Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yesterday: Part 2

In regards to my final statement from yesterday, I love my baby girl:) We went back to her room after I got off the computer, I held her for a little while and then laid her down. She would have none of that, so I picked her up and we retreated to the rocking chair. Usually this is completely nonproductive because she gets distracted by the window, my hair, the blanket on the back of the chair, the chair itself...I see some form of an attention disorder in our future...but this time it was perfect:)

I tried to get her to relax and put her head up on my shoulder, but she kept slithering down to my lap. Holding her at all is quite the dance these days because my arm is still killing me from the port and she doesn't understand that she can't get it near it without me screaming in my head a little!!

Anyway, back to the lap:) She never does this so I just let her go where she wanted and get settled. She wiggled her way down into a little ball in my lap with her head on my chest, got all snuggled in and promptly went to sleep!!!! These are the moments that make childbirth worth the effort:) Did I tell you it was WONDERFUL?!?!?!

Yesterday was a long day. I've decided that I'm stronger in my head than I am physically. I feel fine after the "chemo brain" wears off, but too much physical exertion and I kind of crater. I mentioned our romantic getaway to the regional tourney in yesterday's post. The ride to Nac wasn't too bad, but the 12 laps we made around the basketball coliseum, the trip to the bathroom to change the diaper of a little girl in big girl jeans that had NO DESIRE to be changed and the stairs up and down and up and down to our seats, was a little much!!! I got pretty dizzy and my heart was racing. But after getting settled, I felt better. I'm just going to have to be careful. I guess I can handle that:)

In my daily call from Schumpert, they also told me that they are sending me a list of a couple of vitamin D supplements they want me to start on. Apparently my levels are really low. I know that's shocking, especially as much as I've been out sunbathing lately?!? Really?!??!

That's all the life-changing wisdom I can stand to impart for today. My man and baby girl are napping in their respective corners of the house and I think it's time for me to join one of them. Wonder if I'll fit in the crib....

Friday, February 26, 2010


Actually, it was praise for yesterday, but Emma and I got busy so I had no time to post:) Love bathtime!!

I talked to one of the onclology nurses from Schumpert yesterday and guess what my level was from Wednesday?!??!?!??! NINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember, I started around 77,000 before my D&C and we're trying to get to zero. Last week, it was around 166. Dr. Owers told us before the first treatment that typically the levels through the first couple of rounds rise then start to taper off towards the middle of the treatment. The nurse sounded really surprised at how low it was yesterday:) YAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, I am fully aware that these particular kind of cells have a mind of their own. It could rise next week, who knows. But for TODAY, I'm at a NINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and my arm still hurts:(

But, at least Stu didn't have to sleep on the couch last night:) Apparently, and he has never been able to produce a shred of evidence of this, when I'm really, really tired I snore like a flippin' freight train! Remember, how I told you I was drugged Wednesday??? Let's just say my sweet, precious husband knew there was no other position I could lay in that night to alleviate the snoring so he just headed to the couch! Oh, the crowns this man will have in heaven!!!!!!!!!!!! That might have been TMI. So sorry! He's taking Emma and I on a romantic getaway to the Waskom girls' basketball regional tourney this afternoon. Go Wildcats!

Have a great weekend! I'm feeling better, by the way, can you tell??? Looks like we'll have 4 or 5 days of yuck after chemo then go back to's to hoping! I actually did laundry and cleaned a little last night. Course, I had also overdone it yesterday morning with picture day (went great!) so I left work at noon and got in a several hour nap before picking up Emma (thank you, Tina!!). That helped!

Off to get the little one down for a nap, wish me luck????

Love y'all!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am officially "ported." The procedure wasn't too bad, but OUCH right now!!! Plus, they gave me xanex and two pain pills, so my world is just now getting stable again almost 12 hours later!

It's pretty crazy to think that there is a device in my arm that is connected to a wire?catheter?tube? that travels through one of my veins and stops at the top of my heart. Oh, and it's entire purpose is to shoot cell-killing poison into my entire body. What in the world is my life right now?!?! The doctors were great, very sweet. In fact, everyone at Schumpert is wonderful. If you've got to go through something like this, I highly recommend them:)

Prayer for the night that has nothing at all do with my current situation: tomorrow is picture day at the Day School!!!! 55 students ages 1 year through pre-k, 10 teachers, one director and an Emma Jewel:) Being the director's daughter has to have some perks:) Last year was semi-organized chaos, but we had picture day on the same day as our Valentine's parties (it was my first year as acting director and I was 8 months pregnant...not a lot of logical thinking going on during that time!!!). Needless to say there were some very red lipped spring pictures because of all the red sweets the kids had consumed throughout the morning!! Pray for minimal tears and smooth sailing!! And for quick and nimble fingers for Ben Daily, the photographer, it's tough catching those kids with just the right expression!!

