Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Physical Therapy and Work Travel

Today was my first appointment for physical therapy.  I was assigned an occupational therapist named Melanie.  She spent an hour with me doing measurements, taking a history, and just discussing my case with me.  I really like her a lot, which is a good thing, since I'll be seeing her twice a week through February.

She confirmed that the issue in my shoulder is muscular and not scar tissue build-up.  That is very good news and easier to fix.  The inner workings of my shoulder all seem to be just fine and fully functioning.  The pectoral muscle, where it attaches to my shoulder, is just super tight and needs to slowly be stretched until my range of motion comes back.

She said that the "no pain/no gain" method would NOT apply in my case.  (Phew!)  She said that slow and easy is the ticket and my at-home exercises attest to that.  She wants me to find a way to sleep that helps me avoid rolling over onto that side, since that's probably where a lot of my pain is coming from. I often wake up on that side, with my shoulder practically screaming.  She gave me some creative pillow-propping ideas that I'll implement tonight.

Meanwhile, back in my real life, I have been asked to go to Atlanta for the weekend to visit some potential customers.  I had to get that cleared with my physical therapist (there is a risk of lymphedema when you've had nodes removed, and flying can increase that risk in some people,) who wanted it cleared with my oncologist, who said it was OK but to check with my surgeon, who said it was OK.  heh heh  That was a lot of phone calls!  I'm glad to know that they don't feel I'm going to cause any issues by going, though.

So I'll fly out midday on Saturday and come home on Sunday evening.  A quick turn-around trip for sure. I'll make sure to do my exercises in the hotel room to keep my recovery moving in the right direction.  Everyone involved agrees with my plastic surgeon that we need this fixed before my surgery.  I'm all for anything that helps my recovery when that time comes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Livin' Life

I spend most of my time working and living day-to-day life.  Just like everyone else does.  I think about cancer and my mortality 5 or 6 times a day, instead of nonstop.  It's getting better.  I made a commitment to live life to it's fullest and stop putting things off.  So far, I feel like I'm doing that as much as possible.  I have to work for a living, so it's not a 24/7 party, but I'm making an effort to enjoy things daily.

Tonight I watched my "little" girl walk across the gym as the freshman candidate for courtwarming queen.

I put "little" in quotes because she is at LEAST an inch taller than me, and only 15 years old.  *sigh*

The courtwarming festivities are between the girl's and boy's games, and the girl's game started at 5:30.  I get off work at 5 and work an hour from here, so I knew I wouldn't see the whole first game, but I figured we'd go as soon as I got home.  Natalie took her clothes, makeup, brush, and other accessories to school, and Monica agreed to help her get ready.

I got home around 6 and Kevin and I headed the four blocks to the school.  We had to park out back, because the cars were spilling out of the lot into the street.  We paid admission and walked toward the gym. Uh oh.  The doorways were filled with people who couldn't find a seat.  Crap.  I was afraid I'd miss seeing Natalie walk.

We finally agreed that we'd sit on the visitor's side, if necessary, even though the candidates would be facing the other way.  And that's what we wound up doing.  Visitor's side or not, we were surrounded by Tiger's fans.  The place was packed.

I got to see Monica playing in jazz band during halftime, and then watched the second half of the girl's game. It was a major blowout.  We kicked their butts.   I almost felt sorry for the opposing team.  Almost.  The jazz band sounded awesome, and I reminded myself that I know most of those kids up there.  I love living in a small town.

Finally, they announced the candidates, two by two.  It was so cool to see Natalie walk with the others.  A senior won queen and a senior won king.  Nobody was hugely surprised or disappointed.  Natalie stepped out of her comfort zone and it went great.

I love my kids.  All four of them.  I'm so happy to be where I am in life.  Life is good.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lost: 1 Debit Card. In the Vicinity of my Recliner

Friday evening, Monica went to Subway to buy dinner.  I sent my debit card with her for payment.  She stopped at the McDonald's drive-thru to get Kami a happy meal.  While she was there, she dropped my debit card between the seat and the console.  She told me that factoid when she called to tell me she was headed home.

When she came in, she had a happy meal, three subway sandwiches, change (from the cash she used at McDonald's,) her keys, and her purse.  "I found your debit card!" she said.  At that point, she swears she handed it to me, and I kinda remember her doing so.  Kinda.
Saturday, the girls spent all day in Concordia with the I-70 Conference Band.  They always end that day with a concert, so Kevin, Kami and I headed there to watch.  It was short and sweet and enjoyable.  We then stopped at Biffle's BBQ for dinner.  So did other folks from here, so there were folks there that we knew.  When it came time to pay, I opened my wallet and sucked air in that "Oh my gosh, this is horrifying" sort of way.  No debit card.

It wasn't long before I realized that it MUST be at home, near the recliner, because that's where I was when Monica handed it to me.  Kevin paid for dinner and we came home.  I looked around the recliner.  I looked under the recliner.  I felt inside the recliner.  Nothing.  I went to bed knowing that it was somewhere in this house, so nobody could get their hands on it.

This morning, we moved furniture away from the walls and searched again.  We searched harder than I had the night before, but had no luck.  I just decided that I'd have to cancel it on Monday and wait for another one.  That also meant that Kevin was stuck going to the store with us, because someone had to pay and I had no debit card.

Monica was with a friend instead of us, and when the rest of us made our final stop of the day (Wal-Mart,) she sent me a text.  It read, "Your debit card is in my purse."  I replied:
"Yay!"  and then:
"You're DEAD!"

How we both remembered something that didn't happen is beyond me, but I still swear that she handed it to me on Friday night.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

An Open Letter of Hatred

Dear Cancer,

I hate you.  I sometimes throw the word "hate" around like most people do.  "I hate generic cola."  Hate is actually a strong emotion that I try not to feel very often.  You, however, seem to be able to bring it out in me.

