Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Story Abbreviated

I know some of you are new readers and don't know a lot of my Cancer Journey, so I thought I would give you a quick version of how all of this happened. This not only helps you understand where I am coming from or what I have been through, but it helps me too. Sometimes I forget the beginning of the journey. Yes, I have been through A LOT, but I have come a long way and I have put up one hell of a fight. I know, that even though I am cancer free right now, that my journey is far from over. I will continue to fight with everything I have. I have no intentions of ever giving up, no matter how tired I get. I will do whatever I have to do to be with my babies.


**
The summer of 2007, my husband noticed a spot on the back of my left calf. I didn't think to much about it. A year later my mom encouraged me to see a Dermatologist. On July 8th, 2008 the day my daughter turned 6 months old, was the day that the Dr told me I had cancer. At first I was speechless, then the tears started flowing. I called my mom, husband, and mother in law to tell them the news. Those were very hard phone calls to make. The Dermatologist scheduled an appointment with the surgeon and oncologist and removed the melanoma from my calf. The test results came back as Stage IV Melanoma.
**
I met with the surgeon the following week. He was very positive that it hadn't spread. We scheduled a surgery to have some lymph nodes in my left groin removed and more skin excised from the primary spot on my calf. He removed 7 lymph nodes from my left groin. 4 came back positive, 3 were negative.
**
I then met with my oncologist. The standard treatment for Melanoma is Interferon. I did a month long round of Interferon, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. After that I did shots 3 times a week. In January 2009 a lump showed up on my back. 3 different Dr's felt that it was a cyst. In March two more spots showed up on my chest. These were under the skin. I showed my Dermatologist immediately. He scheduled an appointment for me after hours the following day to have all three spots removed. All 3 spots came back as Melanoma. At this point we realized that the Interferon was not working. My Oncologist was very honest and told me that they did not have what I needed.
**
My paperwork was faxed to MD Anderson on a Thursday, and my first appointment was scheduled for that Monday. After my oncologist at MDA received my CT scans and PET scans he discovered that I had 4 more tumors inside my body. We discussed different chemotherapy options and decided on the one that has been proven to be the most successful. There is about a 50% success rate for the biochemo that I did. There is an 87% chance that the cancer will eventually return. The average remission time is 9 months.
**
Approximately one week later I was started on biochemotherapy. The drugs included Cisplatin, Aldesleukin (IL-2), Dacarbazine, and Vinblastine. I was hospitalized for a week during chemotherapy. I returned home for two weeks, then started the chemo all over again. I did this a total of six times.
**
After two rounds of the biochemotherapy, another PET scan was done. One of the tumors was completely gone, one of the tumors he decided was not a tumor, but calcification from a shot I had as a toddler, the other two tumors had shrunk greatly, but were still there. PET scans were completed after every two rounds of biochemotherapy. The tumors continued to shrink, but still remained. After my 4th round of chemo, my oncologist decided that he wanted me to complete 2 more rounds of chemo, so instead of doing 6 rounds of chemo I was going to complete 8 rounds. I was pretty upset about this. Chemo was awful and I was ready to be done.
**
At my appointment with my oncologist before my 6th round of chemo, I started crying. After seeing my tears he decided to not have me do the 7th and 8th rounds and instead we could just have surgery.
**
I returned to MD Anderson 1 1/2 months later for surgery. Unfortunately, the ultrasound could only find 1 tumor. The surgery was able to remove all of that tumor. The other tumor was to small to find, therefore it could not be removed.

I returned two months later for repeat PET scans and the tumor that remained had grown for 4mm to 6mm. The Dr sent me to ultrasound where they found the tumor immediately. Another surgery was scheduled. The remaining tumor was removed and I am currently cancer free!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Explanation

Remember this post where I whined about my pain? Well, I now know why I was in so much pain!




Yesterday morning I woke up soaked. I'll be honest, at first I thought I had peed the bed. Now, I don't do that often. I promise. But, right now anything is possible. Honestly, I kind of wish it was pee. Because, it was blood and fluid. Lots of it. Everywhere. I was a little confused. I jumped in the shower to clean it off. Then I realized it wasn't stopping. I yelled for Cody, who's exact words I am pretty sure went something like, "Oh, Shit." He called his mom to come watch the kids and he rushed me to the ER. They got me in really quick. And the verdict? The incision is infected. No wonder I was in SO MUCH PAIN!



They gave me some lovely pain meds. Stuck a razor sharp Q-tip* in the opening of the incision for a swab. Gave me a very potent antibiotic. And placed me on modified bedrest so that I don't split the incision open any more. Right now we just have to let the infection drain out. It's quite gross!



*It wasn't really razor sharp but it felt like it!



On the plus side, the pain is much less. Still hurts, but not nearly as bad! And my MIL has "moved in" for the time being since Cody had to head out of town for work. I am so lucky to have great family!



Keep Praying!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thank You

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments, emails, and letters. So far, being cancer free has not been the funnest. I am in some major pain. The first few days I was ok. Then Friday hit and I was hurting so bad I had tears in my eyes. Most of you don't know where the tumor was removed from, and no offense, but I think I will keep that private for now. It's just crazy how you don't realize how much you use a part of your body until you can't really use it. Sucks!




Don't get me wrong, I am overjoyed to be rid of that nasty stuff. Overjoyed I tell ya! But damn do I hurt! Luckily, K has been very understanding and has even seen my incision. Ella, of course, has no clue. She just knows that mommy is having a difficult time getting around and she has to be gentle with me. I feel so blessed to have truly wonderful children. Truly wonderful. The love I have for them is so impressive. And, lucky me, they feel the same way! Am I one lucky mama or what!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Guess What...

...at this time I am CANCER FREE!




They successfully removed the one remaining tumor. My surgery was at 7:30AM, right on the dot. Before they take you back to surgery they give you something to relax you. The first surgery I was able to fight it off and didn't fall asleep until I got to the operating room. Apparently this time I feel asleep before I got to the operating room because I woke up in post-op totally confused. I became very attached to my anesthesiologist and would not let him leave me. Finally, they brought Cody back and I gave up my anesthesiologist:(



*sigh*



He was a nice guy.



Anyway, Cody and I made the decision to head home after my surgery since it was scheduled so early in the morning. I think the drive just about killed Cody, but for me it went quite quick! I was out of it most of the drive! I feel so lucky to have a husband that would do anything for me.



I am feeling good. I am more sore today than I was yesterday, and I have discovered that I should NOT take Hydrocodone during the day. It did get rid of the pain, but I was a little loopy after taking it. It was an odd feeling!



Luckily, Cody and my Dad were here to help with my loopiness and watch over the kids! I am so blessed with excellent men in my life. I could not have asked for a better husband, father, father in law, or brother. They have all shown that they are willing to do what ever they need to do to help me through all of this. And for that, I am extremely grateful.



Huge thank you's to all of you out there. I truly believe that God has been listening to all of our prayers. I am realistic, I know that the chances of this cancer returning are great. But, I also believe that God knows how much my children need me and how much I need them. He is listening to us, my Prayer Warriors. Keep praying for clear scans! We can do this.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Early, Early AM

The stupid surgery is scheduled for first thing tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. I have to get up at the crack of dawn, however, I am her first surgery of the day so hopefully that means there will be less wait. The surgeon is fabulous and I have complete confidence in her. I am just so sick of being cut in to. It's just getting old. Please pray that this will be the last surgery for a long, long time.




Today, as I was waiting for an appt, or labs, or something, I had a very kind older lady tell me how pretty I am. It totally made my day. That is the great part about being at MD Anderson. Everyone here knows what it is like to have cancer or have someone you love dearly battle cancer. Even though everyone's story is a bit different, it's still the same. Everyone here is a fighter. Everyone here knows what it is like to have to worry about dying. Everyone here knows how precious life is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

News

I'll update more later, but just wanted to let everyone (who is not on Facebook!) know that the spot they took off last week came back....CLEAN! It was not cancer, just a regular ole' mole! Yippee! I needed some good news! And finally it has come. We will head back to Houston the first week of December to have the one remaining tumor removed and then maybe, just maybe, I will get a break from cancer for a little while! Thank you so, so much for all of prayers. Obviously, they worked! Keep praying!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Topsy Turvy

In light of recent Dr appts I am more determined than ever to give my babies lasting memories. Something that I have dying to do with them is take them to DisneyWorld. We were going to do this in October, but we decided that, financially, Branson would be the better option. Now, I sort of regret that. Not because we didn't have fun, we had a blast, we went as a family, so of course we had fun:) But now I also want to take them to Disneyworld! Ugh! Sometimes I am so indecisive!


