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Friday, March 6, 2009

She's a Cancer Survivor Too

I think even more than the cancer diagnosis the biggest fear for my husband and I was if I AND the baby could both make it through the whole thing. Right after the initial diagnosis, only 2 weeks after learning I was pregnant, I really did not have a whole lot of faith. I have miscarried before. How in the world did I expect this pregnancy to last? I was very sick. I could barely breathe, or eat. I didn't even know how I would make it, much less my baby.

I talked to a specialist who did suggest a therapeutic abortion. I had already done a little research and even talked to the nurses and doctors in the ICU after my biopsy surgery and had learned that it was showing that chemo was safer than once expected in pregnancy. It shows to be safest in the 2nd and third trimester. I had yet to find a terrible conclusion from chemo being used in pregnancy. I am not saying it does not happen. I am saying it's rare first of all to have to have chemo at all in pregnancy. Most will be able to put it off. If you can't put it off you can usually push it to the 2nd trimester after all the major organs and such have formed. The risks continue to drop. I couldn't wait. I started chemo at 10 weeks because otherwise I would have died. The specialist flat out said I would not last 3 weeks. That is scary news to hear, though I hadn't much doubt about it in the first place. Breathing was a chore and it hurt. I didn't know how I would last a day, much less weeks.

I asked this specialist if my life was at risk in any way by holding on to this pregnancy. I knew without a doubt that if I were to lose this baby it would suck the life right out of me. I would sink into a depression and it would hinder my chances of getting better. I've lost a baby before, but losing one in this way was too much. She was the only positive thing in this whole situation. Her answer was there was no risk to my life. She thought it was better for my emotional and mental status to not have to deal with a baby who might possibly by some chance have problems. They have no idea what problems there could be. I later read cleft palate and clubbed feet have been seen. I that all? Should I abort a baby because it has a higher risk of cleft palate? No! I knew it was never an option and I looked at her and said no, I cannot do that because even if I got better, I would not be better. I would never be better. We needed to go through this thinking of it as saving both of our lives. I felt my baby had just as much right to beat cancer as I did.

And we did. Other than chemo triggering some contractions at 30 weeks and 32 weeks I had no side effects related to the pregnancy. Gabriella came out at 36 weeks along, 6 lbs. 3 oz and 18 inches long. She was crying before she was all the way out. She was healthy from day one. She was perfect...and beautiful. She needed no NICU. She was strong...and beat that cancer just like her mom did. She will always know it. We are forever bound by this cancer and honestly Gabriella got me through it. Each day instead of thinking "Whoa is me, I have cancer", I thought "I have to get through this for my baby." She helped me to beat it. I had something happy to look forward to and her birth was literally a symbol of me getting better. A new beginning. New life. So this post is for my little survivor, Gabriella Faith.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Birthday Shopping

Hubby and I are going birthday shopping tonight. It's always an expensive time of year since our two oldest share a birthday. The one thing I have been expecting since my second oldest was born has begun. Lexi, who will be 12 no longer wants to have her party with Mikayla. I understand it. I have expected it and waited for it, though I had hoped maybe they would never care. See, to me? I think it's so special to share a birthday with your sister. Ok. Well, it is special to me because they are my babies and as far as I am concerned that day is special to me because twice I gave birth on that day. I was given two wonderful gifts! Now, they are of course at the perfect age to want their parties separate. We are going after school today to get presents for them and the girls think I am all excited about it. The truth?

I am excited about getting alone time with daddy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scan Coming Up In April

In some ways I am very excited and anxious about my CAT scan coming up in April. I mean, it could give me the peace of mind I have been seeking. I am glad my blood work has all been good. I am glad on paper I appear to be in remission...but it's a tiny bit nerve wracking to have had no other scans to prove it. Not to mention the occasional heart flutter I had. I am glad I'll get the ECHO to make sure that all the excess fluid that had been in there is gone. I am not so nervous right now because you see, I only get that way about 2 to 3 weeks right before my appointment. At this point my appointment is scheduled for April 24th. I am sure by then I'll be good and worked up and I'll absolutely need all the comments and thoughts I can get. It's hard to think sensibly when it's YOU going through it. It's nice to hear a voice of reason now and again. It's normal to be scared, I know. There is a healthy limit to that fear though and I think I definitely exceed that limit near my appointment times! I am not looking forward to that part.

I'd Like to Have a Normal Sore Throat and March Birthdays

I'm sure that topic would seriously confuse most but things seem so different for me since having Hodgkin's. I can't just feel a sore throat and that is all. No, not at all. My whole neck gets sore. I feel the lymph nodes under my jaw swell. I get an aching in the muscles in my neck. I have a pretty nasty cold right now. Yesterday I felt flu-ish and today I just want the sore throat/neck to go away. It's that time of year and if I have to "pay" for some warmer weather by catching a cold or two I guess I can deal with it.

