Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Bad News

So the results came back from the tests they ran on the biopsy, and it turns out the tumor in my back, is the same thing in my brain. That's a bad sign because it means my cancer has metastasized. They were able to get most of it out, but I will still have to start treatment for it, as I've been off of my chemotherapy for nearly 3 weeks. So in about a week I will be starting radiation again, and a new kind of chemotherapy study drug. Hooray! Every 18 year old's dream.

Besides all the turmoil I've been going through (I think I'm too young to use that word), but besides that, I've been hanging out with my friends and family, and really enjoying my summer, as I usually do. I miss my brother who is in Alaska, and my friends that are serving LDS missions, but besides that I live an amazing life, and have been pretty lucky thus far.

Did I mention I had my staples removed! YAY!

 Sometimes I find myself wearing multiple different patterns.

One of my best friends left on his mission last week, good luck Kevin!

My sisters fiancé, Cody, went on his mission to Spain, and taught me how to make one of my favorite foods ever! Tortilla de Potato. I know I spelled that very incorrectly, but it doesn't exactly phase me to the point that I would actually look up how to spell it.

The sky above my orchard.

Water coloring is my newly found hobby, I've been doing it a lot lately, and then putting on some of my favorite quotes, and hanging them up by my bed, because it makes me happy!

Jordy and me.

So everyone lately has been asking what my plans are for the future. Even though they have changed a little since I found out about the tumor in my back, they are still, generally the same. I'm going to take some classes via BYU independent study, that will allow me some flexibility, as I'm sure I won't always be feeling up to going to class. I'm also going to be taking an Institute class at UVU, and eventually overall, I'll be working toward my long term goal, that I've always had, to be a physical therapist, while living in the vicinity of my humble abode. Besides there's something about the home that's healing. When I'm sick that's where I want to be, as I'm sure most everyone feels. That's another reason Memphis just sucked the life right out of me!

I'll be meeting with my Radiation Oncologist on Monday, who happens to be only 10 minutes away in Provo, and figuring out the plans for the treatment. I'm no longer a St. Jude Patient, and even though it makes me so sad, i'm also grateful, because being at home right now, is really where I feel I should be, and want to be. 

Thank you for your continued prayers, as I could really use them, considering the news we got was fatally discouraging. 


I will do hard things.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Post Surgery

Sorry it took so long to post, but it's finally here! When the surgeon went in my back he told me there was so much pressure coming from the tumor, that it basically popped out of my back. He said all went well, and they got most, if not all of it out. What a blessing! He also says I'm going to have to do radiation on my back again, which makes me disappointed, sad, upset, and the list could go on. (Not a huge fan of radiation!)

So here are some pictures my nurse took on her phone during the surgery!

They ended up taking out bone and tumor, so that's probably why it hurts so dang much!

So now that the nasty part is over, here are a few more pictures!

 The IV tape being pulled off after 5 days. It hurt so bad!

 2 of my biggest supporters. I love you Jordyn and Jonny!

 I'm up and walking again!

 Thank you Ward family in Florida for sending me these beautiful flowers, what a sweet lady! Also thank you for everyone else for bringing by flowers and other stuff!

My back in it's current form, I have 29 staples, and they wouldn't tell me how many stitches I had inside because they thought I was going to freak out about it!

 Me and my friend Ben. He has recently had heart troubles, and got released the day before me, so glad he came and visited because I'd obviously been crying two seconds before he came in my room, and he cheered me up!

 My seminary teacher Brother Evans came and visited!

 Trying to be happy!

Charlotte Lawrence and I! She has cervical cancer. Research Teal's the Deal, it is a foundation she started, she is an amazing woman, she is a single parent to one of my best friends and has 2 full time jobs while dealing with cancer. Can you say strong!?

Anyways, the first two days post surgery I was in an immense amount of pain. They drained all of my spinal fluid, and when I say it was a headache, it was seriously one of the more excruciating things I have lived through! I literally wanted to die, ask Diane! I'm so grateful to everyone that has helped me get through this. I am going to be praying my heart out that after they study the tumor it comes back with a good result, if that's possible! They say if it's a spread of my DIPG, that won't be good. So let's pray it's not!? I think they said it may be an Ependymoma. It's really rare I have 2 random kinds of tumors though. So I'm excited to hear the results, and even more excited to have 29 staples removed from my back in a week! I never imagined having surgery on my back would hurt so bad!

I'm so lucky and grateful to have so many wonderful friends and family to visit and send me things. I love my family so much, and I miss my brother who is currently in Alaska working at a fishing lodge, having fun without me! I never wrote it on here, but my sister Heather is getting married on July 27th, to Cody Hafen, we love him so much, it also makes for a great excuse to get my brother Devin home for a few days this summer as well. 

Right now we're kind of trapped in an awkward time when we're not quite sure exactly what the next step is, or what I'm going to be doing with my life, but I would certainly be glad if I had some prayers on my side to help me out!

Thanks so much for the support, 
I'll write again soon!

I can do hard things!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Set Back

Today (June 5th) has already been one emotionally exhausting day. But lets go back about a week and start from there.

During my treatment at St. Jude I went through a phase where I wanted to give up on everything, including treatment and my school. (I'm not always as strong as I seem)! I remember being at the school in the hospital, bawling my eyes out because I couldn't concentrate long enough to put a simple sentence together from my English homework. Anyways my mom reminded me that it was my goal to graduate, and naturally, being the stubborn girl I am, said "I don't want that anymore". Because it was too hard. Well, I graduated!

We have a German foreign exchange student friend, and she just left after being here the whole year:(

We miss you Charlotte!

Okay, now for the setback. I went in for a spine MRI yesterday because I've been having pain in the butt (literally) and all down my legs. It's not normal pain either, it's excruciating and limits me to the point that it hurts to sneeze, cough, and even lay in bed.

The MRI did not come back how we had hoped, and it is a really discouraging time for me. I have a mass growing on my L4, L5, and S1 portions of my spine. I am probably going in for surgery tomorrow, which will give me more time to blog! They're going to try and remove as much as they can, but nothing is promising, and I'm having a hard time feeling hopeful. 

I don't know if anyone knew this, but I really like twitter! It's such a good and easy way to stay connected. Anyways, last night I was so bugged, so naturally... TWITTER!

I wrote on it and said "I'm sick of having to be the strong one all the time." And it's completely true! I'm so sick of it, sometimes I want to scream! Which I did yesterday, but that's besides the point. The point is, I think I finally reached the point where I was just so fed up that I'm almost angry about it. As soon as I found out yesterday, I was just thinking, this is some sort of sick joke!

People keep telling me I'll have major blessings because of what I'm going through, and all I can say back is "I better!"

I know this is probably bad of me to say, but I never knew when people said "Life is hard" That they were that serious about it being hard and crappy. But on the bright side, I've had so many friends and family texting me, or coming over or calling, telling me how much they love me, and just being there to comfort me. So I really don't have that much complaining to do, in fact, I should probably be repenting, but it's been a tough 10 months!

Anyways, i'm sure I'll be turning to my blog tomorrow after surgery to keep y'all updated. Thanks for your love, and a huge thanks for PRAYERS.

I could use them now more than ever, so feel free to send one my way.

Thanks, and wish me luck!


And yes, I guess I can (have to) do hard things;)