeral service and memorial. Please feel free to share this information with whomever you feel should have it. Again, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, February 9, 2013
American Lutheran Church - Sanctuary
1085 Scott Drive
Prescott, Arizona 86301

Reception following in Fellowship Hall
Childcare will be available


Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Friends

PJ here. This is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. After a nearly 4 year battle against breast cancer, last night Dina peacefully went home to be with Jesus. Her bravery, strength and courage are a testament to the amazing woman that she was. Dina touched so many lives and I had the opportunity to be along for the ride.

As information is finalized regarding her memorial service I will pass it along to you all. Thank you again for all you have done for our family over the past four years. You have filled us with such blessings and feelings of comfort and love.


Friday, January 18, 2013

An update on Dina

Hello Friends. PJ here. I wanted to post an update on Dina. First, thank you so much for your continued love and support, prayers and help...you are all such a gift and blessing to us. Dina was relocated a little over a week ago to a private, full-time care facility in Prescott Valley. She has settled nicely into her room and the staff are all so caring. Unfortunately, Dina has begun to experience difficulties keeping pain medications in her system and is sleeping significantly more and is not having coherent conversations. Dina is no longer up to seeing visitors, as it is just too draining for her. I would ask that you all just keep praying for Dina's comfort and pain relief. Again, thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friends have asked me to post this on their behalf

PJ here. We've had several friends, who continue to surround us with their love, ask to post the following on Dina's blog, so here it goes:

Let’s Make a Difference!

Dina Mountcastle has been battling breast cancer for over 3 ½ years now. Dina is a wife and mother to two small girls (Madeline and Ginger), an active member of the Prescott community, local theater, MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), and American Lutheran Church.

Recently, due to the advanced disease in her liver, the oncology community has recommended ceasing cancer treatment. Hospice services have begun. It goes without saying; this has been devastating news for her, her sweet family, loved ones, and everyone that she has touched.

How can we help? Being in cancer treatment for over 3 ½ years can take a toll on a family’s savings. The medical bills have been significant and burdensome. As you can imagine, Christmas gifts are low on the priority list.

Dina has hesitantly allowed a group of friends to create a way for all of us to make a difference!

If you are able, please consider making a donation to “Dina Mountcastle’s Game On Fund” to make this an extra special Christmas for her family and help with the mounting medical bills. An account has been opened in Dina’s name through PayPal for medical expenses and Christmas for her family. See the “Donate” tab to the right on how to make a donation through PayPal.

As a community, we can make a difference and help this family.

With sincere thanks,

Friends of Dina -

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The real McKoy

So, let's set the record straight on what 'hospice' looks like.  I'll admit, I used to think was all tubes coming out of everywhere, gasping for air and a lot of dramatic reaching across the room at nothing.  It is not.  What it is - a nurse that manages my meds, comes in 3 times a week to take my vitals (blood pressure, temp, heart, O2 level), we chat about my pooping, or not pooping, and that is really about it.  So I hope that paints a little more accurate picture.  It also offers lots of other resources which are really helpful - from pastoral care to house cleaning to bathing assistance to assistance of any kind. I found it quite different from my stereo-typical perception. Shame on me. There, enough of that.

One thing I probably should do here, but am extremely reluctant to do is post a current picture of myself. To be honest, I'm embarrassed.  I look nothing like I used to look at all. I could take the baldness, that was easy in retrospect to where I am now. I am jaundice because of my high bilirubin levels, I'm extremely thin and old looking on the top of my body, if that makes any sense, but then fat and filled with fluid on the bottom of my body.  To make all the more special, my belly is protruding so badly it makes me look like I'm at least 8 months pregnant. I am relying on the walker now because of this balance issue, the cracked pelvis from Annie (which I don't regret at all!), and just general pain.  It just plain sucks.  I know I've been very forthcoming about this is the past but right now, I just can't be.

The pain level in my liver is slowly increasing therefore my pain meds need to be increased. That makes my bowels move at a snail's pace, causing horrific pain as well as I try to balance laxatives, stool softeners, pineapple, anything to get things moving. Sorry for being so graphic. No, I'm not; this is the real picture of what dying for me looks like, I guess.

Everything that everyone is saying about me is making me feel like I have one foot in the grave, which I guess I do. However, I see it as my port was receiving man made medicine for the last 3 1/2 years and now it will receive what God chooses to give me. At first, I didn't know how to pray. Did I pray for a miracle? Did I pray for complete healing? What I pray for now, after much thought was something that a good friend shared with me. I pray for peace and healing, either this side of heaven or the other. And, as Pastor Mary graciously gave me in her wisdom, whenever I am afraid, I stop whatever fearful thought I am thinking and I say out loud "Jesus, I trust you", because I do.  I trust Him so much.  To be honest, fear does not come upon me often at all.  I feel like me.  Sleepy, but me. 

I have never used this blog to address anyone, so this post is very difficult for me because I'm not speaking to anyone specific at all. I just want everyone know collectively that I'm not dead yet and only the Lord knows when that will be. I have to say that I feel very much like the Monty Python skit "Bring out your dead", and I'm the guy slung over the shoulder shouting "I'm not quite dead yet...". On the other hand, as much as that makes me laugh, watching "It's a Wonderful Life" will mean something much more to me this year, because it is.

