Two important reasons…

So a lot has happened in the past 20 months or so since my last update. While I always assume that the people reading this are my friends and family and know what is going on in my life, it came to my attention that when someone who blogs about cancer suddenly stops blogging it can be a bit concerning to any readers that aren’t “in the know.” I am very happy to say that I have two very important reasons why I haven’t been updating.

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The announcement for our “two important reasons.”

My husband and I welcomed twin baby boys, Owen & Nathaniel, to the world on April 17, 2014, almost two years to the day of the start of my cancer journey. I found out I was pregnant in August 2013 and that I was expecting twins on October 1, 2013 when I was 10 weeks along. We actually caught the surprise on camera. My sister, Sarah, came with me for my first ultrasound and filmed it for my husband who was on Army field duty that week, so you can watch that beautiful surprise here.

Initially I wasn’t able to blog because I very quickly started exhibiting symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), or “that thing Kate Middleton gets when she’s pregnant,” as I usually tell people. Basically I had very severe all-day morning sickness and lost a lot of weight in my first trimester and had to go to the ER a couple of times. It’s more common in multiples pregnancies, however, I don’t want to scare any expecting twin+ moms out there, the odds are still in your favor that you will not have to struggle with it (I can’t find the figure, but I believe I read it occurs in 6 percent of multiples pregnancies vs. 1 percent of singleton pregnancies.)

To help manage the symptoms, I actually took Zofran for a few days, which is a drug most often given to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. For whatever reason, possibly because of my history on the drug in the past, Zofran didn’t work well for me. I have heard you can develop tolerance to it over time, so it becomes less effective. However, my OB suggested I take Unisom (normally an over-the-counter sleep aid) along with vitamin B12 at night before bed, which worked wonders (as long as I remembered to take it.)

I preface this by saying that I am not giving out medical advice here, but if you are a cancer fighter, expecting mom or anyone else struggling with nausea, you may want to ask your doctor if Unisom might be a good option for you. I loved that I could run to the drug store and get it over the counter without a prescription and that it was pretty affordable. Also, if you are an expecting mother please be sure to check the labels, the Unisom that has doccylamine succinate as the active ingredient is pregnancy friendly whereas the Unisom with diphenhydramine is not rated safe for the first trimester of pregnancy. I will also say that since this is a normally used as a sleep aid, you will almost certainly be groggy. I was able to reduce my dose to half a pill at night before bed and was functional the next morning with minimal or no nausea. Medicine affects everyone differently though, so you might feel up to driving/going to work/etc. on this medicine, you might not. Just see how it makes you feel and keep communicating with your doctor about what is or isn’t working for you.

Once we found something that helped my HG symptoms, my pregnancy went remarkably well. I delivered at 38 ½ weeks by scheduled C-section due to one of the babies being breached, but never had to be hospitalized or put on bed rest before that. I did have to start working from home and limit my driving and errands about six weeks before giving birth, which is around the time I was measuring the equivalent of a woman pregnant with a singleton at 40 weeks, which is normally full-term and when women pregnant with twins are more likely to go into labor early (which really makes sense.) I also had to go to the doctor starting at that time for twice a week monitoring to make sure I wasn’t going into pre-term labor.

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My belly at 38 weeks. I was measuring somewhere around 44 weeks pregnant at this point.

So, long story short, Owen was born at 12:43 p.m. on April 17, 2014 (Holy Thursday) weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and Nathaniel was born at 12:44 p.m. at 6 lbs 7 oz and we were able to bring them home on April 20, which happened to be Easter Sunday and also my two-year anniversary of the trip to the ER with chest pain that marked the beginning of my cancer journey. No words exist to described how incredibly blessed I feel to change that day forever in my mind from the anniversary of one of the scariest moments in my life, to the day I brought home my baby boys. Having two beautiful, healthy and happy baby boys so soon after cancer treatment was a blessing and privilege I never thought would be mine. I really thank God for all of his blessings in our lives, and I thank everyone for their prayers and support over the rollercoaster of the past few years.

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Owen (left) & Nathaniel (right) at the hospital.

That day was exactly 10 months ago, and Owen & Nathaniel are now crawling, standing, giggling and otherwise normal kids. They already say “Da Da” like its going out of style, and I hear the occasional “Ma Ma.” I expect they will be walking in the next few weeks, but only time will tell. Since that point, I went back to work for about five months and then became a stay-at-home-mom in January, when I left work to relocate with my family to Virginia for my husband’s military career. As I settle into this new life, I am not exactly sure what the future will hold for this blog, but I do have a few more posts up my sleeve related to pregnancy and parenting as a cancer survivor (and otherwise), so stay tuned for more entries!

