Monday, March 30, 2009

A Better Day


Today was a much better day. I woke up feeling just as fatigued and worn out as yesterday, but I got up anyway. I had agreed a few weeks ago to speak this morning at an alanon meeting, and I didn't want to miss it. The topic was the 4th step, and it's an important one for me right now. It's the step where I take an inventory of the strengths and weaknesses of my character. As I was speaking at the meeting, I realized that I've learned so much about myself over the past 4 months. As much as the cancer experience has sucked, it's also been a rich learning experience for me. After the meeting, I felt pretty good and had some energy. The girls and I ended up having a nice end of spring break day.

I've been trying to come up with some way to celebrate my last chemo on Wednesday. Nothing seemed quite right until D suggested writing things on rocks and tossing them into the river. We came up with the idea to write out all of the crappy stuff from the cancer over the past 4 months- one per rock. We went to Mt. Pisgah today and I picked up a rock for each crappy thing. I was surprised at how many rocks I got, and at how much stuff I will get to let go of on Wednesday. My plan is to take the rocks to chemo and write on them, then afterwards go to the bridge at Alton Baker park and toss them in. In a weird way, I'm kind of excited about Wednesday!

The Finish Line


I suppose this is like a marathon, where the hardest part is the very end. I got back from our trip completely exhausted and sick with yet another cold. I was so fatigued yesterday that I spent the day in bed. I got a lot of rest, and a good night's sleep last night, and I woke up this morning still exhausted and still with this cold. My eyes are all goopy and stuck together, my nose is stuffed, and I've got yet another cough. I'm nervous about getting more chemo on Wed as I don't feel strong and I don't feel like I've bounced back enough yet.

On a positive note, I still have my eyebrows and my eye lashes, and even my nails. Although I'm not sure my nails will be around for much longer. Several of them are very painful and I can feel that the nails are loose and are lifting away from the nail bed. It's freaking me out and it's grossing me out. From what I read on the internet, they could either stay loose like that, or they could fall out. I'm tempted to put tape around them to keep them on.

I'm disappointed because outdoor soccer starts this week and there is no way I'll be able to play. I am grateful for all the games I did get to play. This is just hard for me right now. I am having a hard, hard time with having no energy. It does help I suppose that it was expected. I was told that the chemo is cumulative and that it gets very hard at the end. One woman told me that she went from taking a few days off of work after chemo to taking a full week of towards the end. I'm glad it's spring break for me still this week so I don't have to use any more of my sick leave. It'll be better once the girls go back to school tomorrow as I can rest without worrying about them.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Break


The girls and I are on spring break now and I am SO happy to have a rest from work. We drove over to Seaside on Wednesday and are staying through Saturday. I was nervous on Wed as I had to have my blood checked first. Luckily it was ok enough for me to go. I did need yet another shot, and they gave me one to go. I am now giving myself my own shots- I NEVER thought that would happen. It gives me the independence to do things like this short trip and it feels good that the shots, which used to freak me out so much, are now not such a big deal.

My fatigue has been pretty intense, but I was determined to take this trip. I’ve just had to do things a bit differently. We took breaks on the drive over, and I’ve just slowed the pace way down. It is our tradition to come to Seaside each spring break, and it is typically a very active vacation, with lots of walking, hiking, playing tag, and running along the beach. Yesterday we drove up to Ft. Clatsop and had our first outdoor picnic of the season. We were wearing our winter coats, but it was great to be outside anyway. And it didn’t rain! I was feeling so good in the fresh air that I took the girls on a short walk through the forest. I cannot even begin to describe how nice it felt to be walking through the forest with my daughters. It really renewed my spirit. I got tired pretty quickly, so we headed on up to Astoria and played in the indoor water park for a few hours. I got to relax in the hot tub and I was able to play tag in the water with the girls. We typically climb up the Astoria column and throw paper airplanes off the top, but I knew that’d be too much for me. So we rode the trolley along the river instead. It was full of families with very young children and elderly people. Just my crowd at the moment. The girls were a little bored, but I was happy to be sitting. I got more and more tired, though, so we headed back to our cottage and spent the evening watching t.v, which is a big treat for the girls so they were happy.

