Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey Kids!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Happy Turkey Day from my CUTE TURKEYS!

Posted by Picasa

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are a few photos from Thanksgiving...the kids with Great Grandpa Black, enjoying holiday movies...
Cameron with his cousin Bella!
Scott LOVES Thanksgiving dinner more than any other dinner all year!! Look at that big turkey!
My brother Ryan and sister-in-law Laura..they came all the way from Utah for Thanksgiving! Great to see you both! Love you guys...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 24, 2008

Neurosurgeon---Dec 2nd

Well, we have to wait another week to really find out more about what's going on with me. They have scheduled me to meet with the Neurosurgeon on Dec 2nd and they assume that she will agree with the Radiation Oncologist about my Gamma Knife Surgery for Dec 5th.

We'll keep you posted in the meantime..but for now it seems I should try to enjoy my holiday week before I'm inundated with Dr. appointments and surgeries next week! I have 4 apts as of right now...phew!

Love, Heidi

Happy Birthday Austin!

Amy, Austin and Bella came out to visit for Thanksgiving. It's been so fun having them here! Here are some photos from our Birthday celebrations with Austin yesterday!

Kyler liked the monkey card....

We gave Austin a Harley Davidson card...
Bella giving Dad his present....Happy Birthday Austin!!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Breast Cancer Thank You's!

I had started working on these little gifts for my friends as Thank You's for all those people that have helped me so much during the past year. I bought a Breast Cancer Stamp Set on ebay--an old Stampin' Up! one--so I could use it for Scrapbook pages and cards related to my Breast Cancer experiences.

Today I was feeling a bit better and decided to finish up my 'Thank Yous for my friends. For those of you that are long distance...know that I'm sending love and gratitude your way also!

And remember...early detection is so very important...don't ever take that for granted.

Love, Heidi
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gamma Knife Video

For those of you that are interested, this link has two video clips that educate you on the Gamma Knife procedure I'll most likely be undergoing in a few weeks.

The first video link listed here is about 8 minutes and shows the whole procedure and is done in Switzerland. The second video is shorter and shows the local Sutter Gamma Knife center and several of my doctors are in the that one may be of interest.

Once you are on the Sutter website you'll see these two choices:

(Long Video)( Click here to see the simple Gamma Knife treatment procedure, and description of the patient experience.)

(Short Local Video) Or click here to watch segments of the Your Health TV program, sponsored by Sutter Health.

My New Cancer Diagnosis

Scott and I learned some disturbing news this week regarding my health that we wanted to share with all of you. We've debated the best way to share this news; updating my blog, phone calling everyone, sending an email out, word of mouth, etc. We've decided to deliver the news via email today, with further updates coming on my blog. We hope you will all understand that as much as we'd like personally deliver this information, it just isn't best for our emotional and mental well-being. So we are delivering this news via email.....

Here are the facts:

Over the past 2 weeks I've been experiencing severe headaches, some associated with nausea, as well as numbness in my limbs, problems with my vision, visual disturbances and difficulty writing words/typing. After mentioning these symptoms to my oncologist, he recommended I have an MRI of the brain. This weekend I had that procedure done. Monday we received the results:

I have a Brain Tumor. It's a horrible word and I can hardly bring myself to say the word, but its the reality of my situation. I have a 2 1/2 cm. lesion (tumor) on my parietal-occipital lobe on the left side of my brain. This tumor is a metastasis of the breast cancer and is considered a secondary cancer. Meaning, it didn't originate as a primary brain tumor, it started as a breast cancer that spread to the brain.

The bad news is that there is no cure for brain cancer, I now have metastatic disease and I will live with that title the rest of my life. It's very scary having a tumor in my brain. The parietal lobe of the brain affects simple writing, reasoning skills, numbness, paralysis, headaches, etc. The occipital lobe of the brain controls your vision. Because my tumor is in the middle of these two lobes I'm having some symptoms of both types.

Monday I started on very strong steroids which are aimed at keeping the swelling in my brain down. So far, after just a few days, I'm much less symptomatic and the Doctors feel hopeful about this. Its great to be without headaches and vision problems these past few days!!!

Today Scott and I met with a Radiation Oncologist at Sutter Cancer Center in downtown Sac. We met for two hours with this Dr. who, along with a Neurosurgeon and a team of neuroscientists and other oncologists, will make decisions about what the best treatment will be for me.

The good news is that in the world of brain tumors I have a few things in my favor:

* I have a solitary lesion (one tumor) which is WAY better than having more than one.
* It is deep, but not too deep that it can't be treated by Gamma Knife technology
* Gamma Knife technology is high doses of radiation to the brain that has a 90% cure rate for the initial tumor
* I'm young and otherwise healthy...ha ha ha..I know? Just have a brain tumor..but otherwise I'm healthy..pretty crazy huh??

There is still more to be decided as I meet with my Neurosurgeon next week. There are many negative side effects of the different treatments for my tumor and there will be a rough road ahead for me and my family. However, Scott and I feel really encouraged and hopeful after meeting with the Oncologist today, as he feels that despite the risks, I have a lot to be hopeful about.

