Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where I have been...

October 21, 2010

Well, it's been a few weeks since I last sent out an update.  Nothing too exciting to report (thankfully!).  All is moving along well.  This week was my 5th chemo session - and the first of a new round of drugs.  These new drugs were administered on two separate days (yesterday and the day before) to ensure I did not have any kind of allergic reaction.  All went well, so they will combine the drugs together for the next 3 sessions - which means I will be in the hospital for a total of 6-7 hours each session (ick!).  I guess it is a small price to pay.. :)

I did find out yesterday that one drug that I started this week will be administered every 3 weeks until next October, which was longer than I had thought.  The good news is this drug doesn't cause hair loss so once I am done the last of the main chemo drugs on December 22nd, my hair will start to grow back.  I also learned that I will be taking a hormone pill starting next October that I will need to take for up to 5 years, and until that pill is no longer required, it is not recommended I get pregnant. is very likely that Keira will be my first, and our last, little bundle of joy.  That is kind of tough news to hear - so finite - but all the more reason to cherish every moment we have with her as she is already growing so quickly.   

As for the little Miss, Keira is doing awesome.  She had her shots on October 1st and did very well (me on the other hand...not so well :)).  She weighed 10lbs 6 oz then so we figure she is gaining at least 1.5 ounces a day so we guess she is about 12lbs 6oz today.  She is healthy and happy and really starting to show her personality.  She is still on a 3 or 4 hour sleep cycle so sleep for us is still pretty interrupted...but she is smiling and cooing so we will wake up for that anytime.

Anyways, I'll let you get back to things - enjoy this last day of sunshine as it won't be around for a few days I gather.  

Love and miss you all....and please be sure to keep in touch.  I still love to hear from each and every one of you!

September 29, 2010

Hope you are all doing great!  All is going pretty good in our world.  I saw the oncologist yesterday and the MRI that I had done on the 17th shows no sign of any cancer in my abdomen, specifically my liver.  They were able to do the full MRI with contrast, something they couldn't do when I was pregnant so as far as we are concerned, there is no sign of any cancer in my body!  What a huge relief!  I also found out that I can have my eye surgery that I had originally planned to have done while I was off on mat leave so I will start the workings on that for next Spring/Summer!  Yesterday was a great news day!  Today I had my 4th treatment session and, so far, I am doing good.  I got a good nap in this afternoon so Oliver could get put and play some soccer tonight. I  plan to fly on through as i have been.  

Oliver has also been to the doctor and is feeling much better.  His chrohn's/colitis was getting bad there for a bit, but he seems to be on the mend.  Thankfully, he will be able to take parental leave and stay home with me and Keira while I continue with my treatments, radiation, and the various surgeries I will go through next year.

And our little Keira is doing excellent.  We weighed her on the 17th as well, and she was 9lbs 6oz, but we haven't gotten to the health unit since.  We guestimate she is over 10lbs now and we will weigh her again on Friday when we take her for her first shots (which I am not looking forward to).  She is priceless, growing like a weed and the apple of our eye!  Here are some more pics..

September 13, 2010

Hope you are all doing well.  We are all doing pretty good, and our little Keira is growing like a weed.  We haven't had an official weigh-in since we wrote last, but we figure she must be around 8lbs 6oz.  She is eating and sleeping and doing all that babies do...and we just love her to pieces.  She is such a good baby...we are pretty blessed! 

As for me, I had my third round of treatment on Wednesday.  I didn't really even get the "ickies" or the heavy feeling I have gotten the last 2 times (thank goodness!), but I am feeling the fatigue a lot more, which I expected I would.  Oliver has been great taking the night shift with Keira so I can get at least 5 or 6 hours of straight sleep.  Without him, I don't know how I would do any of this...I am very grateful!  

