Monday, May 18, 2009

Faith & Stats

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a surgeon. I met Erika with a K that's a surgeon today and she is the only surgeon I have ever met that has made me have a little nag of regret in not moving forward with that little dream of mine. I watched her eyes light up as I rotated the baby on my chest from one breast to the other as she examined "the mass". Yes, you did read that right, the baby had to go with me. I had 4 finely laid out, make any football coach proud, game plans of who was to help me and because Erika with a K is a surgeon, her schedule got all out of whack and she gave me a 30 minute window earlier than expected to race down a construction ridden freeway, throw the baby in the stroller, and wheel us in to her room only for her to be greeted by screams from a 13 month old frightened baby girl. E's only experience with doctors is apparently highly associated with the pain of needles and the only thing that would calm her was me holding her against my chest in the always lovely, open in the front, paper gown. Good times.

Now to the news. Thank God, the prolactin levels are normal!!! That means pituitary gland issue is not the cause of breast leakage. When asked what causes it, she said it just happens and may happen my whole life. Well, ok then onto "the mass". It's still there, but it has shrunk half a centimeter in length and width. According to Erika with a K, cancer doesn't usually shrink. She looked at me smiling and said your stats look good. I said how good, what are my options, and what can I do to help my body not to rebel against me? She said if I had come in for a breast exam today that she probably would not have found it and/or have been concerned with it since it matches the fibro cystic tissue in my other breast. She said, however, it is still there, but shrinking is good and although the only way to know for sure that it isn't cancerous is to take it out and have the pathologist examine it, that I am looking at .5% of it being cancerous!!! That is crazy good news!! Now to the options, they are the same as before. Breast MRI, yank it out, or wait. We are deciding to wait for one more month and have her look at the same day of the next cycle, if its bigger, we get it out for sure, if it isn't we evaluate then just in time for summer fun:)
As far as what I can do...for the pain, drop caffeine-ouch-that may have to have a cost analysis ran on it, I'm not sure. As for the fibrous tissue, its here to stay, weight loss may affect it a little, but until menopause its gonna be a lumpy ride. Again, good times.

For some reason as I heard her talk stats and percentages, all I could think was yes-- I am so grateful and part of me is looking to her for that guarantee that all will be ok. That's where stats step off and faith comes in. My guarantee is not in her or tests or machines, its in Him and I know that, but knowing and really knowing and feeling it don't always happen together. I like Erika with a K that felt me up with a screaming baby on my chest and looked at me when I apologized and said "This is Life". I think we're a great patient/surgeon...faith/stats team and yes, this is life and I don't want to miss a beat as I buckle up for the next fun ride--dermatologist vs. suspicious mole...good times!

Thank you for continued prayer as we watch "the mass" and I hope to report next month that the only mass to be found is down the street at St. Mary's!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tiny Dancer

video

#1 did awesome at her competition today and she was so excited she did the somersault on the hard gym floor correctly that she couldn't wait to put the prize winning T-shirt on! I am so proud of her for sticking with this hip hop thing that 3 months ago, a week after I bought the competition costume, she begged with pleading eyes and alligator tears, to quit. How far she's come...she's still quitting, but there's definitely something said for sticking it out.

As we waited for her group to perform, we were watching #3 watch the other performers and I had to share our tiny dancer's performance on the stroller!

How did I get so lucky to have such an awesome family...sigh...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Note

Today I wrote a note on pretty stationery with my initial on it and sealed it with a pretty sticker. A normal thing to say thank you, to say hey-I've been thinking about you, to say I love you. A not so normal thing to drop off to a surgeon who isn't returning calls to say hey chica, I'd like to know if my blood levels are normal prior to the next appt to make sure we aren't wasting any time and thanks for the rub down! Definitely not normal, but less than 3 hours Erika with a K's name showed up on my caller id and her friendly receptionist who God Bless Her pretended that we hadn't talked everyday for the past 2 weeks in my pestering to get that pertinent info, called to say oh the dr had a great idea, she actually looked at the old blood work that didn't measure prolactin levels and wow, wouldn't it be nice to know what those are prior to your next appt, which happens to be Monday? Oh my, what an idea!!
So, all sarcasm aside, I get to go get poked again to get that prolactin level and my "special visitor" arrived today so I will be seeing the surgeon Monday afternoon to have her re-assess "the mass" and see if it's smaller, same or bigger. Let the good times roll! Thanks for continued prayer:)!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Half My Life

