Friday, November 19, 2010

Crash Squad

In my life I have had some pretty crappy scares! And my fight has been hard, scary, tiring and yet sometimes comical. But recently I have had someone introduced into my life that has gotten me off my couch, gotten me out of me out of my head, and has in a way helped get me in the best shape that I have been for at least 15-20 years. Would you like to meet her?

Her name is Rachel Aspen and her voice… is mine!

Let me explain… A few months back I received an email from an old high school friend of mine. We were in the drama club together, I don’t get to see her very much, but recently had touched base again (due to the wonderful New Kids on the Block concert). Do you all remember Birgitte?

She is standing next to me on my left (and of course any excuse to put in a picture of NKOTB)

Well, Birgitte emailed me and explained how her husband has a hobby of computer animation and would I be willing to audition to voice a character on his show called Crash Squad?

Uh… yeah! And so it began!! I received my scripts and found out more about the character that was to have my voice. Her name is Rachel Aspen. In the words of Luke Newman, Crash Squad's creator... “Beautiful...silent...deadly. Sergeant Rachel Aspen is possibly the most lethal member of the entire C-Squad.” I cannot tell you how excited I was to try out to be this girl!! So I showed up (nervous as all get-out), my first line of the night was me yelling, “DCPD!! Open up!!!” Oh I felt the thrill and excitement of not only being part of this team, but also surprising Mike (who does sound) and having him pull off his punisher ear phones. He was not expecting me to yell. Ha-ha!!! So, in the end, I did get the part and get to share my every other Thursday evening with a bunch of characters (both computer animated and human).

So how does Aspen help get me in shape and help me to feel better about myself? Well right now we are in Luke’s basement doing some voice over work, but hopefully in the future, the series will be bought, put on TV and I have to start to think about my Comi-Com appearances right? Well if you play Sergeant Rachel Aspen with the Delta City Police Department you have GOT to have it going on!!! Ha-ha!!

So thank you Birgitte for the email, Luke for the audition and the entire Crash Squad crew for the acceptance!!! I am having such a friggin’ blast!!!

Have I got your curious?? Check out the blog and you can see snippets that Luke has put together! AWESOME!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Hi everyone,
This is a very sad blog for me... In July of this year, I had found out that one of my chemo sisters passed away... Her name was Wanda Williams and she was beautiful. To me she was strength, love, compassion and beauty all rolled into the perfect woman... http://http//

What kills me the most is that I received an email from her in April here is what it said...

Hello My Chemo Buddies,
I guess we have been thinking of one another because its been our 1 year anniversary. Well, so far I'm also clean. I have a bilateral mammo tomorrow. I made it through radiation with very little issues. But a week after my 40th birthday (February 13), I came down with SHINGLES.
No one told me it could happen, but my general physician and Dr Hendricks said is was pretty normal for cancer patients.

Now that the neuralgia is disappearing, I can start training for the Avon Walk. My hair has come back, even got my first haircut on Sunday. It is a different texture from what I had before, but I'm loving it. I hope to see you all soon.You all truly made this horrible experience wonderful. I couldn't have made it without you!!!!

Miss you,Wanda

She died in May... I didn't find out until July... JULY!!! How can that be?? I was getting facebook status' from her on people donating to her 3 day walk total??? So I went on her facebook page and found out that site automatically generated status updates when someone donated to her... I was shocked, and beyond belief saddened. I didn't know her well, but she helped get me through the toughest period of my life and I loved her....

I just couldn't help thinking, if I only had read her facebook status, if I would have only known... It pains me even now how fast she was struck w/ a recurrence and none of her chemo "sisters" knew. So when I received notice from Bzzz Agent (it is a company that allows me to sample new products for me feedback) that they were opening a campaign for "Otrib" I had to sign up.

You can visit and it allows you to post your wishes and make a tribute page to someone you have lost. I thought it was a great idea especially having experienced this this past year. Check it out.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Race for the Cure 2010

Okay, Okay.. I am a bad blogger. It has been two weeks since the Race for the cure and I am just now getting a chance to write about it. I don't think I have to worry about bad charma... Already got the cancer (hahaha).

