Sunday, March 22, 2009

Incidental notes

My schedule of Dr. appointments is confusing for people. It was confusing for me too. I get the schedule for a couple weeks at a time from the Dr.'s ofc and then I transfer it to my little calendar I carry in my wallet and the wall calendar by the phone. There was even a 4th calendar at first but I eliminated that quickly. Oh yes, there is a 4th calendar which is on an Excel spreadsheet and I send that to John as he relates well to that form of date keeping. My confusing schedule goes like this: I get a chemo treatment on a Wednesday and then I count forward from there and the 4th Wednesday forward is when I get another treatment. In between there are basically 2 groups of 10 days. The week after chemo, I get a Leukine shot Monday thru Friday of that week. That helps to build up white blood cells in my body. Every Monday I go in for a Lab to check my blood to see how my body is tolerating the treatment. Every Wednesday I show up for a Herceptin infusion that takes about 1/2 hour (in and out in about 1 hour). Lay all of that on top of each other and you have the schedule. The first 10 days I have to take it easy. Especially the first 5 days. My mouth and hands are sore and even though I might be feeling fine, if I overdo my days, I have repercussions. The final 10 days, I'm feeling quite normal except my hands look terrible as the spots and some peeling skin remain from the reaction in the first week to the chemo (and probably over using them).
I was told not to use commercial mouth wash and the here is a superior recipe the Dr.'s office gave out. I made up a solution of water, salt and baking soda...
let's see.. It is 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt to 1 cup of water. I swish that around after gently brushing teeth.
I may have written about this already but I continue to exercise too.... that being a cornerstone to my well being. On a 'hard' day, I do a small circuit in the neighborhood ... not quite 2 miles and up to at least 3+ miles if I'm feeling really good or I have been going with my hiking group in the AM's for around 3 miles in the hills. I do a small weight circuit in the backyard 3 X a week. So that really helps. A little yoga also is very beneficial.
Here's a marvelous quote from a gal who's going through the same experience. This sums up the secret to the experience.
"I've learned to stay in the moment when I think it's taking too long, and embrace the experience. If I perceive it as an observer, it almost doesn't feel like it's me going through it...almost."
The balance between activity and no-activity for me is important...but I generally feel better if I can keep moving and doing things. There are those times (after lunch) that I've climbed into bed for a short nap.... it does wonders.
A few people missed my bald head so I'll include a pix of that... more like a buzz cut as not all the hair has fallen out. The other one is with one of the wigs that I had professionally cut. In the last 20 years, my hair hasn't been one of my strong points. So I thought it wouldn't be a big deal to have my hair shaved off. The experience plays with my vanity. But the most freeing feeling is wearing nothing on my head and of course, getting ready in the morning is a snap.

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