The Newish Plan

We are on week 4 of no chemo and that is hard. Her platelets recovered from last week but her white blood cell count is now too low for chemo. They are going to give her injections 3 days this week to hopefully really boost her white blood cell count. It feels like she’s on this seesaw where one week platelets are fine and then white blood cell count is low and it just keeps reversing taking turns dropping. So if her platelets and her white blood cells could join together and both be normal at the same time that would be great. 

Today she met with her oncologist and he explained why another surgery isn’t a good option. It is a very involved process, puts her at risk for infection and he suspects he would find more cancer opening her up. So the plan is to get her levels up and for her to go through two more cycles of chemo (6 weeks) and then she will have another CT scan. Once he sees the CT scan results he will reassess the situation and decide what to do moving forward as far as treatment goes. 

For my Dad


When I think about my dad. Well he’s just such a dad.

He is dependable. He is there when you are in a bind. I have been in a car accident while working in Cleveland and also experienced my first flat tire while working. And my first thought both times was as long as I got ahold of my dad it would be ok. With the car accident he was there within 7 minutes. With the flat tire he left a meeting.

He is our photographer. He captures our memories big and small. We have so many photos and hours of video to look back on because dad is always there with the camera. Brandon ran cross country and Lex played volleyball in high school. I was never the athlete but there are photos of me working on my art projects. Looking back at those photos means so much because I don’t know that many people that have pictures of them sketching or painting but I do.

He is our handyman. Whenever something new goes wrong with the house dad is always there to help us out. When I was 9 months pregnant our furnace broke and dad went out in a snow storm to get us the piece to fix it.

He is my tour guide. I have had two places of employment since I graduated college and dad was very familiar with both buildings. So when I was interviewing he gave me very detailed maps and on my first week he showed me short cuts through the buildings and took me to lunch.

He is creative. When we were kids he planned scavenger hunts for our birthday presents. We would wake up to clue 1 the morning of our birthday and run around the house looking for more clues and eventually finding our gift from mom and dad. Although we no longer do this for our birthdays in the recent years he has started doing it on Christmas Eve for us.

And although he would never admit it…I am his favorite. He even has a mug that says so.

Happy 56th birthday dad! Thank you for all you do. I love you.

This Moment

8 months ago mom was sitting on a hospital bed being told she has ovarian cancer and today she sat on a park bench in Central Park.

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This is a moment we talked a lot about before we knew if she could have surgery.  The talks of just wanting the tumors out and to feel good enough to travel. And today it has happened.  When she found out she wouldn’t be getting chemo Monday she didn’t want to waste the weekend.  So she decided her and dad would head to NYC. They will get to walk the streets and enjoy fresh air and see Wicked.  We don’t know what the future holds and she still has a ways to go.  But the fact that she gets to enjoy something like getting away is amazing and it makes me so happy knowing that she gets to travel and just live her life.

 

Small Victories

We needed a win. We needed something to boost morale. Something to keep us going. We needed to know that the medical team was on the ball and would switch up the game plan because this one just wasn’t cutting it. 

Today mom received a call from her scheduling nurse. She had spoken to mom’s oncologist and he plans to switch up mom’s dosage to a less intense one. The hope is that it does less damage to her healthy cells and she doesn’t have to skip future chemos. It is very comforting that she called with the new plan and that they were thinking about her case.  She means the world to us but it’s easy to feel like she’s just a number to them at times. 

The other bit of information she revealed is that mom is still responding to chemo. Although she has only had chemo twice in the past 6 weeks it is still working. Which is extremely comforting. So that is what we can carry with us this week. This bit of hope that she can continue the fight. 

Frustrated

Frustrated…it’s a word that we have been using lately in our house.  Julian is at that temper tantrum age but he’s started to use the word frustrated.  And when he tells me he’s frustrated we try to find a solution in order to avoid a meltdown.

Today I am frustrated.  Today mom met with the nurse practitioner and got to ask some more questions.  Like, what are we doing about these two tumors?  The answer was more chemo. Unsure about a possible future surgery.

When they did her blood draw they discovered her platelets were too low for chemo today.  Platelets are important to form clots and prevent a person from bleeding out.  So a double while her platelets are already low wouldn’t be a wise choice.  So now we are on week 3 of no chemo and it’s super frustrating.  When their current game plan is one they can’t put into action because her body is saying nope sorry no chemo this week.  

So what do we do.  Well lucky for me there was a yoga class today.  So immediately after I talked to mom I went straight to yoga class. Last weekend mom and dad went to the botanical gardens. And they have plans to make the most of this weekend too.  I admire mom’s attitude when it comes to all of this.  While we share this frustration she aims to make the most of her time off from chemo and really live her life.

The Day You Were Born

On February 15, 2014 I woke up to my alarm at 6am. I ate two pieces of toast and called the hospital to make sure they were ready for me. They told me they were full and to arrive at 8am. Your dad and I fell back asleep on the couch. We woke up around 720am to an alarm and headed to the hospital.

We arrived and were taken into room 13. They started going over my information to get everything started. “Is your birthday november something 1987?” Nope 1986. “Are you still working at so and so hospital?” Nope I’m at the clinic. “Is this your phone number?” Um I don’t think you have me. “You’re not Ashley Butcher?” No I’m Ashley Burtscher. I was insanely nervous to get the IV. Momma hates needles. Unfortunately the first didn’t take and the nurse had to repeat the whole process in my hand. And then we were in business. They started giving me the drugs to induce labor and we anxiously awaited your arrival.

It was a long day and every commercial on tv seemed like it was food. Luckily I was still allowed popsicles. As the day went on you gave us a few scares. Your heart rate kept dropping and they said it was possibly because you were tugging on the cord. Around 930pm the nurse came in and told me at 1030pm I would start to push. It was like nothing. I laughed with the nurses and we had the NBA dunk contest on in the background. Your dad fed me ice chips and the nurses told me ok 10 minutes until midnight, then 4 minutes until midnight. And then at 11:59pm my sweet little baby boy was here. And my world would be forever changed for the better.

julian

Livin’ Life


Today I got to send a text to mom that I haven’t sent in a long time on a Friday. Where to for dinner?

Yesterday mom thoroughly cleaned the house. She said she couldn’t remember the last time she was able to clean like that in one day. When we thought about it we realized it had probably been almost a year because her pain had begun months before her diagnosis.

Monday she sat on her swing because it was a nice day. This was the first time in a long time she had sat outside on her swing and wasn’t in absolute pain.

She has plans for the next two weeks. Because of her low white blood cell count and the new chemo routine she has two weeks off. And she is living and seeing her do that helps us live right along with her. Tuesday was a shake up but we are finding our normal and adjusting accordingly and taking advantage of a mom with no chemo for two weeks.