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Baltimore was two weeks earlier than last year. Thank goodness, if you all remember, last year there was friggin' snow on the ground for the race!! This year it was a little chilly but wonderful running weather... And that is what I did, I ran!!
I had been training since July (???) for this race. I have an app on my Ipod for Couch to 5K (a.k.a. C25K) and every other day (3 times a week) I would pop my earphones in turn on my playlist, and do whatever the very pleasant woman would tell me too.
"Welcome to Couch to 5K"
"Warm up now" (five minutes)
"Run now"
"Walk now"
"Run now"
"Half way" (This is where I would turn around and start my return)
"1 more minute" (This is where I am normally gasping for breath and friggin' relieved)
"Cool Down" (Normally, this is where I throw my arms in the air in triumph)
"Work out Complete" I am normally back at my front door.
It really is a great program, if you can stick to it. Week 4 is a bitch (fair warning). The first week has you running and walking intervals which are 60 seconds and 90 seconds respectively. Then they work you up to a complete run. I was up to week 8 (running 28 minutes without stopping) when the race came up (there are 9 weeks total). I am still working on week 9 (30 minutes of running without stopping).

The day of the race I was so excited!!! I opted out of the survivor parade this year (too early, and the "parade" is the length of a parking lot). But got my butt out there for the race. This year I was determined to run the 5K, I had two partners in crime on this journey....

Meg and Heather

We all met in the lobby of the hotel that we were staying at, and then walked to the race.
We got there as the race started.

Putting Megs bib on her back. (That is running lingo for her number (aren't' you so impressed with me?)
Team LJ this year had a group of walkers too! Bridget came with her husband and their two kids from New York to be with us. Also, my hubby and girls were walking as well.
We had all made a pact to run together in the beginning, but if we lost each other during the race, that that was okay, we would hook back up at the end. We lost Heather early on in the race. Meg stayed by my side for the entire race (I personally think that she could have gone faster and passed my butt, but she stayed with me, encouraging me through the entire race). I was hoping that the race would be flat, but no... There were hills that weren't steep so much as they were LONG. At one point Meg told me to put on the song that made me push, that made me want to go for it. As the song on my playlist started (The Fray's "You Found Me"), Meg started singing out loud something about "Licking you from your head to your toes" and "Chocolate make it melt" ???!!! (Later finding out the song was "What's Your Fantasy" by Ludacris). I decided I need to use her playlist (hahahha).
At the two mile marker I we walked for maybe a tenth of a mile and started back up running. Then walked one more time two-tenths before the 3 mile marker, then finished the race at 3miles to the finish!!
I had never run that far (in my adult years). The announcer pulled me over to tell him my name (as a survivor, we were announced as we came in) and I was told to go down the survivor line, which was basically a line of volunteers to high five all the way down. (note: couldn't they have done this at the beginning of the race?? I just wanted to be finished!! Now I have to run through a line of people too??? Didn't you all JUST see me run a 5K)

By the end, I was in tears, met up with Meg and we cried and hugged. Okay so emotions came over me. We waited for Heather and cheered for her as she passed as well!
This was us after the race.

Once we were finished and had gone through Race Village we had some lunch, went back to the hotel to visit with Bridget and her family. Here are some pics.
Then we headed out... The ride home was a quiet one....

In the end, Team LJ had 12 Team Members, and raised $2,210.00!! Thank you so much to all those that walked, run, supported, donated and/or registered!!! I wish I could put into words how much your love has meant to me!!!

Go Team LJ!!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Army of Women

We are dedicating ONE day to reach ONE million women to sign up for the Army of Women by declaring October 1, 2010 the official Army of Women Day. We beseech all bloggers to blog about the Army of Women and empower women to take the next step by signing up and taking part in breast cancer research studies. Together, we can move breast cancer beyond a cure and eradicate it once and for all.

I have signed up. You can sign up for breast cancer research studies even if you have never had breast cancer. Help us to find out why some of us get it, and why some of us don't.

October 1 kicks of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I will be sporting my pink everyday and honoring those have have survived, who are fighting and those we have lost.

My love to all the families struggling with this disease and who have struggled.

Help me make a difference!!!

Me at my first Race for the Cure

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Year 2 for Team LJ!!!

Please join Team LJ (on our 2nd year) and
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
As we Race For a Cure on
Sunday October 03, 2010
Hunt Valley, Maryland
Let's get started!!!

Sign up!! Register online at under our team name today! Your friends, family members and neighbors are invited to be part of the "Team LJ" team too. Please ask them to go online and register and be sure they choose Team LJ under "team name".
Fundraise!! Tell your family, friends and neighbors about the Komen Maryland Race for the Cure and ask them to help by making a contribution to your personal fundraising page online. Or, they can write a check or money order to Komen Maryland. Strive to ask 10 friends for $10 to help us reach our team goal of $2,500.00 in the fight against breast cancer. Every dollar makes a difference.

