Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thankgiving!

We didn't go snorkeling. I awoke to a gorgeous sunrise at 5:48am. The Captains and I were on the beach by 6:15. We played in the waves, we dug in the sand, we saw some iguanas and squirrels in the trees. We took a hike to other, less populated beaches (meaning only 2 people instead of 10), where we saw beautiful rocks and some cute little crabs scrabbling around on the rocks. We came back, collected the rest of the family, and went to breakfast by 9:00. After breakfast we saw some monkeys, an iguana, and a hummingbird. We went back to the room. I tried to get Captain Adorable to take a nap but he was not into it and instead I fell asleep. I woke up at 1:00, having slept for about 2 hours! Then the Captains and I went to the pool, to play with another little guy who we met last night at dinner. The boys had fun together, but the other parents did not seem too interested in hanging out, so I did not try for a repeat meeting time. Then we came back to the room and Capt. Adorable took a nap. I sat on the veranda and read emails and talked and listened to the waves. Captain Adorable has just woken up. The whole family is on the veranda now. Bob Marley is on the mp3 player (Lively Up Yourself at the moment). There are chips, cheese, bread, and water on the table. We'll probably pop out some beers here pretty soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

From Coco Joe's

This morning the Captains and I hit the beach before 7:00. :) Captain Adorable was sooooo happy to finally, finally, finally be at the beach. I was happy too, despite the early hour. The constant screams and squeals of joy he emitted for the first hour were golden to my ears. The beach is totally natural, unspoiled, and gorgeous. There are no buildings, no billboards, and barely any people in sight. There are beautiful birds and plants and flowers. There are coconuts all over the place.

Coco Joe's is the name of the bungalow we moved into today and where we will all stay for the next 4 nights. There is a big porch/veranda here. The ocean is steps away. On the table are bread, cheese, wine, and olives. Leonard Cohen on the mp3 player.

Maybe tomorrow we'll go snorkeling.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From Montezuma

Hey everyone, I'm in Montezuma, Costa Rica with the Captains and my FIL and his wife (yes, a different person than the one I call my sweet MIL here in this blog). We travelled on airplanes what seemed like all day on Sunday and today we travelled in a private taxi and on a ferry and on the taxi again to reach this hotel. It is on the beach. Like, I can hear the waves from where I am lying on my bed with the door and all the windows closed. Should be fun tomorrow!

Health news: no firm date for surgery yet. Off chemo for now, but will do one more session when I get back (so will start Dec 2 or 3). I feel good right now but do not look forward to this last session of chemo. I am getting very tired of chemo and what it does to my body.

More later. Captain Obvious needs to watch a basketball game, so he needs this computer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Preliminary CT Report

If you don't feel like reading the report, the good news is: "stable to minimal growth." Yes, indeed, good news indeed. I cried with happiness there in the office when the onc told me! And now, in case you are interested, I retyped the report for you (and added a couple of comments in italics). Enjoy!

** Preliminary Result ** Preliminary Result ** Preliminary Result **

Exam: CBW 5011 -- CT ABD and Pelvis w/Contr CT -- Nov 11, 2009 14:08

Clinical History: Non-small cell lung cancer (Which of course annoys me since I think all the oncs now agree that I have Cancer of Unknown Primary, but whatever)

Comparison: 8/12/09

Technique: CT images of the chest abdomen and pelvis were obtained following the uneventful adminstration of IV contrast. The patient was also given oral contrast.


Chest CT:
Multiple bilatera; pulmonary nodules, which appear either unchanged or minimally increased in size since prior exam.

The largest difference is in a right lower lung mass measuring 2.2 x 1.8 cm (series 4: Image 47), previously 1.9 x 1.5 cm. Right upper lung mass now measures 2.0 x 1.8 cm (previously 1.7 x 1.5), series 4: Image 34. The remainder of the previously noted nodules are grossly unchanged.

The tracheobronchial tree is patent. Small loculated pleural effusion right posterior medial lung base, stable. Suggestion of right lower and middle lobectomy. (No shit, huh?)

Thyroid gland is unremarkable. No evidence of bulky supraclavicular, axillary, hilar, or medistinal lyphadenopathy. Focal calcification in the subcarinal region, likely calcified medistinal lymph node, stable since prior exam. Minimal calcification thoracic aorta. No evidence of pericaridal effision.

Abdomen CT:

Liver, gallbladder, spleen, bilateral adrenal glands, and pancreas appear unremarkable. Multiple unchanged hypodensities in the left kidney which likely represent cysts. Right kidney is unremarkable.

Stomach and small bowel appear unremarkable. No evidence of bulky retroperitoneal, or abdominal lymphadenopathy exceeding 1 cm. Celiac axis, SMA, and bilateral renal arteries are patent. Portal vein and splenic vein are patent.

Pelvis CT:

Urinary bladder and uterus are unremarkable. The left ovary measures approximately 4 0.1 x 2.5cm. Right ovary not visualized (it came out when I was 16). No evidence of bulky inguinal or pelvic lymphadenopathy. Large bowel appears unremarkable.


1. Multiple bilateral pulmonary masses, which appears to be stable to minimally larger than on prior examination.
2. Multiple renal cysts.

Feeling Rushed

There are so many things I have wanted to write about recently. I've been thinking a lot about Society. Race, class, the economy, neighborhoods, cultural attitudes, neighbors who do or do not fit in with my world view, my religious views, family, friends, education, travel, literacy, environmental impact of subdivisions on the integrity of the Cheasapeake Bay. You get the picture. I'd like to share more, to write about these things as a means of sorting out my own feelings/thoughts and I have been So Very Busy lately.

