Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Light at the End

So I'll admit, I abandoned my blog. The last 3 months have been the hardest for me. You would think the hardest part of all this would have been the treatment. As soon as I thought I had finished the most difficult time in my life, little did I know, the most difficult time was just beginning. This is hard for me to talk about and that's why I've been steering clear of my blog page. I've tried a couple of times to write a post but I would find myself not being completely honest and I figured until I could be honest, there was no point in writing. The worst and most horrible time in my life started a couple weeks after I had my last chemo treatment. I was feeling horrible from chemo but that wasn't just it. Something in me was starting to change. The normally positive Sienna was starting to fade away. Laughter was starting to become a foreign action to me and I was becoming withdrawn from the things that used to make me the most happy. This is what I really don't want to say but have to...I started to feel myself drifting away from Presley. Not in the sense that I wasn't taking care of her but the overwhelming joy I used to feel from the little things like waking up to her sweet noises she made in the morning, was fading. Then I started to notice a complete lack of motivation. I could not do ANYTHING that wasn't completely necessary. Nothing seemed exciting and I could find the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. The most horrible part is that it just continued to get worse. Everyday was like a bad dream. I waited for each day to end. My husband would talk to me and even though I could hear him, I couldn't understand anything that he was saying. I felt a complete void and that void grew everyday. Until it consumed me. I began thinking horrible and terrible thoughts about myself. I convinced myself that I was a terrible mother and that my family would be better off without me. I don't even remember half of the things that I was thinking at that time in my life because none of my thoughts were even rational. All I know was life did not seem worth living. Then the guilt set in. I felt guilty for not wanting to live because I knew how blessed I was to still be here. How blessed I was to have this beautiful daughter. I was so angry too because I couldn't figure out how I made it through 4 rounds of chemo with such an awesome outlook, only to hit rock bottom when I was done. I could go on forever about how horrible I felt because there are no words to express how utterly horrible this experience was. Chemo was a walk in the park compared to depression. If I could make up my own definition of depression it would read something like this ;
de·pres·sion [dih-presh-uhn] The act of losing sight of every bit of joy you ever had for every single beautiful thing in your life and at the same time remembering how good it felt to feel those beautiful feelings, knowing you can't make those feelings come back. HOPELESSNESS
Even that can't explain how bad it is. I never really believed in real depression until I experienced it. The part that really confuses me is the fact that I could be so far gone and not even know it. It wasn't until my sister came down from New York to help me during radiation that I realized I was depressed. The only reason I realized it is because she flat out told me "You're depressed!!" That same day I talked to one of the counselors at my Radiology office. Just opening up to my sister and the counselor made me feel so much better. It was like the burden of having to try to fix myself had been lifted. Just hearing that what I was experiencing wasn't my fault and that there was something we could do to make it go away, made me see the light at the end of the tunnel again. So we called my Oncologist and they immediately put me on an anti-depressant and came to the conclusion that the hormone therapy they had just recently taken me off, is what brought on the depression. Of course it took about a month the for the medication to kick in but it did eventually. I made it through that entire month of radiation, I don't know how but I did. Well yes, I do know how and I will tell you. Had it not been for my faith in God, I promise you, I would not be here today. I don't like saying this either but there was a point during all that where I had actually convinced myself that I was not a good person and the world would be better off without me in it. So I was actually researching on the internet to try and find somewhere that said if you killed yourself you would still make it into heaven!! Sounds so silly but I was!! I was in such horrific turmoil in my mind that I was looking for a way out, any way out. Had it not been for my faith in God and the Bible, I wouldn't be here. Just knowing in my heart of hearts that there is a God and that he is with me at all times, even when I feel alone, didn't allow me to take that step in the complete wrong direction. Also, just the fear of knowing that if there were a hell and it felt like anything I had been experiencing the last month....then I don't want to go jump from this hell right into another!! So I prayed and read my Bible almost constantly. And even though it didn't give me complete relief or ultimately a miraculous healing, it kept me hanging on until I got some help. That's what faith can do! If you can just take a step back and realized that sometimes what you think the answer to your problem is, may very well be the answer, but the answer will come in God's timing and in God's very own way. So the medication kicked in and I am 150% better! I can laugh again, I can enjoy my daughter again, I'm participating in a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I'm reaching out to people, finding joy in the smalls things, becoming a new and better version of myself. I am so thankful for every little thing because I know how it feels to not be thankful for those things. I pray that someday if someone is ever experiencing what I went through that they might read this and know they are not alone. That maybe they can realize, even if it's for only a few short seconds, that feelings are only feelings and we do not have to feel guilty for them. We do not have to feel responsible for things that are completely out of our hands. That it is okay to be weak and fragile or cry out for help. That the complete worst times in our lives, bring forth the very best times. All things in time will pass and if you can just hold on for one more minute, the next will come and take you one step closer to the light at the end of that dark tunnel.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Where have I been?

Where have I been?? I've been lost to be honest. Everyday is harder than it should be. My counselor says I'm going through, what she calls "Recovery Depression." Everyone goes through it after going through some kind of trauma in their life. Now that the dust is starting to settle from the last 4 or 5 months of crazy, I'm starting to feel all these feelings I didn't know that I had. I've spent all this time trying so hard to be positive and then one morning I woke up and just couldn't do it anymore. Now the anxiety is setting in. The worry of life. The grieving for lost things. I've had days where I simply could not do anything but take care of my daughter. Making myself a plate of food didn't even seem important enough to get the energy together to actually do it. I've spent days just sitting there trying so hard to do a load of laundry. I would literally sit on my bed and try to talk myself into getting up but I just couldn't do it. I would drink coffee to the point where I got the jitters to try and round up some energy or motivation...but nothing. My life seems hopeless at times. Now I know that's a ridiculous feeling and it makes no sense but I do feel it at times. When I was first diagnosed with cancer I asked myself, "What did I do to deserve this?" I truly felt as if I had made so many mistakes in my life that God gave me cancer. That's another ridiculous feeling but I felt it and I am starting to feel it again. Now I am starting to feel it about other hardships in our life. As if I am this one big ball and chain dragging my family down. If only I had a job, we wouldn't have money problems. If only I had the energy, our house wouldn't be a wreck or the laundry would be done. If only I hadn't been sick for the last 5 months I could have been a better mother to Presley. I'm the reason our lives have been so difficult. I'm almost it tears writing this now because all my feelings lately are so completely overwhelming. I just want to be happy and laugh. I've always been able to make myself smile through the pain but not now. So all of this week has been these feelings and much more, which was why I immediately made an appointment with my counselor. We talked it all over and she said this is completely normal. The sad thing, she said, is there is nothing anyone can do to help me. I just have to go through this and give myself the time I need to grieve and heal. To be honest, I was hoping she said there was some kind of happy pill she could give but I guess not! She said I need to check in with myself daily to see how I am really feeling and if I need to cry then go ahead and cry. I haven't been allowing myself to cry or even feel those feelings and obviously, it caught up with me! So for now I am just trying to take my life day by day. I'm trying not to let these worries, worry me.