So, because my new found mission is to take my kiddos to Disneyworld I have been busy researching the tons and tons of options available out there. And, I must admit, my brain is in overload!

There is so much out there. I don't even know where to start! We still haven't decided on dates.

So much is up in the air right now. I know in December I will have at least two surgeries. One to remove the remaining tumor and one to get my tubes tied. We debated going the last week in December, but holy smokes is that expensive! I was thinking it would be cheaper because Ella would still be free on the flight. Not so!

Then we will head back to Houston in January for more scans.

In March, C and I are taking a cruise to the Bahamas, plus we will return to Houston for more scans.

And in May we will return to Houston for more scans.

The way it looks, February or April will be the best times to go.

However, there is always that "What If." What if more cancer shows up on the scans in January? I will probably be starting chemo soon after that. What if it shows up in March? I will probably be starting chemo soon after that. Most people don't have to worry about these types of things when they plan a family vacation. Unfortunately, this is now a fact of life for us. This is our new lifestyle. And let me tell you, this new lifestyle is totally for the birds!

Unfortunately, I think the planning will have to be "last minute." And if you know me, this totally freaks me out. I am the person that already has Christmas shopping done and the presents "wrapped." (I actually made cloth bags for all of the presents!) I just like to plan in advance, however because of stupid cancer I can't really do that anymore. Just one more way that cancer is totally f*cking with me! Thanks cancer:(

Quite honestly, I am not a big travel person. I enjoy just hanging out at home. I am a bit of a homebody and I like it like that! However, there are so many things that I want to do. So many memories that I want to build. Not just for my children, but for my husband also.

So, if you don't hear from me for awhile it's because I am busy researching the perfect Disney trip for my wonderful family! Any helpful tips (great hotels, where to go, what to do, etc) would be appreciated!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Update

Well, the news isn't the best. The spot that showed up on the PET scan, but was inactive, last month has grown from 4 mm to 6 mm. Not a lot to us, but enough in the cancer world.




While the Dr was trying to find that mass, he noticed another spot on the skin that he was very concerned about. That spot was removed in the office and has been sent off for a biopsy.



After that I was sent over to Ultrasound to see if they could find the tumor this time since it was bigger. The ultrasound tech found it immediately.



Apparently they had been in the back studying my PET scan. Obviously that was a plus. She had no problems what so ever in finding it.



Since I was there I also had them check the lymph nodes. The spot that they removed would have spread to the lymph nodes in my groin. If it has spread then it would show up on the Ultrasound. Nothing showed up, so I am fairly certain, that if it is melanoma, it has not spread.



However, on the positive side, when that spot was removed it was not black underneath. When Melanoma is removed it is black underneath. This was not. It was flesh colored underneath. I feel this is a good thing.



I am trying to stay positive about all of this. However, I am not sure how much more I can endure. I am just about "surguried" out. I am tired of being cut into to. I am tired of being poked. I am tired of being prodded. I am just so over this cancer shit. It's just stupid and it totally blows.



Don't worry, I'm not giving up. I'm not quitting. I will never quit. But, I do think I have the right to be pissed. I do think I have the right to be tired. And I do think I have the right to be bitchy. So, bear with me for a while. I will get through this. But, this won't be an easy ride. So, if you don't mind, bear with me, give me your love, and send me your prayers.

Randomness

This week has been rough. Daddy is in St Louis for work, my parents are in St. Thomas for fun, and my in laws are in New Orleans for a wedding.




Under normal circumstances taking care of the kids for a week by myself is rough. Add chemo to that and I am wiped! Luckily, the kids have been pretty good and Kyler has been a good helper for mommy. I'm just so tired!



We are also dog sitting my in laws huge black lab. He's actually a pretty good dog. However, his internal alarm clock goes off at 5:30 AM! Mine does not!



My mother in law thinks I am a bit depressed. Interferon can cause depression. But honestly, I don't think it's depression. I think it's exhaustion!



Another side effect of Interferon is hair loss and weight loss. These are rare, however I have them both. My hair is falling out in handfuls. I am also losing weight like crazy. Not that I am complaining all that much about that, but I have no clothes that fit! And guess where the weight is leaving first-it's not my ass like I need it to-it's my boobs! That sucks!



I have currently gone down 3 sizes in pants. Which in turn means that I have to buy new pants or my ass hangs out. Oh wait, my ass hangs out of these darn low rise pants any way!



Ella is getting her 1 year molars. She is a little crabby. Good times.



Ella's cloth diapers are pissing me off. We have a High Efficiency washer and apparently that is not the best thing to use with cloth diapers. At first they had a stinky smell, after many, many washes I got the stink out. Now they are giving her a rash so apparently something that I used to get the stink out did not agree with Ella's little tushy. I really do like cloth diapering and I don't want to give it up, I just need to figure out what in the world is giving her a rash. All 30 of her diapers are currently in the wash on the sanitary cycle. Let's hope that does the trick!



Kyler had his 3 year well child appt yesterday and the Dr is concerned about his growth. He weighed 29 lbs which is in the 20 %ile and his height is 37 inches which is the 38%ile. I don't think they measured his height very accurately though. I measured him at home and he was 38 inches. I'm not going to stress about it to much. He eats. A little!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here We Go Again

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I leave for MD Anderson yet again. I have mixed feelings, I don't want to leave the kids. But, then again, I never want to leave them!

I am anxious to see the results of the scans that I will be having on Thursday. I am anxious to see if the one little bitty spot of cancer that remained is still showing up as inactive. Please pray for good test results.

After everything I have been through, I have really been trying to remember what is important in my life and what I am grateful for. I am grateful for things that most people take for granted.

One night, while watching Yo Gabba Gabba and drinking a glass of wine (because, let's face it, when you watch that show you have to drink!) I came to a realization, if it weren't for cancer, I would have the perfect life. I have a great husband, awesome kids, and wonderful family and friends. My life would be ideal. Sure, we struggle with things, but they are all minor in comparision to the big picture. I know that most of you reading are not dealing with cancer, but try to remember how much worse it could be. I think of that every single day. I am in the fight for my life, but guess what, I am winning! And that, my friends, is a wonderful feeling!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

9 just isn't enough

Sometimes this whole cancer thing seems so surreal.




Like I am on the outside looking in. I don't want to be going through all of this. I didn't ask for it. But, it is what it is and what can I do?



I feel like I have already fought my heart out. I have already been fighting so very hard. What do I do if the cancer comes back? Where do we go from here?



According to statics, the cancer will return in about 9 months.



9 months.



That is all I get and then I will be going through all this again.



9 months.



You have seriously got to be kidding me.



9 months isn't enough.



I want to do so many things. Especially with the kids.



I try to do fun activities with them at least once a week, but quite honestly, I don't always have the energy, and now that's it getting cold, I don't really want to take them out. I need to set up some sort of schedule where we do art projects every day or something like that. I just want them both to remember all the great things that I do with them.



Something that I hear a lot is, "They are so young, they won't remember this." Please, don't ever say that to me.

Why, you ask?

Because when you say that, I think, what if I don't make it. Then they won't remember me. (Insert tears here!)

My kids not remembering me is something that I can not handle. That is why I am working so hard to create memories. And take lots of pictures. I don't ever want them to forget me or everything that I have done for them or with them. I love them so much and I am pretty sure that if they weren't here I wouldn't be doing all this. To be perfectly honest, they are a fabulous reason to be alive. So, thank you my little monkeys. You rock!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Removal

The surgery was performed on Monday. I freaked out a little bit, but all in all, it went ok. They were only able to remove one tumor. They were not able to find the other one. I am a little freaked about this. Even though it did not show up as active on the PET scan, it still could be cancerous. And that, my friends, is a little scary.




At this time the plan is to go back to Houston in November for a repeat PET scan and appointment with the Dr. I am not sure I am very fond of this plan. That just seems like a lot of wait time. What if it actually is active and starts spreading? The thought of that actually brings tears to my eyes. These are not things that a 31 year old mother should be worrying about. It's not fair. I have two beautiful children that need and deserve to have their mommy. This whole situation just makes me so damn angry.



Before we left Houston they did a blood test to see if I had a certain protein in my blood for a melanoma trial vaccine. Of course, I do not contain the protein. The test results also came back on what they removed and it came back as melanoma-of course! I knew that it would come back as cancer, but it's still a bit of blow to hear it out loud. After 6 very, very awful rounds of chemo, it's hard to believe that I still have cancer in my body. Nothing about this seems very fair. Not fair at all.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Scoop

For those of you who are not addicted to Facebook (like me!) here is the update:


We are still in Houston. We met with the surgeon on Friday and it was decided that the surgery would take place on Monday since we were here and wouldn't have to make an extra trip.



