Monday, August 30, 2010

Update from dr.'s visit

Went to see Mr. Melanoma (Dr. Hersh) down at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson.  We did not talk about treatment as in his words he hasn't seen melanoma be a solid tumor in the kidney in the 40 years he has been practicing.  So, he wants to have his team do additional testing on the tumor to ensure that it is definately melanoma and not kidney cancer.  Results from the hospital's lab indicated melanoma, but he wants to be sure and I'm all about a second opinion to ensure that we are treating the right cancer.  He also wants to talk to his group of doctor "friends" and get their opinions. I have a follow up appointment on September 15th with him and should have a better idea what we are dealing with.  I am also going to schedule another CT scan of my organs before this appointment.  This way we should have all the information we need to make a decision regarding treatment.

So, for now I will continue to concentrate on healing and staying positive.  I am going to go back to work tomorrow and see how it goes.  I'm really looking forward to being back at work and meeting all my new students and getting to know them.  I'm starting off slow with working Tuesday and having Wednesday off just in case it was to soon.  If all goes well, I'll be back again on Thursday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Good and The Bad

I haven't been writing lately as so many things have happened that I have had to deal with. Some good, some bad.  I am strong, but for a while there, I wasn't sure I could stand.  Finding out that the beast was back was a shock to my system.   I really believed the results would not be melanoma.  I couldn't deal with it while in the hospital as I was on too may drugs, so I was numb.  Everything hit once I was home. Then I found out a friend of mine died and my mom left.  It has been a rough few weeks, but I am moving forward.  Baby steps for now, but soon they'll be big dinosaur steps.

My mom left this past Sunday.  That was a hard day.  There was a hole in my chest that lasted til morning.  Then it wasn't gone, but eased to an ache.  Her support while she was here was amazing and I don't just mean all the things she took care of: cooking, cleaning, watching Teya, etc.  She was there for me emotionally when I really needed it and it meant the world to me. Thanks Mom!

A day after my surgery, I suffered a great loss.  A melanoma warrior, my friend Pete, lost his battle.  He was a great man and someone who gave me loads of support.  He was passionate for life and living each day to it's fullest.  He was always level headed and optimistic.  He was there in celebration for the good and helped me through many dark days.  I miss him.

Here is some good to end this post on a lighter note. Had an appointment with my Kidney Surgeon last week and he said that everything was healing nicely.  Told me to be active, but cautious.  No heavy lifting or anything strenuous.  Just listen to my body and not go beyond it's limits.  So, I've been resting and healing for the past weeks and I am getting better. Each day I wake my body feels better. The recovery road is a rocky one, but I'm making my way. I can drive and spend my days off the couch which is great! By the end of the day I'm beat and sore, but it is great to be moving.

As for my next step, I have an appointment with Dr. Hersh in Tucson at Univ of AZ on Monday (8/30). I'm looking forward to this appointment to receive direction and treatment options.

My next post will be about the good.  I got all the bad out, so now I can concentrate on the good things.  It is good to air out the bad to make room for the good.  As my yoga instructor says, breathe in the good and out the bad. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Resting at Home

Finally made it home Friday morning.  I needed to stay 2 additional nights as the surgery was more than expected.  The tumor had grown and had spread down a blood vessel, so the doc had to cut me open on my lower right abdominal to get everything out. This is in addition to the 3 laproscopic incision that were made on the right side of my stomach.  The pain was a lot to manage, but with everyone's help I made it.  I'm glad to be home.  I just feel better out of the hospital.  Teya was having a hard time and was really crying Thursday night for me to come home.  It was so hard to be stuck in a bed and not be able to get to her. 

I was thankful that I was released the next morning.  It took me a few hours to get settled in and I feel much better today.  The downside is that my dad had to leave this morning, but I am thankful that he was able to come during the week.  We had some fun before the surgery and his help was greatly appreciated during and after my surgery.  Kept Teya busy and happy which was less stress for me.  My mom is staying for another week.  Thank Goodness!  I'm going to need her help.  Although I am feeling better at home, I am no where near being independent.  I am currently waiting for her and Teya to return from dropping of my dad at the airport and then out for breaksfast, so I can take a shower.  I'll feel a ton better once I can have running water on me.  I could only have sponge bath's in the hospitals, which helped, but they are nothing like a full shower!

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me and my family with prayers and well wishes.  It has helped and we will continue to need them as I recover and move into my treatment.  My doctor is currently testing my tumor for a marker and will be talking to the experts down in Tucson.  We will then discuss my treatment options.  I don't know anything about what treatments will be available to me, but when I have some information I will post about them.  I'm a rare case with Melanoma in the Kidney, so I don't know what direction my doctors will recommend.  I'm scared, but ready to continue fighting.

Ok, I'm tired from catching up on FB, so I'm going to relax and I'll post more later.

Again, thanks to everyone!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Home sweet home...

Well, finally Tina is home! First thing this morning she got released from the hospital, and she was on the couch resting by 10:30. Everyone, including Marley, Bo and Kitty, is glad she is finally home. I will get her to do a post here soon, so be on the lookout...


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yet another night...

Well, unfortunately, just found out Tina will be spending yet another night in the hospital. We were hoping she was going to be able to come home at least today, but the doctors want to keep her just one more night to be safe. She is doing well, and her pain is a bit better, but she is still having a bit of trouble moving around. Some tests earlier revealed some weird blood counts in some of her test, and blood pressure is a bit low (which is normal for Tina) , so they are just being cautious with her. Her latest tests all came back fine, but another night it is, as they want to be safe. Hopefully it won't be too long a night for her, and we can get her home in the AM. A lot of you have called about coming over to visit or bringing flowers, so hopefully Saturday might be a good day. Give me a call, and I can give you the latest...

Once again, thanks for all the support...I know Tina (as well as the rest of us) really, really appreciate it...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Out of surgery...

Hey all, Todd here...

Well, Tina is out of surgery and surpringly, she seems to be doing well. She is having a bit of back pain, but her surgeon Dr. Brito said she did great and noted the surgery was a difficulty of 8.5 on a scale of 10. Once they got in there they seemed to find the vein leading to the kidney from the a bit 'thicker' as he said, so he decided to take that out a bit more of the renal artery than they were anticipating. Might have been some trace cancer cells in there, that hopefully we will find out from testing. Initial tests say the main tumor was indeed melanoma (which would be rare), but again, I think we will know more from any tests they do...

Next steps for her is sleep, sleep, sleep! They think she will be able to head home tomorrow afternoon, but there is always a chance that it will be the day after. Of course the sooner the better, as how anyone can sleep in a hospital is beyond me. Between all the poking and proding, it is louder than a truckstop. Hopefully she can get some good quality rest...

Anyway, may give an update later if Tina isn't up for it...but I am sure she will chime in soon. Thanks all for the thoughts and prayers...they are much appreciated!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Getting Ready

Surgery is tomorrow morning - 7:30am.  It will take 3 hours and I'll have at least one day in the hospital. I'll have someone update my blog tomorrow with how everything is going.

My parents flew in to be with me and my family.  I am once again thankful for all they do for me.  They arrved Saturday morning and we have been enjoying their visit. As for me, I'm nervous, but ready to be done, ready to move on, ready to face the outcome - the next stage in my journey.  I am hopeful that the surgery will be the end of this chapter.  Please pray, visualize, send good vibes, whatever you got, that the surgery will go as planned and that the results of the mass in the kidney is not cancer.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me and my family.  We all need the love and support right now.