Presley keeps me going though. She is growing daily. She is already sitting up all by herself, rolling over and putting everything in her mouth! She does the sweetest thing when I'm putting her to sleep. Right before she is about to fall asleep, she takes her little hand and touches my face. It's like she is studying my face with her hands. I love it. If it wasn't for God's perfect timing and placing her in my life when he did, I don't know how I would be making it through!

I am now about a month out from my last chemo. I'm starting to get my strength back and the nausea is almost completely gone! My port has been removed so I no longer have an ugly bump sicking out of my chest. Up next...radiation. My first day of radiation will be August 5th. I went in for my planning appointment on Friday. They had to make a mold for me to lay in and put a few tattoo dots so they make sure to position me in the same way every time. I'll probably have 20 treatments, which will take about a month. My sister is coming to stay with me for that month because I'll need someone to sit with Presley every morning. I'm really looking forward to her being here. I really could use the company and help during the day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Life, My Best

Feeling a little down right now
Can't really describe why
When I think about my life the past few months
Makes me want to cry

I will never laugh again
With a carefree sort of tone
Something inside me has changed
With all this pain that I have known

I don't know what to expect
When I'm finally together again
Will I be able to find my way in life
Or will this broken heart ever mend

My husband believes I'm still the same
My daughter never knew
I somehow don't know how to be her anymore
Because of this entirely different view

I am happy for my suffering
I am thankful for the pain
But give me something more to hold onto
My heart can't take the strain

Like a jigsaw puzzle
I am working through this mess
Trying to fit and a corner into the middle
And trying to give my life, my best

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Presley's First Time at the Pool!

Don't have a lot to say tonight but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Life has been so hard the past 4 months and it will truly be a blessing to be back to myself again. I actually took Presley to the pool today with the help of my sister. She played in the water and loved it! It was nice to see he kicking around having a good time. I think she will be a water baby. She is just so happy all the time! It's so special to see her little personality coming through already. In the morning time, before she even opens her eyes, as soon as she hears my voice, she smiles. It's the most precious thing. She is laughing a bit but only when she really feels like it. It gives me such a great feeling to hear her laugh.
It was nice for me to feel semi-normal for a bit today. I had a big hat on so I'm sure people didn't notice that I have no hair but that is something that I guess I do try and hide. It's pretty embarrassing to be a female and bald. Now...if I were just completely bald, that would be one thing but I have little baby bird hairs and they look kind of ugly. So I would rather hide those and keep them to myself. I did end up getting worn out with in the first 30 minutes at the pool and we had to turn around and go home but that's all part of recovering I guess. Tomorrow will be even better. I believe each day will continue to get better.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

1 Negative PET Scan and I am CANCER FREE!!!!

"Negative PET/CT study. There has been complete resolution of the hyper metabolic left axillary lymph node mass evident on the previous study. Today's study shows no evidence of active lymphoma at any nodal or extra-nodal site."

Great news everyone....I AM CANCER FREE!!!!! Just had my first negative PET scan I am now in remission! I couldn't be more happy. I feel like a different person! I had my final chemotherapy treatment on Friday so I've been feeling pretty bad the past few of days. Today, I was actually able to get up out of bed but Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday I was completely out of commission. This last one will definitely be the hardest. I never fully recuperated from my third treatment so I went right into the fourth feeling bad. I don't care more chemo....ever!! I am just going to believe and pray with all my heart that I never get cancer again. I know that no matter what gets thrown into my life, I can deal with it but I really hope cancer is not one of those things. I found out that I was in remission kind of by accident. I always have to go in for a visit right before my treatment to get a blood count and make sure that white blood cells are back to normal and ready for chemo. I had my PET scan the week before and waiting on those results so when I went in for my appointment that was all I could think about. My worst nightmare was that my PET scan was going to come back not as favorable as they would like and I would have to have 6 treatments instead of just the 4. Anyway, I was about 15 minutes late to my appointment, because of traffic and they had to take the patient before me in so I ended waiting forever! I was so nervous. Then the nurse practitioner tells me that since I didn't request to get my results at the front desk that she couldn't get them for me...they needed to be printed off!! Seriously, I couldn't believe what she was telling me. What would make them think I wouldn't want my results?? So I think she could tell that I was a little upset with that answer and magically, it took her less than 2 minutes to find and print my results. So she goes out of the room, comes back a minute later and tells me that my scan was negative and this will be my final chemo. I felt like crying. In my head I had always thought that I had to have a few negative PET scans before they actual label you "in remission." I immediately asked her this and she said "Oh well you're in remission now!!" I felt like crying even more! I didn't expect such great news all in one day! First my scan is negative now I am in remission!!! The cancer that I once had in my body is not there anymore. I am healed! God is so amazing. Truly. I can't even explain how great the feeling is to tell people that I am in remission. It feels like I am a brand new person. I have all these plans for my life and I am constantly thinking about the things I am going to be able to do in the very near future. Like take my daughter for a walk or to the store, all by myself with no help, go jump on an elliptical machine and work out for an hour, grow hair, take a drive without getting car sick, clean my house, run up the stairs!!! The running up the stairs things is kind of my thing. No matter what, I always run up stairs. It's something people notice or always thought was silly of me. Ever since I started chemo, I just can't do that. I can barely walk up the stairs. We live on the third floor and it takes me like 15 minutes to get up to my door. I hate it and it is one of those constant reminders that I am weak. I just am so excited for my life to begin again. I am so thankful to be able to become the person I once was but this time an even better version. I am going to be able to be such a better mom and wife. I feel like Presley hasn't really gotten the best of me because I've constantly had help but knowing that I am on the road to recovery I am going to change all that and be the best mom! Ever since I found out the tiniest things make me want to cry. I just feel so emotional. Life looks so different to me now. Going through the hell that I've been through I am going to try and never take life for granted again. Life is beautiful and so worth living. Live it to the fullest because you never know what can jump out at you and try to steal your joy and your freedom. Be thankful for your loved ones, because they are the ones that are going to help you make it through the hard times like what I've experienced. We couldn't have made it through all this without the help of our family and friends, just no way. I can't wait to be in the position to help again. I haven't been able to do things for others the way I used to and I am so looking forward to being a helper again. I love to help and be there for others and since I've gone through all this I am going to love it even more.
Presley is getting so big! She smiles all the time, laughs, and we've caught her occasionally sucking on her thumb! A habit I would really rather her not pick up on but she looks so cute when she does it! I think, I would like to take her to the pool today! I may not be 100% up to it but I have my mom and sister here with me to help so I think I just might be able to pull it off. I've been waiting for over a month to go. I'm a little bit nervous but I am going to take the chance and go on up there. If I start feeling bad I'll just come right back home. I am going to do it!! Well....just heard some thunder in the distance...might have to wait until tomorrow! Ha ha

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life is a Party at the Doctors Office....

