Monday, December 3, 2012

Scope Day

I had my colonoscopy today and it's all clear!  I'm good for FIVE years!  Woo-hoo!  Last time it was 3 years, and now I've advanced to 5.  I am so glad, because the prep was really rough.  A person who has had 18" of their colon removed responds differently to the prep.  Next time the prep will be modified to avoid all the painful cramping!  I still have some nausea this evening, so have been taking it easy.  Resting a lot, drinking lots of water, and not eating too much yet.
I was able to watch the procedure on the monitor, and I clearly saw the radiated part of my colon.  It's very red looking, and bleeds easily.  I was told this at my last scope too, but this time I saw it more clearly.  It's not inflamed, so that is good.
I'm just so glad it's over with.  It's been a miserable 2 days!  
Guess who needs to get his done this next year?  Yep!  Hubby turns 50 soon!  Anyone else that is reading this that is 50 or over, and has not had their colonoscopy yet, GET IT DONE!  Call your primary physician, and get it set up asap!  And if you have any changes to your bowel habits, or mucus and/or blood, get to your Dr. now and get it checked out!  Colon cancer can be cured if it is found early enough. I waited about 18 months before I told my Dr. about my problems. I had some other medical problems I wanted to take care of first.  I sure wish I hadn't waited.  I still would've had cancer, but I may have been able to skip the radiation--boy wouldn't that be nice if I didn't have to deal with those side effects!
Love and Blessings!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Another Update

Well, don't know if anyone is out there reading this any more, but thought it was time for an update.  I've written blog posts in my head many times, but for some reason I just haven't taken the time to actually write it here!
As always, I'll start with a health update.  I saw both my colorectal surgeon (Dr.T) and my oncologist (Dr. J) a few weeks ago. The fistula has been bleeding more, and apparently something came loose, and Dr.T fixed it.  I found out she does colonoscopies (I had been going to a gastro doc for my previous scopes) and told her I'd like to see her for my next one, which is due in March.  Because there has been some bleeding, Dr. T. said insurance wouldn't have a problem with doing it sooner, and she figured my deductible has probably been met for the year, so we may as well get it done. She assured me, a couple of times, that she doesn't think the bleeding means there is anything wrong, and I agree.  Because of the radiation damage and fistula, there will always be some bleeding.  So, I am scheduled to have my colonoscopy next Monday, Dec. 3rd (yikes!).  
My 3 month check up with Dr. J went well. My blood tests are all ok, although my hemoglobin and red blood cell count both dropped a little.  Dr. J wasn't too concerned, and I told him I started taking a daily iron pill.  He checked my reflexes this time, and my wrists and knees were fine, but my ankles still don't respond.  This is from the neuropathy in my feet. I've been noticing that my balance seems slightly worse.  Just small things, nothing major.  This is probably from the neuropathy also.  I told him next time I see him (in 3 months) I'll be 4 years out from my diagnosis  of colon cancer (and 3 years from breast cancer).  He said that if the cancer does return, it wouldn't be as aggressive as a cancer that came back sooner.  He still wants to do scans every 6 months, so if anything does turn up we would be able to fight it aggressively, because I am still young and healthy (I love hearing that I am young!).   Dr. J also asked if I have been exercising, which the answer is an obvious no.  I think that was his gentle way of telling me he noticed I've been gaining weight.  This weight thing is so frustrating!  My metabolism is almost non-existent!  Oh well...I'll just have to try harder! 
Up until about 2 weeks ago I had been in a lot of pain (backside issues).  Sometimes it gets me a bit down.  You'd think after nearly 4 years I would have figured out what causes the 'bad' days. All I know is I have more bad days than good.  Although, whenever I have a stretch of good (like now), I hope that this will become the norm, and not the bad days!
I find there are still a lot of things that bring me back to my chemo days.  Thankfully, the nausea doesn't come back though.  For instance, today I heated up a bowl of leftover mashed potatoes, and it reminded me of how I ate them a lot during chemo.  I could almost feel that fog I was in for so many days each round of chemo.  There are reminders almost daily.
I always try to make sure people know (both those that are recently dx'd with cancer, and those that don't have it) that when the treatment stops, things don't go back to "normal".  This is where the term "new normal" really fits.  Because side effects, pain, psychological effects, are all a part of my life now.  I don't mean that to sound so bad, because I truly am grateful to be here and be cancer free.  But I think people need to know, so they can understand what they might go through, or what someone else might be dealing with.
God has answered so many prayers recently for my family and me.  I'm going to press in and pray for healing for my pain issues.  I've been praying for help with my fatigue, and I am feeling a bit better.  I just get busy and unfortunately don't have much energy left to spend time in God's Word as much as I should.  I really need to do that more...there is nothing like the feeling I get when I spend time with God!
Family update:  it's been so long since I blogged, I forgot I never wrote about my new granddaughter!  Alyssa and Jaren had their baby on 10/15, 3 weeks early, but she was considered full term.  They named her Selah ("say-la") Marie.  Selah is a musical term in Psalms that means to pause, or pause and reflect.  She is a beautiful little girl, and the new family is doing great.  They have plenty of babysitters to help them out!  Here is a picture of Selah, and one of my grandsons:

Aren't they cute?  Charlie is doing so well!  He is standing by himself in this picture!  He can walk with a walker.  It's hard to believe he is the same tiny 3 and a half year old that came to us from Ukraine. What a gift he is! Brennan is as smart as ever, and at the age of 3 he is reading a few words!  Love my babies!
Shonna is doing great at college--she just registered for spring sem.  I LOVE having her back in MN!  
Thanks for reading!  Let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you readers--be sure to contact me if you have questions about cancer (chemo, radiation, breast, colon, etc., etc.)  OR if you want info about adopting a beautiful child from an orphanage.  Or maybe you want to know how you can help a child other ways besides adopting.  Please ask!  You can e-mail me at nuttyoaks@gmaildotcom.  You can also send me prayer requests, and I'll be happy to pray for you or send you some helpful Bible verses. :)
God bless!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's September Already!

As usual, I'll start with the health stuff, because I figure that's what most people are here to read about!  All my scans were clear, and bloodwork was good! My onc. asked me if I planned to do reconstruction, and we talked about the pros and cons of that a little.  He said they have some very good and newer procedures now, but also said there is no reason to do recon.  He said I should do whatever Rich and I think is best.  He said it is unlikely that I would get cancer in my remaining breast--if I did it would be a new primary, and not a recurrence. I'm seriously considering another surgery to go completely flat and just be done with it all! I feel like I'm always uneven and it's getting annoying. Plus, I wouldn't have to have the MRIs and Mammograms any more! I keep saying this, but I really should just see a plastic surgeon, so I would at least know my options.  My biggest fear with recon is that my radiated skin won't heal properly.  So many women never achieve good results after rads.  I don't want several more surgeries and revisions.  But I could handle one more, if it would make life easier.  We'll see.  
We also talked about my neuropathy--not much new there.   I still have it, and my onc. thinks I probably always will.  I have Lhermitte's sign again, which is a tingling down my back and left leg everytime I bend my head forward.  I had that after chemo, but went away, and now it's back.  It can be a sign of MS, but it's also common after chemo.  Doc said it's nothing to be concerned about and brushed it off.  I, of course, did some research, and I agree with doc.  It's just more nerve damage from chemo.  It's been less than 2 years since I finished chemo, and I still get new and different signs of the nerve damage.  Last Fall, after going back to work and being on my feet a lot, I started getting a burning feeling on the bottom of my feet--it felt like I stepped on hot pavement.  That doesn't happen as often, but now I am getting more cramping in my feet--esp. my right foot.  When I am sitting here on the couch with my feet up, sometimes my toes and the top of my foot will just cramp up and my toes will be stuck in a certain position, until I stretch it out. 
Anyways--there wasn't much else to discuss with my onc.  He does want blood tests again in 3 months, and ct scans again in 6. I'll also have my colonoscopy then, and mammo.  I almost told him I would rather wait a year to get scanned, because I'm so sure they'll be clear again, but there is always that little fear, and I kept my mouth shut and am going to go along with his expert recommendation.
As for the fistula, it involves only a little muscle, so I could have it cut open, with the hopes that it would heal completely and be gone, but there is always the issue of my radiated skin.  I told the surgeon that I am worried it wouldn't heal.  She agreed that could happen.  We decided to leave it as it is, with the Seton in (the rubber band like thing that lays through the fistula), and keep checking on it every 3 months.  She said it can be left in for a couple of years.  It doesn't bother me too much, so that's what I'm going to do.  She also said it won't affect any of my options, and I can change my mind at any time.
Ok, enough of that.  In other news...I go back to work Tuesday, which is when the new school year starts.  I am sort of looking forward to it, but I am worried about how tired I will be.  I only work 10-1:15, but that is a busy 3.25 hours and I am on my feet a lot.  Nearly 2 hours of it is lunch and recess.  It wears me out.  I don't like coming home so exhausted I can't do anything else the rest of the day!  I've been tired a lot lately, even without working.  It's frustrating.  I've even been exercising more, because I assumed not exercising was part of my problem.  It hasn't helped, and I am often even more tired after exercising.  I have been eating better (although not this weekend!!), and that hasn't helped either.  I might go see my family doc, but really, there is not much that can be done for "fatigue". One thing I would like to try though, is taking Synthroid (brand name) instead of generic meds for my thyroid.  I've read several times that the generic is not always as good as the name brand in this case. Another dr. appointment to make....
How did that turn into talking about my health again?  In OTHER news....Alyssa is 31 weeks pregnant now, and getting big.  She is more beautiful than ever!  Her baby shower is coming in 2 weeks!  She is working 2 jobs, and has been feeling too stressed (a lot of other stuff going on too), so she will soon be quitting 1 job.  She needs to take it easy and have time to relax, enjoy her new house and spend quality time with her husband.
