Thursday, July 31, 2008

There's More..

....Good news that is!!








We met with the oncologist today to review the PET scan and CT scan. Guess what folks...









I AM CURRENTLY CANCER FREE!!!





Yes, I am currently doing back flips and dancing a bit of a jig (and drinking another bottle of wine!!)





I will still be going through treatment with Interferon. The first month is going to suck big time.

I will have an IV placed every day (Monday through Friday) for a month. The IV treatment will take around 2 hours. I am going to start this on August 11th. (I am pretty sure they have internet access, I will definitely be blog hopping that month!)

After the first month (20 days) I will have shots 3 days a week for 11 months.



The IV treatment is going to be the worse. It has quite a few side effects.

So don't be surprised, those of you that are close, when you get a phone call from me asking for help. I will probably need it.

It doesn't sound like the shots will be all that bad. I will head to the oncologists office and will probably be bringing the kids with me. But, you know what, I'm cancer free so I don't really care! Maybe it will even get me in quicker!

After the Interferon the chance of recurrence is around 30%. So not cool.

After all this it really should be less, right? But, this is currently the best treatment for Melanoma.

Kyler and Ella are both VERY happy to hear that their mommy is going to be around for many, many years.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

(Finally) Some Good News

I went to my follow up appt with the surgeon today (and yes he is still my BFF). He looked at my incisions and said they are healing nicely.










I also told him about a couple of moles that the oncologist wanted removed. However, yesterday when I went to the dermatologist he refused to remove them. I know, weird right? He said they weren't anything to worry about and wouldn't take them off.









The surgeon went ahead and took them off. That made me feel better.









He also had his nurse call and have the results of the CT scan and PET scan faxed to them. The CT scan came through while I was there and guess what.....









IT WAS CLEAR!!! NO CANCER IN MY BRAIN!!!









(and, yes, Cody, it did show that I had a brain)









This, my friends, is the best news I have heard all month!!









I am still waiting for them to call about the results from the PET scan. However, since it is now 6:30PM, I will not be finding out that news tonight.









That's ok.









Because if those come back and show it has spread it will totally ruin this high I am on!!









I do believe I will be enjoying a glass (bottle) of wine tonight in celebration. Maybe you guys would like to join me?





Here is Kyler kissing my boo-boos from the removal of the two moles today.



Isn't he a sweetheart!



I asked the Dr to give me a tummy tuck while he was at it. He wouldn't:(

Monday, July 28, 2008

Make A Difference Monday

Have you enjoyed a Diet Pepsi for me yet? Usually I have one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Oh how I miss this caffeine goodness. Please tell me that you all have enjoyed at least one for me this morning.




You guys have all heard me talk about the dear McMommy, right? Well today she did a post just for me. And guess what's even better, she is going to compile all the comments from this post and make a wonderful quilt for me to take to my treatments. I know this will give me the strength that I need to whoop this. I would love it if all of my wonderful readers would hop on over to McMommy's blog and leave a comment. It would mean so much to see your comments and your name on this quilt.



Wish me luck today during the PET scan. Tomorrow my day will begin with blood work, followed by an appt to the dermatologist to have three more moles removed. The oncologist didn't feel they were cancerous, however he didn't want them to become cancerous.



Wednesday I have a follow up appt with the surgeon and on Thursday we meet back with the oncologist to go over the CT scan and the PET scan. Best case scenario right now is that it only spread to those two lymph nodes. However, for some odd reason I feel that it has spread farther. I don't know why. It's just a gut feeling.



Please pray that my gut is wrong. I think I would be ok with being wrong this time!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What A Week!

This week we have been blessed with many visitors.




One of the visitors that stopped by was our Pastor from church. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about him stopping by.



Why?



Because honestly, I am mad. I am mad at God for making me go through all of this. Doesn't He know that I have two beautiful little children that really need me?



When our Pastor asked how my faith was right now, I just looked at him. Then I told him that it was pretty weak right now. I was happy to hear that my feelings are perfectly normal. I was a little embarrassed for exposing this weakness and this anger to my Pastor, but we are very blessed to belong to a wonderful church with wonderful people.



Our Pastor also asked how support was going outside of the church. Of course, I told him that my family and most of Cody's family has been very supportive.



I then mentioned my bloggy friends. At first he sort of looked at me like I was insane.



A blog?



What is that?



I explained what it is, and how most of you have kids around my kids age and even though you don't "know" what I am going through, you are so supportive.



Some of you even know how much I LOVE mail and how much it cheers me up.



