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Showing posts from February, 2009

It's Not a Leap Year...Hit the Road 40!

Today is my birthday...sort of. I was born on February 29th, which comes every four years. It's crazy when you think of the odds: one day every four years, and I was born on it! Then I've got this unusual name too (thanks, Mom!), which I really like now, didn't when I was little.

Anyway...Last year I had my 10th/40th birthday, and it was great! I had no issues with turning 40, embraced it, spent a great day with my husband and family.

Then the year started to unravel...
Christian decided to move back to Indiana to live with his mother, which nearly broke all of our heartsJuly 14th of 2008, I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma (thyroid cancer)A week later, I found out that I had suspicious lymph nodes as well. Turned out four of 14 lymph nodes were positive for cancer on the right side of my neck. Two were as big as small plums!Surgery on July 31st was supposed to be an overnight. I ended up four days in the hospital with complications, a lovely five-inch scar on my neck, …

New Guinea and a Reason to Live

Check out this article that appeared in the Washington Post recently written by Ibby Caputo who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia when she was 26.

Thoughts of traveling to New Guinea just because she wanted to, children, and the future filled her mind as she made decisions about a stem cell transplant.

In the end, Ibby said:“Each day I lived, life would have to be my deliberate choice.

In a situation that feels utterly powerless, when your body betrays you and you need doctors, nurses, blood transfusions, IV nutrition, medicine and the mercy of insurance companies and God to keep you alive, this personal power gave me the will to try.”

It's a moving article. Take a few minutes to read it...and say a prayer for those dealing with cancer today.

Looking to break the streak

On Monday, March 2nd, I’m looking to get out of my groove, hoping to NOT go 4 for 4. Remember my 3 for 3 post from December 2008? Three ultrasounds since July 2008, all three showed something suspicious that turned up as cancer. Fourth ultrasound is Monday. I know spring training has started (Gary, we all know you are rooting for the Dodgers…), but this is one streak I’d like to break!

Every time I drive by the Fairfax Radiology office on Route 50 and Prosperity Drive, I cringe. We drive by there each Monday to take Mackenzie to her choral society practice. This is where those first three ultrasounds have been conducted as well as the two biopsies that confirmed the cancer. Hate the place yet glad for the technology there as well as the radiologist and pathologist who have been great and have found it each time.
For me, it’s a place of much anxiety and tears.
I’m also having a chest x-ray Monday. Thyroid cancer can spread to the chest so an x-ray is in order to check this out. The &quo…

Seen on the Metro

Since I started my new job in late January, I've been taking the Metro Orange line to work. I like it, better than sitting on the DC Beltway try to get to/from Bethesda or Alexandria (locations of former jobs). Plus, it seems to always be entertaining, sometimes good and sometimes bad.

What I've seen on the Metro lately...

A woman faint at my feet
People help this woman like I've never seen before in DC...gave up their seat, gave her space, water, someone fanned her & accompanied her off the Metro at her stop.
A man who looked EXACTLY like Albert Einstein
A woman with the most ridiculous white winter fur hat that I've ever seenWhat or who have you see on the Metro lately? If you don't live in DC, tell me something crazy you have seen in general lately. Let's smile at something silly, you know?

Outta Control on the Quotes

Yep, another ridiculous photo. You may ask yourself...why? See the sign? Morganics? Morgan, this one is for you. Love, Mom :) I'm on a roll with the quotes thanks to the Sierra Club's "Daily Ray of Hope" emails. Some may say, "Why, Charlcie, I didn't know you were a granola cruncher?" I'm really not yet have nothing against the granola cruncher crowd. As a website content person, just love their website and ran across this "Daily Ray of Hope" thing. it is: Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
-- R. I. Fitzhenry

Cancer has definitely been an uncertainly and a mystery to me. I have been scared unduly by it. I have definitely been interestingly both bored and not bored with it. It has sparked a level of creativity within me...really challenging me to branch out and take risks more. And be more relaxed...(family inserts a "really?!&…

I'm easily amused...and aggravated

What is this ridiculous photo? We were in Target this past weekend, and I was fascinated with the transportation system for the cart for the two-story building. I just had to take pictures with my cell phone.

