Friday, June 8, 2007

Thank You

Suzanne for the wonderful homemade dinners and book for Tristan.
Shan for mowing my lawn continuously and even using the weed-wacker!
Kristin for the food I can't remember because of all the drugs I was taking...(they call that "chemo brain"!)
Jennifer W. for the casserole and just hanging out on the front porch with some beers.
Jennifer N. for the kick-@ss calzones and quiche, and the sweet hats to keep my noggin warm.
Lori for bringing food, hanging out, and just being a really great friend during this time.
Stephanie and Tasha for bringing Rudy's favorite!
Jackie and Julie for bringing snacks to eat during my down week.
Justin and Meg for the loads of groceries for packing lunches and just serving dinners on the fly.
Jon for bringing us pizza from our favorite restaurant.
Leilan for being kind to my mom and bringing the yummy cake.
Makaela for being an outstanding person and giving the best way she knows how--project management!
Jesse and Mike for sheetrocking and electric work on the sunroom.
Cindy for all the phone calls and attention I need, and the beautiful plant.
Billie and Rich for just thinking about me constantly....oh, and the iPod. :)
Jerry for helping me get to my bloodwork once a week and helping me with my car.
Molly for putting family first and babysitting when I know she has other things to do.
Cassie for being a good friend and sister.
Mom for of course being a mom and taking care of me during chemo week, and for forcing me to ask about drugs that will help me feel better.
Dad for actually asking how I'm feeling instead of making this about him (seriously, that's a big one).
Grandma M. for sending me countless cards (at least 2 per week) and calling all the time.
Aunt Trish for sending the teddy bear, tea, and candy and worrying about me.
Aunt Lin for asking about me and sending me links to websites that will help.
Uncle Greg for the books for Tristan that will help him understand what's going on, and being an insider on how I feel.
Gail for helping me decide on the port and answering any questions about chemo I've had.
Tabitha for being relatable and knowing what's going on...probably the only person who knows EXACTLY how I feel.
Meika for just talking to me when I needed someone to talk to and missed her so, so much.
LeAnne for being a wealth of knowledge, making sure I feel ok, and asking her mom for samples.
Lily and Jason for the phone calls, flowers, and constant good thoughts.
June for babysitting me during my first chemo week and watching Maja when my other mom couldn't be there.
Teresa for loaning us the bed for visitors, the flowers, and watching the kids.
Margie for the loads of cards she sends!
Annette and Steve for praying for our family.
Megan for using her mad ninja-chef skills to produce the best mac n' cheese, soup, and grilled vegetable lazagne a girl could ask for.
Miss Jeanetta and Miss Andrea for taking such good care of our little boy, Tristan, and thinking about us often.
Debi B. for the candle, the sippy cup lids, and for being thoughtful.
Chris S. for the pain relief information and his movie collection.
Angie for the fantastic veggie burgers and pasta salad.
Chris B. for helping me take Maja to the doctor by keeping Tristan occupied.
Vicky for sending the post-natal tea and aromatherapy, and for offering to help in any way when I know she's busy with her own pregnancy (girl, you're so sweet...sorry I forgot to mention you earlier. Damn!)
Bridget for being a good listener and being honest, letting me vent, and understanding when I don't want to talk.
Sean and Kathleen for the beautiful tulips.
Kevin and Dena for the beautiful roses.
Muller and Co. for the beautiful lilies at the hospital, and for being so understanding and helpful--what a great bunch of people and a great organization to work for!!
Dan for being as close to me as he can and being the best man a girl can have.
Tristan for understanding what cancer is and how it hurts, for giving me his blanket, and loving me and worrying about me.
Maja for always smiling and being happy even when I'm not, and for saving my life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Breastfeeding and the CT Scan

So, I was scheduled a CT scan 2 weeks after Maja's birth to "make sure there wasn't anything obvious" before I went in for the hysterectomy. I had to drink like a liter of the contrast solution stuff that tastes terrible. Meanwhile, I had been breastfeeding and was quite successful at it. I bought all the new tubing and equipment for the double Medela Pump-in-style Advance and was even pumping a little already. If you're not a mother, haven't breastfed, or it didn't work out for you, it might not be as important to you, but I was very set on doing it for at least the first several months. Not only do I feel it's best for the baby's health, but there is quite a bonding that occurs and it just feels natural to me. In short: I LOVED IT.

