Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hair Debut


Another beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday today.  Hard to remember all the Oregon rain when the weekend is so beautiful.  The girls and I went on our first official bike ride of the season.  We rode through the West Eugene Wetlands for a special day they were having- we got to stop at different stations and entered a drawing to win passes to Amazon pool and free car repairs, both of which we DESPERATELY need right now.  I'm using positive visualization to win these things- acting as if I've already got them....

My hair is coming back!  I've got maybe an inch all around.  It seems to be grey- I guess I earned my grey hair this past year!  I went out with just the bike helmet on, and we stopped off at a little coffee shop on the way back for cold drinks.  I was SO hot and when I went in, I considered just keeping the helmet on, since I haven't gone out in public yet without a head covering.  But, I looked around and realized that I was totally anonymous there so it felt safe to go bare headed.  I took the helmet off and the girls and I relaxed and played tic tac toe for awhile.  There was a bald guy sitting in the corner and I noticed that he kept looking at me.  He caught my eye a couple of times and smiled, almost like he was flirting.  I was a little freaked out because I really didn't want to be noticed by anyone.  As we left, he stopped me and told me that I had a great shaped head and that I carried "The Look" well.  It was an interesting experience.  I've never thought of my head as being a "Look", but I suppose it is my look now.  The guy's comments gave me enough courage to try one more public place without a head covering.  We went to the library, where it's impossible to stand out because there are so many "interesting" characters out front.  The girls didn't even notice that I wasn't wearing a hat.  I felt myself getting "looks" once I got inside the library, but I just tried not to make eye contact with anyone.  After awhile, I did start making eye contact, and to my surprise, several bald guys smiled at me!  What's up with that?  Do bald guys think it's cool to see a bald girl?  Anyway, I thought I'd wait till my birthday in a few weeks to uncover, but it's so hot I may just start now.  I had the thought that it'd be fun to get a picture right now with me and my 4 brothers- all of us bald at once.  Although technically, I'm no longer bald, I just have ultra short hair.  

I played soccer tonight and I believe I'm ready to rest now.  I've been paying close attention to my fatigue level and so far it's ok, but I'm not going to over do it.  Tomorrow will be more of a day of rest.  Last night I slept pretty well- these new sleeping pills are keeping me asleep for about 4-5 hours a stretch.  It makes a huge difference to not be sleep deprived!

Friday, May 29, 2009

23 Down, 10 To Go


So lethargic again today, but then I saw that it was 87 degrees!  The girls are lethargic too- it's hot.  I figured out a quick, cold dinner and we hung out in the hammocks in the shade.  It feels so good to just lay gently rocking and look up at tree leaves.  Had a check up today at the VA clinic and it was strongly recommended that I see my dermatologist to have a "suspicious" mole looked at.  Just what I don't want to think about right now.  Today was my last official day of work for a while.  I was thinking about all my rest time I'll have next week, but then I looked at my planner and I have so many doctor visits scheduled.  Oh well, it will be good to get them over with.  Next week is "boost week", which means I get re-measured and marked for the boost portion of radiation.  This is the last 5 days and it is less radiation in a smaller area.  I don't really understand it, but I remember at the beginning the doc talking about it and I just registered that boost equals almost done.  I'm almost done!!  

Thursday, May 28, 2009

22 Down, 11 To Go


Well, I've finally made it up after a 3 hour rest.  I hit a big fatigue wall today and got home and just couldn't do anything but lay down and stare out the window.  I kept thinking I should get up and get dinner going, but couldn't do it.  I finally told the kids it was a "fend for yourself night".  They went foraging for food in the kitchen and actually didn't do too bad.  Karina surprisingly got herself some fruits and veggies to go with her dinner.  Kaycee had a can of mandarine oranges, a yogurt, and a roll with cheese.  I always feel so guilty when they eat like that.  It's so far removed from what I imagine dinner is supposed to be.  But, they seem to enjoy getting whatever they want and really, who says we all have to eat traditional dinner foods anyway.  They made me a pb and honey sandwich and a glass of milk, and I feel a bit better now that I've eaten.  After dinner we all hung out in the back yard on the hammocks and just chatted about nothing in particular.  There is something so soothing and relaxing about swinging gently under the trees.  It's so cool there after such a hot day.  

