August 20, 2007

Five years

On August 20, 2007, I celebrated five years of dancing with metastatic breast cancer.

How does one celebrate such an event? After all, it's not like having cancer is a picnic. Treatments, aches that may or may not mean anything, appointments with doctors, diagnostic tests, and lots of meds add up to a strenuous regimen. Sometimes when I meet people for the first time, I answer the question "What do you do?" with "I'm in health care management." (I just don't say it's my own health I'm managing.)

This is how I celebrated: I invited my friends and family to eat dinner, drink a martini, dance a horo and indulge in lots of vitamin CH -- chocolate. More than 60 people gathered to party together, from all the different parts of my life. My yoga instructor and one of my doctors. Radost dancers and synagogue members. My sister and niece from New Jersey. Members of my choir Dunava and Rik's colleagues. It was a glorious mishmash of people.

The crowning moments were being serenaded by Dunava and dancing to tunes from Orkestar RTW. As dusk fell, the band played from the deck. We danced on the grass below in the dark, surrounded by strings of twinkling lights.

This is what Dunava sang to me:
We wish you a happy anniversary.
A joyous and celebrated anniversary.
To our dear Jill --
May she have a long, long life!

August 15, 2007

Bone scan results

Got the results of my recent bone scan on Tuesday and all is good -- no new areas of "involvement." So feeling well actually correlates with being well. It's a concept many take for granted, but here in cancer-land, no can do.

I say all the time, "By me, no news is good news."

August 11, 2007

Semi-annual bone scan

On Wednesday I had my semi-annual bone scan. This test lights up any areas of bone activity, such as healing or healed fractures or bone regrowth. It might reveal any new areas of concern for metastases. So it's a pretty useful exam for me.

I checked in and had the chemo nurses access my port-o-cath (I'd rather use that than get a needle stick!). Went down to the nuclear medicine area, where a tech injected a radioactive dye through the port. Then back to the chemo nurses to have the port de-accessed.

There is a 2 hour window of time between when they inject the dye and when I have the exam. I have to drink 24 ounces of water to pee out any remaining dye. I usually go home and relax, have lunch, etc. Then back to the hospital for the scan.

I lie on my back with my arms strapped to my sides on a narrow platform (why are all the platforms narrow?) and go into a scanning tube. Since I wear an eye mask and can listen to tunes through my iPod, it doesn't bother me so much. MRI's are much worse for some reason.

This tech recognized me and said, "This must be about your tenth bone scan!" I told her I hoped to have more scans for many years yet.

I get the results from my oncologist on Tuesday. Since I don't have any pain, I don't expect any unwelcome news. But you never know. This waiting to get results is why scans cause anxiety for so many people.....

August 01, 2007

Cancer service dog

My friend Jeanne, the Assertive Cancer Patient, has posted on her blog an article about Pumpkin, my wonderful cancer service dog. She's a good writer; I think you'll enjoy reading Pumpkin's and my story AND you'll enjoy Jeanne's take on life.