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Saw doctor today about MRI results

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I did pretty well yesterday keeping my mind off my MRI results I got in the mail yesterday. I kept myself busy enough where I wasn't constantly thinking about them to the point of being anxious. But last night, I woke up at 3:30am because I had to use the bathroom; I had trouble getting back to sleep after that, and that is when I was starting to think more and get worried. It took me a long time to fall asleep again, only to wake up again at 7am and then I couldn't sleep at all, I was so wound up.

My IBS symptoms kicked back in again today, I think mostly because of nerves. I had some bad heartburn this morning too. I ended up taking 3 Imodium by the time I had to leave for my appointment with the radiation oncologist this afternoon.

I had my MRI of the cervical and thoracic spine last week.
Good news, no cancer in the cervical spine. I already knew I had mets in the T-10 and T-12 spine; the T-10 being the worst. But the MRI also showed mets in the T-6, and T-11. They also happened to get the the L-1 and the L-2 of the lumbar spine in the MRI; they weren't expecting to find anything there. But that could explain why I am still having pain in my hip even after the radiation to the lesions on my hip joint.

So, before I have any more treatment, my doctor wants to see the rest of the lumbar spine, so I will be having an MRI done on it. And it's also possible that the pain could be coming from something that is not cancer, like a bone spur or a chip in a bone. The radiation center is going to set up the appointment for the MRI, and then I will see the doctor again. Until then, I don't know if I will be getting more radiation, or another type of treatment.

I am doing ok, so far, with the news. My mind is still trying to process it. But at least I know this time, I can handle being in the MRI machine. I asked for another Xanax since it worked so well for me the last time. At least I know if I need further treatment, whatever it is, I won't need to start it til after Christmas, and probably not til after New Years either. So I'll have probably another couple of weeks yet to recover from the radiation I just finished a little over two weeks ago.

I got a happy surprise in the mail today. I got a Christmas card from one of my cousins; that wasn't the surprising part, since we exchange cards every year. The surprise was the $50 bill stuck in it! I guess she saw my mom in a store about a month ago, and she felt so bad when my mom told her about all I had been through this year. I had tears in my eyes when I read what she wrote in the card. It's amazing, when I get unexpected surprises like that, they always seem to happen just when I really need a pick me up. I am going to make her a thank you card and write her note this weekend.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOPE2BE 12/18/2009 8:08PM

    That's wonderful Shari that your cousin thought of you this year. The results will come in due time. I know you'll get better results when you go in. I'm still praying for you and always have you on my mind.

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 12/18/2009 9:44AM

    Shari, I just read back blogs and think I am caught up with you once again. I wrote your appointments in my calendar and prayed for you. Hoping for you in regard to your doctor visits and whats ahead. Glad youll get a break over the holidays. Can you post the crockpot potato soup recipe; I think Id like to try that one. My mom made a lot of potato soup for us when I was young and its a treat! Loved the shots of Kallie with the catnip bowl! I just think cats are the best creature on earth! I love watching my two.

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SAPNA. 12/18/2009 6:52AM

    Lots of trouble, but a few bright spots in your day. I wish with all my heart and soul that from this moment the brightness will grow and grow till there is no darkness left in your body and in your world.

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ETHEL_MERMAID 12/17/2009 11:16PM

    I'm so sorry the news from your MRI wasn't more encouraging and that you'll be needing an additional MRI, Shari. It had been my hope that you'd get a nice, long breather following your radiation... This is a good time to relax, enjoy the holidays, and get lots of much needed rest. Wasn't that sweet about your cousin? So thoughtful and generous! And I didn't know you made your own cards...she'll love that! These unexpected surprises really are so welcome, aren't they? emoticon - Susan

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BMRBUDDY 12/17/2009 8:45PM

    You are a hero and an inspiration to all of us. You are an incredibly strong person and can handle what is dealt to you. Take these next couple weeks and enjoy your family and the holidays. Take the time to get physically stronger and if you need more treatment, so be it. Remember we are all rooting for you! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/17/2009 8:46:08 PM

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AVALONAPPLE 12/17/2009 8:23PM

    Unexpected gifts are the best! I think about you and a good friend who has a similar situation and am awed by your strength and humility. You are always in my prayers!


