TGIF – P.M.

Great news!!! I am so so happy and relieved! Pathology report was Endometrial Cancer, Grade 1 Stage 1A, which means it was confined to my uterus and only penetrated the uterine myometrium  .6-2.0 centimeters; and lymph nodes (2 from each side) both negative, as well as ovaries and tubes. Had some fibroids too but no problem there. Follow up for 5 years, but NO ADDITIONAL TREATMENT NEEDED! Thank you everyone for your prayers and support and encouragement! You all made me feel special and so so loved, I cannot thank you all enough! Now I feel that I can concentrate on getting well, as I still feel like I got hit by a Mack truck, but I am on the road to recovery and ever so very grateful! And I firmly believe and know,

HEALTH IS OUR GREATEST WEALTH!

il_fullxfull.308771999

Wishing you all the best in health as well! Amen!

Advertisements

TGIF – A.M.

Yes, thank goodness it’s Friday! I feel like I’ve been in a limbo of sorts, waiting to hear my pathology report. But today is the day! I am hoping for good news, but terrified it might be bad. But what can I do? NOTHING! So I’m just glad this day has finally arrived and that the suspense will finally be over, and I can move forward.

But still haven’t gotten my laundry done as have felt crappy all week, got off track on pain meds, forgot my Lovenox dose yesterday until 11 at night, oops! Tired of shooting myself in the belly every day…wah wah wah!  I want to feel better so I can plan my trip to Boise and SLC at the end of the month. I need a family “fix”.  I miss Trystan terribly…when I got to babysit him it was such a delight! I never got tired of playing with him, and hearing him laugh! Here’s to family and friends, near and far. I love you all!

Feeling Puny

Photo on 10-8-14 at 8.04 AM #2

That’s me, feeling beat up, like all my insides are bruised and so even passing gas is painful. Arghh. I’ve been trying to cut down on the pain medication because it makes me nauseous, but am thinking it is not quite time for that. So, feeling “puny”…definition, “small and weak”. Nervous too of course,  as this Friday is follow up appointment time with my doctor, and she’ll have pathology results. Big day. Hope it’s a good one!

After I was discharged from the hospital, Cheryl brought me home and that afternoon we had a “changing of the guard”, as my dear friend Richard came from Stayton, Oregon.  He checked into a motel that’s within walking distance of my apartment and stayed for three days to keep an eye on me and help me. Thank you Richard! I joked that he gave me an excuse to put on a dress and lipstick every day, but now I am back to jammies  24/7 and need a darn good reason to get dressed haha. Richard left on Friday when dear old friend Mark came all the way from Texas to check on me and to visit his family here, too 🙂  He brought our friend Ron with him, and they stayed in the same motel Richard had. So once again, I had a reason to get dressed every day, and we even went on a few excursions while they were here, but things caught up to me quickly this week and I am now “puny”. Oh well, ups and downs are normal, I know. This too shall pass.  My big goal for today is to get my laundry done…wish me luck! I was going to do it yesterday but it rained all day. Today the sun is out again, and I am thankful for that.

I think I’ll look at that list of funny movies everyone suggested when I asked for ideas on Facebook. Time for some more humor! “Laughter is the best medicine…unless you have diarrhea!”  And I don’t, hurray!

Riverside Reflections

Well, I am now 4 days post-op and SO glad that the surgery is behind me! I am of course moving slowly, still under the influence of pain medication, and very tired. The pain medication works but makes me somewhat nauseated as well, so am taking a bit of Phenergan here and there to combat that, and it makes me sleepy. Hence, I’ve yet to make an entry here about the whole hospital experience, and decided, get cracking Sal Gal! Before it’s all just a big blur! So let me begin by saying…

THANK YOU CHERYL!

                                              photo-2 Cheryl’s presence with me prior to and at the hospital supported me in a way that gave me the courage to proceed and the space to verbalize my fears, my anxiety, and even my anger at this whole situation.   Her sincere empathy, willingness to listen, and calm, peaceful energy gave me the courage to get to the hospital in the first place, and then home again 🙂 And she allowed me and even encouraged me to share with her my wishes regarding potential bad outcomes, just in case. DNR status, etc. etc. And once it was discussed, I could forget about it, what a relief! Hard discussions to have but necessary. And then she made phone calls to my family and a few friends after surgery, letting them know I was okay. I am forever grateful. She is very special, and I am humbled and inspired by her wisdom, understanding, and love. Cheryl, my Anam-Cara, my soul friend ❤

Also, I want to thank my dear family and friends for your prayers and overwhelming support ❤  It was very comforting knowing that so many folks cared and were rooting for me!  I have been humbled. Finding myself in this position has been hard, I’m not used to being on the receiving end. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and I have taken a few things personally and made assumptions where I should not have. I sincerely apologize.  Please forgive me.

