Showing posts with label #RacefortheCure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #RacefortheCure. Show all posts

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Our Own Personal Gethsemane

Every three months I have a biopsy to see if the cancer cells are growing... shrinking... have moved beyond the uterus... or have completely vacated it.  

I always hope for the later. 

But we've been at this for 2 1/2 years now...with little progress of shrinking or vacating... so I started the day in preparation for this biopsy, a little emotional.  For me, cancer diagnosis and treatment has been 2 1/2 years of a personal Gethsemane.  Every day has been a challenge as I take my daily dose and try to maintain hope and heart towards my desire for motherhood.  Some days I've handled it with grace.  Often times, I fear I have not.

I started the day playing over the conversation I would have with Dr. Z.  When is enough... enough? At what point do we move on to the next step - total hysterectomy?  Have we done all that we could do?

It was an interesting dialog that I had with myself in the bathroom mirror.  There may have been a few tears shed as the quiet corners of my mind told my heart the answers I have generally feared since I heard that unexpected word, "cancer".

I never feared death.  Not once.  I only feared it taking my chance of motherhood away. 

So after a morning of quiet contemplation regarding our reality... which has really been many mornings regarding reality, I was calm and ready when I had the actually conversation with the doctor.  She greeted us in her typical warm and friendly way.  She always shakes my hand with an extra pat and looks me in the eye as she asks for the truth of how I'm really feeling.  I'm blessed with a doctor like that - one who has impeccable kindness and good bedside manner.  She is everything an oncologist should be. 

As she reviewed my chart, she hit the high points out-loud.  Diagnosed in February 2014 during what was to be of a frozen embryo transfer.  9+ years of infertility in which multiple rounds of IVF and FET have been unsuccessfully pursued.  Patient is currently 41 years old. Patient has 8 embryos still frozen, awaiting possible transfer.  Since February 2014, lab results, every three months, historically show little-to-no cell shrinkage from treatment, yet at the same time - no growth... yada, yada, yada.      
Which is when I quietly interrupted to ask, "Dr. Z - how long do we do this?”

At that, she looked up, kindly tilted her head to one side and said, "JaLae... I've been waiting for that question."

"My job has been to give you as much hope as possible, dealing with the realities before us. In truth, it hasn't gotten better.  Yet at the same time, it hasn't gotten worse.  I will tell you that in most patients like you, if we see success, it is in the first year. I haven't been able to find a case in any medical research or journals that saw success extending beyond two years...."

I quiet stated, "But we've been at this for 2 1/2.  Do you think it's time to move on?"

"If we don't see what we need to see from these lab results - then yes.  I think it's time to move on with other, more aggressive, treatment options." was her reply.

And so it is.

I wait.

I wonder.

And I prepare my heart for what the quiet corners of my mind told it yesterday morning, as I looked myself in the mirror.

Gethsemane is where Jesus suffered.  He did it for me - He did it for you.  But in suffering for us, He still left us a little portion.  For me, the process of losing this particular dream, just happens to be mine.

(Special note: this is not the place to ask if I've thought about adoption or foster care...)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Still here

I've been hibernating.

Last biopsy had an increase of cancer cells from 5% to 25%, so I'm back on chemo meds. 

It's tough.

But I'm hanging in. At least until I pick up one of my daily pill bottles and see this crual reminder...

Like I need to know that. So I ripped the sticker off this morning and laughed that it took me so long to take my power back.

Whew - I feel better already! At least a smidgion.

I'll lie everywhere but here on The Daily Dose... so as guilty as this is going to make me feel... I'm just going to say it:

This is HARD! 

Really, really, really... hard!

Hardest thing I've ever done, actually (and I've done a lot of hard the last 8 years).

There are reminders everywhere and I'm not just talking about pill bottles. I'm talking about infertility and so many failed attempts at IVF and FET. I'm talking about infant loss. I'm talking about cancer. I'm talking about living childless...and Christmas...and loss of hope...all of it combined in one giant pot of nothingness. 

It's hard. 

My pillow is usually a little wet at night and I must have silent tears come down my face at least 4-5 times a day. Nobody sees it or even has the faintest clue because I try to be a really upbeat, positive person by nature...

But oh-boy do I feel it. 

Every second, of every day, I feel it. 

And despite the 99.9% positivity that I try to portray and focus on,  there is the .1% in the back of my head that wonders how on earth I am ever going to endure it.

Especially through another holiday season. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Note To Self

This week I learned that you should always shave your legs. Always.