I've been feeling so overwhelmed lately over any small thing that happens.  I remember the story, "Flowers for Algernon" about the mentally retarded man who scientists worked with and improved his intelligence to the point that he was a genius.  Then, slowly, he began to go backwards and lose his intelligence.  It was so hard for him because all the while he remembered that he used to know and understand things that he could no longer grasp.  That's what it's been like for me.  I used to be able to handle several different challenges at once, either at home or at work.  It was kind of fun and stimulating to problem solve and use creative thinking around different challenges.  Lately, though, problems come up and I know I used to be able solve them, but now my brain can't handle them- it's kind of like walking through the day drunk and trying to function like a sober person.  People tell me this is fatigue, and I know it is.  I'm going to take some time off work to just rest and get through the remaining radiation.  I think I need some days of doing nothing but taking care of myself.  

I had good news at radiation today.  The doc said my skin looks really good and it's much better than most people at my stage of radiation.  She said typically at this point the skin is burned and has open blister areas.  I've been using the spray from the naturopath and so far the skin on my breast just looks like it has a dark tan.  The throbbing pain hasn't been there in awhile.  I have some herbs that I take when it begins to throb, and so far they help.  Also, more good news- I slept pretty well last night- I don't recall any hot flashes and I only woke up twice.  I woke up tired, though, so I think I need a few more nights of good sleep.  Actually, right now I feel like crawling into bed and hibernating for a week.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

21 Down, 12 To Go


It would have been a better day today, but I went back to work and ended up driving 60 MILES doing home visits.  Way, way too much driving for me.  It was hard to stay awake and my arm aches when I hold the steering wheel that much.  But, another great PT visit with ever improving range of motion and strength in my arm.

Tried the new sleeping pill last night.  I still woke up just as often with the hot flashes, but I was able to go back to sleep pretty quickly, so I ended up feeling more rested this morning.  Didn't have the courage to try the hot flash medicine, so I tried some herbs instead.  I'll give it another week or so.

Only 12 more to go.  12 more.  Almost done!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

20 Down, 13 To Go

Incredibly tired today.  I woke up groggy after a restless night- woke every two hours with hot flashes.  Saw my regular doc today and he recommended a blood pressure medicine that is supposed to reduce night time hot flashes, but he warned me to be careful if I need to get up in the middle of the night as I could pass out from my blood pressure being too low.  He also gave me a different kind of sleeping pill.  More, fun, fun.  I stayed home today and tried to sleep, but it never happened, so I just rested for most of the day.  I did go for a walk- a very slow, very short walk by the river.  My leg muscles ache today- must be the arimidex.  I felt like I was walking through mud and finally gave it up.  Good news at PT today.  The swelling in my arm has gone way down and my range of motion is getting better.  It wasn't expected to show improvement until after radiation.  I needed good news today.  13 more to go.  I guess this is the final-two-week-radiation-fatigue that I was told about.  Can't wait for it to be over.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mood Swings


A beautiful, awesome, fun weekend.  I had 2 days of normal energy.  I've had pictures of kayaking up in my room all winter, dreaming of when I could take mine out again.  I finally got to go out this weekend kayaking at a lake and it was so much fun.  Karina took one out on her own and was completely competent and independent with it.  This is the first Memorial Day weekend I can remember in Oregon where the weather was perfect- sunny and not too hot.  And, I got to spend some time in the woods around a camp fire.  All in all, the perfect weekend.

Somehow my mood crashed today.  I may have over done the activities this weekend, and I didn't sleep well last night.  My appetite has been weird- I get hungry but can't think of anything that I'd like to eat.  So I don't eat, then I get cranky and starving and I just grab whatever I can find in the fridge.  I wonder if that's a side effect of radiation?  I'll have to remember to ask.  The hot flashes have been happening all throughout the day.   All in all I'd have to say menopause sucks so far.  I think it's steadily been getting better, but right now I'm tired and cranky and menopause sucks.  If I can just get a good night's sleep tonight I hope it will set the tone for a good work week.  

