2/7/14

Expectations

Back in March, (when this whole thing began) I had the quiet expectation that this would all go away. That I'd go to the doctor that first visit and he'd say it was just an infection. That I'd go to the ultrasound and they'd say it was all gone. That I'd go to the biopsy and there'd be nothing left to look at. We all know that none of that occurred.
So yesterday I went to USC and had another ultrasound. Blood has already been drawn, meds are being taken. Now for the ultrasound.
They are very professional at USC. The facility is great, the folks are kind, but when the gal asked me to lay on the bed to begin the procedure I had a small sense of panic. I think being put on medication made me realize that this isn't all over.
The ultrasound was long. She was very thorough. I turned my head this way and that. When I was turned away from her I began to really panic in my head. Tears started slowly leaking from my eyes.
I played the "What If" game.
What if:

  • she finds something 
  • they want to operate again
  • it's in my lymph nodes
Right when my thoughts got real dark I asked her what she was measuring. The lymph nodes. She said that this was just a base line. The report would go to the radiologist and then to my endocrinologist.
To be honest, I'm not going to call for the results. I'd rather pretend it isn't happening. I will go on assuming that if there's a problem the endo will call.
My expectations have gone from assuming that this would all go away to it's all going to begin again.

2/4/14

Some Days

I can't imagine that I'm the only person who experiences this- the pure lack of motivation to even get out of bed in the morning. That heavy, dark feeling that holds you there.
This morning, like every other morning, my first of 3 alarms went off. The first one is to wake me up to take my medication. The buzzing started and in my morning fog I reached for the pill bottle next to my bed, automatically opened the bottle, pulled one pill out, closed the bottle. Once the pill is down I'm back to sleep until the next alarm.
My second alarm is set to wake me up so that I can see the kids off to school. Trey was up already at this point so I reached over and automatically turned off the alarm. And. I. Slept.
Until my third alarm. This alarm is set to get me out of bed for the gym. You see, I'll get up to see the kids off and then take a nap. Because, why not?
So the third alarm started buzzing and my hand automatically made it stop. And. I. Slept.
The warm, dark, heavy feeling was too much.

But here I am. Awake and dressed for the day. My schedule is all messed up, but the dogs are walked and I'm ready.
Today is Tuesday. The sun is out, the air is crisp.

1/31/14

Well Hello There

Yes, yes.  It's been a while. I've been told that I'm not good at keeping people up to date. Lemme try to fix that real quick.
Things are good. Kids have survived their first semester. They've made friends. They've gotten involved in church and Young Life. Both kids went on a mission trip to Jamaica with their youth group for a week. Both came back with a new outlook.
August is going to start taking classes at an Art school on February 1st. He's really looking forward to it.
Hazel is still taking Hip Hop and is really getting good. It's so cool seeing her improve over time.
We've gone to Disney Land about 8 times since the move. Working on planning our next visit...anybody coming out for Spring Break?
Folks out here get cold real easily. It was 61out earlier today and I promise you, folks were wearing GLOVES! I have to be honest with you...I'm cold too. I feel bad about it. But my feet are super cold right now. I've really adjusted to the warmth...and the sun.
It's been 7 months since my surgery. The scar is barely there. I met with an endocrinologist yesterday. He was a trip; older, witty. In the end, he put me on levothyroxine. Any of you taking that? I have to take it first thing in the morning and then wait an hour before eating anything. In a month I'll go back and get my blood drawn again to check the levels. Also going in to get an ultrasound on the remaining half of my thyroid. He made it sound like it would've been easier if I would have had the whole thing removed. I suppose if I'd known I would be put on medication anyway I might have gone that way. Any who, it's another adjustment. Weird to think that I'll be on medication for the rest of my life. I feel too young and healthy for all that.
On another note- Trey, Amy, Scott and I all went Paleo for the month of January. Guess what? I kinda like it. It's really just cutting gluten, dairy and sugar from your diet. We' ve been fixing food from Nom Nom Paleo. Made the best stew and curry. Tonight I had steak and eggs and grilled carrots. Totally good, totally satisfying. Today is the 30th day. We will for sure cheat this weekend. How could we not?
So that's it.

9/25/13

Just a Few More Things

I know many of you are interested in seeing pictures of our new life here as well...so here are a few roses from our front yard.

