Friday, January 25, 2008

One Year!

Today is the 25th of January. January 25th, 2007 is when I was diagnosed with Cancer. I remember everything seemed to happen so quickly that day. I went in for a chest x-ray. As soon as the doctor read it he told me to go to Urgent Care for another Doctor's opinion. I was shocked to hear him tell me that I needed to go to the ER at Ventura County Medical Center. I made some phone calls, packed a bag, and Eric and I headed off to the ER. The place looked really packed and we thought we'd be waiting all night. To our surprise, we were called up and I was stuck with my first IV in my hand. I had to look away. It wasn't too painful, though. Just uncomfortable. Then I went back to the waiting area and only had to wait a short while till I was called back to a little area with a bed and curtains. Sometime in the mix of things I was taken to get a CT scan. Then one doctor after another came to talk to me. I remember one doctor telling me how incredibly serious this was. No one knew exactly what was going on in me, but they knew it wasn't good. It kind of felt like a dream to me. The doctors were very nice and sincerely concerned. We were up all night until we got transferred to a room. The first big procedure that was done was a bone marrow biopsy. Although they shot me with some medicine to numb me, I could still feel pain as they ground their tools into my lower back bone to get enough bone marrow. Actually, I think that was the second big procedure. The first was to biopsy the mass in my chest to see whether or not it was cancerous. That was a breeze because I was given morphine and numbed up so much that I couldn't feel a thing. I just remember this skinny tube thing sticking out of my chest. Later, I was getting a EKG done when my doctor walked in. He told me that the biopsy results showed that it was cancer. He had tears in his eyes. I didn't cry. I just remember nodding and saying "uh huh, okay, alright, uh huh...etc." as he told me. When I came back to my room, everyone was in there, crying and teary-eyed. This all may sound depressing but it really isn't when you think about all the healing and miracles that have taken place. Well, I'm still waiting to hear from the hospital so I'm guessing the MRI isn't going to get done until next week, which might be for the best. I will update again soon! Bye for now!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quick Update

Well, the MRI finally got delivered to where it was supposed to but most likely won't be approved soon enough. So, my neurologist called me today and said that he could admit me and keep me over night and then do the MRI in the morning. It doesn't need approval if I am an inpatient. I told him okay and he said they would be calling me in the next couple of hours when a bed was ready for me. I'm still waiting.....6 hours after he called......I just got a call saying that there isn't a bed available yet but they will call when there is. Well, the MRI will get done either way so I'm not too worried. Just a bit anxious. It is raining like crazy right now and it sounds really cool! I was hoping that if the MRI was done early tomorrow morning and I got released early enough Eric and I could go to the temple. We'll see if that will still be possible. I hope so! Anyway, hope you are all doing well!.....I just talked to my wonderful mom and told her a couple stories of people who have stopped me out in public who noticed I was bald and she said I should share those stories on my blog. I was talking to my friend Alena when she came down to visit and we both agreed that we love going out in public bald because then people approach us and we can exchange stories. Alena said she misses that because her hair is growing back and people just think it's a haircut. One lady gave me a big hug and told me I was a brave woman. She said that she was bald once too because of a non-cancerous tumor and then I told her my reason for being bald. Another couple stopped me and asked me about my story and then they told me that their son was battling lung cancer and he never smoked a day in his life. Another woman asked if I'd had surgery and I told her my story and she got all teary eyed and gave me a big hug and said God bless you. Another old man stopped me in the store and said he'd been through what I'm going through 20 years ago and he is still cancer free. I am very excited to have my hair grow back but I know I am really going to miss all the approaches from strangers. Not necessarily to talk about myself but to be able to hear other success stories from strangers that I wouldn't have met and heard otherwise. It is a bitter-sweet feeling. Well, it's been an hour and a half since I started writing this blog and still no call from the hospital. They love keeping people on edge. Well, I'm not complaining. I'm at home in my comfortable bedroom. I guess I will say good-bye for now and go make some dinner. Thanks for all your love, support, and prayers!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Wild Eyes!

Wild Eyes!

I've just been having a lot of fun editing pictures and changing eye colors and stuff! I'm not that great at it, but maybe with some practice I'll get good!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rock on Dudes!

Doesn't he look natural in that wig? Seriously!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Meet Our New Friends!!!

