Monday, September 9, 2013

Almost a year, we've been busy, and we're headed back in....

We had out beautiful baby girl Margaret "Maggie" Sullivan Murphy on June 24, 2013...she was 3.5 weeks early, but is doing great. We had a short stay in the NICU and she's already 11 weeks old and the cutest chubby baby with crazy, dark, spikey hair.

So after giving birth to this little miracle baby I went in for my check up MRI after all the cancer stuff last year. And as much as I would like to give a good report, it didn't come back with good results. 

There were two areas that the doctors are concerned with. One is a cystic lesion in the presacral tissue near my colon, that has grown (slowly) from last years MRI. And two is some liquid pooling in the loops between my small and large intestines, which could be more of the muscinous cancer cells. 

All of this means in short is that I will be going in for a pretty intensive surgery later in September. I will have the lesion removed and the liquid removed and cydoreduction (scraping if the organs in my abdomen to remove any lingering cancer cells)  and also a hysterectomy since these cancer cells like to grow on lady organs. And 3 ports placed for my chemotherapy. 

After surgery I'll be in the hospital about a week and then 4-6 weeks after surgery I will start chemo, I will have a round every two weeks for 4-5 months (we're expecting 9 rounds total, but depending on the results I might have more) 

We will be setting up a care calendar with the help of my friend so that you can check to see if we need any meals or help with our kiddos. As always we would love any prayers you can say for my health, our sanity during all this stress, and just for our kids to feel loved and protected from the chaos that we are entering these next few months:) 

And just so we don't end on a sour note...these cuties started school...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Good, Great, AWESOME news!

So, since we last posted we had gotten some bad news that the type of tumor on my appendix was the same as the one on my I was given a new diagnosis of "pseudomyxoma peritonei".  it's really rare and therefore not a lot of information out there about it.  Pretty much the tumor on my appendix created this mucus that broke through and spilled into my abdominal cavity and spread the cancer cells.  But, on a good note it's normally very slow growing and doesn't normally spread through they lymph system or blood stream.  so it should be somewhat contained, hence the tumor on my left ovary.  we've been doing more tests and more waiting and praying for the past week and a half, but we have some good news. here's the place we are in now.....

SO, last night my aunt was over with my cousin and she said my uncle (who's a colon/rectal surgeon-i think i've mentioned that before) reviewed my case with his partner and they thought my body looked clear of cancer cells.  I talked with my doctor this morning and she said that my case has been reviewed by the pathologists at Barnes Hospital here in STL and they agree that the pathology of the tumors they took out look like "low-grade pseudomyxoma" and that at this point there are no growths that would lead them to believe that I need another surgery right now.  (these cells can lie dormant, so unless they plant themselves on another organ and grow I shouldn't have any problems) She said it would be in my best interest to wait and just watch closely.  This means that I'll go in every year for a CT/MRI to scan my body for new tumors....and if any do show up, we'll deal with them on a case by case basis.  She said that the invasive surgery that goes with this type of cancer would not be in my best interest right now.  I'm so relieved, I'm having a hard time letting it sink in that life gets to go back to normal.  Normal- I guess our definition has changed once again, but I'm not slapping the had that tells me I don't have to be cut open again anytime soon.

Also, to drive home the point my aunt emailed me this morning with some cool news that my uncle Jim was "at the American College of Surgeons in Chicago right now.  And he just finished monitoring a panel of 4 experts on pseudo-carcenoma.  At the end he presented Katie's case to them and asked what they would do.  They all agreed that they would just monitor her.  So she has now had 5 experts hear her case and they are all in agreement on the course of action."  

I'm just so glad that there is some certainty to the course of "action" for me since this is all so rare.  Thank you all for praying for our family and just being there for us in all this yucky cancer talk. If you see me skipping down the side of the road with a beaming smile like I just discovered the tripple rainbow, just honk and i'll wave-no need to call the police, i'm just celebrating:)  

(ironically, this pic was taken just after my first surgery and i don't think we knew any bad news yet...but i'm wearing a "relay for life" t-shirt...hmmm.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Good, no GREAT, news!

I just got off the phone with the nurse at the drs office and my small bowel looks clear and my PET scan came back with NO signs if metastatic cancer!!!! I stated crying before I even hung up the phone, but obviously good tears of relief! I still have one more test next week but at this point we aren't expecting to see anything, just get more reassurance that it's gone.

Thank you with all my heart for praying for me and my family, I'm lucky to have so many people that really care about me (and my family). Prayers of Praise to God today.

