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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Still sleeping

News from here is no news. I'm still sleeping a majority of my days away. I'd like to brag that my energy is back and that I'm out and about so much that I don't have time to blog...But that's not the case. I phoned my doctor last Thursday, hoping for a little sympathy (and perhaps more medication). The nurse returned my call on Monday afternoon, less than sympathetic and said that I should be feeling better by the end of this week. So, at least I have something to look forward to!
I did drive over to the Green Hills YMCA today to get some information on joining (that wore me out, if you can believe it). It's expensive to be a member of the Y, in my opinion. A family membership is $89/month! That seems fairly extreme, especially when swimming lessons and Pilates classes cost extra. I guess that's the price of fitness! We'll probably join since I'd like to begin some sort of fitness program and I'd really like to get Alexander into some swimming lessons.
In fact, they have some swimming lessons that begin next week. What better way for us to bond than through some forced interaction in the water? He loves 'swimming' so it should be lots of fun and it's only for two weeks so if we don't like it, we can always do something else after those two weeks are over. We'll miss out on our playgroup and some great MOMs club activities but Alexander can show off his bubble blowing ability to all the cute girls, excellent trade off for him, I think!
Sorry that I haven't kept up my end of the bargain with the blog...I haven't been doing enough to inspire my writing creativity! I promise to keep you all more updated - my in-laws had to resort to calling me last week and this week to get updates! Thanks for checking on me!
My parents have promised to forward some photos of Alexander - I'll share them as soon as they arrive! No pressure, Mimi and Papa...we know that you're tired!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The sandman hath visited

I've been sleeping since Friday afternoon! I guess that's not entirely true as I have been able to read the entire Harry Potter book...but other than that, I have been sleeping. I wake up and I am tired, I fall asleep and I am tired. I'm so weak that I can't zip up my own dress. This morning I woke up and had to talk my legs into getting out of the bed so I could make it to the bathroom. Don't feel sorry for me, though. I'm sure all this rest is good for me! It's a bit frustrating not to be able to get things done around the house. What other time in my mother-hood career will I have the house to myself to decorate, clean, etc without 'help' from little elves who do more to hinder progress than help it?

However, I have many things to be thankful for - synthroid and cytomel, to begin with! I have started my thyroid replacement drugs and am hopefully on the mend. Because patience is one of the virtues that I struggle with most, (Christmas and all of the wrappings are like torture for me!) I had quite hoped that the medicine would, after one dose, make me feel peppy again. I've had the first dose and I'm still feeling pretty wimpy. Darn. Well, there's always tomorrow's dose! I'm taking 4 pills in the mornings and one in the evening. So, maybe after tomorrow's dose, I'll begin to feel a bit more like myself.

Until then, I am (trying to be) content to doze in my bed and enjoy the quiet of the day. I've been cold a lot, due to the hypothyroidism, so Peter and I have enjoyed dinner outside several nights in a row. I could get used to that! I think we've been lucky because the evenings have been cooler and not as humid as typical July/August weather. Nevertheless, I'd like to make eating outdoors a habit as much as possible because it's so relaxing to sit under the stars and enjoy a conversation.

Alexander continues to do well with Mimi and Papa. He spent 30 minutes in the shower yesterday, making up songs and playing in the water. I assume that he had to get out because the water began to get cold! Papa says that Alexander made up a whole song about Mummy. That makes me smile! Keep my parents in your prayers as they sound so tired. Those of you with young children know that it's difficult to keep up with your kids...just imagine having to do it at the age of 60, when you thought that you were done having to have conversations with a two year old who says "I don't like ______ (insert everything here)" and says "no" to every question posed. I'm sure my parents will be glad for a quiet house and the opportunity to sleep an entire weekend away!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

And...I'm back! After spending a few uneventful days in l'hopital de Baptiste, I am home, sitting in my own bed. I have great news! My full body scan, completed this morning, showed that the cancer has not metastasised into my lungs, bones, or far-away lymph nodes. The iodine was sucked up by cells in my neck, the remaining thyroid cells and possibly a few lymph nodes not removed during surgery. For those who need that spelled out in plain English, the cancer didn't spread past my neck. So, that's great news! No additional treatment will be necessary and I am believed to be in the clear for now! Just as any other cancer patients are monitored, I will be checked every six months to a year to ensure that the cancer has not come back. Thyroid cancer does have a fairly high rate of recurrence in young people (I'm considered young in this instance). However, I don't feel worried at all about that fact. I'm glad to be rid of the cancer for now and know what to expect if I have to go through the radiation treatment again. I slept most of the 3 days so I can't really complain much. The most difficult part is being away from family and friends!

