Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 28

Okay, I have a few updates.

I had an appointment with Dr. Kim, the chemo doc, last Monday. He just wanted to do one last set of blood work to make sure that I made it through the chemo treatments okay. He said everything looks good except my thyroid levels. I told him that my PCP and I are working to find the right dose of meds to get that under control.

Speaking of which, Dr. Kranz went ahead and bumped my dose from 175 back up to 200 because she said my levels are still somewhat low. I now need to stay on this dose for 8 weeks and then we'll re-check.

Anyway, back to Dr. Kim. He asked me if I wanted my port taken out and I said "hell, yes!". He looked a bit surprised. I told him it was going to look awful when I wear my bikini this July. That made him laugh. He then said that people normally choose to leave them in for a while because if the cancer comes back, it will need to get placed again. <<Oh, well when you put it THAT way....>>. He then said a second placement would be even trickier on me since they can only use the right side of my chest. And he said they have to place it somewhere different the second time because all of the veins they used this time would be compromised. <<OOOOH, I didn't think of that either....>>. So I told him to feel free to leave it in as long as he wanted to after all. Getting this thing put in the first time was traumatic enough. I can live with an alien bump sticking out of my chest for a good long time. He said we should at least leave it in until after the PET scan in 3 months.

So, I'm now done with him. No more appointments as far as I know.

I then had an appointment with Dr. Miller yesterday to get the speech prosthesis put in place. It wasn't nearly as bad as he made it out to be. It hurt a little but nothing too awful. And I think it was the tools that he was using, touching the side of my stoma that hurt, not the actual insertion itself. After he got the thing installed he plugged up my stoma and told me to say 'hello'. I got all excited for a brief second thinking I would talk. Yeah, no. Nothing happened. He said it's because of the temporary plastic tube that Dr. V sewed onto the back of my tongue. He said I wasn't going to be able to speak until it got removed. So, he is now working on scheduling me a surgery appointment so that he can take it out of there. He's hoping to get me in before I go back to work on 1/13. I mentioned that I hadn't heard about the Botox appointment yet either. He said that that particular department is notorious for not following up with appointments like they're supposed to. He said that he'd call them again and light a fire under their ass.

Meanwhile, I complained to him about the uptick in my aspirating. He said the speech prosthesis is now plugging the hole that was leaking saliva so that problem should go away. Oh boy, was he right! I was actually able to sleep last night laying down flat on my back AND I could roll over onto my side and I didn't choke. It was heaven! Best night of sleep I've gotten in weeks!

I also told him that a new hole has opened up on the outside of my neck 3-4 days ago and is dripping saliva down the front of my shirts. I had to start wrapping my neck in bandages again. I hate when I take a step backwards in my healing! He took a look and confirmed that a hole has opened up right under my chin. He's baffled as to why it suddenly decided to do that. On top of that, he said it's also infected. So as soon as I'm done posting this, I'm off to Wegman's to pick up a prescription for antibiotics. <sigh>

So that was all the excitement with Dr. Miller. He's scheduling surgery for me, scheduling Botox for me, and I see him for another checkup appointment on 1/10.

That's all the news on the health side of things. On the fun side of things.........

My crazy dreams did come true! At least as far as adopting the two new furballs. All day long yesterday all you heard was the scampering of little feet as Ethan, Sterling, and Itty all chased each other all over the house. I was so happy I teared up a little. Itty has wanted somebody to play with for so long it's not even funny and now he suddenly has two new friends who LOVE playing with him. Taking in those two is the best decision I've made in a very long time.

Christmas was wonderful. I was very spoiled this year and received a lot of kitchen stuff which I was really happy about. Baby doll and his daughter, Jessica, came over early Christmas afternoon and we did our gift exchange. Then we headed to his niece's house to do the family gift exchange. It totally hadn't occurred to me that we were going to the house where I've brought a baked good every time I've shown up at the door until Christmas morning. So I donned the new, gorgeous apron that Sam, Mark, and the kids got me for Christmas and hit the kitchen. I then went a little crazy. I made Nanaimo bars, peanut butter bars, and frosted brownies. I also made pecan pie bars but they weren't cool enough to cut by the time we were ready to go so they got left behind.

Jessica ended up making me a necklace for Christmas, much to my surprise. I thought that was very cool. I bought her some stuff. I had let her open one of her gifts early, when she was over to make gingerbread houses. I had bought her this box with a 3D tiger on the front of it and I filled it with a bunch of little treasures like a bottle of perfume, a $15 iTunes card, some crazy colored pencils, some stickers, etc. On Christmas I gave her a hoodie, the Nightmare Before Christmas blu-ray, and a silky pajama shorts set. There was a little bit of lace around the legs so it had a slightly sexy vibe to it but nothing too racy for a 14 year old, at least in my mind. When we dropped her back at home later that night she immediately went upstairs and put the pajamas on and modeled them for us. I think they were a hit. ;-)

