Friday, October 29, 2010

My Scan and good news.....

So, yesterday was my PET scan. I wasn't thinking that much about it, but did have a fit just before bed on Wednesday night. That usually is because I can't eat any carbs for the day before the scan and then I can only have water until after the scan which they pump you full of glucose contrast dye and radio active dye. Good times. In addition, I have been feeling SO much better that I have been trying to do real Mommy things like go to the store or clean out the kids closet with the clothes that are too small, replace them with clothes that fit, and box up the small stuff for the next Mommy. (That sounds bigger than it really is. See, I have a hall closet FILLED with hand me downs from my cousins' boys, and Sarah's boy, so they want for nothing. I call it "shopping" and they pick their clothes. I usually have to buy shoes and jeans just because boys wear those out, but not much else!!!) So, I go to the scan which I prepared for perfectly and was thanked for doing so. So many people screw up the prep for those scans it makes me NUTS. The scan is $5000.00 and they can't be bothered with doing it correctly because they are not paying for it??? No wonder insurance is so high!!!! Anyway, I going into this scan I know that I am most likely going to have to continue on chemo because it is not GONE from my backside yet. We know that from my monthly "exams". So, I race home because the glucose makes you go to the bathroom - a lot!!!! I go to the bathroom, and then eat what I want and I just lay on the couch, watch a movie, go to the bathroom, and slowly feel normal again. Then, at about six pm, I get a call from my endocrinologist saying that my thyroid is normal for my thyroid and she is not worried about it. She would like a biopsy before she gets back from maternity leave (Feb, 2011) and I agree that I will do it in January. So, now I know the scan is done, so I email my oncologist with my schedule desires and concessions hoping to have two weeks between treatments in December so that I can have Mason's birthday week off, Thanksgiving off and Christmas off. New Years is getting hosed again, but I don't really care about New Years. I almost immediately get a response back of, and I quote, "Scan way much spectacularly better". Good thing he is an oncologist and not an English teacher. We banter on email for a couple hours, he agrees to my December schedule request, and ends the emails with, and I quote, "You doin goooooooooooood". At that point, I told him to go home and get some rest - clearly he needed it!!! He loves doing crazy emails to me because it drive me NUTS. So, I don't know the specifics of my scan, but I do know that it is way much spectacularly better and for that I am very happy. He and I can talk specifics on Tuesday before chemo. Now, I just want to plan my life and all the good stuff around all the bad stuff (that is saving my life for the good stuff - thankful, very thankful), and enjoy Halloween weekend. Happy Halloween!!!!! Love, Ang

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Not my proudest round

Last week, I went in for chemo. I was okay. I was on antibiotics for my "lung infection" and they didn't make me feel great, but I was okay for chemo. My port didn't work so they injected it with an enzyme (snake venom) and said they could start my chemo in my arm while that worked away at my port. This process take 2 hours - adding 2 hours onto your treatment. I met with my oncologist and asked if we could reduce my chemo because of my weight loss. He looked at me quizzingly and said, "Let's see....sure a little..." and then he looked at me and said the fateful words, "What is really going on?" Well, where do I start? I feel like crap because of a "lung infection" which I am pretty sure is a more palatable word for pneumonia, I have lost 16 pounds and only gained back 8, I want to puke every time I have a full stomach, I HATE CHEMO and how I have to schedule my life around it......I am just tired. And then the tears came and me in all of my vanity says, "I can't cry today - I ran out of my waterproof mascara!!!" And in my oncologist's wonderful way, he checks and says, "It is still on - don't worry!" And then I cry harder because I should be thankful, instead of this weak, pathetic mess. My chemo is working. I am alive because of chemo. I should be thankful. I should kiss the floor every time I go into that place. I should be thankful for all the meals, help, ushering Mason to school, cleaning of my house, etc. etc. etc. I should have the guts to be able to do this with all the support I have, but I don't. I feel like so much of a self absorbed loser. I say, "I know, I should have a better attitude." as I dry my tears. My oncologist replies with, "You need a better attitude????? No, you need more of this. Maybe we should take a break?" I respond with, "My scan is next week." and he wheels start goin', "Okay, let's do this week, scan nex,t and then we can see if we can take a break. Okay?" Okay. So, you would think it would get better right? Nope. I am still the self absorbed mess I was. I go up to chemo. They start my chemo in my arm which HURTS like a *(&(*&(*&! Susie comes by and that distracts me, Elaine has an scan so she leaves and then I have to take my last antibiotic for my lung infection/pneumonia and I want to puke - LIKE PUKE HARD. I tell my nurse and she goes into serious mode with anti nausea, cold cloths, buckets, etc. It passes and then she just looks at me and it happens all over again. I have felt sick for a month, I have had three good days in 27 but who is counting? I love the fall and my anniversary got SCREWED up again because of this crap. I finally stop crying - mascara gone by now - and I say, "I know, I should have a better attitude." She gave me the lip pierced, side tilt thing like, "No, you need more of this.", but all she said was, "Ang, all you need to remember is that it is WORKING and it is NOT forever." I think in my head, "Promise?" but I know she can't do that. I get myself together and Elaine come back. Poor thing has missed all the drama, but knows what to say and what to do. We go home and she says, "Cry more - it helps and by the way, great job on sticking it out today. You showed great strength." Not a direct quote because I was heavily medicated, but I think close. I came home ate dinner, puked up everything, and went to bed. I am doing better now - anxious of course for my scan and crossing my fingers for a little break so that I can get some good WEEKS in, recharge, and do it all over again. It is working and it is NOT forever...... Love, Ang

