Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Test Day

Today Vanessa had the imaging done that she needed to see if the cancer spread from original site of the tumor. She was a little nervous about the PET Scan because she had to be inside a fairly small tube for over an hour and she is really claustrophobic. Not to worry though because I am a nurse who loves to play doctor and I scrounged up a few things for her to take and I gave them to her before the test. Guess what! She made it through. I think she even slept/passed out for a while. At any rate the tests are done and now we have to wait up to forty-eight hours for the results. There is a remote possibility that the oncologist tomorrow will feel comfortable enough to review the images and give us results, but I wouldn't say it is very likely. The more likely story is that we will have to wait until the radiologist reads the films and gives his final report.
before going in for the test...a little nervous
Tonight to pass the time we surrounded ourselves with family, as we have everyday since she was diagnosed, and we enjoyed some of her mom's best cooking. Sonia and I have been trying to ensure Vanessa fattens up before the treatments begin since so many people lose weight during chemo due to lack of appetite and energy, as well as nausea. I think Vanessa has been force fed more in the last week than she had eaten in the last month!

Tomorrow we go to see a chemotherapy oncologist in Santa Monica. He will probably be letting us know when we will start chemo and what type. He should also be able to outline the treatment plan for us as far as how many days a week she will have chemo and how many of the days she will be there for chemo as apposed to here at home with a portable chemo pump. One of us will post again tomorrow night after we meet with him and have absorbed the plan.

Thank you all again for all of your concerns, comments and prayers! It is all the comments and show of support that Vanessa is receiving that has helped to keep her strong while facing this scary battle ahead of her! For that I do sincerely thank you all!


One of my favorite pictures of her! Show's every thing she is... Beautiful, light hearted, and so much more!

Big Day

Today I will have my full body PET scan done as well as the CT of my abdomen, pelvis, & chest.  These tests are so important because they will determine if the cancer has metastasized. The tests will start around 12:30pm (PST). We'd appreciate all the prayers we could get regarding these tests. I know God is on our side and his will, will be done.

On Wednesday at 10am I have an appointment with Dr. Chala who will be my Chemotherapy doctor. Please pray God gives him the knowledge in formulating my chemo so I may be healed. We are also working on getting a second opinion from a Dr. at City of Hope.  We're praying God gives us direction on which Dr. to chose and which one will be right for my treatments. Please join us in prayers for this as well. I pray the Lord leads us and gives us a sign in choosing the right doctor.

Friday morning I will be going back up to USC Medical Center to have the mediport placed in my chest. I will be receiving my chemo through this instead of burning out my veins every time treatment needs to be done. Its a normal full on surgery and I'll be put under general anesthesia.

Please pray for the tests, procedures, and Dr. selections I will under go this week.

Again I cant thank everyone enough for all the love & support my family, huband and I have been given. It is such a blessing and is really helping us through this storm that shall one day pass.

I love ya'll,

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thank You!!!

Its Vanessa and this is the first time I've written on this blog. My wonderful hubby has been doing all the other posts. Those others are a bit harder on me and I couldn't bring myself to write them.

I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for all the prayers, love and support  I have been receiving from family, friends and people I don't even know. I know the power of prayer is amazing and I feel beyond blessed to have so many prayers of healing, strength and peace being said for me. These next few weeks are going to difficult adjusting to my new life and treatments. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared but I know God has a plan for me and my life. I know he put this cancer in my life for a reason. I also know I may never know the reason but he is a loving God and I know only positive things will come from this. I will continue to praise him through the storm. 

This blog was created to update everyone with whats going on with the cancer but I also wanted it to more then just medical terms, procedures, treatments because this cancer is so much more than that. Its about me, my husband, my family and faith. I know I may be the one with cancer in my body but it hurts the people who love me just as much. Since we found out about a week ago its been the scariest most emotional week of our lives. In the short time that Ive known its change my whole perspective on life and how truly valuable and precious it is.  Now when I hear people (mostly on facebook) complain about how horrible their day is because their coffee wasn't hot enough this morning or Starbucks ran out of their favorite muffin I think WOW if they only knew. I thank God for giving me this to really know the value of life and what joy and happiness one day could bring. And even though I maybe going through a rough time in my life I know it can get worse or be worse. Im content with what I have and what Im going through because I know I was special enough for God to plan my life. Even before I was born....he had a plan :)

A couple weeks ago Nathan and I planned a trip to Vegas to see his friends who were visiting from Arkansas.  We booked a suite at the Wynn and were so excited to go. Then we got the news the Monday before we were supposed to leave for the weekend. I still wanted to go and have fun but we changed our plans a bit because I wanted & needed to be around my family so just the 6 of us headed out to Vegas. Nathan and I have been to Vegas three times this summer and this was the first time we have ever booked a suite and now we realized it was a total God thing. We had plenty of room for everyone, the view was amazing and peaceful. It was great to just have one fun last weekend before more tests and treatment start. So heres some pictures of our trip:
.My Rock. My Love.My Life.

