Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Month 3 of Chemo

Month 3 of Chemo! 

Well on Monday I started my third round of chemo.  We had to switch to a pharmacy that mails the meds in order for it to be covered by our insurance so I was nervous that I wouldn't get it until mid week but thankfully it came on Saturday so I will take the meds Monday - Friday this week.  I want to keep it that way because you can't have anything with calories after 6pm on the five days you take the chemo and it would stink to have to do that on the weekend.  Not the end of the world but I was hoping to keep on track with my Monday-Friday schedule.  For now we stay on track and I can still enjoy a beer on the weekend!  My first month of chemo was ROUGH.  I was SO tired I could barely function.  Month two was WAY easier even though my dosage was increased so we kind of figured this month would tell us more of how I would handle chemo for the remainder of the time.  I was hoping it would follow suit with the second month and so far it has.  It's only Wednesday but so far I feel pretty good.  Definitely tired but doing as good as I could expect.  I am able to keep up with the boys all day.  I even did baths tonight, the last two months by the end of the day I just didn't have much left in me but so far this week I am hanging in there.  

For some reason the weeks I take the meds I don't have much of an appetite, nothing ever sounds or looks good.  Jamie is getting annoyed with me having no opinion on what we should have for dinner.  :)  Not sure why he asks me anyways.  If I did have something in particular in mind he always chooses something else.  I decide on chicken, he makes pork.  I really shouldn't complain, he cooks 90% of the meals around here and he's a really GOOD cook.  I am the baker and I don't do much baking in the summer, more of a winter thing.  AND my wig burns when I use the stove, yeah the more I think about it the more I should just let Jamie rule the kitchen and cook whatever he wants.

Speaking of Jamie.... we had a great Father's Day this past weekend.  Had a really nice weekend, my dad came to visit us Saturday night before flying to Phoenix to see Abi, Jordan and Piper and then we were with Jamie's family on Sunday.  I know I mention Jamie a lot but I am SO beyond blessed to have him.   He is the best dad to Owen and Jacob.  They are both already little mini versions of him.  Well Jacob is a mini version of Jamie with my spunk (also know as attitude).  Don't they refer to those types of kids as "spirited".  They copy everything he does.  This past week he was teaching them how to start a charcoal grill.  So cute watching the two boys listen to him explain how to pile the charcoal.  The second the lawn mower starts they are outside picking up sticks to throw in the fire pit.  Jamie does most of the grocery shopping (because he LIKES to) and the boys love to go with him and help unload all the groceries.  Jamie can fix anything and the boys sit and watch and he explains all the tools and what he is doing.  I sometimes envy his patience with them.  Then I remind myself he is away from them at work all day so he SHOULD have patience for them.  :)  Here are a few photos from Father's Day.  I love and respect this guy more than I could ever describe in words.  

  Father's Day was the 15th which also marked the SIX month mark from when I had my seizure and was diagnosed with the brain tumor.  Hard to believe that six months ago our lives were forever changed.  In six months we went from going about our everyday life to learning I had a brain tumor, undergoing brain surgery, 6 weeks of daily radiation, weekly blood draws, countless doctor appointments and now chemo.  Not to mention a lot of stuff with Owen.  I remember when I was first diagnosed I was ready to take on the world, blogged every night, had so much to say.  Then the reality of treatment hits you.  It kind of consumes your life.  I was getting treatment, taking care of the kids, going to doctor appointments and just trying to make it through the day.  I kind of slowed down for a bit.  I am excited to say that I am finally getting back to my old self. Feeling more energetic.  Ready to inspire and make a difference.  I actually just spoke with Froedtert today.  I had brought up my idea for Random Acts of Kindness in my blogs a few months back.  Ideas of things we could do right at the Cancer Center to make a difference in peoples lives.  Froedtert has had some meetings to come up with a game plan and I will be meeting with them in July to discuss how we can put these ideas into ACTION!  I am really looking forward to working with a team to make a difference for patients at the Cancer Center, give support to those who need it, bring positivity, help those who are having a bad day.  I have said this before but there are so many people that are battling over there and SO many things we can do, even little things to help them along their journey!  Can't wait to get started.

