+2 months

Hello everyone! It has been a long time since I’ve posted, but I’ve been busy getting back to a normal life!  

Today was my first 2 month follow up.  I will see Dr. Yacoub every 2 months for the next 2 years.  I have to get my port flushed in the months that I don’t see the Dr.  You would think that I would be used to this thing by now but I still hate it just as much as I did on day 1.  I can’t wait to have it taken out in a couple of years!  My check up went great! My exam was normal and labs were too! I have my next scan in February. After 2 years of remission it will be considered a cure.  

Life has been extremely busy but we are enjoying every minute.  Brynn turned 11 months old yesterday. She finally got 2 teeth last week and decided to start taking steps on her own. She talks up a storm and keeps us laughing constantly.  It is so hard to believe that she will be 1 next month.  Her first year of life is such a blur for me, unfortunately, but I’m definitely soaking it all up now.  I can’t get enough of this little girl.   

     

  
After my initial follow up when chemo ended Justin and I took an impromptu trip to Cancun.  It was so nice to get away, relax, and eat anything I wanted since my immune system was back! We spent a lot of time in the pools, the swim up bar, and snorkeled one of the best reefs in the world.  We had a great time!

    

I’ve been back to work full time for about 7 weeks now.  It’s so great to be back on the floor and seeing all the little ones!  Some friends from work threw a party for me to celebrate being done with chemo. It was a blast and I’m so lucky to have such a great job!  

    
   
We have been enjoying the Royals and have made it to several games since treatment ended. Brynn even went to her first game. She loved it! We can wait for this week!

   
   
Justin and I are so thankful for the continued love and support from everyone. We will never be able to thank all of you enough.  This has been the craziest year that we could have ever imagined, but it couldn’t have gone any smoother considering the circumstances.  The dinners, the babysitters, the endless cards of encouragement, the prayers….we couldn’t have done this alone!

I have a lot of prayer requests this time.  Most of you probably know but my uncles Kenny and Kevin are both battling pancreatic cancer.  They are both going through chemo and could use lots of prayers!

Kala finished radiation and is in remission! Praise God!  Annie is a little over 50 days post stem cell transplant and will be starting radiation soon. She’s almost done with this horrible Hodgkins! Pray for continued remission for both of them!

A young girl at home was just told her Leukemia is back. This is her 3rd time! She does not know her treatment plan yet but she is a fighter and as stubborn as her cancer seems to be, she is stronger!

Please continue to keep all cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers in your prayers.

πŸ’œKaleigh 

What a week!

Wow!  I thought the love and support from everyone when I was diagnosed was amazing (it was), but the outpour over the last week has been unreal!!  We are completely overwhelmed with prayers, love, and well wishes.  Truly amazing!

I have been meaning to post sooner but we have been busy enjoying the week post cancer!

We went to Frontenac last weekend to see a lot of family and friends! I was extremely tired so I only lasted a couple of hours but it was great to be home!  This week Justin and I have been enjoying Brynn, and ourselves.  We went swimming Wednesday night–Brynn loved it!  Friday I had a get together with the girls from work and today we took Brynn to the Omaha Zoo.  It was a beautiful day and felt great to do something as a family!  Tomorrow Justin and I are going to the Royals game, and it’s KU night so that’s even more exciting!

   
 This is all still so surreal to me.  I can’t believe it’s finally over but I am sooooo thankful!  I have my follow up PET scan on August 28th.  We are confident that this will be clear!!  My follow up lab work is on Monday the 31st.  If my labs have recovered I will be back on the floor at work that afternoon! I can’t wait!

I have several more prayer requests like always—

My uncles Kenny and Kevin are both battling cancer. Please pray for them. 

Annie and Kala—my Hodgkin’s buddies.  Keep them in your prayers as they finish treatments!

Please keep all cancer patients in your prayers.  

Thank you once again. I will never be able to say it enough!  I will keep you all updated with my PET scan and follow ups!

Done!

It was 6 months ago Tuesday that we got the awful preliminary diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Today I can officially say I have been through several surgeries, countless appointments, scans and labs, completed 12 rounds of chemo, and I’m a survivor! 

I had a great dinner with my family and work family last night, followed by a 7am surprise from my work friends to see me off to treatment this morning.  My parents, Justin, Emily and Brynn are here with me, visitors in and out.  This is a day a I will never forget!

This journey has not been easy. I can’t thank all of my followers and prayer warriors enough for the continuous support.  If it wasn’t for such a great support system this would have been much harder that it already was. Thank you again and please keep us in your prayers! 

