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.