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Saturday, 24 October 2015

The glass half full

I am sick 4 or 5 days out of 14.  Some could say, "yuck", that's a lotta sick!  I am going to think that it could be worse.  I am well 9 out of 14 days.  The cards could have been stacked against me and I could have been sick 9 out of 14.  So I'm doing okay!

I ended up shaving my head on Tuesday. It took longer than I thought it would, but hey, it's done.  Perhaps I could offer a bit of advice for anyone wanting to do the same.  A disposable bic razor is probably not the best choice to use.  It takes forever and you're looking in the mirror freaking out.  Your hair is very patchy, with some bald spots so you know you must finish what you started.  And you're thinking that if you had any impulse control, you would have just left it alone.  It wasn't that bad. Now it is!  I end up finishing up in the shower. I did a fine job if I do say so myself.

What's really cool is that as long as you don't use silk/satin scarves on your head, most fabrics don't slide off for some reason. I don't need to buy shampoo or conditioner and I would add that I am saving from not having to go to the salon.  Salon??  Huh!  I cut my own hair.  At least I did!

I raked and bagged leaves today.  Oh, I could say that I only did two bags and by the looks of my property, have still another 10 bags to go.  But I won't say that. I will stick with "I raked and filled two bags of leaves today.....period!"  Go me!

I have physically and mentally felt much better since Monday.  It seems to be the pattern.  Looking at my post from Sunday made me feel sad.

My brother Jimmy, who lives in LA, just sent a short, but very nice e-mail asking how I was doing and that he was thinking of me.  He saw last Sunday's post.  Thanks Jimmy! And yes, I also look forward to seeing you and Sebastian in two weeks (for my niece Maude's wedding in Toronto).

I still have squirrels. They won't leave. Orkin was here again this week.  It's the 4th visit.  I don't know what to say anymore......


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Poor poor pitiful me

I am feeling really yucky and a little sorry for myself.  I am not good at dealing with being sick.  I have little patience and want all this cancer crap to be over.  I have struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life.  Depression and cancer is an awful combination.  I try to focus on one hour at a time.  Thinking of more than than, which I end up doing, gets me really down.

I slept most of the day yesterday, partly because I wasn't able to do anything else and partly because I just want not to be conscious while I go through this.  There are so many things that I "need" to do as I go through this journey, but being so nauseous, I am unable to do any of them.  So I get more anxious and everything is spinning like a bad nightmare all around me.

I still have squirrels in the walls and I am unsure how to solve this problem.  Orkin has abandoned me.  Do I continue trying or do I file a complaint?  I can't make decisions.  Should I put my home up for sale?  Probably, but I have no desire or energy to tidy up and get it ready for that.  And how in the world am I going to pack feeling as I do?

The snow has started ridiculously early this year and I need to get my snow tires on my car.  I can barely open my car door to get in and sit down let alone deal with loading 4 tires into my car and taking it to Hyundai to have it done, then bring back and unload the 4 summer tires back into my garage.  Argh! Michelle may take my car in to have this done.  God bless her.

I cut my hair short hoping this would be good enough, but my short brush cut hair do is still not enough.  The hair continues to fall.  I don't really care about going bald, but with everything else going on, it just seems worse.  And now my scalp hurts.  It's more of a sensitive all over feeling on my head, a stinging sensation when I rub my hands through my hair or when I comb it.  My scalp feels likes it's burning to the touch, which it probably is in a sense, the chemo doing it's magic, killing so much as it tries to heal.

I am injecting myself with neupogen (spelling?) for 7 days, to bring up the white blood cells that the body needs to fight infection and that the chemo kills off.  I am pretty proud of myself for being able to do this all by myself with a 1.5" needle....ouchie!

Normally I am okay being alone with my two crazy pups.  When you're sick, you revert, in part, to the child you were in years past and you want someone to take care of you.  I wish I could call out and ask someone to get me a popsicle because I just don't want to get off the couch.  Where are you mommy?  You brought me popsicles after I had my tonsils out and I felt so loved and safe.  Everything was going to be okay.

I can't get rid of the weird taste in my mouth.  I brush my teeth but it doesn't help.  And my mouth is always dry and sipping water or gingerale doesn't seem to relieve the dryness.  The nausea is always there during the first 4 days or so after a chemo treatment.  I can't wait until Tuesday when the nausea should have subsided somewhat.  I am working part time around the side effects of the chemo, which is mostly nausea, sore stomach, cramps, fatigue and an all over feeling of yuck. 

