Monday, November 28, 2011

Spotlight Supporters

I am Becky and Marc is my brother. In our family my mom had 5 girls in a row and then the 3 boys. Janette was the first “sister” that was brought into our crazy group of girls and she has weathered that storm quite well. We love her like she has been with us all along. One thing we noticed right off about Janette is that she is a planner. They plan everything. From the moment they laid eyes on each other they planned to be together forever and ever. We have been so proud of them as they picked up their family and moved across the U.S. to Alabama to attend Pharmacy school. As long as they had each other they could do anything. And Janette is a HUGE support to Marc as he is finishing Pharmacy school right now as we speak. Well, the plan was to move back to Utah in December! We were all so excited and so proud! They needed to dust themselves off from 4 years of super hard work of being a full-time student and a full-time stay-at-home mom. How did they do it you ask? Student loans. And they planned those out to the last dollar too. They would live with Jan’s parents and Marc could finally start to earn some money for his family. Well – they didn’t plan cancer. It has changed their whole plan. The saying that bad things happen to good people could not be more true. They are staying in Alabama for treatment – it is the best thing for them. The friends that surround them in Alabama are the greatest blessing that we could ask for. There is so much that I want to do for them but distance keeps us from doing it. I truly believe that Alabama feels the aching of our hearts – and they are our hands. There are so many people who have asked what they can do to help. What we hope to do for them is to donate money so they can afford to stay in their apartment that is close to the hospital, pay the utilities and finish up the last weeks of his schooling. I know that Marc and Janette would never ask for this, but me being his sister, I know what their worries are. My prayers would be answered if they don’t have to waste one ounce of worry on whether the bills are paid. We just want them to be able to focus on getting Janette well and continue living together forever and ever.
That’s the plan.

Thank you all for supporting our family. They deserve it.


Medical update!!

Well, I got a new doctor today (they work 2weeks on and 2 off) and when he came in the first thing he asked was if I was still in high school. Awesome. You should have seen his face when I told him I was 27with two kids!!! So, after he got over his shock he was very impressed with how well I am doing! My ANC is up to 30 today (it has been hanging at zero for 5 days!) which means I'm beginnings to build immunity again! They are doing a bone marrow test tomorrow morning so by Wednsday we should know if the chemo worked! They said that with how well I'm doing they see no reason why I shouldnt be home by the 9th for Conners Christmas program! Thank you for all your prayers everyone!!!! -by the way, I still have my hair! Maybe I will get another miracle and it will stay awhile longer!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amazing Women

I have to say a special thank you to my mom and my sister Teresa! They are amazing! They spent hundreds of dollars to fly to my house and: take care of my children, clean my house, do my laundry, cook my families meals, keep me from going crazy, massage my back and brush my hair when I don't feel good, read to me, uplift and encourage me, decorate my hospital room, and many more things I'm not even aware of! They are amazing and I love them so much!

