Sunday, May 27, 2012

" if you want me, gimme a little sugar, if you don't want me, don't lead me on girl. but if you need me show me that you love me. and when i'm feeling blue and i want you, there's just one thing that you should do.... just gimme some kind of sign girl, on my baby, to show me that you're mine girl, all right." Gimme little sign, by don dixon

when these lyrics popped into my head, you know the story- the quarter went in, but i had to shake the jukebox a little to get it to play! this song is by an artist who had a group( and i am really, really showing my age here) called arrogance. they were extremely popular at unc-chapel hill, where i went to school. i never missed one of their concerts when they were in town.( they toured some, but were originally from the chapel hill area )  mr. dixon went on to become a famous record producer for REM and other groups, and the band broke up, to my dismay. i guess this seems fitting to remember a group from my past, this close to memorial day. first and foremost, of course, we remember our service men and women on this day, but i also remember my family and friends who have passed away. especially, i am remembering my parents, which i do basically every day. i wish that i had had them with me for a while longer, but i am thankful for the time that we did have together.

this weekend,my husband and i  went to see our  children and their spouses, and of course our grandson. while we were in cary, i met a man whose wife had had cancer surgery at the same hospital where i had mine. we could have even had the same surgeon, but i did not ask. "bill"- not his real name, is a very tall, big man, i would guess in his early 40's. his wife is a one year breast cancer survivor. now, bill is a man's man- big, strapping guy, no nonsense, but as nice as can be. he told me that next week, on the exact one year anniversary of his wife's surgery, he will be wearing a pink shirt. how great! he was a little worried about wearing pink- i am pretty sure that he has never worn a pink shirt before! but at the same time, i think that it is a very sweet gesture, i know his wife will appreciate it, and, well, considering his size, i am quite sure that no one will tease bill too much about his shirt color. that got me to thinking about next year. ( this part is a message to my husband) " honey, will you please wear a shirt to honor my, it will be, third year cancer free anniversary?" only problem is though, thyroid cancer has three colors. they are pink, teal, and what they describe as dark blue( looks like purple to me). i guess we will just have to work out how we will do this later.

i love hearing stories about how family members support cancer patients. my husband told me that a man who comes in his store had on one of those yellow,plastic  cancer bracelets. my husband asked him if he was into biking( lance armstrong) and he told him no, that he wore it for his wife. turns out, his wife had thyroid cancer about ten years ago and he has worn the bracelet  ever since in honor of his wife. these signs of support mean a lot to me, as i am sure that they do to other cancer patients . my husband wears a cancer bracelet for me,too. and i am pretty sure that next year , on may 19th , he will be wearing a new color of shirt,too!

i have thought about how small signs of support like these mean to me, and other cancer patients. i can only imagine how our family members and friends must feel about them. i suppose  it makes them feel like they are helping us with their love and support- showing us and the world how much they care about us and want to help. this goes way beyond a shirt color or a bracelet, of course, but it sure is good to see our families/friends making a statement for us. and next week, i hope that bill has all of  his coworkers and family cheering him on the day he wears his pink shirt. i know i will be.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"hey,hey! now it's mambo, italiano. hey, mambo, mambo italiano. i love-a how you dance rumba, but take some advice, paisano, learn how to mambo. if you're gonna be square, you're never gonna go nowhere. hey mambo, mambo italiano! hey mambo, mambo italiano! go, go joe, shake a- like a gioviano. hello, guesadicha. you getta happy in the feets- a when you mambo italiano!" Mambo Italiano, by many artists . i like the one by bette midler.

actually, i love to salsa more than any other dance that we do in zumba. i could just salsa all class period, if our instructor would do that. i have not been to zumba in so long, i am not sure what they are doing. today in physical therapy, my physical therapist said " we are going to do some zumba moves!" she sure knows how to motivate me. what they were actually, were lunges. all kinds of lunges. lunges to the side, back, front, across the room, on a special exercise ball, etc. . boy, do my thighs hurt this evening! and i can tell you that it is not zumba! no great music, dance moves, or belly scarves. for the first time, though, i actually feel like i am going to get better enough to go back to zumba before too much longer. i may be rusty at first, but by golly when we do lunges i will be on top of things! i am the only one, it seems, who comes out of physical therapy with  sweat dripping off of me, and with a red face. my daughter seems to think that i have a personal trainer instead of a physical therapist. whatever you want to call it, it sure has helped. it took longer than i would have liked though, and i almost got discouraged, because my crazy work schedule only allowed one visit per week, most weeks. next week, i get to go twice. ( double the lunges, i guess).

