10-month checkup and survived a cold!

I went in for my 10-month check up last Friday, February 7th. Blood levels are still normal. πŸ˜€

In the last month, I went on a 2nd round of antibiotics because my toe that had staph didn’t heal up all the way after the first round, and my ring fingers got infected. My chemo pill has a side effect that causes my nail beds to be very sensitive, fingers and toes. They get inflamed easily, and if the skin breaks, it takes a long time to heal and in general, my fingertips hurt. I am supposed to soak my fingers and toes in warm salty, salty, salt water three times a day for 15 minutes. I was really good about this for about a week when I went on antibiotics the 2nd time. Peeps, I sleep most nights these days, and getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal is not easy for me to do anymore. I used to be at the gym for HIIT class Monday through Thursday at 5:30 a.m. for a year with my teeth brushed and everything! How did I do that??? Actually, I’d do it again if I could. I LOVED HIIT!

Anyway, my fingers and toe got better. Also, starting and ending my day with a warm soak is pretty relaxing. I didn’t mind, and I listened to podcasts or meditations while I soaked.

My inflammation marker has creeped up by .10, and it was up .20 last month. My doctor asked about my work. I oversee operations for our region of the company. He said that sounded pretty stressful. I said it can be. I didn’t add that I had fired someone two days prior and everything felt better after that. I enjoy my job. I focus on developing the leaders of the operations team. It’s all about the people, and I love them like family. Also, we have a lot of fun. My doc said not to worry about .10 on the inflammation marker. I got the impression that I should keep stress in check. Good advice in general. Scans are next month, so we’ll know if the inflammation marker change means anything then.

Last month, I caught my first cold since diagnosis. The cough part was terrifying. It reminded me and my husband of a year ago when I coughed and didn’t get better until after heart surgery, and that took months to heal from. Husband said that my cough last year sounded like death (haha, yep pretty much where I was heading due to undiagnosed cancer and lots of fluid building up around my heart and lungs). This year, it just sounded like a cough. I got better and didn’t even get a sinus infection, though I started on antibiotics at the tail end of the cold, soooo I think I had that going for me as prevention.

PT is going well. I’ve been able to take the stairs this week without my hip and back grinding with pain on every step up. I even went up the stairs at home without using the hand rail or feeling like a Weeble-Wobble. Usually I rely on elevators because going up stairs is the worst. I’ve been doing my assigned exercises at home every other day. They help. I feel stronger. My back still hurts, but I can feel it getting stronger too. I was able to stand for an hour at work yesterday and be ok. Little sore this morning, I’ll admit, but not crushing pain. I’m healing. Slowly. πŸ˜€

Be well, friends. Thanks for reading. Sending you all some love!

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Game Changer

Vegan.

The very word brings up negative connotations. Vegans preaching their dietary gospel on social media. I associate vegans with health-food-grocery-shopping, patchouli-wearing, dreadlock-bearing, patchwork-clad, Prius-driving hippies. They’re not, at least, not all of them.

An old roommate my mom and I lived with was an Extreme Vegan. I remember her disdain for all meats, plus she was just weird, extreme everything. The family that Little Guy and I lived with when Ex and I split in 2008 were vegetarians, now vegans.Β Little Guy’s dad was a vegetarian, and I swore I’d never become one. I have tried a vegetarian diet so many times, and it never worked for me.

I may be metaphorically eating my words.

Husband and I watched “The Game Changers” on Netflix last weekend. It centers around a UFC fighter, James Wilks, who injures both of his knees and expects a 6-month recovery. He investigates how diet affects healing and inflammation in the body. He meets with doctors who dispel many common beliefs about athleticism and manliness and how the media affects our notions of what’s healthy. One of the doctors feeds some college football players meat burritos one day and vegan burritos the next day. He draws blood after each meal and shows them the difference, side-by-side of how each meal affects it. The meat meals turned their blood cloudy. Vegan meals made the blood clear. Risk of heart disease and diabetes goes down. The doctors dispel the notions that soy raises estrogen, that milk increases bone density or testosterone, that a meat and dairy-eating diet is healthy, and that sugar causes diabetes. They show evidence that all these common beliefs are untrue. Cancer risk decreases on a vegan diet too.

James meets other professional athletes who have changed to a vegan diet, such as the Tennessee Titans’ defensive line. You know, the massive, 200-pound-plus guys? Look who’s in the NFL playoffs this year. They are!

