Wednesday, February 28, 2007


My mantra that I get better everyday, continues to be true and even though each day it feels almost imperceptible the big picture is better. A major testament to that is that I have decided that I am well enough to deal with the stairs etc. at my house. So, by the end of this week I will be back home at least for now. I am incredibly grateful to my parents for their wonderful hospitality and care over the past two months, but it is time to sleep in my own bed. yeah!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Oh Happy Day

My mantra for the last few weeks is that I am getting a little bit better each day. This is true, but I have remained almost completely dependent on my parents and I don't like dependency at all because it leaves me feeling out of control. My parents have so kindly shuttled me everywhere that I have needed to go ever since we got back from New York which has included my two physical therapy appointments a week, doctor visits etc. Hours of their time that could be better spent. The few times that I have done anything social someone has had to be my chauffeur. Henceforth, I don't really do much. SO, today I got one little piece of freedom back-- I get to drive. Hello, I am going to celebrate by driving myself to a friend's party this weekend and reenter (at least somewhat) my social world.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The One Where I Rant!!

There are many things to like about my job and working for a big innercity hospital, but one of my favorites is that I have nothing to do with insurance. We take all comers and someone else deals with insurance. Now as a patient, I am having to deal with insurance and it STINKS! Before going to Sloan Kettering for any of my evaluations, I had to call to make sure that insurance would cover it. I had three phone conversations with three different insurance people who all said different things, but the jist was the same- they are contracted with the parent company for my insurance so it should be no problem in the big picture but the out of pocket maximum might be different. I was OK with these facts so we proceeded, and I even made it through the private hospitals wallet biopsy. So no problem, right, WRONG. We got a notice from the insurance my dad had when he was working (he retired years ago) under which I was covered until 1995, (Yes, folks 1995, ie. over a decade ago, not to mention that I have had about 4 insurance carriers since then) saying that they have rejected the bill for my hospitalization. Hello people. How did they even get this information and better yet why are all of the doctors bills proceeding correctly. Strange- So, I am now spending countless hours trying to figure this out. The really weird part is that the hospital seems to have no record of sending bills to this company and can't even match the amounts. I have gotten all of this information with only 2 hours on the phone. I can hardly wait to see how many hours it will take before this is fixed. Help!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

7 weeks

I just looked at a calendar and realized that I left my home 7 weeks ago. 7 weeks, almost 2 months, and I am still not home. That seems like such a long period of time. Why do I live in a home built for a billy goat? I don't really expect an answer, I just want to get back there as soon as possible. Now don't get me wrong my parents are being great hosts, but still 7 weeks- UGH!!

I am making slow progress and every day I can do a little bit more than I could the day before. I cheer my little accomplishments and think wow I did that. My mom keeps thinking that I am walking sooner than I did after surgery number 1, but allow me to remind you that 1 month after surgery number 1, I made it to the 87th row of the LA Coliseum to see Notre Dame stink up the place. So, faster this time, NO. Of course, after the last surgery I didn't spend two weeks in a hospital bed and then another two weeks only being allowed to be upright for 30 minutes a day. There that is my justification. So, now off to physical therapy I must go. More exercise for my poor atrophied muscles.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Hello Crutches

I haven't had much to say lately, because it seems like every day is the same or a variation of the one before it. I have my activities- PT, reading a book, playing with my dog, working on a masochistic puzzle etc. I pretty much do the same thing each day. I delight in the days with a variation in the schedule- book club, going to lunch with friends etc. These things change the monotony and make the day seem different. I shouldn't sound morose- because I am not. Things really are looking up in the house of lefty- This is why-

1. I GET TO START USING CRUTCHES- Who knew I could be so happy about that, but I hated that stupid wheelchair, so crutches are so much better. Plus, it means that my foot is healing well. Someday, I will share pictures of my foot, but not yet don't worry

2. I made it up the flight and a half of stairs required to go to my own home twice this week. That my friends is a serious accomplishment. It was so nice to be back in my home and see how things are.

