Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Super Beagle

Seamus had his check-up and...huge sigh of relief...he's all good. Whatever lump was felt by his regular doctor was gone by the time the oncologist examined him. He's coming up on 4 years from finishing up chemo with no recurrence of the cancer. He is indeed Super Beagle, as his original diagnosis was one year to live even with the surgery and chemo. We're so proud of him beating all the odds.

The picture is Seamus with his oncologist, the good and great Dr. Autumn Duetelle. She's been so fabulous with Seamus all through his treatment we cannot say enough good things about her. And our visit with her this time was bittersweet. We learned she is leaving the Veterinary Cancer Group in Tustin and moving to (of all places!) Minneapolis! We are so, so sad to see her go. Seamus was her third patient after she became a fully licensed, certified, all those many years and requirements completed, veterinarian oncologist, and they have a special bond. Much like I was the good and great Dr. Karam's fifth patient (and oh yeah, who looks younger, Seamus's doctor or mine? See picture below).

 (That photo by the way, was taken just about a year ago..at my surgery check-up).

After we left Dr. Duetelle, I felt great that Seamus was all-clear and as healthy as could be. But I was also sad that Dr. Duetelle was leaving. And then suddenly I had this feeling of....hmmm....closure maybe? That Seamus's cancer battle and treatments really were all over. After all,  4 years with no recurrence is like 28 years for we humans. And with Dr. Duetelle gone...I don't know. It sort of feels like we're all done with veterinarian oncology.

My check-up with my oncologist is May 12th. Once again though, I think Seamus has led the way and my check-up will go just as well as his did. Because, yeah, life works like that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bark for Life

This was a monumental weekend. An event of huge proportions. Life-changing. Well, no, not quite. Maybe more evidence of life possibly changing. Are you sitting down?

I had two entire days at home.

I know!! Shut-up!!!

And here's the thing...there is really something to be said for two day weekends. I didn't have a single event to attend. I didn't feel compelled to go into the office. Nobody needed anything from me. And,  it bears mentioning again, there was no non-profit fundraiser/ fund-raising/ committee meeting/ M.C. gig anything. At all. Two days. I can hardly believe it. Chris and I had dinner and a movie (Date Night...how appropriate) and a stroll through a bookstore Friday night, went to the Farmer's market and lunch downtown on Saturday, then I did a few house projects, cleaned out part of my closet (yeah, I'm not going to see that size again, so why have the reminder?), read a book, watched another movie at home (Up in the Air-- very good!). So far Sunday has meant french toast and trash television in bed (a la Chef Chris), perusing a stack of magazines, a little laundry and now blogging. If I'm lucky, I'll also write a little on the memoir too. Then we're off to Brein and Roryann's for a BBQ. That's about a perfect weekend right there.

I still have some volunteer stuff coming up. But they are events I'm looking forward to and I'm doing a much better job of "boundary-setting" with my time and commitments. Well, sort of.

Friday afternoon I had a committee meeting for The Pink Ribbon Place--after all we do have our 2nd Professionals Panel coming up on the 26th. The good and great Dr. Karam will make another appearance and he's bringing reinforcements--breast reconstruction specialist and plastic surgeon Dr. Jaco Festekjian. All the way in from west L.A. We can't ever thank them enough. Also we have the Pink Carpet Premiere of Sex & the City 2 coming up on May 29th. Details Here. Chris has been majorly involved in this particular fundraiser and already they've sold 92 tickets--at $50 a piece! And the donations to the swag bags are rolling in. My sole contribution at this point has been the idea for a "Super swag bag" that one lucky attendee wins. Since donating 400 items for each swag bag can't be done by all sponsors, we decided that we'd also gather items for a super swag bag (gift certificates, jewelry, a purse, a t-shirt, perfume,use of a Jaguar vehicle for a weekend, a massage/spa package etc...) and each individual swag bag would have a raffle ticket in it for the Super Swag raffle. It's working out great. I did get two clients to donate items on Friday afternoon too. Hey, they own retail shops and I was standing right there with the flyers!

