Monday, November 28, 2011's a secret!!!!

That's how I feel about cancer sometimes, like I don't want to tell anyone.  Let's be honest.  When someone first hears, no matter what, they get THAT FACE.  Readers with cancer, you totally know what I'm talking about.  It's not a bad thing, it's almost always a face of sadness, compassion, etc.  No one means any harm by it.  But man, it's not a face I like seeing all the time. 

So our family has been going to a church here in Dallas, and we really like it.  Reese goes to Sunday School and for the first handful of times, she wanted me to sit in the class with her.  Okay, no big deal.  Her teacher is soooooo nice, and it was fun to get some ideas from her.  You know how I love teacher stuff.  Around the same time, I decided not to go to a Tuesday night Bible study I'd been attending, so I wanted to find something for me.  Reese wanted me to stay close, and I happened to wander into one of the study groups that meets right down the hall from Reese. 

The first Sunday I attended the study, I talked to a lot of people and they were so friendly and kind.  One of the women, Janice, shared with the group that one of the members had surgery and didn't tell anyone.  Janice looked sad and frustrated and said, "We can't minister to people if they don't share their struggles."

What she said stuck with me all week.  It's true.  I'm a smart cookie, I know I need prayer.  So yesterday I pulled Janice aside and shared with her what's going on with me.  It turns out, she's a one year survivor of breast cancer.  I can't imagine a more perfect person to tell.  She helped me share with the study group and ask for prayers. 

Then right after that in church, the pastor talked about different jobs in the church.  Some people are teachers, some people are learners, and some people need to be ministered to (among other jobs).  My willingness to share my struggles gives others a chance to minister to me.  Isn't it kind of cool how things work out?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Yeah, that's right, I'm freaking thankful.  One thing about cancer, it really smacks you in the face and makes you see what you DO have.  At least in my life it has.  So on this Thanksgiving Day, while I wait for the pecan pie to be done so I can go for a run, a list.

my children
family and friends
awesome apartment in awesome Dallas
doctors and nurses who care
delicious vegan foods
the ability to run
my favorite coffee mug

There's a ton of other stuff.  I can't believe sometimes how fortunate our family really is.  I try to remember things like this every day, especially when days are hard. 

Family and friends, near and far, my family and I are so thankful for your love and support and prayers.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hanging in There

Today wasn't nearly as bad as last Chemo Saturday.  I was able to do some stuff with the fam this morning before I got disconnected.  My blood pressure was good.  I came home and ate some stuffing.  I'm still puke free (although it was close while driving around downtown Dallas right after disconnect).  So.  The patch and steriods seem to be helping.  If the doc can figure out a way to keep me from puking during that first day of chemo, I'm golden.

I'm so so thankful for feeling good.

Some sad news though today.  Someone I knew on colonclub, jmarie, passed away.  She was young.  She has a 3 year old daughter, a husband, friends, family.  Please send a prayer their way.  I didn't know her well, but I so admire her strength. 

Sigh.  Stupid cancer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A no Puke Day!

I didn't puke at all today.  Just wanted to update on that. 

Otherwise the day was full of tv watching (some educational, some not), relaxing, Wii playing, napping.  I'm exhausted.  Tomorrow I get this pump off.

Chemo weekend...blech.

My Chemo Day

I will tell you about it, but it involves puking.  A lot of puking.  You've been warned.

Let's see.  Eric dropped me off at the cancer center at about 9:15ish, just in time to get some coffee.  There was no line at the checkin desk, score!  A few minutes after I sat down, I was called back to get my labs done.  The nurse was quick and efficient, but I think I prefer the jokey kinds who ask about my tattoos.  After that, I went down to the chemo lounge waiting room to, of course, WAIT to see my doctor.  I didn't mind a whole lot because I found a book on my Kindle that I haven't read and it turned out to be a good one.  Yay!

On the way back to the doc's office, another nurse weighed me.  This chemo diet is NOT working, y'all.  Ugh.

