#chocolatebrains

BRAIN: Going in for routine follow up MRI this week! I’ll update when there is something to share. Meantime, I need to spend some time in the kitchen, as I’ve worked a deal with my nurse friend. She gets a fresh batch of chocolate and peanut butter “mini brains”, provided she shares SOME with the brain tumor team. Taking care of those who take care of me. #morethankfulthantheycouldunderstand

ABTA Patient and Family Meeting

“BRAIN WEEKEND”: Mid November brought on an opportunity to be part of the patient panel for the American Brain Tumor Association Patient & Family Meeting. It was done in partnership with USC’s Brain Tumor Center. Along with meeting a really wonderful couple from Southern Cali (check out my new friend Wendy’s blog HERE. She’s amazingly informative, and it’s really well written!), I learned some of the latest info on brain metastases and got an insiders look at how “brain tumor boards” function. You can watch the replay of the entire webinar HERE. You might just learn something new and interesting too! With the replay, you can skip and zip back and forth to the portions that interest you the most!

BODY: With the “neck to knees” CT’s having been stretched out to a compromised “every 9 months”, I am not due for another one until early 2021. This makes my intestines quite happy, and I’m more than thrilled to reduce the radiation exposure.

This looks much warmer than a hospital gown!

Seeing my rockstar dermatologist immediately following the brain MRI this week. Sooooo… more info to come on this front too. I do have two spots (literal SPOTS) for him to take a closer look at. When you’re speckled like a dalmatian, it’s difficult to keep tabs on EVERYTHING all the time. With a good derm, you point, they look and either carve out for pathology, freeze off, or mark it in their chart notes to track during upcoming visits. Although I don’t look forward to the “toga parties” (chilly rooms in a hospital gown!), I do look forward to catching up with my doc. I always leave those appointments feeling well taken care of and comforted that I’m set for another 4 months. Besides, who wouldn’t enjoy general conversation with an intelligent individual? Pile on the social disconnect we’ve got with COVID, and a trip to the doctor feels like “vacation travel”! LOL!

Accurate depiction of me at 2 am

One final note regarding the bodily happs… Last week we took a gander into what’s up with the ovaries and related zones. Good news, the stubborn cyst that continued getting larger over the past 3 CT’s has decided to disappear. YAY! Follow up discussion regarding the now “multiple cyst-like structures” in my endometrium (sciencey word for the innermost lining of the uterus) will be happening over the next month or two. Considering my advancing age (Yay! More birthdays I thought may never pass!), these could be normal findings. I know precious little about perimenopause (half the men just left the page and this conversation… LOL!), aside from the torturous hot flashes that had me waking up 9-10 times per night for a month. Fun. It’s amazing I didn’t harm anyone during that month. I deserve an award of some kind. Ladies… am I right or am I right?

ADDED NOTES OF INTEREST: I stumbled across an article from Women’s Health magazine last month. It’s titled “What It Really Means to Be a Cancer Survivor” A cancer diagnosis is the start of a lifelong journey. It was written by Alice Ogelthorpe. I’m not certain whether or not Alice is a cancer survivor herself, or if she has some other vested interest in covering this particular topic, but the insight contained within the article resonated with me. Even if you’re NOT a cancer survivor, caregiver, or current patient… you likely know someone who fits into one of those categories (or soon will!). It’s a good read and worth 5-10 minutes of your time.

I will totally stab you. Don’t try me.

Time to whip up another batch of mini brains! Then tacooooooos! Yes, it’s a taco night again here in the Kozak house. What can I say? We went for our good long Sunday morning bike ride. We’ve earned some carne y queso con tortillas! Ooooh… I think I have some avocados too. This day is just getting better! You should treat yourself to something comforting too! It’s been a rough roll with COVID cases on the rise. We could all use a little positive vibe and comfort food.

Go set your alarm to watch the sunrise tomorrow, and forget the stresses of everyday life for 10 minutes. Bonus points if you can drive to the top of a hill somewhere and enjoy the sun coming up over the hood of your car, while you cradle a warm travel mug of coffee. Mmmmmm yeah….

Niki News December 2020