Another Tampa Trip in the Books

I feel pretty good. Honest.  I have the most energy that I have had in probably over a year…if not more.  My back pain is gone unless I decide to sit in a terribly uncomfortable chair for any length of time (which everyone probably has this scenario, so I’m not special).  I am feeling stronger thanks to the 100 chaturangas I’m doing each week.  Chatu-what-a?!  It’s a yoga term for basically doing a slow and controlled tricep pushup.  I’m able to stand for more than 30 seconds without feeling uncomfortable, and overall my mental and physical health seem to be on the up and up.  My only issue…other than those damn tumors don’t seem to want to go away…is that I still have this annoying abdomen swelling.  Imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner and immediately wanting stretchy pants because you ate so much, but even stretchy pants aren’t cutting it because you ate enough to feed a baby hippo.  Can you picture that feeling?  Well, that’s how I feel about 90% of the time…whether I ate like a baby hippo or a baby bird.  This. Is.  Annoying.  No one seems to be terribly concerned about it, but I promise if they felt like this, then they would put some urgency on solving this problem.  My belly button has turned into an outie.  I’ve never had an outie.  This is not MY normal, people!  Of course, I brought this up in my multiple doctors’ appointments in my recent Tampa trip, and everyone is a bit confused on why this is occurring.


Tampa went well.  We have stopped doing the fly down incredibly early, hit all my appointments then fly back later that night.  It’s too much.  It’s too much on my body, so we have started flying down the day before which is much easier to take on than the old plan.  On my trip, I started off with the usual of getting blood work done. My veins have decided in the past year or two that they like to roll and be chased, so that’s a bucket of fun when I have to get poked 6 times before my veins get tagged.  Fortunately, my veins cooperated and getting blood samples was smooth sailing.  We then went upstairs to get my MRI done, but we were rather quickly told that the MRI wasn’t going to happen because they can’t accommodate me since I have an ICD (remember?  That’s that heart device thing I have implanted in my chest).  MOST ICDs aren’t MRI compatible, but I have the Cadillac of models that actually can; it just requires some extra attention for someone to be present to turn my ICD off, monitor me and turn it back on.  This (apparently) wasn’t an option even though they are very well aware of my heart situation.  We went on to our next appointment only to be told to go back to imaging to get a CT scan (like I usually have done).  The reason they ordered an MRI vs. a CT scan was because they wanted to monitor a lesion on my liver, so the MRI would give better data than the CT.  Fortunately, the CT scan went smoothly…they no longer make me drink the nasty contrast drink- I just drink a bottle of water, then get an IV put in for the contrast to be injected during the scan.  My veins cooperated again (thank goodness), and I was hooked to an IV on the first go.  Scan went fine, and then my doctors’ appointments went well.  Basically, here is the update:  my tumors have stabilized (which means they haven’t changed size), I don’t need to go back on treatment at this time, I can wait to return for more scans for 4 months, there is a concerning spot on my liver (that could be a hemangioma or it could mean my tumors have metastasized), and my blood levels are coming up at a creepy-crawly pace but they are coming up, and I’ve gained a little bit of weight.  Not bad news, right?!  I will take it.  Now, the bad news is that I have to up my intake on enzymes to help me digest my foods better and absorb more nutrients.  Boooo!  Taking enzymes mean that every time I eat I have to pop a horse pill or two or three…every time I eat!  Can you imagine how annoying this is?  I hate taking pills because it is a constant reminder that something is wrong with me. Not to mention, I already take other meds throughout the day, so now I have to add pills every time I eat.  I have to have pills on me at all times. People are going to always know I’m coming because I’m going to jingle from all the pills on me.  ¡No me gusta! Sure.  Sure. It’s a small price to pay, and I should be grateful that I’m fighting cancer as well as I am, but this stinks (to be frank).  I also don’t have a solution to this whole abdomen swelling thing.  My team thinks that taking the enzymes at a higher dose and more regularly may help correct the abdomen issues.  I’m not convinced.  I’m going to follow doctor’s orders, but I’m not convinced this is going to help with my turning into a tree trunk.  If you see me start to grow leaves out my arms and roots out my toes, then someone please call for help!


The biggest highlight of our trip was that Mike and I got to have a drink at a tiki bar, then get in the pool and (wait for it)..READ!  Yes! We got to read in the pool!  The last time we got to do that was when I was pregnant with Fischer!  It was glorious!  I adore my kids, but pool time is drastically different with young children.  There is no lounging by the pool.  I have found a perfect spot at our neighborhood pool that allows me to sit in a low lounge chair at the zero-entry part of the splash pool, so I can kind of be in the water but not really and still watch Baker play and Fischer go down the slide 800 times.  I can assure you I am not reading though- I may be sipping on a beverage, but probably not because anything I eat or drink makes me expand and go from a baby dogwood tree to a redwood…and no one is hoping to feel like a redwood in a bathing suit.  On this trip, I savored my reading time and rapidly finished my book because in the airport Mike spotted a book that screamed “buy me for Ashley!”  Lauren Weisberger (one of my favorite authors…she wrote The Devil Wears Prada) has a new book called When Life Gives You Lululemons. I mean, could this book title be any more appropriate for me?!  Trust me, I will be doing a full book report on this and getting back to you quickly. Just go ahead and order it- it’s going to be fabulous.  She wouldn’t do me wrong and make a book bad with the word “Lululemon.”  If you have not bought something from Lululemon yet, then this is what you need to know:  1- you should!  Your butt will thank you, but your wallet will not.  2- find an item on consignment off of Poshmark or Mercari, so you will get a better price and still earn the benefits of your tail in their Lulu fabric. 3- you’re purchasing yoga wear which is meditative and means pure goodness, so by purchasing an item you are either exercising, meditating or improving how your back end looks which everyone in the world would benefit from any of these reasons.  Hello?!  Lulu should sponsor me or something- I’m throwing them some love here!


Alright, that’s the current edition in The Adventures of Ashley’s Medical Nonsense.  Mike believes there are 3 main reasons my health has improved:  less stress by not working, taking up yoga/enjoying teaching BodyFlow, and taking CBD oil. Apparently, there is some research that shows some benefits to shrinking tumors by taking CBD oil but there are too many variables to prove it is the clear reason.  Whatever the reasons, I’ll take the better health.  I’ve got stuff to do, people!  Like go read my new book but not by the pool because that is a non-possibility right now.

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