Thursday, May 5, 2016

Four months...what?!!!

Insurance is a funny thing and so are husbands....when they forget to make the insurance payment. Which mine did and I realized when I went to pick up my prescription for my anti seizure medicine. I put in a quick call to the insurance company who was so nice and said that all we need to do is fax a letter stating that we want it reinstated because they "want to keep our business and won't give us a lapse in coverage." Sound too good to be true?

It was.

I called again and was told that it was only a 50/50 chance that they will reinstate me, which was the worst thing in the world to me at that moment (and of course I was on the phone about to walk into Ben's classroom to teach Art Ed in tears), with my appoint for an MRI 2 days later. That night I tossed and turned, unable to sleep. I finally decided I would post a nasty tweet to HealthNet, so I did.
And they replied. I emailed them my info as requested and received a call at a decent time in the morning, not 2am when I sent it! I was told that we had to pay $1500 for the missed payment and the next payment, so I paid and was told it would be reinstated, and I was hopeful that I'd make my appointment the next day. But I was a little too hopeful and the hospital called saying there was no insurance on record, so again I called the insurance who said it takes 24-48 hours. To be on the safe side we pushed my appointment back 3 weeks to be sure I would be covered for it.

I received a call the day before my appointment and was told that my copay for the MRI would be $2900, so I assumed that meant insurance was going to cover the rest.

I made the trip up to Beverly Hills alone this time and haven't in over a year, since it's so stressful to me. Of course this was the trip I went alone because when I went to registration they said insurance wasn't going to cover it. So to make a long story short, who ever called me messed up and didn't enter that I was covered in their system. While they pulled their heads out of their asses, I missed my MRI and was finally squeezed back in and only ended up being 30 minutes late to my doctors appointment.

Because I was not on time for my appointment there, I was squeezed in again, and made to wait for a bit in the room which makes me nervous because that's usually when my oncologist reviews my scans. It took for what seemed like forever for me to be called back, and when I went into the room to review my scans, I think he saw a worried look on my face, because as soon as I walked in he told me to breathe and that they looked fine!!! YAY, that's the news I wanted!

There is a reason Dr. Rudnick and I are smiling, my clean scan streak continues and insurance hopefully has all of the kinks worked out and my husband remembers to pay. I'm sure after this he'll never forget again!! Thank you all for your prayers.

 When it was all over I drove through Hollywood into Studio City to meet a friend (from a survivor trek to Tahoe, which I still need to post about) for dinner to celebrate.

My friend Sarah and I had raw blueberry mojitos at a vegan restaurant, so they used a raw fermented juice (tasted like wine) in the cocktail

We took a few pictures after we ate. It was wonderful catching up with her. I loved every minute of it and dinner was delicious!

And with her up there, along with a high school friend I will always have something to look forward to and someone to celebrate with. Never again will I go 4 months in between MRIs, even Dr. Rudnick thinks ever 3 months is perfect, Next appointment is on August 3rd. So much life to be lived in the next 3 month, including jumping out of a plane for the first time, kayaking in the Smokey Mountains, Josh finishing elementary school, and summer vacations, girls trips...lots of living, I'll be busy!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Clean Scan Streak

First I want to apologize for not updating this like I thought I would. I have been out living my life and trying to enjoy as much as possible with my family and writing this blog takes away from that family time I cherish so much.

I have been on a clean scan streak since my last surgery in November 2013, yay me!! I did a year of chemo, so I wasn't surprised that every scan came back clean during that year, however they are still coming back clean!!

No I am not in remission and that is one of the questions I get asked often and hate the most, because I wish there was a remission to brain cancer. I do realize other oncologists tell their patients that they are in remission, but my oncologists believes that is just their way of putting the patients mind at ease and that it will continue to grow even though it is not visible on the MRI. I have absolutely come to realize this as a fact and you know what? I'm OK with that. I'm a fighter and in the battle of my life and knowing I have to fight the rest of my life will keep me doing just that. I don't want the doctor to tell me something to sugar coat it for me and make me relax and possibly slack on healthy eating only to have it come back with a vengeance, I'll continue to fight with every thing I have and to live my life to it's fullest, enjoying time with my children.

We returned recently from a wonderful Spring Break road trip, those posts are coming soon, I promise!

Thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cooking Cubs

My boys are getting older and definitely more independent. They've been helping me with dinner for as long as I can remember. Recently though, they have been taking more of an active role, cutting, stirring over the hot stove, and even making their own snacks after school. They're cutting their own apples and putting peanut butter on their plate to have an after school snack. My husband Sean has even taught them how to make scrambled eggs for breakfast, although we've never let them do it unsupervised. One of us is always there to help them out or coach them. After all they're only 10, 8, and 6 years old.

