Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Better Week - July 25, 2010

Sorry for the draggy news last it seems years ago. This week has been better every day to the point that I'm actually a little hungry now and then!

Saw my oncologist on Friday and we're set for chemo again on Monday. She tinkered with a few things, especially with the steroid as she thinks the dosage may have contributed to my crash on Friday. Hopefully, this will reduce the impact of coming off the steroids at the same time I'm feeling the impacts of the Neulasta.

Jim and I are in the first test of the pattern of coming to the Bay area before the MD check in, staying with Damian and Sarah for the weekend and going back to San Mateo for chemo on Monday/Tuesday. It seems to be working pretty well...we've had a relaxing, easy time and it's been great to see everyone. Spent time with Joy, Jamie and Katy, too! I do, however, really miss the pets!

Hoping you are all having a great Sunday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Off the Cliff July 18,2010

Hey All,

So here's the day-by-day after chemo...
Monday - chemo round one. A l
little headache, no appetite, nausea...all pretty much OK with meds.
Tuesday - Neulasta shot. Tired. Jim had to drive us all the way home. Little appetite, but OK overall.
Wednesday - able to work at home several hours. Tired but OK. Little appetite, but did eat light dinner! Friend visited overnight. Second short walk of the week!
Thursday - doing well. Attended two meetings, worked in my office. Ate pretty well...lightly. Tired at end of day.
Friday - crushed! So tired. No appetite. Slept all day. Achy. Low grade fever. Headache. Hard to even drink water. Feel awful! Not able to work as promised.
Saturday - better. Two naps, no walking outside, eating a little. Think yesterday was about the Neulasta. If so, hate it!
Sunday - better again. Can keep my head off pillow for a couple of hours at a time. Very limited appetite. Opened mail for the week...thank goodness nothing urgent. Weight down 6 lbs. this week. I called it the chemo diet - maybe so.

Was hopeful at the beginning of the week that this might be relatively OK to manage, but the end of the week changed my mind. Not looking forward to next round in 8 days. Jim is my stalwart...hard to think about this without him, not sure how I'd manage! From scrambling eggs to doing laundry, to taking me to appointments, so many things. I am soooo lucky!

Hope you are all having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Round Done - Seven to Go July 14, 2010

Hi Everyone!

We (and I always mean Jim and I, not just me) made it through the first round of chemo and Neulasta. It wasn't too bad all in all and so far. I'm on alert for changes for the next few days, as I get eased off of routine nausea med and steroids and back to regular drug effects. I do have lots of "as needed" meds if nausea pursues beyond these first few days...thank goodness.

The out-patient setting at the doc's office is relaxing, organized and very professional. First comes the IV insert (these nurses rock! No pain), then the Aloxi a new and wonderful anti-nausea med, along with a dose of steroid to make the whole thing work better. Then two big IV push syringes of Adriamyin - red punch color, terrible on veins, carefully given. Then a bag of Cytoxan for about an hour. I managed to knit, listen to a book, talk to Jim, rest. Total of about three hours in the office, then on our way. I actually ate lunch at Taco Bell - my favorite comfort food - and the last I've seen so far.

By about 3 pm, had a low-grade headache which Tylenol didn't cut. By 4 pm slightly nauseated. Ate a few graham crackers. Eventually went to watch Jim eat dinner. I managed a 1/2 cup of refried beans and a piece of bread with water. Where's my wine? Where's the fish I so love?

Took my evening cocktail - a mighty combination of Compazine, dexamethasone, ativan and Vicodin for headache. With the exception of the Vicodin for post-op pain, I've never taken any of the other drugs...but together they made for a good night's sleep.

Yesterday, to oncologist office again for Neulasta shot. This is a colony stimulating factor drug, pegylated to be long lasting. As the chemo wipes out my bone marrow's capability to make blood cells, the Neulasta kicks in with the message to get going again. This lets the docs give my chemo on a two-week rather than a three-week cycle.

Jim had to drive the whole way home (poor sweet baby!)as I was pretty much sleeping the entire trip. We're having to reconsider our plan that I do some of these on my own...may need to enlist one or two of you for drive/fly combos to get me through this mess. We have the next round figured out, though, as Jim has some work in the area when I need to be there for tretment.

Now that you know way more than you'd like about this mess, today is going OK. Still little appetite and tired. I think some of the tired is about effect of the Emend anti-nausea drug. Still hoping to do a little resting, a little working and some knitting today.

We have a beautiful sunny day here! I'm also going to sit on the front porch and watch it for a bit. Maybe take Scout for a walk - we're both supposed to be getting exercise.

Thank you for all your good wishes, cards, calls and more! Am loving hearing from you and thinking of you often. Love, xoxoxoxoxoxoxoMom/Susan

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's New...7/6/2010

Hi Everyone,

Hoping you had a great 4th of July! We did...although I'm still a bit slow and get tired, Jim and I were lucky enough to see our local parade and Front Street celebration (in sunny, beautiful but windy weather by the sea!) with Damian and Sarah, Mike and KC. It was so good to see them all and to get caught up on the news. We decided not to go to the fireworks (hmm, actually I was asleep on the couch before 8:30 p.m.)...and it turned out to be the only non-foggy display since we've been here! Oh well...

Life is progressing along and I feel lucky to have an extra ten days before starting chemo. The last drain came out on June 30 - thank heavens! - and I decided to stay on the previous chemo schedule with a start date of 7/12. Not looking forward to it, but I am really appreciating the break from travel and medical stuff and just staying at home.

Jim and I got an email from a colleague yesterday asking us to speak at the Relay for Life kick off dinner this Friday. I've been thinking about it and we've agreed to do it...but I feel a bit of a fraud. This is, I think, the survivor's dinner - women who've actually been through the whole experience and come out the other side with some time under their belts. I'm in the middle of this whole process and am clearly not an expert or a survivor of much more than a few surgeries and life in general. I was awake last night trying to figure out what to'll come to me eventually.

Continued many thanks for all the good wishes and support! You are all great blessings in our lives! Susan