December 29, 2010

(Cough, cough)

Good day/Bad day?: Ugh.

Well, there were a lot of good things in the last days while I was away from home and not on the laptop. New windows! Hurray! Man, it's a world of difference, even if it's just 2 rooms right now.

Work was fine & dandy. Staying with Mia & Clare was great--lovely hostesses, and Olive did well there (slept like a rock last night!). Trouble is, this dang cold is becoming a problem. It's been over a week, for starters, and every morning for the last few days I've been bringing up more & more gunk. Now I have a cough and a nice sore throat that won't quit. No fevers, so I'm debating if there's any use calling in to the MD. We'll see what the next morning brings.

Even when all goes well staying elsewhere, I was definitely a little off my game and will hopefully get back in a groove now.

It's come up in a few different ways in the last week, but now when I see pictures of myself with hair, I kinda prefer how I am now. Or at least I've become more used to it and feel I look totally different this way. A while ago, someone said to me, "You are majesty!" Hard to beat that, huh? We'll have to see how I feel about it when it comes back in. This last round of peach fuzz that I grew is picking up the pace on falling out again, so it ain't over.

December 27, 2010

D'oh!

Good day/Bad day?: a little blah

So a little mixup in Erdmania left us scrambling a little this am--we had thought the window people were coming today and had made all the arrangements, but...it's tomorrow. I will say no more except we'll figure it out and be covered--thanks to Kathy, Adeline & Mia!

This dang cold won't let go and actually got worse last night. (Otherwise it was a homebody Sunday hanging out and watching the Packers, until the sneezing started!) So I'm a little bit of a mess, but it's not the end of the world. Just annoying. I made today a shorter work day because I was getting nothing done and wanted to stop spreading my germs.

So, 2 nights for Olive & me over at Mia's with Ben holding down the fort. I think I'll be a little discombobulated for a couple of days. Bear with me, folks!

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Good day/Bad day?: well, good but exhausting

Yep, the Christmas extravaganza is winding down--Ben & Olive are currently over with his extended family and I am taking a break. We had Ben's parents and brother overnight, Ben made his big delicious meal, and I didn't have to watch Waterworld! It was good, and we waited until this am to open presents. Olive's present ratio to the rest of us chumps was about 8:1, I'm guessing. All good stuff. Thanks, everyone/Santa! Pictures will come shortly.

I started getting the achy, achy feeling last night and it's continuing today, so I'm going to try to take it easy. And I'm still fighting off a phlegmy cold... It's going to be interesting, because Monday we have the window people coming and have to get me & Olive out. I hope I'm getting a little better by then, because today I'm just wiped!

December 23, 2010

4 more to go...

Good day/Bad day?: not horrible, but kinda crummy

Treatment day! Long day, at the hospital from 8-4 today, but at least part of that was an acupuncture treatment. In the evening, I hit the wall and felt woozy and got very pale.

Poor Julie was going to come over this evening and help while Ben cooked, but she got a fever last night and was knocked out. Big thanks to Jim & Kate for pinch-hitting at the last minute and helping out--much, much appreciated!

Here's hoping tomorrow's a little perkier...

December 22, 2010

Wrapping it up

Good day/Bad day?: Good

The title would be a play on words, but I haven't actually done my gift wrapping yet, so no. But a good day was had by all! Started out the day with breakfast with my work team, brought Olive along, and it was lovely. (Thanks again, Sue.) Olive had quite the fancy day because she got to eat out twice--we met Joel & Holli out for dinner, too. She was a good, happy girl both times--nice! Leaving work felt like I was wrapping up for a long vacation, when it's really just a day more off than regular chemo weeks.

Tomorrow is...labs, wound check, MD visit, chemo, acupuncture. Then home to wrap presents?

It was a little strange because I had to break the ole cancer news to a good friend of mine (we don't talk that often, but when we do we connect closely). It's hard to remember when this news was shocking and more visceral to me. It seems like forever ago, and it's hard to keep up that level of reaction--out of necessity you just need to integrate it somehow and move on. There are a lot of little concessions you make along the way...(and some big ones)...

December 21, 2010

Smoothing out after yesterday

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Full day of work, and overall a smoother day than yesterday. Yesterday was full of roadblocks and I was happy to have it over. Good news is Olive doesn't have an ear infection (yet), so she & I just have an upper respiratory thing (me much less than her). Bad news is my old port site really isn't healing...

Don't know what to pour my anticipatory energy into more...chemo or Christmas? I wish I knew how I'd be feeling for the actual holiday! I have so much I could and should do before Ben's family comes for x-mas eve, but I'll be realistic about it. Thursday's going to be a really long day at the hospital--starts at 8, will probably be there 'til about 3:30.

Ho, ho, ho.

More thanks for food from Adeline, John, Gene, Kate, and Sue! Now to stay the heck out of the way of Ben's Cooking Frenzy (for x-mas eve dinner).

December 19, 2010

The 'Nosh

Good day/Bad day?: Good

...but sad. It's very strange to be at Gram's without her there. It's hard to imagine, too, that all her lovely things won't be in that same context in the near future. It feels kind of unreal because I missed her funeral being in the hospital. But it was a good trip. Got to have a nice dinner with Jeff & Andrea joining us, then saw Aunt Mary & Uncle Leo for breakfast and Aunt Jackie for tea.

Then I got home and Olive wanted to show off her skills for a while. Poor kid probably has another ear infection, had a fever yesterday and didn't sleep well. Here we go again. I am also feeling like I've got a little throat thing starting. And my arm's not healing well. We'll see how this week goes.

We put up the Christmas tree tonight. I still have a couple of little things to buy, and then all the wrapping to do...

December 16, 2010

Picking up steam

Good day/Bad day?: Good, but seemed really long!

It was a day of odds & ends, starting with a check of my arm where the port came out & the PICC line went in. So far, so good, but everything heals more slowly now. Then I worked for a while, then acupuncture (first one for a long time!), then meeting up with nursing school alumni, then home for an hour of Olive before her bedtime...(and Ben, too).

For anyone worried that Olive was looking a little too much like Justin Bieber (I was worried), I cut her bangs. She looks more and more like a little girl and not a baby everyday. Oh, and Santa comes to daycare tomorrow!

Tomorrow will be a good work day, and then this weekend I'm going to get away overnight to Kenosha while Ben & his mom hold down the fort.

When my week improves like this, I don't feel like remembering that I have cancer. I'm just going to stick with that while I can...

Thanks, Jim & Kate, for the food!

December 14, 2010

Holiday. Celebrate.

Good day/Bad day?: pretty good

Better than yesterday. The pain was a lot less today. I was just very tired because Olive had a restless night.

People keep asking about the holidays--if I'm excited, if we're doing much, if it's going to be a big deal for Olive... I have to apologize, because this year the holidays aren't going to amount to much for us. This year is obviously full of distractions, and Olive's going to be too young to know enough of what's going on. I have treatment on the 23rd, so I'll likely have symptoms through that weekend. Then my counts are at their lowest on my weekend off, which is when I would think about travelling up north to see my dad, but I probably shouldn't be travelling if I'm at risk of picking up anything. Lame, I know, but that's the theme of all this cancer nonsense so far. We'll have Ben's family come here for x-mas eve, and that's about it for us.

It's sad, because I just don't have the traditions anymore. Ben's family has some, but for me it's been a long time anyway, what with divorce, moves, all that jazz in the last 20 years. Now with losing more family members it gets harder to hold onto those things. I've had some x-mas years without mom, but this will be my first without any grandparents of my own left. Now we'll have to create our own family traditions, but this year I just don't have the energy to do that. I can't help but feel bad...



While I'm talking about her, here's to you, Gram--you will be sorely missed this Christmas! (This is her & Olive on Valentine's Day.)

December 13, 2010

Whine

Good day/Bad day?: Not hot

So the bone pain came back this afternoon, better than ever, plus some abdominal pain. The best! I worked for a few hours today but then wound up leaving early.

I am just really looking forward to possibly not feeling about 20 yrs older than I am. I have aches and pains that I shouldn't at this age. Olive kicks me in the chest accidentally during a diaper change and it hurts a lot. Wahhh. Boo. I hope this will get better as the treatment ends. It's going to take a lot of time, probably some PT, and then who knows? I just don't want to always be limited. It's pissing me off (if you couldn't tell).

December 12, 2010

Learning the ropes

Good day/Bad day?: eh

Yesterday (Sat) was okay, just hanging out with Olive, until the evening. Then the bone pain set in and that really sucked. It kept going this AM along with some nausea and stomach cramps. I guess this is Taxol... but I think it's getting better this afternoon.

December 10, 2010

Looking back...or not

Good day/Bad day?: okay

Not bad as far as a chemo day goes. The new drug is a longer treatment--3 hrs to infuse. The premeds that they give to prevent allergic reaction made me pretty woozy, and then I took a nice nap and the only reaction I had was flushing/sweating. Since I've been home, I've had a little dizziness and stomach cramping, but not the "green" I'd previously get. We'll see what the rest of the weekend is like. Thanks to Julie for being a tolerant chemo buddy--this one was much more boring than the previous ones.

My arm is feeling a lot less sore than yesterday. Still sore, but I can lift my arm now, so that's good. I had my first shower this AM with plastic wrap around the PICC line--I'll have to get a little more proficient, but it didn't get too wet.

So I'm definitely past the half-way point now. I'm trying to think of what that means to me and what I've learned from this whole experience so far. Well like you'd expect, I think there's been good and bad that have come of it. I thought as I started writing this that I'd want to get specific, but that's a lot of writing and I'm too tired tonight. To be continued...

December 9, 2010

No Sweat

Good day/Bad day?: not the worst, not the best

Everything went smoothly with the port out/PICC in procedure. Lucky that Bruce had his fancy laptop to occupy him, and I was out at 1PM feeling pretty okay. But boy, does my arm hurt! It's pretty swollen, too. I'll be limited in Olive lifting for a little bit here until the inflammation goes down. The one other thing more high-maintenance about the PICC that I forgot to mention--I have to cover it with plastic wrap when I shower. A little annoying, but better than losing my veins!

