Update 104

February 7, 2011 – I have started to put the year on the update dates as I write so seldom now. That is a “good thing” by the way!  The BC Journals came to mind this morning because I have a six month oncology check-up tomorrow and as yet anyway, do not have my usual “Heebie Jeebies” feelings before an appointment. Maybe I have just been too busy to have time for the “Heebie Jeebies” to take hold!

The glass business that I bought in 2009 along with my hubby, Harold, and art partner Dr. SJ is doing very well and we are expanding and creating new color lines and doing conventions and shipping everywhere! My Decorative Art business is doing fine as well and Dr. SJ, daughter Jennifer (who is also our webmaster for Unique Glass Colors!) are always entering art shows so between all of this there is not much time to worry about an appointment. I always do get a bit antsy until they come in the room and tell me the preliminary blood work looks fine. I also watch their facial expressions as they open the door!

I feel just fine except for the usual aches and pains and about the worst that has happened is I have to have a tooth (that has a cap, of course!) pulled out and have a permanent implant put in. Have to wear a “flipper” for 4-6 months while the bone heals around the implant rod and then they can make the permanent tooth. The “flipper” looks like a partial plate and looks like it sits in the top of my mouth with this one tooth attached so I don’t have a hole when I smile. It will be annoying but temporary so I think I can handle this! I was supposed to get the tooth pulled this Wednesday and the “flipper” put in but I am teaching all this coming weekend and decided that maybe that was asking for trouble. So……………on Valentine’s Day the tooth will come out and I will see how I do with a “flipper!”

I have stopped traveling so much, though. Not because of breast cancer – just wear and tear on my poor body. Last year I spent most of the year with severe hip pain and went the whole rounds of testing because, of course, the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is bone cancer!  It turned out to be an “inflamed nerve root” caused from lifting, lugging, standing for long periods of time, being scrunched in an airplane (mind you, I am only 4’11” so those are really small spaces now if I get scrunched!) and the treatment was Prednisone to reduce the swelling and stopping the activity that caused it and made it worsen! 

I do not seem to have any trouble anymore with the dreaded leg cramps unless I let myself get a bit dehydrated so am happy about that. I was concerned that would be a lifelong problem.

November of this year will be my five year mark from that last bout of breast cancer so I will be half way to my oncologist’s ten year mark for breathing a bit easier about a recurrence. No guarantees, of course, but just lessens the odds a bit. I will always be considered in remission since I had the recurrence in 2005. In case you think I can add – my oncologist goes from the end of treatment and the second round lasted for a whole year. This July will be eight years since I found I had breast cancer the first time. Lots of stuff has happened since then.

See, is this not boring!  I could go on to tell you what I have for dinner to fill the space but instead I will get back to work and let you know what the doctor says tomorrow!

February 8, 2011 – Whew! Done for another six months. I must admit I started getting antsy on the way to the appointment and was a bit hyped by the time they took my blood pressure and pulse. I watched as the doctor and nurse came into the room and they looked fine but when they handed me the preliminary blood work results and said they were fine I began to finally relax.  Of course, he couldn’t just be nice and let me go on my way, could he!  Oh no, it has been five years since my colonoscopy so it is time to have that fun again!  When I did have it the gastroenterologist said I didn’t have to have another for eight years and when I told my oncology nurse and doctor they just looked at one another and said, “In your dreams!”  Have to have it before I see my oncologist in August so I do have some time to prepare myself!  The test itself is a piece of cake - mostly because I am not awake! It is the prep that kills you!  For all my complaining, it will be good to know that all is well with all those organs.

Got out to the car, started it up and as I was driving it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was okay and I could feel the tears leaking out in relief. Apparently I was more nervous than I thought!

July 9, 2011 – Something I must pass on.  I find I CANNOT go to funerals of people who have died from cancer. That is just way too close to home for me! I cry in a heartbeat if I hear a news broadcast on someone who has been diagnosed with cancer even if they are a movie star I can’t stand!  I feel like my heart will break when I hear that someone I know has died of cancer. Don’t want to watch stories about people going through cancer, either. Thanks – but been there, done that myself a couple of times already! I am telling you all this in case you have a friend or family member who acts the same way and you think they should be back to “normal” by now. 

August 8, 2011 – Good grief – I never sent out the post from Six months ago!  See what happens when you feel good!  You forget!  Had the dreaded colonoscopy and all is well for another five years.

I must tell this – I am STILL in that dratted 1% Club. Listen to this one! A couple of months back I got a “floater” in my left eye. Nothing unusual, people get them all the time. That was on a Tuesday. By Thursday I had opaque black spots, two of them large enough so I saw them all the time. Looked up on the Internet and it said it could maybe be a problem with the retina. Called the eye doctor on Friday and they were closed. I was very careful all weekend and got in to see him on Monday. He is an optometrist and was not sure just exactly what was happening as he had not seen that before so he arranged for me to see a Retina Specialist the next morning. I go through all these tests and the doctor comes in and looks around trying to blind me with all those bright, sharp lights and then tells me that he has good news and bad news and which do I want first?  I told him to go for the good news. Not anything to do with the retina, in fact they were both very healthy. Okay, that really was good news so what could be so bad?  Well…..in 1999, twelve years ago I had cataract surgery and a new lens put in. About five years later I had YAG surgery that blasts the remaining tissue behind the new lens with a laser to clear my vision. The black spots in my eyes are bit of dead tissue from those surgeries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Gross!  Since I am getting “older” (I really hate it when I hear that!) the gel stuff in my eyes is not as solid as it used to be and apparently those bits have been there all this time but fell to the bottom of my eye and have been trapped there by the eyeball itself. Now that it is softer the bits of lens were able to escape and start to float around in my eye! Since it is part of the lens it will never dissolve (I guess that really is a good thing!) so I am stuck with them forever. I am sure people think I have some sort of nervous tic as I move my head around and really I am trying to get them out of my direct line of vision. In November I go back to see him and we will see if any more have “escaped” and then he will go in and pull them out as it is VERY distracting to have them always in my line of vision. So I asked him just how often this happened to people who had cataract surgery and of course he says, “Oh, only about 1%.”  I KNEW IT!  One more good thing – he said I have the most uncommon kind of “floaters” but the easiest surgery to perform. Silver lining? Yea…………

