Blood Work and Mammograms and MRI’s OH MY!!!!

“Time for your checkup, time for your checkup!” Ok so I’ve been watching way too much Doc McStuffins. Please forgive me. But seriously it’s that time of year when I am so lucky to not only get my semi annual blood work, but it’s also my annual mammo and Breast MRI time. I never really give any of this much thought as I’m always busy doing “mom” stuff these days. That is until the day of the screening. And then, I’m consumed with the screening itself and more importantly, waiting on the results. Luckily I have a fantastic doctor who phones me as soon as my results are in (for the MRI). But first up is the ever wonderful mammogram.

You see I had one a few months back but could only do one side due to my recent delivery and my desire to breast feed my child. In May I stopped breast feeding and pumping, going exclusively to formula. I was very lucky that the transition was easy on my baby. I struggled a bit but held on to the fact that I made it 4 1/2 months with only one milk-producing breast. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

I had to wait a few months for my hormones to normalize before I could have the mammo. Fast forward those few months and boy was I nervous as I sat in the little cubbyhole changing room waiting for the Radiologists to tell me the results. When I heard those words “all clean”, I sighed. Thank you thank you thank you! I knew the MRI was next up but I would sail into that screening on this positive note. (P.S. 3-D mammograms are now available at most imaging centers. If you are young or have dense breast tissue, I would recommend having this done. Unfortunately, there is a cost associated with this. Check with your center. The Breast Center at AAMC charges $50. I believe it is worth it to get a better image.)

My MRI was much like my mammo in the fact that I was totally fine until I walked into the MRI room. For this scan they hook up a little IV to you so they can run a dye through your bloodstream while taking the images. This contrast dye is suppose to attach itself to abnormal areas which “light up” on the imaging screen. Unlike the mammo, you have to wait until your doctor’s office contacts you with the results. So waiting is the name of the game.

As I said before, I’m lucky to have a doctor who calls me immediately with the results. “Everything looks great”! Music to my ears. Another sigh and more thank you’s!!

Last week was my semi-annual appointment with my oncologist. Before every appointment I go to the lab in the basement at the hospital to have my blood drawn. I had emailed her regarding my blood work and asked if she could add my Thyroid and B-12 to the list. I was a couple weeks overdue to have my thyroid checked as my endocrinologist let me stop taking the meds and told me to wait a few weeks then have it tested to see if I could stay off the medicine all together. Rather than getting stuck twice I wanted to see if I could have it all done there and the results sent to my other doctor. My days of being a human pincushion were long gone! As for my B-12, about 3 months ago I made the decision to stop eating meat, dairy and eggs. I really want to elaborate more on this but I want to do it in a post of its own as I have a lot to say on the topic. However the main concern I had was am I getting enough B-12 now that I don’t eat meat.

Results are in and my levels are all perfect! No more thyroid medication! The only thing that came back of concern is that I am Vitamin D deficient. So I have to take a weekly prescribed dose for the next 3 months and then continue with a daily over the counter dose. I also just need to continue my bi-weekly B-12 dose. I take Deva Nutritional sublingual tablets 2500 mcg. She also made it very clear that exercise is extremely important in keeping recurrence at bay.

I was struggling with exercise as I just couldn’t find the time. But I decided I needed to make the commitment to do it given the importance. I have so much to be thankful for and one amazingly handsome little fella to live for. And wouldn’t you know it, right after I made that commitment, my little boy began sleeping through the night. Now I get 8 hours of sleep and am well rested. I have time to get up, work out and get ready for work all before he gets up in the morning! I’ve also added some mediation in the evenings before I go to sleep. It’s been so helpful with clearing my thoughts and focus.

Life is good. I am beyond blessed. I have to stay focused on the positive. I believe that positivity is the key ingredient to a long happy future. Add in a healthy diet, exercise, rest, friends, family, hope and love and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success!!!

Advertisements

Link

About a month and a half ago I received a call from a young professional at Capital Style Magazine. Elisha Sauers informed me that she had come across my blog and found my story interesting and inspiring. She asked if I would be willing to do an interview with her for an article in the October issue of Capital Style. I quickly told her that I had done an interview with the Capital Newspaper last year around this time and didn’t want to beat a dead horse. She let me know that she was aware of the previous article. However she was interested in sharing the whole story much like my blog, and bringing it full story to our son. I agreed and we made the necessary arrangements and set up a time for the interview.

I was nervous and afraid because I don’t want to come across as someone searching for attention. I’ve never hunted out the media. After all, people have heard my story. And is anyone really listening anymore anyway??? Well, I guess they are. Which in a way makes me really happy. All I’ve ever wanted was to tell my story, reach people who may be going through the same situation or have a family member going through it, and make a difference in how they get through it. The fact that I might actually inspire someone was not a thought. But it turns out that’s what has happened and it is truly humbling.

