Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009- Our Year In Review

2009 has been an interesting year in our house. Here is a recap of our year, the highlights and the not so highlights.

January 2009- Ella Grace turned one year old. Kyler was officially potty trained. I was in my 5th month of Interferon treatments at our local Cancer Center. I noticed a spot on my back. Ella tripped and split her chin open.

February 2009- 6 months on Interferon.

March 2009- I noticed two m0re spots on my chest. Dermatologist took them off after hours on a Thursday. Results came in on Tuesday. All three spots were positive for Melanoma. Met with my local oncologist and he recommended I seek treatment elsewhere. Made appt with MD Anderson.

April 2009- Celebrated Easter at our house with the whole family. Initial appt at MD Anderson. Set up a plan of attack. Began first round of chemo at MD Anderson. PICC line was placed in right side of chest. Developed blood clot in my right arm from PICC line. PICC line was removed. Started Lovanox shots twice a day for the next 6 months.

May 2009- Church began bringing us dinner every Monday. Attended Graduation party for cousin. New PICC line was placed in my left arm. 2nd and 3rd rounds of chemo. I turned 31. Cody and I celebrated 6 years of marriage.

June 2009- Kyler attended zoo class for one week. Daddy left for a week for a work trip. 4th round of chemo.

July 2009- 5th round of chemo, diagnosed 1 year, Ella attended her first zoo class

August 2009- 6th and last round of chemo-August 10th 2009. One year anniversary of chemo-August 11th, 2009;

September 2009- Returned to MD Anderson for consult with surgeon, had first surgery to remove tumor, Kyler attended first day of Preschool, Ella and Kyler attended first day of Mom's Day Out at church, Ella and Kyler started gymnastics, Kyler started WOW at church, Deegan turned one, Cody celebrated his 28th birthday

October 2009- Ella continued gymnastics, Kyler started swimming lessons, family vacation to Branson, Parent Teacher conferences at Kyler's school

November 2009-Kyler turned 4, follow up appt at MDA, 2nd tumor was found and a surgery was scheduled, celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and Cody's parents

December 2009- surgery to remove second tumor, incision became infected, bedrest to recover, Ella started potty training, celebrated Christmas with Cody's parents, celebrated Christmas with my family, had surgery to get tubes tied, ended the year CANCER FREE!!!

Whew, what a tough year! Bring it on 2010!


Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

I'll be honest, usually I don't. I know I won't keep them so what's the point?

However, this year I am determined to keep my resolution. My resolution is to make a budget and stick with it. I love to shop. I love to buy clothes and toys for my kids. I am constantly finding things that they "need." When, in reality, they don't need any more clothes or toys.

They have more clothes and toys than any two children need.

So, after writing up a analysis for the last two months and seeing where our money is going, I have concluded that I buy a lot of crap! So, for the year 2010, that is going to stop. Frivolous spending will be kept to a minimum.

Can I do it? I don't really know. I guess we will see!

Now, tell me, do you have a resolution?
Can you keep it?
What are going to do differently to ensure that you keep it?

To help me keep mine I am going to do some research on the infamous Dave Ramsey and get some tips from him. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Gorgeous Cuddlebugs

I ran downstairs to throw in a load of laundry and this is what I saw when I came back upstairs!

They are so cute and loving (most of the time!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our Christmas 2009

Most Christmas' we leave early Christmas morning to head to my parents house to celebrate Christmas with them. However, because Mother Nature wasn't very kind this year, traveling that far was not an option for us. I was quite sad, but our Christmas turned out very nice, despite the weather.

A couple years ago, Santa let me know that he was a very busy man and asked if he could come to our house Christmas Eve morning instead of Christmas morning. Of course I said yes:)

So, Christmas Eve eve the kids got to open one present. Usually it's PJ's, however, since we all have matching PJ's (and were wearing them) they got to open a puzzle.

They both loved their puzzles and spent most of the evening putting them together and taking them apart. I am so proud at well they share with each other.

Christmas Eve morning the kids were up around 7:00AM to see what Santa brought them. They each received a robe and a pair of slippers. Kyler received a V Tech motion and Ella received a Cabbage Patch Newborn named Alice.

She loves Alice, but I think she loves Alice's belly button even more! Alice is now a nudist!

Since our Christmas traditions were thrown out the window, we decided to start some new ones! I never let the kids paint. I can't stand the mess. I know I need to chill, but that is easier said than done!

After they painted some beautiful pictures, we got them all dressed to go outside. It took l0nger to get them dressed, but they sure looked cute!

Later in the afternoon we went to Cody's Aunt Tracy's house. It was nice to be around family.

We were able to meet a new additon to the family. Baby Emmett is a couple months and is quite possibly one of the prettiest little ladies I have ever seen!

