Saturday, December 11, 2010

Diagnosis Cancer - December 2005 part A

From March 2005 - June 2008 my blog was elsewhere.  I'm worried all the posts during my cancer diagnosis and treatment will be lost so I'm moving them over one month at a time.

Little late update

posted Sunday, 4 December 2005

The last few days have not been fun. I thought I would get on sooner but . . . The first day or two of the chemo was ok. Nothing newsworthy. Just went about with my IV and hurting from the surgery installing the port. It hurt like crazy when they hooked the IV to the port but I figure it's because I had just had surgery and she had to poke around near the incision to find the port. It was her hands feeling for the port that hurt and she had to poke me three times. The poking of the IV really didn't hurt though. For my surgery they had drawn blood and poked three times for the IV in my arm and it all hurt tremendously. They finally gave me some pediatric gas to knock me out enough to start the actual IV. The pediatric gas tasted like vitamins and I was knocked out pretty quick. Looks like they got the IV on the next stick and my arms are bruised and such. I have an incision on my neck and one on my chest for the port. I took photos but will have to load them later. When the nurse was trying to get the IV in the port my husband kept getting more agitated. I thought he was gonna deck her. :) After the second attempt he said maybe we should wait and I told him to get out if he couldn't take it because we were doing this. She got it on the third attempt and he told me how brave I was. He hates to see me in pain and I wasn't sure if he'd be able to take the needle out when it came time. We had to take the pump off, then inject saline, then heprin into me before removing the needle. He did great. He really had to pull the needle out, I was amazed it was in so well. I sat in a chair with 5 other people all of us getting chemo. They also have beds so you have a choice but I let the bed go to the next lady, she looked like she needed it more. The beds are in private rooms and everyone, no matter where, has their own little tv. There was a lady passing out snacks and drinks periodically. Most of us were there several hours. I was there from 8 am until about 2 pm. They would also bring you a pillow and warm blanket if you wanted. I got an infusion of calcium and magnesium which are supposed to help lessen the neuropathy ( cold/tingly hands and feet) then the oxaliplatin chemo then more calcium and magnesium then the 5-FU pump for 2 days. I got a hat in the chemo room, it's red and says "Chemo Sucks". The hats are all donated so you can choose one. Some just looked like average hats but I liked this one. Mark and Helen had a holiday party Friday night and while we went we only stayed about an hour. I needed to get back home but I'm sure they understood. I had taken a nap before we went but when we got home I fell right to sleep. That was about 7pm. Slept all night and most all of yesterday and last night. Yesterday I was so nauseous I didn't eat - this is day 3 of not eating much. However the oncologist says that's ok, the nausea pills make you sleep instead of puke. Friday morning I woke up to a swollen throat and little bit of nose bleed. We called the oncologist because my chest also feels full. He said if it had happened Wednesday he would have thought it to be an allergic reaction to the oxaliplatin but at this point he has to look at heart attack from the 5-FU or a cold. We decided on a cold. Today I haven't taken any pills yet and I ate an egg and a few bites of toast. Oh and a cookie my husband made. He figures I need some high calorie food. My arms and legs are soooo skinny. I hate the way I look right now. One of the side effects of the Oxaliplatin is neuropathy. You have a greater sensation of cold. You need to keep gloves by the refrigerator and breathe through a scarf when going out in the cold. AND, this is the killer, can not eat nor drink anything cold. I always fill my glass totally with ice then add soda but now I have to drink everything lukewarm which means I don't drink much. I try but it tastes so bad. Too bad I don't like coffee or tea or hot chocolate. I've just always thought my drinks should be very cold and my food very hot. Dennis keeps fretting over me. He will be working on the house then pop in to check on me. I hate how much he worries but I love him for it too. Same with my mom and dad. They call to check on me and I know they wait for me to call and I feel bad when I have to say I'm not feeling well and I keep telling them all that I don't want to go through any more of these. I'm talking to the oncologist when I go back. I'm really not sure this is worth it. Don't get me wrong. I want to live. I'm not giving up but this is just changing the percentage slightly and they're watching me closely and I'm talking to him to find out the exacts. If not for the chemo I'd be recovering nicely by now. On the house, the bank still needs to see ALL of the siding done so Dennis is outside, fighting the siding trying to keep it from breaking in the the cold to get it on so we can close in the next couple of weeks. The appraiser told the bank that it wouldn't affect the appraisal but the bank must have photos of it done.

