Monday, October 16, 2017

14 in the books


today was treatment 14.

my bloodwork was looking good, potassium was low - but all other organs are functioning like they should be. i am so thankful for that.

this morning i woke up and felt like a cold might be coming on and so if that is the case, you wear masks at scca so you don't chance giving germs to any other patient. barrett wore one as well just in case he might be coming down with something but just doesn't know it yet.

this is the only picture i got today, not my usual one that shows me hooked up to the infusion machine.

the reason for that is simple: i was asleep.

i worked this morning (except when in appts) but when i got into the infusion room i just could not do it anymore. i closed my laptop and i was lights out, so damn tired (daily mantra around here).

as we did the check in on side effects, they remain essentially the same just continue to get worse. fatigue (kicking my ass). dry mouth. hair coming out and thinning (no bald spots yet). dry mouth (worse than the sahara). muscle aches and cramps on nights when i am super lucky. dry skin (basically the sahara). and that is just the cancer side effects, not even speaking of the daily fight with my anxiety problems which is a list of issues all on its own.

the next thing up is scans on the 27th and i can't tell you that i am looking forward to those in any way. especially since last time i ended puking all over myself and the room. that is not going to be a fun day. then on the 30th we get the results and decide where to go from there. so scanxiety is already kicking in and i am already getting very nervous for the end of the month.

sometimes being at scca for treatments brings comfort. today was one of those days when there are so many other things going wrong in our world, that i look at all of those patients and caregivers and wish that a cure for all of the cancers could be the one big thing that could be going right in our world. so many sick people there and yet you never hear a voice raised, you see smiles, you see people offer their chairs to others, you see others giving the knowing look of "me too" as you pass them on the way to your infusion room. i am almost always one of the youngest patients there on any given day. my nurses have told me that i am one of the only ones who work while i am hooked up to the infusion meds (obviously that didn't happen today), much less work full time while going through treatment. and so sometimes i wonder if i am doing this fight the way i should be, will i regret the way i fought at some point in the future (like not worked, took time off while going through treatment, etc.). but that is the deal, there is no right way. there is no wrong way. you just get through it the best way that you know how.

you just wake up and fight however you can. and as long as i keep doing that, i think that i am doing pretty damn good minus everything that totally sucks about this entire situation.

goodnight. i need to hit the hay, i have more fighting to do tomorrow. and the day after that. for as long as it takes.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

xoxo



Monday, October 2, 2017

13

"if you happen to find yourself in the place
that hangs on the cusp of just this side of breaking,
hold on,
and ride that sweet spot until it spits you out or swallows you whole,
either way,
you're coming back filthy,
and filled with the answers you never knew you were seeking."
(nicole lyons)


the nurse getting the equipment ready to numb my port area and put the needle into my port. this is how my day starts on treatment days.

13 is in the books.

my bloodwork is holding steady.

i have one more round, then scans on the 27th, then scan results and treatment on the 30th.

i will write more soon but i am tired. i had to work after treatment, then headed home, then to a girls scouts mom meeting, and now to bed.

a long day.

but, my organs are cooperating, so long day or not, i am super thankful for that.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

xoxo

Sunday, October 1, 2017

treatment 13 here i come


 "...and all at once, summer collapsed into fall."
(oscar wilde)

well, hello october.

you sure showed up fast, but it isn't a surprise since this year is flying by for me.

i got our front porch decorated today and i consider that to be a major win for the weekend.

weekends for me are now about slowing down, sleeping in, taking naps and enjoying some down time. that doesn't mean that there isn't work, and anxiety, there is definitely both - but more and more i know that i need the weekends to give my body a chance to recharge a bit from the week days which seem to be non-stop from the moment i wake up.

i have been having nightmares again, not every night, but since this is a scan month, that is not a surprise. nightmares don't help with the fatigue, i can tell you that.

so i will let you know how tomorrow goes, hopefully the liver and organs are holding strong for treatment number 13.

anywhere i fight, you fight. xoxo

ps) jill p - thanks for posting the awesome quote above today - love it. xoxo

Monday, September 18, 2017

round 12 is in the books



round 12.

in the books.

bloodwork looked good so all systems were go.

