Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finally...an update!!!

It has been quite awhile since I last updated my blog. I sincerely apologize to those of you that follow my blog only. I tend to forget that not everyone is seeing my daily status updates on facebook or hearing about my elsewhere. I will make a better effort in the future to not leave people wondering about me. I am still fighting with everything that I have to kick this cancer's bootie!!!

These last few months have been busy with so many changes. In early July, I suffered a severe sunburn that caused my entire back to blister and bleed. It was incredibly painful and actually ended up earning me a chemo "holiday" for about a month. Luckily, my break from chemo also happened just as I was packing up for my trip to Arizona to visit my family and bring my daughter home. So, it was nice that I was able to enjoy my five days there without the normal side effects of the chemo.

So, my daughter and I returned home to Minnesota in early August. We had a fun time on our flights and my daughter absolutely loves our new house and her new room. I took a lot of time in making sure that everything was perfect for her. She has adjusted well, made friends at school and in our neighborhood, and is spending a lot more time socializing with friends. My little girl is growing up!

The week before I flew to Arizona, Tyler finished up his t-ball season. He had a great season and enjoyed receiving his trophy at the end of season party. He was so proud! Now on to his new sport of choice..Hockey!!!

My two oldest kids have now started school, so it is just me and my little Logee during the day now. He is turning into such a sweet little man and has fun playing with mommy. Tyler got a train/train table for his birthday last week and Logee just loves playing with it. I love that he uses his imagination and is more interested in playing than watching any television. He occasionally get enthralled with a movie during rest time at his daycare, but other than that he watches almost zero television. He would much rather play with his toys, friends, or his brother. He is just so curious and excited about the world around him.

I am still attending classes at the University of Phoenix and just completed my fourth course and am proud to say I have earned straight As so far. Taking my classes really helps me to focus and concentrate on things other than cancer. and all the negatives that come with it.

I just completed my 25th cycle of treatment last week. I am still on my original chemo "cocktail" and am back to getting the hated Erbitux weekly. So, now my life literally revolves around my chemo schedule, but it is keeping me going. so, for that I am thankful. I just had another CT scan done and my cancer is stable. This means that there is no change..no shrinkage, no growth, and no spread. When you have as much cancer as I do, this is fantastic news.

So, that is what has been going on here. As usual, I appreciate all the support, thoughts, and prayers. I couldn't have made it this far without them.

Until next time,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cycle 20 and reflecting on the past year

So, This past Wed. marked my 20th cycle of treatment. I get "unhooked" tomorrow and will be feeling pretty tired for another three days after that. Then I will feel "normal" again until the next treatment. This is the way it goes and how I am managing my cancer as a chronic illness instead of the death sentence that some would like me to believe. I am living day to day with hope. July 2nd will mark my 1 year since diagnosis. What a year it has been!

It has been a difficult year for all that are close to me. We have certainly had our fair share of heartache, but we have also overcome many obstacles that have been thrown in our path. My children seem more content and happier than they have been in a long time despite the difficulties that we still face.

Up until early this year, my middle child was dealing with a lot of emotional and mental issues. Over the course of the past six months, he has made a complete turn-around. In fact, he has made huge improvements emotionally, mentally, and even socially. I was at my wits end with a very "difficult" child. When I look at photos of him from the past, he always seemed sad and grumpy. He never wanted anyone to touch him --no hugs or kisses for mommy. Today, he is always smiling in pictures, likes to be tucked into his own bed with hugs and kisses and is a wonderful friend and big/little brother. I am so proud of his accomplishments.

My oldest has also had her fair share of emotional and difficult times. Since she is a pre-teen, the full reality of my cancer and all that we face is known to her. She spent a few months with pretty major depression and anti-social behavior. She didn't want to do homework and really just disliked the "world". I was seriously worried about her. She also has made a huge turn-around and is such a remarkable young lady.

