Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday 2.29.2008 Leap Day

Day 3, Treatment #3

Today started ok, I think, I got up but didn't feel all that great. I prepared myself scrambled eggs with broccoli and cheese, thinking I might be able to taste it, and that it would be soft in my mouth. It was, but I didn't really taste it. I ate it anyway.

It felt like a bowling ball in my stomach, eventually digesting and moving on. Anything I swallow seems to sit there. Ok. I found myself dozing on the sofa, and Daniel went off to his golf lesson. I had a moment that I woke up, and decided to shower.

The shower felt really good, and I felt like a human for a moment. I took a Nexium, as Doctor has recommended, for the stomach pain.

I was hungry, and when Dan got back, I asked him if he would mind going to Taco Bell (can you believe that...), as I thought a bean burrito might be smooth, bland, maybe something I could taste, or swallow, or something. He went out and brought that back, along with something for himself.

I ate most of that, and it felt like another bowling ball. I called the nursing home and asked them to feed Elaine, and I went to lay down. I woke up at 6 pm, and way didn't feel that I could go. Daniel came in, and he agreed to take me tomorrow night if I was able to go. I called the home back and asked them to put Elaine to bed. Sorry, Mom, I just can't get there tonight.

I rolled over and went back to sleep until 7, then drug myself out to the living room and pretended to be awake on the sofa. Geesh. This feels horrible. I'm hot, and cold, and achy, and ?nauseated, and can't stay awake, and waves of stomach pain, where sometimes it's ok, but mostly it isn't. I have managed, throughout the day, to drink 24 ounces of water, though, and I have stayed awake to make this entry.

I'm going to refill my water, change into pj's, and go to bed.

Thanks for reading. I hope to feel to better soon.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday 2.28.2008 Treatment #3, Continued

Day 2, Treatment #3

I left you last night feeling swollen, "full" in the joints of my hands, shoulders, knees, hips, all over, generally. About 3:00 I had to go to the bathroom. I went, and went, and went, every hour, until I got up at 0730. I could tell the fluid shift happened, as my hands didn't feel nearly as tight as they did. Yippee!!

We got ready to go to the office. As I breakfasted, I noticed that it wasn't tasting as good as it had been, just yesterday.... We arrived at 0930 and got called right back to Treatment Room 7. This was a corner room with 2 windows, a little larger, and a brown leather chair with the swingy arm table. The larger TV was mounted between the doorframe and the upper cabinets, and the 2 side chairs were across from it, 90 degrees from me. Again, nothing on the walls except the calendar. After I took my coat off, I went down to the scale and weighed myself, 144.6, which is only .4 pounds higher. I did well this morning getting the fluid out...

Phyllis came in about 0940 and added a 250 ml bag of 0.9% normal saline to my iv site. It dripped well, right away. Praise the Lord!! She asked me how I did last night, I told her my stomach had started to hurt and I took a Nexium, which worked pretty good at relieving most of the discomfort. She offered that it's probably the dexamethasone (Decadron) that causes the stomach pain, and suggested taking the Nexium the day before the next treatment, the day of, and a couple of days after. Ok, thanks for the tip. She left the room and came back with the 50ml bag of Decadron and a 10ml syringe with fluid in it, and a needle on it at 0950. Oh?? What's that, I asked. The Aloxi, 0.25 mg. I'm just going to push it. She cleaned the port below the bag of normal saline, and stuck the needle in, and pushed some of the medicine in. She was quite chatty, and I started looking at my iv site. What's wrong, she asked. I told her the vein was aching. She pulled back on the plunger, pulling in some solution (maybe to dilute what was in the syringe?), waited a little, pushed a little more, pulled a little more solution in, and pushed some more, until it was all in. That process took maybe 5-8 minutes, I don't know. As I said, she was chatty, and I finally stopped talking with her and let Dan respond.

10:00 She pulled the needle out and put it in the sharps box, and turned her attention to the Decadron bag. I didn't realize that it was not infusing. She changed out the 250 ml bag of NS, which had maybe 100 ml gone from it, to a 1000ml bag, then opened the Decadron and got that running. The rates looked good, and she left the room.

1030 Decadron done; Phyllis had been going by the room often, as it was across from the bathroom, which was next to their workroom, so she had seen that it had infused. She came in, clamped off the Decadron, sped up the bulk, and handed me the sheet with the appointments for the lab draw next week Friday at 11:00, and the appointments for Treatment #4, March 19 at 0930, and March 20 at 10:00. And my blood results from yesterday, which were very similar to the results at the beginning of Treatment #2. Good. My body stabilizes all that stuff.

1040 Bathroom time.
Dan and I visited, looked at the Homes Across America, and watched the fluid infuse. I have thoughts of "this is going pretty good", and "we won't be here very long today", and the enormity or reality of the situation, the reason I'm here with fluid running into my vein. Wow. Cancer. And I think I'm doing pretty good with the treatment processes. So far.

1130 Phyllis comes in and injects the Neulasta 6 mg into the bottom of the right upper arm.

1145 Phyllis comes back and discontinues the IV -- wait, I think, there's still 150 ml or so of fluid in there... I have already drank the 20 ounce water I brought with me. She probably thinks I'm ok without this iv fluid.

Dan and I pack up the heating pad, notebook, pencil, water bottle, I go over to the bathroom again, and we leave. We are home at 12:05.

I notice that my legs are trying to get a little wobbly from the meds. I fixed myself some oatmeal--not just any oatmeal, I cooked it, then added walnuts, raisins, strawberries that Dan had cleaned and cut up yesterday, and vanilla and cinnamon. A touch of butter and maple syrup. Yummy.

I decided I would take my hairdresser up on the offer to come in this afternoon and get my hair trimmed up. I told her I could be there about 4, as she had offered last Saturday, and she said sure. I laid down and took a rest.

2:55 I'm up, heated up some chili, ate, and headed to Jackson. Well, Michigan Center. Lauretta greeted me, and washed my head. After combing my hair, it was dry. She laughed, said I had baby hair. Yup, that's what I thought, too. She cut it about and inch, inch and a half, or so, and we both thought it looked a lot better. What's left might fall out, but for now, it feels better.

After that, I went in to the Hospital for a Unit Meeting, since this is the only one I've been able to make in quite a while. It seems they fall on a workday, and that doesn't work out too well. That lasted until 6:30. Snacks had been brought in, and I had a bite and visited, and had to use the restroom. Afterwards, I went over to the nursing home.

Mom was sound asleep in the recliner. So asleep, her mouth was slack, open. That's always creepy to me when I see someone sleeping like that. She finally roused after a bit, and we got into the bathroom and ready for bed. She watched me move around, and was glad to see me, I think. One of the aides came in to help finish up and get her over to bed. Thank you, Aides, for taking good care of Elaine while I was gone.

Mom watched me, like she was searching for me, and I knelt down beside the bed to get into her line of vision. She was looking at me, searching my face, you know, how babies do when you're holding them. I talked to her, told her of my treatment yesterday and today, about the cancer, about the genetics. When I told her it probably wasn't in her blood, she tried to say something. I think she said Arthur. (her brother who had a bilateral mastectomy for breast cancer) Yes, I know about Arthur, I told her, but I don't have the cancer gene, and you probably don't either. She breathed, and took a long blink. When she opened her eyes, she looked up at my head. "I don't have much hair left, either, that's why I have this hat on." She moved her hand, and I asked her if she wanted to feel my head. She looked at me. I took my bandana off and placed her hand on my head. It took her a minute, but she was feeling it, stroking my head, and she looked at my eyes again. Like baby hair, I said. And she smiled.

I think that's the most interaction I've had with her in many years. I saw that her mouth was dry, I asked her if she wanted a drink. Instead of repositioning her to a sitting position, I finagled a cup of water and a straw, and dripped water from the straw into her mouth. That was good. Eventually, she sucked on the straw, and drank 2 small glasses of water, maybe 7 ounces total. She was done. She nodded her head. I asked her if she was ok, Yea, she replied. I told her I had to go, she nodded her head again. Wow. What a gift. I am truly blessed to be given these moments with her.

I got home, a cruise control drive, and my tummy wasn't feeling so good. I had a cup of broth, which tasted good, but didn't last too long, as I'm hungry again. Guess I'm going to have to rummage around for a bite.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I am humbled by the gifts of yourselves, your strength, hugs, kind words and deeds. Good night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday 2.27.2008 Treatment #3

Day 1, Treatment #3
Room 10

I made it, thanks to each of you and your support.

Our day started at 0700. I showered, dressed, breakfasted, collected the rest of the items for our "treatment bag". Daniel is so good--he reminded me of things we had before, and ended up taking just what we needed. Blanket, heating pad, small ziplock bag of vanilla wafers, water bottle, planner, pencil, list of discussion points for Dr. Bolmer, pen, my phone. I wondered if we could take the laptop--Hey, Dan, do you remember if they have wireless internet there? He didn't remember, so I called. They do, wa hoo! Add laptop to the list.

We left about 0910 for our 0930 appointment. The roads were still somewhat icy-caution was needed especially intersections-but the highway was mostly wet. We checked in at 0930, and were called back before I had even sat down. Cool. Stop at the scale--145.6#. Up from last treatment, but I have a fleece top on for warmth. (I later took the top off and reweighed--144.2 without the fleece, which is actually down 0.4 # from last treatment day.) 100/61 97.1 temp, pulse 83. We were shown to Room 10, which right there when you come through the door, by the scale, and the check-out window is right there, too. I expected this room to be "busy" with the traffic flow. It was.

