Monday, August 5, 2013

Never a dull moment

Good Evening,

Just wanted to give you an update on the saga of my thyroid.  The blood tests that Dr. Pfeifer sent me for came back normal.  The ultrasound showed that the goiter is HUGE and that I have 4 nodules on it.  So she sent me to Dr. Ball (an ear, nose, and throat specialist) today.

It didn't take Dr. Ball very long to determine that my thyroid needs to come out.  Here is a rundown of my schedule the next 3 weeks:

8/13 - I have a CT scan to let Dr. Ball see what she is dealing with.

8/19 - I have to go to Indy at 10 am to have the nodules biopsied.

8/26 - I have an appointment with Dr. Ball to schedule the surgery.

The recovery time for the surgery is 7 to 10 days (and my co-workers say "Hallelujah")   Another positive is that it will be done before the end of the year.  That is is good thing as I have hit my deductible on my insurance this year. (And Tonya says "Hallelujah")

Prayers and positive vibes would be appreciated.  I wasn't expecting to have another surgery so soon and frankly, I need to psych myself up.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More tests! Oh Boy!


I went for my annual checkup with my primary care doctor today.  I won't bore you with the gorey details because there is just some things that don't need to be discussed.  One of the topics of the visit was my thyroid.

Years ago, I was diagnosed with a goiter.  This wasn't too much of a surprise as my dad, Grandma Armstrong, Great Grandma Armstrong and Great Grandma Jeffers all had thyroid problems.  At the time, they tested my thyroid and it was functioning fine so we left if alone.

After my surgery in February, the anesthesiologist came in to check on me.  He had trouble getting the breathing tube down my throat because of the goiter so he wanted me to be sure and have my primary care doctor look into it.

So Dr. Pfeifer took one look at it today and could tell the goiter is getting bigger.  I am also having a lot of symptoms that indicate that my thyroid isn't working right.  So bright and early tomorrow morning, I am having an ultrasound done on my goiter and blood tests (you know how LOVE blood tests) for everything under the sun. (PTL I have hit my deductible this year).

Dr. Pfeifer said if the thyroid isn't working right, there is a chance that taking the medication will shrink the goiter.  If it doesn't, then I will have to see a surgeon.  Since I really don't want to go through another surgery at this time (if it is truly needed, I will), please pray my thyroid is not functioning and medicine will take care of the problem.

Other than the toe fungus I was also diagnosed with (only I would get a toe fungus on top of everything else I have had)  I am doing great.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My 1st Anniversary

One year ago today at 10 pm, I received the call that I had cancer.  I have to say, it's been quite the year. I thought I would share some of the things I have learned:

1.  God is good ALL the time.  I am not going to list all the times I knew God had his hand in my life this past year.  I could easily write a book if I did.   (If you have some free time, I will be more than glad to bend your ear about it).  There is  one thing that I will mention.  During the church service this past Sunday , our minister, David Stokes, had us read aloud Psalm 23.  After this past year, that scripture had a whole new meaning for me.  Because I know from first hand experience that The Lord is MY shepherd.

2.  I have the best family ever.  I can't imagine how my mom had to feel having to take care of her child who had the same disease that killed her husband 20 years before.  But she did so without batting an eye. She even succeeded in not getting put in the trunk in our many trips to Indy.   My brother shaved my head, which probably bothered him more than me.  My sister-in-law went on a search to make sure I had the most fashionable head wear and went with us to several of my appointments.  She also was the one who turned my name in for my Hello Gorgeous makeover.  (Thanks again for that by the way)   My niece and nephew were a welcome distraction to what was going on.  I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.

3.  I have the best friends ever.  I have known Edie and Kista since my IUK days.  (We won't mention how many years that has been)  I can't express adequately just how great they have been through this year.  They both made the trek down to Indy to be with me through both my surgeries.  Edie made sure my social media accounts were updated (and did a GREAT job with that).  They made me laugh, prayed for me and did anything I needed them to do.  Edie's son Sam even gave me his beloved Colt's hat to wear.  Ladies, I consider you guys my sisters and I love you both dearly.  To quote the immortal bard Kelly Clarkson "My life would suck without you".  (that goes for my family too)

4.  I have the best job ever.  The library has been awesome through all of this.  They were flexible with me not being there and such a support.  You guys rock.

