Monday, March 30, 2009

3 Down- 3 more to go!

I am finally updating this blog! I have completed 3 chemo sessions and have 3 more to go. It is a good feeling to be at the halfway mark. I think that the next step after chemo will be surgery and then radiation. It is possible that more chemo will be necessary but I will not know until more scans are done post surgery and radiation. My March chemo went OK. I was quite sick the weekend after that infusion. Ryan was so sweet and stayed up with me one night from 3 a.m until 6:30 a.m while I alternated between chills, sweats, waves of bad abdominal pain, puking and dry heaves. He was the official puke bucket holder and blanket controller for my chills and sweating- an art he mastered well! This was my third chemo session and it surprised me that I was that sick. It seems that chemo may have an accumulative effect on me and that each treatment gets a little worse. At least I did not have a reaction to the Taxotere this time. I continue to remind myself that the treatments are a good thing and to be thankful for the days that I feel well. My tumor is shrinking so it is working! My next session is this Wednesday- April 1st. Sara will be joining me for the April Fool's Day festivities! It will be great having her there as I'm sure we will talk the entire time and it will go by fast.
I have continued to read up on all of my cancer books. Our ' Cancer Library ' is really growing. It may soon need its own room! I stopped by the local American Cancer Society last week and picked up a couple more good reads. When the serious ones get to be too doom and gloom, I reach for my 'Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips' book by Kris Carr. It is a light read that offers humorous bits of advice and is a good diversion when I get overwhelmed by the sad stuff. Here is an excerpt: "Mass e-mails are an amazing way to avoid the exhaustion of telling the same story a zillion times...However, when writing, don't capitalize cancer. My friend Beth pointed out that I'd do that when I wrote her e-mails, and I realized that giving it so much importance is a no-no. So does saying 'My cancer.' Screw that. It's the cancer. In fact, spell it wrong: canser. It gives you power over that stupid little two-syllable word." Another cancer tip: "Cancer should come with a warning: DO NOT GOOGLE ME. Ever the dependable informant, Google will present you with a ton of information about cancer but beware: Some of it is sure to be overwhelming, confusing, and downright scary, especially for a cancer newbie." So true! This book provides me with a laugh when I need it.
On the days I feel good I have enjoyed: spending time with my niece and nephews, doing yard work, going for long walks with my dogs, spending time with Ryan at parks and area lakes, and visiting my friend's greenhouse for a little plant therapy. It's the simple things that I find pleasure and beauty in. I love getting cards and notes from people so thanks to everyone for sending me their encouraging and comforting words. I started a scrapbook for all of the cards and like to flip through it from time to time.
My family and friends are so supportive and wonderful and I don't know how Ryan and I would manage without their help. My nephew Max collected donations for the American Cancer Society in lieu of gifts for his 7th birthday party this past week. He did this in my honor and included a little note of thanks to all of his party guests. The donations amounted to $275.00! What an amazing impact this will have on people in our own community! Max is such a thoughtful, sincere, incredible boy. Not many 7 year olds would decline gifts and organize something like this for the greater good. Max and Mia (his older sister) have done many great acts of kindness and are always thinking of others. My nieces and nephews are so very special to me!
I will start a 12 week cancer recovery program in 2 weeks that I am excited about. This is a free program provided by a grant through one of our local hospitals that includes exercise and education. It will include nutrition, strength training, relaxation, stress management, healing arts, yoga, pilates, swimming and many more activities. All of the participants are in some stage of cancer treatment so I won't have to be embarrassed with my bald head in the swimming pool or with my first ever attempt at yoga or pilates! It will be cool to learn some of these new things and they will undoubtedly be a huge benefit in my healing process. I hope I can meet people closer to my age going through the same thing because I have not had success with this yet. I went to one support group last month and all of the people were older women who were fixated on their disease to the point that it was a real drag and was counter-productive. I don't know if I am a sit-in-a-circle-share-your-emotions-and-wear-a-nametag-kind of person! I probably should not judge the entire thing by just one visit but I'm thinking there will be other sources of support and strength for me.
I have 2 more days before chemo and I intend to cram in as much as possible because I know that the following several days will leave me lounging around in my pajamas feeling (and looking) bad. My fuzzy blanket, hot tea, chicken noodle soup, books, and milk of magnesia will get me through it all once more! Until next time...

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