Sunday, September 30, 2007

Insomnia is not a wonderful thing!

Last night, I felt like crap (there's that technical term again) and went to bed early (okay, so maybe its not 'early' for me these days but I was tired). Then I was up at 10:23pm, 11 something, 12 something, 1 something, 2 something, 3 something, 4 something, 5 something, and then at 6 something the cat decided it was time to get up. (That means he starts doing laps on the bed - doesn't matter if there are people there trying to sleep but evidently he got a good night's sleep and wanted breakfast.) Very restful night - almost like being back in the hospital. Grrr, grrr, grrr (warrants a triple grrr).

Today I am therefore tired, in a crabby mood, and don't feel like doing anything. TV, Food Network, trashy novels made into trashy movies. Definitely not up for brunch and apple picking as was my original plan. See, I knew one of my nicely planned days would get messed up. Grrrrrrr!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What did I learn yesterday?

Don't skip meals and then eat too much tomato sauce - it upsets the tummy. Now I don't think I want tomato sauce for weeks. Too bad I have a freezer full of home made sauce.

Just because my steri strips are off doesn't mean my incision has stopped itching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Crocheting is progressing. I am halfway through a really warm scarf with another project planned already.

So they pumped me full of steroids on Thursday and then said in a few days I will come down off them and crash and feel like crap. Well, I'm waiting. When will this happen and ruin all my social plans? Today is the vet for the cat, maybe Target, Walgreens, Trader Joe's, laundry, and a walk. Tomorrow is brunch and apple picking. Monday is work. Tuesday is potential job interview for second part time job. Wednesday is work again. One of these days will get messed up and I will get crabby. :-(

Friday, September 28, 2007

I had so much fun I went to bed at 530

It was such a fun time. First when they put the needle in my port, it hurt, a lot, even though I had put the lidocaine lotion on it ahead of time. They claim it will hurt less each time in the future.

The doctor said as a result of the chemo, I am a little anemic. Not bad but they are watching it. However it would be responsible for some fatigue and shortness of breath.

They were concerned about an allergic reaction to the Taxol so they gave me an IV of Benadryl first. I am not allergic to Taxol. I am allergic to IV Benadryl. I had the skin crawling heebie jeebies the whole time I was there. I was told to put IV Benadryl on the list of things I am allergic to.

They told me to take one of the medications I have here at home and sleep for a couple of hours. Well, I did sleep. Walter did come and ask me twice if I was getting up for dinner - of course I was. Ha!

Finally, the nurse looked at my steristrips and said I don't need them any more so she TOOK THEM OFF!!! No more itchiness! This was the highlight of my day.

Well its over. I survived. I now get to watch for numbness and tingling in hands and feet, this can appear anytime over the next few months and may or may not ever disappear, and for bone and joint pain over the next few days, which should disappear when I am done with Taxol.

One down, 11 to go.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The mystery for the day

Will Taxol suck or will it really suck? One of life's big mysteries to be resolved this afternoon some time around 2pm. Oh, but I have to be there at 1230 so they can take blood and then meet with the doctor before starting the infusion - which takes an hour on its own - and they give you premedication as well. I should be home by 4 or so. What a fun afternoon? Anyone want to trade?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yesterday I was in a very crabby mood

It doesn't help that my steri strips itch. But also, I am sick of taking all these medicines. I get up in the morning and take one. At night I take two more plus vitamins. Last week I also took an antibiotic. In addition I have others for the nausea (which seems to have temporarily vanished). I do have all sorts of other fun side effects to deal with as well. Today is my last day of this little routine. Tomorrow I start new chemo and will have to learn a whole new routine. Arrrrggghhh!!!!

On the plus side, I get a manicure and pedicure today for the first time in MONTHS!!! Maybe having nice nails will make me feel better. (Pout, pout, pout).

And its a full moon.... (Well maybe I can blame my crabbiness on that!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Unfair!

My steri strips are itching soooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't dare touch them or put anything on them to make them stop. They are driving me insane. Grrrrr!!!! They were itching when I woke up and won't stop! What a way to start they day!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Aaaahhhhhhh.....

Wine tasted like wine! I decided I was feeling well enough to try some wine. I tried some Cabernet Sauvignon and it tasted like Cabernet Sauvignon and not battery acid! Most exciting. (Yes I am allowed a little bit according to the doctors.) Someday I will try white wine and see if it has improved up the scale from battery acid, maybe next weekend.

