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Friday, March 20, 2009

Applied For a Job Today

After I made my post feeling fairly upset about the potential changes things started to look a little brighter. It was odd really. I decided to look at our online classified ads not really expecting a whole lot. I found a part time receptionist job at a nearby Porsche dealership. Seriously...I could handle some secretarial work at a Porsche dealership. The hours weren't long and I'd still be home early enough to put the children to bed at night. It could make the difference up in what we'll lose. I am not holding onto too much hope because I do realize everyone is job hunting right now. Still, I think I have the right qualifications for this job so we'll see. I went in and told them I came about the job. They had me fill out an application and interviewed me then and there. They said they needed someone two days ago! I apparently was the only one who has applied. This is good for me. I used to work for a local newspaper. I don't know if I have ever mentioned that but I did before I had children. I was a typist. I edited a bit and I helped arrange the layout of the newspaper. I also had my own article each week in which I wrote a bit about the history of our town. All you history bloggers you might now realize why I enjoy your blogs so much! haha I was also a receptionist at a local Health Care Center in my late high school years. I feel I could do this job and still not lose much time with the family. I'm crossing my fingers.


It's been a tough week. I haven't really said much. I put a little on my other blog but basically the economy crisis has hit home. We have taken a pretty huge pay cut. We won't be seeing the effects of it for a couple of weeks but things are already very tight. I know for a fact we will not be able to afford to live. This is a fact. I have gone over so many possibilities and I have run out of ideas. We have bills that must be paid and we won't have the money to pay them. This is not counting my medical bills and all the tests and appointments I still have to have. Luckily we still have insurance but we have still have a lot of medical bills and a portion of each bill to pay. Not to mention my daughter's asthma meds and just so much stuff. I have been a little down this week trying to think of a solution to our troubles. I know everyone is having a rough time right now. I know it's not just us. That doesn't really make me feel any better. I hope this trouble ends soon because if it doesn't I really am at a loss to know what will happen. I'll try to be thankful my hubby still has a job. Regardless I am glad it's Friday. Hubby will be home with me and that always makes me feel better. I just want to relax and at least for awhile pretend like nothing is wrong!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What is Mesothelioma? And What is the Deal With the Ads?

I see a lot of advertisements on TV for lawyers helping those who have Mesothelioma. All I can really tell from these commercials is that it is caused by exposure to asbestos. I actually remember in my early high school days when we got the day off of school while they removed asbestos. I am assuming this was around the time they realized, hey this stuff is bad. Still I never really knew much about this cancer. I can actually really understand the anger involved when a person is diagnosed with it because most likely they were exposed while working or from what I hear you could get it from being exposed to another person who was around asbestos. I am not really sure how true that all is but according to Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.

That sounds pretty scary to me. According to their website it is still a relatively rare cancer even though there has been an increase in the past few years. What are the symptoms? They may not appear for 30 to 50 years after exposure. That sounds kind of scary and it's really hard to say you can do anything about it. We have all been exposed to things that are probably bad. I can't imagine how much lead my toys were covered in as a kid. Still, it's not going to give me cancer. Asbestos can. I have read it causes pain in the chest and shortness of breath. I experienced both of those with my cancer too, so my guess it's not easy to diagnose based on just those symptoms. There are other symptoms here:

I think what concerns me most is these ads screaming at you about suing whomever exposed you to the asbestos. I can understand finding yourself this ill and wanting to get legal representation. I absolutely have no problem with that. It's just the whole attitude of the commercials that bothers me. It's like they are announcing you won the lottery or something. They seem to be hoping you do have it. They yell like an infomercial would. This is just my opinion. I feel like they could make these ads a little more tasteful and somber. It after all is a serious situation and needing your medical bills payed is not a laughing matter. I know! Trust me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vitamin Water...Yes or No?

I have been addicted to something as long as I can remember. I can't seem to give it up no matter how hard I try. I know it's bad for me. What is it? Diet soda. (Or diet pop, whatever you call it.) Diet Pespi to be more precise. I never drink regular soda. I try to stay away from all the added sugar in those drinks. I could consume way too many in a day so it's just better for me to avoid them. I usually would have about 2 or 3 diet sodas a day. I know they have sodium and the carbonation isn't good.

I was always most concerned with artificial sweeteners. We all know saccharin has been seen to cause cancer in lab rats. That can be found in many sugarless gums too. I drink one or two cups of coffee per day and I put Equal in that. So what does this add up to? I don't drink much water. Yes it's bad! I am horrible about it. I honestly don't care for water. I force myself to drink it. I occasionally make myself feel nauseated drinking it. I know I should but it's not very appealing to me. So I decided to give these vitamin waters a shot.

When I was very sick and I felt tired and like I couldn't wake up they did seem to give me a little energy. I wonder now if it wasn't because of all the sugar in them. I hear they might be bad for you and that you can't even absorb most of the vitamins in these drinks. Here is the question I ask though. Before I drank this I rarely got more than one glass of water a day. It was mostly diet soda and coffee. They are both loaded with caffeine. I never drink an entire Vitamin Water at once. One bottle lasts me two meals. Or I sip on one bottle all day. Is it worse for me to be drinking the sugars? Or is it better because it does have water? I am not sure but my guess is I can consume some of these drinks but I should still probably try to drink more plain old tap water. I am trying to break bad habits but it's not easy. I grew up on soda. Now I feel like I need it. These vitamin waters are honestly the only thing that has helped me not have those urges. They are loaded with calories though, that I was not getting in the diet soda. What are your thoughts on Vitamin Water drinks?