Here's an excerpt of an email I sent my Dad this morning:
We hired movers (so-and-so couldn't make it after all and such-and-such couldn't do it after all and other people were out of town...) to empty the pods. We paid them for 3 hours but they got it done in 2! There are still many unfinished projects around the house (I can't put things in the cabinets in the dining room because the cabinets will fall over unless they are attached to the wall, and Captain Obvious has not been able to get to that, for instance) and our clothes and linens are not unpacked yet. I still need to clean the cabinets in the laundry room and the bathroom, so many things are still waiting to be unpacked. We are still living out of suitcases. We closed on Friday, the movers came on Sunday, the pod was taken away on Monday and the radon remediation people arrived on Monday. Tuesday Captain Obvious went back to work and Captain Adorable and I spent ALL DAY driving around running errands (get the last things out of the house in Takoma Park, go shopping for new bathmats et cetera, go to the dentist, take back one last library book to the library where we used to go, drive past the old house since we're so close, stop at the drug store to pick up my prescription, the finally home to cook dinner.) We left at about 10 and got home about 6. Today I'm going to spend most of the day at Johns Hopkins. When I get home we are going to meet with the contractor to talk about getting the floor joists and the door fixed. Tomorrow our first house guests arrive. Fortunately, they say they are willing to work, so maybe next week we will have our clothes out of the suitcases. Woke up this morning to a wet bed (pee). We've got to get Captain Adorable's bed set up!

In addition, I hope this is not too much information, but last night i finally pooped. First time since Nov. 5! I feel much better now, as you may imagine.

It is harder to move with a child because although he is very cooperative and helpful, and will play by himself for long periods of time, he does still need attention and activity. We've still not gone to either of the neighborhood playgrounds, but we have walked down to the water twice (well, Capt.Adorable and I, Capt. Obvious stayed home to work) and Capt. Adorable loves walking in the leaves!

In addition to the above, I've just stopped chemo but now I'm on steroids to prepare for the CT scan today.

I would add that today while I was at JHH, the captains ran errands and worked on putting furniture together, so we have a place for the house guests to sleep! They also discovered that there is a leak from the sink drain pipe from the powder room on the main floor. So, now we've got to come up with money and time to do that project. Guess we know what our friends are going to be helping with during their visit! Thank goodness for family and friends.

Yes, feeling a little rushed. Haven't had time to post about my thoughts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

JHH Appointment Tomorrow

Now that things with the house are calming down, tomorrow is my appointment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I am going to have blood work, get a CT scan, and then talk with my oncologist. The Captains are staying home together.

I am hoping for a good result tomorrow, but I am worried. I guess I am worried before every scan. I just realised that I forgot to take my steroids (prednisone) starting at 12:50 this afternoon. Ugh. Anyhow, the medical oncologist on call this evenning called me back VERY promptly and advised me that I can take the steroids on a slightly modified schedule and still be fine. (As I think I've mentioned before in this blog, I am allergic to intravenous iodine, and that is what is used as contrast for the CT scans, so I have to take steroids to prepare for the scan. The steroids have side effects of their own, but while they are unpleasant, they are not too bad. I do kind of dread taking them, so maybe that's why I forgot today.)

Will update this blog after I get home tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New House!

Well, some good things happened and we closed on the house as scheduled on Nov. 6. YAY! I am so happy! I am also rather busy, with cleaning and unpacking, so more later. My chemo keeps me so tired these days.

I have a big day of appointments at JHH on Wednesday. Another CT scan. We will see how my cancer is responding to this low dose of chemo.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On The Phone All Day

Sigh, sigh, sigh. Well, as is quite common, we're experiencing some unexpected unhappiness here at the last minute before the closing on the new house. Blah. I am not going to go into the details, but Captain Obvious has spent days trying to resolve some issues and today I spent all day on the phone (except for about an hour in which I sifted clay) also trying to resolve the issues. Fingers crossed! We might just work everything out...but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it went the other way...


In other news, this afternoon an interesting thing happened. Captain Adorable left the building site to walk up the hill to the house because he needed to poop. He did not tell anyone where he was going--just hiked himself u the hill, went in the house, and did a poop...much to the surprise of his Opa, who was on a business call at the time he realised what was going on. Opa quickly asked if he could call the person back and helped Captain Adorable clean up (he had already dumped the potty, just needed to be wiped!). I arrived (having missed my son down at the building site) just as the resolution was occurring. I was very surprised! And proud! That my not-quite-three year old walked all the way up the hill to do a poop in the potty. I guess I'm going to have to take that thing to Costa Rica. ;)

Tomorrow we drive back to Maryland. Hopefully on Friday we will close on the new house. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Week In Tennessee...

...I hope. As long as everything works out ok, we are going to close on our new house on November 6 (that's Friday). I really, really hope everything works out ok. We are having a marvelous time here in Tennessee, but both Capt. Adorable and I miss Capt. Obvious something terrible and I really want to be in my own house with all my own stuff around. :)

This is the last round of chemo before our trip to Costa Rica for Thanksgiving and surgery in December. It is making me rather tired. I wake up tired, I go to bed tired, I spend the whole day tired. I look forward to the end of next week when I can stop taking the chemo and begin to feel better. However, even though I am complaining, this is still way better than the IV chemo.

I have been experimenting with cutting out Capt. Adorable's afternoon nap again. I think this time it is going to work out. If he naps, he goes to sleep so late (10 or even 10:30!) and if he does not nap he goes to sleep at a reasonable hour (7:30 or 8:00). He does not wake up any earlier, either! We will see how this all settles itself out.