Friday, November 27, 2009

Temporarily Disassembled...

Cam has disassembled our office & set up only 1 computer in the meanwhile of renovating the office space...

And with Suzanne visiting, there are 3 of us using 1 computer making it more difficult to get onto email etc. than all of us would like....

SO - if you're not hearing back from me, it's due to lack of access and not that I'm ignoring anyone!

Probably by Monday or Tuesday we should be back up to speed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

2nd Chemo progress report

Chemo was at 3pm on Tuesday. Felt fine going home and, sadly, gorged on a spaghetti & caesar salad dinner. I have learned that is NOT the best choice for a post-chemo meal...will be choosing something a little lighter next time.

So I did take all my anti-nausea meds, and I was still what I describe as "almost nauseous". It felt sort of like it did around 11pm at the Halloween party, where I knew I had just sipped one sip too many of my green apple ciders and if I didn't make myself throw up at that point, I would be doing so regardless later without a choice having been made. So, graphic as it sounds, at the party, I made myself throw up (in the privacy of the bathroom - and the bright side being that I was wearing my funky long red wig and rather than require a girlfriend to hold my hair back, I simply removed it for the process....)

OK - well that was a bit of a gross tangent.... HA HA, and the relevant part being that Tuesday night I sort of felt like I wanted to make myself throw up as I thought losing the spaghetti dinner might help me out of the "almost nauseous" mode - BUT - I didn't do it because I didn't want to start something that I might not be able to stop. So I sucked it up - and I haven't felt that way since. I'm feeling normal (as is possible for me....).

Also, I have WAY less hair now than I did in the previous photo post, but I'm not going to bother posting another picture until it's all gone. Not much more seems to be coming off so my guess is that the first round of chemo got 3/4 of the hair and the last stubborn 1/4 will come off around the same time into the cycle (day 15) as it did the first time. At this time, I still have eyebrows, eyelashes (the good hair) and all the unwanted hair as well - although growth seems to have slowed down - less armpit shaving these days and still have that damned stubble on my legs!

Soon, my house will be unrecognizable to you. Cam is working harder now that he's unemployed than he was when he had an off-site workplace... My living room has laminate and soon the dining room and spare rooms will as well. New paint for all, plus new carpet for the stairs and hallway. And new flooring for the kitchen - I'm angling for updated lino, Cam's hoping for tile which I've vetoed but for some reason is still under discussion... then, new cupboards - and Cam also has a bee up his butt for replacing our bathroom countertops, which I think are fine but he hates. Low priority though. We are 'clean sweeping' as we go and will update furniture etc. after the renos depending on the employment & $$ situation. Thank goodness for line of credit! lol

But it's a catch 22 - whenever everyone's working & the money is flowing, there is NO time. When you've got the time, the money isn't flowing.... for those that do birthday / Xmas gifts for us, Home Depot & Ikea certificates would NOT go unappreciated! Nor would massage certificates from wait - that's just for me - Cam would HATE that.... LOL

Short summary: side-effects tolerable so far, but since I've been thoroughly warned that this is cumulative, I'm fully expecting them to be progressively less so. Expecting worse, but hoping for best! That way there are no surprises. Cheers!

Friday, November 20, 2009

GI Jane...

So Wednesday night I spent an hour fingercombing my hair and thereby removing half of it. So I still had hair left, that looked sort of okay with some careful combing - so I wore a hat out and carried on.

Thursday night, Cam and I went to bed and I couldn't get comfortable because my scalp felt irritated. So lying in the dark just as we're meant to be falling asleep, I asked Cam if he would help me cut my hair off because it was bugging me.

So up we got and pulled out the clippers, and the first bit Cam watched with fascination as I was clipping my hair off, then he took over. At the end, my hair felt REALLY cool - of course I've always loved the feel of a buzz cut under my hand, but I had never felt it with my OWN hair.

Then I had a shower, and OH MY GOD - ladies, one of the best feelings in the world is showering with a bald (or almost bald) head! Now maybe my experience is a little enhanced since I forked out the $100 at the PNE for one of those giant showerheads that is like a foot in diameter and rains down on you, however, it felt wonderful! I said to Cam from the showerstall "No WONDER you take forever in the shower!!). I love a scalp massage and so I thoroughly enjoyed my new 'do' while showering. And so I was feeling pretty good about myself until I tried going back to bed.

I was laying on the pillow thinking that the stupid hair feels like I am sleeping on thousands of toothpicks. So that kind of counteracted the great effect of the shower. I think it's because my whole scalp is feeling really sensitive. I commented to Cam that perhaps it would have been better to use a shorter setting, or perhaps to have shaved it completely. He assured me that I wouldn't have liked it because he has had experience with that feeling and called it 'Velcro Head' - which also didn't sound appealing.

