Thursday, November 29, 2012

Various appointments

Last Friday was my bone scan. The injection went smoothly and so did the scan even though I was an hour late for the scan. I have no idea how that happened; for whatever reason, even though I knew exactly what time the second appointment was supposed to happen, my brain added an hour to that time. And even though I showed up exactly an hour late, it was another twenty-five minutes before they came and got me. I didn't know that they were looking for me so I was just waiting for the nurse. Fortunately, the scan is still valid. 

Today was mammogram day, which also went smoothly. Because the morphea has deformed the left breast so much, the technician couldn't get a good view of the scars on the mammogram. Breast cancer often comes back in previous scar tissue so it's important to get a good view of my old scars. So they did an ultrasound of the scars, which was apparently quite difficult as the first scar is big and meanders a bit.

My CT scan is scheduled for next Friday and I get the results from all these scans on December 14.

We also had our physical exams with our family doctor on Tuesday. Both our cholesterol numbers are down to more acceptable levels so our diet (and Ian's pills) are working. Yay! My family doctor also asked how I was doing. I'm doing fine - well, better - and I told him that my psychologist and I had thought that volunteer work would be good for me and that I was thinking of looking for some volunteer work in the new year (depending on my test results, of course). My family doctor doesn't like the idea at all because he doesn't want me to get too stressed. I told him that understood that but that I was looking for meaning in my life.

His reply to that was that I should get meaning out of my relationship with Ian, that giving to other people is good but my relationships are the most important things I have. That's true, I guess, but afterwards I felt like I had traveled back in time to the 1950s and was being told to support my husband in his career. 

I know that I need to be careful with doing volunteer work; I tend to have an all-or-nothing approach to things that can be overwhelming. And I know that while the cancer is one reason why I haven't been working these last six years, another reason - perhaps the main reason - I haven't been working is my struggle with depression. I guess you could say that I'm mentally ill. I know that I will never again be the person I was when I was working (and that's a good thing in many ways), but I'd like to think that I can aspire to more than making Ian happy and focusing on our relationship. It's frustrating to be told otherwise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tumour marker results

Today was visit the oncologist day. My CA 15-3 tumour marker has crept up to 39.9 from - what was it? about 33? The marker has been at 40 before so we wouldn't worry about it at all, normally. However, it is a bit of a jump up... and my sternum (where my mets are) has been hurting a LOT for the last five weeks, since I got back from Chicago. Also, I've lost about ten pounds in the last 10 weeks or so. And my face broke out and took longer than usual to heal.

Now, all of these things have perfectly rational explanations. For example, my sternum started hurting right after I got back from Chicago. While I traveled, I wore my carry-on bag across my body over my sternum and it's very possible that I damaged the bone somehow. After all, the bone is fragile. As far as the weight goes, we have been on a low saturated fat diet since Labour Day. Not having any cheese at dinner or ice cream or anything could definitely make me lose weight. I didn't expect to lose as much as I did but it's possible that my body was poised to lose the weight. The weight I'm at is where I've been most of my adult life so it's natural that my body would want to be there, given the opportunity. Regarding the breakouts, I'd tried a new cream on my face which probably caused me to break out. And if I didn't pick at the breakouts (and Gozer didn't lick my face) they'd heal faster.

It is also possible that my lucky six-year run of cancer stability is over and that I have progression for the first time since I was diagnosed with mets. Therefore we need to do some scans and check things out. They'll be scheduling a bone scan and CT scan and I expect to get the results the week of December 10th. My oncologist will be at a conference during the first week of December or else I'd get my results then.

I'm not looking forward to having to wait for results over the next few weeks but the time will pass one way or another. While I need to be aware that I might be facing progression of my mets, it's too soon to panic and I don't want to spend my time worrying unnecessarily.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sewing room getting done

A couple of weeks ago we went to IKEA to look at furniture for my sewing room. The idea was that I would figure out the floorplan and then order the furniture to arrive this week, when Ian will be on vacation for a curling tournament.

Unfortunately, I didn't get my floorplan figured out until this weekend and I didn't put the order in until late this morning. For some reason I thought that IKEA could deliver the next day, but I think that's only true if we were to go to the store, pick our entire order, and then ask them to deliver it. As it is, the delivery is tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday. So much for being able to put the furniture together while Ian was on vacation.

We did tape out the furniture locations in the room so we did figure out how we're going to light the room and we'll be able to get that done this week. That's something, at least. I'll also be able to spend some time going through my fabric as I think I might not want it all. I also know that I don't want to keep all of my vintage patterns.

I'm not quite sure what to do with the fabric and patterns that I don't want. Apparently Value Village will take both fabric and patterns for a per pound rate. I'm not sure that I want to give them any of the really good-quality fabric because I'm not sure that's where they'll get the best use. At the same time, I don't want to be the hoarder who hangs on to things because no one else can give them as good of a home. If anyone has suggestions about what I can do with the fabric - some vintage cottons and many, many nicer fabrics - let me know.

As for the patterns, I could sell them on etsy or I could contact one of the vintage pattern stores and offer the  m the patterns for a flat rate. I'm kind of leaning towards the latter option because I think that would be the best way for my estate to dispose of my patterns when it comes time for that and it would be better if there was already a relationship with a seller. I figure it would just be easier for whoever has to deal with my estate to know who to go to and what to expect. I do have some valuable patterns in my collection, after all.

I figure I'll have my sewing room functional before the end of the year and I'm quite excited about that. I've been wanting to do some sewing for a while but my current setup just isn't comfortable; I can hardly wait to be in my new and improved, comfortable sewing room.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hello again

Wow, I've really let things go here, haven't I? I don't have a good reason for not posting, I'm afraid. I'd been feeling sort of depressed over the last little while but I'm starting to feel better.

Interestingly, when I last saw my psychologist she suggested that I might be slightly bipolar. If I am, that would explain how I can have so much energy and need less sleep sometimes and no energy at all and need hours and hours more sleep other times. Thinking back, I have noticed that when I'm more energetic, I want to create more things and I also see things as brighter and more colourful. When I'm less energetic, things look dimmer. I think the way I process sound differently as well.

I haven't tracked any of these changes so I don't know if I actually exhibit any bipolar-type symptoms or if I'm just fitting these observations into this framework. It would be a good idea to keep track of how I'm feeling, how much sleep I get, how things look, whether my ears hurt from sounds, and so forth to see if there's a pattern.

If you live in North America and aren't living under a rock you'll know that today is the US election. US election nights remind me of the night I found out that my primary breast cancer had spread into three of seven dissected lymph nodes and that I needed more surgery because the margins weren't clear. That night in 2000 I remember sitting numbly watching the election results come in while trying to process the news. Even though I knew that things were bad - I'd seen the mass on the mammogram - I had hoped that the cancer would be confined to the breast.

The US election night is a strange anniversary to remember, in a way, especially since now I have mets. But for me, that was the day that everything really changed because I finally knew what was going on. Had the election not been so close and had it been resolved that night, I might not feel the same association with it as I do. Things changed for the US that night, too, although no one knew then what would be coming.

In today's election, I hope that Obama is re-elected. I don't trust Mitt Romney because he doesn't seem to have a single point of view on things; he seems to say whatever others want to hear. I'm also concerned at the power the far right has in the Republican party and what their influence would mean for women's rights, immigration, and the working class. Hopefully the election will be resolved tonight in Obama's favour.