That was about it for Christmas excitement. My friend Ted stopped by the other day and handed off three shoe boxes already filled with personal hygiene items. That was a huge help in my goal to have 25 shoe boxes filled, to donate to charity next Christmas. At this rate I might even exceed my goal! My friend Luke stopped over to say 'hi'. I haven't seen him in months so it was good to catch up. He even hung out long enough to meet baby doll when he got home from work. Baby doll will eventually meet everyone in my life. It's just taking a while. JBB bought her plane tickets and is coming to spend Martin Luther King weekend with me. THAT's going to be a blast! And Sammy is supposed to be zeroing in on a date to come see me soon too. OH! And my friend Andy is looking at his schedule to see if he can fly in from Idaho some time in February to visit me. Which would be perfect timing. JT is supposed to be moving west by the end of February so if I can pull together one last poker game where both JT and Andy can attend, that would be the bomb!! You want to talk about a blowout bash....that poker game is going to be epic!

Baby doll and I went to see American Hustle last night. It was good. It moved a little slow in some places. I found myself dozing off a few times. That's probably because of those darned reclining seats they have in the theater now. Baby doll and I haven't been getting out much lately because he's been putting in some really long hours at work and I've been feeling under the weather more often than not lately. I told him that has to change. We need to start getting out more often before we fall into some stay at home rut. We celebrate our one year anniversary next Saturday. I think we're going to go bowling to celebrate. I suck at bowling. It should be an amusing outing. :-)

Okay, I'm off to get some antibiotics working in my system. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that you're all staying safe and warm through the holiday season. XXOO!

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20

I was back at the vet this morning for a follow up appointment for the new furballs. Ethan gained a pound in a week! The vet said he doesn't even look like the same cat from last week. :-) So, they're both on antibiotics for one more week. They also both got a deworming pill today. Hopefully their lungs will be cleared up enough next week to get their booster vaccinations. Side note: There was an adorable, chubby, old, half blind bulldog named Stella in the waiting room when I was waiting to get called to pay my bill. She sat in the chair next to me and totally loved me up. What a cutie! Anyway, I caught Itty and Ethan playing the other morning. I had wildly hoped that two, new, young cats would give Itty someone new to play with. Daisy will play with him sometimes (she's a few years younger than Itty) but most of the time she just gets really irritated with him and he gets so bored in the winter when it's too cold to be outside hunting. So it looks like my crazy dreams might come true! Although Ethan only did the batting paws thing around the corner of the door for a short time before he leaped out, went skidding across the kitchen floor like a crazy cat, and ran into the family room for no apparent reason. Itty just kind of laid there stunned. Daisy isn't up to Itty's energy levels, Itty is probably not going to be able to keep up with Ethan's energy levels. Ha!

My new stove is bleeping awesome! I've been a cooking maniac with it for the past week. My one big worry was making chocolate chip cookies. I use the tollhouse recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag but I use a Crisco bar instead of butter to make them puff up a little, and I make them big and undercook them a little so they're gooey-chewy. I had the whole thing down pat in the old oven. I would set if for 350 instead of 375 and cook the cookies for 9 minutes and they'd be perfect. Baby doll has been putting in 12-13 hour days, the poor guy, so I baked him cookies last night to perk him up. For once I was able to set my oven to 375 and I still baked for 9 minutes, and........success! They seem to have come out just as perfect! Woo hoo!

Baby doll and I did, indeed, install the second blu-ray and surround sound system on the TV over the weekend. Turns out the LG blu-ray didn't support the Amazon app either. WTH?! So, back to Sears I went. I've given up on the "home theater system" for now. I moved the Smart blu-ray player that was in the office out to the living room. I know it's compatible with the Amazon app and I can already access that app through the TV itself in the office so there was a duplication of technology in there anyway. I can now stream my Amazon movie/TV library in the living room. I'll pursue the whole home theater thing at some other point in time when I have more energy and I'm not so disgusted with the whole thing.

The boys were here for euchre lunch on Tuesday. Toby asked me when I was going to have a blowout with my new, fully stocked booze cart and my huge ass TV. I mentioned that we're thinking about a Super Bowl thing. Jer says he can't wait! So, I've started drumming up some interest already.

Paul and Justin were back for lunch on Thursday. I should say Justin was back, Paul didn't make it to the Tuesday lunch. Since there was just 3 of us, we tried playing Rummy. I was getting Knock Rummy and Rummy 500 rules confused though so we spent most of the time reading how to play. We'll be ready for the next time though. Paul brought me prezzies. Not sure what I did to deserve prezzies from him, we don't usually exchange. Then I opened them and understanding dawned. He bought me a ravioli maker and a pasta roller! How very cool! I'll be taking those gadgets for a test drive in the next couple of weeks. I can't wait to see what kinds of ravioli I can make! I remember a couple of years ago I had a pumpkin ravioli at Edibles in a brown sugar/maple cream sauce that was out of this world!

