Friday, March 9, 2012

Taking it all in

Shock, anger, grief, sadness... Just a few of the emotions raging thru my body right now. 
As it stands, Surgery is not an option. The risk of bleeding is too high and the tumors are too close to my spine and arteries.  On to chemo I go. I'll be on the TAP plan- Taxol, Adriamycin & Carboplatin. I meet with my medical oncologist this week to find out more about the regimen. 
I'll start with 3 cycles of chemo and then get another PET scan to determine what's next. Why so angry about a little more chemo? Here's the 3 possible scenarios for this treatment:
1. Best Case Scenario:  After 3 treatments, the tumors completely shrink and I complete  3-5 more chemo cycles
2: The tumors shrink enough for the surgery to take place. After 4-6 weeks of recovery, I would finish 3-5 more cycles of chemo.
And then there is scenario 3. The words I thought I would NEVER EVER hear in my life. The tumors do not respond and surgery is still too risky. "We'll make you as comfortable as we can to live with the cancer".... F#@k

I'm exhausted, physically and emotionally. My back pain is intensifying. My family and friends all want to see me and talk to me and it's just too much. I worked all week trying to stay busy and haven't given myself enough time to process it. I'm laying here in a quiet empty house while Nick is at work. Finally able to openly cry without having to wipe my tears away because I'm at work or out in public. I need more time to sob. More time to breath this new challenge in.
I booked a trip for Disneyland this coming weekend. Nicholas, Nick's son, has never been. I want to share in those memories and I want to have hair in the pictures. 
I don't know what else to say right now. I'm just overwhelmed and speechless in some ways. I've got my dogs to cuddle with, a box of tissues and am ready for bed. 
I do need to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers. I've got your messages and texts, I'm just not ready to talk about it all yet. Thank your for your patience and understanding. 

XOXO Britni

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Road Block...

It's been quite some time since my last post, so there is a lot to catch everyone up on!
I couldn't have been more blessed to get a job than when I did. My disability ended on January 31st and I was hired by the Roseville Chamber of Commerce on February 3rd. I know a “VIP” (you know who you are!) to thank for the heads up on the job. I am now the Events and Sponsorships Coordinator at the Chamber. I am really enjoying the job and the ladies I work with are great. I was going stir crazy towards the end of my disability. Actually, stir crazy is an understatement. I was nuts. I had WAY too much time to sit around and think. Just ask Nick… poor guy was getting nagged by my over active mind. I needed something to stimulate my mind and keep the gloomy cancer thoughts away. Thankfully for both of us, getting my job instantly gave me a clean bill of mental health. J

I’ve really lucked out when it comes to bosses. Jeff was a great mentor and friend at Catta Verdera and now I have two very welcoming and accommodating bosses at the chamber. About two weeks ago, I went back to procedural sedation and had my scar re-sectioned. Believe it or not, my incision from September 13th still hasn’t healed. The doctor took a portion of the scar out and sewed me up with dissolvable stitches. The steri-strips (like band aids) they placed over the scar are still holding tight so I don’t know if the re-section worked. For all I know, the scar could start to bubble up again two months from now… let’s hope this is not the case.

I was very anxious to have my scar re-sectioned and healed before my next PET scan but that did not happen. I had my second post treatment PET last Friday. Yesterday around 6:30pm I got the call from Dr. Skilling. The results were in and they weren’t good. The cancer is still present in my body. Two lymph nodes were clearly positive. One is within the previous radiation field and one is just above the field. Both are very close to the two major arteries that go to my heart and close to my spine so a vascular surgeon will now be a part of my treatment team. Needless to say my mind was reeling. I called Nick immediately and he rushed home from dinner with his family to see me crying in a lump on the coach. He asked what I needed and I said McDonalds. If I’m going down, I’m having a cheeseburger before I go. J Nick’s mom, sister and son came home shortly after I satisfied my fatty, salty craving. I regretfully made the phone calls to my Mom, Dad and close friends before I passed out for the night. I have to say, in my heart of hearts I knew. I had been having pretty bad back pain for about a month. I know my body well enough now to know something wasn’t right. I had an overwhelming feeling that cancer was not done with me.

I went into work today and explained my new treatment plan to my new bosses. Not really the conversation you want to have less than 60 days on the job. Again, they were extremely understanding and accommodating. I’ll find out the exact plan tomorrow night, but what I know now is this: another surgery to remove the lymph nodes (unfortunately not laparoscopic) and six months of intensive chemo. This time my hair is a goner…  

I’ve said time and time again that I wouldn’t be able to get thru this if it wasn’t for my friends and family. Lucky for me, I have a new friend on this journey. Her name is Serena and we met thru a wound care Nurse at Kaiser. Serena was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer on Christmas Day last year. When I was in treatment before I purposefully did not seek out other cancer patients because I didn’t want to get scared by their chemo or radiation horror stories. I met Serena when I was hoping I was in remission. She was just beginning the process and I thought I could be of help to her. Little did I know how much she was going to help me. Being able to speak candidly to someone my age (she is 32) and in the same predicament about what I’m thinking, feeling and living has been priceless. I cherish all the time I get to spend with Serena. She is wise beyond her years. She has a blog of her own that I urge you to check out – – Every time I read her blog posts I find myself relating all too well.

