Sunday, August 30, 2015

All things work together.....

Well, in the last blog post, I was telling you about some losses in the job front and that my insurance coverage would end with my current company as of December 31st.  I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers on both fronts.

In a strange twist, both have been taken care for at least this school year in the last two weeks. A full time music teacher at Florida College left to pursue an opportunity in the corporate world, and because of the short timespan before school began, it was decided to divide that course load between the other teachers in the department.  This put me over the number of hours for adjunct, and they hired me as interim full-time for this school year.  The position will be officially advertised, etc. over the course of this school year, and I plan to apply for it.  In the meantime, for at least this school year, I will have benefits such as health insurance.  I am very excited for this opportunity as I get to teach all  of my loves - music education classes and supervising interns, music literature class, along with teaching instruments such as piano and woodwinds.  If you'd asked me a few years ago what would have been my dream job, this would have basically been it.  Plus, I get to teach in an environment like FC where I can go to chapel every day to learn and renew myself daily as well.  

This is a little bit different for me as I haven't gone into a job every day in the last 5 years since I worked from home, but I think it is actually a good change.  I'm just having to get back used to the alarm clock like every other teacher after the summer, lol.
My prayer would be that when the job did officially advertise and interview that I would get hired to continue teaching there on a more permanent full-time basis in the future. If you think of it, I'd appreciate your prayers for this as well.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I have had the wonderful opportunity this summer to go with a group to France and Italy, and then on my own with timeshare to Hawaii.  These trips were truly amazing, and I feel so blessed to have been able to take them.  I've posted a few of my favorite pictures from each below:

Also, in the good, or possibly great, category is that I am coming up on 3 years since diagnosis.  Since I am feeling and doing so well, that is a great milestone to pass! The actual timeframe of the cancerversary is always a little bit hard, but thankfully, I'll be with family again which always helps.

The Bad
In the not so great category is the fact that I'm losing one of the schools that I've worked with for four years.  They've changed their credentialing, and unfortunately, the credentials I have do not have enough graduate level music history to meet their new requirements.  So, this summer term will be the last that I work for them.   Since, I'd already had a little bit of ebb in some of my other positions, it makes this a bit harder especially since this school was about 1/4th of my total pay.   Also, I didn't find out until after I'd gotten home from Hawaii; so, I might have made some other choices on the trip(s) if I'd known,  but that wasn't possible after the fact.

I've been putting out a lot of resumes, and I'm hoping that something will come up to take up the slack from this.  I'd appreciate any prayers that my work situation would work out for the best, and that something good will come of all of this.

The Ugly
A couple of days after finding out about the school above, I got a letter from my health insurance company that they would no longer be offering individual and family health insurance after this December.  This is the company that I've been with throughout my time with cancer, and they have really been wonderful.  They've approved all of the tests and scans I've needed with no hassle.  The idea and task of finding a new insurance that will even just cover all of my doctors is very daunting.  Of course, it would be best if I could just find something full-time that would include insurance, which I'm searching for, but those opportunities in my field(s) are few and far between.   Otherwise, I really can't search for new insurance policies until November 1 when the marketplace re-opens.

I would really appreciate your thoughts & prayers on the health insurance front as well.  While you're at it though, please throw in some thanks for my relatively good health as we pass this 3 year cancerversary.    Hope everyone is having a good summer, and Happy 4th!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Let's stay together

" 'Cause you make me feel so brand new, And I want to spend my life with you……oh let's…Let's stay together….."
 --  Well, according to the tumor markers, NED and I are staying together for a while longer!  The tumor markers were normal, and had actually dropped a little.  We are still going to do a PTscan because it has been 8 months since the last one, and my oncologist does not want to go more than 9 months without a scan.  I'm good with that though, and it sure is easier to go into a scan knowing that the numbers aren't showing anything yet.   I will have the scan once I'm back from the FC France & Italy trip later in May.  

A recent bone scan has shown that I have developed osteopenia which is a common side effect of the anti-hormonal cancer drug that I am on.  To avoid further problems, I will start taking Zometa infusions every 6 months (as long as insurance approves it).  This drug will help build the bones, and studies have actually shown that the changes can create an uninhabitable environment for bone mets, which I am happy for us to create.  The downside is that most people feel like they have the flu or like they did after chemo for a few days after the infusion.  Hopefully, the benefits will far outweigh the side effects.  We've scheduled my first infusion to happen at the same time as my port flush in June once I've finished my two big trips.  