I am just finishing off a hot chocolate.  It tasted okay at first but as I swallow the last few sips, it has morphed and now melted candle wax trickles down my throat.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Visit to the oncologist was, well, interesting

I saw Dr. D. today.  I waited in the little room for 45 minutes and was with her for 5 or 6 minutes.  She left and never came back. Ugh??

One of the prescriptions I am taking for my chemo treatments is Nuepogen. Chemo leaves your immune system compromised and this drug helps to bring the white blood cell count back up.  However, I was supposed to have an injection 24 hours after chemo and continue every day for 7 days. She wrote the prescription wrong and only wrote down the part about taking it "24 hours after chemo" and left out the "continue every day for 7 days" part.  When she realized this today, she said it was her fault but that the pharmacist filling the prescription should have known.  Talk about passing the buck!  She left the room and said she'd be right back.  She never came back.  Carmen, the nurse came by to give me another prescription and said I could leave.  I was surprised and even told Carmen that Dr. D. said she'd be right back (after all, I didn't really have an appt and hadn't asked my questions).  I was dumbfounded and by being so, only realized after the fact how angry I was.

For the few minutes I did see Dr. D., we discussed the swollen, sore, red area on my calf.  She wrote a prescription for antibiotics and said if it gets worse to call her and she would tell me whether or not to take the antibiotics. Now that I think of it, perhaps it really is an infection, um, maybe because my immune system was compromised!#??!!!

I don't even know what the appt. was for now that I think of it. 

When the blood work comes back, they will let me know if chemo is a go tomorrow.  If the white cells are too low, it has to be postponed.

I am frustrated, confused, upset and just fuming.  Now what?

To add to the fun, my parking pass wouldn't work going into the lot at the General and didn't work again coming out.  I got a ticket and went to the parking/security office (had to walk across the length of the hospital).  They asked if I had used it as it showed that it was expired. I told him I hadn't used it yet.....at all!  He "fixed" it but on the way out, I had the same problem. I hit the help button, the girl fixed something and I was able to leave.

It's bad enough going through cancer, chemo, nausea, fatigue et all, even when everything else in life is going smoothly.  When you have cancer and things fall apart around you for absolutely no good reason, for errors made my professionals, when there are no excuses..........well, I just want to throw my arms in the air, shake my fists and scream to the world around me, hoping someone hears my cries.

I had my first treatment on Sept. 30.  On Oct. 1 I had an injection of Nuepogen. These injections were to continue for the next 6 consecutive days.  This didn't happen.  I pay the price.  What is wrong with this picture.




When pigs fly....

My daughter Michelle and her boyfriend Andy had my sister and I over last night for Thanksgiving dinner at their new condo.  It was great!  The love and pride I have for my daughter is, well, infinite.

Barb and I did the main course:  turkey, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, stuffing, gravy, cranberries and corn bread.  Michelle made 2 scrumptious desserts:  apple crisp and pecan pie.  OMG!  To die for!

They only moved in last week and have already transformed the main level into a precious and cozy little retreat.  The lower level, where the bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms are located are still being sorted out, with more unpacking left to do.  All in due time of course.

I was very excited to see PC, my cat, well, Michelle's cat now, who is 13 going on adorable soft baby kitten.  He seems to defy age and even seems to be getting younger and younger.  Michelle has had him for the past year and a half, close to 2 years perhaps?  I had him for the first 11 years of his life.  I picked him up and just squished him all over.  I paid for it later that evening when my allergies came seemingly out of nowhere.  I was rubbing my eyes and sneezing and blowing my nose and feeling crappy.  It was worth it though, giving my PC that few minutes of loving.  I saw and played a little with AJ, also 13, PC's sister, but from a different litter.  Yup, their mom, Amber had PC, youngest of 3 in her first little on June 7, 2012.  She didn't waste anytime when on October 8 and 9, 2012, she had her second litter. AJ was the youngest of 4 this time around.  Ally, the father, passed away a couple years ago after a relatively short illness.  Amber died 2 years before that.  What wonderful kitty cats, the whole lot.  I miss Amber and Ally.

I really am happy for Michelle and Andy.  Their new digs are wonderful and offer more conveniences than their previous place, AND, they are closer to me now being in Barrhaven! Yay!

