My transition

Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again. 

Bikram Choudhury

This week was my third week at my full time office job. I think it is going very well! Transitioning from a part time worker to one that is full time was not as difficult as I had imagined.

It is not lost on me that many people in my situation never get to experience what I am. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014 and the months/years after my body was dragged through the wringer. It was poked and prodded, cut open and scoped. I had a port placed and thankfully removed just recently. A lot of my peers never get their mobility/ independence back. I am fully back to life as it was before lung cancer. And I have a new perspective on life, as cliche as that sounds.

I am thankful for the life I live.

Next scans: October 10th

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My house in the trees

There is a common theme on my blog posts and that is normalcy. Well Robert and I are about to get real normal! When I was diagnosed I, um well, thought it was over and I was going to die. And with those thoughts came things about never having a new job, getting married, buying a house and babies but that one is a whole different story! All the things my friends my age were doing that I thought I would never experience. We have already crossed off getting married and next we close on our house mid August! And I’m super excited! We are in the nitty gritty part of it now. Trying to figure out where the down payment is coming from, getting the house appraised and so on and so forth. Wish us luck and hopefully we will have house warming eventually.

“But if you crash and nobody sees
Just remember there will always be
A room for you in my house in the trees, trees

July 8th scan results!

STABLE!

I had scans July 8th and seen Dr. Patel July 10th.

I go to the Orland park building for my scans and it is so much more convenient then going to Hyde park. We arrived and the receptionist tried telling me that my blood appointment is schedule in Orland but my actual scan is scheduled for Hyde park. And then proceeds to look at her watch and say “if you leave now you will make it on time” Ummmm. No. Since the Orland park location opened I have been getting scans there. She calls to the back and they “squeeze me in”.

Now I have been getting scans every three months since the beginning of the year and those scans are always accompanied by drinking the “juice”. I’m sitting in the waiting area and the lady calls out another patients name. They are in the bathroom. She looks at me and says “Diane I can take you now if you are ready?” Confused I said “ok but I haven’t had the contrast. And she tells me that it wasn’t ordered. So 10 minutes later I’m walking out!

In the appointment they tell me that Dr Patel is now seeing patients in Orland park 1-2 days a month. Win!

July 10th I see dr. She starts of the convo by saying I can get my port removed! Woohoo! Now I asked for it but it was a surprise twist to my visit since I wasn’t expecting it. We have that scheduled for Aug 1st.

We got a few things straightened out such as my zofran prescription. All in all it was a great visit! We paid a whopping $6 for parking because we were there less than an hour. Now if I could only figure out where my Xarelto prescription is getting filled I will be set!

I’ve got friends in low places

As humans we crave the company of those who are not related to us ie friends. I have had some amazing people come through my life that I consider my friends.

When faced with a tough diagnosis such as cancer many people find out who their true friends are. It sucks when someone who is very close to you ends up ghosting you after a diagnosis. I have been fairly lucky.

I have a group of lady friends that I still chat with. Now we don’t get together but once or twice a year but we make it a point to do so. There are 7 of us. We have done a Christmas party every year since we graduated high school. We are currently planning a “Christmas in July” party for which I’m super excited! I’m sure if money were not a factor (or all of us getting time off from work) we would plan a girls trip (just like the movie lol)

She said don’t worry

I am still in treatment limbo because I haven’t had my next appointment yet. It

will be December 27th, 2018. But I wanted to make a post about how “normal” I have been feeling lately. To those not facing a terminal illness you may not understand what I’m talking about but I’ll *try* to explain.

When I was diagnosed with stage iiib lung cancer (now stage IV) I felt as though I lost my independence. I eventually stopped working full time and had even taken some time off work.

A few hospital stays and some visits by the home health nurse kept me reminded that I had lung cancer. Most recently my every 21 day trip to the hospital for infusion has kept it on my mind.

But. I have started working more hours at my job and picked up a second part time job. With my new expanded schedule I have to worry about things such as packing a lunch. I have to coordinate when I will do my adulting tasks such as going to the bank or post office. With my increase in hours at work I have also seen a bit more on the ole paycheck. Which is always nice. I am able to go shopping for what I need and not have to depend on my family for a change.

I was diagnosed April 2014. It has taken almost 5 years to get a semi normal life back. And I’m not ready to let it go! It truly is the little things.