The Breastfeeding Drama

When I got to the imaging office where I was to undergo the CT scan of my chest and abdomen, Maja was sleeping and I had some stored breastmilk for my sister to feed her if she woke up while I was in the scan. I suddenly realized that I needed to check with the lactation consultants (who had been quite the lifesavers and so helpful) at the hospital where I delivered to see if I could still breastfeed after drinking the solution. I can't believe I forgot about that!!! They said I could breastfeed after the solution, but the dye that would be inserted prior to the scan could not be consumed by the baby. I would have to "pump and dump" for 24 hours after the scan. That meant I would have to feed Maja formula for the next day with no transition period since I only had a few ounces stored. I was so very sad. I had already fed her from my breast for the last time. It's hard to explain the bond a mother has with her breastfeeding baby, but I guess I could say I sort felt a sense of loss when I had to stop. Even though I could have resumed after 24 hours, I decided to stop completely since I would have surgery the next week and various other medical procedures would probably pop up. It would be best to try and dry up before surgery so I was at least a little less uncomfortable.

The Scan

I went into the room where the scan would be performed and was scared sh*tless. Why? I don't know. I've never had a CT scan before and it was a huge tubular vault I was going to have to willingly climb into and remain still and not breathe while some whirly thingy spun around me making a noise that sounded like the aliens from that Tom Cruise movie. Freaked me out. Anyway, it didn't hurt and I was scared for nothing but it would have been nice to have been prepared.

The Results

A couple of days later I got a call from a nurse practitioner at the oncologist's office saying they needed to talk to me about the scan. When I got on the phone with the nurse, she was chewing on her lunch and very nonchalantly says they found some nodules on my thyroid that would need to be biopsied between bites. Holy crap! What??! I immediately hang up and freak out. Has my cancer spread? Where the hell is my thyroid? What does my thyroid do? Do I have thyroid cancer too? If it's in my thyroid and my ovaries, where else did it stop along the way?? More importantly, WHAT DID I DO TO MAKE MY BODY HATE ME?

This was the first time I actually cried about the cancer. This was the first time I felt the gravity of the situation. I had cried a little before when telling people about my situation, but mostly because I didn't know how to tell them and I felt more sorry for them having to worry about me than anything else. That day I went into a downward spiral of worry, wonder, and guilt. I felt guilty that I didn't treat my body better. I felt guilty that I took advantage of my physique. I felt most guilty that there was a possibility that my son and daughter might have to grow up without a mom.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sick of Being Bald

Well, my hair started falling out on Mother's Day, 12 days after my first chemo treatment. I was expecting another week before I had to worry about it. I pretended it wasn't happening but a couple of days later there was no pretending. I went to Chop Tops to get my hair cut off short immediately. Very cute haircut, but if I had wanted short hair I would have had short hair, you know?

During my second chemo treatment week the bald spots and constantly picking hair out of my mouth, off my shoulders, and off my baby started getting to me so I had my mom shave it all off. It actually felt really, really good. I don't have to spend time doing my hair and I even got some camo pants to match my new look. It's sort of freeing, really.

I'm about to undergo my third chemo treatment and I'm looking in the mirror wishing I had some hair. I have a wig, various hats, scarves, and could even wear one of Maja's stick-on bows if I felt like it. I feel like I've exhausted all looks that could go with a bald head today. I'm such a girlie-girl and I love to wear frilly dresses, but I end up looking like a teenage boy in a dress. Now, I can appreciate a man in a dress...really, I can. I'm just sick of being GI Jane. Boo!

Oh, and razor burn on your head??? That sucks too.

The Last Lecture