Friday, January 30, 2009

I feel like a cancer patient now

Isn't it funny that after months of having my body bombarded with poison, I feel like a cancer patient when the chemo is finished. But there it is.

I told Bill this the other night. This was after discovering that I'm losing eyelashes, my arm hair has disappeared, and my eyebrows are slowing going too. There's light fuzz on my head now and I do wonder if that's going to fall out too. There's no happy medium temperature wise for me. I'm either freezing or pouring sweat, usually at night. When will this end?

Finishing chemo was a victory. It was like enduring a tidal wave while hanging precariously onto a tree with one arm. I'm proud of myself for doing it. I know it was a necessity but I have to wonder how long I'm going to feel like I've been squashed like a bug underfoot.

I've been way more upbeat and positive than most. And I've made a concerted effort to be so for my Bill and my girls. It's been so difficult. I've had my princess moments but then, I think all of us are entitled to whine and cheese when we're going through chemo. I think because I've been so positive that crashing now seems harder to deal with. I'm crashing, really. I'm so tired, no completely UNmotivated. I can't collect my thoughts at all. I forget stuff. Good Lord, I almost forget my Steffie had a half day today. Can you imagine? She would've been horrified if I forgot to pick her up.

What I think is upsetting me the most is that I'm having alot of trouble writing. Concentrating is difficult, finding my article hooks is a damn strain. Research isn't easy either. It's just tough. And heaven help me if I'm on the phone and the girls are fighting. The confusion this causes makes my eyes cross. I can't multitask anymore - what mother can function AT ALL without being able to multitask?

I think "OK, I'll do this" then a half second later, forget what I wanted to do. Making a list doesn't help because all the small chores and nitpicky stuff pop into and out of my head so fast. Another annoyance.

I want to start back on my exercises slowly. I know I need to because circulation is a real issue for me since I had so many nodes removed. Hello exercise bike. Can I hang my robe off your handles? I was in my jammies until 7 p.m. - after dinner - on Tuesday. I feel like a bum. I'm not bouncing back at all here after my last chemo.

I tell myself I need to get back on my writing schedule. I write for one company solely for 2 days (usually Thursday and Friday) and knock out 20 articles for bread and butter money. Then the rest of the week, I pursue other leads and content that works for me with ad clicks and residuals as well as moving content to other sites for sale. Hah! That work plan is so shot to pieces. I sat on my butt yesterday - a day Jackie and Steffie were both in school - and didn't write one word. Concentrating requires so much mental effort it makes me want to scream.

Wrung out and worn out.

I want this to go away. Now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mom's COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dad is signing her out and taking her HOME!! Hence, the LOLcat


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Surfacing slowly...

I'm here but not really. I feel terrible still. I guess this is cumulative chemo for you, huh?

It's been bad around here. The day of chemo, Jackie had a fever at school. I called for an appointment for her at the Doc the next day, fully expecting bronchitis or walking pneumonia. It was walking pneumonia, mommy for the WIN diagnosis! She's out of commission for at least a week, on a baby Z-pack and Tussin cough syrup. The problem with these little ones is that we can't get them to cough this crap up.

She's a very meanie little patient. Thank God Bill's mom is here.

Mom is in the hospital after having chemo Wednesday. She passed out on Friday morning and was taken to the hospital. They aren't letting her out until tomorrow (Sunday) - I hope. It seems she was dehydrated, magnesium levels out of whack, anemic - all of the things that are so easy to find in a chemo patient but so hard to notice in a healthy patient. A feeling of "not right" needs to be listened to very closely by everyone around a chemo patient. And we need to listen to ourselves too.

It is very hard to be in the throes of the "worst chemo days" and not be able to help her. Makes me mad at my circumstances all over again.

This final chemo has been a real bear. Headache, check...cramps from Neulasta, cramps in my ankles, knees and thighs from Neulasta...check...fever, check...head cold, check. You name it, it's gone on here. I feel like a walking dead person. And the inside of my mouth is awful. It feels like the stringy stuff you pull off oranges, except it tastes awful. Fuzzy, like cottonmouth times 600.

So I fully expect to get another round of antibiotics from the Doc on Tuesday. All I know is that I have a host of appointments that start next week for filling my tatas, mediport removal and everything else to gear up for radiation. I don't have time for low blood counts, fevers, or all this nonsense. I WANT TO BE WELL NOW!!!!

Maybe tomorrow I'll have more energy...and maybe tomorrow I'll be more reasonable and realize that I have to give myself a little time here to get better before I can jump back into the fray.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You are too, Mom!