Room 10 is just like the others; this room had a brown leather recliner with the swingy arm table, 2 side chairs, and a (smaller) TV mounted on the wall. A counter with work sink, the tall yellow biohazard bin, smaller wastebasket next to that. One window, and the calendar on the wall. Overall, this room is smaller than the other 2 we've been in.

This room was also directly across from Room 11, the Holding Room that we were in last time. A patient was placed in there, and we politely didn't look at each other, while checking each other out. She smiled, I smiled. She spoke, we exchanged pleasantries. Rose called her by name, Leslie, and I told her my name. She was having a blood draw, saying she does this every 6 months. She offers that she had colon cancer, and is 6 years out, and doing well. She did look good. That's encouraging. Her visit was brief, and she left. Well wishes were exchanged.

Phyllis came in at 0940, smiling. She looked good--what caught my eye was her haircut. And I mentioned that to her. She smiled again. I told her she looked good (hey, a little schmooze can make for a better experience...). She got the IV stuff ready, explaining that Dr. Bolmer had called to say she was running late (we were supposed to see her first), and that Doctor had asked to "get me started", that she would see me in the room. Ok.

I told Phyllis that I'd like to keep my needle for tomorrow, she said ok, and found a good site just below the antecubital, next door to the first site. A 24 gauge went in lickity-split, she drew the blood tubes, (a tall and a short, as I say--the taller pink top and shorter lavender top), screwed on the cap, hooked up a 250 ml bag of 0.9% Normal Saline. It's running nicely, and I have a moment of being flushed and light-headed. I say this out loud, and laugh, and tell both Phyllis and Dan that I have to sit about 10 minutes just having the annual TB test... It passes, I breathe, on to the next step. It's 0950.

Phyllis goes out to get the Pre-meds. I had asked her if I could have the Zofran instead of the Kytril, I think the stomach pain was less with the Zofran. She said sure, they have both today, no problem. 0950 She returns with the 50 ml bag that has Zofran 32 mg, Decadron 10 mg, Benadryl, 25 mg, and Tagament 300 mg, plugs it in, turns it on. Ok, here we go...

I can tell the meds are infusing, as I experience a little "buzz". From the Decadron? or the Benadryl? Geesh. And just when I'm thinking maybe this could go in a little slower, Dr. Bolmer comes in.

We talk about how I did with the last treatment: skin is good with the Vitamins E and B6, the mid-cycle spotting, (who's your gynecologist....), and stomach pain/nausea. I will try the Nexium this time to see if that helps with the stomach discomfort.

She also had the results of the Genetic Testing. BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 mutations are NEGATIVE!!!!! Woo Hoo!!! Great News! PRAISE THE LORD!!!! So, what does that mean?? That means that I don't have to consider having surgical removal of the ovaries, and uterus, too, as an incidental. And any/all people, both male and female, in my blood line do not need to worry about a mutation that showed up in me, that could show up in them. If anyone develops their own cancer (shudder), they might consider their own genetic studies to see if they have their own mutation, though.

Dr. was with us approximately 1/2 hour. While she was with us, the pre meds were infusing, and I was steadily becoming more buzzed. I could feel the medication in my brain, and felt like I was having a hard time holding my eyeballs steady when I blinked. I felt like both Dan and Doctor were watching me have these effects, which made me want to slow the meds down. But the little bag was almost in, with just a smidgen in the bottom of the bag, and then it finished, and the bulk started running. Yo. That was difficult to follow the conversation with that going on, and I had written things down, as well as took notes while she was talking. In the long run, I covered everything I wanted to, except for the tingling in my fingers of the left hand. Hm.

Just as Doctor left the room, Phyllis came in with the Taxotere, 125 mg. She hung it, and I mentioned to her that I had forgotten to tell the Dr. about the tingling in my fingers. Her hand froze on the roller clamp, and she turned it back off. She asked me more questions about it, and I told her that we had talked about it the previous visit and was using the Vitamins E and B6. Ok, she said. She said she was going to mention it to Dr. before starting the medicine. Ok. She left.

1035 Phyllis came in with another bag of 500 ml NS to change out the 250 bag, which still had maybe 75-100 ml left. After that was hung, I got up to use the restroom. Or perhaps, weave my way to the restroom. Such a strange feeling.

1055 I had returned from the restroom, gotten situated in The Chair, and Phyllis came in a few minutes after me to start the Taxotere. This was in a 250 ml bag. Interesting. The first minutes of the infusion, I tasted something "sweet", kind of metallic. Hm. It either didn't last very long or I got used to it, because after a while I didn't notice it. The bulk was dripping, too, kind of slow. After watching it infuse a bit, I pinched the tubing on the Taxotere to slow it down a little, (yes, I did) and sped up the bulk, to help dilute it. The literature I've seen says that it can go in over an hour, but gosh, that's a lot of fluid. As Phyllis and Rose walked by the door and peeked in, they both seemed satisfied with the rates. Decent.

1135 Bathroom time again.

1220 Taxotere done, Ringy Dingy on the little silver bell.

1235 Rose came in and started the Cytoxan, 1020 mg in 250 ml. I was ok with the rate. I was getting hungry, and Daniel had mentioned earlier that he was going out to get Chinese food for us. Cool. I asked if he would do that, and he did. I got up to the bathroom again. (Rose was looking harried, or focused, like she was really busy....)

1305 Daniel back with yummy lunch, I had chicken and vegetables, steamed rice. Not the best that I've had, but it worked.

1330 Cytoxan done, Ringy Dingy. Several minutes later, Rose came in, clamped off the Cytoxan, opened up the normal saline, full speed.

1400 Done. Ringy Dingy. Rose was with the patient next door, but came in to see what I needed. (Thank You, Rose.) I told her we were done, and she disconnected me and heparin flushed the needle, and wrapped the site with the self stick wrap, royal blue. She said we're all done, and blew out of the room. Thank You Rose.

Dan and I left, came home. By now, the city streets were mostly melted, and the highway was mostly dry. I wove my way up the stairs, unpacked, settled in. I had an orange, while I could still taste it (because, you know, in a couple of days...), started the blog entry, tried to stay awake, but decided to lay down for a while. I settled in on the bed and dozed off, sleeping from 3:30 - 5:00. I got up and worked on this blog entry. It's difficult to stay focused, but I'm getting it done.

While I was resting, Daniel went out and picked up the Nexium. When I got up, there was a twinge of that stomach pain. After feeling it for a time, I decided to take one and ward it off. I've been drinking, but haven't produced much urine the remainder of the afternoon. My hands are getting tight. I had a 12 ounce cup of coffee, thinking that might help to diurese some. All together this evening, I've had that, and a 16 ounce water and a 24 ounce water, and peed maybe 3 times. This is what I did the other two treatments, too, so I guess that's a side effect of one of the drugs... My eyes are also watering. This is different than the first two treatments. They don't burn or anything, just watering, from the outer corners. Hm.

Daniel had prepared a pork roast in the crock pot for us for tonight, and I've had a bite of that.
My head is woozy at intervals, and as I mentioned, it's difficult to focus at times. (like, mostly) So if this is a bit disjointed, please take that into consideration.

Well, Daniel has gone to bed, and it's after 11 again for me. I will review this entry sometime tomorrow, and maybe edit it--when I have, I'll remove this line, so you'll know it's done.

I'm off to bed.

Let me say, Your colors and strengths and energies and prayers and hugs and kind words were with us today, and I embraced it all, breathing in, pulling as much positive energy as I could fit, then made room for more. I tried to smile, be confident, strong, vulnerable, trusting, hoping that my/our energies will ooze over onto others. Thank you all, Thank you Lord. I am truly blessed.

This is a work in progress, please check again...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday 2.26.2008

Day 21, Treatment #2

Well, today I am officially "halfway through the chemo", as tomorrow is Treatment #3. So far, so good.

I worked today, starting out with a two-hands-on-the-steering-wheel drive to Jackson, and a car off the road within the first 5 miles. Ok, keep on going, slowly. And I got there safely. We had a good day, a good group. Yes, we were busy, but hey, that's why it's called work. I continued drinking lots of water today, having at least 4 16 ounce cups, plus coffee, plus milk.

I left there and went over to the home, but first I had to clean the car off. Snowy ice. I was surprised that I had to scrape windows, fuss with the wiper blades, and drive slowly across town. When I got to the home, Mom was resting but not asleep. The aides told me she hadn't eaten supper these last 2 nights (why didn't you say anything last night...?), she has large quantities of green stuff coming from her nose (yes, for almost 2 weeks now....) and a frequent loose cough (yup, I encourage her to cough...) The aides also mentioned there was a chest x-ray ordered, but I forgot to ask the nurse about it. While waiting for the bathroom, she drank a carton of skim milk and took her meds in applesauce. I got her washed up and tucked into bed. She settled in, and I left.

I had to scrape again, the snowy ice, after just 2 hours. Most intersections were packed slick snow that might have been great fun to run and slide on, but not so good for tire traction. I was happy to see that the highways were salted and in somewhat better driving conditions. Still, it took me about 50 minutes to get home.

I visited with Dan a bit, then wrote here. It has gotten quite late--I'm off to bed.

I noticed the anxiety creeping in again today, and just took a breath and heard different voices at different times, reassuring me, encouraging me, and building up a layer of colors that surround and protect me. You guys are awesome!! You know that I will have each of you with me tomorrow, keeping me strong. Thank you.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday 2.25.2008

Day 20, Treatment #2

Thanks for all the comments on the pics. Yes, I'm still uncomfortable, but your kind words help me with the "feel good". I found myself smiling at each comment...