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quite a Friday

Friday I had three appointments up at the hospital which turned into five and blood work. I don't know how to explain this, but every time I go up there, I am a mess. It is probably PSD, I don't know. I take my pill, I do meditation, I fill up on positive energy, but nothing can totally break the hell of just been done with them. I got there at 10:15, did my ultrasound on my thyroid that they have watched for years. I have an enlarged thyroid. Then blood work for the thyroid. Then upstairs, to my colorectal surgeon and had an exam to see how my rectal lesion was doing and my surgeon was really dower. Like, he walked in with my chart, says, "Why didn't you get a scan last month?" I told him that we pushed it off because we just started to have momentum in the rectum (no I didn't mean for that to rhyme), and thought we would give it a couple more chemos to see how far we could get it. I responded with a "AGRGGMMMMM". I have no idea what that even means. He does the exam and says, "It is 3mm by 3mm." I reply with, "Smaller, right?" "Uh Uh." Okay, I am thinking this is good, but by the way he is acting I almost let myself spin out of control. "Okay, get dressed and we will talk." He comes back in, sits across the room from me which he never does and I say, "Okay, you are freaking me out a little bit with this whole dower thing you got going on. My news is great, yes? We went from the size of you thumbnail (which is abnormally large BTW), to 3mm by 3mm." He then relaxed, exhales, and says, "Angie, I got a lot on my mind. No sweetie, I am euphoric about you." His "euphoric" and my euphoric - VERY DIFFERENT. Well, okay then, THAT'S is more like it. "Well, then on to them, I am fine, and I will get you result of my scan in two weeks." And then out of what seems like nowhere he gives me the biggest hug like he is trying to suck the energy (what little I have) out of me. I think it probably really sucks to be a doctor sometimes. I think he had a bad thing happen that day. Off to the endocrinologist for my thyroid, which apparently is not getting smaller like it does on chemo, but larger and starting to concern to my endocrinologist whose is 8 months pregnant. I told her about the scan coming up and she liked that, and she totally gets that she is second fiddle to my pesky Stage IV Colorectal Cancer, so we agree to this: She will get special thyroid pictures at my scan which will tell us if it is cancer or not, if not, we will probably biopsy it just to be sure and then talk about removing it after a six month review when I have this pesky cancer wrapped up, and she is back from maternity leave. And then we talked Mom stuff......she is having another little boy. Two boys 26 months apart. She said, "Mason and Nolan are 26 months apart." I was like, "What sort of freakish memory do you have????" So, we talked for a while. I gave her advice and that the first two years will be HARD (just eat out, get a house cleaner, don't plan on anything cause someone with be barfing, you are ALWAYS at the pediatrician, etc), but that I love 3 and 5. I really do. They play together, they say I love you to each other, they miss each other at school, it is really precious - way more than I can stand sometimes. SIDEBAR - when I was pregnant, I always said, "I just want a 3 and 5 year old. Why do we have to have babies....." I maintained that statement until the cancer diagnosis and then I cherished (almost) everyday, but now that I am staring down the barrel of their 6th and 4th birthdays, I am so grateful, happy, and mystified, I cannot even put it into words. Okay, I am back...she told me to remind her of all of this when I see her in six months. I gladly agreed. Then, I go to lunch and call my oncologist and tell him I cannot beat this cough and that I am a little bit worried. So, I get more appointments! I go in for a chest xray where they have to always do it again and again because I have freakishly large lungs. The tech this time said, "Were you athletic growing up?" I was like, "Sure, but not like marathons or anything. I always played sports, ran, and then played soccer as an adult, but not now. Why?" "Well, it shows and that is a good thing. You have huge lungs. You should really tell us that before we xray you next time." I am thinking, good thing I have huge lungs since they took 10 pieces out of them! So, I get the results and it doesn't look like cancer, but I have or still have that infection in my right lung. My oncologist is not concerned, but offers to push off chemo to do a scan and see for sure. I don't change the schedule - too many cogs to alert, change, etc. Plus, pushing off chemo just means more chemo later and we are not doing that. I get an rx for a antibiotic that cost me $30, so I hope it is a good one!!!! I am used to $1.80. So, as I leave First Hill it is 3pm. I have just wasted a beautiful sunny day at the cancer center. The question I guess really is, did I? Or did did I have a great day knowing that it is working, my thyroid is my thyroid and my exhaustion isn't chemo, it is just an infection. I am not sure until I come home. My one goal today was to put up the Halloween decorations before the boys came home. They LOVED it and then Nolan came up to me and said, "How were your doctors appointment?" I told him that I got my medicine it is wasn't the kind where I get sick - this one makes me better. "Good!" he replies and then he looks up at me and says, "Mommy, you are beautiful and I love you for all the days." And there is it - my day was PERFECT. Sometimes when I think of cancer as a job I hate and can't quit, those little boys shift my world and make it all okay. Happy, Ang

