Monday, December 29, 2008

The ball is rolling

Today at my doctors appointment, we started the anergic skin testing for the O-Vax vaccine for ovarian cancer. They injected me with small amounts of candida, tetanus, tuberculosis, and one other injection in my left forearm. It wasn't too uncomfortable. I am really getting used to needles. I have to go back on Wednesday to have the injection sites inspected, measured, and checked. Next week I have the DTH skin testing. After that, there is a lull (10-14 days) and then I start the vaccine, provided that all the skin testing goes as anticipated. Hopefully my immune system cooperates with the skin testing - and gives them the results that they are looking for!

Things are moving forward - and not a minute too soon. My CA125 (a tumor marker) is up from 101 to 304, in just a matter of two weeks (normal is <35). This high CA125 is so unusual for me. I feel some 'twingy' type pains every so often near my liver, and in my lower abdomen - I think it must be the cancer rallying for a comeback. There is no significant pain though. Nothing like the liver pains I felt last year during taxol/carboplatin (when I was sprouting a mighty fine specimen of a tumor). So I am not going to worry about the CA125 number. Again, like the nodules that show up on my CT scan, I need these to see if the vaccine is working. Right? Sure.

Christmas was wonderful! My Aunt and Uncle travelled the 450 miles to see us again this year. My sister just started a new job, and my favorite husband couldn't really take any more time off of work for us to travel - so this was really appreciated. I also had a great time with the in-laws and extended family.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday, and have a happy new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First cold

Well, I am nearly over my first (regular) illness in at least three or four years. Yes, I caught a cold. I am so glad that I have it now, since my strength is improving - rather than while I was recuperating from chemo. I have no voice, and have a terrible cough, but I feel fine. I only sound like I have the plague! ;)

I am finally starting to feel normal again after the IP Taxotere chemotherapy. Whew - that regimen really tired me out. We didn't do any decorating for Christmas, and our shopping was thankfully limited this year (everyone is scaling back because of the economy), so I was able to avoid a lot of holiday stress. It is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and to feel some of my energy coming back.

My parents have the most wonderful friends. We were provided with tickets to the Bears/Packers game at Soldier Field on Monday night. It was 7 degrees at kickoff - with a wind chill of -12. However, we bundled up in layers and barely felt the cold. I stayed outside for the entire first half! Most importantly, the Bears won - so it was a great time! Yes - I have a cold, but I wasn't about to miss a Bears game! You can see part of my favorite husbands scar from his car accident in this photo...

And here was our view of the field

Now on to medical news - my vaccine is apparently done! I made an appointment with my doc for Monday the 29th. I have to go through some anergic testing. That means I have to react to delayed type hypersensitivity testing (DTH) to things like tetanus. I guess they need to make sure my immune system isn't compromised. So I still have some hoops to jump through - but the most important part is done!

For more info on this ovarian cancer clinical trial go to:

The funny thing about being the first person in a clinical trial - no one seems to know what is going on! The research people aren't sure, the doctor isn't sure, everyone has to keep refering back to the protocol. I think that I am going to have to take matters into my own hands, and make sure that I am on schedule with everything required for this (as far as testing and timing) - so that I don't blow this opportunity! I know that they have a lot of other things and other trials that they are doing, so it doesn't upset me that I am not the center of their universe :) I just need to remember that I am my own best health advocate. I'll let you know more next week!

I wish you all the most joyous (and healthy!) of holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2008

CT scan results

The scan showed several 'nodules' some of which may have been scar tissue, some which were cancer. Also, my CA125 results (which had been steadily going down during the Taxotere treatment) increased this time - from 69 to 101. The CA125 is a tumor marker test that hasn't been really accurate for me. But usually it is lower (it was in the normal range of 29-35 when I had active tumor growth) - so the fact that it is increasing now is somewhat troubling.

These results didn't really surprise or upset me. I think that they took my favorite husband by surprise though. He seemed shaken by the news.

There is also some fluid around my liver, and near my lung. She thinks that this is chemo fluid that hasn't been fully absorbed yet. I have noticed being a little short of breath, and being 'bloated' for no apparent reason. The fluid may explain this.

She said that the vaccine is almost ready! She thinks that maybe next week, we will be able to start all of the preliminary stuff. I have to have a number of skin tests, to ensure that my immune system will respond, before we can start the trial vaccine. They can't start the skin tests until they are sure the vaccine is ready. My doctor estimates we should be on the vaccine by Christmas or soon after.

My thinking is - it is a good thing some measurable cancer is present. Otherwise, how would we be able to tell if the vaccine is working or not?

The doctor wants to leave my interperitoneal (IP) port in. The IP Taxotere did cause my CA125 to drop for a while, so we may go back to that chemo if the vaccine does not work. I hated that chemo - I hope not to go back on it!

I am just glad that I am off of chemo for a while. I need to get my Christmas shopping done this weekend, and continue to get my energy back.

As always, I will update when I know more! Good luck everyone - with your Christmas or holiday shopping. I'm hoping to get mine all done this weekend (keep your fingers crossed :) )

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I didn't want to jinx myself by saying anything before, but it looks like my hair is staying with me! It never did fall out during treatment. I guess that is due to my getting the Taxotere chemo on a weekly basis at a lowered dosage, instead of every three weeks at a higher dosage. I actually got a hair cut on Monday. It is about four inches long!

My last treatment was the day after Thanksgiving. Since the Sunday after, I have felt awful. I felt REALLY awful last week. I was so tired, and my belly ached, with sharp pains shooting through my whole abdomen. It may have been from the chemicals being absorbed, or from adhesions forming or dissolving - I don't know and I don't care! I just wanted it to stop. I barely worked five hour days last week. I was tired, cranky, exhausted, nauseated, and generally 'unwell' feeling.

The good news is that I feel so much better this week. The pains are nearly gone, except for a somewhat disturbing pain near my liver. Every pain I have seems to be in the area of my liver! :) It could be from the interperitoneal (IP) port and hose they have threaded through my abdomen. I hope to have the doctor remove the port and tubing soon - I think it may be the cause of much of my discomfort.

If she told me that I needed the IP chemo again, I don't know that I would agree to it. My quality of life was not very good while going through it. I'll cross that bridge though, when and if, I come to it.

I have a CT scan tomorrow, and an appointment with my doc on Friday. I should know more then about the vaccine trial status after I meet with her. We will also see the status of that suspicious spot viewed last time. I'll update after that appointment!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My favorite husband is fully recovered from his accident, except he still has stitches, and two black eyes. I think its sexy - in a goth sort of way. :)

I'm doing ok. I was just really really exhausted this week. Friday is my last chemo though - so next week will be my last week of exhaustion. Yay! Something to look forward to!

