Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wed Morning

       Shanda has now been in the hospital for six days and unfortunately we are now seeing some post surgery complications.  Recent blood work has not been favorable and will possibly require some blood transfusions for Shanda.  The epidural that was placed in her spine seems to be sliding out, and therefore making it more difficult to control Shanda's pain.  They are trying to get that resolved, but Shanda has moments of severe pain because of it. Poor thing.  She has had a fever on and off and now her belly seems to be building up with fluid.  That same fluid that required her to have a major surgery last August.  So that is a little concerning.  We don't know why its happening.  She is keeping a good spirit and remains upbeat and positive.  She is a fighter.  Hopefully this will be just some minor bumps in the road, but please continue to keep Shanda in your thoughts and prayers.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Morning

Well, it's time for another update. Shanda is continues to improve daily, I'm so proud of the progress she has made.  The very first night she was here was a night she would not like to repeat.  When she came back from surgery, she was very comfortable, but maybe a little too comfortable.  The epidural was too strong and the numbness in her body was climbing up to her chest, which slowed her breathing down.  They completely stopped the epidural for one hour, and thats when the hell started for Shanda.  One can understand how painful it must have been, hours out of surgery, not to have pain medication.  Poor shanda suffered the next 10 hrs while the nurses tried to get her pain under control.  Of course she didn't get any sleep and was just miserable.  Well, here we are two days later, and things are much better.  Her pain management is under control, and she is eager for the next step- "Get the dang tube out f my nose" .

Because her bowels are asleep, she is given a long tube that goes up her nose and down her throat to the stomach.  I know what you are thinking , I want one of those too.  Anyway, as you can imagine, Shanda hates this thing, her throat hurts, she can't talk, and is constantly thirsty ( no liquids until it is out).  MISERY is the best word I can come up with.  So, until her bowels wake up, that stays in.  Dr says the more she walks around, the quicker her bowels wake up and the dang tube can come out... so, she walks a TON, I love it, it is so who she is.  She gets something in her mind, and does anything to get it accomplished.  She is wearing me out with all the walking, but well worth it.  We do laps around the hospital floor 2-3 times per day, even in the middle of the night.  I love her.  We just saw the Dr and he listened to her bowels and he is hoping to pull the tube out tomorrow, so we will wait and see.

This is our third major surgery and visit to this Hospital in Spokane.  She is usually here for a couple weeks at a time, so nurses around here start to look familiar.  They all know Shanda  and remember her very well from past visits.  They just love her.  They appreciate her upbeat personality and great positive spirit.  Shanda definitely sticks out on this floor, she is by far the youngest patient, (not a lot of cancer patients at 32), she loves to talk to everybody, and people just gravitate towards her.  It has been fun to see her interactions with staff and other patients.  I'm so proud to call her my wife.

Anyway, gotta go, more will come.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day one recovery

I'm not much of a blogger, but I'll do my best to explain what is going on. Shanda got out of surgery last night and we received the best possible news... NO CANCER FOUND!!! With all that had been going on the past six months with the severe pain, fluid build up in her abdomen, and just not a good overall feeling, we went into this surgery scared, heck, I was scared out of my mind. So to get this news, what a relief, what a miracle!!!!!! Our wonderful Dr did perform a hysterecomty ( which we expected), I can never imagine as a women how that must feel to have that done, but Shanda handled it very well. It was definitely a very difficult choice for her to make, but it had to be done. We have two beautiful girls and couldn't be happier. There was also tons of adhesions and scarring that the Dr also removed. Those adhesions, in addition to the softball size cyst on her remaining ovary, were most likey causing her severe pain and fluid build up. Most importantly, the Dr looked everywhere for any possible cancer lesions or tumors... and found nothing. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

She is still left with a huge incision and a long recovery, but we are so greatful for all those who kept Shanda in their prayers. We have been blessed beyond

measure. We are hoping for a speedy recovery and zero complications. My wife is amazing, and the strongest person I know, I am so proud of her. Thank you all again. I will keep you posted.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

It begins...

I'm now on clear liquids and get the pleasure of starting a bowel prep. I check in at noon but will have the surgery tomorrow around 3pm. The dr will follow my same huge incision down my stomach and will cut out any tumors or anything that looks cancerous. He will drain the ascites (fluid) that has been building up again..and will send all of that off for pathology. He will also remove tons of adhesions and do a full hysterectomy this time. (I put it off as long as I could...and I am so sad about this...but has to be done now.) The Dr. will await pathology and decide if I need the Heated chemo pumped inside again or what else needs removed. The heated chemo is SO hard on the organs and abdomen. It basically creates severe burning on everything it touches and causes so much trauma. That is why it won't be used unless necessary. I know some peole had asked me why not just do it anyway.