Two tumors remain. However, they are very, very small. The one that I could feel is now 1 cm wide and the other tumor is even smaller. The tumor on the right side (the one I could feel) they are for sure removing. The tumor on the left side is another story. It is very small and surrounded by fat so the surgeon was not sure she would be able to find it. I have an appt with ultrasound tomorrow morning and if the tech can find it then they will remove it. If they can't find it then they can't remove it. It's a little nerve racking.



When I had my PET scan there was no sugar uptake to that particular tumor which usually means there is no cancer left, it is just tissue. However, melanoma does not always have sugar uptake. Personally, I want it out. Take it all, fat, cancer, whatever, just get it out. I do not want any signs what so ever of cancer.



Please pray that they will be able to find both the tumors and that they can both be removed. Please pray that everything goes as planned tomorrow. Surgery is planned for 11am. Think of us.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back To Houston

Tomorrow we are heading back to Houston. I have lots of scans scheduled on Thursday and then appts with the surgeon and my oncologist scheduled for Friday.




Since we don't know when the surgery will be we have decided to drive this time and leave the munchkins behind with the grandparents. 10-11 hours in a car is just to much for a 1 year old.



Hopefully we will be home by Saturday so this should be a short trip. A lot will be determined by the surgeon. We can't schedule the surgery until the Dr sees how deep and how large the remaining tumors are.



Right now we are praying that the tumors are very small and that they are just tissue, no cancer. I would appreciate it if you would take a sec and say a quick prayer for me also. Thanks:)



We are nearing the end of this journey and for that I am grateful. I have been fighting this fight for over a year and that is a long time if you ask me! This mama is ready to be done!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Thoughts

Lately I have had a lot of time to think.




Don't get me wrong, the kids and I have been busy little bees, but seriously, how much brain power does it take to play cars or babies?



I have been thinking a lot about what is important and what I want to do with my life.



Obviously, first and foremost is my children. I have probably been going over board with them. I have been feeling pretty good so I want to take them places, and do things with them, and buy them things. Believe me though, all this activity during the day is kicking my ass at night. But I don't care. My kids are happy so I am happy.



We are leaving in Sept to head back down to Houston. As much as I want to bring the kids, we have decided not to. I have a lot of scans scheduled and I will need Cody there with me. Plus, 10 hours in a car is a long ride for two little ones. Hopefully, one of the times that we go back down for a check up the kids can join us. Luckily, we will only be there for 3 days. If I can last a week without them, 3 days should be nothing.



I have also decided to start working towards my Master's Degree in Teaching. I started this last summer and then found out I had cancer so that was obviously put on hold. I am hoping to start back up with school in January.



Overall, I have realized that I am blessed. Yes, I have cancer. Yes, I will always worry about it returning. But, my kids are awesome and they are definitely a reason to fight my ass off. So cancer, if you are listening, I am always, always, always, going to kick your ass!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New News

Today we met with the Dr and after seeing how upset I was (I started crying!) about having two extra rounds he decided to change some things up.




I am no longer doing the two extra rounds (Yippee!), instead this week will be my last week of chemo and we will come down to Houston in September to have the residual cancer removed surgically.



I would obviously prefer that this round of chemo take care of what ever is left, but that probably won't happen, so I need to be prepared for surgery. At this point it is much better than two more rounds of chemo-trust me. Chemo sucks!



He also changed up the chemo a bit and instead of being on 4 drugs at once I will only have 3 drugs. He dropped the Interleukin-2, which is the nasty one. This means that we will get to head home on Monday instead of Wednesday. I am very happy about that. I already miss these two munchkins:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Houston, We Have A Problem!

The problem being, I don't wanna go! I wanna stay here and hug and kiss and play with my babies. We have really had a nice time this past week and I just don't want it to end!




However, I have no say in whether we go or not. Cancer has already made that decision for me and we leave this afternoon. However, one more round down means only two more rounds to go so I guess that is the good news, right?



Even though two extra rounds totally sucks, I am really, really excited to kick cancer's ass. Won't it be a wonderful day when I can get on here and say, guess what folks, I am cancer free! Oh, that will be a wonderful day and I am anxiously looking forward to that moment. I hope you are too!







Warning: This pictures have nothing to do with my post. I just love to be able to look at my blog when I am in Houston and see adorable pictures of my adorable children! Enjoy:)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Boredom

After reading my hubands last post I think I have realized just how bored he must be! I'm not sure what else I can get him to do while we are here. He reads, he works, he watches movies, I bought him a DS, he doesn't really care for puzzles and such. Any ideas?




As for me. I am doing ok. I have thrown up a few times, have contracted a bladder infection (can you saw AWFUL-as if I don't have enough going on!) and slept a lot. I haven't really swelled that much this time and my skin didn't peel off like it usually does so those are some positives! Usually my skin just peels off like I have a really, really, really bad sunburn. It's quite gross. But, the Dr lowered the Interluekin 2 because my counts weren't coming up like he wanted them to so hopefully this will make a difference with that, but not with the whole kicking cancer's ass thing!



My mom emailed me some pics of the kids tonight and even though it brought tears to my eyes because I miss them more than anything in the world, it was great to see their cheesy little faces! Thanks Mom. I can't wait to see my gorgeous little munchkins tomorrow night.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Our Way

Today we get to head home! Yippee! I am ready to be home. I am ready to see my kids. I am ready to feel sane again! This has been a rough trip. Rough doesn't really explain it. It's just been a different kind of trip. They experimented with different types of meds for my headaches, and let's just say that some of them made me a little fruity!






I had my very, very favorite Dr on rounds this time so that was nice. He is simply wonderful. He knows me very well, and by Sunday he knew I was not myself and ordered for the chemo to be turned off. Which was probably a good idea. I couldn't function. What a weird feeling.





I realize in this post I may have sounded like a bit of a downer. I apologize. I realize that two extra rounds is actually a good thing because it means that the chemo is working and is getting rid of the cancer. I understand that. But, when you get your heart set on only having one more round and you have a vacation with the kids all planned out, it's hard to hear that those things won't be happening. We are still going to try to go in Oct or Nov, hopefully it won't be to chilly. I do believe we will be skipping the outdoor swimming activities:)



Please don't think that I am being negative. Not that I am an overly positive person, because I'm not, I am simply a realistic person. I know that shit happens, I know that shit usually happens to me, but I also know that not ALL the shit happens to me. I have two beautiful children and a wonderful husband to prove that:) See, I'm being realistic:)



Please keep praying that the biochemotherapy hell that I am going through continues to work on this stubborn cancer and that my body continues to handle it so well. Your prayers, thoughts, and well wishes help more than you know.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tomorrow..

Tomorrow we leave for Houston. My heart is heavy. I have had a great week with the kids. We have hit the zoo, Target, Walmart, the park, the mall, played in the slip n' slide, sprinklers, and pool, grilled out and had lots of picnics. Life has been great. Sometimes it's easy to forget that I have cancer. Except for the whole being exhausted thing! But, seriously, aren't all mommies exhausted? Isn't that just part of the game? If you're one of those moms with tons of energy, don't tell me! I don't wanna hear it!




Sometimes, when my munchkins are asleep I just go into their rooms (ok Ella's room, Kyler won't sleep in his room-still!) but anyway, I just stare at them while they sleep and realize how truly lucky I am to have them in my life. If my cancer would have been discovered earlier, Ella wouldn't be in my life. I can't even imagine that. Yes, it would have been better if I would have caught it earlier, but that is one heck of a price to pay. Can you even imagine not seeing pics of Ella on here?! I can't.



So, for tonight I will hold my babies extra tight and give them extra kisses to make up for missing out on a whole week of lovin'.

Bit of A Rough Day

To all




Today has been a little bit of a rough day. Our day started early with one of the night nurses coming in to take vital signs and then not being able to fall back to sleep afterwards. Heather did go back to sleep after about 30 minutes, but I was up and up for good at 5:00 this morning. Since sleep was inevitable I decided to put on a movie to pass the time (in case you are wondering the movie was "Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story" - great movie). Towards the end of the movie I heard a little bit of mumbling come from Heather over the my headphones. I ripped one of the head phones out to hear what she needed and I got -



"Cody go upstairs and get the milk it is starting to sour." My instant confused reply was "What's wrong?" Heather decided she had had enough of my confusion and stated louder and more sternly "Go upstairs and get the milk it is going bad!!" I did the smart thing and ignored the comment and went back to my movie. This time leaving only one head phone on such that I could hear any more requests from Heather.