What are my big plans for the week? Out to dinner and a manicure/pedicure Wednesday. Some volunteer work for the American Diabetes Association and the Center for Cancer Support and Education. Some real work for Lexington Community Ed. Oh, chemo day Thursday. (Maybe I can skip that.... Hm... don't think so.)

Otherwise, my port is achy. My steri strips itch. I am tired a lot. I have been informed I have a tendency to be a bit crabby at times. Life goes on.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Today's excitement

I had some friends over for brunch and spent 2 hours in bed to recover. It was nice to see people but I was very tired.

Only four more days before I start my new chemo on Thursday. This will be interesting. First of all its a new drug for me, Taxol, and I will get it every week for twelve weeks. Each visit will also take between 3-4 hours. (I don't think my Thursdays will be very exciting until December.) Due to potential allergic reactions, I was told I should not drive myself to the first one as they will give me lots of Benadryl and other fun stuff. However, after that there is a good chance I will be able to drive myself each week. (Then I think I get to go back every Friday for a shot. I am not sure about this but it would be nice only to go once a week.)

Apparently, I need to prepare myself for a whole bunch of different side effects. I may have fewer, I may just have different ones but it should be different. Now if I just don't have to be nauseous all the time, that would be a vast improvement! (A friend did give me those anti motion sickness bracelets that are supposed to prevent nausea, even from chemotherapy. I would prefer not to have to experience it but at least I am prepared now.)

PS The damn steri strips are really starting to itch now. Why won't they just fall off?

Friday, September 21, 2007

I felt soooo good yesterday

I got in bed at 6pm. Actually I felt like crap. My temperature went up a little bit and I was cold and tired (yes I know it was 80 degrees out but I was cold). Today I feel a bit better and plan on actually going for a walk.

Actually my new goal is to teach myself to crochet. I tried once and basically messed it up badly. Now, given incentives from friends, I figure I can actually do this. I got a really easy scarf pattern and have started. It may not be perfect but it will be mine, damnit!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I got my stitch out, I got my stitch out!

It wasn't even as bad as I thought. Now the little bruise and mark need to fade so I don't look like the vampires got me. (Then when they take my little transponder out, they will give me yet two more incisions in the same places, just to make sure the scars are REALLY there - but that's a story for December probably.) If I could turn my neck properly that would be helpful too but I think that also needs to wait a while. I have five steri strips in one big square that are starting to really itch. I wish they would could off soon but don't dare touch them myself.

My boring life still continues to be boring. I have now reread HP 1-3 and plan on rereading 4-6 before VII again. I have found that there definitely are things I forgot from the earlier books that are much more important now. Nausea still continues to rule - it does make weight loss significantly easier.

Otherwise, the cat is still waiting for his chipmunk and there have been no new mouse sightings.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Class recap

Very interesting class. We did learn how to draw eye brows, fake eye lashes, look like you have come back to life, and that you shouldn't wear mascara during chemo. Apparently its a good way to get bacteria, even if using a new tube. (However did you ever take a class with someone who is dumber than a post and doesn't have a clue to the point that you just want to bop them over the head and say get a grip and everyone else ends up politely ignoring them except for the struggling instructor? There was one of those...) It was interesting and a lot of fun otherwise. They even had snacks.

Today's plans include getting my stitch out in my neck from where they put in the tube for my transponder last week. It is a giant stitch - 1/2" long - in big black thread on my neck. Yuck! Birthday present for myself (for all those of you who forgot...) Literally its a pain in the neck!

One additional goal is to improve my typing capabilities while having a cat on my lap. He is warm but promotes typos.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why don't I write about anything?

Because I have nothing to write about. I lead a boring life, as previously stated. I spent the weekend doing NOTHING! Boring. I went for a walk both days and even dragged Walter out. Otherwise, I watched TV, read, and napped. I felt like crap. Yesterday my digestive system announced an all out war on any food I tried to eat. Today, we are just seeing if my system likes any food before making plans.

I do want to go to work for a while and go to an American Cancer Society program called Look Good Feel Better. Its a make up program where they teach you how to draw in eyebrows and generally look normal while dealing with all these side effects. (Can they actually teach me how to make the feel like I might throw up look into something human?)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It didnt last

Of course it didn't last. Now I feel like crap, nauseous, tired, crabbiness may not be too far behind. Grrr! At least its a rainy day where I can lie around and be lazy!