And lastly.... ONE good thing about having a serious health issue.  When you ask your husband to meet you so he can snap some photos of you and the kids, he doesn't ask questions or complains...he comes and takes the photos.  Here are a few photos of my and my loves.  :)

Thank you so much for your love and support.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

MRI - Tumor is STABLE!

I want to thank everyone who wished me luck and prayed for me today as I went in for my second MRI to monitor my brain tumor.  I was surprisingly not too nervous.  Probably because this morning I was busy with the kids so I didn't even have much time to think about it.  Owen had his last day with the therapists that have been working with him for the last two years.  I cried dropping him off in the morning and cried even harder picking him up and hugging them all goodbye.  I am stopping over at the school on Friday to drop off their end of the year gifts but I just can't even explain how important they have been in both Owen's life and MINE.  Thankfully, Jen his amazing occupational therapist that has been with him for the last semester will be with him next year at his new school but Cathy, Emily and Pat who have been with him two straight years had their very last day with him today.  Now I am crying again.....  These three loved Owen like he was there own, pushed him to achieve his goals, got him back on track after seizure set backs, were there for him when he struggled to adjust after I got sick, were there for ME when I needed support.  They are the very reason Owen is going to thrive in kindergarten next year.  I hope they know how amazing they are and how thankful Jamie and I are that they came into our lives.

So after tearful hugs, I dropped the boys off at home and Jamie and I drove over to Froedtert.  Talk about a yucky rainy day.  I started with a blood draw and then had my MRI.  I was so nervous for the MRI because my last experience was not a good one, a total fluke with what happened but non the less I was really nervous about the contrast being put through my IV.  Thankfully today's MRI went really smoothly.  Karl over in the Pavillion radiation department was SO nice.  He got my head nice and snug, gave me a warm blanket, was so sweet to talk to and hand injected the contrast.  I was in and out in like 40 minutes tops.  Then Jamie and I made our way ALL the way back to the Cancer Center.  That place is like a maze, I am TERRIBLE with geography but somehow I can find my way through a hospital building like a pro.  :)

We had a short wait to see my doctor who immediately told us that the scans all looked great!  Tumor looks exactly the same as it did two months ago.  That's pretty much the best we can ask for, no new growth.  My blood work looked ok, my platelets dropped a bit but nothing alarming so onto month THREE of chemo!  Usually after my doctor appointment we just walk right down the hall to the pharmacy to grab the medication so I can start it Monday BUT my amazing (that was VERY sarcastic) insurance company decided that "for my convience" I now need to get it from a pharmacy that will mail it to me.  So now instead of meeting with my doctor and walking down the hall to get it NOW my doctor has to fax in the prescription, we have to wait 2-7 days for approval, then we need to arrange a time for them to deliver it to my house and I have to be physically present to accept delivery.  Now doesn't that sound more "convenient"?  So now instead of taking my pills Monday through Friday I will have to start them on Wednesday or Thursday when I finally get them.  I will have to take them over the weekend too which kind of sucks because you can't have any calories after 6pm which is kind of lame on a weekend.  BUT what can you do?  I could go on and on about the stupid insurance but I won't because I am just happy that my scans all looked good!

We have been having a great time lately with the boys too.  We had a few days of real "summer like" weather.  Now we are back to cold and rain.  This past weekend the church right by our house had a big festival.  It might be Owen's favorite weekend of the whole summer.  We get to walk to the festival and he rode a ton of rides.  On Saturday we had a big group over, the kids all played in our yard, we ate dinner here and then walked to the fair.  The kids had a blast at the fair and then we walked home and all the kids ran around the yard with flashlights and glow sticks and we started a movie and popcorn party at 9pm.  Just so fun to see the kids all together. We are so fortunate to have such a great group of friends.

My best friend from IL Liz even came up with her husband and their two cuties.  We became friends while running track in college, we don't see each other nearly enough but every time we get together but when we do actually see each it's just like old times.  

So again, I want to thank EVERYONE for all the love and support.  Sometimes I still feel like I am stuck in a Lifetime movie and can't believe how our life has changed.  Sometimes I feel like time is going so slow and other times I feel like it's flying by.  I can't believe that I am already on my third month of chemo.  I will be happy to be done with chemo and want it to go by quickly but I also want time to go by slowly so I can enjoy as much time with my boys as possible.  I am really looking forward to this summer, they are both at such a fun age and will keep me busy all day long but I wouldn't have it any other way.