I guess I should feel lucky that my youngest is pretty clueless in terms of all that has happened in our lives. We have all come together as a family and Mark has been a blessing in helping us to live our lives as normally as possible and for my children to experience what it is like to be a part of a true family. My two little boys have found that they really enjoy each others company. When they play together they are starting to show how much they love and are fiercely protective of each other. It is so sweet how much little brother looks up to big brother.

The past few months have been an emotional roller coaster ride for me. Several of my stage Iv friends have become very ill. Some have recovered and are still fighting. One last week lost after a very courageous battle until the end. He was a fighter. I love my life and all those in it and I will continue to fight to be with my love ones for as long as I can. I still believe with all my heart that I can live with this. It sucks to wake up and your first thought is, "I have cancer", but you put your feet on the ground and you live!

As usual, thanks to everyone for your continued thoughts, prayers, and support. It means so much to me that so many people are rooting for me.

Until next time,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Check out this great giveaway

My friend Danica has an awesome food blog and is currently doing a giveaway. I encourage you all to check out her great recipes and amazing pictures. You can check out her giveaway at the following link:

Kicked off Cycle 16

So, yesterday I went in for my five hour infusion. It went well and as always I fought the benedryl. I hate to sleep, so I watched kitty shows on Animal Planet, chatted with the other patients and nurses, texted with my a few people, and read a little. It actually went by pretty fast. I had my blood counts done just before infusion and they are normal still. The Doctor said that this chemo shouldn't affect them as much as the Oxy did.

My neuropathy is still really bad. My hands and feet are constantly numb and sometimes it's all the way up to my knees. I guess that is unusual. The doctor was surprised that my old clinic gave me the full 12 cycles of Oxy with symptoms this bad. It sounds as if this may be a permanent condition for me. It is uncomfortable and frustrating when I can' open things myself or normal small motor tasks take longer than usual, but it is something that I an live with.

I will have another PET scan in three weeks to determine the process of this current treatment. I am crossing my fingers and praying that it continues to do its job. I will have one more cycle before it is done here in Duluth, MN. Then I will have an appointment with the doctor to go over the results.

I also learned yesterday that the doctor here has been giving me steroids in my pre-meds. I am not happy about this. I went through 13 cycles of treatment without it, so I am not sure why they are giving it to me now. I have noticed a marked change in the way I feel. I feel way worse than I ever have. Increased hunger, thirst, urination, water retention, weight gain, and headaches. I feel like I am constantly hungry and thirsty. This is something that I am going to discuss with the nurses on Friday (when I gt unhooked from my pump) to see if they can get the Doctor to eliminate this as part of my treatment for now unless it is necessary.

The rest of my life is wonderful. I started my class at University of Phoenix and it has certainly been keeping my mind occupied. I have a busy week this coming week with papers due, Kindergarten preview for Tyler, and a couple of other appointments. It is nice to be living life with my honey and my kiddos. My daughter has one more month of school and then she will join us here in MN. I am so excited for that. We talk and text daily, but it just isn't enough.

Thanks to everyone who continues to support me, pray for me, and cheer me on. You are all blessings to my life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doctor's Appointment

Went to see the Doctor this morning for my check-up and to go over the results of the blood tests I had done on Monday. My CEA (tumor marker) went down from 770.9 to 697. My Liver is functioning normally and all my blood work was normal. A CT/PETSCAN is being scheduled in four weeks time to see where we are at with treatment. For now, things are improving and the treatment is working.

I took both my boys in for their check-ups and they withheld a couple of my youngest child's shots because they are live vaccines. There was concern that it might be too dangerous for me during treatment. I mentioned it at my appointment today and they told me that if I can avoid changing his diapers for 72 hours, he could receive his shots. That would be impossible, so I am holding off for now.

My youngest currently has a cold that I am trying to avoid getting. I am taking him to the doctor tomorrow as a precautionary measure. Poor little guy!

I started my class at the University of Phoenix on Tuesday. I am really excited about taking this step to further my education. Plus, as a added bonus it keeps my mind occupied on other things besides the big "C".

