Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Some Good News, Some Bad News...But That's Life, Right?! :)

First of all, I have some great news to share! Today marks HALFWAY through my first chemo treatment!!! YES! Now, I know that I mentioned my chemo "cycles," which will be about a month each...since today marks a week since my diagnosis and admittance into the hospital, obviously I'm not halfway done with a whole cycle yet. I'm just halfway done with the crappiest part of a cycle! ;) This "cycle" includes 10 days of the actual chemo, and then about two and a half more weeks after the chemo of resting until all of those good cells come back to the right amounts I'm supposed to have in my body. Today marks 5 days of chemo, so just 5 more to go! Chemo makes me feel really tired and sometimes gives me nausea, headaches, or dizziness. Luckily the hospital has GREAT anti-nausea meds so when I feel really sick, I am usually able to get something to help me sleep through it and feel better when I wake up.

Although I'm tolerating it pretty well, the worst thing about the chemo is how it effects my appetite. When I was trying to explain to my Dad how my body feels about food, the best description I had was "You could put a slice of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake in front of me and I wouldn't want to eat it." Food has become something that I have to force myself to eat so that I have enough energy and nutrition...but as the days have gone on, it gets harder and harder to eat. It's really tough to have the pleasure of even the yummiest foods taken away for a little bit. Thankfully though, the hospital has LOTS of meal-replacement drinks that I can have along with whatever food I feel like I can get down, and I saw a dietitian today to discuss how I can maintain my nutrition and weight in my food struggles. I had kind of a realization today: so many women fantasize about being able to lose weight, and some even go to desperate measures to do so. But then, here's me, being disappointed about losing weight and wanting to put it back on as soon as I can!! I genuinely love my body and really want my figure to stay as it is for as long as I can maintain it. I think I have really taken for granted not only food itself and having the appetite to eat healthy and nutritious foods, but being able to maintain a healthy weight that makes me feel good about myself. However, all of this being said, I have heard that after the actual chemo is done (5 more days!!), my appetite should go back to normal and those two and a half weeks will be a perfect time to get all my favorite foods back into my tummy. :) My Mom told me a few days ago that one of her wonderful friends is fasting for me, and even though I don't think my Mom had told her about my food struggles, I cried when my Mom told me. In addition to the spiritual aspect, it felt so cool to know that someone else was giving up the pleasure of food for a day like I am while I get my chemo. Obviously I am willing to do whatever it takes to fight!!!

Now for a little bit of bad news. I believe I had explained that my type of leukemia is AML, but that I didn't yet know whether I was high or low risk. The GOOD news is that after looking at all of the genetic info in my bone marrow, the doctors learned that I do NOT have the flt 3 gene (I believe it's called), which would make me very high risk and would make this a much harder fight. However, the unfortunate news I have to share is that my chromosomes do show that I am high risk, which means that I will need a bone marrow transplant after 3 cycles of chemo. Thankfully, after sharing this news with me, my doctor right away said "Don't worry...YOU WILL BE CURED!" He had no doubt that I would be able to find a donor, and while this will add a few months onto my treatment, my doctor assured me that I will be in remission and totally cancer-free after my transplant! I am not sure doctors are technically able to promise things like that, but he definitely came as close to a promise as he's allowed to. So, after my 3 months of chemo, it will be about 4-5 months total filled with preparing for the transplant, the actual transplant, and my recovery. Even though it's a little longer than I had been crossing my fingers for, I am completely up for this battle, no matter how long it will be. I am strong, I am tough, and I have faith that God has HUGE plans for my future...I'm not stopping here! Again, this is just a detour I have to get through in life, and while it's not going to be an easy journey, I am more than ready to give everything I have to make myself well again!

For some brighter news again, tomorrow I will update you on some of the happy stuff that I've been up to with the volunteers here on the peds floor, including pictures of getting some awesome henna and....get this....a visit with PET THERAPY PUPPIES!!! :D They do a great job of making sure we don't get too bored here. Who could possibly be unhappy around the best animals known to man?! ;)

I love you all and thank you thank you thank you for the thoughts and prayers!!! I am fighting HARD and I promise not to stop until this cancer is 100% GONE! :)



  1. Hey Sarah,

    You really are an inspiration and have such a wonderful attitude, which is why I have to agree with your doctors that you will be cancer free after your transplant. You have the right approach and you are always in my prayers. Thanks for doing this to keep everyone informed on how you're doing.

