Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm still here

First let me say "thank you" to Dan for filling in for me on the blogosphere. I love the way he writes and thought it would be fun to get his perspective from time to time on this blog. He gets to go through this whole cancer ride as well.

I have been able to eat some Ensure, banana smoothies, pudding and chicken soup. 
We talked to the oncologist on call on Monday afternoon since my Dr. is still on vacation. He stated that everything was very normal, and I didn't have any sort of infection or anything.

Well suck.

He also stated, however, if I continued to not be able to eat and my counts got too low, I would not be able to have my second chemotherapy as planned.

Well suck again.

Lord knows right now I don't want to do chemo ever, ever again. 

I wasn't prepared mentally. I was too naive of what I thought was to come. I thought I had researched enough and knew all the side effects and how to avoid them. But chemo really sucks. Just all the time, it really sucks. But in no WAY am I going to let this thing string out any longer than it has too. 

So next time I will go in more prepared. I will drink sooo much water I will float away. This will hopefully get the toxins out of me faster which should help my mouth hopefully next time. I also know what to expect now and I have pain meds at the ready. I just kept expecting to wake up and be all better. Like having the flu and getting over it. What I now know, however, is it is going to be a managing game. Managing how much I can eat and drink. Managing my pain meds and staying on top of the doses even if I start to feel better.

I have some battle scars, but I am not close to being battle weary yet. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

A letter from the editor:

Several years ago Julia asked me for advice for dealing with someone in her life.  What follows is a paraphrasing of our conversation.  In fact it might all be fiction.  I can't remember that far back.  (CRS syndrome)The details of the person, and the interaction, are not important.  What is important is that for a fleeting moment of brilliance I was able to offer the one thing that we all too often fail to provide.  Good advice.

"Different rock, same stream."  I said as casually as if ordering off the dollar menu.

"What?" Julia asked.

Upon recognizing the simplicity in design and beauty in it's function I restated the theorem as a mathematician may do when revising a soon to be published paper disproving euclidean geometry.  (It's true what Julia says.  I think rather highly of myself.)

"You know.  Same stream.  You're just on a different rock."
This left Julia with a puzzled silence.

I share this story with you because I've been revisiting the idea and deciding whether or not I still believe it.  It would be hard to find fault in someone that becomes angry at the world after cancer enters their life.  I would also be empathetic to someone who discovered envy towards everyone who didn't have cancer in their life.  Our view of our world is almost always based on the people we see around us.  And this was the point of my advice given to Julia years ago.  It's easy to be jealous of the person that is standing on "new-truck-rock" when you look down into the stream and realize that you're just standing on "every-day-life-rock."  We're still all standing in the same stream.  While I don't have enough time in this post to discuss whats on the other bank of this stream, I do need to emphasize that it's all one stream and we get to hop to different rocks.

Julia is standing on the cancer rock.  I'm proud to say that I'm standing on it with her.  It took actually watching chemicals being injected in to her before I realized that I wasn't on the "every-day-life-rock" anymore.  But we are here.  And this is happening.

And that's when I started wondering if I was angry at cancer.  It's this stupid little thing that gets to feed of lives that we have worked so hard to have.  So I've decided something.  It may be naive but I'm ok with that.

The cancer rock isn't where cancer lives.  The cancer rock is where cancer fighters go to prove what they are made of.  Unlike cancer, the cancer rock is huge.  It's big enough for our dog to come.  It's big enough for a three hundred fifty square foot deck.  It's big enough for a church congregation to make a quilt.  It's big enough for a few portable air conditioners.  I hear Texas is big and I'm pretty sure it could fit on this rock.  It's big enough for fear and it's big enough for hope.

And these are the things I tell myself when I'm feeling angry.
I really have nothing but confidence that Julia is going to be healthy.