My grandson Charlie is starting preschool in a new school district this week.  He just turned 5, but will do another year of preschool before starting kindergarten.  But, wow, he is learning fast now!  He knows lots of signs (sign language), and is starting to be more and more verbal.  Brennan has slimmed down and turned into a little boy over night.  No more toddler!  He will be 3 the end of this month.  He says things like "That's pretty cool" and "Are you kidding me?!" and many, many other cute things.  You can tell he listens to every word his momma says! ;)  The boys will be over tomorrow morning, to give Rachel some time to get things done, while Ken is keeping his bees company and harvesting more honey.  
Shonna starts college at our big city college on Tues.  She learned how to ride the city bus a few days ago, and checked out the campus, then flew to Louisville to photograph a friend's wedding.  We picked her up this afternoon.  It's going to be a crazy busy week for her!
September is not my favorite month, because of the busy-ness.  It just rushes by in a blur.  I suppose by the end of it, we are pretty settled into our routines, and then I can finally enjoy it.  I LOVE the cool fall air.  We got a taste of that earlier in Aug, but now it is back to warm and muggy (although not nearly as hot and muggy as July!).  Sept. 8th is a very special day though, as that is our anniversary (28 years!!).  Unfortunately we are often too busy to celebrate much on that day, but usually find time later in the month.  I am still considering another trip to Duluth this fall, this time just the 2 of us.  We have gone there many, many times to celebrate our anniversary!
Here are a few pictures from our family vacation in Duluth this summer:

(Just want to mention that I had just gotten a TOO short haircut, and was not happy with it--don't plan on having it that short again!)
Have a blessed week everyone!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Scans and Such

Well, I've had just about every part of my body scanned recently!  I hope that's done for a while!
Last Friday I had to repeat the ultrasound I had back in June to look at my fistula.  When I went to see my surgeon about it on Tues., she didn't have the results!  She finally talked to a dr. (the "head honcho", as she called him) who read the scan to her over the phone.  He only had 4 pictures and they weren't very good.  He wanted to repeat the ultrasound, and do it himself.  After talking with my surgeon he knew my background and exactly what she was looking for.  I was very polite, and agreed, but I was SO BUMMED!  I cried a little when I got out to the car, was mad at God, and used all 8 cylinders in the truck on my way home (nobody got in my way that day!).  The ultrasound is a difficult test for me, causes pain and discomfort, and I really just hate it.  I can't fully explain why, because that is just TMI.  But I hope I never have to have that again!  When I called my surgeon's clinic to schedule another appt. with her after having the repeat scan done, they wanted to schedule me 4-6 weeks out.  Umm, no.  They were able to get me in this Thurs., less than a week after the scan. ;)  
Monday I had my MRI, to check for breast cancer, and today (Tues.) I had my ct scans and lab work.  Most of my labs are done already, and I can check them online.  So far, they all look good! My oncology nurse had a difficult time get blood from my port, so I had to let some "cath-flo" (draino like stuff) sit in there for about half an hour, then it worked fine.  Sometimes little flaps develop in the port line and they let stuff in (like saline) but the flap closes when drawing blood out.  The cath-flo eats that away and clears the line. It sure was nice having the port the past few days though.  It was used for my MRI, labs, and CT scan. No big ugly bruises on my arm, and relatively little pain!  
The bad part about the CT scan is that the yucky, horrible contrast I have to drink really messes up my stomach for the rest of the day.  Lots of gurgling and discomfort.  Oh well, by tomorrow I should be fine.
Now I wait for results. Thurs. I'll find out what we can do about the fistula, and next Tues. I'll see my onc and get the results of my scans.  They'll be all clear, I'm sure!
Even with all the strife and discomfort of the last week or so, I've been very happy.  I've been getting out for walks, now that the weather is cooler, and loving the exercise and the beautiful world God created for us.  I've felt very connected to my Lord lately, growing in my trust and faith.  I rarely worry about a recurrence, although I have been saddened that others I know have progressed to stage 4.  I do wonder sometimes if it will happen to me, but most of the time (75%?) I feel as though I've been healed and will never have cancer again (which would be a miracle, given my "young" age for both cancers).  No matter what happens though, I will continue to trust in God!
The rest of the fam is doing well--mom and Shonna are headed up north with my sister, and Alyssa and her husband.  Rich and I will have the house to ourselves woo-hoo!  :)  We had a great time recently in Duluth with our kids and grandkids.  I love having everyone together like that!
Life is good people--get out and enjoy it while you can!!
Love and blessings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Loooong Overdue Update!

