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Friday, October 24, 2014

Not the greatest news..

 Hello! Just a short update and video today. I got results back yesterday from my scans I had done on Tuesday and they were not completely stable as I hoped. My liver which is the organ that they are watching more carefully due to it having the most metastasis has continued to progress more. The chemo I have been on for the last 10 months has stopped working for my liver. Starting towards the end of November I will be most likely be starting my third chemo so far called serafanib. There are also some other options that can also be discussed such as another chemo that is still currently in trial and also possibly some discussion of possible liver surgery but we will discuss it all I am sure and figure out the best option. The video below is a bit of a personal video to all of you. I apologize about my appearance its been one of those days today! I'm sure you all understand!! I'll keep updating what's next in this journey I am on...God bless all of you..until next time...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A world full of suffering = A world full of overcoming.

So it is about 6:30am and God has been chirping little thoughts and ideas into my mind. This is typically what happens when I blog...all of these thoughts and feelings come to me about a certain topic and it won't stop until I get them written down. I had them very strongly last night but could not get the right words to leave my mouth or in this case my fingers to type. So I will try my best to type those feelings out as they come to me. If things don't make sense sometimes..I apologize but i'lI just have to go with the flow!

The word or idea that has come to mind is the word suffering. This is something many do not want to go through, but also many of us have in our own ways, whether emotionally, physically, spiritually or through other ways. It is a word people don't necessarily like to talk about and typically doesn't have anything good or appealing to do with it but...what if we changed our way of thinking a bit?

some days the physical and psychological pain of having a chronic and very serious illness can feel very overwhelming for me. Honestly, many say to me "stay strong" or " keep positive!" They are all very encouraging and I am very grateful to have a wonderful support system, but honestly along with that, I need those days to not have to put on a front or act like i am feeling well or good...I am sure many cancer patients or others with chronic illness can relate....I think sometimes I could win an Emmy award for best performance on faking how good I feel. Its hard because people who are not sick or going through anything major don't understand...and that is OK! I would never wish or hope for them to understand, so its just easier to say "I'm fine or well" today. I think the person who unfortunately truly sees how sick I can be is of course my Hubby. I know its not easy for him. Some days I try to act "fine" for him too but he knows me too well and I can't hide it. Although we have had some ups and downs during our cancer journey together and I'm sure will continue to have rocky moments,I must say that i am so blessed and thankful from the man that my Husband Jon  is and the strength, courage and love he has for me. I can only imagine that it's not easy at all.

Now that kind of went off a little bit to what I originally wanted to talk about. The idea or word suffering. Maybe suffering is not necessarily a bad thing. On days I feel i suffer, I try to remember that God just wants me to be closer to him and come to him. He wants me to lay all of these pains and burdens before him and to realize He will never abandon me. Through suffering, I feel its gives you a chance to be more humble and really understand the true meaning of life on Earth, which many take for granted. Suffering also "provides patience through tribulation." Romans 5:3

I feel suffering gives you more compassion and a deeper depth of faith and hope. I have heard people say " If God is such a great God, then why do people suffer?" I know some days we feel the suffering more then others, however we must also remember this. When God first created this world it was perfect, but then by the power of free will and disobeying humans, sin was created. These sufferings and catastrophes happen because we are the ones who created sin in this world. There is still a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel though, that day when Jesus comes back again to rid this world of all sin and suffering. This shall be a true blessing to all who truly and whole-heartedly follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a rejoiceful day it will be!! Another thing I always try to remember is the extreme suffering, pain & many excruciating moments He went through when he carried and died on the cross for us....all of that he went through for each and everyone of us. He did this so one day we can be in eternal Paradise with him and to be in a place with more beauty and love one can only just begin to dream about. A place with no more pain or suffering. He did this all for us. I always think well if Jesus can carry that burden and suffer for me and die for my sins then I can absolutely do this for him. This cancer is my cross to bear for Him. Until next time...

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:4).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A lightbulb moment.

