Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Biding my time while waiting for more testing

Well, my various doctors weren't thrilled to hear that I have been having dizzy spells since Saturday, so I have had my MRI moved up to tomorrow afternoon (that should make for an interesting coffee break). While I wait for the test and its results, I was urged by a fellow blogger to recount my summer of the baby animals.
When I was 12, we lived in the country, and one summer had baby raccoons, kittens, and puppies, all on the bottle at one time or other. They grew up liking each other so much, we had to train the raccoons to climb trees so they would get out of the way of the neighbor's dogs. (We still laugh about the 2 raccoons hanging upside down on the gutter, watching us eat fried chicken at the dining room table.) They all lived outside, unpenned, free to come and go. By fall, the raccoons were only visiting our back door for their favorite treat - mini marshmallows - once a night. They would climb up on the screen and shake the door - their version of knocking. The time came when only one raccoon showed up, then none. We figured they found their way out in the woods in back of our house, and were laying in for a long winter (they were huge!). The kittens became barn cats (with one more tame than the others - called him Blackberry, since he used his 'thorns'), and the puppies grew into family dogs that ran with us when we rode our horses. My mom has different memories of those days (she fed the critters the most, since she was home), but it was a magical season.

Friday, October 19, 2007

One more post about the conference


A very good friend nominated me for the Bernice M. Hetzner Award for Excellence in Academic Health Science Librarianship, and I was awarded this distinction this past Saturday night. This was a very special award for me, and not just because I caught you-know-what a year ago and figured all such awards were out of my reach. Ms. Hetzner (not sure if she was a Ph.D.) was librarian at the University of Nebraska Medical Center library (where I work), and was the first librarian to serve on the National Library of Medicine Board. The facts that I was nominated by a wonderful librarian that I once had the good fortune of working with, the award was signed by still another great librarian I once had the good fortune of working with, and that the award is in honor of another wonderful librarian (in whose steps I walk daily), puts this award way over the top for me. I have added the picture of me the night of the award, holding flowers from another very good and dear friend. Wow -how lucky can one woman get!

In the interest of remaining unbiased on this blog, I have refrained from recommending one treatment over another for adenoid cystic carcinoma (that is up to your personal health care professional's & your decision, anyway). However, I now recommend the Hilton Omaha whole-heartedly, without reservation, for any conference or event that you have to plan. I would even go so far as to recommend ALL Hilton properties as the ones you should go to whenever you have a conference or event to conduct. Going with any Hilton property will always be your best decision. Everyone, from the operators to the shuttle drivers to the banquet servers, is empowered to make sure your meeting/event goes without a hitch. Of course, I am not being compensated for this statement, and will now return to my usual attempt at unbiased (and hopefully humorous) tales of cancer treatment and recovery.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What a conference!

For more information on the conference and what went on at the Hilton Omaha, check out the conference blog: http://midwestmla.org/ConferenceCall2007/. I especially like the picture of me taking a picture - that is true art, Clare! The conference was full of great speakers, excellent vendor exhibits, worthwhile Continuing Education classes, Award presentations, and Posters and Papers. Fun was there to be had as well, with good music, great food, tours of the Omaha area, and many opportunities to network with old and new colleagues. I think we broke some long-held stereotypes of how librarians must act. It was great meeting the library science students and new graduates - I have faith that my profession is in the good hands of those most likely to carry it on to future generations.
I have another post about the conference that I will enter tomorrow, before I head back over to Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma news. For now, I am resting. Go out and play!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stepping out until the 17th

Signing out for a bit, as I am among over 50 members of a conference planning team that have finally arrived at the date of their long-anticipated conference: the 2007 Midcontinental/Midwest Joint Chapter of the Medical Library Association Conference http://www.mcmla.org/2007 . If you want to catch up and keep up with the news about what librarians from 16 states and one foreign nation are up to, here is the conference blog: http://midwestmla.org/ConferenceCall2007/.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma turns up in body parts other than cheeks

Thanks to Molly's comment on my last post, I have another blog to add to my blogroll on the right side of my page: http://mebrawley.blogspot.com/. I know some of my readers might know of ACC of the breast survivors, and it would be great if we could please get them in touch with Molly, who has just started her trek along with us down ACC lane. I am so glad Molly had someone really strong and stubborn on her side (in the form of her mother-in-law, Ginger) - we all need a strong advocate during those trying times. I love my husband dearly, and he is the best supporter in the world, but my best advocate is my friend Siobhan. Let's just hope I won't have to enlist her aid again any time soon.
The docs say that if anything shows up in my next MRI, we can do a PET. When I said that PETs don't usually work well with this type of slow cancer, he agreed, but said that was the next best plan of action. If it took me 3 years to grow a tumor of about 2mm in size that finally caught the surgeon's attention upon opening me up (when the CT scan missed it, and the needle biopsy missed it), I have little faith in scans of any sort until the critters are big enough to not be missed. He also said that pain is not usually associated with this type of cancer. Well, no words here that I can print - let's just hope he could tell my facial expression as I remembered the long nights of pain during those 3 years, relieved only by cutting out the tumor last June, that I might not believe him at that moment.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Having Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma means frequent check ups.

I just had my 4th checkup with my head/neck surgeon, and my 3rd with my radiation oncologist, luckily falling on the same day. My radiation oncologist is on a 6 month schedule. He checks my head out for signs of the original or a new, different cancer appearing as a side effect of the radiation. Oh yeah, they say that on the release form you sign before you undergo the first treatment, like offering you a side order of cancer to go with your cancer (I think Cancer Vixen said that). The head/neck surgeon is on a more frequent schedule, every 3 months. While I would rather be a once a year type of gal, I told him that I would show up for the 4x a year only if he made sure I saw students and residents. I don't want to waste such an educational opportunity as this rare cancer offers, after all. Now if I could only find a bench scientist that is interested in discovering what makes this type of tumor tick...
The upshot was, neither of the doctors were pleased to hear that I have been having pain in my cheek again, so it is MRI time again. I am glad my eyes will be covered in the MRI tube - by now, I would have memorized any scratches or graffiti that the inside walls held. Maybe I will suggest that - each patient in the MRI tube can leave their name, like 'Kilroy was here', so the next patient can keep up with who has been in there last. At our last library book sale, I picked up a book that gives the history of the scientist that developed the MRI. I will let you know if there are any juicy parts to the book.
 
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