Archive for December, 2005

Bloody Hell

Okay, so first the good news. “Worthless Week” is over. I finally had energy today and it is nice. It’ll still be a few days before I can concentrate enough to prepare for next semester (and since I have chemo scheduled for the first week of class, I need to do lots of prep to get through the next Worthless Week), but I’m believing I’ll recover again. I was up to my regular routine during the Cancer Wellfit program tonight.

And I’m still doing well overall and the tumor is almost completely gone.

And I won’t see doctors for another week, and that visit will be good…we’re redoing the mammogram and ultrasound to see if the tumor really has shrunk as much as I think.

And, sleeping really is nice. It hasn’t been all that bad to sleep as much as I can and not really feel guilty. Hey, it’s Worthless Week.

And in keeping with Worthless Week, I caught up on most of Project Runway for last season and all of this season. Yes, I really do have very litte concentration, but I’ve decided Project Runway may be the best reality show. None of this silly coalition and teams and voting each other off. The results are what matter. So what if the results are corn husk dresses?

Yeah, not much deep thought during Worthless Week.

A reasonable person would be happy and end this post now. (Okay, a reasonable person wouldn’t have mentioned Project Runway…)

But I’ve finally had some signs that my body is reacting poorly to the chemo. Nothing big, just stupid little indignities. If I were a bigger person, I suppose I wouldn’t even mention them. But I know there are some readers who may be dealing with cancer personally, and I don’t want them to think this is some picnic for me and if they aren’t waltzing through like I am, they have a problem. I’m not quite waltzing. (Hmmm, polka dancing maybe?)

Yeah, there’s the digestive stuff. Who knows when my system is going to work or how? But I have some pretty cool drugs, so when it does start working too much, I can slow it down. (I tried over the counter for a week and went through almost a whole bottle of Imodium…the prescription is much better, but I can still take half a dozen a day.)

And then today I realized that platelets are good. I’d given platelets for (mostly) juvenille cancer patients every other week for over a year before my diagnosis. I think I was giving about half my platelets each time, but they’d regrow in less than 3 days, or so I was told. I figured my body was durn good at making platelets. But I woke up in the middle of the night last night to a runny nose. I did the reasonable thing…wiped it off, moved the cat, and went back to sleep.

In the morning, I learned it wasn’t a runny nose, but a bloody nose instead. I’d had a few bloody noses after the first chemo, but nothing big. This wasn’t too big either–I expected a scene out of The Godfather, but it really was minor…didn’t even soak through the pillowcase. Still, just the idea of bleeding in the middle of the night and not noticing…ugh.

But then, on the way to Cancer Wellfit, I scratched an old scab on my leg and the blood poured out like water. Of course, Charlie couldn’t find any bandages and I couldn’t move or risk puddles over the carpet. We did get it bandaged and it’s fine, but I miss my platelets.

But I have my eyebrows and eyelashes and enough hair so I may fool some people into thinking the hats are a fashion statement. So, all in all, life is good. Bloody good?

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T’was the night before Christmas

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring…

naptime.JPG

Okay, this is a photo from the archives, but maybe it helps explain why we adore Ike, despite his single-minded attack on the Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas, y’all and thanks for all the support.

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Today’s Treatment

Well, if I blog about the cat the day after chemo, things must be going well.

And they really, really are.

We went to Cancer Wellfit this morning. Charlie’s big concession to my having chemo yesterday was to let me work out this morning instead of last night. (Normally I can’t join the morning group since I’m in class at that time, but that’s not a problem now.) I was already yearning for the food at the restaurants around Tom Hill Senior Drive (for you non-Maconites, it’s nothing special–gyros, pizza, Mexican, Chilis, etc.). Normally, I have no interest in food for 6 days after chemo. But I have a bit of sense, so am eating Nilla Wafers and turkey sandwiches instead of any of those things. For a few more days.

And, while I really can’t concentrate much (and do stupid things like keep putting up ornaments for the cat to knock down), I haven’t really napped today.

I went back to the oncologists for a shot of Neulasta to help my immune system. I’ve had no problems at all that I’ve noticed with a suppressed immune system, but still play it safe and avoid crowds and fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers. I figure Neulasta must be working. And it damn well should. We got the first insurance reconciliation today. The “list” price for just the drug is $5900. Just one shot! Of course, insurance got it discounted to “just” $3687.50. Now, this isn’t a complaint. I’ve reached my out-of-pocket maximum for the year, so my share is $0.00.

