Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Johnny's in the basement, mixing up the medicine,I'm on the pavement,thinking about the government,The man in the trench coat badge out,laid off,Says he's got a bad cough,needs to get it paid off......You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows;...twenty years of schooling, and they put you on the day shift;...they want eleven dollar bills, and you only got ten.....the pump don't work, cause the vandals took the handles.: Subterranean Homesick Blues, by Bob Dylan

when my daughter was first starting her job, and had one of those cutesy " getting to know you" meetings, they asked everyone to sing one of their favorite songs. well, she "sang", rapped would be a better word, ALL ( i only included a few- my favorite phrases) of the lyrics to this song! talk about surprising everyone. my daughter is an intense,quiet person but the well runs deep, so to speak.

i was thinking about how much i have changed as a person this year. not too many people know this,though. i guess i appear to be the same, especially to my co-workers. but how could anyone go through a major "health crisis" and not be changed? i really do live in the moment, and appreciate every good thing that comes my way. i am trying to be more "myself". i used to worry too much about what people would think if i did this or that. i am starting out small,though. i sing loudly in the car ( i used to just sort of hum ) , and crank my music up as well. the other day, Tom and i were singing "Running down a dream" ( he was blissfully unaware of our duo) and i realized that my voice is getting better! i have my good voice days and unfortunately those days when my voice sounds like Rachel Ray ( sorry, rach). i had just had a few squeaky voice days, and then it cleared up a bit. it seems to still come and go, although it has been 7 months since my surgery. i really do not know how things  will end up- will i still squeak a bit at times? or will my voice continue to get better until i squeak no more? oh, well, just as long as i can sing a song or two i will be happy.

tomorrow is zumba day, hooray!! i have really benefited from this exercise class. i really do not think that i would have done it had it not been for my illness. why do we have to get really sick before we start taking care of ourselves? it has been good for my physical strength as well as my mental health .(all of those endorphins, i guess!). the simplest thing  got me to exercise class, believe it or not. i was trying to take care of my dogs-not too long after my surgery- but long enough that it was o.k. that i lifted things, and to my horror i realized that i could not lift my dogs water bowl! it is a pretty big bowl- i have two dogs- but i had always been able to lift it before. i realized right then and there that i needed to do something. exercise needs to be fun, as i have said. i love to dance, so zumba was perfect for me. if it is not fun, if you are like me, you are not going to do it. find out what you love to do, and enjoy your way to better health. ( wow, that sounds like a catch phrase for a wellness center )

anyway, i am a changed woman, like it or not, world. and by the way, "Don't follow leaders, and watch your parking meters." thanks bob.

Friday, December 17, 2010

" I don't want a lot this Christmas,there is just one thing i need. I don't care about the presents, Underneath the Christmas tree.......All i want for Christmas, is you." All i want for Christmas is you, by Mariah Carey

i had my blood work done this Monday at my family doctor's office. they faxed it to my endocrinologist's office, and she was supposed to get back to me. my new rule, and  should be everyone else's for that matter, is to get a copy for myself. the nurse left it for me at the front desk. i do this because: one, my endocrinologist always loses the first fax or two ( she lost the one they faxed 3 days ago), and two, because i like to have one for my own records. besides, i can understand the data for the most part. i was a little anxious about my thyroglobulin/antithyroglobulin ab test. it was good the first time, but this one seemed more important to me. it is an indicator of the presence of thyroid cancer cells, to cut to the chase. could the I-131 have missed any? i have mentioned that i am having trouble with my salivary glands due to some damage from the I-131, but i would take it again in a second. it is the best defense against a recurrence of the thyroid cancer, in my opinion.

well, good news!! both my thyroglobulin and antithyroglobulin ab tests were good!! yeah!! i am getting a good feeling about things now. with every good test i have, i feel like i am closer to being cancer ( and worry) free. i have an ultrasound scheduled for march. i am not worried about this,though. once i found out that it was my salivary glands, and not my lymph nodes, that are swelling, i started to relax a little. i can deal with the salivary issue- sour candy, massage, and lots of water. better that than the alternative.

i have found out something about myself. i am a fighter! i had a second squamous cell carcinoma removed from my leg yesterday. not to worry, it is a " cut and done" thing. no further treatment. just aggravation, mostly. i told the dermatologist that i was going to Zumba right after he finished! he said, well, then, i will give you an injection of Maricaine( a long acting lidocaine) that will numb your leg for 8 hours. actually, it numbed it for six, but enough so that i got through my Zumba class just fine.i know that some of you may be tired of reading about my Zumba class, but it really has helped me get some of my strength back. and it is so much fun. an hour of fun, laughter, and shaking your booty! what could be better? to each her own,though. what works for me might not for you. you may prefer, like my husband, to do a spin class. why you would want to do that, though, is beyond me!

we had a rain storm last month, and because of that, i have a major leak in my dining room ceiling. i have my Christmas tree in there, and the dining room table that i was planning on using for Christmas dinner. it is my turn this year to have both my children and their spouses, along with my dad, for Christmas day.i told someone about the roof problem, and that  the roofer can not come until after Christmas because of the snow/sleet/ice we have had since then. they said, oh how horrible!! what will you do? well, i am not going to worry about it. the Christmas tree is getting plenty of water this year, LOL, although i can not put presents too near it. we will probably have to eat Christmas dinner in the kitchen, instead of my dining room. but you know what? big deal. we will all be together, and that is the most important thing. i really appreciate the fact that i am here and able to celebrate the holidays with my family. one more thing: MERRY CHRISTMAS AND ( a little belated) HAPPY CHANUKAH!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

" You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life. Ooh, see that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen." Dancing Queen, by Abba

i got my results from my ENT today. it seems that it is not a lymph node, as my dentist had feared, but a problem with my salivary glands that run along my right ear and down to my jaw. it is a result of the huge dose of I-131 that i received( my radioactive chemo, you might say) he said that they are still swollen and sore(golly gee whiz , i knew this already) but really they have improved since last week. i really liked the ENT. he gave me some more insight into  my condition, and the possible side effects of the RAI. no one told me anything about possible long term  side effects- and i was surprised that it could happen this long after my treatment( to refresh: i had my treatment the end of July)

he told me that two of his patients( he does thyroid surgery and prescribes RAI,too) had complete hearing loss immediately after the RAI! some people do not realize how difficult getting the RAI can be. " it is no walk in the park"- those were his words. of course, it is not as" serious", you might say , as traditional chemo, but there can be quite a few nasty side effects- when you receive it, and later on, as in my case. he said that it might go away on its own, or i might continue to have trouble for "some length of time". there are three things that i have to do to treat this: 1) massage the jaw area, and under the neck- he showed me how to do this 2) drink LOTS AND LOTS of water ( oh great, my coworkers are going to love me for this) and 3) suck on sour lemon, or other sour candy.oh, the nurse told me to apply heat to the area- this would be good for the discomfort.

i have more blood work next week. it is to check my thyroblobulin/thyroglobulin AB, among other things. this test is a good way to see  if there are any nasty little thyroid cancer cells that have somehow managed to survive the I-131. my ENT said that my neck " lit up" during my last scan. but he said that this was a good thing- it meant that the thyroid cancer cells were being killed by the I-131. go team,go. i have an ultrasound scheduled for march, and a full body scan for may. the blood test, and the ultrasound are most important- according to my endocrinologist, as well as my ENT.

i got a little peace of mind today. the ENT said that my doctors did everything as he would have done it- i took him copies of all the reports that i had- from my initial biopsy, surgery, RAI treatment, and last reports. he told me that as serious as my condition had been- and i know that i came very,very close to not- well, lets just say, being here to write this blog,   i should try to put it all behind me and look forward. i have been trying so hard to do that! it makes me nervous though, when i have a skin cancer,etc, were they related? probably not, but it concerns me.

i will deal with it,though. i am getting stronger( it's the Zumba!) and i am becoming happier, and less fearful. i am, by the way, the dancing queen.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Dancing in the Dark," part two

this song came on when i was in the Wellness center,changing clothes before my zumba class. i feel like it is sooooooooo appropriate for my situation/life now. i was so "in the moment" that i started singing along, heedless of my hoarse/squeaky voice. i can not seem to remember that my voice sounds different now. i sure can clear out a women's locker room! cancer has made me less "concerned" about what other people might think of me. this has been a blessing, a good thing for me. i still have to follow the rules, so to speak, but now i have more fun doing so.

earlier in the day i got some rather bad news from my dentist. i thought that i had an abscessed tooth- hoped that i had,actually. imagine that!! anyway, my face has been swollen,painful to the touch,along with my neck area, and beside my ear. when i had my "getting to know you" appointment with my surgeon, he did an ultrasound in his office and said that he thought that i had cancerous lymph nodes in the  right side of my  neck, along with some around my thyroid. while i was on the table, during my surgery, he biopsied them- the ones around my thyroid being cancerous,thus removed. he said that the ones in my side neck area  were not cancerous, so he did not remove them. my dentist told me that he thought that i have "something" wrong with those lymph nodes! is it cancer? infection? he made an appointment with an ENT ( ear nose throat guy) for me on Monday. i suppose he will do an ultrasound, and possibly a biopsy. I AM SO TIRED OF HAVING CANCER!! hopefully, it will be some kind of infection, and not what i fear. if it was the other side, i would not worry so much. if it is cancer, i get another trip back to the OR. and most likely another dose of the RAI- or I-131.

  i really, really  needed those endorphins, so off to Zumba! i went. i am not the best dancer by a long shot, but i am probably the most enthusiastic. i love the salsa! i can salsa with the best of them. i may not have achieved my goal of being able to dance off some of the coins on my belly scarf, but i sure can ring up some sales. cha ching!! besides those endorphins, this class has given me some of my strength back. i may be dancing in the dark, but this time i have a little night light to help me find my way home.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

" When i am worried and can not sleep, i count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings. When my bankroll is getting small, i think of when i had none at all, and i fall asleep, counting my blessings. ..So if you're worried and you can't sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings." "Count your blessings instead of sheep." this song is from the movie White Christmas

corny as it may be, that is what i do now. i have some trouble sleeping( as you can see by the time of this post!), but i try every night to count my blessings. i have had  so much happen to me this year; some bad, some good. but my" Pollyanna self"  tries to focus on the good things. one of the major things that i am thankful for is this blog. i have been able to express my feelings and meet some great people along the way. i sincerely hope that i have been able to provide information and support to some other people who have had to face the same "challenges" that i have. one of my dreams is that thyroid cancer will come to be better understood by doctors and patients alike, and will receive the attention it deserves. i hope that more people are diagnosed earlier, and the treatment becomes better.

