Saturday, December 29, 2007

Apathy, panic and a blessing in disguise

My favorite husband and I headed out to my last chemotherapy session yesterday for the ovarian cancer. It was snowing, which lifted my spirits a bit- but I was apathetic and tired, tired tired, as the steroids had kept me up much of the night - tossing and turning. He dropped me off, and went to run errands for an hour or so, while my pretreatment would presumably be happening.

The nurse said my CA125 was 25. Another increase. Still within normal limits, but not heading the direction I want it to. Then she told me that the pain I have in my side is a concern to the doctor, and that he did not want me to have the chemo until he had examined me. She said my blood tests were all fine (including my liver enzymes - and the pain is in the area of my liver). Of course, he doesn't come into the office until the afternoon. This freaked me right out! If I didn't get the chemo that day, I would not have it until after the new year. I have had my heart set on finishing THIS YEAR and not dragging it on into 2008. So, I did what any tired, bald and disappointed person would do - I burst into tears. The kind nurse pulled me into a private room until I calmed down (quickly, thankfully!) She told me to come back at 1 - and that I would be the first to see the doctor. She said that they could probably still treat me if he cleared me for chemo.

I called my husband to pick me up - and explained what happened. He also calmed me down - by taking me out to breakfast :) (he knows the way to my heart - that's for sure!) Then we ran some errands (mostly to keep me from worrying about the appointment).

The doc examined me, and couldn't feel anything. I knew it was nothing - and wish I had never mentioned it. BUT because it was in the general area where the ovarian cancer was removed, and because it felt to be my liver, I am glad I mentioned it just in case. I feel like I'm turning into a hypochondriac! :) By this time, it was near 2, and they said they could treat me! YIPPPEEEE! No more apathy regarding this last treatment - now I was excited! Hence, the blessing in disguise part of the title.

I found out during my treatment, that it was the kind chemo nurses who said they would stay late at the office, to ensure that I would be treated. They usually leave at 5, but because of me, stayed until a little after 6 pm. The staff there is just so kind. I think they understood my crazy notion that I had to finish this year - HAD to!

So now the chemotherapy is over, and once the side effects are done (should be better by Thursday), I will be back on my way to normal. Maybe a different type of normal now that I have gone through all of this. Maybe more patient? Definitely more understanding of those with illnesses.

But I know I am not done with this, and won't be for a long time. I have to set an appointment in four weeks to see the oncologist, who will order blood tests, and a CT or CAT scan. Once those are done, another visit with the gynecological oncologist (the expert) for his review and suggestions. I think I will have appointments every three months for a while. Oh - I also have to have my chest port flushed out every three months, to keep it from being blocked. I am glad I picked a place close to home for the treatment! The doc initially said I should keep the port in for five years, due to the high rate of ovarian cancer recurrence. I'm hoping to have it out in two to three years and to never have to use it again for chemotherapy. But, I'm going day by day.

You buy the ticket - you take the ride (Hunter S. Thompson)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Final chemo - and odds and ends...

Tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for since July and August of this year. My final chemotherapy treatment. I am so excited for it to be over, and I am also terrified. I am terrified first of the side effects that I know I will have. I am terrified that I will find out that I went through all of this for nothing. I am terrified that I will have to go through it again at some point in the future! Ultimately, I am terrified about not doing anything proactive in regards to the cancer, and maybe having it come back.

I am excited that I will get my hair back starting in a month or so. I am excited that I won't have to go through awful side effects every three weeks. I am excited to start 2008 with no chemotherapy planned. I am excited to have energy again, and to start reclaiming my health!

Now for the odds and ends:

I have great family - both mine and my favorite husbands. Over the holidays, everyone was so kind and supportive. His relatives have unfortunately had a lot of cancer touch their lives, and I think it gives them a 'magic touch' when it comes to talking to those of us who have it. I can't even recall the particulars - just good positive energy on Christmas eve eve when we went to his family party.