Well, I've been putting off updating, because so much has happened since March (I can't believe it's been that long!) that this could be a REALLY long post.  I'll do my best to shorten all the news, and hopefully update more often!
Let's start with my health~thankfully not much has changed!  I still have the Seton thingy in my fistula, and it's feeling a bit better (although sore now from sitting so long!).  I recently had an ultrasound of the area, but I can't get in to see my surgeon again until Aug 7th to find out the results and what we do next.  Remember, this was caused by the radiation I had for colon cancer, and the radiated skin makes this a bit more tricky. For now, we wait and see what the surgeon says.  She is really good, and I trust her judgement.
In May I had my 3 month check up with my oncologist and had my labs done.  Everything looks good--some things, like hemoglobin and platelets, have improved. I continue to have problems with neuropathy, esp. in my feet, I continue to be tired a lot, and I still have a lot of bowel issues from my Low Anterior Resection.  But I'm happy to be here, and be alive!  My surgery was over 3 years ago--can you believe it?!
In Aug. I'll have labs, CT scans, MRI, and see my onc. again.  I had an MRI and Mammogram in Feb., but he wants to start staggering them and doing one of them every 6 months.  So, I'll have the MRI in Aug., and the mammo  next Feb.  My oncologist is keeping a close eye on me, so if there ever is a recurrence, of either cancer, we'll catch it early!
Ok, on to other news!  In my last post I wrote about Rich going to a job interview that sounded promising--well he got that job!  The pay is BETTER, the people are nice, and the job is interesting, rewarding, and less stressful! The drive is about 24 miles one way (nearly double what he drove before), but it's not so bad.  He leaves early to beat the worst of the rush, and he is trying different routes.  What we thought might be a major trial, was God just answering my many prayers to get Rich a better job!   We have an AMAZING God (and He is amazing whether or not we go through difficult times!). Rich was miserable at the other place the last few years. Life is too short to live like that!
I have not found another job, and am thinking my little part time job at the school is really a blessing.  Although it doesn't bring in much money (enough for a car payment or 2), I get to spend more time with my girls and grandkids.  And those 3.25 hours a day I do work wear me out, so longer hours would be worse!  I still keep my eyes open for a quieter paperwork kind of job though.  That wouldn't wear me out as much as working with kids does.  But then I wouldn't have summers off, would I?
Now for the REALLY GOOD news! Alyssa is pregnant!!  And she is having a GIRL!  I am sooooo excited!  I was really hoping for a girl, because we've got the 2 boys.  Alyssa was hoping for a girl too, because she LOVES pink!  She warned Jaren that there might be 'pink overload'.  He is so good to her.  It makes him happy just to see her so happy about the baby.  Funny thing is, this wasn't planned, and they had actually just talked about putting off having kids for a long time.  God had other plans for them!  They will be great parents, and they will have lots of help!  Baby girl is due Nov. 5th.
Brennan and Charlie are growing like little weeds!  Charlie is walking with a walker, and can walk holding on to furniture.  He is so awesome.  He is happy, giggly, and loves to hug and be held! He'll soon be 5!  Brennan will be 3 the end of Sept.  He is so funny and has a great sense of humor.  Talks and sings all the time.
Alyssa and Jaren bought a house only 4 miles away.  They moved in mid-May.  Rachel and Ken sold their house in just a few days, and bought a house a little farther away.  They are about 25 min. away, instead of 5, but are a little closer to Ken's work.  Rachel is always planning and thinking about the next child they will adopt, but for now, there is work to be done on their new house, and 2 adorable little boys to give lots of attention to!
Shonna did move back home and we are so happy to have her back in MN!  She will be going to the the U of M!  Not the school I ever expected, but it is a lot less expensive than the Christian schools (even with some good scholarships she got!).  She adopted 2 cute bunnies, and they are taking up most of my family room!  But I love rodents, and these 2 are cute and have a lot of personality!  Shonna will eventually be going to live down the street with my sister.
Ok, how did I do?  Not too long I hope! I plan to do a post soon on some of the emotions and issues we cancer survivors can have.  I've experienced a lot of highs and lows lately.  But that's for another day....
May God greatly bless each reader that stops by to all!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mid-March Update