I have officially been with my Big Game for half my life. We met in Math Anal our Junior year of high school and we didn't have our first date until prom of our Senior year (go Bulldogs) where we joined Ang and Aaron for a double date at Bobby McGee's, the dance, Ramona Bowl for some chatting and game playing, and Denny's for a Grand Slam. We had our first kiss propped up on his moms Honda Accord and destiny took over.
Seventeen years....his dimples, his wavy hair, his brains, and the way he looked in a suit were the things that got me right from the start. That following Monday he gave me his letterman jacket to wear which I proudly sported in the 90 degree heat for the last month of school leading to graduation. When you are 17 how do you know what or who you will love? I just knew. I knew he would never hurt me, at least not on purpose. I knew he could fix anything. I knew he was a hard worker and very smart. Most of all, I knew he loved me, even when I couldn't or wouldn't love myself.
Half your life with the same person is a HUGE deal, especially in a world of divorce, in a time of both of us being so young. We've always seemed to have had a shield of protection around us. We've grown up together, have the same memories, and even when it seems things aren't fantastic, one of us will usually make the other laugh....17 years and still laughing...half my lifetime and yet so much more to look forward to...
Loving you always BG...
Flame

MDM (Mother's Day Memories)




Has anyone seen my slinky? stated by the 9 year old...





I don't wanna wear my tennis shoes to golf!!! also stated by the 9 year old...





Can I have another piece of chocolate? 7 year old dreaming aloud....





Blah, blah, per, blah, blah, poo! 1 year old asking for a diaper...dare we say genius?





At least I didn't have to fold laundry!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mary and the Mass

The mammo got moved up to yesterday afternoon. After volunteering at school, a trip to Target, and lunch with a friend, I ended up going alone and reading several delightful articles in the magazine Allure. The squishing itself was not alluring, but meeting the intake nurse, Mary, was an experience I won't soon forget. She basically balked at any concern I had and at the end of her exam told me to stand up, place my arms at my side, lift my left arm to touch my right elbow, and said feel that? I said yes, that's my elbow..to which she replied, that's a lump. She may as well had called me an idiot and kicked me to the curb and I so wanted to pull out the line from that Office movie and say, "Sounds like somebody's gotta case of the Mondays..." But it was Tuesday and she didn't look like she watched anything without Matlock in it.

So, after recovering from that, the radiologist told me everything looked normal-no pre-cancerous calcium deposits to be seen-Praise God!!
When I spoke to the surgeon's assistant today, she said THE MASS (she really did emphasize it like that, it was quite disturbing, like something Quentin Tarrantino would have a character say...I digress) could not be seen on imaging. That is what we expected and even though it can't be seen doesn't mean it's not there, so we will be scheduling another consult in a couple weeks to see how to proceed.

I can't tell you how many emails, phone calls, texts, hyeroglyphics (sp?) of encouragement I have received since I put the 911 out there. Thank you to each and every one of you for showing you care and for praying. There are so many people worse off than me and its humbling to be loved so openly. I asked a friend today, what would happen if we rallied in prayer for each other like this all of the time, even when no crisis is hiding in the wings? Her response was that would be totally awesome! I agree and hope that we can practice that together.

Be well and thanks for continuing in prayer:)!!

Happy Familyversary!

One year ago today we officially became a family of 5!!! James and I met E for the first time in a tiny hotel room in Texas and man, this year has crawled and flown by all at the same time! So, today in honor of 4 becoming 5, E decided to take 3 steps towards me without holding on to anything and before I could grab any sort of camera, she sat down! Soon enough she'll be racing around on those cute chubs of hers!

To the ones I hold the tightest...J, C, R & E, I love you more than words can say and have embraced this past year with all its ups, downs, and round abouts! To my girls especially, thank you for giving your dad and I such joy and causing us to grow so much within ourselves and for keeping us on our toes and knees all at the same time! You three are sisters for life and we never want you to forget that.

Happy Familyversary-the Nelson fam rocks!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Today I met Erika

I know a lot of Erika's. I went to high school with one, college with one, and worked my first post-college job with one. Today I met another one and she's a mom and happens to be a breast surgeon. How does one become a breast surgeon with a name like Erika spelled with a k? I don't know, but man am I glad it was her small framed blue eyed confidence that greeted me in my paper thin, hey I gotta boob lump, and why is everything in the waiting room referring to cancer or masectomy's state this afternoon.
After doing an exam and asking a bunch of questions, this is what Erika said...

First, there's a lump. It's measuring 2.5 X 1.5 cm and she sent me home with a handy dandy diagram of its placement.
Second, she's 98-99% sure that lump SHOULD be cancer free. It is not grainy. It is not like a hard pea or bee shape. It seemed to move around and go away when pushed on.
Third, she doesn't want to take any chances with that 1 to 2%, so she offered several scenarios.

I can wait 3 months and see if it changes sizes. I can come back at a different time in my cycle in a couple weeks and see if it changes sizes. I can have a breast MRI which usually causes mass panic and chaos in patients like me due to the false positives it creates which cause more rollercoaster biopsy's to take place. She can not take a biopsy of this current lump due to its peek-a-boo instinct and it would be a "blind biopsy". I can have her surgically remove it or leave it in and watch it.

