Sunday, January 23, 2011


Nolan here again. There are people asking for addresses to send or drop things off for Aimee. If you want to mail something, send it to 1203 Washington Blvd. If you want to drop something by, take it to my parents house at 1242 NW Salisbury Dr. Both homes are in Grants Pass OR 97526. That's all. Thanks you all for your love and support.
Nolan Morgan

breathing a little deeper

so its been awhile since i have been able to blog, and i don't know how much time i have today. so this may be short.

i have to get a new picc line today, the one i have is failing. it is right in the crook of my elbow, and i can't immobilize my right arm (i am right handed after all!) also they do not like the "type" of picc that was inserted. so i will be getting a new type.

they have me on so many fluids right now that i gained 12lbs yesterday (WHOA!) i woke up and my face looks i got stung by a bee (and no, i will not be posting a picture of this)

so they gave me a drug in which i will be peeing like crazy to try and get some of this excess fluid out of my body. i guess this is why they have a sign outside my door saying "weigh everyday"

today is day 3 of chemo. and i am handling it well. tomorrow is when they add two extra drugs to my chemo that are a lot more intense. they can have some scary side effects, but they will be monitoring me very closely.

the only stomach problems i am having are from the steroids. which is also adding to my puffy face. i am NOT a fan. the steroids release extra stomach acid, so it isn't nausea, just upset stomach. which they have given me something for. the chemo really wears me out, i keep asking Nolan, 'who parked the truck on my face.'The steroids cause my whole face including my eyes to become really heavy. i fall asleep very often. on a positive note, the steroids make be really chatty.... it is quite funny.

the day i was admitted i had my PET scan, which showed that the cancer hasn't spread anywhere else. and my bone marrow biopsy came back negative!! so, all good news! i am officially diagnosed as stage 2B. the doctor said he couldn't justify putting me at stage one because the mass is just so stinking big! but i am happy with this diagnosis.

this is going to be a whole lifestyle change. asking everyone who see's me to first come in and wash their hands/ or use purell. asking people to remove their shoes. i can't be around plants, or fresh cut flowers. even house plants. because of the bacteria in the soil. if i cannot cook and peel a fruit or vegetable, i am not supposed to eat it until we know my white blood cell count is sufficient.

but everything is going well. on another positive note it seems that the mass is already getting smaller. this does not effect the fact that I have a long, difficult road ahead, but i am breathing better already. i don't sound like farm animal every time i take in a breath. i can't take a full deep breath yet, but i will soon :-)

will update again when i have more time...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

catching up...

Aimee has asked me to blog for her to give everyone an update, she hasn't been up to it. I get to write what I want, so i'll get right into it...

When you are told you have Cancer, it is something you never prepare to hear. She had a good cry when the news first broke, but even then she waited until we were alone. Since then there have been very few tears shed on her part. She is a Champion! She has absolutely come alive since being diagnosed with this Cancer. There have been painful parts, sad moments, and rough patches. Each moment is one that is lathered in fear. The fear seems to be about as avoidable as being a large brick wall sitting in the way of a wrecking ball. But Aimee doesn't like fear and it's not that I see her running away to avoid the fear. She conquers the fear the only way you can conquer fear...

In the wild, a pack of Lions will hunt down a prey and often use a unique technique. The oldest male, or king of the herd is usually the least agile and most vulnerable of the pack. What he will do is track around one side of a prey while the rest of the pack goes around the other side. The oldest Lion will purposefully step out with a roar and scare the herd (the prey) away from where he is. In doing this the prey will out of fear run away from the roar and right into the young agile pack of Lions waiting to devour.
The only way to escape death is to run towards the roar. If the pack resists the natural instinct of running away from the roar and instead running at it, they will survive. The picture is clear.

1 Peter 5:8; your adversary the devil, as a roaring Lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

My wife has chosen not to run away in fear. A roaring Lion, with the voice of Cancer has found its way into my wife's life. Not because she has allowed it and not because she did anything wrong. But only because the enemy has seen her as good prey. So instead of running right into his plans in panic she has chosen to face the fear head on run at the fear. She is being victorious and will continue to be victorious until this roaring Lion is fully destroyed.

