The Best You Can…

Friday we met a good doctor.  A new endocrinologist.  He is young.  He is friendly.  He is smart.  He is ready to be a doctor to Meghan.  I am grateful.

Friday Mom got her second cataract done and checked before the storm.  So necessary for more than visual acuity.  It just needed to be done.  I am thankful.

I was about to say today was one of those days where you have to focus on your perspective, and it will define your outcome.  But, really that’s every day, isn’t it?

We woke up under about 30 inches of snow here in NYC.  Now the thing about living in NYC is that you have to learn, as the Marines say, to “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.”  Because nothing really stops.  At least not for long.

improvise adapt overcome

Yesterday there were travel bans.  Yesterday we were to stay off the roads.  Today we are told that the City’s 1 million school children will report to school tomorrow, and with them, their thousands of teachers and support staff will report as well.

In many boroughs this is not such a big deal.  Public transportation is at the ready.  Moving around is easy.

Not the case here on Staten Island.  Almost everyone travels by car.

Yesterday Felix tried to keep on top of the snow.  It was fruitless.

Last night an ambulance got stuck in front of my house.  My husband and a neighbor dug them back to a main road.  We said a prayer for the person they were headed to, and continued on our night.


This morning, we woke early got the shovels and the snowblower.  He started at one end, and I at the other.  But in the front of the house I was met by my neighbors.  We groaned a bit, and pleasant conversation ensued as we gave each other a hand.

At one point the conversation turned to Meghan’s footwear.  Somehow.  And as I explained that she has 2 different sized feet, and we buy 2 different shoes and toss the opposites, she seemed stunned.  And I said soon after we toss the opposites we sit for a moment in gratitude for 2 working feet, and a financial situation that allows us to pay our credit card bills.  She smiled.  She gets it.  She’s had life struggles of her own.

We got the cars free.  We set ourselves up to hope for the best for tomorrow.

Then Felix headed with Ken to shovel out my grandparents.

Grandma, when memory came easier to her, used to sing, ” Count your many blessings, count them one by one…”

Grandma is 95 and Pop is 96.  Life is more challenging for them than it ever was before.  Yet there are so many blessings.  They have neighbors that help clear pathways when we can’t get to them.  They have a tenant who is a friend, who looks in on them and keeps us posted.  They are really special, and we are grateful for the kindness of those they interface with daily.

When he got home, my husband stole a quick meal and headed out to make an igloo and a snowman with Meghan, after a romp in the snow with the dogs.  He is a good husband, and a good Dad.  A really good man.
   
Some time this afternoon my phone rang.  It was an internet friend looking for some reassurance.  I think I was able to give it.  Keep your heart and mind focused.  Stay physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy.  Do the best you can with what you have, where you are.  Always.

Tomorrow Meghan will see the knee surgeon.  Time to follow-up on a less than stellar MRI/MRA experience the week before last.  Time to check on the status of the AVM.  Holding my breath that it’s behaving.  Tomorrow I will hope all the main roads from here to NYC are plowed well, and I will gratefully pay to park in an overpriced lot.  Perspective.

We are actively engaged in “Jeans for Rare Genes 2,”  working on everything from ticket sales to journal ads to raffles.  My Meghan is ready to channel this week’s pain into a focused goal.  Meghan wants the PTEN foundation to have the money they need to create a patient database.  Vision.

JFRGflyer7

Every day we are given a choice.  Many choices.  Life is not all peaches and cream.  Not for any of us.  Some days I struggle.  Most days I know which side of the bus the sit on.

everyday-u-make-a-choice1

Here’s to hoping for an easy safe parking spot at work tomorrow, a mind eased from the worry of loved ones, and a smooth trip to NYC.

 

Groundhog Day

“Groundhog Day” – who doesn’t remember the movie?  There have been plenty of days I have thought of it.  I may need to watch it again soon.

Groundhog_Day_(movie_poster)

Pediatric Endocrinology is a ridiculously small sub specialty.

