Thursday, December 31, 2009

More on Round 7

I forgot to post about the nausea I had yesterday, which was new for me during the chemo infusion. During chemo I get an Emmend pill, and Zofran and Decadron through my port. The Emmend doesn't actually start helping til a few days later, but the other 2 should work right away.
When the nurses access my port the first thing they do is wipe it with alcohol, then flush it with saline. The saline gives me a horrible taste in my mouth, which often starts the stomach feeling a bit queasy. If I plug my nose I can't taste it. Putting a tea bag up to the nose also helps, and someone else mentioned sucking on a lemon drop. I just do the nose plug thing--works very well.
Lately the smell of the alcohol has really been bothering me, because I now associate it with chemo. So yesterday it really started my stomach feeling yucky, and no matter what I ate (eating sometimes helps with nausea), it just got worse. I had some compazine tablets in my purse so I asked the nurse if it was ok if I took one,and she said yes. She talked to me for a bit and asked if I had Lorazapam (sp?) (brand name Ativan). I do have some, but it was at home. She told me to take it before I come in next time, or even half a dose if it makes me too sleepy. Ativan helps with nausea, but it also helps to calm you down. We think the nausea started because of my association with the alcohol, not from the actual chemo. In other words, it was a psychological reaction. The nurse said its quite common after many chemo treatments.
Next time I will take the Ativan before going, and I will try plugging my nose for the alcohol smell, like I do with the saline. The compazine worked, thankfully, and I haven't had any nausea since.
Feeling pretty good so far today. The pump ALWAYS annoys me. Had a lot of leg, foot and hand cramping yesterday, should of seen me trying to walk! Its much better today. Had to turn up the furnace a little because my fingers were tingling from the cold! Its supposed to be really cold here the next few days, but I probably won't go out til next Wed. anyways. Unless we go out for supper tonight. After today I'll slowly be feeling worse and worse, until next Wed, when hopefully I'll start coming out of the fog and fatigue and start feeling better.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I pray that everyone has a prosperous and HEALTHY New Year!! (myself included!) And stay warm!! AND--please celebrate responsibly tonight. If you must drink away from home, bring a designated driver or take a cab! Don't risk your life and that of others. And plan ahead to stay warm on the way home. In our area the windchills will be 10 to 20 degrees BELOW zero!

Love and Blessings!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yes to Round 7!

My blood counts today were right on the borderline--any lower and I wouldn't have been able to have chemo. My Onc. thinks next time my platelets will be too low to do chemo, but we'll get the labs done, see him, and make the decision then, because you never know for sure until the lab tests are done!
I will do 4 Neupogen shots starting this Friday, after my pump is removed. I only have 3 shots here at home, so I'll go to the hospital to get my pump removed and get 1 shot there. Then the Sun. and Mon. before my next round I'll do another 2 shots, for a total of 6 shots this round. Dr. J explained to his "Fellow" (he often has one with him) that my wbc counts drop lower later in the cycle than usual--again, I'm an anomaly! (or just call me "oddball"!)
Friday is Alyssa's 22nd birthday. She knows I won't be able to celebrate much, but she has requested Green Mill pizza, so we'll pick up some of that and a cake. Rachel, Ken and Brennan might come over too. I don't know if Shonna will be back from Kansas City by then, as they are driving back that day.
Sat. is the big move in day for Alyssa. I hope enough strong young men show up to help! I'll be home all snuggly and warm. :) Her hubby Jaren is on his way right now back to the states! Although she still won't be able to see him for a few weeks (he has to do some training in Utah), we are glad that he'll be back in the USA, and closer to home! I admire Alyssa for being so strong--Rich and I have hardly spent a night apart our whole marriage!
Well, typing is hard because my hands keep cramping up! So, I'll end here.
If I don't post again before Friday--HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Love to all,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Round 7 Tomorrow?

My chemo appointment starts tomorrow at 9:30. First the blood draw, then visit with oncologist and wait for labs, then find out whether or not I can get chemo. Usually the labs are back before we are done with the doc, but sometimes we have to wait for awhile for them to get done. If the results are slow coming back, we (Rich and I) go sit in the infusion room and the nurse lets us know when the results come in and if the doc gives the go ahead or not.
I'll be ok with the results either way. If I can get chemo I'm that much closer to being done, but if I can't then I get to help Alyssa move into her new apartment on Sat. I'll leave it up to God to figure it out! Like I've mentioned before, God has had His hand on the timing of my chemo treatments, and it always works out for the best!
I'm praying I don't get sick, because Alyssa has had a cold, which turned into the flu or something yesterday. She was sick to her stomach yesterday morning and afternoon, but has been better since then. I don't think its food poisoning, because she hasn't eaten anything different than the rest of us. I've been very blessed to not have been sick since I was diagnosed with cancer. Occasionally I'll get a little sore throat, but its always from allergies and the steroid I get at chemo makes it go away.
Wow, what a year this has been! On Feb. 6th it'll be one year since my tumor was found. Then surgery, chemo, radiation, 2 more hospital stays, more chemo. And then throw in some major life events--2nd daughter married, 25th anniversary, first grandson, youngest turned 18 and is going to college full time instead of classes at high school. Next year will bring the empty nest when Shonna graduates and goes off to live on a college campus somewhere (still deciding where). Its all very exciting! I know my daughters will always be close to me and keep in touch, so I'm not too sad about them all moving on. I find it exciting to watch them go out and make their way. I'm so proud of all 3 of them!
At this time of year, most people review the previous year and think about changes they want to make in the new year. Its like a clean slate for some people. Since I'm so close to being done with chemo, I've been thinking ahead to what I want to do after its all done. I'll have to go back to work, so I don't want to make too many plans or have too many expectations until I see how that goes. I know its going to take some time to get my strength back. I'm hoping I can keep off the weight I've lost and REALLY eat healthier. I'll be doing some research and making lists of good things to eat. I also want to make time for exercise.
I'm also aware that many cancer survivors go through a time of depression after treatment. I'm hoping that by being aware of it, and reading about others' experiences, that I can avoid it. Prayer and Bible reading will help with that too.
I guess mostly what I want is to know what God wants of me. Its time to get out of the boat and my comfort zone and really walk the talk. Scary though! Its good to know that God will help me, and He will still love me even if I fail!
Well, I'll check back in tomorrow or Thursday and let you all know if/how treatment went!
Love and blessings,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Merry Christmas everyone!!
I have a lot to do, but am filled with excitement! Like a little kid (or my 21 year old, Alyssa!), I can't wait to get to the presents! But before that happens, I have a lot of work to do!
Tonight, after 5pm church service (if we make it--the snow is supposed to be falling pretty hard then), we'll have a spaghetti dinner here--just the kids and my sister. Then we celebrate the birth of Jesus with a birthday cake. My Godparents, Darrel and Elaine, gave us a beautiful cake and dessert plate set a few years back when they were moving. Its very pretty glass with gold trim, and I think they had received it as a wedding present. We use it every year for Jesus' birthday cake! Thank you Darrel and Elaine!!
After the cake tonight we will open a few presents--Rich and I open our gifts to each other and the girls open their "sister" gifts. Rich was supposed to usher at the 11pm service, but we just got a call that it will be cancelled due to weather!
Tomorrow morning the kids will gather again, and we'll have cinnamon rolls and open the rest of our presents to each other. Later in the afternoon we will go to my brother Teri's house for Christmas with my family.
Saturday, we will have Christmas with Rich's family--and Sunday we will collapse and rest!! It will be a fun-filled few days!
Shonna and 2 of her wonderful friends are heading down to Kansas City for a youth conference at "IHOP" (Int'l House of Prayer) on Monday. The 3 are going BY THEMSELVES, and will be home on New Year's Day. Please keep them in your prayers!
Alyssa will be moving into her new apartment the first few days in Jan. I'm very excited for her! Shonna will stay with her until Jaren comes home (hopefully the beg. of Feb). Those 2 (Lys and Shonna) living together should be very interesting! :D
I'm supposed to have chemo on Wed. the 30th, so I probably won't be able to help Alyssa move in--but we might be able to get in Mon. or Tues. and we can do some cleaning and stuff then. Altho, you never know--my chemo could be delayed again due to platelets or white blood cells.
I need to get busy now and start making fudge and the cake, and also do some cleaning (esp. the never ending supply of hair on my bathroom floor from it thinning so much!!).
As excited as I am, I am ever mindful of those going through cancer treatment right now, and some are really struggling with sickness and pain. And I keep those in my thoughts that lost a loved one this past year. Christmas can be a tough time for many people. (Thinking of you, Godparents, and sending my love!)
Thank you to all who have supported me and my family through this difficult year. I pray often for God's blessings to be upon you!!
I wish everyone God's peace, and a healthy new year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Very Tiring, but Good Day