I am getting to write this blog so I want to express to the greatest degree of how impressed I have been with her. Her toughness and her fight is inspiring. She continues to be lighthearted and incredibly kind to everyone around. She is eating well and started Chemo on Friday at 10 am. We have been in the hospital since Wednesday. We are not having any visitors except direct family at this time. Aimee will continue her blogging very soon that will include her direct experience full of all her details that we enjoy and that she expresses so well.

She is too modest and giving to tell any one her real needs, except me. So I will list them because I know she never will :-) And then I will make sure I post this before she has anytime to edit it ;) She's sleeping anyways.
We continue to have people ask us if there is anything they can do and people telling us to call if we need anything. Well here is how you can help her and make her feel good :-D

Alex Heater made Aimee an amazing hospital gown for her trips here to the hospital. It blessed Aimee big time that Alex took time to personally make Aimee a gown to make her more comfortable. Any gifts of time you want to give in making Aimee something will bless her in ways you wouldn't understand.

We have had some family get her some clothes. Aimee has lost a lot of weight! She has a 5 or 6 pound mass in her chest. The weight of that mass is keeping her from weighing in the teens, that is below 120 lbs. So, clothes don't fit really well anymore for my sweet girl. If you know her well and know what she likes, get her some clothes. If you don't know her style and what will make her comfortable, get her a little gift certificate for Aeropostale, or Victoria's secret, or a certificate for a place online where she can order something. Going to Ross, or the Mall isn't something she can mustard up enough energy to go and do.  She needs to be comfortable and feel beautiful which is important. And right now, a lot of her clothes don't fit her skinny body lol

The other purchase or thing you could make her would be something nice for her to wear for when she goes bald, which is predicted for around the first week of February. There is some really goofy/bad stuff online, so any creative ideas, or beanies/ scarves would be a blessing.

Lastly, what she continues to need is prayer support. This unseen help that goes a long, long way. If you have been praying for strength, for peace or for the gift of laughter, know that your prayers have been answered. Please continue to pray.

She will be on again soon. Feel free to pass on this blog or any of Aimee's info onto anyone you see fit. Blessings to all of you.

Nolan Morgan

Friday, January 21, 2011

(Aimee started this blog a few days ago, but never finished)

so tomorrow i start chemo. but let's start with today....

i had a CT w/ contrast at 6:45am. i love waking up early (not!) i had to drink 2 bottles of glue-like stuff that tasted like perfume. one bottle the night before, 1/2 a bottle at 5am, the other 1/2 at 6am. thank you nolan for waking up and preparing it for me :-) what would i do without him??

and of course they gave me another glass of it when i showed up at the hospital! just when i thought i was done with the glue...

CT went great, then we went over to get an echo for my heart.

next stop, dr. poisson's office. whew, what a day. and all before 9:30!

yesterday, i spent 3 hours trying to get a PICC line inserted, but to no avail.... bummer. means i will have to have a radiologist do it tomorrow. i'm sure i will blog about this 3 hour experience in the future because it was not fun. but it is for another day. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


today.... i am feeling overwhelmed. i feel like there is so much to do and not enough time. i need more time. i feel like my life has been thrown into a blender and set on "high"

all i want is a pause button. to collect my thoughts, to line up all my appointments, to figure out what i need to do my last few "free" days. i'm ready to start this, i just want one more day.

yesterday, the dr called and said he really couldn't wait for the bone marrow test. and asked me if i could be a his office at noon. well... it was already 10:30 and i woke up at 10:29. so for someone using only one lung, it didn't leave me a lot of time. but we made it! i found out that the procedure was done during the doctors lunch time. that is how bad they wanted it done.

