Yep. Still alive over here. I really haven't forgotten about all of you, my loyal readers, it's just been a busy few weeks. After Josh's birthday on the 26th, my mom packed our van and drove home to Portland, taking our three kiddos with her. Yes, I know... she's awesome. She told me she thought this would be a nice getaway for the kids, since making multiple trips to the hospital doesn't exactly count as a great summer vacation. She also wanted me to have two more weeks to recover, before school starts and "normal life" begins. I can't thank her and my dad enough for all they have done. As tough as it has been to be apart from the kids, Jake and I really needed this time to focus on us, something we haven't done in a very long time. I'm a tad concerned now, though, that my kids won't want to come home in two days. Grandma and Grandpa have spoiled them rotten. They went to Washington for a few days to see Aunt Ashleigh and Uncle Chad and play with cousins, Jayden and Ryleigh. Ash had them do a lot of fun things while they were there, one of them painting canvasses and then displaying the pictures as art in her playroom. Mom and dad have taken the kids out to eat a lot, went to my dad's work party (balloon animals and cotton candy galore), let them buy a bunch of stuff at garage sales, took them to the Children's Museum, went on walks, played at the park, went swimming, and so much more. I'm afraid I can't compete with grandparents and the kids are going to be pretty bored come Thursday morning. Jake and I are glad they have had so much fun in Oregon with Grandma and Grandpa. Only about 50 hours until they are home. Counting down...
While the kids have been away, I started my new job working part-time for my friend, Polly. I'm an account rep for her company, Dr. Hess Udder Ointment. I'm learning the ropes and feel this is a job I can easily do while the kids are home. This is a huge blessing to us, as we have been trying to come up with ways to make some extra money to help pay the bills. The hours of this job are flexible, and I can do it from home, which is an added bonus. Thanks so much, Polly!
My best friend, Naomi, came to visit July 29th to August 1st. I loved having her here and just wish she could have stayed longer. We always have such a great time together. Seeing each other once or twice a year just isn't enough! I wrote a whole post about Naomi HERE.
Jake and I have been enjoying our late night strolls with our dog, Truman. We have seen a few movies, gone out to eat a few times. We went to his co-worker's house for a BBQ last Thursday which was really fun. I met Jake's boss, Denise, who was very kind and friendly. Jake and I decided since we probably won't get any vacation the rest of this year (and since we didn't have to worry about what to do with our kids), we would reserve a night at the Hotel Monaco downtown and act like we were on vacation for the weekend. We checked in Friday night, dropped off our bags and headed to the movies. After that we had a nice dinner at the Bambara, a pretty spendy restaurant in our hotel. The food was exquisite. Jake had the steak and I had the halibut. After dinner we went on a walk downtown. Within minutes of getting back to our hotel we both became very sick. I puked violently 3 or 4 times. Let's just say, it made for a very romantic evening. Oh well. It makes a great story. Maybe we will try it again someday, without the food poisoning.
Jake leaves for Scout camp tomorrow and I need to get in a few hours of work, clean the house, and stock up the refrigerator before the kids get home. It's going to be a busy week.
As for a post-surgery update, I met with my surgeon on Monday, the 26th. He said everything looked good, my incision is healing well. My x-ray showed my body has changed dramatically. Only 30% of my right lung remains, but when looking at the x-ray it looks like 60% is there. My diaphragm takes up the rest of the empty space, and my heart has shifted over a little. It looks like a quirky jig-saw puzzle. It still fits, but just doesn't look exactly "normal." Bodies are amazing.
Last Wednesday Jake and I met with Dr. Samuelson, an Oncologist at Utah Cancer Specialists in Salt Lake. He basically told me what I've been through is very rare and he is hoping surgery has cured me. There is still a chance that this can come back (which we have been told a few times), even 5, 10, 20 years down the road, so observation and follow-ups are very important. Possibly 2 CT scans and/or 2 bronchoscopies a year for awhile. If we can catch it early next time, surgery won't be as invasive. Treatment could involve a number of things next time around, including chemo, but we will cross that bridge if/when it comes. Overall Jake and I feel really good about the future. I have great capable doctors who are watching out for me. And of course we have family and friends all over who are ready and willing to help, which means so much to us. We are just crossing our fingers and praying hard that the cancer is gone forever!
This morning was my first day back at the gym. I took it easy, which was super hard to do. There was a powertone class going on at the same time I was there and at one point everyone in the class came up to the cardio area and jumped on the treadmills. I vaguely know most of these girls since we have been in a lot of the same classes. The girls started pumping up their speed on the treadmills and I was sandwiched in-between them. Most were running 6.5 MPH to 7.5 MPH for a few minutes. My brain was screaming at me to crank up my speed, but my lungs were shouting "NO!" I kept it at a brisk 4.2 MPH, ran at 5.0 for 2 minutes, then back down to 4.2. My accomplishment for the day was running 5.5 for 2 1/2 minutes straight. I know I could have gone longer, but right now isn't the time to push my limits. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical, nice and easy. Then I did 100 crunches. I attempted my first push-up since the morning of my surgery (yes, I did a mini-workout in my hospital room... call me obsessed ;) ) and I think I need to still wait a little bit longer until I attempt to do more of them. My lat muscle isn't completely healed yet and I could definitely feel it. To be honest, I was a little worried that because of my surgery and all the physical, mental, and emotional stress the tumor has caused, that it would affect my motivation to stay healthy. It hasn't. In fact, it has done the opposite. When I asked Dr. Samuelson, the oncologist, what I needed to do or not do to keep from getting cancer again, his response was "You are my prime example, proving that sometimes cancer just "happens." You're a very healthy 29-year old woman. Just keep taking care of your body. That's the most important thing you can do. In case this comes back, you need a healthy body to help you fight it and recover from it." So, that's what I continue to plan to do. I had a moment today, as I held my body in plank position. It was my third round and by this point my arms were wobbly. I didn't feel strong. I kept looking at my watch and thinking "No one will know that I didn't hold it for the full minute. Just drop." But I didn't. Those last 15 seconds my body started to shake, but I knew to dig deep. I've done this before. The strong me that used to be there is still in there, and she came out today, and I couldn't have been more proud. I'm coming back, slowly but surely.
I'm a strong-willed woman, wife, mom of three, LDS, U of U grad, runner, gymnastics fanatic, card maker, piano player, slightly OCD, singer, chocolate lover, office manager, cancer survivor, and friend. I started this blog to keep in touch with family and friends, and it slowly turned into my own personal therapeutic outlet. Nothing better than typing out your thoughts, trying to make sense of life.