Believing is never seeing
I believe I am well, I believe I am fine
I know God is with me, never far behind

Loving is always feeling
Feeling happy, feeling mad
Having even more, when times are so bad

Laughing is always making fun
Fun at the doctors, smile through the pain
Laughing is the cure for so many things

Crying is so healing
Feel it pouring out, like rain from the sky
When you're crying, it's impossible to tell a lie

The truth, we have no choice
Sneaks up when you expect it the least
Tells us a sad story so very often
The truth, may it always bring you peace

Feeling kind of sad today, so I thought writing might make me feel better. I'm ready...I am so ready for this to be over and done with! My body is getting weaker with every treatment and I just want it back! I'm sitting here in bed and barely have the energy to write but I know I'll sleep better if I talk a little and get some of this off my mind. The days are so long for me now. I find myself counting down the hours until I can go to bed again. Only because everyday that passes is one day closer to being done and being HEALED! I am constantly trying to receive my healing and believe that it is coming. It's tough. Especially with the fact that I have a PET scan tomorrow to see how much progress I've made. I have this fear that I'm going to have to have more chemo than we thought or that for some reason my body didn't respond to the chemo as well as it should have. I feel like if they tell me I have to have 6 treatments instead of 4 I will have a very tough time accepting that. As it is right now, I feel like this 4th treatment will push me past any limit I've ever had. I just have to believe that the PET scan will come back showing that the chemo has been working. It just has to.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


It's almost 3 am and I'm awake. I woke up a little hungry so I made some food and now I'm really not going to be able to fall back asleep! I'm just sitting here looking how precious my daughter is. She truly is my whole world. I know she's nice and comfy in her crib but I just want to pick her up and hold her close. No matter what is wrong in my life or in the world she can always make me feel better. She is just so innocent and pure. She always smiles at me when I look at her, she always holds on to me when I hold her...she loves me, even though she doesn't know it yet. I can feel it every time I look at her. Being a mother is the most precious gift God can give anyone. We get to carry and create this perfect little thing in our bellies for 9 months, we get to wonder and dream about what or who they will be, we get to feel them kicking around and moving in there....we get to know them, even when they are in the womb. Then, when they finally come out, it's a joy you can never describe. I forever have a picture in my head of her when she first came out, lying on my belly and looking up at me. She wasn't even crying. She was just looking at me as if she knew who I was. I knew who she was. She was exactly how I had pictured her in my dreams. This beautiful dark haired angel. She has allowed me to feel more in these last 4 months than I have in my entire lifetime. Though I have a huge struggle right now, it doesn't even matter because I have her. I thank God for her every second. She is the perfect dream...

Friday, June 4, 2010


Today is the day...again. It came so fast this time, probably because I was really dreading it this time. Yesterday was a tough day because all I thought about was today! Chemo treatments are like getting kicked when you're down . No, chemo is like getting kicked right when you're about to get back up! Very frustrating. But it is what it is and after today I only have 1 left!
So, as I am sitting here in this chair I thought I would go through a Chemotherapy treatment, step by step.
The first thing you do to prepare for a chemotherapy treatment is put a numbing cream over the port area so you don't have to feel the needle being pushed into the port but of course I forgot to put mine on before I left this morning! I actually got into my chair around 11:40 and first thing we did was put some ice on my port so it wouldn't hurt as bad. Then they placed the needle into the port, flushed it with saline solution and checked for a blood return to make sure it was working correctly. The crazy thing is the bulk of the chemo treatment is the nurse actually preparing you for the chemo, which they call giving pre-meds. The pre-meds first include Granisetron, which is a push med, meaning the nurse has to manually push through the port rather than hanging it and letting it drip over time. They push different meds for different reasons but I think they push this one because it comes in a very small amount. The next pre-med is a steroid called dexamethasone and they hang that one instead of pushing it. The reason for giving steroids is it helps your body to respond better to the chemo treatment as well as helps kill the cancer cells. The next one is the Emend and that's the best of them all! It is a very powerful anti-nausea medication. So powerful and expensive that they have to get special orders for it. For example, my insurance will only give me the exact dose right before each treatment because it is so expensive. I take the pill form on day 2 and 3 after the treatment. So far I am still waiting for the Emend to finish dripping then they will start my treatment and give me Doxorubicin or hydroxydoxorubicin, which is the H part of CHOP. The side effects of this one are of course nausea but also hair loss. It can also have a negative effect on your heart if given in large amounts. There are tons of other side effects but these I think are the main ones. The Doxorubicin is a push medication. This one has to be pushed instead of letting it drip because this medication can burn your skin if the port stopped working and didn't go through a vein. So when pushing this one she continually checks for a blood return just to make sure. It comes in 2 separate vials and right before she pushes each she flushes it with saline. For some reason that saline gives you the nastiest taste in your mouth and smells bad! That is the only thing that gives off a smell or taste when it's going through the port. I hate it! So we are all done with the the H now we move on to the Vincrisitne or oncovin, which is the O part of CHOP. This is also a push medication. They push this one because they've found that this medication has a better response when pushed fast instead of a slow drip. Along with plenty of others, hair loss is also a side effect of this medication. Then the last part of chemo that is given here is the Cyclosphosphamide, which is the C part. The main side effect of this one is nausea. Had I not been given so much anti-nausea medication before hand this would be the medication that made me the most nauseous and would cause me to vomit. I actually respond very well to the anti-nausea medications because some people will still get extremely sick and will have to be given much stronger medication for nausea. The way they gauge it is if you have had children, how your first trimester went. Chances are if you had really bad morning sickness then you will probably have a much stronger reaction to this drug. This one is given through the IV drip and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Once that is done, they flush you again with Saline and send you on your way! The P part of chop stands for Prednisone and I take that in a pill form on day 1-5 of chemo. Those 5 days aren't fun because steroids make you very jumpy and on edge. It's not a good feeling. I pretty much have to take a sleeping pill if I want to get any rest. The Prednisone does help with my appetite though. It makes me very hungry and while I am on the steroids and do a lot better about eating. Once I'm off my appetite kind of dwindles away. So that's it. It's almost 2 o'clock and the process of CHOP completed! 3rd treatment is over with and now I only have one to go. Then just one month of radiation and we're done...CAN'T WAIT!!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Suntans, Tattoos and Radiation...What??

