Scars and Hair

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My scar is looking better and better. 
My eye is still paralyzed though. 
Putting on makeup is quite the task.. 
I have to hold my eyelid up to put mascara on... and then hold it up until it dries. Otherwise I end up with a big black eye :) 
I keep waking up thinking, 'This is the day I'll be able to move my eye!"
Nope. Hasn't happened yet. Still holding onto hope though. 

I did chop my hair off in preparation for chemo. 
Not only is it going to fall out.. in the mean time it was beginning to become a huge hassle. 
Wearing it in a messy bun daily was giving me a rats nest on the top of my head. 
I still miss my long hair horribly.
Upside is now I can wash, blow dry and curl my hair in the time it used to take me just to blow dry it. 
So that part makes my life much easier. 

Ps. Emu oil is still working wonders on my scar! Just sayin'... :)

Three Things

I came across this picture on Pinterest and had to share. 
Hits so close to home and when I (finally) get into the hospital for treatment I am going to have this printed off and framed to bring with me. 
Never hurts to remind myself of these things when things get tough. 
Hope someone else can get some use out of it too. :)

Insurance Companies..

I'm not sure that I have enough words to describe my distaste for insurance scams companies. When we finally got insurance in December I was elated. I had no idea what a headache it was going to turn in to. When you're going through cancer, you have the weight of the world sitting on your shoulders. Throw insurance into the pot and suddenly you're fighting more than just cancer. You shouldn't have to explain to them why 3 more years matter. Anyone with half a heart should get it. I find it ridiculous that my oncologist says, "let's do this." And my insurance company says, "No." And that's the end of it. Why should they have the last say? They shouldn't. Insurance companies are what's wrong with America's Health Care. I could go on and on.. but I will stop. :)

So now we appeal and wait. If we get another denial, we will pursue other options of getting the treatment I want. All I know is I'm not giving up. I will not let some bully of an insurance company stop me from getting my best shot at living. 

Obviously, this all means I haven't started treatment yet. What a roller coaster. It is mentally and emotionally exhausting to prepare for something like this just to be told no at the last minute. It takes soooo much planning to have me go into the hospital for 5 days. So when the denial came in Friday at the very LAST MINUTE, I was needless to say... pretty upset. Jerks. Seriously. 

I will get to be here for Kynzee's birthday though. (Yay!) Because we had thought I'd be in treatment this week, we actually celebrated early.. but I will at least get to squeeze her and kiss her that day in person. 

When I was diagnosed with cancer I knew I was in for a fight. I just didn't realize how many things I would have to fight besides cancer. It's pretty unfair. 

Moving on now... Here's to hoping for a positive outcome from the appeal and we can get this ball rolling. Waiting is the WORST.

Just because it's so funny...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

For anyone who knows my kids.. you know how extremely different they are. I know this is totally not "melanoma" related.. but it's so funny I had to share it. We took the kids ice skating for Family Home Evening and this was Kynzee's first time on the ice. She was all over the place the whole time. I thought should would improve.. but she may need a few more sessions ;)

They had so much fun and are begging to go back. I was really surprised Kynzee thought it was fun! haha Love spending time with my family and watching my kids try new things. Although I'm thinking maybe Kynzee should stick to dancing ;)


Sunday, January 20, 2013

What a whirl wind the past 3 months have been for our family!
We have been up, down and somewhere in between everyday. 
Even though some days have been rougher than others, 
we could not be more thankful for the love and support of each one of you. 

For the friends who call just to say hi, the neighbors who have gone out of their way daily to help out, the vendors who generously donated to the raffle, our family who drops everything for us, the many.. MANY anonymous acts of kindness that have touched us so deeply and for all the love, support and friendship.. we thank you so very much. 

Cancer has only taken physical things from us and when you're surrounded by the amount of love we are.. they no longer seem that important. 
We are humbled and honored to have been the recipients of such kindness and for new and old friendships. 

I read this quote today: "Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads."  ~Henry David Thoreau
I believe that without a doubt to be true. What we have experienced over the last few months is nothing short of pure Christ-like love. Brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart every time I think of all that has been done for us. All those things are what get us through the hard times.. I wish I had better words to express our gratitude, but I'm no writer.. so Thank You will have to do. :) 

PS. Thank you to the very talented and wonderful Cascio Photography for taking these pictures for us. And please excuse Karston.. he could not be persuaded to put down his sandwich and hold the "U". Have to roll with the punches with an 18 month old. ;)   

The Huntsman Cancer Institute

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I love The Huntsman. You walk in there and you feel like you're surrounded with compassion. I love the doctors, the nurses, the staff... I can't say enough good things about it.

I came across this card in my treatment binder they gave me and it gave me a sense of relief. They have a wonderful way of making everything feel personal and like you're their only patient.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Please take a moment to read over the picture below. Why? Because it could save your life. I know I may get annoying with all my melanoma posts, but I only post them because I care about YOU. I will spend the rest of my days promoting skin cancer awareness (and if I live till I'm 90 that's a long time ;)

If one person was to catch skin cancer early because of something I said, I will consider it worth it. I have walked this path... You do not want to walk in my shoes. Trust me.

Waiting... Waiting...

And now we wait.. I head to the hospital on the 28th for my 5 days of fun! ;)

This means I will miss Kynzee's birthday. We are celebrating it early and all will be well but I can't help feeling guilty. Seems trivial when you're not in my shoes, I'm sure. It is what it is, but.... It sucks. Moms are not supposed to miss birthdays. I'm supposed to be here getting her ready in her special birthday outfit we let them pick out every year. I'm supposed to be here to have the house surprise decorated for when she comes home from school. Sigh. My oldest is turning 7. And 7 years ago I thought the world was perfect and never imagined this. Bigger sigh.