So last night and this morning I had some sort of slap in your face type of moment. Call it a realization,awarenness, a light bulb going off or what have you... I realized that I've let this cancer be in the forerun of my life for too long now. I didn't even realize I was doing this so much and how much I have been letting it control me in many ways when it comes to my mind and my life. Yes, let's be blunt, I have a pretty shitty cancer and in all honesty it can really suck, but you know goes on. I can not let this ludacris, asshole of a disease define me. Nothing will define me but myself. I decide who I want to be, what I want to accomplish in life,where I wanna go and so many other things...not this cancer.
 Too often, I have let it make me feel irrelevant, down, lonely and lost. I use it at times as a crutch.Yes, those days I honestly probably didn't feel that great...but you know get keep breath and lift your head as high as you can those days. You are alive, you're still're lucky, you're blessed. So i think to myself.. "self, stop bitching,stop complaining, stop letting this define you!"...people have life and situations so much worse then I do. On some days I let it bring me down so much,that staying in bed and sulking in my illness feel like the only thing I can do and really only know how to do in that moment...but you know what? I am done with using cancer as an excuse to not live. I'm not being completely insane and unrealistic though,thinking I'm not going to have those days where I just need rest would be crazy.Although I've come to these realizations, I still get that I'm sick and obviously not 100% health wise. However, I'm done blaming the cancer...I am stronger then that..I am wiser and far more determined and more fierce then this pest in my body will ever be.I choose my future, I decide how I want this journey to go. This cancer is no longer going to dictate me in any way. It is just a road block...uhh yeah, maybe a slightly bigger one then imagined but that's all i will ever let it be is just that, a nuisance that I will continue to face and beat down. This cancer is no match for me...I know it is going to try hard as hell to bring me down and defeat me mentally, physically and who knows how else. It has NO CLUE who it had decided to mess with. I used to be a lot weaker but my perspectives changed, as I grow in life and as a person, I will only get stronger.Until next time..

" I know what I have to do now,  I've got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide will bring."
-Tom Hanks, Cast Away

Monday, September 22, 2014

The beauty of fall...

It is such a gorgeous day today. The sun is shining and the weather is perfect. I love days like this, they make me feel so refreshed and just overall feeling good! Fall is just around the corner and its by far my favorite season. The smell of the crisp air, the mums and fall decorations, the leaves changing to beautiful hues of gold, orange and reds. Also some of the most beautiful sunsets are around this time....and of course can't forget the hoodie weather! :-)

This week is the Ephrata fair. I do admit I love to people watch and I enjoy watching the parade and walking to the fair from my house but the parking is going to be a big old pain! Not much for me, but jon will be coming home from work around the time it gets really busy and unfortunately we have on street parking. Definitely a bit of a downfall but we will work it out!

Things have been going OK as far as new cancer news. Since upping my chemo dose, i have realized taking the 120mg was too much for me. I was getting bad hand\foot syndrome, horrible appetite,nausea, the big "d" and over all not feeling well at all. I began to alternate my doses from 100mg one day and 120mg the next. That seemed to help a bit, still have minor hand foot syndrome, nausea, appetite not great but overall it is more tolerable for me. Since starting chemo I have lost about 60lbs. Its such a mixed emotion for me. It has always been a struggle to lose weight my whole life and don't get me wrong I am feeling better and more confident from the weight loss but the reason for the loss is very scary for me. I wish I could say it was from something else then the chemo. It would be much more gratifying. My mind has been off a bit short term memory is horrible at times. A few weeks ago I couldn't even remember my one dogs name, that was a little alarming but again thinking its from chemo. I asked Penn about getting possible brain scans to check for cancer mets but they don't think that's necessary at this point. Which is fine, I don't need to worry about another thing right now.

I hope my spreading awareness through my blog and Facebook has maybe helped people realize how very serious thyroid cancer can be. It is nothing to mess with. Life isn't easy at all dealing with it. I have had to think about things I never would have imagined worrying about at 26. I have had innumerable amounts of MRI, CT scans and Dr visits. The amount of viles worth of blood I get drawn monthly ,would be a vampires dream. The waiting games and anxiety waiting to hear from the Drs in Philly if my cancer is stable or progressing. Everyday pains and sickness... Again, it is not at all easy in any way. Then there are some more real and harder things that need to be thought about. The fact of thinking and talking about funeral arrangements with my husband much sooner then ever imagined, the scariness of not knowing what is going to happen to me, if or when this cancer takes a turn for the worse. These things are not talked about too much but still must be discussed and the realization of my future down the line can't be ignored. I try not to think about the possibility of the future too much and just enjoy living my life day for day and breathing in every moment in life. My biggest fears for my future are not for me but for others. Despite all of this though I know everything will be OK. God is holding us all close to his heart tightly and knows what is best for us whether we understand or not at this point. I know I am not alone and never will be. I am very thankful for the life I do have because many others have things much worse. Who am I to complain? God is good and life is precious and beautiful! Please continue to educate yourself on thyroid cancer awareness. It is so very important and please always get a quick neck check if you feel something isn't right, it could very well be a life saver.

until next time my friends...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thyroid cancer awareness 2014!!!

Hello all you beautiful people!! So again, I apologize for not blogging as often...I am hoping to be able to get a laptop soon because it is a bit difficult on my tablet!!! Well we are now in the month of are back to school, fall is just around the corner and most importantly it's thyroid cancer awareness month! I try to promote thyroid cancer awareness all year round but since September is the month where the world seems to recognize it more, I do extra this month while peoples eyes and ears are more open to it!!!

