Saturday, October 30, 2010

Back to Work...

...but would rather be a stay at home mom. I mean, the work is good, sometimes interesting, not usually too difficult. But I'm a mom, not a career woman. I want to be home reading with my Lizzie, playing with my Lizzie, baking things for my Jeff with my Lizzie. I'm grateful for the job. So I'll keep going. At least till the next thing comes up anyway! LOL!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Haaaaayyyyy!! I feel good!!!! (ala James Brown!)

...almost! I equated being out of isolation with "all better" and have been pushing the envelope a little. I still get waves of fatigue wash over me like breakers on the shore. I definitely have more energy than I've had in months, but it's like a short life laptop battery - I can use it for a while, but I have to stay close to a power source for "just in case". Otherwise the work I've done won't be saved!! My mind seems to be coming back - I'm not quite so fuzzy these days. So I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully that light isn't the headlamp of an oncoming train!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Prodigal Mind

My mind, which has been recently lost in a hypothyroid fog, has been coming around lately. Timidly, like a puppy who'd run off and was back, hoping not to be scolded. Nudging me occasionally, tail tucked between its legs. If I make any sudden moves towards it, it runs away again. But there have been times in the past few days where it has actually curled up at my feet and stayed a while, resting its chin on my slipper. I'm told if I'm patient, my mind will come back completely and for good, none the worse for wear. I hope so...I miss that little fella!

Friday, October 15, 2010

CANCER-FREE!!

According to the oncologist, the difference between my initial scan last week and the follow up scan today was "amazing". He has used the word "bizarre" at every visit, including today's, but it was nice to hear the increase in his vocabulary to include "amazing". He showed me the 2 scans - the first one had a huge black spot that was throughout my entire neck and chest area - that was indicative of left over thyroid tissue and cancer. Today's scan showed a small black pinpoint, which will always show up - that's my thyroid bed - where my thyroid used to live - so it will always "light up". The important thing that he wanted to see was that there was no spread of cancer to any lymph nodes or to my lungs. Given the "bizarre" nature of this entire presentation, that was apparently unexpected, "amazing" news! There is a questionable spot on my CT scan in my neck area, but it was there at the original CT scan back in the spring and it hasn't changed. He thinks that is just an anatomical anomaly and not clinically significant, and plans to just watch it.

So now I get to start my thyroid meds tomorrow morning, and will take them every day for the rest of my life. Blood tests in 3 weeks and 6 weeks, and I see the oncologist again in 6 weeks. I see the ENT on the 28th of this month to just follow up from my surgery. So all in all, I'm essentially free from all things medical for a while - YIPPEE!! I will continue to have to be scanned for probably 5 years or so. Because it was so "bizarre", he wants to follow it closely because of the potential for recurrence.

There have been so many emotions throughout this whole thing. Now I'm grateful, relieved, happy...oh, and full, too. I just had dinner at Logan's steakhouse! No more low-iodine for me!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Freedom Eve

It's finally here...the last night of my isolation! The day I never thought would get here is here. Lizzie is spending the night at a friend's house. Tomorrow I go for the follow-up scan at 2:00, and then I see the oncologist right after that. Hopefully I will leave his office with a prescription for thyroid meds. Then in a week, I should be feeling more like my normal self as I climb the ladder toward hyperthyroidism! I wonder what that will be like? My ENT said that I'll like that much more than being hypo, because I'll have energy to burn. I could deal with that, after being Slug Woman for so long. I have to admit that I worry about losing my hair. Such a trivial thing compared to cancer, but I actually worry about this. I won't lose sleep over it. If it happens, it happens. At least I'll be a free woman, able to roam the halls of my home non-radioactively. I'll be able to hug and be hugged by my family. What more could I want in life?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Isolation Day 5 - Lessons Learned

Only 3 more days to go, and it honestly hasn't been that bad. My honey comes to my room every day to visit - we stay 10 feet apart, which is difficult but necessary. I'm dying for a hug and can't wait for my first backscratch! Lizzie comes to the top of the stairs so we can see each other and give long distance hugs and kisses.

