Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What a Year!

First off just a quick update of the past two months. 

On November 6th I had brain radiation called SRS. There were four spots total that needed to be radiated. My surgeon was amazing but the whole process was pretty awful. As soon as I got there in the morning they screwed on the "halo" which was slightly painful, but I think the thought and the sounds of something being screwed into my head was worst than the actual pain. Pain I can handle, pain I am use to... But all this weird brain stuff totally freaked me out. After the halo was on I was taken to get a brain MRI, every uncomfortable with a two pound metal thing on your head. Then I had to sit in a chemo suite type room for about 7hours, NOT fun. Luckily I had my mom, Joe, and (even my friend Christina stopped by) for some distraction. Finally after they had all the mathematical stuff figured out for the radiation I was taken into this stark white room with all this high tech medical equipment everywhere. I had to lay on table with my "halo head" now screwed into the table itself so you cannot move at all. Then for about two hours, no one talks to you, but different doctors and nurses come in and out and take weird measurements of your head, then they leave and weird machines and stuff circle your head but you see nothing..(not even any cool laser beams or anything). And the whole time you are just hoping and praying that they are getting these measurements right and not zapping something important up there. I was just so scared and nervous lying there not knowing what was really happening and thinking omg they are zapping my brain right now. It was just a very not fun and freaky experience. Then you come out and they unscrew the halo which hurts so much more then when they put it on. And then you need to lay there in the chemo suit for a few hours and not talk and try to sleep. Yeah right.. sleep with throbbing welts on your head from the screw spots. Finally I got to go home and be under 48 care(thanks mom) in case I had a seizure or paralysis. 
Ok ok.. I know I made this probably sound more awful than it actually is but I honestly didn't like it one bit. However, most people I spoke to that went through it thought it wasn't so bad. 
Luckily, I didn't have any terrible side effects. Just had a 'fogging' head for a few weeks, some swelling and slight headaches. 

I was doing pretty good for the next few weeks, I was able to start getting my chemo treatment again, I had a chest CT and my lung swelling (from the chemo) was getting a lot better, and best of all I was feeling good. I had an amazing Thanksgiving with my family with tons of laughs and great food!!!

In the beginning of December I had my organ CT scan and had some great news and some 'bump in the road news'. The great news was that my liver tumors were barely visible and my spleen tumor was still shrinking. However, there was a spot on my ovary. When Dr. Magical called to tell me the news she was trying her best to not freak me out or get me upset since she wasn't even sure the spot was Melanoma. But my response to the news this time was that I am sort of use to these "bad news" phone calls and out of them all this one was by far not the worst. I said this I can handle. 
They of course had me come in the next day to meet with them and a gyn oncology surgeon... yup yet ANOTHER doctor added to my list. After a short discussion Dr. Wonder and the surgeon both agreed they wanted my whole ovary removed as soon as possible. Ok this was alittle bit hard to hear but I agreed. If there is a chance it is melanoma I want it OUT!!! My surgery was scheduled for the next week, December 10th. 
Luckily I got the call the night before that my surgery was the first one of the day and I should be at the hospital at 5:45am. The surgery went very well, I was in a lot of pain when I woke up but the nurses were great. They let my mom come in pretty soon afterward and let her stay with me the whole time in recovery. I do NOT do pain medication so I was able to convince them that the pain wasn't that bad(even though my god it was)and they let me get away with taking only Tylenol with codeine. I also convinced them that I am not going to sleep or rest in recovery and I am fine to go home ASAP. I was home on my couch by 12:00pm :) The next few days were pretty rough but remember pain I can handle. Sadly, we did find out that it was Melanoma..again hard to hear but it is OUT now and we move on. 

A week later I felt almost fully recovered and was able to move around pretty well. And most importantly to me I was able to be back at work. 

On December 19th, I was back at Sloan for my follow up brain MRI from the radiation. I was very nervous but Dr W said what ever the scans showed wasn't a final say on if the radiation is working, and that it can take months for it to start doing its magic. This helped us ALOT with the worry. However, the scans looked great and it was the BEST christmas present me and my family could ever ask for.. The tumors were shrinking and there was NO NEW growth(meaning no new tumors). YAAAAAAAAAY! 

Christmas was as you can imagine a wonderful time. The love of family is truly magically. And I have tons and tons of love coming from these amazing people. 

Last night I was feeling good and able to go out with some pretty incredible friends to help celebrate the coming of a new year!!

Now of course YES this has definitely been the most difficult year of my life but I have to remember all the wonderful things this year has also brought me. I got married to the most amazing person, I had two pretty awesome trips to Jamaica, I ran a 5K on chemo and raised over 10,000 dollars for Melanoma research, I learned who my true friends really are(there are sooooo many of you), and I gained a whole year of being blessed to live on this Earth and create so many wonderful memories with so many wonderful people.