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Rest & recovery

June 21, 2018

A successful surgery is all I could ask for, and my prayers were answered! Dr. Haynes reported that everything went very smoothly and he was happy with how everything looked. Hallelujah!

Going into the operating room I was met with a wonderful collection of nurses…one of which grew up in Chelmsford (of course) so I knew I was in good hands. I don’t remember much after that (thankfully), but I do remember trying to stand up as they were waking me up…ha! Don’t worry, I didn’t.

It was an easy transition to the recovery room and my mom and Andrew met me there. After a LONG day of listening to the beeps & buzzes of the recovery area though, it was time to go home. Well that & Andrew and my mom were getting pretty punchy after hours at the hospital without much to eat! ūüėā. Honestly though I was feeling good & strong and knew a good nights sleep at home was better than a night in the hospital.

The kids were excited to see me the next morning and have been super careful with me. I think they’ve been pretty good for all the helpful adults too! Thank you to everyone who has helped & offered to help! We are forever grateful.

So what now? We wait, I recover and we continue to pray that they got all of the bad cells. My recovery is going well. I have a drain in my armpit to let the fluids out. It had been a kink in it, but we removed the external bandage today & it’s doing its thing. I’m sore in the shoulder, but otherwise okay and so far have been managing with just Tylenol. I do tend to get tired very often & easily, but I have been able to sleep when I need thanks to all the help. My next appointment is not until Wed, July 11th. That meeting is my post op with the surgeon where they will check on the sutures and possibly remove the drain. I will also meet with the oncologist and get pathology results to learn more about what (if anything more) they found hiding in there.

For now though, I’m just recovering like any other surgery. It’s slower than I want of course, but I’m being careful not to push it. The strangest part is that my body seems to be so busy fixing my armpit, my brain is a bit foggy. It seems I really can only do one thing at a time I guess. I did however, manage a shower yesterday, sat and watched Maya’s championship softball game (did you know buttons down shirts are all the rage for the summer?) and even managed some Sullys ice cream (that was a tough one ūüėČ). I’m blessed with lots of help and prayers. Thank you so much to everyone! The kids are done with school on Friday, so next week will bring all new challenges…but I know our village will help us get through and I look forward to the day we can pay it back!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get back to kicking melanomas butt! ‚̧ԳŹ

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4:30AM Wakeup call

June 18, 2018

Usually if I’m up at this hour it’s because someone needs me. ¬†They’re sick or they had a bad dream. ¬†Once upon a time it was for diaper changes and feedings. ¬†Then there were those fun times when I had a flight to catch at some ridiculous hour that led to friends, family & fun.

Today’s call was different for sure. ¬†As usual I was awake before the alarm (doesn’t that always happen when all you really want is that little extra sleep?). ¬†I thought I would feel all the nerves…and there are definitely some. ¬†But mostly, I just feel ready. ¬†Ready to move on. Ready to get these terrorizing cells out of my body. Ready to be on the other side of this surgery.

I’ve got the best team of doctors…but an even more amazing team of support in all of you. ¬†Though I would prefer not to have a reason to keep this blog, or hear all of the AMAZING messages from each of you, in a way I’m grateful for having the chance to express how much I appreciate each & every one of the people in my life. ¬†This surgery may be small in the grand scheme of life and certainly what other’s have gone through before me, but it has opened my eyes to just how strong a circle of love and prayer can be. ¬†So thank you…and please keep up the good work with those prayers.

We leave for MGH in T-4 minutes. ¬†Andrew & my mom are my chauffeurs for the event and my personal team of tigers making sure I get nothing but the best. ¬†So today, don’t worry about me, but if you would take some time this morning to imagine me healthy, whole and free of this disease – the visualization from all of you would be greatly appreciated.

My arrival time is 6am. We think I’ll be in surgery around 8, but we are on the doctors schedule so only time will tell. My tigers will post to Facebook and let you know when I go in. The procedure can take 1-2 hours, but for me it will be the blink of an eye…And I’m okay with that. I’ve had my Gatorade, I’m wearing my ‘Ohana means family’ stitch shirt, I have Holy water and a white cell -germ eating stuffed animal. I’m wrapped in my prayer shawl and I’m hoarding all of your thoughts and prayers!

The next time I’m here, I’ll be a teeny bit lighter in body…and a GREAT deal lighter in disease. ¬†I’ll also be so full of love and prepared for a full recovery!

Lots of love to you all…now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to kick melanomas butt!