5.  My twitter buddies rock.  Years ago, I became obsessed with a little movie entitle "Twilight".  To find out more about it, I joined the Twilight fandom on Twitter.  When I got diagnosed, I debated on whether or not to disclose what I had.  I am so glad I did.  You guys have been such a support.  I have had prayers and positive vibes coming to me from all over the world.  I must meet you guys in person one of these days.

6.  People in the medical field, especially the oncology part,  have the customer service thing down.  The ladies in Dr. Gupta's /Dr. Leagre's office remembered my name without me telling them.  Dr. Schmidt called me at home the day after my appointment because he remembered he forgot to answer one of my questions.  The Women's Hospital gave me a thank you card for letting them take care of me.  And I still can't fathom how Barb and the other chemo nurses keep anything straight with the quantity of patients they see in one day.  These are just a few instances of the great customer service I received this year.  Since I have a job that deals with customer service, I hope to take what I have learned and pay it forward so to speak.

7.  I really rock the short hair look.   I have had people I don't even know stop and tell me how cute it looks.   I guess all those times I threatened to shave my head bald, I should have done it.  I don't think I would choose to go bald again.  I have had enough of hats.

8.  Maintaining a positive attitude is more than half the battle.  I fully believe that my choosing to have a positive attitude got me through this year.  That is not to say I didn't have my moments.   I just let those moments happen and pulled up my bootstraps and marched forward.  Life is so much better when you laugh about things.

9.  I will never complain about another birthday EVER.  Every birthday from 45 to 100 will be a huge celebration for me.  I won't even let it bother me that my baby brother is turning 40 April 21. (I am a rotten older sister aren't I) 

This turned out to be more wordy than I planned so I won't bore you any further.  Just know that I am thrilled I made it a year and I plan to be here for many many more.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yes I am still here

Greetings!  My apologies for slacking on my blogging duties.  Recuperating takes a lot of work. :D

First I would like to thank my BFF Edie for once again keeping my social media accounts updated during my surgery.  You did awesome.  Hopefully you won't have to do it again for a LONG time.

I thought I would share some highlights from my month off.  First let's start with the surgery:

1)  I was dreading getting my IV (as I have said before, my veins suck)  I don't know the name of the nurse who gave me my IV, but she did great.  Didn't feel a thing.  I wonder if I can have her give me all of my blood tests. :D

2)  I had wondered if Dr. Schimdt would mark my breast before my surgery and low and behold, he did.  I didn't have the nerve to ask him just what he would have mistaken for a breast since I only had one to take off.  Guess we will never know. :)  I also heard there was a discussion on how one would remove a breast and leave a nipple.  You will have to ask my cheering section about that one. :)

3)  It is official, anesthesia is not my friend.  I couldn't keep any food down until right before I left the hospital.  Next surgery, I am going to have them hit me over the head with a club.

4)  The St. Vincent Women's Hospital is one of the best hospitals I have ever stayed at.  The nurses were attentive and friendly (no Nurse Ratchet this time).  My cheering section got free coffee.  Mom wishes there cot was a little softer but other than that, there was no complaints.  They even gave me a Thank You card as I was being discharged thanking me for letting them take care of me.

Edie then took us home the next day.  Some of the highlights from recovery include:

1) Drains still stuck. (pun intended).  Luckily this time, since I didn't have a lymph node taken out, I only had one of those pesky things.  I was never so glad to get it out.  I won't be the least little bit sad if I never have another one.

2)  If you read Edie's post about my surgery, yes Mom took the clocks of the wall.

3)  I found I was a little more sore this time.  I suspect that had something to do with it being the left side and being left handed.  That's what I get for being unique. :)

4)  Mom has informed me that if I have another breast off, I will have to find somebody else to take care of me.  (Yes, my sense of humor came from her side of the family)

5) Having a mastectomy must make you crochet fast.  I finished 2 1/2 projects while I was off.  Hopefully I will keep this up. *giggles*

5)  The pathology report came back on the breast and there was no signs of cancer.  Praise the Lord.  When I went back for my follow up with Dr. Schmidt, he was very pleased with how I was healing.

So that brings us to today.  I am going back to work today. (Hooray)  It will be good to get back into a routine.  I am now at the "follow-up appointment" stage of my recovery.  At the end of April, I get to go get fitted for my new boobies.  I am exited about this because I really want to get the shirt that has this on it:

So that is where it stands right now.  Thank you all so much for your support.  I couldn't have gotten here without it.  And I will keep you updated on how I am doing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26 update

Edie, the Friend Formerly Known as the Pill Pusher, here, guest posting for T with permission once again after another rousing edition of "What Body Part Shall We Lop Off Today?"