I am thankful this year that I am able to work and live despite the chemotherapy and surgery. I can breathe and walk. I am a tired, but participating member of society.

I am thankful for the love that surrounds me everyday. The love of my husband, family, in-laws, friends, and even those at work who have been so supportive.

I am lucky! I am loved! I am alive! (I am tired...) :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

ER Visit

For once though, this is not all about me. My favorite husband was rear ended on the expressway today, and was hauled off to the emergency room with a three inch laceration to his forehead.

I walked in to the room, and his face was covered with blood- both dried and fresh. He had a huge knot on his head, as well as a "U" shaped wound. They put in 12 stitches.

I am so very grateful that he was not seriously injured. I know that he would have rather not had this injury, but at least it is something fixable. I am also glad that I was around, so I got there minutes after his ambulance arrived.

Tomorrow is chemo number 3 - two hospital visits in two days! We know how to live life on the edge!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

'Roid Rage

OK - not 'rage', but the steroids that they gave me prior to chemo yesterday really helped perk me up today! I was able to go shopping for my favorite husbands birthday on Monday, and also did some grocery shopping. I figure that I need to enjoy the energy while I can! It felt good not to be so tired.

My blood results were fine. My CA125 was in the 300's after surgery. Now it is at 140. I hope it keeps dropping - that is the highest that it has been since my original diagnosis.

Chemo went fine. They had the 'right' tubing this time for the gravity feed of Taxotere (it didn't have to go through the IV slow drip into the abdomen). That cut a few hours off of my stay.

Also, a public relations person from Cancer Treatment Centers of America came to talk to me. Of course, she came right after they gave me the anti-nausea, benadryl, and other pre-chemo drugs that knocked me right out! She said that some newspapers had voiced an interest in interviewing me about this vaccine trial. Yikes! I told her yes - but I am nervous. I am not really a good speaker (like my blog friend Samantha - who speaks about her cancer experience in front of large crowds - or Kia who also talks to people all over about ovarian cancer).

We'll see what happens. All I know, is that I will have to do the interview BEFORE the pre-meds knock me out. As soon as she left, I was sound asleep. I slept through the whole chemo again too.

Thanks for the kind comments for the last blog entry. I know that all of you are right - I just need to be reminded every now and again. ;)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have been so tired this week. Just exhausted. I've been back to work, but I can't blame the exhaustion on that. They have allowed me to work at my own pace, and have understood my short days and limited mental capacity. I am just so very tired. It must be this chemo.

It frustrates me, because I think that I should be doing so much better. I feel that my - usually fast healing and recuperating body - has failed me miserably.

It will get better, but not anytime soon. I have chemo again tomorrow. They will also check my blood - maybe my RBCs are low or something. I hope that there is something wrong that is 'fixable', but won't delay my treatment. I don't want any delays in this ovarian cancer treatment.

I just have to hang on a few more weeks.

One very good thing happened this week though! On my first day back at work, my boss told me he was taking my company car from me, and gave me a different one. I am now driving a 2007 Prius! Of course all of that generosity makes me feel that I should be a better employee - not a tired one. Sigh.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One down...

Well, the treatment wasn't too bad. It took a very long time (3.5 hours for infusion and 2 hours of 'rolling around' after to swish it through the abdomen), and was a bit uncomfortable (two liters pumped into the abdomen- super bloat!).

I started feeling a bit "flu-like" last night, and have that awful metal taste in my mouth which is a typical side effect :( My favorite husband bought me some life-savers candy, and that helps when the taste gets bad. He also bought lemons for me to squeeze into my water, and anti-bacterial soap for keeping germs away. He remembered a lot from last year! I do feel better today, and I hope I am on the downswing from the effects.

This will be a weekly treatment - so I go back in next Friday (we switched the day) for my next one.

My CT scan was ok. The doctor said all of the cancer on the previous scan was removed, but there was a small spot noted on this new scan. She believes it is the remnants of a 'clotting' medication or something that she put in during surgery - but said we would keep our eyes on it.

The good news is that they were able to harvest enough cancer cells from my tumor, to start the vaccine (I knew I had plenty of cancer cells!). She thinks it will be ready in four weeks or so. She anticipates my last IP Taxotere treatment to be the day after Thanksgiving.

I'm hoping to feel well enough to go back into work on Monday. I should be ok, as long as these side effects continue to fade.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we can!! Yes I can!!

First, I am so very thrilled that Obama is now our president elect! I know a lot of people have their reservations about him. However, I believe that he will win the doubters over, as they see his sincerity and his true desire to be a great leader and to bring people together. So long Bush/Cheney regime! No more ruling with fear and intimidation! Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out. :)

I laughed and cried last night, while watching a hugely historic moment. It gives me faith in humankind again.

I start chemo tomorrow. I am a bit nervous, as this will be my first time with the interperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy - where taxotere will be injected into my new abdominal port to wash throughout my abdomen. First I meet with the doctor, and she will review the CT scans I had taken today. Then I'll have chemo in the late afternoon. There is a chance they may admit me overnight, if there is a reason to. I don't know much about this treatment - I didn't spend as much time researching it, and there was not as much info about IP Taxotere on-line, as there was about my previous chemo drugs. I trust my doctor though. Also, I can't worry about what I don't know about.

I'll let you all know the gruesome details later.

'Yes I can' get through this. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home sweet home!

I am finally home! They discharged me today. I am tired, and definitely sore from the 1 1/2 hour drive home (those potholes REALLY hurt when you've had internal surgery!), but I feel very good considering! I think that I feel better than after my first surgery, although my incision is twice as long (extends up beyond my belly button now to mid-rib cage). I can "out-scar" any one I know, I think... ;) (any challengers??)

The doctor said that she removed ALL VISIBLE OVARIAN CANCER!!! (only microscopic disease remaining). She said there was no sign of the cancer "peppering" across my intestines, as the CT scans seemed to show. I simply cannot believe that I am cancer free right now! I really did not expect that to be the outcome. I thought that she would get a lot of it - but did not expect it all to be removed. Wow.

She has sent part of it to France, to have a vaccine created for the clinical trial. She sent another portion to California to have it 'tested' with different chemotherapies to determine what may affect it, if the cancer grows again.

I start chemo in less than two weeks. I have to call tomorrow to make the appointment, then I will have more information.

Words cannot describe how much I appreciate all of your prayers, thoughts and good vibes. I know that I have God to thank for this, but he may not have noticed me, without all of you!

I am still stunned with what has happened so far. I am also on pain meds, and need to rest! I'll update later in the week.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Skydiving, anniversary and surgery - oh my!

