Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cancer Recurrence: Bone Marrow Biopsy

I had my second PET scan on Monday... it went well.  Then today I had my bone marrow biopsy.  Yeah, I was unprepared for that!

All last evening and this morning I tried not to think about it... denial, great tool when used properly!  I knew I'd start getting anxious and worked up... so I settled into denial for as long as possible.  About 9:30 this morning I couldn't deny it anymore... I'd have to leave work in an hour... anxiety, nausea, sweaty palms, deep (DEEP )breathing to try to calm my nerves!  Oh, and I suddenly became a nervous pee(er)... don't know what that was about.  It progressed as the morning went on.  I went at 6:30 before I left for work, then 8, I think I went again around 9 am, then 10, then again at 10:30 before I left the office, then at 11 when I arrived at the doctor's office.  Good thing my appointment wasn't later in the day... I would have dehydrated!

Mom met me at the doctor's office, I went in to have bloodwork done, then waited nervously.  I didn't wait long, they took us back to a room... my temperature was up a tad, my blood pressure... well, that surprised the heck out of me.  I expected it to be high because it usually is when I go see the doctor (White-coat syndrome? Nope, traffic-in-city syndrome!), plus with being so anxious and worked up.  It was 129... that's it... usually it goes up the 140's.  But my heart rate was way up!

So then they get me up on the table (those short table things you sit on when you visit the doctor), on my stomach.  They lowered the back of my pants down just past my butt cheeks... this is how casual they are toward this procedure... just a regular doctors office and no changing into a gown.

They prepped an area just above and to the left of my butt crack.  She started giving me injections of the numbing stuff, about 4 injections (I think), deeper and deeper towards the bone.  The last one felt like it hit a nerve... oh my gosh, how uncomfortable that was.  Kind of took my breath away.  I thought I was getting another injection, but then I felt it!  It was the needle going down and it hit that nerve area... and stayed there!  Oh my gosh, it was awful!  I was clenched up and breathing hard, I think I was making some sort of groaning noise or something. Then, "Son-of-a-bitch!" exploded out.  I didn't know whether to holler or throw up.  After a bit, she says, "We're almost done, 2 seconds more"... I'm like ok, 2 secs and it's over, ok... WRONG!... done with the bone marrow part... now she was screwing that thing down to take a core sample of my bone.  "SON-OF-A-BITCH!!"  She's over top of me, pushing that thing down pretty hard.  That intense pressure, the nerve pain, you will just never know... they can numb the tissue around the area, but they can't numb down into the bone.  It wasn't a sharp pain like I expected... it was an ongoing, never letting up, heavy pressure, intense "hit-a-nerve" pain. It hurt like a mother-effer!  *Excuse the language*

Then I had to sit there for 10-15 minutes with an ice bag against my butt. Mom said I did better than she thought I would, she figured she'd be hearing more cursing than two SOB's.  *I was trying really hard not to*  They showed us the bone marrow, it looks like thick blood with bits of bone floating around in it.  They also showed us the bone sample.  That was pretty cool.

They have this little "shop" with stuff for cancer patients there, I stopped and picked up a scarf and two turbins (I call 'em lil' beanie hats).  Mom went home and I went back to work.  Which I kind of regretted later after the numbing stuff started wearing off, but I needed the hours.

I meet with Dr. Olajide on March 11th to get the results for both tests and my treatment plan.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

No Sheeples Here: The President Who Stood By Our Side: My Tribute To Ronald Reagan

No Sheeples Here: The President Who Stood By Our Side: My Tribute To Ronald Reagan

I just came across this through Supi @ Just an Artist.
Original post from No Sheeples Here.

Click through to see video tribute.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cancer Recurrence: Update 2

I received a call today from the doctor's office, I've been scheduled for a PET scan.  Dr. Olajide told me she really wanted to do another one since my last one was almost 2 months ago, but my insurance would probably not cover another one since I, more or less, just had one.  I also have a consultation set up with Dr. Eddleman for a port to be placed.

I've put this in God's hands. When I agreed to see the radiation doctor, I said, "Lord, I did my part, I said what I felt I was led to say. Now it's up to you to intervene with this doctor."

Time will tell, but I feel that God was speaking to me in that moment, I was obedient even though I figured my doctor would think I was crazy, and now I'm being told from this new doctor that radiation is not right for my situation and that I need to do a harsher chemo than what I thought I would need. She's concerned that it has already started to spread further... so much so that not only am I doing a bone marrow biopsy, but she had them call my insurance company to explain the need for another PET scan... and got it approved.

So now I have a new schedule:

MON, Feb 21
11 AM
PET Scan

WED, Feb 23
11 AM
Bone Marrow Biopsy

THU, Mar 3
1:30 PM
Port Approval/Discussion

FRI, Mar 11
9 AM
Results & Discussion – Set up treatment.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cancer Recurrence: Update

Okay, I left off at waiting for the results of my biopsy...

I saw my oncologist for results, discussion and treatment plan.  It is the same lymphoma that I've had... which is good news because we aren't dealing with a new "second" form of cancer.  My doctor thinks I should do localized radiation.