    
    
 

#11

Today is number 11.  I can finally say in 14 days I will be DONE!  The finish line is so close. You would think that would make each treatment easier but I am so ready to be done that it’s almost harder.  I am over it!

  
No changes with Dr. Yacoub this morning.  My labs are steadily low, but nothing unexpected.  I come back for my last treatment in 2 weeks, have a PET scan 3 weeks later then see Dr. Yacoub again. 

I am feeling really good other than constant fatigue.  I cannot get caught up!  I am still working 3-4 days each week, which I’m sure doesn’t help the fatigue, but I can’t imagine being stuck at home! 

I don’t really have much to say today other than several prayer requests! Bear with me!

Please pray for my Uncle Kevin. He should have biopsy results today but has suspected pancreatic cancer. He will be having surgery to remove part of his pancreas and the tumor. 

My friend Kala has 3 more treatments followed by a lot of radiation.  Pray for minimal side effects and a Hodgkins cure!

My friend Annie has had a rough time with her Hodgkins and is having stem cell retrieval this week.  She will eventually have a stem cell transplant which will make her very susceptible to infection. She will be in isolation and away from her sweet babies for several weeks. Pray for strength and a cure!

A great friend at work, Amy, got news of a mass on her lung last week. She will be traveling to Mayo Clinic tomorrow to have a second opinion and possible removal of that area of the lung. Pray for safe travels, benign pathology, and a successful surgery. 

I never thought I’d be requesting so many “cancer” prayers. While you are praying, pray for strength and comfort for everyone!  This disease is so ugly and affects not only us patients, but everyone around us.  

Lastly, my best friend Cortnee got married last summer. I was a bridesmaid, and one of her groomsmen, Chris, was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins about a week later.  He was totally cured.  On Sept. 18 there is the 5k for Leukemia and Lymphoma –Light the Night in Overland Park.  Chris and I have a team and would love for everyone to come walk with us! 

Sail Strong!

Kaleigh

#10

Today is chemo #10!  Just 2 more to go after this one, thank goodness!  I am more than ready to be done with this and back to a normal life!

  
My appt. with Dr. Yacoub went well this morning.  No big changes!  My labs are consistently low, but we don’t expect any different.  I will have a PET scan 3 weeks after my last treatment.

I found out today that I get to go back to patient care on September 8th!  I can’t wait to be back on the floor!  I have been so lucky to be able to keep working through all of this, but phone triage is starting to make me go a little crazy!  I’m ready to get back to the newborns, and of course lacerations and foreign bodies in kiddos noses and ears! 😜 

We went to Frontenac for the 4th.  We had a great weekend with my parents, niece Kayler and lots of friends. Brynn loved being outside all weekend. 

Brynn has kept us on our toes lately. She is crawling everywhere and has started to pull herself up on furniture. She waves, has a fake cough, and said Mama this week! 😊 She is so much fun! 

   
   
Pretty boring post, but no news is good news! In 4 weeks I will be done with treatment and moving on! Sail Strong!

Not my typical post…

Warning—sappy, deep, not your typical Kaleigh blog alert!

I’m laying here awake tonight.  The steroids I get with chemo make me have a really hard time sleeping.  My mind is racing, of course, and I start think about the past 7 months.  I’m finally in the acceptance stage with my diagnosis and have a lot to share.

I’m laying here looking at the video monitor of the most precious little girl sound asleep, and listening to her daddy sleep  next to me.  Had anyone told me what I was about endure after giving birth to Brynn I would have never believed it. 

 Brynn is 7 months old today.  She was the most perfect baby from the very beginning, even sleeping through the night starting at 5 weeks.  When Brynn was 10 weeks old our whole, perfect,  world turned upside down.  (I know many of you have followed my blog from the beginning—I’m just usually not an emotional or such a deep writer).   Why me?  I asked myself that over and over. I had 2 heart surgeries, one of which was 9 hours long, awake, to have this baby.  We had no idea if the 2nd surgery would be successful, but the 50/50 shot was worth it to find out.   15 months later I found out I was pregnant, and 9 months later Brynn Beckman (after the heart surgeon) made her appearance.  I have this baby and now  I have cancer?  What next? Again, why me?  I am supposed to raise this little girl–will I even be here to see that? Is Justin going to be a single dad?

Now here I am with a 7 month old baby, and I’ve been fighting Lymphoma for the past 4 1/2 months. Justin and I had a pretty deep conversation about how this has changed our lives this week…and I realized I no longer ask “why me?”.  One of my best friends and I had a conversation as well.  We were debating if God gave me cancer.  I don’t think God gave me cancer, but I do think he played the #1 role in the timeliness of it.  I had my surgery, we moved to Spring Hill (35 minutes away from a world recognized cancer institute), I got pregnant and had Brynn, then got my diagnosis. I had cancer while I was pregnant, but I believe God made sure I did not find out until after I had her, and until I was settled with my newborn.  He made sure I was stable enough to take on this battle. 