I have one more round of the current drug combination on September 29th, and then I switch to two new chemo drugs which I will take for 4 more rounds until December.  Then, in January, I drop down to one drug for 9 more rounds until July.  Radiation also starts in January and, from what I gather, is every day 5 days a week for about 4 weeks - and I have to travel to Abbotsford or Surrey for that :(  Once radiation is complete and I recover from the effects of that, we will be back to see my surgeon.  As some of you know, I have decided to have my right breast removed to reduce my chances of having this happen to me again so there is much to be discussed about the reconstruction process early next year. 

It is hard to believe that it has been just over 4 months since my diagnosis.  Oliver and I were talking about it today, and it feels like so much longer.  So many miracles have taken place in that 4 months, that is for sure!

Anyways, I want to thank everyone who has donated and/or registered for my team - Kelly's Klique - to Run/Walk for the Cure on October 3rd.  We are going to get out there and kick cancer's butt so come join us!  We hope you are all doing well, enjoying life and keeping the small stuff small.  Here are some new photos taken by a wonderful family friend with an amazing eye!

September 1, 2010

Just a quick update to let you know we are all doing well.  After I wrote last time, I did get hit with the tiredness they warned me about, so I spent a few days getting much needed rest.  I was able to get out the company picnic this weekend, and saw a lot of familiar faces.  It was great to get out of the house as I have been fighting a cold and just staying close to home to make sure it doesn't get too bad.  All in all, I am feeling pretty good - but I am realizing that my body doesn't recover from the little things quite as quickly as it once did.  Round 3 is already fast approaching next week, and I am also going to see a Naturopath that specializes in cancer patients so I'm looking forward to that.  

Keira and I just came back from our 6 week visit at the doctor and she weighs a whopping 7lbs 10 oz today!  I couldn't believe it as she was 6lbs 10oz  when we weighed her two weeks ago.  She is awake a bit more now between feeds, so we get to hang out and learn about each other a bit more.  Oliver has taken Aidan up to Birkenhead for a boys camping trip so I have had my sister and my Mom staying with me to help with the feeds (thank goodness!).  

All in all, we are doing pretty good - keeping out of trouble and just enjoying each day.  

Miss you and keep in touch - I love to hear from you all!

August 20, 2010

Today our little princess is one month old - we can hardly believe it!  She is as cute as a button and weighing an amazing 6lbs 10oz (and that was as of Tuesday!).  She is gaining at least an ounce a day! She is just a little dream - sleeps for her 3 hours between feeds, wakes for a diaper change and some grub - if we are lucky a little awake time - and then back to sleep.  We couldn't ask for a better baby!

As for me, I told you last time that my hair had begun to fall out - so Oliver and I shaved each other's heads last Thursday night (after a few glasses of wine, might I add!).  It really wasn't that bad - I think having all this time to prepare for the inevitable made the process that much easier - not to mention all my head attire options (thanks Mom), and the company of my amazing man, Oliver, and my Dad (thanks boys!).  It actually makes showering and getting ready so fast - and think of all the savings on hair products for the next while :)  

I went for my second round of chemo on Wednesday, and I am so glad to say that I felt even better this time than last.  It was easier knowing what the process was, and I had the portacath put in my chest, so the drugs had less road to travel to get through the body.  My counts were pretty low last week, so they were concerned I may not be able to get treated this week, but the bloodwork on Tuesday showed things were good so all went ahead as scheduled.  I had very little "ickies" and even my fatigue has been manageable.  It is important for me to keep the germs away as a fever requires an immediate call to the oncologist or a visit to the ER - so hand washing and limiting where we visit is pretty crucial, for both me and the baby.  I also know the fatigue will start to take more of a toll on me as time goes on, but... so far, so good!  

On another special note, I know you all received an email from my wonderful friend Michelle about joining us on October 3rd for the Run/Walk for the Cure.  We are looking to make "Kelly's Klique" the biggest team - and we hope to raise a ton of donations for cancer research to beat this darn disease.  Please register to join our team and/or make a donation to the cause - every little bit helps! 