I have quite the busy weekend ahead of me. Today is my last day at work, for a while (since I will be recouperating from surgery). I have a lot to finish up!

Tomorrow, I am going for my second skydive. My favorite husband will be there with me (he is quite adamant that he is staying the ground). More importantly, tomorrow is our fifth wedding anniversary (we have been together over 16 years). We are going out with our friends to celebrate.

Then, on Sunday we'll pack for our trip to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, IL. Monday is a bunch of pre op stuff (including the nasty go-lytely drink for the clean out :( ) and Tuesday is surgery, where the doctor will hopefully remove all of the current ovarian cancer. We want optimal debulking here!

I doubt I will be posting again prior to that time. I'm keeping really busy, so that I have no time to worry or think about the surgery. Honestly though, I am not too worried about it. Whatever will be, will be - and this is a situation that I have absolutely no control over!

Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers! I hope to post towards the end of next week with my status. I hope that the doctor is able to remove all visible ovarian cancer (no inaccessible stuff), and that I will heal well and quickly (like I did last time).

More importantly, happy anniversary Tim! (I let it slip! That is the name of my favorite husband!) You bring such joy and laughter into my life - I am so lucky to love and be loved by you!

Have a great weekend and week everyone. And remember:

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

Thursday, October 9, 2008

....and it keeps getting better!

I am likely a good candidate for the ovarian cancer vaccine trial. My next appointment is Monday, October 20, and my de-bulking abdominal surgery is Tuesday, October 21. I will receive inter-peritoneal (IP) chemotherapy (taxotere) once every three weeks, after I heal. If they are able to formulate a vaccine (this takes a couple of months), and if I am deemed qualified (they won't determine that, until they are sure they can formulate the vaccine) it will be administered weekly with a low level chemotherapy drug (cyclophosphamide). There are a lot of variables here that may exclude me from the study - but at a bare minimum, they are removing my current visible ovarian cancer and treating me with an IP chemotherapy.

I had to type it out, because I still don't believe it.

I still don't believe it.

I can't believe that I am excited to have more surgery and more chemotherapy. But I am.

I know that the prayers, good thoughts and healing light sent my way had something to do with this.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some good news

I'm still a little out of it from the anesthetic, so I'll keep this short.

The colonoscopy went very well. The doctor removed a polyp, but said he did not think it was cancerous - it did not appear to be cancer. They said I had a little diverticulitis (Gerry - I'll be asking you about that!) The most important thing though, is that the tumor near my liver is not invading my large intestine! He said that he did not see any pressure points either (where the tumor would be pressing against the intestine).

Tomorrow I have CT scans much of the day. I am sending my favorite husband to work tomorrow, while I bounce from scan to scan. Then he will be around on Thursday to meet with the doctor.

Please continue to send prayers, good thoughts, and vibes my way!

Monday, October 6, 2008


So far, this has been a great experience! I've met with nurses, had an EKG, blood drawn for all types of tests (including a BRAC genetic test), a meeting with the gynecologic oncologist and her staff, and a meeting with the gastroenterologist. Everyone has been great! This place is so organized - I think that our longest wait was for 20 minutes, and most of the time there was little to no wait.

My schedule is for a colonoscopy tomorrow. Now, many of you know that means the big "clean out". So I am sitting in the hotel room, hungry, and drinking the nastiest stuff I have ever had to drink. Its called "halflytely" and the taste is atrocious! I am only "half" way through right now too. I don't know if I'll be able to drink the rest of it! :( That will take up the day tomorrow, because I'll be under anesthesia.

Then on Wednesday, I will be CAT scanned from head to thigh. There will also be a mammogram. The nutritional and naturopathic consultations occur on that day as well.

Finally, on Thursday, I get to see the doctor again. She will look at all of these results and will determine her idea of the best path for me.

So far, this is great! I love the "one stop shopping" way this is done.

Well, I need to drink more stuff - I'll try to update tomorrow as well!

Friday, October 3, 2008

It is scheduled!

I am scheduled to meet the doctor on Monday morning!

I have two good college friends coming in tomorrow, and they will help me celebrate, I'm sure!

I will update this from the hotel, probably Monday night.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BIG sigh of relief!

Cancer Treatment Centers can schedule me for an initial consultation this coming Monday, or the next. It all hinges on if they can get my pathology slides, all my scan records, and every bit of cancer related data about me from the three facilities involved. (surprisingly - there is a lot of data for one years time). The initial consultation takes three-five days. They really put you through the wringer! There will be consultations with the doctor, more scans (if needed), more tests (if needed), more bloodwork, a nutritionist, etc. etc. I like their "whole" approach to cancer - they try to treat the mind, body and spirit.

My insurance will not be a problem!!!!!!!!! (happy happy dance!) It will be a little costly for us, but it doesn't sound like anything we can't handle!

This is such good news. I have put a lot of hope into being seen at this place, and getting into their clinical trial for ovarian cancer (if it is determined to be a good fit for me).

I will update with more news once I'm scheduled.


Oh, I must add that my mental break from ovarian cancer last month really felt good! It was nice to put it all out of my mind for that time. There were still periods of time where I felt panic - but I am getting better at going with the flow. Panic does not help my situation. Anxiety doesn't help. I am getting better at separating my thoughts from that. Except sometimes at night. So I am extending the hiatus for a while longer!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pictures worth a thousand words...

And I was there for it! :) GO CUBS!

Monday, September 15, 2008

On Hiatus

I am taking a break from thinking about cancer until October. I can't do anything until then, because that is when my PPO will kick in. The new center won't even look at me until I have that coverage. Its still even unclear if THAT will be enough.

I started off the month by worrying about it. Did that help? No. So now I am going to spend the next two blissful weeks being 'cancer free'. I'm going to try to remember how that used to feel :) I'll let you know if I succeed...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Doctor appointment

I had an appointment with my gyne/onc on Thursday, to discuss the CT scan I had the week before. She said that the main tumors have not changed much (grew a little), and also that the cancer has spread - there was more on my omentum (the remnant that was left) and its now likely seeded throughout my intestines. She could not see the tumors, because they only show up if they are larger than a centimeter in size. But the thickening she saw on the CT indicated to her, that was the most likely explanation. No more Doxil for me, which is both good and bad. No more sore swollen feet and tongue blisters (I can not tell you how much those hurt!!), but Doxil was also surprisingly easy, and I felt human during the treatment. Of course, it didn't work - so I won't be abusing my body with that particular poison anymore.

The doc recommended Cisplatin and Gemcitabine, with avastin if my insurance would approve it. However, my favorite husband and I had been researching a clinical trial that may fit my circumstances. We told her about it, and she agreed. "Do it." she said. Other doctors would not want you to leave their care, or would want you only participating in studies in their hospitals. I love this doc, and will continue to seek her advice as I go along.