Kicking fanny, that is. And going with the flow, which is something all of us have to do to be able to cope with all this.

Proof? You want proof?
  • Not one, ONE, single Neulasta shot needed throughout your treatment. Your counts have been perfect every time. That's kicking butt. One cold. That's kicking butt by any definition.
  • Every single hair is still on your head. That's health baby! And enough to get a perm too? You da Bomb, MOM!
  • Eating whatever you want? I can't imagine what that's like although I am glad you're eating Clementines with me.
  • Walking the length of Montgomery Mall? Yea right, you aren't kicking butt (where's that rolly eyes icon?)
Should I go on?

Just a 1-2 more treatments and then a PET (which I KNOW will come back good) and you'll be on the maintenance chemo which is not nearly as rough or intrusive as what you're going through now. Mom, it is miracle of unimaginable proportions that there was complete resolution (quoting from your test results here) to your lymph nodes. COMPLETE RESOLUTION!!! Dr. K told me so too. I believe him - Jeez Mom, look at what he has done! His choices have been great and educated choices for both of us. You're a 5 year success story with one cancer and soon to be a many year success story with another. You're like a cat with nine lives :)

Look up, not down. Cup half full, not empty. I sucks to be going through treatment but you know what? You have armed yourself with one of the most visionary doctors possible. This is a very fluid situation that he is in tune with every moment. You couldn't ask for a better warrior on your side.

95 my dear, 95. That's what you said. I heard you and so did many other people. Remember that, make it be your mantra. Everything is going to be fine.

Love you. Chin up, please. Don't let this control you. Live each moment, enjoy each moment.

XO :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009




Chemo 6/6 today

Final chemo is today. I have some very mixed feelings about all this. Being in the throes of chemo is very reassuring since I'm checked every week by Docs and vampires to make sure my blood is doing what its supposed to do. Bill and I both feel we've made excellent choices in our physicians and in the treatment plan. Second guessing anything at this point is fruitless.

However, I do feel that I'm hitting the point of being cast adrift. That's amusing since I'll soon be seeing a Doc for radiation every day of week :) Hey, it must be Dr. K and his staff. They are a fabulous bunch of people, just the best at calming me and taking care of me. I don't freak out easily but I think I'm approaching the freak out mode soon. I love the wonderful gals on the infusion ward. Supportive of me and my family, kind and gentle. They spoil me rotten - and Mom too. The best ladies, just the best!

This final chemo is a double edged sword. I want it done but then I just hate how I feel. Some part of my brain always says "maybe it won't be that bad this time" but then it is. I'm lucky though that fatigue and tummy issues are my main concerns. Bill's Mom is coming into town tomorrow to provide her specialbrand of love and support.

Heather, a blogging comrade in this fight, is going through a terrible ordeal with fluid around her lungs and in her body. If anyone reading this believes in prayer, please include her. She's in a terrible way. Her blog is listed in my blog list if you're interested in her story as are the blogs of other women facing every thing imaginable in this breast cancer nightmare. Deb has just started treatment and seems to be kicking fanny and taking names with regular reports that she's feeling normal. Please God, let that continue. Sue is in Michigan, freezing cold and in the midst of Adriamycin chemo. You're almost done, Sue - hang in there. Renee, west coast "twin" of mine, had chemo every 3rd week on the exact day I did. That was pretty funny. She's in radiation now, thank goodness. Renee, bless you darlin. You're nearing the end of your medical road with this hoop jumping nonsense. It's almost over. And Kathy, who's 15 months out of final chemo and dealing with debilitating fatigue. You are on my mind every day, Kathy, with prayers for some resolution soon. I love that you are being innovative in seeking out alternative treatments to help yourself. Positive thoughts always for you.

And Mom, find your gumption and keep it fueled with how much we all love you. It will be okay - I can say that because I'm sitting on the front lines of this cancer. We have a plan for you, Dr. K has a plan for you and God has a plan for you. Have faith in that.

Steffie and her friend Chrissy will travel with Bill and I to the hospital today. I'd like her to meet the nurses in addition to really seeing what Mommy goes through for chemo. At 11, she needs to be aware of the magnitude of health issues and quite simply, the bigger picture of the world that doesn't always focus around friends, texting, IMing, and her :) She'll be fine. My girl is tough, easily as tough as me. Except alot louder :) Dad has brought multiple pictures to the infusion ward for the nurses to see but Steffie in person is different. She's a beautiful, delightful girl. A mess, but a joy. God's greatest gift to me.

