Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another scan

I don't know who all reads this anymore, but I'm still here and I still have scans.

The next one is on monday. Yay.

October 26th was the one year anniversary of my last treatment, and the 24 of November will be the one year anniversary of having my port out. In fact, Thanksgiving week will forever remind me of all this cancer stuff. But, being DONE with all this cancer stuff. I had my "your done with treatment" scan, and had my port out and all this stuff this week, so I will be reliving it all in the upcoming days.

Thank you to everyone who went through this with me, and to everyone who met me afterwards, and don't remember me as ever having cancer. I love being both of those people. And I look forward to being many more people in the future.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Eyelash Update

Tomorrow marks one year since my last treatment. I am excited to be going to a birthday party tonight, to celebrate again that I am all done. That I made it through something I thought would never happen to me. And here I am, on the other side, good as new (or close), one year later.

But the reason for this update is to tell you about my eyelashes. Most of you will remember that along with all my hair, I also lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows. That was the hardest part. Being bald was something I could handle. I liked the scarves, and aside from it being pretty cold in the winter, I could have dealt with that for a lot longer if I would have had my eyelashes. They made me feel human. Without them, and without makeup I looked like an alien, pretending to be a woman.

I was more excited about their return than about anything else. And when they were back in full force, and I had long beautiful lashes again, it didn't matter that my hair was only an inch long, or that it was not coming back red, none of that was an issue, because, LOOK HOW PRETTY I AM!! And then, they all fell out again. At first I was heart broken. Why all at once? Everyone looses lashes, but usually one or two at a time, and it is a continuous process of loosing and growing all your life. I had the unusual experience of having my lashes all fall out at the same time, and then all grow in at the same time. So now, when they start to go, I know that they will all go eventually.

I was getting a little tired of this process repeating itself every 3 months or so, but I was resigned when it happened this time. But! Progress! This time, they fell out more slowly, so by the time I was loosing clumps of lashes I had new ones already coming in! So now, about 90% of my long lashes are gone, but I also have about 90% new, little lashes ready to take their place. It makes me feel like fewer people will notice my thinning lashes with these little ones coming in full and thick.

And in a couple weeks when they are all long and beautiful again, I would not turn away a couple of well placed compliments. :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another follow-up

I had another follow-up appointment last week and everything is good. This was not a scan (that will be in November). He told me that I will continue with this scan and follow-up schedule for the next 5 years. Wait. Now, when I started this, it was 2 years. Now its five? But you told me that I had to wait 2 years to start having kids. I assumed it was because I had a scan every 6 months and I can't be pregnant when I have a scan. And now you say 5 years? Yep five years. The catch (or anti-catch) is that after 2 years (when the chance of the cancer coming back is the highest) we can start trying. And if we are trying when it comes time for a scan, they do a pregnancy test and if I am pregnant, no scan. If not, scan's a go. So, there you go. Now mom, this does not mean that I will be getting pregnant ASAP. Sorry. But at least I know that it is up to me. I can do it, or not do it (hehe) to my hearts desire. That makes me feel good.

Also my thyroid is fine. The meds are working great, and my dosage did not change. Yay for levothyroxin.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My friend Valeri at posted an Opera video called Crazy Sexy Cancer and it inspired me to write a post about how having Cancer has effected my life. So, here it goes.

Being diagnosed with cancer is exactly like you think its going to be. And completely different. You want to laugh, cause, OF COURSE this would happen. You want to cry, it is cancer after all. You think that there is no way it can be as bad as all the rumors, or even as bad as they tell you its going to be. But in the back of your head you know it will be bad. You lose all hope that you will ever have a normal life, and you think you have complete confidence that if you make it out the other side, you never want that normal life again.

Many people have told me that I am strong. I'm not sure I agree. But then, I don't know what it means to be strong. I feel like I dealt with my life as it was given to me, what other choice did I have? And there you go.

This time last year I was half way through my 6 month treatment. It was such a mile stone to think that I had less treatments left to do, than I had already endured. It was the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, it seems like 2 life times ago. I have seen, and done, and been through, and seen others go through, and wanted to do so many other things in the last 12 months, that I almost forget sometimes that it was such a reality, a very short time ago.