As always here are some photos.

LOOK... I am getting hair... on the left side at least.  The right side is still pretty bald, I am REALLY hoping it grows back on the right side!  There are two pretty big scars though so it may not be too pretty.  Time will tell.  

Well that's all for tonight. I am EXHAUSTED.  Not sure what it is but days with doctors appointments just zap you.  Hoping to get some rest tonight. 

Thanks for the love!  Night!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

How I am REALLY doing.

I am back, haven't posted in nearly a month, I have been kind of quiet because things have been going pretty good around here AND because I just haven't been sure of how open I wanted to be about things anymore.  Things have changed so much since December.  When I was first diagnosed, I was so ready to take this on, had a big ambitions about sharing my story.. changing the world and then once you start treatment, radiation and now chemo it kind of takes over your life.   Doctors appointments, blood draws, medication to take daily, not feeling yourself.  I think I did pretty well through radiation and now the thought of chemo for a full year, maybe longer is tiring.  Add on top of that, about two months ago I was robbed at gunpoint in front of my kids (the incident that I talked about a few months back) I just wasn't sure how much I wanted to share.  I kind of just wanted to live in my house in a bubble with Jamie and the boys.  I think anybody that went through everything we have been through would probably feel the same.  

I kind of dreaded the first few times going out and seeing people.  Going to birthday parties knowing that people would be seeing me for the first time.  The awkwardness of wondering if they would be trying to see if they could tell I was wearing a wig, if they would talk about my health or just act like nothing was different.  When people did ask about my health I would always and still always just give the same generic response "I am hanging in there, tired but definitely hanging in there".  If you were lucky and I was in a good mood and not about to loose it crying I may have talked with you about more specifics of radiation or chemo but usually I feel I am two words away from a breakdown so I just go to my fool proof "hanging in there".  

The truth is I am "hanging in there" in fact I am doing better than that.  The hardest part is that I feel I always am trying to stay positive, there are just so many things everyday that lead me to thoughts I don't want to think.  I am constantly trying to keep my mind in a good spot.  For the most part I do really good, usually we are so busy with boys you hardly have time to think of anything else but little things just hit me right in the heart.  Mother's Day was hard, wondering how many Mother's Days I will have.  Seeing people post on Facebook photos of their grandmas, people posting about missing their moms that have passed away, seeing generations of mom's together.  Recently in Wisconsin there were two different car accidents in which a mom and dad were killed leaving behind their young kids.  Seeing people post about how they feel for the kids because they themselves lost their mom or dad when they were young and how they have no memories of them and how it was hard growing up with only one parent.  Seeing people post about anniversary's of their parents passing, people who lost their mom when they were in their early 20s and seeing how hard that was on them and how much that has affected them.  Then thinking to myself, is it better for your kids if you die while they are young so they just can move on and maybe not have memories of you or is it better for your kids if you die when they are in their 20s so they have you longer but your death might be so much harder on them?  And what about Jamie, what would be easier for him?  Ugh.....I just hate this.  I know the obvious answer is to keep doing what I am doing and keep kicking this tumor's ass and be around forever and that is my plan.  That is my mind set but I just have to keep focusing on that non stop to keep my mind there. 

I have numerous friends who are pregnant now, who are reading this right now I am sure! :)  I am SO happy for them.  We were done with two kids so it's not like I was really wanting more but I can't help but think they are still on the upswing of life and I am kind of on the downhill.  Not just my pregnant friends but most people around me.  Job promotions, new houses, etc it just seems like everyone around me is still enjoying life and that it's getting better and better and for me it's just about maintaining, if that makes sense?  This better not make anyone that I am close with feel weird about telling me exciting things going on in their lives because I am absolutely 100% happy for everyone around me, I am not jealous in any way but I just feel different.  Like I have peaked, I am over the hill.  

I hope this isn't coming off as that I am depressed because that is NOT the case.  I am just trying to open up about what it's really like in my head right now.  If you saw me you would know that I am doing really good, it's just that i have a lot going on in my head all the time.  Many of these thoughts above I have shared with no one, including Jamie because I don't think this way often.  It's just impossible NOT to think that way sometimes. 