What a boring life I lead.

Friday, September 14, 2007

No more feeling good

Nap time. I went to Wilsons, I worked for 3 hours, now I feel like crap. Time for a big nap. Where is the cat?

Steri strips are SO itchy!

I hate them. The little ends curl up and itch. And it itches where the big plastic tape was before. Grr, grr, grr. I can see the little things flying off onto the floor VERY soon!

Otherwise I still feel relatively human. Something must be wrong. No, I take that back. My tummy is deciding to catch up on the past few days. Grr, grr, grr.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What is the world coming to?

I feel normal again (shhh... don't say anything too loud I don't want to jinx myself again). I went for a walk, plan on going to work for a few hours, get my shot, and run some errands that have been delayed a few days. Very, very weird. I expect it wont last so I am going to enjoy it. :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What is wrong with this picture?

Chemo was relatively easy today. Well they were running late but I brought a book. Walter even got me a tuna sandwich too. When they put the needle in my little StarTrek transponder, it hurt like hell (just the opposite of the little pinch I was told about). They did give me a prescription for a cream that I can use to numb the skin ahead of time in the future - for the next 12 (count them, 12 rounds of chemo) so I wont feel the 'little pinch' that is supposed to get less and less each time. Also I have some swelling and bruising now as they only put it in two days ago.

Otherwise I feel relatively normal. I lay down outside on the chaise lounge instead of taking an inside nap as I usually do. Tummy feels fine, don't feel like a total space shot. Hmmmm... What is wrong? Are all the usually side effects waiting to gang up on me all at once? Very interesting. I feel like I am waiting for something you can't avoid but know you aren't going to like. (Trying to think of good analogy but falling flat.) Grrr...

Only two more scheduled Lahey visits in the next week. (Not to jinx myself but I only have these two. I realize there can be many more unscheduled visits but we wont dwell on those now.) Tomorrow for a shot and then Tuesday to get the suture in my neck removed. It is a pain in the neck but much improved since they took the big piece of tape off that was making it difficult to turn my head. We are also continuing the seven days of antibiotics to prevent return stays at hotel Lahey as it seemed to work well this round.

Oh and the evil steri strips have returned. I have been informed I can cut the itchy ends off but I should really let them fall off on their own and that can take SEVERAL WEEKS. Hmmm... Can I do this or will the urge to help the itchy things fall off overwhelm the responsibility to do the 'right' thing and let them fall off on their own? The eternal moral dilemma - doing the right thing or doing what you really want instead. The standard good vs. evil debate. Too much deep thought for this blog. Must be nearing nap time or something.

Ready for another round

I spent all day yesterday watching TV and reading. I will try a little walk this morning. I feel good, I got a good night's sleep, the stupid transponder only hurts a little, much better than yesterday. Guess what, I get to go have the bandages changed (I am sure THAT wont hurt as they are giant clear plastic sheets stuck to my skin), and they get to use my port today. I am sure that will be another pain free event since they only installed it less than 48 hours ago. Gee whiz, what a wonderful day for me! Then let's see a couple of days of nausea - maybe 8-10. What fun!

Maybe my cynical side is starting to show a tiny little bit! Grr, grr, grr, grrr.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Better today

I am less crabby today (SO FAR, this could change). Extra strength Tylenol is a wonderful thing. I can't really turn my head because of the tape on my neck but its okay. I don't plan on driving today as a result. I will stay home and cater to the cat's every whim. (He has plenty. Already today, he has wanted treats, water, treats, look for chipmunks, treats, ears scratched, and more treats.)

Anyway, I will take it easy today, spend tomorrow at Lahey, and then spend a few days feeling nauseous. Doesn't that sound like fun? Which is better? Pain from incisions or nausea? Hmmm... that is a tough one!

Chances that I will wear that stupid bracelet? About 1 in 10,000,000,000! Who wants to advertise for them?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Once again

They lied. 'You will be asleep basically. You wont feel a thing. Maybe just a little pressure.' It hurt, I was mostly awake, it hurts now. I feel like Dracula bit my neck.

Okay, I am crabby. Maybe a good nights sleep will help. We'll see. I go back to the dr on Wednesday for my day of needles and they will change the bandage etc. Maybe I'll just be crabby until then.

