Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I just posted some renovation pictures so if you want to see my new kitchen, click on the Picassa Web Albums link on the right side of the screen.

Also, my blood count was good today so I'm on for my final chemo tomorrow as per normal.

Has it really been 5 months? Bizarre.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Radiation update.

Met with my radiation oncologist this morning. She told me that 4 out of 5 of the oncologist she polled recommended the radiation (sounds like a toothpaste commercial). The 5th one was 'on the fence'.

I had already decided to go for the radiation with the logic being that I originally had planned only a lumpectomy which automatically comes with radiation. If I hadn't done the last-minute switch to the mastectomy, the radiation wouldn't have been in question, so what's the diff now? She said that there is a small layer of breast tissue under the skin that will benefit from the radiation.

Also, they zap my lymph nodes above the breast area. I was thinking they would zap under my armpit, but then she mentioned that THOSE ones have already been removed. Makes sense.... zap ones that are still there.

So, I'm having my 'measuring' appointment on the 28th of April and then will start radiation a week or so after that.

I have been feeling okay. My feet are more numb this time, and now my hands are tingly too. Not debilitating, but like pins and needles. I had less pain this time, but longer tingling. I'm just hoping this is temporary and not permanent....

And, the ability to head off to Desert Hot Springs is becoming a reality - I've been wheeling and dealing my appointments so I can make this happen. And wouldn't you know it, this is the time when my hair is growing back..... just in time for me to be wearing a bathing suit! What a rip. Now I'll have to worry about my bikini line....dammit. OR, not worry, and hope the old folks don't have eyesite that astute.... !

Of course, if I don't get my eating under control, the bikini area will be the least of my worries...since I won't be able to see it... Yah - ok, it's not THAT bad, and I did hire a personal trainer to help me get back on track, so it won't be long until I look as good as Jennifer Aniston... a fellow forty year old... (HA - IN MY DREAMS)...

On a different note, I have taken to chastising the bird lately. NO that is not a euphism for some kind of dirty phrase.... I mean literally yelling at the bird to stop teasing the dog. Cooper is altogether too interested in the birds and will leap at the cage to try to get at them. But I have noticed lately that my conure will purposely climb down near the bottom of the cage to be right at head level with the dog and taunt him. The first while, Cooper was the one getting in trouble "NO BIRD". But once I realized the bird was teasing him, now the bird gets the crap. Damn kids - always fighting....

Anyway, until next time!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chemo # 7, done

Arrived at chemo at 8:25 Wed morning.... was supposed to be there at 8:15 - OOPS.... Since it was 'snaining' this morning, I guess everyone on Fraser Hwy decided it was a good idea to come to a complete halt. No one chastised me, everyone is really nice at the cancer centre.

Left the cancer centre at 2pm after spending the day listening to fire alarms and interhospital message beeps constantly. Once my pre-meds (ie, heavy dose of Benadryl) kick in, I pretty much zone out and sleep. Fire alarms make this a very difficult task. At least this time, I was able to keep from snoring (I think). OK, I'll revise...this time I didn't wake myself up with snoring...I may have been doing it more discreetly. I can live with the snoring but the drooling is more embarrassing.

I remember once in grade 12, I was in the library and fell asleep with my head on my hands on a table, and when I woke up there was a big pool of drool on the table. GROSS! lol

It is also clear that with the combination of other drugs I get and the fact that I sleep quite a lot on chemo day, that I get insomnia immediately after chemo. Hence, posting in the middle of the night.

These different drugs I'm on now definitely don't affect hair loss the same way as the previous ones did, as my hair is growing back now. Cam is fond of pointing out that I have a little extra pouf of hair growing on the back of my head - probably didn't shave it evenly last time, so now I have a mini tail in the middle at the back. So, hate to say it, but guess I'm going back to hairy testicle head again.... ALTHOUGH, it may not be so bad since the hair isn't sparse.... Or is that now just an Italian's hairy testicle head? (can I get in trouble for stereotyping here...?)

I think I said I wasn't going to say testicle anymore....but I don't remember for sure. Along with other things... like not paying my Mastercard bill which is the largest one we've ever had thanks to the renos. But I did some whining to them and they reversed the interest. And NO, surprisingly, I did not need to play my cancer card. I would have though, if needed. I have to take all the crap that comes with cancer, so I'm trying to milk all the good that comes of it too.

