Arrival.

Well yesterday at 8am, my water decided to give way. Not sure why… maybe from surgery last week or maybe from the chemo, maybe it was just crappy luck Who knows… We were both equally very surprised this this was happening and it was happening fast. We had many talks prior about the famous birthing plan but none of them included this scenario.

So we went into Boston to the Brigham and Woman’s hospital and had a baby. He was born last night at 9:22pm, 5 lbs 14oz, 19 inches long. Baby K needs little help breathing on his own so he is hooked to c-pap machine and he has to stay in the NICU. I haven’t been able to hold him yet. Hopefully today or tomorrow. He is sooo cute and adorable. We absolutely love him and know he made our family complete.

Please welcome Calvin Jacob Killeffer. Better pics to follow…

Change in plans…

Things in life don’t always go as planned. Things in my life never go as planned. I’ve come to expect it and deal with it well. Lol- well maybe not so well right now…

I had an ultrasound of my lymph nodes earlier this week to check the progress we were making with chemo, and to help set a surgical date for AFTER Baby K’s arrival. I met with my surgical oncologist after my test and the news was not really what I was expecting. Insert something funny here … I’m not feeling too funny right now so you will have to come up with your own humor.

While my tumors haven’t grown, they haven’t shrunk either. They are the same size as they were 13 weeks ago- not good. They also found another tumor that was “probably” there before but no one is really sure or at least hasn’t said one way or another to me.

The chemo isn’t working…. what’s next? Well, if I wasn’t pregnant they would switch me to another chemo… however, there are no more chemo options available to me that have been proven safe during pregnancy. So the good news is…. I am done with chemo for now. Yeah :/ (said in an extremely sarcastic, monotone, unexcited voice).

The not so good news… Next line of defense is surgery. AND… I am already booked for July 10!!! Just 12 short, wonderful days from now. I hope you’re sensing my sarcastic tone here.  I wish I was more enthusiastic about this but I am not! Having surgery while pregnant brings on a whole new set of anxieties. It is totally safe for the baby (at least that’s what they tell me, but I’m tired of them telling me stuff). However my small mind just can’t comprehend it and I just plain-old don’t like it. It seems so risky. I had surgery with Cora and yes, she is more than fine… but I was terrified the entire time going through that. I hate even thinking back about it now. My plan this time around was to have surgery after, AFTER, the baby was born. Not before and certainly not 12 days from now. I’m not happy! I do not like this change in plans. Wooosah…. I’m rubbing my earlobes trying to calm down. Not really,  but your getting it right???

Being comfortable after surgery is also a concern… little oxycodone for momma and Baby K for pain management… Oh yeah,  no problem! Ugh! Although again all of the doctors assure me it’s completely safe (there they go telling me stuff again… tired of hearing this). What mother feels comfortable taking narcotics when pregnant? It goes against everything I know and feel to be right. So, I will chose to suffer in pain and tough it out with Tylenol. Flipping great!

Again, I now have 12 days to completely get my motherly nesting act together… after surgery I can’t do squat for 4 weeks. And right after the 4 weeks is up, it’s baby go-time. After surgery my right arm will be totally out of commission. How the heck am I going to get a nursery together, all the baby laundry done, folded and put away, sterilize all the bottles and everything else I have to deep clean and do to get ready for a baby??? AAAAAHHHH!! I know people will help- but I’m sorry you guys, that’s MY JOB! I am the mom, I want to do it. I want to do it all!!! It’s all part of it, it’s all part of the big baby picture, it’s my job. I want to gawk over the little outfits and imagine how cute he is going to look in them as I fold and put them away. I want to imagine me holding him with a bottle, smelling and kissing his little head while I make room in the cabinets for the new bottles I just got. I want to clear a space next to me in our bedroom where he will sleep safely next to me. This is MY passage to motherhood… MINE! I should have 9 more weeks to get this done. Cancer brought that down to 5 more weeks for an early delivery, and now with this new change in plans I am down to 12 flipping days! FU cancer! I am screaming it as loud and clear as I possibly can right now…. F U cancer… F-off!!!!!!!

Ok, Im going to reel it back in here….

As soon as my 4 week restrictions are removed it’s baby go-time! It will be time for a special early delivery and we can meet our little man. The big prize in all of this. The climax to this story. When we all smile and nothing else matters except the sweet little boy that has joined us. Lets bask in this moment 🙂

And now…  back on the crazy train…

Then who knows what the heck will happen after the baby. More chemo? More surgery? Radiation??! I don’t know!!! Cue the cancer shit flinging monkey…

I’m doing my best to stay positive here. It’s discouraging to have come this far and not made much ground. Especially when dealing with cancer. I feel like I am a ticking time bomb and we are racing against the clock trying to beat it before it goes off and spreads in my body. That this is some game of chance and we roll the dice and see what we get. Cancer is just like this… a game of chance. I can do everything right and still lose to cancer just as much as if I do everything wrong and never have cancer ever again. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is I could drive myself crazy and drown or I could rely on my hope and float. I can get lost on the what-if’s or I can find my source of certainty. This is no easy feat right now… a part of me feels like I am slowly dying, I’m losing this battle right now. But the other part of me feels strong as hell and this is just another blip in the road only to make us stronger. Everything will be fine…. I am pregnant, hormonal and overreacting.

