Monday, October 12, 2015

Sigh of relief

So if you read my blog, you know I have had a few health worries.  First I discovered a lump in my gut the size of a walnut a couple of months ago.  My internist sent me to a surgeon who recommended a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis.  I have a history of anal squamous cell carcinoma in 2009 receiving surgery, radiation, and chemo.  I have been in remission for a little over 6 years.

Once you are diagnosed with cancer, it is never far from your mind.  It's like a chronic disease, not knowing when it will rear it's ugly head again.  I have always been a happy person, but after going through treatment for cancer with the support of friends, co-workers, and family, life became even  more of a blessing.  Well heck, every day has been a gift.

The CT of my abdomen didn't tell much.  I was thinking maybe a deep ventral hernia or lipoma.  We may never know.  But, that CT did show some new lung nodules that were not present in 2011 when I fractured a few ribs.  That sent up a red flag.  I asked for a PET Scan, but of course, my insurance refused and they asked me to do a chest CT.  Just what I wanted to do...NOT.  I probably glow in the dark at this point.

The chest CT said exactly what the abdominal CT did which is good in a way I guess.  It only saw two nodules with one in my right lung being 7mm.  Finally, insurance gave authorization for the PET scan.  They inject you with radioactive glucose in the PET scan.  Cancerous cells uptake the glucose showing metabolic activity.  They did my head to pelvis.  There was NO metabolic activity seen anywhere.  I think that rules out metastasis, but doesn't exclude (completely) primary lung cancer.

They suggest another Chest CT in 3 months to see if there is any enlargement in the nodule.  If there is, I will need a lung biopsy.  It very possibly could be benign nodules caused by inflammation or some other autoimmune something.

But, with my past history, one can't be too cautious.  I can tell you I am breathing a sigh of relief tonight and will continue living my life to the fullest.  Thanks for the well wishes.  If you know someone with the dreaded C word, or fighting a chronic illness, reach out, even if it is just with a few words of encouragement.  And, you, take time to stop and smell the roses!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pass the Motrin please

This sheepdog business can get really complex, depending upon the dog.  I was so spoiled with Jet, I must admit.  But, even Jet had his minor glitches we had to work through.

I lost my 'stop' with Champ.  Where did it go and why did it go, those are the questions.  And, the answers are varied and MANY!

You aren't tough enough with him.

Change your down whistle.

Go to voice.

Blow louder whistles.

Blow softer whistles.

He doesn't seem to understand you.

He is blowing you off.

Remind me to get another prescription for Motrin.....LOL    Those above phrases cost me lots of $$$$.

Personally, I think we need miles and different sheep.  That requires dedication and lots of money.  I'm still not sure why his down went out the window.  He had one, but it did come and go.  I just got away with it since he is so biddable about everything else he is doing.

He does understand what I am saying.  He can hear a pin drop.  He does know his down whistle.  He just isn't taking it right now.  The nice thing about Champ is that he will work for most everyone and he isn't sulky about being corrected.  He always seems to look surprised when someone is correcting him.  He looks at them, 'like really?'  He is quite pleased with himself.

So, I am trying to work on the shape of his flanks more.  He tends to be "close."  He likes to work his stock in the bubble, not out of the bubble.  He does it in such a way, that pretty soon I don't notice how he has become too close.  When he is too close, his hearing usually goes out the window.  Then he is in his "own" zone.

I neutered him.  Champ would have me and himself in a frenzy before going to the post with his chattering, sniffing, and peeing.  As soon as I got close to the post, he became all business, but he wasn't fun getting there.  I will tell you this.  It has been 2 months since he was neutered and his off field manners improved 110%.  His on field listening, not so much yet.

The on-going saga of trying to figure out your sheepdog.  It's complex, no doubt.  But, we will keep plugging at it.  Going to a training trial this Monday.  I may need to put him in some local PN classes as a noncompete to see if I can get a handle on him.  I've got a nice dog.  I know that much.  We just are a bit out of kilter at the moment.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Good for the soul

This is one of those good for the soul pictures.  I started walking the back side of Hurricane Ridge with Melodie and Bonnie.  I had a deep urge to get to the top.  Both of my girlfriends were tolerant of my wish.  They hiked back to their truck and waited for me at the lodge.  Sometimes I put one foot in front of the other and just have to keep going.  It was like hiking to the lighthouse that day.  I had no plans to hike 12 miles, but once I started I couldn't stop myself.  This was the same way.  I had no  plans to hike to the top, but the mountains were calling and I had to go.  It felt so good!

