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If we were having coffee this morning, we would be in the 13th floor of the hospital in room 30 where I am recovering from surgery.  The great news? 

I have no cancer. They found that the “tumor” was actually a huge gallstone which was hard as  a rock!  The part that was in my liver was an inflammation from the gallbladder situation. So they pulled out the gallbladder and cleaned a lot of abscesses that they found throughout the abdomen. I have 3 incisions. No chemo port because I “ain’t gonna need it!” I will be here for 3 to 5 days. Lots of pain. But I can handle it. 

Thank you all for the support and prayers and for being here with me.  Going to cut this short because I’m writing it on my phone and it’s also time to find my magic button did the pain medication. 

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Parttimemonsterblog. Go check it out!  (I can’t seem to link this to the bloghop but ilk see if I can get Diana to link if for me.)

This has been a really tough eight weeks. Monday’s news was pretty much devastating. I shared it here and on Facebook. I needed the support and I needed to feel like I am not alone.

And my friends and family came through. Aside from all of the comments and well wishes and prayers, I also got some phone calls and emails and private messages from long time friends. We shared some sad words but we also laughed at some of the old memories. That’s what I needed. I needed that link to people: friends, family, and even strangers. Because I live alone and because I don’t want to burden my kids with this, I’ve not really discussed all of this with them, at least not past telling them what the doctor said. I don’t want to see them break down and I don’t want to break down in front of them. So I keep silent except here and on Face Book.

That’s what I need: to feel loved and supported. It made me smile. That’s the key. I’ve always been one to make lemonade out of life’s lemons and I’ll continue to do that. I know it will bring me more smiles and a single smile is worth all the chemo in the world.

 

The #WeeklySmile is hosted by Trent over on his blog. Why not stop by and check it out. There will be other smiles posted. Maybe you’ll want to share one of yours?

Not Good News

Not good news.
Apparently, gall bladder cancer is inoperable. I don’t yet have a diagnosis but the assumed (by the doctors) diagnosis is gall bladder cancer. I’m having surgery on Friday. They will biopsy the colon, gall bladder, liver, any anything else they can. The hope now is that they find that the tumor consists of a different type of cancer, meaning one that originated in the colon or the liver. Those types of cancer they can remove. But gall bladder cancer they cannot. All they can do is administer chemo to prolong life. On Friday they will also be putting in a port for me to receive chemo. The surgeon said that anyway we look at it, my case is not going to be an easy one. He says I am in for a “tough ride.”

So I guess I now will ask you all to pray that what they find will be a treatable cancer, a liver cancer or a colon cancer, and not the gall bladder cancer they are sure they are going to find. I want more than 4 to 5 months. I’m not done living yet. I’m not done. This is really tough.

Spencer who is four, loves to make everyone laugh. I know that when he gets to school, he’ll be the class clown.

Last week, my daughter had a mystery shop assignment at the food court at the local mall and she asked me to go with her and the kids so I went along. Spencer was wearing shorts with an elastic drawstring which he proceeded to play with and ended up pulling it up over his head. The result was pretty funny and we all laughed. When we got home, he continued to do it and then he put his little sister’s Bumbo seat over his head like a hat and posed for me. Pretty funny stuff. See for yourself!

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The #WeeklySmile is hosted by Trent. Go on over and check out some other smiles. Maybe you’d like to share one of yours?

If we were having coffee, I would try to be chipper but I would have to cut it short as I’m not in the best spirits these days.

As many of you know, doctors found a large tumor in my gall bladder seven weeks ago. Upon further examination, they’ve seen that a portion of the tumor is also in my liver and there is a good chance that it is in my colon, as well. I have had test after test and they keep coming back benign but what they see on the CT scan says it’s malignant. I didn’t understand what they meant by “what they see and how it is acting” until I read the latest CT scan report in MyChart. What they are going by is how it is effecting the tissue around it and by “gas bubbles” and other stuff I don’t really understand yet. I kind of lost it when I read that and the word “metastasized.”

I see the surgeon Monday afternoon and I am pretty sure they have my full file now, including the reports from my surgery two years ago in which they found a borderline malignancy in an ovarian cyst which was removed. I think, and I hope, that tomorrow we will have a much better picture of what is going on and a treatment plan. I’m very nervous and very anxious. I am often near tears these days but I’m one of those people that doesn’t let herself cry so it’s all inside.

Today I will spend the rest of the day with Anderson and Spencer and Maya and we’ll probably go for some ice cream because it’s National Ice Cream Day here in the U.S. and lots of places are giving out free ice cream cones! The weather is nice enough for ice cream. I haven’t taken them to the park since before the fourth of July and I usually take them every day. So maybe a park trip is in the works, too.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading. I can’t concentrate to write or watch TV so I read. I am trying to read all of the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva.  There are currently seventeen titles and I’ve read six. I had some in my Kindle library and I’ve recently discovered how to borrow digital books from the library so now I’m in business! If you’re looking for a great spy thriller, this might be the series for you.