An entire NYC fire fighters’ unit (manly men!) are provided groceries to try the vegan lifestyle for a week. Their blood gets drawn before and after. They all had reduced cholesterol, the bad kind that clogs the arteries and causes heart problems.

The UFC fighter meets an Olympic, power-lifting champ who’s vegan. He wears a shirt that reads “I’m a vegan badass!” The man is ridiculously strong and big. A couple of other UFC fighters get interviewed. A female, Olympic bike-sprinter champion. An Olympic, female, running sprinter champ. A trainer. A competitive body-builder. They all say the same thing. Their endurance is better than ever. They are stronger than ever.

I have always thought of vegans as wimpy, bony waifs. I have had the typical arguments of ‘How can anyone be strong without meat? How can anyone get enough calcium or iron, especially as a woman, without eating meat?’ Not anymore!

It’s possible. And I’m going to start transitioning to it. Have started.

Also, with my GI issues, I have uttered the words ‘I’m never eating green stuff again.’ I stopped eating meat 6 days ago and have eaten more vegetables this week than I normally do in a month. No bathroom emergencies. Surprising!

Reducing my inflammation through diet appeals to me. Sometimes, my everything hurts from recovering from surgeries and having cancer in my bones. I went back to work 3 days ago after a 2-and-a-half week vacation. The first day, I hurt. Sitting at a desk and standing takes strength and endurance. The second day, I hurt the worst and took painkillers all day for my back. Yesterday, it wasn’t so bad.

I’m interested to see how I feel after a month of a vegan diet. Husband is taking a more moderate approach and will eat meat every now and then and have whole milk in his lattes. I finally bought some non-dairy milk yesterday and had it in my latte this morning. It’s a little different but still tastes fine. I’m really in it for the coffee flavor and caffeine anyway. πŸ™‚

I understand why vegans preach their gospel now too. I want to protect everyone I know from health issues. My son, my dad, my husband, my mom. Oh, in the movie, there was a good part about dementia being caused because of blood flow restriction in the brain’s blood vessels due to a meat and dairy-based diet. Mind. Blown. I don’t want them to put anything in their bodies or cook meals that would potentially cause them cancer.

I don’t want to be preachy though. No posting on social media about it. No spouting to co-workers. I plan to quietly make changes and see how I feel. Husband knows. Traveling and going out to dinner may be challenging. I ate a delicious beet burger for lunch yesterday though. Yum! A vegan diet will also be challenging because I don’t digest nuts, so a big protein source is out of the running for me. I still have plenty of other options. I’ll keep posting.

If you have Netflix and are open to just watching some interesting information, check out “The Game Changers.” That’s all. Post your reaction. I’m open to listening.

Much love to you! Mwah!

 

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9-month Check-up and PT

I had my 9-month check-up on Friday, January 10th. I started out my day with physical therapy at 9:40. My therapist worked through my muscles to stretch my neck, lower back, and my hip. Then we did some dry needling where he inserts needles along my spine to stimulate a healing response. I had about 6 on both sides of my neck and 3 on each side of my lower back. The lower back ones get hooked up to electric stimulation that makes the muscles jump. Since I push myself too hard sometimes, I asked for the stim machine to be on a little higher, and uhh, well, I managed the rest of the day with the help of regularly-dosed, halves of painkillers. I am still learning to gage the needling, since I’d only done it once before, and felt the best ever after that! I thought this would go the same way. Meh. Whatever. Next week will be better. πŸ™‚

I had time to run home for early lunch before making my way to the hospital for the day’s appointments. I drank a lot of water that morning in preparation for my blood draw, which always comes first. It worked, and the medical assistant got me with one quick poke. Yayyyy!

I saw my oncologist an hour later. Blood levels are even more normal than last month! I would run in a circle and jump up and down to celebrate if I were allowed to! We got to review my CT scan results more in-depth. I asked about the cyst on my ovary, and he said that they’re normal and it means something was happening. I am excited that one of them still works! It’s the left one that didn’t get radiated last May.

