Monday, April 8, 2013

Set Back

It certainly wasn't in my plans to not blog for almost a month.  I had a good rhythm going and then - boom!

So what happened?  I had an oncologist appointment and it did not go as expected.  It was my 1 month post chemo follow up visit.  The Dr. had told us, if all went well at that appointment that they would contact the surgeon's office and arrange for me to have my port out.  Yes!!!!!!  I'll talk about my port some other time, but needless to say, I'd like it out.

The appointment did not go well.  My white count went from 3.7 (slightly below normal range) to 1.7.  That was a surprise.  And not a good one.  I was put on an antibiotic since the low count made me very susceptible  to catching any illness that was out there.   As an added bonus I got a shot of Neupogen to stimulate white blood cell production.  As my sister Ruth would say - fum.

It gets better.  Before I go off to schedule my next appointment and head off to the chemo room (which I thought I was done with), the P.A. tells us that I might need maintenance chemo. 


Now, I've heard of people having maintenance chemo, but, the doctor never said anything about it to us.  Of course, she told us she wasn't sure about that, but it was enough for Jim and me to receive this bit of information and go about our business stunned and probably with a deer in headlights look on our face.

So we leave, with questions coming to us fast and furious.  And with two weeks to wonder about it all.  And in those two weeks I had a lot of different emotions going on.  I was stunned, I was mad, I was scared.  I also was in no mood to write or blog.

When we went back for the 2 week follow up; we found out my white count had gone up, from that low of 1.7 to 3.2 - yea!  It's headed back up to normal.  And when we asked our questions about maintenance chemo, we found out it is not necessary.  I don't have lymph node involvement or anything else that might indicate the need for it.  That's quite a relief.  My next appointment is in 2 weeks (April 22) and hopefully then I'll be scheduled to have my port out.

As for how I'm doing.  Tired is the word I use a lot.  And we were told it would take 6 months to a year for me to recover from chemo.  Okay.......I would like that to be NOW please!  But okay.  In the meantime, I've been taking it easy.  This week I'd like to start stepping it up a little bit, try to do a little more each day.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

This One Will Have To Wait

I had planned on writing about goals vs. intents today.  What those words mean and how I prefer to set an intent over a goal.  I even found a great definition of the word intent I wanted to use here.  I can't find it.  Figures, doesn't it?  I have the book I found it in.  I've flipped thru the chapters I have read, and I just can't find the paragraphs I'm looking for.  So this particular post is going to have to wait.

I'll end this week with saying, I'm doing better.  I'm still have fatigue, some blues, but I'm better.  I reminded myself, not of goals, but of the intent I had for this month - to take it easy and allow my body to heal - and I'm doing that.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting Better

I have found over the last two days that cutting myself a break has really helped.  I'm feeling better.  And Jim lets loose with a sigh of relief.

Now my mind is almost a total blank.  Tuesday I woke up and figured out what I wanted to write about and I also came up with my picture for Wordless Wednesday.  Today; blank.  So, I think I'll just leave it at that.  I'm doing better and the rest will come to me - including something to write about.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

                                                       Take me away Carnival!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Morning Revelations

I thought about using the title "Early Morning Revelations" but I didn't want my sister Margaret to fall off her chair laughing.  She knows that "early" morning for me is closer to late morning, early afternoon for her.  I'm being kind, I don't want my sister to hurt herself.

This morning before I got out of bed, I was planning out my day and planning what I might write about this morning on my blog.  I was thinking over yesterday's post and how I've been feeling in general when several things occurred to me.

One - about feeling "blue".  You know what?  I've been living with a cancer diagnosis for over 11 years (actually closer to 12 since next month is the anniversary month when my doctor found the elevation in my white count).  I've left 2 jobs I loved because of it.  I've dealt with health issues because of it.  Mainly viruses that knock me off my feet 3 weeks or more.  In the past year it got harder to do things and we were first told last spring that treatment was getting to be a possibility.   Finally there was 6 months of treatment itself.  Well gee then, if you look at it like that, it's kind of a no brainer.

Two.  At my last chemo both my oncologist and my chemo nurse both told me that it was going to take some time before my energy came back.  Part of me listened and part of me did not.  Guess which part took over?

