Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Have you seen that TV show about tracing your ancestry? I watched quite a few episodes and it really gave me the bug.

I have cousins on my Mom's side of the family that have been tracing the family tree for years, but no one was looking into my Dad's side of the family. I was going through some old files for shredding and ran across some of my Dad's old papers. He had saved a copy of his fathers delayed birth certificate and a letter from a church stating that he had been born in PA and baptised there. I think that is what they give you when you were born at home. Anyway, that document had a witness listed as my grandfathers sister. I never knew my grandfather had a sister! I called my cousin and asked if she knew this info and she was as flabbergasted as me.

So after doing some digging (with the help of, I found that not only did he have one sister, he had a total of five sisters and one brother. His mother had been married three times (she outlived all of her husbands)! WOW!!! So that made me want to dig even deeper. Genealogy is addicting to say the least.

So after digging some more, and posting on a message board asking for help, I have discovered many new relatives, two of which I met in person last week (how cool is that?). I have found out the name of my great grandparents on my Dad's side of the family and visited their graves. And it just continues to mindboggle. I now have pictures of my grandmother Wilhelmina (the one that survived three husbands) and pictures of her other children, sisters to my grandfather.

Life is just full of surprises....

Approaching One Year

Wow! It is really hard to belive that one year is already around the corner. I think I am going to mark the one year anniversary with a promise to myself to make some changes.

I feel like I have let this "life blip" be too consuming of my life, marking off each three month interval of life going to the oncologist. I want it to move into the recesses of my mind versus always being on the forefront. But with that statement made, I am also trying to get involved more on the volunteer side of the disease. Everywhere I go, I see pink ribbons and I rarely see any teal ribbons. So, if I can, I am going to make the teal ribbon visable in my out Greenville, SC!!!

I think my goal is to get a "Walk for Ovarian Cancer" started for the Greenville area. That gives me one year to accomplish my goal (September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month)...our local chapter does one event....Handbag's for Hope, which is wonderful, but I think we need to do more. Wish me luck!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Six months....

Well my six month checkup is coming up next week and again I am a little wary. I haven't been feeling my best these past few weeks, but don't know whether to chalk it up to stress and tax season, or if my body is trying to tell me something. My belly has been extremely tender and feels like it is huge. I have gained back about four pounds since January, but the only place my clothes do not seem to fit is my waist and belly. I know that is not necessarily an indicator, and it might just be my hormonal imbalance....but I still have this hidden fear that something has spread. I wonder if and when that fear will ever go away...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Three Month followup

Life is good, no let me rephrase that, life is great. Although I was diagnosed with stage 1a ovarian and 1c uterine cancer, the surgery removed it all. My prognosis is fantastic, in my opinion, that I only have a 10 to 15 % chance of having a recurrence. I do not have to undergo any further treatments such as chemo or radiation. I only have to get blood work and have pap smears every three months for the next two years. And if all is good with that, I get to cut that back to every six months for the next two years and then once per year. So I am on the five year plan with my oncologist.

I must admit I was a little nervous for my first checkup...I felt like that blood test would really tell if the cancer was gone. Prior to surgery the CA-125 was 167 and I was praying the first test would be around the normal range of 35. Mine was 6.9!!! Believe me, I was doing a happy dance after that.

So even before this little bump in my road of life, I felt like things happened for a reason. Like people you meet teach you something more about yourself. So this was a big one for me. I had been trying hard to start living my life versus just going through the motions this past I guess I have been given another reality check. About how you just never know what can happen in your life, so time to start living and enjoying and doing.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I went to Harvard, but don't know if I passed or failed!

So, I am back on the roller-coaster...almost like a Halloween joke. Is this a trick or a treat? So I got the good news following surgery that everything was benign. What they don't really stress is that your not fine until the Pathologist speaks. Well, right now mine is speaking in a foreign language.

I have been asking about my pathology since the Monday after my surgery, and kept getting vague answers from the oncologists office. First they told me that since he was on vacation, they couldn't give me any information until he reviewed it. Then they told me it wasn't "checked out" yet. So how long do these samples keep anyway?

Yesterday I had my two week post op check up with the regular gyn/surgeon...and his first comment walking into the room was that he couldn't get a hold of the pathology either!!! What the F? So I stressed my frustration and insisted that he call again to see what he could find out. Well he ended up speaking straight to the pathologist, and came in to tell me that my biopsy's had been sent to another pathologist at Harvard. Seems I am special. So gyn/surgeon got me an appointment with Dr. Oncologist for this morning.

