Cameron and Kacey

Cameron and Kacey
My Beautiful Angels

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dear Cancer....I am stronger than you....Game OVER!!!

This blog is just one of the first steps in my battle against cancer for the third time. I figured it may help me emotionally to be able to post my progress in this fight and to keep my family and friends informed of what is going on.



My first battle began in March of 1998 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 27. I felt a "lump" in my neck, that a year prior they told me was mono and never really went away. I had the lymph node removed and it was positively diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. I underwent weeks of radiation therapy from my diaphragm up to my ears. My throat got so sore that I was unable eat or drink. As I finally finished treatments, I was then admitted to the hospital because my digestive system was shutting down and I had lost 30 lbs. in less than 2 weeks. The doctors finally decided to insert an NG tube through my nose to feed me nutrients. Within 24 hours, I was a new person. The tube was a removed a week later and I finally began my recovery.



In November of 2005, I had what I thought was a canker sore or "ulcer" on the right side of my tongue. After visiting the dentist, it was decided to wait until after Kacey was born in December to further any decisions. In March of 2006, I had my first biopsy of the spot on my tongue. It came back with "abnormal" cells, but nothing cancerous. The sore did not heal and I then returned to the oral surgeon for another biopsy. After much convincing, he finally did another biopsy, telling me all along "that if I was his sister he would say that everything was okay and not to worry about it." Glad I was NOT his sister and demanded that he did another biopsy because this one came back positive for Squamous Call Carcinoma. I had surgery in April of '06 to remove a portion of my tongue, where the "host" tumor was, and 17 lymph nodes on the right side of my neck, one of which was positive for squamous cell. After almost 8 weeks recovery, I began external radiation to my tongue and neck. This went on for 23 treatments. I had a G-Tube placed into my stomach because my throat got too sore to eat and I did not want to get too weak that I would not be able to continue treatments like with my Hodgkin's treatments. After a few weeks of recovery, I had surgery again to place 10 catheters up through my chin and into my tongue. Small radioactive capsules were then threaded into these catheters where I was placed in isolation for 4 days to receive high doses of radiation internally into my tongue. Most people would have enjoyed four days of isolation, away from work and the kids, but keep in mind I had a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old at home. This was no vacation. I finally recovered from this treatment and returned to work in October of 2006.



I have been "cancer-free" for almost 4 years, when I felt another "lump" above my collar bone on the right side of my neck in February of this year. After 2 weeks of "waiting" to see if it was just an over-reactive lymph node, I went to the doctor, who was convinced it was nothing more than a reactive lymph node or an infection. Boy was he surprised when I had a CT scan that saw a suspicious mass and a needle biopspy that confirmed that is was again squamous cell.



This fight has already began to prove that it is going to be "different" than the others. Unfortunately, it seems that the tumor has attached itself to my carotid artery. After many appointments with my oncologists, head/neck surgeon, and vascular surgeon, it has been decided that it is my best option to remove the tumor and a section of my carotid artery on the right side and hopefully bypass the carotid so I do not lose the blood flow completely. As risky as this surgery is, it is my only choice to rid my body of the cancer and "cure" me, not just prolong my life. And with two beautiful angels at home that need their Mommy, I must chose the best option for a long life with them.



I do not have a surgery date yet and have to have many pre-op tests done before the surgery can take place. I am hoping to hear from the doctors this week to begin the scheduling of those tests so I can get this surgery behind me and continue moving forward. After a 4-6 week recovery period after the surgery, I will begin a 5-6 week period of external radiation and probably a low-dose chemotherapy once a week to increase the effectiveness of the radiation.



I am holding my head high and trying to live each day with a smile on my face. I am scared, as you can imagine, but I know what I have to do and want to prove to myself and everyone else that I can beat this damn disease once and for all...or is that thrice and for all!?!?



Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers....

I am a FIGHTER and I will SURVIVE!!!!

22 comments:

  1. You are definitely a fighter and one of the STRONGEST people that I know! You will get through this once again...just sucks that you have to. We love you so very much and are here for you EVERY step of the way!!! Jen and fam!! xoxoxox

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  2. You are our HERO, Kris! We do not understand why you have to fight this damn disease again...but we know you will! And we will help you in every way we can! We're so very proud of you, honey!
    Love you very much,
    Mom and Dad

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  3. You're a special young lady and will beat this damn disease again....I know you will!! Love you so very much. Truly not fair that you even HAVE to face this again.....kick it's ass!!!! Hugs!!!

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  4. You are an amazing woman and I know you WILL beat this horrible disease again. You are stronger than any person I know. We all love you and are praying for you!

    Love always,
    Kristen

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  5. Sister....
    who rocks it harder than you? That would be NO ONE! You are my hero, and you will pull through. I love you and glad you are a part of my life.
    and oh by the way...KICK ITS ASS!
    xoxo
    Laurie

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  6. Have we told you lately that we love you? You will beat this. There is no other option. You are stronger!

    Love you - Jenn & Dave

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  7. We're thinking of you in this battle Kris, and will be have a place in our hearts for you at our upcoming Relay for Life in Byron Center, Michigan!!

