Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Jar

So, as you may know, this week was not exactly my favorite week of all time. Now, I will admit I have had worse. But not much!

Many tears were shed. Many adult words were said. Many hugs were received. But, just like I always do, I put on my big girl panties and decided to get over it. Such is life, right? Oddly enough, I dont control the world (even if I think I should....) and I certainly dont control the Ethanol world!

So, the hubs and I started brainstorming.

What Christmas presents should we take back? I do tend to go overboard on presents. Its just how I roll. Typically the hubs and I dont get presents for each other, but I am suprising him this year. And its an expensive big present. Something that we "needed" but in reality could probably live without if we had to. The kiddos each got their one big thing then a few little things, some clothes, and some pjs.

What "extras" can we cut out? (FYI- we dont have many extras-I have my DVR and the hubs got to keep his gym membership. We each got to chose one "extra" two years ago.)

What can I do to help our family? Should I go back to teaching? Subbing? Daycare? etc.

Should the hubs look into out of state jobs? If he gets a job out of state then what?

And in the midst of our questions, I sent the hubs out to get the mail. It seems nobody gets the mail when mama is gone!

I started going through the mail and noticed a package. I had ordered a few random things here and there for Christmas and figured it was one of those.

I noticed there was no return address on the package. Hmmmm. Interesting.

So I opened the package. Inside the package was a card. I opened the card.

Inside the card was a lovely note saying how they hoped the contents of their "Christmas Jar" would help me and my family this holiday season. On the other side of the card was over $300 in cash.

My hands started shaking.

Tears started streaming down my face.

I screamed for my husband to come here. I then remembered that there was also a wrapped package inside that envelope.

I opened the package and inside was a book, titled "Christmas Jar" . I had never heard of this wonderful little tradition before, but the more I researched the more I realized that this is something we should do. This is something that everyone that is able to do, should do!

At the end of each day you put all your loose change in to a jar. At this time of year, you choose a family that could really use some extra help this time of year (due to some sort of hardship, ie cancer, losing a job, fire, divorce, etc) and you donate that money to them. Anonymously. What a completely wonderful, thoughtful gift!

I'm not gonna lie. My faith was a little wobbly this week. (not that I ever doubted that God was there with me, I was just maybe a little annoyed with him!) And just like that. In a matter of a few seconds, my faith was restored. My heart was full. And suddenly I knew that everything was going to be ok. I knew that we could do this.

Now, I am going to challenge each of you to start a Christmas Jar. We all know someone, whether it is someone close to us or not, that is going thru a difficult time. Think about how amazing it would be to be able to secretly help someone out next year.

That my friends is truly what Christmas is all about. So, to my secret Angel out there, I thank you. I thank you for our special Christmas Jar gift. You will never know how much it helped or how much we appreciate you. We never, ever would of dreamed of something like that happening to us. You have honestly changed our lives. Not necessarily through money, but through our outlook on life. Someday, we plan to pay it forward.

Much Love-Heather and Family

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Change of Plans

Well, we had a slight change of plans. I went to my Dr appt this morning and everything looks great. I opted out of my trial. Set up my Dr appts for March and headed back to my hotel to take a nap before my CT scan (I had 3 hours in between!). During my little nap my lovely husband kept calling me. He never does that! Finally after the third time I grumpily answer the phone. Thats when he dropped a huge bomb on me...

The Ethanol plant that he works at is shutting down. In like two weeks. WHHHAAAATTTT??

Seriously? WTH! Minor MAJOR panic!!

First and foremost...Insurance. I MUST have insurance!!

Secondly...Income. I MUST have income.

So, many naughty words came out of my mouth, quickly and rapidly!

I called my nurse to ask her if I could be in the trial. She told me that in the discussions on Monday they had planned on closing the trial. But, she made some phone calls and turns out they will in fact keep the trial open for me for now. Whew. Minor crisis averted there. However, that does mean I MAY have to return to Nashville next month.

Here is the way this trial has cycles...on the odd cycles they do the PK draws. Right now I am coming to Nashville on the even cycles. So, they want to switch that. So, I may need to return next month just to get back on even cycles. I currently have appts set up in March to return which would actually b on the odd cycle, but that may be to long in between appts. I'm waiting on the final word for that.

Right now my whole world feels a little up in the air. My stomach is in knots and I am a little stressed. I understand that it is all in God's hands, however, I have some issues giving up control. If u know me, then that is not a huge shocker! But, not knowing where your next paycheck is going to come from is a bit of a freak out! My husband is very well known out there in the Ethanol industry and has a lot of connections, so pray right now that it will all work out like it should.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Drug Update

Its been awhile since I've updated! Sorry! I am doing great. We found out that that I will be able to get my chemo drugs mailed to me thru my Insurances speciality pharmacy. Since the drug I am on was FDA approved in August, I am actually able to transfer my care back to KS if I want to. I chose not to do that. I would rather keep my care at Vanderbilt for now. I really like my Dr and I feel like if the cancer decides to return, I will definitely be able to receive better care at Vanderbilt then I will be able to loccally. There are just more options available at Vanderbilt.

So, this week I am returning to Vanderbilt. I will opt out of my trial and set up a new travel schedule with my Dr. I know that he will be ok with me returning every 3 months. So for now, that is what I am shooting for. He would actually probably be ok with me coming back every 4 months, but thats a little nerve wracking for me.

Sometimes I truly cant believe how long I have been on this drug. With ZERO reoccurance! It is absolutely amazing! December 20th will be 20 MONTHS!! 20 months I have been on this amazing, life changing drug! The average is SIX months! I am truly in awe!

As we discovered this drug is NOT cheap! A three month supply, without insurance would of cost me $24,000!! Holy smokes! Luckily, we are blessed and have great insurance so I only pay a very small portion of that. I could of stayed in the trial and continued to receive my drugs for free, but since I will get to space out my trips a little more, this will actually end up saving us more money. And I am all for saving money! It will also allow me to spend more time with my beautiful family. And I am also all for that:)

Thank you all for your prayeres. My life is good. I am blessed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vanderbilt Update

Last week I made a visit to my local oncologist. Nothing to worry about. Just my yearly appointment to keep a local Dr is I should happen to need him. I did ask him to write me a prescription for Ibuprofren thinking it would be cheaper. He freaked out a little when I told him I was taking 800 mg of Ibuprofren twice a day to keep the lumps under control. He ordered a basic panel which looks at my kidney function, among other things. Little does he know I have been taking that much Ibuprofren for the last 16 months. Well, actually he does know. I told him. But whatever.

