Friday, November 30, 2007

Chemotherapy number 5

It went fine. I did feel nauseated during the taxol part of the drip (three hours of wonderful, queasy, nausea!!). The nurse said it was probably due to the toxic accumulation from the therapy. She gave me some additional anti nausea medication, which I will gladly take.

Now I am just sitting at home, still slightly nauseated, and burping. Oh yeah - that has been another usual side effect. It is because the chemo kills the cells in the lining of the stomach and esophagus, and any other fast growing cells in the body. I have been trying to burp the alphabet - but I haven't got past "d" yet. My favorite husband lovingly (I hope!) calls me Barney from the Simpsons, because of this side effect. Thankfully, it only lasts for about five days or so.

The side effects are definitely starting sooner. I'm already super tired and nauseated (even with the medication), and I have a sore and swollen throat (again, from the cells dying). I guess that my body is getting acclimated to the steroids, because my energy level is really down now too. I doubt I will be very mobile this weekend. Oh well - its hopefully going to snow, and I can look out the window from the couch to watch it! I DO hope that it snows and snows and snows some more. I really love snow! (really? YES REALLY!) Plus it will cover the leaves remaining on our lawn... ;) Also, I like to believe that the side effects are indications that the ovarian cancer is being targeted and killed.

The nurse told me that I could donate the Amitriptyline medication to them, and that it would get used. That is good, because I didn't want it to go to waste. This was the antidepressant medication that was prescribed for the numbness and tingling (neuropathy) that I get from the chemotherapy. She did recommend that I hold on to it for now, just in case the neuropathy gets worse. She said that it HAS helped other patients. So there is still a chance that I will take it if the symptoms get worse. I hope they don't. I really don't want to take medicine that will also affect my mental state. So far those symptoms haven't gotten worse!

Have a great weekend! Say a prayer for me if you get a chance! More importantly, say a prayer for my favorite husband, who has to put up with me for the next four or five days. ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another appointment

Those of you paying attention will remember that I had a gynecological oncologist appointment Monday. He is the one who 'optimally debulked' me (removed as much cancer as could possibly be removed), and probably the one I will ultimately thank for saving my life.

Anyway - I didn't write anything about it, because no new pertinent information was provided at the exam. He just said I'm healing fine, I look good (well - THANK you...), and he wants to see me after chemo is done.

That is the current state of things. I will know nothing more until all the chemo is done. Wait, wait, wait. Then wait some more. I am in a medical limbo. They will give me a CT scan after chemo - but not until at least one month after. They will monitor my CA 125 - but not until after chemo. I will continue on with my life - after chemo.

At least by going through chemo, I am actively fighting the disease (I hope). At least by finishing chemo, I will feel as though something has been completed. Of course, there are no guarantees. Can you tell I'm confused?

I think the hardest part for me is the fact that cancer will always be an unanswered question. Do still have it? Will it come back? Is the ovarian cancer hiding, waiting for me to feel safe, only to crop up in a cozy place like my lungs or liver?

The closer I get to finishing chemo, the less stable I feel.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm still feeling great! The next one is on Friday (my second to last treatment). I'm trying not to think about it, and just enjoy the long weekend.
I hope that you all enjoy it too!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to my favorite husband!

We have always been strong, and this year has made us stronger. You bring me joy every day. I dedicate the following poem and quote to you from my favorite poet (cheaper than a gift - right?) :)
I love you - happy birthday!

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

-e.e. cummings

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
-ee cummings

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At the oncologists

Another good report. He still says I'm 'breezing' through this. I told him he should have seen me two days ago... :) He is very kind - and he said that he is sorry that I have to go through this. I've found that many doctors are not compassionate - he seems to be.
He answered most of my questions. No more CA125 tests until the treatment is over. He was not concerned about the slight increase in number the last time. He's not worried about the kidney pain (thinks its associated with the neulasta). He will not talk to me about follow up treatment until after my treatment is done.
Most importantly, he allowed me to move my last treatment to December 27th or 28th (I'll have to check with the chemo nurses for an opening). He said I could even wait until after the new year, but I want to get these done before the new year as I had previously planned. Yes - he said six treatments should be sufficient and he will NOT be adding more treatments! That is such good news to me! In the darkness of this past weekend, I started worrying that I might only be half way through if he decided on 8 treatments. I am so glad I don't have to worry about that now!
I'm still tired, but I am feeling buoyed by the knowledge that I only have two more treatments left!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Side effects

