Tuesday, November 16, 2010

6 Month Check-Up

Yay! All clear!

The Dr said he liked my hair style... I'll bet he says that to all the girls.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Anniversary Party and Humility

Last night Wink hosted a dinner party celebrating my getting through a year of breast cancer drama. It was really nice.
Bobby and Avery. Michelle, Taylor, Madison and Jenna. Jim and Carol. Mike and Elsa. Jay, Shelly and Anna. Leslie, Eli and Paul. And me!

Bobby made cupcakes - enough pink ones to form a pink ribbon icon and a bunch that looked like boobies! Very entertaining. You can imagine the jokes that were going around as the last titty-cake was fought over.
I love the trophy Wink presented me! It's hysterical! A female body builder flexing her "guns".

Then Wink said, "Speech! Speech!" - Arg... I choked.

How do you make a speech for an occasion like that? What I really wanted to say was: "That it really was nothing. Anyone could have done it. It's not like I've done something great. And now it's time to get on with the rest of my life."

But I didn't. I gave that speech once before... At my high school graduation dinner:

"It really was nothing. Anyone could have done it. It's not like I've done something great. And now it's time to get on with the rest of my life." I was completely mortified by my own words when I looked around the table and realized that out of all the friends and family that had gathered to celebrate my achievement, no one else had graduated from high school. It hadn't occurred to me that not finishing school was an option or possibility. It hadn't occurred to me that it was a privilege or grand achievement.

I kind of feel the same way about this cancer thing. It was no big deal. I'm probably in denial about how serious the situation was, but in my mind the cancer that was in me was no more a threat than if the cancer had been outside of me. Like a mole gone arye, the doctors cut it out. Then I spent a few months under going treatments to prevent a recurrence.

Not doing the treatment was not an option. Surviving the treatment, though tough, was inevitable. Getting the treatment was a privilege but it doesn't feel like a grand achievement. It's hard to balance such a cavalier attitude with humility.

Wink has repeatedly told me that she's seen many cancer patients, but has never seen one go through what I did with such grace and positive attitude. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I never felt like a cancer patient. Someone who had a cancer, yes, but that was dealt with - problem solved.

What I do want to express is gratitude. Thank you everyone for all the words of support and loving thoughts.
This experience has really made it apparent to me how many lives I've touched. It makes me want to be a better person.

When I Was Ill

When I was ill I spent a lot of time laying on this couch staring at the walls and thinking, "If only I had the strength. Beige! I want my walls to be beige!" When your world gets turned upside down and there's not much you can do about it, you look or things you can control. One of those things that can be controlled is decor.

My main level was a mish-mash of colour. It had no cohesion. It felt as fractured as I did. The kitchen was dark hunter green, the living room was half asphalt gray behind the entertainment system and half canary yellow. The bathroom was blue, the entrance was pale peach and the office ivory.

I'm between jobs and finally have a block of free time where I feel great. I've been painting this week. After my last mural job I mixed together many many many miscellaneous cans of pinks, greens, yellows, blues, grays.... plus 1/2 a gallon of ocher and wound up with 2 1/2 gallons of milk chocolate. This I used to paint the front entrance, the wall behind the entertainment system and the back wall around the window. I added a couple quarts of very pale miss-tint to the mix to lighten up the brown for the rest of the living room.

Today I'm going to paint the kitchen. The back wall around the patio doors will be the original milk chocolate (yep, still have a 1/2 gallon or so reserved) and the rest will be a much lighter tan... at least 1/2 as much lighter as the lighter colour in the living room.

My living space is slowly becoming more cohesive. It makes me feel better. Happiness is a fresh gallon of paint!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Feeling Stuck

Ever feel paralyzed by all the stuff that comes your way? Too many projects, too many burdens, too little time... And I I can do is make a list and start checking things off. Well, at least that's one thing less to worry about.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Walking of the Sofa Pounds

Time to quit saying and start doing. I ache a lot and it has nothing to do with the treatments I've endured over the past Spring / Summer. In fact I'm back to 100%. That's 100% if prior to chemo I was a couch potato with zero muscle mass and rusted joints.

I started walking again on Tuesday. No point in easing into it. 2.73 mile = 4.39 km (I google mapped it - is it just me, or is this tool rather annoying?) I knew that if I immediately sat down and started to work on the computer that it would be the end of me. Everything would just get locked into place. Much stretching was in order.

I was pretty stiff yesterday too.

This morning I woke, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, at 7:00 so I thought I'd tackle that walk again. Not as difficult. I don't think I stretched enough so tomorrow might be another stiff day. But I did come back with enough energy to make a quick trip to a new animal hospital that is under construction next door and drop off a mural brochure. Then I walked to the mail box and back. Then I cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor. Then I watered my plants outside... don't know why I've been bothering with container plants for the past couple years. I'm not around enough to properly care for or enjoy them.

Pretty good start to a day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tore Myself a New One

Armpit that is. The range of motion required to swing a golf club is not covered by typical yoga stretches. The first few holes hurt a little. I tried to figure out what a half swing felt like, but I'm not one to shy away from the opportunity to murder a ball. By the 5th / 6th hole it felt more like a stretched bruise feeling. I'll be better tomorrow for what I endured today.

We only played 16 holes. Not bad considering a few years ago 12 used to be my limit before I was just wiped out from the game. I could play 18 but I would be dragging my butt for the last 5-6 holes. And I only played once last year. I wasn't exhausted when I came off the course today... Just tired of aching. And Paul was getting a little... disinterested with the game (How weird is that?!). I did get a par on one hole. That's something.

For me golf is not about the score at the end of the game. It's about that one fabulous drive that went for miles. That one amazing chip that hit the flag. That one 18 foot put that curved just a little to the right then paused briefly on the edge of the cup before draining. That's what makes golf great - not the fact that I totaled up the score card at the end and got 154.

I was pleased to see that some of the roses I had transplanted onto the golf course from the shadowy office window garden where they had been growing (or about to die) were thriving. I'm still miffed that the greens guys hacked my raspberries on 1 Legends.

Time to set my cowboy hat aside. I have enough hair now. I wore it on the golf course today and when I took it off I had the oddest hat head... a dent in the top of my scalp where the hair had conformed to the shape of the hat!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Done with the Big Gun!

Yay! No more full blast radiation treatments! They really aren't that bad. It's the consequential burn that sucks. I have 5 more boosts and then I'm all done! (With the exception of all the follow up poking and prodding.) The boosts should be easy enough. They are targeting the scar location only and my breast hasn't been nearly as damaged as my under arm and under breast areas.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It Burns! It burns!

Hey, look. I have hair, my own eyebrows and eyelashes! Wink said that was pretty impressive because eyelashes don't always come back. WHAT!? I didn't even know that was a possibility! Eyelashes are essential.

My burn hurts so bad. I can barely stand to move at all. It hurts to touch and nothing feels good on, not even the air.
I have a sock tucked into my armpit just so I don't have to feel burnt skin touching raw skin.

It's been 3 days since my last zap and it just keeps getting worse and worse. You know how bad you imagine it would feel to grate your fingers, so you're usually really careful when using a grater? But now and then when you aren't paying attention and you do grate your fingers, it's not quite as bad as you imagined it would be. Well my skin feels far worse than what you would imagine grating your fingers would feel like.

The pain is bad enough that I can't sleep through the night. The hot flashes don't help any either.
This is not unlike what poison ivy feels like.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Only 1 More Week's Worth!

As of tonight there are only 7 more radiation treatments! And 5 of those are just a localized boost. No more torturing my underarm and underboob!

This afternoon after my shower i made the mistake of putting a tiny bit of baby powder under my breast. I was just soooo tired of feeling wet and yucky. Big mistake. All that loose wet skin dried instantly and split. A patch about the size of large flattened marshmallow peeled off, just like that!... Get the polysporin.

I'm very tired. But that's probably because I was up until 3:30am doing a web project and then got up again at 7:30 to go painting. Actually, I didn't get out of the house until 9:00. Still put in 5 hours at the school today. I get tomorrow off. The janitors are waxing the floors and I won't be able to walk on them until Friday. Yay! Day off!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Managing Energy

Every 3-4 days I find myself full of energy. I take advantage of this strength by getting so many chores out of the way. It then takes 3-4 days to recover...hmmmm.
Almost finished the laundry, now to de-clutter the office.

Friday, July 23, 2010

How's the Radiation Going?

Not a lot to blog about if there's not a lot to complain about! :-)

My eyebrow's are 3/4 back. Most of them have sprouted but they need a bit more length.
My eyelashes are 1/2 grown in. I can feel them from left to right but they are only about 1/4 as long as they will be and very fine. Baby lashes.
My moon face has mostly gone away. I was looking a bit like a male orangutan.

