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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Half Way Point

Today I am getting my 3rd chemo treatment of 6. This means I am half way through this treatment journey. Time has gone by so quickly. I feel like a seasoned veteran, knowing what to expect and how to handle it, unless some new side effects show up. I've been working through the neuropathy and it isn't as bad as it was. The fatigue is the main side effect that seems to stay constant. The next 7 days or so will be the worst days, as the muscle and joint pain will put me out of commission but it will pass. But who knows...maybe it won't be as bad.  It could happen...

I received very good news from my doctor checkup yesterday, which makes all of this worthwhile. My CA125 is down again, significantly. 19, which is right in the middle of the normal range. This is outstanding news and is a positive thing. It means the chemo Is doing what it should.  I will be having a CT scan in the next 3 weeks (routine in this case).  I am hopeful that it will also show positive news.

I truly feel the support and comments from my friends, family and acquaintances has helped me get to this point.  Unless you go through this, you really have no clue how important that is.  In my case, even more so as we don't have family and friends close by, so I probably rely on my Facebook friend list more than I should.  Whatever gets you through the day is my thought.

My significant other, Jack, has also been very supportive.  Many days are rough--I'm hard to deal with when I'm well...and this ordeal has made me more moody, bitchy and demanding, but I think its normal considering the source.  Jack has his own idiosyncrasies as well.  To top it off, we are not used to being around each other 24/7 for months.  So the stress does come out.  But we get through it.  We have the same goal...for me to get well.

I'm on a "good news" high right now--that should help me get through the next week or so.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today was bloodwork day, my numbers are where they expect them to be.  I've been feeling pretty good, just a lack of stamina, with the exception of today, I woke up feeling like a truck hit me and my legs and hips hurt.  Thank goodness for pain medication...I took it and got ready for the trip to the hospital.  I'll rest the remainder of today.  I didn't sleep well last night and I've been pushing myself for the last 4 days to try and do things.

I have been experiencing what I guessed was a side effect of the chemo...neuropathy.  It's been affecting my right hand and wrist, my fine motor skills, as the nurse said.  A weakness making it difficult to lift things with my right wrist/hand...the laptop, pans, etc.  Down to my fingers making it difficult to write and even cut glass.  Needless to say, it's scary and frustrating, though not life threatening so I figured I could wait until today to speak with the nurse.  I did confirm my personal diagnosis (LOL) with the nurse and she said to talk to the doctor next week when I see him as there may be a dosage adjustment needed or whatever he feels needs to be done.  With each treatment it can get worse as it is one of the side effects that is cumulative as opposed to side effects that go away once your body adjusts.  It is also a common side effect of one of my chemo drugs, Paclitaxel.  Again, not life threatening, but a nuisance that can actually continue well past treatment and even be permanent.  Ya know, I'll take it....if this treatment gets rid of the cancer, I'll deal with it.  I've already adjusted my glass cutting technique to accommodate the weakness.  Where there's a will, there's a way.

One of the things I hate most is the whole schedule.  The first week following treatment is the worst in regards to debilitating side effects.  The second week I'm working at trying to build myself back up, feeling like I want to do things but fighting the fatigue.  The third week I actually feel human and can do things with an occasional rest period.  Then its time to start it all again.

February 24 is treatment #3....halfway through.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I'm caught in a vicious circle...I've been so fatigued since my last chemo treatment, so I rest, but probably resting too much, so when I do try to do anything, I feel so puny (that weak, shaky, clammy feeling you have after a bout of the flu), that I have to give up or really struggle.  This is affecting my attitude, leading me into a bit of depression, which just feeds back into giving up because everything is a struggle.  I think I'm past the body/muscle aches, but am finding it difficult to generate any energy or push myself to do anything.  I hate this.

Today I reluctantly got up, got dressed and shuffled to my desktop computer.  Paid some bills and decided to do my taxes.  I'm glad I did...I feel better for it, mentally at least.  Tomorrow I am going with Jack to his doctor appointment and Tuesday is my bloodwork day.  Maybe I'll even have Jack take me to my local glass shop and get some new glass.  I hope to stay down in the studio at least one of those days for a while and work on some glass.  I miss my glass.  I do have some pieces to pack up for shipping and I have some pieces that I need to make for some orders.  I know being down there will lift my spirits. 

I hate whiners.  I think I've said it before and I think I've admitted to being a whiner on a couple of occasions.  So I will need these upcoming outings for an attitude adjustment...I'll snap out of it.  The journey is just not pleasant, especially if anyone is around me, which fortunately, only includes Jack and he handles it pretty well.  He pushes me gently when needed and not so gently when I really need it.

Think I'll go paint my toenails a different color.  That cheers me up.  Strange but true.

Oh, and I still really like rubbing my stubbly that weird???  LOL  Hey, maybe there's money to be made...$1 a rub!  It could go to cancer research! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chemo #2

Monday was my second chemo treatment.  It went smoother than the first one as we were able to block the nausea before it had a chance to kick in.  It took 6 /2 hours to receive the chemo, which appears to be the time frame from here on out.  I have been waiting for various side effects that I experienced after #1, but the only ones that seem to be reoccurring are the fatigue and muscle/joint pain, which may be connected.  I had such energy the first day after #1 and silly me, though I would have the same after #2.  Well, that was not so.  I stubbornly tried to do a little bit of shopping and that turned out not to have been my most brilliant decision.  I had to cut that short and come home.  I barely made it up the stairs and this morning my lower body is aching.  Lesson learned.

Finally got my remaining hair shaved off yesterday.  It's actually is a relief to have it gone.  I should have done it sooner as my hair is all over everything.  It isn't really bothering me to be bald at this point.  Certainly less maintenance.  I have a hat to wear during the night to help keep the warmth in and slept very well last night.  My "going out" hat collection has begun.  And I will now make the wig appointment with the American Cancer Society so I can start getting used to wearing one for when I return to work.  My eyebrows are almost gone and my eyelashes have started falling out too.  I talked with my hairdresser about the best way to cosmetically apply semi-natural looking eyebrows, as I would rather go without than to "draw" them on. All in preparation for returning to work in the early summer.

My oncologist confirmed for me that he feels I have a better than 50% chance of this chemo working, which may not seem like good odds, but of course, who can predict something like that?  He is erring on the side of precaution and that's good enough for me at this point.  Probably the best news came in regards to my CA125 number.  It has never been under 100 since my diagnosis in 2008.  Normal range is 0-35.  Many things can affect this number, but my onc has never really been happy with my numbers.  We knew the cancer was still hiding somewhere as evidenced by the 2 occurrences of rare external endometrial tumors in spring and fall of 2011, that radiation took care of.  But various scans were showing nothing, until the suspicious spots on my lungs in December on a CT scan.  Then the subsequent PET scan did not show those (they were too small and only suspected to be metastatic) but revealed 3 definite spots in my abdomen, which resulted in the chemotherapy decision.  So imagine my joy in hearing that my latest CA125 number went down to 51.7 after the first treatment.  They want it to stay the same as it was or go down, so I accomplished that.  A small victory, but a step in the right direction.

So my days will continue to consist of seeing what and how much I can do and resting in between.