Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday 3.31.2008

Day 13, Treatment #4

I worked today. The drive down was ok, like heavy mist. And when I got to the parking lot, the shuttle appeared. Cool. I was still a bit dizzy/lightheaded.

We start our shift--it's going to be a busy day. And it was. About 0920, I could tell that I wasn't feeling well. We were doing a series of procedures, and I was fading. I got to the point where I spoke up and said so. My c0-worker was in there working with me, and she took over. I went into the break room, had a bite to eat, and sat for a few minutes until my head recovered. Evidently, when I feel like that, I don't look so well, either, as anyone who looked at me asked if I was ok.

And that's how my day went. I was able to perform, though at a much decreased level. I'm impatient/disappointed/frustrated that recovery from this treatment seems to be taking longer than the previous ones. My head is still a bit "swimmy", visual stimuli has decreased processing time in my brain, and my tummy still makes itself known on occasion.

I did call Dr. Bolmer this morning, and Phyllis returned my call this evening. She said Dr. has not researched the use of Tamiflu with chemo patients, and would rather wait to see if I get sick. Phyllis encouraged me to call if I have a temperature, and/or green mucous. Ok, thanks for returning my call.

I stopped and picked up a few groceries on the way home tonight, and when I got home, Daniel came down the stairs to help carry them up. He still looks not-well; eyes glassy, face flushed. He said he is feeling better--not coughing very much, just a little achy, and his temp has been in the 97's each time he's taken it. Praise the Lord for short illnesses...

I am on my way to bed so I can get up and do it again tomorrow. Thank you for reading, for keeping us in your prayers, and for your kind words. Hugs.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday 3.30.2008

Day 12, Treatment #4

Here at Crud Castle, Crud Man had a temp this morning of 101. I looked up cold vs. flu on the internet--one of the differences making it the respiratory flu is the temperature. I'm not a doctor, but it sounds like the respiratory flu. He is sucking in fluids when he gets up, stays up for an hour or so, then goes back to bed.

Myself, slept in the guest room again last night. I like that I'm not bothering him with my temperature instabilities, but it seems strange sleeping somewhere else. The guest room is at the complete opposite end of the house, so I don't even hear him snoring (and that's a bad thing?).

I met a group of my family at Claddagh's Irish Pub here in Lansing for a "Zero Birthday"--Polly's 60th. We ended up with 12 of us, and had a wonderful afternoon, with good food, fellowship, and fun.

We said our farewells and each went our separate ways in the rain. When I got home, Crud Man was on the bed. He woke up after a few minutes--no better. He made his way out to the living room, where he dozed in the chair and I tipped over on the sofa. After a while he went back to bed, and I putzed away the evening. Daniel got up again about 8:00, and when he checked his temp it was 101.1. We discussed phone calls to our physicians; he'll call his Dr. in the morning, and I'll call Dr. Bolmer's office in the morning, too, just to keep on top of things. Hopefully I won't be sick in the morning....

My head is resolving (revolving?), still not able to walk a "normal" pace, and have had a couple small bouts of nausea. Still with hots and colds. But better.

Tomorrow is a work day, and Tuesday, too. I hope I sleep ok, that Daniel feels better, and that I don't get it.

Thanks for your prayers and hugs. I'll write tomorrow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday 3.29.2008

Day 11, Treatment #4

What a beautiful day!!! Sun shining, birds singing... started out at 28 degrees, then got up to about 44. Lovely!

I slept pretty good, over in the guest room. Daniel is full blown Crud, and between his restlessness and germs, and my hots and colds, we felt that we might get some rest if we were alone. It was weird, though, being in a different room...

I got up and got my day started, and shortly after noon my brother David came by. We had a nice visit, and we went for a walk around the complex. David said "Hey, look, a frog!" Sure enough, a good size spotted frog was sitting in the grass enjoying the sun. "Hey, here's another one" and we found a couple more right up there by the sidewalk. We went down near the edge of the little pond, and there they were--at least a couple of dozen frogs--out basking in the sun. The largest of which would fill the palm of my hand easily. And as we would get nearer, you know how they plop back into the water. Wow. It really is spring. And we saw a small turtle, too. It's shell was maybe 2-3 inches in diameter, no bigger. And very dark, in the dark mud at the edge of the pond, just above the water line. Hm. That was pretty neat. While we were doing that I had a strange flash of when were children, me being 4 years older than he, down by the mud and water, and having to look out for him. Dave says "Be careful, I don't want you falling in--with your woozy head and all" and I am brought to the present, reflecting on how we've grown up and we look out for each other. Hm.

We get back inside and have a bite for lunch, and Dave leaves to go back to his hotel. I have about 45 minutes before I leave to join him there, where he drives us to Flint to a birthday party for a near and dear family friend.

We have a good drive there, and see lots of folks I haven't seen in a while, as well as several family members we saw recently at Elaine's funeral. And my wonderful cousin Marian, who has walked the road I'm walking, just a few years ago. I haven't seen her in several years, and we embraced the embrace that only the warriers know. Thank you, Marian, for holding me; for the words of encouragement, and for sharing our cousin love. You are truly special to me.

We have a very nice dinner and tribute to our Wally, Wallace Eaton. After dinner, people mingle and leave before too long. We did too.

Lots of deer out in the fields tonight, as it is the dusky sunset time of the evening. I pick up my car at the hotel and head on home to the Crud Castle.

Crudman is still deep in the throes of his yuckdom. He is in the bed with the tv on. He makes an effort to talk to me. I tell him of the party, his eyes are closed. He gets up and wanders around for a few minutes. I offer him more medication, he takes it, and goes back to bed. It's about 45 minutes later, and I think his cough sounds less frequent and a little better. I hope he rests well and feels much better in the morning.

I'm going to get a snack and get to bed myself. I've already washed my hands twice since being home, and will do so again before going to bed. My head is still a little swimmy, I still can't walk at my normal pace, and I had a couple short bouts of nausea today. Overall, I'm a bit better. I hope I don't get this stuff...

Thanks for reading, for keeping me surrounded with your thoughts and prayers. I'll write tomorrow. Hugs.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday 3.28.2008 Return To Work...

Day 10, Treatment #4

This morning I got up and drove to Jackson, again on crunchy, icy roads. Wouldn't you think the roads would be better--after all, they've had all winter to practice... On the good side, though, I didn't see any cars off the road.

I made it safely to the hospital parking lot. I guess I should say that my head was still a little swimmy this morning, and walking was the slow speed. I was happy to see the shuttle approach as I was getting out of my car to walk the long block over. As I approached the bus, whew-I got dizzy. I took a breath, climbed aboard, and wondered if I should be here.....

A warm welcome from my friends/co-workers. We had a good crew working on West today. The morning passed with me doing what I can do, slowly. I did ok. Then I got hungry, and noticed that the swooshy feeling was just a bit more pronounced. Ok. I ate, it helped the swooshies maybe minimally. The day goes on.

Lunch. Our Leadership Team brought lunch in for us. That was really nice. Yummy, too.

I went to the lab and had my blood drawn, the results were similar to the other interval results. I guess I'm stable...

The afternoon passed nicely, too. I was able to sit and rest for maybe 30 minutes or so. That helped.

Then, about 4:30/5:00, I started feeling better. Like the fog, or the veil, was lifting. Such an obvious change. How weird is that. The last couple of hours I noticed that I could walk just a little bit faster. Hm. Not all the way better, but better.

Shift over, I go to the locker room and change my shoes, gather my things, etc. I head outside to get to the parking lot. No shuttle. Ok, I'll walk, and I'll be slow. And I was. And I got there ok. I was glad to get in my car, though.

The drive home was good; dry roads, and daylight. And my head fog was better. Still there, but better.

My Daniel has The Crud. Glassy eyes, cold and hot, chest bark (cough). Poor guy. I hope he gets over it soon. I hope I don't get it. (right...)

