Thursday, May 29, 2008

Counting Down

The numbers are falling. Since the last draw at 98, my levels have fallen again to the low number of 12!!!!!! By next week, I should be normal- at 5 or less and I'll be cancer free!!!!!! There will still be the 2 rounds of chemo as a precaution, and blood work to keep track and make sure everything stays down, but it is such a relief to be near the end. All last week, I kept a critical watch on my body for signs that the numbers were increasing, not because I want to keep this cancer, but because I wanted to be able to prepare myself in the event that my numbers were higher. There was so much in my mind riding on these numbers being less than 98 that I didn't want to let perspective get away from me in a sense. I wanted to prepare myself as best I could so that I could handle it, something I haven't been doing as well since the surgery.

I was able to start driving again Monday and I'll be going to church for the first time in weeks and I am so looking forward to it. Being in my church home gives me comfort and peace that I can't find any where else. The people there bringing God's message are essential in the strong foundation of my strength, as are the ones I am blessed to call friend. I look forward to having my faith recharged and getting myself back into the mind set of overcoming this cancer instead of giving into it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pregnant with Rainbows

Earlier today I received a post from the lady in charge of the life-changing website for molar pregnancies with some informative and disturbing news. She was contacted by a relief worker from South American who spends most of her time in rural parts of Peru with a request for information and aid in Spanish about molar pregnancies. It is believed in these male dominated cultures that a molar pregnancy is "punishment" for a woman's immoral behavior. It is believed that when a woman travels alone (I would think without a male escort be it a family member or their husbands) that they are then impregnated with a tumor from a "rainbow" as punishment for their actions!!! These tumors are removed from the woman by way of ritualistic and holistic healing and then ostracized from their group/tribe for their so called "behavior".

How many women reading this right now are outraged? I know I am! But not only that, I am heartbroken and saddened for what these women go through. Right now, every one of us who live in a democratic and free society should be thanking our God and our troops for everything that has been done and will be done so that we are able to educate and inform ourselves and others in the face of something like this. As women, we should be thanking all those who came before us, going against society's standards to stand up for women's rights so that we women can be where we are today, a cultured and informed group of strong females whose minds are open to not only learning new things, but open to understanding if not accepting what those in other countries believe.

My heart and my prayers go out to this relief worker who is working behind the scenes to inform and educate these women with modern knowledge against a myth that has been ingrained in them for generations, so that these women don't have to feel like such a failure for something that was out of their control. If anyone out there reading this blog had access to any pamphlets, articles, books, etc. in Spanish on molar pregnancies that can be donated to help these women, please respond to the COMMENTS link below and leave your information so that I may contact you and in turn get this woman the help she so desperately needs. Not only is she working to change these women, she is working to change a cultures very beliefs about a "pregnancy by rainbows" and in doing so may very well be risking her life and well being. Please add this unnamed woman to your prayer list and pray that if it's Gods Will that her words will fall on open ears and open heart and that angels will keep her safe on her journey.

It's hard to understand that a myth about such beautiful peace offering from our God is believed to be responsible for one of the most gut wrenching, terrible tragedies of a woman's life, so let's do all that we can to change this misconception. With the power of prayer and the healing of God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Some Great News

The days have been pretty calm and steady since my last post a few days ago. I'm healing well and the pain is minimal to non-existent. I'm getting around good and trying not to over do like the doctor ordered.

I went in Monday for my first post-op hcG level since the last one drawn on May 9, 2008. What a difference surgery and 10 days make. My levels are DOWN from 8090 to 98!!!! That's it, plain Ole' two digit 98!!!!!! Yeeeeaaaahhhhhh!!!! Go ahead and cry and shout with me, how awesome is Our God. This is the first time since I found out I was pregnant in November that my levels
have been in the double digits. I've still got to get to 5 and stay there for a year to be considered cured, but I'll take the 98!!!!!!!

I'll go back and see the doctor on June 11 and I should start the first of the last two chemo treatments just in case there's anything floating around in there that shouldn't be, but the chance of malignancies are small since the tumor didn't cross through the uterine lining and was kept contained. Let me here another , AMEN!!!!!!!

