Thursday, May 21, 2009

Firefae has sold and a blog about my health.

This is a few months back. you can see that my hair is back. Its even longer now than it was when this picture was taken. This was me when my hair first started falling out. I decided that I wanted to shave my head to help control the process of losing my hair.

This is a picture of me, my husband and son. It was about 2 month after my mastectomy. Before my chemo. If you look closely, you can see I was still bound. I was having trouble with infections of the incision back then. I tried to stuff my bra, but it didn't look too good.

Hi, ya'll. I wanted to share the big news:

I've been offered a contract with The Wild Rose Press' Scarlet line for Firefae. Wooohooo! I'm so excited. This time around, a hot and spicy female fae will rule the realm.

As many of you know already, my health has been deteriating the past couple of years. First I had female surgery in Feb of 07 and the pathology reports from that led to a total abdominal hysterectomy in April of 2007. Was doing great, healing great and getting my stamina back. Then in late September of 07, I felt a lump in my left breast. it was huge, but I was in denial thinking it was a cyst during the mammogram and ultrasound they rushed me through. When I went to the ob/gyn doc to get the results he told me that I had cancer. My world fell apart, but I still held onto hope that the biopsy would prove the doctors wrong. It didn't happen that way. i was diagnosed with Stage IIIA breast cancer. I had a 6.5 cm mass and it had locally metastazised to a lymph node. I underwent a mastectomy, port placement and then went through chemo. It was not fun, but faith in God and my family and friends, plus my decision to fight this, got me through the treatment. I am blessed that as of today's date, I am cancer free. I try not to dwell on it everyday, but sometimes its hard not to worry it will come back. According to the charts, I have a 79% chance of being alive and cancer free in 10 years. That's high, and I feel so blessed. but the possibility of recurrence is always there. One of my friends has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer after 2 years cancer free. she was my inspiration and its disheartening to see the possibility of mets so very close to you.

Anyways, even though I've seemed to beat cancer, my overall health has been declining and I assumed it was due to the cancer treatment. I have muscle weakness and pain in both my legs, feet and hands. And my stamina hasn't been what it used to be. I have great difficultly climbing stairs, can hardly get on the floor. If I do, I can hardly get back up. You should see me try to get in and out of a bathtub. Very, very hard.

All my doctors have been puzzled yet after several tests, assumed it was from my medication or cancer treatments. I have been tested for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, MS, and many other things. Thankfully, all have been negative.

I suffer from chronic infections and have been almost constantly on & off antibiotics for a few years. then shortly after I injured my foot on the treadmill a few months back, I started having GI problems. Could hardly hold anything down on my stomach and generally didn't feel good. But only minor lower abdominal and rectal and left flank pain. No upper abdominal pain. They thought I had Diverticulitis so I was sent to a surgeon. After a workup including a ct scan and Hidaa scan, it showed that my gall bladder was non functuioning and I had no active infection in the diverticulosis that I have. That led to a laparoscopic cholestectomy. (Gall bladder removal) I healed from that well, but the anesthesia led to an episode of severe muscle pain and temporary paralysis throughout my entire body. My husband took me to the er and after morphine and decadron, the symptoms eased up. the ER doctor told me to follow up with a Rheumatoid Dr, and told me that I have some sort of rare disorder that the regular doctors have no clue about. they also detected a UTI, so I was put on a round of cipro.

The minor pain in my lower belly,rectum and flank hadn't eased up and my bowels were all messed up even before the gallbladder surgery. He switched me to Levaquin and after 2 days, I'd become so sick again, that I went back to the Er. They took me off the Levaquin and put me on a round of Doxicyline. But the minor pain never left, although being off the Levaquin made me feel much better.

Two thursdays ago, I was at work and started feeling very strange. Dizzy, the pain was getting stronger and I knew something was wrong. My work called an ambulance and they took me back to the ER. This time, they did a rectal exam and told me that they thought I had an anal fissure. And also told me that the UTI was not gone, so I was continued on antibiotics, and was told to follow up with a GI doctor. So I called the one they referred me to, and was told they couldn't get me in until June 23rd. That was the soonest appt they had. I called my primary care physician to find out what to do and he ended up admitting me into the hospital that day. I was in for 6 days and poked, prodded every which way. In the back of my mind, I was scared that I had colon cancer, but after a colonscopy yesterday morning, it showed no cancer. I have Diverticulosis (alot of pockets)& hemorroids. Not an anal fissure. when I was first admitted, the xrays showed that I was partially impacted so they corrected that also and tested all the antibiotics with my urine culture to see what would get rid of the infection. I feel much better and was finally discharged yesterday. The doctor is trying me on a Lactose Free diet and I'm on several medications to help prevent all the Gi problems. I go see him next week.

And if that wasn't enough. During the work up for the Gall bladder surgery, a ct scan showed a small mass on my left adrenal gland. With a history of cancer, they sent me to an endocrinologist who I saw a few weeks ago. He told me that he highly suspects I have Hyperaldosteronism, or Conn's Disease. Apparently, I have had all the symptoms for years but its pretty rare. (or they used to think so. They're finding more and more people with it) He's running me through testing to see if I need the left adrenal gland removed. It depends, first, If I indeed have this disorder, 2nd-if the mass is actually causing it. The mass could be non-functioning and the disorder could be from a heritary condition from the adrenals. The testing will determine that, but its a slow go. one of the meds I'm on to control leg edema is Spironolactone. They have to take me off of it for 6 weeks before I can have the final blood test to make sure I have this.

