Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PET Scan Results

Well after a long week of waiting for my PET scan results, I finally saw my Oncologist today. All is clear! Hooray!

Now with that being said, there are still a few risks. There is a 30% chance it could come back within the next few years. The first 2-3 years being the most high risk. That sounds like a lot, but when I think about how there is a 70% chance it wont come back, that makes me feel better. I will have to get a PET scan or a CT scan every three months, as well as a few other tests yearly.

I am so relieved. I felt pretty positive during this whole time, except when I actually did my PET scan last week. I think it's only natural to be nervous, but one whole week was WAY too long to wait for the results. Every day I got more and more nervous. I was so tense this morning I thought I was going to faint! Glad it's over. It feels really good.

I want to thank my family and friends for being so supportive. I wouldn't have been able to endure this without so many loving and caring people in my life.

In the elevator after the good news.

Well I have a lot more to update about. I went to Chicago! I'll write more about that stuff soon. Just wanted to share my great day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I knew I'd be a crappy blogger

Well, it's been a good 4 months since I last blogged, so I guess it's time for another. I think I left off at Chemo no. 5. I had a few bad ones in the middle there, and we had to lower my dose once. After that it was a lot more bearable. I still felt bad for about a week, and then usually would have one good week in between. I only had one infection due to my low white blood count. I guess that's a good thing, but I was one sick girl. It was just a little cold, but it felt like I would die because I had nothing in me to fight it off. I didn't die by the way, I'm just dramatic.

I tried to work a little bit, but it was just too much. Chemotherapy is a job in itself. Get sick, then get better. It's a cycle that never seemed to end. But it did! Hooray! My last chemo was June 4th. I honestly never thought I'd see the end. It got pretty tough to stick it out for the last few treatments. I'm not going to lie, I wanted to quit a few times. But I pushed past the urges and fought on.

It's only been about 3 weeks since I finished, but I'm doing great and it's already turning into a distant memory. I no longer think about it 24/7 because I'm not really that sick anymore. My body is healing and it feels so good to be in control again. I've even started exercising again! It was pretty discouraging the first few times. My muscles are so weak and I don't have much endurance. I was really into running before all of this mess started, but now I can barely even run for 5 minutes straight. It's amazing how fast you can lose it. I've started doing Pilates and Yoga because they're a little less intensity than running for an hour straight. Hopefully I will get back there soon.

I have a PET scan next week. I haven't had one since before I started chemo, so it's a pretty big deal. I have so many mixed emotions about it. I feel nervous, worried, excited, scared, anxious, happy, and sad. I'm mostly excited and nervous. I really do feel positive and I'm only trying to think of positive things beforehand, but I can't help but be nervous. It's probably just a result of everything I've been through and unavoidable. Every time I have a test for the rest of my life I'm sure I will be a little nervous and scared. I have my PET scan next Wednesday, and the following Wednesday I will meet with my Oncologist to discuss the results.

Once we get the all clear from the Oncology appt, I will meet with my Surgeon the very next day to discuss my next surgery. We will schedule it that day for sometime in July I expect. I'm very excited for this because after that, I will pretty much be all done with everything. It should go smoothly (unlike my previous surgeries) and I should heal fairly quickly.

The end is near, and I couldn't me happier about it. I've been able to do a lot of fun things despite my situation these past few months, and I'm looking forward to getting my life back. I want to feel like a healthy 25 year old again.

I'll try to post more often, especially since I've got some pretty important dates coming up.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

five down, seven to go

I had my fifth chemo this week. It went surprisingly well. My best friend Tara came with me, and took me home after. I usually start to feel effects from the treatment immediately. My hands get shooting pains in them, I feel tired, sometimes my lips or fingers cramp up; basically I feel like I've been poisoned. A day or so after chemo, I usually become really dehydrated. It gets so bad that I can barely get out of bed, and I need someone to feed me soup and brush my hair and hug me a lot. This time has been the complete opposite! Hooray! I feel like I have energy, and I can get up and do things. I have even put my make up on and fixed my hair every day! Things couldn't have gone better. Well, there are still a few annoying side effects, like my hands still tingle and I'm really tired and I've developed a few mouth sores. I've never had the mouth sores before, but I always knew it was a possible side effect. They're not too bad, I just use a rinse and it numbs my whole mouth. I've been eating a lot also. I usually get nauseous and lose my appetite the week after chemo, but I've been a little piggy. I was so hungry when we got home from the hospital, Tara made me two batches of chicken nuggets! She took such great care of me.

Saturday morning we left for Cedar City. I wasn't sure if I would go, but since I had been feeling so sprightly, I decided to make the trek. We had to pack up all of our remaining possessions from my in-laws house from when we lived with them last year. We will finally have all of our belongings to ourselves again. Also, my sister-in-law Jody was in town. She lives in Atlanta, and decided to stop in for a visit. It was really nice to see her.