I worked today, with a great group, and it went well. Manageably (is that a word?) busy. I felt pretty good throughout the day. I noticed anxiety creeping in, and drank as much water as I could to get hydrated to get ready for this next treatment on Wednesday. I've been drinking quite a bit the last couple of weeks anyway, so it was just a matter of keeping my cup refilled.

Over to the nursing home, Mom was waiting for me. Eyes open, and when I spoke to her she lifted her head. I asked her if she had a good day, she nodded her head yes. Even with the loose cough and runny nose. I got her washed up and tucked into bed, and headed home.

Snowing again. The roads were wet, and driving was not difficult.

Daniel was waiting for me, and we talked about our day. I wrote here, and I'm off to bed to do it again tomorrow.

Your support is fabulous. Thanks to each of you, we'll experience this in the most positive way possible. Hugs.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday 2.24.2008


Day 19, Treatment #2
Ok, Readers, you asked for it. Updated photos. As you can see, the bandana look is really the most comfortable right now. My scalp still itches quite a bit, and the cotton is comfy. I have several scarves that I really like, but I'm not well versed on the scarf-tying. They look and feel ok for a few hours, then I think the knot loosens or something, and I end up having to re-tie it. And it takes me about 10 minutes to get it halfway decent. Anyway, here are the pics of my not-much-hair. And I'm not real comfortable with these pics.
As for the rest of my side effects, let's see... tingling. I have a faint tingle in my fingertips, down to about the first knuckle. It feels like when your hand is trying to "go to sleep". It's not real strong, just enough that I find that I rub my fingers sometimes. Nausea-not much. Intermittent, short lived, maybe 20 minutes to an hour. Sometimes I choose to wait to eat, or stop eating, or eat more slowly. Hair loss- yup, though not 100%, yet, and that goes for any body hair. Fingernails/nailbeds-nails don't look like they are growing, and my nailbeds look good, maybe a smidgen darker, but nothing obviously noticeable. Hot Flashes-mostly "warm ups". I don't break out in a full all out sweat, drenching wet, but I do have several episodes of very warm flushes throughout the day and night, and my head/scalp gets prickly and moist. Which leads into periods. Yes, still having them. Fatigue-yup. On my days off I try to close my eyes for about 20 minutes in the afternoon. It's a different kind of tired--like, from the inside out. Heaviness in my upper legs. Skin-I had a rash on my left hand after the first treatment, but I've been taking the Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and Vitamin E 400 IU as Dr had recommended, and have had just a bit of itching there, as well as lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium, the enzymes in yogurt, for the intestinal mucosa, to help prevent mouth sores and anything else along the intestinal tract. Activity--I'm trying. I take the stairs down while at work, and even though I've only been outside once this treatment session, I got out. So far, the only days I've missed at work are the 2 days after each of the treatments.
I had a pretty good day, overall. I finally got outside, as it was another sunny day, with temps in the low 30's. I chose to just walk, and I walked around the complex here. I was out for about 55 minutes. At first, the tops of my legs and hips hurt, but that went away. I didn't really push myself too hard. I think it was good that I went out. The rest of the afternoon was uneventful. A couple of phone calls, a trip to Jackson and back, and writing here.
Mom still has the cough, though it did seem a little less often. Her nasal drainage seemed a little less also. Got her fed, wahed up, and tucked in.
Monday and Tuesday are work days, then Wednesday is Treatment #3 at 0930. We'll meet with Dr. Bolmer first, then start the infusions if all is well... Thursday will be Part 2.
Thank you for reading. I hope the pics didn't scare you too much..
P.S. I was looking at the options for comments. Maybe if you clicked on "name", and it gives you the option of Name or URL, you could put your nickname in there...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday 2.23.2008

Day 18, Treatment #2

So, Today was another beautiful day in God's world. Cold, but warmer than recent days, 29 degrees here. Blue skies and sunshine, nuthin better.

We didn't do a whole lot today, just enjoyed being together. A couple of loads of laundry, I went to the library, couple bites to eat, then I went to Jackson.

Mom still has a loose cough and lots of yellow green nasal discharge. I think her cough is related to the sinus drainage. She looks better, even with the cough and snot. I fed her, got her washed up and tucked in, and came back home.

Dan laughed at my hair today, he says I've lost "a lot more" in the few days that he's been gone. I'll see about posting another photo tomorrow....

Some readers have mentioned that they cannot reply with a "Nickname" any more. Blogger updated the comments options and removed that particular option. If you want to keep using whatever Nickname you had chosen, you could create a Google Identity with that Nickname. It's pretty easy, and you don't have to give a whole lot of info (or you could if you wanted to) to complete that process. Then you would sign in with your ID when you want to comment. Or you can just continue to Comment as Anonymous, and include your name in the comment.

I cannot tell you how important you all are. As I am at the halfway point in the chemotherapy process, I have found myself considering the radiation treatments that will follow. Another fear to encounter, more breaths to take. Thank you for your unique support, for walking with me in this process. Your comments, kind words, hugs, smiles all add up, surround me with strength.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday 2.22.2008

Day 17, Treatment #2

I worked today. I feel pretty good, overall, but have an undertone of tired. Very odd to feel that way.

We had a good workday, busy in an odd way. A good group, it went well. I got pretty tired mid-afternoon, but kept on keeping on, and soon it was time to clock out and go home.

I went over to the nursing home, found mom in the recliner with a hunk of snot hanging. It seemed like a lot, but it really wasn't. Just snot-nosed like children. I cleaned her nose for her.
I got mom ready for bed, she had her medication, and I tucked her in.

Back to Holt. Finally a cruise control ride. I don't mind the snow and stuff, but geeesh. This slippery driving stuff can be a reason for prayer.

Daniel was at home waiting for me. Smiles and hugs and kisses--mmm, how nice. He is truly a gift.

My eyes have closed at frequent intervals while trying to get this written; I'm going to sign off and get to sleep. Thank you for reading, and take care of yourself. Hugs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday 2.21.2008

Day 16, Treatment #2

Another Great Day! The conference was good, and about lunch time I had a phone call that I let go to voice mail. I checked the message--it was my Jeremy, Stateside. He said he had gotten in just an hour or so to South Carolina. So good to hear from him, especially in the U.S.

Over to the home, Mom was still coughing. I thought her cough sounded better, and I said that to her; she shook her head "no". Allrighty then. I asked her if she didn't feel good, no response. But she probably doesn't. I just thought her cough sounded better....

I stopped for a few groceries, and gasoline, made it home, had a bite, wrote here.

Daniel will be home tomorrow afternoon/evening, before I get home. I'm looking forward to seeing him.

Tomorrow is a work day, I'm going to bed. Big hugs to all.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday 2.20.2008

Day 15, Treatment #2

A good day. I slept well, had breakfast, and got started on my day. Organized paperwork, showered. Made phone calls, putzed around, blah, blah, took a nap, ate food, went to Jackson.

Mom still has that loose cough, and I pulled a bunch of green-yellow snot from her nose. Eww. Better out than in. She ate well, and I got her washed up and tucked into bed.

At home, I made a pot of chili, wrote here, had a bite, watched the lunar eclipse, and went to bed.

Tomorrow I'm attending a conference in Jackson until 3pm, then I'll go over to the home.

Ain't it great to have a "boring" day? Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday 2.19.2008

Day 14, Treatment #2

I worked again today, a cold blow-y drive in the wee hours when all good people should be sleeping...

I did well this morning, though I can tell my body is "different". Aside from the hair, which I covered with a bright pink bandana. I have occasional "spikes" of nausea, which have been ending after shorter periods or longer periods, (therefore unpredictable) and the "burnt tongue" which is starting to regain some normal taste buds. Most food and beverages don't taste like they are "supposed" to.

We were quite busy this morning with discharges, and when afternoon came, we started getting admissions. I had arranged for someone to take over for me so that I could attend meetings from 2 o'clock on, and I was glad to be off the floor. Even though they're a great group, my energy level was slowly fading.

After the meetings ended, I finally left around 7 pm, close to the usual time I would be leaving. I went over to the care home in the blowing snow. Mom was sound asleep in the recliner, so sleeping that I couldn't waken her. Finally, after about 15 minutes, she stirred, and I got her up to the bathroom, washed up, and back to bed. She still has quite a loose cough, and a runny nose, too. I hope she doesn't feel miserable along with all that.

Back on the highway, the snow had stopped and the wind had blown the roadway clear. At home, I checked the mail, had a snack, and wrote here.

Tomorrow is a No Plans day. I hope to keep it that way.

Good night, and thanks for reading.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday February 18, 2008

Day 13, Treatment #2

Before I left for work this morning, Dan was up and showered and readying himself to leave. MMMmmm Big hugs. On his way to Southern Alabama for that golf trip, don't you know. His back was feeling much better...

Work was good, a good group of people. I wore a scarf today--I couldn't even think of the cap of the wig on my already itchy scalp. (I have ordered a couple of wig liners--like socks for shoes, this thing goes on your head first.) The response was fabulous. I'm the only one self-conscious about it. Having cancer, nobody knows unless you tell. Having surgery, nobody knows unless you tell them. Having not much hair/a scarf wrapped around your head, Hey, why you got that on your head? Losing my hair (it's pretty much gone) also took the anonymity of having "something" and "nobody" knowing about it. It's a strange feeling. I've been thinking of all of you and holding my head up and wearing the strength you have each given me. I can't thank you enough.

The work day ended, I headed over to the nursing home in a "Christmas Eve" snowstorm--large clusters of soft snowflakes forming a white curtain in the night. It was so beautiful in the lights. By the time I got over to the home, it was blowing pretty good. I went in, got Mom washed up and tucked into bed, then back to the car for home.

