Sunday, February 24, 2013

Delighted to report that I am fine

Survived my week of a battery of tests and am fine.
Saw The Tango Man on Friday and gushed about how grateful I am, how I hero-worship him etc....
He practically hugged me. Well, he put an affectionate arm around me as I left, telling me to go slow on the grappa (I was telling him how I had been away and been drinking loads of bubbly and grappa, but he was thrilled and so was I that although my weight is actually up from its usual, I weighed 2kg less than when I saw him last six months ago).
Anyway, he won't increase the amount of exercise I can do - still only 70% of my heart capacity - and when I told him I went to gym 3-4 X a week, doing 21 minutes of cardio plus other stuff, he thought that was good.
And then, most intriguingly, he disputed my diagnosis of "severely osteopenic" saying that was created by the machine that did the test. He said osteopenic was -1 to - 2.5 and my results were hovering just under 0 (think just one reading was -1.2) and so I am really more borderline osteopenic. I have asked for the results to verify it myself, well, understand it better. They are sending them tomorrow.
I am ectastic that my cancer is at bay. (is that the correct term?)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oncologist 6-monthly tomorrow

Have spent the week having tests. Mammogram and ultrasound, pelvic and abdominal ultrasound, chest x-ray, blood tests.
Have all the results except the blood tests and those I have are ok.
But don't know how I am until I see the oncologist tomorrow where he will examine me, review all the results and tell me the blood test results.
I keep saying (tonight): "What will I do if I am not ok?", knowing even as I say it, that there will be nothing that I can do except deal with it although it would be dire.
Praying for myself really.
I do so want to be ok.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Severely osteopenic

This is my week for tests. Today had my annual mammogram and ultrasound and all was fine.
He said I break all rules. Said even where my cancer was, in the lymph nodes, was not a usual spot.
Then I said: Do I need a bone density? Never had one. But did explain that I had recently had a hip x-ray and ultrasound and it was perfect.
"Sure I am fine," I said.
Well.... had it there and then and it turns out I am "severely osteopenic" but with only a 5% fracture risk "so nobody would treat it", he said. He asked about calcium, I mentioned I had to stop taking the pills as my levels were too high and that my thryoid doc had been monitoring that, and told him I take a weekly Vitamin D pill.
That was that
We didn't discuss it further.
I am shocked. Although my mom had osteoporosis and I remember when she broke two ribs and hadn't even fallen or knocked herself.
My biokineticist says I need to continue the weight-bearing exercises I do do.
Going to be researching it further.

This is what I have found so far:


From , former Guide
Updated April 29, 2008 Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board
Definition: Osteopenia describes bone density that is significantly lower than normal. Having osteopenia means you are at risk for developing osteoporosis, a disease in which the bone density is very low and bone structure is fragile, while together result in bones that are brittle and break easily. Osteopenia is diagnosed with a bone density scan. Treatment of osteopenia depends on age and risk factors, but at a minimum it usually includes calcium and vitamin D supplementation along with a program of weight-bearing exercises.
Pronunciation: ahstee-opeenia
Also Known As: bone demineralization

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kinda tough two weeks ahead

The unveiling of my dad's tombstone is on Sunday. On Saturday we are fulfilling one of the requirements of his will that "either now, or at the end of the month, or at a later stage if that suits you better, to go to the Mount Nelson Hotel to toast my life and send the bill to L (the family lawyer) so that it comes out of my estate" (my paraphrase).
My dad loved the Mount Nelson Hotel and so we have booked for lunch. This is now "at a later stage" as we were certainly not up to it before.
And then on Friday we are going to his former high school to view the bench with his name on, another request (bequest?) of his will.
Then after that weekend, luckily preceded by a bit of a holiday, I arrive back to a week of tests. My annual am-I-ok tests. So Monday have a mammogram and ultrasound scheduled for 10, then Tuesday doing bloodtests, Wednesday an abdominal scan and chest x-ray and Friday I see The Tango Man.
Apart from the blood tests, get all the test results straight away.
Then, on top of that, my workplace is in crisis, with people - including my boss - having lost their jobs and although I am not on the list (yet?), as the section I work on is closing in three weeks I believe (I have not been officially informed of this closure), I will have a goodness-knows-what new job.
Maybe then it's not surprising I have been eating more. One and a half kilograms up. Nightmare. Far more concerned re that than work because it affects my arm which is, according to The Lymph Lady, "pretty much where it was last week". Which wasn't very good.
Anyway.. hope this didn't sound like a moan. Don't wish to moan. Just doing adult things. But the work tension in the background doesn't help much either.
Here is to perfectly healthy and normal test results and to being strong at the unveiling....I miss my dad. He was a remarkable man, lucky in life (as he repeatedly said) and lucky in death, having died peacefully without any serious illness, at the age of 90. His body just shut down over 3-4 days and my sisters and I were there at his side, at home, for those days.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

the horrors of lymphedema

Let's call her Tolly, arrived at bookclub yesterday with her arm wrapped in those lymphedema bandages. Not in a compression sleeve but in bandages. And not sure if it was bandages themselves but her arm appeared to be the size of my thighs, which are substantial (she is thin).
She says The Lymph Lady (she also sees her, on my initial suggestion) has been unable to control the swelling. So she saw The Lymph Lady every day last week and is going again tomorrow. So am I (going tomorrow).
Now I am already neurotic about my borderline lymphedema becoming worse. I do not want to wear a compression sleeve and do the manual lymph drainage twice a day totalling about an hour (45 minutes or so in the morning and about 10 minutes at night, with a break on Friday nights).
Since I went to Cape Town last weekend, my arm is slightly up, both from the flight and definately cos I have gained weight (having a weight problem - 2kg up and hungry).
Now I cannot stop seeing the image of Tolly's arm and a very large part of me thinks I don't want to go overseas again as that always throws my arm out. And what happens if it doesn't revert back to normal?
But The Lymph Lady says you cannot stop living your life. And Tolly is amazingly cheerful. Have seen her at The Lymph Lady before and her husband always comes with, I hear. Very supportive.