Thursday, June 30, 2005
Keeping a Secret
Yesterday, at the OB office the doctor & the medical assistant both asked at separate times if I have shared the news of my pregnancy with family and friends. I said yes to both of them. Both responded with, "You just couldn’t keep a secret." I blew the doctor off because I think he is nutty anyway. When the nurse asked me afterward, I decided to answer. Not to be rude, just to give her a different perspective. I told her that in April my husband's mom found out that she had terminal cancer. Then, in May, my father found out he had terminal cancer. I said that our families needed some good news. Her eyes welled up with tears & I know she understood.
When I discovered that I was pregnant, I seriously thought about waiting 3 months. Mostly because we had been trying for a while and I didn't even want to think about telling everyone then having to tell everyone that I had a miscarriage. With all of the stress in the family, I didn't want to add more. I would have talked to a few family members & friends for moral support, but mainly dealt with it on our own.
Fortunately, there was already a heartbeat in the first ultrasound (at five weeks), my hormone levels were also very good, and I wasn't spotting or showing any signs of trouble so I wasn't too worried about a miscarriage. When the doctor scheduled the second ultrasound right before Father's Day, Steve & I talked about it and felt it would be nice to share good news for the holiday.
Now, I am not trying to say that people should wait to share this kind of news or even that I will keep it quiet for long if I am lucky enough to get pregnant again, but I found their question interesting. They are both probably in their 60s and are use to the old way of doing things. I was taught that lesson in the 70s, when it was still very much the norm.
When I was 6 years old, my parents called a little family meeting. My mom told us that she was pregnant and she asked us not to tell anyone (mistake). I don't remember first hand, but apparently, I went off to play with the neighbors & announced the news to their parents. They called to congratulate my mom & she had to tell them that she had just found out and would like to keep it a secret for a few months. She learned not to tell a 6 year old a secret & I heard for many years that this kind of news was shared around the 3 month mark.
My mom has definitely changed her opinion about this, but I still have some of that ingrained in me. As an adult, I have realized that this is an old way of thinking and that I have a husband who enjoys spreading news as much as I did when I was 6. As for my nutty doctor...he told me that he stopped delivering babies because of insurance costs. I asked the girls in the office & found out about a great OB/GYN that is in her 30s. I have an appointment in 3 weeks.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
All my life, I have been extremely shy about all things female. I didn't even get my first female exam until I was in my late 20s. This year, I decided to stop being so embarrassed about it. I would like to think it is because I am maturing, but in reality it is because I knew that going to a fertility clinic would mean lots of people peaking at my yoohoo. If the clinic worked out for us, even more people would be looking at my privates during pregnancy.
To jump start the whole process, I decided to try Brazilian waxing. If everyone is going to be looking at it, it might as well look good. Plus, what is one more person poking at me down there? The first appointment was absolutely horrific. Yes, it was a little embarrassing, but nothing compared to the pain of having the wax ripped off. A million screaming OUCHES!!!! I had always heard the first time was horrible, which doesn't begin to describe it. Fortunately, as soon as the cruel torture stopped, I was fine. I went three weeks later & it was a completely different experience - much better. Today, I had my third appointment. Now that the pain has subsided greatly, I am back to the embarrassing feelings.
While lying there, I just kept telling myself that this is better than visiting the doctor. I'll be doing that tomorrow. At least when I leave the wax place, there is proof that something positive has occurred. A doctor just pokes & talks.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Glowing - Yeah RIGHT!
Apparently, I am "glowing" today according to my coworkers. I think that is the nice way people tell you that you are starting to look pregnant, because I know I am NOT glowing. How can I be sure? Well.. Glowing is when you have an angelic radiance about you because of a peace in your heart & pure happiness. That is not something that happens in the first trimester (maybe right after you discover you are pregnant) & on top of that - it definitely is not me today. After Steve left for work, I went back to bed, which caused the following not so beautiful events.
1. When I woke up again, it was quite late.
2. I am still on the extreme fatigue kick. All I want to do is sleep.
3. I showered quickly & threw my wet hair up into a clip (not even a good job).
4. I put on the most comfortable outfit I have that has extra room for breathing. It is business like, but looks maternity - not exactly glamorous.
5. Several people have mentioned to me that I am getting a little belly, which I know just looks chubby. (By the way - I know that it is growing, but others aren’t supposed to be able to see it because I’m only 8 weeks).
