Even if you are finally "cancer free" it will always be with you mentally

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

Spent the day grocery shopping and then in the studio.  Feeling good.  We are not the partying type, so just a quiet evening in store.  I probably won't make it to midnight and neither will Jack.

So Wednesday is the surgery day for the porta-cath.  Then I guess the chemo could start pretty soon after.  Everything that will be happening seems so surreal today.  Both Jack and I have a positive feeling about the outcome, though.  Positive energy is key to positive results.  I really believe that.  I pray that the side effects are manageable.  I've always been a pretty tough cookie, no allergies, no unusual problems from surgeries, medications, etc.  Except morphine...morphine makes me puke.  Since morphine is not part of the process, I don't think that will be an issue.  LOL

I am going to work on Tuesday.  It may be my last day for a while.  But there is no reason to stay home and it will allow me to make sure everything that I may have been working on is available to my team.  Get my ducks in a row, so to speak.  6 months is a long time to be out...that part is still crazy to me.  I will surely miss my co-workers and actually, my job.

One of the things I've been thinking about is when I do finally go back to work.  I still won't have  my hair.  I wasn't planning on getting a wig, I don't like things on my head.  Even wearing a cloche or ball cap will bother me but I will bear it when I have to leave the house.  I guess the baldness and back to work thing will just be a bridge to cross when I get there.  The silly things we think about...

So onward into 2012!  The year of kicking cancer's ass!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Feeling Sorry for Myself

I don't like whiners.  I understand being upset over circumstances but I'm a "suck it up, buttercup" sort of person.  Pull up your big girl panties and get over it.

So here I am, whining.  I just had a pretty bad hour of feeling sorry for myself.  So I did what everyone does...I called my mom.  Who better to listen to your crying and whining than the one that has had to deal with it from day one.  But I got something even better.  My beautiful, little niece was there (gramma or as Averie calls her, Ding, babysits her while my sister runs her business).  Mom put Averie on the phone and all my sadness and fear just melted away.

Averie lost her first tooth today.  She thinks thats pretty cool.  Hearing her voice telling me about her tooth made my day.  And she has no clue that she did.

Averie is such a smart, sensitive but spunky little girl that is always busy as a bee.  She is now into drawing birds...she loves birds.  I had bought the Rio movie for her a few months back and she watches it endlessly.  Maybe thats why she loves birds.

Thank you, baby girl, for just being you.


Met with the nurse Wednesday to discuss the treatment plan.  Thank goodness for the multiple scans...the PET scan didn't pick up the spots on my lungs, but did pick up some spots in my pelvic area which the CT did not really highlight.  They are all small but still....who wants that growing in you?

My treatment will be intravenous, not oral as first thought.  I will be part of a clinical study with 3 different "arms", each containing a mixture of different drugs.  I will receive a treatment every 3 weeks.  Labwork every week.  CT scan every 6 weeks to check the progress (or regress I should say with hope).  I will be off work for 6 months!  That's half of a year!  That part blows my mind.

The "possible" side effects list is endless!  But the "most likely" list is much smaller.  Thank God the "rare but possible" list is even smaller still.  The main thing is fatigue...not the kind that you can go to bed and sleep to get rid of.  It's the kind that will let me take a shower and get dressed and have to sit and rest for a bit before I can do anything else.  I won't be bedridden, but I won't have the stamina to do much at a time.  For most of the other side effects, they have a solution.

I will be losing my hair.  That part sucks big time.  I don't know for sure, but I don't think I have an attractive head.  I know I wouldn't stand for a wig, so covering my head became a shopping opportunity.  I found a person on Etsy (my favorite, hand-made, artistic site--I even have a shop on there) that knits or crochets a really cute cloche that comes down the nape of the neck a little more than usual.  I had a convo with her and she actually made the first one like it for a relative or friend that was going through chemo!  Perfect, I said....please make me a plum/deep grape colored one!