He checked on my foot pain, and I thought he meant my toe pain. I let him know the foot pain is suspected to be related to my back and that I had to buy different work shoes. My toe I went to the doctor for about two weeks ago and its discharge tested positive for staph. Ewwwww. I went on 10 days of mega antibiotics, and it’s better now, much less painful! The oncologist also asked about my skin rash. I had asked the other doctor about it when I went in for my toe, and since the steroid cream I was using caused a burning reaction in addition to the burning that was always present, she guessed that it’s eczema. I did some research and switched my lotion to one that is based on sunflower oil and jojoba oil. It’s a baby line from France called Mustela, and that has calmed things down a lot! So far, I have not been made fun of for using baby products. Go ahead. I’m ready for it. I also picked up a foaming baby shampoo from the same brand, and no more itchy scalp! πŸ˜€

Mustela.jpg

Since I get my care from a teaching hospital, I have opportunities to participate in studies. One of them requires me to take an online survey every 12 weeks and the other was every other month or so for 8 months. Both surveys ask questions that are very similar and measure your mental health in regard to having a cancer diagnosis. One of them is something along the lines of “Is your cancer curable?” I had responded with “No.” Husband had seen the screen with that question up when he joined me at the table that morning. It prompted a discussion about whether or not lung cancer is curable. We were both unsure, but I was almost positive that mine is not. My oncology nurse had once described it as a long-term, health condition.

I told my oncologist about this exchange Husband and I had had that morning, and straight-up asked him if my cancer is curable. He said that because I presented so late, (Stage IV when they accepted me into their cancer care program last year) no, my cancer is not curable. Exactly the answer I had expected. He said I will always be on some kind of treatment, whether it’s my daily chemo treatment pill that I take right now or regular chemo for a while, then we switch back to the pill. It will always be some kind of treatment, for however long that may be. My oncologist then changed the subject and asked me about the book I had brought with me. I’m reading Anthony Kiedis’ autobiographyΒ Scar Tissue. We talked 90’s alternative music for a few minutes before he left to see his next patient. That must be a hard part of being an oncology doctor, giving people answers about prognosis.

My bone shot came next. The nurse was ready for me. I barely had time to snuggle with the warm blanket they brought me and crack open my book before she came in a injected me. It timed out great because I was due to see my Palliative Care nurse next.

Palliative Care turned into a party! My nurse had a fellowship student with her that day, and the palliative care research coordinator had texted me to see if we could meet up. I told her to come crash the appointment! So she did. We had so much fun and laughed and joked about all kinds of stuff. I shared pictures of the family from our vacation last week. They like seeing me there. I am their sunshine, as they are mine! The nurse told me they had a rough day and knew it would get better because I was coming in that day. πŸ™‚ Those palliative care peeps are awesome. She followed up on a few dangling items, like how’s it going on the Cymbalta? So good! Did you and your husband talk about guardianship for your son and putting it in our wills? Yes, and it happened organically! Have you gone back to the support group at the other hospital for caregivers and patients? No, we have it really good right now, and don’t feel like we need it. I feel very supported!

Then I was all done for the day and ready to make my hour commute back home. Woof!

The conversation with my oncologist didn’t hit me until Saturday morning. I had slept a long time that night and woke up around 7:15. Like I said, he didn’t tell me anything that surprised me. Hearing it directly that my cancer isn’t curable deepened my appreciation for every morning that I get to wake up and snuggle with Husband, any time I get to spend with anyone I love. I couldn’t keep back the tears that morning. Also, painkillers all day Friday = tears come more easily. We talked for a while before getting up about how much and how hard we have laughed together over the years, even when we were just friends. He commented that he loves our Saturday mornings. I agreed and said that I want them all. (blubber, sniff, blubber) He told me that I was going to get them!:D Some movers were coming to take Mom’s piano to her house, so we had to get up and face the music.

Thanks for reading. Just so you know, I love you all too! Next check up is Feb 7th. Scans are in March.

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8-month Check Up, Scans, & PT

I had my 8-month check up on December 13th with scans, brain MRI and CT scan of my chest and abdomen. Blood levels are normal for the 3rd month in a row! Woohoo!

Anyway, scan check-in was at 6:30 in the morning. The weather was great this month, so I made it to the hospital without having to worry about the roads or traffic that early. I got the best IV that day. Man, it was a good one! My big vein in my left arm has recovered enough since my hospital stay to tolerate getting tapped into again without my nerve freaking out. Blood draw was amazingly easy. It helped that I had made sure to drink enough water the day before. Scans were easy. I know what to expect. Also, not having to do a back MRI ever again makes it easier to tolerate lying still for my brain scan. I just breathe and pretend I’m getting a very noisy spa treatment, especially when the table shakes too.

Since scans were before the sun came up, I finished with plenty of time to get breakfast. πŸ˜€ You know I love the hospital’s pancakes. They had a French Toast special that day that came with eggs and meat. Hello, bacon! I heard you call my name. ❀ It was a big meal. I ate it all and had a latte on the side.