I'm off to bed soon. I think I've turned the corner. I say that with a bit of apprehension, a bit guarded, cautious. Tomorrow will tell.

Thank you for reading. Hugs to all.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday 3.27.2008

Day 9, Treatment #4

A little better again today. Am I impatient?? I've still got a slightly swimmy head, can't walk or move quickly or even at normal speed, and am still fatigued.

Dan and I went out for groceries this afternoon. He's very good about my needing to go slow, like walking through the parking lot, and walking through the store. It's interesting what we've learned during this process...

About halfway through the store, my head started to get real woozy, and I got nauseated. We finished up, and shortly after we got home, it passed. Oh yeah. Big Medicines On Board.

After putting our loot away and having a bite to eat, we each laid down for a rest. Daniel seems to have some kind of cold/upper respiratory yuck. I stayed out on the sofa.

After a while, I was hungry again. Daniel had gotten up, so I rummaged around and prepared food. The evening went on without anything more exciting than me alternating between a sweating scalp and pulling a blanket over my torso. Sheesh! I hope this doesn't last very long...

I am going to go in to work tomorrow, and give it my best. Hopefully, I can be a team player, though I know I'll be slow.

I'm off to bed, thanks for reading. Hugs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday 3.26.2008

Day 8, Treatment #4

Today was better. Not 100% better, but maybe 60% better. Better in the way that my head doesn't feel "swimmy" all the time. Only when I turn my head at "normal" speed, or forget and walk faster than my head can keep up.

I had a little stomach pain, then a touch of nausea, earlier today. It was time for the Nexium, and I took it, and not had much discomfort since.

I met my lovely niece, Cari, at Sam's Club, to pick up some things for the staff at the Nursing Home. I drove myself to Jackson. That was interesting--the first 10 minutes I was a bit of a weaver, and wondered if I should be driving--but I settled down and was able to stay in my own lane. I had to go slow in the store--the lights and noise--but Cari and daughter Heaven were patient with me, and we each had our seletions before too long.

I went over to the home; a couple of the staff that I know were in the parking lot, and greeted me warmly. As it was nearing shift change, another girl drove up, too. Smiles and hugs. One of the girls, Amanda, offered to help me carry the goods in, and I accepted her help.

We went into the break room. One of the day shift girls who was with Mom that morning was in there. We smiled and hugged, and I thanked her for being with Mom. I saw Cameron, too, who had helped me get her ready for bed the night before, and hugged and thanked him. A few other staff trickled in and out; it was good to see them. One of the laundry ladies brought the last few of Mom's items out for me. I left my box of goodies there with a love note for them and walked through the facility. I saw a few other of the staff, we hugged and chatted a minute. I visited with a few other staff, and I left.

I drove myself back home. (Still with a bit of a woozy head). When I got back, it was past time for me to eat. Daniel and I used a gift card and went to Outback for supper. It was pretty good.

We came home, each of us on a computer, and soon it will be time for bed.

I was glad to see my friends today; they have been a big part of my support system as I have experienced the everyday decline in my mother's health during these last 6 years. They have encouraged me to date and shared my excitement when I met and then married Daniel. They have also shared in my breast cancer journey, from the breast soreness, the lump, biopsy, diagnosis, surgeries, and chemotherapy. I have grown to love them all. I hope they continue to stop by the blog (and COMMENT), or email or call me. I will miss seeing them, sharing our lives.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday 3.25.2008

Day 7, Treatment #4

Ok, no kidding. Today my head/brain feels "drunk". Not my body and coordination, just my brain. Activity, like taking my body somewhere, or just turning my head to look at something, needs to be slow so that my brain can catch up. And my frontal brain feels almost headachy, almost hungover like. I've been drinking all day; I don't think it's a dehydration issue. I also still have the cough, which is getting annoying. Oh yeah, and the hots. All day long. With uncomfortable cool inbetween. Sheesh.

I've been picking away at paperwork. It's slow, but I'm getting through it. I've had a couple instances of nausea that go away within 20-30 minutes. And I'm hungry. I can eat, slowly.

Daniel went to the golf dome, I took a nap. I woke up and moved back onto the sofa. Dan came home shortly thereafter. We continued on with our day; I prepared food for us, we looked at the television for a bit, and Daniel went off to bed. I wrote here and will soon be off to bed myself.

I can only hope that this sensation resolves quickly.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday 3.24.2008

Day 6 Treatment #4

I slept better again last night, still having the "hots" but not as frequently, I don't think. Dan thinks I slept better, too. I am noticing a frequent cough, sometimes a little moist. When I mentioned it to Daniel, he says it happened with the other treatments, too. Ok, I guess we'll just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't turn into something bad.

You know how you might sit with your hand near your mouth and start playing with your lip?? I was doing that this morning, kind of subconsciously, and the next thing I know, I had a layer of skin about an inch long from the inside of my bottom lip. Oh! I wonder if the top lip is going to peel too... Yup, I pulled about an inch from the top lip as well. (I knew they had been swollen, was that Friday/Saturday?)

Our wall mounted microwave unit failed yesterday due to a power surge, and after a conversation with the insurance company today, Daniel braved taking me to Lowe's to get a replacement unit. Again, the sensory stimulation is almost overwhelming. But having experienced it before, I kind of knew what kind of overload to expect. I can't walk fast. At all. I seem to be thinking ok, maybe a little slower than usual. We went directly to the microwave display, a nice employee came up to us just as we had found the model we needed, and found one way up there in the black finish that we needed. He checked on the computer, and the price was actually less than posted (yay), got the big stair thing, got the unit down, put it on the dolly thing, pushed it up front for us, and cashed us out. Thank you, Lowe's guy. That worked out well.

At home, Daniel set right to the project, which wasn't much of a project overall. Between him and what little help I could give him, we got the old unit out and the new unit installed. WaLaa!

After that was picked up and put away, I made food for us. It took me a while to eat, and when I was done, boy was I tired. So I laid down and took a nap.

I woke up about 5:45. It was still beautifully sunny outdoors. I had to get outside. So I did. I ended up walking just a short circle in our complex. Slowly. I noticed that I really didn't have a gait, so to speak--my arms were down to my side as opposed to swinging with each step. When I did move my arms, my head didn't keep up. Whoa--that's weird. So I just slowed down. I figured I was outside getting fresh air and sunlight and who cared how fast I was going.....

I came back in and had to rest. Daniel has spent the majority of the rest of the day trying to restore the computer, that somehow seems to have a program conflict. I don't know-it's not my area of expertise...

I went through some of Mom's things, sorted and reflected...looked at a little television, and it's time for bed.

Thank you for continuing to pray for me/us, for reading, for the colorful energies that I know are surrounding me with healing strenghs. So far, it's working. Hugs.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

3.23.2008 Easter Sunday

Day 5, Treatment #4

Today we Praise the Lord, the Miracle of Life After Death. The Miracle of my Mother's passing during Holy Week. It gives me comfort that she died so soon to Christ's rising, I can only think that she and Jesus went together. Just another way that our Elaine was surprising.

I have been feeling better as the day goes on, too. I slept pretty good, I think. Still with the intermittent hots, but I don't think they've lasted as long as they had been the last couple of nights. Still annoying, still disruptive. So much so, that Daniel took a nap again today.

I've been hungry, and as long as I eat slowly, I do ok. When I eat too quickly, the food seems to sit there like a baseball. But going slow, I'm able to get almost full portions in. Yum. And I'm able to drink better, too. Yesterday I was only able to swallow a small drink at a time, though I did get fluid in throughout the day and night. Today, I've had 40 ounces of water, plus 8 oz milk and 6 oz orange juice. Some things don't have much flavor, some things I eat because I know it's good for me. (Eating to live?)

