Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Latest

Quick Update: I went for my first mammogram last week (highly recommended since I am now on hormone replacement therapy from my hysterectomy). Got called back in this week for a follow-up on a "spot". Was shown the "spot"-about 5mm pea size on the left side, showed up again on the 2nd mammogram. An ultrasound was performed to rule out clogged/inflamed/dilated ducts, and all of that was ruled out-it is a solid mass. The radiologist said, "You are so young and it looks benign so we can watch it for 6 months." I said, "We will do no such thing! I was too young for cervical cancer, had a normal pap smear 2 months before being diagnosed and it looked benign then too, so NO we will NOT wait and watch it, we will get it out of there faster than pronto!" Saw the breast surgeon this morning and we will be doing surgery (outpatient) on January 14th.

This will be an excisional biopsy which removes the entire mass or abnormal area, as well as a surrounding margin of normal-looking breast tissue. They will use wire localization since it is a small lump that is hard to find by touch. First they'll use the mammogram machine to map out the mass and then they will insert a needle with a thin wire directly to the mass so the surgeon can get right to the mass and remove the entire thing. I'll have local anesthesia and something good to make me not care that they are cutting into me:) Then more of the waiting game for the path report-hopefully by that following Monday or Tuesday to find out whether its cancer.

The surgeon was awesome and I really liked him. He goes to our church and everyone I've talked to highly recommends him. He was very proactive and supportive of getting this done ASAP and not doing the "wait and see" approach as the radiologist had suggested. He was totally understanding of me wanting things done and of how I felt-BIG brownie points!! He actually tried to get the surgery done tomorrow but we wouldn't have had time to do the labs and the first opening was the 14th. He said there is only about a 10% chance that if it is cancer that it is metastasized from my cervical cancer, which would mean this is a whole different, separate, 2nd cancer. But all of that is to be determined and depends on whether its even cancer. Hopefully its not and we don't have to worry about all that junk.

So next week (Wednesday, 1/6) I have my routine GYN oncologist appt with a more extensive exam per my radiation oncologist because of some stuff still going on that should already be resolved if it were after effects of radiation (not pretty details so just pray it's nothing and something simple to fix and I won't have to torture with the info LOL). Then Friday I have my pre-op lab junk. And surgery is the 14th.

Please pray the obvious-that is not cancer, that its only in one spot and can be easily removed and have clear margins. Please also pray for my family, they are just as scared as me (though they are braver and actually show their fear, I just keep mine nice and bottled up and put on my game face), and especially on the 14th as it is also the 2 year anniversary of my Nana going to Heaven.

Ben told me last night that he is gearing up for the next round-I hate that he has to gear up for anything!! I'm ready for smooth sailing but I know THAT is not what God promised-he promised he would be with us every step of the way, and he has. I know he only gives us what he knows we can handle but I'm thinking we need to have a nice lil powwow and reassess just how much he thinks I can handle!! I know I can do this and be his lil warrior all the way through, I'm just sick of my family having to go through it too. I had a lil chat with him last night as I was attempting to doze off and just totally realized that apparently he has something super duper awesome up his sleeve for me, some kind of amazing plan that somehow involves cancer, and I guess I didn't catch on the last time so he is giving me another go around. Just gonna pray for an open heart, mind, ears and eyes so I can get it this time!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

You've Come A Long Way, Baby Girl

Sometimes I feel like that's what God is saying to me lately:) AND I LOVE that reminder!!

This weekend we got to pack up the kiddos (and their entourage) and head to Little Rock for Ben's cousin's wedding. Bella was the flower girl:) She did pretty awesome for her first gig-made it about 3/4 down the aisle before she saw Mama and decided to detour it straight for our pew LOL She did actually toss flowers out before that so she did better than me my first time LOL

I remember when I was first diagnosed and my cousin wanted me and my mom to come to a Taylor Swift concert with her in Chicago (unfortunately same weekend as the wedding). All I could think was, "OCTOBER?!?! Seriously, you think I'm gonna make it to October and actually feel human enough to not only make a trip to Chicago but do a concert?!?!" I told myself that I'd be happy if I was healthy enough to enjoy Christmas with my family.

So, it is October and here I am. I drove the whole way down and back-no my husband is not evil and did not force me to, I WANTED to and I was ABLE to:) I was ABLE to enjoy all the festivities and had a blast with my baby girl (and Mr. Man too). And didn't feel the need for a nap the entire weekend-HUGE for me!!!

It is still so hard to imagine that only 6 months ago I was hearing "it's cancer" for the first time, was going to all these insane appointments that I never imagined myself having to face, scheduling surgery, wondering when radiation would start and how long it would last, fearing they would find the cancer had spread, and just wanting my body to cooperate enough so I could enjoy every single second with my family, and praying this horrible disease did not have a negative impact on their lives (at least nothing they'll remember LOL). It seems like a lifetime ago that I was having to face this huge fight. But God never left my side for one minute-he was there for all those appointments, watched over the surgeons, was in the treatment room every afternoon (and even sent a few awesome cancer posse chicas my way to run into every afternoon), and took every cell of cancer out of my body. My family has been so blessed with all the prayers, emails, cards, meals, visits from complete strangers (AND people we love dearly LOL), and I know that is what kept us going.

It is scary, it does completely bring your world to a halt, and make you question all sorts of things that you never imagined would enter your mind, but in the end, its made me soooo much stronger and brought me a million times closer to my family, friends, and definitely God. Is it crazy to be thankful for cancer? I'm not thankful for all that we had to endure, but I'm thankful for the end product:)

My cheesy babies :)

Daddy with Hunter and Tinkerbelle

Daddy and his girl

Me and the flower girl:)

These crazy people that I live with decided to have a Parade LOL:)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Latest

I started feeling kinda crummy last week-just real weak and some fatigue. Towards the end of the week I was having lots of dizzy spells, some nausea and shortness of breath. All the same stuff I experienced when my blood levels were low last time. So I went in yesterday to have my levels checked (YES, I should have done it before the holiday weekend). They are still in the "safe" zone but have dropped a bit. We're hoping that my body is just trying to fight off the bug that everyone is passing around. If I still feel crummy on Friday and haven't gotten sick, then I have to go back in to have my levels rechecked. Please pray that they bounce back!!

Gonna post updated pics/videos of the kiddos on the Family Blog.

Thank you all so much for the continued prayers!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Update

I can finally say, "I'm sooooo happy to be on the OTHER side!!" I am feeling awesome, have energy (and desire) to do "normal" stuff, and just enjoying one day at a time. Its amazing what a lil blood will do for ya:) I had my blood levels checked again last week and everything is right around the same. So for now, I do not have to go see the hematologist!!! I do have to call in pronto if I have headaches, dizziness, fever, pain, etc. so they can get me in right away to have my levels checked. Next appt isn't until Sept. 30th with my surgeon/GYN oncologist:) Not exactly looking forward to that one but hopefully I'll get another awesome report. I'm having to go back and forth with all the various docs to harrass them in order to get my CT scan done. It was suppose to be done in 3 months and we are going on 4 this week. I just want to hear, "It's gone. All clear." so badly!!! I'm just thankful that I am FEELing so much better. I didn't put any expectations out there and said that I'd hope I'd feel halfway human by Christmas, so I'm thrilled to be to this point at the end of August:)

More awesome news: As most of you know, my mom has been diagnosed with CVID (common variable immune deficiency) and has Vivaglobin treatments once a week (for the rest of her life). The immunologist felt that Bella and I should be tested for CVID since Bella was sick at least 1-2x per month from the time she was 1 year until she got her tubes done this April (thats alot of sick for a lil chica). We got her results back today and they came back PERFECT!!!! So her immune system rocks, she just needed tubies-which was pretty obvious to me anyways since she hasn't been sick once since she got them. I have to wait at least 6 months from the date of my last radiation treatment to be tested. Please keep me in your prayers for that one! My mom and I both had cancer at the exact same age (me-cervical, mom-thyroid) so its kinda scary. In my low moments, I bawl thinking of Bella getting to my age and the fear I know that I'll have for her. I just keep praying for a cure and that a miracle will come so she does not have to go thru this herself. Our genes are basically a petri dish just ripe for cancer.

