Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday the 3rd

Well, I'm an official patient of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. We walked down the halls full of sick, bald, wheel chaired elderly and sat next to a few people in the waiting room who looked like they were barely holding on to life. I whispered to Josh "I don't belong here."

The Dr. thought Interferon was the best treatment for me. Thats what all three of my Dr.s have suggested because its the only thing they know helps my stage of melanoma. This Dr. confirmed the 50/50 chance of it coming back, but said the interferon may help an extra 10%.

Interferon is a protein that will tell my immune system to attack. Hopefully the cancer cells. I will be going in 5 days a week for 4 weeks for high dose infusions. Then I give myself shots 3 times a week for a year after that.

I asked them to start me today. "This is a really tough treatment. You could be very sick for a while." "If we start today I can be done before Christmas." He looked suprised. "The first part is very hard to get through." "I havent eaten anything since midnight just in case thats a requirement." I think he knew I meant it. "Ill see what we can do." Unfortunately the best they could do was December the 3rd.

The end of my health history asked: "Is there anything else you would like us to know about you, or do you have any special requests?" The nurse practitioner who did the initial examination looked up a little surprised when she read: SAVE ME!!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I'm always a little torn during football season. Josh is happy from August to January. I'm confused during those months, because how can watching random people throw a ball around get you excited? I so don't get it. It seems like he's waisting time, but if its making him so happy, how can I argue?

I wish I had something to compare it to. Its like golf. There isn't something I could do for an afternoon that is fun, and relieves stress. Like scrap booking (which I gave up on years ago) is kind of intense, you have to come up with a cute layout and work to get it that way. Fun, but not a good form of stress release for me. Shopping is very fun for me, but it would only be stress free without a budget. Is that so lame of me? Sometimes when Josh can tell I need to get out of the house he insists on babysitting but I'm like"I don't have anywhere to go!"

So anyway, Josh got tickets from our friend who is a trainer for the team (thanks Jeff!) and I'm so glad it was worth the weeks of hype. This high should last him till next year.
Thats right, face paint. Check out cougar Dave.....grrrrrr.

On an unrelated note...we had a great Thanksgiving. My brothers and sister got together and put on an amazing dinner without any of the 'older' generation. We missed our parents though.

My sister Sonja is staying with me to help. The only problem is I'm feeling great. Not even limping. We thought for sure we would be well into treatment when she got her ticket. Sorry Sonja! My Dr.s appointment is in the morning, so I'm going to do my best to get started ASAP.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks...

There have been a lot of emotions since my diagnosis, but the strongest has been gratitude. Its strange how happy it has made me.

Theres not much time tonight. In a nutshell, Im grateful for:

My mom who gave me life
My dad who taught me how to live it
My siblings who share it with me
My friends who make it fun
My Dr.s who are going to save it
My husband who makes it wonderful
My kids who make it meaningful
My Savior who makes it eternal

Sunday, November 18, 2007

tick tock

Well, Thursday I got the clearance I needed from the surgeon to go ahead with treatments. Friday I spent the afternoon trying to get into the oncologist before Thanksgiving so I could start ASAP. So far I'm out of luck. If nothing turns up I will see him on the 26th and I will beg to start that day (I'm sure they wont let me).

I just feel like this cancer has had too much time. It has to be stopped.

The Dr. also mentioned that there are two treatments I may qualify for. Interferon is the one I'm prepared for, the other is biochemotherapy. Its basically chemo plus immunotherapy (like interferon). They are doing a study at the Hunstsman (where I will be treated) to see if it works better than interferon alone. I wonder what the Dr. will recommend?

In the meantime I pretend to have a normal life. But it isn't because everything is changed. Maybe for the better, but its hard to see that side of it sometimes.

The lesson in Young Womens today was on how we spend our time. Time means so much to me now. Its not like money that can be bought and saved. Its a gift that has to be spent every second. It will all have to be accounted for. Where do we splurge?

I don't want to spend any of my precious time on anger, judgment, or envy. I don't want to spend it on keeping up with the Jones'. I don't want to spend too much of it in front of the TV. I don't want to spend it worrying. I don't want to spend it yelling at my kids. I don't want to spend it alone.

One of my favorite movie moments from Mary Poppins: The stressed out banker father working overtime trying to please his superiors and get rich while his children see him for breakfast and before bedtime. The happy chimney sweep who sees time differently sings to the father...

