Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lots of Living to do

It's been awhile since I updated this blog. I got into kind of a funk where I got tired of always discussing the Big "C" word. In my everyday life, I try to live my life positively and immerse my thoughts and self in other projects. Lately, I have been digging into my classes, training for a half-marathon with my daughter, and just enjoying every moment with my kids. This post may end up pretty long - as I finally have something to say and a lot of updating to do.

I can't believe that another year has come and gone. 2011 passed in a flash. I have been blessed to have celebrated another birthday this year (my 37th) and shared another Christmas with my three beautiful children and my boyfriend, Mark. We had a great Christmas together and the kids are really happy. I even managed to catch the three of them in one photo on Christmas Morning!

My daughter bought me the most beautiful necklace for Christmas. she couldn't wait to give it to me, so she actually gave it to me on Christmas Eve. I had been admiring this necklace while we were out shopping, but I never dreamed that my daughter would buy it for me (It was pretty expensive for a little girl to buy) Isn't it beautiful?

Christmas morning, the kids were excited to open their gifts and I think Santa brought them just what they wanted. The boys spent the day playing quietly with their new toys and Kaylie enjoyed some of her new loot before hanging out with some of her friends and exchanging gifts with them. Mommy also got a very unexpected Christmas gift from Mark. We've been together for 2 years now and he bought me the most beautiful ring for Christmas. Gifts aside, the best part was being with my kids for another Christmas. The kids had their Winter break from school and the boys got lots of snow time in with Mark.

We all quickly got back into the routine of school, work, and treatment for me. School has been great for me and I reached a major milestone in my education this year. I finally finished all of my general education, only have my major classes now and I graduate in less than a year with my BA in Early Childhood Education. I'm seriously considering taking a short break (3 weeks) and diving right into classes for my Masters.

As for my treatment update, I got a short "break" from treatment over the holidays and resumed on January 4th, 2012. Things are going pretty well and I am feeling great. I had a few difficult cycles of treatment with some pretty nasty nausea and vomiting. My anti-nausea medicine decided to stop working, so my Oncologist quickly found a new medicine that has been working great for me. My last scan showed the cancer as stable and actually some improvement. Still thinking positive and living in the moment.

Yesterday, my daughter and I registered for a half-marathon here in Minnesota. It's in August and 169 days from today. We are excited to do something so positive and rewarding as a mother-daughter experience. Something that the two of us can be proud of and never forget! So, since it's still cold and snowy outside, we have been training indoors on the treadmill. Looking forward to doing some runs outside when the weather gets nicer. We are seriously considering doing the Tinkerbell Half next year as well. Lots of planning and saving would have to occur to make that happen.

I'm in a much better place in my mind and I need to think of this blog as a journal of my life and less of a cancer blog. Thanks to all of you for your continued thoughts, prayers and support. It means more to me than you know.

Until Next time,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Just taking it one day at a time

I've had a rough week with trying to recover from Chemo on Monday and dealing with the aftermath of the events that took place on Monday Afternoon. For those of you that don't know, I was driving home from Chemo on Monday afternoon, in my boyfriend's car, when there was an explosion and the car burst into flames. I pulled over and got out of the car. There were several people that had stopped on the side of the road to help me. Including a very nice lady who could see that I was visibly shaken and let me sit in her car until the police and fire department arrived. The car is a total loss, but I am alright. Even though everyone keeps telling me that my being alright is what matters, I still feel terrible even though it was one of those freakish unexplained events. Even my boyfriend says how incredibly unfair it is that I was the one that was driving the car when this happened. I don't think anyone can stop the guilt, even if they did nothing wrong, when they are driving someone else's car and something happens. I was fortunate enough to be able to get a ride to get unhooked on Wednesday, but am unsure as to how to work all of this out to get to treatment in the future.

I was already in a tough place emotionally and mentally the past few weeks and now I feel like I have been pushed over the edge. I spend the first couple of days uncontrollably crying and feeling sorry for myself. I just don't know how to fix this. My boyfriend has been incredible. I know how unexpected and stressful this is for him. This is reality to the extreme and I just have to pray that things will work out as intended.

In my last post, I talked about how I have been slowly changing my diet and using supplements where I know that I am lacking and where research has proven them to be beneficial to colon cancer patients. I have been striving to make the majority of my meals more fruits, vegetables, and whole wheat pasta and beans. I am trying to minimize my intake of meat, dairy, and unhealthy snacks, etc. I have a long way to go, but I have made significant progress. I have also added supplements like omega-3, B-complex, D3 and probiotics. So far, I have noticed that I have been feeling a lot better with the changes. This week, I plan to go for daily walks and enroll in a yoga class.

Just wanted to send out another "Thank You" to all the wonderfully supportive people whose kindness and prayers have kept me motivated and inspired to stay healthy. It has been 26 months since my diagnosis and I refuse to give up.

Until Next time

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hectic Life

The kids have been out of school since the end of May and it seems that we have been non-stop busy since then. There are so many things that need to be accomplished before the new school year starts and there never seems to be enough time or money. I've been feeling overwhelmed and emotional. I've been having many days where I just don't see how I can manage it all and I am envious of those people who have really close friends who live nearby to lean on when it all gets unbearable. My closest friends live on the other side of the country. I've tried to make friends here, but not having my own transportation has made it difficult to meet up since I live in a fairly rural area. Two years without a car and I have reached my breaking point. It gets me down. On top of all that I have been dealing with, I hate that I have to struggle with that. I know that some people may think that is whiny of me, but I feel very isolated right now.