So on my checklist of things to do:
1. I can switch from my HMO to a PPO as of October 1. This will allow me to do the study, without having all the referral paperwork (if the referrals would even be approved). Since they can take a month for approval, it will be worth the extra cost to us financially. Also, I will be able to go anywhere for treatment or consultations, which may be beneficial in the future.

2. Call the facility, and set up an appointment to see if I will be a candidate. The study will involve another operation to remove what tumors they can (de-bulk me again), interperitoneal chemotherapy (IP) with taxol (they 'wash' your abdominal cavity with the chemotherapy drug), then they create a vaccine with the tumor cells from your own body, and treat you with that vaccine. Since I seem to be immune to the traditional chemotherapy, I hope that this treatment will be what I have been looking for! I hope I get accepted. I hope that my ovarian cancer stops smearing itself around my abdomen, and melts away.

I have to remember to breathe. I have to quit trying to look ahead, and plan or predict the future.

On a brighter note - our bamboo floors are in! They look so good! I wish we had them throughout the whole house now! We are buying a new bedroom set too. Of course all of the other furniture looks awful to us now, with the new floors :) If only we could afford all new furniture! My favorite husband will have to start doing better in his poker tournaments...


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


WOW!! What an experience!! It was wonderful, terrifying, exhilerating and all other descriptive words rolled into one!

I'll write more about it soon - no time right now. But I highly recommend it for any other thrill seekers out there! Skydiving is so cool!!! I can't wait to do it again!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


My friend JKE turned 40 this year. I have known her for at least 18 years - nearly half of her life so far. For many of those years we have talked about skydiving. Talk, talk , talk. Well, we finally set the date and time, and made a deposit! Life is short, and we aren't getting any younger, and we couldn't wait too much longer to do it. So on August 19 we will brave the unknown, and skydive! I can't wait!!!

In other news, I am off to Colorado this week for work. This year has really included a lot of business traveling. I'm glad that I feel healthy enough to continue to do it.

I'll certainly be back next week to talk about the skydiving! WOO HOOO!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

In rememberance

Randy Pausch died today. He had terminal pancreatic cancer, and was quite popular on you tube, Oprah, and other forums because of his "Last Lecture" about achieving childhood dreams. It was recently published as a book too.

His death hit me kind of hard - maybe because I was a regular reader of his blog. I think all people with cancer have a certain bond or connection that others can't share. I appreciated the 'face' he put on cancer, as someone who was still a functioning and intelligent part of society. He also did not wallow in his circumstances, rather he wanted people to have fun every day. That was not something that just came about because of the cancer. He was like that before cancer.

One thing I hear over and over again - cancer fighters are "so brave" or "so strong". Bull. We are no braver or stronger than anyone else. Its just that our circumstances are different. We can be "determined". We can be "resilient". We can be "resourceful". But those words can apply to anyone else too. We are still human. We did not turn into some mythical, martyred saint just because we were diagnosed with cancer.

I guess I am just tired of the 'brave and strong' references. I have always been strong. Cancer did not make me strong- it has weakened me. I am weaker physically and I am weaker mentally. I am as brave as it takes to wake up every day and go through life. Everyone is that brave.

I just need to be 'brave and strong' enough to follow Randy Pausch's advice, and have fun everyday. We in the cancer community will miss you Randy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just fine!

Thankfully, the side effects I suffered last time, did not affect me this time! Whew! I took some steps to prevent the pain and swelling, and they seem to be helping. Also, I am sure that the prayers, good vibes and positive energy from you all has helped too!

We have a busy week ahead - a cirque de soleil show, a Cubs game, Pierogi Fest, and trying to clean the house for our next big project (hardwood flooring). We finally decided that we are not up to the challenge of installing the flooring by ourselves (although I'm sure it would have been a laugh riot!), and we are outsourcing the job.

Of course, we haven't got a quote for the work yet...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One year

Today marks one year since my surgery (hysterectomy, omenectomy). One year since ovarian cancer, unwelcome though it was, became a part of my everyday life.

The year has been punctuated with chemotherapy induced illness - days spent on the couch struggling to just get to the shower, larger aches than I ever believed possible, and a loss of dignity and pride during multiple procedures and doctors visits. It has also been punctuated with sadness (the deaths of some very special people). There have also been great joys (time with friends and family, wonderful vacations and weekend trips), and I learned that people are much more understanding and thoughtful than I had believed possible. Of course, there are always jerks too... ;) It seems that much more than only one year has passed.

I hope for so much in this next year.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Travelling fool

After getting back from Hawaii - I vowed not to get on a plane again for at least a year. My job did not get that memo. ;)

Yep - I am out of town on business again. I only wish it was to Hawaii!

Carry on...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hawaii pictures

The favorite husband and me boarding the dinner cruise. The background is real, not fake!

On a beach in Maui

Waterfall on the Road to Hana - Maui

Cool water cave on Kauai

Ah - beautiful Kauai

Waters of Kauai

Back from Hawaii and chemo #3

Yes, sadly we are back from Hawaii. We just got back on Tuesday, and today I had my third Doxil treatment.

Hawaii was beautiful! We did a lot of great stuff. We went zip-lining, parasailing, and my niece and I went horseback riding. In addition, we saw a lot of beautiful scenery and spent some time on the beautiful beaches as well (in the shade for me :) ) We did a sunset dinner cruise too. There were 10 family members including us, traveling together. We did some things together, and many things apart, and I think everyone enjoyed the trip! Also, we all got along very well, which is rare when traveling with that many people.

Unfortunately, my husbands maternal aunt passed away the day before we came home. She had thyroid cancer, and was at home under hospice care. She knew she did not want heroic treatment, and spent her last two months basking in the love of her family and friends. She will be very much missed by those of us who loved her. She was full of joy and life, and it helps to know that she has to be in a better place now. It was really difficult though for my MIL and my husband, who loved her dearly.

Also while on vacation, a blog friend lost her mother to ovarian cancer. Her moms story and mine are so similar. She had just finished the regular treatment of Carboplatin and Taxol -had a CT scan, and they found a recurrence. Her 50 year old mom passed away last week from it. It was so sudden and unexpected - it shocked me. Please keep Jamie and her family in your thoughts and prayers. This is a really difficult and painful time for them.

I had my third Doxil treatment today. While in Hawaii, I had no pain or problems, except that my feet swelled up like balloons during the whole trip! Now those who know me will probably say that my feet are my best feature. They aren't anymore... ;) I am just glad that I did not have any pain. It only held us back, in that we didn't hike as much as we normally would on vacation.