Today they both really want to go to the beach and fly kites. It is cold and drizzly and I am out of energy already and it’s just 1:00. I’ve had a nice bath in the Jacuzzi tub here in the cottage, and Kaycee is making lunch for all of us. She has really stepped up and helped out so much on this trip. I figure I can wrap up in blankets and just watch while the kids play. I’m hoping the cold air will be refreshing!

I am so very, very grateful for the alternative treatments I’ve been getting. My finger pain is gone. My finger tips went a bit numb after the last treatment, but not too bad. I am so grateful for how well I’ve done with all of these treatments. I cannot believe I’ve only got one more to go. In 5 days I will be ALL DONE with chemotherapy! Sure, I’ll still have the recovery period to get through after the last one, but I’ll be done!


Back Home

We made it back home today. It rained and rained and I am SO tired from the long drive. Yesterday we made it to the beach, and we did fly kites, and we got soaked in the rain. And, it was fun anyway. I ended up hitting a wall right in the middle of dinner. I got so tired and my muscles started aching so much. I rested on the couch and the girls finished up dinner and cleared and rinsed the dishes. They have both grown up so much these past few months. It seems to make them feel good about themselves when they are able to help me out. Before we left Seaside today, the girls wanted to go shopping in a little indoor shopping place with a big carousel in the middle of it. I woke up tired today and knew that I didn’t have the energy to take them shopping. I ended up giving them their cell phone and sitting in a little coffee shop sipping tea while they shopped on their own. They LOVED the independence so much. They would go into one shop, then check back in with me, then go on to another shop. They bought each other a present and bought one for me. It was very sweet. I am so proud of my girls and so happy that my having cancer didn’t ruin their lives like I thought it would.

I was exhausted when I got home, and we were all starving. We walked in and my sweet friend D was there with the house all warm, the lights on, and hot pizza waiting for us. And, she filled all my vases with orange roses (the color recommended to me by one of my wise women). F had been working on my garden while I was gone, and D and a neighbor had mowed the lawn. I now have 3 raised beds with a gated fence around them to keep the deer out. Even though it is pouring down rain, I can look out the window and imagine my garden oasis after I get to do some planting. I am so touched by these sweet people in my life. My vacation with the girls was nice and we had a chance to really connect with each other. And I am so happy to be back home!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Steroid Ride


I had a phone consult with my naturopath about depression and fatigue. I got some reassuring news and some frustrating news.  She said that the depression is directly related to the steroids.  Apparently, the steroids mess up neurotransmitters in my brain, and affect my seratonin levels, along with disrupting my sleep cycle.  I take the steroids for 3 days, then stop- the sudden stopping of them is also a problem as my body gets such a sudden withdrawal.  The only thing I can do about it now is to get as much sunlight as possible (ha ha in Oregon) and take melatonin at night.  She said once the chemo is over she can give me herbs and nutrients to help return my brain chemistry to normal.  It's helpful knowing what is causing it, and it's also helpful knowing that it will probably return in the next few days as the steroids where off.  But, even having that knowledge doesn't make the feelings I get any easier.  As for the fatigue, she said that it is my body's way of telling me to rest.  She said that if I could see inside my body, I would see a tremendous amount of energy being put into healing the massive amounts of cellular damage the chemo has done.  She said that being this far into it, my body is maxed out and it's expected that the fatigue will be worse this week and after the last round.  The steroids give me a false sense of energy and I have a tendency to over do my activity level when I'm on the steroids, then the fatigue is even worse when it hits.  So, bottom line is I'm supposed to get as much rest as possible, even if I'm feeling like I've got energy.  I had a strong desire to go skiing today.  I was actually going to go, but realized that I didn't have the energy last night to even gather up the equipment.  Bad idea.  I went to the library today and had to rest on the stairs I got so tired going up.  So, as hard as it is, I'm going to try to take it easy.  I've got a bunch of good movies and books and two weeks off work.  I've rented a cute little house in Seaside for the girls and I for a few days, so if I can just get through the drive there, I'm hoping to have a restful vacation.  The house has two nice t.v.s and a bunch of movies, and the town has a nice swimming pool with hot tub, so it should be restful.  I have never watched so many movies in my life!  Either have the girls- hope they can readjust once we go back to limiting screen time!

