Monday, November 23, 2009

Things are MUCH better!

I rested, took naps, and got caught up in daycare projects. WHEW! In fact, I am so much better that when I found Nolan eating a snack today after I said twice, "No snack today because you didn't eat a good breakfast (which was still on the table waiting for him)." He looked at me, covered his head with his blanket and kept eating with crinkle crinkle crinkle coming from under the blanket, I just laughed. He beats to his own drummer...... Happy Monday, Ang

Friday, November 20, 2009

My own worst enemy

So life has been truckin' along just great. I went on my first trip BY MYSELF to NYC to visit with friends. I had an amazing trip. These are friends that I have known for 18 years. We have lived all over the country (actually they have, I stay put) and we have met up in Boston, Altanta, Phoenix, Chicago, Charlotte, Rutherton (you are not supposed to know where that is, or how to pronounce it), and NYC. We have been to each others weddings, cried over events in our lives and, of course, they have cared for me through cancer. While we were there, we went shopping for ingredients for dinner. We spend a lot of time doing that. They made me rest which was good, we laughed, watched movies, slept, cooked, etc. The first day was hard for me. I didn't know if I would get back to Manhattan again. We are a very special three. I can't describe it. We are so different, yet connected. I am a better person for knowing them - I am so lucky. We were all sitting on the couch and I wished that in 10/20 years we would still "be". I stayed in this misty place for a while, then, when we were walking through Central Park we came to the only straight path with these amazingly huge majestic trees. The colors were awesome and the power in this area of the park was tremendous. I, of course, got quiet and then my NYC friend said, "This is the one place in the park that I just don't is straight and in a city that is so angular, I just hate this. Central park is about curves....BLAH BLAH BLAH." MOMENT GONE. Did I mention we were different????? So, here is how all of this works in with the title of the post....before I left life was busy, the computer died (after three hours on the phone with tech support), we went to Disney on Ice (which is surprisingly exhausting for the parents), I was doing too much, cooking every night, shopping, stocking the freezer, doing little things for friends, cleaning the house, etc. etc. etc. I went to NYC which used to infuse me with energy and now drains me because I am different now - two kids and cancer will do that to a person. I got home, took a shower, when to bed and exhaled. I thought, "I am back. I can do it all. I defied the odds. Screw you cancer." Yeah, there was my mistake....for those of you that have been with me for a while you always respect the cancer. The reality is I am doing great, no, I am doing amazing, but I need to take care which is a challenge for me. Y'know, I am kinda challenge based girl....laundry check, work check, survive cancer check, visit friends in NYC check, Mason knows the alphabet check, Nolan is turning three check maybe he will stop being so stubborn check, etc. Anyway, back to the story, so I wake up on Tuesday see Grant off and start laundry. Well, we quickly realize that Grant and the boys left ALL their bathing suits at the Y the night before at swimming lessons. Grant had nothing to say except, "CRAP, they must be there.....Nolan was screaming." That is code for - I can't hear myself think when that guy is screaming . So, I got the boys dressed, get in the car, see emergency vehicles at the neighbors that is a cancer patient, roll down the windows to the truck, run down, advise the EMTs, call the wife, get back into the car, go to the Y, got the bathing suits, returned home, neighbor at the hospital and "fine", started thinking about what is for dinner, went out to the pantry and found someone or several someones have made it their pantry too. I have never had a mouse problem and I don't do mice. Grant had been managing this. The only thing I can say to that is that in the war between my husband and mouse, mouse wins. Call the exterminator. They come tomorrow. Do all my shopping that night for the week because I REFUSE TO TOUCH ANYTHING IN THE PANTRY. Wednesday, I am trimming a whole beef tenderloin because I think, wow it is a lot cheaper to do it this way and, heck, I have the time. (Was I high?) I wrap everything up into the freezer except for the roast for that night. Exterminator leaves making my garage a literal mouse trap. I finally sit down and realize, "CRAP, we have swimming, I am not making a nice dinner tonight." So, I decide to make it while the kids are sleeping so that Grant has a nice dinner while we are at swim lessons. I brown the roast, stick it in the oven, prepare the potatoes, pull the roast out being careful because the pan is hot, move the roast to rest, turn to deglaze the pan and decide to my the pan to a different you see how this is shaping up??? Yeah, I grabbed the pan with my hand. 500 degrees. After having finishing up quickly, calling Grant, Grant taking the kids to swimming, and me having my hand in ice water for four hours I decide to go to the doc. My oncologists office calls and says, just go see someone tonight. (You call them about fevers and burns - always - because of the risk of infection and even though I am doing great my immune system is still questionable). The nurse at my everyday clinic says go to ER. So, I decide, with the help of my neighbor, to go to the urgent care clinic. I then look in the mirror and say, "Well great, I haven't showered again because I thought I was doing swimming today. Why is it that every time I go to the ER/Urgent care I smell??" Lucky them. Anyway, I am pretty sure they were not 3rd degree, but they said I was describing third degree burns....anyhoo, I was in and out in 40 mins, gauze wrapped, and with pain pills. First and second degree burns over 40% of my hand. They wanted me to come back the next day to be sure the swelling went down, no fever, and that is was going in the right direction being a cancer patient. My neighbor drives me home, I walked into the garage - oh look, one down, fabulous, I want to vomit....I go to bed, get up, do my daily things but can't do everything because my hand is pounding, so I rest. That did it....I rested. I was exhausted, boys came home from school, got them to bed, burn is looking so much better (I did go to the the clinic and they are amazed at my recovery), and went to bed at 7:45. I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered all the things I had planned for the weekend. They are all fun, but I can't do them. This spiraled into a mental game of the cancer is winning, I am a lamo that is going to bail at the last minute, what a disappoint, when will I learn, which continued to spiral until I was over the toilet vomiting. Sounds like a train wreck, right? It is. I ended up sleeping for 11 hours and I am better today, I am calm and more forgiving of myself. I know that I need to retreat a bit, take care of myself, and rest. So, I have cleared my schedule and will a homebody, resting, and understanding that I can't do it all. Maybe someday I will accept that...then again maybe not. This has taken me forever to type this, BUT my hand continues to improve. Lavender oil is amazing for burns! I will be better next week and that is what I wanted after all a good thanksgiving. If I don't post before then, Happy Thanksgiving to you. Love, Ang

