Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Purple Tattoo: Halfway There

The Purple Tattoo: Halfway There: Well, today was treatment number 6.  I am halfway done with chemotherapy! My fifth treatment was a long one.  It started out with news fro...

Halfway There

Well, today was treatment number 6.  I am halfway done with chemotherapy!

My fifth treatment was a long one.  It started out with news from the doctor that my latest pulmonary function tests show some damage.  Due to this he has taken me off one of my chemo drugs, bleomycin.  At this point he said the damage outweighs the benefit.  It does NOT change his prognosis for my being cancer free at the end of treatment.  They may add it back in at a later date.  I am glad he is precaucious, but I can't lie...taking the drug out scares me.  The cure is ABVD, not AVD! With this damage I have developed "chemo cough"  and can definitely feel the difference.  No more stairs for me, if I use them I cough for a good hour! Not fun!

After the news about my lungs I went to chemo.  For the third treatment in a row I had this strange sensation and started coughing.  The nurses feared that my port was leaking so we stopped using it and did the treatment through my arm.  I had to go have a dye study done on my port and luckily it proved to be working pefectly!  The cough is just my new thing, I guess.  Had the port been leaking that would have meant another surgery, so this was very good news.

The weekend after treatement #5 the Davidson's came to visit us.  Even in the aftermath of treament I enjoyed them being here, even if I could not fully partcipate!  It was good to have our families together!

The two weeks between 5 and 6 were rough.  I really only had 1 really good day.  That was really frustratin to me.  I have had to admit that I am not able to do everything I have been.  I have to slow down a little.  I have to stop just telling everyone I'm okay when I'm really not.  I have to stop pushing myself as hard.  I have to take some of the help that my wonderful friends and family are offering.  That's hard.  I'm a lot more fatigued than I have been with previous treatments and a still experiencing the bone pain.  I'm having some other issues which I will call "digestive issues' and will spare you the TMI version.  LOL

Vicki has been here the last week!  I am so glad to see her.  We are all.  Lucas is on spring break so she has been taking care of him while Mark and I work.  They have had a great time together.  She has also helped me a great deal just by fixing dinner and doing some stuff around the house.  It has given me a chance to relax a little.  We really haven't done anything super exciting...just hanging at home, but it has been a great visit!

Treatment #6 out of 12 was today...I am halfway done with chemo!
Today's treatment was much better.  To start off, I am back on Wednedays so I got to sit with my friend, Kathy.  This gives me some good company.  I also met a gentleman named Frank today, and had a good conversation with him about food and world travel.  My mom brought me sandwich from Jersey Mike's for lunch and hung out with us for a little while!  My port worked fine.  I was out of there by 2:30!  I came home and took a very long nap and then tonight we enjoyed a fire on the lanai, roasted marshmellows and made s'mores!  It was nice and chilly out and the fire felt good!

Now I'm awake...normal for a chemo night.  I think it is from steroids that are in my medcine.  So, I'm cactching up on TV and my blog.

I know this entry is about the bad stuff that I've experienced over the last two weeks,but it feels good to vent.  The point of this blog is to inform friends and family about how I am doing so I am being honest.  I had a few minutes of tear the last week or so just out frustration with my body, but that's okay.  Sometims you have got to just get it out...  I'm hoping this round will be easier than last, but I can handle it no matter what. I promise myself to ask for more help from this point on and rest a little more when I need it.

The chemo brain has gotten memory sucks.  I forget things mid sentence sometimes!  It is driving me crazy!!

Tomorrow I go for my Neulasta shot. This is the shot that helps me produce white blood cells...and causes the stupid bone pain.

Tomorrow would also be my dad's 70th birthday were he still here with us.  I can't even imagine.

'night all

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Purple Tattoo: 1/3 of the Way Through and Being Bald Isn't So Bad...

The Purple Tattoo: 1/3 of the Way Through and Being Bald Isn't So Bad...: Well, last week I had my fourth treatment.  I am oficially one third of the way done!  Hooray!  It's time again for pulmonary function t...

