Friday, June 24, 2011

Back HOME and some good news

I am not going to lie I was pretty down during/after the hospital craziness. Surgery was WAY more complicated than we had hoped. Because of losing all my lymph nodes, I got an infection in my leg. I haven't even started the "hardest" part of this cancer journey, and I just felt sad.

But GOOD NEWS!!! I got "released" from prision...ummm....I mean the hospital on Monday. (Sorry it took so long to update, but we have been battling days filled with junk from CPS, court, and Little M's biological family. For those who are new to following me, we are a foster family and have a little baby girl with us right now. We can't give any details about her case, but it was not good news this week.)

I was so excited about going home. First, because I miss my family so much. And second, because the sooner I got home the better. This is what my husband was tweeting about while I was gone:

"This is what happens when is stuck at the hospital and dad is in charge."

Yes, that is my only daughter clinging to an Iron Man robot with a head of messy unkept hair. So, the first thing I did when I got home was FIX THAT!

See. Much Better.

Today, I met with my Oncology Surgeon, and it was a wonderful appointment. I have had one drain in my leg for over 3 weeks now and another for a week. I was really looking forward to getting rid of them. They are, as I am sure you can imagine, NOT VERY comfortable. I am also very much looking forward to FINALLY sleeping in my OWN bed tonight (first time in 3 and a half weeks). I am FREE of my crutches, and I can begin rehab on my leg. My doctor had to move one of my leg muscles and reattach it in another place to protect my femoral artery and nerves. So, rehabbing that muscle is what I am going to be working on the most over the next couple of weeks. If I am a "good" student, I could be back to 100% in 3 weeks. Both the doctor and I agreed that "I" could do it in two weeks. So, now it's time for some physical therapy and a little hard work.

I also get to rock these pretty sexy things for a couple more months:
Compression wear is going to be the "new" cool style, right?

Prayer Requests:

Pray that my lymphedema stays under control. I will struggle with this disease for the rest of my life, and my prayer is that I find a way to live with it with no side effects.

Pray for my physical therapy. Pray I listen and do what I need to do to get my leg back to 100%.

Pray for my appointment on Tuesday with me, Adam, and my oncologist. We will be discussing our options for my treatment (chemo, when, where, dosages, how long, etc...) and what the next year will look like realistically for me and our family.

Pray for Little M and her case. There was a major setback this week, and we are not sure what will happen next.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Get to the Hospital Now

Tuesday (June 14th) night almost 1 week after the surgery to remove all the lymph nodes from my leg was just a normal night. My husband had left the day before for a week in California on bussiness and my mother-in-law was in town helping out with the kids. I was on the mend and eager to put this surgery behind me.

At about 8:00pm things started to change. I had struggled with a lot pain and swelling that day and had blamed it on "doing too much" the day before. At 8:30pm I had severe chills and feared immediantly that I was getting a fever. By 9:30pm I had a temperature of 100.7. We called the doctor hotline and waited. 10:00pm I had a temp of 101.8. The doctor called and talked to my mother-in-law and said "Get her to the hospital now".

Our roomate Daniel drove me and I walked right in to a room in the ER because my doctor had called ahead. After a couple of hours, lot's of medication, and a HILARIOUS story I will share soon, the doctor decided that I had infection and HAD to be admited to the hospital.

6 Days later......


The infection I got was taken care of quite quickly with loads and loads of IV and oral antibiotics. By day 2 I had been given 6 different kinds. My temp was gone, but horrible swelling remained.

The rest of the days here we have been trying to get rid of the swelling. I won't go into a lot of detail incase there is squeamish people out there, but there has been lot's of pain, lot's of drugs, needles, drains, tubes, scalpels, and more compression wear.

My doctor has been great. He knows that I am frustrated and to be honest he is too. But this is an uphill battle. We removed a very important part of my leg. A part that helps fight infection. A part that helps with swelling. A part that my leg is MISSING very much.

I FINALLY got WIFI today, so I will keep everyone updated when I hear something.

I hate staying hospitals, so when I was admitted and landed myself in the coolest hospital room ever I felt very blessed. Check it out....

I have the best recliner and a big screen tv. I have watched more tv this week than in a whole year!
The living room (yes I have a living room) and to the left in my balcony. And I have a full private bathroom.
My view

Here is all the crap they used for just one of the many procedures I have had done. Crazy, right?

Because I have a huge room the kiddos can come over and visit me. I need this! And who wouldn't feel better after seeing these cute faces.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cancer questions.....

I have been asked a lot of questions about my cancer journey so I thought that I would just answer a bunch of them here.

1) Why do you have to do Chemo? Good question. Especially after finding all clean nodes this last surgery. It all has to do with the type of cancer I have. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma Cancer. Melanoma is a tricking, sneaky, and very bad ass type of cancer. It has a 80% chance of coming back one day. I don't like those odds. By doing Chemo for a year it will knock off another %20 off. I will still need to be checked for cancer coming back, but this is the best shot I have to kill all of it NOW.

2) Will you lose you hair? Ha a question everyone loves to ask. We have no idea. Some people lose their hair some people don't. But I have been told that even if I don't lose my hair my hair will be more than likely very sick looking. If that happens I am fully prepared mentally and physically to shave my head. This gives me a better chance to have healthy hair when treatment is done. Plus I happen to think that I'm going to be a cute bald lady.

