Shaved my hair!

Shaved my hair!

Santa and Joshua

Santa and Joshua

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Todays Appointment

Well, the doctor's appointment was a complete waste of time. And it was the first time that I was absolutely pissed off by a doctor or even anyone in the healthcare field ever since finding out I have cancer. Since finding out the cancer had returned, my entire goal was removing the tumor from my body for good! Unfortunately surgery was said to be too risky in the beginning, so we went on to plan B which was chemo and then got the OK for radiation. The combination of chemo and radiation has been tough, but again, it was the best way to rid of the cancer.

Both my Oncologist and Radiologist were very positive and felt we would be able to shrink the tumor to the point that the surgeons would reconsider as the risk would be lessened. The original plan was to return to the University of Michigan for the surgery, where I had my original tumor removed.

My radiologist made a suggestion that I speak with a cardiac thoracic surgeon here in Traverse City, as he used to be one of the top surgeons at the U of M, and probably would have been the surgeon we would be talking to anyways if he still resided there. They are also good friends, and went to U of M together.All my scans, notes, biopsy, etc. was sent onto this doctor weeks ago, and an appointment set up for today. Everything sounded great. To be able to have this surgery close to home would have been amazing. I trust our hospital, know a lot of staff here, plus it would have just saved a lot of travel time, plus the extra expense of going back and forth for consults, pre-ops, surgery and post-surgery appointments.

We get to the appointment, fill out 4 pages of paperwork, and wait.We see the doctor and he begins a conversation with the secretary. Looking over my paperwork, we can over hear him say.."why the hell is he here to see me, he has already had surgery..." the secretary then closes the window between the office and the waiting room.

Now, I know people can have bad days, and I know that my case isn't what he normally deals with, as he mainly does heart surgeries, but obviously, this wasn't what I wanted to over hear him say. Plus, just the fact that he said that, to me meant, he had not looked over my case ahead of time. If he didn’t feel he wanted to, or didn't feel confident in performing my surgery, make that decision and let me know.
He came out into the waiting room, called my name and we went back to his office. We barely sat down, when he said..he had looked over my case, and he felt I should return to U of M for the surgery. I was able to say, that he was highly recommended by Dr._____, my radiologist. He said he felt it was best that I go back to U of M, so they could remove what had been left. (Nothing had been left, my original tumor was in my chest cavity, and it had now returned, metastasized in my neck.) Again, obviously he never really read over my case.

I very quickly got up, thanked him for his time and walked out. I think we were actually in his office for no more than 2 minutes.Can't believe I took today off of work -$$$- thinking we would have a great appointment and plan the next move, which I thought would have been, removing the tumor!

We do have an appointment with my oncologist this Friday, so, I will be giving her the details of today and see what we do from here. My thought is we will be making an appointment with the U of M, hopefully sooner than later. They will probably want new scans done, which I know won't be for at least 6 weeks. That is the minimum amount of time for the inflammation from the radiation and chemo to be settled back down.
Thanks again for everyone's thoughts and prayers. The fight continues!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone

Well, I will never get a job as a blogger that's for sure. Sorry I haven't written since my first chemo treatment 3 weeks ago.
For those on Facebook, you will have read some of the side effects I have been going thru.
It was diffenitely a rough couple of weeks. Thank goodness they gave me something for nausea, I think thats the only thing I didnt experience after that initial therapy. That being said, what I did go thru wasn't fun.
The new chemo drug they put me on this time around is called Taxol. I am also on Carboplatin, plus I was given Neulasta to help keep my white blood cell count up.

Almost immediately my energy level was zapped. But the worst was the neuropathy. All of my joints ached. My ankles, feet, knees, elbows, shoulders and lower back. I needed crutches to get into town for my Pet Scan. I hate calling into the doctors office, but I did, and they said it was just a side effect of the Taxol, as well as the Neulasta.

The PET SCAN came back clear! (except for the tumor in my neck) This is awesome news. At least now we know exactly what we are fighting. Plus this allows me to go ahead with the radiation treatment.

I returned to work on the 14th. I was pretty tired, but it was manageable. Naps at lunch time helped. I was also on-call for work for a week straight, and it was the busiest on-call I have ever had. I think I ended up with just over 17 hours of on call! One night i worked till 7pm (suppose to be off at 6), then had to go back out around 9pm and got home around midnight.
I guess its true that God wont give you more than what you can handle. But I must admit, I think I was getting close.

I am now off for a week, as I start radiation treatment on Monday.
My chemo treatments have also be changed up. Since my radiation is a go, my Oncologist would now like me to have chemo weekly instead of every three weeks. They lowered the dose of Taxol, no steroids, and no neulasta. In theory I shouldn't have the side effects I had the first time around. But with radiation and chemo all at the same time, I know I will be very tired.
Next week, I will have my chemo on Thursday, and then back to Fridays. I am hoping I will be able to go back to work on January 4th.

The other side effect that I never really went thru in 2007 is the loss of my hair. In 2007 my hair just kinda thinned out. But this time around, 2 weeks after my first chemo, hair would just come out in clumps. So, I have shaved my head. Good thing I don't mind short hair.

I guess the adrenaline of Christmas morning really got me going, because it was an absolutely amazing day. Michelle was up early, I woke up around 7 and Erica up around 8am. Santa had arrived! It was a great morning. Round one ended around 9:15am then the second round started around 10 as Mom and Dad Lewis arrived as well as Jessica, Nick and grandson Joshua. We were also joined by Kim (Michelle's sister) Doug and Kyle.
Even though Josh just sat looking cute, it was still a very special Christmas morning to see the gifts that he received. I already cant wait till next year when he will be 16 months old!
We enjoyed a great brunch and really had a wonderful time together.

Dinner was low key, I decided to make a roast with yorkshire pudding (my first attempt). They turned out great. Very yummy.

I slept very well last night.

We went thru a family scare this past week, as our Uncle John and cousin Jason, were over come by carbon monoxide poisoning as they were working in the garage. Luckily they were found and 911 was called. They were both taken to ER, Jason was given oxygen and did not have to be admitted to the hospital. Uncle John on the other hand coded a number of times, and did have a severe heart attack. As it turns out, he has a number of blood clots around his heart (unrelated to the carbon monoxide poisoning). If he had not been at the hospital and had the heart attack, he probably would not have survived it. It was a blessing in disguise that he had to be taken to the hospital! He is now home and he and Jason are doing well.

In 2007 when I was going thru my first treatments, a highlight of that year was my very good friend, Jon Matthews and his wife Claire giving birth to beautiful Gwen. Well, here we are again, and a highlight of these holidays was another addition to their family. Ella was on December 21st. Congratulations Claire and Jon. I know Claire wants more kids, hopefully I wont be going thru more treatments!

Ok, computer just started to freeze up. So I better end here. I hope everyone is having a great holiday. I will try to get on here more often.
Radiation starts Monday and chemo again on Thursday.

Talk to you all soon.