Just because I wish we were standing on a different rock doesn't mean that we don't have everything we need right here with us.

ps...here is a more extensive list of the things I see on the rock with us.  Feel free to add more things in the comments if you wish.
moms, dads, sisters
babies with adorable plaid pants
dogs that smell like dogs
the kind of people that bike around the world
employers that are far too gracious with their time off
musicians and music
tractor tires
new tvs!
black dog smokehouse
talented doctors and nurses

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Things I wish I could eat right now...

-Fried Chicken
-Egg Salad
-Chocolate cupcake

-Anything solid

-Anything that isn't ice.

Cause that is all I have had today! Just ice cubes. Even ice water hurts right now. 

By Dan, who is really getting good at figuring out what I am 
trying to say while moving my mouth as little as possible. 

I got down some soup last night, but that has been it. Of course no one is in the Dr.'s office except the patient advisory nurse and she says I should just go to convenient care. 

No thank you! 

I would rather hold out for Monday and hopefully talk to my oncologist since he is kind of in charge of me right now.

Dan went and got me some Biotene mouthwash, and that has helped some. I am going to take two (!!) hydrocodones when I get home from the museum and hopefully they will help me be capable of eating something for dinner.

Too bad I have absolutely no nausea, but can't eat a darn thing! I really miss food! 

This could help me from getting fat and bald though! 

Good news, looks like my hair is still growing, though my scalp has been a little tingly. Checking out two other wig shops later this week and picking something out. Even if I only wear it in public, or on the weekends, I would like the option of having hair at some point.

Right now think soothing thoughts in the direction of my mouth. I am really hoping I don't have to go through this after each treatment. Or at least it will all heal up before the next treatment starts.

At least we know the chemo is working!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 2 Post Chemo #1

Mouth. Sores. Suck.

Olympics on HUGE television are AWESOME!

All done with Grad School semester uno.

Got B, A, and A (I think)

Mouth. Sores. SUCK. (Magic Mouthwash and Hydrocodone are helping)

That is all.


Update after chemo #1

Just to let everyone know I am feeling pretty good today. I took my steroids and anti-nausea drugs even though I felt pretty good this morning.

I woke up at 4am just completely wide awake, which I think is a side effect of one of the chemo drugs I take. I will make sure to take a sleeping pill after the next chemo.

I feel good though. Wrote a lot of emails and talked to Comcast and my insurance company today. Both had good news for me! Comcast is going to give me a discount on cable, since we don't have it, but I only want it for four months. My insurance company is going to pay up to 250 dollars for a wig, so double yay!

I am getting ready to shower and go get that pedicure I never got to on Sunday. I am looking forward to leaving the house for a bit.

With the weather looking like it does for this weekend I think you will find me out on my deck for the whole of it! Very exciting!

So feeling good but a bit apprehensive for what the weekend will bring side effect wise. The doctor said my worse days would be Day 3 and 4 after the chemo. But Dan will be here, and he always takes great care of me!

Thank you for the emails, notes and texts of support and love. I appreciate every single one!

If this is any sign about how the chemo will go I can TOTALLY handle this! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Chemo Down!

Just finished my first chemo. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30am and were able to leave at 4, so not too bad.
My chemo uniform!

They drew my blood from my port this time, which since it was still swollen and pretty bruised it did hurt, but not as bad as getting stuck 7 times looking for a vein.

And this is why I wore a scarf! Didn't want to freak anybody out
with weird tubes coming out of my chest!

We went and got some coffee and breakfast and were back to start the chemo at 9:30. I didn't meet with an oncologist this time since mine had to suddenly go out of town. That is why the nurses tried to cancel the chemo yesterday. Luckily we are able to do it today even though I didn't get to see my doctor. 

They started me with a TON of anti-nausea meds, which made me a little nervous. How bad was this going to make me feel that they used not one but two whole bags of anti-nausea drugs?? 

Once they had finished those they started pushing the chemo drugs. The anti-nausea meds made me a little sleepy so I began to drift off before they started pushing the drugs (which means a nurse sits there with a big syringe full of chemo drugs and physically pushes it into my IV). Since some of the drugs caused a bad taste I ate lemon heads by the handful while they pushed them. Another drug caused mouth sores so at one point I was stuffing in spoonfuls of ice followed by a chaser of lemon heads. It worked really well at keeping everything at bay.

