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Showing posts from September, 2010

Looking Good, Feeling Better, and Half Way There

I have now started and finished Round 2 of chemotherapy. With the start of this Round, I am now 3 doses into it and officially halfway done. This dose seems to going better than the other rounds. Maybe it was the sleep I got Monday night. It kinda makes sense, when you are fatigued you just do not feel well. I even felt well enough to be at the office yesterday.

The other thing I keep doing better is eating. I still do not feel like eating but I am forcing myself to eat three meals on these days after chemotherapy. Maybe this is having a positive impact because as I went to the doctor today to be disconnected from the chemo pump, I actually felt okay.

But as fast as the weather can change here in the Midwest, that is how fast I went from feeling okay to feeling horrible. By the time I made it home from the doctors office, I felt nauseated, tired, queasy, stiff, and sore. Luckily, Jacob and his friends entertained The Short Chic until Wayne could get home. Once my head hit the pillow, …

A small success

I have blogged before about how difficult the start of treatment is because of the giant dose of steroids they give me.  The steroids are one of the supportive drugs that come with chemo to help fight off some of the side effects. While they do not make me eat everything in site, they have kept me awake...ALL NIGHT!

The past two rounds I have been up all night and Wayne puts me to bed as he is walking out the door with Jacob and Olivia to go to work in the morning. Last dose I attempted to counter the steroids with Benadryl.  It made me sleepy but I still did not fall asleep. I did get a short power nap from it.

I asked the doctor today what would be an appropriate dose to counter the steroids and he said 50 mg. I was so excited with my new plan until I got home and realized that was the NORMAL dose. So after a little consultation with my special girl, I found out how much was considered to be an overdose and decided I would try 75 mg.

Maybe it helped that I was sleepy anyway, but I …

September Photos


Me, rockin' it out, at Chemo! Another look for me these days; hats. The Husband gave me this hat this past week. Also check out my new jewels! No, not medical jewels this time. I have a new necklace from Heidi Lou Designs! It is a photo of me and the kids back when I had hair.

Support Systems

One of the things I have been most grateful for on this journey is my support system. I can not imagine how difficult this would be without them. 

Support has come from the most obvious places and some of the least obvious places. My family is my rock. Less than 3 years ago, I was a single mom. I shudder when I think of how difficult this would be without my husband by my side.   The Boy and The Short Chic are right there too. I can count on The Short Chic to ask about my band-aides everyday and gives me hugs and kisses. The Boy truly does try so hard, it is easy to forget that he is only 13 and far from a grown adult.

While my family tries so hard to walk around like all is okay around me, I know this is taking its toll on them. I am so thankful to all those that have reached out to them. The Boy's teachers this year have just been wonderful.

My Mother is another one of my rocks. She comes up and goes to every treatment with me. I am sure it can not be easy for her; she has gon…

PICC Line

I almost lost the PICC line today.

Friday I had a dressing change and immediately I felt discomfort. However, the nurse and I agreed it might be because when they pulled the previous dressing off it took a little bit of my skin. So, I wore the new dressing all day Friday. By bedtime Friday, my arm was burning. I ripped off the dressing and I had serious skin irritation, (I would even say skin burns). I put a simple dressing over it and called it good for the remainder of the weekend.

Friday night I also seem to have developed a small sore throat. I am sure it is caused by shutting down the air conditioning and opening the windows. I felt stuffy and sore, so we decided it was too big of a risk, so we closed the windows and turned the air back on. I am sure Wayne and I are the only people in Kansas City not enjoying this amazing weather, but it sis just too dangerous to catch a fall cold right now.

I went in for my daily injection and showed my arm to the Nurse. She thought my arm look…

Customer Care

As you know by now, I am on a daily shot of Neupogen to help raise my white blood count. I have to take the shot even when my doctor's office is closed. They made arrangements for me to go to North Kansas City Hospital to receive my shot.

When they first started giving me this shot, I did what anyone else would do...I googled it. There were many post out there talking about how painful this shot is to get, it burns significantly. I have never experienced this because my doctors office give the shot SLOWLY! I am not kidding that it takes them approximately 10 minutes to give me the shot.

So, going some other place to get the shot has been a little anxiety raising. Will they give it the same? Will it burn? Will it be painful?

My good friend Jackie has taught me it is okay to speak up about my medical expectations, so I really thought I was doing good to have a pre-conversation with the nurse today (who was different than yesterday). Before she even started, I say to her, I understa…

Saturday

I have not posted in the past few days. I have not really had a lot to say. I am in recovery mode, trying to get over the latest round of chemotherapy. My energy is zapped. I did manage to go to work on Friday but even that just wiped me out. I napped as soon as I got home and rested for the remainder of the evening.

