Long Time No Blog

Yep, it’s been awhile.  Again.  At least this time I have been super busy and have lots to share.

Health update:  While I’m done with chemo, I am starting to see the impact of having poison pumped into my body for 3 years.  Nothing too serious, just lots of little things that add up to still too frequent trips to the doctors office.  I have osteoporosis and just had a bone density scan;  I have a fatty liver and out of control cholesterol, which is most likely hereditary, so I see a lipid doctor next month; The chemo causes pap smears to come back abnormal so those have to be repeated a few times a year;  Still seeing Dr. Ellis every 3, last time all of my counts look great;  I had a CT scan a couple weeks ago that found some nodules on my spleen that Dr. Ellis isn’t worried about, but I have to repeat another scan in 4 months… You know, just to keep me on my toes.

Family Update:  We are doing great!  Ryan did some art classes this winter and will be starting t-ball again next month!  We’ve been practicing and he’s fielding and throwing a lot better this year.  Now let’s just hope he wants to stay out on the field by himself now 🙂

Work Update:  I have accepted a position with Cancer Research of the Ozarks/ Cox as a Regulatory Compliance Coordinator!  I have orientation this Saturday and start one week from today, 4/22.  My job will be to review cancer research trials, meet with the review boards from Cox and Mercy and draw up contracts for the patients to sign to participate.  At least I think that’s an accurate description, I can update you after I’ve been there for a few weeks.  I think it will be awesome to get to see research at work!

What’s been occupying my life update:  Charities!  My last blog post was about the ACS and Relay for Life.  It’s just a few weeks away and while I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to speak about for almost a year now, today I started putting it on paper.  I’m not nervous about it… yet.

And my Woman of the Year campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!  See the next blog post for details!

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2012

Overall, 2012 was a pretty great year.  Ups and downs aplenty, but lots of great memories.  Here are a few of the highlights:

Turning 30 & celebrating with lots of great friends.

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In April we went to Biloxi with my parents.

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I was very excited for Ryan to start playing T-ball this year!  Below is his first hit and spectacular fielding position.

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I had several friends have babies this year, guess I’m at that age… Congrats to Lauren, Erin, Jenn, Jamie & Emma!  And Elisha, one of my best friends, is going to be having a girl this May!!

I had my last Chemo treatment on October 9th.  It sort of feels like I am 18 again and not sure what to do with my life, sort of like a blank slate.  I still don’t know what adventure will come next!  To celebrate being finished, we went to Disney World over Halloween.  Defiantly the highlight of my year, and a check off the bucket list.

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Our Christmas was great, lots of time with family and a spoiled little guy to whom Santa was very good to.

On a sadder note, this year I also lost a couple people who I cared a lot about.  The first was Christy, my friend with ALL, who my last blog was about.  And just on the 30th of December my Aunt Jackie passed away.  She married my Uncle Kenny when she was only 15, and being that she was completely blind, they were ALWAYS together.  I pray he can find some peace in this new year.

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Christy

It’s a special bond you have with other cancer survivors, but for me, it was especially more so with Christy; she is the only other person I’ve ever met with Adult ALL.  Our nurse Shawna introduced us at my first Relay for Life in May of 2010 and we became fast friends.

Me, Shawna, Christy & Joni

Relay for Life 2011

This past March Christy relapsed and had to go to Barnes in April to go through the stem cell transplant surgery/ recovery. (Some of you might remember me asking you to send her a card while she was there).  She never let it get her down, not Christy.   She was always bringing a smile to everyone else’s face, her spirit was infectious.  She loved the Razorbacks, so while she was in the hospital in Springfield, before going up to Barnes, she got Dr. Ellis a Razorbacks shirt and had him yelling “Woo Pig Sooie” 🙂

She finally got to come home to Arkansas after a lot of time in St. Louis, but wasn’t home hardly any time at all before it came back again.  The last time I talked to her was Oct. 11th, the night before she had head back to Barnes.  It was a heartbreaking call, she was crying, telling me she was scared and how much she loved me.  Through the tears she told me she was a fighter and I assured her she would be fine, that I know she’s scared and I loved her very much too.

She passed away on the 23rd of this month.  I regret not calling her again, or mailing that card I have had in the drawer for months.  Cancer sucks.

Almost 3 years of my life.

It’s been so long I don’t even know where to start.  I guess with the big news.  Done.  Finished.  Complete.  32 months of treatment behind me.  Almost 3 years of my life.

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Ryan was 19 months old when I was diagnosed.

Ryan 19 months

and now he’s 4:

Ryan 4 years old

I just want to say thanks to all of you who were there for us on this journey.  I cannot even begin to list all the ways our friends and family have helped us and for that alone, we are really blessed.  Now I need to work on Act II, the one where I don’t think about cancer everyday and pretend it never happened.

To celebrate we are going to Disney World on Saturday!!  I was hoping to post a video of us telling Ryan, you know the ones I’m talking about, where you tell the kids you are leaving in 30 minutes, bags are packed and loaded and they go absolutely bananas.  Well, John told Ryan we were going to Florida and while he didn’t tell him Disney, in Ryan’s mind FL=Disney.  So I’ve been pounding it in his head the past couple weeks that we’re NOT going to Disney, just to the beach to try to get that moment back.  He totally doesn’t believe me though.  John’s brother Jim, Amy & their 3 kids are going to go too.  Blog post to follow.

Other highlights since my last post on June 1st.

  • Ryan turned 4 on July 25th

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  • My family had another golf tournament to raise money to help with my medical bills

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  • Ryan was ring bearer in our friends wedding

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  • The Cards had another good run this year and I was able to make it to Game 3 of the NLCS

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