it was maybe the most painful thing i have ever experienced. first of all, i was not emotionally prepared for it. which if you know me, i have to prepare for everything. one hour was not enough "prep" for me. getting a GIANT needle twisted into your back over and over again was not my favorite.

luckily, nolan let me hold his hands during the whole thing. and, yes, his hands are still fully functional after that :-) he talked me through the whole thing. he wiped my tears, repeatedly. and held my tissues for me when i had to blow my nose. he held himself together for me. i would not have made it through the whole thing without him. i would have hopped up off the table and said "no thanks."

it was a very emotional day for me. afterwards when i thought i was done, they called me over and wanted to see if i could get my PICC line inserted at the hospital as well. i couldn't keep myself together, i lost it. i begged nolan not to let them schedule me. i begged him to take me home and just let me sleep. what a horrible place for him to be in. wanting to emotionally take care of me, but knowing physically i needed this done.

the problem is,  i have to have the PICC line, and the schedule isn't very open. PRAISE GOD they didn't have room for me. i was able to go out to the car and cry (again.) i think i was teary eyed the whole way home. it really took a lot out of me.

i took the bandage off today (24 hrs later) and it isn't pretty. just sitting, i am in pain. if i try to move it is painful. i have holes in my lower back surrounded by some pretty blue bruises. cousin rico said it looks like i was attacked by a giant vampire :-D

hopefully the pain will go away soon. i believe it will.

now i am trying to mentally prepare for the rest of the week. what needs to be done? besides all of the appointments that i have scheduled.?

so i googled "what to do before chemo" and now i am a little worried. they say i need to go to a dentist, and get my teeth cleaned and completely in order before chemo starts. i've got 2 days to get this done, along with 4 other appts. yay! we will try.

i am not even looking at what else they recommend. i don't think i can take it right now. they recommend  things like going "away" for a weekend, or buying a chemo hat... sappy stuff. but the real info i need, i don't want to look at right now. although going and buying a scarf sounds like fun.

like i said, my life has been thrown into a blender, creating a whirlwind. i am still happy, and positive. i am just looking at how close wednesday is. and as i write this, damien rice is playing in my headphones "time, give me time!" and i can say that i agree.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

damn it doll :-)


had an appt with the oncologist today, and he confirmed that the mass in my chest is lymphoma. which is such a relief. i am so glad to FINALLY know what it is, after all this waiting. we have been waiting on the biopsy, and man, they like to test your patience.

i saw dr. poisson, no not poison ;-) he was amazing. i didn't know a whole lot about him going into the appt, but he is awesome. plus he has this south african/british accent and talks really fast, so it keeps it fun :-p AND he has a sense of humor.... huge relief!

i can't spell or pronounce the exact type of lymphoma, but all we really need to know is that it is lymphoma. and dr poisson wants to start treatment asap. i feel like i am gushing about our doctor, but he was so good to us. i think we were at his office for a total of 3 hours. he let us ask every question. he even called OHSU and discussed treatment options with the specialist up there mid-way through the appt. which was our second opinion. he emphasized that we don't have time to waste.

the mass is so big he doesn't want it to grow and compromise my airway. and neither do i, obviously. he was very adamant about needing to start treatment asap. which is chemo. i won't go into the chemo details, they are a little confusing, unless i write a whole book. but i am starting chemo this wednesday in medford. the chemo we chose, includes a 4 day hospital stay, every 21 days. it will be a little crazy! but this type of chemo is the best option for our situation. i am confident in our choice and so is the doctor :-D

we don't know what stage the cancer is yet. we are STILL waiting on the biopsy to determine the stage. i  am going for a bone marrow test. to see if the lymphoma has advanced to the bone marrow. i will be going for a CT w/ contrast and also a PET scan. you can look them up if you want to know what they are ;-). i will be getting a PICC line inserted into my arm, which is where they administer chemo. the line will go through my vein into my chest to where they want to chemo to go.

there is a lot to do before wednesday. lots of appointments. but it's all good! we are getting the ball rolling.