i have been distressed to read the bad press that RAI treatment has gotten lately. it is the best, in my opinion, treatment option that thyroid cancer patients have available at this time. some people have even gone so far as to condemn this therapy, and call patients receiving this treatment "dirty bombs". i am a wife,mother,daughter,health professional, but i have never been a "dirty bomb". i adhered to all of the rules regarding my RAI, so i think that what we need here is not name calling, but education for patients as well as health professionals, and oh ,of course, the "experts". by experts i am referring to those journalists and some politicians who have  condemned  RAI treatment without any  compassion  to patients receiving the treatment. there needs to be more education and understanding in my opinion. o.k. off your soap box,bea!!

i hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! what a perfect time to count all of our blessings. i am thankful for my wonderful family and friends most of all. without their love and support, it would have been so much harder to make this journey. i have learned that cancer journeys, like life journeys, are better shared with loved ones and friends. i hope that everyone can enjoy and make the best of their own journey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"They paved paradise, put up a parking lot. With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot. Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got till its gone.....They took all the trees, and put them in a tree museum. And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see them. ...Hey farmer farmer, put away the DDT now. Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees, PLEASE!" Big Yellow Taxi, by Joni Mitchell

i love this song. it used to be the  "ring back" tone on my cell phone. you may wonder what it has to do with my blog- there are a couple of things. first, sometimes you really do not appreciate certain things in your life until they are gone. i lost my peace of mind a bit when i was so worried about the possibility of having breast cancer. by the way, FALSE ALARM !! in the first mammogram that i had done, my skin somehow overlapped and it looked like i had a growth or whatever in there. yesterday, i went back to have another " more intense" mammogram- two views this time. it was a " hold on, try not to cry, and hold your breath"  mammogram! the technician said, now hold your breath, and don't move! what she did not realize was that i had been holding my breath since she tightened the "clamp" about the second time. i was going for a world record in breath holding, and nobody knew it but me! a regular mammogram is not like this, so i do not want to discourage anyone in getting one. we owe it to ourselves and our families to take care of ourselves.

the second thing that  i like about this song is the part about the "spots on the apples". i have been eating organic food for a few years  now . while of course i do not know if food additives/preservatives contributed to my thyroid cancer, i do not think that they are good for us. and organic food just tastes better! i have my six months cancer free ( hopefully!) anniversary coming up on Sunday, November 21st. i am taking organic cupcakes to work to celebrate. you can make just about anything "organically". i am making devils food cupcakes, with a peppermint butter cream frosting. i am topping them with crushed organic candy canes. yes, you can buy organic candy canes!

after my super mammogram yesterday, and the good news, i celebrated by doing a little "retail therapy" and i also went to Zumba! most of us wear  these belly scarves- i have described them in an earlier blog, but to refresh any one's memory, they are sheer scarves that tie around your waist. they come in beautiful colors( i have two- a black one and a blue one) and have lots and lots  of gold or silver "coins" on them. they make a fun sound when you move. my goal is to dance some of my coins off!! when i first started wearing my scarf, i did not make too much noise. now, however, i can "cha-ching" with the best of them!

once again, i feel like i have dodged a bullet, so to speak. but i am tired of having cancer, or the possibility of having cancer. i am done. i just want to live my life, and be my new normal. i have learned a lot from thyroid cancer. i have met so many great people, and have shared so many experiences, but where do i go from here? one option that i , along with another thyroid cancer survivor, am exploring is the idea of providing "chunky necklaces"  for women who have just had their surgery. i am not sure how we would do it, but if we could just provide a little hope and support to a few people, it would be great. i will elaborate later on, as this unfolds. until then, Zumba! on, or do whatever it is that makes your heart happy!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Well, i started out down a dirty road, Started out all alone. And the sun went down, as i cross the hill. And the town lit up, the world got still. I'm learning to fly, but i ain't got wings. Coming down, is the hardest thing. Well, some say life will beat you down. Break your heart, steal your crown. So I've started out for God knows where. I guess I'll know, when i get there. " Learning to Fly, by Tom Petty

i have two things to talk about today. one, is an update on my mammogram. i can not be seen in the Hope Center until i have another, more intense mammogram and ultrasound. then if i do need a biopsy( and as these things usually turn out, i have a feeling that i will) i can get a referral to the center. not exactly what i wanted, but i can understand things so far. i will NOT have a biopsy anywhere else,though. this is on a  recommendation from someone that i know. she had a biopsy at the place where i am going, and at the Hope Center. she said that it was a terrible experience at the first place, and a very different, as good as it can be under the circumstances, at the Hope Center. i don't know about you, but with that in mind, i am not in for a bad experience. considering all that i have been through this year, i do not think that anyone would blame me. i have my additional testing, on Nov. 16th. of course, i will let everyone how that goes. and for all you foot draggers, please,please schedule your mammogram!! it is way important even  if  you have not had a cancer diagnosis this year.

the second thing i would like to ask  everyone is to get a skin check. i had one today- a full body check, which is something that my dermatologist has been asking me to do for a while. i have red hair and freckles, as you have probably noticed from my pictures. my mom and dad did not know about the dangers of too much sun, so my dermatologist and i are good friends now. LOL . i have had some "actinic Keratosis" which are precancerous lesions removed from my face and hands from time to time. i had one "frozen" off of my nose today. but i am afraid that today  i also  had a skin cancer on my leg. it was a circular,round, red area. not raised, did not hurt; looked like a fungus to me. several tubes of OTC fungus cream later, i decided  that i should get it checked out. it just looked "funny", you know? my dermatologist numbed me up good and took a pretty bit chunk out of my leg. he is going to send it off, but he is 99% sure that it is a Basel cell carcinoma. before you get out the Kleenex, it is o.k. that is all i have to do. it will take a while to heal, he said because it is on my leg, and it was pretty big. he gave me a prescription antibiotic ointment, and sent me on my way.  ( i did get an invitation to come back to see him sooner, now)

i know that the last thing we want to do after we have endured surgery, RAI, extensive blood work, etc. is go to another doctor!! but we owe it to ourselves and our families to take care of ourselves. i think that my lowered  immunity ( my body was working over time trying its best to kick the cancer out of my thyroid) may have opened the door, so to speak to a few  other things. at any rate, i am trying my best to figure out where i am going. oh, i am going to Zumba! tonight. miss zumba for a little surgery? heck no! i will just take some ibuprofen before i go. i truly,truly need those endorphins today!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"You can't start a fire, you can't start a fire without a spark.....even if we're just dancing in the dark. ..I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face....There's a joke somewhere, and it's on me. ...You can't start a fire, worrying about your little world falling apart, this gun's for hire, even if we're just dancing in the dark." Dancing in the Dark, by Bruce Springsteen

well, i just had my little world turned upside down this week. i had my routine mammogram done this past Wednesday, along with my yearly pap smear. the old "mammy and pappy" as a dear friend of mine calls them. i got a call back on Thursday, and i just assumed that it was something about my insurance information. it was from the "imaging nurse counselor", though. now who is that, and what did they want with me? when i finally got in touch with her, she said that there was an "asymmetrical" "something" on one side, perhaps a lymph node or cyst? that was not there last year, and that i needed to come back for additional testing. they did not want to wait for a letter to get to me (!). she said that the scheduler was off work already, and that she would call me first thing tomorrow. is that not the best line ever- "we'll call you first thing in the morning"- second only to "the check's in the mail", i think. of course, i did not hear from them until  i had called them back twice, and by then it was nearly lunch time. the scheduler made an appointment for a more thorough ultrasound,mammogram or whatever, and she said that the radiologist would be there and they could tell me more on that day. that day, by the way, is over two weeks away!

so i did what i usually do in this case:  i felt sorry for myself for a few hours, cried a bit, then decided to take matters into my own hands! there is a really nice center in Asheville,NC called the Hope Center for Breast Cancer. all they do is mammograms and biopsies( i really think that  ultimately i will need a biopsy, so why not go to a place that specializes in this?) this center is also affiliated with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and i have heard so many good things about it. i had to call my gynecologists office, he had to review the report, and his office has to make the referral. the Hope Center was supposed to call me back on Friday, but i did not hear from them. i figured that by the time my gynecologists office called them, it was too late to schedule. i am going to follow up on Monday before i go to work( i work the evening shift) and be sure things are moving along. see, i am taking my own good advice and being in charge of my own health care issues!

did i want to go back to the doctor? heck no. but i feel that women, especially those of us who have gotten a cancer diagnosis, need to be sure to keep up with our yearly "maintenance" health appointments. i really am not sure what to think about things at this point. i do not fit the model of "breast cancer patient", as i breast fed both of my children, and no one in my family has ever had breast cancer. of course, plenty of women who get breast cancer do not fit the model, either. i am hoping this is nothing, i am PRAYING this is nothing. i wanted to share this with all of you as a reminder  to you all to  keep those mammogram, colonoscopy,skin check,etc, appointments. it is so important- especially to those of us who have had cancer.

as for now, i am just waiting; i certainly have done this before. i was just beginning to feel "normal" again. of course, my life, as i have  said  many times before, will never be the same as it was, and that is a good thing. i am  hanging in there. i went to Zumba Saturday, and zumba-ed until i almost dropped! ( my brain really needed those endorphins! lol) i do feel a little like i am "dancing in the dark" though. i am dancing my heart out, i am just not sure where my path will be taking me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

" Well, it's all right, riding around in the breeze. Well, it's all right, if you live life as you please. Well, it's all right, doing the best that you can. Well, it's all right, long as you lend a hand. You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring, waiting for someone to tell you everything. Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring, maybe a diamond ring. Well, it's all right, even if you are old and gray, Well, it's all right, you still got something to say. Well, it's all right, remember to live and let live. Well, it's all right, the best you can do is forgive. " End of the Line, by the Traveling Wilburys

some would say that it is too bad that it took me  having cancer  to make some positive life changes. i think that probably it does take something major to get our attention, and send us in another, more correct direction. i wondered, like a lot of you, if after i got over the initial panic and urgency of my disease if i would truly be a different person. the answer, i think that i can say now, is yes.