Perhaps they are trying reverse psychology? They think I'll do my hair tomorrow if they tell me they notice my looks. Sorry, I don't feel like caring at this moment. Good thing I don't have any meetings or clients to talk to soon. Just continue to let me hide out in my office and work on redesigning our marketing packages. I don't need to look good for the computer. By the way, I enjoyed the extra sleep so much this morning that I might make it a part of my regular schedule. --More days of glowing right?
Friday, June 24, 2005
Yesterday, I actually got a chance to go to some of the boutiques & shops in Palm Beach during my lunch break from the conference. It didn't take me long to realize that it isn't as much fun to look at clothes that I'm not going to buy. It doesn't even help dreaming about buying them because I know in a month or so the clothes will not fit. I walked all over that place & there were no maternity shops. I ended up in Gymboree, which was having a great sale. Ok, I don't know if I am going to have a boy or a girl, but there are many pregnant people out there who will have one or the other & the clothes are cute. I just got a few anyway. What is the harm in that?
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Tomorrow, I have to attend an Everglades Restoration Symposium & Exhibition. It sounds very environmentally noble, but that isn't why I am being sent there. My boss thinks that we might get a piece of the action. I think that is highly unlikely. We are an engineering and construction company that focuses on buildings & roadways. There are many environmental companies in this state, so what could we offer?
I know I am the marketing person, but I hate smoozing. Actually, I am quite reserved when it comes to strangers. I would rather listen than talk. Plus, I prefer to come up with a networking plan & send someone else off to execute it. I can usually get away with it too, because of all of the technical aspects of this business. Now that I have over burdened the company with new work, I have to start smoozing for the future. YUCK!
I am doing my best to motivate myself into going, especially since it is an all day conference and an hour and a half away. How can I do that??? Well, it is right across the street from one of my favorite shopping/boutique areas. I am hoping I can sneak out during some of the boring parts to stroll around and dream about spending money I don't have. Pretty Pathetic….
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Dad Sent Home
Another E-mail Update from Dad's Wife:
Larry is finally home! Apparently, he was the gold medalist in the 400 foot walker dash, so they will let me bring him home Tuesday. I will be there after his last PT session at 3pm. Both he and I are very anxious for him to get home. Apparently, he will start both chemo drug therapy and radiation at the same time on Thursday. We are so anxious for That to start. He will go 6 weeks for what is called external beam radiation, which is low radiation dosage followed by the gamma knife radiation surgery, which is higher dosage radiation that kills the cells, and is very localized.
I also have plans to seek other clinical trial treatment during these 6 weeks that we can pursue after the standard 6 week treatment through MD Anderson if it doesn't meet expectations. I think I will also join a support group, as it will be encouraging for Larry to meet others who are going through the same thing. I was told by the radiation oncologist that the status/prognosis of the patient goes weekly, as this kind of growth is very unpredictable. Most "successful" patients have a good reaction to this combination after the first set of treatments and the tumor diminishes; however, it never goes away completely.
On a less suspenseful more humorous side, Larry has lost some weight, but gained inches. He is no longer a 32, but rather a 33. His old pants barely button up. It appears he has done the lose the muscle gain the fat routine. It serves him right b/c he was kind of skinny anyway! He is still eating like a horse although the doctor said the voracious appetite was due to his being on steroids, which he has been off for over a week! Still, it makes me happy that he is eating! He will need that extra layer for later.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Several times in life it seems like everyone is pregnant. Suddenly, you see & hear that a lot of your friends, family members, acquaintances, and people on the street are pregnant. It comes in waves and certainly another one is on its way. For the first time, I am actually one of the wave riders. What a change! I can't believe it.
In honor of this new wave, I have decided to mention the new family members on their way. Right now (as far as I know), there are two cousins that are pregnant - Steve's cousin Emily (due in December) and my cousin Tiffany (due in February). I happen to think I'll be hearing of another one on my side who just got married on Friday, but that is just gossip for now. My immediate family also has some babies coming. My brother, Clayton, will be adding their 4th in September. Also my brother, Alma, has a baby coming in January. The strange thing is that my parents are going to double the number of grandchildren they have in a matter of 5 months. What a wonderful time. This is all great news because our child will have many kids to play with at family events.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Father's Day Improvements
E-mail Update from Dad's Wife:
Larry continues to improve, and the rehab center may release him a week from Monday if he continues to improve like his is now. The only deficit I have noticed is that he can't remember what day of the week it is, and he doesn' read the Bible straight through from cover to cover now. He jumps around. We have all enjoyed his old personality, and several people have made comments about his joking and interacting with people being less inhibited than before, which we all agree is actually an improvement--I have noticed the same thing myself!
