Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Pity Party

So, I'm a little self-centered. This isn't a big surprise to anyone who's known me for ANY period of time.

I've been to the doctor twice in the past week and it has caused me to reflect on my body and why it seems to be fighting me all of the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm SO glad I'm here, but I get down sometimes thinking about WHY I can't just have a normal body.

In the past 18 months, I've had the following:

1. Gallbladder removed.
2. Two stents put in my arteries in my abdomen area. My aorta was 70% blocked and my left renal artery was 60% blocked.
3. I have what I thought was a simple cyst growing on my right kidney. Turns out (I found this out last Friday) it's actually a "mass." It covers 1/4 of my kidney. Not cool. I'm seeing YET ANOTHER specialist in the next few weeks to see where we go from here on this one.
4. Three CT scans, complete with my Benadryl cocktail that makes me feel drunk (or what I can imagine drunk feels like) because I'm allergic to the contrast dye they use.
5. Three MRIs, where I have to hold my breath for way to long so that they can get a good view of my abdomen region.
6. Four blood tests. These are NOT fun because I don't have ANY veins. Why is it that people who never need blood drawn have fantastic veins, and I've been "blessed" with the most difficult veins known to mankind? When I go into the lab, they know me and automatically call for their supervisor. Last week when I got this done, it took 90 minutes (and seven pokes) to finally get enough blood.
7. I've also been diagnosed with high blood pressure and have osteoporosis. I also found out that my triglycerides are a bit high, which may be an early sign of diabetes. COOL!

Okay, now that I'm done complaining, here's what I'm grateful for: (in no particular order)

1. My amazing family. I have the greatest husband and the two best kids in the world. I'm so lucky to have them. I also have a great set of parents and really cool brothers and sisters. I'm looking forward to seeing some of them in June.
2. My body still works--I can walk around, and thanks to the stents, I can now walk relatively pain-free.
3. Insurance. With all of the crap I've been through, I'm grateful that I haven't had to pay for very much of it at all.
4. Medication. Thanks to meds, my blood pressure is controlled and I am re-gaining bone strength. I am also mentally relatively stable...but that's a story for another day.
5. The gym. I look forward to my 45-60 minutes at the gym every day. I feel stronger and happier when I leave. Even though I'm not losing as much weight as fast as I'd like to, I'm doing something.
6. My job. I have the best job in the world. You wouldn't know it by looking at my desk right now, but I really love it.
7. My membership in the church. I love the sweet peace the Gospel brings into my life. It is my compass and my light, and Christ is my strength when I feel down about all of the other things seeming to go wrong in my life.

So see, it isn't so bad! :^B

Monday, May 19, 2008

Relay for Life

On May 2-3, I participated in our high school's Relay for Life to support cancer research. I was asked by several of my band students to be their team's chaperone. It was a lot of fun (we were "Team Pirates," in case you were wondering why they're all dressed that way!) We stayed up all night walking around the track at the high school--well, we almost made it anyway! I slept from about 2:00-4:00 a.m., and when I woke up the track was pretty much empty. It was also fun because Ian and Courtnie stayed with me. It was nice to have them be a part of something so important to me.
It was also an emotional night for me, as they had a "survivor lap" for those who had battled cancer and won. You could also buy luminarias in memory of those who had lost the battle. Cancer is such a personal issue for me, as I'm a cancer survivor, but have also lost two very important people in my life to cancer. My mom's mom passed away while I was fighting cancer myself and Gordon's dad passed away about 10 1/2 years ago. At about 10:00 p.m., we all did a couple of laps around the track while they read the names and messages about the people who had died. There were luminaries around the track and in the stands they spelled the word "HOPE" with the luminaries. It was very cool, and very touching.
As I'm still dealing with the after-effects of my cancer treatments, I hope for the day that we don't have to worry about cancer. I know it may not come until MUCH later, but until that day comes, we can all hope.