I always make my boys an after school snack, and lately they've been trying to take over and make it themselves. I just got the book, "The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook, cub friendly cooking with an adult" by Mike Berenstain.

First thing I did after we got this cook book was to have my boys sit down and select something to make. I told them that they could pick anything and that I would help as much as needed. Being vegetarian, this book is actually very vegetarian friendly, so I had no worries about what they'd pick.

They selected the recipe they wanted to make and pulled out all of the ingredients.

Zach used the toaster oven as the bread was to be toasted. I supervised with this, and helped him remove the hot toast.

While Zach toasted the bread, Josh cut up the banana. I figured with him being the oldest, he could have that job. Although I do allow all of my boys to help me cut foods that we use in meals.

 Zach is my biggest helper and was most excited about making an after school snack. He took the lead and my two other boys helped as much as they could, or as much as Zach would allow!!

Zach told Ben what his job was in creating this after school snack.

And Ben was more than eager to help!

All of my boys took a part in creating this snack. It was great to see them work together as a team and it is great knowing that they are able to make an after school snack without my help (or without too much help and instruction from me.

And a nice healthy after school snack was made by my children after following the directions in this kid friendly cook book. 

And then they ate while doing their homework!

The Berenstein Bears' Country Cookbook is very "cub friendly." It offers 40 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessset. I was actually shocked that my cubs didn't go right for the dessert!!It also includes a prayer before meals. Sying grace is an important part of meals with our family. One page told all about the sweet facts of honey, which we read as they used honey in their recipe. The last 2 pages of the cookbook list the kitchen measurements, which is perfect for me as I don't always remember how many cups there are in a pint. (There are two by the way!!)

This book is available at Family Christian Store. right here.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

And then there were 2...

Just finished my 10th round of chemo last Friday!! Whoop whoop!!!!! I'm thrilled that I am almost done with this thing. With only 2 left I can really see the end now. And it feels so close.

This round went well. Sean was in Florida for 2 of the days, but lucky for me they were my easier days. And on one of them a friend brought us dinner and another friend picked my boys up from school. So it really worked out. Sean was in Florida for a mediation on a case he's been working on.

We really need to pray for the work to continue to flow in, it gets stressful for him having to care for me, pay my medical bills, and run his own business. I know that at times he gets stressed and it breaks my heart seeing him taking on so much. As always I appreciate any prayers you all send our way.

Sorry this is such a short blog, but there really isn't anything to say.

With that...remember to donate to "Accelerate a Brain Cancer Cure" in honor of my daughter (and myself) repelling. She still needs to reach her minimum or we are accountable for what remaining.

Here is the link...Faith's repel page And a HUGE thank you to all who have donated!! I am unable to personally thank anyone on her fundraising page, but will hopefully get some thank you cards out in the mail.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Raising awareness and money for brain cancer research by going over the edge again

Of course, since I have brain cancer, I would like to raise awareness. If only I could have come up with the ice bucket challenge and bring millions in for brain cancer research.

Did you know that, although any terminal disease is awful, only 2 in 100,000 people get ALS. While 1 in 165 people get brain cancer. Neither one has a cure. Now that there was the ice bucket challenge the amount of money for ALS research has skyrocketed, while brain cancer research remains one of the lowest funded cancers out of all of the different types of cancers.

This being said, I am repelling down the tallest waterfront building in San Diego again this year. My daughter, Faith and my Uncle Charlie are both going to go "over the edge" with me. I'm super excited to have them on my team and raising money for brain cancer research. We each need to raise $1500 to repel and I have put my (OK my husband's) credit card down as a promise to raise the funds for myself and my daughter.

If you'd like to see pictures of me doing it last year click "here"

EDIT: I reached my goal, surpassed it and would like any future donations to go to my daughter's page or my Uncle's page. I'm not sure if they'll allow it to be spread out, but I am checking into it.

Here is the link to my page (but please don't donate anymore to me, thanks to all who have)!!

Here is the link to my beautiful daughter's page

And here is the link to my Uncle's page

As a simple request, if you donate because of my blog, please put that in the comments when you donate. Thank you!! I'm just curious!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Home Alone and 3/4th of the way through, REALLY

So if you recall my last blog "3/4ths and camping," I didn't realize until I received a comment that I wasn't actually 3/4th of the way through, but only 2/3rd, which is still great. Guess I should go back to school to relearn my math, lol!