Today was another of my "bad" days--where I mostly lie in bed, and shuffle slowly when I do get up. But my 3 lovely daughters wanted to make their annual sugar cookies today! So, after I managed a shower and breakfast this morning, I kept slowly working in the kitchen, cleaning off counter space and such. When Rachel got here, I was more than happy to take over care of Brennan :) Shonna got to feed him too today, for the first time. I managed to make buttercream frosting, then handed over baby to Great grandma, and layed down for awhile--it was either lie down or fall down by that point! I rested for a bit, and then Shonna brought baby back to me, and he slept on my shoulder for awhile--is there anything better??
So now, I'm back in my bed, just relaxing for awhile. I feel better back here--comfy and cozy. Rachel went home, Alyssa is cleaning up some of the cookie mess, Shonna is at work, and Rich is eating the brownies Rachel made for his birthday present! (oh--now he's helping Alyssa in the kitchen--what a good hubby :)
I received two neat gifts today! I got a box of oranges from my good friend Diane in Florida--yum!! She and her hubby just moved to Florida--lucky, huh? I also got a very nice gift from a friend at work. So thoughtful. Its nice to know I'm not forgotten. :) And thanks to my neighbor who brought us a plate of cookies a few days ago--so nice!!
I keep thinking of little things I need to do--like gift wrapping and such. But my body is not up to it yet. I'm hoping tomorrow I can get a few little things done. My "elves" wrapped most of the gifts, but there are always a few things "Santa" needs to do. First thing I'll do tomorrow is make a list of what needs to be done.
I hope we don't get the snow storm they are talking about over Christmas--might be bad. We don't have far to travel, but it could still be bad just driving around here.
Thanks to my sister, for finding some OLD photos and adding to my collection of pics all over my walls. Some of them are from '68, when I was just 4 years old! Where did they come from?? Oh, and the soup turned out very good! THANK YOU!!
Please keep those battling cancer in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season. Some are going through some very tough treatments, and won't be doing much celebrating.
I am so grateful for all I have--my family (especially), my health insurance, house, money to buy gifts, friends, and on and on. My heart overflows with gratitude!
Love and blessings to all!

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the Downhill Slide

I'm doing ok, but the tiredness is setting in. So, for the next few days things will be getting worse. I'm hoping I feel as well as last time--I had the extreme fatigue, where moving was difficult, but my mind stayed fairly clear. I hate it when I get the bad brain fog and can't even carry on a conversation. But whatever happens, I'll deal with it--its only a few days, and I have Christmas to look forward to!
Had my pump removed about an hour ago--I hate having to carry it around! So glad its gone. Since I have it for 2 days after every treatment, I reminded myself this morning that I'll only have to be attached to it four more days. I can handle that! Only four more times of taping up my port with Glad Press n' Seal and tape to take a shower!
I'm glad I have been able to sleep fairly well, even with the steroids. For whatever reason they don't seem to affect me as strongly as they used to.
Well that's all for now. I'm sure I had more to say--but can't remember anything now!
Love and Blessings!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chemo Round 6!

Well, I'm happy to say all my blood counts were good and I was able to have my 6th round of chemo today. Not sure that "happy" is the right word. I'm glad to continue the chemo, so I can get it over with, yet its so hard to go back to feeling yucky. Wow, I've only had a week or so of feeling good and being able to have cold things; it must be REALLY hard to go back to chemo after being off it for 6 months, or a year, or a few years. I guess I should stop whining! :)
I did get out shopping yesterday, and of course hit the Caribou drive through for my smoothie! I had a good, productive day, so for the next few days I don't have to worry about getting things done for Christmas.
Its weird to have the extreme cold sensitivity back. Even with socks on, the kitchen floor is too cold--I have to remember to keep my slippers on. I took some clementines out of the fridge, so hopefully by tomorrow they'll be ok for me to eat. They've really tasted good lately!
Speaking of socks, while getting chemo today some people came through the infusion room singing Christmas carols, and they handed out warm, fuzzy ankle socks with a Regions hospital logo on them. I actually got tears in my eyes. Its still so weird to receive things like this. I feel like I should be the one handing out the gifts, not receiving them. I really never wanted to be part of this group that gets special consideration. Hence the tears--I AM part of this cancer "club", whether I like it or not! Weird that I still get tears after all this time, but every once in a while something will bring them on. I have to say I am very grateful for the carolers, and the socks! And someday, hopefully it WILL be me handing out gifts to cancer patients! Rich and I already do what we can by buying treats for the center, and Rich, of course, helps out other patients while we are there, if needed.
Tonight might be a night that I sleep in the recliner because of the steroids. They keep me awake most of the night. Last round I was able to sleep pretty well the first night. I must be getting used to them, or I'm just that much more tired! I did notice I was talking alot to my mom awhile ago, and that's usually a sign that the steroids are affecting me. If I'm still "chatty" at bedtime, I'll probably just stay out in the living room and let Rich have a peaceful night!
Thanks for checking in! Drop me a note to say Hi!
Love and Blessings!

Monday, December 14, 2009

One More Day...

