Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tests

I recently had my three month appointment with my oncologist.  I told him that my lower back has been hurting me for quite some time.  He decided that it would be best to have an x-ray done and check it out, because I have mentioned it to him before.  I'm glad that they don't mess around and just tell you not to worry about things.

I went to the hospital the same day to have an x-ray done.  The next day I met with the doctor and he told me that something was showing up on the x-ray.  He wasn't sure what it was, but he told me not to panic.  It's hard not to panic after going through cancer.  I was then told I needed to have an MRI done.

Also occasionally I have noticed that my heart sometimes skips a beat and then pounds really hard in my chest.  It's something that completely drains the blood from my face and takes my breath away.  I've read a lot about how chemotherapy and radiation can cause heart problems.  I also read about how Tamoxifen can cause problems--like blood clots in your lungs, etc.  I know that you can't believe everything you read.  I don't like reading about these kinds of things, but sometimes if something feels strange or out of the norm, I try to figure out what is going on.  I have been quite stressed out lately (I may get into that more on a later day) and so it could just be stress related.

So they did an EKG at the doctor's office and sent me to the hospital for a MRI on my back and CT scan on my chest.  Between doctors and tests it took about 4 hours.  I felt like I had been through the wringer.  Have you ever had an MRI or CT scan?  Yuck!  I've had them done before and I feel SO claustrophobic!  I was in the MRI machine for 30 minutes and had to keep my eyes closed tight the entire time.

A couple days ago I met with my doctor again for all the results.  They didn't not seen anything wrong with my heart or any clots.  The MRI showed that I have a bulging disc in my lower back.  What a relief!  I am happy to report that I am still in remission!

A friend in my ward passed away last night after battling cancer for probably about 5 years.  She had dealt with several different types of cancer and had to do chemotherapy for YEARS.  She was such a good example to me.  She never complained and always had such a great attitude, even when she had every reason to complain!  She was always taking care of other people, when she was the one that needed to be taken care of.  Yesterday, Haley wanted to go buy her a Coke Slushy and take it over to her.  I told Haley that she was too sick and we couldn't do that.  We decided to write her a note and Haley picked out one of her stuffed animals to give to her.  We left them on her doorstep and texted to let them know.  This was around 4:00 and she passed away about 4 hours later.  I will miss you Anita.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Climb-a-thon

Four youth from my ward recently made it a personal challenge to raise money for Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City by doing a climb-a-thon.

A few weeks before the climb the boys put on their white shirts and ties and went to some local businesses seeking pledges.  They were able to raise almost $3000.

It was a 3 day, 15 trail mile, 1.3 vertical mile climb up the Middle Teton.  There was a total of 3 leaders (my husband included) and 4 youth (my son included).  They came home dirty, tired, and sore.  Most importantly, they came home knowing that they can do hard things....with bragging rights as a bonus.

They are pointing to the middle Teton.  It was an extremely smokey weekend due to all the wildfires in the area.
Jace has the GREATEST friends!  I am so grateful for that!
On the way up
Here they are at the top!  Way to go guys!

After cancer

I recently bumped into a lady that started her cancer treatments a few months after me.  I asked her how she was feeling and she got big tears in her eyes and started to cry.  She told me that she has been struggling with full blown panic attacks.  She can't get past the "what if" thoughts. 

Another friend recently sent me this text--
"I had to go get an ultrasound on my leg to make sure I didn't have a clot (the tamoxifen increases chances) and it's the anniversary of my diagnosis this week and when I got there, I couldn't stop crying!  Serious PTSD!  Everything was fine, I don't have a clot, but I did not expect to be so emotional!  Did you have a happy week on your anniversary or was it hard?  I've been unusually emotional for several days.  I'm wondering what the heck?!"

Two years ago yesterday was the day that we shaved my head.  I really don't try to dwell on the past, but I think when you go through something so traumatic, you just can't seem to shake the thoughts, fear, and anxiety that come with it.  Every time you feel sick, or something is out of the norm, it almost puts you in a tail spin.  I think the only way to understand it, is to go through it.

There IS one thing I miss going through that experience.  It's hard to explain and hard to describe. When I was so incredibly sick, I could feel the help of many from beyond the veil.  It was a very real feeling having them here, and very noticeable that they may be off helping someone else now.

I keep reminding myself of all the good things I learned from this trial.  It has taught me to focus on what is important, and ignore what is not.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

She's off

I'm just sitting here kind of stunned.  The end of the school year was a total whirlwind.  We were crazy busy with graduation things and college prep.  Riley graduated June 2nd and we just returned last night from dropping her off at BYU.  She starts school tomorrow!  I'm still trying to process that she graduated and now she is gone.  I heard the song, "Turn Around" today and wanted to bawl my eyes out.  Why does time have to make changes?  Can't they just stay young always!?