You've got to grind, grind, grind
At that grindstone
Though child'ood slips like sand through a sieve
And all too soon they've up grown
And then they've flown
And it's too late for you to give

Thanks to cancer I meet James at the bus stop for three extra minutes to hold his hand. And when my hourglass is up, I cant imagine regretting it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

this title escapes me

Ive been neglecting my blog. We just had a big night in Young Womens so I should be back at this game for a while. Until the next big thing. I swear we (me and the other YW leaders) should start a website "Extreme Young Womens." lets just say when we do a skit for camp, its a full production. Our girls and leaders are so creative, it seems a waste not to share it with the world.

Its late now, so Ill just share a video I made the year I had Luke, and all three boys were at home. Have I told you about my families obsession with multimedia? We have a film festival every year and this was one of my entries. It didn't win.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

6 things

I don't love being tagged (although I love the Kelly that tagged me) but I think its going to be easy to tell you six things/habits about me that I haven't previously posted. I can think of 17 random things of today.

1. Ive spent 4 hours today on a 5 minute video clip for YW in excellence. I have to admit, its going to be worth it!!

2. I have 10 new words in my vocabulary, thanks to 2 hours of researching melanoma on the world wide web. I want to be an expert. Although I don't usually indulge like this, I do spend a lot of time thinking what I'm going to do with my life after this nightmare is over. Will I be a cancer nurse? Cancer photographer? Cancer health educator? Or will I go with something Ive never done? Ive always told Josh that I feel like I haven't hit my career yet. I don't know what its going to be.

3. I have a superpower, a 7th sense. Its really annoying. During the surgery on my leg they had to cut some nerves. I think some of them are growing back. You know that feeling in your stomach you get when you drive down a little hill kind of fast? I feel it in my leg (only stronger) when I panic, even before I panic. If Luke is dangerously jumping on the couch I have to grab my leg, "Luke, no! Please!" Every time he runs around a corner. "Ahhh!"
Lets just say I hope its not forever.

4. I signed a pact on my friend Camilles blog: "Just finished Eclipse. I would like to start a petition of readers who refuse to carry on with this stupid craze. If you will join me in your commitment to not read the 4th book (and any other additional ramblings of the same story over and over) please sign here." I could go on about my mixed feelings for these books. I'm relieved that now I cant keep reading.

5. My cat really bugs me sometimes. I just threw him off of me. This is new since cancer. I cant figure it out.

6. My kids and I like to remember the good old days. Sam told me today, "Mommy, remember when we could sit on both of your laps?"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

this part of my life is called......waiting.

Went to the Dr.s again today. The leg is looking better, but there is still a spot that won't drain. He said to give it a week and come back. I cant get into the oncologist till my leg is completely healed. This meant we had to cancel my moms tickets since its unlikely I will start the treatments too much before Thanksgiving.

I was really sad about how things are shaking down earlier today. Its hard to have no control! But tonight is the first night since Sunday I don't have a fever, so I'm feeling very happy. I have a long to do list that I can get started. It will feel so good to do something.

I have to tell you about a boy I saw on the news a couple years ago. His name was Mattie Stepanek. He was maybe 10 or 11 and had been suffering from a rare form of muscular dystrophy which killed his siblings. He was in a wheel chair, breathing with a trach tube-but he was so brilliant, and happy. Anyway he said something that I loved then, and that I need now.

When asked "Do you ever get angry or scared about your disease or dying?" He says, "I never question God. I might say, "Why me?" But then I say, "Why not me? Better me than a little baby, or a kid who doesn't have strength or support."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

medical update

So, Ive been waiting to get this stupid drain out of my leg so I can start the treatments. I was having three times the amount of fluid I needed to get it pulled. I started praying to get it out because my mom comes into town next week to help me while I'm on the drugs.

Bad idea.

Sunday during church I started to feel sick, and by 10:00 I had a fever, shakes, my leg was hot and red, and the drainage was disgusting. I called the Dr. ("Sorry to bug you, you just never know when your going to go septic overnight") and went to the ER. My blood pressure was down to 78/48. I felt so miserable, but after about 10 different drugs and IV antibiotics I was able to walk out to the car. They knew it was the drain, but were hoping the antibiotics would take care of the infection so I could keep it in a little longer.

Monday night I felt the same, only I was puking up any medicine I tried to take, so we got some anti nausea pills and I got comfortable. The whole time I kept wondering if this is what its going to feel like that first month of my treatments. I'm completely terrified.

This morning I still felt sick, and the redness hadn't gone away so they pulled the drain out. Josh now gets to stick a huge Q-tip up the path of the drain to keep it open until my body figures out where to put all this fluid. Not fun.

I see the Dr. on Thursday and we are going to get an appointment with the medical oncologist so as soon as my leg heals we can start the drugs.

Im wondering why in Heaven, if I looked at my list of trials, didnt I sweetly say "Cancer? thank you!"