I'm trying to remember too that the doc said that as I get farther along with radiation, it builds up in my body and I can experience more fatigue toward the end.  Just like with chemo.  I remember too that she said while radiation is easier than chemo, it's still very hard on the body.  I keep reminding myself that it'll be over soon- in less than three weeks.  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

18 Down, 15 To Go


Having a hard day today.  Not sure why.  Hormones?  Grief?  Exhaustion? Maybe all three and then some.  Still not sleeping well.  The hot flashes were gone for awhile, but seem to be back again at night.  Feeling some deep muscle aches- the arimidex?  Had planned on playing soccer tonight, but couldn't do it.  It just wasn't a soccer night for me.  I seem to be missing the last 7 months of my life.  Right now I only believe they happened because I wrote about them on this blog.  It's a freaky feeling- I can remember bits and pieces, but it is all fading away so quickly.  It almost feels like I left my body last fall and just came back to find it's spring.  It's an unsettling feeling and I'm feeling off balance. I don't quite know what to do with myself.  It's almost like I need to get to know myself again.  I've been so focused on medical stuff, and just getting through each day and now that focus is quickly fading away and I'm left trying to remember what used to occupy my brain space and what I used to do with my free time.   

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

17 Down, 16 To Go...FLIP DAY!!!!!

Today is the day!  I've passed the half way mark.  It was such a beautiful, peaceful day today.  An easy day at work, and I got to have a long lunch outside by the river with  friends.  No stomach ache, stable mood, and I roller bladed 20 minutes.  Karina is gone for the next 2 nights on a camp out, so no kid squabbles!  I couldn't ask for a more peaceful day.

I worked today on finding things to be grateful for about the cancer center while I was waiting.  I had a long wait today as they were running behind.  I found that I was able to remain calm and peaceful and to not hate the place so much when I did my gratitude list.  I am grateful that the place is so close- about 10 minutes from work.  There are plenty of people who have to drive an hour or more to get radiation.  I'm grateful that my insurance is covering this, as it's quite expensive.  I'm grateful it's so close to the river so that I can be on a path by the river within 5 minutes of completing a radiation session.  

Ok, Kaycee and I are CELEBRATING flip day.  Not sure how just yet, but I know it'll be fun!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

16 Down, 17 To Go

I'm excited because tomorrow is flip day, the day when I've completed more days of radiation than I have left!  The end is really, really near!  

I've decided to keep lots of different types of exercise equipment in the trunk.  That way I can just check in with my body each day after radiation and decide what's best for me to do based on my energy level.  I've got roller blades, running gear, walking shoes, and a bathing suit in case I just want to sit in the sauna.  Today was a moderate walk day and I went for 25 minutes.  Today was the first day in a long time where I wasn't exhausted when I got home.  I'm proud to say that I've been making dinner for weeks now, and we've been eating simply but well.  My garden is producing tons of salad material.

I've removed the polish from my nails to see what they look like.  I've lost a total of 4 and the other ones are still hanging on, but they are definitely dead and white looking.  For some reason it isn't bothering me so much. 

 I've also slowly been introducing the world to my bare head.  This weekend I went to a lake (Fall Creek Reservoir) to go swimming.  I was really hot and I just didn't want to wear anything on my head.  Plus, many of the other people at the lake were bald, pierced (in all sorts of weird places!) and tattooed and I didn't feel so out of place or self-conscious.  So, I went without any covering and I didn't notice any unusual looks at all.  I've started riding around in the car without any covering on.  I figure in the car no one will have the chance to stare for too long and no one will have the opportunity to make comments.  I've started noticing more and more bald or semi-bald (as I now think of myself) people around town- tons of men and several young women.  I'm half way considering getting some leather, denim, chains, and combat boots so I can carry off the bald look.  I have a goal for myself of going without a hat beginning on my birthday.  I'm imagining that once I'm 40 I will have so much self-confidence and wisdom that I can carry off any look I like!

