Thursday, October 21, 2010

The results are in, and...

All of the hepatology tests were negative. The bone marrow biopsies were both negative. Most of the blood work came back within normal range. The few things that were outside of normal range are not worrisome.

As for the PET scan, there were a few tiny areas that lit up on the back of my lower neck and on my upper right thigh. They were all very small. The mammogram also found a small lump in my breast.

So moving forward, the plan is to stop the maintenance treatments. This doctor thinks it serves no valuable purpose. It is the same drug that we used in the first round, which wasn't entirely effective. Therefore, this doctor thinks that it won't prevent the lymphoma activity completely, but could mask the lymphoma on tests.

Additionally, he still wants me to have a dermatology consult. He'd like the dermatologist to biopsy anything she thinks is suspicious. And, I'll see my Rheumatologist next week to determine if I'm having autoimmune issues, again.

All in all, the news is good. Thank you all for your prayers. I'm looking forward to not having treatments for a while.

And, now I'm off to color my hair ... Auburn. Sounds like a good fall color. :)

You know the ID bracelets they always put on patients at the hospital? Well, here at MD Anderson they even put your picture on your bracelet.

Would you rather...?

Good morning!
I'm still at MD Anderson. I'm waiting for a call from the doctor's office to determine what today's schedule will be. I was looking forward to sleeping in this morning, but was wide awake by 7.30. Oh, well. I suppose that's good for me, right?

So, let's get to the good stuff: today's "Would you rather...?" question.

Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with wet dogs or with three fat men with bad breath?

Hmmm... I think I'll have to go with the wet dogs. While they might really stink, they will eventually dry. Oh, but the question doesn't address whether they're cute dogs or friendly dogs or hyper dogs. Ummm... maybe it's been too long since I've smelled a wet dog. Oh, and they also do that shaking thing when their wet that sprays the water all over. I think I'll change my answer. I'm going to go with the 3 fat men. I usually have some good strong cinnamon gum in my purse. I'd just insist that everyone have a piece.

Of course, maybe their weight is the reason we're stuck to begin with ...

Have I ever told you about the time that the kids and I were stuck for a few minutes in an elevator?

We all jumped. Do you know how fun it is to jump in an elevator when it's going down? It's a weird sensation. You jump up as it's still moving down. So your down is further than your up. It's fun! So, I was the responsible (read fun) Mom riding the elevator with all my kids and we all jumped. When we landed, the elevator just stopped mid floors. We stood there for a few minutes looking at each other. Thankfully, it started moving about 2 minutes later. But, 2 minutes is a long time to be mid-floors in an elevator with 5 kids.

If you want to try an elevator jump, I'd recommend: (1) Give yourself at least 2 floors to go down. Like if you're on Floor 3 go to Floor 1, but in a pinch, you can do it across just one floor. (2) Remember you jump up when the elevator is moving down. It's not much fun the other way. (3) don't try it with other adults on the elevator. But, if you do, let me know how they respond. =D

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

PET Scan is Done

I arrived at 2.50 for my 3 pm PET scan. I had to go for 6 hours without eating. Since I had an appointment at 8 this morning, my last meal of eggs only was at 7.30 am. (You have to skip all sugars and carbohydrates prior to a PET scan. They said I could have any kind of eggs and some bacon. I just had eggs.)

I knew the appointment would take several hours. They break down the appointments here so that at 3 pm was my "PET Prep"; 3.30 was my "PET Injection & Localization" and 5 pm was my "PET Scan." Also, the prep literature had explained that they would give me an injection of radioactive sugar and then I would need to lie still for 60-90 minutes. I also knew the scan would take about 30 minutes. So, I figured I would be done by 6.

Unfortunately, they were running almost 2 hours behind schedule. I didn't finish until about 8 pm and I felt pretty lousy by the time we finished. The test was easy. I was just hungry and tired. And, today I took the shuttle so I had to wait an additional 25 minutes for a ride back to the hotel.