Check out the link below to read the full article. I was very pleased with the outcome. Thank you to Elisha Sauers for thinking of me. I hope my story continues to reach people and help those who find themselves lost in either of the situations I’ve gone through.

http://www.capitalgazette.com/capital_style/ph-ac-capstyle-amber-blose-1019-20141019,0,319549.story?page=1

IMG_4729-0.PNG

Back to Cancer, On a Good Note!

aamc article

aamc cover A few months back I had the pleasure of being interviewed for the AAMC Blog. I was then contacted by their media personnel who wanted to conduct a photo shoot as my interview would be featured in the upcoming fall edition of the AAMC Magazine. What an honor! Not to mention the shoot was a lot of fun. At the beginning of September I was informed that the magazine would be coming out at the end of the month. They also sent me a preview pdf copy. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the attachment and found not only the article, but I had been selected for the cover!!!! Holy Cow!! Very exciting news indeed. Since the magazine has come out, I have been stopped numerous times by not only co-workers and friends, but complete strangers. And each time they have told me what an inspiration me and my story are to others. This is by far the most amazing compliment I could ever receive. The fact that somewhere my story is making a difference to someone is the reason why I am an open book and will continue to tell my story to anyone that will listen. Here is the link to the article and I’ve included a copy of the photo and article as well.

http://aamc.flippublication.com/Issue/2C9A2173-AC60-0C4D-6E401C1614904643/Fall2013/index.html

Ladies and Gentleman……May I Have Your Attention Please

Our appointment with Dr Sweeney went well on Wednesday. I’m healing just fine and pretty much back to normal after surgery. Everything is in place as it should be. The shot wasn’t too bad. I expected to be sore afterwards but, no pain at all.

The best news however came when the ultrasound tech asked us if we wanted to know what we were having. We said yes in unison and she informed us that she would try but at 16 weeks, it’s still pretty early. First things first, she needed to check all of babies limbs, organs, etc to see how they were working. It’s amazing to me that you can actually see their kidneys working! Modern medicine is amazing! After we were reassured that baby was measuring on target and at this point all systems were working as they should, she began the search.

It didn’t take long, as baby was very cooperative. And there it was.

20130824-080849.jpg

I believe Chris’s exact words were “I see it”! We began to laugh and then the tears started to flow. I looked over to see Chris’s eyes all red and filled with tears. He got up and kissed me and I could just see how incredibly happy and filled with joy he was in that moment. I could sit here and say it didn’t matter boy or girl, we just want a healthy baby. And that is true. The baby’s health is most important.

However, rewind to 2 years ago, finding out we were having a boy, preparing for him, all the hopes and dreams you start to think of for him, all taken away in a blink of an eye. So yeah, when they told us that this baby is a boy, it was like a second chance. My husband was going to get to make memories like all dads dream of making with their son and have his last name carried on. And by no means is this baby boy a replacement to Cameron. That could never happen. Cameron’s legacy is so strong and powerful in my heart and Chris’s heart it could never be replaced. Everything that I do and all that I am today is because of our little angel, positivity, prayer, and a higher power. Cameron changed our world and something in me says he had a hand in bringing us his little brother. I just feel blessed.

This baby is more than just our little boy. He’s our miracle. He’s hope, love, joy, strength. He is life. Many of you may not understand what I mean. But if you’ve ever stared death in the face and ultimately realized or grasped what it means to be alive, you may understand. A year ago this Monday, I was given that horrible diagnosis of CANCER. The scariest time of my life. So many aspects of my life and future hung in the balance. So to be here where we are today, blessed with a baby, the most precious gift life could give. Wow! I know that I will never take any of this for granted because I am fully aware of how fast it can all disappear. For now, I will live in this moment of happiness and the joy of being pregnant.

Preop Appointment

Nothing very exciting today. Well, I mean its always exciting for me to hear our baby’s heartbeat! But nothing new really to report. Things are going well and we are now out of the first trimester. 🙂 YEAH! But of course we are not out of the woods. My Nuchal Translucency screening tests all came back negative so that was good news. My preop appointment today was just to go over the cerclage procedure and answer any questions I may have. Of course there is risk involved. But I know what the alternative is and that’s a road I would rather not travel again. So I will be welcoming any and all prayers and positive vibes for my surgery on the 19th of this month. The procedure itself takes about 15 minutes and then I will recover in labor and delivery for about 3 hours so they can monitor me and make sure my uterus stays quiet. Lol Sounds funny I know. Then rest for 2-3 days to recoup and hopefully back to normal.

