Thank you all

Thank you everyone for your kind words.  We all love hearing your thoughts and stories..  All of your comments are greatly appreciated and if you haven’t please check out http://www.teambamit.com .  Margo would be so happy that she touched so many hearts…

 

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Originally posted on bamitgirl:

This final entry in Margo’s blog is very over due, and an entry I wish with all my heart I never had to write. My beautiful, kind, generous, artistic, thoughtful, innocent, newlywed daughter lost her all too brief battle with cancer on September 21, 2012. Margo spent her last hours battling this horrific disease with every ounce of her being, just as she did every day since receiving her diagnosis in December of 2011. On that dreadful day in December I accompanied my newly engaged daughter to a doctor’s appointment to receive the results of tests she had done the week prior, a visible nervous Margo chatted with me obsessively (Margo always talked when she was nervous) convinced that she had something terribly wrong. I consoled her as any mother  would do, you are young, this is nothing, I had something like it, this is why you have a yearly…

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Not A Goodbye

This final entry in Margo’s blog is very over due, and an entry I wish with all my heart I never had to write. My beautiful, kind, generous, artistic, thoughtful, innocent, newlywed daughter lost her all too brief battle with cancer on September 21, 2012. Margo spent her last hours battling this horrific disease with every ounce of her being, just as she did every day since receiving her diagnosis in December of 2011. On that dreadful day in December I accompanied my newly engaged daughter to a doctor’s appointment to receive the results of tests she had done the week prior, a visible nervous Margo chatted with me obsessively (Margo always talked when she was nervous) convinced that she had something terribly wrong. I consoled her as any mother  would do, you are young, this is nothing, I had something like it, this is why you have a yearly pap, blah, blah, blah never imagining that I would hear the word cancer mentioned in the same sentence as my daughter’s name. “Margo I am so very sorry, the tests indicate you have cancer.”  I have buried both my parents, stood next to a priest as he delivered last rights to my husband (thankfully my husband had a different plan) none of which prepared me for that moment. Margo was hysterical, I guess that goes without saying, and I went into “mother lion” mode, consoling my child, questioning the doctor and trying to plan my next move. Leaving the doctor’s office and driving Margo home to deliver our news I thought nothing could possibly be any worse, how very wrong I was!

Margo never wanted to hear the odds she was up against and faced every appointment, surgery, treatment and scan with a smile on her face making friends along the way, (many of whom follow this blog) that was my daughter. From the day she was born, she was always happy, positive, and confident, everyone was her friend! How many times did she come home from school, from swim practice, from work, or on the playground , the beach  to tell me she had made a new friend, from the first hello, you were her friend. Underneath that gallant smile was a frightened women, I encouraged her to speak with a counselor but she did not want to tell her story to a stranger, so I mentioned she might want to keep a journal, put her hopes and fears all down on paper so she could move beyond them. For my generation a journal was a book we would write in daily, kept locked in our bedside table, imagine my shock when Margo, who did not want to talk to “A” stranger, decided to share her story in a blog, on the internet, with the world! She was so hopeful, so excited to share her story, beaming with pride over how many followers she had, looking forward to reading peoples comments and gaining strength and support from people she never met.  You followed her to appointments, surgeries, first chemo, you gave her a place to share the disappointment she felt as she never seemed to get a break, you met “her boys”, read about her angels, you watched her select a wedding dress while losing her hair and she took you with her on her wedding trip to marry her “best friend”. With each entry, no matter how horrible she felt or how bleak things looked Margo would not consider any other outcome, she was going to “BAMit”. Even as the nurses wheeled her to the ICU as I tried to explain to her what was happening, having to ask her difficult questions like did she wish to be resuscitated, she would not have that conversation with me, I saw the fear in eyes but she was not going to let it in, she would not consider any other outcome.

 I am her mother, it is my job to protect her, to fix things and I was helpless, I was letting her down, I was faced with the reality that my child, my pride and joy was going to be denied the life she clung to so desperately. If I could not make her well than it was my duty to prepare her for what was next but true to Margo we were not going there either. I struggle with not being able to save my child and my failing to prepare her for her death, but as her father pointed out she was 24 years old, death was not an option and would never be accepted even as she struggled to take her very last breath it was not going to win.