Pretty awesome, huh?
For those of you unfamiliar, that's my husband Chris in the orange hat.
Moving on to the topic of this post....

I have not blogged in a week for various reasons. Blogger intimidation for one. I am waiting for that one, really good topic to come to me...then it doesn't come. Or I get distracted by something else.

Another reason: I'm not feeling so great about the cancer these days, and I don't want to be a downer. But then, this is reality with cancer so I do want to share it. I've had other thyroid cancer patients and survivors say this is helpful to share it all, the good and the bad. I also don't want people to worry about me...I'm fine, just struggling with the cancer survivorship.

I want to be one of those people like I follow on Fac…

Darwin and Bueller

Not only is today Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, it is also the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. There’s more interesting information about his life including and beyond the evolution theory today at one of my favorite Twitter follows

Separately, I received today my daily quote in my inbox from Charles Darwin. To clarify, the email was from the Sierra Club, the quote from Charles Darwin. :) It is:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

This is an interesting quote, isn’t it? OK, get out of your “Let’s debate evolution vs. creation” mind set. I’m thinking about life here.

I’m not big on change. Having thyroid cancer has been a big change for me. I overheard my husband talking on the phone this week with someone who had obviously asked how the doctor’s appointment with Dr. Pun went. He responded, “Look, having cancer isn’t like breaking your arm or having …

Dr. Pun Replaces The Doctor That I Don’t Like

I had my much anticipated appointment yesterday with the new endocrinologist. For those of you who are new here, an endocrinologist is the doctor who “quarterbacks” the treatment for thyroid cancer patients, much like an oncologist does for other types of cancer.

It went well! He listened! He gave details! After listening, he had a plan! He told bad punny jokes! All of this made me very happy. OK, maybe not the bad jokes, but at least it was entertaining.

I will have a series of follow up tests mid-March including a whole body scan, PET scan, ultrasound, and chest x-ray as well as the usual blood work. All of this is in an effort to make sure we stay on top of what is currently going on and any recurrence that might happen.

I feel like a load has been lifted from my shoulders. It is bad enough to have cancer…and then have more cancer…and then to not be able to trust or even like your doctor? That is the situation I have been in for the last six months. Not going to dwell on the past, ju…

Three generations

This photo was taken of me, Mackenzie, Morgan, and my Mom the day she was leaving to back to Oklahoma after my second thyroid cancer surgery in January 2009. I love it...had to share!

What does World Cancer Day mean to you?

World Cancer Day is today, February 4th. What does it mean to you?

Last year, I worked for a childhood cancer organization, and it was about increasing awareness for an amazing group of cancer patients and survivors. This year, it is more reflective for me as my journey with thyroid cancer began with my diagnosis in July 2008. It’s been a challenging and revealing time, learning about cancer and myself.

I’m reminded of those who continue the battle against cancer, those who are having chemo or radiation treatments even today. There are those who are having surgery to remove their cancer today. And even those who are walking into the doctor’s office today and hearing for the first time those words “you have cancer.”

My aunt is a two-time breast cancer survivor and has helped me on my own journey with cancer. She is an amazing woman, raising her grandson and working on her retirement home. I think of her and the other wonderful survivors that I know who are not feeling sorry for themselves…

Out of sight, out of mind and a new endo

I believe that I have thought about cancer every single day since I was diagnosed since July 2008. Cancer survivors, is that strange? Does it stop at some point? Right now, I can't imagine a day without at least thinking about cancer or or thinking about being a cancer survivor.

Some of that may have to do with the "out of sight, out of mind" theory. Every morning I wake up and look at that scar on my neck. It's a celebration of life and a cancer reminder all rolled into one. In some regards, it will never be out of sight so I wonder if it will be "out of mind" ever.

I've mentioned the shooting pains in my neck before and how the surgeon says this is a good thing. The nerves are coming back to life. Yesterday, I had shooting pain like no other I can remember, even dating back to next summer. It felt like a stab and then twist and then hold it for what felt like an hour but turned out to be about 10 seconds. It brought me to near tears as Kenzie and I were…