Tomorrow, round 1 (of 6) of the Taxol. It'll be a longer infusion than my previous ones. Then I'll go into the clinic the day after each treatment to get a WBC-stimulating shot. That'll take me to mid-Feb. Not too far off now, but I still have to get through the holidays and have no idea what that will look like. At least I finally bought Olive some presents today...

December 8, 2010

Early to bed

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Had a pretty good work day, then had a craniosacral therapy appt in the evening--wow, did she do a great job opening up my chest tightness. Ever since surgery, it's felt like I've had a giant elastic band around me. Big difference! And relaxing.

Then Ben & I went out for dinner, thanks to grandpa (Bruce) babysitting. That's right, solo grandpa time! Seems he did fine--she was out cold by the time we got home. He's been kind enough to agree to take me for my procedure tomorrow so Ben wouldn't have to take off work. Got to be at the hospital by 7AM again and I should be done by noon, then home to recover from the sedation. I'm wondering how gruesome my arm's going to look for a while after they yank it out...Just hope it heals well. Then I'll be all set for chemo Friday with the new drug (Taxol), and I'm meeting a different oncologist who's covering for my regular one. I've actually heard really good things about this one from my colleagues, so I'll see if he lives up to the hype!

December 7, 2010

I hardly knew ye...

Good day/bad day?: more like good news, bad news

It was a pretty good day to start out with, but then I went in to get my port looked at (it's had its second local infection) and the determination was made that it has to come out. Even with antibiotics, since I've had an opening in my skin, the port is colonized with bacteria and would keep being risky. So, Thursday I go in to have it removed and get a PICC line placed. For those of you not familiar with PICC lines, it's also a line into a bigger vein that can stay in for quite a while, but it requires more ongoing maintenance than the port (daily flushes, weekly dressing changes).

So, another bump in the road. Just when I was getting to think this would be a fairly normal week, the forces that be decided to mix it up a little. As I've said before, cancer itself is boring (yep, still is), but it's doing its best to not let me get bored!

It's sad to hear about Elizabeth Edwards dying--makes me think about my mom and go back to that time. Too bad that her last year was spent dealing with the repercussions of her husband's infidelity. Not fair, but she seemed to have her priorities straight.

December 6, 2010

Parenthood


Good day/Bad day?: Good


I had a really good weekend full of productivity and silly times (and not feeling sick). Ben came home today--I seem to have missed him more than he missed me... Anyway, it's nice to have him back even though I had awesome help from Julie and Kathy through the 5 nights he was gone. It'll be nice to sleep next to him tonight.


So needless to say I had a lot of Olive time both with and without the help of others over the last 5 days. Ben gives me grief sometimes about not getting away more when there is someone around to help out--a lot of times I wind up playing with her anyway. I know I need breaks and rest, but it's complicated. See, this whole cancer deal likely means that she will be our one and only child. Yeah, I know it's not a given, but I'm putting my body through a lot right now and would need to give it time to recover (MD recommendation is about 3 years, but I know that's not a set rule). I also had not the easiest first pregnancy with nausea and severe fibroid pain. All in all, it's not looking super promising--I just don't know if I can ask that of my body again.


What I'm trying to say is that Olive is my only shot to get this parenting thing right, and it's hard to sit on the sidelines and miss out even with fatigue and all. I think this is where Ben thinks I just want to be in control, but it's really more about trying to be present in the moments that I'm given. That's a challenge anyway, but it's heightened for me right now. I also have a terrible memory for life events--great for random trivia, bad for details of important moments to me--so I'm doing my best to cram Olive moments in my brain.

I'm going to put the word out for accepting a few meals in the near future--please check in with me or Ben to make sure we're not too full, but it's been nice to have things to just heat up. Thank you to all who've helped out with that! (Everything we've gotten has been delicious, and I'm not just saying that...)

December 4, 2010

Good stuff

Good day/Bad day?: Good!

And I actually went to work on a Friday, too! First time doing that yesterday since August, which is weird. Kathy's here helping for the weekend--let's hope she makes it out without major injury...

Snow. Every time Ben goes out of town, we get a nice snowfall, as in I have to plow. But this snow wasn't too bad, and then the sun came out. It felt good to do that kind of physical work--I was a little worried about that kind of work for my arms, but it went okay. Then we took Olive out to meet snow. They didn't get along. We'll keep working at the relationship.

And then...I went out! What? You? Yes, me! It's seriously been forever since I've been out "on the town". Went out with my ladies to the Dane and then Nostrano--mmmmm. Thanks a bunch, Mia & Erica. It was good to just go out like I should. Good to have a good weekend.

December 1, 2010

Okeedoke

Good day/Bad day?: ho-hum

Better for me than yesterday, except for my difficulty sleeping, but Olive has a fever again. Is everyone getting sick of this, or is it just me?

Just realizing that I'd like a normal week and haven't had one since Oct. But it'll be okay.

Ben left this evening, and Julie's here to help out tonight--boo and yay, in that order!

November 30, 2010

Great.

Good day/Bad day?: not good

It started off pretty normal, but I started feeling pretty crummy at about noon and left work. Nauseous when I wasn't expecting it. Also dealing with one of the side effects of this last dose of chemo --(sorry to share) bladder irritation, so now I have a UTI. I guess the one bright side is that I'll be on an antibiotic while Ben's gone, so hopefully I won't pick up anything else while he's gone. Right?

I have help in his absence, but I don't want 5 days without him. I'm feeling a little whiny today.

Olive discovered a new challenge today--trying to eat toast with a spoon...

November 29, 2010

Bouncing back

Good day/Bad day?: Not bad

Took the day off to continue recouperating, but someone was honing in on my couch space. Yup, Ben's sick--fevery upper respiratory thing that's been going around. Great timing, because he's due to leave town Wed night until Monday to travel with his dad to OH. So he's going to be moaning and miserable until he goes.

But I must be turning the corner! Went from being nauseous this AM to craving coffee heath bar crunch ice cream this afternoon. Had a lot of nap this morning, too. I'll get back to work tomorrow, at least for a partial day. Normalcy, here I come? (No "normal" comments from the peanut gallery, please...)

November 28, 2010

...and giving

Good day/Bad day?: not as bad as I was anticipating

Sorry, didn't mean to make poeple wonder how I was doing. I got the chemo on Friday and the "green" hit me after a couple of hours. The green really feels like you can feel the chemicals coursing through your body--it's weird. Since then, it's been up & down, but not as big of a swing as I was prepared for. Definitely fatigue, some nausea, hot flashes. I'm hanging in there.

Thanks to Myra for some Olive time yesterday and to Julie for time today--much appreciated!

A little bit more about being thankful. This whole process has been an interesting exercise for me (and Ben) in accepting and being thankful. I hope we have been gracious about it so far. I am continually amazed by the sheer generosity of all sorts of people in our lives, those who have just anticipated what we might need and have done it, the continual sincere offers to help that haven't dropped off as time goes on. I know for a fact that I have not been that in tune with others when they are in need, so it's a wake-up call for me to do better in the future. It's been an ongoing trial in learning gratitude, too--partially because of a tendency to want to be independent, and partially from ingrained Catholic guilt. I'm not used to just accepting and not feeling like I immediately owe something back.

So in short, thank you all for all you've done to help us out.

November 25, 2010

Thanks

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Got to see my family (it's been a few months for some...) and stuff myself silly.

I know I promised to tell you what I'm thankful for, but I'm exhausted and have to be at chemo at 7AM. Short answer: all of you and all you do. I'll get into more hopefully tomorrow.

Love to you all!

November 24, 2010

No focus

Good day/Bad day?: okay

I went in to work for a while and was semi-productive, and then I stopped thinking well and went home. I may not be back for a week--we'll see how things go.

Thanksgiving tomorrow! I want stuffing and sweet potatoes! I just hope I don't feel worse--right now mild cold symptoms and no fever. Everyone else is getting sick--Ben's mom has a fever, so we may not see them tomorrow, lots of people at work and their kids are sick, all the kids at day care...

I will tell you what I'm thankful for tomorrow. You'll just have to guess.

November 23, 2010

Uh-oh

Good day/Bad day?: pretty good

But I think I may be getting Olive's cold. (Man, this kid has a lot of boogers!) It could be nothing, and it may not lead to worse things for me if I don't spike a fever. I may just be reading too much into what my body's doing today.

Overall, good day. Good evening at home, until I wasted time flipping between Frontline on PBS--about end of life in the ICU--and the Dancing with the Stars finale... Instead I should have been calling people I've been meaning to call for a while.

Hard to get motivated for one more day of work before a long, weird weekend of Thanksgiving and chemo and recovery. Getting out of bed in the morning will be a good first step. Keep your fingers crossed that I feel fine in the AM...

November 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Julie

Good day/Bad day?: Okay

First, a very happy birthday to Julie (yesterday)! She's been wonderful to us through this whole ordeal and has made this much easier than it could've been. And she's just a good sister anyway.

Olive came back from the grandparents' yesterday. No more fevers, but her nose is still very boogery. And she mastered a few new words!

Working part time/partial days this week, then Friday will be treatment after a nice family gathering on Thurs. Nobody's doing the work this year--we're going to the Great Dane. It'll be nice to see everyone, but I'm still a little nervous about being in a group that big and hope nobody's sick.

I think I'll talk a lot more after this next treatment is done--a little halfway check-in.

November 20, 2010

Adult time

Good day/bad day?: Good

...and lazy. To follow up on yesterday, after Olive got home with her fever, we thought we needed a solution to separate the 2 of us so I wouldn't get sick. Luckily, her lovely grandparents in Milw agreed to take her for the weekend to solve our dilemma. Thank you! Sounds like all is going well there and she was feeling good in the AM after a good night's sleep.

