Monday, July 30, 2012

Second round

Today was the first day of the second round of chemo. Just like last time it was my long day, mom and I got in there at 8:30 and we left at 6:00. Getting to watch the Olympics all day helped the time pass by pretty quickly. I am not feeling the best tonight so I am hoping this isn't a bad sign on how this week will go.

I started losing my hair last week, this was one thing I was alright with until it started happening. It's kind of a shock to see hair everywhere when you are getting ready in the morning. Kyle and I went and looked at wigs on Friday just to get a feel for what I would need when the time comes. Right now it isn't real noticeable to everyday eyes, but I can defiantly tell. I went and saw Melanie on Sunday to see what she thought I needed to do. We just trimmed the bottom up to about my shoulders. She didn't feel like it was time to shave it but thought it would be a good idea to get a wig ordered pretty soon, so that is what I am doing tomorrow.

Friday I had my appointment with Dr. Koeneke to discuss my labs and if anything needed to be changed for this week. He was real happy with everything and said all my numbers were great, so that was good news.

Sarah, my roommate from college came up Saturday to experience the Manhattan life! We went out to eat and then came back to the house and hung out. It was so nice to have her up here and to get my mind off things considering I was dreading chemo on Monday.

Tomorrow should be alright, I go in at 10 and the woman's team finals for gymnastics start at 10:30 so that is what I'll be doing while I am sitting there. I will update everyone at the end of this week. Thank you for reading!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Fight Like A Girl

This week was a good week, no problems and no sickness! I got to actually be a coach again and it felt great to be back in the gym. The girls have been working hard and they showed me that this week! It was so nice to be back and I am looking forward to a full week next week as well.

One of the parents purchased "fight like a girl" bladder cancer awareness bracelets that each team member got and they are proud to wear them around! They are also selling them at the gym if you are interested. I can't believe the amount of support is unbelievable, I am so blessed.

Speaking of support, I received a phone call from Fast Jack Beckman yesterday. He is a NHRA funny car driver and also a cancer survivor. He had so much insight on how to stay positive and upbeat during this battle, that I will take whole heartedly and use to win this. I know if I have any questions or just need someone to talk to I can call him up and he will listen in a second.

Looking forward to a great and relaxing weekend with mom. Hope everyone else has a good weekend as well.


Monday, July 16, 2012

I can handle this...

I survived my first week of treatment without any major issues! Tuesday and Wednesday flew by considering treatment was only 2 hours long compared to 10! This first week wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I never really got sick, I would feel nauseous every now and then but they provided me with some awesome anti-nausea medicine that works wonders. I didn't have much of an appetite throughout the week but when I did I craved soup, so thanks to Allen Reinhart for sending me a whole box of chicken noodle soup! The only way I can describe how I felt during the week would be uncomfortable, I just never felt right. My head was a little more cloudy than normal, but other than that I never had any major problems so that made this whole situation better because I realized I could handle it.

I did go into work a during the week so that helped keep my mind off things, even though I didn't last very long at the gym, it was so nice to get out of the house and do something other than setting in a chair for hours.

Today Kyle and I saw the ferttility doctor up in KC just to see what our options were and if chemo would effect us having babies. Dr. Kim was very optimistic, he felt my chances of losing fertility was less than 40%, which Kyle and I thought were pretty good odds. We decided not to freeze my eggs or do anything with those percentages. After chemo we will go back up to see him so he can check my egg count again and see if anything has changed.

I am excited to get back to the grind this week. I will get to be at practice with the girls and see how hard they have been working these last couple of weeks and see what new skills they have.

I want to thank everyone once more for the continued support throughout this, especially my whole family, you guys have been wonderful. We have one round down and just three more to go before we win this battle!


Monday, July 9, 2012

First day

Well the first day of chemo is finally in the books. And it was a long one! JR and I got to the office around 9 this morning and I got home at 7, that would be a ten hour day sitting in the recliner watching tv, playing on my iPad, reading, sleeping and having to pee a lot. I had to do two huge bags of the cisplatin with other fluids to make sure I stayed hydrated. Each bag took about 3 hours each to finish. The last drug they gave me was the etoposide and that was suppose to take 2 hours but it ended up being close to 3. Right now I feel great, just a little tired but other than that everything went good today. It was nice to have JR up there with me for the first half of treatment. Kyle brought us lunch and he stayed after JR headed home.

