Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

While it may not go down in history as my favorite Thanksgiving ever, I am still choosing to find things to be thankful for. Obviously I cannot list it all, but I will hit some highlights. Before experiencing something like this, I am not sure I ever really understood how people can be thankful when times are hard, but now I do. I am NOT thankful for cancer. It is a horrible, crappy disease and one I wish I had 0 experience with. I am choosing to see all the good that has come with the bad (which it has...worth it or not). 

I am SO UTTERLY thankful to not be in the hospital this Thanksgiving. If my schedule was even one week off it would have run us close, so I am extremely thankful that was not the case. 

I am thankful for time with my family. We have had a rough few years, but anytime we are all together is always my favorite. I wish we could all live down the street from each other! We always eat and laugh a lot...which I think is the best medicine. I am thankful they are making the long treck down here (dogs included) so we can all be together. We have 0 plans other than to cook, eat, and lounge! I cannot wait!

I am thankful to live in an area that is playing a large role in the cancer world. I completely trust my doctors 100%. I have recieved excellent care, basically in my own backyard and I do not for a second take that for granted. I am so thankful we have not had to travel for treatment and when I get to come home, I get to go home to my home! 

I am thankful for my nurses. They work SO hard and I hope they know how appreciated they are. Some truly go above and beyond their call of duty. I am going to miss them! A good nurse and tech seriously make my days at the hospital so much better! I hope they know how thankful I am for them everyday.

I am thankful that my treatment ends and ends SOON! Some people have chemo for years and years. I am also extremely thankful for my outcome. They throw the word "cure" around easily in the cancer world, and while no one knows what the future holds, I should be fine after this. I just gotta get to December 22!

I am thankful for the ability to complete my classes online. While I complain and procrastinate, I know it will be worth it in the long run to have these classes completed. Modern technology gets a bad rap sometimes, but I am extremely thankful for the opportunities it has provided me!

I am thankful for my friendships. This is one area where I have struggled recently, but I am thankful that my friends are sticking by my side as we work to get back to normal. And I know we will get there!

I am thankful for ALL OF YOU! The support these last almost 9 months has been incredible. I love seeing/hearing about everyone recieving their t-shirts! All the sweet comments, notes, etc make my day. I don't know how I or my family would have gotten through this without you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

I am thankful for Stanley. It sounds cheesy, but I honestly cannot picture going through this without him. Besides being absolutely adorable, he has the best personality. He provides so many laughs and snuggles...I am so thankful we found him when we did! 

I am thankful for the progress I have made in my recovery from surgery. Although not as fast as I expected, progress is progress. As a matter of fact, the last two days I haven't used my crutches at all! Even to go into the cancer center! I am so thankful they were able to replace the bone instead of some other terrible alternative. I will get back to where I was! It still looks a little funny when I walk, but I am happy with the progress! I am still not 100% pain free all of the time, but it is nothing like it was. I am thankful I am young and otherwise healthy, so healing is going well. 

I am thankful for my brother. This whole experience has not come without sacrifice on his part as well. He and I have always had a pretty good relationship, and this has made us closer I think. He never complains about literally anything. I know sometimes I get a lot of the attention and need a lot, but you will never hear him complain. He is shaping up to be an amazing person, and while I am sorry he had to experience this, I hope he too has learned somethings that will help him in his future endeavors. A little braggy moment, despite everything he has managed to apply to like 5 schools and has amazing grades (he is much better at school than I ever was!). And he always offers to help me with my math anc computer science homework which I appreciate! 

I am thankful for my dad. He has handled all the stuff with school which I can only imagine is a mess. He is always down to bring me a meal while in the hospital (because that food...still vile). Sometimes we buttheads, but I know he will always be there and just wants me to get better. He may not be the best cook, but he is the best at throwing stuff from the freezer in the oven ":). He will always run to the store if I get an random craving (which happens a decent amount thank you chemo). I know he will be thrilled when all this is over for me.