I'll still be posting about my test next week and surgery on the 11th, just FYI.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick update

So quickly before the end of the day... Had my PET scan this AM and I am still so impressed with Mercy Hospital and their wonderful staff. Everyone today was so nice. (maybe it was bc it was the cancer center and they have a sensitivity chip-ie. compassion others are missing, but so far in all this, most of the hospital and drs staff have been really nice)

I got to the cancer center early and they drew a little more blood to check my blood sugar and then injected me with some radioactive sugar that would travel through my system and highlight any cancer cells on the full body scan. It was only a little stick and then I got to sit and read for 45 minutes while it ran through my system. I was a little bummed to find out I didn't get any spiderman-like side effects, I mean he was bitten by a radioactive spider right? Well radioactive shots don't work the same way-I feel let down by modern medicine, although I feel like my kids would be weirded out if I shot spiderwebs at them to keep them sitting at the table during mealtimes.

I digress. So I still don't have my test results from the small bowel series Wednesday, but I'm supposed to hear something on that test, and the scan from today, before the weekend. I will post once we know something. Also, I have my capsule endoscopy (where I swallow a camera) Tuesday. Another day of liquid diet, but I'll be glad to get it done and have the results. I'm relieved they are getting me in so quickly for all these tests, but it's still agonizing waiting for the results. Thanks for keeping the prayers going-it's keeping my spirits up.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Barium, not your regular smoothie flavor

So, I went for my small bowel series this morning. It's pretty much consisted of me drinking two large cups of yucky white, bitter fluid then a ton of X-rays of my small bowel, and being pushed on my abdomen with a big paddle with a rubber ball stuck into it. My digestive system wasn't really cooperating (the barium took a long time to work its way around) so I was there for 3 hours, but I had a good book so I tried to just enjoy getting to read without kids climbing on me:)

I won't have the results until tomorrow at the earliest. We are still hoping for the best. In the meantime, barring any bad news, the docs have scheduled me to have my appendix out on Tuesday, September 11th. So I'll have another full week to heal from my first surgery before I'm out of commission again for a little bit.

We will probably be setting up a short care calendar for meals during the recovery of the next surgery later this week or early next week through our church. Our needs won't be huge, but check back for that info, I'll try to post it once we have test results and know for sure what we are headed into. Again, thanks for all the prayers, texts and emails-they are very uplifting and keeping me in a positive place.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two down, three to go

So, I'm happy to report we have good news. This morning we got encouraging news. After what was a seriously hellish afternoon and night of "prepping my bowels" yesterday, it was a pretty easy morning. My father-in-law drove me to Mercy bright and early and once I'd been checked in they started my IV (which was the most painful thing of the day-I have the blown vein to prove it), but they gave me a nice warm blanket and wheeled me in to meet the anesthesiologist and the Drs performing my colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. They were all so nice and I liked them even better once I woke from my nice deep sedation feeling super loopy and telling everyone I was praying for them-yes leave it to me to witness while doped up:) Both of my Drs came by to tell me they didn't find anything alarming and that I looked clean. NO huge tumors or scary spots, but my appendix did look suspicious and there was a "thickening"-so pretty much it sounds like I'm going to have my appendix out barring any major results from the next round of tests. My upper GI Dr did add on another test (a capsule endoscopy-where I swallow a pill and they teach it through my small intestine, he said its painless).

Afterward I came home feeling pretty good and ate something and laid down for a few hours. I feel pretty good, still a little loopy-which may show in the writing. I just want to thank you all for the prayers,emails, food, and flowers! I think Patrick and I are taking a deep breath-good news is nice. Keep the prayers coming, I'm headed in early in the AM for the original small bowel series tests.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

The week of tests, soon to begin

So we got word today that my other tests are thankfully going to be next week as well. So the breakdown is Tuesday:colonoscopy/upper endoscopy, Wednesday: small bowel series, Thursday: PET scan. So a full week, but I'll be glad to have it all done and be praying for everything to come out clean. Saw my doctor today and he said the CT scan came back pretty normal, but there is still some question revolving around my appendix. We hope to sort that out with these tests. Just having all of it scheduled should help us sleep a little better this weekend.

Also, side note, Finn has been a little under the weather today and has a seizure this evening bc of that. Please pray he rebounds quickly and gets healthy quickly. It would be reassuring if he could be well enough to be at schools during my tests next week. It's hard facing all of these tests knowing he isn't feeling well and I can't be here for him. We are coordinating babysitting, but I will send out a request if we need help. Thanks for all your continued prayers.

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