Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stress and Relief

Well this last week I had a new PET/CT scan done.  Initially the next scan was supposed to be December 10th but I had noticed some swelling around the corner of my jaw and some tenderness.  I contacted my doctors and they thought it was worth it to move the scan date up.  So, the scan was taken  on Thursday.  Initially I was told that the results would be back the next day.  We were leaving for Cancun on Saturday with friends.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to know or not before our trip.  Finally on Friday I thought, "Just look your enemy in the eyes".  So, I went to the hospital and requested the results.  It turns out that they only read these complicated scans once a week on Wednesdays so there were no results.  Since I was there I had the images sent to Mayo to be read along with the read that we will have done here in Utah.

I think if you haven't had cancer it is hard to explain what it is like to wait for the results of a scan.  To be frank, most of my exams have come back with new cancer detected so I am understandably apprehensive of scans.  It's hard not to let ideas creep into your head.  I try to push them out but they keep pushing back in.  The "What if.." thoughts are agonizing.

We left for Cancun Saturday.  It was beautiful, of course, but still those thoughts hung over me, like a dark cloud.  Our second day there JoLynne and I spent floating down a jungle river in tubes and snorkeling in a crystal clear bay.  It was so relaxing that I found the dark thoughts dissipating.  They were still nagging at the edges but not on center stage anymore.   The rest of the vacation was just wonderful.  Friday, we returned home from swimming in some of the local cenotes, (water holes all across Yucatan).  When we got to our hotel I checked my email and there was a note from Dr. Foote at Mayo.

Opening it was like standing in front of a firing squad.  Gratefully the news was good.  Dr. Foote had the radiologist at Mayo read the images and they felt like I was cancer free.  One area was of slight concern so they want another scan in two months but the evidence pointed away from new cancer.  JoLynne and I just stood there and hugged each other and cried.  We are so grateful!  The firing squad had blanks in the guns this time.  YEAH!

A nice ending to a trip to Paradise.  Thank you for your prayers and support.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"Life is beautiful"

And I even got a certificate 
Yesterday was my last hyperbaric dive, 40 dives completed!  I am feeling pretty darn good.  I would guess that my pain is 80% resolved over where it was.  They tell me that I will continue to improve over time now that some circulation has been re-established.  My energy is significantly improved.  I used to wake up about four times a night to apply anesthetic to my mouth.  Now I am waking up just once.  It used to be that I would just lie on the couch waiting for the medicine to work.  The pain was terrible and I felt like a zombie.  Now I exercise while the medicine is kicking in.  It's kind of weird but, why not.  Last night I was up at 4:00 am to medicate and I ran up and down my stairs 30 times, did 30 push ups, 50 sit-ups, 25 dips and some pull ups and then jumped back in bed.  I think my kids downstairs think their father is crazy, they may be right.  The funny thing is how easy it is to fall asleep again when I get back in bed with JoLynne, maybe it's easy because I am exhausted from exercise.

"The mouth"
With better energy I was able to decorate for Halloween this year.  That hasn't happened in three years. We have a silly tradition where I construct a huge mouth on our front porch

.  To get to the door you have to walk into the mouth and across a big red foam tongue.  When I open the door the mouth snaps shut behind the trick or treaters.  The kids love it.  It's amazing what you can do with rope and pulleys. It was fun that I felt well enough to put it up this year.
Dumb comic I ran across

Anyway, I am grateful to feel so well.  My next scan is going to be December 10th.  We are praying that I continue cancer free.  Thank you for all of your faith and prayers in my behalf.  I truly believe it has made a difference.