Monday, November 12, 2012

And the PET scan said...

This last week I have had good things happen and bad things happen! It all started on Thursday Nov. 1st. I started having a really hard time breathing with coughing and a painful tightness in my chest. By that following Saturday I went to the ER to see what was wrong. They took a CT scan and said that I had Viral Bronchitis. So they sent me on my way and said just let it pass. Then by Monday evening my breathing got worse. So back to the ER I went. They ran more tests on me and said actually you have Pneumonia. They gave me a dose of an anti-biotic which made me feel better. They sent me home again. Then at 430am that following morning I woke up feeling exactly the same.  It really is the worst feeling in the world when you feel like you can't breathe. My husband and I decided that I needed to go back up to the ER and they finally admitted me into Huntsman. This experience was one of the most discouraging things for me. I shed a lot of tears. I kept thinking to myself. I just finished my last round of chemo a couple weeks ago! My recovery should be going smoother than this. I was just so frustrated, because I have been sick for so long. Dealing with a new sickness was very difficult for me. I really have tried so hard to be positive through this whole thing, but getting Pneumonia really broke my spirits. In the end the doctors found out that I have a certain kind of Pneumonia called PCP. It was somewhat of a relief, because they knew exactly how to treat it to help me get better. I am on day 5 of medications and I am feeling a lot better and breathing ok.

This last round of chemo I imagined that things would go a lot smoother than they did. I just expected to bounce back to feeling good like I did in the past. I am for sure looking more like a cancer patient. A lot of my eye lashes have fallen out and my eye brows are thinner. Don't get me wrong. I am so thankful and so lucky that I have kept my eye lashes and eye brows this long! I also am thankful that they have not completely fallen out. I know I have talked a bunch about not having any strength, but that has gotten worse. It is so sad that I can hardly pick up my little nieces and nephews to hold them. I dread climbing my stairs because it is such a challenge. The other day I knelt on the floor to do something and I tried to stand up and I couldn't! It was like I was stuck there. I was so discouraged. As tears filled my eyes I thought, this is so pathetic I shouldn't have to have someone to come in here and help me up! I eventually was able to get up off the floor. Things have been really hard for me lately. I know I shouldn't be hard on myself and I know within time my strength will come back. I just need to remember to be patient and that it takes time.

Now for the good news! On Wednesday Nov. 6th I got the report in the hospital that the PET scan came out clear and they didn't see any cancer. So I am now officially in remission! I only have to go see my Oncologist every three months for check ups for the next while.

The plan for now is focusing on getting better and healthy. If anyone ever wants to join me for a yoga class call me, because that is probably what I will be starting out with. Just something simple to help my body to get back to where it was.

I don't know how to express my love and appreciation to all of you. It runs so deep in my heart. I have had an abundance of blessings through this experience that I didn't deserve. All of you have been more than kind and more than helpful and have blessed my life more than you could ever imagine! Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You all have been so wonderful and amazing! You all have been angels in my life! Thank you for your continual love and support. My husband and I can't thank you enough! Their have been so many blessings. It would be impossible to count them all.                

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last Round of Chemo!

About two weeks ago I had my 6th and final round of chemo. Now I am just in the "wait and see" mode. I have one more week until I have my PET scan. I am very anxious to see the results. It's also scary at the same time. I guess it's the fear of the unknown, but things thus far have been looking positive for me, so I hope that it stays that way.

This 6th round of chemo has been alright. It seems that the more chemo you get the longer it takes to get out of your system. I did have to deal with some new challenges this time around. I did get mouth sores for the first time that lasted for days. Seriously, it made things so miserable. It sucks when it hurts to eat and even when I didn't eat, my mouth still hurt. Things are healing up now which is such a relief.