My sensory perceptions are off; I can't walk fast, or turn my head quickly. Daniel and I went out for a short drive this afternoon (in the sunshine), and I couldn't watch the road. Too much movement. I enjoyed looking out the window, though, off in the distance...

I had a few naps today, but I think I was awake more than I was asleep overall.

I think I'm doing better, so far, this treatment than the others. Key words, so far.

I'll be going to bed soon, wish me even temperatures...

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday 3.22.2008

Day 4, Treatment #4

I am very happy to say I did get some sleep last night. Still interrupted, but much better. The hot flashes were not so hot (but still there), and I feel almost rested this morning. Daniel got up and went to a meeting, and I stayed in bed to finish my sleep. I finally arose about 10. Sun shining on the bright white snow. I showered, and was anxious to tell you that I feel better. My tummy doesn't hurt very much right now, but I'm hungry, and a little apprehensive about feeding it. Overall, I'm better.

The day went on, alternately sitting up and lying down. I slept most of the day. Sometimes chilled, then hot, then chilled again. I've been working on drinking; I've only managed 16 oz water, a couple glasses of milk, and a little juice.

My tummy doesn't really hurt, just feels like a softball in there, especially when I eat. It only lasts for a couple of hours, though. And my body feels better after I've eaten.

I think I'm going to go back to bed.

Thanks for your words of encouragement. They really help.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday 3.21.2008

Day 3, Treatment #4

So I watched the clock last night. I went to bed close to midnight, with the hot flash. I dozed off, and woke up 12:45, hot flash. Covers off, 10-15 minutes to cool off, covers on, doze off. 45 minutes later, hot. You get it. Really. Finally, about 0700, I slept for an hour and a half. Geesh.

Got up, showered. Hm, slow this morning. I get breakfast. I ate, but the inside of my mouth/throat feels ?swollen? I ate anyway. My stomach doesn't hurt like the previous times (yet). Just feeling like I'm slowing down.

The morning passed. Daniel went out to the golf dome to hit balls, then pick up a few groceries. I went up to the loft to lie on the sofa up there. It's warmer up there, and now I'm chilled and feel like I can't get warm. Oh, yeah, then there's the hot flash. Brief, warm ups, then chilled.

I slept for almost 2 hours. That was nice. Then the wierdest thing happened. When I stood up, I had no sensation whatsoever that I had to urinate. But I could feel the warm fluid in my clothing. EWWW!!! What's this?!?!?! Kegels, didn't matter. No sensation. The fluid stopped, and the rest came out on the toilet. How weird was that! I hope that doesn't happen again. I put my clothes in the washer.

Dan's not home yet, and I'm hungry. I put some pasta stuff together from the fridge, and eat. Slow. No stomach pain yet. Daniel comes home, it has started snowing.

As he eats, I am getting sleepy again. Occasional warm ups, but chilled. I finally take myself off to the bed about 5 o'clock. I stretch out, and even though I don't sleep soundly, I do sleep for a couple of hours. I get up about 7.

My lips feel swollen, as does my tongue, a little. The skin on the back of my neck, across the shoulders, and up under my chin and jaws seems tender to the touch. Dan thinks I'm doing better overall this time than the previous ones. Ok, whatever. I like that he's watching over me.

He goes off to bed near 10:00. I stay up to write here. I'm cold, with occasional hots. This cold feeling is different. I've managed almost 32 ounces of water today, along with juice and milk.

I hope I can sleep more than 30-45 minutes at a time. I don't know what's going to happen with the hots, though. Guess I'll have to go to bed to find out.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday 3.20.2008 Treatment #4, The Final Infusion

Day 2, Treatment #4

I found myself awake during the night, a lot. An hour of sleep, awake hot, blankets off, cooled off after about 20 minutes or so, then chilled, covered back up, and dozed off again, only to repeat the cycle in another hour or two. The window is open about 8-10 inches, there's a little breeze coming in. I find myself sitting on the edge of the bed, and I lay down with my head at the foot of the bed, because the window is down there, in the center of the wall. head is soo hot. I finally cool off again and doze off. I awaken again, and have to urinate. I've been going each time I've been awake, but this time, I'm really full. I can tell the fluid shift has happened--the knuckles on my hands/fingers are going down, my knees are not so full. Good. Another couple of hours and it will be time to get up.

The fluid shift is good, and I feel like the fluids are getting back to "normal". I get in the shower, keeping my IV arm dry, but I had to wash my smelly parts from perspiring so much during the night. Ok. Ready for the day.

Breakfast, and ready to go. We head out for our 10:00 appointment. About halfway there, on the highway, traffic is stopped. We jumped off at the exit which happened to be right there, and skirted it. We got to the Office just at 10:00. Don't sign in, we'll pull your chart. Ok, thanks.

We sat, and waited. 10:25, Badgeless Lady called us back, and we chose Treatment Room 3 again, the corner room with 2 windows that we were in yesterday. We got our coats off, I was getting my heating pad out of my bag, and Phyllis came in. I sat down in The Chair, and Phyllis screwed a 10 ml syringe filled with normal saline and attempted to flush my needle. IT WORKS! Yay!! She hooked up the 1000 ml bag of 0.9% normal saline and started it infusing.

1030 Phyllis went across the hall to the workroom and came back with the 50 ml piggyback of decadron 10 mg, and a syringe of Aloxi 0.25 mg. She inserted the needle into a port and and slowly pushed it in. She then attached the decadron and turned that one on to start infusing. The bulk was still infusing, too. We talked about housekeeping issues--I remembered that I needed a detailed billing statement for the cancer insurance people, also a statement that I'll be unable to work my next two work days, and an order for the lab draw for next week Friday. She left the room to take care of my needs, and others, too.

1105 Decadron done. The bulk is infusing. I, believe it or not, am thirsty, and have drank 16 oz water. Phyllis comes by the door, sees that the decadron is done, and steps in to close the rollerclamp on that and speed up the bulk some.

1150 Bathroom time. I refill my water.

Throughout the next hour or so, Daniel and I are watching the drip rate on the bulk. It's not going real fast, so I keep nudging it up. The nurses go by the door, look in to see that all is well, and keep going. Ok.

1320 Done. Ringy Dingy. I've been working on that second water, and gotten about half of it in.

1340 Phyllis has been working with the patient in the next room, and walks by the door. She sees that the bag is done and comes in. She closes the roller clamp, and takes the tapes off, along with a lot of my skin. She laughs and says it's the last time she'll be removing any skin from me. Hm. Interesting attitude of patient skin....

She puts the Neulasta 6 mg injection in the under part of my right forearm and covers it with a bandaid.

Wa Laa!!! I'm done!!! I thank her for taking good care of me, for making the experience a positive one. She walks us up to the exit door and wishes us well.

Whew, we're done. We walk down the sidewalk and over to the car hand in hand (we usually do) and smiled at each other. Phase 2, done. Well, after 3 weeks of side effects.

We get home, and fix lunch. We eat, Daniel checks the computer, then he decides that he needs to run a couple of errands, and leaves. I check my own computer stuff, and get dinner put together and in the oven. Daniel comes back as I'm finishing up. He was unable to find a cable he needs, so he gets online and orders it. Hm.

It's close to 5 pmm and still sunny. I ask him to go out for a short walk with me. We do--I'm not walking real fast, but we were out for about 25 minutes. Nice.

When we got back to the house, Dan said the wind was cold. I was hot flashing--I opened my coat and cooled off. Sheesh.

Dinner, I cleaned the kitchen, Daniel had the television on, I wrote here. He's off to bed, I'll be there soon.

