11 January 2016

Its All Good!

I'm baaaccccckkkk!! Although you probably didn't even know I was gone because my blogging habits are more sporadic than the Alaskan weather... Anyway, I went to Houston last week to have my "regular" cancer scans at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I get to maintain my cancer-free status; scans were all clear!

Pity Purchases were made and plentiful! I swear a small part of me is legitimately excited to visit Texas each year to log some quality shopping hours. There is no denying that Houston is blessed with FANTASTIC shopping.
And food...Oh the food! 

The reason I said "regular" is because it had only been six months since my last visit which isn't the norm for my stage in the game. I should be scanned just one time per year, pending any sketchy symptoms. Last time I saw my oncologist (read about that visit here) we decided to only do an ultrasound of my neck, blood work and chest x-ray and hold off for a few months on my CT scans. We did this because Mike was still so little and I was breastfeeding all. the. time. (Still totally am, but more on that in a second.) We were just trying to minimize radiation exposure. 



Last week we repeated the ultrasound of my neck, blood work and chest x-ray then we got all caught on CT scans. (Even though that is quite a few tests, it is really nothing compared to the number/type of scans I was getting for the first few years following my diagnosis. I try to remind myself of that when I'm feeling overwhelmed.) Here's the catch--I couldn't breastfeed Michael for 24 hours. At almost 9 months old, that shouldn't be a big deal, right? WRONG! Dude is all boob all the time. No bottle. EVER. No interest in solids. Not good. Not good at all!



In preparation for my scans we tried EVERYTHING! Everything to try to get him to a place where we could muscle through those 24 hours without nursing. The dollars spent on bottle experimentation is insane. We pushed solids. I even tried bottle feeding different types of formula! Anything that wasn't breastmilk directly from the source. No dice. 

I literally flew down to Texas with no breast pump, no bottles, nothing. I was that convinced my CT was going to have to be rescheduled because Mike just wasn't ready...


That's a tough call. Do I risk skipping a scan my oncologist recommends? The what-ifs down that rabbit hole are dark and endless... OR do I potentially starve my son for 24 hours for some piece of mind? Ugh.

When we arrived at the hospital, the MD Anderson Magic took over and I gained a little perspective. How freaking lucky am I??!! I'm a 6+ year survivor who is healthy enough to actually loose sleep over not being able to breastfeed for 24 hours. Breastfeed one of the TWO children I was fortunate enough to have after receiving a stage 3 melanoma diagnosis. Come on Amanda. COME. ON.  

I was getting that damn scan. 


Thank goodness my dad was with me and agreed to take over feeding Mike for that 24 hour period. During our pre-scan boot camp the only time he even pretended to eat solids was if I was nowhere in sight, so we were going to work with that. I changed my scan to late in the evening so the last feeding was right before bedtime and we would, in theory, get a solid stretch without nursing right out of the gates. We hit Target and raided the baby section. Any and every food/feeding option in the baby section, we bought it. Armed and ready!

So how did Mike do? He acted like he has been eating solids his entire life... *eye roll*



Kids man... ;)

One of the coolest things that came out of this visit, you know apart from the shopping damage, was a conversation I had with my oncologist...

With melanoma, the "make it 5 years and you're cured" rule doesn't apply. Melanoma patients don't get to be "cured." We see an oncologist for the rest of our lives. That's just the reality of a metastatic melanoma diagnosis.

But guess what my oncologist said!!

"In my specific line of work, I don't get to declare many victories. That is just the nature of this disease. In your case, I'm as comfortable as I could ever be in saying that you've won! A recurrence at this point would be shocking. Not unheard of, but shocking. You should be very proud of yourself. Celebrate this!"

Well, twist my arm why dontcha. ;)

It's a weird thing to be genuinely proud for simply staying alive, but I am!





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