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.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Avery turns 1

Happy Birthday, Avery!

We can't believe a year has passed so quickly. Here is a quick walk down memory lane and pictures from your party today!
We were so excited to meet you!

Playing with Aunt Jenna

Check out my cute hat

Apple and pumpkin picking

Loving on Uncle Rett
Christmas present

Playing with Will

 It was an Elmo themed birthday party! Happy 1!

We love you!
Aunt Jenna and Uncle Rett

Mini Me

When we were in Kansas City for Mother's Day and my mom showed me these photos. If it wasn't for the fact that you could tell the photos were printed in the 80s you would have no idea that this baby wasn't Emma!

It is crazy to see the cheeks, the nose, the hairline...

I Think I Can

"I think I can," puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."
As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I--think--I--can, I--think--I--can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could, I thought I could."

What a crazy couple of weeks!
Rett has returned from an international business trip which had him in the Republic of Georgia for 2 weeks. What a wonderful experience for him on a professional and personal level and what a time of triumph for me.

I have so much admiration for single mothers. It is truly another full time job to take care of a little one without the help of a spouse along with the duties of the house and work. I look back and reflect on how hard that must have been for my mom as she was single with a almost 4 year old and a 1 year old. She had just moved us back to Kansas City, she was working full time, she was in law school and raising the two of us. How the heck did she do it?

My body kicked into overdrive.
I was mommy and daddy. I was there for every diaper change, every bottle, every cereal dinner, every rocking to sleep, every drop off and pick up at school and every bath. Yes, I conquered bath time with only 2 hands!

My daily pep talks would occur after dropping Emma off at school in the morning on the drive into the office and telling myself "I think I can." And I knew that I could. I so badly want to be the best mom that I can be, but I also want to have the best career that I can. I have been blessed to have the greatest support system over the course of the year and with that I knew I could tackle these two weeks on my own.

Believe me, there were some rough patches along the way, but Emma and I got through it and our bond is even stronger now. Emma has really started to enjoy her rice cereal although she doesn't like being messy one bit. She is talking up a storm. She will talk to Mumsy and Dee Dee on the phone just like she is gossiping with her girlfriends at school. We Skyped with Daddy everyday and Emma would be so excited to see him on the computer screen and hear his voice.

Radiation is almost over! I have only 1 more treatment left! Tuesday marks another huge milestone in keeping the cancer away! I can't wait to ring the bell in celebration of my triumph over this disease and look forward to only having roughly 10 more chemo treatments left!

I have taken on new responsibilities at work as well. I am still in brand communications for the US Commercial organization, however I am now leading up communications for our three national brands- DEKALB corn, Asgrow soybeans, Deltapine cotton as well as the Crop Protection and Weed Management brands. I am very lucky to have a great team at Monsanto and with our agency partners!

Charity is very important to me. I attended the St. Louis Crisis Nursery Fashion Show "Spring Spectacular" at Dillard's as well as continue to serve as class leader for Missouri Alpha of Pi Beta Phi's house renovation project. Here is a nice spotlight they ran on me in the last MO Alpha mailer.

Cornbread in the Morning is a dedicated supporter of Susan G Komen St. Louis and has set another world record with his team for the St. Louis walk. http://www.wil92.com/category/teambreadbird2011/20110420//

I was lucky enough to be on his show and share my story with his listeners last week. My main message was...You know your body. You know when something is off. Do not hesitate to be proactive when it comes to your health. Keep your annual exams scheduled and if you are of the age to receive mammograms, get them!

I can't wait to cross the finish line at the St. Louis Race for the Cure free of cancer!

This Week in Photos

We were so excited to have Daddy back in the country! This was taken the day Rett left.

Will stopped by to play.

Will was showing me how to crawl.

Will encouraged me to do tummy time.

Will is such a big boy!

Aunt Angela hugged on me.

Ready for another day at School.

Daddy was excited to see how well I have learned to eat.
Yum. Rice Cereal.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thanks to the armed forces for protecting us and keeping us safe at home.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Husband’s Perspective: Volume 4

I have been getting requests on when I was going to write my next Husband’s Perspective and I couldn’t think of a better time than now. Right now I am literally on the other side of the world in the Republic of Georgia. I will get to that later on how I ended up here, what I’m doing etc.