My mother-in-law got a brand new puppy, her name is Murphy. As in Dale Murphy. She is a Shih Tzu and she very well may be the cutest thing ever. She is so fun to snuggle and play with. I cant even put my laptop on my lap because she has taken it over. If you cant tell, I really want a dog.

Nathan packed up the car this morning and left. I'm staying an extra night and driving home with my mother-in-law. She is nice enough to come up and bring a load of our stuff. Her mother lives in Provo, so she can visit her also.

All in all I'd say it was a pretty great week. I'm just so grateful that I didn't get very sick this time around. I know I have a lot of people thinking of me and praying for me. I wouldn't be able to get through these tough times without those thoughts and prayers. Only seven treatments left! Booyah!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

full packed weekend

We moved into our new place! I love it. We have the most wonderful friends and family in the world. We had so many helpers and everyone even pitched in cleaning. The place was a pig-sty when we got there.

I'm so grateful to everyone who helped because I would not have been able to do it by myself. I get worn out very easily. Fortunately, we got a lot done the first day, and I've been able to do a lot while Nate is working. It's coming together nicely.

Our last night before we moved, we took Cash and Landry to the Nickelcade. It's an arcade where you pay in nickels. We spent hours there. It was a blast.

Nathan and I miss those kids already. They are a riot.

Sunday, we went to a baby blessing. Our close friends Lish and Whitney had their sweet little Yale in December. He's a cutie. They recently moved to St. George, which is about five hours away. We're sad we don't get to see them very often, but it was nice to catch up this weekend and be a part of such a special day for them.

The time seems to be speed up when my chemotherapy is close. I have my fifth infusion tomorrow. Honestly, I've been dreading it since Sunday. Just got to keep my head up! It will be fine, and maybe even easier this time. My best friend Tara is going with me, so either way it will be a good day.

One last thing, my beautiful, talented, sweetheart of a sister-in-law is famous! She was in the March issue of Fitness. It was so fun to see her pretty face in such a popular magazine. If you don't already read her "blob" you should. She is amazing.

Smell ya later!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

on the mend, moving, valentines day and thriller!

Well, it's been almost a whole week since I've been off my last chemo. I get excited for this time because I'm almost always back to my old self. I feel like I could run to the top of the mountain outside our house. Ok, maybe I cant do that but I feel strong and happy and more like myself. Yesterday I got really sick though! I was so bummed out about it. I became really dehydrated all day and I was throwing up and had a very bad headache. It was like the symptoms of my chemotherapy were delayed a week. Bummer. Luckily I have home healthcare nurses that come to my aid. They're great. They came and hooked me up to an IV and I've had 3 liters of fluids since yesterday. This morning was really rough as well, but as most of you know, I have the best sister in the world. After we talked on the phone this morning, she packed up her kids and rushed over to my place. She made me soup, and toast and gave me hugs and got me medicine and even helped hook up an IV for me! She's my best friend. My "soul sista." I feel soooo much better now. I love her.

On to more exciting news. We're moving this weekend! I can't wait. We haven't had our own "place" since 2009. Last year we lived in Cedar City with my in-laws. Nathan was finishing up his degree and I was in hair school. They were so wonderful to have us in their home. I love them so much. They're the coolest in-laws a girl could ask for. The plan was to finish up school and move somewhere new and exciting so Nate could go to grad school. Unfortunately, I became ill and that plan has been postponed. But we are getting a place in Pleasant Grove, UT. I'm really happy about it. That's the little ole town where Nate and I got hitched, and it's fairly close to his work and all of our friends. It's a really cute place, I'll post pictures as soon as we're in. Practically our whole life has been packed up in a storage unit for over a year. It will be so fun to finally unpack everything and hug and kiss all of our dishes and towels and tell them how much we've missed them!

We had to come up to Salt Lake in December so that I could start my treatments. Since Nate didn't have a job yet, we've been staying with family and friends. We stayed with our cousins Nate and Kylie for a few weeks, and we've been staying with our close friends Doug and Rori for the last two months. I used to nanny for Doug and Rori. They have two adorable kids and I just love their family so much. We've become so close to them over the past two years. Rori is like a sister to me. They're totally our second family.

On Valentines day we stayed home and had dinner with Doug and Rori and the kids. Doug made awesome lobster tail and we had sparkling cider champagne. The kids even had their own little champagne glasses and kept "cheers-ing" to every comment.

