Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday's Chemo Trip

The long version, y'all.

Eric and I dropped the kids off at about 9:15 and headed to the cancer center.  I signed in and waited.  We got called back to do vitals, then were ushered to the blood draw room.  The blood draw lady didn't have any bandages without that icky itch inducing white stuff on the edges, so she just taped it up.  She put us in an exam room and we waited.

The doc came in and we talked about low white counts and low neutriphils.  My neutriphils are up to 900 (from being in the high 600s last week).  The doc waffled about chemo, clearly wanting to see how we felt about it.  Eric and I cracked some jokey jokes, but this doc isn't very jokey like our last one.  In the end, we decided to do chemo because I'll be getting the shot on disconnect day, and then we'd see where I was the next week.

I can't believe I was championing TO DO chemo, but I was.  I can't decide what's scarier, a higher risk of infection or the cancer growing in my lungs.  Of course it's not good to have a crashed immune system.  The doc suggested taking an antibiotic, just in case.  I wasn't crazy about that, but he wrote the script "just in case."  Consequently, Eric did some research last night about low white counts and low neutriphils, and maybe I'll take the damn cipro.  It's, well, it's kind of scary.

Anyhoo, since we decided to do chemo, the doc let us go, saying he was considering calling me up in a few days to make sure I'm okay, and urging us to go to the ER if I spike a fever.  I assured him that I've gotten really good at knowing my body, and I will definitely take action if anything seems off to me.  I'm not sure he believed me, but it's true. 

The chemo lounge is kind of full by 11am, so I didn't get my good seat in the corner.  The seat I had was kind of a pain in the ass because every time I wanted to get up, I had to squeeze back behind a piller to unplug my Tower of Drugs.  And I was pretty much in the middle of the room and I KNOW people were looking at me and wondering why someone so young was in a chemo chair.  I wonder that too, older people, I wonder that too. 

It was pretty uneventful.  Eric hung around until my benedryl nap.  I didn't really sleep, I just dozed.  I guess I was too keyed up to sleep still.  When the benedryl started wearing off, I finished watching The Changeling (which was kind of a disappointing movie because of the ending, but I won't spoil it.  Also, I love Angelina Jolie, but those hats, man.  They were distracting.)  Eric popped back in with a bean burrito from Taco Bell (tomatoes, no cheese).  It tasted okay, but reminded me of chemo so I don't think I'll ask for one again.  Eric left to go pick up the kids.  I watched some Aqua Teen Hunger Force but it was hard to keep my eyes open.  More Ipod, more trips to the bathroom, and then it was time to go.

The nurse eyed the tape over my port needle and said, "You can't go home like that, it's unacceptable."  I explained that I needed the tape without the white itchy stuff and they don't have nice things like that upstairs.  (okay, I didn't exactly say that, but it's what I was thinking)  He removed the tape, still kind of shaking his head, put the right bandage on, and hooked up my pump.

I have an appointment on Friday to remove the pump and get a shot.

The day or so before chemo, the kids were more whiny and fussy.  Eric asked me if they would get used to this.  I said that it might help for ME to get used to this.  I think it would be better for the kids if I could somehow not get so keyed up before chemo.  I don't know how to do that.  I know what it's like, it's no big deal.  There's just something about willingly filling my veins with poison that doesn't sit well with me. 

I'll keep doing what I've been doing, taking my vitamins, pushing protein, exercising, eating good foods.  My goal is to walk Friday, walk Saturday, and then run on Sunday.  Ambitious?  Maybe. 

Positive Thoughts and Prayers?  Absolutely needed and appreciated.  Send some to my doc too, I hated to make him worry so much.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh man, what a long day.

I feel pretty crappy.  Overall, it was an uneventful trip to the cancer center.  The waiting, the worrying about my blook counts, more waiting.  Yep, nothing really spectacular.  We did go ahead with Big Chemo today.  My numbers were almost up over what they like to see. 

Perhaps more tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll feel better after I get some sleep.  The thoughts and prayers were appreciated today (and always).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lots of Work To Do

Today is my Chemo Nesting Day.  The to do list includes cleaning up the ginormous mess in our place, doing some bread baking, and gathering up things I need for tomorrow.  Oh, and of course, educating the children.  I'll be squeezing in a run and a bath sometime today too.  Busy busy!