For some reason, within a few days of switching from the store bought Ibuprofren to the prescription my inflammation lumps went CRAZY! Not.Even.Kidding! I was covered in them on my arms, waist, butt, and thighs. And they hurt. Soooo bad. Luckily they only hurt for a about 4 days then they start to go away. Obviously I switched back to the store bought ibuprofren and so far so good. So weird!

Today I had my appts at Vanderbilt. My labs looked great. For some reason my CT scans werent on the computer yet. I guess there's nothing to worry about. They gave me more pills:) Appt with the derm went great also.

I did meet with my trial coordinator and she dropped a bit of a bomb. Apparently I am the only left on this trial. Anywhere in the US. Isnt that crazy!! Since I am the only one left the trial hosts are considering closing this trial. There are some positives and some negatives with this.

The positives...It would allow me to space out my visits a little bit more and be a little more flexible. I could continue to get my drugs for free.

The negatives....I would have to pay for my drugs. Change. I hate change.

Vanderbilt and the trial host are still discussing what the plan is. I hope to know more next month, but I will definitely know more by the time I return in December.

But, over all a good appt. Meds continue and I am grateful:) Keep praying people! Its working!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm THAT Mom!

When I was first diagnosed one of my fears was missing everything. All the firsts that my kids would get to do. First day of school was foremost on my mind. I was so, so scared that I would not get to see Kyler and Ella go to Kindergarten.

When I was originally diagnosed over 3 years ago, I remember crying a river in the shower about missing Kyler's first day of Kindergarten. It hurt so bad so think about not getting to see him off.

My Dr was so grim about my prognosis that I truly believed I would be gone in less than a year. What a scary, scary thought for a 30 year old mother of two young children. I cant lie, I am still scared. But, I know the power of prayer. I am living proof of the power of prayer!!

I think that's why, when on Friday, I was THE mom that brought in 10 extra boxes of Kleenexs for K-mans class, a couple tubs of wipes, and some snacks I smiled when another mom said, Oh yeah, you are totally THAT MOM:)  Yes, yes I am. So, thank you Friend, you secretly made my day:)

Friday, September 2, 2011

What's That? I'm Normal?!!

This week I made my 8 week trip to Nashville. I was able to fly out locally so that was actually really, REALLY nice. I could get used to that! I think next time I am going to put in a request to stay at Hope Lodge. Its not my favorite place to stay. But, it is free, and around that time of year we have to think cheap!!

So, I arrived to my hotel Tuesday evening. On Wednesday my first appt was scheduled at 8:40, however I knew I needed to be there earlier because my first appt was a CT. I have to drink my barium an hour before I have my CT. However, due to road construction and Vanderbilt being back in school I got lost. Totally turned around. I hate being late. Hate it hate it hate it!! And even though technically I was actually still early for my appt, in my head it felt late. Yes, I'm weird. Leave me alone!

Anyway, I usually have my labs before my CT. For some reason I didnt this time. BIG MISTAKE!! Apparently the techs in the CT area do not know how to hit a flippin vein!! O.M.G! When you are sticking a needle in me you only get one shot. That's it. Then someone else gets to try. So, the two techs couldnt get a vein so they had to bring me to a different area where there were actual nurses. Two different nurses tried to get a vein and THEY couldnt get it either. They finally had their head nurse come over, whom I told, either you get it or I am done. I dont care if they need labs and an IV for my CT I am done. Plain and simple. The nurse was not happy about being the LAST one to try and get my IV in, but she was nice and she got the IV in no problem.

At this time I was a wreck. I was trying with all my might not cry. I was sick of being poked and I just knew that when I finally met with my Dr that he was going to tell me the cancer was back.

You see, I am a big fan of following the signs, and the signs were not good at this point!

So, they had a nosey LPN, who read my file the WHOLE WAY TO THE WAITING ROOM!! Totally NOT his business! But, he brought me back and left and I started bawling. Lucky for me I had my favorite CT tech and he was able to calm me down. He walked me back to get my CT and told really stupid jokes the whole way. It was just what I needed! I love him!

After my CT I had my labs and then went and met with my Dr. My favorite nurse tech checked me in and got my vitals. He then broke the news that Dr Magoo (I really like how Chelsea makes up names for her Drs so I think I am going to do that to. It makes me smile:) was out sick. What? Hold the phone! I just traveled a bzillion miles to see him!! But I was able to see Dr Spa, who was Dr Magoos intern  (or whatever they call it) so she knew me.

Now, here is where the news gets A.MAZ.ING!!!

The tumor in my hip, the one that actually got me in to this trial, is gone. Completely gone. In fact, Dr Spa thought it had been surgically removed! The tumor in my lymph node, is about .4-.5mm. So small that its hard to get a measurement on!! In fact, with that one she said if she hadnt read in my chart to look for it she wouldnt of thought anything about it. It looks like a "normal" person's lymph node!! AND, my LDH level, which is what they use to measure my cancer markers was within normal range.

Can you believe that?? I am an actual "normal" human being!! I have no signs of melanoma. Now, does that mean I can stop my chemo? Well, no. Its not as simple as that. I am NED BECAUSE of the medicine. If I stop the chemo, the cancer could, and probably would come back. And we certainly dont want that to happen now do we! So, I will continue to take my medicine. And I will continue to travel to Nashville every 8 weeks. And I will continue to remain cancer free. Because that's how I roll:)

A few weeks ago I found a lump in the lymph node behind my left ear. I spazzed out, because well that's what I do when I find an odd lump. I had already gone to my derm and my family physician about the lump. They both told me it was due to allergies, but after 4 days on a Zpac and the lump was still there I was really scared. So, I showed it to Dr Spa and she also agreed it was due to my sinus issues, but I still needed some convincing. I was already there. I wasn't coming back for 8 weeks. So I requested a fine needle biopsy. HOLY CRAP!! It hurt like hell, but all that came out of it was blood and "gunk"! In other words, it IS indeed a sinus infection! Dr Spa prescribed a stronger antibiotic for me and I am hoping it does the trick!

After that I drove to another medical building to meet with Dr Single, my derm, who was running an hour behind. He is never, ever behind. But that's ok, they have TVs in their patient rooms so I just watched a little Days of Our Lives and waited. When he finally joined me, he looked me over, agreed my skin looked great, and I left.

I then had to return to the Cancer Center to pick up my meds, because apparently they make the tiny little miracle pills right there on the spot. So, I went back and got my drugs and then I was FINALLY able to go to my hotel and rest.

