I follow Today Parent on Facebook and an article came through my news feed last night that I felt like I had to read. It was titled, “What Happens When Someone Tells You That You Have Cancer“. My story isn’t that different than the one in that article. It’s not something that I will forget. I was a Mom and that was coming first. I couldn’t just go home and cry my eyes out and curl in a ball. I had to go home and take care of newborn child. I even had my daughter with me when I found out the news. My husband, daughter and I went home following the news from the doctor. She still needed to eat, her diaper changed and rocked.
Then I called my Mom and I told her that she needed to come over right away. I didn’t tell her over the phone but I imagine a lot was racing through her head, but I am sure “cancer” wasn’t something that she was thinking of. We told her what the doctor said and asked her to share the news with my Dad and Brother. I couldn’t bare sharing that news in person with them. It was hard enough having to tell my Mom something like this. I just kept picturing my daughter telling me that same news and how devastated I would’ve been. My Mom she was amazing though she held it together, she was my Mom and did everything I needed her to do as my Mom. We then made the trip to my in-laws to tell them the news. We stood in their kitchen, I was holding my daughter in my arms. I began by saying remember when the doctors were talking about the cyst they found during the c-section, well it came back as cancer. Sharing news like is never easy I will never forget those moments of watching you turn someones life upside down. I wish I was done having to tell people at that moment about the diagnosis but then you realize how many people are part of your life. There were still friends and colleagues that I needed to tell.
We went back home and this time I just slept and I slept. My husband took care of our daughter and I just slept. By sleeping I could dream of amazing things. I wasn’t having to deal with the reality that I had cancer and that I didn’t know how bad it could possibly be. Being awake was horrible to me, sleeping was what made everything better. However, I still needed to get up for night feedings for my daughter.
Thankfully the next morning at 8am my doctor gave me reassuring news that they had good margins from when my doctor removed the cyst from my ovary during the c-section. That night I had my scans done and by the following morning I knew that there was no cancer in me. I am thankful for my amazing doctors who worked on their day off and constantly reassured me everything was okay. I was fortunate enough that I only had to live two days thinking cancer was in me. I am thankful for the quick turnaround the hospital did in getting my insurance approved and my scans processed the same day. I know not everyone is so fortunate but I am very thankful for all the hard work that everyone put in for me that day. I know it goes beyond the doctors, I know it goes to the schedulers, the admin clerks, the processors, the technicians, the insurance claimers, who all worked very hard in a short period of time for me and my family. I am extremely thankful to all of you!
I never imagined in a million years that I would be so into running. Last night I went out for my first solo run. Neely was exhausted from an earlier play date and my daughter was already asleep. I changed into my running clothes, pulled my hair back, laced up my running shoes and put the headphones in. I stepped outside into the warm air, the music began blaring and my feet started to move along the pavement. As I hit the second turn in my run I realize that my speed is much fast than I had thought. I was planning on running two miles tonight, as I had ran one and half the night before with Neely. I look down at my watch and realize my pace. In my head I am thinking; “this can’t be right!” I am not winded, I don’t have blisters, my shins don’t burn, and I am actually picking up my pace. The music continues to fill my head. I am approaching the one mile mark and realize that I am running my first mile in eight minutes.”That can’t be right?” “When was the last time I ever did that!” As I continue on I start to feel the affects of my eight minute mile, my pace begins to slow down but it isn’t until the last quarter mile. I look down and I am still doing good time. I push myself. “I don’t need to run tomorrow so I can do this!” I hit the entrance to my driveway and I stop my running and begin to walk off the exhaustion. I look down at my watch. I finished my run in nineteen minutes. Not too bad for someone who only started running two and half months ago. I’ve never been so impressed with myself in regards to physical activity. I had no idea how great of shape I’ve gotten myself into. I look forward to my next run in a couple days!
I’ve been asked to speak Friday, May 5th at the Stowe Weekend of Hope. I’ve been asked to sit on the Young Cancer Survivor Panel. It is very similar to the speech I gave for UVM Medical Center this past Fall. Telling my story out load gets easier every time I say it and it helps me as well. I have many topics that I wouldn’t be opposed to talking about. It’s hard to narrow them down. One of those topics is my blog and how writing it has helped me through this journey.