So that’s that really. Just enjoying each day. Here’s the pic I received today. May not appear like much. But that’s our baby’s strong heart and if you look real close you can see his/her spine as baby’s back is facing out. 🙂

20130808-130017.jpg

About Those Doctor Appointments…….

Ok ok, I know. It’s been 2 months since my last post! Talk about leaving you hanging! Well I promise you there is good reason for my silence. First off, let’s talk about this silly thing called a thyroid. Well I somehow went from having a slightly over active thyroid to a slightly under active thyroid. I tell ya, I seriously keep my doctors on their toes! Never a dull moment with me. So they have put me on Levothyroxine or synthroid which is basically a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone my body produces. Which brings me to the reason for my silence.

You see, I was preparing for that radioactive thyroid uptake scan i was telling you about at the end of May so they could more accurately diagnose my thyroid issue. Of course I was reading about side effects and all, with nothing too much concerning me. Biggest no no is being pregnant as the radioactive dye is highly toxic to the baby. No worries there. I just had my first period since treatment began like the other week. No wait, when was it again? Oh it was last month. Ok, so it’s due umm, umm, oh umm (check my calendar) it’s due yesterday. Yesterday? So take the test to be sure I’m good. I mean abnormal cycles after everything I’ve gone through are super common.

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like those doctors appointments will continue and probably multiple!

20130729-132503.jpg

And yes that’s right. One test wasn’t enough. I was in such shock, I had to take all three just to be sure! Holy sh*t! We are going to have a baby! Is this really happening??? Of course at this point I actually remember to call and cancel my scan. I was so happy and thankful that I found this out prior to having the scan done. That just would have been awful!

Now as you can imagine the incredibly massive wave of emotions hits and I’m all over the place. Is it too soon? Are my doctors going to scold me? How viable are my eggs given the treatment I’ve just endured? OMG, we did it! Naturally too! This is a miracle! Don’t get too excited. It’s still so early. But I want to tell everyone! We should wait. But these are the people that are my support and if by chance things go south, they will be my up lifters. Ugggg those first few days and weeks were tough. And I so wanted to shout from the rooftops that we are pregnant. But after discussing it, we decided to wait until the first trimester was over and until we saw our high risk doctor.

I have to apologize for my absence over the last two months. You see, I have ZERO poker face through my blog or in person. The news is just so damn exciting that I knew if I tried to post results from my thyroid or anything else, I would totally blow it. So I remained silent. However, that’s all over now. I plan on blogging every little bit about my pregnancy. Miracles do happen. I’m living, breathing, walking, talking proof of that. And so is this sweet little bundle of unimaginable joy that I’m carrying. We’ve been through absolute hell and made it out on the other side. From being pregnant, to preterm labor at 24 1/2 weeks, to 9 days in the NICU, to holding our sweet Cameron as he passed, to breast cancer,surgery, fertility preservation, treatment, recovery, and now full circle to getting pregnant on our own. The only word that comes to mind is BLESSED. I think that this chapter in my ongoing story may be the most important yet. It will be one of hope. A message to everyone to never give up. Miracles happen.

Next up is my pre-op appointment on the 8th as I will have surgery on the 19th for a cervical cerclage. This will help support my cervix and hopefully get us to full term. I will also have weekly progesterone shots starting that week to assist in keeping contractions at bay. Our doctor explained to me that in classic cases of incompetent cervix, woman typically efface and dilate with no warning and no contractions and usually around 17-18 weeks but does occur further along in pregnancy. This is usually because the cervix doesn’t function properly due to surgical procedures or multiple abortions. Unexplained preterm labor presents with contractions and then effacing and dilation. This can occur in woman who have a weak cervix so to speak where the weight and pressure cause it to thin. So they feel the best course of action is to do the cerclage to strengthen and progesterone shots. Both are highly effective if done prior to complications arising. (This has been your medical lesson for today! Lol) The shots can be administered by myself or at the office or even by a home service. My doctor felt in my case, given everything that we’ve been through, coming to the office weekly would be the best way. They will be able to keep a close eye on me and this will help keep the worrying down. Funny thing is, I feel like I’m in such amazing hands that I’m not worrying. We have already been through tough times. This is the light. And I know these doctors are going to do everything they can for us. The time for worry is over!

I’m excited for this next journey and all that comes with it. And I’m even more excited to share it with all of you! Say hello to our little miracle! 13 weeks today and doing well. Just perfect! CHEERS to all of you and thank you for sticking with me and always lifting me up! I wouldn’t be here without you all! Xoxoxoxo

20130729-134944.jpg