Where have I been and what have I been doing since my last post? Well, that is an interesting question.
Then biggest thing that has occupied my time, thoughts, prayers, and energies for the last 4 months has been my Mom and her diagnosis with stage 3C Ovarian Cancer at the end of August. To say that life has been kind of hectic and whirlwind like would be an understatement. For those who may not be aware of this until now, here is a brief synopsis:
1. Mom not feeling to well during vacation in Seattle in August.
2. Meets with MD day after return to Houston around Aug 16.
3. Labs and ultrasound are ordered which ultimately showed a tumor/growth on the ovary and CA-125 of 512
4. Several doctor visits, tests, lab work etc over next week or so including gynecology oncologist who let us know in no uncertain terms that surgery would be necessary and a cancer diagnosis likely
5. Mom underwent 6.5 hours of surgery on September 1, 2010---which happened to be the first day of Ovarian Cancer awareness month. The color for Ovarian cancer is teal.
6. Mom spent about 3 days in ICU, then about 3 days on regular floor before coming home about 7 days after surgery. Let me just say that my Mom is an amazing woman and always has been, but she astounded her doctors at how well she responded after surgery and her speedy recovery from anesthesia and other effects.
7. Once Mom got home the flood of Bingham girls began (for which we will be eternally grateful): the first week Mom was home saw the arrival of Tobi from Malaysia, Tami from California, and Vicki from Oregon. They cooked, cleaned, laughed, cried and were such a blessing to Mom and to us during those miserable days of recovering from surgery. I am so grateful to live so close and have been over there almost on a daily basis keeping tabs on Mom and her progress as well as visit with each of her sweet Angel Sisters.
8. While still in the throws of surgery recovery and a general malaise: Mom started her first round of chemotherapy on Oct 5, 2010, just about a month after her surgery. The first round of chemo was brutal as surgery was still so recent, but we had Tami and then Penny around to help which was so great. Unfortunately Mom caught a cold after the first round and it took her white blood cell counts a while to rebound.
9. Mom is on a 21 day schedule for chemo and her sisters have been here every step of the way. Her second round of chemo was delayed about 2 weeks, but thanks to Neulasta (a very expensive shot to boost white blood cells), Mom's counts rebounded and she was ready for chemo finally November 5. Thanks to southwest airlines and their no change fee flexibility, Aunt Vicki arrived shortly after and was able to stay and help Mom recover. I think in the end she changed her flight 3 times due to the changes in chemo scheduling. The second round recovery was much smoother aside from aches and pains in the joints until Mom was hit with a flu bug. After recovering from that she has felt great.
10. After Aunt Vicki left, Aunt Tami returned to help with the 3rd round of chemo which happened on Nov. 30, 2010. She did really well after the 3rd round and is still feeling pretty good, getting closer to "back to normal". Nothing really keeps Mom down not even Cancer, that is just the way she is and it is an inspiration to us all.
11. Mom had her 4th round of chemo on Dec 20 2010, and felt really good throughout the holidays. She continues to feel good and her counts continue to go down. At last check her CA 125 was 15, anything under 30 is considered normal and she is still feeling great and getting back to doing some of the things she usually does, she had been driving, running errands, cooking, etc. I still check in with her all the time and am over there almost daily and I am so glad to be close and support Mom during this time.
12. Mom lost her hair after the first round of chemo and sports some very cute hats and wigs. She is as beautiful as ever and has managed to lose those nagging pounds that never seem to go away, but I am sure Mom would not suggest Cancer or the subsequent treatments as a great weight loss technique.
13. My sister Jamie and her baby Owen were able to come out and see Mom in November along with Catherine my 8 year old niece so that was fun. Then in December my Aunt Terri came so it has been so wonderful for all my Mom's sisters to be able to come and serve her and us and we are so grateful, we are also grateful for the countless friends and strangers who have offered prayers and support during this time to Mom and our family.
I apologize for the wordiness and layout of this update but it is as much for me as it is for you. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and for the power of prayer and I know that it works especially at times like this when there is little else that we can do. I love my Mom and have so appreciated her positive spirit and outlook throughout all this fun. I am also thankful for the power of the priesthood and know that miracles do happen and I have seen them time and time again during this whole process. Life goes on but it also makes us stronger through the trials that come our way. We are on the downhill slide of all this and look forward to life returning to life instead of the something like it that has been going on.