Non-medical updates: Bella started preschool at Lifeway Christian and LOVES it!!! I think she is really going to thrive and do awesome. Her teacher, Mrs. Ostrand, is all about routines-LOVE it!!! Hunter is as close to crawling as he can possibly get. He is getting on all 4s and rocking back and forth. He can crawl backwards just hasn't gotten the forward gear down yet.

Thank you all soooooo much for all the prayers, cards, emails, delicious meals, sweet thoughts and just lifting our family up the past few months-you got us to this point!!! I will never be able to repay your kindness but am blessed to be at a point where I can give back to other survivors and their families. LOVE YOU!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Appt Updates

Radiation oncologist appt went great:) He doesn't want to see me for another 4 months, and then only if I'm still having problems with side effects.

Next appt: Sept. 30th with the GYN/surgical onc. Its the big one and one I fear the most, especially with some of the side effects/red flags I've been having lately. I guess I'll be paranoid forever now when a doctor doesn't seem worried about something that *could possibly* be something and when they take the "wait and see" approach.

Gonna go update the family blog with some summer pics

http://mayquad.blogspot.com

Monday, August 3, 2009

Quick AWESOME Update

My levels are up!!! 13.3 WOOOOOOOOO I'm back in the "normal" range-the low side of normal but normal is good, I'll take it!!! Go back in 2 weeks for another blood draw as my levels are expected to drop during the 4-6wk post-radiation period. Please pray my levels stay good and don't drop and just continue to go up!!!

Thanks for all the prayers!!! I have my one-month follow up appt with the radiation oncologist tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Random Thoughts

I was emailing (actually messaging on Facebook) the other day with one of my Cancer Posse chicas (a MUST read for ALL cancer survivors-Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr) and somehow got on the subject of not being in control and having no clue what the future holds. I'll never forget when the doctor said the words, "It's cancer" and then I laid there bawling as he did an exam. All I could think about was my babies having to grow up without a Mama, and I just wanted to know that I was going to live and this was all going to be ok. I'm a planner and I NEEDED a plan faster than pronto!! The days waiting between diagnosis day and finding out what stage it was were grueling. They were the few days I allowed myself to be vulnerable and fear the worst-I bawled at church that Sunday. Then I realized-God is in control, this is all for a greater purpose and he will NOT let this cancer be wasted. I knew no matter what happened I would be ok and so would my family. (Yeah ok so tell me that again around midnight when I can't sleep cuz all I can think about is my appts this week LOL) It wouldn't matter how much I laid in bed, wallowing and worrying-it wasn't going to change the outcome. No one ever knows how much time they have left before they go to Heaven, so why waste the awesome time we have here on earth with the people we love? I don't want my kids to remember Mama laid up in bed crying and too sad to play with them (and YES, I am human and there have been days just like that). I was 6 when my mom first had cancer and honestly the only things I remember were knowing that Mama was sick, having her aunt come from Boston to take care of me and my brother and us not being able to hug her neck because of her surgery. I don't remember her allowing it to devastate her life. Thats how I want my kids to remember this time-we are a team, we pulled together and we beat this!!!

As for the fear of not knowing what the future holds... in the beginning I wanted answers sooooo badly, and still do even today want to know that every single little bitty cancer cell is wiped clean from my body and hasn't found any secret hidey spots. I want to know if/when its going to come back and how bad it might be. But while I was talking to my chica, I realized, ya know, if I had known how awful some of my bad days were really gonna be and had to wake up each morning with that looming over my head, I probably wouldn't have made it. I would have never gotten out of bed, never faced life, and never waged war against this disease. I would have feared those bad days so much and had so much anxiety that no blood transfusions in this world could save my sanity LOL Instead, I woke up every day determined to make it a good day, or at least give it the chance of being a good day. I woke up determined to give the fight all I had and draw all my strength from God and know he wouldn't leave my side. I woke up determined that even if I wasn't strong enough to hold my babies or chase them or push them in the swing, at least I could sit on the floor and give them hugs and make them giggle and read books-all without letting that fear of the possibility of a rough day ruin all of that. So sometimes, its ok to not know exactly what the future holds. God knows what he is doing by protecting us and forcing us to just live in this day and be so incredibly thankful for what each little minute holds.

Other randomness... I'm going to start working on writing my letter to the state's medical board. I've been dreading it and putting it off but I know its something I NEED to do-not just for myself, but for the doctor so she can truly understand her errors and what its done, as well as for the protection of her patients. I have no clue where its going to lead-I'm putting it all in God's hands. I don't want anything out of it other than for it to be acknowledged that mistakes were made. I don't blame the doctor for my cancer but I do think it definitely could have been and should have been caught ALOT sooner than it was, and it shouldn't have taken me having to find a new doctor to get diagnosed. I know people go years searching for a diagnosis so I was very lucky to have found it as early on as we did but there were just too many things that went wrong that cannot be simply chalked up to human error that I feel have to be addressed. So please just say a prayer that God will use me somehow thru this whole process and be with me in my heart as I begin writing the letter. I will post it once I'm done.

Thank you SOOOOOOO much for still praying for me!!! Also this week, Monday afternoon I have my blood work to see if my low hemoglobin was a one time thing or if something is going on, and then Tuesday afternoon I have my one month radiation follow up appt! Can't believe its been a month!!! I AM healing!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You've Got Mail (and cruddy insurance)

Got the Whooper yesterday... 9 page radiation oncology bill *puke* Gotta love how even though I've beyond met my $2000 out-of-pocket max for the year, the bill is still $1k:) Insurance charged me a co-pay ($25) each time I had a radiation treatment (28), each time I saw the doc (at least once a week), each time I had an XRay (weekly) and add in a few cups to pee in and respective labs. Our insurance just ROCKS so even though I've met the out-of-pocket max, they can still charge co-pays. I've also met $50,000 of my lifetime max-never thought that'd happen by the age 27!! And amazingly, somehow, I still have $7 left to meet my deductible.... how does THAT happen?!?!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Too Good to be True?

I'm feeling so much better than last week-mentally, emotionally and physically. I still have pretty bad fatigue which I know is gonna hang around for a while from the cancer but at least its not the running-on-dangerously-low-blood-supply exhaustion. I've honestly never felt that cruddy in my life and just totally out of control. I feel like my energy is getting better every day but I'm still taking it slow because I've learned the hard way that just because I have a little energy doesn't mean I need to jump up and do all the things I want to do because then there will be ZILCH for energy.

I'm trying to be thankful that I'm feeling better but at the same time not get excited and take it for granted. It scares me because each time I've just gotten to the place where I'm thinking that I'm feeling good, something happens. I had gotten over my crazy pregnancy and CSection and was doing good with the kiddos, and BAM you have cancer. Recover from the surgery and then get zapped with radiation. Attempt to get over all the lovely radiation side effects and end up with low blood (found out that anything below 8 for hemoglobin levels is life threatening, mine was 7.7-yet the ER doc let me go home...). Just kinda makes ya wonder whats around the next corner. I know I can handle it because I've got God right here with me but the fear is still lingering in the back of my head. Not to mention the looming blood tests on August 3rd-never stop praying! I'm staying positive that it will just show it was a one time thing since I was anemic to begin with but then I get on the internet and research-NOT a good idea! I think fear is something I'm going to battle for the rest of my life as a cancer survivor. Hopefully I'll figure out a way to just hand it to God and know in my heart he is in control and worry is just a waste of energy. If only I had a little switch in the back of my head to turn that worry wort off:)

We are taking the kiddos swimming tomorrow-sooooo ready!!! Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vampire Treatment

It has been a VERY interesting past 10 days. As you probably read from my previous post, I was having a rough week last week to say the least. I was completely exhausted mentally and physically and thought I was just overdoing it attempting to be Super Mom and putting too many expectations on myself. Turns out I was literally on the brink of my body shutting down-no wonder I felt so bad LOL

Gonna warn you, this is not pretty, I'm opening up sides of myself that I normally keep shut real tight but its part of this whole lovely cancer journey so I'm sharing in hopes that maybe someone else might just go thru something as wacky one day and it'll help them:) I refuse to let this cancer be wasting so this is how I'm putting it to use for the time being!!