We all know God has His own time and His own plan, but it's just a little sweeter when His time mixes with ours!!!!!!

Thank you for all the prayers, well wishes, phone calls, cards, and meals that you've sent my way. It's taken a close to 6 months and a lot of lost blood to get us where we are, but it was 100 percent, totally worth it. And if I had too, knowing how much my God loves me and has blessed me through this journey, I do it again. My faith was strong, but it's become stronger. I'm grateful for each yell and scream the kids through at each other through out the day more than I was before. I've found that my patience level has increase and I'm not yelling as much these days. Whether it's from the stitches running approximately 7 inches across my lower abdomen or the fact that I don't see much use in it, I can't decide. But it sure does sound good.

Until next week, keep the prayers coming and thank God before you go to bed at night, He sure is good.

Friday, May 16, 2008

An Ode to Hair

I had a few silly moments this morning, I thought I'd post for everyone to enjoy. I think the biggest misconception about cancer is that you will lose all your hair, not true. There are many cancer patients who never lose a strand, or have just a slight thinning. But, there are those of us who experience a more than slight thinning and are driven crazy because we still have enough hair for two people. I am one of those people. Every day I think about shaving my head, to get ahead of the total loss that I expect to happen and never does. Count me lucky or blessed, but despite the shots, the IV treatments, and the surgery, I still don't fully feel like I've got cancer. Unbelievable but true. And as the Friday following my surgery dawns, I find myself in a new kind of war, to shave or not to shave. Besides the dull nagging pain that hovers just below the edge of needing to take a pain pill, I fight minute by minute in what I've come to call . . .
The Battle of Lost Hair!!!

Through out my time in the hospital, one thing besides the bleeding had come to bug me, the never ending picking of hair. Hair on the bedsheets, hair on my gown, hair on my pillow, and even hair caught in the sticky residue left behind from the removal of leads and tape. Running my hands through my hair and coming away with no less than 3-5 strands at a time, each time, and having to clean the brush head after each use is becoming annoying. As is finding my pony tail feeling smaller and smaller, yet looking in the mirror and not being able to see any spot or patches for the now vacated hair. Visions of shaving my head torment me from minute to minute, not because I'm scared of losing my hair but because I'm just tired of picking it like lint!!!! As I sit here thinking about my thinning situation, I find myself in a bit of a hairy mess and trying to put a positive spin on it. Something funny and humorous to keep me from pulling the rest of it out and hence, my. . . . . . .

Wavy, curly, straight or brown,
watch a strand fall to the ground.
Red or blond or maybe black,
when it's gone it grows right back.
Pick a strand here and there,
yet I still have much to spare.
Hair that comes and hair that goes,
when it leaves no one knows.
I fight the war to shave it bald,
to see it gone and stand enthralled.
A sight of baldness, crisp and clean,
to watch is take a special sheen.
Yet I'm in a place that's in between,
a bald head yet has not been seen.
A crowning glory worn up or down,
and yet another strand falls to the ground.
Mix of brown and of gray,
yet my gray is here to stay.
With all the brown falling down,
on my face you see a frown.
One strand here, one strand there,
one quick shave, I CAN be bare.
I'm told not yet, just wait and see,
you have plenty of hair for you and for me.
And there you have my ode to hair. Hope you all enjoy a little bit of silliness and a look into the trials and tribulation of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Scary Situation

It was a scary situation, but one we had planned for. . . I had started passing clots. The chance of an extreme hemorrhage, not far behind.

On Thursday, I had began to bleed slightly and continuing as usual, went about my business. I notified by chemo nurse Kelly and was told slight bleeding was fine, anything other than that was not. Everything was fine until Saturday, I had been cleaning house like crazy (a very big chore for me) trying to get ready by Sunday for Monday's surgery. I must have over done it, though I didn't do anything out of the ordinary, which did include, moving a few pieces of furniture around. Around 12:30 that afternoon, I felt something wasn't right and as I went into check, I was surprised to see I was passing a clot that as gross as it sounds resembled a bloody slug. It was approximately 1 inch by 5 inches and not a pretty sight. Knowing things could go bad quickly, I called Terry at work, told him I thought I was hemorrhaging and then called for the ambulance, as I felt more blood filling my pad.

