Friday, June 17, 2011

Too Many Doctor's Appointments

I think that we could win an award for having the most doctor’s appointments in a given week.  Not so fun.  Ryan had an appointment with the pediatrician on Monday morning.  He has a cold (first one ever) and his poor little nose is sore from running so much!  Thankfully, he seems to be getting better each day.

On Monday afternoon, I met with a nurse at my surgeon’s office to discuss my upcoming surgery in detail and to receive instructions on how to prepare for it.  I then met with the occupational therapist to learn about the exercises that I will need to do throughout the weeks following the surgery. These exercises are very important in my recovery process because not only will they help me to achieve a range of motion back in my arms and shoulders, but they will also lower my risk of developing lymphedema. (Lymphedema is the swelling in your arms as a result of fluid accumulation.  It often happens after having your lymph nodes removed).  The scary thing about Lymphedema is that it can show up randomly, at any time, even a few years out from surgery.  I do not want to have to wear compression sleeves on my arms every day for years down the road.  So, needless to say, I will be doing all of the exercises that they recommend!

My mom and I both had our PET scans done on Tuesday.  Afterwards, I went to have an ultrasound done on my arm.  I have been on Coumadin for almost four months now, and we were hoping that the blood clots would have completely dissolved.  However, they still found one thickened blood vessel, so I will be staying on the medicine for at least another two months.  I will have to give myself Lovenox shots (the stinging, burning kind) at home for a few days following my surgery because I’m not allowed to take Coumadin near surgery time.

On Wednesday, I took Lucky and Lily to their vet appointments.  They got their shots and also had some tests done.  I was relieved to find out that they seem to be doing well, with no health problems (yay!!).  The only issue is that Lucky has an extra tooth growing in that will need to be extracted within a few months.  It shouldn’t be a big deal, although they will have to put him on anesthesia for the procedure.  I just hope that the tooth isn’t hurting him in the meantime.  They are both such sweet little dogs.      

Yesterday, I took my mom to her chemo appointment and I also had an appointment with Dr. R. and
we both got some great news!

My mom’s PET scan showed that her cancer is shrinking again, which means that this chemo is doing its job and working really well!  And mine showed no evidence of disease!  We will know right after surgery whether or not my lymph nodes are also clear.

It has been an incredible month for me as I have been growing stronger, more energetic, and feeling closer to myself again.  One major difference that I do notice is that my body needs more sleep than it used to.  Before, I usually got about five hours of sleep most nights.  Now I need eight or nine hours of sleep to function if I hope to make it through the whole day.  I guess I should just consider this the “new normal”.  I’m also still experiencing neuropathy (pins and needles) in my hands and feet.  And then there’s my hair: showing no signs of growth, even after seven weeks of not receiving chemotherapy.  I came across this cute little story the other day, which keeps everything in perspective:

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day.  The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "H-M-M, " she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day.  The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.  The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "YEAH!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!  (Attitude is everything!)

I know that it will require a lot of patience on my part to wait until my body returns to normal, especially after my surgeries.  I’m praying that God will help me to develop this patience over the long months ahead and that He will shape my life according to His plan.  There is so much good that has come out of all of this already.  I am so very grateful that I have been given a second chance at life!  Thank you, God, for Your mercy.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  –Romans 12:12


  1. Dana, this is WONDERFUL news!!! You just made my day. I am so happy to hear that both you and your mom got positive test results. I hope Ryan gets better soon and that Lucky's tooth is a simple fix. And good for you being so motivated with your exercises, that will be so important!

  2. Dana, when is the actual surgery being planned? I'm soo happy to hear about you and your mom. I've been praying for both of you, so it's encouraging to hear about the good news. Continue to stay strong, and I hope I'll get to see you some time in July when I come back home to study for my test. Love you!

  3. Wow, great news Dana! I am so happy to hear about the results for you and your mom! I'm so sorry about all the doctors appointments, though:(

  4. @ K- Thank you! I'm so thankful for the results too! I will definitely keep up with the exercises (although I'm sure I won't want to after the surgery) because I know that they will help.

    @ J- The surgery is this Thursday, June 23. Thanks for the prayers! I would LOVE to see you in July... will you be here for your birthday?

    @ E- Thanks! I hope that your thesis is going well and that you get a chance to relax once it is all turned in! I definitely want to get together and cook sometime this summer... we will have to plan our menu!

  5. Ooh fun, I want to join in on this cooking evening, but I hope we have improved our skills a bit since the time the 4 of us cooked a meal at my parent's house. I remember us setting off the fire alarm somehow ha ha ha. But the food was still really good since we somehow didn't burn anything and even took pictures of the meal since we were proud :)

  6. I'm curious what that meal was because it was probably me who set the alarm off with my nonexistent cooking skills/experience!

    And we'd love to have you join us, Kare! =)


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