Last night I went out for coffee with some friends.  It was so great, lots of laughs as we talked about everything from our kids to our exercise routines.  Going out is pretty much the only time I drink coffee now, so it was an extra special treat for me.  We stayed at Starbucks until they kicked us out to close up shop.

I find myself hoping that I can do chemo tomorrow, which is weird.  I've made no secret that I don't like chemo, but deep down I know I NEED to do it.  And if I can't, then what?  I hope there's a plan.  Probably the best thing for me to do is try not to think about it too much today. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Monday!

I had a pretty great weekend, and I wanted to share because sometimes I feel like I'm kind of a downer here.  I did some baby, I mean, babysitting.  The kids and I went to a birthday party for one of Reese's friends.  I sewed up a couple little dresses I've been meaning to finish.  There are plans in the works for a new bag to hold all my chemo goodies.  I went for a run on Sunday.  I made vegan chex mix.  We enjoyed both sun and thunderstorms.

I love nice weekends.  I love making fun memories with my family.  I love spending quiet moments with Eric.  This is what it's all about, friends.  This is why I'm going to fight so hard. 

On Wednesday we're going to see the doc, and hopefully make a plan for chemo.  We have lots of questions.

Whatever happens on the chemo front, I'm feeling peaceful about it today.  Maybe I'm getting used to the idea of chemo.  One day at a time.  I think that's the best we can do sometimes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Awareness and a Way to Help

Since September 2009, I'm more aware of cancer in the world.  It's not that I ignored it before.  If  I heard of someone with cancer, I felt sympathetic.  Now when I hear about someone with cancer, it's a different feeling.  A knowing feeling because I think I have a better understanding of what it means to have cancer.  To fight cancer.  To have cancer change my life. 

In my life, I also am fortunate to know many people who I've never met in person, but who I love just the same.  I don't know that I'd call myself a message board junkie because I'm only active on a few, but the ones I post on regularly I've been a part of for many years.

These two parts of my life took a crash course over the past few days.  One of the women I've been posting with for years, Berritt, shared that her husband has just been diagnosed with CML, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.  Cancer.  In a young man with a wife and children.  Just thinking about this now makes me tear up with sadness and anger and the injustice of life.  It makes me feel helpless, as I know many of my own friends and family have felt helpless since I was diagnosed with rectal cancer.

Here's the thing though.  WE DON'T HAVE TO BE HELPLESS.  There are things that will help.  Each family has a particular struggle, and this family has a hard financial struggle ahead of them.  The drugs that will help this husband and father are quite expensive and their insurance is limited.  Because of his diagnosis, he most likely won't be able to continue at his job.  Berritt is blessed with a talent for pattern making and is now full steam ahead with her business websites so she can take on the role of supporting her family.  Here's where YOU come in.  If you follow me on facebook, you know I've been spamming patterns and blogs.  So you already know some of the story.  If you'd like to read more, there are bloggers more eloquent than I who have written about this story.  You can find them HERE and HERE

So what can you do?  Well, if you're crafty like me, check out Berritt's patterns.  She has patterns for children at her etsy store Lille Skapet and patterns for all your electronic devices at her other etsy store, Birdiful Stitches.  As a pattern nut, I own many of them and can vouch for their ease of use.  If you don't sew, maybe you know someone who does.  Feel free to pass these links along, or just share this blog post.  I think if we all get the word out, we can make a difference to this family.

What else can you do?  Take a moment to think a positive thought or say a prayer for this family.  Berritt is one of the most generous, kind, helpful people I know.  Positive thoughts and prayers are as important, if not more important, than anything you or I can do financially.  I've always said, prayers and positive thoughts are all I need.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, to check out the links I posted, and send a little positive energy Berritt's way.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I freaked out last night

I really did.  If you're squeamish, maybe skip this post.  Heh.

So my ass wound is still hanging around.  It's definitely smaller, according to Dr. Eric, but it's taking its sweet time to heal.  Mostly, I'm okay with that.  We're down to packing it once a day, it doesn't generally interfere with my life.  Sometimes I even forget it's there.

