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.