I found this video awhile ago and showed it to Dan when we got home from chemo. We both agreed that this was a good representaion of how chemo kinda worked. Especially the beeping machine, the weird taste in your mouth and the jokes about the pronunciation of drugs. Warning, there is some grossness at 4:26 so skip over that Dad! :) [editor's note: not all of these symptoms were present today but the logistics of receiving this kind of treatment is spot on]

This guy is younger than my sister and had bone cancer 4 different times.
He is hilarious and you should check out his blog:
I just ordered his "Suck it Cancer" t-shirt too! :)

After they were done pushing all the drugs I got my last drug which was just an IV bag that dripped in. That took about an hour and half so I slept through most of the afternoon. It was nice to finally relax after worrying about weird tastes and mouth sores.

Finally sleeping under my comfy and beautiful new quilt!

After I woke up when the final drug was done dripping I looked in the mirror. I looked weird!

I was very pale and looked awful. But I felt pretty great. I was starving since I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and didn't feel tired since I had slept over an hour. Dan immediately got worried, but the nurse explained it was completely normal to be that pale and my color would slowly come back

My nurse was funny, in the sense that every time I got a red spot such as on my chest or arm she immediately began to ask me questions about it. She was worried I was having an allergic reaction to the drugs. We tried to explain I just had very sensitive skin and this was really normal for me. By about the fourth time it happened she began to believe us! ;)

My chemo bag came in very handy. I used everything except the laptop so I will skip that next time. My next chemo isn't until August 8th. I shouldn't have to go to the doctor at all before then. I work a little at the Orpheum this weekend, but don't have too much going on. I will try and keep busy and not wait around for the side effects to start. Hopefully with all the anti-nausea drugs and steroids they gave me I won't feel bad at all.

One down! Seven to go!
[editor's note:  go julia!]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Getting Ready for Chemo

So yesterday I had my port installed in preparation of chemo starting on Wednesday. We went in at 9am to have my echo-cardiogram.
It was super easy. They just did an ultrasound on my heart and I was good to go.
My port surgery was scheduled for 11, they didn't call me back till 11:30. Then they hurried and got me prepped.  They took my vitals, started an IV, and asked me all the pre-surgery questions. But we didn't see the doctor until 2:30. I laid there waiting for the doctor for 3 hours!

Killing me docs.
Dan is my meme genius

I finally went back for surgery and was out by 4 o'clock. It was more of a twilight sleep but I wasn't as out of it as I was for my bone marrow biopsy. My face was under some draping to keep the surgery sterile and the doctor thought I was out. Then I would pipe up with a question I had and he would ask the nurses "How many milligrams have you given her?"
I got to enjoy morphine, versed, and something else with a long name. I could feel him pushing on my chest pretty hard, but nothing else.
So after all that was finally over, I was taken back to recovery. I kept insisting I felt great and I wanted to go home. Well I really did want to go home, but I wasn't feeling completely free of drugs.

Luckily I was able to go home pretty quickly. I thought I would go with Dan to Best Buy to get our new TV, but I wasn't feeling up to it. So I slept for a couple of hours and Dan went to get our TV. He was able to set it up around 10pm last night and it looks great!

Soooo big!

 I took 2 hydrocodone since I was in a good amount of pain from the surgery and I slept for 14 hours straight! That's right.  I fell asleep at 11pm and couldn't move even though I occasionally would wake up.  I felt drugged and inept until about 1pm this afternoon. 

So I will stick with 1 hydrocodone from now on.

The scar right now looks pretty wicked. I am afraid to scare you off so I won't post a picture.
It looks worse than my lymph node biopsy plus there are 2 scars. They unfortunately had to put it on the other side of my neck. I was hoping I could keep all my scars on one side of my body, but it was a no go. Sigh.[editor's note: the scar doesn't look that bad.  It's just fresh]

Tonight I am getting my chemo bag ready.

