Monday, August 25, 2014

Hair Growth

Hair it is!!!

Photo Montage

Here is an (almost) wordless account of our trip to Los Angeles. 
This one is just because. It was actually taken a few days before we left. 

Leaaaaavin, on a jet plane! This is where I started to get a bit twitchy about the whole baby on a plane thing.

But it turned out, Jack loved it! 

Loungin at the hotel after the taping. 

Enjoying room service. 

We rode the bus to Santa Monica. It took F O R E V E R, and on the way back, Jack peed on me! 

How I feel about baby pee. How Jack feels about the bus, generally. 

Mama! Turn the beat up! This was on the way home- before the babypocalypse.





So, sorry to underwhelm you with all those pics. I really did not take that many. My phone was pretty much dying the whole time, and every time I turned around Jim was like LOOK! Look!  So I couldn't be messin with snapping photos. I have a SHIT TON of pics of the Hollywood stars outside our hotel.




All the daddies were snapping photos of the Chuck Norris star. Leave me your best Chuck Norris Joke in the comments!

We stayed at The Hotel Roosevelt, which was really cute. The food was amazing. On the last day, we had a HUGE room service credit, so we ordered a feast.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

We Are Baaaaaack

We are finally finally FINALLY home from Los Angeles. It was a whirlwind trip, punctuated by a lot of highs and lows. Traveling with a  toddler, it turns out, is fuckin' HARD.

Isn't that the understatement of the century?

Jack did really well, considering. He slept most of the second leg on the way there, and then the entire first one on the way back. The last flight, however, he turned into monster baby. I don't even want to talk about it. I can't believe my sweet angel would play me like that. Ugh. The good thing is, I think I managed to keep him on East Coast time, because he has been pretty good with sleep since we returned last night around 2 am. I guess that was "this morning." I shouldn't be blogging! I should be sleeping. See how much I love you guys?

I am still itching to tell you the news. I briefly blogged about it a few weeks ago, but removed it at the request of the TV showe I am supposed to be appearing on. I think it's ok for me to say I am going on TV, so there you have it.

We famous, bitches!

It is a strange feeling, because I have been talking about it  lot. Friends, family, even strangers. A common reaction is for people to freak out- "that's so COOL!" They get really excited then they realize that the reason it is happening is my cancer. You can see the thoughts flash across their faces as they realize they may have committed some kind of faux pas. Too bad they don't know me that well, like you guys. Ha! I will talk about anything! I am shameless! And I am pretty sure that having cancer would have happened with or without my cool trip to Los Angeles. So, I will take it.

In LA, we were like a couple of freaken Kardashians! Traveling in black cars, getting cool hotel upgrades. As it turned out, they put us in sort of a lame room. It was tiny and smelled weird. But the morning after we filmed the show (more on that later,) we met the COO in the elevator. For once, my big mouth got me out of trouble instead of into it. I made some comment about how his floor (12) was probably really nice, and how my room didn't have a view. He offered to trade with us! At first I was like um no that's ok, thinking he was some kind of weirdo. But then he said it again and Jim was like well ok, lets switch. This guy gets off the elevator and is telling the bellhop to get us a better room with a view, and he's all "ok, Mr. Blass, no problem, Mr. Blass...." Finally, I'm like, who is that? And he says, he runs the whole hotel.

Cue that Beyonce song thats all: Lemme Upgraaade Ya.

Hells, yah!

We had a good time. I am going to put this post up but go back and edit with some photos, tomorrow when I have the chance to sync my phone.

We also got to go to a Ghiardelli ice cream parlor, which was heavenly. Detox diet for real needs to start this week, because we ate so much crap.

Talk tomorrow, kittens. For now I am like:







Tuesday, August 19, 2014

LA LA LA LA LA

In less than 12 hours, Jack, Jim and I will be taking our first ever cross-country trip! We are headed to Los Angeles for a few days.

Kiiiiinda can't believe it. I wanted to take this time to thank those of you who have been following me .... before. You officially get street cred for knowing me "before I blew up." For those of you who know me, you know I am trying to be funny here. And for those of you who know Jim, you know he would deadpan about how un-funny I truly am.

