Monday, March 31, 2008
I also want to add that I'm missing Scott's comments. Scotty, why aren't you commenting anymore? I love your comments the very best so you need to start up again, k?
It's taking too long
To grow my hair
I'm really tired
of my head feeling bare.
I dream quite often
That my locks are long
Then I wake up and
realize I was wrong!
I'm growing impatient
waiting for hair
that I can comb
and grow down to there!
I'll curl it and spray it
and I'll color it, too
the use of my hair dryer
is way overdue.
My silly sad poem
is almost done...
Meanwhile, I'll keep dreaming
Of my locks, long gone.
But the day will come
when I arise
and to my joy,
I'll have hair in my eyes!
3 months and 3 weeks till I see Donny!!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Anyway, I just want to know what it is. My mom told me that we have a lot of arthritis in our family. I really don't think that's what this is because it's not in a joint and I thought arthritis happened in joints. I don't really know. Kim, you want to weigh in on this? Kim is my sister and she is a nurse practitioner and my resident "doctor". Whenever I'm confused on something I call her to clarify. She turns 50 in 3 weeks and 3 days so, as you can see, she's MUCH older than me. ROFL!!!! Don't worry, Kimby, you're still one of my favourite people in the whole wide world!! (although, after this I'm not sure she would say the same about me ROFL!!!)
I got really mad at Andrew on Thursday. I thought we had agreed that, when he goes away, he will only go away for 10 days at a time. You see, by day 7 I start missing him (and visa versa, I think) but by day 10? My heart just starts hurting I miss him so much. So when we were talking on Thursday he said he was going to a hockey game in Germany next Friday. I'm like "How can you do that? You're coming home on Wednesday." He informed me that he's not coming home until Saturday. GRRRRRR! I was so mad!! Then? On Friday morning I got home from the doctor and this was on my doorstep:
Well, I'm still upset but not mad anymore. How can I be mad at him?
I have to say that I just don't know what I'll do without my parents when they head back to Canada. They are so wonderful. A couple of weeks ago, my mom came to radiation with me. We went out for lunch first. It was so nice! I didn't even know I was in a "funk" until I spent time with her. Funny how sometimes our moms know what we need and we don't even know ourselves. So this week both my mom and dad came to radiation with me on Thursday. We went out for lunch first and then on to radiation. My dad came back to see the machine. The girls who operate the machine were so nice and explained lots of "stuff" to him. Then on Friday my mom came with me to the doctor's appointment and to radiation. Then on Saturday, Kevin & I went over to their place for dinner (the best roast I have ever, ever had - he BBQ'd it and it was to die for - well not literally, but, well, you know!) and Kevin helped my dad trim their orange tree. I just love these people so much! I really don't know how I would have gotten through all this without them. They went to every single chemo appointment with me and called every day just to touch base. I love you mom & dad!!
Hey! What's up with no one sending me cards anymore? People!! I need cards! Send them!! Also, I would like to know who the heck's reading my blog. I know that my kids and Andrew read it. My sisters Kim & Karen. Judy and Holly and Susan and a new girl Laurie. Afrodite, Nessa, Shelley and Stephanie, Hilary and Christy. Who else is reading it? Just go into the comment section and say a little hi. You don't have to sign up, you can just do an "anonymous" post but make sure you add your name to the end so I know who it's from. I'd really love to know.
I think that's all for now. I'm going to have a quiet day. I have a few books that I want to read (thanks to Holly for putting suggestions on her blog) so I think I'll spend the day on the lanai reading. Kevin's gone to do his volunteer work. We have a program here in Florida. It was originated to keep the "smart kids" in Florida for College. If they get a certain grade point average and SAT score they get 75% of their tuition paid for. If they get a higher grade point average, a higher SAT score and do 75 hours of community service they get 100% of their tuition paid for and $300 per semester to help with book costs. Jeff and Scott both got the 100% (yes, I am bragging, here) and Kevin will get it (more bragging) but has to do the community service part, still. He's working at the Humane Society and is really liking it. I told him he cannot bring a dog home. CANNOT!! He seems to have fallen in love with one of them already. Too cute!