Spotlight supporters

Kristy's story

At the age of 27, I was pregnant with my 2nd boy, Aaron. I had another son, Ammon who was almost 2 years old.
About 4 months into my pregnancy, I noticed a lump.  I didn't think much of it.  I had breastfed my first boy, Ammon, for 15 months and was used to getting clogged milk ducts.  I also lactated a little while pregnant, so I naturally figured it was a clogged milk duct.
After several months of trying to make it go away, it was still there.
So I thought I'd talk to my OBGYN the next time I was in for an appointment, since I was pregnant, I saw him often.
I kept forgetting to talk to him about it!
6 weeks before I had Aaron, my husband lost his job - and I talked to my OBGYN (who sent me to a radiologist - my doctor and I were both convinced it was just a clogged milk duct).
4 weeks before Aaron was born, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Me, age 27.  WHAT?!  Major shock.
I started consulting with oncologists, surgeons, rad oncs, lymphatic people, grief counselors, etc.
We all decided that I would wait to have the baby before we would do any treatment to my body.
That was an interesting month - waiting for the baby.
My cancer doubled in size in that month and spread to a lymph node.
I had Aaron by C section on August 4th.  I was so DETERMINED to breast feed - because I believed in it so much.  I even found a breast surgeon who agreed to cut into me while breast feeding - because no one else would do it.  He just warned me that I would have infections.  And I decided it was worth it.
Aaron came out slightly tongue-tied.  Which meant he had a hard time latching on to feed and breast feeding became a nightmare.  After 4 days, I decided I would dry up before I went into surgery.  The hospital offered free formula to us as long as we needed it.
It was a sign.
I had originally scheduled my lumpectomy 6 days after my C section, but after deciding to dry up, I rescheduled to August 21st.  17 days after giving birth to Aaron.
I had the lumpectomy, and axillary dissection.  My husband and I were fighting day and night and were on the verge of divorce.  He refused to work - and he expected me to keep working!
So I did.
I took a maternity leave.  Started Chemo in September and went back to work November 1st while still undergoing chemo.
I did 16 weeks of a dose dense regimen.
Then went into Radiation for 5 weeks.
By the time I was done with radiation, my husband had gotten a job and then got fired (again).  And I kicked him out.
And then I began raising my boys by myself.
I realized that I can do anything if I put my mind to it - even working on top of a newborn and chemo.
"Why should we mourn, or think our lot is hard?  'Tis not so, all is right.  Why should we think to earn a great reward, if we now shun the fight.  Gird up your loins, fresh courage take, our God will never us forsake..."
I want you to know that I know that God lives.  And through our trials, we can become closer to Him.  It was an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a cancer patient.  Life is so precious.  I felt others beyond the veil pulling for me and helping me when I was so absolutely exhausted.  I am so grateful for having cancer.  I was blessed beyond measure and it changed me into a better person.
And yes, I was tested and I have the BRCA1 mutation.  I have had 6 other family members with breast cancer.  I should have seen it coming, but you just don't think anyone gets cancer in their 20s.

Love Kristy

Saturday, November 26, 2011


It was definitely non-traditional, but even more special because of the effort it took! We celebrated on Wednesday because the doctors predicted I would "crash and burn" by the end of the week. (which I haven't! I'm just VERY tired!) we ate dinner provided by publics by an anonymous donor (thank you whoever you are :) it even had traditional southern cornbread stuffing!! We ate in the cancer units family room, which took a lot of cleaning for the nurses to allow me to go in without a mask on! I am very blessed to have so many people who love me and made it possible!

Thanksgiving at the Hospital

All that matters is we were all together!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The other night the nurse came by around 3:30am to draw some blood. I sat up groggily when I noticed something small and dark moving in my blankets! I began to throw my blankets on the floor while screaming "cockroach, cockroach!!!". The nurse waited calmly until all the blankets were on the floor then calmly said "honey, it's just the cap on your IV tube." needless to say the next nurse to come in was snickering a bit!!

The Diagnosis

One evening in July I was laying in bed with a headache (which at the time was unusual for me) I was massaging the back of my head when I noticed a marble size lump on the back of my neck. It wasn't an innocent fatty tissue lump, more of a solid attached lump, but I put it out of my head. Two months later the headaches were becoming more frequent and I began needing about 10 hrs of sleep a day to function. So I decided to finally go to the doctor. She ran blood tests (including mono) then scheduled me for a CAT scan, and chest X-rays. Everything came back clear! Such a relief! I was told to go home, rest and wait for the "virus" to take its course. However over the next few weeks I became more fatigued, had daily headaches, my gums were swollen and red, and I felt like I had a perpetual flu. The night that I broke down to Marc and asked if this was just going to be my new "normal" was when I finally started to get some answers. That night I got a sudden localized headache on the back of my scull that seemed to be swelling and tender. No amount of pain medication even took the edge off! By morning I was pacing the house in tears asking Marc to take me to the ER. We quickly dropped the boys off at a friends and headed in! The doctors suspect that the lump was another lymph node that was being smashed against my scull. After running blood tests the doctor came in and said "well, a normal white cell count is between 5-10, yours is at 66. This is very indicitive of Leukemia and we'd like to do further testing." I said "ok, what do we do next?" he looked at me with a puzzled expression and said "do you understand what I'm telling you? Your taking it very well..." I told him that yes I understood, I just wanted to get to the next step so I could get better! I was admitted that afternoon and after about 3 blood transfusions I was able to begin Chemo. I know it's not going to be an easy or short road, but I've got an amazing family, amazing friends, and God on my side and I know I'm going to be ok!
Thank you for following me in my journey!

Lots of Love, Janette