Monday, September 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
First, I'll start with health "stuff" and then move on to the fun stuff:
I haven't lost a single pound of the weight I gained during chemo/radiation/waiting for hip surgery/hip surgery. It's my own fault. You know that whole thing of eat less, move more? I think I have it reversed!! I'm blaming it on Chemo Brain!! LOL!!
My hip is much better. Sitting for long periods of time (more than 2 hours) is still a little difficult. Luckily, with my new job, I can go lie down for 1/2 an hour and come back to work. It's a good thing. My other hip hasn't been hurting - at all!! Yay me!! I don't use a cane - ever.
I go for all my breast follow-ups in October. I have to do a mammogram, ultrasound and MRI. The MRI is actually kinda funny. I lie on my tummy with my boobs through two holes in the table. I giggle every time. Then, I ask them to play some good music - like Rod Stewart or Elton John (I always ask if they have any Donny Osmond but they never do!) - and I lie there and sing my way through the test. It's really loud so I tell them to crank up the music. It's not so bad, that way, ya know?!!
OHHHH!!! BIG NEWS!! DONNY OSMOND is on Dancing with the Stars this season!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!! I'm a little excited - can you tell? LOL!!
Let's see, what else. Oh - this Chemo Brain is really bugging me. I used to have a great vocabulary. Now? Not so much. It's very frustrating. There's a course I can take but it costs money and with three kids in college and four cars and four insurances to pay for? Not a chance. But it really affects my day to day life. I can't remember entire conversations. The other night I was thinking about all my relatives. The dead ones. Uncle Frank and Uncle Steve. They were so wonderful! Auntie Rose and Aunt Belle. Sisters. I got my crazy cackle from them! Then...I actually couldn't remember if my Aunt Vi had died. How horrible am I? How horrible is that? I almost had to wake Andrew up and ask him!! I did, finally, figure out that she did die. She did, didn't she, Steve? Karen? Kim? I feel horrible not knowing something that important, though. What kind of person can't remember if her Aunt died? ..... I guess someone with chemo brain? ugh!!!
And now, for the paragraph that pertains to the title - What, me worry?
I worry every day. I had a migraine last week for a couple of days - I was sure it was brain cancer. If I have diarrhea? colon cancer. Can't shit? anal or colon cancer. Right now, this very minute, I have some sort of weird pain under my boob - like a bug bite or something - but I'm pretty sure the cancer's back. Anything and everything is cancer.
I wonder if I'll always be this way. I wonder if it will every go away. I wonder if, at that magical five year mark, I'll suddenly realize that I don't have to worry about cancer all the time. I really hope so 'cause it's getting old. Thankfully, Andrew and I laugh about it. A lot. After all, I'm not the most healthy person so everytime I get sick I'm pretty sure it's the cancer. Back. To kill me before I get to hold my grandchildren. Ugh!! So, we just keep laughing and hoping. That's all we can do, really.
People ask me if I'm going to do the BRACA test. That's the test to see if you have the breast cancer gene. My pat answer is that I can't afford it. I'd have to admit that I'm not telling the truth on that one. I could afford it. It's $3,000 but I could afford it. I wouldn't be going to Hawaii next week, but I could afford it. Do I want to? I don't know, yet. And that's the thing. I think you have to be really, really positive that you want to know. That you're willing to deal with it if the results come up positive. Because, truthfully, if the results were positive? I'd chop my boobs off in a nano-second. But...I'm not ready to do that, yet. I'm still reeling from having a deformed boob and a 46 year old boob. I like having boobs - even the deformed boob. I like them. They're pretty and feminine. Andrew likes them.
I have been thinking about having reconstructive surgery, though. I would like to get my boobs "perkified" and an implant in the "little" one. But, how stupid would that be? Get them all pretty and perky and then find out that I have the gene? So....In the end. I'm just not doing anything. I'm not getting them pretty. I'm not cutting them off. I'm going with the watching and waiting method. So....although getting the mammo and MRI aren't fun? That's my method. For now.