Speaking of prezzies, I have a ton under my tree from all my peeps that are waiting for Christmas to be opened but my friend Karen insisted I open hers early so I did. She bought me a pair of UGG slippers from Zappos. I went and peeked at the price which was seriously ridiculous for a pair of slippers but can I tell you, those things are like walking on clouds! I didn't know slippers could BE that comfortable and warm. Holy cow! Thank you Karen! I seriously LOVE them! Even baby doll commented last night that I must like them because every time he comes home I'm wearing them. :-)

I had an appointment on Monday with Nurse Claire. Just a one week follow up to make sure all was well. I made peanut butter bars for everyone because I think that was the favorite during me treatments. I handed them all off to Claire to distribute. She was excited. She commented that she was going to be everyone's fave person for the day!

So, I'm just sitting over here healing now, I guess. I went to Walmart the other day and was grumbling to myself because my right leg is always uncomfortable when I walk. 98% of the time I can ignore it but every once in a while it just bugs me. It's not painful, it just feels weird the entire length of my thigh where they took the piece of flesh for the graft that ended up failing anyway. That's what really cheese me off about it. I have this tight, uncomfortable feeling going on all the time and it was all for naught. That got me thinking about Dr. C and him talking about how downhill my quality of life was going to go if I had the surgery. I agree, things aren't beautiful but I'm glad I had the surgery. I'm glad I'm still able to bake cookies to cheer up my man. I'm glad that I'm still able to adopt two new kitties and give them a warm and loving home. I'm glad that I can still snuggle up on my couch (although it used to be my bed before the big TV purchase!) and enjoy some movies. Life is still good as far as I'm concerned. That being said, I'm still going to grumble a little bit.

So, I got the leg thing going on. Then there's this whole weight loss thing. I think I mentioned that my PEG leaks all the time because it's too big, so I'm forever staining my undershirts. What I don't think I mentioned was how hard it is to shave my armpits now. I've lost so much weight that they're too concave (?) to shave very well. Can you believe that?? At least my left arm I can twist in a certain way to make the flesh pop out a little and I can get a fairly clean shave over there but my right arm won't move that way. Whatever they severed in my neck when they dissected it won't allow me to move that arm in quite the same way. And the fact that I have more range of motion in my left arm than my right arm really baffles me because it's the left side of my chest where they bent the pec muscle in half and used it to re-build my throat. You'd think I'd have some limitations going on over there! Other grumblings, my jaw and cheek muscles on the right side of my face have been cramping lately. It would probably help if I did my exercises more often but I've been lazy again this week. The entire inside of my mouth feels like I drank acid. I actually wash skin down the drain sometimes when I use my water pic. Ewwww. I can't hold my head level for very long. I don't bother trying when I'm at home but I guess when I'm shopping I must try because by the time I get home, my neck is tired and aching from trying to keep it up for so long. It's no wonder the physical therapist said a lot of larys end up stooped and hunched over. I have NO flexibility in my neck. And I think I've mentioned what a PITA that is on a daily basis in the shower. I can't put my head directly under the spray because even with the trach shield, the contours of my neck are too lumpy to create a good seal with the shield. So, I have to lean WAAAAAY back to wash my hair since I can't tilt my head back. Like I said, I can barely keep it level, for crying out loud. And I can't wait for the damn port to come out. It's this huge lump on the right side of my dress and it's positioned so that when I dress in the morning, I keep accidentally scratching it. Can I tell you how unpleasant that is? And the water retention in my face is really out of control. Sometimes my eyes swell up so much I have a hard time seeing. That's not good. And for the past week now I've been aspirating like crazy. I'm up every two hours choking. I don't know if the fistula suddenly got larger or if I'm producing more saliva for some reason, or what but if it doesn't calm down soon, I'm going to have to contact Dr. Miller because it's getting really bad. And I hate that most of the time when I cough up whatever is choking me, it's bloody. I'm pretty sure that's just because my stoma is dry from it being winter and things being too heated wherever you go but still, it's not fun to see.

Okay, that enough grumbling. Back to updating.

So Michelle e-mailed me and tried to get me to come in today to insert a speech prosthesis in the fistula. I couldn't make the time slot she scheduled. I had already made the vet appointment for the new furballs. And normally I wouldn't hesitate to re-schedule but Dr. Lefler specifically bumped another patient to give me the 10:00 time slot so that I would still have time to make an appearance at the QED holiday lunch today. I would have felt like a scumbag canceling. On top of that, Dr. M had told me they've never used an existing fistula to place a speech button before. They usually like to control the puncture themselves. On top of that, I'm currently not opening my mouth far enough to put the speech button in the usual way. There's another technique where they can go through the stoma instead of the mouth but Dr. M said it involves a lot of cursing. So after telling me these two things, I'm not sure I want to be their guinea pig! And I'm especially hesitant now that I'm aspirating so much. If the fistula has opened up more, then it's likely that putting a button in it will cause it to open even further and a) I'll lose a $250 button that I have to pay for out of pocket and b) I'll have a huge hole between my lungs and my throat! Anyway, Michelle said she would try to re-schedule and I haven't heard from her since. I'm assuming we're now on hold until after the holidays. Dr. M also said that he would be making me the appointment to have the Botox done on my saliva glands before I go back to work but I haven't heard anything about that yet either. They're suddenly slacking over there. I hope it doesn't end up being scheduled for after I'm back to work already. I currently have 3 other doctor appointments scheduled during my first 2 weeks back. My boss guy is not going to be thrilled.

