Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another doctor appointment for him... with good news!

We met with the radiation oncologist team today and we got some fantastic news. They said that we have no medical reason that the husband should have to stay down here for radiation. He will be able to start the radiation treatment in Alaska shortly. It will be 5 weeks of radiation, followed by a few weeks of healing before his surgery back here in Seattle. They also said that they will be treating this aggressively in case it is cancerous, but there is a chance that it isn't. The scans showed only a few "active" areas of the tumor that appear to be encapsulated by the cartilage of the tumor itself. Because they can't know for sure, they want to make sure that they get this fully taken care of the first time so that we have no reoccurrences.

We actually left this appointment so incredibly happy and excited.

We have been truly blessed by all of you who have supported us and prayed for us. We really believe that the prayer is what has made such an impact on his diagnosis and treatment. It seems like every time we go back, they give us better and better news. So thank you all! We REALLY appreciate everything.

With all of this going on we will have at least 2 more trips down here, one part way through the radiation treatment and then the one for the surgery itself. Depending on how the surgery goes, he may or may not have to come back for follow up radiation treatment, but all of that will be decided when we find out how the surgery goes.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. You all have helped us so much more than we could ever have asked for! :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Results from the doctors in Seattle

It is beautiful here. Sunny and warm! :)  Anyway, here we go.

Well it took FOREVER to get in to see the doctors because they are super busy. It is definitely cancer. It is actually called chondrosarcoma. It is a cartilage tumor growing out of his pelvis. NO CHEMO will be done! :) We are pretty happy about that. Possible radiation we will find out tomorrow or Wednesday for sure on that.

Surgery to remove the tumor will be in about 3 weeks if no radiation is needed and in 5-6 weeks if radiation is needed. It will be quite a long recovery, 6-12 months (likely 6). This is due to the fact that they will be removing a large portion of his pelvis and replace it with a bone graft, held in place with screws and plates.

We are so happy for this news.  Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We truly appreciate it SO much.

Thankfully they did give him more pain meds and some meds to calm down the nerves that are being pressed on by the tumor. They will be consulting a spine doctor as well since it is close to the spine. They also mentioned a spine fusion in the L5 area where he has that herniated disk.

By now means is this nearly over, but we did get some amazing news today. We will continue to take this one step at a time and one day at a time. We feel so incredibly blessed by everyone around us and the amazing news that we got today. I never would've guess that getting the "your husband has cancer" news could possible have me walking out with a smile on my face, but we just know that this could've been SO much worse. We are so incredibly lucky.

Also just excited that he will be healing from surgery in 3-6 weeks instead of 3 months from now! I am just so incredibly thrilled about that.

Once we have our next appointment either tomorrow or Wednesday to get the game plan as far as radiation, we get to go home again!!! Which means I can set up that ultrasound appointment as well! :) We are still praying that all continues to go well with him and that when we do get this ultrasound, it will be a fantastic appointment with a very different outcome than we had almost exactly a year ago that I talked about here and here AND here.

Here is a little snapshot of our view here in Seattle from the condo we are staying in while we are here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Preparing for our next trip... praying for happy answers

Well right now I am supposed to be packing for Seattle. Per usual, I got distracted reading everyone's latest blog posts. I just really wanted to reach out for some prayers. We leave tomorrow for Seattle again for our follow up appointment with the husbands doctors. We should find out everything tomorrow. Exactly what TYPE of cancer it is. What stage it is at. What the treatment plan will be. Whether or not we will be able to get the majority of his treatment at home, in Alaska. How long his treatment should take. When surgery will be to remove the tumor.

There are still so many unknowns and hopefully after Monday, that list should be A LOT smaller. I feel like we have really done well with not stressing out about all of the craziness going on in our lives right now (with the husband's tumor that is most likely cancer and my being pregnant in the middle of all of this). I feel like God has given us no more than we can handle. We are taking this one day at a time and one step at a time. I feel oddly calm and at peace with our situation, and I know that I have God to thank for that. I am constantly praying and I know we have so many amazing people out there praying for us too. We feel it! We really really do.

We feel incredibly blessed by our fantastic support system and also just where we are at in our lives. Things are by no means easy, but it is nothing that we can't handle with His help. And this is coming from someone incredibly neurotic! I don't understand how in the world it is possible that I'm not totally losing it 24/7. I am a major planner. I must KNOW everything. I don't do well with surprises or unknowns. But here we are... living our lives one day at a time. It is the day before we fly out and I haven't packed a thing. Heck my suitcase is still partially packed from when we just flew home a few days ago.