There is this web of interconnections, and all sorts of people who have lost sight of the patient.

web

Ultimately I may need to head out-of-state to try to get a clean opinion.  But, I have to take that and so many other things one step at a time.

But, after the travesty on Thursday, I was left with little choice but to keep me appointment with the surgeon at our current hospital.

You remember the surgeon?

He’s the one who did a great job on the surgery.  The one who said, when we went for the follow-up, that he only needed to see her ever again if she felt anything in her neck.  And when she did feel something in her neck I had to jump through 12 hoops to convince him he should see her.  And then when he saw her, he proclaimed the lump a salivary gland and told us to return “one more time” in a few weeks.

But then there was that horrendous week in the hospital.  And while she was being treated for gastritis, a hematologist felt her neck and said, “It’s a lymph node.”  So they sent her for a sonogram which said it was a lymph node.

So when we went back to see the surgeon and brought him the sonogram report he got annoyed and ordered his own ultrasound, which we got to wait 3 hours for.  And then he called me to tell me everything was fine, even after the 45 minute exam where the tech measured the lymph node in her neck.  So we were good to part ways until I asked for a copy of that report too.

confused

And 10 minutes later my cell phone rang telling me doctor “I am sure it’s fine, but just in case,” wanted to see her again.  So after some haggling we arranged for June 16th at 1.  Which was ok.  Until they called me Friday to tell me I could come in at 9:30 or 10:45.  “How about 1, like you said originally?”

So the appointment was set for 1, and I punched out of work at 12.  We got to the hospital at exactly 1 (a 20 mile drive) after some typical traffic, and a near miss of a three car accident in front of us on the highway (thank you angels) on line for the parking garage.  I called up to let them know we’d be a few minutes.  And we sat.  And we sat  And we sat.

Finally we began to inch forward just a bit.  Then there was just one car in front of me.

And he was not paying a bit of attention, as a large black SUV cut right into the front of the line.

Now at times like this I try to focus.  Maybe there was a medical emergency. Maybe… Maybe…

So as much as I wanted to get out of my car screaming, I held my composure and talked about all the reasons they might have done that.  Until a hospital employee, likely late for work, surfaced as the driver.  He left his car across the sidewalk, took the ticket from the attendant and raced into the hospital.

It was 1:35.

And then I noticed some scurrying.

I thought the car was stuck.

It turns out the self-important line cutter had taken his keys- blocking the entrance and causing the line of 20 cars behind me to continue to grow.

The car was booted and moved.

We got to the appointment around 2.

As usual...
As usual…

The doctor spoke to Meghan.  He asked her how she was doing.  She told him about her pain.  And about her throat clearing.  And about how tired she is.  She mentioned working hard to get so swim practice.

I don’t think he heard a word.

He felt her neck and proudly proclaimed he felt nothing.  By now I was so tired of this I just wanted to get out.  I figured we were done.  I was glad he could feel nothing.  If only I trusted him.  Truth be told, I haven’t put a hand on her neck in 4 weeks.  There is just no point.

“I want to see her at the end of the summer.”

WHAT?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

3 visits ago he never wanted to see her again.  Now he has ultrasound and 2 visits at which he told me she was fine.  Let it go.  Unless of course, he just doesn’t quite trust himself…

“I’m glad she’s feeling so well.”

EXCUSE ME??????????  Did you just see MY kid?  Because MY KID is incredibly polite, and often very positive.  She is articulate and bright, but she will NEVER tell you she feels WELL.  She doesn’t believe in lying.

Some days this is like a bad movie. Or a dream where your finger is stuck in the door and it keeps closing over, and over, and over again.

4740897520_door_jam_xlarge

August 18th.

Damn.

So much for a month without doctors.

When do you, as the Mom, put an end to it?  Knowing that any “miss” falls right on you, it’s so hard to defy their recommendations, even when their competence can be questioned.

Rheumatology on the 30th.  GI on July 2nd, and Pediatric Endocrinology AGAIN on July 3rd.  And that’s just the first week.

