Saturday, February 6, 2010

Alive and kicking (cancer's butt )

Yes, I AM alive and well! It came as quite a shock to me a few days ago when my sis (yes, the famous Melissa from the fainting bathtub incident this past summer) said, "Joanne, you had better update your blog! I'm getting emails from people that are wondering if you are "still among us!" WHAT!!! She thought it was quite humorous that this thought had never crossed my mind! I am SO sorry if my absence led you to think the unthinkable! I am extremely sorry that anyone has had to worry about me. So let's set the record straight...I am still here and plan to be for a LONG LONG TIME!

I guess after my radiation finished, and I returned to work, I just figured all of you would find better things to read about online and I got lax in updating my blog. I will continue to check in and let you know how things are going from now on.

Actually, I have had some proverbial bumps in the road since I last spoke to all of you, but all's well now. Things after radiation returned to normal ( there such a thing as normal even without cancer?) and and the days settled into a routine. Teach fifth grade during the week, collapse from exhaustion on weekends. (From dealing with pre-adolescents every day...not cancer!) I was still receiving my herceptin infusion every three weeks at camp chemo and things were going great. I even started to get some length to my hair and it started to curl. I mean REALLY curl...and this was very exciting to someone that has had stick straight hair their entire life! I had some routine doctor appointments and scans in Decemberand did receive the BEST NEWS CAT scan and bone scan were negative!!! NO CANCER found! Hip Hip Hooray! Wait, don't cheer too loudly CAT scan showed something "suspicious" on my thyroid. Oh we go again. My THYROID??!! You've GOT to be kidding. Just when I was practicing the words, "no more cancer" I started to worry again. I did have good cause. You see, my infamous sister, Melissa, had thyroid cancer many years ago. I was directed to a brand new doctor. (gee, didn't have enough I guess) Fast forward...after an examination, in which he did feel something on my thyroid, he decided to do a biopsy. I waited an agonizing week for the results, and when I read the words, "NO CANCER DETECTED," I DID jump for joy!

The other small bump that I'm dealing with now is that I had to be taken off my herceptin infusion for 12 weeks. Along with the CAT and Bone scan in December, I also received a routine heart scan, (a side effect of herceptin is that it can weaken your heart. YIKES! I think I need that organ!) and the heart scan showed a fairly dramatic decrease in my heart function. Therefore, they needed to take me off the infusion in the hopes that when I have the next heart scan (in about two weeks) my heart function will be back up to where it should be. That will mean herceptin is the cause, and a different dose will be prescribed, and it will be back to camp chemo for me!

I've also seen my plastic surgeon since I last posted. I was hoping that my final surgery to get these &^%$# chest "expanders" out of my body would occur sometime this spring, but no go.
He said it will be this summer. I am bummed to say the least.

Well, hopefully I have answered any and all questions. I'd love to hear from you...whoever is still out there! I will leave you with a picture of my new and improved self...courtesy of one of my students. It's priceless! (I especially love my new "do")



  1. :) :) :) Hello Joanne!! I just figured that no news was good news. Glad to hear you're cruising right along, minor bumps and all. HAPPY new year to you :)

  2. You look beautiful in your picture! I'm glad to hear all is well! Positive thoughts are headed your way!!!! Nancy

  3. You look SO skinny in your new picture!!! Must be doing something right!!! Keep up the positive attitude; you are doing great!!

  4. Joanne,
    So glad to hear the news of you being NED - no evidence of disease! Hopefully your heart function will be back to normal so you can continue with the Herceptin. Curly hair! Yikes, mine came back with a vengence. I looked like Bozo the Clown for awhile until I decided to cut it really short! Thanks for updating your blog. I have been wondering how you are!

    Best regards,
    AKA Andovercookiemama on flickr
    Keeping up with the Kulungians blog
    Peeverly on cake central

  5. Sara and I were so thrilled to see your smiling face today : ) The pie arrived safely . . . have you heard of saran wrap? LOL. So nervous to have Sara hold it, we drove straight to school.
    I love your spirit on your blog and wanted to share one of my favorite quotes with you.
    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." . . . or snow!! So remember to dance whenever you can : )

    Hugs and prayers everyday,
    ~ Renee and Sarabear