Sidetracked by the SciFi Channel

posted Tuesday, 6 December 2005

I've spent the last few days and nights sleepless.  This is not normally a problem I have but maybe I'm making up for all of the time I slept through the chemo in the previous days.  I lay in bed, in the dark and beg for sleep to come but it doesn't and I'm not tired in anyway.  Weird.  During these sleepless hours I've had much thinking time, in fact that may be part of the issue as my sleep is plagued by dreams and the dreams are nightmares of chemicals injected into me and such.  Probably normal cancer patient nightmares, feels like I'm on the SciFi Channel - which leads me to mention we are watching The Triangle on SciFi, a three night mini-series - this is night two and so far it's good.  I hadn't watched SciFi in years but found myself watching it this morning too, an old Kolchak:The Night Stalker marathon apparently.  I loved that show when I was a kid.  Anyone who's watched SciFi knows they like to do these weird little things, a type of station identification thing, making sure you know you're watching SciFi and they always have to be creative and do it freakily.  Well I got my week's laugh today watching one of those, in fact we have DVR so I was able to rewind and watch it over and over and laugh my butt off.  I guess I'm saying if you haven't watched this channel in a while you might find it worth your while to drop by and get a laugh.  Ok, here's what happens.  A man walks onto the screen carrying a Chihuahua, he promptly places his mouth on the dog's poop hole and blows and each time he blows a different part of the dog turns into a balloon-dog until the whole dog is a balloon animal.  I was shocked, never thought I would see that!

Ok, back on topic. During my many sleepless hours I have had a few thoughts on things to share that aren't cancer related.  Well, I guess they kind of are but they are more in the minds of cancer patients I imagine.  I've decided to open up a little more here by sharing some of the thoughts - don't worry though, I'll still let you know how crappy I'm feeling.  :)

Well, the title of this entry was going to be "Daylight in Wisconsin" but since I got off on a tangent I guess that will wait until tomorrow.  In the mean time please know how much it means to me that you check up on me and think of me and pray for me, I feel very loved right now and that sure can't hurt.  Please feel free to email me anytime, I LOVE hearing from all of you.  I will always answer you back, it just may take me a few days.  On my down days I don't get on the computer at all and even on my up days I may only be on an hour.  I am working on gaining some more strength so I can endure more time as I miss my computer time.  Lots of things I miss right now.

Wisconsin Skies

posted Thursday, 8 December 2005

Yep, it's another sleepless night.  Too much thinking time and so many thoughts flying through my head that I can't get them all down and they're lost.  They all seem so extremely important to share yet the moment hits when I'm in the bathtub or some other time I can't get to a pen to jot a note so I don't forget.  Then the notes are so concise that when I begin to type I've lost the feeling behind the thought and it comes out as babble.

This past Halloween was the two year marker of our move from South Texas to the heart of Wisconsin.  I love Wisconsin, the weather is right up my alley and I've told my husband I will only move further north in the future.  There are many things that seem foreign to me even after two years here and I'm sure people here think they're normal.  Makes me think of the Joplin, MO area where I was born, raised and lived for 35 yrs of my life.  The things I hated, the things I miss, the things I took for granted.  In MO and TX they are stop lights, up here they're stop-and-go lights.  A creek was a creek and now it's a crick.  For the life of me I can't find a good steakhouse, decent rolls or biscuits, awesome chili (up here it's soup and forget about a chili dog), and I long for Missouri's cashew chicken.