About 30 minutes later, Heather yelled stop touching me and get up and play with Kyler. Just so you know I am sitting in my chair/bed about 4 feet away from her hospital bed. At this moment I was very confused. It was only 6:30 and I have been in trouble twice and Heather hasn't even technically woken up.



We got a visit from the doctor a little later in the morning and they started a new drug to help with the headaches. After taking the drug she took a short little siesta. The problem with this siesta was before she woke up she yelled "I don't read lips people now talk." Apparently, I had been starting a fight with Jesse from the show Big Brother in the wonderful chair/bed, but both of us had no capability to talk. Heather was doing the nice person thing and trying to stop a fight, but I am sitting here in shock wondering "Ok, what is going on here, normally when I get in 'trouble' I know it is coming, but she has been sleeping this whole time, and I seem to be in deep shit".



I began to tell her about some of these incidents after lunch, and she's like really. That is weird, and I can kind of remember the dreams associated with those events. Then she asked me, and she was awake at the time, if I had been letting Belle (our pug) out to go potty while she was sleeping. She said she keeps thinking Belle is in the room hanging out with us. She also said that when she has heard any movies that I have playing through the speakers and not the head phones she thinks that Kyler is over here in my lap watching movies with me.



Now one would think those little stories would be the end of the crazy comments from Heather in one day, but she took an afternoon nap. This nap would bring the grand finale to funny comments. She leaned over in my direction and said "Cody would you make sure the alarm is on the hairspray!" My instant response was "Weirdo, What are you talking about" She said the "The can of hairspray needs a fire alarm on it, or it will catch fire!!"



So I have been in trouble a lot today for working and watching movies in my chair. While Heather has slept. I guess the random troubleness comes with the territory, but it has been quit funny. I won't tell her she promised me a puppy for Christmas, sshhhh that will be our little secret.



Wish me luck for tomorrow and tonight who knows what the sleep will bring.



Cody

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quick Update

To all of Heather's faithful readers:




Heather had asked me to put a quick post up on her blog. I originally thought about writing about my disgust that Subway still utilizes the term "Sandwich Artist" when they really are just counter workers and don't give a "flip" about how your sandwich really looks or if they get everything on the sandwich. I then thought about descrbing how Heather and I were going to move to Australia after chemo. Don't worry, this idea came out of a sleep deprived state following watching the movie "Australia". However I nearly had Heather convinced to go!! The third thought I was going to write about was how I am trying to convience Heather to let me build a boat, but I know that would just get me in trouble. So I have decided to give just a quick update on how Heather is doing this round of chemo.



Compared to other rounds Heather has done very well. she has fought very little nauseua until yesterday afternoon, and hardly any vomitting until yesterday afternoon. Now she can't seem to keep any food down. The other thing that she has really been battling this time is a severe headache. They give her medicine for the headache, and it works, but it is only a short term "cure".



The major difference (even though it is really a minor difference) in this round of chemo compared to the last rounds is the amount of sleep she has had. Friday she was awake for maybe two hours over that 24 hour time period. Saturday she was awake more, but she basically slept much of the day. Friday she has completely lost, and she is having difficulties figuring out the day of the week. She is falling asleep at weird times too, the other day we were having a video conference with the kids and she fell asleep in mid-sentence.



Mentally and emotionally, this has been a difficult round and weeks leading into the round. This round was supposed to be round 5 of 6, meaning the end was in sight and we could for lack of a better term move on from the cancer period of our lives. With the news of this weeks where we will probably have two more rounds added, it has been a bit of a blow. She is taking it in stride though, and will find a way to get through.



I do have to thank and commend every one of her readers for the support you have given her and us. My pledge son from the fraternity I belonged to in college, wrote me the other day and was in amazement from the comments and displays of encouragement that was have coming our direction. Thank you for the amazing words of encouragment it definitely has gone a long ways in getting us through. This journey has made us realize who our real family and friends are. Thank you all of you wonderful people.



Kind Regards,



Cody

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Good and The Bad

I have news.




We met with the Dr today and reviewed my PET scan and MRI results. According to the PET I am down to 2 tumors and they are shrinking at a rapid rate.



Two rounds ago the large tumor measured 1.7cm, now it is measuring 1.2cm. That is over 25% shrinkage. The Dr was thrilled with that progress. Apparently, that much shrinkage between the 3rd and 4th rounds is not common.



In fact, he was so enthused with this news that he decided to add two more rounds to the end. I am not happy about this at all. I was so excited about being done next month. This will extend my chemo into October. I am so sad. I had already planned a family vacation in September and zoo classes for the kids and family pictures. It's been a rough day. A day of ups and downs. I am sick of Houston. I am sick of leaving my kids. I am sick of feeling like shit. I just want to feel normal again. I just want to be able to take care of my munchkins again. I just want to be cancer free again!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

18 Months plus 1 Day

Today marks two important milestones in my life. My baby girl turns 18 months. 18 months, I can't believe it. Where oh where has time gone? It also marks the day that I was diagnosed with cancer. So, yes, the day that my baby girl turned 6 months was the day that the Dr broke the wonderful news to me that he was 99% sure that it was Melanoma and that it didn't look good.




I remember everything about that day. I remember getting ready for the Dr appt and thinking it would be no big deal. Not one time did I ever think that the spot on my calf was cancer. Never. Now I think every little thing on my body is cancer.



I remember sitting in the waiting room.



I remember showing the nurse the spot on my calf.



I remember her silence as she looked at it and looked at me.



I remember the Dr looking at the spot and asking me why I wasn't in there sooner.



I remember him telling me it was cancer.



I remember him feeling the lymph nodes in my groin and asking me how long those had been enlarged.



I remember the Dr removing the spot on my calf and lecturing me about the sun.



I remember calling my mom and telling her to have the phone close because I needed her.



I remember calling my mom back and her not answering.



I remember calling my husband and him saying "Ok" and me wanting to beat him for his response.



I hated that day. And I hate that I hate it. It was the day my little Princess turned 6 months, I shouldn't hate that day. But I do.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tomorrow

Tomorrow we leave for Houston.




Thursday will be a very busy day. We have a PET scan scheduled at 6am, then on to labs, MRI, chest x ray and appt with the Dr.



I am anxious to see how much the tumors have shrank since the last PET scan. I am also curious to know what he will want to do if they have not shrank. Obviously, best case scenario is that two of the tumors are gone and the one that I can feel is shrinking. Please pray that we are making progress.



Chemo is the absolute worst thing in the world. At least that is how I feel about it. Never, in my short little life, have I felt as awful as I do on chemo. I never knew it was possible to feel that awful. I feel very lucky that I am young and my body can handle it. I pray for the elderly and the children that I see while I am at MD Anderson. My heart breaks for them. I can't imagine doing this when I am 70, nor can I imagine my children having to go through this. That thought hurts to even think about.



This past week has been a pretty good week. We were able to head out of town to my BFF's for a bbq, then to my parents house the next day for a wonderful family get together. I feel so very lucky to have a BFF that would drop anything and everything to rush down here to help me. She has truly been a life saver. I am also blessed to have great family members that rearrange their schedules and make every effort to see us when we are in town. Aren't we lucky!?



Here are some pictures from our past week. Huge thank yous to my babies for such a wonderful week, however, if you are by chance reading this my little lovelies, feel free to stop the fighting!!! It is driving your poor mama insane!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

How I REALLY Feel

Sometimes I get so angry at cancer. I get so angry that I have to go through this. I'm angry that my family has to go through this. No 3 year old or 1 year old should have to do this. I am angry that I can't do all the activities with Kyler and Ella that I want to be able to do. They deserve to have a childhood. But, they also deserve to have a mommy that is around for a long, long time.




I currently have 3 more rounds of chemo left. I am angry that I'm not done yet. I'm angry that we don't know if this is working like it needs to work. I am angry that chemo makes me feel so awful. I am angry that I have to be gone for a whole week. I am angry that when I finally get home I feel to awful to play with my kids.



But, for all the things I am angry for, there are several that I am grateful for. I am grateful that cancer has opened my eyes to the little things in life. I am grateful that I have raised awareness in others. I am grateful that it has brought Cody and I closer. And I am grateful that I am the one going through this and not my children.



Everyone tells me that it's ok to be angry, because it makes me fight harder. Believe me, I am fighting as hard as I can. I have no intentions of letting cancer win. Keep cheering, keep reading, and keep praying.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Low, Low, and Lower

Every Tuesday and Friday I have the distinct pleasure of heading to the Dr's office to have blood drawn. Since I have the PICC line it's really not that bad. Kyler comes with me and he gets a sticker and then we head to McDonald's for some breakfast.