Now...on to the fun stuff:
My sister, Kim, came for a visit. We had a blasty blast. Went to Daytona and did a lot of hanging out and talking. I love that woman sooo much!! It's amazing, our friendship. We've taken very different paths in life but agree on so much. I get total acceptance from her and she understands the heartaches that come with loving your kids so much that, sometimes, hurts. She'll commiserate with me and then kick me in the ass to get me moving, again. I love that!
We also had Andrew's sister and her family visit Florida. They rented a place "on the other side" in Cocoa Beach so we went and visited them for an extended long weekend. It was such fun! Jane and her husband, Craig, are funny and fun. People that you can be yourself with and they love you anyway....and visa versa!! LOL!! We rented a pontoon boat for a day - it was, seriously, one of the best days of my life!!! We saw dolphins, wandered around on a little island, swam with a manatee, almost sank the boat (I'm serious!) and laughed - a lot!
Kidwise - Jeff's going to University of Florida (not FU like I sometimes, mistakenly, say! LOL) for his Masters with the goal of becoming a CPA. He's still going out with Chanel and seems happy. Scott and Kev are still at University of Central Florida in Orlando. Kev's still in ROTC with the goal of going into the Air Force and becoming a Special Ops guy (much to his mother's chagrin!). Scott's changed his major to something in Media and Communications with the goal of being on TV or radio in sports. He's still crazy about his girlfriend, Julianna.
Andrew-wise: still loves his job. Hasn't been going to Europe as much this year (yay!!) and got in on a Hawaii trade show (again, yay!!).
Me - going to Hawaii with Andrew, of course!! I started a new job. It's commission only selling health insurance. I work from home - in my pj's!! Nice!!
I guess that's all, for now. I'll update again after I get all my test results in October.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I'll start with Scott. Scott had his heart set on being an Air Force Pilot. He's done one year of AFROTC at his University. He did really, really well. So well, that they gave him a $1,000 scholarship! Yay Scott. Well, to be in the Air Force you have to be physically perfect. We found out, through all the testing, that Scott is not physically perfect. What a frickin' shock! Turns out he has a degenerative eye disease called Lattice Degeneration. With this particular disease? They have turned him down. That's it, that's all. Thanks for dedicating a year of your life to the Air Force. Spending all your time with this Air Force "family". Making all your friends Air Force people. Thanks, but no thanks. You're not perfect so away you go. Can you tell I'm a little bitter? Really pissed me off. They just called Scott into the office and told him. Now, you should know, that they were really sad. Near tears, sad. But, still. He's out. So long sucker!
We took him to a renowned specialist who confirmed the diagnosis. I called Scott's Captain and discussed it with him. Tried to see if we could get a waiver for it or appeal the decision but there's no appealing the government. So...Scott's gotta figure out something else. Now, as I've always said, when one door closes, another one opens. It's kismet.
My dad knows a guy from hockey who works for ESPN and is working on getting Scotty a job/internship at the ESPN radio in Orlando. So...let's all cross our fingers and hope this works out. I've been harping on Scott to do something with his weird brain that holds the strangest sports information. He knows so much "crap" and statistics that it's really truly odd. Scott, I'm not saying your odd, I'm saying that part of you is odd. LOL! And, I must say that I wouldn't trade that year Scott was with the ROTC. It made him focused and "turned him into a man". I am grateful for that (but still pissed).
I also should add that Kevin is still in the Air Force ROTC (he got a $500 scholarship!! - it was a proud proud day!) so, as mad as I am about the Scott situation, I have to put that aside and hope for the best for Kevin. We took Kevin to that same eye guy and he does not have the degenerative eye disease so he should be good to go. Other than that? Kev's a bum this summer. He's tried several jobs and they've all sucked. He did that door to door meat job, then he tried his hand at telemarketing but got fired from it, then he did some telephone delivery. You work for yourself and, after all was said and done, he ended up making only about $5/hour on it. F that S. No way.
Jeff's got a great job, though! First off, he's still doing a paid internship in the accounting department at Rooms to Go. It's part-time. He also landed a secret shopper job. It pays $17.50/hour!! He only does it one day a month but that's a nice little job, eh? He's heading to University of Florida in the fall to continue his education. He has to do that to become a CPA.