Of course both celebrations with both of our immediate families were wonderful as well! I was a little tired and cranky for my family (they always get the best of me!) but it went much better after I ate some food. Lately my mood has been affected by hunger. I used to be able to go all day without eating, and be fine. Now I am cranky cranky cranky. Thankfully, they understood, and I still got my presents. ;)

My aunt and uncle changed their holiday plans, and drove here for the holiday rather than have us drive there. This was wonderful - as I certainly would not have been able to make the trip this year (already had taken a lot of time off of work). I am so glad they did - it was great to see them, and I promised them I would make it up to them next year. We had a wonderful holiday visit, and squeezed (squoze?) a lot into a short time. Even though they cheat at cards they are all right in my book!

I have great friends. One talked me down from a near panic earlier this week (I don't even know if she knows it) when I was really stressing out about this last chemo. She reminded me that I have to take it one day at a time, and stop worrying or even thinking about the future - because it won't do me a damn bit of good. She (as usual) was absolutely right, and I thank her for it. I may need a little more reminding JKE (please see the first paragraph of this post!) - so please, keep the insights coming :)

And all my other friends and family as well, who don't point and laugh (at least not in front of my face) regardless of how silly I look in my head scarves, and without eyebrows and eyelashes...

I have found that I am a hair product junkie. I haven't had hair since September, but I still find myself perusing the shelves of shampoos, conditioners and other hair products. Crazy - right? :)

Wish me luck tomorrow - they drew another CA125, and I'll find out the results in the morning. Remember - we want a very low, low number!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! The Bears game yesterday was fantastic!! Yes, it was cold and snowy and very windy - but we dressed for it and it didn't bother us too much. Plus, we had access to an interior area where we could go if it got too cold. A wonderful game especially since the Bears won! (sorry Packers fans... )

I even had the energy last night to go to my in-laws family Christmas party (where the whole extended family shows up). That was good - because they had all heard of my ovarian cancer diagnosis and had sent me cards, and I wanted to show them that I was ok. It was a lot of fun and I am only sorry that we didn't get there a little earlier since we missed seeing some people.

I am experiencing some anxiety again about my upcoming chemo on Friday. It is nice to know that it will be the last time this year (and hopefully - ever) that I have to worry about chemotherapy. Its funny what the mind can do - Just thinking about it, I can already 'taste' the chemo, and feel the poison before it even enters my system. Good thing that I have a busy week ahead to keep me from dwelling on it.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


We braved the dreaded "mall" yesterday. I am happy to say that we got a lot of shopping done! We aren't finished yet - there are some loose ends to finish up, but we took a big chunk out of what we needed to get.

I am not over-doing it this year. The remaining shopping I have to do - either I know what I'm getting, or picking up gift cards. The shopping really exhausted me though. Not sure if I can rightfully blame the chemotherapy for that, or if I just hate shopping ;)

The good news was that it snowed! We have nearly a foot on the ground now. Of course, we saw a lot of cars in ditches, and off the road yesterday. I'm just glad we weren't one of those...

Normally, I would be having chemotherapy this coming Friday. I am SO GLAD to have an extra week off because of the holiday! I think my body needed the extra recuperation time to recover from the last one. The holidays are a perfect distraction too, to keep me from worrying or thinking too much about the cancer. I'll save that activity until next year. Today is my company Christmas party, more shopping this week, and next weekend is the Bears/Packers game that we have tickets to. PLENTY to keep me distracted!

Happy holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pocket Kings

Pocket kings were his downfall. This just wasn't the year for my favorite husband to make his debut into the celebrity world of poker at the heartland poker tour.

He did get to play a while - about four hours before he finally busted out. I know it was a wonderful experience for him! Also, Chris Hanson from the tour (who commented on my blog on an earlier post) came up to the table while he was playing and said hello. He recognized him from the picture on this blog. If you read this - thanks Chris! I think you made his night - and gave him a little 'respect' from other players at the table for a short time ;)

He did so well to get into this tournament - and I am very very proud of him.

