Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chemo round 5...starting to hit hard

So I just finished my 5th chemo round. It hit me really hard this time. I started feeling it early on Sunday. In the first few rounds I didn't feel it until Monday. Last round it was Sunday as well, but I felt it much harder this time. Thank goodness for my new(ish) anti-nausea, they are really helping my nausea and not making me nearly as constipated as the old anti-nausea. I was able to skip the doctor's appointment, which was good for us as it's a two hour drive without traffic and it's nice to avoid that every once in a while.

On Tuesday I was feeling so bad, I skipped Bible study, which I normally do on my chemo days. I had an offer from one of the moms at the boys' school to take Ben to the preschool she works at on Tuesdays and I actually took her up on it. And of course Ben got spoiled, loved that he got to bring a backpack and lunch box to school, just like his older brothers. He got along well with all of the children, and even painted a picture of me with the sun!! I think he missed me a little.

This picture is right as he was being picked up for school. He looks way to grown up in this and it makes my heart ache knowing that he's going off to kindergarten in August.

On Wednesday, I was still feeling sick and there wasn't an option to send Ben off to school, so he stayed home with me and I was in bed for most of the day. He threw the biggest fit and cried for a while. Since Ben was having such a bad morning, as was I, and I didn't want to get out of bed. I decided to do homeschool in bed with him. He refused to go downstairs to get his work books, so we traced letters on each others backs with him practicing the letter sounds. He loved this. And so did I, it was such a great relaxing time to spend with him. The funniest part was after I drew a letter "B" on his back, asked him what letter it was and he answered correctly, I slapped his back (gently) and said "I got it." After that he drew the letters K and R on my back slapping my back saying "I got it" when I said the correct letter. I then had to explain that the letter "B" and a bee sound the same and that's why I slapped his back. He got it after that. We slowly made out way downstairs around lunch time and after practicing many letters, to make lunch. Then we watched some cartoons and I half slept until it was time to pick up his brothers.


I am so thankful that this round is next round will be my 6th and then I'll be half way through this year of chemo!!

I also decided during this round that in a little over a year I will be turning 40...I'm going to try to do 40 things out of my comfort zone before I turn 40. And on my actual 40th birthday I'm going to jump out of an airplane!! I also want to run my first half marathon in November, go on the Price is Right, repel with Over the Edge for Brain Cancer again, along with any fun and crazy things I find at the fair this summer. I've got a little over a year to reach this goal...lets hope I can do it and find 40 things to do!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The local Newspaper did a story on me and my family!!

I was contacted by a friend, a few months ago, asking if I'd be willing to share my story in the newspaper in a "Cancer through Courage" series that was running. Of course I said yes.

I was interviewed one day, last month, and had a photographer come a couple days later. I was told that the photographer was a "portrait photographer" so I asked him what we should wear for the family photo, matching kids, similar colors, random, or what he thought. He told me to just dress as we normally do. I wasn't going to wear yoga pants and a workout top for the family photo, so I actually got dressed and put makeup on!! The kids wore whatever they wore for school that day. Sean came home from work in his shorts and t-shirt, while Ben, wore what he ALWAYS wears...his Spiderman PJ's. Hey, the photog wanted normal and that is our normal, all but me, lol!!

So the photographer had us all sit in the corner of our couch, Ben and Zach were fighting as usual, so we let Ben hold the dog as he was crying through the first round of shots. Honey calmed Ben down and gave us all a good laugh when she darted out and ran around the room a few times. But I have to say that the funniest moment was when Zach let one rip, yes my son actually farted during the photo shoot. We all laughed and spread out as quickly as possible, luckily he had already taken enough family photos and it was time for my individual photo shoot. I'm not a big fan of having my picture taken my myself, I always feel awkward. And I'm sure you can see that in the photo!!

Anyways here is the online link to the article...

Courage Through Cancer: Brain Tumor Prompts Bucket List

Yesterday the boys and I went to the local grocery store and bought 4 newspapers from the store. The checker said to Josh and Zach, "wow there must be something pretty special in this paper if your getting so many," to which Zach replied happily "we're in it!" The checker asked why we were in it and Josh replied "because my mom has cancer." The look on the poor checkers face...if only we could be in the paper for something better than cancer! Maybe one day...I'll put it on our bucket list!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Doctor, MRI, Chemo, and camping...oh my!!

A week ago on Wednesday (3/26), Sean and I drove up to Cedar Sinai to have an MRI and to see my oncologist, Dr. Rudnick and his PA.

The MRI came back as we had hoped with no changes, meaning that the "white" stuff on my MRI is most likely scar tissue. If it were remaining tumor it would have shrunk, but it didn't leaving us to believe it is scar tissue, yay!!

With the results of my MRI, it was time to discuss the chemo I've been on. My counts were low for 3 weeks, the reason it was delayed the past two rounds. With that, Dr. Rudnick said that my bonemarrow was not healing in between rounds like we need it to, so he lowered my dose from 350 to 300. We also discussed the different anti-nausea meds that I was taking and I told him that I'd like to try Emend as I had heard it had anti-tumor properties in it (lil bonus), so it was perscribed as well as an anti nausea patch.

I was very happy with my doctors visit. But now with missing the past few chemo dates I had been pushed to start of Friday, which also happened to be the weekend of "family camp" for Indian Guides (a father/son camping bonding weekend through the YMCA). And my boys really wanted mommy to go with them...

So I sucked it up and went, after all I'm trying my best to not let the chemo slow me down and also not let them realize that I am taking it. I want them to look back and realize that I did chemo, it didn't slow me down and that they can do anything they put their minds to in the future.

Camping was fun and exhausting. I must have looked like a zombie all weekend!! I took several naps, but spent time with my boys as well. On Saturday morning, I borrowed a freinds car to go cheer on a tutu run for a friend, that'll be my next blog and I'll try to remember to come back and link it here. The new anti-nausea meds helped...a lot! And I didn't take my chemo on Friday until I went to bed (same with Saturday), so it didn't really hit me until after we left on Sunday, but I actually hallucinated a little over the weekend according to Sean!! I was a little spacey and thought that Faith texted me something about a boy at our house, when in reality she was home with 2 of her girl friends after they worked that evening.

I was able to watch my boys ride the BMX track, zipline, get lost, mine for gold, sit around the campfire, and have a great time!! It was a wonderful weekend with my family and I'm so happy that we were the one family allowed to bring our motorhome as there was no way I'd make it tent camping while on chemo...I'm not that hardcore!! I just want to get the most out of this life and enjoy every bit of my kiddos as I can!!

Zach playing basketball with friends before the sun sets on Friday night!
 Sean joined the boys in basketball, I love how he gets out there and plays with our kids!
 Sean riding around the camp ground with Ben on his handlebars.
 This is how we ate all the meals, so fun being together as a group.
 Josh wandering around camp. There must have been over 500 people there all together!
 Our tribe is the Thunderbirds and they yellow shirts are for our tribe.
 Mining for "gold." One of many activities that I was able to watch and help out with.
 Ben, so proud that he found "gold."
 Sean helping Ben find even more "gold." And, yes, they wear the same clothes all weekend! (GROSS)
 Sean enjoying a moment to himself around the campfire. I loe my hubby more than words can say!
Zach and some friends playing with water balloons and attacking other tribes in their nation!