Sunday morning I lost it-literally, screaming, crying and puking my guts up(luckily Ben and the kids were at church so they didn't have to witness Mama lose her mind). I stood in the bathroom for 30 minutes attempting to decide whether to take a bath or a shower. I was attempting anything that might make me feel better (aka like I wasn't going crazy). I never could decide, so I did both. Yes, I took a bath, soaked for maybe 5 minutes and then took a shower.

The screaming/crying/puking mania commenced. I was able to call my mom but she couldn't understand a word so luckily she came right over. She ended up taking me to the ER-they weren't much help but did run blood work (they said they wanted to see what drugs I had taken too much of LOL). They gave me Ativan to settle me down and sent me home. I slept til the next morning. My mom and Ben took me to Ozark Guidance (we were still thinking my hormones were all out of whack and that everything had finally hit me and I was losing my mind-it was ugly, I was catatonic and could only answer "yes" "no" questions). The counselor said I needed to quit trying to be Super Mom and realize me losing my mind was only temporary and take some extra Lexapro.

Luckily my mom was able to get me an appt with my normal doc (Kim Carney, nurse practitioner at Bville Medical Assoc-helps out Dr. Arkins and is my newest hero). She had the ER fax over all the tests they had done. Smart chica figured out my hemoglobin was dangerously low. She ran and got Dr. Arkins really fast and he said, "I'm calling your oncologist and we are getting you a blood transfusion immediately and then you are seeing a hematologist because something is very wrong." Ben has been going to Dr. Arkins since he was Bella's age and said he has never seen him look so serious and so scared. Kim worked with the oncologist's office to get me admitted to Mercy on a direct admit. I've always had a thing against Mercy-I have no idea why, just something in my head. I can honestly say, now that I've been to every single hospital in the area (NW, WillowCreek, Washington Regional and now Mercy), that if I ever need anything again (ok, so WHEN...) I'm going to Mercy.

I was admitted around 3:30pm, had to get a bag of fluids while they ran my blood type and cross checked all kinds of stuff and got my first unit of blood started around 6:00. I had to get 3 units total so we didn't get out of there til 3am. SUPER boring but I can honestly say I'll thank God for blood donors for the rest of my life. Apparently I was somehow running on only 1/3 of the blood a normal person needs to function. THATS why I was "going crazy" and just not being me and not operating like a sane person-my brain wasn't getting enough blood and oxygen:) Seriously it was the hugest relief to know I wasn't wacko and hadn't lost it-I seriously felt that way and could not stop crying thinking they were going to lock me up and I was going to lose my babies. Nope, my body was just very near to crashing!

I will now be seeing a general oncologist that will be my head hauncho-I'll call him when I feel like I'm going crazy:) They are going to run tests in 2 wks (Aug. 3rd) to see if the "blood soaked in" (aka my body processed the new blood the way it should). If so, then this is just a one time thing which is likely the result of my body starting out behind because I have anemia then getting depleted from all the bleeding I had from the cancer plus the radiation zapping all my cells. But they also want to find out why my body is not rebuilding new blood cells to replace everything I've lost. If my body doesn't process the new blood, then I have to see a hematologist to start testing for various blood disorders (pray no new cancers).

So I need some more of your awesome mega super prayers!!! Please pray that I continue to feel great mentally and only improve; that I start to regain some energy (according to the docs after the blood transfusion I was going to "feel like a new person"-I don't and that scares me); that I get stronger physically and the fatigue starts to fade; that the tests in August show GOOD things; that I continue to draw closer to God (last week I felt like there was a huge wall between us-nope, just my bloodless mind) and draw from his strength to not let all these fears sneak into my spirit.

Thanks:)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Menopause & The Dog

I've officially decided that 27 year olds just should not have to go thru menopause. I honestly don't know how women going thru menopause survive without hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I know its controversial and a touchy subject for a lot of people but I'm just sharing my personal experience.

My Gyn Onc was totally against HRT so I had to see my family practitioner about it (normal GYNs don't like to see me as they'd rather my Gyn Onc handle my case-I'm fun like that). She has been awesome about it. First we tried an Estradiol patch which worked great BUT once I started radiation, the radiation actually burned the adhesive to my skin. OUCH!!! So she put me on a spray, Evamist. I honestly don't know if any of it even got in my system. The past week was just downright ugly!! I didn't want to get out of bed, I dreaded spending time with my kids (TOTALLY not me), I woke up every morning with a migraine, I didn't want to eat, and bawled every night from being so exhausted and scared of what was going on with me. I seriously was just hating life and felt like I was losing it. Everything overwhelmed me and I just could not think straight.

Luckily I have an awesome husband who pegged it and said, "Its the hormones". Seriously my brain was just not functioning-I couldn't make the simplest decisions, so realizing it was the hormones was just out of my realm. My doctor was out this week so I had to make the decision on my own to go back on the patch. Its been a complete 360 just from yesterday. I still had a bit of a headache this morning but I was able and willing to get out of bed, pumped to play with the kiddos (we had an AWESOME day with the beautiful weather), excited to get work done, and not dragging or moping around the house. Sooooo glad to be human again!! I know it will be a few months before my levels get to where they need to be but even just one day has made such a difference-it can only get better!!!

I prayed so hard the first 4 days of this week, just asking God to bring light to what was going on and show me a solution (now thanking him for my awesome husband). I couldn't even handle taking care of the kids and it scared me. Then it made me really angry cuz there have been times in the past 6 months when I physically could not take care of them and I really thought I was beyond that point so I was full of anger that my babies were having to suffer and that I wasn't enjoying them like I normally do. Then I just piled on all kinds of super mom expectations and hated myself for not living up to it-yep pure craziness. Me without hormones is just not a pretty sight. Ben even said a few times that I was scaring him, and I know he was beyond maxed on stress having to pick up after me. Glad to be back on track for everyone's sake:)

Bouncing to a totally different subject... would anyone be interested in a puppy? She is a 5 mo old female blue heeler/lab mix-mainly lab, will probably grow to be about 3/4 of a full grown lab. Super duper sweet, very affectionate (LOVES tummy scratches), needs someone that can play with her and take her for walks-at this point we just can't handle it, plus she is a little big for Bella. She is very well behaved, obeys commands, is great with other dogs (haven't seen her around cats), and loves to play fetch. We got her for Bella's bday but Bella is just too intimidated by her size to even play with her. She is still in the puppy stage of nimbling so she can't be around Hunter and would need a home without real young children. She is just full of love and such a sweetheart that its hard to let her go but we know that we just can't give her what she needs. She'd be an awesome hunting dog if anyone is interested in that aspect, and is very trainable.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hello from No More Radiation Land!!!

No more radiation treatments!!! So nice to not have to look forward to that and plan around it every afternoon:) I'm still having some yukky side effects from radiation but the oncologist said I should be good by Wednesday-if not, I'll be calling them because this just is NOT comfortable! I am thankful that the fatigue is wearing off and I'm able to function like a normal person a little more.

I think I'm finally going through the roller coaster of emotions-I'm angry that I have to be a cancer survivor for the rest of my life, that the title has to be attached to me, then I'm so thankful that I'm a SURVIVOR and all the amazing ways it is continually transforming my life. I constantly question my ability to be a good mom-not being able to be a mom for so long destroyed me and just makes me afraid that I'm not up to it and wonder when I ever will be-but then I have awesome days and can totally keep up and love every second of it. And again, the thankfulness that I'm still here to be a mama and that my kiddos love me so incredibly much and none of this makes any difference to them. Bella still begs to snuggle with Mama and Hunter fell asleep snuggling with me at 4am today. And then I get bitter thinking that it could have been prevented yet I can't find it in me to maintain a Christian heart while writing a complaint to the state medical board-even though I know I NEED to. Then I think of my new physical limitations and side effects and I get angry all over again. Then I go back to thinking that I'm so glad radiation is over but I wish the whole cancer "thing" wasn't associated with me at all-then someone reminds me that me beating it and maintaining my faith has inspired them (I honestly try not to laugh when people refer to me as an inspiration-I'm just me). Just kind of a confusing mush right now.