I'm still on restriction for a few days. I'm to eat off of paper plates and Peter has graciously taken his place in the guest bedroom. Alexander is having a grand time visiting with Mimi and Papa in Indiana - I believe they went to the zoo today and Uncle Matt and Aunt Michelle are stopping by to say hello tomorrow. We'll get Alexander back the first weekend in August. We'll be ready and I'm sure my parents will be ready for a good, long break without a two-year-old in the house!
I won't begin my thyroid replacement hormones until Monday so I'll still be feeling very tired until those drugs kick in (sometime around Wednesday or Thursday). By the time that Alexander returns, I should be feeling pretty good. And, by the time my TSH level reaches that of a normal person, I should be feeling like a whole new woman. I am looking forward to that! According to my endocrinologist, it will take between four to six weeks for my medication to get into my system and level out. Then, she'll adjust the dose as necessary to ensure that my levels stay very low.

Thank you very much to Allyson, Brendan and Connor, friends from England who sent a pretty bunch of flowers today! How cheery after being in that drab hospital room for three days! Allyson is due to give birth to their second child any day now. Allyson, if you're reading this, please update me on your progress!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

News from Baptist.

Despite what everyone might tell you, you should always second guess them...well, at least when it comes to wifi access at Baptist Hospital. Even the nurses don't know about it! My nurse and I were discussing the archaic technologies that the hospital provides and she mentioned that she couldn't believe they didn't have wifi. Well, surprise! I turned on the computer to watch a movie and found that there is a network here, available at no cost. I've logged in and seem to be up and running! Rest assured though, at least they have all the big network television channels. I can watch all of the reruns just fine. Peter brought my computer last night so I've even been able to watch a movie. (No DVD player provided)

There isn't a lot for me to report since I've been stuck in the same room for over 24 hours. It hasn't been too difficult for me though. I slept almost the whole day today! I felt a bit nauseated this morning so they gave me a dose of phenergan in my IV. Because I am so hypothyroid, the dose affected me much more than it would a normal person. I slept from 5 in the morning until noon when Judy brought me lunch. She stayed her allotted 30 minutes and then I slept. I was awakened at 2:30 when my doctor came in. She chatted with me for about 3 minutes and then I was out again. I finally got myself out of bed around 3:30. No more of that phenergan for me. I can't believe how long I slept! The good news is that I haven't had a chance to be bored.

Also, I'll be released from the hospital sometime tomorrow. My radiation level has steadily been going down. The magic number is 7. I began at 35 and went down to 20 by yesterday evening and then 9.5 this afternoon. I should be down to 7 tomorrow morning. They'll do a whole body scan (a bit like a CAT scan, I think) to see if my cancer has spread. Then, Peter is free to pick me up! At least I'll be able to convalesce in my own bed. Or at least my own house. Peter and I haven't discussed which one of us will sleep upstairs while we're supposed to be avoiding each other. I have a feeling that I'll lose that battle but I will let you know!

Brian and Ed came to visit tonight and didn't seem too scared about the radiation. Brian even ventured near enough to open my curtains for me. It was nice to see some friendly faces who weren't bringing in syringes or stethoscopes! I think they just came to find out if I really was glowing in the dark. Sorry to disappoint!

I'm looking forward to going home tomorrow and will update you when I am settled!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Glowing in the dark

Hello readers, this is Peter with an update on behalf of the quarantined patient. I will try and keep it brief as I've just spent about an hour creating a blog only to have it inadvertently deleted. Never mind.

