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We are only a couple weeks into 2018 and it has already been very eventful. Besides having a very good scan, my youngest just turned 6! I submitted him to Fox 6 Milwaukee's "Look Who's 6" segment and they squeezed him in on the 8th despite his birthday being on the 11th. See the clip below:

For Evan's birthday, we took our annual trip to Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin Dells with my friend Melissa and her 2 boys. It was a great time as usual, and with free food and drinks all day, the trip was well worth it.

Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus

And with all of the excitement of the first couple weeks, we also had a loss. My grandmother, the last one I have, my mother's mother, passed away on the 9th. She was 88 years old. I'm not sure of her exact cause of death, but I feel she just gave up. She was diagnosed with colon cancer last year, and even though after surgery her prognosis was good, she was unhappy. She wanted to be home. When she was recovering in the hospital, she fell and broke her hip while attempting to use the bathroom and was sent to additional surgery to repair it. She couldn't walk and was unable to return home. She had to be put into a senior care facility to be cared for and ended back into the hospital for various reasons several times after that. She started having anxiety issues. At least when we visited her for Christmas she was alert and happy to see her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I have since welcomed her cat to my family. She will be greatly missed.

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!!