I love our little Funny Farm town but we still get our directions confused, probably due to the fact the sun rises and sets in the south.  In the summer the sun is shining brightly by 4 a.m. - Can you believe that?  I am not a morning person so I prefer the winters when the sun wakes up after I do around 7 a.m.  Lately, I've taken to laying in bed and watching the sun peek over the fields, beautiful shades of pink and yellow and everything looks fresh and innocent.  Beautiful white covers the ground and will be here until at least April and the sun seems even brighter.  Many days this is the only time you will catch the sun because within an hour it's covered by clouds or falling snow but the most awesome days are the ones when the sun shines brightly AND it snows - sunlight dancing off the flakes as they float down.  Since being here I've learned to ice skate and love to skate on days like those.  Weekdays kids are in school and good adults are at work and I can sneak to the skatepark which is surrounded by evergreens so you can forget everyone.  I skate alone and take my time and think and breathe the cool fresh air and love those moments.  I hope I'm able to this year.

After I pull myself from the bed I HAVE to go to our bathroom window and survey the yard.  There is a special tree out there, placed perfectly from that window and I enjoy it's shape.  It's a pussywillow, no taller than four feet and one of the few trees that came on our land.  Of course we didn't plan the house around the tree but it really is perfectly placed.  It seems so strong out there by itself, nothing but grass - well now snow - around it for yards and yards.  I think that's one of the things I like about it, it's alone and strong and was not planted and tended, this is old farmland so it had to be strong to survive and I wonder where it came from.  There are a few pussywillows in our yard, though this one is the biggest.  I don't see any in neighboring yards.  It has a nice trunk and many  branches and looks much like how you would draw a tree, not scrawny but full and shapely.

Another thing to get used to up here are the very short winter days and long winters and it affects some people pretty badly.  I think Khris gets the winter blues, he used to be the happiest kid but I think the short days mess with him.  Most of the days we have a glare not true sun and it only lasts until 4p.m.  No kidding, it's dark, dark, dark by 4:30.  Such short days we have and yet these are the days, with the snow and the cold that I long to go hiking and just enjoy nature.  That's not the cancer talking because it's been that way since we came here.  We'll watch the weather on the weekends and if we miss the fresh snow we'll drive north to where it is and walk and enjoy.

I'm an only child and I'm sure this whole mess has been hard on my mom.  I really loved having her here and worried about my dad while she was here.  I thought this would be the first surgery she would miss but she made it.  She stayed with me the entire hospital stay and gave me my bed-baths and helped me into my first shower and hair-washing and reminded me to breathe.  And when we came home she cleaned and cooked and played with the boys and found time to lay next to me and watch movies too.  My parents and grandparents are all I miss of Joplin. . . well and maybe certain foods.  :)  Since going home mom has sent me a soft fluffy white hat so I have another choice when I go out on the cold days and we've been having them, January temps already.  Then a few days ago I got a box in the mail and my dad had found me some extremely soft pink muck-a-luck boots/house-shoes.  They are sooooo soft and warm.  I wish we were closer but I hated Missouri and they'll never move up here.  Unless I could get my grandma to move in here, then maybe mom would follow and dad would definitely come too.  Sounds like a plan.

My daughter called yesterday and she won't be coming home for Christmas.  I was looking forward to her visit but she thinks she'll be able to come on her spring break.  Hopefully, she will but I have a feeling I'll have to go to her.