March is a busy month for my family. We have 3 birthdays in one week. First up is my husband Jason who turns 35 on March 13th. I like to tease him because his birthday will be Friday the 13th and his name is Jason. I pretend to shriek in terror. Yes, I am silly like that.

Next up is my oldest daughter Lexi who was born March 16th, 1997. She will be 12! I can hardly believe it. She is as tall as I am now. I just love her to pieces. She helps out so much and did so much while I was sick. She is in the green shirt on the left.

Next up is Mikayla who turns 9 and who loving her big sister as much as she does, decided to be born on her birthday. She came into the world on March 16, 2000. Yep. Two birthdays on the exact same day 3 years apart.

And NO it was not planned. You wouldn't believe how many people ask me that. I'd never choose for my children to share a birthday but we do divide things up pretty fairly I think. I'll never forget the nurses at the hospital where I had Mikayla bringing my then 3 year old Lexi a little birthday cake to surprise her for spending her birthday at the hospital. It was so sweet!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My First Ever Blog Post ( I went the whole day with a typo in this title and never noticed it. Grrr!)

When I first started blogging it was *kind of* at the suggestion of my oncologist. Actually what they told me was to keep a diary. It was suggested to write down what I was thinking and feeling. My doctor said it would help me to deal with things. They very much worry about your mental state during this time, and how you will deal with it all. I am not much of a writer with a pencil. I have terrible handwriting. But I am an excellent typist so I figured I'll type it out. It started as a myspace blog because all of my family was on there. It was a great way to keep everyone updated. It wasn't enough for me though. I wanted to tell my story to the world as I dealt with it. The first few blog posts here to blogger were copy and pasted from myspace but once I caught up, all my posts really were made here. Here is a direct link to my very first post. It certainly brings back memories.

Monday, March 2, 2009

She Thinks It's Funny!

I am sitting here watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It is of course, a funny 80's movie. I enjoyed it but never thought Ferris was a very good friend. Poor Cameron! You have to watch it to know what I mean. For all those out there who HAVE seen the film, you'll appreciate this and if you haven't, well I still think you'll find this pretty amusing.

I am watching this here with my oldest daughter. She has never seen it. We are both sitting here and Gabbi is sitting on Lexi's lap just kind of playing with her little teddy bear. The scene comes when the crazy principle gets to Ferris's house and decides to sneak around trying to find a way in. Unfortunately there is a mean Doberman who doesn't like strangers. The dog proceeds to growl and bark and give chase. The second the dog first growled I heard Gabbi, my little innocent baby girl, giggle. I mean really giggle. I look at her and she is looking at the TV. The dog again growls and starts chasing the principle back and forth. Gabriella begins to literally crack up. She is laughing her head a Doberman chasing someone. Yes, my little girl finds it hilarious for a mean dog to chase someone trying to attack them. I haven't seen her crack up like that to anything. I am laughing now thinking about it. The movie isn't over yet. We still have to get to the part where the principle loses his shoe in the mud...and has to get past the dog. This should be good!

A Sore Throat and an Award

First of all, I have been feeling a scratchy throat coming on for some time now. Sore throats are so different for me now. I hate having any pain or pressure in my throat. When I am sick I can feel the lymph nodes swell. I think I am just much more in tune with that now. Most people would not think nor care about it but I guess I am not allowed that sort of pleasure any more. haha No, it doesn't really bother me. I just notice these things. It's who I am and I am really OK with it. I hate this sore throat though. It feels like I am trying to swallow a pine cone. I really need some relief. I drank some hot coffee and also took some ibuprofen. I have no tea or I'd drink some warm tea with honey and lemon. That sounds heavenly! If only I had it. Hopefully it won't be too long before this thing passes through and I am better again.

Now I want to thank Bill at My Piece of Paradise for this award.

I hadn't received the Perpetual Smiling Blogger award before and I kind of like the tag that comes along with it. Thanks so much Bill!!!

The Rules:

Copy the questions below. Simply use the first letter of your name/nickname as your answer for each questions. You can’t use any answer twice and don’t use your own name for questions # 3 & 4. After you’re done, tag 10 people.

1. What is your name? Sandi
2. A four letter word: star
3. A boy’s name : Stephen
4. A girl’s name : Susan
5. An occupation : Salesman
6. A color : Silver
7. Something you wear : Skirt
8. A type of food : Spaghetti
9. Something found in the bathroom : Sink
10. A place : Spain
11. A reason for being late : sick
12. Something you shout : Score!
13. A movie title : Sleepless in Seattle
14. Something you drink : Soda
15. A musical group : Skid Row
16. A street name : Sunset Boulevard
17. A type of car : Suburban
18. A song title: Stay
19. A verb : singing

I'm tagging a few people with this. Feel free to repost if you like, otherwise just enjoy the award. :)

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