I have one more day to finish up all my Christmas stuff. And if I can't have chemo on Wed., then I'll have some extra days to relax, or maybe do some more baking.
I don't have too many side effects right now. My feet and hands tingle a little from neuropathy, and I still tire more quickly than usual, oh, and my hair is still thinning! And I seem to have balance issues sometimes, so I'm very careful going up and down the stairs, and walking on the snow and ice. Other than that, I'm feeling pretty good right now! I hope my platelets are back up so I can have chemo. I REALLY want to get it over with! I want to get on with my life...
I was going to finish up my shopping today, but since it snowed this morning, I decided to do some baking and wrapping today and wait until tomorrow to get out and finish up my shopping. I've got a few gift cards to get, and some groceries.
Rachel came over with Brennan (my shirt still smells like baby!), and spent the afternoon here. She is one of my little elves and did some gift wrapping for me!
A wonderful friend from work stopped by and gave me some afghans her mom crocheted for the cancer center, and also gave us a gift card for Subway! Its much appreciated and will be used when I have chemo and can't cook anything. We spend too much money on eating out when I don't feel good! One craving I have when I feel my worst is a McDonald's dbl hamburger and small fry--it tastes good when I can't taste much else! Other times, I try to stay away from there.
My weight, at its lowest, was down 27 lbs. But its back up a bit since I've had so much time off from chemo! I try to watch what I eat, and how much I eat, but its hard when everything all of a sudden tastes good! And of course there's the Christmas cookies! I've been eating a lot of clementines, and drinking COLD water too.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and remembering the Reason for the season. Its not about what you can get, or how much you spend, but its about a baby being born so that we might have a Savior, and enter into Heaven some day.
Peace and Blessings,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Platelets Still Too Low

No chemo today. My platelets actually went down, instead of up! The doc wants to wait a week, so we'll try again next Wed.
So, I have to get EVERYTHING done before then. Because if I get chemo next week, I'll be in a fog until Christmas Eve, and won't have any time to get anything else done. I'm a last minute person, so it'll be a challenge for me to get everything done that far in advance. :) Ugh--I forgot about Christmas cards--have to do them too. I better start making a list and plan out my days! I wanted to get a little baking done too.
The good side, of course, is I'm feeling good and getting some strength back. I'm not sure if that makes getting the next chemo round easier or harder. I was getting used to the sick and tired feeling--it'll be hard to go back to that now that I'm feeling better. But I'm determined to enjoy these extra days!
I do worry, just a little, that I'm not fighting the cancer hard enough. Not that there is anything I can do about it. I wish there was an easy way to build the platelets back up. I think my onc. said they are working on something.
Well, not much else to say!
Love and Blessings!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chemo Tomorrow?

Tomorrow is supposed to be round 6 of my chemo treatments. It all depends on whether or not my platelet count came back up.
I've been enjoying these extra days before chemo. I've got most of the house decorated--although Alyssa did most of the work! We found an apartment for Alyssa and Jaren (she'll move in Jan 1st), and I made it to church on Sunday! I haven't been to church in awhile because I either don't feel good, or its just too hard to get moving in the morning. We also did some shopping on Sat.
I've been drinking lots of cold water and juice. Its been awhile since I could have water with ice in it! I still need to take small sips tho--can't gulp it down.
If I get chemo tomorrow I'll be hibernating for the next week! The first 2 days with my pump I don't feel too bad, but it'll be WAY too cold to go outside. Its snowing now with a temp of 19, and its supposed to be COLDER the next few days. Shonna came home today complaining about the snow and cold ("why do we live here?"). She is always cold. She's going to live with Alyssa in her new apartment for the first month until Jaren comes home, and she got REALLY excited when I told her the apartment would be much warmer.
I still get tired when walking too long or even standing too much. Stairs really wear me out! But other than that, things things are pretty good right now. That could all change tomorrow.... :)
Take care everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2009

No Chemo Today--and That's a Good Thing!

Just as I suspected, I wasn't able to get chemo today due to low platelets. They were 51 on Monday and are now 66, so they are coming up. My oncologist, Dr. J., said they usually come back up pretty fast, so we scheduled chemo for next Wed. Usually I would be a little bummed about delaying chemo, but as I told the doc, I think my body needs a break, and he agreed. He also said we could stay on the 2 week schedule and do a reduced amount of chemo, or spread out the treatments more and do the full dose, and the 2nd option is what he felt would work better for me. He assured me we are not hurting anything by waiting. So after my next treatment (#6), I get to wait 3 weeks to do my 7th treatment, which means I will have a MUCH better Christmas--yay!! It will be on Dec. 30th. Then my LAST ONE will be mid Jan. I'm so happy I could just do a little dance! :)
My white blood cells are WAY up, which I knew they would be because I could feel it working. My fever is gone, and I'm still taking the antibiotics, but don't need the percoset anymore. Although I will save them for next time I do the Neupogen shots!
So, as always, God has worked things out for me again! Everytime I needed to feel good for a holiday or special event, God has worked out my chemo schedule for me. Its been just amazing. No coincidences here folks! Its all God!!
Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Round 5,last day of my 2 week cycle

Had a busy day, with no afternoon down time, so I am very tired right now. I'll go to bed soon, but don't want to go too early or I might not sleep all night.
Alyssa and I looked at a few apartments in one building, then had lunch with Rich. Later in the afternoon Rich's dad and sister came over and Rachel brought Brennan over so they could hold him for the first time.
My chemo appt. got changed to an earlier time (ugh!), so we have to join the morning rush hour and be at the hospital at 8:30. I'll get labs drawn and see my oncologist, and he'll decide whether or not I can have chemo. I'm very curious to see what my blood counts are.
As far as side effects on this last day--just the usual cold sensitivity, although I did manage to drink my melted Wild Berry smoothie! Tiredness and weakness are ever present these days, and esp. this week with my low blood counts.
So, we'll see what tomorrow brings!
Take care everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Round 5, Day 13-Wed.

I'm doing ok today. Taking my antibiotics and pain meds. These Neupogen shots are working REALLY well this time, and that means I have alot of bone pain. Especially my spine. The pain meds help, but when they wear off it hurts alot. That's how I know its time to take more. :)
I'm a little stuffed up--hope it doesn't turn into anything. Its been so dry at night that I wake up with a sore throat and bloody nose. I'm going to put a pan of water on the floor heat register and see if that helps.
I'm still worried about my platelets and am trying not to hurt myself! I can hardly wait until Friday to see what they are and what the doc says.
Usually by this point in my cycle I can eat cold cereal for breakfast, but altho I've had it the last 2 mornings, it doesn't taste good, and its still too cold. I'll go back to oatmeal tomorrow! I should try malto meal again--I think I used to like it. Anyways, the cold sensitivity doesn't let up much at all anymore. I can drink slightly cool things. I still want to try a smoothie tomorrow! If I let it melt, and take small sips, I can usually drink it.
Tomorrow Alyssa and I are going to look at another apartment, and then have lunch with Rich. I've been home taking it easy the last few days, so I'm ready to get out a little. I just have to be careful not to bump into anything :) And I use a lot of hand sanitizer and wipes! In the afternoon Rachel is going to bring Brennan over so my mom and Rich's dad can meet him and hold him.
Its been frustrating this week, because this is my small window of time to get things done. If I have chemo on Friday I won't be getting anything done next week. And then there's the stress of having such low blood counts. This chemo crap nearly kills you in order to save you!
When I see the doc on Friday I'm going to make sure we make some sort of plan for December. I need to know when I'll have chemo. He was going to let me skip the week before Christmas, so I want to look at the calendar with him and figure it all out--tentatively of course. Boy I can't wait until this is all over!!
I always plan to make short little posts, but apparently that's not possible for me :P
Thanks for hanging in there and making it to the end!
Love to all!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Round 5, Day 12--Tuesday

Wow. I just saw my blood test results from yesterday and am a little freaked out. My neutrophils (the white blood cells I take the shots for) are down to .1. Last time I had chemo they were .7, and remember I said the nurse was surprised the doc was letting me get chemo? She even went and asked him to make sure because they don't usually do it when it gets that low. Wonder what happens when you run out of neutrophils? The good news is I can feel the back pain from the shot I got yesterday, so I know its working to build them back up. I have 2 more shots to do.
The other # that worries me is my platelets. 150 is the bottom of the range and I'm down to 51. Last time I was 103. I have a few random bruises on my body--bleeding is a worry with platelets that low. They are what stops the bleeding.
My hemoglobin also went down to 9.6. Its been in the 10 range. Supposed to be 12-16, but mine hasn't been normal since before my surgery in Feb.
I don't remember how low the doc said he lets the platelets get to before he won't allow chemo. There is nothing they do to build them up, just time off of chemo.
So, there is a chance I won't be able to do chemo this Friday. Usually that is sort of a bummer, but with numbers like this I will be relieved if he postpones it!
I still have a bit of a fever, and am taking percoset both for "bottom" pain and my bone pain. Had a bad headache overnight that the percoset didn't touch, but it went away this morning when I got up.
Any advice or similar stories from other's that have been through this??
I guess I'll stay inside and wrap myself in bubble wrap so I don't get hurt :)

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Round 5, days 9, 10, 11 (Sat., Sun, Mon.)