In any case, I have been horrible about keeping up with everyone’s blogs. I read a lot of them but I read on my phone and I have fat fingers so it’s difficult to comment. I end up liking a lot of posts. I will try to be better about it; maybe I’ll start carrying my tablet with me which will work if there is Wi-Fi at the doctor’s office and other buildings.

In the meantime, if you are so inclined, I am needing a lot of virtual hugs and positive thoughts/energy these days. Please send them my way.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. Go check it out and you’ll find a lot more shares. Maybe you will want to write one.

The Latest

Note: This is a copy/paste from the post I just put up on Face Book. It’s difficult to write these updates and not forget things so it was easy to just paste it here.

On Thursday I got a call from my gastroenterologist saying the needle biopsy was benign but he doesn’t think it’s benign. He has actually seen it and was the first to detect it. He’s worried that we are not getting the full picture and might be lulled into thinking that all is okay. He really thinks it’s malignant. He said go ahead and see the oncologist today while I wait for the authorization to see a surgeon. His feeling is that the more eyes on my case, the better; another doctor may have had a similar case.

Today, the oncologist was also stumped and could only recommend either another biopsy, this time with an arthroscope as that will give them a better and bigger tissue sample even though it will be more invasive than the needle biopsy I had last week.

The tumor is on my right side and many of you will remember that I had a serious surgery two years ago during which a very large fluid filled cyst was removed from my right ovary. The tissue removed was biopsied and came back as borderline malignant. None of the current doctors had done a full health history so they didn’t know this. I felt it was relevant because both instances involved my right lower abdomen.

Once I explained all of that to the oncologist, he was able to access my records from two years ago and found that the growth two years ago was a “serous tumor” which he said are almost always benign. So now his theory is that the current tumor is also a serous tumor (not a misspelling) but is probably benign. So he wants me to stop worrying about it for now until we get the next biopsy which will hopefully give us a more complete picture of what is going on. So while I have some surgery coming up, it might not be a horrible thing. The tumor has to go so we can biopsy it and see what it is and also to prevent it from spreading to other organs and/or becoming a worse kind of tumor with a higher incidence of malignancy.

 

The oncologist is also going to try to present “my tumor” before his “tumor board” which meets Tuesday (the 11th). The tumor board is an opportunity for oncologist to present a case which is unusual or difficult and try to get input from other top surgeons. It’s up the hill at Oregon Health and Science University, a teaching hospital. So maybe that will help shed light on it!

So I wait some more. Hopefully I will hear from the surgeon and get to schedule that soon.

Thank you for your continued support. I cannot tell you what a huge difference it has made. It’s a very wonderful feeling to know that I have so many people to lean on. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Hair

For years I have needed to dye my hair every three to four weeks. I use the box dye that I put in my hair myself. The salon is too expensive and they often don’t get it right. About four years ago, I went in on Senior Discount Day and got my hair cut and colored. I had taken a picture of what I wanted it to look similar to. The haircut was wrong and the color she gave me was not the deep brown with a touch of red. Instead, it was all red…like not hair red but crayon red! I had to cover it up when I went back the next day so they could fix it. Then three years ago I treated myself to a haircut and color treatment for my birthday (which is also Christmas and I wanted it to look nice when the family was together). It turned out great. I was quite pleased until she gave me the bill to pay. It wasn’t the price she had quoted. It was more than twice the price. I almost passed out right there in the mall. So no more salon jobs for me. I buy a box of color for $6 to $10, depending on whether it is on sale or not.

However, because money has been so scarce (and continues to be) I haven’t colored my hair since before Thanksgiving. It is now about fifty percent gray. It makes me look about ten years older than without the gray. At least ten years older. I almost didn’t care because this was also a time when I was depressed and just didn’t care what my hair looked like or what age I looked like. Then I started to feel better when my diabetes started to get better (the wonders of medication!) and all the gray started to bother me. I wanted to look my best. I have been really busy with doctor appointments and trips to the lab for tests, to the hospital, to the pharmacy, and all of those other busy-making things so I had not had the chance to dye it. It kept getting more and more gray and I kept noticing it more and more.

Then I got my diagnosis and although I’ve not been to the oncologist yet, I know it’s not going to be a walk in the park. The biopsy, while I don’t have results yet, showed that the tumor is not only in my gall bladder but in my liver, as well. So if we come up with a treatment plan, it’s not going to be fun.

That’s when I decided to dye my hair. I was not going to wait another minute. I went to the closet where I keep extra boxes of hair dye when I get them on sale. I didn’t have any. There was one box of black that I bought for my sister but black is too severe for me so I couldn’t find any dye in the house. Finally, I found a box I had bought at the Dollar Tree. Yup, hair dye for a dollar. I was reluctant to use it because it was a no name brand with poor spelling on the outside of the box and it was old. But I figured, what the heck. So that’s what I have in my hair now. And it isn’t bad. I didn’t get all the gray but that’s okay. It looks more natural that way.

Now I want a haircut but I’m thinking I might want to leave it long for as long as I can because it might not be too long from now that I won’t have any at all. So that’s the inner debate right now. Of course, I have no money for a haircut and I won’t do it myself, so that will probably be the deciding factor in the endless hair decisions.