And then my day got really good! HAPPY HOUR!! So, I enjoyed a few glasses of few wine to celebrate the good and bad parts of my day:)

Thank you all so much for your prayers! Keep praying! They are working!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Next week I head to Nashville. This time I am actually flying out of our local airport rather than driving a total of 6.5 hours to KC where the flights are cheaper. From the beginning I said if flying out of KC doesnt save me at least $100, then I'm not doing it! This time it didnt, which I have mixed feelings about. Saving money is good. Driving 6 hours sucks though!

I have been way more anxious about this Dr's visit. Honestly I dont stress out anymore about CT scans. I know this medicine was MADE for me. I knew that at the beginning of this trial. When things kept falling in to place, I just felt it in my gut that this was going to work. And u know how I am about the whole "follow your gut" thing:)

However, last Friday I discovered a lump in the lymph node behind my ear. MAJOR PANIC MODE!! However, I called my derm and the squeezed me in (he loves me:) and he really felt that it was just sinus drainage. And honestly, he's never been wrong when it comes to me. But, as the week went on and the lump didnt go away I got more nervous, so I made an appt with my family physican. Now, I dont put as much stock in him, but he gets me in right away, he's close, and he gives me meds, so I went. He also felt like it was a sinus issue so he put me on an antibiotic. So far, the lump hasnt shrunk much, but I have lots of fluid draining out of my ears. Its fabulous! Right now I am just praying that it really is a sinus issue.

Right now I am covered in my fabulous lympoma lumps, which would certainly indicate that my immune system is working in overdrive. Or isnt working. It will be interesting to see what my white count is.

So, not only am I dealing with the stress of, well cancer, I am also stressing out about my little man. He is doing fabulous at school. I truly could not be happier. He has been blessed with an amazing teacher who I feel truly loves and cares about him (and probably all the other students!). But, next week since I will be in Nashville Grandpa will have to take him to school and pick him up. I dont WANT to miss out on pick ups:( I want to see him as soon as he gets out of school. I love to see his face when he walks out of the building. So, that has been rather difficult on me. I also have lots of anxiety about how he will do while I am gone. His teacher knows that I will be gone so she is prepared for that. I also let the secretary and his speech path know. Hopefully that means that his speech path will be a little more considerate when it comes to how hard she is pushing him. We shall see.

I just hate that I have to leave right now. I know Geebers will do fine. She's pretty adaptable. K-man? Ummm, not so much. But, such is life.

It could always be worse. Right now I am grateful for people that love us and are willing to change plans to help out our family. I am grateful for a wonderful teacher who gets that Kman may be a little emotional next week. And I am grateful for wonderful cancer drugs who have given me so much!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Today was the day! I sent my little man off to the big ole Grade School building. Honestly the morning was a bit of a blur. Geebers has to be dropped off by 8 and K Man has to be dropped off by 805. It is physically impossible (unless I orbe!) to get from one school to the otherr in 5 minutes. But, a friend gave me some different route ideas so I am going to give those a shot tomorrow!

Honestly, both kids have done great with dropping off. They are so excited to be at school that they barely notice when I leave. Sigh.... But, I am happy for them. Possibly a bit sad for me, but whatev!

I do believe the absolute best part of my day is when I pick them up. I get the BIGGEST smiles and the BIGGEST hugs of all time!! Its like I've been gone forever! Its fabulous! Geebers cant wait to tell me what she did and how she helped the little girl with the "broken leg" (she has a girl in the class with leg braces, and if you know Geebers, I can guarantee you she is the first one to help the little girl with EVERYTHING!) That's just who she is. She has one of the kindest little hearts. Man, I love her!

Today was K-mans first day so I couldnt get to much out of him. But I had to go inside the building (you are supposed to wait outside for them) to talk to another teacher and when I slipped out of the room and his class was coming down the hall. He happened to see me and he was sooooo excited that he ran down the hall and LEAPED in to my arms. I looked at the teacher to tell her sorry, but I could tell she understood. And there was no way I putting that little guy down!! I needed his hug just as bad as he needed mine!!

Even though today was rough and I missed my babies terribly, it is truly a great feeling to be able to witness this. Two years ago none of us thought this day would happen. During biochemo none of us thought I would pull through. My mom just confessed this weekend that they truly thought they were going to lose me during biochemo. This chemo has brought me back. It has saved my life. Noone knows how long this medicine will continue to work. But, I am truly thankful for

And I am especially thankful for this week. Because I got to see my 3 year old Princess attend preschool for the very first time and I got to see my super hero loving little big man attend Kindergarten for the first time. In a few years, I will forget about the rushing around and the waking up early. I will forever remember walking both my children in to their classrooms for the very first time. And I will always remember the hugs and kisses that I got when I picked them up.

That is what I will savor.

That is what I will remember.

The dropping off and the picking up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Growing Up So Fast!

Today my beautiful 3 year old Princess started Preschool. She is one of the role model students at one of the Elementary schools in our town. She will attend preschool in the mornings Tuesday thru Friday. I know it is a fabulous program and I know she will be great, but I'll be honest, I teared up all morning long! She is growing up so fast! She is such an amazing little person. I truly feel blessed to be her mommy.

As you know, I was diagnosed the day she turned 6 months old. At that time I truly thought I wouldnt get to see my baby girl go to school. I remember crying and crying every time I took a shower because I truly thought I would be gone by now.

My little big man starts Kindergarten tomorrow. Its a big day. He is so ready. I, however, have teared up every time I think about him being away from me all day long. The last two nights we have The Kissing Hand and every time I have cried. Geez! I cant do that! When I cry my kids get scared. We've been thru so much that to them tears mean bad news. Therefore, I rarely cry in front of them. I save that for the shower!

I still remember the day I was diagnosed. I still remember the day I met with my oncologist. I remember him telling me I need to get my things in order because my life expectancy is about 6 months-1 year. Clearly he didnt know me! Because 6 months didnt exactly fit in to my schedule! But, as a new "diagnosee" I listened to my Dr. I truly thought my time was going to be that short. I was so scared I wouldnt get to see K go to school. I was so scared I would never get to see my Princess grow up. But, you know what, I am getting to see those things! I am getting to be a mom! Yes, I have bad days, who doesn't? But, I dont take any of my days with my kids for granted. I love being with them. I love loving them. I love holding them. I love being their mommy!

So, wish me luck tomorrow as I send my baby boy off to his first day of Kindergarten and my baby girl off to her second day of Preschool.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What? You Have Cancer? Really?

