Thursday, September 30, 2010

I can do hard things

So, I had resigned myself to the idea of having Treanda as my chemotherapy.  I was sort of OK with that idea.  But I had emailed my oncologist from Stanford, and she emailed me back and said she would call me.  It's so amazing to me that a doctor I haven't seen in 2 years would call and chat over the phone (for free) about my health.  My hubby says she is the type of person that went into the medical field to "help people".  I would have to agree.

So, she called me yesterday and here's how that went:

ME:  Hi, Dr Fan.  What are your thoughts on my having chemo right now?
DR FAN:  Yes, I think with the symptoms your showing, it is time to start treatment
ME:  What is your opinion on Treanda?
DR FAN:  There is no long term study done for Bendamustine (Treanda), and it has a possibility of causing Leukemia in the future.  Even though there's a  big draw to Treanda (not loosing your hair), I would like you to have R-CVP chemo.
ME:  Oh,    hmmmm   (thinking to myself: CRAP)
DR FAN:  I will call your oncologist in Colorado and talk to her, but I think that is definitely what we need to start with.
ME:  (kinda scared voice)  You really think I need to start chemo right now?
DR FAN:  Yes I do.

When I hung up the phone, 6 or 7 swear words immediately popped into my head (I may have said one or two out loud).  As I started to contemplate this decision of what to do, my older brother called and gave it to me plain and simple.  He said  " I would much rather have no hair than Leukemia, Duh!"  So there you go.  I guess I'm going to have R-CVP.  Not sure what that is???  GOOGLE it! :)  I did!

On a totally different note:  I need to just say:

MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY ROCK THE PLANET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have some of the most amazing people in my life.  I just do.  So, as I'm scared out of mind to go through chemotherapy, I will do it.  I have a lot to live for.  It doesn't make my any less scared, but having the support around me just makes it possible for me to move my feet forward.

I've been reading a blog of a young mom in Idaho that tragically lost her little 18 month old daughter in a drowning accident.  Now, cancer is scary...but that, my friends is something I don't think I could go through. I can't imagine enduring the loss of a child.  Let alone with as much faith and grace as SHE did, and does.

On her blog, I have to blog-lift a couple of things that really touched me.  They apply not only to me, but to every single one of us.  And they are things that should be thought of as we all go through whatever trials we may have.  The first one is a saying.  She tells herself:

" I can do hard things"  

We can.  We're all equipped spiritually to endure hard things.

And the other is a quote from the scriptures:

Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-9

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

Whenever I have a friend offer to help, I think of this scripture.   I feel the peace unto my soul.  I know that while I endure this trial in my life, my family will be well cared for, in fact, (knowing my family & friends) they'll be completely spoiled!  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Get off the Bus...your FREE RIDE is over!

So today I went to see my oncologist.  I talked to her about the pain....err I mean lump in my neck.   I also explained to her that I was having pain up through my neck and around my ear (my husband teased me that my ear hurt because I was on the phone too much), but it turns out, the enlarged lymph node in my neck was causing a blockage in the lymphatic system, and I have also been having pain when I wake up in the morning and take a deep breath, by abdomen is really sore.  She said I am now more symptomatic than I have been in the past and she thinks I need to start treatment right away.
    We talked about some different options.  One of the options was to do a new protocol of Treanda chemotherapy along with rituxin therapy.  She sent home some papers for me to read up on these drugs, the side effects, etc.  She also gave me some papers to schedule 3 things right away...
1. a port placed in my neck to administer the drugs through
2. schedule a heard to toe CAT scan
3. a prescription for a drug to help my kidneys function through treatment  (I guess when the chemo kills the cancer your kidneys have to filter it out of your body and that can be hard on them....go figure)

I left her office and dropped the papers off at the scheduling desk.  I just couldn't schedule right at that moment.  I need a day to process/feel bad for myself.  I plan on getting a good nights sleep, praying about it a lot, and then seeing how I feel in the morning.
  I also emailed my oncologist at Stanford University.  I haven't seen her for 3 years, but I really wanted her opinion before I started treatment. 

(  ONE DAY LATER).....

I'm finishing the post the next day.  I've allowed myself one good "feel sorry for myself" day, and now it's time to move on...look the laundry's not going to do itself, right?

I woke up this morning and checked my email, still no reply from Stanford.  That's OK, because I feel good about moving forward.  I feel like it's the right thing to do right now.

I called the oncology scheduling desk.  She asked how soon I wanted to schedule, and I wondered if NEVER was an appropriate answer.  ha, ha   The words  *as soon as possible* actually came out of my mouth.  so here's what's coming up....

Friday, Oct 1st   head to toe CAT scan
Monday, Oct. 4th   Port placement surgery
Monday, Oct 11th  follow up dr appt / schedule first treatment

But,  for today, September 28th here's what going on around here:

1. Laundry
2. vacuum
3. clean up TV room
4. play with Hope

#4 is my favorite! ;)  Have a great day!  I will!

To read my first post from my original diagnosis back in 2007  click here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What a pain in the neck..........

