Monday, March 31, 2008

Slightly Scary News

I had my CT scan (with contrast, which meant an IV and anti-allergic medicine for 24 hours prior to the scan...blech to both) today. The nodule in my right lung is a little bigger. This is now the second CT scan since chemo and it is bigger for the second time. It has only increased in size another millimeter or two (the doctor at one point said it was 1 cm and at one point said it was 9 mm), but it has increased. The nodule in the left lung has not changed (did not show change last time either). I am going to have another PET scan (the radioactive one) on Thursday (the earliest I could schedule one). If it lights up on the PET then we will have to decide what to do. Perhaps more lung surgery (oh please no) or perhaps a procedure involving a long needle being inserted into the tumor to freeze or burn it while I am unconscious. At least it looks like I would avoid more chemo for right now.

So, I am scared again, or to be more precise, still...

My parents have to leave on Wednesday (in two days) so my Mom can't look after Captain Adorable while Captain Obvious goes with me to the PET scan. Fortunately, I am very lucky that my MIL can meet me there and help me with it. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will remember that she went with me to the last one, too. You'll also remember that the PET scan is a CT scan with radioactive glucose injected. Rapidly growing cells in the body (cancers are rapidly growing) "light up" on the scan. The disadvantage of the scan is that I will be slightly radioactive for 20-24 hours after the injection. This means I should not hold Captain Adorable or even be in a small room (or car) with other people. I will be out of the family bed for that night. At least I do not have to worry about pumping and dumping and getting the babe to take a bottle this time.

One good development: I got my hair cut at the "salon" there in the cancer suite. I like it better now and it is better primed for growing out. The bluntness of the bob has been softened. It still looks cute. I also got some special shampoo/scalp treatment (nioxin) to help with my hair loss. I hope that will help to stimulate some regrowth (it has a good reputation). It certainly was not cheap! My oncologist says that it looks like the hair loss, even though it started a month after chemo, is probably from chemo. She checked my thyroid levels and they look good. She is going to talk to an endocrinologist for me as well.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Tricks

This photo was taken on March 8, 2008, but I thought it was cute enough to put here for you to have a look at. Captain Adorable had a great time with angel hair (spaghetti) for dinner that night. It was a lot of work to clean it all up, but it sure was fun to watch him play.

Speaking of Captain Adorable, he is up to so many new things I thought I'd make a quick little list for the benefit of this blog.

He now:
Will offer his mouth (if he's in the mood) if asked for a kiss
Will play "gimme five"
Climbs up his high chair at meal time
Climbs from the high chair to the kitchen table if the high chair is next to the table...we're in trouble now!
Has a bigger appetite (eats 5-6 yogurts per day instead of 4)
Has greater control over his pull-along toys
Eats grapefruit
Insists I accompany him for short walks and gets angry if I do not come along!

In addition to all the above, he is gorgeous and sweet and so so smart!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What I Meant To Say

I was talking to my Mom about some of the issues I discussed in my last post and she told me that the post might not convey what I meant to say. So, here is some clarification.

I like it when people ask me how I am doing. Even if my answers are vague and/or sad, I like to be asked because it makes me feel the person asking cares about me. I like to feel cared about and supported; doesn't everyone? So, just in case I made anyone feel bad with my last post, I am sorry and please keep asking me how I am doing if you are interested!

On the other hand, and this is not what I said but was in my mind while I was writing, there are a couple of approaches to my having cancer that I really dislike. 1) The Pretend Everything Is Fine Approach. My grandmother just ignores the fact that I have cancer. She never, never mentions it. If I mention is, she just says something like, "I know you like your doctor and that's the most important thing," (weird, because I actually don't really like my doctor--nor do I dislike her, but I have never discussed my feelings about my doctor with my grandmother!) and then changes the subject back to whatever inanity she is going on about that day. As you might imagine, I do not bring up my cancer when talking to her.
2) The Pretend the Person With Cancer Does Not Exist Approach. The approach makes me feel robbed and angry. My brother has not only decided not to talk to me about my cancer, it seems he has decided not to talk to me at all. He lives on the west coast and I live on the east coast, and he came to visit me in September after my lung surgery, which was great. However, since that visit I have only talked to him once, when I called him (after getting voice mail several times before reaching him), and he only talked me me about some governmental policy matter before saying he had to go. I guess he's come down with terminal self-centeredness? Or no longer wants to know me since I have a big depressing problem? Am I no longer worth his time? Was I ever if I can be dismissed so easily?

