This Time of the Year

I’m coming up on my diagno-aversary.  Is there such a word?  If not, I’m claiming it.  A week from today will be 4 years since my office diagnosis.  And even though I have had appointments, blood work, and recent surgery which show me as NED (No Evidence of Disease), I still get the heebie jeebies.  I don’t think that will ever go away.  Ever.

On the hernia recovery front, each week has gotten a little bit easier.  My tummy and abs are still very tender.  The area where the mesh was put in will be sore for a while.  My surgeon is kind of awesome – he doesn’t sugar coat things.  I asked him how long that would hurt, and he basically told me, “Until it doesn’t hurt anymore.”  LOL

I’ve been back at work for a week now.  And, as usual, when I have had to file a claim for Short Term Disability with Metlife, I’ve been screwed out of a week’s pay.  My case manager is horrible and she doesn’t return calls or communicate at all.  She asked me to call her on the 1st (the day I saw my surgeon) and give her an update on my status.  I did, as well as faxing a copy of the letter I got stating I could return to work on 8/8.  I also had my surgeon’s office send over the office notes and other supporting information.  I confirmed all of this stuff had been received on 8/3.  This past Saturday, after I called and left several messages asking the status of my case, she FINALLY left me a message (with no call back number) telling me I had 1) not called her on the 1st (bull – I had the name of the person I spoke with because she was not answering her phone); 2) had not provided the requested information (again, had confirmation all faxes had been received on 8/3); and 3) hernia repair surgery only requires a 2 week recovery time.  Yeah – I guess if that is the only thing you are dealing with.  I sent her another SCATHING email this morning, with everything she requested.  I had my doctor’s office fax over the stuff again.  I also laid out for her each time I had called, who I spoke with, and what was faxed.  I also informed her that perhaps if HER paycheck had been $1,000 short, she’d think differently about her nasty voicemail.

Sigh – I guess I’ll continue to fight for what is mine.  Always.

In other news, I am feeling better.  Work is work, and life goes on.

 

Hernia Update

So, I finally got an appointment with the general surgeon that my oncologist recommended.  I see him on Wednesday to get the ball rolling to fix my hernia.  I am going to ask that the surgery be done open as opposed to laproscopic because of my cancer history as well as my surgical history.  My oncologist feels there could be adhesion and radiation damage.

In other news, there is no other news.  I have 4 more days until vacation.  It is so needed.

Nothing to See Here

It’s been a week since I posted, but honestly, there’s not much to see here. I’m feeling good, and that’s a good thing.

Work has been busy, and my stamina is now finally at about 95% of what it used to be. I was feeling exhausted there for a while, but I added back in my B-complex, and have added a protein shake back in every day, and that has helped.

My knee is coming along – the joint itself feels great – no clicking, popping or grinding, which is an indication that the graft took hold and I have new cartilage growing in there. Most of my pain now comes from the tendons and muscles that are healing from the surgery. I can deal with that. I think I’m coming to the end of my PT. At least, I hope I am. But, as is with my luck, I think I tore my rotator cuff in my right arm. The pain is not so bad right now, and I’m up to my ears with surgeries, so this may be one of those, “Suck it up and deal” situations.

I see my medical oncologist in two weeks. I feel a little less freaked out with this appointment since I just had a CT scan. I do, however, need to get a referral for my mammogram (hurray). I want to see if I can have it done closer than Baltimore though. In two months, I follow up with my gastrointerological (wow, big word) oncologist to see if I need a colonoscopy this year. The joys of a genetic cancer.

Let’s see…what else…

I took my great nephew last week to a Blue Rocks game (they are a minor-leauge division of the KC Royals). He loved it. We had a foul ball land between my niece and I (we were both ducking for cover). He has told everyone his mom caught it with her butt. My husband and I also babysat him last Saturday night. I let him use Mia’s little wading pool we use to wash her off after she’s been outside. It’s a small pool, and he informed me that I needed a bigger one. With a slide. He also didn’t have his trunks with him (he’s only 3) so I told him he could go naked in the pool. He looked at me with his big eyes and said, “I can go naked, everyone will see my weiner.” I was no more good.

