Saturday, May 20, 2017

(I Wish It Was Not A Sin ) To Kill A Mockingbird

We have a bully in our backyard.  It's not the little boy who lives next door.  No...our bully is of the feathered kind.  Our bully is a mockingbird.

It's kind of ironic that I'm harboring such ill will toward this bird.  (There actually may be more than one.)  For one thing, I used to love how mockers would mimic the songs of different birds.  And To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite books; it's a book I read at least every other year.

But the mockingbird we have is a feathered terrorist.  For some reason, he has staked out our backyard as his turf, and woe to any other bird who tries to come there to the many feeders or to build a nest in the birdhouses.  My father has watched what has been going on and said the mockingbird will actually perch somewhere just outside of our feeders, watch and wait.  When he sees a bird come to the feeder, he'll swoop in and chase the other bird away before the poor thing has the chance to grab a bite.

The worst objects of his wrath are, of all things, bluebirds.  Now, talk about your bird that isn't aggressive.  The other day one of the bluebirds came to a feeder and the mockingbird went on the attack.  My Dad broke up the dustup, saying that he was certain that had no one intervened the mocker would have killed the bluebird.

In our state it may not be a sin to kill a mockingbird, but it is a crime, because they're a protected species.  So for now, we're stuck with our feathered bully, and our birdhouses go unused.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more..."

I'm not King Henry V trying to rouse his soldiers to battle one more time, but I am letting my friends know that I am once more going to have to do battle with "the Beast."

It was confirmed this week that my ovarian cancer has reared its ugly head again.  I had suspected it for a while because I was starting to have the symptoms I'd had before, but after hearing the results of the PET scan, there was no denying it.

After my last waltz with chemo, I swore that would be it--no more.  My doc. and I talked about treatment options that were available to me, and we decided that my best option would be an oral form of chemotherapy that has been specifically used for ovarian cancer.  (Don't be fooled; just because it's not in an IV doesn't mean it isn't harsh.)

I told her about my reservations about going on treatment again.  Remember in To Kill a Mockingbird  when Atticus says to Scout "It's not time to worry yet"?   Well, my doctor basically said to me that we weren't "there" yet, and that she would definitely let me know when she felt it was time to stop.  That made me feel better, because as a nurse, I have heard doctors say to patients/family members that they can treat "x" disease.  Well, can treat someone right into the ground.  Treating isn't making that patient better.  I feel like I can trust her, even though I haven't been going to her for all that long.

So there you have it.  I'm not sure what else to say for now.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Well, what a difference a week makes.

I wound up having to go back for surgery to remove the implants.  Fortunately, I was able to go home the next day after lunch.

I didn't expect this to affect me the way it has.  Maybe I've just hit the wall of trying to smile and be fine.  I've had so many parts of me sliced, diced, lopped off or chopped out that I feel like a piece of human sushi.

So anyway, there it is.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Since my last post, I had the second phase of my surgery on Feb. 20.  It's funny: I felt so great the day after my surgery that I talked my doctors into letting me go home, even though my Hgb. was low.  A week later, I felt like I had to drag myself to get to the doctors' offices for follow-up appointments.

The breast surgeon was pleased with my progress and said I would not need to come back again, although I do need to go for genetic counseling.  Then I went to the plastic surgeon, and that was terrific, because I got those stinkin' JP drains pulled.  To sleep in my own bed tonight...sweet bliss!
I have to go back to see him again next Friday, as well as get some blood work.

As always, I am eternally grateful to my parents for making the trip to FCCC; it's a long drive but well worth it.                                                                                                                                                

Friday, February 3, 2017

My visit to FCCC earlier this week could have gone a lot better than it did.

It started off well: I saw my gyn/oncologist for my three month check-up.  She said my exam was normal and that we'd continue with visits every three months for now.  She said she'd call me with the results of my blood work that I'd had earlier that morning.  "It's been nearly two years since your last recurrence," she said, with a bright smile.  "That's really great."

After lunch I went to the plastic surgeon for a post-op visit.  I was concerned about this because my incisions weren't healing well; in fact, one incision had separated.  The surgeon checked them and said one incision was actually fine.  The other incision will require daily dressing changes with Silvadene cream.  At least it wasn't infected, and that means in all likelihood my surgery on the 20th will still be a go.

It was sometime during the afternoon that I got a call telling me that my gyn/oncologist, Dr. Chu, wanted me to have imaging studies because my tumor markers were elevated.  I asked if perhaps the issues wth my incisions not healing were causing my labs to look like there was a problem, and I was told "She (the doctor) has taken that into consideration."

So, I have to go back to FCCC next week so the plastic surgeon can recheck my incisions, then have a CT of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.

Sometimes it feels like you just go from one crisis to another.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I'm recuperating from the first phase of my mastectomy and reconstruction.  This part hasn't been too bad; I had implants inserted to stretch the skin.  On Feb. 6th, I go back for the mastectomy.  I'll have to stay over night for one or two days for that surgery.  At that time, the surgeon will move the implants in place,  I'll have some minor "finishing touches" to do after that, and then that should be it.

I'm so thankful to my parents for being willing to take me to the doctors at Fox Chase (FCCC).  It's not as if FCCC is just around the corner; it's an hour and a half drive to two hours to get there.  The traffic can be a bear.  But my parents have done it uncomplainingly, even on the days when we had to get up at 4am to be there for a 7am appointment.

And I really appreciate the support I have gotten from my friends as well.  The last 5 years have been really trying, and it has meant so much to me to have friends stand by me.   Having a serious long term illness really tells you who your true friends are..

Thank you, each and every one of you.

Friday, December 9, 2016

It's been a long time since I've posted; much has happened over the last few weeks.  After careful consideration, I have decided to proceed with a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.

As most of you know, I have the BRCA2 genetic mutation, putting my risk for developing breast cancer much higher than average, particularly since I've had ovarian cancer twice.  There's nothing I can do about preventing the ovarian cancer from recurring, but breast cancer--this is something I have some control over.

For a host of reasons, I've decided to have the surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center.  It's a hike, but I think the benefits will outweigh the inconvenience of having to travel there.

So thank you to family and friends who have been faithful supporters.  Here we go again again...

There's no special meaning behind this duck photo; it just makes me smile.