Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thank You Note

Dear You,

I want to say thank you for encouraging me, lifting me up in prayer, and sharing your own stories. I read each comment, post, and message.

But going against everything I know about etiquette, I didn't call back, respond, or hit "reply". To be honest, I didn't have the emotional energy. But I want you to know that I took each one to heart.

Someone sent me a beautiful flower arrangement and it literally made my day. Looking at those beautiful flowers honestly made me feel better (and I'm not usually a flower person, so this is strange for me). After my initial reaction of joy, my southern upbringing immediately had me thinking, "I should send a thank-you note." However the simple thought of writing a thank-you note completely exhausted me; I dreaded writing that note. Then I realized, I don't have to write a thank-you note. That person didn't send me flowers just for me to turn around and send a note. They sent me flowers to bring me joy and to lift my spirits; they would hate for that to be taken away by a stupid note.

I like to use an analogy that a close friend of mine used while she was grieving. She explained that we all have a "love bucket" and when the bucket is full, which mine has always been, we can give all our extra love away. We can be thoughtful friends, generous co-workers, and loving spouses. However during hard times, like what I'm going through now, our buckets feel empty making it hard to pour our love into others.

My bucket is drained.

I feel like I have nothing to give. I only have energy to take, in hopes of filling my bucket again.

I'm tired of crying. I'm tired of being sad. I'm tired of not feeling like myself.

It is strange to feel so tired that I don't have the emotional energy to write a note. Some days I feel really strong, just to come home to collapse in Josh's arms and cry. My goal is just to make it through the day, with as many distractions as possible.

I say all of this to say, I am feeling my bucket start to fill again. And that is because of you. It has taken hundreds and hundreds of prayers, calls, and messages but I think it is starting to work. Each day is better than the last. God is slowly giving me peace and comfort. I'm sleeping better. I'm laughing again.

So thank you. Thank you for everything you've done and will do.

I love you dearly.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Biopsy Results

"It's not good news."

That is what our doctor said as he walked into the room on Monday.

I can still hear him so clearly like he is standing right beside me. It made my heart stop then; it makes my heart stop even now.

As compassionate and gentle as he was, the word "cancer" is never easy to hear.

I remember intentionally reminding myself that I needed to breath. I needed to focus on what he was saying so I could remember it later. I had to think clearly so I could express my concerns and ask questions.

But I broke down when he told me that the baby should be completely healthy and unaffected.

And for me? I think I'll be okay too.

Papillary Thyroid Cancer. A term I had never heard of before that day.

Prognosis is good but being pregnant complicates things. Treatment is removal of the thyroid, but being 26 weeks pregnant that might not be an option right now. Surgery may have to wait until a few weeks after Baby Girl arrives.

Next would be radioactive iodine treatments to kill any remaining thyroid cells that might have spread.

This would mean no breastfeeding and no contact with Baby Girl in the days I'm taking the treatment. It may seem crazy, but those are the things that concern me the most. Those precious moments I won't get back. That bond between baby and mommy that breastfeeding provides.

The emotion comes in waves, alternating with periods of numbness.

I am thankful for the amazing support system I have in friends and family, for the countless people lifting us up in prayer.

I am thankful that God is constant.

I am thankful that Josh has been a rock. That he has cried with me, has been strong for me, and seems to know the exact words I need to hear.

Please pray that I find comfort and peace in God. Pray that the cancer is contained in my thyroid and it has not spread to my lymph nodes or anywhere else in my body. Please pray that I will not need iodine treatments.

Pray that God completely heals me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

25 Weeks: A prayer request

Ladies and gentlemen, we are at the 25 week mark. If you have a hard time doing simple math, that means only 15 more weeks until we meet our little bundle of joy. Unreal.

A lot of exciting things have happened over the past few weeks. Baby Girl is growing strong and steady with a heart rate of 150bpm, according to our prenatal appointment last week. At this appointment my sugar glucose was taken to check for gestational diabetes. The doctor said, "No news is good news" and so far we haven't heard anything. So, I guess I don't have gestational diabetes? 

Our big Little Rock shower for all our friends and family was last Saturday and we were blown away by everyone's love and generosity. While most of the people that read my blog were there, it will definitely get a post all to its self. (itself? its self? it's self? Josh and I had a long discussion and I still don't know which is correct. Jennifer?)

Outtakes: Thanks for the close up, hun.

Unfortunately it hasn't been all good. Over a week ago I noticed a rather large lump on my throat. Due to some urging of coworkers, I quickly called my OBGYN to make sure it wasn't my thyroid acting up. That next morning, my doctor quickly confirmed that it was definitely my thyroid and I needed to see an ENT. 

Several hours later I was sitting in another doctor's office, listening to the ENT say he suspects I have a nodule on my thyroid and they would need to do an ultrasound and biopsy. The words "benign versus malignant" were mentioned along with "but you shouldn't worry," but all I could focus on was not crying in front of everyone.  

All this news came so suddenly. On Wednesday I thought I might have a swollen lymph node and by the next afternoon I was scheduling a biopsy. Being a speech therapist I know just enough about laryngeal cancer to freak myself out. This should be the last thing on my mind when I have a nursery to decorate, right?

The biopsy is scheduled for the 13th and I'm asking for you to pray that, whatever this is, will come back benign and harmless. I'm hoping by the end of the week I'll feel silly for worrying so much over nothing. I pray that I can breath a sigh of relief and focus on getting ready for this baby.

But now, lets get back to the fun baby stuff...

Baby's size: An eggplant or about 2 pounds and 9 inches

Total weight gain: 11 pounds and feeling every ounce.

Workouts: Uh, terrible. I've seen the gym only a handful of times in the past two weeks, totaling only two or so runs, a yoga class, and some improvised "at home" workouts.

Symptoms: The past few days I think I've been having sciatic nerve pain. It's not debilitating but it certainly is uncomfortable. I'm not sure if a massage will help, but I'm sure going to find out. 

Best moment: The baby shower was by far the highlight over the past two weeks. Not only was it wonderful to see loved ones but it's now evident that Little One has a crowd eagerly waiting her arrival. 

Most excited about: Getting this biopsy over with. Ugh. I also can't wait to enter into the 3rd trimester. I say this about each milestone, but I think things will "get real" in those last months.