Thanks for reading, for supporting us on this part of the cancer treatment. Side effects are coming, I know. The next step is a lab draw next Friday to make sure my blood's ok, then the visit with Dr. DeBiose, Radiology, April 10. I'll write tomorrow. Hugs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday 3.19.2008 Chemo Day

Day 1, Treatment #4

We started our day about 0745. Up and at 'em! Going to get the last of the chemotherapeutic agents. Dan and I were out the door about 0905, and arrived at the office in a timely manner. I told the nice ladies behind the window I was there, and a few minutes later, one of the Badgeless Ladies called us back.

Stop at the scale--#144.0 (143.8 when I exhaled) and she showed us to Exam Room 9. Blood pressure 96/60 (normal for me), pulse 96 (yup, a little anxious), temp 97.6. Ok. "We were told we were going to get started (like put the IV in and get the blood sent) while we were waiting for Dr..." BL looked at the chart and said that if that is to happen, it's noted here. And it isn't. Let me go find out, and I'll be back to let you know. Ok, thanks, BL. Sure enough, she was back in just a couple of minutes, saying that Dr. was here and will be in shortly. Ok, Great.

I took a quick look around the room, so I could tell you about it. 3 side chairs, exam table, 3 watercolors on the wall of water scenes, the counter/sink, and cabinets, etc....

Dr Bolmer came in just a couple of minutes later. We had a conversation first about any side effects. Not too many, my skin (on my hands) seems to be doing pretty good, I did not bleed this 3 week interval (that's good, she says), but let me tell you about being hot....

She smiled, listened to my descriptors of my head so hot, and nodded sympathetically. Yes, she said, your hormones are being attacked, and we can't replace those, so... you'll have to deal with them the best you can. She reminded me that the phytoestrogens in substances like soy and black cohosh are off limits, too. Not saying to avoid soy, just don't look to use it lots.

Ok, looks like we're on the temp instability pathway for a while. Can't say how long, everybody's different.

And then I told her about Elaine, and that the Funeral was Monday. She said the appropriate things, and we thanked her.

Then I told her of the bloody scab I have every day from the inside of the right nare (nose). We were done with our conversation; she invited me to sit on the exam table, pulled the back of the table up, I leaned back, and she proceeded to look, listen, and feel. Lungs good, heart good, poked at my abdomen (how's the constipation.. no problems there). Then she got the lighted scope instrument and looked in my nose. Yup, there it is. Looks really superficial. She asked a few more questions about it, I told her my concerns about having a flood of blood from my nose (she doesn't think it will), and offered that I could put ointment on a q-tip and try to treat it, or just let it be. She thinks it's a side effect of the Taxotere, like the rash on my hand. Ok, good. It should heal up in several weeks and not to worry. I hope.

Follow up visit with Dr. Bolmer the first week of June, and we'll talk about Tamoxifen, the pill that I'll take for 5 years. We'll review the hot flash situation and look at possible options, she mentioned low dose Effexor.

We were done, it was about 10:10. She escorted us down the hall to the Treatment Rooms, found a staff person, and Dan and I chose to be in Treatment Room 3, the corner room with 2 windows. A different BL did what she does with the chart, wrote my name on the white board, and let the nurses know that we there.

Treatment Room 3 has the maroon recliner with the swingy arm table, 2 side chairs, tv and calendar on the wall. We've been there before.

Rose came in within a couple of minutes. She attempted to start my IV. Unsuccessful, x 2. Bummer. My veins were just not plumping up. I don't get it--I've had so much water, and I had the heating pad wrapped around my arm. 10:40, Phyllis came in for another attempt. She didn't get it either. So, we wrapped my arm with the heating pad, and waited.

11:00 Phyllis came back and got a needle in, in the antecube (inside the elbow). It may not keep overnight, and it's positional (I have to keep my arm straight for it to infuse), but it's in. She pulled the short lavender tube of blood and hung a 1000 ml bag of 0.9 normal saline. Drip, drip. Bathroom time for me--I had 24 ounces before I left home this morning, and it's time to go...

1105 Phyllis came back the with 50 ml piggyback of Zofran 32 mg, decadron 10 mg, benadryl 25 mg, and tagamet 300 mg. Drip, drip. Within just a few minutes, I could feel my head spinning. I have tried to describe it before--not drunk, not really tired, but weird like that.

1140 Whatever is making me go, I had to use the bathroom again. I wove my way down the hall...

1150 Phyllis in to check on us. She opened the roller clamp to finish the last little bit in the bag, and the bulk started running in.

1210 Phyllis started the Taxotere, 125 mg in 250 ml of normal saline. Both the bulk and the Taxotere are infusing.

1230 Bathroom time again. (I have consumed another bottle of water...) When I got back to the room, Dan helped me get settled in The Chair, my turn for the computer, and he left to get our lunches.

1255 Daniel back with lunch, and we ate. Drip, drip.

1335 Phyllis in to check the Taxotere. It's almost done, she sped it up--it was just about done anyway. 1340 Taxotere done, bulk infusing.

1350 Phyllis came in with the Cytoxan and started that. She also left the normal saline bulk infusing. I'm ok with that.

1415 Bathroom time...I've have consumed the second bottle of water.

1450 Patti, another of the nurses came in to check on us. She adjusted the rates on the bags--the Cytoxan was running a bit slow, and she slowed down the bulk.

1515 Cytoxan done. Bulk almost done. I reached up and opened the roller clamp, there was a little over 200 ml left.

1530 Phyllis came in and gave me a new med. Aranesp 20 mcg. in 0.4 ml. She put it in a port on the iv tubing. The Aranesp is to boost the red blood cells. Dr had mentioned it earlier, pending the lab results. Hemoglobin 10.3, so I guess they don't want it to get any lower. She also said there may be side effects, like bone pain. Great, bring it on. Let's beat this cancer and keep the rest of me healthy.

She let the bulk run in for another minute or so to get that stuff in, then disconnected the tubing, flushed it with heparin, wrapped it with the purple self-stick wrap, and sent us on our way. Whew.

We were home just before 4. We each vegged out, Dan went upstairs to work on his computer, and I've managed to put this post together.

It's about 8:00. I've had another 24 ounces of water, my facial bones feel like sinus pressure, my fingers are tight, my head is a bit swimmy. Daniel is watching over me, and overall I'm doing great.

Thank you, God, for a safe infusion today. For Daniel, for all my family, friends, and readers and other people I may not even know about praying for me, sending me energies and keeping me strong.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday 3.18.2008

Day 21, Treatment #3

Sleep didn't come easily, surprisingly. I ended up going to bed about midnight and listening to the sleet/freezing rain against the windows. I was chilled, and after about a half hour or so, uh-oh, hot. Sheesh. Another 10-15 minutes, I think that's when I finally drifted off to sleep. And that's how the nights have been going. Normal temperature, sleep, hot, wake up, wait to cool off, then sleep again. I'm learning that a good time to get up to the bathroom is during the hot flash.

We got up about 8:00 and got started on our day. I left to meet Jim and Polly at Cari's home, and the four of us worked on the thank you notes for Elaine. Between the 4 of us, we got them finished as much as we could in 4 hours. It went really well, though.

I discovered something. I hadn't been writing--pen and paper type writing--and I found that it was quite a challenge to make the letters, put them in the correct order, follow the train of thought. Very weird. I know that when I'm typing, sometimes they come out in the wrong order, and the backspace button comes in handy. And the spell check, if I use it. I was very surprised at the difficulty I was having with the handwriting. I got through it, though.

I got home, we had had a power outage. Something about the power company changing a transformer?? (Don't you think they would send notice about something like that?) Just as Dan and I were talking about going out for dinner, the power came back on (yay), but we decided to go out anyway.

We ate, then went to Meijer for groceries. I tried to pick out things that might go well for me over the weekend when I may not be feeling all that great. And a few other items, too.

We put the groceries away, and each of us got on a computer. I looked at emails, and the show Dancing With The Stars on tv, and after a while, Dan turned in while I finished this post.