PS In addition to the little ID card to carry around and the information that it 'should not' set off security alarms, I got a cute little bracelet to wear to remind me I have this stupid thing.

Off to see the wizard...

No, wrong. Off to get the transponder implanted. Joy of joys. I can't wait. Just when I am starting to feel normal, I get this thingamajig which probably guarantees I will feel like crap (being technical again) today and tomorrow and then chemo again on Wednesday. However that is the last of the first four. Then we move on to the new drug where I get 12 weekly rounds and a whole new set of side effects. This week is shaping up wonderfully!

Beam me up, there is no intelligent life down here!

Brief commercial: If you need a new lunch bag, check these out. http://www.leancuisine.com/Komen2007/Index.aspx these look very cool. I might buy one for myself and they support a good cause.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I am not looking forward to tomorrow

It really sounds yucky! A tube in your vein to just above your heart! Yick, yick, yick! And my smarty pants brother says to me 'if its a Star Trek transponder, does it mean you will make those noises after surgery????' Now there's something to look forward to! Hah!

PS Record heat yesterday so the cat HAD to nap on my lap!

Friday, September 7, 2007

So how do I really feel? And how do I spend my time?

Everyone asks, how am I feeling? How do I spend my time? Well, most days I wake up feeling relatively okay. If I am going to do anything productive that day, I usually need to motivate in the morning. By early to mid-afternoon, I usually start to feel like I was hit by a truck and need to lie down and possibly nap for a while. There is also that vague nausea feeling that lurks and lingers. Sometimes I take the drugs for it (but then get all the previously noted side effects so I try to avoid them unless its really bad).

How do I define 'hit by a truck'? Its not feverish, its just complete exhaustion. This then becomes the best part of the cat's day. I lie down, he lies down, usually on me on those really HOT days, and snuggles while I sleep. The hotter the day, the more he hogs the fan and snuggles. (WAIT UNTIL ITS BELOW 60 for snuggling, you moron.)

Anyhow, I do go for walks. I had to skip a day the other day because I was too tired. I am also working part time at Lexington Community Ed when I can fit it between naps and doctor appointments. They are very nice to me there and don't let me stay too long. Its 5 minutes from home. (Kind of weird because it is in the main office of the high school I attended a few years back and the main office is never the place I wanted to be... But thats another story for another day.)

I don't go out much at all. There are several reasons - avoiding crowds and germy people; can't stay up past 830 at night usually; food (as previously noted) has very fickle flavors and tastes; that 'hit by the truck' feeling that keeps me from being social; and who wants to hang out with someone who looks like they might throw up?

That's my life. Yes, boring. Not much going on. I go to the library probably every week. I go to a support group every week. I have become addicted to certain TV shows - Food Network, Bravo's Top Chef. (I forgot to watch this week's episode but its on again this afternoon at 4pm. Now I have my plan for the afternoon - must walk, work, and be home to watch it!) See my priorities?

Walter tries to tell me too many cooking shows will rot my brain but I don't believe him.

PS I have been taking my temperature regularly every day and it hasn't gone over 99.7 all week!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What is a port?

A port is an implantable device that is used to allow easier infusions and blood tests. Well it sounds really yucky, to use that technical term. First, they take a piece of tubing and insert it into the blood vessel that runs down your arm, starting from your collar bone, to right above your heart. Then they make a 2" incision and insert this plastic port (I think it looks kind of like a Star Trek transponder but only 1" across) under your skin and attach it to the tube. It is supposed to make all these chemo infusions and blood tests easier because they don't have to dig around in my arm all the time. However, the idea of a tube into a major blood vessel to just above your heart sounds kind of freaky to me. This is what it looks like:

You can see more information at www.portadvantage.com and it shows how it is put in and all sorts of other gory details that I am not sure I want to know about.

Anyhow, that is what I am doing Monday morning??? I did read something originally that said it was done under LOCAL anesthesia. No, I will be put under thank you! It will be taken out as soon as chemo is done as well! Some people KEEP THEM IN! Yicky!

