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.


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


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!!!