Once again a lot has changed since the last post. Jenna had her lumpectomy on March 8th and two days later we got the pathology report back and it showed that all of the cancer had been removed with the lump as well as her lymphnodes showed no signs of the cancer. Thank you God for answering our prayers! This obviously was a huge weight lifted off both of our shoulders. It was great having family around us who could help us after Jenna’s surgery as well considering we had a 2 month old at home. Emma was still on her every 3 hour feeding schedule at that time and let me tell you that you don’t realize how much help it is when there are 2 people sharing the feeding schedules. You kind of become a zombie or a robot might be a better way to describe the feeling. You would hear her crying on the monitor, get up, make the bottle, change her and immediately go into feeding her. Burp, swaddle, rock, put her down and back to sleep as fast as possible. This was my nighttime schedule for a while. Fortunately for us we had a baby that likes to sleep so we started spacing out her feedings and today I am proud to announce that we have a 4 month old that sleeps somewhere between 8-10 hours a night. It makes you feel like a normal person again. It has been amazing to see how fast Emma has grown. Every day that I pick her up from Goddard I would feel like she had gotten bigger that day. All I can say is that it is amazing how children change you.

Back to Jenna’s health, a few weeks after Jenna’s surgery she started radiation. We kind of knew what to expect as Jenna’s friend Jodie was just about done when Jenna began. Everything was fine for the first couple of weeks until Jenna’s skin started getting irritated. Imagine a really bad sunburn that peals and blisters. The worst part about it is that there is nothing as a husband that I could do to help this go away. Every day it would get worse and Jenna would be in more pain. I realize that this is all part of the process to Jenna getting a 100% clean bill of health but it just plan SUCKS watching your spouse go through this entire process. Jenna’s burns got so bad that they gave her a week off so her skin could heal which just discourages you even more because that just adds time onto the treatment at the end. Hopefully on May 31st will be Jenna’s last day of radiation and this step will be completely behind us. The only thing left will be chemo every 3 weeks until January 2011. At that point this little bump in the road will be behind us.

I wanted to touch on one of Jenna’s earlier posts as well, Beauty is Definitely on the Outside. This was the post where Jenna described what it was like the day that we had to cut her hair. As the husband you see firsthand everyday what it was like for your wife to lose her hair going through this process. Well since surgery all I have seen is Jenna’s hair grow back. Guys know how girls are, they either love their hair or they hate it. Jenna is definitely not loving it yet but I would not be surprised if in the next two months Jenna shows up with a new hairdo.

So back to the beginning of my post, where in the heck am I? As my company has expanded one of the areas that we have gotten into has been Federal work. There are projects funded all over the world that the US is involved in and POWER has gotten involved with a transmission line project in the Republic of Georgia. If you try to find it on a map, go to Europe, head southeast to Turkey, find the Black Sea and just to the east of it is Georgia. Georgia is a former Soviet Republic that since the breakup of the Soviet Union has been trying to re-establish itself. So the opportunity came up at work to get involved in this project and after a long deliberation with Jenna, I agreed to work on it. The only issue was that since it takes 20 hours plus to get here you don’t normally go for just a couple of days. The first trip that I have made over her was for 14 days. It is day 10 right now and the answer is yes, I am ready to go home. It has been a very busy trip though. The Georgian people definitely don’t get up early for work. The day starts at around 10 am but we have not been getting back to the hotel at night until after 7 pm. The accommodations while in Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia) have been very nice. We are staying in a Radisson that was only built 2 years ago and very much caters to business travelers coming to Georgia so it is not much different from staying in a nice hotel at home. The two days that we went out into the field were a little different but I have stayed in worse places when we deer hunt. Georgia is very much a place trying to figure out who they are and what they are going to be. They are trying to rebuild parts of the country that have been destroyed during a civil war in the 1990’s and a partial invasion by Russia in 2010. One thing about Tbilisi that I find very interesting is how the different religions somehow seem to get along. The majority of the country is Georgian Anglo Saxon Christian. You walk down the street and see a church, a block later a Jewish synagogue, and then a block later a Muslim mosque. It really is amazing with the state of things in places like the Middle East that there is somewhere like this that exists. Some other fun facts about Georgia, they are well known for their wines. We had traditional Georgian wine when we were out in the country side that would definitely be characterized as almost a hard alcohol because you don’t sip it you shoot it. In the city we had red wine that you would think you were in Napa Valley it was so good. All together the trip has not been that bad. Georgian food has been decent but after a couple of days you really just crave a cheese burger. That is why Randy and I are heading to no other than McDonald’s for dinner tonight. I honestly cannot tell you the last time that I had a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries but right now it sounds amazing. Here are some pictures from my trip.

Two weeks has been a long time though. I hope that I still recognize Emma when I get home. Jenna and I skype once a day and talk on the phone another but it still doesn’t replace getting to hold Emma and put her to bed at night or see my wife when she gets home from work or in the morning when we both wake up. It’s very scary for me to say and I keep knocking on wood every time I think about it but as this blog is entitled “Not a Part of the Plan” it feels like some parts of the “Plan” are starting to fall back into place in Jenna, Emma’s and my life. I can’t wait to get home and see my girls. I love them more than anything in this world.

I know this is a long post but thanks for reading if you made it this far. Please if you want join us for the Komen Race on June 11th. It really is a celebration for so many families that have gone through what Jenna and I have and we would love to share the day with you.