Me too! Got to sleep in a little, then breakfast with Ben, then a lot of slacking. I DID do some laundry, but that's about it. I'm fine with that.

My arm's still angry at my port site, actually got more red and drainy. If there's no improvement by Monday, we'll see what plan B is.

November 19, 2010

Just can't be normal

Good day/Bad day?: thumbs down

Well, the good news is that I didn't get my fun dose of chemo today. "Why?" you may ask. A couple of reasons. I'm neutropenic again. And my port site is infected. Great. So the current plan is that I got a dose of IV antibiotics today and will take another antibiotic for a week to hopefully make the port site better. They aren't talking about taking it out yet, so we'll see where it's at next Fri.

I got poked 4 separate times today! (3 blood draws, 1 IV) I also got hives from the IV med.

Oh, hey, and it's Friday, so that must mean that Olive has a fever! Yep, just got the call from day care, so here we are with another week where I'm neutropenic and she's got some bug going around. We're pretty good at this:)

Okay, I'm done venting now. I just need my body to get its act together.

November 17, 2010

Enjoy it while it lasts

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Worked the day, including teaching for the first half of the day, and I think I held my own...then started to peter out a little in the late afternoon. But Olive & I had a good evening at home while Ben ran errands. I was feeding her dinner and was going to cut up an apple for her, so to keep her occupied while I got the rest ready, I gave her the whole apple. She refused to give it back for me to cut, then started biting it and was eating the apple like a big girl! I'm impressed with her chompers!

So really I'm just killing time until Friday. I'm just dreading this round of chemo and don't feel like taking a big hit right now. Another random treatment note: I talked to the study coordinator about a change in my regimen--changing from the daily white blood cell stimulator to one shot the day after chemo. I could do the injections at home (like I was for the other shots) or have them at the hospital, but for my insurance it would be a $50 copay for each shot (x7!) to do it at home. If I go in for a separate appt to get it done by a nurse, there would be $0 copay. Huh? Makes no sense. Guess I'll go in...

November 15, 2010

Ready for the week

Good day/Bad day?: Good--should be a good week, too (until Friday)

Not much new to report. Having mostly good days, but of course good days aren't that awesome--still have fatigue and a lot of upper body mobility issues, so that means I poop out easily when it comes to the usual evening activities at home.

I've also been apparently overcompensating for my lack of being able to keep up with the normal load at home by becoming bossy. I'm working on it...

November 13, 2010

Old Dog

Good day/Bad day?: Good

We got not very good news for Punkin'. She's got severe osteoarthritis in her lower back in hips that's causing inflammation and starting to put pressure on her spinal cord. At some point she will likely have some paralysis. We're starting a comfort med regimen and trying to rest her more for the next weeks, but this will be progressive and we'll eventually have to make sure she's not suffering. Poor doggy!

Otherwise, had a good, productive day of cleaning and running around--thanks, Kathy, for Olive time! I'm feeling pretty good, trying to take advantage of this "week off" chemo until Friday. I'll try to keep the appetite up and put on some weight, too--still haven't made any headway on that. Tomorrow I've decided I need breakfast with a good bloody mary.

November 12, 2010

The New Plan

Here's Olive's other Halloween costume--the one they handmade in day care (like a little pumpkin sandwich board).
Enjoy! And Ben's pretty cute, too. They both look like trouble.

So far a good day...





Just to keep you up to speed, we had our pow-wow with the oncologist this AM. With the total chemo plan, with or without the clinical trial, there are kind of 2 phases: the first phase is 2 drugs (AC) given together, and the second is Taxol. So each phase has its own number of rounds of treatments. With the change to the clinical trial, which I will still be participating in, the AC phase is changing and the Taxol is planned to be the same. I will have one AC treatment left to get my total dose of that in (next week), then 6 treatments of Taxol. The Taxol is supposed to be the "easier" part of this chemo regimen. Because my AC dose next week will be bigger than I had been getting, I will likely feel worse for more days (like until the Wed or Thurs the week after). Overall, I should be finishing a little earlier, like Feb instead of March (I'll get the official calendar next week). So that's the latest--got it all?

In a little while we take Punkin' in to find out how broken she is--hope for something easy to fix!

November 11, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Good day/Bad day?: Good

I got a call today for the study coordinator of the clinical trial I've been a part of. They are discontinuing the arm of the study I was assigned to because the outcomes didn't improve (it's been going on for years). What does that mean? It means my treatment plan will be different, the timing will change. As of tomorrow, I stop taking the oral chemo and the other pills and shots that were part of my regimen. I'll meet with my oncologist tomorrow AM and we'll figure out the rest of my treatment plan so I can try to know what to expect. It doesn't mean I've been getting less-than-adequate treatment, and they'll figure it out so I can get the same total dosages.

But other than being a little up in the air, it was a good day. Just tired and a sore back by the end of the day.

I don't think I've shared Olive's first words ("hi" was really the first, then dada, mama, woof and meow noises...), but I think the first true, true word is "tickle". You'll have to just trust me, but it's the cutest damn thing--she pulls of her socks and wiggles her toes and says it a bunch of times, or she lifts up her shirt and points at her belly and says it. Good stuff!

November 10, 2010

That's better

Good day/bad day?: Pretty good

Better for sure than the last couple of days. Made it through the full day at work and actually did a little work while I was there! Less woozy until right about the last hour or so tonight. It was still nice to have Julie around while Ben got out for a while--we had some good sisterly conversation.

Now the dog's broken. Hey--that's my job, Punkin'! Something's wrong with her, let's hope it's not major...

I've been getting another round of complements on my head shape, which is weird but nice. Also a couple more comments that I look tall. It's really interesting to me how much I've shed caring what I look like. Vanity is kind of flying out the window. Quite honestly, that's not what I would have expected of myself--I am part Leo and have always been somewhat vain, and I thought that might get amplified in a situation like this. Oh well, you let go of having control over a lot of things in this process.

November 9, 2010

The New Normal

Good day/bad day?: same as yesterday

It seems that my days are going to peter out as they go on. I'm just getting woozy and shaky and nauseous in the afternoon. Then it makes the evening and playtime with Olive harder, too--it's really hard to be on the sidelines, but I just have to walk away sometimes and take a break.

But tomorrow's another day. A good day?

November 8, 2010

Tenuous

Good day/Bad day?: Meh.

I made it through the day at work until about 3:30 and then started feeling pretty woozy. It was good to be back, but I'm realizing how hard it can be to work intermittently--you wind up starting things and handing them off, not being able to finish what you start.

Overall, I'm just realizing how tenuous I feel in my own body. These last few weeks have made me not trust that if I feel good part of the day, I'll keep feeling good. It's hard to plan even part of the same day, much less the next day. I don't like it--I have too many months of this ahead of me...

Olive is not sure about this whole daylight savings thing. She's definitely an hour off. She was not cut out for staying up 'til her usual bedtime--that'll work as long as she keeps sleeping in the AM, too!

November 7, 2010

Baby back

Good day/Bad day?: okay

Tired. Just tired. Nothing else major bothering me, just deeply fatigued.

Olive came back from her weekend with the grandparents. All went very well (thank you!) and it was good to have her back here--we didn't know what to do with ourselves!

Back to work tomorrow after 3 weeks away...I'm actually a little nervous about it and don't know how I'll do. Luckily, they usually go easy on me.

November 5, 2010

Game on

Good day/Bad day?: Good so far

Very early chemo day (7AM arrival for labs) and actually got done in a timely manner. My white blood cell counts are back--with a vengeance! My counts shot up for the week without chemo, way, way up, so it's back to the routine again. I was hoping for a dose change after the last few weeks' events, but they consider each a separate episode and are keeping my doses the same right now. My job is to keep on top of the nausea and try to keep my appetite up.

I was convinced that I ate so much this week that I might have regained a pound or 2, but no gain yet. But at least I feel less emaciated, even if it's just in my head. Gotta keep up the protein and calorie intake...

So I'm back home waiting for the green to set in. I've packed Olive's things for the weekend, so now just waiting for her and Ben to get home a little later. Don't really know what the weekend will bring or how I'll feel, but we'll have a little freedom to go with the flow if I'm up for something.

November 4, 2010

False alarm

Good day/Bad day?: Weird

Today was another chapter in the ongoing saga of our sick kiddo. Olive's had the fever most of the week, so I called and Ben took her to the clinic today. They had it narrowed down to roseola and a UTI (no ear infection, surprisingly enough!). Roseola puts me at risk of getting sick, so I cleared out and went to Ben's grandma's for what I thought was the duration. Then we got a call a couple of hours later that it was a UTI, which meant I was okay to be back because I couldn't catch it from her. Kind of a relief that this week of fever wasn't putting me at risk, because I was nervous. So it was alarm and then relief, which makes for the weird day.

But the most important thing is that she should be feeling better quickly! She's had horrible sleep the last few nights, so we will all be happier...This is just in time for Olive's weekend in Milwaukee with her grandparents. Two nights away! We haven't had a night without her since our Chicago trip, which was presurgery in July. It'll be weird not having her here, but a nice little break, esp for Ben.

Tomorrow I get my labs checked again and am hoping for the all-clear on the neutropenia. Of course, that means I'm back to chemo if my counts are up, which is a mixed blessing. It's going to be hard to get back on that horse. I really have to remind myself of why I'm doing this--I got rid of a lot of risk with the surgery, but I had some cancer cells start to travel, so this is my insurance policy that I will hopefully be in the clear for the next 5 years and beyond. This is bad now, but a recurrence would be worse. Wish me luck!

November 3, 2010

Back again

Good day/bad day?: Not bad, I guess

However, Olive had one day without fever and now it's back. Now it's been too many days and we'll have to take her in to the MD. Not the best timing. And she slept like crap last night, poor kid!