One thing I have figured out is that I am much more bitter about having cancer now than I was 16 months ago. Then, I think the end was always the completion of treatment. Then it would be over. Two years til kids? Whatever. Two years of scans and appointments, followed by and undetermined number of appointments and scans? Who cares! But now that I am done with the heavy stuff all those appointments and scans seem to be preventing me from doing anything. I spend a lot of empty brain space thinking about when my next scan is, and then I end up needing a root canal (maybe) because of what chemo did to my teeth. And I am on lifetime medication for my thyroid for the same reason. And why? Why me? What did I do to deserve all this trouble? And why should I have to pay for it? I had to loose so many hours of work for treatment and now I have to pay for a bunch of health problems when I thought the treatment was supposed to make me better. And every time they find something else wrong, and give me a pill someone says, "well, at least you will feel better now!" Really, cause I didn't know I was feeling bad! But I know there is nothing I can do about it. And I don't get all "woe is me" very often. But I can't help it some times. And I know that is normal.

Every now and again I get a small taste of something I went through a lot last summer, and it makes me scared. A little chest pain, the smell of the swamp cooler, the taste of the tooth paste after eating cold cereal. It doesn't take much, and I am right back there. I get a little weak and have to remember that I am not there anymore. I am better now.

I kind of hate thinking of myself as a "survivor". To me a survivor battles something for years or lifetimes and makes it out with all their hair. Thats not me. I "battled" for less than a year. As it stands now, it will barely be a lost summer by the time I'm 35. And my nieces and nephews? Only 3 of them have a chance of remembering anything about it. And how do I tell my kids? And does it matter? Only a hand-full of pictures will show that I didn't have any hair. maybe it was just a fashion statement.

The thing that I think is most distracting right now is the kids thing. No trying for kids for 2 years. Ok, fine. The problem is that I feel like that should be hard. Like I should be pining for kids. And counting down the days till we can have them. But I'm not. In fact, some times I wonder if I really want them. For a number of reason I feel like I would be a horrible mom. And my anxiety makes me physically afraid of ever becoming one. When I think about it, I wonder if this is Heavenly Father's way of telling me that it is not time for me to become a mom. That it is ok to wait. Cause if I wanted kids more than anything right now, I would be in hell. I have several friends who are going through just that, and I can't even imagine it.

I will probably spend my whole life trying to find a suitable way to explain how I felt at diagnosis and during treatment. I may never truly convey how it was. And that is just fine. Everyone who knew me went through it to a different degree, and I will never know how that is either (hopefully). I am more than happy to answer questions for friends and family. But I don't like to dwell on it if I don't have too. I'm sure you understand.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's been a while

So, those of you who read my other blog, you already know whats going on with my thyroid. But for you "cancer blog purists", here it is.

I have hypothyroidism. I am low on Thyroid. Which seems funny, cause it was an 'enlarged' thyroid that got us here in the first place. The blood test confirmed that I am low, but the ultra sound came back clear, so no other problems. Good. I have been on the hormone Levothyroxin for about a month now, and honestly, not much has changed. I have noticed a little more energy during the day at work. Meaning, I am not falling asleep at my computer all day. Other than that, I just feel good. Which I will take.

The doctor wants me to get my blood drawn again to make sure the levels are good (they don't want to be giving me too much of the hormone either) and I think I will do that Thursday.

When they called to tell me the results of that first blood test they assured me that this was normal, and something they saw a lot in younger Hodgekins Disease patients, so there was nothing to worry about. Just medication for the rest of my life. I was a little bummed by this at first, but now it seems like every other person I talk to has the same thing. Some people have been on the same meds for like 25 years. And the prescription is only $4, so I can't really complain.

Well, that is the update. Thanks for coming by every now and again to check up on me. If you have any questions or you just want to talk, I am always up for the spontaneous phone call or email.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I'm sorry, what?

I had a follow-up appointment to go over my latest scan the other day. Mostly, it went well. The mass in my chest (which, by the way, I didn't know was even still there) is getting smaller, which is good, and the scan didn't show anything abnormal. In fact, the technician actually said in the summary that everything showed good improvement for my type of cancer. That is good. I am happy.

At the very beginning of the "physical" portion of the appointment my doctor says, "have we talked about your thyroid being enlarged?" "Um, no." "Ok, well, your thyroid is enlarged." Yeah, I think I got that. "What does that mean?" "Could be nothing. We will run your levels to see."

Now, my mom has an enlarged thyroid that is nothing. My aunt had hers out and it turned out to be nothing. I have heard of several family instances of this. I am not really "worried" but at the same time I am. Cause that's what I do. I worry. Plus. I have seen the scars that result from having this removed. You look like Frankenstein's Monster. Just add the bolts on the side of your neck. I should not be worried about scars anymore, I have enough of them. And that is really only half of it. What if there is really a problem with my thyroid and I have to do treatment again? It makes me sick just to think about it. And scared. I think I am more scared of this being something big than I was after my first scan. I can see this coming. And do lots of worrying. How about someone worry for me, so I can take a break for a while.