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Kicking Melanoma’s Butt

June 16, 2018

So much has happened since I began this blog years ago. ¬†Life has gotten busy – 3 kids, house, church, activities, etc. ¬†You know the drill. ¬†But just recently I was given a reason to get back to writing here, so I’m picking it back up…not where I left off and not starting again – just starting…and here’s why.

On June 1, 2018 I was given the news that a lump, I found under my armpit during a home self breast exam, tested positive for metastatic melanoma in my lymph nodes. ¬†Don’t start googling – you won’t like what you see. ¬†After the initial shock and a whole bunch of doctor appointments (everything from the dermatologist (x2) and optometrist to the oncologist) it has been determined that I have stage 3 melanoma with an unknown primary.

What does this mean? ¬†It means that somewhere on my skin there was a point of origin, but at this moment we cannot find it. ¬†It’s also possible my body’s immune system fought off the original site but the ‘bad cells’ still travelled to my lymph nodes and could start wreaking havoc. ¬†So what’s the plan?

After a few MRI’s and a CT scan it appears that the melanoma is localized in that armpit. This is good news! Thankfully the spots they saw on my liver are benign hemangioma (for those that knew I was waiting for that test result to come back). ¬†The course of action is to have a complete lymph node dissection (CLND) of the nodes in my left armpit…they’re gonna take them all out! ¬†At that point they will test the tissue to see if I have the BRAF gene mutation and therefore could be a candidate for targeted adjuvant therapy. ¬†If not, the other option is immunotherapy or some combination adjuvant therapy. ¬†There is a third option of ‘wait & see’ – this means that we could just get all of the melanoma out during the surgery and I could be NED (no evidence of disease). ¬†Only time will tell where we will go next. ¬†But for now we are gearing up for surgery on 6/18/18. ¬†I’m extremely hopeful about the prognosis, the therapies are improving and changing every day (literally). This is more good news!

Over the last two weeks I have been surrounded my more love, support and prayer than I ever could have imagined! ¬†Family, friends, neighbors, church family, friends of family – it truly is incredible! ¬†I am so grateful for all of the love and prayers that have been sent my way. ¬†It honestly means the world and assures me that we can fight this thing! ¬†I’m confident and you should be too!

Because I have so many amazing people in my life, updating text chains and emails has gotten daunting. ¬†So this old blog of mine is my solution. ¬†If you would like updates on how I’m doing or what’s going on – this is the place to come. ¬†I’ll do my best to keep it updated…but if you’re ever at a loss or wondering how you can help – just send prayers! ¬†They’ve been working and I have no problem hoarding them!

Also, if you know our kids – all they know is that mom is going to have surgery on Monday, and after her recovery she’ll be just fine. ¬†And because it’s truth! ūüôā ¬†It’s important to us that they do not hear a lot of concerning conversations so if you could please just keep an eye out as you’re talking we would appreciate it…those little ears are always listening!

Well, now it’s time to put on your sunscreen, wear your hats, carry your parasol and still enjoy life! ¬†The fashion blogs are sure to catch on to the parasol carrying right?

And if you’ll all excuse me, I’m off to kick melanoma’s butt!

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Shutterfly is the Best!

August 10, 2011
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Labor-free Day

September 8, 2010

This weekend we went…NO WHERE!¬† When most people are travelling about trying to fit in one last bit of summer, we just decided…enough!¬† 3 straight weekends of major travel was all we could take.¬† Never mind the fact we were way behind in housework, we were way behind in just resting.¬† I think Maya forgot what it was like NOT to be in the car for 3 hours straight.¬† So much so that on Sunday we were outside playing, she stops all of a sudden – walks around to the car door and says, ‘buh-bye’.¬† I ask ‘Maya do you want to go bye-bye?’¬†¬† Her response: ‘Yeah’ with a head nod.¬† HA!¬† We’ve created a monster!

Needless to say Maya is easily distracted, and after I got all ready to go just – somewhere –¬†with her, she was off doing something else.¬† We did manage to take a few MUCH smaller trips of course – the grocery store, the park (Maya’s favorite) and¬†Kimball’s¬†(Mama’s favorite!).¬† The weather was perfect and it was just a great weekend to be in the ‘home’ area.¬† Nothing got DONE around the house obviously, other than a mow of the lawn…we were just too tired to deal.¬† But there’s always time for that, this weekend was just about hanging out & seeing family – oh…and attending a wedding.¬†

Saturday night we left Maya with Grandma & Grandpa Barry and got out – just the 2 of us, to go to a great backyard wedding.¬† I haven’t really seen Andrew spend lots of time with his friends from high school, and oh what a sight it was.¬† They’re a great bunch of guys who know how to party.¬† Needless to say there was lots of dancing – right up my alley!

