Monday, June 12, 2017

round 5

this is going to be short and quick because i am tired and the laptop is about to die and i am too tired to go back downstairs to get the charger.

round 5 went well today. bloodwork all looked good.

i was so tired all day i could not keep my eyes open, and unlike most treatment days, i did not work on my laptop for some of the time.

i slept. i just could not keep my eyes open.

thanks for all of the love, mojo and prayers you are sending my way.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

another round in the books. xoxo


Sunday, June 11, 2017

shore walk 2017 is in the books


shore walk 2017 is in the books.

here is our awesome team "cancer you can suck it" from this year.

this was our 7th year doing the walk and we raised over $5000 for fred hutchinson cancer research. our team raised the most money for the walk and actually raised 7 times more than the second place team. go team!! that is pretty damn awesome if you ask me.

speaking of pretty awesome, my friend marcie ran her first 5k today and she has been training for quite a while (even in the rain which we have had a lot of ). i am so proud of her - go marcie-roo!!!! keep running, and i hope that i can do one with you soon.

so it was a good morning, the sky was blue, and gave me some time to catch up with friends and family while we walked the 3 miles.

thank you to everyone who was on the team, donated to our team, and sent our team good mojo for the day. i really appreciate it. i am so thankful for the money we were able to raise and know it will help cancer patients in the future.

on saturday, barrett and i attended the annual melanoma symposium that scca puts on every year for melanoma patients. it is a mix of emotions to attend that as some of it hits so close to home it feels like reality hitting us right in the face. but it is good to hear about the latest research and the advances they continue to make in melanoma research - maybe i will be one of the patients that benefits from that research and more than a statistic.

they always have patients who share their stories at the end and those bring out the kleenex during that time. you know i love people's stories and i think that they are so important, and then you tie them to melanoma, and i am total waterworks.

here are a couple of key things to remember about melanoma and protecting yourself and the kids in your life:
-- pediatric melanoma is on the raise 3% each year in the last 3 years.
-- 500 kids a year 18 and under are diagnosed with melanoma each year
-- every hour of every day someone in the united states dies from melanoma
-- melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the US and worldwide
-- most melanoma is curable in the early stages with an over 90% curable rate
-- most cases of melanoma are caused by exposure to UV light and sunlight
-- tanning beds are classified in the same cancer risk as tobacco, arsenic, and asbestos
-- melanoma can develop almost anywhere, including the skin, eyes, digestive tract, genitals, under nails, or even in the mouth
-- carefully examine your skin every month. look for spots that seem unusual or are changing
-- melanoma can spread to the brain, liver, and lungs making it very difficult to treat

so please continue to remember to protect the skin you are in.

the side effects from treatment continue. fatigue. i am really tired and fall asleep at a moment's notice when i can. some of that is my anxiety meds too i am sure. dry mouth. swelling of my legs. the list goes on.

the anxiety continues to be really hard for me and thank goodness for the meds that i am on. mornings continue to be the tougher part, i am in tears most mornings before i even leave the house. i could not make it through the work day without my meds in the afternoon. i have another appointment with my psychiatrist on friday to check in and see where i am. i have an appointment with my counselor tomorrow which will be good as well. as i always say, it takes a village.

one thing that i have realized (or maybe just because i am now having such a problem with anxiety) is that it doesn't seem like it is talked about enough. since i have started talking about it, people have told me their stories or told me that they deal with it too and i had no idea. i think that there needs to be a larger conversation around it, or maybe figure out why it doesn't get talked about more. i will definitely talk about it here because it needs a voice for me and i am really struggling with it. i have been honest about everything that goes on medically with you before, so why not be honest about the anxiety too since it seems to be ruling my daily life at this point. it makes it really hard to get out of bed and face the day each day, i hope that changes soon.

i had a mammogram last week and the initial pictures showed that i needed to come back in for further testing. so i made an appointment for about two weeks out. before i had even got back to my office (which is literally 5 minutes from the doctor's office), their office called and said the doctor wants to see you on tuesday at 3:30. when they call back immediately, and the doc moves up your appointment to two days instead of two weeks, you don't have the best feeling. after going through multiple more tests and ultrasounds, she believes the masses she can see (and i can see which are obvious on the scan) are not cancer. but i will be back in six months to have another mammogram. there was part of me that was scared shitless about them telling me i had another cancer, and there was another part of me that felt like if i needed to kick the shit out of another cancer i could do it. i again would have no other choice.

tomorrow is treatment #5 and it is early. we check in at 7am for bloodwork and then meet with the doc, and if all goes according to plan, start treatment around 10am. we will see what the morning holds.