BUT for the other 90% of my day I am doing great.  I feel really good.  The first month of chemo KICKED MY BUTT but this past month was not bad at all.  Hoping the rest of the months are as easy as this past month.  The boys are so cute right now.  They are actually playing with each other more and more every day.  They still fight a ton but to see them when they get along just melts my heart.  I feel like in the last 2 weeks I have really gotten back into the groove.  My patience seems to be back, I am back to keeping up with the boys, keeping them busy all day, having the energy to do fun spontaneous things with them.  I feel so much more like myself lately and that is amazing.  Owen has been extra adorable lately.  When he talks to me he is always smiling so big he can barely talk.  I can barely stand to listen to him because I just want to snuggle him!  Thankfully Owen is my snuggler.  He will still wake up from a nap and run into the family room and run right into my arms and sit on my lap and snuggle me.  Even though he's almost six and his legs are so long, he still fits so perfectly in my lap.  Jacob is so goofy these days and is talking a ton!  Anytime Owen isn't in the same room as him he will constantly say "where Owen".  I love hearing his little footsteps running around the house and when he comes into a room I am in he instantly says "hi mom" in the cutest little laugh.  I am so blessed to have those two little munchkins in my life. 

Jamie and I are doing good too.  Yesterday we went on a date to the Harbor House and had such a nice time.  Jamie, my hubby of VERY few words took time at the end of dinner to tell me how proud he is of me and how I am handling everything.  I cried and then we couldn't leave until I composed myself because we knew people that were sitting in the bar.  We planned to go mini golfing after dinner but I was too tired, maybe next time.  :)  We have our ten year anniversary in September and are trying to plan a small get away in August just the two of us.  We haven't been anywhere in SO long and I am pretty sure we deserve a few days away to relax. 

So that's that.  I blog that really shows how I am feeling.  I got a message from friend the other day.  Her husband had seen me and told her that I looked "really good and healthy".  That just made my day because that is how I feel.  So my battle continues on.  This week coming week I just need to go in for a blood draw and then on June 12th I go back in for my second MRI to see what the tumor looks like.  I am already kind of nervous for this, actually mostly nervous for the dye to go through my IV during the MRI since we had such issues with it last time but nervous obviously for the MRI results.  I feel confident though that it will be good news that everything still looks stable. 

So I will just keep chugging along, trying to keep up with my two loves!  Speaking of the boys (well including Jamie I have THREE loves) here are  few photos.

Thanks again to everyone for all the love and support!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Holy Crap - Was I TIRED!

Well I said I was going to try and post more often but I kind of slacked off.  I have been SO tired!!!!  So my last day of chemo pills was on Friday, April 25th.  I felt great all week that I was taking the pills and thought "great, this is going to be easy.  I am going to fly through this just like I did with radiation".  WRONG!  Fast forward to last Sunday and tiredness came over me so quickly.  It was like all of a sudden I was barely functioning.  I literally slept almost all day Sunday and Monday.  Since I was sleeping so much and had NO energy, I wasn't eating much.  Well that just led to dizzy spells and feeling even MORE tired and sluggish.  Last week was just plain rough.  When I was home alone with the kids I had to make sure I didn't sit down because if I sat down I could instantly fall asleep and I mean ASLEEP!  I have never been so tired before.  Poor Jamie would call every day at 2:30 to make sure I was awake and picking Owen up from school.  The tiredness really lasted for about 7 days.  Today is actually the first day that I feel I am on the upswing.  Feels so much better to have some energy.  I feel like a better mom and a better wife.  I had been feeling so bad for Jamie, he really stepped up this past week while I was so tired to help with the boys.  I was purely in survival mode to just make it through the day.  Here is some proof of my extreme tiredness.

Both boys playing iPads while I laid on the other couch and tried to take a quick nap.
 Jacob wanted cucumbers with his muffin for breakfast, no energy to fight him on it.  Well actually this took effort, I had to peel and cut up the cucumber too.
Owen looking annoyed and bored.  Also note, his pjs consist of pajama pants, matching Spider-Man socks and a totally unrelated Batman shirt that he wore for probably 72 hours straight.  