The snow had stopped, the wind had continued, blowing the snow mostly off of the cars, as well as the roadway. I had a blustery drive home, but no slippery spots to contend with.

I got home, got my things ready for work tomorrow, had a bite to eat, then wrote here.

Thank you for reading, for your awesome support. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday 2.17.2008

Day 12, Treatment #2

A slow day around here today. Didn't do much of anything. Then got ready to go to Jackson.

Mom was awake, I asked her if she was feeling better. She nodded her head yes. She didn't feel as warm, either. I fed her, got her ready for bed and tucked in, and came home.

Can you believe the weather? Ice on the windows this morning, rain in the afternoon, and on the way home 43 degrees and windy.

My head itches like crazy, I've drank enough water the last several days to fill a horse trough, and my hair is sparse, my scalp has raised red bumps. Attractive! Overall I feel pretty good, and I am thankful that the side effects I'm experiencing are relatively few.

Tomorrow, (Monday) and Tuesday I work. Daniel goes to Gulf Shores Alabama tomorrow for a golf getaway, returning Friday.

Thank you for reading, your support and God's love are what see me through. I'll write tomorrow. Hugs.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday 2.16.2008

Day 11, Treatment #2

I slept well, waking about 0830. The sun was shining gloriously, and the temperature was in the low teens. I wanted to get outdoors for some air and sun, and the temps were projected to climb to mid-high 20's. That puts me outside about 2-3pm. Ok. Time for breakfast.

That was good, I sat down to enjoy my coffee. It doesn't really taste that good, as most things don't right now--that "burnt" sensation on my tongue, you know. And then I fooled around with a knit hat, loosening the last row. I became absorbed in that project.

Somewhere around late morning, I realized I was having that same sensation as yesterday, the rushing noise, or roaring noise, or something, in my ears. Hm. I'm sitting down, why am I feeling like this? I got up and got some water. I drank that 24 ounces while working on that hat, then another 16 ounces. Of course, I was urinating ok. This water didn't take long before it started coming back out. Interesting, this sensation is still lingering, though decreased. Although I wanted to go outdoors, I wasn't quite feeling all that. So I kept working on my hat. I filled those cups again, and started on the 24 ounces.

I finished my hat, and went in to shower. I scrubbed my head, it itches so much. I scrubbed and scrubbed, until I thought I was going to cause it harm. There's not much hair left up there, and it doesn't catch on the drain anymore, I think it all goes down.

I was feeling better, safe to drive, finished that 24 ounces, and had a bite to eat. Got to Jackson--Mom is in her recliner, and she has a loose cough. You know, one that you want to cough for her. She doesn't respond much tonight. She ate well, though, and after supper I sat on the arm of the chair with her and we rested for about 45 minutes. (I was working on another 20 ounce water.) Up to the bathroom, she wasn't walking too good, but we got there. Washed up and over to bed, we waited for meds, then tucked in for the night. She felt a little warm to me, too. So, here's my thoughts. She's sick, the incubation period is what, 3,5,7,10 days? I've been there every day with her, I've already been exposed. And my co-workers have been sick, and the visitors, blah, blah, I've been exposed. If I get sick, we'll deal with it. I noticed that my hands were starting to get tight again. Weird. I finished the 20 ounces that I took with me.

My Frank stopped in to visit at the home. He's so cute with his shaved head. We walked out together, and I headed over to Meijer to pick up things that were not available the other night.

That done, I headed home. Another wreck on the highway. Geesh. And the roads were clear. Maybe they swerved to avoid a deer... I don't know.

Got home, did a little food prep, and had a bite to eat. I'm working on another 16 ounces. Wrote here, and went to bed. If I'm up frequently tonight, it won't surprise me....

Thanks for reading my ramblings. Have a great day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday 2.15.2008

Day 10, Treatment #2

Another work day. I started out feeling like normal tired, with not an excessive amount of energy, but like I'm ok, I'll get through this day, and tomorrow I'll be able to rest.

I do ok, mostly. Around 10 ish, I think, I start feeling not so good. I couldn't pinpoint what was wrong, just that I wasn't feeling well. After a few more minutes, I was standing in the hallway getting ready to go into a patient room, and I heard a whoosh like noise in my ears. I thought Hm, I don't feel funny, but I think I'm going to go into this empty room and take my blood pressure.

I did, and a co-worker was in the room stocking linens. She offered to wrap the blood pressure cuff on my arm, and the results were 83/56. Hm, a little low. I don't feel funny, like nothing indicates that anything is out of sorts, but Hm.

I got a 20 ounce water, and drank what I could right then, and tried to keep it with me so I could continue drinking. I didn't feel nauseated, but didn't feel right, either. I was able to have my lunch about noon, and I tried to "take stock" and see if I was going to stay or have someone come in for me. I was functioning, and feeling like I was ok; but I was frequently checking in on myself to see if that was still the case.

Time went on, pretty soon it was about 2 pm. I have another 16 ounces of water in, and felt like I was "not drunk" or "not extremely fatigued", but that funny sensory weirdness I had before. And my legs felt real heavy, not like muscle pain, but maybe bone pain? I needed to have labwork drawn, and I took the opportunity to go to the lab and have it done. All was well with the draw, one poke and done.

Back on the floor, I do what I need to, and wonder about calling in someone to replace me. I'm still feeling ok, so I think I will continue to evaluate. One of the hardest things to do, for me, is to recognise that I need help, then asking for it. But I will. I will recognise my limits to the best of my ability.

And then, about 5:00, it was like, oh, I'm feeling better. Like, all at once. I don't know what it was, but it was gone. Allrighty, then. I finished out the shift and went over to the nursing home.

Mom was ok, still with a loose cough, but I got her cleaned up and tucked into bed. I came home, wrote here, and am going to bed. Tomorrow I plan a slower day, not much to do but rest.

By the way, I didn't wear anything on my head again today, just the very thin hair. It's a little awkward, but my scalp itches so intensely much I don't want to aggravate it.

Thank you for reading. I have seen several of you these last couple of days. I appreciate the wonderful hugs, and knowing that you're out there reading is absolutely wonderful. And I love the comments, too. Your support is helping me get through this.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday 2.14.2008

Day 9, Treatment #2

Back to work again. A good crew, enough staff. Wow. Love the hugs. Thank you so much for welcoming me, for accepting me. I took a leap today and did not wear anything on my head. Nope. No headwear. My scalp itches so much, and whenever anything touches it, I want to scrub it raw. Well, not really. But it does itch pretty good. Intense would be a word. I did take a bandana in case I was uncomfortable with the whole thing.

I did well in the morning, and early afternoon, then got queasy/nauseated and tired. Ew. Hm. Now what. I ended up trying to sit quietly and rest a few minutes, but wouldn't you know, that's just when a flurry of activity was happening, and I was unable to stay quiet. I made it through, though, and soon the shift was over.

Over to the nursing home, Mom has a loose cough. All the residents are on Tamiflu. Are you asking why am I there? I've already been exposed, I go every day, time will tell.

At home, my wonderful husband's back is feeling better. The two dozen roses he sent yesterday are half open and are absolutely gorgeous. Yum.

I'm ready for bed. I'll write tomorrow.

Warm hugs to all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday 2.13.2008 Sunshine

Day 8, Treatment #2

Wow, I feel a whole lot better today. Thank you, Lord. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and I'm almost afraid of how good I feel.

I had intended to go outdoors and exercise today, but a lifelong family friend has passed away, and propriety states, for me, "must go to funeral home if possible". Visitation 2-4 this afternoon in Durand worked for me, as the funeral is planned for Thursday, a work day for me.

I rummage around in the closet and find suitable attire. Ok, that looks ok. Now, my head. Well, I have this scarf, or this other scarf that would look ok, or I could wear one of the wigs, or..... not. Hm. I look in the mirror again. I really don't like headwear these last couple of days. My scalp seems so itchy and waxy feeling, and sometimes I get pretty warm. I wouldn't say hot, exactly, but pretty warm. So. How big are my gonads? Can I mingle with mostly strangers with not much hair on my head? I decide to not wear headwear, but take a bandana with me in case I'm not comfortable.

At the funeral home, I'm like the 2nd person to arrive, right after one of the sons, a "boy" that I only saw occasionally during the summer, but heard about all the time from his parents and grandfather. I looked at him. He looked at me. He looked at my head. He looked at my face again. "Steve?" I asked. No, Chris, he replied. (Damn, I knew that--the two brothers look different enough.) I introduced myself. Oh, Yes, Kathy. Good to see you (he looks at my head) Thanks for coming. Appropriate comments about his newly deceased father exchanged, and he changes the subject to the lake. Ok, I thought, informal. As he small talks, he looks at my head occasionally. Ok, I think, I'm saying it. "I see you looking at my head. I'm having chemotherapy for breast cancer and I've lost a lot of my hair. This is the first time out in public without any headcovering." I couldn't read his face. He was surprised, of course, but I think more about me having the disease than not having much hair. Oh, he said, wow. You look great! And really, your hair's ok. Not much of it, but it's ok. Thanks, I said, and exhaled. We continued our conversation, and he didn't look at my head again, that I noticed. Hm.

Other people filtered in, my brother and sister-in-law Tom and Kathy Sue, and other than the "boy her hair's really thin" look, it wasn't so bad. My head was a lot more comfortable. I guess we could call it a personal growth day, huh.

I visited with Tom and KS, then it was time for me to leave. They did, too. We walked out together, hugged our goodbyes, and went our ways. I got home with time to change clothes, eat, and get down to Jackson.

I got mom fed and tucked in, and came home.

I want to tell you two things, each very different topics.