Then last month, we had a scare with my middle son. Prior to a scheduled surgery to have his tonsils/adenoids removed and have bilateral tubes placed, there were concerns about some of his blood work that was done. Apparently, they did not like the numbers and it put him at higher risk for bleeding. So, they postponed his surgery and sent us to a hematologist to determine what the cause was. I was in a panic. How much more could I handle? Thankfully, a second round of blood tests turned up normal and his surgery was rescheduled for August 9th. We are two days post surgery and he is uncomfortable, but doing well. I am happy to have this surgery behind us and have him on the mend. Poor little guy must have had a sore throat his entire life and never knew any better or complained. The surgeon/ENT said that he had the tonsils of a 21 year old (they were that large). Once he is recovered, he is going to feel so much better. Plus, towards the end of last year, he as getting ear infections at a rate of almost one a month. This was a necessity and I am glad that we got it accomplished before the start of first grade.

We've also been busy with traveling to a family reunion, our county fair, and some local festivals. The kids have had a great summer and we still have until after Labor day before they return to school. Things will be hectic then with the three kids going to three separate schools. My oldest is starting 7th grade at the High school, my middle child 1st grade, and my youngest is starting preschool three mornings a week. This is going to be a great school year for all of them. :)

I want to thank everyone for your continued support and prayers. It means so much to me and it keeps me strong and focused on what is important - getting well. I have been doing a lot of research on nutrition and supplements lately and I have a list of blog posts that I want to do regarding this. So, look for those really soon. I also have been focusing on moving more whether that be walking, jogging, yoga, etc. I have a plan to make the most of my time in Sept when the kids go back to school, so I can continue on my healing journey and beat this stupid cancer.

It's late here, but I wanted to make sure to get this blog post up as promised. I will work on the other blog posts I mentioned as well as putting up some pictures of our summer adventures.

Until next time

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

End of June update

Not much has changed in terms of my treatment. I think there seems to be an ongoing misunderstanding with some of my friends and family regarding my treatment. I am currently on lifetime chemotherapy. There is no cure for me and I will continue to receive chemo for the duration of my life. It would literally take a "miracle" for my cancer to be cured. So, now it is all about living with cancer as a "chronic illness". When I was first diagnosed with an emergency trip to the hospital, my colon had actually ruptured. This actually was a very bad thing in terms of my prognosis.

So, for the most part, I have just been trying to eat healthier and exercise to increase the odds of my beating the odds. I am truly living my life for the sake of those that care about me. I am actually feeling pretty great these days. For a long time, I couldn't function without taking a daily nap, but I haven't needed that since the kids got out of school for summer in late May. Maybe that is because we have been really busy with activities like a trip to the Mall of America and the Aquarium in April and the zoo last weekend. This coming weekend we are celebrating my youngest child's 3rd birthday with a trip to Adventure Zone in Duluth.

Today, we went to my Oncologist appointment. I didn't have chemo today, but will resume next week with my regular bi-weekly schedule. I'm in the process of getting some major dental work done. (Thank you to cancer and chemo for completely destroying my teeth and any previous dental work I had done in 2008). Yesterday, I had to have two teeth pulled. Fortunately, after all I have been through, it was a piece of cake for me. So, we were going to schedule my dental work around my chemo, but after seeing me today, my oncologist and I decided that it was not necessary to delay any treatments. I would have had treatment today, but I had all three of my kids with me. Five hours with all three of them in a treatment room did not sound like a good day. So, instead we re-scheduled for next week. After my Appointment, the kids and I headed off to order my youngest child's birthday cake. I held him up to the book of cakes and he picked out the cutest Dora cake. :)

So, not much has changes around here, but we are keeping busy and having a fantastic summer.
Thank you for all your wonderful thoughts, comments, and prayers. They are keeping me as healthy as possible.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It's been such a long time (an update)

I really apologize that it has been such a long time since I updated my blog. Life has been crazy with three kids. I almost don't know where to start. Towards the end of last year, I had a scan and got the scary news that my cancer had spread once again to my lungs. We immediately switched my treatment to Folfuri with Avastin. I was scared, confused, but so very happy to be done with Erbitux for the moment. However, it always seems that you trade one nasty side effect for another. In the beginning of this treatment, I suffered horrible stomach aches and constipation. Thankfully, the pain was worth it and my latest scan showed no visible lung mets. The treatment is working. The side effects also seemed to have leveled out. I still have some back pain, headaches, and some not so fun lip blisters. In spite of that, I can say for the first time in a long time, I feel almost "normal". I can only pray that this treatment continues to do its job for a long time to come.

As for the rest of my world, I am just trying to live as normally as possible. I just finished my eighth class at University of Phoenix working towards my Bachelors. I have put my education on hold so many times in my life that in spite of everything, I feel there is no better time than "right now". It keeps me focused on something other than sitting on the "pity potty" and makes me feel like I am accomplishing something. For those that know me, you know that I take everything that I do very seriously and put all my effort into it. It has been hard now because with treatment comes "chemo brain" and I feel like I have to work twice as hard to concentrate and focus on anything. Maybe this is because I have been on continuous treatment since July 2009. who knows?!?!

All three of my kids are doing fabulous and I couldn't be prouder. I think the fact that I feel and act stronger than ever has helped them to manage their own emotions regarding my diagnosis. We all just have to live each day to the fullest and take it one day at a time. They know that their mommy is fighting like mad to spend more time with them.

In closing, I will say that this year is starting out on a more positive note than last year and I will continue to fight to be with my children. I appreciate all of my friends and family who continue to send their love, prayers, and support to me. It means everything to me. I will make more of an effort to keep people updated through my blog. I tend to forget that not everyone sees my daily progress updates on facebook or otherwise. To my cancer friends, you are all always in my thoughts and prayers.