My doc said that I should get some support hose. Sheesh. Support hose? Aren't those for 80+ year olds? I can see wearing them in the winter, but it is summertime-how do you wear support hose with sandals? I guess I just need to suck it up, and do what is best for me :(

I am really trying to follow all directions for this treatment, because I don't want the foot pain that debilitated me last time. Also, I have to do a lot of traveling next week for work (possibly Arkansas and Denver). So I will spend my weekend on the couch, with my feet on ice, in order to hopefully minimize any side effects.

I'll post some Hawaii pictures a little later this weekend. Have a great fourth everyone!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Back on my feet

Yes! I am back up and moving! My feet still hurt, but I can walk again. I was starting to worry that I had really damaged myself. I had to crawl to the bathroom at one point over the weekend. It is so good to be on the mend! Sigh - but no more power walking for a while...

Also my doctor advised that I get some clogs (my husband says I'm a fashion statement). I haven't worn clogs since junior high school. Please don't laugh at my footwear if you see me on the street.

Some additional good news - I am postponing my next chemotherapy so that no side effects will interfere with my upcoming vacation! Yes you read that right - vacation! We are joining my favorite in laws on a trip to Hawaii in a few weeks. As it gets closer, I am really starting to get excited! We are going to go hiking, horseback riding, zip lining, etc. etc.

My doctor is totally on board with postponing my next Doxil treatment until I get back from the trip. She still wants to see me in a week, but I will not be having chemo. That will give my feet a chance to fully heal, and the other skin issues I'm having a chance to resolve themselves as well. And for my next treatment, I now know what I need to do to minimize the effects on my feet and hands (no power walking. ;) )

Enjoy your mobility people!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Big foot

I am hobbled. My feet have not been reliable for the last week, but really bad for the past four days. I went to the doctors yesterday, and they lectured me for the walking I have been doing (not since Sunday though). It was embarrassing because they sent in the chemo nurse to go over the 'do not' list for Doxil again. I felt like a kid getting lectured for not following directions. If the shoe fits... But it doesn't. Swollen painful feet. I hope they get better soon, because I need to work and I need my feet!

I am soaking them in cold water, elevating them, and basically trying to stay off of them - but it is HARD!

On the upside - I got to see a dear friend who was in town for a convention. Old friends are the best. They have seen you at your worst, been there through good and bad times, and still stick by you. It was so good to see her - and she looks fabulous!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Doing fine

One day after treatment, and one day after my 41st birthday - I am doing fine.

First the birthday. I used to dislike birthdays, because they meant that I was getting older. Now I like them, because they mean that I am getting older. What a shift in my outlook, in just one year! :) My favorite husband and I will celebrate next weekend.

The doctor said that the red dots I have on my legs and stomach are a side effect of the Doxil, and to let her know if it gets any worse. She said to wear very loose clothing - so I have to go shopping for some mumu's. :) (Just kidding - for right now at least). The infusion went fine. I am just a little tired and cranky today (I blame the steroids!) and I am trying to keep my hands and feet iced to prevent any further side effects.

But so far so good! The side effects are certainly reasonable at this point. I just don't want to turn into a big, rashy, mess. Oh well, at least I have hair!

Oh - today two women I know are undergoing surgery for colon cancer. Please send your healing thoughts and prayers to Linda and Gerri today - and for the next few weeks! I'm hoping that both surgeries are totally successful, and that no further treatment will be necessary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bare naked

I haven't been wearing a head scarf since the ovca walk. I feel like I look silly - but others insist I don't ;) I'll post a picture soon. It is growing in so curly. I have never had curly hair before. My attempts in the past with home perms, never came out right - and never lasted for very long!

All is going fine. My second treatment is tomorrow. I'm not really worried about it - except I noticed a bit of a rash the past few days. I'm hoping it is just a seasonal thing, and not a side effect. The treatment should go faster than last time.

I have been walking a lot with my friend, at least an hour a day, several days a week. We have really been lucky with good weather here. Thats why I haven't had much time to blog.

I'll check back in soon!

Monday, May 5, 2008

NOCC Walk for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Just some of the ovarian cancer survivors at the event

My favorite husband and me - a little blurry

JKE and me at the finish line

Behind us in the teal shirts are Larry and Adam

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Thank you!

I just wanted to thank all who donated or wished us well on our walk Saturday. It was great! The weather cooperated, and erred on the side of 'cool' which was fine with me. Although it threatened to rain at one point, it never did.

Thanks especially to my dear friend JKE who planned and was our team leader for the walk. Thanks also to Larry, Nikki, Adam, Hayo and friends, and my sis in law Nanci, Mark and my niece and nephew. And thanks to my favorite husband who only complained a few times about the length of the walk :) It was so nice to have support of friends and loved ones.

A picture is forthcoming - but I wanted to really thank those that supported me in this! You are all the best!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Donations are welcome

My favorite husband and I are walking on May 3, 2008 in the Chicago Breaking the Silence Ovarian Cancer walk. If you'd like to donate (every little bit helps), follow the link below!

I am looking forward to meeting other fighters and survivors at this function as well. Knowledge is power!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I was a little tired over the weekend, but nothing significant. So far this chemotherapy drug has been easy easy easy (knocking furiously on wood- please remain easy)! Yesterday and today my favorite husband and I went for a walk. Apparently that was a good idea, since my friend JKE signed us up for the Chicago NOCC walk for ovarian cancer on May 3. Wasn't that sweet of her? ;) She knows what's good for me though. I need to get my body out of the extreme winter atrophy I have succumbed to (and I can't even blame it on cancer! Where's my scape goat!)

I was really touched that she initiated it and wants to do it. I saw the walk listed several days ago - but didn't think anyone would want to do it with me. Now I have someone to walk with (and a few more too - she found another sucker!)

Its spring, and its beautiful outside - let's move!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What - no side effects?

I am feeling just great! I keep waiting for the 'other shoe to drop' and for some terrible side effect to blindside me. I have no nausea, no real pain, a slight sore throat (likely from the chemotherapy killing quickly dividing cells), no tiredness, etc.

My complaint is that I am supposed to not walk too much, or do repetitive things with my hands (type, sweep, rake, rub anything, etc.) in order to prevent a common side effect of this drug which is hand-foot syndrome. I'm not supposed to grasp things or apply pressure to the palms and soles of my feet. The Doxil can cause a painful red rash and blisters on the palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. I am icing my hands and feet periodically over the next few days to try to prevent this effect. In addition, I am supposed to watch my sun exposure to prevent other rashes. This drug seems to be a skin affecting one. So I feel wonderful - but can't do much! ;)

If anyone can think of activities or things I can do that don't use the hands or feet much - please leave a comment! I must be omitting some obvious activities. I am only going to follow this regimen for another day (through Sunday) for now. Compared with my last chemotherapy, this is a breeze and I am not complaining. Now I just hope that it is killing my ovarian cancer swiftly, and completely - or at least shrinking it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I survived!

