Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Just Hair...Right?

 My beautiful short hair - Thank you to my amazing sister in law for the great cut!!!
 Me and my boys trying out some head wraps the other night - Liam wanted him and Don to look like Mommy!!!  I love these two more than life itself!!! How cute is Liam in a bandana!!!

When I found out I had cancer I assumed that it would be a whirlwind of awfulness!  Trust me, it hasn't been all rainbows and sunshine but I can definitely say it could be worse.  I saw that first hand at my first chemo treatment.  

These last two weeks have actually been tolerable.  I have had a few minor side effects, like tingling in my feet and legs, some very mild nausea and I have noticed that I get tired more easily.  I also was able to go back to work last Monday, which was amazing!!  I know, who wants to work, but when the alternative is crappy daytime TV and moping around the house all day, work is definitely a great distraction and has definitely lifted my spirits.  Considering the amazing people I work with, it has been the best week out of the last eight weeks I have had.   I cannot thank them enough!  The support was amazing and more than I could have asked for.

I also did encounter the inevitable side effect this past Friday.  Two weeks to the day from my first chemo treatment my hair started to fallout.  I don't mean like one or two strands here and there but clumps all of the time.  It shocked me which was weird considering I have been expecting this since the chemo started flowing through my system.  I did have a few of my normal, "why me" cry sessions but I guess I wouldn't consider myself normal if that didn't happen.  So, after two days of my hair consistently falling out the decision was made that my loving, wonderful husband was going to get to do something that most women wouldn't even entertain their husbands doing...EVER!!!  He was going to shave my head.  Even though I have given myself what seems like a million pep talks since this whole ordeal began, and telling myself that it is only hair and it will grow back.  The finality of it and knowing that it was about to happen was really scary and to be completely honest, sad.  I can't tell you how many times in my life I have said I hated my hair and taken it for granted that when that razor turned on I wish I could have taken every single one of those times back to just have a few more minutes with MY hair.  As I sat in our garage and Don began I could feel my head getting lighter and by god, colder (how do guys do this all of the time), it was scary and quite frankly I didn't want to see a mirror within a mile.  After a few great Sinead O'Connor jokes and some amazing compliments from Don I got up and looked in the mirror.  Don kept saying that it looked great and that I had a great shaped head so that helped with the initial shock of the first look.  I can't say that I hate it but it is definitely weird to see myself with no hair.  I do have to that I have an exquisitely shaped head and it is not lumpy, YAY!  I also do look a lot like my little brother, he won't be able to deny that we are brother and sister now (insert evil laugh here).  Also, just so you all know that I have best husband in the world because he is currently upstairs shaving his head with a bic razor so that we can both be bald and so I don't have to do this on my own.  I love him more than I can express to each and every one of you.

Quite frankly, it is a scary thought that I do have to go out in the world tomorrow and actually see people but I do have my new faithful wig friend "Angelique", she's pretty sassy and will help me to feel normal in my everyday life and I also have my arsenal of beautiful and stylish head wraps and wear thanks to my wonderful Aunt and the ladies at Hope's Boutique! Now that it is all said and done I don't think that it is going to be so bad not having hair for a while. I know that it is going to be awesome to not have to use a blow dryer or curling iron every single morning and showering will be a breeze, I just have to look at all of the positives and it will go by in no time and hey, who knows I may just get my wavy or curly hair I have always wanted when I grows back!!  The big plus so far is that Liam thinks I look cool so that great, I was afraid he was going to be scared of me but he just likes to rub my head because it feels cool.  

Looking towards the future, I have my second treatment this Wednesday, January 21st and we are officially scheduled to have Sadie on Tuesday, February 17th at 1pm!!  YAY!!  After everything that has been going on it is exciting to have a day to look forward to and what better day than meeting your daughter for the first time.  We are very excited for her to join our little family and I cannot wait to have someone to grow hair with :)  

I leave you all with this picture so that you can see that it really is just hair, if I can be bald and still have a smile on my face you can get through anything.  Until next time friends...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What a Year This Will Be...

