Monday, November 16, 2009


Hi everyone
This week has all been about mushrooms. We have recently identified Boletes, and eaten them and yesterday I went out with Brenda and have a large bucket of Matsutakes  ( also known as pine mushrooms). We have not eaten them yet, but hope to once we get to Eugene today.
It is SOOO much fun going mushrooming these days because I now feel comfortable identifying 6 different types of mushrooms. This has been a great mushroom year because the rains have come but have left us with some clear days in between, AND it has not frozen yet. (at least this is my explanation)
Saturday was Ken's 55th birthday, and what a great day it was. We went out onto the trails, in fact to a particular trail.  It is called "8 ball", and the last time I ran this trail was the weekend before I went to the doctor, who did the biopsy that found my cancer. There are  a series of trails that Ken and I have done for many years, Ken rides his mountain bike and I run. The last time we did this trail, last Feb, I almost fainted. (that had never happened to me, and was partly the reason I started to get concerned about the chronic bleeding I had been having). So it was a very special and symbolic "run" for us. Ken said it made his birthday to be out once again on the trails after almost 9 months.
It was also the first time I have shaved my armpits in 7 months, but that is what Ken calls TMI (too much info), but once hair starts to grow it  GROWS.  I am not fertilizing it at all, it just seems every day it is longer, and thicker, and what is coming in now is basically black.  ?? Cannot say I was not warned that it would be weird. No sign of curl though, the hair that started growing 3 weeks ago is basically all dark black and straight as a board(my hair has always been pretty straight)
The blood count is still low (the white blood cells), but I talked to a nurse at the cancer clinic the other day who said that it can take 3-6 months for it to come back and that some people, its the hemoglobin that does not come up, and others it is the platelets, and still others it is the white blood cells.
At the surgeon's visit a few weeks ago, she did a PAP which is just a smear they do looking for abnormal cells in the vagina, she also looks at the tissues for abnormal appearing growths. The Pap came back normal. I would be extremely surprised if it were to come back there, the vagina was treated with brachy radiation, plus external beam radiation as well as the chemo.  I guess it was the most treated part of me, so cannot imagine anything ever growing there.....
The ca 125 is still 6, and from the recent reading I have done, in women who have had all of their reproductive organs removed it is usually under 10. I have also recently found out that a change in 15% of the ca 125 is considered significant. I also read one study that showed that a change in the ca125 can occur 6 months before a recurrence becomes symptomatic,  making it an extremely useful test.  The earlier you can catch a recurrence the better your chances of treating it,
The problem is that the ca 125 not useful in everyone. As many as 15% of people with ovarian or endometrial cancer will not have an elevated ca 125.  For now I am getting a lot of comfort knowing that mine is under 10, and has been there for several months.

So no cancer cell has risen from the ruins of the battlefield that my body has been over the past several months.
Ken and I had thought a few years ago that we would retire when he turned 55, but that is NOT going to happen.  Perhaps we will try for when I turn 55. We are having fun though with this working one week on and one week off. We are spending much of our "off" time in Eugene. It is kind of nice to have that separation from work, perhaps it is a good time to "practice" being retired.
I do have to say that I feel better every week, it is odd how you really do not know how badly you were feeling when you have been like that for awhile.  I hazard to say that I think I am feeling better than I was before my surgery. I guess I just did not know that something was wrong.  I ran from my house to the hospital the other day, which is 5 miles, and it was no problem at all.  Maybe I WILL do the Eugene marathon next year.
Peace and Love
Janet Bates
jankenb  @

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