Mothering Thru Melanoma

My walk through the scary world of cancer while caring for my family.

Summer is over! August 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — mamabeaumo @ 10:36 am

And I am exhausted!  I am happy to be back to work so I can get some rest.  LOL

School starts on Wednesday and Bubba has returned to school 5 days a week.  We had a fabulous but very tiring summer.  There was so much I wanted to do with the boys but not a lot of it got done.  Besides the normal side effects of treatment, I managed to pick up a couple of stomach bugs…yeah, me!!  My blood counts are still off so I easily pick up bugs from the boys or others.  I hope it can recover before winter hits.

Bubba has been potty training himself for the past couple of months.  I am so impressed given he’s only 20 months old and totally self-driven.

Buggy has been reading up a storm this summer when he’s not at camp.  I am so proud of him!!  And I love the fact that he is actually looking at reading as an enjoyable thing, rather than work.

We have been trying to eat healthier these days.  We have made and canned 8 jars of wonderful Garlic-Basil Tomato Sauce made from tomatoes purchased at the local Farmer’s Market.  Buggy and I made a huge batch of homemade granola that is divine!  My attempt at making homemade yogurt failed but I shall preserve!

This weekend, we will ride out Hurricane Irene and hopefully keep our electricity so we can make and jar our Strawberry Jam!!

 

What a week! July 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — mamabeaumo @ 7:37 pm
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Bubba was sick all week with a really nasty cold and a fever that wouldn’t break. He was waking up every 20/30 mins every night so sleep was not good for either of us. Fortunately, he is doing much better. Still congested but doing well.

I had the beginnings of a UTI which has gone from uncomfie to downright painful. I am trying to hold on til Tuesday when I have my monthly oncology visit. I had no clue that when you have melanoma, UTI’s can be a sign of a spread if normal treatment does not work. Really hoping that it’s just because the interferon is messing with my immune system and not a spread. Tuesday can’t come soon enough.

Other than that, we’ve had a pretty good start to the summer. Lots of fun…camp and keyboard club for Buggy and school two days a week for Bubba just to keep the routine. Bubba is now sleeping in a big boy bed and occasionally using the potty! He’s getting so big! Excited to see whatthe rest of the summer has in store.

 

On a Treatment Hold May 27, 2011

Well, my WBC dropped from 2.3 to 1.8 so, against my will, they have placed me on a hold. I will re-take my blood test on Weds. and hopefully my numbers will come up and stay up. If not, they will possibly reduce my dose and suggest stopping treatment altogether. I am not comfortable stopping so…fingers crossed!

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The boys and I walked the 2011 Piggy Trot 5k to help raise awareness of melanoma. It is run by the Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope. It was a great event! Buggy actually crossed the finish line before the rest of us. So proud of him!!

 

Moodiness sucks… May 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — mamabeaumo @ 9:27 am

especially when it affects my kids and my interactions with them.  I am so damn tired and sore that I find myself snapping at the kids.  I am so aware of what I am doing but just can’t stop.  It’s frustrating to feel so totally out of control of my emotions.

Yesterday, we got home from school and Buggy dropped his backpack right in the middle of the floor, as usual.  I asked him to hang it on the hook where it belonged.  It, of course, didn’t get done until the umpteenth time of my asking and finally raising my voice.  I was consciously trying not to snap but just couldn’t take it anymore.  Buggy then wraps his arms around me and gives me a big hug saying, “I know you’re just not feeling good, Mama.  Here’s a big hug!”  It almost brought tears to my eyes!  I hope that once my counts even out again that I will not feel quite so tired, weak and irritable.  I want loving moments with my family, not yelling.

 

Has it really been 5 months already? May 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — mamabeaumo @ 11:05 am

Wow!  I knew this blog was being neglected but I didn’t think it was THIS bad.  So much has happened since January…good, bad, indifferent.

I guess I should start with beginning treatment and stopping breastfeeding.  Treatment started out fine as did stopping breastfeeding.  The breastfeeding bit was harder for me then it was for Bubba.  He loves milk and besides the need to have his hand down my shirt when having a bottle, he stopped attempting to breastfeed by the end of the first week.  I still find it difficult sometimes to resist the urge to nurse, especially when he’s not feeling well.

In order to keep this short, here’s a quick run-down of how IV Infusion went:

IT SUCKED!