The one thing that I have been doing since I posted last is my photography.  For those that don't know me, photography is one of the things I LOVE more than anything.  Through all of this brain tumor/radiation/chemo my photography hobby has kind of taken a backseat.  Well I have gotten back into it and it's been such a great outlet for me.  I am really enjoying the challenge of it.  I had to get a new camera, NOT by choice but it has been a real challenge getting used to my new camera.  I was told the weeks following radiation that my mind might be slightly slower, I notice this when I read to Owen at night.  I am a pretty good reader (if I do say so myself) but lately I have been stumbling on my words a lot during the day I struggle to think of the right word or use the wrong words in sentences.  I was told to expect this because my body is SO tired and still fighting and recovering, not that my brain has been damaged.  So I am really enjoying the challenge of photography.  I have to do a million things at once.  The other weekend I was literally trying to get a 4 year old, Karter to sit in a small shaded area with perfect lighting (not an easy task to get a 4 year old to sit still), simultaneously setting the ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focus points, etc WHILE pretending to be stung by a bee to keep Karter's attention.

 It's a lot of focusing and a lot of coordinating a bunch of pieces of the puzzle together but then I get images like this THESE...  makes me SO happy that I still got it! 

Meet 4 Year Old Karter!  Could he be any cuter? 

Tired, still recovering from radiation, in the middle of chemo but my brain still pulls it all together to get some great shots!  I just can't even explain how good it feels for me to prove it to myself that my brain is still working like it was before.  Hoping to get out some time really soon with Owen and Jacob to get some updated photos of them. Maybe I could even convince Jamie to help us out with a little Mother's Day shoot this week.  Jamie just LOVES to help out with stuff like that.... do you sense my sarcasm? 

Well that's about it.  I am hoping my energy is even better tomorrow.  The boys are both at school so I plan to take a LONG nap!  Here are a few more recent photos of my boys just hanging out around the house.

Jacob LOVES legos.  So fun to watch him build things and then pretend play with the "trucks & diggers" that he has made.

Owen got new shoes and they are like MAN shoes!  They look like big boats!  How are we out of the toddler type shoes and into the BOY shoes! 

Cutie Pie

Apparently video games are really funny.

Owen put on a movie and they actually sat right next to each other and watched it.  This NEVER happens.

Brushing your teeth with your pants on is over rated! 

Love my Owen!

The only toys they need for a bath.  Woody and Hulk, both their favorite characters.  

Well that is all for tonight. Not too much else is new here.  I still don't have ANY signs of new hair growing back.  :(  They said it would take  3 months to start to grow back, guess I was hoping it might be sooner.  I will just keep on waiting and constantly touching my head wondering if what I feel is hair or just dry scalp.  It's always just dry scalp.  :)

 Hope everyone has an amazing Mother's Day this weekend.


Monday, April 28, 2014

First week of chemo pills is DONE!

I haven't posted in awhile, sorry i haven't updated!  Part of the reason I haven't posted lately is because I used to post as it was therapeutic to me. To be able to write out my emotions and get it all out.  Lately I have mentally been feeling really good so I kind of felt like writing a blog was just a reminder that I had crap going on in my life.  My days have been good, it is all just normal life.  Chemo pills mixed in and feeling a bit tired but I just didn't feel the need to sit down and vent if that makes sense.  BUT I also know that I have a army of support that is looking for updates... my family included.  My mom and sister have made numerous comments that I need to email or blog so they know what the heck is going on... SO here it is. :)

My first month of chemo pills are already over!  I took them Monday through Friday last week. Now I have 23 days off and then I will start again with another five pills on May 19th if all my blood work looks okay. I always refer to it as "oral" chemo which is just a term we made up because I always mispronounce the real name Temodar. I guess when you see the letters in front of you it's easy but just talking about it without seeing the word I can never remember so ORAL chemo is the official name.  :)  The first week went well.  Honestly the hardest part was that I couldn't eat after 6pm.  Not a huge deal, I just ate an early dinner but it's so habit to just go and scout through the pantry after the kids are in bed. Numerous times I had something in my hand and had to put it back. It's only five days a month though so I am pretty sure I can handle it even if Jamie is eating ice cream at 10pm while we watch tv.  He always asks permission before he brings food in.  

