Monday, April 29, 2013

Re-Diagnosis And Ready, Set, Go!!!

My adopted AZ mom, Miriam and I at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.
 Today I started my new chemo regimen after learning that I was misdiagnosed 3 years ago. It was a very successful day. I always manage to talk some dear friend of mine to give up many hours of their day to come sit at a Dr office with me, and today was no different. I'm glad I don't have to ever be alone.

What a blessing!

I'm not the kind of person that typically needs a lot of alone time. Some is nice, yes, but I feel happier and stronger when I am surrounded by people that I can interact with. A "social butterfly" type of a person? Yeah maybe. I just love interacting with others and, although, if given a choice, I'd pick a much more fun way to do it, this is my opportunity right now. Writing and knowing that even a few people read it makes me feel so good. It makes me feel stronger, because I know that people are rooting for me.

My best friend, Kerry visiting me in the hospital at Mayo in Phx. 

After a 6 hour appointment and an hour drive home, the effects of the treatment were starting to hit me. I could feel my legs shaking as I stood and I was getting these crazy hot flashes, mostly on my bald head, and I was feeling the start of my old friend...nausea. 

Being home is much, much, much better than being hospitalized (uh, duh). It can be hard though, when all I do is say hi to my babies (ok, I know they aren't technically babies, but you mommy's get it, right?) and after a quick hug, Jess help get me upstairs into bed and I fall asleep for practically the rest of the night. I wake up, can't get out of bed yet, but I see them a few more times, then we say our family prayers and it is bedtime.

At least I get to hear them in the house. Playing, fighting, making messes, you know...just being kids! A mother's symphony.

This treatment is going to be hard and rigorous on my body. Five days a week of chemo, two weeks off, then repeat. Bleh.

All I can really think of right now is getting through this that my diagnosis makes a bit more sense. I just feel so grateful that Dr Reeder was so persistent. Instead of looking at what I have been through and playing the game of "which things did I unnecessarily suffer through", I prefer to think about how much more I would've gone through with out these new findings. Years more of treatments that would be ineffective. I really dodged a bullet.

We always pray that my Dr can think with a clear mind and that he will be lead in the direction that our Heavenly father wants for us. Well, I personally fell like this is a answer to that prayer.

Gratitude, relief, and my good ol' stubborn determination are all I feel right now. I've been through too much to even think about giving up now!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Good news bad news.

We had an appointment today with Valerie's transplant coordinator to go over her crazy schedule for the next few weeks. She did an excellent job explaining everything that she was going to do and what to expect. As she was going through Valerie's record and test results, she noticed that the PET scan results were posted so she made a quick call to Dr. Reeder so that he can review them.

She continued to explain so much including the process for stem cell collection, medications, what to expect during her stay in the hospital, and the types of chemotherapy that she would receive. There was so much more and Valerie felt as though many of her questions were answered.

She told Valerie that the day that she receives her stem cells is going to be her new birthday and that the transplant was going to re-boot her entire system and especially her immune system. That was really exciting!

The good news. The chemo that she has been receiving is working to shrink to single solitary mass of cancer that is in her body. It was exactly as we expected and we thank God for this amazing blessing.

The bad news. It was not enough of a response the satisfy Dr. Reeder and move forward with the stem cell collection and following transplant. So, it looks like Valerie is going to have to do another cycle of the ICE chemotherapy and its going to set her back 3 weeks. Bummer.

We were so excited to move to the next step in the treatment but it looks like we have to wait. Thank you all so much for the prayers and support and please continue to share this site over email, social media, and your friends and neighbors. It is greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nose Sores? Seriously?!?

This poor girl looks like she feels like I do.

I've dealt with mouth sores in the past...but NOSE SORES?!?!

Thankfully not visible to anyone. They are inside my nostrils. They seriously hurt!

Ointments inside my nose? Gross.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Next Few Steps

I have just got through the hardest part of my second round of the new ICE regimen. Everything is progressing well and going to plan.

Next step, a PET scan, bone marrow biopsy and a spinal tap. All of those procedures need to cooperate! I'm ok with the first two...spinal stuff freaks me out.

Then on to the next two big things. 6 treatments of inrathecal chemotherapy (read, injections into my spine) and a stem cell transplant. Ouch!!!

To be honest I am nervous about both of these things. They are so invasive, but they are pretty near the only thing we haven't tried yet to get rid of this for good. That is why I proceed. The hope of a better future keeps me going.

One week at a time. I can do this. (I am constantly telling this to myself!)