I am so very amazed at how much the girls have grown up and gained self-confidence this school year.  Karina can now run the washing machine, the dryer, and the dish washer by herself.  She can also make a few simple dinners.  Kaycee is not having melt-downs and she is managing her emotions better than some adults I know.  I am so proud of them and I feel like all the hard work I put into them over the years has been worth it.

All in all, a pretty good day today- stable mood, no stomach ache, not too tired.  Yeah!

Monday, May 18, 2009

15 Down, 18 To Go


I'm almost at the half way point.  More PT today and the therapist I have is awesome- young and smart and she has taught me that the scar on my underarm is causing my range of motion to be restricted.  She showed me how to loosen up the scar tissue.  It hurts, but it feels good knowing I'm getting my arm back.

I went roller blading for the first time in a long time today.  30 minutes.  It was so nice.  I got in a good night's sleep last night.  I  googled "sleep meditation" and a bunch of stuff on Youtube popped up.  I watched a few videos of nature scenes with music playing and I finally got to a crazy looking guy who started off in that calm, go to sleep voice.  The counter said it was supposed to last 10 minutes.  Next thing I knew it was 7 hours later and morning time!  I've tried to find the video again, but have lost it.  I've got a few other ones I'll try tonight.  It's amazing at how much better I feel when I've had some sleep.  The girls and I went for a walk this evening- it turned into 30 minutes when we took a wrong turn.  It was nice, though, because we got to see a new part of the neighborhood.  I got home so tired and am ready for a bath and bed now.  No stomach ache today!  I had some Reiki this morning and it was so relaxing.  Maybe I just need to start every morning off that way...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

14 Down, 19 To Go


Well, I'm almost at the half way point and I have less than a month to go.  It feels good to be nearing the end.  Yesterday was a weird day- parts were hard and parts were fun.  I have been having a stomach ache for about a month now, not sure why.  It may be the arimidex.  It's frustrating because I have 4 different western medicine doctors and 2 different eastern medicine practitioners, and they all say something different about my stomach.  It feels like my 4 western medicine doctors only see the part of my body that is their specialty, and they do not approve of the eastern medicine things I'm doing.  I'd like to be seen as a whole person when I see each of my doctors.  My stomach got bad at work yesterday so I left early and went to the river and rested on a blanket under a tree before radiation.  My emotions took over and I was so exhausted and my stomach hurt and I just cried for awhile.  It was very hard to get up and go to radiation.  I had D come with me and it was nice to have a friend there.  I ended up having a very bad experience while there and I left feeling upset and angry.  D and I went back to the river and talked for awhile and I got to feeling better.  I ended the day at Sweet Life with some great friends and yummy food and I spent an hour just laughing and laughing.  By the time I got home, I was exhausted but feeling better.  I am excited about my hair.  I now have some hair growing back on my legs!  I'm hoping that by next month I can go without my hat.  In fact, I'd like to burn my hat I'm so sick of it!

It's a beautiful day out and even though I didn't sleep enough last night, I'm hoping to get out and enjoy today!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

13 Down, 20 To Go!

Too tired to say much tonight.  Outdoor soccer tonight- felt good, but tired.  Started PT today with the goal of being able to kayak by summer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

12 Down, 21 To Go


It rained and rained and rained today, and it's still raining.  I was having muscle aches in my legs today, like I used to on chemo (how cool that I can now say, "used to" about chemo!) so I took a break from exercising after radiation.  Instead I went to the Y and sat in the hot tub and the sauna.  I had the thought that I would do a little weight lifting, and I even brought work out clothes.  But, once I got there I couldn't do it.  I couldn't face going into the weight room with a head scarf on.  It's been a long time since I've been in the weight room, but I well remember how everyone checks everyone else out, and I just didn't feel like being checked out in my head scarf.  It's hard enough being in the changing room and having little kids stare at me when I take it off.  

I think Kaycee is more excited about my hair growing back than I am (if that's possible- I'm pretty excited!)  She comments on it every morning and she likes to rub it and she's making plans for when she can put it into pony tails.  She's excited that it seems to be the same color as hers.  It still looks tri-colored to me- black in the back, blond on top, and white on the sides.  I am thrilled that it's growing back, but sad that it will take a while before I'm comfortable going without a hat in public.  

