Saturday, November 29, 2008

video

I mentioned in an earlier post that my sister is preparing and running in a marathon in the Spring for Team in Training for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In the coming weeks, they will launch a program with their kids at school to do a coin drive to raise money.

She is amazing at making videos and put this together to run on the announcements at schools for the kiddos. I hope you enjoy!!

video

If you are interested in making a donation, you may do so at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/rome09/mpittman

She has committed to raising a certain amount before she runs in the marathon!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the next day

Have I ever mentioned to you how much I hate the day after a day of vacation (or a week of regional work and then a day of vacation, more specifically). Yeah, it is so hard to stay caught up.

Anyway, yesterday went good. We had a little issue in the lab and I have a bruise on my chest to prove it. But, the doctor said everything looked fine and as long as I have this port in, there will be back up and as long as there is back up, my neck will be a little puffy. So, I guess that is just part of having to learn how to "deal" with it.

We also set my next apt for late in January. I'll do scans and see the doctor that day. He said if everything looked good, then he would look at setting up a date to take my port out!!!

That is such good news. Because that means he thinks I wont need it any more. Hello!

I did love that he asked me yesterday if I was back "running ninety to nothing".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

uh oh

ok, this should have been a post dated October 24....so, just pretend for me.

October 24-I had a scare today. I thought everything was back. Seriously. On Monday I was in Memphis at a college fair and spent the night at a new hotel. The beds weren't overly comfortable and my neck was totally sore all day on Tuesday. I kinda felt my neck (same motion I used the first time) and my neck felt a little swollen, but I thought well, maybe my neck is just going to be swollen. So, I kinda pushed it off.

Yes, I kept watching my neck throughout the week, but I told myself that it was just the way it is going to be, a little poofy(insert challenge: be observant of yourself. Ladies, you know what to check and everyone be familiar enough with yourself to know when something isn't right...you can save yourself a lot of time and heartache!). Well, I came back on Wednesday and on Thursday stopped by one of my friends shops in town. His wife and I were talking and she made a comment about how my neck was "still swollen" like it had been when I first discovered the enlarged lymph nodes. She was scared to push on it, but I told her it was ok. She was kinda freaked out.

I tried to play it off like nothing was wrong, but I for sure only had one thing on my mind. "Ok, the worst possible option is actually happening". Of course my mind started going on "how long has this been here?", "have I waited too long?", "why didn't I pay attention more?", "so, what now", "will I have to do treatments again?", "what plans do I have for the next three months that I am going to have to rework or work around?". And, "NO LORD, THERE IS NO WAY THIS IS HAPPENING".

So, all night on Thursday, I looked at my neck. As far as I was concerned, it had for sure grown over the week. I just knew that my life was going to change over the weekend. I knew this was the last weekend that I had to pack, so I was scared about what Friday might bring and how my next months could change.

I was already making plans that night, since I couldn't sleep, how to rearrange some coming responsibilities at work. There were things I was just going to have to give up and get over missing (if you know me, this sanguine cannot handle missing a good time!).

It was a conversation that I was having with myself. "Put on your big girl panties. You know what this will be like. You already know the bad feelings to expect and that you can bounce back from this. The timing is good, you have just gotten your energy back and you can fight this. Yes, the holidays will stink if you are sick, but at least you can be with your family and they can take care of you. People are already off work, so no one will have to take extra time off. You can do this. Just buck up and deal with it."

So, that was the thought I had as I went to bed on Thursday night. It was good I had things to do to keep me busy that week.

Friday morning, when I woke up, I was convinced that it was back. I had swallowed my pride and just adopted the fact. So, I made sure to wear something that I could easily have my neck looked at, with out having to get too invasive. I came in ready to find Dr. Kluck and have him either tell me that I was crazy or to confirm my suspicions.

You see the older I get, the more I realize that there is some "wuss" level that I have obtained, well, always had. I've typically been one to make a big deal out of something, so as I have "aged" and realized this about myself, I have tried to do something about it. So, this whole time, through all this, I have tried to not make a big deal out of things unless, they really are a big deal.

So, I came in ready to set up a treatment plan before the day was over. Poor Kirt, he got an ear full and saw me break down, first thing. It was good that I had worked late the night before, because I was not getting anything done during the day. I finally found Dr. Kluck, a little before noon and had him look at it. He confirmed that there was probably something going on, but since everything has gone through Dr. Mendelsohn, I really had to talk to him/his office and figure out what was going on.

So, I put a call in to Mendelsohn's office and waited for a call back. I got a call from the nurse right before noon. I told her what all was going on and she talked me through it and the options. While we were on the phone, Dr. Mendelsohn walked through and she put me on hold to get his opinion. He offered that if I would drop everything and come right then, he would stay late on a Friday and see me.