for one thing, i am taking way better care of myself. i really had no idea how much better i would feel getting regular exercise. i can go into my zumba class feeling tired and depressed( wondering how on earth i am going to do the dances and keep up) and leave feeling happy and energized. part of it is the release of those "happy chemicals" that our brains enjoy when we exercise, but another part of it i think, is the fact that i am actually doing something good for myself. for that one hour i am doing something for myself and no one else. you know, it could be spin class, raquetball ( my husband loves these, and he does that while i am in my zumba class) or anything you enjoy. the main thing, is that you think enough of yourself and go out and do something!

i enjoy helping people. i get to do a lot of that at work, and most of the time my job is very satisfying. but i also enjoy the small stuff - like sending people cards, making cupcakes or whatever for my neighbors or co-workers, even holding the door for an elderly person. i would say, it's no big deal, but hey, it makes them happy and it makes me happy. i think that it is the little things that define our lives.

i get the feeling now that i am here for some purpose, and that i should try to make the best of things and enjoy my life. what i have to offer is not newsworthy, or likely to change the world, but i feel that it is important none the less. i used to feel guilty if i took time for myself-whether it was a hair appointment,shopping trip,etc, i think  that as caregivers- moms, wives,daughters we feel the need to take care of everyone else and we put ourselves last on the list. it is easier for me now, as my husband and i are empty nesters, to be able to do things for myself. having cancer has made me examine my life- what i want to do, and what is important to me. i feel almost like i have finally woken up in my life, and have stopped fumbling around in the dark. i know where i am going, and i know what i want to do to get there. however this turns out, and i know my prognosis is better than with some other cancers, i want to be able to say that i did my best, and had fun along my journey.

Monday, November 1, 2010

" Well, it's a one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go,cat,go. But don't you, step on my blue suede shoes. Well, you can do anything, but lay off of my blue suede shoes." Blue Suede Shoes by the king, Elvis

All sports require that one wears certain uniforms or particular clothes. Zumba is no exception. i have been attending zumba classes for several weeks now, so i thought that i would list the items that you can purchase for zumba and tell you( in my humble opinion) which ones i think are necessary or not.

Zumba Shirts: these are tee shirts that say "ZUMBA!" across the front of the shirt. you can decide for yourself, but i am not quite at the age where i need to look down at my shirt to see where i am ( thank goodness!). they are cute- come in several styles and colors, but expensive. the tee shirts that i buy at Walmart work just fine for me. i would say Zumba! shirts are optional.

Zumba pants: again, these have the " ZUMBA!" logo on them, but they also have numerous zippers accentuated with very colorful tags. are all of these zippers/tags for emergency exits or something? i have not decided, but the black workout pants that i purchased from a department store ( on sale) work fine for me. the way i calculated it, i could have 2 & 1/2 pairs of my workout pants for one pair of ZUMBA! pants. again, optional, i think.

Belly scarf: sheer scarves in different colors, embellished with what looks like about a hundred "gold coins". i love them!! i tried not to cave, but i reasoned that the cha-ching sound they made would help me to know if i was moving correctly.( or maybe the cha-ching sound was coming from our instructor?) anyway, they make me happy, were not too expensive, so i got one. a little bling is a good thing, i think.

Sports bra: never had one, but my daughter insisted that i get one. i ordered one on-line, and it came in the mail the other day- complete with instructions on how to put it on! it is still lying on my table- looking at me, but i am planning on wearing it today to zumba class( provided i can get it on!). i figured, like an Agent 007's martini, my girls are better off stirred, not shaken.

Dance shoes" this one is a biggie. i resisted on this,too. after all, i had just bought a new pair of tennis shoes right before i started Zumba, so why not use them? regular tennis shoes grab the floor. they resist or dig in, when you need to move quickly or slide from side to side( we do a lot of this). dance shoes have a special sole- it has a circular pattern that lets you slide easier. they also have better side support when you are shifting your feet, or shaking your booty. my daughter( as well as my very swollen knee) finally won out. i bought a pair of dance shoes and they really do make things easier and more comfortable. they actually cost less than my tennis shoes, oh, well, i will use them for my walks.

the only other thing that you need for Zumba, besides a very large bottle of water, is the desire to have fun, and the ability to laugh at yourself. i do a lot of that! but, hey, you can do anything, but stay the heck off of my blue suede ( dance) shoes!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

" Come gather round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown. And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth saving. Ahh, you better start swimming, or you'll sink like a stone. For the times they are a changing. " Times Are a Changing, by Bob Dylan

Things are really changing for me this year! in so many ways- health wise, the way i look at my place in the world, oh, and in the world of communications. here is a brief summary of a conversation that took place last week between my daughter and son.