The scary part of all of it is getting the results. I, of course, hope and pray that my white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, platelets, etc are going up, but unfortunately that is not always the case. As was today.



Tuesday my hemoglobin was 8.46, under an eight I have to have a blood transfusion. Today my count was 8.01. My argument was it's still not under an 8. However, since it's so close I lost. So, here I sit, waiting to have someone else's blood put into my body. The thought sort of freaks me out. It's not supposed to be painful, and supposedly I will feel better afterwards. But seriously, someone else's blood? But, what can I do? Nothing. Like always, I can do nothing. Most of you know, I am a control freak. Having no control over pretty much everything in my life totally sucks. Once I kick cancer's ass, look out, because I am going to control the world! I think I deserve it, right?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Happenings

My happenings really don't include very much. I am really tired and find it difficult to get out of bed. Cody has really been a single parent these last few days. I am seriously so very, very lucky to have such a wonderful husband. He has been beyond fabulous this last year. Not only has he taken great care of the kids, but he has cooked, folded laundry, and above all, been my rock for the past year. I honestly don't think many men could do what he has done this past year. So, for him, I am grateful. Thank you dear for being you.




Now, I am curious, how does your hubby show you how much he loves you and your family? I hope you are all as lucky as I am.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Report

Yesterday was a VERY long day. A long day of waiting, waiting, and more waiting. However, the scans were done (the MRI against my will, I might add!) And we were anxious to hear the results.




We met with the Dr today and I "think" it was good news. The Dr was very odd today and he was very difficult to read. Usually they will compare the before chemo PET scan to the after chemo PET scan. Since we had the previous PET scan done in KS it is very hard to compare them. I started with 4 masses in my body. One of the masses has completely disappeared, the other 3 are still there. I know that the one I can feel is getting smaller, but it was very hard to compare the two scans. So at this point we continue what we are doing and will repeat the PET scan after two more rounds.



Personally, I felt this was good news. One mass is completely gone. That tells me this is working. Right? However, the Dr wasn't very positive today and that was very frustrating to me. Right now I need positive. Not overly and unrealistically positive mind you, but positive none the less.



Tonight I am going to have Cody feel the mass before I start chemo and then feel it once the chemo is complete. This way someone else will know if it is shrinking or not. He is thoroughly excited about this. No, really, he is. Because of where the tumors are, he is really excited! Apparently, Melanoma is attracted to fat. I don't have much any more. I am pretty skinny. Since I don't have much fat, you can only imagine what fat the melanoma has found. God has a very funny since of humor I have decided. Ha, ha, ha God. Joke is over. Fix this please!



On the homefront, the kids are doing well. I'm pretty sure Ella is to young to really notice how long we are gone. Kyler, on the other hand, knows and it is really hard on him. In order to ease my guilt I buy them LOTS of presents while we are gone. It makes me feel better and it makes them happier. The only one not thrilled is Cody. However, at this point I am pretty sure he will do what ever he has to do to keep me happy. That's the way it should be right?



Thank you all for your prayers and comments (on here and on Facebook). I am trying really hard to remain positive. I can do this. I can beat this.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Last Day

Today is my last day this month with my kids and my heart is heavy. I am going to miss them so, so much. Yesterday, I broke the news to Kyler that we would have to leave for Houston and he told me that he was going to get in the car, buckle up, and drive down to Houston to be with me. Break my heart why don't ya!




This week has been wonderful. I have felt good, had some energy, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with the kids. We've played outside, we've gone on wagon rides, we had a playdate with friends, we've grilled out, we've had a picnic, and we've played in the sprinkler. Good times I tell ya!



After this round of chemo I will be halfway done. That's pretty exciting! I know that the cancer is shrinking. I can feel one tumor and it started out the size of a cherry tomato and it is now the size of a large pea. That is encouraging. I am thrilled that the cancer is going away. It's just one hell of a price to pay to be cancer free. And that sucks. But, what other options do I have? None. I plan on being here with my babies for a long, long time.



I appreciate all of your prayers and love. Please remember to mark your calendar for June 2nd. It's the official day that I am halfway done with chemo:) What a fabulous day that will be!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Random

*I have been feeling really good lately. We were able to attend my cousin's graduation party this weekend and I haven't had a nap since Friday!




*My sister, her husband, and their little man, Deegan, came down last week to help. Thank you all so much. Not only were you a huge help, but you helped me realize why two babies is definitely enough for me:)



*We leave for MD Anderson next Monday. I have a PET scan scheduled for Tuesday and hospital admittance scheduled for Wednesday. Please pray that the masses are shrinking and no new masses have shown up.



*As of June 2nd I will be halfway through my chemo treatments. Woo Hoo. I should be done in August. Can you say party time!?



*As a present to myself for kicking cancer's ass I am planning on buying myself something nice (once it is all over that is). I am still deciding between new furniture for upstairs or a new deck out back. The deck will probably win since our furniture is pretty new.



*I still have hair. Luckily, I have not had to put the wigs to use. Please keep praying that I won't lose it all. I sort of like having hair.



*Our church has been bringing us dinner every Monday night. We are very grateful to them. The dinners have helped so much.



*We had to switch Ella to a big girl bed this week:( She was able to crawl out of her crib, open her bedroom door, and join us in the living room when she was supposed to be napping! Silly little monkey!



*Because of that stupid blood clot that I was lucky enough to get, I now have to give myself Lovanox shots for the next 6 months. I am not happy about this. They are expensive and they burn like hell. Cancer and blood clots suck ass.



*I received flowers today. No, not from my hubbie, from my cousin, Debbie and her family. Her card read that I looked fabulous when she saw me this weekend. Someone battling cancer just can't hear that enough! Thank you guys so much.



*Sorry this post sucks. I don't have a ton to say. I am really just enjoying the kids this week and trying to stay positive. I know that I can beat this. I know that I have to beat this.



*Cancer has given me a new perspective on life. So, for that, I am grateful. Enjoy every second, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You never know when your life will be turned upside down. Don't sweat the small things, just be grateful to be here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm Awake and I'm Sad

So it is 3:15 in the morning and I am wide ass awake.




And I am sad.



We arrive home tomorrow and I may not get to see my babies.



They are both sick. This happened the last time also. I am not very happy. I really wanted to be able to spend some of my Mother's Day with my children but it is looking like they will either have to go to my parents house until they are well or we will have to get a hotel room.



Either way, it sucks and I am pissed. This is totally something that could have been avoided. With good handwashing and use of "rub a rub" (hand sanitizer) this would not have happened.



But, it did, and there is nothing I can do about it now. I am hoping they will both be over it by tomorrow. Ella has had really bad diarrhea and Kyler is currently running a temperature. They both just want their mommy so bad and I want them just as much (if not more)!!



Everyone tells you that you will love your children, but noone warns you just how very much you will love them. Sometimes it's scary the love I feel for them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wrapped Up In My Babies

Before we left Grandma and Grandpa Snyder came over to pick up the kiddos. They are keeping them the first part of the week and my folks will take over towards the end of the week.




Grandma walked in carrying a big bag. I didn't think to much of it. Then she told me to look in it. There were a few little things and then I pulled out the quilt. Grandma worked her butt off to make me a quilt with the kids pictures on it for me to take with me when I go to cancer treatments. I was so overwhelmed and happy I cried.



I absolutely love the quilt. It has been on my lap the whole time I have been here and I am constantly looking at the pictures. Sometimes I smile and sometimes I cry. Either way it is so nice to have the kids with me while I am here. They are my strength. Thank you so, so, so much Grandma Snyder. I adore the quilt.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Allow Me To Explain

I know my last post was sort of out of nowhere, but I didn't have a lot of time. I was at the Dr's office yesterday from 10am to 4 pm. Kyler was with me for two hours, then Grandma Snyder came to stay with him (huge Thank Yous!). So, since I was at the Dr's office all day I was just dying to spend some time with the munchkins. I am sure you guys understand.




Now, I will explain the blood clot. When we were at MD Anderson they put in a Central Venous Catheter in my chest to make it a lot easier to give me the meds. It hurt to have put in. I hated it when it was in. But, it did make the chemo a lot easier.



I believe it was Saturday when my right arm started hurting. Not bad, just a little bit. As the week went on the pain got more intense. I decided last night that I would have it looked at when I went to have labs. After waiting for an hour for the Dr, he ordered an ultrasound. Kyler and I went to Sonic and then Grandma met us. Then, I went back for the ultrasound.



Towards the end I asked the Tech if she could tell me anything, and her response was, "I think we will just let the Dr look at it." I just started laughing. Obviously something was wrong.