Today (Thursday) I go in for the labwork and EKG.  Tuesday I go in for the surgical implant of the cath under my skin just below my collar bone.  Then it will just be a short time before my first treatment.

So we are pulling out the big guns.  Gonna kick this shit in the ass.  Tired of letting this cancer live in me.  I'm strangely calm about this.  Maybe it's because I have faith that this is going to work.  Maybe I'm just resolved that I have to do this, to at least try what I can to get rid of the monster.  Maybe the realization of what I'm about to go through hasn't hit home yet.  Or maybe it's because I have the support of my friends and family.  Yeah, thats IT!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Finally heard from my oncologist.  The spots on my lungs were too small to respond to the PET scan, but they did find a couple of spots in my abdomen.  So I have an appointment tomorrow to discuss the next phase of treatment.  In his professional opinion, my cancer can still respond to chemotherapy and feels we should try some of the new chemo drugs out there and see if my cancer responds to that.  After a period of time on the drugs, we will try another scan and see what's happening.

I had to call off sick today.  I was so nauseated from fear and had a major panic attack.  I knew I'd be hearing from him today.  I stayed in bed all morning.  Finally had to get up for something to drink as I have a tendency to dehydrate myself if I'm not careful. I can't eat either, when I'm feeling like this.  I'm still a little panicky but knowing I see the doctor tomorrow helps to ease some of it.  At least we still have options.  And endometrial cancer is slow growing, compared to many other types of cancer. So I don't have an expiration date yet.  :)

Food is my comfort, so it's funny to say that I can't eat when I'm feeling like this.  But the fear or anxiety or stress comes on different levels.  I can be stressed at work and always want to be snacking...I call that lightweight stress.  But stress like this, regarding this stupid cancer, is heavyweight stress.  And heavyweight stress takes away all my desire to eat.  Since I'm fat, apparently I've not had a lot of heavyweight stress in my life LOL.  I've been working on my weight, though, and lost 30 pounds, but stalled there.  I have a feeling this next treatment phase may get me past that stalled mark.  I don't know what the side effects of these drugs are yet.  So time will tell.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Today being Christmas, it's a quiet day around here.  No relatives or close friends in the area.  So just Jack, Gunny and me.  I'm in my studio and Jack is catching up on some sleep/rest.  When I was married, years ago, I always lived away from family, being a military wife.  We always traveled around the holidays and I actually really wouldn't want to now.  Jack and I will have a duck and some trimmings for our Christmas feast.  We developed a taste for duck and goose a few years ago and try to have at least one or the other around the holiday months.

My PET scan was last Wednesday.  It wasn't stressful and as far as tests go, pretty easy.  I haven't heard anything regarding the results but expect to sometime this week.  If I let the scared part of my brain take over, I feel the reason I didn't hear anything yet was because its bad news and my doctor didn't want to ruin my holiday.  But I'm trying to keep a positive attitude through this and so my story is....the results were not in yet and/or the doctor's office wasn't open Friday.

Waiting for results is one of the worst parts.  The unknown can be scary and opens up the imagination to all sorts of scenarios.  And I have an excellent imagination, if I want to scare myself silly.  I talked with Jack yesterday about my feelings and stressed that I'm trying to keep negativity out of my life right now, in all forms.  A difficult task when living with a person who sees the glass as half empty.  But Jack will do his best to let me see the world as filled with angels and pixie dust, hope and miracles, as difficult as it is for him.

He really does take good care of me.  I'm the bread-winner in this relationship.  He's home all day and keeps things going, as much as his disabilities allow.  His first thought is always of my comforts and needs.  I'm pretty lucky to have a guy like that.  He can be a grumpy old man, but I can be pretty difficult to handle sometimes.  He knows that I'm happiest in my studio and does everything in his power to see that I can spend as much time down here are possible.  My worries are far from my mind when I'm creating.

