Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summertime & the livin's easy...

    Well hello there, my how I've missed this place! Apologies for my temporary MIA status  - that was my longest span without posting since my recurrence sabbatical…but no worries! I’m totally fine & life is slowly but surely getting back to some sense of normality, well back to a "new normal" if you will.  
    Summer is here (which is absolutely not menopause-friendly btw) & since I’ve been a little hush-hush lately, I thought I would catch you up on the last few weeks & let you know what’s happening on this side of the screen.
     I had an appointment at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center  in Morgantown, WV the last week of May & I’m EXTREMELY happy to let you know that my blood work looked great! Most importantly, my CEA (or tumor marker) lab is holding steady around 0.5 which is awesome! HUGE sigh of relief! I was also able to meet with my oncologist & put together a preliminary “maintenance” timeline & schedule my next 6 month scan for late September. In addition to that awesomeness, my body is finnnnalllly at a psychical stability point where I am starting to drop some of my Xeloda (my last type of chemo) weight. So far, I’m down a little over 20lbs! Score! I still have a bit more to go but I’m starting to feel more like Lisa than I have in a long, long time & it’s a really, really good feeling.
    I had my chest-port removed which was a surprisingly bittersweet experience for me. I’ve met quite a few people who have said they felt liberated when they were rid of their ports, but for me…just the idea of having it removed made my head spin & sent shivers down my spine.
    I had my port for right around 3 years; when I went to the cancer center for my monthly flush in early May, I felt this strange sensation above my port almost instantaneously as my nurse began to push saline. She immediately stopped & called back to my oncologist, who sent me for a port-flow study. In 1 word? OUCH! Literally in the running of top 5 pains I’ve experienced in my entire life; it felt like I was having a heart attack. After I was injected with what felt like tiny liquid daggers, the pain shot up the right side of neck & down the right side of my chest. Again to which I say “OUCH!”. The results showed an obstruction near the “right subclavian central venous catheter at the level of the proximal SVC” which, in non-medical-babble, simply translates to me having a blockage. About a week later, I would find myself full-circle, back in the OR for a port procedure with my surgeon & superhero, Dr. B.
    Prior to my blockage knowledge, I had intended to leave my port in for the entire “5 year”  stretch. Already having 1 recurrence only meant I could be more likely for another go’ round & if that were to happen, I wanted to be 1 step ahead. With any type of cancer, you’re constantly reminded how NOT in control you are of your own body & your life. So when something presents itself that will give you any sort of control, you bite. Knowing that my port was ready if ever needed was comforting; it was my security blanket in a world where you never really feel secure in your surroundings. Ultimately, I was able to realize that having my port removed didn’t mean cancer was more likely to walk back into my life, it meant I was continuing to walk on with my own life regardless of cancer. So, after a Propofol-induced catnap, my port was out & I was 1 step closer to a cancer-free life.
     My family & I recently escaped to NC for an early Summer vacay & we had blast! I love seeing my parents smile & nothing beats watching my niece & nephew chasing each other on the beach. I love those small, random moments when you can sit back & realize how amazing life is because it is & regardless of the past, I'm extremely blessed.
     I have SO much I want to accomplish this summer & quite a bit of it has to with GDHC. Sharing my story has changed my life in more ways than I could have ever possibly imagined & I'm really excited to start talking to other WARRIORS who are ready to share their cancer journeys with you. We are all united through hope & together we CAN make a difference.
     I'm also hoping to start posting occasional vlogs to let you in on other aspects of my world & to use as a lifeline when writer's block decides to strike. ;)
     I hope you're having an amazing summer so far & enjoying a healthy dose of the sun. Talk to you soon. <3


Oak Island, NC
P.S. - Happy Father's Day to my birthday buddy & the hardest working, most handsome, raddest daddy around. I love you more. <3