Tomorrow and Wednesday will only be about 2 hours long since I will only be receiving the etoposide. On Thursday I will go in the get a shot of neulasta, which is a drug that raises my white blood cell count. For the following three weeks I will go in on Fridays for lab work to make sure everything looks good. I will then meet with Dr. Koeneke the Friday before my next treatment to discuss everything and get the dosages set up if anything needs to change.

That's all for now, thanks for reading and for you support through all of this!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scans, fireworks, & racing

Most people dread Monday mornings, I on the other hand was excited for it. I got out of the house and got to go into work, the only thing that could have made it better was if team had practice. I felt so much more productive being at work than I did sitting at home. One bad thing about Monday was that I had to be on a "diet" for the day. I was scheduled for a PET scan on Tuesday so I was on a high protein, no carbs or sugars for the day. As most of you know, I love candy so it was incredibly hard not to eat any (which right now I have a ton of candy in this house!)

Tuesday morning I had to go in the get my PET scan done to make sure there was any other cancer cells or any other lymph node involvement. This scan took a total of 2 hours. I was injected with radio active surgar (radiotracer is the medical name) and had to sit in a recliner for about 45 mins. Then I was taken to this room where I had to lay on this hard board and my feet were rubber banded together so I wouldn't tap them during the scan. That was the hard part for me because I can't stand my feet being trapped to where I couldn't make a quick get a way if I needed to. I had to lay with my arms above my head with rolled up blankets between my arms and ears so my head doesn't move side to side, it was real comfortable! The scan took about 25 mins to perform, needless to say my arms were a sleep by the time I got out of there. I was now free eat all the candy I wanted to now!

I got to visit Dr. Fischer Tuesday afternoon to get my stitches out of my belly button.I was a little worried because I am not a fan of my belly button being messed with and last week I just about passed out when he was messing with my incision. This time I just sat there with my head back and didn't watch anything he was doing. I made it of there without passing out and I now had a normal looking belly button.

Wednesday for the 4th we had family and friends over for food and fireworks. The kids and adults enjoyed setting off fireworks for the majority of the afternoon. Even our retired neighbors were outside setting off some! The kids, along with my mother and Kyle's mother really enjoyed the pool since it was so hot out. We then went and watched the Wamego fireworks show. I will admit, they have a really awesome show, I would suggest anyone that hasn't seen it to go watch it sometime. It was so nice getting to spend time with our families and friends. Kyle and I are pretty lucky to have them all in our lives.

Friday morning I was scheduled for a MRI of my brain. This would be the last test I would need to do before I started chemo. This scan wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it was extremely loud. They gave me earphones to listen to music but the noises in the tube were so loud I couldn't hear the music. I went 15 minutes and then the nurse injected me with a dye and I went for another 15 minutes. As I was walking out I tried to look at the computer screen with my scans on it but I didn't know what I was looking at. And of course I tried to read the nurse's face to see if she saw something up there or not, I would not recommend this because you will automatically think the worst.

I had a hair appointment for Friday afternoon and I had really debated if I wanted to cancel it or not. I didn't want to cut my hair and then end of losing it. I ended up going it and I am so glad I did. Melanie was so nice and understanding to my situation. She is going through this battle with her mother so she had a ton of advice for me. I know I will be in good hands if I do lose my hair! I also got to meet one of the chemo nurses, who was in there getting her hair cut as well. She will be there on Monday when I go in so it was nice to talk with her and get a feel of what to expect when I'm sitting in the room getting treatment.

Dr Koeneke called late Friday afternoon to let me know my scans had came back clear, so that was a relief. We are on schedule to start chemo this Monday, which will be the longest day of the three. They will do a couple injections of the cisplatin with a round of fluids in between each. Cisplatin can be hard on the kidneys so they want to make sure I am staying hydrated during this.

