Friday, January 29, 2010

A ViCtoRy!

I am counting all good progress as victories in this battle!  In the last couple of days I have been miraculously able to secure appointments with all of the 3 Dr's that I wanted to get in to. (for this huge surgery and HIPEC chemo) I have researched so much and I am confident that I will be meeting with at least 2 of the top 3 in the nation for this procedure!! These are very niche specialists and getting appointments in their offices is quite the task.  Strange things happened and connections were made where I actually got in...and my appointments start this next monday.  I am so grateful they cleared room for me so that I can get more questions answered quickly.

I have been guided in my path and recognize so strongly that I am not walking this path alone.  I have never before felt so strongly that my Father in Heaven is aware of me..

I have also made contact with a new wonderful friend that has given me great hope.  She is my age, has my cancer, and was diagnosed at about the same progression of the cancer.  She had the surgery and chemo and has been 4+ years cancer FREE!!  I don't even know how to explain how our paths crossed...but I so badly needed to hear her story and experience.  I have been lucky enough to talk/email a few different people who have been through this process and they are so willing to share support, information, and encouragement.  I am grateful...SO all of them.  

Monday and Tuesday I have big appointments all over state...and I should get more information.  I feel good about this week's progress...and I am gaining strength each day!  I WILL beat this!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Today is a great day!

Larry took this picture from our front yard.  I saw the amazing colors of the sky through the window and he ran out to take a picture for me.  It didn't last long, but the colors were fantastic!

Today I am stronger and feel some of my usual spunk!  I have felt the strength, support,  and prayers of ALL of you and I am so grateful.  I can plainly feel miracles occuring in my life that I can't explain.  Pieces are are coming together and I am feeling peace in places of my heart that were previously filled with fear.  I wish I could articulate my thoughts on this better. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I found out yesterday that my cancer is not contained and the pathology lab found cancer cells that were starting to implant.  That was our biggest fear since my appendix had ruptured and had possibly spewed cancerous cell matter throughout my abdominal cavity. 

This cements the fact that I will now be undergoing a very intense surgery and Heated Chemotherapy.  There are very few doctors that perform this surgery and I want to make sure that I will choose the best one for my care.  That has been the focus of my prayers since I found out the news.  (for those that watch Greys Anatomy...the non graphic part was shown in the first five minutes of the show this week.  I was hoping to get a better glimpse of what I will be going through but they barely showed anything.)  I will be hospitalized for around a month and will be far away from home.  I am nervous about all of it, but so grateful that this chemo is available, since it has exponentially increased the rates of survival from appendiceal cancer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thank you...

For all of your amazing messages, comments, prayers, thoughts, cards, meals, flowers, and more.  Thank you to those who are helping so wonderfully with my children so I can get the rest I need to regain strength.  Thank you for your patience with me as I can't participate in my own life as I usually would.  I do love my life and WILL do what it takes to return to it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Coping...and gaining strength

(Warning: This might be very rambling.  I am on some strong pain medicines, and my body isn't used to it.  If this isn't coherent, I apologize.)  The is the first time I have been on a computer in over a week...and it has been a LONG week.  The surgery was a little bit more intense than I expected.  The truth is...I was so busy asking questions about my cancer, that I barely asked any questions about the surgery.  As Larry mentioned, it was a success and I am recovering.  I got home from the hospital on Friday afternoon and I have been keeping my bed warm since.  Today I mustered up the energy to come downstairs to update my blog.  I am feeling stronger, and am so grateful that I am no longer on a clear liquid diet.  That lasted most of last week and had me so weak.  I don't have much of an appetite, but I am grateful for a regular diet. 

