Thursday, January 31, 2013

Battling illness and Mother’s Miracle

Hello Ava friends. Ava has come down with a cold. Yesterday she started having a very runny nose. She’s been sleeping upstairs in a bed beside our bed. She woke up coughing the started to throw up. This is the first time she’s thrown up and not had a bowel issue. I started to panic and stayed up most of the night watching and listening to her snore and breathe. I hate worrying and thinking the worst. I took her to the doctor first thing this morning. She has infection in her ears, nose and throat. She’s taking a strong antibiotic. It’s actually pills. She’s getting quite good at swallowing pills these days. Ava is happy to know the next best thing. So she’s out of school the rest of this week and we shall see about next week.

She’s been doing SUPER in school. I was so proud when her teacher told me she is one of the smartest kids in her class. I had to hold back tears as she told me this. For those that follow Ava’s blog and carepage you will remember last year when her Preschool teacher tried to pressure me into signing her up for another year of preschool. I put my Mommy gut instinct to the floor and told her I felt Ava was more than ready to tackle Kindergarten and all it had to offer. Besides I didn’t want her to be seven years old in Kindergarten. I felt justified in my decision after talking to her teacher. See Ava was in a few special learning classes because of her “disabilites” meaning her health issues. She’s always been a little slow to do things. It took her a few months longer to roll over or she didn’t walk until 17 months. She is slower. However she is picking up reading and finding it fun. It takes a lot to discourage her these days. I was having to pick her up each and every lunch time and bring her home BUT a few months ago her teacher asked Ava if she wanted to eat with her for lunch. Ava was thrilled and then she realized that the school lunchroom wasn’t that bad. She’s grown leaps and bounds. I couldn’t be more proud of this little girl.

So please pray she gets over this cold. God’s been doing a great job of protecting her at school against the germs. I’m afraid as there is so much going on right now. She did get the flu shot so if she does come in contact with the flu it may not be as bad. I’m praying to avoid it.

SO onto my story. I waited to share this as it’s been a very personal and private issue for me. However I want you all to hear my story and know how blessed I am. God hears our prayers and answers us immediately with life saving ways! This time I’m the answered PRAYER and MIRACLE.

On December 18 I got some pretty serious news… colon cancer. It was a shock. I had been having symptoms for a month. (Blood and mucus in my stool) I went to the doctor and he ran a few tests. We learned within a few days I had Clostridium Difficile. C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications.
I had been on a round of antibiotics in October but the doctor was concerned that this had taken such a bad effect on my intestines there must be something he was missing. Normal healthy people don't usually suffer these kind of effects from Clostridium Difficile. I felt the need to push for further information. Something just didn't feel right. He put me on an antibiotic to help the infection and I started feeling better.

We had been talking about doing a colonoscopy because I do have a family history of colon issues. The doctor tried to steer me away from one at that point due to finding a diagnosis of Clostridium Difficile. I pushed further as I felt I needed to settle my mind. He happily agreed and a few days later I was being taken to have my colonoscopy. I was a little nervous at what he might find but confident things would be okay.
Waking up and finding out that he had removed a polyp the size of a golf ball was a bit scary. I didn’t know what to think. I swore to myself that I was going to put this all in the back of my mind until I got the results... and that is what I did. I've been down the road where you go nuts searching the internet looking for facts and trying to figure it all out. I felt the complete opposite. I felt calm about it all.

Five days later I got a call from our family doctor. I thought it was strange that she would want to go over my pathology report before my GI doctor got a chance to talk to me but knowing her I gladly agreed and headed out to her office. The entire ride there I prayed and asked God to give me strength and keep my calm. I let myself wonder as I was waiting in the office, "Was this talk going to change my life?" or "Was she just wanting to reassure me all was fine?"  She told me those dreaded words, "Your pathology report... the large polyp... it was cancer. I'm so sorry to tell you... You have colon cancer." WOW... was the only word I could get out. How could this be? She kept explaining things. "You need surgery ASAP... this has to be taken out very soon.""Wow." I said again looking her in the eye. "This was not what I expected."

Leaving her office I asked myself if I was okay. I had a very strong sense of peace that came over me. My thoughts then turned to telling my family. What would Brian say... no wait my Mother... how was I going to tell my Mom? I know being a Mom myself I watched Ava struggle and we nearly lost her more  times then I ever want to remember. My poor Mother was going to take this the hardest. I know with Ava I would have traded places with her in a heart beat if I could. The pain of watching your child struggle is in human. It cuts too deeply.

My family was all very supportive. Brian was shocked. My Mother broke into tears. She was a very worried. I told her not to think the worst. We’d deal with things as they came. We learned from Ava not to get ahead of ourselves. We told Lexis our oldest about the cancer. We told Emeline and Ava that Mommy had a bad part in her intestines that needed to be taken out. I’d be fine.

Next I needed a CT scan and a few x ray before surgery. The tests all came back good. They didn’t find any tumors or growth anywhere else in my body. Great news going into surgery. Surgery came on January 3rd. Four weeks ago today. I was very nervous. It all happened so fast. It still didn’t seem real. Surgery went better than expected. Everything went perfect said my surgeon. He removed 12 inches of my large intestines, laposcopically. I stayed in the hospital for five days.

Here we all are. I was so medicated I barely remember this picture. (The boy is my nephew Blain. A few of my sisters from other states came to be with me during this time.) Ava wanted nothing to do with me in the hospital. It made her very scared she later told me. Bless her heart. The girls were a bit frightened as well.


I can’t believe the toll this has taken on my body. I’ve been so sore and tired. It all happened so fast I don’t think I had time to think about worry.

A few weeks after my surgery I went for my follow-up. He had to reopen part of my incision. Not a pleasant thing. The best part of the visit… he read my pathology reports. Everything tested free of cancer. My intestines my lymph nodes and all tissues- FREE OF CANCER! It was so relieved. I wanted to go outside and scream at the top of my lungs. “THANK YOU, LORD for freeing me of the cancer!”

Life sure takes some twists and turns. I’m healing well. From knowing I had cancer to finding out I was cancer free was less than a month. It’s been four weeks today, since my surgery. I no longer need pain medicines. My incisions and muscles are healing nicely. My insides are a little sore but over all I feel well.
I’m telling my story for a reason. If you have changes in your bowel habits PLEASE take heed. Any kind of blood in your stool is BAD and should be checked out thoroughly. I am 37 years old. I’m young. I shouldn’t have had colon cancer but I did.

I thanked my GI for removing the polyp that held cancer. I thanked my surgeon for removing my intestines. They both told me I saved my own life by insisting on the colonoscopy. I listened to my inner voice. If I wouldn’t have had the colonoscopy I probably would have died of cancer before age 50. Because 50 is when they suggest a colonoscopy. We Moms are important too. To take care of our children we first have to take care of ourselves.

I’m praising God today for giving me MORE years to live and for not only removing the cancer but making me CANCER FREE without chemotherapy or drugs. OH how good God is! As always thanks for following Ava. PLEASE listen to your inner voices!



Raelyn said...

WELCOME BACK!! I have been wondering how you--Ava especially--were doing!! I am praying for her continued health!! ;)
Wow. What a story. I guess Ava is not the only fighter in your family.... You are "hard to kill", as well!! Thank-God!! Take care, and continue feeling better!! ;-D

Devon said...

Oh wow, Terri, I'm so sorry to hear your news but glad to know you're doing well. No chemo/radiation or other treatment necessary?

Again, glad you're okay.