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Photo credit: Briane Amodeo www.briamo.com

 

Welcome, welcome! So you want to know what this all is. Well, my name is April, not Miaka. Miaka is just my online personality. I am a freelance animator and 3D designer. I specialize in 3D worlds, more specifically IMVU. I have visited others, but never got into any of them. I use to be an active developer on Nuvera Online, but unfortunately the site met an untimely demise. I am in my mid-30s and have two incredible boys. This site is meant to bring all of my creative endeavors to one location as well as an outlet for me to discuss my personal struggles with cancer and life in general. In my opinion, there is nothing more therapeutic than talking openly about your problems. Whether or not people read it, doesn't matter.

 

To learn a bit more about my journey with cancer read the article below:
My Melanoma Story


A little bit of back history. I was a young budding animation student at the University of Wisconsin with an entrepreneurial spirit. What's girl to do to make some money around here? Cue in Cafepress.com. I made some T-shirt designs and made a couple bucks, but you can't make a living off of that. I had been working long hours on my final project animation, Sin Angel. I had a great story for it, but lacked the required time and patience to continue animating it after my graduation....so I decided to start a webcomic. Now I'm no writer and filling in the details and nuances of a story was not my forte. Bring in my good buddy from the north, Curtis. Now this guy has talent. He became my writer and Sin Angel the Webcomic was born.....and quickly died...cause I had a baby. I've tried resurrecting the comic a few times, but unfortunately, TIME was not on my side. I had found a new love (and Curtis is probably kicking himself for introducing me) with IMVU. Why? Because I was finally making money! It is a dream come true to find something that YOU ENJOY and can DO AT HOME and make money with it. I never said I made a lot of money. Being a work from home mom of an attention loving kid took care of that, but I made enough to actually be able to stay at home. I still worked a part-time job, but no babysitter was necessary. :D I did plan on getting back to my webcomic after my son started Kindergarten....but, of course, I had another kid. I guess I have to wait a few more years. Forgive me, Curtis.

 

 

Watch my animation here, but be warned, it is quite old.


 

Cancer related blog posts

My latest scan results (March 16th, 2018)

 

Well, you can either watch the video above, or you can just read ahead to find out the results of my latest scan.

I went in for a CT scan yesterday (March 16th) to check the status of the lymph nodes we have been keeping an eye on for the last couple scans. Well, I am happy to say that the nodes are still stable. No change in their size which is pretty cool. In case you are unaware of what I am talking about, the previous few scans a couple lymph nodes in my neck have been showing up enlarged. They are not sure if the cause is from the radiation treatments I had or if it is due to additional cancer. The last two scans have come back pretty much the same so they are becoming more confident that it is just from the radiation and not residual disease. I go back for a full body PET scan in 2 months and if that comes back clean again, I will be officially considered cancer free!

If you want to read my entire cancer story, read this article here: https://miakascreations.com/index.php/blog/9-my-melanoma-story​

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First scan of 2018

Happy 2018! I hope everyone had a good holiday. Mine was busy busy busy. From making Christmas presents to doing fun activities with my boys, there wasn't a single dull moment. I was scheduled to have my last PET scan just before Christmas, but with insurance being bogged down by end of season requests, I had to push it back to this past week. Well, let me tell ya, the news is pretty good.

Before I go on to tell you what the results actually say, I think I will take this moment to inform those of you who don't know what a PET scan actually is. A PET scan (positron emission tomography) measures the metabolic activity in your body, or how much energy the different parts of your body is using. In order to do that you must first go in with a low glucose count, basically after fasting for a time. They then inject you with radioactive glucose and instruct you to relax for about 45 minutes in a darkened room, no TV, no cell phone. During that time, the hypermetabolic systems in your body will start gobbling up that glucose like your organs and brain and any active tumours. This is why you need to keep you movement to a minimum. Otherwise your muscles will also suck up glucose, making the test inaccurate. After you are done with your nap, they slip you into a tube where you have to remain still for about another 45 minutes while they scan your body for radioactivity. The whole process takes about 2 hours. They also do a quick CT scan of my head and neck while I am in there since it is an all in one machine. I am still radioactive for the rest of the day, so I have to stay away from my kids. Evan is a cuddler, so that was tough.

If you remember I had about 3 lymph nodes in my neck that were enlarged and hypermetabolic. This scan showed that all 3 nodes, even though were the same size, had all reduced in metabolic activity, which means they were quite possibly just reacting to the radiation therapy. This is great news! We will, of course, keep a close eye on them, but if things continue to show progress after my next PET scan, I can finally be graduated to 6 month scans and perhaps start seeing a more local oncologist. Not that I don't like my guy in Madison. Problem is insurance, always insurance. There are no insurances in the marketplace that cover UW Health, but I don't want to be on Medicaid forever.

Here is to an awesome 2018!!

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October CT scan and MRI

I suppose I should give an update on how my latest scans went. I had and MRI on the 17th of October and a follow-up CT scan on the 20th. The MRI came up crystal clear. Absolutly wonderful news. The CT scan came up as stable. Still good news, but not the news I wanted to hear. 

Here is the CT results from my scan back in Sept:

IMPRESSION:
1. Slight interval enlargement of a hypermetabolic right level IIb lymph node --
concerning for residual nodal metastasis.
2. Other subcentimeter lymph nodes within the right level 2A, 2B, and 5A nodal
stations (as detailed in the report) are indeterminate but given contacts also
potentially concerning for additional areas of residual nodal disease.
3. Status post surgical removal of the previously identified right preauricular
metastatic implant, without evidence of local residual disease.
4. Persistent asymmetric prominence and hypermetabolic uptake of the sublingual
glands and palatine tonsils, currently favored represent reactive inflammatory
changes.

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Busy week and an update

So, as the title states, it's been a busy week. Actually, to describe it more precisely, it's been stressful. We have two little ferrets: Thor, the handsome cream coated quirky male, and Lorelei, the sassy little girl who chews on anything that has a bit of rubberiness to it. Well, our little girl decided to swallow something a little bit bigger than her tummy could handle and it got stuck. We didn't see her her swallow it, but we knew she did something. Monday she was obviously ill. She was throwing up and not eating well. By Tuesday she was not pooping much and getting worse, so by evening we decided to give the blockage protocol a try. The blockage protocol for ferrets involves feeding them pumpkin then Vaseline hourly to try to move whatever is stuck along in their intestine track. Many people have success with it. We did not. By Wednesday morning she was dying and we needed to do something quick. We took her to the animal ER where they took x-rays and spotted the blockage. They put her on fluids, and she went into surgery by Wednesday night. She is now home and doing well, but it's definitely a scary experience for any pet owner. 

And now for my update. While Lorelei was recovering in the animal hospital, I went in to have my follow up PET scan. I would like to say that it was 100% clear, but unfortunately, I cannot. But it's not all bad news either. My body, for the most part, remains disease free, but there was another lymph node that was suspicious for containing cancer. This time it was located in my neck. Instead of going right in and biopsy it, we are going to wait 6 weeks and rescan to see if it possibly is just a reactive node from the radiation I recently had. This particular node is a little deeper and under the muscle bed, so I can't imagine going at it with a needle would be too comfortable. I guess we will have to hold our breaths for another 6 weeks.

Lorelei taking ...
Lorelei resting
Thor and Lorele...

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