So, “Peace Health at Riverbend”…With a name like that, I told Cheryl we could pretend we were going not to a hospital, but to a spa! And I was getting the full works!  Such a beautiful campus.  Here are a few photos of that experience, starting with my pre-op nurses, Carol and Carol 🙂 The one on the left wishes her name was spelled  Carol E…that made me laugh 🙂 And as I have my own sister Carol, I felt comforted right away!

IMG_3447

I had a wonderful anesthesiologist, too, and I remember asking him “Have you ALWAYS been this nice?” So I felt I was in good hands, and then Dr. Yang came in and I got to ask her some last minute questions and Cheryl got to meet her, too. Then it was off to LaLa land….

But when I woke up, arghh, pain, and nausea, and lots of noise in the recovery room, and I just wanted to get out of there and the nurse wouldn’t tell me if I had had lymph node dissection or not, which was my biggest concern. I was in recovery a long time, and it’s a bit of a blur, but finally made it to my room and was reunited with Cheryl ❤  And of course my first question, “Did the Dr. do LND?” to which Cheryl told me yes, as I guess I had a tumor in the uterus that was penetrating about a third into the uterine wall. Drag, bummer, not what I wanted to hear, but at least I know.

So then, finally turned the corner that night about 2 or 3 am, under the care of my nurse Donn and his nursing assistant, Rob. Here I am walking in the hall with Donn, and I’m pointing at my IV pump, as it says 125, and I was joking with him asking if that’s what I weighed now after surgery! HaHa. Actually, I gained 4 pounds from all the fluid they gave me. How messed up is that? They take organs OUT and you GAIN weight? That’s just wrong!

IMG_3439Night CAP Rob at Riverbend

But they were awesome, a great team, and I was so happy to finally be on top of the pain and nausea that I couldn’t sleep after that! I did doze a bit, but was so excited and couldn’t wait to get home. And when I was discharged around noontime I think, Cheryl and I went to the coffee shop, got a latte, and sat visiting in the lobby for a bit before she went and got the van. Home again, home again, jiggedy jig! Here’s Cheryl and I in the lobby just before leaving 🙂

IMG_3441

So hopefully, further pathology will come back clean. I have to wait for those results until next Friday, a week from today. So it’s going to be a long week. I have 5 lap incisions and they are sore and bruised but no open incision, hurray! So I can still wear a bikini one of these days if I ever choose to haha. I feel better in many ways already, no more bleeding, and my irritated bladder seems much happier now too, and so I am relieved to have this behind me, now I am focusing on recovering and taking it easy.  And today I finally pooped! Which believe me folks, is a big deal after not doing so for 5 days, since the big purge the day before surgery. I haven’t eaten a lot but was starting to feel increasingly bloated, so what a relief! I am on the mend, and it’s a good place to be! I feel blessed. Thank you again, EVERYONE, for your support, love and prayers!

Bon Appetit!

Ha! I am being facetious here, as it is now time to start the dreaded bowel prep…arghh. Drinking the good old Magnesium Citrate now…let the fun begin…Not! I just purchased it this morning, and had choice of cherry, which sounded good, but upon further inspection, has artificial coloring, not a bit of real cherry. So I opted for the regular stuff, and it was on sale haha. $1.09, cheap thrills. Then it’s clear liquids only til midnight, then NPO (nada per os or something like that in Latin, which means nothing by mouth).  I’m thinking with this purging and fasting and losing my parts tomorrow, I might come out of this 5 lbs or more lighter! Cause for celebration, but I think I’d rather have a good case of Giardia than go through surgery.

Just returned also from dropping Ember off at the Cozy Paws Inn, on Parsons Creek Road just before the little town of Marcola. It is a beautiful drive out there, and today is a glorious fall day, so the drive was quite enjoyable. Ember is all settled in, and this place is in the country, so I know she’ll have a good time. She has her blanket on the day bed in Teresa and Bernie’s bedroom, and has a playmate, their dog Sage. This place is totally unlike the “citified” doggie day cares. No kennels here, and they have a big doggie door so Ember can go in and out as she chooses (as soon as she figures it out, that is!) Nice big fenced back yard and cows and chickens and horses to look at. And, Teresa informed me, LOTS of deer.  Still, I feel sad leaving her there. I’ve only boarded her overnight once before, in SLC, and the environment there was totally different. This time I may have to bribe her to get her to come home! We’ve never been apart this long, so hopefully she’ll do fine. I’ll be calling nightly to check on her, and hopefully be able to pick her up on Tuesday afternoon. Now, Ember, be a good girl! No chewing on Teresa’s pillows for gosh sakes, like the other day…