Of course, this is assuming QED wants me back. I've been in touch with HR to see what they need from me for me to come back and I'm getting a bad vibe. Like me coming back is not a sure thing. I talked to some coworkers about it. I'm told the temp they hired for my absence isn't working out very well so they don't think there's going to be a problem with me coming back. I guess the temp missed her very first day of work because she had to put her dog down. Then a couple of weeks later she got sick and missed work. Then her kid got sick and she missed work staying home with him and I think I was told the kid is like 14 or 15 years old so staying home really wasn't necessary. Now she recently got into a car accident and missed another week of work. It sounds like she's been out more than she's been there! Maybe my vibe translator is out of whack. I sure hope so.

Although other coworkers have been giving me nightmares about what I'm coming back to. It sounds like our Sales guy, Chuck (my biggest job dis-satisfier, I might add) is making a huge mess of things and nobody has been able to reel him in. I really don't want to think about any of it until I'm actually back at my desk. I keep having to tell my peeps to shut up. I'm in recovery mode from cancer, for crying out loud. Let me have my 3-4 weeks of peace and quiet where I just have to concentrate on feeling better!

Okay, now I'm just rambling and the QED lunch started 5 minutes ago. So, I gotta go. I hope everyone has an absolutely fantastic holiday filled with happiness and love! I know I will. :-)

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13

The new additions are doing fine. Ethan is eating everything in sight. Sterling is still favoring the warmed up baby food but is sounding better coughing/sneezing-wise. They both went to see my vet this afternoon to get checked out. She put them on antibiotics for a week to try to get things to clear up faster. Meanwhile, it's okay that I didn't get a picture of baby doll holding Ethan last week because it was NOT a once in a life time occurrence. Actually, it would seem that Ethan is HIS cat, not mine. I get home and I'm hustling around the house for an hour and a half before Ethan  makes an appearance to let me know he's alive. Baby doll walks in the door and within 5 minutes the mouth is there, trying to climb his pant leg, wanting to be held and tell him about his day. Sheesh. Even Sterling favors baby doll. I seem to be second choice in both their eyes. I'm like the mom who has to love them so they know I'll be there when they need their faces washed, or their bellies scratched but the real attention comes from dad. PHBTTTT. That's what I have to say to that.

Anyway, enough grumbling about my good deed for the year in taking in two homeless waifs.

So, the new stove was delivered on Saturday and as feared, it couldn't be installed. I was stove-less until Wednesday! I was dying! And let me tell you, there was some MAJOR disappoint from my cancer team when I showed up treat-less on Monday. Luckily I have my one week follow up this coming Monday so I'm going to make it up to them. Here's a picture of the beautiful Christmas gift that the love of my life bought me.

My last radiation appointment on Monday went without a hitch. The girls bought me a little parting gift. It was a bag full of cat toys and treats. LOL!

Tuesday my television was delivered and installed. The guy was there for two hours and couldn't get the TV to connect to the wifi. I was NOT happy. I had him note it on the invoice before I signed it. I then sent up the bat signal and Jamie was over to my house in a flash. It took him another two hours to figure out the problem. Turns out there was an obscure, incompatible setting on my router that had to be changed specifically for the Sharp brand. Strike one for Sharp. Then we went looking for the Amazon app because that's the app that I use the most often on my Smart TV's. Turns out that Sharp brand does now support the Amazon app. Strike two for Sharp. Jamie said no problem, you bought a Smart Blu-Ray from Samsung as part of your home theater system, we should be able to access Amazon from there. Well, it turns out that the home theater that I bought a) was not wireless (say what? I thought EVERYthing was wi-fi compatible these days) and b) it didn't support the Amazon app. Strike one for Samsung! So, I packed the home theater system back up and took it back yesterday. Traded it in for an LG system that costs twice as much but hopefully will do what I need it to do. That's baby doll and I's project for this Sunday is to get that all set up. Meanwhile I was getting a lot of flak for going 60". After having this thing installed, I don't regret it one bit. It looks gorgeous! I told baby doll that I think we should host a super bowl party to show off how awesome the TV looks in that room. Of course now I definitely need to upgrade my cable package. That's on my list of things to do this week. Here's a picture of my "congrats for completing chemo and radiation" gift:

Wednesday morning Scott's guys stopped over and installed my oven. Woo hoo! I was once again ready to rock and roll!

Kunkel came over for lunch that day, not that she would let me feed her but....

I hadn't seen her in a while so we had some catching up to do. The cats LOVED her.

Wednesday night Scott's daughter, Jessica, came over. She wanted to meet the new additions. I think Ethan was almost smuggled out of the house under her coat!!I fed her and her dad dinner (lasagna!) and then we spent the rest of the evening making gingerbread houses. Fun!

