Monday, August 20, 2012

A year ago...

This was me a year ago.  It breaks my heart to look at BUT I have come so far, and learned so much.  Even if we are still in the throws of this.

I can honestly say that I feel good!  I feel better than I have felt in the past three years.  I feel strong and like I am somewhat who I used to be, but changed.

I have lost 40 pounds since last November and I still want to loose another 20.  That way I will be in a better BMI as I am still "overweight".  I just want to feel healthy in all aspects of my life.  And if I never loose that "last 5 pounds" WHO CARES!!!  I am alive.

I am really learning to love and cherish each day as the moment we are in is the only guarantee that we are here. 

I feel that I am back on my feet again.  Yes, I am anxious for yet another scan, but this one is Thermography.  So there is no radiation and it just shows up "hot spots" in your body.  No extra radiation is a total plus!!  I am living life "normally" once again, like I seem to do after every test result.  I am not going to lie though, it has been harder on me this time than any other to get our last results.  I have totally stepped up my game though and am doing everything in my power to finally make up some ground.

I can't thank you enough for your continued prayers and ask that you still keep us in them.  Prayer is such a great blessing.  It is so nice to know we are loved enough to be prayed for every single day.  Even if you forget - someone else is praying for us, and that means the world.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Highlights.

W - He is growing up so fast.  And you know what?  I love it.  I makes me feel like I am not missing anything.  He has been so helpful and sweet.  The other day he folded ALL the laundry and vacuumed the upstairs for me.  He has had a lot of fun with K and C.  He usually spends most of the morning playing MINECRAFT which is fine with me because I get to sleep in.  Then  he like to get in a good dose of Harry Potter on the Xbox.  Judge all you want about all the electronic time - I am just glad that I can take it easy.  He is getting so tall and he is very excited about saving his money for his own computer... (that's not gonna happen!)  Today he asked me if we could buy some lemonade so he could sell it for $2.00 a glass.  He is all about making money.  It's really cute.  He keeps bugging me to make a chore chart so he can earn even more.  He has done amazing with being in the water this year.  He even went off the big diving board at Fairmont.  AND he rode in the tube yesterday at the lake.  All very big feats for this little big man.  I just love him!

K - She ran into a truck on her mini dirt bike.  The guy was on his phone and cut the corner in our subdivision and was on the right side of the road when he should have been on the left.  Ken was watching as she was coming up the street but she couldn't stop in time.  He had stopped his truck and she ran right into it.  She did have her helmet on but got a pretty big goose egg on her head and had a few bruises on her tummy.  We felt so bad.  But, in true K style, she was a trooper and I don't think it really bothered her too badly.  She has also become quite the swimmer.  She had no fear in Fairmont and took off the big diving board like a champ.  She also went in the tube yesterday at the lake but screamed her head off the whole time which was freaking W out a little.  She is constantly drawing me pictures and writing me notes and inventing things in her bedroom with C.  It usually turns out to be a huge mess but I am glad she is using her imagination.

C - He got a bungee cord in his eye.  (MC don't read this I don't want you to get queasy!  Plus you already heard it once. :))  We got home from Reno on a Saturday and I was bad and told Ken I wanted to skip Church on Sunday because I was so tired and we had so much to do.  So we did.  C and K were playing in the basement when all of a sudden we heard this blood curdling scream  (to which Ken and I did nothing because our kids always start a cry like that even if they just stub their toe - SO ANNOYING!!!).  Then we heard K say, "You wait right here I'll go get Mom and Dad!"  We jumped up and ran down the stairs, K was able to tell us what had happened so Ken was prepared, not me.  BARF!!!  C was standing down there when I got there and Ken asked me to hang onto him so he could take it out.  I said "NO WAY" and went a little crazy telling W and K to come over to the neighbours because we had to get C to the hospital.  I couldn't find the keys so our friend drove Ken and C to the big H.  Ken said on the way he finally relaxed and it just slipped out.  It was making the skin poke out below his eye, that is how he knew it wasn't in C's eye.  Still, to gross for me.  W told us, "If we actually went to Church today none of this would have happened."  He was right!  C also loves the water and keeps asking when he gets to go in swimming lessons again.  A few funny things he has said as of late are:

Ken took the kids on a walk through a tunnel in Trail after Chruch one afternoon while waiting for me to stop chatting.  C was running down the ramp and said, "I sure hope their'th  no thpiderth or Indianth down here."  (I am not trying to be offensive - he has seen Peter Pan)  The inside of the tunnel is kind of corrugated looking and he stopped and looked around a few times and said, "Thith ith a can?!"  Ken just about lost it.

Last night when we were watching a movie he said out of nowhere, "I wish I wath Santa becauthe he can make any toy out of a tree."  It was so cute.

All in all it  has been great so far and I am excited we still have a few  more weeks to go without having to get back into any routine.  We have all been up late almost every night and it's been really nice to spend time together as a family.  Not going to lie though, some nights I just wish they would pass out at 7.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ups and downs... I think they are normal??!