met with my psychiatrist for an hour, thank goodness for her, she doesn't make me feel like i am totally losing my mind and the baby steps i am taking (which seem like bigfoot steps to me) are helping to slowly start to deal with the anxiety. i like her, she makes me realize that i am starting to find some coping mechanisms that i would never realize on my own.

this time i was so tired that i slept every chance i got this morning. normally i would work through treatment and the waiting times in between appointments. not today. i was lights out every chance i got and and then barrett and i headed for some lunch and then to work for a couple of hours to round out the day.

on saturday night i could barely keep my eyes open around 6, we had a busy day. so i told barrett i was going to lay down for about half an hour and to come and get me up. next thing i know it was 8am sunday (he had come up and then i went right back to sleep). i slept straight through the night which apparently i needed.

but in the morning when i woke i had some major anxiety because i felt like there things that i should have got done saturday night. but i was able to shake that off after i just calmed myself down a little and my meds started to kick in.

i hope that your weeks are all to great starts. this one is going to be a long one for this kid with work, so off to zzzzzzzzzzzzz i go.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

and this year has sure been a hell of a fight with myself and with the tumors.

xoxo




Friday, September 15, 2017

you all are magic

"in order to kick ass you must first lift up your foot"
(jen sincero)


you all are magic.

we got good news on both counts today. and i love you for that.

beth got news that the spots on her lungs are stable, she does not go back for scans for 6 months. woohoo!!!! 6 months can feel like getting your life back for a while. so, so happy for her.

mary also got good news today - her doctor feels that everything is stable and she does not need to have another ultrasound until january. woohoo!!!!

so happy for them both, great news for a friday. a double whammie of good news.

thanks for all the love, mojo and prayers. they worked. you all are the best.

have a good weekend, i for one will be breathing way easier. and i know beth and mary will be too.

xoxo



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

kick up the mojo between 9 and 11am

ok, kick up all your good mojo tomorrow between 9-11 because that is when beth goes in for her scans. which we all know are going to be totally clear, right? right.

thanks for all of the love, mojo and prayers, i know that she really appreciates it.

here is how she is feeling tonight in her own words, it is her own story  to tell after all....

love you beth, you have got this, these scans will be clear, and you will keep on fighting.
xoxo

"Scanxiety"

Journal entry by Beth Peterson
Well they are here already.  Tomorrow morning are the scans. I go in at 9:40 to drink contrast and get my labs, scans at 10:40.  I remember from last time that having scans at SCCA was nicer than at UW Medical Center, less crowded and chaotic.   A little place to recover after with snacks.

I am glad my parents are here. They got in last night.  We played a bit this afternoon but now the realness sets in.  What they are really here for. 

I have been sleeping ok with help...but not as great recently.  I am nervous and anxious but it is different than last time. If I really stop to think about what the results mean it terrifies me.  Because each time I go in it can impact my future.  And I keep thinking about how this doesn't End for me. I will be scanned for a long time.  No matter what they find.  So my hope and prayers are for no growth and in fact shrinkage of those spots.

I will let you know how tomorrow goes. Thank you for your love, support and prayers. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

for beth and mary

please send you good vibes, mojo and prayers to my friends beth and mary this week.

beth goes in for scans on thursday and gets her results on friday.

mary has an ultrasound on friday to make sure that the tumors have not come back.

so we need all your good thoughts sent to seattle and to little chute, wisconsin this week.

i know that beth's scans will show no change, and mary's ultrasound will be clear.

i am super smart about these types of things, but i like to have your mojo going for them just as extra insurance.

i hope that you are all having a good week, and to those of you affected by or have loved ones in the path of harvey or irma, our thoughts are with you and yours. xo

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

11 in the books


round 11 is in the books.

bloodwork was good.

scans are on october 27th and results are on the 30th.

thanks for all the love and support.

another one down. 

work your magic on those tumors.

nevertheless, she persisted.

how true that is.

xo

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

here comes round 11

tomorrow will be round 11 if my bloodwork cooperates.

since i posted about round 10 we took a week off of work to go to disneyland and take a trip to bend, oregon. it was our first family vacation in over a year and i think more than well deserved.

when i was in infusion for round 10, my new psychiatrist came in to see me. we had a really good discussion and i really like her so i hope that she stays around for a while.