Thursday I went to the hospital to pick up a bunch of prescriptions. They gave me three prescriptions and then rung me out. I was like wait a second, where's my pain med? The chick said it wasn't in the system. Say what?? Nurse Claire said she had tubed it down the day before. Whatever. Now I have to go hunt her down and see what the hell happened. So I paid for the meds that I DID get and left. I was halfway down the hall when I realized my bag felt really light. I checked and sure enough, they had only given me two of the meds but charged me for three. WTF? I fucking HATE that pharmacy. So I went back and showed the girl that she hadn't given me my thiamine. She checked the computer and sure enough, she just assumed it was in the bag with the zinc, she didn't realize that it had to be refrigerated. So she walked over to the fridge and got it for me. At this point I simply started crying. I was having one of those weepy days. All I want to do is walk into that pharmacy, just one time, and have everything go smoothly. It never does. Anyway, I then went down to radiation and asked for Claire. 30 minutes later Nurse Carol (one of my faves) showed up, saw that I was crying, and was immediately all over me asking what was wrong. I told her about the missing pain meds, about the screw up with the thiamine, about how I had company coming at noon and it was already 11;00 at this point, and I was simply stressed to the max. She took me in back and got Dr. Mike. He was dismayed to see me crying too. It turns out my pain med script was in the system but insurance won't release it until Saturday. Couldn't the chick have just told me that?? THAT I would have understood! Anyway, Dr. Mike wrote me out a script for morphine to bridge me until I can get my other pain meds tomorrow. He also upped the dose on the oxycodone so that hopefully don't run out anymore before the insurance kicks in again. He then told me to keep my chin up. He said that I went through all the hard stuff with a smile on my face and now that it's over, I'm all sad. He said it's just not right. I told him I never do anything the normal way. He was telling me that Dr. S has been in this business for many, many years and that in all the time that Dr. Mike has worked with him, he has never heard Dr. S talk about a patient as much as he talks about me. He thinks my zest for life and my continuous sunny personality that shines through are amazing. That was nice to hear. I really like Dr S. too. He's a total sweetie and a huge improvement over my radiation doc from last year. Hell, in general, Strong has been a huge improvement over everything from last year (except their pharmacy!). I'm so glad I made the change. So, I made it home at 11:58. I thought for sure that I would run inside only to find a text on my cell phone, which I had accidentally left next to my bed, saying the guys had been there and I wasn't home so they left. Instead, I found a message from them from 2 minutes before saying they were just leaving QED. Phew! I started whipping around the kitchen like nobody's business! Normally the guys walk in and I immediately slide them food. They had to wait a little bit on this particular day but it worked out well because other than JT and Toby who are usuals, they brought along Paul who was not only a newbie to the Quinny Euchre lunch but it turns out he didn't really know how to play Euchre. So the guys taught him while I got lunch pulled together. Actually Paul even helped with lunch. He sliced my mozzarella and grated my parmesan. THEN learned how to play Euchre. THEN proceeded to beat me and Toby with one hand while eating chicken parmesan with the other hand. I'm not sure he's going to be invited back. LOL!

Today I had an appointment with Dr. M and then with Michelle. Things went well with Michelle. I did a little homework this past week and there's definitely some improvement in the movement of my tongue and lips. She told me to keep up the good work. I had a whole list of questions for Dr. M. I've copied them below with the answers in blue.

1.    When will the port be removed now that chemo is done?
 They usually leave it in for 6 months after treatments end. They especially want to wait until after the first PET scan which Dr. Miller wants to have done in 3 months.
2.    When will the plastic tube that Dr. V implanted in my throat be removed?
 Dr. M wants to wait until all has healed and the swelling has subsided. He said give it another month or two and then we can revisit this.
3.    When can I get the Botox? How long does it last? What exactly are the effects?
 Dr. M is setting up an appointment for the Botox treatment for me now. He's hoping I can get in fairly quickly because they're usually pretty slow this time of year. He said it's an in/out procedure and the treatment itself should last 3+ months. It's not supposed to totally stop saliva production, just slow it down. They do it fairly often to babies who have excessive drool problems.
4.    More and more I’ve been waking up with a lot of fluid under my eyes. It prevents me from putting in my contacts or wearing makeup. Is this normal? I know that last year there was a lot of fluid retention in my neck that I referred to as the “bullfrog effect”. Is this the same thing but further up my head because of the scar tissue on my neck?
 Yes, it's normal. With most of my lymph nodes removed, the fluid in my head/face/neck doesn't know where to go. He said it should get better over time. It might help if I were to elevate myself a little when I sleep.
5.    When do you think I’ll get a speech prosthesis put in?
 At first he said 3-4 months from now but then we started talking about the next question.
6.    Is there any way I can check if the fistula is still open without trying to drink water and see if I choke?
 No, there is no other way to check on the fistula other than drinking. Although he took a look in my stoma and manipulated my neck and said he can see air bubbles being released so it's still there. He said he can also see granulation around the hole which means it's healing. I told him that Dr. V said it's in the perfect place to put a speech prosthesis so I'm wondering why we don't just do that instead of waiting for it to heal. He said it was a novel idea. He said they've never done that before. Normally they like to puncture the hole themselves so they have some control over it. His big fear is that they put the prosthesis in and for some reason it makes the fistula grow even larger. He said it might be worth a try though. The other problem is that I'm currently not opening my mouth wide enough to place the prosthesis. I guess it goes in through the mouth. Although he said there's an alternative way to placing it but it involves a lot of curse words because it's such a pain to do. And he's not even sure Michelle knows how to do the alternative placement and she's the one that would be putting it in for me. He's going to talk to her and get back to me on this whole thing. I see him again on 1/10.
7.    When can I start looking at getting a replacement tooth for the hole in my mouth? Dr. V said something a couple of weeks ago about sanding down the exposed bone. Is this necessary to get a tooth implant? I wasn’t sure why he mentioned it and it’s been niggling at me.