my friend mary goes in for scans tomorrow to see how her treatment is working, results on wednesday. please send your mojo, prayers and love to wisconsin for her.

another week starts, and i feel about a million different emotions about it. but it will come regardless so here we go.

anywhere i fight, you fight. xoxo


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

round 4 is in the books


round 4 is done.

my bloodwork was good so we were a go today.

a couple more side effects over the last week and we aren't sure if they are due to the anxiety meds or the treatment.

i am more  a lot more tired that i have been recently. there are times when i can't keep my eyes open and i am out like a light. that happened on a few car rides  (when i was a passenger, don't worry) over this weekend.

i have lost my balance when getting up a couple of times, and luckily the one time i would have totally fell down i was able to fall onto malena's bed. i still typically use the cane in the morning because that is when my balance is at its worst.

the anxiety continues on and i am super thankful for the meds because i would not want to go through another severe panic attack like i had. before the meds kick in and i can feel the anxiety coming on in the morning it is not a good feeling because i am afraid i will lose my ability to hold in the panic. so it is still rough each day but i am doing the best that i can to cope. the meds help, there is no denying that. i wouldn't be getting up each and making it through the day without them.

the tiredness causes me to be behind on life. on work. on friendships. on life in general. but i just try to focus on doing what is needed for the day ahead because at this point that feels like all i can do. that is not to be a pity story, just a reality of how things are these days.

one day at a time.

one treatment at a time.

we will do scans again in about 2 months. will aim to get 4 more treatments in before we do scans again.

thanks for all the good mojo, love, and prayers you are sending me to get through treatments and everything else that life seems to be sending my way these days.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

the fight continues on. xo

Sunday, May 21, 2017

next steps with anxiety + 2017 shore walk for cancer research

i met with the psychiatrist this friday to talk about how things are going with the anxiety.

i told him the truth. i am still really struggling and some days are better than others.

the mornings tend to be the hardest. it ranges from feeling very anxious to crying and feeling like i can't make it through the day. it depends on the day.

the evenings at home with barrett and malena are the easiest.

until bedtime. then i get anxious about the following morning but i have meds to help me sleep through the night.

i thought that i could go off of those sleep meds as i have been so exhausted that i thought that i could sleep without them. i tried last night and woke up in a panic with nightmares about work. so i am not going to try that again tonight. maybe again sometime in the future.

we are doubling some doses of some drugs, and trying to work me off of one of the three drugs.

we will see how that goes.

between the side effects of the treatment and the anxiety i definitely feel like i am all over the place and my mind is racing in about one million different directions at the same time. and the anxiety makes it really hard to know which of those directions i should move it.

but i am trying hard to make it through this and just take it day by day. that is all i can do.

at the end of our session, my psychiatrist let me know he is leaving scca at the end of july so i will need to meet with a new one after he leaves. even though i have only had two sessions with him, i was bummed. that means starting all over again. on the bright side, i will have a few more sessions before he goes and i am going to start trying to do regular sessions with my counselor on treatment days. as i have said bef0re, it takes a village and the village continues to grow.

it is not easy to write and share about the anxiety and how crippling it has become for me. but it isn't easy to write about cancer either. so i figure if i share what it is like to battle anxiety and it helps someone who is also dealing with it feel less alone or helps someone to understand it better, then mission accomplished.

it is almost time for the 2017 shore walk that we annually participate in that raises funds for fred hutchinson cancer research. at the end of may, my sister-in-law's family held a bunco fundraiser and $2700 was raised in 3 hours. how incredible is that? i know, pretty damn awesome. the shore walk is on june 11th and if you would like to walk/run or donate to our team or just send us good mojo you can find more info on our team page. if you sign up, make sure that you sign up for our team "cancer you can suck it" - great name, right? right.

my friend mary had her next treatment on friday and all went well until she started feel awful towards evening time. but she felt better on saturday, and because she kicks ass, she ran a 5k today and had my name on her bib. she is a fighter. no doubt about that. go mary go!

i probably won't write more on here this week as i am headed for a super busy week as i had out of town on wednesday to celebrate a family member's 21st birthday for a couple of days. my goal is to leave work behind and just take three days to be with family, breathe, take my meds and try to be calm. i have a million things to do between now and then so wednesday feels a long ways away but it will be here before i know it. which i can't think about too much until i take my bedtime meds.

i hope that you all have a good week. make the most of it. enjoy it. do something really fun. xoxo




Monday, May 15, 2017

results

good news.


the spots on my lungs that the doctor was concerned about are almost all gone.


woohoo!


and my bloodwork was good so we are a go for the infusion.


i am in my infusion room now and just about to get the meds hooked up to my port.


so i will sign off for now.


thanks for all the good luck and vibes.


anywhere i fight, you fight. xoxo

Saturday, May 13, 2017

the shit and the joy

+++ the side effects from the treatment have kicked in and the fatigue is in full effect as are some of the other side effects, dry mouth - dry skin, etc. but, the fatigue. oh man, i am tired. (the shit)

+++ my taste buds are not back to normal but green tea tastes good again and i am loving that. (the joy).

