Fourth Chemo

Today was the last day of my every other week chemo. YEA!! No more red colored pee or nasal congestion. Next week I go for a mammogram and an ultrasound to see how things are progressing— or would that be digressing? Meaning- the lump would be getting smaller. I KNOW it is shrinking. I really want to celebrate of this round but I kind of want to be awake and not nauseous when I do celebrate. On Oct 13th I will start chemo every other week. It will just be one drug and I am told it won’t be as hard on me.

My good friend Connie took me today. Connie is one of my former adjusters and a very good friend. She shared her vacation pictures with me. She and her hubby went toured Notre Dome campus. I love the traditions and history of the campus. They then went to Niagara Falls. That is on my to do list. I’m so jealous!! Her pictures were amazing.

Last night we had movie night at church. We saw Facing The Giants. If you haven’t seen it, see it!! It is an amazing movie.

Hopefully this week won’t be as hard as the last chemo. I’m thinking positive thoughts. God has this. He will get me through this week. He does it because He can.

Dexter The Cat

Mary has many cats and when I say many I mean four. She has always been a cat girl. We always had a cat in our house growing up and I think she has always had a cat in her house. Mary adopted Dexter last Christmas. It wasn’t that she didn’t already have a cat–she had two Bootsie and Miss Kitty– she just wanted another one. Dexter is a long haired yellow tabby. From the moment I met him I loved him. I walked up the stairs to Mary’s bedroom and was met at the top by Dexter. He purred around my legs like we were old friends. If I stop by and he’s outside, he comes running when I call him. I would steal him if I could get away with him.

Mary always has a great antidote about Dexter. He isn’t your typical cat. He doesn’t act like your average cat. Dexter thinks he’s a dog. He loves to roll in the dirt then walk in through the cat door to track muddy paw prints over the hardwood floors and Mary’s white couch. Dexter is like a hunting dog. He’ll bring in the catch of the day— frogs, birds, bunnies– whatever is the animal of the season. The other day he brought in a bird. Mary and her family were sitting down for supper when Dexter padded in. Mary thought he had a sock in his mouth. When she realized it was a bird, she pulled Dexter’s tail. When she pulled Dexter’s tail he opened his mouth to meow. When Dexter opened his mouth to meow he dropped the bird. When Dexter dropped the bird, Sami’s kitten Sasha went after it. When Sasha went after it, she didn’t know what to do with it. The bird flew behind the couch. Fortunately Dutch rescued the bird who was unharmed. They opened the door and the bird flew out just to be hit by a car. Ok that last part was a lie. I thought it needed a better ending to the story besides it flew into freedom.

Honesty

I just reread my post from Monday and I started to regret having posted it. I hate being a whiner and that’s all I did in that post. I then remembered that this is what this blog is about– being honest about having cancer. I could sugarcoat chemo and cancer but how honest is that? And if you know me at all, you know I’m honest to a fault. Cancer sucks. Chemo sucks.

This week has been brutal. The oncologist said there’d be days like this. He should have said weeks. I never knew a person could sleep so long get up for an hour and then sleep so more. I also never thought I’d go for long without wanting to eat. Nothing has sounded good.

I know this is just temporary. I know that I won’t always feel like this. I just have to keep telling myself that. I also have to stop feeling guilty about wanting to sleep and not fold towels. To stop feeling guilty about not working and watching reruns of The Love Boat. Guilt runs in my family. I think Mom and Dad planted guilt in us when we were born. I feel guilty about being guilty!! Guilty for not cleaning my room, guilty for not listening to my parents, guilty for not liking someone, guilty for not being good enough. Just guilty. And now I am feeling guilty for feeling lousy. My house is messy and I feel guilty. Now- don’t ya’ll come running over to clean! Jarl is weird about others cleaning our house. He and Chris don’t see it. I’m starting a new game. It’s like from Sesame Street — one of these things doesn’t belong. It’s called several of these things don’t belong in this room.

Sept 21st- Chris did dust and vacuum for me!! He totally understood about the things in the living room that didn’t belong. After he picked up and put away those things he came back and dusted. I should have known had detailed he would be when dusting. He then vacuumed. I am so proud of him. He’s my favorite son!!

Sept 22- I went to work today. Although it exhausted me, I’m glad I went. I need to push myself more. Getting up and dressed and putting on my hair went along way to making me feel better. I thought I looked pale and told Jarl I thought I look sick. My darling husband reminded me that I am sick. Well duh– but I didn’t want to look it!! Maybe I should start tanning… Or maybe I’ll start wearing clown makeup… I could get a clown wig too. OR— get one of every Halloween mask at Wal-mart. I could be someone different everyday. Spiderman today, Hello Kitty the next. Hmmm…it’s a thought.