OK, I'm off to read.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Also, another "new thing" is that some of my nails seem to be starting to fall out. How fucking gross is that? Another chemo side effect. I just thought that, since chemo is done and over with, there would be no more chemo side effects but the doctor yesterday explained that these drugs stay in our system for a very long time and the side effects also last a very long time. So you see how much farther down the nail is on the second finger? It can actually lift off all the way down to there. I'm quite worried that this could make me susceptible to a fungus of some kind. It's happening on two other fingers too. Gross.
That's all for me. Typing is starting to hurt with these three weird nails. That's all I need is to not be able to type. Worse yet would be to not be able to play internet games!! LOL!!
3 months and 27 days till I see Donny!!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Here's a picture of me today. I'm growing a little bit of hair. I actually took off my hat when we went out for dinner on Friday night. I was having a hot flash and just couldn't take it anymore so I took it off. Interestingly enough, people didn't stare but they did pretend to be looking around the restaurant and their gaze ended up on me. Well, I guess if I saw a practically bald woman I would stare, too! LOL!!
Here's Kevin's tattoo. It's growing on me although I still wish he hadn't done it. This is when it was only a day old so it's really red. (post entry note: I removed the picture because it occurred to me, many months later, that I really shouldn't have our last name posted on my blog.)
Here's a picture of Andrew & I in Vegas. I wore my hats most of the time. I wore my wig on Sunday night. We went to a reception and then out to dinner with Andrew co-worker, Paul and one of their suppliers. After dinner we wanted to hit the casino but my feet were killing me in my high heels so I went up to the room to change and ended up changing into a hat, too. The wig just isn't me. Anyway, I love love love this picture!! I had meant to get a platinum wig before we went but couldn't get one in time so this will have to do.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs
And pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke “How can you still be standing, Oak?”
The Oak tree said, “I know that you can break each branch of mine in two,
Carry every leaf away, shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
Growing stronger since my birth,
You’ll never touch them, for you see,
They are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn’t sure of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,
I’m stronger than I ever knew.” – Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr
Also, on the weekend, Jeff shared this saying with me:
Worry is like a rocking chair.
It gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.
I really liked it and swore I would remember it but....with a memory like mine and then "chemo brain" on top of it? I forgot it by the next day. Then on Monday? This was my horoscope in our local paper:
You might be worried about something today. Remember the saying: "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but gets you nowhere."
How weird is that? I truly had never heard that saying before and there it was again. And, when I was getting my Herceptin treatment on Friday, the lady who let me feel her hair? She was telling me to live every day and not worry about recurrence. That if it happens, it happens and to deal with it then, but in the meantime just live life to the fullest and enjoy. It's like the universe is speaking to me. I really have to stop the worrying and start the living. My new motto.
Also, I really have to say this. There is an e-mail going around out there referring to a John Hopkins article about cancer and chemo and radiation and a diet to follow. If you get this e-mail? Please do not pass it on to anyone fighting this fight. I have gotten it twice now. I know these people were trying to help and give me information (both of these people love me) but the truth is that there are several things in it that are truly offensive to someone in this battle. Here they are:
6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.
7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.
9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.
10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.
We all know that chemo and radiation hit the good and the bad. That's why we don't want to do it. But....if it ups our chances of living? It's worth it, right? Right. Listen, without chemo and radiation and Herceptin my chances of cancer coming back are 30%. With these treatments I have a 5% chance of it coming back. What would you do at 45 years old with three kids and the most amazing wonderful spouse in the entire history of man?
Here's the next offensive thing in this e-mail.
15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
I hate shit like this. Cancer is not a disease of the mind or spirit. It is stupid, fucking cells which have run amuck. That's it. I have a generous mind and spirit. I am giving and loving and want world peace (I sound like a beauty queen, don't I? I better go put on my tiara!). My mind and spirit did not cause me to get cancer. And I hate when people say that my positive attitude will get me through and cure me. No. A positive attitude will not get me through and cure me. My grandmother was THE most wonderful person I ever knew. She was loving and giving and was everything anyone could want in a person and she died of breast cancer. I know of a 15 year old boy who never did anything bad to another person. He was sweet and kind and athletic and has a loving family and he died of cancer. Mind and Spirit have nothing to do with the devil we call cancer. Cancer cells have to do with cancer. We do the treatments and hope we got it. If we didn't, we fight some more until we can't fight anymore. I never, ever saw Jake (the 15 year old) give up. He was strong and insistent that he would live. He didn't and it's not because he didn't have "the will" to live. It's because the cancer took over his body and killed him. That's it.
