Monday, September 27, 2010

Where Have I Been? September 27, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Actually, I didn't mean to be a non-blogger for these past couple of weeks...during my last chemo (September 20), I was on my iPad giving you a blow-by-blow description of what happens from IV stick to lab draw to chemo.  I discovered, however, that the iPad isn't completely compatible with this blog program and I was unable to save a portion, return to it, and still have all the tools available to me to continue writing.  I thought I saved what I had written, but it isn't posted on the site today so I think that effort was totally lost.  Oh well!

My first round of Taxol was really lousy. Several medication changes were made for the last one which helped a lot.  A new stomach medicine so I have less upset and can eat some.  More steroids so the really achy, flu part of things is reduced in the first week.  The result was that I did feel better last week - in fact I was able to WORK on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday!  I actually got something done! 

Unfortunately, the slide started on Friday (which was still an OK day, just not a working day) and continued through the weekend.  Not as bad, however, as the first round...tired, bone achy and quite dizzy.  I spent much of the weekend on the couch watching college and NFL football - ask me who won out of our state teams...not many!  Nebraska won, though!

Time is going by quickly.  Hard to believe it's the end of September!  I have two more chemo treatments and then I'm done!  After the chemo is rest for about a month or six weeks.  I'm really hoping to get back on my feet then.  Am starting to make decisions about where to get radiation - San Mateo through the same program or Sacramento.  I'm lucky enough to have family/friends with homes in both locations - it helps a lot as I'll be able to consult with both doc groups and get a sense of who will be best to work with.

Sorry for the break in communication!  I hope you are all doing well, enjoying apple pie and other wonderful fall goodies.  BTW: for those of you who live up north as we do, did you know that Michelle at Vita Cucina makes the BEST blackberry pie ever!  It was my birthday "cake" earlier this month and I've never had pie so good!  Try other kinds too...I'm sure they're fabulous!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Titles- Septermber 3, 2010

Hello Everyone!

One of the games that Jim and I like to play is about made up titles for books we "plan" to write.  For example, the last couple of years we've been thinking about a book called Presumed Republican.  If you are the middle-aged/senior-aged, chief financial officer in the local hospital who is a member of Rotary, you are ...presumed Republican.  Since just about everybody knows exactly where we live, imagine the surprise and confusion when Obama and No on Prop 8 signs appeared on our "Republican" (not) lawn a year ago.  It got most interesting when we received feedback from the K  - 8 school down the street from us that teachers were concerned about the effect of the Prop 8 sign on the children. 

Anyhow, my latest book title is Chemo Sucks (Or 50 Things to Remember Even After Chemo Fog Does Its Best).  This week's top entry for the list of 50 is "don't believe everything you're told."  Yes folks, it's been one lousy week since the Taxol.  Very close to as bad as the first round of A/C.

Remember when I asked "easier than what?" when my docs said that "most women" do better with Taxol?  Less nausea, more energy, generally feeling better I was told. "In my experience, if you had a hard time with A/C, the Taxol will be easier."  (a quote from my doc).  "My friend was jogging on the 6th day after her infusion." (a quote from infusion RN).  Hah!

In the rush to be optimistic, it is important to remember one really key thing - Taxol is chemotherapy, poison to cells.  How much fun can it be? Bottomline for me this past hasn't been any fun at all! 

I was infused on Tuesday last, got home Tuesday night, felt good until Wednesday at about noon.  From then on, you name the symptom and I've had it - bone aches all over (a Taxol specialty- you feel like your bones want to crawl out of your skin and no position is comfortable except asleep), low grade nausea which of course eliminates the appetite, dizziness, no energy, diarrhea, and more.  Am at my computer for the first time in almost a week. Actually went for a ride in the car yesterday to get out of the house for a little while.  Thank goodness the trial was cancelled; I was supposed to show up for jury duty this morning!  I totally forgot to get my medical excuse taken care of and I slept til almost 10:00 this morning.  Don't think the judge would have been too excited by my disregard of the legal system.

That's the news from Crescent City today.  BTW: if you'd like to contribute to the list for Chemo Sucks, send me your items.  We can probably come up with some fun stuff!

Have a great week, you all!  Much love!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Heading to San Mateo - Again September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day Everyone!  I hope you've all had relaxing, fun weekends...maybe with a little sun and outdoor time involved?!

Here in Crescent City, we've been lucky enough to have sun and relatively warm weather (60s - which is really nice here).  Jim went crazy yesterday in his garden and brought in handfuls of tomatoes (yellow babies, various red heirlooms - so good!) and actually canned five quarts of pickled beets.  He just loves having those veggies from his childhood in the pantry for winter-time surprises.  For me, the pickling brine smelled good, but frankly, I couldn't imagine actually eating the final product.  Maybe later.

So we're about to join the traffic as we head to San Mateo for my chemo (#5) tomorrow.  Again, not looking forward to it...though it will be a new drug and a new experience.  The AC kicked my butt again this time during the first week - but relented a bit last week.  I was able to be up and about for some hours everyday Monday - some work done, saw some friends.  Yeah!  Have been a couch potato for Saturday/Sunday, but the US Open Tennis tournament is on...

The big news for me was getting in an airplane and flying to the Bay Area for my doctor's appointment on Friday.  I haven't been in the air since before the first surgery in April - a long time, given my business - but finally saw a physical therapist about potential lymphedema in my right arm and was told what to do.  Turns out that every mastectomy patients has about a 2% chance of getting lymphedema (swelling) in the arm/s where the lymph nodes have been removed.  That risk continues, apparently, into the future and prevention activities help to avoid it. 

I don't have lymphedema now and have a pressure sleeve for my arm which I wear, especially when flying.  Turns out that the pressure gradients while in an airplane can drive lymph fluid into the arm cells and make things worse.  The long and short for this trip?  No problems...except for getting diverted from Arcata Airport to Redding because of fog (first time for me since living up here), staying overnight there and then being bussed back on Saturday.  Nothing related to my wonderful medical issues...just another adventure!  Thank goodness our friend Rick drove Jim to Arcata to pick me up and drive me home on Saturday afternoon - I would have made it, but I was tired!

You can tell, I'm sure, that I feel better this week.  I am anxious about tomorrow, but trying hard to use my semi-Zen breathing and meditation techniquest to calm down and stay focused on good things.  Thanks to everyone for all your support and for letting me be a princess-sized whiner!  Randy, am thinking of you everyday - hope your first week has gone well.

Cross your fingers for chemo tomorrow and the week afterward!  Should have less/no nausea and an "easier" time - that's how it's advertised.  Love to you all!