A warm welcome those of you who are new here. I look forward to continuing to share my story with you. Right now, I am definitely in Act 2 of the Chemosabi Chronicles.

I have been going through some old  photos and taking a walk down memory lane for sure. So, since I need to keep certain mysterious details under wraps, I am going to entertain you with a modified throwback post. I know its Monday, so. There is no "tbt" or "wbw," by the way, I had to google the latter. Enjoy the best offerings, and wish us the best on our flight with a raucous 1 and a half year old.

Also, be sure to stay tuned a week or two, cause I have some big big big news coming, you aren't going to want to miss.

Remember this?

This was from the time we had to go to the hospital because we thought there was something up with Jack's bloodwork. I remember I was so so so scared but also, pretty mad that Jim was making me wear the mask. It must have been early in my treatment, though, because I still have hair. 


I can't remember when I posted this, but it was taken right before we headed to Graham and Nitya's wedding- when I was "in remission," and still believed it meant something. If you don't recall, they said remission, then sent my bloods to another lab and were like, siiiike! Fun times. Any-whoo


This is one of my faves. Jack looks like a funny little marionette. 


See you in a few days for updates on my big news. *Wink*



Also, I have been wrangled into creating this page for Jack by a good friend with great ideas, who could charm the pants off a naked man. Love you, biggie. If you want to contribute to Jack's college fund, so he can grow up and cure choriocarcinoma, you can use the link below.

Click to Donate to Jack's college fund



Saturday, June 21, 2014

Guest Blog- Queen V

I would like to introduce you all to a friend of mine, Virginia Miller. During the last year or so journey, I have reached out to my readers, Facebook friends, What to Expect Forum pals, and Twitter followers. The feedback has been amazing, the outpouring of support overwhelming, and I have made connections with a lot of new people and learned a ton about myself an others. But there is no where that I have received more support than on the molar pregnancy support group I belong to. Emily, Virginia, Audra, Crystal, Cristina, Irma, Bibi, Jennifer(s,) Jacinta, Injerd, and various others (because if I listed all the names, we would have a 20 page blog post.) These women are my sisters. They understand me in a way no one else quite can. I am fortunate and blessed to have them in my life. I am honored to share with you a guest blog from Virginia, whom I affectionately like to call V. Please enjoy. You can follow the link at the bottom if you want to donate to her teespring campaign. I actually placed an order for a shirt and would really like to actually have it, so if she sells 50, I will get my wish. Help me get my wish! Help V get help, too. Much love to you all, Chemosabi



My Story
By Virginia Miller

When I was 13yrs old my mom became pregnant with her 6th child. I was too young to remember any of her other pregnancies, so it was quite a surprise to me to see her little frame get taken over by her basket ball shaped belly, I watched in disgust as her belly button literally expanded and disappeared under the force of her ever growing abdomen. When my mother was far enough along for the baby's movement to be seen outside of her stomach I was horrified...it was pretty ghastly to my young, unworldly eyes....abhorred, I swore to my mother I was NEVER getting pregnant or having any kids. While everyone else ran to feel my baby sisters movement, I retreated to me room overcome with feelings of nausea and disdain. 

When my little sister was finally born, I fell instantly in love with her. We were inseparable and as she grew, so did my internal need for a child of my own. Before I knew it, I wanted a baby more than anything. I managed to have two beautiful daughters, but after 6yrs of trying for a third child, I realized, and soon accepted, that two was all I was going to get. I really wanted a son, more importantly, I knew my husband and my oldest daughter wanted me to have a son more than anything. Both my husband and I were told separately that we could no longer have children, at one point, they even thought I was going into early menopause in my late 20's. 12yrs passed, my daughters were 12 and 14yrs old, they no longer asked for toys on birthday and Christmas lists, they wanted cellphones and video games instead. They were well past the age of kisses and hugs or any public affection what so ever, my babies weren't babies anymore. Every time I walked past the toy department in our local store or saw a young mother with her newborn baby in her arms, my heart ached.

