Natalia's journey

In reality our entire family news will be shared through this blog as our baby grows and as we fight cancer.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

MD Anderson

Ok, I promised to write about my visit to MDA ... and it took me a while to do so. Yes, I am not as prolific as some other bloggers and cancer warriors. For many reasons/excuses... One, I am constantly tired and even computer makes me exhausted after 30-40 mins. Two, when I feel good I don't want to think about cancer -- I want to live and Andryusha comes as number one life choice :). Third, being sick makes you ponder what's really important. So much stuff is just meaningless and sometimes I wonder what do I really need to say -- is it important? who cares? Most of the time, I feel like there is not much to say that's really important. If I were to give the big speech (say, I were to die) -- it would be about love, the need to love and be loved. It'd would be about life, our purpose in it and life to come in the next world. Not about what I eat and how I sleep, what meds I take or how sick I get from chemo. So since I am not dying I am saving the big talk for later :) For now, excuse me for writing scarcely (or too much or just enough) -- I am moving on to MDA story.

The scoop is that this time the doctors' opinions of my treatment plan differ - a lot. The MDA onc would like me to do all scans and test at MDA from now on and I am set to go back to them on May 4. I was rather confused by the guy's attitude - overly confident and somewhat arrogant. He didn't look at my previous slides/films and I didn't particularly enjoyed his communication style (I felt stupid as no matter what question I asked he would tell me not to worry and would not go into details and explanations) In fact, he didn't listen much and interrupted both Raymond and I. I am not sure I want to go back to him but I consulted again with my current onc and he didn't mind me doing the scans/tests there. We'll see if there is any difference. Honestly, something tells me I am clear now - I've had the feeling for the last few weeks, where as before my guts where all alarmed and troubled. Bottom line, the onc at MDA stated that I am not a candidate for transplant and I don't need to do 2 more month and -- get this -- I don't even have to be clean. This was way on the opposite side of my onc, who wants me to be clean and once I am clean to do 2 more months + rads to ensure I don't relapse. Of course, I'd love to be done with chemo, but I would also love to be done with this crap once and forever! No relapse!!! So I am torn. I lean towards my current onc as I feel he wants the best for me and he is being aggressive yet conservative with his treatment plan. The MDA onc is probably smart and witty but I felt like I am just another routine case when talking to him so I am not sure how thorough he was in his analysis (if there were any). What do ya'll think?
I also got a good advise - to get a third opinion, so I am working on that in the mean time (it's not easy to switch doc's at MDA).

Next Tuesday is chemo again - this will be my 12th treatment - I've been doing this for 5+ months now (I can't believe it). Last Friday was my worst day in the entire 6 months and I am now just happy to be alive and moving on my own. I got this new drug for bone pain that is like morphine and I was all ready for being high and relaxed and having great visions; instead I got so nauseous I could not hold anything down and ended up vomiting 3 times in a row. I was gone and it was horrible -- I had to take another drug to combat the nausea. I could not eat anything entire day - I was miserable. But then by Monday I felt great -- like being myself again. I filed taxes, sorted/threw away a bunch of papers and even organized some stuff around the house. I felt so happy to be able to do things again!!! Too bad I only have 2 days left before I go into the black hole again. So here is a scoop of mundane stuff in case you wanted some :)

Next, I'll post some cool pics of Andryusha - stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Is Chernobyl related to my cancer?

Well, as the article in the title link suggests, far many more are affected than originally estimated (the other articles at the bottom are rather interesting as well). I am puzzled and curious … I don't know but feel like it may very well be linked. Ukraine is on the border with Moldova, my home country. Sometimes, I get into the drill of 'why', 'why me', 'why now' and every time I hear or see cancer related stuff on the news, it gets even more intense ... I probably should not, cause it does not make any difference. I can't turn the clock and undo anything. And frankly, I begin to think, that may be this is how it should be ... you know, cancer grows on you. I talk with myself and with my cancer... I am not angry anymore, I even joke about it. Who knows, may be someday, I'll come to miss the pains I am experiencing now. Gush, I am so much more sensitive to life. I cry for little things - a smile of Andryusha, the look in Raymond's eyes, the songs from home, you name it - and I might cry .... oh well. I'll cut it here :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

random thoughts

Just wanted to let you all know that the e-mail with the blog site will most likely be the last note; blogging is the way to go these days so just bookmark this page and periodically check in for updates and news.

Andryusha turned 6 months on Monday -- can you believe it?! I certainly can't! He is such a big boy, or better yet, he is my little man!!! I love this picture with the bluebonnets! He's been sitting up for about a month now, standing up strongly and easily turning one way. Now he can stand holding on to something on his own and roll a few times in a row. Right now he is assisting me in typing :) ... dlgoirnmlkgr -- yep, that was baby Andryusha saying 'Hi!' to ya'll!!!

Well, more on MDA later - got to feed this growing boy!

Two choices

I received this from a friend and thought I have a third choice - post it here!
It is very well worth the reading! I will post my update on MD Anderson in a while.
What would you do? You make the choice! Don't look for a punch line; There isn't one! Read it anyway. My question to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children,the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe,that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked,"Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning." Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team put winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team. <> That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world. Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his Father so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

AND, NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people think twice about sharing. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message,chances are that you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up that opportunity to brighten the day of those with us the least able, and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.
You now have two choices: <> 1. Delete <> 2. Forward

May your day, be a Shay Day,sunny today tomorrow & always!