I think I started with 3 but I no longer remember what 3 was- oh well, the first two are enough

So, see - no sad, melancholy state here, but sometimes you just have to look back with perspective to see the accomplishments reached. Let's hope that the progress continues.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

One Month

One month ago, I had my second surgery (ie. the big surgery in New York). My mom just pointed this out to me. It may seem strange that I had to have this pointed out to me, but it doesn't seem like a month has passed. In my mind it could just as easily be three months ago or 2 weeks ago. The two weeks that I spent in the hospital seem like a dream or nightmare depending on the point of view, but definately suspended animation, and since I have been out of the hospital each day seems to meld into the next with the highlights being when I have visitors. So, I have no real sense of time passage, every I have to think about what day it is and if i have something to do. Strange, but yet here we are one month later and 1 week into phase 2.

Physical therapy is a complex thing. You go there and have to unlearn the "no pain, no gain" philosophy as my PT never wants my exercises to hurt, only challenge. Therefore, you are assigned exercises that seem so simple yet after several days you realize you can do them better. For example, after surgery number one my first exercise was to passively wiggle my big toe back and forth, twice a day for no more than 5 minutes at a time. Crazy. My biggest limitation in my goal of walking again is that I can't tolerate my foot being dependent (or down, below my knee) for more than a minute or two. This makes the exercises that I do even more strange, but my favorite one is the "weight bearing exercise" in which I get to stand up holding on to something, and transfer as much of my weight as doesn't hurt to lefty, which is on a pillow, for two minutes. When I started I could hardly put any weight at all on lefty, but today I put was standing with my weight evenly distributed. A major step forward. A far cry from taking steps, but hey I am getting there even if the progress is slow.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Back in Cali

We made it back safely to sunny Southern California and are enjoying the fact that it is about 60 degrees warmer here than in New York. The first day back, I sat out on my parents porch and read for hours just being happy to feel the sun on my back and the gentle breeze and I remembered why we put up with LA's issues to live here. My parents are extremely happy to be back in their own home, and we are all appreciating the weather and more space. While, I am anxious to be able to get back into my home, I need to be much better before I can handle the stairs that are so plentiful there. For now, I just am glad to be one step closer and have my own room on the ground floor.

Yesterday, my dad went and picked up Sadie from her puppy vacation at the beach with my brother and his family. My neice let Sadie sleep with her every night, and I am not sure who liked that more. It is great to have Sadie back with us, and I am incredibly thankful to my brother and his family for keeping my pesky, untrained dog for a month and miraculously even getting her to eat twice a day.

Phase 2 officially began today wtih my first physical therapy appointment. It will be a long, long road, but hey at least I'm on the road with two feet even if they are in a wheelchair.

Friday, February 2, 2007

End of Phase 1

I have been in New York for 24 days, I am post day 21 from surg #2, day 14 from Surg #3 and I get to go home tomorrow. Thus ends phase 1 in the cancer abatement battle of 2007. So far, I would have to declare phase 1 successful. All of the tumor has been removed from my foot, I still have and can feel lefty, its skin covering is growing in, all beit slowly. The goals of phase 1 have been accomplished. However, I hate being dependent and I hate wheelchairs. Those of you who know much about my personality can probably well imagine how I feel about being completely dependent on others. Fortunately for me I have been saved from going completely insane by this whole thing by my incredible parents who have helped me through every step and my amazing friends who have travelled from near and far to visit me over the past 3 and a half weeks. Thank you so much to everyone.

Tomorrow after we get home phase 2 will begin. I start physical therapy next week and hopefully can start some range of motion and weight bearing stuff with lefty. It will be hard work, but everyday I give thanks that I still have lefty and so the battle will be worth it. Phase 3 will start in about a month when I start radiation. The war may not be over but the odds are heavily in my favor as long as we follow course. Thanks for everyone's support through this electronic world, don't worry the blog won't go away.

Wish us a safe journey.