A Little Perspective

We have had quite a week in the Watson house. As many of you know, Stewart had cancer just over 2 years ago (more on that time in our lives HERE). He had a routine blood test last Thursday which showed extremely elevated levels of LDH (which basically shows evidence of tissue damage according to google). It caused enough concern for our doctor to send him for a CT scan to see if the cancer had returned. Of course we couldn’t get an appointment until Monday (yesterday). So it was a long agonizing weekend. We shed some tears, stayed extremely busy, prayed like nobody’s business, and waited.

In the meantime, Turner was having terrible ear pain which started around the same time last week. We took him to the doctor 3 days in a row. They kept saying he was fine and to just give him Tylenol or Motrin. After several nights of endless crying, we took him in for a third opinion this past Sunday. That’s when the doctor said his eardrum was ruptured. He’s now on ear drops, another antibiotic to prevent infection, and Tylenol/Motrin around the clock. Poor guy! He’s finally seeing some relief.

If that’s not enough excitement, Gracie started waking up in the middle of the night right around the same time! So we’ve been exhausted, emotionally and physically. We just kept saying how we needed a break!

Yesterday, at 4:30, we got our break. We received the call from Stewart’s doctor. He is still free of cancer!!! HOORAAAAAYYYY. We jumped up and down in the front yard while Turner looked at us like crazy people!

Now, I write this not to bring you down on this beautiful Tuesday morning, but to give us all a little perspective! Yes, the babies may be waking up every hour screaming for us. Yes, we may be exhausted. Yes it may hit us that we can’t remember the last time we showered (not me of course). But thank God for these babies that make us smile. And thank God that we have this moment in time where we can influence and create little humans that will grow up and inspire others! And thank God that we have people in our lives who love us deeply and that we love just the same! The sky is a little bluer today through my overly caffeinated sleepy eyes!

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Cancer Free BBQ

I already posted about our amazing news that Stew is cancer free! But I promised that I’d share some photos. I didn’t take a single picture but, luckily, my mother-in-law was ON IT!

It was a beautiful day for a backyard BBQ. We fired up the grill and made burgers and chicken. Everyone brought something so we had a TON of food and drinks. Here are some photos that captured the day…





We had so many friends and family over to celebrate. But my favorite of them all, was this guy…

Maybe this little guy too…

What a great celebration! We are SO relieved to be past this. But we had so much support along the way, and we feel so grateful for each little bump in the road. It really makes us appreciate all the GOOD we have! Now, with that said, have an amazing weekend!

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What a Week!

We just had the BEST week ever! Stew, my husband, had his 12th chemo treatment on February 27th. Here’s a little background on our journey the past 7 months! He had his follow up PET scan this past Tuesday, March 25th. Then, on the 27th, we went to see Dr. Saylors to find out the test results.

I was perfectly fine up until that morning; I slept like a baby. But, right before our visit, I was SO anxious! I was visibly shaking, and my heart was racing. Stew was as cool as a cucumber! Apparently, I had enough nerves for the two of us.

We sat in the room and Joanna, our PA, walked in. She had a big smile on her face and started asking about Turner and our plans for the weekend. I told her she was killing me! Then, she said the words we’ve been waiting to hear… STEW’S CANCER FREE!!! I burst out into tears (I should have learned not to wear makeup to their office by now) and hugged her. Then she walked out to get Dr. Saylors, and I ran over to give Stew a giant hug! We were SOOOO excited!

That afternoon, Stew’s parents got into town from NJ. It was just coincidence that they planned their visit the same weekend we would find out his test results! It was truly a weekend of celebrating! Well, we would have celebrated more if Stew wasn’t fighting a cold and Turner was getting 4 molars at once. But, we still made the best of it, snot and all!

