Monday, July 21, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Swimming sluggishly but, swimming.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Went for blood work at 8:40 this morning and saw the chemo oncologist at 10:40…no chemo this week. My neutrophils are only at .45 and should be in the 2.0 range. No wonder I feel so lousy like I am coming down with the flu.
What this means is…I had to make a phone call to my dad to tell him I would not be coming to Quesnel for Billy Barker Days as that is now chemo week. It is really hard to not only want to sit down and cry because…one, I feel so crappy and disappointed and two, I had to listen to my father break down and cry and then try to be so brave for me. Not happy with life at the moment.
I was given the option of saying, “No” to chemo as…according to the experts it would make a negligible difference. I told my doctor that everyone I have talked to raves about his professionalism, his compassion, his integrity and most of all…how brilliant he is in his field and that if they were ever sick…he is the doctor they would want. I saw how touched he was…I don’t think he was aware of how highly regarded he is. I asked him…and he came back with, “If it was himself, he would have the chemo”.
In spite of my disappointment…with lung cancer (the second deadliest form of cancer), I want every shot I have at beating this….negligible means a fighting chance…so, I chose round 3 of chemo. I will be getting the full dosage of Cisplatin (that is the critical chemo for lung cancer) and 25% of the Etoposide (that is the one I seem to not be able to handle and keeps triggering diverticulosis attacks). Hopefully, with no radiation to bring me down…I will handle this round better.
So…a week of rest…Nolan hugs on the weekend as Jim, Jen and grandson will be coming for a visit…yay! Rhiann, Dez and Riley show up on the following Wednesday (first day of chemo) just for the night…more hugs and my sister and hubby at the end of the month. Not being able to travel really sucks as I don’t see any of the family and I miss everyone. At least, they are all doing road trips to me!
My eldest brother (sorry, but you are) and wife, Sharon came for a visit on the long weekend. Ray (no. 2 son) and daughter-in-law, Amanda came too. We had a house full with six people and four dogs. Abby had to learn to share and ‘Jinks kept pretty much to himself under the bed! Then…this passed weekend nephew Dave and fiancée Samantha came for a visit. While they were here Samantha and I worked on wedding invitations. We had fun looking at images and making up a mockup so she can show her mom. Next stop…”Save the date” cards. It is nice having something normal to work on for a change!
So…Bill and Sue, Gord and Judy, Terry and Donna, Gord and Linda, Ron and Kelly, Dad and Doreen…I will miss you guys and have fun this weekend with Willie, Sharon, LaVerne and Brigita.
I will be swimming while you are watching the parade!
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
The title of a Skeeter Davis song except…I am not sad, or blue and I haven’t lost my true love…just, last radiation today. Can’t believe how time has flown…I have been wrapped up in such a bubble of going to treatment…coming home and sleeping for six weeks.
I got to the floor and got called in right away…twenty minutes early too…walked into the room and gave a hug to “my big boy”. Thirty days I have patted the machine as I lay down saying, “Hi big boy”…closing my eyes and visualizing the cancer getting zapped…when it is done patting the machine again as I left the room.
Some out there are old enough to not only know who Skeeter Davis was (Google her if you want to know) but, to know the movie Fantastic Voyage. A diplomat is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. In one of the scenes, they take a ray gun and zap the blood clot and save his life. That was my image for the treatments…a Buck Rogers ray gun zapping the crap out of the cancer while I kept saying, “I am melting, I am melting”. Today…I got to sing, “Ding dong the witch is dead”!
The radiation staff from Dana in reception to Claire and the girls…and even Omar…to Dr. Hsu and Dr. Gable are the best in the world. I felt cared for and cared about. As I got off the table Claire gave me my instructions for my next appointment and she tapped my appointment card, “You come down and see us after you are done”. We talked about the fact that they never know the ending…all the people who come and go and they never know if they made it or not…that would be so very, very hard. I promised I would be back to let them know my ending. One of the therapists told me that when they met me and saw my attitude…she said to herself…that one is going to make it. Believe…believe…believe.
Where do I go from here? My radiation side-effects will taper off in two weeks or so. The “cooking” of my chest and back will stop and I can put my necklace back on. The radiation effects itself will continue up to six weeks. I see Dr. Hsu on August 13th and then he will arrange either a CT scan or a PET scan to see where the cancer is at.
Monday…I go for labs and then I see Dr. Keith and we will discuss the next phase of chemo. I am not handling well even the half dose of etoposide with feeling really, really crappy. I have been spiking a fever for the past couple of days and they did labs and a chest xray on Monday. Weird…I have never seen purple blood before and the urine sample was dark orange. No message at the hospital or a phone call…so, I guess everything is okay. However, feeling like this I don’t think my Neutrophils are up to snuff and we may have to postpone chemo again. I guess I will know more on Monday.
Merrily swimming away.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
On a good note...two more radiation treatments and I am done...now to finish chemo.
Nauseous but, still swimming.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I was going to bitch about chemo….complain about the acid diarrhea, complain about the nausea, complain, complain, complain….
But…today I met a man on “O” radiation floor wrapped up on a stretcher…he had bare feet and a nurse found him a pair of booties. When everyone left I called out to him, “You know…everyone is going to want a pair of those”. He got up very slowly and came and sat closer to Rick and I.
We got talking and he has esophagus cancer which spread to his lungs and now into his bones. We got talking about bucket lists and his trip back to Portugal to visit family…I shared my story about Talia and Dory. He said what gets him through this with a positive attitude is his family (teen boys that have just left the home) and his friends. He has been told he has about six months left and he wondered if he would live to see his 59th birthday in November…I told him to never give up. They called me into the room and I said goodbye…all I got is his name was Terry.
On the way home, Rick and I talked and he said to me, “You were good for him”. I think it was the other way around. I don’t know my outcome. I don’t know if I will live a long life or be gone in six months. What I do have is hope.
I have a rubber stamp that says “Some people come into our lives and quietly stay. Others stay for awhile, leaving footprints in our hearts and we are never the same”. I am glad I met him and my prayers go with him and his family.
Just keep swimming.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Forgot the pics of my oncology bag…it hold my chemo cards, notices for doctors, phone while I travel and my good luck charms…
This is the flip side of Dory and it is a picture of my strength…Talia Castellano. The gold bauble is attached to a hand made rosary given to me years ago. My necklace that I can’t wear right now is attached to the handle.
My guardian angels…the one on the left was sent to me by friends Doug and Linda and the gold on on the right was my mother’s. She is in heaven watching over me like any mother would.
Like I said…swimming.