So, while there are some changes, things are pretty positive right now, and I'll take it!  I appreciate any prayers offered previously, and would appreciate continued prayers for a good PT scan.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life's ebb and flow

It has been 3 months since I last posted; so, I thought it was time for an update. Healthwise, I have my oncology appointment next Friday, 4/24, to do tumor markers and other blood work.  It will take some time for results, and this feels like one that is a big deal since it will mark 2 years of being NED.  I'm already getting nervous which is ridiculous since it is still a week and a half away, but it just feels like a milestone.  Hopefully, I will begin a third year being able to say the same thing.   I'd really appreciate prayers for good results.

As I've mentioned before, I still take an anti-hormonal pill every day to help keep the cancer from returning.   Unfortunately, that pill seems to have raised my cholesterol, and then the pill to address that has ended up raising my blood sugar.  I was put on a medicine for that as well, and I will see tomorrow if that is helping my blood sugar or not.   It is kind of crazy to have to take more medicine to counteract side effects, but I'll do it to avoid the alternative.  The blood sugar medicine has actually been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence; so, I'm hoping that it has some side benefits as well.

I'm still staying busy teaching 13 classes between 4 colleges this spring semester. Recently, though I've had a little more ebb than flow for future semesters.  I'm trying to find some new things to take up some of that slack. I would still most like to get on full-time at a college, but I am a bit limited since I'm not really able to move too far away from doctors and family due to everything.  Any prayers on the job front would be greatly appreciated as well.

Last but not least, I'll be crossing a few more things off my "Living List" this coming May and June.  I have two big trips planned: 1) France & Italy tour that my parents are leading and that I am getting to go on in a chaperone slot   2) Maui & Kauai, Hawaii where I get to stay in one of my timeshares on both islands.   Those trips were already paid for before I found out about the lost income for future semesters, and I'm glad that I will still get to do them.  It may sound silly, but it is really only in/on those trips that I feel free from the little black cloud of stage IV cancer that hovers slightly behind me all the time.  When traveling, I am just Nancy getting to enjoy a new place!

Oh, I almost forgot --  My hair has gotten so long (at least compared to being bald).   It now touches my shoulders, as you can see in the first picture, and I can even pull it up into a ponytail (bottom picture - Yes, it is a little puny ponytail, but it is one all the same).  Woohoo!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Long time no blog

     Well, I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. This fall was really busy for me.   When going through my initial treatment, I had around 4-6 classes in any semester.  Over the last 2 years, I have slowly added more schools and classes; so, now I had 13 classes in the fall semester.  This is quite a shift, but I am really thankful for it.  It looks like I will have 13 classes again this spring term.  Adding these classes has definitely helped me to continue crossing things off on my living list.
     In October, I had the chance to go to Peru with a friend to see Cuscu, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Piccu. It was definitely worth the time especially since I teach about the Incas in one of my Humanities classes.

     In December before the holidays, I went with my parents to Aruba for most of a week thanks to one of their timeshares and free Southwest flights.  It is such a beautiful island, and if you are looking for somewhere to go in the Caribbean, I would highly recommend it.  I would love to go back again!

     We spent the holidays in Tampa, and then got to see the old year out & the new year in with David, Jenn, & Lylah up in Tennessee.  So blessed to get to spend a week with them! I got home on Monday night just in time for classes to begin on Tuesday for the new spring semester.  So, the new term started a little bit tired, but it was all worth it!  

     Healthwise, things have been good the last few months.  My October check-up went well with everything still in the normal range.  My next appointment and blood work is Friday, January 23rd.  So, I'd appreciate your prayers and thoughts that all of the numbers will still be in the normal range.  

                                                      Wishing all a Happy New Year! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Still No Evidence of Disease

I realized that I posted on Facebook, but forgot to actually post it on here.  Everything is still good, and NED is sticking around for awhile.  Woohoo!

Monday, August 4, 2014

PET Scan Tomorrow

My blood-work that was taken a week or so ago came back good with the liver enzymes decreasing so that one was even in the normal range, and the tumor markers were still in the normal range.  One of the tumor markers did jump up 10 points, but it was still in that normal range.  Since it has been 7 months since the last PET scan, we decided to go ahead and do another one.  The jump in the tumor marker makes me a bit nervous; so, this will us know for sure what is going on.   Please keep me in your prayers that the scan will continue to show No Evidence of Disease!