Don't get me wrong, I dont ever mind hearing how fabulous I look, but I dont think that people, who dont have Melanoma, really get how dangerous it is. Because they look at me, I look fine, and they figure that is how it will work out for them.

Let me just be the first to say, that the last three years have sucked major monkey balls! I have fought my ass off (literally!! have you seen how thin I am?!) to get this far. I have researched. I have found the best doctors. And I know exactly what I will or wont try as far as chemo goes. I know alot about almost every melanoma chemo drug out there. That's just how I roll. I am a research junkie. That wont ever change. My husband, who is certainly more laid back I am (that's why we work so well together, I stress out, he stays extremely calm-it works for us:) has already been told, when I get to sick to fight that he will just have to fight for me! (PS My MIL and mother have also been told the same thing:) I have lots of fighters on my team!!

But, I do know that if you happen to see me walking down the street, here is what you will see:
a mommy, with a Princess holding one hand (probably in a swimsuit!) and a superhero holding the other hand. Both probably fighting over which hand to hold!
A mommy carrying a big bag filled with 100 SPF sunscreen, water, and snacks.
A mommy who loves her 2 children more than life itself.
Two beautiful children who love their mommy to the sun and back.
A mommy who will fight forever to be around for her children.

What you wont see is a mommy who worries about Melanoma returning.
A mommy who is scared to death to cry in front of her kids.
A mommy who is in pain almost every night because of the damage that biochemotherapy did to my legs.
A mommy who wishes that cancer was all just a bad dream.
A mommy who will never ever stop fighting, researching, educating, and praying.
A mommy who truly believes that God has a plan for everyone. This is mine. There is definitely a reason I am still around.

And even though this mama is looking fabulous and kicking some cancer ass, please remember to wear your sunscreen and protect skin. Its the only skin you have! Protect it people!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CT Results

Last week I made the trek to Vanderbilt for my bimonthly appts. I started with labs, CT scan, Dr appt, then I headed across town for my derm appt, then went back to Vandy for my repeat labs and to pick up my meds.

Originally we were going to make this a family trip, however, my husband couldnt get off work, and I sort of decided I needed a little mommy time ;) Sometimes its nice just to have a few nights without bedtime battles and tears!

My labs looked great so no worries there. My CT scans took a little longer, but I did get the results yesterday. I currently have a new nurse. My old nurse would just email me and tell me that the scans looked great and no need to worry. This nurse emailed me and asked if anyone had called me with my CT scan results. Major freak out!! I called her immediately.

But, she quickly informed me my CT scan looked PERFECT and I had nothing to worry about:) So, at this time I have been on this drug for 15 months with absolutely zero reoccurance! How simply amazing is that! I am the poster child for this drug! Its like this fabulous drug was made just for me! And that, my friends, is a true miracle!

In fact, the head of the Melanoma dept at Vandy has used my pathology when giving lectures on the effectiveness of this drug! Cool, right?! My melanoma is famous!

I have certainly had many bumps in the road the last 3 years, and it definitely has not been easy, but I am more definitely one lucky mama! I am truly blessed!

Friday, July 8, 2011

3 Years? Really?

3 years ago today my life changed forever. Nothing has been the same since my dermatologist told me, "You have Melanoma." At that time I had no idea what that really meant or the seriousness of it. I knew he wasnt kidding, and I knew from the look on his face that it was serious, but I truly had no idea how different my life was going to be. And I guarantee my husband didnt! Considering his response on the phone was, well ok then. Gee, thanks dear!

The last three years have been rough. Really rough. My body has been through more than most 33 years olds will go through in their  lifetime. I have been on 7 different chemo drugs, and honestly only one (the one I am currently on) has truly worked. And it has worked wonders!!

Studies have shown that eventually my melanoma will find a new pathway around the Braf gene. Currently, what the drug I am on has done, is turn off that Braf gene, therefore in a sense, the Melanoma cant spread because it figure a way around the gene. Lucky for me, I have really stupid cancer:) It cant figure out how to get around it, I like stupid cancer. No, scratch that, I LOVE that I have stupid cancer:)

One thing I do know, is that my time is probably running out (on this drug that is!). Soon my melanoma will get around it. We knew when I started this trial that this wasnt a permanent fix. Just temporary. Well my temporary has turned in to 15 MONTHS!! Awesome right?! But, this does beg the question, what will we do next. Where will we go from here. And, I'll be honest, I dont really know. Dont get me wrong, there are lots of trials and lots of new drugs to try. But, I think a part of me will be extremely upset and hurt when this medicine stops working. This medicine and I have a bond! It hasnt ever failed me, I would really rather it didnt start now!!

The good news is, as far as I know (I dont have my recent scan results yet), this medicine continues to work, and I continue to kick cancer's ass!! If you know me, then you know very well, that I will NEVER, EVER stop fighting. I have way to much to live for. I really, truly do, and that is why God is watching over me. That is why He continues to help me win this battle!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

That Gut Feeling

Do you ever have a gut feeling? You know, that gut feeling that tells you something is right...or that something is wrong? Ever since being diagnosed I have been a big "gut follower." I have grown quite found of my lovely gut. Usually it is right on. Sometimes it gets a little overly cautious, but I'm ok with that. I would rather have it be overly cautious than under cautious. Know what I mean?!

When I started this trial back in APRIL 2010!!! I just had a feeling that this was the trial for me. I dont know why. I had been thru sooooo many different chemo drugs and really nothing had worked. At least not for long. I just FELT like this was the medicine for me. The average time on this medicine is 6 months! The pure fact that I have made it for 14 months with zero recurrance is an absolute miracle. It really and truly is.

Sometimes I get so annoyed and frustrated that I have to travel for my medical treatments. But, the fact of the matter is, no matter what, with Melanoma, I will always have to travel. Kansas jut doesnt have the best cancer care. At least not for Melanoma. KS offers the standard medical care, but trials for Melanoma are rare, and not all that great. So, having to travel will always be on our "must do" list. Boo!:(

But, I guess if I have to travel I am grateful that I have to travel to Nashville, TN, because let me tell ya, Nashville is BEAUTIFUL!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Yesterday, June 13, 2011, my Great Aunt Lotta passed away after a long, long battle with Melanoma. A few weeks ago I decided to load up the kiddos and head back to see her. That was a decision I will never regret and will always, always remember.