We'll be at the hospital starting at 7:30am to get my blood drawn and then will probably be there till around 3ish. I don't know what to expect, but I have read a lot about other patients who have gone through the ABVD chemo regimen. 

Here are the things you will find in my chemo bag:

I have my laptop, nook, water bottle, lemonheads, candy, my chemo "uniform" and a quilt. And my 
iPhone of course, but I am using it to take the picture.

My laptop and nook should keep me entertained. They have wifi in the chemo infusion room. Woop woop! I am bringing lemonheads since some of the medicines give you an awful taste in your mouth. The candy will hopefully help too. The water bottle is for a bunch of ice water to keep sores from my mouth. At the bottom of the bed you will see my chemo "uniform". 
I read about this in another chemo blog and thought it was a great idea. Every chemo, every other Wednesday I will wear this one outfit. I'll add a sweater when the weather gets cold, but its a long skirt with a tanktop and a long scarf. It should last me through my last chemo in October. At that point I am going to burn it. Yep! Torch the thing. Then I don't have to worry about hating any of my own clothes or wondering what to wear each time I go in.
 At the top left you will see a quilt made by a lovely lady at my parent's church. Everyone at my parent's church has heard about my story and wanted to do something. They also heard hospitals can get cold so they thought a quilt would be a great idea.

Each member of our church  picked a piece of fabric to add.

This way I can be wrapped in love throughout the chemo. I was amazed by this outpouring of love. I need to especially thank Sheryl Otter who put it all together and sewed it for me. I will cherish this quilt. Thank you so much!

So that is that. Dan and I are as ready as we can be. There was a scare that the chemo wouldn't happen tomorrow, but everything is good to go now.

I am not exactly excited, but it will be great to finally start working at killing this thing instead of being in a holding pattern, waiting. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wiggy wiggy wig

So this weekend I went to Indy to look at wigs. My mom had done a lot of research and found a couple of wig shops that she liked and wanted me to check out. 

Buying a wig is a little awkward.

Or maybe it's just awkward for me. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what questions to ask. I didn't know how you "try on" a wig when you still had your hair.

The first shop we went to was tiny! It also was full of wigs.

It was run by two really nice ladies who had both gone through cancer before. They had a TON of synthetic wigs to try on. They talked to me about the real hair wigs, which is what I originally wanted to get, but said they weren't the way to go. They had to be styled, washed, and were very expensive. So I tried on a lot of synthetic wigs.

They weren't that bad.

Here are some options that I tried on:

Don't laugh! I have always wanted to have blue hair!

Longer style

My Snow White pose

This is my "mom" wig. If you know my mom you would understand.
She said she might just buy it and keep it at her house so we 
can match whenever I come over.

I liked this one the best, but was a little tired of mom taking
my picture by this point!

Next we went to the complete opposite side of wig shopping. To a more high tech medical facility that did hair restoration and laser therapy. 

Here they talked down about synthetic wigs, asking why I would every want to wear fake hair, when I could have real hair. 
It would look more like me, it would fit fantastically, (I could wear it in the shower!) and it was 1500 dollars. $$!!!
                                                                            High tech offices for a high tech place!

Holy cow! The synthetic wigs run around 300 dollars to give you a clue of price. 

So yeah, a real human hair wig that was completely custom to me would be great, but it only lasts around 8 months and costs 1500 dollars, I think I 'll go with synthetic instead.

I'll pick out a really nice one, maybe 2!

I am coming back to Indy the first weekend in August to go to 2 more wig shops and talk to a few more people. 

I also wanted to talk to some people who have gone through chemo and wore wigs. I want to hear some people's perspective that aren't trying to sell me something. So hopefully I can gain some more info in 2 weekends and pick out something that I will really like.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Finished Deck and My Week Off

The boys finally finished the deck last night, but I really couldn't complain. It's been a 100 degrees every day with random thunderstorms, the deck is HUGE (15 x 25) and they did it all for free. Go guys! I am so thankful again for all the great friends we have and how a little thing (big thing?) like a deck has just made my summer!

