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!