I was very tired again today, but I'm going to try my new trick for getting to sleep.  I am going to listen to an Eckhart Tolle talk.  He's a spiritual teacher with a great german accent and a soothing, hypnotic voice.  I listened to him a few nights ago and was asleep within about 10 minutes.  I couldn't follow what he was saying, but the next day, bits of it came back to me.

I had a bit of a wait in the cancer center today.  There were 3 couples in the waiting area.  At first I was annoyed because I could over hear bits of their conversations and it was all about cancer this and cancer that.  I'm already annoyed when I go in there because there are bulletin boards and signs all over advertising different stuff about cancer.  I'm surrounded by cancer in there.  I wish it was different- I wish there were people's vision boards all over the walls, with pictures of health and life.  But, once I stopped being annoyed by what the people were saying, I just watched them and I saw so much love it cheered me up.  There was one couple sitting across from each other, the woman in the tell-tale chemo hat.  They were talking quietly and at one point the woman began to cry and the man got up, sat next to her, and gently and lovingly held her in his arms.  The other two couples were elderly and seemed to have gotten to know each other during the course of treatments.  When the women went off for treatment, the two men talked to each other about their wives' conditions.  It was so clear that they both dearly loved and cared for their wives.  It was sweet, too, to see two men sharing their feelings with each other.  I know cancer sucks and all, and I've heard that it can tear couples apart, but it also has the power to bring out the best in people, and to encourage people to express the deep love they have for each other.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Better Today

11 DOWN, 22 TO GO

I saw the acupuncturist today.  It was nice to have a chance to lay quiet on the table for 45 minutes after work and before picking up the girls.  I got home feeling much better and was able to make dinner and clean up before needing to go lay down.  I also got in a 25 minute walk, but felt pretty tired and had sore muscles during it.  I'm still being told that I should be taking it easy with the exercise as my body is still doing lots of internal healing work.  

I read something today that said something about when you're feeling worn down, look at something not made by human hands and you will feel better.  I arrived at radiation about 10 minutes early, so I sat in the sun by the river and made a point to look at only non-human made things- the water, the trees, a huge nutria, and a bunch of wild flowers.  Even though I only had 10 minutes, it worked!  I felt peaceful and calm going into radiation today.  I even had what should have been a big upset happen, but it didn't get to me through my nature shield!

Monday, May 11, 2009


10 DOWN, 23 TO GO

Just plain tired today.  Hard to make it through the work day.  Even so, I got in a nice long walk- 35 minutes.  Got home and had a bath and an early dinner.  Wanted to crawl into bed but the blankets were a tangled mess from a restless night's sleep.  Sweet Kaycee volunteered to make it for me and she made it very pretty with lots of pillows.  Said she'd make it for me any time I wanted (this one was free, 25 cents after this- well worth it).  Throbbing, painful breast again tonight.  Got something from my acupuncturist/herbalist to take for it.  We'll see if it helps.  

Very hard to walk into radiation today.  I held my emotions in check for the work day, but was exhausted and crying by the time I pulled into the cancer center.  The darlings weren't there today, just the rapster and a new guy- sweet but looked like a gangster.  Not fun having a rapster and a gangster messing with my breast, I don't care how professional and well trained they are.  I hope the darlings are back tomorrow.  

Another long, busy day at work tomorrow.  Hoping I get some sleep tonight.  Feeling cheated, like I got some of myself back for a small window of time, and now that's slipping away and fatigue is trying to gain a foothold again.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day Weekend