That life she so desperately longed for was obvious even as a young child she dreamt of having a Cinderella wedding and raising a family of her own. She and Blaine would cut out pictures of their dream husbands, (Derek looked like none of them) wedding dresses, honeymoon locations, homes, pools, furniture, and of course children, lots of children. She spent her teen years babysitting on weekends and loving other people’s children like they were her own, she later became a preschool teacher and than a Nanny, each child leaving their footprint on her heart. At her funeral, in the receiving line, countless women introduced themselves by saying Margo used to babysit my Slade…, my Christopher…,my Connor…my Drew…, my Emma…, my Patrick…, my Elaina… my Maggie and the list goes on and on. She may have been denied the opportunity to bare her own children but she did have her family a very large family and she married her prince, her legacy lives on in Derek and all of “her” children.

I continue to miss my Margo deeply and struggle daily to find my way in a world void of her scrunched nose smile, we all look to find a meaningful purpose for her life and to maintain our connection through our memories. We are forever grateful for our family, for our old friends and for our new friends (also known as the” left hand of god”) who help to make the heartache manageable. I remind the girls daily we will not waste our energy asking why this tragedy had to happen to Margo or to our family, (that question will never have an acceptable answer), we were not given a choice about Margo’s illness or the outcome but we do have a choice as to what we will do with our pain…we can let it tear us apart or we can let it bring out greatness, I know what Margo is cheering for.

1-4-3 Pooh, missing you alwaysImage

Punta Cana…here we come:0)

In the weeks leading up to our wedding vacation everything happened so quickly. The thing that was driving me the most nuts was I once again felt like I had no control over anything. I was feeling really crappy right before we left for the trip, because I had just finished a round of chemo. So there were many things that I had ” wanted” to get done, and only a few that I had. And in the midst of it all I was really starting to get freaked out, because I knew that traveling day was not going to be a short one.
I laid awake in bed the night before we left. There were so many different feelings going through me. I was so excited to go, and get time away with family, and friends but at the same time I was scared to leave my environment. One thing that I have grown to need throughout my whole treatment process is my own bed, and my surroundings.
The alarm went off its was 5:30 in the morning, Derek and I were headed to Kim, and Aaron’s to get our ride to the airport. It was official we were leaving for our wedding. I told myself the key to getting through travel day was to take everything one step at a time. If I thought about the day as a whole I would have a panic attack. So this was the first step getting to the airport. We were all so excited we couldn’t believe it was here. Getting to the airport seeing all our family, and friends that were traveling with us was a great feeling. The airport was great getting me through everything my Cinderella Chariot was a wheelchair through the airport which was fine by me! How we travelled with 25 people all on the same plane is still beyond me but we did! Kim being the travel genius that she is landed us first class seats on our way which was very helpful for my leg. And of course my two tiny friends sat next to me, and tried their best to care of me.
The beginning of the trip I was proud of myself. But slowly over time I started to get warn down. Every time they announced how much longer we had in the plane I became more, and more anxious. Before I knew it I was very uncomfortable, and all I wanted more then anything was to get the hell off the plane. I hated how uncomfortable I was. Really I can’t ride on a plane for a couple hours? I thought that this was going to be the easy part. My Mom also began insisting that it was important that I get up and do a walk up and down the aisle of the plane. As much as I hated to admit it she was right in a lot of ways it did help my feel better getting up.
When we were finally told we were landing I couldn’t of been any happier. We had made it to the Punta Cana airport! I knew with our big group of people we were no where close to checking into our rooms. But I had made it this far take it slowly next step was getting on the bus to our resort. I slept the whole way to the resort. When we finally got there the lobby couch was my new best friend. Garrett took the job of ” watching me” while everyone else tried to go, and get our rooms situated. Finally we were getting our bracelets, and our room check in keys. By this time it had almost been ten hours of traveling, and I couldn’t take it anymore. The only thing that I needed was a bed, I didn’t care where it was. My Mom, and Aunt Katie helped me throughout the whole first night I was so out of it from all the traveling I barely remembered the beginning of the day. I was really trying not to focus on that, but it really scared me to think how burnt out I was and it only day 1.

Heading back into Chemo..