Break time ~ And now you may certify me insane but, although it's a little after 2 a.m. I just came in from dancing in the snow, staring at the sky which I forgot to previously mention.  The nighttime sky has always been one of my favorite skies and when Dennis and I were dating we used to go for nighttime drives, maybe take a blanket and lay and stare at the stars while we talked and talked.  But even if we only drove I would be turned around in the seat wrong staring at the sky and I like to think that's one of the things he fell in love with.  I remember one evening we danced in my driveway to his car radio before he went home for the night.  This January marks our fourth year together and May will be 3 yrs married.  Our first vacation together we traveled 14 states in 10 days and my favorite night was the night we slept near Zion alone in a campground with no one around for miles and you could see the stars so clearly.  I never knew there were millions, had only experienced thousands in Missouri.  My second favorite night was in Yellowstone where we woke up to snow on our tent even though it was June!  Beautiful!  Up here, we have millions of stars too and since moving into our new place we can totally enjoy them, even fall asleep to them in bed as we have no curtains yet.  When I get strength I'll make some but currently we are curtainless.  Tonight the stars are out in all their glory and the sky is absolutely beautiful.  While I was out there I was thinking of the evenings we dragged our blanket out in the yard to stare at the sky and it feels like ages ago.  This house has consumed us and we have had no time for enjoying life lately.  I hope we can find more of those moments soon.

Finally sleep

posted Friday, 9 December 2005

Yesterday was a beautiful day!  We got some snow.  It snowed for at least 6 hours but not much accumulation.  Our ground is still covered in white from the last snow though and our driveway is simply smashed snow.  :)  Our tiny snow blower won't work on this 700' driveway.  Don't know what we'll do if we get a whole bunch of snow at once.  My husband just says we'll have Mikal drive his blazer up and down the drive until we can get out.  :)  Somehow I don't think I'll be required to hand shovel the entire drive anymore, at least not alone.  I walked out of a doctor's appointment to see see the lovely flakes coming down hard against the dark sky and was so taken by it I had to share it with mom.  I wanted to yell "mom!" as soon as she answered the phone, then say, "It's so beautiful!" but was afraid I'd give her a heart attack.  With everything going on with my health she would probably think the worst.  SO while listening to the phone ring I decided on a calmer approach.  Just had to share it.  We're supposed to get more snow over the next two days too.  Yippee!

I made it through the entire day just feeling achy from lack of sleep I'm sure but did take an Ambien at bedtime.  I have been cautious about taking them because I didn't want to mix them with pain pills.  I took it and was out within 10 minutes.  I woke up about 8 this morning and I swear I hadn't moved all night.  I woke on the same side I fell asleep on.  AND no headache today AND no nightmares last night.  Yea!

I'm glad you all enjoyed the last post.  I worried I had babbled on far too long for anyone to read the entire thing but I was in a mood so I typed anyway.

Next Mayo Appointment Schedule

posted Friday, 9 December 2005

Dreading the next chemo and next week.  Kinda sucks I get to feel crappy for about a week and then spend a week where each day I feel less crappy but get to think about the next appointments. I figure it helps to keep you guys in the loop on my appointments so that you'll know why you don't hear from me if I don't feel well enough to write for a few days.

Next Wednesday, December 14

7:20 a.m. Bloodwork

8:00 a.m. MRI {I have been having back pain so the oncologist is doing an MRI to make sure the cancer has not gotten into my back}

9:30 a.m. Upper Endoscopy {Checking for cancer in the esophagus and stomach}

2:30 p.m. Meet with the Oncologist

Thursday, December 15

7:30 a.m. Chemotherapy

Friday, December 16 is my son Mikal's birthday.  He will be 18 years old.  We had planned on having a huge bash for him with my husband's DJ equipment getting a good workout but things have had to change, of course.  I've told him he can still have some people over it just won't be the huge bash originally thought of.  :(  I even told him his friends can crash(sleep) all over the rec room, it's definitely big enough, I just hope I feel ok.

Awake again ( and Koontz)

posted Saturday, 10 December 2005

I swear every time you do something for fun - like dancing in the snow at 2 a.m. in your robe and houseshoes - you have to pay for it!  Life sucks.  I am once again awake.  My throat hurts, probably from my little joy session and I really want to be tired but I'm not.  I came down on the couch to try to let my poor husband sleep.  I have the Christmas tree lit and the fireplace, the only other light is the glow of the computer screen.  I just wanted to do short little vent so the world can know I'm awake when I should be asleep.  But the world is probably saying, "Take the Ambien, Idiot".  For one, I'm not a pill taker and right now I'm taking tons of them and with my throat hurting I don't wanna.  For two, I don't want to use a sleeping aid every night.  For three, my stomach has ached almost all day and I wonder if it's because of the Ambien.