The swelling is back. And I'm supposed to be massaging to help with drainage. But not too hard. It's not very comfortable.
There's a lot of reddening, especially under neath and under arm. My skin is getting thin. The nurse was insistent that I should be using cordizone cream / polysporin as well as the glaxol based cream.

Everytime they position me under the radiation thingy I'm reminded of the time I was using a microscope as a kid and zoomed in too close and cracked the slide. (That would be me about to be cracked!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

10 Rads Down

Only 20 more to go!
Soooooo itchy!!! Applying ointment thrice daily does not relieve the itch.

Yesterday's appointment was late by an hour and 20 minutes. The gentleman next to me (waiting for his wife) commented about the delays, to which I replied, "It would be so much better with a take a number system so that you could tell if you had time to grab a coffee or not. He immediately jumped up and offered to go get me one... and he wouldn't take my money! The kindness of strangers.

There's a 40ish looking woman who's appointment is often scheduled right around mine. So far our appointments have never been on time, so I get her frustration. But she WHINES!!!! Holy Cow! I just want to club her. Every time she opens her mouth this high pitched, cracklely, about to cry, oh-woaw-is-me noise comes out (it's not like she has a cold or anything!). She cries and makes a fuss every time - even when they are only running 15 minutes behind. Then when she's finished, she puts on her business suite and heads out the door like nothing happened.

Another reason to be grateful: I'm not her.

Must ask if I can start taking Glucosamine again. My knee is big time ow. Crawling around on the school floors doesn't help much either (painting gig).

Hey! My eyebrows are just beginning to fill in. And I have the tiny, tiniest little eye lashes you ever saw, or felt because most of them are invisible to the naked eye. If eyelashes really do grow back (are constantly growing) they WHY do I not ever get really long ones? So unfair that the prettiest lashes are reserved for boys.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

2nd week of Radiation

All done chemo - that was finished up about 6 weeks ago. Had a brief rest in Grande Prairie on a girl friends farm just before radiation began. I didn't feel like I did a lot of healing but when I got home I was clearly stronger and faster. I'm almost done week 2 of radiation with no side effects yet. 8 down... 22 more to go.

Radiation isn't so scary. They have nice decor, the technicians are friendly and the actual procedure only takes a few minutes per day (Monday - Friday except holidays).

The nurse I spoke with today asked what kind of drugs the Dr had me on... none. She was surprised. I told her how Dr Higgins had described my chemo as very aggressive (nasty stuff) let me have 5 weeks off instead of 4 between chemo and radiation. And my hormone replacement therapy (HRT) wouldn't start until a couple weeks after radiation.

I guess those were nasty drugs because normally radiation overlaps chemo or HRT overlaps radiation. I'm getting them all one at a time.

Damaged nail beds are making a come back, I can feel my eyelashes and brows starting to come in and I have about 1 1/4" of hair again!

Weather's been smoking hot this week. With the humididex almost 50C every day! Thank goodness for AC.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Fuzzy!

The hair's comin' back. I think my "moon face" is starting to recede too. I can see my ears!

NOTE: If you're putting false lashes on and you drop one vertically over your open eye, don't panic and squeeze your eyes shut! It makes it hard to find that set of lashes if you can't see them, glued to your eyeball and all. Stings a little.

First day back from vacation. Taking the day easy.

Had my first radiation treatment. It could not have been easier! They take you back into this room with a bed (more like a padded, narrow, re-positionable platform). There's a machine that rotates around the bed with a "camera" that looks like a metal serving tray and the radiation device (which reminded me of a big metal MixMaster without the beaters. Ok, so it looks nothing like a MixMaster). The techs line you up with the machine's cross-hairs, flick a switch then run from the room in terror (kidding - they exit calmly) and you're don in 60 seconds.

I have a chest cold. Coughing, chest congestion, gravelly voice that fades in and out... did I mention the coughing?
It's funny:
Chemo - easy
Cold - OH! WOAW-IS ME!!!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tired of the Weepy Eyes

I'm hoping this symptom will pass soon. It's been a few weeks and I'm getting tired of it.

Before my eyes were just watery all the time. But now it seems like the chemistry has change. My tears are thicker and sticky. And when I close my eyes for a while, the tears thicken into greeny eye boogers. Yuck. I haven't had eye snot since I was a kid.

When I wake in the morning my eyes are sometimes crusty but definitely blurry. I can't always see anything in them. It's like my tears have formed a transparent film over my irises that's fuzzy to look through. A couple eye drops help to break that up so I can see again. But then the watering starts and my poor eyelids are so rubbed red and swollen! Not a good look for me considering I don't have any lashes or brows. Getting tire of this alien look too!

Must remember to call Ester tomorrow at the hospital.

Went Painting

Sheep Painted Over Baby's Crib

I was a bit worried about how this project would go. Painting is a lot of work. I made it through though. I'm always amazed at the energy I get from painting. Once I get started it's like the act of painting is meditative. My mind my wander occasionally, but for the most part the only thing I am thinking about is the act of painting - selecting a colour, contrasts, steadying the hand for a perfect line.

This project took just over 5 hours (I had guessed 3 but obviously I'm not working at full speed.) I wasn't tired on the job site, but by the time I got home, I was exhausted. It was a lot of effort to remain standing in the shower. My legs felt like they weighed a ton! I spent the rest of the evening vegetating on the couch.

The customer was thrilled with the final project. "Better than I ever imagined it could be!"

That makes me happy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yay - Last Shot!

Yesterday was my last Nupagen shot. Thank goodness! I'm tired of being tired.

And this tongue thing has got to go. I've been chewing cinnamon gum to cleans my mouth during the day. It burns a bit at the best of times but my last stick actually singed the right side of my tongue!

They had warned me not to use mouth wash with alcohol all along. I've been sneaking it now and then when I felt like I really just needed a good rinse and it never bothered me before... until last night. Again, scorched the front half of my tongue!

It's Saturday. The sun is shining. Its gorgeous out. And yet, every time I get off the couch it takes roughly 90 seconds to find my way back. Soon. Soon my strength will return. I sure hope so.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Waves of Wellness

And not so well.
For the past 2 days I've barely had the strength to get up. I loose my breath with much effort. And sometimes that effort is sitting up. Then suddenly last night my colour came back, my sense of humor returned and my brain fog lifted!... I could focus! (naturally I spent that time catching up on work).

This morning illness was back. And today's weakness and fevers are also accompanied by back spasms. Some of those back pains are wrapping around to the front and giving me chest pains too. I don't like that. It is not a heart attack.

I think my kidneys are suffering. Prior to my feeling good, when I would pee it was pale, with a tint of green and frothy. Seriously. It was like passing warm soda pop. I had been drinking a lot; best to flush the poisons through. Just before the feeling good started I went to the bathroom and it was concentrated like morning pee. Almost like a damn broke in me and the toxins came pouring out.
Or maybe I just hadn't used the facilities in many hours and it means nothing.

I really need to go to the bathroom (#2), My insides are asleep. I took another Dolcolax tonight. I do not like messing with digestive medicines. There's always a price to pay. But I'm so bloated. I can't eat regularly because the pressure in my stomach pushes against my diaphragm and makes breathing harder.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Sun is Taunting Me

It occurred to me that I haven't included an image in a while. Previously, I thought I looked curious, but good. Since my eye lashes and eye browse have fallen out... no so much. So I'm distracting you with a shot of my rock wall and a few flowers!

My eyes are too puffy and squinty. I have the "moon face" the doctors said I'd get. I can't see my ears behind my huge face.
My hair is coming in! I have a good 1/2" all over... Too bad there's a 1/4" spacing of all the hair that's come in. That's just wrong.

The dappled light from the morning sun in the back yard is having a little celebration. It's like, "yay, the day has just begun and it's going to be a glorious, hot, summer-like day!"

Yesterday was also a perfect summer-like day. The kind of day when you stop fussing about, have a seat in the back yard and crack a very cold beer in the heat... and that first crisp, refreshing swig... oh ya, you know what I'm talking about. The kind of experience I didn't have yesterday because I felt horrible and my mouth chemistry is all wrong. The beer would have been all sour and metallic.

I can't taste a lot of things - mostly I go by texture. Straight up sugar and tomato seem to be able to cut their way through to my taste buds, but you can't go on eating for ever. Thank goodness it's finally Freezie season! I can taste that little bit of sugar and the cold helps my tongue and finger tips. For the last round of chemo I sent Paul on a Freezie hunting mission and there were none to be found in Mississauga.

I'm waffling about work. I need to work but do I need to go in? Maybe Laura still has a bug and it would be ill advised.

Just had breakfast - a bagel with raspberry jam. Took 2 bites and decided it would be far easier to lay down and eat. That's not a good sign.

