Results Eve

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

  Well here I am. The day I stressed and worried over for 6 weeks. Is it working? Is it worse? We'll know tomorrow. So no matter how little I sleep tonight, how much I worry, or how much dread I feel, tomorrow will come. I'll have an answer and a plan and life will go on. But to get to tomorrow, I have to get through tonight, and tonight is the killer.

  "Results Eve" is by far the most stressful time to get through in this whole cancer journey. You know something is coming. You just don't know what. It starts about the time your day starts winding down. You get through dinner, you tuck the kids in, you sit down to relax. BAM. There it is. The anxiety, the unknown, the fear. All of those emotions just sitting there waiting to crawl into your head. Be positive! Be hopeful! These are all things repeated to me over and over by loved ones and friends. Most of the time you can find many things to focus on that are positive. Not on Results Eve though. Not tonight. It's too real now. It's staring me in the face and anything hopeful I've found over the past 6 weeks quickly disappear.

  I'll tell you what eats at me the most. It's simple. My kids. I know that tomorrow I'll see them and they'll ask how the doctor went. They'll sit their with their hopeful innocent faces and I'll have to answer them. My answer will either cause them extreme joy or extreme devastation. There is no in between in cancer. Knowing that I face that tomorrow is what will keep me up tonight. It's why my pillow will be wet with tears. It's why I'll plead for hours with God to just give me good news. I'll beg, I'll bargain, I'll literally promise anything to just be able to give them good news tomorrow.

  Heartbreaks happen in life. My kids have many to face. When they don't make the team, when kids are mean, when their date is a jerk. It's coming. It's life. So my prayers tonight will be filled with pleadings that those are their heartbreaks. Not me. Just don't let their Mom be the one who breaks their hearts. I don't want to do it again.

But there's no escaping tomorrow. So ready, set, go. Ready or not, here it comes.

It Wasn't Supposed to Come Back

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I had my first treatment January 3rd. I went into it fully thinking I'd fly though this year and it would be a breeze. 
Well shot that theory down within 3 days haha. 
I began having chest pains Thursday night and by Friday night was in the ER. Every time I took a breath it was like being stabbed by knvives. Luckily, it wasn't a pulmonary embolism and was just pleurisy. But good heck does that hurt. :| 
The days after that are when it started getting worse though. My entire body began aching and I was so fatigued I literally couldn't get out of bed. I'm not gonna lie, those few days I had a total pity party. I was pissed. How was I expected to get through a year of this? How could I keep everything together for an entire year without driving family insane with my constant need for help? A year is a flipping long time when you feel like crap. I was consumed by my irritation at my situation. Big pile of poo. Poor me. 
Then this happened today. 
Karston had drawn this on his easel. I asked him to explain it. He said,"That's you surrounded by broken hearts because you have cancer. The rest of them are our family and we are all sad about you." After crying for like an hour about this, I was finally able to snap out of my own misery. Having cancer sucks guys. But watching your kids hurt because of cancer sucks more than having it.
I wish my kids had no clue what cancer was. I wish they didn't know that ugly word and it didn't crush their innocent hearts. 
 Karston has asked many times who will give him loves if I die because I'm the love of his life. I've held each of my kids while they've sobbed and I can't find the words to comfort them. So I just cry too. 
"It wasn't supposed to come back", I heard Kambrie cry. 
She's right. 
It wasn't supposed to. At least not according to my plan. 
Realizing that there's a higher plan than mine has been the hardest pill to swallow. 
Accepting that I have no clue what that plan is is even harder. 
So what's the lesson here? 
Will I beat this? I have no clue. 
Can I beat this? I don't know. The odds are better than they were 4 years ago. 
Will I be one of the 24% still alive in 3 years? Maybe. Maybe not. 
So what do I do with this information? 
Well first off, I accept it. I accept that I don't know the outcome. 
Then I ask myself what do I want to learn from all this?
I'll tell you what I want to learn. 
Love more. 
Be kinder. 
Be there. 
Live in the present. 
Notice the good. 
Be the good. 
And at the end of this whether I've been given 3 extra months or 30 extra years, I just pray that because of this trial I'm a better person. That I had bad days but I always stood back up and found a way to laugh. That when my darkest day comes I will still find light. That no matter how angry I feel I will know that God is in control and I will accept his plan. And that I will be grateful for every single breath I took, Because we are not promised any of them. 