As for me....I'm doing great. I'm off the cane, for the most part. I use it when we go to a festival or shopping but mostly for when I get tired, not because I need it for balance. I'm quite pleased with my progression. I'm sick of exercising every day, though. Really really sick of it.
Oh, and there's something I must say, here. I have had two people, lately, tell me how perfect my life is. WTF, people!! If you think my life is perfect then #1 you can't possibly BE my friend because #2 you're obviously not listening. I'm not perfect. My husband isn't perfect. My kids are not perfect. This really pissed me off 'cause they said it in a "what do you know, you have the perfect life" kind of way, you know? Who the hell do they think they're talking to? I was sick all the time growing up, had three horrible pregnancies along with three c-sections at the end of each one, then asthma with a couple of hospitalizations and had to move to Florida just so I could breathe. Next up? Cancer and now two hip replacements. I don't have a job, I don't talk to one of my sisters (she doesn't talk to me, either, so we're even, I guess), I miss Canada but can't live there 'cause I'll die and I go through empty nest syndrome in the winter and too many kids in the summer. I have no memory after chemo and menopause (at age 46 - thanks, Cancer, you fucker!!) and I'm fat to boot! Perfect? Assholes! Fuckers (that's my new favourite word).
Wow, I feel so much better having said that. Seriously, if someone said you were perfect. A friend said you were perfect. You'd just have to thing they're just not listening. We all have problems. Ok, I'm done, now.
Oh, and cancer-wise - I had a followup visit with my oncologist and my blood work looks good. The bone blood part was a little low but that's probably because of my hip surgery. There was another low part in the liver enzymes or something but that was low to begin with so they're just going to watch it. I go for all the "big tests" in September and October. I have to have an MRI, PET scan, mammogram and ultrasound. It's all to make sure I'm ok. I like it. Makes me feel secure in some weird way.
Alright, I'm done with my update....
I will download a video of a night of fun we had a couple of weeks ago. OMG! Wait till you see. I'll do it in the next couple of days. Oh! And my sister, Kim, is coming to visit on Thursday for a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited I can hardly sit down. She is one of my favourite people in the whole world! I'll try to video something good from her visit, too. Shouldn't be too hard - she's as weird as me! WooHoo!!!
Friday, May 29, 2009
I'm thinking someone could have told me that my hair looked like shit and that the shirt was not "flattering" on my arms! I know I didn't care - those pain pills are great! They make you "not care" about anything, and... I was out of my wheelchair for a moment! Yay!! But, other than me? Look at those men of mine!!
Aunt Hilary came from Canada for the big occassion!
My mom and dad helped out/did the entire party!! Thank you!! - no Scott and Kevin are not gay - they just pretend. A lot!!
Jeff and his two best friends, Josh and Jayson. Jayson is actually sleeping here tonight. I love him!!
Jeff and his school friends. His girlfriend, Chanel is the one hugging him (along with Josh who is the huggiest man I've ever met!)
Next up for Jeff is Graduate School. He's going to University of Florida for that. He will, eventually, be a CPA (the US equivilant of a CA) and follow in his daddy's footsteps.
Scott: Has a girlfriend. She's very "peppy" and sweet. Unfortunately she lives in Orlando so guess where Scott's staying this summer? Whatever. Here's a picture of them:
Kevin: Home. Trying to work. He was with a company selling "meat" door to door - yah, yah, too funny! Meat as in steak and chicken, y'all! Get your minds out of the gutter!! He quit that, yesterday - but not before getting me lots of steak, chicken and fish at cost! Woohoo!! He's going to start looking for a different job tomorrow. There's not many jobs out there, I must say. If you like telemarketing? C'mon down to Florida!! That's the only jobs available, it seems. He may just have to do it. It does pay well.
Andrew - Currently in Europe. Just for a week this time. Happy at his job and wishing I would hurry up and heal so everything can get back to normal. He's been such a rock through this whole thing. He has to do everything, you know. All the laundry, cooking, cleaning, groceries. Everything! I love you, Babe!!