my son:" OMG, MOM'S ON FACEBOOK!!"
my daughter: " Yeah, i know, i helped her get started.
my son: " What were you THINKING!!?"
my daughter: " don't worry, i gave her the rules."

~~~~~ earlier that week~~~~~~

my daughter: " now mom, my friends will be able to see WHATEVER it is that you write on my wall."
me:" hum, a wall?? i thought it was a book"
my daughter: " do not write anything too personal, o.k.? save that stuff for our emails."
me:" you mean that i can talk about when you were a little girl, and you........"
my daughter: " MOM!!!"
me:" okeydokey.

yes, i am on facebook now. my blog is my first love,though. it has really helped me through some tough times, helped me deal with my situation, and be fortunate enough to make some new friends through shared experiences.

another change for me is where i am in my cancer treatment. phase one- the awful one- doctors, surgery,treatment, is over ( hopefully) for the time being. i will still have to have blood work, scans,tests, and in fact they are already scheduled. but now i feel that the ball is in my court, so to speak. what do i need to do to help me feel better?one choice that i have made is to get exercise on a consistent basis. ( i took my zumba videos to the beach- what dedication! lol) my husband and i walked on the beach, and we did something that i have not done in at least a couple of years- we rode bicycles.

we went bike riding in a summer house development- paved roads, little to no traffic, pretty scenery. it was on the sound side of the beach. i had a rough  start- my front wheel wobbled a lot, but i got that pretty well under control. my bike is sort of old- it has a bell and a wire basket in front. my son said that all i needed was " Toto" and i would be good to go. how sweet.

anyway, i have a major problem of ending up wherever i am looking. we rode by this really pretty house with a nicely landscaped from yard- i should know because i paid them a visit! their lawn sprinklers were on, so it was a short visit. do you think they knew that i was coming? my husband did not point out a rather large duck pond, thank goodness, so i managed to stay on the pavement for the rest of the bike ride.

another change that i am pondering is the role diet plays  in our health and well being. i ordered a book on" super foods", and i am going to work on this. i really craved blueberries when i was undergoing my RAI treatment. a co-worker kindly supplied me with tons of these, and they are one of the few foods that did not add on to the nausea i was experiencing from the RAI. i later read that they are one of the super foods, and are supposed to help prevent cell death.

am i going to give up chocolate? NO! am i going to drink/eat/or whatever wheat grass? NO! but this connection between diet and overall good health intrigues me, and i am going to check it out. might help, couldn't hurt i guess. oh the times they are a changing... Mom's on facebook- now that is a scary thought for Halloween!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

"May God bless and keep you always, may your wishes all come true, may you always do for others, and let others do for you. May you build a ladder to the stars, climb on every rung, May you stay forever young. ... May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift, may your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, and may you stay, forever young" Forever Young, by Bob Dylan

last night i went to see a Bob Dylan concert in Charlotte.he is my husbands favorite artist, but i like him,too. he put on a great concert. oh, he is getting older, and his voice is sure not what it used to be, but you can tell that he really loves to perform, and was just having a good time out there.he did not have a warm up band, surprisingly, and my husband and i got there just  in the nick of time. some people actually missed most of the concert because they thought that there would be a warm up band first. but Dylan and his band just came out there at 8pm sharp, and played for two hours. he played a mix of his good old stuff, and some of his newer songs. and you could even tell( pretty much) when he played his old material- if you have seen one of his concerts, you know what i am talking about!

Forever Young, is my all time favorite Bob Dylan song. i think that the lyrics are so beautiful. one  part that really speaks to me now, is the part about "may you have a strong foundation, when the winds of changes shift"- i am so thankful to have wonderful family members and friends who are constantly offering their support and love. the winds of change sure blew into my life this past April!! what  a major life event to have to deal with. but things are going better, and i am beginning to feel stronger and healthier.

the other part that i like is " may your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, may you stay, forever young". i hope that i can always have a joyful heart- and be young at heart,too. i can see  the joy in things better than before i got sick. i am talking about simple day to day stuff mostly. appreciating a beautiful day- fall leaves, pumpkins, beautiful potted mums, crisp fall air, sunshine,etc,  

my husband and i are going to be gone for a week's vacation at the beach. we rented an ocean front beach house and will be taking my dad with us. he is just as excited as we are. he has a young heart, i think, even though he is 84 years old. he is a joy to be around- he never complains about anything, and usually does whatever activity we pick out.

i will miss blogging, but i will be back a week from now, and i hope that everyone has a great week!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Birds flying high, you know how i feel, sun in the sky, you know how i feel...it's a new dawn, it's a new day,it's a new life for me, and i'm feeling good. dragonfly out in the sun, you know what i mean; butterflies all having fun, you know what i mean, sleep in peace when day is done, this old world is a new world, and a bold world for me." "Feeling Good", this one by Michael Buble

THIS IS MY 100th BLOG ENTRY!! all from someone who was not sure exactly what a blog really  was until shortly after i found out that  i had cancer! i have come a long way, in many things, actually. i feel like i have turned a major page, a chapter really , in my life book .i feel totally different than i did just 6 months ago- yes, it has been six months since i got that infamous phone call at work. i could never have guessed how much my life would change- for the better, i believe.

i have made so many great "email friends" because of this blog. they have offered me support, we have laughed together, and i sincerely hope that some people out there have benefited by our shared experiences. that was my number one objective when i decided to write this blog- that i might share some information that might help someone else. i did not expect all of the support and friendship that has come my way, but i am truly grateful.

if my life was a song, it would be sung in a minor key. but, there would be a lot of happy parts- or "movements" as my music major son would say. we all have our own song to sing i think, and it is best shared with others. as i was "singing myself home" this afternoon, i was thinking about what in the world i could write about for my 100th blog. when TV shows have a 100th episode, they get a cake and have a party or something. i think that i will bake a special cake on Friday. my daughter and son-in-law are coming home for the week-end. my son-in-law just had a birthday, so we can share the cake. i am going to make his favorite, i think- devils food, with a raspberry filling, frosted with chocolate butter cream . eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!!

thank you again to my family and friends. thanks so much to my new email friends, and to everyone who follows my blog. i really feel that " it's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life, for me and i'm feeling good". i sincerely wish the same for all of you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

" We are the champions, my friend. And we"ll keep on fighting "till the end. We are the champions, we are the champions. No time for losers, 'cause we are the champions of the world." " We are the Champions" by Queen

yesterday i went to the wellness center in a town about 30 minutes away from my house. it is a college town, so the wellness center is a very,very nice facility and offers a lot of classes, including my beloved Zumba class. there were two things that were different about yesterday: one, i actually had some energy to go to Zumba after working my long week.  ever since my surgery/treatment, i have just collapsed after my long week- practically just slept all day on Monday and zombied out. it is a funny thing, but it is hard, and takes energy to exercise- but what do you get? you get some energy- you just have to push yourself a little. i am beginning to feel better and stronger than i have felt, really, since before my surgery. i was very sick, but did not know it. my previous doctor just called it "stress". i will not go off on the "blame it on stress" tangent here, but you know what i mean.

the second "different thing" is that i talked my husband into going with me! not to Zumba class- i do not think i could pay him enough money  to do that, but he worked out on some exercise machines first, then went down to the racquetball court. there was a college guy already there, so they had a game. my husband had about 30 years on the college dude, and my husband still  won the game!! the college guy said"Well, it has been about 3 months since i have played". my husband was nice and did not say that it had been a year since he had played racquetball!

we went ahead and joined the wellness center. i think that it  will be great for both of us- and something that we can do together. we filled out all of  the paper work and got ready to leave. my husband looked at me and said" ARE THOSE STAIRS, AND DO WE HAVE TO GO DOWN THEM??" do you think that he over did it a bit? we slowly made our way down the stairs to the parking lot. then, we stopped again. what in the world made us think that parking at the very end of the parking lot was a good idea?? as we were gingerly making our way to our car, a woman asked my husband who won, and he said, oh, i did. i thought to myself, well, here are two middle aged people, slowly making their way to their car after a wonderful workout. they look a little old and out of shape, but you know what? at that moment, i was thinking we certainly could be the "champions of the world!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

" It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down, I had the radio on, I was driving, Trees went by, me and Del were singing, Little runaway, I was flying, Yeah, running down a dream, that never would come to me, working on a mystery, going wherever it leads, running down a dream.....It felt so good, like anything was possible..." Running Down a Dream" by Tom Petty

i do confess to singing in the car on the way to and from work! i have an hour round trip commute, so i take advantage of the time to "work on my voice". the way i figure it, i need to try to "exercise" my vocal cords a little so perhaps i will get more of my "original" voice back. i am still hoarse sometimes- like last night i was pretty hoarse. but i had worked my long week, including the week-end, so i was talking more than usual. i do miss being able to sing like i did before- i just sang for myself, it is not like it was my livelihood. on the pre-surgery form there was a question that said :" are you a professional singer?" my husband said put down yes!! that way maybe they will be more careful with your vocal cords. i did not say yes, of course, but i think the surgeon was as careful as he could be. besides exercising my vocal cords, i just like to sing. it makes me happy.

i saw a couple of commercials from the national cancer society- with different people singing " happy birthday" to cancer survivors. i like that commercial-i have mentioned this before. a friend of mine told me that she celebrated her " half birthday" now. nothing big, no presents, but just a cake and maybe a special dinner. i think that i will do this,too. it is a good time to reflect and be thankful, too.cancer has really changed my life forever. before, i have had minor " tests"- a close call on the highway, minor health issues, but nothing like this. after those events, i would just go back to business as usual after a few days or weeks. now,however, there is no going back to the way that things were before. and i mean this in a positive way.

for one thing, i am trying to take better care of myself. i think that as women, mothers, daughters,we tend to put ourselves last on the list. we take care of everyone else first, and then have little or no time for ourselves. i decided that i needed to take better care of my health( duh), for one thing. i have added regular exercise( ZUMBA!!) . oh it was not easy to start exercising. i first started with walking- just a few days after my surgery, i walked down my driveway a few times. then i walked to the mailbox and back( about a mile- you have to know were i live for this to make sense!) anyway, i found that exercise made me feel so much better- improved my strength, mood( my husband likes this) and general sense of well being.

i am considering things- even minor things- with a new attitude. yes, i am still caring for my family, but i am also asking myself if what i am planning to do will be good for me,too. i am making sure that i have time for myself- exercise, hair appointments, retail therapy, whatever. i want to be happy and appreciate my loved ones and the times that i have with them. i guess if it took a serious disease to make me do these things, then cancer was indeed a positive thing in my life.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Don't worry, about a thing, cause every little thing, gonna be all right. ....Rise up this morning, smiled with the risin' sun, three little birds pitch by my doorstep. singing sweet songs, of melodies pure and sweet, this is my message to you-ou-ou- " Three little Birds, by Bob Marley

i have to sing this song to myself so that i do not worry too much. my daughter included it on my new CD of mixed songs that  she made for me. it is a "cheer mom up  and send positive thoughts her way" CD. i just love it, and besides i was about to wear the first CD out! that said though, i want to relay some important information about a friend of mine.

