Leanne, Ryland, Kaitlin, Jeff & Maryn

Friday, September 12, 2008

Is the summer really over???

Holy cow! Where has the time gone? I really can't believe that we are solidly into September, and before I know it, it will be winter again. We had a very action-packed summer. Kaitlin came to stay with us for the standard 6 weeks, and tested my mom skills. ;) I'm just joking...she's actually a very amazing kiddo. She had two weeks of soccer camp at UC Berkeley, and managed to sprain her ankle on the very FIRST day of camp. In the second week of camp (while Jeff was away on business), she re-sprained the same ankle on Wednesday, and landed us in the pediatrician's office, then the hospital for x-rays. Luckily it turned out just to be a bad sprain...but she got doctor's orders to take it easy. You don't have to tell a 15-yr-old to take it easy twice...boy was she milking it! LOL!

We did get an amazing opportunity to take Kaitlin onboard the Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE for a day out on the San Francisco Bay. Kaitlin is officially convinced that she needs to become a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy...Jeff and I are encouraging her to do just that...and so are our pocketbooks. =) I also was able to catch up with a few friends from the Academy while onboard. It's amazing how nice it seems, once you have been removed from the cadet lifestyle for over 10 years...all of those bad memories have seemingly disappeared, and I am starting more and more to only remember the good things.

I started my new job in July and am loving every second of it. Everybody is in great spirits and all of my co-workers get along so well. I am very fortunate to be in such a positively energized place! I love being back "in action" but the long work days take a little getting used to. Jeff is taking both of the kids to daycare now, and I am commuting the other direction through tons of Bay Bridge traffic. Ugh - I didn't miss that at all! I am thoroughly enjoying the weight of responsibility and the trust that my supervisors have in me...it feels great to be "needed" again at work!

Maryn and Ryland - wow. They are getting big (well, not Ryland)! Maryn is nearing the 3-yr-old mark, and is bound and determined to stretch the terrible two's to the very end. She had a good 6 weeks of misbehaving at school...just happened to coincide with me changing jobs and her moving up to the big kids' classroom. After many trials and tribulations, I finally found something that works...the reward of Special Mommy Walks after bath time when Jeff is putting Ryland to bed. She and I go for a walk in the neighborhood, usually not making it more than three houses down the street (the neighbors have a wonderful tire swing hanging from a HUGE tree in the front yard). We swing and play for 15-20 minutes, then return home for some snuggle time. So, that was the fix. Ryland is finally cutting all of his teeth - at once! I was worried that little guy was going to have 5 teeth forever. Fortunately (or unfortunately??) the teething is all happening at once now - including the ever-painful molars. He is running laps now...it looks so weird to see him walking. He's still tiny as ever and looks too small to be walking/running as well as he is. The babies have started to fight! My parents are laughing their heads off at the payback I am receiving. Who knew that a 2 1/2-yr-old and a 16-month-old would fight and bicker?

Jeff and I are doing very well. We took vacation in August and went home to Idaho for my best friend's wedding. She married the love of her life, and I'm so glad we were able to be part of it! Maryn was a flower girl, and I shared the bridesmaid duties with another girlfriend. Following the wedding, Jeff and I crashed their honeymoon and joined them on a 3 day/2 night white water rafting trip on the Snake River through Hells Canyon. What an AMAZING time! Jeff's parents took care of Maryn and Ryland (Kaitlin had to return to school and didn't get to partake) while we enjoyed a Mommy and Daddy vacation. It was EXACTLY what we needed! Class IV white water, fabulous fishing (I caught 7 small mouth bass in 30 minutes!), luxury camping....ahhhh. I can't wait to do it again next year!

AND....for the big news. Drum roll please........I am DONE DONE DONE! I completed my last Herceptin infusion at the end of July, and had another clear PET/CT scan! Woohoo...I am cancer free after almost two years of roller coaster treatment! I really can't believe it's almost been two years since my D-Day (diagnosis day). September 21st will mark my two year anniversary of the day that changed my life forever. What a tumultuous two years it has been. I certainly wouldn't be here right now (and wouldn't be a happily married mother of two!) if it weren't for my amazing team of doctors, my family, and friends. THANK YOU to all of you! It's sad that it takes something of this magnitude to firmly plant your feet back on the ground and smack a little reality into you. It's not the paycheck, the time at work, or the high stress environment that I used to thrive off of that matters. It is the phenomenal people I am surrounded by - the ones who took the time to call me, email me, send me care packages, came to the house at a moment's notice to take care of me or my children, those who cooked us meals, and those who stood by us through all of the good times and the scary moments of the last two years. THANK YOU!

Jeff and I are also signed up to do the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in San Francisco on September 21st (my D-Day ANNIVERSARY...wouldn't you know it!?!). If you haven't had a chance to swing on over to our page, please do so. And as always, if you are in the area for the event, we would love to have you join us!


Many hugs and much love!
Leanne, Jeff, Maryn and Ryland (and Baxter!!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Summer Update....

