Fire!

Please pray for all the families who have lost their homes in the Tea Fire in Santa Barbara… and all who will before this fire is extinguished. I can’t believe how devestating it has already been. Wildfire Today is a wonderful blog that follows fires closely and updates regularly. Check out his extremely detailed map of the fire.

If I could save time in a bottle…

One of my new co-blogger friends has been victimized. She was given hope for a cure for her cancer. A radical new surgery, Pelvic Exenteration, was set before her like a glass of cool, sweet water to one dying of thirst. A cure. Hope against hope. Life with her 6 year old son. A future.

But like water in the desert it proved to be a mirage. Her cancer has already spread beyond her pelvic cavity, up towards her liver. This radical surgery in which she will lose so much of herself, cannot cure her any longer. It is too late for that. And it cannot give her greater longevity. Time, is the most precious of commodities.

What it can give her is quality of life in the time she has left.

A consolation prize at best.

Jen is feeling understandably down this week. Stop by and read her powerful words upon receiving this disappointing news and offer her support and encouragement.

Three for Three

Well, hey there. How’ve you been? I have been so danged busy I haven’t even had time to think, let alone post to my blog or even read a blog. It’s been lonely out here in the real world what with all the dishes & the temper tantrums and such. It’s so peaceful in the blogosphere… ya know.

So, anywho. Reality hit me right up side the head this morning in the form of a Prayer Warrior request from my Grammy. You might remember my cousin I’ve told you about. The one that was originally diagnosed with MS which she did not have. And after three years ended up in a wheel chair without the use of any extremities. Well, last I had heard they thought perhaps she had had a stroke.

After extensive testing by her very own diagnostician they believe she has the very rare condition, Primary Cerebral Vasculitis. It is not so good. They are treating her with many different things, one of which is chemo. That’s three women in my family in three years if anyone is keeping score.

Bless her heart, she is going to lose the glorious head of wild Italian hair I have envied my whole life.

My heart bleeds for her.

Pray for her doctors, please. Pray for a cure.

I’m one tough chicken

I would like to direct the greater IBC support group to Punk Rock Mommy’s site for some moral support. Her cancer has spread again to the lymph nodes under her collar bone and some lesions on her liver.

This woman has been through more than I ever hope to imagine. Yet her faith never waivers. She’s a rock. She has more scans this week to check for mets progression in her brain. Keep her in your prayers.

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I saw my own lovely oncologist today. It was just a routine 3 month follow up that is 2 months late. But I did have a couple of concerns. I’ve had a very bruised feeling area just above my flap scar. But it is just Hyper-Sensitive Skin. Basically, my numbness has receded enough to let me feel my pissed off nerve endings. Joy.

But the really disturbing/worrisome/questionable issue was a bulge I discovered just below my right collar bone on Sunday night. It’s about 4cm x 5cm and firm. It looks very much like a nicely formed pectoral muscle… only a bit on the high side (rather like a botched boob job). It doesn’t hurt and I have no earthly idea how long it’s been there.

Dr. V isn’t too worried about it but in light of my history she’s going to send me for scans. She seems to think it’s probably just a hypertrophic pectoral muscle. Which I’ve tried to look up & only seem to find that chicken breasts are tougher when cooked if they were hypertrophic. Good to know.

I did feel relieved to see that she didn’t immediately look at my new bulge, stretch her arm out, point and say those dreaded words in the Grim Reaper’s voice while the room mysteriously shrunk off to a small point in the distance, “That is cancer. You are going to die.”

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On the GOOD Cancer News front… They are opening a cancer center here!!! Yeah. And all services will be free. I’m going to start yoga. An a young survivors group. I’m pretty psyched about the whole thing. The ribbon cutting is April 5th.

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Sigh. The boys come home tomorrow. I love them. It will be nice to have them home. But I can’t really say that I missed them. Does that make me a horrible mom? All I know is that I very, very badly needed that break. I didn’t do a damn thing while they were gone. I barely cooked or cleaned. It was lovely! And it all ends tomorrow.