I didnt think it would be the best idea to bring the kiddos with me, in case you didnt know they are a bit wild and I just wanted to be able to focus on chatting with my Aunt, not telling them to sit down and get off of things the whole time! So, I called my Grandma and asked her to head to my Aunts house with me. My whole family lives very close to one another, its kind of nice actually. So, Grandma and I went up to her house and we were able to chat for about 45 minutes.

I held it together quite well while we were there, but once we left, and I dropped my Grandma off, I lost it. I just bawled. There is something about seeing someone you love, someone that you know is going to pass away soon, in a hospital bed. It was just a bit to much for this girl.

Since I didnt want to be left with that vision, I made the decision to go back to see her the next day. I am so, so glad that I did. She looked so much better. She was sitting up in the chair and joined our conversation. That is the day I will always choose to remember. I am so glad something told me to go back.

Before cancer my Aunt and I werent all that close. But there is something about having cancer. The exact same type of cancer, that brings people together. Because of my Melanoma I have truly made some great friends. Friends that I have never ever met, but truly adore. That is how I feel about my Aunt, of course I loved her, we were family. But I truly admired her. I looked up to her. She fought Melanoma for THIRTEEN YEARS!! She beat Melanoma for thirteen years! That is truly amazing. If you have listened to me preach then you know that only about 10% of people with Stage IV melanoma live more than 5 years. Luckily, with all the new research being devoted to Melanoma, that percentage is raising. I can only hope and pray that I will be able to beat Melanoma for that long (however, longer would be fabulous!)

Rest In Peace Aunt Lotta. Your battle and your fight were inspiring and will never be forgotten.

Much Love-Your Great Niece

Monday, June 6, 2011


When I first started to blog, way, way back when, I used my blog as a journal. I chronicled our life. Everything. I did not have cancer at that time, so it was all about the fun stuff. Which was actually pretty nice. A journal is a good thing to have. I just need to remember to write in it! A few things have happened since I last posted. I did finally get the results from my last scan. They were fine. What really worries me is being able to tell the difference before the fatty lumps and new cancer. So far I havent noticed anything other than the fatty lumps, which is good:) I have felt pretty good. Tired, but that's pretty normal anymore!

This sun has been fierce here in KS. We just skipped right over Spring and now its in the 100s and the sun is a killer! Even with 110 SPF on I can feel the sun just burning the heck out of me! Grrrr! But, the meds are working, so I will deal with it. My husband got me some awesome spf shirts to wear and I absolutely love them! I only have two though, so I need to get some more! They have been lifesavers! While the kids are outside in the pool  wear one of those to protect my shoulders, a big ole hat, sunglasses, and lots of sunscreen. So far I have only burned a few times. Its really a matter of trial and error, how often do I need to reapply. For normal people every hour or two is adequate, for me, its more like every 30 minutes!! Ugh!

But, oh well!

I hope everyone is practicing sun safety and wearing that sunscreen!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bracelet Fundraiser

In case you didnt know, I truly have some amazing friends. Really, I do! One of my good friends volunteered to host a fundraiser for us to help with medical expenses.] You have no idea how much it costs to travel back and forth to Nashville every month. I am so glad that I only have to go every other month from here on out. At least until the cancer returns (which better be a long, long time from now!)

So, in order to help out, we are selling black silicone cancer bracelets. The bracelets will say "Keep Fighting Heather" followed by a cancer ribbon. The bracelets will be $5 a piece, plus shipping (not sure what that will be!). If you would like to show your support by ordering one (or more!) you can either leave me a comment or email me at dolfinlvr101 (@) yahoo (.) com.

We will also be having a fundraiser the evening of Tuesday, June 21st, at Cherry Berry here in our town. They are donating 10% of their proceeds earned that evening from 4pm to close, so if you are local, mark your calendar and come on down!! We will also have the bracelets there to purchase and a few of the pink cancer shirts from last year.

If you would like to purchase the bracelets (or shirts) you can pay via paypal using the link on the right hand side or you can mail me a check. However, I dont feel comfortable putting my address for the world to see, so you will have to send me an email and I will send you an address to mail the check to.

Thank you all for your support the last few years!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

2 in School!

For the last few weeks I have been on the fence as to whether or not to enroll E in a Mother's Day Out program. The program is not at our church, but at a Methodist church in a neighboring town. It has received great reviews and they incorporate lots of educational activities into their program, which I loved, of course!

And after talking with several parents whose kids attend the program I was sold. I knew we needed to do it. Of course, I was still worried about leaving her for a whole day, but I also knew it would be good for both of us. E and I are rarely apart. Like ever! But, I did it. I went ahead and got a tour of the classrooms and enrolled her in the program for next year.

After that we went to the Mother's Day Tea at K's preschool and decided to have a picnic lunch at the park and play for a bit.

After an hour or so we came home for Learning Time and had a message on the machine.

A few months ago I enrolled E in the Role Model program through our local school district. The role model program is a prek program that is offered in our school district for kiddos that are 3-5. The class is made up of a few kids that are considered the role models and other kids who have some sort of disability (speech, learning, physical, etc). When E was evaluated all the examiners agreed that she would be a FABULOUS role model. If you know E then you would certainly agree. She is seriously one of the sweetest little girls you will ever meet. She has the kindest heart and she is super smart to boot!

However, getting in to the role model is not easy. It's honestly all about who you know. We dont know enough people to get her in to the program :( So I didnt think it would happen. But, guess what! It DID! She got in! On the exact same day that I enrolled her in the Mom's Day Out program. Sigh...Luckily I did not pay anything for the MDO program so we arent out any money or anything. I just feel bad that I am going to have to call and "unenroll" her from the program now!

The dilema for next year will be that E will be at one Elementary school and K will be at another. With start times 5 minutes apart. That could be an issue! However, K's Elemetnary School does have the Early Childhood program so with a little luck and a little prayer an opening will come up at K's school before next year and E can go there. That would be PERFECT!! Both kiddos would be at the same school. K would attend Kindergarten all day and E would go for a little less than half day 4 days a week.

Honestly, the program is wonderful. I really wish K would of qualifed. He would of really benefitted from the academic side of the program. But, here are my concerns, first and foremost, is the fact that E will be away from me for 4 days a week. I dont like that. I want her with me always! But, I do realize that this will be good for her and for other kids, because let's face it, she's a pretty awesome little girl:) Second, how in the world will I get one kid to school by 8 and the other by 8:05?? That one will require a plan! Third, there goes my dream of homeschooling E for prek. I am really, really sad about this. I was really looking forward to this. She has such a strong desire to learn that I know homeschooling will be so much fun with her! However, once you get accepted in to this program you dont turn it down. Many people would love to have this opportunity, so of course we are going for it. I will suck it up and get over my fear of leaving her and some how we will figure out the drop off times. Where there is a will there's a way, right?!

