Monday, October 12, 2009

I went to my primary care physician today because I have been experiencing a lot of fatigue lately. I was concerned about the fact that I may still have anemia, but she blew me off and suggested I do a sleep study. She did however order blood tests, so we shall see. Hopefully she is right and I am overreacting.


Monday, September 28th, 2009

The search for a new job goes on and on...

In the meanwhile, I have been nannying for a great family. They have one baby boy who was born in June. He has the same name as my godson's- Jackson! He is such a cutie he has the longest eyelashes and is a very happy baby.

Tonight Ryan and I are attending our first meeting to get information on becoming foster parents. I hope it goes well, it should be very detailed as it is three hours long!

Onto my health news, I have almost nothing going on! I had my port flushed a week ago, it went very well, this time both sides gave me a good blood return. My next scan isn't until the end of October.


Sunday, August 16th, 2009

To keep up my new routine of taking the good with some bad, I had two big events happen recently. The good news is that I had my three month scan on August 3rd, and on August 10th, I met with my oncologist. I got the results of my scan- ALL CLEAR- which is something to celebrate for sure! I will have to continue to go back every three months and hopefully my entries into this blog will get boring and predictable and that is all I will ever have to report.

Right now, everything with my health looks great and Dr. Chugh cleared me to go back to work. Unfortunately, the bad news is that I don't exactly have a job to go back to. Due to financial difficulties and enrollment changes, my position teaching preschool is no longer available to me. My boss is going to try to work something out so that she can offer me some hours in the daycare part of the center, but like the rest of the childcare facilities in Michigan, nothing is certain. I will probably end up having to pick up hours here and there all over the place, at a couple different part-time jobs, if I am lucky. This will not be an easy transition back to the work force, which already would have been hard after over a year's abscence with a different immune system, energy level and haircut!

I am so disappointed because some of the siblings of my former students would now be enrolled and I was looking forward to having them in class, as well as working with my fantastic assistant teacher, Marge, and coming back to rejoin the staff that was so incredibly supportive to me during my time of need. As has become my new habit, I am going to have to tough it out and stay positive. A lot of people are giving me leads and I am sure whatever happens will be for the best!


Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Well, I thought I was out of the woods, I felt better and I thought I was getting my life back. I thought my body was done acting like an eighty year old. I was wrong again.
I went to see my primary care physician yesterday because I had a painful rash on my upper right arm and found out that I have shingles. Dr. Cox took one look at it and said "Oh! Oh. Ohhh."
Shingles is the chicken pox virus "waking up." It is common in immune suppressed people, but I thought mine was getting better. Apparently stress can trigger an outbreak. I am on Valtrex, also used to treat genital herpes, so it was fun handing that script over to the pharmacist. The rash will take about four weeks to go away and I could have nerve pain for a little while after or years to come. I guess we will wait and see.
My goddaughter's second birthday is today and while I was in the doctor's office I had a little meltdown, worrying that I would miss her party two years in a row. The doctor said it is only contagious if peolpe touch my rash, so I will be keeping my distance and covering the rash with a bandage! Dr. Cox said it was okay for me to go, so I am going to be there!


Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Today is my long awaited Survivor Party. So many of my friends and family have come from miles away to be with me. I cannot wait to see everyone and I could not be more grateful than I am for all their support. I will be giving a speech to honor everyone. I have been busy during the last few months. I went to two Relay for Life events and walked my first survivor lap. I bought a new puppy, Millie Rose, and hosted a Spanish foreign exchange student, Gema. I am ready to take chances and try things I might have never done before. I am getting my life back and I am ready to live it. You can checkout the speech I am giving today at this link:


Monday, April 27th, 2009

Sam has flown in for Breslin’s baptism. She and Jackson take me to my CT scan today. I hate CT scans of the abdomen because you need to drink contrast dye. You are not allowed to eat for eight hours before the test so I have heartburn to begin with, then I am forced to chug copious amounts of nasty dye on a completely empty stomach. Berry or banana are my choices of flavoring. Just the thought of it makes my stomach churn The results of the test come back clean as do the results of the bone scan I have done on June 1st. I am in the clear. It is time to return to my normal life, be grateful of the fact that I am still here and move forward the best that I can. It is time to celebrate.


Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

I was wrong about how I would respond to this cycle. I am not feeling well at all. It is the middle of the night and I wake up to use the bathroom. The next thing I know I am leaning on the edge of the sink, staring at a red mark on my face. I can not comprehend what I am looking at. I turn around and see that I have not flushed the toilet. It is then that I realized what has happened. I have matching red marks on my legs from where I fell forward off the toilet as I passed out, hitting the floor hard enough to bruise my body. I have no idea how long I was unconscious. I walk back to the bedroom and ask Ryan if he has heard anything. When he says no, I become irrationally angry and scared. I could have been seriously injured, and no one would have known. The reason I had stayed at my parents’ home was so that someone would always be there for me. I call my mom and explain what has happened. She does not want me to go back to sleep, so she sits up with me and we phone the on-call doctor. He is not concerned and I decide not to go in to the hospital.


Monday, April 6th, 2009

I completed my last round of chemotherapy today. I was expecting two more rounds, but Dr. Chugh said this twelfth round will be it. It is disconcerting and overwhelming to think about getting back to normal life. I ask if I can stop taking my remaining medications, including my antidepressant, but Dr, Chugh warns me that the transition period I am entering is often more difficult than going through treatment.
From now on I will have scans every three months and will only have doctor visits at that time. I will need bone scans once a year. It is alarming to know I will go so long without being monitored. Dr. Chugh informs me that I will need to keep my port in for about two years and Ryan and I will not able to try to have children for the same amount of time.The first two years is the time whenI would be most likely to suffer a relapse. This is crushingly disappointing to me. But Dr. Chugh reminds me how blessed I have been during this long journey. My cancer never metastasized. My tumor responded well to treatment, shrinking significantly. I did not need to have my heart opened during surgery and they were able to get clear margins. The tumor cells were dead when they were tested. She is very happy with my progress, and so am I. There is about a thirty percent chance that my cancer will recur, but Dr. Chugh tells me to live my life like I am one of the seventy percent who never have to worry again. She tells me that she will watch me closely for the rest of my life.
I am expecting that this last round will be easy, since I have come to anticipate how I will react to my treatments


Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Breslin is born today. I am very happy to welcome her to the world. I am released form the hospital just time to drive out to see the Scott family. She is beautiful and perfect, and raises my spirits when I hold her.
Sunday I began running a fever and ended up being hospitalized. The doctors were not able to locate my infection, I was put on a broad spectrum antibiotic, but was not responsive. My fever continued to rise, and my blood pressure continued to drop. I received bolus after bolus, getting fluids into my body as fast as they could. The nurse feared I was going into sepsis and may lose organ function. It was frightening. I felt fine, but the doctors were very worried. They took my BP more than once an hour and had the ICU doctors come in to watch me in the middle of the night. My nurse asked me to try not to sleep because he was afraid I may not wake up. That sent a chill through me; I had never been able to tell how concerned the medical staff was about my survival before now. Finally my fever broke and my BP stabilized.