Tomorrow is treatment #4. Yes, I'm anxious again, but thankful that it's the last 2 days of this chemical process. Hopefully it will go well.

I will take all of you with me--your colors, the energies you send, your "thinking about you", your hugs, phone calls, and emails. We'll light that path, and I'll breathe and be ok. Thank you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday 3.17.2008 Elaine's Funeral

Day 20, Treatment #3

Well, we did it. What a lovely funeral. So many people--family, friends--Elaine was well loved and respected.
I wanted to put a photo here, but couldn't select one. I just don't know what she would think about all that...
Our day started about 0630 after another night of hot and cold and interrupted sleep. I got ready for the day, breakfasted, and it was time to go. We got over to MSU campus and picked up my nephew Michael, then headed on over to Flushing. We made good time and arrived at St. Roberts Church at 0900. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot, but none familiar. We decided that they were cars from people attending morning Mass. Sure enough, about ten after, they started filing out. Jim and Polly arrived shortly after we did, and wondered the same thing. Mom and her ride hadn't arrived yet.
Polly and I went in the building. We met a few of the "church ladies" who were starting to get the luncheon set up, and we went on to use the facilities. (I'm trying to drink, to get ready for chemo on Wednesday, and you know that has to come out...) Sure enough, other folks began arriving, and Mom did, too. The funeral home people brought her into the entryway/vestibule of the church, and placed her flowers, photograph, memory book, and kneeler around her.
The vestibule filled with people, greeting, hugging, and some tears, too.
Soon it was 10:30, and time to start. Dan, the Funeral Director, asked all non-family members to please go into the church and be seated. The pall bearers were summoned and surrounded Mom's casket, which was still on the wheeled cart thing. The priest, Father Roy, led the way, with the alter attendant carrying the crucifix, and the pall bearers laying their hands on Mom's white casket and escorting her down the aisle. The rest of the family followed Mom down the aisle, and I got the sense that she was very holy and blessed and going to meet her Lord.
When we got to the front of the church, we stopped and took our places in the pews. My Daniel to the right of me on the far end of the pew, myself, Kathy Sue, Tom, Catherine, and David on the inside end of the pew. Behind David was Bruce, then Jim, then Polly. I don't know if there was anyone else next to her...
Father Roy asked for Elaine's children and Elaine's siblings to come to the casket and place the Funeral Pall. It is an off-white cloth that is embroidered with I think a cross and some other things. Maybe Father Roy placed it on the casket, and when the 5 of us, and Lois, Donna, and Carl had taken our places, we unfolded it and covered her casket with it. Quite somber. Like putting on a holy dress or blanket.

Father proceeded with the Mass. It is A. Lois' home church, where she is a choir member, and the choir honored her, as well as Elaine and the rest of us, by participating in the Mass. It was absolutely beautiful. I turned around at one point to look up into the choir loft, to see the folks singing--holding their music up, with the silvery organ pipes behind them going up the wall. The acoustics were wonderful, too.
The rest of the Mass was just as good, and the Catholics end with the Priest walking around the casket with burning incense in a holder at the end of a chain; as he swings it back and forward, over and under the casket, the rising smoke is to symbolize the soul going to heaven. Whoa. That was awesome, emotional, and very moving. The incense part is what always gets me. I was crying, and had a huge smile, too, as I knew Mom's belief was that she was going to God. You go, Elaine. You made it.
The pall bearers reassembled around her, and we all escorted her back down the aisle to the outer door, where Director Dan directed the pall bearers on how to carry the casket out to the hearse.
They did a good job and got Mom loaded into her carriage, and soon we were off to the cemetery. I don't know how long the procession was, maybe 40 cars or so. A lot of us rode together. I know that it seemed like there were a lot of people at the gravesite.
Father Roy said the final blessing, we prayed The Lord's Prayer again, and Director Dan said we were done, and invited everyone back to the church for a luncheon.
Nobody left.
We all stood there, with the cold wind blowing, just looking at the casket. Bruce spoke up, and asked the cemetery guy to please lower the casket. The guy repeated "lower the casket?" and we said "yes, please lower the casket". So cemetery guy got the crank thing and lowered the casket. After it was down to the bottom, he took the crank out and stepped away.
I don't know who started, but someone tossed in a flower they had pulled from one of the floral arrangements. One of my brothers, I think. The other brothers and wives put their flowers in, one by one. A. Lois and A. Donna approached and did the same, as did A. Etta Mary and U. Wayne. The grandchildren had kind of migrated into a clump, and single file, they each walked by and tossed their flowers in, too. Wow.
When everyone had sent their flowers with Mom, we were finally done. We moseyed back to our vehicles and went back to the church for the luncheon.
The church ladies had done a nice job, we had a bite to eat, visited, and took pictures. We laughed, cried a little more, and eventually sent each other on our way, back to our lives, each with a piece of Elaine in our hearts.
Rest easy, my dear Mother. With grace and courage you lived out your disease process.
Dan and Frank and I stopped by the funeral home to pick up a couple of floral arrangements, took those over to A. Lois' house, and went our way home.
We vegged and visited, changed clothes, etc. Frank left after a couple of hours, and Dan and I have been catching up on our emails. I wrote here, and now we're off to bed soon.
Thank you for your cards and love notes, emails, hugs, smiles. Each of you have filled my heart and colored my world. Hugs.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 16, 2008 Visitation

Day 19, Treatment #3

Wow. What a day. Elaine looked lovely while we said our goodbyes, and it was quite emotional when the casket was closed for public visitation. (Mom had requested a closed casket; she didn't want everyone "gawking" at her and saying "tsk tsk, doesn't she look good," etc...

Although it was a long day/evening, it was very nice. Lots of family, extended family, mom's friends, folks that I haven't seen or heard from in years... Hugs, smiles, and of course tears. Lots of memories flowed.

Overall, I did well. I had taken 4 bottles of water, and those were mostly gone, plus the water I drank this morning before we left. I ate carefully through the day, and had to sit down a few times to rest. Dan and I also went a few blocks over to A. Lois' where she had hot food out. We ate there and rested, just quiet time for us.

We went back to the funeral home, and the Vigil Service started at 6 o'clock. Very nice. We finished, said our good nights, left there and stopped on MSU campus to drop clothes off to my nephew, who we will be picking up tomorrow morning for the funeral.

At home, we had another bite to eat, and one by one, drifted off to bed. (Frank is staying with us tonight) An early morning tomorrow--we are to be at the church by 0930.

Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts today. I know your energies are what is helping me through. Hugs.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday March 15, 2008

Day 18, Treatment #3

Today was a slow day, kind of nice. I pulled out a couple more things for the funeral home, took a nap, and my son Jeremy and his lovely wife Jennifer came for a visit. They are here for the weekend from South Carolina.

We had a nice visit, went to a local eatery, came back, did our own things for a bit, then they went back to her mother's in Grand Blanc. I'll see them again the next two days.

I picked up the house a little, did the "try-on" thing to make sure my clothing for the next two days was ok (it wasn't--I had to readjust my choices) and as I was doing that, Dan came home.

Yea!!! He got unpacked while I finished trying things on, then he had to do the same. We eventually came up with appropriate attire that wasn't too loose or too tight...

We visited. I wrote here, he's busy opening the items that arrived (ebay purchases) while he was gone, and I'm sure we'll turn in pretty soon.

The next couple of days will be long. Thank you for sending me your strengths. Hugs.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday March 14, 2008

Day 17, Treatment #3

I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked--restless, hot, cold, sheesh. Got up, putzed around, went through more of Mom's things, selected a couple more for the funeral home, blah, blah...

The day was a window into spring. 54 degrees, blue skies, sun shining. I went out to the car wash and removed much of the winter's salt, stopped for groceries, and came back home. After putting the food away, I had a bite and took a nap.

