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


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,'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


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


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


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!