Those words sound so innocuous. When I used to think of side effects, I thought, a headache, maybe some nausea - you know - minor issues that are easy to overlook and ignore. I have come to find that side effects are not so simple or easily discounted.
I told my favorite husband on Sunday that I don't know how much more of this I can take. In that moment, between tears, I fully meant it. I just didn't think that I could take much more. I don't know if it was the pain or feeling sorry for myself, but Sunday was hard. I can't even describe what is so bad about the side effects. Maybe it is the sheer quantity of them-all piled on at once with no relief. Maybe its the emotional aspect of going through chemo and knowing that I am doing this to myself - I am to blame for these effects.
I am happy to report that I feel much better today. I'm not 100 percent, but I feel so much better, and no longer poised at the brink of despair. :) I just have to remember my mantra - if I can hang on just a day or two, everything will be so much better!
I have my oncologist appointment tomorrow, and will let you know how that goes. For now, I am just so happy to be feeling better (even though I am still 'couch bound' for the most part).
Now I promise - no more whining until the next treatment!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Number 4

Just got back from chemo number 4. It will be my 2/3 point (although I won't consider it to be at that point until after the side effects have gone away sometime next week...). So hopefully on Wed/Thurs - I will be 2/3 of the way through!

I'm tired. I've noticed that I've been tired. I could blame it on the chemo, but I am going to blame it on the weather (although fall is my favorite type of weather...). Hmmm, maybe I'll blame it on the time change! I do know that lack of sunlight affects many. Could be all of the above.

I spoke to the nurse again about my neuropathy (the numbness in my hands and feet). She gave me a prescription for Amitriptyline. Once I got it, brought it home, and googled it - I find it is an antidepressant. Antidepressant??? I'm not depressed! I'm tired and bald, but certainly not depressed!! :) From what I found, it may 'mask' the symptoms. Blah. I don't want to mask anything (except extreme pain, thank you vicodin!). I can live with the numbness, it doesn't hurt, it's just annoying. And I could do without the extra side effects of this antidepressant - some of which are similar to ones I already have (hair loss, insomnia, etc.). Finally, I don't want to take more pills - its just more of a strain on my system and my liver.
So, I have an appointment with my regular oncologist on Wednesday late afternoon. (The following is being written mainly as a reminder to myself - because I have a memory now the capacity of a pea). I will ask him if the antidepressant can cure or prevent further neuropathy. If not - I won't take it. I also need to ask him about some kidney pain. I need another CA125, and I need to ask if the increase is something he deems significant or not. Most importantly, I need to find out if he is planning to sneak additional treatments in my plan. OH - and I need to change the date of my (hopefully) last treatment, because I think I am going to the Bears/Packers game that Sunday, and I want to be able to enjoy the game and Christmas, without being sick.
I have an appointment with the gyne/onc (the specialist) on Monday after Thanksgiving. That will be good - I need to run down this treatment with him, and hear what he suggests.

Thank you for bearing with me on that last part :) Chemo brain is a true symptom. Sometimes, I find myself sitting and staring at nothing - not knowing that time has passed, not thinking about anything. Its a very strange sensation for me. I have never had a good long term memory - but my short term for things I want to remember, was always excellent. Not anymore! Stupid brain (said in my Homer Simpson voice). ;)

Have a great weekend! I'm going to try to...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Life and loss

There is a funeral I am going to tomorrow. I mentioned my friend in an early post in September. She was a breast cancer survivor who graciously loaned me her box of turbans and headwraps when she found out I was going through all of this. She passed away - thankfully NOT of cancer (I'm sure she would agree with that statement. It did not beat her in the end!) but due to medical complications from something else.

I remember when she went through her chemo treatments. I didn't see her often, but she looked so good, and was always smiling when I did see her. She rocked those turbans- and the pink ones really lit her up. I thought she never had looked more beautiful. Little did I know at the time, that her experience would be one that strongly influenced my outlook when I found out my diagnosis.

When I found out about my cancer it was after she had beat hers, and had all of her hair back. I thought "Beverly went through this so well, and is doing so well now - I certainly can beat it too!". I even talked to her about it . She told me how losing her hair was the hardest thing for her, and how she cried as she threw the garbage out the day it fell out. Her openness with her experiences through chemo helped prepare me for my treatment- more than any website ever could. For me, she was the face of experience, bravery and strength.

I will miss her, her smile, and her infectious laugh.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I'm feeling good, and there is nothing for me to bitch about ;) Hence the blog silence.
I am feeling a little pre-treatment anxiety for the next one (next Friday), but it's nothing I can't mentally talk myself down from.
I hope that all had a good Halloween!