Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Latent Snobby Tendencies

I didn't realize that it had been so long since I updated. I didn't mean to leave "Radioactive Urine" at the top of my site for so long. She said "radioactive urine," heh. Okay, so enough of that.

I received the results of my ultra-exciting, ultra-fun bone scan (a couple of weeks ago) and there is no sign that the cancer has spread to the bones. Good news! It did show that there is some degeneration in my shoulders, knees and ankles. Of course there is! My doctor (internist) believes that it is reversable so I'll go through physical therapy and we'll do another nuclear bone scan in a year. My oncologist has ordered an MRI of my neck and shoulders - just as a final precaution. My internist is going to talk to my oncologist about having a bone density scan done to see if there is damage beyond those joints and if so, how extensive it is. Again, at this point it should be reversable.

I'm going to Washington DC in two weeks!

My psych professor has assigned us a "paper." I use the quotation marks because it's basically a coloring project with some questions we need to answer. All the answers come from one chapter in the text book. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is not what I would define as a paper. Although taking into consideration the other students enrolled in the course, it's probably right about the level that they can handle.

If it sounds like I'm just being a snob (not that I deny my own latent snobby tendencies), here's an example of typical behavior. There is a student in the class who has criticized the professor's lecture, mid-lecture and to the professor, because the student can't keep her notes properly organized when the professor answers questions. She needs the entire lecture to be completely linear. Well I wish her good luck when she leaves community college behind because I doubt she's going to have a lot of professors at a four-year institution who are going to organize their lecture solely to meet her needs.

Anonymous quote: "Why couldn't you get a more exciting disease?"
Now, honestly, who doesn't think that colon cancer is an exciting disease? It's got it all: deception (largely asymptomatic), intrigue (why won't my platelets go up?) and poo. She just said "poo," heh.

Here is something for all of you to enjoy... The Worst Commercial Ever!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Radioactive Urine and the Detector I

It sounds like a weird comic book, but it's not. Well, maybe it is, but it's not a comic book I know. Of course, I don't actually know comic books anyway, so I gues it could be one. Anyway, that's not the point...

Yesterday, I went to the Nuclear Medicine office to have a bone scan due to previously discussed shoulder pain. [Side note: Thursday, I had an evaluation with a physical therapist and she thinks that the shoulder pain is due to overcompensation for my weakened abdominal muscles. That's just what I thought!] The first step in having a bone scan is to have a radioactive isotope injected directly into your veins. I've mentioned before that my veins are less than cooperative. I think they're just smart because they know to hide when a needle is trying to puncture them, but it would be easier, and less painful, if they would just embrace the idea. The first technician spent about 20 minutes searching for a "good" vein. I mentioned where the oncology clinic phlebotomist draws blood, but he thought it felt like there was scar tissue there. Finally, he decided to try the back of my left hand... with no luck. Logically (?), he tried the back of my right hand... still no luck. Then he decided to find someone else to try it... oh, there's the luck! The second technician felt around a little until I told her where I have my blood drawn. She tried it. Lo and behold, it worked. So I was injected with the radioactive tracer.

I had done a little research prior to the scan, and found this information:

Most of the tracer will be eliminated from your body (through your
urine or stool) within a day, so be sure to promptly flush the toilet and
thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.

I'm so glad that was cleared up for me since I so rarely bother to flush the toilet and wash my hands. I could have caused quite a kerfuffle with my radioactive urine had I not received such good advice prior to the test since the need to flush and wash was not mentioned by any of the techs in the office.

After the injection I was allowed to leave for a couple of hours. Upon my return, I was brought into the scanning room where the technician asked me to lay down on a table with my hands crossed over my pelvis. He placed a sheet over my midsection and tucked the sides in tight. Then he told me to move my arms to my sides which was very difficult because I was tucked in to tight. Once he was happy with the placement of my arms, he asked me to tilt my feet inward until my toes were touching. Next thing I knew, he had taped my feet together. I was immobilized! Then the test began. A camera was brought down until it was almost touching my face. As it slowly moved away from my face and towards my feet, I noticed that the camera had a name printed on the side. I was the Detector I. Flying in the face of danger, the Detector I comes to search out or detect the anomalies of your bones. We should all feel a little bit safer knowing the Detector I is out there.

