Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Sick

One of my biggest fears about the future is going through chemo again.  It made me feel just so terrible, and I wasn't able to take care of my family.  It was one of the worst things I've gone through in my life.  I've felt so healthy and good for so long, I just couldn't imagine feeling nauseous and sick.

Then over the weekend I came down with some wacky stomach virus.  I think our entire family got it to some degree, but it hit me the worst.  I spent most of the day Sunday in bed.  Ugh.

So all this time I've been stressing about not being able to do chemo again, to not be able to deal with being so sick again.  But you know, I think I can do it.  I think I'll be okay.  If I was able to power through making the kids breakfast this morning, I think I can do it when I'm sick with chemo too.  I don't want to, but if I have to I can.

It's amazing what one can do when they have to, isn't it?  You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only thing you can do.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PET Scan Day Today

It went fine. I mean, as fine as being injected with radioactive crazy material, laying in a dark room for an hour with nothing to do, and then laying in a scanner for 25 minutes. Oh yeah, and being freaking hungry. It is so much easier to do a test earlier in the morning.

And hey, anyone know why they won't let me listen to music while I'm waiting for the radiation juice to travel around my body? I should have asked the tech.

Oh and why must the chair you have to sit in be so uncomfortable?

Anyhoo, now more waiting.

How am I doing? Better. Really. I can talk about all this shit now without crying (most of the time). It's sinking in, I'm getting ready to deal with it. Not that I *want* to deal with it, but you know. You gotta do what you gotta do.

And maybe the prozac is kicking in and helping me to feel more zen about things.

At any rate, I'm hanging in there. Hopefully the doc has a master plan for us next week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Update

First of all, and probably most important to me, THANK YOU for all the support and positive thoughts and prayers. I appreciate every single one.

Many have been asking about the schedule for the follow up, so here it is:

PET Scan on January 27th
follow up with doc February 3rd

The biopsy isn't scheduled yet. Eric is going to call and clarify about that because we thought we weren't going to see the doc again until after the PET and biopsy. So we'll figure that stuff out soon.

How am I feeling? People ask that and I'm never quite sure if they really, REALLY want to know. It seems like an obligatory question, doens't it? So most times, unless I know the person well, I'll just say I'm okay. Hanging in there. Trying to stay positive.

The real answer? I'm scared as fuck, man. Hacking out my rectum, yeah yeah, whatever, I don't really NEED that, you know? I'm obviously doing just fine without it. The stoma and I are pals. My freaking lungs? Yeah. Kinda need those, now, don't I?

I think about my kids and how they need a mom, and about my husband and how he needs a wife and partner. This is so unfair and hard for them.

I think about chemo and how much I hated it, and how by the end I didn't even know if I could do it anymore.

I think about possible surgery and how scary that is and how much I don't like being put under and the knives, holy shit, the knives! This is probably the biggest reason I haven't had my ass wound fixed yet.

Eric talked me down some last night, helpfully pointing out that the lesions are small, that we still have options, that we are going to fight this hard.

Do I have it in me to keep fighting? I hope so, because I have to.

There are a lot of unknowns right now, and I tend to the worst case scenario. I don't know what the future holds. That in itself is agonizing.

So there you go. That's how I'm feeling in a relatively short blog post. I don't mean to sound like a crank, but maybe don't ask me how I'm feeling anymore for a while. Telling me you're thinking of me and my family and then quickly changing the subject would be awesome. If you ask me how I'm feeling, I'm 99% sure I will cry. And I am sick of crying.

Hugs, and as always, go hug your kids. Tell the people you love that you love them. I know I will.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This will be brief

Because no matter what, I have kids and a husband who need to be fed. ;)

So we saw the oncologist today. I wish I could say the news was awesome, but you know fucking cancer. The last time we got together, I had two spots on my lungs. This time, the spots are slightly bigger and have been joined by a third. They're all still really small, the biggest being about 1.5cm. The big one though just about doubled in size in four months. Of course there's still a chance that it could be something else (fungus was tossed out). We're trying to stay optimistic.

The next step is a PET scan to hopefully get more and better information, and to find out where the best place for a biopsy (fun fact...a lung biopsy is an outpatient procedure...who knew?).

It's scary. I don't really want to think about it right now, and to tell you the truth, I'm really trying not to. My biggest thought is Reese and Eli, my babies.

So yeah. Positive thoughts? I'll take 'em.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mrs. Rumphius and Fireworks

The kids and I listened to a book on tape yesterday. The book is called Mrs. Rumphius, and it's a story about a little girl named Alice whose grandfather suggests that she should do three things in her life: travel everywhere, come home to live by the sea, and make the world beautiful. She chooses to make the world beautiful by sowing lupine seeds throughout her town by the sea (after being quite ill for almost a whole year).

I thought about the idea of making the world beautiful a LOT yesterday. What am I doing to make the world beautiful? When I ponder "world" I think the author of Mrs. Rumphius didn't necessarily mean the world at large (although kick ass if it ends up that way), but your world, where you live. Making the world of people you know beautiful. I ended up thinking that this is really an admirable goal, and no matter what else you want to do with your life, striving to make the world beautiful is awesome.

