THE BEAUTY IN IMPERFECTIONS

When I first found out I was having surgery, one thought that came to mind was ‘I wonder how big the scar will be?’. I assumed it would be this ittybitty incision, and that it would be easy to cover up but boy was I wrong. I woke up to find my entire stomach covered up in bandages and days later after the covering was removed, I realized how big of a scar I had. So apparent it ran down my entire stomach ending a few inches past my belly button. I was sad to say the least, but looking back at it now, I have no reason to feel ashamed. I’m proud of what it means. It means I survived something that would have certainly killed me, if it weren’t for the wonders of modern medicine, perseverance, and a whole heap of love and faith.






And now, 4 years later, I’m growing a tiny human being inside and it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. I never thought I would get to experience this having come a long way with this battle. So now, instead of being ashamed of it, I’ve learned to embrace it. Embrace the fact that I had to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of my life. And with my due date just around the corner, I know the best days have yet to come! I thank my lucky stars that I beat cancer’s ass and I’m still standing here today to tell my story.

Special thanks to Andy Shepard for capturing these amazing photos.

31 WEEKS BUMP UPDATE

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How far along?: 31 weeks and 1 day
Total weight gain: 16 pounds total. I gained 3 more pounds since my last checkup on January 18, which puts me at 147 pounds.
How big is baby?: The size of a pineapple. Weighing in at about three-plus pounds and measuring about 16 inches long.
Sleep?: So far so good! I sleep best on my left side and wake up just once to use the restroom.
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Best moment this week?: Being told at our OB appointment today that baby is measuring right on track! Yay! Getting to read a bedtime story and feeling the baby kick right afterwards!
Worst moment this week?: Not fitting into anything cute. Feeling really fat instead of feeling preggo…thanks boobies…grrrr!
Movement?: Plenty! Baby moves around ALL of the time. It is the best feeling ever, and I find myself stopping everything to just really soak it in. Every movement, every little kick and hiccup, they tell me that everything is going to be okay.
Labor signs: Nope! Thankfully!
Food cravings?: Grapefruit, peanut butter sandwich, & ice honey green tea
Symptoms: A general ‘full’ feeling in my upper stomach. Low back pain, fatigue and shortness of breath has also gotten a lot worse as my lungs are all squished up now…ahh!
Stretch marks?: Belly is still stretch mark free
Belly button in or out?: Still an innie
What I miss: Being able to go bowling
What I’m looking forward to: If we’re having a little boy or  a little girl!!! I think there are so few genuine surprises left in life I couldn’t think of anything better than letting this baby be one of them. I can’t wait for Andre to be the one who reveals to me what we’ve had (as tears stream down his face)!

28 WEEKS BUMP UPDATE

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Hello, Third Trimester!!!

3 more months to go!

I’m ‘sorta kinda’ showing…if I wear really tight clothing, otherwise according to people I don’t even look pregnant….let alone be ‘only 28 weeks’ pregnant.

I had an OBGYN visit today as well as the big glucose test (which I passed..YAY!). We got to hear the baby’s heartbeat which was in the 150s.

I don’t have any weird cravings that most pregnant women talk about. I think it’s just their way of wanting to eat something pickled without feeling to guilty about eating it. The only maternity things that I’ve purchased are 2 pairs of Paige maternity jeans that I absolutely love!!! I wear them ALL the time.

Not only is the belly growing..but my boobs have become massive. And gross. And annoying. And FULL. And uncomfortable. I cannot stand to wear a regular bra for very long and I hate that sports bra gives me a uni-boob.

I have lower back pain and shoulder pain that easily goes away thanks to pregnancy massages! I still continue to take my prenatal pills that makes me feel nauseous but as long I take them before going to bed then it’s not so bad!

Absolutely LOVED the tumbling feelings in my belly. It’s weird and sometimes it hurts, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I also cannot seem to stop touching/rubbing my belly these days. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but it’s oddly soothing to me!