And that's where the problem began.  I forgot about the dressing, and it almost got lost in there.  Eric did a lot of digging around to find it, and because he is awesome, he did.  I won't lie, it hurt a little.  And I cried.

But the little bit of pain wasn't the reason I was crying.

Having Eric even need to dig a gauze out of my butt was a gigantor reminder that I am not normal, I don't have a normal life, and I never will again.  Not normal the way I remember normal being, anyway.  Most of the time, I'm okay with that.  I'm comfortable with my body, I feel fine about my ostomy, I'd rather not have an ass wound, but hey, it's okay too.  Last night though, it was like it all came crashing down and I remembered that what I had as normal isn't anymore. 

I cried for a long time, and I hope it got it all out.  Sometimes I am just angry at the world and feel it's so unfair that I have to deal with this shit.  Sometimes I feel sad that my family has to deal with it too.  I miss things about the old normal.

However, it doesn't do much good to sit around feeling sad about things I can't have.  So I try really hard not to do that.  I'm going to do the best I can with what I have, keep myself as healthy as possible, exercise, and love my friends and family.

And yes, MOMS, I took a vitamin this morning and I put protein powder in my smoothie.  I'm going to do it every day.  Promise.

Someday soon, I'll probably laugh about Eric having to dig around in the cave of my ass wound for a missing gauze.  It is kind of funny.

Hug your family today.  Tell them you love them.  I know I will.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No Chemo Today!

And at first I was all, "Yay!!!"  It took about two minutes before I got freaked out and scared because if I don't do the chemo, it won't kill the cancer.

So I went to the clinic this morning.  I probably didn't get back to the chemo lounge until around 8:20 (appt at 8am).  Then we waited for a little bit, and the nurse accessed my port and drew blood.  She said as soon as we got numbers back from the lab, we'd get started.

A little over an hour later, the nurse was telling me I couldn't do chemo because my white blood count and my some other count were both low.  I should have written this stuff down, of course I can't remember what exactly the nurse said.  It's the part of the blood that helps fight infection for you medical types out there.  Anyway, I'm very susceptable to infections and doing chemo today would make that worse. 

The plan is to wait a week, let my body continue to recover, and try Big Chemo next week.

This totally messes up my chemo schedule, but like Eric said, "It is what it is."

I was freaked out by not doing chemo.  I don't want to do it, but I need to do it.  Eric and I talked though, and we reassured each other that this time, we're in it for the long term.  There's no rushing through this.  We need to be patient and persistent.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  My personal plan is to do some research and see if I can be doing anything to help my blood counts improve.  And I'll keep doing yoga and running.

So I guess this suddenly free afternoon will be filled with homeschool-y type things.  We started reading Charlotte's Web together the other day, and we should probably get to some math.  The kids and I are also on the hunt for duck nests (there are lots of ducks around our apartment community, and they have nests somewhere). 

Positive thoughts and prayers are, as always, muchly appreciated.  It was nice to have a chemo break this week, but really, I need to do it next week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some Randomness

So Eric changed my ass wound dressing the other morning, just like always, and I don't know what my deal was that day, but I started crying.  You'd think after so much time has passed I'd be used to just dealing with everything, but I don't know.  It got to me that day.  It wasn't one thought or anything, it was everything.  Sometimes I feel so sad that we're all dealing with this again.

And to think, I was considering dropping back down on my prozac.

I did the old Fake It Until You Make It, and when that didn't work, I went for a run.  When I'm running, I feel like I'm doing something positive, so I guess it's good that I started running last September. 

I thought about a lot of things that day.  It was a nice day to lay on a picnic table bench and stare at the clouds and the birds.  It was a nice day to swing in one of those bench swings and watch the bumblebees.  I didn't want to go anywhere that day, but I'm glad I did.

Eric's and my first date, the first time we kissed, was on March 20th.  Twelve years ago.  I hope and wish that we get another twelve more.

I plan to keep as busy as possible on Tuesday.  I think chemo this Wednesday is, for some reason, getting to me even more than the very first one.  I don't know why that is.  Maybe reality has set in.  I'm not liking some of my reality.

Sigh.  Trying to stay positive is hard work.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blog Makeover?

