Monday, October 31, 2011

October had Highs and Lows - Ending with Halloween Fun

In Annie’s health world – October was ‘rock-tober’ because I felt consistently energized and almost  ‘normal’ for the whole month. I am down to 8 mgs of steroids a day (from 24 mgs) and my hair is starting to grow back. It’s in weird patches, but at least it is growing. Maybe the wraps will go away around Christmas.

While feelin’ good - I happily have been able to tackle many household projects that have long been overdue – cleaning, organizing, throwing out junk – my weekends have been very productive. I have the need to lighten my load, clear out closets, and organize things. Chris and I took on a temporary tenant at his house in the valley, and we’ve done lots of work around his house too. I have been able to get lots done at work, too and I am really liking my job at PTA.

One the ‘lows’ this month – and this is a big one – we had to put our loving dog, Lance, down. Most of my family knows the details. In a nutshell – he developed an inoperable tumor on one of his front legs, and could not walk. He started limping on his front leg and it gradually got worse over a month. Two weeks ago, he was in so much pain, we took him to the vet. There was no medication that touched it. He developed a fever, stopped eating and drinking, and barely moved for three days. With the advanced arthritis in his back legs, it was too much. Anyway – at the vet, he went peacefully – it was a very Marley and Me experience. We are still dealing with the loss of his presence. Here is one of the last photos of him on his feet. Best. Dog. Ever.
Jake and his friend Jonathan

On a much lighter note – tonight we had a great Halloween. Check out the pictures. And I just heard my brother Dan and his wife, Courtney announced they are having baby number two in June. Life goes on!

Killer Grace
Devil Chris and Wifey Witch
My next big moment is getting the MRI test results on my brain tumors next week. Some days I am anxious about it. I think I cannot plan my life until after November 10. I really hope it is good news. Really. And I really hope I can drive again. Really.

Love to you all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Feelin Good, Waiting for Results

It’s been over a week since the radiation surgery, and I am feeling pretty good these last few days. It’s the magic of steroids. They reduce the swelling around the brain tumors and provide me with energy and an appetite. The negative side effects of face bloating, acne, facial hair, and the inability to sleep in more than a four hour stretch at night – I can handle. I am thankful every day I can get up without feeling nauseous and I can go to work and be somewhat functional at home at the end of the day. I will be taking the steroids in reduced doses over the next 3-4 weeks. 

The next update I will get from my medical team on the effects of the surgery will be on November 10. Dr. Bajaj (my radiologist) will review the MRI scans I get on November 8, and depending on the results, will make a plan for next steps. I also meet Dr. Wilkinson (oncologist) later the same day to see if I need to change my current Herceptin treatments, which are now back to every three weeks. My last PET scan a month ago showed no significant tumor growth in my lymph nodes or liver. They are still there – just not advancing in size, which is good.

My hair growth is just now starting in patchy spots. It is way too soon to know how or even if my hair will grow back completely, and honestly, I don’t care. I don’t mind wearing wraps. I don’t miss messing with hair styles, cuts, products, and all that goes into hair-care. That does not mean there is a side of me that would like to look ‘normal.’ Of course that would be ideal. However one major conclusion that I have come to throughout this process is that feeling good is incredibly more important than looking good. I feel good.

As usual, I need to end this post with gobs of gratitude to my supportive family, friends and co-workers. My parents continue to drive my bald headed body to and from work every day, to and from dozens of doctor’s appointments, and have been there for me every step of the way. My patient husband, Chris and my wonderful kids and all those people who have me on prayer lists and offer smiles of encouragement – I could not get out of bed in the morning without you.