On Saturday the 20th the Bake Sale happened. When I walked into my parents house that morning I was astonished. There were baked goods every where. All the tables that we had set up were just filled with goodies. The bake sale was such a great success! There were so many people that showed up that were near and dear to me. There also were a few people that came that were complete strangers. They said they just followed the bake sale signs that were put up. I have been thinking a lot about this bake sale. I have been filled with so much gratitude. There were so many that helped make this happen. Especially my sister-in-law Crystal. I am truly humbled by how many people took the time out of their busy day to bake something to donate. I said to myself today. Kathryn, do you realize that these people that donated at the bake sale made your life so much easier? I just started to cry, because people have been so kind and generous to me. They have helped lift a huge burden off my shoulders. Words can't describe how humbling of an experience this was to me. I hope and pray that people who came and supported know how thankful I am for them and their generosity. 

My bother-in-law, niece and nephews at the bake sale!

 Well that's all I have for now. I will update you all in about a week and let you know how the PET scan goes. I love you all! Many thanks for the love and support!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall time craziness

October has been such a busy month for me. This past week I have been so overwhelmed with emotion. First it started out with my 5th round of chemo. Five days after I got my fifth round of chemo, I have felt awful for a lot longer than expected. This is the worst I have felt since my first round of chemo. This round has affected me in different ways than it has before. I had been feeling borderline nauseous for six days in a row. Wanting and needing to eat food has been soooo hard. I have literally been forcing myself to eat, which has not been easy. My strength also went downhill, which can be so frustrating along with the aches and pains. I have really struggled this last week, but these last two days I have been feeling a bit better. I am also preparing myself for my 6th round of chemo. I am nervous about how this last round is going to go since I have been feeling so crappy. So please keep up the prayers, because I need them now than ever before. Please pray that this will be my last round of chemo. I have faith that it will be, but your prayers give me that extra strength that I need.

For weeks now my family has been planning and putting together a bake sale for me this coming Saturday. I have been so overwhelmed with gratitude to people who have reached out and have been willing to help in any way possible. I am also so thankful that my family would take the time to do this fundraiser for max and I. For those of you who don't know about the bake sale coming up and would like to know more. Here is a link to the event: Bake sale for Kathryn Herrscher Cook

The Cook family that has given us so much support <3

The Herrscher family clan that has given us so much support <3


Last second this week my parents received a call from their good friends. They said that their son-in-law, Micheal Ethington would like to throw a benefit concert in my behalf. This was very unexpected, but I was truly humbled that someone, that I had never met, was willing to do that for me. The benefit concert was held on Friday the 12th. The concert was amazing! Micheal Ethington is an extremely talented pianist who shared his personal story about his own trials and health challenges. He is a truly inspiring individual. He had me crying for most of the concert.

The phrase I have heard this last couple of weeks is "it's easier to give than to receive."
How true that phrase is. All these things that have happened and are happening in my behalf haven't been easy to accept, but I know once this is done, that it will be my turn to give back to all of you.

This week, my one year wedding anniversary is coming up! My husband has been my biggest blessing. He has stuck by my side through this trial in my life. He has  been such a huge support! Even though I don't get to see him very often, I am extremely grateful for the time we get to spend together. One of the many blessings we have received through this trial, is that it has deepened and strengthened our relationship. I am so thankful for love and patients he has for me. I couldn't have gone through this without him.

I Love him!
I am also excited to say that next week my whole family will be together again! My brother Brian is getting home from being with the Air National Guard for the last 6 months. Even though he has been far away he has been a support to me as well. It will be so nice to finally welcome him home!

So yes! This month has been crazy for me, but so much to be thankful for! Hopefully within the next three weeks I can report that the PET scan went well and no cancer for me!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

CT scan report.