The next thing in the e-mail talks about diet. What you should and shouldn't eat. According to this article? I can't have sugar, sugar substitute, salt, red meat, very little chicken, 80% of my diet should be raw vegetables and 20% can be cooked, I should have no dairy products, no caffeine, only purified water and only drink soy milk and if you eat protein it should be fish.
Well, really. Who the hell could live like this? On the upside, they didn't say anything about alcohol so I could just drink all day!! I could be so drunk I wouldn't care what I ate. LOL!! Besides, both my oncologists told me to stay away from soy anything. It's an "unknown" and "too new" to trust. Also, what about the mercury in fish. We're not supposed to eat a lot of fish because of the mercury. So that would leave me with vegetables. I don't know about you but my quality of life would be done at this point and I would be miserable and I might as well be done.
Anyway, my point is this.
1. Don't send me the article....I've already seen it and obviously do not agree with it.
2. Watch what you say and send to people with cancer. You may think it's helpful but it may not be and may, in fact, be offensive.
There....that was some rant, eh? I really had to think about addressing this on my blog. As anyone who knows me knows, I don't want to ever hurt anyone's feelings but I really had to say this.
Hope everyone has a great day!
Radiation #2 here I come.
4 months and 2 days till I see Donny!!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I go in and sign in. I walk right in and go to the change area. I change into a gown on the top part only, lock my purse and clothes in a locker and go wait to be called. They call me in and I lie on a hard, narrow bed with a huge, huge machine all around me. The nice part is that in the ceiling, built into the lights is a beautiful mural of a beach with two palm trees and looking out into the ocean. They move me around a little to make sure my tattoos match up with the machines lights. Then they explain that they'll take an x-ray first to make sure I'm matched up properly and then they'll do the actual radiation. The x-ray is done and they come back into the room about 3 minutes later, adjust me a little and then the radiation starts. I know it's happening when there's a high whining sound. The first one is for 25 seconds (I counted). Then the machine moves and the next one is for 32 seconds, then the machine moves and the next one is for 25 seconds then the machine moves and the last one is for 36 seconds. That's it. They come in and tell me "you're done. See you tomorrow."
Easy, eh? I think, ok, that's easy. And then it hits me I have to go back every weekday for 6 weeks. So, as per my sister Karen's suggestion with chemo, I have started a calendar and will X off each day and get through day by day. It really, really helped with the chemo so I know it'll work with radiation.
I want to give a special shout out to Stephanie Rathmann. Stephanie was one of my "daycare kids" when I lived in Barrie. She and her brother were my favourites along with their mom. I'm still in touch with them after all these years and have a very special spot in my heart for them. Anyway, this sweet girl sent me a very funny card. Her mom had told her I love cards so she sent me one to lift my spirits. How sweet is that? Thank you Stef. I still love you after all this time!!
That's all for today.
4 months and 3 days till I see Donny!!
Monday, March 17, 2008
So, Vegas. It was great. We stayed at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. It's a beautiful hotel. When we checked in they gave us a room on the third floor that overlooked a cement wall. I called down and told them that although the room is lovely I really would like a better view so they moved us to the 23rd floor with a great view of the strip. On Saturday we must have walked 5 - 8 miles. For anyone who knows Vegas we walked all the way from the Mandalay, through Luxor, through Excaliber, through New York New York and all the way down to Caesar's Palace. We just meandered all the way down and saw the Water Show at Bellagio, too. The rest of the time we ate and drank way too much. Saw Wayne Brady, who was just ok. Did a little betting and broke even. It was fun.
Then, we came home on Wednesday night on the redeye. I hate flying and flying on a redeye in coach is just not pleasant. At least we had exit row seating but still, I just don't sleep well on planes. Andrew? Out like a fricking light as soon as the plane takes off. I guess, because he travels so much, that his body is just used to doing that. I know that when he flies to Europe he flies over night and then goes into the office the next morning. Sometimes straight from the airport, I think. Anyway, he just goes right to sleep and I sat there watching his head bob for a while and got mad at him for being able to sleep and then watched some tv and then finally got to sleep just in time to wake up for our changeover in Atlanta. Ugh. Needless to say I slept most of Thursday.