It feels like years since I last wrote on my blog! I guess the past week I haven't had much to say or I've felt so horrible I didn't feel like saying it. This second treatment was definitely worse and for some reason this week seemed worst than the last week! I think its because this past week I didn't have someone here with me at all times to help so I became really worn down taking care of Presley. I've been feeling more angry than usual with the fact that I can't do all the things with her that I would like. Also, the fact that I am just anticipating the third treatment now to be horrible because this one was so bad. It's really been getting me down to think that this is not even almost over for me yet. I just want to be back to normal so bad that I end up doing things that I shouldn't, like going for a walk when I'm really not up for it, then I wear myself out and end up nauseous. Plus the fact that my brain does not work anymore! I made all the effort to get to the PET scan I thought I had this morning at 7:30 just for them to tell me I had the dates wrong and it's not until Wednesday morning at 7:30!!! Now I have to do that all over again. On top of my brain being messed up from pregnancy, now I have chemo brain!! It wasn't all a loss because I had see a Radiologist at 9am anyway. The radiologist went over all the pluses and minuses of treatment then tells me that I have to have a month of radiation on the area under my arm to help kill all the cancer and prevent it from spreading. Here is the crazy's one treatment a day, Monday through Friday for 3 1/2 to 4 weeks! She totally blew me out of the water when she said a month. I was told at the very beginning that I would most likely have to have radiation but had forgotten about it through all this. Just when I thought I was almost done, they tack another month on! The whole process is pretty crazy. Before you start treatment you have this long appointment where they go through and map out all your days with you so it fits your schedule. Then they custom fit this covering to go over my body to shield the certain parts from the radiation as well as giving me some custom "dot" tattoos so they can mark exactly where they want to place the radiation. Each day I go it should only take 15 minutes for the treatment. The actual radiation part only lasts a couple of minutes though. I also will get a tan in the immediate spot and maybe even burned but the burning will be minimal. It was a little disappointing to hear that I'd have to go through all that but then she said that the chemo combined with the radiation will give me over a 90% cure rate. So I can't be too upset after hearing that! The biggest risk with the radiation is the fact that they can't fully avoid my breast tissue which will give me a higher chance of getting breast cancer in my lifetime. I didn't know this but all of us women have about an 11% chance of getting breast cancer in our lifetime and mine will just be a little higher. So in the long run, I'll just have to start getting a mammogram every year starting in my early thirties instead of forties. Oh well. I can't worry about everything and I am going to take that bit of information and tuck it away in head but try and not dwell on it.
On the bright side, Presley is being so precious right now! She has this chair that has a mobile thing that goes over it and she has gotten really good at grabbing the rings and toys with her hands. Now she has moved on to grabbing them with her feet! It is so cute! The toy in the middle make noise when you pull it so that's the one she always tries to get her little feet in to pull it. She is totally amazing to me. Another plus is I got her quite a few cute outfits today along with her very first bathing suit! That was a huge purchase. It felt like such a big purchase because she never seemed like she would be old enough to take out in the sun and actually do something with her. She was so fragile and tiny when she was first born and I was extremely protective of her the first 6 weeks of her life. It wasn't until all my medical issues started that I actually took her out. I guess having a million doctors appointments every week kind of threw me into leaving her with other people and taking her out in public. I used to be so paranoid about everything. Now I'm just accepting that she is in God's hands and as long as I pray for her every day and do the best I know how, that's all I can do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just Another Day

Presley. Beautiful and perfect.
The picture of what life is all about
No one makes me smile like her
In her eyes, there is a God, no doubt

Murphy. Strong and daring.
The picture of what laughter really ought to be
You changed my life when you came along
There will never be another, like you and me.

Cancer. Keen and relentless.
The picture of fear, loss and things unknown.
Though my body is a slave to you these days
I will always be Queen, you will never take over this thrown.

Faith. Survival and happiness.
The picture of what gets me through
Always here to guide me in the dark.
Father, I only possess this strength, given through you.

God. Sovereign and forgiving.
The picture of strength and might
Never gives up on me or forsakes me
Only through this trial, have I found my new life.

Presley is now sleeping soundly in her crib. I guess I haven't mentioned yet that she has been so fussy all week because I think she might be getting her first tooth. My mom said my older sister got her first one at 3 months but we'll see. All signs lead to that; she's got a little white dot on her bottom gum, she's fussy and keeps wanting to chew on her hands. It actually made me a little sad because it means she is growing up too fast. I am just enjoying every stage of her life so much that when one passes I kind of miss it. She giggles now but not a full laugh, she's about to roll over, a tooth...Gosh! She is going to be 4 months here soon too. We went on a walk tonight with her and she was so quiet the whole time. She just sat in her stroller, chewed on her blanket and looked around. It's also so sweet to see how Gary is so much more interested in her now that she's actually responding and doing things. She smiles if you just look at her and he loves it! He feeds her a bottle almost every night when he gets home and holds her until she falls asleep. It's so precious and makes me a happy momma to watch it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

This is Who I am Right Now

This is who I am right now
No need to try and hide it

This is all I can do for now
So I'm trying to stand up and fight it

Of all the nightmares and all the cures
Not one of them ended in these few words

But I know now that I'm here for a reason
And like everything else
Life has it's own time and season

So I love the ones
Who bare this burden the same
And anyone else who's ever known this kind of pain

Like treading in waters so very deep
Trying to find the lost part of me

I find deeper meanings of myself
In broken places I've never felt

In the end it's all about your heart
Not what you say or do that sets you apart

So I give of myself what I really mean
Hoping I can ease the pain for someone
Who's done the same for me

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Be Thankful for What you Have...

I'm feeling like this treatment is going be worse. I was sick all last night, have no appetite and keep getting hot/cold flashes from this hormone injection I've been getting. All I wanted to do was just go back to bed but those steroids make it hard. Gary and I had our counseling appointment and it went pretty well but looking back I should have scheduled it for a time when I was NOT going to be on steroids. I felt a little jittery in there and got a little more upset than I normally would. So bad mistake on my part. Still, we did get some things accomplished and I'm hoping the techniques she gave us will help us to cope better and not take our frustrations out on each other as well as forgive each other for some past hurts. Today has been pretty good. We had some great friends over who were so sweet to bring us dinner. I haven't really been in a cooking mode lately so that helps out a lot! I used to LOVE cooking. I pretty much never cook anymore because I just get too tired. Oh won't last forever. I found this really cool quote that lifted my spirits:

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
In my situation I feel like it's important to focus on what I do have. So I'll make a list.
1. My Daughter, who makes me smile, feel a love like I never knew I had and makes everything that is wrong all ok.
2. My Husband, the man I've been in love with from the moment we met and have spent the last 5 years loving.
3. Chemotherapy, even though it is very painful and has taken a lot from me, it is going to cure this horrible disease. I believe I will be cured.

There are so many other things but I thought I would list the top 3. I think if every one took time out every day to look at the things they are thankful for, it would make any bad day a whole lot better.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Screw Lymphoma!