My knees and back ache, my tongue burns, my eyes feel goopy. I'm going to loose my left index fingernail. It's 75% air pocket where there should be a nail bed. I have a band aid on so I don't accidentally tear it off. It doesn't hurt too much but there's a dull ache when I apply pressure.

8:30 am - I could at least put some clothes on so that I am prepared to go in to the office. I wouldn't leave until 9:15 any how.
8:45 am - ok, going to dress now. Besides, this face... oh boy! needs work!
9:00 am - Laura called: chicken pox, diarrhea, throwing up... her house hold is a mess! Looks like I'm working from home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ug - I Don't Recall It

... Being this bad. The mind has a great ability to forget the bad stuff after it's passed. I forgot about the aching joints, the swollen, burning feeling in my mouth, the tummy ache, the exhaustion...

I was doing so well all weekend. I really felt like a normal human being for a while. I wanted to go to work tomorrow. I'll have to see what tomorrow brings.

Wish we had some ice cream.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Missed Apt - I'm Such a Goof!!

I completely forgot about my appointment for a shot. The clinic called and said they were just closing up. CRUD! I had to go next door to the pharmacy and get some syringes and do it myself.

I did a pretty good job. Didn't spill a drop of Nupagen or blood. Painless! Still pretty gross and not something I'd like to do myself on a regular basis.

I'm such a duffus!

Last Chemo - Day 3

Yay - last round! All up up hill from here! (or is it down hill?) The one that means easy going/getting better every day.

I did get my flower pots planted Friday afternoon. I got some yellow red marigolds, fuchsia petunias, lime green nicotina, red shade inpatients, white alyssum, a peach begonia and a red gerber daisy. I opted for lots of pretty colours instead of a theme this year. Also tried planting lettuce and spinach in a hanging shoe bag for a vertical garden. Saw that in an "Instructables" post and thought I'd give it a try. Dollar store project - no great loss if it doesn't work out.

Shelly delivered flowers from the boobs-in-laws yesterday. We had a nice long visit and drank about 4 cups of coffee each. That was nice. Just what I needed - a caffine buzz on top of the Benadyl.

I had so much energy yesterday! My house is clean! Only got 3 checks off my to-do list of 20... So much to catch up on, such a small window of IV Benandryl induced strength. I dusted, I vacuumed and mopped, I scrubbed both bathrooms, all the laundry is washed and put away, I cleaned my closet.

I found my missing camera cable for my computer! That's been bugging me for about a month.

Today I tackle "the table!" It's a massive heap of receipts, bills that need filing, notes, promo material, turned out purse brick-a-brack... tax stuff!!! That space gets so out of control so fast. Need a better storage/temporary filing system. Need to sty on top of it. Also - the scary spaces under the bathroom sink. Too many bottles and tubes... And hair accessories! What's with that? I haven't worn a pony or a clip in many months and yet I'm constantly stumbling across them... Paul!

Then I want to make art. I have some barely started canvases sitting upstairs in my studio that I want to play with. I think I want to have a show this year. And for that I need to produce something. I also want to do some caricatures. Something people can easily recognize, something marketable like, "look what I can do for you." I keep calling myself an artist but I don't feel like I'm acting the part.

Side effects: today my eyes are a little more weepy and my throat is beginning to deteriorate again which means the bad taste is coming - definitely one of the more annoying side effects. Probably because it lasts so long. Only had 2-3 hot flashes last night. There were none the day before and that was nice! Index finger on my left had is for sure going to loose the nail. The bed has been reduced to a 1/3. I have a tight band aid on so I don't see of feel it, but it's inevitable. Yuck - finger wounds! Gross!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yay - Last Chemo!

Today was my big day - last chemo! The doctor said I did extremely well. He used the term "very aggressive treatment". It really wasn't all that bad. Really. A couple days of couch surfing, a couple days of back spasms, sore toe nails, lack of energy... but not really feeling sick. And all things considered, it could have been way worse. What can I say - I'm super woman!

Grandma commented about how horrible the whole thing sounded. My fault. I've tried to keep these posts upbeat and positive. But I don't really feel the need to blog when I'm feeling good. Need something to complain about in order to write.

For my last day of chemo, both the blood test and the IV were virtually painless! Nice. Good way to end it. I did remember to take my Stemacil pill before chemo. Still got really twitchy but not 1/2 as bad as last time. That's a rough bit. Hand and foot spasms that occur erratically for about 45 minutes.

They have a bell in the chemo waiting area that you can ring if you want to announce "all done". I opted not to ring it. I really didn't want to make a big spectacle of the event. It's my personal journey. Really. What's the difference between ringing a big brass bell and making an ass of one's self, whooping and hollering? None I say. I'm celebrating on the inside.

Get to go on hormone replacement therapy after radiation. Testosterone: light cycles, hot flashes (already there!), facial hair... And I get to do that for 5 years! huh. Just when you think you're through.

Already have all my appointments booked for the Nupagen shots. Booked those on the last day of shots last time around. I waited until the first day of shots last round and couldn't get the same time slot twice. Booked full up. My shots are supposed to be spaced 24 hours apart.

As a thank you gift for the chemo doctor's kindness and generosity, Paul gave him a round of golf for 4 and I offered up my art services - any thing from murals to web design and anything in between.

Think I'll put o a sweater and mosey over to the grocery store for some potting mix and some flowers. It's time to garden - May long weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Final Chemo Coming Up

A little bummed out that it's chemo time again - Day after tomorrow. Don't feel like I got my feel normal time in. Maybe it's because the week of shots cut into my 3 weeks of recovery time... so it's really only 2 weeks of recovery time. That and I paid for the work I did at Mrs. Kanaff's for 3-4 days after.

Oh well, it's the last one. Yay!!

Bought a bottle of wine. It's ok to have a couple glasses today. But not tomorrow. It'll affect my liver results. MUST remember to take meds tomorrow! Time to start bulking up with those steroids. MUST remember to take anti-nausiant pill before chemo! I think the nurse dragged her feet in getting me one last time and it was really hard.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Measure of Strength

I'm soooooo weak! I think I have strength, but then when I call on it... nothing.

Yesterday I went to Mrs. Kanaff's to supervise some garden reconstruction. And that's all that I was asked to do - supervise. But it's not in my nature to just sit there. "Never ask anyone to do something you are not willing to do yourself." Willing and capable are not the same thing!

I did a bit of weeding, dug up about 6 or 7 perennials and dug some of the holes for transplanting them to better places. Several times I had to stop, gasping for breath. A few times melted completely down, sitting on the grass while my temperature spiked and my vision briefly faded in and out. I decided to stick to the easy projects and spent the rest of the day snipping Mrs. Kanaff's topiaries back into shape.

The long walk (20 yards) to the back of here yard to dump weeds and back (plod... plod... plod... ) just about wiped me out. By the time I got home I could barely summon the strength to sit up. Showering off the garden dirt would have to wait.
That tiny bit of gardening was worse to my putting in a 12 hour day of hard core mural painting. I was exhausted at a cellular level. Sooooo weak!

I can't wait to start getting some strength back. The doc said radiation treatments will create a lot of fatigue too. And it could take up to a year to recover. That makes me want to cry.

You know that theory where energy begets energy, and if you work out you'll have more energy... not in this case. I have a very finite amount of energy and when I use that up... that's all there is.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sleep is Healing

Wow - I slept a lot yesterday. 2 hours in the morning, a bit after lunch, 2.5 hours in the afternoon... went to bed at 8 and slept through to 3:00 am when I was waken by back spasms. I forgot about those. You'ld think writhing on the floor in pain would be a memorable experience, but no. It's amazing what the mind can toss out as irrelevant until confronted with reality again.
Robaxacet is my friend.

Made french toast for breakfast this morning. Paul was working late so it was nice to eat together.

Must make an effort to glam up today. I've been looking a lot like death warmed over lately and that's not fair for Paul. That and "look good, feel good" really does have some merit.

I booked my flight to Grande Prairie yesterday. Going to spend some time on Lorries farm before radiation begins. R&R is as important to the healing process as medicines. Going from the 17 to the 27. Radiation begins on the 28th. The doctors let me have 5 weeks off after chemo so I'm hoping that last week I'll have more strength and feel good. I didn't feel good for the 3rd week after the last chemo treatment but that could have had a lot to do with allergies.

Maybe I can coordinate a day vacation with the Smiths so that we can drive down to Edmonton and I can skip my GP-Ed flight and spend Sunday with the family. Maybe Mom can make it out. She can probably use a vacation too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Took the Day Off

I was just exhausted. I've been drifting in and out of sleep all day. I skyped in at 9:30... but that's it. Helped Jeff with a bit of AF trouble shooting. Explorer was on the fritz because I accidentally doubled up on a line of code. Oopsy!