I'm very, very tired right now, but happy.  I got to play indoor soccer on Saturday night.  I was very tired on Saturday and didn't feel like going.   But, with indoor, I know I can always play for just a few minutes then sit out the rest of the game.  Once I got there I felt great and I played for quite a bit.  I think my adrenalin gets going and allows me the strength to play.  Afterwards I was tired and sore, but happy.  Today (Sunday) I was hoping to sleep in, but got woken up at 6:00 am for my Mother's Day Breakfast In Bed.  It began with my sweet daughter delivering milk and a sandwich to me in bed, but spilling the milk all over the bed and night stand, then my other sweet daughter entering and the two getting into a fight over what I was supposed to be having for breakfast.  I sent them both away with strict orders not to return until at least 8:00.  They came back with more food (yogurt and ice cream, french toast, a sandwich cut in the shape of an "M", a cheese and turkey quesadilla, and home made lemonade) and a bag full of gifts- some that they made at school and some that they bought.  It was all very, very sweet and I just LOVE the ages that they're at right now- young enough to still do sweet things for mother's day and old enough to be able to be independent enough to plan the sweet things all on their own.  Afterwards they let me go back to sleep and I slept till 10:00.  I had the hardest time getting up this morning- I was very tired and fatigued feeling.  I got up and went to a drive through place for a coffee as my treat to myself.  Just as I went to get my money out of my wallet another chemo casualty struck- I lost my thumb nail.  I could feel the tears starting, but then the coffee guy told me that the drink was free today for all mothers.  Hard to stay sad after getting a free coffee!  Yes, I take great joy in small pleasures these days.  We went to Mt. Pisgah for the afternoon and again I was so tired and sore that we did a slow walk on the flat part rather than a hike up the mountain.  It was so beautiful there today- warm weather and amazing wild flowers all over.  We spent a lot of time at the river just soaking in the beauty of the place.  

I'm feeling some stress right now about the upcoming week.  It's a full, busy week of work and I'm not rested after the weekend.  I'm tired and wishing for a few more days rest.  My breast started hurting last week, a side effect of the radiation.  It is starting to hurt when I run, and it wakes me at night sometimes.  I'm thinking of switching to roller blading and leaving running till after radiation.  Actually, what I'm really thinking is instead of exercising after radiation, I would love to just lay out a blanket next to the river and sleep for a few hours.  Right now I feel like just sleeping for a week.

Friday, May 8, 2009

9 down, 24 to go


9 DOWN, 24 TO GO!

Thursday, May 7, 2009



8 Down, 25 To Go

The good news is, I'm a soccer player again!  There was a short period of time after the last surgery where I thought maybe I'd never be able to play again.  But, I played tonight.   I didn't get my old soccer endorphin rush- too sore and sluggish I think.  But, I am happy to say that I can play again.  I'm super tired right now, but in a good way.  

Radiation was hard today.  Not sure why.  I just didn't want to go in.  There was a waiting room full of elderly people, 4 of them in wheel chairs.  Something about it just freaked me out.  It was like I thought I should be there visiting a relative, not getting medical care for myself.

I didn't sleep well last night, but hope to tonight!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Good Day


Another good day of feeling NORMAL!  I went for a 30 minute walk today and felt great, but by the time I got home, I was pretty tired.  I just realized that I'm pretty sore too.  I've got a soccer game and a babysitter tomorrow, so I'm going to give it a try.  I hope I can hang onto my gratitude for normalcy.  I remember in the Gulf War we didn't have showers.  In order to bathe, I would stand in an outside, make-shift shelter, strip down, and use cold bottled water to wash with.  This went on for 9 months and in the winter months it was terribly cold and miserable.  Once I got back to the U.S.  I had such gratitude for hot showers.  I would stand in the shower and just be filled with joy.  That was so many years ago, but I've held onto that hot-shower-gratitude.  Every morning I spend a few minutes in the shower bathed in gratitude.  

My hope is that I will come out of this period of sickness bathed in gratitude for all the things I never thought about before.  I can imagine how rich and full and happy my life could be if I lived in gratitude every day.  

7 Down, 26 To Go!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Casualty of the Chemo War and Running


A big high and a low today.  First the high.  I went running again today after radiation.  It rained and rained again, but I went anyway.  This time I ran for a full 30 minutes!  I felt so good- no cramping, no muscle aches.  I ran slow and steady and felt like I could have gone faster, but I'm still taking it easy.  I had a sense today that I'm not starting as low as I thought with my fitness level.  I think it will come back to me fairly quickly.  I had such gratitude today for being able to run, for feeling healthy, and for feeling normal.  I'd like to hold onto that- gratitude for being able to exercise.  This is way different than I used to feel about exercise- I did it mostly for the feeling I'd get afterwards, and for the results.  It feels great to be enjoying exercise when I'm right in the middle of it.