One of the major things that has allowed me the opportunity to express my feelings is this blog. I never thought in a million years that I would be writing my feelings out load for all my friends and family to read. This blog gave me the outlet I needed to express my feelings. I wasn’t a person that was going to walk up to someone and say to them “I am having a bad day. I am anxious, nervous and frustrated.” I never wanted to bring up what I was going through. It didn’t want anyone’s sympathy and I didn’t want them to feel bad. I didn’t want to see that persons face when I said it them. Blogging gave me my outlet to tell everyone how I was feeling without having to see their reaction. It made difficult conversations easier.
Blogging has become my therapy. I hope to continue to share my journey through my blog. I have lots of fun stuff planned for this Summer that I can’t wait to write about and continue to share with all of you.
So some stats on where my blog has gone:
- To date I’ve had 1200+ hits to the blog
- 413 hits in the last month
- 181 hits to So Now What?
- 147 hits to One Year Ago
- 48 hits to Hiding Behind My Shirt
- Making those my top 3 post
I plan on continuing writing and I hope you will continue to read!
Last night one of my friends called to share with me very exciting news about her life. It made me so happy to part of her exciting news. Before she shared her exciting news she listened on the phone and let me talk about what I was currently struggling with my scans coming up. She was a true friend who followed up the phone call with let me know how you’re doing and please call me. I have some amazing friends out there. We’ve been friends for over ten years now, we’ve been college roommates and for the past 8 years have lived over 500 miles apart from each other. We have been through so much together, grad school, engagements, weddings, and job changes. All of these things are exciting, but we’ve also been through the tough stuff too. True friendship is when you can talk to someone and not judge each other and support each other. Friends are the ones who can lift you up when you really need it most.
I have so many great friends out there. My friends live far away, they live the next town over, they work with me, they play hockey with me, I’ve known them years and I’ve known them months. If you are part of my life then you are a friend to me and I value your friendship. You’ve all been there for me over the last year and half and I am so thankful to you. You are the ones who visited with me, delivered us meals, helped clean my house, called and texted me, and listened when I needed you to.
We all need great friends in life and I am so lucky to have some amazing friends out there.
Love to you all!! xoxo
2017 you make me nervous and excited, I have no idea what you will bring and this is new to me. 2016 was full of a lot of ups and downs. The downs were pretty big but the ups kept me going and put a smile on my face. Watching my daughter grow from a baby into a toddler was pretty amazing in 2016. I loved every adventure she brought us. However, 2016 started rocky for us. Seventeen days from now will mark my one year diagnosis day and well I am about a month away from scans.
My husband asked me last night what my new years resolution will be. At the time I had no idea what I wanted it to be. I’ve been doing some thinking on this. So my resolution this year is that I plan to share more and voice my feelings. I’ve learned this past year that it is okay to share how you are feeling. I don’t need to hide what I am going through. I’ve learned that sharing my story and feelings has only opened doors for many relationships I am in. People seem to be feel more comfortable around me and they don’t seem to be walking on egg shells. It is okay to talk to me about it, it is okay to ask me questions. So please bring it up, ask the questions and I will be happy to provide you with answers. I still have a lot of questions myself and I am still trying to figure out the answers but I will share that with you too. I am open book about my diagnosis now.
Some days I forgot about it and other days it feels like the day I got diagnosed. Mostly I can’t wait until February comes so I can just know from my scans. Why is it that some mornings on my commute it pops into my head and I think oh yeah I am a cancer survivor? Other days its like it never happened. Why can’t everyday be like it never happened? I know this will never go away and sometimes that just plain sucks!
Don’t get me wrong I am so thankful for my life and my outcome. However there are days where I feel like my innocence was stolen from me. I can’t live my life in worry over things I have no control over and this one thing I don’t have control over. It still scares the crap out of me sometimes. I have so much great things in my life that I don’t want to lose. I love my life, I love my family and I love my daughter and husband more than I could ever imagine.
So today is one of those hard days. Why is that? Is it the holidays?
Moments like these I look for things to distract me to get my mind going in a different direction. So I think it’s time to walk away and go look for something exciting and fun to occupy my mind.
I realized today that it was this day last year when I went in for my weekly prenatal doctors appointment. It was the second Thursday before Amelia was born. I remember them telling me that they wanted to induce me and well I started crying. (I am going to blame the hormones on this one.) So the doctor decided they were going to wait and that they would check me again on Monday. Well Monday arrived and I went to work that day. I went to my appointment only to be told that I no longer had a choice they needed to induce me. I had to go to work and wrap things up because I was done. However, thanks to the hospital and the influx in deliveries I never got to start my induction until Wednesday. I sat at home and watched Christmas movies for two days. I attempted to wrap gifts but with my large belly bump that was pretty much an impossible task.