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ISLANDRITER 12/17/2009 8:03PM

    I am with you! Standing strong and so are you! Blessings, Mary

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RASCALOO 12/17/2009 7:16PM

    What a wonderful surprise from your cousin on the day you needed it most. I'm sorry you are still going through more testing. You keep up that positive outlook and it will carry you through.

emoticon emoticon

Here's to a treatment free holiday !

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VALI_T 12/17/2009 6:31PM

    There are angels at work in this world, and at the moment I would have to say that your cousin appears to be one of them. I'm sorry that not all of the news about your MRI was good, but I'm happy to see that you still have a pretty decent attitude about it. I think I'm gonna be keeping you in my prayers for a long time.

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Got the MRI results in the mail today

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Well, I guess those fries I had yesterday didn't do too much damage. I thought for sure they would aggravate the IBS even more than the radiation did. Since the diarrhea started during week 2 of the radiation, I usually wake up between 6-7am, and have to rush to the bathroom. But today, that didn't happen til after 8am, and it wasn't as bad this morning. So if my IBS is better despite what I ate yesterday, I think that is a sign things are beginning to heal. By the way, I hope I am not grossing anyone out by this topic, but I know there are others here on Spark that suffer from IBS, and I just want to be honest and tell it like it is. I want other people that suffer from it to know that it's not something they should be embarrassed about.

I am going to stick to the bland diet a few more days, and if things continue to improve, I will gradually add my normal foods back into my diet. I've really missed my apple I like to eat once per day, and having a salad with my dinner. It's hard to get enough servings of fruits and veggies on a bland diet. I have also been eating white bread, pasta, and rice on the bland diet, and I want to switch back to the whole wheat and whole grain versions of those I normally use.

I went out for my mail, as usual around 11am. It takes me less than two minutes (unless I stop and talk to a neighbor along the way) to walk over to the mail room and back. Today, among the magazines and Christmas cards I received today, was the envelope containing my MRI report. I was very anxious to rip it open and read the report; it felt like a long walk back to my house, and I couldn't hurry much either because I had to watch out for the ice where I was walking. Once I got in the house; I took my gloves of, and sat down with my hat, coat and boots still on and opened it up.

It's hard to tell, without having a medical degree, what the full report means. It mentioned several bone mets on my spine, which is no surprise, I knew I had some there, but not quite as many as the report said. I am just not sure if they are old or new, and whether they are stable or not. There is nothing in the report that gives me a clue as to what the radiation oncologist will say tomorrow, and I still have no idea if I will need the radiation or not. I am not sure how good or bad the report it. So I will not speculate on it any further for now. I am concerned, but I am not in a panic mode. I feel relieved anyway, that having the report before I see the doctor tomorrow makes me feel a little more prepared for whatever news he gives me.

Spent some more time doing some cleaning today, getting my house ready for Christmas. I sat down and took a short break a couple of times to give my hip a rest. Even though it is starting to feel better, I have to watch that I don't stand for too long without sitting and taking a break every now and then. I'm tired now, but part of that is because I stayed up too late reading last night, and I'm still feeling some of the fatigue from the radiation. So the rest of the afternoon I'll be taking it easy.

Last night, I made some "catnip ravioli" for Christmas gifts. I took some tan felt (I wanted to use cream color, but couldn't find any around town here, but that's ok, I'll pretend it's whole pasta, it's healthier anyway! emoticon ) I cut out squares using pinking shears, sewed three of the sided, stuffed them with catnip, then sewed them shut.

It didn't take long before Timmy and Kallie could smell the catnip. So I had to sprinkle some on their turbo scratcher toy so I could get my work done. I had the catnip in a plastic bowl while I was filling the toys, and when I was all done, I gave the bowl to the cats to lick out. Kallie especially loved it.

But I think when you are wearing a bowl on your head, you've been partying too hard, lol!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RASCALSMOMMA 12/17/2009 11:59AM

    Might I recommend "CA" (Catnip Annonymous) for Kallie! And you, be sure to take the MRI report with you and ask as many questions as you need! hugs to you Laurie

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DEUCE119 12/17/2009 9:21AM

    Good luck at the doctors apt. Hope he will explain the report to you so that it makes sense. Love the kitie story.

