Radioactive Mama

My Cancer Journey

11 days home… Wednesday, 14 Apr 10

Filed under: Uncategorized — radioactivemama @ 11:53 pm

Hello all!  I have been home for 11 days now and it has gone SO fast!  I got home Saturday night the day before Easter.  Josh picked me up around 6:30pm and we went and got Princess an Easter basket and stuff to fill it and then we went out to dinner.  It was so nice to be in a restaurant with my husband and feel somewhat normal.  I got really spicy food so that I would be able to taste it some.  Needless to say I didn’t enjoy the food as much as the company.

We got home around 9 or so.  My Mom was there waiting for us of course.  It was so good to see her and thank her in person for all she did for me and my family and to give her a gigantic hug.  Then I went in to see Princess. (Josh told her I was coming home and would come in and tell her goodnight.  I crawled up in her bed (its a twin bed) and stroked her hair and talked to her and gave her a kiss, but she never woke up.  It was so good to see her sleeping little body all curled up in her bed.  Of course I also peeked in on Bug, but made it quick so that she wouldn’t wake up.

The next morning I heard Princess’ bedroom door open, and when she came in to our room, I sat up and waved at her.  She let the cat in when she opened our door and Josh was saying, “No!” to Pumpkin (the cat.)  I don’t know if it was in reaction to that or if she was just so surprised to see me, but Princess just looked at me and then walked out.  I went out into the hall and she stood there and looked at me for a second.  Then I said, “who am I?” And she said, “Mommy…” and then got a big smile on her face and ran and gave me the biggest hug.  Then we sat on the couch and cuddled and talked and laughed and hugged.  It was wonderful!  When Bug woke up I went in and got her and at first she didn’t even look at me.  I started talking to her and laid her down to change her and she got the biggest ear-to-ear grin on her face.  It too was wonderful.

I spent a lot of time with the girls on Easter morning.  Then we all got ready and headed to church at The Summit.  It seemed like no one knew I was coming, so that was super exciting.  When I tapped my friend, Jill, on the shoulder and she turned around and saw it was me she looked REALLY excited and started looking for a way to get to me.  (She was 2 rows in front of me.” I was in a skirt but she was in capris, and promptly climbed over the row of seats to give me a giant hug.  I got similar, super excited, big hug reactions from all of my girls (women that are in my small group Bible study.)  It was a great day to be with my family – both my immediate family and my church family.

Princess said at home she didn’t want to go to children’s church, which was more than fine with us.  Then when we got there she said she did, but when I tried to take her she changed her mind again.  We took her in church with us and after about 10 minutes or so she said she was ready to go to children’s church.  I told her that if she went she needed to stay and she said she would.  Once we got over there she again wanted to leave.  I sat down on the floor with her for a few minutes and I told her, “I am not going anywhere.  I will just be in big church and as soon as it is over I will be right back to get you.”  That was all it took.  I went back to church and she was fine. 🙂

We went home and cooked Easter dinner – nothing complicated or involved, but still pretty yummy (or so my Mom and Josh said since I couldn’t taste much.)  Then we dyed Easter eggs and played all afternoon.  Princess found her Easter basket the Easter Bunny left her and we went outside and blew some super cool bubbles.  It was a great day!

The time since then has been a whirlwind… I will be happy to share more later, but at least this gets the details of my reunion and first day home out there.

We are so thankful for all of you, and Josh and I talk often about all the people who carried us through those two weeks.  I am so blessed to have you in my life, and so honored that you care enough to read my thoughts and walk this journey with me.  I will do my best to post at least once every other day or so, but can’t make any guarantees. 🙂

Good night!

