Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Is it springtime yet?!?!?!

I really want to believe spring is finally here. After all, the first robins of the season showed up at my house last Friday. Plus, some irises and lilies have popped up in my front yard. They're like 2 inches tall, but at least they're there!

In an effort to speed things along, I've been doing silly things like wearing tank tops in the house, opening the slider door just a little to pretend it's warm enough to air the house out, and insisting that we get the patio table and chairs set up on the deck.

Tonight was no exception. While Rick was grilling burgers for dinner, I went out and hung some sheets on the clothesline to dry. It is, after all, a balmy 43 degrees here in Michigan, and there's a breeze, so they should dry quickly! The sun has been out for days, but it's still cold and I still have some lingering snow at my house. I just REALLY need it to be spring, though!!

Maybe this weekend the last of the snow will melt for good. I'd like the think we're done with winter - for real this time! Not like last time when we were in the 50's for a week and then "bam!" - snow and ice storm....

Gotta love Michigan!

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Official!

Joshua remains cancer free!! Radiology report from Friday's MRI states "NED" (No Evidence of Disease)!!!!

Happy Dance!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another year in the books.

Ugh - Blogger is so frustrating. It absolutely deleted my entire post. So, here we go again...

Today was a long day. I'm glad it's over. Joshua was awesome, and Logan was SO well behaved, but I am a very tired mama...

The results of the hearing test weren't as great as we were hoping... Joshua seems to have conductive hearing loss going on, thanks to negative pressure behind his ears that is creating a vacuum that's pulling his eardrum in and not allowing it to move freely. Luckily, this isn't anything permanent, and if it doesn't resolve itself, they can put tubes in his ears to take care of the issue. The audiologist said it may be caused by Joshua's constant sniffling all winter long. Dr. Dickens, the oncologist, says it's definitely NOT related to the cisplatin chemotherapy Joshua received as part of his treatment plan. That's great news. We're going to follow up with an ENT and see what they think.

Our visit to Hem Onc was great. It was so good to see people we haven't seen in a year or more. Dr. Dicken's said Joshua looks great. Based on his exam, we're not expecting any surprises with the MRI results on Monday. Plus, Dr. D may have mentioned that if they did see anything during the scan, they would call him right away and we'd know before we left the hospital. Radiology walked us to the elevator, so I'm pretty sure that's good news  :) It will be nice to get an "all clear" on Monday, though.

The new children's hospital is AMAZING, by the way! For those of you who are local, you know that there is an entire side of the hospital that is nothing but windows. The exam rooms in Hem Onc are on that side and have floor to ceiling windows, that from 10 levels up, overlook the city. It's awesome. When we were getting a tour of the Hem Onc floor, we were going through the infusion area and you can see across the street to the helipad. There were 2 choppers sitting on the pad, and while we were there, one of the helicopters lifted off. The windows were vibrating and it was directly across the street from us, just above eye level. It was so cool! Joshua and Logan loved every second of it. All Josh's labs look good, which is awesome. Now, we watch for secondary malignancies and fertility issues. Any additional treatment-related side effects probably would have popped up by now.

4 more years of annual visits and scans! They only monitor closely up to 10 years past the end of treatment. After that, we'll still keep an eye on things, but it won't be quite as rigorous.

Thanks to our awesome Hem Onc nurse, Mary, Joshua only had to be poked once - when they were drawing the labs, they put an IV line in so that radiology could use it for the contrast during the scan. Josh was SO BRAVE. His vein was popped out really far, so she didn't need to do the tourniquet, but he held so still. They didn't have to hold him down at all - he was sitting up, I was holding his other hand and he had his head on my chest. He didn't even cry until the IV was in. I was bursting with pride. He got to pick an extra prize for doing so great, and they were kind enough to bring Logan a small prize too, for being so well behaved while we were down there. Our Hem Onc appointment was at 2:30pm and I we didn't get out of there until 4:30pm. Just enough time for the kids to play in the lobby for a bit and then we had to head down for the scan. 

The MRI went ok. Joshua was pretty fidgety so what should have taken 40 minutes took an hour... Other than that, it was good. Logan got to enjoy the heck out of the new play room down in radiology  :)

I'm tired and glad to be home. It's been a long day and I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy relaxing tomorrow.

So, we've been successfully navigating life after cancer for 6 years now. Go, us!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Super Fun Scan Day...

Tomorrow is a big day! Time for Joshua's annual oncology appointment. This time we get the added bonus of an audiogram because Rick and I are concerned about his hearing... We get to see all the folks we love in the Hem Onc department, including our doctor hero, Dr. Dickens and favorite nurse, Mary, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's one of my favorite days out of the year...

Josh is going to school for the morning and then I'll pick him up at lunch. My brother, Kevin, is going to come hang out at the hospital in between appointments, so that will be nice.

Audiogram at 1pm, oncology appointment at 2:30pm and the big ole MRI of the brain at 5pm.

Deep breaths. It's all going to be great. No worries - God is in control (which is great because I would probably make a mess of things if I were in charge...).

Amazingly enough, I made it all the way until TODAY before having my first mini panic attack about the upcoming scan. That's progress, folks - I'm normally a train wreck the entire WEEK leading up to a scan. Ask anyone who has to be around me during "that time of year"...

Yay for Josh who will not require sedation for the scan! They'll start an IV for the contrast and he gets to chill out with a pair of video goggles for the duration. Last year I sat in on the scan because he was awake - this year, I'll be in the waiting room with Logan (who gets dragged this year because he doesn't have school and I wasn't able to find someplace more fun for him to go...).

I talked to Joshua about it tonight - he seems just fine. One thing I'm thankful for is that this has been such a constant thing in his life, he's not worried about it. He's not afraid that the scan will show cancer, he's not afraid that the blood work will be off - nothing like that. He's not happy he has to get an IV, but he's excited for the video goggles.

I wish I handled it like he does. It's definitely something to admire in my 8 1/2 year old cancer warrior!

Blind faith. What a blessing.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why I Don't Buy Cookies...

I'm pretty picky about the groceries I buy for my family. Part of the reason is because I want them to eat nutrious, well-rounded meals. The other reason is because I honestly have no will power.

Exhibit A: I had a rough weekend. Nothing bad happened, it just felt very stressful, for some reason. Maybe I was thinking about our financial situation since I just got my first check with my reduced hours. Maybe it was "that time of month" and my hormones were getting the better of me. Whatever the reason, I was feeling stressed. How did I cope?

Oreo cookies. Like pretty much the entire package....... And here I am, trying to tone up for summer and re-discover my hidden abdominal muscles, and I eat a whole bag of cookies. Damn.

Exhibit B: Yesterday I came home from work and I had a nagging headache. I was really tired and just feeling junky. I open the cupboard to find a hidden bag of Milano Double Chocolate Cookies. If you follow me on Facebook, you know where this is going... So, I started eating them and before I knew it, half the bag was gone! I'm sure it didn't help that I was laying on the couch. And instead of grabbing a couple and putting the bag back, I brought the whole thing with me so I wouldn't have to get up (lol). Plus, the tv was on, and I ALWAYS eat too much when I'm watching tv.

I got home late from work tonight, found the bag, and ate the rest. Now I have a tummy ache, but at least there are no more cookies in the house! They're all going to be attached to my butt and thighs tomorrow.....

There you have it. Why Amanda does not buy cookies (or junk food in general). I will definitely be "enjoying" a green smoothie for breakfast tomorrow and making better food choices to make up for the last couple of days.

Ugh, my stomach hurts...