Here's some pic love from the past week...


Silly cheesercakes playing together
'

Yep, they're mine:) All three of them


The kiddos with Uncle Popeye


Bella's bday present which she named Dora

Part Blue Heeler/Part Lab-approx 5 months old


Mama and her boy


Our Family at our Vow Renewal Ceremony


Me and my guy-love you!!!


Silly goofball got dressed up in her princess play clothes and decided she needed a raincoat on since it was raining outside LOL


Major cheesin in her Derby hat:)



Sweet man playing outside


Watching the trees-Ben, Bella and Hunter all have the exact same expression when they concentrate


OMG in love!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Raw

I'm feeling a little raw from radiation-physically, not mentally:) Kinda hard to sit in a chair-too painful-but otherwise I'm feeling awesome!! Its really made me realize the past week or so that I must have been sick for a long time, looking back on how cruddy I felt thru my whole pregnancy (and even before) and especially afterwards. At the time I chalked it up to being the 2nd pregnancy and having to attempt to keep up with a 2 yr old, and then just not being as fast to recuperate from a 2nd CSection and having to keep up with 2 kiddos. Its awesome to know that I was sick, and that I won't feel that cruddy forever:) I'm already feeling SOOOO much better. My fatigue has faded-its still there but not even half as bad, and most of the pain is gone. Now just gotta hurry up and wait for the radiation side effects to subside. ONLY FIVE MORE TREATMENTS!!! It has gone by SO fast! I can honestly say that while I will not miss facing that every single day and making the trip each afternoon, I'll miss my radiation zappers:) They are an amazing group of people and their attitudes make it a bearable process. I'm not sure what the check up process is but I know they will be making a decision of whether I'll have to do more treatments and/or possible internal treatments. Please pray that next Thursday is FINITO!!! While I know that it will be awesome to be done, its not over-this is a lifetime thing that I will live with. I know every bump, twinge, pain, discharge, sniffle, etc will bring fear to my heart and I will just have to remain vigilant in listening to my body and not being afraid of feeling stupid for seeing a doctor for every little thing-it saved my life by doing it this time!! Just have to find the balance between the fear and knowing when something just isn't right and seeking medical advice.

Thanks for all the prayers, love, food, and support!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pictures Galore;)

Usually I do a major picture update whenever my camera gets too full on our family blog but decided to share here:)


Weird random pic.... this is one of my radiation treatment stickers-they use it to mark where the lines have to match up so they can zap me in the exact same spots each time. I thought it was neat that this one looks like a cross so I HAD to take a pic and share:)



Bella is sooooo enthused to have her pic taken LOL

My sweet babies

Snuggles



Me and Hunter-I love my smiley man:)



Sweet Chubs


Bella and her bandana (cut off shirt sleeve from Daddy's shirt LOL)


Lil Miss Coolness herself


Kiddos getting ready for church


Cheeser playing on Mama's bed



Kodak moment- NICELY playing together



Hot shot

Seriously, how can you not love this lil man?


Apparently he thought that was quite funny

Sweetest


Ooops fell down!

Friday, June 26, 2009

28th Bday Wish

Ok so those of you that *really* know me, know that my birthday is not until Thanksgiving. But shhuuuusssshhhh-just go along with me here:) Yes, I have a birthday coming up. No, it's not one of the BIG ones (got a FEW more years LOL). But I have a BIG wish! My wish is not just for me, but for everyone who has been, or probably will be touched by cancer.

I am the team captain of NWA Cancer Warriors-one of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life teams for the Rogers Relay this August 14-15. I am hoping to get tons of awesome people (YOU) to join my team so we can have the biggest and bestest team on the track!! Our team's goal for this event is $5,000-and I know with you on the team, we can do it!!

The Relay is a team event filled with fun, food and friendship, surrounded by people of all ages and backgrounds, joined together to honor cancer survivors and remember loved ones who lost their battle. Cancer survivors (in my opinion, this definition fits you as soon as you are diagnosed with cancer!! No waiting for "remission" here!) are honored in the opening ceremony survivor lap. Another beautiful part of the Relay is the Luminaria Ceremony which is the candle lighting ceremony of hope in honor of or in memory of family members and friends.

Because the Relay is a 12-hour event (August 14th 7pm to August 15th 7am), each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event-including overnight. I'm screaming, "CAMP OUT TIME!!" We'll have sleeping bags, tons of sugary food to keep you awake, and maybe even a kiddy pool if its super hot so we can cool off:) You are NOT required to be there the entire 12 hours. We'll have each person sign up for a time slot and you'll only need to be there for your designated time, unless you just wanna hang out:) The survivor dinner is at 6pm, Opening Ceremonies start at 7pm, Luminaria Ceremony is at 9:30pm, and Closing Ceremonies at 6am.

Once you sign up, you will have your own Participant Relay Center online where you create your own personal Relay page and can send emails out to everyone you know to recruit or ask for people to support you. There is also a great Incentive Program for your fundraising efforts:)

To get started, register online by clicking HERE. If you are not interested in being part of the team, please consider supporting me by clicking HERE.

Cancer touches so many people in our lives-I've been a witness to that during my time of kicking cancer's booty-it affects every person in your life. Relay for Life is a great way to help fight this terrible disease. I greatly appreciate you considering joining me at the Relay, especially as part of the NWA Cancer Warriors. If you would like more information about the Relay, how it works, how to become a part of our team, or anything else, please let me know.

Thanks!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cancer Resources

So everytime I see a prayer request fly by for someone recently diagnosed with cancer, they become my new best friend. I know, I'm weird-blame it on the radiation:) But I am such a relational person that I know, for me at least, when I'm going thru something and have someone to talk to that is going/has gone through the same thing-wow its awesome!! Just knowing you aren't alone and knowing what you are feeling/thinking is "normal" and that you WILL survive!!!

So an excerpt of something I wrote to a recent fellow Cancer Butt Kickin Warrior Princess:

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer on April 3rd, underwent a radical
hysterectomy (means they remove EVERYTHING including parts of the vagina and lymph nodes) on April 28th and have daily radiation treatments until July
9th.


I remember how hard it was to even say the word "cancer" in association
with myself for the longest time. Its such a BIG scary word. Half the time
I felt like it was someone else going thru all this and I was watching a movie
or something-like I wouldn't let it sink in or be real. Other times I did
let it be real and I felt all that fear and overwhelming frustration with my
body.

I have two young children, one will be 3 years old next month and
the other just turned 6 months old. For the first few months I was unable
to lift anything over 10lbs-which they both are. It felt like death was
being shoved right in my face not being able to hold my babies. But I
never gave up hope, never stopped relying on prayer and put it hard in my heart
that God was NOT done with me! I never lost my faith-in fact I leaned on
it more than I ever have before in my life and I know its what got me through
this chaos.

It literally feels like the world just kind of stops for
you-the rest of the world keeps on living while you are forced to make the
cancer a HUGE part of your life because you have to fight it. It is
exhausting and there are days when I say, "I just want to be done already. I'm
sick of being the person with cancer." Then I realize that its a lifetime
thing-I'm always gonna wonder if this lil twinge or that lil pain is the cancer
coming back. BUT I can also always be so thankful that I'm HERE, I'm
alive, I have my husband and my babies, I have LIFE and I have God.

I've met so many truly amazing and beautiful people since my diagnosis and I hope you find the same. They have all been sooo supportive and just lifted me
up. COMPLETE strangers, sometimes even people sending anonymous emails,
just to let me know they are praying or thinking of me. THAT got me through it-I
couldn't let all those people down, I HAD to fight-if not for God, if not for
me, if not for my husband and babies-for all the people that took a few minutes
to pray for me.