 

My last post from the fellowship house Saturday, 3 Apr 10

Filed under: Uncategorized — radioactivemama @ 5:17 pm

Josh should be here in about 2 hours.  I can’t wait! Princess is at the Easter Extravaganza with Aunt Hannah and Miss E, so she should be pretty tired when she gets home, which will mean an early bedtime.  That way she should be sound asleep by the time we get home. As an added precaution for the girls and for Josh against any possibility of absorbing any radioactive iodine left in my body, their tummies now have a palm sized orange stain from where they were rubbed with beta dine. This is the yucky orangish brown stuff they use to prep patients for surgery.  It is used as a disinfectant.  The iodine that is in it will be absorbed by Josh, Princess and Bug’s thyroids.  Essentially what we are doing is filling their thyroids to the brim with good iodine so that if they happen to absorb any of my iodine (which is a low possibility at this point anyway) their thyroids will be too full to take it and it will simply be flushed out of their bodies.  The radiologist recommended this as a safe way to be extra careful with the thyroids of my wonderful little family. Princess still doesn’t know that I am coming home tonight.  I am praying that tonight is a night that she sleeps good ALL night long – no potty breaks, no bad dreams, no interruptions.  If she does wake up and find out I am there, I don’t think we will ever get her back to sleep!  I wonder myself if I will be able to sleep with the excitement of seeing my Princesses.  I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning or my first trip to Disney World!  I am just so incredibly grateful for the family that God has given me, and for the joy in knowing I have done all I can to get healthy for them and that God has brought me through to the other side to continue to have my family to love and care for. I am also delighted beyond words that days 14 and 15, initially intended to be spent here, will actually be spent with my family.  I had originally anticipated tomorrow to be the loneliest Easter I had ever spent.  Now it will probably be the most celebratory. I just cannot imagine a better day to wake up in the arms of the ones I love than Resurrection day.  This most important day in the life of the church is now an important day in the life of our family as well.  🙂

I will continue to post, filling in more of the back story leading up to this whole treatment and telling you of my reunion with my family and any other events that occur in my process of being declared cancer free. 🙂

Your intense, fervent, and faithful prayers for me and my family for the last 13 days are not only appreciated, but seen as one of the most vital pieces in my getting through the last 2 weeks with flying colors and in my healing process as a whole.  Thank you.

1 Peter 3:12a

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer…”

 

Day 13

Filed under: Uncategorized — radioactivemama @ 10:11 am

I love you Day 13 because you will carry me home!

Last night I fell asleep pretty quick.  I was SO tired.  5:30am must have decided to let me go because I did not see it this morning. (I did however briefly see 5am, which was not very thrilling.)  I then fell back asleep until <gasp!> 9am??? What happened to my alarm clock (the guy with the hammer and the plastic tub?!)  When I got up and about and stepped outside I heard… nothing? (well some birds and far off cars)  No yelline men?  No construction trucks? What was going on?  These guys work on Saturdays… That’s when it dawned on me… apparently they don’t work (or at least not much) the day before Easter! Another reason to celebrate today!  There are 3 cars parked at the construction office across the street and when I looked down the road I saw a few guys down at the other end of the construction site piddling around… but I got to sleep in!  Go GOD!!!

I went downstairs to wash the rest of my clothes before I go home today and there was a basket of apples!  I was SO excited to eat one.  I have missed having fresh produce. I brought it up and washed it eagerly took my first bite… only to be reminded again that my taste buds are broken.  Oh well.  I ate it anyway.  I figure it is still just as good for me even if I can’t taste it. 🙂

Going to go check on that laundry and do some more packing! Less than 12 hours to go!!!  Oh yeah!!!

 

Goodnight Day 12… Friday, 2 Apr 10

Filed under: Uncategorized — radioactivemama @ 9:45 pm

It’s almost finished!

I decided not to go to the church service tonight after all.   As I was heating up my dinner I realized how incredibly exhausted I am, and it just seemed like going would be way too much for me tonight.  Plus it might not have been over until after dark, and I don’t know how comfortable I would be (and I’m sure Josh would not be comfortable at all!) with my walking back alone in the dark.

I did some more packing tonight.  I still can’t believe I am going home tomorrow!  I cannot wait to be in my own house, sleep in my own bed, and cuddle up with my husband and children.  I am sure that Sunday morning will be one of the best in our house in a long time!

