Thursday, April 17, 2014

bone marrow biopsy

A bone marrow biopsy is the most accurate way to measure progress and test the body for any possible lingering cancer cells. Your bone marrow is where all of your cells are made and blood is produced. On average bone marrow produces approximately five-hundred-billion blood cells per day. Bone marrow is also a key component of the lymphatic system. The lympatic system produces the lymphocytes that support the body's immune system.

The cancer I have is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  After reading everything above you've probably figured out that ALL is made in the bone marrow, hence why it's extremely important for me to have routine bone marrow biopsies. Bone marrow biopsies are a "simple" 20 minute standard procedure done in an operating room under anesthesia. Though anesthesia is not necessary, it's nice as the procedure is quite painful. The biopsy is obtained by breaking through the back of my hip bone with a needle/rod type thing. Once the marrow has been accessed a small liquid blood sample is taken followed by a marrow sample. 

This morning, Thursday April 17, 2014, Dr. Greenwald came in and informed me that there were no operating rooms available for my routine biopsy. Yikes! Being said, Greenwald promised sedatives to qualm any nerves and pain meds for obvious reasons. So with a little thought and a lot of guts I let him go in without knocking me out. I'll be adding "bone marrow biopsy without anesthesia" to my list of reasons as to why I'm such a badass.

The beautiful nurse, Renata captured this video clip during the procedure. Unfortunately she started filming a bit late so it's a bit uneventful and doesn't show the gnarly part- the initial break through of my hip bone. Anyway, it's still kinda cool and gives you an idea of what a bone marrow biopsy is like. Enjoy! :)


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

treatment tuesday

I promise I haven't forgotten about "Treatment Tuesday", it just so happens all my doctor appointments have been falling on Wednesday's. Being said, I've been holding off the extra day to update everyone with the most recent information.

Today I saw Greenwald and he's having me check back in to Cottage Hospital tonight. :(   For the first twelve hours I'll just be receiving fluids and undergo a bone marrow biopsy. Next another round of Methotrexate and vincristine will be administered. This is still part of that "final round" I've mentioned before and will hopefully go as smoothly as this past one. I expect to be out of the hospital in four to seven days this time.

Lasting several weeks and involving many check-ins and check-outs, I hate that they keep calling this the "final round" because there seems to be nothing final about it. I thought this "final round" was going to last six weeks with frequent inpatient visits, but apparently it's six-teen weeks. I swear, more often than not my ears hear what they want to hear...

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Friday, April 4, 2014

friday favorites

The Red Road Foundation

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This Friday Favorite is a shout-out to my favorite non-profit, The Red Road Foundation. The Red Road Foundation is made up of a dedicated group of individuals seeking to bring necessary resources to children in desperate need around the world. Their goal is to establish self-sustaining, compassionate, healing and educationally focused communities where currently there are none. They seek to raise awareness, funding, support and opportunity for lives in need.

"The Red Road" is a term used in Native American spiritual teachings to represent one who is “walking in balance”. It is behavior, attitude, a way of living, a way of “doing” with reverence – of walking strong yet softly, so as not to harm or disturb other life. The Red Road is a pathway to truth, peace and harmony.

As The Red Road Foundation's Administrative Director I couldn't be more proud. If you are interested in a life changing experience go check them out, right now they are calling all volunteers. If you are unable to volunteer you can always donate on their site (link above). 
Stay tuned for upcoming fundraisers.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

treatment tuesday

Treatment Tuesday is coming at you a day late this week as Treatment Wednesday. I held off the extra day because I knew I was checking back into 5South today (wednesday) and wanted to give everyone as much of the most accurate information possible.

If all goes well this should be my last round of inpatient chemotherapy treatments. This round will last six-weeks and will include a rotation of three drugs. Vincristine, Methotrexate, and an intrathecal similar to Methotrexte.  For those of you who aren't familiar, intrathecal implies an injection into my spine. This is done as a preventative measure to insure cancer cells do not spread to my brain. Though I have virtually no cancers cells left in my body, one in every five-hundred-thousand cells or something, the intrathecal is still done as Dr. Greenwald is very thorough.    

My new room has a decent view of a parking lot, some trees and the ocean in the far distance. It also has a nice patio that apparently stays locked and patients aren't allowed on. I guess people with terminal illnesses are at high risk of suicide, who knew. I brought a few of my own blankets, pillows, and decorations to make it more homey.  I'm up for texting so feel free. Oh and clam linguini sounds good too. :)

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

be grateful

It has been said, the greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times...

Unfortunately, many of the things we desire are costly. However, if you think about it, the things that really satisfy us and make us feel full are totally free – love, laughter, relationships, and working on our passions. Do not fall into the silly pit of believing that with a slimmer figure, a higher salary, a boyfriend, a faster car, or a bigger house, you will be happier. The world is full of things and people that will serve as daily reminders that you don’t have the best of the best. Someone will always be prettier, healthier, skinnier and richer, but they'll never be you. The opposite is also true. It's important to live the life you’ve been blessed with, and be thankful

We all have struggles, and there are times when I would love to go shopping and forget about said struggles, but lets face it, shoes don't cure cancer and jeans are not fulfilling- relationships are. Relationships with ourselves and others. For it's the struggles that create these relationship bonds, make us individuals, connect us to our spiritual begins, and light the path of our soul-mission.

Protect your goddess heart from things and people that try to convince you that your life is not good enough.  There will always be bigger, faster, stronger, or shinier – but you’ll never be satisfied with more until you’re fulfilled with what you have now! If you focus on what you don't have, that's how it will remain. You are able to manifest your destiny. Be grateful for the things you have and they will stay in abundance.

Be conscious and grateful for the progress you've made. Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Focus on winning and not on winners. Success is a battle between you and yourself, jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings, and as I've said before, comparison is the thief of joy.

You may not understand everything the moment it happens, and life can be really brutal.  It's important to reflect back on those negative "curveballs" thrown at you. You’ll often see that eventually it was those curveballs that led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile! Be grateful for those less than fortunate circumstances and note the growth you've made.

No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you don't have, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing. The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves. Live in the moment and be grateful!

The grass is not greener on the other side- it's greener where you water it. 

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Friday, March 28, 2014

friday favorites

True Food Kitchen
 Oh my goodness, holy yum! I can hardly stand the fact that Santa Barbara doesn't have a True Food. I'm mildly disappointed I only ate here once while being in Scottsdale. Kale and sweet potato hash? All day please!

Mandalynn Swimwear
If you know me then you know I live in swimsuits. They are my weakness and by far my one true addiction. I pretty much never have an issue justifying a new swimmy purchase. Mandalynn Swimwear made this purchase real simple by creating this cutie reversible. 2-in-1. Bingo!  My favorite swimsuit shop is iShine365. Go check them out!

Rapid Lash
 Initially chemo let me hold onto my eyelashes and eyebrows.  Unfortunately as treatments continued I lost both.  Naturally I was going to buy latisse as I've heard so many positive things about it. However, Rapid Lash was recommended to me by another cancer patient so I took their word for it and made the purchase. Now, I can't say if latisse works, or not, but I can ecstatically vouch for Rapid Lash! I used it on both my eyelashes and eyebrows and both are back! My eyelashes are still a bit thin, but they're so so sooo long. I've been using less than the recommended dosage and only for about a month. I'm beyoned thrilled with the results and the bottle is still half full.  If my testimony isn't enough, also take into considersaion its half the price of latisse! I don't know why everyone isn't doing it. We all deserve luscious lashes!

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