Friday, November 30, 2007

Game Plan

Thursday I met with my counselor, got my double port flushed and got all of my blood drawn for the battery of tests needed before each chemo infusion. Today I get a bone scan to see if any of the cancer has metastisized to my bones and Monday I start a new cycle of chemo, with a new chemo cocktail (carboplaten/taxol), this time geared towards ovarian cancer, instead of gastro-intestinal/colon cancer (folfox/5FU/oxciliplaten/avastin). Different cocktail, different side effects. I'm not sure how it will effect me personally until I try it, but the common side effects are flu like symptoms for 5-7 days, naropathy (numbness in hands/feet), nausea, muscle/joint aches and hairloss. Usually, within 14 days of the first infusion of the chemo cocktail, the patient loses all of their hair. We're talking eyelashes, eyebrows, the works. I guess we will really see if bald is beautiful and if beauty really is skin deep or not. I've scheduled an appt. to get fitted for a wig next Friday. They will make a wig that looks like my normal hairstyle now and will fit me properly. I can think of a better way to spend $300, but I think this will make the transition easier for myself, family, friends, and especially my kids. The infusion will take 6+ hours and I will go in every 3rd week for 6 months starting Monday. That puts me at May for a chemo break if all goes well. I'm going to try and keep working part time while undergoing this chemo. I figure I'll be down for a week (the week of chemo), work for 2 weeks and then start the process all over again. But I won't really know until I get started and try it and see how it affects me in terms of energy etc. This is really bad timing with the holidays and school and activities. Everyone is so busy this time of year. So much is going on. Hopefully I won't miss much. I'm going to try some alternative things while going through this as well. Hopefully the combination of things will work in my favor and I can put off chemo longer next time. I'll keep everyone posted as I'm able.

1 Year Cancer Survivor Recap

Sat, June 10, 2006: Visit to the ER for abdominal pain. Battery of tests discover tumor. Rush referral to an OBGYN doctor for the following week. CA125 = 174. Normal CA125 (cancer marker blood test) is 30-ish.

June 22, 2006: Get admitted for surgery to diagnois (benign or cancerous? stage?) and treat tumor(s). They expect me to be in there 4 days. Surgery takes longer than expected and the diagnosis is not good. Stage 4 (out of 4) Metastatic Carcenoma of unknown origin. They remove a 17cm tumor from one ovary, an 8cm tumor from the other, perform a total hysterectemy, remove 10" of my intestines and 6 lymph nodes. While in the hospital, I have every single test known to man to try and determine the primary cancer. It's very unusual that they don't find one.

July 4, 2006: finally released from the hospital after 12 days. Thank you to all of my friends and family for the cards, flowers, calls, visits and gifts!

July 5, 2006: readmitted to the hospital with infection.

July 6, 2006: released again.

July-August 7, 2006: recover from surgeries. CA125=22 Meet my Kaiser oncologist, get 2nd opinion from Dr. Blankey at OHSU. Change Kaiser Oncologists. All in agreement that we should treat it as gastro-intestinal/colon cancer. Thank you to all of my friends, family, co-workers, etc. for the meals, rides, playdates, grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc!!!

August 7, 2006: port/catheter implanted in chest for chemo infusions. Chemo begins (folfox: oxciliplaten, 5FU, avastin)

August 2006 - February 27, 2007: chemo (folfox etc) every other Monday-Wednesday. Become a patient/teacher for a "Living with Life Threatening Disease" class at OHSU. Thank you to all of my friends, family, co-workers, etc. for the meals, rides, playdates, grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc!!!

October 2006: My friend and co-worker, Laura Nicholas and my employer, Hot Off the Press host a fundraiser scrapbooking crop to raise money for medical bills, etc. So many friends and family attend and raise about $7,000! (will have to check on this number. my memory is so bad...chemo brain! Could be more?)

December 2006: Westside Dance and Gymnastics Academy donates proceeds from their Christmas Nutcracker Show to our battle with cancer.

January 4, 2007: we get a 9 week old labradoodle puppy and name him Simba.