1.) The deceased is Lloyd Waldron, whose father was also named Lloyd. My parents bought a cottage on Long Lake two doors down from Lloyd, in 1957. My Mom and her children (us kids) summered there, Dad would come up on weekends. Lloyd spent a lot of his summer there, too. So, literally, I've known that family since I was 2 years old. We've shared a lot of campfires through the years. I felt it was only right for me to pay my respects.

2.) This morning the UPS guy brought me a beautiful bouquet of 2 dozen roses, shades of pink, peach, and orange tipped yellow. Beeeeuuuuuutifulllll. Of course they are from my most wonderful Husband. Maybe I'll be clever enough to get a pic to post....

That's all for today. Thursday and Friday are work days. I'm ready. (I think...)

Thanks for reading, for surrounding me with your positive energies, prayers, happy thoughts, and so very many different colors and textures!!! It's working!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday 2.12.2008 Massage Day

Day 7, Treatment #2

I slept well, woke up feeling good. Dan and I breakfasted, and soon it was time to go for my massage. Mmm. Leah Hicks, Mason Massage. She did a good job today (as she does each time). Maybe the timing was right with the infusion, but I could feel the fluid being pushed out of the muscles/tissues and being replaced with fresh stuff. I tried to breathe through the process, but it was difficult to maintain that awareness. When Leah was done an hour later, I felt like the sponge had been wrung out of dirty water and rinsed until clear. Thank you, Leah, for being a part of my Wellness Team. Of course, I drank as much as I could today, and sometimes the urine was smelly. Isn't that interesting how that works?

I showered, blah blah, and soon it was time for food. I fixed food for us, and did laundry concurrently, and then it was time to go to Jackson. It had been snowing for a couple of hours, and the radio said the roads were slippery. Also, that a portion of I-94 had been closed. Hm. I looked outdoors again. You know, I've driven to Jackson and back in lots of weathers, and this last few weeks has been mostly yucky driving. I decided to not drive today in this stuff. I spoke with my brother Jim, who had been into the nursing home to deliver Mom's "absorbant products", and he said the roads were slippery and treacherous, with speeds of 25-30 mph. Ok, that clinched it. No 25 mph drive for me today. I called Linda, one of the nurses at the home, and told her I was going to stay home tonight. She agreed with that choice, and reassured me that they would take good care of Elaine, making sure she was fed and put to bed. I asked her to tell Mom that I wouldn't be in; she said "Of course I'll tell her. She knows that you come in every night...She watches for you." Thank you, Linda, for your kindness.

So, I stayed home. I ironed, putzed around the house, wrote here.

I'm thankful I'm feeling so good. I almost hesitate to say so. My scalp itches like crazy, and feels "waxy", even freshly shampoo'd. And I've tried a couple 3 different shampoos. And my tongue is starting to feel "burnt" again. Around the perimeter of the tongue, and starting to move into the center and affect the taste buds. Bummer, 'cause I'm hungry, too.

Thank you, Lord, and all the angels, and each of you out there as part of my Wellness Team, weaving your individual colors that surround me and keep me on the path of courage and strength.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday 2.11.2008 Look Good, Feel Better

Day 6, Treatment #2

This morning was the meeting at the Breslin Cancer Center (same location as the Breast Care Center, Radiation Center, Ingham Medical Center, Greenlawn Campus). My new daughter Breon went with me. I filled a medium sized shopping bag with all the scarves, hats, wigs, wig stand, wig brush, bandanas, do-rags, and headbands that I have purchased (excluding the wigs, less than $50.00) and headed out.

It was a beautiful sunshiney day today, 7 degrees F. When we arrived, the lady behind the glass came around to the other door, had keys, crossed the lobby, unlocked another door, and showed us 2 doors down to a medium sized conference room. There were 2 long tables placed long sides together, and chairs around, with 4 other women seated. One was the leader, Anyssa, who I read afterwards, is a cosmotologist or hairdresser who volunteers to lead these groups. Around the table is Barbara, a pale 62 year old woman who has had her 2nd of 6 treatments for breast cancer. Barb had shaved her head Friday, and was wearing a cotton knit cap with lace trim. She had brought a scarf she had bought in the gift shop out in the lobby. Her second treatment landed her in the hospital for 3 days with antibiotics and IV fluids for diarrhea and dehydration. She has a port. Barb had bought a wig at Elegante but didn't bring it with her.

Next to Barb is a dark haired, darker ethnicity like Central American or something, woman, named Joan. Joan has had her first treatment of CHOP-R for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. She told us that her hair had started coming out, and she cried as she told us that she had cut her hip-length hair up to her shoulders Saturday. She might have been mid 40's. Joan had Laura, her friend since they were 5 years old, with her. Laura was very outspoken, and commented on just about everything, but it was clear these 2 women shared a very close bond. Laura cried more often than Joan did. Joan had not been to a wig shop, nor did she seem to know much about "headwear" options. She did not have a port.

I sat next to Laura, whose comments were frequent and to the point. Breon sat next to me on my left, and next to her was back around to Anyssa. Anyssa had brought a wig on a styrofoam head, a scarf, and a t-shirt, cut off just under the arms. When she asked what we had brought, Barb showed her scarf, and I dumped my bag-o-goods out onto the table. Wow-you've really got a lot of stuff! Yes, but I didn't know what I wanted, and all this minus the wigs was less than 50 dollars. Joan was wide-eyed. We talked about the scarves, and Anyssa showed us a few different ways to tie them. The bandanas, do-rags, and caps were passed around, and Joan was getting comfortable handling them with the idea of wearing them. Let me say, I had taken my hat off, so I was there with my 9 month old hair. There's not much of it any more, and the scalp shows through pretty good. Alyssa says I can not wear headwear if I choose--most people don't really notice anyway. Kind of like that big pimple on your face, they overlook it until you mention it.

Anyssa showed us how to use that cut off t-shirt, I'll see if I can describe it. Take the bottom edge of the shirt and put it on your forehead, with the body of it towards the top of your head. Pull the fabric loop behind your head and cross it/twist it once. Now, it's tight on your head, and you've got this fabric hanging there. Keeping it tight on your head, roll that excess fabric so it twists on itself, then when it's short enough, or twisted to your liking, pull that loop up and over your head around your forhead, securing the fabric on your head. That was pretty cool trick.

Anyssa then passed out red nylon bags, wrapped in clear cello, and asked us to open them. They were stuffed full of make up products--moisturizers, foundations, cheeks, lips, eye colors, concealer, mascara, eyebrow pencils, etc. Each kit was marked with light, medium, or dark for our tones. The brands varied, and each bag was slighly different. Mary Kay, Avon, Chanel, Maybelline, Almay, Clinique, etc. I read that these products, also, were donated. Anyssa went through the different types of products, talking about how our skin tones might change, how to use these products, and the importance of handwashing and makeup application/applicators. She showed us how to draw on or fill in our eyebrows in case those come up missing or get thinned out.

She did a good job, and then our time was up. We all hugged each other and left. I thought it was helpful to talk to others "real time", and their support person, too, to hear where they are at and how they're doing with it. Breon said she liked it, too.

We got home, I had a bite to eat, and I was still hungry. So I made a pot of goulash. That was ready about 3:30, so I ate and left for Jackson.

All was well there, I got Mom fed and tucked into bed, the stopped at Meijer and got groceries. Dan helped unload and put away, and I had another bite to eat. I wrote here, and it's almost 0100. I'm off to bed.

I think you can see that I'm feeling MUCH better today, and I'm glad for it. Thanks to your thoughts, prayers, and healing energies. Have a great day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday 2.10.2008 Awake!

Day 5, Treatment #2

For all my morning Readers, I want to let you know that I feel human today! It seemed I was up about every hour, urinating. And not just a little bit, either. I woke up without much of a headache, not much nausea, and feeling like life will go on...

Thank you for your prayers, they work!

I will write again this evening....

Part 2, Sunday Evening

I'm feeling much better. This afternoon I was hungry, Dan and I had some food, I rested for about a half hour, then went to Jackson to help Mom with dinner and bedtime. I came home hungry again, and had another bite to eat. I feel like I've turned the corner--I have energy and am beginning to feel restless.

Tomorrow, Monday, I am going to a Look Good, Feel Better program, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. This program is promoted as helping cancer people with hair and makeup, general self-esteem/appearance type things. I invited my new daughter Breon to go with, and she accepted. I am excited that she wants to go; she's been a great support person to her dad and me. I will be taking all of my "headwear"--scarves, bandanas, hats, and wigs--and am looking forward to any helpful hints I may gain. So far, I'm discovering that I don't mind my very thin hair. (I haven't shaved it, it's just very thin, like a 9 month old child) And that I don't really like wearing headwear. So, any comfort measures/secret tricks are welcome.

Thanks for reading, I'll write tomorrow.

Love to all, Kathy

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday 2.9.2008 Restfull?

Day 4, Treatment #2

Hoo, boy. I've been sleeping the majority of Friday and Saturday. I only took the compazine once today, though I could have taken it again when it was time. I thought I'd see just how yucky the nausea got.

Daniel fixed us something to eat. I did eat, but didn't taste a whole lot. I just have to know that it's "good for me" to eat...

The day went on, and it was time to go to Jackson. Daniel was sound asleep--he's been wrestling with lower back pain--and I didn't want to wake him. I drove myself down and back. I did ok. My tummy is more annoying than anything. And I was hungry again. What do you eat when your mouth tastes "burnt"? I fixed myself instant mashed potatoes. It went in, without bothering my mouth a whole lot.

So now it's 9:50 pm, and it's the longest I've been awake for 2 days. I think it's time to sign off...