This morning I accompanied Anne to Baptist hospital and after some waiting we got her checked into her room. I left before they brought in the radiation pill, but Anne reported that it was not hard to swallow. She is in good spirits and the only complaints are some slight nausea this afternoon and the fact that she had to wait hours for lunch to arrive, after being forbidden from eating all morning. I suspect "room service" was scared off by the large yellow and black radiation sticker on the door.

If anyone would like to visit Anne she is in room 6614 at Baptist Hospital. I know she would appreciate seeing her friends. There are a few visitor rules for everyone's safety:
No children or pregnant women, I'm afraid.
Visitors must remain about ten feet from the patient at all times.
Visitors to limit exposure to 30 minutes per day.
I can report that Anne is not yet glowing in the dark, but I intend to further test this by turning off the light tomorrow and seeing if she shows up.

Thank you to Judy Rash for visiting today and bringing candy to the patient.
A big thank you also to Gary, Lyra, Ollie, and Megan Heard who sent a lovely vase of flowers which arrived yesterday, along with love and well wishes from Ashford, England.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sorrow and Sunshine

I mentioned our friends Paul and Ericka and their baby, Eden Elizabeth, the other day. Eden passed away on Saturday in the arms of her loving parents and her burial was today. Peter and I attended the graveside service and stood with all of Paul and Ericka's friends and family, joining them to celebrate Eden's short life. It was a difficult day for Eden's parents and for all of us. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they return to everyday life without their beautiful daughter.

A ray of sunshine appeared for me on this sunny yet dreary day. It came in the form of a basket filled with all sorts of things for a quarantined, radioactive person. Thank you so much to my playgroup friends - Debbie, Estelle, Holly, Emily, Sheri, Kristen, Sara, Wendy, and Alyson (I hope I didn't forget any of you - if I did, I'll blame it on the hypothyroidism)! They are truly a great group of friends who have provided us with meals, phone calls, e-mail and now books, magazines, puzzles, pajamas, music, bath and body stuff, scrapbooking equipment, and more!! As if I wasn't emotional enough had to go and do something so great and perfect for my upcoming treatment! It almost makes going into isolation sound fun! Here are a couple photos of the basket that they brought I had to add a few because the basket was so full that you couldn't see everything in one - the photos don't do it justice because you can't see everything but you can get a good idea of how fantastic these ladies are!!

I'll be off of the computer for a few days but will try to have Peter update it for me. If you don't see any posts for a few days, don't despair...I'll be back and typing again very soon! Wish me luck as I enter hazardous materials land!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Weekend fun!

Just a quick note to let you all know that we spent some quality time as a family this weekend. Alexander even got to ride his first donkey. He loved it! I took about eighty photos of him riding around so I thought I had better share one!
Everyone has asked how I'm feeling. The best way for me to describe my physical symptoms is to say, "you know how you feel when you're getting the flu? You get all achy and worn out." I've been feeling that way for about a week. It's pretty frustrating to get worn out just walking around the house but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! I'm looking forward to feeling how my surgeon described - "You'll feel like a new woman!" I'll be better than new after my medication kicks in! Hooray!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Special delivery and other news

Yesterday morning, after rolling out of bed around nine, Alexander and I were peering out the front windows to survey the day lily planting that my dad had completed a bit earlier. I was still in my pjs and was surprised to see my friend, Kristen Thompson, and her son, Jamie, walking up to our front door. I didn't even have time to run and comb my hair or make myself decent before answering the door. Kristen wasn't stopping by for a social visit though. She and Jamie had made me some banana-wheat muffins from the Thyca Low-iodine cookbook. They were still warm when she handed them to me! I could have hugged her and Jamie at that moment! And then, I ate one. I was in heaven!!! That special delivery made my day. Thanks, Kristen (and Jamie)!!! (As if that wasn't enough, she also made us dinner from the cook book so we could actually try to enjoy the day instead of doing a lot of cooking!)

Yesterday was actually a pretty busy day. I visited my surgeon for my 3 week, post-op visit. I was given the all clear. She says that the swelling around my incision will continue to subside and that I'm a trooper for getting through my recovery, especially considering that my TSH is above 100. All the medical personnel that I've run into are shocked that I'm awake. I think it's pretty amusing, actually (because if I laugh, I won't cry) that I've achieved a TSH that is three times as high as it needed to be. Ugh! The good news from Dr. Williams is that I'm able to pick up Alexander and that I'm healing up just as I should be.

