Another “Bump in the Road???”

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 5 years now! Granted, I’ve been pretty quiet the past two years. In fact, the last entry I did was June 11, 2013, nearly two years ago! Sorry about that. But the old saying “No news is good news” pretty much fits.
Patty is doing amazingly well! She’s healthy as can be. Her cancer exams have been pushed back to yearly exams and come December, she’ll have been cancer free for 5 years!!! That “elephant in the room” has been laying low at our house… until yesterday.
So… Going through my blog, I realized this is my 100th blog entry! It’s somewhat of a milestone. So I guess it’s appropriate for this entry to be about me…
About a month ago I was showering and while soaping up I felt something unusual in my groin area. I wondered “what the heck is that?” It was hard and shaped like a small egg. Being hypersensitive to cancer after going through Patty’s ride, I told Patty about it and we both agreed I should go to the doctor and get it checked. You know how it is when you call the doctor’s office to get an appointment… you can never get an appointment within the next few days. It’s always weeks out, which was the case here. I explained my concern to the woman scheduler and tried to make her understand I had a sense of urgency. She understood and was able to “squeeze me in” the following week. So, that “egg” was making its presence known to me over the next six days. It wasn’t painful. It’s just there and I know it’s there if that makes any sense. I made it to my appointment early and only had to wait a few minutes to see the doctor. I explained my findings to him. He felt around and said he couldn’t feel anything where I was able to immediately pinpoint its location. He still couldn’t find it. His comment was “Well, you know your body better than I do so I believe there’s something there, but I can’t find it.” So, he ordered an ultrasound which ended up being two weeks later.
I went to my scheduled ultrasound this past Monday. I was joking with Patty earlier that I hoped the ultrasound tech would be a male since there’s some “private parts” right in the area where they be working! I checked in and had a seat. Shortly thereafter I heard a door open behind me and a female voice said “Edward?” I turned and wouldn’t you know it… she was gorgeous, tall with long blonde hair! She smiled at me and said “Hi Edward. My name is Gretchen. I’ll be doing your exam today…” Gretchen? Are you kidding me!!! Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! I wanted a male! Well, suck it up Ed. I’m sure she’s done a number of these and she’s seen men’s “private parts” in all shapes and sizes. Still… these were my private parts. Damn it, Damn it, Damn it! OK, it turns out I freaked out about nothing. We went into the exam room and she had me all wrapped up like a cocoon. There was no way possible for my “stuff” to pop out while she did her thing. Phew! The exam took about 15 to 20 minutes and I was done. Now the waiting game begins to get the results.
I was at work yesterday and received a phone call around 2 pm. I answered and there was a woman on the line saying “Hi this is Scripps Clinic calling with the results of your ultrasound.” I thought “Wow that was fast!” I said “And, what are the results?” She replied “Your doctor is referring you to a urologist and you need to call this number and make an appointment. She said “Tell them you have a mass in your inguinal region.” I asked “What does that mean?” She said “The urologist will have to explain.” Great! I immediately called the urologist’s number and was connected to the scheduler. I told her my doctor referred me to see a urologist and also that “I have a mass in my inguinal region… whatever that means!” She told me the urologist’s schedule was pretty full and April 23rd was the first opening he had available. She then asked my name and I provided it to her. She brought me up on their computer and said “I need to put you on hold” click! She came back on the line and said “Can you come in at 4 this afternoon?” Hmmm… this is suspicious. Why did she move it from the 23rd to this afternoon??? I told her 4 would work for me and next thing you know, it’s 4 o’clock and I’m sitting in the waiting room. As I sat in the waiting room I saw a nurse practitioner named Susan that was Patty’s angel when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. Susan gave Patty so much hope at such a scary time. I wanted to say something to her, but she appeared busy. Finally my name was called and off to the exam room to see the doctor. Of course the nurse had to take my vitals as they usually do. My regular doctor had prescribed new high blood pressure medication for me about a month ago. I take it daily and my BP has been in check normally running around 130/75. But, not today! The nurse slapped the BP cuff on me and I watched confidently waiting for the results. 176/90!!! What???? She said “Are you nervous?” I replied “Obviously!!!” She laughed and didn’t seem too concerned with the results. “The doctor will be in shortly.”
Next thing I know, there’s a knock on the door an in walks my urologist. He introduced himself and shook my hand. I noticed his hand was wet when I shook it. He said “Oh… I just washed my hands… you know, a urologists joke!” OK, I like this guy. He has a sense of humor! He asked me to take a seat and he sat on his stool and rolled in close to me. In a very sincere and empathetic tone he said “Edward, do you know why you’re here?” Wow… immediate flashback to when Patty met with her surgeon. He did the exact same thing to Patty. They must learn this trick in the “Delivering Bad News to Patients 101” class in med school. Who in the world would go to the doctor and not know why they’re there? Anyway, I acknowledged why I was there to him. He then asked “Is there a history of cancer in your family?” Oh no… this conversation is going south quickly! I told him my father had two bouts with prostate cancer years ago. He said “hmmmm… I see.” I’m thinking “Well? Tell me what’s going on!” He slid his stool back a little and said “I’m not sure what it is!” What? All this drama to tell me you don’t know what it is??? Then he changed his story a little and said I have a Para-testicular tumor 30% of which are malignant. Bam! Just like that! I immediately had this sick feeling in my stomach. Get control Ed!!! I’ve always been the guy whose glass is half full so hearing that news told me that 70% are not malignant. That’s pretty good odds! Still, my mind is saying “but what if?” He said he wants to go in as soon as possible to get it out of me. I like that plan! Once it’s out they’ll biopsy it and have an answer of what’s going on. Next step is they’re scheduling an MRI hopefully within the week. I hate, hate, hate MRI’s! I’m claustrophobic and being in that little tube for 20 minutes or so just freaks me out! I had three last year with my back issues and fortunately my surgeon prescribed Xanax which gave me some relief. This doctor did the same thing for me. Phew! After the MRI they may schedule a CT scan then surgery. He said the timeline will be within a month.