I was so happy again today.  I had an acupuncture appointment and had hardly anything wrong with me to report.  Mostly just sleep stuff and hot flashes.  This is way different than when I used to go in with 4 or 5 complaints.

Ok, here's the casualty of the chemo war- I lost a nail today.  My feelings about it have caught me by surprise.  I noticed it had split today at work, way down low where the dead part attaches to the new, live part.  I thought I could just go buy some nail glue and glue it back together.  But by the time I finished work and got to the store, it was just hanging on by a thread.  I looked at the store and didn't find any nail glue.  I sat down for a bit and thought about what I wanted to do.  I was still on my running high and feeling great and I decided I didn't care about losing a nail, especially since I can see the new nail growing back.  I pulled it all the way off.  Looking at it on the way out of the store I started crying.  I can't figure out why I started crying.  It really doesn't look too terrible.  I think it has something to do with trying so hard to keep my nails, and losing it this long after the end of chemo makes me feel like a hand from the grave reached out and goosed me.  But really, the truth of chemo is that it got my hair, and it got a nail, but it didn't get me!  And, hopefully, it got any remaining cancer cells.  I guess I can afford to grieve the loss of a nail.

Radiation was not so quick today.  It was x-ray day, which they do every 5 or 6 days.  In addition to the regular radiation, I get several x-rays taken to check my position and make sure the radiation is going where it's supposed to be going.  I'm growing to like the darlings (these are the two young lady assistants who get me positioned on the table and who call me "darling".  It makes me smile inside because they are so much younger than me).  The rapster tech didn't come out of the control room today.  Which is just as well.  The darlings are much sweeter.  They have started heating up a heating pad for me to have on my stomach each time.  I had told them how I didn't like being cold in the cold room, so they said they'd do a heating pad for me.  They also showed me where to get a prettier gown- a pink one with an easier opening.  I think it's so nice of them to take the time to try to make me more comfortable.

6 Down, 27 To Go!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Running Again!


I went for a run today!  I told myself last week that I wanted to start running today.  It rained and rained and rained non-stop all day, but I went anyway.  I brought my running clothes to radiation and went right after, by the river.  I set a goal of moving for 30 minutes, running when I could and walking when I got tired.  I was able to run for 10 minutes without stopping.  I ran very slow, but it felt great!  Well, it felt mentally great.  My poor leg muscles started hurting and it felt as if I'd never run before.  It was especially sweet to run today as I ran on the same course that the Eugene marathon runners ran on yesterday- the markings were still on the pavement.  I was so inspired and I thought about how hard it must be to run a marathon, but they do it by just putting one foot in front of the other.  I realize that I am starting way, way below where I used to be with fitness, but it felt so great to start that I don't even care where I'm at right now.  I didn't make it the whole 30 minutes- I went for about 25, then started cramping and had to hobble back to the car.  The funny thing is that it hurt just as bad as yesterday in the mall.  But I was so happy that I didn't care about the pain- it just felt like intense exercise pain.  At the mall when it started hurting, I started crying.  Partly from the pain and partly because it was so discouraging to be unable to walk the length of a stupid shopping mall.  Today I got home and was pretty sore- my leg muscles and my surgery area, but I am feeling very happy!  Same pain, different reactions.

5 Down, 28 To Go!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back


I didn't make it to soccer today.  I did have an ok day, overall.  I got up the energy to clean my back porch.  It has been a mess for months now.  I struggled a bit this weekend trying to remember what I used to do on weekends before I was always resting.  I finally had the girls and I write down fun weekend things to do on slips of paper (a great suggestion from D).   We put the slips into two containers- one for nice day things to do and one for rainy day things to do.  The idea is that when we are stuck, unable to remember what we used to do for fun, we can just pick something from a container.  Today we picked going to a movie.  My stomach ache was gone and I was feeling pretty good.  I planned on walking around the mall a bit after the movie.  We got to the other side of the mall when I started cramping.  Sometimes I get what feels like two really bad side aches.  This happened today and I had to hobble my way through the mall and back to the car for some pain killers.  It hurt worse and worse as I walked and I got so very discouraged.  It is so frustrating to have the motivation to start being more active again, but lack the physical ability.  I guess my brain is more ready than my body is.  I realized today that I've been doing the cancer thing for six months now.  No wonder I'm worn down.  I'm going to work on having more compassion and understanding for myself.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Getting My Life Back


