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The Rollercoaster Day at MD Anderson

If you read my first post earlier this morning, you may have wondered what happened to us after that . . . well, let me tell you.

{feel the jerking of the cars and the clacking as the mechanics of the coaster inch the cars up further and further towards the top of the first hill}
We met with the doctor first which was fascinating. He is truly the expert in his field and the "Big Daddy" as he was referred to when we first arrived. I had no doubts we had landed in the right place. Not only is this his primary field of study and teaching, but he publishes the articles that set the standard for all of the doctors who see patients with thyroid cancer.

He affirmed that because of my age my cancer is Stage 1 - which determines the likelihood of survival, so you can't get a better Stage unless you just plain don't have cancer at all.

He also said he thought the treatment that I had undergone already was appropriate although there were a couple of things he might have done di…
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MD Anderson Arrival - Waiting to See Doctor

Joey and I drove to Houston yesterday . . . after making sure our kids and animals were all taken care of, which is always a bigger deal than I anticipate it being. It's been a long time since Joey and I have had the chance to "get away" just the two of us, so even with the reason for the trip, it was nice to drive and chat and stop at Collin Street Bakery and Cooper Farms store and eat at Cracker Barrel as if we were on a vacation.

If you've ever taken an anti-anxiety medication, you know the strange feeling of knowing academically that the facts should be upsetting to you, but feeling inexplicably calm in the face of those still upsetting facts. It isn't truly inexplicable, though, as you took a medication that is formulated to do that very thing. However, recently I have found myself experiencing this very same feeling without any medication, and I am confident that it is the definition of "peace that passes understanding."

I will say waking up in a …

A New Version of Saturday Cartoons

Saying our family has had A LOT going on would be in the running for understatement of the year. So when we had the chance to go see the new remake of Disney’s classic, Dumbo, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cereal Party we were all over it.

If you are like us and have never heard of a Cereal Party before, it is a unique Alamo Drafthouse movie showing. The show new release movies extra early on Saturday morning - our movie started at 9:30 am. You are encouraged to wear your pjs, and they have an all-you-can-eat cereal bar set up in the front of the theater. 
What better way to do Saturday morning cartoons?!? It's even better than my childhood memories of gathering around the television in our pajamas with our bowls of cereal.
For our crew, it was our first time at Alamo DraftHouse. If you haven’t been there, it has a beautiful vintage look and feel. It's the perfect combination of old classic feel and every modern luxury you would expect from the nicest modern-day movie theater.

We a…

Next Step - Expert Answers?

Trying to find answers on cancer treatment was actually much less simple than I anticipated.

Clearly there are great things about each of the locations we were considering - Cancer Treatment Centers, Mayo Clinics, and MD Anderson. Many people have had good results at each of these places.

The bottom line is that on Monday, April 8, we will be going down to MD Anderson's Cancer Research department to meet with the premiere thyroid cancer expert - Dr. Steve Sherman. He is going to re-examine all of the test results and scans, including the pathology of the cancer tissue originally removed.

They have told us to hold our return date loosely. I'm personally feeling like there won't be any emergency treatment necessary, so we will be coming home and then possibly going back as needed for follow up.

There are still a lot of unknowns - there could be drug trials . . . waiting and additional scans . . . even a stint at Cancer Treatment Center if there is sufficient cause. But we ju…

Recommendations . . . On, ummm, Cancer Treatments?

Some of you have been tracking through every step, some of you are just wondering what weirdo asks for cancer treatment recommendations. So, in an effort to get us all in the same page, here’s a recap:

I have been battling thyroid cancer now since December 2017.

Thyroid cancer  is typically a pretty simple diagnosis and treatment leading to full remission. However, my situation has not been so simple.

I have a B-RAF gene mutation that makes it more aggressive and less responsive to treatment.

All original tests led doctors  to believe that I had a singular node that needed to be removed in December 2017. When they actually opened me up, they had to do a full thyroidectomy and remove the metastasis in five lymph nodes including one that had become it’s own tumor, growing outside the bounds of its original space. They stopped short of removing all cancerous tissue because some of   it was too close to my carotid artery.

Following that, they did a round of I-131 radiation, which for mos…

Escape Room: Never Had It Figured Out Completely

Joey and I haven't been able to sneak away for a movie together in quite awhile, so we jumped at the chance to go see Escape Room recently.

I have personally done a couple of escape rooms and enjoyed them thoroughly - the challenge, the creativity, the camaraderie that it forges. However, I was honestly a little concerned that this would be more like the Saw-series than the fun, challenging rooms I have worked to solve in the past.

But, we were more than pleasantly surprised. This movie is not only fairly family-friendly for older children, but also kept us guessing through the very last scene! That's hard to do in my world where I make a sport out of guessing the plot twists and turns of every book, movie and tv show we try to enjoy. Being able to surprise me is ALWAYS impressive - and this one did it in a big way.

I would absolutely recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys  suspense or psychological thrillers. It isn't a horror movie, but it will keep you on the edge of…

Go See Mary Poppins Returns!

I confess the details of some things have slipped by me as of late. So, literally up until the week of the screening, I thought Mary Poppins returns was a remake of the original Mary Poppins movie. My boys were quick to inform me that it was actually a sequel…and, boy, were they right!
The movie starts with a grown-up Michael and Jane with their own set of grown-up problems and three little kids stuck in the middle. I also have to confess I wasn’t prepared for the beginning of the movie to center around the death of Michael’s wife and the children’s mother. There are several very poignant moments, and I found myself crying… Yes! Crying at Mary Poppins. 
BUT the joy of the movie far outshines any solemn storylines. One of my favorite things was to look to each side of me throughout the movie and see my boys' faces beaming as they watched all of the silliness and shenanigans that we associate with Mary Poppins. 
You will see many of the same things you remember from the original mo…