And if you are going to wear boots - you still need to make sure that your socks match.

Because your doctor might finally decide to call you after 2 months of putting you off about your last biopsy results... and during that call, she may ask you to come in for another last-minute, unplanned, same-day redo... to see if anything has changed with the cancer cells in your uterus, while she's been putting you off for two months.

It's been complicated, friends. Very, very complicated.

But I learned that you should always mate your socks. Unless you're 14 because then it's cool.  

Almost 41?... Not so much. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hello, Again.

4 months, 2 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes since my last post.

So in the words of Neil Diamond, "hello again, hello."

Where to even start...

In late February my biopsy came back clean. Uterine cancer was gone. It was fantastic news after a long year+ of truly horrible chemo meds and all that came along with it. The day I switched off those meds was the best day of my life!

With a smile, my oncologist sent me back to my reproductive endocrinologist to take advantage of our "window of opportunity."

It was a really, really good day.

Dr. H, my reproductive endocrinologist (RE), wanted me to have two good cycles before we could finally proceed with frozen embryo transfer (FET).  We have 8 great embryos frozen and while cancer threw a curve-ball during preparations for the last FET, we were both anxious for my body to normalize so we could press forward. 

While we waited, I... 

I accepted a promotion at work... sold our house (in 24-hours, I might add)... moved into my sister's basement for a month... found/bought an AMAZING new house... deployed to Texas to help manage the flooding disaster operation... came home and unpacked my house 7 weeks later (oy vey!)... dealt with my beloved grandmother's death... took a vacation with family... relaxed... laughed... cried...

And did every thing I honestly could to get my body to do what Dr. H wanted it to do. 

Unfortunately, two "normal" cycles just never came. (Who am I kidding. I couldn't even get one.) 

While there was largely the absence of a menstral cycle March - June... July came with a vengeance. Much like my initial diognosis. 

Due to abnormalities, Dr. H (RE) sent me back to Dr. Z (oncologist). Dr. Z sent me to the emergency room after a particularly bad bout.  Four days later she did another biopsy and patted my knee. 

That was last Friday. 

Biopsy results will come back tomorrow. 

If I am being honest, I'll tell you that my pit tells me cancer cells are back. And that super-duper stinks. Our 5-month window" wasn't much of a window, but I'm not going to cry, rage or be angry. (Well, maybe a little). This isn't the first time my body has failed me. 

Somewhere in heaven there is a little boy who should be starting 2nd grade. He's with my grandma now and all is well. But with every assurance that all is well, I still feel these empty arms and mourn what my body couldn't keep. 

For eight years I've also earned veterans status with IVF, FET, IUIs, Clomid, and every other pill, shot, or fertility voodoo practice on God's green earth. I've been around this block many times over and one thing I know for sure is that it's all a crap-shoot.  Some get lucky - some don't. The most advanced medical technology in the world has never come with a guarantee and I'm well aware of that. My body has just been on the other side of the stat. (For now.)

We'll see how this all plays out but either way I'm still okay. I'm hopeful. Infertility is, what it is ... and cancer is an unexpected bump that I'll get over. 

I'm alive. I'm happy. I have an amazing husband who adores me. We've been blessed with a house we'll grow old in. I have a job that I absolutely love. I have 4 nephews and a niece who live 1.9 minutes from my house which means plenty of sleep-overs and dirty walls.  I am loved, cared for, and blessed.  

And so it goes. 

Now for the most important question: What have you been doing the last 4 months, 2 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes? I've missed you! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

In The Quiet of Time

3 months.  Where do I start?

I guess that I've just been quietly living life. Not too much to say.  Not too much to do. No drama. A lot of work. Less talk. More action.

Here are the highlights: 

Biopsy results came back clear in February which was super exciting! Dr. Z (oncologist) cleared me to return to Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist) to purse more ART (assisted reproductive therapy), if we choose. You would think that after eight years of infertility and last year's unexpected cancer drama, I would be running back to my reproductive clinic.  But yeah... I haven't.

That was the plan. Really, it was.

After all, cancer came during frozen embryo transfer and I had a meltdown at the thought and redirection towards an unexpected hysterectomy.  We wanted a "window" and we chose a treatment plan to get us there as soon as possible.  I was still in my 30's and I. Fought. Like. Hell.

So here I am. A year later. With a green light. In the quiet. Sitting still.

Am I nuts?!

Probably. But when I was a little girl I would sneak away from the chaos of my seven siblings and find the quietest corner of our house. There, in the formal living room, I would lay on the carpet in front of our big picture window...and just bask for hours in the quiet sun. 