Going into chemo this week was very nerve wrecking for me. I really didn’t have a good reaction after the first one, and the one thing that I have been told by my Dr’s over, and over is that chemo builds in your system thats how it works. The worst part of all was I was still feeling side effects from the first round. This made me very nervous knowing that we are leaving in a week to get on a plane, and go away. More then anything I just want a week away from hospitals, time to spend with friends and family. I just want for one week to pretend I’m not “sick.”
I also have been experiencing swelling in my one leg. Just what every bride wants a week before her wedding to look like she has an elephant trunk for a leg. I mean really can I please just catch a break. When my Dr came in my Mom, and I told them everything that was going on. My Dr said that the first thing that was going to help was giving me a blood transfusion since my counts were so low. They asked me how I felt about it, and at this point anything that could make me remotely feel like a normal person I will take. The one thing that I really like about my Dr is they are all about living with cancer. Not letting cancer take over your life. From the beginning my Dr has been a huge advocate on getting away for a week, and living my life.
So my Dr gave my a few new “cocktails” to take each day, and that was it we were off to chemo. It was a long day, chemo, blood transfusion, and an ultrasound to check the clots in my leg. Twelve hours later my Mom, and I finally got to leave. I felt better after leaving this treatment, I had a sense of calmness that I didn’t after the first one. I knew I needed to call my Dr if the cocktails don’t work, the only person that is suffering is me. They can’t know I need help unless I call, and tell them.
Day two, and day three of chemo went well. I took everything that my Dr told me to, and it really seemed to help. I was my usual tired, but that isn’t something that scares me. My Dr told me that if I really think that the blood transfusion helped I have the option to go in and get one before we leave for the trip to perk me up. At this point I am just going to listen to my Dr. If they say it can only help then hell I am doing it. No way am I going to go away for a week only to feel nauseous the whole time. I will do whatever I can to feel “normal.” So here it is one week before we leave for our wedding, and I can’t wait to get on that plane and leave all this cancer s@#$ behind me.

Frustrations…

My first experience with chemo was relatively easy. I had very little side effects, in fact my main issue was being tired. So going into my first chemo for the second time side effects were not something I thought would be an issue. Boy was I wrong.
The first night after my first treatment, I woke up covered in sweat. I felt like I was dying. I thought to myself there is no way this is from the chemo its way to early. Each day was downhill from there. I am really struggling with eating. Everything makes me feel nauseous. Some food will look so delicious and, appealing I go to take a bite, and barely can get it down my throat. And all my family members, and friends are constantly telling me I need to eat. I wish I could, and I am really trying but eating only to throw up after has no appeal.
Another problem I am experiencing is loosing feeling in my fingers, and toes. I was trying to write thank you notes for my bridal shower the other day and I couldn’t. I wrote a couple and finally had to take a break. One thing to me that I have always loved to do is draw, and make every letter I write look perfect. Is it possible that cancer is going to take away another thing that I love?
I am trying so hard to continue staying positive. But the side effects of the chemo coming on so quickly is really scaring me. Maybe I should of known all along that the first round of treatment didn’t work. It was way to easy. Maybe all these side effects is my body showing me that its going to fight like hell to get this new tumor out. I don’t want to loose all control. I don’t want to constantly feel sick, and dwindle away into nothing. But what I have always said and will continue to say forever is I want to live. If this is what I have to do I will. Somedays are a hell of a lot easier then others. When I think of all the people who we love, and who are going away with us in a couple weeks I can’t help but feel lucky. Maybe in a lot of other ways I have no luck. But in two weeks I get to go to a tropical paradise with my closest friends, and family to marry my best friend. So today I will let myself think that I am lucky.

My Beautiful Quilt

This is my beautiful comfort quilt that my Mom’s friend Pat from work, and her daughter Elizabeth made for me. I take it every time with me to chemo to keep me warm. And my favorite part is the elephants all over it, and the beautiful colors:)

First day of a new Treatment

Going into Penn I had a lot of mixed emotions. I knew this was the next step for right now, but one of the things that really scares me is what if this treatment does not work? I know that it is a risk that I am taking, and that there are other treatment options out there but it is still a very scary possibility to me. My first day of treatment was five hours long, so my Mom and I left for Penn around eight in the morning. They told us that you have your own private chemo rooms which was very nice, and since I was going to be there for a long day they even gave me a bed so I could sleep.
The start of chemo was very surreal to me. I thought when I finished in April this was not something that would happen again, and definitely not this quickly. But one thing that is never going to change is the fact that I do want to live a long life, and I will do whatever it takes in order to do that. My chemo nurse told me that on the first day they were going to pump me with a lot of fluids, at the time it didn’t feel so bad. The five hours went pretty quickly I felt pretty good when my Mom, and I left the hospital. As the night went on that quickly changed.
Poor Derek I was crying, and could not believe how uncomfortable I was. I had horrible night sweats from all the fluids they pumped in me, and I felt extremely nauseous. At one point I looked at him, and said ” I don’t know if I can do this.” And then he looked at me and said “yes you can, don’t ever doubt yourself.” A couple hours went by, and I finally was able to sleep for a little bit which was a huge help. My Dad came the next morning to spend time with me until I had my next round of treatment that afternoon. Kim, and Maryann took me to that one. As soon as the Benadryl hit me I was out for the count, and apparently snoring. This treatment was luckily only one hour, and they did not pump me with all the fluids they did on the first day. So today I go for the third day, and then get twenty days off so we will see how it goes!