Starting to feel a little sad today. I'm just dreading starting all over again with treatment. I guess the biggest thing I struggle with is not being able to get out and do things! I'm just such an active person and it's been really hard to not be able to go outside for a walk when I want, work out or go do all the things that I would be doing if I weren't going through treatment. So I'm trying to make this last week count and have been. It's just really tough to not look at the negative end of all this. That's another thing I have realized over the last week, I have to look at the negative. I know it's very important for me to be positive but I can't ignore my feelings either because then I'm just going to have to deal with it all later. I guess I feel a little guilty when I have those moments when I want to cry or get the feeling that this is all not fare. I feel like I have so much to be thankful for. I'm in stage 1 and I feel like there are so many people who aren't as blessed to have a something that can be curable. We were watching a little documentary on 'Locks of Love' and they were interviewing these children who were receiving there wigs and the whole process that goes with it. I felt so bad for those little kids. They were still so happy too. That's one thing I can't understand. Why do little children have to suffer like that? There was this one little girl who was so insecure about being bald and wouldn't go anywhere without something covering her head. I felt so bad for her. Growing up is so hard and those kids have to deal with not only cancer but losing their hair. So after watching that I felt like to be complaining about my situation when there are sweet innocent children who have it way worse than I, seems wrong. My mom keeps telling me that I need to cry and let my emotions out because that's what they're there for. I don't know. I just can't get a hold on how I should feel right now or if my being so positive this far is me being in denial of what is actually going on?? Gary and I have an appointment to see a therapist on Friday to talk about what were going through and to help us understand how to handle it together. I think us having our first baby and then having to deal with this is too much for us to take on alone. To be honest, we have been taking our frustrations out on each other and that is the worst thing we could be doing. Why is it that people take things out on the people they love the most?? It's not right but we all do it. I think I'm going to get into counseling for just myself too. I'm struggling with feeling like I don't recognize myself. Obviously, physically I don't. To make it worse, I was at my follow up appointment yesterday and one of the nurses that I had been talking to and who always said hi to me every time I went in didn't recognize me this time. I had my scarf on and wasn't wearing any makeup but I said hi to her and she said hi back but it was obvious she had no clue who I was. I could tell she was trying to place me but it kind of hurt. It hurt because it was just one of those moments where I couldn't deny that this has all taken a toll on me physically. But like I said in my last post I'm just so much more outgoing than I was before. So that's a plus. But along with parts of me that are more secure with myself there are still those parts that are more insecure. I guess I've been used to being such a healthy, strong person it's hard knowing and dealing with the fact that my body is sick. Then add on knowing all the long term affects the chemo will have on my body is difficult too. I guess I just need help right now learning how to deal with all these thoughts and feelings. Hopefully the therapist will have some good advice for Gary and I.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Now this is all so real. I had to finally shave my head. I actually had a lot of hair left but it was just falling out everywhere. I think that part was more traumatic than actually shaving it. It was like I was losing a piece of myself every time I looked down and saw it all over my clothes. So it’s a done deal. I have cancer and I’m bald. Gary shaved it for me…which wasn’t too bad of an experience. I tell you one thing, he takes a lot more time to shave his own head than he took to shave mine! He left some longer pieces at certain places but I didn’t say anything to him. I’m sure it was a pretty tough thing for him to do. It was very hard for me too. It made me feel like a different person. When I think of myself before I had cancer I feel like I’m a lifetime away from who I used to be. Not just my physical appearance but everything about me has changed. I just don't recognize myself, in the mirror or in my mind. It’s not all bad either. I feel like somewhere over the years I had lost myself. I had lost a big part of my sense of humor, my youth and my faith in God. Having cancer has helped me find myself again. I guess I have gone through a ton of trials in my life but nothing close to as tough as this. Nothing has shook my world enough to make me look at myself and figure out who I really want to be or has made me look at myself and say “Who did I use to be??” So in a big way this cancer is a blessing. I no longer question myself or question everything I say or do. It has given me back the self-esteem I had lost. The thing is I have no idea what caused me to lose all those things either and right now I am in the process of trying to figure that out. I mean I've always been myself around the people I am close to I guess but my problem was being COMPLETELY guarded and insecure around people I didn't know really well. Part of that is normal I guess but I became way too guarded. So yes, it is horrible that I am going to probably be bald for the next year but I am looking at all the things that I have gained already and it is totally worth it! I am going to LIVE!!! I’m going to watch my daughter grow into a beautiful young lady. I am going to be a better wife to my husband. I am going to be a better sister and friend. Most importantly I am going to strive to be a better Christian! I am going to live every day as if it were my last and tell the people in my life how I feel and not hold things in anymore! Life is too short to be unhappy, prideful or negative!

I bought a bunch of fabric on Friday to make scarves because I knew I was going to shave it that night. So I dropped my husband off at work after having lunch and happened to stumble upon this tiny little fabric store. The owner was this sweet older lady. I told her my situation and bless her heart, she was so helpful and gave me a ton of fabric for very cheap. She was definitely a God send. She helped me figure out how much I would need for each scarf and gave me some tips also. I almost forgot to mention that Gary bought me a beautiful antique sewing machine for Mother’s Day! So that’s what I will used to make my scarves and help with my headband and bow making. It is a 1951 Singer and it still works! Those old machines are like classic cars….they run forever! They are built so great that everything on the machine is pretty much fixable. I love it. I guess most people would want a brand new machine but I love old things. I would take an antique over something brand new any day of the week. They just have so much character and my husband knows that about me so that’s why he knew it was the best gift!

I had a beautiful first Mother's Day. We got up and had a wonderful breakfast and took a drive and looked at a bunch a beautiful homes that we could never afford to buy! It was fun! Then Gary, Presley, our dog Mason and I all went for a walk. We walked to the shopping center near our house and got a couple lattes. Gary got a cigar from the shop next to Starbucks and while he was smoking that I went and walked around with Presley. I went into the Christian book store and bought a book that talks about all the amazing women in the Bible and their struggles. I think it will be good for me to read. I know I'm not the only women going through a hard time so it will be encouraging to read about all their trials and how their faith got them through. I am living off faith right now!!

Presley is the most amazing baby. She slept the entire time we were out today. As long as I kept that stroller moving she was happy. I and so blessed with the perfect baby. She pretty much entertains herself already. The only time she cries is if she is hungry or needs something. She gave me another small chuckle today but not a full laugh. I am still working with her! It's so sweet, when I am feeding her she just started to play with the bottle and has been putting her hand over her face when she's sleeping. It is so cute! Some times I swear she is trying to hold that bottle by herself! I do feel bad though because for some reason she doesn't like when Gary holds her. I don't think it's anything Gary is doing other than the fact that she knows when I am not holding her. I know it hurts his feelings a bit but I keep trying to tell him it's totally normal. Another thing is that this is Gary's first time really being around a baby and he is just not as broken in when the babes. It's like babies know when someone inexperienced is holding them. I think over the next month or so she'll come around and maybe stop being so fussy with him. She is just going to fall in love with him when she's old enough to know he's her daddy.

Before I go I wanted to share a poem my older sister Alexis wrote for me after I told her I had shaved all my hair off. It's so beautiful and is something I will always cherish.

I'm Blessed to Know You

I know You,
young and full of life
bright smile and catching laughter
rare as a hand held star
heart like the moon
on a cloudless night

You are still the same
though hands hold now, quite different things
rare to most human kind
we don't walk by the same beaten drum,
you set the beat for us all now

You will always be full
full of the things that summer brings
cool breeze under a shady tree
fire flys in mid-western states
the sweet air of a Squaw dusk
a walk through the meadow
picking flowered bouquets

I know right now you say
"I feel like a different person"
and it may be true
Just know that while everyone
is lost in the worthless things
you are seeing with eyes opened by God
What most of us will never know
and after all is said and done
you will be the wiser and this will all be over.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Summer is my favorite time of year!

Presley in one of her headbands!

