Saturday, September 18, 2010

The last 2 1/2 weeks

I'm not entirely sure how I made it through the last 2 1/2 weeks. Thank goodness my iphone has a calendar. My goal each day was to just focus on the next place I needed to be and not worry about anything beyond that. So in short . . . here is what we have been doing.

1. Worrying -- about my mom, she is recovering from her surgery (with 3 of her sisters there to help her). I try to call her once or twice a day (which is normal). She is doing well. Thanks to so many of you who have asked how I am doing. She will be starting chemotherapy soon . . . and I am sure that will be a new adjustment but we are just grateful for the treatments that are available.

2. Doctors and Dentists and Orthodontists (oh my) -- I thought I should get all the kids caught up on everything before the baby was born. Which means that in addition to my weekly doctor appointments I have added and completed 12 additional appointments in the last 2 weeks alone. That is a lot! We have collectively endured 5 teeth cleanings, 1 tooth pulling, 4 flu shots, 3 finger pricks (which were surprisingly more dramatic than they should have been) and lots and lots of waiting. Additionally, I am still doing my daily shots of Lovenox -- and the only one not getting the flu shot so far is Trent and I am pretty sure he now has the flu. He has been down and out for 36 hours. Literally sleeping for perhaps 30 of the 36 hours. The six hours he has been awake did not help his spirits much as all he did was watch BYU lose.

3. School stuff -- 2 open houses, several parent meetings and coffees, musical auditions, musical rehearsals, homework (don't get me started on that one), 2 different schools, 2 different bus schedules, packing lunches (my most dreaded task), explaining repeatedly to my middle schooler that she cannot buy icecream for lunch, early pickups (because of all the appointments), and more . . .

4. Music -- 3 kids on piano, 1 on flute and 1 on violin -- it sometimes makes for quite the cacophany in the house.

5. Soccer -- 3 kids, 3 different practice days, 3 games each Saturday-- Today they were as spread apart as they could be, but without giving me time to go do something in between. Julianne from 9:30 to 10:30, Madelyn from 11:00 to 12:00 and Catherine from 12:30 to 1:30. They all love it though (except maybe Madelyn -- who loves to be there and loves to be with her friends, but needs constant reminding during the game to watch the ball-- or as was the case today-- remind her that the goalie does not sit down, even if the ball is on the other side of the field).

6. Being 9 months pregnant -- there is just a certain level of endurance required this last month. The ground is so very far away. I must sit so far back from the table that I seem to spill every meal and snack on me. I can't do dishes without drenching my shirt because I am so leaned up against the counter. There is nothing remotely cute about being this pregnant. Trent said (in a very loving manner) from the front and the back you look great, but if you turn to the side you kind of look like an alien. (and the reality is that he is right!)

7. Bad hair days -- about 5 weeks ago the ignitor on our propane oven apparently got weak and so in a brilliant example of bad timing, I opened the oven door just as the propane ignited (after having some time to build up because of the weak ignitor) and was able to experience first hand a huge fireball rushing at my face and hair. Fortunately I was not burned. Unfortunately my hair was not so lucky. It was pulled back, but a good centimeter around my face was entirely singed off as were my eyebrows. The eyebrows are back, and so is the hair around my face. . . the problem is that the hair just sticks straight up and is about 2 cm long. It is going to be a long process growing it out. After 3 visits by repairmen, a lot of new parts, and them showing me a dozen times that it works, I still open ovens very, very cautiously.

8. Redecorating -- I started removing the wallpaper in Adam's room (it was halfway up the wall with a baseball border). I HATE WALLPAPER. I am convinced that when it was installed that they must have run out of regular wallpaper glue and used super glue. It is a happy moment when a piece the size of a penny finally comes off. We have bought wainscoting and a chair rail and now need to paint and install it (all before the baby comes). Unfortunately, my worker has been asleep for 36 hours and so this project is lasting a long time.

9. Photography -- My little business adventure with Lillian is really doing well. I absolutely love it. I am learning so much and getting so much better with each photo shoot. And since I am having a baby soon, we have crammed in 3 days of photoshoots this month (as well as a few extra ones) and I have probably a thousand photos still to edit.

10. Nesting???-- I really want to, but I don't have the energy. The only great thing about being this busy is that despite having a large watermelon-like protrusion trying to interfere with my sleep, I am so tired that I sleep great.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ovarian Cancer -- Stage IIIc

Now this is a post I never thought I would have to write. Because as we all know, mom's just shouldn't get sick. And if you know my mom, then you know that she most certainly doesn't deserve anything bad happening to her. But life just doesn't always work out the way I think it ought to go.

About 4 weeks ago, my mom started experiencing abdominal discomfort. She knew something was wrong and went right to the doctor. About a week and a half ago the puzzle pieces all started to come together and the signs were all pointing to ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cancer is an interesting beast. They can't 100% confirm it until they do surgery.

Today was my mom's surgery. Even though all the signs pointed to ovarian cancer, I think there was, in all of our minds, a small hope that some huge mistake had been made and that surgery would show some other less horrible option.

But, that was not the case.

The surgery found cancer . . . everywhere. And the surgeon skillfully removed it from as many places as she could- ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, omentum, sections of the small intestine, sections of the large intestine, sections of the colon, the appendix, the lymph nodes, and more. Technically speaking it is in stage IIIc.

Chemotherapy will be starting soon.

Interestingly, as I drove through my little town today I noticed teal colored ribbons on all the trees, lamp posts, and street signs. I had read online that teal is the color ribbon that represents ovarian cancer. So I drove around until I found the woman who was tying the ribbons. I asked her if they were for ovarian cancer. She replied, "Yes, today is the kick off of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month."

I loved the timing. I certainly am more aware of ovarian cancer today. And I hope you all are too!

And the website is

Here are the signs of ovarian cancer. Perhaps posting this will help someone else. Awareness and knowledge are key to detecting this cancer.

Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect, especially, in the early stages. This is partly due to the fact that these two small, almond shaped organs are deep within the abdominal cavity, one on each side of the uterus. These are some of the potential signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:

Pelvic or abdominal pain
Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

Upset stomach or heartburn
Back pain
Pain during sex
Constipation or menstrual changes
If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your physician.

Persistence of Symptoms
When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. Persistence of symptoms is key. Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only around 19% of ovarian cancer is found in the early stages. Symptoms typically occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form.

A rectovaginal pelvic examination is when the doctor simultaneously inserts one finger in the rectum and one in the vagina.
It is helpful to take a mild laxative or enema before the pelvic exam.
Have a comprehensive family history taken by a physician knowledgeable in the risks associated with ovarian cancer. 5% to 10% of ovarian cancer has a familial link.
Every woman should undergo a regular rectal and vaginal pelvic examination. If an irregularity of the ovary is found, alternatives to evaluation include transvaginal sonography and/or tumor markers. The most common tumor marker is a blood test called the CA-125.