With 12 weeks to go:

  • I’ve gained 13 pounds which puts me at 144. I’ve read weight can either continue increasing by a pound a week, or slow down to stall out completely as you get closer to term, so will see how that goes!
  • No stretch marks (knock on wood). I don’t use any oil or cocoa butter.
  • I am tired. No matter how exhausted I am I cannot fall asleep before midnight. I’ll start dozing off sitting up multiple times throughout the day, but when I lay down in bed I just can’t fall asleep.
  • I walk. A lot. Everyday. To and from work so that’s has become my daily exercise.

IT’S NOT A MYTH, I SURVIVED THE FIFTH!!!

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High Five to Scan #5!

Since I’ve been showing great progress, instead of having MRI & CT scans every 3 months, Dr. Pillariesetty recommended MRI scans every 4 months until I reach my two year mark. And if all goes smoothly from there on, the hope is to reduce these scans to every 6 months.

Thank you to everyone for your endless support, love, and prayers.

Special thanks to my amazing team over at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. You guys rock!
L-R: Resident Dr. Val, Dr. Pillarisetty, and my personal nurse Allison

xoxo,
Cam

IT’S MY CANCERVERSARY and I’LL [CRY, LAUGH, CELEBRATE, FREAK OUT] IF I WANT TO…

We’re all blessed with milestones- occasions that come around each year that you either dread or celebrate, or perhaps both. The most common — birthdays — are universal and completely out of our control, but you never forget your birthday (even if everyone else does). Anniversaries, in the most common form, are the day you celebrate a partnership. Or perhaps you note each year the anniversary of someone’s passing. As we get older, these last type of anniversaries tend to accumulate.

When you are a cancer survivor, you have an additional date that is etched in your memory like your social security number. Your cancerversary. For many of us, we use the date we were diagnosed – but for others like myself, I like to use the date that I had my last(fingers cross) surgery…when the tumor was removed.

For me that date is August 4, and I’m now a 1-year cancer survivor.

For the last several weeks, I thought about my upcoming cancerversary with a combination of pride, dread, sadness, happiness, and relief. Sound schizophrenic? Welcome to life as a cancer survivor. I’m still ways away from the seemingly magical 5-year mark, where I get to let out a huge, audible sigh of relief and consider myself “out of the woods.” After all that 5-year mark is universally known as the “all clear” mark, and there’s no question that people equate it as close to a cure as you can get.

You’re probably wondering what does one do to celebrate a cancerversary? Go out to dinner? Pop open a bottle of Dom Perignon? Buy yourself something pretty?

For me….I threw a LUAU!!!
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I wanted to celebrate by being with friends and families, many of whom were there for me this past year and the previous year before. I still can’t thank everyone enough for being there for me and my family. I will be forever grateful.

In many ways I feel like I have lived a lifetime since July 2013 – when I first found out about my cancer. In that time I have gone through so much. This year has already started out better than the one before. And the next one will be even better. I look forward to many more cancerversaries and celebrations to come!

I wanted to end this post with a song that summed up what my life has been like. How I have been able to get through it all with my head up. With words I had to remind myself of every single day. When I didn’t feel like getting out of bed.

And I found it. Thank you, Rachel Plateen. I will always continue to FIGHT!

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Thank you guys for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers!

Special thanks to Chris for letting me turn your home into my Hawaiian oasis!! Joleen for my amazing flyer design! Tyler for the great beats! Jael for the delicious “F%$# CANCER” cake! Uncle Ranola for the well-built & fun tiki bar. Mel, Jaimz, Vi, Mich, Nancy, Gary, & Patti for helping with food & décor! Last but not least, thank you Ry for everything…for putting up with me!!!
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NATIONAL CANCER SURVIVORS DAY

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Why I started blogging…

Caringforcamille.com emerged soon after I was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma in the summer of 2013.

While I was recovering at Evergreen Hospital from my first surgery, my sister Diane commented that I should consider starting a journal. So I did…I wrote about my thoughts, the pain, hospital food, etc… just about anything that came to mind. It was quite comforting writing in this journal because it wasn’t always easy expressing my feelings and it certainly didn’t help with the healing process had I kept everything bottled in. Even after I got released from the hospital I continued writing – this time, I wrote about recovery, my diet, the meds, the joys of a handicap pass, my fears, and my new life.