I had about 4 hours before my oncology appointment, so I found a cozy spot with a big bench and spread out with my planner and laptop and got some work done. A choir of young men set up in different parts of the hospital to serenade us with Christmas songs. Gorgeous to the ears!

Had my labs drawn at 1 and I went to get some lunch: tortellini salad with salami. I got something else that was kind of healthy too. Still had my cardiology oncologist’s words in my head about eating more greens. My digestive tract still disagrees with her advice when I take it. I will stick to apples and potatoes and anything that doesn’t give me the runs, thank you very much.

My oncologist said in my appointment that he had looked at my MRI and didn’t see much difference from the last one in September. My cancer antigen marker went down even more from 1.9 to 1.6. Ba-bam! CT scan showed that tumors are still decreasing slightly. I mean slight, like 3/10ths of a centimeter. It’s still improvement, so yay! Cancer is still in my bones with no change. Woof. That one’s tough. Stable though, so I will still celebrate that.

We talked about the pain clinic visit and physical therapy. I expressed my hesitation to get a spinal nerve block and that physical therapy seemed to be helping, even though it’s slow and mostly some very intense massage. I think I had been to 3 sessions then.

I have a trip planned soon and wanted to know if I needed to take any special precaution. Not really, he said. Basic stuff like keep my hands clean and don’t touch my face. Done and done!

I have also been suffering from a rash on my leg, so I asked about that. He prescribed me an anti-fungal plus steroid cream to treat it. It’s still a mystery rash that isn’t getting better. Bleh. My toe is also infected as a side effect from my chemo pill. Nail beds are super sensitive and when my shoe rubs on it, I get a blister that bursts. It’s happened before and cleared up on its own, usually in a couple of weeks. This time, it’s taking forever. It’s been since before Thanksgiving! I do hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin with a bandage twice a day. I have some time off now, so I’m hoping that it will really improve because I plan to wear flip-flops for the next two weeks. Yep, even in the snow.

Physical therapy is going well. I go twice a week for who knows how long. Sometimes I get to do exercises. Mostly I get intense massages in my neck and upper back. OMG, it hurts so good. He’s also working my leg to help it recover too. My glute is sore the next day every time. I have to stretch every day. We got a stationary, spinning-type bike at home, and I ride it a couple times a week for as long as I can tolerate it. It tires out my everything that hurts, back especially, so I can ride for about 14 minutes right now at an easy resistance. It targets the right glute that is so weak from surgery, has no impact, and stable handlebars to grip, so I don’t fear falling off. Don’t want to break any more bones!

After my scans, I learned why the techs tell you to drink lots of water to flush out the contrast. I didn’t drink nearly enough water that Friday, and I felt like crap that night and the next day. I had chest pains, my back ached, my head hurt, and I started my Saturday lying down on the couch downstairs and watching Netflix. I know you’re saying, “Jennifer, that’s how I start every Saturday.” Yeah, ok for you, but I don’t do that (not judging) and that’s how I know when I don’t feel good. I took painkillers all day, which make me cry at everything, and carried on. I had stuff to do and friends coming over that night, sheets to wash since Husband had recovered from strep throat, and Christmas shopping to finish. Not much stops me. It’s not often an option in my head.

The next day, as we cuddled on the couch with coffee, my sweet, sweet husband told me that he would have taken care of everything. I cried. (Thanks, painkillers.) I told him I would take him up on that next time I felt yucky. Being a full-time, single mom for so long, I just keep going. I was literally dying last March with my pericardial effusion (fluid around my heart) and still going to Costco and mopping floors and going for really slow walks. Ok, so I’ll keep this in check, especially since I have a partner now who kicks butt and supports me/us. Okay, well, tearing up now with gratitude for him, for marrying my bestie. He seriously is awesome!

Everything’s going well. I still feel really good and am amazed and thankful for modern medicine! Next appointment is on January 10th.

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Pain Clinic and Cardiology Check Up – Good News!

On November 22nd, I had an appointment with the Spine Pain Clinic at the hospital and my 4-month cardiology check up with my oncology cardiologist.

The spine doctor I saw talked about my back pain flares:
-how it feels (achy and burning),
-where I feel pain (T6 vertebrae where I had cement put in with burning that extends into my ribs, like wings),
-what works to ease it (ibuprofen which upsets my stomach, including the new 24-hour one, oxycodone in small doses, daily Cymbalta, lying down, listening to a meditation),
-what makes it worse (sitting or standing for long periods, activity),
-what doesn’t work (Tylenol, sometimes oxycodone).