Now for some info and facts about thyroid cancer...
*It is estimated that in 2014 alone, 62,950 new cases have been reported thus far- thyroid cancer is on the rise and is slowly but surely beginning to rise on the list of common cancers to get...this my friends is not good.
* Many people have this idea in their head that thyroid cancer is an easy cancer to treat..while yes if detected early..there can be a high cure rate. However, 5% of those diagnosed with one of the more rare types of thyroid cancer such as medullary or anaplastic thyroid cancer unfortunately deal with a disease that is incurable and very difficult to treat. I am in that 5%.
* Thyroid cancer is known to affect anyone at any age. It is not picky in who it choices to affect.
*It is extremely important to get your neck checked...many times thyroid cancer doesn't have many symptoms. It can sneak up on you without you having a clue. Some symptoms that could be present are as follows:

  • Swelling or lump in neck
  • Problems swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A horse voice or other voice changes
  • Frequent cough
  • Throat or neck pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
Again, you do not necessarily have to show any symptoms to have thyroid cancer. Neck checks are so simple and the key is to detect thyroid cancer as early as possible...this can be a life saver!

* let's go back a little bit. what exactly is the thyroid and is it that important?? The thyroid gland is a very important part of your body. A normal functioning thyroid regulates many things...thyroid makes hormones:
Thyroid hormone: The thyroid follicular cells make thyroid hormone. This hormone affects heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. For example, too much thyroid hormone makes your heart race, and too little makes you feel very tired.
Calcitonin: The C cells in the thyroid make calcitonin. This hormone plays a small role in keeping a healthy level of calcium in the body. Many people who get diagnosed with thyroid cancer need to get a procedure called a thyroidectomy to remove the thyroid and surrounding cancer. These people will forever have to supplement their bodies with a thyroid hormone such as synthroid or other thyroid hormone replacements.

* Thyroid cancer is NOT in any way,shape or form the "good or easy" type of cancer to have. No cancer is but for some reason thyroid cancer has a huge stigma attached to it as being "the kind to get.". Oh, how naive, ignorant and completely wrong that statement is. People are dying from this cancer every day. People with thyroid cancer (including myself) deal with constant pain,hospital visits,scan after scan, needle jab after needle jab, fears of recurrence or further spread of the cancer into other vital organs, financial, physical, emotional and spiritual burdens. Fear of one day this cancer taking over their bodies and losing contol. Any one who assumes or makes the statement that thyroid cancer is the " good" cancer should really be ashamed of themselves for making that assumption. These people need to educate themselves and learn the facts before letting these harsh words leave their mouths.

With all of this said, I urge you to please spread awareness for thyroid cancer. Please take the time to educate yourselves on this very real and scary disease. Thyroid cancer is no joke. Let's continue to donate to research,  and stand up together and spread the word, so that one day thyroid cancers and I pray all cancers for that matter will be a thing of the past! Thank you all and God bless. Until next time...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I've missed you...

 Hello to all of you! Wow, it has been quite a while since I blogged! I have had some difficulties with blogging since my computer broke and I just recently got a tablet but honestly it's still is not the same as my trusty laptop because it takes me a lot longer but it will work for the time being! Last time i blogged was in May I, time truly does fly! I will update everyone on any new cancer news later but first I was laying here and my mind started thinking about cancer in general. Cancer does not judge. It doesn't care how old you are, if you are male or female, if you are a child or an adult,if you're small or big, if you are tall or short and the list can go on and on...cancer just simply exists to multiply in your body and pretty much destroy it. That is pretty much it's only mission. It is a very horrible and ugly disease. Cancer is cancer and it doesn't matter what form or type it is, to me all cancer is looked at the same and I can sum it up in two simple words...not good. I am bringing this up because I remember several times making the statement that "cancer has changed me." I keep thinking about my statement and I can't sit here and give credit to something so horrible especially when no credit is due. Cancer has not changed me...I feel that God has used cancer to help me to change and believe me I am still working on myself every single day because change is not easy.I believe that yes, cancer has given me a big reality check to wake up and to realize there is so much more to life then many of us are willing to open our eyes up to see. I believe God has a big plan for me through all of this...although I admit, I don't understand yet but I trust that one day that little light bulb will go off and it will be revealed in someway. Then again,maybe it won't while I am still here on Earth but either way I still trust whole heartedly in Him. I think God has brought cancer into my life to help me to believe and have faith and to become closer to Him. He has brought it to me to realize how much strength I truly have and to begin to realize my own self worth. So the credit does not go to cancer. The credit goes to God.