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I don’t think we are in Texas, anymore!

Half-Way There Update

I haven’t posted in awhile because honestly I’m at a part of my treatment where not a whole lot of “new” things are developing and I felt kind of “blah.” I had my third chemo treatment last week which means I’m at the half-way point through chemo! I’m really glad because I’m ready for it to be over with! I’ve noticed an increase in fatigue, aches and pains, as well as hot flashes this treatment. While I haven’t had as many nausea issues, I’ve noticed a pretty constant tummy ache and mouth tenderness. I think this is all pretty standard stuff for this stage of treatment, but I’m ready to just feel good again. Unfortunately, I was only able to make it to work two days last week and two days this week. I’ve been having an inner debate about going on disability or telecommuting. It’s a tough decision for me to make because it is nice going into work and using my brain and seeing people. But the 60-minute commute really knocks me out. And its also frustrating when I do feel sick that I’m so far away from my doctors and family.

On Tuesday, I have an x-ray where I’m hoping we’ll find out how much the tumor has shrunk! I’m hoping I might have less treatments, but that is probably wishful thinking! I will definitely appreciate prayers to that effect though! Earlier this week, I unfortunately found out that there is a 30-day waiting period between chemotherapy ending in mid-August and starting radiation. Instead of being done with treatment in mid-September like I thought, it will be more like mid-October. Disappointing, to say the least. But I am hopeful that I will still be able to attend the LSU vs. Texas A&M game on October 20 in College Station, which also happens to be my husband’s 25th birthday! I think an in-state LSU football fix is just what I need! I’ve been lucky that there’s been a steady stream of Texas games since I’ve moved here. I was able to attend both the Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M in January 2011 and the season opener against Oregon in Dallas last year. Next year I am hoping I can return to Death Valley in Baton Rouge. I haven’t been to a football game at LSU since 2008, so I’m long overdue.

Focusing on exciting events post-chemo is pretty much what I do for entertainment when I’m not feeling well. Mainly researching possible future vacations and looking at bridesmaids dresses (I’m in four weddings within 9 months of each other).  I’m trying not to be too jealous when I see people posting their exciting vacation and special event photos. I’m looking at this as being forced to save money so I can do it big in 2013 & 2014! I’m really very blessed because the situation I’m in is temporary. I watched a documentary on Mother Theresa yesterday and it reminded me how blessed I am that I live in a developed country, I have access to affordable healthcare and treatment, and have an amazing support system. Even in America, there are many people that have long-term conditions and cancers with worse prognoses, and people who don’t have health insurance or access to treatment the way I do. So I am happy and blessed that I can plan for the future!

When I’m not doing making those post-chemo plans, I’m watching various TV shows and movies. I’m very lucky and have many people to thank, so I’ll usually write a few thank you notes to people on days when I’m not at work. And then there’s always laundry, dishes, cooking and the occasional chore to take care of when I’m feeling up to it.

It might not sound like a lot or particularly entertaining, but I’m really not bored. I’m usually someone who has to be constantly going going going, but I’m generally okay with how things are. That’s not to say I don’t have those days where I’m an emotional wreck and don’t feel like myself, because there are. There was a particularly rough day on Tuesday, where I made quite the scene at the CVS pharmacy with my patchy bald-headed self and basically refused to wait in line for the umpteenth time that day and made them come to me in the waiting area to discuss my prescriptions. And that’s not to say that there aren’t days where I’m feeling fine and will even do fun stuff. Rene’s military ball was two days before my last chemo, so not only was I able to go but I also was up to dancing and really enjoying myself. I also went to a Hail & Farewell dinner for Rene’s unit and just didn’t stay the whole time. It probably sounds cliche, but it really is about doing what you can when you can.

Rene & I at this homecoming ball.

My friend Victoria said it really well a few weeks back, “Instead of walking around Target, I rolled around in a cart or I grabbed pizza to go instead of sitting in the pizzeria … you can find little adjustments that you can make for yourself without totally limiting your life. I actually think it makes you a happier patient when you tackle treatment that way …cause it’s not all 24/7 treatment — It’s Laura’s life sprinkled in here and there.”