As most of you know, Don, Liam and I are expecting a wonderful addition to our little family next month.  Sadie Glenn Butler will be gracing us with her presences towards the middle/end of February 2015.  This was an amazing and wonderful surprise that we had been wanting for a while now.  Little did we know at the time that Baby Sadie would be come a very big blessing in disguise.  

What most of you don't know is that right around the time that we found out that we would be having a little girl, the doctors also happened to stumble upon a small mass in my right ovary.  At first, it seemed to be nothing but a common ovarian cyst.  However, a month later at the beginning of November 2014 that all changed.  We went back in for another ultrasound and found the the mass had grown significantly in a little less than a month.  The doctors decided it was time to do an MRI to see what was going on.  A week and half later I was squished into the smallest MRI machine at 6 months pregnant getting pictures of my insides taken.  That was uncomfortable to stay the least.  About 5 days later I was told that I needed to see a GYN Oncologist, because the MRI revealed that it was more than just an ovarian cyst.  I have never in my life been punches but this news was like what I imagined getting punched in the face feels like.  Knowing that I was pregnant and now possibly having a cancerous mass in my body, I felt completely helpless. 

The day before Thanksgiving Don and I went into meet my Oncologist (it is still surreal to say that).  This appointment would forever change my life and life of my family.  After going through the routine doctor checkup we were ushered into the doctors private office to discuss the findings.  This was when Don and I were told that there was a very likely chance I had some type of Ovarian cancer and that surgery was going to be necessary and it needed to be done as soon as possible.  Now this was an even bigger punch to the face than finding out the mass was more than just a cyst.  I didn't think that was possible.  The surgery part was even harder to hear for both Don and I because there was a little baby still growing strong in the area they needed to get at.  I know that we were both terrified but we both new that it had to be done because the alternative was not an option.  After going into the more detail with the doctor she was confident that the could preform the surgery and keep Baby Sadie inside to continue to cook.  I was skeptical at first, but she seemed very confident about her abilities and for some reason that made it seem we could do this.  It was decided then that the surgery would happen a week later on December 4th. 

After the longest week of my life and thinking of nothing else but cancer and "how are they going to keep this baby inside me", the day was finally here.  After checking in and going through Pre-Op I was finally in the operating room with the five teams of doctors and surgeons that would be taking care of me and Baby Sadie for next the few hours.  

Once the surgery was over I was awakened in the OR to find that they did indeed keep Baby Sadie safe and inside to cook for the remainder of her time and that they were also able to remove all parts of the tumor and lymph nodes that the tumor had affected.  This was also when we found that the tumor was indeed cancer, I was preliminarily diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.  However, we would have to wait a few weeks to get the official pathology results back.  Knowing this and having this long recovery ahead of me I was in for what will now be the longest weeks of my life.  Just after Christmas 2014 I found out officially that I was being diagnosed with Staged 3 Cancer of an Unknown Primary.  I know, what the heck does that mean????  This means that even though the tumor was found in my right ovary, the cells of the tumor were not acting like ovarian cancer.  The two pathologist were not able to pinpoint the original origin of where the cancer is coming from.  This is actually a common diagnoses and basically at this point I have a lot of tests in my future to rule out the various types of cancers that do exist.  

It was also decided that I would start an aggressive form of Chemotherapy that would attack and kill any remaining cancer cells that could be hiding  in my body while we try and figure out what type of cancer I do have.  This chemo regiment will consist of six rounds, once every three weeks beginning January 2nd.  I know that the first round was two days ago and so far so good, but I am now just waiting for the inevitable side effects to start and also the hair loss.  The hair loss I am not so excited about but if this is what needs to happen so that I can get better and take care of my family then so be it.  The alternative is not an option!!  

I know that this is a lot to take in at first but I plan to keep all of you updated on this long road of recovery I have.  I just want everyone to know that I am a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, niece, friend and that I plan on being these things for a very long time.  I have a tough fight ahead of me and I plan on beating this because I have a lot of life left and I have two kids and an amazing husband that can clearly not function without me :).  

Thank you all so much for your support, prayers, help and kind words thus far.  I know more will be needed down the road and I don't know many times I can say thank you but if I have to say it a billion times I will.