Moral of the story babies are growing up and I am so sad!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Yet Sad

Lately it seems like all my friends are pregnant. Every where I look someone else is announcing that they are expecting. Don't get me wrong, obviously I am truly happy for all of them. Every last one of them. I think they are all amazing women and will make amazing mothers (again:) However, part of me hurts. Hurts for the 3rd child that I will never, ever have. I'm not even sure I would want a 3rd child. Its just the pure fact that I CAN'T that really bothers me!

However, when I was pregnant with E, my husband and I both decided that if it was a boy we would try one more time, if it was a girl, we were done. God obviously knew what He was doing when He gave me a girl. He knew that my heart and life would not be complete without a little Princess in my life. And believe me, E is a true little Princess! Oh my goodness is she! That little lady is ALL girl and ALL Princess! And apparently He knew that is what I would need.

I can't say that I'm not sad about never getting to experience the thrill of being pregnant or the bond of a nursing newborn. Luckily, I have many wonderful friends who are expecting and are more than happy to share their experience with me.

So, a big shout out to all my pregnant friends. And please remember me when that baby needs some loving (but do NOT remember be in the middle of the night please, oh heck, I'm probably up anyway, feel free to call:)

Friday, April 15, 2011


Last month we had K's preschool Parent/Teacher conference. I was worried about his behavior issues, however that wasnt even an issue! His teacher (whom I felt really should of focused more on the positive, but that's just the teacher in me speaking...) really seemed to focus more on his academic issues and things that he needs to know for Kindergarten.
I'll be honest, I really was under the impression that preschool was teaching him these things. And of course we read every night, but it's more for enjoyment, not learning. So, my thinking has changed. Since the conference I have really started researching homeschooling and finding all sorts of fun activities to do at home.

At first, K was NOT thrilled with this! At all! And it was a major battle every day. However, I have sort of got it figured out a little more and so has he and he LOVES it! And guess what! His behavior has totally changed for the better too! Yay!! I am thrilled! Who would of thought?!

So, here is our schedule....every day (mainly during the week, but sometimes on the weekends we will all sit down as a family and play Alphabet Bingo or a number game, etc) E has her rest time from around 1-3, so from 1-2PM K and I will work on number and letter activities. I am currently working on the same letter that they are working on at Prek and then we do something with numbers also. I have found all sorts of homeschooling lessons to use at home. The one that really set the tone for making it fun for him was this Batman Lesson! Jackpot! We dont use the letter lessons anymore, but we can still use the number matching portion of it over and over. The numbers only go to 10, so I need to figure out a way to make it to 20. I'll work on that::) I know some of you have asked what websites I really like, so I will post the links below. Hopefully they will help you out also!

My husband and I have made the decision that next year, Ella will not attend prechool. I really feel like the 3 year old year of preschool is more for socialization. K needed that. Without a doubt. However, if you have ever met E, then you know what a social butterfly she is:) So, instead of sending E to prek next year, while K is at Kindergarten E and I will be able to do some preschool homeschooling activities. I am super excited for it! She is DYING to do the learning time with K, but I really think it needs to be more about him. I think that is what has made it so successful. It is just his time with mommy. E will get that next year. A LOT!!

So, here are some of the websites/blogs that I love....
Confessions of a Homeschooler
Making Learning Fun

**For the record, I have no intention of homeschooling K next year. He will attend public school. This is simply to prepare him for Kindergarten.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Today I had an appt with my Oncologist and Dermatologist in Nashville. My appts both went very well. I have actually missed seeing my oncologist. I havent seen him in like 4 months! So, it was nice to finally touch base with him. He also agreed that me coming to Nashville every month and only seeing him every other month was just plain silly. So, with any luck and many prayers, those folks in charge of the trial will actually listen to my Oncologist and agree to me only coming every other month and just getting everything done at once. As my Dr pointed out, I really am the star of this trial, at some point they should cater just a bit to what is convenient and affordable for me! I'll keep you updated!

I also had my 3 month appt with my Dermatolgoist. Unforunately my derm is not in the office on Wednesdays so I met with another derm, whom I really liked I might add:) Everything looked great. I do have an odd rash on my upper arms and back. He said that it was a form of ezcema and nothing to really worry about.

He also noted a small bump in my right lymph node and some fluid uptake in my left lymph node. Neither are anything to worry about at this time.

I was able to discuss some other options for being safe in the sun and apparently I am doing everything that I can do! Other than wearing a huge "Kentucky Derby Sized Hat" which I will be purchasing when I return home, by the way!

This medicine makes me extremely sun senstive. The other day my friend and I were outside, in the shade, watching the kid play, with sunscreen on, and I FRIED!!! My nose and arm burnt so badly that I blistered. *sigh* It sucks. So I am just going to have to be diligent about reapplying sunscreen. Awwww, hello summer! But, I am a mom of two very active children, so NOT playing outside is not an option! So, I will just have to start buying stock in sunscreen:)

My derm did mention that there is not a difference between sunblock and sunscreen. For me he recommended 100 SPF, however for an "average" person he said that 50 SPF applied every 2 hours is adequate. His recommendation for sunscreen was Neutrogena, he did not have a preferance for the spray or rub on, but he did recommend the rub on for me, at least for the initial application.

So, with summer coming, please PLEASE make sure your skin is protected and that your childrens skin is protected! Even one bad sunburn increases your chance for Melanoma by 50%!! Yikes! Be careful out there!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm A Little Bit Stronger...

Have you ever heard that country song that says something about getting stronger everyday. I dont know who sings it and I know it's actually about a relationship and how even though he left her she continues to get stronger every day. Obviously, I dont have that situation to deal with, but I do feel like I get stronger every day.

Every day my determinaton to beat this awful disease is tested.

Every day I wish I could just be "normal". I wish I could live like my friends. They dont travel every month to cancer appts. They dont have to pay for the travel expenses and the medical bills that we do. They dont have to worry about frying so bad out in the sun that they blister-even when using sunscren. They dont have to worry every day about their cancer returning.

They are free to live their lives how they want to live. To an extent, I can, but my cancer has also really limited me in other senses. And that sucks. Every single day I worry that this may be the day my cancer returns. I know, that in theory I cant live my life like that. But, it doesnt matter. I still worry.

