Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Life

Sorry guys... I don't have tips for keeping a clean house, cute sewing patterns, delicious recipes I've created, crafts, awesome photo-taking skills, or fashion sense to impart unto my readers. The only reason I decided to create a blog, is to keep our friends and family in the loop as far as what is going on with us. I want our friends and family to feel close to us and feel like they are keeping up with us without feeling awkward about asking us what is going on, or asking around and hearing rumors from other people about what is going on. This is the best way I know how to make people aware of what is happening without having to call everyone individually.

K, Crystal, what in the heck are you talking about. Here's what I'm talking about:

For the last 8 months I have had knee pain varying in intensity. It usually comes once every 2 weeks to once every month and lasts for around 5 days. In March, I went to see a doctor and I was diagnosed with Bursitis. I lived off of Ibuprofen and eventually the pain went away.... and came back.... and went away.... and came back... and so on. So I went to see the doctor again in June and he gave me some kind of steroid to help the Bursitis go away. And it went away.... and came back.... and went away.... and came back... and so on. I had pretty much accepted that I would have chronic pain in my knee for the rest of my life. And then one day it came back (again) and a little lightbulb went off.

I don't HAVE to live with chronic pain! This is not normal, I am 22, and should be able to run, jump, and frolic if I want to. I am going to GO to that doctor, and figure out what is wrong with me. I don't want more pain medications, I want a solution to take away the pain and keep it away. 

So I WENT to that doctor, I DEMANDED answers, got an x-ray... and then my whole life seemed to crumble and fall apart right before my eyes. In the x-ray they found some abnormal looking density in the bone right below my knee (top of the shin, or "proximal tibia" for you medical know-it-alls). I will spare you all the details, but after going to 5 appointments in 3 days to talk to doctors, get tested, and go over results, there is a 98% chance that growth on my leg is malignant (cancerous) and is most likely something called osteosarcoma. 

I have no idea what is happening right now. I have had to get substitutes at school so I can go to appointments, I cancelled all my parent-teacher conferences for tomorrow since I'm getting a biopsy, I will most likely start chemotherapy within the next few weeks and maaaaybe keep teaching this year?? The implications for me, my sweet husband, and our future children (IF we can ever have children after treatment) are overwhelming and totally uncertain right now. Maybe my fertility will not be affected whatsoever, chemotherapy will be a breeze, my hair will just get a little thinner (which would be awesome, by the way. I have too much hair.), and I'll have ample energy to teach my class of 34 5th graders. I just don't know! Maybe that 2% chance will pull through for me and it will turn out the growth on my leg is benign. 

I don't know what's going to happen, and I am completely powerless to control any of it, but one thought has stuck with me ever since that first x-ray looked a little funny. There are two ways I can approach this: I can be sad, overwhelmed, continue to question why this is happening to me, and feel bad for myself, or I can use this as an opportunity to exercise true faith in God, be optimistic, serve others in whatever capacity I am able to, and be an example to those around me. I know which option is the better one. It's just all so new, uncertain, and overwhelming. Even though I've only known for two days, I can already feel myself wanting to slip into despair and self-pity. 

My savior from despair this morning? This video. 

Don't fixate on the negative, count your blessings every day, and remember that you can do more than you give yourself credit for.

20 comments:

  1. You are courageous, brave, and healthy. I'm sure you are going to make it through this. Your hair may be curly instead of wavy, but it will be beautiful. I think I'll watch your positive affirmation video every day...

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly with your mom. We are here for you and prayers aplenty. If you need us just let us know or have Michael let us know. We will drop everything and come to you. You are brave and that will stand you in good stead. When Grandpa had cancer the doctors told us that they love dour sense of humor and that would make his recovery that much easier and more assured. Thank you for sharing this with us. Love you sooooooo much. Grandma Terri

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    2. Thank you! It means so much to me to know that my family will always be there to help and support me.

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  2. Crystal, I know we haven't chatted in a while but I just needed to say we will keep you in our daily prayers! This is so strange, but I read a book over the weekend about a boy with Osteosarcoma, I'd never even heard of it before then! This is definitely something you can knock out! Love you girl!

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    1. Thank you! It's funny, I had never heard of it before, but since I was diagnosed, I seem to keep hearing about it everywhere! What book was it??

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    2. It's a YA book my little sister wanted me to read called "The Fault in our Stars". It was a pretty dark for a kids book, it focuses on teenagers who have had cancer for the majority of their lives. Interesting, but maybe not the most uplifting book ;)

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  3. I'm so sorry this is going on Crystal-- you are so positive! I'm so glad you went to the doctor and demanded answers when you did! You are an inspiration and will be in our prayers:) -Katelyn

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  4. Hey Crystal:)
    I know we haven't really talked since the start of high school but I wanted you to know that I will be one (of many many I know) of your prayer warriors through this tough time in your life. I will be praying for healing(of course), for peace in your heart and in your husband's heart, for unending hope, and for your positivity to be constant through this journey. Thank you very much for sharing in your blog and please keep all of us who are praying updated! Love, Mari

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  5. Crystal I have been thinking about you all weekend. It's so strange how our lives can change in an instant and the hardest part is the uncertainty of it all. I admire your faith, courage, and positive attitude. Our character is often defined by how we react to our trials. I wish we were closer so I could help you. Keep happy movies by you to pull out whenever you are feeling low. Love you!