Race/Walk! Have a great time at the Race with Team LJ and enjoy a day filled with hope, love, encouragement, entertainment, fun and a LOT of pink!! It will be fun for racers and walkers of all ages.

Feel Proud! After the walk, fell the pride and satisfaction that comes form knowing you were part of the largest world-wide effort to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Contact Team LJ today for more information!!

REMEMBER - Sunday, October 03, 2010


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, I didn't know how long I would have with my children. One year ago today, I was exhausted. One year ago today, my skin was burnt and bloody that I thought scarring was immanent. One year ago today, I had my last radiation treatment. It feels like it was just yesterday, but at the same time it also feels like years ago. It was a very hard ride last year and I just wanted to say thank you.

So many of you helped me through my fight (if you knew it or not), whether it be through love, support, comments, commiseration, humor, a smile, or just a plain reality check.

Today I am cancer free. Today I feel better than I have in at least 10 years. Today, I am a survivor, a warrior. But I could not have done it without the support of all of you. So from the bottom of my heart...

Thank you,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Who Would Have Thought??

In May back in 1999, I walked in the Relay For Life, the 24 hour cancer walk.

My walking time was sometime in the wee hours of the night (or the morning, which ever you prefer). I have the image etched in my brain of walking around the Lompoc High School track with my friend Tracie looking at the luminaries along the track. These luminaries were the only things lighting the track, all the lights had been turned off. On each luminary was the name of someone who lost their life to cancer or a survivor. I will never forget walking along that track trying to read each name... Bag after bag, "In Memory of....", "In Honor of...", "In Memory of..." and so on. As each bag lit my way, I wanted to read each name. Be it a morbid curiosity or the thought I couldn't believe the strength it must have taken every survivor, every person that lost their life to fight everyday. Maybe just reading their names, if only to myself, would honor those warriors. It was an emotional night for me and I didn't even know any of the names. That was the first and last Relay for Life I did, yet I remember that night as if it was yesterday. Funny how some memories are gone forever and some you never forget.

One of my baby mommas, Shannon, does the walk up in Massachusetts every year. She is doing it this weekend. She sent me a text last night....

That is the my luminary her children made for me....

Who would have thought huh? That someone would be walking the track in the wee hours of the morning, reading the names on the bags... And read my name. Thank you Shannon for thinking of me and thank you to Christian, Maddy and Nathaniel for helping your Mommy color it. It meant so much to me that you honor me with all those other fighters whose bags are lit to light your way as you walk. I love you all.

One year ago on June 4th, I had my last chemo treatment...


This past year has just been a blur... From chemo to radiation, radiation to healing, heeling to a total hysterectomy, a total hysterectomy to healing....

Somewhere along the line, I got better. I got healthy.

I guess I am just at a loss for words. This is a journey I wish no other woman to go through. This is a club, I don't want anyone else to join. But every day more woman join the ranks... More mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, friends join the breast cancer club. But in this journey I found strength in my family, in my friends, in perfect strangers. From my absolutely loving husband to the woman I met at the PT office that took time to tell me where I could find a good wig... If I could light a luminary with everyone of your names, I would. Then I would walk on the lit up track in the wee hours of the night and say your name to honor you.

I truly love you all.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

BoobieGate Update

April 11, 2010

I know... What a bad blogger I am! I don’t think that I have put in my post-op appointment with Dr. B. So… Here is it is.

I had been doing really good, healing really well. My work gave the option to work from home, so I started coding from home the day after I got back from the hospital. It was nice to keep my mind on something else, and to feel at least useful during my healing. I thought I was doing REALLY good, considering that I had no menopausal symptoms for the first week and a half. But then I guess that I had used up all my estrogen in reserve, because about a week and a half after surgery, I started to have hot flashes, emotional breakdowns, horrible vivid nightmares, and I mustn’t forget the insomnia. I stopped taking my naps during the day, just so I would be tired enough to go to sleep at night. The good news was that I had to come off my Tamoxofin for 5 days after the surgery, it can cause blood clots, and during the 5 days I was off it, my hives went away!! I didn’t realize it until I noticed that I had forgotten to take my Xyzal (anti-histamine) for about a week, and there were no more hives!!