I guess I better plan something fun for the 1st.  Something worthy of a stepping stone for that bridge…

Her entire right side hurts to the touch tonight.  Every natural pain remedy I research has something her reflux doesn’t allow.

She fell asleep tonight reading her Bible.  Our Pastor sent her a long letter with some great verses of comfort.  She hasn’t stopped rereading it.

Sigh…

Two hours to get in.  Two hours to get home.  Less than 30 minutes on the floor of the hospital.

“This is getting old Mom.”  Wise kid.

“‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise” – Laura Story

The Arrogance Epidemic

arrogance3

Truly. Under diagnosed, and under treated. Spreading wildly. Seems especially prevalent among experienced medical professionals.

Not all are affected. Some are immune. Some resist with all their might.

Some embrace the arrogance. They seem to enjoy spreading it to those around them.

Others hide the arrogance, carefully and efficiently. Until the moment they are challenged. Then they unleash the beast full force.

arrogance

We met again with the thyroid surgeon today. Two weeks ago we requested an appointment because Meghan felt something in her neck. I have learned from experience not to question Meghan. She has proven time and again to have an awareness if her body that defies explanation.

Two weeks ago he felt her neck and declared the lump she felt to be a salivary gland. He said some small lymph nodes surrounded it, but when we came back in two weeks it would all be gone. He said it with a good amount of authority- but not arrogance. He reminded us of her clean pathology report. He directed us not to worry.

And maybe we would have paid it no mind, except that’s not how life tends to go around here.

So, three days after the surgeon declared the “salivary gland” in her neck, we ended up inpatient at a local hospital with an attack of what ended up being severe gastritis.

While they were sorting themselves out, the pediatrician (who is as far from arrogant as they come,) remembered feeling the neck a few days prior. He had deemed it a lymph node, and figured while we were there he’d have a colleague, a hematologist/oncologist give it a feel. She deemed it a lymph node too and sent Meghan for ultrasound.

Just sitting around the hospital with tons of time as they tried to figure out the root cause of the GI pain, we were amenable to a neck ultrasound.

arrogance4

Now I am not taking sides- I have experienced great sonograms and horrendous ones- and witnessed them- in the best and worst locations. So I take reports as point of information, and never shun clarification. But this one clearly said lymph node- almost 2cm. Subsequent blood test ruled out the salivary gland theory as well.

So Thursday, after we were discharged I contacted the surgeon’s office. We had an appointment today, Monday the 19th. I spoke to the staff. I sent the ultrasound report. I asked them to schedule a sonogram at their facility for us to compare the one we just received. I figured we’d see the doctor and then have the sonogram.

Except as we entered the exam room he was agitated. Looking at the ultrasound report clearly for the first time, he said,”this must have been taken before the surgery.” Seeing it was Meghan’s report I interjected- “No it was taken Thursday the 8th.”

arrogance2

Enter arrogance. I swear his whole demeanor changed and it was like the arrogance bubbled up from his toes.

Now I will be honest- I don’t have a history of playing nice in the sandbox when I am pissed, and I don’t do arrogant well.

So, I may not have been the sweetest. But two weeks ago he was very concerned if she’d had fever, or vomiting. He made it a point to weigh her. Now- she spent 6 days in the hospital and no scale? Somehow I let that go.

What I couldn’t let go was his statement that there was nothing in her neck that was enlarged. See, you can tell me there is nothing to WORRY about. That I will take happily. But you can’t tell me nothing is there. Because 2 doctors an ultrasound my daughter and my own fingers tell me there is.

So we’ll get an ultrasound and then I’ll call you tomorrow to tell you nothing is wrong.

From your arrogant lips to God’s gentle ears…

So they had the girl, who just made her way back to school after a week in the hospital wait for three hours. We made it home around 7.

I know the treatment for arrogance when it overtakes common sense. Time to be done with it. A new consult has been established but we wait- so as not to cut off the nose to spite the face…

In the mean time I know we are not the only ones. There are so many good medical professionals. There are so many who take the time to think, and care, and treat. And then there are others.

The problem with Cowden’s Syndrome is the sheer numbers of doctors we see. The problem is hard to avoid.