All is good here, thanks for checking in:) Have a great night!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ponderings and Memories

Did you know that if this pregnancy would've been healthy and meant to be, I'd be almost 17 weeks right now? We could be finding out the sex of the baby in just a few weeks. That is so surreal to me. It was also 2 years ago this month that Stu and I found out we were pregnant with our first baby. We named her "Hope" after the Lord let me see her in a dream. I'm not usually into that sort of thing, but I can promise you He gave me a gift and a tremendous amount of peace when He let me see her that night.

We lost Hope at 10 weeks in an unexplained miscarriage. She just never grew the way she was supposed to. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through. Unless you've heard your doctor say the words, "I'm sorry, this pregnancy is going to end in a miscarriage," you will never quite know how part of your heart dies. The second you see the word "pregnant" on that little white stick you have a connection, plans, hopes, dreams. You can see your husband as Daddy playing baseball with your little boy or dancing with your little girl. You can feel the flush of excitement knowing that inside your very own body the miracle of life is forming and growing. In that moment, you know your life will never be the same and that an amazing journey is beginning.

In true "me" timing, we lost Hope the week before Mother's Day 2008. I cannot tell you how brutal it was seeing commercial after commercial of beautiful (and skinny! I hated them for that, too!!) mothers with their adoring children and husbands showering them with love and blah, blah, blah! I'm tellin' you, I think God wants me to write a could not plan the timing of my life disasters any better! My first Sunday back to church was Mother's Day itself. BAD IDEA!!! I should have called in sick!!! Now, I know it's tough to know what to say to someone in this situation. But that day I wanted everyone to just keep their traps shut. If I'd have heard "God is in control," "His plan is perfect," or "Just keep your head up, you can always have more children," one more time there would've been bloody noses in the church house!! I know they meant well and had no idea what else to say but WOW! Each time someone said those things, I felt diminished. I felt like Hope, who she was, who she could've been, was relegated to an item to be discarded. I felt like I was supposed to forget her and pretend that everything was OK because it made everyone less uncomfortable when I wasn't being torn apart inside. That is one of the loneliest places you can be.

As time passed, I came to grips with things. I never fully healed and I don't think I ever fully grieved the loss of my first baby. We lost Hope in May and found out we were pregnant with Emma in July. So there were new places for my mind to go, happier places. I still think about her though. Her due date was on Thanksgiving Day, so I will always remember her then:)

Still not sure how to characterize this loss...the pregnancy that tried to kill me??? Ugh. It's all too confusing. Even after all that I've read: WHAT THE HECK IS A MOLAR PREGNANCY?!?!? And HOW...?!?!?!?!?? UUUGGGGHHH!!! I will never understand.

Well, aren't you glad you checked in on me tonight?!? This is what happens when Stu has back-to-back out of town basketball playoff games, Emma goes to sleep early and I'm left to my own devices!! Wow.

I totally understand if all my "followers" want to block me now:) No worries, it was only a matter of time:)

On a serious note, I would appreciate your prayers tomorrow as I go in to get the passport for my treatments. I don't think it's supposed to be too big a thing, but it'd help to know you guys were lifting me and Stu up.

Have a great night and I hope to see you IBCer's tomorrow night, if all goes well!

Monday, February 22, 2010

FINALLY a clear day!

I decided to spare you the pity party that I enjoyed all day yesterday. Gotta say, it was pretty rough. I had pretty much decided that tired, fuzzy, dizzy, sickly and frustrated was just going to be my state of existence until this whole thing is over. Emma had been fever free for well over 24 hours then all the sudden it was back yesterday afternoon. Can I just tell you how much I want to hold her and play with her and kiss her pretty little face?!?!? This is killing me. I've got yet another call in to the doctor...not sure what's going on there, keeps going straight to a hot-line?? Is it a holiday or something? Is there a holiday big enough to warrant closing a pediatrician's office?!? I don't even know what day it is!