What do you think?  There are a couple picky points for me that Eric said he could easily fix.  I'm undecided about ads, and don't feel like you have to click 'em.  ;)

Little Chemo didn't set me back at all.  It's been a good, busy weekend.

I'm already dreading next Wednesday, but I'm trying hard to just not think about it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What to say about yesterday?  It was a pain in the ass for many reasons.

I was scheduled to see the doc, and I had a list of things I needed addressed.  First thing, the heartburn.  No problem, they have drugs for that.  My white counts are still on the low side, low enough that there was much hemming and hawing about what to do.  I can get a shot.  The doc can lower the chemo dose.  I said I could try the shot. 

Then I inquired about how we can make the whole disconnection of the pump easier and more convenient.  I said for all of us, but mainly meant ME.  I repeated that I think it's ridiculous that the chemo infusion people can't just give me the saline and heperin syringes.  They keep that stuff by the freaking boxful and it's just laying around in drawers all over the place.  I told the doc that the pharmacy down in the lobby doesn't take our insurance, so I had to shell out nearly $20 for SALINE and HEPERIN.  The Physician's Assistent is convinced that there is NO WAY the chemo infusion people are just going to give me the supplies I need to disconnect at home because of liability, blah blah blah, oh and heperin, did you know, is dangerous for children.

Okay, this is where I started to get really frustrated.  The way we treat the chemo pump and the stuff that goes with it is absolutely NOT a danger to our children, and I get offended when that is implied.  Eric and I are not stupid, we've been on the chemo train before.  We put all that shit away, and the kids know not to touch it anyway. 

So I of course started to cry because why does this have to be so complicated.

Then the doc said, "Well, you'd have to come in for the shot on Friday anyway."

WHAT???  Every damn time I turn around, the chemo center is trying to get me to go there.  I don't want to fucking go there.  I really don't.  It's such a time suck, and I have other stuff to do that is not cancer.  I want to go once a week.  That is IT.

At that point, I was pretty much done.  I was all, "Sure, sure, whatever."  The doc said some junk about how he could write a note to Eric's work so Eric could take more time off.  Eric's job is not the problem, of course, they're very flexible.  The doc said some more junk about how it will "only take an hour."  Yeah, right.  I'll bet anyone two or three of my stupid cancer tumors that it will NEVER take an hour.  It takes almost 20 minutes to drive to the center from my house. 

So yeah, done.  We set up my next appt with the doc and I went down to the chemo infusion place.

Chemo infusion was mostly uneventful.  On my "little chemo" weeks, I still get all the pre-meds, which means a benedryl nap for me.  When I woke up from my benedryl snooze, I expected to be just about done because the whole thing is only supposed to take about two hours (or so I was told).  The Erbitux hadn't arrived from the pharmacy.  I took a wander to the bathroom, did some staring into space, listened to my Ipod.  Erbitux still not there.  I took another wander (I wonder if the nurses suspect that I wander more when I get bored?  Chemo does make me pee a lot though).  Erbitux arrived finally.  Infused.  Oh yeah, we have to watch you for an HOUR. 

Sigh.  I finally left at about 6pm.

Anybody else tired of this yet?  Because I am.

I understand that waiting around for the pharmacy isn't going to be a regular thing.  At least, I hope not.  Once everyone is convinced I'm not going to keel over from an Erbitux reaction, maybe they can stop the hour waiting period (I should remember to ask about that).

Eric and the kids were waiting.  All the way home, Eric and I vented about how stupid the cancer center is and how stupid everything is and what is the big fucking deal about saline and heperin?  (we didn't drop the F bomb in the car, we have kids, yo)  The conversation all evening ranged from "We're going to find another cancer center, dammit!" to "Well, it's still better than anything we've ever done before, scheduling wise, and we do have many people who will help with the kids and maybe even rides to the center on the Friday disconnect."

Where we stand right now?  I don't know.  Is it worth continuing to pitch a fit?  We still have the option of speaking to the head nurse at the chemo infusion place and pleading our case.  But if I have to get a white blood count shot anyway, we might as well cave.  I don't feel that I'm asking the world here.  I'm trying to make this all as easy as I can for my family, for my kids.  It's not their fault that their mom has cancer.  While I really appreciate ALL help, past, present, and future, I'm not sure shuffling the kids around again is the best thing for them.  But maybe I'm being overprotective.  We'll see.