I joined Breon and her fiancee' Nick, and his family, for Nick's birthday dinner. They are a wonderful family, and I am happy for her that she is embraced. I was surprised that I got tired again, and I left to come home.

I'm sucking down water, trying to eat well and take care of myself. Daniel will be home Saturday evening. I'm ready for him to be home.

Thank you all for your support. Your kind words, comments, phone calls, emails, and cards. I am blessed to have you in my world.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday March 13, 2008

Day 16, Treatment #3

The day dawned dreary gray, and breezy. Kathy Sue and I were up and showered, but not really "ready to go" when brother Jim called, and asked could I come to Jackson this morning for a legal signature... Ok, sure. We're not quite ready to go, but we'll get there.

So we drive to Jackson, I sign where indicated, and we head back to Holt. We proceeded to do some of nothing, just chit chat, some reminiscing, mainly the quiet support of each other. Email, phone calls, etc.

After a while, it was time to eat again. I had prepared food a couple of days ago, and I reheated that for us. We ate while we watched the movie "No Hair Day"--a documentary about 3 women who met during treatment for their breast cancers. Being able to see them as they interact with each other and their reflections on their lives was very insightful and reassuring to me/us. I had watched it with Dan shortly after my first treatment; he found it to be a good movie, too.

We left to go to Flushing, to select the casket flowers/blanket. We met brother Tom, Kathy's husband, there, and ordered our selection, the options being agreed upon easily. It will be a spray of pinks (I forgot what all the flowers are) with 5 white roses, one for each of her children. The nice lady Rachel also sent Kathy Sue and I home with a dozen daffodils each. I appreciated that--I love daffodils.

We then went around the block to Aunt Lois' house, where we all visited again for about an hour. Tom and KS left shortly after 6; I chose to stay and visit with A. Lois and Diane.

KS and I located a photo album that Mom had assembled of Lois' family--I took that for her, and we three had a great trip down memory lane. Unrushed, we laughed and listened to each other's stories. It was a good day.

I left there and got home around 9 pm. Had a bite to eat, checked email, and wrote here.

Thanks to all for your comments, private emails, phone calls, and hugs. I know these next several days are going to be pivotal, and your support enables me to take the next step, hold my head up, and go forward. Hugs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday March 12, 2008 Elaine

Day 15, Treatment #3

The day started with a phone call from the nursing home saying that Mom wasn't doing well. I immediately phoned my brother Jim, who left right away to get to the home. As I was getting myself ready to go down, I phoned each of the other 3 brothers and let them know. Jim arrived just after Mom left for Heaven.

As I was traveling, I received "the call", so I slowed down a little. When I arrived, Mom was peaceful, and as I hugged her, I was relieved that she was still warm. I talked to her, told her again that I was proud of her, and that I loved her.

While we waited for the transport to come from Flushing, Jim, Polly, and I packed up her things, and every once in a while I found myself looking over at her to make sure she was ok. Funny.

We had just finished carrying her things out to our vehicles when Andy, the funeral home guy, came in, and I helped him transfer her onto his cart. I tucked her in, watched as he buckled her safely onto the cart, and kissed her goodbye. It was 11:45 am.

We had a 2 o'clock appointment at Rossell Funeral Home in Flushing to make our final selections. I stopped at the storage unit to pick up mom's "funeral clothes", and went on my way to Flushing. We had actually been there approximately 3 years ago for a "discovery/preplanning" meeting, and it was comforting to be in a now-familiar room with Dan, the Director we worked with at that time. Tom and Kathy Sue, Jim and Polly, and myself were there to complete this process, which took longer than we thought it might.

Details: Visitation Sunday 2pm - 8 pm at Rossell Funeral Home, Flushing, MI. Funeral Monday March 17, with visitation 0930-1030, Funeral Mass 10:30 at St. Roberts Catholic Church, Flushing, MI

After that meeting, we stopped over to Mom's sister's home, Lois, who is just blocks from the funeral home. We had a nice visit, along with light refreshments. We went on our way; Kathy Sue came home with me to spend the night. We're going back to Flushing tomorrow, will meet Tom there, and KS will go back home. Daniel will be back sometime Sunday.

Kathy Sue and I stopped to have supper on the way home. We stopped at the storage unit again to pick up mom's photo collection, to sort through and pick out some items for display. We came home, visited, selected some items, used the computer, and enjoyed each other's company.

I did ok today, overall. I got a little tired while at the funeral home, and was glad for the visit with my aunt, and my cousin Diane was there, too.

Our phones have been pretty busy today, and the next several days will be full, as well.

I need to thank the staff at the nursing home for doing what they do, for taking good care of Elaine and all the other residents, and for the support they give the family members, me included.

Readers, I know that this may have been a difficult post to read. I appreciate each and every one of you. Hugs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday March 11, 2008

Day 14, Treatment #3

Went to work, all was well. Mostly. I've discovered (or rediscovered) that I can't move/walk quickly; my head just doesn't keep up. And this afternoon I had another sensation--after moving a patient in a bed to another floor, with someone else pushing the bed also, I had odd "dizzy" like feelings in my head/brain. Weird. I had to sit down and wait for it to pass. It was later in the afternoon, and the workpace was such that I didn't have an opportunity to "go rest", and I was tired. Also, it had been 4 hours since I had eaten. It was probably a combination of factors, the main one being chemotherapy. Hmph. So I had to take the time to rest, and after about 20 minutes or so, I was mostly better. I've had just brief swirly episodes occasionally; nothing that didn't pass.

Over to the care home. Mom was laying on the bed, sleeping. She opened her eyes when I spoke to her, but she didn't look good. Staff said she didn't eat again tonight, and they couldn't get her to drink, either. The nurse said she took her medicine and water in the afternoon, and when we offered this evening she took it also. She didn't bear weight for them, either. I sat her up and sat next to her on the bed; she leaned into me like she does. I got another couple ounces of water in, and after the medicine, she was ready to lay back down. One of the wonderful aides helped me change her clothes and get her ready for bed while she was on the bed. When we were done, she settled right in and dozed off. Her nose was still runny and she had a few loose coughs. I hope she sleeps comfortably.

I spoke to Daniel on the way home. He sounded tired; he says he's having a good time, enjoying the 60+ degree weather, the golf, and the company.

At home, I put my work things away, checked postal mail and email, wrote here, and I'm off to bed. I hope I sleep well.

Thank you for reading, and for the hugs, and tears, and concern, and taking care of me. I am truly blessed to have each of you in my world.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday March 10, 2008

Day 13, Treatment #3

Back to work, a cruise control drive. Boy, am I glad to see the snow letting up! We were busy today, but you know that I have the greatest co-workers ever, and our daywent well, overall.

Interesting tidbit--this afternoon I wasn't feeling well. My stomach hurt, and just when I thought I might have to take something, (20-30 minutes?), it started to let up. But during that time, I was hot, and I must have looked funny, because my weavers were watching me and wanted me to sit down for a few minutes. Now, mind you, I wasn't feeling like I was looking funny, I just felt funny, punky, and my stomach hurt, and I was hot. Hm. I wonder what they saw that triggered their protective mechanisms?? I did sit for just a few minutes, but I had things to do, and I had to get up and do them. Then, and here's the weird part, the next time I had to pee, the urine really smelled different, kind of stinky. Eww. What as that all about??

I'm telling you, these medicines are strange business. I kept drinking my water and flushing through....

I eventually clocked out and headed over to the nursing home. Mom was sleeping in her chair. She woke up ok, but took many minutes to open her mouth to take her medicine. She did drink all the water. Staff said she did not eat anything for supper tonight, and only drank about half of her milk. Two of us got her into and out of the bathroom, with not much help from her. Over to the bed and tucked in, she was asleep within minutes. She still has a runny nose and loose cough that she never clears. God be with you, Mom.