Friday, November 6, 2009

Some good news...

I went to see my oncologist yesterday but before I did, I visited my genetic counselor. I think I mentioned that we are now looking into the genetics of this crazy stuff. I am not driving it, but my new GYN Oncologist is. So, here is the SHORT verison that I have not explicitly mentioned before. Throughout the summer I mentioned making me normal again....well, that means my pelvis. I have learned that I was completely damaged from the radiation and there is fluid and blockages where there shouldn't be. Welcome to the wrath of collateral damage from radiation in a female pelvis. So, there was a bit of an over reaction by my OB/GYN to refer me to an GYN Oncologist. This happened in August. I couldn't get into him until September - after my colonscopy. The GYN Ocologist looked at my scan from down there and believes that all that fluid is a natural consequence of radiation damage. (No, they never told me all of this BEFORE radiation. They said, "All will be as it once was." Can you say, "Creative truth???") HOWEVER, he looked at me and said, "Have you gotten the geneology done for your cancer?" I said, "I hasn't been a priority, just as this hasn't been until now." He concurred, but said, "Well, if we have to reconstruct you (yeah - this is as bad as it sounds) there is a strain of colorectal cancer that has a high occurance of ovarian, uteran, and sick cancer. So, when we get to that point, if the Physical Therapy doesn't work (yep - just as bad as you can imagine) and you have that strain, I would recommend taking your ovaries and uterus out." G-R-E-A-T. Not that I am attached or anything - I mean who the frick cares at this point. "Okay" I reply. And then he said, "Angela, I believe that with regular PT you will be able to correct this mostly on your own and if you don't have the strain with the other cancers the correction surgery could be very easy." Okay, now I am looking up at the heavens and rolling my eyes. I take a deep breath and say, "Listen, my PT has not been a priority and quite frankly makes me want to vomit because it hurts that bad. HOWEVER, since there is nothing else I need to do right now, I will make it a priority, I will get to Bob the genetic counselor, and by the next time you see me, I will have all the answers and be as "self corrected" as I can be. By the way, you have just met your favorite patient." He smiled and said, "I think I have." He went on to examine me and he saw something he didn't like - a mole. He asked me all sorts of questions about it and I just responded with, "My dermatologist knows about it, I JUST has a colonoscopy, my butt is pretty well reviewed." He said, "I don't like it and I want your colon rectal surgeon to take a look." Okay. Back downstairs, I hop up on the table, and he says, "Where is it???" I AM SERIOUS. I said, "I don't know - I can't SEE down there!!!!" We are now both cracking up. Apparently, it is the size of a pin head. He said, "Ang, this is NOT skin cancer, nor is it anything I am worried about. Are you worried about it??" NO. "Is Hank (my oncologist) worried about it?" "Not that I know of." "Well, then, let him take a look and he can be the tie breaker. We can always take it off, but it is a seven day recovery." G-R-E-A-T. Downstairs I go. Hank looked and said, "Ang, this doesn't EVEN make the list." YEAH - I am safe! Okay, fast forward to you can see why the GYN oncologist was worried, I may or may not have a strain of cancer that included ovarian, uterine, and SKIN. I have had an abnormal mole removed right before I was diagnosis with colorectal, and I have fluid stuck up there. Well, after speaking to my genetic counselor yesterday, I DO NOT HAVE THAT STRAIN OF COLORECTAL CANCER KNOWN AS LYNCH DISEASE. So, no hysterectomy and no flipping out every time I get a mole (although I am required to do yearly FULL BODY checks including my butt). I proclaim weakly, "Yeah." thinking what else can come up?!?!?!?! I go downstairs for my normal oncology appointment and more blood to be taken for genetic purposes, and he says, "Everything looks great, you need to scan some time around Thanksgiving." I asked if after Mason's birthday was okay. We are celebrating on the 5th. He said, "Okay." And then I let out a big huge sigh of relief. Yeah, I will have to deal with the panic attacks of not knowing, but what I can do is have Thanksgiving with energy, friends and a glass of wine. In addition, Mason's birthday be JUST AND ONLY ABOUT HIM - no chemo, no radiation, just HIM and twenty four kids running wild for two wonderful beautiful amazing hours. is all good news. Happy weekend, Ang