I'm starting to have a bit of anxiety about the next step- having my ovaries removed.  I am struggling emotionally with facing the end of my fertile years.  There is some grieving going on, made more difficult by the depression piece.  I really don't want any more children, and haven't for awhile.  But, facing menopause was not something I had even thought about yet.  It was something that I was going to think about in 10 years or so, not at age 39.  I really know nothing about it, and don't really know what having no ovaries and no estrogen will do to my body.  The naturopath did say that the lack of estrogen can cause depression too, but she's confident that it can be managed with herbs and supplements.  I'm trying really hard to place trust in my wise women helpers.  My one wise woman today promised me that I would be ok without ovaries.  A few women have talked to me a bit about menopause and all have reassured me that it isn't terrible.  I think for me it's the fear of the unknown. 

Karina is home sick again- yesterday and today.  So, I've had a little rest buddy which has been nice.  It can get lonely resting at home day after day after day.  

On a happy note, today is the first day of spring and I bought some sunflower seeds.  My wise woman suggested surrounding myself with oranges and reds- something about these colors helps to support the upcoming loss of my ovaries and helps me to find joy and acceptance about this new phase in my life.  So, the sunflower seeds will be planted in both the front and the back yard.  I usually buy myself pink roses for my chemo week, but next time I'll get some bright orange spring flowers.  

I never thought spring would get here.  It's been a long, hard winter and I'm so glad it's over!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009



One of my sources of strength is a daily reader from Alanon called Courage to Change.  Here's today's reading:

No problem lasts forever.  No matter how permanently fixed in the center of our lives it may seem, whatever we experience in this ever-changing life is sure to pass.  Even pain.
Difficult situations often bring out qualities in us that otherwise might not have risen to the surface, such as courage, faith, and our need for one another.  All of our experiences can help us to grow.
But we may need patience.  Some wounds cannot be healed quickly.  They must be given time.  In the meantime, we can appreciate the new capabilities we are developing, such as the capacity to mourn and the willingness to accept.  Let us share our losses and triumphs with each other, for that is how we gather courage.  

Today's Reminder:  Remembering that this too shall pass can make it easier to get through a difficult day.  I will be very gentle with myself during this time.  Some extra loving care and attention to myself can make everything a little easier.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ghouls


The ghouls disappeared for a while, but came back again this morning as I tried to get up and get going with the day.  I wondered if they could follow me everywhere, or if there was to be any escape.  I had a morning soccer game, and I haven't played in a couple of weeks, so I decided to go. It was hard not to just crawl back under the covers and spend the day in bed with the ghouls- they were really tugging at me.  But I kicked them off and got dressed and went to soccer.  It turns out they couldn't follow me onto the soccer field!  I forgot all about them for a whole hour.  No goals today, just a hard ball in the face.  I don't care though, it felt so good to be playing.  After the game, I figured I had lost them, but when I got home, they were waiting for me.  They grabbed hold of me as soon as I stepped into the house and I started sobbing.  I was exhausted, so I decided to lay down for half an hour and let them do what they wanted with me.  They crawled into bed with me and said cruel things, like about how I could only play soccer for 10 minutes at a time before needing to rest.  They snickered about how I used to be able to play a whole game without subbing out and now I was too weak.  I let them say what they wanted, knowing they were just trying to pull me into the muck. After 30 minutes I got up and got lunch for the girls.  Karina had her final basketball game today, and they didn't follow me to the game.  Her team won the championship and I was so happy and proud of her!  I'm home now and back in bed.  I'm very tired, but the ghouls seem to be satisfied with the 30 minutes I gave them earlier, so they are gone for now.  Fucking Bastards. D is taking the girls and I out for dinner to celebrate basketball, and the ghouls are NOT invited!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lurking Ghouls