Visit my personal page at to donate, or for more information!  You are all part of my fight to kick cancer in the butt so come out and join Oliver, Keira, me and the gang - we can't think of anyone better to spend our Sunday morning with than each of YOU!  

We hope you are all doing great, keeping positive, and remembering to celebrate every day.  

August 12, 2010

Well, we have had our little one home for a week now, and she is just amazing.  She has the two of us wrapped around her tiny little finger!  We are up feeding her every 3 hours, at least, and Keira is growing like a weed.  She now weighs 6lbs 3oz and she is gaining about 41 grams a day.  She is definitely a feisty little thing, and we are getting to know each other very well.  She knows what she wants and when she wants it - hmmm, does that sound like anyone we know? :)  We met the public health nurse here in Maple Ridge who was just so sweet and helpful.  We had our first visit to the doctor, and we are both doing great!  

We received the results from my bone scan and I am pleased to report there is no cancer in the bones.  They did find some trace of arthritis in one of my toes - and I said "I'll take that!".  This was great news and a huge relief.  The next big test will be the MRI in September to confirm there is still no sign of the cancer in any of my organs.  I feel very confident that things will continue to go as they have.  Today I had the port-a-cath inserted in my chest to receive my IV treatments going forward (no more poking me in the arm for blood or chemo (yay!)).  It was a small procedure, but back in the OR again which I would prefer not to keep having to do.  I'm a bit sore tonight, and back on pain meds - but I'm becoming quite a veteran with this "surgery" thing so this too shall pass.  

I was told when I did my first treatment that I would lose my hair within 2 weeks, and she wasn't kidding.  On Tuesday, my hair started to fall out in the shower.  It has been falling out more rapidly as the days progress - so I am just working through my emotions about that.  Oliver is ready to not only shave my head, but to have his head shaved to support me - he is truly amazing and I am grateful every single day to have him by my side. We aren't sure when we will do this - but I have a sneaking suspicion it will be in the next few days.  Thanks to my very talented mother, I have enough hats and scarfs to last a lifetime - and I do have a few very nice wigs and hair pieces to get me through.  I know this is a small price to pay to make sure we get any remaining cancer cells in my body, but I won't lie - I'm not looking forward to this next phase!  I keep reminding myself that it is just temporary and it will all grow back...someday.  

Anyways, Oliver, Keira and I are coming to BCAA Head Office tomorrow, Friday, August 13th, around 1pm for a visit.  We will start in HR and make our way to Insurance Services and around the building after that.  We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as we can while we are in - but if we miss you, don't worry, we'll be back :)

Hope you are all doing well, taking care of yourselves and enjoying each day. I'd like to leave you with a great quote to live each day by: 

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.

August 2, 2010

Well, I started treatment last Wednesday, and i am thrilled to tell you that I made it through the first round relatively unscathed.  We went in on Wednesday and the actual treatment session lasted about an hour.  I got a ton of information about how I may feel, and an idea of what to expect over the coming days and weeks.  Thankfully, I did not experience any nausea which was a huge relief.  I did feel a bit "icky" that first night, but not bad enough to miss a feed with our little munchkin at the hospital.  I have been sleeping very well during the nights, and when I need to rest or sleep in the days, I do.  All in all, I am very happy with how things have gone, and will enjoy this feeling until we go back for round #2 on August 18th.  I expect it may not always be this "rosey", but I will take each day as it comes.  In the meantime, I am going for a bone scan tomorrow to rule anything out there - and the next MRI will take place sometime in September.  

As for baby Keira, she is also doing remarkably well.  She weights 5lbs 8oz and is feeding almost completely on the bottle.  She takes about 5 out of 8 full bottles, and the other 3 are part bottle, and part tube feed.  We know she will be able to do all 8 bottles for 2 complete days real soon as this is the magic number to "release" her from the hospital.  In the meantime, we go up at least 2 or 3 feeds a day - are vehicles can practically drive us there unassisted!  

