Thursday, July 22, 2010

hell yeah, life is awesome!

Got a letter in the mail today from my hospital. Figured it was either a bill or results from my mammogram that I had on monday. It was my results. I passed my mammo! I opened it up as I was walking my dog and tears of relief and joy ran down my face and I really didn't care who saw me crying. I am so happy! Yeah! I've been waiting for the dreaded phone call all week. The one where they tell you to come in so they can get another look at your boob because something weird is up. Not this time! No biopsy for me. Means that I can go ahead with my trip next weekend to the narrows. A biopsy would have kept me out of the water for two weeks. No lumpectomy or mastectomy in my near future means I can keep on working at the coolest job in the world! After my seasonal, incredibly boring (but much appreciated) job with the state ended I picked up a summer job at the garden I have been volunteering at. I get to be outside all day, taking care of beautiful flowers and working with great people, and I get paid for it! Life cannot get much better than this. Even though a week after I started working full time, my hands started bothering me in a kind of carpal tunnel way and I can't make a fist in the morning, I don't care. It has kept me off my bike but that is just temporary. I go to physical therapy on my day off and it is getting me through the week. This job is so mentally worth it. I smile all day long, even though it has hit 100 a couple of times it doesn't bother me. Every day at least one visitor thanks us for a job well done. Little kids run around (I work in the children's section) and scream, "hey you guys you gotta check this out!" or "I love this place!" Mothers bring their children and remark on how it is so much less chaotic than taking them to the zoo. And I have to brag, our children's section is so cool even adults like it. We have one volunteer that works here every day. He says the people are great and it is cheaper than therapy. I have to agree with him. I haven't even thought about going to therapy since I started here full time. This is therapy. I come home exhausted every night but happy and satisfied and filthy! I love getting dirty. I kind of look like pig pen by the time the day is over. I feel like a kid again (except for my aching bones)!

The one funny (odd, ironic) thing about my job is that it sits right above myriad, the place where our brca tests go to and the place that has a patent on our genes. So some mornings, when I get to work before the gate has been unlocked, I sit and wait in my truck, the one with a f*ck brca sticker on it, and watch all the people piling into the myriad lot on their way to work. One can never really get away from the frickin brca reminders! It's everywhere. But it ain't bothering me today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

nip it in the bud

Thought I'd blog about colon cancer today since they have billboards all over utah at the moment reminding you to go in for screening if you are 50 or over. I, of course, am not over 50 but luckily did get a screening done last november and possibly saved my life. Who should get a colonoscopy? EVERYONE age 50 or over. People who may need one sooner and should discuss it with their doctor include type 2 diabetics, smokers, brca1 mutants, possibly brca2 mutants, those with a strong family history, those who don't exercise much or don't get enough fiber in their diets, those who have had inflammatory bowel diseases, like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, those who consume large amounts of alcohol and those with symptoms.

Most people do not have symptoms of colon cancer in the early stages, but here are some things to look for as advised by the american cancer society:

Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer may cause one or more of the symptoms below. If you have any of the following you should see your doctor:
  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool (often, though, the stool will look normal)
  • Cramping or abdominal (stomach area) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
Most of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by conditions other than colorectal cancer, such as infection, hemorrhoids, or inflammatory bowel disease. Still, if you have any of these problems, it's important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

Of course most of the symptoms could mean anything! If you want a fun way to track your poo try this iphone app, poo log by Josh Richman & Anish Sheth MD, authors of "What's Your Poo Telling You?"

As for the actual colonoscopy, it was not bad. In and out in less than two hours (from waiting room to recovery and that included removing my polyps). I did need a person to drive me because I opted to be put asleep (wasn't anesthesia though). If you ask around, you should be able to find someone willing to leave you conscious for the procedure but you will be given something so you are not in any pain (as seen on the Katie Couric link on the left).

The fast and shit the day before is probably the worst thing of the whole procedure but is not as bad as I thought. I love food and couldn't imagine going an entire day without eating. I was allowed to drink clear fluids, eat jello and drink broth, so at least I didn't feel like I was starving. As for the toilet, stay close as the day goes on and have a good book nearby:)

Some people may be short on cash or lacking insurance. If that is the case, a lot of states have programs available for free screening. Here is a link for help in utah. Google your state and  "free cancer screenings" to find help in your area.

Chances are if you are reading this and don't think you fit the bill for early screening, someone you know is probably over 50. Next time you talk to your parents, aunts, uncles, older cousins go ahead and ask them if they've been screened. You need to know their history anyway. And a reminder to my siblings reading this: you need early screening due to my polyps.

I've been told by someone that they are not going to bother with any type of screening because death is a natural process and they are not afraid. Well, I guess I wouldn't be as afraid if I thought I could go to bed one night feeling good and just not wake up. But death is not usually kind. My uncle died a painful, early death from colon cancer. Sometimes life is not kind either. I would gladly go through a day of the fast and shit and colonoscopy to avoid wearing a poop bag the rest of my life. Just my personal opinion...

On a happier note, fatty is taking pre-orders for his 2011 cycling gear now through next monday! Twin Six and fatty are donating part of the proceeds to livestrong. If you wear bike clothes check it out. And he has some cool hoodies for the low price of $30. If you are in the need for some new duds or even new water bottles, order now and help raise money for livestrong.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

vote for FORCE: part 2

I posted recently about how you can help the brca community (my peeps) raise money by voting on facebook. Time is counting down for the Chase Community Giving Campaign.  If you are on facebook and haven't voted yet, please consider doing so. Here is a link to a radio clip about brca, FORCE and the Chase Community Giving Campaign by Teri Smieja on IROCK 102.7. 

Here is a link to Teri's blog, Teri's Blip in the Universe. She is becoming quite the celebrity so check out her blog if you haven't already!

And here is a link for voting for FORCE. Thanks everyone:)