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Yesterday, I Met My Surgeon

I am about to experience the wonders of surgery at Miami Valley Hospital.

I met with my surgeon yesterday. She is a delightful woman from Austria, and I felt comfortable with her immediately upon meeting her. She’s a bundle of energy.

My entourage consisted of Cousin Joe (driver), Cousin Kim (note taker), and my mom. Originally, I had planned to drive myself, but at the last minute I asked Joe to drive me because I found I was having a kind of panic attack and I wasn’t sure I could safely drive the car.

So, The Surgeon wanted to do a quick exam before she talked to us about what’s what. She sent my entourage off to a conference room and it was just the two of us in the exam room. She had me sit on the exam table and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I said, “Can you tell what stage I’m in? Can you give me any details to what kind of fight I’m facing?”

Surgeon, “You don’t know?”

Me, “No. No one seems to be able to give me any complete answers.”

Surgeon, “You are in a very early stage. You have a very small tumor on your bile duct, about the size of a pimple. We can remove it through a Whipple Procedure. I’ve discussed this with my team. We feel you are an excellent candidate to have this surgery laparoscopically.” 

I cried! I laughed! I had to tell my family RIGHT AWAY! I asked her — no I probably told her —  that I needed to share this information with my family right now, tears streaming down my face. I was seriously light headed. Like a demented person I went stumbling down the hall way trying to find the conference room. One of the nurses finally took pity on me and led me to it. I burst into the room and told them (especially my mom), “It’s in an early stage! I’m a candidate for laparoscopic surgery!” And we laughed. And cried in relief. Even as I type this, my eyes are wet with relief that it’s not as bad as I thought it was.

I’ve got is Ampullary cancer–which is NOT pancreatic cancer but is often lumped in with pancreatic cancer because the treatment is similar. I have a tumor sitting in my bile duct in close proximity to my duodenum, where the bile duct an pancreatic duct come together and empty into the small intestine. The American Cancer Society says,

“Ampullary cancers often block the bile duct while they are still small and have not spread far. This blockage causes bile to build up in the body, which leads to yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) and can turn urine dark. Because of this, these cancers are usually found at an earlier stage than most pancreatic cancers, and they usually have a better prognosis (outlook) than typical pancreatic cancers.”

From The American Cancer Society

From The American Cancer Society

From The American Cancer Society

From The American Cancer Society

I had a PET scan on Wednesday which loaded me up with radioactive sugar water (something cancer cells seem to love), and it seems to indicate that the cancer has not spread to any other organs. There is some concern about my lymph nodes–they won’t know for sure until they actually open me up and look.

Next Tuesday I will check in to Miami Valley for my “Whipple Procedure” (hopefully not named for the guy who used to say please don’t squeeze the Charmin). From the American Cancer Society,

“During this operation, the surgeon removes the head of the pancreas and sometimes the body of the pancreas as well. Nearby structures such as part of the small intestine, part of the bile duct, the gallbladder, lymph nodes near the pancreas, and sometimes part of the stomach are also removed. The remaining bile duct and pancreas are then attached to the small intestine so that bile and digestive enzymes can enter the small intestine. The pieces of the small intestine (or the stomach and small intestine) are then reattached as well so that food can pass through the digestive tract. Most often, this operation is done through a large incision (cut) down the middle of the belly.”

Because I’m a non-smoker and in good health (in spite of my extra weight), The Surgeon feels I’m an excellent candidate for the laparoscopic version of this surgery.

I have an excellent surgical team, and an awesome support group on Facebook. I am in warrior mode, a Valkyrie riding off to battle. Keep me in your prayers and keep sending me positive energy. I’m pissed off at this stinking cancer. It’s disrupting my life and causing me hassle, so it’s got to go. Time to go to battle!

Tyler Gets His 15 Minutes

While I wrap up the final numbers for how much money was raised for the March Online Bichon Bash, I had to share this little bit of fame with you: Tyler appears in this week’s Bloomsberg BusinessWeek Magazine.

I don’t really mind that they give P&G all the credit for coming up with My Fire Hydrant (my blog) and Tyler–that’s just reporters editing the facts to suit their needs, and I had my 15 minutes a few years ago with The Wall Street Journal. But I wish they would have added in the URL.

Of course, Tyler is the cutest thing that the business world could ever hope to seen, and he’s in a typical Tyler pose!