Thanks for reading. Hugs to all.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday 2.8.2008 Eww, Nausea....

Day 3, Treatment #2

0405 Sleeping, comfortable, pillow, blankets. Eyes pop open, wide open. Whoa, what's that? Why am I awake? OHHHHH, NAUSEA!!!! Oh my gosh. I'm really nauseated. Breathe. But not like I'm going to throw up. This is so weird. Daniel gets up to the bathroom. On his way out, I ask him to bring me a Compazine, please, I'm extremely nauseated. I have propped myself up against the headboard. I had brought a glass of water and put it on my bedside table, and had been sipping on it, but hadn't done very well. I took the compazine with a bit of water, and continued to sit up. I was radiating dry heat. Wow. This was so different for me. We chatted for maybe 20 minutes or so, I was starting to settle down. Daniel drifted off to sleep. I finally laid back down, put the earphone in and listened to the radio for the next couple of hours.

I turned the radio off about 7, and dozed again. I woke up about 0920, Daniel was up. I was nauseated again, so I took another compazine and laid back down. I went back to sleep and finally got up about 11. Shew. I knew I needed to eat, and managed a half a bagel and soft fried egg and milk. It goes down ok, and stays down, but that underlying nausea is yucky.

I laid down again about 1 and slept til 3, got up and showered. I had another compazine. I fixed some food and ate it, and Daniel offered to drive me to Jackson. Ok..I'll call and have them feed Elaine, and just go down and get her ready for bed.

When we got there, about 6, she was just being fed. I offered to take over, which the staff happily let me. I got mom fed, washed up, and tucked in, and Dan and I headed back home.

I had another compazine about 9, with a couple of tylenol and a bite to eat. Daniel has a sore lower back. My head is "sore"--I don't know how else to describe it. The skin is just tender. And around the hairline to the back of the neck, too. And the nausea. That will go away.

Overall, I'm doing good. I can eat, drink, walk, talk, and take care of myself, slowly. The cancer warriers are at work in my body, and I encourage them to do their job.

Thank you for reading, for helping me keep strong. I'm going to close my eyes again.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Treatment #2, Continued Thursday 2.7.2008

Day 2, Treatment #2

IV Hydration, Genetic Counseling

Dan and I arrived at the office about 10:30 for our 10:30 appointment. I signed in, set my things down in a chair, and went down the hall to get on the scales. I know I'm holding fluid... 147.8#. Wow!! Yesterday was 144.6, same scale. I had not even sat down, and BL (Badgeless Lady) took us to Treatment Room 2. Same end of the hall as yesterday, 2 doors down. She rolls in an IV pole with a 250 ml bag of 0.9% normal saline strung up.

This room was the same as the others, though the chair was burgandy leather and had the side table affixed. I think I like that better. I looked around for the artwork. There wasn't any. Just a calendar on the wall. 2 side chairs, under the television, and a rolling stool. This room might have been a little smaller. The window was directly behind me, and still bright, and I asked Dan to turn off one of the lights. Much better.

1045 Rose came in--Good Morning!! She looks much better today. She looked up at the IV, and made the comment that she needed the big bag of fluid...took that one down, left, and returned with a 1000 ml bag and hung it on the pole. She looks around for a pillow for my arm, there isn't one, so she steps next door and gets that one. There. She places it under my right forearm. Rose opens the drawer and gets out a prefilled saline flush, unwraps the self stick wrap from my arm and screws on the syringe. Push, pull, good blood return, YAY, THE NEEDLE'S GOOD!!! Push some more saline, hook up the bag. She sees the print out of the appointment times that we picked up yesterday on our way out. I mention that the lab draw is scheduled for tomorrow....she frowns and says that's not right, takes my paper and looks at it more closely. I tell her the 0830 chemo appointment scheduled next needs to be moved, too, as I prefer a 9:30 or after. Ok, she says, I'll look at it and why it's scheduled like that. She leaves the room.

1055 Rose is back with the piggyback of Aloxi 0.25 mg and Decadron 10 mg in 50 ml. Running fine. That runs in and finishes at 1110. Rose mentioned that she was going to see if Michelle Fedewa, the Genetic Specialist, would be able to see me, or if we "were going to have to do something different...." I don't know, I didn't ask...

1130 Michelle Fedewa comes into the room, a pleasant vibrant woman in her mid to late 40's, with dark wavy hair pulled into short ponytail and a dark sparkly headband ineffective at keeping her bangs out of the way. Or maybe it wasn't supposed to. I couldn't help but notice she had on a 3 piece jewelry set, earrings and necklace, pretty silver chain and settings with a dark red ?saphire stone. She was a little heavy. She had a black skirt on, above her knees, and black lace legwear. Funny I noticed all that, but not her shoes really. I always notice shoes...

Anyway, nice lady. She is talking quickly and is happy I've filled out the questionnaire. (Thank you to all who responded). I still have a couple of folks not responded, but she was ok with that. BL was close behind her with a TV/VCR/DVD combo player on a cart, and my chart that was created for her. (so now I have 2 charts there...) We talk some, she looks over the forms, and asks a few questions. Wow, she says, I see a couple of flags right off, but I'm going to take this back to my office and draw the genogram, and have you watch the movie. That will go over what I will go over specific to you, and when I come back we'll talk about your diagram. She has a box that turns into the shipping box for the blood sample that is only done in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The only lab. (Hm. Wouldn't you think other labs would have that kind of set up? Maybe not, because it's so specific.) I tell her that I definitely want the blood drawn, and she goes into a little of the what ifs if it is positive, like how everyone in the bloodline needs to know my positive carrier status so they can make a decision as to whether or not they want to get tested for the same mutation. But we don't need to worry about that until the results come back, and that will be approximately 4-5 weeks. She smiles. OK? See you later... She starts the move, and off she goes.

Interesting movie, and I have to pause it to use the restroom, at 1200. I return, and the video is done at 1210.

Dan and I are alone, we talk about the whole genetics thing, and how science and genetics are so awesome, and that we're only at the beginning of discovering disease processes, etc. We each often look up to check the drip rate on the bulk, which is pretty quick, but the needle is positional, as everything is swollen and the tapes are snug. But I move my hand and can speed it up. After a bit, I just open the roller clamp a little more. Yes, I did, because it's just fluid and can just go in. At 1300, it's done. I hear Rose across the hall checking on another patient, and as she's telling him she'll be back in about 20 minutes, I "ringy dingy" the bell, softly, and she peeks in.

The bulk is done, the movie is done, and she wonders out loud if Michelle was coming back or what. She also wonders out loud about the blood tube. I tell her yes, I definitely want it done, and she says, well, we can try taking it out of this. (Cool) I'll draw a waste tube, then draw the one for them. Ok, Great, I say. Now, she cautions, this may not work. Ok. She untapes stuff and takes things apart and gets the adapter for the blood tubes. Cool, it's working. We have to manipulate it a little, but there it goes, right up the tube. Big smile. She gets the specimen tube, and it fills. YAY!! Done! I didn't realize that I was not breathing big until it was over, and as I'm writing this, I sighed big, too. After she got the IV disconnected, and before she drew the blood, she gave me the injection of Neulasta, 6 ml, IM, in the back of my upper right arm. I read the box. That stuff is made from E. Coli. No kidding! Google it! No wonder body aches are a side effect...

Anyway, she pulls the needle out, wraps my arm with more self stick wrap, and goes out to call Michelle.

Michelle comes back in about 1320, and we have a great conversation about my diagram. It shows that I have "big red flags" on both maternal and paternal sides. I will try to tell you briefly a little of what she said. That prostate cancer and breast cancers are related. And if I show a mutation, that information impacts my bloodline. Given that I have had the full screening, others only need to be screened for the same mutation. And all males will be encouraged to include simple screening tests in their annual physicals, and all females will be encouraged to start mamms and ultrasounds sooner, and be assertive if they find something new, not blow it off just because they are younger... She started talking about the ethnicity piece, and mentioned that she's doing a lot of work on reservations in Mt. Pleasant area. I name dropped, but she didn't recognize Diane right off, but Daniel's ears picked up and paid attention, as he is half Ottowa Indian, and his father died of colon cancer at age 45 ish. Oh, she said. And we talked about that, and his mother's passing of breast cancer, and his sister's passing of scleroderma (another Indian disease), and decided that we will schedule an appointment with her for Daniel's work up.

She stayed with us until 1400, at which time we finished up. I went to the restroom again before leaving.

Daniel and I needed to get groceries, so we headed to Meijers. I felt good, but I recognised the facial/sinus-like pressure in my face, and the swelling in my hands, and the stimuli was a little much, but overall I did pretty good. We got home, Daniel and Breon did groceries, I went to the bathroom, and had to rest a bit before I could eat.

I did eat a wonderful turkey sandwich, some milk, and called the nursing home to let them know I would be down, but would they please feed Mom her dinner. (I had written on the calendar for them to feed, but I wanted to let them know I would be down). I went upstairs to lay on my sofa and rest for about 45 minutes.

I got up about 5:20, and got ready to go. Next thing I see, Dan has his coat on. Cool. He drove me down. Mom was in the geri chair, and I talked to her, telling her I did ok with this round of treatment so far. She looked at me and nodded her head.

I got her cleaned up and over to bed, waited for meds, and tucked in. We left, and went over to the Parlour, a local ice cream shop, for a snack.

Dan and I shared chicken strips and onion rings, and we each had a small hot fudge sundae. I asked for mine to be a very small scoop, with almonds, whipped cream, and a cherry, and Dan had a larger single scoop, and didn't have nuts on his, I don't think. You know what's weird? I couldn't taste the chicken hardly at all, or the one onion ring I had. But that ice cream, wow, hit the spot. I ate it all. And I usually don't.