Shaving the exposed bone doesn't really have anything to do with getting a tooth implant. They're hoping that now that radiation is done, the tissue surrounding the bone will grow over it and cover it to protect it. If it doesn't, then it's at risk for chronic infections. By shaving it down to either the tissue level or a little below the tissue level, gives the tissue a better chance of healing over the bone. He said we'll give it a few weeks to see if it does it on its own first. As far as getting a new tooth to replace the one they pulled, again, he said to give it a few months. Wait for everything to settle down, make sure the bone didn't get deteriorated from the radiation treatments, let things reach some kind of norm before going in and messing with stuff. 

Time. That was his answer to almost everything. Just give things time. Which is fine. Everything he said made sense. He was making me laugh when he was examining my neck where the tumor used to be. His comment was "So, I see your conjoined twin decided to leave you. That was nice of it.". Ha! He's a funny guy.

So, those are my updates for the week. I'm heading back to the couch to snuggle with my hot honey bunny and watch a movie. I think we're going to watch The Illusionist. Love that flick!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7

So now that chemo treatments are done, exactly how long will it take for my energy levels to even back out to something normal and steady? Thursday I went to bed at 4:15, thinking I was taking a nap. Other than waking up a couple of times to watch TV for 20-30 minutes, I was down for the count until 5:30 Friday morning and even then I woke up all tuckered out. I've had enough of these 12-13 hour stints of sleeping. They can go away now. They have my permission. :-)

I only ended up coming home with 2 cats on Monday night instead of 3. It turns out Diego tested positive for feline leukemia (FL) so I chose not to bring him home with me. I wasn't even sure what FL was but it didn't sound like something I wanted to mess with. Meanwhile, I had vet appointments this week for Jack, Freedom, and Itty. I went ahead and asked my vet what FL was and what it entailed. So, it's a highly contagious cat virus (only amongst cats) that can be spread through blood, spit, sex, etc. Some cats get it and live perfectly normal lives while having it. Other cats get it and it immediately compromises their immune system so they can die simply from catching a cold, are more susceptible to getting cancer of the lymph nodes and internal organs, etc. Supposedly, if your cat gets immunized against FL every year, they can't get it from a cat wtho already has it. That being said, the vet said that if I hadn't bonded with the cat yet, she too would have made the decision to not take him home as well. It just doesn't seem fair to put four healthy cats at risk.

Speaking of sick, Ethan, the 3 month old mouth, is sick. He has some upper chest congestion going on which causes him to walk around coughing and sneezing all the time. The vet at the city pound felt it was bad enough that she didn't want to put him under to neuter him but it wasn't bad enough to need any meds either; She felt that if he went home with me for a couple of weeks, got him out of the kennel setting, that he would clear back up in no time. I have to call them back in few weeks to let them know how things are shaking out and to reschedule the neuter appointment.

Sterling, the one year old, came home healthy as healthy could be. He was happily neutered and feeling just as curious and as loveable as he did when  I saw him at the pound the first time. I ended up putting both him and Ethan in a safe room together. I figured Sterling wasn't going to bother much with a little scrap of fur and Ethan had been caged up with his 3 siblings so he wasn't used to being alone. Well, for two full days Ethan tried sucking up to Sterling. Wanting to be buddies, wanting to nap together, huddle together, play together, whatever. Sterling wasn't having anything to do with it. He kept growling, turning his back on Ethan, walking away, etc. Finally, the three of us fell asleep on the chaise together the other day, at which point I guess Sterling thought Ethan was okay because every time after that, I would find them curled up together, napping in the same chair, or in the same sunbeam on the floor. It made me so happy that a grumpy, black, cat could dig down deep and find some maternal instincts to help out a sick little cat. And what thanks does the big softie get? Now Sterling is coughing, sneezing, and has a runny nose. <sigh> They both have an appointment to see MY vet next Friday to see if there's anything to speed along the healing. I've been syringe feeding warm meat flavored baby food to Ethan because other than seeing him drink some water, I hadn't seen him eat the first two days he was here. Then a couple of days ago, while I'm spoon feeding him, Itty came rambling over so I gave him a handful of treats. Ethan was on those babies like white on rice! Crunching away no problem. Here I am thinking he's having trouble eating when in reality, he was just loving the fact that he could get babied non-stop. Little bastard was milking it for all he was worth!

