Friday, September 28, 2007

CUBS TAKE THE PENNANT! Oh - and my second chemo.

Priorities. The Cubs won their division tonight! WOO HOOO!!! Something special seems to happen so far, on every chemo day. My first was done on my dad's birthday, and ovarian cancer awareness day - and now this for my second chemo.

I feel great - I'm all hopped up on steroids. If things go like last time, I will be awake and alert through Saturday night. The downslope will begin Sunday afternoon through Tuesday. At least now I am prepared for it. I know that giving myself the shot tomorrow will be easy. I know that I will have severe bone pain. I am ready for those now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The hair is gone...(sung to the tune of 'the thrill is gone')

Yep. It's gone. In the shower this morning it was coming out fast and furious -fistful after fistful. At that point, all I could do was laugh. I threw on a baseball cap (and I do not look good in baseball caps!) and went to work. The bald spots were noticeable.

Tonight, my favorite husband used the clippers and cut my hair down to near nothing. My head is lightly fuzzy still - and feels cool to rub!

I will shave it down soon though. But I didn't want to put my head through too much too soon.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cubs WIN

Yes and still in first place! It was a great game, beautiful day, even chilly in the shaded area where we were seated. I think my father in law really enjoyed it. He treated us to pizza after the game as well, which was very nice. A good time was had by all!

I still feel great - except when I'm pulling out fistfuls of hair...

Friday, September 21, 2007


As in, my hair. I noticed it yesterday. Today even more is coming out. I don't even want to touch my head because I don't want to pull away a handful of hair. The drain is clogged with my hair. I am not ready to shave it all off yet. We have a Cubs game to go to tomorrow, and I don't think I'll feel comfortable just yet in public with a bald head. Maybe I'll shave it on Sunday. It will probably be easier on me losing it in one fell swoop, instead of a slow strand by strand by strand, where every handful makes me want to weep.

Psych out

My favorite husband and I went to a shrink on Tuesday night. Don't worry! It was at the cancer care center in our area, and they ask that you meet with them before using their programs. It was an interesting, and somewhat uncomfortable experience.

Why do psychologist/psychiatrist types act like morticians around cancer patients? We were upbeat and cheerful, but she had a grim look on her face, and just kept nodding her head. It seemed she was thinking 'poor deluded people' or something. Don't get me wrong, she was nice and all - but she didn't personify 'hopeful' in her demeanor. ;) It is nice that they offer the service though. I'm just glad we don't have to do that again.

I stayed for a support group meeting. It was also interesting - but I am not really a talker, and it may not be for me. I'm glad I went though, and I may go back another time. You always have to try something before discounting it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why a blog?

You might ask...
When all of this started, I wanted to gather as much information about what I would be going through as I possibly could. I looked at medical sites, cancer sites, chemo sites - everywhere. I also looked for blogs of others who were going through or already finished this process. I wanted to know what others had experienced and gain some insight as to what I would be going through.

Unfortunately in my search for other ovarian cancer bloggers, I noticed a trend. Many of the sites I found were indeed written by ovarian cancer patients, who had died from the disease. On each of these, someone else had posted the last post, indicating that the person had died. Reading those didn't offer much comfort. There are some blogs of survivors, and I do appreciate having those to look at. So I wanted to add another survivor blog to the mix.

I am not naive. I know that the odds are not in my favor. I know the published survival rates, and life expectancies. However, I don't need to immerse myself in the negative so I'll just keep reading the ones where the bloggers are still alive ;)

Of course, I also have this as a way of keeping anyone who may be interested, updated on my medical progress. In that vein - I still feel great!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


By my own father! I had forwarded the blog address to him, my sis, and my favorite husband just to get some feedback - with the explicit request not to forward it to anyone else. What does he do? Promptly forwards the link on to others. I guess that goes to show how closely he reads my e-mails... ;)

It doesn't really matter, since I had planned to either pass along the link eventually, or delete the blog. I still have those choices. My dad just bypassed my usual 'back and forth' mentality.