Melanoma Mama. Again.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

I've had so many of you asking when I was going to blog again. I find great therapy in writing and blogging is a great place to update everyone in once place. So here we go again... :)

December 8, 2016. That's the day I found out melanoma wasn't done with me yet. I had made it through 3.5 years of being NED (no evidence of disease). This is a huge deal in the melanoma world. For those 3.5 years every scan I held my breath. Every scan I didn't sleep for nights before. Every scan I pictured the worst. Not this one though. I thought so little about this scan I forgot I even had them coming up. Danny was going to be out of town and I just figured I'd go alone. I'd get the good news, walk out of that office and move on with my life. I was finally at a place emotionally where I was ready to let go. I was alive. I had beat it. I knew it.

By nothing short of a miracle, my sister in law's insisted that I didn't go alone. Chemene and I laughed and joked the entire time. My usual anxiety before finding out my results was completely gone. It all changed the moment the doctor walked in the room though. Everything was different from the way they normally do things and I just knew. It didn't soften the blow though when she told me I had a mass in my lungs. I found myself sucked right back into that first moment in 2012. This time was worse though. So much worse. My worst nightmare had come true. If it's on an organ that means Stage 4. And no melanoma patient ever wants to hear those words.

The next two weeks were followed by a lung biopsy that confirmed it was melanoma. Next was an MRI to check my brain (clear thank goodness). Next came treatment discussions, side effects and survival odds. None of them are ever an appointment you would want to sit through. That I promise you. It's been a whirl wind but it always is a huge relief once a plan is in place. I start Keytruda on January 3rd. Infusions are every 3 weeks and it will last a minimum of a year.

I'm not able to quite express the devastation we have felt these past few weeks. It was one giant kick in the gut right when I was feeling like I had gotten through the worst of it. I however, can deal with anything they throw at me. I will get upset, I will go through denial and grief and then acceptance. After all that I will return to my normal Brittany self and crack jokes and deal with it in my "Brittany way".

The thing I can't get over is watching my kids be heart broken. The sounds of their cries when we told them will forever haunt me. The girls know the terrifying reality of Stage 4. I've lost 10 friends in the last year to it. The way I held Karston as he cried and asked, "Who will give me lovies if you die? You're the love of my life." I didn't even realize he understood anything.Those are the moments that break my soul. Trying to reassure your babies that everything will be fine when you are scared to death is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

We are scared. We are devastated and we are exhausted. But we are also hopeful. The melanoma field is changing rapidly and we have so much hope that things will only continue to get better with the treatments they have to offer. We have faith, we have each other and we have trust in God's plan. Even if I feel currently that I'd like to return this plan back to him. ;) Jk. See, there's that Brittany humor. I'm still in there.

XOXO to you all.

Less Than

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I ended cancer treatment just over a year ago. In 100 years the memories will still be there. It never really goes away. I still remember the sounds, the smells, the nausea. The empty feeling that lingers deep down. The feeling of helplessness that comes over everyone's faces. It was a long and hard fight. I won.   

Some days I wonder who I'm kidding though. Won? No. Not me. I don't see a winner in the mirror. I see sadness. I see a broken and beaten body. I see everything I lost. 

Today I was brushing the hair on my head. I say that because it's not my hair. My hair was long and smooth and blonde. This hair is short, curly and brown. It's not mine. I didn't want this. 

As I was brushing my hair I saw some blonde hairs. I was elated! I had found "me"! "Me" was still in there. In the sea of ugly, plain brown there was beauty. I can't describe how excited I was. 

But then I realized something. Those weren't blonde hairs. They were grey hairs. Grey?! I don't have grey hair. That's not me. I was so mad I pulled them out. And then I began to cry. 

I sat down on the floor and cried. I cried for the beautiful hair I lost. I cried for the face I miss. I cried for who I've become. Those stupid stupid grey hairs. 

I have 3 kids. So crying time on the floor couldn't last long. They were pounding on the door like I had been in there for 3 hours instead of 3 minutes. Suck it up Brittany. You don't have time to fall apart. So off I went. 

Now they're in bed. The house is quiet and I can dwell on the heaviness that sits on my chest. I've thought all day about just why I was so upset over 3 little grey hairs. Is it because I'm feeling old? No. What is it? I realized it's not the hairs at all. 

What bothers me the most is how cancer has made me feel after. Cancer took something from me that I am not supposed to feel. We are not supposed to be vain. We are not supposed to say it out loud. 

Cancer has made me feel worse than just ugly. It has made me feel "less than". 

Less than the normal people around me. With normal hair and normal faces. Less than the people with normal health issues and normal worries. Less than is a horrible feeling. I try to hide it but it's really, really hard sometimes. 