As far as baby stuff goes, we are waiting to get the first ultrasound scheduled until we figure out when we'll be home from Seattle (because it's another we have NO idea when we'll be back kind of trip). So far I feel really good. I get nauseous whenever I am hungry, but that's not bad at all. Definite sore chest... not gonna lie, they feel HUGE lol. Oh and it doesn't take much food before I'm full but then I get hungry again 2 hours later. There has also been this slight dull ache in my lower stomach on and off... mostly just on the left side. At first I worried a bit that it was period cramps, but they feel NOTHING like period cramps. It's very strange. And naturally retaining every drop of water possible.  And I am loving every single second of it!

Today I pulled out my summer clothes and stored my winter clothes. For someone who lives in Alaska, I seem to own a ton of summer clothes... wishful thinking I guess. Anyway, in the process I also finally pulled out the tubs full of pregnancy and baby things. It made me cry, but what doesn't these days. I worried for a moment that this would somehow jinx the pregnancy but quickly pushed that thought away. What is going to happen, will happen. For now all that I can do is keep myself healthy and pray.

Well this scatterbrained post is nearly over, I just have to ask you all for one thing. Prayers. Please keep us in your prayers these next few days. I am really hoping for some good news on Monday. It would be so incredibly amazing to get news that this will be easily treated and that we can do treatment at home. That would be such a huge relief for us and such a huge financial relief as well to have the husband at home. We have been so lucky to have so many people thinking about us and praying for us and I just ask that you keep that going. We really need them right now.

Thank you!!!! :)

rainbow :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Busy busy busy...

As you can imagine, things have been a bit busy around here lately. We flew back home late Monday night. We will only be hope for 5 days before we have to fly back to Seattle for his next appointment. Thankfully, this appointment should be all of the results from the biopsy, scans, and tests as well as the plan of attack.

It is so nice to be home, even for just a few days. Already SO worth it. We were only gone for 9 days but it actually felt like 3 weeks. There was obviously a lot going on, but also a lot of waiting around. Yay hanging out at the hospital. :/

So far we are clinging to the possibility that it is good news that it is not as quick growing as they initially thought and that they told us, if it is the specific subtype of sarcoma that they believe it is, no chemo will be done. That only increases the likelihood that he will be able to get all, or at least the majority, of his treatment done at home. What a blessing that would be.

Also, some more good news. While we were gone, I realized that I was nearly a week late already. I'm not typically late.... ever. So on our trip to the drug store to fill his prescription for pain meds after the biopsy, I picked up some tests. I was shocked. I am pregnant. AGAIN.

This was some much needed good news for us right now. We were really hoping that this would be the case, but obviously we were not exactly banking on that. Talk about some happy news to sustain us while we deal with all of these scary appointments.

In no way am I out of the woods, but we are so excited. I went in to the doctor yesterday for my blood draw, and the doctor said the HCG numbers came back great! That's the first time I've ever heard that.... even though this is my 5th pregnancy... that was the FIRST time I've been told that my numbers look great.

As soon as we get an idea of when we should be returning from Seattle this time, I will be calling to set up my ultrasound appointment. :) So exciting! As of right now, I am 5 weeks and 3 days along. I'll take it! Every single day is truly a blessing and an answer to prayers.

I took the test this past Friday night, so it made for such a happy Mother's Day (waited to blog about it until I had the blood test to verify and we were able to notify our families). It made me nervous, because I was pregnant last Mother's Day as well, but this is a new year, a new pregnancy, and a whole new set of circumstances. I trust that God has a plan for this pregnancy and this child. I can't wait to see what it will be.

Please keep our family in your prayers. We have a lot going on right now and I know that prayer is the only way that we are calm and at peace with everything. No matter what comes our way, we will make it through. We are truly blessed.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Biopsy is DONE

Yesterday was a long day. Finally got the husband to the hospital and all checked in yesterday afternoon. Once they finally called him back, he got all dressed up in his fancy gown and socks, IV in, and then we waited. Then it was time to roll him back to the OR.

My aunt drove us to the hospital that day and also stayed with me throughout. She and I hung out, grabbed some food, and waited... and waited... they called an hour after they rolled him into the OR to let me know that they'd started the surgery. About an hour later, I received the call that surgery was done and he'd be in recovery shortly.

Cue time to freak out a bit when I hear "CODE BLUE. CODE BLUE." over the PA system. A nurse finally came out and brought me back to see him. He was pretty pale and a little tired looking but overall, not bad. As I sat there he seemed a bit more awake and was talking pretty well.