The Dr returned from lunch about 30 minutes later and he told me I had a blood clot that started in my arm pit and is traveling downwards. No wonder my arm is hurting so bad!



After many conversations with the nurse at MD Anderson the decision was made that my CVC had to pulled. I have been started on Lovanox shots to break up the blood clot and I will probably be on those for the next 6 months. Which totally sucks, because they hurt!



The Drs think my blood clot originated because of the CVC, combine that with cancer, plus the fact that blood clotting disorders run in my family, and well, I was just screwed from the beginning!



We leave Sunday for MD Anderson and another line will be placed on Monday. I am NOT excited about this. At all. It's painful and inconvenient. But, there's nothing I can do about it. I hate not having a say. I hate not being in control of my own life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Holy Smokes

...I feel awesome!! Seriously, I haven't felt this good in weeks. This feels so great. I have been up since 6am. I have disinfected both upstairs bathrooms and cleaned up the basement (which takes several hours, believe me!)




Today the plan is to hang out at home in the morning. No church today, I can't be around all the germies. But, we will probably watch something churchy on TV to ease my guilt, then Aunt A is coming to see us. She is going to take us to Hunter's for his birthday party then back home for play time. Aunt A is going to stay the night with us so that I have some help tomorrow. It is hard to plan when I don't really know how I am going to feel day to day. But, believe me, I appreciate all the help.



We will leave next Sunday for MD Anderson where I will start the chemo process all over again. I have mixed emotions.



I am ready to go because I seriously want this cancer out of my body. The pure thought of it being in there pisses me off.



On the other hand, I don't want to go. I don't want to leave my kids and I don't want to feel like crap all over again. However, do I have a choice? No. Not at all. So, I do what I have been doing since last August. I suck it up and just do it. Cancer has taken a lot of things from me, but it will never, ever take my will to be alive. I have to much to live for. I thank Kyler and Ella for that lesson every.single.day. Every time I look at them I realize how very blessed I am.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Love My Babies

You don't realize how MUCH you love your children until you have to be away from them. I realize that I HAVE to be away. I have to be away so that I am here with them for many, many years. Still sucks though!




When we landed last night, we had the very best surprise at the airport. My kiddos, my parents, and my in laws were all waiting to greet us. I was so happy I cried. In fact, I'm]] crying now just thinking about how happy I was! I hugged and kissed and hugged my kids some more. At first Kyler was a little nervous about hugging me because I, quite honestly, don't look all that great. My skin is peeling pretty bad. Now, it just looks like I got a really bad sunburn, but to a 3 year old it probably looks a little weird. No worries though, he got over it. I had to be careful around E because she has a cold right now. Catching a cold right now could land me in the hospital. So I still haven't really got to hug and kiss on sissy as much as I would like, but we've been blowing lots of kisses:)

Please hugs your kids a little tighter tonight. I know it's easy to take that time with them for granted, but remember how lucky you are to spend that precious time with them. They truly are a blessing, aren't they?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Attempt

This is going to be my attempt at a post. Bear with me. At times it may not make sense, so I do apologize. Apparently, some of the drugs they have me on do some pretty crazy things to me. Luckily, Cody has been with me most of the time and has caught me before I did something too stupid. Although, I am pretty sure that I ordered a vacuum one night. For those of you that don't know me personally, I have a huge vacuum fetish, so me ordering a vacuum really isn't that odd. Ordering it at 4am is a little odd though!




I do believe the treatments have been working. I currently have 4 masses at random places in my body. The one mass that I can feel has certainly gotten smaller (can I get a Woot, Woot for that!). That is awesome! We already know that the Interferon never worked, I started out with those masses and the Interferon did nothing to stop them from growing.



Even though this treatment appears to be working, it comes with some nasty side effects. Vomiting, diarrhea, heat rash from head to toe, itching, restlessness, achenes, need I say more? I have currently had the pleasure of enduring all of them! Yipee!! The rash has been the worse. I have a bright red blistery type of rash pretty much from my calves to my shoulders. And it itches. Like hell! Benadryl knocks my ass out so I am waiting a little bit before I take it, otherwise I will be up at 4 am. And who know what type of infomercials will be on then!



I suppose the good thing about feeling so awful is that I haven't really been "able" to miss the kids because I have been so sick. However, the drugs were stopped at 9pm last night. I am officially "sober" and boy do I miss them. E gave me a baby doll to bring and K gave me one of his Lightning McQueen pillowcases so I have been sleeping with those every single night. I did find out that they actually can come and visit so I think one of these times mom and dad are going to bring the kiddos out with them so that C and I can see them. That would make treatment so much better. It would make me stronger that's for sure.



The Plan:

We should be released from the hospital tomorrow. We are going to stay in the hotel on the MD Anderson campus tomorrow night and then fly out of Houston on the Corporate Angels Jet on Monday evening. We probably could have caught a flight out on Sunday, but we weren't sure when we would get dismissed and didn't want to end up missing the flight. So, better safe then sorry, right?



That's all for now. I do hope this post made sense. Please keep praying and keep us in your thoughts. I know I can do this. It's just a high price to pay to kick cancer's ass!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Today's A Better Day, So Far

This morning Heather asked me if I had posted again on her blog, and my response was no as there is nothing really to report of excitement in my eyes. I then told her I would put something up about how excited I am that the Yankee's lost in there home opener of the new 1.5 billion dollar stadium and all the money that they spend on a yearly basis is a total waste, surprisingly again she rolled her eyes. Obviously, she does not share the same feelings for baseball that I do, and the utter hatred of the evil empire. So I guess I will give a quick update of what took place over yesterday.








Heather had received her highest dose of the chemo and it really took affect yesterday. She had a very rough morning and really felt bad. However, the afternoon was better. Angie came and paid us a nice little visit and brought us a few little goodies to get through the rest of the week. Other than that Heather slept most of the day yesterday.







Since she is sleeping most of the day, she tends to be more of a night owl. She is even somewhat chipper at 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30 in the morning. This morning we had the wicked nurse of the east come in and turn on all of the lights in our room to draw blood, and Heather hardly even made a comment. I think she even snickered as I flailed to cover my eyes from the light that I swear was brighter than the sun. Also, I heard Heather talking on her cell phone at 3:30 in the morning with one word answers-like she was talking to a recording. I figured I was dreaming, but it turns out she fell prey to an infomercial last night,and I think we have a new vacuum.







In other news the kids had a great day yesterday with their Grandpa. He took them to the zoo and I think they may have even gone to a park. They ended the day at one of K's favorite places to eat- "The Moose Place" aka the Rib Crib. Dad turned the big 6-0 yesterday, and they nearly burned the house down trying to light all those candles. Happy Birthday Dad, we will have to celebrate when we get back into town.

A Slight Change

If you know the recent Heather this is very different from normal. Her sleep schedule has been put the kids to bed at 8:00, brush her teeth and sound asleep by 8:15. She then will sleep until about 8:00 or so in the morning. It is almost like in the recent months she has been afraid of the dark, and when the sun thinks about going beneath the horizon she thinks about being in bed until the sun comes out in the morning.


Flash forward to Monday, and the beginning of treatment. The tide has turned and Heather has began to sleep a lot during the day and up more during the evening time. It is almost like the exact opposite of her previous self. I think that she is becoming scared of the daylight. Even our doctor today came into the room and asked if we ever turn the lights on here as had never seen the lights in our room.

This has started to make me wonder, Heather was/is a big fan of the Twilight book series, and we own and she has watched the movie many many times. I am thinking that the medicine they are giving her is not really cancer medicine, but instead is vampire morphing serum.

After the 6 courses of treatment will Heather be a full blood vampire and only roam the nights? Will I have to fear the evil bite that might come my way. I am starting to wonder if readers of the Twilight series will all eventually become vampires of sort and those who don't get involved in the book are the only ones who are safe. Please beware of any medications that you might have and take, especially those that cause drowsiness. I think all medicinal therapies, now, are part of some master vampire serum scam. Please Beware! I will hope and pray that Heather will overcome the vampire drugs during the two weeks off and the vampire only returns when we are in this building.

Anyway, today started off well, and we thought we would make a day of it. It turned south quickly after 10:00ish. The way the dosage schedule is set up she gets the highest dosage on the first few days and then the dosage is lowered each day. by the time the worst of the side effects hits she is on a lower dosage and it supposedly lowers what I would call the "medicinal recovery time" (Don't quote that to anyone as that is a made up term by me). So basically the hard stuff she had early in the week is catching up with her yesterday and today, and theoretically/hopefully the days get better. She did finish the chemo section of this treatment at 9:00 today (Friday) and they have given her a medicine that should help with any fluid she has retained. I believe that we are drug free starting tomorrow, and if all is well we will be discharged on Sunday.

