Giving Life My All

Giving all of myself to everything in my life… God, my family, my health, my mind. This is my story… my ups and downs, struggles and triumphs.

So This Is Why It’s Called a Battle

on January 10, 2017

I know now why they call it “battling cancer.”

It’s January 10th.  The start of a new year.  2016 is over… 2017 has just begun.  2016 was filled with so many things for the Davidson family… especially for me.  The first half was great.  Greg and I worked through some issues we were having in our marriage to come out the other end stronger and closer than before.  Liam turned 2 in March and continued to put smiles on our faces with his fun personality.  Cayden got to play in his first sport… T-ball… and loved every second of it.  I enjoyed teaching REFIT® at a local YMCA and co-teaching with a good friend at a nearby church.  Greg continued to excel at his job, consistently getting recognized for his work by upper management.  I stepped outside of my comfort zone and went on my first mission trip to Jamaica to help out less fortunate families.  And… Greg and I started thinking about trying for baby #3.

The second half was not so great.  Mid-June, we found out that I had a large mass in my left kidney.  At the end of July, I underwent major surgery to remove my kidney and the tumor that started climbing the walls of my Inferior Vena Cava.  August, we got the pathology report back confirming I have Renal Cell Carcinoma (an Unclassified version).  September, we took a family trip out to the Jersey shore and, during the same trip, met with doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in NYC about potential treatment.  October, Greg and I flew out to NYC again to have my first follow-up scans taken since the surgery.  A couple of days after the scans, we received horrible news that the cancer had grown beyond just the kidney and was on the Psoas muscle that sat behind the affected kidney.  At the end of November, we had another round of follow-up scans taken in NYC to measure possible growth, and got even more devastating news that the tumor had more than doubled in size in a matter of just a month and a half.  December, I spent 15 of 31 days in the hospital due to this cancer.

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Christmas Program at Cayden’s School

December was the month when I started understanding that what I’m going through is truly a battle, and that I’m fighting for my life.  The first hospital stay started out because my doctor here in Indiana wanted to get my pain under control. The pain that was in my lower back, through my pelvic bone and down my left thigh had become unbearable.  The day I was admitted was also the first day that my doctor decided to switch my Immunotherapy drug from Sutent to Opdivo.  We are praying that Opdivo is the miracle drug for me that will shrink this cancer.  The first night that I was in the hospital focusing on pain management, we had blood drawn and learned that my hemoglobin had dropped drastically to unsafe levels (7 g/dl).  What did that mean?  Well, it meant that my body was loosing blood somewhere inside my body and that I would need a couple of blood img_2246transfusions to get it back up to safe levels.  They rushed me from my comfy room at the Simon Cancer Center to the MPCU at University Hospital where they put me on bed rest, hooked me up to fluids, started a blood transfusion and monitored me as if I was a critical care patient.  Once my hemoglobin increased to safe levels, they sent me back to the Simon Cancer Center side of the hospital.  I would have 2 more blood transfusions during that 11 day hospital stay.  We did multiple scans and tests to figure out what was going on and, ultimately,  we found that the tumor had started bleeding inside of me, had created a large hematoma in my abdomen, and had pushed up on my diaphragm to the point where my left lung collapsed to half of its normal size.  Before leaving the hospital, we got my pain management under control with pain killers, started radiation treatment, and confirmed that the tumor was no longer actively bleeding but just “oozing” blood.  I underwent 2 weeks of radiation therapy and finished up the day before Christmas Eve.

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Ringing the bell at my last Radiation Treatment

I was able to stay home to celebrate Christmas with Greg, my boys, my mom and my family who traveled to us from CT.  The holidays were a ton of fun but just a couple of days after Christmas day, I was back in the hospital due to fluid buildup in my chest cavity again.  During my 4 day hospital stay, they surgically put a catheter into my chest to help drain fluid from the comfort of my own home so that we could avoid additional hospital visits.

 

So…. now I’m back home… continuing my Opdivo treatment every other week… and fighting for my life.  I have lost 14 pounds since mid-December, mainly consisting of muscle, and have to force myself to eat every couple of hours because my treatment has caused me to lose my appetite.  The doctors have put me on a medication to increase my appetite but it’s still seems like a chore to eat.  Between hospital stays, blood transfusions, immunotherapy treatment, a collapsed lung, a large hematoma, a large cancerous tumor, losing weight, and having little energy to do much throughout the day… I have learned the true meaning of “battling cancer.”

The absolute one main thing that has pulled me through all of this is God.  I put all of my trust and faith in Him.  He has the power to calm my soul when I feel anxious and He has the power to heal me of this cancer.  Another thing that has helped pull me through is the love and support we have seen from family, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.  We have been blessed by people surrounding us and people God has brought into our lives.  I want to thank each and every one of you who have donated money, sent gift cards, sent encouraging messages, sent cards in the mail and sent Christmas presents to us and our boys.  Every cent donated, gift given, encouraging word written has put tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart.  Thank you all… each of you is helping me battle this cancer in your own way.  Thank you!  Thank you!  A million times, thank you!

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Words of Encouragement from REFIT Sisters

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One response to “So This Is Why It’s Called a Battle

  1. Debbi says:

    You continually have my prayers and praises to the Lord for the total manifestation of your healing! Love you!

    Like

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