Monday, August 31, 2009

Down the Drain

Last Thursday was my second treatment. If I follow the same pattern, today will be my hardest day. I'm sticking close to the anti-nausea med schedule this time .. seem to be doing a little better with that. Still have to be very careful what I eat .. don't want to push my luck. Will probably spend a lot of time napping today; I've learned that's ok.

This morning's shower brought a new experience. When I washed my hair (already buzzed close), my hands and shoulders were covered with loose hair. Odd feeling watching my hair slide down my body and go down the drain. I was sure there would be none left by the time I toweled dry, but there is. I feel fairly sure it will all go next time though. My scalp isn't as stark white as I had expected; maybe time spent reading out on the deck has helped with that. (Note to self: be careful in the sun.)

I'm ok, right where I should be. Very tired but will start perking back up in a few more days. Today I'll go back to the 2x2 plan .. up a couple of hours, nap a couple of hours. I'll watch the birdies and the squirrels at my feeders. If I can, I'll read a page or two ('Eclipse'). And maybe watch an episode of 'Red Skelton'.

My home is quiet and peaceful .. the sound of the aquarium bubbling in the background, birdies chirping just outside my window. No kitty meows. I keep looking toward Badajan's urn hoping he will decide to haunt me and I'll hear that precious creature again. If that ever does happen, I'll have to make a point to *not* post about it here .. otherwise you will worry for my sanity.

Holy Father, guide my steps as I walk this path. Divine Mother, help me to be kind and gentle with those who walk with me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thank you, Mother Teresa ...

Thank you, Mother Teresa .. you are much on my mind today. You gave completely of yourself to others, without bluster, without fanfare; you gave freely of your smiles and your touch. Surely there is no one who was honored by your presence who was not happier and more peaceful because of it. You taught us such simple philosophies that were life-changing.

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."

"We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love. "

I have experienced first-hand how powerful those 'little things' are. The friend who called the night before my surgery and prayed a sincere prayer with me. The aunt who made me one of her awesome chocolate pies. The cousin who got down in the floor with my kitty and asked Jesus to bless him. My mother who made sure I had a comfy chair to sleep in after my surgery. The friend who drove three hours to give me a hug and a massage. The stack of cards from co-workers and friends. The text messages and emails. My son has kept me laughing and kept me believing in myself. My sister's husband cooked meals for me. My sister has driven me to dr appts, taken me to the grocery store, went to get the lunch I was craving, held me when I cried, and has kept a finger locked under my chin to keep me facing up.

Maybe none of those things are great within themselves, but those little things done with such great love has impacted me beyond measure. Rest well, Mother Teresa, your tenets of love abound.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Baby's Home !

My sissie came over to chauffeur me around today (thank you) .. grocery store then home to rest, drug store, the vet's office then back home to take it easy again. Yayyyyy that's a very busy day compared to what I've been doing.

The crematorium delivered Badajan's ashes back to the vet's office yesterday evening, so I was able to pick him up today. He's in a lovely antique-copper urn that's sitting on the piano. As odd as I know it must sound, my home is more peaceful with him home.

Yep .. all's right with my world again .. my baby's home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Beginning to feel human again today .. like resurfacing from a long way down. Yesterday I was starting to worry if I would recover in time for my next treatment. Napped a lot yesterday, but was able to stay up all day today. Overall I guess I did pretty well, but there were moments I had my doubts.

Lessons learned:

1) Take all the nausea meds & on time !

2) Don't use up energy unnecessarily

3) Don't make any appointments in the days after treatment

4) Plan on taking naps

Hoping after a good night's sleep I'll be back to 'normal' tomorrow. Counting on the 'the first treatment is the hardest' philosophy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rough Day but OK !

The chemo kicked in yesterday, very little energy, nauseated. Had a rough night but feeling some better today. Hoping if I get some sleep tonight I will feel much better tomorrow. Learning I reallllly need to conserve energy !

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Chemo

Results from heart test was ok, today's labwork was ok except just a little bit anemic (have to start taking prenatal vitamins). Was able to go ahead and do first chemo treatment. Seemed to take a very long time (we were there 5 hours with the labwork, seeing dr, and treatment), but it went very well. Had a headache/dizziness with the Cytoxan, but the nurse said to remind them next time & they would slow the drip down & that should help. The Adriamycin makes you pee red .. jeeeepers I'm glad they told me about that ! Feel a little 'buzzy-headed' but otherwise great !