Think I'll read my book.  Bad thing is this one is so interesting I know it won't put me to sleep.  I'm reading Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz.  It's captivating, totally.  I liked one line and wanted to share it with you, "Humor is a petal on the flower of hope, and hope blossoms on the vine of faith."  Just remember Koontz said it and not me, I don't wanna get in trouble.  I like this book because he keeps leaving you little bread crumbs on info that keeps you turning pages to find out more and this is one of his humorous books.  And while I don't want to spoil it for anyone there is a clown that's a bad guy and clowns creep me out so I'm liking that; it's like validation.  The other thing I like about all Koontz books is he always adds to my vocabulary or at least refreshes it.  Hmmmm, so far he hasn't used "sluiced" in this book.  My husband and I always laugh when we read that word because it seems Koontz uses some form of it in EVERY book.

5 Generations

posted Saturday, 10 December 2005

I come from a small family.  I can count on two hands all the family members on my mom's side of the family, ok I might need to add a few toes but you get the idea.  I feel particularly blessed because I am one of a small amount of people who knew, really knew my great-grandmother.  Longevity runs in my family and that may help me through this cancer.  My great-grandmother, Nanny (real name Elsie) was born in 1902.  She came to MO in a covered wagon from Kansas or Oklahoma, I don't remember which.  But I remember her stories of the trip, I remember sitting at her feet and listening to her stories and loving them.  She had four children, two girls and two boys.  Both her her boys died while they were teens but her daughters grew to adulthood.  She was always very close to her daughter, my great-Aunt Margie and Margie was a corker.  She was great, funny, at times crazy but wonderful.  I loved her dearly too, but Nanny outlived her as well.  Nanny used to be so sad to have lost her husband (died 3 days after my birth) and children.  She said it wasn't right for a mother to bury her children and at times she viewed as punishment from God.  Nanny was such a Wonderful woman that I have no idea she could feel she should be punished for anything, let alone punished so severely.  I am so happy that we have a photo of my Nanny, grandma, mom, myself and my daughter.  How many people have a 5 generation photo?  I should find that photo and frame it for display.

You all have made me think of my loving Nanny a lot lately, by the cards I have received.  She was strong in spirit and not easily discouraged and it was sad to lose her at 96 yrs old.  I had small children during those last years of her life and when I couldn't get to see her I sent her cards or notes for no reason.  I loved sending her little thoughts letting her know she was thought of and loved even when there wasn't a holiday.  And the fact there was no reason to be getting a card made them more special I think.  This is something I now do for my grandma (her other daughter).  During these last several months we have been so caught up in building a house for our family to live in that I haven't sent any cards to grandma and last week I got to thinking of that and how I needed to do it.  That very day I got a card in the mail from my grandma, just a thinking of you, missing you card.

I'm sure we can all think of someone in our lives that we care about but don't see as much as we'd like and maybe we should make it a goal this week to let them know how much we think about them even if we can't be with them.  You'll never know what a difference you may make in their day.

Dreading the chemo

posted Sunday, 11 December 2005

The countdown is on and while my mood hasn't plummeted to the depths of our basement I would say I'm slowing deflating.  Each day I spend more time thinking about the cancer and the chemo and the whole entire mess.  And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the upcoming results of the tests I'll be having done.  What if the cancer is elsewhere?  Will I totally crash emotionally?  Will I give up?  I don't think I will.  I think my hope will remain but I'm sure the news will dictate the rest of my treatment.