Anyway...back to today:)

My head is relatively clear for the first time since the treatment. I'm still tired and am making a conscious effort to keep some kind of clarity with my thoughts, but I haven't felt sick and haven't taken a anti-nausea pill all day. So that's a bonus! Hopefully, I'll just have 4 or 5 bad days and then things will clear in between rounds. We'll see.

I'm so ready for all this to be over with. I know I'm blessed. If you're going to have to be diagnosed with cancer, this is the one to choose. It's not terminal, it's only temporary, and I know all this. It doesn't make it a run through a sun-filled meadow, though. I'm trying to stay positive and trust the Lord. I know He's sovereign and in control. I know He doesn't give us more than we can handle. I just need a break from the testing or teaching or whatever this is. I know He's going to use this entire situation to His glory and that my ministry will be forever changed because of this. I'm just a little down because the journey isn't optional, it's sink or swim. I want to be found faithful.

Well, I better get back to work. I took an early lunch break...yeah, that's what we'll call it:) Hope everyone has a great day:)

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Today hasn't been too bad. Of course, I've been asleep for the majority of it! My head has been spacier than usual and overall I just feel like I'm moving in slow motion. I did get out for the first time since Thursday...H&R Block, woo-hoo! But at least now we know that we will have money to pay the hospital on Wednesday when we go in for the port. The port has been scheduled for Wednesday, by the way. Since they will have to use anesthesia, it has to be a morning procedure, and we have picture day at the day school Thursday!! We don't pay the teachers near enough to handle all that drama on their own!!! So Wednesday it is.

In other news, I think Emma and I are friends again:) Poor baby could not understand why I haven't been able to hold her since Wednesday. I've been trying to be good and stay away from her as much as I can stand while she's been sick. Gotta tell ya...THAT IS HARD!!!! But she's been fever free for 36 hours or so and I've been able to love on her in little spurts all day. It's tough not to just fall apart when your baby looks at you with pitiful eyes and cries because you won't hold her. Stu swears she's OK, but a momma knows:) I'm just glad she won't remember the next few months when she's older.

I've been thinking about the next few months and all that will be happening during them. Pray that I won't be in a fog and not remember her first steps or her first birthday. I know its probably ridiculous but I'm scared that I'm going to miss out on so much because of all this. I'm hoping the fog will only last a couple of days after each treatment and then be OK??? Who knows. That's the latest game my mind is playing, so you can add that to the prayer list if you would like:)

Well, I've eaten a little and am feeling a little clearer so I'm going to go play with my little friend! Hope to be at IBC in the morning, we'll see how things go.

Love y'all!

Friday, February 19, 2010

So Far So Good

I know it's probably still early, but so far I'm ok. I've taken a couple of of my anti-nausea pills and I haven't been feeling too bad. I'm pretty tired, but that's a normal state these days:) My arms feel really heavy and last night all my muscles felt like I'd been using them a lot. Another weird side effect was during the night when I was up I actually thought I could feel stuff pumping through my veins. Everything felt so thick. It was a pretty different feeling.

I mentioned in my last post Emma was sick. Her fever topped off last night at 104.1. It's never been that high and we were understandably FREAKED out!!! Her Nana and Pawpaw stayed up with her for a while and took care of her. She actually slept on Pawpaw's chest until 4 AM and then he took her to her bed and she stayed asleep until around 8:30. When we got her up, her fever had fallen to 97.6!!!! Praise the Lord! We were pretty sure a 3 AM ER run was going to happen but everything finally settled. She is in much better spirits and looks like she feels tons better. She's napping right now, so we'll check her again when she wakes up. Thank you for your prayers!

FYI...I forgot to say yesterday that the results to my CT scan came back normal:) Nothing had spread, so yay:)

That's all I've got for now. I tried unsuccessfully to take a nap earlier, but I think I'm going to give it another try. Again, thanks for your prayers and for keeping track of us as we go through this journey. I know there will be many ups and downs. If I would've posted at around 3 this morning, you would've seen my "dark side":) I'm sure pieces of that will come out throughout this process. I'm a theraputic writer. It helps me to get things out and have to go through the mental process of forming specific thoughts.