I told him that I feel like a lot of my pain results from a lack of strength. Activities that require me to support myself and my back make it hurt the most. I’ve gotten stronger since surgery and feel more stable, and I have more progress to make in order to gain strength to keep up with daily activities, like cooking dinner and sitting at work. I’ve also learned to let my chair at work support me fully by sitting all the way back in it. If I spend too much time leaning forward, it’s a recipe for tired muscles and pain, then a smidge of painkiller to get through the rest of the day.

He recommended a spinal nerve block in my back and physical therapy. I have reservations about the spinal nerve block. Most days, I feel like I don’t need it. Other days, like Thanksgiving morning, I wake up and wish I had it right then! We had gone tubing the day before, which was really fun and didn’t bother my back while doing it. I was so happy that I could do it and felt like it was harder on my leg than anything. It always catches up with me later. With all of the cooking to do on Thanksgiving, I stayed on small doses of painkiller most of the day. I’ve also learned that when I stay on top of the pain or nip it first thing, I do a lot better for the rest of the day.

Anyway, a nerve block seems like maybe too much, too extreme. The doctor had trained with one of the top oncological spine doctors in the country. He said that he would have recommended this route in cases like mine. The optimist in me wants to try the physical therapy first. Maybe mix in some acupuncture. I just feel like I keep having procedures done without knowing if it will help or harm me more. Did kyphoplasty help me? Yes and no. I don’t worry about my vertebrae collapsing. On the flip side, recovering has been awful when the procedure’s intent is to bring near-immediate and lasting pain relief. Okay, so I’m a one-off on that. I’ll get there. It’s definitely gotten better. I can do so much more now than I could in August!Β I know physical therapy will hurt at first. That’s where the nerve block could help and allow me to heal faster.

After this appointment, IΒ had to get some coffee! It had started snowing a lot in the middle of the night, so I didn’t have time to make myself a latte that morning. It took an hour and a half to get to the hospital in the nasty weather. The hospital serves Dazbog, a local roaster, and hooked me up with some foamy goodness before I went to the Cardiac department for my echocardiogram.

I saw a different technician this time. She brought me a warm gown. I didn’t know they existed. I will get one from now on when I visit on cold days. The echo went well and didn’t take too long (always a good sign). It’s an ultrasound of the heart and leaves lots of lubricating jelly to wipe off after the exam and wipe and wipe and wipe.

I got done so quickly that I had time to run down to the cafeteria for pancakes. I love the hospital’s pancakes. I know it’s weird. I got the last one! To up the protein in my meal, I also got a Greek yogurt. I still had over an hour before my appointment with the oncology cardiologist. I went and sat in the very full waiting room at the cancer center. To drown out the noise of a room at full capacity, I listened to a Freakonomics podcast. So grateful that I had remembered my earbuds that day! I had forgotten them the week prior when I had my oncology check up.

I saw my cardiologist right on time. She reported that my Echo looked good. It looked so good that she was going to give me a longer leash and have me come back in six months, not four. EEEEeeeee! We talked about chest pain that comes and goes and how it’s improved with time, as well as, arrhythmia. She asked me about leg swelling and if that had gotten better. It had. My feet still swell when I’m on them, nothing abnormal. I have no excess fluid around my heart, or pericardial effusion. πŸ˜€

My next oncology appointment is on Friday, December 13th. It’s scan day, so it will be a long one. Brain MRI first to check on the tumors there that had shrunk to itty bitty in September. CT scans of my chest and abdomen follow. I’m not expecting anything drastic. I’m hoping to see that my main lung tumor has decreased a little more and my bones have made more progress regenerating. My long shot is to see less cancer in my bones. Like I said, it’s a long shot. Regrowing and healing bones takes a lot of time and bone shots and calcium supplements. Haha. Getting cancer out of them? Even harder. I will be happy with whatever progress is reported.

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7-month Check up Nov 15th

I had my 7-month check up on Friday, November 15th. My appointments that day were efficiently scheduled. Labs at 7:50. Palliative Care at 8. Doctor visit at 9. Bone shot at 10:40.

I looked forward to my palliative care visit the most. The last month had been tough emotionally for me. I found it confusing to have reached normal blood levels, to celebrate that, and at the same time to grieve the unfairness of cancer, mostly for my son. My nurse and the social worker who facilitated the appointment that day said that because I am feeling so much better and have normal blood levels, I finally have the space to deal with some of the emotions that go along with my condition because I’m not in survival mode anymore. I feel like I’ve been in survival mode for a long time, not just from cancer.

