CT scan was clear. YIPPEE and thanks for visiting. I am busy making lots of plans!
I have had a good 6 months, relatively speaking. There were a couple of falls (cannot feel my feet) and that pesky gall bladder surgery. Summer at the beach was great, especially when we had little visitors. Overall, I have enjoyed life, especially my grands!
Tomorrow I see my oncologist to get the results of my 6-month CT scan -- which I had today. I have been on edge all week, worse than I usually am while waiting for the scan and the results. It is a looooong 24 hours between the test and the verdict.
I have been unable to focus or concentrate for most of this week. Even watching TV, usually my ace in the hole, has not worked. Should I read stuff on the computer, like North Korea perhaps setting something off, the Zika virus, the Flint water crisis, or the 3 escaped prisoners in CA? I do not think any of those stories will make me less anxious.
I have had a few bouts of anxiety this week --pounding heart and gasping for air. The only thing that stops this, and my awful thoughts, is being asleep --- which is hard to achieve. Last night I never got to sleep, despite taking Ambien.
Watching BLACKLIST tonight, I realized halfway through that I had not absorbed anything, so I had to go back and re-watch.
Then I looked at recipes on the computer, usually a great distraction....well, that did not help either because I like to plan out what to buy and cook and I find myself wondering "why plan ahead?" "What if?"
I have so many errands to do and appointments to make, but cannot seem to think about anything in the future.
I know I should be thankful that I am still here, since my "expiration date" passed long ago.
Thanks for listening. You would not believe how few people want to hear me talk about this stuff.
I should add that I had the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER. Charlie and Clara are at that absolutely perfect age where they are awed by everything. It was just a wonderful, happy day from beginning to end.
I have been very remiss and not written here since August. Nothing too exciting to report, really. Our good summer came to an end much too soon. Clara and Charlie spent a lot of time at the beach with us, along with Laura and Ken. Lots of good memories......both children are a continual source of entertainment and joy.
Ken and Laura went away earlier this month and I stayed with the children in Maryland. I thought it would be okay because they are in school all day and I lined up a sitter to help me in the evenings. Unfortunately school was cancelled for three days, so I was exhausted. But it was still fun.
We all looked forward to Thanksgiving at the beach. Unfortunately, very early on Thursday morning, I had to go to the ER due to another attack of painful pancreatitis. I had my first attack a month ago, then another 2 weeks later (which I rode out at home), but this was the worst. So I missed Thanksgiving and spending time with the kids. They DID sneak into the hospital to see me today -with a million questions!
I am supposed to be released tomorrow and have surgery back home next week. Cannot wait to get rid of this troublemaker!
Will try to post more often.
Thanks for visiting!
Warning - this is not a low-calorie treat, but is soooo good!
I used Ina's recipe but changed it a bit Ina's baked figs
I used 12 figs (that was how they were packaged). Sometimes I use blue cheese, sometimes goat cheese. Sometimes I use (horrors) pre-cooked/microwave bacon. It is soooo easy! I usually have to use a toothpick to hold it all together. This is such an easy recipe
I cannot believe that I had never eaten a fresh fig until last summer (I do not like the dried ones). And the season is so short!
My steps in making these little bundles of deliciousness:
It has been five years today since I got the worst news imaginable....that I had cancer. Bad cancer. Aggressive and in a late stage. It was a moment of total fear and horror that I will never forget.
One thing I did not have was any symptoms.
If you have been reading my blog all along, much of this post will be repetitive, so feel free to skip to the last paragraph.
UPSC or Uterine Papillary Serous Carcinoma is an endometrial cancer, very different than uterine cancer. It is neither uterine cancer nor endometrial cancer, although is often referred to by both names. It is in a category of its own, unfortunately, which means that there is little information, few studies, and no colorful ribbons.
This is what I read when first diagnosed:
UPSC is an aggressive postmenopausal nonendometrioid uterine cancer that is often chemoresistant from onset, with low response rates, short response durations, and a 5-year survival rate of 18%
So in mid-2010, I started chemo, then radiation, and a March 2011 scan showed no evidence of disease (NED). This did NOT mean, however, that I was cured or no longer had cancer. I did and do.
Two other scans, 6 months apart in 2012, followed, both with NED. Four months after the second scan, I got really bad back pain. So I went to doctor after doctor, acupuncture, PT, massage, injections, hypnotherapy.....to no avail. My regularly scheduled scan two months later showed that the cancer was back. How stupid was I, not to have consulted my oncologist about this pain? Pretty stupid, but also very drugged for the pain.
My oncologist at Hopkins wanted to start chemo immediately, but I was hesitant. Didn't I want to get the cancer out of my body if possible? I had another, local gynecological oncologist whom I saw every few months (no, I had not told him about the back pain either!) so I took my scans and went to see him. He recommended that I have him do what he called "surgery with curative intent". Sounded good to me so I had this "big" surgery in fall of 2012. I did not do well afterward.....he had to re-position several organs and my body just was not the same.
Shortly after, I started chemo, sandwiched with radiation. My blood tests were repeatedly poor and I needed transfusions. I was hospitalized 3 times in 3 months for a total of 25 days. Endless vomiting and internal bleeding. I really was certain that I was going to die. But somehow, I pulled through and on one lucid day made two big decisions: to stop chemo and radiation (I had had half of the scheduled treatments at that point) and to change oncologists. If I were going to die from this monster, I wanted someone compassionate. This was in March of 2013.
