Saturday, December 20, 2014

Checking things off the list

It has been a big couple weeks on the medical front getting my surgery done for cancer #2 and bone marrow biopsy for cancer #1.

So my surgery last week "went well". I did not get to talk to the doctor afterwards so do not see him for a few more weeks. What made the biggest impression on me that day was the Anesthesiologist. We have gotten use to the revolving door of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in the hospital,and all the questions. This doctor was one of the most thorough on the questions.

I had to have general anesthesia for the procedures last week. I thought I'd had it a few times but turns out things like getting the port in were just sedation so my experience with general anesthesia dates back to age 5 when I had my tonsils out. The Anesthesiologist was relieved I had had it before but she left no question unasked.

I thought my medical history in the UC system was complete but let's just say a lot was added that day. She would start off with the most extreme conditions in each category and I would confidently say no, no, no... but before she got to the end of every category to my shock (and a bit horror) there was a yes and further explanation.

So it went something like this...
Have you ever had ....
...a heart attack? No
...heart disease? No
...irregular beats or heart murmur? Yes, but no medication

and so on and so on. Until Chad jokingly asked "is there a lemon law on wives?" to which the Anesthesiologist directly and matter-of-factly replied "you should see all the boxes I have not checked."  Thank you, Madame Anesthesiologist.

The pain meds while I was on the IV were great. Let's just say the Schedule II narcotics they sent me home with were less than I needed for the first 24 hours but luckily by the weekend was feeling better, and now feel totally fine.

I met with my doctor this week to talk the results of my bone marrow biopsy. The good news is they could not pick up any cancer which is great news. Last time around it was <5% but just over a year later was up to >80%. The type of leukemia I have is not curable so it will still likely come back at some point but great news they for now can't see it at all in my marrow.

Of course there is never just good news, so the other news from the biopsy is that only 10% of my marrow is "working". (This isn't quite as bad as it sounds - only 60% of most people's is!)  My doctor drew a picture that basically made it look like the rest was empty - chemo wiped it all out. He was surprised my counts were so good with so little functioning marrow but thought it should rebuild over time. Plan is for me to go back in 3 months for labs and then 6 for labs and then another bone marrow biopsy. I will miss my friends at UC Health but will love having this long break!

Glad to have the big procedures and news behind me. Hoping 2015 is a healthy year with little news!! Hope everyone has great holidays.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Doubling Down

For some things you might say if 1 is good 2 is better. My children would put apps for the iPad, dessert, books, American Girl dolls and electronics all in this camp. With Cancer though, more is definitely not better.

With a suppressed immune system and multiple rounds of chemo and radiation I am at high risk for some time of secondary infection, or cancer. I’ve gone to lots of specialists over the last couple of years to rule out things that have ended up being benign (to “not sure why your oncologist sent you to see me”  benign). I have gotten pretty good about not worrying until there is something to worry about.

Over the last month unfortunately I have something that started out as potentially not a big deal turn into something that is a bit of a bigger deal. Long story short I had a biopsy for cervical cancer a couple weeks ago (after many less invasive tests that all showed we needed to keep testing…). The good news is the abnormal cells are very early stages of cancer. So the plan is they take them out and then they monitor me closely. Hopefully one day of surgery and am sure a few days of not feeling great then back on the path of “normal” life.

I had my 6 month post chemo bone marrow biopsy this past Thursday so that I could clear my schedule for my “new” cancer day of surgery this Wed.  My labs looked okay on Thursday. I am sore but have had worse bone marrow biopsies. So some new news but hopefully it is as easy as they think to handle and will have this behind me.


Otherwise life is good. I had a very fun girls weekend with a bunch of friends from college a few weeks ago. We went to my parents for Thanksgiving and got to see several close friends from high school and college. …. And just because we like to stay busy we are also in the middle of bathroom reno’s. We’ve had a huge soaker tub sitting in our bedroom for several weeks now. Hope to have it in the bathroom and ready for use by the end of this week!!