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, 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

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Last of the Yucks?

I have made it through my last A/C Days 6, 7 and 8 Yucks. Although it wasn't without a little pain. My side effects definitely came out this time. I dealt with the usual headaches, tiredness, weakness and mouth sores however this time I experienced major hot flashes during the night and the daytime (just sitting at my desk sometimes) and extreme hunger side effects such as clamminess and blurred vision. I simply let myself get too hungry in a couple of meetings this week and was slow to recover.

Anyways, I am feeling better (it is Friday after all) and getting ready for a great weekend. I pick my mom up at the airport tonight and have my first baby shower tomorrow afternoon. Then we have another ultrasound on Monday with Baby Oesch. I can't wait to see how much she has grown and look at her beautiful features she is developing. I will be 26 weeks on Sunday.

Other updates. My life-long girlfriend, Cara...yes, the one that organized the St. Louis walk, just found out she is also having a Baby Girl! I can't wait for them to grow up together and share the special bond we have.

Jodi, my "crazy chemo friend" is completely done with her chemo treatments and has surgery on November 30th. Please keep her in her prayers for a speedy recovery so she feels like herself in time for Christmas. She celebrated and went out with a bang. She said good night to cancer and hosted a PJ party at the infusion center. She also collected over 300 jammies for needy St Louis children. Here we are celebrating her magnificent accomplishment! I am sure you are asking where my PJs are...I brought my robe to place over my clothes and had already stripped it off as I was in the middle of my own personal summer...hot flash!!!

Jodi and Jenna at Jodi's last chemo treatment. Good night cancer!
Rett and I took our baby bump photos with a fabulous photographer on Thursday, Kelly Ferguson.
Check out her work at: http://www.kellyfergusonphotography.com/index2.php?v=v1#/home/

Kelly lost her mom to cancer last year and therefore we had an immediate connection. It was so fun to get dressed up and actually showcase my belly. How often does a woman get to show off her belly bump? We will keep you posted on our favorite captures from the day.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Husband's Perspective: Volume 2

Hello everyone again. This message is coming from the deer stand. One thing people who don't sit in tree stand for hours on end won't understand is that it gives you a lot of time to relax and think about things. A lot has happened since my first post. We finished our first 4 rounds of chemo and the baby is doing great. We walked in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walks in Kansas City and St. Louis and Team Jenna's across the country raised more than $20,000. That number still blows me away every time that hear it. It honestly was amazing how many people donated and walked with us. It also was eye opening to see how many people showed up to walk, volunteer, and donate at these events. There are so many people affected by Breast Cancer that I have found through this process and from all of the stories that I have heard it is so encouraging to hear how many people live a normal life after going through the process that myself, Jenna, and our Baby Girl are going through. No doubt it is a long road though. My Mom always used to tell me don't wish your life away but going through this it is really hard not to. I want this next round of chemo to be over so our baby girl will be here. I want her here because that means Jenna can have surgery move onto radiation and finish the last round of chemo and be done with this huge bump in our plan and get onto bigger and better things like starting our family and watching our daughter grow up. However this is not the plan God set for us but I think he is already showing us why. Some of the nurses at the infusion center where Jenna gets her treatment have said that Jenna and her friend Jodie (see previous post about the Crazy Chemo Lady) have changed the way other patients view that place. The first day Jenna walked in there she started crying and wanted to get out of there as quick as she could. Now when other patients see us in our Hawaiian shirts or Mizzou gear having a good time and getting through this it gives them hope. It gives me hope too seeing how everyone has supported us. Anyone is welcome to come to treatments with us. They typically are on Tuesday mornings at 9:00 am. I know it’s hard to stop by during work but even if it’s for just 30 minutes I know Jenna will really appreciate it. We typically have a theme so feel free to email me or Jenna if you are going to make it so you can join in the festivities. Once again thank you to everyone for your support, thoughts, prayers, cards, meals etc. You all are helping us get through this.


P.S. - Here is an action shot from the weekend and yes that is a beard.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No More Steroids!

Tonight I took my last steroid pill. Hell yeah! During the A/C treatments I had 4 days of post-chemotherapy steroid pill popping. At first, I really enjoyed these four days. My body was on a high; it was artificially stimulated and kept my energy running to get me through the week.

However, this last week on the steroids was not the same. The insomnia was out of control and my energy was non-existent and I am happy to be done with the highs and lows of the steroids. Plus, blessed to not have as many drugs entering my system as Baby Oesch continues to develop and grow.

