Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's gone

Well, it's hair is gone. Just last Sunday I was able to style it and no one really knew that it was falling out, but this week I have lost it all. It was hard. Who would'a thunk? I mean it's just hair, right? Yep, it is just hair. Just hair that I love to wear in ponytails. Just hair that I love to have brushed and styled by kids. Just hair that I love feeling the water run over in the shower. Just hair that I love to blowdry and brush and style and look great! But really, it is just hair. Just a thing - a thing that regardless of what happens here I will get back in the resurrection. So, I am trying to keep that eternal perspective. But I have to admit that it is not always easy.

This week I also had a CT scan to check the status of my cancer after 2 rounds of chemo. It was gross. I had to drink this nasty barium junk and of course I threw it up - so YUCK! But, I made it through. We won't get the results until a week from Monday, for 2 reasons. First of all that is my next appointment and second of all we will be in Yosemite all next week so we won't be calling the doctor for updates. I'm okay with it. Waiting is not always a bad thing. I know that the cancer is getting it's butt kicked so I really can wait to hear that from the doc. I will post the update after I see the doctor.

We had a really fun day today. We started off the 4th festivites by meeting with our ward for a pancake breakfast and parade at the park. The kids had a blast. Following that we came home and packed the kids' bags for Yosemite and then relaxed for a few hours. Around 3 we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa Morgan's for the annual BBQ and swim party followed by fireworks. David and I got to watch most of the movie Independence Day with my Dad. It is his annual tradition to sit and watch that movie on the 4th and I am glad we got to participate. David and the kids had a great time in the pool and the food was delicious. While the kids ate dessert I cleaned out the van and hooked up the DVD player for our trip on Monday. Then we watched Grandpa Morgan set off a bunch of fireworks. It was a delightful evening and I am so grateful that we got to spend the afternoon/evening with my family.

We leave on Monday for Yosemite and I am super excited. I am a little nervous as we will be 2.5 hours from any real emergency room and with my chemo I can get sick easily. I am very excited that we get to spend time with the Cox side of the fam. I am very excited to take a vacation from the everyday. I love going to Yosemite (we go each year) and I absolutely love camping there. It is amazing, all of the beautiful things to see. I can't wait. I will post lots of pictures when we get back. Have a great week everyone - I know we will!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another Exciting Day....

Yesterday I met with the Doctor that will be giving me my radiation. It was a good meeting. We got there, David and I, and met my Dad there. I'm so glad that he and my mom have been going with us to all these appointments. They come up with questions that I don't and it gives us all a chance to find out what is going on. Anyway ... back to my story ... so we met with the doctor. Let me give you a little bit of info ... Dr. Cen is my oncologist. A few weeks ago he ordered an MRI on my brain and they found some small tumors. Apparently chemotherapy doesn't completely cross the brain barrier - it's the body's defense mechanism - so the chemo won't resolve the tumors in my brain. Dr. Cen decided that I should go ahead with radiation and chemo simultaneously. So, he referred me to Dr. Chen. At first Dr. Chen looked at my information and said that based on how far spread the cancer is in my body he didn't think I could handle both radiation and chemo at the same time. Dr. Cen told him that he hadn't met me yet and that he thought I could handle it. I don't appear as sick as my tests would all suggest. Dr. Chen agreed to meet with me and make his own suggestion.

So, yesterday we met Dr. Chen - way nice guy, by the way. He said that I looked really sharp and that he usually doesn't do chemo at the same time as radiation, but that no one is sure how fast these brain tumors are going to grow and that he and Dr. Cen both feel it is good to start as soon as possible to get rid of them. I have to do 18 treatments. Each one takes approximately 15 minutes. They do them Monday thru Friday and I will start on July 20th. Everyday at 9:15am we will drive to Rancho Cordova to get my treatments for 18 days.

Yesterday, after meeting with the doc, I had to make a mask that I will wear that will hold my head in the same position everytime. They also took a few pictures with their CAT scan machine and then scheduled out the next month and a half. We did have to go over all the side effects and that is always a little weird for me. The common short term side effects are simple things like hair loss and fatigue. The common long term side effects include permanent hair loss and possible problems with thought processing or memory. These side effects can take up to 6 months to really show themselves and they are not reversible. There are other side effects but those are the ones that make me a little nervous and they are the ones that will most effect me. A little scary, but I have to do it, so I am going to faith that the Lord will protect me and that regardless of the outcome in this life, I will have all things returned to me in the resurrection.