Ok, I didn't do so well updating the blog every day like I said! But there really wasn't much to tell over the weekend. Sat. we went shopping for bridesmaid dresses, and found the perfect one! Sun., Alyssa, Rich and I went shopping for furniture for Alyssa and Jaren. Again, we were successful and found a couch and loveseat combo real cheap!
Shopping really wears me out, and I get very weak, especially my legs. No surprise when I spent most of the previous week laying in bed! While dress shopping the girls were very good to me and as soon as I said I was getting tired of standing they got me a chair and MADE me sit down. A few minutes later I was back up, and they MADE me sit down again! lol They take good care of me!
Well, I'll tell you about my adventure today, but its not a story I really want to tell! Its very unpleasant, but I can hardly update the blog without mentioning it. Alyssa and I went to look at another apartment today, and usually I really enjoy getting out with her, even if I'm weak and tired. But today I just wasn't feeling well--woke up with a headache and felt tired and run down. I have also been having hemorrhoid-type pain(this is the unpleasant part!) for several days, sometimes so bad I was in tears. I started wondering if I had an infection "back there". When I got home today I realized I might have a fever so I took my temp a few times, and it ranged from 99.8 to 100.2. I really just wanted to go to sleep, but figured I should call my oncologist and let him decide what I should do, if anything. Of course I knew he'd want me to come in, he always does when I call! So I met Rich at work and he drove me down to Regions. I had blood drawn to check my blood counts, then saw another doc, since mine was really busy. He took a peek and thought I might have a fistula, which happens alot in people who have had radiation in that area, and its only resolved by surgery. But he wanted Dr. J., my onc., to take a look to see what he thought. Not sure what's going on "back there", but got a prescription for 2 antibiotics, and Percoset for pain. Also, my wbc was real low again, so they gave me a Neupogen shot there, and I'll do 1 tomorrow and 1 Wed. here at home. I should be good for chemo on Friday. Oh, and I have to take sitz baths with epsom salt, and drink metamucil or citrucel (sp?) EVERY DAY. Not just once in awhile, like I've been. So, that's my story!
I usually have a lot of pain and bleeding for a few days right after chemo, and I told the doc last time about it. I told him I thought the chemo going through my system really irritated the skin in that area. He nodded and told me its "chemo recall". Huh? Apparently since the combo of radiation and 5FU was so hard on my system this summer, everytime I have the 5FU now, it reacts somewhat like it did during radiation--my body "remembers" the bad things it did to my skin then! I'm finding there are alot of things I wasn't told by my radiation doc! I can get these fistula things, bladder infections, etc. for a long time after radiation is over.
Well, wasn't that fun? I want others with colon cancer to know ALL the side effects, especially if they have radiation also, like I did.
Tomorrow I am planning on staying home! I've got a ton of mail and a pile of papers to go through, plus bills to pay. I think Thurs. Lys and I might look a 2nd time at an apartment, then she want to make a decision, so she can move in on Jan. 1st (which happens to be her 22nd birthday!). Yikes! What will I do without her here??? She'll have to come spend the day with me on my bad days--she's so good to me I'm sure she will anyways. Thankfully, I'll be almost done with chemo by then!
Enough for now! Time to go to bed!
ps If none of this makes sense--blame the percoset :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Round 5, Day 7 (Thanksgiving!) and 8

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

I put up a few pictures to show just some of the photos my sister gave Shonna to put all over my living room. They are for me to look at and to help me feel better. And 1 pic is of one of the flower bouquets she gave me. Isn't she special?
Today has been a little better, which is what I hoped for. Still no energy, and a little nausea, but I was able to do a few dishes and sit out in the living room for awhile. I've been going through the ads and making lists! No, I won't be shopping tomorrow (we are having our dinner tomorrow), but some things are on sale all weekend, and I might do some online shopping too.

Saturday we are going shopping for bridesmaid dresses for Alyssa and Jaren's ceremony and reception. I'll probably have to sit down alot, but that's ok. We are just going to one shop.

Other side effects: tingling of hands and feet (mild) and tingling of my lips too--weird. The inside of my mouth feels like its coated with something, and its kind of roughed up. Nothing tastes very good. I dream of the day I can have ice water again! Its almost the worst thing about chemo!

Can't wait to have Rachel, Ken and Brennan here tomorrow! Brennan is not letting them get much sleep! I'm glad Ken has a few days off! Its going to be tough on Rachel when he goes back to work. Brennan needs more attention than the average newborn, and Rachel needs to take care of herself too. Maybe her sisters can help out so she can get a nap now and then :).
I'll check in tomorrow! Hope everyone is having a GREAT time with family and friends. Thanksgiving is a good time to give thanks for family--and to forgive those family members we might not always be thankful for! Don't waste time arguing--you never know how long you'll have with your family--enjoy each other!!
Love to all!
Day 8
Wow, an exhausting day, but in a good way! We had our Thanksgiving dinner today, and it was a very nice time with family! Holding Brennan was such a wonderful feeling! He is doing very well, even tho he still has oxygen and a monitor (which beeps quite a bit!). Rachel and Ken take such good care of him.
I didn't sleep well again last night--when I wake up in the middle of the night I usually can't get back to sleep. During the day I was able to do some work, then rest and play on the computer, then get up and do some more, etc. Rich keeps asking if I'm ok, and although I am very tired, I am ok. Tiredness isn't going to hurt me! If I can't sleep tonight, I think I'll take an Ambien. I can take them even in the early morning hours, as long as I have about 4 or 5 hours to sleep. Tomorrow afternoon we have an appt. at a bridal shop to look at bridesmaid dresses. That should be fun, and I'm sure I can find a place to sit when needed.
I think the worst side effects are over now. The tiredness never goes away completely now, like it did for my earlier rounds of chemo. I still get weak showering, going up or down the steps, or doing anything physical! And there is the ever present cold sensitivity. But other than that, I'm hoping the rest of this round goes well!
I'll be back tomorrow!
Blessings to all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Round 5, Day 5 and 6

Not much new to report today. But I am pleasantly surprised that these last 2 days have been better than last round.
Moving around is difficult. I shuffle and feel like I'm moving through wet cement! Got very weak in the shower, and had to keep a hand on the wall so I wouldn't fall over. But I was able to do a few things too, like pick up some of my clothes that's been piling up--one item at a time, and very slowly. The brain fog isn't nearly as bad. I do get sleepier after I nap--I never quite wake all the way back up. I force myself to stay awake until bedtime.
Not too much nausea today. Haven't taken any pills yet.
I will do a 3rd Neupogen shot in a little while. Haven't had much back pain, so don't think its working as quickly as usual.
The cold sensitivity is fading slightly. I can drink room temp things now.