It has been a very humbling experience. I'm not one to ask for help or lean on others at all-I mean its literaly a big deal for me to ask my husband to help me reach something (I'm not even 5ft tall so its something I NEED help with but I just grew up not relying on others and doing everything for myself so I suck at asking for help). But my body just cannot do daily stuff sometimes so when people emailed me asking to provide dinner for my family for a few months until I got back up to par, I had to put aside my pride. And honestly, I couldn't do it without them. There are days when I get home from radiation and I just have NO energy at all. The last thing I can waste my energy on is worrying about dinner-I want to spend my time loving on my babies, asking my husband how is day was or just being with them. Its been a lifesaver. Right after my surgery, my husband's two aunts came and stayed for a whole month!!! Another lifesaver since most of that month there were days when I couldn't stay awake and active for more than an hour before I was exhausted and had to rest. I'm NOT the kind of person that lets others come in and take over or help out, so that was hard and there were days when I just wanted everyone to go away and everything to be "normal".

Hope that helps and know that I'm here if ya need to vent or have any random questions. If you don't mind, I'm going to FWD your email address to a friend whom was also recently diagnosed with breast cancer. That way you'll have someone who actually has the same kind. There are days you'll want someone to talk to that is going thru the EXACT same thing and other days when you just want someone that understands how cancer changes your life. I'm keeping you tucked in my prayers!

And I ALWAYS send my loooooong list of cancer sites that I've fallen in love with-yep I'm an info junkie and instantly go to the internet to get facts. So my favs (in no particular order):

GENERAL CANCER SITES

American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp

MD Anderson Cancer Center: http://www.mdanderson.org

Highlands Oncology Group (for NWA patients, also very resourceful for all): http://www.hogonc.com

Planet Cancer: http://planetcancer.org/html/index.php

Crazy Sexy Cancer (MUST read books!!): http://www.crazysexycancer.com

Cancer Online Resources (compilation of TONS of sites): http://www.acor.org/

Cancer Forums (online message boards): http://www.cancerforums.net/index.php

For Working Women: http://www.cancerandcareers.org/

CHRISTIAN SITES

Cancer & the Christian Life: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/christia/cancer.htm

Don't Waste Your Cancer (AWESOME article): http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2006/1776_Dont_Waste_Your_Cancer/

CERVICAL & GYN CANCER SITES

MD Anderson Cervical Cancer Treatment Guide (MUST read for cervical cancer patients and please share with your oncologist): http://utm-ext01a.mdacc.tmc.edu/mda/cm/cwtguide.nsf/luhtml/sidebar1

NARTI's info re: Cervical Cancer (NARTI is now Highlands Oncology Group): http://www.narti.org/Content.aspx?Section=typesofcancer&DocumentID=675

ACS's Cervical Cancer Guide (AWESOME): http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/CRI_2x.asp?sitearea=&dt=8

Eyes on the Prize (GYN cancers): http://www.eyesontheprize.org/

Guide to Coping with GYN Cancer: http://www.cwhn.ca/gyn_cancer/index_gyn.html

Cervical Cancer Overview: http://www.gyncancer.com/cervix.html


Monday, June 8, 2009

God's Greatest Medicine

We had a great weekend just hanging out and getting my energy back. I forgot how nice it was to feel semi-human:) I didn't realize how much the radiation had been zapping my energy and just making me feel like crud. Weekends are now just that much more appealing!!

God's Greatest Medicine=hanging out with my babies whom make my heart smile!!!


My sweet lil sunshine chica:) Daddy set up the water sprinkler outside so she could run thru it in her Little Mermaid swimsuit. That smile makes me feel so alive!!

PUSH PLAY
Anytime I'm feeling down or yukky, I just go play with Mr. Man and I forget about all the bad stuff:) Seriously, I could bottle up this giggle and sell it to hospitals for some mega bucks- but I think I'll just be a lil greedy and keep him:) (That's Gramma holding him-she rocked last week and came out to the house EVERY day to help out since I still can't lift the Chunkster)


This is the "Bette Bed"-its around the apple tree in our backyard and was started with the peace lilies that my grpa gave me on Mother's Day last year (our first one without my Nana whose name is Bette). Then I added some caladiums because Nana always had them in her front yard when I was little. I also planted something else that I honestly can't remember so we'll just have to wait til it pops up LOL Ben added the bench for me this Mother's Day-I LOVE it!!!! Bella's sandbox is on the far left side.

Papa's peace lilies






Pop (Ben's dad) added these while he was here after my surgery:)

The Fired OB

Many people have either commented on the blog or emailed me regarding the OBGYN that I went to while I was pregnant with Hunter. While the paralegal in me would love to take her to court and let the attorneys tear it up, God has laid it heavy on my heart to just keep praying for her and for her patients. The paralegal in me also knows that it would be extremely unwise for me to mention her by name in a public forum such as this blog especially since there are people that do visit this blog that do happen to still be under this physician's care. If you would like more specific information (many have asked for the doctor's name so that they might avoid going to her clinic), please feel free to email me (themayquad@gmail.com) and I'll gladly share as much information as I can.

I've prayed about this long and hard, and God has just reminded me time and time again that all my energy right now needs to be focused on healing and keeping my strength focused on getting through radiation. Any energy I happen to have left over (oh I wish LOL), I want to save just for my babies and Ben. I already feel like they are getting the shaft big time when I can barely stay awake long enough for conversations after the kids go to bed, or energy during the day to play outside. I don't want to steal anymore from them and give it to worrying over a court case. When treatment is all completed and I get clear scans, I may consider finding an OBGYN trial expert to review my records and see if it would even be worth fighting, but I've been through a trial before-I've been that "victim/witness" on the stand that was torn to shreds by the defense attys and I saw what it did to my family as well. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy and definitely can't put my husband and kids through more than what they've already had to face through all of this. So its a big "We'll see", and until then, I'll just keep praying and being strong:)

God is good-we've got sunshine when its suppose to be storming!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TONS of Pics

I FINALLY updated our family blog with a massive amount of pics

http://mayquad.blogspot.com

Monday, June 1, 2009

1 Down, 27 to Go!!!

Well I officially survived my first radiation treatment today!!! Today was the longest because they had to line me up perfectly with the machine and then do Xrays so the oncologist could ok it. The actual treatment itself was only like 5 or 10 minutes and I didn't feel a thing. Pretty darn boring just trying to lay perfectly still on the hard table. The rest of this week I will go at 8:45 in the morning since Ben's mom will be here with the kids, and then starting next week I will go at 4:00 so Ben will be off work.

As of right now, I'm scheduled for 28 external treatments with the last one on July 9th (the day before Ben and I renew our vows LOL-totally a GOD thing!!). They said the oncologist might want to do a few more external ones and/or a few internal ones after he sees the post-treatment scans. I'll see the oncologist each Tuesday after treatment to track my progress and address any concerns. I have even more tattoos now-my stomach looks like a really messy dry erase board LOL

I'm going to post some new pics of the kiddos on the family blog (http://mayquad.blogspot.com) once I have a chance. I verrrry thankfully have some work to catch up on:)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Emotional Invasion

I've been so exhausted and busy with doctor appts and just trying to make my body cooperate enough for some mama loving time that I haven't gotten to blog much lately... just real, authentic, transparent blogging-the good for the soul kind of stuff:) The kiddos are both down for naps (God performs such beautiful miracles!!!) and I took a LOOOONG nap this morning after both of them woke up at 5am (normally Ben takes his shower and then does kiddo duty before the 2nd string arrives but I got to pitch in this morning-giving MAJOR praises to whoever invented coffee!!) so I'm jumping at my chance:)

So we know I've got lymphovascular invasion and now stromal invasion but I've been having a bit of an emotional invasion lately. Sometimes they are emotions that I just don't really care too much for. I've had MAJOR awesome feelings of just loving God for all he has done to prepare us for this journey-that has never waivered, and in the dark moments when I feel it start to, I just throw in one of the amazing CDs that a beautiful friend made for me and I get pumped up again.

But lately I've got some anger going on. I don't like anger, its a waste of energy and most of the time totally unproductive. I use to be a VERY angry person-it just wasn't pretty and so I think part of me gets scared when I get angry that parts of that is coming back. I know better, I know anger can be healthy and its HUMAN for everyone to experience it.

