So Ready for a Vacation

Even though we just had one.

We leave Friday afternoon to spend a week at our campsite in VA.  I am so looking forward to spending a week at the beach, doing nothing if I don’t want to.  I have a bajillion books piling up on my Kindle.  I have sun screen screaming my name.  And I will get to spend the week with my sweet Sophie and hopefully a weekend with my Keegan.

I had a scare yesterday – I noticed some blood when I went to the bathroom.  I remembered it was the day I had used my estrogen cream, and deducted that I scratched myself when I was applying, because there was no actual active bleeding.  But I did have a minor panic attack.

I’m also scheduled for my annual mammogram next month.

My nephew is finally going to get his genetic testing done.  I was able to send him a copy of my testing so they could narrow down the gene malformation.  Hopefully he is negative.  Fingers crossed anyway.

Other than that, and my Jamberry stuff there isn’t much going on.  Hope everyone is getting ready for the 4th, and enjoying their summer!

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World Cancer Day

So, today is World Cancer Day – where we take a moment to highlight what is being done to fight cancers; honor the survivors and fighters; and remember those who have passed.

So, as a survivor, fighter, etc., I’m really kind of meh about this day.

I know, shame on me.

BUT…

I kind of feel that everyday for me is cancer day.  It shouldn’t be a once a year thing.  We should, as cancer fighters, and survivors, and family and friends, ALWAYS be highlighting our fight.

And another thing – for those who have passed from cancer, the one thing that really burns my biscuits is when people refer to those folks as people who have lost the fight.

No – they fought until the end.  Even if they chose to stop fighting, they fought.  They didn’t LOSE that battle.  They won.  They beat cancer.  Maybe not on an earthly plain, but never, ever say, for a minute, that they gave up a fight.  It’s disrepectful.

My sister was a fighter.  Every day, every hour, every minute until her last.

My dad was the same.  He fought like hell – to see his little girl take her first steps, say her first word…he died shortly after I did both.  I was 17 months old.

I fight.  Every day.  Like a girl.  Kicking and screaming and scratching and clawing.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of cancer.  Not one single day.

Today, I woke up, got dressed, got to work, and found spotting in my underwear when I went to the bathroom.

I’m 24 months in remission this month.  And today, I’m spotting.

I’m freaking the fuck out people.

Pardon my french, but there is no other way to put it.

Freaking. The. Fuck. Out.

The bleeding has stopped, and in my mind, I’m trying to justify.  “Maybe I scratched myself when I was putting on my estrogen cream this morning”…yeah, that’s it.  I must have scratched myself.  Which is a perfectly logical explanation for the bright red blood.  Which has stopped.

I know I need to call my oncologist.  But I’m scared to.  One, I’m scared to call him if it is nothing.

And I’m scared that it might be…something.

And that something…well, it nearly killed me two years ago.

World Cancer Day is being thrown into my face all over Facebook today.  I won’t comment on the posts.  I won’t share them.  I am like a bird with her head in the sand.

I promised myself I will call my oncologist if there is more spotting tomorrow.

Today, my head is burried.

Send me some good mojo, my friends.

Done For Another Year and Cancer is a Bitch

I had two procedures last Friday – a balloon endoscopy to look into the section of my stomach that has been sectioned off as a result of gastric bypass, and the intestines that are attached to it and a colonoscopy.  This was all part of my annual screening as a result of my Lynch Syndrome diagnosis.  Both tests came back clear.  Pink and healthy and no evidence of polyps or anything else.  I have  text-book RNY pouch and I’ve been taking care of it – no stretching to my stomach, no indications of ulcers or anything else that can typically occur with bypass patients.  I have been religious about taking my acid reducer every day since surgery – very important for someone who has a pouch of stomach acid that has nothing else to do because it is no longer used to break down food.

I met with my endocrinologist yesterday who confirmed that my glucose levels are much more in line that they were after chemo, but he will still monitor me closely.  As a result of the Graves’ disease, he’s keeping me on a low dose of metformin to help counteract the hormones and aid the metabolism – for now.  He also indicated that since it has only been two weeks since my thyroid treatment, there has been no change.  I don’t go back for 6 weeks.  Until then, he has me on the thyroid diet – which is very similar to the bariatric diet I *should* have been following.  Protein, veggies, fruit, good fats (including cheese and olive oil), and only at meals.  No sauce on my meat, nothing that has added sugar (like fruit juice of any kind), only the items listed above.  I was subbing butternut squash and pumpkin for starches, but he said no to those.  Nothing to drink but water, club soda, black coffee or tea that I make myself (with nothing added – no herbal tea because it may have sugar on the leaves).  The reasoning is, when my thyroid bottoms out, my metabolism won’t work without added hormones and it can take up to year to get the dosing correct.  I will need to stick to this eating plan for life so my weight doesn’t swing back up and my glucose levels remain healthy.

