Saturday, December 29, 2007

Coming Out Of Hiding...

I know it has been awhile since I've posted to any of my blogs and I'm sorry. I know it lost me alot of readers but that just can't be helped right now. Before Christmas I received the results of my recent CT scans and ultrasound. As I said before, the purpose of the scans was because an Octreotide scan I had showed uptake in my neck along with questionable spots in my heart and right pectoral wall. We wanted to be safe rather than sorry so I had the other scans on December 19th. Well the results were not what we were expecting to say the least.

Good news: Results for the heart- They feel that it is nothing more than a heart murmur at worst but I will still have a few more tests to make sure. So heart is okay.

Lump in pectoral wall- They feel that it is probably just an infected lymph node but not sure if it is a bacterial infection or the medullary cancer. Either way it's one lymph node in that spot and not worth worrying about at this point.

Okay news: I have a total of eight cancer infested lymph nodes in my neck. There are three on the left side under my jaw, one on the right side under my jaw, three on the right side of my neck, and then the one on my left side that we already knew about. The plan at this point is to remove the one on the left side no matter what and then if biopsies confirm medullary cancer in that one I will be sent to either Dr. Jeff Moley in St Louis or to MD Anderson in Houston to have them pick through my neck and remove every single lymph node etc that they can find. Dr Moley is highly recommended and will not miss anything. He is my best chance for keeping it out of my neck at least for awhile.

Now for the bad news: We now know why I've had this cough for so long. They found six nodules in my lungs at basically three in each lung. They are all around the size of pencil erasers right now. They also found cancer infested lymph nodes in both armpits and one in my right breast (not behind it like the other thing but in). What does this mean? Well it means that the medullary cancer has definately spread past my neck and isn't curable but that isn't as horrible as it sounds. I already knew all that so its okay.

We can't do anything about the lungs right now because the nodules at the size they are now aren't worth going in after. They might take years before they are actually big enough to bother operating on and even then they have trials going on right now that are showing alot of promise in maintaining and shrinking medullary tumors. So that means that the cough is here to stay.

I have been exceedingly tired and had been sleeping almost ten hours a night which is something I haven't done since I was little. When I went to my Family Doctor and told him he said it must be depression. To be honest, I was extremely pissed off! I knew it wasn't depression and I was feeling just fine! After having bloodwork done we now know that my thyroid levels (TSH) were at 19 which is definitely off. That explains the extreme tiredness and is easily fixed by upping my Synthroid.

No clue still why I can't eat without getting sick but I found something that I'm going to ask my PCP about. It might just be a simple matter of I got food poisoning once, the bacteria stayed, and now I have chronic gairdisis is all. So if that's it then I will be eating again soon.

So that is the update. I have an appointment with an ENT doctor on January 8th My endo would have liked it to be sooner but that was the best they could do which I understand. The ENT doc will check my neck, maybe do another scan, and then decide how we go about removing the left lymph node that is pressing on my carotid artery. That should take care of a few problems with it gone. Hopefully one of them is the mini-strokes. I'd like that alot!

I will have whatever other bloodwork and scans need done within the next two weeks and probably surgery by the middle of January at latest. Then when we get the biopsy back its results will decide if I'm taking a little vacation or not. If not then we just wait for the cancer to get bigger in my neck and then do surgery. I know it sounds stupid but since we can't do radiation or chemo and we already know the cancer has spread, it really doesn't make sense to cut me open constantly for the little stuff.

So don't worry. I throw up alot, I'm getting over being so tired, I cough alot, and I've got a bitch of a cavity but Christmas was nice this year and I enjoyed it. I got the one thing I wanted most- not one single argument the whole day! It was awesome! I'm content and I'm enjoying my family.

Again, I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile. With feeling so tired it has been hard for me to get online and even harder to sit and type. I've spent most of my offline time sitting on the couch trying not to fall asleep. Pretty sad I know. LOL. I'm back and I will keep you in the loop from now on. Thank you to everyone still reading and who has stuck it out with me. I appreciate your friendship more than you know.

Have a wonderful holiday season my friends!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Sad Day For Many

Tawnya has passed away today. She is finally free of the pain and while she didn't make it to one last Christmas with her family I know she will still be there with them come Christmas Day.

Please keep her family in your thoughts. I will try to post more later. :(

Tawnya is now in her Heaven running that marathon she always wanted to.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Sure You'll Forgive Me

I know I said I was going to start posting Mad Click Mondays again but what I'm going to post about felt so much more important.

In one of my posts I asked you for thoughts and prayers Tawnya Hopkins who is a mother of three boys that has dealt with more than her share of cancer. Unfortunately I don't have any good news to report. At this point we're all hoping for a miracle and hoping she at least gets this last Christmas with her family. One of the great things about being a part of a parenting board is the love that comes from them and for Tawnya they have been amazing. So far....