Plus- as my grandfather once told me- I can be a little difficult to work with.

It’s all about my girl and whatever she needs….

arrogance (1)

State of Mind

Fortunately her shoulder injury has healed quite nicely.

She heals well.  Good thing.   She has had so much practice.

She progressed through the state math exam with extended time for writing.

She weaned herself off the muscle relaxants quickly.

She is tough.

Good thing.

Wednesday she pulled me aside in school and asked me to feel her neck.

“Mom, I think this is a lymph node”

As she gestured to her neck, not far above where the mass that had cause the suspicion that prompted the removal of her thyroid, had sat less than 3 months earlier.

Hesitantly I put my hand to her neck, not as much to check, but simply to verify.

I knew she was right.  She is always right.  I swear she’s like “The Princess and the Pea” sometimes.  She can feel everything.

Princess_peaBut I put my hand to her neck as she instructed and instantly knew there was in fact, one swollen lymph node easily felt.

“Mom, the surgeon said I only have to go back and see him if I have any swollen lymph nodes.  But, he said that was “highly unlikely.”  I guess he didn’t know who he was dealing with!”

She tried to make a joke, lighten the mood while reading me for a reaction.  I giggled.  I reassured.  I felt a deep sinking flutter in my belly.

Not because I assumed it to be a problem, but more because I knew this would unleash a cascade of additional appointments, and really… well, quite frankly… we are NOT in the mood.

Of course, all of that was, and is irrelevant.  I called the surgeon, whose office insisted I have a local clinician verify that it was in fact a lymph node.

I called first the ENT who has been dealing with the throat clearing issue, hoping to kill two birds with one stone so to speak.  HA!  His office released a new flock – of which we will have to contain what we can another day.  Instead of inviting us in to check on her improvement on his medication, he determined, sight unseen – and relayed through a secretary, that Meghan should see a GI doctor.

birds

 

Apparently his on the phone conclusion based on the fact that her symptoms had not fully resolved on the nose spray and increased reflux medication was that a GI needs to treat her for reflux.  While that may be true, on some level, at some point, someone at some point has to realize the two of us are quickly becoming overwhelmed, and sending us to another doctor is not always a good idea.  (Plus, when your kid is 5 foot 2, and 100 pounds at 10 – no GI takes you very seriously at all.)  And in reality – I just needed someone to check the neck!

So, I waited for our trusty pediatrician, and Thursday afternoon – on a bright sunny spring day – after an hour and a half wait – we heard what we already knew.  It in fact is a lymph node, and it should be looked at.

So as Meghan asked me in the car if she should be concerned, and I calmly let her feel my own set of chronically inflamed lymph nodes, I calculated our next steps.

When I called the surgeon’s office this time I was told we would be seen Monday.  They called Friday to let me know that our appointment was to be 9:30 on the 5th.

I woke up Thursday morning with a most unusual swelling in my left eye.  I can’t for the life of me figure out the cause.   By Friday when I went to tell my (patience of a saint) boss that I would need Monday off, I was looking far less than my best.  Puffy eye had turned red and was starting to resemble infection.

As I sat in the urgi care waiting room Friday evening ready to collect my prednisone, my antibiotic, and my stern warning that if things didn’t improve by Monday I needed to see an ophthalmologist, I wondered where the breaking point is.

We had some tough nights this week – the two of us.  We had some nights feeling a lot like we were bearing the burden of Sisyphus.

Sisyphus-big

 

It is an uncanny feeling to be at the bottom of the mountain without a prospect of getting to the top.  This feeling that we WILL be at this forever, requires careful mind games to overcome and is not for the faint of heart.  We both experience it very differently, so the trick becomes to rely on each other, but understand our vantage points are unique.  We MUST rest on each other, but others as well.  And we MUST teach each other to look for the sun and the flowers and the beauty around us right where we are.  It is a tall order for me some days.  My 10 year old, well, she is my hero.  Because, despite the occasional setback she finds a way to pick up and keep on keeping on.

i am oneShe sent me this in my Email this weekend.  I read it a bunch of times.  Then I hugged her.  She is determined.  She is driven.  She is my reason for staying focused.

