Sunday, December 19, 2010

Every time I climb up I feel like I get knocked down

I promised myself I wouldn't whine anymore. I guess I lied to myself. This is my outlet - I'm sorry! I apologize. If you don't want to read whining, please skip this post.

I'm still suffering from revenge of my oophorectomy/hysterectomy... This time I think its developed into a kidney infection. I'm still sore in my lower abdomen. I can deal with that. However, now I'm even more tender & its spread around my back. That plus some other unpleasant symptoms of the infection are tormenting me. I've got a call into my doctor about it. :-/ I'm taking an antibiotic that might be making me feel worse instead of better.

I'm still dealing with the hot-flashes & panic attacks. For the most part, I'm ok with the hot-flashes. I actually was thinking last week that they were getting better. However, this afternoon my granddaddy (my dad's dad) came over to mom's. It was the usual craziness with my brother & sister-in-law, their kids (Abby 4 yo, Sarah 2 yo, & Lukas almost 1 yo), my 2 kiddos, mom & dad. Generally I'm in the center of the action willingly. Instead, I had a hot-flash & even though I've learned to control my panic somewhat, all I wanted was to go outside by myself. I handled it, but it definitely wasn't pleasant.

The rest of the time was great though, so don't think its all miserable. I love spending time w/ the family - especially ones like granddaddy that we don't get to see very often. Its also great to share time with my brother's family & mom & dad. My biggest wish is to control these hot-flash/panic attacks a bit more & get to the end of the revenge of the gynecological surgeries.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You just never know...

Recently a friend of a friend was diagnosed with Stage IV renal carcinoma. She went from doing bicycle races (road & mountain) one week, to being hospitalized after having surgery to remove a kidney, part of her spine, and some other tumors. She's in her 30s or 40s with no previous symptoms or family history. She was just suddenly struck with this horrible disease. My friend tells me she's in good spirits, but it just has to be horrible for her. Her bicycle team/club has made decals for their bikes that say "I ride for Dee" as a show of support for her.

Those decals may not seem like much to those who put them on their bikes, but coming from my perspective, things like that mean a tremendous amount. Being told by friends that you're an inspiration gives you the courage to continue fighting. Knowing that someone else has used your example of fighting to keep themselves going through their own struggles is humbling. While they gain strength from your struggle, you gain strength from their choice of you as inspiration. Its a wonderful circle of inspiration! I hope Dee gets the same courage from her team's support as I have from the various people who've done something similar for me.

Then you have my mom. If you recall she's a 5 year breast cancer survivor (she's the one I inherited mine from). She had a bilateral mastectomy with TRAM flap reconstruction. The surgery was a very long procedure (16 hours), but successful. She did chemotherapy too. She had a worse time with her chemo than I did, but she survived. Well, the other day she went to her regularly scheduled oncology appointment. The oncologist found a lump on her chest wall. With our history, she was terrified it was cancer again. I went with her to meet with a surgeon who will probably do a biopsy. He wanted to remove the whole lump, but we know from speaking with MD Anderson that they typically like to keep the lumps in so they can observe them during treatment. We got the surgeon to say he'd speak to mom's team in Houston & left. Mom had already been pro-active enough to send a secure email to her breast surgeon in Houston. Eventually, she ended up speaking with the breast surgeon's nurse on the phone. That phone call was full of great news. The doctors there are probably 90% convinced that her lump is actually just fat necrosis - a fairly common occurance with the type of reconstruction my mom had. Instead of a biopsy, they recommend an ultrasound. Since ultrasounds are *much* less invasive, that is a great alternative. I'm not sure when the ultrasound will be scheduled, but we're praying for good results!

Anyway, it just goes to show that you never know what life is going to hand you. You have to roll with the punches & rely on God to take care of you. He has a plan, its just that most of the time we don't understand it. Its also important to tell those you love and admire how you feel because you never know when something could take that ability away from you. God bless!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh No!!!

