Wow... what a busy few weeks it's been for us! The amount of appointments we have has been steadily increasing and the twins have been growing almost as fast as the pile of snow on our lawn.
Jada and I are now actively searching for a place to call our own and hope to find a home in the very near future. Our family has begun a collaborative effort to help us pay for an apartment until Jada is able to act as a stay-at-home mommy and I can return to work. There just isn't enough space for our family where we are now. Independence is on the horizon for us, but it's still going to take a little time.
As we mentioned previously, our twins are undergoing genetic testing to determine whether positive for Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. It is a genetic mutation that has a 50% chance of being passed down and could dramatically increase their chance of being diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. We recently found out these tests, which will likely amount to well over $1,000, will not be covered by our insurance. They are simply too important NOT to have done.
We've properly disposed of the medications that were given to Jada after her operation because they have done nothing but make matters worse. The pain pills were making her so sick that it was easier for her to just to tolerate the discomfort. She has since decided to speak with her oncologist and they are going to try medicinal marijuana in place of pharmaceutical drugs to treat her pain, nausea, and anxiety. This of course, is also not covered by our insurance.
I'm very excited however, to report that Jada's overall health has taken an upward turn for the first time in awhile! She has recently been able to hold and feed our babies sparingly, which otherwise has not been possible since her surgery. They look so happy and at peace while they are in their mother's arms - it's a truly a wonderful sight!
In the midst of everything, the twins continue to keep us smiling. They are the shining light that guides us on our path to becoming a healthy, happy, and independent family. They are absolutely amazing!
Lots of Binkie Stealing Lately...
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS... STARTING WITH THE GOOD STUFF!
JADA HAS RECEIVED THE RESULTS FROM HER RECENT FULL-BODY SCAN AND THE ONCOLOGISTS BELIEVE THAT SHE IS CANCER-FREE!
We have been told that the results were slightly difficult to read due to some residual tissue associated with her pregnancy, but that they still looked incredibly reassuring. Jada will be going in for another scan in 6 months, when it should be much easier to get a clearer image. We anxiously look forward to the added security of another negative report, but are happy to take some good news whenever we can get it!
SOON THE TWINS WILL BE GOING IN FOR GENETIC TESTING... PLEASE WISH US LUCK!
It's always so hard to watch them get poked with needles, but this is something that we absolutely have to do. Our babies have defied all odds since the time they were conceived, so I look forward to being able to confirm that they are 100% healthy and DO NOT have Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. We just can't keep waiting to find out one way or another.
THE MEDICINE THAT JADA HAS BEEN TAKING FOR PAIN AND NAUSEA IS NO LONGER WORKING - AND THE NEW MEDICATION SHE NEEDS ISN'T COVERED BY OUR INSURANCE!
Up until this point, we have been fortunate enough to pay only the occasional outrageous prescription fee. The coverage that she currently receives has actually been pretty good, but I guess it only goes so far.
Jada has been getting sick to the point of vomiting almost every day now, which is especially not a good thing to be experiencing when you have stitches all throughout your chest. Her pain level has been only marginally controlled by the pills she was prescribed, and they make her feel so nauseous that it's not even worth taking them. Please help us raise money for her new medicine by sharing our GoFundMe page!!!
As always, THANK YOU ALL VERY, VERY MUCH! I don't like to always be the one holding out their hand asking for more, but I don't really know what else to do...
Thank goodness for all the good people out there :)
Thank you for your wonderful donations!
After a very draining several days, we are back from the hospital and Jada is recovering nicely. The procedure seems to have been a complete success thanks to her wonderful surgeons... we are very thankful to have such an amazing team of doctors looking out for her!
The storm on Tuesday proved to be more than just a thorn in our side and resulted in one facility transfer, which was later followed by one night in a hotel room. We had an unfortunate scare when Jada awoke early in the morning with a 101.5 fever and she was promptly rushed back to the hospital. Luckily, her temperature quickly returned to normal and we were discharged the same day. Needless to say - it was quite an ordeal and we could not be happier to be home.
Thanks for all your kind words and to those who came out to visit Jada after her surgery!
Please have Jada in your thoughts and prayers. She has surgery tomorrow and once she is back home, she will be unable to do anything for numerous weeks. Another 8 month journey with lots of medical appointments. She is so brave but not being able to hold, change, snuggle and feed her own twins is going to be really tough!