I had a decent day--good breakfast with Mia & Nancy, then an errand and a nap(!). I just haven't been as productive as I intended to be with either work or home stuff. I'm trying to be okay with that.

BTW, I do have confirmation that the Appleman was from Frank. Thank you! Just glad I noticed it early on...

November 2, 2010

Hauntings...

Some photographic evidence of Halloween strangeness in Erdmania...



...Olive the love bug...



...and Appleman, who appeared on top of our kitchen window recently. Based on the level of oxidation on the carved surface and the high art of pepper corns for eyes, my bet is that Frank is responsible...

More cowbell?

Good day/Bad day?: Okay

So Olive had to stay home yesterday. It was her and me for the first 1/2 of the day, then Ben came home early. It's hard, because I obviously can't be around her and not engage, and she was feeling snuggly, so I'm still nervous today about my own health. She's a little tenuous, too--she really didn't have other symptoms and her fever's coming down, but I could still get a call from day care today...

Otherwise, I've got the week in front of me and am having a hard time knowing how ambitious to be. I am leaving the house to run errands once in a while because my one-on-one interactions will still be minimal. How lazy can I be and not feel bad?

GO VOTE! Just please vote for substance and details over slogans...:)

November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat?

Good day/Bad day?: Good...

...but waiting for the other shoe to drop. We had a good Sunday, had some help from Julie & Frank in the morning, and then Olive took her longest nap in ages (showoff!) I should have known it was too good to be true, because a little later in the day she developed a fever. Not good to have around right now.

She did dress up for a little bit (a ladybug) and stopped by the neighbors' but they weren't home. Boo. We do have some pictures, though. (Ben-nudge, nudge.)

So here I am today, had to keep her home from day care, so I'm trapped with a potential source of infection and am nervous about what that'll do to me right now. No fever return yet (for me), so we'll just hope that my luck has turned and that Olive gets better, too!

October 30, 2010

Nappy

Good day/Bad day?: Pretty good

Thanks to Sue & Mia for helping today--Ben got some good hands-free time, and so did I. Today I was feeling pretty alright. Not super energetic, but otherwise no major issues.

The one bad thing? I haven't been able to nap since I was feverish and on the couch. That makes me sad because napping is a gift! I hope it's not gone for too long. I will not stand for that. Sleeping in general has been a little poor and restless--damn night sweats!

But anyway, hanging in there for the first day of a long week.

October 29, 2010

Bad news

Good day/Bad Day?: see above or below...

I thought about minimizing and downplaying for this post, and then I thought better of it. It's time to just be with the fact that having cancer and going through treatment is crappy and that I'm a little short on good news lately.

So here's the long & short of it. For starters, I haven't been to work in 2 weeks, in between the hospitalization last week and the ups & downs of this week--it's making me feel a little rudderless.

I'm neutropenic. Today. For those of you not familiar with the term, it means my white blood cells, specifically my neutrophils, are not abundant enought to fight off infection right now, so I'll be susceptible to a lot. Handwashing, handwashing, no being around sick people, limiting raw food intake, plants/flowers, etc. Not quite bubble-boy status, but I need to be careful. Hard to do when my adorable germ factory comes home every day! My platelets are also a little low, so my bleeding risk is up. All this transpired in the last 24 hrs, because my counts in the ER were actually okay. *More about yesterday--it was really just the fever, and my L armpit is a little tender in the area where I had that fluid collection (that reaccumulated/reswelled), so trying to determine other potential infection sources. The ER was really going in to draw labs, check my blood for infection (blood cultures), urine, any other symptoms. So they got that stuff and sent me home.

Neutropenia also means no chemo. No infusion today, no daily oral chemo (they stopped it during my fever in the last couple of days) for at least the next week. Good news is that the fever went away and hasn't come back today.

I still had a long clinic day today. There was a lot of talking this through with my oncologist, then waiting and waiting for a chest and abdominal CT to rule out a few more things she was concerned about, then going to try to draw fluid out of the L armpit-thing again (they couldn't get anything out, but the good news is there's no pus there! Ew.). The CTs looked good, too, so I guess that's good. Still means we don't know where the fevers (this week or last) came from except for assuming I caught a virus or 2.

As I've been saying, I'm trying to rebuild, but I also found out I lost about 9 pounds in the last month. Hmm.

I guess overall, if you can't tell, I'm frustrated. Knowing the duration of my treatment protocol ('til March), I guess in my own head I was telling myself that I'd expect to be knocked down sometime during the course, but I kept thinking it would be a winter thing. This is earlier than I was prepared to be derailed.

So what's to come? The next week until Friday will be laying low and trying not to get sick. I think that may mean I have another week out of work, too. Next Friday I'll have my blood counts done again and they'll make decisions about my treatment plans. Likely looking at changes in doses. One other bright spot--I don't have to "make up" chemo rounds and get my end date pushed back--I just miss the weeks I miss. So at least the end is the end.

Okay, well I'll let you chew on that, and maybe we'll work to post an Olive pic to liven this up a little...

October 28, 2010

Lather rinse repeat

Today Jen went back to the hospital with a fever. She wasn't admitted this time and is back home resting. She can fill you in on the medical details but I just couldn't wait to post these pictures which document our experience.



BORING!!! Which leads to shenanigans:



Actually, the nurses were very nice and the doctor was a little Skerritt-esque.

October 27, 2010

One step back...

Good day/Bad day?: bad--my body had other plans for me

Another day of being sick to my stomach, headachy, tired (and thought I was getting a fever again, but I think my blankety nap made me way too warm). So much for making plans--there's a going-away gathering for one of my favorite coworkers and I'll have to skip it.

But I rediscovered the joy of cinnamon sugar on toast. Now that's nostalgia! And I'm getting some reading done when I'm awake. There's a book called What We Have, a personal story of a woman and her family that have a family legacy of cancer, too--ovarian & breast, and right now it all seems very applicable. I'll give you a final review...

Continuing down the road

Good day/Bad day?: Tues was good overall

Took the day off yesterday, am still in my "rebuilding" phase, and am not sure what I'll do today. But yesterday was good--I voted (didn't want to take for granted that I'll be out in the general population on Nov 2!), so we'll see what comes of that. I did my duty. Then ran a couple of errands and Ben called to meet for Mediterranean lunch--it felt like a date! Then came home and napped.

For some reason I'm waking up with the headaches still. In the morning, after naps, etc. I'm doing okay with just the Tylenol regimen, just puzzled. I'm back to taking my daily chemo meds, and I'll be back Friday for another infusion and MD visit. My other current gripe is my surgery area--it's been very tight and achy, and holding Olive is hard again. Trying to gently stretch it out...

October 25, 2010

Made it...

...through the day!

Still some headache, but minimal and manageable with Tylenol. I actually drove a little to pick up meds and refresh my computer at work, but that all left me a little woozy and realizing I have some more rebuilding to do, so tomorrow I'm taking it easy. And I'll try to eat a lot, all you surrogate mothers out there!

The saga

Good day/bad day?: fair to middlin'

So for those of you who wanted the whole story of the last week, here we go! (Wow, it really was a week ago tonight that all this started...)

Last Monday I went into work in the AM, had a headache but was otherwise not bad for a Monday, then decided to call it quits at lunch. I got home, ate, and then tried to nap but couldn't and my headache had come back with a vengence. Long story short, I got sick to my stomach, chilled, achy, couldn't keep anything down. Didn't have a temp over 99 when I checked in the evening, but then it went up to 101 at 10PM and I was instructed to go to the ER. Julie escorted me so Ben could stay home with Olive, and we waited quite a long time to get anywhere, esp long to get my port accessed so I could get some IV nausea and pain meds because my headache was the worst of it all. I finally got some relief and they were ready to send me home when I threw up again--then they decided to admit me and I agreed.

They did a few tests: blood cultures, head CT, chest and abd x-ray, trying to figure it out. Essentially the understanding is that it was likely a virus plus a turn in my reaction to the chemo. Simple enough, couple of days off of chemo, right? Well, just when they'd think they had it under control and we'd be talking about me going home that day, something else would happen--one day it was not keeping food down, then Thurs it was the dreaded blurry vision! So that, with the ongoing headaches, lead to a neurology consult, head MRI, and opthamology consult. The neurologist diagnosed me with "cervicogenic headaches" which are treated with PT exercises and muscle relaxers, and the opthamologist said my lower eyes looked like someone had run sandpaper over them and that could cause the blurry vision, side effect from chemo, and drops will manage it.

So eventually I got home. Still not 100% by a long shot. Sat had the headaches and nausea again, and the headaches persist thought I think the rest is gone today. That, and just weak and depleted with a lot of days of not eating. This is what happens when I wax pensive about when it's going to be me wheeled around to appts! Now I really feel I look like a cancer patient, too. It sucks. And it was boring! And I missed a chance to gather with my family for Gram's memorial.

I'm trying to figure out the bright side of it all but am coming up empty. More appreciative of home? Special thank yous to Kathy & Julie, and of course Ben, for keeping everything else going and not even asking me little questions about the details, for just doing it and figuring it out. Very grateful...

October 23, 2010

home sweet home

Just a quick update that Jen came home from the hospital yesterday about 1pm. Then it was off to the ophthalmologist to figure out why her vision was blurry - apparently dry eyes are a side effect of chemo. She is still suffering from some headache action this morning and just wanting to lay on the couch and nap. Sounds like a good way to spend a Saturday...

October 21, 2010

u.s.w.

Und so weiter, what the Germans say instead of et cetera. That's what the past few days have been. Jen is still in the hospital and still having some symptoms. Today she saw a neurologist that offered an interesting hypothesis - a type of headache that involves muscle tension at the base of the neck and has all of the symptoms she's been exhibiting. At least that was how I understood it after hearing about it filtered through Jen's sister. I forgot the name of it, so all you healthcare pros on here can jump right in with corrections and terminology...not my dept! But I guess they are trying a muscle relaxer so we'll see how that goes. She is also skipping her chemo cycle tomorrow.