Here's the symptoms of Hyperaldosteronism, or Conn's Disease (I have a history of all of them):

Hard to control blood pressure. I've had it for years.

May or may not have a family history of high blood pressure. If a mass is the culprit, than chances are you'll have nobody in your family with high blood pressure. I don't


Urinating more at night then during the day

low potassium levels. During my history of treatment for high blood pressure, they kept having to increase my potassium pills due to this condition

Muscle weakness in legs, hands and feet.

leg edema-Which I've developed but as long as I'm on the Spironolactone, It controls it.

And guess what they treat this disorder with, if you don't have a visible adrenal gland mass that is causing it? Spironolactone. I'm already on it. That was another clue to the doc that I have it.

You may be wondering why I've blogged about all this. Well, I'm pretty different from the rest of my family. they tend to keep their health problems private but I talk about it openly. It helps me deal with the stress of not feeling good. The more I talk, the better I handle it. Also I feel like I'm meant to get the word out for Hyperaldosteronism. the public and the medical community need start recognizing this disease. I googled and found one support group for this disorder and they accepted me. It turns out that one of the doctors that is on the group, used to work with the Dr. Conn. The doctor that the condition is named after.

So, in the future, you will probably see me posting about this disease and also, the breast cancer. I want to show people that there is life after a cancer diagnosis.

While I was in the hospital, I was able to see Farrah's Story. I was uplifted. That woman is so strong and cureagous. I'm kind of like her in the way that I want to have people see what cancer is like. Its not pretty.

If I could help one person, than I've done my job.


Debra St. John said...

Hi Deborah. You've been through so much, but yet still remain so strong. Thank you for sharing your story. My thoughts and prayers are with you. And congratulations on your sale!

joviangeldeb said...

thanks so much, Debra. I really beleive in the power of prayer.

Skhye said...

Thank you for sharing, Deborah. I think more people should talk about their health issues. So many people are uninformed. I only had fibrocystic breast but thought it was cancer for two weeks. I'd just like to point out that I'd never heard of it after being around medical anthropologists for years! They talked about everything. If I had known more, I wouldn't have freaked out. And freaked is putting it mildly. My husband calls me a hypochondriac since I've had my child. But I take parenting seriously and know I need to check into everything... My father's 70 and is always reporting that his friends didn't get something checked and couldn't be helped when they finally had to go to the doctor. ;) Blog posts make an incredible difference. And they help us talk about things when we need to. ;) We're all thinking about you. ~Skhye

joviangeldeb said...

Your welcome, Skhye. I agree with your father. I almost didn't go to the doctor right away when I found the lump. It literally could have killed me if I hadn't had gone. I learned after the cancer, that your health comes first.
Take care,

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Deborah. I'm saying a prayer for you that you get better, and that the cancer is gone for good. This blog hit home for me, since the heroine (who is modeled after a friend of mine) in my WIP has stage IIIA breast cancer as well. She had a prophylactic hysterectomy, then a year later found a malignant mass in her right breast. She had a modified radical mastectomy, followed by chemo, and she had a horrendous list of complications from that. So, my heart goes out to you. I hope you will be able to stay positive and keep fighting. The garden here at TWRP is tremendously supportive, so you won't be fighting it alone. All the best!

joviangeldeb said...

Thanks for your prayers, Kaylea. I'll pray for your friend also. I can't wait to meet your herione. we definitely have something in common. :)

Caffey said...

Deb, Thank you for sharing this all. I'm going through alot and to know I'm not alone, that I can see all this strength in you, gives me more hope too. My healing comes from so much and I hope that my thoughts and prayers are there for you too! Hugs!

joviangeldeb said...

Caffey, my thoughts and prayers are with you, too. I'm glad that I was able to give you a little encouragement just by knowing your not alone. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you.

Elaine Cantrell said...

I'm sort of like your relatives, Deborah. I keep health issues to myself, but I think you're right to share. Every single person who read your post will be rooting for you and sending prayers up for you. Hang in there. And congratulations on your contract.

joviangeldeb said...

Thanks, Elaine. Yes, everyone is so different in how they cope with illness. You have to do what works for you.
take care,

Helen Hardt said...

Deb, you are a woman of extraordinary strength and an inspiration to us all.

And huge hugs and congratulations on your sale ;).


joviangeldeb said...

Thanks, Helen. it means alot. :)

80s Queen said...

Hang in there, Deb. There is much more writing to be done. I applaud your strength and willingness to talk about your health. My dad had throat cancer and went thru horrible radiation. He got rid of it and 2 years later cancer showed back up in his back. He has fought that too and they think they have that under control. Cancer is a nasty thing but I think the worst of it is the fear I now see in my dad when he feels a new ache and pain. Not only do you have to fight cancer physically but mentally as well. I'll keep you in my prayers and am so exciting about your sales and writing success!

joviangeldeb said...

80's queen.
I'll pray for your father, too. The mental fight and fearing the cancer's return affects me everyday although I try not to dwell on it.
I'm so thankful that your father's cancer in his back seems to be under control.
take care,

Jen Childers said...

I'm pubbed with WRP too.
its good to share your story, see if there are other places to put it.Women need to support each other. its all so scary and a person feels so alone.
Your'e terrific.