We came home, settled in for the night. Dan went to bed, I wrote here. And it's 11:30 again.

Let me say. THANK YOU for all the wonderful support, phone calls, and COMMENTS!!! I love it. Please know that each of you are appreciated for the wonderful person that you are. Heard from or not. I love that when I happen to talk to you, you tell me that you've been reading. That's so important to me. And I know I get long-winded (?), but there's so much to tell you...

I'll write tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Treatment #2 Wednesday 2.6.2008

Day 1, Treatment #2

Dan and I left for our 10:00 appointment at 0920 due to the road conditions. Yuck. Still a mess here. We arrived about 9:40, and the girl said not to sign in, that she would pull the chart. Ok, thanks. I have to say, that before I opened the door to the office, I stopped, took a breath, and visualized all of your colors and the path that we are weaving. I had to draw another breath and make it brighter, strengthen it. I was ready to go through the door. I turned and smiled at Dan.

Time went on, and about ten after, Dan's getting restless. About 1020, I went to the window. Is there a delay? I thought my appointment was at 10:00... She looks on the computer, it's for 10:30. Oh. Ok, thanks.

So we wait some more.

Finally, at 1040, we get called back and placed in an exam room. Huh? I thought I was having a treatment today. You are, the badgeless lady says, but you see the doctor first. Oh, I say, I thought she'd see me while I was "in the Chair". Nope, she says. Doctor likes to see you first, evaluate how you did with the previous treatment, and go from there. If your blood counts are off she may give you other medications and have you come back another day for treatment. Oh, ok. It just seems to be time-efficient to see the patient after the needle/blood process has been started. Yes, it does, she says. All the while she's taking my vitals. 105/50 , 97.8 , 76 , 144.6 pounds. She takes her machine and leaves, telling us the doctor will be in shortly. Thank you nice lady.

This room is a typical exam room (I forgot to look at the artwork), paper covered exam table, 2 chairs, rolling stool. Blah, blah.

11:00 Doctor Bolmer comes in. She's smiling and upbeat today, shakes our hands, asks how I'm doing. I have written out a page of items for this visit, and I hand it to her, offering her to look it over and address them how she would like. Ok, great, she says, and takes a few minutes looking it over. She zooms in on the menstrual periods. So, you're bleeding. That means your not menopausal. (Yup) She says "hopefully this next round will knock your ovaries out and will take care of it. Then she looks at my left hand concerning the skin rash. We talk about the chemo/frequent handwashing/institutional soaps etc, and I show her the IV site and the area where the catheter ended. Hm, she says. Probably the taxotere, but we'll see what this next round does. We also talk about the tingling in my left hand. She does a check for carpal tunnel (it's not carpal tunnel....) Well, she says, chemo doesn't usually cause that... But then later in the discussion she cedes that the taxotere is pretty strong stuff, and "we'll watch what happens this time.." Ok. (I'm thinking that it IS related, and I'm all for the let's watch it plan.) She listened to my heart and lungs, she asks about work and activity; I tell her my work schedule (she groans) and that I have run 3 times in this interval. She thinks this is great. She suggests some B 6, 100 mg/day, and vitamin E 400 mg/day. Not necessary, but may help skin issues. Ok.

We're done, she has written scripts for Nystatin/Xylocaine swish and spit for my mouth in case I need it. Also for Nexium for that pesky stomach pain if that recurs. She smiles, shakes my hand again, and tells us someone will be in to move us into a treatment room. I tell her I'm surprised that you don't see us in the treatment room.... She says it works better all the way around for her to see us first, so that she can alter the treatment plan if needed. Ok, Thanks. And that she'll see us before the next treatment, too. Ok. See you then. It's 11:35.

Badgeless Lady comes in at 1205. (Dan has been getting restless. I had offered him that he could go wander around East Towne somewhere- a shopping plaza-and I could call him if I needed him. He doesn't accept the offer, but I can see he tucked it away...) She takes us to Room 11, a small room, with a brown lazy boy that has a wooden side table affixed to the left side of the chair, below the armrest. I kind of like it, it's bigger than the smaller little arm that swings around. There's only room for one chair, and there's no TV. Daniel immediately says that he's not staying in this room... I offer him again to go out, and I'll call him when I'm done. Rose must have been right outside the door; she comes in to greet us, and get started, and she apologizes for the small room, that this is only temporary until a larger room opens up. Ok, thanks, I say. I see that she has my chart.

Rose looks at my arm, we discuss IV sites, and she says why don't we warm it up, we have a couple of new heating pads. Aha!! I have brought my own heating pad today, and we get it out, plug it in, and she wraps it around my arm. I'll be back in a few minutes...Ok, thanks.

About 10 minutes later, Rose is back, and has inserted a 24 gauge in my right lower arm, just above the wrist. You know the one. She pulls off 2 tubes of blood, the short purple one and the longer pink one, and adds a 250 ml bag of 0.9 normal saline. She leaves to take the blood to be processed and takes the chart with her. Dan and I talk about lunch. He decides he could go wander around Dick's Sporting Goods, and I could call him when I am ready for food. Ok, good plan. Bye.

1240 Rose is back, and takes me over to Treatment Room 4. The 250 ml is almost infused; she takes that down and hangs a 1000 ml bag of same. This room has the green lazy boy with the small swing arm table that has the dingy bell and the remote, 2 chairs, and a TV. There is also a window over my right shoulder with no window treatments; the room is quite bright for being a snowy day. I want to turn out one of the flourescent lights, but each time I got up I forgot, and never did the rest of the afternoon. Rose gets me settled, leaves and comes back with the 50 ml bag that has Decadron 10 mg, Benadryl 25 mg, Tagamet 300 mg, and Kytril 1 mg. (I had to look up the Kytril--she told me it was like Zofran--and it is. It seems that it works very quickly for both post op nausea as well as chemotherapy related nausea.

1310 I could feel that the medicine was affecting my head, it was about half infused, so I got up to the bathroom before it got worse. (I had already visited the facilities about 3 times before) When I got back to Room 4, Badgeless Lady was checking the bio-bins as the guy was there to change them out. I asked her for the lab results from January 16, and to talk to the Billing Lady, was Helen here today? She said sure, she would take care of that for me. Thank you, BL. She took our large yellow biobin with her, then returned with a new one and my lab results. Great!
Thank you so much! I'm surprised to see that all of the shifts of the WBC's are back to normal. Hm. So does that mean my body is efficient? I'd like to have a conversation with a hematologist.

1320 Dan calls, he's at Max and Erma's, a restaurant nearby, to tell me the menu options. I tell him my request, minestrone soup and a half of a reuben sandwich. I see that the little bag has infused.

1325 Helen comes in with her beautiful smiling self. I show her the notes from Colonial, the cancer insurance plan, and she says, no problem, I'll be able to print that out shortly. Thanks, Helen.

1330 Rose comes in and adds the Taxotere 125 mg (75mg/m squared) in 250 ml normal saline. I have written in my notebook here "+400 ml NS"-- I think that means that 400 ml of the big bag has infused, or maybe that's how much went in along with this bag, I'm not sure....

1340 I get up to the bathroom again. I know, it's only been 20 minutes, but shoot, I've hydrated well the last couple of days, as well as this morning, as well as the iv fluids... When I get back to the room I smell food; Daniel has returned. Yum.

We eat, visit, look at television. The devastation of the tornadoes is amazing. Prayers and angels to all of them. Rose stops by now and then to check me and the bags. One of those times she brought in the Cytoxan 1020 mg in 250 ml (600 mg/m squared) and plugs it into a port, ready to turn on when the other is done. The Taxotere stops at 1450, the NS is still infusing. Rose has just gone into the treatment room next door. I hear her discontinuing his stuff, changing things around, and watch for her to come out as opposed to dinging the bell. When she does come out, she pauses and looks in, and sees that the bag has infused. I tell her that it had finished when she was next door, so I was watching for her to come out instead of ringing. Oh, ok she said. She came in and closed that and opened the Cytoxan, watched to see that it was dripping, mentioned that it was interesting today as there were only 2 nurses instead of 4. Whoa. Yep, know what that's like... It's now 1500 hours.

The Cytoxan runs in over an hour, along with the NS, and there's about 250 ml left in the bag. It's dripping pretty fast, so I expect that we'll be done a little before 5:00. She comes in--she knows that I've done well at home, am able to drink ok, and offers to stop the iv before it's done. We agree to that. I suggest that I go to the bathroom while it's still infusing, and get that out of the way before we leave. I do that, and after I get back to the room, she takes the iv down at 1635. There's about 150 ml left. She flushes my needle with the heparin, wraps it with the self stick wrap (it's blue today) and we are on our way. What a long day.

We go home, 30-35 mph on the highway. Still snowing, still a mess. It is absolutely beautiful outdoors--the snow is kind of wet, like good for snowmen and snowballs and snowforts, and it's sticking to the tree's barks, leaving a contrast of white and dark. Stunning. I breathe and praise the Lord for all that I have that's good in my life. And that's a lot.

Home about 5 o'clock. That feels good. I'm a bit woozy in the head, and kind of weave when I stand or walk. That's ok, I'm not going many places this evening.

It's 11:00 now. I have had a 16 ounce water, a 24 ounce water, and will have finished another 24 ounce water here real soon. I have only been to the bathroom twice since I've been home. It's so strange how that affects urine output. Dr. wasn't concerned--it was one of the things I had on my list. And it resolved last time in a couple of days. So I'll keep drinking.