So, after that appointment David and I went to Deseret Book and looked around and I got to buy 3 new books. The first 3 of the Fablehaven series. Then we came home and I took a nap and he went and picked up Nephi and Gloria from Sarah's house (Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!). Around 8 my back started hurting - my right side. The kids went to bed and by 9 I was hurting really bad. We called Kaiser's 24-hour advice line and they said that I should go to the ER - again! So, I called my Dad - a HUGE THANKS to him - and he came and stayed with sleeping kids while David and I visited the ER once again. We got there around 10pm and were done around 1:30am. It turns out I have a Urinary Tract Infection - infact he thought that it might even had been the beginning of a kidney infection. After getting my IV antibiotics and some really good pain meds, I picked up my prescriptions and we headed home. It was a late night and I am really glad that we got to sleep in a little this morning. I am feeling much better today. Thank goodness for doctors and their tests. I am so glad that we live in a time where they know so much. I know they don't know everything and I know that they are human and make mistakes, but I am very grateful for the knowledge that is on the earth and the blessings that I get from that knowledge - including the blessing of pain killers and antibiotics.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

100th Post

I started this blog a few years ago because a great friend (yep, you Katie) suggested it.  I never thought that it would be used for what I use it for today.  To keep all of my friends and loved ones appraised of my health.  I never thought my health would be in such question.  I have always taken being a healthy person for granted.  Running, playing, going to the park, cleaning my house, even driving a car have just been functions that I performed everyday.  Now those things are treasures to me.  I haven't run anywhere in over a month.  I haven't driven a car in over a month.  I can't wait until I am healthy enough to do those little things.  Yes, even cleaning my house is something that I look forward to being able to do completely.... although, David really is better at it than I am and for that I am truly grateful!  

Things here are going well.  I have been tired - not sleepy, just fatigued.  Overall though I feel really good.  Standing in one place is really difficult, and walking makes me tired, so there is a lot of sitting go on around here.  David has been great at spring cleaning the kids rooms.  So far, the boys room is complete and the girls is next on the list.  He is much more structured than I am and that makes it much easier to clean out all the junk.  He also is not a fan of clutter and I am a clutter magnet.  So, we have been working together (him more physically than me) to get it all done.  Tomorrow we attack the girls room and then on to our own room.  This house will be spick and span before the week is out and I am thrilled!!!

I have been giving Dave some cooking lessons and he is quite the student.  He can now successfully cook my secret spaghetti sauce (it's not really a secret - just my own creation) and rice pudding as well as various other things that he already knew how to make.  I can't wait to teach him Chicken Parmesan - it's one of my favs.  I know some of you have asked for the recipe and I will post it when I can.

As for school, I did go to Sac State orientation and had a great time.  I am really excited about the prospect of school this next semester and am currently enrolled in 3 classes.  One is fully online, one is fully in class and one has 3 in class sessions and then the remainder are online.  Now the biggest set backs that I foresee are my chemo appointments (I have 2 rounds after school starts) and my hearing.  My major is Speech Pathology and hearing is an important aspect of teaching people speech.  Since I have begun chemo I have had a problem with my ears being plugged.  It kind of is like taking off in an airplane, or driving in the mountains, and not being able to "pop" your ears.  More an annoyance than anything, but I am hopeful that it will resolve itself after chemo is finished.  If not, then I am taking suggestions of what I should major in because, obviously, Speech Pathology would be out.

As for all else, things are great.  I know that the Lord loves me and that is what really matters.  Lately I have felt weak - in spirit.  I have felt sad and even angry at times.  BUT now I am feeling much better.  I know that "in the strength of the Lord I can do all things."  That is a plaque that I have on my entertainment center and I am so grateful to my mom for getting it for me.  My strength is not enough to carry me through this, but the great thing is that I don't have to rely on MY strength.  I am grateful for the knowledge that I have of this concept.  I am grateful for my ability to smile and be happy.  It is a blessing that I know my Father in Heaven has given me - an optimistic spirit, and I am truly grateful for it.  So, I will continue to smile and be happy.  I will continue to thank my Father for all the gifts that he has given to me --- and those gifts are numerous.  Most importantly I am grateful for a husband that loves me and that treats me as a Queen.  I only hope to be able to treat him the way he should be treated for eternity.  Love to you all!  Thanks for your prayers - they are a blessing to me and I can feel their power.