i am starting to adjust somewhat to my new levoxyl dose. my energy is returning somewhat,even  on the "137" days. i still have more energy on my two "150" days per week, though. i figure that it averages out to about 140mcg a day. it still amazes me how just a tiny dose increase/decrease can affect your body in such profound ways. i realize that not having a thyroid makes getting a correct dose for me more difficult. i also know that it will have to be adjusted probably many times in the years( i hope) to come. thankfully, my doctor is willing to compromise with me on the dose. she pays attention to how i am feeling, not just the lab results.

this is my long week at work because i work the weekend. that makes a six out of seven day work week. on saturday, i will celebrate my, drum roll here, please,  TWO YEAR CANCER FREE ANNIVERSARY!! i bought a special black and sequined top to wear to work. i am not sure why, but i wanted to wear sequins to work that day. i am a fairly conservative dresser, but this is a very special occasion to me, obviously. i also am wearing my sparkly allegria shoes with the rhinestone buckles. i figure if anyone gets too close to me, they will be blinded by all of my bling! i plan to add some sparkly jewelry,too. no one knows about my "dress" plans for that day- except of course for you guys. i am looking forward to some element of surprise on that day. usually on saturday, i dress more casually, so it should really be a change. i am also making cupcakes to take to work that day. i always plan on having some kind of cake on my anniversary day, as well. i hope those of you celebrating cancer free anniversary days do something special. something that makes you happy. i am still learning from my "adventures with cancer" but one thing i know for sure, i really, really try to make every day count and i try to be happy. even if it is just a little thing. a salsa. a belly scarf. a little bling on your clothes. a cupcake.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"we skipped the light fandango, and turned cartwheels 'cross the floor. i was feeling kind of sea sick, but the crowd called out for more. the room was humming harder, as the ceiling flew away. ....and so it was that later, as the miller told his tale, that her face at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale." Whiter shade of pale, by procol harum.

last week i had to have a diagnostic mammogram. it was because the radiologist " saw something" on my last mammogram six months ago. my, does time fly! i got all worked up about the last one( they called me back a few days after my regular mammogram in november  and told me that they needed to do a cone mammogram) this time however, i decided not to get all worked up about things. i was going to drive myself to the mammogram center, but my husband decided to come along at the last minute. it is a two hour round trip drive, and our only day off for the week. but i am glad that he did.

so, the technician does the mammograms- she did the cone one,too. yeah. have you ever had a cone mammogram? the first time i saw the "plates", i am not sure of the correct term, i thought, now just how am i going to fit in there? somehow i did,though. the main problem i have when i have mammograms is that i start holding my breath too soon. the moment the technician turns the clamp, so to speak, i automatically hold my breath. so she gets over there to her machine, and says" hold your breath now", but of course, i have already started without her. the rate i am going, i should be able to break the record for breath holding before too long.

i can not tell you how long it seemed before the technician came back into my little cubby.  instead of telling me, o.k. great, you can go home now! she said," uh, the radiologist said that he needs to see more pictures in this one area." have you ever wondered how i go about getting my song ideas for my blogs? well, my mind is like one of those old fashioned juke- box players  that used to be  in diner type restaurants. i have all of these songs up there waiting, and some event happens, and boom, i put a quarter in, and it plays an appropriate song. i have not thought about this song in ages, although i loved it. i can tell you though, when the technician came in and told me i needed to go back in for more pictures, i am sure that my face was indeed a whiter shade of pale.

