Saturday, December 12, 2009

My first cancer souvenir and news from the Tom Baker!

The wound is healing and only one more day without lifting the little ones. The steri-strips will come off on their own in a week or so and we'll see what kind of mark I'm left with.
Yesterday I heard from my nurse at the Tom Baker. We discussed my upcoming PET scan and she told me that my hemaetologist agreed that the surgery should not be an impediment to my getting my PET next week as they are mostly interested in seeing the level of activity in my system and also my pelvis, they already know about my neck and chest "issues". So it's off to the hospital on Wednesday morning (thank you to the kind lady in Nuclear Medicine who changed my appointment from 1:45pm to 8:30am - I would have STARVED!) for the coveted PET scan. I plan to hole myself up in my bedroom for the rest of the day as I will be a bit radioactive from what I understand.
The other news I had from the nurse was that I will be having my diagnosis and treatment discussion/appointment on Friday the 18th. Additionally, she expected that I would have my first chemo treatment on Monday the 21st. I think I'm still digesting that last tidbit. It's hard to know what to believe right now as we've gone from expecting chemo in January to before Christmas to between Christmas and New Year's and now back to before Christmas. Sigh. I'm not going to believe it until I hear it on Friday. Meanwhile, I am scurrying to get the rest of my Christmas business done. House decorating is almost complete, present wrapping almost done, and a wee bit of shopping is left to do. Thankfully, the weather is supposed to warm up A LOT next week and we can all get some fresh air and vitamin D.
Mom went home this morning but both she and my Dad will be back next Friday for the Christmas holidays. I am starting to feel a little more Christmas-y and a little more "bright" about things. Thank you for all of your well wishes and support, it does help lift my spirits and remind me that I am not an island.


  1. Hi Karla!

    I heard about what you are going through via Norma and boy oh boy, can I honestly tell you that there is HUGE woman-energy out here on the west coast, powering it's way over the mountains to YOU!

    Wanted to give you big kudos for preparing your family's Christmas for them. You taught me not to feel sorry for myself this Christmas, having had lots of family demands and crises these past two weeks, but YOU can do Christmas so now I can do Christmas too! So thankyou for the unintended encouragement I stole from you.

    So here's the big thing I wanted to talk to you about... hair. None of what I'm going to talk about compares to your worries because I did not have to fight cancer when I experienced what I am about to talk about but here is it for whatever it's worth:

    I also am "hair-focussed" female, always have been, always will be. When I was young, I had hair exactly like Farrah was bigger than I was, I swear, but anyway, somehow at the time everyone was envious because I had the thick big rolling mane like hers. Right now, at 54, I'm growing it back out again for now, but here's my bit of stuff to offer out there in your complex world:

    Of my own free will, I have trotted off to hairdressers and had them chop my hair off to nothing...and then I sat stunned with the bare-frickin'-naked feeling it gave me to lose my crowning glory. I was never entirely sure why I deliberately did that to myself, but as the years went by and I did it again (several times), I started getting some clues from it. I was ME with the hair, I was ME without the hair, and to hell with anyone who had an opinion one way or another about what made me pretty or not! I found ALL kinds of wonderful little things during my many mini-hair months...

    1. I had EYES that could actually catch people's attention because people weren't distracted by my mane. I found it easier to make real eye contact with people and I learned how to look directly and intensely, with expression, when it was just me and my face. With YOUR lovely face, you will GIFT people with your direct contact with them!

    2. I learned how to put my makeup on in a much more flattering way.

    3. I did not waste my life fighting a mop of unruliness every morning.

    4. I used one HELL of a lot less shampoo and conditioner.

    5. I got rid of hair damage.

    6. Hats, hairbands and bandanas actually fit on my head without boinging off the top of my hairmountain.

    7. and the biggest and best... I gained CONFIDENCE about myself.

    So if you must lose your mane, remember it WILL be back and you will see how beautiful you really are.

    Love and strength from Kathryn Bowler

  2. Karla

    You don't know me from Adam, but my wife and I are friends with Rolly and Norma. They, of course made us aware of your unwanted situation and our hearts and wishes go out to you.

    I am glad to see that you are pursuing a PET scan. In May of 2004 I too was diagnosed with Hogkins lymphoma, and believe that the Pet scan played a rather significant part in my recovery, that and the wonderful support which I received from family and friends.

    My initial protocol was the same chemical cocktail as you are slated for, and I must tell you that I had remarkably few side affects. It didn't turn me off my food, I retained a reasonable degree of energy, and I didn't lose my hair. Actually, nature took care of that little problem, but that is a different story.

    Now I know that we are different, each and everyone of us, so that we all react differently to treatment, but you may not lose your hair. Actually, if you do, you may look upon it as just another experience. You will find yourself applying this to a number of events as your journey progresses.

    You seem like a very strong young lady, with wonderful support from family and friends and we offer our prayers and best wishes for your full recovery.

    If you have any questions, or just wish to talk to someone who has walked this path before you, please don't hesitate to contact us. Rolly and Norma will know how we can be reached.

    Take care and be strong.

    Terry and Bonnie Roberts

  3. Kathryn - I (along with several of my girlfriends) loved your witty and thoughtful comments, thank you so much for your contribution.
    Terry (and Bonnie) - Thank you for your offer, I look forward to having questions for you, especially as I begin the chemo adventure!