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.


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…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.

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.

Going Over Everything 

I keep replaying the words “I got it all” in my head. And then “Your scan should be clear”. And then “Two small spots”. And yet there is one small spot and another about the size of a quarter. Was the one the size of a quarter missed during surgery? Is it a new tumor? Is it the initial tumor that was next to her colon? That’s the way the CT reads to us. We have looked at the numbers and if in fact it’s the same tumor it has shrunk with chemo but not nearly enough. The goal of her surgery in September was to leave no visible tumors and just microscopic cells. And then we would take this magical journey killing the cells and that would be that. So does she have another surgery to remove this quarter? We don’t know. We know she’s doing this chemo routine and that’s about it. Knowing the size of this tumor is a punch to the gut. Not knowing how we are getting rid of it is scary. In my mind let’s just put her in the OR and laser that sucker out and bye bye cancer. Maybe it’s that simple. Maybe it’s not. I have no idea. So what are we going to do. Well analyze the situation to death and then try to go about our life. Julian turns 3 in one week and we are going to celebrate that boy with cake and balloons and presents. 

The Roller Coaster

Last week mom had a double.  She had her usual chemo drug that she gets at the beginning of a cycle and she also received the new drug.  She had to take her temperature and if it got to 100.4 she had to go to the hospital.  It got up to 99.5 and came back down to normal.  They even gave her this little card that shoots her to the front of the line at the emergency room.  Luckily she didn’t need to use it. She actually did really well last week when comparing her previous double weeks on the other drug.  We kept expecting her to feel super awful and she didn’t.  Sunday we watched the first half of the Super Bowl at my parents’ house like we do every year and ate pizza and wings.  It was a good week.

Today she went in for chemo and they did the usual blood draw and her white blood cell count is too low for chemo this week.  They gave her a shot to help boost her white blood cell count and she will go back next week for another blood draw to check her levels.  They finally posted her CT scan results and we were able to see where those “two small spots” were located.   It really didn’t make a difference knowing the location but the size of one of the “spots” threw us for a loop. I know her body is telling us it needs a break with her white blood cell count being low.  But selfishly part of me hates that she can’t have chemo this week. I hate that those two spots are there and we aren’t killing them this week.  And the other part of me is glad she can maybe enjoy a normalish week without chemo symptoms.  It is and always will be a complete and total roller coaster.

Oh, Chemo 

I mean at this point it’s laughable. I had knowledge of chemotherapy going into this. I knew it destroyed cancer cells and healthy cell types too because it’s not a targeted approach. It prevents cell division which causes cells to die. The faster the cell divides the better chance of cell death with chemo. So as the weeks went on we got a better understanding of what the chemo was doing to mom’s cells.

What I did not know is that you can become hypersensitive to one of the chemotherapy drugs mom is on the longer you take it. I don’t know if it’s all chemotherapy drugs I just have just been studying up on this one in particular. So what that means is that she could become allergic to her chemo. A chemo that has been working. And at this point I just kind of am throwing my hands in the air. I worry (we all do), about the cancer and about the effects of chemo. But this…I don’t know this is just absurd honestly. Last night we were talking about it and I just had to laugh (in a this is ridiculous sort of way, not in a wouldn’t it be funny if she had an allergic reaction way). 

If everything goes according to plan she should only be receiving this drug two more times and they would know very early on in the infusion if she was having a reaction. I don’t even think it’s a large percentage of people that this happens to but it’s just another thing. So fingers crossed for no hypersensitivity.

Back to the Drawing Board

Yesterday started a new game plan. They extended the amount time (from 30min to 3hours) mom would be given one of the chemotherapy drugs. The hope with this is to prevent hypersensitivity to the chemotherapy drug.  They also swapped one of the chemotherapy drugs she had been taking for a different drug. The point of that is to give her something a bit less toxic than what she was on and to hopefully stop some of the effects. She met with a pharmacist and he discussed signs of an adverse reaction to the drug. Like if she got a fever she would need to head to the hospital.

We got into a certain rhythm with the old chemo plan. After 18 weeks she and well all of us kind of knew what to expect. So as she starts this new plan we will take it one day at a time and just adjust accordingly.