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We are so blessed.Welcome to Tori's journey. It all began around March 10, 2013. Tori started in with a bad cough, congestion and feeling very tired. We went to the doctors and he said she had some sinus issues and put her an on antibiotic. She felt a little better on some days, but then got worse. Her days were full of wanting to do nothing but lay around, her cough got worse and her chest began to hurt. She lost her appetite and began losing some weight. She kept the positive attitude, continued to work and manage her school load, but struggled. We took her back to the doctors, who put her on a stronger antibiotic and told us to get a chest X-Ray if it wasn't better by Monday.Her chest got better at first, but then got bad again. She began having shortness of breath, lost a few more pounds, her back began to hurt (we assumed it was from coughing so much), she was still very tired. Some days she felt pretty good and other days it was difficult to breathe. She began experiencing extreme night sweats and some numbness and discoloration in her left arm when she was actively using it.We had a chest X-ray done which showed some fluid in her left lung. So back to the doctors we went. The doctor noticed a large swelling around the left side of her neck, almost looking like a football players neck. The doctor then told us that the chest X-ray also showed a large thickening down the middle of the chest. He said that these were all sign of lymphoma - which is a form of blood cancer...and thus it all began!
Well all of your prayers worked, Tori's scans are clear and she is good for another three months :). There was a small spot on her chest but they believe that to be scar tissue so they will keep their eye on it to be sure. Her white blood count is up to 9.2 and all of her other numbers are looking great as well.
Tori has had a few things going on, but for the most part she is feeling good! Her Achilles Tendanitis is a bit better and she has been able to do some Yoga again.
She is struggling with "chemo brain". This is the ability to focus and concentrate like she used to. It mostly effects her during her Math classes, so the docs are going to try a med to see if it helps.
She is also having some circulation issues. Anytime she is out in the cold, even for a short period of time, her fingers go completely white. She has what they call Raynaud's. This is a circulation issue that my mom, sister and I all have as well. Tori's seems to be a bit more severe (of course!). It can be dangerous if she doesn't get her circulation back. Unfortunately, one of the things that can make it worse is the medicine they want to give her for her chemo brain! This girl just can't win. :). There are a couple of meds that can help it but the doctor wants to run some more tests to make sure she doesn't have anything going on with her auto immune system before she gives her the meds. Tori also has had the hair on her body stop growing, with the exception of her head (every girls dream of course!), so the doc just wants to run some more tests. They are also checking her Iron to be sure she doesn't have her anemia back. We should get all these results back by the end of the week.
There is another clinical trial that just recently was completed. It was a maintenance chemo for people that had Hodgkins Lymphoma and have had to have a BMT transplant. The trial proved successful for longevity for those who took the maintenance chemo. Although the trial is complete, it can take a year or two for all of the paperwork and for it to be FDA approved. Tori's BMT doc was going to work with the Pharmacist to see if they would approve it for Tori. We found out today that it was approved! This is great news. Although Tori hates the thought of going back on chemo for another year, I think she realizes that it is necessary. The good news is that she was on this chemo before. It was the chemo (Brentuximab) that worked for her to get her cancer down enough to have her transplant. It also targets the bad cells and not the good cells so Tori felt good on it and did not lose her hair. Although she only had two rounds of it, we are hopeful. She wants to wait till after the first of the year ...or so, before she gets started. And, she can get treated locally for this.
Our goal for 2015 was to have just quarterly scans and appts at OSU and no other appointments. Well her chemo changes that, but we don't go back to OSU for three months!
Other than that, Tori will be going to school full time (5 classes) in the Spring and she plans to go back to work at Shaun's in Waterville (one day a week to start) sometime in the next few weeks. She has become very health conscious (due to what she has been through) and is eating excellent and working out every day! She is so ready to go back to living.
I know this post is already very long, but I really wanted to share what Tori posted on Facebook for Thanksgiving. I continue to be amazed at her strength, maturity, faith and determination! ---------- I know that I am a day late but I just have so much to be thankful for this year. First off I am just so thankful that God has given me another year to celebrate with my friends and family. I am so thankful for my doctors and nurses and all of the medicines that have gotten me to where I am today. I also have to thank my friends and family because without them I would be no where. Especially my mother who has been my #1 sidekick. I am so blessed to live this beautiful life that God has given me and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. What God put me through was the biggest blessing in my life. It has changed me for the better and I have realized how truly blessed I am. Today I am thankful for getting my life back on track. I am finishing up my first semester back at BGSU this next month and then I will be back to work at Shaun's Irish Tavern! I will then be a full-time student in the spring time, working as much as I can. It feels so good to be back to a normal life and I couldn't be more grateful for that. ----------