30, Pregnant and Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Welcome to the Oesch Family Blog. This blog will allow you to follow along as our family grows, we tackle my breast cancer and live life to its fullest.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chemo Treatment #9 Completed!

Today was my 9th Chemo treatment and I was blessed to be joined by some wonderful friends from KC and here in St. Louis. We rang in the upcoming New Year early today with sparkling grape juice, chocolate covered strawberries, noisemakers and hats!

Here's to a healthy 2011, the start of our family and to health, happiness and prosperity to our loving family, friends, co-workers, nurses and doctors!

Jan, Kara, Jenna, Cara, Natalie, and Emily

Happy New Year!

What a Wonderful Christmas

We had a last minute change in plans for Christmas this year due to the winter storm that hit St. Louis on Christmas Eve. We didn't want to take the chance of getting stranded on I-70 without a bathroom for the pregnant lady! We were to drive to Kansas City on Friday, however in order to beat the snowstorm, my mom and grandparents were able to drive to St. Louis on Thursday night instead and arrived at the same time as Taylor and Aubree.

We had 3 days and 3 nights of pure family fun...lots of eating, lots of games, lots of laughing and lots of presents! On top of it we had a beautiful white Christmas with snowman making!

Notice that the snowwoman has boobs for Breast Cancer Awareness! The mouth is a bit scary like The Joker in Batman.

Santa came!

A view from our front door. Always supporting the Missouri Tigers!

We finally got out of our jammies!

Thanks for a wonderful Christmas and lots of memories.
Love you all,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

Rett and I saw Santa today! He came to the cancer infusion center to bring holiday cheer and pass out candy canes. I should've written a letter and sent it to the North Pole asking him to bring only one thing this Christmas...great results at the end of chemotherapy and a successful surgery (ok, maybe 2 things).

Today was the halfway mark of the first two drugs of chemo- WOO HOO! We have 8 down and 8 left to go until Emma comes!

It only made sense to have a Christmas theme today and to celebrate in style we sported our crazy Christmas sweaters! Rett dressed in drag today as he had on one of Jan's sweaters- oh the things he will do to support me; I love it!

Molly, Rett and Jan also came to treatment and helped us get into the Christmas spirit!

Santa- I only want one thing this year...get rid of this cancer!

Reindeer Molly and Jenna

Family sporting the holiday look!
 Thanks again for all the continued love and support from my family, friends, and nursing staff!
Merry Christmas!
Jenna and Rett

Christmas #2

We celebrated Christmas with Jan, Rett, Kristen, Davey, Angela and Matt and the kids on Sunday. We had a great time watching Cora play Santa and pass out all of the gifts. Well almost all of them. She would graciously pass out Grandma's, Grandpa's, Emma's, and Will's but she would constantly say "no, no" when a present was for Avery.

She even has a routine when showing off the stockings that hang on her fireplace at home. She will go down the line "Dada's stocking, Mamma's stocking, Cora's stocking, (pause as she walks past the 2nd to last stocking), Bailey's stocking (the dog)." So when someone asks her who's stocking is the one she passed she answers "Not Avery's!"

A lot sure has changed in a year as Cora was the only grandchild at last year's Christmas and now we are blessed to have had Avery and Will with us this year and Emma on the way!

Cora digging into her big bag from Aunt Jenna and Uncle Rett

We gave Cora a Fashionista Barbie with 2 sets of clothes to change into

Cora loves to play in my heels and makeup so I couldn't resist in buying her the Fashionista Barbie and multiple changes of clothes for Christmas. By the end of the night she had Barbie down to just her necklace and heels. (we will let the adults insert their own jokes here).

Kristen sent me a text this morning and Cora had put on a pink boa and said "Just like Aunt Jenna." I can't wait until she is a bit older and I can take her shopping at Justice and all the other fun girly stores at the mall!

Chubby Cheeks!

Our ultrasound tech, Jan, is the best. She sneaks in some 3D scans for us every once and a while and here is one we are really excited to share.

Emma was 2 lbs and 11 oz at her 29 week check-up last Monday. She definitely has mommy's chubby, round, full cheeks and potentially my pointy chin (however she always has her hands up around her face). We think she will have Rett's lips and a cross between my small nose and daddy's prominent nose.

As for hair, well we can't tell yet. But my hair continues to thicken up and grow a bit so we might have a race to see who can grow their hair the fastest!

We go tomorrow for the full 3D ultrasound. A very nice Christmas present to see our Baby Emma.
Full chubby beautiful cheeks

A closer view of her cheeks and nose.
Jenna and Rett

Friday, December 17, 2010

Couples Shower for Emma

While in Dallas, Dad and Silke hosted a couples shower in honor of Baby Emma.

We had a great time celebrating with friends and family. As many of you know I have been craving Mexican throughout my pregnancy, therefore the shower was catered with quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, rice, beans and lots of chips and queso. It was fabulous!