There was a sermon in church I heard a few years ago… the pastor was talking about how life is like a football game and how we are all players in the game, on the field. We can only see the game from a on-field perspective and can only see each play as it’s carried out. We can only see the players and challenges as they exist immediately surrounding us. However, God doesn’t see it that way from above. He is looking down and is able to see the entire game from His seat; in the offensive/defensive coordinator box so-to-speak. Start to finish, He knows all the plays and what’s going to happen in the entire game. He is holding the play book and has a plan for every situation. At this point, today, I just have to trust God that He is looking down on my game and He knows every play, every move and every decision made and believe that the game plays out exactly as He intends it to. That my game is up to God and not up to chance; that He is in control.

In the meantime, I will be a pregnant lunatic on one hell of a cleaning and nesting binge for the next 12 days. I know it will be ok, I really do. I am sure I will be back to my happy self tomorrow, but for now these changes in plans really suck.

Palm Trees 🌴 🌴🌴

Chemo #10. Can you believe we have been doing this for 10 weeks????!!!! Time is flying by and this is one step closer to putting all this behind me (hopefully forever). When this first started 2+ months ago, even today seemed so far away and OMG, soooo overwhelming. I couldn’t even think about the amount of hours that was ahead of us or imagine how we would get there. I would break down and just sob to Nate and ask “How are we going to do this again?”. I would tell him “I don’t have it in me to go through this again”. We would talk late at night when he got home from work, holding each other, we felt so grateful that we did in fact make it through another day, and another day and another day and another day… it’s been 85 days since I woke up that morning, went in to see my OB for a simple complaint that turned into a day of multiple tests and ultimately a diagnosis of a breast cancer recurrence. 85 days of uncertainty. 85 days of concern. 85 sleepless nights and 85 days dealing with a cancer monkey flinging all sorts of shit at us… AND HERE WE ARE! WE ARE STILL STANDING PEOPLE! #Killefferstrong. And although we have waaay more than 85 days ahead of us, I will promise all of you… We will be standing then too. Might be a little beat up, a little weathered but we will make it through. I know deep down in my heart that is true even though I I’m choking on a frog 🐸 in my throat and some doubt in my fingers when I type these words. But failure isn’t an option. Not here, not now.

We love Florida! I think there was a year (long time ago) when flights were really, really cheap. Like under $100 round trip cheap. Totally unheard of today and we absolutely went to Florida like 5 times that year. I can assure you we were experiencing terrible New England weather and just couldn’t help escaping to our piece of paradise in the sun with palm trees surrounding us.

When you think of Florida besides the obvious (our friend Mickey Mouse) what else comes to mind when thinking warm weather, sun, tropical breezes…. I think of palm trees!!!!! Oh I love the palm trees. I know when I see them there is usually lots of sun in the sky, a tropical drink nearby, with fresh fruit spilling over the side and a cute little paper umbrella. You know you love them too! I start to leisurely sip (sip, wink wink) and look for some water to dip my toes in. It’s a symbol it is time to sit back and relax. Jimmy Buffet songs are playing in my head right now. I grab a towel for the chair, lay back and watch those long green leaves sway as I lay with warm sun on my face and defrost from the New England chill.

I stole this from another cancer fighting momma I know who is in remission from a glioma aka brain cancer. I saw her post on FB and had to copy and share as it pertains to the above…. take the time to read-

I know not all of us are religious, but I wanted to share ~ this is a great message for all of us. Read through and replace God with any word that has meaning to you if you need to!

Have a great day!

Nothing Can Hold You Back

Have you ever seen a palm tree in the midst of a great storm? Unlike most other trees, the palm tree is able to bend so it will not break. A certain kind of palm can bend over until the top is almost touching the ground, but when the wind finally stops, it bounces right back up. What’s interesting is that while that palm tree is bent over under the pressure of the damaging winds, it’s being pushed and stretched, strengthening the root system and giving it new opportunities for growth.

The reason God said we’d flourish like a palm tree is because He knew there would be difficult times. He knew things would come against us to try to steal our joy and victory. God said, “You’re going to be like a palm tree because after the storms of life blow, you’re going to be stronger, healthier, wiser, better off, and ready for new growth.” God never brings you out the same. He makes the enemy pay for bringing the times of darkness and trouble. What’s meant for your harm He’s going to use to your advantage. It’s not going to break you; it’s going to strengthen you. You’re not only going to still be standing; you’re going to be standing stronger. #Killefferstrong #wearestillstanding

This is chemo…

“You look so good”, “You would never know how sick you are”, “WOW! Looking great Jodi”….. Guess I am looking good these days. Must be the chemo glow on my face from the steroids and toxic chemicals in my body making it light up along with the pregnancy glow!

