When I was little and I had a bad dream or some terrible thought kept me up at night, I would lay in bed, take deep breaths, and think of care bears and rainbows. That was my go-to safe place. I had no idea why this is what came to mind, but when life got too hard, that is where I went. Care Bears and Rainbows and something happy. It worked every time. As I grew up I didn't ever really use it on purpose, but sometimes when I was really really tired, and had a bad dream, my mind would just sorta drift to it. Care Bears and Rainbows and something happy.
One day a few years back I was ridding in the car with my sisters and we were somehow talking about a bad dream or something that was keeping Missy up at night. My little sister said, "It freaks me out! I keep telling myself, think of care bears and rainbows and something happy!" Boo and I both looked at her and laughed. Apparently we all thought of care bears and rainbows. It was our mom's instructions on how to handle bad dreams. And it stuck. With all of us. Later I started using the details of our wedding day as my safe place, and then using the details of everything I can remember from the day Henry was born. Something to think of, to focus on besides the terrible awful thing that wants to take over my thoughts as I try to drift off to sleep. But sometimes, when I am really tired, my mind goes back to the old tried and true Care Bears and Rainbow vision. I caught myself using it last night at 3am when I was awoken from yet another bad dream, and it reminded me of my sisters. And then I once again had to start over to find a place not filled with worry and fear.
Missy went back up to National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, MD to meet with her doctor and have her follow up MRI done on Friday. Missy had not been feeling well for the last couple of weeks and this trip was draining on her. When the doctor came in they expected to hear that MRI looked good, come back in three months and we will check for new growth. Unfortunately that isn't what the doctor told them. They found out instead that there is new growth of the tumor. Enough growth that the doctor wants to go in and remove it. After all of this radiation and chemotherapy she still has enough growth to where her doctor thinks it is needed to have a second brain surgery, then to start a new chemotherapy because clearly the first was ineffective. Radiation cannot be done again because she had already had her maximum dose, but surgery and chemo can still options, so that's what is happening.
Of course we are all sort of in shock. How could this non-aggressive cancer have grown enough since her last MRI in November to need surgery again? How could the treatments have not worked? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? The answers for now are that we just don't know. But we will start back over. Start with another brain surgery, this time at the NCI, and then a new treatment plan. Missy is upset, but also relieved to know that there was a reason she had been feeling this bad. As side effects of the original treatments should have been wearing off, she just kept feeling worse and worse. Her headaches are back, her emotions were all over the place and she was plagued with nausea. All of this is due to the location of the new tumor.
The good news is this new growth is very operable. The surgeon believes he can get 90-95% of the tumor. Then hopefully the new chemotherapy will do what it is suppose to do and we will be back on track. Of course we are all scared, but we are all feeling positive too. We can't take her cancer away, so at least she knows what she is fighting. At least she has an amazing team of doctors who are going to do everything they can to fight this. We have a lot of hope. But we also have heart ache, that this is where we are back to. That five months after the first surgery she is going in again. And that is what is keeping me up at nights, needing happy thoughts to calm down and to help me maybe fall asleep. Care bears and rainbows. As an adult they don't always make everything okay, but they do what they can.
*The surgery is scheduled for Friday morning. We will be traveling to the DC area on Wednesday and Thursday. All prayers and support are greatly appreciated. I will be updating on her condition on twitter and either here on this blog, over on her blog or both. Thank you all so much for your love and support during this difficult time for our family.