I've been telling myself I should be doing this or that, that in months past I was feeling a little better than I do now.  Going into my last chemo I told myself that I was going to take it easy and give myself a break for at least 6 weeks or so.  I was going to wait until the beginning of April before I really tried to do more.  Hmmm, I seemed to have forgotten that.

I shared this with Jim this morning, who pretty much gave me one of those - ya know if you had asked me first I could have told you this looks.  Actually, he was pretty kind about it.  And I resolved to cut myself a break.  And to remember my plan to take it easy until the beginning of April (or longer if I need it).  I'm feeling better already.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blue Monday - Part 2

Yesterday I had a discussion with Jim.  It was one of those which came first, the chicken or the egg conversations.  In this case it was, which could it be:  Am I feeling depressed because I'm tired or am I tired because I'm feeling depressed?  Fatigue is a side effect of chemo.  Usually by this time in the cycle (3 weeks since chemo) my energy has started to pick up.  This month, I'm still feeling fatigued.  I wonder if my white count is still down.  It was below normal before my chemo in January and while it came up before chemo in February, it was still a little below normal.  Which brings up a third question, am I just tired and depressed?  Fum.

I can say I'm not quite as "blue" as I was last week when I wrote about it.  I've been doing what I know to do to ease the depression.  I recognized what is going on, I talked to Jim about it,  I've been keeping lights on around me, I've been using aroma therapy (burning my wonderful candles from Bath and Body Works), and yes, indulging in some retail therapy.  I'm not up for going out to shop, so I've been letting my fingers shop online.  Today my latest order from Bath and Body Works arrived, I've got a package coming this week from Amazon, and I've placed an order with niece Lisa for Origami Owl.

Next Monday I have an appointment with my oncologist.  It will be my one month post chemo check up.  We'll find out then how my white (and red) counts is doing.  We'll also find out if my port can come out, and we'll continue to discover what's next.

So the blues remain, but it's not quite as bad.  I look forward to feeling better.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why I Love Facebook

I don't always love Facebook, I have some complaints with it.  Like a constant change of their format, deciding for me that I want the Top News, not the Most Current (which I prefer), stuff like that.  Then there are days like yesterday when I have private messages from not one, but two friends from way back when.  You know, from the Jr. High and High School years.

It's nice being able to have contact with people who knew me when (and they still like me!!  LOL!).  I've been glad to have contact with people who at one time were out of my life for what I thought would be forever.  Years ago we moved 450 miles away from where we grew up and I thought that I left all those people behind me forever.  Sniff.  Not so with Facebook (and other social media).  In addition, this week has been a little rough.  I realized I was depressed this week.  Hearing from old friends helped a lot.

Until next week!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Have A New Hobby ~ Contesting

I have had entering contests on my "want to do" list for some time.  For some reason I kept telling myself not now.  Finally I got fed up with myself and told myself - just do it already!!!!!!  So last month I started. 

It's amazing what you can find when you Google "iPad contests".  Thru Google, I found blog contests and a lot of wonderful blogs out there.  And I've been lucky.  I've had 5 nice wins since I started.  Nothing HUGE yet, but nice wins.

Anyway, the point is, I've been contesting.  Some of the things I've done to earn entries are to post Tweets about them on Twitter, pin things to my Pinterest page, like pages on Facebook and post about the contests on Facebook.  Oh yeah,  and blog about them. 

So, getting to back to the point.  You have seen and will continue to see posts on my Facebook pages about contests I've entered.  Feel free to check them out.  And you will start seeing posts here on my blog about them.  You'll notice that I have started adding 'Blog Buttons" on my blog.  Who knows, maybe I'll enter the realm of taking part in contests (mostly known as giveaways) on my blog.

BTW:  Why am I doing this?  Why, to win!!!  I'm trying to win Jim a Chromebook, new appliances for us, gift cards, cash, and that cute cupcake apron that I keep sharing on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Late to bed; late to rise.......

I know what Ben Franklin has to say about early to bed and early to rise.  I guess he'd shake his head at me and just call me a sluggard.  Well gee, insert choice words here.

