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.