    Much love and AOT,

    Amira :)

  2. Go Red team!
    I remember in our group sharing during one of our meetings for the Encounter 42 sharing, you talked about how blessed you have been in your life, how readily God's grace has manifested itself to you, and how you couldn't help but shine and share that love and grace with others. Your optimistic and truly admirable approach to this "detour" is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I was moved when you spoke those words during our meeting, and I am even more moved now as I read your words and experience your strength and your unyielding joy. I grow stronger in my own faith through the transitive support that this blog and your spirit has given me. Thank you for being you, and unflinchingly so. I love and miss you dearly. God bless.
    Your Encounter 42 brother,

  3. Sarah,
    We just heard. Praying for continued sustaining grace for you and your family. The faith and hope the Lord has given you is simply beautiful!
    Sue Wahrman

  4. Hello my beautiful Sarah! :) I wanted to let you know that reading this blog made me smile :) I love you so much and wanted to know that I am still praying for you :) I can't wait until I get to see you since I haven't seen you in forever and I have ALOT to tell you!! :D I hope that everything goes well for you and I want to let you know that you are very inspiring. Anybody can let something like this get them down but not you, you are still happy as ever and I love that! I know that you can get through this and you are such an amazing young woman. You're strong, beautiful, funny, intelligent, empowering, and you're also my very best friend :). I love you lots and keep your chin up, you're a tough cookie and you'll feel better in no time! Thinking about it as a detour is a great way to think about it because that's just what it is! You're SOOO amazing and I love you lots again!!! :D


  5. I love you so much sweetie, I'm glad you're being so positive about this whole situation. Your honesty and strength in this less-than-perfect situation is amazing, and gives me hope and strength to accomplish what I need to take care of in my life.
    If there's anything I can ever do to help, let me know, okay? Anything at all. You're an inspiration, an impersonation of the strength of a positive attitude, and I can't wait to see you back on your feet! Keep on fighting, you've got an army of support behind you! <3

  6. Hey Love, I appreciate your charisma and strong will as you go through treatment. God is so great and wonderful and has filled your spirit with peace and optimism. I'm praying for you and thinking about you every day. Keep going strong chicka, you're an amazing young woman that can brighten anyone's day. I miss you and would love to skype you sometime when you feel up to it. May joy and healing come over you quickly in this time that you need it. Keep up the great attitude, it's what's going to help you the most!
    I love you!

  7. Hi Sarah,
    It's Shawn, Lisa, Lauren, and Johnathon: We love, love, love you!! Attached are lyrics to a song that is one of our favorites and it so reminds us of you. If your family is to be proud of anything you have ever accomplished (and that's a lot!)it has to be the fact that you are a true woman of faith. Everyone you meet secretly says to themselves,"I want some of what she has!" The very first line of this song says, "May she have the faith of SARAH! But, how can it be that you encompass the fruit of all the other women too? You are an amazing, magnificent, wonderfully made creation.

    Bless My Daughter
    by Rita Baloche

    May she have the faith of Sarah,
    May she be as loyal as Ruth,
    May she have the wisdom of Deborah,
    Always seeking truth, Always seeking truth.

    Father God, bless my little one.
    May she grow to be a woman of God.

    May her prayers be heard like Hannah’s,
    May she have the favor of Esther,
    May she be a helper like Priscilla,
    Always sharing love, Always sharing love.

    Father God, bless my little one.
    May she grow to be a woman of God.

    May she have the joy of Elizabeth,
    May she have the strength of Abigail,
    May she have a heart like Mary,
    Always praising God, Always praising God.

    Father God, bless my little one.
    May she grow to be a woman of God.

    Again, we love, love, love you. You're on our hearts and in our prayers.
    More LOVE,
    The McCombe Family

  8. Hi Sarah,
    We miss you so much in the mail room , I am happy to see that you are keeping a positive attitude during this difficult time. I am constantly praying for you and your family.


  9. hey hun i hope your feeling good today... i was just reading your blog and seeen you wll need a bone marrow transplant ..... if i am a match i wanna be able to help you... just let me knw what i can do to see if i am or not.... i love you girl and know that my prayers are going out to you