My poor tongue is swollen twice it's normal size and is scraping on my teeth. The acidic burn makes me sneer. Can't gargle with baking soda non-stop.

Sleeping again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

So hot, hot, hot

This is my head!

The slightest bit of effort causes me to spray sweat like a geyser!
And I made an effort. I swept and mopped the kitchen and front bathroom. Got company coming over for a few minutes.

My mouth tastes horrible today. Imagine a sour beer left out in the sun with a heaping table spoon of baking soda and a Buckley's cough syrup chaser.

Getting my ducks in order this week. Actually have 3 clients who've paid me for services rendered (going back as far a November!) Just when you think you're going to be pooched...

Gotta start thinking about how to make more money with design. How to market me. Ya, it's great that there's so much word of mouth out there that I get those occasional gigs... but I need more steady action. Need to figure out how to be a facilitator.

Pretty bad to be feeling this shaky, hot and sweaty and to have finances constantly niggling at my right ear.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This Isn't Supposed to be so Har

I have no eye lashes. Well, a couple on top but the bottom ones are al but gone. It's weird. Definitely have a bit of the "moon face going from the steroids. I'm sure they are contributing to the thickness around my middle.

That an regularity is not part of my day-to-day life. Listen to me, I sound like an old lady.

It's day 3 after the last chemo treatment. I feel like crap. I'm supposed to be feeling good, riding high on the antihistamines. But no! The hot flashes are coming fast and furious. Every 15 - 30 minutes it's like this big Whoosh! of heat and my poor bald head gets all clammy and hot!. The windows are open and every now and then I feel the slightest draft.

I'm not ready for menopause!!!!

I feel thick.

Already my taste buds are going down the crapper. Constant saltiness / sliminess. I had a bowl of special K Vanilla nut with soy milk for breakfast, a bunch of grapes for a snack and a fried egg and toast for a late lunch. I'm not getting any satisfaction. How can you be hungry and put off food at the same time? I've got some bad wiring that says when things don't feel good a bit of food will make it all better. Emotional stuffing. I've been conscious of the foods that I comfort myself with. I'm eating well. i figured as long as I can't really taste anything it may as well be good for me.

It's funny because my sense of smell is 100% and more. Imaging a blood hound picking up on clear, colourful, chemical trails like you see on TV documentaries. Not an exaggeration! My sniffer is acute if not cute!

Paul's going to drive me to my next shot in 20 minutes. I just shouldn't be driving. I feel week and distracted. I should be feeling good. There wasn't enough time to recover from the last treatment. It already has me worried about making it through the 3rd and final treatment. Don't go there. I have 19 days to recover.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chemo Round 5 - Day 2

I was up until 1:30 working on the packaging for Daniels Wholesale.

Slept until 9:00 am - nice. And then I laid in bed and read "An Echo in the Bone" for about 45 minutes. 2/3 through. I wasn't in that much of a hurry to get up and on with the day.

Wink popped by to drop off flowers and cards from Anne and the Boobs-in-Laws. Yellow tulips. I put them in my chicken vase for a fun country look. Wink also brought by a cute planter of mixed tropicals that I can take out doors when the weather stabilizes (May 24). Looking forward to doing a little gardening. All my pots are ready. (Oh look! we're getting a little rain. Haven't seen a lot this year.) I saw a hanging garden in an "Instructables" newsletter that was made from an over the door shoe storage thingy. I liked it. I picked up a beige one from the dollar store. I'm thinking about getting another 2 maybe. It looked good with herbs and lettuce leaves and hanging vines.

Must remember to go to my injection appointment. Crap. So inconvenient. It is right across from Visual Arts Mississauga though and they probably have a new show going on. Might inspire me to ad paint to the canvases I started last round.

Think I'll get some laundry done and maybe tackle "the table"... bill planning, tax sorting, putting stuff away. De cluttering will make me feel better.

Gary's being uber-cuddly today. She's all curled up next to my legs, every now and then looking over her shoulder with nothing but love and adoration in her expression. Cats are the bomb. They just know haw to make you feel good.

Chemo Round 5 - Day 1

Every thing went fairly well. It always seems like there're going to be a lot of waiting around but we get shuffled through a lot of appointments pretty quick without feeling too rushed. Thats nice.

The blood taking nurse was awesome. In and out in 5 seconds flat and hardly felt a thing.

I get to have 5 weeks off before radiation so I can go visit Lorrie. Nice I need that! Got the ok for fight from both the radiation and the chemo doc. Altitude should not be an issue. The intern doc said that R&R was as important to healing as the medicines.

The radiation doc said I need to come in before my trip to get my custom beanbag pillow made up - holds me in the right place for repeat visits. Of which I get 30. (5 bonus rounds for having big-ones. He's also looking into getting me a "breast board so that everything dangles away from the body, minimizing bodily exposure. I really didn't enjoy the upside down balancing act I had to do in the MRI. I felt like I had to support my entire upper body weight on my sternum over a 5" square "padded" metal hoist for an hour. There was a lot of slow, deep concentrated breathing going on. Ow. I hope a breast board offers more support. And with my arms above my head rather than pinned next to my sides will feel better too.

The chemo doc said all my levels were looking really good. I was a bit worried. Not the night before, but the night before that, I had a few wine and a couple of vodka. I was feeling human and the alcohol was... self-medication for killing of some sinusitis germs that were threatening to invade my throat and chest. SO not fair to have to deal with allergies and chemo. I can't say that enough. I'm such a winer. You would be too if you had a sinus cavity as substantial as my own! The last time I consumed alcohol the night before chemo (just 4 wee glasses of wine over 8 hours) the intern doc gave me the stink eye (whatever, Doogie Houser!).

Must remember to take a Stemetil tablet an hour before the Benadyl drip. I get so twitchy and convulsive. It's a rough ride.

The chemo nurse nicked the easy to spot vein in the top of my arm and after that couldn't get back in. She gave up and went after an easy to spot one in the back of my hand. I don't like hand IVs. They hurt. And with all my twitching it just got worse and worse. There wasn't even that sense of relief when the needle finally came out. Just more ouch. Oh well. It's not like it was poison ivy.

When I got home it was time for sleep. I was out cold for almost 4 hours. I slept hard! Paul kept checking on me to make sure I was still breathing, that's how out I was. I needed the sleep. Didn't get enough the night before.

Got up at 8:30 and made dinner. Fettuccine Alfredo with garlic sauteed mushrooms and de-boned, skinless, trimmed of fat chicken thighs and fresh tomato. Yummo! Paul had already eaten. That's ok fet makes good left overs. At least with this cocktail I have an appetite. Things don't always taste good (in a few days everything is going to taste like salty metal) but at least I can keep my energy up. And as long as I can't really taste anything, I may as well eat healthy. Mmmmm - liver. Yummy - sardines. Gotta love that boiled spinach, kale and swiss chard. Leafy greens rule.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Treatment Day Begins in 4 Hours

I can't sleep. It's nearly 4 in the morning and my mind keeps taking of in one direction or another. It's frustrating. I might just take advantage of the overwhelming desire to sleep when the nurse comes in to pump me full of Benadryl tomorrow.

I sure hope this is a far more comfortable IV. The last one never settled in and hurt the whole time. The nurse figures the tip of the needle must have been pushing up against a valve.

I remembered to get my drugs this time. Was supposed to start the Dex the day before treatment and forgot last time until bed time the night before so I missed a dose. Oh well.

I never got my week of wellness this time around. At leas on the other cocktail there were only 2 really rough days of riding it out on the couch... and a few days later of just being tired. With this one, and the 7 daily shots that followed, it just got worse and worse for the 1st week and then took just over a week to recover. And then I got slammed with these darn allergies. This isn't fair. A person shouldn't have to do chemo and allergies at the same time. I have NO endurance. A walk to the mailbox and back is enough to make my lip sweat. Making 2 trips up and down the stairs is enough to make me pant for breath. Only this and one more treatment and I can begin the journey back to wellness. I miss being strong. I can't even will myself to be stronger than my body believe any more. The batteries are just too low.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have one more day of "freedom" before my next treatment.

I've had allergies for the last 2 weeks and for the past few days i've fear that it's become sinusitis. I was worried that it might have been a cold since I've been exposed to baby germs lately. nope. Clear snot. Not green boogers.

I keep dreading the upcoming treatment, thinking about how harsh the following 2 weeks were. And trying not to cry when I think about the good days I got gypped of.... But I should be so lucky!

Great, GREAT healthcare.
Amazing support.
Out of this world, stellar boss.
The hospital is just down the street.

I'm really hoping that when I do get the next treatment, the bag full of Benadryl will make this cruddy feeling go away. More than a little good with the whole lot of evil to come.