Then, as I said, I went for my Herceptin on Friday morning. I met a lady there who is 4 months post-chemo. She has hair and it's so soft (yes, I asked to touch it and she was happy to oblige). We talked about chemo and being done with it and trying to live life without fear. It was very good to talk to her. I may put on a really brave face but inside I'm just terrified that the cancer will come back. I have pains in my hips and I'm just sure it must be bone cancer. Pains in my back? I think I must have kidney cancer or even bone cancer in my back. It's really because I've been sleeping on unfamiliar beds that are too soft but these things really do go through my mind and enter my head and then I have nightmares about it all. That? I'm just trying not to do it anymore. Easier said then done but I'm trying.
On to happier things.....My nephew, Thomas, came to Florida to play lacrosse on Saturday. My parents and Andrew and I and the boys and Jeff's girlfriend, Chanel all went to see him play in Orlando. He's a freshman so we weren't thinking he'd get any playing time but he did. He's very good, if I do say so myself!! Must get that from the Irvine side!! teehee!!! We only got to say hi for a moment and he was off with his team but it was nice to hug him and see his cute little face.
Then, mom and dad headed back home and we stayed in Orlando. Six of us in a hotel room!! It went fine, actually. Sunday we just played at the pool and it was so relaxing. Jeff and Chanel and Scott went back to their schools on Sunday night. Kevin, Andrew and I stayed at the hotel one more night and today we're at Scott's school talking to the ROTC people about what they may have to offer the boys next year. Kevin wants to come to UCF with Scott and both have shown interest in the ROTC program so we want to chat with them and see what it's all about.
That's all our "goings on" for now. I must add that I do have some hair sprouting up. As soon as I think it'll show up in a picture, I'll post one so you can all see. I'm very excited about the prospect of having hair. My eyelashes and eyebrows are still missing. Leg hair and arm pit hair coming back, unfortunately.
I start radiation tomorrow. I'm nervous about it. I'll post how that goes.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Oh! Before we start, could you click on the Breast Cancer site button over here? --------->
I went to see the Radiation Oncologist on Wednesday. Andrew came with me (I checked first to make sure there would be no blood taken. LOL!!). Very, very nice doctor. He sat down and chatted with us for a long time just to make sure we understood everything. It's funny because when I thought I was having a lumpectomy and then radiation, radiation seemed so big. Now? Since I ended up having chemo, radiation just seems like the light at the end of the tunnel. And this doctor really understood that and voiced it. I was also complaining about the amount of weight I'd gained during chemo and he said most women gain about 20 lbs with chemo for breast cancer. So, we gain weight and lose our hair? I'd sure like it to have been the other way around! LOL!
After he chatted with us and explained how radiation works (they target the breast without getting the heart and lungs underneath), I went to get a mapping CT scan. I guess this is different from a regular CT scan in that it's a shorter period of time and they're specifically trying to figure out where my heart and lungs are and how to set up the radiation machine to miss them. I had to lie there with my arms over my head while they moved me around and then went through the machine. I thought it would be a piece of cake but, I'm telling you, when we got in about 25 minutes I was in some major pain. My back hurt, my head hurt and my arms were killing me. Then.....they tattooed me!! That's right, I am now tattooed!! (Couldn't let Kevin have all the glory, right? LOL!!) I have three small dots. One under my right arm, one right in the middle of my boobs and one under my left arm. Now when I go in for my radiation they just line me up with the dots and radiate me (takes about 3 minutes, total). When they were finished the tattoos I was allowed to get up but my arms wouldn't move so she had to lift my arms down for me. I tell you, I don't know how some of the fragile older people would be able to endure that procedure.
I start radiation on Tuesday, March 17. I go every week day for 30 treatments. Then I'm done that phase and I just have to do the Herceptin every 3 weeks until next February and then I'm completely done. I actually didn't realize, until this doctor told me, that Herceptin is a form of chemo. It's very low-dose, won't lose my hair over it, chemo - but still, it's chemo. I just didn't know that.
As an aside, this doctor is really nice, as I said before but....he speaks with a southern accent and says OK a lot. Well, have you ever seen the guidance counsellor on South Park? He sounded so much like him that, at first, it was hard to concentrate on what he was saying 'cause I kept thinking of South Park. Weird. I know.
