Sunday, September 23, 2012

From the Journal of Tiffany Dawn Kennard

From the Journal of Tiffany Dawn Kennard
October 2008

When you are given a life-threatening diagnosis, all that you hold of value is stripped away.  You stand before God with nothing to hide behind.  You lack the strength to even pretend before Him.  There is nothing surrounding you and you feel bare and vulnerable.  Eternity is just a breath away and closer than any of us can even imagine. 

You have to decide how am I going to get through this.  You have to choose to have hope and faith.  You must decide to press on.  You must choose to laugh.  You must choose to make jokes.  You must choose to live your life with grace, integrity and faith that God has a plan and that He is a loving God. 

He carries me in His hand – always has and always will.  I can feel Him throughout all my memories since my diagnosis.  I know there were two big angels in the operating room.  I know He is with me in the MRI machines and I know He holds my hand at each doctor appointment.  I can feel His love through the hugs, phone calls, gifts and support of my family and friends - through the laughs, tears and smiles.  Those are how you have taken care of me. 

I choose to live a life that honors my God! 


Tiffany went home to be with her Lord on Thursday morning, September 20, 2012.  All in her family wish to thank everyone who prayed for Tiffany and who followed her on this adventure.  The following link will take you to her obituary and provide more information about her and the memorial service. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good News!

Well, I got some good news last Thursday...the lesions haven't grown and my brain looks pretty good! The doctor couldn't really tell what could make a difference...whether it was the Avastin, the brain electrodes, or a combo of both.

So, thank you all so much for the prayers last week! I think I might put the electrode thing on again. I am hoping tomorrow might be the day!

Friday, June 8, 2012's on!

Well, the electrode thing for my head is on! I got my head shaved on Wednesday first by the hair lady and then yesterday by the doctor to be extra smooth. It was a little more than I was expecting. We entered the doctor's room and there were things everywhere that we had to be learn how to use and when to use it. We (well, technically it was my dad, but still!) had to literally move a giant black luggage piece, a bag full of wires, shaver etc, and back-up supplies of extra batteries and devices. My mind is kinda reeling from that even today!

My doctor put on the first four batches of these electrode things. We have to change them every 4-7 days. They gave me four battery packs and a unit that plugs into the wall, so I can plug-in 18 hours a day. I wish my camera was working right now, so I could give you all a better description!

The funny thing is that there was a little misunderstanding with the manufacturer and insurance company. Apparently, I was supposed to hear from this guy from their company last week before this whole treatment starts. So this morning I heard that the insurance company is still in process approving me for this machine! The guy somehow misunderstood or the misunderstanding was with the doctors involved, but anyways, the company that makes it will take care of the balance if there is one and insurance doesn't approve me.

My dad calls me "Magneto" from X-Men and my sister calls me the evil queen from Captain E.O. And my mom just calls me "special" since I am one of two people using this thing in the Northwest.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

You're never going to believe this!

So, I was so excited yesterday because I finally got a haircut with color. My hair looks so cute right now! That is until next Thursday, when I have to shave my head! My insurance went through for the electronic  head cap. I'm so excited, true - its experimental, but at least it gives me more hope.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Last Few Days

Just wanted to give you all an update. My doctor has decided that I needed to choose between treating my brain or treating my spinal cord. There are cancer cells in both, so it was tough deciding. I decided to keep treating my brain since I know what that involves. It's an infusion called Avastin that I get every two weeks.   

The other kind of treatment for my spinal cord involves putting an ommaya port in my brain (which I had so many complications with last year) and then the doctors don't even know if that chemo would work that well. 

The last treatment my doctor mentioned is an experimental one that hasn't been approved yet for my tumor. It is like a magnetic field that attaches to my scalp, which will have to be shaved again for this one!  My insurance company is working with the manufacturer to see if they can set me up with this. 

Anyways, those are my treatment options! Please pray that I'm choosing the right one and that it works out alright!

Monday, May 7, 2012

What Happens This Week?

Hi everybody!

So, this week I am supposed to get another Avastin on Thursday. True - I haven't heard from the hospital yet, but I am ever optimistic! :)

Now this past week, I got shingles, which is fabulous! (pun intended!) I think I can get Avastin, but I am not too sure about the interthecal chemo, which goes into my back. Everything is in the air right now!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Patient Story

I just wanted to pass on my patient story at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I think it just got published today. Here is the website:
Thanks for checking it out!

I'll keep you updated on my MRI tomorrow. I should know something by tomorrow afternoon. Keep those prayers coming!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another Couple of Those Days

Well, I should have known better than to expect chemo three weeks in a row! All of my blood levels were too low last Thursday and so chemo was withheld for another week.

Then, on Friday, I had to go to the ER for another seizure. I had some difficulty with answering questions this time and it lasted longer than normal. They did a CT scan and spoke to the neurologist at the UW Medical Center and decided that I could go home since the seizure had abated.

Other than being incredibly tired, the rest of the weekend went well.

I have an MRI and more labs scheduled next week to see what is going on and whether chemo can be restarted, so I would really appreciate prayers!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Good Thursday!

I had another good chemo yesterday. I did have some minor side effects, but it's going away now. I actually had an interview yesterday for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. It went pretty well. I'll send you the link when it's finished.

I know it sounds contrite, but thank you all so much for your prayers for me and my family! We really appreciate it!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Day!