I think that's what I'm doing right now.

I don't know if... I don't know how... I don't know when... 

If ever. 

I'm 40. I've spent a bazillion dollars trying to have a family for the last 8+ years. I've put my body through every possible wringer imaginable. I've been disappointed too many times to count and I feel like I almost lost my life in the process.

So no. I haven't run to Dr. H yet.

Biopsys will continue and a hysterectomy will eventually come as a preventative measure, but for now - it's quiet.  And the sun is shining. All is quiet, all is bright.

I'm getting healthy again, I got a promotion at work and last night we met with a realtor to put our house up for sale.

And so, it goes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Big Bang Theory

Not too much to report lately. 


Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist) told me to call him if I didn't experience a "natural D&C" by mid-January. Because I can't do anything the easy way... I broke down and called him last week.

On February 9th I have another biopsy with Dr Z (oncologist) so we discussed options and decided that she will schedule me for the D&C at that appointment. Apparently, the oncologist trumps the reproductive endocrinologist in situations like this.

Which means more pathology. 

And more fingers crossed.

And more waiting.

If pathology come back clean like my November biopsy, then we'll do the D&C... wait the appropriate length of time for my uterus to heal...and then proceed  to frozen embryo transfer (FET) probably March/April'ish. That's how a "window of opportunity" works.

If not - we'll do the D&C and go back to chemo. And that's how a "window of opportunity" disappears. 

No whammies. No whammies. No whammies. 

Oy vey! Why do I feel like I'm constantly playing a game of Russian Roulette?!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Opening A Window




Today I met with Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist). After such a good biopsy, Dr. Z (oncologist) turned me back over to him to discuss our "window of opportunity" and see if the right stars are aligned. 

He was so happy to see me that he gave me a big hug. That's what almost eight years (and who knows how much money!) at a reproductive clinic will buy you. 

When Dr. H last saw me in January, I was in tears after a halted cycle and really bad news.  At that time he told me that with a best case scenerio, I would see him in a year if everything went absolutely right. 

Trust me.  I know that this is absolutely, without question, the best case scenario...

And I'm extremely grateful.

Dr. H and I talked about where we go from here. First things first, I stop taking chemo meds as of today. It will take about 3 months to clear out of my system which lines me up for my next biopsy in February. If everything still looks good at that point, minus chemo...we have our "window" and will immediately start protocol for a frozen embryo transfer (FET).

There was a lot of conversation about science, research, different directions and protocols we could go with at this point - 99% of which flew way over my head. Honestly, the only thing I really heard in the very scientific 45 minute conversation was that I don't have to take One. More. pill in the next three months.

Not one!

It's finally time for my body to recalibrate and try to do some things on its own. (Halalujah!) Stopping this medication will hopefully result in a "natural" D&C which will clean the extra tissue and lining out that Dr. Z was concerned about when she did the biopsy a few weeks ago. Although there is a lot of tissue still there - it's now cancer free, which is Dr. Z's celebration. Dr. H now gets to figure out now how to trim it back down, without bringing cancer cells back. 

Our hope is to do that all naturally on a body that is tired and sick from "the most aggressive medication Dr. Z could have prescribed", which apparently is precisely why Dr. H sent me there. (Guess that explains feeling like death for 10 months!)

If au naturel doesn't work, another Hysteroscopy is again in my future. You know, that terrible uterine scraping procedure we did last December which produced a pathology report that started us down this ugly path.

Then of course we have a FET protocol, which will do - who knows what - but the hope is that cancer stays away and a little bambino finally results for Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. 

If not, cancer has taught me some important things. 

There are other things in life and I'm just happy to be living it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's Behind Door Number...


We found a great surprise behind Door #1!

I spoke to the nurse yesterday and the pathology report from my biopsy was really, really, REALLY good. First of all, the conversation started with an apology for taking so long. I was supposed to get a call in 3-7 days... it was 12. Apparently, Dr. Z. (oncologist) wanted to connect with Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist) to chat about the results.    

I forgive them. 

As soon as she said that, I knew things where good. Really good in fact. Miracle'ish kind of good.

The gist of it is that the biopsy saw little to no cancer cells remaining. 

Let me say that again... The biopsy saw little to no cancer cells.

Whew that feels nice!  Nine months of truly horrible medication has paid off and the weight is lifting. They think I might be close to my "window" if we still want to try a frozen embryo transfer (FET).  So...

