Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Random Things

A few weeks ago, I mentioned having problems with lymphedema on my left side, which happens sometimes after lymph node removal and/or radiation, because the fluid that used to drain to those lymph nodes has no where to go. Mine was/is barely noticeable but sometimes it hurt and of course it bothered me and I definitely didn't want it to get worse. It took a few weeks to get in with a lymphedema specialist, but I finally went in last week. They showed me how to help push the fluid towards other lymph node sites, and I really feel like it's helping! My hand feels and looks much less "Stay-Puff Marshmellow Man-ish" :) and I haven't had pain and tenderness like I was before. Now to work more on range of motion!

In other good news, I've had knee issues since the first of the year, and I've been working on physical therapy for that, and finally on Monday I realized it hasn't been bothering me nearly as bad. I felt it a tiny tiny bit during spin last night (Tuesday) and this morning, but since it had been hurting just from bending and straightening my knee, it's a major improvement.

Next week I have scans and round 5 of treatment. It's been really nice to go 3 months without treatment or tons of doctor appointments! My insurance company denied authorization for a PET scan, which is required by the clinical trial, but my oncologist suggested we do a CT scan only and apparently this was ok with the trial and my insurance. I probably should know more about the difference between the two scans, but I don't, and my doctor said he'd appeal the insurance company's denial if he were even 1% concerned about not having the PET scan, so that's good enough for me. We can't blindly trust someone just because they've got MD behind their name, but I trust Dr J's judgement.

For some reason I don't understand (something to do with the contrast they use), since I have to get a CT scan of my neck and torso, that means I get to go on two different days to get them both done. The first day I'll do bloodwork and part of the CT (once again I have to sit around for a few hours in between without eating! If you know me, you know this is horrible news :) ). The second day I'll do the rest of the scan first thing in the morning, then see the doctor late morning for my results, which will be very good I'm sure, and then treatment after that. So that's a needle stick and 3 IV's in 2 days. Awesome. Super excited about that ;).

Ok well this short update has turned long, so I'm gonna stop now. Remember as we start celebrating spring and summer to put on your sunscreen, early and often! A tan is nice, but trips to the cancer center and chemo unit are NOT!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

R.I.P. Dawn

It's never a good thing to hear of someone passing away. No matter what you believe happens when you leave this world, it's still sad. Holes are left in people's life that are never re-filled quite right, no matter what. Husbands are left without wives, wives without husbands, children without a mom or dad, parents without their son or daughter, sisters and brothers without a sibling, and friends without one of their friends. It's very surreal to me the bond I feel with others who have melanoma, even though I haven't met any of them in real life. Some of them are Facebook friends, and some of them have blogs I keep up with, and I've never even carried on a virtual conversation with most of them. Dawn of [Defying Melanoma] is one of those people. I have been reading her blog for a while, and left a comment here and there, and that's it. But when I learned today of her passing, it didn't matter that I've never met her in real life, or had an email conversation, or anything. I feel such sadness for her family, but such awe of her attitude over the last weeks and months. 

Please go read her blog, even if it's just the last few entries, and take a look at her amazing attitude even lately while she's been in hospitals and doctors have been trying to figure out how to help her. If you pray, please keep this family in your prayers. Dawn left behind a husband and 2 young boys who will need supernatural strength to move forward without her. 

And PLEASE, don't tan in tanning beds, wear sunscreen in the sun, and go to the dermatologist to get your skin checked! It could literally be the difference between life and death. Dawn was only 39, and for anyone who is young enough to think that's "old", Jillian Hayes (see last post) was only 23. Both of these brave women were far too young to leave this world. Both of them tanned in tanning beds. Be careful and take care of yourselves!