Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's been a while....

I just realized it's been a while....my heart broke in a million pieces after losing my dear Grandma last October. I drew the line. I just couldn't write anymore. I was tired, sad, and I couldn't even put my emotions into words. 

Today is now June 25,2014!! It's been 8 months since my last chemo (PRAISE THE LORD) and my curls are growing back (slowly but surely). I'm 6 months post radiation treatments as well. I'm overall very happy & blessed to be enjoying the start of summer with my family. I'm currently "in remission" meaning that my oncologist & surgeon don't see any signs of cancer in my body. Yayyyoooowhooooooooo! :) 

Everything is healing well, despite severe nerve damage. I pray daily that God will touch my body & all the pain will fade. I walk, practice gentle yoga, stretch & strengthen, and eat clean. I believe that is doing my part while healing, by taking care of myself. I'm currently unable to tolerate "Tamoxifen"...It's a drug that is suppose to suppress my estrogen levels, with hopes to keep the cancer away. Unfortunately, my body can't tolerate the side effects. So, I eat organic as possible, & I've cut out dairy, wheat, processed foods, alcohol, refined sugar & I'm working on cutting out caffeine (a struggle lol). I've also been taking Vitamin B12, Biotin, High levels of Probiotics, Vitamin C & D as well as Turmeric!

I will have many blood draws, check-ups, & more over the next five years. I'm still active in physical therapy, seeing Maggie weekly, working on my left side (swelling & pain) It's been over 2 years of being sick in bed watching "summer" my favorite month pass by without me. Last summer was extremely difficult being sick during chemo. So each day I wake up this summer, I smile! I remind myself that it's so much better then it was before. I continue to say "I'm healed" and believe it. It was a constant struggle to finish cancer treatments & now "heal" without replaying the horror of it all in my mind, each day. To heal emotionally, mentally & physically takes prayer, perseverance & patience. I did fight! I did pray! And I did win! Amen!

Last years was the hardest year of my life. Although it also held, one of my most favorite days, in my entire life! Marrying my best friend, Daniel. The sweet private ceremony was perfect, held at sunset on my parents property. This year we get to celebrate our 1st year anniversary & wedding vow renewal, in the Bay Area with Daniel's family (and some of mine). It will be in Berkeley,CA on 7.19.14 on a sunny Saturday...We are doing it BIG this time! A full celebration of life, survivorship, love & more! I'm truly excited to share this day with our family & friends. I never imagined walking down the isle in a wedding gown...smiling at my better half...feeling the excitement & love in the air...it's going to be beautiful & amazing.

Continue to pray for my healing. For my family & for our medical bills that continue to pile high. I know God has a perfect plan for us & will take care of the rest. The most important is that I'm alive! Amen! That I beat this disease that is trying to take over the world. So many young, old, even babies are being diagnosed daily. I pray for each one, each family fighting for their love one, each child fighting for their life, each grandmother fighting to see another day, and for all the medical staff & cancer researchers to continue improving medications & treatments. For all the dedicated surgeons, oncologists, nurses & more helping to save lives. I pray for them all. I'm very grateful for my life. I celebrate each day (the little victories as Daniel would say.) 

I'm still on long-term disability. I did get a few job offers, but had to decline, as my body isn't ready to return to work yet. I will know when I'm able...but it was flattering being offered a great position from a respected company. Well that's a wrap for now! I will make sure to fill in the blanks soon & upload wedding pictures come July! 

Hope you're all doing well & I miss you all very much!!



XO

Nicole

Friday, October 25, 2013

I love you Grandma Facchini...

I just love my grandma more than words. There are too many memories to even begin to share...but my mind is full of love and thankfulness, when I reflect on the past. My childhood....growing up into adulthood I've been so blessed with such a fun, funny, loving and kind grandparents. My grandma always welcomed me with a kiss and hug. Each time I saw her was a good time. Even if it was just sitting with her talking with the ball game in the background or having tea and sharing a goodie from Starbucks. It didn't matter the occasion or visit, it felt good. It always felt good being around her. She made me laugh and my heart smile. I really don't remember a time I argued with her? I know there were a few times we had serious talks, but she always seemed so understanding. She always showed me love. I was her oldest grandchild and we had a close bond. She made each one of her grandkids feel special...and her great grandkids too. She had six kids and she loved them so much. Each of them loved her so much too and it was so amazing to see all of them come together to help care for her over these last few months. My grandpa is amazing. Watching him care for her & continue to love her until her last breath, was the sweetest and most compassionate thing I've ever seen. My sweet grandma went to Heaven on the morning of October 23, 2013...Now she can rest in paradise and will not have to suffer or feel any more pain. No more cancer. No more medicine. Just the wonderful rest & eternal life with Jesus....freedom!!! I cry because I miss her...I cry because I love her. She will forever be in my heart and my memory...so I may cry at random for the rest of my life missing her...until I see her again in Heaven.