Hope everyone is doing well!
I'll start with the procedure I had for my fistula.  It was called a Seton Placement.  Not a drain, like I thought, but something similar to an open rubber band laid through the fistula to keep both ends open.  The surgeon was pleased that she was able to find both ends and do the placement.  In a few months I'll have to have some more procedures done, but I don't remember much of what she said after my surgery. I see her for a post-op check up on Thurs., so I'll find out everything then.
In other health news, my mammo and MRI came back clear.  So I'm done with tests for awhile!  I saw my onc., for my 3 month check up, and everything looks good there too.  My wbc were a little low, but he said that could be because I was a little sick, or could just be from all the chemo I had.  I also complained of being tired, and he seemed to think that was to be expected also.  He still wants more labs and a visit with him in 3 months, and ct scans again in 6 months.  He said there are protocols that suggest I could go longer between scans, but because I've had the 2 different cancers, (and the fact that I was young for both), he wants to keep a closer eye on me.  That's fine with me! Speaking of being tired...I've been on Spring Break this past week, and have still been really tired--but I think it might be from allergies, because they are really bothering me with this warm weather we are having. The maples are starting to bud, and that's always when I start having trouble!  I still enjoyed the time off though! We've gone for lots of walks, and gotten a few things done (but, a lot less than I planned on because I've been so tired!)
On to other news!  Rich has been keeping busy house-cleaning!  He has vacuumed EVERYTHING. He even found some lost socks behind the dryer in the laundry room!  :)  He has applied for several jobs and has an interview for one that sounds promising on Monday.  The bad part is it's about double the distance of his last job, so he'll have to spend more time driving.  Maybe we'll have to get the Bible on cd and with all that time in the car he'll be a theologian in no time!  :)  I'm secretly hoping they hire him, but give him a few more weeks before he starts----there is a lot more stuff around here he could do!!
I'm sort of looking for another job/2nd job too.  If Rich doesn't get another job soon, I will definitely need to work more.  And if he gets a job, but it doesn't pay as well, then I'll still have to work more. And, really, I just need to work more!  I did apply for a different position at the school, but didn't get it. (I needed more computer experience)  So, not sure what to do, but I've been looking and keeping my eyes open.  Anybody want to hire me for anything??  :)
My girls have been keeping me busy as usual.  Rachel and Ken are getting ready to put their house up for sale--they need more room.  I still watch their boys at least twice a week.  Brennan is growing so fast and learning so many things!  Charlie too!  Charlie can stand with help (and even for a few moments on his own!).  His heart is doing well, and he is healthy.  
Alyssa and Jaren are busy house-hunting.  Rich and I went with them on Wed.  They found one they really like--hope they can get it for a good price.  It's only a few miles away.  Now if we can just convince Rachel and Ken to stay in the area it would be so perfect!  
Shonna is thinking about coming back to MN to go to college next year.  She applied to a Christian college in CA, and got their best academic scholarship for her GPA and ACT score.  She is a smart girl!  But now she is thinking of going back to the college she went to for her senior year in high school.  It's a good, quality, Christian school. There are a lot of different ministries she can get involved in here, and maybe get on a worship team somewhere.  She has enjoyed her 2 years at IHOPU, but feels it's time to work on getting her degree.   I will be SOOO happy if she comes back to MN.  Even better--she plans on living with my sister!  Shonna would be close by, but not under my roof--perfect! ;)  
Some days, I just feel like the most blessed woman on earth.  My husband is so good to me, my girls are close by, and so are my 2 grandsons.  I sometimes feel like I don't deserve this.  But that's the way God is.  Even when we didn't deserve it, He sent His son to die for us.  For you, for me.  And, the thing that I love best--His love is UNFAILING.  There is no one on earth that you can say that about.  Only God.
That's all for today!  
Blessings to all!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guest Blogger Talks About Mesothelioma

