Friday, November 20, 2009

And finally Sunshine


These are some adjectives that describe my last couple of days. Some of them were caused by my post chemo funk and others were caused by our truly first winter weather (well, winter for Kansas). I will admit the 2 are not a good combo for cheery good health!

I thought it would never stop raining. As usual, once I finished my Emends pills I fell into the post chemo funk, but finally started coming out of that on Wednesday. It seems to take longer each time. So far today, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m still having trouble with sleeping. I wake up about 1:30 am and can usually go back to sleep, but then I wake up again at 4:00 with my eyes wide open. Sometimes I go ahead and get up and then go back to bed about 5:30. The kids and Jim start getting up about 6 or 6:30, and I really like to be up to see them off to school – so little good deep sleep. Oh well, sleep is probably way over rated anyway.

Now that I’m starting to feel better, I hope to get to the list I made of things to do when I don’t have to lie down. One of these is yoga. This has actually been on my list since last spring (when I actually did a little yoga), but I’ve thought it would be perfect to do now. We even have yoga classes On Demand right in the family room, so I don’t have to get out or worry about fighting germs at the Y. No excuse, right? So, I’m letting this be known and hopefully will not keep finding a way not to start. I figure a few times of reporting here on my lack of motivation will get me going!

One last thought - I’m sure everyone has seen the controversial recommendation on breast cancer screening. I thought Livestrong had a good response.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Post Chemo High

Round 1 Chemo – DONE!

This feels like a wonderful accomplishment, but in looking back, except for my little visit to the ER, it has really been bearable. Although I’m looking forward to a break for surgery, if that gives you any idea on just how fun this has been!

Thank god for Emends! These are 3 pills I get to take the 1st days of my chemo treatment. They are so good, I wish I could get them for a week. Evidently these 3 little darlings cost about $400, which might be why I don't get a better supply. Also, I think they are just for getting you over the hump of the initial dumping of the chemicals into your body. But boy do they work!

I felt great after my treatment Thursday and spent the rest of the day snoozing away and was out for good by 9:30. Very unusual for me, cause I hate going to bed early. I also got my new sleeping pill, but the verdict is still out on that one. Jim had to get up at 3:00 am to talk to someone first thing in the morning in England. So I woke up when his alarm went off and then again at 4:00 am. But I was able to go back to sleep which is an improvement.

Friday, I went to get my Nulasta shot. I'm sure I've slaughtered the spelling on this, but it is to boost my white blood cell count and thus minimize infections. This shot must really work because my WBC is always high - right where they want it. As far as the rest of my labs, my Red Blood Count is always low. This is normal and explains my total lack of energy even on days when I feel good. The rest of my “counts” are always in the normal range.

I talked to Carrie a little about what the next steps are. I can’t meet with Dr. Neubauer again until December 3. Part of the reason is Dr. Sklar my surgeon won’t do anything until I fully recover from this chemo treatment, plus they have to give this treatment time to work (which makes sense). Then we run into the Thanksgiving Holidays. Evidently even cancer treatment stops for Turkey Day! Hopefully, the tumor will now be small enough so I can have my mastectomy and I can still get this done before Christmas. Other than me being ready for surgery, the timing will also be dependent on Dr. Sklar’s schedule. He has been fantastic so far about scheduling, so I’m hoping this won’t be an issue.

And finally a hair update. I actually still have a little hair left on my head, though who knows if this last go round will finally get rid of it. Martha ( my favorite nurse) told me it will actually start to grow back while I’m on my chemo break. I think I’ll really look like a freak! Luckily I still have I brows and lashes, so lets hope those don’t suddenly fall out at the end. My next chemo round will be a different drug, but will also cause hair loss, so I’m not through with the wigs and hats yet!

I’m off to see if the squirrels are awake.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last One for Now!

I am gearing up for my last chemo treatment in this round tomorrow. Well, actually I'm kind of dreading it, but it is the last and I've made it through 3, so I'll get through this one too. And then a break! I'm hoping I'll have my surgery before Christmas. I'll be able to check on what the schedule is tomorrow when I see Carrie, Dr. Neubauer's assistant.

