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Achievement unlocked.

My chemo port has been removed!
I had the surgery early on Friday. The prep took longer than the surgery itself! My oncologist did it. He's very happy with my progress and doesn't need to see me again until May- right around the first anniversary of starting chemo. So that's one more big step in my remission.

I've had a lot of pain, though. Nowhere near as bad as when the port was put in, but it sucks. The pain meds have made me very tired. I've gained three pounds since last Thursday. I'm almost feeling like myself, so I can go back to my diet and light exercise this week. I still have over a month to lose more weight!

I took a few selfies while waiting to go into surgery. I look awful, but I think it's good to have a warts and all record of my cancer journey!

https://instagram.com/p/Bt5q9ufAcnl


https://instagram.com/p/Bt5rrwegUaV


https://instagram.com/p/Bt5_CobgI0L

Oops!

I never posted my Thanksgiving and Christmas photos. I need to do that. They're all on my Instagram and Facebook pages anyway.

One week in...

I started the diet my surgeon suggested one week ago. So far,
I've lost ten pounds. I'm surprised at how well I'm sticking to it. I've started exercising more, too. It helps to have a goal (in my case, being ready for surgery). I should have no trouble losing another twenty to thirty pounds by late March.

Surgery delayed.

So I had a consultation with the hernia surgeon today. It's going to be more complicated than I thought. I have three hernias, and though they're small, they're in different spots and it will be tricky to repair them all. I may have to have open surgery instead of laparoscopic, so I'll have a longer recovery period.

The worst part is I've gained half of the weight I lost back. So I just missed the cutoff to have the surgery now. The surgeon wants me to lose 30-40 pounds, and gave me a diet plan. It's the diet used for bariatric surgery patients before they have the surgery- a "liver lifting" diet. For two weeks, I have to replace breakfast and lunch with Glucerna shakes or bars, and dinners will have to be lean meats plus non starchy vegetables. He thinks I'll drop almost 20 pounds after those two weeks. Starting with week three, I can cut back to one shake a day and add some carbs. I just need to control my portions. I go back in March. If I've lost at least 20 pounds, we'll go ahead and do the surgery. He thinks I could lose up to 50 pounds before then, especially if I up my exercise routine.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try to get my chemo port removed in a week or two. No reason to wait two months!

Starting 2019 on a fairly good note.

Got my CT scan results. Good news first- no sign of new tumors. The blip from my PET scan was just a blip. I can get my chemo port removed! The bad news- I have a hernia (actually a couple of small ones) that has to be repaired. So more surgery for me. The port will be taken out at the same time.

My oncologist says that there's no trace of disease at all, either in the scans or my bloodwork. He doesn't even want to schedule my next follow up until after the hernia surgery. So that's good.

2018, GTFO.

X-posted to Tumblr and Facebook.

Sick as a dog. Fitting end to 2018! This year definitely goes down as the worst in my lifetime. I never would have dreamed on New Year's Eve last year that I'd be spending 2018 battling cancer. I've won the first battles (surgery and chemo), but whether or not I've won the war remains to be seen. I hope 2019 is filled with nothing but clear scans and blood tests.

Anyway, Happy New Year! May 2019 be better for all of us.

Death of a President.

President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. Not surprising, as Barbara Bush passed away earlier in the year. I knew he probably wouldn't make it to 2019.

I'm a Democrat, did not agree with most of his policies (especially the Gulf War), but he was still the President. I hope the family bans Trump from the funeral.

There was also a major earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska today.
7.0, lots of damage, but so far no deaths or serious injuries.

Bad news comes in threes, so I wonder what will happen tomorrow!

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Thanksgiving 2018.

Had a nice time in Charleston. I got home a couple of hours ago, and I'm too tired to write much else. I rode down with Katie, and that was fun. I have some photos to post later.

I'm a sad Marvel Girl today.

Stan Lee has died at the age of 95. I knew he wasn't going to be around much longer after it was announced he'd filmed his last MCU cameo, but it's still sad. For me this ranks up there with losing Jim Henson, Gene Roddenberry, Robin Williams, Leonard Nimoy, and Carrie Fisher.

Captain Marvel will no doubt open with an "in memory of" slide. What a way to introduce her!

At least we get that last cameo in Avengers 4. Thanks for everything, Stan. Excelsior!

https://instagram.com/p/BqGKX4lA7ve

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Two weeks, two mass shootings.

Less than two weeks after the murders at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, there's been another massacre. This time, it was a bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Twelve dead. Most of them young, because it was college night. One of the dead survived the Las Vegas shooting last year. They've only just finished burying their dead in Pittsburgh, and now it's already time for another round of funerals, candlelight vigils, thoughts and prayers, and still nothing will change. This is who we are.

Meanwhile, there is still hope that things will change for the better. The midterm elections gave the Democrats back the House, although the Republicans still have the Senate. That was expected. But the Democrats won seats in very red districts all across the country (including Virginia), and won several governors races. And some races still haven't been called! Things won't be better right away, but I think it will be very different.

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