Not once has my anger been directed at God. Even though sweet dear friends have given me permission to be downright pissed at him, I haven't. Instead, I'm just really darn mad at the cancer!! If I could see it face to face, I would probably haul off and smack it around a few times (hrmmm note to self-great visual to use during radiation!!). I also despise pity and when people throw themselves pity parties. Guess this comes from my mom telling me from the time I was young, "You are allowed -x amount of time- to wallow and then you have to dust your britches off and get going!" THANK YOU MAMA!! That is ONE thing I'll definitely pass on to my babies (yeah ok so 90% of the stuff I do with my babies is stuff that I once said, "When I have kids, I'll never..."). I am trying not to waller (love ya, Miss Jan!) and I definitely do NOT want a darn pity party but sometimes that anger just creeps up and I have to go ask Ben for a "Ben hug" (God's awesome medicine for just about anything) and sometimes use up a few wads of Kleenex.

What am I angry about? (I'm famous for lists LOL)
  • From the moment I was diagnosed, I hated the thought of my family having to experience all of this for one itty bitty nanosecond. If I could just go in, get the stupid cancer out and be done, that'd be perfect. But nope, we are a package deal and we go through the good, the bad and the downright ugly together. So that means Ben pretty much has to be a single parent at times-I can't lift anything over 10lbs and Hunter is quite the chunk-o-munk (we have devised a way that I can hold him and feed him-pure blissful Heavenly moments!!!). It means when the kids get up at 3am and I'm still dopey from pain meds that he has learned how to operate on zilch for sleep at work and still come home and manage to muster up energy to wrestle with Bella (she LOVES her Daddy afternoon time) and tickle Mr. Man with his whiskers. It means that my sweet little girl has alot more not so sweet moments lately. We're gonna have to retrain her how to be a 3yr old when its just us again-MAJOR attitude, more than just the normal toddler junk, and acting out alot, which is totally normal for a chica in her shoes. She cries, "My mama gone" anytime I go to the doctor, and begs through tears to sleep in mama's bed (we have held firm on this one!!!). It means potty training has totally been thrown out the window. No playgroups cuz I can't even begin to find the energy to get all 3 of us ready, out the door and still be awake to drive. I'm angry that my family has to miss out on life cuz of my stupid cancer-I know NOT my fault, I'm not doing that, but I'm still angry.
  • I really struggled before I was strong enough to hold Hunter and feed him. I honestly felt like I wasn't a mom anymore. I know being a mom is so much more than that and that they both still love me and see me as their one and only mama but somedays it just tore at my heart to not do my normal mom stuff.
  • I get upset when I am so exhausted that I can't even sit up any longer and have to call my mom to come help us get the kids to bed. I hate how this cancer just zaps my energy. I'm use to going going going-maybe this is God's lil HELLO WAKE UP you can slow down some:) hrmmm ok, thank you!!! got it:)
  • I'm angry that I lay in bed and worry that the chunk of cancer that is in my lymphovascular system is spreading, that its circulating through all my blood and is just in my body growing and getting stronger. I tell myself its the enemy sneaking into my thoughts but I know as a cancer survivor, I will probably live with that fear for the rest of my life-what if its still there, what if it comes back. I guess the fact that a test (pap smear) didn't pick it up in the first place sorta makes me leery of test results. I just have to put my trust in them and the Lord and know its just all part of the plan. Did I mention I'm a control freak? LOL
  • I'm angry that when its a beautiful day outside and I'd normally take Bella to the pool, I'll have to think twice. I can sit on the edge of the kiddy pool and push Hunter around in his baby float:) I think this summer I'll be the picture taking maniac and love watching Ben wrestle with Bella in the pool and just thank God that I have a husband who is such an amazing father.

LOL totally laughing at myself as I see while I write this blog, I'm finding the silver linings-God's sweet blessings, in each of my lil pity angry moments.

The pity I feel for my family-the anger that they have to go through this-I'm thanking God that I HAVE a family to go through this with me, and know that God is making all our bonds that much stronger as we each lean on one another and find new beautiful meanings to our love. Thanking God for our lil ooops baby that came just in the nick of time, and whose birth actually probably helped us find the cancer sooner rather than later. Thanking God for all the "2nd string" help we have had-from the delicious meals, to Ben's aunts and both our moms. Seriously I do NOT know how we could do it without each and everyone of you!!!

The pity/anger I feel over not being able to do my normal mama stuff-thanking God for blessing me with my babies and being able to be their mama. They make it SOOOO fun!!! They are our greatest blessings and I cherish them and our moments together every single day. Ben reminds me, "Yep, it sucks right now but at least you are HERE, you are alive, and you are getting stronger every day and you'll be HERE for all the great memories and soon enough you'll be exhausted from all the mama stuff again." Thank you Lord for my beautiful husband!!!

Thank you God for showing me I don't have to be going going going-I might miss out on something like picnics in the front yard, or watching my babies splash together in the bathtub, or my husband gently putting ointment on my shark bite (my loverly surgery scar LOL). Thank you God for all of this-even the cancer, because it has brought such beautiful changes and I know after my body has totally kicked cancer to Never Never Land, I'll be that much stronger and that much closer to you. Funny how angry ol me who wasn't gonna throw herself a pity party (HAHA fooled myself at least), ended up throwing you that many more praises. Thanks for shining your big ol light when I get a little lost.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Radiation Gameplan

I will be undergoing external beam radiation therapy to the pelvic region. VERRRRRY thankful that I do NOT have to do brachytherapy which is inserting cartridges internally. It will be 5 days per week for 5 weeks. I have my mapping CT scan tomorrow morning so I'm hoping and praying we can get started next week-I'm ready!!!!

Final path results which determined need for radiation therapy:

  • Cancer went 11mm deep and this ended up being greater than 2/3 of the total cervical tissue (figured as much since it probably started growing when I was 18 wks pregnant with Hunter if not before... he is now 5 months old so thats quite a while to grow. Choosing to pray for the doctor that saw this growth at 18wks, ignored it, along with all my bleeding throughout the entire pregnancy and ignored it during my 6wk post-partum appt as well as brushed off bleeding heavily continuously by the time Hunter was 4 months old. Also praying for ALL of her patients that have no clue what type of doctor they are dealing with. Unfortunately my medical records from her office have been clearly altered to show absolutely no mention of the polyp, no bleeding during the pregnancy-barely mentions my various hospitalizations or ER trips, and nothing post-partum. It does show that the records from each of those visits had been electronically opened during the past week which confirms this. So just giving her and all her patients over to God because there is no more I can do with it at this point.)
  • Cancer had invaded the lymphovascular system.
  • Cancer was 3.3cm in diameter.... 4cm is considered large, so it was "large" but much closer to large than small.

I'm at peace with this and just ready to get going. Radiation has been shown to reduce the chance of recurrence in half so I'm game!!!!

I'm exhausted (think all the time in the sun the past two days has just depleted any energy I had). I won't be able to spend much time in the sun nor will I be able to swim until my radiation areas have healed. Not exactly great timing for that since both kiddos thrive outside and Bella has a blast at the pool but we'll figure it out as we go:)

Love ya! D

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Radiation Update

Met with the radiation oncologist this afternoon-most definitely my fav doctor so far!! He is incredibly smart and does not even think about leaving the room til he has asked at least 3 times if we have any more questions-MAJOR points in my book!!

There is alot more we know and alot we still don't know (told Ben I'm gonna become a professional wait-er and make millions!!).

What we DO know (best listed first):
  • I'm still stage 1B1-awesome news!!
  • Pathology on lymph nodes all came back BEAUTIFUL and clear!
  • Pathology on all the organs removed came back BEAUTIFUL and clear!! (except the obvious cancer in the cervix)
  • Size of lesion was 3.3cm
  • Lesion went 11mm into the cervical tissue
  • Clear margins-AWESOME!!
  • No parametrial involvement
  • There was lymphovascular invasion (UGH I am NOT liking this "invasion" word... gonna have to come up with a prettier term!). This means that the cancer was found to have started moving into the vascular system. In layman's terms, there are all kinds of tubes coming off the cervix. Each tube also has little knobs (aka lymph nodes). Basically its like plumbing-the tube has started to get clogged with some cancer but they don't know if any of it broke off and has gone further into the blood system or if its just a small clog. I do NOT like this one iota cuz I just sit there and think, "Ok so if it is in the vascular system in that area, and blood runs all thru my body via the vascular system, what is stopping it from going all over the place?" Answer-we don't know. PET scan and CT scan didn't show anything.