Sure-that title could mean a lot of happy things, but to me it meant finally getting on my chemo! I had a couple of weeks of delay since my platelets were low, but they are back and I was ready to roll! Thankfully I have a great nurse who pre-drugged me before and gave me good directions to stay ahead of my nausea
(which meant another lorazepam for the ride home!). I've been able to handle this new chemo quite well, other than yesterday where I was a bit sick in the morning. Now I have the same appointment next week- Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!

And now I'm just watching "Bomba The Jungle Boy" movie with my mom. Can this day get much better?? :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Same as Last Week

Unfortunately, my platelets levels are not high enough to do the chemo this week either. I am a little bit bummed out! Hopefully, they'll be at the right level next week! If not, someone is going down! :)

Please continue to pray that these numbers will rise! Thank you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Change of Plans...Again!

So I found out this morning that my platelet levels are too low to do the chemo today. I will get my blood tested again on Monday and hopefully start next week. I am a little disappointed to not be starting now, but at least I can enjoy a sixty degree day!

I had my lumbar puncture yesterday. It went fine, as long as lumbar punctures go! I got one of the residents that has definitely improved since I first had him. And the technician knew I was a little tense and started giving me margarita recipes to try out when I can drink again. True-it doesn't make me forget that there is a needle in my spinal cord, but I appreciate her effort all the same! :)

My family has a sick sense of humor and finds the funny in weird situations.  So, of all things, the Obama campaign called for me yesterday to ask me to join their campaign. My mom answered and said that since I'll be starting chemo, I'll probably not be the best campaigner for them. The lady on the phone totally flipped out, asked how I was doing, and ended with offering positive thoughts and prayers for me. Not sure the lady wasn't even crying!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This Week

This is going to be a crazy week! I have a lumbar puncture tomorrow, which I'm not looking forward to. Thank God for lidocaine (I sincerely mean that!)! I also have to get my lungs checked out tomorrow before I start the chemo. Kinda scary that they are checking my lungs this time! It makes me start to wonder about what is in the chemo!

So I go back up on Thursday for the chemo. I don't really know much more than that now. I just ask for prayer that I would handle the chemo well and that it would work! I'd really like a "time-out" from treatment, its only been about 11 years! :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Well, crap!

I had another MRI yesterday and apparently I have two lesions that they have been watching that are "glowing" more on the MRI scan. Apparently, that means those lesions are changing, which we're not sure what that means. And there are still atypical cells in my spinal cord fluid, so I have to get more lumbar punctures to monitor that.

My chemo has been changed again. I'm stopping the one I've done for three cycles and starting a new one, which is an infusion at the hospital.  I'm still digesting all of this and hopefully this post makes sense. At least the new chemo doesn't have food restrictions!

I feel a little bottomed out right now. I had really been hoping for a little "time out" from treatment. Please pray for wisdom in the doctor's decision and that these lesions would go away!! I even told the doctor that I gave up chemo for Lent, but he didn't buy it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Good News

I had my long MRI today (which I had to take 2 sedatives to get through it!) and the results were mostly good. My spinal cord is still clear and the extra lesions in my brain are gone. The original tumor is still there and there is another older part that has started to change. My doctor wants to keep a close eye on it, so I'll have a follow-up MRI in 4 weeks. But, overall, it was a good visit and I'll start my 3rd cycle of this chemo next week.

Anyways, just glad that today is over! I might be going to bed quite soon! Thanks again for your prayers and support. I really appreciate it!

Monday, January 23, 2012


So, Thursday is the big MRI day. I can feel my tension rising already. I just found out the I have to get another lumbar puncture that day to check to see if there are any cancer cells left in there. I would really appreciate prayers for that day!

P.S. We survived the big Seattle snowstorm. I think we had about 8 inches of snow at our house. I took some photos that I would post, if I knew how. I still have't adjusted to my new mac yet and can't figure out how to post to a website. I can export to shutterfly, but that is about it! :) Let me know if you know how or I'm going to become one of those people that hang out at the Apple store!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reality TV

I took a little break from blogging over the holidays, which gave me time to catch up on reality tv! I am amazed at how much information I have learned. From Toddlers & Tiaras, I learned that breakfast can be pixie sticks and mountain dew and "flippers" are fake teeth. And you are never too young to start getting spray tanned, facials and start waxing your eyebrows!

From Dance Moms-well, actually, I can't really handle that show. I practically grew up in a dance studio and can't handle the ranting of another crazy dance teacher.

My personal favorite, though, is Finding Big Foot. It follows a team of Big Foot experts as they look for signs of Sasquatch across America. Now have they found a "squatch" yet? Not really, but they offer much insight into Big Foot behavior. My close friend Kelley Stratton sent me an email of what she's learned from the program:

Squatches are much less intimidated by women and much more apt to approach a woman
Squatches would prefer a mattress to a cold floor
Squatches are nimble gymnasts
Squatches are intrigued by music
Squatches knock to communicate with one another
Squatches are very elusive

I hope that you enjoy all of this knowledge! :) I finished my second cycle of chemo and am off of my food restriction today. This blog might be the result of my first latte in three weeks! I go back to the hospital on January 26th for another MRI and then we'll see what I do next. I feel pretty good right now, just have the typical fatigue.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!