Friday, March 28, 2014

The adventures of a cancer patient......

     Well....first off, our Brunch with The Ladies was a huge success as was the Italian Beef Night. It's a booger to get the beef all prepped and tasty but it is always worth it. I had 300 children's books printed (that I wrote and illustrated) and I am almost sold out.....unless I have a few more printed before the next two fundraisers. We had great help with selling the books!  The two top sellers were Lisa Peters and Jennifer Brown....but a big shout out to Samantha Cummins and Chris Foust for delivering/selling ALOT of them in the evenings. All of our team has bought, sold, or helped get the word out about the children's book. IF you have not gotten one, we WILL make sure you get one.
     Talk about "Paying It Forward".....The Dip 60....a local band that plays whenever they can all come home and meet up to perform, just played at The Gypsy and boy did they do a great thing. They donated all money taken at the door along with a few large donations, and donated it to our Suntone Beach Survivors Relay For Life Team!!  How bout THAT!  This group has kind of grown up and moved apart...some with jobs out of town, some still in school...but they did this for us. WOW!  I am humbled beyond words and thank you does not even do it justice. I was still in Hawaii...or on a loooong flight home all Saturday night until Sunday morning or I would have been there right in the middle of it all!!  A huge hug to all of you who got out for this event, planned it, supported it by showing up, any and all of the above!!

     Coming up on April 5th is our Breakfast at the VFW. They have been so gracious to let us have it there and are helping to serve and cook along side some of our team. We should have a few books there for sale PLUS gift baskets from the Ladies Brunch that the consultants all donated (worth $75 each) and we are selling $1 chances on those raffle baskets.
We had the hog donated by one of the girls friends father....make sense?  We are blessed to have people with such generous hearts. I am not putting his name as I do not want a bunch of people calling this person asking for a pig. BUT we thank you!! So, along with biscuits & gravy, we will have pancakes and sausage patties (YES, I said fresh sausage patties and not links made from pig tails, ears and hooves BUT made from the pig that was donated). HMPH! Then, juice, milk, coffee, and for you early risers, I guess the bar would be open??? I dunno.....never been to the V that early EVER for a drink. ;-)   Breakfast is from 6-10ish.....we won't kick you out of you come at 5 til 10.
The meal is $6 or feel free to donate $60 or $6,000....we will take it!!

