Day 177: November 13th, Sunday

Well hello there 🙂

It would seem that I’m due for an update, hmm? Where to start… did I tell y’all about Georgia? Yes? So I still need to tell you about Arkansas. It’s a state in the union that’s presided over by Trump (there’s my Republican dig lol) But in all seriousness, the appointment went really well; all good news. I was so incredibly nervous between the MRI and seeing Krisht for the results that I had to take a Xanax, and then I was super doped up lol. I had sincerely convinced myself that all the tumor had come back and that I was going to have to be re-admitted to the hospital. I told Krisht this, and he said, “no 🙂 but well readmit you because we like you so much!” lol I politely declined. And he said I was looking really well. He tested my balance and walking and those were all good as well. We got to stay the first night there with our good friends Taylor and Tyler, the next night at Brandon’s grandparent’s house, ate a lot of good food and visited with his uncle Bruce, his cousin Wade and his wife Sydney and their daughter Addison, who is our flower girl. We also visited with wades younger brother, Noah, and Brandon’s parents. Then we went to the appointment on Monday, had lunch with Brandon’s other set of grandparents, and stayed with our friends Randi and Kyle. We played Cards Against Humanity and had loads of fun. We flew back the next morning which made everything a lot less stressful. Thank goodness for safe flights, good friends, and good family. Brandon and I are so blessed to have people who take care of us so well. And I’m so lucky to have a husband who cares for me so well. And such a loving Lord. I can’t forget to give all glory to God – he gives me all the blessings anyways.

 

Physical therapy is going very well so is occupational therapy. Everything is just trucking along nicely. My hand and tremors continue to improve as I taper down the steroid. 


Yesterday I was thrown the most beautiful bridal shower by my aunts and female cousins and my one of my bridesmaids. It was so much fun and i really enjoyed getting to visit with everyone. Brandon and I received so many wonderful gifts and we couldn’t be more thankful. Truly, I loved it. I wouldn’t trade yesterday for anything. 

Tomorrow I am to get my blood drawn again to check on the usuals – I’ll catch you up when I get the results. 

The doggies are shedding their summer coats and getting their winter coats, which means an excess of dog hair on everything. Daddy’s and Nathanael’s birthdays are next week and then thanksgiving!!!:))))

This past Friday, I had my hair and makeup trial. It really made me feel pretty again and was such a welcome change. I am looking forward to the wedding even more now. That same day, I went to see a doctor for acupuncture. Let me make this incredibly clear – I do not enjoy acupuncture. If you know me at all, you know one of my biggest fears is anything involving needles. I had needles in my toes, in my feet, my shins, my arms, hands, ears, cheeks, eyebrows, forehead, and top of my head. Surprisingly, nothing hurt except one needle in my right foot. 


I’ve felt pretty cruddy all day, I had to lie down in the back during church, but I’m feeling a little better now. Nathanael is sick today, so please pray for him to get feeling better. Mom seems to be managing her pain a lot better. Yay! Thank you Lord for her relief and thank you readers and prayer warriors for all your prayers. An update on fern: she seems to be handling her chemo well and was at my shower yesterday. Please pray that she has lots of peace and endurance. Also, Judy passed away this past week. Please pray for all of us dealing with her loss, especially her family. 
In all the goings on, the joy, sadness, and confusion of this life, thank you God for your blessing of salvation through your perfect Son. 


Day 158: October 25th

Good evening, friends!

 Here’s another little update: I got my blood checked today and my white blood cell count is good (I don’t have any infection) and my platelets are 109,000 which is a big improvement from last weeks 41,000. It’s still not ideal, we’d like for them to be closer to 125,000 or higher, but over 100,000 means I can start my 4th round of chemo tonight. Woo! Praise God for this blessing! Thank you Lord!
So if this is the battle God has given me, I’m going to fight hard for him. I can’t be sure I’ll always have a good attitude, if fact I’m sure I won’t, but I’m taking one day at a time, trying to be thankful for my blessings and not worry or try to control what God has in His hands. I can’t understand what he’s doing, but it’s kind of a relief to know that I don’t have to understand or worry about it. In fact, he wants me NOT to worry. I just have to have faith and trust in him. I’m going to just keep at it one day at a time


Additionally, I’m scheduled to have an MRI and see Dr. Krisht on November 7th. I’m really not looking forward to that, because dad can’t go with (he can’t miss so much work). I understand why he can’t, but that doesn’t mean I like it lol. Anyways, Brandon and I will probably fly for that appointment instead of driving because that last driving trip was really exhausting.