So, that's all on the cancer-front for now. If I could get these damned hot flashes under control I'd be much happier and rested. They wake me up every night and I throw the covers off, then I get cold so I put the covers back on and then that cycle continues several more times throughout the night. Last night I had a headache as I went to bed so I took a Tylenol PM and slept like a baby. Unfortunately, I don't think I can do that every night but it's good to know. The doctor said the Effexor (the stuff I'm taking to help with the hot flashes) won't take effect until I've been taking it for 2 weeks and I've only been taking it for just over a week. Hopefully that'll kick in soon.
OK, I'm off to continue packing and to get a manicure/pedicure (thank you Mrs. Hall!!!). The doctor was concerned about me flying and the germs I will encounter so I have to take a lot of Airbourne before we go to try and boost my immune system a little. It would suck to get sick in Vegas, eh? I'm so looking forward to this trip. Not only to be back in Vegas (which I love!) but to be able to spend time with Andrew after this long ordeal of chemo. Scott and Jeff have their March breaks next week so Kevin won't have to be alone for the whole time. I'm glad about that 'cause I would feel really guilty leaving him all alone for a week. Now, I just have to get through the flights (I hate, hate, hate flying - my ears don't pop, I get air-sick and claustrophobic - just a joy to fly with. LOL!!) and then we should start having some fun! WOOHOO!!!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
This is a video I found on someone else's blog (This & That). I had to pass it on. It is really thought-provoking and a definitely taught me a thing or two. My favourite part was the tigger/eeyore comparison.
Monday, March 3, 2008
First off, on Friday night, we all went to The Melting Pot for dinner. It was Andrew & I, the three boys and Jeff's girlfriend, Chanel. We had so much fun doing fondue. You start with a cheese fondue, move on to the meat and veggies and then on to chocolate. Yummo! Lots of fun and laughs and it was so nice to have another girl for a change. You should have seen the two of us. At the end the waitress came over and asked if we needed more food for dipping and our eyes lit up and we requested more bananas and strawberries. We ate till there was no more! LOL!!
Then on Saturday, Andrew and I had some errands to run and we invited my parents over for dinner. The day was going wonderfully well and I even commented to Andrew about what a difference a week makes. Last weekend I was in pain and he was jet lagged and this weekend was sunny and warm and both of us feeling great. My parents arrived for dinner and we were all just sitting around doing various things. Kevin and Scott had been out "at a friends" all afternoon and they came home and came directly over to me. They had some weird looks on their faces. Like the cat who just ate the canary. Kevin had been acting strangely in the past few days. I had even commented to Andrew while we were out about how weird they were acting and that I hoped they weren't out buying drugs or something.
So...there I am questioning them about what they had been doing and it hit me. Kevin got a tattoo. Sure enough...this is were the bad and ugly come in...he had. Now, listen, people, I'm not against tattoos. They're all right. I don't really get it, but, whatever. But. I must say. #1 it's different when it's your kid doing it. #2 this is one big ass, fucking tattoo, ok? Did I say ugly, yet? Well, that might be overstating it. It's not ugly but it's just way too big. It's our last name written in scroll across his upper back. It's huge. I think it would, actually, have been pretty nice if it was about half the size. Well, anyway, I started crying and screaming at him. It was not a pretty sight. The boys were shocked that I reacted that way. I don't know what they expected but they were really surprised. Well, surprise!! I'm not "the cool mom".
Anyway, the reason I was so upset is because I had been lied to. The previous day Kevin had borrowed my car to take something up to his friend. He said it was for a school project. I actually helped him map out how to get there on mapquest! I asked him why he did this behind out backs and he said it's because "we didn't support him". Fuck! Bullshit! My ass! We had had a few conversations about him getting a tattoo and I had said we would talk about it more when the time came. I also would have liked to check the place out to make sure it was clean and I would have liked a little bit of "a say" in it. It really would be a decent tattoo if it were smaller. Oh well, it's his body. Again. What-fucking-ever. That's all I have to say about that.
Sunday was again a nice day (other than the fact that Kevin was wondering around with no shirt on because he had to keep some ointment on the tattoo). Mom and Dad, Andrew & I went to the Florida Strawberry Festival and saw Alan Jackson. He was really good. Oh! we also saw racing pigs. It was so funny! And we ate. A lot.
Well that's it for me. I go to the radiation doctor on Wednesday so I'll post more after that about that.