This has not been easy, not one bit…but it has strengthened my marriage, my friendships, my family, my faith in God and prayer, and myself as a mother.  Cancer has made me stronger!  This is exactly why I don’t ask “why me” anymore. There are about 10 days every month where I am too weak and tired to even feed Brynn. I feel so guilty on those days that I’m sick because she is changing daily and I feel like I’m missing out.  That makes those days that I do feel good so much more meaningful with her. Cancer has made me appreciate all of the little things that I may have looked over before. 

After my 4th chemo, I had my clean PET scan.  My Dr. told us that was day 1 of the rest of my life.  He couldn’t have been more right.  I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew then that I would be around for my husband, to raise my daughter, and for my family and friends.  Acceptance. 

 Being in healthcare for the last 8 years, I have witnessed the worst of the worst, and the best at the same time. I know several people, children to elderly, first hand that are fighting for their lives right now.  If there is anything I’ve learned, it is that positivity, perseverance and strength are the 3 things that have gotten me this far, besides my family, friends and prayer.   I realize how deep and personal this blog has gotten but I hope to be a voice for other patients, and be a role model.   It is ok to ask “why me?”.  Everyone grieves. With that question you ask yourself though, think about everything else you have to live and fight for. I hope everyone is able to accept the hand they’ve been dealt and keep looking forward the way I have.  There is no doubt my attitude and positivity have helped me get this far.  I hope, whatever the situation may be, that others are able to get past the “why me” stage and look at all of the good in life.   Today was chemo  #9, so I shared a picture of Justin and I flashing 9’s on Dylan Meier’s Get Busy Livin’ page.  Dylan was a young man from my home town who passed away tragically but had a goal to change the world, and is still changing it even though he is gone.  His brother Kerry sent me a message thanking me today and he said “when you only believe and see the good, what can be bad?”  This is so true!  Everything happens for a reason, it just may take time to figure that reason out.  Keep looking at the good!

Ok, ok, I’m crying, you’re probably crying…but this spoke right from my heart tonight and I just wanted to share.  Thank you all for your continued support. The outpouring is truly amazing. 6 more weeks and I’m officially done with chemo and moving on! Love you all!  Sail strong! 

#9….75% done!

Today is #9/12.  I am having treatment today instead of my usual Thursday because Dr. Yacoub will be out of town tomorrow.  Not a whole lot to update on this week! 

  It’s so crazy seeing my schedule of future appointments and knowing that my last chemo is only 3 away!  What a crazy 6 months!

Today we discussed future plans with Dr. Yacoub. I will have a PET scan after my final treatment.  After that I will see him every 2 months for 2 years.  I also have to keep my port for that 2 years. πŸ‘ŽπŸ»πŸ˜  We discussed the possibility of us having more children, and if this was a concern of bringing the lymphoma back.  Luckily there is no correlation with Lymphoma and pregnancy, and there is no hormone involvement with Lymphoma.  Dr. Y does not think there will be any issues with having another baby, but we have to wait that additional 2 years before thinking about it.  Everyone’s goal is to make sure the cancer stays away and that my body recovers fully. 

After my med changes last treatment I have done pretty well.  Very rare stomach aches….just super tired like always!  My hair is still falling out in areas, but the hair I have left is growing so it is a mess! πŸ˜†

Brynn has been so much fun lately. She’s mobile now so we can’t take our eyes off of her for 1 second. She is loving food (hates baby food).  So far some of her favorites are waffles and lasagna 😊.  We spent last weekend with our parents for Father’s Day.  We had a great lunch in Princeton at the Iron with Justin’s parents.  Justin has been busy with mowing hay so his mom played with Brynn all day Saturday.  Sunday we went to Frontenac.  We got to take Brynn swimming for the first time and she LOVED it!  She had a blast.  That night we had one of my favorite meals with the Brown’s, Merando’s, and Papa Don and Mimi Patty.  Overall the last couple of weeks have been really good!

   
   

Please keep several friends in your prayers!  My friend Annie started her new treatment for Hodgkins. She has a long road ahead of her but she will come out on top!  Kala is a treatment behind me and hanging in there like a champ!  Another friend, Ashley just found out her PET was clean!  God is so good!

Pray that this treatment has minimal side effects again!   My goal is to be back to work on Monday! πŸ™‚

Sail Strong!