Next, people keep messaging me asking me about the registeries so I thought I’d provide the links again here:

Dillard’s, you click the link and you search by either my first and last name, or Brandon’s. https://www.dillards.com/registry/RegistryNames.do

Bed Bath & Beyond,  you click the link and you search by either my first and last name, or Brandon’s and if it asks for event state, it’s Illinois. https://m.bedbathandbeyond.com/m/giftRegistry?registryId=543186579#FINEDININGGIFTWARE_is

Lastly, yesterday, the 24th, was my parents 24th anniversary so please join me in wishing them a happy anniversary and in praying that they have at least another 24! Thank you Lord for such a wonderful example of marriage and such great parents. Go ahead and send them a card, an email, drop them a line, or message them on Facebook! 


That’s it for now, but let’s please keep praying for healing, improved platelets, toleration of my round of chemo I’m starting tonight, and good, no great, MRI and appointment results with Krisht on the 7th. Additionally, please keep praying for mom with her pain and add that she’s struggling with quitting pop (she’s been cheating! Lol). Please keep praying for Fern (I don’t have an update on her, but I’ll try to get one for next week) And I’m going to add one last prayer request: for Judy G. She is a longtime family friend and a Christian sister. She is battling cancer all over her body and is suffering a lot, physically and emotionally (the kind of chemo she is on really messes with one’s mind and can be very upsetting). She is a great example of a strong and Godly woman, we could all stand to be a little more like Judy. 

Day 152: October 19th

Happy Fall Ya’ll! I’m so glad it’s finally getting cooler outside…. the colors are changing, candles are burning, apple smells everywhere, and I can finally wear Uggs! Praise the Lord! Typically I’d have to wait until next month or after thanksgiving to begin my Ugg Season due to me go to school in the South — it just doesn’t get chilly enough before thanksgiving. Anyhow, I’m pretty happy about being able to wear them now! 



Update on Chemotherapy: I had my blood tested last Wednesday and again yesterday. Preface: A typical, healthy person has anywhere between 150,000-450,000 p/mcL depending on their diet, exercise and lifestyle. For a patient on chemotherapy medications, platelets are expected to drop to between 110,000 – 149,000. Last Wednesday my platelets came back at 67,000 p/mcL. Not good. Yesterday my platelets were reported at 41,000 p/mcL. Worse. Because of this, I cannot start my chemo tonight as scheduled. I have to be at at least 100,000 p/mcL. Note: platelet levels of 20,000 and lower can result in random bleeding, internal hemoragging, and shock. Wonderful 😑 due to this unfortunate turn of events, I will be getting my blood drawn again next Tuesday to re-test. 


Please join me in praying for my platelets to increase. I’m very discouraged by this and am very worried, but I’m confident and have faith in my God. He has control and whatever happens, I’m in His hands. That is my only comfort.



Next, my aunts and female cousins are graciously planning a bridal shower for me, to take place on November 12th. I’m looking forward to it a lot! I’ll get to wear Uggs to the party! Additionally, a lady at church this past Sunday asked me if I was registered. I thought she was going to urge me to go vote. Silly me, she was asking if I was registered anywhere for the shower. So to generally answer that question, yes. Brandon and I are registered at Bed, Bath, & Beyond as well as Dillard’s. I don’t have a separate shower registry, just those two wedding registeries. In fact, if you need the link or would like to look at it, here are the links: 

https://m.bedbathandbeyond.com/m/giftRegistry?registryId=543186579#FINEDININGGIFTWARE_is

&

https://www.dillards.com/registry/RegistryNames.do


Now that that is clarified, on the BB&B registry there is a big shiny silver turkey platter. It is literally a serving platter shaped like a turkey. It is awesome. It is ridiculously expensive. I did not intend for anyone to purchase this, but for me to use discount coupons for. Let me explain: when there are items left on your registry – items that haven’t been purchased – many stores give the new couple discounts and coupons to ‘complete their registry’ (purchase the remaining items). I intend to use this opportunity to get my beautiful turkey dish. 