-We have tried to take care of everything on her wish lists for her 6 year old twins, her toddler, her husband, and her as well.

-At last count over $1000 has been donated to help give them a magical Christmas and help out with a few things.

-A bunch of us have emailed our pictures to a gal who is putting together a video montage for Tawnya that will show her the faces of all the women who love her.

-Quilts are being made for Tawnya, all three boys, and most likely her husband as well.

-There is talk of having a wicking shirt made in Tawnya's honor for people to wear during marathons, walks, and just because.

I want to thank the ladies of Amitymama and Mama Drama once again for being so immensely generous to one of our fellow sisters (I know Tawnya from Amitymama). I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing group of women. These are the same women who pulled together to donate money to Patsy and her family (the lady I knew that died in May from lung cancer), make her a quilt that she adored before she died, and also made it possible to send a quilt to not only all seven of her children but her husband as well.

Many of them also came together to make a lap quilt for me when I was first diagnosed with cancer and I still use and love it to this day. In fact, it will proudly go with me to the next surgery I have coming up. *smile*

The point of this post is to ask all of you to keep Tawnya and her family in your thoughts (and prayers if you pray) during this holiday season but also to remind you to show your loved ones what they mean to you today and everyday that you have. So many of us think "I'll worry about that later" and for many "later" never comes. Also please think of those in the U.S. and other countries who have so little that there is nothing to spare, those fighting life threatening odds, and also all of the world's soldiers who won't get to be with their families this month. Anytime you DO have extra money or can help out someone please do so. It takes so little time to care but it might mean the world to some special person.

I have learned from women like Tawnya and Patsy that I have much to be thankful for and the little bad things just don't matter anymore. Even as scared as I honestly am about what my scan results will show on Wednesday, I am still okay with whatever they may be. I feel so very lucky to have been given this much time to continue loving my family. Any time I get I am thankful for and will gladly accept and I will try to live each day with my kids to the fullest. It's the least I can do for parents with cancer who have gone before me.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Slow Goin' Saturday

I’m really happy with how the Princess Costume giveaway has gone and these entries just make me want to give everyone a dress up costume for their special girl. Sadly I can’t but the good news is that I have at least one more costume to give away in the very near future so don’t despair if you don’t win. Remember, this giveaway ends tomorrow at 12pm MST so hurry up and enter!! After that time I will use the random generator to choose a lucky winner.

I had some bloodwork done on Thursday in preparation for my scans on December 12th and my endocrinologist actually got some of the test results back yesterday. I won’t bore you with what all she said but I am happy to say that she feels the B12 shots are working and helping to bring my levels back up. YAY!! It sucks having to stick a needle in my arm but it’s worth it.

Hubby and I bought our Christmas tree yesterday. MonkeyBoy was suppose to go with us but I just didn’t have the heart to wake him early in the morning. He was sleeping so soundly he was actually snoring a little. Awwwwww. So Vin and I got an eight foot tall Noble Fir (I think that’s what it’s called) that we put up tonight and then decorating hopefully on Sunday.

As for today, I have spent it doing not much of anything. Just some laundry, some writing, looked for Christmas gifts (I did most of my shopping online this year which was GREAT!!), and read a few chapters of the books The C.S.I. Effect and Queen of the Amazons. Yes, I'm reading two books at once but I started one then misplaced it so I started another and then found the first one. It's actually quite easy to keep the two storylines straight and seperated. One is about the reality behind crime scene investigation and the other is about the legendary Amazons and Alexander the "Great". I recommend both books if you're into either of those subjects by the way.

Well it's late and I must be up and ready tomorrow to declare my winner right?! So I'm off to bed and hope that you get a good night's sleep yourself. Hugz

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Yes, I Cluck Too!

Because I'm a great big chickenshit! My face was hurting again this morning and the idea of going out in the cold to THAT appointment didn't sound like a good idea so I turned off the alarm clock and went back to sleep thus missing my colonoscopy today. *sigh* I feel like a total jerk now. I wasn't having it done for any cancer scares or anything just to see what was going on with my stomach (before the B12 shots) but still. So I basically chickened out no matter what my excuse might be. I'm sorry. :(

I have spent two days out of the last seven in bed past 11am and I just can't figure out what's wrong with me. There are no symptoms that I can use to pinpoint anything specific and doctors honestly don't care about my lack of appetite and nausea since I'm not losing tons of weight (because of the steroids I have to take). Only once I look like a stick will they worry. Until then I just feel exhausted all the time, nauseous all the time, no appetite, of course thanks to the fibro I have that flu ache but it's non-stop too, and I've been getting some horrid migraines quite often. My face hurts because I think I have a wisdom tooth coming in behind a tooth that needs pulled. As these two battle it out I get left with the pain from it. Bitches!