At this point I could no longer walk, but got into PT for cancer patients and built up my body a little so I was eventually able to walk and resume somewhat of a normal life. The chemo had done something to my body that will never be "fixed" but at least I am here. Every day is a challenge and I am limited as to what I can do on a daily basis. I have learned to pace myself, which is difficult for an A-type personality to do. And I look fine, so people do not really know how much of an effort everything is.
I have another scan in a month, always a tense time. Six times since my last surgery, Bob has been able to text the word "CLEAR" to Laura as soon as the words were out of the doctor's mouth. I hope this time will be the same, but if not, I will deal with it. There have been huge advances in cancer therapy in the last 5 years, including immunotherapy. I am thankful for these years I have had to enjoy my beautiful grandchildren--years I did not think I would have. I may not be the most active Ammy they could have, but I am always here for them and love them unconditionally.
Today is Laura's 36th birthday......hard to believe the years have gone by so fast. She is "celebrating" by working on the Run for Radcliffe.....and has to be at the school at 6 AM!!! EGADS. And then there is Memorial Day. I told her that we have to arrange for her birthday to NOT be on Memorial Day weekend in the futurel The children chose a "Hello Kitty" cake for her....the only one they could agree on.
I have been sick for almost three weeks with an awful virus....everything from my neck up has been affected: eyes, ears, head(ache), throat, voice, etc. And the FATIGUE is the worst. I have been to the doctor twice and told this could last a month. I just totally feel like crap. Unfortunately, Laura has the same thing, hers just started a week later. We are both pretty miserable. But at least I can sleep if I need to (and I need to sleep a lot!) - poor Laura is just worn out.
We are looking forward to next weekend here with the kids, hopefully feeling better. They really like it here and at the quiet little "secret beach" we found a couple of weeks ago.
After having my "pictures" done, and being sent to the waiting room while the technician took the pics to the radiologist (who is a friend of mine), the tech came back and said the doctor wanted some views re-done. Within the next 2 minutes, I imagined surgery, chemo, radiation, and death. I was actually short of breath.
But it turned out that all was well.
This just shows what happens in the mind of someone who already has cancer! Everything is scary. Every ache and pain, twinge or discomfort is something to worry about. After all, one day I was fine and the next day I had cancer.
Cherish every moment.
Ancient man communicated using drums....just a few beats to send a message to those within earshot....or even at a distance.
Then man eventually progressed to writing and sending letters to those near and far. Real letters -- using pen, paper, and actual handwriting. Many of these letters then became part of our historic legacy.
Next, computers came along and e-mail made it so easy to communicate with friends.....often spontaneously, with no need to look for pen and paper. Even your spelling got fixed! And who cares anyway, since this was casual communication?!?!
Shortly, with the advent of the smart phone, texting became wildly popular. This is where I start to rant!
I have noticed that quite a few young people, who have been texting for years, do not seem comfortable talking face-to-face. So how will they do in job interviews? And if they get a job, how will they communicate with co-workers and/or clients?
Yes, I do use texts, but not exclusively as so many seem to do. And smart phones have brought about the end of nice, long, chatty e-mails too. Who wants to type a long e-mail on that little device? Not me, with my bad eyes and clumsy fingers! The most one usually gets from an e-mail written on a phone is a few scant lines, at best.
Then there is FaceBook, in which I also participate....but the brief posts there just leave me wanting more......
With the near-demise of written communication also came the (near) end of social correspondence like "thank you" notes and even invitations.
I do appreciate the fact that texts are less disturbing in public spaces than phone calls....but they are still an intrusion into what are supposed to be "social" places.
People continue to talk on cell phones no matter where they are. I have easily overheard many private conversations in restaurants, stores, etc. Conversations related to work situations, personal things....that no one should be broadcasting in public. Take it OUTSIDE!
Think of all the historical information that has been gleaned from correspondence sent and received by people in the past. Not just famous people, but ordinary citizens from whom we have gotten a glimpse into our past. I fear that our grandchildren will not be the beneficiaries of much information from today's letter writing.
When I was at my sickest a couple of years ago, I asked friends to send me long chatty e-mails that did not focus on my cancer, so that I could be distracted from my gloom. I love hearing what is going on in the lives of my friends and family! At that time, I was not really able to talk on the phone very much, so those e-mails were such a blessing. Unfortunately, only a few people (you know who you are!) heeded my request...disappointing.
Last year I performed the sad task of cleaning out my big drawer of stationery - I rarely have any use for it any more. I used the paper for lists. Regretfully.
I think I will go write someone a letter...on real paper!
I have found that unless one has had a really CLOSE brush with cancer, either as a patient or engaged on a daily basis with a patient, knowledge of this evil disease is cursory at best. Perhaps this documentary will change that: Emperor of All Maladies: A History of Cancer- on PBS Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 9.
The excellent Pulitzer Prize-winning book on which this documentary is based was a real eye opener for me....I was reading it at the same time I was first diagnosed with cancer. I had to put the book aside for a while and then again when I had a recurrence.
Knowing how complex cancer is, I never use the words "cure" or "miracle" - nor do most doctors. This article has the brutal truth about why
So many mutations, so many variations.....even targeted therapy, such a popular topic now, only provides, on average, an extra few months of life. I remember the hoopla years ago about laetrile and interferon, drugs that were supposed to cure cancer. It is very sad that this disease is so wily and insidious that very little progress has been made in its treatment. "Cut, poison, and burn" - still the most-used methods to deal with cancer.