Depression for me is like lurking ghouls grabbing at my ankles, trying to pull me down into a pile of muck.  I haven't really had to tangle with them since I went through THE DIVORCE 4 years ago.  Back then, I couldn't sleep well at night, and I would wake up fatigued and exhausted, and I was in such a weakened emotional state that it was hard to fight them off.  I finally went to my doctor, and he wanted to put me on anti-depressants.  But I felt that if I could just shake the exhaustion and sleep at night I'd be ok.  So he gave me sleeping pills instead, and once I was able to sleep at night, the ghouls went away.  Yesterday they were back again, I think because the fatigue gave them an opening.  I was driving to work and I could feel them at my ankles, pulling me down.  I've learned over the years in alanon how to fight them.  The key for me is EXTREME self-care.  For me this means good food, companionship, exercise, time outside, prayer, and rest.  I started of with getting myself a veggie juice from Capella, then called a friend.  I had to go into work and usually that's enough to distract me, but it didn't work yesterday.  I had trouble controlling my tears and I was so impatient with myself.  I'm not really sad about anything in particular, just very much worn down and tired and my body has been under siege for 4 months now. After work I got out for a walk and got to enjoy the sunshine for almost an hour.  When I got home I crawled into bed for a rest, and I went to bed early and got a good night's sleep.  I'm ok now, but the ghouls creep me out and I really, really don't want them in my life.  This morning I was looking out at the grey sky and I could feel them grabbing at me again.  I fought them off this time with some music, a good breakfast, and by talking to some friends.  I made it through the day, and I'm having a rest now before making dinner.  I feel like I've been fighting off the ghouls all day, but I think they're gone now.  I'm trying to accept the fact that I may be fatigued for the next month or so.  If I can just accept that, and take it easy, I think I'll be ok.  I miss my old self- the one with all the energy that could take the girls on outings and keep up with their energy level.  I'm reminded of that image I had way back when during one of my MRI's where I could see the tree with the autumn leaves blowing on it.  I had the thought that my body would be going into a period of rest, like the tree, for awhile.  But, I would bloom in the spring.  Well, it's getting to be spring and everything around me is blooming, but I'm still in my period of rest.  It's frustrating.  In my mind I'm hurling insults and sharp objects at the ghouls around my ankles.  I'm determined.  They WON'T get me!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Day of Rest


I was all set last night to have a restful night's sleep.  Both D and F came over after the kids were in bed to give me some nurturing attention.  My house was a wreck from not having the energy to clean, but D got me caught up on some of it.  F made me laugh, and that always has a way of chasing pain off.  I would have slept well, but Kaycee got sick in the middle of the night and woke up over and over needing this and that.  I was exhausted by morning and we both stayed home.  I ended up getting what my body probably really needed- a day in bed.  It was a little hard having to take care of Kaycee, but I could empathize with her.  It sure does feel good to have someone to take care of you when you don't feel well.

It's evening now and my muscles don't ache any more.  Yeah!  I'm still tired though, but not in that incapacitating way.  I've been spending SO much time in my bedroom.  A few years ago I splurged and bought myself a nice bedroom set for mother's day.  I am so glad I did, because my bed is so comfortable and I like being in my bedroom.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009



