Jan 21, 2023

Spellbinders Butterfly Kisses and a Life Update

I was on the Spellbinders blog last week featuring a new collection (one stamp set and coordinating dies) by Simon Hurley called Butterfly Kisses. You can find my post here. I'm determined to use colors that I don't normally use, so it was a purple fest! 

BTW, if you are wondering why I don't just share the cards here, Spellbinders has asked that we only share a peek of our cards and send folks over to their blog.


Life Update:

A few days before our Covid Christmas we learned my husband's squamous cell skin cancer had "spread". This form of cancer is almost always curable with Moh's surgery. He's had this type of skin cancer, Moh's surgery, and reconstructive plastic surgery on his head many times. His scalp is the poster child for listening to your wife and wearing sun screen (particularly if you like to run at high noon and are a red head).

In any event, the Moh's surgeon (very nice) said that the very small spot of cancer on top of his head was much larger underneath and had gone down to the bone. It had wrapped around the nerves and that's how squamous caused by sun damage* spreads to the rest of the body. She said he would need radiation on his head and lymph node, and maybe more treatment pending scans. We reacted beautifully - 2 highly educated numbskulls sitting there saying absolutely nothing. 

The bone? What did that mean?

Two days later, Mike had reconstructive surgery, but the plastic surgeon said he wasn't sure the skin graft would take since it was large and Mike already had a skin graft on this area. If it didn't take, he'd have to have more surgery and that would delay the radiation. Once again, we performed like medical rockstars  - complete silence - although Mike managed to ask when he could go back to running (we have nothing in common.)

And then the wait to see the oncologist. I was sure it had been 3 months since Mike's Moh's surgery, but it was only a couple of weeks. If you have had cancer or know anyone who has, you are familiar with the waits, the scans, the unrelenting anxiety. In this case, I woke up from my stupor and accomplished something. I figured out which of the oncology offices Mike could go to had the best record for getting appointments scheduled, etc. and made sure Mike went there. I also made a chocolate cake from scratch AND a chicken pot pie with a tater tot topping (both excellent). My love language is apparently food. 

Earlier this week Mike and I met with the oncologist, who was MUCH more optimistic. He feels pretty strongly that the cancer has not gone beyond the skull and that Mike will only need a month of radiation. Not the best way to spend a month, but much better than we feared. He won't know for sure until some tests are done, but I am feeling pretty good about this whole thing. 

I also really liked the fact that he will meet with Mike and me weekly during the month of radiation to see how he is doing (he said is was important to get feedback from the spouse on how the patient is really doing...). This time I managed to take some incomprehensible notes and mentioned the rather grim words from the Moh's surgeon. Bottom line, he disagrees but the scans will tell.

In the meantime, before we met with the oncologist, I was frozen in anxiety and we were both recovering from Covid (not bad but not great). I had some assignments due for Spellbinders but my heart and mind were not engaged in crafting, as I was too busy planning for armageddon. I made the cards, but honestly not my favorite work. But, it was good to have something to do to get me off the chair while I was watching TV (I started watching The Affair - it's like Peyton Place on crack. I recommend if you don't mind what we used to call X-rated and a soap opera). 

Then I got a call from my doctor - my mammogram was abnormal and I'd have to do a follow up ultrasound. Mike was very anxious but honestly, my brain was "sorry, I don't have time for you." Luckily, my brain was right and the ultrasound found no cancer. 

So that's the life update. I'm back to life and getting things done. I'll update when there is something to say. Thanks for listening. Writing is good for me. 

* There are 2 ways to get squamous cell cancer - one from being out in the sun and one from the HPV virus. Apparently, people (particularly men) get squamous cell cancer in the mouth from having oral with someone who has the HPV virus. That's why they developed the vaccine. Who knew? (Not me.)

1 comment:

Leslie Miller said...

I'm feeling this in the pit of my stomach, but glad to read it may not be as bad as first thought. I'm going through some of that waiting with a friend right now, plus our Wally... I'm on edge. So, yes, I do understand. My fingers are crossed for Mike and you. Your cards look pretty. I'll go have a look. Thank you, Joan.