Jackie is sporting ANOTHER cold, cough and snotty nose. I've been pounding the poor child with the coedine cough syrup from her Doc. This cold just recycles over and over again with her. And me and Bill. Steffie is immune because she eats copious amounts of salt and vinegar chips. I swear this acts as an antioxidant. The child never gets sick.

Dad is doing Inauguration activities today downtown. It's going to be chilly and he's coming out of a cold. Hope he stays warm and INSIDE as much as possible. Good make that great man. He's a rock with a little make that LOT of drama...thrown in.

And Bill is my rock with no drama. Kind and calm all the time. He puts up with my "grumpicites" being high and is genuinely happy when my "nicecites" are up too. He finds humor in all this which helps so much. He's like a caveman in his policing of this whole mess with me. What a great guy. He even tells the vampires that I attack him when my blood counts are low :) Always adding funnies to this whole nightmare to make me smile.

When I post next, I will be done with chemo.

Imagine that?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Okay, so I really DO have some hair growing!

In the correct light

at the proper angle

...drum roll...

I can actually see some new hairs on my head :)

So ignore my previous post!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not a new hair to be seen on my head

Hmm....I used to have ALOT of hair. Thick and wavy way down my back. I dealt with losing it rather well as I just let it all fall out as it wanted to. It was messy but the gradual hair loss seemed to help both Jackie and Steffie adjust to a Mommy without hair.

But, I am starting to worry. I'm doing my last chemo next Tuesday and there's not a hair to be seen on my head. I still have a few longer ones that I didn't cut but I swear, there isn't any new growth. Most people get some by now, right?

It's a worry.

I'm using Nioxin every day. Not twice but once because it's expensive.

So when can I expect to see at least some gratifying fuzz appearing on my head?

It's really hard to imagine having hair again. I hate short hair on me (Mom, I don't care that you like it - I want long hair again - not my stinking wig either). I imagine it will take the better part of 3 years to have long hair again if I never trim it. That's assuming the texture is tolerable.


Just musing...mostly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kitty Buffet

The kitty buffet...note the trickling fountain for ambiance AND fresh kitty water...available for their enjoyment at any time...

I'm running a kitty buffet here. A high dollar one at that. The cheapest can of cat food that I buy is $1.29. Why? Because I had three cats poisoned by the pet food recall in 2007. They get the best of the best here for all their kitty days.

Maui is my only cat left of my original three that came down with food poisoning from the melamine tainted pet food. She's an old lady, surrounded by her two younger companion male cats, Clyde and O'Malley. Maui is kinda high maintenance. She's deaf and decidedly more finicky than any cat should be. Could be because she's almost 18 years old. Or simply acting like any respectable cat should?

Maui went to the vet last week for an infection and I suspect the antibiotics are making her taste buds and "smell buds" a little warped, kinda like my own. I seriously doubt she's having sympathy cardboard tastes but who knows? Stranger things have happened.

To top it all off, Clyde the ragdoll has decided he really likes Maui right now and he wants to be near her. His fat butt takes up too much of Maui's favorite spot on the back of my chair so she's all bent out of shape at him. Clyde is high maintenance too.

Drama cats. Maui is the lead drama cat.

Meet Maui, old lady extraordinaire. Highest maintenance chick in the house.

Back to the kitty buffet. I got tired of cleaning out cat bowls, trying different foods that she would eat, so I just lined them up on the floor. In my morning fog, I opened a can of food by accident, adding to the 3 cans already opened in my previous night's attempt to find something she would eat. Picky old lady that she is, I needed to actually open a 5th can of food to make her happy. After I shredded ham lunch meat for her to nibble on.

Get a grip, you say?

I'm Cat Mom to all these critters. And hermit crab mom, budgie (parakeet) mom, turtle mom too. I refuse to be fish mom because that's Bill's job. I draw the line at sticking my hand in a fish-poop filled fish tank :)

I'm cranking out articles here - 8 yesterday and at 1 today but I've researched quite a few. Had a blood draw this morning (Blood is ALL good again!!) so I'm a little behind schedule. But I'll catch up soon.

Really cold outside with beautiful frost all over the grass. Still no snow though...

Would love some snow.

Back to writing - I've entertained you with my inane doings enough!! :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mommy, why are you eating cardboard?

Outta the mouths of babes, right?

Jackie heard me complaining about the food tonight. Chicken enchiladas tasted like cardboard. Even the salsa had no taste to it and mild salsa is usually very spicy to me. Everything tastes like cardboard. Toast especially. It really sucks because while I know I need to eat, I don't feel like it when everything tastes so bad that it's grossing me out.

Can a body live on clementines, water, starlight mints, and tea?