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RASCALOO 12/16/2009 8:39PM

    Oddly my kitty is not the least bit interested in catnip. I guess it's an acquired taste. Our last kitty went crazy over the stuff. The ravioli is a cute and easy idea!

I hope the doctor's interpretation of the MRI results are good for you. Keeping fingers crossed for you.

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VALI_T 12/16/2009 8:33PM

    I'm afraid to introduce our 2 kitties to the joys of catnip. Cali Kitten (Little Very Bad Girl to those who know of her many antics) is crazy enough as it is, so I'm a little bit afraid to let her get high on 'nip. I'm afraid that she'd do to the entire apartment what she so frequently does to our rolls of toilet paper, which is to say that I think that she would totally destroy it. emoticon Maybe when she's about 10 years old and starting to slow down I'll give it a try, but not today.

So anyway, I hope that things go well with your visit to the doctor. It's about time for you to get some good news so that's what I'm going to pray for. emoticon

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LIFE_IS_SO_GOOD 12/16/2009 8:18PM

    Glad to hear that you are feeling a bit better and making toys for the kitties Good luck at the doc tomorrow ... I'll be rooting for you! emoticon

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SWIMLOVER 12/16/2009 7:03PM

  I will be praying for you to get good results tomorrow. I love the catnip ravioli. What a smart idea! Love the photo of Kallie! I just love, love, love cats! The are so precious!
Well, again, I have been praying for you but certainly will be praying for your appointment tomorrow.

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BMRBUDDY 12/16/2009 3:25PM

    I certainly enjoy your blogs! I made those for my kitties too. They loved them but didn't party as hard as Kallie! LOL
Good luck tomorrow. I will be thinking of you.

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COOKIE502 12/16/2009 2:08PM

    Good luck with your Dr.'s appointment tomorrow. Keep up the positive attitude! The "catnip ravioli" is very clever. Great photo of Kallie! emoticon

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Lunch out on a snowy day

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

As tired as I was yesterday, it still took me a long time to fall asleep last night, but I wasn't tossing and turning like I was the night before, and when I woke up this morning, that achy feeling I had my legs all day Monday was gone.

This morning, I decided to do my exercises before breakfast; since I was eating out with friends, I wasn't sure how I would feel if I waited til late in the afternoon. I am still dealing with the post radiation IBS and still on pretty much a bland diet. Just a short routine though, some wall squats with the stability ball, then I sat on the ball and did some seated leg extensions and some bicep curls while I watched part of the morning news. I was really tempted to just skip it today, but I'm glad I didn't listen to the excuses I was making in my head today.

I was getting dressed to go, and I put on one of my beaded necklaces that I made, one that perfectly matched the sweater I had on. I was walking out of the bathroom, when all of a sudden it broke; I had beads all down the inside of my sweater, and all over my bedroom carpet. Had a heck of time trying to find all of the beads, even falling on the carpet some of them rolled pretty far. I wanted to save the beads to restring later, but most important, I wanted to make sure the kitties weren't going to find them and choke on them. Fortunately, at the time I made it, I took a picture of it, so I can look at that to see what order the beads go on when I restring them. At least it happened at home, and not when I was out somewhere. I never would have found all the beads if had happened outside today, with all the snow.

It's been snowing all day, mostly just the light and fluffy kind. The roads in town were not bad, mostly just wet, but people are in a rush and were getting into accidents anyway. On my way to Ruby Tuesdays to meet my friends, there was truck just about ready to tow away a car that had the front end all smashed up; I'm sure who ever was inside was probably pretty seriously hurt. This was on of the busiest streets in town also.

I made to the restaurant with no problems; I took it a little slower and kept my eye out for problems. It was just two of us today; one of the ladies forgot our lunch was today, and the other two were working. They were planning to take their lunch at that time and meet us there; they are all ladies I worked with at Walmart and the store is less than half a mile from the restaurant, but the way management scheduled, there were only the two of them in the department so they could not leave. They work in apparel, where I worked when I was there, and you have to have at least 2 people in the department at all times, and one person has to watch the fitting room and answer the phone. It's a very hectic, busy place this time of year. Anyway, the two of us still had a nice lunch and good conversation. It was the first time I had been out in over a month other than shopping or doctor's appointments, and she hadn't been out much either other than work.

