Friday, July 15, 2016

Half way.

A couple of long days, but not too stressful. I am super grateful for the new peds radiologist. He's been really great about working with me, listening to my concerns and the radiation techs- who have known us for years, have been wonderful.

Lily's day started out fasting- since they try to get good images of her belly and that's where the adrenal tumor would likely grow back- it's better to not have a lot of extras in there. We all know how much Lily loves food(what's not to love?) it is a minor challenge. We all tend to get Hangry - so we sat down and went through old baby pictures to distract her. Of course as we sit there, she's sniffling, coughing and says her throat hurts. So just like her mama- she gets sick for scans. Which other than worrying about the breathing and coughing- what do you want to do when you feel sick- lay around and sleep. Not in a cold, hard, loud, tube- but we take what we can get. As we looked through pictures, I found the one that always sticks out in my mind. This is one of those pictures that always makes me think- wow, was that big old adrenal tumor already there?

But we can't wallow or participate in shoulda coulda wouldas. We learn and go forward. Which is why we scan. There is a lot of anxiety surrounding scans and one of the reasons many clinics won't do it- they feel it causes more stress than benefit. I think it is an individual thing- like anything. This is one of those times genetic counselors and a good support staff is instrumental- they help people decide what is right for them in this area. Some find the scans too stressful and  pay attention to symptoms and have things immediately checked out. Since we have been doing this cancer drill awhile- and over many generations- there is some merit to both. Ideally the routine that works with the person's needs and coverage- is ideal. I didn't scan for a lot of years. It was too stressful, but over time I have seen first hand how catching tumors early has definitely advantages in survival. There are still so many unknowns, but I want the best chance for my kids. There will be tumors due to type and location that really not much can be done without damaging quality of life. Those decisions suck. I have one of those decisions in my head. You make those calls at the time you have to with the information you have. 

We get to MRI around 10:30. We fill out the papers since they last a year and it's been a year. I don't think I've never not filled out the papers- but its one of those things- it's almost automatic. I read the questions out loud so the kids can answer. The are you currently pregnant question usually gets fun responses. 

The tech hands Lily her scrubs and takes the movie Lily brought to watch in the groovy MRI goggles. She changes and we go over the plan. There's a lot to scan. She has a dedicated brain and abdomen as well as the full body for LFS screening. They try to minimize the time as much as possible but really want good images- so we know it's gonna be a long day. She said in between each set she will give Lily the opportunity to get up and walk around. I know this adds on to the overall time, there are coils and gear that has to be taken off and reset each time she moves- but I appreciate them taking good care of her. 
off to the races. 

The goggles before they put them on- with headphones, under the head "cage"
Overall, Lily is in the scanner about 4 hours. The peds radiologist comes and talks to me after the first round, it all looks good so far and then each subsequent round. We talk a bit about LFS and things I've noticed with Lily and through others' experiences just to help him understand my concerns. He has a 10 year old and it shows, he is great with Lily and great with me. I appreciate the extra time and care. Most MRI facilities are really busy, Tripler is exceptionally so(lots of active people and dependents) and they are down 1 machine. They brought in a portable out in the parking lot- so patients periodically come in, change and head out back. It reminds me of my very first MRI when I was 15- in the parking lot of the hospital. 

Lily comes out a few times- they had to run a couple sequences over- which in MRI world means starting over. The cold is definitely a factor and I feel bad for her- but she is doing well. We walk up and down the hall and I rub her back. Then she gets a bit of a reprieve- the system has to reboot and so she plays on her iPad for a bit. As she goes back in, the doc comes and we talk about her arm. We've been watching a spot for years in her humerus. We kinda forget about it in between scans and then it's like ripping a scab off- oh I forgot about that. This is one of the gray areas. You find things that could be normal weirdisms you'd never know about- or it could be the beginning of something. In LFS we tend to err on the side of it could be something and out is better than in. But that works well for superficial lumps and bumps- once you get deeper- you have to start weighing benefits and risks of digging around. He would like an Xray to check. I used to freak out about X-rays- but I know that it will give him different information than the MRI and it is better to see bones with.  I ask- if it doesn't really show anything are we going to come back and look more with MRI and should we do a more dedicated MRI since it has grown a couple millimeters and she is in there and we still need to look at her arms? And this might be the point he starts wondering what he got himself into with us. So I explain- we grow weird. That certain cancers seem to pop up at certain ages in LFS. On a normal person I would be ok saying"it's a cyst" and maybe monitoring it- but in an LFS kiddo with a history of 2 cancers already- I would be more comfortable with more information especially if we need to decide to biopsy or remove it. I explain how the sarcoma in her leg and my arm really never concerned the docs and it was at my insistence they were removed. It happens a lot in our group of mutants. And with hormone changes and this age- I need to know more. I want her oncologist to have more information. He orders the dedicated MRI. The tech tells me she saw the Mallory's were on the schedule and took leave for the rest of the week. I joke she should know- Lily's not the easy one- she shoulda taken Bella or Kiera. 

