Thursday, April 10, 2014

Treatment update

Today was my week back to the Onc after three glorious weeks off.
The blood they drew today on the CBC shows my white cell and red cell counts are (microscopically) lower than ideal. This is weird to me given that I had 3 weeks off, but I did recently travel on an airplane, so it goes without saying that I probably contracted some germs en route. 
Some of the blood will also be tested to determine my tumor marker levels.  If my counts are steady I will be shocked, but also will enjoy more time off from chemo.  Steady counts would not follow the trend.
If the counts increased while I was on a break from chemo then I will start chemo next week.  This is the most likely outcome.  I am ready to do it, even if it is with a bit of a heavy heart.  Oh man, hasn't it been awesome to not load any more drugs into my system. 
And, when it comes to chemo there are still options.  I could go back on the one I was using.  And, there are two others that I can try.  Options are good.
Yahoo - another week without cancer treatments!

Monday, March 24, 2014

no chemo = :)

I am enjoying having this time off chemo - just in case you weren't sure.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oh joyful day

I made it. I got to the doctor. I waited and waited for the visit to start. Of course, I thought the way they treated me was a sure sign that it was bad news. (I am sure they treated me the same as always, but it seemed weird to me today)
News:  everything is about the same. My tumor markers are neither up nor down. The lump nodes are relatively similar in size. Nothing on the liver. Nothing of note on the lungs. Spots on the back about the same. I know, this doesn't sound very clear. Your immediate question is, what does that mean?  The answer, nothing. It doesn't mean I am better. It doesn't mean I am worse. It doesn't mean I am cured. It means nothing. And, nothing is better than something. Kind of like no news is good news. 
Because I've been on chemo for a while and because my onc doesn't usually give this drug for more than 6 months due to neuropathy I am getting a break. I get the next 3 weeks off to let my body rest from the treatment. 
Oh, I was so happy to hear this. So happy to be given a brief reprieve. And, a few weeks ago I was crushed at the thought of such a short break. Time changes things, doesn't it?
Oh happy day. My heart sings. 


I have been waiting for test results two weeks now. The time is here and I want to stall. I am sick to my stomach with fear. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Is fat the worst thing ever, or what?

This week I managed to turn 38 years old!  Thank you very much.
Having a birthday gets better every year.  You are so much more appreciative of what it takes to make it through another year with a smile on your face and good people in your life.  Even better, you are amazed at the number of people who reach out to wish you a happy birthday and who join in the celebration that you are alive.
I was astonished at the birthday wishes I received via social media, including through LinkedIn.  People I wouldn't have anticipated left best wishes and compliments about how I am living my life.  - That is what is on my mind tonight.
Most of the time I really don't think I am doing anything too magnificent.  When you think about it, like everyone else, I have two choices.  Deal with my life with a smile and can-do attitude or not.  But, there are those moments of reflection when I take stock of what is happening right now, or has happened in the last 8-10 years and I think  
WHOA!  Someone stop this ride, I want off! Really, the dumbo roller coaster is more my speed.
But, this is it. My cancerous life.  I am very flattered that people find me an inspiration and example of living well. 
I have reflected a lot on what I believe of myself (that I am incredibly average and shamefully overweight) compared to what other see in me.  I realize, I have a distorted view of myself.  How did this happen?  Who is to blame?  I don't know the answer to that, but I do know I spent years in relationships that were poisonous without seeing it.  The situation and the way I handled it let me to accept horrible self-talk. 
So, this year, I have to make a change. I have to learn that I am amazing just as I am, and I have to learn to treat myself that way.  That very personal confession probably sounds silly to those people who love me just they way I am.  It is silly, silly to feel so unworthy of the good things in life because of a body type.
I am more than my weight.  I am smart, hard working, loving, dedicated, loyal, thankful. 
So, here is the plan. (putting it out here makes me feel more accountable) I got new sneakers and a fitbit for my birthday. I have committed to enjoying better-for-me food and moving more.  I am also not going to allow myself to say things about myself that I wouldn't allow my children to say about themselves or others.  No more reasoning that I don't deserve good things because of one aspect of me.
Learning that I am an inspiration to people who I think are amazing is going to change me.  I am going to let it change me.