there were many parts of our discussion that have stayed with me since we talked. but there is one that i probably think about every single day.

since she hadn't met me yet, she was getting the quick story on my background and what led to my severe panic attacks and the anxiety i have been fighting daily since the end of march. so we talked about the current status of things, how i have been feeling due to treatment and my daily battle with anxiety and how that has really turned things upside down for me, how i am still working full time, being a mom, etc. we also talked about how i don't feel like i am doing a very good job at any of the roles that i have. i don't say that to make a pity statement, i say that as part of the daily battle that i go through with my anxiety and the emotional agony that comes along with it.

we were talking about how i am my harshest critic (self admitted) and i have high expectations of myself that everything i do is done well. and that with the growing fatigue continuing, the tiredness from that and the anxiety meds, the other side effects i am dealing with, that i am just so tired that i just can't do many of the things that i want to do or am used to doing before i got so sick earlier this year (and to be honest, in some ways even back to when i was sick last summer on the steroids).

at one point, she leaned forward and looked my right in the eye and said "you have cancer. you are sick. you are going through cancer treatment every other week. you are tired. you can't do everything you are used to doing. you just can't. i am shocked you are even working full time right now."

you have cancer. you are sick. 

those words. i don't think that someone has directly said to me "you have cancer" since the day i was diagnosed. 

and then the tears came.

but she did that to make a needed point. it worked.

because that is so hard to hear but of course i know that. and she is right. i have cancer. i am sick. and i am tired. and i can't do everything i want to do and that frustrates the absolute shit out of me.

so i am trying with baby steps. but it is hard. i slept in late on saturday because i was so tired to only go straight into anxiety the second i woke up because i hadn't got up sooner and started doing something that needed to be done. the same thing happened on sunday but sunday i just about went into a severe panic attack. i had to remind myself (and barrett helped me) that my body is telling me i need to rest. and oftentimes, the weekends are the only time i get to.

it is all so hard and i hope that with time it gets better and easier. the start of school has us back in a routine again and maybe that will help me.

i hope so.

i would love to gain some normalcy of what my life was like before i got so sick. like writing here. one of the things i like the most and never do. so maybe not as much as i used to before i got sick (that is obvious as i hardly post anymore) but more that i have been doing. and maybe that means i let something else go that is less important.

i am trying to figure it all out.

but in the meantime, time marches on and treatment days come.

tomorrow is one of those days.

so onward. one way or another.

anywhere i fight, you fight. xo





Monday, August 21, 2017

round 10



treatment 10 is a go. bloodwork is all looking good.

i have a special good luck charm with me here today, and as her shirt says, "girls never give up".

we got a chance in between my appointments this morning to go out and watch the eclipse. that was pretty awesome to say the least.

now i am in a hospital bed getting my infusion.

i just met with my psychologist and we had a good talk for a long time. we have a couple of things that we are going to try to help with my anxiety and i am going to continue with my meds. the anxiety continues to be a daily fight for me but we are trying to make it better over time.

and after this, we are headed off on a magic adventure.

have a good week, thanks for all the love and prayers and mojo.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

xo


Monday, August 7, 2017

results

i am currently laying in the hospital bed waiting for my drugs to come so that we can start the infusion.


the results of the scans were that the tumors have not changed, no shrinkage. they have stayed essentially the same. there were no new growths that were detected on the scans.


so i am very thankful that there are no new growths, that is a great thing. i am thankful that the tumors have not grown.


i would be lying if i said it is disheartening after all these treatments and the side effects that they have not shrunk at all.


so, i will move forward with this treatment and for the next three months and then we will do scans and see what things are. there is a clinical study going on but i would only qualify if my tumors grow, but they are seeing good results from that study with the meds they are using.


thanks for all of the love and prayers, keep them coming.


anywhere i fight, you fight.


onward.


xoxo

Saturday, August 5, 2017

scans

 
"i'm just trying to be the most courageous collection 
of flaws and ghosts that you've ever seen"
(morgan nikola-wren)
 
 
friday was scan day.
 
it did not go too well.
 
like last time, i asked for an iv to be put in my arm instead of connecting to my port because the contrast moves so much faster through my port and through my body than through an iv in my arm and i have been having issues with a lot of nausea during the latest scans.
 