What we do NOT know:

  • Stromal invasion: we know how deep into the cervix tissue the cancer went (11mm) BUT we do not know what percentage of the total cervical tissue it comprised. In other words, if my cervical tissue was 22mm thick and the cancer went 11mm deep into it, then it took up 50%. Dr. Smith was going to call the pathologist and get them to do more research and determine how much total cervical tissue there was, so we can find out the percentage.

What all this means as far as radiation gameplan:

  • There are 3 criteria that they use to determine if women with stage 1B1 cervical cancer who have had a radical hysterectomy need to have radiation therapy. If a woman meets 2 of the 3, then radiation is recommended:
  1. Lymphovascular invasion-I have
  2. Size-the criteria they use is 4cm=large. Mine was 3.3cm so it was not "large" but closer to large than small or even medium. So kind of a half point for that one.
  3. Stromal invasion-if the cancer's depth into the cervical tissue is more than 1/3 the total depth.... this is the part we don't know yet.

Sooooo Dr. Smith is hoping to get the further path results back in the next few days, will review my case with his entire team of colleagues on their regular Thursday meeting, and then I call him on Monday to determine where we go from here. If we are going with radiation, it will start immediately per his recommendation, will luckily only be external and will be 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Each treatment takes less than 20 minutes and luckily I can do it in the Bentonville office. Most likely I will go up there around 4:00 and take the kids, Ben can meet us there when he gets off, take the kids home and I can get my treatment and head home in time for dinner:) Side effects are fatigue (my constant companion), increased frequency urinating (another companion I already have-gotten kinda use to that having been pregnant, recovering from CSection, pregnant again, another CSection, and then hysterectomy.... you come to appreciate catheters LOL), and loose stools (TMI, but at this point that would be a welcomed relief!!!). He said my blood counts will drop around 6wks after treatment so we'll have to keep a close eye on that since I'm anemic already-knowing me I'll just faint alot and have to eat extra salty foods-no biggie. BEST side effect-cuts chances of recurrence in half!!!!

eeeek "Super Bella" (naked, post-bath Bella running thru house with her hooded towel aka cape on) screaming for mama... more later

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

FINALLY an Update:)

Sorry for being a slacker-I've been a bit drugged, exhausted and sore (and slightly unmotivated LOL)... BUT I got my catheter and staples removed yesterday so today is a new SUNNNNNNNY day!!!

Overview of the week:

Surgery Day-Don't remember too much (thanking God for making our brains be protective of memories that aren't too beautiful). We got to the hospital super early and I was sent back to do all the final pre-op fun stuff (IV, lovely blood clot prevention hose-everyone should get a pair!!, and in my pretty surgery garb). They let my family come back and give me loves before they wheeled me off to LaLa land. The last thing I remember is the anesthesiologist telling me they were giving me something in my IV that would make me relax and then they'd give me the heavy duty stuff in the OR. Obviously relaxed me ALOT because I don't remember the rest:) Luckily I don't remember waking up because apparently it wasn't pretty-they had to heavily sedate me because I wasn't handling the pain very well (told ya I was a wuss!!).

Poor Ben and my mom were about to rip the walls down. My surgery lasted less than 3 hours and the doctor came out to give them a great report and said they would get to see me in about an hour. 4 hours later they finally moved me to back to Pre-Op so they could see me. I remember the nurse saying, "We're going to let your mom and husband in to see you because we can't hold them back anymore." and I thought, "Well I don't care if they see me in a hospital gown-they've seen me in worse." thinking that they were worried about privacy (good drugs).

Apparently I decided to be Miss Independent and refuse nurses' help and moved myself from the operating gurney to my hospital room bed LOL:) I slightly remember that-I wasn't in any pain and saw no reason for them to need to help me. Definitely not having any trouble with the pain at that point!!!

The rest of the hospital time is kind of fuzzy and all sort of runs together. I remember the nurses coming in after my mom and Ben had left for only a few minutes and they got me moved to the chair-I bawled because I got lightheaded and was scared because Ben wasn't there and the nurses just left the room. Gotta love the immediate menopause hormones!!!

My family was SOOOOOO awesome!! They fought off the mean nurses, rallied around the nice ones, kept my ice chip cups full, and always made sure my gown was closed in the back when we went for walks. I was on the floor with the geriatric patients so I had races with all the old men:) I was so blessed to never have a moment where I was left alone (other than a few tiny minutes when people needed food breaks)-my family was great. I was surrounded by Ben, my mom, Papa (and I KNOW Nana was in the room every single day!! Handing out gold stars to the good nurses), my dad, Ben's mom, my babies each day, and my bestest Aly who came up from Texas to be my awesome nurse (LOVE YOU forever my friend!!!), and awesome awesome awesome visitors and sweet phone calls (once they finally put a phone in my room). Thank you everybody that came to see me and my family, and kept our room alive:)

My doctor came to check on me each morning with his sweet nurse and came in on Wednesday with awesome news-my path reports all came back CLEAR!!!! No cancer in the lymph nodes:) He was worried because one of the lymph nodes was inflamed but was happy to report NADA!!!! He also felt my liver and other organs and said everything felt great!!!! PRAISE GOD!!! Thank you for the prayers felt from everyone-we did it!

Ben's aunts and dad have been here this week helping us keep the fort running (my mom and Ben's mom, and his other two aunts kept it running last week and did an awesome job-it was so peaceful knowing I didn't have to have a single worry while I was gone), and we've been so blessed that they will be here for the remainder of the month!! I'm still not able to pick up Mr. Chunky Pants (my boy grew while I was gone!! And seriously, 10x more handsome-as if that was even possible!!!) and my lil angel diva is too busy for this gimp so its wonderful to have all the extra hands and know I can take the time I need to heal. Thank you again to everyone that has been bringing meals-they have been soooo delicious and fill our tummies!!!

I have my post-op appointment with the radiation oncologist on the 12th to review any possible radiation gameplan (at this point it will most likely be sweet and short to just ensure we zap every single cancer cell that could possibly be hiding anywhere, and then prevention since the radiation will cut the recurrence rate by 50%-I'm game!!!). My post-op appt with the GYN oncologist (my surgeon) is the 28th. I was thankful to get rid of my "zipper" (staples) and "tubies 'n' bag" (my catheter) yesterday-moving around ALOT easier, and Bella even said today, "YAY no more bag for Mama!!!!" She is my little sunshine through it all and Mr. Man never stops smiling-the good Lord knew exactly what we needed when he blessed us with these babies!! Ms. Thang keeps us on our toes and doesn't allow any wallowing (everyone needs an anti-wallowing princess in their lives!!!) and Handsome Boy wakes up with a smile that takes up his whole face and doesn't stop til he decides there is a tiny speck of empty spot in his tummy that must be fed faster than pronto:) Its going to be a beautiful Mother's Day this year-thanking God for all the mama joy he has given me and my family.

Gonna go soak up some sun with my lil miss!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Praise & Adios

Giving HUGE praises to God for bringing all the awesome people into our lives over the past few weeks that have really touched our hearts and kept us going:

  • Our Mamas-we couldn't have gotten this far without either of you (and your wonderful dish washing, laundry folding, baby feeding, Bella entertaining, all around awesome Mom-ness!!!)
  • Our Family-thank you for surrounding us with your love, support and prayers!!! We are SOOOOO blessed!!!
  • The Aunts-Stacy & Jessafern for the awesome Cancer Warrior Goodies (I'm wearing my shirt on Tuesday!), Annette, Bessie & Betty for making the trip up here to be with the monkeys on surgery day, and Carolyn & Joyce for all the fun I know we'll have in the aftermath (ok so I might be a drugged up bed sloth but at least I'll know that my kiddos are getting all kinds of love)
  • Fellowship Elders-for rallying the troops and all of your amazing blessings-especially being anointed and prayed over (THAT was overwhelmingly awesome!!!)
  • Kelly B-for being God's beautiful servant and performing miracles (90 meals in 24 hours-the chica has God in her pocket!!!), and for all your sweet emails
  • For everyone that has brought DELICIOUS meals to our family-we have gone to bed every night with tummies full of scrumptious meals and gotten to meet some really great people!!
  • For Ms. Kathy, all her love and wisdom, and bringing us together to share this journey that we never imagined we'd be on-love ya beautiful lady and I KNOW we're gonna do some MAJOR cancer conquering this week!!
  • For all the complete strangers that have wrapped us up in some BIG BIG BIG love and prayers-I hope one day we can have a big BBQ and all our families can meet and rejoice:)
  • For giving me the absolutely, top notch, no one else could ever even attempt to come close, wonderful husband!!! Thank you for being my rock and keeping this fort going!! Thanks for being YOU
  • To my sweet babies, I'm gonna miss ya like crazy this week but Mama will be back on that floor playing and chasing you outside before ya know it:) I can't wait!!!!

