Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tis the Season to be Grateful

I love Thanksgiving. It combines many of my favorite things; family, food and sharing gratitude. I haven't been writing in my gratitude journal on a regular basis, but when I am having a down week I write in it for a couple of consecutive days. I also write in it when there are things happening in my life that I truly feel grateful so that when I go back and read it I can remember the feeling I had that day/week/month.

In honor of Thanksgiving I went through and found a random sampling of things I have written in the past 6 months;

4/27: Today I am grateful for CLEAN SCANS!!
You betcha. If nothing else, I will be thankful every day for my health.I have multiple entries about being grateful for modern medicine and the excellent health care team and treatment I receive. I also, continue to be grateful for all of those people who came before me and tested out my chemo, radiation and surgery. It is what drives me to continue to be an active participant in the PRESENT trial and send my blood around the country.

3/30: Today I am grateful for peanut butter
Yeah, I have a bunch of posts about being grateful for certain foods. Ginger made an appearance the past couple of weeks with my stomach issues. But, as well documented nothing tops my list more than my Mom's mashed potatoes.

8/21: Today I am grateful for my co-survivors 
Honestly, I don't remember why I was so grateful on this particular day for my friends and family, but I do remember everyday why I am grateful for such a strong support system. My co survivors are always willing to lend an ear, offer advice or continue to offer encouragement.

9/18: Today I am grateful for the anticipation of vacation 
I have been pretty fortunate to have a job that allows and encourages for ample time off in a year. I have gone to have fun with my niece a couple of times this year, took a trip to Florida with the BF and done multiple little mini trips.

6/15: Today I am grateful that baking remains a stress release 
Since last Thursday I have made 17 dozen cookies and two cranberry pumpkin coffee cakes with cinnamon streusel. I'm feeling pretty relaxed headed into the holiday. Nothing like baking with your music blaring to put you in your happy place.

Today I am grateful for keeping my gratitude journal. 
It really puts you in the holiday spirit to read all the people, things and ideas you've been grateful for through out the past 6 months. It's an excellent mood elevator.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Point of Reference

My heartburn/stomach issues have flared up, hard, lately. Things hadn't really got any better since I saw my oncologist at the beginning of October. Things have been particularly bad the last 3 weeks.  And by bad I mean I was only eating twice a day and often skipping dinner or chugging maalox instead of eating anything. I even busted out my dentist forbidden stash of ginger chews. About a week ago, I really had had enough. I made an appointment with my PCP in hopes to being sent to see a gastroenterologist. Unfortunately, my PCP was not available and I was sent to see her physcian assistant. Her PA was everything you could hope for in a healthcare professional. She had already read through my chart and picked out all the instances when I come in for my heartburn. She was curious if this was worse with the tamoxifen (oooh, can I blame this on tamoxinfen...wait I hope not because I have 7.5 more years to go). I explained how this has been worse since I had the 4 rounds of chemo and let her know that currently...

"I feel like I did after the fourth round of chemo"

She paused. Looked at me and stated "That is an excellent point of reference. Let's get you in to see GI. You should not feel that way". I explained that I was concerned because my blood levels had been low when I saw my oncologist and I was concerned that they might be lower. I let her know that it was just my stomach that felt like it was post chemo, and my energy level is good.  She took this all into consideration, but she sent me to have my iron levels tested again. Turns out, I am iron deficient. I am down a couple of pounds, but the new medication seems to be working. I am back eating 3 meals a day + snacks. I do not have constant burning. I am looking forward to meeting with the gastroenterologist and seeing if there is anything else I can do. And hoping that I can get my belly up and running in time for mashed potatoes Thanksgiving. I also aspire one day to not be Ralph.