The tricky part was trying to find something I could eat that wouldn't aggravate the IBS. I had a chicken wrap picked out from the menu online, but not everything on the online menu was available at the location in our town. I finally chose the mini turkey burgers, you got 2 with a bowl of soup. I chose the cream of brocolli and cheddar. I didn't know until my meal came there were fries with it. And I know better with my digestive system the way it is now; I gave into temptation and ate the fries. I will probably be sorry for it later, but I have only myself to blame. I only ate one of the mini burgers and took the other one home, and only ate a very little bit of the soup, and had water to drink.

It started to snow a little heavier by the time we left. On the way home, also on a very busy street, there was another accident. It looked like someone made a left turn coming out of a parking lot and got hit. I saw the people waiting outside their cars in the road for the police; it didn't appear that anyone was hurt though. It made me a little wary driving the rest of the way home though. The scariest part about winter driving in Michigan isn't always the weather, sometimes it's the other drivers. I said a little prayer of thanks that I made it back home safely.

Finished wrapping my gifts this afternoon. It's a little after 5pm now. Had to take a pain pill because my back and hip started hurting. So far, no tummy troubles, but to play it safe, I think I'll just cook some plain rice for dinner tonight. I don't have anywhere I need to go tomorrow, so I can just stay home. Which is a good thing if those fries come back to haunt me later, lol.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ETHEL_MERMAID 12/15/2009 9:40PM

    I always enjoy your descriptions of your days, Shari :) They're such clear, nicely detailed "snapshots" of your daily life, and I almost feel I should go grab a sweater after hearing about that Michigan chill! I'm sorry your other co-workers couldn't make it to lunch, but the way you described it, work is really hectic there right now (I see this in my own recent trips to Walmart!). I'm glad you stayed safe and sound despite the weather. Are you up in the Upper Peninsula, by any chance? It was in the mid-50s down here in northern VA today...but the temp will drop down into the twenties - at night - by the weekend. Stay warm! Glad you found the pretty beads, too. - Susan

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HOPE2BE 12/15/2009 7:57PM

    I'm so glad you had a good day Shari. Everything worked out for you it seems like and you made it safe and sound to both there and back. You even got in your exercise. I'd say you did a great job of juggling things.

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DAMISA 12/15/2009 6:11PM

    Ahhhh, sometimes we have to give in to the call of french fries! I took my aunt to lunch after chemo today and we split an order of fries!

It sounds like you had a very nice and blessed day! I am glad you made it safely home with all the weather and the bad weather drivers. You are absolutely correct about some drivers being worse than the weather. I sometimes think that people lose their heads and do things that they wouldn't normally do in good weather. Strange, isnt't it?

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Tired and sore today, but still looking forward to things

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last night was one of those nights that I just could not sleep. I did my usual bed time reading, then turned out the light at midnight. Still awake at 1am, and feeling very irritable about it. I finally gave in and took and Ambien, even though I don't like to take them that late; I feel groggy for awhile the next morning after taking one, and the later I take it, the longer in the morning that feeling lasts. Anyway, after taking it, I read my book some more for about 20 minutes til I got sleepy. Eventually went to sleep, but was awake again before 7am. I didn't actually get out of bed until close to 9am.

Not a good start to my morning, and I had grocery shopping to do. With all the other things I need to do this week, today was the day that would work best for that, so whether I felt good or not, I had to go today. A lot of times if I don't sleep well at night, my legs feel very sore and achy the next day, and today was one of those days. And some of it was arthritis too; had another change in the weather where it warmed up slightly, not a lot, but just enough to start melting some of the snow, and we also had some light rain.

On the days I have to shop for groceries, normally I am leaving my house by 10am; so I can get in and out of the store before it gets busy. But today I just took my time, relaxed in front of the computer for awhile, and had a light breakfast, and took my time getting ready to go. It was after 11am by the time I was ready to leave, and had to make a stop at the gas station first to put some air in my tires.