Two weeks after my surgery, I went back to Dr. B office for my first post-op. I hadn’t heard anything about my test results yet, which I was HOPING meant that there was good news (no news is good news right?) So my mom and dad (who were still here) drove me down to Bethesda and my mom and I went back with Dr. B. Dad stayed up front in the waiting room. Dr. B checked me out inside and out, and said that I was “healing beautifully” I got to see the pictures of the surgery and the size of my cyst (warning, I am posting for you curious lookers, please avert your eyes for the squeamish).

She said that everything looked great, that everything was normal it was just a large mass with maroon-ish blood in it. Since they took the ovaries, tubes and uterus, they would not be going in to take out anything else. My mom at that point started crying…. Relief!
We left there soon after and had Chipotle!

Mom and Dad stayed through the weekend and left the next Monday, and I cannot thank them enough for helping me with the children, taking care of me, driving me around and of course feeding my Starbucks kick!!

I went back to work 4 weeks after surgery (April 7th) and went to dance the day after that. Yes, I was careful, but I am so over being sick!! I am tired of “not being able to do anything”, of having limitations. I wish I could have one day (just one) that I don’t remember I had cancer. I have to wear special “gear” to bed, so my breast doesn’t swell. I still have a rash on my left breast that will not go away; I have the scar that I have to massage so it doesn’t collect more fluid. I have to take a medication in the morning and one at night. Because of all these things, it is impossible for me to forget, or to just not remember for a single day that I had cancer. I feel sometimes that it is a heavy wind, whipping around me trying to blow me over and keep me down.

So yes I went to dance! Probably too early, but it is the only place that pointing my foot, making sure I am turned out, and making sure that I am not putting weight on my heel, squashes the cancer thoughts. It is the one place where I am Laurie Jo of old. The dance studio is the one place where I feel healthy and strong.

Okay, enough of that rant… I have decided to make an appointment with Dr. K (my original Oncologist). She is now in Washington DC, which means I have to take the Metro down to see her, but I am told it is a nice ride and I get to relax and read on the train (which I am excited about, I have a Harry Potter book to finish). I will see her on Wednesday and at that time we will discuss everything that has gone on with in the couple of months I haven’t seen her, and we will discuss what changes we are going to make with my med. I think she will take me off the Tamoxifen and give me a post menopausal drug, and I believe my hives are slowly making there way back, so I am pretty confident that I was/am allergic to the Tamoxifen. I might even get another anti-depressant to help with the hot flashes. I just want to sleep again!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Down.. But Not Out

Hey everyone.

I might be down for a few weeks, but everyday I feel a little better.

I am working from home for the next four weeks and taking care of myself. I am doing well, but get tired easily, and sitting upright does hurt after a while. So I am trying to take naps when I am done with work. I haven't had any hot flashes or menopause symptoms yet. I am so excited about that, but just waiting for them to come. I started taking my Tamoxifen again last night. I hope it doesn't make it start. Maybe my body feels better with no estrogen! Hahahaha.

I still cannot lift for 6 weeks and it is really hard on my girls (especially Natalie who wants me to hold her all the time). But it is getting better.

So far no news from Dr. B on my test results, I think she might wait until my first post-op appointment next week. But I guess no news is good news in this case.

My love to everyone!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's B-9!!

I am now sitting in my hospital room in the recliner. I am still in a little pain but hoping that it will subside soon. Yesterday went really well, so I will tell you what I remember....

Chris and I got to the hospital about 6:30 am for my 7am check in. Everyone was really nice and I was brought back to pre-op rather quickly. I got my gown on and some pretty mesh panties (sarcasm) cause of course the day before my uterus is removed, it decided to start my period. I guess it just wanted one more hurrah before it was removed. Anyway, once dressed a nurse came in and got my IV in one try (in my hand) then I met a few nurses that would be helping prep me. Nickie and Joe (Chris' parents) came got to the hospital first, then my parents came after dropping both girls off at daycare. So all 6 of us were there when they came to get me. Only three could follow me back to the pre-pre-op?? So Chris, Nickie and my Mom came with me.

There I met with Dr. B who would be doing the surgery, Beth who was going to be her PA, Jan the nurse (who reminded me of Christina Yang from Grey's Anatomy) and my anesthesiologist. I don't remember her name but she was AWESOME!! She gave me a sedative before getting rolled over to the operating room and I kissed my family good bye. I remember looking into the operating room, but I don't remember going in the room or moving to the OR bed. IT WAS GREAT!!