Brennan has had a good day, and might be able to come home tomorrow! I really hope so!

A BIG thank you to my wonderful sister, Dee. This week she printed huge family pics (taken by Shonna) that are now all over my living room walls, she bought me flowers for both the kitchen and my bedroom, she bought me a couple of comedy videos, and she made us meatloaf for supper tonight! She wanted me to have nice things to look at when I'm feeling sick and depressed. How wonderful!! Thank you so much big sister!

That's all for today!
Blessings to all!

Day 6
First of all I have to say that my wonderful grandson, Brennan, finally came home from the hospital today!! We are so happy to finally have him in his own home.
As for me, the side effects have been slightly worse today. More nausea--took a compazine and then later an ativan. I also have some back pain--not bad, but annoying--from the neupogen shots. And I've had a headache off and on. I'm not letting things get me down though. I know that soon I will come out of this funk and start feeling better. I do feel a little panic now and then when I think of Thanksgiving being here! But then I remember that its just the kids and Dee, and no one cares what the house looks like! And they are all going to help with the meal.
When things start to get to be too much for me I remember to pray and thank God for all my blessings.
This is my 3rd day hibernating in my room. I'm hoping tomorrow I can get around a little more and do some picking up and such. We'll see--one day at a time :)
Love ya all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Round 5, Day 3 and 4

Today I had my pump removed about 2:30. Its always so nice to have it disconnected! I slept better last night, but was ready for a nap about 2 hours after getting up! I finally did take a nap after the nurse left. I slept for about 2 hours and feel much better, although it was hard to wake up!
Took my 3rd and last Emend pill this morning. It really seems to help with the nausea. It works for "delayed nausea", which is what I have because the nausea doesn't usually start until after I have my pump removed.
In a little while I'll do my Neupogen shot. Its on the counter now warming up a little (its kept in the fridge). I'll feel much better after I do the shot, because I won't have to worry so much about getting sick. I've stayed home all weekend and tried to avoid catching germs from my daughter who has been sick. When the nurse did my vitals today my temp was 99.2, and my blood pressure was way up. I don't remember the top #, but the bottom was 100! That's very high for me. I think its all related to my low WBC. She told me to drink plenty of fluids, which is hard to do when everything has to be warm! I'm drinking warmish Sunny Delight right now. Tastes better than warm water!
So, side effects over all aren't too bad today. Just tired, but not the mind-numbing fatigue yet. Cramps in legs and such are gone, and I'm taking Metamucil to help the plumbing keep going. Might have to switch to Senekot. Oh-I better take some Tylenol before my shot to help with the back pain! Can't forget that!
Brennan update: He might be able to come home as early as Tuesday! They took him off the monitors, and then took his feeding tube out!! Rachel and Ken will be staying at the hospital with him until he comes home. Rachel loved hearing his little grunts and noises all night. Its so neat that they get to stay there with him now.
That's all for today!

Day 4
Much more tired today. Shuffling around the house--its hard to get my body to move. The one good point is that my brain is more "with it" than last round at this time. I've spent most of the day in my bedroom. I've brought back the computer, store ads, books, etc.
Took a 2 hour nap this afternoon, and then turned on the tv to help me stay awake. I feel like I could have just stayed asleep for hours! When I woke up I had some nausea so I took a compazine, and then had an early supper. Rich brought home a roasted chicken, potatoes, gravy, and corn from the grocery store. Stomach still not too great, but better. I can take an Ativan later if I need to.
My 2nd Neupogen shot is warming on the counter. I'll do it around 6pm. Didn't have too much back pain with the first shot. If I don't have much back pain with the 2nd, I'll have to do one tomorrow too. Most people have to do 3 anyway. Its just that I usually don't need 3.
Well, overall not horrible! Not as quite bad as the Monday of last round. I expect tomorrow to be the worst day--but praying its no worse than today.

Just heard from Rachel. Brennan's feeding tube had to go back in, because he hasn't been eating well enough. They increased the amount of calories they add to the milk, so he is gaining weight again. We are still hoping he'll be home sometime this week!

Bye for now!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Round 5, Day 1 and 2

So I'm going to start my log of round 5. I think I'll just add to this blog for a few days, then start a new one for the next 3 days or so, and so on until its time for round 6. Follow along if you want!

Today I probably shouldn't have had chemo because my neutrophils and overall white blood cell counts were pretty low. The doc let me go ahead, knowing I respond quickly to neupogen shots, and knowing that I wouldn't be able to have Thanksgiving at all if we waited until next week. He did say we are taking a risk, and I should wear a mask if I'm around anyone sick (remember before he told me I didn't need a mask?). I need to watch for fevers and signs of infection, and call immediately with any concerns. I wasn't too worried until I went back to the infusion room to start chemo and my nurse (who had seen my blood counts) was REALLY surprised the doc was letting me get chemo. She assumed I wasn't. She said that's the lowest she's seen the doc allow. THEN I started to worry! But really I'm not too concerned. Unfortunately Shonna is sick with a cold, but she's been sick alot this Fall and I haven't caught anything yet. She's good about washing her hands and I put out a separate hand towel in the bathroom just for me to use. I'll stay home for the next few days too--no running to Target or going out to eat. I have to do a shot on Sunday, after my pump is disconnected, then one on Monday. Tuesday I won't need to do a shot if I get a lot of back pain from it on Sun and Mon, because the back pain indicates the bone marrow is making more white blood cells. If I don't have much pain, then I'll do a 3rd shot on Tues. Then 2 days before my next chemo I'll do one more shot. Last round I did 2 shots at home and didn't have much pain at all, which was unusual.

Side effects for today are: cramping of hands, calves, lips, and throat, and extreme cold sensitivity in my hands and feet. My calves are twitching as I sit here and I do a funny stiff legged walk. The throat thing makes it a little hard to swallow, and I have to keep it warm or it gets worse. Other than the cold sensitivity, the other cramping and such should be gone tomorrow. I feel a little tired and out of it, but not too bad.

Brennan update:
Rachel was very excited when she called me this afternoon. Brennan exceeded his minimum amount of milk at the 3pm check today! (and he pooped on his own too!) He is finally making HUGE improvements. Rachel and Ken are spending the weekend in a family room at the hospital and will have Brennan in the room with them. We might actually have him here for Thanksgiving! I'm soooo excited. Alyssa and Shonna have never held their nephew and really want to see him too.

Oh, I wanted to add something about Jaren too--he and a few other guys are leaving the Basra base and heading up near Baghdad. Something about driving around a General. Anyway, please pray for his safety. He should be heading back to the US (Utah, I think) for some training on Dec. 30th, then home around Feb 1st. Alyssa and I have been apartment hunting, and she hopes to move into someplace Jan 1st, so it will be all ready for Jaren when he comes home. Its tough to make that final decision on an apartment tho! She's being very thorough and I know she will make the right choice.

Tomorrow I'll add to this blog, and change the title to "Round 5, Day 1 and 2".

Until then, take care everyone!!