Meijer's was busy, but it wasn't so bad actually shopping; people seemed to be pretty courteous of each other for the most part. And I also ran into one my cousins who was shopping in there, and talked with her a little. I hadn't seen her for a few months so it was good to catch up. And when I got to the check outs, I was the 2nd person in line and didn't have to wait long.

My back was hurting when I got home, so I took a pain pill, and after the groceries were put away, I sat down with a heating pad on my back and read the newspaper and looked at the Christmas cards that came in today's mail. I felt much better after that. I even wrapped a few more gifts this afternoon.

My mom and I decided to have our family Christmas at my place this year. I don't mind doing it at all; there will just be 5 of us, and it will be casual. And my mom and dad will help me with any cleaning I need to do. Instead of a sit down meal this year, we decided to just do sandwiches and soup. We'll have things for everyone to fix their own sandwiches, and I plan on making potato soup in my crock pot; plus we'll have some cookies and other snacks.

It won't be that much work to get things ready, if I do a little bit each day. And I actually like having something to make plans for now. It helps to keep my mind off of my doctor appointment on Thursday when I'll get my MRI results. And another plus having it at my house; I won't have to load up my car, unload everything at my parents house, then do the same thing coming home again.

Tomorrow I am meeting some friends, 4 ladies I worked with at Walmart; we get together for lunches once per month since I quit working last year. Anyway, this time we are meeting at Ruby Tuesdays. This was planned a month ago, before I knew I was going to have the IBS flaring up from the radiation. I don't know if I'll be able to eat much, but I should be able to find something on the menu, even if I end up bringing half of it home. But the most important part, what really counts, is seeing my friends, so I will enjoy the company, which is more important than the food anyway.

I plan to go bed earlier tonight. Back is feeling a little better, but both my legs and knees are still pretty sore. A good night of sleep would really help with that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRICIA441 12/15/2009 10:02AM

  Have a great day. I know it is a bummer when you don't sleep well. Have had that happen on too many different occasions myself. Sounds like a nice Christmas day you have planned. Easy does it is so much better. Hoping the day goes well for you!

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ETHEL_MERMAID 12/15/2009 8:02AM

    emoticon emoticonShari, have a great lunch with your friends at Ruby Tuesday's today! I hope the weather warms up a little for the five of you. Cold weather and arthritis seem to be natural "allies," don't they? I always feel achier when we move from fall into winter. I'm sorry you had that bout of sleeplessness; I hate that "alert" feeling that sometimes hangs around all night long! It's great that you're so careful to pace yourself, conserve your energy, and still manage to get so much done. I'm taking notes :) And Christmas at your place sounds so cozy and comfortable...right down to the yummy potato soup! MMmmm...! Sounds like you've got a really great family. emoticon Susan

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CELLOPLAYER1 12/14/2009 8:10PM

    I will keep you in my thoughts as you wait for results.

We are trying to figure out what we are going to do for Christmas. We have been invited over to friends for Christmas eve but it will be just the two on Christmas Day. We will be a little challenged for cooking because our kitchen probably will still be undercostruction.

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BMRBUDDY 12/14/2009 7:25PM

    I'm keeping you in my thoughts and hoping for a good outcome on Thursday. That is wonderful that you are having your family over for Christmas. Keeping it simple is really the way to go. Holidays can put so much stress on people, you plans really sound like fun!

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A productive Sunday

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hip felt pretty good today, though I am still dealing with the IBS. Haven't had to take any Imodium today, just feel kind of crampy at times. When that happens, I just take a break from what I am doing sit and down and relax and I usually feel better after a few minutes.

I spent the morning dealing with some clutter that had accumulated in my bedroom, put everything back in it's place. My computer is also in the bedroom, and I cleaned and organized my desk too. I took my time and paced myself, and it feels great to have a neat bedroom once again.

I also did some laundry this afternoon, and started wrapping gifts. I decided to wrap a few gifts each day between now and Christmas, so it doesn't feel like an overwhelming chore. Not that gift wrapping is really a chore, it just feels that way if I'm tired and feeling rushed while I am doing it. Had a little "help" from Timmy too, lol! Here he is in a photo from last Christmas, checking out an empty gift bag.