Thank you grandma for being so sweet to me....thank you for being you! I will blow you kisses to Heaven, since I can't kiss your cheeks right now!

I love you.....Nicole

Grandma Facchini and my cousin Lauren at Pete & Leslie's house! Summer time:)


Chemo: Complete. Radiation: Up next!

Hello everyone! It's been a LONG while since I've updated this...due to chemo being such a LONG process. I was mostly in bed & doing treatments...just praying to get through it all!!! Chemo finally ended on Oct.14, 2013 PRAISE THE LORD!!! It was a surprise for me actually, because I was supposed to have 16 treatments, but Dr. Wang decided 14 was enough! Due to my feet/hands having severe pain, from the neuropathy, I was told NOT to continue....so I graduated early, yippee! Crystal my sister was with me, so I was very happy to celebrate with her:) I also went to a celebration lunch with my Mom...we both cried tears of joy when I saw her with my certificate of completion. Chemo was very hard on not only me, but everyone taking care of me. Thank you Mom & Rick...my husband Daniel...and sweet daughters, Tasia & Mahllie. I couldn't have made it without you guys. Thank you Crystal for all your help being my sister, friend and financial advocate. Emily, my dear friend, you helped me so much as you battle cancer yourself...thank you for being there. And to everyone that took time to text, write, call & visit me during treatments. I needed you all!



I'm now resting and trying to recover, from all the side effects of chemo, before I start radiation. I will get a total of 4 weeks off before radiation starts on (Monday) 11/4.......I went to a scanning last week- were they took a CT scan mapping out exactly places where radiation will take place. Only on my left side, under my arm & left breast area. They also placed 3 tattoos...small dots (on both sides, and the center of my chest) so that it will align perfectly each session. I plan to have 35 treatments (5 days/week for 7 weeks). Chemo was to prevent any caner cells from forming in my my body, after they removed the tumors during surgery. Radiation targets exactly where the cancer was found, as an additional form of prevention from cancer returning to my body. It will have some side effects, but nothing like chemo. I've been told that you feel fatigue, and later during treatment I could suffer skin irritation and possible muscle bruising. I feel like after 14 chemo sessions, I can make it!!! lol.

Next week I see Dr. Wang on 10/28 to make sure I'm healing okay from chemo, then on 10/30 I have a mammogram on my right side to make sure everything is okay. I pray there is no concerns.

I'm still going to physical therapy twice a week to help with the range of motion, pain, and swelling in my left arm. I really enjoy my Italian Physical Therapist (Maggy) she's helped me so much, plus her sense of humor makes me laugh. She really enjoys giving my husband a bad time. Everyone there likes him...he's the only one I know that gets offered coffee w/ cream when he walk in the clinic lol. Only him!

I will try to keep you all posted more frequently! Thank you again everyone for all the prayers and love. I pray that God protects me for any severe side effects and radiation goes smoothly:)

XO

Nicole

Sunday, June 23, 2013

10/10

Laying in bed watching Love & Basketball while my toes dry (painted them orange to match my fingernails). I keep painting them over and over because my nails are turning black from Chemo:( There are so many crazy side effects!! It's amazing God gives my body the strength to endure the poison of Chemotherapy killing cancer cells. Overall I'm doing quite well...and I'm so grateful.

On Monday, 7/1 I will have my last of the BIG round, of chemo!! Then Tuesday, 7/2 is my last injection (to increase blood count). I'm so happy because that really makes my legs and body ache bad. I will then wait a few weeks to start my weekly phase 2 of chemo (12 weeks)...should end by October (seems a long way out) but at least I'm going through these treatments during summer when the sun shines and it's gorgeous. I think it would be hard to start treatments in the winter when it's all cold and rainy. My birthday is July 16th so that week I'm going to take OFF! Mycle Wastman is performing that week in Seattle (free concert) during lunch by Westlake that my mom is going to take me too! I just love hearing him perform.