So yeah.  That's the deal.  Next week is Big Chemo, and I'm going to do my best to forget about it until sometime next Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stupid Chemo

My eyes popped wide open this morning.  I'm all freaked out about stupid chemo today.  I know it's going to be fine, it's just the Erbitux, but blarg.  I don't want to do it. 

I'm being a baby about it, aren't I?


Monday, March 14, 2011

I didn't post an update yesterday because I was too busy doing stuff, and then taking naps.  I'd forgotten just how extremely tired chemo makes me.  It's the weirdest thing having to sit down and rest after doing something simple like sewing Eli a pair of pants or getting the kids a snack.  I went for a run (more of a walk, haha, but some running in there) yesterday and it just about killed me.  I almost fell asleep on the floor, and I did fall asleep in my chair.  And I still slept all night.

It's frustrating.  But I can already tell it's better today.  Doing yoga didn't make me want to crawl back into bed.  Today the kids and I have a park day with our homeschool group, and then this afternoon we really need to do some cleaning and catching up.

I'm thankful to be able to do the things that need to be done.

I feel more peaceful after last week.  I can do this.  It sucks, but I can do it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday--a haiku

Today was busy.

Many naps and many laughs.

Tired but happy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Second Day of Alien Port...counting down to disconnect!

I still have all day with my frienemy the Alien Port.  Blech. 

I did some yoga this morning, warning the kids to stay away from the tube.  It made me tired.  I have a funny taste in my mouth.  Ginger ale is my friend, as are all the ginger candies I've been getting from friends. 

My plan, which I hope isn't too ambitious, is to take a walk with the kids today, hopefully walk again on Saturday, and run on Sunday, then again on Tuesday.  I don't know how it will go, but I won't know until I try.  I let way too much muscle mass go last time, but those were the circumstances.  This time I'm hoping it will be different.

I don't have a lot to say today, I guess.  I hope today is a quiet day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hey you!

Yes, you!  Go check out my friend Rose's blog, and maybe you can win some free stuff!  All it takes is a clickity click:

Good luck!!


I woke up this morning and actually felt kind of...normal.  I imagine my body and my organs with their strong arms up shouting, "Bring on the chemo, we are strong and tough!"  and the cancer cells crying and whining, "Noooooo, not more chemooooooo.  We don't like that!!  Waaaahhhhh!"

I don't know if that's what the insides of your body do, but they might.

I do feel a little shaky, I probably need to eat something.  The kids and I have plans to hit the library today, and the post office. 

Fuck you, cancer.  I'm still doing what I want to do.  :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chemo Today

The amount of ridiculousness I dealt with today...ugh.

All right.  I asked the oncologist about taking the pump off at home a few weeks ago, and he said it wouldn't be a problem.  Well today, it was a problem.  The nurses freaked out.  "Oh no, we don't do that here.  We like to have you come back in two days."  Eric and I persisted, and the nurse got the doctor involved.  The doctor, the nurse, and I had a conversation about things.  And I must say, I think it's pretty crappy to try to SCARE a groggy, chemical laden woman into doing what you want her to do.  But I still fought.  I was nice, but matter of fact.  I asked about a written policy.  I offered numerous times to sign a waver.  I honestly don't want anyone to get in trouble.  But this is about me.

It's about my control of this situation.  I often feel that so much of my life is out of control.  I try to be okay with that.  But things I can control, like cutting my hair or getting another tattoo, or having Eric remove the pump?  Having Eric remove the pump is more convenient for me, but it also keeps our family together more often (since the kids are not allowed in the cancer center building beyond the atirum).  It conserves resources and time.  And I just prefer Eric to do it.

In the end, no head nurse ever showed up, no written policy appeared, and I signed nothing.  We had to go to the pharmacy and pay what I thought is rather excessive for saline and heparin, but oh well. 