IVF with Cancer

Since my port placement, I haven’t had a lot of specifically “cancer stuff” happening. Rene and I enjoyed a nice, long weekend for Memorial Day last week. We did our fair share of laying around the house, and Rene’s parents also came down from Waco and we went to the zoo, played Fact or Crap, made a frozen yogurt trip, and ate at a German restaurant (the land of Rene’s & his mother’s births). I was able to go back to work on Tuesday for most of the week, and I have to say I was ready! Although I do enjoy my “cancer uniform” of sweats and over-sized button downs, it was nice to feel well enough to go to work and have somewhat of a routine for a few days.

What brings me to the topic of this post is that while I haven’t had any cancer-specific appointments since my port placement, I have been undergoing fertility treatments. Since I chose to blog so publicly, I waited awhile to make this entry because its such a sensitive topic to so many people, I wasn’t sure if/how I wanted to approach it. I also wanted to have as much information as possible to share with you, in case this blog turns into an early resource for someone who just found out their own diagnosis. Unfortunately, possible infertility is just one of the many harsh realities that both male and female patients have to deal with, and my goal with this blog is to be as open and honest about the experience as possible.

I was extremely fortunate that the possibility of infertility was brought up with me early on. From what I understand, not everyone is given that information beforehand and have since struggled to have children. The pulmonologist was the first doctor I saw after my diagnosis and he made sure to put it on my list of things to ask the oncologist about. The oncologist also made an appointment for me with a fertility specialist the same week I saw her. Fortunately, the fertility outlook for the form of chemo I’ll be taking is fairly positive, however, the chance was still high enough to be a concern. Rene and I always wanted to be parents, and although I’m open to adoption, having biological children isn’t a door I want to risk closing just yet. In addition to chemo, I’ll also be doing radiation during my treatment which also has its own set of risks. Since we can’t predict how well I’ll respond to the initial treatment, it’s always possible they could try something that might be less friendly to fertility as well.

Being in our mid-20s and only having been married about 2 years, Rene & I had never attempted to conceive before. My knowledge of ultrasounds was based on one surface ultrasound I had a couple years ago when someone suspected I had ovarian cysts, and I was told to have a full bladder so they could more easily read the ultrasound. So I went to my first fertility consultation appointment thus, and quickly discovered I would be having a vaginal ultrasound and a full-bladder is actually not a good thing to have. It was uncomfortable for me and the doctors kept complaining that my bladder was “in the way.” Just a head’s up for anyone going in for fertility counseling, but I digress…

Once they determined I was otherwise healthy and fertile, the doctor explained to me that there’s several options:

Egg harvesting: I take hormone shots that encouraged my body to release a large quantity of eggs and then the doctors go in and get them. Afterward they cryofreeze them until Rene & I are ready to have a baby, and then they thaw them, fertilize them and implant them.

In vitro fertilization (IVF): Egg harvesting + using sperm to actually fertilize the eggs and create embryos. The embryos are then frozen until we’re ready for them and then they’re implanted.

Lupron: A monthly shot that basically shuts down the ovaries. Studies indicate that women who are on lupron during treatment have a higher chance of fertility afterward.

My doctor recommended IVF because its the most reliable method, and also using lupron throughout my treatment. If any other Grey’s Anatomy fans recall, Izzy & Alex did IVF a couple of seasons ago for the same reason. (Maybe they’ll bring Izzy back for this potential plot line for the future?) Although egg harvesting and storage is now becoming more available, there’s just not a lot of research on how well those eggs fertilize after being cryofrozen for a time. A lot of women are in the process of freezing eggs, but not a lot of women have retrieved them yet. The research they do have indicates that embryos are more likely to result in viable  pregnancies than the eggs being fertilized after being frozen. However, a lot of people do choose egg harvesting because its more affordable and because many women are single and would rather save their egg’s for Prince Charming’s sperm rather than donor sperm. Whatever the situation, people choose different methods for different reasons.

I’d love to say we did a lot of research, soul searching and praying before making our decision, but that just wasn’t the case. Given the fact that I a) have cancer, and b) was about to start my menstrual cycle, we had to make a decision extremely quickly and we opted for IVF. It just felt like the “right” path for us. To allude to Hunger Games, the odds have NOT been in my favor thus far in the sense that I’ve been diagnosed with cancer at 25 period. We always wanted to be parents and I wanted to increase our odds at having little Rene’s and Laura’s in the future as much as possible. Unfortunately, IVF is not a cheap route to take and right now most American insurance companies don’t cover it– including TRICARE– which is the military insurance that I have because Rene is active-duty. IVF is generally between $10-15K per treatment, and our experience has fallen into that. Luckily, TRICARE will cover everything else related to my cancer treatment and we decided it was a cost that was worth it for us.