On a different note and one that is kinda funny (knowing that all ended well), I "fell" this afternoon climbing up three steps onto my deck. I was wearing my stupid slippers and don't know exactly what happened, but I do remember losing my balance, in slow motion of course, and without any control whatsoever, just flew/fell/glided onto the deck and wham!! I was laying flat after falling square on my knees and falling forward!  Since knee replacement between 2011 and 2012, I have not been anywhere near a kneeling position.  I don't dare!  Many of you know my size and to do the gymnastics I did this afternoon, well, it was ridiculous and painful.  I was hurt and embarrassed and it took almost a minute to get up and into a proper standing position. I panicked and cried and couldn't catch my breath.....in part due to the pain, in part to the anxiety and in part due to my ridiculous size!  I've had 4 surgeries on my right leg, the same leg that got the blunt of the impact.

It being Thanksgiving, I guess I must be grateful for the fact that I managed to land in between the BBQ table and the cement cinder blocks.

Other than a few aches and pains, I am doing ok now and heading up to bed.
Sweet dreams!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Not about cancer, chemo or anything constructive

Ok, this is all random and has nothing to do with cancer or chemotherapy.  I am a bit odd sometimes....ok, most of the time and one of the things that makes me odd is the fact that I see patterns in numbers all the time and need to write them down.  So here are a few random weird number patterns that I am sharing.

My oldest brother John died on February 20, 1980.  So on February 20, 2000, he had been dead 20 years.
A series of 2's and 0's.......02 20 2000 20.

Another one:  my mom's 3rd child was born 3 years after the 2nd.  The 4th child was born 4 years after the 3rd and the 5th child was born 5 years after the 4th.
So 3rd was 3 years, 4th was 4 years and 5th was 5 years.

My mom died on November 14, 2001.  My dad died January 21, 2005.  He died exactly 3 years, 2 months, 1 week after mom.......3, 2, 1.

Another one that is almost a pattern, but not quite.  I'd like to say that my sister was born 1 year, 1 month, 1 week after me, which would be a pattern of 1, 1, 1.  However, she ruined the pattern by being born a day too early.  So June 30, 1960 is only 1 year, 1 month and 6 days after May 24, 1959.  Barb if you had been born at the right time, not only would you have adhered to the pattern, but you would also have been a Canada Day baby.....July 1, 1960.  Way to go Barb!

My paternal grandfather died in his 60's in the 1960's.
My paternal grandmother died in her 70's in the 1970's.
My maternal grandfather died in his 80's in the 1980's.
My maternal grandmother died in her 90's in the 1990's.

This is not a pattern but is very freaky:
My daughter's due date was on November 22, 1990.  She was born November 21, 1990, the day before.....so pretty close.
After Michelle was born and healthy and all was well, my mom told me that the due dates of her two miscarriages were November 22...yikes!  Thank God she told me this only AFTER Michelle was born.  A person with OCD and superstitions may have been a complete mess had they known this ahead of time.
Thank you mommy.

Someday I'll tell you more about how I can write and spell backwards with the same ease as the more accepted way of doing it forward (which is very boring, yawn).

One thing is certain.  You were entertained reading this right now.  Oh yes you were!










Tuesday, 6 October 2015

It's been 6 days since my first chemo treatment and my hair has yet to fall out. I don't really care one way or another if it does.  It's just hair.  It will grow back.

It reminds me of something my dad said to me a million years ago about getting wet when it rains, when you find yourself without an umbrella, "it's just water" he would say.  Brilliant man my dad was.  Golly, I miss him and mom.

Anyhow, last night, on a whim, I stopped at a local Chinese take-out joint in Manotick.  I decided I had a wicked craving (and no, I'm not pregnant ha ha).  As I headed home after picking it up, I got one of my "all too frequent" muscle spasms in my abdomen.  It was excruciating and I got extremely nauseous....not the same chemo nausea that has become a daily part of my life, but a different nausea, where your mouth gets this salty saliva and you know you're going to hurl.  I started getting the nausea accompanying these spasms a few months ago.  I have had these spasms for years now, but when I told my doctor that I now get extreme nausea when they occur, to the point of not being able to drive (if that's what I am doing when I have one) and having to pull over and ride it out, she sent me for an abdominal ultrasound.  The ultrasound revealed that I have polyps in my gall bladder, that may or may not be cancerous......great.

I am going for an abdominal MRI on October 28.  I may have to reschedule as I have chemo the same day.

I don't know at this point if the polyps on my gall bladder have anything to do with these wickedly painful muscle spasms.  And no, I don't have gall stones.  And who ever heard of gall bladder polyps anyway??

Lord give me strength.

The Chinese food was awesome!  I had it for supper last night, lunch today and finished it off for supper tonight.  I'm good for awhile now ;-)

And I didn't hurl.  I never do.  I refuse to.