Sunday, November 27, 2011

Medical Update

So, let me start by telling you that this post will talk a lot about my uterus.  Consider yourself warned.  :)
Let me try and sum up what's been going on in as short a post as possible.  I've typed this out several times, and it's been excruciatingly long.  There's no point in anyone having to read that much about my uterus.

During Interferon, I went through a forced menopause, and a little less than a year after finishing Interferon, my cycle came back in a blaze of glory.  Since then, I've had an ongoing increase in pain in my abdomen and back each month, sometimes debilitating fatigue, and increased swelling both in my leg and in my abdomen- with other symptoms increasing as well.  Because my brother may be reading this, I'll spare you the gory details, but if you'd like to know them, I'll be happy to share them via email.  You're welcome.  :)
the sonogram set-up

Anyway, my GP has been really awesome about acknowledging these complaints, and I've had a couple of saliva tests that showed that I was producing barely any testosterone or progesterone, so I have a Rx for topical doses of those.  The fatigue has gotten better overall, but can still be overwhelming at times, but at least some of the symptoms have subsided, like muscle cramps at night and inability to sleep.

I call this instrument "the monster"
That, believe it or not, is the short version of that story.  It's been 5 years of struggling with these, and I have been QUITE the squeaky wheel.  That led to me recently getting referred to some specialists, and I'm expecting more info from them soon.  Both of them were concerned about me being on the hormones, saying the side effects are terrible for you, but I haven't been able to find any research against it.  Do any of you know why they say this is so bad?  My experience with it has been very mild. One also asked about me considering getting on birth control pills.  Everything I've read on this says its a "no" when you have a history of melanoma, but she's saying that the research I'm reading is outdated.  Any of you have any input on that?

Other good news is that the pain may be caused by fibroids.  I had a sonogram (ouch) and boy did that suck.  I was in pain from swelling for the 2 days afterward.  I'm back to normal now, and am waiting for results, but thrilled that we may be able to figure out what the problem is.  There has been a mention of a possible hysterectomy in the future, too.

Sorry uterus, but you gotta go.

The other bit of news is that I've scheduled my cancer scans for spring break.  The GP has been insistent on me getting another PET, just to make sure that everything is on the up and up.  I get it.  I mean, it's been several years since I've had them done.
When I last talked to my onco, he asked me what I wanted to do about scans, and I told him pretty much flat out that I wanted to peace out and never be in a hospital ever again.  He was sympathetic to my sentiment,
and told me to take some time to decide how I wanted to handle things.  After months of thought, I was just kinda over it.

Dr. Mark Walberg, my oncologist
Cancer treatment options and follow up are very personal decisions.  I would never want to influence anyone else's thoughts on how to deal with them, but for me, the thought of cancer recurring just ruled my life.  After my last surgery, I just needed to feel what it was like to be normal again, in the way that I didn't let melanoma rule my every thought.  I needed to get away from hospitals and doctors and all of that, and I needed to get my life back.  I took years off from getting scans, and now that I'm back to seeing my oncologist and they're scheduled, I feel really fine with that.  A peacefulness I've granted myself by giving myself time to heal.

And Mr. Mark Wahlberg, who I wish was my oncologist
 That's not to say I wasn't completely freaked out when I went back to my oncologist's office.  I totally thought I had this down and it was going to be no problem, but walking in I was first hit by the smell- which I can't even really define (heparin, maybe?)- and was thrown back into the memory of what it's like to be a cancer patient.  I became almost immediately nauseous, and had to talk myself out of that.  But seeing a lot of people who were so similar to where I once was.... it was eye opening.  Because it made me realize how much I had just decided not to think about, and how much I needed to face it, I guess.  It's just such a sucky situation, to put it very mildly, to be drugged up because you can barely stand the side effects, and to be missing out on your own life because you're trying so desperately to save it.  Walking in there, I suddenly remembered vividly watching my hair fall out every time I took it out of a ponytail, and how cold my head was all that winter.  I remembered being so out of it but trying to hang in there for normal conversations.  I remembered the overall dread of whatever next dr.'s appointment I had, and how I was trying to just keep a fairly positive attitude.  There were lots of things I guess I wanted to forget that day, and many of them came flooding back.  I sat in the parking lot and cried afterward, mainly because I allowed myself a moment of grief for all that I, and so many other people, have been through.  And then again I cried--- as you all already know--- at the thought of having to do it again.

I feel ok about it now, a week or so later.  I feel okay but a little weary from the experience.  I know that my cancer peeps are still going through so much of this, and I want you to know I pray for you every single day.  I know that even some people close to me are going through this, and I send you loving vibes so often.  And for myself, I am being forgiving for what I chose to ignore, and supportive of what may come.  I am damaged and flawed and overall a completely hot mess, it is true.   And I aim to be the epitome of mindfulness, no matter how far I am away from it today.  For now, I am happy for every little thing in my life, and how lucky I have been.  You have no idea how incredibly lucky I am.

I'll keep you updated on the results of tests.  Blessings to everyone!


Random, but cool

You gotta check this out.

By clicking on the body part, you get a list of exercises.  Great for workout ideas.  Or for a deterring making those bacon chocolate chip cookies you saw the recipe for.   mmmmmmmmmmmm


Just a Perfect Day

Today is the first really cold day of this year so far, and we're all coping by sleeping our Sunday away.  :)

Days like this, it's really hard to resist the urge to nap.

This is the miraculous Kitty.  Kitty is really a "he," but reminds me of the a famous diva, who also happens to be a drag queen, and so I've decided she's the same.  So I guess "Kitty" is actually her stage name.

She's also the neighborhood stray, who finds residence during the cold months in our humble abode. Remember that post a few weeks back about missing her?  Well, she must've been trapped in a building or something.  She showed up after being gone for about 3 weeks, and she was stick thin.  We've fattened her up, and she's back to ruling the roost.  Can't you just tell by the photo what a complete queen she is?

This is Tabby.  She's a neighborhood feral cat that ran in our door when it was left ajar a moment too long last winter during Snowmageddon.  She is super duper sweet, but also super duper skittish.  We can't get close enough to touch her, but we feed her and let her in when it's cold.  That's the arrangement.  :)

Can you see her in the photo?  She cuddles up in this old car seat we keep in our storage area on cold days like this.

And, of course, who could forget Bear? in her super expensive cush bed.  She's the palace princess, complete with monogrammed pillow.

I'm bundled up, sans make-up, sipping hot coco and hoping all of you are enjoying your Sunday, too!



I'm Too Young For This!