So welcome, anyone sent here by my dad! :)

The window guys are here, and I can't wait to see what the new ones look like when they are installed!

Have a good day!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quick update

Last night was my company's' annual open house. It is always fun, and I am usually one of the last to leave (that should surprise no one)! My job is to be the photographer. It works well for me, because then I don't have to be in any pictures. Granted, I am not a good photographer, but I am good enough for the purposes of these functions (I don't put my thumb over the lens). My favorite husband showed up around 6:30 and got to enjoy food, drink and a great steel drum band. The weather was perfect - clear, upper 70's, light breeze... perfect! We had a good time - our clients are always fun, and even though some 'schmoozing' is involved, it is not difficult to do with that group.

Last night though, I was tired! I do think it is still from the chemo. But I did feel good enough to last until 9 PM (big deal, I know). Not being able to enjoy a drink or two was also disappointing. I want to make sure my liver has an optimal chance with the drugs I'm getting. The oncologist said no alcohol too. I guess the rebel in me won't stand up to cancer (probably the wisest choice).

Today I feel GREAT. Not just good - great! I haven't felt this good in a while and never this well after an open house (hmmm...that could be due to a combination of things). I got some work done at home, and ran a bunch of errands in minimal time. Now I'm cleaning, because the new windows for our house are being installed tomorrow. I plan to feel this good until after my next chemo treatment.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back to work

and feeling almost back to normal! Who'd a thunk it - a couple of days ago I was sure that I was dying. Today, I had minimal bone pain, and felt almost human again. Hopefully this feeling will last until the next treatment. I think I can handle two and 1/2 awful days. I'll just drug myself up really good for them.
Speaking of drugging. I have never ever liked taking pills. A few aspirin for me was about all I would do. Once in a great while, I'd take some type of decongestant - but I'd have to be really very sick.
After the hysterectomy, I still didn't like taking pills. I took over the counter ibuprofin, and only took one or two vicodin while healing. At that time I just didn't need all of the drugs - the pain, thankfully, just didn't affect me that badly.
However for the past two days, I was taking vicodin every six hours (just one, but still!). Maybe that gives you a better idea of how bad I felt. The good news is that it helped ease the bone pain, and made me sleepy.
I now do not fault anyone, even myself, for having to rely on those pills. I don't anticipate taking more until the next treatment.
Everything at work was fine. Now I have an idea of how this treatment will affect me, and I can schedule my work appointments accordingly. It will feel so good to have things on some type of manageable schedule (or am I just kidding myself). I just have to avoid sick people, not get any infections, and buy a wig and I will be good to go!
Take care

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

But can I survive chemo?

Yuck. Well, I felt great on Saturday! We had a wonderful time at my friends wedding reception. I did notice that I was tired - no surprise since I hadn't much sleep the previous days. She looked wonderful and happy, and the food was great too! We danced to a few slow songs (the only ones I can get him to dance to).
Oh - and the neulasta shot? That went just fine. The needle was long, but very very thin and I didn't feel a thing. I won't have to worry about that part next time. My husband was a great help with that! I don't think I could have given the shot without him.
Sunday I felt ok - just a little tired. I managed to go grocery shopping, but then the 'other shoe fell' so to speak. I was suddenly weak and exhausted. Yesterday wasn't much better. That continued through today (Tuesday), although right now I feel somewhat alright. I'm not quite ready to enter the world again though. I have been borderline nauseated, and nothing sounds good (as far as eating). I have been eating fruit (peeled because of pesticides and herbicides) and some soy yogurt. I am certainly not about to wither away to nothing.
I think that most of my worse side effects are from the neulasta. The bone pain is awful! It stimulates white blood cell growth, and I sure can feel it in my marrow.
There is the update. I hope to be back to (somewhat) normal by tomorrow.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

worried about nothing!