my friend has papillary cancer, and  had her thyroid removed about 4 months ago,, and underwent  the I-131 treatment. the doctors did not biopsy any lymph nodes, nor were they discussed. she has had some bouts with hoarseness and asked her endocrinologist about this. he referred her to an ENT ( ear-nose-throat) specialist. also, she noticed some tenderness and a lump  in the lymph nodes in the right side of her neck. upon exam, and ultrasound, her ENT thinks that her lymph node(s) might be cancerous. she is scheduled for a PET scan, then a fine needle biopsy, if the PET scan shows cancer in the lymph node(s).she is taking this one step at a time, and has a great attitude-concerned, but not paniced. i wanted everyone to know that if you have hoarseness, or a lump or tender area( lymph node) in your neck you need to get this checked out. the doctor you need to see is an ENT. they will do the necessary tests and check things out for you. if this does turn out to be cancer for my friend, she will need another surgery, starting where her thyroid scar stopped- going up her neck to her ear. it is called a neck dissection, and my surgeon first told me that i would have to have this done,too. in fact, i woke up from surgery and the first thing  that i did was feel my neck- i did not know until then if he had had to do it. he biopsied my right neck lymph nodes while i was on the table. luckily, they were not malignant. infection, and not cancer, can also  cause the same symptoms and can look the same on ultrasound. the deciding factor is  usually the biopsy. in other words, CHECK YOUR NECKS, GUYS!! and if you need to, get it checked out by the ENT. we have all been through so much, but we need to be diligent about checking. think of it as a self breast exam for your neck!

on a lighter note, i did a zumba class tonight. i'll have to admit that i was spoiled by the instructor at my daughters class. this instructor was not as skilled, i guess you would say, or as friendly. also, the class was enormous- about 45 people or so! one cool thing we did was the dance moves to the song "Thriller". i loved it! we are going to do it every class until after halloween. i will be going back every wednesday, for a live class( it is my only day off), and doing my DVD's two days a week. well, that is the plan anyway. i am sore, but happy. like i said, if i can do it, ANYONE can! this class had some college girls in it :( but also had some old, out of shape women like me in it too!! i think i am addicted to zumba now. look out "dancing with the stars!!" lol

Sunday, October 3, 2010

" Here comes the sun...Little darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter. Little Darling, it feels like years since its been here- Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say its alright. Little darling, the smiles returning to your face- seems like years since its been here." Here comes the Sun, by George Harrison

i had the best weekend that i have had since i got sick! not only did i get good news last week about my ultrasound and blood work, but i got to see both of my children( and their spouses, of course) this weekend. i feel just like that song- that it has been a " long, cold, lonely winter" and now the sun is back! and also, i feel like smiling again. oh, i put up a good face- the people i work with call me "brave and courageous". i am not, of course. i have dealt with this cancer the best that i could, and i have tried not to make the people around me suffer, or feel too miserable. anyone that knows me really well, though, could tell that i was not exactly myself. i am beginning to get stronger, but it has not been easy. sometimes i do not feel like taking a walk, or exercising, but i drag myself through it. and at the end, i do feel better. i try to get more rest- go to bed earlier, and i think that this is tremendously important,too. i feel that losing my mom to cancer last year, has had an impact on me as well. it made getting " the news" a little harder. but it also made me realize how much of an impact that i could have on my friends and family. i did not want them to suffer- but of course, it was hard on them,too. having the best attitude that i could about things helped them, and me,too, in the long run.

i made good on a promise this weekend,too. I DID ZUMBA WITH MY DAUGHTER!!  a whole hour class. neither one of us was sure that i could do it- we did stand in the back. i could just envision having to call 911 at some point. ( i wanted there to be plenty of room for the paramedics to get in). after about the third song, my daughter relaxed and stopped giving me these "worried looks". i was laughing my head off- when i could get my breath, of course. our instructor was so very nice- so positive and very sweet to everyone. but OMG what abs she had!! and my body does not( or will it ever, i think) move like hers did! i liked the class because there were all types of people in there( yes, some even more ancient than me). all fitness levels, all sizes, male and female. i can see why my daughter loves the classes so much. i am going to start attending a class about 30 minutes away from where i live. i decided that i could attend a live class once a week, and then on another two days per week( well, that's the plan, anyway) i could do my zumba DVD. i heartily recommend zumba to anyone. believe me, if i can do it, YOU can do it! get ready to laugh and enjoy yourself- of course there will be plenty of sweating- not perspiring, but the kind of sweating where your hair and underwear get wet! i happen to be one of those that think if you do not sweat a little, you really are not exercising.

yes, the smile is returning to my face. some of it is because i have been lucky so far, and i have been trying very, very hard to have a positive attitude. another part is how much love and support that i have gotten from my family and friends. as always, i am eternally thankful for you all.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"..but there's a full moon risin', Lets go dancing in the light. We know where the music's playin', Lets go out and feel the night. ...But now its getting late, and the moon is climbing high, I want to celebrate, see it shinin' in your eyes.... On this harvest moon." Harvest Moon, by Neil Young

i got a pretty good check up from my endocrinologist. i had my "mystery ultrasound" and it turns out they were looking for lymph node enlargement- pretty much like i had expected. she saw no growth!! hooray! things look good on that front. i just found  this fact out, but the surgeon removed TEN of my lymph nodes in the front part of my neck. i have a numb spot there ( DUH) - the feeling may or may not return to that area. gosh, i did not know that i even had ten lymph nodes in my neck. lol. well, i guess now, i have ten less. she could not see my two remaining, over-worked and brave parathyroids. who knows where the surgeon put them. she said that she would try to find out from his surgery report. i have not seen this report- just the pathology report. my endo said that in his report, the surgeon sort of congratulated himself on this difficult surgery .GREAT..  i can see him doing that. brillant  surgeon, but  not a people person. my largest, but not the only one by far, cancerous tumor had burst (Yuck) and spread out into  the vascular system in my neck. things look good now, i guess those Jedi I-131 knights took care of the bad guys. but i have an ultrasound scheduled in 6 months. my endo likes ultrasounds better than full body scans. i do have a full body scan scheduled for  a year from now, but she says that ultrasounds and tests for thyroglobulin/thyroglobulin antibiodies are better indicators of a problem.

all in all it was a good and productive visit. i hope that we can communicate better in the future, but i will always get a copy of any test results that i have done going forward. my endocrinologist did not realize that i have only two parathyroids- that there was cancer in two of them. she also did not realize that i had cancer in some lymph nodes, or that one of the tumors had burst open. i had my copy of the pathology report and pointed that out to her.( i felt like we were in a conference- : " Now, if you will just turn to page 3- at the top of the page...") .  she also did not know that i had received a larger dose of I-131, 154.9 milicuries, instead of the standard 100 milicuries. this process has been a learning process for me. i firmly believe, even more than before, that we must all take charge of our health care. i am keeping a file of all of my reports, for reference and really for my peace of mind. i think that all of us should do this. i feel very lucky too, at this point. if i had waited only a few months longer before changing doctors, i would be in serious trouble now. that brings up the need for trusting yourself. trust how you feel- get things checked out no matter what others might tell you, if you feel something is wrong. my previous doctor told me my bad lab values, extreme tiredness,etc, was "stress". i really felt that something was very wrong, and luckily found another endocrinologist who would do the necessary tests. she saved my life- literally, even though sometimes i have to help a little with test results,etc. that is acceptable for me. i want to be responsible, and not depend entirely on a doctor to handle things for me.

now, for the first time since my diagnosis, i feel a certain amount of hope. could there be " bad thyroid cancer cells" lurking around in my neck to cause mayhem later. certainly. but also, there is the possibility that the I-131 did its job, and that i am on my way to calling myself a survivor.i am trying very hard to have a positive attitude, and not worry so much. i am thinking ( hoping) that my husband and i will have many more wonderful times to dance under the harvest moon. once again, i would like to thank my husband for his love and never ending support. i can never thank him enough.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

" If it seems like i've been lost in lets remember; if you think i'm feeling older and missing my younger days......That's why i'm keeping the faith; ...You can get just so much from a good thing,you can linger too long in your dreams; say goodbye to the oldies but goodies, cause the good old days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems-.... i'm keeping the faith- Yes i am. " Keeping the Face" by Billy Joel

i tend to wish that this cancer had never, ever happened. i have wished to go back in time and nip it in the bud before it got this far- haven't most people thought this? sometimes i can not believe that i actually wanted to keep part of my thyroid- that i was upset that the surgeon said he was going to remove it all. there was cancer in the other side too, darn it!! thank goodness it was all removed. i can not say that i do not miss my "butterfly" ,but boy oh boy was mine ever making me sick! and right before my surgery i had the worse case of thyroiditis that i have ever had. some people i have talked to have never had this- and i am glad. but if you ever have had this- it is painful and i was afraid that the low grade fever i had with it would prevent them from doing my surgery. ( i took Advil for fever,pain,sore throat, right up to the very last day that i could safely do so; it might have caused excessive bleeding during surgery if i had not stopped five days beforehand) i could not believe that it was my thyroid's last stand so to speak, the final injury. but it is gone now, and hopefully things are going to get better.

i had an appointment with a rheumatologist on Wednesday. he is the one that prescribes Vitamin D- prescription strength- for me. my family doctor  sent me to him to be sure that i did not have lupus( thankfully no, i just had a badly behaving thyroid). he did some blood work and found that my Vitamin D level was extremely low.i have talked to a number of thyroid cancer patients who also have low vitamin d levels. i do not mean to say that just because your vitamin d level is low, you might have thyroid cancer. don't get me wrong! i just think that when you are getting blood work done, if you have not had this checked, you might want to ask your doctor to check it. vitamin d is the" man about town" in the vitamin world, so to speak. it can boost your immune system, and may  lower the incidence of certain cancers- especially prostate, breast and colon cancer. my doctor told me that it also helps with "fibromyalgia- like" pain. even if you do not ask your doctor about checking for this, you can get some over the counter. it is not nearly as strong, but it is worth spending some of your hard earned money on.

i also asked my rheumatologist to look at the results from blood work the radiologist ordered. the radiologist said that thyroid cancer, when it spreads, goes to the lungs and bones first. i knew that my chest x-ray was o.k., but no one had explained the blood work " for my bones". the rheumatologist said that it is difficult to really check for bone cancer entirely from blood work, but he graciously looked at my report, and said that it looked good. you know, for the first time since my diagnosis, i am truly beginning to feel like i just might beat this. i have some hope- i'm keeping the faith, so to speak. tomorrow i have the "mystery ultrasound" and office visit with my endocrinologist. hopefully that will go o.k. i feel like i am on a roll now. maybe " tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems..."

Friday, September 24, 2010

" In the middle of the night, i go walking in my sleep. From the mountains of faith, to the river so deep...............We all end in the ocean, we all start in the streams, we're all carried along, by the river of dreams, In the middle of the night." River of dreams, by Billy Joel

i live near the headwaters of theYadkin river. it looks like a creek most of the time, but after a heavy rain or flood, it looks like the river it becomes a few miles on down the road. when my children were young, we took them down to" our spot "in the river . it was there  they could swim and slide down a special ( very small) water fall. our spot had a place big enough to support our floats, and we spent many happy summer days enjoying the water.

my children also enjoyed catching crawdads( some folks call them crayfish). it was a catch and release program- my children did not want to hurt them. it was tricky to pick them up in just the right place, so that they would not get their fingers pinched in the process. they got pretty good at this- in fact, when my daughter was in elementary school, she showed some city boys how it was done! they were daring each other to see who was brave enough to do it, no takers, until she overheard their conversation. she promptly picked one up and said" it this what you want?" i think the boys all jumped back about 10 feet or so, and she returned it to the stream. i am glad that my children were raised in the country.they have a great respect for nature, and who knows when crawdad catching might come in handy?

