Thursday, January 31, 2008

Can they hear me?

Dr's appt yesterday. He appeared to listen to my concerns about the type of surgery I could get up here, and the type that I really wanted that isn't available up here and I'd like to have it done elsewhere. Then, he proceeded to tell me, that he ALSO thought I needed to consider having my ovaries removed. Gave me statistical numbers about amount of years added to survival after having this done at age 35 with my particular issues and risk factors (umm, I'm older than that already). Somewhat in shock, I tell him "wow, that's a bundle of surgery you are recomending" I told him I had reservations about being thrown immediately into menopause. He responded "you aren't having any more children, are you? So you might as well go ahead. I don't see why you would even hesitate". Yup, we can get rid of any body parts that aren't currently being used. Am I really using BOTH kidneys?????

Then, he tells me that he thinks I've been reading too much, and have too many options in front of me, that I need to go back to the local surgeon and reconsider having the mastectomies done here. That I'm giving myself unecessary anxiety. Ok, you've just signed me up for 3 significant and major surgeries and you think I have unecessary anxiety????? I just don't think they hear me. I'd bet he'd ask questions too, if it were his life, his surgery.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

ET child with cancer...

Some of you know that another family near us adopted siblings in 2006. We are the only 2 families (thuse far) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with Ethiopian children. Their adoption was far from smooth, with the younger child having to have an extended stay in Ethiopia due to testing positive for TB. Shortly after she finally arrived home, her older brother was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was treated successfully and has been in remission for only 9 months. His cancer is back, and his prognosis is poor, having had responded to the treatment for such a short time frame. Ultimately, they are looking at a bone marrow transplant for him - probably a daunting task to find a match for an Oromo Ethiopian.

Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. They have been through so much. As I've recently found out, getting specialized treatment in the UP is challenging, to say the least. They must travel to Wisconsin to get treatment for David. Here's a link to David's Caringbridge site:

Thanks for all the prayers and thoughts for our family. They are greatly appreciated. I'm finally fully recovered from my latest surgical procedure and starting to feel more positive. I see my dr tomorrow.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm still here....

The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

We are all moved, and the essentials are unpacked. I have curtains in all three of the bedrooms as of last night, so I'm considering us more or less "settled in". The dynamic duo seems to LOVE being in a smaller house, so many of my fears there were unfounded. We've had some exciting adventures - gas leak, electrical short (only when you used the microwave AND lights at the same time, though)

I'm not immensely talkative about myself at the moment. I am looking towards some pretty major surgery, which at this point I'm not inclined to have up here. I'm searching outwards - Marshfield, Detroit Metro area, Milwaukee or Minnesota. It's hard for me to focus on it, however - or anything. I don't want to think about work - I just want to stay home with my family, set up my new home and let the world pass me by for awhile.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Parenting advice

If your child has a stomache ache, it is probably a bad idea for them to consume blue raspberry flavored pop. Because later, when they start throwing up in vivid blue all the way from the very front of the church to the back, as you desperately try to get them to the restroom to no avail, it definitely is an unholy experience.

Trust me on this one.

Paint emergency

I discovered while moving boxes yesterday that the girls rooms at the new house, recently painted by the prior owners, were painted with a very low quality FLAT paint. Ok, that will last about 15 minutes!

Off to the paint store today. Now I need to get at least one of the two rooms painted prior to move it. If I get it done today, it would be much easier without the furniture and beds in the room. Is one coat paint REALLY one coat? And to find exactly, WHICH boxes I packed my painting supplies into! Painting isn't considered lifting, right?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Feeling better

Last night was bad, I had a lot of pain and couldn't get comfortable. I didn't go into work today - probably my first sick day in I don't know how long. I felt terrible when I woke up this morning. A lot of discomfort. But it's amazing how good I feel this evening.

There was a SLIM chance that my biopsy results would be available after 4pm today. I called my dr's office at 3:55pm, and got the recording that the office is closed after 3:30pm on Friday. Oh well, I tried. But my outlook is more positive, and no matter what, we'll get through this. I'll try again for the results first thing monday morning.

Finishing up packing the boxes that need to be moved tomorrow. We got the keys to the new place early this evening. When we took the girls over to drop off some stuff, Daddy had hung a jungle print shower curtain in the main bathroom along with some really fun Lion and Monkey towels. The girls thought that was sooo cool and everyone is really picking up excitement about the move. Some folks who work for me are coming over in the morning to move boxes, and big sister M is spending the night tonight and will serve as babysitter extrodinaire. When M spends the night, we stay up late and watch Law and Order reruns. I love it.