I survived my first treatment of Doxil for ovarian cancer. It is good that I didn't have initial side effects or reactions to the drug. I am still a little bit loopy from the steroids that they give to counteract side effects, but I don't take as many as I did on my previous regimen.

The first session at my new provider was a good experience. The best news is that my gynecological oncologist sees me prior to EVERY chemo session for a check up. I can bring all my questions and concerns to her, and she is so helpful, and really takes time with me and my favorite husband. She really is a gem. Then they draw lab work, and put me in a chemo room - which is just a doctors office with two chemo chairs and a TV. The amenities are not as nice as my previous chemo -(the TV only gets two fuzzy channels) but who needs amenities! :) My new drug will only take an hour to infuse, as opposed to the five hours for my previous chemo regimen. So from start to finish, it should take about 3 - 31/2 hours. I'll bring my laptop next time or something.

Before my next treatment, I need a MUGA scan. It is a scan of the heart. Don't worry- I'm not having problems!! They just need a baseline because Doxil can be really toxic and damaging to the hearts of some patients (cardiotoxic). I believe mine is strong, and will tolerate the treatment well. Also, it is a new test that I have not yet had so I am strangely looking forward to it. I am collecting medical tests and procedures by the way... I think I have all my friends and family beat right now. :) I certainly have them beat for the most procedures in the least amount of time. Nyah nyah nyah!

Now I just have to wait a few days to determine if any side effects will hit. Regardless of side effects, I have to stay out of the sun, and as always - stay away from sick people and crowded places. So if you are sick, please don't breathe on me ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Its a 'go'!

This Thursday I will start a new chemo. I just got the confirmation call today (after a message left for me yesterday - telling me I wasn't approved yet. They just wanted to get me all worked up I guess!) :)

I look forward to starting chemo at a new place. I hope it all goes smoothly, with no significant side effects or reactions to the chemo drug. I'll probably be nervous for the next couple of days until I know how the drug will affect me - until I have a session 'under my belt' so to speak. Hopefully it shrinks the ovarian cancer in all of the areas that it has migrated!

There was sad news this weekend - a sales rep for my company passed away from colon cancer. I knew he had cancer, but had no idea it had progressed so rapidly or was so serious. He doesn't work out of my office, and so I rarely saw him, and infrequently talked with him on the phone. Please say a prayer for Rolands family if you are so inclined.

Also my main boss was out of town to attend the surgery for his mother for colon cancer. I don't know how she is doing yet, but she did make it through the surgery.

Finally, my wonderful father in law was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When it rains, it pours I guess. He should be starting treatment (radiation) later this month. I know it is especially hard on my mother in law - because she has had cancer touch her family many times. I am very hopeful that his treatment will be a cure. It sounds like his doctor knows what he is doing.

There was a fairy tale time when there was no cancer in my life. Now it surrounds me and those that I love.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Call from the Doctor

My gynecologic oncologist called me on her first day back from vacation! Wow - what service and dedication. I am impressed. (did I mention how glad I am that I switched docs? :) )

She said that, although she had not reviewed the slides herself yet, cancerous cells were found in the needle biopsy. No big surprise there - it was expected. She didn't say what type were found, but based on the treatment she is suggesting, I believe it is ovarian cancer. Again - no big surprise there!

She wants me to start on Doxil as my next line of chemotherapy, starting next Thursday. It is not set in stone yet, as her office needs to call me to finalize everything. However, this ball is now rolling - and I look forward to having an active treatment regimen going.

I again asked her about surgery, and she again said that it is not recommended at this time. I just hate that I can feel the tumor - or at least feel the things it is pushing out of its way. I wish it were gone. I hope that Doxil shrinks it and the other small growths in my abdomen, down to nothing.

I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster since I talked to her - I won't lie about that! Alternately feeling happy that I will be having treatment, and terrified of the treatment and side effects. The good news is that this chemo is reportedly not as energy-sapping as the previous type I was on. I am trying not to worry about the side effects until I know what they will be for me - but it is hard not to. One day at a time, right?

I'll update again when this is all finalized.

Monday, April 7, 2008

CT guided needle biopsy

The biopsy went well. It was truly an interesting procedure. Unfortunately, it was not painless. They didn't knock me out. The nurse said that she gave me an 'anti anxiety' drug and a strong pain killer. I asked her if I looked anxious ;) she said no. Most of the procedure was painless - however, there was a point where I really felt the needle deep inside of me. I asked the doctor later, where the needle was during the time of pain. He thought it was when he was breaching the wall of the tumor. It felt exactly what you would expect an eight inch needle inside you to feel like. Luckily, it was short lived pain.

He did have to repeat the procedure when they found he hadn't collected enough cells the first time. Ouch again! Good thing I'm tough. I remember the whole thing, but it was not traumatic.

Then back up to my room where they observed me for a couple of hours, gave me lunch (the less said about lunch the better!), and then I got to go home! They should have the results in about a week or so. I'll call my doc (who is on vacation this week) and hopefully set up an appointment for next week. Her medical resident and her medical partner stopped in to see me - that was unexpected and appreciated! Once the results are in we can determine which line of chemo to start next.

I had a whole parade of people there too. My favorite husband, my mom and dad, and my medical student. I sure felt important ;)

I'm glad that part is done, and now look forward to a treatment regimen. Look out ovarian cancer - I think this hospital and team may just have your number!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Finally scheduled!!

Finally, my needle biopsy is scheduled! I never thought it would actually happen (well, it was tentatively scheduled for last week, but I kind of knew that wasn't going to happen).

Its funny. I have been waiting for this since March 4. My old medical group couldn't seem to get it together to get me the referral. I switched, and saw my new medical group pcp on Tuesday of this week. So, I get the referral from my NEW medical group on Tuesday. I get the DENIAL from my old medical group today... Something is not right with the sytem!

Oh, and I got a bill today, for my medical records that I asked be sent to my new doc. Nice.


Plus my new group assigned me my very own medical student! OK, he is a first year student, but they are trying a program where the student follows the same patient throughout their medical experience. It is supposed to teach them the patients perspective. Poor kid. He looks so young and innocent. He has no idea what he just got himself into... :)

So, my biopsy is on Monday! I want to dance!! I want to sing!! (I want to puke a little too...) Lets get this thing rolling.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Tomorrow I go to have my port flushed at my oncologists office. When you have a port, it has to be flushed every three months in order to ensure it is functional, and that it does not become clogged. I will also be telling the staff and my oncologist that I am changing medical groups. I am sorry to be leaving such a kind staff, but I am not sorry to leave that medical group! However, I hope that I am not going to just run into the same problems at the new medical group. We shall see.