i can see the river from my house. i feel a connection to the water, the way the sunlight plays on its surface in the late afternoon; the way the snow snuggles around it during the winter. i feel fortunate to have such a peaceful place to get better. i still get dead tired from work, but when i come home i can rest and reflect on my life. like the song, River of Dreams, i do a lot of thinking in the middle of the night.  i wish that i didn't- so does my husband ( sometimes i wake him up!)

i think that life is sort of like a river. at this point in my life, there have been many twists and turns. a lot of white water rapids, you might say. i have hung on to the lifeboat, and have not fallen out of the boat yet. i am hoping for calmer water soon. i could never have imaged what has happened to me this year! i took my dad for his check-up today with his surgeon. he is doing great- the final biopsy showed no cancer in the thyroid or any cells surrounding it. my dad must have told his doctor about me, because the surgeon asked me if i was the one with thyroid cancer. i said," yes, stage 3 papillary thyroid cancer". he said," then you are going to be o.k. now?" and i said, " well, that is the plan". i can always dream, in the middle of the night that it is.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

" Bringing Sexy Out of the Thyloset"

Bringing Sexy Out of the Thyloset

1. I have papillary cancer, stage 3, and was diagnosed in April, 2010. i reluctantly call myself a survivor,as i will feel better when it has been a year or so, from that date. i am still concerned about my lymph nodes- the surgeon removed some, as the cancer had spread from my thyroid to some of them, as well as into two of my parathyroids, which were also removed.

2. Thyroid cancer awareness is now like a mission to me. i am in health care, and i have met some other thyroid cancer survivors, or those that have had surgery. i relish the chance to talk to these people. i met an 84 year old man the other day- he is just starting his "thyroid journey" and we talked a little bit about the possible hypo- side effects and he told me about the problems he is having. i appreciate the opportunity to help others who may be going through this ordeal.

3. I know that when people tell you "thyroid cancer is the good cancer" they are just trying to be helpful or positive,but the first time someone told me that ( and i had not even read about how we all hate being told this!) i was thinking: well,  o.k. if you think it is so good, you can have mine!! but to be honest, because i think that people really do not understand, i try to explain that while the survival rate is better than  say, pancreatic cancer, this is a serious disease and the treatment is anything but a walk in the park. i try to educate them -in a nice way, of course.

4.I would also like to make people aware of the RAI treatment. most people think that this is not nearly as invasive as traditional "chemo". no one that i have talked to( except for thyroid cancer patients of course) has any idea of side effects- short or long term. and they think that being in isolation  would be a welcome break- a chance to get rested up, so to speak.

5. Thyroid cancer seems to be growing in numbers. everyone should be checked for this- if they have family members who have had thyroid issues, or if they have symptoms. they should do a "thyroid neck check" and talk to their family doctor about this. i would like to see this cancer get the growing attention that Colo-rectal cancer has been getting over the last few years. i think that the "good cancer" image is contributing to a lapse in awareness or concern about having thyroid cancer.

6. My most important advice to a newly diagnosed ( or at any stage, for that matter!) thyroid cancer patient is to be informed! buy some really good books on thyroid cancer. one that i recommend is " The Thyroid Cancer Book" by Sara Rosenthal. also, go to great websites like Dearthyroid, or Mary Shomon's website" aboutthyroid.com." you MUST take control of your health! as well meaning and good as our physicians/surgeons may be, you are ultimately in charge, and must see to it that you get the care that you need and deserve.

7. i have many funny thyroid cancer related stories. i like to find the humor in things, and would definitely rather laugh than cry. probably my favorite story involves a med tech at the hospital where i was getting my RAI treatment. my endocrinologist decided that it would be a good idea(!) to get blood work done only two days after receiving my large dose of I-131( 154.9 milicuries).the following is a part of  my blog entry after this visit:

" Mmm,ah............................. ARE YOU PREGNANT?!!"

i had to ask the med tech first thing, before she got too close to me. instinctively, her hand when to her stomach to smooth her top down. i could almost hear her thinking:" I wonder if these pink scrubs make me look fat??" then i saw sparks of fire coming out of her eyes. good job, bea, she has a 20 gage needle headed straight for your arm and you made her really mad! she said, " of course not!!". but she could have been, i mean she was not too old or anything. when i explained why i asked, she calmed down, and actually thanked me for asking.

Dear Thyroid is a thyroid support community and literary brand. Our goal is to connect patients with each other, to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers, and to give all thyroid patients a voice. We come together as a united front to invoke change on behalf of thyroid patients worldwide. Thyroid patients are invited to submit letters to their thyroids, thyroid rants and raves, and other literary creations. Help us to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers by wearing your disease on your sleeve and by requesting one of our free awareness bands. Visit DearThyroid.org to learn more!

" Dearthyroid. blog tour"

i have been working on a blog that will appear in the dear thyroid.com blog tour tomorrow. ( Thursday, September 23rd).  i hope that all of you can check out this website. the host also writes a blog, and there are links to several very good blogs about thyroid cancer. i was happy to have been asked to be a part of the "blog tour", though i will admit that i had never heard of one until now! it is wonderful to know that we can get together and share our experiences and information on thyroid cancer. it makes the load a little lighter, i think.

i will be posting a new blog ( a regular blog, i guess you would say) on Friday, September 24th.i hope everyone is doing well and see you tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

" Hi, Ho!, Hi Ho! It's off to work we go! Her calcium is low!" apologies to Snow White, the Seven Dwarves, Walt Disney, etc.

i had my blood work done last week, and i got my results today. everything was fine except for my calcium level- it is pretty low. the following is a conversation that i imagined my remaining  two brave and loyal parathyroids having:
P #1: " Hey, man, i'm beat!"
P#2: " Yeah, man, me,too!"
P#1: " Who would have thought that we would be working so hard!?"
P#2:  " You know, when we signed up for this gig, there were four of us! those other two low-lifes just
            up and left!"
P#1 : " Yeah, i think that they went on vacation to Paraguay, or somewhere, and i don't think that they
          are coming back. "
P#2 : " We should have never signed up to work on a thyroid gland named the "Titanic"!
P#1:  "to make things even worse, she has decided to cut back on her dairy products! she thinks she eats
          too much of them and they  might make her fat. oh, brother!"
P#2  " Maybe we can get her to take a calcium supplement"
P#1  " Less work for us!"
P#2  " Yeah!"

i am probably the  only person who imagines their body parts talking to each other. otherwise, i am pretty normal.( whatever normal is, of course)

seriously, if you lost one or more of your parathyroids during your surgery, remind your doctor to keep checking your calcium level. Hypoparathyroidism ( (HPTH) is a serious condition that makes being hypothyroid look pretty good. HPTH can cause parethesias( a burning sensation that feels like bugs crawling on the lips- ugh!), twitching and tingling in the legs, hands,eyeballs, and occasionally seizures.i had intravenous calcium in the hospital, and took a drug called Rocaltrol( Calcitriol), while i was in the hospital and for two weeks after i got home.. it is a highly active form of vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption. i also took a huge dose of calcium- 12,000( yes, that is 12,000!) mg in the form of tums, which is calcium carbonate. i have since found out that taking calcium citrate  is a much better choice. it is better absorbed by the body. of course, keep in mind that if you have a high level of calcium, that is not good either.

parathyroid hormones aid in the conversion of vitamin D to its active form, and also help the kidneys keep calcium from filtering out of the blood. if you have too much calcium in the bloodstream, you could have kidney stones and/or high levels of calcium in the urine.

no one has been following me for this problem. i do not think that i have full blown HPTH, but i need to monitor this, to say the least. i decided to ask one of my doctors to check my calcium level when i was going in for my thyroid  blood work. i am going to talk to my endocrinologist when i go to my appointment on September 30th. i need this level checked pretty often, until it gets to a normal value and stays there. here again is another example of taking charge of your own health care. unfortunately, you can not depend on your physician to do things for you. as good and well meaning as they are, you need to get as much information as you can and be responsible for your own good health.

you might say, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work, we go!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

" If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says: 15 miles to the love shack,love shack, yeah,yeah. ...I got me a car, it's as big as a whale, and we're heading on down to the love shack. I got me a Chrysler, and it seats about 20..." Love Shack by the B-52's

i love this song. it makes me happy every time that i hear it, and it makes me want to dance. i have tried to stay on the "straight and narrow" road that has been my life, but this summer, my road veered left. i was so caught off guard. i am still trying to correct my steering, but i have not yet managed it. i am not ready to swim in a pool with all of my clothes on, as Laura linney's character did in the" Big C" , but i do need to break out and do more stuff. not work stuff, not chore stuff, but fun stuff.

i do not see how anyone can face a serious illness like this and not make changes. unless of course you are in denial. if you believe that you can just go on like before , and not have some self reflection, or attitude adjustments,then you are fooling yourself, i think. i have an ultrasound coming up this month. is my doctor looking for my pesky parathyroids? or worse, is she checking out my latent lymph nodes? i will not know the answer to this until later on. i will just have to deal with it the best way that i can, in the most positive way that i can.

seems that some decisions- some curves in the road, if you will, demand that we acknowledge them and make adjustments.i am trying not to get discouraged about not having enough energy to do the things that i enjoy- zumba, walking my dogs, etc. i hope that in time, my energy will pick up and i will feel better. i have been in denial a little bit about this- trying to wear the "super woman costume". but i just need to be more patient with myself. i will eventually get back to the new normal, whatever that is. 

we should all value our time here on earth. ride down your road in a great big car- living life to the fullest, laughing all that you can, and loving others well. oh, and "don't forget to bring your jukebox money."!

Friday, September 10, 2010

i know, i know,... i'll keep my day job!

when i was first diagnosed with cancer, there was not much to laugh about. i would rather laugh than cry, but i  will admit that i was doing much more crying than laughing.then,   i came across this website:www.thyroidcancersongs.com. Megan Stendebach, a thyroid cancer survivor, has "redone" some popular songs and given them thyroid lyrics. her website was mentioned in "The  Thyroid Cancer Book, "by Sara Rosenthal. i read a few of those songs, and had the first out and out belly laugh i had had  since i had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. i especially like " My God, I'm, a Hypo Boy!" sung to the tune of one of John Denver's songs. she is so funny, and right on with her lyrics. you should really check it out. so, today, in honor of the month of September being " Thyroid Cancer awareness month" i have made a feeble attempt of my own. this is also to honor Megan, and the great job she has done in making many, many thyroid cancer patients laugh a little.

T: is for my thyroid, though you've left me.

H: is for my hair that's coming out.

Y: is for the yucky way i'm feeling.

R: is for the rest i'm always needing.

O: "ouch!" is what i say when blood works done.

I: is for my friend RAI( aka, I-131)

D: is for that darn scar on my neck.

put them all together, they spell "thyroid", i don't have one left, so what the heck!

i know, i should really keep my day job. happy thyroid cancer awareness month!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the new normal

i mentioned that we thyroid cancer patients live from scan to scan. someone wrote a comment on my blog that this is the "new normal". i agree. my life has changed in so many ways, i can not believe it sometimes. if you did not know me very well, you probably could not tell that anything had changed with me. i get up everyday, i go to work. i come home and feed my dogs and cats. i do my chores,etc. i guess what has changed the most  is my attitude, and my perception of the world around me. before i got sick,  when i heard that someone was dealing with a serious illness, i felt some amount of sympathy for them and their family, but i really could not relate to how they were feeling. i tended also to compartmentalize my feelings- sadness,anger or whatever, and throw them in the back of my brain. now i think that i can honestly communicate with someone who is sick, or has a family member who is dealing with a serious illness. i hate to say it, but truthfully, this has made me better at my job. i have more compassion, and i truly listen when someone chooses to confide in me.