What a futile appointment that turned in to. Evidently my "case" gets more complex as things go on. My ovaries (the main reason I went to the doctor to begin with) were fine, as were my fallopian tubes and uterus seems to have taken center stage now. Evidently, I had a very small area on the wall of my uterus with some suspicious looking cells. And the pathologist here did not feel completely confident that he could deem them benign or malignant so he sent them to another pathologist to give his opinion. I googled the second pathologist at Harvard and he is a pretty big deal, so I guess I should feel that at least I am in the greatest of care. Unfortunately, I am also feeling like my life as I know it is now in this one man's decision. He will determine if I have uterine cancer. And what does that mean exactly??? I have not one clue. My uterus is gone, so am I safe? My oncologist today would not comment on anything, I felt like I was talking to a politician. He would not name the cells, or say one thing basically until he has the final pathology report in his hands to read. So again, I get to have a waiting game to find out my near future.

Yesterday I was so happy, I was feeling good, considering it is just two weeks post surgery, the gyn/surgeon approved me to go back to work for four hours per day starting next Monday. I guess I was just kind of oblivious to the other stuff he told me...then my good friend Connie, a OB/Gyn Nurse Practitioner, brought me back to reality. It's all about the pathology....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Post Op

Home, sweet, home...I am finally home. It feels good to be home, but I haven't a clue what to do.

Surgery went very well, except for the part where I was supposed to be operated on at 1:00, which turned into 2:30, which ended up being 4:30. The waiting was worse than anything, once under, things went very they tell me. Thankfully, I remember nothing! NO CANCER!!! Which I knew ahead of time in my gut, so...I told you so!!! Had to get that in there!

I have yet to speak to Dr. Puls directly, just his partners and residents, which kinda annoys me, but I guess that is part of modern medicine today. They are now referring to my cyst as a tumor, benign tumor, and after removing all of my female parts, decided my appendix wasn't looking to great so took it out as well. So I have a lovely little scar (about 4 1/2 inches) and a huge pouch above it. Hopefully the pouch will calm down soon, as it is not very attractive, but they keep telling me that when those big man hands get inside and start moving all of your parts around, things get jumbled up for a while.

The day after surgery was great, I guess I was still under the influence of the anesthetic, so was feeling high on life, no pain, etc. Day two was a crasher...not so much on pain, just sore and bored.

I want to say so much more, but just lost my energy, so will continue on in another post...hopefully later today.

Thank you all for your support and well wishes during this process.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just call me zipper girl

Well, I met the oncologist/surgeon yesterday and liked him. I was warned that surgeon's don't have the best bedside manner, but he was very personable. The worst part of the meeting was that I found out that I cannot have the laprascopic (sp) surgery. So I naturally freaked. I do not want to be stuck at home for four to six weeks. I will absolutely go stir crazy. And I am not looking forward to the incision pain, or the lovely scar either. Unfortunately my body has a tendency toward keloid scars...for those of you that are unfamiliar with that, it means your scar looks more like a fat fussy caterpillar. So I will now have a caterpillar running from my navel to my v-jay-jay. I still do not think and will not allow myself to think that I have cancer. Dr. Puls obviously did not say one way or the other, only said that I am not showing the typical signs of his other patients with ovarian cancer (score one point in my favor). But he did comment that the fact that my CA-125 was 167 that he feels something is causing it. He is cutting me open in order to be able to biopsy lymph nodes, tummy tissue, check around my intestines etc for signs of other things that my be causing my raised levels, if my ovaries biopsy's come back benign.

So I am just ready to get it over with. I have tons of work to do prior to d-day (which is Wednesday the 14th at 1:00). I called Merry Maids yesterday to come and clean my house this Tuesday so that is one less thing I have to think about. I am going to have to come up with a solution for Maggie, my beagle puppy, she loves jumping on the bed and on my stomach and crawling all over me...and that will not work next week at all. Any ideas? The longer I stay away from her, the worse she will be. If I am around a lot, I think she will be calmer.

I am also thinking of getting my hair chopped off. It is shoulder length and requires some work to dry, style, etc. If it drys wet it looks like I put my finger in an electrical socket. I am just thinking that going short, I can towel dry and gel it. But the thought of growing it back out is not a happy takes forever and is not too pretty in the process. It isn't really long enough right now to just pull it back into a pony tail.

Keep those happy, sunny, thoughts coming my way! Thanks for all of your support.