Today has been one of those days.  Like I said earlier, it's been a little harder to pull ourselves out of this slump this time.  I don't know if Ken would want me to blog about this but I am going to anyways.

We have been thinking a lot lately and not in a very positive way.  Ken is of the mind frame that we better do the things that we have always wanted to do now so that if  "something happens" (we all know what that is - I die) then we won't have any regrets.  This has been really hard for me because I don't want to do anything "special" "just in case".  I just want to keep on living like there is nothing really going on.

Well reality this past week has not allowed either one of us to do so.  I have been just sick with negativity and wondering what else I could possibly do to turn things around.  I know I am not a write off yet.  No one has given me a time frame and I don't ever want one.  But it just seems impossible since our last results.

Like my Mom said, we were just so hopeful that everything would have completely turned around that it was a total shock when the news came.  On a side note, I did go back and look up my PET scan and they lymph node was 12.5mm's but is now 2.3cm's but our Dr said it wasn't noted on my last CT but it was on the PET - I know I am rambling, but I was glad to know that it wasn't something like 2mm's and has grown really quickly.  Although still quicker than I had hoped, but not as bad as I was thinking.  So back to Mom's train of thought, ya, I was completely crushed when we got the results.  But again, like our Oncologist in Reno said, he was alarmed by anything and to just keep up on my maintenance like we had discussed.

I was at the end of my rope today with the dog and I told Ken he had to go (the dog of course) and I was sorry, I knew the kids would be sad but I was ready to take him to the SPCA.  I broke the news to the kids and their little hearts broke - well not Carson's, we was excited to get a bunny instead.  I may have slipped that in there...

Ken came into our room (I was hiding because I was upset/annoyed at how "attached" everyone was to the dog and I just want to make my life easier.... turns out I am not the only one involved in this shite storm) and we finally talked. 

Ken told me he couldn't break their little hearts like that.  he said, "I see how sad they are about getting rid of the dog, well, what if in three months I have to tell them that their Mommy is going to die.  What will that do to them?  Then they won't have their puppy anymore; and he makes them feel better when they are sad, and then they are going to have to deal with you.  I honestly don't know how I would handle all of that."  My heart, like many times before, shattered at the seriousness of our situation.  It broke into unrecognizable pieces for my husband and my children and my family.

Ya, I know "life goes on".  I know it get "easier".  I know everyone "will be ok".  But honestly, that is no consolation to me right now.  I don't know if it ever is for anyone.

I know I have to be patient and wait for the next scan.  Our lives are broken up into three months at a time where everything is "normal" and then all hell breaks loose again.  We have to recover from that and get back to "normal" and the prepare for hell again... all whilst trying to put on for the kids like nothing is even happening. 

It is getting exhausting.  And like Ken explained it today, it's like he has been told 4 times that his wife is dying.  Oh the pain in his heart that he keeps all locked up.  I can't even imagine.

Having vomited all that out - I still can't even process giving up.  I can see why people do eventually, but I am so far from that and I am terrified that I will ever be to that point.  As hard as it is, and trust me when I say it feels impossible right now, I can picture my life, with my family, when my kids are teens around an island in the kitchen, being silly with their friends and me laughing along with them... not that I would understand their jokes because I would be "old"... maybe I am laughing because I am just so happy that I got to that point and see them at that stage.  I don't know. 

It is painful for me to plan for an uncertain future, as all of ours is, but I can't give up the "dream" that I had for our life has a husband and wife and a mother and father.  I want to be here.  I need to be here.  I just want to be a part of their lives, actively and in person.

A new song! Music is amazing.

After a pretty great weekend (hung out with my Mom and Dad with our family, did yard work and most importantly - celebrated Ken's 30th birthday!!!), but dark weekend (very emmotional and sad... I could cry at almost any thought that entered my mind, and let me tell you, they weren't good thoughts.  More or less another 1,000 "what if's" to add to my life.  You would think I would be done crying about the "what if's" but seriously, there is apparently an endless list.).

 So I looked up the words to this song and am adopting them into my life.  I loved this band when I was in high school and so I instantly like this song.  It's upbeat and I love the lyrics!

If the video doesn't pop up you might have to click on the link.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Getting my brave on.

Last night proved to be a little harder than I thought it would be.  Despair was surrounding me and the faint smile had been slapped off my face.  Sometimes they way reality is presented is a little off.  That is what I am going to choose to believe anyways.

There are certain words and phrases I HATE.  I mean that.  I hate them.  I hate the words palliative, hospice, quickly, sooner rather than later, aggressive... there are more.  Of course if you were saying to me, "We better get to DQ sooner rather than later." I probably won't hate that.  But in the context of cancer - I despise these words.

So of course last night I was re-playing some of the words that were used during a conversation that I had had.  And they swirled and swirled around like a sick, black tar that stuck to everything... including my spirit.  I didn't sleep well.  I was in prayer/pleading with my Heavenly Father for most of the night. 

Finally my little man crawled into bed beside me and this 30 pound piece of reality settled my heart and I finally fell asleep.