I don't want to paint doctors and nurses as mean or bad people.  The nurse who worked with me today was absolutely awesome.  I like my doctor.  I have run in to very very few doctors or nurses that I thought weren't really great people.  But sometimes I do think the patient is lost to policy and procedure.  Explain the risks and benefits, ALL OF THEM, and then let me make my own choice and stop trying to sway me with scary stories of chemo contamination to my kids. 

Aside from that junky junk, chemo today wasn't too terrible.  The erbitux didn't make me feel much different.  The rest didn't hit me until I got home.  I crashed in my recliner for a little while, then went to bed for a while too.  I think next week's Little Chemo will be much easier.

The chemo lounge is super nice.  There's a microwave, a fridge loaded with soda, lots of snacky snacks.  TVs all over the place.  Warm blankets aplenty.  People asking if you need anything.  The bathrooms were nice too, I spent a goodly time peeing today.

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers and messages I got today.  Doing chemo today, getting over the fear and dread, it was a good thing for me.  I can do this.  I want to do it for myself and for my family.

Chemo Jitters

Chemo Jitters, I has them.

I worry about how sick I'll get.  I worry about taking care of my family.  I worry that it won't work and going through it will be for nothing.

But I have to try.  I could definitely use your prayers, positive thoughts, vibes, everything today.  And of course, I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Change of Plans

No chemo today!  I can't say that I'm all that broken up about it, and the kids and I already have the day filled up with plans.  Maybe Wednesday is a better day, and the universe is trying to tell us that.  Who knows? 

I know I need to do it, but I still kind of don't want to.  Chemo is not fun.

I saw the chemo lounge yesterday though, and it is nice. 

So anyway, chemo starts Wednesday.  I also found out that for Erbitux, I have to go in every week, one week for Big Chemo, one week for Small Chemo, as the doc said.  The Small Chemo week should only take about two hours.  I freaked out a bit, but then remembered that at one time, I was going to radiation EVERY DAY, and then there was that pesky wound vac three times a week.  Once a week is cake.  Or pie.  Whichever you prefer.

Enjoy your Tuesday!  I know I will!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oh hai!!!

One of the things I did over the past week was getting my hair cut.  I'll admit, it's kind of a control thing.  There aren't very many aspects of my life that I feel I can control.  My hair?  Chopped!

This morning I busted ass in the kitchen, cooking beans, cleaning the pantry, cleaning out the freezer, making sure the fam has stuff to eat for the next week or so.  I think I will still make a list of easy, fast meals with references to cookbooks.  I even broke down and bought the kids some chicken fingers because it's such an easy meal.  I feel much better knowing that the kitchen is almost all the way nested.

So I was at the grocery store yesterday, and when I got up to the checker, she looked at me and asked, "What happened to you!?"  For a second I was confused, but then I remembered that my new port site looks pretty bad still.  I explained that it's a chemo port and I just had it put in.  Then she told me that she had a cancerous brain tumor a few years ago.  She informed me that the best thing to do is keep a positive attitude.  I mentioned that positivity really helped me out THE FIRST TIME I went through this.  Her eyes got big, and she didn't have a lot to say after that.  We didn't even talk about what kind of cancer I had.  Then after I paid, I said, "I'm glad you got better."  She said, "I hope you get better too."

Yeah, me too, Brain Tumor Checker, me too.

I think I am positive, most of the time.  It was harder though, maybe over the past month.  Sometimes I'm just so angry that this is happening, that my family is so affected by this.  I get angry because I have wishes and dreams and things that I want to do.

Ah well.  Living in the now is what I am trying hard to do.  And right now, it's cancer ass kicking time!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Feeling kind of blah this morning.  Now that I have another alien port, chemo is really going to happen, isn't it?


The temptation is great to let the kids play and spend the day shopping on Amazon for kindle books and shopping on Etsy for amusing zines.  Skipping school never hurt anyone too much, right?  But I made the To Do list for today, and real life still marches on even if I don't want it to do that. 

I will find joy in today.  I will find joy in today.  I will find joy in today.

Fake it 'til you make it, right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Kindness of Others

I just have the best friends and family in the world, and I know the best people.  There have been many surprises in the past week or so that have touched my heart.  And you all know me, of course, I cried.  I love you all for your thoughts, prayers, and support though, not your stuff. 