photo

Right now, I’m going to figure out a little ceremonial goodbye to my reproductive system. I have a birdhouse bottle gourd that I grew years ago, and am thinking of using it, as the shape reminds me of a uterus. Sort of. LoL. When I sold my house in May and downsized, I got rid of all the others I’d grown, but kept this one because it is perfectly shaped and unblemished. Unlike my uterus I guess 😦  I think I’m going to use my drill and make 60 holes in it around the top, for the 60 years of my life WITH my organs, then use my little saw and cut the top off. Then I’m thinking of putting 4 beautiful flowers in it to represent my four sons ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤  I bought purple tulips, as they looked the freshest and remind me of springtime and birth and all that. Cheryl is on her way here from Bend to be with me for this whole thing, and so I’ll wait til she arrives and we’ll do a little meaningful ritual to say farewell to parts that have served me well, but no longer. When I told her I was thinking about this and let her know I was open to suggestions, she came up with the idea of floating something down the McKenzie River, as I love that river so much, and it is a huge part of why I chose to live here. So if you happen to see a gourd floating down the McKenzie River later, think of me 🙂

And by this  time tomorrow I’ll be out of surgery and know more as far as what’s what. I’ll try and keep ya all posted, but it might be awhile. Hopefully I’ll be on the mend quickly.

Take care, dear family and friends. I love you all so very much, and the support from all of you has been overwhelming. I am so fortunate. Now, gotta go.  Hahaha.

Bringing Out My Inner Child

What a glorious start to this day! I feel like a kid, worry free, and it all started with my dreams last night. You see, I dreamt I was in the hospital already, and although I remembered going there, I remembered nothing else until I woke up after surgery. And when I did, I found that my nurse was Poom, a wonderful, lively little Filipino nurse at St. Lukes in Boise who makes a point of always laughing and smiling and teasing and just overall, she is a ray of sunshine! And when I looked down at my belly, I had a big bandage but it was all colorful and decorated with Minnie and Mickie Mouse,  and suddenly I was laughing!

mickey+minnie+mouse1024x768_0

Then I remember getting up and walking in the hall, a bit bent over due to pain, but my doctor came to see me and we headed back to my room together, and found someone else was in my bed! My doctor made her get up, and then threw a fresh blanket over the top of the bed so I’d have a clean place to lie down, and I thought, how sweet ❤  Silly, silly, silly, yes I know, but somehow just being able to laugh at the situation made me feel better and relieved me of some of my worry. And I slept very well.

So then, this morning I woke up with my usual stretch and yawn, which immediately signals my sweet dog Ember to get up as well, as she sleeps in the corner of my room. And she came over and started kissing me, all doggie like, with her usual “Hoorah, it’s a new day!” enthusiasm, and I started singing to her, to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain When She Comes”, only here’s my version….

I get kisses in the morning from my dog,

I get kisses in the morning from my dog.

I get kisses in the morning,

I get kisses in the morning,

I get kisses in the morning from my dog!

So, as you can see, I’m already in a good mood, and then the phone rings. And it’s only about 7 am, and I’m thinking “who in the world?” and I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered, and it was my grandson, Riley ❤ ❤ ❤  He asked “What are you doing, Grandma?”   I said “Well, I just wrote a song, you wanna hear it?” and he said “Yes!” so I sang him “The Ember song”.

It’s a glorious day, I am feeling very happy, I can’t tell you. I had written Riley and his sister Kylie Ann each a letter recently, and sent a little gift, and had fun doing it, but they had only today gotten the package. So Riley was calling me before he went to school 🙂  Which reminds me, by the way, of the time I was with Riley in the back seat when we were going somewhere with his family,  and he said “I have a song STUCK in my head!” And I said “Well, sing it!” And he replied “I can’t, it’s STUCK in my head!” and he smacked himself in the head when he said it. It cracked me up! Riley, you bring Grandma Sally SO much joy!

So I’ve decided today is “bring out my inner child day”.  And with my dear British cousin Jane in mind (this is for your inner child, Jane <3), and in light of the fact that when I recently asked everyone for suggestions of funny movies to lift my spirits, she mentioned she loved Calamity Jane, hope you get a smile from this! Okay, it’s not Calamity Jane per se, but maybe HER cousin!

In order to see this, you must click on the you tube link at the top…clicking the arrow WILL NOT work 🙂

Yin/Yang

IMG_3359

Isn’t my doctor cute? Her name is Dr. Kathleen Yang…Yang, meaning she is the “positive, active, male principle” and I suppose that makes me Yin, the “female, passive, negative principle”,  which appropriately enough also refers to “South of the River”, which is where the cancer is. HaHa. I think we’ll make a good team. Here’s her bio…..