I've learned a lot during this time:
1. Life is full of suffering. All kinds - illness, grief, fear, lonliness, sadness.
God is full of hope. For every kind of suffering.
2. All suffering, in light of eternity, is brief, momentary and light compared to the eternal weight of glory that awaits those who hope in God.
3. Suffering can serve purposes that are greater than any we could choose for ourselves. It can grow character, perseverance, trust - all sorts of things that don't come from days full of happiness.
4. When we let Him, God will comfort us through all our suffering, so that we have the ability, tools and desire to confort others when they're suffering.
5. And last but not least, God can be glorified in suffering, if we can emulate Christ in our attitude toward suffering. If others can see that our suffering doesn't derail us, define us or determine the cause or lack of our joy, it can point them toward God straighter than any sermon or book or inspirational message ever could. People, especially our children, are listening some of the time, but watching all of the time!

Now if only I will remember these lessons for the next time something "less than choice" comes up!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ode to the Low Iodine Diet

Low iodine, low iodine,
I’ve had it with each rule.
A juicy steak, ice cream and cake,
For these I’m prone to drool!
Now salad’s nice, don’t get me wrong ~
It’s great in moderation,
But chopping things has got me pooped;
I need a food vacation!
I need some milk, and bread and cheese,
I need some chocolate too,
Low iodine, low iodine,
Can’t wait till this is through!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fun With Limericks (or, What Ann Does When She's Really Bored!)

There once was a woman from Kent,
Who’s leg was quite a bit bent.
She wandered around
Wearing a frown
And instead of going, she went.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dashing young man from Cancun
Wanted to go to the moon.
He got himself packed,
But the mission was sacked
And now he must wait until June.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you see a rather old duck
Driving a blue pick up truck,
Don’t give him bread
Or pat his soft head
Or else he will drive quite amok!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From Lansing a tiny girl came ~
Sophia Smith was her name.
But that poor little wisp
Spoke with quite a loud lisp
Much to her horror and shame.

The day that she first started school,
The children all thought her a fool.
She spit and she sputtered,
Her classmates all muttered;
For children are terribly cruel!

Determined to make a new friend,
She thought she’d do well to pretend
That her lisp was a game,
Which it surely became.
They all play through the week and weekend!

Now if you should visit that school,
You may see a small wading pool,
Where the children all lisp
Like that sweet little wisp.
And they spend their day covered in drool!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Radioactive ...Day Two

Headache, swollen glands added to the fatigue. Yuck!
Not feeling like reading or cross-stitching. Phooey!
Needing a day at the spa...already! Uh oh!
Only 6 more days to glow...

Radioactive...Day One

Made it through most of the day without too much trouble, just a little nausea. Slept like a baby, but woke up at at 6 this morning with a terrible headache and a swollen neck. I think the 9 straight hours of no drinking or sucking lemon drops made things back up. Hopefully it won't last, and will get better today as I'm drinking and sucking.
Now settling in for a day of whatever...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Abdication of Wife and Mother - A Fairy Tale

For long years the woman labored to keep her throne in tact. All sorts of evil enemies made their valiant attempts to dethrone her, and though the fight was sometimes a brutal one, the woman remained unmoved. The battles, though difficult, only served to strengthen her resolve - she must not give in, no matter what the cost.

The weapons of the enemies were mighty ones: doubt, insecurity, apathy, dirty floors, hairy dogs and the persistency of a tween, to name a few. Sometimes the wounds inflicted were deep and hard to recover from, and there were occasional skirmishes lost, but the woman persevered. She kept her post as wife and mother secure.

Then one day, she abdicated. For one week she would give up her post. Surrender her duties to her family. The cause: one of life's deadliest elements - radioactive iodine! (Cue scary music)

The woman would make her retreat into the turret of the castle, where she would remain for one week. Unable to clean the house, unable to make the meals, unable to hug those she loved most in the world. Essentially unable to do all the things she loved to do for her little family. She was told of others who disregarded the instructions, who allowed themselves to put others in harm's way without thought or care of the consequences. This was definitely a tempting option, but one she could not give in to.