I have had several people comment that they want to hear about the reunion – especially Princess’ reaction when she wakes up Sunday morning and comes in and finds me there!  I will be sure to write about it, but it may be a couple days after I get home as I will be busy loving on my family. 🙂

Today I went to a short Good Friday service in the hospital chapel.  It was so interesting to be there, in that setting, with these complete strangers talking about the suffering of Jesus.  I know that each person there has a story of suffering, of pain, and probably of loss that they could have shared.  We took communion and I have to say, it is the first time I have done so out of a medicine cup!  As I was holding the cup of juice and looking at the measurements on the cup, it struck me as how appropriate it was that the blood of Jesus was given to us in such a container.  I was about to drink 10 cc’s of grape juice.  If you are given a transfusion of blood (usually necessary to save your life) it is measured in the same type of measurements (although in a much larger quantity.)  If you are given medicine, something to help ease your pain, heal you, or make you whole, it is in these measurements and in this cup.  How appropriate then that we should drink the life-giving, sacrificial blood of Jesus, made to ease our pain, heal us and make us whole out of a medicine cup!  I am sure the chapel in the hospital uses these out of convenience, but it seems more appropriate than any container I have taken communion from!  What an unexpected message it brought to me today.

I pray that you all have a chance to reflect on what happened on this day so many years ago.  The King of the Jews was brutally beaten and crucified on a cross.  For those of us who are Christians, this is an important time for us to reflect and remember the enormity of the suffering Christ endured and the sacrifice God made.  For those who are not Christians, I pray that you too would think today about the enormity of the physical and emotional suffering Christ endured on this day and as you do, that you would come to know the weight of that sacrifice and to embrace and believe that He did it with YOU on His mind, that He did it for you because of His enormous love for you.  Today was the saddest day in the whole history of the Jewish people, initially.  As a Christian it would be if we didn’t know what happened next. But we do! We know what Sunday brings – resurrection!  I pray that you are touched this weekend by Jesus and his life, death, and resurrection.

Tomorrow will probably feel like the second longest day since I have been gone (the first day I was gone was the longest, I’m sure.)  But tomorrow, after the girls are in bed, Josh is coming to get me and I am going HOME!

Day 12, I hope you don’t keep  me awake until tomorrow like day 11 did.  I am ready to greet day 13 with open arms, but would rather it be well after sunrise when I do!

 

Last 24 hours

Filed under: Uncategorized — radioactivemama @ 6:06 pm

This day has flown by!  I got to spend a wonderful afternoon with my lovely friend, Amber.  Then I walked down to the strip and wandered around.  I got an orange float which sounded extravagant on this really hot afternoon.  Then I was reminded that my taste buds are not fully back to their normal state.  The float was rather disappointing in flavor, but it still cooled me down some.

Tonight I am planning to walk to the church around the corner and go to their “service of shadows” for Good Friday.

My Mom got to my house this morning with all of the missing items in tow. Josh was able to get to work and my Mom seems to have had a great day with the girls.  When I called earlier she had just finished painting Princess’ nails and putting little jewels on them. 🙂  Tonight someone brought food for my family that I didn’t even know was bringing it.

I had my full body scan today.  I get the results Mon or Tues next week. My hands were still really hot – more so than yesterday.  They advised me that wearing rubber gloves would make my hands sweat and get the radiation out faster.  I wish I had known or thought of that a week ago, lol! The good thing is that the radiation is not being transmitted to the things I touch.

I wish that I had a way to get to Wal-mart to do some last minute Easter shopping.  I don’t really want to have to stop anywhere on the way home with Josh tomorrow night.  It would be nice if there was a Wal-mart within walking distance.  I am kind of surprised there isn’t.  It seems like it would thrive with UT here.  There isn’t a Wal-mart that close to here at all.  A dollar store would be even better.  Oh well.  I am going home tomorrow and that’s what really matters! 🙂

Off to get ready for my walk to the church…

 

What can go wrong…

Filed under: Uncategorized — radioactivemama @ 9:33 am

will go wrong.

I didn’t get much sleep last night.  I laid in bed for close to 2 hours last night and finally fell asleep sometime around 1:30am.  5:30am must really like me because I think I have seen it every day for a week.  After our morning hello I fell back asleep restlessly until my 7:30am wake-up call from the construction man with the hammer and the plastic tub.