That's all, for now. Are you happy, Shelley? LOL!!
Friday, April 17, 2009
My day looks like this:
wake up and go get coffee and eat breakfast
play on computer for an hour or two
play on computer
watch tv.... and on and on
I've had a little bit of a reprieve this week from the boredom.
Christy came and took me to her church to help sort "stuff" for their bazaar. Jeff & Chanel came on Saturday and we shopped for a dress for Chanel (not Jeff! LOL!!) for an upcoming Formal. Then they came again on Wednesday to pick up the dress from the alterations guy and Chanel and I went shopping some more. The stayed for dinner. Thursday night Kirsten texted me saying she was at the Melting Pot chatting with Heather who bartends there. I texted back saying I'd be right over. So over I go with Andrew...just assuming that was an invitation. Turns out she was meeting a date there! So we just kind of....well...invited ourselves on her first date with a guy!! Well? I really thought it was an invitation!!
So...we sit at the bar and eat and drink and laugh - a lot. I have three green apple martinis. I didn't think anything of it. We got home and I was in a lot of pain from sitting on the bar stools so I have a pain pill. Boom!! It hit me. I went to bed. I don't actually even remember going to bed!! I slept for 12 hours straight!! Best sleep I've had in a really long time!! The pain usually wakes me up several times. I think I've stumbled on a "good thing"!! Yay!!!
My surgery is in a week and 3 days. I'm really looking forward to it. I went to a hip replacement class they have at the hospital. I was, by far, the youngest person there. Ugh! It was very informative. Great class! I found out I'll probably be in the hospital for 3 - 4 nights and then home. I'll use a walker for the first 2 - 3 weeks then back to the cane. Will have home rehab till I can get to therapy on my own - which may be a while since it's the right hip being done and that's my driving leg.
Kid-wise: Jeff's graduating from college on May 9th! He's going to work for the summer and then go to University of Florida for his MBA. He has to go an extra year to become a CPA (the American equivilant of a CA) so he might as well stay a little while longer and get his MBA.
Scotty is still doing ROTC. Still wants to be a pilot. He just received a $1,000 scholarship from ROTC for being outstanding and will get his name on a plaque in the ROTC building. I'm a very proud mama!!
Kevin is still doing ROTC. Now wants to be some sort of something where it's dangerous and he would go in and save soldiers who are in enemy territory...or something like that. It's crazy, whatever it is! Suits Kevin, just fine!! ROFL!!!
Andrew...perfect as ever. I love him soooo much!!!
Oh...sad news....Duffy (out sweet dog) died. Cancer. Sucks. Sad. It's been two weeks and I'm still looking for him around the house. I miss him.
Mom and dad will still be here when I get my hip replacement so they're going to help me when I get home.
I think that's it.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Okay, so here goes:
Went to a doctor who supposedly knows all about AVN. It was sure a surprise to him! He said that, no, he does not. He did agree with the other doctor that I should probably get a core decompression done. He also decided that he should do a cortisone shot to see if it would take some swelling down in the hip. Boy! Did that hurt! The next day I could hardly walk, for pete's sake. Anyway, it didn't work. The pain didn't subside. Even a teeny tiny bit.
So I decided to do some research of my own. I found an online support group of people with AVN. Almost every single one of these people has had asthma bad enough to be on major doses of prednisone - just like me. Many of them have battle cancer, too. What I found was that core decompression is not a cure. It just puts off the eventual hip replacement. It's not guaranteed to make the pain go away, either.
So, I decided to go back to my original doctor and get a hip replacement done. Now, when I first went to him a year ago, he said he could do both hips at the same time. Since I have gained 20 lbs in the meantime? No such luck. So, I'm going to do the right hip on April 27. When I've recovered from that one I'll do the left hip.
I've applied for short term disability. I haven't heard back, yet. It's certainly not guaranteed that I'll get it. This is a pre-existing condition so we'll see. I really want the disability now so that I can try to get into some sort of better shape prior to surgery. The aquafit class and beginner yoga classes I want to go to are only offered on weekday mornings so I'd like to be able to attend those.