I had a little bit of pampering time in the late afternoon since Judy picked me up and took me to my favorite venue for pedicures. I chose a coral color. When Isabella, that was the name of my little Vietnamese pedicurist (um, pedicure-giver?), asked me if I wanted a flower painted on my big toe, I looked at her and said, "how old do you think I am, six?" She giggled. And then, after thinking about it for about 8 seconds, I said, "oh, it could be fun." So, now I have a little flower on both of my big toes, each with a tiny little 'diamond' in the middle. I'm actually quite pleased with them and may try it again sometime. Alexander told me that they're very pretty so the party to whom it really matters has been appeased! He keeps holding my toes and examining them, probably wondering if they're stickers that he can take off and keep for himself.

In other news, I've finally had a call from my endocrinologist's office. I'm scheduled to go in for my radioactive iodine therapy on Wednesday, July 18, 2007. I'll eat the low-iodine diet until I go in on Wednesday. I've asked my doctor if I'll have to continue the diet in the hospital and hope that I'll receive an answer to my e-mail by Monday afternoon. I'm not sure what the protocol is for e-mailing a physician but she's pretty good about returning phone calls so hopefully she'll answer my e-mail questions promptly as well. I'm not sure, yet, whether I will have access to my computer while in the hospital but I hope to send home a blog entry or two, with Peter who I am quite confident can type and post them for me. He's much better about catching my typos so you'll probably enjoy them being typed by him.

Alexander and my Dad are set to head back to Indiana on Sunday morning. This will allow me to get some rest before my treatment. Peter will be working from home, cooking me low-iodine meals and making sure that I don't give in and eat a block of cheese. Keep my parents in your prayers since taking care of a very two year old acting two year old is very tiring.

One more note about the diet. Tonight we made the most fantastic meal! We had chicken tortilla soup, homemade guacamole with no-salt corn chips, and homemade salsa. Everything was made from scratch, even the chicken broth that we used in the soup. It was actually pretty fun to do all the cooking. Peter, my dad, and I each pitched in to make the meal a success. We're all very full and I am pleased to say that we have left-overs which we may have tomorrow for lunch!

I know that this blog is supposed to be about my cancer journey but I did want to mention Paul and Ericka Maple, friends of ours from church. They had a little girl, Eden Elizabeth, on Monday who has a rare chromosome abnormality. From the e-mails that we have received, it sounds as if Eden's condition is much worse than they originally expected. I know, first-hand, how it feels to be in their position. Please, please pray for this family.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Well, the cat is out of the bag. I am a serious overachiever. Yes, that's right. My TSH level came back and is 123! A quick explanation for those of you who are frowning at the number. A normal person's TSH is between 0 and 5, they were waiting for mine to go up to 40. So, gee, no wonder I'm not feeling great since my level is now up to 123 (one hundred twenty three). I was so shocked when the nurse said it. I said, "Well, I guess that's high enough, then." She giggled.

Anyway, they'll schedule my radiation for next week. I'm beginning my low-iodine diet today. I spent an hour at Fresh Market perusing labels and didn't come up with much. I did find meat and chicken that hadn't been infused with broth (broth typically has iodized salt). If I can find some energy somewhere, I might try Wild Oats tonight. They're bound to have more of a selection of dairy-free/salt-free stuff, right?

Is it wrong to mention that I miss cheese already?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Back on the road!

I went to the endocrinologist today so the vampires could do their thing. We should know the results of my TSH test within 24 hours. Cross your fingers, say your prayers, send your good karma...I'm hoping that my TSH level will be high enough so that they can go ahead and schedule my radiation treatment. While I'm not looking forward to the treatment, I am looking forward to beating this cancer and I can't do that just sitting around, waiting!