Yang, Kathleen Y. MD
Dr. Yang received her bachelor’s degree with honors in Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. She earned her medical degree from UC San Francisco School of Medicine, where she was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. She completed her OB/GYN residency at UC San Francisco, followed by a joint fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Stanford University Medical Center and UC San Francisco Medical Center. Dr. Yang recently joined WVCI and moved to Eugene with her husband and their 2 children. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.

So, looks like I’m in good hands for surgery Monday. And I had to chuckle when she gave me her “spiel” about best and worst case scenarios and described how she would perform the surgery, for she said she’ll be using robotic assistance “just to hold the camera basically” and using “chopstick like” devices…who better than to use chopsticks on me than a Dr. that speaks Cantonese and Mandarin? I’ll never think about chopsticks the same way again! Hopefully she’ll be successful and no open incision will be needed, because if so, she says she’ll do so vertically, and I am vertically challenged! And I had to laugh too, because she said she’ll attempt to “deliver” my uterus vaginally, like I’m giving birth again. Oh my, I’m in stitches already.

But yes, I’m getting anxious. Especially if you think about all the possible things that your doctor has to inform you COULD happen, like accidentally nicking your bladder or bowel, infection, stroke, blood clot, excess bleeding requiring transfusion, heart attack, death and worst of all, PAIN!  No pain please! But I don’t tolerate narcotics well, they always make me horribly nauseated, so PLEASE God, let me have minimal pain. The first time I had surgery was a nightmare for me. I was twelve years old I believe, and I remember feeling terrible and having awful stomach pain and I believe my sister Carol, on our walk to school, said I should go home, but I said “I can’t, I have a test today!” That’s Sally, always the good student 🙂 And then I remember being doubled over in class in pain, and that was the last thing I remembered, until I woke up alone that night. I was in a hospital bed and had to go pee, and no one was around, so I climbed over the bedrail and got out of bed and started down the hall looking for a restroom. I remember peeking into rooms, and seeing all these old people that looked like they were dead, and turns out, I had wandered onto the nursing home type wing of the place, full of geriatric patients. Then a nurse came running up to me and said “What are you doing? Why didn’t you use your call light?”, to which I responded “What’s a call light?” No one had educated me about such a thing, I hadn’t the foggiest idea what she was talking about. So sad now when I realize I was so young and neither of my parents were there with me 😦  I remember drawing caricatures in the hospital as I was recovering, from a book that I believe my sister Lynda said she gave me, and that was great fun. And I remember people making me laugh so hard it hurt, because in those days they didn’t even do laparscopic surgery yet, so I have a nice big scar from that episode. Thank you very much.

Oh, and I also have to take an antiseptic shower with chlorhexidine or some other such ungodly chemical, not just once, day of surgery, but three days in a row! My God, I didn’t say anything about being a Master Gardener, but they must have taken one look at me and thought, this girl is Dirty Girl, make her scrub THREE times! Haha. No, I’m kidding, they have all their surgical patients do that, I am not being singled out. Actually, I’m thinking that little practice probably helps reduce their infection rates quite a bit, so that is a good thing. Seeing as we all carry staph on our skin, okay, I’ll do the Sally tubby time like a good little girl. But I won’t smell very good afterwards, I’m pretty sure I’ll smell medicinal, yuk! I’ll be glad when I can use my Dr. Bronner’s lavender hemp soap again! Ah, now there’s some heavenly soap! Oh, the sacrifices we make to keep these doctors happy! You can be sure I’ll be watching to make sure the staff washes THEIR hands too, I can tell you! Actually, that’s one thing I asked Cheryl to do for me…Make sure they wash up! Who knows where they’ve been before they come into my room! Actually, I don’t WANT to know!

Ah, yes, Cheryl ❤ My dear friend who now lives in Bend with her partner Chris, and who consented to come and get me through this when I gingerly asked her if she’d consider it.  God bless her! I am so fortunate to have her by my side, as she and I have a deep connection that began years ago. As a nurse, I had the privilege of caring for her mother and father in the hospital, and although I can barely remember it due to my poor memory and the sheer number of patients I cared for over the years, she tells me I did an wonderful job. We were also together caring for our dear friend Carl when he passed away, a precious moment in time that we got to share. What an honor that was! Cheryl is working in hospice now, and has an oncology background, so she is the perfect person to be with me for this experience. And she is pursuing Anam Cara work, which her sweet soul is well suited for. I am so fortunate to call her friend. Thank you Cheryl, from the bottom of my heart ❤

anam cara