Thanks for all the continued support and prayers. I know they are working as I have been blessed with more time with my loved ones.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cycle 15 completed

Not sure what happened to my last update from the restart of my treatment that I posted a couple of weeks ago, but I thought it was time for another update. On Wed, I went in for about five hours of infusion at the clinic and came home with my "baby bottle" for two days. I was unhooked early this afternoon and get to enjoy a week of freedom now. I am feeling alright so far. A little more tired and it seems that I have been getting really emotional on unhook days. I think that it is the one day that I tend to sit on the "pity potty" and think all sorts of irrational thoughts. Often times, I think of milestones in my children's life that I want to experience. With my middle child going to Kindergarten in the fall, I think of how I so badly want to see my youngest do the same.

My daughter's 11th birthday is next week and I think of what a beautiful young woman she has become. I want to see her go to her prom, graduate high school, go to college, get married, and one day have babies of her own. I want that more than anything.

I think of how lucky I am to have a wonderful man like Mark in my life. How important he has become to me and how much I want to share a beautiful future with him. He is so supportive and puts up with my many ups and downs along this journey. I am a very lucky lady!

I start my first class with the University of Phoenix next week. I am excited and nervous at the same time. It is one of those things that I have put off for too long. I am looking at this cancer as a chronic illness instead of thinking the worst. This is something that I can LIVE with.

Next week, I get my blood tests done and see the doctor. I will update again then. Hopefully, I will have good news to report on the chemo's progress. As always, I appreciate all of the people who keep me in their thoughts and daily prayers. You all have been so wonderful in helping me to stay positive and keep fighting.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update March 2010

Went in for an appointment with my new Oncologist yesterday morning. We discussed my prior treatment and he ordered a new PET scan to be done in the next couple of weeks. I meet with him next week, so that he can get all my meds situated here and I start Chemo next week. I will be continuing with the same Chemo - Folfox without the Oxy with the biological treatment Erbitux. He also is putting in a referral for genetic testing as there is a possibility that I have a syndrome that I may have passed along to my children.

He showed me the scan images from Jan on his computer of my Lungs and my Liver. My lungs were clear in Jan, but my Liver images (although not a surprise) were shocking to see in visual. My tumors are still quite large and he made it clear that this is a chronic lifelong condition. I may go into periods of remission, but it is unlikely that I will ever be cancer-free.

Otherwise, I am doing quite well. The boys are going to be enrolled in an excellent daycare here for when I am receiving treatment. They are both very excited to play with other children their own ages.

As Always, thanks to everyone for the continued prayers and support. I will update again next week when I see my Oncologist again and start back up on Chemo.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

An Update

So, it has been awhile since I last updated. The boys and I are still in Minnesota enjoying an extended "vacation". The boys have enjoyed playing in the snow, sledding, and making a snowman with Mark. It has been a wonderful time and a much needed break from my normal routine of Chemo, Dr's appts, and the regular craziness of my life.

I have an appt with my Oncologist on the 15th of March to discuss treatment options and see where we go from here. I am still feeling pretty good except my Neuropathy has gotten much worse over the past few weeks. My oncologist said that without the Oxy, that I would feel a lot better. I am hopeful that it is just getting worse before it gets better. My hands are so bad that I am continually dropping things and having a hard time using them. This is something that I definitely need to discuss with my doctor. Other than that, I feel really "normal" and healthy. There are many days now that I wake up and have a hard time believing that I am even "sick". I am taking this as a wonderful sign that I will beat this nasty disease despite the odds.

Life is pretty wonderful right now and I am thankful for all my blessings. Mark has been a wonderful support to me and makes me a believer. I see a bright future ahead of me that is not filled with sadness. I don't think so much anymore of not being here for him or my children. I believe that I will conquer and live a healthier life with him by my side.