My doc's nurse came in and we chatted about how awful my post chemo days were last time.  I'm already using the top of the line nausea drugs, so the only thing we can do is switch some of them up, and I can take steroids for a couple days.  Just like long long ago when I first had chemo in WI, it's a guessing game.  Bummer for me, huh?

The doc breezed in and we chatted about nausea some.  He agreed with what the nurse suggested.  He asked me if I had any other questions, and I said I did.  I asked about tattoos, ready for him to be all negative and discouraging.  He was all, "Oh, sure, that's fine!"  And I replied, "Really?  Last time my tattoo got a huge rash all over it."  He asked to see it, complimented it highly, and gave me the Clean Needle Speech.  I mentioned that my last doc wanted me to take antibiotics before and after, and current doc scoffed at that.  Whoo hooo!  Cleared for tattoos!!!!

After getting some prescriptions, I went back to the waiting room.  You have to be really good at waiting in this cancer business.  While in the waiting room, I saw a family with three adorable little girls and was so thankful that kids are welcome at the center.

I had the same chemo nurse (are you keeping count of all the nurses I've been through today?  I should have a contest or something, haha) as last time.  He's not jokey or funny, but he does answer questions and he's nice.  I had to ask for Ativan again.  He goes, kind of doubtfully, "Do you need it?"  Don't ask me if I need to relax, jerk.  You're going to pump me full of chemicals that will make me sick for my whole weekend, I've been pretty much a mess for the last two days, didn't sleep much last night, and you're going to ask me that??  I just smiled sweetly and said, "Yes, I do."  He had to clear it with the chemo doc's nurse.  Okay, whatever you have to do.  I huddled under my warm blanket and turned on the massage option (which isn't as great as I previously gives me a headache if on too long, but it's nice to goof around with when I'm bored).

I got my Ativan.  And chemo doc's nurse added it to my regimen.  Another Whooo hooo for the day!  It's the simple things.

Warning!  Puke talk ahead!!!!!

I was able to relax and listen to a little music.  I watched a little Daria.  The day plodded on, switching a bag here, having a snack there.  Nothing too exciting until about the last half hour.  I started feeling sicky.  I glanced around for a garbage can.  The dvd player went back in my bag.  I sat on the edge of my chair, garbage can pulled close.  Dammit, I hate puking.  I sat still, took deep breaths, and no matter what I did, I tossed my cookies into the garbage can.  Everything I'd eaten came up.  Soooooo gross.  The nurse came over and asked, "Are you okay?"  In between heaves I said, "Not really."  He rushed away and brought back some ATIVAN.  Ahahahahahahahhaha.  This amuses me greatly.  I puked until I thought I was done, then accepted a box of kleenexes. 

Just then, Eric and the kids arrived.  I joked that I'd need Reese's puke bucket.  The nurse offered me one of theirs.  I'm glad I had it, because I heaved into it a couple times on the way home.

Once at home, I went right to bed and slept for a couple hours, I think.  I woke up still feeling nauseous, so I sat in my chair with a bucket.  After a little while I decided to try eating some toast, thinking that maybe I just needed food in mah belly.  The toast came up.  I was able to drink water though.  A while after that, Eric kindly made me some cream of wheat.  I took one bite.  ONE.  And that came up.  I decided to give up eating for the evening and went to bed.

Today my dilemma is what to try eating.  I don't really want to puke up my favorite foods or my stand by chemo foods.  Sigh.  If I can't keep any food down in the next couple hours, I'll be calling the chemo doc's nurse.

Right now I feel okay, maybe a little shaky and a little tired.  Water is still agreeable. 

Anyway, today I'll try to relax, do some school with the kids, and if I'm feeling okay this afternoon, we're headed to the library.  That's a good place to take the kids because it keeps them busy and changes the scenery.

Please pray for me.  :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

I made it!

Guys, my weekend was mostly HORRIBLE.  I was nauseous and tired and my head hurt.  I don't even really remember what we did on Saturday afternoon.  For me, I think it involved sleeping.  I thought I was going to puke several times.  I can't remember the last time I felt so awful.

