Cancer, Children, Family, Life

The Start of my Burkitts Lymphoma Journey

Well, I figure it’s time I tell part of my story for those of you who haven’t been following along on Instagram.

On January 12th, 2018 I was at my doctors office for some test results, as I was experiencing the early symptoms of Bells Palsy. While at my doctors office, my mother in law was in the van with Hailey (15 months) and Hadley (3 weeks), I ended up passing out in my doctors office. They called the ambulance and had me transported to Red Deer Regional Hospital, I remember being strapped onto the gurney, and being given glucose paste in the ambulance but I don’t remember anything after that. My family was told to prepare for the worst, because the doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on with such a young person.

My next memory is of me waking up (from a coma), and losing my mind. I couldn’t talk, I was thrashing my arms up and down (they were restrained because I had a tube in my throat and all kinds of lines hooked up to me), my feet up and down and hammering my head around. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t talk, Wade was repeating like a broken record, “It’s okay now, it’s all going to be okay, you’re going to be okay”, all I could think was “shut the fuck up” and I was back asleep.

I’m not certain if the next time I was woken up was Sunday (Jan 14th) or Monday (Jan 15th). Wade had been in to say good morning just as the ICU nurses were getting ready to give me a sponge bath and do dressing changes, to what? I had no idea yet. One nurse, my Hawaiian nurse (this is what she reminded me of), was carefully taking of the dressing that was over my incision on my stomach, I remember telling her to “just rip the thing off” because I had no idea what was there, or that I had even had surgery. After the nurses were done everything they needed to do, Wade came back in. You could see the worry in his eyes, the concern for me, and what he told me next changed my life. He said, (something along the lines of) “Hunn, you had surgery. They found tumours on your ovaries and part of your bowel. Your ovaries were removed and so was part of your bowel. The surgeon said the tumours are cancerous” I remember looking at him (I was high on pain meds), and asking “did Doctor R do my surgery?”, Wade’s response was “no he didn’t”, “Thank fucking christ” I responded. (more details on Dr R will come in another post) I went on about my day, taking my meds, drinking some fluids and watching TV. I visited with Wade as much as I could, but I’m sure I spent half of my time sleeping. My room was full of flowers and cards from everyone who had come to the hospital on the weekend.

On January 16th, I started bleeding. I was literally pooping blood, lots of blood. It was determined that the bowel resection I had, didn’t hold. This was determined via CT Scan. At this time, the doctors thought it was a Crohn’s Disease flare up and were going to pump me with 90mg of Prednisone. On January 17th, when my surgeon had seen they were going to do that, he fought with the ICU doctors and came to talk to us, to tell me my options. He explained to us why it was likely that the bowel resection didn’t hold, and that it was in my best interest to have my third surgery in which he would form a temporary ileostomy. So, two hours later I was in for surgery, with very strict stipulations for him and the nurses – the tube in my throat was coming out as soon as surgery was done, and I was not to have another IV put in as I still had a femoral line. They had removed all of my other lines except my femoral line. Those stipulations were met, and I had an ileostomy.

January 18th, I turned 28 years old. I had flowers coming like they were going to be going out of style, balloons, teddy bears and gifts coming into my room. My ICU doctor bought me a donut from Tim Horton’s for my birthday, then took it away because they decided I shouldn’t be eating solid foods just yet after my surgery. The nurses in the maternity ward sent me a card and a plate of goodies as well, that I wasn’t able to eat, but it’s the thought that counts. My friend, Amanda’s mom, sent a big edible arrangement to our house with teddy bears for the girls too.

This was just the beginning of my journey, it was the roughest part of my journey because I had 3 major surgeries in 5 days, dialysis, lumbar punctures, CT Scans, and so many blood tests, along with a serious internal bleed, and to top it all off I had almost died twice.

These photos are of me in a coma, my surgery scar, my first time sitting up after surgery, dialysis line scars in my neck, blood draw bruising (left arm), IV bruises, more blood draw bruising (right arm), arterial line “snake bites” holes

Fast forward to today.

Now, I cry happy tears. Now I live a thankful and grateful life, not that I wasn’t thankful or grateful to be alive before all of this happened, but now I have even more reasons. I fight for my life, I fight for my health (and have since 2007 with Crohn’s Disease), I fight for my girls and I fight for my husband. I will fight for the rest of my life for the ones I hold near and dear to my heart, you can count on that. Cancer won’t take my fight away from me, and it won’t take my love and passion for life from me. I am here to stay.

I received my PET Scan results from Tuesday, and they say that I am CANCER FREE! I am a Burkitts Lymphoma Survivor. I am a cancer survivor. I am strong, I am bald, I am HERE and I am PRESENT.



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