The feel good euphoria from last week is totally gone at the moment.  Tonight was day three of getting into my jammies and getting into bed right after work.  The muscle ache is still there, and the fatigue is overwhelming at the moment.  I did get out for a 20 minute walk yesterday after work.  I figured if I was going to end up in bed for the evening, at least I was going to have the memory of a walk to think about.  I went to the Amazon trail and it was cold and hailing, but it felt good to be outside.  My legs hurt so bad that I couldn't walk fast enough to get warm.  I felt like an old, old, lady hobbling along.  Pretty soon an old lady in tennis shoes speed walked right by me and I almost cried.  This is the trail that I was running on just last fall, and here I was, hobbling along.  Today I thought about a walk, but couldn't do it.  I worked at a few preschools today and drove to Junction City, which is about a 30 mile round trip.  I had enough energy to get through the day, but the effort it took exhausted me.  I had a visit with my counselor and she could see how exhausted I was, so she had me lay down on the couch with a blanket and a pillow during our session.  I could have slept for hours.  Getting out of bed in the morning continues to be difficult too.  I'm just so tired.  I wonder if this is going to pass, or if this is the fatigue that I was told about that would happen towards the end of chemo.  

The kids continue to be kind and understanding and tonight they picked up a few extra chores again and even took care of my dishes after dinner.  We have strange dinners- combinations of left overs and of whatever I can grab out of the fridge.  Tonight it was pizza pockets, beef stew, and pears.  They don't find our meals strange at all, and I consider it a MAJOR accomplishment when we eat a meal that is hot.  

My fingers look and feel like they've each been smashed by a hammer.  I bumped a finger today on the counter and the pain was horrible.  I really need to put nail polish on them so I at least don't have to look at the bruising, which I know I was told it's "pigmentation change", but it sure looks and feels like bruising to me.

I know I have less than a month to go, but I can't be spending every evening in bed, not with the weather being so sunny and it staying light later.  I got the girls some craft materials, so at least they had fun tonight creating decorated purses and hats.  I really wanted to do something fun with them outside.  I can't wait till it's warm enough for the hammocks and I can just lay in one in the sun while they play in the back yard.

I called my acupuncturist for some ideas, and she suggested a hot bath, arnica cream, and eating ginger and greens.  I know self-care is important right now, but it took a huge effort to roll over, get the arnica cream, and put it on.  I did it though, along with the bath and the ginger.  I also put more St. John's Wart on my fingers and called a friend who is bringing me a fresh veggie juice soon.  And I took some motrin and ativan.  The doctor told me to just take whatever I needed to take to get through the pain because it's important that I continue on with the chemo.  I was also reminded to LISTEN to my body and do what it is telling me to do.  It is telling me to REST right now, so that's what I'm supposed to be doing.  This is very, very hard for me to do.  I was also reminded that I WON'T feel this way for ever and that the end is in sight.  I got scared tonight, thinking that I was going to feel this way for the rest of my life.  Kind of like when that tube was in my body for 3 weeks- I felt like it was never going to come out.  And now I can barely remember what it felt like.  This too shall pass.  This too shall pass.  Maybe I should just embrace it and get some good books and movies and settle in for a few evenings of leisure.  Painful leisure.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

Random Feelings


Oh, my aching body!  I don't remember having the body pain last this long before.  It sucks.  I'm sure it's related to the shot.  I had one more to go today, but I called and asked if I could skip it and they agreed!  I figure if my bones are aching this much, they must be making massive amounts of white blood cells at the moment and probably don't need any more help.  Last night was the time change, so getting out of bed was really hard this morning.  Plus, it was cold and snowy today.  I did make it out of bed and even got the girls to school on time.  By about 8:30 I was ready to be done with work, though, and really, really wanted to go back home and go to bed.  But, I also was having a yearning to have a normal day.  I've missed so much work the past few weeks that I just wanted to have a normal work day.  I got through my morning then stopped off for a coffee.  I had to give up coffee when the chemo started because it just wrecks my stomach.  But today was cold and I was sleepy and I was craving a cup and so I splurged.  Bad idea as once again it wrecked my stomach.  So in addition to the body ache, I have stomach cramps too.  Lucky me!  By the end of the day, though, my spirits were much better.  Even though I physically am feeling crappy, my mood is good.  I feel like I put in a productive day at work and I like having  a normal day.  I'm starting to look forward to getting back to my regular, routine schedule.  There's a certain comfort in routines that I've been missing.