But, really the ride was one of the best parts of my day. The driver was so nice. He introduced himself to each of us as we got in the van and then called us by name the rest of the time. I was the 2nd person picked up and we picked up another 7 people. Somehow that driver made all of us feel so comfortable that we were chatting with each other. One of the women was being dropped off at the hospital to see her husband who is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Another from Tennessee has a rare form of cancer in his lower abdomen. They are hoping to shrink his tumor so that they can do surgery. He's on his 5th round of chemo and had just received his new dosage. A lady from Arizona was being treated for breast cancer. A man from Alabama was there with his mother. She's been fighting colon cancer for 5 years. The drs in Alabama wanted to send her to hospice. The drs here have given her hope for another few years.

So what do a van full of cancer patients & their support people talk about? Food. We discussed all the various options for food. We laughed and talked as if we had been friends for years.

That's one of the amazing things here. The place is full of people who are going through tough times, but you know I haven't seen even one person act grumpy or impatient or rude. Everyone is really polite and friendly. I wish all these people were not going through tough times, but I love that they are, as one nurse said, "the strongest of the strong." They give me courage and strength.

I'm off to get some sleep now. I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.

Oh, and no, I do not have any results yet. I should hear from the doctor tomorrow as to whether they want to do the biopsy of the lymph node on my neck. He is also still trying to get me a Hepatologist consult for this week. I'll keep you posted.
I'm back from the neck ultrasound. The lump on the back of my neck is an enlarged lymph node. They also found several other enlarged lymph nodes. (I was surprised by that since no one has felt any others.) After taking lots of pictures, the u/s tech paged the doctor when she was done. He wants the PET scan done before we do the biopsy.

So, I have a little of down time till my PET scan. I'm going to work on the employment resource surveys we recently did at church. I volunteered to do the data entry on all of them. I enjoy typing. I find it very relaxing. I think I'll finish them all today and it'll be nice to have all those network contacts available.

I also may do some reading, and take a nap. Hope you all are doing well!

Would you rather...?

One of my amazing friends, Sarah, created a super fun bag for me the last week when I came to Houston. She included a list of "Would you rather..." questions. So, in honor of my list, I thought I'd share them with you. Just one each day for a while.

So today's question...

Would you rather drink 1 gallon of ketchup or 1 gallon of mustard?

Hmmm.... this one is easy. Definitely mustard. I love mustard, plain old fashioned French's yellow mustard. I don't really like it on stuff. Just plain. I'm not sure I'd love an entire gallon. I usually only eat a couple of drops.

What about you? I can't wait to hear what you'd rather do.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to MD Anderson

Tomorrow morning I have appointments at MD Anderson again. I'll be having an ultrasound guided biopsy of a lump that is on my neck. Ouch. And, then I'll also be having a PET scan. The insurance company finally approved it. I suspect it will be a long day tomorrow.

I drove down by myself today. I listened to John Bytheway for most of the trip. He is a really funny speaker. I tried to find a link where you could listen to some of him. I think you might like this one. It's a little bit more serious than some of his talks, but it's still a really good talk.

In one of the talks, he likened our life here on earth to a movie. That caught my attention for a couple of reasons. John said he's often thought that the "judgment" to take place after this earth life would be that we will all watch each other's movies.

So, here you are on earth, making your movie. Everything you do is included in the movie. Now, if you're like me, you might have a few thoughts of "oh, crud, I don't want everyone to see every thing that I've ever done in my life." I've had a few stupid moments.

But, here's the great part... the movie can be edited.

Just like all movies, we can cut out any scenes we don't want others to see. How? Repentance. Isn't that a great way to think of repentance? It's just editing your movie.

Here's the best part in my opinion ... it can happen on a moment by moment basis. I don't have to wait till I finish my movie to edit it. I can edit out clips from today or from a year ago. Or even 20.

Isn't it great to know that we can be completely clean all the time. We simply don't have to wait. I'm really thankful for repentance. I make mistakes every day. I'm so glad I can be forgiven from them.