It is the weekend and my doctor's office is closed. But the Neupogen must go on. Wayne and The Short Chic had me at the North Kansas City Hospital by 8:30 this morning (did I tell you that every appointment is early in the morning!!) I disliked getting my shot at the hospital, it made me miss the lady at my doctor's office who normally gives it to me.

I have figured out the secret to wearing a wig is the skull cap. I did not wear the skull cap the first day and it was so hot and ITCHY!  I swore it off for the remainder of my treatment. But I tried again, with the skull cap and it is so much better! I actually wore it out in public today and guess what...not a sin…

A Third!

I had a lovely visit from my friend Shannon today. She forfeited one of her days off to spend it with me and driving me to my doctor appointment. Thank you, Shannon!! 

I was disconnected from the pump this afternoon. This marks my 1/3 of the way through the chemotherapy. The nausea started this morning. I was sitting with Jacob while he was having breakfast and one whiff of his food about made the stomach flip. So I started the anti-nausea medication today.

I feel weak. I am trying to implement a new strategy this time around. Last time I avoided eating when I did not feel good. This time I am trying to make sure I eat small amounts of food that are protein packed.  Tomorrow should be the worse day yet. I also start a 10 day injection of more Neuprogen.

How am I doing? I am hanging in there. Trying to be as tough as I can be. While at the same time, recognizing that my body is in turmoil right now and can not be pushed. As much as I hate it, I have not been at work this week. My goa…

Chemo Round 1: Dose 2 Day 2

Today, I was home. Once again the steroids have caused another sleepless night. I think I cat napped from 1:30 to 3:00 and was then awake till about 7:00 a.m. The Husband put me to bed at 7:30 when the rest of the family headed out to go about their day. I have managed to sleep off and on all day. Thankfully!  I find the steroids frustrating. I felt good enough to be working today but I was so exhausted from the lack of sleep.

I am still attached to the pump, getting my two day dose of the A drug. I will say the new PICC line is much easier to maneuver than the old Groshong. This pump should finish about 12:30 tomorrow and then I will get a dressing change and be finished with it for another week and half.

My good friend Jen just called. She has been a saint! She stopped by last week with dinner for the family and her little boy got out of the truck to say hi. He saw the new PICC line and apparently told his Momma when they left my house that he no longer wanted to eat peas. He told…

Posting Comments

Several people have contacted me and said they are having a difficult time posting comments. I have changed the settings to allow anyone to post comments, even Anonymously.
The most important thing to remember, after you type out your comment, you will notice a drop down box that says COMMENT AS: if you hit the drop down box you have options. For those with a gmail account, it is easy; sign in with your gmail user name/password. If you do not have a gmail account select the Anonymous choice. What you need to know about this option, I will not know who is commenting unless you sign your name to the post.

I have a filter on the comments, you will not see your comment immediately post to the blog. Because I am accepting Anonymous comments, I screen all the comments before they post. If this is not working, someone please let me know.

Hair Loss

My Hair Loss started this past week, maybe six days after I started chemo. I thought it would take longer.


 While I hate this before photo, I went ahead and posted it. You can see how thin my hair was becoming by looking at my part. 
Each day more and more hair fell out. A handful here and there really adds up. I can also say I had not anticipated that losing my hair would hurt. But it did. A lot. The best way I can describe it is to remember when you were a kid and your mom did your hair. And it was the tightest ponytail ever. Remember how you wore that ponytail all day long and when you got home and took it out, your head tingled at the release of the pressure? Well, that is how the scalp feels all the time when your hair is dying. 
I would just rub and rub my scalp. And while I was rubbing it would feel better. But the moment I stopped it hurt again. 
It is a very powerless feeling to lose your hair. To know that it is dying and falling out faster than you imagined. I decided to t…

Chemotherapy Round 1: Dose 2

One thing I can tell you about life in Cancer World, every appointment is early in the morning. Mom and I arrived at the Oncologist Office by 8:30 this morning. I had three appointments this morning: Lab, Doctor, and Treatment. I was excited for the Lab appointment because they would be able to take my blood and not have to stick me, thanks to my new Power PICC line. However, the Lab Tech informs me that she does not use the PICC and that she needs to do a finger stick. Total disappointment!

While my Doctor is a great doctor and helps lots of people, I think he might have missed his calling as a Host of a Children's Television Show. He is so upbeat and positive. It almost feels exaggerated but you know it is genuine. He informs me that the daily shot of Neuprogen worked, my white blood count was up to from 2,100 to 13,400. The Doctor also confirmed what I could already visually tell; The lumps in my throat is softer and smaller. So, the  medicine as harsh as it is is shrinking the…

Ready, Set, GO!

I have endured a week of daily injections of Neuprogen to boost my white blood count. I have read those shots are suppose to burn going in, but the student nurse at the doctor's office gives them to me nice and slow and they have been painless.

