Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Perfectly Normal

I've waited almost two years to hear words confirming I'm in least as much in remission as I can be. This week my oncology Nurse Practitioner (Julie) told me my labs were good, my scans were good, and I was perfectly normal. WOO HOO!!! Of course, I chuckled knowing my family would be cracking up to hear me described as any kind of normal. Then she clarified, "On paper, you are normal." HA!

I went to my appointment with a couple of questions on my mind. First, since I had Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma (aggressive) along with Follicular Lymphoma (indolent), where do I fit when reading articles, listening to webinars, and attending seminars? I haven't found much that addresses aggressive and slow growing lymphomas at once. Julie explained I had two separate types of lymphoma and it will be hard to find information that applies to me having them together. So I'll just keep learning about BOTH.

The good news is the DLBCL (aggressive) is considered cured, and getting to the five year mark will be a relief. The not-as-good news is the FL (indolent) is not curable and could some day "rear it's ugly head." So, I'll be monitored for life - also known as watch and wait. Yep, for life... But it's comforting to know my doctor will be continually observing me.

The second question I had was if a CT scan will pick up bone cancer. Maybe I'm a little paranoid, but information is power, right?!?! My last couple of scans, as well as a bone scan after I cracked a rib, show degenerative arthritis and osteopenia, which I'm sure is the cause of my neck pain. Since pain is also a symptom of something more, I don't want to dismiss it just because nothing else showed up on my scan. Julie said a CT scan will show if cancer has spread to the bone. She also assured me that it is not common for lymphoma to metastasize to the bone like some other cancers. 

While cancer (and lime green) will always be a part of my life, it's becoming less and less the seemingly BIGGEST part of my life. I'm moving past the surviving stage and on to the thriving stage. I'm looking for ways to make the most of what I've learned and experienced. Life changing events force a new normal, and I'm becoming more comfortable with my new perfectly normal.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Believe 2.3 and 2.4

Since I'm behind with my Documented Faith verses after going on vacation, I'm combining the last two BELIEVE verses - Psalm 46:10a and 2 Corinthians 4:18.

These passages compliment each other very well. Psalm 46:10a tells us to be still and know that God is God. We need to be quiet before Him and BELIEVE that He is in control. We posted this verse around the house during my cancer journey to remind us to relax, breathe, and trust God. Today it's a reminder that no matter what is happening (health, kids, life), God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do!

While going through a difficult situation, it's so easy to get caught up in the here and now. Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 4:18 to keep our eyes on the big picture - eternity! Whatever we may experience on earth is nothing compared to heaven! We need to look to our eternal glory and know that it outweighs any trial here on earth.

The things we usually focus on - the things that are seen - are fleeting. Let's look to heaven and remember that the unseen of eternity is our end goal.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 
~ 2 Corinthians 4:18

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cruising - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Daryl and I went on another great cruise - an all-inclusive vacation where we didn't have to worry about a thing... except driving home in the ice...

Last year I posted some travel tips that we learned after our first cruise (here). This year, a list noting the good, the bad, and the ugly seems appropriate.

SMALLER CLASS SHIP (Serenade of the Seas)
  • The Good 
    • Less expensive
  • The Bad
    • Less space and activities on board
  • The Ugly
    • You can feel the ocean a lot... a LOT... I didn't get nauseous, but it sure messed with my head.

  • The Good
    • Lots of delicious food and fancy desserts to sample!
  • The Bad
    • Eating LOTS of delicious food and fancy desserts
  • The Ugly
    • Stepping on the scale when returning home 

  • The Good
    • Relaxing on the beach and gazing at the incredibly beautiful ocean
  • The Bad
    • Forgetting to put sunscreen on the tops of our feet
  • The Ugly
    • Thong bikinis. OH.MY.WORD. Either these gals didn't have mirrors in their staterooms, didn't have friends to tell them NOT to go in public so under-dressed, or just didn't care. Ewwww!

  • The Good
    • Cream perfume in a cute little compact
  • The Bad
    • Possible allergic reaction
  • The Ugly 
    • Hives on my neck - Next cruise will include regular perfume and hydrocortisone cream! Thankfully I had some allergy medicine!

We still packed too much and didn't have all the right clothes (like a dressy sweater for the freezing dining room), but at least ALL of our bags this year had wheels! We're anxiously awaiting Royal Carribean's 2017 schedule so we can plan our next cruise!

Video highlights will be in another post.