Cruised on home, checked snail mail, email, wrote here, got ready for tomorrow, and I'm off to bed.

Thank you so much for all of your support. As each of us has our own unique journey to walk, thank you for walking with me on this part of the path. Hugs.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday March 9, 2008

Day 12, Treatment #3

How nice to have the house quiet! Don't get me wrong--I love my Dear Husband Daniel, and miss him when he's off on an outing somewhere--but I do enjoy the stillness.

I woke, and got up, because it's an hour later that what we think, thanks to "springing ahead". I wandered around, fed myself, and wondered what to do next.

I'm kind of tired, I realize. I suck down some water, put a load in the washer, and putz around in general. Check the computer, get in the shower.

I laid down and rested for a bit, then got up and made more food and ate, then headed to Jackson. Got Mom fed and tucked in; my wonderful son Frank came over to the home to visit us.

Back home, it was time to eat again. I did that, got veggies cleaned and food organized for the next couple of days, as I work Monday and Tuesday. Daniel called again; they have arrived in Santee, and all is well. I checked email, wrote here, and I'm off to bed.

Thanks for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Day 11, Treatment #3

Daniel got away this afternoon about 1-ish in a Chevy Uplander. He and another guy, Duane, drove to Kentucky to spend the night with Phil, and the three of them will continue on to Columbia ?NC to pick up another fellow, then on to Santee SC to meet 4 others for a golf outing. He called this evening to say he had arrived safely--there was a big snowstorm in the Ohio valley which made the back half of today's leg snowy.

I spent the afternoon with household duties, fixed myself something to eat, then went to Jackson.

Mom was ok; still has a bit of a runny nose and frequent loose cough, but she ate ok. I got her tucked into bed, stopped for a couple grocery items, and came home. Checked email, wrote here, and will turn in.

I'm still a bit tired, and still have occasional "stabs" of nausea. I didn't take any medication, though, as it seems to pass ok. And temperature instability-cold, hot, cold... sheesh. I hope that settles down sooner than later. My tastebuds are re-awakening; I find myself thinking about what I could eat when I don't feel like eating (coming up again in two weeks), and thinking about what I can eat now that's super-healthy and nourishing and all that.

Overall, I think I'm doing ok, if not well. I am so grateful that you are all out there sending your support in whichever ways that you do. It sure helps when I'm struggling to close my eyes, breathe, and envision all your colorful energies. Thank you. Hugs.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday 3.7.2008 New Pics

Day 10, Treatment #3

Dan says I slept well, especially between 4 and 6 am. Yep. That's my sleep time. We got up and got ready for the day, and off to the Dr. office for the lab draw.

Our appointment is for 11:00. We arrive, I go to the window, and we wait. Mr. Patient starts fussing after 15 minutes. I get called back soon after, by the badgeless woman who I still don't know her name. She uses a "butterfly", quickly and confidently sticks it in my right antecubital, and draws the short purple top tube. I hold pressure over the site, and decline the bandaid, as my skin is still reddened from the adhesive from the tapes over the iv site last week. I ask her for a copy of the results, and we're done.

Yippee!! The labs are good!! And my weight is 144.0 today. Good, it's steady. Well, down 0.6, but steady. (And I thought I was holding fluid...)

After the office visit, we went over to Joann's Fabric/Craft store. I have the idea that I can make one (or more) of these cap liners that I bought for 6.95, (plus 6.95 shipping). He was a very good shopper--or should I say Hunter--he found the quilted fabric I was looking for, helped select ribbon colors, and asked if I should get thread! Why, yes, I think I will get a new spool of thread, too! Thank you, my wonderful Daniel!! The total for a half yard of fabric, 2 spools of ribbon, and a spool of thread was $16.78. I may be able to get 6 or more of these caps. (What I'm thinking, is that I can tie the bandanas on, and leave them on. And the scarves slip off my head, don't stay tied, etc, so maybe they can be affixed with a pin/brooch, basting stitch, etc.) So, I have a new project to create...

Daniel leaves to go to the Golf Dome, I check email and such, and decide to lay down for an hour. While I'm resting, Dr. DeBiose's office (the radiologist) calls to set up our next consultation for the radiation treatments. I spoke with Vicky; we agree on April 10 at 10:30 am. This appointment will be approximately 1 1/2 hours. Oh. I'm surprised. We had an hour-long appointment way back in December, before starting chemotherapy.

I get up and go to Jackson. Mom was not as snotty as she has been, and her cough was less; though she's not coughing as much, there's not much effort behind it. I really can't decide if she's better or not. Her great grandson, Drew, has been coming over to the home and visiting. Wednesday(?) he helped her with supper, and today he came in and fed her lunch. I know Mom likes that he is there. I have heard several comments about how nice of a young man he is (age 16) from both staff and the "regular" visitors. I have to say that I appreciate his visits, too.

I get home and visit with Daniel, have a bite to eat, write here, and it's time for bed again.

Thank you for reading. Smiles and hugs.
Thought you might like to see pics of my haircut, I took these 3/2/08

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thursday 3.6.2008

Day 9, Treatment #3

A short night of sleep, got up and headed south, a cruise control drive. (WooHoo! So tired of the snow and slush and 35 mph...)

I did pretty good this morning, better than yesterday. I did end up taking a compazine about 0830, which took care of the gnawing nausea that is so uncomfortable/annoying. The day went on, with another wonderful group of co-workers.

I did feel the need to rest this afternoon, and was able to go to a quiet place and close my eyes...20 minutes was enough.

I came back to the floor feeling better, finished out the afternoon, and clocked out.

Over to the nursing home, Jim and Polly came in right behind me. Jim is still shaving his head, and Polly's hair is now very short, maybe an inch or so on the top. She said she was going to cut it shorter with each treatment I have; I'm curious to see just how short it will be next time... (will she be brave enough to go 1/4 inch??) We visited for a bit, they left, and I got mom washed up and tucked into bed.

Cruise control home (except for the 12 miles of orange barrels--yes, spring really is coming), and Daniel and I visit for a while before he heads off to bed and I write here.

Overall, I'm better today, nausea, fatigue, taste buds that I only half recognize, and a woozy head that sometimes spins when I'm standing up. Tomorrow is lab draw at 11:00, and Daniel leaves for his Santee Golf Trip Saturday noon.

Thank you for reading, for praying me through these days of post-treatment discomforts. I'm going to plan on feeling even better tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wednesday 3.5.2008 Workday

Day 8, Treatment #3

I got up after a restless night, nauseated. Eww. I managed to eat my egg and drink a glass of milk, but couldn't do the english muffin. I put it in the bag to take with me. On my way...

A snowy drive to Jackson, one lane open, 50 mph. Yuck. I made it, though, and safely. (thank you God)

The shuttle did not come back to pick up the small handful of employees, and I walked through the parking lot, across the road, and into the hospital. One of the Labor and Delivery girls was walking with me--when we got into the building, I had to slow down. We weren't even walking fast in the first place. Then I realized that my legs were "wobbly", or shaky, or not quite right, and I said so out loud, and told her I had to slow down. She slowed, also, and we made it to our floor. Clocked in, and went in to receive report, as it was 0630.

During report, I noticed that my nausea was still there. And I was kind of dizzy. Hm. Interesting. I must have looked funny, because most everyone asked if I was feeling ok. I responded that I was "punky" this morning, pretty nauseated, even a touch dizzy.

I decided I would see how the morning went, and maybe call someone to come replace me. I really was not doing well. 0755--I decided to take a Zofran melt tab. I have not used that medicine before, just during infusion day, I've had it in the IV. It was about 10:00 when I ate my english muffin. I had started drinking water, too, thinking maybe I was a little dehydrated??? I don't know, but I wasn't real steady on my feet, and not able to move real fast, either. What I did know, is that I wasn't doing well. Hm.