I'm so happy to be engaged to a wonderful man, Daniel Carter Jr.! He got down on one knee today and asked me to marry him. He said come here (I was laying down on bed) so I sat up and pushed myself over to him...he got down on one knee and said, "You know I love you right?" I said,"Yes, I do and I love you"...then he said, "Will you marry me?" I said, "YES!!!!!!!" of course I'm so in love with him he just completes me. We are planning a wedding for 10.10.14 on the beach in Hawaii (with receptions to follow-one in WA and one in CA due to the fact we have such large families living in both places). I want to get married on 10.10 because Daniel is my number 1, my ACE, my best friend and he's my 10/10 so it's a perfect day!!!

It's always been my dream to get married on the beach:) White linen flowing in the sunshine...beautiful blue water and warm breeze. My kids in their all white holding tropical bouquets and my mom/dad/my sister Crystal and bro in law Eric/Plus his family smiling standing with us. Simple. Less is More. Then we can all have a few days to snorkel and body surf all enjoying each other-then we can fly to another island for our honeymoon and just relax. Life is so good. Even today, I can dream. I dream about being healthy and enjoying my married life...and family. Having BBQ's and get together at our new home. Our family dog(s). Just that unconditional love & light enjoying our girls and raising them right.

It seems I'm always awake at 2am every since I had surgery. I'm not sure why but it could be the meds. I have to set my alarm to take my meds around the clock so I don't get sick. But my pain level never really goes below a 5 on a scale of 1-10, so its hard to sleep long periods of time. I'm still in physical therapy- which hurts, but it helps in the long run...I need my full range of motion back from my lymph nodes being removed. I never thought "numb" meant "pain". When the surgeon's were telling me what to expect they would use the word numbness. It means PAIN! lol. I'm working through it and I'm getting better each day...just takes time. I will be very happy when my pain level goes down. All these medications are hard on my body.

I love all the support I get! I can't thank you all enough- it's like each day God sends someone to encourage me in some way and it works! I never go a day without someone encouraging me. I love it! The Fight. Pray. WIN! is a true movement and I pray it continues so I can encourage others battling a disease. I'm working on getting trademark & non-profit paperwork going with the help of some amazing ladies. I know God put me here in this place for a reason. I have a purpose in life to get the victory of the people (my name means Nicole: Victory of the People) so I know my testimony will save lives and souls. My testimony will help people that don't have much support and give them hope. I pray daily for God's strength and he never fails me. Since day one I've had peace. Regardless of all the pain and tears, my peace is strong. I thank Him for my peace. I know he will heal my body and cure me of cancer! I have the FAITH! I thank him for prayer...I'm in my bible so much and praying so much-it truly helps me.

Never take your health or life for granted! Take time to enjoy the beauty of this world God gives us. Take time to look at flowers and appreciate them. Take time to hug your kids and/or parents and tell them you love them. This hurtle in my life has really taught me to lean on God 100% and to love harder and live!!! I love flowers people bring me and cards they send. It's all so loving and needed. He sends the sunshine to warm me and he provides excellent doctor's that call to just check on me to see how I'm feeling. He provides money that I don't have a way of making...always right on time. He never fails me. Thank you Jesus for my life, for my family and for never leaving my side:)

XO

Nicole

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oh Happy Day!






Oh happy Day! 
(Still camera ready-no hair, don't care)

To order hat: www.watakeover.com

XO

Nicole




What's the 411 hun?

It's been a while since I've given a TRUE update. Here's a quick one:)

How am I doing? Where are you at in treatment? Is there anything you NEED? Let's just say no matter what I give all Glory to God each day for bringing me through. It's not easy. No matter how strong I look behind this Internet, in person or writing this...God is my strength 100% and I couldn't do a day of this without him carrying me through.


1.  Chemotherapy 

One word: Sucks. I'm half way through the "hard part" so they say....


Phase one: Adriamycin + Cytoxan every two weeks for 4 treatments
(after each treatment I will return the following day, to get an injection to help increase my white blood cells count) I've done 2 treatments (PRAISE THE LORD) and have my next scheduled for 6/17 at 9:45am followed by the injection on 6/18 11am...PRAY FOR ME!! These are extremely hard for me to take. I'm very weak and feel horrible during this week of treatment, so I need all the prayers going up :) Thank you! 

Phase Two: Taxol weekly for 12 weeks They say my hair will start to grow back during this phase and that it won't cause me to be quite as nausea. There is chance of my hands & feet becoming tingly or numb, so pray this doesn't happen.


