Monday, March 29, 2010

Stereotactic Core Biopsy

Had the biopsy done on my left breast today. Its an uncomfortable procedure, but not painful. The worst part is your neck and shoulder get sore from staying in one position so long. They have you lie on your stomach with your breast hanging down through a hole. You head is turned to the side. They squish your breast between 2 glass plates to keep it in position. The tech takes a bunch of pictures (x-rays?) to find the calcifications, then calls in the radiologist to do the procedure. She numbs up the area with Novocaine, then inserts a thin tube that the needle goes through. They take more pics to make sure everything is positioned right, then vacuum out some of the calcifications. The tech takes the tissue and x-rays it to make sure they got what they needed, then they are done. Oh, the radiologist also leaves a little titanium clip in the breast to mark where the biopsy was done. Its about the size of a deer tick--really tiny! After all that, I had to go to the room next door to get a quick mamogram to verify placement of the clip, and then I got wrapped up real tight with an ace bandage! I look flat-chested! I can take off the bandage at bedtime, and I can shower in the morning. I can't lift anything for 48 hours.
I will get the results on Wednesday.
The radiologist that recommended this procedure told me that if it was cancer it would be DCIS, which is non-invasive, and non-life threatening. I asked the radiologist today if it could be a more invasive type of cancer, or just DCIS, and she said its possible it could be a worse type. She also said that there was nothing on the mammogram that jumps out at her as definitely cancer. She said sometimes she can tell before the biopsy, but that's not the case with mine, so that's good news.
Well, I'm a bit tired now (ok, A LOT tired), so I'm going to rest for a bit.
Take care!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Still Here...

I'm still here! :) I'm usually too tired to do much after work, and haven't felt like updating the blog. And there really isn't much new.
The neuropathy is still there--my feet up to my ankles feel numb, and the tips of my fingers, especially on my right hand, feel numb too. Cold makes them feel worse--I always have my slippers on! I was reading some forums on a cancer website, and it sounds like the neuropathy often gets worse before it starts getting better.
I have some VERY annoying bowel/"backside" issues, and some days it makes me crabby. I get tired of dealing with the same issues day after day. But when I start to get down, I stop and remind myself of all I've been through, and then I feel happy to just be alive. These things are minor problems compared to how bad things could be. My life has changed forever, and my body will never be the same as it was, but I am here enjoying each and every day.
Speaking of enjoying each I got to spend time with my wonderful little grandson! He's almost 6 months old now! He's getting a little more vocal, and letting everyone know his likes and dislikes, but he's still a joy to spend time with!
On Sunday, Rachel is having a bridal shower for Alyssa. It should be a lot of fun! Then next week I have Spring Break, but I won't be able to enjoy too much of it because on Monday I have my biopsy, and on Tuesday I plan on finishing my taxes. The rest of the week I'll be cleaning and getting ready to have my family over for Easter. Not sure yet if I'll make it to church on Easter; I'll probably have too much to do that morning. But that's ok...its not like I'm going to forget the significance of the day! Its because of Jesus' death and resurrection that I'll be able to spend eternity with Him! Then again, I'd really like to go--sigh--I can't make up my mind! Bridgewood is having a pancake breakfast, and Pastor Mark is going to play a centurion in a drama. It sounds like it'll be very moving. Rich is ushering at the 11:15 service, but I'd have to go to one of the earlier services. Easter services will be at 8, 9:30, and 11:15 if anyone wants to come!
I love Bridgewood church. They have been so good to me. They've prayed for me (and with me), made meals for us, and just made us feel loved and cared for. That's what a church should be like--they have shown me Jesus through their actions. I often ask God to richly bless them!
Work is going well. I get to read with the kids in reading groups alot and I love doing that. My feet get very sore some days! I get home, put them up and they are just throbbing. They get a little swollen too. I am very tired too, and don't get much done after work. Recess is ok on the nice days, but today was REALLY cold! Then I don't like it! I would gladly give up that part of my job. I just don't want to deal with the cold anymore (or the heat and humidity we have sometimes!). I've been praying about it a lot--seeing if God has something else for me.
Well that's my update! Thanks for checking in!
Blessings to all!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Neuropathy Getting Worse