     Next up is the BIG DAY....May 3. It's our Richland County Relay For Life......we will be busy entertaining at about 4:15 I believe. Our rendition of Roar by Katy Perry. I can't sing but by golly I can ROAR! I am also GUEST SPEAKER this year so ya'll stay home as I sweat and stutter up there on stage :-) ....... I'll do my best not to cry or tell too many political jokes....but those who know me KNOW that I will probably have one wise crack up my sleeve! This is a day to come out, get some good food, see OUR community and the survivors having another birthday, caretakers, cancer patients, and also honoring cancer patients who have been lost from this dreaded disease called CANCER...aka MONSTER!  Our team will be serving our famous Chicken & Noodles, Lemon & Orange Shakeups, Tea, and bags of candy for the kiddos....and grownups.  We are loud, proud, and happy to be a part of the Suntone Beach Survivor's Team!!!
     Vacations....well, you already heard about St. Thomas so I will move on to the vacation that we just returned from. We spent 10 days in Hawaii...and when I say we, I mean my husband Pat, my mother, two sista's, my brother and his wife, my nephew who just returned from Turkey with the Air Force (and now stationed in S. Carolina). We also have a nephew in the Air Force in Hawaii and a niece in the Navy in Hawaii. So it was ALMOST a family reunion. We swam, we ate, we fished, we ate, we shopped, we ate, we toured, we ate, we sat, we ate. You get the point.   It was beautiful and peaceful by the ocean.  There is no better feeling than sitting on a fishing boat and feeling the air blowing through your hair along with the mist of the ocean...or seeing a whale blowing mist into the a "God wink". Feeling the warmth of the sun falling gently upon your face....glistening across the water leading right up to the boats edge. No...there's no better feeling that is right there for all of us to enjoy. Not to mention the 302 pound Marlin the guys caught (I watched) on the private boat we chartered. We had mahi mahi for supper and also caught some tuna we gave to the captain.
     You know....I have thought about this a you really don't appreciate all the little things like the sun shining upon your face, the flowers blooming at every corner....or the smell  you get as you pass by them, or how about.. how it warms your heart when your grandchild asks to "hold my hand, Ja~Ja"......people get so caught up in life and the day to day chores that you don't stop and realize it could disappear in an the blink of an eye.  Ponder on that for a few minutes.....what's really important to you....are you always hustling and bustling and not truly enjoying all the beauties God has put before us.
     Oh was a rough one. This might get a little personal but I find quite a bit of humor in it. I recently (before we left for Hawaii) saw my new General Physician Dr. Devenicia for a routine  "HI, How are you, and lets get everything charted type of visit". He came in...did the 101 questions, told me how lucky I was to still be in great shape with this sort of cancer, and that I needed to get a mammo and all that stuff. He then stood, pulled out a fresh gown, and asked me to get undressed as he left and stated he'd be back in a few......HMMMM.  My cancer is in the bile ducts...the I take off my socks? Do I take off my bra?? My underwear??  .....SO...he comes back in and I firmly state "I DID NOT TAKE OFF MY UNDERWEAR!"  MY CANCER IS ABOVE THE WAIST AND SO I DIDN'T THINK YOU NEEDED TO LOOK DOWN THERE!  He laughed and said that is just fine. I just want to examine your abdomen and liver area. I told him I had some pain right under my breasts and that he might want to see if he felt anything. He thought maybe some cysts were felt and to make an apt with an OB/GYN and get a mammo bammo and all that shtuff. This all happened before Hawaii so I had that in the back of my mind the whole time....not telling anyone but Pat. We had a great visit and I already know I made the right decision in choosing him as my new dr.  I went for my mammo bammo today and after much breath holding...I was told there are no cysts and everything looks normal. WHEW! I see my oncologist on Friday so I will see if he has any insight on my sore bammos (boobs if you hadn't figured that out by now) :-)
Mid April, I will travel to Houston to see Dr. Javle after getting my PET scan and blood work. Please pray for stability and good bloodwork.
     As I sit here in this quiet house....everyone asleep...I thank God for Peace. Peace in my life right now (except for planning fundraisers, wedding shower, wedding, and Relay events)....Peace in my heart....the kind of peace you get from only one person, God.  A friend this week told me he prayed for me every day and every night. I told him I really appreciated that. I told him I pray morning, night, and sometimes in between. I pray for a lot of people and sometimes not for myself. Then after saying "Amen"...I will think...I didn't ask God to keep me close to Him...and to protect and guide me.....and I'll say Oh, By the way, God...don't forget about me.   He never forgets.......I believe even when I forget to pray for myself, that since I give thanks, then ask for prayers for sick people, people with family problems, people with marriage problems, all kinds of problems people might have, that God knows in my heart, I want everyone to be ok. To live in harmony and just appreciate your life and the life God gave YOU.  Happy Lenten Season!

      Keep you posted after the Houston trip....oh....I am up to 97,212 hits on my blog. Thanks to everyone who keeps me in their thoughts and prayers.

Patty Corcoran

Monday, March 10, 2014

Just an update....or maybe just a few words.....

Happy Spring, right? Well....for a few days from where I sit atleast. The birds are chirping, the trees are sprouting, I have daffodils sprouted with buds, and another spring bulb that has sprouted....either an allium or hyacinth.

I saw Dr. Dy approximately a week or so ago, and I wanted all my bloodwork printed off....he seemed like he didn't want to give it to me and told me everything was perfect. White count is up, platelets are raising, all is good. I asked what the Alk Phosphatase was and he stated it wasn't back yet.....hmmmmmmmmmmmm.  So, the next day I called and asked them to fax it to me. Nothing was out of sorts in the tests.....the alk phos is staying about the same as the last couple of years (about the same as it has been all along)  but my dr says not to pay much attention to it as it isn't nearly bad enough to worry about at this point. He thinks I will go back to Houston and things will be stable. He also says I look too good for things to be bad. He states I am beautiful with my new hair coming in...and I responded kiddingly with "Don't be hitting on me just because my husband isn't with me today." We had a good laugh and he told me kiddingly to get out of his office and LIVE!.....He bought one of my children's books as did the lab tech. Ba-da-bing!

Speaking of the children's book....Irene and the Crooked Little House. I read it to the 1st Graders in Mrs. Horstmeyer's class last week at St. Joe. The Olney Daily Mail took our was a really good experience and the kids had really great questions to ask me. It was just an enjoyable morning. Our books are selling like hotcakes but they always do at first. I was at a local bakery last Friday and Janet David asked if I had them (I had some in the car). I went and grabbed one for her and the next thing I know....I had sold 9!! I also donated some pictures to the St. Joe Art Auction and they didn't do half bad.

