Thursday, November 14, 2013

I've got thick skin and an elastic heart

Oh blog... I had been meaning to update you a while ago, but now I have had too much going on that I feel it is necessary at this point.

As you may or may not recall, I spoke of my breast implants, their healing and some rippling in my last post. The creasing and rippling is much worse now. My right breast looks fantastic, while my left (the side which received the most intense radiation therapy) has not settled well.

I saw Dr. Mowlavi at the end of October and it was decided I would need to have another surgery to replace that implant with a slightly smaller one, and open up the pocket around the implant, plus that fat grafting. Not that I'm thrilled to require another surgery, but I felt some relief at the hope to fix this.

However, getting my surgery approved has been something of a nightmare. You see, my cosmetic surgeon's contract with our HMO group ended at the end of August. I guess a doctor though, in California, may request to continue care for a patient for up to a year following such a scenario. So my doc faxed and mailed a letter requesting simply that and giving particulars on what surgery he'd like to perform on me.

The doc's office told me to give them a few days and call to check up on the status of their decision. I called that Friday and it was still up in the air. The fellow I spoke with told me to try again on Monday or Tuesday. I did, and the decision was a resounding no. The reason? That my surgery was "not medically necessary".

I was in shock. I told the HMO representative that they had to be joking. I had received nothing short of stellar care during all my treatment under that HMO.

Their suggestion was that I could get the phone number of the new cosmetic surgeon I could use, or to file a grievance with our insurance company. I chose the latter.

I have had 2 successful and safe surgeries under my current doctor. Why on earth would I want some new doctor to come in at the end, who may have completely different methods, to finish up? That sounds like a bad idea to me. Besides, Dr. Mowlavi has worked on me enough to know what works and what doesn't for me. He also has experience seeing how I heal up.

It's just maddening.

I have done what I can do at this point though. I filed my grievance and now I sit around and wait to hear news. The HMO group has 30 days to reply.

My next surgery was put in the books for Novemeber 26th, but the likelihood of that being the actual date are slim.

Besides that, I had my follow up with Dr. Wagner, my chemo oncologist. I had my port flushed and blood drawn and he ordered an echo cardiogram and FINALLY, a PET/CT scan. I had to stick up for myself and let him know that I was quite eager to have it done though. Haha :)

Got a call yesterday that my blood work was normal with the exception of one of the tumor markers? I'm still not entirely sure what that means. I do know that the nurse told me a lot of doctors don't like to use them as they fluctuate too frequently, but that Dr. Wagner is extraordinarily cautious. So I was urged to get my scan done quickly and will likely be getting an ultrasound done on my ovaries next.

Once cancer has been introduced to your life, it sure keeps things annoyingly interesting! lol...

And I return full circle as always because all I can do is have faith and pray. Guess what Anj? It's still in God's hands! Nobody is given a guarantee on the length of their lives anyway. Each day is a fight to keep on surviving in one way or another. Some just have to fight a bit harder for it than others.

I'm blessed to be here at all so that I might continue to fight for daily survival.

But anyway... I forgot how very restricted your diet must be leading up to a PET/CT. No carbs, caffeine, sugar, milk, juice, fruit, etc. for 24 hours prior. Nothing but water and meat mostly. Some veggies are acceptable. I ate a couple of eggs for breakfast, but as lunch time approaches I'm at a loss. Lol! At least we have dinner figured out.

No eating for 6 hours prior to the scan  as well. So, if it's anything like last time, my stomach will begin to eat itself by the time we leave the hospital! Haha.

You know, I found out whilst scheduling my scan that I haven't had a PET/CT since the March 2012 when I was diagnosed.  That seems crazy to me. And a little scary.

Obviously I'm nervous. I want and pray and hope for nothing but good news.

Aaaaand I'm awful at segues, sooo in other news --

A couple weekends ago my hubby Jason, my best friend Shalya, my mommy-in-law Violet, (might as well be) pops-in-law Andrew, my sissy-in-law Briana, my bro-in-law Adam and their son, our nephew, Gavin and I all went down to San Diego for the annual Race for the Cure. We stayed the Saturday before the race at this gorgeous hotel originally built in 1926. Its location could not have been more perfect either. It was literally right across the street from Balboa Park where the race begins.

That Saturday night we all just hung out and drank some adult beverages. Hehe. At one point a group went down to pick up some tasty Mexican food from a restaurant that was close by. It was just really pleasant and relaxing.

The race itself was over in a blink. I got to walk in the survivor parade in the 0-1 year group - YAY! And the weather was just phenomenal. In the high 60s and cloudy. The best part? This year I was able the walk the entire thing!! Hey, it doesn't sound cool unless you picture yourself being unable to walk it a year ago because you were in a wheelchair. :P Haha

The whole Pwn Cancer team! :D

We just thought these guys were awesome!

It was another beautifully heartwarming and humbling experience for me. I look forward to this being an annual tradition, so long as I've got willing company to go with me! ;)

Sadly that was Shalysa's last weekend locally too, so I was deeply appreciative she wanted to be there and share her last couple days with us! Hoping she had as much fun as I did!

I also have some more bad news, but it IS followed with good news!

After a lot of discussion and soulsearching, Jason and I decided our sweet little chinchilla needed to be rehomed. She had been getting a declining amount of attention and she deserved much more. She was adorable and precious, so wanted her to go to a good home. At first we considered selling her on Craigslist. But I was skeptical on the sort of people we would get interested in her from there.

So we did some research and found a lady who has a chinchilla rescue in the area. Nice lady who has been a vet for years. Through her, she connected us with a very kind young lady who had filled out an adoption form and was interested in adopting our chin.

As it turned out, she came to visit and meet her, and it seemed like a destined match. I was much happier letting her go knowing she'd go to a home who really wants her and will take good care of her. ^_^

Miss that face, but she's in great hands now.

Now for the good news! We knew we wanted a pet that we wouldn't have to keep cooped up in a cage. One that could be with us, living besides us. So we decided to get a kitten! Anyone who knows me will know that that's a no-brainer as I love kitties with a passion.

We did some searching at a few different adoption events last weekend, and fell in love with a lovely little black and white maine coon mix. She's 19 weeks now and was actually an orphan when she was rescued. :( Poor baby! But she'll have a great life with us and plenty of love now. She is such a cuddlebug and I love it.

Oh yeah, her name is Michonne! (Any Walking Dead fan will approve)

That's all the latest I have to share for now! Thanks for reading, God bless you all! May you have a wonderful rest of your week. :3

 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."    Romans 15:13