I am so scared that I wont get to see my kids grow up. That has to be my number one concern or fear. That my children will grow up without me. Have you MET my children? They are totally mama's babies. No doubt about it. They adore their mama and I adore them right back. I have a special bond with them. We are about as close as a mama can be with her children. And that scares me. If this cancer eventually wins how will THEY handle it? I know they will have to deal with it, but I dont want them to HAVE to deal with it. I want this cancer to just go away. I want it to leave me and my family alone.

For now, it is and for that I am grateful. I truly believe God knows how much I need my children and how much they need ME. He knows that this medicine needs to continue to work.

April 20th is my 1 year anniversary of being on this medicine. I have been on it for one year with NO RECURRANCE!!!  That, my bloggy friends, is truly a miracle. God knows. He just does. Keep praying. It's working.

Friday, March 18, 2011

CT scan

This week has been a crazy, busy week! More busy than usual! Dont get me wrong, I actually LOVE the fact that I am able to be a busy mom. Something that I couldnt do a few years ago (due to being sick with the biochemo).

This week I had a trip to Vanderbilt for a follow up CT scan. So, on Tuesday I loaded the kiddos up and we headed towards KC. We met my mom on the turnpike and switched cars. She took the kiddos in my car and I ended up with their lovely piece of shit car. Who knew once you hit 100 that their car would almost fall apart. Ha! I kid Dad. I kid. Anywoo, after I dropped the kids off and headed to Kansas City to fly to Nashville. I stayed the night in Nashville Tuesday night and the next morning I had my scan.

After several flight delays I finally arrived back in KC Wednesday night and made it back to my folks house with my monkeys late that evening. Normally I would head home the next morning, but a dear friend lost her father unexpectedly and his visitation was Thursday evening. So, instead of heading home, the kiddos and I hung out for awhile with my folks and then we were able to take a different route home so we could stop by the visitation. I am so glad that we were able to do this.

And today has been spent having an upset tummy and getting ready for the coupon class that I am teaching with a good friend tomorrow morning.

What? You didnt know that I am a Crazy Coupon Lady? Then you must not be on Facebook:) Coupons have saved us a bundle! I no longer pay for certain items, instead I hold on to coupons and wait for a sale and match up those coupons. I have been able to cut our grocery bill down to around $50-60 a week and I have created a stockpile that I am super proud of:) Maybe I'll show of pics someday. Only if you promise not to think I am insane!! Because of coupons we have been able to pay cash for my last few trips to Nashville. Which to me is simply amazing! I am really hoping to start a separate bank account where I can start putting a few dollars here and there each week and we can take the kids to Disney World. With CASH!! How amazing would that be?! Can't wait:)

PS No, I do not know the results of my CT scan. Hopefully I will know something next week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm Still Alive!

Sorry folks! I really am still here. I promise! I just haven't really been in much of a writing mood I guess!
I am doing really well. Tired, but the joint pain seems to be less and less. Or at least it seems to last for a shorter period of time, which is a bonus!

I did just have a bout of the flu and that majorly sucked! One thing I have noticed is that when I am ill the inflammation lumps really start popping up. Last time I was sick they popped up like crazy. I seriously had about 40 of these inflammation lumps all over my body. And they hurt. Really hurt. At first anyway. After a few days they start to feel better, but I can always tell when one is getting ready to pop up because I hurt. Bad. This time I only had about 20 pop up, but they hurt. I hate that! Still, a small price to pay for all that I am getting out of this medicine! Plus, I've had biochemo, nothing is worse than biochemo!

Recently I was told of a friend of a friend who is also battling Melanoma. Our stories are so similiar it's scary. He has completed 4 rounds of biochemo. He returnd this week to MD Anderson and was informed that he has a new spot on his brain. So, in otherwords, the bio isnt working. At least not as well as you want it to. So, as for now, biochemo has been stopped and he is looking into Braf trials. You can visit his blog here. Click on the link that says "Brian's Fight" on the rigt hand side.Please say an extra prayer for this amazing guy!

Next Tuesday I head back to Nashville for CT scans. That's all. Just a quick scan, then I turn around and head back home. Seems kind of silly, right? But all scans have to be done at the same facility, so that is the reason I pay to fly to TN to have a scan.

April 20 is the big day for me. April 20 marks the 1 year mark for this trial. This drug works an average of 6 months, for me it has been twice that. In one sense, I am so very happy and so very grateful! On the other hand, I am a nervous wreck! I feel like it's just a waiting game. I'm just waiting for it to stop working. Just waiting. And that's an awful feeling. I know that's why I have been on edge lately. The uncertainty is rough. I know that it is all in God's hands, but sometimes relinquishing that control is difficult. Especially for someone like me! A control freak! For now, I need to trust that the Drs are reading my scans correctly and that God knows what he is doing. Thank you for all your prayers! Keep 'em coming!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Zero Motivation!

Lately I have had NO motivation to do ANYTHING! Not sure what the deal is. I am tired all.the.time. I dont want to sew. I dont want to cook. I dont even want to leave the house. I just want to lay in bed and watch TV or sleep all day long. Obviously, I cant do that. I have two children to take care of. But, it is taking every ounce of my being to get out of bed some mornings. Ugh! I hate it! I hate that I feel like this.

I hope that it is just the weather. We have had oodles and oodles of snow here in the Midwest and the kids and I have actually been trapped in the house. As in, we couldnt leave even if we wanted to! Sigh. We had lots of fun coloring, painting, playing with play doh, playing the wii, the DS, Leapster, and watching lots and lots of movies! Usually my kids are pretty darn good. However, lately all they have done is fight. Over really stupid shit. It is driving me insane! I have never heard two children fight over such stupid stuff. Sigh. I think they need to get out of the house also!

But, Tuesday I leave for Nashville so, no trips to anywhere fun with Mommy will be happening this week. However, I know they will have a wonderful time with their grandpa. He always manages to keep them entertained! And since the weather is supposed to be awesome this week hopefully they can get outside and burn some of that energy!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day. Since we are trying to live a little more frugally each kiddo got a little something and Cody and I decided to forgo gifts this year. But that's ok. Because I am ROCKING at this frugal living/couponing thing! It's like a game. But, more on that later:)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vanderbilt visit

Last week I had my appt at Vanderbilt. This one was for a CT scan and derm visit. Seems kind of silly to have to fly there for just a CT scan and derm visit, but this is a trial, therefore all CTs have to be done in the same location due to reliability.  So, that's why I had the priviledge of traveling to Nashville last week.

