Sunday, April 21, 2013
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I didn't want Rob to go to work today. I hoped he would stay here and allow us to celebrate the day together. But today is a payroll day and too many people count on their paychecks appearing in their bank accounts, so he headed out the door for his long, daily drive to Bountiful.
About a week ago I asked Rob what he'd like for his birthday. He has been mulling it over and finally last night he answered, "I can't think of a single thing I want." When I pestered him about it again this morning he said, "I'd like a cherry pie." When I finish typing this post, I'll mix up and roll out a pie crust, dump in a jar of home-bottled cherry pie filling, and make a lattice top sprinkled with sugar. It will be cool when he comes home from work, but he has a home teaching appointment this evening, which he'll do as soon as he gets home. Then he and I can have a leisurely dinner and a piece of pie for dessert.
Happy birthday, Rob! I love you! I feel so incredibly fortunate you are in my life. Thank you for being so kind, loving, and thoughtful. I am so blessed!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
We went through another series of doctor visits and almost, but not quite, surgical stays. I was supposed to attempt another biopsy, this time in the hospital under anaesthesia I went in the day before for my pre-surgical appointment. They drew blood, took vitals, and ran an EKG. I left two hours later with several wrist bands and instructions not to eat or drink after midnight, what to wear the next day, and admonitions to not remove any of the plastic straps attached to me.
When I got home, there was a voice mail message telling me that the anaesthesiologist had viewed the EKG and cancelled the surgery. He saw a strange heart rhythm (the one I've been telling doctors about for the past three weeks, that no one seemed concerned about). I called back to question what he saw on the EKG and was referred to the doctor who was to do the surgery. He tried to find out what was happening and if the surgery could be performed some other way. In the end, everyone just advised me to get into a cardiologist.
The cardiologist was extremely kind--probably the nicest, most personable of all the docs I've seen since October. He listened to my heart, hooked me up to run an EKG, and just visited with Rob and me about all these recent health issues. He couldn't see anything wrong with my heart rate or rhythm at that moment, but decided to order some tests and a heart monitor. We walked out to the waiting room to schedule the tests when suddenly my heart started doing that flip-floppy thing it does these days. I told Rob and he called out to Dr. Crawford who rushed me back to the exam room and plastered me with sticky electrodes, connected them to the machine, and ran another EKG. Sure enough. There was the proof that I have a funny new heart rhythm that kicks in every once in awhile (usually when I'm trying to fall asleep at night). Dr. Crawford called it a Premature Ventricular Contraction (PVC) and didn't seem terribly concerned about it.
So, Tuesday was another long day, this time at Ogden Regional Hospital, having an echo cardiogram and the stress test. Let me say, jogging on a treadmill in a hospital gown with seven people watching is not my idea of fun. I hope I never get that opportunity again.
I'm wearing a monitor now that continually beeps and buzzes at me. I better get used to the noise because it gets to be my little buddy until January 21. I hope it considers me its buddy and gives the doctors good news so we can get this show on the road.
I've been comparing experience of the past few months to being in a giant maze that has no way out, no solution, or exit. But that treadmill on Tuesday somehow seems more symbolic. I'm just running in place, going nowhere, and getting exhausted to boot.
Monday, December 24, 2012
I asked when I would feel better. Dr. Scaffe said that the scar tissue that developed around the mass will take six to 12 months to heal and could cause some residual effects. She was also concerned about an additional spot on my uterus and advised that we get that biopsied. She signed me off to the gynaecological center where we were able to get that procedure scheduled for January 4.
So, overall, it was good news. There are still a couple of questions to answer and some time needed to heal. I've got another CT scheduled at Huntsman to verify that the tumor completely disappears. But I can tell I am feeling better. I am eating better. I've gained about five pounds back. My legs aren't quite so shaky. I'm so grateful for improvement! Thank you for the prayers. They are being answered!!
Saturday, December 8, 2012
The good news: the mass is a little smaller. We don't know how much smaller, but the radiologist was so encouraged by that, he opted to not risk the planned biopsy. Loops of bowel sit between my skin and the tumor. The University of Utah doctor said the chance of nicking the bowel is high in my case and felt it would be expedient to check the size of the thing again in a couple of weeks. He recommended getting started on some steroids immediately and sent us back to the oncologist at Huntsman.
As we walked down the hall towards Clinic 2E, I met a lady and her husband coming the other direction. I recognized her and she recognized me. We said each others' name as we met. It was Lezlie Porter Smith. We went to high school together. We were on the tall flag team together my senior (her junior) year. I've recently become Facebook friends with her. It has been 34 years since we last saw each other. She was there with her husband who has colon cancer than has metastasized to his liver. They were there to attempt an experimental treatment, because five rounds of chemo have done nothing. Talk about putting things into perspective for me!
We waited to visit with my doctors, who looked over images and reconsidered the radiologist's readings, but decided in the end to allow a two week window to see if in indeed the mass is shrinking. My internist voted against the steroid idea. Instead, I was given 2 large bottles of contrast to take home and rescheduled for yet another CT on December 21 at Huntsman (instead of the U). We'll see what happens then.
I was hopeful that I would have a firm diagnosis and a treatment plan in place when I came home. Patience is a virtue I need to learn.