I don't know if I can explain this in such a way to make sense to you but I'm going to try.  I feel right now that I have to live like I'm dying (like that country song) in the way that I have to plan for my children and family to know they are fine if I would one day not be here.  And in the way of enjoying and making sure to do those things I wanted to do before death.  Then, I feel like I have to live like I'm NOT dying in the way that I must prepare for a future and keep fighting.

There's been some confusion as to why I'm having chemo if the doctor thinks he got it all so I'd like to explain that.  The way the oncologist explained it to my husband and I is that the fact the cancer was in 4 nodes tells him that the cancer has learned to travel.  Such a smart disease!  It put it's little boots on and marched over to those lymph nodes and from there it may have donned a little life vest before jumping to the blood stream to be swept to the liver or lungs.  From what the oncologist says, those are the most likely places for it to show itself again.  Currently, I may have cancer cells too small to be seen by any equipment, swimming around in my lung, or liver just eating and growing while I think I'm cancer-free.  That is why I have to have the chemo.

Now, the oncologist also says this chemo only changes my percentages by about 10%, so evidently some of those little cancer guys may be tough cookies or really good hiders.  The oncologist assures me that even if I have it appear in the liver or lung I can have surgery to remove a lobe or two and be just fine.  Yeah, just what I need, more surgery, like my body doesn't already look like a land someone has been digging for buried treasures on.  Unsuccessfully, I might add.

Evidently, they don't have much confidence in this whole chemo thing because in addition to pumping me full of poisons designed to kill any little traveling cancer guys they want me to subject myself to 25-30 days of radiation aimed at the pelvic area to kill the opportunities for recurrent cancer there.  Maybe there's a huge dam built between my heart and my pelvis so the poisons can't get there?  Maybe pelvic cancer guys are more sneaky and resistant to those poisons.  Or, I know, the guys down there have on their little chemical warfare suits and masks, prepared for the fight.

I almost think I'd rather risk my odds with the rogue cancer guys than the educated morons dictating my treatment.  Don't get me wrong I like my doctors and I have confidence in their abilities.  I just hate this situation and wonder if the doctor is smarter or the cancer is.

I want to rewind to the days before I knew I had cancer.  I wonder if there were other choices I should have made.  I wonder if I had put the testing off until we were totally done with the house (as I planned) if I would have died before treatment or would I be exactly where I am now.  I wonder how long the cancer was there.  Was it there 6-7 years ago when I started having issues?  Probably not.  At what point did it cease to be Irritable Bowel and start to be cancer?

Cost of Chemo

posted Monday, 12 December 2005

I'd like to say I'm going all philosophical here but actually we got the bill today for my first chemo.  I was absolutely shocked!  Getting my port installed (now I sound like a computer) and my first round of chemo totals almost $15,000!  Ouch.  I know the insurance should pay a good portion of it but OUCH.  The one drug, Oxaplatin, that I get for about 20 minutes costs almost $4,000!  Can you believe that?  And here I was complaining because the sleeping pills are over $1 a pill.  The two day pump I wore was under $500 for the rental and the drug in it.  But that 20 minute one that makes it to where I can’t touch nothing cold, nor drink anything cold costs $4,000!  Amazing.  It better do more than that, a lot more for that price.  Heck I could buy a used car every two weeks for that price.  We figure we will be paying this bill for the rest of our lives.  But then I wonder what happens if it comes back.

Chemo - Round 2

posted Tuesday, 13 December 2005

We will be heading for Rochester tonight as my first appointment tomorrow is so early.  We're supposed to get a lot of snow over the next 24 hours so we're packing an emergency kit, just in case.  Hopefully, our trip will be safe and we'll get home ok too.  My stress level is going progressively up but I know it will reach it's peak before the endoscopy.  The MRI is no big deal so I don't think I'll have any issues there.  But when I get back in the pre-surgery areas I start really wigging out.  I hope all the tests turn out fine.  I think I'll have the results later tomorrow when I meet with the oncologist.  I know you all are here with me in spirit and that helps tremendously.  I will be thinking of you, my support group, while laying on the table tomorrow and I'll try to be a big, strong, grown-up Thursday when I face my next round of chemo.  I'm not sure when I'll be back online, I may be able to at the hotel tomorrow night, if not I will get on when I feel up to it.  If you want to see my schedule for Wed and Thurs it is in a entry further down the page.  I posted it a few days ago.  Thanx again for standing with me through this.