Anyhow, I think we're all looking to get back to whatever normalcy we had before, and again we're hopeful that Jen will return home tomorrow. She seemed in much better shape today, and here's a picture to prove it!



I was also going to put up a picture of my first attempt at picking out random clothes from Olive's wardrobe and trying to make a non hideous combination for her to wear in front of her little friends at day care. I got lucky the first two days and outfits were pre arranged on hangers for me (Jen is SO organized...sometimes...) But the evening escaped us, so maybe we can try for that again tomorrow...

Thanks Mia for your help Wednesday evening, and thanks Holli and Jorl for the haircut and pizza tonight!

October 19, 2010

Good ol' Ween

Today I'm blogging on Jen's behalf since she's spending the night in a really expensive hotel near Picnic Point. Yesterday, she had a headache all day that got worse into the evening, when she developed a fever. A phone call to the on call oncologist confirmed that she'd need to go in to the ER. After some tests, she was admitted and spent the night. This morning, the suspicion was that she had meningitis...but that has since been discounted. Thankfully. She spent a lot of time sleeping today, at least when she wasn't being poked and prodded by various hospital staff, and the rest seemed to help a lot. She is being observed for the evening and at last report was doing much better. Olive and I hope for her return home tomorrow. Olive is also a little concerned since her dad's past outfit choices for her have been...unorthodox. My argument is that she should be a trendsetter, not a boring old sheep following the crowd.

In any case, all of this worrying about meningitis means there's only one thing to do - play the appropriate Ween song.



Thanks Julie for all your help last night and today!

October 18, 2010

B-L-A-H

Good day/Bad day?: Sat okay, Sunday ugh

Saturday wasn't bad and I was somewhat productive. Thanks to Kathy & Bruce for helping out--hooray new water softener! Then Sun I was totally wiped, on the couch much of the day. So it seems that Friday & Sunday are useless and Sat is a little window of good time. Of course, that was the last 2 weeks, and the next always bring something new. Got to get ready for a busy week...

October 15, 2010

#8= halfway-ish (plus bonus random thoughts!)

Good day/Bad day?: well, chemo day

Today was AC treatment #8 of 16 (then I have another 6 cycles of another drug after that), but time is flying! Except waiting room time--thanks again to Julie for being this week's chemo buddy.

Yesterday was just a full, busy day. Acupuncture in the AM, which I felt changes after the same day--yay!--then a busy afternoon of work trying to get things in place before next week. I was going to tell you something Olive was doing, but now I forgot...

My port scar is still a concern to monitor--no worse, but no better. But at least I'm not facing having to take it out unless it gets infected. One of the many nuisances of this whole experience so far. Some day I'll list them, maybe.

One thing that strikes me as I go to chemo each week is seeing all of the people that need to be wheeled in & out of chemo. I can't help but wonder if I'm ever going to be at that point while I'm going through this--I can hope to avoid the major hits, but I am taking in chemicals daily and winter is coming. It's a little unsettling, even if I am young and otherwise healthy.

Somebody told me the other day that my bald head makes me look taller. It must be an optical illusion akin to the idea of wearing nude-colored high heels to elongate the legs. If I did both, I'd look gigantic!

Time to go nap...

October 13, 2010

Getting over it

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Yeah, I'm a little less hard on myself today. It was pretty good. Nothing profound, nothing much new.

October 12, 2010

Time flies

Good day/Bad day?: Not bad

Had a full day at work today and it went okay-- feeling like things are falling into place for new trainings next week, so that's good.

I do feel better today, but I sure fade in the evening. I wish I could figure this out and give equally in all areas of my life. What do you skimp on? I already feel like I'm skimping on friends & family, on properly expressing my gratitude for all the outpouring of time, gifts, bakery, etc., on just thinking time. That, and I'm always going to feel like I should be doing more at home with Ben & Olive. Don't mind me, I'm just feelilng a little hard on myself tonight. We'll leave it at that.

October 11, 2010

Rough road

Good day/Bad day?: Bad

The weekend was ups & downs. Saturday was pretty good, and we enjoyed having Monika & Andy around and having the gang over for a fire. Sunday started out well, but then I was playing with Olive in the afternoon and I suddenly had to fight to keep my eyes open. Luckily Ben got home shortly thereafter, and Julie came to help out in the PM. I napped for a couple of hours and it didn't help. Having the same thing today.

I knew what "bone tired" was--I remember what it felt like when I was first pregnant and thought that was the most tired I would ever feel. Now it's different--I'll call it "blood tired", since that's where the chemicals are circulating. It really is insidious, and I hope it's better tomorrow, 'cause this sucks! And I'm more nauseous on top of it.

To make this not all whining, all the time, I'll say that Olive was thissss close to standing up alone and walking today. She really is showing that she wants to today, more than ever before. I predict by the end of the week. And she's found that she likes to rub her head on Punkin's back--very weird, but kinda cute.

October 8, 2010

It's complicated

Good day/Bad day?: not good, but good moments

So what normally is an 8AM-noon at the latest chemo day went all the way to 3PM today. Ugh. Little long. There were a couple of things going on. The suture line for my port has not really healed well and lookks to be pulling apart in the middle. Not great, but no signs of infection. They will keep an eye on it weekly, but it may warrant removing the port, not sure what the replacement options would be. I don't want to think about going through chemo without a port or line and putting my veins at risk. Hoping for the best.

The other thing I didn't mention here was I found what I thought was a swollen lymph node under my L armpit last week. Told the oncologist about it when I found it, and she examined it today, sent me down for an ultrasound. Not a node, but a fluid collection in the same area that they aspirated with a needle. Looked good, again no signs of infection, just kind of random. So it just wound up taking a long time with the suture line and the fluid. Then chemo, then turned green a couple of hours later as usual. Sorry--that was all boring, but I remind you that cancer is boring! Especially the waiting rooms. But we had a fun night with Olive, as much as I could keep up with her...

Tomorrow...MonikAndy come to visit! Yay! It's been too long.

Extra thanks for Mia watching Olive last night while went for one more window appt--sorry she was Cranky Olive! BTW, windows may be on hold, because the water heater is pooping out. I'm waiting for a pleasant surprise to balance it out.

October 6, 2010

Lamenting

Good day/Bad day?: Good

The title refers to me absorbing that another summer has gone by without much opportunity to partake in it--second year in a row! (Last year I was heavily pregnant.) Out of the last 2 years, I've gone to the beach and swam once. Sad. Not that I don't love fall--it's a delightful season. It just seems a shame. I haven't even gotten out to weed in the garden during that time.

But anyway, the day was good, then went out to a lovely dinner with friends (thanks to Julie for sitting!). Tomorrow morning, acupuncture and then work...

October 5, 2010

Business as usual

Good day/Bad day? Good

(Except Olive was really cranky in the evening...after being up at 4AM and not getting back to sleep for 45 min. Ugh. Then for some reason I couldn't get to sleep again--which is not ever my issue.) Cross your fingers for a full night's sleep!

Feeling better with the cold thing except one nostril alternates between plugged and runny. I am no advocate of antibiotics for every symptom, but I take them 2 days a week as part of this clinical trial. Apparently there is a slight risk with this regimen of PCP pneumonia, the same type that takes advantage of immunocompromised HIV patients. Don't you love this stuff? So the abx are meant to prevent it. So I'll take them.

After my rhetorical questions about baldness yesterday, I've decided to largely go bald at work. I have a hat or 2 on hand. So far all feedback has been positive, though I don't know if anyone would direct the negative to me.

BTW, I don't think I ever told you, but Olive's going up the whole flight of stairs. Easily. She has been for a while, and now she's getting fast!

October 4, 2010

Betterish

Good day/Bad day?: Didn't get worse!

I took the AM off, took a good, needed nap, and woke up...not ready to face the day and I was very ready to take the rest of the day off. But then I mustered up some gumption and went in for a few hours. Glad I did, because I actually made some mental progress on a few things.

So, this is all my own thought process and nothing proposed by anyone at work. My debate right now is about going bald. Pros--I am totally comfortable with it, I don't have to get more scarves, I haven't bitten the bullet with the wig yet. Cons (a little trickier)--I work at a hospice, so how would patients and families feel about seeing me walk around bald? Is it professional attire when I have other options? Is is distracting for me to teach a class bald? I've got some thinking to do...

Down & Out

Good day/Bad day?: yesterday was bad. Today?

Sat went along pretty well as Saturdays go, and I felt well enough to be a bowling spectator for a little while that night. Thanks to Kathy for all the help!

Yesterday I started coming down with some sort of upper respiratory thing and was tired and icky. Gotta call in to the MD today and make sure I don't need to do anything else, because I've got swollen nodes, too. But no fever. But I did have a good breakfast out with Val before I felt like crap. Wish me luck.

October 1, 2010

Round #6 (of 15, and then 8 more!)

Good day/Bad day?: Eh

Chemo first thing in the AM. Thanks to Julie--she & Ben have been my chemo buddies every week so far. Not because it's traumatic and they have to wheel me out, but it's nice to have someone around during the waits--BORING! They even got rid of the art cart. Just when I was going to make everyone magnets... I just wound up feeling more heavy-headed right after this treatment than the last rounds. Quiet day since.

Getting used to the head, and Olive & Ben weren't afraid of me, so that's good. Thanks for all the nice feedback on it! I wore a hat to chemo to start because there was a chill in the AM, but then I went without/bald and really don't care that much. I've said to other people, I'm amazed that almost all people wear their wigs to chemo--it seems the one place where it shouldn't matter. But everyone has their line in the sand, don't they? Not sure what mine is yet.