So that's where we're at with the new family members. Daisy hisses at everybody and refuses to be in the same room as any of us. Itty kept running away with his tail tucked between his legs at first. He's now starting to get used to the additions. He'll come into the same room with them, maybe even sniff at them a little, and then move along on his own. Here's some pictures:

And so far so good with Baby doll's allergies. He was even petting Ethan which was a first time ever scenario. He had to stop after a while though because his arms got Itchy. I wish I had thought to get a picture of him holding the kitten since it may be a piece of history that never repeats

Tuesday I saw Dr. K, my PCP. My thyroid numbers are still out of whack. It turns out I've been taking my med wrong. I'm supposed to take it on an empty stomach, one hour before food and two hours before eating Vitamin C or calcium. Doh! I've just been taking it right along with the rest of my meds at breakfast time. So I've had to adjust that method. We're going to stay on the same dosage but taking it correctly for the next month and see what happens. I felt so bad about letting Dr. K down like that, that I finally succumbed and let her give me a flu shot. I've been resisting those things for over a decade now but I wanted her to leave her appt. with me on SOME kind of high note. So all is well.

I had my usual sucky Tuesday with the nausea and general run downess. Here's hoping that that was the last bad Tuesday for now!

Wednesday I had another appointment with Michelle. I got in trouble for not doing any homework in between our appointments. I was even mad at myself because for the first time, my jaw had closed up enough that I couldn't fit a toothbrush between my teeth! UGH! I promised her I would work on my homework this time around. I even took a picture of her making sad puppy eyes at me to remind me that I need to do so. I'm also keeping a journal of exactly what I do and when so that she can see what happens when I'm not with her.

After the hospital I had an appointment with Jack and culled enough energy to get my house spiffed up for the week. Thursday I had a vet appointment with Freedom and as mentioned previously, I went to bed at 4:15 that afternoon. I probably pooped myself our from cleaning! Friday was my next to last radiation treatment. Phew! I've noticed the last couple of treatments have been shorter, which has been nice. Dr. Singh was telling me about how he's going print me out an entire plan of what his follow up expectations are. This made me very happy because this is one spot where I felt Coniglio and Attanis totally dropped the ball. I had no idea who I was supposed to see last summer or how often after the treatments stopped. It wasn't until I got the earache in May that I took it upon myself to get my butt back to the office and do something about it. So Dr. Singh has already set up appointments to see me one week after treatments end and then one month after treatments end. And at the one month appointment we will discuss when the next scan should take place to make sure the cancer hasn't come back. I'm already liking the plan.

After I was done with Dr. S for the day I popped up to see Dr. M because he had sent me a note. Turns out her found some freezer pops for me! How sweet was that! He's such a good guy. I have an appointment with him next Friday. Just as a checkup I believe but I also told him that I want to discuss getting those Botox shots in my saliva glands before I go back to work. I would really prefer not to go back into the workforce with a tan washcloth hanging out of my mouth. :-)

Yesterday the guys game over for a Euchre lunch. I hadn't seen them in over two weeks so it felt good to see the peeps again! I also loaded them down with Christmas prezzies. They're going to get such a kick out of them! This is the pic they took of themselves in the car upon leaving my house. Ha!

And that brings me up to today. Today, my new oven that baby doll bought me for Christmas gets delivered and installed. Woo hoo! Baby doll was asking what the very first food would be that I would cook in it. I hadn't given it any thought until he asked and then is seemed like a no brainer. I'm going to make lasagna, of course! It was the very first meal that I cooked for Scott when I lost the golf game bet on our first ever date. Lots of nostalgia for us in lasagna so I'm going to do it up big! The only worry is that I'm changing from an electric stove to a gas stove. There's a gas pipe behind the stove already but it's capped off with the shut off valve in the basement. For some reason I'm told this may cause a problem for the guys who come to install it. Luckily, Scott has a coworker who can easily come do the hookup for me. He's licensed and trained for that kind of stuff. The problem is his availability to do it. All the nurses, techs, and doctors are counting on their one last week of treats. There was nothing but talk about it all this week. So, I can NOT walk into the hospital empty handed on Monday. If something goes awry tomorrow, somebody, somewhere had better be prepared to lend me their kitchen for the day! I have peanut butter bars and nanaimo bars to make!!

Not much else to report. I've been extra phlegmy this week. At first I thought I was waking up choking because I had aspirated but it turns out I'm waking up and choking on all the extra phlegm happening in the stoma. I don't know if the two extra cats have tipped my allergy scales, or if I caught a cold, or what.Other than that, the situation is normal over here. Soon to be improved I hope!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2

I'm sitting in my chemo pod receiving my very last chemo treatment. Yay! How exciting is that?!? The end is in sight!!