We are going to VA this weekend to go camping. We’re taking my niece and her family with us. Fun times.

Not much else going on. Hope everyone is doing well!

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Waiting…waiting waiting waiting…sigh

The CT scan went well. They actually found a vein in my arm that wasn’t completely destroyed by Chemo and stuck me on th efirst shot. Hallelujah. The test took less time than finding a viable vein, but it’s done with. Now I wait. I called the raditional oncologist office this morning to let them know the test had been done. It wasn’t in their system yet. Hopefully I find out today or tomorrow if all is well. Fingers crossed.

Waiting…waiting waiting waiting…bah

We are nearly ready to go on vacation. I have just called all our reservations and confirmed them. Flight is confirmed. I have requested handicapped assistance due to my knee. The nice thing about flying from Wilmington is that we won’t have to pay for parking. The hard thing is that we are used to flying out at 8am, and now we don’t leave until 2, so it kind of shoots down the whole day. We get in at 4:45. We have decided to take only carry-ons so we won’t have to deal with baggage claim, and we’ll just go straight to pick up car and head to Aunt Linda’s. So excited.

Just hope the results of the CT scan don’t ruin the mood of the trip.

Waiting…waiting waiting waiting…hmph.

Finally Finished

The stress test went well this morning, and I am finally done with pre-op. Hopefully my ONE GOOD VEIN recouperates before next week. All the blood work and the IV this morning, I admit, it is sore.

So, they once again had to ask me this morning if there was any chance I was pregnant. Seriously, if you say no, they should just let it go. But of course, he had to ask how I knew. Well, I had a totaly hysterectomy in 2012. Not preggers. No chance. Don’t have the parts. You know, I still tear up when I have to answer that question though. When they called me yesterday to pre-register me for my surgery, they had to ask me when my last period was…I asked her to kindly put a note on my file not to ask me the day of surgery. I’ll be emotional enough. I don’t want to have to tear up again if they insist I take a pregnancy test (they made me take a bunch of them before my hysterectomy).

I guess I’m just all kinds of emotional anyway. Dawned on me this morning that it has been about a year since I finished up my treatments. A year. And things are still so out of whack. I’m still struggling to find normal, to not be emotional over the weirdest things. I had what was called a nuclear stress test, which means they inject you with a radioactive isotope, and take pictures of your heart before and after the actual “stress test” part of the test. The machine they put you in is similar to the CT scans I’ve had, and very similar to the radiation I went through. When I was laying there this morning, and I had my arms over my head laying very still, that machine was whirring around me, and all I could think of was radiation. It was tough laying there.

And thanks to all the radiation I had, things down in the vag area are still out of whack. Everything is still so very painful. It’s tough. My husband says he doesn’t mind, but I do. I guess one day things may get back to normal down there…or not.

At any rate, I’m ready for my knee surgery. Ready to get it over with. At least I can avoid needles for the next six days. 🙂

Send some good thoughts my way today…I need them. Doing a lot of feeling sorry for myself. I think it’s probably just the lack of caffeine, but at any rate, I’m all sniffly today.

Nothing Like a Little Panic on a Monday

So, I just had an appointment a week ago with my medical oncologist and all was well.  All checked out ok.  No issues.

Aside from the issues I have had with missing the girly bits, everything was going a-ok.

And then I went to the bathroom.

Bright red blood.  Not just spotting.  Quite a bit of blood. 

Commence FREAK THE EFF OUT.

I called my oncologist and he of course tells me that it’s probably nothing.

But he wants to see me.

Now if it is nothing, why do I have to go in?

He has always asked me if there has been any blood.  Never unless I’ve just had an exam, used the dialator, or had sexy time.  None of which has happened in the past 24 hours.

He said it may just be a result of the radiation and chemo I’ve had.

So he asked me to come in on Thursday afternoon.

Naturally, an hour later, the bleeding has stopped.  Only issue I’m having now is what feels like mild period cramps.  Which we all know isn’t possible because there’s nothing left in there to cause it.

Fingers crossed folks.

Some Days No Longer Seem Significant

On Saturday, I will celebrate an anniversary of sorts.  On Saturday the 9th, it will be my four-year RNY Surgiversary.