Here is the finished deck:

It's huge!

Pergola is perfect for the hammock!

We have picked out some more furniture, but that can wait till next year.

I can say I'm almost done with grad school. I know, I know. I have one more course that is all online and super easy so I have been putting off the work since the due dates were kind of loose. I need to get to it though so I am ALL DONE, finally!

I have received one grade so far, a B. Grrrrr! I couldn't believe it. It was a tough class though. My curriculum writing class. So at least I don't have the pressure anymore of having straight A's through my whole grad school career (Yay?). I have gotten my first B out of the way and can continue to get A's! Here's hoping!

I got to take the cat and dog to the vet last week. Here is the adorable picture so you can see how excited my dog gets about car rides:

Sooooo happy!

This week I am teaching a science camp with the Orpheum museum. It has been a lot of fun teaching about virtual environments and building aqueducts and avatars. My inner nerd is really showing!

Here is my classroom:

It's been awhile since I have been in a science classroom!

It is kind of exhausting to teach a full day of science to kids. Or at least I tell myself that when I pass out on the couch as soon as I get home. I don't know that much about the subjects I am teaching. I only learned about them the night before when I read the curriculum. It's fast paced though, and so far I don't think I have messed up too bad, so we'll see how the week ends. 

This weekend I am going to Indy to look at wigs.

Yep. Going to lose my hair soon. Sucks.

I already cut 10 inches off. Now it looks like this:

Who has short hair? I have short hair!

So I am going to look at some fabulous wigs and see if any would suit me. Hopefully I can find something that will make me look like me. That way I can look the same to my students or even in public.

Next week is go time. We have the echo-cardiogram on Monday morning and then the port placement surgery at noon that same day.

Wednesday we start chemo.

So Tuesday we are going to go buy a new TV! :)[editor's note...hopefully]

Gotta watch the olympics on something other than this:

Ok, ok, it's not that bad, but it's close!

Sunday I am back from Indy so we are thinking about getting pedicures (ok just me, not Dan) and going to see Batman at the drive in with friends. It will be a nice way to end the week before craziness ensues.

Batman Rises is calling my name....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Decking through the Bone Marrow Biospy

I made it! I made it through the dreaded Bone Marrow Biopsy.  From here on out it shall be  called BMB.

We arrived in Dr. Rowland's office and had 2 really nice nurses give us the lowdown about what was going to happen.

There was a hospital bed laid flat and lots of machines. They got an IV started on the FIRST TRY! I know! I couldn't believe it either!

They started to give me saline as we waited for Dr. Rowland to show up and we chatted with the nurses. My whole goal through the BMB was not to cry. The previous oncologist said BMB hurt a lot but only for a few seconds and that I would cry. Well I love rising to a challenge! 

Made again by Dan cause he is awesome!

When Dr. Rowland came in he expressed his condolences on the IVF procedure falling through. He did remind us however that the ABVD type of chemo I will be on has a very low rate of causing infertility. So here's hoping!

The nurses began to give me the "good stuff" and started out small. They asked how I was doing and I immediately told them I couldn't feel a thing. They said "okey dokey" and gave me two more units. At that point I laid down on my stomach to get ready for the procedure. Again I told them I couldn't feel anything happening. Now they weren't trying to knock me out just trying to make me very complacent. But the nurses pushed another dose into me and that is pretty much the last thing I remember. I remember the doctor pressing on my hip finding the spot that he wanted. I remember squeezing the nurses's hand because I thought it hurt. And I remember getting into the wheel chair after the procedure and the nurse telling Dan to go get the car.

WARNING WARNING WARNING! If you get queasy talking about medical procedures or big needles do NOT read any further. Skip over Dan's version and go straight back to mine!