August 9 – Today was Doctor Day. First the oncologist for my six-month check-up and all is well for another six months. He has a new nurse and he told her that I was one of his “exceptional patients.”  I would imagine that it does feel good to have patients who have no lasting side effects and are living their life to the fullest since you know he sees a lot of pain and suffering. I still bring home baked cookies to say “Thanks” to all of them for my great care and I bring artwork or a photo of something I have done to show him what I am doing with the life he saved.

Some odd feelings there today, though. Got there and they had changed everything around. I was fine until I went back to have blood drawn and “Whammo!” I felt my stomach drop. They are using the old waiting room for the new chemo treatment room and the old treatment room was now for drawing blood. I did not like that at all. Blood pressure showed up 20 points higher than normal!  Had to wait there after the blood was drawn for a room to open up and I simply could not relax.  I love my oncologist and he listens so I told him my reaction to all that and he was surprised and said they never thought of that when they were rearranging the building.  Hmmmmmmmmmm, I doubt I was the only one with that reaction, probably the only one who told him, though. He is good though – he said, “Okay look at it this way – your old treatment room is GONE!”  We will see how that works six months from now.

On to the regular doctor as that horrid “inflamed nerve root” in my right hip is back! Whoever heard of that????????????  I must remember to ask about the percentage of people who get that odd thing. What you want to be it is about 1%?????  Same thing last year but it took months and months and tests and more tests to find the problem. Now I KNOW what it is and can get in there and get the Prednisone Pak to calm it down before it gets to the point where I can hardly walk like happened last year at this time. I am done with conventions and traveling for awhile and that is what aggravates it.

Oh – at the beginning of this update I told you, in passing, about having to get a tooth implant. All went well for all the months of healing – did not wear that flipper thingee but twice – and now it is D Day – time to finally get my tooth!  Should have been a 15 minute appointment but my membership in the 1% Club must have been due because it took more than an hour along with a lot of tugging in my mouth. Something got turned just a bit, enough that the tooth support would not line up and my poor dentist who I have gone to for years and years is mumbling to himself – “I don’t know what happened here, this should take 15  minutes at the most and this has never happened to me before.” Poor man – I know what happened – he has me for a patient and I am in an exclusive Club! I did finally get my tooth so I am a happy “toothy” camper!

Okay, enough about the ailments.

Both businesses are doing great and keeping me very busy. The last two conventions we combined the two companies so showed both Decorative Painting for Margot A Clark LLC and Fused Glass for Unique Glass Colors and were so very well received we were all elated. Lots of work but I love it!

August 29 – Just read something that I want to pass on. It was in an article discussing whether cancer should be “fought” as an enemy or considered a “problem” that needed to be dealt with and solved or in some cases, not solved. My first reaction was “why can’t you do both?” and indeed, by the end of the article that is exactly what the writer was saying. There is a time to be very rational and find out just what you are dealing with and what is going to be done to deal with the “problem” and there is most definitely a time to fight. What they were saying about the fighting part that if you die from cancer it suggests that you “lost” the battle or didn’t fight hard enough. This is what I got from the article. – “There is a strong reason that cancer in particular tends to elicit warfare language: it is so radically territorial in its actions. That is, it’s usually trying to take over the physical space that is one’s body, just as a foreign army tries to take over one’s country.”  What a great statement! That is exactly how I felt both times and I did prepare to go to “battle” with Brenda Braveheart leading the way!  I NEEDED to feel I was fighting something. Maybe I am combative in my nature!  At the same time I was totally involved in what, why and how my treatment would be given so I could make rational decisions about that treatment.

One other thing stood out and I liked this, too – just the word “Cancer” is the embodiment of Evil – however – a malignancy doesn’t know or care if it’s “mal” It’s not evil. It just is. It used to make me crazy when someone would ask me “how I got my cancer” – like I personally did or did not do something that would have prevented me from getting or the other thing was that God gave it to me for a reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The facts are that I have abnormal cells in my body. Period.

Well, aren’t I just on a rant today!

In closing I want to restate that I am doing just great cancer wise – still in remission – but going strong.  My current big project is doing away with all the grass in my front yard and creating hardscapes and raised planter beds for when I am “older” and still want to tend my own garden. That dreadful grass is making me crazy! Water, feed, mow, die, replant, water, feed, mow, die – I am so done with that!  I am almost done with the back and these will be the photo of the year! You can see what I have in mind for the front. This also reinforces that fact that I am doing well. Preparing for the future is a good thing!

Brick work in garden

Until next time!


P.S. I am on FaceBook and post quite regularly so come be my friend!!!!!!!!!!!!! facebook.com/margotclark

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