March 20, 2013

Surgery and Serendipity

So I've REALLY been putting off making this blog post. I think I kept hoping the outcome would change. But before you start seeing new 'scar pics' from me, I wanted to update y'all on the latest.

About a month ago I was on my low-iodine diet getting ready for Radioactive Iodine treatments and preparing to be in isolation for three days. I had all kinds of blog posts planned for my isolation period, I had books and movies and crafts all lined up to occupy my time. Well none of that happened. I even had enough flowers sent to me to fill a small florist. But the Radioactive Iodine never happened so neither did the isolation.

I knew from Day 1 that this could be a possibility. "But it only happens very rarely," my doctor said. HA! I am ALWAYS the 1% or 5% or whatever. Pretty much when I'm told, "This hardly ever happens," I know it's going to happen to me, I'm 1 in a million, what can I say?

Anyway - I had my Thyrogen injections on Monday and Tuesday and that went fine (these injections are made from the ovaries of hamsters, BTW, wild, huh). Tuesday afternoon I was given a small dose of the R131 treatment. After that I had a scan done of just my neck/head region.

The next morning I woke up and Mama Wanda drove me to the hospital. I just had this feeling that things weren't going to go as planned. The day before they'd explained that when I got there, I'd go in, get the pill, and leave immediately, it was to be a very quick morning. It took them too long to call my name when we checked in. Way too long. And it's never a good sign when Nancy my Nuclear Medicine chica summons me not cheerily, but by saying, "Dr. Frieze is on the phone, he wants to talk to you." Crap.

Dr. Frieze explains that there was an area that showed a high concentration of iodine and that is worrisome considering it means that there is remaining thyroid tissue and with no thyroid - that ain't 'sposed to be there!

He orders an ultrasound to get a better look at the area and possibly an MRI (well, with my luck, I knew I'd have to have the MRI). This is where the story gets cool:
I lay down on the ultrasound table and try to get as comfortable as I can. The tech immediately recognizes me from my biopsy I had back in July and asks how I've been, I give her the 30-second version, "IgotmarriedinOctoberfoundoutIhadthyroidcancerinNovemberhadsurgeryinDecemberandamsupposedtobegettingradiationrightnowbutinsteadIamhere."
She then confides in me that she's been dealing with her own struggles as she had recently miscarried a baby at 36 weeks pregnant. My heart dropped. She was feeling a pain much deeper than my pity party. My eyes watered up and we talked about our prayer lives and how calming it can be sometimes to just trust that somehow God has a plan, even in our darkest days. We truly connected in that few minutes and I'm still trying to find a way to do something nice for her. Figuring it was time to get back to business, she asks me where the questionable spot was on the scan, I just casually pointed to my right side of my neck, "I think it's here." She does the ultrasound and finds not one, but two sketchy masses and does her cool little picture taking of them (it makes a cool swishing sound). Before finishing though, she says she better send the images quickly and make sure that's what they wanted before she sends me back. She returns with a funny look on her face and tells me that she's not sure why I pointed her in the direction of the right side of my neck, because the spot that had shown up on the scan was in the front of my neck, where my thyroid used to be. But that now my doctor was more concerned with the two spots she found... accidentally... The original spot ended up being normal. Go figure. My surgeon is still amazed at that chain of events and he even surmised that someone was winking at me, that it was total serendipity that the ultrasound tech checked that side. I get goosebumps thinking about if I had known to tell her to check the front of my neck and if she might not have even check the right side...
Back to the big picture: I ended up getting the MRI, had a panic attack in the first 2 minutes and got to take a nice little trip to Ativan-land where I was able to relive my wedding day, but we didn't look like ourselves... we were all GUMMY BEARS. Yes, it was awesome. The MRI proved inconclusive, so I had a biopsy the next day.

I think you can guess by now what the biopsy showed, but yes - it showed that both lymph nodes were positive for metastatic cancer. Fast forward and I'm googling the terms Modified + Radical + Neck + Dissection. Barf-city. Don't do it. And don't be like my smart friends who, when I gave them the news in a text message and told them not to google it, and they did anyway.

I'm going to have a much larger incision this time and will most likely have a drain in place to get rid of the excess fluid. Surgery is next Tuesday, March 26. The reason it's taken so long is because my surgeon wanted me to be his only case of the day. Womp womp.

Sooner or later I'll post my sweet little project that is going to be my Relay for Life fundraiser.

Until then - peace! <3
Not your average "here's my ultrasound" pic,
but those are the two heifers in my neck .

March 9, 2013

Married Life Lesson #1

Alright folks. Mr. K and I are going on 19-some-odd weeks and marriage and let me tell you. It's not easy,  granted, we've had some big issues to deal with that most newlyweds don't; nevertheless, our marriage will always be worth it. So. Let's talk about an uncomfortable subject for a second. Something they didn't mention anything about in our marriage counseling sessions. 

Yeah, Spanx, we woman have a love/hate relationship with those things. 

