Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One Down - 24 to Go! November 16, 2010

Hi Everyone!

Well, it's been a little while since I wrote last (am I supposed to say "blogged?") and I have the same excuse that most everyone else has...it's been a busy couple of weeks.  Oh, and I still have a few chemo effects charging around, too.

I have been lucky enough to be able to work between 2 - 6 hours most days, some days better than others.  My pattern has been to get up feeling pretty OK, to work in my office and be couch potato in the afternoon.  Weekend before last I slept a 13 hour night, napped twice during the day on Saturday and slept another 10 hours that night!  Didn't do that much better this last weekend.  Although I do love football, that much TV is just wasted time!  But, I think my body is sending clear messages...I'm not totally back on my feet yet.

Speaking of chemo changes:  I am much less dizzy than I was in the week that I managed to faint.  That fact likely means that my bone marrow is making more red and white cells, as it is supposed to do.  My low energy level tells me that I am probably still anemic, but not being dizzy is a start.  Yeah!

I still have peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in my fingertips and toes), which is a side effect of the Taxol.  I'm told it may take months to go away - and, for some people, it doesn't.  I hope the latter isn't me: it's really weird to try to place your feet properly when walking or to hold on to something you really can't feel.  Folks who are diabetics and others who have heart disease or other issues, can have this problem.  Until now, I never knew what they were going through.  It doesn't hurt (at least for me), but it is so weird!

The title of this blog refers, of course, to the fact that I had my first radiation treatment today.  It was easy enough and weird enough, but I think it will quickly become routine.  Several minutes of positioning by the techs, recording of numbers (91.5, 87.5, etc.), techs leaving the room, the machine beeping and whirring, and presto-chango, all done.  Maybe 20 minutes total and this one was longer since it was the first.  No pain, no sensation whatsoever.  Just calm, steady position holding for a few minutes on my part - I asked if I could breathe while the radiation was being delivered and was told "we recommend it." Hah! 

I left you at last blog with the correct impression that I had some remaining questions about the radiation dosage prescribed for me at the Sacramento office.  I want to let you know that my medical oncologist coordinated a very nice second opinion for me with a radiation oncologist in San Mateo.  This doc reviewed my chart, read all my surgery notes, chemo details, looked at my pathology slides and talked to the pathologist.  Then, he called me and told me that what was prescribed was exactly what he would do in his shop.  He explained that the difference in dosage was due to the timing of the recommendation - the longer treatment period (and higher dosage) had been discussed before I had the mastectomy and all the tumor was removed (clean margins).

I feel comfortable now in my Sacramento radiation location - and am very grateful to the wonderful docs in San Mateo for helping me get my questions answered.  Sometimes the health system does work!

Jim and I loaded the car yesterday with two cats and one bird (Booker) and a bunch of my junk and moved me into Joy's house.  I've spent a little time today getting organized and settled here.  The cats are doing well, though they and Booker are still nervous.  Sneakers is under Joy's bed...apparently for the day today.  Isn't it amazing how cats learn about where their  litter box is and just go for it?

It was hard to leave Sal (our lovely Double Yellow-headed Amazon parrot) and the dogs at home. I'm not sure how they'll interpret it and I'm most worried about Sal since he's been so strange since I've been hairless and wearing hats/scarves the past several months.  

Jim is here until Friday morning and that's a real treat for me.  We get time together and I appreciate every second of it.  It will be hard and harder once he goes home and we start the long time apart!

BTW: we are thinking that something has crawled into the engine or vent system of my lovely Toyota and died.  I had a weird noise experience last week  when I started it - kind of a rattling, bumping sound from the front passenger side.  The noise went away without any obvious resulting problems... until the last couple of days.  Now we have a very foul odor, which seems to be getting worse and we both think we've got something really dead lurking somewhere.  Unfortunately, there is nothing obvious to be seen.  Do you have any ideas of what to do?

We will likely take the car to a dealer and have it disassembled to find what the issue may be.  In the mean time, don't ask for a ride with us unless you have a really bad cold or allergies!

With thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers and with hopes that you have a wonderful week! 

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