I treated myself to a little gift today too. There was a sweater that I saw and really liked in the Chadwick's catalog, but I was waiting for good deal on shipping and a good sale before ordering it. Today I got an email offer with a code for $2.95 shipping on any size order, plus a free tote. I ordered two sweaters, in different styles. Even though I've been at my goal weight at least a couple of years now, I still haven't "replaced" all the too big clothing I had in my wardrobe and donated to Goodwill. But I have been trying to be a smarter shopper since then, only buying things I truly like and that fit and look good on me. I still make a few mistakes, but I am getting better at it. These two sweaters are a little bit dressier and less bulky than the other ones I have right now.

It's a little past 5:30pm here, and the day is winding down. I feel tired, but in a good way, from getting something accomplished. Hopefully that means I will sleep well tonight. Tomorrow is my grocery shopping day, and I hope to get to the store and back before noon. I have my grocery list started, just have check my coupons, which I'll do after dinner while I am watching TV.

I'm slowly learning, that with my health right now, I can't do it all, but if I pace myself, I can still feel like I have accomplished something. And hopefully, with this coming year, the good days will outnumber the bad ones. Anyway, it will be nice tomorrow morning to sit down at a nice clean desk to check my email.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SERENEMOM71 12/14/2009 4:12AM

  You look great with your weight loss! I lost all my weight from having to use steriods for RA (rheumatoid arthritis). I went to another doc who took me off them - thank you doc! and I lost 65 pounds. I have put back on almost 30 pounds of that which I am trying to lose. A lot harder the second time!

Your kitty looks almost like my Blackie who died about a year and 1/2 ago. She was 16 and it was her time. They can be a lot of help especially when it comes to gift wrapping.

I am glad that you are learning to pace yourself. With any chronic disease, it is important not to do too much in one day. I helped to put up the lights on our Christmas tree yesterday. It took my almost all day to do it. The only comment I got was from my daughter which was " I thought we were going to cut down on lights this year." Next year she can do it! She is 33.

Peace, Love, Joy, Serenity,

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SWIMLOVER 12/14/2009 3:48AM

  Shari, I am also glad that you had a pretty good day. I like the fact that you know you have to pace yourself. We should all remember that. I have to realize that myself. Your beautiful kitty looks just like our Tammy who we had in Massachusetts. We had her for 11 years before she passed away.
Anyway, your Timmy is beautiful! Look the picture!
I am still praying for you.

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SUEJENN 12/13/2009 9:55PM

    emoticon Shari, you are doing so well, so positive.

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BAILEYSMOM7 12/13/2009 9:03PM

    You really have so much on your plate to deal with every day. You seem to handle everything so well. You are certainly in my thoughts ~ I greatly appreciate your wise words.

LOVE the cat in a bag. :) They are our children, aren't they? I need to take more pics of mine.

I hope you have a great week. You are truly an inspiration! emoticon

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CELLOPLAYER1 12/13/2009 8:12PM

    Glad to hear you have been having some good days and have been able to feel like you have accomplished something. Some days I feel like I am running around like made but not really getting anything done. Have a good week.


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COOKIE502 12/13/2009 7:52PM

    Glad to hear you had a good day! emoticon

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ETHEL_MERMAID 12/13/2009 7:22PM

    emoticonTHAT'S the spirit, sweet Shari! I love that not only are you pacing yourself, but you even took the time to share this picture of the "gift kitty" with us :) Awww...! Do you follow the FlyLady, by any chance? She's always talking about what we can accomplish in mere 15-minute intervals, and it's really true: We can accomplish all sorts of things in series of tiny chunks of time. With all you've been through lately, I am always amazed - heartened, too - by how you're handling your holiday-related chores. emoticon and emoticon Susan

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PATRICIA441 12/13/2009 6:53PM

  I made a basket of gourmet food for one of my daughters and both cats have crawled in it! Of course my daughter loves cats so she would keep them ! And of course there is now fur on some of the packages which won't bother her at all! LOL.

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JCJSKI5645 12/13/2009 6:22PM


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AVALONAPPLE 12/13/2009 6:14PM

    I love those days when I know that I have crossed a thing or two off the "to do" list. In 2010 the good days will outnumber the bad ones, they surely will!

Jennifer emoticon

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