+++ starbucks now has a gluten free breakfast sandwich that is really, really good. i am also loving that. green tea and the sandwich make me pretty happy, i can't deny that. (the joy).

+++ the anxiety over the last couple of weeks has been really hard for me. i am taking multiple meds to help me get through the day, and one to help me sleep at the night. and i need them. the anxiety is running high, and how i do depends on the day. i woke up in a panic attack last sunday morning and did not have a good day. some mornings i wake up and think that i can make it through the day ok. other mornings i wake up and am paralyzed by the anxiety. i see the psychiatrist again on friday so we will see where we go from there. i think that the anxiety has definitely added to the fatigue, and the anxiety meds create their own side effects (memory issues, pending on dosages i can't drive because some are like narcotics, etc.). but i could not make it through the day without them so for now it is what it is. (the shit).

+++ jennifer has met with her team of doctors and they are working on coming up with a plan on next steps for her. the fact that she has a good team of doctors working collectively on a plan for her (the joy/hope). the fact that she has to deal with cancer again (the shit. obviously). thanks again to all who signed up for the happy mail campaign for her. you are awesome. but we already knew that didn't we? yes, we did.

+++ mary has had two treatments and the second one had side effects where she felt like she had the flu and was down for the count for the day (the shit). she is doing better and will do her next treatment this coming friday on the 19th so start kicking up the mojo her way please. she is going to run in a 5k on the 21st. go mary go for kicking some running ass while going through treatment (the joy).

+++ i only need to use the cane in the morning when i am pretty wobbly (the joy). sometimes during the day i lose my balance but it just happens for a moment. i do not miss walking with the cane, but i do miss feeling like i have my grandpa physically close to me.

+++ i had a scan on thursday (the shit). my last scans showed an area that looked like an infection in my lung. my oncologist wants to make sure that it is what it was. if it was an infection, it will hopefully be gone in the scans. we get results on monday at 2:30. so starting kicking up the vibes and mojo.

+++ monday is a treatment day if my bloodwork cooperates. the shit because i am doing cancer treatment. the joy because there are drugs for me to do cancer treatment and hopefully continue to keep those tumors from spreading/growing.

+++ i have been quiet in this space primarily because of the fatigue. i am going to bed pretty much as soon as malena does. and i am trying to make it through working full time and a lot of stress going on for me related to work, and still feeling like i am catching up on our personal lives. hopefully things even out and i get back to this space more again soon (the hopeful joy).

+++ sunday is mom's day (the joy). tonight i will be doing a camp out with my girl who is already lights out. today i got to celebrate with my awesome mom-in-law and dad-in-law and bro-in-law (great joy). tomorrow i get to celebrate again with my mom, dad, brother/sis-in-law, and i get to see my grandma and other family members. and of course, i get to celebrate with malena and barrett. i am super thankful for this day and another year of celebrating getting to be this 8 year old's (how is that possible?) mom. being her mom has been the greatest thing i have ever done and it challenges me everyday in all of the best ways and keeps me learning everyday on how best to help her grow and face the world. i am so, so lucky to get to spend my days with her and i don't take that for granted for a second (the joy).

+++ i know that mom's day is not happy for all women. some are missing their moms who are not physically with them any longer. some don't have great relationships with their moms. some wish with everything they had that they were a mom. some mourn kids they have lost. some don't have great relationships with their kids. so my heart goes out to all of those whose hearts ache on this day and for whom mother's day is a hard day to get through. (the shit)

+++ i hope that whatever this sunday brings for you, you find some time to enjoy some part of the day in whatever way makes you happy (the joy).

+++ more to come on monday. thanks for all the vibes and love.

+++ anywhere i fight, you fight. and the fight continues on. xo





Monday, May 1, 2017

the end of the day

this will be short because i am super tired. which is not unusual these days, but these last couple of days i can barely keep my eyes open.

all of my bloodwork looked good so the infusion was a go.

no problems and everything went as usual and we were there for about 6 hours total between bloodwork, doctor appointment, and infusion.

thanks for all of the love, prayers and mojo you sent my way today, i really appreciate it.

it was a long day due to infusion and anxiety creeping in throughout the day.

i appreciate all of the good thoughts.

hope your week is off to a good start.

xoxo