Friday, August 20, 2010

Dear Diary,

When in doubt, write it down

Among the many qualities cancer survivors acquire on their path of healing is the ability to sense when things are changing in their bodies. As a result of scans and/or lab work, those hunches are often confirmed.

Dear Diary,
A few weeks ago I had pains in my abdominal/pelvic area. Medical staff checked it out and said it didn't seem to be serious. "Go on your trip and have a good time, call if things get worst!"

The morning after I returned, my doctor called while he was on vacation. The recent blood work was red flagged (my term) and get in for a CT scan as soon as possible, is what came across. Seven hours later, the CT scan was completed.

My dear Diary, the results are in. The clinical trial I began one month ago is not helping because the ovarian cancer is progressing. #@&#!!!!
And the pain and tenderness has been increasing. double #@&!!!!

So as of two days ago, I'm off of that clinical trial (aka, CT #1: Avastin and the mystery drug)

In two days I will again be in the doctor's office to discuss the next treatment plan, something I will probably refer to as CT #2,

So as I write to you Diary, we have to recall that during the past 26 months three out of the five earlier chemotherapy treatments had successfully reduced the cancer to a more livable level, such as 'no sign of disease' or 'cancer free' or 'remission.' And if it was possible then, it will be possible again!

My Dear diary, thank you for being here whenever I need to express myself. I bet you realize by this time that sometimes I just can't talk, I can only write. Thank you for just being a good listener. Now, I think I can go for that walk that I have been putting off all day long.

Image above:
Basket of writing pads and clip boards at The Wellness Community in Santa Monica

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stay tuned in for the 5 o'clock news

What's Inside

Instead of having a PET/CT scan in four weeks,
continuing abdominal discomfort, among other things,
resulted in having a CT scan today!

Oh my, oh my!

I'm glad this technology exists, that is,
to be able to 'see' what's under the skin without a surgical procedure

I gotta say,
I couldn't take my much needed afternoon nap
because I was wondering
what my teams of doctors will recommend in two days

Oh my, oh my!

This piece, “What's Inside" (computer assisted from original) was modified from, “A Day in the Life of Michelle,” mixed media, July 2010.

The art was inspired in Art Therapy recently at Premiere Oncology in Santa Monica, California.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How are you?

Point of Reference

The gal in cancer support group e-mailed me, "How are you?

This morning the answer just seemed to be...
Fine...but I'm thinking about a 'growing feeling that something new is going on in my abdominal area'
But if I don't think about it, doesn't it kinda just go away, for a while?

I'm fine until I get the results of the next scan in a month, and the results of the somewhat helpful tumor marker within the month...

I'm fine ... because I'm going to meet my recently discovered family soon

I'm fine - I'm fine

This piece, “Point of Reference" (computer assisted from original) was modified from, “A Day in the Life of Michelle,” mixed media, July 2010.

The art was inspired in Art Therapy recently at Premiere Oncology in Santa Monica, California.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

DNA Testing

A Moment in the Life of Michelle

As my guiding spirit and I address the topic of genetic testing, a wave of calmness bathes not only my body and mind, but my essence as well.

Take a deep breath………..Exhale…………….

We are both exploring the topic of DNA testing, first my spirit with innate knowledge, guidance, and support, and myself as I begin this exploration with strength and curiosity.

The first results of my family history, genealogy DNA test came to me, not by the Texas company that received my cheek sample in early June, but from Derek in Australia via an e-mail yesterday. He wrote that it appeared “we have a 5th cousin match on chromosome 19 with Family Finder” and would I send him more information on my family genealogy.

How could this be? I asked myself as I began my investigation into not only the reference to the DNA test results, but to Derek’s specific question.

In response to my disbelief, this morning’s second e-mail from Derek included a copy from his results that includes my name. Hopefully, within a few days I will receive official notification about my genealogy DNA as it relates to people and places throughout the world.

The other arm of my DNA testing was revealed three hours ago when I received documentation from my new oncologist that I was BRCA2 positive as determined by a Utah company. That means I’m a carrier of a mutated gene that makes me more vulnerable (at higher risk) for ovarian and breast cancer. Or to put it another way, two of my three diagnosed cancers (ovarian, aka, primary peritoneal and breast) are a result of genes I inherited.

What else does this positive result mean? I will find out in time. But, I know I will be guided in this medical DNA search with my guiding spirit, doctors, and curiosity.

Take a deep breath………..Exhale…………….


This writing was inspired in Writers Workshop this week at The Wellness Community in Santa Monica.

The art was inspired in Art Therapy last week at Premiere Oncology, also in Santa Monica, California. This piece, “A Moment in the Life of Michelle” was modified from, “A Day in the Life of Michelle,” mixed media, July 2010.