My hope is to never have to do that again.  I spent 30+ days driving up to Boston every day, getting the infusion and then driving myself home to await horrid side effects.  I was unable to do much of anything including being really “present” for my kids.

I finished IV Infusion in February and had to take a week’s break before I began doing injections at home.  I now do treatment Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week by subcutaneous injection.  Even though I hate needles, I have found giving myself the injections to be quite easy.  I have had to go on one “hold” so far due to a major sinus infection that made it impossible for me to even walk a straight line…way too dizzy.

I started my injections, at a lower dose, again a couple of weeks ago and have just been told that my white blood cell counts are really low and if they don’t come up, I will have to go on yet another hold.  Not too happy about that.  It may also mean a further reduction or complete stoppage!  There is no way I can stop treatment altogether.  This is the one thing I can proactively do to help save my life and spare my children the loss of their mother!  Stopping is not an option.

Needless to say, it has been a very tough week.  I have lost 3.5 lbs. since Monday due to a sour stomach.  My muscles are weak and sore and I feel as if I haven’t slept in 100 years.  So hoping that next week will be much better!!

 

The End of the Pump! January 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — mamabeaumo @ 10:51 am

Well, my breast pump has officially been retired.  In hopes of avoiding engorgement next week, I am slowly dropping  one feed at a time.  The pump was the first to go.  I have gone all week without pumping and so far, I’m not in terrible pain.  I have only had one random letdown, right in the middle of lunch!  LOL  Thank goodness, I still use my breast pads.  This weekend I will only do night feedings and then Monday morning I will nurse my little one one more time.  It brings tears to my eyes just typing that.  I truly expect that it will be rough but Hubby is very good about helping out during this situations.  I hope that he will allow me to snuggle with him without getting too upset.

I think I will ask Buggy out on a dinner tonight since I may not feel up to it over the next few weeks.  I always love when we have “Date Night” even though we go to McDonald’s, Burger King or Friendly’s…not the healthiest of choices.  We have great conversations and sometimes even head to the bookstore just to look.  I will definitely need to get a Date Night in this weekend, for sure.

 

A New Year, A New Plan January 6, 2011

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Medical — mamabeaumo @ 9:29 am

Boy, so much has happened in the past month.  I didn’t even realize how long it had been since I updated!  Sorry.  We had a fabulous Christmas!  We did not get to go to Maine to see my mom but we had a nice quiet Christmas at home.  I needed the rest and relaxation so much.

My Oncology appt. was on 12/28 and after much discussion, it was decided that my best hope was to go through the year-long Interferon Alfa-2b treatment regimen.  I begin on Monday, January 10th.  This weekend will be spent enjoying the last moments of nursing Bubba and stocking the cabinets with everything I need to help with side effects.

Bubba has been doing very well with the transition to milk.  I ended up going with regular Whole Cow’s milk because it would be easier for Hubby…he wouldnt’ have to go to a speciality store looking for coconut milk.  He will be the primary caregiver for the first 20 days of my treatment so I want to relieve whatever stress I can for him.  I am so happy that we made it to 14 months with breastfeeding but I am sad that it is coming to an end just now when Bubba is actually beginning to ask to nurse.  He’ll come over, tap my shirt then rub his belly (his attempt at Please in sign language) and say, “Ba ba?”  It’s so sweet!!  I hope the adjustment will be easy for him.

We finally had the “talk” with Buggy, my 7 year old.  We again, avoided the word cancer and decided to go with skin disease.  We did, however, decide that if he asked us if it is cancer then we would tell him.  At first he seemed upset but we explained that right now there are no signs of the disease being present and that treatment is being done in hopes of making sure it never comes back.  He handled it pretty well and promised that if he had questions, he would ask.  He also asked if he would be able to come to one of my treatments.  We told him he could come to Boston with us but would not be able to sit in on treatment.  He and Dada will go for a treat instead…much more fun!

So, I think I have caught up with everything!  I am finishing up work tomorrow and tying up as many loose ends as I can since I will not be able to work for the first 20 days of treatment.  The first 20 days I will drive up to Boston every day, 5 days a week for IV infusion.  Once the 20 infusions are done, I will then begin Maintenance and will give myself injections at home 3 times a week for the next 11 months.  Right now, I am just focusing on getting through the 20 days without too much effect on myself and my family.  We’ll deal with the next part when that time arrives which will hopefully be Feb. 7th.

I am feeling good, positive and ready to begin!  Let’s hope I can keep my energy up through the first part of treatment.