Nov 2, 2011

Updates on cancer scares and more

I know I’m really late getting this information updated (based on all the emails and phone calls I’ve received from so many of you!!), and for that, I apologize.  Frankly, I have no excuse except that I have just been worn out thinking and talking about it and frankly, couldn’t bear to talk about it for a short time while just trying to absorb it all and what it might all mean.  It seemed to overshadow my life for the last couple months.  But I know I owe it to all my friends, customers and followers to get this information to you, so here we go.  I will try to make this as short as possible (LOL!!!).

Regarding the Multiple Myeloma cancer:
The news is the results are "inconclusive at this time". One of the main things they look for is an elevated protein in the urine, and mine is elevated, but not much--so this is good news. The not so good news is in reading all the bone scans, skeletal bone survey, etc., they found more black spots, this time on my femoral shaft (which is your thigh bone), so this isn't so good, because now they can see these black spots (which I think are actually little holes in the bone, IF I understand this correctly) on my spine and on the femur.

Some of the main and typical symptoms of Multiple Myeloma (aka MM) are severe fatigue, and problems with the kidney functions, but in my case, I am already always fatigued because I don't sleep well--ever--due to ongoing severe back pain. And as for the kidney issue, because that protein in my urine wasn't elevated very much, right now this isn't a serious concern either—the kidneys look okay for now. Because the main symptoms of MM aren't severe enough at this point in time to cause me too many problems, the decision by the Oncologist was to not do anything invasive, meaning no chemotherapy (thank goodness—WooHoo!!), no blood marrow transfusion, etc. and to re-check everything in 6 months from now. At that time,  if things have progressed, then we will have to re-visit those invasive treatment options, BUT there's also a chance that things could stay the same for an indefinite amount of time.

This Multiple Myeloma is a very strange & different animal from many other cancers, which we typically expect to progress fairly quickly. Apparently people can not only live for a long time with MM, even when the disease is more advanced (based of course on when and what stage of the disease they're diagnosed with), but in cases like mine, there are a lot of people who have it and who live with the more minimal amount of symptoms for years with no change--almost as if it's stagnant!!!

So for right now, I don't have to do anything regarding the MM but wait and do the follow up again in 6 months. And although I am sincerely grateful that I don't have to undergo any treatment, especially chemo, (because the #1 thing I despise and that believe it or not, is the thing I've been most afraid of is the throwing up—(yes, I know--I sound like a big baby, right??) --but I am so seriously afraid of being sick to my stomach for any length of time because it hurts my back soooo badly to throw up--it's the "heaving" that hurts!!), but because I am a person who prefers to have real answers and then, even if the answers aren't good, at least I know what the answers are and can make a plan for what needs to be done, this is going to be tough for me to remain patient. Because for now it's a "wait and see" thing, mentally it's very difficult for me to have absolutely NO control over anything (yes, I am a control freak--no surprise there, LOL!!)--no treatment plan, no preventative measures I can work on (because there's nothing I can do to "get rid of it" since there's no real cure at this time!) --nothing--I just have to wait to see if it progresses or stays the same. I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone else because I'm certainly grateful that things aren't nearly as bad as I'd dreaded they might be, but I feel like now I'm sitting on a ticking time bomb, with no way to diffuse it. And anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a very patient person, to say the least!! "Sit and wait" is not exactly my style, LOL!!
But all in all, so far the news, regarding the Multiple Myeloma at least, is that it appears that all of you are STUCK WITH ME for the time being!!!! For that I am extremely grateful.

Regarding the red spots that appeared on my legs this summer, I went back to the dermatologist for a follow up and they’d actually gotten worse, so she did a total of 3 biopsies,--2 were very deep and afterwards, it looked like either a crime scene or a Halloween prank gone very wrong in the procedure room—enough said, because if I shared the details, I’m worried some of you might faint, since the doctor almost did!!  These will take about 2 weeks for the results, but the doctor said they way the spots look now (because she says their appearance has changed somewhat since I saw her last), she’s thinking it’s likely not skin cancer (Melanoma), however she’s concerned I might have Lupus or something similar.  Well, it’s not perfect news, but if it’s a toss-up between skin cancer/Melanoma or Lupus, I’ll take the Lupus.  However, this is all speculation until the results from the biopsies come back, so again, I’m in a waiting game.

Next, regarding the iffy Mammogram & the repeat scans where they found an enlarged lymph node in my armpit, I am just waiting for my follow-up appointment for another Mammogram and another scan and those appointments are coming up this month.  So, nothing new to report there—just more waiting.

Last, but not least, I have to see a neurologist because I keep getting severe pain, then numbness, tingling and weakness that begins in the shoulder area of both arms, proceeds down both arms and into both hands and all fingers.  It often feels like my hands and all my fingers are asleep and I’ve been occasionally dropping heavier things  The doctors weren’t sure if they should send me to the neurologist first or to a rheumatologist, but they decided I need to have a Nerve Conduction Study done by the neurologist first, then get those results read and depending on what they show,  decide where to go from there.  All I can say about this is they had better figure this problem out quickly before it effects my crafting!!!  I think I am more ticked off about this than anything else (which might ONLY make sense to other crafters, LOL!!!).  I absolutely refuse to allow anything to take away my ability to craft, because it is the time I feel so joyous and fulfilled, and no matter what else might be going on with me or around me, my crafting and creating time is when I can “go somewhere else” and not worry about anything while I’m in the midst of it.  It is how I relieve stress, it makes me sooooo happy and I will be darned if I’m going to allow anything to mess with that!!!  In the meantime, all I can say is thank goodness I have all my Cricut machines, cartridges and accessories, because my fabulous machines can do all the heavy lifting for me when this flares up, LOL!!!

Well, I think I’ve about covered everything.  In a nutshell, some things are still in a wait and see mode short-term, and others (the Multiple Myeloma) are more of a long-term waiting game.  But for now, I am thankful that the news has been as good as it’s been thus far and I am focusing on being happy and thankful for every single day.  I love my husband, my three sons, my family, my friends and I love helping all of you.  I am a person who absolutely loves to help people and I wish all of you knew the amount of joy and satisfaction I receive from doing all the little extras that I try to do for so many of you. And this is why I hope all of you know that you can always ask me when you need a little extra help, whether it’s in locating a certain product, or if you just want to know the answers to everyday crafty questions, such as which adhesive to use when, or how to use certain features on your Cricut or other die cutting machines, or how to best start collecting Spellbinders dies, or JustRite Stamps, etc. 

I am available by email, by phone and by video-chat using ooVoo (free at www.ooVoo.com --IMHO it’s better than Skype!!!). These are the things that make me want to get up in the morning and I thank all of you for allowing me to do them for you.

So for now, you are still stuck with me!!!  I am here for you, so send me your orders, your requests or your questions because I’ve found that keeping busy is the very best medicine there is!!

Thanks again for all of your messages, inquiries, emails, PMs, phone calls and for some gorgeous and encouraging hand crafted cards!!!  You are truly an amazing group of people!!!

Now I’m off to go pack some orders!!!!! TTFN (ta ta for now!!!).

P.S.  I think I am finally ready to get another little doggie—I’m thinking this will also be very good for my heart and soul—more about this later!

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