The nurse did refer me to several charity programs out there for people who are undergoing fertility treatments due to cancer though, so I definitely recommend anyone in a similar situation to check them out. Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong Foundation (which happens to be based locally in Austin, TX) has a whole program dedicated to fertility called FertileHope.org. FertileHope works by offering a list of participating clinics that offer discounted fertility services. In addition to the FertileHope discount, we also qualified for a military discount, and the estimate we received for IVF at the Austin-area clinic was around $7,500. Coincidentally, my friend (Jersey City) Amy had connected me with her friend Victoria St. Martin who went through IVF last year due to breast cancer. She did IVF through another charitable program, the Sher Institute (HaveABaby.com) and referred me to their participating clinic in Dallas (about 3.5 hours away). If you’re interested in learning more about her journey, you can visit her website at breastcancerat30.com. She’s been an amazing resource for me throughout this experience.

The quote we received from the Dallas clinic was about $5,500. Unfortunately, the charitable programs weren’t able to offer long-term storage of the embryos and future implantation was going to be at least $3,000. In the end, we opted to stay with our physician at our current healthcare system since we already had a relationship built with them and they were able to offer us a payment plan on a package that included harvesting, storage and future implantation for about the same total price. We also were not up to driving to and from Dallas due to cost and time constraints. So although it was more money upfront, it will probably pay off for us in the future and be more convenient since we won’t have to travel as far. We still have to travel about 45 minutes north to our healthcare system’s headquarters. Again, this is just the route Rene & I chose, it’s really specific to the situation. I would say that if I had been single or didn’t have TRICARE to cover my additional expenses, or lived in Dallas, etc. I probably would have gone with the charitable organizations. I think it also was a great option for those interested in egg harvesting, which was around $1,000 or less. The additional resources page on FertileHope was also a tremendous help, http://www.fertilehope.org/financial-assistance/additional-programs.cfm. They also offer information about options for men going through cancer treatment as well.

Before I even left the office at my first consultation, we started the IVF process. They decided to go ahead and give me my first lupron shot. As mentioned earlier, women can receive this shot to help preserve fertility. Lupron also serves a purpose in IVF because it prevents early ovulation. The doctor decided to go ahead and give me the lupron shot because even if we opted against IVF, it would be good to have a lupron shot in my system for when I started chemo. The second step was my doctor personally wrote a letter himself to my husband’s commanding officer. The essential message of the letter was, “I need Rene’s sperm!” Not a topic your doctor usually has to discuss with your husband’s boss, but there’s the Army life for you. Rene was still in Kuwait at the time, and his leadership had been waiting for a treatment plan for my cancer before they decided if/when to send Rene home from deployment early. Luckily, the letter worked its magic and Rene was back home within 48 hours! I don’t think I’ve expressed enough gratitude to the Army for this, so thank you thank you thank you!

The next step was waiting for my period to start which was a couple days later (TMI, I know). They had my fertility meds shipped to me the next day. The meds really have been an adventure unto themselves. The primary med is Bravelle. Bravelle comes in a powder form that we then have to mix together with sodium chloride and administer the shot ourselves. Upon learning this, our first thought was, “Uhh…… are we qualified to do this?” FreedomPharmacy also sent us a how-to video that we watched the night before (and rewatched the day of the first shot) to help calm our nerves. Luckily I had Victoria as a resource to give me tips. We also called the nurse twice for reassurance that small air bubbles wouldn’t kill me, etc. The Bravelle comes in boxes with five vials to take a day. Fortunately, the nurse informed that I didn’t have to take five separate shots a day, but can mix the vials together for two shots a day. I take 150 iu (two vials) in the morning, and 225 iu (three vials) in the evening for a period of 10 days. They can either go in the fatty tissue of the stomach, or the thighs. My friend Victoria swears by the thigh, but I found that the tummy was easier. So again, it’s just a situational thing. Victoria found it easier to do the mixing herself and have her boyfriend do the shot. Since Rene felt qualified given his experience of administering a grand total of one IV for deployment training, we had initially planned to take this route as well. However, when push came to shove I preferred to do the shot myself. I liked having control of where it was going and when! I started last Thursday and today is my last day. Tonight at exactly 8 p.m. I have to give myself a shot of Novarel (HCG), which basically will tell my body its time to ovulate. I’m pretty intimidated by it as the needle is quite a bit longer, and I’ll have to use more solution, which means it’ll take longer to inject. Those milliseconds really seem like a long time when you’re giving yourself a shot!