News on the cancer fight: It is test week.  I have been denied authorization for a PET scan. They have decided to authorize a bone scan.  I am frustrated by this because a pet scan will look at both bone and soft tissue for any signs of cancer and obviously a bone scan will not.  The scientific logic behind the decision is sound, but given that this is my life we are talking about, I don't care about logic too much.  Since my blood counts are up again (although slight) I want to use all tactics to find these cancer cells and blast them to hell. 
Anyway, I will get my bones scanned.  I will then see what they find. And, if there are any oddities, I will fight for more tests.
Dr. J and I both think the scans should come back with good news.  We are hopeful that I will get to take some time off from chemo.  Maybe a month.
When this all started, 3 years and 6 months ago is when I was diagnosed with stage 4, I was so confident that God was going to let me be one of his miracles.  I couldn't wait to tell the world how God saved me, He took away my cancer when science said it couldn't be done.  But, I have had to give up that dream.  I have been hoping for years and years without chemo or any treatment for cancer.  I was sure this is what God wanted for me.  I mean, what else could He possibly have in mind?  Now I am seeing that I may have to get crazy excited about having even one month off chemo.
Last time I met with Dr. J and she suggested I may get a month off my heart was crushed.  I was depressed for a couple days and didn't know if I wanted to keep fighting.  But, even though my near teen age children aren't as enthusiastic about me as they were when they were young, I still am the right person to raise them.  And, even if it takes too much to keep this all up, I can do it. 
I must say, I am so thankful for the people I can help because of my cancer.  I sweet woman was in the waiting room when I left the chemo pharm the other week.  She asked where I had gotten my headwrap.  She was having such a rotten time finding one that would stay in place.  I am so so so blessed.  If I didn't have cancer, if I wasn't getting chemo, if I wasn't bald - she wouldn't have been able to ask me.  I couldn't have helped her.  After we talked head scarves and turbans I talked to her about ways to handle the nausea she was having.  I was able to tell her, yes, I too once had some balance issues from the drugs.  Sometimes, having someone say...yes I have that... makes it seem more manageable.  And, since her food tastes so strange, she can't stand to eat.  I suggested using plastic and not silverware.  I have learned a thing or two in these years with cancer.  And, what good does it do for me to keep all that to myself?

BTW - I have to write a post about how much I LOVE this company, but not tonight.  If you need a head wrap go to This amazing company provides a free head wrapto anyone going through cancer.  These wraps are super cute and fit so well.  They are shapped to stay in place and have minimal seams so they are comfortable.  I wish I had 2 dozen of these.  The one I have is a favorite of all my head covers. 

Thanks all for your beautiful support.  


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bald or spotted buzz cut?

This week I have been dealing with the sad news that my tumor markers aren't where I hoped they were going to be. They are going up when I needed them to go down just a bit more before getting off chemo. 
You know, I dream 1-2 times a week about my hair being long, dark, thick and wavy. Not this week. No hair dreams at all. 
I have been debating what I should do. Should I shave the patchy bits of hair that are growing back between treatment or do I let it grow and thicken?  
I shaved. I don't want to grow hair back to learn that I could have to change chemo and loose the hair again. It is easier to stay bald than become bald again. It sounds funny to some that I would shave my head, but, I am not doing it for fashion.  It's to save heart ache. 
I am waiting now for this weeks treatment and Dr. appointment to learn what we want to do about my stupid cancer cells.
Oh well, no point in getting upset. This is my life, and really it isn't that bad. 
I have a wonderful family.  I have the basic needs and some nice extras which are paid for by a good job. I have awesome friends and so many I love and who love me.  I can't think of anything I need that would bring more happiness than what I already have.  So, hair or no hair, I am a blessed and happy woman.