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  8. If there is one positive thing that cancer has done, it has made you tough as nails.

    I am so inspired by your ability to stay positive through all of this - every time. Kacey and Cameron are so lucky to have a mom who can endure all that you've gone through and have the strength to love them and keep fighting!

    Remember in high school, when we would get back from an away game, and kids in the foyer would say "Did we win?" We used to say "Yes, WE won." It was our game, not theirs.

    And, this is your fight to fight. We can't fight it for you (wish we could!). But know that we are all cheering you on. And, we'll carry your equipment, bring water bottles, whatever you need. (Hell, I'd pull a Tonya Harding if it means you'll beat this damn disease for good.)

    Know that I've never wanted ANYONE to win ANYTHING more than this, honey.

    I love you, and I'm here for you, and I'll likely be the longest-winded commenter on the planet until you are back to good health.

    Stay strong, and get your game face on, girl.
    M

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  9. You are a fighter Kris, and we are pulling for you here in W'boro.

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  10. Kris You are an amazing woman. Cancer doesn't know who it is dealing with. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you show this cancer that you are in charge.
    Love, Janice Peluso and all the Pelusos

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  11. Kristine-You are so wonderful and such a good mother that this should not be happening again. We know how hard you will fight this and we're sure you will beat this again. We are always here for you whenever you need us-just call. Love,Hugs,Kisses,&Prayers, Ma & Pa Fritts

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  12. I can really relate to you and your family, Kris, since Red went through similar circumstances 7 years ago. He was diagnosed with throst cancer, had a tonsil and 12 lymph nodes removed. He underwent 6 weeks of chemo and radiation and the damage done to his vocal chords, saliva production and neck cannot ever be recovered. We have been very lucky that he has not had a recurrence.

    Please know that you are in our prayers and that you do have a large "family" of supporters out there.

    Be strong!!

    Judi and Red

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  13. Hi, Kris :)

    Just wanted to say we're down here rootin' for you too! Go get 'em, sweetie, and take no prisoners!!

    Karyn (long-time friend of your mom's)

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  14. Dear Kris,
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. But I need a favor; please pray for my friend Faith who is battling colon cancer at Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME. And thank God that you live near Boston and will have the best medical care. I'm praying that you get a full recovery!
    In Jesus Name!!!

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  15. Kris,
    Your story is amazing; thank you for sharing it! Thank goodness you were an athlete and learned from a young age that fighting to win is what it is all about! No doubt it has helped you! May your fighting spirit and the strength of your two beautiful children kick this diseases ass and bring this fight to an end once and for all! Best of luck to you over the coming, days, weeks, months and may you make a full recovery as quickly as possible! ~ Colleen

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  16. Kris,

    We were floored to hear the news that you were going to be fighting another battle. But we are confident in you that you WILL beat this thing again! Take good care, and we will see you at the Relay! -Holly, Steve & Skyler

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  17. Hi DIL No. 1 We know you will win again, just like the last two times. It will take awhile but you have a wonderful support team and they will be with you all the way. We thought about you last week when Cameron and Kacey were here for a "sleepover." Cameron was helping me build a new gate for the fence while Kacey was planting flowers with Grandma along the front walk. All of a sudden Cameron stood up and said, "Grandpa. We are having a splendid time today." Where does he come up with these comments? Grandma and I could not stop laughing. And both of them are great with a hammer. So, we look forward to having them here often, and for as long as it takes. And all of us can relax and party at the Cape when you feel like it. The hot tub is always open and the pool will be soon. We can't wait for you to show us how they can swim and splash around. Luv Ya. PF

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  18. Words from Maya Angelou:

    ‘I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.’

    ‘I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.’ (add cancer here too because if that doesn’t tell a lot about you, I don’t know what does)

    ‘I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.’ You know that most of all.

    ‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back…’ throw back that cancer – we’ll help.

    I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back………. We are all reaching out to touch you, to raise you up and to help you beat this horrific disease.

    I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. With all our combined words and actions of support we will see you through this difficult time.

    To a strong, caring, wonderful woman, mother, friend, sister, cousin, niece, and human being. You are truly my hero…..You go girl and beat the hell outta this cancer.

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  19. all i can say is i love you!! you had me when decided to room with the stranger at volleyball camp so long ago. and that stranger who clapped her freakin feet to Whitesnake! Although time has passed since we have seen each other, you will always hold a special place in my life and in my heart. know that i am just an email away!
    Like we used to do on the volleyball court..."KICK ITS ASS" and don't get bit by a bat in the process!
    hope this put a smile on your face as clearly that was my intent as you giggled so long ago at me!
    love and stuff,
    good vibes and licks from buca pie.
    Laurie

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  20. Wendy (Lamontagne) CampbellMay 5, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Kris, you have an amazing story of strength and courage and there is no doubt it will continue for a long time to come. You are an admirable and inspiring person, stay strong and know that you have many people thinking of you and sending you positive thoughts throughout this fight!

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  21. Kris, I know this has been a very difficult mountain to climb and you just keep climbing. Each day I pray it will get a little easier for you. The love and support are here for you - pushing you onward. Hugs & prayers.

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