My egg retrieval will be Monday morning. I’ll know that day how many eggs they’re able to retrieve, and by the end of the week we’ll know how many fertilized. Unfortunately, IVF is not an exact science. They might not be able to get every egg that is released, and not every egg will fertilize, and not every embryo will implant, etc. There’s also the tragic situation that I’ll ovulate early and they won’t be able to get any eggs. As my doctor explains, ovulation is one of mother nature’s greatest instincts and she doesn’t always like it when we try to mess around with her. However, all my tests and ultrasounds (of which I’ve had many the past two weeks), have been positive, so I’m very hopeful by this time next week I’ll be able to tell you how many embryos we have. We also made the decision that any embryos that we have that go unused will be donated to other couples. Although it will be weird to have biological children out there that we don’t even know about, I’d be happy knowing we may have been able to help another couple have a family. Again, it’s a personal decision people going through IVF might have to consider.

Interestingly. when I went to Voodoo Fest in New Orleans in 2006, a psychic told me I would have a set of fraternal boy/girl twins. At the time I rolled my eyes because no one in my family has ever had twins to my knowledge, but now I’m seeing how it might be a possibility since IVF increases the chance of multiples.

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Thanks to Facebook, I still have a photo of my 19-year-old self paying apt attention to the psychic who told me I would one day have twins at the 2006 Voodoo Festival in New Orleans.

Victoria was also told she would have twins by a different psychic. Maybe this is a go-to prediction psychics give young women? Who knows. The odds of that prediction being correct for most women are certainly not in their favor! Only time will tell I guess!

Team Laura

I am so so happy to have my husband home. He’s currently passed out and readjusting to American time, so I decided to take this opportunity to blog. My sister, Sarah, is a photographer and took some amazing photos of his homecoming, so I will wait to make a special blog post about the event once the photos are ready. If you’re interested, you can check out her Facebook page K Photography to see some of her stuff. In the meantime, my mother-in-law snapped this photo on the way back from the airport on Sunday.

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As my brother-in-law said, Player two has joined the fight!

In the few days that I’ve been blogging I have received so many encouraging messages from so many people! I’ve loved reconnecting with people I haven’t talked to in ages and some I haven’t met at all. It’s so cool to know I have people on Team Laura from around the country and even a few in other countries.

So many people have sent me messages saying that I have a positive attitude, and that I’m brave and strong. Honestly, I’m fighting this battle because I have to and don’t have a choice! The people I really see as strong, brave, selfless, generous, you name it are all of the people that have been supporting me through this! Many of them have absolutely no obligation to. They have been extremely selfless and gone well above and beyond the call of duty.

My mom and sister for example have been living with me for the past six weeks until Rene came home so I’d have someone around in case emergencies popped up, if I needed a driver to appointments, etc. People have been coming out of the wood work offering to give my family a break if they needed, take me out to get my mind off things, bring me to appointments, etc. My friend Meagan and her entire family (including extended) have pretty much the whole New Orleans archdiocese praying for me. My brother-in-law’s coworkers have asked where they could donate to help with my medical bills (I’ve never even met them), my friend College Station Amy made me a Facebook page to connect with other young adults with cancer, the list goes on. I truly believe the people who make up the support system are the true heroes in this whole cancer thing, and they are so often unsung.

My church made me a prayer shawl and my Bible study group prayed over it. My pastor friend, Amy, said she could actually feel the prayers and it is true!

I have some pretty nasty sores on my neck from the port-a-cath placement earlier today and I swear the shawl has made them feel 10 times better.

I went public about my lymphoma diagnosis maybe a few hours before a spouse’s meeting for Rene’s unit, and somehow they had time to make me a giant poster card and buy a beautiful plant for my patio. They also want to get a Team Laura together for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk this fall.

A group of my friends from LSU and I participated in a public relations case study competition called Bateman. We’re all still besties to this day, and I was absolutely stoked when I saw this basket in front of my house the week after my diagnosis. They had special ordered lime green cancer awareness cookies just for me.

For each cookie, $1 is donated to the American Cancer Society. Or as Parker says, For every cookie I eat I get a new super hero power.

The same group of friends also made me an internet sensation over the weekend. My friend Parker created a Facebook cover page for Team Laura that quickly caught on with most of our Mass Comm friends and a few others.

It was so bizarre seeing my face pop up on everyone’s news feed the past couple days!