The best thing I have done while in Sequim, is purchase a kayak.  I purchased mine from LL Bean.  It is a manatee deluxe, 42 lbs, 10 feet in length.  It came with oars, etc. and was $400 including shipping.  It fits in the back of the Avalanche with the tail gate up.  Whoo Hoo.
Yoko is my kayaking buddy.  i knew she would be.  Yo is all about water.

I don't think I can find a more "serene" past time :)

Next I took my bike in to the shop and got it overhauled and now have bike rack.  I had a bit of trouble using the crescent wrench and socket set getting the rack off my truck and had to call my neighbors for a bit of help :0)  I plan on doing some bicycling on the 100 mile Discovery Trail.

I don't want to miss anything folks.  I have always been like this.  My father taught me at a young age to live my life to the fullest.  All too soon it will be over.  I'm going for it.  I have never been more at peace and happier than I have been moving here to Sequim.

Champ isn't going to Maggi's now.  I guess no one was available to give him his 9 PM Tbsp. of whip cream he gets every night :0)  Plus, I would miss him dreadfully.  Trialling isn't all that important to me.  I enjoy being competitive and enjoy the sociableness of having what seems like an extended family.  We'll see how it plays out.  I am making an effort to get the dogs out to other places to work sheep.  I'm sure that's half the battle.

The best thing about this month is my FRIENDS!  Melodie came out for a long weekend.  We had such fun!  We packed in as much as possible into a couple of full days...kayaking, Hurricane Ridge, breakfast with the breakfast club, the beach.  Oh my!  Oh yeah, we even made the Dungeness River Railroad bridge festival.  We didn't miss much.

Now, my dear friend, Connie, from Eugene, Oregon is visiting for a few days.  We went to LVN school decades ago.  This is a picture of Connie and her eldest son, Shenandoah.

Plus, my brother Jim and his wonderful wife, Linda, paid me a 6 day visit last month.  Oh my goodness, what a fun filled six days we had!  Too much to even write about in a blog.  But, be assured we had a blast.  I was sorry to see them leave to go back to Tyler, Texas.

Nothing like having friends and family here to visit.  Connie is here right now and we are having some fast, fun filled days.  

PET Scan to be done October 12th....that was their earliest appointment.  Here's hoping :)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Just do what happens next....

Ha!  Pretty profound, eh?  That little sentence makes life pretty uncomplicated.  That's the way I like things....uncomplicated :)

Well, bummer.  I made it to 6 years in remission.  Not bad for a diagnosis of cancer, stage T 2-3. That means it is in the lymph system already.  You just pray that the chemo can get it 'all.'

I have had a fabulous year of retirement. Almost a year;  I made it 9 months.  I made it to where I wanted to retire, in Sequim.  Jet made it with me.  He loved it here as much as I love it here.  That meant a lot to me that Jet got here with me.

I have been kind of feeling a little off kilter.  I developed what I thought (and, still think) is a ventral hernia from heavy lifting here.  They did a CT (cat scan) of my abdomen with oral and IV contrast a couple of weeks ago.  They aren't sure about the walnut size lump in my gut.  I still think it is a hernia or it may be a possible lipoma.  Unfortunately, the CT of the abdomen showed nodules in both lungs :0(  Small, but very suspicious for metastasis.

Next step....Pet Scan.  Let's see what lights up and where.  If my right lung is "hot" they will do a lung biopsy.  I have a great support system of family and friends.  Still, it's time for me to get my ducks in a row, so to speak.

Of course, my insurance won't do a PET scan even though the most Up To Date information warrants it.   My Doc made a peer to peer call.  No dice.  So, off I go for a CT of the chest now.  This will happen this Monday.  Just IV contrast.  At least I don't have to drink the contrast along with having IV contrast this time.  Though, when I did the CT of the abdomen I sat in the parking lot drinking the contrast for 2 hours.  It wasn't bad at all.  I over looked Port Townsend with a beautiful water view :) I kept thinking...this sure beats sitting in a hospital parking lot looking at traffic.  I had a magnificent view of the clouds and the strait of Juan de Fuca.  It's those little things that make you count your blessings.

I already talked with Maggi McClure to take Champ in for a few months training.  Yoko is my girlfriend.  I have to have someone by my side.  Plus, she is soft and cuddly and gives the best hugs ever.  Everything is riding on the CT of the chest at the moment.

I may blog from time to time.  That's about it.  No Facebooking, at least, not about my health.  Basically, ENJOY and live each day to the fullest.  I am!

Give me a slug of that Yoko! (Sorry, my sense of humor)