I didn't sleep very much last night, only a few hours. The decadron they give me in my IV with the Zofran keeps me awake. Hopefully I can sleep tonight! I do have Ambien to take, but I don't like to take it with the steroid. Not sure why, just seems like too many drugs at once.
I still have some muscle cramps, but not as bad as yesterday. I've had a little nausea when my stomach gets hungry, so have been snacking alot today.
Took my second Emend pill at 12:30. They give me 1 larger dose pill before chemo, then I take a smaller 1 for the 2 days after. I also take Zofran first thing in the morning and then Decadron after I eat. Then I take them both at bedtime too. I'll continue the Zofran for several days, but only take Decadron til tomorrow, then I'll be done with that. Although, I might try a Decadron on one of my really bad days to see if it perks me up a little. I mentioned it to the nurse, and she agreed that it might help a little, and said to just take one in the morning.
Shonna is still sick with a bad sore throat and stuffy head. I wanted her to go to a Minute Clinic or urgent care today, but she worked instead. She was going to leave early, but decided not to. Maybe tomorrow before she works at 1. I will be relieved when I finally do my Neupogen shot tomorrow eve. to raise my white blood count!
Thanks Ken for the info on the masks again. I'm not going to make Shonna wear a mask, but I do worry about surfaces she touches, even tho she is good about washing her hands. I wipe stuff down with disinfectant wipes.
Thank you to the Bridgewood folks for the 2 meals this week!! Much appreciated! Rich was just going to have cereal last night, but instead we all had yummy soup (and too much cake :)
Tomorrow I'll start a new blog--this one is getting too long. :)

Today is Round 5

After today I'll have just 3 rounds left. Sounds good to me! This round I'm going to keep a log of side effects each day. I find when I come out of the fog I can't remember much of those 3 or 4 days that I feel so lousy. So each day, I'm going to write a little about how I'm doing. I'll start tonight, unless, of course, I can't have chemo today.
I've had a busy, but good week. I just have to remember that I can't do as much shopping/running around as I used to. I get tired pretty quickly, even on my best days. I've been apartment hunting with Alyssa, and have shopped til I dropped! I had a 30% coupon for Kohl's and I spent alot of money on new clothes for myself, because I had nothing that fit me! I usually don't spend much on myself, but I enjoyed buying smaller clothes :) . Yesterday Alyssa and I helped my mom make apple pies for Thanksgiving--yum! Mom will be going up to my brother's for Thanksgiving, but she made a pie to leave here for us. I LOVE apple pie!
We have our Thanksgiving dinner all planned out, and it should be a nice time. I'll be tired, and I'll probably over do it, but it will be so nice to have all the kids around at once. We will really miss Jaren though. The holidays are going to be a little tough for Alyssa, (and I'm sure Jaren too!), but we'll keep her busy and do our best to help her enjoy it!
We are still hoping to have Brennan with us. He is finally showing some big improvements and is getting most of his feeds by himself, instead of through the feeding tube. They are doing cue-based feedings, which means they feed him "on demand". They wait until he lets them know he is hungry, and he's very good at letting them know! Twice a day they make up what he's missed through the tube, because they have a minimum amount set that he needs each day. He's over 7 lbs now! His due date is next Tues. the 24th.
Well, I'm going to get a few things done before chemo--we have a late appt. today--we don't need to leave until noon.
Take care!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Fog is Lifting--Send Me Your Favorite Bible Verse!

I have a few Bible verses that I turn to when I am having a rough time. Maybe some of you have a good verse that you turn to when things are tough? I would love it if you would share them with me, so I can add them to my word doc.
Today is already a better day. I am very weak, but my brain is much clearer! I was actually able to carry on a conversation this morning! Showering is always difficult--my legs were very shaky today! But the hot water feels so good. :)
My hair is really thinning now. The past few days I've been losing a lot of it each time I shower or brush it. I'm hoping to get a shorter haircut soon, then I might have to go hat shopping!
Thanks, Whidbey, for the the ideas about the holidays. I know my health is more important at this time, but I'm a mom, and of course I don't want to "ruin" everyone's holiday. I'll try to set it aside and not worry about it. :-)
In my blog from last Friday (I think), I mentioned that the doc said light exercise helps the fatigue. I think he meant the normal fatigue one gets from chemo, not what I've been through the past few days! I could barely move from the bed or chair I was in! The next few days I should try and move more, to regain some of my strength. Today, just walking around the house is enough. I'm trying to get up and move around more.
I FINALLY got my new tv for the bedroom. Thanks to my hubby for letting me get one--he's always been against a tv in the bedroom. Not very romantic ;). Unfortunately it doesn't work without an antennae or cable hook up, so it'll be a few days before it works.
Don't know if my cousin Jill has a chance to read this, but just want her to know that she is in my prayers as she battles lymphoma. You can do this! And PLEASE accept help from others. People really do want to help, and they really do care about you. Love you!!
Hope to get a bunch of Bible verses from you all!
Thanks for the love and prayers; I pray for blessings for each of you all the time!
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trying to Count My Blessings

Some days its not so easy. Today was a rough day for me. Its the 3rd day of mind-numbing tiredness, and I'm starting to feel trapped. I can't explain the fatigue. I can barely move. I force myself to get out of bed and then sit and stare at tv. I AM thankful the nausea isn't too bad. Today was the first time in a long time that I've just wanted to quit. But I HAVE to finish this. I HAVE to fight this cancer. Thanks to everyone's prayers, I am feeling better tonight. I put a blurb on my facebook, and soon had several people praying for me and encouraging me. You guys have no idea how much your support means to me. I have 4 more rounds left. Right now that sounds like a lot to me! But its just 2 more months. I can do this.*sigh*
I really miss seeing my grandson, I miss doing the dishes (really!), I miss being a part of my kids' lives. Everything gets put on hold for a few days. I'm worried about Thanksgiving now. Don't think I'm going to be able to do it this year. I hate focusing on myself and my needs, but that's what I have to do right now. Only 2 more months.... I'm so grateful for my family. They are so good to me.
Brennan is still in the hospital. Rachel said he had a good day yesterday. He needs to eat more on his own. His little digestive system is still immature. Rachel said his little personality is starting to come through and he is a good baby! Keep up the prayers for Rachel, Ken and Brennan!
I also want to remind everyone of Jaren, serving our country in Basrah, Iraq. I am so proud of my son-in-law! We can't wait for him to be home. I want to have a Thanksgiving/Christmas party for him in Feb. when he is home with us.
Time for bed! I've actually been awake since about 4 pm, and am grateful the fog is starting to lift!
Thanks again for prayers and support. Words cannot express how grateful I am.

God bless you all,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chemo Was a GO-->Round 4!

Judging by my back pain, I knew my white blood cell count would be way up. Its way over the range. So I was able to do round 4 today--which means I'm halfway done!! 4 more to go! I'm happy we didn't need to delay it more than 2 days. Now I'll be on a Fri thru Sun. schedule. Get chemo and my 5FU pump on Friday, and get pump disconnected 46 hours later on Sunday. A nurse comes to the house to disconnect me.

Dr. J, my oncologist, wants me to do 2 more Neupogen shots. 1 on Monday, and 1 on Tues. I don't quite get why I should do them so early in my cycle, esp. when my counts are way up, but I guess he just wants to make sure they stay up. I grumbled a bit when my nurse told me, but then I figured I'm gonna be feeling like crap anyway, so what's a little back pain? Nbd. By the way, I just want to say that my nurses are awesome. I couldn't have asked for a better place to be treated for my cancer!