Riley worked so hard and graduated top 5 of her class, Summa Cum Laude.  She had a 4.2 GPA.  We are so incredibly proud of our girl!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Holy Smokes...I'm BACK!

I've been blog/journal slacking lately, but HOLY SMOKES I'm back!

A few weeks ago Jace came to me explaining that he wanted to apply for the Mayor Scholarship.  Part of the process of the application would involve him writing an essay.  Ugh.  I didn't want to sit down and write an essay with him.  What a lame-o, lazy mom.  He came to me a couple of times and told me that he wanted to apply and was running out of time.  One day he ended up staying after school and working on the application there.  I didn't realize why he was staying after school.  I thought he was meeting with a teacher after school and he came home and told me that he had written the essay, filled everything out, and turned the application in.  In my mind I was thinking, "Crap, I didn't help you! I didn't help proof read it or anything!"  I asked him if I could read what he wrote and was told that he no longer had a copy.  Yikes.  I was proud of him for him proceeding forward even when he was met with resistance from me.  That was that.  It was done, turned in, and I really didn't give it much thought afterwards.

One afternoon Jace handed me an large envelope that came in the mail.  I didn't even flip it over to see who it was from, I just grabbed it and opened it up.  The first word on the page....CONGRATULATIONS!  I yelled, "Jace CONGRATULATIONS, you got it!  You got the scholarship!"  He put his hands over his mouth and nose and started tearing up.  We hugged each other with tears in our eyes.  The rest of the day, Jace could NOT wipe the smile off his face.  He was so excited and proud of himself.  The scholarship is for $500 and will be used for college in a few years.

I have since been able to get a copy of his essay.  I had to giggle when I read part of the essay...
My 4th hour class is funny.  I'm in a mixed choir.  I sing with boys and girls, but mainly girls.  That's only because I'm a soprano.  We are singing this song called, "We're the Men of the Chorus".  The bass and tenors sing, "We're the men of the chorus, we're the men."  The sopranos and altos sing, "They're the men of the chorus, they're the men.  It's funny.
What a great kid with so many great qualities!  We are proud of you Jace!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My lately...

No, I did not drop off the face of the earth, but it has been a few months since I've posted.  I had a friend send me an email the other day wondering how I've been since surgery.  I think I am finally starting to feel human again, and am HAPPY to report that I am fiiiiiiinally pain free. 

It has been over a year and a half of pure torture.  I hope that 2015 will be a much better year.  I said the same thing going into 2014 and it was so incredibly hard.  Radiation burns and two surgeries...no bueno. 

I do complain from time to time about being completely out of energy.  I noticed it a lot when I was out Christmas shopping.  I could go for quite awhile, and then it was like I ran right into a wall.  Maybe that has nothing to do with cancer treatments and surgeries.  Maybe I should quit blaming it on that.  It's probably just the fact that I am a chubby old fart.  I turned 43 in November, but sometimes I feel like I am in my 70's.

I still need to go back to Utah for a follow up with my doctor.  Unfortunately, my bladder is in worse condition then when I started this whole thing back in April.  I'm hoping that another surgery is not in the near future.

Lately I've been hearing about so many people that have been diagnosed with cancer.  I've talked to a few ladies recently that have breast cancer.  They both have had their surgeries and now are staring down the barrel of chemotherapy and radiation.  I told them both, it's not easy---but it's do-able.  I have learned so much going through these health trials.  I have started making a list of advice for friends going through it.  I'm certainly not an expert, but have been through it.  I'm also completely an open book and not shy about sharing the good, bad, and the ugly.

I was in the store the other day and I noticed a lady with a hat.  I could tell that she didn't have any hair.  As I looked at her, I realized it was my friend Patti.  We did all of our radiation treatments on the same day, so I saw her everyday for a couple of months.  We finished at the same time.  My heart raced when I realized that her cancer was back.  It had gone into her lymph system and she was once again in the thick of chemo.  Her hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows were once again gone.  I couldn't contain my tears as we talked.  When we were done talking, I couldn't get out of the store quick enough.  I got out to my car and just started to cry.  It's hard not to worry about going through cancer treatments again.  I know that worrying about it doesn't change a darn thing.  I wouldn't be human if I wasn't a little jumpy about it though.

Life it good.  I'm happy.  I hope to get back in the swing of blogging and taking pictures very soon.