I'm not really sure why I responded like this, but I asked if he felt that I needed to come right now. He said it would be to "ease my mind". Honestly, I knew that this was my last weekend to get everything packed and I still had a lot to do. I knew that if I packed this weekend and got everything ready, then if I had to start treatment over the next weekend, I would at least have it ready for any helpers that would come.

So, once I knew he wasn't super concerned, I chose to wait and set an appointment for Monday. Again, good thing I had plans for the weekend, because I sure had too much on my mind to sit around and think about it. I stayed late that night and got everything I could think of finished. I wanted to have everything done so that Monday if I got bad news, I didn't have that to work on. (yes, I know those are probably morbid thoughts to have, but when you are dealing with cancer, they are very true feelings to experience)

Monday, Kirt was kind enough to go with me to LR for the appointment. He knew how hard it would be to go through all that by yourself. While he stayed in the car and ate his lunch and read, it was nice to have someone there. Going at this time, saved me from having to have my port flushed in Arkadelphia.

Dr. Mendelsohn confirmed that I was not totally crazy. My neck was swollen, however it had gone down significantly over the weekend from what it had been on Friday. He did not think it was the lymph nodes, but there was a possibility that it was a blood clot, or something related to my port which was very common. So, he sent me over to the Radiology office to have an ultrasound done.

I walked across the street with a very strange feeling. So, I came up here today and thought my cancer might be back and now, I may have a blood clot instead that is causing back up?

Well, they basically scanned from my ear to my wrist. I could see the whole thing. You could see the blood flow. It was colored for the blood going into the heart and leaving the heart. When she was on my neck, I could see the lymph nodes. I kinda panicked when I saw them. I forgot that things were magnified on the screen, because they looked big and since she was just clicking and moving the wand around, I began getting nervous. The tech went and got the doctor and showed him what she had found. Indeed, it was a blood clot, right on the side of my port. There are a lot of vessels that run by it and it is very possible to have backup.

They told me to get dressed and wait in the lobby. Dr. Koonce and Dr. Mendelsohn needed to talk.

I saw Dr. Koonce coming my direction. A slew of thoughts flooded my mind and I could only imagine what he was going to ask.

"Are you taking an aspirin a day?"

Yeah, those were the words out of his mouth. They have told me from the beginning not to take aspirin because it thins your blood and with all the invasive things they do they did not want me to be extra susceptible to bleeding.

"No?" was the response he got back. Is that really about to be the thing to solve this.

"Well, you need to start taking one a day. And, you are free to go." "Like, I don't need to go back over there?" "No, Dr. Mendelsohn's office will call and set up a follow-up appointment."

I could not believe what had just happened. I came to Little Rock, mentally prepared for the cancer to be back and now, I'm leaving having to take an aspirin a day.

So, that was it. Yea. It really didn't hit me. I still cant believe that all of that happened. It is hard to remember to take my aspirin, but the bottle sits on my bedside table and when I turn on my alarm at night, I usually remember.

I go on Monday (24th), for my follow up appointment. And, I guess we will know if its working or not. He didn't say if I would have to get another ultrasound, but I guess that could be part of it.

I'll try to be better about letting you know.

mickey d

Greetings from McDonald's on some random road in TX that I was on an hour ago before I decided to pull over and do a little work. I love that you can find the golden arches not just for Happy Meals any more, but Wi-Fi. As I sit here, I hear and smell sounds so familiar that I'm trying to overcome.

They have pumpkin fried pies...Hello! There are little children so ecstatic about the playground and the little meal prizes. There is a giant Madagascar Hippo on the window staring at me. They had free breakfast samples this morning. They do not offer FREE Wi-Fi. I guess everything is taking hits now. When they take your order, they get your name and serve you by a name and not a number...when did a cheeseburger get so personal. They do not have good sweet tea. But, who would when the Chicken Express up the road is your competition. And, I was trying to enjoy a McFlurry, because I am not self controlled, when the plastic lid popped off and splattered "dairy product" in nice little droplets all over the dress that I'm wearing to my college fair that I'm supposed to be at in 20 minutes. So, since I'm an hour from home, I'll being wearing the turquoise dress with stain drops on the front. Just my luck.

I know I have not been a good blog friend, but if I showed you my calendar of the last month, you would not even begin to believe that the same girl who blogged what she did at the end of March, was able to hold down a schedule like I have since September (welcome to the world of recruiters...and my staff has been gone more than me!).

To put it simply, I moved to a new house at the beginning of the month and have spent 4 nights there, two of which involved painting and fume inhalation! I have no money because I have spent it all on things for my new house. But, a paycheck is around the corner. My mom and sis are coming home with me to put my house together. I have been to Memphis, Nashville, Lexington, KY and all things Ft. Worth in the last three weeks.

My energy is back and I feel like myself and feel like I look like myself. My hair is growing back and I have a little mohawk of small hairs on my part. Thank goodness my hair grows fast, but it sure was doing better in AR water.

I promise I will post pics and tell you more, I just have to go talk to high schools kids now about my beloved, Ouachita!!!!