i had talked about this with the tech and he pushed the contrast in slow through my iv.
 
but as soon as they moved me into the machine, my body started to get warm all over (like normal) and i immediately started vomiting all over the place (not normal).
 
i was literally projectile vomiting all over myself and all over the machine.
 
they could not get out of their room (the techs are in a room while they give me the exam) with the green barf bag (that i lived with while in the hospital) fast enough. it was all over the place. i was literally soaked through my shirt and the top half of my pants. and my hair (which as a sidenote i think is starting to fall out because my pillows in the morning have been covered with my hair and more and more is coming out in the shower but no balding spots yet).
 
they gave me a warm blanket to cover up with and then we did a few more scans. when i am in that machine, i am not supposed to move. as soon as i started vomiting (while in the machine), clearly i moved. so we did a few more (without more contrast) in hopes they could get all of the shots they needed for the radiologist to do their review.
 
when they finished those, the nice tech asked me if wanted help removing the vomit from the back of my hair (i am laying down for the exam so the back of my head was soaked too). of course i did since i couldn't see for myself which was very nice of him.
 
i then went out to the observation room and waited while they confirmed that they got the needed scans, and then when i could, ate a little snack until i could confirm that i thought that i was not going to get sick again and they felt confident that i could leave.
 
all i really wanted to do at that point was head home and go to bed. i was already exhausted (as usual), was embarrassed (though not my fault vomiting in front of others is never fun), and did not feel good. but my work day was packed for the rest of the day so i did what fighters do and rallied and went to work (and changed my clothes of course).
 
ugh. long, long day.
 
we head in at 7 am on monday for bloodwork and i get the results of the scans at 8:15am, so send your mojo and vibes to us at that time. i then go in for infusion at 10am and have a psych appointment too at 9. busy morning to say the least.
 
thanks for all of the love and support and good thoughts.
 
anywhere i fight, you fight.
 
here we go again. xoxo


Monday, July 24, 2017

round 8


round 8 is done.

i was so tired today that i slept for a lot of the day. i just couldn't keep my eyes open between the treatment and the anxiety meds. i barely remember the ride home and some errands that barrett did for me while i stayed in the car.

my bloodwork was good except my potassium is low so i will go on a supplement for that and treatment went fine. we came home and i slept for a few hours.

when i woke up, i think the combo of having treatment today and it being a monday and some major things going on this week at work caused my anxiety to kick in and i would say that i had a minor panic attack (nothing compared to the severe one i had at the start of april, the meds have helped keep those at bay but i definitely have issues every day with fighting the anxiety).

the side effects continue. taking meds to help the swelling. dry mouth. fatigue. i haven't lost my hair which has been a nice surprise, hopefully i didn't just jinx myself. so far no other complications like nausea coming back or rashes or falls or other issues. my balance has been a little better the last few weeks so that has been good, no falls in the last couple of weeks.

still quiet in this space because i still haven't figured out how to carve out the time to write.

i hope that your weeks are getting off to a great start -- make it a good one.

anywhere i fight, you fight. xoxo

Monday, July 17, 2017

dear 42

dear 42,

nice to finally meet you today.

i am very thankful for your friend 41 gracefully turning me over to you. i asked 41 that as my last wish last year, and i so appreciate 41 coming through for me in the end.

so you and me. 365 days to go.

we already know what many of those days will include. treatment. scans. needles being put in my port. fears. scanxiety. anxiety. undoubtedly some tears. hopefully more caused by joy than by sadness. we know the side effects will continue, will likely get worse, and that you will probably push me to my limits in what i can take.

but i also hold out hope for you.

i think that you can be a year that brings good things too.

i am thinking about signing up for a 5k again so that i have a goal to work towards. you will have to cooperate with me and my swollen feet and exhausted body. but i think that we can do it. we won't be fast, but at least we will be doing it. that is all that matters.

i am hoping that you take me on some new adventures. i would love to see france now that we have family living there throughout the year. i would love to go to new york with barrett and walk across the brooklyn bridge. i would love to go on some new family adventures, and do some of the same ones because disneyland will only make her eyes shine so bright for so many years.