When I awoke, I couldn't shake the feelings of despair that I was drowning in.  Usually in the morning I am ok.  Usually I have a re-gained focus and life goes on but I am a little more aware of the things I need to be doing.  Such was not the case.  I spoke to Ken.  Didn't help.  Called my Mom back.  Didn't help.  Talked to my Sis... same feelings.  I finally called the clinic back.

R (bless her heart) calmed me a little, telling me not to panic or cry.  That it would all be ok.  She put me right through to "Dr." as she calls him.  I love it!

Anyways, I tried not to cry to "Dr" and he started to talk to me about my results.  He said that the last scans results were as of April 12th.  So there was almost two months that had gone by before I even started treatment.  Then the last scan was from the past two months.  Like he explained that this wasn't really an accurate way to tell if everything was working or not because I didn't have a scan right before I went down for treatment.  He said that my next scan will be the one that we are anxious to see.  I completely agreed with him.  He said he wasn't alarmed and calmly told me I need not panic.  Do we need a little reminder here that he has been an oncologist for 40 years!  Yes, board certified... not just, "studied a lot of cancer patients", he's an actual oncologist.

He explained to me, like he has before, that you can't chase stage 4 cancer with a scalpel or a radiation beam.  He reassured me that I was doing well and told me to keep up with my maintenance protocol like I am doing.  He said that my counts were good and that I was to keep on doing the chemo.

Like he told me when we were in Reno, they have a blueprint of what will work best for me, and if what I am on currently isn't the best, they can switch it up and we can work from there.  I also brought up the fact that he as said that even if your tumors don't go away, many people live many years healthy with STABLE disease.  He said, "And Geneva, that is when you have to shift your mind set to living with a chronic illness." 

He, once again, let me know I could call him anytime.

When I got off the phone I felt the blackness slipping away from my body.  I felt that I could breath and that once again, hope shone as bright as it did before. 

Although it took me a bit to jump out of this slump, I have.  I think I would be great at hurdles.  I really do!  I have faith in my doctor and his knowledge to heal me.  I have faith in my body to do what it needs to do to keep me alive and healthy.  I have faith in my Heavenly Father and his ability to whisper to me what is right.  I feel what I am doing is right.  And I am happy with that.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I used to write poetry all the time...

The person you remember.

I don’t want to be the one you remember,
I want to be alive.
I don’t want to watch the ones I love from afar,
I want to feel them thrive.

I don’t want to be a passing memory,
The one who slipped away.
I want to be here, on this Earth!
And live to my oldest days.

I want to watch my children grow,
I want to watch them try,
I want to be here when life gets hard...
And be here when they cry.

I want to hold my husband’s hands,
And feel them age between my own.
I want to look back on our life,
See how we’ve tried, failed, changed and grown.

I don’t want to be the one who made you laugh,
Who could brighten up your day.
I want to put my arms around you and tell you -
"Everything will be ok."

Finding that silver lining.

I should have posted yesterday when I was feeling good and great about life.  But instead, I waited and now you get slightly depressing Geneva.  Sorry!!

Yesterday I had another CT.  This one was of my chest, abdomen and pelvis.  The results of this CT we were really excited about getting.

Let's just rip the band aid off.  The lymph node has grown in size to 2.3 ms.  Not very happy about that.  Not at all.  Needless to say, I have been quite saddened by this news.  I'll get back on my feet tomorrow.

What I am trying to focus on and keep a smile on my face with, is the rest of the news.

The nodule in my lungs has only grown to 19mm's.  It was 15mm's after my PET scan in April.  So since then it has only grown 4mm's.  Ken brought me an amazing perspective that I didn't have before we received the news.  There was a month gap between my last PET scan and when I actually went to Reno and started treatments.  So like Ken said, it had a whole month to grow again in size - STILL slower than it was growing from my first CT in January to my one in March.  Remember we went from 4.3mm's - 14mm's in just three months.  So for it to only have grown 5mm's in the following three months - that is pretty good... Well, I am thinking that anyways.

My blood work all came back great as well as the scan of the rest of the body parts they checked out.  Meaning, my liver, spleen, reproductive organs and bones - all fine.

The Dr from here was saying that it isn't great news and that we should really get on top of this while we still can.  I still feel that I am doing what I should be doing, and I believe in the treatment I am getting, so I am sticking with that.  Although they are quick to point out that whatever I did in Reno isn't/didn't work, I am not of the same mind.

When I went to tell Ken today, he hugged me and told me he is still here with me and he will get me through this.  Whatever that is, he will be here.  He will hold my hand and pull me along... especially when I have that hopeless feeling, which is only natural, but I won't keep that feeling for long.

Although, I have had quite a few tears today, mostly all of the what if's in life... I really can't explain how hard it is to look at my little ones and wonder the what if's.  Just looking at them and watching them makes me want to cry uncontrollably... BUT I have to trust in my Father's plan for me and my family.  Whatever his plan is.

Tomorrow I will find my ground to stand on... again.  And keep going.