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  6. Crystal, thank you for sharing something so personal in such a lovely, thoughtful way. Know that your cousins will be praying for you!

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  7. Crystal, I think about you all of the time. These changes in your/our life hasn't fully sunk in for me. The positivity you and Michael have really helped me to cope with it. I love you so much. BTW, I love your picture from Despicable Me :) And that video is hilarious. They showed it in both of my early childhood classes.

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  8. in our house we call it the "c word", as well. You are a great woman of strength and I know that you will be strong throughout your treatment. You have been in my prayers. I must say that I am sorry that you will have to go through this challenge, but with the gospel, our testimonies, priesthood blessings and great faith, the Lord will bless you and your family. hugs!

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  9. Crystal, I totally think you are so brave to start this blog. It will be good for you and when you are all better we can all celebrate here together! I will be reading your blog and praying for you daily. You are going to be just fine! And you CAN handle this.

    Your moms friend, Rebecca Langston
    (Blossom Valley Ward)

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  10. Dearest Crystal, I have had the strong feeling since I first heard about your diagnosis that you will weather this storm with courage and grace and will grow from the experience. However, Goodness Gracious, this is completely off the scale for me to comprehend of an adversity that my beloved 22 year old granddaughter will be experiencing! Your tender, loving companionship with Grandpa Don last summer and your way-beyond- expectations effort to attend his funeral were wonderful gifts to me. I fully expect that those attributes that I have observed as you began teaching and served others will also serve you well as you go through this. There is great peace in waking up in the morning and KNOWING that you have been CARRIED through the tides of that day. I love you so much! Grandma

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  11. Dearest Crystal, though I have not been blessed to be around you and Michael much, from the little time I have been with you I have known in my soul that Michael was indeed blessed to have found such a pure, loving, beautiful, righteous young woman for his wife thus blessing us with a fabulous granddaughter-in-law.

    I read your blog a few minutes ago, and the reality of what you are going through and will go through has really hit me hard. You are so right to choose to be optimistic and full of faith, though as you said, I am sure there will be moments when you find the dark stuff creeping in, trying to pull you down. That's when you pray harder, serve more, laugh at anything you can, and get tons and tons of hugs from that most awesome husband of yours.

    Crystal, you (and Michael) will be in Saul's and my prayers constantly--we have had recent experience with Mr. C, and Saul is cancer-free right now, still on chemo for 2 more years, but getting through it. No hair loss, not much nausea at all, mostly fatigue. It depends on which medication(s) they put you on.

    If at all possible find the very best oncologist you can and then the very best surgeon for your condition. Keep asking questions, make them explain everything and give you every option and which one(s) they feel is the best. Build a great medical team to compliment the great family & friend team you have there. Surround yourself with lots of laughter and do as much fun stuff as you can. It all helps keep away the shadows.

    We love you so much! You will get through this and be stronger than you were.

    Grandma & Grandpa Caro

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  12. Hi Crystal my name is Ashley Cluff. My parents Mark and Susan Cluff talked to your parents a few weeks ago about what your going through. In Jan 2010 I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. I know how scary what your going through is. Try to keep your head up and a positive attitude it can help you more than you might think. I know you will receive blessings throughout this trial and that you will learn many valuable lessons. You can also make an impact on others lives (some you know and some you don't) as you write in this blog and as family and friends share experiences with people. If you every want to talk i would be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you might have.

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    1. Hey do you have a Facebook? I'd love to add you!

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  13. Hi, Crystal. Thank you for creating a blog to keep us posted. Your positive attitude is helping you to focus on a more positive pathway, and to trust in the Lord. In a couple of weeks, we will be with your brothers, while you and your mom have time together. We are members of the Crystal Fan Club!

    Love, Grandma and Grandpa Hansen
    P.S. I enjoyed reading the previous encouraging message from Ashley Cluff. Have you talked with her yet?

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  14. Ali Shields sent me your blog today. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June and have been going through chemotherapy since. I wish you the best of luck on your journey! Although it will be hard and the most exhausting thing ever, 7 months in the scheme of things isn't so bad. You can definitely do it. You will experience blessings that you could have never dreamed of. Good luck again!

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  15. Hello Mrs. C!!! This is Eliza (note passer/shortie) and Annalyse (tall one) from fifth grade (four years ago), when you taught at hobble creek! We were the first class you taught! We miss and love you, and we always talk about how you were our favorite teacher!

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