-Cheryl Howe (Ryan's Mother)
Time for another much belated update:
Our family had a truly wonderful Christmas! Although there was a little traveling involved, the twins did fantastic and were very happy to meet many of their relatives for the first time. The moments that we got to spend with the people that we love were invaluable, and the amazing Dean Snell Cancer Foundation even made it a point to send out a gift for each of us! We are very lucky to have so many caring people in our lives!
Jada recently celebrated her 36th birthday with a little bit of shopping in Portland and a night away from home. Our wonderful mother(s) took care of the twins and made sure that the proper accommodations were made so we had a nice hotel room to stay in. They were thoughtful enough to watch the babies so we could get a good night's sleep and avoid the long commute to a very important doctor's appointment the following day. We don't know what we would do without them!
We have become increasingly more busy with medical appointments in preparation for Jada's surgery. She is scheduled to go in on Monday for a double-mastectomy and that has been a major focus over the past month or so. As the twins continue to grow, we find ourselves being pulled out of the house more and more to consult with oncologists and surgeons. It's difficult... but this is what we need to do now to ensure a healthier future for our family.
Everything that we have learned over the past few weeks has led us to believe it's going to be longer than we imagined before we're able to get back on our feet. Jada's recovery from her chemotherapy is not going nearly as well as we had hoped, so she has chosen to resume physical therapy. Even the simplest tasks take a lot out of her and we're trying to help her build up her strength again. I continue to stay home where I am needed to support her and our children.
Please wish Jada luck as she continues through this difficult journey! We appreciate your kindness and support more than you are probably aware...
Thank you all very much,
We hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Wishing a Happy New Year to everyone out there as well :)
Thank you from the whole family! We really appreciate your support :)
Thank you very much for your wonderful donations!
One last surgery and hopefully we will be in the clear! Although the word "remission" has not been mentioned as of yet, we are hopeful that there will be some good news in our future.
Jada and I can't wait to begin rebuilding our life together! The support that we have received has been nothing short of a miracle, but we have long awaited the day that we can say that we are independent again. Soon we will begin looking at employment and housing options... but for now we remain fully dedicated to the immediate wellness of our children and ourselves.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel... and to me it looks like a healthy, happy family. A heartfelt thank you goes out to everybody who has been there for us through this difficult time in our lives!
We did it!!!
Tomorrow will mark the end of Jada's chemotherapy treatment! I cannot imagine a better Christmas gift for her than to feel healthy and strong again. Please wish us luck as we move on to the next chapter of her journey through breast cancer...
Happy Holidays from our family to yours!
Only one more chemo treatment left!
It's time for a much belated update:
Our beautiful baby twins are now over 9 lbs. each and learning more and more every day! While our little boy has been trying desperately to form his first few syllables, our baby girl has begun to develop some more refined motor skills. After spending a lot of time with his amazing grammy, Jada swears that she has twice now heard Kailos spit out the word "ammy." Kacia has been seemingly waving on command to family and friends that she can see throughout the room. They are growing up quickly and seem to get smarter and cuter every single day!
I want to sincerely thank the entire We Love Jada community and anyone that has reached out to make a donation on our GoFundMe page... your support has been absolutely remarkable!
The babies are here!
On August 14th, our wonderful baby twins entered this world both happy and healthy. Our handsome little man, Kailos Lennon McKeagney, was born at 9:16 PM at 6 lbs. 1 oz. His beautiful baby sister, Kacia Rose McKeagney, was born only one minute later at 6 lbs. 8 oz. Both had a full head of hair and were incredibly alert from the time that they were arrived. They simply could not be more perfect :)
Less than two weeks before we get to meet our wonderful little bundles of joy... please send us good luck for an easy, healthy delivery!
This is how it all happened...
Our story is not an easy one to share, but it is a beautiful one nonetheless. You may want to have a box of tissues ready!
The fundraiser at Duck Puddle Campground yesterday was absolutely wonderful! Jada and I are incredibly fortunate to be part of such a loving community... we don't know where we would be without you!
Thanks again to all those who attended and helped make this happen!
Amazing 3D Ultrasound footage of our baby twins... hope you enjoy it as much as we did :)
You're invited :)
Hope you're able to make it!
Please spread the word about self breast exams and genetic testing! Early detection absolutely DOES save lives, as does understanding your diagnosis so you can reduce the chance of recurrence.
It's amazing how much has changed in such a short amount of time. We are very fortunate to have such beautiful, healthy babies!
From little grains of rice...
To tiny bunk buddies...
You've come a long way, little babies!
