Saturday, May 19, 2012

More tests

It feels wonderful to be off chemo, especially to have all this extra energy and extra time. Thank you for all your prayers and positive thoughts that got me to this point. They continue to help me stay calm, grounded and connected, which makes a significant impact on my daily life. 

It also feels wonderful to have no doctor visits! But, the past two weeks broke that little streak. I started bleeding where I shouldn't be - not that anyone should be bleeding anywhere. I went off to the gynecologist for an exam and biopsy. The biopsy came back showing colorectal cancer, so I contacted my oncologist and my surgeon. 

One thing about a cancer diagnosis - doctors, thankfully, move quickly. 

My oncologist called to say something like, "You really don't want to have surgery for this. You will end up with a colostomy bag." His tone made it sound like it was the worst thing in the world. When I reminded him that I already have a colostomy bag, we both got a good laugh.

My surgeon got back to me within minutes. She arranged a pelvic MRI, and two days later, we discussed the results. The test shows a tumor in my pelvis and a tunnel that goes from one part of my pelvis to another. 

Hmmm. What to do?

None of us are sure. There is always chemo. Surgery is a possibility, but it isn't pretty. There is a good possibility that this has been there all along and is simply acting up.

My last PET CT, almost a year ago, showed some "activity" in this area, so I will have another PET CT on Monday to see if there are any changes. I get the results of that scan after Memorial Day.

In the meantime, I feel pretty good in every way and am doing what I can to stay healthy. My transition to macrobiotics is coming along and I'm learning a lot. I love to cook, so food provides easy and fun experimentation.

When we built our home, I didn't care about square footage, electronics or sound system. However, I did care about the kitchen. I wanted an open, inviting kitchen with high-end appliances and was lucky enough to get a top-of-the-line, mammoth range that includes six gas burners and a huge oven. Bliss.

For about a year or two, I cooked like crazy. And then one day, I decided to go raw.

A raw food diet sounds simple but making interesting foods requires new equipment, including a dehydrator, a strong blender, and a couple of juicers. Of course, I wanted the top-of-the-line of each of these. Because raw is what it sounds like - no cooking - Tiron wondered if our massive stove would stand like an art object in the kitchen. I continued to use it to make meals for Tiron and the boys, but with nowhere near the complexity or frequency of the past.

The raw diet served me well for a few years and I made good use of all my new appliances. Then suddenly, I couldn't digest raw foods so became interested in a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle.

Immersing myself in this, I discovered that my kitchen life would not be complete without a pressure cooker. Top-of-the-line, of course. 

Tiron wondered out loud how millions of people in the world cook perfectly fine rice and beans without a pressure cooker. I assumed that was a rhetorical question and not an objection.

Before I got around to researching and ordering the pressure cooker, our family hamster arrived. She arrived on a Sunday, and when the boys suggested naming her "Lucky," I thought, "She will be lucky to make it through the week."

That Tuesday, a mere two days later, Lucky was in her ball, rolling around our floor. We weren't playing close attention and then….we noticed the ball was open and empty. No Lucky. Panic ensued. Namely, my panic. And irritation. I didn't really want a hamster, and I certainly didn't want a hamster loose in our house. Deep breath. Stay calm.

Because the ball was near that lovely massive kitchen range, we looked, and found her, underneath. J-man and I waited quietly until she finally peeked out. J-man pounced on her, but Lucky was faster and retreated to her new home.

We placed food and water on the floor in front of the range, both to lure her out and to help her stay alive. Now, when I did cook on the stovetop, I had to stand about a foot away to accommodate the food and water setup on the floor. Though I rarely bake, now that I couldn't use the oven (for fear of baking the little thing underneath), baking was all I wanted to do. We set up a contraption to try to catch her in the night, which took up even more floorspace. Our traffic patterns in the kitchen revolved around these items.

The most surprising event was finding Tiron sitting quietly in the dark for about 45 minutes, waiting for her to come out.

The first night, I arrived home to his excitement. "I caught the hamster!" he said. Ever the techie, he added, "On video!" I tried to raise my excitement level to match his.

I began to view our stove as the most expensive hamster cage ever. Lucky had it pretty well - water, food and freedom from overly-enthusiastic little boy hugs. But on the second night, Tiron actually did catch her. Physically.

We are all back in our respective places: The hamster running in her cage, the dog sleeping wherever he wants, the boys playing outside (now over the novelty of their new pet), Tiron working in his office instead of waiting in the dark, and me, in the kitchen awaiting the arrival of my pressure cooker as I figure out these new recipes.

I hope that you are also exactly where you are meant to be.

Many blessings and love,

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