Day to Day Life

I sometimes wonder if the little bit of worry will always be in my mind. Do I sit around all day and stress and worry about the cancer coming back? No. However there is not one day that goes by when I don't at least think about it a few times. It may be a fleeting thought but it's there. I knew during treatment that it would be more difficult after treatment was over. It's pretty common actually. Once you aren't seeing the doctors every single week and having everything monitored you feel almost abandoned. Now I am on my own to make sure I feel fine. I don't want to be paranoid and yet I don't want to let symptoms slip by like I did for years. What is a healthy amount of concern? I am not sure and after you go through this it's hard to know what is really normal anymore. I am thinking my upcoming scans may give me some serious peace of mind. I am really hoping for it. I happen to know my thyroid is seriously messed up though. I have a feeling I'll hear about it because I can feel the nodules in my neck. That's scary for a person who has had cancer in that area. The last thing you want to feel is a lump. The only good thing is they have been there for years and the doctors know it. But they are bigger. They are much bigger so I am wondering if we may not have to make a decision because it's uncomfortable and honestly my neck feels sore frequently. So hopefully we can get that taken care of and maybe just maybe I'll feel close to normal again!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day and More Birthdays! *edited to clarify it was my TWO oldest daughters birthdays...they share the same birthday!

'll be the first to admit, I have no idea what this holiday is truly about. It's something to do with a St. So I am guessing it's of Catholic origin. All I really know is that if you don't wear green, you might get pinched. My eyes are green so I feel I should be exempt from this rule.

Yesterday was my oldest daughter's 12th birthday. I cannot believe I have a daughter that old. It's the first time I think my daughter's age made ME seem older. Really I never thought twice about it. She's a great help around the house and especially with Gabriella. She is a little mother to her. I think it's such a great life lesson to be able to do all the things for her, such as diaper changing and bottle feeding. It's really nice to have a chance to learn that stuff. I did when I was 12. My parents gave me a new sister at that age as well.

That's not where it ends though. My second born turned 9 yesterday. So we had some friends over and served some cake and opened gifts. They had a really good time. We got Mikayla her first cell phone! It's a pay as you go kind of thing but oh boy does she feel all grown up. We had been so hesitant about the cell phone with our older daughter, but it's actually been really convenient. I like to always know I can get a hold of my girls. They like to play with the kids in the neighborhood a lot so I like them having a phone.

They had a good day and I snapped a few shots of the party. I thought I'd share of course. It's what I do! :)

Lexi and Neighbor Girl

Angel and Neighbor Girl 2
Mikayla with best friend

Mikayla waiting for cake!

And Gabriella with spaghetti all over her face!

Mom and Dad with Birthday Girl Mikayla

And Mom and Dad

Monday, March 16, 2009

Can You Have Chemotherapy While Pregnant?

The answer is yes! You will have people that say no way. You will hear all the terrible things that might possibly happen. Just stop. Breathe. It can be done. It is done much more often than anyone even realizes! The risks of chemotherapy in pregnancy are really mostly unknown. There are possible side effects but there is no study that has been done that can really prove anything for certain.

I read a lot of things that say you must terminate the pregnancy but this is not true. In the right hands you can be successfully treated while pregnant. If you cannot hold off on treatment during the pregnancy which is obviously the first choice, you just need to make sure you find the right oncologist who has some experience. Go to this website: Hope For Two, The Pregnant With Cancer Network. There are survivor stories on there. You can be paired up with a supporter going through the same thing as you. I was paired up with another woman who also had Hodgkin's Lymphoma while pregnant and had chemotherapy. Her daughter at the time was two years old. I cannot begin to tell you the hope it gave me. As my pregnancy progressed and my treatment continued I found more and more positive information out there about women who have been pregnant with cancer. You will get shock and surprise from people who think that you couldn't possible do this without harming the baby but it is done successfully all the time.

I just really want to spread this message because I cannot imagine following the advice of the specialist I saw who thought it was best for me to have a therapeutic abortion based on the unknowns. My life wasn't in danger and there really was no hard core evidence to show we had no hope. I realized we did have hope. In the end my conclusion was that I would fight for me and my baby. I allowed myself to accept the fact that she might not make it, but I knew I had to at least try. I would accept any problems she might have and I would deal with them and love her just as much. I realized quickly that she was doing just fine. She was growing and progressing normally with no trouble at all. I had some preterm contractions at my last two chemotherapy treatments. That is the most significant side effect I had during it all. Now my Gabriella is a healthy 15 month old baby girl.

The point of my blog was always to spread my message, our story. I still see some google searches coming through looking up information on cancer in pregnancy or statistics on this. I want women out there to realize there is absolutely hope. Your baby and YOU can make it through.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Appointment Rescheduled

Good or bad? I have said my stress level gets higher the closer to an appointment I get. I of course worry and get more concerned they'll find something. I don't think it helps much that I do have thyroid nodules in my neck. One you can actually see. I hate it. I do believe they cause some pressure in my throat that comes and goes. The bad part being, it's hard to know what is caused by the thyroid and what isn't. I don't want to assume anything. The pressure like I said isn't constant but on days when I am feeling it the what ifs haunt me. I think I'd like to have the nodules taken care of but my thyroid is still functioning normally. I am not really sure what they would do about those, if anything. The oncologists office called and rescheduled my appointment for May 7th. It had been set for April 24th. I was officially diagnosed around May 7th 2007. I had the biopsy surgery on May 4th that year and it took a few days for an official diagnosis because they had to send the sample to the Mayo Clinic. I am in some ways very much looking forward to this appointment because I am getting the CAT scan and the ECHO done. I want confirmation that everything is good so I can relax a bit. I have had no scans since the clear PET scan and it does make me a bit nervous. I feel this could be the peace of mind I have been searching for.