Tests done

posted Wednesday, 14 December 2005

Although they had some issues accessing my port, this morning's appointments went fine.  I had the blood drawn, then the MRI which I was able to nap through.  Then came time for the endoscopy.  I was nervous about it, but not as nervous as the colonoscopy.  It actually went painlessly and no effort on my part.  We'll see what the oncologist has to see.  I'm waiting to see him now.

It's been snowing all morning and it is absolutely beautiful.  Our top speed this morning though was only 40 mph due to the snow, some icy spots on the road, wind, and drifting snow.  But we made it safely, although with aching muscles from the tension of the drive.

I saw the oncologist this afternoon and everything is a go for tomorrow.  He is keeping the chemo the same but he changed my nausea medicine.  This new medicine I take one hour before the chemo and then the next two days.  It's supposed to keep the nausea from happening.  At $300 for 3 pills it better do something good.  Keeping fingers crossed.  He also gave me some medicine for my bladder upset (no, i hadn't mentioned that to you guys but it's been very irritating to feel like you have to go to the bathroom ALL the time - no relief).  All my complaints were met with knowing nods and affirmations that he hears these complaints a lot.  Like my sleep a lot, not sleep at all and my appetite being so screwed up.  I can be absolutely starving one minute and then be nauseous by the thought of food the very next minute.  Also, my taste gets totally screwed up, some things that I love the taste of normally, such as chocolate, tastes horrible and even the thought of eating it can be utterly unappealing.

I told him that I actually didn't feel bad today and teased him that he planned it that way.  I don't think he knows what to think of me.  I actually think he likes my liveliness.  He seems to be getting used to my humor.  I don't think I told you oncologists have no humor.  But he seems to like me, I'm sure I'm much different than his typical patients.  Younger for one, statistics show that, as well as all the other doctor's pity and affirmations that I shouldn't have to be dealing with this at my age and had no reason to be on the lookout for it or suspect the diagnosis.  Anyway, when I told him I thought he planned it, I said it jokingly but he agreed.  He said they try to let us start feeling normal or good again before they jump in and fight the cancer again.  He said they want to keep fighting the cancer as often as possible and that's why he's not ready to lower my dose but they also want to give me a chance to recoup before they fight again.  He thinks I'll feel better through this treatment with the new meds and because I know what to expect.  Now I'll feel bad and know it's normal for that moment which he says will lower my anxiety.

Also, there is a tumor in my lower back but it's not one they're worried about.  I forget what he called it but he said it's not malignant, not cancer and shouldn't be causing me pain.  The endoscopy showed everything was normal in the esophagus and stomach so we had good news today.  Finally!  My dad saw a shooting star a few nights ago and wished upon it, he says his wish came true today.  We all breathed a sigh of relief.

When I spoke of other doctor's pity I was referring to all of my doctors and nurses who are not directly involved in the cancer but are on the periphery, doing the various tests and such.  I am amazed by their interest in my diagnosis and treatment.  I feel some of them are thankful they have been tested and passed with no issues.  However, some of them appear to be thinking that they need to be checked, or maybe someone they love does.  For instance today my nurse for the endoscopy asked what brought me in.  At first I thought she meant for today's test but it became apparent she was inquiring about the cancer. I hadn't told her, she must have read my chart. She wanted to know what symptoms brought me and she was so sweet the entire time she cared for me.  She would touch my leg and stuff, touches meant to bring comfort.  She reminded me of my Aunt Vickie.

