Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Timeline (Part 3)

Here's the final wrap up of the last year...

June 2011
*June was blissfully uneventful for the most part :o)  I was watching the kids again and was even doing the things I had missed around the house.  Julianna and I went berry picking and canned homemade jam.  We spent some weekends at the camper.  And life was good!

July 2011
*July 4th weekend, we went to the camper and had both our families over for a picnic.  It was then that my back pain returned with major vengeance.  I was in almost as much pain as I had been 9 months previously.  I could barely walk or move.

*Dr H scheduled me for another long MRI (4 hours!), this time including scans of my pelvis.  He put me back on pain meds until the results came back, but they didn't seem to help much.  A few days later when I met with him he gave me the news that there was a fairly large tumor in my pelvis and it was pushing on my sciatic nerve (finally a source for my pain!).  I was scheduled to see a surgeon for a consult.

*I met with Dr L (the surgeon) on Monday, July 18 and after seeing my pain and looking at my scans, he scheduled me to have surgery just 3 days later!  I was so thankful for him being able to get me in so quickly.  The day before my surgery, I was in so much pain I pretty much just layed on my parents couch crying all day and counting down the minutes between pain meds.

*July 21, I had surgery to remove the tumor from my pelvis.  Basically, they cut clear through the left side of my rear end to get to it.  I would go through 10 c-sections again before I would ever want to have the surgery to remove that tumor again.  It was an extremely painful recovery.  I spent 5 days in the Clinic recovering & then was transferred to a rehab facility.

*While in the rehab facility, I was the youngest resident by at least 50 years...haha!  I had 30 minutes of physical therapy each day.  By day 3 I had decided it was silly for me to be there and I was ready to come home.  I was told I could go home the next morning :o)  Unfortunately, Joe got a call from Dr H shortly after that and we received the news that I had multiple new tumors show up in my last scan and that my cancer was again getting worse.  I was so upset I didn't give anyone a chance to keep me there.  I told them I was going home right then.  I hadn't seen my kids in over a week and I just wanted to be home with my family.  I was discharged within 30 minutes.

August 2011
*I spent August trying to recover from my surgery (it was awful!) and starting radiation therapy on the parts of the tumor that could not be removed.  Joe also got things rolling on getting a second opinion on my treatment at MD Anderson.

*August 25, I started having back pain again.  This time I had a large knot on my back that was causing the pain.  It felt like a really tight muscle knot and when it was rubbed it would ease a little.  After some completely sleepless nights Dr H ordered another MRI of my back.  This one showed I had a new tumor next to my spine and that my cancer was spreading quite quickly up my spine.  So radiation to my back was added to what I was already getting on my pelvis.

*By the end of the month things were all set for Joe and I to travel to Houston, Texas to get my second opinion at MD Anderson the beginning of September.

September 2011
*I finished radiation therapy on Sept. 7 and Joe & I flew to Texas on Sept. 8th.  September 9th, I met Dr Z for the first time.  We instantly liked him and were really excited about everything he had to tell us.

*After lots of testing, Dr Z decided on a trial for me and things moved pretty quickly.  We had to get an apartment, my parents flew down to help out, and I sadly wasn't able to return to Ohio to spend time with the kiddos.  I started chemo and thanks to the steroids I got as a premeds I started feeling amazingly better!

*During all this time, a few things were discovered about my eyes.  It is thought  that I have carcinoma related retinopathy, BUT Dr S is so unclear about things that we still aren't exactly sure what is going on with my eyes.

October 2011
*I continued with chemo during October & dealt with periods of my severe back pain.  We still don't know what is causing the back pain, but it seems to always be the worst at night, and so far the only thing that helps it is steroids, which none of the doctors want me to be on.

*Joe and Erin brought the kids out to see me for a week and I couldn't have been a happier!  We took the kids to the zoo, and shopping, and we just had a wonderful time.  Watching them leave for the airport was so hard.

*October 21, I met with Dr Z to go over the most recent scans & I learned that the trial I was on was not working.  The cancer was still slowly growing.  I was scheduled for an appointment the following week to find out a new plan of attack.

*October 25, I was put into a new trial and just a few hours later my mom & I were on a plane back to Ohio for a short trip.  It was so nice to be home!  It was even nicer to see Julianna's face when she woke up the next morning and found mommy was not in Texas!

*Here's where my miracles really start rolling in.  A few days later, on October 26, Dr Z called Joe and told him they were 99% sure they now had found the primary source of my cancer.  I am now diagnosed pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNET).  The good thing about that is that there is a specific treatment for it!  Even better was that a trial just for PNET opened that day and I was accepted!  And it included that new chemo drug that had been approved in May!  This drug (everolimus) has an 86% success rate at reducing the size of PNET tumors and a high percentage of patients reach remission very quickly.  I was thrilled!

November 2011
*Erin & I flew back to Texas and I started my new trial on November 4th.  I love that this chemo is all pill form.  No IV's or ports for me baby!  I alternate between 2 different chemo pills each day.  Its so simple.  It also doesn't have the extreme side effects as the chemo I had last winter.  So far, I still have my hair :o)  Its thinner, but no balding!  I also, have an incredible appetite...no nausea or sickness!

*I made another quick trip back to Ohio last week and got to attend the fundraiser my family & friends threw for us.  Then my mom and I returned to Texas.  This time we brought Julianna with us.  She was having such a hard time being away from mommy that we decided it was in her best interest to be with me for a little while.

So that's where we are as of right now.  We are planning on being here in Texas through December 6th when I have some tests and scans scheduled, but after that I shouldn't have to be down here except for a few days a month.  I can't wait to see how well this chemo is working!  I know in my heart that God has big plans for me and that this cancer is just a bump in the road.

I hope the last few posts haven't bored everyone, but I thought it would be easiest to just do a recap and catch people up in case they had missed anything.  If you want anymore in depth details you can click here and read all my cancer related posts.

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