The downside of the Neuprogen is the way it makes me feel after I take it. Every bone in my body aches! My hips, my knees, my shoulders. Luckily Tylenol has helped with those symptoms. I am not finished with the Neuprogen. Because my counts dropped so low, I have to continue taking Neuprogen after each round of chemo.

Today, Wayne and I was back at North Kansas City Hospital (early I might add) to have a PICC line put into my arm. My doctor's current recommendation; PICC line to do the next dose of chemotherapy and then another Groshong after that.

I had the same two nurses as I did for the dye study. I almost feel like I should be inviting them out for happy hour at this point. They once again took very good care of me and the PICC l…

Normalcy

Despite the pain in my bones, I went to work today after having my second injection of the medication to boost my white blood count. Some days I just feel tired. Not a physical tired but an emotional one. Today was one of those days.

I long for some type of normalcy in my life. I have moments of it, glimmers here and there. Driving the boy to school, fixing dinner, doing laundry, helping with homework, playing with short chic. Those daily task help keep the appearance that things are normal. But if anyone would look just beyond the surface they would see just how far from normal my life is right now.

Most of you stop at Quick Trip on your way into the office for your morning caffeine fix. I stop by the Oncologist Office to get my dressing changed, or my catheter flushed, or my daily injection.

When you talk to me, do you hear my voice crack as I hold back the tears that threaten to appear without notice?

Do you notice the dark circles under my eyes because I have developed insomnia …

Blood Counts and Pic Lines

Today was the first time since I have started Chemo that I had blood taken. My white blood count is 2,100 and considered too low to do treatment. A normal blood count should be 4,600 to 10,000. So after only one round I am way below the norm. The rest of the counts were all good. A low white blood count puts me at risk for an infection. So, I am on high alert. I have to avoid large public places as well as people who are ill.
For the next four days I have to go to the doctors office to get a shot of a drug that will boost my white blood count. The hope is I will be at healthy level by next week and continue on with treatments.

The lack of a catheter was also a concern today. Even if my blood count had not been below the bottom of the barrel, I am not sure how I would have been given the chemo. The doctor was not in the office today, he was treating patients out of town, so everything I got was translated from the nurses. The new plan for delivering the chemo is through a pic line. A…

Another complication

I have made no secrets that the catheter was not my favorite part of this journey. Although I do recognize the need for the catheter, it delivers my chemo drugs that are too strong/too much for my veins. This morning I woke up excited to be going to my mother's house today. Wayne was going to spend the day fishing and the girls were heading to Jamesport to do a little shopping.  After getting dressed and almost ready to walk out the door I realize my entire shirt is wet, soaking wet to be exact. There was blood everywhere and it was still coming out of the catheter site.

I immediately began putting pressure on it, we called the doctor oncall, and then I noticed a lot of the tubing was outside my body. Wayne and I headed to the emergency room. There I had a chest x-ray and by the time the surgeon came into our room, none of the tubing was connected to the body, my body.

Now, while I am happy that I can shower like a normal person today, tomorrow and Monday, I a bit saddened by thi…

What I do not want to see...

I was happily reading a summer book. Then came the plot twist: the main character gets cancer. I had already invested 400 pages of reading before this twist came about. For an hour or so, I walked away from the book not sure what to do: do I finish it or forget it.  Hate to say, but I decided I had to see the story through.

So I cried my way through the final few chapters.

It is almost time for one of my favorite hobbies, seeing Academy Award nominated movies. But this year, I need your help. I do not want or need to see any movie that has a person who gets cancer. Especially if it is a MOTHER with young children.

If you happen to go out and see a movie and it is one I should avoid, PLEASE, let me know that.  While I know that my cancer is beatable and probably by the Academy Awards I will be all better, I still have fears . And my biggest fear is not being here for my children. So, help a girl out. I need to know which movies I need to avoid right now.

Some Photos

Hanging Tough!

Today being the middle of the week, I thought I would let you all know that I am doing okay. This week of non-chemo treatment has been a blessing. Since Sunday, I have gathered strength and a sense of normalcy! I have worked, made dinner, cleaned house, played with my kids, and even have done some future planning.

Just as the doctor predicted, the first round of Chemo started shrinking the Cancer. My neck is dramatically different than it was a week ago!

The catheter is still an issue. Everyone at the doctor's office pretty much agreed that the rash on my site is from adhesive tape. They are keeping my site covered with paper tape and gauze.  Today they removed the guide that was attached to the catheter and cleaned it all up. The site is very painful today and is still very itchy. I  was up a lot last night itching the darned site until I remembered you can put ice can help skin irritations.

The weekend is near. It is the first time since my husband and I started dating that we…