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.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Guys Love Chicks with Scars

At least this is what my brother tells me.

October is always a big month for me. Not only is it Breast Cancer Awareness month but it also happens to be the time of year that all of my check-up appointments fall.

First up mammogram. Mammogram was clear. I am officially a three year survivor. Happy to also report my mom's came back clear as well- she has hit her one year mark! Always a nerve wracking elevator ride up to the top floor of MoBap to the Breast Health Center. After signing in, filling out paperwork, changing into a lovely pink robe I anxiously waited for my name to be called.

It was my turn. It was time to bare all, get flattened like a pancake but all in good measure to get clean results. After scans were complete on both breasts I returned to the waiting room, still robed, to wait for the all clear. However this time when my name was called the nurse told me the doctor requested a few more scans. Heart racing, blood pressure soaring we entered the scan room again. I was praying we just didn't enough boob (ha, there is plenty to go around) for the doctor to give me an all clear. After second round of scans, we got what he needed to see and I was cleared for another year!

Next up, annual woman's exam. Another heart racing ride up the elevator. Flashbacks to the year prior when I broke down in front of my OBGYN. I was stressed. I was emotional. I was not feeling like myself. I was depressed. The emotions were finally sinking in at the two year mark; I finally let myself stop the charade of putting on the happy, positive and brave face and I melted down. After a 45 minute conversation with Dr. Smith I was back on track and had a plan of action to get back to feeling like myself.

This year, however, I was feeling great. I was feeling healthy. I was happy. Dr. Smith, remember she is the doctor that found my lump originally, and I have created a bond beyond one I could ever imagine with a doctor. (Many of you have actually become patients of her practice because of my story.) Immediately when she walked into the exam room, she mentioned I was glowing, that I looked like the old Jenna. I remarked back that I did. The three year mark is a huge hurdle to overcome and I am proud of myself and my journey to get there.

I was on a high. I hit three years. I had been cleared by my radiologist, my surgeon and my OBGYN. And then, just as fast as the good news came, so did the bad. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer. I had noticed a blister like bump on the top of my right ear this summer. It would be sore in the mornings if I slept on my ear wrong and even if I popped it, it wouldn't go away. Emma had a bad episode of croup early Fall and I ended up needing to go to the Urgent Care to receive steroids, etc. While I was there, I asked the D.O. to look at the blister on my ear and he recommended I get to the dermatologist immediately. After a biopsy, I received the call while out of town for work; I was literally walking into the lobby of the hotel to meet my team when the phone rang. I again found myself having to put on that brave face.

I had my consult with the dermatologic surgeon and after returning from vacation with my mom and Emma to California, I had MOHs surgery along with reconstructive surgery to repair the "bite" or skin removed during the MOHs procedure. Recovery was rougher than I expected. I was out of work for 3 days plus I missed my FOCUS Leadership class that weekend. I was not tolerating the pain and my stomach didn't want anything to do with the pain meds.

post surgery
two days post- although swollen and a bit bruised the incision looks great

three days post- it was basically like an ear lift and the doctor was able to cut down my ear to pull up a flap of skin to reconnect to the top of my ear
learning how to keep it protected from my operating room RN mother in law
In true brave face fashion, I chalked this up to an easy procedure. The day before I was in Kansas City for work and was able to have lunch with my mom. She told me "good luck tomorrow" and I said "for what?" I didn't tell anyone but immediate family and a few people at work. I was working in the procedure room between the two MOHs procedures I needed to have in order to get clear margins. I was on email. I was on my phone. I was hoping to make an afternoon conference call. It wasn't until they moved me into the operating room and the doctor was explaining my options for reconstructive surgery that everything sank in. I again was battling cancer. And no matter how big or small, it was cancer. I couldn't help but cry and blame myself. Was it my stupidity when I was a teenager and in my 20s of not wearing sunscreen? Was it the hours I spent in a tanning bed? I will never know. But I can learn from my mistakes.

So here's to chicks with scars. With each scar we persevere. We push forward. We learn a lesson. And we hope to share these lessons with others we love and care about.

Take care of yourselves,

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Final Chapter: Oesch Wild West Adventure

We made it to Park City, Utah; Our last destination on our Wild West Adventure. We had traveled 14 days, 3,000 miles, 7 states, 18+ towns, 1 tire patch, 30+ showings of Curious George on the minivan DVD, and made some wonderful family memories!

With only 2 major meltdowns :) Pretty good for a two and a half old.

getting close to the last destination
swimming at the resort
alpine slide...wasn't sure how this was going to go down at the top...

...she loved it!

and she wanted to go again with Daddy

a ski moose
last day of vacation

family picture on our last night of vacation

What an amazing experience! I feel so lucky to be able to have seen a part of the country that I hadn't before and share these memories with my husband and daughter. A trip that we will never forget!

Here's to the Oesch Wild West Adventure!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Oesch Wild West Adventure Part VII

We have arrived to Hailey and Ketchum, Idaho! The towns in the center of Sun Valley Ski Resort.
Hailey is also home to Rett's headquarters. We were lucky to be able to stay in the corporate condos. Hailey was also effected by forest fires this August and the firefighters were still in town, in camp further containing the fires. By the time we arrived however, many were able to return to their houses and the stores were opening back up for the end of the summer tourist season.

love the open air restaurants
Rett's favorite dinner place in town.
breakfast the next morning before our big bike ride

the bike path around town

pit stop to look at the fish in the river
headed up to the top of the mountain

on the lift
snacks and drinks at the top

cute Ketchum shopping
at the Lodge throwing rocks in the pond

me trying to convince Rett to move to Sun Valley- we look so happy!

We left the next morning to head to Park City, Utah. The last stop on the Oesch Wild West Adventure.

Oesch Wild West Adventure Part VI

When exiting Yellowstone National Park at the Southern entrance you automatically enter into the Grand Tetons which are directly north of Jackson, Wyoming...our next stop on our Oesch Wild West Adventure.

the famous peak with the glacier still in tact

more buffalo

the boy scouts collect these antlers and auction them off each spring!

downtown Jackson

cute shops of downtown Jackson


stylin' for breakfast

the downtown square with more antler arches and horse carriages
how great is this fence!?

the ski village

riding up and I spotted a black bear...didn't get him in the photo though

rain storm blowing in over Jackson

glacier in background

we sought cover at the Lodge
going over the Teton Pass into Idaho!

going higher and higher

above the clouds...magnificent!

Idaho was so green!

wind farm

Craters of the Moon lava field

Next stop, Hailey and Ketchum, Idaho in Sun Valley.