So I shared with her a poem on my mind…

If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN! 

– Walter Wintle

Today, she had a swim meet.  Her team lost.  They usually do.  But they are great kids, who have a BLAST, and cheer for each other.  They generally have a great time.  And somewhere in between the team being hammered, she was on two second place relay teams, and pulled this out.

Gray Cap – Lane 4 (After her goggles flipped at the start!)

Clearly the highlight of my week.

Now let’s hope tomorrow is much ado about nothing, and we can get about facing the next set of plans life has for us.

In the meantime – your prayers as always, are gratefully accepted.

 

 

Thyroid PREvivor!

The phone  rang at about 7 PM.  It’s Friday night.  I did not expect the call to be from the nurse practitioner at the endocrinology office that manages Meghan’s care.

snooze-and-lose

Wednesday we went in for a surgical follow up appointment.  The incision is healing nicely.  She is still sore but cleared to return to school Monday… and swimming too.  While were there, they asked for some lab tests to be rerun.

Calcium levels which were botched Friday before discharge needed to be looked at again.  And the parathyroid hormone to make sure it was still functional.

Before we left the facility, we received word that the calcium levels were actually high.  No need for me to even start ranting again.

We were advised to keep her on the current supplementation level for 4 weeks, then wean her off and revisit the surgeon in 8 weeks.  We would also see the endocrinologist at that time.  Although, endocrinology would be ordering lots of labs in the mean time.  All of this I understand.

Except, when the nurse told me she was calling, at 7 on Friday night (when the results from Weds. labs were in the system on Weds) to tell me to keep Meghan on her baseline calcium (the Isagneix Calcium she has taken for almost a year) and lower the supplemental pills they gave from three to two.

Isagenix-IsaCalcium

Seems logical.  EXCEPT when we were discharged in that debacle Friday night they altered the script from 3 to 2 already.  So so we go down to one?

The nurse stuttered, confused.  I still don’t think anyone understands what a mess they made out of her care on Friday.  No, she said.  We will rerun the calcium in a week.  Anyone want to wager that it will be too high?

As she went to hang up I asked about the pathology I had been waiting on pins and needles for.  Almost as an afterthought, she said she didn’t think it was in.  Then, “Oh, it’s right here… want me to send it to you?”

Um, YES.

“Everything seems ok, do you have a fax?”

YES!

And that was the end of the conversation.  Left to read the pathology report on my own I pored over it as best I could.  Confused that it was date stamped 6PM on Weds…. and I found out it was in by accident.  But, whatever…

PathologyBanner

So without the aid of a doctor, and with my somewhat well developed medical vocabulary, everything looks to be

BENIGN!!!!

There are things about it I don’t like, of course.  Like that some of the “lumps” are referred to as nodules, while the three problematic ones are called “tumors.”  The largest of these tumors measured 2.4 x 1.3 x 1.3 cm, and the others were not that small either.  No wonder this kid was choking!  There is “hyperplasia” all over the place too.  But it seems like the bottom line is, we got in in time.

Cowden’s we BEAT YOU to it!

Of course there is no crystal ball.  There is no way to say for sure that it WOULD HAVE become cancerous, although I think we all know the reality.  There is no way to know if it could have stayed in a little longer, but I like to think eliminating the anxiety over the constant FNAs, which incidentally had caused quite a mess of scar tissue according to the surgeon (THANK YOU COWDENS!) will be the better choice in the end.

It is easy  easier, to make decisions about prophylactic organ removal when it is your own body.  You just do what you have to do and move on.  But my husband and I had to make the conscious decision to remove something from our child’s body.  Can she live without it?  Absolutely.  But just because you CAN live without something doesn’t always mean you should, and it doesn’t mean that removing it is without consequence or effect.