Also, I got a call today that they are STILL waiting for the insurance approval for the CT guided needle biopsy of my liver. However, we did set up an appointment for it, for next Thursday. If they won't let me have it done at the university, I'll just wait until April 1 when the new medical group kicks in. I mean, I've waited this long already, whats another week or so? It sounds interesting. I'll be under twilight sedation, and they will insert a needle into me. They will keep putting me in and out of the CT scanner, to make sure that the needle is going the right way. They said it takes about an hour, and that they keep you there for about four hours afterward to make sure nothing important got punctured, except for what they wanted to puncture. ;)

The biopsy will tell us if the suspected cancer on or near my liver is still ovarian cancer, or if it is some other type. That will determine what type of chemotherapy I will get. Doxil or Gemzar or Taxotere - oh my! There is a certain poetry to chemotherapy drug names.

I am in great spirits though. The clouds and fear have lifted - I have not been plagued by them for several weeks. I asked God for a miracle. I don't know if I will get it or not, but the simple action of asking seemed to lift the paralyzing fear from me.

I just wanted to give you all a short update (that really was not so short). I'll let you know when I know, if the needle biopsy will continue as scheduled or not!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Living with cancer

The title says it all. The gynecologic oncologist said that from here on out, I will likely have cancer. The PET scan showed three areas -near my liver, on my colon, and in my upper abdomen. Those little cells sure get around! There was also a suspicious area in my neck (the scan said it could be the thyroid, or vascular). She was not convinced that was cancer.

She said the chemotherapy that I was previously on, did not seem to do a thing to stop or slow the cancer. I am platinum resistant (became immune to the effects), or refractory (never had any effect). What a waste! I hate that I was poisoning my body for no reason.

She said that we can fight it with chemo - all different types of chemo - to hopefully keep it from growing, and possibly shrink it. I would stay on one type of chemo until the cancer decides to ignore it, and then try another. But the implication is that chemotherapy will be my life.

She wants to biopsy (needle biopsy) the mass near my liver, I guess to ensure that it is ovarian cancer, and not a cancer of some other name. I will be switching my insurance to her hospital, where any future chemotherapy I get will be under her direct supervision. I only hope that my insurance company will understand and not be slow to act in changing my coverage.

So, that is where everything stands as far as the game plan. I hope that one of the chemotherapies is especially effective, and knocks this back for a while.

Tonight I am making chili for my company's 'chili contest' that they hold every year. That is more important than worrying about the future -right? ;) In fact, I need to change that title up there to " LIVING with cancer " (because "cooking with cancer" just doesn't sound quite right... ;) )

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No answers, more questions

I finally heard from my oncologist about my PET scan results. There was nothing really definitive though. He said that there are three areas on the scan that are suspect. The aforenoted mass near my liver, and two others in the "abdomen". Hmm. My abdomen is a large place. ;) I wish he would have narrowed it down a bit.

He did not actually look at the scan, just the technicians interpretation of the scan. I had the scan sent to the gynecologic oncologist that I am seeing on Tuesday, so she can hopefully interpret it with an expert eye.

I am hoping for surgery first, then chemo again (not that I am wishing for chemo - but I think you know what I mean!) I just want this out of me (again)! Sometimes they don't do surgery, but start a new chemo regimen instead. Possibly Doxil, or Gemzar (boy, I am really learning the lingo.) I hope that radiation won't be required. I have a fear of radiation. Shoot me up with all the deadly chemicals you want, just don't 'zap' me.

The upside of this, is that there were no spots (or at least the oncologist didn't mention any spots) in my lungs, or other far reaching areas. If these 'spots' are cancer (likely they are), they are staying put in my abdominal cavity for now.

So there is the update. Nothing enlightening. No game plan yet. I really hope to have more answers on Tuesday.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Still waiting

Still waiting for results from the PET scan. I don't know if its psychological or not, but I feel increased pain in my right side, where the mass is supposed to be. I'm hoping its psychological... :)

In other news, I won't get to see the same gynecologic oncologist that originally performed my surgery. Apparently he is not with the 'group' for my insurance anymore. They referred me to a different person. However, the new doc is one that I saw last year for a second opinion, and I really liked her. So I hope that this change is for the best. I am happy that I have insurance, but I really hate the huge run-a-round and all of the hoops I need to jump through! I have an appointment with her for next Tuesday.

So I'm waiting, and working, and worrying, and wondering what the future holds. Those must be the four "w's" of ovarian cancer! ;)

Continue to remember me in your thoughts and prayers please, and my favorite husband too!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

PET scan

Now some of you may not ever have the privilege of having one of these tests. I understand that it is one of the most expensive ones out there. But I am just that special ;)

They injected 'tagged' glucose - tagged with a radioisotope to view how organs and especially tumors uptake the glucose. The machine is more like an MRI - a longer tube. Not good for claustrophobic patients. Anyway there were no obvious ill effects from the injection - I didn't feel anything. However my post care instructions were to stay away from small children for 8 hours afterwards, to prevent them from being exposed to radiation. That doesn't sound very healthy - right?

No results until next week (probably Wednesday). To tell you the truth, I wouldn't mind waiting a few weeks for the results. I am just not that anxious to know what they found.

I am out of town on business again next week. Its a great way to avoid calls from my doctors office... Then, on the 25th, I have an appointment with the specialist who performed my debulking surgery for ovarian cancer. He will hopefully be able to answer a lot of questions, and I'm also hoping that he will perform the surgery to remove this mass, cancer or not.

Oh for my business trip, my boss is letting me drive his hybrid Prius. I have had it for the past two days, and I LOVE it! It is much more roomy than you would think, and fast too. I've been getting nearly 45 mpg for highway driving, which is a huge improvement over the 20 mpg the PT cruiser gets. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to purchase a car. I think my boss is wanting to replace some fleet vehicles with the hybrids - I hope I'm first on the list!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The PET scan scheduled for last Friday, was canceled due to machine issues. It was rescheduled for next Friday. At least I wasn't one of the patients that had been injected with the radioactive gunk before the machine broke! Yikes! :) The bad thing is that I really feel this mass inside me now. Part of it is mental, I'm sure - but part of it is the unidentified mass making itself known - a hot, angry red ball (benign? not benign??) inside me.

I am doing much better than I was last week after getting the results. I know I have a lot of fight left in me. Bring it on!

