Saturday, June 30, 2012

Denver Date Night

The weekend before my surgery, Grant & I headed out for an extended date night.  Bma watched the babe overnight and we stayed in downtown Denver.  

We wandered around downtown for a few hours: checked out the Capitol Building, the Denver Public Library, Civic Center Park, the Denver Art Museum, and the 16th Street Mall

We had dinner at Tokyo Joes, a Colorado and family favorite, and saw a great show at the Buntport Theater.  

Then we settled in at a high-rise hotel and slept long and hard.  (I mean, I slept in until at least 8:30 hah). 

I love living in Denver.  It's full of new adventures, yet still feels so much like Boise, my always and true home.

I feel a party coming on...

I've been an online purchasing queen today...  It's almost July!  Birthday month!  

Will turns one on July 14th.  I can't wait. We're throwing him a party.  Can you tell what the theme will be?!

Sock monkeys!  My parties usually consist of two basic things and nothing more: food and guests. 

This time, I'm getting out of my comfort zone and tackling details.  I ordered special straws for Pete's sake!  I'm even going to attempt making bunting... pray for me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bittersweet Goodbyes

Remember the feeling when you first moved away from home and wondered if there was any way you could handle it all without your Mama?

I'm 18 all over again today.  

After a month of taking care of me and my family in every way possible, my sweet Mama is finally going home. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Home and Healing

I've been home from the hospital for a week.  There have certainly been some miserable moments, but overall, I'm doing really well.  I came home super bloated, with lots of rashes from tape and from being in bed for 5 days, and in a fair amount of pain.  I stayed off the narcotics because they make me feel sick more than they relieve pain.

For the first week or so after surgery, my eyes had a really hard time focusing.  My last post took a long time to type on the ipad.  But Grant has been so sweet, and has read to me so that I could relax and forget about feeling icky.  We have been reading Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson, author of, and it has been the perfect book to read during recovery.  Stephanie was in a horrible plane crash in 2008 and was burned on 80% of her body.  She talks about her miraculous recovery and the power of faith, love, and family in helping her heal.

Her strength, perspective, and attitude is so encouraging.  Every breath is a blessing, and every day is an opportunity, regardless of who we are and whatever battle we are fighting.  The Lord knows me and my struggles.  He understands every feeling I am having even though I can't seem to sort through them myself.

Baby Will's face has never been cuter, his skin has never been softer, and his little giggles have never made me happier.  And I will never be so glad to have a healthy, working body, as when I get to pick him up in just five more weeks (five?! oh man...).

I am grateful that every day has been a little bit better than the last.  Today, I finally felt like I had a really good day. (Probably the reason I am now blogging again).  I drove my own car (yay-first time!) to my first follow up appointment with Dr. Bell.  He is very pleased about how I am healing and feeling.  We talked about the diagnoses and about recovery times (6 weeks to carry more than 10-15lbs., 3 months to run/do sit-ups etc.).  And he congratulated me on being cancer free.  "You cured yourself.  You found it."

It feels good.  And I'm looking forward to some even better cancer-free days ahead.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Hello from sky ridge hospital!  Surgery went well- they got the tumor out along as my right kidney but we won't know anything about it for another week. Dr Bell told my family that he would be surprised if the tumor was benign. There was a lot of blood flow to it. As for me, sans tumor, I'm doing pretty well. Showed up at five thirty, got checked in, changed into gown, got an IV and then my family came back.  Ythey gave me Versed before the epidural. Good stuff. :) then my family left and they did the epidural. I think they let them come back again but idon't remember much. I remember going to the OR and seeing dr bell and meeting everyone. Then they put the mask on and I was out.  When I woke up I was in a lot of pain. Apparently the epidural was too high and only came down to the top of the incision. They let Grant come back and I cried, but it was really painful to cry. They gave me lidocaine and asked Grant to leave. Then they redid my epidural after some more versed. That took forever but I felt way better once it was working. Then I was in recovery for another hour or two ( who knows). My parents came to visit at some point.  Then I was wheeled up to my room on the 6th floor. Since then I've been mostly sleeping. I have only been coherent occasionally- sleeping most of the time.  I have an epidural, oxygen tube, catheter, IV line (two before they took the bad one out,) blow up things on my legs, and they recently gave me an anti-nausea patch that is stuck behind my ear.  I feel pain free, but I'm super groggy and fairly lightheaded. I've sat up twice basically. My blood pressure is really low because of the epidural, so they gave me a bag of fluids and are keeping watch over that. And my throat really hurts from being intubated. I'm on an ice chips diet but should get some broth in the morning. But in general I'm in here by myself sleeping. Way more down time than when Will was born.  Well my eyes are starting to droop so I best be done here. Feeling pretty good- thanks for the kind thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

She Lives

Kelsey is on her way to a full recovery. The doc said the surgery went really well. He took her right kidney and the tumor (didn't have to take any ribs). She is feeling pretty good all things considered. For now, the game plan is lots and lots of sleep.

