Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cancer Talk

I've decided to put off writing about Vegas to talk about cancer.

Today, I was at the physiotherapists. I did my whole program and went over to the front desk. I made sure I had my appointment for next week and then the receptionist, Kathy, introduced me to two of her friends who were standing there. She said they had come to talk to me and did I have time to chat. I said sure. I thought maybe they wanted advice on insurance. We went into a private room and they shut the door. Turns out that all three of these ladies (ages 42, 43 & 45) have found lumps in their breasts and all three were told by their doctors that it was probably hormonal and nothing to worry about. All three were told that because there is no dimpling in the breast and that the nipple isn't "inverted" that it's nothing. Well, I gotta tell you, I didn't have either of those things. I ended up actually feeling two of their "lumps". I'd say that one is definitely suspect. It's the size and feel of a frozen pea. I told her that if it was me I'd be getting a mammogram. I also told them that my particular cancer didn't even show up on the mammogram so they should ask for an ultrasound, too.

This got me to thinking. How many women out there wait for a long period of time to get checked because their doctor said it's nothing? I have to tell you that we all have to be our own advocates. We have to say "I want........." and follow up with it. Stick up for yourself as though it's life or death because it just may be.

I also have an issue with my Herceptin treatments. As I've explained before I will be on Herceptin until January 2009. It is a chemo drug that specifically targets HER2 cells. My tumor was positive for that so I get Herceptin to target any lingering cells. That, in itself, makes me nervous. What lingering cells? Didn't they get it all? I have to calm that part of my brain and just go with it.

Anyway, my doctor told me that I needed to do Herceptin every 3 weeks for a year. There were no other time periods mentioned. So for the past six months I've been doing as I was told. Now, that doctor has left and I have a new doctor. The new doctor says that I'm supposed to do Herceptin every week and asked me why I had chosen to do it every 3 weeks. I explained that I wasn't given an option. This is how it was prescribed for me. He explained that all his patients do it every week because that's what the American Medical Association says to do. He said there weren't enough studies to warrant doing it every three weeks. He also said that I can continue to do it every three weeks if I want to because, as my doctor he can only give me facts and then it is up to me to make the decision as to my treatment. I am so confused by this. So I started looking up and asking around. How often do other people do Herceptin? I sure as hell don't want to risk my life by doing it every three weeks. Of course I'll do it every week if I have to. So I asked the chemo nurses. They said every three weeks is fine. That, yes, all his patients do it every week but most other doctors prescribe it every three weeks. Then, my friend, Shelley found out that at Princess Margaret in Toronto do Herceptin every three weeks. Other people online (Cancer patient message boards) seem to do both. Some do every week others do every three weeks. I just don't know what to do and my doctor wants an answer next time I see him - which is Tuesday. Anyone got a suggestion?

I also want to talk about what it's like to have had cancer. First off, it's scary. You're always thinking about whether they got it all. When I tell people I had cancer and went through chemo they always ask "Did they get it all?". I'm never sure how to answer that. I always say "They think they did. I hope they did." Only time will tell, right?

I have to tell you that I don't think about it as soon as I wake up in the morning. I'm not sure when this happened but it used to be that I'd wake up and think "Oh shit, I have cancer." I don't do that any more. Sometimes I don't even think about it until noon or later. That's such a good thing and a big relief. I was told that this thinking about it every minute of every day would eventually go away. It took some time but I seem to be getting there.

I should also update everyone on my hips. I seem to be having quite a bit of pain in the right groin area, which is a sign that the hip is deteriorating. I'm going to go to my orthopedic doctor and see whether this is happing a little quicker than I had hoped. The frustrating thing with it is that there is no timeline. You know, like when you break an arm or something they tell you that you'll be ok in 8 weeks. With this, I could end up with hip replacement in a year or in 15 years it just depends on how quickly the bones deteriorate. They also don't really know when this started. I took a lot of prednisone for a lot of years and that could be why I have this. Of course it could be the chemo. Then again it could be the combo. They don't really know why this has happened. So there's a lot of things that are just up in the air. It's a little hard to mentally accept that. I'm a planner. If they could say "You will need a hip replacement in 5 years and 7 weeks and 5 days and 8 hours" I would be much happier. This "not knowing" is hard for me to deal with.

I think that's all I have to say, right now. I just thought people would be interested to know where my brain is right now.


Monday, July 28, 2008

What a Great Summer!!

Welcome to the longest post in the history of man!
I've just had quite the traveling summer.

First there was Canada. Scott & I started off at Debbie's (my best friend) in Barrie. We got to see the Rathmann family while we were there. I babysat Stef and Scott Michael about 17 years ago and we still keep in touch.