I've lived in a fish bowl all my life, and to be honest, it's not that bad anymore. I know that many of you have a preconceived idea of who I am in the context of my ministry. I try hard to be honest and my true self all the time, but there are times that people need me to appear stronger than I am. I'm OK with that. The Lord has called me to something way bigger than me and He gives me strength when I've got nothing to give. Because this electronic escape is an outlet for me, I ask that you not allow my honesty to color your view of who I am personally or in the context of my ministry. I'm human, just ask Stu!!!!! Wow, the stories that man could tell!!! I can be pretty snarky and sarcastic, but a lot of that is a coping mechanism for me. You just have to laugh at it all sometimes, cause the alternative is too much. So with that second disclaimer out of the way, you have been warned! Feel free to follow, fully aware of what you might read!!

Keep the prayers coming. We truly can feel them. I'm telling you, it's because of you guys that our sanity is relatively staying on an even keel.

We love you!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Round One...Check.

Are you impressed with my level of committment?? 3 posts in less than 24 hours is pretty impressive, if I do say so myself:)

Round One went pretty good. I've still got anti-nausea and steriods in my system so we'll see how everything feels after those wear off.

As always, the IV was traumatic. Apparently, I have the smallest and most mobile veins known to man. I went through my prepared speech to let the nurse know that no one ever hits one on the first try for an IV. She gave me her prepared speech to let me know not to worry, they do this everyday and they're great at it. Then, she promptly dug around in my arm until I almost passed out and sheepishly said, "I missed." She proceeded to get the other nurse on duty that has NICU experience, and she hit it on the first try:) She is my new best friend. And I might just have baby veins. Lee and Carolyn Curry just happened to be at the hospital at the same time and got to witness the whole process. With all that they've been through I bet they think I'm a wimp!!! After the IV was in, the rest was just the weirdness of feeling the meds and chemo go through my hand into the rest of my body. I'm not real fond of that feeling.

On the way home, Dr. Owers called and said because my veins are so small and fragile he wants to put a port in my arm under my skin so we don't have to do the IV every time. Now that everyone knows I've been telling the truth about my IV difficulties, they're concerned that if the IV doesn't get in the vein just right or if it blows because it's so fragile, bad things could happen. Fun fact to know and tell...if this chemo gets out of my vein and on to the skin or tissue, it'll make it rot. Fabulous. Needless to say, I'm getting the port scheduled for next Thursday when I have to go back to get my weekly blood work done.

That's all I've got to update for now.

Specific prayer requests for this weekend:

1. Emma's got a fever. We started her on amoxicillan this afternoon and she's been on Tylenol all day. I'm not supposed to be around sick people so I can't take care of her. IT IS SO HARD not to be able to hold your baby girl when she's sick. Pray for her to get well and me to try to be careful.

2. Stu has to be Mr. Mom for the next several...who knows how long. Pray for wisdom, endurance, patience and strength. God blessed me more than I will ever deserve with this man. My parents will be here most of the weekend so that'll be a big help, too. And thank you, Helen for coming and watching Emma for us the last 2 days!!

3. Pray that as these meds wear off, I won't feel terrible and/or nauseated.

Thank you so much for the emails, Facebook messages and blog comments of encouragement you guys keep sending. It's tough to respond to all of them, just know that I'm reading them and that I love you for taking the time to let me know you're thinking about and praying for us. It's humbling to know how much you guys care about us. You are appreciated and loved more than you know.


1. "Will you be able to have kids after going through this treatment?"

In all likelyhood, yes. From everything I've read and what the doctors have said, I should be able to have another baby. It'll be about a year and a half before they clear us to be able to try. I have to go through the treatment then be monitored for a year after my levels get down to zero.

2. "Will the chemo make you lose your hair?"

They're telling me that I shouldn't go bald, but that my hair will thin. For those of you that have had a baby, it should be similiar to the "post-baby shedding":) Gross!

3. "Are you scared to death?"

This is the question the guy that will be mixing my chemo treatments asked me yesterday. He not only asked me once, but I think it was about 3 times!! "Ummmm...what do you think, buddy?!? And do you like making me cry?!?!?" From everything I've read/been told, this specific cancer is 100% curable, as long as it's caught early and treated thoroughly. I have the best doctor IN THE WORLD...for those of you in the Marshall area, Dr. Ricky Paul is the way to go!! He's been on top of everything from the start and he caught this before it got too out of hand. Dr. Owers, the oncologist, and the team at Schumpert are great, also, so we really do feel we're in good hands.

4. "What are the odds this will happen again?"