I have never been so excited to work!

My latest update

Sooooo good and (as I see it some) bad news.

First the good news! SCANS WERE STABLE! I signed the papers for this clinical trial one year ago this month. Yesterday to be exact. Next scans undetermined as of right now.

As for the bad news. I’m on my way home. What does that mean?? No infusion. She is worried about the toxicity of the clinical drug and is worried about my quality of life deteriorating. So therefore we are skipping infusion one more time. I may even be done with the trial 😰 I will know more in the coming weeks. I see Dr. Patel again on December 27th so hopefully either the neuropathy gets better or Dr. Patel has a new option for me. This is a scary point and one I have never been thru. I have never ended a treatment while it is still working! I am of course still on tarceva so I am not completely without systematic treatment.

We talked about a few options for the neuropathy. She gave me a prescription for physical therapy since I’m walking terribly. And the other was an alternative therapy (read: out of pocket) and prefaced it with a lot of “I swear I’m not crazy” kind of statements. BUT water therapy with some sort of shock therapy. Meh I’ll probably stick with the physical therapy 🤷🏼‍♀️

Please consider donating a few bucks to my #superbowlchallenge. I let Dr Patel know I was fundraising for U of C and she was very thankful and appreciative. Any little bit helps!

(https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/team-diane2)

And if you have made it to the bottom of this post I am forever grateful for all the thoughts, prayers, happy juju, whatever you send my way! ❤️

Love potion (infusion) #9

Two posts in one week?!? What is this craziness. Well I had a busy medical week so a Facebook post just would not cut it.

My last post was about my blood transfusion so I will start with there. My hemoglobin today was an amazing 8.6 which is acceptable! Whoo hoo! I will go in next week for follow up labs to make sure things aren’t trending downward again.

I started my day with the ob/gyn. I had a vaginal ultrasound. I won’t go into to too much detail 😂 I met with Dr. Brooks in March and not much was done then. So today I met with Dr. Kim. She told me that she thinks the irregular bleeding (May 3rd – today) is because my body is tying to catch up from not having a period for so long. She suggested that I start a progesterone pill for a few weeks until I can talk with Dr. Brooks. I will see her in two weeks. She will either approve or suggest a different plan which is a DNC and IUD placement on July 10th.

After that I had labs and met with Dr. Patel to go over scans. Well I actually went over the scans with the fellow. She explained a bunch of “scary” wording in my report. I can’t go into detail because frankly it went over my head 🤦🏼‍♀️. Dr. Patel came in and we talked about the suspiciousness on my scan. There is an area that may be 1) ground glass or 2) pneumonitis. My options were to either get a bronchoscopy now or wait and scan at 4 weeks as opposed to 6 weeks. I chose to wait because I HATE bronchoscopys. I spoke with a few fellow Lung cancer ladies and they agreed with my decision. I am to watch for signs of shortness of breath, fatigue and fever.

I had my ninth infusion afterwards (hence the blog post title 😂 hey I think I’m funny!) It went smoothly until they needed blood. She tried with a butterfly in my right arm and was VERY unsuccessful. So unsuccessful that she left the needle poking out of my arm walked over to the curtain to get help and left it in for at least 4 mins (a long time considering the circumstances) and until her charge nurse got there. Then the charge tried in my left arm and was almost unsuccessful but pulled through last minute! (Enough of my rant!)

On a separate note. I went to the ER on Wednesday night (June 13th). On June 4th I stepped off the curb with my left foot. Well it buckled and my right foot did nothing to rectify the situation so I landed on the ground. My left foot oddly enough was OK. My right foot hurt a little but seemed OK. No bruising. So I thought I was in the clear. Well fast forward to Wednesday and it was still swollen and hurt a lot. So I left work early (sorry guys!) and went straight to the ER. They did a foot/ ankle scan and determined it was NOT broken. They gave my crutches (which I am no good at walking with) a splint and an ice bag. Instructions to elevate when I can, ice it and follow up with an ortho doctor.

I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and happy thoughts,… positive juju and all the good stuff! ❤️ Here are a few pictures that I mainly posted to either my Instagram feed/ instagram story / or Facebook!

(Yes. That is a pickle slushie from Sonic!)