In the end, I'm happy to have the hip replacement set up. I'm in so much pain on a daily basis that I could just sit and cry. I know that the hip replacement won't be a walk in the park but I have to stay focused on the end result - just like I did when I was doing chemo.
That's all for today.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
My hips are 30% dead. They like for your hips to be 50% dead before they'll do a hip replacement. Therefore, he thinks I should do a less invasive operation whereby they drill holes in the hips to reduce the pressure thereby getting rid of the pain. However, he doesn't do this operation.
So...he's going to call around and try to find me a doctor who works with young people with Avascular Necrosis and see what that doctor says.
I have no feelings about this. It's not good, it's not bad, it just is what it is. There's no pill to help with the pain. I told him I've been self-medicating with Green Apple Martinis and he said whatever helps. So, there ya go. I must now go make myself a drink!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The good news is that the port is out. Yay!! It kinda hurt but it was worth it.
The shitty news is that my hips are getting worse. Especially my right hip. I'm in pain most of the time. I say most of the time because....if I drink a few green apple martinis? The pain miraculously goes away. Also, I can make it go away with some left over narcotics from Kevin's broken femur adventure. Ahhh....percocet!! Gotta love it! But most of the time it feels like I have a knife sticking into my hip. Oh, the hip is not the outer part of the body but more the upper groin area. You know where your hip bone is? Well go in about 3 inches and that's where my pain is. All the fucking time. The left hip hurts too but not as bad. It seems to be about three months behind.
So...I was researching getting a double hip replacement. I mean, why do one and go through all that recovery and then do the other and repeat the recovery. I want to do both at the same time, go through recovery and get the fuck on with my life. So, I was researching it and came across this cool new technique. Well, it's new in the States but they've been doing it in Europe for a very long time. It's done on a special table called the Hana table and it enables the surgeon to go in from the front and not cut through major muscle groups and he can do both at the same time. I got all excited about it and looked up if there was a doctor in my area who works with that table.
I found one in Spring Hill which is about an hour north of here. Not too bad a drive for this. I made an appointment and went to see him yesterday. I really, truly thought he'd just say "yah, you need this done" and I'd get an appointment and, hooray!, no more pain. After all, the other ortho guy told me I could get it done anytime I want and when I don't want to live with the pain anymore, call him and we'll book it. Well, it didn't go that way. He wants me to get another MRI because mine is a year old. He also mentioned doing a different procedure first. It's where they drill a hole into the hip and hope that some blood flow goes in there and stops the fast spread of the necrosis (dying bone). It was weird to hear this because the other ortho guy said that that procedure never works. Anyway, I now have to go for the MRI and, if the necrosis isn't too bad, he would want to do this drilling thing and, if the necrosis is bad, he would do hip replacement.
This is very disappointing. I really just want the hip replacements and be done with it. I understand the reasoning behind doing the drilling but am confused because of what the other ortho guy said. Then I realized I've had three orthos. The first one I didn't like. The second I liked and now this third one. I've also had three oncologists. Am I too picky? Crazy? I dunno. All I know is that I'm soooo sick of being a patient and just want to move on.
Anyway, here's an article that describes all this better than I just did:
So...that's the update on my health. I don't feel like writing anymore so you don't get an update on my life. All I'll say is everything's great.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Oh! Interestingly enough, while I was at the Oncologists I found an article that talks about chemo brain and how women who have gone through breast cancer chemo, in particular, complain about chemo brain. Chemo brain is when you have a really weird memory. Like, I can't remember people's names who I've known and loved for years, I can't remember what I did over the weekend, what I ate for lunch. Stuff like that. I used to have a pretty decent vocabulary but that seems to be leaving me. It's just weird. Anyway, they're starting to do some (this is a good example of chemo-brain - I just read about it 1/2 an hour ago and can't think of the word) studies (I went and looked it up) to see if there's anything that can be done. My family would sure be happy if I could improve. I think they're getting frustrated with me not remembering some pretty important things.