the visit at the office was pleasant. my parents, nolan's parents, and of course the two of us, were all crammed into the exam room. it was all very positive, upbeat and proactive. no one cried and we all had smiles.

is it weird to say i'm excited?! i FINALLY know what it is, and i FINALLY know how we will treat it. and i will FINALLY start breathing easier as the mass shrinks. i think that is what excited me the most. being able to breathe. FINALLY!!

after i get the PET scan, the dr is going to start me on some steroids to start "treating" me until we start the chemo. the steroids will actually make the mass a little smaller.  they will make me eat like crazy, YES!  it will be like i am on "20 cups of coffee" YES! i am tired of taking 2 naps a day. all of these "side effects" sound good to me :-D

i will let everyone know about visitors, in the upcoming weeks. i may be restricted... it's one thing the doctor lightly brushed on today.

so i am about to fall asleep, it's been a long day. if i have left anything out, i will check it over tomorrow and post a new blog if i did :-D

thank you to everyone for all of your prayers and thoughts, and support!

OH! and i received a "damn it" doll.... funniest thing ever. this little ol' volunteer  lady gave it to me, and said whenever i need to, i can take it and hit it against something and say "damnit! damnit! damnit!" i almost lost it.... this sweet old woman beating this doll showing me how to use it..... i wish i could have caught it on film. nevertheless i will post a picture of the ugly thing :-)

and the other picture is a the rx's i picked up tonight... looks overwhelming right? lol.... we're only getting started :-)

Friday, January 7, 2011

mini update

i didn't feel like blogging much today. i'm pretty tired. i posted the pictures and gave a brief explanation of today. we should know the results of the biopsy sometime next week. this is the hardest part, waiting. i feel like i need to be doing something.

so here is the part where i said in an earlier post i would be sharing everything, the good, the bad, the ugly.

i need prayer with my weight specifically.

this summer i weighed in around 150lbs. i NEVER would have told anyone how much i weighed before this. but now, i weigh in at a lovely 124lbs. i am skin and bones. thank the Lord that leggings and skinny stretchy jeans are in style, because NONE of my jeans fit.

i was wanting to get in shape, and started to before all of this started. i was eating healthy and walking a TON. i can thank my school for that one. i noticed a difference in my clothes a few weeks before thanksgiving. and i was proud of myself. and excited to pick up a work-out routine. but its a little hard with just one lung ;-)

but since then, i haven't watched what i've been eating. and i have been practically bed ridden. and yet, my weight keeps dropping.

now, i'm afraid its getting dangerously low. i am trying to up my calories, but in a healthy way. not ice cream and french fries. so we are looking into a few different drinks.

so there you have it. i can't believe i admitted my weight on the internet. but at this point, dignity is out the door :-)

biopsy # 2

the red area is the mass. the blue area is my heart. the mass is against my heart. the black area below the mass is my right lung. which is being compressed to a 1/3 of its normal size. the white line in the mass is the needle during my biopsy today

Thursday, January 6, 2011


a couple of pictures from my biopsy today. lets just say it wasn't pleasant. and they weren't able to get the sample they needed. long story. so nevertheless i head to the hospital tomorrow to do a CT guided biopsy. which is a wonderfully long needle that will go all the way into my chest this time. i'm not exactly looking forward to it, especially after today. i'll spare you the details ;-)

they are having me go for another blood test before the biopsy tomorrow to test how i bleed? something along those lines. the dr also gave me a rx for a valium tomorrow to take before the biopsy hahaha. so i will be plenty calm.

i found out today that the mass is not in my lung (i misunderstood) which is a good thing!! it is compressing my lung, which is why i get so short of breath.  so that is good news. the mass is 16cm x 11cm. so bigger than my fist. hey..... go big or go home (lol)

day 1

for some reason, i feel like this is day 1. the day everything is changing. the day of the unknown. the day of waiting. the first day.

even though this has been going on for months, it started today.

so some history for those that don't know.....

