Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Everyone loves to be tucked in!

My 6 mos PET scan and brain MRI are coming up next Friday the 28th. I'm dreading them because of not being able to eat or drink beforehand. I am diabetic too, so I need a drink with me all the time and without food I can get a wicked headache. Well, we all know how much noise those machines make, especially the MRI machine, banging away like a few jackhammers trying to get inside your skull. I have my PET scan at 9:30am and my MRI 3 hours later. I know by the time I'm done, I'll be starving, thirsty as hell, and I'll probably have a headache to rival all headaches. That's why I'm having the parentals take me. As soon as I get out of the MRI, I'll be grabbing a drink and some pain pills ASAP and there's no way I could drive home.

The thing I'm looking forward to probably sounds silly to others. Once I get to the PET scan, they inject me with some highly radioactive material, then place me in a dark room to rest for an hour. This is so the material can travel throughout my body, but I have to remain very relaxed. They let you lay back in these huge recliners that they use for the chemo infusion people, and they have these blankets that they keep in blanket warmers, so they lay you back, place these warm snuggy blankets over you, and tuck you in. Granted, they also hand you some nasty stuff you have to drink during your time there, too, but getting to relax and being tucked in is just so nice. Yeah, I know... I would actually look forward to chemo if I ever had it, right? Not the after effects, no. In a way it's almost like I get to just relax and concentrate on myself for a whole day. Since I'm a full time caregiver for my sister, it's the little things that I have to take pleasure in when I find them.

I usually load up some special movie or shows on my iPod and sit there and just relax for the hour until they come to get me. Once they get me and bring me back and tuck me into the scan table (again, nice blankets and foam thingies to prop your legs on), that's when it starts to get noisy, and I start to actively participate. I'm not a person to meditate because I'll just fall asleep, and falling asleep in these machines is impossible. Instead, I try to concentrate on getting great scan results. I imagine all the different parts of my body under the scanner responding perfectly to the injection, and if there is anything unusual at all, I imagine it lighting up like a christmas tree. If there's something bad there, I WANT to know. But of course I pray the whole time for clean results. Clean, clean, clean. It takes about 45 mins to an hour. After that I will have an hour or more before my MRI and that part WILL suck. Still no water - no food.

Once I get in the MRI, the real suckage starts with all the banging. But at least I'll know I'm almost over the worst.

Or course after that it's all waiting until I meet with my oncologist a few days later to find out the results. I really do feel like I'll be clear, but I know having anxiety over it is normal. The week after I meet with my oncologist, I'll have another appt with my dermatologist. I guess what they say is right... Once a melanoma patient, always a melanoma patient.

I have a black melanoma awareness bracelet that a wonderful melanoma warrior's mom sent me. I will never take it off. I will always wear it proudly.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

RIP Lisa :(

Another warrior against this horrible black beast has completed her journey. Rest in Peace, Lisa of "Melanoma Lisa". You fought your battle with tons of laughter and a hell of a tough spirit. I hope you're in a better place, completely healthy and endlessly happy. 

Melanoma just broke the heart of another family, and left another person without his mother. This happens every hour. Please learn from our example and protect your skin. 

It's very simple... Melanoma Kills. Don't be a victim.

Please say a prayer for Lisa's family.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Still hanging in there

I took Deni to my dermatologist last week, and she had a full body check. Unfortunately, my doctor was busy with another patient, but two other doctors gave Deni the twice-over, and she got a clean skin scan. Of course, once they found out I had Melanoma they wanted to see my scars and asked me all about what stage I was at and what treatments I had done. I felt a little weird because when they were done, and they walked out of the room they said to Deni "Nice to meet you", then turned to me and said "Good luck". I just kinda felt like... "Geee, thanks. You mean I hope you don't DIE!" LOL. I know, I was just being way too sensitive. While Deni was putting her clothes back on, I threw her shirt at her and said "Showoff" because her skin is good. I was really relieved, though. There was a spot on her foot that was concerning but they said it was probably just a wart. Deni has had at least 7 or 8 cancerous basal cell growths cut off body before, so it was great to hear she was clear for now.

I have my six month scans coming up later this month and I'm already getting a little scanxiety. I'll have a full body PET scan, then a few hours later an MRI of my brain. Then I can prove to my family once and for all that I actually DO have a brain!

Until then, trying to stay positive and live my life....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Right now I just want to cry

I'm so upset. I went with mom today to take her kitty to a place in Lake City that has a visiting vet. They have a van and set up a mobile vet's office in a parking lot and you can get your pets' shots and vaccinations at a lower cost. So we were there waiting and one of the vet techs had her hair back in a pony tail. She had blonde hair and fair skin. I saw that the back of her neck and her shoulders were BRIGHT red. There was no denying she had a sunburn. So I said to her "Wow, you really got burned, huh?" and she smiled and said "Yeah... so?", then just seemed to drop it. I heard mom behind me mutter "Uh oh, here she goes...". The girl kept looking at me out of the side of her eyes like she expected me to jump her or something, and I just stood there uncomfortably. I wanted to ask her if she had sunscreen. I wanted to pull down the collar of my shirt and show her my huge scars. I wanted to tell her "Please, don't get sunburned like that again. You don't understand what it might cost you in the long run". Instead, I kept my mouth shut until they were done with the kitty, turned around, and walked back to the car.

I felt embarassed for having melanoma. I felt embarassed for wanting to save someone else some pain. I'm sitting here and I still feel awful. I'm angry and I want to cry at the same time. I want to make my own t-shirt, purple, (size XXXL because I'm a large girl), I want it to have a black ribbon on it, and I want it to say "If you could see my scars, you'd never tan, you'd never sunburn, and you'd get your skin checked". And on the back it would say "I have Melanoma, I have CANCER. It almost killed me. It still might".

Then I wouldn't have to say a word.

I'm not a Melanoma nazi. I'm not a know-it-all. My body has scars. My family CRIED over me. I CRIED myself. I was terrified. You see that great big orange ball in the sky? You get close enough to it, it Will KILL YOU. You get enough of it, IT WILL KILL YOU. You wouldn't walk around in Chernobyl and dig in the dirt day after day would you? Laying out in the sun does THE SAME DAMN THING. It's called CANCER. I've never used a tanning bed, but I know many have. Again, the same damn thing. If you are fair skinned and have a history of skin cancer, same damn thing. Go play in Chernobyl. Then come cry to me when you're in the infusion ward of a hospital getting chemo.

I know this vet tech is thinking "Today some weird girl commented on my sunburn, like, what's it to her?" and this is what I should have said...

Today some stranger with cancer, who has been through hell the past 6 months, loved you enough to want to help you from ending up like her.