So my Thanksgiving was wonderful! How was yours? Surrounded by good food and lots of love I hope! Baby doll and I had a very relaxed day. He sat around watching football and I bebopped around cooking and cleaning. Every once in a while I would pop into the living room, snuggle up on the couch next to him, and take a little nap. It was so decadent. Would that every day could be like that. Dinner was served around 5:30. I kept it simple. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and two types of stuffing. Baby doll was in heaven. I ended up going up to bed before him. His beloved Stellers were playing the late game. I had picked whoever they were playing against in the football pool for the week. I think baby doll was a little disgusted with me for not supporting his team. I'd like to see where it says in the girfriend contract that that's a necessity. On top of that, I'd like to point out, my team won. ;-P

It was off to radiation as usual on Friday morning. I was surprised  that the roads were totally barren. I expected major traffic for the Black Friday deals. Maybe I missed the rush or maybe everyone was out on Thursday night this year! Anywho, I had no plan to go shopping that day but when I got home I did my daily check on the SEars website to look at the fridge I had fallen madly in love with. It was on sale!! It was even cheaper than the original sale when I had first seen it 3-4 weeks ago! So I immediately buzzed over to Sears and bought it. Woo hoo!

Saturday I woke up with some energy. I was up cleaning house, doing laundry, etc. I was showered and raring to go at 9:00 am. I went upstairs to let baby doll know I was going shopping. I asked him if he wanted to come with or if he wanted to sleep in some more. Turns out he was up for some shopping as well so he took a quick shower and we were out of there. We had a time limit though because my new fridge was being delivered between 1:45 and 3:45. Yeah, talk about a fast turnaround on that purchase! So, we hit Kohl's where I had seen an ad for a hoodie that I thought his daughter would like. Then while he was still browsing over there (man, he can spend some major time browsing!), I walked over to Target and found a cute gift for his niece. We then had just enough time to stop at Sears to look at TV's. He and I became mesmerised by a 60" Smart LED flat screen made by Sharp. I was a little hesitant because all of the research I've done has been for Samsung and LG, I have no idea what the Sharp brand is all about. But in the end, it was a gorgeous TV so I bit the bullet and bought it along with a surround sound system and full installation done by Sears. It was a hefty price tag but I think it's going to be SO worth it. I scheduled to have it installed on December 10th, the day after my last radiation treatment. Talk about celebrating! (It's Sammy's birthday that day too so I'll be thinking of her as my huge ass TV arrives!) Baby doll is so excited. As soon as we got back home he started measuring the wall to see how big it was going to be and he's thinking about pitching in some money to have my cable upgraded from the basic 22 channel package that I have now. He said that I'm never going to be able to get him out of my house once that thing is installed. LOL!

My fridge arrived a little late but it's gorgeous. Well worth the money I paid for it. My old fridge was moved into the basement to handle any overflow food that happens. I might even move my beer down there and get rid of the dinosaur in the garage that currently houses my beer.

Saturday night I ran out of pain meds. This is never a good thing. I wasn't scheduled to get more until Monday morning but I hopped on line and saw that the hospital pharmacy was open from 9:00 - 1:00 on Sunday. Needless to say, I was in the waiting area at 8:50 Sunday morning. Thankfully, they let me pick up the meds a day early. I was a hurting unit. Things are getting rough here at the end of treatments.

Sunday afternoon my friend Toby popped over to see me. He had remembered that I had requested a new lucky cat the next time he was in Asia. He couldn't find one the last time he went and brought me back a beautiful jade Buddha instead. He found one this time around though. It's even better than the normal statue that I was expecting too. It's actaully a tea cup that you can flip over and it becomes a lucky cat statue. It's the cutest thing ever! I love it! He also brought back a good fortune charm from our Asian sales guy, Nobu. I'm supposed to keep it in my pocket and it will attract good fortune to me. How sweet are the guys I work with? I love them all so much!

Laster on yesterday afternoon baby doll came over with his daughter, Jessica. We went to a tree farm out and Webster and picked out a Christmas tree for my living room. We then brought it home and baby doll strung it with lights. Then baby doll and Jessica decorated it for me with some Christmas tunes playing in the background. It was very Norman Rockwell. Well, except for Itty taking the decorations off the bottom of the tree as fast as they were putting them up. Jessica got a huge kick out of Itty. He really has 10x more personality than a cat should be allowed to have. Which of course makes tonight all that much more interesting when I pick up the three new members of our household. I think things are going to be in an uproar for a few weeks! Anyway, I made baby doll and Jessica some dinner and they had some fun playing with my text to speech program, then baby doll took Jessica back home. It was a good first time visit.

So, that brings us to today. I realize that there wasn't a lot about my health in this blog. I don't have much to report. I've been managing the mouth pain. Nothing new has cropped up. The fistula has been bothering me a little. Sometimes at night some spit will go down the wrong way and I wake up choking but it's not that big of a deal. Next Monday is the end to all of this nastiness. I got permission from the cancer team to go back to work on January 13th. I sent a note to HR. I'm waiting to hear if my workplace actually wants me back. I sure hope so!!

So, the next time I talk to you I should be done with treatments and on the road to recovery...again. Talk to you then!