So far the giveaway is off to a great start and it will stay at the top of the page for the duration of the contest for everyone to see. That means you have to remember to scroll down for new posts. Anyway- thanks to the curious girls at AmityMama, this blog is over 200 hits for the day and still climbing. I love you ladies! Do you think you could come back EVERY day like that? ;)
Even though I feel like ass today I decided to take the kids to the store for a few items we need just to get out of the house. With us living out in BFE they are usually stuck here with me and when Mama has been sick for a month... people start getting a little pissy ya know?

So I stopped at the Thrift Store first because I've been wanting to get Big B some funky ties for Christmas. I already have some t-shirts with sayings on them that I got from the department store in Albuquerque but decent ties at a decent price are hard to come by. I found four ties for him at the Thrift Store so I left happy and then we went to Hell-Mart because three of us need some long sleeve shirts for winter. I would have rather gone ANYWHERE else but it's the only store in this podunk town so there ya go.

We picked up what we needed plus some fruit, grabbed the little guy his BookIt! pizza from Pizza Hut, and came home again. Aren't we a wild bunch?! Wooo-weeee! *snort* Sadly, I am exhausted just from that little outing and ready for bed. So that's where I'm off to with the MonkeyBoy but I'm not going to sleep in tomorrow! My house looks like hell and needs cleaned so no matter what I have to get off my duff and work on it!

Or maybe I'll just bribe the kids with money and food to do it for me. Hey, I said MAYBE sheesh!

Have a wonderful night everyone!

Princess Dress Up Giveaway!!

*THIS POST WILL STAY ON TOP UNTIL SUNDAY,
DECEMBER 9th.
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR NEW POSTS!*

Little Adventures has once again given me the privilege of bringing a little princess dress up giveaway to my readers! One of you will win a gorgeous Winter Beauty Dress in size Medium (3-5 years) that will hopefully make your little girl feel like royalty. This dress will make a perfect Christmas gift for someone's little princess and because it will be shipped priority mail to you there will be plenty of time to wrap it and wait to see her eyes light up on Christmas morning.

Last time I had the pleasure of reviewing and keeping a Fireman costume for my little guy which he absolutely loves. This time the folks at Little Adventures sent him the Pirate Accessory Set and Pirate Hero Cape. I have to say that the accessory set is really cute and the cape is so sturdy, soft, and well made. Knowing that the decal is actually embroidered onto the cape is so nice because it means I don't have to worry about it falling off in the wash. This set came right around MonkeyBoy's birthday last month and he hasn't let it go since. Even if he's not wearing the pirate hat and patch you can find him running around in the cape!

What I like about Little Adventures is that their dress up sets are made to last and let kids enjoy being a princess, fireman, or pirate as much as they want. These sets are made of quality materials that are machine washable and able to withstand your child's imagination thanks to a company started by two moms who were tired of not being able to find high quality dress up clothes for their kids at a decent price. Jenny and Heather sewed over 2000 costumes in Jenny's basement in their first year of business and the rest is "history". Now they make and sell their outfits to retailers both online and in brick & mortar stores throughout the U.S.

This contest will run from Tuesday, December 4th to Sunday, December 9th at which time I will choose a winner using the random generator. How do you enter this giveaway? Well I'm going to try to give you as many chances as I can so here's the rules...

You do NOT have to be a blogger to win! All that is required is a valid email address where I can reach you in case you are my winner.

This contest is only open to US residents this time and I want to apologize to my Canadian friends and those overseas. I can't afford the shipping costs to anywhere but the U.S. this time. Don't worry though, I have one more princess dress up to give away in the coming months and that one will be open to everyone!

Ways To Enter-
-Leave a comment on this post telling me who you would give this adorable outfit to. If you don't feel like doing that then just leave a comment saying hello. LOL PLEASE Leave An Email Address For Me To Reach You At In Case You Win!!!

- Spread the news about this giveaway on your blog (if you have one) for an extra entry. It doesn't have to be an entire post but at least two sentences would be nice. ;) Email me at lifewithheathens [at] gmail.com with the URL to your post/link love.

- If you have MySpace then send out a bulletin to your friends telling them about my giveaway for another entry. Email me at lifewithheathens [at] gmail.com with your myspace username.

- Look through my archives and find an old post to comment on. Not only will you get ANOTHER chance to win but every comment I get is one minute I owe my readers of exercise! Comment as much as you'd like to help me sweat for comments but only one comment (besides on this post) counts towards an entry.