I got to go out tonight, on a Saturday night.  This is a BIG DEAL because for a long time now I've been too tired and too sick to go out in the evening.  It was fun to get a babysitter, get dressed up and go out with friends. What a normal thing to do.  I looked at myself in the mirror in the bathroom and I even looked normal.  Maybe soon I'll start to FEEL normal again.  I ended up getting super tired and came home early, but it was fun anyway.  I even got to drink a margarita.  What a thrill!  I haven't drank alcohol in months, aside from the toast I had to celebrate the end of chemo.

My stomach still hurts.  I'm beginning to think maybe it's a side effect of the arimidex.  Another good night's sleep last night!  And no nightmares.  I think I may be getting my normal life back.  I never thought I'd be so grateful for NORMALCY!

Friday, May 1, 2009

4 down, 29 more


I got the stomach thing.  Drat!  Just when I was feeling better too.  It's so nice, though, because this just feels like a regular sickness, nothing like chemo sickness.  I had a couple of interesting insights today.  I got to radiation early and went for a short walk.  I walked past a fertility clinic, which is next door.  I had a sudden wave of gratitude for the two good ovaries that served me well when I needed them to.  I got two amazing, beautiful kids out of them with no trouble at all.  I felt so blessed and lucky to have had my children before I lost my ovaries.  The sadness I've felt at having them gone left me on my walk.

Inside, I heard a woman on her cell phone in the waiting room.  She was talking to someone about wanting to have a celebration that night because she had just finished her 5 year check up and didn't have to take her arimidex any more.  It occurred to me that I won't have to take it for my whole life, and that in 5 years I'll be the one having a celebration.  So, whoever wants to come, put it on your calendar for Apr 27, 20014 to come celebrate with me!

And finally, I was feeling bad for once again having to go into a place with so many, many elderly people.  I haven't seen anyone anywhere close to my age in the cancer center.  I've been thinking for a while now how unfair it is that I got cancer at my age.  In the waiting area I spoke with an older woman there for treatment too.  I realized while speaking to her that her life is just as precious to her as my life is to me.  It doesn't matter how old a person is, cancer SUCKS at any age, and life is precious at any age.  It left me feeling like maybe in a way I'm lucky.  I will have more time to experience the new, deep appreciation I have for life.  

3 Down, 30 More!

May 1st, 2009

I'm home again today with two sick kids.  The killer Chavez stomach bug (109 of about 400 kids were out of school- Chavez Elementary- yesterday) struck here.  I think I have a touch of it too, so I'm taking it easy today.  We got to sleep in till 10:00 this morning, and it felt SO GOOD to finally catch up on my sleep. 

I'm happy to say my sleep has been better the past few nights, and my hot flashes have been down to 1 a night.  I'm thinking the acupuncture must be helping!  I actually had a good dream for a change.  I was traveling on a cool trip to Australia.  

I found out yesterday (not a dream) that I have the opportunity to take a trip to Vancouver, Canada in June (thanks to my nice friend R).  I'm so excited! The apartment the girls and I can stay in is right down town and close to beaches and swimming pools.  I had the thought that by then I'll have about 1 1/2 inches of hair and no one will know me there, so I can go hatless and wigless and enjoy some freedom!  

I'm also happy to say that my mood has been pretty stable and I haven't felt like a crazy person in a few days at least!  I'm hoping that I'll have energy to play with the girls some this weekend. I've got a soccer game on Sunday that I'd love to go to.  I'll wait and see how I'm feeling.  The great thing is that I'm realizing that I will be able to play soccer again, and run again.  Last week I felt like I'd never be able be active again.  I'm so glad I'm past that!