I do wish I could jump forward a few weeks so the answers I seek would already be known, and a treatment plan identified. But life is to be lived now - and I can't afford to lose a few weeks. So I take it day by day, and when the panic and fear set in (which they like to do), I breathe deeply and slowly, and remind myself that this is just the beginning, and not the end.

On a lighter and brighter note:
My sisters wedding went very smoothly. Everyone involved did such a great job - and the ceremony was beautiful (as was she!!). I may have even shed a tear or two, but don't tell anyone!! I wish her and her husband (wow - husband!) the very best that this world and life has to offer.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


This post was written on Wednesday, Feb 6, but not posted then due to my sisters upcoming wedding.

Its snowing again. Usually for me, that lifts my spirits. Not today though.

I just came from my oncologists office where I got the results of my CT scan. They found a 4cm x 3cm soft tissue mass, near my liver, displacing my gall bladder. Coming on the heels of six rounds of chemotherapy, this is not the greatest of news.

Of course, they don't know if its cancer. My gut is telling me it is.

I scheduled a PET scan for Friday the 8th. The doctor wants to be sure that there are no other 'masses' to be aware of. After the PET is done, I will also see the gyne/oncologist to get his opinion. Then there will be more surgery - hopefully just to remove the one mass already identified. If cancer, then probably more chemotherapy - with different drugs because the ones I was on obviously didn't stop cancer from growing. If not cancer - then time to celebrate! ;)

Now I just play the waiting game again. I want surgery soon to get this thing out of me. Its just a matter of getting it all scheduled and set.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

CT Scan

I had a CT scan today. No big deal, except for the barium suspension that they make you drink the night before, and right before the scan. I picked the banana flavor (the receptionist recommended it). Yuck. I did try the orange - and I would recommend that flavor for anyone who has to go through this. Full bodied, a nice bouquet, with underlying citrus tones :)

The technician said that they won't have the results for three days or so. I don't really anticipate anything showing up on this scan. A CT scan isn't the most accurate diagnostic tool, and I consider this to be a baseline scan, so any future irregularities can be compared to it.

Still - I want to hear that everything is ok. ;)

Other random stuff:

My favorite husband and I are off on a free trip - one of those promotional gigs, with free air fare and hotel. It couldn't have come at a better time. We really need a short escape.

The shower and wedding stuff is going fine, except now *I* have to find a dress. I am putting it off until the last minute.

I was volunteered to judge a science fair this past week. I really enjoyed it, but it made me feel a little gypped that I never got to do that in school. I am always so surprised at how smart children are. I guess I spent much of my childhood feeling dumb - do kids still feel like that?

That's it! Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not much to say

My trip out of state went fine. I again see how much energy and strength chemotherapy has taken from me. The exhaustion didn't hit me until the near end of the trip, so that was good. I feel fine (although a little slow) today, so it doesn't appear to carry over from one day to the next.

One interesting thing happened to me on my trip. As I was boarding my flight home, the man taking the tickets said "Have a good flight sir". Then he looked at me, and said "Sorry - the bandanna threw me off". Sir. I had make-up on! I had eyebrows drawn on my face, and not bushy ones either. Lipstick. Eyeliner to mimic my lost eyelashes. And for those of you who do not know me - I am the opposite of flat chested. Oh well - I guess chemo has made me androgynous. ;) Maybe I have finally become the boy/girl I always wanted to be in high school (think David Bowie/Adam Ant). LOL! More likely, the ticket taker was high.

Everything is still busy busy busy. There is a wedding shower and a wedding coming up - and a lot of work to do for that -although my sister is doing a great job of getting things in order! Who knew that she was so organized - honestly - this is a side of her that I have never seen before.

We also have a short trip that happens right before the shower. My CT scan is scheduled right before the trip, but I won't have the results probably until after the wedding and all (unless there is something wrong and they need to contact me sooner).

whew. Who has time to worry about cancer? ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Keeping busy

I have been keeping occupied now that I feel better (and I feel SO much better!). Work has been busy, which is great, because it helps keep my mind from worrying about vague future fragments of time.

In fact I have a quick jaunt to Virginia next week to do a job. I leave Monday night, and come back on Tuesday night. I'm hoping to stop at the Edgar Allan Poe museum - who knew there was such a place!

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow. I wasn't supposed to see him this soon, but he is leaving until the end of January on vacation. I'm hoping that he will at least order the tests I need, even if I have to wait a few weeks to have them done. I haven't been having any problems though, other than being tired all of the time, joint pain and headaches.

I started taking L-glutamine in mid December for the numbness. I take about 5-7 grams of the powder every third day or so (very infrequently). However, my numbness is nearly non-existent now. There are no other side effects from it (for me) either! I suggest it for anyone who has neuropathy from chemotherapy. (but check with your doctor first!)

The rest of the month will be busy too. My sister went from being engaged in December, to planning a February 9, 2008 (YES - 2008!!) wedding. I am happy for her, but doesn't she know how much WORK this is? :) Lucky for us, she is keeping it simple.

I guess this is the official announcement, since she hasn't really told many people yet. So congratulations to L and M!!!

I am going dress shopping with her tomorrow. This is a supreme sacrifice, since I hate shopping! However, she was with me when I bought mine, and in fact found the store for me. I hope that we find a great dress, very quickly :) tomorrow.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Welcome 2008!

And it couldn't have come soon enough! 2007 haunted us all the way up through New years eve, when we found a flooded basement. It was my fault - since our refrigerator went out I had been wondering which appliance would next choose to die. For those of you who guessed the water heater - ding ding ding!!! You WIN! All we could do was laugh. Laugh and call a plumber. Luckily, we found one that would do it for us on short notice, and on a semi-holiday. I still wasn't feeling well, so I slept through the whole process.

So long 2007
So long cancer
So long costly household expenses (that may be wishful thinking)
So long side effects and chemotherapy
And good riddance to you all!

I am back. Side effects were bad again - but not quite as bad as they had been. That was either due to the extra week of recuperation I had this time for the holidays, or due to the fact that it was the last one - whatever - I don't care - I am just glad that they were a little bit easier to bear. I'm still tired, and expect to be for the next month as these toxins finish the job, knock out any remaining hair on my body, and continue the course out of my body.

What's next you ask? I have to make an appointment with my regular oncologist in three weeks. At that time, he will order a CT or CAT scan and possibly blood tests. Once the scans are done I will see the gynecological oncologist who will also look at them and offer his opinion. Assuming all of that is ok, there will be follow ups - every three months or so I believe.

Right now I don't know quite how I feel - I am still recovering, and I haven't even been back to work yet. I haven't started to process anything yet- but more importantly, I haven't started to worry about anything yet ;)

I will wish you all a happy new year! Talk to you soon!