Last thing due for now is an update on mom! Yesterday we went to see the podiatrist. It was all generally good stable news – nothing terrible or urgent. I feel incredibly justified and vindicated because the doctor told her to absolutely not drink pop or any carbonated beverage. She is now allowed 1/month which is going to be quite a decrease from her normal 5 – 6/day! Soda, because of its generally high sodium content causes high fluid retention this is very unhealthy for diabetics. Additionally, any carbonated beverage causes non-specific inflammation. I have been telling mom this, hyperbolically, forever. After yesterday, She has finally accepted that I was right!!!


I’ll go ahead and end the post here. I’m tired and my thumb is worn out from all this texting/typing lol. 

In closing, please, please, please, pray for my health, specifically my platelets. And let’s give thanks to God for the good, stable news for mom from the podiatrist and for the enormous blessing of this doctor. She’s really pretty, knowledgeable, genuine, and really really friendly. Pray for my mother for relief from pain, and her continued healing. Additionally, please continue praying for Fern with her cancer treatments. I could make an entire post out of prayer requests and thanks but I doubt many people would read it and it would take forever to assemble lol. So I’ll leave my requests as is. Thanks to each of my readers and to our Big God! 

Day 144: October 11th, 2016

Hey there! Long time, no talk! I guess I’ve kinda fallen out of touch, but really this is kind of a good thing – the Ritalin gives me energy so I actually do stuff and  don’t just sit around depressed and complaining all day. 

So I had an MRI last Wednesday, October 5th, and then Brandon and I made the trek to Iowa city the next day, Thursday, October 6th, to see my doctors for the MRI interpretation and for a routine check-up. Just to clue you all in, unless something bad happens, I will be getting my blood drawn routinely every 4 weeks as well as getting an MRI every 8 weeks for the foreseeable future.


When we got to IC (Iowa city) I first got my labs drawn (so doctor Monga can monitor how chemo is affecting my blood and such), then I went downstairs to see Dr. Smith (my radiation doctor) for a routine check up since I’m done with radiation. He just asks how I’m feeling (just fine), if I’ve had any headaches (I haven’t), check on my scalp to see if I have any sores or post-radiation burns (I don’t). And then we look over the MRI scans and discuss it. Very little of what we discuss makes sense to me, it’s all very confusing, but the gist of it is that there is no progression. There is still a little spot, but it is stable. So if you’re wondering what to pray about, pray that there is no brain swelling and that the spot shrinks and shrinks. 


After seeing Dr. Smith I was pretty encouraged, because he seemed very happy with the results and my progress. After that, I went back upstairs to see Dr. Monga. He asks the same questions, gives me the results of my labs, and gives his interpretation of the scans. Dr. Monga is always less encouraging than Dr. Smith, but Brandon says it’s because Monga just finished his residency whereas Smith is a professor and has been in this a lot longer and has that confidence that comes with experience and time. I choose to believe Brandon on that because otherwise I get scared and discouraged. 


So to clarify, there is a small spot next to the spot where the tumor was removed that on the scans appears half white, half black. The white is solid, the black is fluid. This could be scar tissue, a small tumor, or pseudo-progression. This spot appears to be stable but raises some concern in Dr. Monga. Dr. Monga is presenting my MRI scans today, Tuesday October 11th, to the tumor board at IC. (The tumor board is a bunch of doctors who specialize in this and have a lot of experience with tumors.)

The results we got were all in all, pretty good. They said everything was stable and I am obviously gaining my strength back and losing weight – all good things. To celebrate, Brandon took me out to Olive Garden which was a special treat!


I am continuing to slowly taper my steroid – I go down 1/2 a pill each Tuesday. So I am tapering at a snails pace, but that’s because my adrenal glands are literally having to regrow. 