Thank you to everyone for the lovely cards, emails, text and voice messages.  I love to hear from each of you - and even though I may not respond right away, it puts a smile on my face to hear from you all!  You keep me strong and positive just being you!  I know some of you have had troubles logging in to my website.  If you cut and paste this link into your address bar, it should get you there.  We have a ton of pictures of Keira, but we can only take so many different shots of us feeding her.  We promise to send more as soon as she is home where she belongs!

Take care of yourselves!

July 25, 2010

I know you have all heard from both Kimberley and Oliver about our wonderful news, but I wanted to personally send a quick note to say thank you to everyone for all your kind words and congratulations.  We are so proud to announce the birth of our little princess, Keira Faith Ferguson Mullen, born on Tuesday, July 20th at 2:22pm, 5lbs 2oz, 47cm. She is just perfect! She is still working on her feeding and we hope to bring her home late next week.  In the meantime, we will visit her a few times a day to feed and cuddle with her.  It's tough not being able to bring her home, but we know she is in the best place she can be - and she is getting better and better every day taking the bottle.  I have included a few pictures for you.  

As for me, I am doing pretty good.  I am just trying to rest up as best I can for things to come this week.  My chemo start date has been moved to Wednesday so now we wait for the baby to get stronger so she can come home, and for me to get the first round behind me and take it from there.  We will try to send another quick update later this week to share how things are going.  

We hope you are all doing well.  Please remember to take time to enjoy the nice weather, and the company of amazing friends and family.  

Miss you all!

July 7, 2010

Just wanted to send a quick note to let you know things are coming along quite nicely.  Since I wrote last on June 22nd, I have gone and done what I never thought I'd do - cut off my long locks.  It was pretty traumatizing, but it is growing on me and when the weather is hot, it is a blessing in disguise.  

I went for an ultrasound on my heart to make sure I am in ship shape for the treatment, and all is good there.  We have also had a 2nd ultrasound on my abdomen to make sure nothing has changed since the last one, and again, all is good, no change in what was seen the first time - all very good news. 

We have met with our baby doctors, and my GP, a few more times to confirm plans for the induction which we have confirmed will start the morning of July 19th at Royal Columbian.  Today we are off for an ultrasound on the baby - which we haven't seen for 12 weeks, so we are pretty excited - and no, we still do not know the gender, and hope to keep it that way.  Having said that, I cannot tell you how many people are saying it's a girl.  We'll know soon enough...

After today, I have just two more appointments before we whisk away to Shuswap for a week of relaxing, camping, and roasted marshmallows.  We get home Sunday afternoon, and venture back out to the hospital Monday.  They will keep us there until the baby comes as we live too far to venture back and forth - and baby will very likely stay up to 3 weeks depending on how developed the lungs and ability to eat are.  We are sad about that, but know it is the best thing for the little one.

All in all, since we heard news nothing had spread, we have felt "normal" again.  Aside from all the appointments and planning to get ready for what is to come, we have been able to breath a sigh of relief.  I know the road ahead is going to be a challenge, but I am going to kick chemo in the face and not let it interfere with enjoying my little one.  Many have gotten through it relatively unscathed...and I will too.

I hope you are all doing well - and I want to thank each and every one of you for all you are to me and my family - we are stronger for having you so a big hug to each of you.

June 22, 2010

Happy second day of summer!  Well, I am pleased to say since last Thursday, it has been a very quiet and calm week.

