Archive | July, 2011

The best birthday present ever

28 Jul

It’s funny how things change as you go through life.  When I was younger, I eagerly awaited my birthday party each year.  I would plan it meticulously down to the theme, the cups, the napkins, and the friends I invited. As I grew older, it wasn’t the parties that mattered so much, rather the cultural milestones such as my 16th and 21st birthdays.

And now here I am turning 30 years old today.  Despite the lack of balloons and streamers hanging from the ceiling, I was elated when I learned my sister Jane would be getting a colonoscopy on my birthday.  It arguably runs a close second to the Pretty Pretty Princess showing up at my 8th birthday party, however, knowing my sister is getting screened for and could potentially prevent the hereditary onset of colorectal cancer is quite possibly the best birthday present imaginable.

The patient is all prepped and ready to go! Seriously, how many people can manage to look this good in a hosital gown?!

Fortunately the procedure was over just as quick as it started and the results were in…she had a clean colon, making it an even better birthday present!  Just having this piece of mind will let me sleep better at night.  And now there’s just one sibling left to go in for the screening process, my brother.  I’m sure he’ll surprise me with a really great Christmas present…right Bill?!

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On the up and up

1 Jul

Aloha! Since my post two weeks ago, I’m happy to report that I’ve returned to work full time and even managed to make it to Hawaii for the State Bar of Nevada’s Annual meeting.  With my husband – a.k.a. male nurse, bell boy, and official island tour guide – in tow, we left a week ago Sunday for Kaua’i.  I’m an infamous over-packer, but I managed to reach new heights on this trip, as I had packed enough medical supplies to set up a remote triage center.  Thankfully everything went incredibly well and I only needed a fraction of what I brought.

The Hawaiian culture has a rich history filled with stories legends. I’m typically not the kind that gets caught up in any type of mythology; however I must say, there is definitely something magical about the islands.  Immediately upon arriving, any aches and pains I was experiencing from my wound (which is still approximately an inch wide and an inch deep) immediately vanished for the entire week I was there.  I was blown away by the amount of energy I had, and the physical tasks I was able to perform.  Even a week prior to the trip, I wouldn’t have even fathomed being able to accomplish half of what I did.  Interestingly enough, on our way back home, we had a layover in Los Angeles and the moment we landed I began having a dull pain in the wound area.  I got to thinking…might it be best if I went on disability and moved to Hawaii?!

Our week in Kaua’i was very busy, filled with meetings, seminars and work-related social activities, but we managed to find a few moments to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy the island as tourists.  One afternoon we went kayaking on the Wailua River and after an ill-described ‘amateur’ hike, we arrived at a secret waterfall.  I’m sharing this photo in hopes that everyone can enjoy it, because it literally took blood, sweat and tears to reach this location! (Okay well maybe not tears, but you get the point).

The 'secret waterfalls' of the Wailua River

The next day we were in need of a more relaxing excursion and opted for a catamaran boat tour along the Napali Coast.  You may be familiar with this scenery if you’ve ever seen Jurassic Park – much of the movie, including the scenes from the helicopter were shot from here. (Please ignore the distended stomach and matronly bathing suit…I’m hoping they both are temporary!)

Em & Nick along the Napali Coast of Kauai

All in all, it was a successful trip – personally and professionally. I am so fortunate to have such supportive colleagues that aided and encouraged me the entire time. Being able to return to work is so therapeutic for me, as it represents a sense of progress and accomplishment.  Now that it has been a month since my surgery and I’ve had a few weeks to heal, next week I’ll begin the first in a series of IV treatments to help prevent any continuous metastatic disease.  Then, at the end of summer I’ll have another PET scan to asses the current situation…fingers crossed the scans are clear and there is nothing to be seen.  I’ve had enough of this cancer thing.