The attitude that you can get away with a lot more stuff at my age because I'm "ailing" and you should be sympathetic.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today is a Good Day

Today is a good day because I feel better than I did yesterday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tired of Being Tired

I'm not snapping back from this one. Understandably, since I was tormented for a whole week as opposed to a single day. Every time I try to do anything... within minutes I'm laid out horizontal again.

Had a bath, thought it would be soothing and refreshing. I spent most of it curled up, listening to my heart beat under the water. That really bugs Ty. It's bad enough that I'm wet - drowning is not a good thing in a cat's book.

Getting out of the tub was bad. The water was too cold to stay in any longer and the room was cold. I couldn't dry the large water drops off fast enough before diving under the blankets to finish "air drying". Shivering is exhausting. Another 20 minute nap was required to recover.

The sun has been blazing in the sky all day. I keep checking. It's a trick. It's cold out.
The cat's have it right with that sun beam on the carpet. I hogged one for another 15 minute nap while my bald head got a heathy dose of vitamin D.

I did finally get a client's photo touched up well enough for his billboard add. Had to stretch a 2' image to 16'! Ten hours of my weekend spent fudging pixels. Oh well, much of it was done while on my back.

I'm sad. My weekend is winding up and I don't feel rested. And I'm afraid, just when I'm about to feel human again I'll have to start round 5. That thought almost made me cry. Suck it up. No one said it was going to be easy. Maybe I'll have a couple of good days yet before the next round.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Feel Weak - pt 2

Extreme fatigue is the killer. Small efforts are equivalent to running marathons.

Brushing my teeth is a huge effort. But it must be done! My tongue has turned white. I don't think it's thrush. I've worried about that since over hearing that it could be a symptom. It looks like the outer layer of skin is dying off - attack of the killer meds. Nothing gross like sloughing skin or anything, just white. If I scrub, it turns pink again... but not for long.

Showering is a HUGE effort. I miss having a massive head of hair that would soak up a lot of hot water an keep me warm throughout. Instead, I spend a lot of time huddling under the spray trying to stay warm. I always feel like I'm missing something. Not having to shampoo and condition or shave definitely saves a lot of time. Lather and rinse... that can't be it. I thought it was just habit a first, but after a shower I still wrap my head in a towel just to keep warm.

Sitting up is hard. That lasts for about 5 minutes (I'm being generous) before I begin to melt. I, and my back especially, are sick to death of laying down. Sometimes I pace just to get the blood flowing again. A person shouldn't find themselves breathing hard from plodding around their kitchen 3-4 times.

My digestive system has drifted off to sleep. Three mouthfuls of water or juice is enough to fill me up. There's the feeling of a small cannon ball pushing up under my ribs against my diaphragm. It makes me gasp for air too. If I stop and concentrate on breathing in and filling my lungs, I can, they are not congested. They're just way under utilized. Which, I fear, is also contributing to my fatigue.

4:14 am - I should get some rest.

I Feel Weak

This was posted April 13, but in my weakened state, I put it on the wrong Blog! - duh.

The meds have finally caught up with me.

I ache everywhere. And where I don't ache, I feel thick. My finger tips feel like I've been drumming on concrete. My ankles are throbbing. A weird electrical sensation keeps traveling from my knee to my hip socket. I feel like there is a hard little pool ball wedged up under my diaphragm and pushing against my ribs from the inside.

My mouth feels bad. Too much mucus. And all the soft parts feel swollen. My tongue is dragging on the edge of my extremely sharp teeth. The surface of my tongue feels burnt and scraped. And it's staining. No matter what I drink or eat, that is what colour my tongue turns. Yuck.

My lips are hot and dry.

Then there's the hot / cold, hot / cold... not fun!

It was a challenge getting through yesterday just feeling fatigued. Today is going to be harsh. It really is just a whole bunch of little symptoms, but I feel like they've ganged up on me... I'm fading... fading... arg.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Apt Description

Today I feel like the underside of a dirty carpet.
A marked improvement.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Whew - Fever Broke

Paul kept making me take my temperature: 37.4ºC - 38.0ºC all night. This morning it finally came down to 37.2ºC... and as of 9:45 am... yay! 36.8ºC. He didn't want me taking any Tylenol because it could mask the fever (bring the temperature down). But isn't that the point? I don't want to feel like crap.

The nurse at the oncology unit said it's the injections that cause flu like symptoms and this is to be expected. Fevers are higher over night. And fevers can be controlled with Tylenol. Unless the fever hits 38ºC - 38.5ºC for a prolonged period of time, I shouldn't be worried.

I haven't been. I know my temperature has been higher but it doesn't feel like a fever. There hasn't been any of the "hot, hot, hot, gasp, pant..." followed by a whoosh of cold sweat and chills.

I don't think I feel as bad today as yesterday. My shins and back ache but that could be from prolonged periods of being horizontal. On the other hand... I've been sitting up for 2 minutes and want to lay down again.

My mouth tastes bad. This is definitely one of the worst symptoms. Very few flavors can cut through this bad taste. For example, yesterday's lunch was a tin of mustard sardines (had a hankering for calcium and fish oil) and a Macintosh apple. I could not tell the difference, other than the apple having tough skin which scratched my tongue.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chemo Round 4 - Day 5

I could use a bit more ignorance in my life right now. I feel just horrible today and I'm only 1/2 way through. Paul's driving me to my 4th shot in the next 20 minutes. I hope I'm wrong and these are supposed to be making me feel better from Friday's IV.

Whew! that last one was rough. I think my fever's broke. Paul made me take my temperature every 20-30 minutes.
38.0 _ _ _ 37.9 _ _ _ 37.6 _ _ _ 36.9

The nurses said the little shots I'm taking are to counter balance the IV. They are my friends, not the enemy. That's reassuring. At least I can start to look forward to improving since I still need 3 more.

I tried to work from home today. It was too brutal. I did get a video posted on FB and quiz on AF. But after 2 hours... I just couldn't sit up any more.

Hard to believe the difference between feeling fabulous on Sunday and being on death's door today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chemo Round 4 - Day 4

Buzz from Benadryl wearing off. Energy, diminishing. Brain function holding steady.
Can't tell if it's all in my head or if I really do feel the occasional joint ache, tummy ache, fatigue, tingling sensation, fever....
That's why I'm supposed to remain ignorant. Not knowing what to expect means I don't have to sit in anticipation of it. But the nurses all feel like they have to keep me in formed. No - no! Tell my hospital sherpa, Paul!

The IV was a breeze this time. I think the daily injections are beginning to ad up though. It's been 3 days since my last treatment and I would rather crawl into bed. But that could have something to do with the Benadryl keeping me awake. Plowed through 1/4 of "An Echo in the Bone" (Diana Gabaldon) in the past 2 nights.
I HEART Jamie and Claire!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dollar Store Face Lift

New western hat -$1.49.
New scarf to hide the fact that they glued the decal on the hat upside down - $1.00
New western dangling earrings - $1.00
Total: $3.49
Positive attitude as a result of getting into character - priceless!

Oh - and I dropped about $15 on new lashes and adhesive. They're a bit tricky to get on. Could be I'm still a little shaky from the Benedryll. Could be the lashes are so light eight that they flutter on their own. Could be old age setting in with the fading eye sight and diminishing eye-hand coordination. - Nah, that can't be right.

My lashes have been thinning. The more lashes I lose, the more grit gets in my eyes. The more grit that gets in my eyes, the more I rub. the more I rub the more lashes I lose. It's a vicious circle.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

chemo Round 4 - Day 2 pt2

Rocking the scarf look today. Doing that a lot. And makeup. Look good, feel good. I can't wait for my hair to come back though. I'm really jealous of all the women on TV with big bangle earrings peaking out from their long dark brown hair. It was only a year ago that I was madly in love with my tousled tresses. Sigh.

Oh well, hair grows back and when it does, it's coming back curly. I like big curls. I like wild, wild hair. Let hair go where it may! (Not to be confused with "grow where it may.)

My chemo doc is amazing! For a thank you, I'm thinking about doing a really really good painting for him. But what of?

I think I'm going to treat myself to a set of really nice false lashes. Mine are getting too sparse to fill in with mascara. It just makes the lack of lashes more obvious. And lashes are important for flicking away all the dust that keeps irritating my eyes.

Unbelievable. 3 / 4 roses from my from my 1/2 way bouquet are still full and mostly firm. There are a couple of tanned edges but that's ok. Even the flowers that Paul brought home from the golf course are still full. The lily is blooming, the violet cosmos and daisies are full and most of the filler looks great too. I shortened the stems today to give the arrangement more life.

chemo Round 4 - Day 2

The IV hurt a bit more this time. The nurse said it might be because the end of the needle was pushing up against a valve, since the irritations was about an inch up and extremely localized - no bigger than small pepper seed. It was hot and sharp. Not so bad that I couldn't bear it for the whole 2 hours, being distracted by a few games of cribbage with Paul. Having the IV removed was pure, exhilarating relief!