I don't know if you've been following my blog or my other website but a few months back there was a really sweet message from a fellow cancer survivor around my age who ended up being LDS, (Mormon), like me. We wrote e-mails back and forth and she has inspired me so much with her amazing attitude, spirit, and sense of humor. Thursday, her and her boyfriend Sam drove out to see me from the Sacramento area! Sam has family further south so they were able to visit them while they were out here. We had a fun time together! I wish so much that we lived closer but who knows what the future holds! When they arrived at our place in Camarillo we sat around and talked for a little bit. Alena put a little book together for me with some pictures of her cancer journey, thoughts from her blog and a sweet little letter at the end. What an amazing gal she is! After looking through that, Alena and Sam took us all out to Baja Fresh for lunch. Then we went to Trader Joes to get food to make dinner later. After wandering around for a bit and getting some good stuff to eat, we went to a cute little yogurt place and got some frozen yogurt, which I haven't had in years! It was yummy! Then we came back to our place. Alena brought a scrapbook of her as a baby and through her childhood so I looked through that and became more familiar with her family. They look like awesome people! Eric got home from work around 5 and Alena and I started on dinner shortly after. We, more so Alena, made Salmon, Quinoa (not sure exactly what it is but it's really good), and steamed broccoli. The salmon was really good so it inspired me to cook it a few times a week. Good for the brain! After dinner we had some really good laughs with my wigs! We took pictures in them and the guys even put them on! It was hilarious! These are lifelong friends now and I am so grateful for Heavenly Fathers hand in leading us to one another. Alena has a really good friend named Hilary who is friends with Eric's sister-in-laws sister-in-law Leslie. Leslie kept telling Hilary to tell Alena she has to meet this girl named Shelsi. Alena had already found me on her own through a search she did on the internet: Hair growth after chemo. She looked at the images and one of my pictures came up. I didn't have any hair but she decided to click on it anyways and it brought her to my shelsisentinel website. One way or another we were bound to meet! Anway, that's my post for the day! Hope you are all having a great New Year! Bye for now! Oh yeah, I'm going to be receiving 4 focal treatments to the spot in my brain where the cancer recurred this week so by Friday I will be all done with radiation! YAY!!! Then we'll wait at least 2 weeks to get an MRI and then we'll know the plan from then on. I should be completely done by March!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!!!

Dear Wonderful Friends and Family,

My heart is so full right now as I write this letter. What a year 2007 has been. Some people say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. I think Eric and I can both agree that the second year of our marriage was a bit more challenging. Having our own little place that Eric’s awesome boss allowed us to stay in Bakersfield the first year of our marriage was a huge blessing! We met some wonderful people that we will always stay in touch with. When Eric’s job moved us back to Camarillo in December of 2006 we moved in with his parents. What a blessing that turned out to be. It is a lovely little addition to their home and Eric and his dad built a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a nice Jacuzzi tub and shower. We have our own entrance, which we don’t use yet. It is a very cozy little place and we are very grateful to his parents, Lew and Lorrie, for allowing us to live here. It is truly amazing what you find out about people through times of hardship and trial. After my cancer diagnosis in January of this, or I guess I should say last year, the outpouring of love and prayers was so abundant that I almost felt like I didn’t deserve so much attention. The treatments treated me well. I didn’t get sick or extremely fatigued and when I did feel exhausted, there were many family members and people from church who would go out of there way to bring us meals and offer help. We are very grateful. Eric and I have received countless letters, donations, gifts, and cards from strangers, friends, family, and even anonymous people and we will forever be in their debt. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Words cannot even express our gratitude. I am also grateful to God for trusting Eric and I with this trial, allowing us to grow and become closer to each other and to Him. It is unfathomable to think that what we have gone through this year is so miniscule compared to the trials Jesus had to endure. There were many times when I was in the hospital going through a painful procedure where I turned to the Savior and knew without a shadow of a doubt that He was there with me, holding me in His arms. He knew exactly what I was going through. Every pain. Every heart-ache. Every bad day. Every tear. Every struggle. He has been there for each and every one of us and will always be, if we will allow Him to. At the close of this year, we pray that we can all take the lessons we have learned and carry them into 2008. We pray that the New Year will bring joy, new friendships, rekindled old friendships, success, and an even greater capacity to love and serve others as well as a greater ability to never take life or health for granted.

Love & Blessings,

Eric & Shelsi Stolworthy

Ventura County Hospital 2 days after diagnosis

Eric shaves my head after hair starts to fall out