They just keep blooming and blooming. The house comes with gardeners who must know what they're doing because I just keep being surprised by the beauty of these bushes every day.
And here's a picture of myself and Trey. You can see that he's becoming a tan Californian while I'm still my pale self.

Hi from August and Hazel as well.


From There to Here

So, you know that feeling? The one where you wake up and the sun is out and everything just looks brighter? That feeling you have right at that moment...that's what I've been feeling for days. Every morning I wake up, look out my window and see palm trees and blue sky.
I'm not trying to brag. This is coming from an amazed place deep down inside my chest. My brain knows that for the last 13 years this season should bring sweaters and raincoats and short days...but that's just not happening. Today? It was clear and beautiful and 75 degrees. I turned the air off in the house. I drove with the windows down. I took the kids to Menchies after school. I sat out in the courtyard of our house and read a book. I will be walking to dinner. It's really amazing.
When we lived in Seattle I was blown away every time I saw the mountains. On clear days? Seattle is the most beautiful city I've ever lived in. But this time of year brought the beginning of darkness. I will often look at the weather app on my phone to check in on what's happening in Seattle. The other day I saw the familiar grey clouds, one right after the other, and I felt that dark feeling again. It's a bit of sadness in my chest. I'm sorry for those dark days that are quickly approaching.
The thrill of seeing the mountains never went away. I remember looking out the window at the elementary school and seeing the Olympic Mountains and just being in awe even to the very last day.
I hope to have those same feelings 13 years from now. I hope to enjoy every sunny day. Every bit of summer, every warm breeze.

7/30/13

More News

I guess I should have mentioned that pathology came back on the removed portion of my thyroid as positive for cancer...so you see, when the endocrinologist called the other day to tell me that the right side was clear...I felt a huge wave of relief. I mean HUGE.
The cancer was very small and did not appear to have broken through the cell walls, but there is still fear that it could have spread into the other side.  But it didn't.
I've spent many, many months wishing that I had never felt that lump. Thinking that if I hadn't noticed it, life would be normal. But then it was cancer. Look, I can play the "what if" game till I'm blue in the face...what if I didn't feel it and it grew over the years...what if my thyroid started failing because of it...but I felt it when it was small. My thyroid was still functioning, it was removed before anything could spread and now I have half a thyroid that works.
Did I mention that the endocrinologist called again today?
The right side is totally compensating for the left. No need for medication.

No need to worry for the time being. I will put it all out of my head until January when I'll get blood work and an ultra sound to confirm that all is still well.

California living is pretty great right now. Hazel and I rode our bikes to the bank and to lunch. August is out walking the dogs to a coffee shop. Trey went for a run this morning. I feel like we are outside more here. Once we get patio furniture we'll be able to eat outside...can't wait.


7/29/13

News You Can Use

Hi folks,
So recovery is complete. I was able to get a little running in today and have been going to Pure Barre in an effort to get back into a workout routine.

Last week I saw a primary doctor here and was set up for blood work to check on the workings of my remaining thyroid. She also set me up with an endocrinologist. Kaiser works quicker than Group Health and I was able to see the primary doc and the endo all in the same week. The endo set me up with an ultra-sound to check the right side of my thyroid to see if there are any nodules. It is my understanding that if they found anything they would suggest removal. He also had me do a chest x-ray and blood work. That all happened on Wednesday of last week.
Today I received a call from the endo office. It has been the first good news I've heard since March. The right side is clear. Nothing to worry about.
We are still waiting on the blood work to verify that the right side is compensating for the missing left.
If I understand it all correctly, I will get to know my endocrinologist very well for the next 3 years. He will monitor my right thyroid for nodules every 6 months. If it remains clear for 3 years I can cut it down to one check up a year.

Our insurance will be changing on September 1st, with it will come other doctors with differing opinions. My surgeon in Seattle suggested removal but noted that I'd receive many other suggestions depending on the doc. For now, I'm good with holding off. As I said before, surgery wasn't the most difficult part, the recovery was...and the scar...the scar kind of sucks.

But it's all good. The weather here is amazing. The kids and I went for a bike ride into the center of South Pasadena and met up with Scott, Amy, Audrey and one of her little friends. Trey is coming home from a trip this evening and all is well.