Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

On Tuesday, the 23rd, I had to get a blood draw and pick up a prescription so I decided to get a copy of my PET scan report while I was there. Well, I started looking at the report and forgot to get my prescription. One of those senior moments I guess – they seem to come more often these days.

I have had back problems for many years, caused by craziness on my part, but you just learn to live with it and go on. When I moved to Denver I was in pretty bad shape and decided to try a chiropractor. He was very thorough. He showed me the x-rays of my spine so I have known for some time now that I have degenerating disc. However, he did help me at that time – 13 years ago.

While I was going through the cancer my backaches became more intense and as you know I have recently decided to go on pain pills to help with the pain. I was not sure if the back pain was because of the cancer or because of the degenerating discs. When I picked up the report and started reading, I knew the answer. There was one sentence that really caught my eye, becaue we had not talked about it - “Osteoarthritic changes are identified in the facet joint of the lumbar spine.” This has not been in any other report. My oncologist, of course, knows about the back pain but we have never discussed it in detail. I am sure he thought I knew that my pain was because of osteoarthritis.

I am okay with this news because now I know that the backaches are from another source and not connected to the cancer. I will continue Praising God. He has given me more than I deserve.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Unconditional love

Today I received an email, from a very good friend, about a dog named Lucky and his master who had breast cancer. As I read the story I started crying. Oh, it was a very happy ending but it brought back memories of not so long ago.

We hear stories everyday about our closest companions and how they know when something is not right. I believe that this unconditional love goes deeper than we can ever imagine. There are people who prefer not to have animals, or they have allergic reactions to animals and cannot have pets.

A long while before I was diagnosed with cancer, Ember, my little black cat got in the habit of crawling up on my shoulder and snuggling with her face in my neck – she would burrow in. Ember started doing this every time I sat down and especially when I was at the computer. I have to admit that it did become very irritating and if I put her down she would come right back. I decided that this was a habit that I was just going to have to live with and that she would eventually quit.

Yes, Ember finally quit after I came home from the hospital. She still gets on my neck, but nothing like it was before I had the surgery. It took me awhile to put two and two together. But, I know in my heart that she knew I was very sick and she had no way of telling me. (If only they could talk.)

There have been other incidences at other times in my life, with the different animals that I have had over the years, but nothing quite like this time. Our pets are a gift from God.

God instructed Noah to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, along with every kind of food to be stored as food for the animals and his family while on the ark.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

CA 125 results

When I was talking with my oncologist on Tuesday evening I was so in shock that I forgot to ask him the actual results of my CA 125. He just said it had gone down and was within normal range. (The high end of the normal range is 34.) The lowest it has ever been was 14 and that was in January '09, after Chemotherapy. After that it started gradually going up again and in July of ’09 (six months ago) it was at 53.

I received the results yesterday via computer and was shocked to see how low it had actually gone. My CA 125 is now at 15.

I am still and will continue to Praise God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PET Scan results from 2-5-10

As you all know from reading my blog that I made a decision, well over a year ago, to do no further treatment for my cancer. Since that time I have been watching the cancer on six-month intervals by repeating the PET scan and the CA 125 (blood test). During surgery they could not get to the aortic lymph node and decided to close me up. The Chemotherapy did not kill the cancer in the lymph node and there were no other options. I did ask about Cyber knife and that was not an alternative. Even radiation to that lymph node would not have reached it. I made my decision for no more treatment through prayer (and all of your prayers), much studying and reading and through common sense of knowing what I could tolerate.

My last PET scan, the first week of August 2009, showed that the cancer had moved to another lymph node (now there are two involved) and there was a spot on my liver. When cancer is in the lymphatic system it is hard to kill and it will continue to spread to other vital organs. We also know that cancer grows rapidly once it moves to the liver. I was waiting on the test results to see how far it had spread.

On Tuesday evening, the 9th, I received a call from my oncologist. I took a deep breath to listen to what he had to say. He started off telling me about the CA125 and that it had gone down and was within normal limits. Then he proceeded to tell me that the cancer was no longer active in the lymph nodes or the liver. I kept saying, “Are you sure”? That is when he just started reading me the report. There is a calcified spot on my lung that has been there since day one and they are not worried about that. And there is still a spot on my breast that is “undetermined” at this time. I am in total shock while talking to him and still am.

The oncologist is obviously very confused by these results also, and wanted to know what I was doing differently. “Was I doing alternative methods?” I told him that I had changed my diet somewhat and that I had lots, and lots of people praying for me. And, that I have taken all the stress out of my life. He finally said, “What ever you are doing, keep doing it!”

He does want me to follow-up on the spot on the breast. He mentioned an MRI and I said that would not happen unless they can put me to sleep to do it. Then he suggested following up with another mammogram. I also will follow with another PET scan in six months.

He did tell me that I am not in remission that this can go either way. I forgot to ask about the severe backaches but I can learn to live with them and I will catch him later on this issue.