I am eating more than that but those foods right there are the only things I can really taste. And using the word taste is being very generous.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby it's COLD outside!!

No hair has a way of making a body very aware of temperature. And boy is it cold outside!! Damp with lots of rain. It's gorgeous though. The trees are ice covered from sleet. I can snap off a perfect replica of a leaf. Astonishing.

I guess I just don't worry about weather as much since I work from home. Or maybe it's because I see the world a little differently now. Ice might bring down the power lines but it sure is pretty.

Frozen pear tree

Crystals on the Alberta spruce

Hazy sky backdrop on the pear tree

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pulllllllease!!!! I have things to do!

Ah, the stupid blood counts were off this morning. Like really off. WBC and some other GR thing. Caused a whole delay to my day and this being the first one back in the saddle since Dec 30 chemo, I was geared up and ready to go.

Get blood draw
Get cat
Get Mom
Get Jackie's party packet from the little gym place
Go to vet
Return Mom
Go home
Do laundry

Not to be.

Blood draw results caused the wonderful vampire to call in the nurse, who insisted I see the Doc, who I love. So we wait. And the clock ticks. And this just about blows my whole morning.

I have a low grade fever (99.4) and it's a worry to everyone. So I get the BP and the heart rate thing, Doc comes in and makes me breathe some more. Had a little bloody nose this a.m. Told him that. What do I get? A Z-pak of antibiotics. All this drama. I don't even have a sore throat. So I ask Bill on the way home if this could be from the intestinal stuff. He says no. Well, why not? No answer - he just looks at me like I have chemo brain, which I do!

I don't feel sick. My nose is sniffly but then, I have no nose hair so that's a nuisance. I still feel wobbly but I felt fine driving. More drama.

So my day started later than I planned. And Mom met me at the vet. Did the rest of my errands with the cat helping and then me and kitty shared a chicken select meal from McD's. Gross, I know but I was starving! It was almost 1 p.m. at this point and I was waiting for my prescription. My stomach revolts if it's empty.

So here I sit, for all of like 30 minutes, waiting to get back in the car to go get Steffie. The cat is really mad and won't stop yelling at me. She needs to crash out in her kitty spot and shut up about it all.

Just like me, right!?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to me...


Today was a rough day. Not because it was my birthday but because I spent a good deal of it with terrible stomach cramps. The lovely intestinal issues of chemo visited me for almost all of today. Luckily I was ok enough for my pizza dinner tonight.

I had to call Bill home today cause I felt so badly. I cannot watch Jackie when it's like this. It was pretty depressing and I had a meltdown. I just am tired of being so dependent and helpless. It's like being a marionette for weeks at a time. It's so bad this time that I don't even have my balance back yet. Almost a week and I'm wobbly.

My taste buds have officially dropped off the chart. Peanut butter tastes like cardboard. So does everything else. Except my mint gum. Forget coffee. My morning tea is just a ritual for principles sake. I sure can't taste it too much. The canned cat food still stinks to high heaven though...

Clementine's still taste good though. Mom finally got some and she's officially on the Clementine bandwagon :)

We might be getting some ice tonight - first "something" to fall from the sky other than rain. Maryland usually has nasty weather in the winter. Very odd to reach my birthday with no measurable snow.

Jackie turns the big 4 on the 10th. She was so funny today - she thought Mommy was going to do a moon bounce party for my birthday. I didn't have the heart to tell her just walking around feels like a moon bounce :0)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Out of the rabbit hole

Whew, it's been rough. That cumulative thing they say about chemo? It's very true. I've been in my hole since last year (he he he!) Really, since last Wednesday and I just started feeling like me this morning at 8 a.m. (It's now 8:29.) I wonder what I'll do with my day if I don't sleep it away?

More side effects this time. Heart pounding, breathlessness, the works. And a headache from the Zofran that I get in the IV. It wasn't really bad like the first one just persistent. Still haven't tapped into my oxycodone store. Who needs to lose oneself even more? It's not like I was sleeping a good sleep. It's a very bizarre surface sleeping where I have these long drawn out conversations with people I don't see very much. Intricate dreams with lots of details. Not restful sleep at all. But I do think I might have slept for 3-4 hours last night. This is good because exhaustion just doesn't work with chemo.

Did the anti-nausea pills for 3 1/2 days again. Those things work like a charm. Except everything stops working. I was quite proud of myself doing the same thing as last time. I tell ya, half the battle is remembering what I've done 10 minutes earlier. Even a checklist gets me all screwed up.

It's Sunday. Wow! Talk about so many days passing. Chemo was Tuesday. Amazing how time flies when you feel like crap :)