Just the other day I got a letter in the mail from MD Anderson. In that letter was the notification that my plastic surgeon is leaving December 17th. I realize that sounds kind of superficial, whining about my plastic surgeon leaving, but the plastic surgery is the primary component of my treatment that's supposed to make me look 'normal' again. I have gone to a plastic surgeon in Louisville - for follow-up and fills - but his vision and methods for my reconstruction were *VERY* different than those of the doctor in Houston. Since the reconstruction is actually what I'm going to live with for at minimal 10 years (baring unforseen complications), it is *really* important to me that the final results be as close to my 'normal' as possible as well as maybe improving things a bit. I would have had my reconstruction finished by now if my gynecology oncological surgery hadn't gone so poorly and if I hadn't required another emergency surgery a month later. However, I can't change the past, so I was looking forward to the fabulous results I thought the plastic surgeon in Houston could give me. Actually, at this point I'm kind of considering staying local for the plastics part if I'm going to have to break in a new doctor anyway. I actually have my Houston doctor's pager number & he's willing to speak to me on the phone about that option. I'm going to call today!

In other news, my first *real* day at work was a success. Wednesday I was in Frankfort for a meeting, so while I was technically working, it wasn't really my day-to-day tasks. However, yesterday I arrived at my home-away-from-home and after updating my office with photos of the kids, a statue of St. Peregrine, & a holy card, I began my work in earnest. I spent much of the day trying contact the various investigating officers in charge of my cases. However, I did actually work a case as well! Its actually quite a relief to be back to doing my normal things. I don't feel quite as useless and out-of-touch.

Meanwhile, the kids were with mom. She had them doing crafts - clothespin angels - as well as playing as usual. It was *very* heartwarming to go pick them up last night. Both of them came running, well Rachel tried to run, to the door exclaiming for me. Simon was actually saying "Mommy". Rachel says "momma" when I'm not around, but when I arrive she either gibbers or says "nana" or "dada". I don't know why neither of my babies (at this age) will call me by "momma". Its amazing how quickly Rachel has learned to walk and even try to run. She still staggers like a drunk at times and falls frequently. However, the staggering and falling is abating. She's making great strides!

While I was driving home and picking up the kids, Andrew, aka Mr. Househusband, was cooking supper. I arrived home with the kids to a clean house and food on the table! Whoot, whoot!!! I also saw his handsome face! ;-) Like Mater from Cars, "I knowed I made a good choice!" We all spent the evening playing. All in all, my 1st day back was not as traumatic as I was dreading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thank you to KSP Employees!

It is with great gratitude that I return to work today. I am so deeply moved by all those who have participated in the time-donation that has allowed me to have a work-worry-free time to recover from my cancer surgeries. The well-wishes, time, and prayers have been a great boon for me while I recovered. Just last night I went through some of my get-well wishes & they brought tears to my eyes. I never imagined I would be the beneficiary of such love and care from those I can't even name! I appreciate every hour that was donated to me. I know that without your support I would not have been able to recuperate as effectively as I have. The journey has not been easy, but you have given me peace of mind (on the work-front) that has helped. Thank you with all my heart!

For any of those who don't know, the reason it has taken me so long to return was that my simple surgery went very poorly. I ended up having to have two surgeries about a month apart from one another. In both instances, I was unknowingly much closer to death (by bleeding first and by infection second) during both of these surgeries. Since the surgeries were much more complicated and traumatic for my body to deal with, my recovery time was lengthened. As a matter of fact, the first surgery went so poorly that the second part of it was not completed. After having the second surgery, I was mandated to delay my reconstruction process another 3-6 months. However, I have sufficiently recovered at this point to return to work.

Also, the kids are doing great! Rachel had her first birthday the Friday after Thanksgiving. Even after receiving chemo while still in utero, she is growing wonderfully. She's learning to walk and talk now. Her brother, Simon, helps her as only a big brother can! They thank you for the support you've given their mommy too! :-)

My Chemo-Jane hair-style

My Chemo-Jane hair-style
I just had to have my mom buzz my hair because it was falling out so badly.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.
My loving husband is watching me distract myself with a game on his iPhone.

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs
I even have a fashionable belt to hold up my drains.

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE
The smile is fake because the TEs were irritating!