Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rianne is CANCER-FREE!

“I cannot live scared to death to live!” Rianne would wake up some days with an anxiety attack greeting her even before she left the bed. “The anxiety is killing me,” she often said. Rianne couldn’t take it anymore! She was scheduled to meet with her Oncologist on December 21st, but her anxiety was choking the strength right out of her. She had to know and she had to know immediately. On Tuesday, December 14th she made the call, begging to know the results of the Post-Treatment PET Scan. Minutes later her Oncology Specialist returned the call and told Rianne that the Scan looked clean and that Rianne is CANCER-FREE!
Tears of joy overcame her as she struggled to catch her breath. She was at work when she took the call, which was very positive, as she has an incredible support group at Curry County Title. She enjoyed a moment of celebration with her co-workers before she gave me a visit. Katie brought her to the high school to tell me the good news. I was just locking up the Metal Shop when she slowly stepped out of the vehicle and began her walk toward me. Her face was long and her eyes were red. It was the first day since April that she drove herself to work, so I immediately assumed that something was awfully wrong with her. Before she reached me quick scenarios ran through my mind - “is she sick and needs me to take her home? Does she have anxiety again and does she need me to take her to her doctor? Did something happen to one of her parents?” Naturally I assumed the worst, as I’ve learned throughout her battle with cancer that I should never get my hopes up too high. As she continued to walk toward me I read the face that I have seen look that way so many times before. I knew that what she was about to tell me was not going to be good.
“I called Susan and got the results of the PET Scan back.” She said.
“The cancer is back, isn’t it?!” I dejectedly said.
“She told me that they couldn’t find anything and that I’m cancer-free!” The words barely made it out of her mouth before she exploded into tears. She was crying so hard that her body shook. She leaned into my arms and sobbed. I asked her if they were tears of joy and she simply shook her head “yes!” She no longer needed to talk – all she wanted was to be held. Tears flowed from my eyes, as well.
Since then plenty has happened. She was greeted with numerous phone calls from friends and loved ones who expressed their congratulations to her for being cancer-free and winning the fight. Her anxiety levels have dropped drastically since she heard the good news - and deservedly so! A giant burden was lifted off of her shoulders when she was told that the cancer was gone.
Unfortunately, however, she has not yet returned to her normal self. “Give it 6 more months” she was told by Susan, her Oncology Specialist. “Your whole existence on the face of this earth has been put into question.” It has been great to be cancer-free, but the frustrations of the recovery period have caused some setbacks.
On Saturday, December 18th she woke with a headache and couldn’t shake it through the course of the day. That evening, Ty and Ashley dropped off the grandkids and went on a date. The combination of a long day, a headache and the activity of baby-sitting quickly developed into a migraine. Her eyes became cloudy and every sound and movement caused it to worsen. I eventually called Ty and he came to the house to pick up the boys. I led Rianne to the van and slowly drove her to the Emergency Room, as each turn and bump in the road intensified the pain. The ER nurse remembered Rianne from her migraine in August and immediately cared for her. This time the doctor went straight to the Dilaudid and had her pain lessened quicker than the treatment for the unbearable August migraine did. We left the ER after a few hours compared to spending numerous hours there 4 months earlier.
She is cancer-free, but she still needs to watch her every move, as do I. Unfortunately, I brought home a cold from the school the last day before Christmas Break began. A few days later her throat was sore. With her immune system suppressed due to the cancer treatment, she struggles longer to fight off colds. She was sick for well over a week and still wakes up with a stuffy nose and a cough.
Her spirits, however, are high and continue to climb. Knowing that she is cancer-free has given her a mental and emotional boost unlike anything she has felt in the past 9 months. Your support, love and friendship have also continued to give her a boost. We both appreciate you and thank you for all that you do!

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Birthday Fun!

I can't resist - I HAVE TO post a cute video and photo from our dinner tonight with Bob and Pam Hunter celebrating Rianne's birthday. We changed our initial plans and went to the Mexican Restaurant in Brookings. It sure was great to see her laughing and smiling the entire time! She had a terrific evening and a wonderful birthday!! She wants to thank all of you who sent cards, letters, texts, phone calls and birthday wishes!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Rianne!

November was another roller coaster month. Rianne spent half of it fighting off a tough cold. It didn’t really have her down and out, but it just stuck around. She finally got rid of it and has been doing fine since.
On Veterans Day we decided to get her out of the house and go for a quad ride. We hadn’t been on them since last November, just before my back surgery. We took Kelbi with us and rode up to Sundown Mountain. We put in about 15 miles and Rianne did well the entire trip! She pleaded with me to let her drive with Kelbi on her quad - I was concerned with her having to multi-task, but she proved that she could do it! The video below is one that I shot of her driving by with her new canine hood ornament!
We had a Happy Thanksgiving this year and truly have been blessed! We celebrated Thanksgiving at Bob and Pam Hunter’s home on Thursday and really enjoyed ourselves. Dustin and Sheila Hunter were there, as well as Sheila’s parents, Brad and Carla Van Prooyen. Pam’s sister, Sandy and her husband, Jerry were there, as well. They have all been great supporters for us. On Friday we again celebrated Thanksgiving with our daughter-in-law, Ashley’s side of the family at Ty and Ashley’s home. Most of the group watched the Oregon Ducks Football Game, but Rianne spent the entire time playing with her Grandsons!
Anxiety has been her worse enemy since her treatments have been final. She does fine when I’m here with her, but when I leave in the morning to head for the school anxiety overwhelms her. It digs deep into her emotions and thoughts, breaking her down when nobody is there for her to confide in. She often calls me with a quiver in her voice. She sometimes breaks down in tears when the girls from work pick her up. I’ve left her for short periods to hunt and fish and she is anxious the entire time that I am away from her. One day she told me to go fish with a friend and 20 minutes later she called crying, begging me to come home because of her anxiety. I did, however, manage to catch a 30 pound salmon on one of the trips! On Sunday afternoons she gets anxious about starting a new work week. When we go to Coos Bay for tests or Blood Draws she is anxious during the entire ride up. The list goes on – bottom line is she is having a VERY difficult time allowing herself to relax due to her struggles with anxiety!
Yesterday we took a road trip out of state to buy her a birthday present! She turns 53 tomorrow! We headed to Crescent City, California to visit the Home Depot which is armed with excellent Christmas Decorations. Her favorites are animated figures for the yard. I told her to get what she wanted – she smiled and was like a kid in a candy shop! She grabbed a few good ones then we headed back to Oregon.
Happy Birthday Rianne! Today we spent a few hours arranging the decorations in the yard. She always goes “All Out” when it comes to decorating for Christmas. If you know much about Rianne, you know that Christmas is her favorite time of the year! After we finish decorating the yard, you can bet on it that the inside of our house will be quite festive! She is absolutely amazing at decorating for Christmas!
We are very grateful for our many blessings – especially during this holiday season! We have so much to be thankful for! We hope that you, too, are counting your blessings! Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and enjoy the rest of the holidays!