Monday, October 29, 2007


I recently registered to walk in a 5K non-competitive walk at the zoo on November 11, with proceeds to benefit the Lymphoma Research Foundation. I was happy to see that the walk is not on a chemo weekend for me, so I'll be able to do it. And with the bits of exercise I've been doing, I am strong enough to walk 5K.

If you would like to make a donation to me or to my walking team (or would like to join my walking team), please go to

(If you want to join or donate to the team, click on the blue "My Team Page" just above the photo.)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

feeling better

well, after a not-so-pleasant four-day weekend, i am feeling better today. i went to the doctor's office to get blood taken (through the PICC), and they gave me saline for hydration. i felt much better afterwards. i'm able to eat a bit now, too. so, things are back on an upswing :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

don't read if you don't want to hear about puking

My stomach has felt pretty close to puking since Saturday. I've been making sure to eat kind of regularly, as being hungry only makes it worse. I've also been taking my anti-nausea pills, which, frankly, aren't having the desired effect.

The scales finally tipped last night. I went to bed feeling not good at all and woke up at one to relieve myself of some spaghetti and some oatmeal with raisins. Not the best items to have twice. I went back to bed, where I learned I could lay on my back and feel kind of OK, but as soon as I tilted to either side (didn't even need to get all the way over), I felt massively sick again.

Problem: I can't sleep on my back. I almost always sleep on my left side, sometimes on my tummy, occasionally on my right side.

So I laid until 2:30, when the tummy decided there was still a little left that it needed to get rid of.

When TJ woke up at 6:20 this morning, I was still awake and miserable.

It's a little bit better now - I have gotten some sleep, and I have been able to lay on either side without incident. At some point, I'm going to need to eat. Really not looking forward to that...

Mere typed words cannot express how badly I don't want the last two treatments to be like this — or worse. I think if it gets worse, he'll call off the chemo. I'm going to get blood taken tomorrow. I'll talk to the nurses about it then.

Good news is that, unlike at 2:30 this morning, I don't feel like I'm on the fast track back to the hospital. And I took my temp this morning and don't have a fever, so it could be worse...

There are people for whom their whole treatment is like this or worse. I would have withered long ago....

Friday, October 19, 2007

chemo #10, dumb nurse, new PICC, etc.

It was nice to have time off from the PICC and from the chemo. It took almost all four weeks before the smaller side effects went away (loss of appetite, various bowel issues, trouble sleeping), but by Tuesday of this week, I was feeling pretty normal. The chemo will take care of that, of course, but it was nice to have a couple of days of relative normalcy. I was very grateful to miss a treatment cycle — the Thursday that I would have had my last treatment I still felt pretty crappy. The body wasn't ready for more poison yet.

Ten down, two to go.

Yesterday's treatment was about the same as any other. I have decided that the treatment break gave my body enough time off that I will react to these last three more like I did to earlier ones and not more recent ones (the earlier treatments had less side effects that went away fairly quickly, were more predictable, and were generally less unpleasant). My body is agreeing so far.

I had the PICC put back in on Wednesday. It was an OK experience. Hurt a little while it was going in. Hurt much more for the rest of the day and yesterday. Today it's a little sore, but it's much better than it was. I figure that in another day or two, it should be relatively unnoticeable. By then, it will only have three-and-a-half weeks until it comes back out :)

The home nurses came today to change the dressing. Normally that would be kind of silly, since it's only two days old, but it was bloody and gross to look at, so I was glad to have it changed.

There were two nurses today — the one who will be here each week and the one who is in charge of this area. The one in charge of the area felt compelled to tell me several negative stories, the purpose of which I just don't understand. One story was about a woman she knew (or knew of?) who died from having a thoracentesis (the procedure I had twice to get the fluid out from around my lungs). One was a cautionary tale of how all treatments are different, even with the same person, and that all can be well for many treatments, then all of a sudden, all sorts of nasty things happen. Thanks. One was an explanatory story about why I might need to keep my PICC in longer than the end of treatment — because some lady had a PICC and finished treatment and then her cancer recurred and she needed more chemo. Is that story *really* necessary? I don't get people sometimes... But I shouldn't need to see her any more, so it's more OK than it would be if she was my regular weekly nurse.

My hair is growing back in nicely. It looks to be about the same color, texture and style as it was before: brown, soft, straight. No "chemo curl" here, unless it's delayed ;) Right now it's still thinner than it was before it fell out, but it's thick enough to look normal. It almost looks like I have this 'do on purpose.

Chemo ends in four weeks, Thanksgiving in five weeks, return to work in five and a half. Radiation likely to start in eight weeks — merry Christmas — and hopefully will end in twelve weeks ... and then it'll all be over and life can return to normal. I'm very much looking forward to eating well, sleeping well, having my regular energy and workout routine back. It'll also be nice to be rid of chemo-nose — this heightened sense of smell is particularly unpleasant with Peanut (and his accidents) around. And while I very much enjoy all of the cards that I have been receiving, it'll be kinda nice just to get bills and junk mail again. Funny, no?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

looking back, looking forward

Well, the last rounds of chemo loom ominously.

I have had 4 fabulous weeks since my last chemo treatment, 4 weeks without the PICC in my arm. It's been good.

I didn't feel as good as I had thought/hoped/planned to feel during much of those four weeks, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Given how I was feeling two weeks ago, I was very grateful to be missing a treatment.

But now, within the last two or three days, I have all regular body functions back: I have an appetite, I am able to use the bathroom without a laxative, I am able to sleep without Benadryl.

Exercise still completely wipes me out, though I was able to bike to my blood draw yesterday morning without napping in the afternoon. Slept well last night. I have been able to go walk/jogging a few times, done some pushups and situps and other such nonsense. It feels good to exercise :)

Since I went to see Dr. Oncology a week early, it has been five weeks since I've seen him. Not sure what I'll say to him tomorrow, if anything.

I went and had my PICC put back in this morning. The PICC nurse, as it turns out, remembers me from when they tried to put in an IV that nasty day over the summer (when several nice ladies tried and failed). There are quite a few people in the hospital who remember me from that day, which is a bit embarrassing. I made sure to point out, when she was done, that I made a fine patient today. She laughed and agreed.

Anyway, it's back in. My arm is pretty sore. It was pretty sore last time, too, but it went away within three or four days. I suspect the same will happen this time around as well.

I am hoping that the break from chemo will kind of "reset" the body's tolerance, and that this weekend will be more like early weekends were and less like recent weekends. They've been hitting harder lately, and I'm hoping not to pick up where I left off in that regard.

I only needed to deal with a few completely stupid cancer/chemo comments at the wedding reception. Not bad... Most people just asked how I was and walked away after my stock answer: "I feel good, or I wouldn't be here." A few were interested in more information, which I'm happy to share, but most of my conversations this past weekend were three to four sentences long. I hate that, but that's how it goes sometimes. I figure, half of those people probably wouldn't have talked to me at all if not for cancer. Which is better...?

Happily, I did have some nice conversations with people who I haven't talked with in a long time. That was nice.

Back to the cancer thing.

My hair has definitely grown in quite a bit. I'm not sure if it's thicker than it was last photo time (about a month ago), but it's longer, and it almost looks like I have this 'do on purpose. We'll see where it goes from here...

And that's about all for the moment. Chemo tomorrow morning. Then only two more...