The Chemo Brigade hits ECCC… but I met awesome people
So, last Thursday, I got a call from Nikki (catsnotcancer) and she was like, “HEY! Get thee to my place ASAP. Because of all the awesome people, you need to soak in this ambiance and let it flow over you and maybe, one day, you’ll be this awesome.”
Well, what she meant was, “By Monday, you’ll have the zombie plague, just like all of us!” but let me tell you something else… I met The Most Amazing People Ever.
So, Jo was there, as was Tashi, and Lara… and of course, Nikki. And what, you may ask, do these amazing women have in common? Well, they’re all survivors of cancer in some form or another.
Jo is the one that writes amazing things about me because she understands oral cancers ALL too well, Lara and Nikki both had breast cancer and Tashi lost her husband too soon to cancer.
And let me tell you that meeting these women (except Nikki, because I’m graced with her presence whenever I get off my lazy ass and get over there), was so very inspiring.
They smile. They laugh. They tell jokes - inappropriate fantastic jokes! - yes. They get maudlin. And boy, do they know how to pass a plague along (Lara, I’m looking at you).
But, really? They made me feel like it wasn’t just me against the world; these women knew what it was like to just be me. To be tired. To want to talk and not actually be complaining. Just talk. Not everything is a competition and they understood that. Sometimes, it’s just a conversation, sometimes it’s just a being with people who know.
They knew. They knew me.
And I fell in love with their friendship.
SURGERY? DONE. So done.
SO! Guess who finally had her surgery done? This gal.
I KNOW, RIGHT? Finally. After all the waiting, and the fighting, and the WAITING… it’s done. January 28th, my friend Jen took me to Harborview in Seattle, my sister in tow.
We got there, checked in and they took us back. I put on a gown, pulled out Bumblebee (because he’s my guardian and has been to every surgery I’ve had since the beginning) and then I closed my eyes for a minute:
As an awkward moment, my son had an emergency at school and had to go to the ER, so Jen and Cher had to leave and my best friend Lani came to take me home and get me settled. PS: The boy is fine.
The very next day, I was at Virginia Mason to start hyperbaric treatments. It’s a way of breathing pure oxygen at a pressurized ‘depth’ so that it increases your healing. It was my third round of dives, so I’m a pro.
(It holds up to 24 people, but we do like, 10 max)
And the people that work there are AMAZING. Every last one of them are super sweet, always willing to help with anxiety problems inside the chamber or, in my case, with my skin graft problems outside the chamber when I couldn’t quite get ahold of my doctor.
Just seriously amazing people.
They even took care of my sister on the day she took me because she was tired and wanted to take a nap. So, they gave her a recliner, a pillow and a blanket.
After you finish your dives, you get to ring the bell and graduate! YAY.
Then I went for my follow up and got to see the x-rays for my implants. Apparently, they’re perfect; the outside two are leaned back just a little so that the implants can be maximized or something. Hey, they’re the experts.
Next up, I’m going to call the awesometastic prosthodontist who is helping me. This guy is phenomenal you guys. I don’t know how to explain it, but he is. ♥
I’ve been so lucky, so blessed, with the people I’ve met and the people I know.
Really, all that stands between me and teeth now is the money and fundraising. That site is here.
And tonight? I had a milkshake for dinner. Go me!
EVEN MORE AMAZING, AWESOME, FANTASTIC NEWS!
On October 31st, I had an appointment with Dr. Warren Libman in Bellevue.
I’d been on the hunt for a new prosthodontist since I’d found out that Medicaid was no longer an option with the man I’d seen in August of 2011. I did a little Googling and Dr. Libman had credentials and testimonials that were incredible.
So, this appointment.
Apparently, he was interested in seeing how wide I could open my mouth since, well, I had my teeth out almost seven months ago and after that kind of time frame, it’s a little important if he’s gonna go shove teeth back in there. Fortunately, my physical therapist had given me a stick with a huge wax ball on it to practice widening my bite and my gums don’t even go together yet.
Then he gave me the most amazing news EVER: he wants to do my teeth for me… pro bono.
You guys… he wants to do my teeth for me. Just like that.
All he needs from me are the lab costs and that’s like, seventy-five hundred dollars. MAX.
So, from $65,000 to $20,000 to $7500 dollars… and that’s the best news ever. :D
I still have my fundraising page and that’s over here and if you could share this and reblog it and tell everyone you know, that’d be awesome.
Today, I got a phone call from Shaina at Harborview Medical Center and she informed me she’d gotten a letter from DSHS approving the 45k surgery that was needed to put the posts in my jaw.