Overall, I'm doing really well, I think. Just a twinge of nausea infrequently, I had a couple of oyster crackers (aren't those just the cutest things) and the water. I will have another bite of something before going to bed. And, by the way, I wore a scarf today, one of the long narrow ones tied around my head. I tied it on the side and brought the tails around again and tucked them in. It stayed pretty good, but sometime during the late afternoon it loosened up and I had to re-tie it. Learning process, huh. A scarf is definitely much more comfortable for me than either of the wigs. I was more sleepy today during the infusions. I could have napped if I had quit watching the infusion...

Again, Thank you so much for the love, kind words, hugs, COMMENTS, and offering your unique color to add to this weaving. It is truly what gets me through. Breathe, smile. Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesday 2.5.2008 The Other Wig

Day 21, Treatment #1

Yes, I worked today, and wore the other wig, the longer redder, more sassy one. Today when I turned the corner to the unit, I walked right in, stood there, and let it happen. Squeals and smiles. Since I don't color my hair, or even get adventurous with a style, this is completely "out there" for me. Everyone liked it, or so they said.

And so the day went on. I was a rather nice day--I can say that now that we're clocked out. I had taken the shorter brown wig also to show, and a scarf, too, if I couldn't do either wig any more. It was kind of fun to take my hair off and show my lack of hair. It's not completely gone, yet. Pretty close. Like a one-year-old's head. Baby fine, sparse. My scalp can be seen easily now.

I had some visitors today at the hospital, my niece Cari, her daughters Chelsea with the beautiful chrome-less smile, and Heaven, who thought that wigs are "awesome". Cari took pics with her phone. If they get sent to me, I'll post them. It was the highlight of my day, the hugs from my girls. Thanks for taking the time to park and come into the building. That meant a lot.

After work I went to the care home. I got mom washed up and tucked into bed. The girls there saw me in the hall but didn't recognise me until they got a little closer. The votes were mixed over there--one or two for the shorter brown wig, the majority for the more red one.

It started raining pretty good by the time I left, large drops with snow in it, looking like mostly melted slushballs when they hit the windshield. The rain turned into slush, but didn't freeze on the windshield wipers, like some times that I've driven. And it was accumulating on the road. What a mess! Just outside of Jackson the first car was off the road. The total count between Jackson and the Holt Road exit was 9 vehicles off the road, one of them being the sheriff, losing control in the southbound lane, sliding through the median, and coming directly towards me. I was traveling just fast enough so that I was out of the way before the sheriff's cruiser stopped, the frame of that vehicle wedged sideways in the median. By that time, I was driving along at a whopping 25 mph. I was planning to get home safely. And I did. The 10th vehicle spun out in front of me on Holt Road, as I was travelling 25 mph. Wow. That vehicle recovered, and took right off driving towards Holt like nothing happened. Good for him.

I will say, that in the 2 years that I have been driving that route on a daily basis, this was the worst. But, with thanks and praise to God, I made it.

At home, I visited with Daniel. I'm still a smidgen shakey. He goes to bed, I write here. I'm really tired tonight. Tomorrow, Wednesday, is Treatment #2, 10:00 am. I'm anxious, though not as anxious as the first treatment. I will be taking my beautiful pathway with me (not that I don't ever not have it), and will pay attention as best I can so that I can write about it. And I will have Daniel with me, and our notebook. I will not be wearing a wig tomorrow. probably just a scarf. We'll see.

Thanks for reading. I ask that tomorrow you pray for us, appointment time 10:00, infusions last time took over 3 hours. Hugs to all.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday 2.4.2008

Day 20, Treatment #1

I worked today, and wore the short haired wig. I was surprised at my apprehension to actually turn the corner of the hallway and enter the unit with my "new hair". I pause, take a breath. I know that each of these women have woven their colors for me, and take a step forward. I take another breath, they notice me. Wow, look at you, that looks nice, etc... Whew. They're smiling. They're genuine. I'm smiling, nervous. I made it through the first group. And it was ok. Over to the locker room, a couple more girls, they like it, too. Ok, cool. I look in the mirror. Funny to see different hair. Yeah, it looks ok. It feels funny, though. Like a hat.

Back out on the floor, the day goes on. Very strange having darker hair in a different style. I'm not one to change my hairstyle, or color, so my image in the mirror is something to become accustomed to.

Also, as the day goes on, this thing is getting itchy. Like I need to take it off itchy. I'm becoming more comfortable with people's responses, and when they ask if I've lost my hair, I pull off the wig. Whew, that feels better. Of course, I'm not pulling it off in the middle of the hallway. They look, and are surprised at how sparse my hair is. Me, too.

I go over to the nursing home, I show mom my new hair. She looks at me, with a puzzled look on her face. One of nurses comes in; she asks if it's itchy. I tell her yes, she says take it off while you're here. We don't care... Ok. I take it off. SShew. That feels better.

The cap of the wig feels itchy on the inside, and the band around the perimeter is snug. It's adjustable, and I loosened it a couple of times throughout the day. It has to be snug enough to stay on... Maybe it's something I have to learn to wear. There are also types of accessories to help with the comfort--a gel headband for one, and wig liners are another. The liner is like the nylon footie that you use to try on shoes in the store. These are just to try on the wigs. The liners are found in a few different fabric options, so I guess you have to discover what one you like.

I drove home in the dense fog, only able to look ahead 1 and 2 reflectors. I took my time, and made it safely. I visited with my wonderful husband, he went to bed. I am on my way, too.

Thank you for all your support. Knowing that you are embracing me through the awkward stuff is what enables me, feeds me, encourages me to smile and look you in the eyes, sharing your strengths. May you be blessed with the peace of the Lord.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday 2.3.2008 New Wigs

Day 19, Treatment #1

Today was a pretty good day--the temperature was about 32 degrees, and I went outdoors for a run.

I started out trudging through the snow on the path the connects the two neighborhoods, then started a fast walk, going into a slow run. As I got a few blocks out, my thighs started to hurt. No big deal, that's happened before, just keep on, it passes. It didn't pass. Hm. What's up with this? Feels like lactic acid buildup. Usually goes away. Not going away. Ok, Kath. So you know you're out here, and have had chemo, and it's great that you're exercising, but don't push it. Ok. A few more steps, and I've convinced myself that it's ok to walk. I do, and after a few driveways, my thigh muscles are better. So I jog again. A block or two, and I have to walk again. Hm. What's up with this? And I find that I'm walking with my head down and I'm disappointed that I can't run. Whoa, Kath, pick you're head up. You're out here exercising, doing what you can. Heart rate's up, perspiring, good breathing, you're doing ok. Ok. My legs are better again, and I jog again, until I hurt again. And that's how my run went. Such opposite feelings--glad that I can and did, and disappointed that I had to walk at times. Thankful I could go outside in the first place.

When I got in and cooled off, I showered. I didn't pull my hair this morning, but more came out in the shower. There's not much left. Definitely will need headwear now.

So, I wore the shorter one today, to "see how it went". I guess it went ok. The girls at the nursing home smiled, said it looked real good. Their support and encouragement has been phenomenal--I go there every day, and they have been there with me since "sore breast days". I know they would be polite, but they are also genuine. It felt good to pass the first trial with smiles. It stayed on, too, when I bent over or put my head down.

I got down in front of mom in her line of vision and showed her my new wig. She wrinkled her forhead, looked at me, then put her head back down. I'm not sure what she was thinking...

When I left, I didn't put on a hat. The wind was light, but enough that it blew through the cap of the wig. So, if I have to walk the parking lot at work, I'll put my hat on. By the time I got to the car, I was thinking the adjuster strap on the inside of the cap might be a smidgen too tight, as I was trying to get a headache.

I was able to see the last bit of the Superbowl, and a few commercials. I had a couple of phone calls, then wrote here.

Monday and Tuesday are workdays, the Wednesday is Treatment #2.

Thank you all for reading. I appreciate every hug, prayer, wish for well-being, smile, and COMMENT. It's what's getting me through.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Saturday 2.2.2008

Day 18, Treatment #1

A better day today. I slept pretty good, got up, made a batch of pancakes. Yum !
After breakfast, Jeremy had phoned from Afghanistan. He seems to be doing as well as he can, considering. We talked for over an hour (voice over internet). I was happy to hear from him.

While we were on the phone, I had planned to try pulling my hair again, so I did. I got another pretty good amount out. It's interesting to see the scalp coming in to view. I know that most people just shave their heads when the hair starts falling out; for me, it's less dramatic to see it going in these stages.

I showered, and there wasn't any hair on the drain, so I did pretty good pulling the loose stuff out. I was surprised that this little bit of hair doesn't take but a few minutes to dry. I got the camera and took a few pics; please bear with the self-photos...

The second collection of hair, not quite as much as the first pulling, but still a significant amount.

It's getting pretty thin. After a while, I thought it might be a day to wear some kind of headcovering. But, the more I saw it, the more I thought I wouldn't.
I had to go into the hospital and pick up something, and I watched people's eyes. No big deal--they looked at my head and thought I had thin hair. I guess. They didn't stare like oh-my-gosh, look-at-her-head...
Over to the nursing home to feed Mom and get her tucked into bed, then back home for me. I visited with Dan, had a bite to eat, then checked the computer.
My Frank has new photos posted, and I selected one to put here.

Isn't he great!?! And yes, he shaved his eyebrows, too, because he said if I was going to lose mine, he was going to lose his. I told him I haven't lost mine, yet. Ok, he says. Mine are gone. Ok, I said. Do what you want with them...It doesn't look bad. It just surprised me he would shave his eyebrows.
That's all for now. I appreciate all of your support. That you are reading my writing. And commenting.