Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Living with the news

So it's been a week since I've been told that I will live my life having cancer. It's been a weird week, and quite an adjustment. I've had a hard time thinking that I wouldn't ever be considered healthy again. But then I thought about it, and decided it would be the same as with any other chronic illness. Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other chronic illness, it is usually for the rest of your life. So mine just happens to be cancer. But I have no symptoms, and it doesn't stop me from doing anything, so I guess it really isn't such a big deal. And I will be monitored every three months, so that will ensure that I continue to be healthy. If any changes occur, they will be found early and treatments will be offered. So enough about the cancer. From now on, my posts will be more about fun things in life, and with three girls and a dog, there is always plenty of fun to write about.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cancer update

How weird it that title? I didn't update last night because I was just too exhausted. The news from Georgetown is this: no chemo or radiation needed. I am actually is stage 3 with my follicular lymphoma, and since this is such a slow growing cancer, studies show that it is better to just
watch it and wait. My doctor, who happens to be the "lymphoma guy" said that he has one patient who has had a swollen lymph node with follicular lymphoma in her stomach area for 6 years and they haven't had to do anything but watch to be sure that it doesn't grow. So that's what we'll do for me. I'll get CT scans every 3 months and measure the active lymph nodes to be sure that they aren't growing. If they do start to show more activity, then we will proceed with treatment. But treatment will probably not be chemo or radiation. They have newer types of treatment for lymphoma which, I believe he said, one is antibiotics. Isn't this all strange?
Before I have always thought that if you have cancer that you have to get rid of it.  And if the doctor says that nothing should be done, than that would mean that you don't have a chance. Well, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. 
I asked my doctor after he told me all of this, "You mean that I can have stage 3 cancer and walk around and...," and he continued, "and live a normal life." I asked if I should change my diet any, and confessed that I drink two diet cokes a day. He said no and that I just need to live a normal life. What a lot to process! 
So, I will live my life with cancer. I have no symptoms, and it doesn't have to slow me down any. Isn't that weird? So instead of thinking about cancer as we always have, I guess now we can think about cancer differently. Any every year that I don't need treatment, more advances will be made in treatment options. How lucky I am to live one hour away from the "lymphoma guy!" I gave him a hug when I left, I was so relieved that for now don't need treatment. I guess that my students at school will have to put up with me as their teacher for the rest of the year! And our trip out west this summer is back on. Good news.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Tomorrow is my big appointment in Georgetown. I just read over the papers that I was sent weeks ago. My procrastination with papers continues! Reading all of the information with the word cancer all over and knowing that it was for me, made me really sad. It's still really hard to comprehend that I have this stuff in my body. It's weird and scary, and I wish it weren't so. But I'm thankful that I live close to great doctors who have wonderful technology. Jerry and I are planning on going early and having a lunch somewhere. No brown bag lunch for me tomorrow! Something to look forward to.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our dog, Duncan, has a temper tantrum

While we were gone skiing, we couldn't take our dog with us since we were spending the night at my in-laws house and they prefer that we don't let the dog stay inside.  In the summer, we can let the dog stay on the screened porch, but  in the winter it's too cold. 
So we left Duncan at a neighbor's house, where he always stays when we can't take him with us. Anyway, when we were getting ready to leave our house, Duncan was all excited. He thought that he was going for a big ride. We loaded the van, and drove the 3 miles to our neighbor's house with Duncan sticking his head out of the window most of the way. We unpacked Duncan, and he seemed just fine playing with our neighbor's dogs, so we left.
When I called later, my neighbor said that after we left, Duncan went to his crate and indicated that he wanted inside (which is somewhere he never goes at  home.) She opened the door and Duncan stayed inside his crate where he stayed for most of the day. At one point when she tried to coax Duncan out of his crate, he even growled. After about five hours, (maybe when he finally had to pee) Duncan decided to get out of his crate, and go outside with and play with the other dogs. And then he was fine for the rest of the time we were gone. All I can figure is that Duncan had a temper tantrum! He must have wanted a longer ride! At least he didn't punish us with any messes on the carpet when we got home!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Still have it.

I saw my oncologist today, and the cancer is still there. It did look smaller on the left side, but maybe a little larger on the right. So I go to the specialist in Georgetown next week. I may even have to have more testing before we can decide how to proceed. It's quite a bummer. I think I'll be glad when all of the testing is finished and we can come up with a plan. But, the next two days I don't have to teach school. I'm going to a training tomorrow and going skiing on Friday, so I'm looking forward to both of those days as something different. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pet Scan

Today I had a second pet scan. The first one was 2 months ago, and since I couldn't see the specialist for 2 months, my oncologist suggested a second scan to determine any changes. I'm still hopeful that this isn't true, so I'm hoping that this scan will show that I've been miraculously healed. I think it can happen, so why not for me! The scan itself went fine. The hardest part was that my eight-year-old couldn't sit on my lap this evening. We did turn off the lights to see if my teeth would glow in the dark, but they didn't! I get the results back tomorrow.