I am thankful for my mom. She always goes above and beyond for me. No matter how tired she is too, she never complains about helping me with whatever I need or getting me food. She spends every night in the hospital with me. She never leaves my side (good and bad ;) ), but will always come when I need her. She has definietly seen me at my worst and I am so thankful to have her as my mom. 

I am thankful that so far, I feel pretty good. Of course, chemo side effects take a few days to hit full force, but I am hoping I can at least get through tomorrow okay! 

I am thankful for long grocery lists because it means we have the money to buy delicious food to eat. I am thankful to have a comfy bed and clean PJs to wear. I am thankful for my Bath and Body Works room plug in that makes my room smell good and festive. I am thankful for blankets and a roof over my head, especially as it gets colder. I am thankful it is almost officially Christmas season. I am thankful for for an excess of warm and cute clothes. I am thankful candles and cozy nights in. I am just thankful for all the little things that sometimes go unnoticed. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that maybe you will share something you are thankful for! I try to reflect on on at least one thing a day. We all have so much to be thankful for, despite what we may be going through. Whether it be family, friends, or even just having food to eat and water to bathe in. And hey you aren't in the hospital! That right there is something to be thankful for! May you all have a lovely holiday, no matter what you are doing to celebrate!

Second to last outpatient chemo...check!

Yall just wait for my post holiday pictures....we got Stanley and his dog cousin Otto matching Thanksgiving sweaters. Obviously I had to try Stanley's on him...I can't help it!

Have a wonderul holiday no matter what you are doing or who you are spending it with! I am off to wrap a few things up before my cousins get here this afternoon! All the love...xoxo

Save the Date

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I have always been a person who remembers dates. The dates I remember aren't even always significant ones. I can remember the date of concerts I've been to, first days of school, and other random events. Chances are if I ever once knew your birthday, I still remember it.

Throughout this ordeal, there are obvious dates that stick out. March 16-D-day aka the worst day ever. April 27 was my first chemo treatment. August 18 was my surgery.

December 22.

The day I am scheduled to FINISH chemo.

I hesitated in even sharing this until it gets closer in fear of jinxing it, but then I realized I don't think I truly believe in that sort of thing anymore (not that I really did before...but you know what I mean).

My doctor's head nurse (she does the managing aspect of treatment, etc) came to visit me in the hospital last Wednesday. It was a total surprise, especially because she had been out of town (she literally got off the plane and came to the hospital to see me...she is awesome). We were not expecting her to show up!

So she comes in and sits down. I was trying to figure out why she would be here, but didn't think too much of it. She then goes "we need to talk about something" and I started to get worried. Those aren't exactly words I like to hear! I got nervous and she continued by saying "we need to talk about how we are gonna finish!". I think I smiled almost immediately out of pure relief and hearing the words "finish".

She wanted to know if I wanted to have my outpatient chemo, as scheduled, this week since it is Thanksgiving. While I appreciated the option (and I did consider both sides), I want to stay on track! She said she had a feeling I was going to pick to continue, so she wanted to come see me and make sure I was feeling well enough to.

I love Thanksgiving probably more than the average person, but I want to get to the end of chemo even more! I had another ECHO Friday and the previous issue that gave us a scare back in October has resolved itself and my number went back up (all good! really good!), so thankfully chemo will continue on schedule. This will be the first time I will only get the one drug, so my time there will be shorter and hopefully I won't feel as crappy. I figure the worst case scenario is that I will have to lay on the couch while everyone else bustles around the kitchen :). Either way, all my family will be together and that sounds like the best medicine for everything!

I know everyone wants to know exactly how much I left. This regimen is extremely confusing, so I will do my best. I will get outpatient chemo this week (the 23 and 24). I then have next week (the week of the 30) off to recuperate. I will be inpatient the week of the 7 for however many days and then again the week of the 14 for however many days. After that, I am DONE being inpatient! I will then get outpatient chemo the 21 and 22 and be DONE! Of course we are hoping nothing comes in and throws this schedule off because it sounds pretty dang good! I need to just make sure to stay away from any sickness and stay healthy.

