Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude is everything!

This year I wish I could simplify my emotion, but I am so eternally grateful for this year, I can hardly express myself. Looking back my family has been blessed and protected immensely, and I am sure that I will never ever forget this. Starting with Taylor having an extremely successful open heart surgery in June, she was a trooper and taught me so much about strength and positivity. Then exactly 2 weeks later watching Bryson crash in one of the worst bike race crashes I have ever seen (and I have watch many.) Myself, Myles, and Skyler were only 20 feet away and when I got to him I was just thrilled that he could talk, move and generally was going to be ok. A couple of broken ribs, a broken scapula, and a possible break in his pelvis (they were not sure if it was from a previous crash or not.) Bryson has always been amazing but having to take care of him helped me think about how important he is to me and how blessed I am to have him. Then the big shock, my seizure (which I know we were all protected as I was not able to get the car started.) Which led to finding a tumor in my speech center. This was a tough trial which I am still of course dealing with. But I am so grateful for all of it. GRATEFUL that myself and family were protected through the struggles. Grateful that they found the problem. Grateful that I was able to have an amazing medical team who gave me confidence and were able to fully remove my 2 tumors without damaging my speech. Grateful that I has zero worries about an awake tumor removal surgery (if that's not a blessing then I do not know what is) Grateful for the staff at Huntsman who didn't quite know what to do with me. I felt like crap and they just kept saying you are doing amazing. They would try to move me in bed and I would just stand up so they could adjust stuff, they were always shocked. Grateful for Bryson who stood by me side and took care of everything. I always knew I had the perfect man for me, but this trial truly put a deeper love in my heart. I love you Bryson so much and all i can say is THANK YOU! Grateful for friends and family who are there every step of the way. I knew my kids were safe and protected. I knew that if the bus was late a neighbor would pick them up. I am thankful for the greatest friends and family in the world and I know I will never take them for granted. I am grateful for the gift of health and healing. It has been a battle to stay at home and feel stagnant, but I will recover fully and that is a HUGE BLESSING!  Grateful for my strength and faith. This had been a humbling year in the best way possible. I have learned that we are in God's hands and he is here, he knows us, and is aware of us. Lastly I am grateful for everything, and grateful that I have a new view of life. Life is a gift. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My 30 day follow up appointment...

I know I have been a little slow on my updates but frankly I'm thrilled to be back to some of my normal chores and mother duties. I am generally still quite tired and lethargic! I know I was ready to be all better but my energy is so low. That being said everything is going well and better then expected, so for that I am grateful. Bryson and I met with Dr. Jensen On Tuesday for my 30 day follow up appointment. It was funny the nurse didn't know I had just had surgery she thought I was at a year follow up. She kept saying you just look so good I can't believe you just had surgery, apparently most people look like they have been hit by a truck? When Dr. Jensen came in I could tell he was happy kinda excited to see me and my progress. He expressed his sympathy for all the gloom and doom before the surgery and explained that it is his job to let us know all the possibilities. He then said how happy he was with the tumor removal and how smoothly it went. My mapping was perfect, which means the exact speech center was perfectly located (that is not always the case). He rubbed his finger across my incision and said that it looked great, no infection there. We discussed the pathology results more in depth and the particular tumor type is a stage who one. Meaning that this type of benign tumor does not return! So I will have a yearly MRI for a few years, then move to an MRI every two years, and finally every 5 years. Sounds great to me. We also discussed the sharp shooting pains in my head. Dr. Jensen said that they are probably sensors forming back together in my brain. They could last for 3-6 more months and that every ones body has their own way of healing and growing back together. He also told me that my numbness around my head, numb ear, and sore mouth is all normal and part of the recovery. that was reassuring also. It was funny to discuss the surgery with him because he laughed at how much I talked??? He said once he had the speech center located (which turned out to be close but not that dangerous to my tumor) he then asked the anesthesiologist to start talking to me. Some how we got into soccer, I think it started from my kids and his kids play also. And I got all opinionated about club teams versus independent teams, my time as a coach and what I'm choosing to do with my girls. He said it was pretty funny to hear me so with it and so clear. He also said that most people remember very little but he knew I would remember a lot because I was so clear throughout the surgery. Dr. Jensen also said that with most people they need a whole team of people to support them during the surgery because basically they are scared and nervous, but as soon as he met with me and talked to me he knew that I was ready and was going to breeze right through the procedure (that was comforting!) The most amazing part was to see the MRI scan during the tumor removal. There is my head, a small black hole from the tumor removal and the A HUGE SECTION OF MY SKULL AND SKIN TOTALLY REMOVED. Essentially it was like a drawing of a circle (my skull) that had been erased for 25% of it! It was wild and super amazing at the same time. Now I am still sleeping around 10 hours a night and taking naps during the day. I have to be very careful about how much I do and what events I go to. Truthfully I am sick of not feeling 100% but I know it will come and I know how grateful I am and how much I have been blessed. I can also feel words coming back slowly but surely and my spelling is also getting easier. Dr. Jensen said I'm way ahead of the game and not to worry at all. So I'm not worrying I'm loving the fun moments with my family and friends and I guarantee Thanksgiving is taking on a whole new meaning to me this year!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Through this process I have had the opportunity to meet many other cancer survivors. I again feel so blessed to be in my current situation and hope others can also be as blessed as me. I had an article sent to me and I figure if it helps anyone struggling or looking for support then it is worth it.

The Role Of Support Networks In The Fight Against Cancer

Cancer is a battle. In fact, it is the toughest battle most people will ever face. Cancer is a disease of aggression and isolation. But no one has to face the battle alone.

Support networks are important weapons in the fight against cancer. Numerous local, national, and global networks exist to support cancer patients every step of the way. Some of them are community groups, where members interact face-to-face. Others are online communities, where people communicate through blogs, email, and discussion boards.

Cancer patients, family members, and caregivers need a team of people to support them and help them fight the battle. Cancer support networks do just that, in a number of different ways. They are important resources whether someone has treatable skin cancer, mesothelioma rare mesothelioma or any other form of cancer.

Information And Practical Support

Support networks offer several services for cancer patients and others affected by the disease. People with cancer have a lot of questions, and support groups can provide the answers. Books, brochures, and online resources provide high-quality, current information on cancer types, screening tests, cancer treatments, life after cancer, and end-of-life challenges.

The financial costs of cancer are significant, but money worries are the last thing patients need in their fight against cancer. Many support groups offer financial support, advice, and resources. They may also provide information on government assistance and grant programs to offset medical expenses.

Social And Emotional Support

But the jewel of support networks is the opportunity to talk about cancer with people who understand. Doctors and other health professionals are part of a patient’s support system. So are family and friends, but they are usually struggling with their own emotions.

Other cancer survivors are the best place to go for information, support, and encouragement. It is hard for cancer patients to put words to their fears and feelings, but talking to somewhat outside the family can help -- especially if that someone has gone through a similar situation.

Groups like  The Cancer Support Community, which formed when The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club joined forces, offer invaluable emotional and social support. Many also provide educational resources, counseling services, and healthy lifestyle programs.

Cancer support networks come in the form of local groups, too. They often meet in hospitals, community centers, schools, churches, and even member homes. Patients can talk to their oncologist, family doctor, or hospital personnel for the names and meeting times of cancer support groups in their area.

By: David Haas