But it's ok. Like I told Kynzee, I'm missing one birthday so I can be here for many more. And that's what we will choose to focus on. Just please, if you see her on the 31st, give her an extra birthday hug. Not for her necessarily, because she will be fine I'm sure. Kids seem to adapt much more easily than adults. For me. Because her mom wanted to be there so, so bad.

I'm whining... I know. But sometimes I just need to whine. Cancer makes you feel so many emotions. The one I find myself most surprised by is guilt. Cancer makes me feel guilty for so many reasons. I feel guilty if I cry in front of my kids, if I have a bad day, if I don't feel good. I feel guilty for causing so many people so much pain and stress. For making people bend over backwards for us. I feel guilty for having cancer.

But then I get rational and snap out of it. I know it's not my fault. I know it's beyond my control. It doesn't stop me from having bad moments though. I am human.

So here we go to the treatment side of cancer. So thankful I live in this day and age where I have options and I get to make a choice based on what I feel is right. I so appreciate all of the support for our decision! Love you all :)

Here's to hoping for a long, bright, cancer free future.

People are wearing me!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

All these pictures being sent to me with amazing people wearing my shirts in support of me are making my day! Keep them coming!! I love the support and thank all of you! :)

...this is temporary... Right?

Friday, January 11, 2013

My face. Everyone says I look great... I feel like a freak. It's hard not to feel like that when you can't move the right half of your face. We've gotten some good laughs out of it though. Lucky for me, I've always been better at laughing at myself than anyone else. So it has been the source of some late night laugh fests for sure.

There are times it does bother me though. Sometimes I wish my scar was on some place I could hide from people. I just feel like I'm always on display and it's always up for discussion. And there are times when I don't want to be the "girl with cancer". I just want to be Brittany.

There is a silver lining though. I have the opportunity to show everyone how serious skin cancer is. I never took skin cancer seriously. Never even went in for a skin check in my entire life. I thought I was safe because I didn't use tanning beds and didn't lay out. I am full of freckles and burn easily, so I kind of avoid the sun. But melanoma didn't care. It doesn't discriminate and it can happen to anyone. It is serious. It is deadly.

One person dies every hour from melanoma. More people die every year from melanoma than all the other cancers combined. Is it sinking in yet? It should be. I can't express just how important it is to wear sun screen, stop tanning and get skin checks. You think being pale isn't pretty? That you look better with a tan? Try having a scar on your face like mine. Having your right eye being paralyzed and droopy. Sit through a doctors appointment where they tell you your survival rates. Face chemo and lose all your hair. Be incredibly sick. Then being tan won't seem that pretty. I guarantee it.

I was not a faithful sunscreen wearer. If I could go back I would have rubbed it from head to toe daily. I will step off my soap box now but please.. I beg you, take skin cancer seriously. It isn't talked about. People don't realize how deadly it is. We have to change this. Pale is pretty. So much prettier than cancer.

Pick your poison!

Choosing the best way to treat my cancer is one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. In the end though it was extremely clear to me what I should choose.

All the side effects, the pros and cons and inconveniences faded away. There was only one thing that stood out to me and that was time. I chose bio chemo because it on average gives me more time before the cancer could come back. When you have three small children there is nothing that matters more than time. I just want to be with them. To watch them grow. To see them become amazing people. That's all that matters and I would go through literally anything to make that happen.

Will it be awful? Yes. Will I go bald? Yes. Will I be horribly sick? Yes. Does any of that matter if it gives me time? No.

On average if I did no treatment my cancer would come back in about a year. If I did Interferon it would be 1.9 years. If I do bio chemo it's 4.9 years. Bio chemo it is.

I will spend 5 days in the hospital and then be home for 2 weeks. I will repeat that for 3 months. The way I see it is giving 3 months to get 5 years. And maybe I will get more than that. Thing is.. No one knows. I've learned through this whole thing is that I have no control over whether I live or die. All I can do is fight my hardest, enjoy life and be thankful for what I've been given. If I spend every day agonizing over how much time I have left I will waste it. That is no way to live.

So onto the next round of this fight. Truth is, I will spend the rest of my life fighting melanoma. But that's ok.. Because to fight is to be alive.

Tonight after I tuck my kids in bed I will say many prayers of thanks for all my blessings. For all my support, for my healthy kids, for my amazing husband and for a testimony that no matter how this fight ends, I will win. They say feed your faith and your fears will starve. So I will find comfort in my belief that this life is not it and I will one day be with my family again. Whether I have another 50 years here or 5. It's going to be okay.

I was wrong...

Friday, January 4, 2013

I guess life had other plans. My 11 days I thought we'd be frolicking in the snow and making memories has been spent horribly, awful, terrible sick. All of us. :/ We are like a never ending pit of germs. We have made some memories though...

* Kynzee refuses to take medicine.. so I had to force it down her throat and she puked down my shirt. That was good times.

* Karston has wiped more questionable green stuff on me than I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. But makes for some serious hand washing. My hands have never been cleaner.

*Kambrie has had such a high fever that I'm pretty sure she's gone delirious. When that happens she usually shouts at me in something resembling German. Scares me every time, but then it ends in me laughing hysterically while I'm trying to get the Motrin bottle open.

See? Memories can be made even in the worst of circumstances. So whether we spend the remaining days laughing or puking.. or puking AND THEN laughing.. doesn't matter. At least we're together. Germs and all.

This picture is a couple months old... but I thought it fit perfectly with how our "memory making" has gone.


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