He also indicated that more than likely, I’ll be able to come off the heart pills I have been taking every day since my heart attack in ’03.  I take a small dose of a beta blocker.  I think my cardiologist might disagree, but we’ll see.

The endocrinologist also said I will feel really shitty in a couple of weeks.

Bring it.

In other news, I have a friend who was one of my best friends in high school.  He has a son who is 13.  Over the summer, his son started to have some leg pain.  When they got it checked out, the found a cyst in his thigh bone that had nearly eaten its way through.  Osteoscarcoma.  The son (who I will call Jason to protect privacy) has been undergoing treatments at one of the top children’s’ hospitals on the East Coast – AI Dupont children’s’ Hospital.  (So good, Jen Arnold and Bill Klein – the Little Couple – have taken their children their for treatment).  He has had some chemo and it has been rough, not only on Jason, but on his dad Mike (name also changed).  Last month, Jason lost his hair because of the chemo, so I knitted him a chemo cap of soft purple yarn (his favorite color).  This past weekend, Mike and his ex-wife had to tell Jason that he was going to lose his leg at the hip.  How in the hell do you tell your 13-year-old that on top of everything he’s going through, he’s going to lose his leg as well?  I mean, you and I, as adults, can reason and say, “Hey, better my leg than my life,” but how do you reason that to a 13-year-old, a few weeks before his birthday?

My heart is aching.

I’m making Jason a purple blanket to take with him to the hospital.  Because I can’t fix the cancer.  I can just smother it in love.

Sigh.  Fuck you cancer.  You should pick on us adults, who can reason and fight you – leave the kids alone.

Prayers most graciously accepted for Jason and his family.

Holy Busy Batman!

Seriously, I need a weekend to not do ANYTHING at all. Sigh.

My niece finally came out of the preggo closet the week of the 11th. She’s 22 weeks. She sent me a picture of Peanut yesterday, waving at the ultrasound. All together now…AWWWW

I’m in love.

So, my sister and I are planning a shower for her. We were planning for November – before Sarah got too uncomfortable to enjoy herself, and before the weather hit the fan. We ended up deciding to have it an an Agricultural Museum in Dover, DE.  Their rates are cheapo, and it’s kind of cool there.  I called and asked about November.

Totally booked.

But they had an opening October 4th.  Holy Schmoly.  We’ll take it.  $100 for the room.  YAY  Except not yay, because now everything is in hyperdrive.  LOL

I ordered the invitations and was going to print them myself until my personal laptop (not my work one) crapped out this morning.  It is only a year old.  Sigh.  I will have to take them to Kinkos or the UPS store.  Sigh.  I’m trying to get the local bakery to call me back about a cake estimate but they won’t.  So I may have to go with the bakery who did call me with an estimate ($155!!!).  Annoyed.

And, I’m knitting gifts for the baby.  I have a pair of booties done.  I just finished a sweater last night.  I want to make a hat and booties to go with that.  Also, a baby blanket.  The blanket has priority of the booties and hat.  But I need to get to knitting on that blanket.  Yikes.

On top of that, we are going away this weekend for Labor Day as our last Beach Huzzah.  That craps out three days that I can just relax, because pool, parties, labor day brunch, and driving home.  Next week is a blur of work, next weekend I’m helping my bestie (and I am excited to see her), the weekend after that is shower planning…the weekend after that my birthday…and then we have to plan for our anniversary, and my husband’s birthday, and the shower in the middle of it all.

I need a nap just reading it all.

Plus, work is going to be hella busy the next couple of months.  Yay.

The month of September is full of doctor appointments.  September 8th, I have to go to Baltimore to see my gastrointerolocial oncologist (say that five times fast…it took me 10 minutes to spell it),  The 9th, I have to see the orthopaedist.  And get blood work.  The 11th, I see my primary care to talk about my thyroid and anemia.  The 21st, I see my regular oncologist.

Which reminds me, I really need to start using those damned dialators again.

So busy.

If you are in the good old US of A, please have a safe and happy Labor Day.

See you soon!

They Did the Mash…They Did the Booobie Mash

As part of my Lynch syndrome monitoring, (the genetic deviation that led to my cancer and family history), my oncologist requires an annual mammogram.  Now, women over the age of 40 should have annual mammograms anyway, but my oncologist actually reviews mine to ensure there are no nasties in there that may be Lynch related.  Now, Breast Cancer is NOT one of the cancers typically related to Lynch syndrome, and thankfully, no one in my family has had a diagnosis (other than like a 3rd cousin on my father’s side), I have an over-protective oncologist.  I’m ok with that.  Better safe than sorry, you know?

I had my appointment last night after work, around 6pm.  Which means that at least I got to wear deodorant to work (I had time to go home and wash it off before my test).  My co-workers should be pretty appreciative of that.  Seriously folks, women do not “glow”…they sweat.  Especially in July in the mid-atlantic when it’s 1,000 degrees in the shade and a million percent humidity.