Only my family and close friends knew about my situation, but I knew sooner or later people will eventually find out. I mean how long can I keep this cancer hidden?!? My friend Muriel was the one who thought of the idea to start a blog. It would be easier to direct friends and family to the site so that I wouldn’t feel bombarded with everyone asking questions since I was still in shock and recovering. I thought…what a GREAT idea!!! Since I already had a journal going, I just needed to transfer the material online. And so with the help of my dear friends…caringforcamille.com was born.

Gosh, I can’t begin to tell you how nerve wracking it was to make my blog public. I mean, everyone was going to know my story and I don’t think I was ready for all the talks and people feeling sorry for me. It took me about a week after the blog was ready to make it public. There were days where I felt like okay, todays the day, but for some reason I couldn’t press the send button. My friends being supportive as they were kept telling me to not be so scared – that nothing bad will come out it, that I’d have more prayers and support on my side. So when the day came when I made it “Facebook” known (cause come on now – it ain’t official till it’s on Facebook right?!?) I made sure to not be online for the next few hours.

When I finally had the courage to get back online and read all the comments – I was in complete shock! The amount of love and support that I received from everyone was overwhelming!!! I was in tears from reading all the encouraging and inspirational posts and comments! THANK YOU! All this time I thought of the bad but all I got was the good. Thank you guys for making this journey that much more easier for me!!!

Fast forward to my second surgery, I went to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to get a second opinion on my diagnosis. I met the most amazing surgeon Dr. Pillarisetty who told me that he would be able to remove the tumor without having to go through chemo or radiation treatment. Of course, I said let’s do it! The surgery date was set – it was one month from my previous surgery. I was pretty hesitant considering I wasn’t even fully healed yet and just had my staples removed. To be opened up again was just overwhelming to say the least but I couldn’t have this tumor in me…killing me!!!

My second surgery was a success; they removed the tumor and all traces of bad cells. With that in mind, I thought that would be the end for caringforcamille. I mean, I started the blog to keep friends and family updated with my cancer journey but now that my cancer was gone, I didn’t know what else I could write about. After speaking with my sis and dear friends, they all encouraged me to keep the blog up. So I did.. writing about my fun adventures, personal life, things I love, food especially brunch, events, and the list goes on.

Well, all good things must come to an end right?!? Unfortunately my cancer came back about 8 months from my last surgery. I was devastated but remained hopeful. Luckily, I kept the blog going so I was able to keep everyone updated with my current situation. This time around, I did 5 weeks of radiation before going under the knife…again! My third surgery was scheduled at exactly a year and one day from the second surgery. Not much time has passed, but I was more ready for it than last time!

I had another successful surgery!! The recovery was a bit challenging with getting addicted to the medication and all. Since I’ve already had a recurrence, Dr. Pillarisetty wanted me to do the MRI and the CT scans every 3 months instead of every 6 months like I was initially doing before. So far, my last 3 scans have been normal and in the clear!!. Yay!!! Praise Jesus!!!

When I look back at the last couple of years, it’s quite interesting how my life has turned around. Cancer makes one aware of just how precious life, family, and friends are; that small annoyances are not worth fussing over. I’m glad that I have this blog to look back at and realize that even though you are faced with the most difficult struggles, just know that there are so many people rooting and cheering for you. I am grateful for the support I have received from people near and far; for the many new friends I have made, for people who have come back into my life.

Today I celebrate life along with my fellow cancer survivors and hope that a cure is found.

xoxo,
cam

SHAPING UP

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Now that summer is just around the corner, I figure it’s time to head back to the gym. I need to start toning up my bod, especially in the tummy and arms department, and def. work on getting that J.Lo booty!

I’ve realized that I’m usually always tired when I get off work to head to LA Fitness, so I’m trying a new tactic out…going to the gym in the morning before heading to work. That way, I get an early start in my day and I can avoid the crowd when 5pm rolls around.

This is my first week being back to the gym after a 3 month hiatus! Let’s see how long I can keep it up!