I added a link to the side bar on my blog for the National Cancer Institute. The link takes you to the page about colon and rectal cancer. It is full of information and even has a risk assessment link. It also has info on prevention, genetics, treatment, etc. So check it out.
I think my neuropathy is getting worse instead of better. Before it was just the bottom of my feet that were numb and tingly, but now it has moved up to my ankle, esp. on my right foot. I came home from work a little early on Friday because my foot hurt and felt a little swollen and I wanted to put my feet up. Its still achy today, but not as bad as Friday. But it is still numb around the ankle. My finger tips feel a little more numb too.
I am so achy all over. I wonder if chemo somehow made my arthritis worse. I'll have to ask my doc when I see him in May.
I was really tired all weekend, which was a bummer because I didn't feel like I had a break before going back to work. Today I feel better--just my normal "tired after work" feeling.
I enjoy being at work, but I sure miss being able to do stuff with my daughters. Rachel has needed a babysitter a few times, and Shonna needed to go prom dress shopping (our weekends have been too busy and I'm too tired after work to hike around the mall!). Shonna decided to ask Alyssa to go with her today since I wasn't available. Haven't heard yet if she found anything.
Brennan's dedication on Sunday was very nice(No, its not the same as a baptism--he'll do that when he gets older!). We went to Rachel's after for snacks and cake. Brennan is so cute! He smiles and "talks" all the time now. He is sleeping in his crib now--he looks so tiny in it! Today Rachel said instead of napping he was talking to the cow painted on the wall!
Along with the tiredness this weekend I felt a little down. But that's done now--even tho I ache all over, its still WAY better than how I was feeling a few months ago! I just keep counting my blessings!
Love and Blessings!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Life Goes On

Well, I'm back to living a "normal" life (ok, when was I ever normal, really?). I'm enjoying being back at work, and each day gets a little easier. My feet are getting used to being stood upon again :) I'm very tired though when I get home! I wish I had more energy!
Today wasn't too bad. I went to church after work to do some copying for the children's programs, then I made supper and even managed to get the dishes done after! I'm glad tomorrow is Friday!

Should be a fun weekend. Brennan's dedication is on Sunday, then after church we are going to Rachel and Ken's for lunch/treats. Saturday night Rich and I are hanging out with Alyssa, Jaren, Jaren's parents, and another couple from church. Had a great time with them all a few weeks ago, so we decided to get together more regularly.
Its been 7 weeks since my last chemo. I still have a lot of tingling in my hands and feet from the neuropathy. The cold outside makes it a little worse. I've noticed I have a hard time doing things with my fingers, like fixing stuck zippers on kids' coats, and tying knots in craft projects during indoor recess (its been raining the past few days). I often have to ask one of the other paras or teachers to help out. Buttons are difficult too, but not impossible.
I also have a lot of aches and pains. My once mild Rheumatoid arthritis is now back with a vengeance! Anytime I sit for more than a few minutes I have a hard time walking when I get up, because of my hips. My shoulders, wrist, and ankles hurt too. I plan on seeing another rheumatologist this summer. I haven't seen my other one in a long time, and I'd like to find a new one. I'm too young to be hobbling around like this!
Nothing new on the possible breast cancer. My biopsy is March 29th. I'm still annoyed....
Its weird sometimes to think of where I was at this time last year (recovering from surgery, and soon to start chemo). Its hard to believe everything I've been through this past year. I plan on enjoying every holiday/birthday/special occasion this year that I couldn't enjoy last year! Hopefully I'll be healthy enough to do that!
God is Good!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Good Lookin' Colon