This week Larry was fitted with a mask device that will deliver the radiation exactly in the location where the tumor is located. He also had a CT scan and simulation of the radiology surgery that will be performed. This is the latest in radiation treatment, and it's supposed to zap it with just one treatment. On Monday, we have an appointment to obtain medications to begin chemotherapy. In about another week & 1/2 from Monday Larry should be having the surgery performed on his brain.
Friday, June 17, 2005
You don't have to worry about horrible or even mundane news in this entry. Today, I have amazing news to share. I am almost seven weeks pregnant. Can you believe it??? Sometimes I can't. I have known for a couple of weeks, but I wanted to wait until my second ultrasound to share the news. There have been no signs of trouble, but I wanted to wait - Maybe for the shock to wear off a bit. Steve still isn't sure he believes it & I handed him the test results right after I took it. He had to read the instructions to make sure I wasn't just crazy.
As the doctor put it, "this is a miracle baby." We did it without drugs or anything. She has never seen someone with a cyst like mine who did it on their own. Actually, I give full credit to the hysterosalpingogram. Remember that I was dreading it? Doctors don't know why there is a higher pregnancy rate right after taking the test, but there definitely is. Miracles happen & our families were definitely in need of one. By the way, we'll be telling them this weekend. Any of you who know them, PLEASE keep the secret until Monday. THANKS!
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Dad's Life Expectancy
My dad's wife sent me this e-mail:
We saw the radiation oncologist yesterday and he answered many of the questions we had regarding treatment. After hearing what he said, we both agree that we have to proceed with the most aggressive treatment. The doctor said without doing anything else, the average survival length is 13 weeks. With the most aggressive treatment--radiation and chemo it is a year and possibly more depending on current health. With the treatment he does have some patients that are cured beyond 5 years and from the literature I have read, the 2 year mark means no recurrence thereafter; however, a big chunk fall off after the 1st year most don't make it to the 2 year mark, but this is the mark we are going for!
The doctor also recommends a radiology surgery that completely isolates the tumor site without affecting other surrounding brain tissue. This will be after one week of low-grade radiation. it is the latest in radiology treatment and he should not experience any other deficits in function other than the deficits he is already experiencing. It will be a one-time high grade treatment rather than subjecting him to high grade radiation for many times.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Reason for the Blog
Remember when I first started this blog? It was created to focus on getting and house & having a baby. I even named the blog after goddesses to help in my efforts. Here I am six months later & my blog has turned into a cancer update site. It is quite sad, but necessary. Fortunately, things seem to be going better for Steve's mom & my dad. This blog will soon start incorporating some of the original intent. I'll still use it for updates, but some of the more positive aspects of life need to be shared too. Right?
Steve's Mom Starts Chemo
Steve's mom has her first day of chemo today. She is scheduled to be there from 9am - 3pm. I guess this week will give her an idea of what is in store for her for the next 4 and a 1/2 months. --Not fun, that is for sure.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Dad in Cancer Rehab
My dad has been transferred to a Cancer Rehab center. It is called the Healthsouth Rehab in the Woodlands (my Houston Blog Readers know where that is). This is much closer to his house in Conroe. I'm sure the two hour drive (each way) was getting old for his wife. Driving four hours a day is entirely too much time to think about things and worry.
As you can guess, being transferred out of the hospital is a good sign. Another good sign is his appetite. Eating mass amounts of real food has become his main focus. Good thing he always enjoyed doing that. You would never guess that such a thin man could put away so much food. When I was younger, I remember him eating 4 - 5 heaping plates of food for every meal. His metabolism is hyperactive, which is the main characteristic that I wish I would have inherited. Then again, eating like that can get expensive. Just a little of it would have been nice.... Oh well, the main point of this entry is that he is doing WELL.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Wild Hair Day
About once a week, I decide to wear my hair wild. I add a touch of hair gel & scrunch it up a bit. It becomes really wavy & a bit on the messy side. I always get compliments from men when my hair is like this. Steve also tells me that he likes it better. I don't think it looks so great. I only do it b/c it is very easy.