Dorky photo of me and my last pill of month 1

So I actually felt pretty good the whole time.  Yesterday I was really tired and took a four hour nap which felt amazing and then this evening I started feeling really crumby.  Nauseous and dizzy, assuming that is from the chemo but who knows.  Nothing terrible just a few dizzy spells and an overall feeling of yucky.  Going to get some blood work done tomorrow.  Hopefully everything looks okay.  I have to have it done every week, this isn't something special I am doing because of how I felt. 

So other than that, it's just normal life.  Went to Target and Trader Joe's today with Jacob.  He insisted on pushing his OWN cart at Trader Joe's and unloading all the stuff at the register.  I am sure he was glad Owen wasn't there so he could do it himself. 

Jacob has turned into a little stinker lately, as if he wasn't before.  Owen will hide our iPad mini in his pajama drawer so Jacob won't get it and lately if Jacob is at school or downtown stairs he will come up to me and say "where Owen" and when I tell him he is downstairs or at school he will run to his room and grab the iPad and hide and play it and then he is always sure to put it back in Owen's drawer so Owen doesn't know.  Sneaky... very sneaky!  I better not be finding water in our vodka bottles in 15 years Mr. Jacob!

Jacob has always been Mr. Independent and today he has decided that he no longer wants to be set in the car seat, usually I just carry him to the car and set him in and buckle him.  Well as of today he needs to be set down outside the car so he can climb into the car himself, climb in the car seat and buckle himself.  He is unable to buckle himself but does NOT want help.  So I literally need to tack on another 10 minutes to anywhere we need to go and then listen to him scream after I finally lose patience and buckle him up myself.  ALSO.. tonight I was in the kitchen cleaning up and him and Owen were playing downstairs when all of a sudden I hear Jacob yelling POTTY and I went downstairs and he was standing on the bathroom with the toilet seat up and his pants down!  I set him on there and he peed!  WHAT?!  It was a TEENY TINY amount but he did that all on his own.  He was VERY happy with his "elmo" (M&M) reward.  

Owen has been a really good listener lately and I can tell that he is really making an effort to talk nicer to Jacob and be a good big brother.  He has his kindergarten assesement on Friday.  How is he going to be in kingergarten?!  I am totally THAT parent that still needs to turn in registration papers.  Whoops!  We are still trying to figure out why his speech is so on one day and so off the next.  He has been really tired lately so we are really trying to get him to bed early.  On days he doesn't have school he has been napping for 3-4 hours!  Poor guy.

Well that's it for now.  Thank you everyone that has been thinking of us.  We appreciate the support.  Thanks to Christy for the super yummy dinner too! 

Hopefully I will keep posting, even if it's just our everyday boring life.  Here's to hoping for warm, DRY weather sometime SOON!

Jamie isn't going to be happy that I posted this, he thinks he looks like Lurch.  :)  At least everyone is looking at the camera.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MRI Results

Sorry I didn't get on last night to update and give details on my day yesterday.  I was exhausted by the time we got home.  I was still so tired today but luckily the boys took long naps which means I got a nice nap too! 

SO... yesterday was my big MRI, the last MRI we did was before I started radiation so this would show us what my brain tumor looked liked AFTER 6 weeks of radiation.  I was really dreading this a few days ago because last week was just plain bad.  I thought I had already dealt with enough crap but last week really put me over the edge and put me in a really bad place emotionally.  I had been doing so great, I was so positive through everything since I was diagnosed back in December then in a quick 5 second incident last week my entire world was flipped upside down and I was left really wondering why this was all happening to me, what the purpose was, what the message was.  I don't go to church as often as I should but I know that God is still looking over me and it just didn't make sense that he would allow me to have to endure so much.  I really felt like I was being kicked down over and over and being told to just stay down.

I had some of my lowest moments in the last week but again I received so many messages of encouragement and support from everyone.  Everywhere I turned I couldn't help but think that I have too many people rooting for me to let myself stay in this funk. Then on Tuesday night it was like a sense of calm came over me.  Like all of a sudden I was back to the old me.  I felt my positivity come back, my optimism.  It was all back.  So I went to bed Tuesday with a feeling that Wednesday would be bringing good news.. I had to be getting good news.... I was LONG overdue for good news! 

