Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moving On

It has now been over 2 months since coming out of the hospital from the transplant, and I'm doing well!  I feel very grateful to have made it this far without any major setbacks and feeling as well as I do.  For a few weeks there (mostly the two weeks pre-transplant to about two weeks post) I was pretty down about the whole thing.  Of course, part of the problem was feeling poorly quite often, but the other part was having read the transplant handbook!  It really had me freaked out!  The book had a lot of personal accounts and some horror stories probably meant to prepare me for the worst.  What it ended up doing was making me feel like I would never feel better!  How depressing!

My hair is coming back!

I am happy to say that I am feeling MUCH better.  My life is resuming, though there are some differences I imagine will be permanent.  Physically I still tire very easily, which can be difficult to "plan for" like the handbook says... I didn't know that a trip to Philadelphia would wipe me out for three full days when I came back!  I wish I could have planned for that!  Another not-so-fun difference: premature menopause.  Yeah, gotta love the hot flashes!  I still have a hard time thinking clearly or holding thoughts for long- it's hard to explain.  For example:  I used to be able to think of things through the day that I need on my shopping list and then when I finally got around to writing them down, they'd all come back to me.  I can't do it anymore!  If I don't immediately write it down it's gone.  And that sort of thing happens in all sorts of situations; teaching preschool, speaking in front of people, trying to think of words  in everyday conversation, etc.  I guess I lose my train of thought easily.  I'm still hoping my mind will come back- and there's still time, it's only been a short while after chemo.

Yesterday I went to have my "3 month" PET/CT scans (officially the 3 month mark is May 7- three months since the last day of chemo on Feb. 7).  I will be going in next week to see the result of those scans.  This close to the transplant they should be clear.  I'm not worried.  It's the future scans I worry about, and I do worry.  It's not something I ever really thought about before this second go round, or if I did, it passed quickly.  Must have been the perceived invincibility of youth.  Now, it's always there, and when I think about the possibility of cancer coming back it scares me, but I let it motivate me to push harder in everyday life.  So what if I'm tired?  I still have two children and a husband that won't ever get back this time in their lives.  And my life, probably being shorter after cancer and chemo twice, needs to be as full as I can possibly make it.  I am trying to enjoy my family as much as I can and trying not to sweat the small stuff.   I read the following quote on Facebook and it struck me:

Always we hope someone else has the answer. Some other place will be better, some other time it will all turn out well. This is it. No one else has the answer. No other place will be better, and it has already turned out. At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
~ Lao Tzu

This is it, it has already turned out.  One can choose to interpret the quote with optimism or pessimism, I choose optimism.  Life is good now, and it has already turned out well.  I look forward to the future, but want to pay more attention to today. After all, it's the choices we make today that make tomorrow.

I am grateful to everyone that has followed my journey and kept up with my blog.  Your comments have lifted my spirits when I've needed it most.  I made it through this cancer journey only with the help of family, friends, and faith.      

I wanted to write one last post to let everyone know that I am "moving on."  I may not be done with cancer and its lasting effects, but I am done focusing on it, and therefore done with this blog.  I have started a new one that will be my family blog and will be where I record my progress with future scans and doctor visits, along with the other events of my life.  If you'd like to follow, please come along!  The address is


  1. So happy you are doing better. I appreciate you sharing your journey and look forward to reading about your family on your blog.

  2. What a journey! So amazing to see your perspective and insight given with this trial. It's interesting that you say you need to spend each moment with your family even though you are tired. I think that can go for anyone because we really don't know when any of us are going to be called "home". Such hopeful insight and I am thrilled to here you are on the mend. Wish you the best! Look forward to reading about your future family memories on your blog!

  3. Tessa - you have alway been a winner and shine above almost everybody. Thanks for taking time to share your story - it will help all who reads it - including me. You are the best - never give up, just like when you played in a state level soccer game with your medical tubes taped into place during your first Journey. My love and prayers go out to you and your family. Thanks for letting me be a very small part of your life!

  4. Tessa,
    I thought I would let you know, your old ward here in Smithfield has been keeping up with you and your progress. Our hearts and prayers truly go out to you. Your writing and faith have touched my heart deeply. You have helped me to see so much more clearly the meaning of this life.

    I will continue to have you in my hearts and prayers and I hope the best for you and your family.

    Cami Graham

  5. Your story is phenomenal. You are an incredible person. I love how honest you are while still being optimistic. Good luck with everything!

  6. Love your outlook~ you are amazing, and I am happy I have had the chance to follow your inspiring example!
    Love you, Linda

  7. Chelley Dansereau BudgeJune 8, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    Tessa you are awesome! You a look great. I'm glad to see your doing well. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. I love you guys! You all made me cry with your sweet comments! Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm so lucky to have had your support!

  9. Tessa,

    I don't know if you'll have any idea who I am, but my husband (Trevor) and I (Chelsie) worked with Adam at the library at USU. I believe were in labor at the same time with our little girls.

    Anyway, I just saw your I'm Mormon vid and came across your blog via another cancer blog. I just wanted to say that you're amazing!

    I love your attitude. You've got your priorities right where they should be, and it is so inspiring.

    I wish the best for you and your family. Your children are completely adorable. And you are gorgeous.

  10. Your comments made me think of a few things:
    1- the memory you are describing is my regular memory inherited from my mom's side...pregnancy makes me feel like a complete idiot. So, be grateful you know what it feels like to have that memory and hope for when it returns (some will never know).
    2- your life Bro in law has degenerative kidney disease and has 2 years of success after his first transplant...he may survive another in 12-15 years, but science is not on his side after that. Both their daughters have inherited sister feels horrible about it and comes to terms knowing how quickly science is growing in these fields and her girls have more hope than the previous generation...your life span hopes constantly grow with science, not with past expectations!!!
    3- your positive quotes and attitude will carry you through!

    Can't wait to start following your new blog! Love having Mikey and getting to know her :)

  11. I stumbled across your blog while looking for photos of a double lumen catheter on google. I am a fellow cancer survivor and stem cell transplant survivor. I am happy to say I am almost 6 years out from my transplant and I feel great - actually that is part of why I am googling pictures. I teach nutrition classes for cancer patients now and do speaking engagements about my cancer and my faith. I have started to put together what pictures I do have along with information about the transplant because people are telling me I look too healthy and am too young to have gone through something like this - crazy as cancer doesn't really care how old I am - but wonderful that I look and feel healthy now.

    Anyway - I just wanted to write and hopefully encourage you as you continue to recover - I describe recovery as a roller coaster of ups and downs - the ups gradually get longer and the downs shorter. I don't have a blog about my full story like you (I wish I did now) but I have started a website that has some of my info on it. I'm not selling anything - I just wanted to reach out as someone who has gone through some of the same experience. If you ever want to chat with someone who has been there I'd be happy to be a listening ear. BMT info on facebook is also a great resource.

    Blessings to you,