Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Easter!

The itching has gotten some better. I've been taking antihistamines every few days and the flare-ups are fewer and far between. Mom actually is convinced it's not hives, but instead it's shingles. I've never had shingles before and from what I understand shingles begins with a rash that doesn't go away but makes blisters. My episodes begin with itching, then welts, no blisters yet. I'm planning to talk to my doctor about it when I go in a couple of weeks. It's not so bad anymore and definitely manageable. I've read about menopause hives and I really do think it's just a hormone thing.

My diet is going very well and I've actually lost a pound or two. Better than that, my clothes fit looser - woohoo!!! I might even attempt a bikini this summer. My goal is in 3 months when my hair is long enough to go without a hat or scarf, I'll be at my ideal weight. I'd like to plan a day of getting my hair styled in a new short 'do and then go shopping for a tiny new outfit . . . and actually be able to wear it!!!

For Spring Break we'll be in and out of town all week, spending some time with John up in the mountains. He started back the first of March and has had weekends off this month, then beginning in April he'll be back to working six days a week. Now that I am back to my old self, he should be able to work as much as he needs to. And with me staying home this year, he's got more flexibilty. I would like to find something part-time for next year, but Rachel Rose still has one more year of preschool and it's tough to find a job to fit her schedule. Maybe just one more year of staying home . . . it's not like I'm hating it, to tell the truth!!!

Hope you all had a nice Easter!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I only thought I was smart! But it took me this long to put two and two together and realize the itching I've been having for months is HIVES! Ever since my surgery when my ovaries were removed and I was thrust into menopause Hades, I've been having itching episodes. Horrible, drive me up the wall, scratch til I bleed itching. All over - my arms, legs, hands, feet, back, stomach. It's awful when it happens. Thankfully, it only lasts from 30-45 minutes. But I just scratch and scratch, sometimes I get in the tub with Aveeno, then slather on lotion til I'm more slippery than soap! I've tried anti-itch cream, but it's no good. It wasn't until today that I noticed the scratching made welts all over the area that I got the idea it might be hives. And when I googled it (don't you just love that expression!), sure enough that's what I've got!!! Now the question is, what am I reacting to? Hives is always from an allergic reaction to something. I took an antihistamine this afternoon after a lovely spell of frantic clawing at my legs and I think it helped. I still think it's from a hormone imbalance because I haven't changed anything I've eaten, done laundry with, or anything I can think of. It all started the moment my ovaries came out and I began hormone replacement. I'm going to start keeping an "itch journal" to see if I can figure out what triggers the episodes. In the meantime, I am going to begin natural hormones that the wonderful hormone doctor gave me today. After 4 weeks, he'll do some blood tests to check my levels and then tweak my dosages if he needs to. Hopefully, I will get everything back to somewhat normal, at least a liveable normal!

And on the topic of "C", did you hear that Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer?! I'm telling you, EVERYone is getting it! I'm convinced it's coming from the environment - there's gotta be something that we're eating, breathing, something is out there that is making it more prevalent. I've heard of all these diets and vegetarian lifestyles that are supposed to prevent cancer, maybe there's something to it all, maybe eating all natural foods is going to prove to be The Cure . . . just in case, I'll be having a salad for dinner! :-)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Still okay

Just a quick post to say I saw my oncologist today. He confirmed the all-clear results from my CT scan. Have to say I was a little afraid of a bad surprise today. You know they told me after my original cyst was removed that everything was benign, then at my follow-up dr visit he told me that cancer showed up after the pathology came back. I felt like I was back in the 80's and getting the "Sike!" But no, it's all still okay. He did say the highest chance of recurrences statistically happens within the first year after treatment. So, I will continue to see him monthly for check-ups. At six months, I'll have another scan and if it's clean, then I will see him every two months. And so on and so on. I feel pretty good that I will be getting monitored so closely. Better than the average person who could be walking around with a cancer timebomb unknowingly growing in their body. But, at the same time, it would be nice to go back to my life pre-"C". Carefree, oblivious, and with hormones!!! (I'm seeing the hormone dr on Wednesday).

I remember just before I got diagnosed, I had this view of the population as split between those who get cancer and those who don't. And I took it for granted that I would be in the "not cancer" group because it seemed like such an unlikely thing to happen to a normal person like me. Wooops! Now I see cancer as a much more common occurrence. So MANY people are getting cancer. A lot of them, thankfully, are like me and find it early and undergo successful treatment. And a lot are like my mom who deal with it as a chronic but treatable condition. And this way, it's not quite so scary anymore, it's not the "death sentence" it used to be thought of. It's just a part of life in 2008. An evil part, of course! I just pray that a cure or vaccine will be found soon so that my girls don't have to even worry about it!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The results are in . . .

Got the call yesterday . . . scan results are GOOD! Her exact words were "unremarkable." And that's a good thing. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a plain ole unremarkable belly. Maybe a little flabby and jiggly, but nothing cancerous. WWHHEEEWWWWW!!!!! I will see the dr on Monday for my follow-up and I'm hoping he releases me for at least 6 months. He will probably mention the scar revision surgery, since I now have 2 areas that continually open up, drain, scab over, then open up again. Pretty yucky! But I've decided to wait at least 4-6 months before doing anything about it. Give the chemo the most time to completely leave my system and give me a chance to lose 25 pounds. Yep, I started today with my diet and exercise plan! I'm doing "Body for Life" after John's dr recommended it to him for getting in shape. John is following it too, though not as closely as I will. I've got my daily meals planned out, my exercise regime organized, I even have a notebook to keep me on track! Anal-retentive, that's me! I'm hoping to lose some weight, but mainly I just want to get healthy again. The hormone thing makes me crazy most of the time with hot flashes, night sweats, and torturous ITCHING. I've scratched so hard in places that I have bruises! Exercise and eating right will probably help those issues. Plus, I am going to see a dr who specializes in hormone replacement next week. Maybe he will get them sorted out for me.

So that's it!!! Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes. Through God, all things are possible - AMEN!!! I will post next after my drs appointments. I feel like this journey is over in some ways, but until my calendar is empty of dr appointments, I won't feel totally free!