And Ella loved baby Emmett. Although Ella loves all babies! She will be a fabulous mommy some day!

We had a fabulous Christmas, even if it was a little different. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas also!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Makeover Kind of Day

In the morning Ella likes to stand on the toilet and watch me get ready. Some mornings she just watches and some mornings she begs for my makeup. I usually just give her the blush brush, but this morning I gave her the eyeshadow. Isn't she gorgeous?:)

Notice the purple on the right eyelid, but not the left? No matter what I said, she would not put it on the other side! Silly girl. She also added a little bit of lip gloss to complete the glamour look. She is all girl!

We had a big day! We also went for our first real haircut. (12/16/09)

My dear friend, Lynn, cuts my hair so I have her cut the kids hair too.

Ella did a fabulous job!! No tears, no screaming, just sitting, eating some M & M's and letting Miss Lynn cut away.

Just a little off the sides, K?

The final product
Obviously, not much was cut, but I didn't want much cut. I can't wait for her hair to be long, beautiful, and curly.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Do you ever wonder why God chooses some people to fight really tough battles, while others get off scott free?

Do you ever get really ticked off that some people whine and bitch about their lives, when really they have nothing to whine and bitch about?

These two questions plaque me. Often. I constantly wonder why I am going through this. Yes, some of it I brought on myself from tanning and not using sunscreen. But, in reality, who hasn't used a tanning bed or forgotten sunscreen?

As most of you know, I love Facebook. I think it is a great way to catch up with people that I have lost contact with. However, my biggest pet peeve about Facebook is when people bitch about how awful their life is on their status updates. I mean come on, if your biggest problem is that your kid woke you up at 8 in the morning, you seriously have a great life!

Also, do you ever wonder how some people can be so mean and hurtful? Especially family. Especially during the holidays. I find it heartbreaking. And mean. And stupid.

Ok. That's it. Just needed to get that off my chest. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Beauties

The last day of preschool and Mom's Day Out was last week. Since Santa was coming to visit I wanted the kids to look pretty for him:)

Ella in her beautiful red pettiskirt

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Do It!

Ella is at the "I Do It" phase. She has to do everything by herself. Including dressing herself. In her Daddy's and Mommy's clothes!
And, of course, Kyler has to join in on the fun!

She has on Mommy's shirt, Daddy's shirt, and Daddy's pants.
And yes, that is box of matches on the floor. She spilt them and I was on bedrest and was not allowed to bend over so I had to wait until Daddy got home to pick them up. Matches all over the floor is not a normal occurance at our house, I promise!

Putting on Kyler's socks
And another one of Daddy's sweatshirts.

And another one of Daddy's shirts!
She did a pretty good job, considering the clothes were huge and she is just a little gal:)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cupcake Craziness

The other day Kyler and I made cupcakes while Ella took her nap. After Ella woke up I let them each pick what color of frosting they wanted to use. I made up the frosting and they each got to frost and eat one cupcake. They had a blast getting frosting everywhere, I mean, frosting and eating their cupcake, and I enjoyed watching them having fun:)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Beautiful, Right?

Some practice pictures for our Christmas card.

Some I love and some just cracked me up.

I know I am biased, but I think they are so gorgeous. And sweet to boot! I am such a lucky mom. I have two caring and loving children. I thank God every day for blessing me with two great children!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sleep Tight

This afternoon I put Ella down for her nap. Of course, the minute the door shut she was out of bed. I usually let her play in her room for about 15 minutes before going in and putting her back in bed.

Today I went back in and she asked me to rock her. Usually I say no. I am busy. I have things to do. But today I said yes.

So we rocked.

And we cuddled.

And I rubbed her back.

And then I started thinking of all the stuff I needed to do.

And then I realized that I should be sent to the naughty mat.

My precious 1 year old is almost a 2 year old. There are not many days left that she will want me to rock her. Some day soon she will want nothing to do with her over protective mother. She will think I am silly, goofy, and totally uncool.

So, for now, the cleaning, the cooking, the laundry, etc will wait.

Because I will be busy.

Rocking my baby:)

Hee, hee, hee

You have no idea how many times this has crossed my mind:)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Saw Santa....

and it wasn't pretty!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Story (Abbreviated)

I know some of you are new readers and don't know a lot of my Cancer Journey, so I thought I would give you a quick version of how all of this happened. This not only helps you understand where I am coming from or what I have been through, but it helps me too. Sometimes I forget the beginning of the journey. Yes, I have been through A LOT, but I have come a long way and I have put up one hell of a fight. I know, that even though I am cancer free right now, that my journey is far from over. I will continue to fight with everything I have. I have no intentions of ever giving up, no matter how tired I get. I will do whatever I have to do to be with my babies.