Ok, that's it for my update, for now. Andrew's taking me out for a romantic dinner tonight. Woohoo!! I love romance!!
Sunday, January 4, 2009
It's on my right shoulder. I did it while Andrew was away. I thought it would be a "good" surprise but I didn't read that one very well. He wanted to be involved in the process of picking the tattoo. Understandable. He's not mad just a little disappointed. I would be too so I completely understand. My bad. Anyway, I had told Scott & Kevin I was doing it and could they be there with me to hold my hand. No, they couldn't. They had parties to go to. Jeff couldn't be here either so I talked my mom into going with me. She wasn't happy about that. She hates tattoos. I decided to do it anyway and then? I woke up on Saturday morning and there was Scott & Kevin!! Home!! Just for me!! I love those boys!! And I did need the hand holding 'cause it really did hurt.
Then came my birthday. I hadn't had a birthday party since I was 13 and was complaining about it one night when my parents were here and my mom said "well, I'll give you one". So she did. It was so fun! Most of my favourite people were there and I love love loved it! Here's some pics:
Jeff's best friend, Jayson, me and Scott. Yes, I felt very short. See the necklace? My boys gave it to me for my birthday! I love it! They also gave me a blue version of the same one. Jayson is one of Jeff's best friends. Josh is Jeff's other best friend. He's in a later picture. They arrived with flowers in hand. They make me feel so special - I love those boys. When I was in chemo, they'd get on the phone with me and chat a little and send their love. Sweet, sweet boys.
This is Christy. She's one of my best friends. I love her. Isn't she cute? She's from the south and says y'all and other "south" stuff. So cute. I don't see her enough. Hey, Christy! Let's make a New Year's resolution to see each other more! Love ya! Oh! And see in the background. That's the only picture I got of Kevin. He's the built one in brown.
Got this one! That's Jeff and Josh in the picture with me.
My computer stopped letting me comment beside the pictures. Weird. Anyway the next two pictures are of the cake. Ruth is in the background. She's a friend from one of my earlier jobs and she's the one who gave me a beautiful prayer that Kim read prior to my breast surgery. She is a beautiful person. The other one in the background is Jim. He's a dad from hockey. I hung out with he and his wife, Robin all the time. Love them! Then, the bottom picture is my momma helping me blow out the candles. Thank you momma! I definitely couldn't have done it without you!! And thank you for my party....it was soooo fun!!
I just realized that you can see my port in all the pictures. It's that lump above my left boob. I hate that thing. It'll be coming out in late January! Yay!!
Then came Christmas. It was lovely. The Halls came for dinner and my mom and dad came, too. Mr & Mrs Hall are friends of the family and have been for about 30 years. Mr Hall is a "funny guy" with a huge heart and Mrs Hall is my third mom. She loves me, I love her. Oh, and Joanne? She gave me huge hug for you....Thanks!! ROFL!!
Then came New Years. We had dinner in with the boys and then Andrew & I went to Jack Willies for fun. It's an outdoor tiki bar. There was a band and weird characters and it was fun (a little chilly, though, by Florida standards). As soon as the New Years' kiss was done? We headed inside.
The kids have been home this whole time. It's nice to have them home but, boy, do those kids ever eat a lot!
Oh, as for cancer stuff. I did my second to last Herceptin this week. I'm almost done!! It'll be so nice to not have to go for treatments anymore but scary at the same time. As I mentioned earlier I'll be able to get my port out when the treatments are done. That'll be nice. I hate that thing. I mean, I love that it enabled me to get the treatments pain-free but it really is an ugly little thing, ya know?
I haven't met my new oncologist yet. I'll meet her on January 21. I've been told she's great. I did some checking on her and it seems she's more of a blood oncologist. I'll have to ask her a bunch of questions. I want someone who knows everything there is to know about breast cancer so, we'll see. I met up with my radiation oncologist at a restaurant in December and he said he can recommend someone good so I'll probably do that and change oncologists again. So much drama. Ugh!! I hate drama. It's just too draining.
Happy New Years everyone!