It's no secret that in the over-4 months since the wedding I've gained some weight. Between dropping my pre-wedding diet, the holidays, and my thyroid shenanigans, I've been eating a whole lot of stupid stuff and I'm not proud of how I've gone from feeling pretty good about myself and even wearing a bikini a few times last summer to feeling like a busted can of biscuits. That being said, it's also been a long time since I've worn my Spanx (probably since my rehearsal dinner, truth be told).

Ladies, I hope I have a chance to get this message to you before it's too late. But do not, I repeat DO NOT let your man see you in the act of PUTTING ON YOUR SPANX

He will not understand what's going on. 

He will be shocked and confused, he might even try recording the act on his cell phone. 

It's not a good situation, I promise. No one warned me about this. Obviously, the newlywed sites, like The Nest, encourage you to maintain certain boundaries like keeping the door closed when you go to the bathroom. But nope. No one's ever said that it could be dangerous to let your man see you squeeze your big ass into a teeny tiny nylon torture device from HELL

Of course that's not what yours truly looks like in them.
Now Mr. K is a nice guy, and might I add, not a small man himself. So he probably does not have any room to ask questions like, "Do you think that's going to work?" or "Have you worn those before?" or "Can you breathe, will you be able to eat in those?" Obviously in his studies to become an engineer, they did not cover the expansive properties of nylon and how it can grow to accommodate almost anything.

Halfway through the process, I realized his egging would be too much for me to endure just to get dressed, (as I'm hopping around, contorting my body into odd poses, sweating, trying to slide into these Spanx). So with the damn things still around my knees, I waddle into the bathroom to finish and hear Mr. K trying to comfort our pup Louie on what they'd just witnessed. 

So ladies, if you think your husband can handle the sight of putting on Spanx, I urge you to reconsider. Maybe there are just some things in marriage that are better left to the imagination. :)

P.S. If by chance you find yourself thinking, "Teehee, I don't have to wear Spanx," or if you've never even heard of them: do me a favor and go stand in the corner while you say those thoughts out loud.

March 4, 2013

Slipping Duvet Cover: Problem Solved!

So one of the things Mr. K was most adamant about for our wedding registry was he wanted a separate duvet and duvet cover. I'm more inclined towards quilts, myself, naturally, but I decided to let this be something that he got to "win." We were given a very comfy duvet by one of Mr. K's groomsmen and bought a beautiful duvet cover with our gift cards to Bed Bath and Beyond.
This was meant to be a 'before' pic for when
we refinish our bedroom furniture.
Anyway, so I love our duvet cover, but we have been having issues with the duvet sliding down and getting all bunched up at the bottom. Pretty much what we Southerners would call "CATTY WOMPUS." Yeah, I'll wait here while you look that one up, but have no fear, I've linked it for ya. You're welcome. :)

So I noticed, as many duvets do, that our comforter actually has these clever little loops on the corners. Our cover, however does not did not have the corresponding ties. Well. I fixed that right up in a hurry. This was a quick, 30 minute project I whipped up before going to the Garden Show with my mom Saturday morning. Very simple, just follow along with the pictures for directions.
Handy loops I mentioned above. Already on duvet.
I did a rectangle stitch with a zig-zag for extra strength
to attach this craft ribbon I had leftover from Jean's shower
Just like that! Just tie your ribbons around the loops and you're done! 

March 3, 2013

Quilted Doggie Placemat

My goodness, it's been so long since I, The Project Chick, have actually posted about a project and I have to say, it's felt really GOOD to be back at my sewing machine. When I'm pleased with the way it looks, I'll post pics of my little sewing nook in our spare bedroom of this rental house. With the medical issues I'm dealing with (I'll have an update on that this week), I'm finding that getting back to my hobbies is helping me to not just sit around and mope. Although I should probably work on picking up some more, ahem, active hobbies, considering my favorites are sewing and reading.

Now, back to the project. Ever since our sweet Louie has come into our lives, I've been itching to start making him things (since isn't that what you baby-having people do??), but have been hesitant while he is still in his destructive puppy phase. I whipped up this doggie placemat one night last week anyway to help out with his water-dish-splashing.

It's FAR from perfect and I plan to make a better, bigger one, but this one was kind of a sample/tester to see if he destroys it. He hasn't yet, though!

I decided to do this project because while I'm not a neat freak by any means, 
this messiness was really getting to me:

I started by finding these super fun doggie prints at Hancock Fabrics:

I cut and pieced the fabrics and then sandwiched them with some red canvas I had leftover from 
last year's corn hole board project and some batting to do some quilting.

After the quilting was done, I just had to do some binding and oh boy, did I not realize how hard it is to bind using canvas! Never again! As a result of the bulky canvas and being rusty on binding, my corners are TERRIBLE. Please do not judge me, and if you are a fellow quilter, consider me shamed. 
Had this project been for a person who would criticize me, I would've started over,
but: 1) I know my sweet Louie doesn't care if the corners are perfect and 
2) I know that it won't matter anyway if he tears this thing to pieces.
So without further ado, VOILA, finished product!

(Yes, I realize it's a little too small, I'll eventually make a bigger one)

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