They will ween me off chemo drugs... Dr. H will start me on FET protocol and see how I react (cancer cells apparently really like estrogen for growth)... they will keep testing/closely monitoring... and if my next biopsy in 3 months (January) is still clean...

Wallah! They transfer.

And that folks, is how a "window" works. 

...and just for the record: I didn't complain as I swallowed today's daily dose. I smiled.

Yay me! Yay medication! Yay life!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Energy of Attraction

Mr. Thompson and I had a bit of a fight the other day. Or... in the words of my grandmother, he had a bit of a "row".  No matter how you put it, we disagreed.

About something stupid. (Isn't that usually the case?!)

After the fact, I can admit that it was something for which he was 100% right. Maybe even 110%. (But I'm probably not going to tell him that.)

We fought about...

Social media. (I told you it was stupid...)

More specifically, we fought about all of the time that I've been wasting on it. (Not so stupid).  Who cares that a large portion is because I'm on local yard sale sites trying to sell my junk. In the end, I'm still tethered. All. The. Flippin'. Time.

I wake up at 3am - I grab my phone.
I wake up again at 6am - I pick it up from the lifeless hand that fell asleep holding it. 
Commute to work - I'm on it.
Commute home from work - I'm on it. 
Laying in bed - phone is in hand.

So yeah... Mr Thompson is right. I've been on social media.

A lot, it appears.

So I made him a deal: I'd limit it. Then I thought... "Why not just unplug a month early for my annual social media sabbatical, that I've taken in December the last two years?! It's helped me relax and be more aware...why not have that two months instead of one?!"

Heck yeah! So I am.   

Off came the FB, Twit.ter and news apps from my phone last night.  Blog.ger doesn't count because this is my journal of sorts. Who knows... as I tap more fully into life again (sans my phone), I'll probably have something more sustantial to say beyond 25 characters.

Since I don't have my device to lull me to sleep anymore or keep me occupied, I decided to start another 21-day meditation today. I love meditations because they've taught me to relax, breath, and focus. Even if it's just for 20 minutes a day, I feel the benefits.

This meditation series is focused on the laws of attraction. Centering on the things we really want in life.

Day 1 reminded me about an analogy I heard in church last month in New Hampshire. The church speaker talked about how we are all like batteries, in that energy - specifically negative energy - sits at the bottom and overwhelms the battery until a positive connection is made. Then the battery wakes up, positive energy takes control and the battery has life and purpose. 

Positive energy in the battery takes over and as long as there is a purpose - an output or connection for the energy (like a flashlight) and the battery lives on rebuilding positive energy. If it has a positive connection but doesn't have a purpose (like supplying light for a flashlight) then it quickly drains it's life and dies.

To all you physicist out there - I may have totally screwed that up... but you get the drift.

I feel like I need to unplug from one thing and re plug into another so I can wake up my positive cells, use better energy and find more purpose in my life. Gratitude. Happiness. Peace. Love.

First and foremost, I want to kick cancer. Then I want to create additions to my little family. 

That's what I ultimately want and I fully believe that refocusing on those positive things - gratitude, happiness, peace and love - will get me there faster than sitting on FB wasting time and wallowing in self pity, fear and the sense of numbness I've come to accept in my life lately.

I basically waste a hell of a lot of time on things that don't count when I take inventory. 

I hope that makes sense. 

Can you relate?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Just What The Doctor Ordered, #40for40 - Day 2

** This is a continuation of the #40for40 countdown to my birthday, in which Mr. Thompson gave me a letter every hour leading up to my 40th.

Best. Gift. Ever

10/23/2014, 12:32am - Letter #31
Former Work Admin, Julie

10/23/2014, 1:32am - Letter #32
Corn Dog Lovin' Nephew, Brennin

10/23/2014, 2:32am - Letter #33
Funniest Aunt on the Planet, Aunt Bonnie

10/23/2014, 3:32am - Letter #34
Pretty Lil' Niece, Megan

10/23/2014, 4:32am - Letter #35
Childhood Friend and Alibi, Andrea

10/23/2014, 5:32am - Letter #36
Neighbors and Former Bishop, The Boyce's

10/23/2014, 6:32am - Letter #37
Honorary Aunt & Uncle, Aunt Bonnie & Uncle Joe (the best kind!)

10/23/2014, 7:32am - Letter #38
My Sister, Jill (honorary, again the best kind!)

