Natalia's journey

In reality our entire family news will be shared through this blog as our baby grows and as we fight cancer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Big 30, I made it this far :)

Well, today I turn the big 30 -- no sad feelings whatsoever.... there is a lot to look back at... hardships we've endured, milestones we've accomplished and all good things Life has taught us. I remember how depressed I felt when I turned 25 -- felt sooo old, like as if I knew it all and there was nothing new to experience or be excited about. Well, since then my life has definitely changed to be a roller coaster of ups and downs.... after having a great pregnancy and a nice water birth experience I was hit way low with the cancer news... actually, exactly 2 years ago, on my 28th b-day when a local ENT doc told me he was highly confident that I had cancer.... my husband thought he was plain rude but he turned out to be right. Now, after almost 2 years of hell I feel that I am starting a new life and if there is a b-day wish to make it is that I may have another 30 years to live so I can be around for my son and my husband whenever they may need me. And if I could stay healthy most of the time that would be great too :) .... I've been having some minor issues/pains for the last week or so and I just hope it's not any new side-effects that will make me go back to doctors again and again....don't want any new tests or pills. And I surely don't feel bad about being 30 mid-life crisis already occurred and I know what to do with the rest of time I have, whatever that may be.

Here are a few random pics .... I will be posting more later. With Dr. Hagemeister at Lymphoma & Leukemia Society Talk

Andryusha's B-day - 2 years old!!!

Evening in downtown Kishinev, Moldova

Petting a dolphin after the show, Crimea

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I am back and CANCER IS GONE!!!

Well, friends, I am finally writing after being gone for 3 months!
There is so much to share, I don't even know where to start....

First, my latest results: my CT and PET are clean as a whistle and even the stubborn mass has shrank to a little over 1 cm - almost a normal node size!!! So, looks like cancer is gone, gone, gone - for good! My blood work is making incremental progress but still not quiet back to normal. This news was such a relief cause for a while I had some sort of anxiety due to some of the symptoms I had this summer. I was hoping to gain weight while being home - instead, I lost some more and got down to a scary 100 lbs (45kg). Biggest reason is that during our trip we were big time sick twice - in fact, we are sick again at the moment but not as bad as before. I saw my oncologist yesterday and he said that patients often get sick after the transplant; but come on, since I finished treatments 6 months ago I've been sick 4 times - a bit too much for me! So I definitely need to be careful this flu season - one flu is enough already!

Next news is that tomorrow Andryusha will turn the big TWO! He is no longer a baby but a little young man full of curiosity, charisma and character! He is learning every minute - words come by easily and now that we are back in US he is building his English vocabulary in addition to Russian. Here is just a small example of how smart this new generation of kids is: We were at the pond and Andryusha saw a turtle. So he shouted to a cute little girl near by: "Cherepashka!" Well, she looked puzzled and didn't respond - he repeated 'cherepashka' a few times more, then looked at Papa, looked back at the girl and murmured back to her: "Turtle!" He only heard the English version once or twice from Raymond, but what was amazing is that he himself figured out the need for translation and used it appropriately! So each day is exciting and THANK GOD I AM ALIVE to witness my son's growth!

Finally, a few words about our trip: it would have been a great trip if we weren't so sick twice and if it wouldn't have been the hottest summer ever. We had some sort of a viral infection that resulted in every possible complication at once: nasal congestion, sore throat, temperature, diarrhea and even nausea and vomiting. The first time we were sick Andryusha and I couldn't eat for about 4-5 days. I also noticed he generally recovers faster then I do -- I guess it's because his immune system is a year older than mine! And since my throat wouldn't get better we ended up going to Crimea and took some treatments at a military sanatorium -- thank God they were able to clear up my throat and lugs as we were worried if I was having another pneumonia. And it felt as if the Houston summer (without humidity) came along with us; but guess what - there aren't ACs there as they never needed them before. On the good side, I finally got the tooth crown I needed so badly. Other than that, it was great to see the family and friends, most of whom have kids so I experienced a new dimension of growing up - when you realize those effortless and carefree days of youthfulness are forever gone! We could no longer hang out till the last trolley -- everyone had to be back home by 9 pm at the latest to feed, bathe and put our little ones to sleep. Andryusha would easily make acquaintances with the kids at the playgrounds where we spent a few hours every day. He learned to walk a lot, go up and down the stairs and watch where he is walking (too many pits and ditches in the pavements). And he started speaking Russian pretty well so all in all this was a tiring, strenuous yet fairly productive trip. And knowing now how hard it is to travel with a child I know we will not be traveling back for another 2-3 years so it was important we saw my family.

I will try and post some pics from the trip within the next week and plan to regularly update the blog. Since my next scans and follow up are in 4 months I will mostly share personal stuff -- of course through the cancer prism of LIFE AFTER CANCER!! YEAH!