today, one of my patients told me about her daughter-in-law having thyroid cancer. she has had the surgery, along with the RAI. she has two little children, and this wonderful woman- who has a serious health condition herself- was running herself ragged taking care of the children, as well as her daughter-in-law. one of the grandchildren is a seven month old baby. of course, you can not explain RAI to a baby, much less the "six foot" rule. her daughter-in-law was just "reunited" with her baby this week. her mother-in-law told me that she did not know which one of them was the happiest.they were laughing, crying, and would not let go of each other.  then, my patient told me that she was going to go back to work next week, and that things would be returning to "normal". i said, really, normal? and she said, yes- normal, whatever normal means now.

this family has changed forever. the new normal that they have created for themselves involves a lot of love, commitment, and hard work. some days will be good days, some bad, but i think that this has made them closer. i really admire the way that they have handled this difficult situation. i would say that i am hoping that they laugh a lot and have fun, but with a baby, i think this goes without saying.

to all thyroid cancer patients out there, whatever your new normal is, i hope that you are doing well. i hope you have benefited from this illness in ways you could never have imagined, and rejoiced in good days. i hope that you have laughed, loved, and rested well. welcome everyone to the new normal.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

" I see trees of green, red roses,too, i see them bloom for me and you- And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue, clouds of white, the bright blessed day, dark sacred night, and i think to myself, what a wonderful world. The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky. are also on the faces of people going by. I see friends shaking hands saying " How do you do?" they're really saying, I love you. " Louis Armstrong- What a wonderful World.

I just love that song. it was hard not to include all of the lyrics- i just about did! i sing it to myself when i get a little down, and it cheers me up. this weekend was a wonderful time for me, and i hope for all of my family. i just love it when we all get together! my children and their spouses were all here, and we went to see my dad on Saturday.Saturday night we were having a meal and i looked around the table. everyone was there and i thought i was just about the luckiest person on earth! we had a good meal, and my son( as usual) was making everyone laugh. one of the jokes was at my expense. you see, one time a few years ago, we were heading for a vacation to the beach.if you are familiar with the terrain of coastal south carolina, you know that  there are great stretches of marsh land, with roots and "knees" of trees sticking out of large areas of the marsh land.  i do not know what made me think this, but i thought that what i was seeing was ostriches. i said oh, look, an ostrich farm! ( no, i was not wearing my glasses!). well, my kids have  never let me forget that one. as luck would have it, the next trip we took was a driving trip out west. we actually saw an ostrich farm- big sign and everything .my kids made me get out of the car and stand in front of it so they could take a picture! how i wish they would forget that one- but i am afraid it comes out from time to time at family get togethers.

i had a great belated birthday celebration this year. i really, super appreciate all of our family  time together, and the fact that i am actually having another birthday. Karen made a comment on my last blog- about the fact that she and her husband are actually doing the things that they talk about doing. you know, we do not often get second chances in life, and my husband and i agreed that this is something that we need to do. why is it so hard to have more fun, do more things? we sure get ourselves to work and work all of the hours that we are scheduled. i think that i ( and many others, i am sure) need to be sure that we have all of the fun that we can. we need to take this seriously! this is our life, and we need to do more, cherish more, and have more fun. this truly is a wonderful world, and i for one am going to try to enjoy it!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

" We are family! i got all my sisters with me....and we fly just like birds of a feather...high hopes we have for the future and our goal's in sight. no, we don't get depressed, here's what we call our golden rule: have faith in you and the things that you do, and you won't go wrong." ( Sister Sledge)

a serious illness causes you to think about your life in many ways. i was thinking about my family- a lot of my family has passed away- my mom, all my grandmothers, granddads, uncles, aunts, some cousins for good measure. anyway, i was getting a little depressed thinking about it and then i realized something. through shared experiences with thyroid cancer- both good and bad- i feel that i have developed a sort of "kinship" with everyone who has read my blog. whether you have commented on my blog, or emailed me with your particular experiences, or just offered me support, i feel that we are all part of a special group.( o.k. maybe we did not exactly plan on being in the cancer group.) but we have a common denominator of understanding, and i think, friendship.

no matter what stage we are in, in our journey, we can identify with what each of us is dealing with. no one else- not family, friends, or co-workers, really" gets it "like another thyroid cancer patient.when i get depressed, i think about all of the new friends i have met through my blog. i am sorry( REALLY SORRY) that we all have cancer, but i would not have met you guys otherwise. that is something good that came from my cancer, and i feel that it is a blessing i would not otherwise have had.

an employee where i work asked me how i was doing. i said, oh, fine. and he said, no, how are you really doing? his wife has cancer, and he has talked with me a time or two. i stopped for a moment, and considered the question. sometimes i feel like i have   multiple personality dysfunction or something.  my Pollyanna self- the dominant self, says everything is fine and dandy. then my private self, "Debbie downer," if you will, gets sad. i have said that we thyroid cancer patients live from scan to scan and i almost want to just jump ahead  in time to the next scan. of course, there is a whole lot of living to do before my next scan. i have to remind myself to enjoy my life and not wish my time away. i do need to "believe in myself and the things that i do".

my children are all coming home this labor day weekend.  we will celebrate a belated birthday for me. i really like the national cancer society's slogan " celebrate more birthdays". it really does mean something more to me now. someone told me, oh you had a birthday, i won't ask how old you are! i said i was very,very happy to be a year older. here's to all of my new friends: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US ALL!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"I want to live, I want to give. I've been a miner for a heart of gold." Neil Young

i do want to live! i do feel that i have some more  to give and to do with my life. i have, however, found my heart of gold. my husband and my partner has been so good to me. i just can not thank him enough. i work full time, and when i come home to my "chores" they look overwhelming to me at times.he always pitches in and helps me without my having to ask . i am not sure that  i could have managed small children with this illness. my admiration goes out to all of you who do have the care of small children, and this illness to deal with. not only do we have the surgery,  and the horror of the "C" word to deal with, but we also lose our master gland. the locomotive that pulls our train  down the track so to speak. i am glad for modern medicine, but even the best thyroid supplement can not completely take the place of a normally functioning thyroid gland. it sure helps though. one of my great aunts had her thyroid completely removed and she did not take any thyroid supplement! i am not sure how she made it from day to day.she worked hard outdoors every day, and she lived to be over 100 years old. she always said that when she died, she wanted to fall over in her flower bed. well, she almost did!

my dad had his thyroid removed today.( i think there is a family curse on all of our thyroids or something). he did not have cancer, but his nodules were enormous. he got choked drinking water. he has done very well so far, and his surgery only lasted two hours. ( mine lasted almost 5 hours). they did not have to remove any of his lymph nodes, of course, and he got to keep all of his parathyroids.( his did not choose to go to Paraguay, thank goodness) . i had to work today, but my sister was with him. i called him several times, and my husband and i will be taking care of him all day tomorrow, friday, saturday and monday. i made a pound cake for him this morning, and some custard when i got home from work this evening. i am making him  some potato soup tomorrow before we leave. he is 84 years old, and in very good health, but i still worried about how he would do. i think that he probably did better than i did. ( you can refresh your memory with some of my earlier blogs about my hospital stay- the extra large emesis " bucket", etc. )

i have been very interested in my  fellow thyroid cancer patients personal journeys. i am constantly amazed at the grace and stamina that everyone has had when facing this situation. if i could hope for just one thing for everyone with thyroid cancer, besides a full recovery of course, it would be that everyone has found their heart of gold. someone to love and support them. it makes this journey so much better.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"The Big C "

i was intrigued with  the new show about cancer, called " The Big C". Laura Linney is a really good actress, and the idea was something different, i thought. my daughter was worried it would upset me to watch it( how sweet) so she screened it for me. she decided that maybe i should not watch it. i mean, it is a pretty depressing premise: a woman has stage four melanoma, has only a short time to live, and does not want to tell any of her dysfunctional family members. she goes about  doing some things that she has always wanted to do, for example, putting  a swimming pool in her front yard. i decided to watch the show, and if it was upsetting i could always turn off the TV ( a novel  idea!). actually, it is very funny, in a macabre sort of way. the actors are very good, and there are some very funny scenes- at one point, she shoots a school bus with a paint ball gun so that she can get her son off. she does not want him to go to soccer camp, but wants to spend the summer with him doing fun things.

i of course thought about my life up to now. i have lived a pretty conservative one. i have worked and then come home and taken care of my family. the only partying that i have done is to attend  birthday parties for the kids, or other family events. sounds pretty boring, but actually i am very happy. i wish that i would have had more fun, and not worked so much( i think everyone thinks that). i love every minute i have spent with my children, and always look forward to spending more time with them. since they are now married and live away from home, it makes the time spent with them even more sweet. i have thought about doing some things that i have always wanted to do, but i can not come up with very much. my husband and i are probably going to take a long trip next summer and i am looking forward to that. as far as how i go about living my life, well, i just keep on the same path. the only difference, is now i try to notice more, and definitely appreciate more of the goodness around me.

cancer is not a discriminator. it is an "equal opportunity destroyer." no matter who you are, young or old, rich or poor, you can have cancer. the point is, i guess, how you decide to handle things.i get depressed sometimes, but basically i try to make the best of things. i realize how lucky i am to have supportive family members. i may not have a paint ball gun, or dig up my front yard and put in a swimming pool, but i am enjoying my life. isn't that what matters most?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

" And girls they wanna have fun, Woah, girls just wanna have fun.....That's all they really want, some fun. When the workin' day is done, Oh, girls they wanna have fun." Girls just want to have fun ( Cyndi Lauper)

today was my only day off this week( i work the weekend), so i decided to make it a fun day. i got an email from another thyroid cancer patient, and she said that on her doctor appointment days, she plans a really fun day. she eats out at a nice restaurant, and has "retail therapy". i love that term. i am a firm believer in retain therapy! so today, i started out with a few light chores, then i had my retail therapy. i went to a near by town for some shopping. i went to my favorite women's clothing store( all of the sales associates there  know my name!) and picked out a few things. i also went grocery shopping. some people hate to go grocery shopping, but i love it. i go to a mostly organic foods  store called Earth Fare, and i love to look at all of the produce and the unusual products they sell. did you know that you can buy almost anything "organic". they even have organic soft drinks. amazing.

after my retail therapy, i went back home for some zumba therapy. i had a blast again; i think i may have even enjoyed it more this time. i was able to do a little bit more of the routines. of course, they have one move called the "destroyer". it is not one of my favorites. even when i was in my 20's i do not think that my midsection moved like those instructors on the video. this work out is great for your abs, booty, and hips. just what i need! i have only done the first DVD. there are four- i think that you may need to get the basic moves down first before moving on. i have not used the toning sticks yet.( those are for the toning video). i shake them every once in a while when i pass the coffee table. lol

i may also do some spa therapy before i go to bed tonight. i have bought some new nail polish called " stroke of midnight" hahahahah.  i always paint my toenails, but i do not paint my fingernails. i keep my fingernails short, because of my work.  i wash my hands so much, nail polish tends to come right off in no time. but this one time i may just paint my nails with the stroke of midnight polish.my birthday is this weekend and i need to do something to celebrate(birthdays are really important to me now!). i am bringing cupcakes to work on Sunday. devils food  cupcakes with a coconut cream cheese frosting. i have never put those two together, but hey, what the heck. it sounds like fun to me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