I woke up hearing that the cyst was benign and everything went very nicely. I don't know if the nurses were talking about me, but I was praying that they were. After about an hour they brought Chris back with my Mom, then my Dad, Nickie and Joe. Chris stuck around until they had brought me to my room (about 4:30pm). The mass was benign and everything did got well.
Even though the mass was benign, Dr. B still took both ovaries, tubes and uterus. Which is what we agreed upon. I was so relieved to hear that it all looked good. Now, all my parts will be sent to a pathology lab and they will test everything they took out. I will find out in about a week the complete results but everything says it looks good.

Once in my room I was able to have more clear fluids (yuck) and had a wonderful nurse, JoAnne. Chris left about 6:15pm so he could put the girls in bed, and then Dani (my BFF) came up to stay with me until about 10pm. I got to chat with my Baby Mommas online for about 30 minutes then I went to sleep.

This morning I got to eat real food!! And Dr. B came in and said that everything went really well, and that I made a good decision on both ovaries cause my right had a mass starting to grow there too!! So a good decision was made by all.

I am getting ready to eat my second solid food meal (lunch), my Mom and Dad are on their way to pick me me up to bring me home.

I am so grateful that everything turned out well. I know I still have a bumpy road coming up (with the flash menopause and no hormones), and 4 weeks of recovery, but today I just feel the relief of being cancer free!!!

Thank you for all your support and prayers.... They worked!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Ovarian Meeting

Hello everyone,

I saw Dr. B today (the Gyno/Onco). She is very nice (and very petite). She first read through my history and then asked me some questions. Then did a pelvic exam (just in case the mass was gone....) No, it was still there. But she did say that it was palpable (movable) and did not seem to be stuck to anything (that is a good sign). Then Chris and I went into her office and we had our "options" discussion....

Okay Here are my notes (well the Dr. notes she wrote for me)


Conservative Options (this is where they find no cancer in the testing).

These will be attempted as laproscopic.
  1. Remove just Left ovary (and mass) and tube. If the frozen sections (of the mass) tested is benign, they stop, close up and I'm done. (outpatient)

  2. Remove both ovaries (and mass) and tubes. If the frozen section tested and benign, they stop, close up and I'm done, (outpatient)

  3. Remove both ovaries (and mass), tubes, and uterus, if frozen section tests benign and they stop, close up and I'm done. (over night stay)

The recovery for #1 and #2 are about 2-4 weeks, the recovery for #3 is 4 weeks.

If the frozen section comes up malignant or borderline (if it is borderline then there are atypical cells and she will treat it as malignant because of my BC history).All bets are off....

She will have to make a vertical cut into my abdomen (like an emergency C-section) and she will have to remove all the reproductive organs and lympnodes and another organ called an the omentum. It is the fatty tissue that works like an apron on your organs. That is 2-3 nights in the hospital and a 6 week recovery.

Of course if it is cancer, it depends on what kind of cancer, if it is new or secondary on what kind of chemo I will need, no radiation.

She recommends since I am HIGHLY estrogen receptive that I remove both my ovaries at least.

She is hoping that my surgery can happen on March 10, I am waiting on the scheduler now.
This is exactly what I thought it would be. So I had been talking my self into the ovary removal for the past week. She said the hot fashes will be HORRIBLE and she will probably have to put me on something for them (more happy pills).

My meds will change cause I won't need the tamoxifen anymore, I will need the meds for post menopausal women.

Chris and I had pretty much agreed that I had to get both ovaries taken out. It took me a week to come to grips with that decision. Then I was talking on the phone with my mom on the way home one day this week. She said that she doesn't just see why I don't get the uterus taken out as well, and I quote, "Laurie Jo, it is just a bag wafting around in there waiting to get sick. The hard part are your ovaries, since they are coming out, why not the bag..." You got to love the way my mom puts things huh?

So I have been debating getting the uterus taken out...


  1. Nothing else to get sick.
  2. It is a baby basket for the most part, and with out ovaries there will never be a baby in there anymore.
  3. Get it all done at one time and hopefully it will be the last time I'm cut.


  1. They are going to have to cut off the cervix and then stitch up the vaginal canal, is it going to be shorter? Will it hurt to have sex?

So far I am leaning towards the uterus too right now, but I got back and forth. I don't have to make a final decision until my pre-op appointment that will be after they schedule the surgery.