So Wednesday we got to Froedtert just before 10am.  I had a blood draw at 10, my MRI at 11 and then we met with one of my doctors at noon and the other at 1pm.  Jamie came with me.  He is so busy with work but makes such an effort to be there for me every step of the way.  So he actually brought all his work with with him and set up at a table inside the Cancer Clinic to work while I was running around.  My blood draw was obviously quick so I met back up with Jamie.  A little before 11 we were going to head to my MRI but Jamie took a phone call for work so I told him that I would go check in and text him where I was.  I went up to the MRI department at the Cancer Clinic like I was told to do but they told me my MRI was moved to Froedtert so I had to walk all the way into the hospital.  It wasn't the biggest deal in the world but I am so used to the Cancer building, that is kind of what I was mentally prepared for.  I know lots of people there, everyone is so happy and fun it just has a much different feel that Froedtert.  Anyways, I got checked in and had to change and wait in a women's waiting room so I texted Jamie to just stay where he was and keep working.  My MRI would only be 30 minutes and it would probably take him that long to walk over and find where I was.  

I waited in the women's waiting room until someone came in and got me.  I laid on the MRI table and was all prepped for the imaging.  When you are having an MRI done of your head you have to keep your hear really still so they pad all around your head with foam cushions so you couldn't move even if you wanted to and then a big cage like thing goes over your face and then everyone leaves the room and you get pulled into the machine.  For some reason, as soon as the table started pulling me into the machine, I started tearing up.  It was totally unexpected and I felt like such a dork.  You can't move so the tears were just running down my face and pooling into my ears which had little rubber ear plugs in them.  I kept telling myself to pull it together so that I wasn't all red and puffy when I came out of the machine.  Well all of a sudden the table was coming out of the machine, it had only been like 2 or 3 minutes, I was still crying and now they would all see me.  They said the machine wasn't working right and swapped out a cord and shipped me back in.  Another 2 or 3 minutes and I was coming back out again.  I had to actually get up off the table and they had to swap out all sorts of stuff.  If anyone noticed I was crying, they were nice enough not to bring it up.  So once they had the machine all fixed, I laid back down, they got me some new warm blankets and back in I went.  

About 2/3 of the way through I get contrast through an IV.  They always announce to you when the contrast is coming, right after they told me they were starting contrast I could feel that my arm was all wet.  I hit the button to let them know I though the contrast leaked all over my arm so OUT of the machine I came AGAIN for the third time.  I was right, something was wrong somewhere in my IV and the contrast leaked out.  So they tightened everything up, flushed it with saline to make sure it was working and sent me back in.  They immediately announced the contrast was coming and I immediately let them know it was all over my arm again.  So I was pulled out for a fourth time!  They flushed the IV again with saline and it worked so they figured maybe it was something with the pump that power injects the contrast so they hooked up the pump and started it to have the contrast go in.  I immediately winced and screamed.  It felt like three tennis balls were being blown up my vein at about 100 miles an hour!  It was TERRIBLE.  It hurt and I was so freaked out that my vein was going blow up.  It did this two more times before they decided to just hand inject the contrast through my IV.  They were all SO nice about it but it was the worst MRI ever, usually you just lay there and try and nap through the noise of it all.  Now I will forever be freaked out when the contrast goes in at all future MRIs!  So FINALLY I was done, they said my doctor had called down to see where I was and that she would still see me.  I was confused until I went and got my phone to see it was 12:45!!!  My MRI was supposed to be done at 11:30 and I was supposed to meet my doctor at 12.  Poor Jamie was freaked out wondering what was taking so long and thinking that if something had happened, no one even knew he was in the building. 

I texted Jamie that I was done and to just meet me in the waiting area for my neuro oncologist.  We got in to see her right away and she gave us the GREAT news that my tumor was STABLE!!!!  She said it actually might even be a little bit smaller!  This was really the best news we could have hoped for.  We got to see images of the tumor from January compared to the ones from yesterday and it definitely looked a little smaller to us as well.  Then we talked about chemo, she let us know our prescription was ready to be picked up right at Froedtert and that I could start it right away or wait until Monday and just enjoy Easter.  We decided to wait until Monday, so on Monday I will officially start my year long journey with chemo.  It was kind of freaky, they were telling us how I have to be SO careful the days I am taking it to make sure no one else is exposed to it.  The chemo kind of works it's way through your body and eventually some of it comes out.  It doesn't come out through saliva or sweat but does come out other ways so you have to be really cautious that no one else in your household is exposed to it when it comes out.  Like after I go to the bathroom, I need to make sure I flush TWICE with the lid down, after I take my pill IMMEDIATELY wash my hands in case any tiny little flecks of it were to be on my hand so that Jamie and the boys aren't ever exposed to any of it.  Obviously they are being overly cautious about it but it still seems weird to me that we have to be so careful about maybe a teeny tiny fleck of it being on my hand that Jamie could touch and yet I am swallowing pills full of it.  It was a little bit of a reality check on just how real this is but I know it's what I need.