This last week I went to get the mail, and found a package. I have been ordering cloth diapers (yes, I made the switch and I LOVE them, but more on that later) so I just figured that's what was in the package.



But I was wrong (hey, it happens every now and then-don't tell my husband though). It wasn't diapers. It was this awesome book, from the fabulous McMommy!! I would read the wonderful note to you, but I think I will keep that all to myself. I will tell you that it is on my fridge, and every time I get into the fridge I read these underlined letters: You Will Beat This! Since I tend to get into the fridge a lot, this is a wonderful reminder of the strength that I get from you guys.









The next day I went to get the mail and I had another package. Again, I thought they were the cloth diapers that I had ordered (which still have not come!!) but it was another package from a wonderful bloggy friend, Kristen. She sent some of my favorites, a magazine (to read while I wait in the Dr's office) some Double Stuffed Oreos (almost all gone!), a "bye-bye" for Kyler (which he is currently sleeping with) and some teething rings for Ella (she seems to enjoy them).













The next day this BEAUTIFUL flower bouquet was delivered from our friends Phoebe, Jaime, and Carter. No, they don't have a blog (but should). I did, however, write about our evening with them here.







I also received some beautiful flower arrangements from Kyler and Ella, Cody's work, and my Aunt and Uncle.



I really hope all of you know how much this means to, not only myself, but to Cody also.



I'll be honest. I cry every day. Night time is especially bad for some reason. But getting something like this from people that mean so much to me helps so much. I need this. I thrive on this.



Thank you all so much. We really need all the support that we can get. I am going to beat this. I HAVE to beat this. I refuse to leave my babies without a mommy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Plan of Attack

Today we met with the oncologist. He was ok. Not my new BFF by any means, but he was nice enough. He talked very quickly, and there was a lot of info to take in. I was very lucky to have my husband, mom, and dad there with me to help me take in all the info he was throwing out there. My husband did a wonderful job of taking notes. Thank you honey.




Here is the plan of attack on this nasty cancer thing:

I have a CAT scan scheduled for tomorrow. He did not feel it had spread to my brain, but he wants to cover all the bases. Works for me. I want to know.



I have a PET scan scheduled for Monday. Again, he didn't think it had spread but just wants to cover all the bases.



Want to know what I am dreading about the PET scan?



No SUGAR! Yep, folks that's right. I can't have ANY sugar or caffeine that day. How am I going to survive with my Diet Pepsi???



Oh, this is going to be tough.



Will everyone please drink a Diet Pepsi and think of me on Monday??!!



Oh, and get this, I can't be around my kids for 24 hours after the PET scan because of the radioactive dye that they shoot into me. That is also going to be difficult.



We are very lucky to have Cody's parents about 35 minutes away so they are going to take BOTH kids for the night!



A full night of sleep? YES!! Now that gets me all giddy!!



Ok, I'm done giggling with excitement about the thought of a full night of sleep.



Let's see, I also have to have some blood work done, then we will meet with the oncologist again next Thursday to go over the results.



Assuming that the cancer has not spread, I will begin treatment with the drug Interferon.



I will go into the clinic daily Monday through Friday for four weeks (20 total days) to receive a high dose Interferon intravenously (through the vein).



For the next 11 months, I will go into the the clinic 3 days a week for an injection under the skin. This is just a simple shot, and if insurance will cover it, I can do it at home. However, he said very rarely will insurance okay this.



At this time Interferon is really the only thing that works against Melanoma.



From the research, the side effects seem to be pretty low. Nausea, vomiting, depression (no shit), and fatigue.



But, the good thing-I won't lose much hair. I was pretty excited about that. (I did just buy a pretty expensive straightener!)



I am very nervous about all of this. I'm not quite sure how I am going to go in for daily treatments and still take care of two little ones.



The Dr said the first month is the worst because I have all of these drugs coursing through my body.



I am lucky to have my mother and father in law close by and my parents who are willing to drop everything to be here for me.



I am also lucky to have wonderful friends that are close by to help out.



I have always struggled with asking for help.



I think I am going to have to suck it up and ask.



Keep praying that the CAT and PET scans come back clean. Right now, that is the best we can hope for. Oh, and pray that the insurance will ok me having the shots at home. That will save me TON of time! The Cancer Center is about 30 minutes away. If I could just do it at home that would really help me out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This is Why

, my friends, is why I am going to kick cancer's a$$...




Our week has been filled with many firsts:





Ella woke up around 2:30AM the other morning. I went in to check on her and found her STANDING UP in her crib. Of course she used the side to pull herself up, but holy smokes, she wasn't supposed to be doing that quite yet!





Ella has decided that K's toys are SO much more fun then hers!