One more thing. If I am talking to you and I mention my life span or dying, please do not tell me that I have plenty of years left or that no one knows what their life span is. While it is certainly true that any of us could be run over by a bus tomorrow, not all of us have adenocarcinoma. I do. Yes, it is true that the possibility for me to live long enough to meet my grandchildren exists. I know this and I hope for it. However, at the same time, I also have to live with the fact that can no longer buy life insurance. I have to have a CT scan every 3 months for the next 2 years. I live with the chance of recoccurance every minute of every day. Dying and death are big concerns of mine. I will probably die of cancer, and probably before you. So don't dismiss my concerns about life span and death. Let me state them and if you feel like asking me about the subject, do so. If you don't, just remain quiet and I will notice you are not responding and the subject will fade away.

Up until my diagnosis with cancer, I always thought I had 120 years or so. Now, all of a sudden, I find that I may have only 5 (or less!). This has had a HUGE impact on my life. One of the main reasons my family has decided to sell our house and move is because we do not know how long my life span is. Captain Obvious and I both want to do things now, because we do not know how much time is left to do them. This is also the reason why we have been traveling and visiting friends. It is fun to hang out with people we love, to give and receive love and support. We don't know how many more visits there will be, so it is nice to experience them now. Yes, it could be that I still have 20 or 30 more years to live (remember I am only 34) and in that case, these visits and travels build relationships that are important to me and to Captain Obvious for the long haul. See? By living as if there is not much time left, I am also improving my life for the long haul.

Life is so precious and beautiful! Every second is a sparkling jewel! I hope you can see this too!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fun In Tennessee

I am sitting inside, at the dining table. I can see through the glass french doors that Captain Adorable and my Mom are sweeping the patio once again. Well, my Mom is sweeping and the little Captain is happily running around with a broom, but he does not quite have the muscle coordination to sweep yet. He's having a wonderful time, though.

So far today he has been on a little walk (down the driveway and back), scattered corn for the birds who visit my parents' bird feeding station outside the kitchen, and had a ride in the wheel barrow (TONS OF FUN). I don't know how I am going to keep him occupied when we are back home and he can't go wander around in a huge yard like they have here. I guess I will have to take him on walks in local parks...maybe that will work...I kinda doubt it.

I've been seeing a few of my parents' friends and they have been so kind as to inquire about my health. I always give a kind of glum answer. I guess this is because although I seem to be recovering from chemo well and I certainly do not look like a person who recently had chemotherapy and has lung cancer, I am emotionally quite fragile still. My tears are still close to the surface and if I think too much about how frightened I am of the possibility of reoccurance or how angry I am at having been robbed so much already by cancer, they spill out and down my cheeks. I am crying now, just writing the previous sentence, actually. So, if you get a weird or evasive answer when you ask me how I am doing, that is why. I hope you understand. Thank you for asking, though. I really like to feel that people care and support me!