I'm home now and got straight into my pj's and am planning on spending the evening in bed.  I was able to pull together a quick dinner, thanks to yummy left overs, and I asked the girls to take care of a few extra chores for me.  They are such good kids- they are being kind and cooperative at the moment.  I am so thankful that they have gotten to be more independent since this all started.  One of my biggest fears was how would I be able to take care of them, and it's turned out to be manageable.  

Even though I didn't make it to soccer yesterday and I didn't feel great, I still got to do something I love- get a start on my garden.  F came over and built some raised beds for me and a few neighbors pitched in with shoveling soil and I spent a couple of hours outside, helping as much as I could.  We finished up just as it began to snow and after getting warm and dry, I had a nice long rest on the couch.  I keep looking outside at the garden beds, full of rich soil, just waiting to be planted.  It gives me such joy to look at them- it reminds me that soon new life will be bursting forth and that makes me feel so hopeful and joyful.  I know that when my garden is in full bloom, I'll be done with my treatments, and seeing the beds just waiting to be planted makes me feel like the end is in sight.

I asked the physician's assistant for more details on my next steps.  She said that it would take 2-4 weeks after the end of chemo for my immune system to bounce back, and about that long for me to start feeling better.  Then comes the surgery to remove my ovaries.  Recovery should be about 4 days of bed rest and a week or two of taking it easy and no soccer.  After I recover,  I start radiation.  After radiation I'm planning on spending the summer in extreme self-care so I can get my strength back.  Actually, I hope to keep up the self-care piece and make it more of a focus in my life.  Right now I'm trying to focus on having FUN, along with taking good physical care of myself.

I've had a couple of God-shots this past week (these are things that happen in our lives that could only be orchestrated by a higher power).  First, I bought the new dryer and put it on my credit card, hoping that I'd figure out how to pay for it later.  Second, I got my big bill from the doctor's office.  I haven't seen a bill since December and I was sort of in denial, hoping it would never come.  I haven't had the energy to figure out my bills, so I just haven't been looking at my bank statements (denial works for awhile!)  Here's the God shot- I found out recently that I got a grant that will pay for my portion of the chemo drugs and for the shots that I need.  And, I just got a check in the mail from a friend who wanted to donate something to me, in just the amount that I needed to cover this doctor's bill!  As soon as I saw the check, my first response was, "This is ridiculous.  I'm NOT taking this money."  Then I saw the amount and realized that it matched my doctor's bill and I figured it must be a God-shot.  I also had a strong feeling that I will be able to do for others what people are doing for me.  I just know that one day I will be in a position to provide that God-shot for someone else.  I am SO looking forward to being a person that helps others instead of being the recipient of the help.

Another great thing happened this weekend- Kaycee finished her basketball season!  When the chemo first started, both girls were starting basketball and I had no idea how I'd get them to all their games and practices.  I really wanted their lives to stay as normal as possible, so I signed them up and hoped I'd figure it out later.  Thanks to the help of MANY people, they were able to make most of their games and practices and their lives stayed pretty normal.  Karina finishes next week and then I can relax a bit until she starts soccer.  

I am so looking forward to acupuncture tomorrow and I hope she can work her magic and make this body pain disappear!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 3 post chemo

Ok, it's payment time for the chemo.  I am back to having daily shots for 4 days in a row, and I am having the muscle/body ache thing from that right now.  And, I'm SO tired right now.  I have been all day.  Of course, I can't entirely blame the chemo- Kaycee woke up way early with a stomach ache, so I didn't get much sleep.  My finger pain is peaking at the moment.  I had planned on doing something fun with the girls tonight, but just decided to rent them a movie and stay in instead.  I had a hard time getting my movie card out of my wallet due to the finger pain and impaired mobility.  I'm taking my enzymes and using all my oils, but I guess it's not working too great at the moment.  My tongue and mouth are developing sores, so eating is not fun, and I've got bad heart burn, which makes swallowing food difficult.  So, I'm not getting off completely chemo free this time.  