She does not want what she hasn't got

September 30, 2010

Date Night

Good day/Bad day?: Good


Yep, that's right, Ben & I had a grown up dinner! (Thanks, Dianna, for the sitting!) Then came back home to shave my head. You know, the usual...


(For those that want the restaurant review, we went to Cilantro, the new Mexican place. I thought everything was very well done, delicious, service great, dessert options wonderful! But I do see Ben's point that it's a little more expensive than most Mexican restaurants... But there's a lot on the menu I'd like to try. Still, it is on the West Side...ugh.)


So yeah, I won't say the shaved head looks great. It's stubble--I'm not going through the effort of shaving with a razor--so it's dark and patchy over pale skin. I feel very much like some dispassionate alien race encountered on a Star Trek episode, esp taking into account my other mods (you know, flat chest, port in the arm...) I keep getting pared down, thinking maybe I should just get rid of my other spare parts (maybe appendix, tonsils...)


Ben will be posting pics of the head very soon. In the meantime, here's a new Olive pic that's the bee's knees. Every time I look at it, I can hear her giggle!

September 29, 2010

More pooped

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Just more exhausted again, but went to a conference today that was informative. Tomorrow night--dinner out! Then we will shave my head more--it's getting really patchy, so I'm going to wear a scarf to work tomorrow...

That's enough for now. I'll get more wordy soon.

Buzzzz...

September 28, 2010

Exhausted

Good day/Bad day?: pooped, so-so

Just tired out. Worked a full day, then Olive was off her schedule and we had another window appt. Didn't even get to hear Obama's whole speech.

Tomorrow's a new day. Good feedback on the haircut so far...pics to come soon.

September 27, 2010

Loss

Good day/Bad day?: Sad

I took the day off and went to say goodbye to my grandma Alyce, my last living grandparent. I haven't been talking much about it here, but I want to honor her and say what a wonderful, loving woman she was. She taught us all so much about the important things in life and showed what true strength was in her 98 years. I had wonderful times with her, would spend weeks there in the summer when I was young. I will miss her terribly.

That's enough to talk about tonight. And the Packers have been charged with winning in her honor...

September 26, 2010

Preoccupied

Good day/Bad day?: Not the best

Yucky early AM, then some good and less good times throughout the day. Hanging in there, though. My mind is elsewhere as family issues are on my mind--something I'm not going to blog about, but no fights with anybody or anything like that...I'll keep you posted when I'm able.

So the hair did move into "gobs" territory and is starting to look thin-ish to me, so I think I'm biting the bullet tonight and having Ben shave it off. Prepare yourselves for the next time you see me...

September 24, 2010

Round #5

Good day/Bad day?: Yesterday was good but busy, today...chemo #5

I had acupuncture yesterday, really liked the practitioner, but she won't be around for a couple of weeks so I'll have to find a backup. She really recommends weekly treatments all through my chemo regimen, so we'll see if I'm able to swing that. She did say, "You don't have to feel as bad as you are now" as I go through treatment--those are reassuring words to hear. It's not like I'm stuck in bed for the week, but I certainly have symptoms every day and lose a few days of the week that are worse. We'll see how I feel after a few sessions.

Today was an early treatment, so took a nap after that, woke up green, and now I'll be taking it easy for the rest of the day. Not much else new!

It's the time when eveybody has their pink ribbon fundraising campaigns... Can I tell you that the strangest one for me is Activia yogurt--shouldn't they maybe focus on colon cancer or something?! That, and the campaign is called "cups of hope"--ew, and a little too punny when talking about breast cancer in my mind.

September 22, 2010

Regular is okay

Good day/bad day?: Okay

Regular ol' work-a-day kind of day. Just lots of busyness and rigamarole going on right now, including at home. We're looking to get new windows, so many, many appts for quotes...yawn! But it'll be nice. Right now our windows are kind of archaic, and the screens are weird and don't fit well, so we hardly ever wind up opening the windows. Not ideal. Oh yeah, as I'm typing this I'm just thinking ahead of when they'll actually do the work, etc. I may be looking for another place to crash...

Pleasant surprise--there was a cancellation for the acupunctuist for the cancer clinic, so I get to see her tomorrow! Otherwise my first appt wasn't until the end of Oct, but now she works in return appts for people she needs to keep seeing. It should help with the nausea and fatigue ongoing, and during the second treatment phase it should help prevent nerve pain/damage. But it won't reattach my hair. Still not noticeable from what I can tell, but it's a little gross as it keeps falling out!

FYI, Olive seems to be well through the last round of teething, and now the kid can grind! I know it's not a very exciting first word, but she has been saying "hi" very clearly for a while, and is getting better at mimicking other words. She's also an expert at finding the little mouse in Goodnight Moon.

Ben is developing a calendar to track when he'd like some days free, so we're going to try planning them out with a little more warning. Stay tuned, you may be asked soon!

September 21, 2010

Slackin'

Good day/Bad day?: Eh

Sorry I've been in the every-other-day habit, but the nights have seemed busier than usual. Having some good moments, but my good days aren't feeling as consistently good anymore and my appetite is going south in general. Not the same as some of the other nausea, but just a feeling like there's something in my throat that makes it weird to swallow and I have an ongoing not-great taste in my mouth.

So I feel like a bit of a train wreck the last day or 2, esp I think there's a mental component when I'm pulling out gobs of hair. Well, maybe not "gobs", and train wreck sounds extra-dramatic, but you get the gist. At least I still feel like I have my moments of clear thought and even some okay ideas at work. And Olive seems pretty happy--she was sooo chatty on the way home from day care today. It's great!

Thanks to Julie for coming over last night so Ben could feel good about going out to a show...

September 19, 2010

Getting mad at it

Good day/Bad day?: Okay

I had a pretty good first half of the day--we went out for breakfast, then I did make it to the yoga class for cancer survivors. It was nice because it was essentially just a regular yoga class, no sitting in a circle talking about our feelings, but there were adaptations for those of us with arm limitations, some special poses to stimulate detox, etc. Glad I went. Then I hit the wall in the evening.

When I hit the wall, I have to hand off any sharing of Olive duties, and tonight was one of the few nights that Ben said it made him mad--not at me but at my cancer. Good for him for saying it, since he probably is a lot more than he verbalizes. It's still hard for me to separate the mad at it vs mad at me, though, because I feel like I am letting people down when I have to officially tag out. I try to just ease back as my energy flags, but there are some times when I can't fake it and can't push myself and just have to be done. Makes me mad, too.

There's been folks who have collected funds for us to hire a cleaning service. I REALLY would like to start that, but right now it's too hard to arrange the timing, somewhat with Olive but really with Punkin'. It's more logistics than we can muster right now. I hope no one will be offended if we change it to a "Wellness" fund. I'll be starting acupuncture very soon and it would go to that, potentially some supplements, and also the copay for seeing my oncologist every 3 weeks. This is NOT a solicitation for more funds, but I just want to put what's there to good use and notify the donors of the change.

Did I tell you my hair is starting to fall out? It's official. I'll be a while before it's noticeable, since I have enough hair for 10 people.

Yikes! Olive just woke up screaming. Never had her teething this badly before (getting molars). Talk about getting mad...

September 18, 2010

Quiet day after busy

Good day/Bad day?: Mediocre--again, feeling low is boring!

I did manage to get everything done yesterday! I woke up feeling better than Thurs, taught the AM training, ran to the hospital for MD visit and chemo, then ran right away to the resale and loaded up with Olive clothes for the next 6 mos. Whew! I was feeling it and was green by the time I got home.

Today is lying pretty low day, though there's always plenty to do when there's an Olive around. Tomorrow I signed up for a yoga workshop for cancer survivors, so we'll see if I'm up for that when the time comes.

September 16, 2010

Weird day

Good day/Bad day?: See above--good then bad

It seemed to be a normal day, like Thursdays have been so far (Fri-Mon iffy, Tu-Th pretty good). Worked a full day, including teaching, and then the minute I got home I felt like crap! Washed out, not nauseous but woozy, not good. Took a nap and it didn't really help, but maybe now it's going away. Cross your fingers, because I'm supposed to sneak a class in before chemo tomorrow.

Starting to see some more of the physical chemo effects, namely some hair starting to fall out (nothing dramatic yet) and my fingernails starting to turn dark . Oh yeah, I wore my boobs to work today! A few people noticed, most didn't or at least didn't say anything. The first day I had them on they had started to get heavy and hard on my chest to support. I wasn't sure I could physically keep them on all day, but it was fine. But I don't need them and won't be wearing them always, that's for sure.

Hey, everyone who wants to feel like a good parent even on the rough days, wondering if you're having the video on your news of the toddler wandering onto the highway... I think I can avoid that for much of Olive's life! And I also think I can avoid giving her a joint to smoke, too (another news story of a parent giving her toddler weed). Ah, humanity! Sometimes I can still be surprised by how stupid people can be. I should stop watching the news--I really only needed the weather.

Wish me luck for treatment #4!

September 15, 2010

Day Trip

Good day/Bad day?: Good but tiring

I was very glad to be feeling good and able to go visit Gram--it was lovely to see her and Aunt Mary. I wish I could be there more...

The next 2 days are going to be a challenge to me, teaching things I haven't taught or dealt with in a while. That, and Friday's jam-packed with a class to teach in the AM, then MD/chemo, then to try to make it to the Half Pint resale during my window of feeling okay. I hope the weekend's quiet so I can just slow down.

September 14, 2010

Nothin' special

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Just pretty ordinary. I'll take ordinary. Good work day, good home day, Olive's really getting ready to stand alone and walk--just a touch away.

Tomorrow= day off and road trip with Julie to the 'Nosh (Kenosha).

September 13, 2010

Cancer is Boring

Good day/Bad day?: Boo

See here's the thing. Cancer IS boring. (You're so right, Mia!) It gets really old to feel like crap over the weekends, and I'm just 3 weeks into the long haul. It's boring to just want to nap or rest and to not know how much you'll feel like engaging in home life or activities. It's boring for everyone else, too! How boring to expect that I won't feel up for much and that I'll need help for a long time.