Speaking of school...all of my boys are now in school. Ben started kindergarten, Zach is in 3rd grade and Josh is in 5th grade!! The first day of school was amazing, I am so happy with all of the teachers they got (not that there are any bad teachers at their school), it just seems the ones they got are a perfect fit!! Here are their pictures from the first day.

 Looks like our theme for the first day of school was stripes, but my boys picked out their own shirts.
 Zach, 7, 3rd grade
 Ben, 5, kindergarten
 Josh, 9, 5th grade
 All 4 of my kiddos, although only 3 are in school
 Ready to go to school and walk with some neighborhood kids
 Walking down to school with many neighbors (almost everyone walks on the first day)
 Zach at his assigned desk
 Josh at his assigned desk, look at the pile of books already on his desk!!
 Ben saying "hi" to his first teacher, no assigned seats on the first day of school
 Sissy, helping Ben make his name tag, and with that backpack, you know he's the coolest kid!
 Ben hanging up his backpack on the outside hooks
 Saying "bye" to my last baby to go off to school
And the day starts...
Luckily all of my boys had a great first day of school and since I didn't have to start my chemo until that night, I enjoyed the first day hanging with my hubby, cleaning up the house with out someone begging me to entertain them, and even throwing my feet up for a bit. Then reality hit and I had to pick up my chemo.
I started my round on the night of their first day of school. The first few days were fine. Knowing I was going to be on chemo, I planned their lunches in advance and had things ready for the first week. I was a quick week, a little tough because my hubby had to go to Florida for 3 days in the middle of the week, but he returned to help me with my worst days (Friday and Saturday). It was nice being able to relax during the week while the boys were in school and I'm sure by my next round, with Sean in town, it will be much easier.

And like that round 9 was done....
Now onto my final 3 rounds and having this whole thing being in the history books for me!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

3/4ths and camping

EDIT- Oops, I'm only 2/3rds of the way through. Can I blame the chemo on messing up my math? I'm not sure, but I will!! Very soon, I'll be 3/4th if the way through and then completely finished!!!

This 8th round started a bit late...totally my fault. I've had my trouble with my blood counts before in delaying my start date for chemo, but this time it was my showing up too late to get my blood work in on time. You see I usually throw the word "STAT" on my blood work if I go on Friday morning. It's not usually on there because for some crazy reason, my oncologist doesn't want to be called at his home when he's off work to get the results of some one's blood counts. So I usually throw it on there myself if I do a Friday morning blood draw as it takes "up to" 4 hours to process my blood and I figure he's still in the office and I'm not bothering him at home.

Last week I went to do my normal blood draw on a Thursday, but the office was closed...forcing me to go on a Friday. With having to bring all 3 of my boys (it's summer, they go everywhere with me), I completely forgot to label my blood draw request as "STAT!" Which by the way, a member of the lab told me I could do as no one really knows who wrote STAT, they just do it!!

So, my blood work didn't get into the doctor's office until Monday and instead of my normal Friday start date, I had to wait until Monday. I didn't complain or get mad at myself, all things happen for a reason and we just happened to be camping that weekend at our local beach, so instead of being sick, I was spending time with my family, relaxing on the beach, falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, paddle boarding, surfing with friends, boogie boarding with my kiddos, watching my boys eat shaved ice, bike riding and doing everything that I would not be able to do had I been on chemo, thus no complaints by me.

Here is my weekend at a glance...

 Playing at the camp site

 My boys all fished and Ben caught seaweed
 They later learned about the different types of seaweed in the Junior Ranger Program
 My boys got shave ice! Yum, but they chose crazy flavors!
 Eating their shave ice, YUM!

 Probably cleaning up my boys' trash!
 Ben ALWAYS gets brain freeze!
 My boys love to boogie board and I was able to join them one afternoon!
 Lil surfer Ben!!
 Josh goes way out to where the waves first break and rides them all the way in
 Cutie-pie Ben in a Bay Watch move!
 Zach fishing, Sean actually caught a few fish (nothing good enough to bring back)
 Zach and Ben playing in the sand, they always end up making sand angles, love them!

I'm on the Stand Up Paddle Board, trying to catch a wave in!
Our camp site from our beach view!!

And on Monday night after we returned from our great weekend, I started my chemo. It was pretty normal, I was tired and laid in bed a lot. My boys played with friends and went to the movies! I'm so happy that week 8 is over and I'm 3/4ths of the way through!! Four more rounds really sounds like nothing...although I'm sure I wont be thinking that before my next round which will start on my boys' first day back at school on August 18th. I'll power through that week as well, because that's just what I's what I have to do for my family!