It has been fun, but I think that my course on the blog is done until the next return visit to Houston.

With Love and God Bless,
C

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Continuing the Updates

A quick update for today:


Heather has mainly slept today. She has felt well when she has been awake, but usually she is only awake for a few hours. We did take a walk today though, and made it about 15 yards and then came back to the room. This was a huge step in the right direction though. Other than that things have been going well today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post From Another

Hello All of Heather's good friends and faithful readers, since Heather is in the hospital and enduring through the treatment I have offered my services to put a few "maintenance" posts up for her. Obviously, I have very tough shoes to fill in terms of posting on the blog, but this is my attempt. It probably won't be as colorful, but this is a quick rundown of everything since last weeks post




Easter Weekend:



Saturday:

Heather's family came down and spent the day with us. It was good to see all of her aunts, uncles and cousins. The weather was beautiful and we were able to do many things outside. The kids (Kyler, Ella, Grandma, and Grandpa) searched for Easter eggs and played in "Jumpy-Jumpy" (I am sure there will be pictures to come). Saturday was a very busy day for us with all of the getting ready for this weeks trip, but we can't even begin to express how grateful and meaningful to was to see the family on Saturday.



Sunday:



Sunday morning came all too early for us. I had a friend of mine post on Facebook that, without fail, the kids will always be up early on holidays and while the kids did not get us up, we were up way too early. With the coming of Sunday we had an early afternoon flight to Houston, and not enough hours in the day to get ready. We attended Easter Sunday services, and had lunch with my mother. After lunch came the hard part- leaving. I travel regularly for work and getting away for work reasons, even for extended stays, usually is not hard. For these reasons, getting away from the house was very difficult. The tears in both kid's eyes was hard to swallow and Heather and I had to share a rough few initial minutes on the drive followed by strong missing them feelings throughout the week.



Sunday did come with many bright spots though. We flew with Corporate Angels and this organization provides free flights for cancer patients on the empty seats of corporate jets. This was wonderful and the service on the flight was more than superb. We did forget though to arrange ground transportation for when we landed. Oops. However, the Ground Angel crew was able to get us to our hotel with no issue. We had to squeeze into a car, but it wasn't that much of a "squeeze". Everything happened to workout perfectly for us on Sunday.



Monday:



With Monday came hell!! We had a lovely non-neighbor (meaning there was no one in the hotel room) who left there alarm on. It started beeping about 10 minutes before our wake-up call and continued until we left the hotel. Heather went and got her blood drawn, this was the longest wait we had ever had at MD Anderson and was about an hour. We then went to get her catheter put in, but somewhere/someone did not pull all the blood work for the catheter to be put in. So we had to go back down for them to pull more blood work. This time it didn't take very long, and the cool thing was we actually heard the word "stat" used in an actual medical facility. I thought this was all make believe, but they actually do say it---all be damned. Heather even said that she told the nurse at the blood drawing station that it had to be done "stat" -- aren't we cool to be using the doctor lingo.



After finally getting the blood thing right, the catheter was installed without any real issue. They gave her a sedative and she was under strict orders to be in a wheelchair for a period of time. This was the fun part for me to zoom her around from place to place. We zoomed to get an X-ray, and then zoomed upstairs for a doctors appointment. Turning is a rather hard thing to do, and Heather has given me a hard time about my wheelchair driving skills.



After the doctors appointment began the fun of the day. We went to hospital admissions around 2:00 and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited. I think Heather read two large books, I read half of a small book and did a little bit of work. We finally got into our hospital room at about 8:00 PM. We got about two hours to settle into our room and then treatment began. However we would have preferred to start treatment at 8:02PM. First came saline for about 2 hours, followed by chemo 1 (lasted about 1 hour), followed by chemo 2 (lasted about 1 hour), followed by chemo 3 (lasted about 1 hour), followed chemo 4 (lasted 12 hours).



Heather has been amazing during the chemo treatments. The first three gave her no immediate side effect and at about 2:30 in the morning she told me if it is all like this then I should have no problem. Shortly there after the last drug was started and it hit her hard. She has only felt super sick a couple of times throughout the day, and slept a lot of the day today. She has gone in spurts though when she feels good for about 1-2 hours, sleeps for 1-2 hours, and feels sick for 1-2 hours. This has been repeated (in no particular order) most of the day.



Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. On a daily basis we continue to ask for both the physical and emotional strength to continue fight. I will not lie, it has not been easy and I am sure it will get more difficult for both of us, our immediate and extended families, and our kiddos. At some point in our childrens lives they might not remember this experience but when they look at their mother they will know that she was one hell of a fighter, with a will to survive that I am sure not everyone shares.



Thank you all for the thoughts. Heather, I love you, sleep tight and I will see you in the morning.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

We finally made it home late Wednesday night. It is so nice to be home with my munchkins. Daddy and I have both loving the kids up. So much so, that K actually asked me to STOP kissing him! Silly boy, that will never happen!


While we were in Houston I got all sorts of fun little gifts for the kids. They were both so excited to open all their gifts. It was fabulous seeing the looks on their faces as they took each item out of their bag.

Besides shopping, which is, of course, one of my favorite things to do, I also got to meet another one of my bloggy friends. Shana, Olivia, and Jacob were able to meet us at McDonald's for a quick lunch. I seriously love meeting all my bloggy friends in real life. Thanks for meeting us for lunch and I hope we can meet up again (since I will be there quite frequently!)

Here is the cancer fighting plan for next week:

We will be driving to Ponca City, OK where we will fly on a corporate jet to Houston. For free! I am stoked! We don't have to make the 10 1/2 hour drive! This wonderful program is through The Corporate Angel Network and we couldn't be more grateful for it!

On Monday I have labs in the morning, I will have a heart catheter placed, an appt with the Dr, and then will be admitted to the hospital for treatment. At this time our insurance has only approved treatment for 5 days instead of 7. For this first treatment, that may actually be ok. All these drugs have some pretty nasty side effects. A lot of patients can not handle the full dose. We will see. I am, quite honestly, willing to go to hell and back in order to get rid of this. I guess what worries me though is that I go through all of this and then it comes back anyway! Now that will really piss me off! But, what can I do? Nothing. I will just fight it with all my heart and soul and pray lots and lots that I am in the 13%.



Thank you to everyone who has offered to send us gift cards and bring us dinner. Your love and genorsity is overwhelming.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shopping and Breathing

Today we were able to enjoy a little bit of shopping in the morning before we had to return to MD Anderson. I don't think Cody enjoyed it nearly as much as I did, but it was nice to get out and actually have the energy to shop!




In the afternoon I had a chest x ray and a Pulmonary Function Test done. The x ray was fine, but the PFT sucked! Lots of holding my breath forever and blowing it out. Good times.



Tomorrow I have an Echo and a Stress test scheduled at 8AM and then we can head home. Woo Hoo! I am ready to be home. I miss my babies sooooooo much. I have cried so many times because I miss them so much. I am really looking forward to seeing them tomorrow night.



One of the highlights of this trip, besides the whole "We have a plan to kill this stupid cancer" part, was meeting one of my favorite bloggy friends! I don't have pictures of Angie and I. But she does. We met at the Hard Rock for some food and drinks. It was nice to be able to sit and talk with adults and talk about something other than cancer (of course that subject came up a bit though!).



Thank you Angie, Brandon, and Miss Ellie Grace for a wonderful evening.

Monday, April 6, 2009

MD Anderson Visit

We just returned from our visit with the Dr at MD Anderson. I feel the visit went very well and the Dr was quite positive that the treatment plan we have worked up will work.




I am going to be on quite a combination of drugs and will probably feel like shit for quite awhile. However, this is the best treatment plan that is available at this time (and it only works 13% of the time!)



The plan is to get some tests done (hopefully Tues or Wed), then head home. We will have to return on Sunday and on Monday I will have labs, they will put in a Central Venous Catheter, I will revisit the Dr and we will begin treatment that evening.



I will remain in the hospital at MD Anderson for one week. I will then return home for two weeks and then head back down for another week. This will continue for 6 week long treatments. I should be done with treatment in August sometime.



I am not very excited about this. I will have to be away from my babies for those weeks that I am hospitalized. They are not even allowed to visit. That will be killer. I am already dreading that. But, what is the alternative? I have no choice and I realize that. It still sucks though. This whole situation sucks.



