Learn, learn, learn…

Instead of repeating that great quote by Einstein, I will remind myself of my new lessons learned from the past days in dealing with your health. I would specify it towards cancer treatment, but it really applies to every health issue. Besides my scan order issue, yesterday was the lesson learned about labs. My fault again for not asking the right questions as the office worker from the lab reminded me. Who knew that despite my early rising to race to the lab to get my tumor marker processed quickly, my efforts did not bring the results I really wanted. The lab closest to my house used to be owned by a different company that processed everything in Orange County. Not the case for this new company which bought or took over the old lab. All items are sent to San Diego for processing and oops my test cannot be ordered “stat”. I never thought to ask where they send the tests. Again, never assume anything and always ask and ask. Of course, I had to call the main customer service number to request for full disclosure of this information to all patients. They gave me a supervisor name and number, but it wasn’t a priority for me yesterday.

Of course, I will not forget to call the supervisor just like I haven’t forgot my volunteer request at the new improved chemo closet. Bottom line, I needed the data point for my tumor marker and nothing will be done until the team meets to discuss everything. This element of too many unknowns never works well for me as I like a little bit of formula. Based on my discussion with my doctor at home (his dog barking in the background and again reminded me of how lucky I am), he helped us conclude a formula based on the findings of my scan which are microscopic cancer in the abdomen and enlarged axillary lymph nodes. I am definitely happy for no gigantic tumor findings which would mean surgery. Strange to think that I am happy about microscopic, but it is what it is. My whole journey started with the lymph nodes before, so we had to connect the dots for the doctor. The formula follows a rule that if my tumor marker continues to double or rise, then a decision of chemo starting soon would happen. If the tumor marker doesn’t double or triple, then a week would not hurt to wait. They have given me a drug to try which slows the cancer growth, but does not kill the cancer. I take this drug at night since it seems to have a dizzy loopy sleepy element for me. It takes this drug 4 weeks to see some results. If I have the luxury of time, I will wait  the extra weeks. Also, there is the consideration of the vaccine which I could take as well even though I would be out of the original study. So many puzzle pieces to put together which makes things a bit less straight forward. What I do know is this (as reminded by some very smart women): I have many people around me who love and support me. This makes this crazy ride all more bearable, but I still have to say that I do think it “sucks”. Cancer impacts all those who love you and support you. So, while Alex called me “dumb” yesterday and had the angriest face I had ever seen, I reminded myself that anger is so much easier than fear for kids. He told me when I put him to bed, “what if you are not here to put me to bed and you don’t make it.” I tell him as I tell everyone that I am strong and will do everything and anything to stay fighting. I joked and told him I would even get a buttectomy if I have to…of course, this only made him laugh as he asked what a buttectomy was. Who knows, but I will do everything and I will stay positive! It doesn’t mean that I am not angry at times or frustrated, and I will not stay on the pity pot for long. Pity pots are not comfortable and not productive! I also will take things day by day. Hey, I do have excursions to plan on our summer Mediterranean cruise. So, if I ring in 2012, it will FIRST be with a nice glass of something, followed by a nice chemo cocktail to kill this cancer!

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One Response to “Learn, learn, learn…”

  1. margie Says:

    Hey I’d like to know what a buttechtomy is…sign me up. Seriously, thinking of you cousin, and know I love you. I’m radioactive today as well…had my scan yesterday, and will probably see you in the chemo closet, and we’ll ring in 2012 together!!! Hugs and good thoughts always!!!! M

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