shaved head

shaved head
Channelling GI Jane

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 15: Round 2 Chemo

I'm shocked and amazed to report that those "few standing soldiers" (my remaining hair) have multiplied and lengthened! I pull on them everyday thinking they will come right out, but they don't. I still look like a baby bird, but I'm amazed that my fuzz is getting thicker. Wouldn't that be something if I stopped loosing hair? I have noticed other areas growing back as well and my arm, leg & underarm hair never fell out (just stopped growing more). Several of my fingernails have changed color and my big toe toenails have stopped growing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 14: Round 2 Chemo

Continuing to feel good; lots of energy, no stomach funk, and no pains. I have been hitting the gym and excercising on the bike or eliptical. Today I had the urge to run. Ha! I managed to run a few minute intervals and my legs almost collapsed beneath me. Guess I'll have to build up those muscles again. I've put on 3 pounds which worries me. I'm supposed to be losing weight, not gaining it. My husband bought me a 55" TV and Blue Ray DVD player for those days when I can't get off the couch. For those of you who know my husband and his feelings toward television (not to mention how he feels about parting with large sums of cash), you know this was a big gift. I can't get enough of True Blood on the big screen! The first night we installed it we watched Lord Of the Rings on Blue Ray. This was also the night I decided to sample medicinal marijuana so that I know how to dose myself next chemo. Let me tell you watching Lord of the Rings on a 55" TV (my previous was a 27" dinosaur) with Blue Ray was an experience I will not soon forget. I think I watched for 3 hours with my mouth hanging open. Cool.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 11: Round 2 Chemo

I had my port bandage taken off so I can shower and swim now. I refer to my port site as the "alien" because I have a 3 pronged bump in my arm. I was lifting weights today at the gym and as I watched myself in the mirror I got the heeby-geebies watching my alien ebb and flow as my muscles flexed. I saw my doctor and nurse practitioner on Wed. to check my white blood cell count and to check in. Appearantly I am able to take everything from Aleve to Vicodin for pain. What the hell? Why did it take them this long to tell me that? Cause the Claritan did not help the bone pain at all. I am also clear to take pyridium or any over the counter bladder pain control pills to fight the burning from the chemo. I'm feeling good. I pop out of bed at 5 am and start my morning. Anyone who knows me well knows that is so not normal for me, but I love having alone time in the house before my family wakes up. Next week we leave for Yosemite on vacation. Can't wait!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 8: Round 2 Chemo...Another Bump In the Road

So, it all became clear to me last night why I was feeling so badly this round. Why even yesterday I had stabbing pains in my lower back and got tired by the end of the day. As the little pieces began to add up I found myself huddled in a ball on my bed, under a heavy blanket, and shiverring. I had a fever of 100.3, low grade. A damned bladder infection! I just knew it. Sure enough the doctor on call agreed and called my pharmacy with a prescription. Wow! Bladder infections for the normal gal are hell, but bladder infections on chemo are a whole different animal. This morning I'm a different woman. I will have to take the meds for a week, but already I can feel them doing their thing. I want to scream, what the hell? Will I get pummelled by every little thing along this journey through cancer? But, alas I know the answer to that question...yes. That is what chemo does. It strips the body of all its own defences. I'm adding to my list of NO's: No sushi, No shaving, No teeth cleaning...NO SEX! That's a big one for me, sorry Erich. But its time to battan down the hatches (no pun intended), hunker down and fight, fight, fight. I have been complaining a lot these last few days, so I am going to have a long overdue pedicure today with Stacey and Lupe. I'm excited to smell toxic nail fumes and flip through trashy magazines while kibitzing with a couple of my gals. Then, if I have the energy, I am taking my van to be washed inside and out. Those of you with small children understand what a luxury this task is. I am cherishing the little things today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 7: Round 2 Chemo Kicked My Ass

Round 2 went to the chemo. I was not prepared to hurt so much, feel so utterly alone, and wonder if I could ever be the same after all of this. For me I can tell each chemo will build upon the previous one. This time around the mouth pain and GI pain was better. The bowels were good. Day 6, I need to remember just not to eat. But, damn that bone pain that just radiates, well...from the core of your bones, is just merciless. And, this time for added fun my bladder condition sparked up. Like butane flowing through my bladder. Night 4, and days 5 & 6 will be my hurdles. I will consult with my doctor about a bladder pain pill. In addition, I'm thinking of suiting myself with an adult diaper and consuming an entire "green edible." I'll wake up when it's over. Erich doesn't think he can watch me do that. The only thing I wanted was my mommy. I just wanted to crawl in her bad and put my head in her lap. I was already having my own pitty party by this time, wondering if anyone really needs to be so sick that they can't wipe their own ass at our age? But then I though about my mom and the fact that she no longer has a mommy to soothe her in times of need. And I cried even more. I am stronger today. I'm out of bed and will pick up the kids from school today. Round 2 over, 4 more to go. I can do this!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 6: Round 2 Chemo...I Spoke Too Soon

I was blindsided Friday night and Saturday. I went dooowwwnnnn. The Claritan D doesn't help the bone pain enough. It feels like I have been beaten, but I need to move quickly all night long. Mom suggested a hot bath in the middle of the night (remember that for next round). This time my bladder fell apart. Imagine butane flushed through your bladder. That can't happen again. I will ask about pyridium to knock out bladder pain. So, Friday night was pain and sleep and sweats. Saturday was sleep from having been in so much pain Friday night. I must watch the 4th night and the 5th day and have lots of help. Erich fell apart alone, it's too big a job to care for me and care for the kids. I'm so happy to feel like I can sit up! I'm gonna watch soon television.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day: Round 2 Chemo

Wow! What a difference steroids make. They make me loopy and wake up at 3am, but they really help with the fatigue. My mouth, throat, and GI system are much better also; same symptoms but to a lesser extent. Wed. I spent running around like I was on crack. I just love the effects of one of the anti-nausea meds, it's the only time I feel like I really have pep. So, amped on meds, I hit Target, TJ Maxx, and Kohls in about 2 hours swooping up all their cute hats. Afterwards I was off to the "spa" for fluids and Neaulasta shot. Sat between one woman who has been fighting lung cancer for the past 8 years and another who needs to be fitted with a feeding tube because she won't eat. My heart goes out to these warriors.