Friday, January 30th, 2009

I have been experiencing stomach pains for the last couple of days. They have been getting worse and worse, and I am starting to worry. I call my mom and she convinces me to go in to see my primary care physician in Brighton, just to make sure I am healthy enough for treatment on Monday. When I get there my blood pressure is again very low, and my heart rate is sky high. The doctor examines me and tells me I need to go to ER right away. I am very irritated. I am not excited about the prospect of waiting around there in pain for hours. I walk out of the examination room and try to tell my mom the doctor’s directions. I am so shaky and light headed that I tumble down into the nearest chair. I am gasping for breath and I can’t speak. I finally choke out the words and we head to the hospital.
Little do I know, I am about to experience one of my worst visits yet. I am stuck in ER for a long, long time. I have to undergo several excruciating tests, including transvaginal ultrasounds which put pressure on the area in my abdomen that is causing me pain. I cry through the entire procedure. The ultrasound tech asks if I am okay, but I am not, and there is nothing she can do, and I just want her to get it over with. Even worse is when the emergency room doctor insists that he must do a digital rectal exam, even though I assure him I have not had any internal bleeding or dark stools. I also warn him that I have a hemorrhoid. He goes ahead with the exam and I scream out louder than I have ever done in the hospital. The nurse grabs my hand. When it is over, he says it is inconclusive, due to the factors I warned him about in the first place. I am very angry and I want to hurt him.
After a long while it is discovered that I have had a cyst rupture on my ovary. Typically what they do in this case, is nothing at all. They allow the small amount of blood to reabsorb into your system. Unfortunately for me, I am on a strong blood thinner, which is allowing me to hemorrhage into my abdomen. When blood collects in places it is not meant to, it causes further pain and irritation.
In cases where there is as much blood lost as mine they perform a simple surgery to drain the area. This would be life threatening for me, because of the rearranging they did of my abdomen in my last surgery. I have literally grown new vessels known as collateral veins to compensate for the lack of blood flow in my IVC. It would be too complicated. As the situation worsens, the surgery seems as though it may be a necessity.
I am being evaluated by several different medical teams, and they all are ordering different tests and do not agree with how to proceed. I finally have to take control myself and refuse to allow them to perform a fourth ultrasound, opting instead for the much less painful CT ordered by another service. I am not allowed to eat or drink anything during this entire process, just in case I will be rushed into emergency surgery. I receive several blood transfusions, and I am taken off my blood thinner for good. Up until this point Ryan had been giving me two shot a day in my abdomen, which is completely covered in bruises from the injections.

Eventually my situation stabilizes and they decide not to operate. They estimate it will take ten to fourteen days for the blood in my abdomen to reabsorb. I will be in constant pain until my body is able to do this. Again, I fear constipation compounding my problems, so I opt not to take the pain medication ordered for me. I survive by taking Tylenol with codeine and keeping my heating pad on my stomach around the clock. I will not be able to go ahead with my next treatment until February 16th.


Wednesday, January 28th, 2008

I wake up to beautiful roses on the table and a tiny little gift box lying next to them. A card with my name on it is propped up beside the vase. Today is mine and Ryan’s third wedding anniversary. I am reminded how strange it is that we have been through so much in such a short time. I read the words Ryan has written to me and my eyes fill with tears. I am humbled by and grateful for the strength of our love. Ryan’s care for me has been immeasurable. I can tell that the gift box holds a Pandora charm and I am expecting an inexpensive silver present shaped one. When I open it, however I find the beautiful wedding cake, topped with a miniature gold heart. I call Ryan and thank him, telling him he shouldn’t have bought it for me, that we can’t afford it. He tells me I am worth it. I am happy to have had this bright spot in my day. This past round of chemo was difficult for me. The mouth sores were especially painful. The next round starts Monday, February 2nd.


Friday, January 9th, 2009

The New Year has come, and I felt even more nostalgic than usual ringing it in. I was unable to celebrate with Beth and Jason as I usually do, and this made me pretty sad. Instead I spent a quiet night at home which I hadn’t done since middle school.
I have a MUGGA scan today, to look at my heart. My oncologist needs to make sure the amount of Adriamyacin, also known as Doxorubicin (or the Red Devil,) has not caused too much damage. The test is an easy one, but one strange thing they do is draw my blood, mix it with an isotope and then reinject it. I have never seen that yet. When we get the results, my heart is fine, but I have had the maximum dose, so I will have a different type of chemo on January 12th, when I begin my next round.