Which reminds me, I received a link regarding free housecleaning for cancer patients so I think I might look into that more now that the renos are reigned into a reasonable level. (meaning I actually HAVE a kitchen now. Yes, I will eventually post pictures, but there are some finishing touches to be done on it before I take pics. I LOVE MY NEW FLOOR! (linoleum that looks like slate tiles)

I've been sporting a bald head more and more frequently these days. Usually I've forgotten to put on a head covering (no surprise there) - but also, it WAS a lot warmer the last couple of weeks and so it wasn't appealing to grab a hat or wig. It depends on how incognito I feel like going.

So when you are a bald woman, you tend to attract attention, and when I have CHOSEN to go bald, I will often take some time to notice people's reactions to me, particularly kids. Nothing exciting or funny has happened - it's just a good opportunity to people-watch. When I have FORGOTTEN to put on a head covering, I am usually in a rush and don't pay attention to anyone's reactions, however, sometimes I am approached, as I was at Save-On the other day when the sample lady asked me if I'm going through treatment because she just finished hers for thyroid cancer (33 years old!). So we had a short gab & she wished me luck and asked me to pop back in for a visit to give an update.

I had heard from a few people that you can make some 'chemo friends' - or 'cancer friends', but I haven't really had that opportunity. The chemo schedule is interesting - I never see the same people twice. I once emailed about a support group back in the fall, and they told me the next one started in January - but no one ever contacted me about it then, so I didn't bother, and furthermore, I realized I don't really need a support group. I have all YOU guys, supporting me and loving me and sending wonderful wishes and thoughtful emails my way. I am very lucky to have such a large group of people who care about me. Thanks, everyone!

I receive emails of support very frequently and they are ALL appreciated - short and long, email is a great way for me to stay connected and to keep Cam off my back for being on the phone all the time.

But, I have run off on a tangent from the original point. Going bald is NOT incognito - but often, neither is wearing a long flowing red wig.... so when I want to go 'normal' I always wear the short brown with blonde streaks wig (mom's favourite, Cam's least favourite). That wig looks the most like my 'real hair' - so it bothers me that Cam doesn't like it... I mean WHAT is up with that? He must hate my real hair. Well, I shouldn't complain, I generally hate it most of the time too.... although, I will likely appreciate it a little more after this experience! He actually doesn't like it because he says it looks like a particular reality show star's hair and I'm not saying who it is so that any of you who don't think the same think now and it never crossed your mind won't say 'OH YAH - and then that's all you'll think of when you see me wearing that wig'.

It might be silly, and I'm sure Cam regrets saying anything at all about it, but when I used to automatically reach for that wig as my 'normal' wig, once I found out that he doesn't like it, I always hesitate before putting it on. I can throw it on when I'm going out in the day, but when he's around, I tend to grab a different wig - because who wants to put on something her husband dislikes? (unless you're fighting..... HA) - but then, I can always just throw his lunch into the backyard for the dog.... oh wait a minute - another tangent there....

As you can see, I am randomly typing in the middle of the night because I have nothing better to do, but unfortunately, any of you reading this MIGHT think there would be something worth reading and then get sucked into this long diatribe of nothingness when you actually have busy and working lives to attend to..... SUCKERS!!! ha ha ha

I ordered a new camera from Airmiles and it arrived today. I'm looking forward to learning all it's 'ins and outs'. It is a true point and shoot - I'll leave the complicated stuff up to Cam with his 70 pound camera and seven hundred lenses. (slight hyperbole there....)

Anyway, despite the 'snain' this morning (that's snow and rain for any who didn't pick that up), the rest of the time the sun has been mood-lifting - although I have not really taken good advantage of it.

I am trying to sneak away to Palm Springs (actually Desert Hot Springs) for a couple of weeks between chemo and radiation just for a 'mental rest'. It has been harder to organize than I thought due to various doctor's appointments and heart scans and boob fill-ups etc. They are really trying to thwart me and I REALLY NEED A HOLIDAY. That might sound weird to those of you still working - and don't get me wrong - I am enjoying having time off even if it was due to cancer - but time off kicking around the house, especially a house torn apart with renos and being tied to the hospital / doctor's office is NOT as much fun as you might hope for....