Yesterday and today I am on the couch resting, but pleasantly this round. My mother came to care for me yesterday and I gotta say it was wonderful to spend my day with my head and my feet in her lap. Since I became a mom I've forgotten what it feels like to need my own mommy. I learned you are never to old. Today a few of the Sassies are coming over to visit and bring my family food. I am so thankful for all my loved ones near and far who continue to want to help and send good wishes. I feel like the richest woman in the entire world.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 1: Round 2 Chemo

Good news! The BRACA (genetic testing for breast cancer) tests were negative. This is very good news for me; not so large of a chance I could get cancer in the other breast or in my ovaries. ALso good news for my mother, her sisters, and their daughters. I will discuss statistics of getting cancer in other breast anyway with doctor next Wed. Spent 5 hours today at the spa (chemo lab). I reclined in my lazy boy, draped my hand knitted prayer shawl around me drank 6 cups of water even though I received 2 liters through my IV, and read & watched tv. This time the Benedryl has made me sleepy and I was nauseated on the way home. I'm in bed now ready for the decline. My white blood cell count continues to be high, which is good. As long as I respond well to the Neulasta I will stay healthy through this process. Port hurts. In order to insert tack into it the nurse had to press down on my 1 week old incision. Ouch. By next week it will be healed and I can get it wet and lift weights. No hair loss to report today. I will go back tomorrow for 2 more liters of fluid and the Neulasta shot.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 22: The Day Before Chemo Round 2

I have found myself anxious and a bit depressed today. I'm not looking forward to another round of chemo but I have faith that it will be even easier this round because I am prepared with a few more preventitive meds this time. For instance, today I started Miralax, which I will take daily until day 9. This will prevent stool impaction, which took me down big time on day 3 last round. I also started a steroid (Decadron 4mg) that I take twice in the morning and twice at night the day before and the day after chemo. And, my nurse pratitioner, Mary Grace, added Protonix (Prilosec) 40 mg daily day before chemo until day 9 for acid reflux, which appearantly is to blame for the painful swallowing and digesting of food day 4 through day 7. So, I may not experience the GI Blues this round! Ah the little things. My port is no longer hurting unless I bump it in just the right place. Ooww. This is good because tomorrow they will stick what looks like a large tack into the skin covering the flat round drum to administer chemo, IV fluids, Benedryl, Xanax, and to draw blood. My head is basically bald now with a few strands of hair left. Erich wanted to shave it all off, but I just couldn't. Let the few soldiers stand til they fall on their own. Arm and leg hair still securely fastend. So, tomorrow at 10am Erich and I hit the "spa." I really love the down time and the attention my nurse and nurse practitioner lavish on me. It really isn't bad. Tomorrow at this time I will be 2 rounds down and only 4 more to go. The end is in sight! Tonight Frederich had another bad sinus headache where he cried himself to sleep. I dosed him with medicine, put him in my dark room, climbed into bed and rocked him to sleep. I'm so glad I was well enough to do that. It's times like this I am most thankful. :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 20: "Like a Hairless Chiuaua..."

Wow! Losing my hair at a rapid rate. I have huge patches of bare skin on my head. It's less like Sinead O'Connor and much more like Kojack. My eyelashes are falling out and that makes me really sad. A woman I was talking to the other day confirmed what I had been thinking for a few weeks: It's almost imposible to get fake eyelashes to stay on your lids if you have none of your own to brace them. Shit! Eyebrows are thinning but hanging in there. My nether region is barer than I've ever seen it. Why the hell isn't my leg hair falling out? I can't shave in case I cut myself and bleed to death. hey just get longer and darker. Not fair! Kim Kardashian was quoted as saying she waxes her entire body and is "like a hairless chiuaua." Now I understand what she means. The creepy port in my arm is slowly feeling better. Pretty much it hurts only where the incision is healing. When I raise my right arm I no longer feel the catheter wiggle in my chest. The site is still sore and I'm not thrilled that they wll use this port on Tuesday for my second chemo round. Otherwise I feel good, lots of energy, sleeping well, eating too well (I've put on 4 pounds-hope round 2 takes care of that), and feeling very happy and lucky. Today we are celebrating Frederich's birthday, so, gotta go. Who loves ya babe?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 17: Vanity

Today's writings are all about my vanity. I broke down and bought 2 wigs yesterday. I'm trying to channel Demi, but she just had a different shaped head. My long oval is only made longer and more oval with lack of hair and the thought of pure skin soon only made me wanna cry. Great news on the plastic surgery front! I was doing research yesterday because mastectomy scars are horrific and reconstruction surgery left even more ugly scars and takes a year to complete. The thought of reconstructed nipples and tattooed areolas was really bringing me down. So, I came across a doctor in Beverly Hills who works out of Cedar Sinai with oncology surgeons who have mastered cutting around the areola and pulling out the breast tissue/tumor through the hole. They give you a tummy tuck and use the fat from that procedure to fill the breasts, and then if possible they save the nipple and areola and sew it back on. The result is a natural breast, no appearant scars, real nipples, and you wake up with breasts and a flatter stomach. Hot damn! Not quite the way I imagined I would get my cosmetic  surgery wishes fullfilled, but I'm looking on the bright side. Now if only I can find a way to sneak my eye lift surgery in.:)