One of the drugs they give me is a little baggy of Benedyll. Apparently it makes you a little loopy, especially when you put off sleeping. Most people usually nap trough this drip. I don't know why I always fight sleep. Sleep is good.

I did get really fidgety in the first 20 minutes of the IV. It wasn't like nausea but there was a lot of internal tightness and my arms and legs kept shaking and twitching, probably in an effort to get comfortable or distract me from my tummy. The nurse gave me one of those spare anti-nauseant pills (the ones I haven't yet cracked at home) and 5-10 minutes later all was good again. Nice. I haven't been taking them at home because I wasn't sick. But they have a nice stabilizing effect, like Gravol without the sleepiness. Bet they would have made that first day after the last 3 treatments a breeze. I figured, seeings as I wasn't throwing up, I didn't need to add yet another drug to my already deathly poisoned body. Dumb ass!

This particular cocktail is supposedly really harsh. It didn't make me ill at all. The only symptom post treatment was a couple hours of grogginess as the Benedyll wore off. Had a fair size lunch - the previous nights ginger beef and broccoli - and a turkey roll roast with tomato salad an scalloped potato... no queasiness!

When is Paul going to get it through his thick head that the cooking instructions on the back of Lipton's side dish packages are WRONG. There's a minimum 2 minutes more of boiling (check to see that the starch is tender) then let it sit for at least 5-7 minutes longer than it says. He always follows the instructions to the letter and we end up eating crunching bits in soupy sauce.

Anyway, harsh symptoms I can look forward too: extreme bi-polar intestinal experience. I can either expect extreme constipation or extreme diarrhea. No dairy, including all those "healthy intestinal probiotic yogurts, cheese, milk... sadness! I can however look forward to the BRAT diet though - Bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast. No biggy, I eat all that regularly anyway. I think the main idea is fiber, fiber, fiber.

Also, my fingernails are also going to be attacked. They offer cryotherapy with the IV (ice packs to numb my fingertips while I'm being poisoned. I think I'll apply ice for the next couple days too. I can look forward to brittleness, yellowing, ridging and in extreme cases, the nail could fall off! GROSS!!!!! Chilling, lots of fluids, keeping them clipped short and applying nail polish.

That last bit I don't mind. Actually that's the secret to growing long heathy nails in a short period of time. It's not so much smothering the nail in acrylics, but the daily process of removing the polish, massaging with a good vitamin remover, moisturizing with a nutritious lotion and repainting to protect the nail as it grows. I can grow about 1/8" per week using this process!

Another symptom I can look forward to - aching in all my bones, muscle soreness, swelling in my extremities and tingling in my fingers and toes. I got a prescription for Tylenol 3s. Yay Codeine! Maybe it won't be all that bad. Keep moving and keep it loose. And I'm a tough old broad. It's not like it's poison ivy. Now that's pain!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Long Easter Weekend

Nice! The roses are really hanging in there and Paul came home with a bouquet from the golf course today... made a nice filler for my over sized vase.

Feeling pretty good today. It's nice being 100%. One more week of feeling great! And Bonus - I get a 4-day weekend!!!! Woooooo-hoo! And what did I do with my time? Today I worked. Nanny Robina asked me to ad an events page and buttons for Paypal, but she had changed the password again. Included a new form so people can tell her what class they wanted to register for and how many people would be attending.

I cleaned up the back yard. Raked up a bunch of leaves and twigs, cleaned out all the debris from the crevasses of the rock wall and filled my flower pots withe soil for the upcoming season. Still to early to plant. May be 25C today but it could just as easily snow next week.

Made meatballs, KD and kale for dinner.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feeling Pretty Good Today


Got a full day of work in at the office and populated an entire website with articles and links. Got a few leads for web design projects in my email. May be doing a website for my girlfriend in GP too. She wants a Pot Belly Pig Resource / Gift Shop.

When to the pub after work with Paul and Les. Won $12 on Cash for Life! Then I got 3 more tickets and won $4. Which I turned in for a losing ticket. That was quite the emotional roller coster! Lots of fun for just four bucks.

One of the patrons at the pub insisted on giving me a hug and said her brother was a cancer surviver too. I refuse to be labeled a "Survivor". That would imply that cancer ever stood a chance!

Picked up a few bottles of wine for the rack. One from Spain, one from Argentina and one from Chile. The one from Spain is called Red Guitar and has Picasso-esque art on the label. I think I will have a glass of that this weekend when the temperature rises and the sun shines in the back yard... with my Robert Michaels CD playing (flamenco guitar).

No wine 2 days before next treatment. I might be feeling almost back to normal (95-98%) but Doogie Houser would frown on the boozin'. Besides it's a new set of poisons... yet to see what that particular cocktail is like.

Monday, March 29, 2010


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Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself...

Hmmmm... who do I remind me of?....
Sometimes it's hard to convince myself that all I need is a touch of makeup to get the day started. It really does make all the difference.

Thank you, B-I-L.s

Flowers from the Boob's-in-laws celebrating my halfway point!
Did the math last night... 52 days of chemo so far (today would be 53 but that's not as cool a number).

I've really enjoyed the flowers - a punch of brightness and cheer. And a delightful game of "Don't eat that! Flowers are not for cats!" (They only nibble at the fronds, not the flowers themselves.)

Friday, March 26, 2010


So tired! No.. energy... can't.. sit up....
I am absolutely wiped. I can't tell if I just pushed myself too hard this week or if the effects of the treatments are accumulative. I was wiped out on the Wed-Thurs following treatment last time But by Friday I was coming out of it. This time...

Standing makes me woozy. I had to leave work after lunch today. It was everything I could do to hold up my head. Not that I was sleepy, but my head felt like it weighed 50lbs and I was tired of having to hold it up.

Slept from around 9pm last night until 8 this morning. I did wake a couple times from a persistent head ache and or body aches. The old bones simply aren't meant for laying down that long.

No more peek-a-boo with Ty behind the couch. She took a nick out of the bridge of my nose. Bad cat.

I hope the next set of rounds is easier. Accounts of other people having the same experience go both ways. It could be way easier or it could be miserable.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chemo Round 3 - Day 4

Keep expecting to crash but I haven't so far. Got a touch of heart burn and yesterday after work I just didn't feel like working into the evening. I curled up under a blanket from 5-10 before deciding to go to bed.

I'm not loving the extra throaty mucus production. My mouth just tastes and feels bad and no amount of gum, brushing or water sipping seams to help.

Paul's been drinking more than usual. It bugs me. I can't even look at him without wincing. He coughs more and when he does he doesn't cover up. It's one of those gross wet coughs that make you wince a room away. And the smell! I'm a lot more sensitive to smells. Even imagined smells are grossing me out. My own urine grosses me out because it seems more concentrated and therefore smells worse.

At the same time I'm hypersensitive and cutting myself off.

Need to pick up some hard candies. As I recall a package of Jolly Ranchers got me through the rough patch last time. Sugar won't help the mouth sore situation but it makes my mouth feel normal for a while.

The canker sore I had on my cheek last week has healed. Well, at least that's something.

I also wish Paul would quit with the "what wine with dinner?" and "I take it you won't be needing tobasco"... When I'm ready to resume normal eating habits, I will. In the mean time, enough with the rubbing of salt in my wounds. I'm not happy. I have no sense of humor about my digestive system.

And my breathing is... It's not laboured. But I can't breath as deep as I would like. When I do, I gag a bit. And because I can't breath as deep, I have less oxygen... less energy. Sometimes I practice breathing in as much air as my lungs will hold but it's not as much as before.

I don't like weakness.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Just For Fun

The nurse who did my IV push this time around through me for loop this time. She was just making small talk but on of her questions was "so what do you do for fun?"
What do I do for fun?
Between work, night work, house work and briefly playing with the cats... I'm not that fun.
I do see the occasional movie, I visit the pub once in a while.
I don't make nearly enough art.

I think my life needs an overhaul.

Chemo Round 3 - Day 2 pt2

Got up at 6:30 this morning with the sole purpose of posting on the blog today.

But I made the mistake of checking my email first. I worked on client projects from 7 - 3pm. Mostly just replying to emails, checking web settings and testing email accounts... one small thing after another, after another after another... it adds up fast!
GoDaddy may be cheep but it's a freaking pain in the as to learn to navigate.

Yay! New "Bones" starts April 1! - That better not be a joke.
Watched "2012" last night. Amazing! Through all your concerns about realism out the window and just hold on for the ride!

