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.

The Shitshow


I started out yesterday psyching myself up, thinking- it’s just one more.  You have done this before Jodi, this should be a cakewalk. You got this!  Just do what you did last time when you were preggers with Cora. No surprises right?  At least I know what to expect. These are the mantras people have been telling me, and what I’ve been telling myself. Well… guess what!  We were all wrong people, ALL WRONG!!! My cycle 2 chemo session was nothing like last time. Nothing at all.

Yesterday was a complete and total shit show. Nothing, absolutely nothing went as planned. I didn’t get to finish the chemo session because I kept having a reaction to it. At one point my throat had become all scratchy and phlegmy. I had never experienced an anaphylaxis reaction.  But I guess now I know— an itchy, scratchy throat is no good. That whole, my throat is closing up on me feeling is no good.  My nurse Sandy stopped the infusion.  The medical team didn’t want to push it and see what would happen.  So they pumped me full of even more steroids and Benadryl. We waited an hour and then tried restarted the chemo again. This time my heart started racing.  We then had to stop the chemo all together.  At that point I was on the verge of some serious ‘roid rage. Of course my heart rate was elevated! I had more steroids in me than Derek friggin’ Jeter or A-Rod or whoever.  I knew the steroids were meant to enhance my performance but instead all they did was jack me up so much I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest.  The team said we had to stop because the baby’s health was in danger at that point.

And while all this was happening my veins were totally blowing it.   Trying to get an IV in my teeny tiny Jodi sized veins was no picnic. Dana Farber actually has a limit as to how many sticks you can give someone. I had limited out for the day. So, now I need a port. A port (which can be hooked into any time without a new needle stick) is usually something simple, but because I am pregnant, not so much.  I can’t get the ‘twilight meds’ (think Michael Jackson) that keep you awake but In La-La Land.  So now I get to have my port surgically installed. Flippin’ great!

My heart rate wouldn’t come down for the longest time.   I almost won myself a night in the cardiac ward…gurrr. Like I said, total shit show. The cancer monkey was flinging it everywhere! I did get to leave the hospital though.  I left feeling discouraged, defeated.  I left with a whole new set of anxieties. Yesterday (for the first time ever in the last 4 years) I felt like the cancer won. I have never felt this way.

When I was in the waiting room yesterday, before chemo, there was a woman who was also waiting.  I noticed her right when she was wheeled in by her husband (I assume its her husband, or male companion of some sort). I noticed she had no hair; she was covered in blankets and could barely speak. Her lips were dry and cracked. She had no fat on her body. I could see all the bones in her face. I could see her cheek bones, her temporal bones. I could see the outline of her jaw bone. I’m could see she was close to my age, maybe a little older. I know I have bitched about how awful my chemo day was. I know that for now, I will be ok. My chemo day was just bumps in the road, getting things off to a rocky, extra spicy start.  I know that I’m not out of tricks.  But, I could see the woman in the waiting room’s bag of tricks was almost, if not completely empty. I could really see her.  SHE is fighting for just one more day to be with her husband, to be with her kids, her family. Just one more. I’m asking everyone reading this to pray today (now!) for that woman and not me.  I don’t know her name but God does and I’m sure he is listening. I know my chemo day didn’t go to plan, but I believe I’ve got plenty more than one day left.  I hoping I have thousands and thousands more.  Time is precious people. You never know when you might be praying for just one more. 

Dr Google….

Last night I was thinking about today. I went to write and the page just came up blank. I couldn’t find any words that made sense. My head was swimming with endless thoughts. These thoughts, they bubbled up quick and then scattered only to be replaced by another thought, another feeling, another angle to this predicament in which we find ourselves. My head was spinning…going too fast for me to grasp one concept or one feeling and just write it. I had so many racing, compounding thoughts and feelings and they all needed me to hear them, feel them. Last night, while I contemplated today, I was afraid, unsure, confident, strong, feeble and weak all at once. So I just went with it. I gave each restless thought it’s time, time to be felt and acknowledged, then onto the next one. A pool full of next ones, and somehow I eventually drifted off to sleep.

Then I woke up to chemo, day one. I’m home now, and we officially have one round of chemo on the books — only 15 more to go! Woot woot!!! It was a loooong day. We left the house at 6am and walked in the door around 6 pm.

Here’s the rundown—

7:30 am: labs,

8:30: oncologist visit to review the master plan,

9:40: 19 week ultra sound to measure the baby for growth (and see if it’s a boy or a girl)

10:45: visit with high-risk OB

11:30: chemo

Needless to say, we are wiped out. Over all, things went well. The baby is growing and is right on schedule. No issues there at all. The chemo went smoothly. And by smoothly I mean, I had a reaction to one of the drug components in the chemo… that was fun. My nurse pushed the “oh crap” button and people came running. Poor Nate got kicked out of the room, I hate when that happens. I had no clue what was going on. I kept asking the nurse, and she kept saying “you will be ok, this is just protocol”. They gave me more Benadryl, more steroids, and restarted the infusion 30 minutes later. Yeah so, at least they figured that out on this first round. It went GREAT!

We are home now, resting. I have a new arsenal of mess (I mean meds) to take to help fight the side effects. I like a clean bedside table and these pill bottles aren’t helping with that. You know, the type of meds that when you google the name, Dr. Google says none of them are safe during pregnancy. Well Dr. Google, I’m pregnant and I have to take them you asshole. Damnit Dr. Google, I was pregnant before and took the same meds then. My child is just fine—she is perfect, a little miracle. Dr. Google doesn’t know shit!

For all you ladies who don’t eat lunch meats during pregnancy… well, here are my thoughts: if I can get chemo, take all these meds and still have a perfectly fine (even perfect) baby… a #7 turkey sub done ‘Mike’s way’ with lettuce, pickles, no cheese no onion is the last thing I or you need to worry about. So if anyone wants to bring me Jerseys Mikes for lunch! YES PLEASE!

So enough… I’m pretty tired and maybe a little wasted off of Benadryl and steroids, and who knows, maybe the chemo too. Probably best to put this down and get some rest.

Our prayer for tonight: that this chemo stamps out this nasty cancer tramp inside of me. Be gone you nasty parasitic hobo! We’re done with you! Thanks for listening everyone. Lots of love, and goodnight!