Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Graduation Day!!

Kindergarten picture on the left, Senior picture on the right

My oldest daughter, Faith Emilie, just graduated from high school last Friday. My husband and I are so proud of what she has accomplished. Really, just the thought of her graduating after spending her last two years in high school dealing with a mom who has cancer, had 3 surgeries, a fear of her mom dying and leaving her to help fill in the role of being mom to her 3 younger brothers. It's a HUGE deal that she graduated and she had an internship in an OB-GYN, competitive cheer with out of state competitions, and all of her social activities in her Senior year is wonderful. She really has gone above and beyond all expectations!
The seniors decorated their caps! It was very toughing that Faith put a cancer ribbon on her cap, but also made me sad that she has that on her mind during her graduation.
Before the ceremony
 Faith and her BFF, India, before the ceremony
 Faith and daddy before the ceremony (I was too busy getting the house ready for the after party) 
Waiting for the seniors to walk out and they had messages that students recorded playing, most saying things such as "thanks to my mom and dad for helping me get through this far"...
Students walking out to their chairs, I was actually shocked that there wasn't a section for teachers (only a few were there).
Principal, Dr. Ruggles, speaking

Waiting to get called up, Faith was in the front row of the far left section
Faith and one of her favorite teachers, Mr. Machado (Pro surfer Rob Machado's brother, if you're into surfing)
A closer view of where Faith is sitting during the calling of the names
Some students played a song, "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men, sang by seniors for the graduating class and all the students rushed the stage! (The principal was not very happy with this)!!
They did it! The whole senior class, 550 students with an average GPA of 3.5!

Faith and her BFF, India, after the ceremony.
Faith and two of her brothers, Zach with her cap and Josh
Our whole family with our graduate!
My dad, Flatty, made it for the ceremony (his wife's birthday was that day, so we were happy to get the chance to see him)
I had to post a picture of Faith's shoes....I'm not sure how she managed to not trip on the grass or walking up to the stage. She must be more graceful than her mom!!

It was a great ceremony and Sean and I had several friends over for a fantastic after party, after all, we needed it!!
Faith with grandma and grandpa after the ceremony, at our house
Faith with my Aunt Jonnie and Uncle John at our house, after the ceremony
Ben's Sunday school teacher, Lisa, on the right with her daughter on the left (Faith was a helper in her Sunday school class)
Cutting Faith's grad cake, before grad night, daddy thinks he's funny!!
Faith and her cousin Ellie
Faith, and my sister, her Aunt Kim.
 And then Faith was off to grad night...
Let the party begin...
A toast and a shot with some friends to one down, 3 more to go! (We are the first of our friends to have a child graduate from high school, even though they are all older than us)!
My girlfriend and neighbor, Shelley, toasting our shots! We may have consumed a few too many that night!
Sean and I enjoying ourselves after the party!!
This was a day almost 18 years in the making. It was awesome being able to celebrate with Faith as well as with family and friends. With having brain cancer, I always wonder if I'll see my children graduate from high school and I'm so grateful that I saw one graduate. I'm going to continue my fight to see the rest of my children graduate from high school and hopefully college (they all better, just hopefully I'll still be here to see it), but for now my goal is to see them all graduate from high school and become adults!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I lost my super hero powers

Since my MRI scans have come back good for the past few visits, I have been feeling invincible. I even thought about going back to school to get my BSN, so I could be a part time nurse when all of my kiddos are in school. This is something I wanted to do before I was diagnosed with brain cancer, but decided not to do it as soon as I was diagnosed, figuring that my time with my family was more important than my wanting a little job and some me time.

So my last MRI and visit with my oncologist, I realized that I am not invincible...

My oncologist saw my images and although he's always told me it's growing, even when we can't see the growth on the MRI, this time he said he could see the growth and estimated it as about 10 percent growth.

He suggested that I do radiation, which I still refuse to do. So, he would like me to do a year of chemo, which I am willing to do, after I get a second and third opinion. It's not that I don't trust my oncologist, because I completely do. But he is human and looking at these images with his eyes, so I'm guessing that it could be seen differently from another oncologist and I'd like to hear another opinion before I make a drastic change, like a year of chemo.

If I go the chemo route, I'm not going to start until September so that I can enjoy the summer with my kiddos without feeling sick. And my mom had a great suggestion as the chemo is in pill form, that I would take for 5 days every 28 day cycle for a year. She suggested that we sit down with a calendar and mark off all the dates I don't want to be on chemo, so that we can schedule those 5+ days at a time during the months that will not fall of holidays, birthdays, school breaks, etc.

I haven't told many people yet, because I have wanted to keep it on the down low, as my daughter, Faith, was finishing the last week of her senior year. She's seen us be back and forth on this for the last 2 years of her senior year, so I wanted her to just enjoy her last week like a normal high school student. Her graduation was wonderful, I'm a very proud mama and I'll post about it another time with pictures!!

As for now, just please keep me in your prayers and I'll try my best to keep you posted.

Friday, June 7, 2013

So sorry

So sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I actually have a couple that I started and are saved as drafts, so I should get those published as soon as school is out for summer (or so I think).

I'm also sorry that this blog isn't going to be inspirational or uplifting. I have no good news, no bad news either.

My next MRI is on Monday. The stress, worry, and anxiety that come with it have hit me hard this time. I was hoping that Mother's Day, my just having my birthday (I turned 38) and preparing for the kiddos to get out of school would help ease my mind, but it hasn't. I am also seeing Faith finish out her senior year, decide where she wants to go to school, which her decision is to stay close by.

There is just something about these milestones reminding me about the constant passing of time when I'm facing my own mortality that have made the past couple of months difficult.

It's been over a year since my 3rd surgery and each MRI I wonder if there is going to be growth. My oncologist us using my September MRI as my baseline as it was long enough after surgery to show my tumor without any swelling. I have been faithfully using my natural treatments, along with those and the vaccine I'm praying that there is no change, but that fear definitely still lingers.

I'll keep you posted on how my appointment goes, I actually have several. Monday is a big day for me. I get an MRI, see my oncologist, and get a check up from the neurosurgeon to see how my vaccine is doing, they will also take a boat load of blood to check it as this is also a checkup on my vaccine and they like to keep close records on each participant in a clinical trial.