Yesterday, we had a BIG party. We had about 40 people over to the house for a “We Kicked Cancer’s Ass” BBQ. It was so much fun. Everyone was happy and so excited for us! I couldn’t believe everyone who showed up to support us. It was truly humbling! I didn’t take a single picture, because I was too busy talking to everyone. BUT, my mother-in-law did. So hopefully I’ll get to steal some from her to share! But, for now, I’m sending you off with smiles from my little munchkin. Happy Monday!


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Acupuncture

As you know, Stew’s been going through chemo since this past September. Although his cancer is nearly gone, he still has to finish his “prescription”, which is a total of 12 treatments. He completed his 6th treatment today. Halfway through!

Chemo has definitely been a challenge. Stew’s been such a trooper though. I’m so proud of him. He’s so positive and doesn’t complain, and I know what he’s dealing with isn’t easy!

His first 4 treatments were rough. He was actually green each time we left. He felt so nauseous and sick for about 4 days after each treatment. He was on a few nausea medicines that didn’t work for him. I finally called our “Chinese Medicine Guru”, Stephen Clipp. He can cure anything from the common cold to shingles! Check him out here! I doubtfully asked if there was anything he could do to help manage Stew’s side effects. I just thought chemo was such a big bad treatment, and I was skeptical that anything could help! But, thankfully, I was wrong!



Steve gave him an herb concoction (that we got approval from Dr. Saylors before starting) specifically tailored to his needs! Stew takes the herbs the day before chemo to get ahead of the symptoms. Then he goes for acupuncture the day of treatment, and continues the herbs for about 3 days after treatment. Steve always asks him to rate his nausea on a scale of 1-10 (ten being the worst). The past few treatments he was at a 7. Today he was AT A ZERO!!! WHAT?!?!?! Not only is Steve managing Stew’s side effects, but he’s helping with repairing his “gut” so he’ll recover from chemo faster when it’s all said and done.

I can’t even stress how over the moon I am that Stew is feeling better after his treatments! Only 6 treatments left! With Steve’s help this half should be a breeze!

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Fearless

Yesterday was Stew’s 4th chemo treatment. Eight more to go! I’m amazed at how positive and strong he is. I feel like I would be a big cry baby if I was in his shoes.

Being thrown into this cancer world has been frightening and inspiring at the same time. We’re surrounded by people who are in such different positions, but at the root, they all have the same struggles and fears.

Yesterday, a woman named Elizabeth, came into our room to talk to us. She just finished her 12th treatment. She came in to ask us about our laptop. She’s been thinking about getting a Mac laptop. Her daughter has been telling her she needs to invest in one. We agreed. After a few minutes of computer talk, we addressed the elephant in the room…what are you in here for? She had stage 3 colon cancer (hopefully gone after her 12th treatment!). She asked if she could pray for us. We said sure! I thought this just meant she’d add us to her prayers, but she started praying right then and there…fearless.

When we finished up Stew’s treatment, we sat in the waiting room so I could talk to one of the nurses. A young woman, probably our age, came in with her boyfriend. Her head fuzzy from hair starting to grow back. I recognized her from Starbucks a few weeks ago. I had wanted to talk to her in Starbucks, but didn’t. Her bald head gave her away. What would I say? “My husband has cancer too!!”¬†She strutted her stuff like she just got her hair styled like that purposely. She was so bubbly and had the biggest smile on her face. I was in awe! She was back in the waiting room yesterday, smiling as big as ever, for round 2. It came back…fearless.

Through this journey, we have relied on the amazing blessings in our lives to keep us lifted. The main one being Turner. He constantly reaffirms the truth that everything is ok! He is strong and brave. He doesn’t let anything hold him back. He is at the stage where he will stand up on anything he can get his little hands on and cruise…fearless.



God put Turner in our lives at the perfect time! He makes US fearless. He has a way of teaching us, daily, not to take life too seriously! Lesson learned.

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Back to Normal…Almost

Ever since Stew was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, life has been non-stop! I feel like we’ve spent the past three weeks in and out of hospitals, cancer centers, and doctor’s offices! He started chemo last week, so hopefully our schedule will get back to normal, with the exception of his chemo treatment every other week! I’m thrilled to say he’s doing great!