4-3-12 tyler


Is he cute or what??!


Tanya turns into Princess Kaydee Lynne

Some of you may remember that my sweet boy, Tyler, was found wandering the streets of Phoenix. Kaydee Lynne’s story, from RoseMarie, is very similar to Tyler’s.

I would like to relate my latest little rescue girls Small Paws Rescue story!! Small Paws does so many wonderful things to save all these great little dogs and I welcomed one of them into my life, last October 25th.

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The day she arrived, she really needed grooming!

There was a tiny little lost, 3 month old puppy wandering the streets of busy Las Vegas, Nevada all alone, with no one to care for her and love her. No one knows how she got lost, but then someone found her and took her to a not so nice shelter, where she felt like she was put in “jail”. She had an injured eye and some nasty stuff in her ears, that made them all itchy and NO one came looking for her. The shelter couldn’t put her up for adoption because she had an eye problem and nasty ears, so they contacted some wonderful people, called SMALL PAWS. Someone came and met “Tanya”, as she was called and agreed that she was a sweet little girl and needed their help. Then poor little Tanya had to go into the hospital to have her eye fixed and her ears all cleaned out, but something else happened while she was there–she fell asleep and woke up with pains in her tummy and threads holding it together and they told her she had been spayed!!!

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Tanya, soon-to-be Kaydee Lynne

Poor little Tanya didn’t think any human would ever love her and she spent more time in that hospital getting all better. Then someone from that Small Paws place came and took her to a real home and changed her name to “Simone.” She was starting to like humans better and was finally living with some nice humans and even some other nice doggies, but she kept hearing them say, that she wasn’t going to stay there and she was worried about having to leave and live by herself again.

Then all of a sudden, one day, another Small Paws lady took and put her in a plastic cage with a blankie and her favorite toy and told Simone that she was going to a far away place to find her forever home!! It was a scary experience, because at only 6 months of age, little Simone was flying across the country from Nevada to Massachusetts all by herself. And, her second plane had a BIG problem. The humans were all scared, cuz the plane was broken and it couldn’t land, so it circled for a long time and then finally they got it down and they put Simone and everybody else on a 3rd plane. Simone was scared and had been locked in that little plastic cage for almost 12 hours, when suddenly this nice lady and man went to her, took her out of that cage, hugged her and said: Welcome to your new forever home!!!

LilyRosebud, Abby Rose, Kristy KremePuff, Miss Mollyanne & Kaydee Lynne

LilyRosebud, Abby Rose, Kristy KremePuff, Miss Mollyanne & Kaydee Lynne

That was October 25, 2012 and Simone came home to meet her 4 Bichon sisters. At first she was a little afraid, but then she found out they all liked her a lot and she really was in her forever home.

Good Golly Ms. Mollie! whozzat?

Good Golly Ms. Mollie! whozzat?

Her New Mom said she needed a new name and now her name is Kaydee Lynne. She has lots and lots of toys all her own, and bones to chew on and she gets to sleep with all of her sisters and her Mom and Dad on a great big BED.

Share? hmmmmm....not so much.

Share? hmmmmm….not so much.

Kaydee Lynne feels like a Princess living a life she never thought she would live and being loved and spoiled and her new Mom sings her a song that says: I once was lost, but now am found!!! Her eye is all better and she runs, plays, jumps and is a very happy little girl thanks to some very special people called Small Paws.

Kaydee Lynne

Kaydee Lynne


Are you looking for a Fluffy new family member?

Small Paws saves dogs! You can help–donate some bucks, save some Fluffs!




Chaz–So Sweet, Soft and Cuddly

From Jill, who styles herself “A Jersey Girl.”

We rescued our Bichon, Chaz, 1 1/2 years ago. He was found running around Philadelphia fully matted and somewhat bloody. A Philadelphia shelter picked him up and only keep strays 48 hours before they release them to the public. A small dog rescue group from NJ took 4 dogs from there that week. We were fortunate to be the first ones to see him at a Pet Smart. I sat on the floor with him, he jumped on my lap, turned over, and looked up at me with his dark eyes and black button nose. That was all it took. I didn’t know before that, that we were “Bichon people”. So sweet, soft and cuddly. My husband is in love with him as well.

Are you looking for a Fluffy new family member?

Small Paws saves dogs! You can help–donate some bucks, save some Fluffs!