Four years since I had surgery to re-route my intestines so I could lose weight.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very significant surgery.  I lost 130 pounds and I got healthy.  I was getting healthy so I could live a long, fantastic life with my husband.  Surgery that meant I was no longer dependent on a CPAP to live…no longer dependent on metformin, or insulin. 

Now, after this past year, I hardly think of that surgery.  I mean, I guess in light of everything, it was good that I had that surgery, because if I had tried to beat cancer while already sick from heart disease and uncontrolled diabetes, I could never have done it.

But the cancer…well, that just puts things into a bit more perspective.

One of the big thoughts I had when I had my RNY was getting to a point where I could safely carry a baby.

Ha.

Now mind you, it wasn’t the primary reason. I had a host of comorbidities from my obesity that were putting me at risk of not making my 40th birthday.  I had high cholesterol.  I’d had a heart attack.  My diabetes was uncontrolled – I was on five shots of insulin per day, plus two other oral medications.  I was on meds for high blood pressure.  I was on meds for everything….

(I came home from my RNY off ALL of that medication by the way).

But now, well, cancer put things into a weird perspective for you.  I almost DIDN’T make my 40th birthday.  In fact, if they hadn’t done my hysterectomy a month before my birthday, I would have been terminal.

Terminal.

What a word.

What an ugly ugly word.

I mean, we’re all going to die.

Someday.

But a cancer diagnosis suddenly moves “Someday” into “Any Day.”

Every year, before cancer, on my surgiversary, I would do a little happy dance.  I was down 130 pounds.  Sure, I had dietary restrictions, but damn….I could pretty much eat a little bit of everything I really wanted to and still maintain a weightloss.  My heart disease reversed itself.  Literally, the blockages in my heart that had caused my heart attack were gone.  Cholesterol was in a healthy, happy place.  Blood pressure?  110/70 nearly every time I went to the doctor.  HGBA1C (3 month glucose levels) were under 6.0.  Weight, well, it wasn’t were I WANTED to be by any stretch of the imagination, but I was no longer “obese.”  I was “overweight.”

And then, last year….boom.

I forgot all about my RNY.  I mean, I didn’t FORGET about it, so to speak…but it no longer seemed significant.

And let me tell you folks, in my mind, I was insulted with my cancer diagnosis.

Insulted in the fact that I had done everything I could to get healthy, only to find out that part of what made me healthy (extreme weight loss) may have also led to what could be considered a terminal disease.

You see, when you are obese, your hormones hide.  They store themselves up in your fat layers.  They make it hard to become pregnant, or keep your glucose levels where they should be.  They lead to a condition called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  And I had it.  Big time.  And then, when I lost 130 pounds, I had a RUSH of those hormones that no longer had a place to hide.   And this surge of excess hormones, in addition to my gene mutation (Lynch Syndrome), are a great big factor of what could have led to the adenocarcenoma in my uterus.

It’s also one of the reasons that I didn’t pick up on my symptoms sooner. 

You see, I was anemic.  Well, so are a LOT of people who have gastric bypass.

I had extremely heavy periods after weight loss surgery.  And so do a large percentage of women who have gastric bypass.

I had aches and pains in my hip.  Another symptom masked by significant weight loss.  You see, when you lose a lot of weight and you lose it fast, your skeletal system goes through an adjustment period.  Lots of folks think their arthritis will get better – when in fact, extreme weight loss can intensify it because your bones, which are so used to carrying around all that extra weight, actually have to adjust to NOT carrying all that weight around.

It’s no wonder it took eight months to diagnose my cancer.

So, now, I sit here…four years out of RNY.  And I have gone through the ultimate hell.  And I am still sitting here.

Thankfully, cancer free.

14 months, two weeks, and one day cancer free.

Awareness, my friends.  Take no symptom for granted.  Heed my warnings!  Pay attention to your periods.  Pay attention to your body.  And if something just doesn’t feel right, get your ass to the doctor.

I will still celebrate with a small happy dance this Saturday.  Because I am no longer obese.

But I will also celebrate another day of being alive.  Alive, and cancer free.  And for that little fact, I do a happy dance EVERY DAY.