In happier news, IT’S FALL!!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the change of season. I love summer, but about this time of year, I’m jonesing for a good cup of apple cider and a porch full of mums!
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We brought the fall decorations down from the attic and officially decorated the house yesterday! We even started working on Turner’s Halloween costume!!! I can’t tell you yet, but I CAN say he will be STINKIN CUTE!

Turner seems to be growing before our eyes. It’s hard to believe he’s 10 months old already! He seems to learn something new everyday! In the past week he’s learned to clap when we say “YAAAAY!” and he will wave when we say, “HELLO!” and he does “How big is Turner? SO BIG!”
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He’s even been working on his football skills!
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He just gets more fun by the day. He’s a silly happy boy and is truly the light of our lives!!
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Blog Post From A Hospital Bed

I wondered whether or not I should even bother posting anything since there’s not much Turner news, and this is a baby blog after all. But, I figured I would fill you in on the past few days.

Stew was feeling queasy the past three days. Yesterday he actually felt like he had the flu and even vomited. We had his bone marrow biopsy scheduled, so I called his oncologist to see if we should still come in. He said YES. So in we went, Stew feeling sick as a dog.

Dr. Saylors did the biopsy while I sat in, yet another, waiting room. Dr. Saylors came out and said the biopsy went fine but his sodium level is dangerously low. He said that Stew needed to stay overnight in the hospital to be monitored because he didn’t know what was causing it.

So, last night, Stew stayed overnight at Roper. I stayed with him until about 9pm and went home to sleep. My mom stayed at our house overnight so she could watch Turner when I came back to the hospital this morning.

Stew is feeling much better today but has to stay again tonight. So here we sit, snuggled in his tiny hospital bed, watching Dr. Oz. He had an IV with saline pumping into him all night. Dr. Saylors came in this morning to chat with us. He said that Stew has SIADH. Basically, there is a hormone that the brain releases to help the body hold onto water and keep sodium in balance. His cancer is causing the brain to release more of the hormone which made him feel dizzy, nauseous, tired, etc. Once we start treating the cancer, it will fix that problem!

This is certainly the hardest two weeks we’ve ever been through together. I think the hardest part is that we’re not home with Turner all day every day. We’ve been going to appointments and having tests taken almost every day! It will be nice to get back to our daily routine and squeeze Turner’s cheeks! Happy blog posts (and chunky baby pictures) to come, I promise!

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The “C” Word

I guess now is a good time as any to share our news. This is a long one. So mix up a smoothie and hunker down!

Last Tuesday, the 3rd, Stew and I were told he has cancer. I know, I know, he’s only 30, we’re so healthy, we just had a baby, etc. It all went through our minds too!

I’ll start from the beginning. Stew has had a rib sticking out for about 6 months now. We just assumed it was from doing construction, but he couldn’t remember anything specific that he did to hurt it. So, we went to our doctor. She sent him for X-Rays, which showed nothing abnormal, and then to a chiropractor to manipulate it back into place. It just didn’t want to go back into place! So, about 2 weeks ago, Stew found an orthopedic doctor who specializes in the thoracic area of the spine. She said he might need surgery to attach the rib to his sternum again. So she sent him for a CT scan to see exactly what was going on.

Stew asked me to come with him to the follow up because I think surgery is a LAST resort, unless it’s a life or death situation. So he wanted me to give her a piece of my mind! I ended up meeting him at Roper St. Francis downtown and had to bring Turner along. So the three of us met in the parking garage and walk into the building. Dr. Kline met us in the waiting room, grabbed the CT scan disc and went to review it. She said she would meet us in the room once she took a look at the disc.