On a different topic - we went out and bought a new refrigerator today that will be delivered on Tuesday. I look forward to having a clean, new fridge. Any bets on how long it will stay that way? ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

If it ain't one thing...

it's another. We came home last night to find our ice cube bin filled with water, and a warm freezer and refrigerator. Hmmm. My favorite husband cleaned what he could to see if it was just the coils or other problem, etc. No such luck. I guess it is probably the compressor.

It looks like our Christmas gifts to each other this year will be a new refrigerator. Thank goodness for good credit and places out there that offer free financing for a while. At least we didn't have a whole lot of food that was ruined. It is actually a good reason to get rid of a lot of stuff (especially in the freezer) that has been there longer than it needed to be ;)

Other than that, things are going well! I am feeling much better now. I went to work Thursday and Friday - but probably should have just stayed home on Thursday. I am still really tired and my energy level isn't what it used to be. I just need to accept my limits, and try not to push them too often. It is really frustrating to not be as 'able' as I was, even just a month or two ago! Patience - I just need patience.

Chemotherapy is tricky. "Cumulative" is the key word for anyone about to undertake it. It wasn't until the third and fourth treatments that I started to realize what I was really in for, and each time has been progressively worse. However, each time I am learning to better deal with the side effects, and what I can to limit their severity. It is all a learning process, and everyone handles it differently.

I have also been thinking about my ovarian cancer diagnosis, and how extremely lucky I was that I started having symptoms that sent me to the doctor. It felt like my appendix was inflamed, or about to burst (that's the best way I can describe the twinge I felt in my right side that finally sent me to the ER). I had no other real definable symptoms. I have been reading about women who never knew or had any symptoms of ovarian cancer, until it had really spread - and those women didn't generally last long (although there are always exceptions!). Granted, I wish I had symptoms sooner ;) but I am glad that I had any at all. The cancer was discovered in enough time to give me a fighting chance. Many others have not been as lucky, and I feel for them and their families.

OK- enough 'cancer perspective'. Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


We take a break from our regularly scheduled documenting and whining about ovarian cancer, for an important announcement.

My favorite husband parlayed a $20 bill, into an entry into the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT)!! He won a small tournament, entered a super-satellite and won that for an entry to the satellite, which he made it to the top 20% in order to win a seat to the main event! He is amazing.

He will be playing Saturday night at the Majestic Star Casino, and hopefully playing Sunday, and finally Monday, when the final 6 players compete. That final table will be televised.

It has been a dream of his to compete in a large scale tournament of this sort. But we certainly could not have afforded the $2,500 entry fee! I just wanted to say how proud I am of him, and his skills. Congrats honey - and good luck!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


I got to see some snow this morning! It was beautiful. Now, it has just turned to icy rain, but it is dark so it doesn't matter. I hope for more snow tomorrow. I also hope that the Bears win - a girl can dream, can't she??

I don't feel very well today. I have my usual, day after chemo, rash. That is a typical symptom. I have an awful taste in my mouth - another typical symptom. I can eat apples and tomato based products (pasta and marinara sauce, etc.), but everything else tastes funny. Even water tastes funny - which is bad because I need to drink as much as possible in order to flush the toxins OUT! I have been drinking cranberry juice - that tastes fine. My hip joints really hurt - that is a symptom that has been getting worse each time. And finally, a flu-like headache, general malaise, and the ongoing nausea. Honestly, I'm not whining - just documenting! ;)

After a few more days, I will feel better. Then, I will only have to go through this one more time! It is hard to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My dear friend told me that 'there is a light at the end of the tunnel - just don't run into it and get hit by a train.' Actually, I think she said it better. I just don't remember the exact wording.

You will also notice that I will be using the term 'ovarian cancer' more frequently, so people who are trying to find info about ovarian cancer via a blog search may be directed to my blog. (see, I slipped the term ovarian cancer in again! You barely noticed!!)

I'm tired - so I am going to lay back down on the couch. That is where I will remain for several days. Good thing it is comfortable, and there are plenty of cats around to keep me company.

I'll report back in a few days when I'm feeling better.

(ovarian cancer!) ;)