I realized today how glad I am that I can easily move around my house doing some of my favorite holiday things. I am not struggling to bake cookies, wrapping gifts, decorating the house, putting up the outdoor lights.
Last year I was extremely pregnant and following delivery due the c-section I was limited in movement. Most of Christmas is a blur to me. Did I really host Christmas Eve dinner last year for twelve people? My daughter was less than two weeks old and I had just had a c-section and we managed to host both our families for the holidays. This year it should be a cake walk. Bring on the holidays!
I never throw out cards people send me. I put them in a basket on a bookcase. Well its my daughters new favorite thing to pull them out. So as I picked them up and put them away I found myself sitting on the floor reading them one by one. It started with thank you cards, birthday cards, bridal shower, leatherette cards and then I stumbled across the cards I had received from friends when I was going through my diagnosis and treatment. They were cards of inspiration and love. They were from family and friends near and far. I remember receiving them in the mail and the impact they had made on me. Now they mean so much more. It showed me the love my family and friends showed me. Who knew sending a simple card could mean so much to someone. Well it does. The few minutes at the store, followed by the few minutes writing in it and the cost of the stamp is so minimal to you but so great to the person receiving them. They mean so much the day you receive them but now they found new light and bring happiness and love to me. So when you have a second send a family member or friend a card. Its a little piece of love you area sending them.
Sharing my story on Facebook this time of the year was about all I have to be thankful for this year. I am not posting it looking for sympathy or attention. My hope is by posting this it will help someone else who might be fighting a battle. I also hope it will allow all of us to sit down and enjoy this time of the year. The time where we get to spend with our family and friends. Be thankful for this time. It can be difficult and easy to be caught up with everything and not sit back and enjoy it. I am thankful that in a few days I will get to see all my family and watch them smile, laugh and stuff their face with delicious food. So I ask you this year to slow life down, and appreciate the time you get to spend with each other. You never know when you might get that phone call and your life will be turned upside down.
Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends, I love you!!
My story starts before I received my diagnosis. It was Wednesday, December 9th, 2015. The doctor called me to tell me that they wanted me to come to the hospital, it was time to start labor. They wanted to start inducing me. I arrived with my husband at 1 pm that day. They started softening the cervix. We went through two doses of this. At around 10 pm that night the doctor came in and said that they were going to send me home; there were not enough beds in the hospital and that they needed room. Fifteen minutes later the doctor walked back in because my daughter heart rate had dropped. They need to keep me overnight and monitor us. The next day Thursday, December 10th they started inducing me with pitocin around noon. At 4:30 pm the doctor came in to break my water but wasn’t successful. Around 8 pm she was successful. At 10:30 pm I asked for an epidural, around midnight the doctor came in and administered the epidural. I reacted to the epidural with the itches and still managed to feel my contractions. This continued through the night. Around 9 am Friday, December 11th the doctor came in and explained to my husband and I that they needed to get me in for an emergency c-section. They said that I was preeclamptic and that my kidneys had started to go into kidney failure. They began preparing for my c-section. Around 1 pm I was rolled into the OR with my husband by my side. It wasn’t too much longer that my daughter was born at 1:57 pm.
During my c-section I remember the doctor was talking about how she found a cyst on my ovary. She didn’t think it was anything but that she was still going to send it to pathology. That moment right there saved my life….
Six weeks later on Tuesday, January 19th I received a voicemail from my doctor asking for me to come in the following day as they had made an appointment to discuss the pathology results. I missed the call that day because I was changing my daughters diaper. On Wednesday, January 20th my husband, daughter and I went to the doctors to hear the results. I never thought in a million years that the word “cancer” would be coming out of her mouth. She told me what she knew and that was it was called ovarian angiosarcorma and that it was very rare and aggressive cancer. She had schedule an appointment for me the following morning with an oncologist. Thursday, January 21st I went to my first doctors appointment. He gave me reassuring news that they thought based on the pathology test they didn’t think it had spread. Next step was getting a cat scan, that night I went back to the hospital and had my cat scan. On Friday, January 22nd I got the best news, there were no signs of cancer in me!
It wasn’t done there. The doctors still felt it was necessary to remove one of my ovaries and biopsy my lymph nodes to be safe. On Monday, February 15th I went to the hospital for outpatient surgery. My surgery went smoothly and everything came back negative and it took me about a week to recover from that surgery.
My battle has never ended since then. My story will always be part of me and now I deal with emotional part of being diagnosed with cancer.