Am I scared? Absolutely! Am I worried? Absolutely! Has Patty’s elephant now taken residency with me? You bet! Will God get me through this? 100%!!!

So… I’m trying to look at this as just another “Bump in the road” or an “Inconvenience” or even an “Adventure.” Whatever you call it… it sucks. Let’s just hope and pray 70% is in my favor!

I’ll keep you posted…

Patty is officially a “Cancer Survivor!”

 

Patty had another doctors appointment yesterday.  This appointment was for her Oncologist to review the results of the CT Scan from last month… review the results of her mammogram from last week and go over her blood work from yesterday.  The results of these three tests were HUGE in the big picture of Patty’s recovery. 

Patty was a little on edge in anticipation of the test results.  All we’ve been praying for is good news.  We (or at least I) were somewhat confident that the appointment would be on a positive note, but one never knows as there have been some setbacks over the months. 

I went in to work this morning with plans of taking off at noon to take her to the 2:35 p.m. appointment.  I left work shortly before noon, pulling onto our street around 12:40.  As I drove down the street I saw Patty walking our dog Molly.  I looked at her and thought: “Man, she really looks good!  You’d never know what she’s been through the past 10 months!”  She had a spring in her step and that big smile on her face!

We left for the doctor’s office a little before two o’clock.  I could feel that darned elephant in the room had joined us for the drive.  By the time we found a place to park and walk up to the office, we were right on time.  They called us in right away.  As usual, the nurse weighed Patty before taking us to the examining room and I think we were both shocked that she hadn’t gained a pound!  I don’t understand how she could not have gained a pound with all the food she’s been packing away.  Go figure!

Our oncologist came in shortly thereafter.  Poor thing had some kind of virus so she didn’t get too close to Patty.  But… she couldn’t have been happier with Patty’s progress!  She said the mammogram of her right breast looked great!  As we already knew, the results of the CT Scan were perfect!  Most important for this appointment… the tumor  markers were normal!!!  Tumor markers are a screening that’s done either through blood  or through a urine sample.  Tumor markers are substances produced by tumor cells or by other cells of the body in response to cancer.  Normal markers mean no cancer cells!!!  Bottom line… Patty is now officially cancer free!!!