We met with the Oncologist last Tuesday.  The treatment plan he has laid out will begin no later than July 27th, and will consist of chemo (6 months), radiation (1 month), and herceptin treatment (12 months, beginning the 4th month of chemo).  All in all, the treatment program will be about 15 months, and we figure the worst of it will be the first 7 months.  I am not quite prepared for the inevitable -  losing my hair.  I will spend the next few weeks getting mentally, and physically, prepared for that.  Don't be surprised when you see me, either in person or in pictures, with my red locks cut shorter and shorter :(

We also saw the Obstetrician last Thursday.  We shared the treatment plan with him, and all agree that I will be induced on July 19th at Royal Columbian.  It could take a few days to have the baby, but we will do our best for a natural delivery.  Because the little munchkin's lungs may not be fully developed, and the weight may be low, we have been prepared that the baby may have to stay in the hospital up to 3 weeks.  Knowing this baby's parents (feisty and determined), we don't anticipate too many complications!  The baby may already weigh as much as 4lbs based on the doctors estimate, so that is great!  We learned girls do develop faster than boys, so the doctor will likely learn the baby's gender at our next Ultrasound appointment on July 7th - but we have asked that he not spill the beans on this news unless we have to know.  

We are hoping for a July 20 baby as this is the day Oliver and I met what seems like forever ago, but is actually only 2 years.  We also think it interesting that if the baby is born before Friday, it will have a "cancer" astrological sign - and we just think that is so incredibly fitting.  The miracle amongst the mess I call our little bean. So, with all that said, we think we have the plan for baby and me - and now we can enjoy the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy with little or no worry.  We are heading up to Shuswap on July 13th for a much needed trip away from it all - and we are all very much looking forward to the break.

Thank you to everyone for your incredible show of support with all the cards I receive daily in the mail, your emails, texts, phone calls, and visits.  You are all just the most amazing people.  You had my dad in tears reading all the lovely cards - he said he is just in awe at how many wonderful friends I have.  

Now that things have been ironed out, we are in much better spirits to see you all so we plan to venture out to BCAA head office today around 11am (someone mentioned a potluck so we can't resist!!).  We are also going to do our best to squeeze in an open house bbq in the next few weeks for all of you to come over, if you can make it, and say hello.  We may wait on this for after the baby is born, but we will let you all know when and where to be.

June 16, 2010

Well, this has been a very taxing week – but we are sitting in a very positive place right now.
We had the abdominal ultrasound last Thursday, and there was some extra attention paid to my liver and kidney.  Last Friday, we met with the obstetrician and things are very good as far as the baby goes.  It weights 300g more than the average 28-week fetus, and development seems to be on schedule.  He also advised he would like to see me deliver naturally, not by cesarean, which we were very glad to hear. 
He took some time to review my abdominal ultrasound results, and didn’t see anything of concern BUT the radiologist report provided with the scans stated there was an area of the liver and kidney that could suggest cancer was present, which was not the news we wanted to hear.  Both doctors agreed an MRI is required and is completely safe during pregnancy.  We left the hospital feeling rather conflicted, one Dr saying one thing, another saying something else.  We got a call with an MRI appointment for Tuesday, which was amazingly quick. After all this, you can imagine the past weekend was probably the toughest wait we have had yet.
We went for the MRI this morning, and I met with the radiologist immediately after.  He showed me the scans and there is a benign lesion on my liver, and some previous scar tissue on my kidney – both of which likely existed before the cancer, and are highly unlikely the spread of cancer to these organs.  Both of these issues will be looked at further following the delivery of the baby.  This is fantastic news, and takes a huge weight off our shoulders. 
We also met with the Oncologist today, and he would like to see chemo start on July 27th. We have one more appointment this week with the obstetrician now that the plan for treatment is clearer – and we will very likely welcome our little one the week of July 19th. 
All in all, it has been an tough past few days, but we are very happy with where things are right now – and feel like things are on the up and up.  They will continue to monitor me over the next 5 weeks with another ultrasound on the right breast and abdomen, along with and echocardiogram - all to make sure there are no changes to my condition.  Now we can take a bit of a breather – we’ll call it the calm before the storm.

Miss you all - and keep your emails and facebook messages coming!

June 8, 2010

I wanted to first start by saying another huge thank you to everyone who took the time to write me - I have received so many cards with such wonderful words, I cannot tell you how loved I feel.  You are amazing people and I am so blessed to have you in my life.