It took 19 minutes for the camera to go from my head to my feet. The technician told me to wait while he developed the film and showed it to the radiologist. I couldn't leave until he verified that they didn't need any further pictures. Because it's me and I like to spend as much time with medical professionals as I can (note the sarcasm), of course they needed another scan. This time it was only five minutes, but I had to stand the whole time with my arms up in the air so they could get a clear shot of my scapula (shoulder blade). That was fun.

I'll get the results of the scan (along with some xrays and blood tests) when I meet with my PCP on Tuesday. It should be a good day... or an unremarkable day... let's just go with a Tuesday - it should be a Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Very Exciting Opportunity!!!

A couple of weeks ago I applied to be an advocate in the C3 Call-On Congress. I just received notice that I have been chosen to participate. I will be going to Washington D.C. for several days in March. I will spend two days in advocacy training and a day meeting with congress people. C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition is organizing this event. This is a great opportunity for me to help spread awareness that colon cancer can affect anyone regardless of age or family history.

I am looking for sponsors to help me fund this trip. I have to cover airfare, registration fee, some meals, and at least one extra night in the hotel. If you can help, please email me.


Edited to add donation link.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

There's A Funny Story At The End

My bedroom window overlooks the pool and courtyard area of the building next door. About a third of my view is obstructed by a large tree. It is one of the trees that actually loses its leaves in the fall (not all do in Southern California). As I was sitting at my desk, contimplating what to write about, I noticed that this tree, which only a couple of weeks ago was bare, has bloomed with thousands of little white flowers. It's beautiful.

I started school today. I've actually dropped another class - chemistry, if you're wondering. I'm only enrolled in two courses/six credits, but the two remaining courses are going to be a considerable amount of work: macroeconomics and psychology. I'm looking forward to it though.

Yesterday, I spent the day learning about the Master's program I applied to and meeting one on one with faculty from that program. It was very informative and made me even more excited about the program. [NOTE: Despite my earlier posts to the contrary, I will not find out if I was accepted into the graduate school program until some time in March. I have at lease anther month to wait.]

Saturday, I am attending a one-day colon cancer conference sponsered by the Colon Cancer Alliance. It should be very interesting. If you live in the LA area, you can still go to their website and register.

I'm going to Seattle for my spring break, thanks to Kristen and Larry! I can't wait!!

Okay, I promised a funny story, so I supposed I should actually deliver one for anyone who read through the rest of this boring post. Hmmm...

Right before Christmas, I was visiting my friend Mandy. Her mom asked if we would come caroling at a local assisted-living facility with her church group. Mandy said that we would, but later informed me she would be "church singing." This is a term her father made up for mouthing the words to the songs, but not letting out any sound. Well, I sang because I love Christmas songs, but sure enough Mandy and her sister were both "church singing," but only until we got to our last song - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Mandy chose to add a little extra something by singing (or more accurately shouting - in her own special key) the echoes and the little lines such as "like a light bulb," so the song went like this:

All the other carolers (ATOC): Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Mandy: Reindeer!
ATOC: Had a very shiny nose.
Mandy: Like a light bulb!
ATOC: And if you ever saw it,
Mandy: Saw it!
ATOC: You would even say it glows.
Mandy: Like a light bulb!

So we finish singing and Mandy goes over to one of the residents to say good-bye. He told her that she had great enthusiasm for the last number. Great enthusiasm, hmmm. I told her that the other residents were probably thinking, "oh, it's nice that someone takes her on a outing."

Well, it's a funny story to me. I didn't promise David Sedaris.