The light is truly at the end of the tunnel! I am not going to lie, sometimes I am not able to see it that way. I still have quite a few chemo transfusions in my future. I still have 6-12 days in the hospital (total over the next two rounds...hopefully it is 6!). I still have four days of several hours at the chemo clinic. Plus, all the lovely side effects are still in my future, which is the worst part. So while things are wrapping up, it isn't over until it is really over. I know what I have left is nothing compared to what I have already done.

Backing up to my nurse visiting in the hospital (I will call her S), it was such a positive meeting. I am so very aware (especially in the hospital) that not everyone gets to have conversations like I do. She was asking me how I am going to celebrate being DONE. She kept saying how she will miss us because my visits will start to become more spread out and how next year at this time I will be celebrating a year being done. I am so very grateful to be hearing these things and I don't take that for granted for a second.

My nurse last week was saying that some people get continuous Methotrexate as in a 24 hour drip. Who knows how long it takes to clear those levels, but I imagine it isn't quick. She also said another regime requires the patient to eat/hold ice in their mouth for TWO hours! The nurses have to wake them up so they can eat ice for two hours. Some people also get chemo injected into their spine, which I can't imagine is comfy. Really a few days in the hospital isn't the worst thing in the world. I could not imagine having to spend 30+ days here. Some people do months and months of chemo only to be expected to relapse in the future. I keep those people in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you will too. Cancer is a seriously crappy disease (as if that needs to be said).

I apologize for my lack of posting here. I have actually written three posts, just haven't felt "right" (whatever that means) about posting them. I like what they have to say, so hopefully I can figure out when it feels right to post them.

I had my my three month follow up with my surgeon this morning. We spent more time waiting then we did with him! He walked in the room, said I looked great, and told me he would see me in a year. Yes, I have graduated to only seeing him once a year! He was amazed that I am able to bend and stretch my leg as well as I am (basically like normal). He said sometimes it takes people years and years to get back to that point. It made me happy to hear that! It is crazy to think that his office is where this whole mess started and today we walked out of there only to have to come once a year. I am forever grateful for him and all he has done for me...he is a great surgeon, but I am happy to only have to see him once a year :). 

I obviously have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I thought about trying to list it all (and I still may try), but that would be an extremely long list. Obviously good health is major, and I am thankful to be back in that (for the most part). If I have learned anything through this experience it is to not take your health for granted. My cousins are coming down (with their two dogs) and I am hoping chemo doesn't knock me down too much so I can still participate! I am just extremely excited for all of us to be together!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. No matter what you are going through, there is always something to be grateful for. All the love to you all this week! I am thankful for all of you!

Finally caught a sweet moment between the two of them!

More Ramblings

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy November! I am not one that likes to rush time by (especially this time of year--it is my favorite!), but I can't help but get excited when the month changes. We are getting closer and closer to the end of all this! 

I start to crave writing after I don't for awhile, but there really isn't much to say (which is a good thing!).

Things have been a little more stressful than usual around here. Nothing earth shattering, but enough to make 2015 not one of my favorite years (probably quite the understatement). 

In the midst of all the stress (which is easy to get sucked into), there has been some good things. The good things always seem to appear when you need them most!

First off, the success of the t-shirt campaign warms my heart! I am so so so thankful to everyone who has bought one. They should be delievered around Thanksgiving. If you haven't gotten one yet, you have FIVE more days so don't wait! Here is the link: I am so excited for them to get delievered! I hope you will all feel the love and gratitude I (and my family) have for you when you wear them. 

Also on a sidenote, be sure you are following my Facebook page I created! Updates and such are being posted there. You don't have to be friends with me on FB to like the page! I really regret not doing this all the way back in March! 