I am doing the Emend again this cycle. At first I didn't think it helped that much, but looking back I think it did. Both Rich and my mom said they thought I did better. As for the fatigue, I told my doc on Wed. that I basically sleep through 4 days (even when I'm awake I'm so out of it I may as well be sleeping). He said even tho it sounds ridiculous, light exercise has been shown to help with the fatigue. I must have given him an odd look because he said "I know it sounds crazy!". I love my doctor! So I will try to get out for short walks and maybe use my exercise ball that's collecting dust in the corner. I'll let you know what happens. No promises that I'll do it!

My platelets are way down. Bottom of the range is 150, and I was 103 on Wed. and 100 today. Still acceptable for chemo. I think the doc told me once that we can do chemo until it gets around 70. Then chemo would be delayed until the # comes back up. They don't do a platelet infusion until you are almost down to no platelets, or you start having bleeding problems.

Little baby B is starting to perk up and eat more. Still not enough to come home, but finally some improvement!

Thanks to my mom, my sister, and friends Carol and Jeanne for the food donations! As usual, they were very grateful at the cancer center!

My hands are pretty stiff and crampy, so its taken me a long time to type this! There are probably a few typos I didn't catch!

Hope all is well with everyone--send me some updates!
Love you all!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No Chemo Today

My white blood cells (specifically neutrophils) are too low for chemo today. I will do a Neupogen shot at home today and tomorrow, then go back on Friday. If my labs look better on Friday I can have chemo. 2 weeks ago when I did my shots I didn't have all the pain I usually do, and I didn't do the full shot--I did 300mcg. This time the doc wants me to do the full shot both days (480mcg), so I am a little worried that it will cause me more spine pain. I've already taken 3 ibuprofen, and I'll take 2 Tylenol in 2 hours, and keep alternating them for a few days. I'll do my shot in a few minutes--I'm letting it warm a little since its stored in the fridge.
Its always a little disappointing to not have chemo when you expect to, but there is always a silver lining--I can have another smoothie. :) I have some frozen berries, so I think I'll just make one here at home. Again, I have to let it melt some before I drink it,(and wear gloves to touch the frozen stuff!) but at least I can tolerate it cold.
Love and blessings!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Round 4 and Baby B Pictures!

Rich and I got to hold our little grandson for the first time on Saturday. We all hope he can come home soon. He's doing well, but his digestive system is still too immature.
I've had a busy few days! Went to the high school football game (great game!! We won!) It was fun to see Alyssa's cheerleaders in action! It was only in the 40's, so I was pretty cold and tingly--but I made it through!

Tomorrow is my 4th chemo. So I'll be halfway done! I think the nausea was a little better last time with the Emend, but not much. But I'll take what I can get! Tomorrow will be a rough day. I'm especially worried about the cold. I'll have my scarf and hot tea again at the end of chemo to keep my throat from freezing up. That was not a good feeling when that happened last spring! Then Thurs. I feel a little better, and Friday afternoon or evening the nausea starts. Then I sleep for the next 4 days or so! My "good" days were not so energetic this time! I feel tired each day, but its not too bad. I had my "day before chemo smoothie" today! I have to let it melt alot first, but at least I can drink it. Yum! I've found Sunny Delight, like orange juice, tastes pretty good warmed up, so I have another option for getting something to drink.

Thank you to those that donated treats for the cancer center! They will be so appreciative tomorrow! All the volunteers and nurses say thanks and tell everyone we brought in treats. I wish all you who donated could be there to see how grateful everyone is!

Thanks also for the wonderful soup Carol and Janet. Carol, it tasted GREAT, and we still have a little left over. We'll be enjoying Janet's beef barley soup tomorrow. It makes me feel good to know my family is getting a good meal once in awhile! Thanks so much!!

Hope everyone enjoys the nice weather we'll be having this weekend! Spend time with loved ones and count your blessings!

Love ya all!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Midnight Musings

Ok, more like 1:30am to 4am :)
First a little update. I'm feeling pretty good, but have come to realize that I may not have anymore of those "full of energy" days that I've come to expect. Yesterday Rich and I went grocery shopping and I was surprised at how leaden my legs felt! The chemo fatigue is gone, but I still have been tired a lot more than I expected. Just another adjustment I need to make--remember I've had to learn to take things "one day at a time"! I can't plan on feeling one way or another--it is what it is. :)
So, as I'm lying awake in the wee hours of the morning, I start thinking about my future, or possible lack there of. I usually forbid my brain to go there, but once in awhile I let my thoughts progress. Sometimes I hope, through the Holy Spirit, that God will give me a glimpse of my future, that maybe somehow I can get a "sense" of whether or not I'll be around to see my grandson grow up. What came to me last night, is an image of David and Goliath. I am "David" and obviously Goliath is the cancer. The stone in my slingshot is the perfect stone that God helped me pick from the creek--it represents the chemo that I throw at my cancer. God, of course, is guiding the chemo and doctors, just like He guided that stone to Goliath's forehead. This doesn't necessarily mean I'll have a long future, but it does reassure me that God "has my back" and is standing with me in this fight. I am so humbled and grateful, I can't even put it in words how it makes me feel.
Before this image came to mind, I was wondering if I should read more about my prognosis, or continue to "bury my head in the sand". I am definitely a person that likes to be informed! But what would be the purpose? Everyone's cancer is different, no matter what the studies say. If a website says I have x% chance of getting the cancer back, what does that really mean? Of what use would it be to know? I might be the other % that doesn't get it back. I already know I'll need to take precautions--regular tests, healthier diet and more exercise. So, once again, I've decide not to look into it. Its all in God's hands anyway, and that's where I place my trust. His plans for me are good. :-)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE." Jeremiah 29:11
Love and Blessings!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The "Not Much Sleep Days" Are Here!

The title sounds like it would be a bad thing--but it means I'm feeling much better and my brain is on overdrive again! In the wee hours of the morning I've come up with Christmas ideas, and pretty much remodeled my whole house!! I even took the time to write my house ideas down, so maybe we can at least get some painting done this winter. No money for most of my other ideas! I have to save for a wedding reception :) (and college, and...etc).
Most of the nausea is gone (only 1 pill yesterday afternoon, and none so far today!), and my tiredness is more a result of lack of sleep than chemo. SOOO much better than a few days ago!

I can't believe its already Thursday. There is alot I should be doing, but I'm just gonna play around on the computer, take care of a few bills, and maybe start that paint-by-number I bought. I have to say, I don't feel as guilty taking it easy as I used to! I'll keep that to-do list for tomorrow :0).
Last chemo round I talked to my oncologist about delaying my 7th round (supposed to be Dec. 16th) until after Christmas, so I can enjoy the holiday a little more. He said that would be fine! That pushes my last round into January, but that's fine with me. It'll soon be over anyway, and I want to enjoy Christmas with my family (esp. my new grandson!!).
Speaking of Brennan, they took him off the caffeine (prevents apnea spells) and last night he had another spell. That might set back when he gets to come home. We really want him home, but we know he is safe and well taken care of where he is. Poor Rachel is getting tired of all the running back and forth tho! She's such a good mama!
That's it for now!
Love and Blessings to everyone!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trying to Hang In There!

Each day I wake up and think that this day will be better than the previous one, but so far each one has been a little worse! I have been sleeping for most of the last 4 days. I'm trying to stay awake now for a while, but soon I'll be back in bed. The nausea is a little worse today too. I'm thankful, tho, that I don't have a lot of pain or vomiting. So, I guess, all in all, nausea and fatigue are bearable. I can't wait til I get out of this brain fog, and start living again--tomorrow maybe?