So I started wondering why do I feel less than? Who told me I'm less than? No one has said that to me. No one has pointed and laughed at me. No one has told me I'm hideous. People are always so kind. 

Right after cancer treatment we up and moved to Texas. Imagine the most physically awkward time in your life. When you were in that horrible preteen stage and nothing worked together quite right on you. And then you up and move to a new place. Try making friends when you feel like an ugly duckling. 

That's me. 

That's what I'm going though right now.  I've had such a hard time because I'm trying to have people get to know me but I don't feel like my outside reflects my inside at all. I just went through this huge growing stage on the inside. I've learned new things, fought hard battles and become so strong inside for the most part. 

Not on the outside though. The outside needs work. I've lost every ounce of myself on the outside. I didn't want to, but I did. So what now? 

I want to feel sparkly on the outside. I know that's who I am inside. I want to see bright and happy. Bubbly and vibrant. Those things are me. That's who I am. Am I less than? No. I feel alive inside. I want to look alive on the outside now too. 
I realize this whole post might make me sound like a crazy lunatic. But I figure oh well! I made this blog to be 100% honest. I finished cancer treatment a year ago, yes. However, I am still dealing with the after math of cancer every day. Sometimes it's pretty, other times it's ugly. I choose to air both in the hopes of helping someone out there. :) 


Monday, November 25, 2013

Lots of changes in the Dixon family.
We almost moved to Iowa..
and then Virginia was a possibility..
then we some how ended up in Texas.
All I know is there is no mistaking we are where we were supposed to be. The past year has brought us so many trials. However, the blessings that have come from those trials are too many to be counted.
I sadly had to leave the Huntsman behind when we moved. My new hospital is MD Anderson, 4hours away from where we live. Leaving my doctors at the Huntsman was an extremely hard decision. I grew to love them so much and I trust them immensely. Hopefully my new hospital will be just as wonderful.
Anyways, here we are. A new place, new friends, new job, new school, new everything. A fresh start is hard when we loved Utah so very, very much. There are so many that we owe so much to that we said goodbye to. So to ALL of you, our family, our many friends, neighbors, ward and last but not least.. Cache Valley for Hope, THANK YOU!! Thank you for helping us in every way possible, for the babysitting, the meals, the hugs, the kind words, the donations, the support and the love. Our lives are better because of you. We love you all.
And it's not goodbye. It's see you later. :)
XOXO from Texas 

1 Year

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One year ago today I took this picture. About 10 minutes later the phone rang and my life changed forever.
Ever since then my life has been a whirlwind. Hospitals, chemo, being so very sick, tired, doctors, needles, 4 surgeries, ambulance rides, losing my hair and fearing for my life. It's also... been filled with kindness, wonderful friends and family, new friendships, a new perspective on life and lots and lots of love.
One year ago was the worst day of my life. But because of that day I've been blessed with so many of the best days.
So thank you cancer. Thank you for opening my eyes to so much goodness. Thank you for giving me a huge reason to celebrate life daily. Thank you for showing me just what I'm capable of.
You've changed my life in many ways and today I choose to focus on the positive changes rather than cry over the negative ones.
Happy cancer anniversary to me!!

The power of SEVEN

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's seven? Seems like a relatively small number. But it's huge when it refers to lives. 7 lives. That's how many people (that I'm aware of) have been diagnosed with some form of skin cancer because of my story. They heard my story and got their skin checked just to be safe. Their whole life changed because of that. 

These 7 people are the whole reason I started this blog. To make people aware. I never understood how serious skin cancer was until that horrible day I sat in the doctors office. I waited too long. There were so many signs and I ignored them all. So if I'm going to have this awful cancer I wanted to make sure I did everything in my power to educate people on skin cancer. It's not "just" skin cancer. It is a aggressive, fast spreading and preventable cancer.

I have had so many friends and family go get checked recently. Bravo to all of you. It makes me so proud when people ask me about sun screens, or tell me they've stopped tanning, or tell me they got a skin check. Thank you for making my battle not be in vain. Thank you for taking me seriously. 

You don't have to be a recluse. You can go out and enjoy the sun. Just be sun smart. Not sun stupid. One word my friends... Sun screen. Take charge. Be smart. Educate yourself. 

... And if you don't... Well I will see if you can get a room next to me at the hospital for chemo. Cuz that's where you have a HUGE chance of ending up. And no matter what you think, not even a tan makes chemo look good. 

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