The month that I turned 32yrs old we signed the contract on our first home, it was a repossession and no one had lived in it for over a year, so to be safe we decided to bomb it for bugs, while setting one of the bombs off I accidental got a mouthful of the smoggy poison..I was nauseous for days. I never thought much of it until one day at work someone accidentally hit me in the stomach with a box...I felt the protective firmness instantly. A mother never forgets what that feels like. I knew I was pregnant.

My third daughter was born 8 months later. When she was about a year old my husband and I decided to throw caution to the wind, she needed a sibling closer to her age to grow up with, deep down I didn't believe it was possible, so imagine my surprise when 6 months later  I was staring down at a very positive pregnancy test....

I counted down the minutes to the end of my first trimester, the nausea was unbearable, usually it subsided in my second trimester. For the most part everything seemed normal, I had some brown spotting at about 6-9wks, but my doctor told me brown and light pink blood was fine, it was just my cervix stretching, no big deal. I look back now at all the signs and I wonder, why wasn't it caught?, why on my endless days of research on google did my symptoms not lead me to the answer I later found when it was too late? There was even one day when I thought I passed a small blood clot, I know now that it was actually a grape like tumor. All the signs were there....why didn't anyone catch them?

I was diagnosed with a complete molar pregnancy 15wks into my pregnancy, my symptoms were prominent at 6wks. The only reason the Molar was even caught was because I persistently went to the ER twice in one day and demanded something be done. I was reassured the bleeding was normal and sent home both times, luckily though, the second time the doctor on call decided to have me schedule an ultrasound the very next morning.

There's nothing like a ultrasound technician telling you, "I'm sorry, but there's no baby". No baby? What do you mean there's no baby?...she quickly left the room to get her supervisor while I contemplated the words "no baby"... Her supervisor swooped in annoyed at the tech for bothering her, she demanded I get back on the table and she roughly examined my "no baby"... I kept thinking she was going to find it and yell at the young tech for scaring me. She didn't. In a flood of heartless words I heard: molar pregnancy, surgery, tumors, cancer, blah, blah, blah... I shut down after that. I don't know what else she said, I didn't notice when she left the room, I barely moved when I was asked to go out into the waiting room with all the pregnant mommies while my husband and I awaited the surgeon to come and get me for a consultation, I didn't hear anything the surgeon said either. All I knew is I was having surgery in two days to remove my "no baby"...

6wks after my initial surgery I was taken into a conference room smaller then my laundry room and told that I had an extremely aggressive form of cancer, I'd contracted it from what I knew now was a complete molar pregnancy. It was caught too late, the tumors had embedded into the lining of my uterine wall, I was diagnosed with an invasive persistent mole, in cancer terms, gestational trophoblastic disease. My oncologist gave an order for me to have a PICC line placed in my arm and a single agent chemo administered to me on the very same day. Over a two month period I had constant problems with my PICC line, after it finally ended up giving me a massive blood clot in my right jugular vein, it was pulled and I was sent to have a port placed in my chest. Thanks to the blood clot I was also put on anticoagulant therapy, I had to give myself a shot in the stomach twice a day for 6months. 

After 10wks on ActD (single agent chemo), my tumor marker began to rise again and so I was taken off the ActD and placed on a stronger regimen of chemo called methotrexate. 6wks later that stopped working too. I've had a multitude of tests, I've been stabbed with a needle over 200 times, weekly, bi weekly and monthly blood draws, 5 CAT scans, 2 MRI's, 1 vascular ultrasound, 2 internal and external ultrasounds, 3-4 chest x-rays, two surgeries, 3 PICC lines, 3 visits to the emergency room, 6 months of anticoagulant therapy, 4 pelvic exams, 16wks of chemo and 1yr, 4 months and 24 days later, I'm still not cured....

Quiescent trophoblastic disease. In a nutshell, my cancer is in a semi dormant phase and has become chemo resistant. There's very little known about molar pregnancies, so you can believe me when I tell you that there is next to nothing known about the oddities that branch off of a molar pregnancy. My oncologist doesn't know what else to do, he wants to send me to a specialist in Chicago so I can have some testing done that they don't offer in other hospitals in my area. My insurance doesn't cover these tests, so I'll have to pay out of pocket for them, but I don't have much of a choice at this point, I refuse to lie down and die like a dog. If I'm going, I'm going to go fighting. 