What Is Mesothelioma and What is the Mesothelioma Center?
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by an exposure to asbestos. The Mesothelioma Center is the most complete, up-to-date resource – like an Internet encyclopedia – that can explain anything you want to know about the two.
An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with mesothelioma, one of the few cancers that can be attributed solely to man-made exposure. It develops in the thin layer of cells that surround the chest, abdomen or heart.
And it is caused by an inhalation of microscopic asbestos fibers that get lodged in that mesothelium membrane. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once used in thousands of products, including anything related to construction to anything that needed some heat resistance and flexibility. Unfortunately, it was toxic, and when disturbed or ages, it becomes airborne.
Although the prognosis for a mesothelioma diagnosis is usually poor – six to 18 months to live – strides are being made slowly. There are exceptions, too.
The Mesothelioma Center has documented survivors who have lived five, 10 and 15 years with the cancer for which there no cure.
Mesothelioma often is viewed as an occupational disease, most prevalent in construction, ship building and among military veterans. The majority of patients are male. Yet it also strikes women who never stepped into the workplace, breathing those asbestos fibers from floor or ceiling tiles.
The Mesothelioma Center is a one-stop resource for patients, families and friends. It has free informational packets, a Doctor Match Program to sync patients with doctors, nurses on staff to answer questions, and patient advocates to help people through every step of their journey.
Because mesothelioma is rare compared to many cancers, only a small percentage of physicians have seen it enough to fully understand it, and properly diagnose it. They just don't see it enough.
Mesothelioma has a latency period of anywhere from 10 to 50 years between exposure to asbestos and diagnosis, which is why the disease can be so puzzling. Many of the symptoms – fatigue, a persistent dry cough, shortness of breath – are often confused with other, less serious illnesses.
It is important to find the best possible care, and as quickly as possible when the cancer is in its earliest stages.
Bio: Tim Povtak is a senior writer for the Mesothelioma Center. Prior to joining the center, Tim was an award-winning journalist at a daily metropolitan newspaper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Still Cancer Free!

Just had my CT scans and blood tests yesterday, and I already have the results--everything looks good! Thank you God!  I'll see the onc next Wed., and  the only thing I have a question about is why my white blood cells have dropped a bit below range.  I think it's my body still recovering from all the chemo and radiation I had.  He'll also let me know if I still have to have the scans every 6 months, or if I can go longer between scans.  I am on the fence about this.  I like knowing there is no cancer in my body, but the ct scans themselves pose a risk because of the radiation.  I'll trust my oncologist's decision--he a great doc!
I have more tests at the end of the month--a mammogram and MRI, then I'll be free of tests for a while!  Yay!  
Stayed home from work today with a stuffed up head. Didn't sleep much last night and had stomach problems from that barium contrast stuff I had to drink yesterday for the scans.  Man that stuff messes up my stomach! My frequent trips to the bathroom caused other issues, which eventually required a percocet for pain!  It's been 2.5 years since I finished radiation for the colon cancer--I hope someday my skin will heal and I won't have these painful "issues" anymore!   
Speaking of which, tomorrow is my little procedure to try to drain the fistula on my backside--another side effect of radiation.  I have many people praying for me because with my sinus problems they might not let me go under anesthesia.  I really want to get this done, but if doesn't happen, I'm going to trust that it's God's will, and He knows what's best for me!
So it's a mixed bag of news tonight.  The reason I'm fitting all this medical stuff into one month is because our health insurance coverage will end at the end of Feb.  Rich lost his job a few weeks ago.  :(  After 27 years they let him go.  I can't even begin to explain the feelings we have had over this.  Some of the folks he worked with are devastated by this.  He was a great boss.  I have been praying that he would get another job, because he has been miserable  for over a year.  They made things difficult for him; I think they were trying to get him to fail--well HE DIDN'T!  They had to come up with some lame excuse.   A bunch of people that he worked with (recently and in the past) got together for a little party for him.  It was real nice--lots of people he hasn't seen in a long time--really lifted his spirits! We are trusting in God, knowing that this is an answer to prayer.  As stressful as this is, it's so nice to have Rich around and be able to do more things together.  Before he was always either working, or exhausted.  That's no way to live.  I know God has more for us than that!
That's all for now--getting sleepy and need to get to bed soon!
Blessings to all!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

February is looking Busy!