The nausea was easing, and the fluid intake seemed to be helping the swirling in my head, and by 11:30/12:00 or so, I was feeling like I was going to be ok. Whew.

Let me say, I have wonderful co-workers. Everyone was so caring and kind. I did do some little things, like roll the baby carts from/to the rooms for the baby docs, (it was ok, holding on to the cribs), answer the phone, stay at the desk with the babies, draw baby blood, etc. But mostly, I sat the first few hours. And was encouraged to do so. (I must have looked really bad.)

The rest of the day passed, me doing what I could to feel like I was a team player. Soon it was time to clock out.

Over to the care home, mom still has a runny nose and loose cough. I got her tucked into bed and headed home.

I told my Daniel about my morning--and that I had spoken with another wonderful person who does our scheduling. For the next treatment, I will be off the Saturday and Easter Sunday, and am scheduled to return to work Thursday and Friday. So I will have that extra day to see how I'm doing before actually coming in. And have a backup lined up, in case. Thanks, Tish, for your kindness, strength, and support.

One of the hardest things for us strong, independent people, I think, is to recognize when we need help. And then accept the help. I am learning to recognize the vulnerability, to open my heart so that others can help me, and be kind to them when they do.

Thank you, you wonderful women who cared for me, tended me, worried about me, and loved me through this morning. We made it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday 3.4.2008

Day 7, Treatment #3

So, today happened. Hot during the night, didn't sleep much. Woke up hungry, but breakfast didn't have much "taste" to my tongue. I spent the rest of the morning catching up on computer stuff. I have been able to drink, though, and have caught up on 60 ounces of water today.

Dan went to his golf lesson, I went to Meijer. I am so hungry, and felt ready for vegetables--specifically, green and yellow sweet peppers, cucumber, and whatever else looks good.

I got home and prepared a salad with chicken on it, and ate. Hm. Can't really taste this. Bummer. I ate it anyway, cuz I'm hungry. And I've been drinking milk. It's cool, and soft; doesn't really taste like milk, but I can't tell you what it does taste like. And I'm nauseated again. I take a Nexium to see what that will do.

Time to go to Jackson. Mom still doesn't feel good. She's whiney when you touch her, like her skin is sensitive. She ate well, though, and I got her tucked into bed, and drove home in another snowstorm. A two-handed drive. I think all of last winter I only had a handful of "driving days". This year, at least half (or so it seems) of my drives have been snowy. Oh yeah, it is winter in Michigan...

I've still been mostly nauseated the remainder of the evening. I took a compazine about 9:00. It hasn't worked too well. After 0100, I'll try a Zofran if I'm still uncomfortable. And the roof of my mouth is sore, behind my front teeth. Yuck. I guess I'll have to stick with the softer foods a couple more days. And, while I'm complaining, my breast is sore, too. I took a couple of tylenol for that. And the nerve down the inside of my upper arm aches and itches. (How can something ache and itch when it doesn't have sensation...?)

I'm feeling pretty tired. I didn't have a nap today, and the only thing I did was small grocery shopping. Wednesday and Thursday are work days. I hope I'm ready for it. I guess I'll do what I need to do....

I need to go to bed. So, that's what I'll do. Thanks for reading. Hugs.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday 3.3.2008

Day 6, Treatment #3

Still hot during the night at intervals. Very different for me to be warm like that. I was queasy sometimes, too, but I didn't take any medication. Got up, had breakfast, picked up the kitchen, run the dishwasher, blah, blah. I ended up not doing a whole lot more during the day, even though I was awake. I even put on makeup this afternoon--I changed to a lighter color because the skin tone seems a little different--and tried a wig liner with the short haired wig to see if that would be more comfortable. My scalp still itches, and at home I don't often have anything on my head. Dan says he's getting used to seeing me without much hair. I'm almost accustomed to seeing my reflection in the mirror.

When I scratch my head, little round things, like salt, come out of my scalp. Maybe it's the dead follicle/root bulb thing?? I don't know, it's just weird. And is it going to itch like crazy when it grows back?? (oh, joy)

I'm hungry today. Like, feed me. I'm trying to watch the intake so as to not overdo. And I'm able to drink today. Yes, I've been drinking, but only a swallow or two at a time. Today I can slurp it. Oh yes, occasional nausea. Not throw up nausea, just the horrible sensation, and it hurts, too, like a sharp ache. These sensations were intermittent throughout the day, and eased up after 20 minutes or so. So I didn't take any medicine (compazine or zofran).

I went to the nursing home. Mom wasn't feeling well, kind of whimpery, and her skin seemed sensative. She didn't eat well, either. Her temp was 97.4. I got her tucked into bed, she closed her eyes right away. Good night, Mom.

I came home, and was hungry again. I had a bite, talked with Breon and Daniel about her wedding plans, and wrote here. I did take a compazine when I got home, just because it was bothersome, and Dan said "that's what it's for". So I took it, to see if it helps. I guess it did; I haven't thought about it much.

I've also been a little dizzy--just short spells--maybe 5 seconds or so--and it passes and all is well. I can't walk real fast yet, either, the brain just doesn't keep up with all the sensory stimuli.

So, overall, I'm better. Not all the way, but better. I'm looking forward to "all the way".

Thanks for being here with me. Who'd-a-thought???

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday 3.2.2008 Human?

Day 5, Treatment #3

After a fragmented night of hot, cold, awake, asleep, up to the bathroom, up for medicine, back to bed, turn this way, stretch my legs out, man I'm hot, Dan's got his covers up to his ears, (the window is open a good 5 inches, with the wind blowing in, on my side), sheesh, I finally cooled off, doze off to sleep, well, you get the idea... It was finally morning and time to get up. And I was hungry.

My tummy was still questionable, and my taste buds are definitely affected, but I fixed my breakfast and ate it. It wasn't all unpalatable, just not 100% yummy. My tongue is "numb" around the perimeter.

I showered, dressed, and got laundry started. (We decided to wash the bed...) Over to the sofa, I dozed off, while Daniel went out to get groceries.

He came back in with the goods, I had made the bed, and I was resting again. I woke up, was hungry again, and had a bite to eat. I was realizing that I was feeling better. I stayed awake, mostly, for a couple hours, then took myself to the nursing home.

Mom was quiet, she still has a cough and a runny nose, though it's clear now, and I got her tucked into bed.

Home again, I'm feeling darn right better. I had a bowl of cereal, which didn't bother my mouth as much as I thought it might, and I am finding myself actually smiling!!! Woo Hoo!!! I made it!!

As I write here, I'm getting sleepy; it's 9:45. So, once again, I'll thank you for reading, for the prayers and positive energies that you each have been sending me. I'm sure that's been a major factor in my processes.... Hugs to all.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Saturday 3.1.2008

Day 4, Treatment #3

Daylight came, clear skies. I haven't done much today, slept mostly. I have been taking the Compazine 10 mg oral about every 5 hours, and that keeps the stomach pain pretty much at bay, but maybe that makes me a little sleepy, too?? I don't know, Daniel has been really good, saying this is just what happened the other 2 treatments. Ok. I managed to be up long enough to prepare hot cereal for myself, and eat, and go back to bed.

After a while I woke up, and it was time for more Compazine. I really wanted to get outside in the sun, but it didn't happen today. I laid back down. I woke up about 4, and Daniel asked if I was wanting to go to Jackson. Sure...

I changed clothes and got in the car. My fuzzy head (both literally and perceptionally) and I did ok in the passenger seat.

We got to the care home, mom was still laying down for her afternoon nap, but the girls were in to get her up. I got her fed, then washed up and ready for bed, and tucked in. We left.

As those couple hours went by, maybe just being awake helped me to feel better, but tonight, I'm thinking I'm going to be ok. Still a bit woozy, but ok.

Thank you for all your support. I'll write tomorrow.