Friday, January 17, 2014

Try & Stay With Me Here...

Hello everyone, this is Ashley and I'm here to update you all on the happenings since Tanya posted in August.  Tanya continued the clinical trial in Scottsdale for 2 rounds until she ended up back in the hospital on Friday, September 13th at Banner Gateway Medical Center.  She was having pain, blood pressure and heart rate through the roof, unstable potassium levels which were fine one day and severely low the next and was impacted.  Despite not wanting it, Tanya had to receive an enema to help since the tumor in the pelvic region was putting pressure on the colon, thus backing everything up; poor girl.

I can't even think for one moment how she must have felt, so helpless, lost, angry and frustrated for the lack of compassion, skill and knowledge some of the nursing staff had.  After the enema she started feeling much better and spirits were up a lot.  The impaction on film was about 3-4ft up from the tumor, so you can imagine how uncomfortable she must have been, but always had a smile on her face and a positive text to me!  Of course we were back in Washington and SO far away, which kills me!   We continued to text back and forth over the days and night and on Sunday the 15th Tanya had a CT scan of the abdomen & pelvis to determine how the clinical trial drug was working, an EKG to make sure her heart was okay and was on O2.  They was mounds of blood tests and speculation that she had a virus called VRE.  She had cords everywhere and monitors for everything which frustrates her even more, she hates those damn cords!  With the anticipation building for the results on the CT scan Tanya's night went less than relaxing.  The RN was in there till well after midnight, then they come in ever few hours for this and that so she was really tired come Monday.  In a text from Tanya, she was suppose to see her Oncologist, Dr. Schlumbrecht in the early afternoon and would be released to go home either that night or Tuesday.  This was so odd to me.  Why are they sending you home? Are you keeping food down?  How is your potassium?  She responded that she had no idea why they were sending her home, it was just what his PA said.  This clearly worried me...worried me to the point where it made me sick to my stomach.  Being in the medical field for the last 11 years and working with surgeons, oncologist, hospitalists and patients (cancer) day in and day out, I had a bad feeling that something wasn't right. Doctors don't just "send you home" for no reason.  Was the cancer gone?  Was the cancer spreading?  What was the treatment doing?  I wanted questions and I wanted questions NOW.  I hate the waiting game our providers like to play.  I know they are busy, believe me, I know first hand how a medical practice works.

Anyhow, her blood pressure was still bouncing around but was 129/90 when we talked & her heart rate was normal again.  She was eating again, which was something that hadn't been happening or at least staying down, for a while; so that was good.  Since I was feeling quite helpless and 1500+ miles away I had to call in my resources and who was best at that then Tanya's friends Abi & Krystal!  Abi went on Sunday and Krystal showed up Monday afternoon.  She even brought the requested Sour Cream & Onion chips she had been craving!  Thanks again, Krystal for doing that for means so much to me that you and Evan were there with her!

So as my house was a disaster from trying to unpack and get some normalcy to our new lives in Washington, I put a movie on for the munchkins, Christmas of course and anxiously awaited any news from Tanya.  At 3:43pm I got a text from Tanya that said: "How are you?".  "I'm fine, why?" I replied.  She says:  "I got the CT results"...."and?"..."Not good news.  Want me to call or text you?".  "Call".  That was the moment my heart and stomach sank.  I started shaking uncontrollably.  I was about to hear the news from my sister, who was fighting the biggest fight of her life.  News that I had become so use to hearing sadly, every day.  News that nobody wants to hear, that nobody wants to tell, that nobody wants to think about.  I had somehow made it upstairs away from the kids in a quiet area.  It was rainy outside (surprise surprise) and as my phone rang with Tanya on the other line I just slumped down on the floor.  I said "What did he say?" Tanya:  My cancer has spread, it's everywhere.  I have over a dozen spots on my liver, spots on my lungs that have shrunk and some that have grown.  The clinical trial drug isn't working and i'm getting sicker because of it.  My body is so toxic that there isn't anything they can do for me anymore except keep me comfortable."  Me:  "What, no chemo, no nothing?" Tanya:  "Nope." "So what now?"  They want to put me on hospice and send me home.".  Me:  "They can't.  I'm so sorry, I hate that i'm not there with you RIGHT now".  Obviously by this time we were both balling our eyes out on the phone.  I hated that I wasn't there for her.  There to give her a hug and just take her in.  To be there as a punching bag if she needed it.  A shoulder to cry on...anything.  I hated it all.  We continued to cry and try to come up with options.  I asked what next?  She said...well they aren't the only ones that treat cancer, so if they won't help me I will find someone that will.  I told her that I loved her so much and I would call her back in a little bit so she had time to make other calls, scream or whatever she needed.

I hung up with Tanya and immediately called Dustin, who was at work and busy as ever.  I was crying on the phone and gave him the news and was told to pack our stuff and get ready to leave for Arizona.  In the midst of all the sadness, stress and packing I remembered that earlier that day I pulled out a memory from the jar Tanya made me as a going away present and it said "Always being there for me".  I text her a picture and we both started crying all over again.  Her strength is amazing.  She told me "i refuse to let this be it" and an hour later we left Washington and drove all night and day to be with her.  I cried the whole trip, constantly texting her and making sure she was okay.  She said she was "holding up pretty okay.  Angry and a little lost feeling".  I know there wasn't anything I could do or say to make the bad news and results go away, I just knew I needed to be there.

We arrive in Gilbert on Tuesday at 7pm after stopping and getting Tanya a Green Tea from Subway, her request.  The kids and us were beyond ready to get out of the car and see Tanya and Grandma!  I had never been so happy to see this hospital in my life.  When we walked into #1531 I was so beyond happy to see her.  I had to hold it together...and I did.  I think.  Gosh I don't even remember...that drive was intense.  We visited for a while before we forced our way out the door, not wanting to leave her side.  The excitement on the kids & Tanya's face was worth the trip and I would do it every day if I could! I was lucky enough to spend the day on Thursday with Tanya as she stayed in the hospital a few more days and had to receive 2 units of blood and 1 unit of platelets.  I went back Friday morning and spent the day with her too; took her a Vanilla Bean Frapp from Starbucks.  We, well I, did some work on her 401k, fundraising, and lots of eating while she slept...soaked in as much time sleeping as she could.  Which I'm sure wasn't much.  It was right where I needed to be.  No kids, no noise, just being there for always.  We ate lunch together, okay well I ate  my lunch and she ate 1/2 of hers....I probably could have ate hers to.  I guess you know what I do when i'm stressed!  Later that day we met with Dr. Singh who is the hospitals naturopath and went over all the crap she was taking and eliminated what she felt wasn't necessary.  Tanya went home on Friday, September 20th...FINALLY!

I was lucky enough to get in tough with "The Oil RN", Sarah...if you don't know her start following her on Facebook or Instagram (she's amazing) and together we set up times for Tanya to get the AromaTouch therapy done with doTERRA essential oils.  If you don't know about doTERRA...go check them out on Tanya's website found here:!  All proceeds go to Hope for Tanya Foundation!  Anyhow, Tanya was receiving this AromaTouch by Sarah until I got certified...let me tell you it's soooooooo nice and relaxing.  Tanya said it was the most relaxed & best sleep she had got in a long time!  So she was getting these done along with a host of oils added daily and she was feeling better & she started seeing Brent Timco in Gilbert who is an accupuncturist and he helped he immensely with her nausea and vomiting during our search for a Wellness Center, which we found in Tampa, Florida!  All arrangements were being made for Florida as Tanya had the energy.  Hotel room booked, flights booked, Utopia Wellness Center booked....everything taken care of and ready to go...

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