I am still not drinking (water) enough, but I am trying to be more aware of it here at my parents' house. Captain Adorable does not drink enough either and I really do not know what to do about it other than feed him soup all the time. One really good thing is that both my Mom and I think he is gaining weight. He is looking rounder, and more solid. I am looking forward to our next well-baby visit at the pedistrician so we can see how much he has gained and grown. (I think it is in April...)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Playing Outside Is Wonderful

Here is a pic of Captain Adorable having a good time time outside (and you can see the black eye--poor thing!). I hope to figure out how to turn it so it is upright...My little city boy has been cooped up inside all winter long, so he has not had much experience with playing outside. Here at my parents' house Captain Adorable goes outside for a good portion of each day! He is having so much fun with sticks and leaves and brooms and rocks and just plain running around. He has been going for rides in the wheel barrow (he cried when he was finally taken out by a tired grandparent today). He has been learning to negotiate hills and he is now quite proficient at walking up and down rather steep slopes, which was a challenge when we arrived.

He has been eating well (read: a lot) and sleeping well (read: no waking up and crying at night). He has been playing on the slide my parents bought him...but the adults seem a bit more impressed with it than he is. He has even petted and climbed on the dogs. The dogs, of course, are not quite sure that they like being climbed on, but with supervision from an adult, it all works out just fine.

I have been able to leave Captain Adorable in the care of his grandparents because he knows and loves my parents and we all feel totally comfortable with him in their exclusive care for a few hours. I went to have lunch with a couple of dear friends and though I felt guilty for being away from my darling boy for so long, I had a good time socializing. There are no friends like those who knew you when... :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

8 Hours In The Car

The drive from our house to my parents house is about 500 miles, or about 7.5-8 hours in the car. I was very nervous about how Captain Adorable would react, seeing as he does not like the car seat very much. In order to make the trip more bearable for him, we decided to turn the car seat around (forward facing). We also had my Mom in the car, so she could attend to any needs he might have while we were on the road. We planned to stop every 2 hours and to make sure to give Captain Adorable plenty of time (approximately an hour at each stop) to stretch his legs before putting him back in the car.

Our plans worked well. He seemed to really be in favor of facing forward (I still feel weird about it, seeing as rear-facing is so much safer). We left right before nap time, and after rush hour. The driving was easy and Capt. Adorable slept until I asked Mom to put a hat on him to keep the sun out of his face. Unfortunately that woke him up after only a half an hour of nap...fortunately, he did not cry and we continued driving (with Mom and the baby interacting--she kept him from getting too bored) for the full 2 hours we had planned. We stopped at a rest stop and even though it was cold, ate lunch at a picnic table. Captain Adorable was too excited to eat and only took a jar of sweet potato before he insisted on getting down and walking around. He was having a great time, but he fell and hit his beautiful face on a rock that was placed next to the path and he has a big black eye. He cried, but not very much, really. I felt horrible and I called Captain Obvious right away.

We got back in the car and Mom fed Captain Adorable the rest of his lunch. Then he fell asleep for about 2.5 hours, so we drove for 3 hours without stopping. When he woke up, he was not happy to be in the car, so we stopped at the first place available--another rest stop. It was much warmer, but still required coat and hat. He walked around in a grassy area (no rocks this time!) and had a great time. We got back in the car after about an hour. He was fine the rest of the way, playing shake-my-head with my Mom and generally being angelic and cooperative. We stopped once more, because we needed to fill up the gas tank, and while I took Captain Adorable out of the car, we kept him in arms only. We got back on the road after only about 10 minutes.

When we got to my parents' house, he was amazed and fascinated with all the wonderful new things to see and touch. To my surprise and happiness, they had bought a little slide for him! I did not get him into the bath (bedtime ritual) till 9:00! By the time his head hit the pillow, he went to sleep easily and quickly.

I have been taking lots of photos of him interacting with this new environment and I cannot wait to show them all to Captain Obvious.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Off to Tennessee Tomorrow

I had so much to write about my trip to New Orleans that I got overwhelmed and didn't write a thing! Bad blogger! Oh well, I am off to Tennessee with Captain Adorable tomorrow. We are going to drive down with my parents and stay for a week or so. Captain Obvious is going to be working on our house (yes, we are going to put it on the market) and it will be much easier for him to work without the two of us underfoot.

I will write more while I am there.