First, let me just say, I'm a little bitter about "the odds." Are you kidding me??? 1 in 1000 pregnancies are molar and 2 to 3% of those turn cancerous?!?!?! REALLY!?!?!?!?!? Dr. Paul actually told me I should buy a lottery ticket:) Who knew ob-gyn's had a sense of humor??? The odds of me having another one are higher than a normal person, but still relatively small...I'll show them:):):) Ugh!

5. "Are you about to lose your ever-loving mind?"

Most definitely yes:) But the state of my sanity has been questionable since birth:) I'm trying to take it minute-by-minute and in small bite-sized pieces. It's too much to think about all at once. I know that there are so many people dealing with so much more. I'm trying to keep perspective during all this. But I'm not going to lie, this is pretty crappy!!! (Please reread the posted disclaimer:)

6. "What can I do to help?"

Whatever you want and feel led to:) Prayers are the most important thing right now. I have no doubt the reason we've been able to keep a mostly level head about all this is because of the massive amount of prayer support we are receiving. And as far as anything else, that's between you and the Lord...I'm not one to rob anyone of a blessing:)

7. "What should I do if I see Stu running through the streets like a madman pulling his hair out?"

Assume that I have finally driven him crazy, gently guide him back to the house and lock him in the padded room we are currently setting up:) I mean, really: Lost pregnancy that turns molar that turns to cancer, his kidney stones, $1300 on a new heater after 1 week of no heat in the house IN JANUARY, chemo, Emma waking up with a fever this morning...ALL IN LESS THAN 2 MONTHS?!?!?!?!??! All I can say is wow.

Pray for us at 2 PM today, round one begins.

Oh, and happy birthday, Shan:) May you have a fabulous and morning-noon-night-sickness-free day!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And we're off...


First of all, for the three of you that know about the blog I started a year ago...I haven't the slightest idea what email address or password I used to set it up so, as a result, I can't update it or delete it! If any of you know how I can take care of that, please feel free to comment.

Secondly, I have been told I have an unhealthy love of the run-on sentence and that I write like the apostle Paul. To that I say, punctuation is way overrated and thank you for the compliment! If improper use of periods and commas bother you, feel free to take a Sharpie to your screen:)

With all that out of the way, let's get to the current round of character building the Lord has thrown at me and my family...

Right after Thanksgiving 2009, Stu and I found out we were pregnant again, eight months after our beautiful daughter, Emma Jewel, was born. We wanted to have two children close in age so we were very excited. Long story short, after several sonograms very early in the pregnancy it was determined that I had a partial molar pregnancy. The chances of this happening are 1 in every 1000 pregnancies, it’s pretty rare. Treatment at that point was a D&C and weekly blood tests to make sure a certain hormone level made its way back down to zero. At the time of diagnosis, we were told that there was a 2 to 3% chance that instead of falling, the levels would start to rise again and that the cells that caused the levels to rise would be cancerous. Last week, my levels started to rise again. I was referred to an oncologist in Shreveport and have seen him twice. Today I went in for a CT scan, partially to make sure the cancerous cells haven’t spread to other parts of my body and partially to have a baseline to compare future scans to and tomorrow, I’ll start my first round of chemotherapy.

Everything I’ve read on gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (that’s the official diagnosis), says it is almost 100% curable. It’s just a long journey. I’ll go to Shreveport weekly for blood work and every other week for chemo treatments. The oncologist says that it typically takes 5 or 6 rounds to knock this out, so about 3 months. After my levels get to 0, I’ll continue weekly blood tests for a couple of weeks, then surveillance blood tests monthly for a year.

The odds of all this happening are astronomical. Obviously, the Lord has chosen Stu and I to go through this for a purpose. To be totally honest, my emotional and mental state since we found out we had lost another baby (our first pregnancy in February 2008 ended at 10 weeks in a miscarriage), was already pretty touch and go at times and this just adds another couple of levels to the roller coaster. We’re fine for the most part and know God is sovereign.

I know there are many people that want to keep track of us as we go through this journey. I figured I could wear a big sign with the latest updates around my neck so I didn't have to repeat myself a thousand times, but my friends in Eustace and family in various parts of the country wouldn't be able to read it, so a blog it is:) I promise to try to keep this thing currently's to hoping:)

Thanks in advance for your support through this time and for your prayers for me, Stu and Emma. Our God is a big God. He’s still on His throne.