Truth of the matter is, most of the time I have been feeling good. Things have definitely calmed down after that rocky start. I have my moments of nausea but they are relieved by medications and then I can resume my day.

Chemo brain is a real thing though… there are no meds for that. So when I am staring at you and you are talking to me and I don’t respond… it’s the chemo brain. When I say I will call you or text you back and I don’t… chemo brain. When I say something that makes no sense…chemo brain. We just have to deal with that side effect, ribbit.

Yes! I somehow still have hair. After the way it fell out last time, I wasn’t expecting it to still be hanging around. Surprise to me, surprise to the doctors as well. They say its the pregnancy hormones helping me out in this category. It is falling out… but super slow. I’m not holding my breath… I still have about 10 more treatments to go. I pray it stays but I’m preparing for what I think is the inevitable. Been here before. Done that. Being able to keep my hair is all too good to be true.

Yes, I. AM. TIRED! My biggest complaint. Thank goodness Coras still naps because we cuddle and nap together everyday. Sometimes I get a few hours in ahead of her and then she comes and joins me for a few more hours.

So overall I am doing ok. Compared to some others who get chemo I am lucky. The docs told me before and said it again. “Pregnant woman do better on chemo than most other people”. Guess it really is true. Starting to have a few more side effects this week that are new. Like my hands feel like they belong to someone else. It is a strange sensation. They are a little floppy and have low muscle tone. Hopefully that will resolve, but sad to say, it probably will get worse. Most common side effect of the chemo drug I am getting is neuropathy in the hands and feet and apparently this is just the beginning. I see lots of dropped coffee mugs and smashed plates. I can’t imagine having floppy, useless hands for 10 more weeks. Let’s just hope I can hold that sweet baby boy of mine when he gets here and I don’t drop him, or even worse, a “hot water burn baby” incident because of my floppy, numb paws that can’t feel anything. Just kidding!

This is Chemo. This is cancer. You get up everyday and do what you have to do. My numb thumbs and fingers type my blog, here is no choice in the matter. Life continues on and so must I.

#7!

Let’s do it again, Let’s talk about sex baby!

Sex, yeah baby! But I am not talking about that kind of sex. The sex of the baby!!! So what are we having???? The big question. Nate and I are convinced its a girl. About everyone we talk to is split 50/50 down the line on girl/boy. And Cora… well Cora is only happy with a girl to play princesses with, dress up with and sprinkle in sparkles from head to toe. Will she get what she wants?

Chemo went well today. The port worked amazing! It was super easy to access and use. I didn’t have any reaction to my 8 hour infusion. WIN!!! So, that is 5 down total (4 1/2 if you count the second one that went horrible) and about 12 more to go. Power play: I still somehow have hair. It is SLOOOWLY starting to fall out. So we will see how that goes over the next week. I feel like I may not lose all of it it but then I think who am I kidding? I feel like I am leaving my shedding hair remnants behind where ever I go. To me its a subtle reminder, cancer is saying ‘don’t forget… I know you still look good, but you are really sick, I could kill you…don’t forget about me’.

Don’t worry cancer, you haven’t been forgotten about, but you can still F-off. I may have you but you certainly don’t have me, bitch.

Now, onto the good stuff, the meat and potatoes, the nitty gritty, the low down, the tea, the biscuits and gravy, the down and dirty… the sex of the baby. Baby K is measuring perfectly at 23 weeks and 5 days. Estimated due date is August 23. I will deliver by C-section again and we’re unsure exactly when that will be. The plan is to give chemo as long as possible right up to when my OB/GYN says OK… it’s baby time and as long as my body tolerates the weekly chemical burn left behind. It could be anywhere from 32-38 weeks. We also discovered today my gestational diabetes is back… fun. And, I have placenta previa – even more fun. No restrictions as of now for the placenta previa, but it’s something to pray about- that it corrects itself or causes no issues for me. If it does that means possible bed rest, early delivery and worst case severe bleeding (that already happened the first time with Cora. Almost lost little Jodi). But we are not going there right now. Everything is A-OK via my MD and until something changes we are all in agreement that’s how I will stay. A-OK!

Oh, And….. Drum roll….. I can’t believe it……

We are…….

We are having………..

We are having a ……..

…………..

……………

A BOY!!!!!

We are thrilled. So happy to have a little boy join us. Nate and myself are thrilled. Happy, happy, happy. I will post Cora’s response tomorrow. I am heading to bed.

