Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What's New With Me

Hello Friends.  I am sorry I have been a little MIA. I know some of you are starting to get a little worried, but in this case, no news is good news ;o).  Today is a very snowy day here in Maryland, and I am making myself stop and write a little update while Charly is napping, and Steve is out shoveling snow!!
I am doing great post-surgery.  I have pretty much resumed all activities and can pick up Char with ease.  I can always gauge how strong I am when I pick her up, since she is constantly getting heavier.  I still have some pain and pulling on the right side, but I try to listen to my body and take it easy when needed.  I started doing a little yoga, which I love and am so happy to be able to get some good stretching in, but again I have to take it a little easy on that one side.  I am always cautious of what side I am lifting on and try to limit how heavy things are on the right side.  The last few months have been the normal holiday craziness I am sure most of you can relate to.  We had a great holiday with family and friends.  We are doing normal parenting stuff having a two year old with potty training, swimming lessons, etc.
All my follow-up appointments have gone well.  I started Tamoxifen on 1/11/13, so I have officially completed my first full year (with a little break for surgery).  Only nine more, yes nine more, years to go!!!  The hot flashes started a few months ago.  Most of mine happen in the middle of the night with night sweats.  They seem to be stronger and more often around the time of month when my hormones are higher.  Drinking wine also seems to trigger these nasty little disturbances.  If it keeps my cancer from recurring, I will gladly endure the hot flashes.   
My thyroid is still having some trouble getting jumpstarted.   I am on my forth regiment of synthroid, and each time a little increase or decrease is needed.  I am hoping this is just a temporary issue, but with the radiation I had done to the lymph nodes in my neck, this may be something I struggle with for a long time.  I think I am due for another adjustment.  I have been really tired and feel a little run down.  I have a follow-up in a couple of weeks for some blood work.
I have been trying really hard to eat healthy and really limit the amount of processed foods we eat.  It is definitely challenging when life gets busy.  Eating fresh fruits and veggies take dedication, work, and frequent trips to the grocery store.  But, boy can I tell a difference when I am not getting a high level of veggies every day.  Steve and I have been doing a 21 day cleanse where we eliminate all processed foods, animal products, and gluten.  We already try to limit animal products and eat a lot of fresh veggies and grains, but the cleanse gives us a little jumpstart after the holidays.  Meat is something that Steve struggles with giving up, while I rarely miss it.  But, I am only human and sometimes I get a craving for a good organic burger or movie theater popcorn.  If I am not feeling well or am tired, the cravings seem to be stronger, and I can’t always resist the temptation.  Everyone asks me how I get Steve to give up meat and do a cleanse.  I should add that while he will do it, it’s not done silently, and he reminds me on a regular basis how much he misses meat and cheese.  I always say it must have been watching me go through chemo while being sick and bald that gives me a certain level of persuasion.  In reality, it probably has more to do with me harassing him and not wanting to hear my lecture when he is eating something I disapprove of.  A happy wife equals a happy life right?!?  Moderation is a word I hear a lot of people say.  Especially when I am talking about why I don’t eat fast food or drink soda.  A lot of people say it’s all about moderation.  But, what does that really mean?  To me, moderation might mean I eat something once every three months.  Whereas someone else might think eating this same thing once a week or once a day is moderation.  Everyone has a different definition of what moderation means to them.  I think we each have to come to terms with what is really good for our health and not everyone is ready to hear about why something they enjoy is not so good for them.   
What’s next in my journey you might ask?  I need to decide what I am doing about my ovaries.  The opinions seem divided on the pros and cons related to removing them for prevention of both a recurrence and ovarian cancer.  There is a really interesting study taking place at Hopkins that I would be a candidate for.  Some new studies show that ovarian cancer may originate in the fallopian tubes and then spread to the ovaries.  For high risk patients, they are removing the tubes and leaving the ovary function.  This would be a really great alternative since I would not have to deal with the added full blown menopause symptoms.  If I opted to go down this road, it would just be a temporary precaution, and they still recommend I have the ovaries removed around 40, which will be in 2021.  The removal of the tubes is done laparoscopically and is a very minor procedure.  The doctor I talked to is fantastic, and I really liked her a lot.  Part of the study would involve monitoring during the period between tubes and ovary removal, and I would continue to have a pelvic ultrasound every six months.  I still need to think about this and decide how I want to proceed.  That's all I've got for the moment.

 If you are in Maryland, enjoy this beautiful snow day and be safe.

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