My inlaws are taking me - I'm really looking forward to it. My dad-in-law keeps asking me if I'll be able to handle all the old folks. I told him I'd fit right in with my knitting and talk of curling (and perhaps translate that to shuffleboard). I'm already an old woman mentally - I'm hoping I'll get there physically too, but anyway, I love playing cards and that's what old people do, right?? LOL more stereotyping. They will probably be wilder than me because they can let their hair down.... OR, can it be said that mine is already EXTREMELY let down??!!??

Anyway, I will sign off now - if any of YOU suffer insomnia, you can thank me for curing you later... For that matter, it's up to you other bloggers (you know who you are) to post some long dumb and boring post to help me fall asleep!!!

Love to all!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Musings: Olympic Irony, among other things

So, Cam just got home from work to find me sitting on the ONE space available on the couch and watching Holmes on Homes while sorting out dog food. Yup - when you have time available in the day, you can handpick through mixed dog food to find the minisculely different pieces that were mixed into it that you suspect made your dogs sick - because you paid $70 per bag of the 'good stuff' and thought you'd save a few bucks by mixing in the 'unknown' stuff that your dog won at a flyball tournament.

So, instead of throwing it away, and instead of feeding it again on the hopes that maybe it wasn't that food mixed in causing the problem, I have spent numerous hours going handful through handful to pick out the 'bad' bits..... But hey - why not when you're wasting your time watching TV anyway - at least this way I feel like I'm getting something accomplished while doing it. Which also leads me into the Olympic Irony - however, I will get to that in a minute.

So, getting back to my situation, I decided that since Cam was home, I would start dinner and to do that, needed to wash my hands since they were busy digging into dog food.... SO, to make a long story even longer, I went into the washroom to wash my hands and heard the tub running. OH CRAP!!! Since I have no sink in my kitchen due to renovations, I have had to do dishes in the bathtub. Earlier in the day - and I'm talking like at LEAST and hour - I decided to do the dishes and turned the tub on. Then I closed the door behind me because Cooper loves to play in the bathtub and so I didn't want him jumping in with my dirty dishes. Needless to say, my chemo brain promptly forgot all about me turning the tub on.

So, I am happy to report that the drain at the top of the tub under the faucet is a VERY effective way to make sure your tub doesn't overflow..... the water was right at the top, but never overflowed. And, naturally, I had run the hot water tank completely out - so I was now pouring ice cold water into the tub. Yesterday, I left a message with the city to have a water meter installed instead of paying a flat rate. I'm wondering if I should wait until chemo finishes before doing that, or we'll go broke.... hmmmmmm

Anyway, back to the Olympic Irony..... 17 days of hailing the world's BEST athletes - admiring their dedication and athleticism and endurance.... all from the comfort of my ass planted firmly on the sofa to see it all. I'm thinking to myself 'gee, I feel kind of sloth-like - I should get out and get some exercise - BUT - I might miss the figure skating - or perhaps one of the 3 games per day of curling they were playing'. And when you think that curling games are 3 hours each and they played 3 games per day, that is NINE hours of curling per day - nevermind any of the other sports....

So, I loved the Olympic experience - the Opening Ceremonies were FANTASTIC, the closing ones were kind of lame in my opinion, but the opening ones made up for it. I loved being able to attend one curling game and loved watching the Men's curling team win gold (plus the other 13 golds too - Yay Canada & the gold medal record). But now that I have spent 17 days cheering for our countries best athletes and what good shape they are in, I now can get up off the couch and start to do something constructive (other than dogfood sorting).

Chemo brain is a real thing - most times it makes me laugh, but sometimes I want to cry because I feel so dumb. The other night I was talking on the phone to my sister who asked me if I had been asked to curl that night (a night that we often get asked to spare). I said no. Then an hour later, I wandered by my computer at 7pm only to see a note on the reminder label that I was supposed to curl at 7pm as a spare. ACK - I quickly called the curling rink to let them know I forgot, but sis bailed me out by jumping in her car & going to cover for me since she lives very near to the rink and I am across town from it....

Previous to that, I had forgotten to show up for my oncologist appointment. And now I've forgotten that I turned the bathtub on. Sheesh. These are the 'major' things - let's not forget the gazillion minor things I've forgotten about. Oh wait - I forgot them already.... Maybe next post... !!

Other than chemo brain, I am not suffering many physical issues except for lack of sleep. And right now, spring has sprung and my allergies are going crazy so I've had to take antihistamine which makes me tired. If it's not one thing......

Anyway, before I started this post, I was on my way to make dinner - and so I should get onto that before I forget.