According to the surgery, the tumor was lower than they'd anticipated so the estimated 2 or 3 in incision turned into about an 8 or 9 in incision. When I let the husband know, he said "awesome... a better scar". I also got to relay the info to him that the surgeon said that from what he saw, he believes it is a lower grade or slower growing tumor than they'd originally thought (THANK YOU LORD) AND if it is the type of sarcoma that he thinks it might be, no chemo... How awesome is that?!

We will not get final results for another week and a half but how cool would that be to only have radiation and surgery instead of chemo, radiation, and surgery?! We were pretty excited to hear that one.

So for now we are hanging out in the University District in Seattle (UW campus... it's gorgeous!) thanks to some amazing friends who surprised us by booking us a hotel for 4 nights. These super amazing friends also got us tickets for the Mariners game on Sunday. We are pretty darn excited.

I'd say that we've been doing pretty darn well through all of this but it is not easy by any means. I truly believe all of the wonderful people out there praying for us has made all of the difference in the world.

Oh, and more good news... We have the weekend to relax and then Monday he'll have 2 more scans and meet with the docs. Then we get to GO HOME. Only for a few days... but we still get to go home!!! We are beyond ecstatic to go home for a few days. We are hoping to fly home on Tuesday and then we will be flying back to Seattle on Sunday to meet with the doctors for the official diagnosis and the plan of attack. We are really REALLY hoping that we will be lucky enough to be able to do the majority of his treatment back in Alaska, but we shall see.

We have been so incredibly blessed by family, friends, and total strangers. We have people out there praying for us who have never even met us and I really think our good news so far is thanks to all of you. Prayer is such a powerful thing. Let's keep the good news going!!! :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Not the news we were hoping for

Today, we met with about 10 different people. It was like the room had a revolving door. The doctors said that they believe it is cancer, a sarcoma. They also told us that they think it is actually growing out of the muscle and not the bone. I honestly don't know if one is worse than the other, but I'm going to choose to believe, this is better.

He had some blood drawn and some x-rays done. He will be getting some additional tests and scans over the next week as well as a biopsy this coming Thursday in order to confirm that it is in fact cancer as well as to stage it. They said that there is still a small chance that they are wrong and it will not be cancerous, so we are just praying that they are VERY VERY wrong.

Once we have the official diagnosis, they want to start chemo. Radiation may overlap the chemo. We don't know for sure yet. Finally, he will have surgery to remove the tumor. So far, they've said that this will all happen in the next 2 to 3 months and that they would like him in Seattle for all of it.

I know that is not something that he is too thrilled with. He is not one to just lay around and he also doesn't like the idea of missing the Alaska summer and being away from home for that long, but we will do whatever is best to get him healthy. That is the most important thing right now.

Thank you all for your continued love and support and prayers. We are definitely feeling it and we truly appreciate everyone. We are so lucky to be so loved.

Hopefully next week I'll be able to post an "IT'S NOT CANCER!" post, but for now we have to accept reality and think about taking one day at a time and getting things done.

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Today... today, they made me cry...

I don't like to cry. I try my best to NEVER cry... especially not in front of people... and NOT at work. Over the past 2 years I've become a total cry baby. I now cry at the drop of a hat (still not in public or in front of others if at all possible). I'm guessing the crazy hormonal ups and downs of pregnant, not pregnant, pregnant, not pregnant, etc., has a huge impact on this.

But today... today they made me cry. More than once!

I have been so incredibly blessed by amazing family, friends, and co-workers. I've had to be at work a lot while waiting to get the call on test results and my amazing work family has been there for me. They've all been so incredibly supportive and loving. I've felt so blessed to be where I am. They really take such good care of me.

Around noon today, our courier dropped off a card from a branch office. It was from 3 ladies that I speak with on a daily basis, but rarely see in person. These women put together some money but more importantly they put their support into words. I cried. Thankfully, they were happy tears.

When the work day was nearly over, a few women in my office handed me another card from the office... more AMAZING words of encouragement, prayer, and money. I cried. I couldn't even read the card yet... I just started crying and gave them hugs. To make me cry MORE, one of my good friends, who I happen to share an office with, let me know that she also set up a gofundme account for us and there had already been some donations. I cried.

I know that these people care about me, and about us... but to have all of the prayers, kind words, encouragement, support, and hugs... I felt so incredibly blessed today.

So today... today, they made me cry. But they were most definitely happy tears. Tears of joy and disbelief at how lucky we are and how loved we are. 

No words can even begin to explain to them what that meant to us.

To all of you out there who have said a prayer for us, reached out, said kinds words, supported us in person or from afar... thank you. Thank you SO much! We really don't deserve all of this and we so appreciate it.

**Update: I'd never even thought about sharing the gofundme account on here until amberunderconstruction mentioned it... so here it is.

Isaiah & Shelby gofundme account