I went for the ultrasound on my right breast on Monday and thankfully, there is nothing of any worry there!  My surgeon also removed the drain yesterday so I am getting much more movement in my arm which is truly a godsend.  I have never had a better shower in my life than I did this morning.  It's the little things that we overlook that bring such joy :)

As for the results, my surgeon advised that the tumor was bigger than they had originally thought - it was 6.5cm.  It was also quite deep and close to the chest wall, but not attached.  She took some of the pectoral muscle for testing and, thankfully, it came back negative!  They ended up taking 29 lymph nodes which we were quite suprised to learn they took so many - and, unfortunately, cancer was found in 3 of them.  While 10% is good, cancer in the lymph nodes does mean there is a possibility it could have spread. There are several tests that can be done to see where it may have spread to, but only an ultrasound of the liver can be done while I am pregnant so that will happen in the next week or two - and in the meantime we wait.  This is a very critical test so I am quite anxious to hear when the appointment is...and to learn what they find.  There are further tests (bone scans, MRI, CT) that will be done once the baby is delivered - but our team of doctors have advised that the normal course of treatment for breast cancer doesn't start until 6 weeks after surgery, so it gives my body time to heal, and the baby that much more time to grow inutero. So, as it stands, the plan is still to have the baby the third week in July - and begin treatment which will now include chemo, hormone and radiation therapy.  We will begin to meet the various doctors on our team over the next few weeks and get the plan for delivering the baby, and for treatment, ironed out.  

As it turns out, I am quite an anomoly.  It doesn't happen everyday that a woman my age, who is pregnant, gets diagnosed with cancer.  I walk in to Ridge Meadows, say my name, and it seems as though everyone knows me.  I guess it is a small town.  My amazing sister, Kimberley, who has been an incredible resource, works at the hospital, so that helps a ton.  We also know Kylee from our prenatal class and she is in the Nuclear Science field - and has offered us any assistance we might need out of Royal Columbian - so we are able to get the education and technical stuff explained in detail by people we know and trust.  

As you can imagine, we are on quite an emotional rollercoaster - but I have made contact with Shelley Rosgen-Parry and Lorraine Smith - and Lisa, another women from a support group who experienced breast cancer while she was pregnant.  All 3 women had positive lymph nodes, and all three women fought the fight and won - so I am encouraged by their story, their strength and the strength of so many women who too have fought the fight and won.  I am young, in good health otherwise, and have a whole life ahead of me so I will not sit back and let this "happen".  Oliver's mother, Sue, works for a naturopath so I am going to go see him, and maybe a few others to see what I can take that is safe for me and baby, to fight back.  

I am surrounded by my family, and Oliver's family, and all of you and, collectively, you all give me the support I need.  While I may not contact each of you directly, I read every card, every email, every text. Thank you again for being there for me.  

May 29, 2010

We are now at home and glad to be here. Kelly and baby are doing wonderfully and she is resting comfortably. No complications of any sort for Kelly and baby is perfectly normal and active. 
We are happy to be home and relaxed in our quiet little house. And we can actually nap now and not get woken up every 
Kelly is in good spirits considering, and wants to thank all of you for your warm wishes and thoughts. They have really helped both of us get through this first hurdle. Please pass on this message to anyone you think we may have missed at work or friends. Sorry, but it is hard to remember who or everyone i've contacted these past few days.... My mind is allover the place.... :)
Thanks again for all the best wishes and we invite all of your emails and texts to keep coming. They are what she needs to see and hear right now. I read every one of them to her as they arrive. She loves them. 
For anyone wishing to send her any cards directly our address is : 23221 Birch Ave. Maple Ridge BC. V4R 2R6. 
I know she appreciates and loves everyone of you for your support, as do I.
Thanks again, and I know Kelly as you probably know her to be, and she will be on here very soon chatting and answering everyone's messages herself....:)

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