So do you think I can make that into a new slogan, like "Cancer sucks" or "Fight like a girl"? Probably not the right sentiment to capture on a t-shirt, eh?

I'm having a sad night because I can't be with family who maybe doesn't need me, but needs someone. It's a priority, so maybe I can make it happen...

Otherwise, started work later today but got some good things going while I was there, thanks to Sonja (who really doesn't need me b/c she's great at it all)!

September 12, 2010

At the Movies

Good day/Bad day?: Eh, but not as bad as Sat.

I'm still trying to figure out how the weekends are going to go, since they've all been different. Friday was pretty typical now, with the few hour window after treatment to feel okay and then the waves of green. This Saturday, I just felt washed out more than I ever have--an empty husk of me--with some trouble with nausea overnight. I did manage to go to the zoo with Ben & Olive for a little while, and it was good to get out but then I was done. Today is still fatigue and aching.

This is supposed to be the time when I start to see the hair loss, but so far...nope. Then again, as I said before, my symptom timing seems to be much different because of the dosing of the clinical trial. It is still slightly possible I won't lose it, but it may just be happening later. I have to say I'm a little weirded out, because I've typically associated chemo with killing the rapidly-growing cells (the cancer, but also hair, lining of the GI tract). So does that mean my chemo isn't killing as much...?

Oh, I was going to give feedback about the movie In the Family. It was very emotional for me to watch, partially because of the age of the filmmaker and her sister, also listening to many people make their decisions about surveillance, surgery, children, etc. A little too much attention for my taste on her relationship with her boyfriend, but I understand the point. They play a little loose with the % risk numbers throughout the film, but they're usually right (occasionally high).

So, picky things aside, for anyone who is in this position with a possible or known mutation I think it's very valuable to watch. There is SO MUCH that goes into the decisions around the testing and the aftermath. I think that can't be underplayed and she captured it very well. The one really striking thing for me was watching what the parents kept saying to their children (those that have been through it and their spouses)--get tested and take the results seriously! It made me feel a lot of things personally, some good and some bad--it made me feel that my ovaries are still ticking away in me and are worrisome, that I want my family to see this, and that I'd secretly like to draw all their blood and just get the results once and for all--to be relieved or to start greater surveillance. But I know this is everyone's unique decision. Ugh. Why can't things be easy?

Enough angst for now. And enough whining. Time for bed.

September 10, 2010

The Ladies

Good day/Bad day?: Mixed--it's chemo day

Last night was...Date Night! (Thanks for the sitting, Gene, Kate and Myra!) It's been a long time for just Ben & me to go out as adults, maybe since we went to Chicago. For the Madison locals, we went to Graze and would go back in a heartbeat! Good food, local food, not too complicated, lots of comfort food, beer $4/pint--yum. We are so lucky to have so many good choices around.

Today, chemo in the AM, then boob shopping (yes, I wore them home), then great lunch with Julie, and now I'm bracing myself to watch the In the Family documentary--bracing, because I was about 2 min in with tears streaming down my face. This is going to be hard but good. Then I'll nap. I've had a few "green" waves so far...

FYI, I'm very pleased with my boob choice, but not sure if/when to wear them. It's funny how quickly you get used to a new normal, and I've become accustomed to the totally flat world and have an appreciation for it. I just don't know how I'll know if it'll be a boob day or flat day...it'll only come with experimentation, I guess! Oh yeah, and the swimsuit--okay, but not in love. I'm waiting and I may keep looking.

September 9, 2010

Pumpin' "iron"



Who can lift a 24lb baby plus diaper?

Jenny, that's who. Goodbye lifting restriction!

September 8, 2010

Odds & ends

Good day/Bad day?: Good

I think the fatigue is starting to set in--mornings are really hard to get going! I start to think it's mental and I'm just taking an opportunity to be lazy, but I have to keep in mind that my body is working very hard right now...

Tomorrow is work, but then I cut out early for an appt with a doc in the UW Intergrative Medicine dept that works with the cancer clinic--I'm eager to see what comes of it! It's a little tricky for me right now, because I know that a lot of complementary medicine involves dedicating yourself to a practice or regimen. I'm already having to dedicate myself to my treatment regimen, so it will be finding a balance of helpful vs more work than I'm up for. We'll see. I also have to determine what the insurance coverage of the services will be...

So, I want to send out a message to everyone that (no surprise) I'm way behind on thank you notes--for thoughtful gifts for me, for meals, time, treats, and also for Olive's birthday! I do intend to get to them soon...and I sincerely am grateful.

I have a time booked for Friday for the breast prosthesis fitting. Got to snap up that swimsuit I saw, too!

Tomorrow is getting my arms back day...

September 7, 2010

Fathers & daughters

Good day/Bad day?: not bad

I don't know why it feels harder to go back to work after an official long weekend compared to all my unofficial ones, but I was dragging my feet today. But I did get a few things accomplished and finished the day up a little early.

Crossing my fingers makes it hard to type, but Ben may finally be on the mend. Not feeling outstanding, but better enough to get flustered about what's not done around the house. Welcome back!

Last week I talked a little about my mom and thinking back on her long-time journey with cancer (10 yrs, age 50-60). Today I want to think about my dad. I know that others have said it, but I want to say it clearly that there is no reason to feel guilty and responsible for this. That should be a given, but I know how our minds can work. Where we are today for what we know about breast cancer is miles from what was known when I was born. That's easy to gloss over, but it's really important. There was no knowledge of specific genetic mutations then, no way to check for them--there was just the hunch that a family history would make you more susceptible. You can't (sorry, shouldn't) feel responsible for having a daughter with cancer when there would have been no way to predict that.

I know the feeling, though. I've talked to a few people about this, but I have a daughter and a known genetic mutation, so she has a 50-50 chance of having it, too. It's a little different for this generation. I struggle with kicking myself for not pursuing the genetic testing before I had a child, of just saying I know I have a strong family history and that's enough to know...and now that I know, should we consider having another child down the road? I don't have a good answer for that. I do realize what I said above applies to me, too--that where we'll be technologically when Olive becomes an adult is eons away from what I can imagine right now, and I have to hope that means there will be some better solution for her than removing body parts.

This is a good segue into the recent news about the ovary and breast removal for BRCA carriers and the increase in survival and reduction in cancer. The Washington Post has a good summary of it if you want to check it out (search BRCA), and the actual study was in JAMA for those with access. Another genetic thing--I'm waiting for a movie to come from Netflix that was a PBS documentary, "In the Family", about a woman who finds she has the mutation and is deciding what choices to make. I'll give you a review after I watch it, and there's a website with ongoing discussion about breast CA genetics via the film: http://inthefamily.kartemquin.com/

To make the plural "fathers" in the title applicable, just wanted to say that Ben can get the best giggles out of Olive by far. Good Daddy!

It's getting old

Good day/Bad day?: Okay

I'm just really done with this virus going around and taking down good people for a while. Ben was miserable all day (Monday) with a severe headache, and Julie had the same thing a day or 2 before. Luckily, and thankfully, Julie was well enough to come to our rescue and help us out. So much for a nice Labor Day (we were going to try to go to the zoo...).

My WBC counts are jacked pretty high from the injections I'm giving myself, so lucky for me I'm avoiding the whole mess--just dealing with the fallout!

Off to work...

September 5, 2010

Falling down on the job...

Good day/Bad day?: Good and tiring

No, the title is not literal, it's that I've fallen a couple days back in posting. I just wanted to even out a little after round #2 of chemo infusion and see if a pattern is emerging yet.

So the day of chemo I can go along well for a few hours after the treatment, then I hit the wall and turn green. The rest of the night is like that, kind of light-headed and tired and nauseous. Saturday and Sunday went along pretty okay, like a day of pregnancy-nausea with each day getting a little better. I reach a point or 2 each day where I hit the wall and need rest.

We also had a changing of the guard for helpers again--'bye and thank you to Ashlie! Hi & 'bye to Kathy and Bruce! Then thank you to Mia for being around all of today--it was fun, and sleep well! This coming week is a change...I get my arms back!!!! Thurs officially I'll be off the 10-lb weight restriction. I don't know how soon that means I'll be up for 24# lifting, but it ought to be soon. I will do my best to be judicious.

I think this coming week I'll go for my fake boob fitting. My logic is the boobs alone or the hair alone is going to be weird to adapt to, but if I have to pick out boobs with the wig or no hair, that will be exponentially weird. We'll see how that works out for me!

September 2, 2010

Really?!

Good day/Bad day?: Come on...

Seriously world! Warning--this is just going to be a short whine today... The universe has seen fit to knock out both my helpers with fever/crud, leaving me as the most well person in the household. Though Olive is doing pretty well, too--had her 1-yr check-up and gets gold stars (esp on cuteness)! Yeah. Here's hoping somebody is better tomorrow, because it's time for treatment #2 for me.

Going in at 8AM tomorrow, then have the day off. Hopefully I'll get to see a pattern emerge so I can predict my course a little more. Assuming I don't get a fever, too!

September 1, 2010

Keepin' on

Good day/bad day?: It came around

Made it through another full day at work, but it was a little touch & go in the AM--not nauseous, but I've had a headache for days and I had a severe low back and hip ache. It worked its way out for the most part, and I was able to handle another class this afternoon. Even could pull out some answers to tough questions!

I'm not feeling too pensive tonight, so I'll keep it short. If I feel like I need a cry soon, I'll put on some Johnny Cash. When Ben was driving me to the first chemo treatment, Johnny was playing and made me ugly cry. Something about that voice, esp the later Unearthed albums when his voice is more stark, that just puts everything out there and lets you do the same--it keeps me honest. (It's the same with his happier songs, but in a better way--see our Jerkin' Tears blog entry.) I think I freaked Ben out a little, but it was a good chance for me to let out all my fear about what I was about to undertake. I'm guessing this Friday will be a little less emotional for me, since the unknown is gone. Except for all the other unknown. But that's a given.