Thank you all for the prayers and outpouring of support and love.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Prep Day

Today is prep day.  My mom & I ran 4 miles this morning, (a distance PR for yours truly), took G's car to get the oil changed, I'm getting a haircut, picking my dad up at the airport, and we've got lots of cleaning and picking up to do.  I'm also packing all sorts of bags: my hospital bag, Will's clothes bag, Will's food bag, Will's toy bag...

It's very strange to be planning for 6 weeks of recovery when I feel completely normal right now.  While I may be feeling fine after a week or two, I still won't be able to pick up a gallon of milk (let alone the Willister) for at least six weeks.

Our families, friends, and our church have been amazing about offering to help.

Will is staying with his Mumsie & Grumsie while I'm in the hospital (Thanks M&G!)   Mumsie & Aunt Lauren will have him two times for at least a few days each, my friend Emily & Logan are coming for a few days, and Will is even taking a trip to California to hang out with his cousins, Kate & Gwen.  How do you thank someone for playing "mom" for you?! (I have recently purchased some really cute notes to write 'thank-yous' on, but somehow, that doesn't seem to be enough...)

Tomorrow is surgery day.  I have to be there at 5:30AM, surgery starts at 7:30AM and should last 2-3 hours.  I'll be on an walking epidural for about 3 days, and will probably stay in the hospital for 4-5 days.  I've asked Grant to post when I'm out of surgery, and then I'll be updating from the hospital as well.

Thank you so much for all your thoughts, prayers, and kind notes.  Grant and I talked a lot last night about everything and we both feel at peace.  The Lord knows what we're going through and will be with us through everything.  And it will be okay.  (As long as they'll let me eat lots of raspberry sorbet...)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

First Annual 5Kidney Run

This morning we ran our first 5Kidney.  5 kidneys is the total number of kidneys that me (1), my mom (1), and my nana (3) will have as of next Thursday!

Yesterday marked 6 weeks for my mom's kidney donation.  She was excited to get back out and run.  It was her first race ever!

I started running a month or two ago.  The farthest I have run without stopping before today was about 2.5 miles.  I refused to push Will in the stroller and try to finish a 5K without stopping.  Grantie was a good sport and offered to push him instead.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Moved up

I finally worked up the guts to call and complain until they changed my date.  When I called, she said, "Oh, I was just about to call you.  We moved you up."

Sing hallelujah.

June 14th.

A date

June 21st.

Hey, you probably have cancer.  Now sit and wait two weeks and then we'll do something about it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ultrasound results

I had an ultrasound this morning at 11.  The only ultrasounds that I've had previously were to make sure Baby T was healthy, so they were fairly short.  This one lasted 40 minutes-- she checked my bladder both full and empty, and then both kidneys.  I came home covered in ultrasound goo.  Yuck.

Then I had an appointment with Dr. Bell at 3:40.  The spot on my left kidney was just what we thought it would be- a cyst-- inconsequential in terms of my operation (yay).  Had that spot turned out to be something dangerous, the conversation would have been very different.

The ultrasound also offered a little more information about the tumor on my right kidney.  Dr. Bell said that there is a lot of vascular activity in my tumor.  In other words, there is a lot of blood flow to that area. This is an indicator that the tumor is probably renal cell carcinoma... which is cancer...

While that is scary... it doesn't change the treatment, and shouldn't change my future after the surgery.  Because there are no indications of the tumor spreading, if it is cancerous, it will be cured by removal.  No chemotherapy or radiation should be necessary.

So we asked all sorts of questions about the surgery, recovery, and living with one kidney.  Taiwan is still up in the air (boo), but it looks fairly promising if I can get into surgery asap (yay).

