December 26, 2009 § 33 Comments
Sraight from wikipedia,the cerebellum receives input from a variety of sensory systems and other parts of the brain and spinal cord. It integrates all these inputs to fine-tune motor activity.
No surprise, I lose balance on occasion, and am challenged by otherwise simple functions, like typing.
Maybe this is all breast cancer connected, maybe not. My biopsy is Thursday 12/31. I can expect clean sheets, dinner in bed and with any luck my own morphine drip.
Call first, maybe you can visit. One rule, must bring gifts of food or flowers for the staff. After all who wants to work New Years Eve.
December 23, 2009 § 8 Comments
The PET scan is the top dog of all scans – minus the dog. Dogs will be covered in a upcoming post entitled “my daughters surrogate.”
Prep for a PET scan, is strikimgly similar to the low carb, high fat South Beach diet.
In the case of a PET scan, you replace 12 ounce cans of Coke Zero with an 8 oz can of mint flavored canola oil infused with a nuclear tracer. For those of you concerned about the ill effects of artificial sweeteners, rest assured, more research dollars are spent on irradicating calories than cancer – drink up.
My technician for the scan was the young and studly Andrew (or was it Aaron?) . We became fast friends. I offered my blood and in exchange, he promised to start his toxic elixor. But it was simply a tease; infusion interuptus. There were technical difficulties with the machine and technicians would need a couple of days to repair it.
I was ok with that. I had plans to go to DC for business the following day and any surprise, good or bad could wait.
I was relieved, I was sedated, and I smiled for this picture below.
I returned a couple days later to the imaging clinic. Greeted tenderly by none other than Andrew (or Aoron). And, having made it through the better part of the week mostly coherent and often charming I doubled my dose of valium and slept soundly in the sugar donut.
Reality is tough, but the unknown, a black hole of horror. That said, Marty and I wanted the diagnosis asap. We arriving uncharacteristically early we took advantage of some free parking. A little know trick I had gleaned from my daily rdx excursions.
It was delightful to be welcomed with enthusiastic hellos. The kind of hellos that suggest pleasant outcomes.
I brought chocolates just in case the ornery crew required some softening. But nothing sweeten the blow.
True, a single 2 inch tumor is far better than the multiples we had feared. Unfortunately, this particular 2″ mass reared it’s ugly head inside of mine close to critical organs like my spinal cord and brain.
Everyone was so busy with upcoming holiday schedules and the “real” emergencies at hand, that coordinating a biopsy was yet another hassle. Yes, BA Cancer was the most likely candidtae, at the same time its presentations without mets and in my skull suggest good news would be in short supply. I have officially crossed the line to pessimist. Then again, I havbe been up since 4a, somewhat uncomfortable and burning multiple batches of cookies.
The relentless pressure on my head and neck is a constant reminder of the alien within.
How do I feel? My head hurts, my humor is dark and I thank god my friends and family have not yet bored of my stories, tsoris and tears.
The other evening I had a crying fest with my 9 year old. She shared that she was sad that I had cancer again, that she would miss my walking her to school daily and picking her up on a regular basis. Guilty and pained I missed her already.
My compassionate child did her best to comfort me. “It’s not your fault you have cancer again mom, I love you.
Tell it to the gods, and to the wind and to the forces of nature over which there is not an once of control
December 10, 2009 § 14 Comments
I make a great red lentil soup, and each time it’s a little different. Ginger and garlic to start. Add cumin seeds, onions, sometimes fennel or parsnips – certainly carrots. Love butternut squash or sweet potatoes, yukon golds work well too. Water or vegetable broth, possibly chicken broth and of course the red lentils.
If I use green lentils, then chopped celery is mandatory.
It all goes in the pot, a random mix like day old produce, shapes and colors and a promising aroma. I put the cover on and walk away. It is better without me.
Much later it is a fragrant mix the consistency of sludge. I share and we all chant “yum”.
Yesterday I received the equivalent of a grocery bag worth of information. Pieces from an MRI, another from the radiation oncologist. More from my primary oncologist, a comment from a fill-in PCP and not until much later did it make it’s way through the Martin sieve where it stewed overnight.
When I woke up at the crack of dawn with a headache, I realized it was caused by the tumor at the base of my skull. It all came together like sludge. I chanted “shit”.
My mom passed away 13 years ago, and today we had a conversation. She reassured me Frannie would be OK. She promised me I would be able to keep an eye on her and nudge her in the right direction. Everyone else would be ok. Eventually the economy would recover.
I thought about this cancer that grew in spite of chemotherapy, in spite of radiation, in spite of hormone therapies and vegetarian diets, accupuncture, exercise, supplements and pink ribbon tie clips.
I thought about natural disasters and random acts of violence and how the only thing we control is how we deal with what we are given. Soup recipes to follow.
December 8, 2009 § 5 Comments
Pain in the neck.
Not the tedious too much to do pain, but the ouch I can’t turn my head pain. Accompanied by a relentess headache that favors my right side. Doesn’t make sense to me, but Vicodins work and Valiums are muscle relaxers and who says I can’t go to bed before my 9 year old.
“Given your circumstances we need to do some imaging” this from my totally glam PCP.
I know the drill. With a history of breast cancer, metastatic disease remains a threat. It doesn’t rock me much anymore, so instead I turn my attention to the docs Italian knee-high boots with overstitching and spike heels. Stunning. She is stunning. Makes me wish I was a Doctor with cash enough to shop at Barneys.
I had a herniated disk a few years back and suspect my current discomfort is just more of the same. I promise myself I will be mindful of my posture and exercise more. Haven’t been to the health club in months.
No word from the doc and then…
“Your MRI shows a lesion in the back of your skull”
To someone else this could be devastating news. Fortunately I have nothing to worry about. I already know I’m a survivor. There will be tests later this week. A trip to DC for work next week.
Do you think I can learn to walk in heels? I just love those boots.