It might be past the noon hour, and yes, I didn't just roll out of bed, and I've got my day going.  Laundry and such.  I'm feeling some better today.  I did talk to Jim yesterday and he understood what I was feeling.  He made sure I was still on my anti-depressant (or as I call it, better living thru chemicals).  As I said yesterday, just knowing what's going on helps.  As for what to do about it, well, I'm working on that.  It would help if I were physically able to be more active, but I'm not there yet.  That will come as the weeks go on.  I have plans to go back to the gym and Weight Watchers in 5 weeks.

So moving on.  Here's what I want to say today.  Its getting better and it will continue to get better.  I'm going to start adding more activity in 5 weeks, and I'm thinking of adding yoga before then.  Sister Nancy will have to get on me about that one.  In 3 1/2 weeks we have a trip to Knoxville!!  After that we'll see about going a little further from home on our Saturday date day.  Oh, and late to rise isn't a bad thing.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Blue Monday

I guess it shouldn't come as any great surprise to me to find myself feeling a little depressed lately.  Considering what's been going on in my life the last year.  Starting with Dad's open heart surgery last February and ending with the end of my chemotherapy this month.  In the middle of that put a year of just not feeling that great.  So, no, I'm not surprised I'm feeling a bit depressed.

Now, the good news in all that.  I know how I'm feeling.  I can pin the start of it to last week.  Knowing what's going on is a huge step.  I'm aware of it, and I can take action to deal with it.  Like yesterday.  I was feeling creative.  I have a cork board behind the desk I'm working at.  Saturday I bought some large glittery scrapbook pages and some shamrock stickers (for good luck).  Yesterday I put them up.  Sitting here now at my computer I'm looking at a cheery background that is all nice and sparkly.  I even put up a picture of me and my 3 sisters (smaller version of the one I gave them in a picture frame for Christmas - Sisters~Sisters!).  Friday, I rearranged what was on the desk to reflect me and not all hodge-podge (Don't know where to put it?  Put it on the desk....).  And yes, sister Nancy, it includes a couple of Carnival glasses (and now my colorful corkboard has a drink umbrella on it!)

So what else do I do?  Well, first off, after I finish this, I talk to Jim (before I post this).  I made myself start the laundry today.  I woke up this morning telling myself that I would just put it off until tomorrow.  I'm looking for, oh, what's the word I want to use here.....okay, cheap, cheap speakers for my iPod so I can listen to music while I'm here in the spare room.  I/we have scented candles burning.  I remind myself of the things I have to look forward to coming up.  Like our trip to Knoxville to see Jimmy and Kim next month.  Our trip to Ohio at Memorial Day to see our families.  And our big cruise in October.  Plus, there is our Saturday "date day" every week.  And just knowing that I'm not in this alone.  Life is good.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


That last post was for a contest.  You'll be seeing  more contest posts in the future.  And I'll be writing more about that in the future.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Slowly Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things

A new week. I had hoped to post yesterday, but spent a long time catching up on contests. Same thing happened today. I've been contesting about 5 weeks now and I'm still trying to get a system going. And I need to remind myself that I can't enter everything.

Last week was okay. The side effects hit fast; queasy stomach and fatigue hit early Tuesday evening. The upside was that they were over faster too. I slept in on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and then went the rest of the day without a nap. Yesterday we went out for a late lunch and stopped in at Target. I was tired when we left Target, still, it was nice to be out of the house.

That's it for me today, I hoped to ramble on a little more but my body is saying I'm done for the day. Time to head out to the couch.

Friday, February 8, 2013


I don't have a lot to write about today. Well, I do, but I've got things I want to think about a little more before I write about them. Anyway, it's a bit of a gray day here. Rain in the forecast and the sun will be hiding from us a bit. Typical weather for this time of the year.

Monday is my last chemo treatment, Tuesday is my last shot. As much as I wanted to try to write every weekday (and missed yesterday), I won't be posting next week and I don't know when or if I'll be posting the following week. Monday is a long day and the Benadryl that they give me is pretty potent and I'll be dozing on and off the whole day. Tuesday the steroid they give me is still working and while I might take a nap, Tuesday will be the last day I am pretty much with it for the week. They rest of the week will be spent in bed or on the couch (until I decide to go back to bed). Last month it was Sunday before I really felt human again. I don't know if it will be Sunday again this month or Monday. Anyway, it takes a little while for me to get back into the swing of things after chemo.