I continue to go to therapies, try to eat healthily, and try to maintain a peace and happiness in Jesus. I don’t want to sound fake, but I’ve learned and am still learning that I can only achieve true peace and happiness through Him and not through other means – I’ve tried.

  

I get my blood drawn tomorrow, October 12th, and then again on the 18th. Dr. Monga checks my blood work and makes sure I’m ok to start chemo, so really, I’m not sure when I start round 4 but it should be coming up soon. Let’s pray that it goes as smoothly as it has been.

The last weekend in October Brandon and I are going to Georgia to visit Brandon’s parents, sister and her wife, and our niece, Emma. We’re also going to a Packers game! Go Pack Go!

Mom went to the hospital this past Sunday because she was in so much pain; she goes to see her doctors tomorrow and Friday. Also, there is a woman at our church, Fern, who also has cancer, I’m not sure what type, and she starts her chemo soon. Please pray for Fern and her treatments, for my mom and her pain, and for me and that I be healed and can live a long life with my family, serving God.


 If you have any questions for me (because this post is kind of confusing), feel free to ask!

Day 125: Friday, September 22, 2016

Where to start? I haven’t checked in for quite some time – sorry about that. I’ve been busy, what with wedding planning, therapies, daddy starting a new job, and my independent study class.


So, where did I leave off last? I was waiting to get my blood drawn, getting ready for my third round of chemo (the big one.) i had reluctantly agreed to go on a stimulant to possibly help give me some energy and alleviate some of the depression. I had ordered some vitamins to help with the stretch marks and the family was preparing celebrate Brandon’s birthday.


I’m going to start with the blood draw. I had it checked, and it came back that my platelets were low – 112,000. To do the dose of chemo I was preparing for, you have to at least have 100,000, but you want them to be significantly higher; so 112,000 was not the number we wanted. However, at the time of that blood draw, I had been off schedule from my chemo because the pharmacy had been late getting my chemo to me, thus putting me off schedule. Because of this, my immune system had had 1 less week to recover, so it kind of makes sense my platelets were a little low, right? SO, when we got the results back, Dr. Monga said we would re-check my blood in a week, and it was all good (I don’t know the exact number, he didn’t tell me). Fast forward to today, and I’m taking my 3/5 day of big chemo tonight. 


To give you some insight, round 1 of chemo was 175mg, round 3, big chemo is 460mg.

This chemo doesn’t seem any different than the others *knock on wood*. I haven’t really had any symptoms, but maybe those will come later, were still early into the round yet. The first night of it, I was so scared and nervous that I had basically worked myself into a hysterical panic attack. I ended up being awake and sick to my stomach over half the night. But I believe that was from working myself up, not the chemo – it wouldn’t have had time to make me sick by then. 


Brandon and mom have hypothesized that the reason my taste is off is because of the chemo pills, or any of the pills, touching my tongue. Working under this assumption, I am experimenting with a different method of pill consumption. Instead of simply inserting the pill and following with water, I am first putting some water in my mouth, holding it in my mouth, then inserting the pills and swallowing. Thus far, my taste hasn’t recovered really, but I can tolerate a few more things. That being said, Ive basically become a vegetarian. Except for fish and biscuits and gravy (which has small bits of sausage in it and the gravy is made from a rue made from the sausage.) Meat smells putrid to me, so does gasoline. They smell exactly the same, gross. I pray that God saves me from this cancer, and that I live a long life serving him, and that he restores my sense of taste and smell.


Next topic: taking a stimulant. Dad and Brandon had been urging me to try a stimulant to give me energy and relieve some of the depression from which I was suffering. I agreed, and my doctor agreed,  so my doctor prescribed me a low dose of Ritalin. It definitely helps. I don’t want to lay in bed all day, I don’t want to just give up and kill myself, I actually converse with people, I laugh some, I don’t think about ways to kill myself or death all the time. That being said, all of that bad stuff still occasionally happens but much much less. The Ritalin makes me want to fight more for my life, I remember to pray more often because I’m not so “oh woe is me”, and gives me more energy for my therapies and getting all my walking in. Ps. If you wanna go for a walk with me, you definitely should, because I need to get a lot of steps in per day. 

Because this is such a long update, I’ll check in and update it again later tonight. 

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