That lowers the goal SIGNIFICANTLY (to 20k) and totally made. my. day. :D I’m super excited. Dr. Dillon’s schedule is full until the end of the year, but in January? POSTS FOR MARY! And now that the goal is a third of what it used to be, I’m back to having hope for teeth.
Thank you all so much for your help.
PS: Jo @ Head-Nurse wrote a FANTASTIC blog post about this and if you could all go read it? I’d love you forever.
PPS: My fundraising page is HERE. Please pass it along? Every dollar is a dollar I didn’t have before and every little bit helps. :D THANK YOU.
[CHARITY] Signal boost
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 tongue cancer. TONGUE cancer. For a non-smoker, this was quite the blow and because of intense radiation to my mouth and jaw area, I lost my teeth.
I need to raise $65,000 because dentures and implants aren’t covered by Medicaid OR Medicare.
GIVEFORWARD fundraiser is here.
Please pass them along. Please tell everyone you know. Put these links on twitter, tumblr, facebook, plurk, wherever. I’d really, really appreciate it.
If you can donate, thank you so much. Every dollar is a dollar more than I had before. If you can’t, know that I appreciate all good thoughts that come my way. Please reblog my post anyway?
Thank you all (I love my fandom friends so much) for your continued support.
PS: Tagging this obnoxiously for the signal boost.
PPS: If you have ANY questions, send me an ask. I have no problems sharing my story/answering questions about my story.
UPDATE! and we’re off…
Pathology report from the inside of my mouth? CLEAN.
This last week, I went through ALL the doctors: oral surgeon, cancer surgeon, oncologist.
Oral Surgeon: I have bone showing. It’s not a good thing, but the bone doesn’t look like it’s deteriorating yet, so she’s cautiously optimistic. In the meantime, the bone pieces that were showing (and poking through my gums elsewhere), they decided to file down and clip where they could.
Just so you know? They don’t actually give you novacaine for that. It’s more like a really strong orajel. Then they just kind of take weird looking clippers and a file and start having at your bone. It doesn’t feel good, so I held onto the hand of some intern/tech guy that was there. He was a sweetheart about it.
Once that was done, my oral surgeon came in and looked around, said I was doing lovely and said she’d see me in two months.
Cancer Surgeon: He’s always so funny when he comes in. He has one of those head mirrors that he uses to look down my throat and stuff and it’s just so odd. He talks very fast and uses his hands and then he’s just… gone. He said that I was doing okay and that he’d see me in four months.
Oncologist: Saw him at 5:30p because of traffic. Man has the patience of Job. Anyway, he looked me over, stuck his hand in my mouth and said that he’d see me in three months when we did another scan. Also, my bloodwork showed that my thyroid is still not up to par (or is slowly getting worse, fuck radiation) and I needed to up that medication.
So, all in all, I seem to be doing okay. My diet is crap since I can only eat what I can swallow whole (HEEEEEEEY, get your mind out of the gutter), and that’s a lot of Chef Boyardee and pudding and yogurt.
Fundraising is a hardcore go.
Surgery #2 Update
Doing things a little backwards since I already updated about my tattoo and didn’t update about my surgery on the 20th.
On the 3rd of April when I had my pre-op appointment for having my teeth out, they found a tumor under my tongue. Small, about 1cm in size. Considering my first tumor was 3.5cm in size, this was very tiny. Not non-existent (which I’d prefer, tbh), but small.
My oto surgery (Dr. F) decided on the 18th that it had to come out RIGHT NOW. So, I had surgery on the 20th.
I asked him flat out if my cancer was back and he didn’t say. What he said was that it was a ‘blip in my treatment’ and that we were going to get rid of it and go back to three month meets since the cells were abnormal.
As the pathology showed abnormal cells from before and two out of three pathologists agreed that it was likely my cancer returning, I wasn’t about to argue.
The lump in my neck didn’t show on a scan, so THAT was a good thing.
However, because they carved open my tongue again, I’m back to not doing a lot of talking (which I’m SURE my family is grateful for - no more yelling by mom! YAY!) and I’m back to eating yogurt and drinking soup if I can.
Also, I’ve lost about 15 pounds total in the two and a half weeks since my first surgery. It’s leveling out, though, so that’s a good thing. I won’t be supermodel skinny like they were afraid of, but I’m losing weight after all.
Not the BEST diet I’ve been on, let’s face it, but sometimes eating just isn’t worth the effort of pulling out the blender, the food processor, etc.
So, that’s your update for now. :) Love you all.