Otherwise, off for a walk. Too many naps recently and I haven't had time for my walk! Also, my temperature is 98.2, thank you for asking.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The side effects to prevent side effects

So I have all these wonderful chemo side effects - nausea, hair loss, mouth sores, fatigue, low blood counts, etc. so they give me more drugs to prevent the side effects. I can prevent the nausea by taking stuff that does all sorts of other fun things. A few of these are:

'May cause drowsiness, use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery.' Does this mean a car is not a dangerous machine or are they really saying other dangerous machinery. What is a dangerous machine - does it include an electric toothbrush, electric mixer, vacuum cleaner, dryer? I don't really think I operate other machinery and am not sure I consider them dangerous. They should clarify. I think if they made the print smaller, they could fit in a realistic list of what really is a dangerous machine.

The next favorite is 'May cause drowsiness. Taking this medicine alone or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform hazardous tasks.' Again, so is driving a hazardous task or is the word other missing in there? Again, more smaller print and tell us what a hazardous task is? I mean is using a cell phone or computer hazardous? Well, yes, if you are driving at the same time but separately? I am confused.

Then here's the other version 'May cause dizziness. Do not drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks until you know how this medicine affects you.' Can I be dizzy and drowsy at the same time? Will I be able to tell the difference? What's the difference between a hazardous task or a dangerous task?

'Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine.' That's easy. Chemo makes wine taste like battery acid. No I haven't tried battery acid but now I think I know what it tastes like.

'This medicine may caused blurred vision.' I thought I needed new glasses. That label should be put on top of the list in LARGE print. If your vision is blurred you probably can't read the little dinky type face. So I am dizzy, drowsy, and have blurred vision.

'You should avoid prolonged or excessive exposure to direct and/or artificial sunlight while taking this medicine.' So no tanning salons. I can figure out that. But does this mean I should stay indoors? How boring.

Finally, 'Check with your doctor if you plan to become pregnant while using this medicine'. Um... do this put this label on the bottles for men's prescriptions too? If not, what do they put on men's prescription bottles?

Enough deep thoughts for the day. I just need to figure out what my 'mystery' Lahey appointment is. I called on Friday to ask what was scheduled for me because I forgot to ask at my last chemo. They said nothing scheduled until the 12th. Then today I said to Walter, 'I want to try to work maybe three half days a week, maybe Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week.' That was it, I jinxed myself again. There was a new innocuous Lahey clinic message saying I have an appointment on Wednesday. Its a holiday so I can't call back and ask what its for!!!!! Grrr... More than my brain can handle.

Must be nap time.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

More of the waiting game

Now the waiting is to see: will my blood count drop as drastically and will my temperature rise as much after the last chemo round? I started a 7 day course of antibiotics today to prevent this and promise to take my temperature regularly (but only between 8am and 5pm - no ER admittance for me again!). If my temperature goes up, I will call the doctor's office and see what the next steps are. So far it is staying under 99.5.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Comparative napping

With all this talk about napping, there needs to be some comparison. First of all, here is how French cats nap, or should we say, 'Le chat noir dort avec des pommes de terre' (The black cat sleeping with potatoes). I am not sure this looks very comfortable but he is outside in the warm sun in northern France. Maybe its good for his back.

Then in comparison, we have how American cats nap, or just let's say 'Fat kitty with a little Nepetalactone'. (Nepetalactone = catnip.) He has no pride. He has a pink pillow. Shall we just call it 'gender neutral pink'? (He's fixed, he doesn't care.) Just stay away from his 'stuff', don't touch his 'stuff'. That would mean war! He doesn't go outside so he doesn't know about the benefits of sleeping on potatoes in fresh air.

My napping takes place on the bed, with lots of pillows, not a scrawny little pink one, and usually a cold beverage near by.

I get the best naps.

See what happens?

After chemo, I feel nauseous, so I take the medication they gave me, so I take lots of naps, and do nothing and have nothing to write about. Yesterday, I woke up feeling nauseous so I took a pill, went for a walk, took another pill, slept from 1130 am - 1 pm and then 230 - 430 pm, and then went to bed at 830. Hows that for exciting? I think the most exciting thing that happened all day was when I was sleeping that cat walked on the muted remote for the TV and woke me up for a second. Can you beat that one? No life for me! Well, we did go have Mexican food that was pretty good but I only could eat half of it and then was exhausted.

Anyhow, in case you are wondering this is the new look. Its not a hair cut. It is all fake (a/k/a a wig). On the other hand, I don't spend money on shampoo, showers are much faster, and I don't need to dry my hair.

Off to Bates to get ice cream later - so today can rank as somewhat more exciting than yesterday.

PS No one noticed! I changed the layout of my blog a few weeks ago....