Archive for January, 2006

Just one more

Okay, the good news is I have just one more chemotherapy session.

More good news is the sessions themselves seem to be affecting me less immediately after the session. Charlie and I went to Cancer Wellfit tonight and walked a mile and a third and could have done more. Usually after chemo, Charlie has to deal with lots of whining on my part to get me to go just one mile.

Of course, every silver lining has to have a cloud. I’m just not bouncing back as impressively as I did after the first couple of sessions. Damn cumulative effects. Even yesterday, almost 3 weeks after my last session, I felt the fatigue. But it won’t last for long.

Just one more chemotherapy session!

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So, it had to happen

So, if I went to London and missed the Buckingham Palace or Riga and missed the Laima Chocolate Tower, I guess I’d feel cheated out of something. So I guess it’s fitting that I finally am getting sick from chemotherapy.

Now, it’s really not much. Up until now, the last chemotherapy session has been ridiculously easy. The only problem I had was a lot of exhaustion, but since I took Monday and Tuesday off to sleep, that wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I felt a little uneasy after my last class, so came home early. (It’s still the Worthless Week, so that’s not so surprising.) I greeted the animals, started lunch (leftovers…a joy of the week after chemo is one regular meal can last for 3 or 4 meals), and then decided I’d feel much better if I vomited. So I did. Tweren’t much. I hadn’t eatten anything in seven hours (which may have more to do with my uneasiness than chemotherapy 6 days ago).

So, my big concern last week was how easy this all has been. Hey I don’t have that to worry about any more.

But you know, while I couldn’t miss the Laima Tower, I didn’t see Buckingham Palace in London. There are some “highlights” I wouldn’t mind missing.

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Mind over matter

Well, chemotherapy number four is just about done. (I still need to go in for a Neulasta shot Friday, but, for as expensive as it is, it’s just as simple.)

I like small numbers. In just today, I went from halfway through my chemo sessions to two thirds of the way through my chemo sessions. Now, two thirds! That seems like we’re getting close to the end.

I was a bit dismayed to hear my white count numbers. Now, they’re not bad “for chemotherapy patients,” but they are very, very close to the lowest end of the normal range. (I was around 8 five days after my first chemo, but just about 4 1/2 today. Normal is 4 to 11, or so says my nurse Debra, but I really think normal is like 5 to 11 from the graphic.) Really, the only thing that bothers me is that I thought I was doing great and had no immunity problems, but in fact, it looks like all those silly things I’ve been doing to protect myself have actually been necessary. Eh, if the only symptom of a problem is a number, I can deal with it.

Chemo was really easy. I managed to read and get a nap in during it. And knowing that it’s almost over or I’ve handled it well three other times or that it’s working remarkably well has made me feel much stronger afterwards. It’s astonishing how well I think I am and how I’ve decided this chemo session won’t slow me down. I’m thinking about enchildas or pizza for dinner. Now I won’t, because if I do, Charlie’s promised I’ll have one of those other side effects I’ve been hearing about, but not experiencing–bruising. Now, it’s not that pizza can cause bruising, but more that if I try to eat it, Charlie will go that far to stop me.

And he’s right, but still, enchildas rancheros would be nice! So instead, I have to move Ike (who realizes I’m not well, even if I don’t and has decided to curl up in my lap in the afternoon; he usually takes over the bed when it can be all his in the afternoon) and go to the Wellness Center for Cancer Wellfit. I’d grouse more, but I have a feeling that Wellfit instead of enchiladas is why I’m feeling so good, and even I can be practical when facing such overwhelming evidence.

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Lots of blessings

Now, there are those who will say that having cancer is really a blessing, but I sorta think they’re crazy. Having cancer is not a good thing.

Period.

But, it does give you an opportunity to appreciate all of the good things around you. I had a mammogram and ultrasound last Friday and got the results today. My doctor was positively beaming when he came in with them. According to the mammogram, I don’t have cancer. At all. And the ultrasound does find a 1 centimeter mass (where there had been a 4 centimeter mass), but that’s probably just the gel markers that were inserted months ago. I’m starting to feel sorry that I made fun of the gel markers, thinking it was absolutely ridiculous that they thought the tumor would disappear as a result of chemo.

I’m still getting used to the idea the cancer is almost gone. Now, it won’t make much of a difference in treatment. I’ll still have the last 3 chemo treatments and surgery and probably radiation. But it’s amazing how easy it is to face all of that knowing that it’s doing a lot of good and I will get through this.

And at work, classes started yesterday. But, because of underenrollments, we cancelled a class. And Bob has been an absolute champ, working to rearrange schedules so that my course load would drop to 2 classes. I swear, it seemed to be all he did Monday and Tuesday (but I know he had lots of other stuff going on as well). Finally, he came upon a solution that required that both Martin and Chris change their schedules on the first day of classes. And they both did and pretended exceptionally well that it was no problem. I work with some of the greatest people!

Oh yeah, there’s chemotherapy tomorrow too, but knowing how well it works, I can’t get upset about it at all. Especially since Charlie’s already bought pounds of turkey for sandwiches and has promised to roast a turkey breast if I’m a good girl. And I know he’ll do it, even if I whine. But there’s not a lot to whine about!

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Back again

Well, we had a wonderful trip to visit my Dad. Of course, whenever Charlie and I both leave town, something goes wrong with our WWW server, so my blog went down just a few hours after we left. But nothing’s wrong with me and the cable modem should be working again. (But, if you can’t read this, drop me email and I’ll see if I can fix it.)

More on the trip later, but as the old joke goes “I’m having a blood test tomorrow and need to go study.” Yeah, after just two days with Dad, I’m doing old jokes again. Then again, he told me an old joke that I’d posted on my blog, so maybe I don’t get it all from him?

Actually the tests are another mammogram and ultrasound to see if the tumor has really shrunk as much as we think. I’m sorta looking forward to them, even if I may not get results ’til next week.

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Living in the moment

After spending most of last week doing nothing exceptionally well (it’s amazing how easy it is to do nothing, especially between semesters), I got a bit tired of it Saturday. Charlie and I talked about driving down to Florida and visiting family, but I need to be back Friday (they only do genetic counselling once a month and Friday is that once). It’s a long drive.

So, Charlie booked tickets, so we’re off to see Dad. This really isn’t normally for us…Charlie spent all sorts of time planning next summer’s vacation and our flight itinerary is, well, interesting. But he reminded me we’re not in grad school any more and can afford to book a simple round trip flight. And we really can’t plan much for the next four or five months, so we decided to live in the moment and go!

It’ll be fun and really nice to convince Dad that I’m okay now and will be just fine in time. So, I’ve got to go finish packing, but it looks like we’ll be able to travel in just one suitcase. Simply amazing!

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