Today I was graciously gifted one of those fancy KitchenAid mixers. I was so surprisd! Pre-cancer me used to bake pretty regularly. I still love to bake, I just haven't recently. I honestly cannot remember the last time I did!! This is a great thing to have because it will require a lot less energy on my part! The mixer will do all the hard stuff, which is great considering my energy level is pretty low these days. It has inspired me to get back to baking! Plus the timing is great with the holidays coming up! My cousins and I have already been texting about what all we can bake! 

I don't even feel like "thank you" are the right words, but they are all I know to say! Somehow when this is all over, I will find a way to properly thank everyone! In the meantime, please know that every message, gift, thought, prayer, etc is all so appreciated. It may be 8 months later, but my gratitude for all the support has been constant. I am extremely lucky to have such kind and generous people in my life. 

I am hoping the next few weeks go quick! I love this time of year and I cannot wait for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my favorite! We have always celebrated with my cousins, but usually we go to them. This is the first year they are coming here! We haven't all been together in so long and I am SO excited. Even the dogs are coming so we will literally all be together. It cannot come soon enough!!

On a different note, I had a lot of people tell me to keep up with school as it will be a good distraction. Friends, school is still school and homework is still homework. It is hardly a distraction. It still stresses me out! My math class started a few weeks ago and guess what? I still hate math. I know I will be happy to have these classes out of the way in the future, but right now they are getting in the way of me watching Fixer Upper (which I have become completely obsessed with). I have more to say about school, but will save that for another post soon! 

I haven't been up to much! I had PT yesterday. I really cannot wait till I can go routinely. It is so hard to schedule now with chemo and everything. I am progressing despite not getting to go very often, which is good news. I still have quite a ways to go before I am back to normal, but everyone seems happy with my progress thus far. 

I am very thankful the nausea was extremely mild this last round! I had a few days of mouth pain, but nothing major ever developed. I have had a pretty decent appetite. I feel like I am eating so much, so I expect the scale to reflect that. I haven't gained anything, but stable is better than losing! I have been extra tired. They say chemo accumulates and I think I am really starting to feel that. Chemo fatigue is real! 

 I have a doctor's appointment Thursday then will be admitted for Methotrexate this coming Monday and the Monday after. I cleared pretty quick last time, so fingers crossed for a similar experience! One Direction's new CD comes out next Friday and I am really hoping I am home so I can go to the store and buy it! After these next two weeks, I will only have TWO inpatient chemos left! I will be so happy when they are done! 

I am hoping to get some errands done these next few days. I need to get some wintery hats and it has been too long since my last Target trip! I need to see all the fun holiday stuff that is out! 

I want to remind everyone who wants to visit, PLEASE make sure you are healthy and have not recently been sick or around sickness. My immune system is not what it used to be thanks to chemo and I really need to avoid sickness! I don't want any extra hospital stays or to get off schedule with chemo! We are in flu season and that is so the last thing  I need to catch! Even a simple cold could earn me a trip to the hospital, so please just remember this should we discuss a visit! I admit I have not really been up to visitors lately (see above about exhaustion). I go through spurts though, so please just make sure you talk to me or my mom first! 

Well, this was a long post about nothing, so I am going to sign off. Just trying to keep focusing on all the good and hoping everything else will work out! I hope everyone is having a good week and adjusting to the time change! I always feel like it should be Christmas as soon as the clocks change! I haven't listened to any holiday music yet, but I did just order a bunch of stuff from Bath and Body Works in my favorite scents (winter candy apple and vanilla bean noel), so music may be next :). 

As usual, here are some recent pictures!

That would be my leg in the middle there...glad the dogs were comfy ha!
This was his festive day shirt :)
Stanley was a dinosaur for Halloween! We ended up getting him some relaxer pills from the vet to prevent mass chaos with the doorbell ringing all night. I am not sure they even did any good! He is a crazy little dog and not much stops him! 

His cousins sent him a Jets shirt :)