Friday, April 29, 2011

Running on empty

I don't know how frequently I will be able to post here. My weekly chemotherapy for breast cancer is very tiring and it makes me truly ill, many side effects one after the other, for several days afterwards. I still see all of your comments in my email, and I appreciate that I am going through this with support from all of you who comment. The chemo has been two cycles so far, with 6 or 8 cycles total. They have had to change my treatment plan because the first program was well on the way to shooting my liver down in flames (slight exaggeration). But the weekly herceptin treatment (monoclonal antibody) will be continued for a full year. Yeah me. I will try to keep in touch here, and hopefully I will be able to report that the treatment was a complete success against any potential metastases. And it is possible that the side effects will wind down somewhat once my body is more acclimated to feeling like s**t all the time.

Meanwhile, carry on...

Bumper sticker for the day: "Boldly going nowhere"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Will it ever be springtime?

The weather here is so weird. One day a sunny 78 degrees, the next 50 and rain. And more rain. I'm starting to grow webbed feet, I think. A few days in a row of nice weather would be heavenly. Right now the grass, carefully fertilized and pre-emergent treated for weed control, is 12 inches tall and lush beyond belief. And too wet to mow, so it looks like the rough at a golf course. Too bad we can't keep it so long, but it wound fall over and look horrible, half cropped off and half neatly trimmed. I hate mowing. If it was me, I'd plant Zoyzah (spelling?) grass, the one that gets a few inches tall and then stops growing. That or astroturf; or better yet green cement...

I go tomorrow for the next Herceptin infusion; the one last week was without a glitch, and no aftereffects either. Then next week I get the full 3 chemo drugs, given that my liver enzymes are OK. They called me back in Monday to repeat the blood work, but I won't know the verdict until I see the oncology doctor next Wednesday. Keeping track of all of this, with times for the doctor and times for the infusion is an ongoing battle. I used to keep track of really complicated meetings, deadlines, appointments and so on when I worked, but I guess I've lost the knack since I retired. Still it is nice that when appointments go into overtime, there isn't anywhere else I need to be, so it is just the boredom of the endless waiting room. I should find something to while away the time other than reading, which I find too hard to concentrate on, and it interferes with people watching.

Below is a photo of me at the infusion room, glassy-eyed from looking at the wasteland of daytime TV. Mostly I watch the weather channel and the shopping channel. I enjoy watching the shopping channels although I have never bought anything, it is fun to make fun of the gaudy jewelry, the kitchen gadgets, the ugly expensive clothing, and the poor women who have to stand there in front of the cameras and extol the virtues of something for 15 minutes at a time. If it were me, I'd just say, here is a pair of capris in 10 different colors, go for it.

bumper sticker of the day: "Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cycle one is Done

Yesterday I had my first "cycle" of chemotherapy for my breast cancer. It started with an 9:30 visit with the oncologist and blood work, then a trip to the infusion room at the hospital. We were in without waiting, but the actual infusion of anti-nausea drugs first and then the three drugs individually had us leaving at 5:30 -- a long day. I had a reaction (hives) to the last infusion and the infusion had to be stopped while they gave me Benadryl, slowing things up further. I had also taken a steroid for three days, and an anti nausea injection/pills for delayed nausea. Thank god for the port (which wasn't too great for the insertion --I had a skin reaction to the tape over the incision for the port and ended up ripping the bandage off and smearing Benadryl cream all over the area, and then using ice packs.) I go back again next week for just the Herceptin infusion, and then weekly for that and three week intervals for the other two drugs. You see why it is so hard to keep all this straight?

I did cut my hair very very short. It looks like a man's haircut and not what I asked for, but oh well it will fall out soon enough. No pictures of this do here, though! I don't plan to get a wig as of now, they sound itchy and hot, and take a fair amount of maintenance, so I will go the scarf/turban route for now.

The cats here in Feline Manor have been total pests lately. There are blue jays outside the living room window competing for nest space (I guess) and the cats are flying from window to window to watch all the flittering. This is a big nuisance when they are standing of the back of the couch in front of the window whacking me with their tail. Why do cats do this? You'd think all that tail waving would pretty much scare off a bird, not to mention doing that "ack ack ack" noise in their throats. Maybe my cats are just retarded, but damn I wish they'd stop banging on the lamp shade. It cost way more than they are worth!!

I finally cleaned out the computer room, where I am now. It had gotten the brunt of all the stuff I brought home after I retired in 2006, and it was on every flat surface in here, and then on the floor. I once again have too many pens, but I like them so they stay. It was a running joke, that my co-workers would ask, can I borrow a pen? and I would say, Weeelll I guess; blue, black, red, ball point, gel writer, disposable, refillable, Drug company logo (special on Viagra), retractable or capped?? We aim to please. My candy jar was another big hit, always full of chocolate, etc, none of that butterscotch or peppermint stuff, just good old chocolate or peanut butter varieties; or both. I left them the jar when I left, but I doubt they kept it up, it ran me $25 a month, even on sale. They probably got more use out of my microwave, toaster, and mini fridge, all of which I left too. I couldn't bear to hear the complaints at home when still more stuff had to go into the attic, probably never to see the light of day. They could rest quietly next to the 3 not-cable ready TV sets, do you know how hard it is to get rid of stuff like that? We have a very weak recycle program here, limited to trash, period, at the curb. Travel to a transfer station where they charge by weight, a typical load being $50. No wonder there are so many "orphan" trash heaps back off the road, filled with old washers, old tires, and everything else you can think of and some you can't like deer carcasses after hunting season. Yuck.

This is the four of us, taken back in August. Very rare as usually one of us is taking the photo; and rare because we are are all dressed nicely (pretty much; I don't know WHERE N got that green striped shirt..) Anyway, back before the Feb cancer diagnosis...

I still think of before cancer ,after cancer, even when I am getting dressed (can't wear this, too much (non) cleavage, etc.) Funny. There are those many so worse off... I try to keep a sense of perspective about my situation...

Bumper sticker of the day: "I'm speeding because I have to get there before I forget where I'm going."