The Dr. removed half of my colon and several lymph nodes in the surgery.  They were all sent to pathology and we got some preliminary results back but will wait another week for the rest.  There were not any more tumors in what was removed which was great news...but they did find some very irregular gland cells that were red flags, so they have sent my sample to a GI specialty lab that will hopefully be able to identify them.   I am trying not to think about the "what if's" right now...and am focusing all of my energy on healing.  While I was in the hospital, they did do a tumor board on my cancer where my Dr. presented my case to a board of oncologists and other specialty doctors.  They decided that this case will be better handled elsewhere and I know that I will need to travel for some consultations so that I can get the best possible care.  The oncologists that are local don't even do the type of Chemo that I will likely be receiving.  It is a treatment that involves surgery where they will open up my abdomen, strip my whole abdominal cavity of the lining, and pour in a very hot chemo treatment to figh the cancer that might be there.  I will have to travel to do this and will be hospitalized for a few weeks when they do it.  It scares me...and I just don't want to think about it yet.   (For the researchers out is called heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy or HIPEC)   Lets not go down that road yet is the most likely outcome with what we currently know...but there is a chance that I won't need to do that...and I am desperately holding on to that chance.  I will however, do whatever I need to do beat this, and give myself the best odds to be cancer free in the future!!!

FYI:  I have felt so uplifted by your cards, messages, emails, flowers, thoughts, and prayers.  I am so grateful that I do not feel alone in this fight!  I am sorry that I can't respond individually to your messages, but please keep them coming.  They give me strength...and I need it right now!!!

I do receive emails on my phone, but it is challenging to respond to them from my phone.  My iphone keyboard doesn't work well with the amount of medicines that I am on.   I also do get an email each time you leave a post...and I am SO grateful for the time you take to send a message or leave a post.  If anyone wants to email me at anytime, my address is:

I thank you again for all of your support.  I will post all information as it come back.  I thank you so much for all of your time, support, prayers, positive thoughts...and know that I CAN beat this!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 8

This is Larry writing this. I just wanted to give a quick update on my wonderful wife Shanda. Her surgery was complete on Monday and they removed part of her colon. The surgery went well and now she is in the hospital recovering while being closely monitored. The surgery was just another step in this long process. We are now awaiting the all important pathology report which will give us a better understanding of the aggressiveness of this cancer. Once again, please keep Shanda in your prayers and thank you so much for all your support. Shanda always says that she knows she’ll get through this because she has a huge support network like the one on the Verizon commercials. That is so true. Thank you again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tomorrow is a big day...

Tomorrow I will take my first big step to FIGHT cancer.  I am ready.  I have the Rocky music playing in my head...pushing me and giving me strength to press forward!!  I realized last night when I couldn't sleep that I barely asked questions about the surgery I would be having...and what to expect. I was much more concerned about the ramifications of the cancer. I am not sure what I will wake up to tomorrow, but I know that they will have removed some cancer...and removed part of my bowels...and that is a step in the right direction and is the first thing I need to do.  I am so grateful that these specialists have made arrangements to put me in so quickly.  That is a blessing!

Aana and Addie make these signs for me to put in my hospital room. Aana made hers all by herself and I adore case it is too small to read, it is says: Think of the sky, think of clouds, think of ladybugs, think of birds...Get well! And Addie painted a picture of me. I treasure them...and they will inspire me this week many times a day!  (My parents and husband will be carrying quite the load this week while I am in the hospital..and there will still be much  more when I am finished with I need to publicly thank them for their amazing...unselfish suport!!!)

Here I go...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day Four:

Last night was a bit scary. I woke up on the bathroom floor around 2 am and had blacked out and faceplanted into the hard tile. My nose, chin, and knee must have taken the brunt of it, because they HURT this morning. I was prepping for a colonoscopy and I think the lack of food just did me in. I have never functioned well when hungry. Many of my friends and family have known that for years. :)

But the great news...I just returned from my colonoscopy and the Dr. was unable to find anything currently that looked at all like cancer on the inside of my colon. We know there is some on the outside, and that there are several other places we still need to check, but I am grateful that we had some good news today. I felt as though the stars aligned to get me into the specialists I needed overnight to schedule this procedure as well as my big surgery for monday. I am officially scheduled to have a right hemocolonectomy on Monday @ 6am. I will not know the news from the pathology lab until much later in the week...and I will be in the hospital all week as well. Please continue your prayers...and THANK YOU for your amazing support!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 3 update:

Everyone keeps asking me how I am...and I will tell you all, I have been better. But that doesn't mean that I am miserable or any other negative term. An amazing thing happened over the last 36 hours...I have accepted that I am now a CANCER patient. I feel power in just the acceptance and my ability to share my diagnosis with my friends and loved ones...and share my experience. I will try to keep this not like a journal, but I might share some of my thoughts as this journey unfolds.

Day one was a felt as though time least my time, and I worked on trying to own my diagnosis. Day two was the first appointment that gave me some answers. For those that want to know the type of cancer (but please don't tell me what you find when you google it!) I have appendiceal cancer and the tumor was called mucinous adenocarcinoma. The cancer didn't appear in the ct scans I Have had...but there were no other tumors visible that could be promising. The couple of lymph nodes they took out with my appendix were also clean, but the dr. let me know that he needs a larger sampling.

Today I am ready to fight this, but I am needing sleep. Maybe that will be tonight....

Tomorrow they fit me in for a colonoscopy to check on my colon and MONDAY will be my big surgery. I will be in the hospital for awhile...and will not get lab results for a week or so. That will be hard...just know my fate. I can handle one day at a time right now...and that is all that I know.

I WILL DO THIS!!! I am so grateful it is me and not my children or husband. I know the Lord is with me...and I will be fine. Please continue your prayers. I have a strong testimony that the Lord hears and answers our prayers... I accept his will, but I feel good about the outcome. Everything will be okay!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yesterday Rocked my world....

I was diagnosed with cancer. I am shocked, scared, humbled, and anxious to know more answers. My family and I would greatly appreciate your prayers in our behalf!

It was a surreal day where I had to call my husband at work to tell him that I had cancer. I had to call my mom, dad,sister, and other family. I NEVER imagined I would have to do that!

I will try to update my blog with more information as we get it. What I know right now is that I have cancer. It is a VERY rare cancer that originated in my appendix and they found it after a regular lab test once I had my recent appendectomy. Even though my appendix has been removed, we know that I still have some degree of remaining cancer on my colon. We will be doing more tests as soon as possible to see if it has spread beyond that. I will also be having surgery next week to remove the right half of my colon and several lymph nodes. The doctor will be able to more accurately stage my cancer once this surgery is complete. He knows that I am at least a stage 2...but he is very hopeful that that is all.

What lies ahead might be a bit of a LONG road, but I will beat this...this is day two of my journey and I feel strengthened by my Heavenly Father. I would have never known about this cancer without the strange bouts of appendicitis that I have they were disguised blessings. I have great faith...but need your faith and prayers as well. This is SCARY!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas 2009

What a way to ring in the New Year...

After my appendix ruptured in early September, doctors were hopeful that my ruined appendix would shrivel up and reabsorb to never cause problems again.  Well, a few weeks ago the pain returned, and I was pretty sure I knew what it was.  I don't trust the ER here after almost killing me earlier, so I waited to get into my dr...he ordered a ct scan, and confirmed my suspicion that my appendix had healed and was reaking havock again. I had appendicitis yet again and had surgery New Years Eve to have it removed.  I ordered room service from the cafeteria and watched TLC until I feel asleep because of some IV pain meds.  It wasn't the most exciting New Years eve for me, but I am so grateful to be appendix free!  (I got home from the hospital yesterday and am sore, but healing!)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

We had a wonderful Christmas and I wish I had more pictures to show all of the fun that we had.  We had a lot of family visiting which makes the holidays even more special.  We enjoyed building gingerbread houses, looking at Christmas lights, feeding reindeer, playing games, Christmas parties, family time, and celebrating the birth of our Savior.  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!