So I am going to really push on praying and hoping this thing is normal and not malignant or atypical.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Are you Serious??? Ovary-Gate?

This has been a whirl wind two weeks. It started on Monday, Feb 15 (2010). I am not going to post this until I get more news (hopefully good) or at least my options. So here is the breakdown of the past couple weeks.

Back when I had my PET CT, they had found that my ovary had lit up a little, causing a little concern for my Oncologist. (Lighting up means could contain a cancer mass). So I was sent to for a pelvic ultrasound. They found what looked like a simple cyst, so they had me come back in a couple of months. At the second ultrasound the left cyst was gone, and there was a right cyst.

NOTE: This is very normal in a menstruating women since the ovaries release eggs it can cause a simple cyst that gets absorbed back into the body.

So when I met with Dr. K the last time, she told me that when I go for my yearly "Well Woman" visit, that I should ask for another pelvic ultrasound. So Monday I finally got around to doing it. That is where our story starts....

Monday, February 15, 2010

I was called back with a FULL bladder (which is required) by the ultrasound tech. She was very nice and she had actually done both my previous ultrasound, although I don't think she remembered me. So she did her exam and told me that I do have a couple of cyst in my right ovary, they looked simple. In my left I had a complex cyst, with solid and mass in it. Nothing to get excited over, probably a hemorrhagic cyst or an egg that didn't release. She would probably see me again soon, to check on it and see if it was still there in a few weeks (4-6 weeks).

"And by the way," she asked me, "Are you in much pain?"

"Pain? No... Should I be?" I asked perplexed.

"Well it is kinda big and I am surprised you are not in pain."

"Nope, this uterus has held a 10 pound kid, no pain here."

I got dressed and left. That night I got a call from one of the Midwives from my OB/GYN practice. She told me that the radiologist had called her and I had an enlarged left ovarian mass. She then proceeded to tell me the same stuff the tech did, so I wasn't shocked, just a little worried that the Radiologist felt the need to call my midwife instead of just sending the report. But in the end my midwife said that due to my breast cancer history, she cannot help me with this, and I should follow up with my Oncologist (I know, kind of a crappy time for Dr. K to leave the practice huh?). And before she hung up?

"So are you in a lot of pain?" She asked me.

"Nope, none at all. Why?" I asked.

"It's rather big, and I thought you would be in some kind of pain."


Tuesday 16, 2010

I called and left a message with Dr. H (My new oncologist) and Vicki (front desk) answered the phone, told me she had the report and would give it to Dr. H for her to review. She would call me back.

I didn't hear back from her on Tuesday, but it is only a complex cyst right? No biggie.

Wednesday 17, 2010

As I was ordering food for my office in Wendy's and of course left my phone in my car. Dr. H called back and left this message...

"Hi Laurie, this is Dr. H____, since Dr. K has left the practice I will be over taking your case. I have read the report from the pelvic ultrasound and you have an 8cm mass on your left ovary. It looks as though it is solid and liquid. We need to a laproscopic procedure to find out what it is. I have called your midwifery practice and there are OB/GYNs on staff. You need to see one of them, not a midwife, to do the procedure and to discuss your options. You should call them as well so they can discuss it all with you and get you an appointment."

Uh.... I listen to the message again. Did she say 8 cm or 8mm, must be 8mm right? NOPE, listen to the message three more times. An 8cm mass on my left ovary.

I called my midwifery practice and spoke with the front desk and she was very nice and had gotten me an appointment for March 4 with her favorite doctor in the practice. I said that was nice, but I think my oncologist wanted to me to be seen before March 4th.

"What was your Oncologist's name again?" I told her. "Hold on one second, that name sounds familiar."

She was gone for about 3 minutes, came back and said, "I just spoke with the Dr. and she already knew who you were and had your report. Unfortunately, she doesn't feel like she could help you, she said you need to see a Gynecology Oncologist."

That cannot be right, an oncologist is for cancer patients!!!!! I know... I already have one.

Then came the kicker... "And she says that you need to be seen ASAP." Well this has gone from bad to worse really quick.

They gave me a name of an Gyno Oncologist. I called Dr. H (my oncologist) and told Vicki what they said, she said gave me another name of a Gyno Oncologist that is the "best of the best" and works very closely with Dr. H. I thanked her and asked her to please fax me my report. "No problem" she said.

