Monday, February 23, 2009

Chemo effects

Monday. It's true about being tired and having achy bones. I think it was made worse by taking too much of one of the medications. I confused dose with days so I took too many. No problem apparently as my blood tests looked good today. So with that piece of good news, I'm encouraged to keep doing a little and resting a little. I feel amazingly relaxed because there is no other way to feel with this thing. Although, I'm gazing out the window and the beautiful day - the aftermath of a good warm rain storm and I'm thinking that it would be good to take a walk in all those negative ions out there. Anyra and Al got home to the bay area last night in spite of it looking like they'd be in a tidal wave of rain. The deluge started a few miles from their home.
Now for that walk.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Three days later

I'm not one to take medicine - (just say no to drugs) and so here's the first challenge ...keeping it straight; when I took what and at what time. I didn't really want to get into charting my pill progress. Also, my system isn't back to functioning since the treatment and I'm shaky. I little like I've had 6 coffees too many. Challenging my mind to think and focus is another ...and by afternoon, it's nap time. These and other side-effects I'm assured are normal. Anyra and Al being here has been a huge help. We've had fabulous meals and watched all three of the Shreck movies. Those are awesome...and I know they'd be really entertaining on a big screen. A&A leave tomorrow but John will be back from the desert today sometime.
Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes. I feel the support and am encouraged by it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Report from the 1st day of chemo

I'm relieved and happy to report that the MRI results from Monday were good. It did not show any active and questionable areas and the margins looked clear. I didn't learn this until yesterday when I met with the Doctor during my first Chemo. Anyra came with me and her cheerful and helpful presence was such a strength and help. The room I was in was large with quite a few barca-loungers which are occupied by people getting chemo throughout the day. Some have much longer treatments. Because this was my first time, they said it might take a little longer but I probably should plan on spending half a day every three weeks. There were many infusions that they dripped into me via the port. Hardly any discomfort at all. So again, the specter of the event and the reality were different. Not as gruesome as one might imagine. The best thing is that I'm staying local so I don't have to drive many miles to another location where there's maybe more people and no-one knows anyone. The staff was friendly and caring. So when I got out of there about 6 hours later, I felt just a little light headed and dizzy...results of the fluorescent lights more than anything. (I must bring a baseball hat next time) After getting home I walked my usual little neighborhood walk which is about 2 miles and takes only just under 1/2 hour and as usual, I felt better after. Anyra and Al being here made it possible for me to relax and take care of myself. They brought me lunch during chemo and then Anyra was making the dinner so I was free to help or rest whichever I felt. I talked to Bonnie later and her encouragement and research and advice about what is helpful was a huge help. What sweeties they have been. I'm so lucky!!
So I'm cautiously optimistic now, just one day after Chemo #1.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 12, 2009

My left shoulder and chest feels like a 300 lb linebacker socked me. I am assured that will fade. On the financing front, I finally got some additional (supplemental) insurance and also am applying for aide from charitable organizations to cover certain costs that might not be covered by insurance. So now I’ll go broke a little more slowly than before. I am due to start chemo on Feb 18th. It’s busy busy until then and maybe after, I can get some sort of schedule going around all the medical appointments that have to be kept. I also am going to be following a good diet (didn’t I always?) that will improve healing.

February 10, 2009

So I now have a Power Port. I get to wear a purple bracelet identifying it and I carry an identifying card. The experience in the hospital was better than expected. The new Outpatient Pavilion is really beautiful. The decor is wonderfully relaxing. No TV's blaring. Just quiet. the panel over the fluorescent light above the bed was covered with a photo panel of a beautiful autumn scene in a forest by a river bank. The river rocks glistened and I was transported to that spot. The staff was friendly and helpful. Aside from being really looped on Vicodine after getting home that afternoon, I felt pretty good. The Vicodine was hard on my system so I discontinued on the second day.

Saturday, Feb 7, 09:

I'm trying to learn how to post these entries into the blog page and at the same time, bring in a brief update on what's been going on since November when I had an abnormal mammogram. The lumpectomy was on Dec. 19, 2008. The worst so far was learning about my breast cancer and then the confirmation of it after the lumpectomy on Dec 19, 2008. I've never experienced anything like the anxiety that hit me. Was I afraid of dying I’m sure, but more than that I was afraid of the impact on the lives around me. I didn’t want to let anyone down and complicate their life more, I didn’t want the financial tsunami that was sure to hit and I just didn’t want the incredible inconvenience. But as time passed and I got more information, the anxiety passed as my brother Terry assured me it would. As I learned more it gave me a feeling of doing something and the reactions from others were really wonderful and the outpouring of love was so humbling as well as the earnest offers to help in any way.

I like to get copies of my lab tests and when I got the copy of the Pathologist's report, I was uncomfortable about the vague nature of his wording which prompted me to go to UCLA for a second opinion. They concurred that the pathology report was NOT written like a pathology report should be. The tumor was not oriented as pathology reports should be, and there was a question about whether the margins were clear. The cancer was found in my right breast...initially a small spot, it's the margins we don't know about. It was diagnosed as HER 2 neu 3+ with Progesterone and Estrogen positive which means the new drug Herceptin can be used. It has been shown to be quite successful. It is just very very expensive. It's all quite overwhelming. Mornings are best for me to deal with business and try to discern my way through an avalanche of information. Hopefully things will get more focused as time goes on.

I'm due to go in for a 'port-a-cath' on Monday. I'm nervous about this and try and not think about what they say is just routine and generally a short procedure. I'm also nervous about the upcoming Chemo.