Well, tomorrow will be exactly 2 weeks since my first treatment. Feels so good to be further away from that day. I'm actually feeling so much better than I was last week. The fatigue is still pretty bad but at least I'm not having to take my anti-nausea medicine as much. But the bad thing now is my hair is starting to fall out. I've been staying at my mom's for the last few days just to hang out with my sisters and the last 2 nights my hair has been progressively getting thinner. It's mostly just annoying to see your hair falling out all over the place. Every time I looked down I would see my hair on my clothes or on a pillow or on my daughter!! So I got up this morning and decided to just go get another haircut. I'm not quite ready to shave it yet so I just cut it really short. It feels so much better already because I'm not seeing my hairs everywhere and I don't have to keep it back in a ponytail at all times, which was making my head really sore. I haven't told Gary yet so he's just going to have to see it when he gets home!I know everyone said it would be the hardest part and it's true. Watching my hair fall out before my eyes is like a bad nightmare. I really can't imagine it all going. I'm very thankful for all the blessings, like the fact that I'm in stage one, so I'm trying to focus on that. But it's definitely a challenge not to get upset and feel emotional about it. I'm really dreading my next treatment. I just know that it's going to probably be worse than the first and I'm just so enjoying feeling better!
I went on a walk today, it was so beautiful and sunny out. I just really want to enjoy this summer because I truly HATE winter! I just know it's going to be here before I know it, so I want to make sure I get every bit of sunshine I can. Our community has a pool so I can't wait for that thing to open up! The doctors said I need to be careful being out in the sun with all the medication I'm on but still...I'm going anyway! We went to the Gold Cup last weekend and I was outside for most the day and it didn't seem to bother me. It was so much fun. We watched the races of course but it was great to be sitting outside, drinking a little and enjoying the day. We went with one of Gary's friends so it was fun hanging out with them and of course, Gary drank a little too much! But it was still a great day. What it is it with men and the fact that they have no limits?? My husband is the worse! It's so funny because you always know when he's had a little too much to drink because he gets a mean case of the hiccups.
Miss Presley is getting so active!! Still not laughing but she's making a ton of noise and cooing a lot. I've been making her a bunch of headbands and bows for her hair. I'm actually starting an Etsy shop and I'm going to make things to sell on there. Etsy is like a Ebay for homemade things. So you take pictures of whatever you make and try and sell them. So far I've mostly done headbands, bows and hair clips but who knows..I might try clothes at some point. When I was in high school I used to sew so I'm thinking of buying a machine and picking it back up. If my shop actually does something and I actually sell some things I am going to donate a portion of whatever I make to Lymphoma Research or just Cancer Research in general. So I am excited about that!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sisters and Steroids

So today was my first day without steroids. It wasn't as bad as I thought. I was just really, really tired. My older sister Alexis was here with me so we went on a walk and I was feeling pretty tired after a few minutes but I think thats pretty normal. I am going to miss Alexis so much when she leaves. She has been AMAZING to me. It's been such a blessing to have her here to laugh with, talk to and just help in general around the house. There is nothing like having sisters. I think in order to fully understand you would have to have one. That's one of my disappointments with all this, Presley won't have a sibling as close in age as I would like. The doctors said with me getting this monthly shot to suppress my ovaries I should have a good chance of having another baby but we'll just have to wait a lot longer than we thought. I have to be in remission for at least 2 years before they would like us to try and have another. So it's a little sad that Presley won't have a brother or sister until she is probably 4 or 5 but I keep telling myself, "Don't worry about things you can't change!" So I'm really trying. I guess Pres and I will just have to be little buddies and I have no problem with that!! I'm going to be the most entertaining and fun mom ever!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Presley my Grace

Today wasn't anything special...I felt okay and life went on. So I just got the desire to write another little poem for my daughter who is keeping me going right now. My love for her overflows with every additional day. She is the most precious gift from God in the midst of a storm. Thank your Lord for her. I am humbled by you and your amazing timing.

I'm quiet as I listen to you breath
And believe that somehow, this isn't a part of me

This waking up every morning to this handful of pills
Always smiling because I have you to keep me still so real

When you're about to laugh my heart turns so very warm
I dreamt of every possibility for you, even before you were born

I love that you were given out of unfortunate circumstances
Lets me believe you'll be just like me, always willing to take her chances

Though so many things in this world will try to get you down
You'll be the one to stand up and fight the few and final round

God must have something extra special for you

To place you in the midst of such a riddle
And It's such a heavy burden for someone oh so little

But I believe God only gives theses burdens to so very few
And I'm glad he gave them to me and you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Dream for You, Amen

Today I dream a dream for you
That someday maybe you won't go through
These horrible fears of disease and cure
That steal you hair and take your open door
A mother wishes nothing but beautiful things
For her baby girl sleeping so peacefully
Thinking of dandelions, rainbows and blessings from above
And how Jesus' hand is over us with his abundant love

He keeps you safe and saves me for your future
I love you deeply but only he could know
That nothing steals these moments
Nothing takes me from you
Only he keeps me and all our special memories
Because we both are his children
Safe only in his keeping.

Chemo-Day 4

Me and all my sisters together again last Sunday!! First time in 5 Years!!

It's been almost 10 days since I last posted anything. I went back and read my last blog before starting this one and to be honest..I'm not as uppity as I was then. To be honest I feel like CRAP! I had my port put in on Thursday and my first round of chemo on Friday. The infusions nurse I had on Friday was really sweet. She was an older gal who talked a lot but it was kind of comforting because when you're getting pumped full of toxins it's nice not to be focusing only on that. She was going over all the drugs with me before she pushed them but it was really hard to hear or understand what was going on. All I kept thinking was "there's no going back now." Not that I thought that anything would come up or change so I wouldn't have to have Chemotherapy but it pretty much seemed unreal the entire time. So I finished up that day and ate saltines and drank ginger ale. When I was done I thinking maybe chemo wouldn't be that bad. They shot me full of steroids before they started the actual treatment but as soon as they wore off I started to feel it. The biggest thing is that I don't feel like eating or drinking anything and was very fatigued. Fatigued to the point where lifting my 11 pound baby was too heavy. I came home that night and pretty much just slept and tried to drink as much fluid as possible. Saturday morning I had to head back to that same office, same room, same chair, to get a shot. This shot was to help boost my white blood cells to help avoid getting any infections. They said from day 7-14 I will be hugely susceptible to getting infections. So no cutting cuticles, pedicures, manicures, eating food that has been sitting out and a million other things. So that shot will help with all that. The shot burned pretty good but once it was over it felt better. All in all this first treatment has seemed pretty brutal but I'm praying the next will be better.
On a happier note, Presley has slept 9 hours straight for the last 2 nights!! Gary has been taking night duties so thats been a huge help! He does it a little different than I do. Usually when she wakes up crying and its been about 5 or 6 hours I will feed her because I figure she's hungry. What Gary does is just pops a paci in her mouth and she falls back asleep. It works like a charm so I guess I should have been taking advice from him! She is getting so big. I'm so happy getting to watch her grown and become a little human being. She is on the brink of laughing. She let out a little chuckle yesterday but not enough to call it her first laugh. I can't wait for that so I am working with her!
My sister Alexis flew in from CA last weekend so she has been helping a ton! She brought her 11 month old son Jake and it has been so cute watching he and Presley around each other. Last Sunday my Dad had a family get together at his house and we took a ton of pictures! It was so much fun and for just a little bit I forgot I had cancer and was just enjoying the sunshine and time with my family!!