I had decided I was going to race this weekend in Topeka. I am so glad I did because I sure have missed being in the car. The day didn't start off real well the the team, but it ended pretty good. I lost to dad at 6 cars in super pro and he went on to the final where he lost to Willie. JR had last at 6 cars as well in super pro, he made it the semis in th S11 and won the super class race. So overall it wasn't a bad day, but it sure was a long one. Kyle and I needed up getting home at 5 in the morning and have been pretty lazy all day.

I am a little nervous for tomorrow but I am ready to get started so I can get done with this. JR is coming up to sit with me so that will make the time go by a little faster. I will try and update everyone after this first round of chemo.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

All on the same page

I had an appointment with Dr.Koeneke (my oncologist) this last Thursday to just go over our plan of action. When he came in with the pathology results from this last surgery, he was a little concerned. The tumor was now being classified as neuroendocrine, which is a type of cancer found in the lungs. I knew the adenocarcinoma cancer was very rare, but this one was even rarer (less than 1% of neuroendocine are found in the bladder). With this new twist in things, we would have to change my chemo plan. He was thinking I would now just get two types of chemo instead of the original four and I would go 3 days on instead of 5. This regimen would be harder on my body but since this cancer is considered a small cell cancer and is very aggressive we want to be just as aggressive back at it.

After hearing this news I was ready to get up to KU Cancer Center in Kansas City to hear what the specialist had to say there. I didn't know what to think, I didn't know if I needed to get a hold of cancer centers to see if I could get in there with this being so rare. It was sad sitting in the waiting room of the caner center because you knew what each and every person was in there for.

We met with Dr. Van who was this quite older man. I was nervous to hear what he had to say, I didn't know if he would agree with Dr. Koeneke's plan or not. We talked with him for a while and I left there feeling confident we would beat this. He felt Dr. Koeneke was right on track with the treatment plan. and he didn't feel we had to rush to start anything because getting the right regimen set up is more important than rushing into things and having to change it down the road. He wanted the slides of my tumor to be sent up the KU pathologist for a second look and for me to get a PET scan before we started chemo. The PET scan is to make sure there aren't any other lymph node involvements since we found one in the last surgery. He felt we could wait 2-3 weeks to start chemo, which was a relieve to me but I was just want to start it so I can get over this. I will get a PET scan on Tuesday and I will also get my stitches out that day and we are planning on starting chemo next Monday. I have an appointment set up with a fertility doctor in KC to discuss my options. They didn't feel chemo would effect my ability to have babies but since there is a slight chance we are going to meet with this specialist. Since everything is moving so fast I am not sure what can be done, I will have already started chemo by the time I can get into the doctor, so we aren't sure what they will tell us. Right now I am more worried about getting myself healthy, there are other options out there if we are not able to conceive.

We got back to Manhattan and went straight to Dr. Laki's office to get my catheter out!!! I was now a free woman, I didn't have to carry my pee around with me every where I went. They warned me that I may have to use the restroom more because my bladder was smaller, but it hasn't been real bad yet. I am not sure how Kyle felt about me not being tied to the side of the bed any more! I like to roll and take up as much space as I can when I am sleeping and this last week has been rough on me. I was now free to roll all over the place and that's exactly what I did.

Dr. Koeneke has been in touch with MD Anderson throughout this whole thing and when he talked to the doctor down there she had agreed with the treatment plan as well and told him she had just ran into another case that involved a neuroendocrine carcinoma of the bladder. Which was weird since this is a very rare type of cancer in the first place and now the MD Anderson doctor has seen two within the last month!

Now that everyone is on the same page, I am ready to start and kick this cancer in the butt so I can get back to racing and working. 

This weekend I felt pretty productive, we got to work on the backyard a little on Saturday to get ready to have people over on the 4th and I also got to get into the pool for a little bit!! Sunday I cleaned the house and we took the puppies to Petco. I still have to take breaks every 20 minutes or so when I am up doing things, just because I start hurting.  We watched the Olympic Trials, which was hard to do because I was suppose to be there but Dr. Laki told me I should stay close to home. I also got to listen to my brother win the Jegs All Star race in Chicago on Saturday. That made me want to be at the track more than anything so I could celebrate with everyone. 

I want to thank each and everyone of you for reading and for all the encouraging words, they really mean a lot during this rough patch.