Then we got to meet with my radiation oncologist.  She also agreed that my tumor looked slightly smaller.  We got to thank her for her amazing radiation plan that she did for me.  She is so funny and always told me that I had the Rolls Royce of radiation, a newer treatment that they just started using about a year ago that is more effective.  I got to see all the other gals up there in the radiation department too!  So nice to see so many familiar faces!  It made my day and I gave lot of hugs.  Natalie if you are reading this... i am bummed you weren't there but I will stop by next time I am there!

So that is my update!  Chemo starts on Monday and hopefully it keeps this brain tumor in check for a long LONG time!  Although I felt really tired today, I also felt really nice, knowing that radiation was effective, that my tumor isn't growing, that I am in a better place emotionally.  I am not sure what the big plan is for me, I still think, as probably lots of people would agree, that I have been given more to deal with in the last few months than most people would deal with in a lifetime BUT I can't help but continue to stay positive and optimistic.  Yesterday was good news, it's got to the start of something, a new beginning with lots of good things ahead.  Owen had been doing AMAZING lately, talking like he has never talked before, jumping and doing physical things he couldn't do before.  Owen and Jacob played together for a good hour, talking, laughing, being brother and friends.  This doesn't usually happen, I stopped cleaning my kitchen and just peeked my head around the corner to just watch them interact.  It made my heart swoon.  How can I be sad and depressed when I have so many great things in my life.  How can I let the terrible actions of two people last week affect my way of looking at everyone and everything around me?  I have SO many good people surrounding me, filling me with love and support.  I have seen so many people step up to help our family, there is just no way that I can let ALL that good be overshadowed by one bad incident.  That's not who I am.... a person who dwells on the bad stuff.  Bad stuff happens, that's life...I get over it and move forward.  I CHOSE to look for the good, even in really bad situations.  That's what make me... me.  Yes, I have down days and days where I cry non stop but I always pick myself back up and get back to life.  That's what I want my kids to remember about me, to learn from me.  That sometimes life isn't easy, sometimes it just plain sucks but you have to get up everyday and live life. This brain tumor isn't going to define me, being physically assaulted last week isn't going to define me.  Both of these things have definitely had a life long effect on me but they don't define me by any means.  I am a strong woman, I look out for others, try to find the good in every situation, work hard to inspire and motivate others... that is who I was before and that is who I will always be and that is why I am beating this tumor!

Again, I can't thank everyone enough for all the support.  I had so many messages and texts yesterday cheering me on.  Thanks to my mom for watching the boys, thanks to Erin for the amazing purple tulips that were at my house yesterday when we got home, thanks to everyone for all the encouragement.  A special thanks to Jamie.  We went out to dinner last night to celebrate our good news and we got on the conversation of our honeymoon and then laughed about how young we were and how we didn't have a care in the world.  Then I thought about how much I loved him when we were first married, not knowing that I could love him even more than that... BUT I love him a MILLION times more today than I did when we were married almost 10 years ago.  He has been the most amazing person to have stand by me through all of this.  Being with me for every doctor appointment I ask him to be at even if it means he will be working until 1 or 2 in the morning that night to catch up with work.  He has been such a rock for our family.  When I am having a bad day emotionally or physically he checks in with me all day long, comes home as soon as he can and makes dinner and does everything with the boys.  I would definitely be a mess without him.  My favorite part of today was walking back from the park with the boys, they were both on their bikes and Jamie pulled up right next to us surprising both boys who both yelled "DADDY!"  It's obvious they love him just as much as I do.

Well off to watch a little tv before heading to bed.  Thanks for all the love!

This was a LONG post.  I will end with some photos of my cuties from last summer.