We had a BBQ with the Barry’s on Monday and Maya got to play with her cousin Sam.¬† Sam is just 9 months older than Maya…but you would think they were the same age given Maya’s height.¬† Sam is way ahead in many areas¬†compared to¬†Maya though (listening being the biggest of those – he’s a good listener!).¬† I’m hoping this is something that will rub off on Maya.¬† It was so fun to see them together, in the ball pit, the sandbox, running up & down the hill.¬† We look forward to many more fun times with Sam.

All in all it was a great weekend – I wish we could say we were rejuvenated¬†& refreshed…but we’re not, just not more exhausted than we were before the weekend!

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mmmmMont.

September 2, 2010

This weekend we packed Maya up and took her to Vermont…aka¬† mmmmMont (Maya speak).¬† Bennington, VT to be exact was the last weekend trip of the summer.¬† It’s been on the calendar for a while because it was a Carmody wedding!¬† Who doesn’t love it when the Carmody’s get together?!¬† It’s sort of like going back to college…lot’s of drinking, dancing, eating…and exhaustion at the end, but it’s always a good time.¬† A trip to Vermont isn’t complete without someone getting up on the bar at Carmody’s – and this weekend didn’t disappoint.¬† RT & Lindsey got married, Chad and Nicole got their first real glimpse of the family (hee hee – they both survived – barely), and Maya partied at her first wedding.¬† All in all, a good time!¬† It was a beautiful wedding in one of the most amazing views, the bride looked beautiful and the weather was fantastic.¬† It was a perfect setting for a wedding!¬† If you’re not married yet & considering a destination wedding…I would DEFINITELY check the place out – Colgate Park, simply amazing!

Should you find yourself travelling through or near Bennington for any reason stop in & say hi to the Carmody family – TJ, Patrick, RT and the newest member…Lindsey!¬† Welcome to the family – there’s no turning back now :)!¬† Congrats!¬† Love to you both!

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A Hiking we will go…

August 27, 2010

This weekend we went on yet another adventure.¬† A somewhat last minute plan that turned out great.¬† Andrew has been dying to get up to the White Mountains…so we made it happen.¬† We packed Maya up with all our gear, for yet another 3 hr car ride.¬† She did great, even though we had to stop for a bio-break midride.¬† This time we were not¬†travelling by ourselves, we had 3 cars of Barrys & Kinneys¬†making the trip with us.¬† I’d say we made relatively good time even with the stop.

We had a neat spot in the woods of Bartlett that Andrew had found last minute.¬† 5 bedrooms, plenty of space for Maya to run and not too expensive.¬† Everyone had a bed…and Maya slept through the night…BRILLIANT!¬† The good sleep may have been a result of our adventure that day.¬† Immediately after arrival, we put Maya into the backpack for a 2.5 mile hike to the top of Mt. Crawford.¬† It was pretty steep in the middle, but we all made it & Maya summited her first White Mountain.¬† Of course keeping her from running of the cliff at the top was an interesting & not so fun challenge, but we didn’t stay up there long…and snacks will usually keep her sitting for a little while.

I even had a chance to carry Maya some of the way(Actually I got to carry her to the top).¬† Not without Andrew’s help up the big steps, of course, we wouldn’t have made it without him.¬† The reason I had to carry Maya was that she was assaulting her father with her little finger nails.¬† Sort of like when a jockey digs a horse, Maya was wreaking havoc on her father’s neck.¬†¬† About 10 minutes of the hike went like this:

Andrew: No Maya, No
Maya: Scratch
Andrew:  Owww Maya, No
Maya: Scratch
Andrew:  Maya STOP
Maya: Scratch

You get the idea…pretty annoying for all involved.¬† It ended with a:

Laura: Just give her to me, why won’t you just let me try to see if I can carry her…thank you!

And finally we made it to the top…just before Maya figured out I had a neck hiding behind that pony tail.¬† Here’s a little glimpse into the experience!¬† Looking forward to many more hikes with the Papaya, hopefully with fewer Maya inflicted injuries.

The Beginning

She drew blood!

Everyone’s shocked by the switch!!

The Top!

Note the neck cover!