It's been a month since my last update, a lot has been going on! We had a very busy October and November, enjoying all of our fall traditions and activities. We've settled into a wonderful routine which includes spending our days and evenings outside. I can't even believe this warm November weather! It's heavenly. My mother- and father-in-law have come over once or twice a week to help me out in the mornings. I wanted so badly to get back to being in charge and doing everything on my own, but I couldn't make it through the week. I needed more sleep. It's hard to explain this kind of fatigue, let's just say I can sleep for over 12 years and still feel tired. If I don't get a lot of sleep it makes me feel ill (dizzy, foggy, nauseated, tired). So I'm grateful for Matt's parents to come watch the littlest of the Lyons in the mornings so I can get a few more hours of sleep/rest. It really has made all the difference, I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful support team. Especially Matt, who goes above and beyond making sure I feel well. I wish I was 100% already! I'm anxious to get my health back in full, but I do feel better each week and more of myself. I am pleased with how far I've come and I'm truly proud of myself for staying so positive and happy. "Everything's going to be ok" is what I felt in the beginning and it still rings true.
Early October I had an MRI done on my spine. I had a pain in a specific spot that lingered for over 6 weeks. My MRI came back clear and my spine looks really good, actually. I learned the pain was inflammation from treatment and soon went away with medication. I was grateful my oncologist took my symptoms seriously and wanted to quickly rule anything out. He really listens to me. He gives me his medical advice/opinions, but lets me advocate for myself. For example, he did not think I needed a routine scan. But I asked for one and he didn't put up a fight. I know I've said this before, but it's so important to advocate for yourself. Just as important, you should have a relationship of trust with your doctor. I trust my doctor and I believe he also trusts me and my instincts. So he scheduled for me to have a chest/abdominal/pelvic CT.
Like I said, there was no medical reason to get this scan. I had no symptoms of tumors, I even had good blood work, but being stage 4 and knowing the cancer was in my blood and lymph system already, it's important to be aggressive in catching anything early. I felt good about getting a scan. Mostly for peace of mind. I really didn't put a lot of worry or stress into the scan, but of course you think "what if we see a tumor?" and "what if the cancer in my liver pops back up?" My 6-year-old and I went to the clinic to pick up my contrast drink. There's so much sad juxtaposition when I bring my kids with me for things like this. Putting my contrast drink in the fridge next to my daughter's sippy of milk? It's strange how normal it all is. Our life is and will forever be filled with treatments and scans and sick mamas. It used to make me really sad, but it doesn't anymore because I realize it doesn't affect my kids negatively like I thought it would. I'm so proud of them!
Prepping for my CT. I had to fast for 3 hours beforehand. Starting an hour and a half before, I had to drink 6 oz of gross gross gross contrast every 20 minutes. Makes you feel so icky! Once I got to the clinic, the technician started an IV in my arm and had my blood tested to see if my kidneys would be strong enough for the IV contrast they were going to give me. When It was time to start I laid on my back with my arms over my head. The technician hooked up my arm to the contrast.
The scan took 5 minutes, thank goodness! It was interesting this time because I don't have my breasts so I could feel very heavily the contrast going through my chest. My skin is thin on my chest and feeling that heavy and warm stuff go through my body is an awful feeling. But we do what we need to do, right?
Walking out with Matt and I saw a picture of a double rainbow. I couldn't help but get a photo with this pretty rainbow, they always remind me of Violet :)
I spent the weekend with my family. I had my every-3-week treatment and spent the rest of the weekend sleeping and enjoying my visiting family. It was nice to keep busy and entertained. So grateful for family.
My doctor called me today with the good news. He said "everything looked fine. Your liver, your bones.." and I thought, well what does that mean? What's not fine? My doctor doesn't show too much "yay!" emotion when he talks so it's hard to know how to react in these kind of situations. He told me I have some inflammation in lymph nodes in my lungs he said was most likely from radiation. I was warned my lungs could be affected before I started my radiation treatment. I'm not sure how this will affect me long term, something I will ask next time I meet with my doctor. I also have cysts on my ovaries which my doctor assured me is not cancer related. I guess cysts can come and go and it isn't something he is concerned about. Most likely enlarged because of my Tamoxifen drug I've been taking. My doctor said "Nothing scary" and "nothing related to the cancer". In summary, we can see the side effects treatment has done to my body, but there are no cancer tumors.
It is a relief to finally know I can keep my IBC beast away for another few months. I can sit pretty knowing there aren't tumors growing again. I feel so lucky. I have known a few women who passed away recently and a lot more who are affected so deeply by cancer. I hate cancer so much. Not a day goes by I don't feel lucky to be alive! (and you should too!)
Last month our family participated in the Huntsman's 5k. It was a beautiful fall day and we were joined by the Brown family! They have been some of my biggest supporters this year, I'm so happy we got to do this with them! The 5K was up and around campus and the hospitals so it was very hilly. We had two strollers, but we made it! It was challenging for me, but I told Matt next year I want to run it! You think I'll be able to? Wouldn't that be cool :)
Matt raised $245 and I'm so proud of him! 100% of the sign up fees and donations went to fund breast cancer research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
We are extra grateful during this season of Gratitude and Thanksgiving. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends and to still be cancer free!