We will not be moving the majority of our furniture until the 17th, when we close on our current home. And the new house has no appliances, which are being delivered on the 17th as well. So we have a few days to move all the smaller stuff.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Biopsies are done

But not as expected. The areas that they needed to biopsy were very near the breastbone, and deep against the chest wall. I'm relatively small framed and well let's just say I'm not well endowed - at all. As we got underway with the MRI procedure, they were very concerned that due to the location, they could puncture my lung. That did wonders for my anxiety level. They scratched the procedure and took me to another room in another part of the hospital where they attempted the biopsy with ultrasound guidance. But they were only able to access 2 of the three areas. I will probably be able to get my pathology results on Monday, but I don't know what they intend to do about the third area. The radiologist mentioned the possibility of needing a surgical biopsy.

I'm sore beyond belief - the radiologist really had to use a LOT of pressure to get back to the chest wall for the biopsies, and I had two, instead of the usual one biopsy. I really didn't expect to feel this sore and beat up.

I feel great relief to have it behind me. I was told IF the results are not cancer, then I will need to have a follow up MRI shortly, then another one a few months after that to make sure that it is indeed benign. Which makes me wonder how comfortable they are with getting a benign pathology report. Or perhaps it was just that the area was so hard to get to, that their is a higher than normal possibility that they actually missed the area? They did leave several microclips behind to accurately mark the areas that they did biopsy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A door opens

A wonderful opportunity has just presented itself for us to enable more frequent contact with A's birth family in Ethiopia. Something I have been working/praying to happen for a LONG time. It came about, oddly enough, by Wood helping an organization with Ethiopian ties, ties to the area our daughter comes from.

Since I traveled to Ethiopia during the time of the riots in Nov 2005, there was no opportunity to travel. Heck, they didn't even let us out of the compound for any reason for security reasons. When I read about people's trips these days, it doesn't even remotely resemble my experience. Would I travel again, during those times? Heck yes. I was so fearful that due to the political unrest that the country would shut down, with my daughter left behind.

This was made crystal clear to me during the following experience. The traveling families that week had to register with the US embassy as to our identities, location, and emergency contact info. In case things really hit the fan over there, they would help us leave the country. My daughter too, right? No, they informed me, she wasn't a US citizen. My husband, at home with the kids, was immediately freaked out by this revelation. Because he know that I would never leave Ethiopia without my daughter, no matter what.

So there was no opportunity to meet A's birth family. Which some of you know, I had no idea existed at the time, as our referral information was incorrect. But I wonder if her family thinks we CHOSE not to meet them. Surely they don't know WHEN I traveled to Ethiopia. Do they think, seeing all the families travel south to meet birth families before and since that we didn't want to meet them? We have exchanged letters once, through our agencies Post Adoptive services, after I did an independent search for information, that was later corroborated by our agency. But I still wonder what they think about not meeting us.

As excited as I am to have this opportunity to have more contact with A's birthfamily, it puts my own situation into perspective. No matter how bad things get, I've never had to lose a child, live day to day without knowing how they are doing. I have many, many blessings in my life, for which I am very grateful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Meditation of the day

I believe that though this world is full of trouble, there is hope because You have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Monday, January 7, 2008


Some folks I work with have offered to help us move the first wave of stuff to the new house on Saturday. Apparently, they had doubts about me listening to the dr and not lifting anything. I've been relegated to stand at the door and point to which room it goes to. We will still be living at the current house until closing, but it will be a huge relief to have the majority of our boxes moved, sorted and somewhat organized and only have to move the furniture on closing day. What a tremdous blessing!

Woods insurance expired on December 31st. I changed to our insurance at my work (definitely not as good), and it's effective Jan 1, however, it's still not showing that the coverage is active. I'm concerned that the hospital won't do the procedure on Thursday if they think I don't have insurance. I also don't have the certificate of creditable coverage from our old insurance. My new insurance can exclude any pre-existing conditions unless I can prove I've had continous coverage for the past 18 months. It would definitely be preexisting as I had the previous testing done on December 31st. Woods workplace isn't too interested in getting this to me anytime soon. Keeping my fingers crossed that the paperwork all goes through.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

I find myself drawn again and again to the Psalms. The voices of the faithful, bringing their praises, thanks, hurts and grief honestly and openly before God really speaks to me right now. They are a cry to God from distress, pain or sorrow. In the midst of their pain, they can still affirm their faith in God. I'm so struggling with fear and anxiety right now. 4 more days of waiting until the biopsies.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A little light reading

I spent the morning reading Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book. Wow, what a complete book. Everything you ever wanted to know (and probably never wanted to know) about breast abnormalities, diagnostic procedures, mastectomy, reconstruction, genetics, statistic, etc. Doctors up here are different than any other doctors I've met. More of the pat you on the hand and tell you that's their job to worry about, when you ask them questions. Not my style at all. I want risk vs benefits, options and second opinions. So I need to be prepared.

So overwhelming though. I feel like pulling the covers back over my head and going back to bed. I'm having a hard time motivating myself to pack.