God Bless,


Monday, December 3, 2012

the news we didn't want....................

Well, PJ and I rec'd the news we didn't want on Friday - and I'm going to be very blunt here, if you don't mind.  My liver is shutting down and there's nothing they can do about it.  Seems my billirubin jumped a whole point last Thurs then again on Fri - and they (meaning the medical director of CTCA and the intake dr. for inpatient) said any further treatment will cause my liver to shut down completely immediately.  My liver has been beat up so much, it is currently working at 600% capacity more than it should be.  Not good.
At first I cried, then stopped, then cried again.  That seems to be the pattern.  I cry, then stop, then cry, then stop.

So I've been sent home to live out the remainder of my life, wth a Hospice team. I can't fucking believe it. Party of me thinks - I go through this crappy shit, all this chemo, theresphere, quadrasphere - and this is what I get?  None of it worked, the cancer kept growing, and here i am. 

Then, on the other hand, I'm so tired.  So tired of fighting, I just want to live out these following days, weeks, months - whatever (I'm pretty yellow so that's why I stop at months) here with my family and friends.  However, the sucky part (not that it all doesn't suck) is that I still have the broken pelvis, the edema, the neuropathy that is affecting my living.  Like I don't get to enjoy the remaining time without this excruciating pain - everywhere - and that sucks.

I feel like I'm in some sort of movie.  Like it's happening all around me, but not to me directly.  If that makes sense.  We elected to tell our family first.  Told my mom, and she cried a little, taking it all in. 
Told my sweet angels, which was the singlemost heartbreaking thing I've ever had to do I think.  I watched their faces and they just dropped.  Madeline started crying a little, then said 'Mom I wish we had three lives, then we could live one, die then come back and live again'.  Ginger looked at me with no expression and said 'It's my fault'.  I held her close and said "no, no my sweet angel, it's not your fault - it's not anyone's fault".  Told my sister, who was quiet and stoic.  She asked if I wanted her to come out earlier than Jan, I said I didn't know.  I don't know how to answer this question.  It's like by me answering I'm saying "yea, I think  may die then".  Then my daddy and his beautiful wife Nancy.  Also heart wrenching.  To hold my father in my arms on the couch and both of us sob together.  This is surreal.  Now here.  Christmas is usually my ultimate obsession, however now, not so much.  I'm so crushed that I wasn't able to experience NYC with my family, it was one of my lifelong dreams to show my kids the Thanksgiving
Day parade, which we didn't do because of my mothers health decline.  Little did we know.  I suppose it just wasn't supposed to happen.  I need to trust that.

My body is just unrecognizable to me.  My belly is distended, my skin color is yellowing, I hardly have the strength to get around so the walker is my best friend these days.  So I avoid mirrors these days.  And of course I would have JUST placed like the biggest MAC order of my life.  Any one interested in some fabUlous MAC makeup barely used?  Grrr.

I'm not afraid to die.  I can't wait to meet Jesus with open arms.  But I wish it wasn't now.  I want so bad to be a wife to my husband and grow old together.  I have sooooo much to teach my girls, about being girls, and women, and wives.  Why is this being taken away from me?    We purchased a video camera from Walmart so I can start working on recording messages to them.  To be honest, I don' know where to start.  My friend Jennifer had a great idea of sending them birthday cards, which I will start on this week.  It is all so overwhelming.

I've been sitting here at the kitchen table now for a couple of hours typing and my feet are filling with fluid, and it's me and the girls home here alone this morning, so I'll need to sign off here. But not to worry, I'll be back.  This blog will again become what I need to get through this. 

God Bless -


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thank you sir, may I have another...(ultra-painful ultrasound)

Hi there. PJ, Dina's husband here. Wanted to provide an update from our most recent adventure:

Saturday – Liver pain starts and increases in intensity.

Sunday – Unsettled feeling throughout the day.

Monday – Terrible pain in the abdomen, especially on the right side. Took her to CTCA’s Internal Medicine clinic where they started working her up. She was admitted to the inpatient wing to begin addressing the pain and the swelling of the legs and abdomen. A CT scan was performed where the Dr saw a large amount of fluid had accumulated on the right side. The last CT was performed on 10/28, which did not show this fluid. Dr then drained 2800cc of fluid from this area. Pain management was discussed, as well as the fluid accumulation in the belly. Blood work performed which yielded high levels of bilirubin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilirubin).

Tuesday – Ultrasound of the liver was performed and pain management procedures put in place. Episodes of intense pain experienced throughout the day. Ultrasound reviewed looking for blockages of the common bile duct (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_bile_duct) and portal vein (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatic_portal_vein). None were visible. Blood work performed which yielded a lower level of bilirubin.

Wednesday – Second ultrasound performed looking for fluid accumulation on the right side. Fluid found to have started collecting again. Efforts continued to manage pain. New diuretic prescribed. Blood work performed which yielded a yet lower level of bilirubin.

Thursday – Further pain management efforts. Blood work performed which yielded bilirubin levels had returned to the same amount as Monday. GI Dr firmly convinced the distended belly is caused by constipation.

That's about it. Will update with more later. Many thanks in advance for your thoughts and prayers