Friday, December 31, 2010

Appointments

Wendell went for his surgery to correct the root canal he had two years ago. He was pretty nervous about it on the drive to Crossville and so was I. I kept thinking about how I would have been physically sick if it was me instead of him. It was strange to me, thinking about how I hadn't felt that bad driving to any of my own surgeries. Then it dawned on me, I had known I was going to be put to sleep for mine, he was just numbed!!!! OUCH!!!! I went back with him but watched very little. The doctor said he would not experience much pain afterwards. Boy was he wrong. Shortly after arriving back home he was in incredible pain, and was, even after medicine, for most of the day. Yesterday he was swollen but feeling a lot better.

I woke up not wanting to make the drive to Nashville yesterday, but Wendell insisted we go and wouldn't let me cancel the appointment :( I couldn't help thinking, during the drive and the wait, how wonderful it was to be there without that sick feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach. I had made the appointment for 8:45 am hoping to avoid the normal 3-4 hour wait to be seen. We arrived around 8:30 and left the parking garage at 12:00!!!! Dr Netterville and his wonderful nurse, Jill, could not get over how well I look. They just kept commenting on it which really lifted my spirits and made me feel really good. I asked Dr. Netterville what he thought of my chances for a recurrence. His only answer to that was... it is unusual for this cancer to spread to the lymph nodes and he has felt as if mine showed up in that one lymph node, on the PET scan, (it was in three, I think, but was only visible in one), to give me more incentive to have the reconstruction surgery. He wanted to do the reconstruction surgery because he felt as if it would give me a much better quality of life. So I didn't really get a clear answer to my question but he did release me and said he hopes he never sees me again unless it was out on the street in Knoxville while shopping or something like that. I know the Lord led Wendell and I to Dr. Netterville as an answer to the many prayers that were being prayed for us. Dr. Netterville kept saying how glad he is that I am alive!!!! I honestly believe it is by the grace of God and through seeking His will, and trying desperately to follow His will, that I did survive and am alive!!!! I also believe Dr. Netterville is a good christian man and that it is truly his desire to be used to heal people and help to give them the best quality of life as possible. I know he has a deep heart felt desire to heal and help those who come to him. His "bed side manner" is remarkable!!!! If anyone ever needs a wonderful Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon, Dr. Netterville is in the top 5 in the country. To me he is the best of the best!!!

I have a PET Scan scheduled for January 10, 2011. This will be the first one in six months. I have no visible signs of a recurrence. I have had to adapt to a new way of life and have some physical limitations but this has all became a "new normal" way of life for me and nothing too overwhelming that I can't deal with. My only real physical complaints would be the ever present bone pain and the overwhelming fatigue. Even with these two "ailments" I am extremely happy and blessed to be alive as we get ready to say goodbye to 2010 and welcome in the beginning of 2011!!!! I hope and pray that the PET scan will be "clean" and 2011 will begin on an upbeat.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Say A Little Prayer For Wendell!!!

I had forgot, until receiving a "reminder" phone call last night, that I have an appointment with Dr. Netterville in Nashville, this Thursday at 8:45 am. It has almost been a year since I last saw him. Wow, how time has flew!!!! Unless I have a problem I will just be seeing him once a year for the next several years. Like I said in the last post, I credit God leading us to Dr. Netterville, (and the prayers that went up on my behalf that actually gave us the wisdom to seek the medical help we were able to find), as the reason I have survived and done so well. Dr. Netterville was very thorough in removing the cancer and taking wide margins to help insure getting all the cancer. I still remember the shock of seeing the gigantic hole in my palette after the first surgery. It was amazing how by June, and my second cancer surgery, the healing process had caused the hole to close quite dramatically. I remember my difficulties with the obturator, getting it in and out, with my mouth opening so little. I had actually got to where I seldom even wore it before I had the second surgery. I had learnt how to eat and drink without using it. I can still direct liquids out my nose if I want!!! Anyway... I praise God for allowing me to go almost a year without having to make that long drive to Nashville!!!! I am not anticipating any bad news this trip, as far as I can tell I am doing great. I can not see any sign of a recurrence.