So that is FOUR chances per person to win this pretty little costume so no excuses for not entering. Enter to win this for the 3-5 year old little girl in your life and make her Christmas. Let's make this fun!
*If you would like to purchase your own Little Adventures Dress Up Costume please visit their Retailers page (most retailers have a website so don't worry if there aren't any in your state)*

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mad Click Monday 12/03/07

I'm sure most of you have abandoned ship at this point and are signing up at some of the other sites who post about Mad Click Monday. I'm also sure I don't blame you one bit! LOL. I'm sorry I haven't been here every week like I should be. I never expected my health to take a dive so soon or so quickly so I've been trying to learn how to deal with it like a big girl. I now have my big girl panties on and will try to post this every week like I'm suppose to. I hope to do some basic posts ahead of time and teach the oldest child how to post just in case.

I have a colonoscopy appointment tomorrow that I have honestly wanted to cancel. Out of all the appointments I've had in the last three years, THIS one scares the hell outta me! Why? Ummmm long camera up butt. Need I say more? Not my idea of a good time and I wouldn't care if the doctor DID buy me lunch afterwards!! Like I said, I wanted to cancel the appointment but decided to go through with it because of Holly. It's my way of supporting the importance of screening for and catching Colo-rectal Cancer early.

My CT Scan with and without contrast plus the Ultrasound (for the questionable spots in my heart and chest) are scheduled for December 12th. I'll have one scan done and then get the other right after that. I like having the bulk of the scans on one day because it saves trips into town and wear & tear on me.

No word on the Ultrasound guided biopsy but I guess they've now made these new spots a priority so we can find out what they are and if they need to be taken care of first. Once we rule them out as nothing (as I'm sure we will) then we can get back to attacking the cancer in my neck again. All in all I'm feeling very lucky and very thankful for the lot I've been given in life. Things could be so very much worse.

Speaking of which, another online friend of mine is battling cancer for her life and it has gotten to the point where she is making arrangements for after she is gone. I hate that this is happening to her because she is one of the most amazing people I've ever known. She is the epitomy of grace and strength and I hope that one day I am even half as wonderful as she is. She never seeks pity because of the hand she's been dealt and she always keeps fighting no matter what anyone says. Her name is Tawnya Hopkins and if you could send your thoughts and prayers to her, her husband, and their three small children I would be forever grateful. Thank you.

Tomorrow will be the start of the Princess dress up giveaway (the post will be posted late tonight since I won't be around in the morning) so make sure you enter to win!
Take care and have a wonderful night.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mother Talk Blog Tour: The Daring Book For Girls

"We were girls in the days before the Web, cell phones, or even voicemail".

This is the opening sentence of The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz which immediately grabbed and held me to this book until the end. I was one of those girls back before the Web, cell phones, voicemail, and even CDs! Reading this book is like reliving one's childhood back when you played outside all day instead of sitting indoors. Playing video games really didn't interest us for long and every girl knew how to play hopscotch. The idea of staying indoors was like a punishment and you could usually find most of us trying to sneak outside whether it was snowing, hailing, or even sleeting!

The pages of this book are filled with awesome and daring things that every girl and even grown women should learn. There are so many great and fun activities that I honestly can't even choose a favorite! I smiled the entire time I was reading The Daring Book For Girls which made for an instant mood lifter and made me forever thankful to Mother Talk for including me in this blog tour!

Every parent should give their daughter this book and if I had to choose an age to give it by I would say age eight at the very latest. My reason for choosing that age is because every little girl should learn how to play hopscotch, jacks, and know the best jump rope songs. If the girl in your life is older than that though don't worry because this book covers ALL ages. Every teenage girl should know about history's strongest women (the women who paved the way for others) as well as basic karate moves, how to make a friendship bracelet, and the ability to speak publicly without fear. Even more, as young women it also wouldn't hurt us to know how to change a tire, properly write a letter, ask for a salary raise, and most importantly how to remember the joy of learning new, exciting, and daring things.

It's rare that I find a book that is both fun and that I can learn from. It's even rarer when I find one I actually want to recommend to everyone I know. This book is the perfect gift for any occasion from any mother to daughter, grandmother to grand-daughter, aunt to neice, and even friend to friend. I am completely in love with this book and have given it to my own daughter with the plan to go through it together learning how to do everything in it. When she's finished we will put it in her hope chest to pass on to someone else one day but until that time we are going to have alot of fun with it!

Thanks to this book I was able to revisit my own childhood and believe it or not I learned quite a few new things as well. Like, did you know there are fourteen different games of Tag? Do you know how to whistle with two fingers? I don't know about you but I definately did not know that Julia Child (YES, the chef!) was a spy? It's true, she was!

You can find all the things I've mentioned and much more inside The Daring Book For Girls so even if you don't have a little girl in your life do yourself a favor and go buy this book. We're never too old to remember what it's like to be young again and there are always things we never learned as a child that we wish we had. Personally, I'm determined to finally master a cartwheel and learn how to whistle! Oh and don't forget to visit The Daring Book For Girls website and print up your very own merit badges. How fun is that?!

What fun thing from your childhood did you not learn how to do that you wish you had?