Oh yeah, Happy September. Yikes! (I've had the Neil Diamond song "September Morn" drifting in and out of my head today...now maybe you do, too!)

August 31, 2010

Mothers & daughters

Good day/Bad day?: Okay

Made it through the whole day of work, including team-teaching a class that went pretty well. I did feel pretty heavy-headed for a while this AM. I'm thinking that the more distracted I am, the better. That, or Tuesdays will just be better days than the previous ones. Hoping there is a different pattern that emerges, because that's half my week down the toilet right there!

Today my therapeutic diet in the AM was grease (bacon, egg, & cheese bagel sandwich from work) and coffee--you may cringe, but it worked for some reason! Again, very similar to pregnancy. The tough part is that I'm supposed to take the chemo pills on an empty stomach an hour before eating, so there's a window there to just feel empty and get more nauseous. While drinking a pool-full of water. Awesome!!!! But really, today was better.

Oh, I forgot to say that yesterday was a little strange when we were at Olive's pediatrician appt--I've forgotten what it's like to newly tell people that I have cancer b/c pretty much everyone in my day-to-day has known for a while. It was touching to see how genuinely shocked and sympathetic she was since that initial shock of the news has worn off for me. It may sound weird, but it's good for me occasionally to remind myself of what the hell is going on here. That, and I had a moment last night of just sitting next to Olive's bed and watching her sleep--an even better reminder of why I'm putting my body through this. One of those moments where your heart just wants to burst.

I think back a lot on what my mom might have gone through for her cancer rounds, and it's hard. Of course, she was at a totally different place in life--50yo, kids left the nest, no longer married. I think about how totally oblivious I was to a lot of her treatments, surgeries, recovery, etc. (I would have been 20 at the start). She was also stubbornly independent and resistent to having her kids coming to care for her. I now know what it's like to sit through all the appts and in all the waiting rooms and can only imagine emotionally what it was like for her. We were there for some of it, but really only a small portion. It makes me sad. I'm trying not to question her choices because she did things the way she needed to, but it's hard not to feel some regret there, too (and that's something I try to work my way through pretty quickly in general). But I understood her rationale then for avoiding chemo, and I know that everybody has a different idea of acceptable risk for recurrence/2nd cancer. I wish she was still here to talk it through so I could dig a little deeper. But we're bonded anyway, and we were without this!

August 30, 2010

Coming around

Good day/Bad day?: Not outstanding, but better than yesterday

First of all, a very Happy 18th Birthday to my niece Ashlie! Thank you so much for being here to help, esp on a day like today when Olive had to stay home again--you're hanging in there well...

Good news/bad news for the little peanut--her weird rash/fever thing is not contagious and she can go back to day care tomorrow and get back to her routine, but she does have another ear infection!

I'm having a little better day. Rough in the AM and a little touch & go at times with the nausea, but otherwise was able to get out to my appt and Olive's. (I had my port checked 1 week out, looks good.) I think I'll adapt to this soon enough. So far it's a lot like my morning/all-day sickness with pregnancy, so I just have to get back in that mindset and develop my strategies to make it through the day. I have to find the foods that sit well no matter what (it was Belgian waffles with fruit and whipped cream for a while back then...). Going to try to go back to work tomorrow, not sure what my expectations are for that.

FIL Bruce had a good reminder--if I've been feeling the way I have, imagine how the cancer cells are feeling! I'll try to envision them with little bulls-eyes on them.

August 29, 2010

Not a fan

Good day/Bad day?: I vote for bad

Yesterday actually wasn't to bad, just a few nausea waves, and a busy day with Ben's parents (including Olive's first wading pool time). At the end of the night, my niece Ashlie came to join us for the week (through Fri) and lend a hand. Special thank you for coming during your 18th b-day! We also thought we were savvy to Olive's issues, since she was better and had sprung 2 upper molars!

But today was another day... A lot of nausea and got sick a couple of times, very washed out. Olive's back to being sick, too--rash, fever coming back, projectile vomiting tonight. That's all I'm going to say for now. Goodnight.

August 27, 2010

First time for everything...

Good day/Bad day:? bad, but not as bad as it could've been

Olive still has a fever, so Julie was nice enough to stay with her today while we went in for my appt. I went in at 9, saw the MD, and then promptly waited for quite a while. I finally got my first chemo treatment started at about noon. The one I get IV every week is only going to take about 15 min to get, but they draw labs first and you have to wait for the results, and they also give you oral meds to prevent nausea. The treatment itself was fine, just felt a little heavy-headed afterward.

About 3 PM I just got so tired I couldn't stay awake and took a nap, and then when I woke up I was kind of a waxy green/gray color. Nausea's been fluctuating throughout the evening but I was able to eat. I was thinking about napping again, but then Ben & Olive were going for a walk and I joined them. Glad I did--it improved my color for a little while. It's going to take a lot of outside motivation to get me up and moving for a walk or something every day...

It's really hard to anticipate anything more. Typically when you get chemo infusions, it takes about 2-3 days to clear your system and then is gone, but I'm also taking an oral chemo pill every day, so the side effects they talk about will not fall into the typical timelines. And with the pill, I'm supposed to drink like a fish every day (12 cups or so) b/c it's "not supposed to sit in your bladder too long". Comforting, eh?

Hoping tomorrow is less green and not more...

August 26, 2010

Wigging out!

Ha! Get it? It's funny 'cause...

Groan.

Good day/Bad day?: Pretty good

A la the title, I started the day with my wig fitting appt. Oh wait, actually it started at home with Olive waking up with a fever and Ben trying to figure out a suitable arrangement for work/home/baby care. He stayed home, and I went to work after the wig.

So...judging by Ben's reaction, it's obviously not the same as my current hair. I went a little lighter, figuring it'll be fall and winter, I'll be paler, darker might not be good. They do not have wigs that mimic natural waves--it's either straight or full curl. I'm okay with it, and actually think it could grow on me. Of course, it'll fit a little differently when my hair's gone and it's hard to tell how comfortable it will be. But, it's from the Raquel Welch collection...(Hint: it's in the Vibralite Sheer Indulgence collection, but don't feel compelled to Google and guess unless you're bored!) The woman doing the fittings was very nice.

Not sure when I'll post pics of it.

Myra's last evening of helping us--thank you so much! It's nice to have someone who's both a professional and a natural. Congrats on the successful job search, too.

Then there's tomorrow. That's all there is to it. I want to just get it over with to get through the anticipation. Hoping we don't have to bring Olive back to the doctor, too.

August 25, 2010

Riding it out

Good day/bad day?: Good, but long

Just trying to prioritize...It's hard to think that I have one more day of feeling like I'm used to feeling, and then the rest is just unknown. There are always stories I hear of people who just "sail through" their chemo and don't miss work, don't feel that bad, etc. At this point I think it's more helpful for me to expect it to not be so great so that I won't feel I'm letting myself and others down when I peter out.

Had a farewell for a coworker today that has always been special to me. She was the nurse working with my mom as she was dying, then became my preceptor when I started in hospice and was always a "go-to" for me. I always knew she was looking out for me, and I hope I was able to return the favor sometimes. I'll miss working with you...

So, any guesses what kind of wig I'll pick tomorrow??? Stay tuned (or maybe I'll surprise you down the road). I also may go to Gilda's Club tomorrow to check it out. We'll see--I feel like I've got a countdown on my time & energy right now, so that may not be how I choose to spend it tomorrow.

Quick update

Hi, just wanted to let you know that Ben & I stayed up too late watching a movie last night, so no post. Port site is less sore, now just feels bruised. We'll catch up tonight!

August 23, 2010

Ouch (again)!

Good day/Bad day?: Not the most fun


I went in at 7 today to get my port placed. It's in my L arm, inner part of the upper arm, and it hurts like an SOB right now. The procedure itself went fine, though, and I didn't feel as gorked out as I expected. We were done by about noon and then came home to nap.


Chemo schedule: I get an infusion of one drug once a week for 15 weeks, take a pill of another chemo drug once daily for those 15 weeks, and then the third drug is every other week IV for another 12 weeks. It's a long road, and there's a handful of other meds to take or inject that go with it. They'll give me an actual calendar with it all mapped out when I go in Friday AM for the first treatment. It is more treatments for longer than the standard course, but the doses of each infusion will be smaller. The whole point of the study is to determine if the different timing is more effective.


Special thanks to Julie, who's been covering our needs like a trooper for the last week or so, and now to Ben's cousin Myra coming to help in the evenings 'til bedtime. She's in early childhood education, so I expect Olive to be speaking full sentences by the end of the week. Thank you, thank you--we're super lucky to have this support!

August 22, 2010

Baby Steps

Good day/Bad day?: Good

A little bit of errand running, and otherwise I got to visit a friend from work and her new baby--8 days old! Beautiful! I got to keep her all to myself for a nice long nap (hers, not mine), and it was nice because she's small enough that I could hold her. That, and seeing her nurse, brought out some sadness that I won't have that again, and I've just been remembering how great it was to have that with Olive. I didn't even mind the pumping. In that way, it also brought out a lot of feeling that I was lucky it went so well for her and me for as long as it did. Man, it just tugged at me today and made me start wondering if we'll have another kid. There's too much to sort out first before we go down that road.

Speaking of the kid, man is she pushing herself! She's only been pulling up in earnest for a little while, but she's determined to do it all day long now. She started creeping along the coffee table and has stood now without holding on (though occasionally her tummy holds her up...). I predict standing freely by next week, walking by the week after. She doesn't mess around.

Tomorrow's port placement--whoo-hoo? Oh well, it'll be better than getting poked every treatment. Wish I could take the rest of the week off...