I get to have a fun day in the bathroom tomorrow so I'm guessing I won't be on again before surgery. I've got an email for Ben to send out to everyone after my surgery is done to let you know that everything went just PERFECT:) If you haven't received emails from me before (I think everyone on the email list previously received the "PET Scan Results" email) and would like to be included in that email, please send me an email to themayquad@gmail.com before Monday afternoon and I'll get ya squeezed in there:) Thank you everybody that reads this and keeps me going-I'm glad I'm getting to share this journey with you even if its not nearly over.

Surgery is scheduled for 7:30am (CT) on Tuesday at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville. We get to arrive at 5am (not sure if I'll even attempt to sleep Monday night). Surgery is expected to last 3-4 hours. Everyone will be on the 2nd floor if you would like to visit with Ben or our family (kiddos will be at home). I'm guessing I won't be able to have visitors til later that afternoon or evening-just check with the nurses on the 2nd floor and they should be able to tell you. I'm hoping to escape on Thursday:) (My drill sergeant mom will be there having me walk the halls before the anesthesia even wears off so I'm pumped to get back in my own bed with my little people ASAP!!)

Love ya and adios for now!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

PET Scan Results

Shows "no evidence of metastatic growth"-it hasn't spread!!! WOOOOOOO Your prayers are working!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

He Provides

My Facebook status from a few days ago read, "God never promised we would be exempt from pain, but he did promise we would never have to walk through the pain of this life alone." I got this from one the books I bought at Skia on our last date day (the day after "D Day"). It's "I Need Your Strength, Lord" by Emilie Barnes. DEFINITELY on the recommend list:)
Five years ago, I would have been SOOOO angry at God-a God that I didn't really even have any type of relationship with. I was a believer... believed there was a God, that Heaven exists, and would even pray for others (and somehow even gave thanksgiving for the blessings in my life). But I definitely hadn't started any type of walk with him. The concept of having a relationship with God was foreign to me-actually, non-existent since I had no clue that concept even existed. I just knew Jesus loves me because thats what the song said. But if I had been diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago, I would have blamed God and asked, "What kind of God can do this?!?!" In fact, those were my exact thoughts when I walked out of the alley where I was raped. Thank the Lord that he loves us regardless of how many times we reject him or point the finger at him. It was because of him that I walked away from that alive and I know that one day I'll be able to use my story of survival to touch others' lives. If I hadn't survived, I never would have moved back "home" (which became NW Arkansas while I was in college in WI), and I never would have met Ben. I'm so thankful for all the curveballs that God has thrown to get me where I am today!!
My relationship with Jesus started right as my grma (see the geese story) was dying. She had been my rock- for those that watch Grey's Anatomy, she was my person. She was the epitomy of what a Nana is suppose to be. I LOVED spending the night at her house, waking up to her French toast (no one can even come close!), her back scratches, and as I grew older, the person that helped make me who I am today, the person I ran to when it was ugly and when it was pretty, the person that constantly reminded me that I am beautiful inside and out. She demonstrated along with my Papa what a marriage is suppose to look like. We talked on the phone at least 3 times a day every day. She lived 1.3 miles from me in Bella Vista, and was at every single OBGYN appt with me when I was pregnant with Bella. She had been sick for a long time and in immense pain. I remember praying on that last Monday, "Lord, please just hold your arms wide open and let her know the pain can finally end." God had put me in a bible study at Fellowship with some amazing women that came along beside me during that unimaginable grief (just plain physically HURT) and let me know how beautiful a relationship with God is, and it just opened my heart to him and lit that desire to know him.

Fastforward a few months to April 2008, I was on birth control-had been since I gave birth to Bella. OUR plan was to start trying for numero dos in the fall. Thankfully God's plan is powerful!!! We became pregnant with Hunter totally unexpected but we took it as a "Nana & God thing". Her favorite holiday was always Christmas-it seemed like she spent the entire month of December baking and decorating and man did she make it awesome every single year. My due date.... Christmas Day. Definitely a touch of Nana in that one!!! And now we know, God most definitely had this as part of this huge plan for us... walking us in everything we've been thru up to today, preparing us for what we are facing.

God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy on December 12.

He entered the world in quite the dramatic fashion including the OB on call having to be paged "stat" because Hunter was in distress and needed to be delivered immediately. I even got the pleasure of riding down the hallways of NWMC on a gurney on all fours-how many people can say that?!? LOL God knew what lied ahead for our family and he laid in our arms a baby that is so insanely laid back (doesn't mind at all when Princessa Bella demands more attention-he just chills and waits patiently), so incredibly happy (at 1 week old, he started what the "sleepy grin" where he would have a grin that took up his entire face as soon as he doze off, and now cracks up laughing all day long-God's greatest medicine!!),

and totally outside of what I had planned-would rather eat from a bottle than Mama (definitely God's hand in that one-Bella nursed for 15 months and refused bottles).


God knew exactly what we needed before we even knew what we'd be facing. He made the most amazing, loving, understanding, affectionate, supportive husband just for me-one that would be a rock from the very beginning (how many guys do you know that would stick with it when he knew I was a rape survivor AND suffered a grand mal seizure and couldn't drive myself for 6 months?!?! most would run the opposite direction faster than pronto)

and has grown into what every mom can ever dream of having as the father of their children (I could seriously write a novel of all the ways he has just totally stepped up and been the man that God created him to be).

He provided us with a home and jobs in NW Arkansas so we could have our families (both sides!) close to us. He led us back to Fellowship so we could re-ignite our relationship with God, have him become the 3rd person in our marriage, and surround us with the most loving and supportive people ever. He gave us 2 gorgeous children that we both absolutely adore and they just light up the lives of everyone they come in contact with. He gave us these children before the ability to have anymore would be taken away.


I've been to so many doctor appts, scans, tests, pre-op visits over the past few weeks, and every single time I hear, "You are so young and this is just horrible. How can you not be terrified?" My response, "I have absolutely nothing to fear. God is already healing me and has completely wrapped his arms around me and my family. God is using what would typically be considered a horrific situation to show us his love and all the awesome ways he has already worked in our lives, and opening an incredible amount of doors for us to use this as a way to touch other peoples' lives. And even if its part of his plan that his purpose for me here on earth has been completed, then I get to go to Heaven and meet him face to face-how awesome is that!!! Even the worst case scenario is totally beautiful so there is nothing to fear." I'll probably never see any of them ever again so I'll never know if what I say brings them to Christ but I know it touches their hearts and they will remember it.

On Monday night, I had the awesome opportunity to meet with the Elders of our church. They anointed me with oil and prayed over me-it was truly just the most awesome thing I've ever experience that I can't even describe it. Later that evening after Ben got home we were sitting in bed talking about it and we both had the exact same story. We both felt an immediate peace after the prayers were said. We both silently prayed, "Please Lord just heal, just take this cancer away and amaze the doctors." We both were greeted with the Holy Spirit telling us, "Why are you praying this still? ITS ALREADY DONE." We were in separate cars, going different places when this happened and had no clue until we shared later that evening. THAT has given us both so much peace going into next week's surgery.


We're also stoked about going to "The Well" on Sunday night at Fellowship so we can just get completely filled to the brim with the Spirit and God's love and just worship him and remind ourselves that he gets all the glory through all of this. I'm excited to just get totally pumped going into next week-thanks God for awesome timing:)
PS-I'll update tomorrow after I hear the results of the PET scan!