You can't have a shower without a cake, right? Our favorite cake is lemon with lemon icing. I am not sure the grocery stores in Texas know what lemon is as the cake came back bright lime green! But, let me tell you it was still amazing tasting...and it ironically fit into the Mexican theme of the evening.

Me and Uncle Taylor

Me and Aunt Aubree

Grandma Silke

Loving me some Mexican!

The bright lime cake!

Oliver, Rett and Taylor

A sneak peek at the diaper cake...it was a snowman!

Taylor made me cry with his toast!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Team Jenuity!

I completed my 7th chemotherapy round on Tuesday. Which means I only have 9 more to go until Emma arrives...I can't believe I am down to single digits, just 9 weeks until our precious baby girl is born.

I was so humbled to have many of my co-workers join me at my chemotherapy session. We had such the crowd and had a great time catching up outside of work that we had to be politely reminded we were in a hospital. We lucked out however that the infusion center was not as crowded as it typically is on Tuesday mornings.

As many of you know, the brand that I manage at Monsanto is Genuity. I worked on this brand while I was still at Momentum and then for a year and a half now at Monsanto. I love Genuity! Apologies upfront to our trademark attorneys, but for fun my team took the liberty of creating "Team Jenuity" t-shirts.

Thank you again to everyone who came to support me and keep my mind off the actual chemo infusion. I will never be able to put into words what the continued love and support means to me and to Rett.

The side effects continue to be less of an issue when compared to the first set of drugs. However I continue to be extra thirsty (my pink thermos is always by my side) and experience some blurred vision and headaches. The new side effect is bloody noses. I really don't know whether it is a side effect of the cold, dry weather, pregnancy or chemo...but it is not fun!

Until next week,

Christmas in Dallas

We traveled to Dallas this past weekend for our first family Christmas of the season! Rett went down a couple of days early for work which meant I was a lone traveler at 29 weeks pregnant. I have been flying by myself since I was probably 10 years old but this was the most nervous I have been.

And let me tell you, the men at Lambert International Airport definitely weren't eager to help lift my bag onto the x-ray conveyor belt, lift into the overhead bin nor help me deplane. I was so exhausted when I arrived in Dallas but Rett and my Dad were there to greet me and carry my bags!

The weather was amazing...about 65 degrees and sunny! I even sat outside for about an hour to let the sun shine down on me!

Here are some fun pictures from our Christmas weekend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We Are Hunting Down Cancer

I found it only appropriate to make this week's chemo session a Hunting theme for many reasons:
  • It is December and the heart of Missouri Deer Season
  • My father-in-law was the guest of honor at chemo today
  • Rett and his dad have been hunting together since Rett was a little boy
  • I had to throw Rett a bone since I won't allow any deer heads to be hung in the house
  • Rett was so proud of the 100 pounds of meat he brought home...enough to call home and say "Honey, we have plenty of meat for the winter." My response, "Wow that is so cro-magnon of you. I think their is still a Dierberg's down the street from us."
  • And most importantly, we are HUNTING DOWN BREAST CANCER and KILLING IT so it won't come back!
Therefore, I became a hunter myself today (well, without the certification and safety classes and have yet to ever hold a gun in my hands). Let's call it a fashionista hunter- well as fashionable as camo and bright orange can be!

Here are some pictures from the day.

You really miss the full effect without my bright orange hoodie, however you still get the picture.

Rett (father-in-law) in his full garb; pretty much his wardrobe for the months of November and December.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First of the Taxol Chemotherapy

Yesterday was the first day of 12 weekly treatments of chemotherapy with the new drug called Taxol. I slept through the night fairly well considering I had more steroids yesterday than I had with the A/C. However my heartburn was back last night. And I can tell you that this the chemo vs the baby because I received Pepcid as a pre-chemo drug yesterday.

Before chemo, we met with Dr. Lyss, my medical oncologist, for a check up and he had the best news ever! He told us the tumor has shrunk down to the size of a sliver and that my right breast was still clean from any cancerous tumors. Rett and I were so excited that we were high-fiving and fist pumping eachother. And as many of you know I am not really a fan of high fives :)

He reassured us that the chemotherapy is working and that he was working very well especially in a time where my body is full of estrogen (as the tumor is estrogen receptive/fed). What a great way to start the morning!

Then it was chemotherapy time and have no fear we carried our excitement into the infusion center and held a throw back theme party to High School Day! Therefore, here is a shout out to all '98 Winnetonka Griffins, CODASCO Rams, and St Joe's Angels! We relived many memories from Senior Trip to making fun of all the stuff we had on our jackets (achievement pins, really?) to all our t-shirts that mom placed into a blanket for me. We even relived our 2nd Grade class photo from Mrs. Frailey's Chapel Hill class. I have got to say "what were we thinking to the white high-top sneakers (Jenna) and the pastel florally dress (Cara)?"

Tonka Griffins! Showing off our 4-year letters! Cara, where are your medals?
Oh to be back in my Medium sized coat again. Dad sporting the Griffins as we have no Oak Park apparel in the house.

Molly showing off her St Joe's class ring.