Little Jake and Miss Presley....BEST COUSINS!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ponytail Saturday

Today was a pretty awesome day. I had the bulk of my hair all cut off! I'm donating it to Locks of Love of course but I never thought it would be as easy as it was. My sister, Cezanne came down from New York for the weekend to hang out. So we got up, fed the baby, had our coffee and headed out. First thing, take some mommy daughter pictures with Presley before the big cut. So Presley and I took our pictures, I picked out the ones I liked and while we were waiting for the prints, went to chop off all my hair. I guess I thought it would be a pretty traumatic experience but it wasn't. God has given me such a strength that even the things that I used to think would bother me don't. Don't get me wrong, I had my moment and I cried because me cutting my hair makes this all real but in the end, I don't care anymore that I have cancer. I will get through this and it will only benefit me and make me stronger. I don't care that I had to cut 18 inches of hair off my head today, it's only hair and even when I'm bald I will know that it will eventually grow back. My new philosophy in life is 'Don't sweat the small stuff' and hair is the small stuff! I'm just thanking God that I'm in stage one and have an awesome chance of surviving all this. I just want to include a little story about my husband and he LOVED my long hair. He used to always joke that if I ever cut it he would divorce me! Ever since I've known him I've always had long hair. So of course, I kind of worried about coming home and him seeing me with short hair for the first time. When he saw me all he could say was how much he loved it! He said it was a cute cut and a nice change. I really appreciated that because I know he didn't truly mean it...he liked my long hair. So a few hours go by and I'm picking up around the living room and he says "Baby, I really like your hair..just as much I did before." I know he was just trying to comfort me and he was just saying it so I didn't feel so bad. Him saying that just meant so much to me, even if it was a lie. I am so thankful for my struggle.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tomorrow is another day

Today was a bad day. I don't know why really. I guess this weight is finally starting to feel too heavy. No matter how many times I tell myself, or what the doctors's really hard to believe that I have cancer. I don't look sick, I don't feel sick and I feel like I really didn't have a lot of symptoms. I have an appointment tomorrow to get my hair cut. I think I'm going to chicken out. I figured I wanted time to get used to having short hair, since my hair is passed the middle of my back, before it all falls out but now I don't know. I definitely am going to go get some pictures taken with Presley in the morning. I just want some memories before I get chemo because I know that will take a lot of my energy and of course nobody wants to take family pictures when their hair is falling out! She is getting so big!! It's like today, she discovered how to play with her blanket. She played by herself for most of the day today. She would grab a hold of the blanket with both hands, pull it over her head, kick her legs around a bit and then pull it back down. It was so cute to sit and watch her. She did so well playing alone today I actually had time to clean my husbands FILTHY bathroom. I promised myself I wasn't going to clean it for him because I already told him that I wasn't going after the mess he made! I just couldn't take it anymore. All I can say is men are slobs!! I'm just getting really nervous about how I am going to do all this. Once the chemo starts, which will most likely be soon because I'm having my port put in on Thursday, how will I be able to keep up with this house and a baby?? I know my family will help but they can't do it all. My husband definitely needs to step up. To tell you the truth I'm not sure he will. He's not much of a helper. He has a very hard time doing things around the house. I understand since I'm not working now I should assume most of the household duties but now that all this has happened it just simply can't be that way. I guess my sadness today is attributed to all those thoughts. If I can't even get my hubby to pick up after himself in his own bathroom, how am I going to get his help anywhere else? I'm not trying to bash my husband because we all know men aren't much for cleaning but this is special situation where he is going to have to learn and learn fast. I'm thinking of calling a Therapist that I have spoken with a few times and making an appointment for us so we can get a plan in motion for how we are going to deal with life while I'm having chemotherapy. Bottom line, either I get more help or my mom is going to be seeing a lot more of me around her place!! ha ha But seriously, I will do it.
Writing has been so therapeutic for me. Just sitting down these last few minutes and writing about the joys and frustrations of my day has helped me to realize how blessed I am no matter what I'm struggling with and has really helped me think of solutions for things in my life that need work. The more I blog...the more I like it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good Morning, Biopsy

Today has felt like such a long day. My sister Casandra came this morning to help me since I had my bone marrow biopsy procedure. My appointment was bright an early at 8:30 and of course, we got out of the house late...then traffic. So I was about 20 minutes late to my appointment. We decided to take Presley along since we were going to try and get her blood work done too. I guess I should explain why she needs blood work. I didn't even really want to talk about this but I guess I will. Obviously, I had cancer during my pregnancy and like any mother would be, I am concerned about how that may have affected my daughter. I spoke with my oncologist last week and he said not to worry about it and that it would be extremely unlikely to the point where it would be 'reportable' if something like that were ever to happen. I guess the only cases they have found cancer to pass to the child would be in a mother who had extreme melanoma all over her body during pregnancy. Either way, I just wanted peace of mind. So I expressed my feelings to my pediatrician and to ease my worries she said I could take her for CBC. So that's why I was going to get her blood work done. Now back to my appointment, the bone marrow biopsy. Not as bad as you might think, pain wise. Mentally, it's pretty bad. For me it was the anticipation. So they do the procedure in the office and takes no more than 20 minutes. At first they tell me to lay on my stomach and I have to fold my jeans down just enough to where they can get to the top part of my hip bone. They clean it off with Iodine and give my Lidocaine to numb the area. The pain really wasn't that bad except for when they were extracting the marrow. Even that was just a quick shooting pain and then it was over. The absolute worst part is when they are putting the needle in and pulling it out. They have to put two different needles in at two different times. To me it was just more of a psychological thing than pain because you can feel them trying to get the needle into the bone and all you have is your imagination to wonder whats going on behind your back! All I can say is that if you ever have to get one done DO NOT watch the YouTube video on it being done first. I just watched one and it's much better not to have a visual until after it is done. All in all not bad but I guess compared to labor pains nothing is... just another way Presley has been a blessing in all this! I'm just glad it is over. They said it will take a few days to get results and I am just having faith that this will all be fine. I am so tired right now and Presley is sitting here on my chest sleeping while I'm writing. I think I will join her! It's been a long day and I will sleep well tonight knowing it's all behind me. Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pres and I are both getting stuck with needles this week :(