Wendell has an appointment with an oral surgeon tomorrow. He had a root canal 2 years ago that has never felt quite right. He woke up about two weeks ago with a terrible tooth ache. He went to his dentist who took x-rays and discovered that the root canal was not as thorough as it should have been. So, he went back to the doctor who had done the root canal, he saw the problem and is going to repair it tomorrow. He will be undergoing a minor surgery. They say it sounds worse than it actually is ....we'll see!!! They will have to slice open his gum and go in that way!!! YUCK!!!! I think Wendell is a little nervous about it. I can't blame him!!! I NEVER went to the dentist. I have always been scared to death of a dentist. I use to joke that I would rather go through the labor of having a baby than to have to go to the dentist and get a filling!!!! Isn't it ironic how things have a way of turning out? Of all the different forms of cancer, I ended up with oral!!!!Heeeheee!!!!

Please remember to say a little prayer for Wendell in the morning, and also that the Lord will grant us travelling mercies Thursday as we make the trip to Nashville.
I hope everyone has a blessed week!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

We Have Enjoyed A Very Blessed Christmas

I hope everyone has had a safe, healthy, blessed Christmas!!! We have at our house!!!! We actually had a white Christmas, the first one, I think they said, since 1976!!!! It is beautiful!!! It started snowing late on Christmas Eve and is still snowing off and on here tonight.



We had our annual store Christmas party on Sunday, December 18th. I love throwing this party. I have so much fun preparing and actually giving the party. It is the one time a year we are actually able to do something a little special for our employees. We have a great group of people working with us at the store. I could never thank them enough for all they did for us during the time I was so sick and going through treatments. They all worked whenever needed and took over and ran the store in the times when Wendell was with me and couldn't be there.




Our fellow workers: Punky, Jonathan, Jess, Shana, Justin, Wendell, Spot, Kiah, Me and Lindsey. Aunt Linda had left before we took the picture and two others, Kayla and Dexter, were unable to attend.



I was browsing through my pictures and found this one of me, a year ago at the store party. What a difference a year can make!!! How good the Lord has been to me!!!

We celebrated Christmas with our kids and close family on Thursday, December 23rd.


Punky, Stephanie, Michael, Renee, Misty, Josh, Mikiah, Me and Wendell.

We celebrated Christmas with Wendell's side of the family on Christmas Eve at my mother-in-laws house. I failed to take any pictures there :( We all had a really good time.

Then on Christmas Day we celebrated with my side of the family here at my house. We had 31 here!!! We were missing 14 others that are usually here. My living room was packed but everyone seemed ok with it and we all had a great time. The food was delicious as usual. My Dad fried the turkey and I baked the ham, Teresa made the dumplings and Misty made the sweet potato casserole then everyone else cooked and brought other dishes and desserts, It was all wonderful!!! No one went away hungry!!!!

This is a picture of my kids and Teresa's boys. Rachel, Teresa's daughter was unable to be here, one of her children were sick :(

Seth, Punky, Stephanie, Josh, Kiah, Malachi, Jason, Lucas and Aaron.

All and all, we had a wonderful Christmas this year. My family has been blessed with health this year which is one of the biggest blessings we could hope for. As this year draws to an end I am thankful for the Lord's blessings on my family this past year. 2009 and 2010 have been the hardest years we have gone through. There have been many ups and downs both physically and emotionally. We have faced trials that we could not have imagined would come our way. Kiah dealt with a diagnosis of Histoplasmosis, and the treatments that followed. She went from 20/20 vision, to off the charts, worse than 20/400. She endured injections in her eye and has came out with 20/20 vision once again, which is pretty much miraculous!! To God be the Glory!!! Then my Mother unexpectedly passing away the day before my first cancer surgery. Then, I have dealt with the oral cancer diagnosis and the surgeries, radiation and chemo that followed. My Mother-in-Law and I were discussing the other day the fact that I have came through it all so well when so many others have not. We both agreed that it was due to the fact that the Lord led us to Dr. Netterville, one of the best ENT surgeons in the country, and the fact that sooooo many people have prayed for me!!!! I am still in awe of how so many people prayed for me, friends, family, aquaintances, and many many people I have never even met!!! God sure has been good to me and my family.

