Wednesday, February 24, 2010

IT Took Over

I had mentioned last post that Jim had gotten the stomach flu. By Friday afternoon at 5:00, Miles, Michael and I all had it. And IT was awful. The kind of flu that totally wipes you out and makes you hate your whole body. The kind where you are soooo miserable you can't even sleep, so you lie in bed and wait for daylight. The kind that lays flat 8 and 11 year olds to the point where they can't even drag themselves to the computer or video game controller. Amelia gave it a valiant fight by quarantining herself, but finally succumbed Sunday afternoon. After the initial 12 hours of intense agony, you feel better but still don't have much energy or appetite for 3 or 4 days. Thats the kind of flu we had. Unless of course you are Jim and had to care for the rest of us. Then you were only sick for 2 days.

But we are all on the mend now. The boys went back to school yesterday, and Amelia went back today. The boys, however, are back home today and out the rest of the week because of parent teacher conferences. They are glad they are not having to waste good days off from school being sick. And I'm happy we are all feeling better.

Feeling better, so we can think of green grass and blue skies and yellow sunshine. And picture the redbuds and dogwoods in bloom. And figure out how I'm going to get my lilac bouquet this year.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

2 Down, 2 To Go

I just got back from chemo treatment and so far, so good. Jim had the stomach flu today, so I was on my own. Seems we are developing a habit of someone being sick on chemo days, so I hope we can break this cycle. After today, I should only have 2 left. All of my "counts" were good, so I must be doing ok at staying well. It is hard because I've been feeling very good, so it is hard to avoid going out. I missed a school event this week, but as that is probably where Jim picked his bug up, I'm glad I didn't go. A friend from the Lake dropped me off at the cancer center this morning and then my sister came by this afternoon to take me home. Thank goodness for friends and sisters! I can always call Megan at the last minute in an emergency, and she is there. She even sent chicken noodle soup home for Jim. As usual we have someone bring a meal in tonight, so I don't need to worry about what to feed the rest of the group.

As part of my chemo drugs, I get a steroid and benadryl to combat the nausea. It is VERY interesting to be sleepy from the benadryl and wound up from the steroids at the same time. And it will make it very hard to sleep tonight.

Well, just as my hair has come in, it is falling out again. I think it just started today. No one can seem to agree on what color it is, but there is lots of blond. Thankfully, my head isn't hurting yet. I hope my scalp has adjusted to the hair coming and going and won't give me any trouble.

Kuddos to the kids for really pitching in today while Jim is sick. Miles even got the dogs walked before school.

It is 50 degrees here, so I hope everyone is having a spectacular day!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Hey Its My Birthday!

Remember when you were a kid and birthdays were a celebration that you were FINALLY another year older? Another year closer to something. From about 3 to 12, I looked forward to birthdays for the cake and presents. Big milestones were 16 so I could drive, 18 so I could vote for Jimmy Carter for Pres and of course, 21 so I could finally quit panicking that the bouncer would reject my fake id. For a while in my late 20's they were fun because a friend and I would hit the bars and tell the bartender it was our 21st birthday so we could get free beer. Then we'd laugh until we were in tears because at the ripe old age of 27 or 28, we could still pass for 21. Once I had kids, I decided my birthday wasn't that special anymore because each of theirs was a celebration of the 3 happiest days of my life. My birthday just wasn't as much fun, not because I dreaded the marking of time, but the day didn't really mean much anymore.

I'm pretty sure my dad had a different philosophy. He was the only male in his family who lived past the age of 40. So rather than think that each birthday was just a tick marking another year, it was the reminder that he'd gotten another year he really hadn't expected to have. Dad had a wonderful sense of humor, but I think he was really serious about this. When he turned 70, he started scaring the sh*#t out of us with his driving. When I said maybe he should slow down, he replied "I'm not going to become one of those old men who go 45 mph on the highway" - and believe me he didn't! And not that he was perfect, but he exercised regularly and most importantly he stayed engaged and interested. I never heard Dad complain about growing old.

So given my pretty scary bout with cancer, I'm starting to feel a little differently about birthdays. I'll look forward to my birthday and celebrate good another year. I'll use it as a day to reflect on what I'm doing to enjoy my life. Its not so much that each year, I'll try something new (or daring), but I'll just check in to make sure I'm still doing some things that I truly look forward to. Your birthday should be about what you can do and not about what you can't do just because you turned another year older.

Hmmm, wonder if I can get a free beer today?


Monday, February 8, 2010

Shout Out to the Who Dat Nation

Ok, I'm glad I don't live in Washington, DC ( I think thats a little too much snow!), and at least for today, I wish I lived in New Orleans. As a Chiefs fan, I can only imagine what it must be like to have your home team win the Superbowl. I love to watch football and the game last night was so good. I can't remember ever seeing an onside kick that actually worked.

And after starting my chemo treatments again last week, I realized I've got a couple of other things to be thankful for. I think I mentioned in my last post that this time around the treatments would take approximately 5 hours, which I was really dreading. Then I overheard the man in the infusion room whose chemo round was all day, every day for a week and then he got a week off and then started all over again. I also ran into my friend who is a lung cancer survivor whose chemo treatment was 8 hours each time. So, ok, I can handle 5 hours every 2 weeks with no problem!

This go round is so far MUCH better than last time. My brain isn't all fuzzy and I'm not sick at all. The catch with this one is the joint pain. I've been trying to think about how to describe this. Its kind of like when you get the flu and your body just aches really bad. The pain is mostly in my hips, knees and upper thighs. I realize I don't have joints in my thighs, so I'm not sure why they hurt so much. Maybe its just sympathy pains! And then sometimes the pain is also in my back. Definitely it hurts worse when I stand or walk around for more than 10 minutes or so. Ibuprofen and a heating pad, however, are helping to make this bearable. And reading, if I can get going in my book, I forget about how bad my legs are hurting. But all in all, this too is bearable, and I'd much rather deal with the aches than being nauseous like I was last time.

Regarding my recovery from surgery, it contines to get better each day. All of the incisions are pretty much healed. I think I pretty much have full range of motion back, although it still hurts to do things where my arm has to be fully extended. And I'm still being careful on lifting anything too heavy with that arm. My tennis partner leaves this week to spend a month at her house in Mexico (won't even think about her basking in the sun and warm weather!). I'm thinking by the time she gets back, I should be about through with chemo and we might have a few spring like days and we can get on the court for just a little while. Some days I worry I won't even have the strength to get the ball over the net, but I'll just need to start somewhere. And it will feel so good!

But for now I'm just looking forward to the Olympics - starts Friday!

I hope everyone has a spectacular day!