My palliative care team also helps me with pain management. My back still flares up a few days a week from surgery. Also, ibuprofen had started to upset my stomach, and I take it every day to manage pain. Everything had started to upset my stomach. Waffles, greens, sandwiches, nothing was safe, and all induced a run for the bathroom. Earlier that week, I had uttered the words, “I never want to eat a salad again.” I’m not a huge fan of salad. I know I need to eat greens. It seemed like everything would set off my stomach, and the semi-processed greens were gross.

My nurse prescribed me a different ibuprofen that would work for 24 hours and break down in my intestine rather than stomach and hopefully help with pain and stomach issues. She also prescribed Cymbalta to treat nerve pain (and depression). It takes a couple of weeks for the Cymbalta to work. I swear it’s already helping though! I’ve been taking both these medicines for a week and have had no bathroom issues! That’s a win!

I saw the oncology doctor after palliative care. She reviewed my labs and reported normal blood levels again!!! I couldn’t believe it. My cancer antigen marker stayed at 1.9. Just like a normal person! I had an appointment with the pain clinic scheduled for Friday, November 22nd. I asked her if I needed to go, since my back had been doing better. She said they’re hard to get in to and to do it. I’m glad I did, since my pain changes from day to day. I also asked about getting my nails done. A few of us gals from work had an appointment later that afternoon for mani-pedis, and I was really looking forward to it. She gave me the green light! Woohoo!

My bone shot was my bone shot. The infusion center got me in a little early for it. I discovered that the lounge chairs go all the way back. I’m usually waiting for a bit, so I thought I’d try to nap. The nurse showed up with my shot two minutes later, so no nap for me! After that, I had to go to work until it was manicure time.

The gals and I enjoyed our mani-pedis. We looked at each other during the pedicures with happy faces and we all agreed that we needed some relaxing, self-care time. I have promised my husband that I will take him with me next time I go for a pedicure. I think he’d enjoy it.

COMMENTS

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Six Month Check Up :D

I had my 6-month check up on Friday, October 18th. I expected to be in and out that day, and I was! The school district near the hospital was on Fall Break, and I think that helped. Very few people were in the waiting room of the Cancer Center. It looked like only 4 doctors were on staff that day. Everything ran early.

I left work an hour before my Noon appointment. Not much traffic. I got to the center early. The medical assistants called my name 10 minutes before my scheduled lab time for blood work. I went and ate lunch in the cafeteria which was fullll of people. I got back to the center about 15 minutes before my appointment time, and they called my name almost immediately!

The appointment went well. My blood levels came back like a normal person’s! DID YOU HEAR THAT? Like a normal person’s! I almost cried. I didn’t really have anything to discuss with my doc, other than the podiatrist thinks my foot pain is related to my back, and my back still hurts, and no, I haven’t heard from the Spine Clinic. We chitchatted the rest of the time. I got to see my nurse for a quick minute.

I went off to the Infusion Center for my bone shot twenty minutes before my appointment time, and again, I was called back early! OMG! Best hospital day ever! I got a bay to myself. I had magazines, earphones, my phone and a warm blanket like I was going to stay an hour.

Nope! My nurse was on top of it, and had my shot ready.

I left the hospital at my scheduled bone shot time of 1:50/2, and I was home by 2:45.

On the way home, I called my dad. I had to tell him the news about my blood levels. We talked for almost the whole ride home, a good 45 minutes. He told me about a friend who has used a treatment pill for almost 20 years (or was it 10? my memory…think he and his sister were both diagnosed the same year) for ovarian cancer. His sister had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1997. Since she had already been through Leukemia treatment in the early 80s when they basically microwaved all of you for radiation treatment, she didn’t heal from ovarian cancer and died in 1999. I remember visiting her in the hospital in the 80s. She was never the same after getting treated for Leukemia. Always too hot. We focused on the friend still living.

I got to pick up my son from school and take him to his haircut. I told him about my blood levels. He got a little excited. (He’s 14, so excitement can be subdued.)

“Does that mean you don’t have cancer anymore?”

“No,” I told him. “There’s no cure for my cancer…yet, only treatment. I still have cancer, and treatment is working!” Yeah, it sucks to have to deliver a reality check.

The good news is that my levels are normal, and I’m feeling pretty darn good! I’m hoping to increase my activity level and start strengthening my back and leg again soon, leg at least!

I was referred to the Pain Clinic today by my doc. I don’t know what that means exactly. I couldn’t get a hold of them today on my lunch. I assume it means that I have pain and no one can explain it, so I get to meet more people at the hospital. πŸ˜€

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