Time for some gratitude.  I was told that the chemo would get progressively harder as it went along.  Right now it is supposed to be pretty hard for me.  I've got to say, in spite of how crappy I feel at the moment, it is not getting harder for me.  I remember back to Christmas time when I couldn't get off the couch and I couldn't eat and I was so miserable.  I think things are changing for me, but not necessarily getting harder.  Yeah!

I had grand plans of playing soccer tomorrow, but my muscles feel like they've already played a game.  A friend reminded me that as awesome as it is to be the soccer playing chemo patient, I don't need to be that all the time.  I can also do some self-care and take time to rest.  I just took some ibuprofen, and I'm going to take a hot mineral bath, so hopefully that will help.  Just two more rounds, and I've got LESS than a month to go.  3 months down, 24 days to go!  I feel like I'm in a race and I can see the finish line.

I am SO grateful for the meals that have still been coming my way.  Tonight was one of those nights when I couldn't get off the couch and if not for the meal delivered, the girls would have had cheese and crackers and I probably would have had yogurt for dinner.  I am so amazed and lucky to live in a community of awesome, caring people.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Feeling Good!

It's day two after chemo and I'm feeling good! I'm so surprised. I am feeling a bit tired, but no big deal. What's the difference this time? Not sure. I haven't been feeling nauseated, so I haven't been taking the medication for that. That medication can really zonk me out. I have been getting good results from acupuncture- she started doing some points for my hand pain. And, I saw the naturalpathic oncologist yesterday. She gave me some enzymes for the finger pain, and something for my immune system. She also recommended 10 mg of melatonin for sleep so I can work on giving up the sleeping pills. I actually have had about a week now with good sleep, no nightmares, and no sleeping pills. I've been using some homeopathic stuff a friend gave me, and it seems to be working well. My hand pain is still there, but either I'm getting used to it or it's getting better, because it's not too bad. I do have some discoloration on my finger nails that I thought was bruising, but it turns out the chemo causes pigmentation changes. It may be why I'm looking so tan lately!

The girls had no school today and I was worried about having them home with me, but I felt so great that we went for a walk at Alton Baker Park to see some cool heron's nests. There is a big tree where a bunch of herons all moved in together and it looks like a big bird condo. It is such a lovely day today- we saw a huge purple bush all in bloom and plenty of daffodils.

I'm going to someone new today to learn how to do lymph massage on myself. She's a woman who has survived ovarian cancer, and she has managed her swollen leg (where she had lymph nodes removed) by doing lymph massage.

I had a body talk/reiki session a few days ago that turned into a sort of telling of my future. The woman said I was really healthy and that my organs were all doing well. She said that the last two rounds of chemo would be easy. She said that I'd be getting a PhD in something in the next 10 years and that it would come easy for me. Cool! I don't know how much I believe in fortune telling, but I really trust this woman's instincts. It's exciting to think about my future. I was a bit afraid to think about my future when I first got diagnosed, but I'm not now. I fully expect to live to 90 or even beyond, and to be in good health.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time for a photo

Getting my 6th round of chemo.  
Two more to go!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Pre-Chemo Jitters, Again


Here I am, again, another Tuesday before chemo and I can't stop crying. I thought I'd be ok this time because I didn't think I was too scared. But, I stopped in at Sears today to buy a dryer. Mine broke a few days ago and I feel the need to get another one now, before I fall too far behind on laundry. The salesman started asking me too many questions and all of a sudden I felt inadequate (like I have no idea if my plug is the "old" kind or the "new" kind, and no, I don't know how to take the old kind off my dryer and put it on the new one to make it work) and I started crying. I was mortified! I held it back the best I could and finished up and ran to the bathroom and got myself together some and left the store. I had a work meeting to go to next and I had about 20 minutes to get my act together, but I just couldn't stop crying. It really caught me by surprise and I wasn't sure what exactly I was crying about. Somehow I got through the work meeting and went to my acupuncture appointment. I remembered that I usually walk in there crying the day before my chemo. And I always get past it. It's just so frustrating that going to chemo never gets easier.