Now here is Dan's version of the procedure:
After 4 units of Versed, Julia asked me to take a picture of her lying on the table with her pants halfway down. But even after 4 units Julia was still asking for more so they upped her Versed to 8 units. Dr. Rowland starts giving Julia the local anesthetic. Julia didn't like that and twitched a little and kicked her leg a bit. After the first mini shot he then gave her a bigger one with more anesthetic to make her even more numb. Then he did it again (!) and gave her an even bigger shot which went further down into the muscle to completely numb her. So there she was completely numb and then he pulls out the big bone marrow needle.

Big ass bone marrow needle

 Dr. Rowland plunges right on down through all of her numb skin and Julia didn't even twitch. Once he hit the bone, she actually moaned a little bit but didn't move. Dr. Rowland then had to twist the bone marrow needle to get to the marrow. He said that Julia has tough bones (Yay milk!) and Dr. Rowland had to work at it a bit to get some bone. He did a bilateral biopsy and got pieces off of both hip bones. Julia seemed to react more when they took the IV needle (just a flinch and turning of the head) then when Dr. Rowland was digging around in her bones. She talked to me on the way home and we even picked up some lunch, but she doesn't remember any of that. She was pretty hell bent on going outside and helping the guys build the deck but I talked her into going to bed instead.

I got home and passed out for the next 4 hours. When I came outside I saw this:

There is my Pergola on the right hand side!

It's stinking huge!

So the boys worked hard all day on the deck and by nighttime they had almost all the framing done!

Ahhh. The deck by the light of the moon, erhm, I mean spotlight.

What did I do all day long you might ask? Well after my lovely drug induced nap I awoke to tackle some more grad school homework. Yay! And that looked something like this:

In bed, propped up with a ton of pillows, goldfish crackers by my side, and laptop in my lap.

Tomorrow the guys will finish the framing and start the decking. I also started to pin (on Pinterest) a lot of ideas of what kind of fabric to put on the pergola, new deck furniture and some staining options. That kind of stuff is my very favorite stuff to plan.

So all in all, not a bad day. The BMB wasn't that bad and I have hope the port procedure won't be either. My lung function test got canceled on Friday so I don't have any more Dr.'s appointments for 2 whole weeks! Wow! That is the most time off I have had from a doctor since March. Very nice!

So I will go ahead and finish all my grad school classes, teach a summer science camp next week, have a garage sale this Saturday, and hopefully enjoy some lazy days on my deck before the cancer stuff catches up again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On the Generosity of Friends

Thank you for all the nice notes and emails you sent my way. Saturday was a rough day, but it was nice to hang out with Dan on Sunday and Monday and just relax.

Sunday of course we did as we planned: We went to Einstein Brothers, looked at a few over-priced sofas and went to the drive-in. It was a great day!

When we got home from the drive-in, Dan went down to the basement to look for a router our friend said he needed. He came back up pretty quickly and told me to come with him. I was worried our basement had flooded and didn't really want to see that. Our water heater has been leaking more and more lately, but with all the other stuff going on it has been put very much on the back burner.

When I got downstairs I saw two water heaters and was at first very confused. I, however, realized that what I was looking at was our old water heater as well as a brand new water heater all hooked up! We got a new water heater!

Our friend Will had installed it all by himself as a surprise and a great organization called Cliff Rocks! had gifted it to us.  [Editor's note:  It was just recently discovered that Will had his mother help carry the water heater down in to the basement.  Go Super mom!]

We were both so surprised and happy! No more worries about waking up to no hot water or a flooded basement!

Dan decided to still take the day off work this Monday because he had previously told the shop that he would be out of town for my IVF procedure.  Since he had already cleared the time off we went up to Bolingbrook, Illinois to the Ikea. Because Ikea is awesome.  If you don't agree you don't deserve to read my blog. :-P  We needed a coffee table, we wanted to look at sofas,  and Dan's mom wanted some bookshelves. We had a fun, tiring day of running around that huge store and we didn't get home till after 10:30.  [Editor's Note:  We refrained from eating the meatballs and we are better people because of it]

When we pulled up to our house I noticed a friend's truck in front of it. "Why is his truck in our driveway?" I asked Dan. "I need to show you something" replies Dan. He tugs me back to the backyard with his flashlight in hand.  What I see is lots of pink string, stakes, and big holes in my backyard. "We are getting a deck?!" I yell. "We are getting a deck" confirms Dan.