January 20, 2007: Our family trip to California to go to Disneyland and a gymnastics meet gets cancelled because we get snowed in!

March-August 2007: chemo (avastin only)

April 17, 2007: return to work part time, starting at 4 hours a week and working up to 16+.

May 2007: Kaelin and I fly to Boston, MASS for Level 5 Rhythmic Gymnastics Nationals. Kaelin gets 9th place all-around in her age category.

June 2007: 1 year anniversary. Begin accupuncture, shiatsu and Chinese herbs/supplements through the Immune Enhancement Project. Start working with a personal trainer 2x a week.

August 2007: 1 yr. CT scan comes back with suspcious spot. CA125=31. Alot of red flags, but no hard, concrete evidence. PET scan was false negative (my tumors are mucin producing and they don't show up on PET scans). Biopsy was false negative (took 7 samples, but didn't get any good ones. It's like bobbing for apples in applesauce). Oncologist and surgeon (top in her field) both agree to wait and do a CT scan in 3 months. Family Vacation to Disneyland is cancelled when we can't get any flights out on our standby passes.

September - December 3, 2007: break from all chemo

September 10-14, 2007: take a week off of school and go to Disneyland!!! Thanks to Sam and Paris, we get a private meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie and get priority seating (Thanks to Shanna!) to the Aladdin show at the Hyperion Theater at California Adventure. Get gifted spending money from generous friends and a collection going around Hot Off the Press and Keller Williams Realty. Thank you to all of you who made it possible and so very special!!!!

October 17, 2007: get rear ended at a stoplight and get whiplash. Start experiencing a lot of unexplainable aches and pains. Freak out and think that the cancer is taking over my body. Go into an emotional tailspin. Fall into a deep, dark, dank hole, afraid of dying and leaving my kids without a mom.

October 30, 2007: Go the the Hannah Montana concert at the Rose Garden and sit in a suite with all the girls in Kaelin's 3rd grade class.

November 6, 2007: 3 month CT scan.

November 8, 2007: we have to put our 12 year old Aussie Shepard, Rafiki, down due to complications from Cancer.

November 16, 2007: take Kaelin to see Santa.

November 17, 2006: Meet with oncologist. Suspicious spot hasn't really changed in size/shape. Dr. Leimert a little concerned after hearing about my unexplainable aches and pains. Thinks that my body knows best and that the cancer might be back. But not sure what kind of cancer to treat, so decides to wait another 3 months. In the meantime, take my CA125 test.

November 18, 2007: get a call from my doctor. CA125 is 96 (normal is 30-ish). Thinks this is some concrete evidence and decides the best course of action would be to treat me for ovarian cancer this time with a new chemo cocktail (carboplaten/taxol) every 3 weeks for 6 months.

November 22, 2007: Meet with my surgeon, she thinks the oncologists plan for treatment is a good idea. Says to start chemo after Thanksgiving. Pulled myself out of that deep, dark, dank hole where I couldn't see the light of hope.

November 25, 2007: get Christmas tree

November 26, 2007: Annual Mammogram

November 24, 2007: see a chiro and finally deal with my issues surrounding the MVA.

November 30, 2007: Bone Scan to determine if the pain in my ribs and shoulder are from my MVA or if the cancer has metasisized there.

December 3, 2007: Chemo begins. Ready to fight. I should be hairless 14 days from now...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's time to dust off the cape and be my own action figure...

the inside reads: "I love this part."

I saw this get well card at the store yesterday and bought it for myself. It spoke to me. It put into words what I've been feeling in a way. Going off to chemo to fight the advancing army of cancer cells is like going off to war to do battle. It's the good guy fighting the bad guys. Good vs evil. Doesn't justice always prevail? Doesn't the good guy always win? I sure do hope so. I'd like to believe that anyways. I think I will believe that. It's much better than the alternative. It's time to take that cape out of the drawer, iron out the wrinkles and find a phone booth.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


We've created this blog to keep people informed on the latest news surrounding Shauna's current treatment and doctor visits. We hope you find the posts here informative and useful as a place to allow those who love and support Shauna an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings in an open and protected format.

We thank everyone so much for their support!