i would love it if you and i can carve out time to really start cranking out some happy mail again.

and i want us to really focus on documenting our lives, i want to get back to getting our pictures in books and maybe doing that in different ways than i have before.

i want us to read a lot of good books together, our library list is long so that should not be a problem.

i want you to protect my friends and family from cancer and illnesses, and remember that i am already taking one for my team. so leave them alone. we are all tired of you coming around, and you aren't welcome here so take the hint (finally) and pack up and head out of town.

i want to see my daughter turn 9, and spend every day watching her continue to grow into the amazing person she is.

i want to celebrate being married to my husband for 11 years, 41 was nice enough to let us ring in our 10 year anniversary so i look forward to you allowing us to add one more to our current total.

i would love for you to help us find the time to finish the projects we want to do here and for me to finish all of the decorating ideas that i have for this home.

i would love it if you make my anxiety lessen so that my days aren't so hard and i don't rely on pills to cope and make it through my days anymore.

i am thinking that you and i might get a new tattoo this year. just maybe.

i would really love it if you allowed us to take a lot of naps. long ones.

i want to be more of a tourist in our own city and state and explore near and far.

i hope that you bring a lot of hugs.

and more laughter than i can even imagine.

i hope that you keep the tumors stable, that you don't allow them to grow. i hope that you allow me to keep beating the statistics. i hope that you don't make me go through anything worse than i already have. i hope that you don't bring the words i never want to hear, "there is nothing more to try or do." i hope that you know that i have been fighting my hardest over these last 7 years.

i want to see her grow up.

i want to grow old with him.

i want to spend time with my family and friends.

so all i ask of you is 365 days of the above. and then i will leave you as you pass me on to 43.

as i told some people today, i love the fact that i am turning 42 today. that means i am one year older. and one year older means i got another year. and that is the best.

so now that it is you and me, let's get started with all that we have to do.

you be good to me, i will be good to you, and we should be just fine.

in an ideal situation, we will be better than fine, we will thrive.

thanks for the chance to get to know you, i am so glad and thankful that you showed up.

i welcome you with open arms.

let's see what we can do together 43.

i am confident it will be more good than hard.

onward we go.

it's you and me.

let's do this.

love, me




Sunday, July 16, 2017

canciversary #7

"magic happens when you do not give up, even though you want to.
the universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart."
(Jmstorm)


7 years ago today i got the call that i had cancer.

still seems like just yesterday.

it felt like the phone was going to ring at 10:30am telling me that the doctor needs to talk to me right away. i can remember the nurse's voice. i remember the tone in her voice. i remember immediately knowing something was wrong and then hearing the words and the tears starting to fall. i remember every second. i think that likely all cancer patients do.

i still remember the frantic moments of that day with such amazing clarity.

and i remember when the oncologist originally told us the statistics. and i remember knowing the reality that those statistics would not allow me to watch my one year old daughter grow up.

i am living beyond those statistics now and continue to plan on breaking those statistics and being ones of the outliers that gives the doctors and other patients the hope that someone has to be the one that does not fall into the usual numbers.

someone has to be the outlier right, why not me?

i remember how i felt last year on my canciversary - i remember writing that post and exactly how i shitty i felt last summer.

i would be lying to say that it isn't hard to be here one year later and still not feeling well and being back in treatment again. it is hard to know that the best we think we can hope for at this point is that the tumors don't grow or spread. there are a million things i could likely say about that but i am tired and emotional and i am sure that you can guess those million things i would say.

so 7 years today.

not one single day since that i have not thought of or somehow had my day shaped by cancer.

not one single day. in 7 years. that is a lot of days.

but i hope with everything i have that i am writing the canciversary post #8 on this day next year, regardless of how i feel.

i just want the chance to write the post.

that is really all i have wanted since july 16th, 2010.

the chance.

xoxo


Monday, July 10, 2017

round 7

"i don't believe in magic."
the young boy said.
the old man smiled.
'you will, when you see her'"
(atticus)


round 7 is in the books.

my bloodwork looked good and so we were a go.

for the side effects, the fatigue continues to ramp up. i think that i could sleep all day, everyday, and really have no problems sleeping.