Two big pieces of news today. Number one: I drove! Yes, I ventured out in the car. I drove all the way to TJ Maxx in Brentwood. And, I managed to spend at least $50 while I was there. I knew you'd be proud. I'm sure that each of you who chauffeured me around are happy to know that I can, once again, drive myself over to Kroger to buy my own butter. I am pleased to be 'free' although haven't ventured out again since Saturday night, well, not on my own anyway. It did take a lot out of me. I wonder if this is what it's like to grow older. Each day for me is like aging a year (or maybe ten). So tell me, my more mature readers, as you look back, would you say that you have less and less energy? Does your short-term memory begin to have more and more holes in it? Do you have aches and pains that can't be explained? I do, I do, I do...and I'm not talking about my wedding vows!
Okay, other big news. Alexander is home again! My dad is here, helping me. I should really say it the other way around. My dad is here and I'm helping him. Dad's been taking care of Alexander for three weeks so he's a seasoned professional. I feel like a new mom and am trying to get into the swing of parenting again. Alexander's testing the limits and my fuse is shorter than it usually would be. This should be an interesting point in my career as a mother. I will let you know how the next few days go. It will be challenging, I know.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New red shirt

This photo brightened my day! In my opinion, it should brighten your day too but I'm probably a little prejudiced!

Hope you had a great fourth of July! Peter and I watched the Nashville fireworks on TV. We had a great seat and parking wasn't too much of a problem.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Guilt, Golf, and Blind spots

Peter's just guilted me into writing. He says that my loyal readers have logged in, expecting profound statements about my life, and have felt cheated the last few days. So here I am, trying to keep you from becoming a disgruntled blog-reader! (Plus, I don't want to lose my following. If all four of you stop reading, then why am I keeping up with this?) Maybe Peter ought to add his two cents since he's so concerned. I can't guarantee, though, that he would be as entertaining as I. ha. Also, if Peter began taking over my blog, you might find out that I'm taking out all of my frustrations on him. Nah, I better stick to the writing!

Oh wait! Now, the truth comes out. Peter just asked if he could change the channel to the Golf channel since I'm doing my blog. He's not concerned about you, the reader, he's worried about guys in chartreuse golf shirts discussing the upcoming tournament.

Since I'm logged in, I suppose I should update you. Alexander is back in Indiana this week. After a long weekend with Mimi, Papa, and Alexander here at our place, I was beat. Sending Alexander back was extremely difficult for me and I broke down in tears just after they drove away. In my defense, I hear that mood swings are part of hypothyroidism. I do plan to blame each and every personality quirk on hypothyroidism for at least another six months. Or maybe six years. Anyway...Alexander...I know he's in great hands but it was very distressing to admit that I couldn't handle taking care of my own child. The good news is that I've been able to rest the past two days and Alexander is having a ball with Mimi and Papa. He wasn't even interested in talking to me on the phone today, I think mostly because Elmo's World was on TV when my dad was trying to get him to come to the phone. I know that I made the right decision. Why is it that the right decision is always so difficult?

On Friday, I will begin my low iodine diet. I'm going to do my best to take the few hours a day that I feel half-way decent to cook for the next two weeks. The diet is quite strict and excludes all restaurant food, most store-purchased breads, and all dairy products. There are a lot of other no-nos on the list but those listed are the ones that I think will affect me the most. I've read through the cookbook which I had Peter print out. Most of the recipes sound good to me but do include quite a bit of cooking. Because I have been warned that I will continue feeling worse and worse, I want to try to get a jump start on freezing the meals. Almost all fresh fruit and vegetables are okay to eat so Peter will be spending his evenings chopping fruit for me (instead of watching the golf channel).

I do want to send out another thank you to those of you who have chauffeured me around the last couple of weeks. It has been frustrating for me to be cooped up in our house for such a long time so that trip to a new restaurant, the post office, and Target have done wonders for my mood! Oh, and I can't forget about my full tummy - we've been so blessed with food! Thank you to all of you! We haven't had a bad meal yet!!

Just quickly, my pain has really diminished and for that I am glad! I'd describe my discomfort as tightness, I think. I'm a bit nervous about turning my head quickly and am still unable to look completely over my shoulders (to check my blind spots). That's what's keeping me from driving. My next hurdle is to be able to drive so that I can get around before my iodine therapy. Trust me, you don't really want me driving right now! I'd be that person who pulled out in front of you on the interstate. So, to save you from getting your mouths washed out with soap, I promise not to drive until I can check if you're behind me!