My kids are thriving now. Kaylie is doing wonderful in school. I am so very proud of her. She has really made a turnaround and I contribute that to my mom's loving support of her and the fact that mommy is not so depressed and angry anymore. Tyler has been doing fabulous and has made huge progress. He ADHD and other issues are being managed beautifully and I feel much more in control of the situation. Logan has entered the "terrible twos" and is in to everything. He is such a little stinker. They are all doing great! :0)

I'll update again soon when I have more details on my treatment. I am very thankful for my blessings and for each moment. Thank you all again for your support and prayers.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cycle 13 and Erbitux treatment

Thought I would do an update before I go on my two week vacay. cycle 13 went well with the new chemo regimen of just 5-FU and leucovorin with the Erbitux. Still pretty much side effect free except for the Neuropathy and a smidgen of fatigue. I am feeling pretty great these days and certainly not your "typical" stage IV cancer patient.

Yesterday, I had my weekly Erbitux treatment. My friend/neighbor went with me. It was nice to have someone to chat with during my treatment. It made the time go by quickly and I got some laughs in too. So, now I am officially on "chemo break" until March 3rd when I start Chemo cycle 14.

So, the boys and I are very excited for our trip to MN to see Mark. Tyler is especially excited to have the opportunity to throw a snowball at mommy. ;o) This will be the first time that either one of them have seen snow, so I am so excited for them. they will also get to see their Grandpa, whom they haven't seen since this past summer. I will be sure to take lots of pics to share from all the fun they are going to have.

As always, I want to think everyone for their continued support, thoughts and prayers. I feel so fortunate to have such great family and friends. you all mean so much to me. this journey is sure teaching me much about the true value of family and friends.

I'll update again soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New round starts Wed

So, my new round of Chemo starts on Wed afternoon. I will get Chemo this week and the Erbitux next week. Then, I am taking a two week break from treatment for my trip to Minnesota. I should be done with this round of treatment in May if everything continues to go well. Hopefully, this time the cancer will go into remission. I an still feeling really great and the kids are doing well to. They have settled into our new home nicely.

It has been nice living so close to my oldest brother as we can visit more often now. My children absolutely adore him. Especially my middle child. He is always wanting to go to his apartment. It is so adorableRemove Formatting from selection.

Thanks once again for the continued support and prayers. I really think that attitude is everything when dealing with Cancer. I refuse to let it get the best of me. Do I have days were I feel overwhelmed and sad? Of course I do. The unknown is always lurking in my mind. However, I do feel very optimistic that I am winning here. :0)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Doctor appointment update

So, I saw my Oncologist today to go over the results of my PET scan and to discuss the next course of treatment. My cancer is not in remission, so this means more Chemo for me. For the next three to four months, I will continue doing the Folfox treatment minus the Oxaliplatin with the biological treatment of Erbitux. She took the Oxakiplatin out because of the Neuropathy that I have been experiencing and she said I should start to feel much better.

My cancer has not spread or reoccurred in the Colon, but I still have several tumors on the right lobe of my liver. The inside of the tumors are going through Necrosis which means the tumors are dying on the inside, but there is still activity on the outer tumors. This activity has caused my tumor markers to go up. (Both the CEA and the CA-19-9 Colon cancer tumor markers). I had my blood drawn again today for these markers and will see the doctor again on March 9. She did give me the okay to still take my two week vacation to Minnesota in Feb and to "skip" treatment during this time. The doctors office should be giving me a call within the next few days to set up my treatment dates.

I am NOT taking all this information as bad news. I am looking at it in a very positive light. A lot of my tumors are now gone. They were at one time covering my entire liver. I had very large tumors with the largest measuring 13 mm on my liver. The largest one is now 10mm and is going through Necrosis, so this is good news. The Chemo is working. I just need a little more to get the cancer to go into remission. There is also the possibility of a liver resection if the cancer does not completely go into remission after treatment. I will have another PET scan in 3-4 months to see how this treatment is affecting the tumors. My Oncologist was very positive and felt that my treatment was going well.