Cash and Landry with Nate on his birthday
Valentines Day. Doug Rori and Cash. Aren't they the cutest?
After we stuffed ourselves with our Valentines dinner, Rori and I decided to do a little dancing. She has the funnest games on the Wii, and she just bought the Michael Jackson dance game. It is wild. You basically learn every dance he does in his music videos. My favorite one so far is "Don't Stop Till' You Get Enough."
Rori and I dancing to "Thriller"

If you don't have a wii dance game you should seriously get one. They're so much fun and I could play them for hours by myself. Which I have done. If you're totally bored and don't have anything better to do, here's a clip of us dancing. Bye!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"there is no force on earth more powerful than the will to live"

Welcome to my blog! I never thought I'd have anything exciting to blog about, but here I am to tell all. Some things may be interesting about me, but most things probably aren't. A lot of crazy things have happened to me in the past four months. This blog is for my family and friends who want to keep up with the current events in my personal life. Also, maybe it can help someone out there who is going through something similar and needs someone to relate to. So here goes...(this could be a long one)

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in October 2010. Yes, me, who is only 25 (24 at the time) and has no family history of the stupid thing. The percentage of a person being diagnosed with colon cancer between the ages of 20 and 34 is 1.1%! It still hasn't sunk in. I wasn't even that sick. I saw a doctor a few months before I was diagnosed and he basically told me what I had was most likely an ulcer and highly unlikely to be cancerous. Boy was he wrong.

Once I was diagnosed, I had a CAT scan and PET scan. Both determined the cancer had not spread anywhere else. The next step was a colon resection (surgery to remove the tumor). I chose The Huntsman Cancer Institute which is one of the best places I could go. Once the tumor was removed, they would be able to determine its stage and if it had spread to my lymph nodes. Simply put, if it was in the lymph nodes I would need chemotherapy, if not, I would be all done! We were hoping for the second option.

I went to have my surgery the first week of November. I was really nervous about it, but I had a wonderful surgeon. There was one little problem during surgery though-I woke up! Apparently they hadn't given me enough anesthesia in the beginning and once they cut into my stomach, I was wide awake. I know it's so unbelievable, but trust me it happened. Even my own family didn't believe me until the anesthesiologist came to my hospital room the next day to apologize and explain what the hell happened in there. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty traumatic. I could hear everything the surgeon and nurses were saying, but I couldn't move, talk, open my eyes, or scream at the top of my lungs that I was awake. I was under just enough so that I couldn't react. I could feel pressure where they were cutting, but luckily I was numb enough that it didn't hurt much. Once I stopped panicking, I decided I could will myself to move my head. I chanted "move your head" over and over and over until I was finally unconscious again. The anesthesiologist told me he saw my head shaking! Go me!

I had been out of surgery a couple days and things were moving right along. All that changed about the third or fourth night after surgery. Luckily I was still in the hospital. I would wake up with excruciating pains in my abdomen or my whole body would shake uncontrollably for long periods of time. The surgeon on call didn't really know what to make of it. On the fifth day I was so sick (I barely even remember it) that my surgeon ordered me in for another CAT scan. Apparently there is a 0.8% chance of a leak developing where they re-attached the colon within 3-5 days of surgery. Guess what, I had a leak! Seriously, all I could think was what are the odds of all of this happening to one person? The CAT scan showed the leak and how my whole abdomen was filling up with toxins. I looked six months pregnant. After they discovered the leak, they rushed me into surgery. My surgeon is the best. I'm so lucky I had him. He fixed me right up. It was pretty scary though. I couldn't even talk. I couldn't even cry I was in so much pain. I remember getting rolled into that operating room for a second time genuinely thinking I might not make it.

Luckily I made it through the second surgery successfully. My poor abdomen had been through enough already. One surgery is difficult enough to recover from, let alone two. We also found out during my stay that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. boo. When removing a tumor, they aim to take about 12-15 lymph nodes. They took out 49 of my lymph nodes which is an unusually high amount. They only found 5 out of those 49 that were cancerous. Those very good odds. Although they told me I would have to endure six months of chemotherapy, we chose to believe that he had taken all of the cancerous cells out.

All in all I was in the hospital for 14 days. I had so many visitors and presents and flowers. I had so much support and I can't thank my loved ones enough for that. I truly needed it. I like to think of myself as a really positive person, but these events really did me in. It took me a good month or two to even believe that I could get through this stupid cancer battle. I hadn't even started chemo yet! I had to get a port placed in my chest, and a couple weeks after that I started my treatments. My first one was December 29th. They are every other week and I have a total of 12 treatments. I just finished my fourth. It's not so bad and I'm not even going to lose my hair! Way cool. It is a challenge though. Some days are really good, and some not so good. The more I go through the easier it gets though. I'm not going to act like I'm so positive and every day is great and I can endure anything with a smile. The truth is that I try my hardest to be positive and most days are pretty good and I can probably endure anything, but that doesn't mean I'll be happy about it. I'm trying my best to get through this time of my life with grace, but I wouldn't be able to do it without my family or friends. They keep me focused and upbeat.

My last treatment is scheduled for the first week in June, and I'll have one last surgery a month after that. Then I'll be free of this stupid thing called cancer. I'll be superwoman! I know I can make it through these next few months.

So there's the whole story with all the gory details (I may have spared a few details). This post was insanely long and who knows if you're even reading still. I'm going to keep up with how I'm doing on this blog, but I'm not just a cancer patient. I do fun things still and laugh a lot and go out on the town. So don't expect some sob story every time I post. Or ever. Thanks for reading-hope I didn't bore you to death! Bye!