Friday, March 27, 2009

We Got It

Nathan came home from school on Wednesday not feeling well. Sore throat, fever, nausea... You moms know what those symptoms usually mean. We were able to get into an office that evening for a strep test, and it was positive. I'm glad I've had enough experience with strep to recognize it quickly. The oncologist put our whole family on antibiotics. So far we're doing well. I'll be doing a general disinfecting of the house. We have had two or three consecutive rounds of strep during the last two spring seasons, but sure hope to avoid anymore of it this year.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yesterday, the ladies from my church gave me a baby shower. It was fun and a blessing. I mentioned way back at the beginning of the blog that we got rid of all our baby stuff three years ago. But now we're just about set again. After having six kids, I have become a minimalist. I guess I've spent more time thinking about what we don't need this time around than about what we do. I think we're just about ready for the little guy to get here. May 11 is seven weeks from tomorrow. It's nice to have a fairly solid time frame this time. With the others, by the time week 42 approached, I began to wonder if I was really pregnant or if this was all just a joke.

I've been told I'll probably have a pretty good crop of hair coming back by the time the baby comes. But it will all come out again when chemo resumes. Someone commented yesterday that when her sister had cancer, she learned not to complain about having to fix her hair, because at least she had hair to fix. Just for the record, there is something very nice about not having to fix my hair. I only wear a wig occasionally because it takes longer to fix than I like, and it messes up easily. But I am looking forward to having the real thing again.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chemo #5

The last treatment for a couple of months is done! Just knowing chemo is done for awhile makes me feel pretty good. It's gone so much better than it could have, but I'm still glad to have a break. Chemo will probably resume in June. Meanwhile, we just wait for the baby to reach 34 weeks. The delivery is penciled in for May 11. About a month before that date, it will be confirmed with the operating room and written in stone. I will be having a c-section. No more doctor's appointments are scheduled for three whole weeks.

The weather has been beautiful this weekend, and I'm getting the garage sale itch something terrible. I hope not to give that up this summer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Today, after I had been out of bed for about an hour, I began having a hard time breathing. I felt exhausted and nauseated. These are all symptoms of the anemia I’m fighting. I was planning to drive myself to the OB checkup today. I kept wishing I had asked someone else to drive me, and I wished that Jeremiah could just stay in his pajamas all day, so I didn’t have to hunt the clean laundry to find jeans for him. I wished I could stay in my pajamas all day. But I didn’t suppose it would be appropriate to go to the OB’s in pj’s.

I did lay down for as long as I possibly could before dragging myself back out of bed to get ready for the doctor’s appointment. By that time my stomach had calmed down, and I was feeling slightly better. Jeremiah was excited to be dropped off at Elijah’s house again, and I went on to the appointment. I honestly thought I might end up getting that blood transfusion after all. I arrived while the office staff was still on lunch break and had to wait about 30 minutes before the office reopened. After I was inside and waiting to sign in, I saw a notice on the office wall that made me double check today’s date. Then I realized that I had my days mixed up, and my appointment isn’t until tomorrow.

It actually felt good to laugh at myself. And Jon made me feel even better by laughing at me too. So, here’s hoping that tomorrow I feel better than I did this morning. And I sure was glad I didn’t ask anyone to drive me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Test Results

We went to the high risk OB's today - another good ultrasound. The baby's growth remains right on track. We even got to find out how much he weighs right now - 1.6 pounds.

At the oncologist's office, we got the results to four tests - gene testing, echo cardiogram, CT scan, and routine blood tests.

gene testing - No gene mutations. This means my sister and daughters can breath a limited sigh of relief. Limited because, evidently, no one is immune to cancer. But at least they don't seem to be predisposed to it. It also means I don't have to have a hysterectomy to prevent other common cancers.

echo cardiogram - 55% ejection fraction. That means that with each beat, my heart is ejecting 55% of the blood it takes in. That's not a great number. The oncologist said that after this next round of chemo (which is now officially scheduled) I probably will not have any more before Baby comes or that fraction could drop lower. Normal/healthy is considered to be between 55% and 75%.

CT scan - No tumors or obvious developing cancers. There were some unclassified spots on my liver and in my bones, but those could have any of several causes, only one of which is more cancer. The overall report was positive. The radiologist did not think the areas in question had a high likelihood of being cancer, but metastasis couldn't be completely ruled out. The oncologist said the CT report will not change anything in my treatment plan. She assured me that everyone who has a CT scan has small abnormalities show up since the scan is so sensitive.

It was interesting to hear about other "small abnormalities". My upper lungs have scar tissue - I wonder where that came from? If I grew up in the Midwest, it would be considered normal since most people from there breath in some kind of soil spore that causes scar tissue. But I grew up in South Carolina. My lower lungs are flat-ish from not breathing deeply enough. (Jog harder, yell louder.)

blood tests - Still anemic, but not as badly as expected after the last tests. I have felt much better since chemo #4 than after chemo #3, so the oncologist decided not to do a blood transfusion at this point.

The approximate date for our little boy's birth seems to be settling around 34 weeks - around Mother's Day. This is two weeks later than we thought it would be last month. The results of the tests were good enough to allow his lungs to develop on their own without rushing things any more than that. My parents bought tickets last month to come out here based on the information we had then. Now it looks like they will miss the little guy's birth by a few days. They are going to check on what their airline will do for them.

Many people have asked about names for the baby. We haven't picked one out. We read Bruce Lansky's Mother of All Baby Name Books; Over 94,000 Baby Names Complete with Meanings, and the only six names we agreed on were the ones we've already used. I guess we'll just have to duke this one out. Stay tuned to see who wins.