Of course because it is the day before chemo, I'm feeling good. I'm still really tired and have also been having trouble sleeping, but no nausea and I can read again. I'm going to ask for a different sleeping pill tomorrow, so hopefully that will help with the sleep. I wake up several times a night and then wake up at 4 and frequently can't go back to sleep. I'm sure it is the drugs because my mind just starts racing and can't relax and I can't get back to sleep. Luckily, its not your typical lying awake worrying, it is just whatever my mind seems to latch onto - even a book or article I've read. Its kind of hard to explain, but very annoying.

The only other thing that has been happening to me this week is my face has been very sensitive. My nose frequently feels kind of numb, sort of like I've had Novocain and it is wearing off. Then my skin feels windburned. Evidently, this is kind of normal because just like any chemical you put in your body, part of it evaporates out through your skin. I think I would prefer if it was alcohol from a night of drinking good wine rather than chemo chemicals though!

I hope you're having a spectacular day and if you are in KC, enjoying the weather!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Squirrel Monitor - New Career?

I was up with the squirrels this morning. Our neighbors to the north live in a large 2 story nest perched at the top of the tallest tree in the woods. I ‘d never actually seen them enter and exit their home as they are usually already running all over the trees by the time I notice them. I had thought they were a fairly dysfunctional family because they spend their day chasing and yelling at each other, but they looked pretty happy together this morning. I just hope they are gathering a few nuts for winter along the way.

Then the boys and I took the dogs for a walk and let Jim sleep in. A peaceful morning to be out and about at the lake.

Since I feel pretty good this morning, I’m trying to embrace the new me, which for now appears to be an early morning person. Once I get through the post chemo funk days, I feel great when I wake up in the morning. In fact its kind of weird, I’ve never been a morning person and now I start out wide awake and ready to get jump out of bed by 6:00 am or so. I’m even up before Miles who is our early riser. I’ll just have to see where this goes.

We got some good news this week on our second medical front – Michael’s broken arm. He has nearly regained all flexibility in his elbow. And even better is making huge progress in regaining the use of his fingers. The docs had said all along that the nerves would come back and sure enough it is finally happening. He is now able to make a fist and move his thumb quite a bit. The coldness in his fingers is now only above the top knuckle on his pointer finger. He has been on high blood pressure and anti seizure medicine for several months now to manage the pain for the nerve damage. This pill cocktail kind of scares me, so I’m really anxious to get him well and off of this medicine. He is down to one PT session a week, so hopefully we can get this wrapped up by Christmas.

Well, I’m gonna go back and monitor the squirrels. I hope everyone has a spectacular weekend!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I feel like . . . .?

You know the funny thing about all of this chemo stuff is I’m never sure what I feel like. I’ll be rolling along feeling great and then have to go lie down and sleep for a couple of hours. It really makes it hard to plan things!

After last Thursday’s treatment went pretty well, I thought I was doing ok. Friday night I even went to the Halloween Party at the Clubhouse and really enjoyed seeing and talking to everyone. Saturday morning I woke up and felt super and full of energy. I got some things done around the house and ran an errand. I thought this is wonderful! I’m really getting a hold of this treatment thing. Then I slept the rest of the day, and it kind of went down hill from there. I thought I felt ok when it came time to go trick or treating and so I went to a friend’s house for dinner while Jim took the boys around to all of the houses. I was able to talk and hang out for about 2 hours and then I hit a wall. I got so sleepy I was worried Jim wouldn’t get back in time before I fell asleep at the table.

On Sunday, I felt so so and then yesterday I didn’t feel very good at all. When I don’t feel good, it’s a drag. I can either sleep or stare at the TV. Reading is hard - I can’t seem to concentrate and can only kind of scan headlines or read a few sentences. It feels like motion sickness. And I hate to complain, but it gets very boring. Its like I’m sitting there and really want to do something, but anything I do makes me sick. I keep thinking if I ate something or drank something or took a walk – there has to be just the right thing and I’ll feel ok. However, it seems that only patience is what I need to just work through this thing.

But I'm back this morning, feel’n pretty darn good!

Whoo Hoo!