Of course, when ALL my hair falls out I will have no issue with Velcro Head or otherwise, however, right now, it doesn't feel great (except in the shower) AND it doesn't look great either. Although Cam and I had some fun trying to get a decent picture to show off my buzz cut, it was after many many shots that I was unhappy with before I finally realized that it would be like getting blood from a stone - if you don't actually look good, you aren't going to get a good picture now are you??? This struck my funny bone and I started laughing & laughing & laughing until tears were streaming down - and all the while Cam was snapping pictures. It didn't help - now I just looked terrible while I also looked ridiculous and had my mouth wide open and tears streaming down my face.

I finally got one shot that I was half decently okay with - which I am posting for your viewing pleasure....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And so it begins...

I had a bit of a headache this evening so I was rubbing my head while reading. Handfuls of hair were coming away between my fingers.

Here we go!!! When I'm bald, I'll post a pic.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chemo progress report

So, it's been 5 days since I had my first chemo. They prescribe heavy anti-nausea meds and give you a strict schedule to take them for the first couple of days. I followed it faithfully. The also give you an 'as needed' prescription and told me to take a pill if I feel ANY hint of nausea, as it is much easier to stay ahead of than try to catch up on.

The first couple of days I felt okay - not great, but not terrible either. I did take a few of the 'as neededs'. For the most part, I have had very few side effects - although I did have a 'thick' feeling in my mouth for a day, and my bacon sandwich didn't taste fantastic like usual.... But I had Chinese food on Thursday night, and enjoyed it (except for the heartburn later on).

I feel fine now without seeming to need any anti-nausea meds, although I did wake up at 7:30 this morning and then went down for a 2 hour nap at 9:30.... so perhaps a little fatigue is catching up on me.... OR, I'm just a lazy be-otch.... which isn't completely out of the realm either!

It's been nice having Cam home with me. I'm not really sure why since he's holed up renovating our bedroom and I'm napping in the other room.... but when I DO wake up, I can poke my head in and check his progress and say hello. He says he's building me a nest.... it looks gorgeous. New laminate flooring and fresh paint.

My head has been tingling. I'm guessing that is a sign that my hair might start falling out fairly soon. But, as you all know - I am fully prepared for that.... I've been advised that when my hair grows back, I should dye it red.

I've been told that ill effects of chemo are cumulative, so as time goes on, I will likely feel progressively worse - but for NOW, I feel fine! Next week is my 'low immune' week where I have to be extra careful not to get an infection.

I'm trying to keep up with some small level of exercise - so far, mostly by walking the dogs. But when the weather turns really evil, I plan to make the most of my treadmill.

I think that's it for now. I'm sure many of you have been concerned with how my week has been, so I figured it would be a good idea to provide an update. :-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1st chemo done - 7 to go...

Well - easy peasy so far. Arrived at the hospital at 1:25, they called me in at 1:30 (my appt time) & a very nice nurse explained the process & 'accessed my port' (which means stabbing a ginormo needle into it that they can hook up the drugs to). We walked out of there at 3:30.

So far, so good - other than feeling a little light-headed due to one of the anti-nausea meds, I feel ok. I am on a hefty regime of anti-nausea meds that is aimed at staying ahead of any potential nausea. If it works, I theoretically won't feel sick.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't feel like crap. But perhaps just not nauseous... Will keep you posted and will try to keep the gory details to a minimum! (you know, like that close-up pic of my port... ha ha)

Monday, November 2, 2009

What a 'Port' looks like..

Well, I told you all what a Port was in an earlier post. In having discussions since then, many don't really get what it is - so I'm going to show you.

Basically, there is a triangular object under my skin that is appx 1/2" in depth that has a rubber type covering that a needle can puncture to get the chemicals in, but when the needle is pulled out, the rubber covering seals back up again. There is a tube from that 'port' that has already been inserted into a vein in my chest. so when the needle goes into me, it isn't going into a vein - it is going into the rubber thing in my chest which is already in my vein. (I know, it sounds and is gross).

The first picture is the one to give you an idea of where it is located on my chest and how big it is to scale. Then I zoomed in on it to give you the full grossness of it - complete with the leftover adhesive from the bandages that look like boogers on my chest. (I was going to photoshop it out, but then decided it was grosser - and funnier - with them in....)

Enjoy!!! lol


This is me without a wig:

So - the most fun ever to be had is wig-shopping.... for the first 2.75 hours. The last 1/4 hour gets a little harder when you're starving....

Giuli and I spent 3 hours at Abantu on Kingsway trying on mostly every wig they have (including a dreadlock wig).

They had a 'buy one get one 50% off' sale and we took full advantage (meaning I bought 5 and she bought 1).

I knew I was getting a really cute blonde bob style from a friend so I didn't look at many blonde wigs at the store - so now I have the full range.

I decided to take the 'before' picture AFTER I'd had all the other photos taken - so my hair looks slightly 'used' in the non-wig pic... ha!

So here are all my new looks...... (drumroll please.....)

So, any neighbours reading this will think Cam is having affairs like crazy when they see a different women come home with him every day!

I still have my hair and I already wore the smooth red wig out to dinner tonight!

Wigs are FUN FUN FUN!

To see ALL my wig shots, go to the Picassa Web Albums link on the right & select that album.