We finally have a sunny day--but by the time I feel well enough to go outside, we'll be back to cold and clouds. What an awful Fall we are having--I guess it kind of fits with my mood! Maybe we'll get some sun in November.

Brennan is getting closer to coming home. Other than some tummy troubles he is doing really well. My sister has a herniated disk in her back and has been mostly bedridden for over 2 weeks! Wish I was in better shape to help her out! I can pray though! Hang in there Dee!! Thanks Aunt Lois and friend Diane for the cards! Cards and e-mails are much appreciated!!

Hope everyone else is doing well! Keep me updated!



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thank God for Sunshine!

I'm so glad its a sunny day. It really helps my mood. And when I'm laying in bed with nausea, it makes the backyard so pretty to look at, shining on the yellow and rust colored trees.

Yesterday Rachel took me to get my pump disconnected and get my neupogen shot. I could've driven myself if I had to, but am thankful she brought me, just because I was very tired. And my nurses finally got to meet her! Of course they've seen pics of her and Brennan, so they were very happy to meet her!

I did my 2nd neupogen shot today. So far not much back pain. I get a smaller dose than before, and I take ibuprofen and Tylenol to ward off the pain.

Major side effects now are nausea and fatigue. Finally managed to get in the shower, but not enough energy to shave my legs! It did feel good, though, to stand under the nice warm water. I am running a low temp too, from my low white blood cell count. Hopefully that will go away now with the 2nd shot. So far there is no change in my nausea with the Emend. We'll give it a few days and see how I do. I'm going to take some ginger next time I eat too. Its hard to take everything I need to, because I like to spread my pills out and not take too many at the same time! Which reminds me--I better take my Prilosec, or all these drugs give me heartburn!

Brennan is doing great. He's near 5 lbs, if not over, and hasn't had an apnea spell in a while. Can't wait til he comes home!! Rachel is very busy running back and forth to the hospital! But she looks great, and healed quickly after her c-section.

That's it for now.
Prayer requests--that I get through the next few days ok, for Brennan, and for Jaren in Iraq (and Alyssa waiting patiently for him to come home!)
Love and blessings!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Now I Have Five

My oncologist, Dr. J, added another anti-nausea drug-->Emend. I took one pill today, then I take 1 on Friday and 1 on Saturday. So now I have 5: Emend, Zofran, Decadron, Ativan, and Compazine. I've heard good stuff about Emend from fellow bloggers. Dr. J said it is good for delayed nausea. I told him the nausea doesn't usually start until Friday night, but of course since I said that I've already started feeling nauseous. Oh well, hopefully it will go away til Friday.

My blood counts were low again. Hemoglobin is up to 11.2, which is better than it has been. Neutrophils (pmn absolute is the test name) are down to .9 (range is 1.8 to 7.7). Neutrophils are part of the white blood cells. We were able to do chemo today, but I will have to get a neupogen shot on Friday and Saturday. I only have 1 shot left here at home, so Friday I will go back to the Cancer Care Center to get my pump disconnected (instead of a nurse coming to the house) and they will give me a shot, then I will do the 2nd one on Saturday at home. I'll order some more shots from our insurance's specialty pharmacy to have at home for next time. I can get 3 at a time. They cause me alot of pain, so I will make sure I take 3 Ibuprofen first, and then alternate that with Tylenol for a day or 2. I still feel little electrical shocks up my spine, but they only last a few seconds. But the shots work fast and my wbc levels shoot right up!

I'm having difficulty swallowing. I thought it would be better by this evening. I'm carefully nibbling on oyster crackers, but sometimes I really struggle to swallow. The Dr. said its from the cold sensitivity--the throat has spasms. My hands, legs, lips, and even tongue all cramp up now and then. And I have a bad headache, and for some reason, I sneeze everytime I get home from chemo. I think its the 5FU in my pump, because it seems to stop after I have the pump removed. Overall, not feeling too great! But these problems are usually just the day of chemo, then they go away. Except for the cold sensitivity, but the cramping stops.

So that's my little update! Hoping tomorrow will be a little better, and this Emend stuff helps for the rest of the week.
Take Care everyone! Thanks for checking in!
Oh! I wanted to mention that the cancer center was almost COMPLETELY out of snacks today. They were discussing who wanted to make a trip to Sam's Club tonight. The nurses spend their own money on snacks when needed. Rich and I showed up with some stuff we had bought, and some generously donated by someone at SJM (Rich's work). They were so thrilled to have the snacks!! SJM employees-- You guys are AWESOME! Thanks for all the baby gifts too!! Anyways, my point was that more donations are needed, if anyone can help out. Don't feel bad if you aren't able to help at this time! Donations should be individually packaged snacks--crackers (plain or with cheese, peanut butter, etc), cookies, granola bars, small soup cans, and anything else you think would be good, but they must all be single serving packages. Thanks!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Been Busy!

Isn't Brennan adorable?? He's hangin' on to Grandpa!

It seems I've had something going on almost everyday this past week, starting with Shonna's birthday dinner last Tuesday. Being busy is good, but sometimes I just like to hang out at home and get stuff done, esp. on my good days. I did finally get to touch my grandson on Sunday! He is doing really well, and sooo cute! Hopefully he can come home in a couple of weeks. I've been doing some Christmas shopping for him already. The hard part of shopping early is waiting until Christmas to give the gifts!

Today I had my "girl time". I went to the school to help out for a while, then I sat in the lounge to chat with everyone. I really enjoy it. I go in every 2 weeks. I told the teacher I help that I can do projects at home too, so she might, occasionally, send stuff home with my neighbor who also works at the school.

On Saturday Rich and I went to a benefit for Rich's brother's roommate, who has mesothelioma. We bid on a night at Grand Casino and got it! It wasn't necessarily a good deal, but that's not what its about. And it was cheaper than we'd spend anywhere else. We plan on going in 2 weeks. We don't gamble much--probably because I would spend way too much if given the chance! So we'll definitely set a limit. I've heard they have a great buffet there. We really enjoy our little get-a-ways. It feels like we are getting away from the cancer too. I can't wait!

The good days are already getting fewer. This last round it took until the following Thurs. (8 days after chemo) before most of the nausea was gone. And the cold sensitivity is really not going completely away. I have been able to eat/drink cold stuff the last few days, but not frozen stuff. I got a Wildberry Smoothie from Caribou today, but had to take little sips until it was mostly melted. But it sure was yummy!

Well, tomorrow is round 3 of 8. I'm so not looking forward to it. I feel so crummy by the time I leave. I have to wear gloves and a scarf. Breathing cold air makes my throat freeze up, and I get leg, lip, and hand cramps. I usually have a bad headache and can't sleep the first night. Everything eases up slightly the following 2 days, then the nausea and fatigue kick in. Oh well, I'm almost halfway done! There's always a bright side, right? The best part is the weight loss! I've lost about 22 lbs since this all started. :-)

Well, see ya all on the other side!



ps My sister is going to start putting together something for meals again. (pray for her--she hurt her back and is in a lot of pain right now!!) So, be on the lookout for an e-mail or phone call from her. We don't need a lot, just a few meals now and then is REALLY nice. Thanks to everyone who has helped us in the past!! Please know that we really appreciate it!!!