Saturday, June 09, 2007

Relay for Life...

Last Sunday my family and I went to the Cancer Survivor Celebration @ Garfield Park here in Indianapolis (here is a link from the newspaper about that day ), then last night I went to Relay for Life at Pike Township Middle School. Last year when I attended both of these events, I had attended them with my mother in law. Who would have known then; that one year later she would not be here with us any longer taken by cancer at the age of 52? I’ve been thinking about Judy a lot lately, especially in these past two weeks, and I miss her more than I could ever say. She was the one person that I could talk to about things that I was going through with my cancer treatment/post cancer treatment. She was the only person that I knew intimately enough to open up to about things that were happening to me, because she had a shared experience with her own cancer. And now she’s gone. I lit a luminary in her memory last night and went back this morning to take a picture of it; an overwhelming sadness came over me as I cried during my walk around the track. Cancer doesn’t just ravage peoples' bodies, minds and spirits; it robs you of something so much more precious… Time. Time to be able to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Time to just sit in the backyard talking with each other. Time to go on yearly trips out of state to visit family for the 4th of July. Time to spend the night at Grandma’s house. Time that you wish you would have taken to go on a cruise when asked (who knew it would be her one and only). Time to love one another unconditionally.

I’ve had a lot of things tugging at my heart lately; it really saddens me that there are not more things out there for cancer patients, survivors, and care givers. When patients are admitted to the hospital for treatment after being diagnosed for the first week you don’t even understand what they are saying to you, and you don’t know how to navigate your way through insurance companies, medical bills, treatment options, the list is just so endless. There should be a group that has no ties to the insurance companies/hospitals that could come around and visit with cancer patients and openly share what their experiences were, and how to deal with everything, and what to look for when you go home so that you know if and when you need to come back to the hospital. Many things that were dangerous to me I wasn’t even aware of until after my treatment, and I researched it myself. Example: I was told by the doctors or nurses to wear a mask over my face when there were a lot of people around (of course I didn’t, because it was an inconvenience), but late one night I was watching a segment for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and I saw a small child with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (the same type that I had) and she got an infection in her lungs, the doctor’s had to go in and remove 60% of her lung because it had a black fungus growing on her lung. Um… I wasn’t told that that sort of thing could happen or believe you me I would have been wearing the face mask. Things like that just need to be put out there for new cancer patients, it is such a scary time, and being able to meet other people who have been there and are still going strong would be such a help and inspiration to someone facing the biggest fight of their life. My husband could have really used some guidance when his wife and mother were both fighting cancer, and yet he still had to go on business as usual, because bills had to be paid and children had to be taken care of.

So if you would please log onto Relay for Life and donate in memory of someone that you’ve lost to cancer, or in memory of my mother in law Judy C. Kolanowski.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Monthly update

Of course I’ve been busy lately with work; it has completely consumed my life for the past five months. Our company has decided that the pilot program that they were trying out did not work, so on Monday I will go back to our Commercial office where the stress and pressures are soooo much less!!!! And I’ll be honest it couldn’t have come a minute too soon.

Stress and someone trying to stay healthy and in remission from cancer does not mix. I have been under so much pressure at work that physically I’m in pain. I’m still having problems with the pain in my hip, and on Monday I’m going to see an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. My Rheumatologist is kind of at a stopping point, he cannot pinpoint why I am in so much pain. He had a MRI done in March and they found a bone spur on my hip, but he said that it shouldn’t be the cause of so much pain. Then we started talking some more and I once again mentioned that I never had any problems with my hip until they did those three bone marrow biopsies. His eyes lit up… he said, “You know bone marrow biopsies usually don’t affect most patients, but there are a small percentage of patients that really have problems with it.” I said, “I’ve been telling Dr. C that I never had a problem until those test were done, but he keeps telling me that the procedure would not have been the cause of my constant pain.” He said, “Well of course he is going to say that, I want you to go see an Ortho Surgeon for a second opinion, and we’ll go from there. Next we will probably send you up for a Bone $can and another CAT $can... he also said that I may have a piece of dead bone in that area that could be the cause of my discomfort. And with that he decided to not give me my next injection of cortisone in my hip, but yet he prescribed me some pain patches that my I say are a waste of money, because they do not help for shit… he said that if these don’t work that he will fit me with a little black box that will give me an electronic shock every so often to try to fool my brain that I am not in pain (friends and family have both told me this does not work) but I will have one up on them because my little black box will give me pain injections every so often as well. If all else fails he will go back to giving me Cortisone shots every three months.

The following Monday I have my bimonthly appointment with my cancer doctor. Hopefully everything is still going good with that. I don’t really have any concerns with that at this time, but Leukemia is an ugly beast that can take your life in a matter of weeks. So of course it’s always at the back of my mind.

I am trying to be as positive as I can be, and I’m trying not to stress out over everyday things. But can I say medical bills can make you go insane, I now owe to hospitals, doctors etc… over $70,000 (after the insurance payment) that in itself is enough to drive you mad. But what can you do, but the best you can.

We haven’t heard much from Rick’s sister Shannon lately, I hope she’s still considering getting help for her depression. Sometimes you just have to have someone guide you through things in your life that you don’t understand or have never been through before.

I went to my family reunion (on my mother’s side) today, I saw some people that I haven’t seen in quite some time, I saw some people that I wish I hadn’t, and I saw some people (I’ll be honest) I didn’t even know who the hell they were. One chick there started wailing on her (maybe two year old) daughter and when her father came over to say something to her she just got louder and saying she’s my daughter I’ll discipline her how I want, I don’t care if you like it or not (of course the bitch was pregnant again). So me with my sunny disposition made many comments about her and how she handled things with that poor baby, and honestly if she hadn’t been pregnant I felt like snatching that bitch right on up. (She was lucky to be seventeen/eighteen at the most). I just about went out to my van to call the police, and maybe I should have.

Then after that I walked up on a conversation that my sister was having with some of my kids, and she was telling them that Holly (our half sister), and yours truly were her half sisters. Rachel and I have the same father and mother. I said what did you say, and made her repeat herself to me. She said if you don’t believe me ask mom. At that point I gave her a look, and Courtney (my 13 yr old) told Rachel I know that look you’d better run because mom is about to kick your ass. My sister is the biggest trouble maker ever; she is always right in the middle of everybody’s shit. So I just walked away and told Rick, he said WTF is her problem? So, on that note we took the kids swimming, and then left straight from there.

Just a side note on that conversation, my father and mother were not married when I was born. My dad took of to Florida to get away from his responsibilities, of course a teenager with a temper on his own for the first time got into some trouble down there, and his father went all the way down to FL to get him out of jail, but told him that he would have to come back to Indiana and marry my mother. (My grandparents were Christians and didn’t believe in having children out of wedlock) so he agreed to come back and they got married and changed my last name to his. Well my father resented me for that, and he would always tell me that he wasn’t my father, that he caught my mother in bed with another man, and he just honestly treated me really bad over it. So for my sister to come out and to say something like that is just dirty. So I’m not talking to her for awhile. (By the way my mother swears that he was my father, nine months to the day is all she ever says) Honestly I could really care less; he wasn’t much of a father to me period one way or the other.

My husband married me and I had two young kids at the time, and he is nuts over them. Five and Seven years after we got married Breanna and Ricky came along, and he doesn’t treat the kids any different PERIOD!!! I know how lucky that I am for that. Honestly his feelings get hurt if you call him their step-dad, because in his heart they are his children. He works to provide for them, and he is constantly thinking about what we are going to do for them next. So I’ve got my hands on a rare one.