so i have more pictures taken  on the" trouble making" side, and wait some more. this time, the special nurse comes in and tells me that everything is o.k. the radiologist thinks that this looks the same- no changes- from last year. he just wanted to make sure. well, i am thankful that he is thorough. i have to come back in six months and do it all over again- this time on both sides. i am also thankful that my husband went with me. he said," wow, you look a little pale, is everything o.k.?" when you have had cancer it is hard to have tests, as i am sure  most of you who read my blog  already know. it is also hard,though, on our loved ones. it was a quiet trip back home.  i guess  i should have been turning cartwheels across the floor, but  i just felt like i had dodged another bullet.

my children and grandson are coming home later today. i can not wait to see everyone! i am going to " kiss my grandson until his hair is wet" as a good friend of mine says. and i will be thankful that everything turned out o.k. happy mothers day, everyone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"....say, here i am, on the road again. there i am, up on the stage. here i go, playing star again, there i go, turn the page. ....out there in the spotlight you're a million miles away. every ounce of energy you try to give away. as the sweat pours out of your body, like the music that you play. here i am, on the road again. there i am, up on the stage. here i go, playing star again. there i go, turn the page." Turn the page, by bob seger

i guess that i have been fortunate for a while to be off of the "thyroid-less roller coaster." i felt pretty good, and i know that it was because my thyroid levels , up to now, have been  good for me. since my endo has changed my dose though, i feel like i have a one-way ticket on the thyroid-less roller coaster, a never ending ride. i sort of feel like dr. jeckyl and mr. hyde. one day i am upbeat, have some energy, feel like my new normal and i think that people might actually like to be around me. the next day,however, i am grumpy, tired, and,well, sort of mr. hyde-ish. my husband has started asking me, " uh, honey, is it a 150 or 137 day?"( a reference to my levoxyl dose that day). no doubt he asks this so he can make " outside plans" for the day.

i am still hopeful that my thyroid  levels will level out and perhaps i will feel better, but i am not seeing it yet. i rotate my two precious 150mcg days to my two  busiest work days, so that i will have more energy and actually be able to drive home after work, haha. yesterday was a good day- (150), but i needed it to work my evening shift and it was the first of the month. (anyone in pharmacy or health care knows the horrors associated with the first of the month. it is legendary.) today is not so good. i am having a bumpy ride for sure( you could ask my husband, but he is outside working on the yard, he told me that he has LOTS of things to do out there today. ) here is the thing about being thyroid-less. if you have thyroid disease, but have your thyroid, the little guy may not be doing his job very well, but at least he is pumping out a little thyroid hormone.this makes a change in dose, while not so pleasant for sure, a little bit easier to handle. if your thyroid has up and left you, you depend 100% on your thyroid dose to keep your body up and running.

the reason that this bob seger song  came to mind when i was thinking about this blog, is that no matter how badly thyroid patients feel, we all have to hit the road, get back on stage, and do the best that we can. i suppose that anyone dealing with chronic health issues has to be able to do this,too. one way to cope is to have a special activity- physical activity is best for me. i am still going to physical therapy in hopes of getting back to zumba class. my knee is still not 100%, but i am getting there slowly. monday when i was at physical therapy, i really got a work out. i actually worked up a sweat, and my muscles- especially my thighs( we did "zumba lunges" as my therapist called them. she knows how to motivate me) were sore yesterday and today. it was a good feeling to have sore muscles again! sounds weird, i know, but i have missed that. i know i am sooooooo out of shape that it will take a while for me to get back to where i was before my knee injury. i am hoping , just like i did when i went to my first live zumba class, that when i do go back to class, they will not need to call 911. the physical therapist told me that  when i go back to class, to only do 50%, not give it my all. now, that is something  i am NOT  sure that i can do. i might not have been the best dancer in the class, but, by golly, i danced with gusto and gave it everything that i had.

well, i have to get motivated, somehow, and get my errands and chores done today. tomorrow is a "150" because it is the third of the month ( also legendary) and i am off the rest of the week. i have another physical therapy session on friday, so i guess i  will do some more zumba lunges along with my regular exercises. it is also an "assessment day". she will determine from my progress,or lack of, how much longer i need physical therapy and when i can go back to zumba class. i hope i can go back soon- before the silver coins on my belly scarves tarnish . also, i am afraid that my husband might be making cartoon character topiaries   out of our shrubbery. that would take some time..... just saying.