Our Italian Beef Fundraiser is this coming Wednesday from 4-8 at The Gypsy (where else ;-) .  We will have carry outs available and plenty of meat this year so we WILL NOT run out. The beef costs  really gave us a big "spanking" this year so please feel free to tip those good looking waitresses well (they are giving all tips to our Relay team-as usual). A HUGE shout out to my friend Bob (the cook at the Sr. Center) for asking for donations to help buy a lot of the extra stuff!!  Thank you ALL!!  I also received checks to help with buying stuff from other friends and friends of my children....WOW.....just WOW! I am beyond blessed with generous people stepping up to help pull this fundraiser off in a few days!! I am a little stressed about it but everything always falls into place....and it will this week....we just need lots of people to get out and support us!!

A new GP!! General Physician!  Dr. Houston has left to live an adventure in Saudi Arabia (to teach) so I have been wondering where I would find someone with the qualities I was looking for in a dr. One who knows I don't call unless there are RED FLAGS in the pupils of my eyes. After talking to Dr. Dy and telling him I knew of the doctor I wanted but he wasn't accepting new patients. Well, come to find out, Dr. Dy is friends with the doctor I wanted, so he made a call and I see him this coming Wednesday. It's one of those "setting up status, filling out MORE paperwork, and just knowing if I need something, he will be there" kind of visit. I'll keep you posted once I have met him!!

IF you are needing one of my books, you can go to Roll With It Bakery and pick one up. I am still taking a few around and I know a lot will pick them up at our Italian Beef Night. ONCE our fundraiser is over, I will mark people off the list and then start calling the ones that requested a book long ago, and start getting books to those people. IF you are not contacted, please fell free to call or catch one of the girls OR go to Roll With It.

For all of the Cholangiocarcinoma people who read the blog, I am doing great!!  I feel good, people say I look good, and I just am taking it and running with it. In about an hour, I want to take a walk and get some fresh air in my lungs. Pat and I feel from some remarks made by my dr in Houston, that IF cancer would pop up in another organ, it might be the lungs...or one lung. So, they told me the signs to be aware of IF it might go to my lungs. I will see today as I walk briskly, if I am short of breath. I have had some sinus drainage but NO COUGH (another sign it might be traveling to my lungs). I am thinking positive and you know what.....IF it happens, it happens. God has always been there, and we will catch it fast enough to stomp on it like a grass fire!!

Wedding dress shopping is over and chandelier hunting is over!!! Two biggies we were stressing over for Samantha's wedding. Amy is due with a little boy on April 30.....   I had the pleasure of keeping Amity (Jenn & Bart's little girl) ALL NIGHT this past weekend. I mean, I couldn't believe I was qualified to keep Amity (5 mo. old) all night but it went as smooth as peanut butter! AND, they got to let loose and enjoy their self for a night at the art auction!! They are just really protective and want to spend every minute with her.

That's about it for now. I am doing well, I have a short, SHORT pixie hair style....gray in color which is new but who really cares over such little things! I feel great....but when I get a little pain here or kind of makes me stop and think...could that be something growing that shouldn't be?

In life, there are NO guarantees!  I must march on to the beat of the drum that I am always referring to. I thank God for every day, every minute, every second that I can put one foot in front of the other.

In closing, I want to address something very quickly. I have been addressed by someone who asked why I helped raise money for the American Cancer Society as they thought "not THAT much money went to research". My only response was...I feel if we find a cure for one cancer, it will hopefully be a domino effect and one day find a cure for bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). I mean...we have to start somewhere...Only appr. 2% of money goes for research for bile duct cancer (probably because there are only 2,000 diagnosed each year. It is so rare so why spend lots of money on us when there are more common cancers who get the bulk of money for research. Maybe at our own Relay in May, I will ask someone to explain to me where all the money goes....if there is a brochure to show it all in print? I have never made it a secret that a small portion of what our team raises each year, goes to The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. I am proud to say my dr is one of the doctors involved in the Foundation. When I need to research a drug, or side effects, or a new clinical trial....the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation is where I look to....that is ALL they talk about. To go to The ACS website, you will not find a lot about bile duct cancer.  I feel God is telling me to do more. To do something local after my talk with this friend. So, In April, I will start looking for people/businesses to do something or for ideas to make my idea a reality for cancer patients in my hometown. Something so small for businesses but something SO BIG for a cancer patient. Keep you posted!!

Spring blessings to all of you!!

Patty Corcoran