As I begin to kick over this new road block, I know I’ll have my friends and family by my side again. It’s just a road block or as Nick would say “A minor stepping stone” in my journey to kick cancer’s ass.

XOXO Britni

Monday, January 16, 2012

Negative CT!!!

Finally got an email from my doctor tonight... My CT scan was negative for any enlarged lymph nodes or masses!!! I'll get a second PET scan in two months. Hopefully those "two areas of concern" from the first scan will have dissapeared. My Monday night just got a lot better!!! Hope everyone is enjoying their night as much as I am!

XOXO Britni

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2 Areas of Concern

Met my doctor on Tuesday to find out there are 2 suspicious areas on my PET scan. Both could be false positives, but they ordered further tests to determine what they are. I had a CT scan yesterday and am waiting to hear those results. If the doctor finds questionable areas on the CT scan, they will go in and biopsy the tissues. If they don't find anything questionable, then I will wait 2 months and take another PET scan.  So now I'm back in the waiting game. 

Woke up with a cold today. Hopefully that will go away quickly and I'll hear back from my doctor tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me!

XOXO Britni

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Scan today!

Happy New Year everyone! I had a blast at the cabin and am now back home. Nick, Nicholas, Chloe and I did our best to enjoy what little snow there was. They built a ramp with the snow in front of the house so we didn't have to go far to have fun. While they were "surfing" down the ramp, I stuck to sledding on my behind. I attempted to surf down the ramp twice... Falling on my side 1 second after take off each time. Overall it was a great vacation. Very relaxing, just what the doctor ordered!

On the health front- I have my follow up scan today at 3pm! I won't get the results until Monday at 4:30pm. I'm nervous now and imagine I will be until Monday. I just need to stay positive and focused on good health. Turns out my infection wasn't staph... It was pseudomonas. After 10 days of antibiotics I had to go back in this morning and have the doctor re-open the holes. This time I received 3 shots of numbing medicine before he cut open the spaces. Now cleaned, they got packed with gauze. I have to go to Roseville every 2 days to have it re-packed. There is NO way I could do that myself. I was naseaous just listening to the doctors talk about it! My doctor did say he has never seen an incision take so long to heal. This is one of those situations where you don't feel good about being special! Other than my lingering incision issues all is well. I'll write again on Monday to give everyone the cancer free news!

XOXO Britni

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back to "Normal"

It has been almost 3 weeks since I finished both chemotherapy and radiation! My body has begun healing and I'm starting to feel "normal" again. I use quotations because I'm adjusting to a new normal. If you've seen me in person, you know I look completely "normal." Lucky for me, my internal organs are regenerating too. Any pain I have now is random. I get random joint pains, that were actually very painful for three nights. I've added calcium into my vitamin regimen and Aleeve helps take the joint pain away. For as good as I feel now, it feels like I was a normal 26 year old before the surgery and now I'm like a 50-something year old menopausal woman with joint pains and hot flashes! The only lingering issue is my incision. Three months since the surgery and the staples have not dissolved. Three bubbles appeared along the incision which resulted in a staph infection. They had to open and drain the bubbles and put me on a round of antibiotics. Two of the three bubbles are healing properly and one will have to be drained again tomorrow. Ugh... Hopefully this will be the last of my incision troubles. Until then, yoga pants or sweats it is. My post treatment scan and follow-up appointment are in January. The day is TBD, but I'll be sure to post when the time comes!

The weeks since the completion of treatment have flown by and I'm officially ready for Christmas! I leave Christmas night to spend four days at my dad's cabin in Kingvale. When I return, I've got to begin the job hunt. I have enjoyed every last minute of my time off, but I am ready to return to the working world. I'm searching for an Executive Assistant / Administrative Assistant position in the area. I've made a conscious decision to find a job where I can focus on that happy work/life balance. After six years in the Event and Food Service industry, I'm ready to transition into something new. I'm very thankful for my time at Catta Verdera. Whatever I do in the future, I know I can handle anything!

Off to finish wrapping presents! I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

XOXO Britni

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Photos Galore!

My mom just helped me upload a TON of photos to! We tried to incorporate all of the photos taken so far, but some are kinda blurry and some were VERY blurry. I apologize if a photo of you and I didn't make it to the site due to the blur! I hope you enjoy a glimpse into this crazy journey I'm on.

XOXO Britni