I've been feeling really down lately. Things with my health are in a holding pattern while I wait for results of a ct scan. Somehow, instead of taking charge of my own life, I let cancer take charge of me. It's a helpless, scary feeling. I think Mrs. Rumphius came at a really great time, reminding me to focus on making the world beautiful, to focus on sharing the beauty with my children.

Then yesterday on the way to get my labs done, I heard a song I hear all the time. It's not one of my favorite songs, it's kind of background noise since my lame-o car cd player quit working. I don't know what made me listen to the lyrics, maybe because I couldn't understand some of them. The song was Katy Perry's Firework. Do you know that one?

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
drifting through the wind wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
like a house of cards one blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
Six feet under scream but no one seems to hear a thing.

Do you know that there's still a chance for you
'cause there's a spark in you?

Just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

Maybe the reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road

And it goes on and on (haha, oh Katy Perry). But I think in any bad situation, don't you wonder why there doesn't seem to be an open door? Don't you wonder why things happen the way they do, especially bad things? Maybe all the doors have been closed for me because I still haven't opened the one with the perfect road yet. I don't know what that perfect road is yet. Maybe it's the door to making the world beautiful, I don't know.

So I'm going to keep working on making the world beautiful, and focusing on that instead of what stupid cancer might or might not be doing. And I'll keep looking for that door too, and igniting that spark. I invite you to do the same, of course. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I think banana barium might be my new favorite.

Here's the thing about the barium, in case you didn't know. You have to drink one container the night before the scan, one the morning of the scan, and then about half another one at the hospital. The nurse was rummaging around the little barium refridgerator and couldn't find any more vanilla, so I suggested that I'd try another flavor if that would help. I guess the banana was open and ready. It was okay.

Blech, the barium does not make my guts happy. Blech.

Anyway, the scan went well. Pretty much the same as any scan, I guess. I wish we could get the results sooner, but I feel better now that the scan itself is done. I wonder why that is?

I'll pop back in with results!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh dammit.

So pretty much the last thing you want to happen the afternoon before a CT scan is someone from the hospital calling to complain that your insurance changed, and she wants you to reschedule. What WHAT?? Isn't this the reason one would pre-register (which I did, on Friday)? So they can check to make sure my insurance is good? I even paid my deductable for the procedure already. And Eric made a call to the insurance company to get the okay for the scan BEFORE I went to preregister.

I'm supposed to drink that barium tonight (vanilla flavored!), and I'm going to show up at my appointment tomorrow, and someone better stick me with an IV and CT my chest, abdomen, and pelvis, dammit. I don't drink barium for fun. Blech.

Here's hoping this all works out.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One year ago today...

Where were you on January 6th, 2010?

I was on an operating table having my rectum removed.

How many people can say something like that??

Isn't it strange how much life can change in just one year? At this point last year, I was on the edge of Step 2 of Get Rid of Cancer: abdominoperineal resection surgery. At this point last year, I'd battled through radiation and the chemo pump. At this time last year, I had no idea how hard the last chemo treatments would be, and I had no idea if I could do it or not. I feel like I was tested in the last year, tested like I've never been tested before.

Did I pass? How do you know if you passed?

I like to think I did.

Once in a while I miss my rectum, I miss the way my body was. I certainly wish the whole surgery had turned out differently, that my wound had healed properly. Right now it still gets packed once a day with iodoform, and I'm still considering a plastic surgery option (although I think I may let things ride until fall, see how much healing happens).

And oh stoma, my stoma. We're getting along fairly well, I think. I don't write a lot about it because there isn't much to say. That's probably a good thing.

What a crazy year it's been. I sometimes wonder where I'd be if I hadn't been run over by the cancer bus. I have a new appreciation for what it means to be a friend. Cancer is on my radar now, and I can empathize with people who are struggling with cancer in a way I never could before. My priorities are different. I think I'm more brave, more purposeful.

Like I've been saying for over a year, give your loved ones a hug today. You never know what life is going to throw at you. I know I'll be hugging mine.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011

I'd love to post all about how I'm going to resolve not to worry, blah blah blah. Yeah, right. As if I can control the periodic freak outs when all the stress and scanxiety gets to be too much. Want to talk about freak outs? I had one while we were driving home from Florida. Reese had just puked (for the second time) all over herself and her car seat, and I pretty much lost it. I could NOT stop crying for probably a good 30 minutes. Eric asked what was wrong, and I told him I was worried about the scan. BECAUSE I FREAKING AM.

Poor Eric. He probably had no idea what to do, so he just held my hand and started talking about lunch. And I was really glad that I got the big giant sunglasses to hide the tears.

But what can you do? I think I'm entitled to a freak out now and again.

Anyhoo, we had a really great time in the Florida Keys. You want a picture, okay!
This was taken by a staff memeber at the Key West Garden Society. We went to one of the beaches and were walking towards a big pier when Eli or Reese (don't recall which one) suddenly had to use the potty. We ended up walking past the Garden Society building and garden, and stopped back later. It's one of those times when you're actually glad your kid needed a potty. The gardens on the property (which was an old military fort, I believe) were beautiful and interesting.
There are more pics on my other blog, if you want to see.
So what's the plan now? Scan on January 11th. Bloodwork on January 12th. Consult with the doc January 19th. Try not to freak out too much in the next 20 days. I think the yoga will help, and so will the running.
Happy New Year, everyone!