Saturday, February 23, 2013

Taking a Look at My Innards

A mobile scan truck much like ours.
I decided to take a look at my "innards".  I had a PET/CT scan last week in the mobile unit that visits our small-town hospital.

I'm talking about my PET/CT scan taken a week ago.  If you have medical issues, I hope you realize that you have a legal right to copies of every test and report in your med files.  Our small town hospital is very obliging with my requests for copies.  I just popped that disk into the computer and "voila!", multiple images popped up on my screen.  Images of me, slice by slice, inside out.  Not that I understand them...I never went to medical school. But my Oncologist who is treating my ovarian cancer will glean valuable information.

Nope, this is not me!
So yesterday I picked up a copy to take with me to see my Oncologist.  He normally visits me at our local clinic and has access electronically.  Monday, weather permitting, I will see him in the City and he asked me to bring along a copy.

Problem is...once I inserted the disk into my computer...I realized it was in black and white. And the PET portion of the scan should be in color!  So I'll be going back this afternoon to get a color copy for my Onc.

I'm including a pic to show you what the images look like. Yah! You guessed it! That is NOT my body!  hahahahahha!  I confess that I grabbed it from the net.  (I knew you would know that this is not the real me, but thought I'd tell you so that you would know that I, myself, know this, too! Wouldn't want you to think I am a dunce.)

Nope, this isn't me, either!
I'm apprehensive about Monday's Onc appointment, but I know that every one of my days is in God's hands. He doesn't need to see my PET/CT images to know what is happening. In fact, it is His working in my life that takes care of every moment of every day.  Sure, I see medical people and follow their treatment plans.  But when all is said and done, it's left in God's hands.  And I am safe there, no matter what.

On another note...we got 4 to 6 inches of snow a couple days ago.  I got out the snowblower to do the side driveway and my neighbor came over and took it right out of my hands, finishing the job for me. Thanks, Neighbor!  You are a true blessing! And I pray God blesses you right back, over and over again.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Have Fallen in Love With My Feet! They are Beautiful!

I love my beautiful feet!  That may sound strange, but it's the truth. I am in love! With my beautiful feet!  (Unless you are repulsed by the photo, you can click for a closer view!)
Healthy skin February 2013

Look at that healthy pink glow (does pink skin glow?)!

You see, not too long ago, August of last year, they looked like the second photo.  I was on Lipo-Dox, a drug with the side-effect of palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (PPE), otherwise known as hand-foot syndrome.  See these poor toes? I insisted on my daily one or two-mile walks in hot August weather. Since heat and friction aggravate the hand-foot syndrome, this wasn't exactly the smartest thing I've ever done.

The combo of hot summer days and long walks caused my toes to turn an angry red. Soon the skin between my toes blistered and sloughed off.  Was that painful, you ask? Oh, My, Yes!  I wrapped them daily in gauze until they healed but for the duration, while on Lipo-Dox, I had to be very careful with them.
August 2012 hand-foot syndrome

Thankfully, once I quit that drug the skin healed easily.

After Doxil failed, I moved on to oral Hexalen which was marvelous because Hexalen does not have the skin side-effects! My toes, my feet, my hands, my armpits, all healed!

Today my toes look like the first photo!  I am having lymphedema in the left leg, hence the wrap.  I belong to an online forum of ovarian cancer patients and learned there (didn't learn it from my Oncologist!) that there is such a person as a LANA certified lymphedema therapist. I found one 35 miles from home! (Or click here re: LANA certification)

After five daily sessions with her I have the lymph in my left leg almost under control.  She showed me how to do a lymph massage, how to wrap the leg at night, and has provided me with properly sized compression stockings.

Did I say I am in love with my feet!  It is so good to have the skin back in good condition. I hope to be out walking again this summer and am already doing half a mile a day, working into it gradually!

The Bible talks about beautiful feet.  Romans 10:15 says this: "....As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  I'm bringing good news in this post for cancer patients suffering from lymphedema about how to find a certified lymphedema therapist....but I also like to share the good news that God loves His people and watches over them day and night, through all circumstances, through life and beyond our earthly death - into eternal life with Him.  Can't get any better news than that.

May your week be blessed!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Whereupon I Tell You I Continue to be a Druggie

Lotsa veggies on this diet. Lots!
Yes, I'm still in the land of the living.  Four years ago this month I would never have believed I would still be here today.  It was four years ago I underwent debulking surgery for ovarian cancer.  "Debulking" means exactly that...the surgeon removed the bulk or 95 percent of the cancer within my abdomen. And since it was still confined to the abdomen and a couple lymph nodes I was staged at III-C...meaning the cancer had not yet spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body.

So here I am, four years later, still doing one chemo drug after another, with each dropping my tumor marker (CA-125) a few notches before it begins rising again.  Right now I am on oral hexalen but that may be short-lived and I may be going on my eighth (8th!) chemo regimen soon.

Just call me a druggie.  I consume one drug after another. The only meds I refuse to take are pain meds. Because, frankly, I haven't needed them. Amazingly!

Anyway...I belong to an online forum of several hundred other ovarian patients.  And on that forum are a few members who are working with a naturopathic doctor in addition to their medical team.   Some of them have attained stability or even remission.  Maybe they would have anyway, I don't know, but I decided I would try what they are trying.

My bedside table after tidying it up.
So two weeks ago I flew 900 miles to meet with several other ovarians, and the naturopath.  Each of us has a treatment plan specific to our own condition...based on a myriad of blood tests (some of which insurance did not cover!).  The idea is to enhance the immuno system so the body can do its best to discourage continued cancer growth.

Along with various supplements I am going to spend a few months following a very low carb diet.  No dairy. No grains. No grain-fed meat.  Organic and grass-fed.

My family doc is interested in seeing how I do on this regimen. My Oncologist just shook his head.  On the other hand, he was agreeable to letting me have a PET/CT scan sometime this we go.

In other news...which is not really news...I spent a few minutes this morning tidying my bedside table. I had it so piled high with books that I was afraid I would have a book landslide any moment. You've probably guessed I read in bed.

Another thing that is keeping me busy these days is Sunday School. I'm teaching a group of nine high school boys and girls.  I can't tell you how much I like these kids!  And they seem to like me right back.  I'm hitting them hard with lots of questions as we read through the Gospel of John.  Hey! The first 5 verses of chapter 1 are astounding!  And that's where we began. Chapters 6 and 10 are favorites of mine because they hold key verses so essential to any Christian...sadly, many Christians are unaware of these two chapters.

Specifically, John 6:37-40 and John 6:44-45.
And specifically, John  10:27-30.
(If you hover your cursor over the scriptures, they should pop up in a little window.)

To sum up...hubby and I are doing well (all things considered).  And we continue to have joy in our faith and in the promises of scripture.

May you be blessed this day.