Pictures: Left - Ryland and I playing in the bubbles (look how curly my hair is!!); Middle - Ryland eating his 1st birthday cake! Right - Maryn on a ride at the zoo

It has been so long since I last updated my blog!! I'm a little embarrassed that I've fallen so far behind! Things are going well, and we are keeping just as busy as ever. I have been working a lot, both in my office and volunteering in Maryn and Ryland's daycare. It seems that I don't really have much time off after it's all said and done, but I don't really think I'd have it any other way.

Jeff has been traveling again, and was gone most of March and the first part of April, then again recently. Two kids are sure a lot to handle when you're all by yourself! Luckily, we had many visitors in March and April to help out in his absence. Ryland and I battled illnesses for the entire spring, but I'd say he had the worst of it. He ended up with pneumonia once, then a bronchitis/pneumonia combo about 2 months later in April.

In May, we visited our family in Idaho to celebrate Ryland's first birthday! We thought he was on the mend from his bronchitis/pneumonia experience, and it turned out that we took him to the Emergency Room a few days after arriving in town. We were worried that it was the pneumonia taking over because he had a 103.5 degree fever that he couldn't shake and had been throwing up for a few days. Fortunately, it was just another ear infection. Ryland is on the small side, so he really can't afford to be getting sick. He lost one pound in just a little over a week, and by his first birthday pediatrician's appointment, only weighed 17 lbs 6 oz. We had a joint birthday party with my best friend's daughter, who turned three, but Ryland still had a fever despite the antibiotics and didn't feel like eating any cake. We tried again on his actual birthday, where he discovered that he really loves butter cream frosting!

After a wonderful vacation back home, we returned to California and got back to the grind. Ryland had a bunch of appointments upon our return - the previously mentioned one year check up, and an echocardiogram and EKG with the Cardiologist. At the one year check up, Ryland ended up being in the 70th% for his head size, 10th% for height, and not on the charts for his weight. Poor boy - we can't figure out how he can actually stand up and not fall over!?! My Oncologist wanted us to do an echocardiogram on Ryland due to the chemo while I was pregnant. They know that Adriamyacin and Cytoxan can cause decreased heart function in patients, so they wanted to check Ryland to be safe. His EKG was perfect, but we found out that Ryland has an Atrial Septal Defect during his echocardiogram. He has a small hole between the two atria, so a bit of high pressure blood ends up being pushed to the low pressure side. We are going to return to the Cardiologist next year to do a follow up echocardiogram. Hopefully, it closes as he grows up! If it gets bigger, then we may be discussing heart surgery to either stitch it closed or to put a patch in as he gets older. My poor little monkey!

Maryn is now 2 1/2 and is turning into quite the sassy girl. She tests our limits on a daily basis, and some days, spends more time IN time out, then OUT of it. I hear this is normal, but Jeff and I are SO ready for this phase to be over. We really would like our sweet girl back. =) She is fun though...we continue to be amazed by the stuff she can come up with. Maryn also seems to have quite the imagination, which has infiltrated her dreams. A few weeks ago she woke up in the middle of the night crying about having hippos all over her face.

I am doing great, but am tired most of the time. I'm not getting a lot of sleep, but I'm also not sleeping very well when I actually get the chance to sleep. On the days I work, I tend to get 3-4 hours of sleep. Years ago, that would've been plenty of sleep for me each night, as long as I had the opportunity to catch up on the weekends. Unfortunately, Jeff and I have two beautiful alarm clocks that tend to wake up somewhere between 5:30am and 7:30am. Ugh! I have some great news too...tomorrow is my second to last Herceptin treatment! I can't believe I'm almost done!!! AND, I can't believe that I've been going through treatment for almost two years. July 9th will be my last day of Herceptin, then I'm free to enjoy the remainder of my summer. Yippee! I will still be taking the Arimidex (aromatase inhibitor for post-menopausal women) for another 4 1/2 years, but that is minor in the grand scheme of things.

Kaitlin is coming to visit us at the end of June, and we can't wait for her to get here! Jeff and I are both changing jobs this summer, but will remain in the same area. I will gain a nasty commute with my new job, but the work will be rewarding. At the end of the summer, my best friend is getting married, so we will be heading up to Idaho again for vacation in August. We also have a Hell's River Canyon white water rafting trip to celebrate Heather and John's union.

I am starting to look more into my breast reconstruction options. I am planning to have my second mastectomy in the winter, most likely. Since it is elective for me, I'd like to get into my new job a bit and get through the busy season before I have 4-6 weeks of recovery time from the second mastectomy and reconstruction. BUT, after almost two years of looking down to see one size D boob, I'm ready for a couple of perky B-cups. It'll be nice to feel more normal again! I never thought it would bother me much, and honestly, it really doesn't. But the clothing definitely doesn't fit comfortably and I feel like a slob in many of my clothes because of how they hang on me. Some of that has to do with the extra weight I'm still carrying from being pregnant and on chemo, but I'm hoping to work that off this summer as well.

Anyway, I wanted to post an update. Again, I apologize that it has been so long since I've posted, but I guess that's life, huh? =) I feel pretty lucky that I'm alive and get to be so busy!