    This week has been more of an eventful week for me. I got a CT scan done this past Tuesday. The reason for this was to see if I have made any progress with my cancer treatments. I saw my doctor the next day (Wednesday), along with getting my 5th round of chemo. The doctor had good news to report about the CT scan. I originally had three tumors in my abdomen.(Which I never really knew til yesterday.) One was in my spleen, the second one was in my liver, and the third was in two lymph nodes by my aorta. When I first heard aorta I thought, O MY GOSH! I had a tumor by my heart! Then I was reminded that your aorta is long. It extends down into your abdomen. So to clarify to you all the tumor in my lymph nodes by my aorta is in my abdomen not by my heart. The CT scan that was taken a couple days ago only showed tiny little spots of cancer/inflammation that is resolving itself in my spleen and liver. My spleen is still slightly enlarged, but nothing to worry about. The doctors told me that my spleen may never go back down to its complete normal size. As for my liver, it has gone back down to its normal size. Also the tumor that was in the two lymph nodes by my aorta, they have shrunk down and things there are looking really positive. The doctors did make a comment that they remember seeing my first CT scans from the beginning of all this and they said that they were quite impressed.(This was because of how enlarged my spleen and liver were.) Then they looked at me, smiled and said "and you don't want to impress us." So all in all I had really good news on Wednesday. I am just waiting to have my 6th round of chemo in 2 weeks and in 5 weeks get a PET scan to confirm that  I don't have to go through any more chemo! :)

I had a thought this last week about having a bald head, because someone asked me, isn't it so nice not to have to worry about doing your hair? To be honest it has been plus not having to worry about it. That question also reminded me when I was told that showering would become much faster as well, but for me that isn't the case. I loooovvvveee showers. They are still just as long as when I had hair. Then the thought popped into my head. Ya know when I had hair, there were so many days that I would complain about it. wither it was greasy, having to take the time to do it, or just simply when I thought I was having a bad hair day. Since you don't know what you got til it's gone, having a bald head has made me more thankful for those bad hair days. I hope and pray that when my hair grows back that I will remember to be thankful and not complain because there are people out there that don't have hair.

I love you all that have supported me through out this time. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day. I know it isn't easy to do,  whether or not it has been big or small it has made a difference in my life!              

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One more down. Two more to go.

On Wednesday I got my 4th round of  chemo. For some reason this last round I felt really discouraged. I got really emotional about going in for chemo the night before. It was strange for me, because I have never really thought about going in much. I have always had an attitude of this is just something I have to do, but the night before, I literally broke down and sobbed to Max telling him how badly I didn't want to go. It was then I realized that it never gets easier, even if I am more than half way through. I just have to go through the same cycle of feeling crappy all over again. I also get so discouraged after every round of chemo, because you lose your physical strength. That has been so frustrating for me. There are also times were I get bored and I feel really lonely. I am not writing about this for people to feel sorry for me or to say things to try and make me feel better. Its just a a time where things have been a little hard for me and I want to vent a little bit.    

Cancer to me seems so weird. I remember when my mom was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago. It didn't seem real to me. Cancer doesn't seem real to me. Even since I have been diagnosed it hasn't seemed real. Since cancer seems like this fictional thing to me. I have always regretted til this day, even more so now than ever, that I hardly stoppped and helped my mother out when she was going through cancer. I had no idea what she was going through, even though I saw her laying on our couch every day. I didn't understand the pain or loneliness she was going through at times. It kills me to know that I wasn't there for her as much as I could have been.

I don't want to give the wrong impression. This last round of chemo went well. Even though the doctor says I am a good patient for spinal taps it doesn't make me like them any more than I do. I did get nauseous along with a bad head ache at one point and time, but luckily we have modern medicine to fix that. Even though I had a hard time before, I am doing better now. The 4th round of chemo is over. Now is the time to keep looking forward in life and to keep telling myself "It wont be long til this seems like a this is a small thing that happened a long time ago."

Monday, September 10, 2012


well just thought I would write another update since I haven't in awhile. I feel that I am doing fairly well. I can't thank people enough for their kind thoughts, comments and prayers. They really mean so much to me.