We gave green beans a shot. Did Ella likey, you ask? Ummm, not so much! The sweet peas went much better.







Ella also said her first word, and guess what it was. I'll give you a hint, it wasn't MAMA!



But oh well, Kyler's first word was mama so I guess it's ok that Ella's was Dada!







We meet up with a friend and played in the playhouse at McDonald's. This was only the 2nd time Kyler has done this. The germs totally freak me out. I am just going to have to relax on this.





My babies are growing up so fast.



I'd be lying if the thought of not watching them grow into adults didn't totally freak me out.



I am a strong person and it's because of my kids that I am that way. I get my strength from them.



I know that I can do this. I also know that it is not going to be easy. I've always been the kind of person that looks for the easy way to do things. I'm not lazy, I just figure if there is an easier way to do it, then why not use it.



There is no easy way around this. I am going to be miserable.



Thank you to all of you for your words of encouragement and your "virtual" hugs:) You may have to give me a swift kick in the butt when I start to get negative over here-k?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Battle Wounds

Here are some wonderful pictures of my battle wounds from surgery. Aren't these some beauties! Now let's just pray that the lymph nodes come back clear!




I'm moving around a little bit better. I am still in quite a bit of pain.



I was trying not to take the pain meds since I can't breastfeed while I am taking them. However, the pain has won. I MUST take the pain meds.



It just kills me to have to pump and dump it! That feels like such a waste! But, since I don't have much of a choice I guess I will just suck it up and do it.



I also have two incisions in my groin. That is the spot that hurts like hell. However, I didn't feel very comfortable with putting those pics on here. Pics of my pee-yes, pics of my privates-no!







This is where they took some more skin from the previous incision on my calf.

Just in case you didn't see it, here's another pic!

I didn't realize how swollen my leg was until I saw this picture!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Randomness

Since finding out about this whole cancer thing, a lot has been on my mind. Things that I have taken for granted are not taken for granted anymore. I appreciate my family so much more now.












I want to throw out a HUGE thank you to my husband. He seriously has been wonderful through all of this. I know I have been a huge pain in the ass so thank you honey for being at my beck and call.











Thank you to my parents for dropping everything and being down here just as soon as you could.











Thank you to my mother and father in law for taking care of the little ones yesterday and for always being here when we need you.

















Julia, Rebekah, Ella, and Kyler checking each other out!









Rebekah holding Ella. Sorry that she is so darn heavy Rebekah!



Thank you to Joel, Laura, Julia, and Rebekah for stopping by to check on us. The sweet card made me cry and the cookies are all gone!





Thank you to Ryan, Jodi, and Olivia for the very sweet card. I'll take all the prayers that I can get!



Here's a funny little sidenote. Out of all the people that have shown me such support and love, my sister in law has not once called or emailed to say that she was thinking of us. Not once. In fact, our niece and nephew are having their birthday party this weekend and we aren't even invited. I have gone through so much lately that I am really trying to get over this pure hatred that I feel for her. In fact, I was over it. And trust me, she has done some pretty hurtful things to Cody, myself, and said some pretty hateful things about my kids, but I was over it. Then she does this. Am I being silly for being upset by this? I mean, if she acts like this, do I really want my children around this? She is married to Cody's brother, shouldn't he be saying something to her about this?





I know there are so many more people out there that I need to say thank you to for their wonderful support. I know that tons of you have put links and prayers on your blog. Thank you so much for that. The more prayers the better!

Friday, July 18, 2008

What a Day

I am home from the Surgical Center.




Finally!







We started out at the Hospital where they injected a radioactive dye in the spot where they took the growth from. Those damn shots hurt like hell! I am pretty sure a few choice words were said.



After an hour of lying down and letting the dye travel we headed to the Surgical Center and we waited, and waited, and waited.



They finally took me back for surgery. And I cried. For some reason anesthesia totally freaks me out. In fact. they gave me an extra dose of anesthesia because I wouldn't fall asleep. I was very blessed to have some very sweet nurses that wiped my tears and a very sweet Dr that held my hand.



When they were trying to get me to go to sleep. The Dr was asking me if I liked the beach. I told him no. He asked what I did like. My response. The Mall! Apparently, even when I am going unconscious I still dream about shopping. Interesting!



After the surgery they went out and talked to my parents and husband. The Dr removed more skin from where the spot was on my calf. He also removed a couple lymph nodes from the groin. The one that the Dermatologist felt was a huge concern, the surgeon didn't feel was a concern. He said it has a cyst like material around it so it was probably from a previous infection that had not healed. The other lymph node that he removed is the one that he sent off for testing. This one was in the crease so therefore bending and walking are quite difficult right now. We should hear something towards the end of next week. If we hear earlier then the end of the week-it's not good. We actually want it to take a long time.