What I didn't know was that the past 3 weeks had been full of generosity.  Generosity in planning, buying, pitching in to get me a deck.

A little background: I have always wanted a deck. Since we moved into our house 3 summers ago I have really wanted a deck. We had finally saved up enough money to build one this summer...and then cancer happened. So that went out the window again for this summer...Until!

My parents, our best friends, people we don't know, and possibly the whole town has all known we were getting a deck the past 3 weeks, except me! My husband kept a secret from me for 3 weeks! This is unheard of!  [Editor's Note:  I cannot lie to my wife.  This might be one of the worst things I have ever done to my wife.  That being said; I'm sort of good at it.]

But today was the first day I got to see the building in action and here is what happened today: 
Midas let all of these strange men into his yard without blinking an eye!

Tomorrow they are going to lay the framing for the deck. Did I mention I am going to get a pergola?! A PERGOLA?! GAH!  [Editor's note:  I have no idea what a pergola is.]

I will never be able to thank everyone enough for the generosity of our friends and family.  This outpouring of love has stunned me this week.  [Editor's note:  I have never felt as wealthy as I do right now.  It's good to have good people in your life.-Dan]

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Well crap.

IVF procedure is canceled.


We didn't even realize this was a possibility.

We figured with all the drugs we were shooting me up with that it was a sure thing. There was no way my body wouldn't respond as it should.

My body betrayed me.

I am surprisingly upset. I never saw this coming and had very high hopes for the IVF. I was so excited about how quickly we were going to be able to get pregnant after all the chemo was over. Now we have nothing to show for the 500 dollars worth of injections that we had to purchase.  We have nothing to show after shooting me up for the past month. We have nothing to show for the dozens of sonos and blood tests we went through to see how things were shaping up.

This sucks.

There is no time to do another round of hormones before my chemo starts on July 25th.
Have I mentioned we now have a set date for chemo? July 25 is now my C-day. The port surgery has been moved up to the 23rd to allow time to recover before chemo starts.

On the bright side I don't have to recover from IVF during my bone marrow biopsy. Bonus?

I am also done with one of my grad school classes, only 2 to go. I have some more big projects due this week for those classes. Bone marrow biopsy is Wednesday morning and lung function test is Friday. That is what we have coming up next.

I am going to enjoy my day off today with Dan. He has been gone at gigs all weekend. Summer is his busy season. So we will do lots of fun stuff: Einstein bagel trip, new sofa shopping, and a drive-in movie.

One day at a time. There is always tomorrow. The night is always darkest before the dawn. Don't worry be happy.

I'll keep saying all of these positive statements to myself until I start believing them.

Friday, July 6, 2012

So much to do!

An apology for leaving everyone hanging. Grad school has gotten super busy with tons of stuff due this week, so I have been focused on that. Here is what is going on with us...

We met the other oncologist who was recommended to us to get a second opinion on everything that is going on. He was very nice and had a great amount of info for us.
In the end we decided to go with him because he does not think I will need radiation after the chemotherapy is over. He also wants to push up all my appointments and get chemo started as soon as possible. Everything else will remain the same though. I will still have four months of chemo which will tentatively start July 25th. We are still waiting for a concrete date.

The appointment with the fertility doctor went well too. The sonogram and blood tests showed I was still on track for a procedure to happen on July 9th in Indy. I am still taking my shots and go back today for another sono and blood test to make sure everything is on track. They are very precise with everything since this is a very time specific procedure.

We also met with one of the chemo nurses who gave us a run down on what to expect and when to expect. We got a lot of info:

A whole bunch of papers about chemo

Here is the order of things to come.  On the 9th we should be in Indy having the IVF procedure done if nothing unforetold happens. On the 11th I have my bone marrow biopsy. On the 13th we have my lung function test to get a baseline for my lungs in case the chemo starts to hurt them. The 13th is my last day of grad school as well (woo hoo!)!On the 14th we have a garage sale (double woo hoo!)!