Our luggage didn't make it to Toronto with us (long story) so the first thing we did when we got to Barrie was go to Walmart. We picked up toothbrushes, undies and I needed some decent clothes because Deb and I were supposed to go out that night. I went out in Walmart clothes!! I kept calling myself the Walmart girl. LOL!! Scott went out with Deb's kids that night. The rest of the time we sat around and chatted and ate and chillaxed.
Then we went to my parents for a few days where Scotty played golf with my dad and brother, Steve. On Friday we all headed down to Sam's (my brother's daughter) house and helped her paint her room. Then on Saturday we headed off to Sue (Andrew's sister) & Gerard's in Orangeville for a night. From there we went to a family BBQ on Sunday afternoon at Andrew's brother Steve's and his wife Monika's house with all of Andrew's family. That evening we went to watch Cameron win a baseball game and then we stayed with Jane (Andrew's sister) and Craig's for a couple of nights. Scott & Cameron headed to Wonderland on Monday. I went to watch Abby play t-ball on Monday night and on Tuesday we spent the day with my brother, Steve. We went and played mini golf (Steve won, as usual. When we were kids he beat me all the time and I just wanted to beat him but it didn't happen. Darn!) and went to the Chinguacousy petting park. There's actually no petting allowed but it was fun to watch all the animals. They were all fighting with each other. Weird. Later we went out for dinner with Steve and Sam and her boyfriend, Travis. Thank you so much for dinner! It was so good and I'm so sorry I dipped my bread in your food and made you sick! Then, they took us to Steve and Monika's (thanks, Steve!) so we could stay there a couple of nights. Here are some pictures from Wednesday at their place:


The muscle bound boys!

Daniel jumping in

Michael "shooting" me


Scott throwing Adam - who, I might add, is the bravest child in the history of man!!

Scott threw Daniel and he gave me the "thumbs up"

Scott throwing Adam - look how high he went!


Scott and his shadow, Adam

Four gorgeous boys!

Aren't those amazing pictures? New digital camera!
OK, from there my sister, Kim, came and picked us up in Burlington and took us back to her place in Horseheads, NY. I must say. This was an amazing thing, that sister of mine, did! She drove 4 hours to come get us and then four more hours home. So, that was Thursday. That night Scott and Thomas (Kim's son) went to a bar and Kim and I went, too. It's not what it sounds. We didn't go to a bar with our kids! They went outside and we stayed inside. Lindsey (Kim's daughter) was bartending inside so we went to visit. We did venture outside for a couple of minutes to see what the music was like but we felt like it was "inappropriate" so we went up on this deck that looks down so we could hear the music (70's!) but not look like cougars. Then Friday we went to wine country. Lindsey was our DD and her son, Tyler, came along. Well, I just love this kid. He melts my heart! He is so smart (smarter than even Jeff was at that age!) and so cute and when he'd say my name? OMG!! I just kept saying "I want one!". ROFL!! A grandbaby, I mean. But, I don't really. All in good time. But he really was a cutie. Oh, and he just loves his grandpa and vice versa. He calls Randy "Pa" and when he says it? You can just hear the love in his voice. Oh! And he kept thinking Scott was Thomas. They don't actually look alike but their mannerisms are so much alike! He just kept calling Scott, Tom. So funny! Here's some pics from their house.

Kim and my cat, Stella. Kim & Randy took Stella when we moved from Connecticut to Florida. We couldn't take a cat and dog so Kim agreed to take Stella. She's definitely Kim's cat, now. She actually comes in behind Kim like this
and then starts chewing on her hair. It's love!!


Look at those eyes!!!
Can you tell I'm in love? I just kept taking picture after picture. I think he's looking at Randy in this one - that's the look he gets when Randy's around.
Scott and Tom. See? They don't really look anything alike but their mannerisms are so similar that they look like twins. Funny!
I must say that Scott was a wonderful travel partner. He really just went with the flow and was fine doing something or nothing. I love you Scotty and I'm so glad we had that time together. Just to have a laugh or sing a song....oh! sorry, that's the song from Carol Burnett. ROFL!! I kill myself!!
So, I'm tired of typing and you're probably tired of reading so I'm going to write about Vegas tomorrow or the next day.
As Donny and Marie said...G'night everybody!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back From Canada

Hi all!!

Scott & I are back from Canada. We had an amazing trip! I'll post some pictures when I get back from Vegas.

Yup, that's right. I'm heading to Vegas on Thursday and....get this!! In six days I will see my darling Donny!! I'm so frickin' excited!! Oh yes - did you notice I used the word frickin'? I've been in houses with small children and couldn't swear. Oh, don't worry. I'll get back to myself in no time and I'll be fuckin' everywhere! Oh shit! I don't mean fuckin' as in, well you know. I'm blushing!! I mean I'll be saying the word fuck. There, I got back in the fuck groove fast, eh?


I'll update more when I'm back from Vegas!