i have gone off of the meds that help me sleep at night just to try and take one less med. some nights that works fine, other nights i have nightmares. i wish i could know which nights would bring the nightmares so that i could know which nights to take the meds.

dry mouth. dry skin. thought my hair was beginning to fall out but no big patches yet.

and one of my all time favorites, cramps. the muscle cramps that came on in the middle of the night and are in my feet and legs and are relentless.

i was thinking today as i lay in the hospital bed about how last year before i started treatment i said that was likely the best i would ever feel again. i was definitely right about that.

between the side effects from the treatment, and the issues i am having with anxiety, life feels very off from what i am used to.

but i am hoping that slowly i will start to regain some normalcy.

i went for a walk yesterday and it was the second time i have been out for a walk since i got sick this year. it felt good but it also made me realize how weak i am. so i might need to set a goal around that, maybe sign up for a 5k in december and give myself something to work towards.

goals, something i am going to be working towards as soon as i feel like i have caught my breath. you would think that now that it has been two and a half months since i was so sick i would feel like i have caught my breath a bit, but that is simply not so. but it will come, i guess i just need to continue to be patient and let my body heal and deal with the treatment and the anxiety.

so onward i go.

i hope that your week is off to a good start.

thanks for all the support.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

today we fought in bay 23 and every minute afterwards.

xoxo




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

6


round 6 is in the books.

my bloodwork looked good.

we will do a few more rounds and then do scans again to see what the tumors are up to. hopefully shrinking, at a minimum not growing.

here is what i know:

+++ the fatigue continues to get worse. i am so tired. all of the time.
+++ i could not make it through the day without anxiety meds. that is for sure. mornings are still my hardest time followed by early afternoons. i am trying to kick the meds that are meant to help me sleep but have been having nightmares on and off throughout the last couple of nights so not sure which way to go on that.
+++ seeing a counselor and a psychiatrist continue to help.
+++ side effects continue to be fatigue, dry mouth, dry skin, i thought my hair might be starting to fall out but so far no large patches. a couple of times i have lost my balance but had soft landings both times.
+++ i fall asleep at a moment's notice if given the chance, like when the passenger in a car. night night. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
+++ i really miss writing in this space. i just can't figure out quite yet how to get the time in to do it since i go to bed so much earlier now than i used to which doesn't leave me as much time to jump on the computer. i am still trying to figure out how to do that. stay tuned. you will know if i have figured something out if you see more posts coming up.
+++ thanks for all of the love and prayers, i continue to really appreciate them.

i hope your weeks are going well, we are already to hump day. i for one think that pretty much rocks.

anywhere i fight, you fight. xo

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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

round 2

in the morning i go in for round 2 of this treatment plan.

another early day.

bloodwork.

doctor appointment.

infusion.

we are still trying to figure out my anxiety meds and get to the right combo. we tried changing up a few things this week with input from the psychiatrist that we met with last week. but it didn't seem to work as many mornings i woke up straight into a panic attack. not the severe panic attacks i had two weekends ago that lasted for hours (the psychiatrist did confirm that those were in fact severe panic attacks so at least we got confirmation that was what i was going through for those two days before we got some meds).

but it has been hard and different finding my way through the anxiety while trying to maintain normalcy at work and in life. it is hard. really hard. every day. but i am trying the best i can.

i would also like to find a combo that works because i can't drive myself because two of the meds essentially put you under the influence. so clearly i wouldn't want to risk safety for myself or for anyone else. but not being able to drive myself anywhere is a real pain in the ass but i guess that is the least of my worries at this point.

i think that my body is still in full recovery mode as i pretty much slept all day yesterday, which if you know me, is rare. i would usually be trying to knock things off my "to do" list and get things done, but i had less then zero energy so i just listened to my body. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz was about all it was saying throughout the day.

i will let you know how treatment goes tomorrow, hopefully all my blood levels look good and i get to have treatment. fingers crossed.

anywhere i fight, you fight. xo

sidenotes:

1) ckelleher - i saw your note about signing up for jennifer's happy mail, just let me know how to get in touch with you to give you the details.

2) if you signed up for jennifer's happy mail campaign (and it isn't too late), you should have heard from me with the details. if you haven't, let me know - i want to make sure that i didn't miss anyone. thanks!