Most of these people are older than me and I'm sure they've been doing their jobs for years but I really think that my situation has caused them to think and hopefully act on their own fears or worries.  It's just amazing to me how many of these medical personnel are curious about my situation.  You would think they see cases like mine everyday, especially at the Mayo Clinic.  I just expect them to all be nonchalant, like the oncologist but they aren't.

I'm probably babbly today from the anesthesia and I may not make sense.  If I don't I apologize.  You know this is one of those nights that I'm not supposed to be responsible for small children.  I guess they don't include husbands in that count though because they sent him home with me.  :)  They didn't tell me to stay off my blog, but maybe they should have.  :)  Could be because they don't know about the blog.

I am hoping I have touched some of you to go get checked and if I have I would love to hear about it.  You can email me privately; it doesn't have to be public, just between friends.  I'm just hoping by sharing this whole mess I'm helping someone, just one even, besides myself.

I'm putting on my brave suit for tomorrow.  My husband's here to spur me on.  My goal is to make someone smile tomorrow while sitting in the room with other people in my boat.  I like seeing others where I am(not that I wish it on anyone).  They are encouraging just by their presence.  They have no idea how I look up to them, that they have been in this boat longer and haven't bailed.  They give me hope that I can stay until it docks.

2nd Chemo

posted Thursday, 15 December 2005

Today's chemo went a little different than the first's time.  Dennis and I got up and made it to the Clinic on time, even with my chattering teeth and hyperventilations.  The lady checking me in let me know their computer wasn't working right so they were having to do it the old fashioned way of writing notes and carrying them.  My appointment was for 7:30a.m. but they didn't call me back until 8.  They put me in a bed instead of a chair so I was alone with Dennis.  We liked the room, the tv was easy for both of us to see and we could talk easily.  Also I was able to sew on my cross-stitch and he was able to play on the laptop while I was receiving my meds.  The bad thing about being in this private room was that I had a harder time to touch someone with a smile.  The snack ladies were nice and we remember that I said something that made one of them laugh but we can't remember what I said.  One lady saw me sewing and she stepped in for a closer look and she was smiling and happy while looking at my project.

After receiving the oxaliplatin, the nurse was concerned I was having an allergic reaction because I was shaky and jumpy and flushed and hot.  She checked my heart rate, which was fine but she called the oncologist.  He told her to give me some straight saline and he would come up.  Chemo's on the top floor, Floor 10.  Dr McWilliams came up to check on me and I insisted I was fine.  Heck it was afternoon and I wanted out of there.  I would have said anything.  He told me they were concerned about an allergic reaction and I needed to be attentive to my throat closing off or any rashes but he'd let me continue and leave.  I made him smirk with some comment.  Then we were able to go ahead with my calcium.  The doc ordered some adavant (sp?) which was injected after the calcium and before the pump was installed.  The adavant is supposed to help with nerves and nausea.  Aside from running to the bathroom every 30 minutes (Dennis swears my kidneys are working so good that the medicine runs straight through before it can help anything) I caught a little nap on the drive home.

We stopped to eat before leaving town, our first meal of the day and ran into another couple from the chemo floor.  They were nice and we chatted several minutes.  They're from the Tulsa, OK area and Branson, MO originally - my husband lived in Grove, OK a number of years and we both lived in Joplin, MO for years.  SO we talked about "home" almost as much as we talked about radiation and chemo and cancer.  It was a nice little visit and I hope things continue to go good for him.  His cancer is lung cancer and in his nodes, it is inoperable so their goal here is shrinking it and stopping it from worsening.  He's already been through radiation.  Happy health thoughts for him and his family.

The roads were clear for our drive home, that's one thing they know how to do up here.  We got quite a bit more snow here at home than they had in Rochester.  We were afraid we wouldn't be able to make it up the drive but Mikal had made enough ruts that we made it.  We just don't think we'll be able to make it back out now.  Lovely, long driveway.  The pups have about a foot of snow in their area and they are absolutely loving it.

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