back in july 2010 i started having an unknown clicking in my chest. it was near my sternum on the right side, and would click with my breathing. sometimes it was as much as cracking your knuckle, other days it was a flutter. sometimes it would last a couple hours, sometimes it would a few breaths. but it was always in sync with my breathing. crackling on inhale, crackling on exhale. i was weirder out at first, then became used to it. so did my husband, sometimes you could hear it. i had everyone feel it when it would happen just so they would know i'm not crazy.

i didn't feel like it was something i needed to head to the doctor for. i talked to several people, and no one was concerned. i talked to my chiropracter, and she spoke with a doctor. so i wasn't being irresponsible. it was just my cool little chest cracker.

i started cosmetology school in september, and 3 days in i came down with a bad cold. i was so proud of myself for not missing school, and making it through. you see i normally would love to lay in bed and recover. just as i started feeling better i came down with the same exact bad cold. same exact symptoms. i cried. i made it through the first one, and was so physically/emotionally drained i didn't feel i could do it again.

i decided i needed to go to the doctor. so i headed to the local zoom care, in portland. cheap, and fast. i needed cheap, since i have no insurance. the "doctor" (i don't know their official title, but its not doctor) told me i had bronchitis brought on by a secondary infection. whatever that means, i was happy to have a diagnosis, and a treatment plan. and of course with bronchitis, is a very pleasant (not!) cough. but nevertheless i was excited to get my antibiotics. i missed a few days of school and recovered in bed.

the cough never went away, but i heard that you can have a lingering cough after bronchitis. so i figured i had this lingering cough. and some exhaustion. the cough was bad, bad enough that i have developed a wicked six-pack (yes!) crunches are out, coughing is in!

a month went by and my cough was no better. a girl at my school suggested i might have pneumonia, she was just diagnosed with it and my symptoms sounded similar to hers. back to zoom care! they didn't think i had pneumonia, but sent me for a chest x-ray (luckily) and it showed pneumonia. so we went on to another antibiotic. symptoms were supposed to start getting better a few days after starting, so i gave it 4-5 just to be safe. no better. so i called into zoom care and they wanted to see me again. yay, more money to the system!

they wanted to see me again because i almost passed out in the shower, and my legs turned a pretty shade of purple while i was in there. so i went back in, legs of course were no longer purple, that only lasted a few seconds. they put me on a heavy duty antibiotic to get rid of the pneumonia. they said 24-48 hrs i should start to feel better.

i wasn't. at this point i was still bed ridden. getting up to go to the bathroom was like running a marathon.  brushing my teeth would make me gag, and drain me of energy. don't even get me started on showering, the thought of it would make me cry. i could shampoo my hair and barely rinse our conditioner before i would have to lie down and draw a bath. which my loving husband would assist me the whole time.

this wasn't normal. i felt like a child. i felt invalid. i couldn't even get myself a glass of water. i had all of my meals brought to me. which is all in thanks to nolan, he has taken amazing care of me. i had to take a leave of absence from school. so 2 weeks before christmas, we decided 'what the heck' lets go home for a long christmas. so we packed up our things (or, well, nolan did) and got on the road.

the first night at home (my parents) i kept waking up and trying to roll over. except i would have shooting pains every time i tried to turn. so i would try the other side to no avail. so i would make myself go back to sleep. i kept waking up, and kept dreaming. i was dreaming that i woke nolan up and asked him to call 911 (which i actually almost did) finally it got to the point that i was in such immense pain i couldn't breathe. so i started crying (i have a little fear of not being able to breathe) and nolan woke up. between my chest pain and crying i could only get sips of air. so after 10min, he was able to calm me down to where i wasn't sobbing anymore, making it easier to breathe.

my parents suggested i go to the ER, but i didn't want to get ahead of myself. plus i despise three rivers ER. it was 6am, and i thought maybe my sister-in-law would have an idea of what was going on. my reasoning? because she is my chiropractor and is a wealth of knowledge. i met her at her office, and she recommended i see a doctor at her practice.

he asked me to go get an x-ray and come back to the office for a 10am appt. the pneumonia was still there. and it seemed that i had pleurisy, a painful chest thingy. he gave me vicodin, and ibuprofen. normally pneumonia lingers in the chest after antibiotics.