After a few minutes, Dr. Kline and some other woman walked into the room. I assumed this other woman was just one of those shadow doctors who was training or something. So, Dr. Kline started explaining that the CT scan showed that he actually had a cancerous tumor in his chest wall that had pushed his rib out of place. The tumor went above and below that place we were feeling as well. We have NO idea exactly what she said after that. Basically, all we heard was cancer, surgery, chemo, and radiation. Stew just sat there, I cried, and Turner giggled to himself while he chowed down on his happy puffs. It turned out that the random woman in the room was our “oncology nurse navigator”. We had a cancer nurse! Was this really happening!?!?

Dr. Kline set up a PET Scan last Thursday and a biopsy last Friday. The PET scan was a 2 hour process. My mom watched Turner while we went. The nurse for the PET scan came out and explained exactly how the test worked. He wasn’t able to eat anything before the test. This made his cells very hungry and ready to eat! Once he got there, they injected him with a radioactive sugar that would act as food for the cells. Any cells that were cancerous would gobble up this food and it would show up as a collection of the radioactive sugar in those cancerous areas. This would show exactly where the cancer cells were throughout the body and how much it has or hasn’t spread. I was doing really well and taking all of the information in like a champ. Then she told me that Stew would be radioactive until about 11:00 that night and he couldn’t be around Turner since he was so little and his cells were still developing. I BURST into tears. Somehow, bringing Turner into the mix made it harder to handle. The nurse leapt out of her chair and hugged me so tightly and started praying right then and there. She said, “God is in the business of performing miracles, and He is here holding you. He won’t let you go. He won’t abandon you.” And I know this is true. This is what Stew and I held on to the past week. This prayer is what got us through these past 6 days of wondering, and crying, and hoping.

After the scan, Stew couldn’t go in our house (Thank God for Gigi watching Turner ALL day), so we met our pastor for lunch just to chat and pray. Then we went to Luke and Suzy’s apartment (Stew’s brother and wife). Stew took a nap while I filled Suzy in on the day. The four of us went to Sullivan’s Island for dinner and a walk on the beach. We just wanted to keep busy and stay as positive as possible.
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Friday was the biopsy. This wasn’t as long as the other test. We were only there for about 3 hours. Then we were able to go home and snuggle our baby. While they prepped him, I sat in my own little waiting room. At least I had a beautiful view of the marina!
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The doctor took Stew back for the procedure. It was only about 20 minutes long. Then we just had to wait for about an hour to make sure he was good to go!
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The hardest part this past week was the WAITING. We would be ok during the day because we were busy. We hung out with friends and family, and we prayed our butts off. We have never felt more strengthened by God in our lives! Our follow up appointment is scheduled for this Tuesday (tomorrow) at 9:30am. We just told ourselves we wouldn’t know anything until then and tried to push it out of our minds.

Yesterday, we went to church and then had lunch at my mom’s house. We left Turner with her and my stepdad so we could take a ride to World Market and walk around. We parked the car, and my phone rang. It was Dr. Kline!!! She had the results from both tests and wanted to tell us. The cancer was ONLY in that chest wall area. It originated there (which in the cancer world is GOOD NEWS)!!! It hadn’t spread throughout his body. It was Hodgkins Lymphoma which was also good news, because it’s easy to treat! NO SURGERY!!! Stew will have to go through chemo. She said this is the BEST outcome we could have hoped for. THANK YOU JESUS!!!

We also did some research on the Alkaline Diet, which we started a few days ago. Dr. Kline gave us the OK on this. The way it works is by starving the cancer cells and killing them. They feed off of glucose and thrive in an acidic environment. So, if you kill their food source, they die! I am doing it with him as added support. So, you’ll see A LOT of alkaline recipes in the coming months.

The reason I’m sharing is because I can’t possibly keep such a life changing event from you. I’m also sharing this so you live life. Love everyone in your life. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted! It’s amazing how last week our hardest decision was which flavor ice cream to buy, and this week, we’re meeting our oncologist to make a plan for cancer treatment. Through this all, we are still so thankful, because we KNOW it could be much worse. The sky is a little bluer today and the grass a little greener. And for some added celebration, here’s some Turner love!
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