And today?  It's like someone flipped a switch.  Aside from feeling a bit tired and craving mushroom gravy, I think I'm fine.  And I made it.  I made it through the weekend.  It amazes me to be on the other side, but here I am!  I don't take the credit.  There was a lot of prayer involved, both my own and yours. 

The best part of my weekend was little things.  A letter from a friend reminding me I'm not alone.  Going to church with the family.  Watching Daria in bed.  Buttered toast.  Ice water.  Hugs from my kids.  Gentle kisses from my husband.

It's really all about the little things, isn't it?  Finding joy in the little things.

Other than calling the scheduler to find out when I'm supposed to show up next time, I plan to banish cancer to the back burner for the next week or so.  Today I'll be catching up, so if I owe you an email or a phone call or a picture, I'll get on it.  I hope to do some sewing.  The kids and I will be working hard on our school week.  Lots to do.  :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

They put me in the room with the hood again.

"Is this room okay?  Some people get a little anxious in here, but it's mostly just used for storage," says the helpful nurse.

Yeah, yeah, whatever.  I'm sure all the biohazard signs and the medical hood put everyone at ease.  Seriously, I don't care.  It was a fun picture op once I got bored of WAITING.  I did chat with my doc, who seems concerned about my rectal wound.  Apparently the Avastin could cause the wound to open more, and then he would want to stop chemo until it heals.  I explained that it has never been healed.  He said we'll wait and see what happens.  I asked again for a referral to a wound care nurse (and an ostomy nurse) because I think whatever the wound care nurse has to say might put the doc's mind at ease.  At this point, I really doubt that this bugger is healing.

Then I waited and waited for the doc's nurse.  At one point I opened the exam room door because I was kind of lonely.  The doc breezed by, then poked his head in and asked if his nurse had been by.  No, no, she hadn't, which is why I'm still here.

I talked to the nurse who said she would get the social worker to help me with the whole wound care thing.  Waiting, waiting...and please note that I really had to pee because usually the lab wants a urine sample so I chugged a cup of coffee, and well, you know.  I snuck out to the bathroom, and while I was in there, I heard voices looking for me.  A woman was hovering around Exam Room 2 and I said cheerfully, "That's me!"

We talked about what my needs are (wound care nurse/ostomy nurse).  She also had information about a support group for the kids.  I'll check it out, but I'm kind of sad that the name had "cancer" in it.  It's called Cancer Support Community.  What, that's the best name they could come up with?  Anyhoo, I'll look it up and see if it's something we can use. 

Then I headed to the chemo lounge.  That whole experience was pretty uneventful.  I asked for the ativan to help me calm down.  No problem there, and I was able to relax and take a nap. 

At pump connect time, the nurse handed me the bottom part of a pump and a bag with chemo liquid in it.  "What's the deal with this?" I asked.  "Oh, your dose is too big for the canister, so we use this bag."

Oh really?  I then asked how I get a real pump, and the nurse admitted that about 1 in 5 patients get this set up.  I eyed the bag and asked how strong it was.  He goes, "Oh it's pretty strong."  I was exhausted and not thinking, but later I thought that this set up is probably not the best for a mama with two active kids.  No, we haven't had issues with the pump or the tubing, I'm careful.  But I'd feel a lot better with a pump where the chemo liquid is safely in a canister and not in a bag.  I'll be hassling someone about this.

Cold sensitivity started right away.  Blah.  I know it could be worse.

I'm tired, but these kids need to get out of the house.  We're headed to the library so I can sit down and they can do kid things.  I'm hoping that new books will keep them busy this afternoon.

Prayers and positive thoughts gladly accepted!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Well hello, 4am!

That's right.  My eyes popped open a little after 4am despite the fact that I took a sleeping pill around 11pm.  Ugh.  Good thing chemo usually involves a nap.

The kids and I had a busy day yesterday, cleaning and cooking.  No one will starve this weekend while I'm sick, haha.  Not that they would anyway.  Eric is awesome about taking care of all of us when I'm not feeling my best.  I try to make it easier if I can.

I'm going to try to lay down and get another hour or so of sleep now.  Prayers are definitely appreciated today, both that my white counts have recovered enough for chemo and that I can bounce back quickly from this treatment.