I have some pics of our new house:

It's not a bad little house - it's just not this one. It a 70's house, like this one (note the dark cabinets, dark wood railing and yes, it's a tri level). Actually, I've grown fond of the multi-level house - we currently live in a quad level. And there are no appliances (except an ancient dishwasher), no curtains, curtain rods, shower curtain rods, towel bars, etc. Apparently they were horrible and removed in order to sell the house. So I have a lot of work to do, but the upside is it's a fresh slate. The guy who fixed it up to sell let his wife pick the color for the front door and shutters. I'm SOOO not into the purple!

Friday, January 4, 2008


The interview I did with our local paper for Adoption Awareness month was in the paper yesterday. At the moment, I'm not feeling much like the perfect poster family for transracial adoption.

Wonder what certain workplaces thought of our family on the front cover of the paper

Thursday, January 3, 2008


They moved my biopies from the 9th to the 10th. Great, one extra day of waiting. And now I'll most likely have to go through the following weekend before getting my test results.

I've now googled every single MRI breast biopsy site on the internet. I don't know what more I'm looking for - how about that one, elusive piece of information that would make me say "see, that doesn't fit. It COULDN'T be cancer". Darn, havn't found it yet.

A few days after the procedure, we can start to move into our new house. We don't actually close on the house until the 17th, but the current owner is being sooo kind as to let us have a few extra days. What a blessing. The folks who are buying this house are in a big hurry to get in. This house is looking more like a warehouse of boxes, and less like a home. I walk down the hall and wonder what looks so strange - oh, right, the pictures are missing off the walls. I will miss this house.

Because I'm having multiple biopsies, I'm not supposed to lift heavy objects for a few days. Hopefully 48 hours counts as "a few days" because we have a LOT of boxes. Moving is sooo much work. The little girls don't make it easier - what a surprise.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


My dr's office opened at 9am this morning. I was on the phone at 9:01am. I explained that I was a patient of Dr. S and that I needed my MRI results. "Dr. S isn't in today, but he'll be in tomorrow". That's OK, I told her, I just need my test results. "But Dr. S isn't in today". Surely there are other physicians in the office who can give me my test results? Or a nurse? "Well, I'll give it to the nurse, and we'll see what we can do". 5 hrs later, I'd heard nothing. Well, if it was good news, any nurse could have called me, right? So I wait.

Finally, at 3pm, Dr. S calls me. From home. He explains that they found/confirmed 3areas that are highly suspicious. They were not on last years films. They are NOT cysts - the MRI can tell that, apparently. I'm now scheduled for MRI guided biopsies of all three areas. Did I mention that there are three?

I've never even heard of an MRI guided biopsy. For those of you who haven't had the occasion to have an MRI, it's a small, claustrophobia inducing tube, much like a coffin. You lie in the tiny, tiny tube listening to extremely loud clanking and banging noises. How in the world can they do a biopsy in an MRI? My dr was unfamiliar with all the details - he says it's relatively new. I've since looked it up on the internet, and while I'm reassured that it can be an effective way of performing a biopsy without major surgery, I'm still quite foggy on the details.

My dr emphasized that the areas are small. Even if they are malignant, that it's been caught early. If they don't get satisfactory results or are unable to get to each area for a good biopsy, then I will need surgery.

Shortly after I got off the phone with him, the hospital was calling to schedule the procedure. It's set up for next week.

And so we wait.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

No news...

It was a long shot, but we were hoping to get the preliminary MRI results yesterday. However, that meant that the radiologist would have needed to be in to read them, the results dictated and typed, and faxed to my dr. Who would have needed to be in the office to receive them. And call me. Probably too much to expect on New Years eve. Why so much urgency to get a patient in for tests, then not so much urgency to actually get test results to the patient?

I'll be on the phone first thing tomorrow am to my dr's office. Unfortunately, we are expecting 10"-14" of snow starting today and going through tonight, which could throw a wrench into everything as well. I got a ton of bloodwork done and need those results as well.

As for our New Years, after watching Antz with the girl last night on TV, I fell asleep in front of Law and Order reruns at around 10:30pm. I had been up since 5am and was terribly anxious all day yesterday and was just physically and mentally exhausted.

Today, I will distract myself (ha, like that's possible) with packing up my son B's room. B is 18 didn't come home for Christmas this year - he is in California visiting relatives. He left me in charge of packing up his room - trusting fellow, isn't he? He keeps everything - including presents he got when he was 7 or 8 years old. Some things he keeps are quite sweet - his preschool graduation sign, the teddy bear quilt I made him when he was a baby. Having only 3 sisters myself, I didn't know boys were so sentimental. We'll see him in a few weeks as we have to go downstate at the end of January.

I'll post again tomorrow.