Chemo went just fine. I didn't sleep much the night before, and then had to get up at 5 am for some 'pre chemo' drugs. I just couldn't fall back to sleep after that. It was the first time I've seen the sun rise in many years. The last time was probably from being out all night ;)

In my mind, I wasn't too nervous about going. I really just wanted to get this all started.
When we got there - there was some great news that also helped me relax. Before my complete hysterectomy/omenectomy, my CA 125 (a tumor marker) was 321. Testing it a few days after surgery, it was 192. However, the day before chemo they ran the test again and it was 19!!! Nineteen!! what a beautiful number. Normal is in the range of 0-25.

Now, I know not to get my hopes up, because these numbers fluctuate. But it feels so good to be back in the normal range, which may indicate that not much, if any, of the limited cancer remaining in me is growing and generating the proteins that cause an elevated CA 125. If they go up again, it could be a sign of tumor regrowth somewhere in my body. Its nice that they have this marker test - it may prevent or initiate another surgery, depending on how the numbers go.

The chemo itself went very smoothly. I did not have any immediate reactions to the taxol/carboplatin cocktail I will be getting every three weeks. The oncology nurses are wonderful, and a few of the patients being treated were friendly as well. Others didn't make eye contact - but I guess they are in a scary mental chemo place. I hope I don't get that jaded (?) unfriendly (?) more likely - sick.

I felt fine after the chemo - still no noticeable side effects. I took an anti-nausea pill last night, not because I was nauseated, but because everyone told me to pre-empt any nausea with the pill. I'll probably keep up on it until Sunday morning, when I will stop, and see if any nausea starts.

I also understand that side effects don't often happen until a few days after the treatment. Believe me, I will post about any side effects with no holding back! Beware of potential ugly details to come ;)

My wonderful husband has been a rock through all of this. My surgery has caused me to go into surgical menopause. I recognize the hot flashes - he recognizes the mood swings! I am not usually an outwardly emotional person. But lately a day doesn't go by that I don't find myself on the verge of tears. Usually about nothing - too! Sometimes I can stop them in their tracks. Other times, I just let them loose and then laugh at myself.

I know I have been neglectful of him at times, because I am so focused on my healing and myself right now. I also feel like a medical burden (even though I am 90% back to normal) because I never anticipated these types of issues this early on in my life. Maybe I try to pull away in order to let him distance his feelings from me if he wants to - because this is not a path we chose. He doesn't let me get away with trying to distance him, and I am very thankful for that! I love him very much and appreciate his strength and wisdom during this time. I am very lucky to have such a strong and loving support system in him. He lets me know that he loves me more than ever, in his words, actions and deeds. Now I need to focus on doing the same for him!

My family, husbands family and friends are also being wonderfully supportive. I have made some great choices in friends in my life - and they are the best anyone could ask for! I never realized the actual importance of having that support network available, to reach out to as needed. People have let me know that they are there. Although I haven't had to tap into that network much in my life, it appears to be there, still strong and growing.

I am learning so much through this process. I guess that there is always a silver lining. I am learning (through the medical community and insurance dealings) to be more patient. I am also thinking more about my day to day living (LIVING) - since I just found out I am not invincible (what a bummer).

I am hoping to continue feeling fine today. A friend from work (another wonderful support for me!) is getting married. She has really helped me through this process too - and I must go to her wedding! Even while planning her wedding, she bought me some 'head wraps' for when I lose my hair. She works in the adjacent cubicle to me, and, due to close proximity, has really followed the phone portion of this cancer journey. She is a beautiful person, and I am glad to count her in my network of friends as well.

Another older friend lent me some headwraps she had from her breast cancer ordeal which was wonderful of her! Some look really good on me, and some look better on my husband.
I bought a couple of head wraps myself, and look forward to the day that I can give them away ;)

Whew - I have talked enough for now. Enjoy your day!

Friday, September 7, 2007

September 7

I guess theres no better place to start. It is ovarian cancer awareness day, my dads birthday, and my very first chemo treatment for this disease. Why not start a blog today too?
I'll get into the specifics soon enough -but wanted a jump start on this process.