Tuesday, May 27, 2008

good news and bad news...

I have been putting this post off, because i am having a really hard time posting it... On Friday, I went and picked up Sean's scan results, and unfortunately, Sean now has a few tumors in his brain. We are not sure how long they have been there, how many are there, where they are at... pretty much all we know at this point, is that there is something in there- and we also know that it needs to go! i have been on the phone all today with various doctors, oncologists, blah, blah, blah... I am thinking we will not have a definite plan of action for this until Sean's appointment in Chicago on Friday. The GOOD news-- Sean's lung continues to stay STABLE~! This gives us the time to work on getting Sean's brain back to normal! Hopefully by next week, Sean will be back on his way to fighting off this crap and be on his way to recovery! I don't have a lot of details at the moment, so as soon as I find out more, I promise I will have an update for everyone. Please continue with the many prayers we have been receiving, love
~nicole~

Monday, May 19, 2008

AHHHHHH!!!

Why does everything have to be so stressful?? Things seem to still be going well, but I feel like we are always on the go-- sometimes I wish we could just have a break from Everything! A break from reality maybe? Usually, I am great at making people think that I am very strong, that I am handling everything well... tonight, I feel like I am not doing so well at that! Maybe it is just the scanxiety kicking in. Sean will be having his scans this Wednesday. I can honestly say- I'm scared! I am so scared that these scans are going to reveal more dreaded news. Yes, I know-- I am trying to stay positive~ especially since Sean does seem to be doing quite well lately. He can even pick Ella up now, he has not been able to do that in over 9 months now~and she has grown quite a bit in those 9 months! He had an appointment today with Dr. Orourke (his local oncologist), Sean has even gained a couple more pounds! I believe he is up to 124 now. His red blood count is also on its way back up now, which is awesome, because it was starting to get a little low there for a while... The biggest concern right now is that Sean has had a couple more sub-q's pop up (swollen nodes). I am not even sure what to think of them at the moment! They are quite small, so that makes it a little less of a concern right now, but it is still a concern. To add a little more stress to my days, I came down with the flu a little over a week ago : (. I am starting to feel better now, hopefully I will be fully recovered by this weekend. Addie also was sick with an ear infection, so she was put on antibiotics- the poor girl. Ella seems to have dodged getting sick lately, lets hope it stays that way! I am really worried that Sean will get the flu, thats definitely one thing he doesn't need right now! Here are a few recent photos of the girls... I really need to get out there and take more! Hopefully it will be warming up a little more soon, so we can enjoy the outdoors...


shhh... don't tell daddy we are stealing from the cookie jar : )
Oh yes, by the way... for those who have asked about the bank information about the benefit:::


you can mail checks to:
Shields Family Melanoma Fund
CHOICE ONE BANK
1423 W. Main
Fremont, MI 49412

Thank you all so much who have helped and all of you that are working so hard to put this all together for the shields family. It means so much to us and we are really excited to be able to see so many that we have not seen in so long. We look forward to being able to spend time with all the ones we love! Hope to see you there!

~nicole~

Friday, May 9, 2008

The latest->

Sean had his appointment in Chicago today with Dr.Richards (Dr.Hallmeyer's partner, she is in Germany!). The appointment went well, but the drive is horrible! It takes around 5 hours to get there, then we spend 15 minutes at the doctors office and drive 5 more hours home! Dr.Richards continues to be impressed at how well Sean is doing. He has gained just a couple more pounds bringing him to 123 (better then losing weight!). Scans will be coming up shortly, probably around the 21st- I just have to call to get them set up here. Sean will only have a chest CT and an MRI this time, so he is relieved he will not have to drink the barium! I am already quite anxious for Sean's scans, as he has a couple of swollen nodes that we were not sure if they were there before, but it is possible they were there the whole time and we never noticed... None of Sean's oncologist seem concerned at all about them at this point, so I can relax a little for a few weeks now! Sean seems to be getting stronger and stronger everyday now! I think he enjoys being able to help out a little with the girls (or at least play with them)! He is back to going to physical therapy and I think that will help him recover quickly! His physical therapist said he was doing well, and Sean could even do stuff he did not think he could do! (sit on the floor, then stand back up without any help-crucial for playing with a 1 year old!). Sean does have the occasional bad day and he will be completely worn out and everything hurts->I think he definitely over does it (and the long car rides are not good on him either). Usually it is just for a day or two and then he is back to recovery!
We are just about settled into the new house. I still have about a million boxes to unpack that are out in the garage, but I have not even had time to open the garage door, let alone go inside it! Sean has been getting very bored sitting at home all day now that I am working full time again, so he has been trying to find things to do! He will be volunteering soon at Camp Newaygo here to kill some time and have fun. He is also going to be volunteering for Newaygo County Community Services (NCCS), but he has a difficult time driving our car because it is manual, so he cannot go as much as he would like to.
The girls are doing okay. They are both sick right now, mainly Addie. She has had a horrible cough the last few days and a bit of a fever- she also started complaining her ear hurt yesterday, so looks like we will have a trip to her doctors soon. Ella is wild as ever, now that she can walk, she thinks that she can run! We will start potty training soon, so wish us luck!

Some great friends and family of ours are putting together a benefit for Sean to help us out with our trips to Chicago and expenses we have occurred... If you are in the area and would like to come, please do stop by! I am posting a flyer at the end of this post, I believe if you click on it, it will become larger. I am looking forward to being able to get out and see everyone and I know it will be a good thing for Sean to have everyone spending time with him! Hope to see you there!



Friday, May 2, 2008

MAY IS MELANOMA AWARENESS MONTH!!!

Of course with the warm weather coming to Michigan, I NEED to spread the word about melanoma awareness! Melanoma is obviously a serious thing. I have come to the realization that most people think melanoma is simple-it's just skin cancer, right? True-in a way, if caught early, but then there is always the risk of it coming back or recurring. What they don't tell you, is that when it comes back, it doesn't always come back just on the skin again. Melanoma travels through the lymph system and recurrences may show up in vital organs such as your lungs, liver, brain and more. When melanoma spreads or metastasis beyond the skin or distant from the primary spot, it becomes a stage IV cancer. Melanoma becomes much more difficult to treat when it becomes stage IV.
There are many risk factors that can affect YOUR chances of developing melanoma! One huge factor and semi preventable, would be UV exposure. Between the nice hot sun and all those tanning beds, as the 'tan look' seems to be all the rave these days, the UV rays in these can raise the risk of melanoma developing. Having many moles is also a risk factor of developing melanoma. If you have many moles, it is important to have or do regular skin checks! Other risk factors include~having fair skin, freckles and light hair. Your risk also becomes greater when you have a relative who has had melanoma. Melanoma is not a fun thing to mess around with, so if you have one of these risk factors~ please be vigilant on skin checks, visit your dermatologist, and PLEASE wear your sunscreen!
Over 62,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma this year, 62,000! Of those 62,000, over 8,000 are expected to die. That equals one person almost every hour will succumb to this disease. Men have a higher rate of developing melanoma then women. The rate of melanoma diagnoses continue to rise, bringing it to the second most common cancer (next to breast cancer) in women between the ages of 20~35.
Below are the ABCD's of melanoma! If you notice any of these signs on a mole, it is probably wise to have them checked by a dermatologist!

* Asymmetry — One half does not match the other half.
* Border irregularity — The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
* Color — Different shades of tan, brown or black are often present.
* Diameter — While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter when diagnosed, they can be smaller. If you notice a mole different from others, or which changes, itches or bleeds even if it is smaller than 6mm, you should see a dermatologist.

So as the summer approaches, please practice safe sun!