Don't worry, Rett had a wardrobe change about every 45 minutes ranging from letter jacket to State Champion football t-shirt to of course, #52 football jersey!
Thanks to Cara, Molly and my Dad for coming with me. A big thanks to Rett for always being there for me in more ways that I can even describe. I love you all!

ONLY 11 MORE TREATMENTS LEFT UNTIL WE MEET EMMA! (By the way, we announced to our family our Baby girl's name will be Emma this weekend!)

Hugs to all,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Celebrating the Baby Bump!

As earlier posted we had a fantastic shoot with Kelly Ferguson. (You can see her latest work on her blog: http://kellysphotoblurp.blogspot.com/)

Here are some of our favorites from the day! Kelly, thank you again for everything. This will be a day in our journey to parenthood that will not be forgotten.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Are You Thankful For?

Rett and I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Some serious and others funny for your entertainment!
1.      Family and friends that have been very supportive and loving and that will make a fool out of themselves at chemo theme days
2.      My team of doctors for moving so quickly to get me into the best treatment plan (for me and Baby E)
3.      Nurses, staff and volunteers at Cancer Infusion Center
4.      God, the creator of new life and protector of all
5.      Rett’s health and my path back to it
6.      Healthy Baby E
7.      Supportive companies and co-workers at Monsanto and Power Engineers
8.      Tums
9.      Rett letting me sleep on more than 50% of the King sized bed to get comfy at night
10.   The Pregnancy Pillow
11.   The Wig Shoppe
12.   Freedom and all of those that serve to protect it daily
13.   Fat Free French Vanilla Coffee Mate & Dunkin Donuts Coffee
14.   That Rett found his wedding ring
15.   Overhead transmission power lines (call Rett @ Power Engineers for all your design needs)
16.   El Matador soft tacos (my pregnancy craving)
17.   Our beautiful home
18.   Supporters of the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen and all cancer research
19.   Kind neighbors
20.   Foot massages
21.   “Kitchen” water (we should really bottle our water)
22.   Football season
23.   Blackberry friendly blankets (AKA The Snuggie)
24.   Corn Earworm (we have the best Genuity trait for you!)
25.   Nightlights so I can see the path to the bathroom every 3 hours at night
26.   United Healthcare/Monsanto Insurance
27.   Spicy Chilean red wines
28.   Farmers for putting food on the table, clothes on our backs and fuel in our cars
29.   Social Media (how else would we get this list out in mass communication form?)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! We love you.
Jenna and Rett

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We Might Have a Drama Queen on Our Hands

Yesterday we had our 26 week ultrasound with Dr. Smith. We were so lucky to have both of our moms attend with us so they could see how Baby E was developing and growing so quickly. It was a very special morning for all of us. Rett and I are getting pretty spoiled with the ultrasounds...this is our 5th one. (Another silver lining to having breast cancer and going through chemotherapy! I gotta keep finding these!)

I will never be able to thank Dr. Smith enough for all the love and care she has provided me, Rett and Baby E. She is thorough and loving and caring and I know that I am in great hands.

A 3D capture of Baby E's face and right side.
Now down to business. Baby E is now 1lb and 14 oz which puts her in the 50th percentile (right on track). Her little heart is beating perfectly at 167 bpm. Her kidneys, stomach, spine, and head all look great. I learned yesterday that babies practice their breathing from time to time. This is not a task they do all of the time but just when they feel up to it and we got to see Baby E practice with her lungs yesterday on the ultrasound. I think it is amazing and a miracle how a "little person" (as my grandpa calls babies) knows exactly how to grow and develop so they can survive outside the womb and that it is all done in just about 40 weeks.

Drama Queen. Here is where she kept placing her hand on her forehead.
My friend, Kara, sent us an animal print hat with a bow on it and the card read: "Just a little something to prepare for the drama little girls bring." Her instincts were right on! We must have woken Baby E up from a nap because she yawned for us a couple of times and then right before us placed her tiny little hand on her forehead as if to say "Mom, I'm tired and with all the poking and prodding I can't sleep! I don't want to perform for you right now!"

She is positioned with her head around my belly button, her rear end on my left side (her boney butt is hard sometimes) and her feet are pointed right up and under my ribcage. Thank goodness she is still a bit too small to kick me too hard!

Bring on the drama! I can't wait to be a mom and meet my precious princess!
Mom (Jenna)

My First Baby Shower

This Saturday, my sister-in-laws, Angela and Kristen, hosted a baby shower for me and Baby E. By the way, we are calling her Baby E now because we have narrowed down her name to three potential names that all begin with the letter "E".

To go along with my nursery, little lambie was the theme of the day and everything was perfect! The invitations read:
This little lambie will be darling and sweet
Instead of sheep hooves, she'll have two tiny feet,
Instead of thick wool, she'll have soft baby skin
And two parents to melt with her sweet baby grin.

Angela and Kristen hosted the shower

My mom came in for the shower and weekend

Jenna and Baby E's grandmas