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.