I don't necessarily mind going. I like Nashville, I like Vanderbilt. But, I could do without the costs. That gets a little old month after month.

But, I had a reality check last week. I will ALWAYS have to travel for medical care. Always. Kansas sucks for cancer care for Melanoma. That's just a fact. So, if I am going to have to travel, it might as well be to Nashville, for the awesome meds that we know are working so very well on me. I mean, really, why not, right?!

So, are you ready for the final report on the CT scan? Yeah, I thought so:) The tumor in my hip is STILL not showing up on CT scans, so the rumor is is it totally! So the tumor that actually got me into the trial has actually disappeared BECAUSE of the trial. Awesome, right?!

The tumor in my lymph node that showed up right before the trial and measured something like 3 or 4 cm (I don't really remember and am to lazy to go back and look right now), measured 8.5mm 2 months ago, and measured 8.2mm this appt. So, according to my oncologist the tumor actually shrank. However, it is quite difficult to get an accurate measurement because the tumor is SOOOOO SMALL!! Awesome, right?!

So, the meds are STILL working on me. I will continue to head to Nashville once a month. And I will continue to Praise God and urge you all to continue praying for us.

I will not ever beat Melanoma. That is just the way Melanoma works. Like it or not, such is life. But, just because I can't beat it, and I can't make it stop coming back, that doesn't mean that I can't fight it. Here is my hope, I can fight it off long enough, that they will eventually come up with a treatment that will kill Melanoma for good. I have already beat the odds. This treatment ususally only works for about 6 months, I have been on it for almost a year!! Woo Hoo!! Awesomeness!! I am already defying the odds. Why stoip now?:)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Superhero Capes

About a month after I was diagnosed I decided to make a "Bucket List." Some of things I have accomplished, some of the things I am working on accomplishing, and some of the things I may never accomplish! But, because of my latest project I am getting closer, however, I will need your help!

At the end of this week, I, along with the youth group at our church and several other adults who enjoy sewing will begin cutting out and sewing super hero capes.

For who you ask? For children battling cancer of course!

This is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I have wanted to do this for awhile, but time is an issue! Now that things have slowed down a bit I really want to do this.

However, I will need help! We are needing donations of yards of fabric. Any and all colors are welcome, but they need to be at least a yard. We are also asking for monetary donations. We will use the money to go and purchase the supplies for the capes.

This is simply just a little something that I (and you!) can do to put a smile on the face of a child battling such an awful disease.

If you would like to donate to this fabulous cause please click on the paypal link and in the comment section put what the donation is for.

Easy peasy!

Thank you so much for your support!!

Photo courtesy of:

Friday, January 7, 2011


For the last few months my side effects from the chemo has been pretty minimal. However, as of the last 2 days the side effects are kicking my butt!! All those weird inflammation lumps have come back with a vengence! A major vengence! For the last 4 months or so I have only had around 5 lumps at the same time. No big deal. But now? Now I have like 30 lumps! On my legs, arms, butt, and waist. And they freaking hurt! Oh they hurt so bad. Now, I know they will die down in a few days, but I would love to know what is causing them to pop up like this. It is so odd.

And, now, on top of the lumps, I also am having some major joint pain. My shoulder is killing me. Usually it's just my fingers and it dies down as the day goes on. But this shoulder pain doesn't seem to go away. Now, I know that it will also go away, but my baby girl turns THREE tomorrow! I MUST be in tip top shape! I have some major partying to do!

So for tonight, this mama is taking lots of pain meds and going to bed. Tomorrow is a new day and it will be great!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Random (possibly stupid) Facts About Me....

1. I have major difficulties sleeping (hence the reason for this post!)
2. I look forward to watching Day of Our Lives.
3. I hate leaving my children.
4. Even if it's just for a few hours.
5. I cry every time I think about my baby girl turning 3.
6. I am so sad that my kids are growing up so quickly!
7. If I was healthy, I totally would of had more children.
8. I am so sick of writing checks to Vanderbilt!
9. The way that Vanderbilt does their billing is STUPID!
10. Because of beforementioned medical bills, I have been put on a budget.
11. I am going to try really hard to do the Dave Ramsey plan.
12. I don't know if I can do it!
13. I love to spend money on things for my children.
14. I am anxious to do our taxes.
15. I love cheese.
16. Especially Vel.vetta.
17. I wish I still had a cleaning lady:(
18. My favorite color is pink.
19. I hate to take baths.
20. I thought Se.x and the City 2 was really stupid.
21. I used to love getting my picture taken.
22. But now I have a lazy eye because of this medicine.
23. So I don't ever want my picture taken again!
24. I enjoy having my kids sleep with me.
25. I do not enjoy getting kicked in the back!
26. I love Diet Love it!
27. Blow pops rock. Espcially the sour apple ones.
28.'s are my chocolate of choice.
29. I can't sing to save my soul.
30. My kids don't seem to care:)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 In Review

January 2010...
Started the year cancer free. I just "knew" 2010 would be a great year.

E turned 2 and started potty training!

February 2010
Returned to Houston for scans and discovered that the melanoma had returned to a small spot in my left hip. Cried the whole way home...

March 2010
Cruise to the Bahamas with my husband, bestie and her husband. During cruise discovered a mass in my left lymph node. Found out during cruise that I was accepted into the trial at Vanderbilt, pending the other tests.

E completed potty training!

April 2010
Began trial at Vanderbilt. Within 2 days of beginning the meds the tumor in groin had shrank to half the size!

May 2010
Returned to Vanderbilt, with the kids for second part of the trial. Began developing some nasty side effects from chemo. Nashville FLOODED and we lost EVERYTHING, except our car (thank goodness!) Was taken off the chemo for a couple of weeks to get my body back to "normal."

Restarted the chemo.

Turned 32.

Celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.

June 2010
Friends held benefit for me and my family. Discovered the masses forming under my skin and started freaking out. Found out the masses were NOT cancer. Stopped freaking out.

July 2010
Returned to Nashville
2 year anniversary of kicking cancer's ass!

August 2010
Returned to Nashville with the kids. No flooding! Woo Hoo! Enjoyed some family time in the midst of Dr appts.

September 2010
K started Preschool!
Nashville trip

October 2010
Nashville trip
Took the kids to Disneyworld!

November 2010
K turned 5!
Returned to Nashville.
Celebrated Thanksgiving with my amazing family!

December 2010
Nashville trip
Celebrated Christmas with my amazing family!