I'm armed with an arsenal of anti-nausea meds & am eating bland foods (chicken noodle-doodle soup is my friend). Tomorrow I go back for the Neulasta shot.

Yayyyyyy .. the first treatment is over ! Now I know what to expect .. that will make it easier.

Thanks so much to all of your for your prayers & words of encouragement. And a very special thank you to Deborah .. for making my road so much easier by sharing hers before me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One of the hardest weeks ...

This has been one of the hardest weeks I've had in a very long time. Had my port put in on Tuesday, tomorrow is first chemo treatment, and today .. today .. I had to give up one of the best friends I've ever had.

I've posted before about my precious kitty, Badajan. Badajan had his 17th birthday in May of this year. He's had months of chronic diarrhea. Nothing the vets have tried has been successful for more than a few days. At one time he weighed 14 pounds. In November of last year he was down to 10 pounds, and this week down to 6. I talked with my son, the lady who takes care of him when I'm away, and the vet. I've wrestled with this decision for weeks, and struggled with it all day. About 4:00 this afternoon I took him and had him put down. This was such a difficult decision. Dr Jane assured me it was the right thing to do. She gave him a sedative, let me have a few minutes with him, then came back & gave him the final injection. I held my precious kitty in my arms, rocking & talking to him while he slipped away. My eyes never left his until the light in those beautiful eyes flickered out.

Badajan .. I love you. You're the most glorious kitty I've ever known. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Pain in the Neck ... or ... Have I Been Bitten ?

Today I had my port-o-cath put in & an echocardiogram to be sure my heart is strong enough to have the chemo treatments. Echo was interesting, not that I could tell a thing about it other than my heart was beating. It sounded like an old wringer washing machine. The port procedure went ok. I was expecting to be sorta loopy, but was wide awake, only numbed. So far the incision isn't painful at all, but the catheter that goes up through the large vein in my neck is extremely painful. Hurts much to turn my head at all, and especially getting up & down, etc. They tell me this should subside in several days, but may always be sensitive. I'm hoping it feels a lot better before my first treatment on Thursday. Back to pretend baths for a couple of days. I've really learned to appreciate showers.

Somehow it all seems very fitting since I'm reading books about vampires. I can manage the pain by closing my eyes and pretending I've been bitten .

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Ok, so I've had my few days of anxiety about chemo; days to adjust to the idea, days of reasoning, days of calming my fears. It will be ok. I'm trying very hard to just relax and not 'worry in advance' about side-effects that I may or may not experience. I'll expend my energy in preparing as best I can, and deal with issues as they arise.

I've even thought of a very positive way to view treatments .. it's my conversion to a vampire. Yaaaa ... you could say I'm influenced by the 'Twilight Saga' .

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Enchanted Forest

Somehow I feel like I'm walking through the Enchanted Forest in 'The Wizard of Oz'. It's dark and spooky and the trees keep slapping my hands. On the other side of the forest is the bright field of poppies with their sweet seduction, their sleep-inducing opium. Dorothy and her friends take a long detour on their way to see the Wizard and ultimately home.

My detour continues. My release date to go back to work after surgery would have been the end of this week. As much as I was dreading going back to work, at least it would have meant a return to my 'normal' life, my routine. There's something comforting in routine.

Instead of going back to work right away, I'll be preparing for chemo. I saw the Oncologist today and got an overview of treatments in the months ahead. He was a very nice man who reiterated that I am the one who is ultimately in control of the path I take. I want to be aggressive now rather than being regretful later, so I told him I want to go forward with chemo and I want to start quickly. Tomorrow I will attend a class that will give me more information and will get scheduled with the surgeon to put in my port (hopefully the first of next week). Next Thursday I have an appointment for labwork, EKG, etc. First treatment will likely be the following week (the week of August 17th).

I'll have to admit I'm a bit more apprehensive about chemo than I was about surgery. I'm sure I'm going to have some very challenging days, but along with those challenges I also have a wonderful support group.

Dorothy's friends guided her through the forest with their brain, their courage, and their heart. My doctors, friends, and family will do the same. I'll make it home too. And I suspect it will all feel like a dream.