Since they had to give me some extra anesthesia it took quite awhile for me to come out of it. Apparently, I am quite the comedian when I am out of it. I guess I told my mom that she drank all of the Jack Daniels' (which we don't drink!) and that she also made my lotion all sticky. No idea where that came from. I have a feeling I will be made fun of this for quite awhile.



I also asked for several of my bloggy friends and for Aunt A. See, even unconscious I still love you guys:)



As for the green pee-yeah, it's pretty cool. I haven't figured out how to pump yet since I can't bend. If I figure that one out I'll post the pics!



Disclaimer: I am still a little out of it. If this doesn't make sense I apologize now. I will edit it tomorrow and probably change some things. Check back.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My New BFF

Today we met with the surgeon and I have decided that he is my new BFF. Sorry Aunt A, you have been replaced.




Unlike the dermatologist, he was very positive and had a good outlook on all of this.



He even told us that I could wait until August to have the surgery because even if it has spread it does not spread that quickly. That made me feel SO much better. However, the chances of me waiting until August to have the surgery were slim to none. I pretty much said, fit me in as soon as you can.



He did an excellent job of explaining all of the linguistics to us. However, I am not an auditory person so it was a good thing that my husband was there because he took some excellent notes! I will try to decipher the notes for you. Please remember that my husband does not have the nicest handwriting and I don't remember much of what the Dr said so I hope I get this right. If I am wrong feel free to comment and let me know!



Apparently there are two methods that they use when examining Melanoma. One method tells you the depth and the other method tells you the chance that it has spread to another area.



The first method is called the Clarke's. The Clarke level of a melanoma uses a scale of I to V (1-5) to describe which layers of the skin are involved. Higher numbers mean a deeper melanoma. My level was 4.



The other method measures the thickness of the melanoma using a device something like a small ruler. This is called the Breslow measurement. My reading was a 1.35. They would like it to be under 1. If it was under 1 they wouldn't do any more but monitor me once a year. Since it was a little higher there is a possibility that it has spread. He was very optimistic that it had not spread.



On Friday we will head to the hospital and I will have a dye injected into my leg that will drift through the lymph nodes. We will then head across the street to the surgical center and I will have a radioactive dye injected that will be more of a visual dye.



It's blue. How cool is that? My pee and breast milk will be blue for a few days! Don't worry, I'll take pics:)



Anywoo, he will follow the dye with a Gieger Meter and remove the lymph nodes that are trapping the dye.



The Dr was very nice and I absolutely loved him. He felt that the swollen spot in my groin was more of a fatty mass not so much cancer. I told him that that was impossible since I have absolutely no fat on my body(he, he, he) , but I will take fat over cancer any day!!



Thank you all so, so much for your positive thoughts and prayers. There has been a lot of crying in our house and a lot of cuddling.



But I will tell you right now, I am so going to kick this cancer's ass!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

They Called

They finally called with the results today.




Not good. Not good at all.



I have stage 4 Melanoma Cancer. I was prepared for this. Or at least I thought I was. However, when the Dr says it out loud that is a totally different thing.



I lost it.

I bawled.

I was not at home.

I was at Ella's 6 month appt.

I am pretty sure the pedetrician thought I was going insane.

Then I told him the news.

Usually my mom or my husband would be the first person I talk to about something like that. Nope, today it was Ella's pedetrician. Well, at least I love him!



I have a long road ahead. I meet with a surgeon tomorrow to discuss the treatment options. I have an appt with an oncologist next week. This sucks. Totally blows.



I thought I would be able to handle this. I am tough, I am strong-well at least emotionally-physically, not so much. But I thought I would be able to handle the news. I am not doing so well. I am losing my patience with Kyler. I can't stop cuddling with Ella. And I am crying. A lot.



Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

U Guys R The Best

Update: I just talked to the nurse and the results are not in yet. She said I should hear something on Monday or Tuesday. Ugggg!




Thank you everyone for all of your love and support. It seriously means the world to me.



When I first started making bloggy friends, my husband thought I was insane. I would talk about you guys to him like you were my real life friends. I would say, guess what Beans did today, or guess what Sophia now has, or guess what Kristen asked on her Friday Forum, etc. After reading all the comments on my last post, my husband now realizes that you guys are real and you guys do care. I told him that I cried after reading all of the wonderful comments, he looks at me and said, yeah, I did too!



So again, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your love and support.



