November 30, 2010


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


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


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


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


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


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!