Poor baby Presley had her shots today!! Our appointment was at 8 and since my hubby and I only have the one car, instead of dragging Presley out super early to take him to work, I decided we would walk. We live in a little community and the center where her Pediatrician is like 5 minutes away. So we had a nice little walk but it was a little chilly this morning. This was my first time going to this office, it was pretty nice but I didn't like how the nurses think they can just go and pick up your baby and pass her around the office like a little rag doll!! It actually worked to my advantage because she was screaming at the time I was trying to fill out paper work. So one of the nurses just came out from behind her desk and unbuckled her and brought her back to show her friends. Not that I'm judging and I know they all mean well but it's just not something I would do. Either way, it was a really nice office and I think we'll stay there. I really can't believe how many shots they have to get at once. 4 of them! It's all for her own good but geez! I hated it! The nurse told me to hold her arms down while she gave her the shots but I made sure to stand behind her so she didn't see my face when the lady was sticking her. I was afraid she would remember me letting someone do that to her and then hold a grudge against me for the rest of her life! ha ha I know that's stupid but just didn't want to take the chance. She screamed her head off at first but once I picked her up and held her for a minute she settled down. I did have to give her some baby Tylenol when we got home cause she was pretty fussy after. It so horrible to see her cry.
Tomorrow...Bone Marrow Biopsy. Not looking forward to it. They said it's painful but not that bad. I just have a hard time believing that. They stick a needle inside your bone and suck out a little of whats in there. I'm just trying to figure out how they break through the bone? Actually, I don't really want to know because then I will be much more afraid. My husbands friend who is a Nurse Practitioner said that I shouldn't be afraid because childbirth is much worse but I was more afraid of the epidural when I had my girl than the actual labor pains! I was induced and I think I went a little over 3 hours with contractions so that might not be saying a lot but we'll see. I'll let you know. What I am forgetting to say is that we got some great news at the doc yesterday!! They are categorizing me as stage 1 for now, so I have a really good chance of being cured!!! The PET scan didn't show that it had spread to any other part of my body and as long as everything comes back okay from the biopsy tomorrow they will keep me there. Now I just need to prepare for the Chemotherapy. The kind I am getting is called CHOP. I will go in once every three weeks...which doesn't seem too bad. I will get anywhere from 4 to 6 treatments and maybe some radiation around the area. Doc said they can control my nausea pretty well but I will feel some fatigue that will worsen with every treatment. My hair will be falling out too. :( Oh well...I am going to donate it! I have had super long hair since I was a kid so it's going to be tough being bald but when you have cancer none of those things seem to matter anymore. I just want to get better and get on with my life!!
I'm really excited because my 2 sisters are coming into town this weekend!! We're going to try and have a girls night out maybe Saturday. We always have so much fun together. We laugh about everything! I think the last time we were all together was my wedding in May 2008...way too long!!! This is a pic of a few years back when we went to a Giants game in San Francisco. Alexis is holding her daughter Kayley on the right, Cezanne is in the middle and I'm on the left.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First time blogging...while Presley sleeps!

Getting diagnosed with lymphoma isn't a quick and easy process. I didn't just wake up one morning with a lump, have it biopsied and get the results the next day...oh no. Getting all the answers was a very long and difficult process and I still don't know everything. So I guess I should start my blog with explaining how this all went down. And it did start with a little swollen lymph node under my left arm. It was there for about a week before I gave birth to my little girl, Presley. It's pretty common to have a lymph node swell due to some type of infection. That's what lymph nodes do, they let us know when we've got something going on in our bodies. So that's what all the doctors pretty much thought...infection. On February 11th, while I was in the hospital having Presley they gave me some antibiotics, which seemed to help but it continued to stay enlarged. In the weeks following her birth not only did it stay enlarged but it was GROWING and extremely sore. I called my doc and let them know and we began to think maybe it wasn't even a lymph node. Maybe since I was breastfeeding what I had going on was just a clogged milk duct! It made sense since we do have breast tissue that extends into our underarms. So I applied some heat with massage and took some Advil over the next few days to see if that would go. It just kept growing! Not to mention started to become extremely painful. So then I began to worry and made an appointment with my doctor right away to have them look at it. The next step was an ultrasound for what we still thought was a milk duct that had maybe turned into an abscess...lymph nodes just don't get that big! Now it’s Tuesday, March 16, I'm about 5 week’s post-partum and this is where it all got really scary. I went in for the ultrasound. It wasn't fluid filled; meaning not a duct and not was a lymph node. Next step, they do a mammogram....nothing in the breast causing this node to swell, such as infection or cancer. Right after the mammogram the tech calls me in and tells me that the doc wants to sit in on another ultrasound so she can have a better look. At that point the Doctor pretty much leads me to believe its cancer and that I need to deal with this IMMEDIATELY!!! Luckily, I had my follow up appointment with my OB/GYN in an hour so they sent the results to her and she would tell us where to go from there. So…we see my OB/GYN that same day and she orders an MRI and gives us the positive spin on the whole situation, saying she’s not convinced that it’s cancer and “Let’s not worry until we have to.” I want to say what a blessing it has been to have her as my doctor. Through the whole process of finding out what this was, she has called me continually to check on me. Sometimes on her personal phone or nights after she has already left the office. She's amazing! So we get the results from the MRI a couple days later, which tells us that it's definitely a lymph node and there are others surrounding it that are inflamed. Next step...surgeon. So it's now Thursday and we have an appointment set for the following Tuesday, March 23rd with the surgeon. By Friday the thing has almost doubled in size. With advice from my doctors we head to the emergency room because there is just no one in the surgeons office to see us and I’m thinking I just don’t want this thing to burst. So of course we wait in the ER for about 5 hours on a Friday night, they do some blood work, give us some antibiotics to try to get it to shrink and send us on our way. Now Tuesday rolls around and not only did the lump not shrink but now the skin cover the lump has begun to get really sore and become an open wound. I go to the appointment and as soon as the surgeon lays eyes on it he said "that’s got to come out." So the next afternoon, it did. All they could tell us after the surgery was that the mass was "abnormal" which we already knew!! So about 12 days later on April 5th we get the results....LYMPHOMA. Anaplastic Large Cell which is in the non-Hodgkin category. I was home alone, holding Presley when I got the news. When I looked at her I started to cry. I hadn't really cried about all this before then. I had been strong and extremely positive and in the 12 days of waiting for results had told myself "if it were cancer they wouldn't take this long to get the results to us." But I was wrong and to be honest I had a feeling all along that it was cancer but just didn't want to say it out loud. Presley is so tiny and needs me...all of me. Not just what I can give her in between appointments with doctors and chemo treatments. How the heck am I going to do this?? Sure I have a ton of family and friends to help but I don't want to miss out!! I want to be there to take care of her every second, I want to continue breastfeeding her, I want be a mom to her...a mom without cancer!!! Today is Tuesday April 13, 2010 and I have an appointment with my oncologist at 4:30 to get all the details; what stage I'm in, how much treatment I'll need, how long I'll have to have treatment, my chances of having another baby after chemo and I'm sure a million other things that are going to be hard to hear. I guess I could be asking God, why me? Or I could be mad at him...but I'm not. I know God doesn't promise me that I'll have a perfect life just because I believe in him. All I know is that he has blessed me beyond measure the day Presley Grace came into this world and no burden can ever come close to taking away the joy I have in her. So that's what this blog will be, an account of my life with Presley…everything she will be doing in this first year that is going to be amazing and my battle with Lymphoma. Since I'm going to have a lot more going on this year than I thought, I don't want Presley to get lost in my medical issues. So I will keep all her memories here for her in case I'm tired and don't remember as well as I should. I’ve never written a blog before and to be honest never thought I would but I never thought I would ever have to battle with cancer either!! So I guess 2010 is a year for things you’d never thought you do! So this is the beginning of Lymphoma and Lullabies.