There is no way to thank all of you for your prayers - and your friends that have been praying for me. Just know that God is in charge and he loves each and every one of us as if we were the only person on earth. My heart is about to burst out of my chest right now. I love you

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Excitement all the time

Last night, Saturday, the 6th, the sirens just kept coming. I looked out my bedroom window, which is on the front side of building (West), and there were three fire trucks (2 of them ladder trucks) and at the corner there were two more trucks. All were pulling out there hoses. I walked to the living room and there were two more fire trucks on 26th street. Now there are seven fire trucks, two fire marshals and one paramedic’s truck.

No fire alarm has gone off in the building and I keep waiting for some kind of announcement. I look out my bedroom window again and all the firemen are standing in front of the building just looking at it. I opened the windows and I did not smell any smoke. I still have no idea what is going on.

Now, I am fortunate that I have a corner apartment and can see out on 26th street and on Osceola street. The people that live across the hall, from me, probably had no idea anything was going on because they over look the parking lots on their side of the building. I decided that I needed to make a phone call (to Rebecca) to let her know that something was going on but I did not know what. She laughed and said, “Just in case you don’t show up in the morning.” That is exactly what I had in mind. I just wanted someone to know – just in case.

After about an hour all of the firemen started folding up the hoses and putting them back on the trucks. None of the trucks left until everyone was ready to leave. I thought that was pretty neat. At this point I still don’t know what is going on and probably would not find out until Sunday.

On Sunday I leave at 7:30 am to go to church and I never see anyone on the elevators or in the lobby when I leave. This morning one of the gentlemen got on the elevator with me and I asked him what was going on last night. He said that there were some little kids in one of the apartments playing with a little rubber football and they lost it. Apparently it was in a lamp and I think you can figure out what happened. They must have called 911 directly and thus all the fire trucks.(Children do not live in this building so they must have been visiting.)

There are some positives from this experience. I know that the fire department takes these calls seriously and were very well prepared. That alone put my mind at ease about living in this building on the 15th floor. The other positive is that I am in an end unit and I would walk out my door and right on to the fire escape. My friend, Laurie, gave me a carrier bag for Ember, my cat, and it will slip right over my shoulder. It will be much easier to carry her down than a regular carrier, if the need ever arises. The fire escape is all cement steps with handrails.

Thank you Father God that all turned out well. I did sleep peacefully after all the commotion.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

PET Scan experience

Yesterday, Friday the 5th, I went for my PET scan. I am claustrophobic so I have to take medication when I get there. They inject me with the radioisotope and then I have to rest for an hour. The pills (2) always take effect within the hour. Then it takes 25 minutes for the scan. Now that is not a terribly long time if you are not claustrophobic.

My friend Rebecca always takes me because I cannot drive afterwards with all that medication in me. As soon as they take me back to the room for injection Rebecca leaves to go walking or to get coffee and read, or to just run errands if she needs to. She has an hour and a half wait. She always takes my purse, cell phone, etc and puts them in the trunk of her car so that I don’t have to mess with them.

I am sitting in the chair and all of a sudden it hits me and I just went running out of the room saying, “my pills.” She was gone. The tech suggested I try to call her, “She has my cell phone and I don’t know all of her number.” Then he suggested I call my number and maybe she would answer. Then I remembered that she puts my stuff in the trunk. I will never forget her number again. And, Rebecca will never leave right away – again.

The tech said, “We will get you through this.” I did make it through but I will never do that again. I did not relax the whole time I was on the table. They strap your arms down. I didn’t know that. I have always been out-of-it before. It is a super wide strap and comes across your whole body. It is to keep your arms from moving. I was concentrating so hard on just making it through. I was determined that I would not open my eyes – but I did. My nose started itching. My eye started itching. My cheek started itching. I was about ready to cry. Then I felt like I had to cough. I must admit that I don’t even know what kind of prayers I was saying or if I was praying at all. All I could think of was “Jesus.”

The time was going so slow. If it had been five minutes longer I wouldn’t have made it through. I was ready to lose it. They helped me off the table and I couldn’t walk. My insides were shaking so bad. At least no one said, “Now that wasn’t so bad was it.” I might have hit them. I was so totally exhausted and stressed by the time I got home that I had to lie down for a while. That is usually a normal procedure but that is because I have taken medication.

Never again will I do a PET scan without medication. I will post the results next week.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. ~Helen Keller

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"He's Back"

I went to see Mario on Sunday, January 31st and he was still not up to par. He would play, but not much. On Sunday night he decided to sleep on the bench by Laurie's bed, upstairs instead of in the sick room.

Monday morning Mario woke up early and started running through the house, playing, and jumping up on everything. All Craig could say was, "He's back." We were all so thankful that he finally turned that corner. When I say that Mario gets up early, I mean between 2-4 am. Then he likes to sleep most of the day.

I know that Craig and Laurie have only had him since December 16th, but they both love him as much as I do.

On Sunday just before I left, Craig asked me if I would like to have another black cat. I noticed that he did not ask me if I wanted Mario back - even after all the dollars they have spent on him the last two weeks.

One thing about that little character is that he will steal your heart.