Sniff.

Does anyone have a tissue?

When it rains it pours

It’s been a rough week for some people I know.

My cousin has finally seen her specialist, her very own “Dr House”. She definitely does not have MS. He thinks it might have been a stroke 3 years ago that caused her problems. He believes there may still be a partial blockage or a slow blood leak that is causing her to continue to decline. She will be undergoing a large battery of tests and will get the results next month.

When she heard “House’s” diagnosis she turned to her mother and said in a very small voice, “You mean I’m going to stay like this forever?” It just breaks my heart.

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The best man at our wedding, Steve, lost his father last weekend. Daddy-O and I went to his memorial service on Wednesday. Though I had only met Bill a time or two, it was one of the more difficult services I’ve been to. And also one of the more enjoyable. Bill was a larger-than-life man. He packed the house and brought out the best in everyone. I’m sorry I didn’t know him better.

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Perhaps worst of all, is Judy. She has been recently diagnosed with IBC. That’s hard enough to deal with when you’re the mom of a 6 year old. But today she received some particularly difficult news. She could use some support.

And I’d be grateful if you added them all to your prayers.

Calling All Prayer Warriors

Two posts in one day. Someone check the weather forecast for the nether world please.

This weekend the boys and I traveled to the greater Los Angeles area for our family Christmas party at my Grammy’s house. I haven’t been since D was 8 months old due to first his, then my health issues. It was particularly nice to see everyone because it’s been so long.

We are not the only ones in the family that have had health issues. I have 3 cousins (not my blood relations), 2 siblings and their first cousin, who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) over the last 9 years. Interesting that the medical profession doesn’t consider MS to be a hereditary disease.

The last of these cousins diagnosed is CS. She was only diagnosed 2 years ago or so. At the time she was a teacher. Among other things, she taught PE and was a coach. Last year her legs began failing her and she went into a wheelchair. For some reason that is unclear to me, those of us in the extended family didn’t really know this until about 5 weeks ago. At that point my grandparents went to visit her. She looked good, had a great attitude but did not have the use of her legs. Very sad for a young woman who had always been so physically active. Also, very difficult for her to care for her 3 year old daughter.

I was a bit nervous to see CS at the Christmas party, I must admit. After her brother, MM was diagnosed he was not the most pleasant of people to be around – quite petulant, actually. Not that I could possibly get an accurate picture of someones life in a 3-4 hour, once a year party. At any rate, I was hoping I wouldn’t embarrass myself. I have a habit of inserting my foot firmly in my mouth quick as a flash.

Seeing CS was a pure joy, as, I am pleasantly surprised to report, was visiting with her brother. The real shock came at seeing her in her wheelchair. In the last 5 weeks not only has she lost the use of her legs, but also her arms and has limited breathing issues and slurred speech. She can no longer feed herself and has had to hire a live-in care giver. In 5 weeks time.

You’re probably not shocked to hear that they no longer think it’s MS. In fact, the 3 spinal taps they’ve done to test for MS have all come back negative. They thought it was a tumor on her brain stem. Yes. That is as bad as it sounds. But just today we’ve found out that the CT scan showed no tumor on her brain stem. That’s a real mixed blessing. Thank God it’s not an inoperable brain stem glioma. But what is it?

What the CT Scan did show is that her brain stem is atrophied. The doctors are completely stumped. The couldn’t even give her a guess at what it might be. They just don’t know. So she’ll be seeing a world renowned neurological diagnostician at UC Davis. I think she’s seeing the House of UC Davis. That would be cool if it wasn’t so scary.

Wow. That was a really long story just to ask that y’all add my cousin to your prayers. But if anyone needs them right now, she does. Oh, and lets add a PS that the diagnostician isn’t on as many pain killers as Hugh Laurie’s character.