T started out at predawn thirty into the overcast, damp, darkness to trek to the Women's Hospital to correct a grievous wrong. Before her second mastectomy, she, for the first time in her life, was left-leaning. Now, thanks to the marvel of modern medicine, she shan't have that affliction e'er again. (And all the conservatives said, "Amen.")

This second surgery took a far shorter time than the first because the doc didn't take a lymph node this round, so it was over before most people had time for a second cup of coffee. Speaking of coffee, if you are ever an attendee to a patient at Saint V's Women's Hospital, just bat your eyelashes at the front desk clerk, and you'll get a free coupon for a cup o' Starbucks at the coffee bar in the front lobby.

Post-op, T was a lot more perky this round due to a manageable pain level. She almost had a tinge of color in her face. She was alert and nearly amused. Her stomach, however, was not playin'. It did not enjoy the medicinal cocktail that goes along with surgery, and it promptly showed its displeasure by rejecting that first sip of chocolate shake that T tried to consume. After that, it calmed down a bit and let T get some rest.

When I left T this evening, she was dozing lightly despite the fact that her IV pump sounded like it had a tiny, persistent kitten stuck inside. They lop off a body part, and you get a free kitten. How's that for a good trade?

When dawn breaks anew, and they release T, I'll bring her back home where her mamacita will nurse her back to health but only after she's removed all the noisy clocks from the walls. I'm guessing, she won't even notice the tick-tock-tick-tock with that tiny kitten running around.

One of the first things T said to me this morning was, "This is the last day I have to wear a bra." Yes, she's going to be juuuuuust fine.

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4 update

Today was the day I went to Indy for my tests.  Praise the Lord the roads were clear and Mom didn't have to ride in the trunk. :D  First was the MRI.  When the MRI was set up, they told me it would be at 11:15 and to arrive 45 minutes early to fill out the paperwork.  When I arrived early, the lady at the front desk told me "You are an hour early, you weren't supposed to be here until 11:15".  I explained what I had been told and while I was filling out the paperwork, they got the tech's there and I got in around 11am.  Hooray!  The MRI itself was a breeze.  Getting the IV in for the contrast was another story.  They couldn't get it in my arm so they had to put it in the back of my hand.  (Another fun side effect of chemo I will have to live with)

After the MRI, a yummy lunch at Applebee's and a trip to Half Price Books (I am such a librarian), I went back for my mammogram.  They took 2 pictures and then the radiologist read the films.  She saw a suspicious spot that wasn't there after my last mammogram so she wanted another couple of shots taken.  After looking at those films, she determined that it wasn't anything to worry about.  I trust the doctors there so I am not going to worry.  I will say this, any doubt that I had about have my other breast removed flew out the window.  I am through dealing with this.  I want it off, end of story.

So please keep me in your prayers that the spot really isn't anything to worry about.  And continue to pray that the insurance finally agrees to pay for the surgery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 17/18 update

I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Schmidt yesterday.   We got there at 1:30pm for my 2:10 appointment.  You would not believe how crowed the waiting room was.  People were standing and sitting in the hallway.  The thing that struck me about that was the amount of women that needed to be there.  2 1/2 hours later, I finally got to see him.  They led Mom and I to an exam room.  Dr. Schmidt did the breast exam and then asked me if I was wanting to do reconstruction.  I told him I didn't want to do that but I had a question about having my left breast off.  So he told me to get dressed and he would be back in.  Well he came back in, grabbed my chart, told me I would be back in March for a mammogram and then led me to the check out.  Needless to say, Mom and I were kinda stunned.  But we figured that scheduling the appointment in March was his answer.  Or maybe I wasn't to that stage yet.  Dr. Schmidt likes to do things in stages and you don't discuss something before you are ready.

So that brings us to this evening.  I am lounging around my house and the phone rings.  It's Dr. Schmidt.  He said "You will think this is crazy, but I just remember you had a question and I didn't answer it".  So we discussed having the left breast off.  He said I didn't have to but he would have no problem taking it off.  So the plan is to go back down there in January for another mammogram and another MRI.  Those who know me well know how thrilled I am about having another MRI.  (They better get that blasted IV right this time).   I will then have my consultation with him and then have the mastectomy in either February or March.

Needless to say, my head is spinning but I truly think this is the right thing for me to do.  So please pray that everything goes right and that there is no snow.  (Mom would appreciate that)