I would like to try to keep my life as normal as possible (What is normal anymore??) but I'm really tired of being the sick person/patient/pity case and so I'd really appreciate it if you all remember that I'm the same Heidi I was on Sunday, before I knew I had a brain tumor. The tumor doesn't change who I am, it just changes the treatment plan I'll be going through the next few months and it affects some of my long-term plans. But for the most part, I'll try to keep living my life as "Heidi does" and I hope you all know that I'll need positive encouragement, support, prayers and love, just as I always have. I want you all to know you can ask me questions if you want to, etc. I'll be keeping you updated via my blog too, so you'll feel connected.

I appreciate each of you for your friendship to me and my family. As we go forward through this new trial I'm trying to take an optimistic and hopeful outlook and move forward in the best way I can.
Thanks for caring about me!

Love, Heidi

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where Can I turn for peace?

Lately I've been dealing with a lot of challenges with my health. Sunday as I was sitting in church one of the songs we sang was entitled "Where Can I Turn For Peace?" It really brought comfort to me and I wanted to share some words from that hymn:

"Where Can I turn for peace? Where is my solace? When other sources cease to make me whole? Where when my aching grows, anger or malice...who, who can understand? He only one."

I know that no matter what trials I undergo, the Lord my Savior understands all and has endured all the pain that I have and all the pain I will endure and through Him I can find peace. Other sources may not be able to make me whole....but in a spiritual sense, the Lord can.

That's my thought for today!

Love, Heidi

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Dalmatian Photos

Great Grandma and Grandpa Black came up for the is Cameron with them!
My Dad wanted to take a photo of me in my spiffy director shirt! All the kids had matching ones...
And here is my darling Kaylie Dalmatian....
Posted by Picasa

101 Dalmatians Play

Well, as I mentioned before, I directed the Elk Grove Musical Theater production of 101 Dalmatians Kids. It was a great experience working with the kids and I'm so glad I did it. My parents came to support the kids and I.

Here I am with my cute puppies..Kaylie isn't smiling, but she was really having fun!!
Here's my darling Chihuahua! Cameron Scott...
Kaylie during one of her dances....more photos to come..enjoy! =)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Post-Surgery Update

Well, since the surgery is behind me and the news is good news, I thought I would share the details with my family and friends. I didn't want to worry anyone, so we kept details about the surgery pretty quiet. Monday I went in for an outpatient surgery to have a nodule removed on my left chest wall. This was discovered about a month ago when I rolled over in the night and felt pain. An ultrasound determined I had a hematoma--not a tumor--phew!!

After several attempts at having my doctor drain the hematoma, the pathology reports came back clean, no signs of cancer...again...relief! However, this nasty hematoma was not willing to give up. Within 2 weeks it had refilled again and was giving me pain again. Last Thursday my surgeon did another ultrasound and determined that it needed to be surgically removed. There appeared to tissue forming in the hematoma sack and he didn't want to take any risks. It was in my radiation field and therefore the skin and tissues are very damaged there.

So, Monday I went in for simple surgery...and they ended up putting me under general I was VERY LOOPY and sick afterwards. The surgery went well and yesterday pathology came back on the is the result:

**An organized opposed to what?? An unorganized hematoma?? Come have to have something to laugh at in all this!!

This hematoma was organized, had its own blood supply and would have continued to feed itself indefinitely if we hadn't removed it. So although I had to go through another surgery, it sounds like it would have come to this at the end of the day anyhow!! So, now my stitches are healing, I'm starting to move my arm more and I'm happy to say the nausea and disorientation is gone!! Anesthesia really makes me feel weird!!

We feel very grateful that everything turned out well and consider this yet another bump in the road for me....the side effects of my illness will always be a part of my life.

Love and Hugs,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Some last Cruise photos..

Well life went on after the cruise...IMAGINE THAT!!?? And I haven't posted all the photos I wanted to share I thought I should just throw a few more out there before its 2009!!

Here Scott and I are as we're leaving St. Maarten....up on one of the upper decks of the ship...
Here we are playing miniature golf...very fun and HOT!
One of the neatest things was rollerblading along this course on the front of the ship! It was awesome to look out and see blue sea as far as the eye could see!
Here I am in St. Maarten....i spent the morning being sick (thanks to a turbulent snorkel cruise) and so the afternoon was spent sitting on the beach (which still swayed all over) and doing a bit of shopping. =0) I will NEVER do a snorkel cruise way! Scott enjoyed himself though!
Posted by Picasa

May the Force Be With You!

Here is our Star Wars Family on Halloween. Don't you love our little Yoda?? =) We had a fun time dressing up as a Star Wars family!
Grandma and Grandpa Black came up for our Spooky Halloween dinner and trick or treating..
We met up with friends and the kids enjoyed exchanging candy. Here's a Kaylie with a cute M & M!
This week Scotty turned the big 33!! Here he is enjoying his birthday breakfast--spinach omelet, turkey sausages & pumpkin muffins. Yum!
Posted by Picasa