Thank you to all of you for your prayers, thoughts, well wishes, and comments. I love reading your comments. You guys put a smile on my face with your encouraging words. Please, keep them coming:)



PS The results from the CT scan and PET are in. My organs and brain are cancer free. They did find a couple more masses of Melanoma. At this time they are not going to be biopsed because the treatment plan they are putting me on will get rid of the masses. Someday I will tell you guys a very humorous story about where the masses are and the poor Dr. But, not yet. That is a whole other post:)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Update

Today we met with my oncologist. He was shocked that the cancer was spreading. He agreed that the Interferon wasn't working and that we would have to try something else. The meds available through him were not really any meds that he would recommend. His recommendation was to get into MD Anderson in Houston, TX. They are the best of the best. They have lots of different meds there and if they can't help me they will send me to Bethasada, Maryland where they do a lot of studies for the National Institute of Health.




The Dr was very positive that MD Anderson would be able to help, but he was also realistic. What will probably happen now is that I will be on a maintenance drug for the rest of my life. I wasn't very excited about that. But, I will also do what ever I have to do to survive.



They ran another CT scan today from my head to my pelvis. I am also having another PET scan tomorrow (at 5:45 AM!!). I have been having headaches lately, which I am hoping is because of the crazy weather changes we've been having in KS. I have also been short of breath. Again, hoping it is more of an allergy/asthma thing. However, when you have cancer, EVERY LITTLE THING totally freaks you out. Please pray that the scans come out clean.



We leave on Sunday for my appt at MD Anderson. It will just be Cody and I. My parents are staying with the kids at our house. This has been a little hard on me. My babies are my strength. I want them near me at all times. But, this is how we have to do it. I'm not worried about them. That's not the issue. I just don't want to be away from them. I love them so, so much. But, in theory, I am doing this for them. I am doing it so that I am around for them. I know they will understand.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Results

The Dermatologist just called with the results and they are not good.




All three spots that he removed came back as Melanoma cancer. It's what he figured so I was sort of expecting it, but it was still a hard thing to hear.



I have an appt with my oncologist set for Thursday to see what path we take now. I also have an evaluation set up for next week at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I also have a call in to MD Anderson in Houston, Texas for an evaluation. As you can see, lots of different Dr appts, but lots of expertise. Hopefully someone will be able to tell us where to go from here.



Needless to say, I am pretty pissed. I'm pissed that I have gone through the last 8 months for nothing. I am pissed that it came back while I am in treatment. I am pissed that I won't actually be done in August. I am pissed that most people have success while on Interferon. And, well, I'm just pissed.



As for what to pray for now, pray that we caught it before it spread to any organs. I'll be honest, once Melanoma spreads to the organs I'm screwed. I'm pretty aware of my body on the outside, however, what goes on on the inside is any one's guess.



I think right now I am in a bit of denial. I am going through a lot of different emotions right now. I expected this. I knew last week that it was going to come back as cancer. My dermatologist is one of the best. This result was expected. It's still a hard thing to grasp though. I don't want cancer to win this fight. I have two beautiful babies that still need me. Kyler is the biggest mama's boy there is. What would he do if he didn't have me? The thought hurts to much to even think about.

The Results

The Dermatologist just called with the results and they are not good.




All three spots that he removed came back as Melanoma cancer. It's what he figured so I was sort of expecting it, but it was still a hard thing to hear.



I have an appt with my oncologist set for Thursday to see what path we take now. I also have an evaluation set up for next week at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I also have a call in to MD Anderson in Houston, Texas for an evaluation. As you can see, lots of different Dr appts, but lots of expertise. Hopefully someone will be able to tell us where to go from here.



Needless to say, I am pretty pissed. I'm pissed that I have gone through the last 8 months for nothing. I am pissed that it came back while I am in treatment. I am pissed that I won't actually be done in August. I am pissed that most people have success while on Interferon. And, well, I'm just pissed.



As for what to pray for now, pray that we caught it before it spread to any organs. I'll be honest, once Melanoma spreads to the organs I'm screwed. I'm pretty aware of my body on the outside, however, what goes on on the inside is any one's guess.



I think right now I am in a bit of denial. I am going through a lot of different emotions right now. I expected this. I knew last week that it was going to come back as cancer. My dermatologist is one of the best. This result was expected. It's still a hard thing to grasp though. I don't want cancer to win this fight. I have two beautiful babies that still need me. Kyler is the biggest mama's boy there is. What would he do if he didn't have me? The thought hurts to much to even think about.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rough Draft

Today I had the surgery to remove the spots.




The Dr felt that they were probably Melanoma. When he removed the spots they were black underneath. Not good.



He sent them off to the pathologist and we should have the official results next Tuesday or Wednesday.



I already have an appt with my oncologist scheduled for next Thursday. Obviously, my treatment plan will have to change.



I'm pretty pissed right now. But I won't go into that. For now, I am going to go enjoy every precious second with my beautiful family.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Freakin' Out

A couple months ago I found a spot on my back. I didn't think to much about it. It looked like a bug bite. It itched like a bug bite. No big deal. I showed it to my oncologist at my last appt. and he felt it was a Sebaceous cyst and not a huge deal. I already had an appt with my dermatologist scheduled.




Then a week ago Sunday a different spot showed up. This one below my right shoulder and more of a lump. About the size of a pea (it has now doubled in size). Pissed me off, but I wasn't to worried. Then another lump showed up that night. This one on my chest. Now I'm just getting really pissed. What is causing this? Why are they multiplying? What the hell is going on? I had an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. It did. So now we know they are either cysts or lymph nodes.



I went to the dermatologist today. He looked at the spots and said he wanted those off right away. He is actually coming in tomorrow after office hours to remove all three of the spots.



At first I wasn't all that worried, I don't really want more scars, but it's minor in comparsion. However, after thinking about it. What if these lumps are swollen lymph nodes? Swollen lymph nodes could mean more cancer. Needless to say, I am TOTALLY FREAKING OUT over here people.



My request to you guys, please pray. Pray that these lumps come back as something silly. That I am freaking out for no good reason. Pray people, pray hard. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aches and Pains

Lately I have been really sore. My muscles just hurt, my whole body just hurts. Apparently, this is a side effect of the Interferon. I have also been increasingly tired. As in, I wake up around 8AM with the kids and I am ready to go back to bed at 10AM. This week has been better since Cody has been home (last week he was gone and 2 kids, while on chemo is rough, really rough), but I'm still tired.




I have been trying to get out with the kids and do things, but it's hard when you are utterly exhausted and your body aches so bad you can barely carry your one year old. Try explaining that to a little one. Sorry honey, mommy can't hold you because her whole body aches! Carrying my children around is quite honestly, one of my favorite things to do. It means I get to be close to them and it's like getting free hugs. However, my body has been hurting so bad that holding either of them is difficult. That sucks.



So, I do have a prayer request. Please pray that the aches and pains go away and that the fatigue gets better. My kiddos deserve to have a mommy that can play with them and carry them everywhere they want to go:)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Less Than 6 Months

This weekend marked 6 months.




I have been getting chemo treatments for 6 months now.



But, do you know what else that means? That means that I have less than 6 months to go. I am OVER halfway done.



It's hard to believe that I have been doing this so long. I can't really say that it has gone quickly, because quit honestly, it hasn't. It feels like forever!



Probably the most difficult thing to deal with though is the fatigue. I am just so darn tired. The hardest part of my day is actually getting out of bed. Some days getting up and moving is just so hard.



But, you do what you have to do, right?



I have two beautiful babies that depend on me, so even when the only thing I want to do is sleep the day away, I get up and try my best to be a good mommy.



I am grateful that my babies are so young. I pray that they won't remember how tired I always am.



I pray that they remember that I played with them, cooked with them, colored with them, and loved them more than anything in this whole wide world.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Good Day

I don't know how many of you read the link on the side about how my cancer treatments are going (and if you read it religiously, I apologize for only updating every 1 or 2 weeks!) but last week I had to skip my shot on Saturday because we were heading to Wisconsin.




I really didn't want to skip it because now my last day of treatment will be August 8th instead of August 6th.



But, I was excited to see how I would feel on Monday. And I gotta say, I feel pretty good.



I'm tired, but this is a different kind of tired. It's a "Kyler woke me up at 6 AM" kind of tired. It's actually a nice kind of tired. Not that "I am so utterly tired I can barely function" kind of tired.



On the down side though, I actually have a bit of an appetite. The Interferon apparently takes away some of my desire to eat. No wonder I have lost 20 lbs! However, I would totally gain the weight back in a heartbeat, if it meant I could have the energy to play with my babies and just get stuff done!



If I could get away with it, I would probably skip tomorrow's shot too. It would be awesome to feel this good two days in a row!