" I get knocked down, but I get up again, You're never going to keep me down." Tubthumping by Chumbawumba

this has sort of been my motto. i always get back up. however, i broke a promise to myself and i have been feeling pretty bad about it. you see, i have researched, and read books, and gotten all of the information about my cancer that i possibly could. i have met things head on, cried if i needed to, and dealt with whatever health issues that came my way. the only thing that i did not want to know, and i promised myself i would not ask about, was what stage cancer i have. i have been in health care for over 25 years, and i have seen some people in stage two cancer die quickly, and others in stage four recover, or live for a long time. i have always thought that "staging" was just a guess, albeit, an educated one.

the other day on my lunch break, i was reading in my Thyroid Cancer book about ultrasounds. i thought that maybe the author had some insight as to why i will be getting another ultrasound in September. and right there on the page about ultrasounds was the criteria for staging thyroid cancer. i could have turned the page, closed the book or whatever, but instead i looked. i was not really surprised, i had a good idea, but to see it in writing was somehow heartbreaking. or really, hope-breaking. i have/had stage three thyroid cancer. certainly, it could be a lot worse. of course, i think that every thyroid cancer patient lives from scan to scan. i really do not feel like i can celebrate until i know that this cancer has completely and totally " left the building". and i will do whatever it takes, and with every bit of strength that i have in my body, to get rid of it.

maybe i needed to know my"stage" and perhaps i was not ready to know until now. so i got knocked down, and did something that  i had said that i would not do.i was depressed for a day or two, but i am feeling better now. it is just a label, and it does not mean, really,  anything at all. i am the same person i was before i opened Pandora's box, and i will continue to be as positive as i can be. i promise that i will get back up again. i always do.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

" No, you can't always get what you want, you can't always get what you want, you can't always get what you want, .But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." The Rolling Stones

i was reading Mary Shomon's newsletter/blog the other day about the difficulty in finding an endocrinologist/doctor  that you like. she made some good points. she used her doctor as an example- things she does not like( her not taking insurance, and having to wait a long time in the office) and things that she did( using natural thyroid hormone,taking her time with her and being thorough). so i decided to write out a list of pros and cons about my doctor and see what won out. well, the pros are greater than the cons. that said, i am going to keep my appointment for the ultrasound/visit  the last of September, and see how i feel after that. i am going into the office armed with a list of my " wants" and expectations. the major one is that i need to be informed about test results in a timely manner. i will get a good chance to see how this goes because i will need to get the results of the ultrasound( i still do not know what in the world they are looking for,though). i am also going to bring my husband into the doctors office with me.   i do not usually like to "tag team" the doctor, but in this case it will be  helpful because your husband/partner might hear something that you did not. it happened when i saw the radiologist. i was so glad to have my husband there with me. not just for support, but i really did zone out at times. especially when he was talking about the pathology report/lymph node issue. if things do not go well, i will look for another doctor, exhausting as that may be. this is too important to leave to chance, or to be handled in a way that i am not comfortable with.

speaking of exhausting, i did zumba today!! what fun. i think that i burned as many calories laughing at myself as i did doing the video. the first, or basic video i might add. there are three more- and i am actually looking forward to doing them. i can understand now why my daughter likes zumba so much. i am not sure that i would be able to go to a class,though. i mean, my body does not move in certain ways that someone half my age does. but dancing is fun, and the music is very fun- samba, Caribbean,very upbeat. i am afraid that it will hurt to breathe tomorrow, but it was worth it! i am not sure if abs of steel are in my future, but maybe a bowl of ice cream is!

Friday, August 20, 2010

" Everybody get on the floor, let's dance! Don't fight your feelings, give yourself a chance. Shake,shake,shake,shake,shake,shake, shake your booty! shake your booty!!" KC and the Sunshine Band ( Shake your booty)

at the first of this month, after paying my bills, i had a little extra money. i decided to treat myself with a small gift and narrowed it down to two very different things. my daughter is crazy about zumba classes. she goes at least two times a week, and has a blast. i happened to be channel surfing in TV wasteland the other day , and came across the Zumba infomercial. first of all, i am pretty " sensitive" to infomercials. if i start watching one, it is pretty much all over for me. the good thing is that i do not order these " info products"  directly on line or by phone because (luckily) i am afraid of giving out my credit/debit card numbers. no, i will patiently wait until the wonderful new product comes out in the " as seen on TV" section of ( usually) Walmart.

the zumba DVD looked like so much fun! everyone was laughing and having a great time. and talk about those abs! wow, could mine look like those some day? probably not, i have had two children and the last one was by c-section. i think that this would be a fun work out,though and would help me get some more of my strength back. i have lost about 25 pounds during my whole adventure- since i found  out about my cancer back in April. i lost most of the weight on the LID. i believe that  you can lose about 50 pounds in a couple of weeks if you follow that diet!   ( i think that  Chelsea Clinton  must have used this diet to get ready for her wedding! lol) i do not want to gain any of the weight back, and frankly having lost my thyroid, i am worried about weight gain anyway.

that brings us to the second choice. a beautiful, Cuisinart ice cream maker! you can have ice cream in 20 minutes with this baby! just keep the bowl in the freezer and you are ready to go. i have a weakness for ice cream ( it was NOT on the Low iodine diet). i could even ( it might happen) make something low in fat, or fat free( probably not going to happen). sooooooooooooooo, i checked amazon.com. now,  i am not afraid of giving amazon.com my debit card number. usually i order books or music, but occasionally i will order something else. turns out, they had both of these products! what now?? in the end,no pun intended, the healthy choice won out.hey, the zumba DVD even came with " toning sticks"! i will have to admit,though, that i have not "zumba-ed" yet. the kit is sitting on my coffee table looking at me. and all i want to do is have a big bowl of ice cream.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Watina. Sitina.Dimuretina tuma lugunema mua. Mahati ayudante lanugunina" Watina, by Andy Palacio

no, my fingers did not slip off of the keys! this is in a language called Garifuna, and is spoken in a coastal region of Belize. it is a  unique language, and nearly extinct. the CD is beautiful- i love the music. of course, i can not understand the lyrics. good thing the CD comes with translations. this song, in part, says: " Oh, God, please change my life this year. I ask you to change my life but please do not take it away. Please leave me here where I can be a bothersome spirit". Amen to that!

i found out about this CD because my son went  to  Belize a couple of years ago to help teach music to some very enthusiastic band members. i was in awe of him for going to tackle this mission, and he was in awe of the students and their parents.they love music there! every small village has a band- no sports teams, but community bands, comprised mostly of  teenagers. the mothers make the costumes, and everyone is so proud of these kids. they have a competition each year to see which town has the best band. the way i see it, everybody wins. my son had to learn to play every instrument as a music major, but he is a saxophone player extraordinaire!! they were so impressed that he could play the " Pink Panther".he almost got tired of playing it for the kids.

the thing that impressed me, was the hope that these band students had. they wanted so much to someday come to America, and play at a band competition. if i ever win the lottery, that is what i am going to do with the money- fly those kids up here to perform ! i also have to say my son said these students and their families were some of the nicest people that he has ever met. they took turns "feeding him supper", and really welcomed him into their community.

one of the most important words to me this year is the word "hope". i hope for better health and more time with my family and friends.those band students hoped for a wonderful band, but mostly i think, a chance for a better life. what do you hope for?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

" Thank you for letting me be myself, again..." Sly and the family stone

my husband and i went to see the movie " Eat,Pray,Love" this weekend. i enjoyed it, he enjoyed parts of it. i think it is probably a" chick flick" as they say. i think that the main character, Liz, went  on search of herself, as well as trying to enjoy being herself and not someone whom  she thought she should be.sounds easy enough, doesn't it? just enjoy being yourself and accept yourself for who you are. i really love elderly people and young children. they are not pretentious, and they say what they mean, and mean what they say. this is a lesson i am learning- to accept myself, and to be happy with whatever each day brings me.i am a " type A" personality, a control freak, really. boy, when you have cancer,  control goes out the window!not that you should sit back and accept things that you know are not right of course, but there is only so much ( health wise) that is now under your control.

i went to church today, for the first time in several months. i did not want to go right after my surgery, it was the "scaring the children thing". and then of course, i did not want to literally " light the whole place up!" and i certainly had no intentions of asking anyone of childbearing age if they were pregnant! ( the last time i asked that it did not go so well!).so i waited until i was sure that i had cooled off sufficiently. it was good to see everyone again, and to thank everyone for saying so many prayers for me. i really do believe in the healing power of prayers. i was amazed at how kind people are about doing this.

one of my husbands coworkers told this story about her little girl. she is about 3 years old, and just as cute as she can be. her mother had to take her to their church for the "receiving" part of a funeral. now for those of you unfamiliar with a "receiving" it is a time before a funeral, where friends get to offer their condolences to the family of the deceased. i am not sure, but i think that this is a southern custom. anyway, as they were leaving the church, the little girl said at the top of her voice" Boy was that fun! i really had a good time!".her mother was pretty embarrassed,but the little girl had just said what she thought was appropriate to say at the conclusion of a good party. i thought it was great! i sure hope at my receiving ( much later on down the road of course!) that someone says they had a great time.see what i mean about children saying just what they think?

Friday, August 13, 2010

" Well, crocodile rocking is something shocking, when your feet just can't keep still. I never had me a better time, and i guess i never will. Oh! lady mama, those Friday nights, when Suzie wore her dresses tight,. And crocodile rocking was out of sight..." ( Elton John)

last year my son got married. ( i am glad that it was not this year- i would have hated to rain on his parade!). among the many decisions we had to make, though not as many as the bride's family of course, was what song the groom and the groom's mother would dance to. i thought of many sentimental songs- my son and i like " old blue eye's " songs. but i did not want to be crying my eyes out on the dance floor. so i thought, how about a song that would really tell everyone about we relate to each other? we always have the best time out- we are laughing constantly. so i thought i would choose a song- an upbeat song, and yes, a funny song that we both liked and could dance to. i will have to admit that the " could dance to " part was a little iffy. i can sing a little, and i like to dance, but dancing with the stars has me way, way,way on down the list of perspective contestants.

i told my son what song i thought we should dance to, if it was o.k. with his bride of course- i did not want to upset anyone. she, being good natured, humored us and let us have our moment on her big day. i have to admit i almost backed out on this- but my son had told his college buddies what song we were dancing to, and they said they thought he had the coolest mom ever, so jeez now i had to do it. so the time came for us to dance- it was near the end of the reception, and some of the guests had left, and most of the rest were feeling pretty good, if you know what i mean. we got up there and stood in the traditional " waltz pose" and waited for the d.j. to start the song. when Elton started to sing, i think you could hear every one's jaw  hit the floor. my son and i had made up a few "crocodile moves", but basically we just crazy danced. and laughed, and laughed and laughed. it was one of my daughters favorite moments of her brothers wedding, and the only one that made her cry.

i have thought about this a lot since i have been sick. how we must make the best of every day, and do the things that make us happy, even though they may seem a little silly. i would not take anything for that dance with my son- but i will have to admit that i am glad that it did not end up on the Internet . of course, there is a video somewhere.......