My Support System

I am having a ct scan done of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis as well as a full body PET scan on Tuesday to see if the cancer has spread. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE pray that the cancer has not spread and has just stayed in my wrist area. I'll be getting the mediport sometime soon also so that the chemo can began. We'll keep you updated...again thanks so much for your prayers.

If you have asked others to pray for me I really appreciate it. Please feel free to pass on this web address to anyone who may be praying for me and wanting updates. Thanks again.


Thank you for the phone calls, emails, texts, facebook messages, comments on this blog. I have read each one and they brighten my day so much! I want to get back to everyone but as you can imagine this past week has been a blur. Hopefully soon :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Oncology Appointment

We had our first appointment today with Vanessa's orthopedic oncologist. The appointment was basically to tell us where we go from here and what tests need to be ordered to check for metastasis. The tests were ordered and include a CT Scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis as well as a complete body PET scan. Those are being scheduled as we speak and we will know tomorrow when she will have them done. They should happen pretty quickly. So all of that seems to be good so far.

Where do we go from here?

That is a little more tricky. So we have options... The first option is to begin chemo therapy ASAP, followed by another surgery if needed to remove the margins, and then radiation to the site. This option yields about a 60-80% success and survival rate with a possibility that it could return to the same area. The second option is chemo therapy, followed by a below elbow amputation. This option yields the same survival rate, but obviously eliminates the possibility of recurrence to the site. We of course want to attempt the less invasive option first. If the tumor was to reoccur in the same area we would then opt for the amputation. We will begin seeing a medical oncologist very soon also in the Los Angeles area. We have another consultation with a surgeon who will place her Mediport. This is an implanted device under her skin in her chest that will help deliver the chemo directly in to her Vena Cava and insures that it reaches any area that the cancer can reach. It will also keep her from getting poked with an IV needle in the arm every time she has chemo.


The initial plan is that she will get the mediport and have chemo for four to five months between three and four days a week. She will be getting checked for spread and tumor regrowth every three months during that time and for the next two years. After the initial chemo she will be reassessed for the need of surgery and radiation will begin for an additional four months.

We appreciate all of the care, concern, and prayers we have received so far. Keep the prayers rolling in and  God will lead us through this!

A special thanks to Vanessa's mom, dad, and her Aunt Jory for being there in support for Vanessa. Jory is a Breast cancer survivor and her being there is inspirational to Vanessa and means the world to our family!

Vanessa and her family before an Anaheim Ducks game. She loves hockey.

Vanessa and her Aunt Jory

If you wish to leave comments for Vanessa you may at the end of each post. Just click on the comments link and it will direct you to the page where you can leave a message. Thanks Again.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where to begin?

Vanessa has had what we thought was a cyst in her left wrist for many years. About two years ago she had an MRI done and was told it was a cyst that could be removed now or it could wait until later if it caused her more pain or loss of range of motion in her fingers. That time had come where the pain was too much and her range of motion had decreased in her fingers. On August 17th she had surgery to remove the cyst. The cyst was sent for pathology as it usually would be after surgery and a week later in a huge blindsiding blow they informed us it was a cancerous tumor. More specifically it is a synovial sarcoma which is a very rare type of cancer. We are told only a few doctors treat this consistently in the United States and fortunately one of them practices nearby at USC Medical Center. This doctor is an orthopedic oncologist who specializes in this type of rare cancer. We have our first appointment with him this Thursday. We will know much more about the course of treatment Vanessa will have to undergo and will begin testing to see if the cancer has metastasized to any other part of her body. Vanessa or I will blog again after the appointment to let you know where we go from here. The appointment will be Thursday at 2 pm our local time so throw up some prayers and good energy for us between now and then! Thank you all for your concern and love!

My beautiful Ness on her 26th birthday last November at Buca Di Beppos! It's her favorite food place!

Why we're blogging...

At the request of our incredible friends and family we have decided to create this blog. Through this we will be able to provide everyone with updates on Vanessa's condition and her journey. The people around us mean so much to us! We appreciate all of your prayers and well wishes! To those of you who have stumbled across this page accidentally, please say a prayer before you move on and feel free to continue following my wife's Journey.