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Well, I think it is finally catching up with me. I have had 7 hits of full on chemo with shots to boost my white blood cell count every other time. The shots make my spine and pelvis ache. I still have a cough and can't seem to sleep for more than seven hours straight without taking two hours to cough and spit up crap. I go to sleep when then boys do, or if I have the energy, Grant and I watch a movie in bed on the DVD player that was initially for the kids. I am slowly getting better, but it is a lot slower than I would like. So, if I haven't answered your emails or phone calls, I am is truly just an energy thing. Yesterday was the first time out of the house (by myself) in a long time. I had a few errands to run, but most importantly, I was "required" to go to a Reiki clinic. My massage therapist told me about this clinic. It is once a month and she said, "You have to go. Period. Done. No arguments." She is a feisty little thing, so I wasn't going to argue and I was planning on it, but then I got sick, got tired, didn't feel like coordinating childcare for Nolan because I was pretty darn sure you don't go to a Reiki clinic with a three year old, etc. For those of you that don't know (like me) Reiki is defined like this, "A Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive." So, this is how weird the world is. The clinic was yesterday. And, just by happenstance (sp), Karissa wanted to have a special day with Nolan so she offered to take Nolan all day that Tuesday. They have a special relationship - Karissa is one of Nolan's handful of people that he loves. So, childcare - check (without even trying). But then I still didn't call for an appointment. Thinking, I better try or I am in big trouble, I call on Monday (the day before the clinic) and was like, "I don't know if this is the right number or the right place, but I am trying to sign up for a Reiki Clinic somewhere in Burien..." and she responded with, "Yes, this is the right place, and we have three openings left." I reply with, "Well, I can only go in the morning....." She said, "10, 10:30, or 11:00?" I was thinking...the universe is NOT letting me out of this. "10:30 would be great - where are you located?" thinking I could get lost and not go....oh, the old Burien Library (where I grew up and studied at). There goes that excuse. So, knowing that I am really not going to get out of this I go. I leave late, but of course there is NO TRAFFIC and I arrive on time with exact change for the service, but I am KEYED UP. I don't know why. Maybe it was that I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know if I was going to cough or have to go to the bathroom. You know, generally make a fool out of myself. I don't know. It was totally silly, but my reality. I looked around saying to myself, "Please don't let anyone be here that I know. I can do this and if something goes wrong, I can never come back." Well, here the thing....after the treatment, I was calm, centered, and was able to do way more than I thought I could. I ran my errands, I had lunch out at the Nordstrom Cafe after my errands at the mall and I even had the energy to take Mason for a haircut after school. WOW. What an incredible day and all from a little Reiki. Happy Wednesday, Ang

Monday, October 4, 2010

In one day....

And in one day I can be that normal Mom again. Taking Mason to school, going to the store because I forgot bananas, picking up mittens for a hat and mitten drive, turning in Mason's fundraiser, cautioning him on whether he is really ready to to the self imposed "see and say words test" yet, cross my eyes because Nolan is STILL TALKING (does he really think I can process all that he has to say??). Scary part is - I love that normal and I am thankful to have it even for just one day. (I have been in bed 11 of the 14 days this round.) Chemo tomorrow and I think I am healthy again. I even gained back six pounds - whew! Love, Ang