I sincerely hope everyone reading this has also had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, health, good food and most importantly the Love of God. As I think about the upcoming new year my mind becomes a little leary thinking of the unknown journey that lies before us in 2011. No matter what may come our way, I know by and through the Grace of God, all will be well. What ever our future holds, it is such a comfort knowing that our future is held in His hands!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some Embarrassing Health Issues

I wake up each morning and role out of bed, to actually sit up and bend, after sleeping, is almost impossible these days. The bone pain, although it seemed as if it was going to be controlled with the new medications my doctor had prescribed for me, has returned with a vengeance. I hobble out of the bedroom each morning and down the hall, never lifting my feet, just shuffling across the floor, standing slightly un-erect, bent at the waist, like an eighty year old man!!! The kids find this new posture of mine rather humorous!!! It is repeated time and again throughout the day after sitting for awhile or riding in the car. I go from the bed to my recliner, in the mornings, where I spend 45 minutes to an hour, putting off taking the first dose of meds for the day, knowing the earlier I take them, the earlier they will wear off and loose their effectiveness. Once I give in and take the medication, within fifteen to twenty minutes, I am able to function fairly normal for most of the day. If I let my mind run untamed, I find myself wondering about this bone pain and it's source. Is it a result of chemo? radiation? arthritis? aging? cancer? I am scheduled for a PET Scan the first of January. It will have been six months since my last. This is my first six month span, I was going for one every three months previously. My mouth still opens only about a half inch at it's best and less than that often times. The less opening I have, the worse my speech is. It is hard to eat at times when my opening is small. Not only does it make it difficult to get the food in, it is also hard to get the food to fit between my teeth to chew. This can be quite comical at times but also quite embarrassing when eating out at a restaurant. My table manners appear less than appropriate. I carry plastic spoons in my purse to use when eating out. Wendell and I have one particular restaurant that we love to frequent when the kids are not with us. It's a nice dimly lite restaurant with fancy decor and cloth napkins!!!heehee!!! It's quite fun waiting to see the expression on the waiters face when I pull out my plastic spoon to eat with. I haven't used metal utensils since my first cancer surgery, the sound and feel of my teeth scraping across the metal is more than I can bear!!! It is even more fun when my opening is small, which in turn makes my speech pretty bad, and I order from the menu utilizing my abnormal speech and then pull out my little plastic spoon!!!! The waiters kind of look at Wendell differently after that!!! It's almost as if they have a new found respect for this man, out with this woman, with a less than normal mental capacity!!! Oh well, what can I say? This too I have to laugh about!!!! After all what good would any alternative do for me? On days when my opening is at least a half inch allowing my speech to be better, most strangers I come in contact with, think I am from a foreign country.
One health issue that I have failed to talk about in any of my blog posts, I once again experienced this morning. It's a very embarrassing, not to mention unpleasant, issue to experience or to talk about. That is why I have failed, or I guess more accurately "chosen not" to speak about it here on this blog. It is worse than any of the surgeries I have had, more painful than all the radiation I received, makes me more nauseated than the chemo ever did. That is why I decided to finally speak of it here in the hopes of saving someone else from ever having this problem. I know it is a side effect of the new medication I am taking. So if anyone else has started taking or have changed any of the meds they were taking, I just wanted to give you a little heads up on a possible side effect that you can take precautions to prevent. Well I guess at this point you may be a little curious? It's constipation. This is the second time I have had it to an extreme point. I won't go into great detail here but when I am in the throws of it's violent grip, I find myself thinking of Elvis!!!! I have honestly felt my heart stop beating, I was told by a nurse that it could actually be happening, caused by my Sciatic nerve. Today after about seven hours I finally got relief. By then I was running a temperature of 100.1 and just feeling miserable!!!! It is something that if you have never experienced to an extreme degree, you can not possibly understand.
It's hard sometimes, living in a body that doesn't function as it should. When my mind, although disputed by some :), functions normally, it's hard to deal with the effects of a less than normal functioning body. I couldn't hold back the emotions, I am normally so could at controlling, today.
I broke down sobbing in front of Punky today. I couldn't hold it back and even my will or resolve to hold it back just disappeared. My strong exterior became non existent today. I felt as if I had had all I could endure. I hate doing that. I hate placing that burden on my children. I realize how helpless they must feel. She went in the other room and I heard her dial the phone, Wendell arrived shortly after that. Wendell...what more can I say about him.....he has endured so much....more than a husband should ever have to...but oh how I thank God for letting Wendell be my husband. When he is taking care of me I feel so safe.
Once again, tonight as I write this, looking back over my day, I can still say Thank-You God for your marvelous grace!!!!