Sunday, March 22, 2015

Changing Times

Goodbye winter!  I had to laugh as I watched spring roll in after an entire day of slow, steady snow last Friday.  This winter wasn't as brutal and violent as last year, with crushed bones and several trips to the ER, but it was long and cruel.  January blew in with a breast cancer diagnosis and out with one less boob.

February greeted me with tumors in random places that forced my Hopkins doctors to come up with yet more creative treatment plans.  I had a left side tumor in the soft tissue that holds my abdominal organs together that grew under the radar into a rather large monster.  And I had a small right side tumor that was tiny but very painful, close to the surface of the skin, also in the soft tissue.  Dr. Hong performed a cryoablation to the left side monster at the end of February.

March greeted me with uncontrolled pain and swelling after that ablation -- the first time I've had trouble after any of my 11 ablations.  It wasn't a complication of the procedure, it was a complication of me.  I have pretty bad scoliosis and the monster tumor just happened to be in the area where my crooked back was the most crooked.  There was no place for the expected inflammation from the ablation to go and it shocked my abdominal organs into, well, not working.  I eventually ended up in the hospital for a few days of tests and fluids, which got things working again, but I still have a lot of pain in my left hip.  It feels like someone dropped me on the floor, hip first, while I was under sedation in the OR.  Dr. Hong assured me that this did not happen, but who knows what really goes on in those ORs?  On Grey's Anatomy they all just gossip and don't really pay much attention till the patient is coding.  But I believe Dr. Hong.  He would have noticed if someone threw me on the floor.

Last Thursday Dr. Hales gave me a strong dose of radiation to the small pea sized right side tumor, and by the time I got off the table, the pain in that spot was gone.  I'm now free to roam about the cabin till the end of June, when I will have another PET/CT and find out what this crazy, unpredictable cancer has in store for me next.  I'm hoping for a long period of stable lung tumors and no more random tumors outside my organs, where they don't belong!

April will keep me busy preparing for my big move to Pittsburgh.  The date has been set for April 30th and I'm very excited.  Mary found a super great apartment for me in a swanky complex where I'll have covered parking (for the 9 months of snow) and a beautiful view of the Allegheny River and downtown Pittsburgh.

Because of the timing of my move, I will not be able to attend the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation (ACCRF) survivor events this April in Boston.  I will miss meeting other survivors and caregivers and the research update from the Executive Director of the Foundation, Jeffrey Kaufman.  The organizers decided to go green this year for the fundraising portion of the events.  Instead of their usual fundraising efforts and silent auction, ACCRF is holding a stay-at-home, cyber fundraiser to reach more people in an effort to further their research in finding a cure for this insidious disease.  Rather than me telling you how horribly disfiguring and awful ACC is, I'm just going to ask that you trust me on this.  ACC usually attacks glands in the head and neck and most people suffer tremendously from its slow, cruel assaults.  The more ACC survivors I meet, the more amazed I am at what the human body can endure.  Please consider supporting this effort, and me:  

In the meantime, I thank you all for your continued support over these long 14 years.  Here's wishing you a wonderful spring, full of health and happiness.  Come and visit me sometime in Pittsburgh!



1 comment:

  1. I'm new to writing a blog, and i admire your openess. I find it hard to just think about my experiences sometimes. I found your blog through the acc facebook page. I also have acc. it always strike me when people casually meantion the number of mets they have, but that's part of the disease. it's a constant balance between treating the cancer and protecting your health.


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