Wednesday, October 12, 2016

if given the choice, nine times out of ten, i prefer to laugh instead of cry.( sometimes it is rather challenging, though.....)

today i had to go to my endocrinologist's office in Raleigh for my bi-annual blood work and ultrasound of my neck. my appointment with my doctor is not until the 27th of this month, but she insists that i have all labs done at her office. this is fine with me, since it is kind of important that the lab work is done correctly. in the past,  i have found that results do vary from lab to lab, so i have agreed to this extra trip twice a year. when i made my appointments for the blood work, ultrasound and doctor's visit six months ago, i had no idea that i would end up being some little kid's worst nightmare.

let me explain. i had the mohl's surgery two days ago. i have seven stitches on my face-covered by a large bandage-, a very black eye on one side, bruising on my face, and both of my eyes are blood red. and i am just getting started! the med tech who drew my blood today is not as talented as the one in my oncologist's office. last time i went to my endo's office, the med tech dug around in my arm for a while, then had to stick the" man veins" in my hand. today, i decided to just  cut to the chase. i asked her to please just stick my hand. and boy, did she ever! in her defense, she did get 4 large tubes of blood out of the back of my hand, but now, in addition to all of the " face stuff" i  had a large bandage on one of my hands.

after the blood letting experience, i staggered out to the elevator to make my way down to the parking garage. several people file into the elevator with me, including this very sweet looking little boy. he is about 4 or 5. the doors close, the little guy sees me, and his jaw drops. i am sure had there been any flies in the elevator, he would have been spitting most of them out. at this point, his mother and another lady are looking a little worried. so, i said to the little boy: " don't worry, sweetie. i am just getting ready for Halloween!". he laughs, a few others do as well, and i could just feel the tension leave the elevator. it seemed like everyone had been holding their breath and could now, at this point, get some air. as we were exiting the elevator, one of the ladies stopped me and said : " it is nice that you have a sense of humor. i am sure that it is helpful," she was right.

having a sense of humor is beneficial to me, as well as to  others. it is hard to laugh sometimes, though. but as i said, if i can laugh at myself, or my situation, it is better than crying. my face will heal (eventually). my stitches are to be removed on monday. my black eye will also get better in time. i will not get my results for my thyroid cancer tests until a couple more weeks. until then, i am hoping that some sweet little boy i met today in the elevator does not have to sleep with his bedroom light on tonight!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

" I'm taking a walk, i'm going outside, i'm taking a walk, i'm just getting by....i'm watching the birds, i'm just getting by, ....i'm taking a walk, i don't need a ride. " " taking a walk " by John Prine

john prine performed this song at his birthday concert in nashville last week. my husband and i were fortunate to see him again- i am not sure how many times that we have seen his concerts, but they have all been great. he gives the audience 100%, and i am not sure how he does it. he is a two time cancer survivor, like me.

i am having a tough time with fatigue right now. i can make it through the day only if i do not have anything extra to do. like the concert, for example. the drive to nashville took us about 8 hours ( we stopped for a picnic lunch,etc,). when we finally got to our room, i was exhausted. my husband wanted to go out to hear some local bands play, but i simply did not have the energy. i felt unplugged. the fatigue that i am feeling is similar to the fatigue that i felt before my cancers were diagnosed. i am hoping that it is my TSH ( a thyroid function marker) that is high, and by upping the dose of my thyroid medication, it will make me feel better. i have to wait until my blood work appointment, though. my endocrinologist can not make any adjustments without first looking at the numbers, you might say.

my mohls surgery for the basal cell carcinoma on my face is this coming monday. my thyroid cancer blood work appointment is in Raleigh, two days later. i am also scheduled for an ultrasound that same day. my appointment with my endocrinologist, to go over the results of my tests, is scheduled for October 27th. i am hoping that when she sees my lab values, she will go ahead and increase my thyroid medication dose and i will not have to wait until the 27th. that is presuming of course, that the fatigue is a result of my TSH being too high. having a high TSH not only causes fatigue, but it can allow any rogue thyroid cancer cells that might be hiding somewhere  to "wake up" and cause mayhem somewhere else in my body. my TSH has been suppressed( near zero) for the past 6 years so that those rogue cancer cells would stay asleep. but just recently, my endocrinologist lowered the dose of my thyroid medication. that has made me very nervous for several reasons.with thyroid cancer, a patient is never truly in remission. you have to be tested for the rest of your life- there is no "five year you are o.k." mark. i know of patients who have had a recurrence seven, even 15 or 20 years after a first diagnosis. not the good cancer, is it?

of course, fatigue is a common side effect with the medicine that  i am taking to block estrogen production ( anastrozole). and fatigue is a common side effect even YEARS after patients have had chemotherapy treatments. it is sort of a guess as to  which one of these factors may be causing the fatigue. maybe it is even a combination of a few of them. at any rate, i need to start feeling better. to quote john prine again, most of the time i am feeling like " a bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down, and won." i am very  fortunate in  that my employer and co-workers are fine with me only working a couple of days a month. after working a 9 hour shift, though, it takes me at least two days to recover. it is amazing to me how an individual can rise to the occasion. i think about those elderly  actors who creep along backstage, barely making it, then when they get on stage and the spotlight hits them, BOOM! it sort of feels like that to me. like today, i can not imagine having enough energy to get through a day at work. but when my next work day comes up, i will push myself and somehow muddle through.

i am not sure if i am even up to taking a walk today. i am surely just getting by, as john says in his song. i know that exercise helps, but at this point i really have to push myself to get out there. i do enjoy looking at the birds,though.