Tomorrow will be the last radiation treatment! I feel like this has been a long 10 treatment journey and we should celebrate making it to the end! I wish I could be at the hospital with Jennifer tomorrow, this will be the only treatment I will miss. BUT as long as everything goes ok tomorrow, she will be discharged on Thursday. She will also have her immunotherapy on Thursday.
She is unable to walk, as of now. We are working with physical therapy to help try and build some of her muscle control and strength. Her left side is so weak her left leg looks like there is no muscle left. Her left arm is better than the leg, but it is still weak. I am going to talk with her physical therapist today to see what kind of exercises we can do at home.
When I look at the current situation we are in, I can see how this is the point when patience can either give up or push through. I would never pretend to understand the position Jennifer is in or how she feels about all of this, what I can say is I have a natural ability and desire to always push and push and push. I am always a “can do” person, no matter the odds. My goal is to try and influence Jennifer to take this same attitude.
If it take 45 minutes for her to slowly move in or out of bed, so be it. If it take an hour to get outside, that is fine. As long as we constant look to moving one foot in front of the other and we focus on today, not the total road ahead of us. I think we will make it!
Since Jennifer’s diagnosis, she has become very passionate about raising awareness for cancer’s that don’t get as much attention as breast cancer. All women know about breast cancer self exams and the importance of mammograms but not everyone knows the warning signs of melanoma or brain cancer.
As the days and weeks have gone on, Jennifer and I have had time to think about what we could do, how her story, her struggle, and the lessons our family is learning could be used in a way to help others. We are currently working on starting an awareness group that focuses on all forms of cancer, and the metastatic dangers.
A diagnosis of cancer is a life changing experience for anyone. When a cancer patient is told their cancer has metastasized, the news is devastating. The flood of emotions and fear become overwhelming for the patient and their loved ones. We have learned this first hand. Jennifer and I are dedicated to building an awareness groups that 1. focuses on giving hope to cancer patients who are fighting the battle of metastasized cancer 2. education the general public about the warning signs of all cancers, and 3. offering the tools, information, and resource our family has collected during our journey in battling cancer. We are hoping to be able to specific reach out to cancer patients with limited financial means. The struggle to beat cancer is hard enough, when money is also a problem the fear and hopelessness only grows.
This project is in its early stages and there is more information to come!
Today is Jennifer’s last full brain radiation treatment. At this point, she can not have any more full brain treatments. 10 is the max, anything higher than 10 can cause brain damage. So, now we have to wait for 3 weeks for her next MRI. The 3 week waiting period is given because the brain may need up to three weeks to fully shrink the lesions.
In the meantime, she is seeing Dr. Diaz. He is in charge of trying to correct and remove the melanoma cancer, in her breast. Dr. Diaz is starting her on a pill form of chemotherapy and a newly approved medication that will specifically target the mutated gene that has been the culprit behind the cancer she now has. Knowing this mutated gene is the cause of the cancers has given us hope because there is a way to try and stop it. We are not sure how these two medications will affect Jennifer on a daily basis. For now, we know that the next three weeks are a waiting game, and a new step in this process.
The cost of medication, treatments, and home healthcare are beginning to worry all of us. I have made a promise to Jennifer, she will not suffer or lose this battle because she does not have money to pay for any form of treatment, whether that is pill form or anything else.
Please keep Jennifer in your prayers. She needs them!
Treatment number 5 was this morning. Around 2pm, a headache started and progressively got worse to the point of excruciating pain. The light sensitivity was so bad the only way to relieve the pain was with a dark towel over her eyes. Ice seemed to help the headaches a little. We made a ice hat for her head. The headache was coming in waves and simultaneously shooting pain down her arms. She became very confused and at one point could not decipher her daughter Natalie from Michelle. At that point, we decided it would be best to take her back to St. Anthony’s ER.
A new CAT Scan was done and waiting for the results was an eternity. We were very worried this new CAT Scan would should something worse. Every test result we received prior this this one was always worse than the last. So we felt the odds were against us in everything. Luckily, this scan showed no new damage or brain bleed. This result was the best we could hope for! So, the headache has to have been a reaction to the radiation, hormonal changes or something along that line.
We are hoping she can stay in the hospital until her Monday treatment. That way we can see how her body reacts to treatment #6. We are more prepared now and we understand the extreme importance in having pain medication on hand and ready for any side effect pain she may experience.
The worst part of all is the fear of the unknown. Of course, it is a worse fear for Jennifer but it is weighting on all of us.