Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 can we start over????

The New Year has been off to a somewhat crazy start.

I registered for my first mountain biking race. The Whiskey Off Road is twenty five miles (+/-) of grueling road and trail through our lovely Prescott National Forest. Kind of a big step for me as I only got back on my bike around April of last year. I am so thankful for the awesome ladies that I am fortunate enough to ride with. You all are an inspiration and just so much fun!! So here is to training for the race in our playground. We are so blessed to live and ride here.


The year has started off with a cancer scare as well. I found a couple of lymph nodes on my neck swollen. I had a CT scan a few weeks ago, it is so amazing the test confirmed that I had swollen lymph nodes in my neck. I visited my surgeon, Dr. Alan Bornstein and he felt my neck and aggreed that I have swollen lymph nodes. I have swollen lymph nodes and we need to figure out why. Dr. Bornstein is kind of a no nonsense surgeon. He says there is a very small possibility that it could be nothing. Nice to know he always leaves that gap for a small miracle. I believe and pray for miracles, but with 2 cancers under my belt I am kind of a realist. He is not sure what is going on but says, "You will probably JUST need some more chemo." To which I respond with an eye roll, "JUST some more chemo?" Dr. Bornstein profusely apologizes for his wording. For those who have been down the chemo road you may find humor in this little exchange. I have a sense of humor so am not really offended. Dr. B does not lack sensitivity he is just real. He sees medicine scientifically as a tool. He looks at disease by type, progression, and tools to treat it. He does this with minimal fluff, he is on schedule, warm and full of pertinent facts (according to him). He also leads me to feel like he gets me, as if that were relevant, I like to think my care is personalized :).

The only way to tell what I have going on is to have a biopsy. This means my return to the Spa at Thompson Peak for a little out-patient procedure. The procedure is going to be surgery light, a little general anesthesia to make sure I don't move, only 15 minutes or so in the OR. Before surgery it would be nice if I could sqeeze in a PET scan, just to make sure we have the COMPLETE picture. So in addition to working, chasing kids, biking, 2 unplanned Dr.'s appointments, and surgery I now have to work a PET scan into my already full dance card. Being over booked is not fun. There is also quite a bit of pressure associated with a PET scan. YOU WANT TO DO WELL ON THIS TEST. So I follow all the directions, no carbs the day before, no strenuous excercise (I packed in all my yoga and biking the day before). You also have to be super hydrated and you fast. Now mind you I prepared for this test on the Friday after I met with my doctor, they of course could not get the insurance approval in a day so it was tenatively scheduled for the following Monday. So this is my second prep for this test. Monday morning rolls around and I am fasting at least I can have water. The goal behind the radioactive isotopes that are suspended in glucose is that they go to your "hotspots" not your dehydrated organs. You also have to lay very still for an hour while the injection finds your "hotspots", they suggest limited muscle use during this time I guess they don't want your muscles using up this special glucose. So it is pretty much nap time in a dark cozy room, followed by a scan in a BRIGHT tube with your arms over your head for about a half hour. REMEMBER STAY CALM YOU WANT GOOD RESULTS, ANXIETY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND HERE. Needless to say I have not matured much in "the meshes well with medicine" part of my personality. So I was super proud of myself when I passed this test with only having suspicious growth in my lymph nodes. No "hotspots" detected in other parts of my body. What ever I have going on is contained to my lymph nodes, in my neck and clavical. FUCKING FABULOUS........just about sums it up.

So on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 I had an excisional biopsy at the Spa at Thompson Peak. My surgery was scheduled for 4:00 PM. I was allowed a light breakfast before 8:00 AM followed by an entire day of drinking my own saliva for sustinence, I did this once in a yoga class but that is another story. Doesn't that sound like fun? No water or food until after the procedure. We get to the hospital at 2:00 they check me in. I get taken to the OR around 3:00. Now the fun part starts... pre-op is quiet only a couple of patients...happy hour must not be big here. I of course take this to mean either I will get great care because there is not much going on OR everyone is rushing to get out of here and this is going to really suck. Why I am unable to look at a medical event without personally dramatizing the situation is completely beyond me....I assure you the only thing that may benefit from this is my the reality just sucks. I of course make up in my mind that they are RUSHING to get out of here. Enter John the RN with the IV... I gently ask questions like have you done this before? I tell him I hate needles. I have a really hard time with IV's. I try to channel all the calm I can muster. He tells me, "I will feel a poke, don't move, cuss if I need too." So I visualize full plump veins and breathe. Okay the problem....don't that....MOTHER FUCKER........THE PAIN. Followed by John asking Heather (the other RN) for a little vein collapsed...... words like get the needle a little pressure did I say pain.......I could not even look. My ears are ringing sweat is pouring down my back I could really use a glass of water and the only way to a drink is getting a damn needle in my arm....just great. In order for the show to start I HAVE to get an IV. This is the worst part. Lucky for me we are going into surgery light.....we can use the little tiny IV for the next try......Why didn't we use it in the 1st place? I will never is almost like I am being sent some cosmic message from the hospital universe....this will always be crazy for you....message received it is. So Heather gives it a go and manages with the baby IV. I meet the anesthesiologist, how do you do, I will take great care of you. Dr. Bornstein arrives makes a pen mark on my neck gives me the low down. Saw my pet scan yah, dah, yah, dah, yah, dah...follow up with your oncologist yah, dah, yah, dah, yah, dah. I will call you with the PATHOLOGY Friday or Monday. I wake up an hour later with a stiffer neck and some instructions for after care about when to shower and not, how to take pain pills, ect. ect. ect.

There are no easy ways to swallow the fact that I am headed down yet another road of medical uncertainty. I am frustrated and angry. I have no answers yet.

When I do
I will share them with you

Drink Water and Breathe


  1. Hang tough lady. I know you have no problem fighting off this! Sending good vibes your way.

  2. Thanks Michelle ~ I will keep you posted are you heading north anytime soon? Maybe we could meet for lunch in phx....I will be in touch xoxo