Tomorrow I'm going to get blood work done and I should hear from surgery scheduling as well.  I am praying that they have an opening soon.  Dr. Bell is expecting that I should be able to get in within 2 weeks (sooner please?!).

A good day

Yesterday was a good day.  Went running, ran errands, taught dance in the evening; managed to forget my worries for a bit.  It was awesome.  In addition, I heard from Dr. Bell yesterday (hooray!).  

He consulted with a third radiologist who agreed with the first two: it is important to ultrasound the left kidney in order to see whether it is "sinister" before making a decision on how to treat the right kidney.

So I have an ultrasound scheduled for this morning and then an appointment with Dr. Bell this afternoon. I'm really hoping we'll know enough from the ultrasound to make a decision about the right kidney as well as schedule the surgery.  (How about tomorrow?!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Running, phone calls, and waiting

I ran two miles with my Mama this morning.  (How amazing is it that less than 6 weeks after donating a kidney, she can easily run two miles?!)  It was a hard two miles for me and I may or may not have had a mini emotional break down when I finished...

We also called Robbie today to tell him what's going on.  We wanted to make sure he heard the news from us and not from a random well-wishing email (as well-intentioned as well-wishers may be).  It was hard to tell what he was thinking and we didn't talk to him for very long; but I worry about him a lot.  It has been a crazy few months to be living so far away with so little contact.

Still no news from the doctor.  Waiting is the worst.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mental & Emotional States

Mentally, I am doing fine.  I have come to terms with the fact that I'll be having major surgery, that I won't be able to pick Baby Will up for six weeks, and that there's a good chance I won't be going to Taiwan.  I know that when the doctor uses words like "mass" and "sinister," he is really saying "tumor" and "cancer."  I also understand that while this is scary and wildly inconvenient, it really is all going to be okay.  There are no signs of "sinister activity" in my lymph nodes or other organs.  I know that there will be a time in the not too distant future where we can put all of this scary stuff behind us.

Emotionally, I am a roller coaster.  I hold it together really well most of the time.  I feel perfectly healthy and it's easy to forget for a while.   It's like my parents are here for a nice surprise visit.  We're going hiking today, we ordered sushi, we're giggling about silly stories (one time my dad stopped at a stop light and one of his tires rolled right off his car and through the intersection- what?!).

But then there are moments where it hits me.  Where the words "tumor" and potentially "cancer" set in.  Moments (however brief and irrational) where I picture Grant raising Will by himself.  I am overwhelmed by the love and support of those who are rallying behind us-- thinking of us, praying for us, even fasting for us.  I realize that this really is a big deal, with a lot of unknown consequences for my future.  How will this affect my migraines?  How will I take care of my sweet baby?  And really as silly as this is... I really have to have a freaking epidural?!  I worked pretty darn hard to avoid that sucker last year when Will was born... boo.

Thank you so much for all of your support.  I feel so loved and cared for.  I know that prayer is power and I can feel the power of your prayers.  We're having a fast this Sunday if you would like to join us.  There are potentially some big decisions to be made and I know the Lord will help me make the right ones.  Now I'm off to climb up a mountain-- everything is clearer with the perspective of a higher altitude.

Friday, June 1, 2012

First Urologist Visit

I visited my urologist, Dr. Bell, today.  He was great (which is comforting).  He didn't talk down to me, was very straightforward, and it was clear that he has spent a considerable amount of time and effort on my case, despite everything happening so quickly.  He showed me my CT scan- the tumor looks pretty big on a computer screen...

The tumor definitely needs to be removed and it's too big (at 7cm) to be done laparoscopically which means it will be open surgery.  Normally, they remove the entire kidney for tumors over 4 cm.  However, there's a chance they will only take part of my kidney.

That is because my CT scan also showed one other abnormality: a spot on my left kidney.  If the spot on my left kidney has potential to become malignant, then I may need part of my right kidney in the future.  However, if the spot is just a small cyst, which Dr. Bell thinks it probably is, then they will probably remove the whole kidney.

I will probably hear from Dr. Bell tomorrow.  He may do another CT scan, this time a three-stage scan that would take images before, during, and after contrast.  He also may do an ultrasound on that left kidney.  There will probably also be blood work involved.  Whew.  And then we'll make a decision about  how much of my right kidney can safely be removed.   

It's been a lot to process, obviously.  But I have amazing support from family and friends that are thinking of us, praying for us, and fasting for us.