1/3 of the Way Through and Being Bald Isn't So Bad

Well, last week I had my fourth treatment.  I am oficially one third of the way done!  Hooray!  It's time again for pulmonary function tests to make sure the chemo is not affecting my lungs too much.

I am finally bald.  My hair started falling out after my second treatment.  Strand by strand, not too bad.  After my third treatment it started coming out in handfuls.  It was my food while I was eating, EVERYWHERE.  Sooooo... I decided to just go ahead and shave it off.  It's gone!

I have worn my wig to work...but really nowhere else.  It's not that comfy.  I've worn scarves and hats with my "hat hair" which is kind of like half a wig so you can wear hats comfortably.  But mostly, once I get home I am just bald.

Everyone is fine with it.  I had explained it to Lucas before it happened and he even went with me when I got my head shaved.  It was no big deal to him.  Mark is used to it...I think he even thinks it is weird to see me with my wig on because he is used to me not having hair!

Before it happened it was the worst thing I could imagine.  I cried all the way to my mom's house on the Sunday morning I was having it shaved.  I cried in the chair before Wade shaved it.  But once he started, it was OKAY...and by the time he was done I was fine.  It was much worse imagining it happening than the reality.  So, I'm bald.  So what.  It's not like it's a haircut that went's not like I shaved my head because I thought it would be cool and then ended up looking really bad as a bald chic.  I have cancer...chemo has made my hair fall out.  Oh well.  Not much I can do about it other than accept and go on with life.  I'm bald...I'm fine.  It's no big deal really.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not running all over town bare-headed.  I'm covering it up because I am more comfortable that way...but nonetheless, I am fine with it!  When you see pictures of cancer patients you think you could never survive...that losing your hair would be the end of you.  I PROMISE YOU IF IT EVER HAPPENS IT WILL NOT...YOU WILL BE FINE!

The first day in my wig Lucas and I went to McDonald's.  I kept looking around to see if people were staring at me or looking at me and then touching their hair.  They didn't.  I don't think people know it's a wig at all.  I've actually gotten compliments from people who don't know that I have cancer. 

I've been feeling okay.  My normal state is TIRED, that's how it's going to be.  The bone pain continues, but I'm better at managing the pain.  I'm working fairly normal hours and being productive.  Life continues to be good.  I have good days and bad days...I am exhausted by the end of every day and cannot wait to go to bed, but who isn't?  LOL  I try to stay positive and live my life as I normally would... just at a slower pace most of the time.

Lately A LOT, and I mean A LOT of people have been telling me that I look really good, that I am glowing.  I think this is because the medicine is working and a lot of the cancer is gone.  I imagine that my color probably wasn't good before and we didn't even realize it.  I had to have had cancer for quite some time based on the itching I had for two years prior to my diagnosis and due to the number of infected lymph nodes.

Other news...

It's baseball season here in SWFL.  Mark is coaching Lucas' team again, we are The Cubs!  We have a great group of kids and parents which makes it even more fun than usual!!

I bought a new car this week.  Nothing fancy.  Got a Kia Optima EX.  Love it! 

I am loving my new role at Gartner.  I work with a great group of people and enjoy going to work again!

We have company coming the 15th-18th! Can't wait to see the Davidson Family!! I have chemo this week so I hope I am feeling up to hanging with them...I'll do my best!  Going to be different than our normal spring visits with them...but still tons of fun! We might manage to squeeze a trip up to Orlando to see them again before they go back to IL.   Grandma with the White Dog is then coming the 21st.  She will get lots of good Grandma time in as she is going to babysit while Lucas is on spring break so we can go to work as normal!  They are both going to love having all those days together to have fun!!

I am still thankful for all the friends and family who have been sending well-wishes, cards, letters, little care packages.  You must all know that I realize how blessed I am to have you all in my life.  When this episode is said and done I will defintely spend the rest of my healthy life paying it all forward!