One day in Walmart, the boys saw a map and HAD to have it. Usually, I don't give into their impulses because they want EVERYTHING but I figured it could be useful in teaching them geography and I hoped it could lead to discussion about different cultures and people around the world. I didn't expect the wanderlust a map on our wall would plant in me. Before the whole cancer thing and before having kids, I loved to travel. I had big goals and high hopes. I would search books and the internet looking for my next andventure. Seven years ago, priorities changed and the crazy adventures were forgotten in the basement somwhere. Together, Jeff and I were off on new adventures. Sleepless nights and doctors appointments were our new life. Of course, things are always changing and always will but for the last few months, ever since I put a map on out wall, I have found a spark. Thinking about new crazy andventures has been exciting. Archer looks at the map with so much ambition and I want to teach my boys that dreams are meant to be lived, not slept through. This winter was a perfect oppertunity for us to live a dream and California was at the top of the list. I heared so many amazing things about San Diego and the boys couldn't stop talking about Legoland. So, we took Archer out of school for 5 weeks and headed out on the ultimate California vacation. Here is a 5 minute snapshot into our adventure!
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Even thought it has been a year since chemo, I feel like the appointment will never really stop. We will always make trips to see specialists and over time, new doctors pop up. After meeting with the endocrinologist about getting jeff taken off of one of his medications, she felt the need to send him for an ultrasound of his testicals. The type of cancer Jeff was diagnosed with is a germ cell cancer which means if it were to spread, the most likely place it would go is the reproductive organs. The endocrinologist quickly informed us that a 1cm mass was found during the ultrasound and we were refured to a Urologist. I feel like we received news that would devostate any ordinary person but it was just another phone call in our world of cancer. I did have a hard time thinking about the future, and again had to scale back. It was a long week before meeting with the urologist to see what he had to say. On November 24th we went into Edmonton and received news I didn't even think was a possibility. There are no indicators in Jeff's blood work of cancer, the mass is too small to feel, AND the blood flow to the mass is limited. These are all very good indications that this mass could be cystic and not cancer. I guess after 6 years I have come to expect the worst but it feels kind of nice to be wrong this time. Jeff still has another ultrasound this month to make sure nothing has changed in terms of size or density of the mass but we are crossing our fingers that everything will stay the same. Even after this scare, I do still stand behind what I said about cancer being nothing for us to fear. Although I had many questions about our future, I never once felt afraid that it could beat us. We got this. Now to make it through an MRI, neuro opthamologist, ultrasound, and urologist appointment before Christmas.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
The last 6 years have been such a blur and sometimes I honestly don't even remember how truly hard it was until I go back and read things I have written. That's when I remember, it all comes rushing back to me and I put it away until the day I can read it without the memory stabbing me in the chest. But, reading it also helps me to see how far we have come. It makes me grateful for the pieces that are starting to fit back into place and for the first time in our cancer journey, I am checking cancer off the list of things we need to fear (which still includes bears, large dogs, and future daughter-in-laws). There is always a chance the cancer will return and spread but it doesn't have the same power over us that it used to. Looking back on how hard our journey was, even though it still hurts to remember, has given me the power and streangth to know we can do anything. I would never be so daring as to say I am happy to have gone through the events of the last 6 years, but I wouldn't change the things I have learned from it for the world. If I was given the opportunity to go back and take it all away, if it meant I would have to take what I learned away too, I wouldn't do it. (I had to hold my breath while I was writing that because I sure as hell wouldn't want to go through it again). But come on, I got to sing this song to Jeff the other day and actually mean it! 🎤Did you know, me and you, must be fireproof with all the hell that we've been through. 🎤.
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Jeff was hit hard during his chemo journey and the results from recent scans weren't what we were hoping for. The size of Jeff's tumor hasn't changed since the day they started chemo. The team has consulted and more consultation needs to be done with Jeff's previous neurosurgeon but for the moment, no further treatment is required. They will closely monitor Jeff with MRIs every 3 months and keep his IV port in (just in case). The hope is that chemo has killed the tissue, even if it didn't shrink, and stopped the growth. Jeff is improving each week with some days better than others. He has been more awake the last few days and has even been able to watch the kids for a few hours in the evening so that I can get out.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Jeff started cycle 2 of treatments in Edmonton which gave us a little mini vacation! We got a hotel for 3 days and the kids and Jeff's family came down for a few days to spend time at the waterpark and play. Jeff of course had to be at chemo the whole day but he was able to find the energy to come out for dinner with the whole family.
On the second day of Jeff's 3 day chemo treatment, Jeff developed a tremor in this hand. It was significant enough that he wasn't able to eat fruit salad with a spoon and writing was difficult. The Drs were able to give him a medication which helped for a few days. On the Thursday after we got home, Jeff's medicine wasn't working and he was having a hard time sleeping because his tremoring hand would wake him up. We decided we better have a doctor look at him to make sure nothing big was happening. The doctor did a CT scan and found the results to be consistent will earlier scans and set our minds at ease. We assume the tremors are side effects of the chemo drugs he was given and hope they go away once chemo is finished.
Jeff had his mid chemo MRI and met with the Doctor last week. It turns out, the cough he has had didn't come from the cold that was circling our house. One of the chemotherapy drugs Jeff had been receiving was actually causing damage in his lungs. The doctor immediately discontinued that specific drug from Jeff's chemo cycle meaning he no longer has to go once a week. Now, Jeff has 3 days of chemo at the beginning of his 21 day cycle and then nothing until the next cycle. That means I can count on one hand how many times we have to go back for chemo treatments!
Jeff's MRI results come back consistent with earlier scans. His tumor hasn't shrunk the way we would have hoped but the doctors are hopeful they have stopped its growth. Jeff will have another MRI in March and will be followed closely after that.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
We are waiting in bonnyville for the last day of Jeff's first cycle! The first cycle has been good so far. A few little bumps have come up along the way but nothing too crazy. Last week we found out Jeff's sodium was low, so the doctors added another medication to keep those levels up. This week, his neutrophil level is 0.0 which means he has no bacterial infection fighting ability at all and will be started on a prophylactic round of antibiotics. The port incision has healed nicely and his hair is still intact! Jeff's next round will start Monday next week and will take place in Edmonton. Only 2 more rounds to go.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
After the first night, the nurses and doctors were very helpful and got Jeff feeling better. He hasn't thrown up since the first night and he is feeling alright. He is incredibly tired and not super stable on his feet but looking forward to a weekend of relaxing and resting.
Getting poked for iv's and bloodwork never bothers Jeff but apparently he has super tricky veins. Day 1 he got poked 3 times and day 2 he got poked twice. That was when Jeff's nurse talked to the dr about getting a central line put in. Since Jeff's drugs go in intravenously and he has 5 days of chemo in a 21 day cycle, it would be hard on his veins to get poked 2 or 3 times every time. Things worked out in his favour and Jeff was able to get his central line put in before we came home. It is called a power port and everything is completely under his skin. He has a few staples right now and a lump just below his clavicle on the right side but it is a relief to know they won't have to go digging around in his arms any more. They will be able to use the port for his next treatment which will be in bonnyville!