This is the action plan we're going with...I'm going to get the previously scheduled mammo to see if it shows anything, but usually fibro cystic tissue looks like bone on ultrasounds and mammos, which is why they didn't see anything in the already done ultrasound. Then why am I getting the test obviously created by a man that likes to squish things? Because she is looking for calcium deposits that could be a sign of pre-cancerous cells.
If mammo shows nothing, I go on day 5 of next cycle for another exam. We evaluate findings and if has not shrunk or gone away, she will be taking it out.

In addition, she is checking the last round of blood work that my general dr did to see if he did a prolactin test. Apparently, all this leakage I've had for the last 6 years post breast feeding days that I have announced hilariously that I could feed a 3rd world country on one side is not ok. I have talked each year with my obgyn about it and never had them concerned...this is why I am embracing this Erika. So, there's a possibility that I could have a USUALLY benign tumor on my pituitary gland (btw-thats located in the brain) that could be causing this wow, my shirt was dry until I bent over, effect. I am hoping it also causes a big ass, thick thighs, and a loud mouth!

It seems I am learning a couple huge life lessons. First, I am not to be taking anything for granted and the passion that I feel to meet God on my closet floor while in crisis needs to be something I do daily. Second, my measure of what is good and bad is no longer as black and white as it was last Monday. Its all different shades of grey now. Hey, you have a lump and cysts. Now your cysts are good, still have a lump. Think the lump could be nothing, but cancer isn't predictable, here's your choices. Oh, by the way, may have a tumor in your brain, no need to panic since its usually benign. See what I mean? Good, bad, ugly, and the only constant is Him.

I will post more on this after mammo results come in. As always, thanks for continued love, support, and prayers!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop

The Rice Krispy theory has paid off!!! The pap came back normal...cysts be gone, apparently they were they to ward off evil-who knows? Praise GOD!!! I plan on taking a deep breathe and possibly getting a mani/pedi because we all know nothing says hey the cysts are good and I have a lump that's getting checked out better than nail polish!

Have a great weekend and thanks for continued prayers!

Pre-Mammo Cancellation

The surgeon's office just called to say they had a cancellation, but I can't get my mammo done prior to the appt. Something told me to go, take the appt, have her evaluate the ultrasound and what she feels. So, Monday, 12:45pm mst-consult with breast surgeon..

Thanks for praying! I'll post what I find out-do your exams ladies!!!

Dates

First, I want to thank all of you that have become available to walk with me through this! In the midst of all of our busy lives and swine flue outbreaks it never ceases to amaze me that when the chips are down for another, someone steps in to fill the gap. My gap is overflowing with the love I am feeling from each and every one of you...thank you!

So, the drs office called this am and they scheduled the diagnostic mammo for Thursday, May 7th at 10am MST. I want them to see nothing except a big giant boob. I am rebuking anything else and I am asking that you do the same!

After that lovely torture, I am persistently pestering the breast surgeon to move up my appt from the current time of May 27th at 10am MST. 26 days from today-Happy Freaking May Day??!! I think not, hence the pestering...

Nothing back on the pap, again, those little cysts need to be Rice Krispies that snap, crackle, pop their way back to wherever they came from!

I am putting the stinkin' time zones for the dates because I want to be specific in prayer and although He knows the outcome, He knows the tornado of emotions I'm in now, He also wants us to come to Him and know that He is God. I'm here, please join me and wake me when this ride is over:)

Love yourself today-be well!

S

Lumps and Bumps

I am a huge advocate of going to the yearly female appt...up until now, when they don't go smoothly. As I was sticking my cold toes into the oven mitts the obgyn hilariously keeps over the stirrups, I felt this weird calm. Even my blood pressure was normal, which NEVER happens at the drs office. It was as if I wasn't even there...maybe I wasn't. When a dr looks at you and says, "Can you feel that?" I can't describe what goes through your mind. I of course said no and then she led me to it. I have lumps and bumps all the time. I am a classic fibrous tissue boob chick and never know when to panic...until now. So, off to St. Mark's for the ultrasound and nothing is to be found, which I thought was a good thing, but apparently we aren't out of it yet. So, as I journey through a mammogram and a breast surgeon consult I ask you to pray with me. Pray that I am not paralyzed by fear. Pray that I have complete healing (both mental and physical). Pray that I remember I serve an awesome God who loves me.
If you are local and see me, I might need a hug. I'm vulnerable, I'm out there and not really loving it (Seinfeld fans insert laughter here). And if you haven't been to your "yearly"...please go. I love you sisters and we need to take care of ourselves, for each other and our families!

Will post more when I know something...this part is the part when I usually ask to get off the roller coaster, but if I have to stay on, thanks for holding my hand and riding with me as I scream through it...pray, pray, pray...!!