It should be mentioned that I got a call from Dr. Harker (the oncologist) yesterday night and he did it again, "Did we talk about doing an ultrasound on your thyroid?" Pause. "No." "Ok, I would like to have that done at your convenience." Great. "Someone from the office should call you tomorrow to schedule that." And no one did. And no one will till Monday. More time for Lena to worry. Oh, and I have low potassium, which is why I have been getting SEVERE cramps in my feet when I stretch the wrong way. Bring on the bananas! And, as Grandpa told me, the avocados, which have like 3x as much potassium as bananas. I may just get an over the counter supplement. I suck with adding stuff to my diet.

Ok, there it is. Nothing yet, but potentially, well, nothing, but something. Oh well.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I have a CT scan next month, I think its the 14th. I am not looking forward to it. But strangely enough, since I just watched Nik go through a colonoscopy and endoscopy, I feel like I can do this. Like there is nothing to worry about, and that Nik will be there for me, just like he always has been. I am not nearly as stressed as I was when they told me I had to switch scans. But then, I do still have a couple weeks, and that leave plenty of time to worry. Also, my friend Amanda at work, told me that one of the Discovery Channel's is doing a special on Anxiety. And she looked at the TV and said "Hey! That's Lena!!" Thanks Amanda. But yes, Lena is full of anxiety. I wish there was something I could do to snap myself out of it, but it seems like no matter how far I think I have come, I still relapse. I might need some professional help before we have kids. Strike that, I WILL need some professional help before we have kids.

Ok, well, there you go. Scan on the 14th. Then follow up on the 27th. Pray that the scan is clear!

Friday, March 12, 2010


So today was my first "check up" since finishing my treatments. Here's what I thought about it:

The smell of the place made me a little sick and I spent the whole time sucking on Jolly Ranchers.

The whole thing reminded me that I am not done yet. I have spent this time thinking that I am out of the woods, and it was just smooth sailing from here. Going back to that place reminded me that I am not there yet.

Dr. Harker told me that they are not satisfied with the results of the PET/CT's (not just in me, but in general) and he is recommending that I have regular CT scans instead. For the rest of the time. I don't know if I wrote about how much I HATED the first CT scan I had, but, I HATED it. Like with the firey passions of hell. I would rather do just about anything else. I have to drink twice as much contrast and then they give me an injection that sends me in to a panic attack. It's bad. I am so not happy about this.

I got an immediate reaction to my hair from the lady that used to schedule my appointments. I was glad she remembered me, cause I didn't get to see many of my old nurses, and the one I saw didn't remember me. :(

Dr. Harker said I looked really good and he didn't see or feel anything he shouldn't. Also, my blood work was clear.

I was glad to see the fish were the same in the waiting room. So was Nik. We spent a few minutes looking for our favorites, and admiring the new additions. They took out the tank from the treatment room (apparently just a couple weeks ago), but we weren't too upset about that, it was not as cool of a tank.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


For everyone who has not seen me in a couple months (or at all), here is a current picture. Taken last night. Notice the faux-hawk.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.

It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Monday, February 1, 2010

“Life is like an old-time rail journey – delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So I have been thinking even more about how much I have been blessed through this whole situation. I was minimally sick (never threw up), and most of the side effects were about gone by the time I finished the treatments. Not all of them, of course, but about everything eased up after a few months. Reading about my friends that are going through, or went through the same thing, I almost feel guilty that I did not have it worse. Like, who am I to get out of having the same problems? I am not any better than Meg. How come she has to have thrush? Amy is a wonderful person, why did she get so sick? Even having gone through it, I would do it again in a heart beat if it meant that someone I loved didn't have to do it. I know that will never be a solution, but I really hate to hear about others that are doing the same thing. Also, I really don't like to think about it anymore. Reading these other blogs is like masochism, I hate to think that I did that, but I have to know how they are doing. I rejoiced when Amy had her last treatment, and I am worried for Meg and the decision she is facing. I have never met them, but I am invested in their lives.

Good luck ladies!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I have had lots of friends and family ask to see my hair. Its not much, but its definitely there. I am considering doing some funky dye jobs with it, since I keep my hat on at work all the time anyway. What do you think Mimi? Leopard spots? Green and blue stripes? I'm open.

I feel a little strange when people ask to see it though. Like, yes, I'm fine with you seeing my hair. But its not like it is making huge progress, so it probably looks the same as the last time you asked. Or, I know you will have a big reaction if you have not seen it before, and it is just not that impressive. It kind of makes me feel strange to have people oo-ing and ah-ing over something so mundane. Plus, its not like I am doing it myself. I don't have to do anything special to grow hair. Although, I would love to do something to make it grow faster. Oh well. I will continue to show anyone who wants to see. Thanks for the support.