I asked if I could have one more baby after him……

Joking…. it was a joke! I am done after this one. Hopefully (wink, wink).

Chemo #4 with the port!
Baby Boy K
3-D version of his face!

A tribute to Mom and Dad.

My parents 50th wedding anniversary was a few weeks ago and we were able to sneak down to their house in Florida  to celebrate with them after all! It was a quite the feat to get there, between trying to manage appointments and chemo in the special Desensitize unit, and trying to make sure Cora was all set and all the while praying I would feel well enough to travel. And… it all went well. Yes, finally!!! I sent Cora down with my brother ahead of time…I had my 12 hour infusion and hopped on a plane at 5:45am the next day. We had a great time celebrating with family and enjoying some warm sunshine on our faces. Of course we made a quick trip to have breakfast with a few princess, so Cora was thrilled! We arrived back home last week and are settling back down for the long haul of what’s ahead. It been an ok two weeks since I last wrote. If you’ve seen me on Facebook, then you know chemo has been going great in the new unit. I figured I would sit back and enjoy smooth coasting and try not to think about the obvious… That I have F-ing cancer again. So I guess I have been pretending I am really not sick. But that can only last for so long, before the truth catches up. Back to chemo, minor surgery for a port placement today (we are in the waiting room now editing this blog to pass the time) and my hair is starting to thin. So yeah, here we are.

50 years!!! Can you believe it? Doing anything for 50 years is hard, never mind staying married for that long! With the divorce rate being so high these days I think the amount of people celebrating 50 years of marriage is dwindling, almost extinct. A rarity, but when you see a couple who has been together that long how can you not think how magnificent that is. Like a bengal tiger or a sea turtle, you instantly know when you see one how special they are. Its been making me think a lot above love and relationships. Like all couples, my ‘rents have experienced the gamut of challenges that arise in marriage. Might even be fair to say they have experienced more than the average couple since they have been together for so long. They have seen each other through richer and poorer, sickness and health and definitely for better or for worse and a whole lot more shit that isn’t stated in marriage vows, but gets thrown at you anyway. Yet here they stand, stronger than ever 50 years later. So cheers to you Mom and Dad for 50 years! Thank you for teaching us kids to never give up on love, even when things got too hard, you taught us that’s when we fight harder. You taught us that no marriage, nor one’s marriage partner is perfect. In fact we pretty much will fail each other at some point in marriage and through God’s grace we extend love and forgiveness and by doing so will only make the marriage stronger. You taught us how to have fun with one another and enjoy life together and always eat good food!!!!

How lucky am I to have such an example to learn from. I know my parents are far from perfect but have been a great example for me to learn from, an example for Nate and I to learn from. 

The truth is, marriage is work. Hard work. But it’s wonderfully hard work. Both of us have felt more pain than we ever knew was possible, and more deep joy than we ever realized existed. We love more than we have ever loved anyone or anything (except God, of course).

Our love has grown richer, deeper and better over time, as we face challenges (cancer), kids, loss and learn from mistakes. Through it all, Christ has kept us together and brought us a more wonderfully fulfilling relationship than either of us knew was possible. On the other side of deep pain is deep joy. You’ve just got to make it there and know you can’t have one with out the other. 

It’s so wonderful that we get to pass this life knowledge onto Cora and Baby K. And like I said no one is perfect… nobody’s life is as great as they make it out to be on Instagram. Shit happens man… everyday that shit flinging monkey is at it. And know this, it’s ok to be poor, it’s ok to be the worst partner at times, it’s ok to be sick, or even weak. It’s just like what Forrest Gump says “it happens.” “What? Shit!?”. “Sometimes.”

It’s how you get through it that makes you who you are at 50 years and counting.  So thanks Mom and Dad, Happy 50th Anniversary. I pray I get to see 50 years… that would put me at 77 years old … I think I can make it. 

We get to check in on baby K Thursday via ultrasound after chemo… we already know what we are having but will tell everyone this Thursday. What do you think it is??? Boy or girl? If you know already don’t spoil it.

Today’s prayer…

Please pray and share… I could use the love today!

Dear God,

Today, please continue to be with me. Please help my body cooperate while I get the medicine I need to live a long healthy life for me and my baby. Protect my baby from these medications. Please be with the doctors and the nurses. Give them wisdom to care for me and keep me safe during the infusion.

Also God, please be with my brother and sister in-law as they are currently on a plane with Cora today. Grant them safe travels, grant them patience and good will to care for her when I can’t. Please Lord, give Cora good listening ears today!!! And I pray that I am well enough to meet them in Florida tomorrow or Saturday. Lastly God, just help me deal with my mom guilt; that I am stuck here in a hospital bed instead of being on that plane experiencing her joy and excitement to travel and do new things.

Thank you for being here for me always and never leaving me. Thank you for showing up in my darkest moments. To you be the glory.

Amen.