This is such huge news for Patty!!!  The oncologist said she doesn’t need to see Patty for another three months.  At that time, she won’t have to do any blood work or anything prior to the appointment.  The doctor just wants to see her and she where she’s at.  Awesome!  The next test Patty has is not until June when the pulmonary specialist wants to do a chest x-ray.  This means Patty can just focus on her recovery for the next four months and not work about anything else!  

On our drive home yesterday, Patty said: “I feel different!  I officially feel like a cancer survivor!!”  

 Guess what… that darned elephant moved out and rented a place down the street.  We know he’ll pop in for unexpected visits in the future, but for now it’s a great feeling to see him take residency somewhere else!!!

Follow-up doctor appointments

 

Here’s Patty and her sisters, Kathy and Dottie, this past weekend in Coronado. 

(ok, not really, it was taken last May in Maui)

We got a couple of doctor appointments out of  the way today.  This morning we met with Patty’s reconstruction surgeon.  Overall, everything is looking “ok” but not quite up to par where he had hoped she’d be.  Things just take a long time to heal when you’re going through chemo.  One would think that having surgery back in late July, things would be perfect by now.  But the TAC that Patty had is one of the strongest chemo’s they’ve got, so things take a little longer to heal.  But, he was hopeful that everything would be good in about a month now that she has no more infusions.  It’s all about waiting for the poison to get completely out of her system.  It’s been four weeks since her last infusion so they figure it takes a good two months before it’s gone.

This afternoon we met with Patty’s oncologist.  According to her, everything is on track.  She had a blood test yesterday which revealed her white cell count to be on the low side but the oncologist didn’t seem concerned about that.  The doctor put Patty on Tamoxifen which is a hormone therapy that blocks cancer cell growth.  It’s all about beating any kind of reoccurrence!  So, she’ll take the Tamoxifen daily for two years then most likely change to a different and newer hormone therapy for a couple more years after that.  It’s all good!  Patty will go back and see her in a month to see where’s she’s at.

The big test comes up next Tuesday… the dreaded CAT Scan.  Patty’s oncologist said she wasn’t concerned about it, but then again, she’s not the one going through it!  As I said in an earlier post, Patty’s experiencing some anxiety over it and I don’t blame her in the least.  It’ll be good to just get it done and find out that things are great!  She’ll have the scan on Tuesday (the 18th) and get the results on Thursday (the 20th).  Please pray that the results of the scan snow no signs of cancer anywhere in her body. 

Overall, Patty has been doing pretty good.  The low white cell count now explains why she has had two colds in the past month, the most recent come on this past weekend.  But, she’s on the mend.  Her hair is slowly sprouting up at the rate of  a trillionth of an inch every-other-day! 

Patty’s sister Kathy and her husband, John, came to town this past Sunday.  They stayed at Lowes in Coronado and invited us to stay Sunday night, so we did.  Even though Patty was battling her cold, we had a really good time and it’s always great to see Kathy and John.  The timing was good as Patty’s brother, Jim,was also in town.  This was the first time in six years that all the Marron siblings have been together!  Family is always good for Patty!

Our little condo is officially listed for sale as of today.  We had about 15 realtors view our condo this morning while we were at the doctors.  I think I had mentioned earlier that we had put off selling the condo until we knew exactly what was going on with Patty.  But now that things are definitely looking up, it’s time to sell and get into something with some room!  Wish us luck!

So, bottom line, things are looking pretty good but, then again, things are still pending!  That’s the frustrating part!

Oh, by the way, a little bird told me that there were some complaints that I haven’t been adding pictures to my last few posts… I won’t name any names about who complained other than they start with “N” and “P” and are from Prescott, Az.  Leave it to the “zonies!”  I promise you’ll be seeing more pictures in the future.  🙂