My journalist friend Amy (there’s a lot of Amy’s in my life so I have to qualify them) probably shocked me the most. The day after I told her about my lymphoma she sent me a message that said, “I just did something drastic.” A million things popped into my head. Did she get a tattoo? Quit her job? Shave her head? No. What she did was completely awesome. She signed up for a half-marathon in Philadelphia to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Seriously. That’s 13.1 miles. Of running. That is such an amazing thing to do for someone and I am so proud to call her my friend. If you’re interested in donating or monitoring Amy’s progress you can check out her fundraising page here. Her page went public yesterday and she has already reached 39% of her goal!

These are just a few of the 5 million amazing ways people have supported me. I can literally write a novel on this topic. I feel so incredibly blessed to have a Team Laura.

Answered Prayers

Thanks so much for the outpouring of love and support over the last couple of days. The blog’s impact so far has far exceeded my dreams. Yesterday was probably the most emotionally and physically draining day I’ve had throughout this experience so far, and being able to distract myself with the words of support that poured out of this blog and Facebook was a God send.

I had to go to the doctor’s office early yesterday morning for a chemo consultation and then (cringe) my bone marrow biopsy. This was the procedure I  dreaded most. Just hearing about it freaks people out, so I will spare you the full play by play. But let’s just say its not very pleasant at all. However, I will say that it probably wasn’t *quite* as bad as I anticipated. But its a mental game for sure. The anticipation drags on and on and on. First, there was already scheduled downtime between the chemo consultation and the biopsy so the drugs could kick in. Then, the doctor was running a few appointments behind due to a wreck on I-35 (big surprise), and once she was in my room it literally took 10 minutes for her and the oncology nurse to unwrap the drill and needles. Seriously. Is there not a more efficient way to do this? I will also say, I do not get why they don’t put people out for this. You’re literally in the regular doctors office, on the regular appointment table. I really put this procedure right up there with my bronchoscopy and fine needle biopsies, and I was on some nice intravenous drugs for those. With the bone marrow biopsy they usually only give someone a local on the hip where the drill goes in and call it a day. However, after observing my panicked state, the doctor and oncology nurse agreed to give me two atavins. They initially only gave me one, which 30 minutes later had zero effect on me. The second one made me pretty darn sleepy, but how much they really helped, I can’t really say.

I’m not ashamed to say that I completely lost it during the procedure. It had been an emotional roller coaster of a week, and having a drill in my hip just put me over the edge. Thankfully the oncology nurse plays a good mom and held my hand, stroked my hair and let me weep. For a little while. After a few moments I was sobbing too hard for the doctor to do her job and let’s just say no one in that room wanted to prolong the procedure unnecessarily. So we did several count to 10s while I got myself under control.

You might be wondering why an entry about a bone marrow biopsy has such a positive title. Right before the appointment I got very good news. First, yesterday morning Rene g-chatted the three words every Army wife cherishes, “I’m coming home.” My heart skipped a beat. I wasn’t able to talk to him much at all yesterday, because he was busy packing and I was busy getting drilled (that’s what she said.. heh heh.) But those three words were enough. He estimated he would be back in 4-5 days, so roughly the upcoming Monday or Tuesday. The second set of good news was from my doctor right before the bone marrow biopsy began. My pet scan results were back and my cancer is only in the one area in my chest we already knew about, which means I’m stage one! Hallelujah! My doctor told me that the stage one prognosis for my form of Hodgkin’s is a 98 percent 8-year survival rate. I cannot express to you the relief I felt. I pretty much had a brief horizontal dance party on the appointment table while I was being prepped, a short lived dance party due to the pending bone marrow extraction, but a dance party nonetheless.

After the biopsy is pretty much a blur. Although there was lots of excitement from everyone about the two great blessings we were given. I, however, mainly stayed in bed and slept. When I wasn’t sleeping I was mostly on the bed reading encouraging messages on Facebook and the blog. I got a few texts and phone calls as well. I couldn’t eat much yesterday, but now I’m feeling much better. I also squeeze in some TV time. Seriously: Did Shonda Rimes have to kill off you-know-who on Grey’s?

One of the gross parts of this procedure is I can’t bathe for two days due to this:

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Attractive, yes?

Luckily I’ll be able to remove it and shower just in time for Rene to come home, because he told me this morning he’ll be home within the next 48 hours! This has far exceeded either of our wildest dreams. I cannot wait to have him back in my arms again.

Since its a weekend, I have a couple days reprieve before my tests start again, so I’m looking forward to making banners, getting the house ready for his return and actually spending time with him!

God is good!