2 weeks later, i'm still coughing up a storm. so they send me back for another x-ray. the x-ray looks exactly the same as the previous one. which is concerning. so the dr suggests i see a lung specialist. which didn't happen right away because of the holidays and some confusion between dr's offices.

they ask me to go get a CT (cha-ching!) to have for the specialist. to give him a better look at what is going on. which gets delayed because i am a self-pay patient, and they are not cheap.

which leads me to today, day 1.

i go for the CT, and less than a hour later i get a call asking if i can come in to discuss results. i already know its bad. they don't call you a hour after you have a CT. especially so close to the end of the day (i got the call at 4:30pm) i know its not good.

i'm already with my mom and husband, so we all head over to see what's going on. they take us back, and we are all cracking jokes and trying to stay positive. yet the MA seemed so somber, i thought maybe she wasn't having a good day. little did i know.

the dr comes in and my memory is a little hazy about this section. he has the most amazing bedside manner. and what i hear is that i have a mass in my chest, and it looks like it might be lymphoma. i start crying, my mom starts crying. nolan is so strong for me at this point. the dr continues saying this is a form of cancer, but that it is treatable. if you want a cancer, this is a good one to have.

all i hear is cancer. cancer. cancer.

i have cancer.

my mind is out of control. i think about my husband. i think about our life. our future. our future children. what will this do to him? what if he has to live without me? i don't want to hurt him like this. this is why my memory is fuzzy.

the dr says that IF it is lymphoma, i have a long hard journey ahead of me. we talk a little about chemo and radiation. he shows us the CT, and the mass. and when he said mass, i didn't realize he meant MASSIVE. it's huge! i can't even describe it.

we go back in the room, and my dad shows up. we talk some more about where to go from here. we start with a blood test at the hospital (which they must have thought i was a pin-cushion!) and then we do a biopsy. we talk about different types of biopsy, where to biopsy, the risks of a biopsy. but that is where we start.

i've had my blood test a few hours ago, waiting to hear on the biopsy.

i had a good cry at the dr's office in a little room with my husband. i've had family and friends pour out prayer over us.

i'm curious about what's next

but the odd thing? i'm okay.

a little weird right?

i am at such peace, that it only can come from God. my husband is at peace. this doesn't mean we didn't cry, or we weren't scared. we are just at peace.

we have been laughing, cracking jokes. having tender moments intermixed with laughter. it feels so good to laugh. it feels so good to look into his eyes and say 'i love you.' it has brought us closer, it sounds so cliche, but i feel my heart growing for him.

so this is where i am at. the unknown. it will take weeks to figure out what is exactly going on. but it is a peaceful unknown. i know that whatever comes is not my will, but His. and i find such comfort in that! i may not be saying that if i'm going through chemo ;-)

and i am thankful. i have amazing people in my life! amazing! i have the best family. i have the best friends. i have people in my life that i know were strategically placed. nurses, former cancer patients, husbands of former cancer patients. i have a wealth of knowledge surrounding me. and i am thankful.

i am thankful veronica is in my life, her knowledge and intelligence is a blessing. she is the best nursing student ever! i have my grandmother that battled a form of lymphoma/breast cancer and she beat it. i have awesome Godly counsel. i have shawn who is going to be one of my husbands go-to guys, his wife just battled cancer. i have the tardieu's who i know will give us wisdom and advice. i have my AMAZING family that doesn't want to leave my side, and they all want to fly/drive to me.  i have so many people that i cannot even name them all. and they are all in my life for a reason. how could i not be happy??

my plan is to document this journey. the good, the bad, and the ugly. pride out the door. even tell you how much weight i've lost (gasp!) maybe even post the unflattering photos of me. if that is what this comes to. let everyone see into life as a possible cancer patient.