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. :)