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)