She was as true as her word, I walked up to the fax machine and there was my report. I will only quote for you the interesting parts....


Blah,blah,blah then... "The left ovary measures 8.0 x 5.8 x 8.4 cm. The left ovary is replaced by a large complex mass which has a 6.8-cm septated cystic component and a 5.7-cm hypoechoic nonvascular component with internal echoes."


"...Although this could represent adjacent hemorrhagic/complex cysts, metastatic deposit cannot be fully excluded."


I have an appointment with Dr. B (the Gyno-Onco) on Thursday, February 25 at 7:45am, so we can discuss options....

Of course this is all I can think of all day, but gratefully I was feeling a little better about it on my way home when I received a phone call from Sharon one of the midwives in my practice. She wanted to call to just see how I was doing.

"Seriously Sharon, it is that bad?"

"No," she said. I was just wanting to see how you are doing."

"Please," I said laughing, "I haven't heard from y'all in two years (since my baby was born) and you just now feel the need to see "how I'm doing?" Well other than the last two days, I have been great!!!"

"No pain?" she asked (now I get why everyone is asking, I have a mass the size of a grapefruit in my ovary).

"Nope, but let me ask you a question, the report said that the mass has replaced my ovary. Where the hell is my ovary?"

"It is either behind it, or has grown through it."

"So either way," I asked, "I am going to loose my left ovary?"

"I am afraid so," she said. "It is so big, they will need to take it out."

"So my only real question is if I let them take out the other one as well." I asked her.

"Why not just get it done with." She said softly.

"Sharon, thanks for calling." I said, back in my cancer stupor.

"Call me if you need anything, Laurie Jo."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I know it has been a little while since my last entry (okay so about a month) but nothing GREAT has been happening. But I wanted to give an update on what is going on so far in 2010.

I had my first MRI since my surgery last year, and it came back clear!! No sign on cancer. I have another mammogram in February. But that is great news (of course).

I have a few issues that still have not resolved from last year...

I am currently still on my anti-histamine (Xyzal) for the hives. I don't think I blogged it, but I am having an allergic reaction to one of my medications. My doctors and I have decided to stop taking the anti-depressant (that help with the hot flashes) since that was the last medication that I started taking. I have been completely off the medication since this past Saturday and (boy can my husband feel it (hahaha)) I will start tapering off the anti-histamine in February and we will see if that was the medication that was causing my hives. I googled the meds and it seems many people have issues with hives on this medication and the hives can last for MONTHS after you stop taking the medication.

I still have an AWFUL rash on my left breast and on my back right where I was radiated. My doctor says that is urticaria (a skin rash) and there is really nothing we can do other than the lotions and meds that I am currently using. But to find out that "wonderful" bit of information they had to do a biopsy on the bottom of my breast, causing my breast to swell and now I have lymphadema in my left breast (I know it just doesn't end does it?)

We are just tackling one item at a time. The hives first...

I also met with Dr. K for the last time yesterday. She is leaving the practice and I had to make the choice to follow her to George Washington University (in DC) or to stay at the practice I am at and see the other doctor. I decided that I would stay cause I know the nurses and the NPs, it is closer, they have my chart and if I follow Dr. K, I will have to drop the clinical trial I am currently on.

But wrapping everything up with Dr. K was not as easy as I had hoped. She recommends that I take an ovulation suppressant (injection) along with my Tamoxifen. She is worried that since I am having regular periods that there is some estrogen that could be feeding rogue cancer cells and thinks this would be good for me. There is no clinical results that say it help against recurrence, but there is positive results of it slowing down and stopping already metastatic cancers. You would think it would be an easy decision right, but the side effects of this medication could be severe. It would shut down my ovaries until I go into menopause myself, causing me to have all the menopause symptoms (hot-flashes, night sweats, depression, exhaustion, memory-loss and many (close your eyes mom and dad) sexual side effects as well) and along with that many people have had bone and joint pain constantly. I just don't know if I want to start this drug with so much going on already in my body and then deal with an injection every 28 days. Yes it could help (and could not) but what will the quality of my life be or my life with my family be the 5-10 years I am on it?

I have decided that I am going to wait until my next appointment (end of April) to speak to my new Dr. and she what she suggests and see if there is a way to test and see if the Tamoxifen is actually doing its job properly (if it is, than why do something else)?

We shall see, but as of right now I am doing okay, nursing a few old issues, but I am alive and have hair, and lets face it, that in itself is a good day!!