Got a few hours of work done yesterday too. Figured as long as I had 3 hours to kill at the hospital, and I was still feeling 100%, I may as well get some work done for iPromote. Getting paid while I get my treatment - that's cool.

So far the chemo hasn't effected my cycles. The doc had said the chemo might cause them to stop. Maybe even for good. Wouldn't that be convenient. Not yet. I have some stubborn hormones, man. May have even had something to do with my crankiness last week (on top of the frustration of feeing week).

Wink came by for a brief visit and to drop off flowers from "Boobs-in-laws". Thank you all.

Chemo Round 3 - Day 2

I wasn't doing a very good job of keeping up with the posts last week. I was feeling good and no where near as cranky as the week before. So I was working hard to get as much work done as I could while I could. What is it about complaining that makes writing so easy as opposed to the good times when I've got better things to do than post. That's what this blog was initially set up for in the first place - the power of positive thinking.

Yesterday was round 3 of the first course of treatments. Half way through. 3 More rounds to go.
The needles were mostly easier this time. I've taken up closing my eyes and picturing something calming to get through the insertion. If I feel an ow, I acknowledge it, and then go back to my calm place. The needle really is 90% mental and 10% physical. And that physical isn't necessarily pain. Often it's just gross. Deal.

Had that big, burly, black nurse take my blood again. Don't like her technique at all!!! The first time she rammed the need into my arm. This time she was a lot more gentle but on the withdraw she manage to flip the needle around in the opposite direction that it was put in and it left a 1/2" scratch under the skin behind the insertion point. Yelp!

The IV went way better. Top of arm insertion with a LOT less trial and error to find a vein. Nice.

My stomach kept clenching in anticipation of nausea even though I wasn't queasy. The sight of pink pee kept turning my stomach too. Weird, the things I had found to be interesting medical curiosities before were putting me off this time. Like watching my blood as it occasionally got drawn back up the IV tubes... before: fascinating - this time: quick, avert my eyes!

Between blood testing and Chemo I have to have a little pow-wow with the Chemo doc to see how my blood levels are doing and whether I can handle another round of drugs. This time my usual doc was on vacation and the guy standing in for him couldn't have been any more than 20 - a bona fide "Doogie Houser". He said my liver measures were up from previous occasions but still within norm. I asked if the 4 glasses of wine i had the night before may have had anything to do with that. He said yes and asked what I had been celebrating. "The last night of feeling 100% instead of like crap for the net 2 weeks." An besides, they were small glasses (crystal Longchamp stem ware) - not even 1/2 bottle and it was over the course of 8 hours (6pm - 2 am, I a had stayed up late working).

Don't think I appreciated getting the stink ey from someone barely old enough to shave, let alone drink.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Working on the Weekend

What's with this waking up at 6:00am thing? And a sinus head ache to boot. At the office they were doing some rewiring or something which required the removal of some ancient dusty ceiling tiles. My eyes and nose keep getting weepy and I'm not being regular about popping an antihistamine.

There's that, and I'm getting into reading Diana Gabaldon's latest book: "An Echo in the Bone". I'm only 45 pages in and there have already been 3-4 teary moments. I am such a sucker for the Jamie and Claire story!

8:00... gotta be at Derry and Airport road at 11:00
Gotta print some text for the window painting, gather my reference material, pack my paints... I have an hour or morning left to myself yet. The painting should go quick and it's a fun project. Kittens and puppies romping in the grass while a mosquito hovers near by asking, "Are your pets protected from heart worm?" It's for a vet's office. Indoor! nice. Outdoor is cold.

The inside of my left cheek is tender. I'm trying to avoid mouth sores. They're apparently the norm for chemo. I slept on my left side the other night, which pushed my cheek between my teeth. There's a ridge now that keeps rubbing against my teeth. I'm not supposed to use mouthwash with alcohol in it, but I have to confess, no amount of brushing seems to do the trick. I figure if the mouthwash burns I could just spit it out. I've tried some non-alcohol mouth rinse but it really leaves my mouth feeling too sweet.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Feeling Much Better

It's so frustrating to feel strong but not actually be strong.

Strength and energy levels have returned. Just in time for the weekend - I got a sweet gig painting windows in a veterinary clinic tomorrow: couple of cut critters and a mosquito to promote heart worm awareness.

I'm stunned how fast this week has gone by. Even my work hours are whooshing by. I'm supposed to wrap it up at 4:00 but time and time again, Laura has to remind me that she's leaving at 4:30 and needs to lock up.

Other things that need doing...
Nanny needs a post card design.
Anita wants to overhaul her website.
Raj needs a website design.
My taxes.
A weeks worth of laundry.
Paul can vacuum. Apparently I'm not supposed to. I did not know that. Good thing someone read the "You and Chemo" binder.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Silver Lining

Found another silver lining. This preventative maintenance thing is my guarantee for life... All you other folk will never know for sure!
This is my good week. 8 more days of feeling like a normal, healthy human being.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Unattainable Goal

I was so hoping to make the effort to get some exercise and try to loose little weight through this experience. But now I see that it simply isn't going to happen. How can I expect myself to get 20 min of aerobic exercise in when I can't remain upright? When climbing the stairs to do laundry leaves me winded, do I really want to go for a 5k walk? what if at the farthest point I just get so tired I can't turn around and come back?

Went to the grocery store on Friday after work. Spent about an hour and took my time. There were several moments when I felt light headed and a touch feverish. But I mustered through and brought home the bacon (for the big spinach salad).

Dark leafy greens are the answer. Over the past few days while I was feeling particularly weak, I gave into my craving for garbage food - greasy fish and chips with mayo, Hamburger Helper... WRONG! I don't need preservatives and chemical power substances that become sauces. I need vitamins and fiber. Iron for energy!

Had a good breakfast this morning too: an omelet with bacon, spinach, broccoli, mushroom, onion and cheddar. I tore and wilted the spinach it in the hot bacon fat, then set it aside to drain on paper towel. Then I sauteed the mushroom, onion and broccoli florets so they were soft with a bit of caramelization. When the egg was 1/2 cooked through, I spread the ingredients inside with a bit of cheddar and folded it in half. Put a bit more shredded cheddar on top and covered with a lid off the heat while I waited for toast to pop. So indulging... but good for the tummy and the soul.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Venting Frustration

I'm in the office today. Not quite back up to snuff but I needed some files from the office computer. Now that I am here, sitting still is good.

Slept horribly last night.

Kept dreaming about an evangelist who kept trying to date me but then would tell me I'm going to hell because of his mental defect. That and I got a job as an ad layout person for a news paper and fought all night with trying to make the links work... only to realize (after I woke) that news papers are printed - links don't work.

That and Paul hogged the bed so I ended up moving to the couch to sleep around 2:00. But then he got up for work at 5 am... so once again I'm woken up. And he's banging around looking for his socks! I tried to get up and fetch his socks so he would just get the BLEEP out of my room, but he kept saying "I ALREADY LOOKED THERE!" Screwyouthan - I went back to bed for more restless sleep. Guess where I found his socks this morning... Go on, guess. Ya! Somewhere he'd already looked! MEN! Stupid Simians!

If he weren't such a tard about just grabbing what he needed from the dryer and made the effort to maybe, oh I don't know, move the wet load into the dryer and bring the entire dry load up from the basement, maybe, just maybe, his missing socks would just magically appear! How hard is it to change the loads while he's down there?

Ok. Done venting. I should have made a bigger fuss about how hard chemo was last time because it 's way harder this time with 1/2 my white cell count being wiped out. And it's going to be worse for the next round. Over the past couple days it WOULD have been a heroic effort for me to get up and down the stairs to do laundry. It's been a massive effort for me to sit upright on the couch and NOT tear strips out of his useless hide. (That's just me being over tired and cranky.)

I don't enjoy the balance of being sick and putting up a brave front so people don't feel as helpless because I am sick. You are how you act so acting better should make me feel better. I'm just not strong enough to keep it up all the time. Stop worrying and just let me be sick. I shouldn't have to be worrying about making sure the man feels useful. Don't wake me at 5 am to assure me the alarm ha been set for 7:15, I'm trying to sleep! Stop asking me want I want to eat because I don't know! Stop making idle conversation, the chatter is sooooo irritating and I don't have the strength to pay attention to the words, let alone reply appropriately! - - - Irritation will change back to normalcy in 5 minutes - subject to becoming irritated again imminent.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stay Home - Good Call

I opted to work from home today. It was a good call. I did most of my work while laid out flat on my back. Every time I would try to sit up my brain would get sluggish, my head would get hot and my breathing would get shallow. Within minutes I would melt back down. Thank goodness for laptops, eh? Ya - the iMack would have gotten heavy on my tummy after a while.

