Sunday, November 30, 2014

The best Christmas present ever.

Can you believe it's November 30th?! ... I sure can't.

I'm not sure if it's because I've spent the last several months napping in my spare time, or if it's because the Earth really is rotating faster on its axis (I know, I know... it's probably the naps), but I honestly can't make any sense of where the last six months have gone.

Tomorrow, it's December.

But I feel like Christmas has already come.

I've been a real slacker at updating the blog lately. (See above: I've been napping.) I made every effort to contact people personally, but just in case anyone reads the blog who isn't in my phone or tied to me through the Facebook, I'll say it again...

I had my scan last week. The growth in my side hasn't changed at all, and Leftie has gone from two inches to two and a half inches at her widest point. (My tumors are usually male. But considering this one's on an ovary, I figured it was only right to assign her a female identity, complete with a name ending in "ie".) I know (oh, trust me, I KNOW) that half inch sounds like a lot. It's roughly 20% growth (which, again, I know sounds like a lot), but it turns out that 20% is smack in the middle of the safety zone (5%) and the danger zone (50%), so Dr. H let me decide if I wanted to start chemo now, or wait another scan cycle.

Hello, easiest decision ever. I'm keeping my hair for Christmas! (I decided this after conferring with the good doctor, of course. He assures me that if/when this tumor starts to really grow, I'm going to know it. I feel like it's plenty safe to put off chemo for another scan cycle, because I know what symptoms to be on the lookout for, and I know that I have a direct line (either phone or email) into my beloved doctor if/when I cross that bridge.)

Having had the expectation that chemo would most likely be happening during the holiday season, I can't even tell you what it has meant to me to have that sentence lifted. (Seriously. I can't tell you, because I tear up and lose the ability to speak, every time I stop long enough to actually think about what I've been given for Christmas this year: Time.)

Because I didn't have an outpatient procedure this week to put in a port, I was able to go home for Thanksgiving for the first time since 2008, and it was a glorious, wonderful, fabulous, festive and song-filled weekend. (Judy, Katie and I started caroling Friday morning - it was the day after Thanksgiving, so it was totally okay - and the music didn't stop until bedtime last night.)

It was great to be home with family and visit with friends at home. I'm going back in three weeks for Christmas, and please believe me when I say that I couldn't be happier about that.

I love this time of year. I love it more than I can say!

I'd resigned myself to the thought that I'd be sick and tired for the holidays this year (more tired than usual, and sicker than I've ever been), and I was okay with that, because when it comes to the cancer, rolling with the punches is easier than fighting them, and if chemo is what I have to do next, then chemo, it is. ... So, getting the holidays back, complete with trips home to Taylor to spend time with my family (and friends who are like family) there? It means more to me than I could ever say.

So, tomorrow it's December. And, while I have no idea how that happened, I intend to live every day in December to its fullest. (Even if that means that I fall asleep on the couch at 5:00, Netflixing a cheesy Christmas movie, I'll be living and loving the crap out of this December!)

I don't know that I've ever had a more grateful Thanksgiving, and I'm looking forward to December more than I'm sure I ever have. It's amazing, the perspective that an extra 1/2 inch on a tumor can give a girl.

That 1/2 inch growth really is the best gift I've ever been given, and I'm incredibly, amazingly, humbly, grateful for that gift.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Answers

I've received a few texts this week from friends and family like with a similar theme of, "Inquiring Minds Want to Know", so I thought I'd do a blog post and answer some of those questions publicly. You know, just in case any one of the original seven are out there, wondering, and unsure if it's okay to ask...

How I'm feeling:

I'm alright. Tired. (Okay, fine. Exhausted is probably a better word. I wake up feeling decent, but by 10:00, usually, I'm tired. And it's all downhill from there. I don't even have words for how worn out I am by the time the sun goes down. But I'm alright.) My pain levels have been holding steady for the last three or so weeks, and I'm not any tired-er now than I was in my birthday week, which I'm considering a win. My cough is still hanging out. It's not going away, but it's not really getting any worse, either. So, I can't complain there. My bowels are real special, but not in any way that isn't, sadly, typical for this aged body of mine. So, like I said... I'm alright.

What happened with the car:

After six weeks of waiting, including a solid two weeks of back and forth discussions (I call them "discussions", because that seems like the nicest way to describe said conversations) with the insurance company, the Neon was deemed a total loss and my ins co cut me a check that I was able to use as a partial down payment on a 2013 Chevy Captiva. I've been driving my new-to-me ride for about two weeks now, and I must say...


I love it. I love that the seats are high. (I no longer mutter - or sometimes yell - expletives getting in and/or out of my car. ... It's been a long 4 1/2 years, people.) I love that the transmission is automatic. (No more having to shift down in rush hour traffic!) I love that it came with a 3 month trial of Sirius radio. (Who enjoys the sounds of the 40's? This girl. And now I can listen to big band music ON THE RADIO, IN MY CAR!) I love that I can hit 70 mph and not worry that my car's going to shake itself to pieces...

Come December, I may not love having a car payment again (it's been longer than I can think of, off the top of my head, since the Neon was paid off), but I figure that it was a necessary purchase... and I'm loving the heck out of the new mobile! It may have taken an Act of God to make me (okay, fine... allow me to justify the decision to) purchase a new car, but I'm glad that it did. Life is easier for my body when I'm in a higher ride, and I'm glad I finally have one of my very own (seat warmers, included).

When I will start chemo:

We don't know. ... Possibly as soon as the week of Thanksgiving. Potentially around MLK Day in January. Maybe around Easter next spring?

I had an appt with my beloved Dr. H yesterday (I had some follow-up questions to the last time I saw him, so I called his office and got myself on his schedule, like any good girlfriend would do) to go over some of the fun (read: not so fun) parts of what's coming my way. We're both hopeful that my lack of significant and obvious deterioration means that my little friends aren't growing SUPER fast in there, and we can put this chemo business off for another scan cycle or two.

My next scan is scheduled for the 20th. I'll get the results on the 21st.

Until then, I'm living a delicate balance of planning for the worst and hoping for the best. (Planning for the worst: I spent all weekend cleaning out my closet and under my bathroom sink, because I wanted to get that done before I'll be too tired and weak to even supervise someone else doing it. ... Hoping for the best: I plan on buying a Christmas tree on my way home from my results appointment and setting it up that night while I watch Elf and laugh myself sick.)

Those are the three most commonly asked questions. If there's anything else any of you darling readers would like to know, go ahead and leave a comment/call/text/fb/email me... whatever (just please don't leave me a voicemail if you call and I don't answer... voicemail stresses me out and I don't need that in my life right now), and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.