3) What are the other side effects of Chemo? Again we are not sure. Everyone responds differently. More than likely I will have fevers, nausea, weakness, no immune system, sadness, and others.

4) When will you start Chemo? We have to wait until I am healed from this last surgery. And since this surgery was a bigger deal than we had hoped that might be almost 6 weeks from now. That happens to be the week before we go to family camp, so we'll probably wait until after camp to begin treatment.

5) What is a chemo port? This thing is weird and kind of creepy to me. But it will make getting injections, receiving medicine, and getting labs taken A LOT easier. My port in located on my chest right under my right collar bone. It sticks out and looks freakish. It still very tender and hurts right now, but I have been told that soon I won't even notice it.

6) What are the side effects from losing all your lymph nodes? The doctor only took all the lymph nodes out of my left leg. So I will have Lymphedema in my leg for the rest of my life. I might never see effects from it or I might have them forever. I will probably have to to wear compression socks when I work out to prevent swelling. I'll need to do physical therapy and possbile massage therapy. My leg will also be very suspectable infections. Anytime I get a cut or bruise I will have to go onto anitbiotics.

6) What can I do to help? We have a care calendar up and running so you can send me your email and we can get you that information. Just remember that we aren't starting treatment until August so that is when we will need to most help. PRAY! Please continue to pray for complete healing. And for my family over this next year.

Any other questions? I would love to answer them. (And trust me if it was any of you going through this I would ask EVERY question I could think of?

Life goes on.....Alexis' Birthday

The day after my surgery Alexis had her 2nd birthday. And since I refuse to let this cancer suck any joy out of my life, we had the usual family party. Enjoy some pics and rejoice with me as I take one moment forgetting that I have cancer.
Alexis was a slow present opener and it was hilarious watching the older boys try to "help" her. And then all the boys has to "helped" her play with her new toys.
I can not get off the couch until the Dr releases me, so I spent the party here. I also have to wear sunglasses because the drugs I am on make my eyes very dilated. (yeah basically high) So Alexis went and grabbed her sunglasses.
We had a pretty low key party. Just out of town family and some Texas family. We enjoyed some good food, playing outside in the pool and trampoline, and hanging out. She was so excited to get some "girl" toys. The Rapunzel baby doll was a hit!
It was a perfect ending to a hard week. Happy Birthday Alexis!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cancer Update: Surgery #2

Yesterday I went in for another get-cancer-out surgery. We were expecting a very short procedure. Just a couple lymph node removals. Simple. Short. And out of the hospital by lunch.

Boy, were we VERY WRONG! Turns out the Doctor's wanted to take all the lymph nodes out of my groin. This immediately made this surgery more complicated. You need lymph nodes and now that I don't have any in that area I will have to watch out for new complications in my leg. Chronic swelling, infections, loss of circulation, and much more. This can get ugly fast so please be praying that my leg just finds a way to work it out. This will last me for the rest of my life. Because of my "slenderness" (ha that made me laugh)and the amount of stuff he had to take out, my sciatic nerve and femoral artery were too exposed. So the doctor had to reattached a muscle over that spot to help protect them. (that hurts) The 3 inch scar I thought I was getting turned into a 9 inch one. I am very sore. I'll be on crutches for awhile and can't work out the way I like to for 6 weeks. And yes I am pouting about this!
The boys have loved playing broken legs ever since I brought these home.

The doctors also decided to put my chemo port in. This plastic port thingy will make if easier for me to get my chemo injections, take blood work, and receive any other medications. It is right on my chest and is pretty creepy looking. It about the size of a silver dollar and sticks out like my collar bone does. It will be with me for the next year, so I'm doing my best to get used to it.
I was in surgery of almost 3 hours which meant I had to be completely under and tubed. If you have ever had a surgery like that you know that recovery or waking up is hard and painful. And because of the tube they crammed into you mouth and throat everything is sore and tore up for days afterward. When I finally made it out of recovery we found out that my Doctor wanted me to stay the night. This was not good news for me. I HATE staying in hospitals. I've done it many times before and I just don't rest well. But by early evening I did enough charming and convincing with my doctor that he agreed to let me go home for the night.
After convincing my doctor that I would be just fine at home. I was very happy that he finally said YES!

Overall the day went as well as it could have. Now we wait AGAIN. We wait for results from these lymph nodes. Praying that this is the last surgery. We wait to see how my legs does with out all these lymph nodes. We wait for my body to full recover before we can begin Chemo. And I have to wait much longer than I hoped to get back to the gym so I can keep my body strong.

For those curious we are going to set up a Care Calendar so make sure I have your info if you want to help out. Thanks for all the prayers and love!! This is just another step closer to beating this!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Foster Update

Our sweet "Little M" and her bio family have begun the reunification process. We went to court two weeks ago. The judge loved what she is saw from bio Mom and Dad and ordered CPS to begin reunifying the family. Praise God that "Little M" will be home with her family soon. But this time is always very difficult for us and our babies.

"Little M" is doing okay with the changes but it is hard bouncing back and forth from house to house. She has become a little bit (okay maybe a lot) more attached to me and wants me to hold her all day. Poor little thing is just trying to figure out what is happening. When she came to us in February she had no such schedule, but now LOVES it!! So this is a hard time for her.

Please continue to pray for us as we begin the process of saying goodbye, pray for her parents, and pray for our little sweet baby.
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