Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Break 2017 and a cancer update

As spring breaks go, ours was pretty uneventful. It rained and rained and rained...and then rained some more. Oh, and it was cold. So it pretty much sucked, especially now that FB allows someone who is bored and cold see how much fun friends are having in decidedly warmer, sunnier climes.

We spent one morning in the library checking out and reading books. A couple of friends came over for playdates. We went to see Beauty and the Beast and took a trip into Chicago for a dental appointment and lunch in our old neighborhood.

We went to a local indoor water park with some neighborhood friends after we spent the early afternoon at their house playing with their new puppy.

Julie came over and took the girls to a local pottery painting shop. Julie was in an Easter-chick frame of mind...
Lucy, oddly enough, chose a cat instead of a dog.
And Kate stuck to her usual cat.
The last weekend of spring break I flew to Houston for my annual MRI/cancer check. I stayed a few extra days to take a break from being a mom. Len worked from home and did a lovely job of holding down the fort here. Paivi and Euan were gracious enough to host me for a few days and it always makes these trips something I look forward to instead of dreading.
They had a school gala to attend so I walked to a nearby restaurant on Saturday for supper. Houston in April is beautiful and I took the opportunity to take some photos on my walk through their neighborhood. The scent of magnolia and jasmine were everywhere and it made me miss living in the south again.

Their son Euie was happy with all the matchbox cars K & L had picked out for him.
 My MRI was Sunday.
No matching scrubs this time around...
I met with a new radiology oncologist on Monday morning as Dr. Z was not available. I still don't have the official report from the radiology technician but the oncologist said that it looks as if my tumor is either the same or a bit smaller. I am hoping to get the official report this week.
I spent the rest of my time doing yoga, lunching, swimming and having a spa day...all at the Houstonian. Paivi is a member so she got me a guest pass. It felt wonderful to have no responsibilities and no one to care for other than myself for two days.
As for what's next, this doctor was a bit more forthcoming about the possible causes of desmoid tumors and what can be done about the side effects of having radiation to your pelvis. She said there appears to be some link between progesterone and desmoids. Progesterone would be what I injected into my belly for a year in vain attempts at pregnancy. I've always believed there was some link to my cancer and those injections but could never get a straight answer from any of my oncology team (fear of lawsuits I suppose).  It just seemed so odd that nothing ever showed up on any of my ultrasounds (and it most certainly would have been seen on the many, many vaginal u/s I had over the course of a year and subsequent u/s when I was pregnant with Kate) and then suddenly, bam!, there's a giant tumor shoving all my lady bits around.

Unfortunately, treatment with radiation has had its own dire effects on my body. It knocked out my ovaries which produce testosterone. It sent me into instant menopause, killing any estrogen stores I had. This, as you can imagine, leaves me feeling tired, asexual and has completely transformed the way I feel...and not in a good way. She suggested that I might be able to "try" some forms of estrogen therapy but if I do, I will have to return every 4 months for scans to more closely monitor any effects the hormones may have on the cancer.

I told her I needed to think about that one. I'm not really sure what to do. My quality of life has dramatically changed for the worse but is that worth the risk of causing the cancer to grow which would make my already tired body even worse off, risking the need for more radiation or even surgery? It's a lot to take in but the majority of me is thinking about the two girls I still need to raise...girls that will need me alive and well. Wellness that I don't feel but at least a wellness that keeps my tumor at bay...I haven't felt well in nearly 5 years (yep, I've almost made it to the 5 year mark, post-radiation...a milestone in cancer circles). I certainly don't want to F that up.

1 comment:

summerluv said...

Hi Lisa,
I agree you have a lot going on. have you tried the natural way to heal? Like a hormone balancing smoothie, and foods that balance your hormones naturally. They are mostly vegan and raw and a lot of greens but if it will help you have a somewhat "normal" and healthy life...do it. I would love to share recipes with you if you are interested.

I have no health issues but I am trying very hard to live my healthiest life ever by being very careful what I consume. Mental and emotional health are a huge part of hormonal balance to. Sounds like those few days away alone and the spa are just what you needed.

Nancy (your Doula) :)


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