Long story short, we made it to the ER and the bleeding while scary and unrelenting, wasn't life threatening, although an exam by the the on call attending for my doctor's group sent me to tears there was so much pain. Five hours later, I was put in the room I would stay in for the next few days. The plan was that they would monitor my blood levels, give me blood if needed, and continue with the surgery as planned on Monday. Luckily, I wouldn't need any blood and as God had His hand on me, my blood levels remained stable the entire time.

Sunday too was pretty eventful as that day was the day I had to prep for surgery. I'll skip all the gory details and leave you all with this. . . MAGNESIUM CITRATE . . . should be outlawed, it ranks right up there with the CT scan Contrast. Totally nasty. Yuuuuuck!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Set The Date

After meeting with the doctor yesterday, who once again confirmed my numbers had risen slightly from 6390 to 7022, we went ahead and set the date for the hysterectomy. It'll take place at UAB, Monday, May 12, 2008 around 8 in the morning. Because of the tumor like condition of the cancer and the fact that cancer cell fluid may be present in the tumor, the doctor will preform the hysterectomy by hand instead of by laparoscope which will enable him to make sure the tumor doesn't break or leak into my blood stream. Due to the type of incision needed, I be in the hospital roughly until Thursday afternoon. The hysterectomy is only scheduled to be a partial, unless my ovaries don't look so hot. If it happens that I need a full then I'll be started on hormone replacement right away. Terry is very thankful for this!

The next few posts will be once again few and far between as the healing process will take some time. I'll receive a few more chemo treatments in approximately 2-4 weeks and after that, I should be cancer free. I'll continue to have my levels checked for an entire year and every year when I have my yearly to keep an eye on my hcG levels. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Thank you to all of you who have been reading through this tough time with me. I never would have made it through without the best church family in the entire world, a loving family, and truly remarkable friends. Here's to God's Will, coming to understand it, and embracing it.

Many blessings, love to all, and I'll write to you soon.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What's Been Happening

There's been a lot going on these past few days and I haven't' had the chance to post anything. Here's what's been happening. We changed to IV treatments on April 15 and it's a good thing, my numbers had increased from 2909 to 4285 and the drawing the following week also showed an increase from 4285 to 6390. I've had to decide between taking an more intensive round of chemo that will require hospitalization or a hysterectomy. Terry and I decided the hysterectomy would be best for me and our family. With a disease that could regrow up to 3 years later, it will bring peace of mind knowing the "host" of the disease is gone and I won't have to worry in the future. A hysterectomy is a huge step, but one I believe God wants me to take. Like I posted earlier, I still believe that if God chooses to put a child in our life for us to bring into our family He will. Despite the fact I may not be able to carry another child in my body, there are other ways to add to our family if it's God's will. If not, we'll do our best to raise the ones we have right and give them everything we can.

Due to the second increase in numbers, it was important to rule out an metastasises and on Thursday, May 1 I underwent a CT scan of my brain, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Friday I got the all clear, the cancer has not spread beyond my abnormal uterus. The results from these tests were the answers to many prayers and I want to thank anyone and everyone who may have thought about me during this time and murmured a few words that were sent directly from your lips to Gods ears. Our God is truly wonderful and even if the results had come back far more different, I would still praise our God, all it would mean was that I had more to experience in my walk with Him so that I could be able to help others in a better way.

I want to give a big thank you to a few special women from my church family who took the time to come and give me a manicure and pedicure that made me feel loved and pampered. I had been looking forward to it all week and it didn't disappoint. I hope that one day I'll be able to return the blessing for someone else in need. It was truly the work of God that brought those women to my house Friday. I was able to share my joy at the results from my scan, but I know that had the results been different, those ladies would have been there to cry with me and to cheer me up as only the bond of Christian sisterhood can.

I've got another weekly blood draw this Monday and I see my doctor Tuesday just before my second treatment. I'm hoping to set a date for my hysterectomy and take another step closer to being able to say I am cancer free.