One mama in particular helped me in a big way last week.  Alisha, a very talented pattern designer, is the mastermind behind the Twirly Whirly Dreess.  This happens to be one of Reese's favorites, and we had the opportunity to test that one out a few weeks ago.  Alisha has been working on another dress recently, a sleeveless summer dress.  I emailed about a week ago to ask when it would be going on sale.  Alisha shared the date with me, and unfortunately, it was close to my first chemo treatment.  I went out on a limb and asked if she would consider selling to me early so I could make Reese some summer clothes before I deal with chemo.  Of course I offered to pay her whatever she was asking for her pattern.  The next day, I found the PDF in my inbox with a note that said, "Enjoy."  Alisha wouldn't let me send her any paypal, so as a favor to me, can you check out her new store?  She's a member of the shecreates congo on Hyenacart, and her shop is called "I Heart to Sew."  shecreates  stocks March 3rd at 9pm.  GO.  Check them out!!!

The generosity of people makes me hopeful.  Thank you so much to everyone who has touched my heart and made me cry with happiness this week.

The Story of Alien Port II

Alien port junior?  It's not really smaller, but it is on my left side.  I can't have a silly port mess up my turtle tattoo.

Eric, the kids, and I arrived at the hospital just before 7am.  I had to deal with a copay (which I think is totally silly...why did I drive over there to pre-register last week?  So I could spend more time at registration??).  Then we all trooped back to radiology where I found out I had to have labs done.  At this point, Eric took the kids to go do some stuff, and I went on alone.

Labs were uneventful.  When I tried to use the elevator to get back down to radiology, it was broken.  A kind nurse showed me the way down the stairs.  I hardly had to wait at all before being called back to the procedure room.

So I walked in and the table was all laid out, and there were surgical instruments and all kinds of stuff I really didn't want to see.  I was directed to a little storage room to change.  After changing, I sat around on the table while people bustled around me, prepping for the procedure.  It was kind of freaky.  I've never been awake very long BEFORE things started.  One of the techs tried to start an IV, but that sure didn't work.  She said we should wait for one of the nurses.  The nurse tried (so that's twice on my left hand), couldn't get the IV to take, and moved to my right hand.  Everyone admired my new tattoo.  I spoke to the surgeon, who asked how the heck we ended up in Columbus (because we're not military).  He was nice and funny.  Of course there were the usual questions about my diagnosis, and then how old my kids are (I totally cried). 

Things started moving and I was asked to lay down.  One of the techs started to drap me, which completely freaked me out.  Again, not stuff I want to even be aware of, let alone watch.  The nurse gave me some meds and that calmed me down.  The surgeon asked if I was still wide awake, and I said I was, so I was given more drugs.  I WASN'T ASLEEP WHEN HE PUT THE PORT IN.  Don't worry, it didn't hurt.  But holy crap.  The actual port installation probably only took 15 minutes, but I could be wrong.  Although the drugs didn't put me to sleep, they were quite good.

After the surgery, the nurses brought Eric and the kids in, and we all went to a recovery room.  They made me stay there for almost two hours.  Another nurse brought me breakfast:  eggs, bacon, a biscuit, grits.  I made Eric and the kids eat some so it looked like I did, because it wasn't a very vegan friendly meal.  Oh well.  I drank the juice.

And that's about it.  I'm not supposed to get the bandages wet (what, no steri strips??), so the nurse said no showering for 5-7 days.  I'm also not supposed to run until it's healed.

No less than eight people said I was too young to be dealing with all this.  I KNOW, RIGHT? 

Stuff is starting to hurt, so I'll probably retire to my chair for a while.  It's a nice, sunny day here in Columbus.  A walk in a little while to get the mail is in order.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!!

Did you know that colorectal cancer—cancer of the colon or rectum—is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States from the cancers that affect both men and women?

150,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year.

Check your ass, people!!  Got something weird going on?  Maybe your bowel movements have changed?  Maybe there's some blood in your stool?  Unexplained fatigue?  Pain?  Please get checked out.  Yes, it can be embarrassing to talk to your doctor about your butt.  GO ANYWAY. 

I'm wearing blue today, and then on each of my chemo days this month (March 8th being the first).  Join me!  Yay for awareness!!