I tell you my story today, because had there been more awareness for this disease, I wouldn't be where I am today. This was COMPLETELY preventable. We need to spread awareness, we need to scream it from the roof tops, it could mean the difference between a light surgery and where I am today. It could mean the difference between life or death for someone. I am asking for donations because I am fighting for my life. I'm asking that you reach out and help me get the tests I need to fight a cancer that is robbing my life. I would prefer that you buy a t shirt rather then just donate the money because at least then you've given this disease a voice, people will see the shirts and you will be spreading awareness. I only get a portion of the proceeds, but it's still worth it to save someone from being where I am today. Any donations are welcome though. 

I want to thank Kathleen for asking me to do a blogspot on here, she is a gifted writer and I'm blessed to have been asked to contribute in any way to her site. I met her and 3 of my other molar sisters in a support group created by Jennifer Gilbreath called Mymolarpregnancy.com.....they've all really been a really amazing support system for me, I don't know what I'd do without them.


Here is the link to the teespring campaign: http://teespring.com/spreadmolarpregnancyawareness
Here is a link to her page for donations: http://www.gofundme.com/aj4ix4

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Selfie Project Just Got Real

BOOM.



So, I kind of left you guys high and dry on the selfie project. Turns out, I'm not the narcissist I thought I was. I know, its hard to imagine when I have an entire blog, JUST about me. But, I was feeling kind of self conscious about the lack of hair, the strange style, and the left over puffiness from chemo and 'roids. My hair has grown out a lot and the pic above was the first day I really felt like I did before I lost my hair. As if it weren't just a bad haircut or that I was a cancer patient. More like I was some brave, pixie cutted hottie. I felt fantastic. So, there must be a little bit of egomania in there. 

I feel better, but still out of sorts in a way. I think it might be emotional and not physical. In many ways, having cancer is a lot easier than NOT having it. When you have cancer, everyone is watching you, waiting. I have developed a recurring nightmare where the cancer comes back or I get secondary cancer. I would like to say it means nothing, but I wake up terrified, in a cold sweat. 

I feel compelled to talk a little bit more about the piece I wrote for Women's Health. It has really got me thinking about strength, character, and what we are made of. Before I had cancer, no one told me I was strong. In fairness, my life was not what I would have called difficult. In fact, I was probably due for a few challenges. I think God or the Universe got kind of confused and decided to hit me with it all at once, but I was always ok with it being that way. I had my chemo and my main man Dr. Sehbai. I was scared and lost sometimes, but I wasn't really afraid the cancer would win. I had my family and my boy to live for, and I was young, and the cure rate was high, so why would I be concerned? 

People seem to have this idea of me that I am some kind of superwoman. Like I said, this has really stirred up the feelings and thoughts inside of me. I think I have touched on this in posts in the past, reiterating that I don't think I'm strong, and even asking for help and support at times. Not that this makes you weak. I'm getting off track here, but listen. I am nothing without you. To the ones in the trenches, even the ones I never saw: the pathologists and phlebotomists, the nurses and volunteers and of course Dr. Sehbai, holding my hand, cheering me on, and picking me up when I went splat on the ground, cause there were a few of those days, too. To my family and friends and the countless blog readers and followers on social media, to the complete strangers from the What To Expect forums who made me feel like family and acted as my own personal pep squad. To the women on my support group who became like sisters to me. You need to know that you are my strength. You are what made this possible, as illogical as that sounds. 

When I was down, you lifted me up. You sent me custom ice cream and mini pom poms and Lush treats and cards, some of you, a card every week (here's to you, my beautiful survivor friend, Laura.) You visited and called and told me I was beautiful when I had a horrible bald head with zits all over it and a puffy face from steroids. 

I am humbled by your strength. Without you, I really would be nothing. Thank you. 

Stay tuned for an epic Jack update this week. 









I'm Totally, Like, Published!

Check out my article in Women's Health!

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/pregnancy-and-cancer-story