Even so I got a good long day in. Finished my notes for a free download paper and got the layout for a website done. Got an invoice out for a design project I've been working on for the last month. Got approval for a logo and confirmation for the content of a business card.

Is it just me? What is not clear about this sentence: "Please provide and confirm all the content you would like to have appear on your printed material." Time and time I have to ask repeatedly for the information... finally give up and go hunting for all the information I think they might want, get that confirmed and even then the client will make at least 2 changes after that.
By the hour!! I must charge by the hour!!! Per project sucks. My time is not respected.

Paul's working late tonight. he could be home any time. I made Hamburger Helper with broccoli. It can wait.

My nasal passages are grossing me out. It's not like cold boogers or allergy snot, but I keep producing this disgusting slime. It tastes bad and I'm sick of it. No amount of brushing seems to help. I can't decide wether it's mucus production or the lining of my passages sloughing off.

My head feels clammy but it's dry to the touch and not hot. I took my temperature an hour ago. Normal. No fever.

I hope tomorrow is better.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Feel Like Kaka

Seriously! I feel gross today. First time ever that I opted to come home from work due to illness. I crawled onto the couch and buried myself in blankets. And there I lay from 2 in the afternoon until Paul came home with fish n' chips for dinner. I managed to sit up long enough to eat that but then had to lay back down again. Completely wiped out!

I finally felt strong enough to sit up around 9:30ish. Just enough time to do an update on the woodcraft website and prepare some logo roughs for the nanny. No point in actually taking some time off.

It bugs me that my head is either too hot or too cold. I'm looking forward to not being bald again... Few more months yet.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chemo Round 2 - Day 4

Feeling 98% - kind of like a hangover from 3 days back only without the fever and headache... just a few butterflies on the inside. Massive doses of poison will do that. ;-))

I do have limited energy levels and when I try to push it, like doing the laundry, I have to make up for it by curling up on the couch for a couple hours to recoup. Awe, poor me. I have to take a nap now and again. Life could be worse.

Not so afraid of my stomach this time around. Must be wary of putting food on TOP of the nasty steroid pill. Last one I need to take is at dinner tonight. If I don't burry it with food the heartburn is nasty. Even so, my mouth constantly tastes blechky. And why do I keep smelling cat pee?! Am I super sensitive to old messes (which I can't find when I go looking) or is that my insides that smell like ammonia? It's not pleasant. Brush, brush, brush the teeth.

Got lots of computer work done this weekend. Nice to get a few things off the books. (Would be nicer if some of my outstanding clients would get back to me... Duck Dude)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chemo Round 2 - Day 2

Got through last night with a minimal of effort. Avoiding the big lunch after treatment prevented any illness. Eating a couple bites at a time spread over hours at a time is key. Dinner was "buffet" style. I made ginger / garlic beef strips, boiled brussel sprouts and sauteed red peppers/onion/tomato and served it on side plates with fondu forks. Have a bite, curl up in the fetal position, wait for the rocking to subside, rinse and repeat. Drinking lots of water and ginger ale.

At one point I got up to see something Paul wanted to show me. TOO FAST! Everything went black for an instant and I melted to the floor. Didn't pass out or anything but going with gravity was a wise choice. When you're sitting still you don't realize how weak you really are.

By 11:00 pm the worst was past and I was back up-right and feeling much better.
Today I feel like I have a hangover only no fever or headache, just a bit of tightness and trembling deep inside. Had one egg and two 12 grain toast (one with stem ginger marmalade)

I'm just about bald now. My hair was so easy to pull off with my finger tips I figured the easiest way to clean it up would be with wax strips. I wasn't actually "pulling out" the hair so much as removing hair that wasn't really attached -No roots.
That, and my hair was hurting. It felt like litter wires, that when rubbed against the grain (hats, scarves, pillows...), felt like a bunch of sharp little wires were being pushed back into my head. Ow! I also thought that shaving would just leave a lot of below the surface little wires and I didn't want that. Waxing didn't remove every single hair. I don't mind shaving those few off. Without the dark vs light hair/stubble my streak hardly shows up at all. I always thought that would be more obvious.

I'm hoping I'm not coming down with a cold. I sneezed a lot yesterday and twice today already. No fever. Paul keeps making me take my temperature even though I can tell there's no fever. If anything I'm a little cold today.

My throat and nasal passages have been sticky for a week or so. Is that bacterial gunk or a result of the inside of my mouth sloughing off? I don't know.

Don't think I mentioned my sensitivity to spice skyrocketing. One day I'm putting my normal chili flakes on spicy pasta and the next day I can't stand black pepper on my eggs! I think the fast growing cells being wiped out of my digestive system, including my mouth, has diminished my heat tolerance. I've always gravitated to spicy, savory foods. I thought having to switch to a bland diet would be a real bummer but bland isn't so bland with heightened senses.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chemo Round 2

Well, that was easy. And a lot faster than we were expecting. This time they started pushing meds as soon as I was hooked up. Last time I had to "hydrate" for a half hour on the saline before the attendant started the push. Or maybe she was just busy that time.

And this time I opted to have the IV go in on the top of my arm. The veins are a lot harder for them to find but it's worth it.
As she was hunting around in there I was looking away with my eyes closed, trying to think of any thing but the creepy probe wiggling around under my skin. It really doesn't hurt that much. But it does feel gross. The word I came up with as a mantra to distract myself... "cat".

Cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, why am I thinking cat? Cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, why can't I find any other word? Cat, cat, cat, cat, cat, cat... oh well, we're done.

No discomfort and no swelling this time. I'm hoping for no bruise. I still have some swelling and ache if I push on the previous site.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Klingon

The hair is coming out fast and furious, front to back. I have sever male pattern balding. I look like a Klingon!

Bummer. I was enjoying the "cool chick with the ultra short hair look. Gotta get my doo cleaned up. I agreed to let Paul try his hand at shaving me - 1st time shaving a girl's head. No reason why he shouldn't have the privilege of experiencing a few new things as we go through this process together.

Scarves are my friend. This is my casual Friday look.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Light Headed with Hair Loss

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Official Baldness

Last night I was thinking I should get funky shapes clipped into my hair to disguise the thinning... I didn't realize it would come out so fast.

I am REALLY glad I opted to have it shaved before the treatments began. I would have been thoroughly grossed out to see all that hair sloughing off in the shower!

My hair came out big time this morning. That stuff is really hard to get off the rest of you body. Little wiry hairs were everywhere. It's interesting that my streak came out first. My scalp is velvety soft to the touch.

E-GAD! 3 of the hairs I caught on the way out were completely devoid of pigment! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! White ones!
Well, at least the itching has stopped.

As of last night I decided t start sleeping with a toque too. My head's been cold for the last week. Cold enough to wake me up at night. I really feel for bald people now. At least mine will grow back sometime soon.

Incase you're wondering... yep. All of my hair is coming loose. The arm / leg hair isn't "falling out" but it's really easy to pull out - no roots attached since those died off first.

PS: I still ache from my "run". Not everyone can or should run.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Ran Therefore I Ache

The hips feel like they want to come out of there sockets and my shins feel all splintery. I'm a goof. Not everyone can or should run. I need to find an activity that I enjoy and that gets my cardio up without shattering the bones. Don't say swim; I don't like swimming. I hate feeling like a sputtering, drowning rat. And I hate the way I feel light headed and sick to my stomach for an hour after only a few laps. Not everyone can or should swim. Fortunately, I've very bouyant - no danger in drowning if I ever fall in. Paul panics and watches me the entire way when I opt to swim out as far as the raft at the cottage. He frets because I look like I'm struggling. And I am. That's why I have to roll over onto my back after every few stokes and lay ther until I catch my breath. Pathetic! But in no danger of going under.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Today I Cut My Hair

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I Ran

The weather was beautiful today. I put on a touque, my running shoes and a hoody over a tee ( no jacket required!) and headed out the door with the MP3 player. Took a fair bit of self talk to get myself to take the plunge. It's been a long time since I last ran and I hurt myself then. I told myself I only had to run the length of one Nickelback song. It's far easier to run for a period of time than a distance. After the song ended I could see the intersection coming up ahead so... I could do it! And I did! I ran the whole length of Bell Harbour from Castebridge to Glen Erin! I was throffing like a raggedy race horse and my mouth tasted like copper. Soooooo out of shape! I walked up Peacock to Greensboro and that's when "Burn It To the Ground" came on (AwSome!). Well, ok. I had one more song in me. JUST! Not quite to Castlebridge again. The walk the rest of the way home was significantly slower than my usual pace. I was passed like I was standing still by a teen headed for the mall. I'm going to be some kind of sore tomorrow. I should take a lunch break tomorrow and go for a walk, loosen up and wake up the creative juices. Not going to loose those 2 bra sizes sitting in front of the computer.
I ran... :-))