Monday, November 30, 2009

Tomorrow's the Day

Well, it's has finally arrived and tomorrow is the day. I am feeling some better about things and really trying to focus on getting to recovery and getting on with my life and my 'new normal'.

I have so appreciated the kind thoughts, the prayers, the well wishes, and the love that has been sent my way over the last several months. I'm sure I couldn't have survived this nearly as well without the love of family and friends.

There is still so much to do this evening I don't hardly know where to begin. I guess I just need to take each step as it comes and get it done before moving on to the next task.

I will be out of commission for the next several weeks...but I'll be back to the blog as soon as I can.

Thank you all again for the kind thoughts and the love.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tough News

Well, it's now Tuesday night. My younger brother and his family and are coming for Thanksgiving. It has been fun getting ready for their visit. Ken is working from home this week and next week. It is always nice to have Ken at home.

Saw the surgeon last week and got some very difficult news as he described the surgery that I will have next week. I cried for several days. My life will change after surgery. They will have to remove a good portion of my stomach through one large incision, then remove a good portion of my esophagus and stretch what's left of my stomach up to create a new esophagus through another large incision. I am horrified and terrified. There will not be much stomach left and I will have to adopt a 'grazing' lifestyle and eat little bits throughout the day. After a lifetime of dieting it will be a huge change!

I am feeling a good deal better about everything now....I just want to get on with it and get to recovery. I will be in the hospital for close to 10 days with a few days in the ICU to start. I guess the worst of the recovery process can't last as long as chemo and radiation and the recovery from that...and I've been living in pain every day and have difficulty eating every day...and I cry pretty much every day because of how much I hurt. The surgery recovery can't be 13 weeks just can't be!

So - I'm one week from surgery, still frightened, but looking forward to a life without pain.

More later.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Night

Well, it's Friday night and we are watching football. It's just nice to relax with Ken...whatever we do.

Had all my re-tests this week. I am glad they are all over with. The PET/CT showed good results in the death of the has been radiated and chemically altered and it is dead and dying. The tumor didn't shrink too terribly much, but the Dr reminded me that this particular type of cancer is very slow to shrink. There could be more shrinking...but mostly the good news is there is absolutely no spread to any other organs and the lymph nodes are clear. Apparently while they are doing radiation and chemo the cancer can actually spread....but we had none of that. According to both oncologists we are good to go for surgery.

Appointment with the surgeon next week.
Trying to keep the stomach pain in check.
Enjoying time with Ken.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Why Does Getting Better Take So Long?

So I've had a bit of a setback. My stomach is back to hurting whenever I eat. I doesn't matter what I just hurts. DANG! I am hoping it is just a normal part of the healing process...but it is sure discouraging.

Ken and I went to Lewiston, ID last weekend and took a beautiful drive from there on Saturday across highway 12 to Lowell and then onto a gravel road and then over a summit on 4-wheel-drive roads to Elk City. Gorgeous! I plan to post pictures on Facebook, but the internet connection from here in WA is kind of hit-and-miss so I'll have to post picture on FB and here after I get home.

Big tests next week. I have tests Tuesday and Wednesday and Dr appts Thursday and Friday. More importantly - I have hair appts Tuesday and roots are TERRIBLE!

Planning to leave around 10a tomorrow to get to Pocatello. It has been great to spend such a wonderful amount of time with Ken. I love being here when he gets home from work and eating dinner with him, making his breakfast in the morning, and snuggling before drifting off to sleep. I will definitely miss all that as we get back to 'business as usual'.

I am worried about what the tests will show...but I have faith and I am trying to be brave. This gets scarier as we move into a new phase. I am in awe of people who have cancer who have to endure multiple rounds of chemo and/or radiation. They are made of tougher stuff than I am.

Here's to more better days!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Love Affair with Flavor

I am having a love affair with flavor.

Yesterday was Ken's birthday and we went out for Mexican food. I was worried about my first bite of chips and salsa....but it was HEAVEN! I can't explain the explosion of flavor that hapened in my mouth and throughout my entire body. I almost wanted to cry. The only way to experience it is to swear off of all flavorful food for 8 weeks and eat only bland food....the most flavorful being chicken noodle soup....and then don't eat very much of anything....especially seasoning. Eat lots of soda crackers, ritz crackers, cream of wheat and rice krispies....that's it for 8 weeks. Throw in some daily severe nausea just for good measure..... THEN, have a chip with salsa. OH MY GOSH! You all don't know how good food tastes. I'm sure you take it all for granted, like I used to, but I am having a great time discovering food all over again!

(Just for the record - my stomach isn't exactly happy about my Mexican food fiesta last night...but I'm okay with the little extra pain that I'm feeling. It was SO worth it!)

Wanted to say "Thank You" for the blog comments. I do enjoy reading them....and it feels great knowing there are friends who are interested. So - thank you.

Having great days now....better every day. I still have some pain when I eat and a little nausea during the day, but it is so much less than it used to be. I can even say that I feel better than I did a week ago - I feel better than I did 3 days ago!

I have all my re-tests coming up in a few weeks. I'm hoping the cancer is so small and so 'gone' that they actually question whether they need to do surgery...and that if/when they do decide to do surgery that they can do it laproscopically to lessen the complexity, the scars and the hospital time.

Here's to better days...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recuperating in WA

Okay - I'm going to try this again. I'm on a slow-ish connection and I tried this once but it didn't post. Dang it!

I am in Tri-Cities WA doing the rest of my recovery. Ken and I drove up on Sunday. I am so grateful that we changed Ken's travel schedule so that he could drive up with me...and he'll drive back with me as well. There is just no way I could have made it alone. I think I slept 1/3 of the way. One cool thing - we stopped in Boise for lunch at a Wendy's near the Boise State stadium. I really wanted to go and see the smurf turf for myself....but I was able to control myself. Probably wouldn't have been anyone there on a Sunday afternoon to show me the blue grass!

Didn't do much yesterday....just tried to relax and enjoy. I might make it to the grocery store for an 'outing' today...but you never really know. I plan to do something and then I just don't make it because I get tired. I'll be SO glad when I feel better.

I am 1 1/2 weeks past radiation and chemo so I've passed the "3-days-after-you'll-begin-to-feel-better" milestone and I'm headed right for the "2-weeks-after-you'll-begin-to-feel-much-better" milestone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Soup

Having Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner. Mmm, mmm good! (Actually I'm mostly having the broth and the little chicken pieces....) There's just so little I can eat and feel good about since my esophagus and my stomach have been blasted!

I'm getting sick of sitting around watching movies, which is probably a good sign. I am so grateful when my sister, Laura, gets me out of the house for a few minutes or comes by to distract me for a little bit. That helps my day. Today was a quick Costco run for a flatiron. It turned out that I really needed to go to Costco because after we got the flatiron and Laura and Bethany on their way, I went back inside and spent over $100!

Going to Washington to spend a few weeks with Ken next week. Probably leaving on Sunday. It will be SO nice to spend a few weeks together just being normal. I miss Ken so much when we have to be apart....this'll be a nice respite from the loneliness.

Here's to healing. Just wish it happened a little bit faster.....