Lily is done just in time for her hearing aid appointment. Which luckily is just down the hall. We enjoy a little Chopped while we wait for the audiologist. She's getting her new streamer so she can pair her hearing aids to blue tooth and use them as headphones. It's actually pretty cool and she is stoked. 

rocking out to Katy Perry. Roar.

We head back to radiology so we can look at the images with the doc and squeak into the Xray. It's now after 5 so the hospital is quiet. I like this time in the hospital. And I know traffic is a bear- so no rush to sit in it. I feed Lily a pop-tart from the vending machine because I know she's starving. The spot in her arm is bigger than I like. Definitely want to discuss this with her onc. She is fascinated by her insides. Her left adrenal looks good, a couple other areas I was concerned about look good. I feel positive overall. We head over to Xray. 

The tech wants to know which part hurts. I tell him they saw a spot on MRi and we are cancer screening. His bedside manner instantly is more genial. We finally are done for the day. I read half a book, my head isn't splitting, I've managed stress and lily did exceptional. I thank her for doing this and she gets to pick dinner. 
Chili's- Root Beer and games

We get home and pretty much crash. I had been patting myself on the back for how well I handled it-and that I was feeling pretty decent and then the exhaustion hit. I woke up Thursday feeling pretty awful. The debate- do I go back to bed or get on with the day? I went for a walk and called Monica for a mini mom melt down. I wish she was next door still- but telephone works. She reassures me that I'm allowed to be exhausted and tired and it will be fine. Sometimes you just need to hear it. I take it easy as possible until afternoon activities. We take Phillip to work out, Kiera to voice lessons, a quick stop at Walmart for necessities and a movie for Bella in the scanner- she's a huge Divergent fan and the Allegiant was out on DVD. We pick Phillip up- drop him and Kiera off- they will take Lily over to Aunt Theresa's for dinner and Bella and I are off to Tripler. 
1st non sedated solo MRI- rocked it!
Bella is milking the hunger thing- and suffers from my nervous bladder. I think we stop at every bathroom. We fill out her forms, change her into scrubs and she and Ducky are ready to go. Ducky gets a quick check in the metal detector and is approved to ride along for the MRI. 
Bella and Ducky- a special stuffed comfort made by her friend Sophia. 
I like the quiet of evening MRIs. Except for the construction and the noxious chemical smells that are coming from down the hall. Fortunately they only work until 6 and it fades when they close the door. The tech pokes her head out and says Bella is doing amazing. She even passed up the first break.

Bella and Ducky

 She comes out a couple times after that and we walk down the hall and get a drink. She is so much more relaxed. I'm glad it wasn't as bad as she feared. She wants to see outside, which I find fascinating. We walk down the hall and I warn her it's dark out- so we can't see much. Overall she was pretty quick- less than 2 hours in the scanner. She is the shortest one- so that helps. Phillip is gonna take AWHILE. She picks Taco Bell for Dinner so we make a run for the Border. We chase that with a McDonald's ice cream cone. I thank her for going through it. I know it's not normal, easy or fun and I appreciate it. I'm impressed- I knew she could do it- I'm glad she did so well. 
Proud of this Kid!

Tonight is Phillip and tomorrow morning Kiera. Phil has Phillip duty- which after an overnight alert shift last night means he'll probably get a good nap in the waiting room. 

I don't expect to hear about the kids results right away- hoping maybe to catch up with the radiologist on Saturday. I'll give him time to make the formal reports and call the oncologist next week. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts, I definitely appreciate it.

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Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)