Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lovely A-Plus

I had my regular 3-month check up scans and brain MRI done late in the afternoon on Tuesday. Even though the procedures were quick, my stomach was in turmoil after drinking the contrast. Ugh. I was even in a little bit of pain lying there on those tables, so I was ultra-happy when things were finished. For the first time, I had to re-do one of the MRI scans because the tech could see "movement". Weird, especially since I know I've drifted off before & have jerked myself awake again without having a noticeable "movement".

Wednesday morning, Linds & baby Will came with me to see Dr. Grossmann for the results. Will was an angel-baby and stole the show. Everyone loved him. He is so precious. Dr. G came in grinning and in a GREAT mood, which is always a good sign. The first thing he said to me was that my scans were "lovely" and everything looked wonderful. Really? Truly? I actually clapped for joy. I love how he goes through each image, explaining what has been there for a while & remains the same or what has shrunk because of treatment (groin & back tumors) or what has disappeared entirely (liver). He expressed the wish that he could assign one radiology technician to read the same patient's scans so the new ones wouldn't "freak out" if they saw something unfamiliar. I'd have to agree. Sometimes I've read their reports and wondered why there was such a "doomsday" feeling compared to Dr. G's optimism. He told us that there are some people who, years later, are still receiving the benefits of IPI. How cool is that? I'm going to be here a long, long time! He also said the MRI was "A-Plus" and that this was a "best news day". So awesome. Thank you, God.

After looking at the scans, Dr. G said he wanted to see & measure the back and groin tumors. I showed him the back one first, and suddenly, he became very excited. He told Linds to come over and look at what he was seeing. He also told me to look in the mirror when I got home and see what he was so pleased about. Where the radiation had burned my skin, there were now little "white spots" that were de-pigmentization from the treatment. (I know I'm not going to get across the scientific terms & meanings - even I don't fully understand it - but hopefully this will tell the gist of it. I really need to look up this process and research it.) The spots were evidence that treatment effects were continuing and that my good, cancer-fighting cells were "fighting" the dead, burned cells, recognizing that they were not normal. He was ecstatic that I'm still responding. He also said that this could happen in my hair or on my scalp and that some people call them "leopard spots". So interesting. I'm grateful for his explanation and his enthusiasm that it's a good thing because I think if I had discovered it first, I would have freaked. What in the world is THAT? 

The only bad news of the day was that my blood counts are still terribly low. Dr. G said that my body has become so used to these low levels, it compensates & gives me enough energy to handle my every day life. He looked at Linds and said, "If you or I had these low numbers and tried to walk 10 steps, we'd be 'whupped'." He finally ordered that I get 2 units of blood, and Linds & I couldn't have been happier. We've been waiting for this and hope/pray that it makes a difference & tells my blood marrow to ramp up production of my own good blood cells. I'm also praying that it gives me energy and maybe some "roses" in my cheeks. We'll see...

So, I went home yesterday with my port accessed (that was kind of strange, too) and came in early this morning to get my two units of blood. Linds texted me and asked, "Do you feel like a vampire yet?" YES!

I love Dr. G's optimism and hope. There is no beating around the bush - he tells it like it is and treats me like a long-term survivor. Yesterday, he asked how my singing was going and I had to tell him that I had had to give it up. It made him sad to hear that, and he said he would try everything he could to get me back to my "cool hobby." I love that he thinks of that when he sees me and he remembers it. I'm very grateful for his compassion and expertise. I always leave his office feeling more powerful and armed with knowledge. 

My sweet oldest grandson celebrated his birthday last week. He's growing up. It's wonderful to see.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Pics

(Daddy Aaron holding the hand of his perfect little son...a treasured moment...)

 I know I haven't blogged lately; maybe because there is more to "show" than there is to "tell". News on the medical side is pretty boring right now--for a few more days anyway--which is just how we like it. Scans are happening in four more days & it's hard to believe 3 months have gone by since the last ones. But that's not to say that life hasn't been a-movin' and a-shakin'! Just enough to keep me busy and on my toes, which is a great boost to the energy level, as well as the quality of sleep when I do finally crash. The Creon meds (my pancreatic enzymes) are working tons better since I was taught how to take them properly, so that has been a blessing. Food isn't very fun when it becomes a constant worry...

Now for the "showing": This has been a dreary, cold winter for me. The house is never warm enough & is only tolerable when I wear a sweater or jacket inside (I feel like Mr. Rogers--now I understand changing into a zip-up sweater right after walking through the door! I do it, too!) So, the following "love pics" have warmed my heart and kept me from tipping over the edge of sadness due to lack of sunshine & fresh air. It's been tough! 

January is brighter because of my tall, thin, teenaged girl who celebrated her 17th birthday without too much hoopla (our car was in the shop all day, so we had to be content to watch movies under our fleece blankets). She makes me smile daily, cry once in a while, and laugh when I really need it. What a gift she is! The picture of her as a sweet chubby baby with my darling dad was a warm way to celebrate his 75th birthday at the end of January. We miss him hourly...  And our chub-a-bubba, Jax, is now 7-months old, as of January 28. Papa Roy must giggle every time he sees these precious babies!

February has already enlarged my heart & filled it with love for my wonderful family. On February 5, our little Jane celebrated her 4th birthday with balloons and berry-filled cake and lots of girly-gifts...AWESOME! But the best gift of all (though she may argue that fact as she gets older!) was the birth of her brand-new baby brother later that afternoon! Will Calvin was born about 5:30 PM on February 5. He weighed 7 lbs 8 oz, was almost 20 in long, and has the cutest, roundest face & little boy "haircut"! We are all completely in love with him. In the words of his proud daddy, he is "perfect"! We've kissed his velvety-cheeks, snuggled his tiny body, and watched, mesmerized by his every breath & movement. He has captured our hearts.

Finally, no pics, but February 9 marked our 35th anniversary. 35 years? How can that be? Some days, it feels like forever--other days, it was a blink of an hour. Crazy life.

Enjoy the "showings". I feel warmer already.