Still, it makes all those complaints about the high cost of health care and all the Neulasta commercials make sense. The info packet I got on Neulasta had a thermometer included. I thought it was extravagant to include a thermometer for the book, but it looks like they can afford it!

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Oh! Christmas tree!

We have both a Christmas tree and a kitten, so far.

It’s a sad Christmas tree. Now, the tree itself is lovely if you don’t object to artificial trees. It’s 6 1/2 feet and prelit. We set it up Wednesday, but didn’t decorate it because IkeGetDownFromThere was having too much fun climbing the tree.

And we can only use the lights when we’re there to keep Ike from eating them. He’s just fascinated by them. I think he’s trying to eat the light so he himself can glow. Charlie thinks he’s reminded of fireflies. Charlie’s probably right about this one.

I put a few hardy ornaments (ribbons tied to the tree with twist ties and two plastic ornaments) on the tree Wednesday night. This became a personal challenge for Ike. (Although, since he’s not a person, “personal” is probably not the correct term…”felinal” perhaps?) The ribbons came off fast, but he took over an hour batting at the balls, and left one of them.

I was dismayed to see the tree looked really shabby last night. You have to fluff out the branches and although I thought I’d done that, they all seemed pushed down. Then I realized a cat sitting in the tree can push down branches.

I added the rest of the ribbons and balls today, but the tree still looks sad. I’ll try to get some of the other indestructible ornaments on later. But we won’t need an angel…Ike took care of that.

Angelcat.JPG

Yeah, a 6 1/2 foot tree. But that ball just had to die.

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Halfway done

Despite having time to think about it, my third (of six) chemotherapy session went just fine. My primary nurse was Debra again and she’s charming and has an amazing way with the Adriamycin. Adria (as it’s “affectionately” known, although some call it The Red Devil) is given in two very large syringes. The nurse sits beside you and pushes it in. It can be done in a couple of minutes, but Debra thinks that’s too fast and might make you sick, so she must have spent 20 minutes or more pushing it slowly in.

It took 5 hours again, but that’s the only bad part. I have an appointment for genetic counseling and a mammogram to see if I’m really ready for surgery scheduled for January 6. My oncologist still couldn’t find the tumor and that is the important part of this all.

Of course, I’ve already had one nap this afternoon and am ready for another. But that’s probably more due to relieved stress than the treatment. Ike and Linus think napping is a fine way to spend the afternoon and have joined me.

But we’ll be at Cancer Wellfit in the morning, so I won’t get to laze about too long.

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The Benefits of Busy-ness

Well.

I figured that thins would be much better now that I didn’t have the pressures of classes and grading and such. But I have chemotherapy scheduled for tomorrow morning and really, really wish I had a test to write a papers to grade tonight. I’ve spent the day worrying over chemo.

Now, logically, I know it’s not going to be bad. I handled chemo well the first two times. It’s been working.

But I’ve had time today to be very illogical and I don’t want to go.

I don’t want to go.

I don’t want to go.

But I will and it will be fine and I’ll even wear the Santa cap. All will be well, but thinking about it sure hasn’t been.

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The Great Santa Hat Debate

I’ve been lucky about a lot of things through this cancer, but one of the nicest is that Charlie and I agree on almost everything during this, especially my treatment. But recently, a major source of disagreement has emerged.

Some background. When you lose your hair and have to buy hats, you look for hats everywhere. For example, I got a great brown cloche at Cracker Barrel this week. So, when I found Santa hats at a local grocery store for under $5, well, I just couldn’t resist.

Charlie really wishes I had resisted.

But I think the Santa hat is just perfect for the holiday season. It worked especially well at Charlie’s holiday parties last week. I sorta figured everyone expected to see the poor, sick cancer patient and were all ready to feel sorry for me. So, when I showed up in the Santa hat, they took one look and couldn’t help but laugh.

So, maybe they still felt sorry for me because of my sense of taste, but I’ve had bad taste for a whole bunch longer than I’ve had cancer. If you’re going to feel sorry for me, it seems more honest to feel sorry for my taste. That’s not likely to get better any time soon.

Charlie refuses to take pictures of me in the hat. Fortunately, some of my former students work at Info Tech, so I got a picture. But feel free to take your own side in the Santa hat debate.

Santa.JPG

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