What will go on in her little kingdom? How will her king and little princess go on without her. (She obviously thinks a lot of herself, doesn't she?). The woman is nervous, but grateful to have a loving and wonderful king, and a very resourceful princess in the castle. She knows they will take care of each other and themselves and will be stronger for the journey. And the woman? Well, maybe she'll reappear with a new perspective on what it means to hold onto the throne!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let the Glowin' Begin!

Today I went to the hospital and swallowed two capsules of low-dose radioactive iodine. No big deal. It was really disappointing, actually. I had envisioned technicians in space suits carrying a tray out from the depths of the hospital. On the tray was a vial of bubbling, steaming fluorescent green liquid. Instead, it was just a guy in a lab coat with 2 pills in a regular looking pill bottle. He had to stand behind a metal barrier as he prepared the pills, which he then dropped right onto the bare naked palm of my hand. And yes, I keep looking there to make sure it's not burning a hole into my hand!

I don't feel any different, and sadly, no one is complaining or telling me to "turn down the light!"

Tomorrow is the scan. Ninety minutes of lying in one position under a huge camera. Maybe then I'll glow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sweet Slug

Thanks to hypothyroidism, I am now a slug. I guess there have been other times in my life when I've been sluggish, but now I qualify for genuine slughood. I've been so stationary lately that I think Lizzie will add "dust mom" to her list of weekly chores!

I don't like being a slug. I've always enjoyed being busy. House work, church work, work for pay, I've worked in some way or another since I was 16 and had my first job. Now I'm not busy. And the scary thing is that on the whole I don't really care. I know that's part of the illness as well.

These days the only option I have is choosing what sort of slug to be. I can be a complaining, whining, demanding slug. That's the easy choice. I wouldn't have to think at all about doing that one - and I think I've slipped into that a few times recently.

Or...I can be a sweet slug. I can choose to reflect the words of Romans if I can, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be in constant prayer." I can use this time of slughood to be like Christ around Lizzie, and let her see what godliness can look like when things don't go her way. I can use my time of inertia to pray for the persecuted church around the world, for my husband, for my daughter, for my friends and family that don't know Christ. I can fill the bowls of Heaven with the sweet incense of prayer (Revelation 5:8).

I think I'll do my best to be a sweet slug. With the following disclaimer:
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." :o) (Phil 3:12)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gotcha Day!

Today is the day that we celebrate Gotcha Day. That's the day, 12 years ago today, that we "got" Lizzie. I'll never forget that day, because it changed my life forever. I went from being a wife desperately wanting to be a mom, to being a wife and mom. Difficult transition after 13 years of being a couple, but totally amazing.

We knew we had been chosen by Rose, the birthmom, and that she was expecting any time. She thought she was having a boy. I was at work when my cell phone rang, and our caseworker said, "Congratulations, Ann, you have a daughter!" And in my shock and excitement, I replied, "No, it's a boy!" Funny how we get stuck in our heads and can't get past what we think reality is when we're faced with something unexpected. Jeff knew from the beginning we'd have a girl, and he was right. So instead of being on our way to pick up Jonathan Zachary, we were headed to meet Elizabeth Joy. That was the longest car trip of my life!

Somewhere on the way down, an overwhelming fear gripped me: what if we get there, take a look at this baby and I don't love her? What if she looks like a lizard and is just one of those babies that has a face "only a mother could love"? God had taken us through this entire adoption process and met every need, and here I was questioning Him again. How could He change my heart toward a baby I'd had no relationship with till that point, and give my a mother's heart toward her?

The moment I saw her, all my fears were a distant memory. She was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. I would have died for her on the spot. That was completely and totally a God thing. I didn't have anything to worry about - He was in control of everything, and has been in control despite all my faults and shortcomings as her mom ever since that day.

So thank you, Lord, for giving me Elizabeth Joy. Thank you for knitting us together with a love that could only come from You.