As a new mastectomy patient I read lots of stories of brave young women who had decided not to spend their lives waiting for cancer to get them.  They had taken steps, usually to get ahead of BRCA1 or BRCA2.  I immediately admired each of them.  They somewhere along the line coined the term “PREVIVOR.”

previvor

https://www.facingourrisk.org/FORCE_community/previvors.php

Primarily used to deal with the risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, I think the term has a broader reach.  My girl does not need to be a thyroid cancer survivor.  She is a PREVIVOR.  She got there first.

decisions options

For this I am thankful.

BEATINGCOWDENS!

This card was created out of her need to "teach" others about Cowden's Syndrome.
This card was created out of her need to “teach” others about Cowden’s Syndrome.

It’s not malignant… BUT…

It was an interesting phone call this afternoon.

I knew from the caller ID that it was going to be the hospital with the pathology report.  Home on a snow day, relaxing with the family – I took a deep breath.  It was the endocrinologist on the other end of the line.

“I have the results of the pathology…”

AND???

“The samples are not malignant, but…”

YAY, and UGH!

And there followed a conversation that lasted several minutes.  I tried multiple times to use the word “benign” to refer to the results.  Each time I was carefully deflected.  When he spoke he never said “benign’ once – only “not malignant.”  Synonyms – yet apparently not interchangeable.

Someone less in tune might have missed this conversational nuance.  I don’t miss much when it comes to my daughter.

So the doctor recounted how each off the 4 cell biopsies obtained through the Fine Needle Aspiration, showed cells that were “not malignant.”  When I asked about the cells, specifically remembering the “precancerous” title given to the cells that had brought us to this hospital to begin with, he told me again the report says they are, “not malignant.”

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

whatplan

I know I didn’t imagine the deep breath on the doctor’s end of the phone when he began, “Typically, we would follow the case in 6 months with an ultrasound, and I think you should make that appointment.” Then there was a deep breath and a pause.  “I also think you should take her to see a surgeon – just for another pair of eyes.”

Now I was thoroughly confused.  “Why? Do you think the throat clearing that has been going on could be related to the nodules?  What about the Fine Needle Aspiration?  How accurate is the test?”

He addressed one question at a time.  Almost as if he expected them.  He and I were not fast friends, and he often seemed annoyed by the countless questions I ask.  It never stopped me, but I couldn’t help but notice he was almost anticipating my questions today.  Maybe he was even welcoming then.  I flashed back to that visit on December 19th where he was visibly uneasy about the feel of that right thyroid.  “The FNA is accurate 90-95% of the time.  Usually that is not an issue because thyroid cancer tends to grow very slowly and if we follow every 6 months, we will typically catch anything we need.  That being said, in a situation like Meghan’s where there are so many nodules, and there is Cowden’s Syndrome, it sometimes is harder to manage. In regards to the throat clearing – I don’t THINK it’s caused by the nodules, but again I can’t be sure.  Why don’t you set up a consultation with the surgeon?”

confused-face

Deep breath.  It’s good news I kept reminding myself.  It’s not cancer. (Yet… nagged the little voice that never knows when to shut up.)  I reassured him that I would schedule the appointments with him and the surgeon.  Of course after I arranged to have the pathology and ultrasound reports Emailed to me so I could agonize over every detail…

I scheduled the appointment for the first week in June.  I tried for the first week in July – but he is on vacation that MONTH…  Then I sat down to Email Meghan’s hematologist/oncologist the reports and ask her opinion.  She concurred with the endocrinologist and approved of his choice of surgeon.

Within 45 minutes my phone rang.  The caller ID showed the hospital number again.  This time it was the surgeon’s office.  They were contacting ME, at the doctor’s request – to set up a consultation for Meghan.  Well I have to tell you that didn’t do a whole lot to ease my mind.  Obviously it was nagging at the doctor enough that he reached out to be sure I made the appointment.  Scheduled.  February 25th.  I couldn’t get a time because they call the day before with that.  So, I explained how much I really NEED to be at work.  They made me no promises.  The 25th it will be.  Regardless of the time.

The snow was so pretty today.  So nice to be home as a family, to shovel, to play, to take some pictures, to watch an old movie.