Seems I'm doing about 1 blog a month now.  I guess that's good--means nothing too bad is happening health-wise!  :)  Life is busy though, and that's good too.
Work is going well.  Every time I complain about it I remember 1. it's only 3 hours, and 2. I get lots of days off! The 3 hours part can be deceiving though. It's a very busy 3 hours, and 1 hour of it is outside.  It gets hard on my neuropathy, not to mention my poor aging skin!  I have other problems that are aggravated by so much walking around too.
There is another job, though, that I've been thinking about, and may see if I can do it temporarily over the summer.  It involves lots of paper work, and sounds like heaven!  My sister was describing it to me and everything she said just made it sound better and better.  Most people wouldn't like to be searching through stacks of papers and working on the computer, but to me, that is the PERFECT job.  The pay is less, but I would be working year round and therefore would be making more money annually than I do now.  Just something I'm thinking about at this point.
Another job I would like to do would be helping out the elderly--especially with their computers.  Many want to get e-mail and be on Facebook to see what everyone is doing, and look at pictures, but don't know how.  Think anyone would hire me to come over once or twice a week and help them get online? It's just one of those thoughts that tumble around in my head!
Excuse me if I ramble on a bit today.  I had to take a pain pill, and that makes me a little loopy!  I will fill you in a bit on some issues I have been having, but don't want to get in to too much detail because of the "delicate" nature of these issues. (If you have read my blog from the beginning, you know that I used to just tell it like it is, since it's hard not to when talking about colon and breast cancer. But it's been awhile since I've had to talk much about these things).  Last Thursday I saw the colon-rectal surgeon again that I saw back in Oct. or Nov.  I definitely have a fistula this time.  My backside has been very painful; some days worse than others (like today).  There are also tender skin issues from radiation and today is a day when both things are painful at the same time! A fistula is a tunnel that develops under the skin, between two organs, or from the inside to the skin surface.  Normally the surgeon would cut the top off of it and then it would fill in and close up with scar tissue. I can't have surgery back there because my radiated skin might not heal.  Also my surgeon told me the procedure could leave me incontinent (because of radiation or my colon resection, or maybe both)--no thanks!!  In Feb. I will be having a procedure where my surgeon can "explore" the area and hopefully put in a tiny tube to help it drain (not sure if this will help it close up?).  This will be done under anesthesia.  Sounds fun doesn't it? Another side effect of that wonderful radiation. (A side note--someone asked me how to word a blurb about the radiation her daughter would be having--I told her the right way to word it, then told her there are many other words I could put with the word radiation--and none of them very nice!! It's the only time I swear, or think of swearing, these days!)
Also coming up in Feb. will be my labs, ct scans (for colon cancer), and 3 month visit with my oncologist; also a visit with my primary for a pre-op check up.  I plan on talking to her about my neuropathy at that time, to see if there is anything more I should be doing to keep it from getting worse. So, it will be a busy month!  Feb. 6th will be 3 years since my tumor was found during a colonoscopy, and on the 20th it will be 3 years since 18" of my colon was removed.
March is my "breast cancer" month. I'll have a mammogram and MRI.  
It's crazy what I've been through in the last 3 years!  Sometimes it seems so far away, and other times it seems like it was just yesterday I was lying in bed in a chemo fog, unable to even shower!  I am so grateful to still be here, 3 years later. Even with all the side effects, life is still wonderful.  The blog community has lost several lovely people to cancer the last few months (from young children, to mom's with young children, to the elderly), and others have had their cancer get worse.  I know how blessed each day is that I am cancer-free.  My prayer list grows long...
Well, I think that's enough for today.  Maybe in a few days I'll post more about non-cancer related parts of my life (like my awesome little grandsons!). Stay tuned!
Love and blessings!