OK, so it's not really a pain, as much as it's a lump.   I've had a small lump under my collar bone for a little while.  It's a lymph node that's enlarged (most of my lymph nodes throughout my body are enlarged) that's what Lymphoma is.  This specific lymph node has been very tiny, although it has been showing up on my CAT scans for a while.  The problem is, this little lymph node...not so small anymore.

I called my oncologist to let her know I've noticed a lot of growth in this lymph node and she said exactly what I thought she would say....She said to come in and have it checked out.

Now, I've gotten the feeling my dr has wanted me to start chemotherapy for a little while.  But I just haven't felt like it's time.  I don't really feel sick.  In fact I kind of laugh inside when I think I have stage 4 cancer.  Did I just say I laugh about having cancer??  Well, not a ha, ha so funny kind of laugh..more of a Wow, really??  kind if laugh.  I think the A#1 symptom I have from cancer is.....being very, very tired.  Not all the time, but some of the time.

Anyway, back to the treatment.  I personally would like to have a round of Rituxin before I start chemotherapy.  Rituxin is a regiment started at Stanford University.  It is a treatment that is a lot easier on your system.  And you don't have the side effect I'm seriously afraid of...loosing my hair.  Weird huh?  I'm scared of the poison in my system and what permanent damage that will cause also, but I'm really scared of loosing my hair.  I'm not totally attached to my hair.  I change the style and color frequently.  I don't love how thick and partially curly my hair is because it can be hard to maintain.  But that doesn't mean I want to be totally without hair.  It scares me!

Well, since there is now a bee on my shoulder  (my 2 year old in her Halloween costume) I'd better get back to parenting.   This is me...Buzzzzzzing off ...................

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who would want to be a Cancer Lady's friend???

Ever since my diagnosis I've thought this every time I meet someone new.  I don't worry about my "old" friends because look, they're already in this 'friend boat'.  They don't really have a choice.  You don't hear people say, "I used to be her friend...until she got cancer".  But meeting new people.....that has me thinking.

I wonder if they think it could be a short term friendship.  Or if they don't want to get attached to someone with cancer, because...well...they have cancer.  I get that, I'm easy to get along with, and I think people easily get attached.  I'm fun and funny..who wouldn't love me??? :) Anyway....

I've been so fortunate to meet new people, you know, new people move into the ward, neighborhood, etc.  I wonder how long it takes before they hear about my cancer.   They always do.  I can sort of tell when they find out by how they look at me.  Sometimes its a  * Wow, she has cancer* look, and sometimes it's a *oh, I feel sorry for you* look, and sometimes it's a *Hmm, you'd never know she had the big C* look.  Either way, there's a look.   I don't really mind.  I mean, hopefully they'll see I'm still me.  Same old me.  Co-existing with cancer schmancer.  I'm pretty much the same as I've always been...only I get a lot more IV's, and boy am I tired.

If you think about it long just may do it!

It's true.  I've thought about doing this for such a long time.  And now, here we are.  I mean, I hope you're here too.   This is one of those things that I just knew could be very beneficial.  First of me.  It will be a place for me to write down my thoughts and feelings.  But it is also a place for you.  I didn't want to start a blog so others could read it and see..."oh, poor her", but a place to see what it is like when you have this specific trial.  I know that through others trials we gain strength to endure our own trials.  I hope that is the case.  I don't feel bad for myself  (most of the time).  So, you don't need to feel bad either.  Let's just chat.

I want to share my life as a "Cancer Mommy" because I know of it were me on the other end, I would wonder what it was like.  I would wonder how I could help, if help was needed.  I would also be curious of what the whole <cancer> thing is like.  So...guess what??  I'm not shy!  I'm ready to share.

Here are some quick cliff notes for you to read:

In 2007 I was a healthy mother of 2 beautiful children.  They're are L*, and J*.  I was in my 30's and wanted to add one more to our family.  Well, guess what...that's what we did, you know, me and my hubby.  And things were going along great until.......  dum, dum dummmm.  I found a lump on the side if my neck.  After a lot of trying to figure out through many different doctors, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  After even more testing (one of which included sticking a huge needle in my hip bone and breaking off a piece to look at under a microscope...did I mention I was pregnant, so yes, I was awake for that fun procedure) Anyway, I did have cancer in my bone marrow..(that was called a bone marrow biopsy) so that put me at stage 4.  Holy Schmokes!  I was freaking out.  Because the next thing I thought was I would be given a time frame.  You know, 3 months to live. etc, etc
But what happened next is *Amazing*
After an induction of my baby one month early  (very healthy baby girl named H*)  I was told I could watch & wait.

Watch what??? wait for what???

Watch and wait for the cancer to grow.  So guess what???  3 years later, I'm still waiting.  I have CAT scans every 6 months.  And at some point I will need chemotherapy.  But today...I'm watching, and waiting, and writing.

I hope what I have to say is helpful to others.  I know when I read of others trials and their faith it really helps strengthen my own.  And we can all use a good strong dose of pick-me-up every once in a while right???  Anyway...welcome to my blog!