Thanks for all the prayers. Tumor shrinkage is an answer to prayers!
Thursday, December 6, 2012
I'm heading back to Huntsman Cancer Institute in the morning for a biopsy. Yes, we have finally made it to step one. I'm shocked at the time, money, and energy it has taken to get to this point. But I'm determined not to curse the delay. The Lord must have good cause to wait. Maybe I'll find out what the reason is. Probably I won't.
I am still experiencing the burning pain in my abdomen, hot and cold flashes, and weakness in my legs, but my biggest complaint is lack of energy. I have to force myself to get up and do stuff. Then I do something and have to sit down and rest. The pressure is increasing in my stomach region, but I'm also feeling it in my hips and pelvis. It's the same sensation I remember experiencing when I was pregnant. It seems to me the tumor is growing and getting heavier. I'll ask tomorrow. Perhaps it's all in my head.
Next Friday, December 14, we'll be back at at Huntsman for surgery if the news is good. To me, surgery next week feels like the best-case scenario. The other options begin with chemo and radiation to shrink the mass before surgery. I just want the thing out of there.
Thank you for all of your prayers, concern, and kind thoughts. I have truly felt buoyed up by the love and faith of my friends and family. Thank you so much!
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Please be brutally honest and give me constructive criticism to make this essay the best it can be. Thank you!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
This essay is called a Mental Rabbit. The assignment was to think of an item we touch daily and then start writing about it and see where it leads us, like a zig-zagging rabbit running from bush to tree to hole. This was what I came up with on my rabbit hunt:
For our last vacation, we flew to Maryland. When we arrived at the BWI (Baltimore Washington International) Airport, we took the shuttle to the car rental center, used our Amex card to pay the rental fees, which automatically provided insurance on the Chrysler Impala we rented from Enterprise. That Impala took us to Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and to Baltimore, Towson, and Annapolis, Maryland. We visited Civil War battlefields, Independence Hall, Ben Franklin's grave, and the Liberty Bell. We admired the DuPont Estate, mourned in the Holocaust Museum, and were amazed at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. We also visited the National Zoo, National Cathedral, and all the monuments on the DC Mall. We visited the US Naval Academy and spent a day at Ocean City where the towels were spread on the sand as far as the eye could see; spacious awnings and huge beach umbrellas marking the seasoned beach goers' turf. Miles of boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants behind, the Atlantic Ocean in front. We read, sunned, hunted seashells, splashed, slept, then we took my American Express card and did a little shopping and found fresh seafood for dinner.
Each night we returned to the Sheraton Hotel in Towson--home base for our daily excursions. We have a Sheraton rewards card, with benefits for members (are you surprised?) We made sure to take in a tour of Inner Harbor, where we looked at tall ships, a WWII submarine, coast guard ship, and the USS Constellation anchored in the Harbor. We have thick, metal tokens, good for life-time admittance to the Constellation at her permanent berth--Constellation Dock, Inner Harbor, Pier 1, 301 East Pratt Street, Baltimore. She is the last wind-powered warship built by the U.S. Navy and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994 as the last existing naval vessel from the Civil War.
Lots of food is required for a family of six traveling in the United States. Luckily, there is a Costco in Baltimore which supplied us with croissants, the makings for sandwiches, big bags of chips, and flats of sodas. We packed lunches and saved a few dollars, but we also ate at restaurants, pubs and fast-food joints. Crabcakes, fresh flounder, and salmon were on the dinner menu; Dunkin' Donuts was a favorite breakfast spot. The Baltimore Orioles played the Pirates at Camden Yards while we were there. Abbey Burger after the game was a loud and boisterous place because the Orioles won. At this pub, the menu is a check list of about a hundred items. You pick your meat--ostrich, alligator, and bison were three of the many choices to select from; you choose the kind of bread/bun from about 10 varieties; and then you choose your toppings from dozens of items. Abbey Burger is home of Baltimore's best burger--my assessment as well as that of Best of Baltimore Magazine. We discovered Trader Joe's and can't wait until we have one of those 'Joes' at home. Every place we went, we looked for the familiar blue and white 'American Express accepted here' sign because we never leave home without it.
Around my birthday each year, Amex rewards checks are sent out. The one, two, or three percent cash back on purchases made over the past year will be totaled and mailed. We can use our check on Costco merchandise or cash it and used it anywhere else. Isn't that a great birthday gift? I look at our check each year and start figuring what one, two, or three percent translates into as charges on our credit card over the past year, then I think maybe we'll cut back and not buy so much next year. But I start thinking of places we've yet to visit, things we need to do, and start making plans--after all, membership has its rewards.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
|Cattails and the town of Mantua.|
|I love the reflection of the colorful hills in the lake.|
|A spot of color on a gray morning|
|The Ducks make V shapes in the water when they swim|
as well as in the air when they fly.
|Several horse pastures on the other side of Mantua Lake|
|I thought this was the most beautiful photo I took of the lake Saturday morning|
|The town of Mantua nestled beneath the colorful mountain sides|
in Sardine Canyon.
|Usually the guys walk behind us, but they passed us|
while I was taking photos.
|Tima and Margie are great friends and fun walking partners.|
|The tree-line east shore of Mantua Lake|
|This green willow with the fall-colored backdrop made such a pretty picture.|