With the Taxol, the next chemotherapy drug, I will receive steroids and anti-nausea medicine only directly before the treatment. Another hurdle crossed.

Today was a great day. I am nesting more and more. Today, I got the coat closet switched out with our winter coats. And I cleaned out the closet in the nursery to make room for baby's clothes. I got a great jump on Christmas shopping; figured I should do what I can when I feel good.

Tomorrow, our nephew, Will, gets baptized and we are so happy to celebrate with him and his parents, Angela and Matt.

Hope you all are having a great weekend as well!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

9 Weeks of Chemotherapy are Catching up With Me

Well, I think the chemotherapy treatments have begun to catch up with me. I have been more tired than usual which leads to an early bedtime of around 8:45 PM. The steroids are really causing me not to sleep. Last night I was up for over an hour. Thank goodness for DirectTV all house DVR as I was able to watch Parenthood in bed before I fell back to sleep.

Tonight, as you can tell this post is very early. I have been up since 2:15...it is now 5:15 AM. Sorry to those that were on the receiving end of some very early emails. My mind started racing thinking about my "to do" list, I created the list, watched Friday Night Lights, tried to get on email but the VPN access is still messed up at work, started our Estate Planning Document...let's just say it has been a productive morning...just wondering when I am going to crash.

Other side effects from the chemotherapy and steroids this time (because insomnia isn't enough) include a bit of nausea, heartburn (or is that the pregnancy?) and hot flashes.

I just wanted to send another round of thank yous for all the dinners supplied and the groceries purchased and delivered. It sounds like easy tasks but I can't tell you how great it has been to be able to focus my limited energy on other items vs the above so that I can live a more "normal" life during my treatments and pregnancy. Rett and I couldn't be more grateful for the family and friends that have stepped up to help us. We love you guys!

Love to all-

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

See you later A/C!

Yesterday was a great day! Rett and I started off the day with taking a quick 24 week Baby Bump picture. Baby Oesch is only about 3 months from her debut and is tracking against growth and development nicely.
24 weeks pregnant
Then we headed to MoBap for my final A/C chemo treatment. 9 weeks done and the hardest drug is now behind me. I have three weeks off until I begin my weekly treatments on Taxol. On November 30th I will begin 12 more weeks of treatment. Hopefully the holidays will make this time fly by!

To celebrate no more A/C, we had a Hawaiian Luau complete with Hawaiian shirts, leis, and Hawaiian Punch with umbrellas.

Rett, Jenna, Aunt Eileen, Uncle Mike and Charlene
See you later A/C!
Only 12 more treatments until we meet Baby Oesch!

Then last night, Annalise and Mike brought us a wonderful steak and sea bass dinner. It was a great night with great friends!


Monday, November 8, 2010

A Milestone Will Be Achieved Tomorrow

I had a great challenge ahead of me when I was diagnosed in August. Twenty four weeks of chemotherapy prior to delivering Baby Oesch seemed like a huge mountain to climb. And taking things day by day was a great plan to tackle the emotional and physical stress of dealing with breast cancer but was a slow process.

Tomorrow, I will achieve my first milestone in climbing that mountain. Tomorrow is my 4th and final chemo treatment on the first set of drugs (AC)! After tomorrow I will have three weeks off and then I begin my weekly treatments (beginning 11/30) for 12 weeks. This measures out to finishing my last chemo treatment (before Baby Oesch arrives) the week prior to my due date.

I am so excited to be nearly half way done with this first cycle of treatment and to celebrate we are going to the beach...well kinda...we are having a Hawaiian Luau at MoBap tomorrow. My favorite place is the Beach and therefore I will be imagining that I am on a deserted sandy white beach, drinking a fruity frozen drink, digging my toes in the sand, and soaking up the rays.

Feel free to join us tomorrow at 9AM at the Cancer Infusion Center at Missouri Baptist.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Save the Boobies!

St. Louis raised over $4,000 for Breast Cancer Research through the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk ($4,110 to be exact!)

Thank to you to everyone who joined Team Jenna on Saturday. It was truly a humbling experience to see all that came out to support me and the cause: to find a cure for breast cancer.

Here is the local news coverage from St. Louis Fox 2:

In all, there were six Team Jenna's across the nation (Denver, Boston, Dallas, KC, STL and Nashville) that raised $21,435 in 30 days! This is amazing! Thank you to all that donated, walked, organized teams, fundraised, etc. I can't describe in words how blessed I feel!

St. Louis Team Jenna

Angela, Jenna and Kristen

Matt, Will, Jenna and Angela

Will sporting his Team Jenna gear post walk

Kristen and Davey