As I wrote before after next week, we'll go into a new phase. My intent after I walk out of the building on Tuesday is to begin what I'm calling recovery. I intend to start back at Weight Watchers after six weeks. I intend to start some type of exercise. And I intend to write more about my intentions.

As a side note. On Monday, I have a new Coach purse arriving to celebrate the end of chemo. My sister made the comment that it looked like a "happy" purse and I could use a "happy" purse right now. I thought that was sweet and I thought that it fits. I was going to buy a pair of gold glitter Tom's shoes to celebrate (I've been wearing red glitter Tom's to chemo~I figure such a scarey and serious thing could use red glitter shoes); but Tom's doesn't make them. They should. Anyway, I'm all about making things special.

One last comment. In making things special for chemo, I have a beautiful Purple Paisley Metro Retro Tote from Thiry-One Gifts that my big sister gave me, along with a beautiful and WARM purple prayer shawl. The bag is my chemo bag, I keep the shawl in it as well as the other things I bring with me to chemo. I mentioned the shawl is warm - that's important, it is COLD in the chemo room. I'll be wearing my Brighton necklace given to me by another sister and the pink heart bead she gave me. And to have something from my other sister, I'll be sticking the small flower paintings she painted and gave me for Christmas in my bag. Special. I'll have something from each of my sisters with me. I'm going to surround myself with love.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Anticipation. And not like in the old Heinz catsup commercial's where they used the Carly Simon song. Anticipation, as in, anticipating my next and last chemo treatment. Five days from today I'll have my last infusions. Six days from today I'll have my last shot of Neulasta. And then, then, we (we, as in Jim and I) start into the great unknown.

The unknown, as in, what's next. We know it will be 3 month follow-ups with Dr. Dang. But will it be chemo, with a follow up in a month and then 3 months later? Or chemo and no follow up until 3 months later. We've been going once a month since September. It will be strange not to have that 1 month follow up.

Going into post chemo will kinda' be like right after diagnosis, you question every little thing that happens and wonder if that means your progressing, or if it's something important you should tell the doctor. The question now is, does this mean I'm going out of remission. Yes, remission has been achieved. This, however; is not a "curable" disease (well, at least not yet), there is no 5 year wait to see if I'm cured. There just is chemo to relieve the symptoms, to lower the white count, reduce the lymph nodes, raise the red counts, etc.

Of course, I can choose not to worry. I can remind myself not to borrow trouble. I can plan how I want my life to look like, how I want it to be. I've already started some planning. We have a trip to Knoxville coming up in March. We're talking about a day trip to Nashville to go to (wait for it.......) White Castle. There is the trip to Ohio for Memorial Day. And in October, our cruise with Nancy and Rick. And then there is the mundane things. More housework, resuming meal making (gee, do I even remember how to cook?), and so on.

I know! It's an adventure!! Something to get excited about, to go forward in joy, not fear. First up: celebrate the end of chemo ~ I'm signing off and going to buy a purse!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Here I go again

Well, gee. I didn't intend to go so long without posting anything. It's just that as I have gone thru my treatments, my mind goes blank at a certain point of the day. Kinda' hard to write when your brain goes numb.

All in all I would say that treatment has been okay. The biggest problems I've had have been fatigue and, well, kind of embarrassing to say, constipation. I still have all my hair. It's about 6 inches shorter than what it was before treatment. And it hasn't been colored since September. I have real nice dark roots with a smattering of gray in them. I haven't lost weight. In fact, I'm up about 5 pounds. Which is okay. I can live with that. My eating isn't horrible, but then I basically eat what appeals to me. There will be time to take the weight off after treatment is over. Treatment, hmmm, a nice word for chemo.

So let's talk intents here. What is my intention for this blog? I see it as an outlet. A place to write my thoughts. I would like to keep up with this better than what I had before.

And I would also like to link this up to Facebook. Grrr. Facebook. I got found out today. I had a separate account, which I knew setting it up was a no-no; but I thought I'd have more time to get it straighten out. Nope. Got caught today. I've been entering contests and have been trying to keep my FB likes for them separate from my regular account. Not sure how that's going to work with this.

So, I intend to write and intend to continue to enter contests. Quite frankly, I don't know if I care if my Facebook page gets cluttered. I can always go to my friends page to see what's up with them. I don't want to stop entering contests. I've won 2, and want to continue. We'll see how it goes.