The next step… meeting with Dr’s in order to make a treatment decision

I knew that the easy option was to sit around feel sorry for myself, and not be pro active about everything going on. But from the moment my Dr told me about my diagnosis I decided I am going to live. In order to do that I needed to find what my family, and I believed is the right treatment option for me. First we needed to make appointments with new Dr’s who offered new different treatment plans. So with the help of my oncologist, and my two Aunts we were able to get into two of the top oncologists.
My first appointment was on Friday. I was extremely nervous I didn’t want to hear anything negative. I was trying so hard to stay positive, and in order to do that I needed the Dr’s to do the same. Before I went to the Dr I had decided there was two things that I wanted to tell them. The first thing was ” I just want to live a long, and healthy life I am willing to do whatever it takes to do that.” The second was I wasn’t willing to give up my wedding trip. Cancer has taken over my life, and my families for the past 9 months. I wasn’t willing to give up the one thing that all of us have been looking forward too. And truthfully for mental health reasons I really need a vacation to look forward too.
The Dr’s gave me many treatment options. But what I quickly learned is they don’t know what is the best option. There is no answer to that question. They told me only I can answer that question. They also told me there was no wrong answer. I didn’t get that, aren’t they the professionals? Couldn’t they just tell me exactly what to do and I would listen?
The thing about cancer is everyones body reacts differently to treatments. Some people can have positive reactions to certain treatments, and it won’t work for others. The thing that has always been uncertain about my cancer is they aren’t sure why it comes back so quickly. To me that is very discouraging. Everyone tells me you can’t choose the wrong treatment the Dr’s will see if it works, and if it doesn’t they will try something else. But I can’t help but think what if I do make the wrong choice? All I want is to be healthy again. All I want is to go back to a time in my life when I am not constantly worrying about my health, and enjoying myself.
I think right now the biggest thing is I am constantly uncomfortable, and I don’t feel well. I have been in a lot of pain these last couple weeks, and I am hoping for some relief when I start treatment. So after a lot of time, and thinking I am going to start treatment once again on Monday. I will once again start with a chemo regimen. Hopefully this one will be successful in killing my cancer.

I can’t believe this is happening…

Last week I started radiation. I really thought that this was going to be the “easier” part of my journey. So on Monday my Mom, and I ventured to the hospital and I had my first radiation treatment. I really wasn’t feeling to great that day, and it seemed like each day I woke up feeling worse. I had a very noticeable bump on my stomach, and it really was bothering me. I knew what I had to do, I needed to go to my oncologist.
I called his office, and the receptionist told me that my Dr was not in but that the other Dr could see me. So I went in told him what was going on, and showed him my stomach. He told me he wasn’t sure what it was it could possibly be a hernia, so he gave my two shots for the pain, and told me if it was still bothering me in two days to come back.
As the week went on I began to feel even worse. I could barely sit up, and the drive to radiation was very painful. So on Friday after radiation my Dad took me up to my oncologist again. They told me the first thing that they wanted to do was to admit me to the hospital. Then they said they wanted to do a cat scan to see if in fact the bump on my stomach was a hernia. My Dad and I waited for hours in my hospital room, they wouldn’t let me have anything to drink, and to top it off they wanted me to drink the foul tasting cat scan medience. Finally they came to get me for my scan. I once again was ready for answers. The scan was easy it was over in ten minutes, and they wheeled me back up into my room.
Within minutes my oncologist, and his two practicing Dr’s were in my room. They closed the door behind them I could tell from the look on their faces the news they had for me was not good. They told me the bump on my stomach was a tumor. This tumor had grown within the last three weeks that I had my last surgery, and it couldn’t be operated on. I couldn’t believe this was happening. My Dr told me that there is a likely hood that this is going to kill me, especially with how fast the cancer is continuing to grow.
You want to know what you think when someone tells you that your life could soon be over? For me absolutely nothing. I felt numb to the world. I looked at my Dad, and hated seeing the pain that was on his face, and I knew it was only going to get worse because we had to call my Mom, and Derek..everyone. Immediately I asked my Dr what my options are. I told him I am twenty four I am not ready to die. So he told me the first thing that I needed to do was talk to as many Drs as I can and find out all my options. So that is what I am doing right now with the help of some amazing people, I will not give up my battle it just got a hell of a lot harder.