Amber + Baby Vs. Hodgkins


My name is Nick Hoelter, I am married to my beautiful wife Amber Hoelter. We just this last spring celebrated our 1 year wedding annniversary together and made the decision to get serious about starting our family! 

Just a few short months ago Amber and I were elated to find out we were pregnant!

We were overjoyed at the thought of this new wonderful baby, we couldnt wait to start going to the doctor and begining the amazing journey as first time parents! As time passed we quickly approached our first appointment, even though just some basic bloodwork tests and information, it was fantastic! 

The nurse informed us that after we had the bloodwork done we would hear from them when our next appointment would be as they only would call us if something was wrong.

It is here were our journey took a very crippling turn.

Just a couple days after our first visit Amber, while at work, recieved a disconcerting phone call from her OB Doctor, mid way through the day on friday, telling her "She needed to speak to her right away". After several attempts to reach each other on the doctor's and Amber's parts I stepped in. The explination I recieved from the doctor was her levels were all wrong. She wanted Amber to see a hematologist first thing the following week. The next two days were the longest we had endured yet, but not for long. 

As the next week slowly came, so did our appointment. We met with a new doctor who worked out of our hospital's Cancer Center. He talked over the reasoning behind Ambers OB and what he wanted to do next in determing the cause of her bloodwork being so out of balance. He asked he if could give Amber a general, once over look, to see if anything hurt or seemed out of place. He spent a lot of time feeling her neck/throat. He pointed out to us a slightly enlargened area on Ambers throat. Promptly, he orderd a ultrasound of her neck to see what may be going on. 

A couple more days passed by and not quickly enough the ultrasound came, along with our follow up appointment.

As we waited in the medical room for our doctor  we joked and made light of everything. The nurse who brought us into the room left the ultrasound images on the computer for us and the doctor to see. For the rest of my life, I will remember the next conversation we spoke. He greeted us and asked us what we saw in the images of Ambers neck? We jokingly made a comment. He looked Amber right in the eyes and said those words we never saw coming. "You have Hodgkins Lymphoma Cancer".

Of all the physical and emotional pain I have ever endured, nothing compared to the breaking we felt inside. For a moment at least, on that day, our world stopped.

We then spent the next several weeks testing Amber, putting our lives back together, and testing Amber some more. Amber has had numerous blood draws and tests, X-rays, CAT scans, CT scans, Bone Marrow tests, and most recently a Thoracentisis. She has made two trips to the ER because of immense, un-bearable pain and shortness of breath. My wife has spent more time in the last month in the hospital and in more pain than I have in my entire life. And through it all we have endured and toughed our way out of it. The pain of being helpless to her other than emotional support is great. I remember how happy and full of life Amber truely is. And so to see her like this, is sad and very difficult.

We know so far that she is clear of anything below her diaphragm and based on her symptoms is classified as a stage 2A. She does have a very large affected area which pushes on her throat though.

It has been difficult to test and prepare for her Chemotherapy treatments due to the pregnancy. Many of the traditional approaches need to be forgone. Thankfully Amber is currently approaching 13 weeks in her pregnancy and our OB doctor in conjunction with our Cancer doctor agree she can begin Chemotherapy relatively safely at 14 weeks. 

Currently we are waiting to hear the results of Ambers thoracentisis and have a "port" put in.  Assuming all goes well and according to plan Amber is to have her first treatment session on November 20th, 2014. Her doctor is giving her slightly more than normal treatment sessions and avoiding the radiation treatments. He has explained all the risks and we agree with his logic. This does mean though she will be undergoing treatments up to and beyond the birth of our baby. Because of that we are seeing a speicalist who will monitor the growth and development of our little one. Thankfully at this point all signs point to the baby being healthy and doing well.

And now we are here, in a constant waiting game. Wondering every time we step into the waiting room at the hospital "What will today bring?". 

Despite being in the back of our minds, it never the less is on our minds, the bills we are and will be amassing.

I don't have the slightest clue what to expect, as far as with the Cancer, Baby, Bills. All we can do is take it one day at a time and celebrate every victory, no matter how small. 

Please help me, help all three of us.

Nick, Amber, Baby

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Nicholaus Hoelter 
Wausau, WI
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