3 days until the Baby Shower - We are so Excited - Thank you for your continued support! #welovejada
Jada and Ryan
At one of Jada's most recent doctor's appointments, her doctors recited yet another list of things that she CAN'T DO. Notably, because of her compromised immune system she is not allowed to come into contact with any fecal matter (I know, gross!) This makes daddy the designated diaper changer for the next year or so. I'm going to consider this a well-deserved win for mommy!
I've been staying positive most of the time, but it's been difficult lately. I've been dealing with financial politics and paperwork up to my eyeballs. I've also been on an emotional roller coaster, getting good news, then bad. I was under the impression that I wouldn't need chemo until after I delivered the twins, but now I have to start treatment tomorrow. It will last for about a year and a half. Wish me luck to not get too sick! I won't be able to go out in public with a weakened immune system, so I won't be able to return to work which causes it's own mountain of problems. My twins are getting bigger every day and they keep me strong. Especially my feisty little girl who likes to kick me constantly every day! My little boy is mellow and relaxed. It seems as though they have developed their personalities already! I love my babies! Thank you all again for all your support and generosity!
After spending a few weeks at mom's house healing from her surgery, Jada is home and relaxing in the comfort of her own bed. She has enjoyed the company of many friends old and new during her recovery... we are very fortunate to have such wonderful people in our lives. Thank you mom, Lori, Pam, Amber, Jane, and Tookie!
We would also like to thank those who have provided us with outfits for our little ones. I think we're going to need a walk-in closet for the twins just to hold the clothes that we've received so far!
We have received a lot of news recently, some good and some bad. I will allow Jada to discuss certain things at her own discretion, but am very excited to say that our baby boy and girl both appear to be healthy. Jada's tummy is growing bigger every day and I've been getting in some practice for the kids by assisting her in tying her shoelaces. She has also been smiling a lot more lately :)
This week we will be venturing down to Boston in order to seek a second opinion on her treatment path. Please wish us luck during our visit!
Keep sending good vibes our way... I don't know what we would do without all of you.
Just to clear up any confusion out there, here is the full story as told from daddy's perspective:
Jada and I met shortly after accepting employment opportunities in the same town during the same week. She was a new teller at the credit union that my company had chosen to do its local banking through and I was the new manager at one of several retail locations. We were unaware of each other's existence until months later when our career paths brought us together. After a few interactions, Jada's beautiful smile became something that I looked forward to every day when I walked in to her credit union.
It was not long before I found myself losing sleep one night thinking about how much I couldn't wait to see her again. I wanted to get to know the girl behind that beautiful smile, so I made it a point the following day to tell her how much I appreciated it. I can't say that I've ever seen Jada blush as much as she did when I approached her that day. Shortly after delivering her a belated Valentine's Day card, we began talking and went on our first date together. We have spent almost every single day of our lives together since.
After she moved into my place, our relationship continued to grow stronger and things we learned about each other that would scare most people away brought us even closer. It was very evident that Jada had not been given many breaks in life and had been treated very poorly by those whom she had needed the most. We broke down a lot of walls one tiny little chip at a time and found something beautiful on the other side of each one.
Getting married and starting a family was a mutual goal that we had but we stifled our desires to tell each other we were ready too early into the relationship. It was when we found our own place together and started building the life we wanted that we became more inclined to pursue this dream. Although we had initially intended on getting married first, we decided that we no longer wanted to wait. We began trying to conceive the first week of December, found out that she was pregnant less than three weeks later, and got engaged on Christmas Day. Every day felt like we were living right out of the pages of a wonderful fairytale.
Within the first month of pregnancy Jada became very sick. Spells of nausea and vomiting that lasted for weeks caused her to lose enough weight that we became concerned about her health. She couldn't even hold down water. A pre-planned week of vacation for the two of us turned into multiple hospitalizations for mommy and she was quickly diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It's like morning sickness on a serious dose of steroids. This prompted an ultrasound seven weeks into the pregnancy that revealed two tiny little heartbeats in their own little sacs. In that moment, all of the sickness and concern subsided and we became the two proudest parents imaginable.
Jada and I had talked several times about the possibility of having twins because they run in both of our families"¦ it's something that we were both very optimistic about. I was actually born a twin but the other baby never fully developed, so I've always wondered what life would have been like if we'd had a chance to grow up together. This is an opportunity that we would really like our children to have.