Josh called me a little before 8:30am on the hunt for where there might be some extra diapers in the house.  There aren’t any.  They also are out of frozen breast milk (the rest is in Jen’s freezer) and cat food.  The cat’s are acting crazy, Bug is crying, oh and did I mention Josh couldn’t sleep last night either.

It’s at this point, when I am exhausted and ready to go home and Josh is also exhausted and at his breaking point after almost 2 weeks of caring for the girls without me (although my Mom has done an AMAZING job of caring for the girls, the house, and my hubby) that I find myself in tears.  It is amazing all that I have gone through when I really stop to think about it, and then with less than 36 hours left to go, on the phone with Josh talking about diapers (or lack there of) is when I fall apart.

Fortunately when I called my Mom she was already on her way to my house. She was going to arrive early to start laundry before Josh left for work.  Instead she went to Kroger to get diapers and cat food and to Jen’s to get breast milk.  Not sure if she will get to that laundry this morning after all.  But my prayer is that she will be able to bring some peace and stability to my home this morning (she sounded rested and in good spirits) and that Josh will be able to somehow salvage the rest of his morning and get on track before heading over to work.

I am going to get ready and head over to the hospital for my scan and try to enjoy some sunshine today.

Day 12, please ease up.  We need a less “exciting” day to end out our time apart!

 

Good Night Day 11 Thursday, 1 Apr 10

Filed under: Uncategorized — radioactivemama @ 10:49 pm

Woo-hoo! I am going home on SATURDAY NIGHT!!! Angie came today with the Geiger counter and checked my numbers.  My stuff was clean with almost everything not even registering any radiation at all.  My neck has dropped considerably on the amount that it is radiating (which of course we knew it would.)  Interestingly enough, my hands are the “hottest” (read “radioactive”) part of me.  Even so, the readings are well within what is generally considered safe.  Also, we have already taken extra precautions by even having me gone this long, as most people are outpatient or in the case of inpatient, go home after a few days.  Ember has been the main reason for the extra precaution.  Care of her requires so much hands on time, and much of the time that I am caring for her I am holding her close to my neck, which is where most of the radiation is.  The breast-feeding expert recommended I not hold Ember for at least 11 days.

By going home Saturday night I will not see the girls until Sunday morning.  By then it will be 6 hours shy of 13 full days.  Even so, I will still be cautious in my contact with the girls.  This just means that I can’t have them snuggled up to my neck for 4 hours straight (which I can’t imagine doing anyway.)

Sooooo… 2 more nights and then home to my hubby, my girls, my own bed… I have definitely gained a new love and appreciation for my family and my home.  I think I have also learned that there are a lot of things I don’t need and can do without.  As I said once before, I really do want to streamline, simplify, and de-clutter our lives.  I’m not going to move to the middle of nowhere, sell all our worldly possessions and live off the land (although there are parts of me that want to)… but I do want to re-prioritize and make more time for the things and the people we love.

I can’t believe that I only have 2 more days here and then I will be going home.  I started packing tonight and I don’t think I have ever been more excited to pack in my life!

2 more days of blogging from here, and then we will see what happens when I go home.  For starters I am going to take a computer break as soon as I get home.

Oh, I have a full-body scan tomorrow.  It takes a picture of all of my insides and shows anywhere that is radioactive.  This is important because it will show if there any areas where the iodine has been absorbed besides in my thryoid.  If it shows other areas, this means that these are cells that have metastasized (additional cancer cells) and are now being killed by the radiation.  If they show up they are already being treated by the radiation, but it gives them a baseline to go on when they scan me again in 6 months.  This helps with the early detection of any future cancer cells – which I am believing will never happen.  Also, they are going to check my hands again tomorrow.  For my peace of mind, I would love the number to be much less than the 2 or so it was today.  1 or less would be great, so please pray that somehow, miraculously, my level drops to 1 or less by tomorrow.

Good night day 11.  Thank you for the beauty and joy you brought me along my journey.  Lookout day 12, here I come!