Had my colonoscopy today. I'm so glad I can finally eat something other than Jell-o! The gastro doc (Dr. Jafri) talked to me about my surgery before he did the procedure and we talked about bleeding. He said radiation can often cause bleeding in the colon years later. It seems I'm always finding out something about the radiation that I didn't know before. Many effects are life-long. During the colonoscopy he showed me where the surgery was and we saw some of the red spots that cause bleeding from the radiation. There is a name for the condition--but I'm too lazy to go get my report now to look it up! If anyone REALLY wants to know--just ask and I'll let you know. The red spots are actually little blood vessels close to the surface and they bleed easily with any irritation or pressure.
I've heard that many people sleep through the procedure, but even though I get Fentynal and Versed (sp?), I always stay awake. They gave me an extra bump today during the test because it got a little uncomfortable. I probably didn't need any more drugs, but as soon as they see you're uncomfortable they quickly give you more!
I wondered why I needed to get a colonoscopy so soon--nothing has had a chance to grow in there yet. But it was good to take a look to make sure everything was ok after the surgery and radiation. Dr. Jafri wants me back in 3 years, but we'll see what my oncologist, Dr. Jahagirdar, wants. Hopefully he'll agree with Dr. Jafri!
Afterward we went to Perkins for breakfast. I didn't eat very much because my stomach was really hurting and bloated. We came home and I laid in bed, watched my soap, and fell asleep. Rich napped with me too for awhile. I feel pretty good now--but my tummy is still making lots of noise!
Well, that was probably more info than you wanted! I'm the type that likes lots of details when I read someone's blog--maybe some of you are that way too. :)

Blessings to all!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Today I am home from work prepping for my colonoscopy tomorrow. I have been eating Jell-o, and drinking water, juice, tea, coffee. None of which has taken the edge off my hunger! My stomach is protesting--loudly! I have no energy, (even typing this is a chore!), and am getting a headache--which, of course, I can't take anything for, because I have an empty tummy! Thank goodness its only one day!
Ok, enough of my whining. The procedure itself isn't bad (esp. after they give you some "happy" drugs!), and should be interesting to see what the old colon looks like now that it is 18" shorter! I wonder if I'll be able to see where the surgeon reconnected it?
March is Colon Cancer Awareness month, and tomorrow (Friday, March 5th) is Dress in Blue Day, to raise awareness of this killer disease. Colon Cancer is the 2nd leading cancer killer in America! But its "Preventable, Treatable, Beatable" especially if caught early. Which is why you need to get your colonoscopy at 50 years old, and earlier if you have any unusual symptoms. I don't care how young you are, if you have changes in your bowels (blood and/or mucus in the stool, frequency, etc.) demand to get a colonoscopy done. I've heard stories of docs not recommending a colonoscopy because of a person's age--only to have that person find out much later (too late, in some cases) that they have colon cancer. Be an advocate for yourself--insist that you get one!
Well, I went back to work this week. I work 5 hours a day at the elementary school nearby. I work in first grade and kindergarten, and also do lunch and recess supervision. Thankfully, its been near or above 40 degrees each day this week, so being outside hasn't been too bad. Bright, sunny, and refreshing!
On my first day back my feet, legs, and hips hurt really bad by the end of the day. But it has gotten better each day. Learning all the kindergartner's names is definitely a challenge with my "chemo brain"! It was great seeing all my co-workers, and I got many hugs from the kids! I was a little nervous about starting back again, but once I got there, it felt as if I never left!
I have my stereotactic biopsy scheduled for Monday, March 29th. That is the first day of my Spring Break. The radiologist will be taking a sample of the calcifications in my left breast to see if its cancerous. Not too worried about the results, like I said before--I'm more annoyed than worried!
Why couldn't I have gotten cancer in my pinkie, or some other place that I could keep my clothes on for the tests? Sheesh! Oh well, I won't actually die from embarrassment, but I could die from undetected cancer! So better to suffer through the tests, than the alternative!

Wear blue tomorrow everyone!!