Thursday, July 28, 2016

INSPIRING WOMAN {Janna Davidson}

This months inspiring woman is Janna! She is going through something that seems unbearable and yet every time I have been around her she is always smiling. She is truly one of the most positive people I have ever met. She is fighting a battle that is bigger than herself and she fights it for those around her. For her children, her husband, her family and friends. She won't give up and that is truly inspiring in itself. 

Here is her story...

I have always been a firm believer that Heavenly Father would never give me more than I could handle. I believed that until last fall. 

October 5th, 2015 my life changed forever. I found a lump in my abdomen. It wasn't painful and I wasn't worried. I work at an OBGYN clinic so I had my doctor check it out. He thought it was just a large ovarian cyst. Who knows how long I would've waited to go into the doctor had I not worked there. He did an ultrasound the same day and clarified that it was a large solid mass. I got a CT scan and was told it was a 16 cm ovarian tumor. It was large. I was referred to an OBGYN oncologist at St. Marks hospital a few days later. She was amazing and calmed my nerves. We were told best case scenario, she would remove the tumor and it would be benign. Worst case scenario, it would be cancerous and we would take it from there. 

I had surgery on October 15, 2015 to get the tumor removed. I was calm and joked with everyone we came in contact with. We had named the tumor Dwight because he was about the size of a small baby. I reminded everyone that I wanted a picture of the tumor that was making me look 6 months pregnant. I was sure the tumor was benign and I would be okay. There was no way the Lord would give me more than I could handle and I knew I couldn't handle a cancer diagnosis. 

My surgery was longer than expected. The OBGYN surgeon got in there and removed the ovary that had been over taken by the tumor and saw something she never expected. She called in a colon/rectal surgeon to help her beyond this point. They found cancer. They found a lot of cancer. They removed part of my large intestine, my appendix, ascending colon, along with my left ovary, uterus, fallopian tubes, and biopsied 15 lymph nodes. The tumor had also grown to 20 cm in less than 10 days. My surgeon was so focused on the cancer she found that she never took a picture of Dwight, but she told me she did spank him. 

I woke up to the news that I had cancer but it wasn't ovarian cancer. After pathology came back it was officially diagnosed as stage 4 appendiceal adenocarcinoma - a rare and aggressive appendix cancer. This cancer is not curable. I will be on chemo for the rest of my life. I was heartbroken. How could the Lord let me get cancer, let alone stage 4 and so rare. I knew as soon as I got the news that I wanted a blessing. So the night of my surgery, even though I was still super groggy, I had my husband get a hold of my uncle and aunt that live in Sandy and he came and gave me a blessing. My husband, brother and aunt were all there for the amazing blessing that was given. Through my uncle, the Lord told me that I was going to live a long and healthy life and that there was still much for me to do. Heavenly Father was in the room with us that night. Everyone in the room could feel the peace of his presence. I knew that everything was going to be okay. 

I was in the hospital healing for a week before they let me go home. I missed my kids horribly and couldn't wait to get home. I got home to family and friends who were already up and running with taking care of us. Meals started coming in, kids were being watched, and a fundraiser was in the works along with a gofundme account. The community rallied around or little family. I had never seen anything like it. The Lord knew what was around the corner and knew that we would be well taken care of. 

It was at this point that I began having nightly conversations with my Father in Heaven. I have always prayed, but I have never been a good listener. I started sincerely pouring my heart out nightly and throughout the day, more than once I got answers and peace. He knew my fears and desires and calmed His child. I didn't tell God how big my cancer is, I told cancer how big my God is. 

I met with my oncologist on November 2nd. He was exactly the type of doctor I needed. Once again Heavenly Father was watching out for me. We came up with a plan for chemo and started treatments towards the end of November. I didn't get a prognosis. I didn't want one. How often are doctors right anyway?! Best news of that visit was that I wasn't going to lose my hair. Cancer + Chemo= bald heads. That is something I always believed. I was relieved there was a chemo that I could keep my hair while getting treatments. Heavenly Father knew I needed to keep my hair. 

Round 2 of chemo was the beginning of December and I got pretty sick. I couldn't keep anything down and everything I ate made me double over in pain. I was at the cancer center everyday for fluids and labs. I never thought chemo would make me that sick. I was mad. How could this be happening? Heavenly Father had told me I would live a long and healthy life but how could I when chemo was making me this sick. I felt like this was more than I could handle. Then my friend sent me an article about how the Lord will give us more than we can handle. That is the time that He carries us. He asks us to carry all that we can and He will carry the rest of the load. I was finally starting to understand. Come to find out it was most likely a virus and not the chemo that was making me so sick. I finally started to feel better the beginning of January. 

I got 6 rounds of the first chemo when we did another PET scan and were told that the cancer was growing and the chemo wasn't working. We started a second type of chemo that had the dreaded side effect of hair loss. It took me a really long time to come to terms with losing my hair. I felt like my hair defined me. I wasn't going to let chemo take my hair from me, it was going to be on my terms so I decided we needed to have a hair shaving party!! We had a BBQ and a piñata!! What's a party without a piñata?! That made the initial shock of losing my hair not so bad because everyone around me was bald. Friends and family both joined in the shaving and we had quite the pile of hair when all was said and done. It was when everyone's hair started growing back in that it got hard. I felt very vulnerable having no hair. Everyone can tell you that you look beautiful but if you don't believe it yourself, no one can make you feel beautiful. I was doing relatively fine until my eyelashes and eyebrows fell out. I looked like an alien. I hated looking in the mirror before I penciled eyebrows back on. I am just now feeling good enough about myself to go out of the house without a wig but not with out eyebrows. 

After 10 rounds of the new chemo, I started to feel something wasn't right. I talked to the PA at the cancer center and we got another PET scan. Sure enough, the cancer was growing again. One thing about this cancer is it is as stubborn as I am. 

I have had 20 rounds of chemo and have just started my third type. It is called FULFIRI (full furry) and it better work as good as it's name. I feel good about this chemo. I go in every other week for IV infusion and then leave with a chemo pump that is hooked up to my port that pumps chemo into my system for 46 hours. I get to wear an awesome IHC fanny pack with the pump in it. The side effects aren't awesome with this one but on a good note, my hair is growing back in. 

I have grown so much over the past 9 months. My relationship with my Heavenly Father is stronger than ever. I know that He is aware of me. I have learned that there is nothing more important than the here and now. You never know when it's going to be your last day or the last day of someone you love. I hug my kids a little tighter and a little longer. Don't procrastinate letting those around you know how much you care about them. I have also learned that I have a huge support system. People I know and those I don't. There are good people in the world. We hear so much about the bad, and not enough about the good. I am so fortunate to have such amazing family and friends. Life is never what we expect it to be. I have learned that we just have to roll with the punches and rely on Heavenly Father and those around us to hold us up when we can no longer do it for ourselves. I don't know if I'll be around for driving, first dates, graduations, missions or weddings. I don't know if I'll ever meet my grand kids here on this earth. I do know that the Lord has a plan and it's going to be okay. Even if it's not okay, it's okay.

The Lord has given me more than I can handle and that's okay.