I have been feeling pretty great and look at this is a positive sign that things are looking up for me. I am very Thankful for each day and have truly been blessed. Thanks everyone for the continued prayers and support. :0)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Biological treatment day

Just thought I would do a quick post before heading off to treatment this afternoon. :o)

Things are going really well and I am happier than I have been in a long time. I don't look or feel sick. My liver twinges are dissipating which I am taking as a good sign that the tumor is shrinking. Still praying for complete remission in 2010. It really is difficult to feel like you are in limbo all the time, but I am dealing with it all one day at a time. I feel so fortunate that I am alive to breathe in each new day.

The kids are doing well. My oldest went through a pretty rough period these past couple of weeks, but I think we finally got it all sorted out. We've been talking a lot more lately about things and I think it is great that she is getting her feelings validated. My middle son is back at school since last week. He had a little bit of a break with the move and getting his bus route figured out. He is always so happy and excited to go to school. My littlest one is so happy in our new home. He went through a period where he was shrieking at the top of his lungs, but thankfully since we moved that has passed. They all are adjusting and seem a little happier.

As always, I am so appreciative of all the love, support, and prayers that are continually sent my way. I am very optimistic about what the future holds for me. I went through a period of feeling devastated, but now I feel that such good positive things are happening to me...it can only get better from here. I refuse to be yet another statistic and I have so much to live for.

I have my Oncologist appointment next week to go over my CT scan from July and my recent PET scan. The radiologist will compare the results, so that we know where we stand. At that time, she will determine if I need to continue my weekly biological treatments or if she has another treatment option. I will update my blog when I know more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

PET Scan results

Thanks to my mom asking the nurse after I had a meltdown, she went over my PET scan results with me. Unlike my worst fears, the cancer has not spread. The twinges that I feel in my liver are actually the cancer cells dying and the tumor shrinking. The chemo is doing it's job.

We are currently in my last cycle (Cycle 12). I will get unhooked on Thursday afternoon and I am done with Chemo. I still may have to go in for my once weekly biological treatments depending on what my Oncologist decides. I do have a treatment next Tuesday for sure.

In the mean time, I have to obtain my CT scan that was done in July from the hospital and have it sent to the Radiologist to do a comparison.

2010 really does seem like it is going to be a much better year than last year. I have the support of my wonderful friends and family. I feel really optimistic about the future now.

The kids are doing great and have adjusted to our new home well. Fortunately, they got to attend same schools. Tyler starts back on Thursday after having to get his bus route situated. He is anxious to go back and see his teacher and his friends. The boys and I get up every morning and walk Kaylie to school. It is too far for her to walk alone. Logan is thriving and is still my little "chunky monkey". He likes to say "Wow" over and over. It is so adorable. I love them all so much.

The rest of my personal life is awesome to say the least. I really am content with life and thankful that I have been so blessed.

I will update again on Thursday when I get my pump unhooked and get my shot. No serious side effects yet except for the neuropathy that started during my last cycle. This may or may not be a permanent condition. Only time will tell.

Love you all,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's been awhile since I updated my blog. The last few weeks have been pretty hectic. The kids and I downsized and moved to an apartment last week. We love it here and the kids are excited that there is a pool. Plus their Uncle lives in the same complex - in the next building over from us. We are still settling in and have to get our stuff from storage, but things are progressing. It is nice because we live in the same neighborhood, so the kids still attend the same schools.

I finally had my PET scan done last week, but won't discuss the results with my doctor until the 26th. I am nervous, but since I am feeling so good I feel that it can only be positive news. I asked for my last lab results last week and they couldn't find them in my patient file, so I will have to ask again this coming week. Tuesday starts my final round of chemo. It has been a long 6 months for everyone, but hopefully this will be it for awhile. If not, I am not sure what the next course of treatment will be. I know that there are lots of options available now and I will do whatever it takes.

My life is going really well and I am happier than I have ever been in my life despite the cancer. I have lots of really wonderful and supportive people in my life. A few (who should know who they are) have made my life incredible. I am forever grateful for the continued support, prayers, and love that have been sent my way. I really do believe that positive things are in store for me this year.

I will try to update from treatment on Treatment on Tuesday (hopefully before the Benedryl kicks in) on the status of my blood work and the start of my final treatment.

Lots of Love,