2. Physical Therapy

I attend Summit Physical Therapy twice a week with Maggy to work on range of motion for my left arm. Surgery- removing 14 lymph nodes has left me with a very painful arm that doesn't have much range of motion. I need this to be 100% by the time I have radiation which is after chemo. Maggy is awesome, she really helps my self esteem and works with me to get my range back. I do massage therapy and then stretch to see where my numbers are at each time. Then, I work with an assistant on a variety of stretches and exercise that help me improve. This helps my pain level and stiffness.

3. Radiation

This comes later...after chemo I will get 4 weeks off to heal before I start 35 radiation sessions. My prayers for this would be to not get lymphoma, which can happen since I had lymph nodes removed. It would cause my arm to swell. I pray that I don't have or will ever get signs of lymphoma. AMEN!! 

4. Overall health

I'm doing well considering everything I'm going through physically. I have minor side effects from chemo (being nausea- but controlling it with great meds- runny nose and eyes (common from chemo) my eyes are sensitive to light, dizzy at times, & very fatigue. My white blood count gets extremely low after the first week so I'm mostly in the house...I don't take many trips out (I hate the car anyways-makes me feel sick and dizzy) unless I really need to for appointment or something small. I'm eating okay and always drinking lots of water and tea:) My hair is falling out daily and it kind of hurts...I would shave it but due to infections I'm not going to use the clippers. My spirits are good...especially today since I finally feel better. But I've never had to go to hospital or be in hospital during chemo, no fevers, no severe side effects.

I do cry a lot even though I don't like too...sometimes it's all I can express. Maybe all the years of "not" crying are being let out. I pray and read the Bible daily...I pray for others (I have a huge prayer wall). I've met some really good friends online and in person over the last month that are true angels. Cameron and Emily are a few to name...both check on me regularly and are the most positive people, they really help me daily. God works in mysterious ways...I'm thankful for everyone that makes me smile rep'n Fight! Pray! Win! in some way. I think I get at least one a day and it's so inspires me. 

5. My Mom

She is my light. I don't know what I would do without her unconditional love and patience. She's always checking on me and making sure that I'm okay. She makes me laugh when I need too, and cry when she prays for me. She will drop everything and hold my hand...if I'm doing bad. She gives rides to all my appointments, waits no matter how long, & never complains and is always positive trying to help. She helps not just me, but my girls. Get to and from school (we are so happy is OUT) and doing other things to keep them busy and happy. She's the best grandma they could ask for! I love my mom dearly and I'm so thankful for her each second of the day.

6. Donations 

I'm so thankful for everything I get...God knows exactly what is needed and seems to provide. You can pass the website for ordering T-shirts & bands (or order one yourself) lol. Here's the links you can pass around if you feel lead too. God really is providing everything! Tanks tops coming soon for summer (saving Hoodie's for fall) and another new band coming soon!!! 





7. I'm in love with Daniel & you never know....I might just be married sooner then later.

Until next time, 

XO 

Nicole

Lights On


It’s okay…you can turn the lights on
My body isn’t broken at the moment
I can feel my eyes aren’t gone
My back isn’t heavy and I can sit up in bed
My neck isn’t broken from that weight that’s
Been chillin’ on my head
Its okay…. you can turn the lights on
My fingers don’t’ shake and
My mouth isn’t resistant to taste
My eyes aren’t watering and my nose doesn’t drip
You can see the twinkle in my eye
Just look don’t you see it?
I can feel my stomach and it doesn’t hurt
My legs don’t feel like they are going to burst
It’s okay…. you can turn the lights on
My hair keeps coming out & I’m counting the strands
I’m wiping always each hair that takes a stand
It’s like telling me chemo is working people say
Each time I take my hand and wipe 100 away
My face is smooth and my cheeks smile in peaks
It’s okay…you can turn the lights on
My arm doesn’t’ need gauze and my throat doesn’t throb
My breathing is even better can’t you hear my air runs long?
I don’t have to say ouch, I can say I feel better instead
My body doesn’t hurt and my eyes don’t have that look of dread
It’s okay…you can turn the lights on
God’s healed my wounds this time, praying on bended knee
He’s cradled me like I’m just 6lbs of baby
I’m getting better now from his Holy wave of healing
So it’s okay, you can turn the lights on now.

XO 

12:55am (right before my 1am meds...sitting here with every light on in my room including a candle:)

Nicole