Update on cancer: last scans showed minimal growth in one of my liver growth is never good however, it was so minimal that I still stayed on the same chemo but have just upped my dose a bit. My next scans will be next week and the results appointment will be August 7th. I'm sure starting next week I'll get my anxiety and anxiousness but for now I'm just worrying about taking each day as it comes this week.  I have also had all sorts of issues I've been dealing with since last blog..I had bronchitis, also blood in my urine and pain...also on top of that still dealing with a wacked out thyroid hormone level...which in turn has been causing all kinds of hypo issues. I recently visited a urologist who suggested I get a urine culture and CT scan to check for kidney stones..I should be getting those results soon. I think the hardest thing for me lately is feeling like my body is giving in a little and not knowing if its cancer or any of the other issues. Not only is it frustrating but scary when you are having more "bad" days then good. My whole body just hurts constantly...the aches and pains never seem to stop but I try my best to put them to the back of my mind and not think about it too much. If I listened to how my body feels most of the time then I would never be out of bed....but I refuse to let this stupid cancer take over. I'll continue to fight before I roll over and let this cancer take me down!! That's for sure!

I also want to mention about a meddie friend of mine who has passed since my last blog. Her name is Sarah. I never met Sarah in person however, we were close in age and I felt shared a bond and understanding for each other. Sarah had the same cancer as me and we met through a support group online.Sarah was extremely strong and brave during her fight. She always seemed to put on a happy face and just overflowed with positivity. I really looked up to her and was and still is truly inspired by her. I think about her all the time but also am happy she no longer has to deal with the physical, mental and emotional pains of cancer any more. She is now free and made whole again. May God continue to bless the rest of her family with strength, love and encouragement. Until next time..

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Camp fire, smores and in the middle of nowhere = Perfection....

Hello everyone! Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful day!

Jon and I are getting ready for our big camping trip that we will be taking thanks to the Seas it Foundation! The Seas it Foundation is a foundation that helps cancer patients and their caregivers use recreational activitys to help them fight cancer. It also helps to gain positivity & healing and so much more!

I found out about the Seas it Foundation during a check up appointment at Penn. I asked my Dr about resources that could maybe help Jon and I out with finances or anything in general. They had some volunteer helpers come in and talk to us about different foundations that we could apply for different things- It is wonderful to know how many amazing foundations there are that could help and make things a bit easier for us all who are going through this cancer journey. We recieved a $50 Visa gift card that day from a gentleman who used to go to Penn for a cancer diagnosis and was cured, He now donates thousands of visa gift cards for other patients to help them out a was awesome!! We also recieved a $150.00 gift card from the Paul Nardoni foundation so Jon and I could enjoy a night out together without worrying about paying for anything!! Then we found out about the Seas it Foundation- Penn decided to nominate Jon and I to recieve a grant- Seas it contacted us several days later and asked us what we would like to do for our grant...we could pick anything that we feel we would enjoy that was recreational and could help us get our minds off of things and use our energy in creative ways...They have done many different grants from gym memberships to workout equipment, art classes, pottery classes and much more. Jon and I decided that we have always wanted to go on a REAL camping trip- this is something on my bucket list and also something that i knew could help us relax. Since I have been diagnosed, Jon and I have found that being outside in the woods just seems s to help clear our minds....we are lucky to have a wildlife area very close to our home that we go to quite often! The Seas it Foundation said they would be glad to make this happen for us and supplied everything we need from our tent all the way down to the matches and everything in between!! They booked a wonderful camping site for us at Roundstone Camping resort which is close to Jim Thorpe and is in the Pocono Mountains. We feel so lucky and blessed to be able to take a weekend away and to just relax and put our minds at ease for a little bit thanks to this wonderful foundation! Oh and Indy will be coming with us!! I know she will have a blast! I will be sure to take many many pictures and i'm sure my next blog will be filled with some pictures and fun stories!!
This better not happen when we are camping!! lol No bears allowed!

I had a check up appointment in Philly this past Friday- Nothing new was learned at this appointment..I got a bunch of bloodwork and a urine test done so I will get the results of those any day now. Hopefully all my numbers will be good, always happy when i see some good numbers!! My next scan appointment will be in June and then I will find out how my chemo has been working and if anything has shrunk or if everything is still would be awesome to see some shrinkage of tumors but stable has always been a great word to hear as well! I asked my nurse if things were stable again if I could possibly move my scans out a little bit instead of getting them every 2 months...I just can't see how getting all those scans all the time can be doing any good for me especially with all that contrast---good thing is she told me I dont have to drink the disgusting contrast liquid anymore and will be fine just getting the IV contrast....which is awesome because I really hate that liquid crap and it got me so sick the past couple times after and plus it will shorten my time that I have to be in the hospital when i get my scans done which is always a plus!! I like when things are done quick and efficient!! So all in all just still praying for healing and that I can continue to stay stable for a long time!! Until next time...