A minor surgery to install what is called a PICC line was performed on Jada so she could receive proper hydration and nutrients at home. It was a necessary measure to keep her out of the confines of a hospital room for more than two or three days at a time. With the assistance of a home care nurse, I learned how to accommodate her medical needs and we fell into a regiment that required us to be up at three o' clock every morning and for me to be home to help her by the same time every afternoon. She was told not to return to work until her condition improved significantly, which cut our income in half.
Her treatment proved to be overwhelmingly effective"¦ enough that she felt as if she would soon be able to return to work with the PICC line still attached. As the days went by I became more and more exhausted but it was reassuring to see her increasingly alert and functional again. She went over a week without getting sick and even began learning how to maintain her own medications as the need arose.
Around twelve weeks, Jada began genetic testing to determine the risk of Down Syndrome and other genetic disorders in our future children. An ultrasound performed at her first appointment provided us with our second visual encounter with the developing babies. Positioned in her tummy one on top of the other as if they were on tiny bunk beds, the babies examined their little faces and moved around as they adjusted to their newly developing nervous systems. Baby A appeared to have a cute little nose and big lips just like mommy and Baby B seemed to have daddy's definitive family nose. B also seemed to have another mysterious protrusion on the front of its body that has yet to be identified. Since we found out about the twins, we thought it would be incredible to have a little boy and girl together.
Only two weeks later, we went in for a relatively routine check-up for Jada's pregnancy. It was during this visit that I pushed the envelope on something that we knew needed to be looked into "“ Jada had found a lump in one of her breasts a few months prior. She was very apprehensive about getting this addressed because two of her aunts had passed away from breast cancer around her same age. Her doctor determined that based on the spot's characteristics, it was unlikely anything to be afraid of but a biopsy of the growth was ordered just to remain on the safe side. Jada and I were able to breathe a sigh of relief under the impression that there was nothing to worry about.
It was only a few days after that we received a phone call informing Jada she had tested positive for breast cancer. Her pathology report from the biopsy revealed that although it's a very small spot in her breast, her cancer has occurred in a rapidly-developing form.
Life since her diagnosis has been a whirlwind of emotions, appointments, and difficult decisions. I've since made the hard financial move of taking medical leave from my job so I can invest more time in our well-being as a couple. I was literally losing my mind going to work every day not knowing how she was doing at home and by the time I got out, I was too mentally exhausted to take proper care of her. My loyalty is to our family and time seems so much more valuable than money.
Jada has inspired me since before I ever even knew her. She is beautiful and kind but is also one of the strongest women that I've met in my entire life. Soon she will be going in for surgery to have the affected area removed and further testing will reveal whether the cancer has begun to spread to other parts of her body. Her treatment path is going to include chemotherapy, which she will be unable to finish safely until she delivers our children. When she found out she would end up losing her hair, Jada's initial reaction was to cut off twelve inches and donate it to another cancer patient before it fell out. She is truly incredible.
Once our little ones arrive the doctors will be resuming Jada's treatment in the form of radiation therapy and a drug called Herceptin. This process will take about a year and is going to make her very sick. My family is going to need me more than ever and I don't know if I will be able to justify returning to work in any capacity during this period. I can't not be there for them.
There has already been an outreach from several of our friends and family. We've received help in the form of transportation to appointments, maternity and baby clothes, and a fund created to support Jada and her unborn twins. It's hard to ask for help sometimes but we genuinely need it at this point. Please know that we expect nothing "“ but anything t
So, before I get chemo and lose my hair, I'm going to cut off 12 inches and donate it again to someone who needs it. It warms my heart to be able to do things for others!
Thank you all for your love and support! It definitely helps in this trying time. It wasn't easy allowing this page to be created and putting my story out there, but I know it's necessary. This is a hard thing to deal with but I'm keeping a positive attitude and staying strong for my twins!
Please lend your support Jada and Ryan as they raise their wonderful baby twins, Kacia and Kailos. Shortly after Jada found out she was pregnant, she became extremely sick and was diagnosed with breast cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma) as well as a rare genetic mutation known as Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. She underwent surgery and chose to proceed with chemotherapy to achieve the greatest possible success rate of removing her cancer entirely. After a very difficult pregnancy, her twins were born on August 14th, 2014 and were exceptionally healthy.
Although Jada and Ryan now have the beautiful family they have always wanted, the road that brought them there has left them without jobs or a home to call their own. Jada recently completed her chemotherapy treatment and is scheduled to undergo one final surgery in order to reduce the chance of recurrence. They eagerly await the opportunity to begin rebuilding their lives and regain their independence.
You can follow us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/welovejada
More pictures of the family @ https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153036245232818&type=1&l=ca14424f12