So I will continue to wait for the results and handle whatever may come in the best way that I can.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Hate Water

Getting ready to leave for the PET scan.  I haven't been able to eat much since I was limited to protein (meat and eggs), green vegetables and water.  I had scrambled eggs and bacon last night and baby cucumbers for breakfast this morning.  I will be STARVING by the time this is over, which will be around dinner time.  Jack will take me anywhere I want to go for dinner.

But the water.  I hate plain water, have never liked it and have a difficult time making myself drink it.  I know, it's not a good habit to have.  I don't drink pop, not even diet (OK, once in a while I treat myself to one, non-diet pop), iced tea, coffee or MIO in my water are my beverages of choice...and of course, wine, Riesling please. But I have to get 24-30 more ounces in me before 2:30.  I'll be choking that down on the drive there. 

But if that is the worst part of the scan, it's not that bad, considering all the other things I may have had to drink for barium or the dreaded stuff you drink before a colonoscopy or surgery.  So I'll live.

My attitude is good again today.  I saw a very cool post on FB that really hits home.  I want to keep remembering it...its a good way to think.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Better Day

Went to work today. It felt good. Of course keeping busy is best and I like my job. I like the company I work for and the people I work with. So it was a good day. I felt good too, like I'm getting my emotions and attitude together. I'm gonna be OK.

Haha, I feel like that now, and the challenge will be to keep it going. PET scan tomorrow then back to work on Thursday. And a nice long Christmas weekend to work on glass.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Scan Appointment

So I was lucky today. I got an appointment for my PET scan this coming Wednesday. I didn't think I'd get in that soon, but I'm glad. As I was talking with the lady doing the scheduling, I felt a panic attack coming on. The problem is, when I don't think about all of this, I'm fine. When I'm reminded of the reality, I panic, fighting back the tears and fears.

I had a sad time in bed early this morning, thinking about Gunny.  I love her so much.  As a retired/rescued greyhound, you sign a contract with the rescue group, that if for any reason you cannot keep the dog, you must return the dog to the group.  Which means, if I die, Gunny goes back to the group and they will rehome her with prescreened adopters, so she would never be in danger or ever have to suffer. Jack would not be in a position to continue to care for her. Thinking about how confused she would be, maybe even scared just hurts me.  She was shy and scared when I first brought her home, she only trusted me. It took some time, but Jack was added to her tiny circle of trusted humans.  She has mellowed with age and seems to accept strangers coming into the house or even when we take her out, allowing some to pet her.  But we are always with her during those times. And cookies help.  I've just always kept my dogs until they died, even after their death, as I have their ashes, never wanting to have the thoughts of not knowing where they were or how they were being treated.  I never thought I'd ever go before my dog.  God willing, I won't this time either.

My beautiful Gunny

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Place

The last couple of days have been good.  I've spent most of the time in my basement glass studio, doing what I love best, my glass.  The studio isn't pretty but it is filled with finished projects, glass waiting to be used, patterns waiting to be made, empty wine bottles to be slumped, my drawing table, the smell of incense, a blankie and bone for Gunny when she comes down and generally most of the comforts necessary to spend copious amounts of time down there.  For me, it is my happy place, even before this new cancer scare.  I can't even find the right word to describe how I feel down there.  And since I'm always thinking of the next 5 projects while working on 2 or 3 current projects, it prevents those scary thoughts from entering my head.

I talked to my mom for the first time today since finding out about this new issue.  I'm fortunate, at 55, to still have my mom, who is in good health and as feisty as she always has been.  I cried a little but I cry easy.  My mom is concerned of course, but unlike my sister, knows that if chemo is what I need, then that is what I will get.  My sister doesn't like the thought of chemo, since it actually is poison but I trust my doctor is doing what is best for me.  He is a cautious doctor and that is good.

So tomorrow I will try again to get the appointment for the PET scan set up (my efforts on Friday didn't go well, I won't go into that).  I am going to buy some more glass.  I am going to order a few new glass molds.  I'm going to get back on my diet and continue losing weight.  I am going forward as if nothing new is happening.