Wait!  What?!

When I first saw him he said we would probably need to do chemotherapy... not the harsh CHOP version like I had before, but a milder form and that I "may not even lose my hair".  I told him I thought I should do chemotherapy.  He gave me this analogy of "not destroying the whole neighborhood because of one bad neighbor".  But my whole neighborhood is messed up... yes, we need to destroy the whole neighborhood... because it's not only under my armpit, but also still on my arm.  I have several bumps/lesions on my arm.  Also, if it has spread anywhere else but has not yet presented itself large enough for the scan to pick up, then chemo will treat those areas as well.  Not that I want to do chemo.. it just sounds like the more logical thing to do in this situation.  Plus, I felt it in my gut, so to speak.  I felt like God was screaming in my head to speak up... we need to do chemo!  He disagreed and wanted me to see the radiation doctor.  The doctor would take a look and decide if it was viable for me to do radiation.  I guess from the size, position, and whatnot... the doctor may decide that radiation may not be the best course of action.  So I agreed to see him.

On January 18th I saw Dr. Anderson.  I was told to come in 1/2 hour early... what for, I do not know, since I sat in the waiting room the entire time.  Then I sat in an office for 20 minutes... like I have nothing better to do.  I understand when you wait in the afternoon, sometimes they get backed up.  This was first thing in the morning... first appointment.  I felt like giving him an invoice for the time I missed from work!

*rant over*

Anyways, he checked me out, I listened to what he had to say, I told him what I thought, he understood why I felt the way I did and couldn't disagree with my reasoning.  He called Dr. Z and, this is where it starts getting bizarre, Dr. Z was going to call a specialist with UNC to discuss my case and the possibility of Chemotherapy Replacement.  "This doctor will explain it all but you probably won't want to go this route." 

Anyways, I was curious to find out about this "Chemotherapy Replacement".  A week went by and I didn't hear anything. 

**Began wondering whether Dr. Z was having a tantrum because I questioned him or because I voiced my opinion.**

I called and left a message, nothing.  So I called Dr. Anderson, 'cause he told me to if I didn't hear something.  They hadn't heard anything either.  The nurse called over and then let me know that they were finishing up processing the paperwork for my Bomary transplant and I should hear about an appointment by the following Monday.  So I'm getting set up for this appointment and get a call that my insurance won't cover a Bomary transplant and I could appeal the decision but I need to get it started right away.  So I say, "What the heck is a Bomary transplant?"  She says, slowly and distinctly, "Bone Marrow Transplant".  Dead silence on my end... Bone marrow transplant?  Yes, the particular chemotherapy I would be doing would warrant me needing a bone marrow transplant.  More silence... then I said, "I don't understand... a bone marrow transplant?  How did we get from a simple radiation that 'should melt it like butter' to bone marrow transplant?"  Which confused her.  So I explained what had transpired... initial visit, light chemotherapy... after testing visit, radiation... I disagreed but saw radiation doctor, I voiced my opinion, he called Dr. Z and now we're at bone marrow transplant.  She agreed that it didn't make sense.  I told her to make an appointment for me to see Dr. Z so we could discuss what was transpiring.  She said that he was going to be out of the office for awhile so let me set you up with someone else in the practice.  At this point, I'm thinking he intentionally went way over to the other end of the spectrum to force me to do what he wants... radiation.  **So now I'm thinking, "Is he really not available or has he decided not to see me anymore because I questioned him? I've been seeing him since 2005... how immature and childish"**

So she made me an appointment to see Dr. Olajide, but she wasn't available until February 15th.  I really didn't want to wait another two weeks but what was I to do.  By the time I see this doctor, it'll be almost 2 months since my PET scan.

I had my appointment on Tuesday.  She looked over my file and checked me out thoroughly, she thinks the mass under my armpit has grown closer to my breast area.  I also have a cyst-like mass on the back of my right arm.  She said that I need to do chemotherapy, CHOP, like I did before... the harsh stuff where I lost all my hair, made me real tired and made my bones ache.  I also need to do a bone marrow biopsy!  My lymphoma was indolent (slow-moving), but is moving faster now that it's in my lymph system.  A bone marrow biopsy will give her more information and she'll better gauge the extent and duration of chemo that I will need.

Wednesday, February 23rd - Bone Marrow Biopsy
Wednesday, March 2nd - Results/Discussion/Treatment Plan

I also stopped in at the Financial Aid office while I was down there.  Hopefully I qualify for some assistance.  I owe around $15,000.00 already.  And with the real estate market the way it is, I'll be lucky if I break even on my house, that is, IF I ever find a buyer.  The realtor wanted to list it at a price that would have had me coming to the table with $2000.00... I don't have $2000.  In better days I would have walked away with about $10,000., now I'm hoping and praying for $5000.  Most likely I won't see anything.  I was depending on that money to pay some of these medical bills.  Ain't life grand!

I keep praying for God to send me a buyer with a reasonable offer.

~~ By the way, I was told on Tuesday that Dr. Z took a medical leave of absence. ~~