I am also very lucky to have such a wonderful family and real life friends. My parents, my in laws, and my best friends have all said that they will be there to help and do whatever we need. What would I do without such support?



We are still waiting to hear back from the Dr. The waiting and the uncertainty is killing me.



Something that is really bothering me about all of this, is the fact that if I have to go through Chemo I will have to quit breastfeeding. Isn't it silly that that is what is bothering me the most!



When Kyler was born I was determined to give breastfeeding a shot. I really didn't care if it worked out though. I breastfed him for 4 months, however I ALWAYS had to supplement and I really had to watch my diet. We found out that he was allergic to all milk products and he had to go on a special (and VERY expensive) formula. He was on it until he was 2!! Breastfeeding with him was very difficult for me. I was a vegetarian and ate a lot of dairy products (still do!). I had to cut out dairy for him, since I had already cut out meat, I was pretty much down to eating nothing that I enjoyed. That sucked!



At around 4 months Kyler decided that he was done breastfeeding and would only take a bottle. I cried, but was okay with it. I was back to teaching and didn't have the time to pump so formula would definitely be easier.



When I found out I was pregnant with Ella, I thought about formula feeding for, oh maybe a minute. Since Kyler's was so darn expensive I knew that with me staying home I really needed to give breastfeeding a shot.



I bought the fancy pump.



I attended breastfeeding class.



I asked lots of questions.



I researched and researched on the internet.



I was determined.



I was going to do this and I was going to like it, damn it!



When the nurse give me Ella to feed, she latched on right away. I knew she was born to do this. That night she nursed pretty much ALL NIGHT LONG! The nurse taught me how to do the laying down position and Ella was latched on that way pretty much all night.



Apparently, you're not supposed to do that!



Apparently, she was using mommy as a pacifier. Huh, who knew! I was just so excited that she was a natural I didn't care. Until the next morning that is! Damn, I hurt! And boy was I cursing this whole breastfeeding thing!



Every time she latched on I had tears in my eyes. It lasted for 2 weeks and 1 day. Every hour she would eat, and every hour I would cry. Until that magical day 2 weeks and 1 day later. She latched on and I didn't cry. Wow, it doesn't hurt anymore! Yay!! This is going to work.



It hasn't always been easy. At times I get dirty looks for nursing her in public. Don't worry, I just flip those people off.



At times it would be easier to just give her a bottle of formula. Especially during those sleepless nights.



At times I feel like a milk cow. But I'm ok with it. Because I know that I am doing what is right for my baby girl. I am in awe of what my body can do. I am in awe of how much milk it can produce.



My husband is sick of looking at the breast milk bags in the deep freeze. But I knew that I needed to pump, pump, pump and have lots of milk stored. I don't know why, but something was telling me that I needed to have plenty stored up.



Now I know why. If I have to go through Chemo this breastfeeding thing will be no more. I know it's silly, but in my warped little mind I want to put off the Chemo so I can keep breastfeeding. Isn't that silly. My husband says I am going crazy in my old age!



I think I just always thought that I would breastfeed until Ella decided she was done. Or she was 5, whichever came first:) (Just Kidding, kind of)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Prayer Request

Today has been a bit of a rough day. It started early and it looks like it will probably end late. However, it was the in between that really sucked.






Last summer I noticed a growth on the back of my calf. I didn't really think anything about it. I thought it would just go away. It never did.



I finally made an appointment to have it looked at. That appt was today. The Dr was nice enough. The atmosphere was fine. The news, however, totally sucked.



The Dr took a look at the growth. Looked at me, and said, Why didn't you come in sooner?



Ummmm, because I've been busy raising two kids! Have you ever noticed that your needs totally go on the back burner when you have kids. My health is not as important astheirs. I take them to the Dr for every little thing. I, however, rarely go. This is one case where I should have gone much earlier.



The Dr removed the growth and is sending it off to have it tested for Melanoma cancer. He felt the lymph node in my groin and apparently it is quite enlarged. This is not good either. The Dr is 99% sure I have melanoma cancer. It started out as a little spot on my calf, and has since spread to at least the one lymph node, possibly more.



When the biopsy comes back in a week or two, and if it is cancer, he will refer me to a surgeon who will send dye coursing through my veins to determine where else the cancer has spread to. After that I will see an oncologist and will probably be started on chemotherapy.



Needless to say I am totally freaked out. This wasn't what I expected or wanted to hear. I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't this.



I came home after the Dr appt today and held both of my babies just a little bit tighter. From now on I think I will have a different out look on this thing we call life.



Please keep us in your prayers. I will keep you updated as we find out information.