I sat down to type this almost three hours ago, but somehow as Meghan was getting ready for bed she developed severe pain in her back and a ruthless headache.  Reminders that even an hour or so in the snow is too much for her body to endure.  Frustration.  Fear.  Two hours at her side, her father and I alternating pressure on the most painful spots.  She’s asleep in my bed now.  Moaning.  The night will be long.

frying pan fire

Some time this afternoon I realized again, that this is just how its going to be.  We are going to walk out of one fire, while walking around another.  We aren’t going to know the hows and whys.  We aren’t going to be able to make many plans despite our best efforts.  This is life with Cowden’s.  This is our life.

And tonight, as I held my husband’s hand, and we each had one hand helping soothe Meghan’s agony, I realized again that through the depth and power of our love for each other – all of us – this works for us.  It’s not what I would have chosen, but it’s what we have.

Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine a day without the two of them.  Somehow, that has to make us the luckiest family in the world.

think happy thoughts

And that is my happy thought tonight.

Happy New Year!

“The Six Month Leash”

The new normal… that is normal AFTER the Cowden’s Syndrome diagnosis, revolves around living life 6 months at a time.

6_months

On Wednesday  I got word that I can keep my spleen for at least 6 more months.

On Friday, we got the anxiously awaited news that Meghan‘s thyroid biopsy was benign.  We return for another scan in 6 months.

There is 6 months in between visits to the vascular surgeon.  6 months in between the endocrine surgeon, the dermatologist, the rheumatologist, and the general surgeon too.   There are more, so many more, but you get the idea.

See you in 6 months.  So we can do it all again.

I am trying to slow down.  Instead of waiting for the next appointment, I am trying to enjoy today.  I am trying to silence the giant stopwatch in the back of my head, ticking time away until the next appointment.

stpwatch

Truth is if I don’t pull the battery out of that thing, I may lose my mind!

It’s not all neat and clean, this whole Cowden’s mess.  Although when I stop to think about it, it is readily apparent that life is far from neat and clean.

Reality is that life is complicated.

Life carries with it no guarantees.

Life is what you make of it.

The struggle for everyone is different.  Mine is a struggle with my mind.

Beating Cowden’s is not like training for a sprint.  Nope.  We are training for a hilly marathon in the snow.  We have to build the endurance – and find a way to enjoy the training.  Even the really painful ones.

See, if it was just me suffering – it would be easier.  But it’s not.  And truth be told, having my kid ask me every night last week if I found out yet “Do I have cancer, Mom?”  Well, that was downright exhausting,  I am NOT looking forward to doing it again, in 6 months, or ever.  But, reality tells me there will be more biopsies on the horizon.

So we spent the weekend visiting with some family, dusting off a few things that hadn’t been tended to, finally opening some Emails, and important documents about the new car (a few weeks late) and just trying to readjust… to down shift from acute worry into chronic worry.

positive attitude

Well, that isn’t actually the goal.  The goal is for me to shelf the worry altogether… but baby steps please.

Ironic that I am currently the thinnest I have ever been, and in the worst shape of my life – simultaneously.   I fell on Saturday.  Over the dog.  She was on the sheets on the basement floor that were waiting to be washed.  I ended up on the floor, my knee and wrist banged up, and my back in spasms reminiscent of the car accident.

My calendar tells me we have about 5 weeks until the next major doctor cycle.  Good thing.  I need a chiropractor to help me move. and I need a few days without other appointments in order to get there.

The 6 month thing… well that’s not just twice a year.  That would be neat and clean.  No, the 6 month thing seems to just be ongoing.  We try to make the breaks as long as possible.  You know, so in between we can deal with the new adventures life tosses our way.

changes - adapt

I am going to focus, and keep trying to get this one day at a time thing down.  I am going to stop and look around more.  I am going to try to enjoy the ride.  It won’t be easy.  But I am on it.  I promise.

I need a new pair of sneakers for this marathon training.

Who knows, I might just get back in shape yet!

you were given this life