Other than the hysterectomy, I have done this surgery 2ce before...and unfortunately KNOW all that can happen. I am trying to slow my mind from having flashbacks of all of the times I was hanging on for life after the last one. Not because of cancer, but because of surgical complications, etc. I coded the first time I had this surgery and was found in my room with no pulse by the cna trying to get my blood pressure. That was insanely scary...and I'd rather not repeat it. The last time I had this surgery, I tanked about a week in and had so many blood transfusions and ended up on a feeding tube and in serious condition for months. But whatever it is...I will do it. I'll do it 50 more times if I need to. I take one look at my girls and know I would do ANYTHING for the chance to raise them. I have to say, though...that I think I would rather NOT know what I am getting myself into. Oh well. :)

I am SO humbled and grateful for yor prayers. Thank you! Thank you! Please also pray for my doctors that they will be able to be alert, thorough, and that they will be guided to do what is needed and make sound decisions. My amazing mom will be taking care of my girls and Larry will be updating you from the hospital as it unfolds.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surgery Delayed until Friday

The Dr. needs to move my surgery that was scheduled for tomorrow. The lady getting hers done tomorrow is in serious trouble if she waits...I remember being in the same position with the same surgeon last year. I'm frustrated because I have waited months now and am in constant pain...but I am counting my blessings that I am not the one needing the "emergency" surgery to save my life this time. Thanks again for your prayers and amazing support.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A beautiful song about the cancer experience...

It only takes a few minutes to listen to, but the words parallel my story so much. I love it! (Thanks Robin for sharing this with me)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Makes me Happy...and She's mine!

And this is my new Kayak...Just looking at it makes me happy!  I feel so lucky I got the chance to try this amazing sport this summer.

Living it up and facing fears...

 The last year and a half of my life, fear has been such a HUGE part of my life.  Not that I dwell on it, but there is a mean cycle of scary "what if's" that can occur with a cancer diagnosis.  What they find more?  What if they can't remove it?  What if the chemo doesn't work?  What if this surgery ends up as bad as the last one? What if I dont make it?  What if my girls lose their mom? What if..what if..what if? (even lame things like...what if I end up in the hospital and someone has to come take care of my kids and finds my house in such a mess?)  I am always trying to push back the what if's and focus my attention on the awesome things going on around me each day.  I try to listen to every word, enjoy every conversation, savor every laugh, remember every little gesture and expression, internalize the feeling of every hug.  I used to live a very FULL and busy life...and I still do, but now I slow down to notice things so much more meaningful to me (even just in the simple, daily routine.)

I have learned to embrace my fears, but not let them control me.  I have watched some people allow their fears to limit the potential of their lives...and I refuse to do that.  Yes, I am scared...truthfully terrified at what might occur.  I own that...but I don't focus on that at all.  I am overwhelmed by the blessings each day brings and find peace in the hope that I have.  I hope I can mantain that perspective.

On a separate note: We just came back from a fun cruise with my in-laws and many of my husband's siblings.  I pushed back my surgery to be able to go and wasn't sure I was going to make it because of pain.  I ended up giving in and getting help.  I don't like pain meds because I have seen so many people get I usually avoid them.  I needed to go and have fun for my kids..and the meds made that possible.

We had a wonderful time and made awesome memories.  It was the perfect thing to do before the next surgery.  It was an extention of my new focus on LIVNG.  My husband and I faced fears of a lesser type...but we parasailed (I am terribly afraid of heights.)...and we both sang karaoke (which is NOT our thing.).  Random, I know...but they were two new experiences we can say we did.  My kids both parasailed also...which was awesome.  My 4 year old was fear less and wanted to hang upside-down in her harness.  We danced,ATE, saw Dolphins, snorkeled, ATE, swam, played, went to a water park, watched fun shows, played games, entered funny tournaments on the boat, ATE, laughed, and much more.  It was a great trip.  We even rented a car and went to see the home my husband grew up in on our way to the airport going home.  We crammed fun into every minute possible.  It was perfect!  

Aana got picked out of the audience to help with the dolophin show.

Almost all of Larry's immediate family
Crazy Cousins that made the trip so FUN for my kids!

All of us that went on the cruise on a water taxi going snorkeling.

My Mother In Law and Some Sis in Laws

Saturday, September 3, 2011

SO true!

Aana's first day of school

This girl LOVES school and couldn't wait to get back. I miss her already.  Addie starts preschool again next week.

I have SO much to blog...but for today...

I wanted to show you that we are enjoying every last minute of warm, summer weather together as a family...and we cherish those moments. 

Since my kayaking retreat...I've been hooked and am trying to get my family involved.

I went by myself to Hood River, OR and did a girls whitewater kayaking trip to try it again before I took the plunge and bought a boat.  And I loved it even more!
 I have so many pics to post and most are on other memory cards..but we have been camping, floating the river, bowling, riding bikes, playing games, reading books, laughing, hula hooping, pretending to be pirates, snuggling...and living it up.  We have truly made the most of our summer together. I love being a mom!

On a more serious note: There are 17 more days until my next big surgery in spokane.  I many of you think that I am recovered and doing well.  I am doing so much better than I was, but in truth, I am hurting badly. I just don't want to let that stop me from enjoying my time with my I am trying to push through it. I have been in a LOT of pain.  It frequently has me doubled over where I can't move and takes my breath away.  It is sharp, near constant, and in my lower abdomen.  I have had to give in and rely on pain meds so I don't have to lay in bed all day.  I can hurt in bed...or I can live.  I am trying to just keep moving... my kids have seen me sick enough.  I have never been excited for surgery before, but I am for this one.  I am hoping it will help with the pain.  I don't want to start the cycle over again that happened last year, but I can't keep hurting like I pray that they can fix it.  My hope is that the pain is somehow from all of the trauma in my abdomen...and not a symptom of cancer.  We are planning to do the heated chemo again if needed and I will be opened all the way up again.  I am grateful the dr. will be able to look again in every nook and cranny inside and see if anything has grown or spread.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

We are packing for another little family trip.  My last outing before a long hospital stay.  I better go for now.