So for 5 days after I get chemo they have me taking steroids. I guess they help with some of the side effects of chemo, but the down fall is I have the hardest time going to sleep at night. So they gave me Ambien, which is a pretty strong sleeping pill. So now I have been sleeping much better at night. Thank Heavens for Ambien!

Today I have been pretty fatigued and I haven't done much of anything today. It gets really frustrating when I feel like this. I hate feeling like an old person. Seriously, this must be how old people feel! I have no muscle strength and I get tired so easily. I also realized today that I don't think I will ever get used to being bald. I don't like wearing hats or scarfs that much, because I feel even more bald wearing them, but as time goes on it gets harder to ignore when people stare at me. Not just glance, but full on stare! I took my mom to the store today and decided to stay in the car. This couple about my age was walking past and I could loudly hear this girl say to her boyfriend, SHE IS BALD. I said to myself, yes...yes I am. Then I had to say to myself, she doesn't understand and she has no idea what is going on in my life. I mean, I didn't shave my head for the heck of it, but it's ok I get over it. It's just for those couple seconds that I get emotional then think people look retarded when they stare. Anyways. Sorry if that offended anyone. I thank people again for all their love and concern. Keep up the prayers! I need them!         

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Half Way

I just got home from doing my third round of chemo. I am now officially half way done. How awesome is that?! All went well today, I felt like things went a lot smoother then they did the last time around. The only downer from today is that I have to have a special type of IV poked into my port and that kinda hurt, but it's because the site is still tender from the surgery. I also couldn't help but notice today how blessed I have truly been and how my prayers have been answered.

Ever since I had my port surgically placed (my port is a device that was put in my chest that helps me receive chemo.) I have been really worried about it. The reason why is, because the night I came home from surgery my bandage filled up with blood. The doctors said if there is any bleeding at the surgical site you need to call right away. So I called and talked the doctor. They told me to take the bandage off and put another bandage on, but if it fills up with blood again to call back. The second bandage didn't fill up with blood luckily, but ever since then it made me nervous that something might have gone wrong with my port. Later on around the site of the port I had major bruising. My mom kept telling me that when she got her port placed that it never looked like that, which made me even more nervous. So I started praying that my port would be ok and that it would heal properly. When I got to the clinic this morning I had them look at the port, because it's not completely healed and I didn't know if it was ok to use it. They said it was fine and that they have seen ports that looked worse than mine. Hearing that made me feel so much better. So that was a little answer to my prayer that everything was ok. The nurses at the clinic also told me a story of a younger girl that came into the clinic and they used her port the day after she had it surgically placed. The nurse said that he felt so bad poking her, because the site of her port was all black and blue. He said when he poked her, you could tell that it was really painful for her. She was trying so hard to choke back the tears, but ended up crying. The nurse felt so bad so he went and got her mom. Hearing that story made me recall that my Oncologist wanted to use my port the day after I got surgery, but the surgeon said no, that they needed to wait to use my port. So it made me think, how blessed am I? I could have gone through the pain that that girl went through, but I was spared and was blessed with more time for my body to heal. I know this seems like a small thing, but to me it makes a difference. It's one less thing that I didn't have to go through.

Last week I read an article that my friend suggested to me. It was an article about a girl who has had cancer for the last 16 months and wrote a list of ways to help people cope with cancer. When I read that she has had cancer for 16 months it blew my mind. I just kept thinking in my head.... 16 months??? I can't even imagine going through and having cancer for 16 months! It also made me realize that there are a lot of other people in this world who have cancer for a lot longer than that. That realization humbled me. Here I am thinking I have it bad. I only have to go through this (hopefully) for three months. There are so many others who have incurable cancers who are literally fighting for their lives. How did I get so blessed to have a cancer that is so highly curable? How did I get so blessed to have a mother that has been through this and can relate? How did I get so blessed to have such a supportive husband, family and friends? I wonder and ponder these things often, because some people don't have these things. It is truly humbling to know that the Lord is mindful and continually blessing me, even if the blessings are big or small.