Today I asked the acupuncturist to help me with my finger pain. The pain has started interfering with me trying to do daily tasks, such as open packages (I'm surprised at how many little packages I'm always opening- tea bags, packs of cheese and lunch meat, toilet paper wrapped in plastic, etc.) I have no strength to tear things open. And, I'm starting to have trouble gripping things with my fingers, like when I try to pick up a flat piece of paper off a table, or even a pencil. So, I found myself with the usual needles in, plus a whole bunch in my feet and toes (which somehow helps my fingers) and with burning moxa stick being applied to my finger tips. I felt like a weird pin cushion. I have so much trust and faith in my acupuncturist that I didn't even mind that the foot/toe needles were painful going in. So far everything she has done for me has improved my side effects. The emu oil has taken care of the hand rash and now my hands are just dry, but NOT bumpy and itchy.

After the acupuncturist I went into Capella for a beet/veggie juice to help bolster up my body for tomorrow. I ran into Nurse Rugby shopping with his cute little boy. It was nice to see that he is a normal guy- just a dad shopping with his kid, and not just the guy that jabs needles into me.

I'm home now and I'm so tired. I just want to head to bed, but I still have homework to help with and kids to interact with and things to get ready for tomorrow. Karina is mad about something small, which means that she is picking up on my mood, which is a big bummer because I've been in such a good mood lately and so have the girls. I hate to see that going away.

I guess my big fear right now is that I may loose my finger nails. It seems so gross to me. Actually, I'm really hopeful that between the acupuncturist and the naturalpath that I'll be seeing on Thursday, I'll be ok. I guess when it comes right down to it, I'm just having some emotions and I'm sure that's perfectly normal to have in the middle of chemo. It's just not too convenient when they decide to come in the middle of SEARS!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Goal!


First off, I scored a goal in soccer today! This is a huge deal for me for several reasons. First of all, I've been sick with a cold/sore throat/cough thing all week. So I didn't get my feel good week between chemo. I was feeling a bit better today, but having trouble getting out of bed this morning. It's a grey day and rainy and although I slept well, I am starting to feel fatigued. I called D for a pep talk and she reminded me that I could always go to the game and just sit and watch and that would feel good too. Or, I could play for 2 minutes and be done. I got dressed and went, and I felt so good out on the field. When I'm right in the middle of playing soccer, I don't think about my health or chemo or any of it. I just have fun. I get to recall that feeling later on in the week when I'm in bed feeling like crap from the chemo. When I decided to start playing again, I knew I wouldn't be making any goals and I was just happy to be playing. So today felt especially sweet. I can still play soccer and I can still score goals!

I learned from another of Dr. T's patients that he talks about his patient that plays soccer during chemo to new patients. It's a little intimidating and really cool that I get to be that soccer playing chemo patient!

I had a terrible rash on my hands- a side effect from the new chemo. I had it looked at on Friday and was told there isn't anything that I can do about it but take benadryl. It has been itchy and annoying, and the pain in my finger tips and underneath my nail beds has come back. My herbalist recommended St. John's Wart oil for the pain, and Emu oil for the rash. I've tried both and finally today the rash is gone! The pain comes and goes and isn't too bad now. I got the name of a naturalpathic oncologist who is supposed to be able to help with side effects, so I'm going to make an appointment to see her. I was told by the staff Dr. T's office that my rash and finger pain will probably get worse with each treatment, and finally go away a few months after treatment is over. These are not side effect that I particularly enjoy, so hopefully I can use some alternative stuff to keep them under control.

Ok, we're celebrating tonight at the Olive Garden. Celebrating what? The fact that I feel good and that I have an appetite and that I played soccer and that the girls are doing great in basketball and that we're alive and well!