The summer of 2007, my husband noticed a spot on the back of my left calf. I didn't think to much about it. A year later my mom encouraged me to see a Dermatologist. On July 8th, 2008 the day my daughter turned 6 months old, was the day that the Dr told me I had cancer. At first I was speechless, then the tears started flowing. I called my mom, husband, and mother in law to tell them the news. Those were very hard phone calls to make. The Dermatologist scheduled an appointment with the surgeon and oncologist and removed the melanoma from my calf. The test results came back as Stage IV Melanoma.


I met with the surgeon the following week. He was very positive that it hadn't spread. We scheduled a surgery to have some lymph nodes in my left groin removed and more skin excised from the primary spot on my calf. He removed 7 lymph nodes from my left groin. 4 came back positive, 3 were negative.


I then met with my oncologist. The standard treatment for Melanoma is Interferon. I did a month long round of Interferon, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. After that I did shots 3 times a week. In January 2009 a lump showed up on my back. 3 different Dr's felt that it was a cyst. In March two more spots showed up on my chest. These were under the skin. I showed my Dermatologist immediately. He scheduled an appointment for me after hours the following day to have all three spots removed. All 3 spots came back as Melanoma. At this point we realized that the Interferon was not working. My Oncologist was very honest and told me that they did not have what I needed.


My paperwork was faxed to MD Anderson on a Thursday, and my first appointment was scheduled for that Monday. After my oncologist at MDA received my CT scans and PET scans he discovered that I had 4 more tumors inside my body. We discussed different chemotherapy options and decided on the one that has been proven to be the most successful. There is about a 50% success rate for the biochemo that I did. There is an 87% chance that the cancer will eventually return. The average remission time is 9 months.


Approximately one week later I was started on biochemotherapy. The drugs included Cisplatin, Aldesleukin (IL-2), Dacarbazine, and Vinblastine. I was hospitalized for a week during chemotherapy. I returned home for two weeks, then started the chemo all over again. I did this a total of six times.


After two rounds of the biochemotherapy, another PET scan was done. One of the tumors was completely gone, one of the tumors he decided was not a tumor, but calcification from a shot I had as a toddler, the other two tumors had shrunk greatly, but were still there. PET scans were completed after every two rounds of biochemotherapy. The tumors continued to shrink, but still remained. After my 4th round of chemo, my oncologist decided that he wanted me to complete 2 more rounds of chemo, so instead of doing 6 rounds of chemo I was going to complete 8 rounds. I was pretty upset about this. Chemo was awful and I was ready to be done.


At my appointment with my oncologist before my 6th round of chemo, I started crying. After seeing my tears he decided to not have me do the 7th and 8th rounds and instead we could just have surgery.


I returned to MD Anderson 1 1/2 months later for surgery. Unfortunately, the ultrasound could only find 1 tumor. The surgery was able to remove all of that tumor. The other tumor was to small to find, therefore it could not be removed.

I returned two months later for repeat PET scans and the tumor that remained had grown for 4mm to 6mm. The Dr sent me to ultrasound where they found the tumor immediately. Another surgery was scheduled. The remaining tumor was removed and I am currently cancer free!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Explanation!

Remember this post where I whined about my pain? Well, I now know why I was in so much pain!

Yesterday morning I woke up soaked. I'll be honest, at first I thought I had peed the bed. Now, I don't do that often. I promise. But, right now anything is possible. Honestly, I kind of wish it was pee. Because, it was blood and fluid. Lots of it. Everywhere. I was a little confused. I jumped in the shower to clean it off. Then I realized it wasn't stopping. I yelled for Cody, who's exact words I am pretty sure went something like, "Oh, Shit." He called his mom to come watch the kids and he rushed me to the ER. They got me in really quick. And the verdict? The incision is infected. No wonder I was in SO MUCH PAIN!

They gave me some lovely pain meds. Stuck a razor sharp Q-tip* in the opening of the incision for a swab. Gave me a very potent antibiotic. And placed me on modified bedrest so that I don't split the incision open any more. Right now we just have to let the infection drain out. It's quite gross!

*It wasn't really razor sharp but it felt like it!

On the plus side, the pain is much less. Still hurts, but not nearly as bad! And my MIL has "moved in" for the time being since Cody had to head out of town for work. I am so lucky to have great family!

Keep Praying!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's A Beauty!

Here are the pictures of the beautiful pettiskirt that I made for my Princess. This gorgeous piece of work took me about TEN hours to make. If I ever get up the nerve to make another one, I am hoping that it won't take nearly as long. Now I have an idea of how to do it, so it shouldn't be as difficult.

I must say though, despite the time and effort I put in to it, it is absolutely gorgeous!

And Ella is absolutely gorgeous in it!
Blog Makeovers by Tara