I also did--as you knew I would--agree to participate in the American Cancer Society's local "Bark for Life" walk event on June 12th. And I'm proud to say, Seamus and I will be the Grand Marshalls!! Dog & Human Survivor team is just too good to pass up, I suppose. Seamus thinks it's his diabolical cuteness that got the invitation, and he's probably right. So I'm forming a team called, wait for it....The Dog Lived.(I think you can click the title to get to the page about our team; and you can donate! Doesn't that make you happy?!)  Chris has joined the team, of course (there is no The Dog Lived team without Chris) and I'm ever so hopeful I'll be able to convince Brein and Roryann Clements and their dog Harold  to join the team and just possibly, Sheena Meder and Ronaldo Fierro and their boys Max and Bobby,  even though Ronaldo claims to "hate cancer people" (he's totally kidding; he's 25 years old--I'm the only "cancer person" he's ever met). We'll need sponsors of course and hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to put a badge/link on the blog soon so if you want to sponsor use you'll be able too (and we'll be eternally grateful...as will the American Cancer Society. The walk is June 12th--which is Chris and my 6 year anniversary. Awwww. Isn't that just perfect? What better way to celebrate?

More to come on that. And probably there will be a hair update soon--because it's at a really, really awkward stage. There may need to be a poll on what the heck to do next.

I hope you all had a good weekend too.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

Fun day yesterday. I worked at home. Which means that while I'm hyper productive with a lawyer's favorite love (billable hours), I'm also able to accomplish major feats like five loads of laundry and 1,236 phone calls to a variety of doctors' offices.

That's right folks, it's time for my next 3 month check-up. Good news is April 30th is the 1 year  anniversary of my last chemo treatment. Hard to believe isn't it? It would be harder to believe if it weren't for the fact that my eyelashes still haven't recovered. They fall out about every 2 or 3 months. I'm guessing that since losing eyelashes is normal, my problem now is that all of my eyelashes (having all jumped ship together due to the chemo) are now on the same fall-out schedule--they no longer take turns. Well, wait.. 2 or 3 on each eyelid resolutely hang on. I know this because one day I will apply mascara and suddenly realize that I have a mini pitchfork on my eye. Go ahead, picture it. Two eyelashes. Not close together. Heavy with mascara.It's not attractive. But it is a very good sign that another group of eyelashes have headed to Florida for early retirement.

I digress.

Right, so the good news is that it's time for my check-up. The bad news is that I have to see 2 doctors at UCLA. One is Dr. Glaspy, my oncologist. But the other is mostly new to me--a new primary care physician. I saw her last time but as we were running so late from the mammogram scare, I only got my flu and tetanus shot. I didn't get the annual  "lady" exam. One of the few (okay, wait...only?) medical joys of chemo is that you get to skip the annual pap smear. Apparently the results will come up crazy no matter what so why bother. (This makes so much sense but was still surprising to hear.) So now I'm at 2 years and it's time (probably TMI, but I've already typed it so there it is). I've had lots of luck scheduling 2 and even 3 doctors appointments in one day at UCLA but my luck has run out. I couldn't get both appointments on one day for anything. Not surprisingly, the oncologists office wasn't at all moved by my "but I'm a cancer patient" wail. I will be heading into UCLA on April 29th and then again on May 12th--on my way back up to Paso Robles!! (Gosh I hope the check-up goes well.)

That was complicated enough...but not to be outdone, Seamus needs an appointment with his oncologist too. Chris took Seamus to the vet this week because we'd noticed that he was eating a lot, but then also seeming to be off and on sick to his stomach and throwing up a bit. Turns out he had some parasite thingy going on (the vet said "sort of like if you drank the water in Mexico." Oh. Ugh.). Seamus is now on medication for that and obviously already feeling much better. But during the exam the doctor felt a "mass" on Seamus's rear end. The other side from where his cancer was. And the vet wants us to go back to the oncologist to get it aspirated. And well, Seamus was due for his annual oncology check-up anyway. Off we shall go.

Seamus's appointment was not easy to schedule either. His doctor is about a 45 minute drive if we aren't in traffic. Which means we have a narrow window of an appointment somewhere after 10 and before 3. Before 2 if possible. I really want to take him myself so my work schedule had to be considered and darn it his doctor (Dr. Duetelle, who we love) doesn't work on Fridays. So Seamus goes in on April 20th (when he's done with the tummy meds).

That's a lot of doctor appointments coming up. All I can say is...it had better all be good news.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Girls Having Fun

I'm busy recovering from the Omakase Farewell dinner last night (5 hours, hundreds of courses of food; then I lost count). While I recover--

Check out this You Tube video: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Stephanie, a fierce breast cancer butt-kicker and blog buddy (Bah! to Cancer) , is featured in this Race for Life video. She's one of the ones with pink and purple dealy-bobbers....but that may not help you pick her out.  Still, you'll have fun trying.

Happy Friday everyone.