Today, I walked into work with my "wild hair." One of the guys told me that Steve must feel like he is married to several women. There is the one with the long straight hair, the one that wears it up (quite often), and the one with wild hair. I just laughed. I never thought about it before. To me, it has more to do with my level of laziness. I guess thinking about being so versatile makes me seem more exciting. Perhaps, I am in some remote way fulfilling some strange fantasy that Steve has. Who knows???
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
June Looking Better Than May
So far, June is going MUCH better than May. **Knock on wood** My dad is improving day by day and Steve's mom is just waiting for chemo to start. She has exactly one week. Plus, I haven't seen the house guest in weeks. All the emergencies & troubles in May have calmed down. This little breather gives us a chance to focus on some of the mundane things in life. Lesson Learned: Appreciate Boredom & Sleep!!!
Here is an update of my dad's situation (e-mail from his wife):
Larry is getting so much better that they don't want him in the hospital any more. Yesterday, I saw him eat meatloaf, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, 5 pieces of chocolates that were sent by his pals and coworkers at Chevron Phyllips, a piece of cake, and a glass of orange juice. He is on a diet as tolerated now, and seems to be tolerant of most food he wasn't already sensitive to. I believe he will be in rehab about 2 weeks or so.
Monday, June 06, 2005
I just got back from another visit to the fertility doc. We talked about the cysts, Steve's sperm count, open tubes, etc. There was nothing new or surprising. Although, Steve's count is not only good it is better than average, which he seems to be very proud of... men are funny. After our little talk, she gave me another ultrasound. Some of the smaller cysts have disappeared on their own. The biggest one has stayed the same (that is the one that is from endometriosis). She took another blood sample for more hormone testing. The doc is thinking that we might not have to deal with the endometriosis for now. She thinks that pregnancy will eliminate any small clumps of it and it will shrink the big one. For now, we are going to focus on that.
Dad - Walking with Assitance
The latest news on my dad is that he is doing much better. Every day he is improving mentally. He is still struggling with concentration and his attention span is pretty short. He is also walking with assistance. The best part probably for him is that they have taken him off of the IV. Unfortunately, all of his food is pureed. - Yuck. Hopefully, they get him on real food soon because all of his life he is been very skinny. This little episode has him thinner than ever.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Cooking Dinner, so Must Be Ok
Steve called his mom last night to see how her little operation went (the one where they inserted the chemo valve into her chest). She said she felt fine. In fact, she was cooking dinner for her & George (her husband). They told her it would be quite painful for the next week or so. She has 11 days until her first day of chemo. She is quite anxious for it to get started. I would guess that it is partly just to find out what she is going to be dealing with and partly because she really wants to try to fight it. I just hope the treatments aren't too hard on her.
Steve & I are trying to decide if we should visit them on Father's Day weekend. It will be 4-5 days after her first treatment. She will be very sick on Friday and will be recovering Saturday & Sunday. If she didn't try so hard to make our visits a big event, we would go withouth hesitation. If we plan to go, she will go shopping & buy enough food for an army. Plus, the whole time we are there she'll worry that we aren't having a good time. Maybe we should just go up for a day or 1/2 a day. We'll see.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Dad - Loopy, but Humorous
I talked to my brother last night to find out his assessment of my dad's situation. He said he hasn't seen much of a change in my dad's sense of humor. Many of you who know him are wondering - what sense of humor? ...well, he does have one & it actually is a main part of his personality. He just has a very dry sense of humor so most people can't tell when he is joking or being serious. Most of the time what comes out of his mouth is meant to be funny.
Besides his normal jokes, he said several odd/funny things on Sunday (not meant to be joking). However, one of them gave us a good laugh. He was totally convinced that the nurses are playing practical jokes on him. In fact, he proceeded to tell my brothers that in the morning the nurses wheeled his bed into McDonalds. Then, they woke him up and asked him if he knew where he was. He explained to them that he had been in the hospital, but now was in bed at McDonalds. He absolutely thought that was true. If you think about it, after two weeks on an IV, who wouldn't be dreaming about real food (if you can call McDees real food)?
Soon after his little story, they were asking him if there were any DVDs he would like them to rent. He was trying to hand motion something because his throat was hurting. My brothers couldn't figure it out so they gave him a piece of paper. He wrote Little Sh#$#&$^ (not a swear word, just illegible). They were trying to guess, but couldn't think of anything. Finally, they gave him another piece of paper. He wrote "Little Shop of Horrors." How many people request that movie? - Not many but he has always had an odd sense of humor.