Now, last year, I had my mammogram done at the Breast Center at the University of MD Medical Center, in Baltimore, which was no big deal because although we moved to DE, at the time I was still working in Balto, so I could walk over at lunch.  This year, I made the appointment here in DE, at the Women’s Imaging Center.  I made the appointment on Monday, and the actual appointment was two days later.  They asked if I could get my previous results, but I couldn’t do it in time, because, hello…Baltimore.  So they are requesting they be faxed.  I explained my diagnosis and reason for the mammogram, and told them my oncologist would be comparing the results himself, but they still insisted on getting copies.  They also asked me if I wanted to wait for my results, but I declined.  Oh, and they offered a 3D mammogram, but it’s not covered by insurance, so I declined.

Honestly, I’ve had two mammograms now, and while they aren’t the most comfortable thing in the world (there’s nothing like dangling by your boob from a cold X-ray plate) they are not that bad.  I mean, it wasn’t painful, just a little awkward.  Especially when my tech informed me that my nipple like to “turn away from the camera.”  Uh, hello…I have 40-year-old boobs who used to be filled with a lot more fat…you’re lucky you didn’t have to reach down to my knees to grab them.  But it wasn’t unpleasant.  Neither of my mammograms were.    Maybe it’s because I’ve had so many tests that were 1,000 times worse (internal exams, colonoscopies…anything requiring an IV, chemo…etc.).  This was a piece of cake.

So get out there ladies, and get those tatas checked.  It’s no biggie.  Unless, I guess, you have biggies.  But still…at least no one is shoving a finger in a spot that fingers were not meant to go, right?

I Feel Like a Long Tailed Cat in a Room Full Of Rocking Chairs

It’s Friday. I came in to the office today because I only have three “work” days left before vacation and we have a regulatory exam launching on Monday that I’m working on. It’s raining and the wind is blowing, so I really would rather have worked from home today, but my PC is here in the office. Besides updating Exam availability and sending deliverables over to the regulators, I don’t have much to do.

My CT scan is tomorrow. I wish I could say the thing I was most nervous about is getting the IV in my arm, but that would be a lie. Every time they do a scan, all I can think of is, “What if it is back?” Every twinge, every moment of weakness I’ve had, every single time I feel a bit of fatigue, I freak. I won’t be comfortable until I’ve had the scan and heard back from the doctor.

I also got a note today that I’m due for my mammomgram. That, honestly, is just no big deal. I have to call the onoclogist and get my referral, because he wants the results sent right to him. I’m not worried about this, as I do a self check every month, and aside from them hanging lower (LOL) there is nothing that feels off or out of character.

I also need to make an appointment with the gastroenterologist for my annual check-up. Tried to do that today, got transferred four times, and was finally told that Dr. Greenwald’s secretary is out of the office until Tuesday and can I call back then. Sigh.

Sadly, once you get free of the cancer in your body, it really never goes away. It’s the keeping it away that is nerve wracking.

Let’s just get tomorrow over with, shall we?

To Soy or Not To Soy…Will It Help my Hotflashes?

So, here I am, nearly two years out of my hysterectomy, and the hotflashes still hit hot and heavy. And when I say hot, I mean OMG I’M DYING HOT.

I’ve heard many things about soy – use it to help with the hotflashes (better than OTC hormone treatments – which I can’t take).  I’ve heard to stay away from soy because it can mimic the hormones that caused my cancer.  I’ve asked my oncologist about it, and he’s fine with me taking it (not that I noticed a big difference in the hot flashes)…but he also advised not to use too much soy in my diet.

So, out of curiosity, I looked up the position my cancer treatment center takes.  Here is an excerpt from the study:

Cancer

Evidence suggesting that soy may help prevent hormone-related cancers, such as breast, prostate, and uterine cancer, comes from population studies. These studies look at large numbers of people and have found that eating a diet high in soy protein may lower the risk of developing these kinds of cancers.

But the studies do not present a simple picture. For example, most studies that have found a lower risk of breast cancer have looked at Asian women, who typically eat a lot of soy. The studies that have looked at Western women have not all found a lower risk of breast cancer, although an analysis of 18 previously published studies found that in healthy women, soy was associated with a small (14%) reduction in breast cancer risk. Some studies suggest that a woman may get the best protection if she eats a diet high in soy when she is young, rather than when she goes through menopause.

The findings are also complicated when it comes to prostate cancer. Some studies suggest that the rates of prostate cancer are similar in Asian and Western countries, but more Western men than Asian men (who eat more soy) die from prostate cancer. But other studies show that men who eat a diet high in soy may have a lower risk of prostate cancer, although researchers aren’t sure if that is because of what they eat. Other researchers note that as Japanese men age, their prostate size doesn’t grow as much as it does in Western men, and think that a high soy diet may be the reason why.

Source: Soy | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/soy#ixzz2zon5cuUh
University of Maryland Medical Center
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So, I’m still confused.  What do you think?  Use it?  Don’t use it?  What’s your position on soy?