You've robbed me of a year of my life, and I'm not done yet.  You stole my breast, my energy, my hair, and my sense of well-being.  You even stole my dignity several times.  You cost me more money than I could possibly have come up with on my own.  You kept me from family events and kid's concerts and ball games.

Every time your name comes up, it brings devastation to the faces of anyone in ear-shot.  Nothing good ever comes from a conversation that starts out "Guess who has cancer."  Nothing.   This year, you even found a way to torment a few people for a second time.  Way to go!  You must be so proud.

I found out this morning that you took Bob.  Bob was my friend, you shitball disease.  While Bob isn't currently in pain, everyone who knew him is hurting more than we thought possible.  We'll go on.  We'll say that we defeated you by moving on and living life, but you continue to leave scars...inside and out.

I hate you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's a Date!

I have a date for surgery!  May 23.  I have a surgery date on May 23.  I am ready for it to happen, and I'm glad to have a date.  I'm freaking out a bit, but not for any particular reason.  There have been many studies about PTSD after cancer.  I don't claim that label, but I sure know where they are coming from.  90% of the time, I am fine.  10% of the time, I'm a basket case.

Anyway, I have surgery in Shawnee Mission, Kansas on May 23, and will be back to work the following week.  Let's go.  I'm tired of waiting.  I keep chanting "May 23" because I'm happy to have a date.  Between now and then, I have many appointments.  There is one day in March that I have so many appointments that I had to take a vacation day!

Until May 23, I will just keep on keepin' on.  Wake up, walk the treadmill, shower, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed...rinse, repeat.  Just a few more months.

May 23.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekly Update

I suppose that is a fitting title, since it's been a week since I last posted.  It seems weird to say, but life is pretty much going on as normal.  I never thought I'd be so happy for a normal, boring, routine life.  I made it through a five-day week after 2 three-day weeks.  It seemed long, but we made it.

I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon on Wednesday morning.  It's the 2-month post radiation visit. He'll evaluate how hard it was on me.  I have some questions for him, too.  I think I'm going to have to see a physical therapist for my left arm, but I want his opinion before deciding.  I'm also hoping that he'll schedule surgery.  It'll be 4 months down the road, but I want a date to look forward to.

We're having our roof replaced, and they got partly done before a cold front and snow came through.  There is a tarp on my roof.  Anyone who has ever seen my crazy neighbor's house knows how I feel about that.  They're to be back to work tomorrow, though.  It should be done this week.  Here's hoping.

I caught some cold bug that was sticking around too long, and my oncologist thought I should see our family doctor.  I did, and he prescribed a Z pack for me to prevent it from turning into anything ugly.  I have been told that I'll have to be super careful about illness from now on.  I was NOT raised to go to a doctor for a cold, so I felt silly being there, but our family doctor agreed that I should be there.  I'm almost over whatever it was, finally.  Just a bit of a tickle left in my throat.

It's 8:00, and my body has decided that I should turn in.  I'm trying to listen to my body when it comes to how much sleep I need.  I push it a bit later on most Tuesdays to watch Parenthood, but sometimes I can't make it.  Thank goodness for DVR.  I hope my sleep patterns get back to a pre-chemo state, but it doesn't seem like it's moving that direction.  I know other ladies (who went through this journey at the same time as me) who cannot sleep more than a few hours at a time, though.  I am smart enough to be thankful for the sleep I get, no matter when I get it.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekends, Appointments, and Eating Healthy

I feel like we've really made the most of this weekend.  I always like it when, as a weekend comes to a close, I can think of so many things that we accomplished.  Monica got her hair colored, we got groceries and Wal-Mart necessities, the house is clean, we visited my folks, and we got an estimate on fixing our roof.  PHEW!

I went to the radiologist on Friday.  Although I waited 17 minutes to spend 2 minutes and 20 seconds with him, it was a successful appointment.  I wanted to be all done with him, but he wants to see me one more time in six months.  Why?  I have no idea.  For the insurance money, probably.  He did seem quite pleasantly surprised by how good my skin looks.  You seriously can't even tell I ever had radiation.

Kevin and I jumped on the diet bandwagon.  We've done it before and we know what it takes.  Many people see an overweight person and assume that we just don't know how to eat healthy.   That's not true in the least.  We know how, we just don't do it.

Kevin is doing a low carb diet, but I can't do that.  That is too much meat for me.  I'm just cutting calories, exercising, and tracking everything on My Fitness Pal.  Although I've dieted successfully before, I feel a lot more resolve this time.  My chance of a recurrence of cancer drops significantly the healthier I am.  I don't ever want a repeat of this year.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Good Times and Doctors

We had an absolutely amazing time with the kids and grandkids over the weekend.  It was everything we had hoped for.  The little cousins all played so well together, enjoyed the pool at the hotel, and LOVED the gifts we got them.  I was worried about it, because they were $100 each (three little girls,) but all of them are having a blast with them.  It's called a LeapPad II and it was well worth the money.

After having nearly a month with no doctor appointments (the longest stretch since surgery in April,) I have a follow-up with my radiologist on Friday.  I'm not looking forward to it, but it will be a quick appointment and should probably be my last with him.  I think.  I hope.  heh heh  We'll see.

Two weeks from today, I go see my plastic surgeon.  THAT is an appointment that I am looking forward to.  I absolutely love that doctor (and his nurse,) and it will be the appointment where they tell me when my exchange surgery will be.  I'm thinking late May.  I'm ready!

That's all I've got today.  I'm feeling good and I'm content.  Today, I am happy.