We will have an Echocardiogram on the 23rd and I have my port installed on the 25th.
And thats July!

Right now I have my head down and blinders on just making it through the last round of tests before IVF and last rounds of papers before grad school is over.

So close!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Day in the Life

So originally I started this blog (without any actual posts) for a kind of home improvement, style, life blog. That is why it is called "Little Blue House on the Prairie". When we found out I had cancer, and also a whhhooolllee bunch of people that wanted to know what was going on, it just made sense to use the URL that I had already made.

I like that the blog isn't titled as anything "Cancer-y". I want to be able to use this blog after I am all done with the Big C and need to update friends and family of milestones: first sonogram, second house, third pet...blah blah blah.  (editor's note(Dan):  we aren't getting any more pets)

So as a nice break from all this cancer talk, here is a day in my life. I picked a weekend day since my weekdays consist exclusively of grad school and Dr. appointments.  So I thought at least today would be more fun to talk about and it is a good representation of what happens normally. Even B.C. (before cancer) my Saturday would have looked like this.

I get up about 5:30am to let the dog out and curse quietly to myself that I should trim his nails so I don't hear him walking around our room every morning. I go back to bed and wake up at 8:30. Ahhhhh. That's better! I need to bake some cakes today for my friend's mom's birthday, so here is what my kitchen looks like by 9:30:

I baked two different cakes. A chocolate one with chocolate frosting and then my famous Strawberry Shortcake Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It is always a hit.

So I had to bake cakes early this morning since I had to work at my weekend job during the day. I work at a children's museum in Champaign called the Orpheum Children's Science Museum. I have worked there since January mostly every weekend. I really like the job. It is low stress and I can do my homework or work on school stuff while I am at the front desk.

Everyday we have to feed all the lovely animals we have at the museum. They are all pretty cool (except the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, they are NOT cool) and I love to feed them since they get sooo excited. Here is a pic of my friend Moe the turtle and another buddy Big Pete the Bearded Dragon.

Moe thinks I have more worms

Big Pete is a very lazy bearded dragon.

A view from the balcony at the Orpheum. That is a water table the kids are at.

After work I head to my friend's mom's house for the party. I unload my cakes, take the obligatory pretty shots before they all get eaten: 

That is my famous Strawberry Short Cake Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

And have a great time! It was nice to hang out with some good friends and just chill. Dan is out of town on a gig which is another normal Saturday thing, so it was nice to still hang out with people.

Checked on my vegetable garden when I got home. This is our first year for a garden and we both are very surprised we have anything bearing fruit at all. We aren't very outdoorsy or green thumbs but we have a nice big pepper almost ready to go! 
Come on pepper!

I came home and spent then the next hour and half googling too many things about cancer and wigs. That unfortunately has become a staple in my weekends since diagnosis.  I thought it was kinda funny at one point seeing all the windows I had open:

Reading more about the stage my cancer is in, working on grad school stuff, 
facebook, and checking out wigs. A fun Saturday night!

I also had to give myself one of my fertility shots. Did I mention the new ones BURN! Geez! The needle is smaller and I don't feel it, but I can feel the medicine going in!

And here we are again, back to talking about the Big C. Can't really get away from it for too long, but there it is.

Another great meme done by Dan

Just a head's up to everybody. We are meeting with another onocologist on Monday just to hear a different perspective on all this stuff, and man it's a lot of stuff! It probably won't change anything, and I am not hoping it will, but he came highly reccommend and I would feel remiss if I didn't at least go talk to him.

Tuesday we go in for a sonogram to make sure we are still on track for the IVF surgery on the 9th. Here's hoping!

P.S. On the way home I spotted the most gorgeous color car I have ever seen. It was on the Honda lot and I was tempted when buying a new car 2 years ago to get a Fit. If they had had this color when I was looking there is no question I would have gotten it!