10/23/2014, 8:32am - Letter #39
Second Parents, Poppa Dean & Momma Sherry

10/23/2014, 9:32am - Letter #40
Ernie. That's all. Just Ernie (for the record he never ONCE turned me in for catching me sneaking out when I was young. For that, I'll be endeared forever.)

I guess I have more than 40 friends who wanted to write a letter so here are the bonus letters...

10/23/2014, 10:32am - Bonus Letter #41
Red.Cross Beatie Forever, Katie Jo

10/23/2014, 11:32am - Bonus Letter #42
Quiet Lil' Niece, Katie 

10/23/2014, 12:32pm - Bonus Letter #43
Neice and Her Husband, Jessica and Ryon with an "O"

10/23/2014, 1:32pm - Bonus Letter #44
Big Sister and Confidant, Angie

10/23/2014, 2:32pm - Bonus Letter #45
Sushi Sister and one of the best people I know, Amy

10/23/2014, 3:32pm - Bonus Letter #46
Mad Niece, Maggie 

10/23/2014, 4:32pm - Bonus Letter #47
Former Neighbor & Best Woman I Know, Camille

10/23/2014, 5:32pm - Bonus Letter #48
Next Star of "Kids Say The Darndest Things", Nephew Max

10/23/2014, 6:32pm - Bonus Letter #49
Hay Sister, Annesa

10/23/2014, 7:32pm - Bonus Letter #50
Brother-In-Law & Stand-up Fella, Dave

10/23/2014, 8:32pm - Bonus Letter #51
Midget Nephew, Rigdon

10/23/2014, 9:32pm - Bonus Letter #52
Love of my Life, Mr. Thompson

oxox. It was the best birthday ever.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just What The Doctor Ordered, #40for40 - Day 1

A great continuation of the 40-hours leading up to my 40th birthday...

Eight more love letters arrived overnight.  Then one every hour at :32. (Wish you could hear the alarm on Mr. Thompson's phone that signals a delivery. Hilarious!)

10/22/2014, 12:32am - Letter #7 
Little Sister & Funniest Person I Know, Becky

(Best line..."In a knife fight, I'd call'd bring a gun...or 6.")

10/22/2014, 1:32am - Letter #8
New York City Chum, Monico

10/22/2014, 2:32am - Letter #9
Former (Best!) Boss, Jill  (aka: The Quote Lover)

10/22/2014, 3:32am - Letter #10
Older Sister, Lynda

10/22/2014, 4:32am - Letter #11
Beloved 97-Year Young Grandmother

10/22/2014, 5:32am - Letter #12
Childhood Neighbor Boy, Chris

10/22/2014, 6:32am - Letter #13
Neighbor and Sushi Sister, Sam

10/22/2014, 7:32am - Letter #14
Honorary Aunt, Friend and Youth Leader, Janell

10/22/2014, 8:32am - Letter #15
22-Year Old Nephew, Jared

10/22/2014, 9:32am - Letter #16
Oldest Brother, Travel-Buddy & Snicker Supplier, Bart (aka: Bar T, for his ranch brand)

Best line..."damn girl, you rock!"

10/22/2014, 10:32am - Letter #17
Bigfoot Hunting Partner, Co-Worker & Friend, Carlaine

10/22/2014, 11:32am - Letter #18
13-Year Old Niece, Kereigh

10/22/2014, 12:32pm - Letter #19
2-Year Old Niece and Buddy, Lilie

10/22/2014, 1:32pm - Letter #20
"Almost" 16-Year Old Nephew, Matt

10/22/2014, 2:32pm - Letter #21
11-Year Old Niece & Zoo Lover, Natalie

10/22/2014, 3:32pm - Letter #22
Co-Worker & Sanity Restorer, Kenneth

10/22/2014, 4:32pm - Letter #23
Spanish Speaking 11-Year Old Nephew, Andrew

10/22/2014, 5:32pm - Letter #24
33-Year Bestie of all Besties, Mendy Jo

10/22/2014, 6:32pm - Letter #25
Older Brother, General Pot Stirrer & Founding Member of #SiblingRival3, Craig

10/22/2014, 7:32pm - Letter #26
Warped Brother-In-Law, Richard

10/22/2014, 8:32pm - Letter #27
Visiting Teacher & Friend, Mandy

10/22/2014, 9:32pm - Letter #28
Corn-dog lovin' 16-Year Old Nephew, Brennin

10/22/2014, 10:32pm - Letter #29
Former Co-Worker, Julie

10/22/2014, 11:32pm - Letter #30
Brother-In-Law, Phil

What an amazing birthday! I love this Mister of mine.

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