I Don’t Wanna Do This Anymore

I hate being a whiner. I really want to be positive and upbeat and a trooper. But right now I really don’t want to do this anymore. I woke this morning with a headache and it went downhill from there. My friend Laurie took me to chemo. She is an awesome friend and would do anything for me. Laurie and I go way back to when she was an adjuster and I was her assistant. We became fast friends and have seen each other through a lot. Health scares, autism and teenagers. Her kids are in everything- volleyball, football, band, basketball, baseball. When we do get to go shopping together we end of either hiding from salesmen behind displays or singing Bob The Builder. Because she is so busy we have a date set for shopping when her youngest graduates in 2018.
Anyway– I forgot to put my numbing cream on my port so it hurt a little. My white blood cell counts were good as was my blood pressure. I had to suck on ice chips which I am really starting to hate. They’re cold and have no taste. Laurie and I watched Move Over Darling with Doris Day and James Garner which was probably the highlight of my day. When the second drug kicked in, my head and nose filled up. Since I already had a headache it made it worse. Laurie was awesome fetching ice and taking my snotty Kleenex. What a great friend!!! I had hoped to have lunch with her but all I wanted to do was go home. We picked up my prescription for Flonase that Hettinger thinks will help the congestion and Laurie took me home.
Jarl brought me a sandwich home from Back Alley Deli which was really good but I’ve been nauseous since. I took a couple naps. I am so tired of this. Yeah it hasn’t been that bad but when I’m going through the worst I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m tired of being fatigued. I’m tired of being bald. I’m tired of being nauseous. I’m tired of cancer. It sucks. I still have 13 treatments left, surgery and possibly radiation. What if the chemo doesn’t shrink the tumor? What if the surgery doesn’t get it all? What if I go through all this for nothing? I know I’m making people uncomfortable. I just made my dog Suzy uncomfortable when I cried on her. Tomorrow will be better. I’m just tired.

Hair Meltdown

Who would have thought there could be so much hair on my head? It was shaved to a half inch! It started over the weekend and it felt like I had gotten my hair cut and the cuttings were falling only they didn’t stop. By Monday morning I could just touch my head and would have hair on my hands. It sort of freaked Jarl out. LOL. It was in the shower Monday that I cracked. Hair was all over. It was on my hands, my arms, my face, in my eyes, my mouth and yes my belly button!! I couldn’t get rid of it. And the weird thing is there was still plenty on my head. I tried washing it off- no help. I tried toweling it off. Didn’t work. It was now all over the bathroom. Powder helped a little. It itched. How could I got to work like this?? Finally in a last ditch effort for results, I grabbed Jarl’s beard trimmer and set to work shearing the sheep that was my head. Somehow I was able to shave the front part of my head through the tears that were also falling. Time was ticking away and I had to decide if I was going to work. I finally jumped back in the shower to try to wash at least some of the hair off. I covered my body in powder in the hopes it would help any itching. Unfortunately I would not discover the hair in my belly button until later and it made for a long day!
When I got home after work and took off my wig Jarl said I looked like the Barbie doll from Toy Story where the kid Sid from next door shaves part of her head. I had little tufts all over the top of my head and the back looked like my 3 year old great niece Sophi shaved it. Actually, Sophi probably would have done a better job of it!!
My awesome husband finished the job for me. I now look like either Mr. Freeze or Egghead from Batman. I’m also in talks with a toy company who developed Wooly Willy the magnetic toy game where you put magnetic hair shavings on top of Willy’s bald head. We’re calling it Mohawk Marcia.

Two Down Only 14 To Go!!

We had to go to John Stoddard Cancer Center today since I would have had chemo here yesterday but it was a holiday. I have to say I’ll stick with Grinnell. There was ALOT of people in the oncology office. They call you back for labs and then you wait some more. It is interesting the different ages and backgrounds. Cancer isn’t choosy who it touches. It was the first time they used my port. It is awesome!!! I had put on the cream about an hour prior so It didn’t hurt at all. The lab tech (who was about as friendly as a brick) left the thingee (official word for a tube thing) so they didn’t have to prick me again. My labs were really good so Dr. Heddinger was pleased. Amy must have had the day off so I had Amber. What did I say about everyone’s name starting with A?? Amy was very sweet but looked about 16. After meeting with Heddinger, we headed up to chemo on the 5th floor. There are about a couple dozen chairs in their chemo suite along with six rooms with beds. The nurses are kept hopping. Across from me was an older gentleman who had already been there a while. Two hours later he was still there. A woman who had came in after me, left within 45 minutes. They come and they go. I was cold since I have to suck on ice chips for one of my drugs. They don’t have heaters in their chairs!! I’m glad I had my blanket. Jarl left to move the car closer (long story) leaving me to fend for myself. I had my laptop and a TV but nothing was on. I played Mah Jong. Jarl was gone for such a long time, I started to think he left me there He had stopped to eat!!! Say what? Yep! HE was hungry! I will not fault him but he could have at least brought me something!! We finally got out of there around 1:30. After a stop at Famous Footwear for shoes-Jarl found some, but I didn’t. They don’t carry many 9W- we went to pick up my cranial prosthesis– or in layman’s terms-wig, hair.
Jack and Zac are really great I’ve said it before. They make you feel like you’re the most important person and beautiful. Zac trimmed the bangs a bit, gave me a huge hug and we were on our way. If you ever need a wig for any reason, go to 409 Studio on Grand Ave in Des Moines.
Jarl said he’s gonna have to get used to it and Chris told me when we got home he liked it.
Wednesday– wasn’t able to finish this yesterday. I think I’ll try going into work. I do have to get my white blood booster shot this afternoon. Anxious to show off my new doo.

Top Ten Silver Linings To Cancer

Who knew that having cancer has silver lining? It’s true. I should know since I’m living cancer every day.

#10- Everyone is really, really nice to you. They have to be because you’ve got cancer! If they’re mean to you, people will talk and when I mean people I mean me. ;)

#9 Naps- I could probably nap at work and no one would care because— shhh she’s got cancer, let her sleep, poor thing. See #10.

#8 Weight loss. I’ve lost about 9 lbs in two weeks. Heck I can eat whatever I want (which isn’t much right after chemo) and still lose weight. Of course when I feel good I think I have to make up for lost time– let me tell you Reese’s Peanut Butter Oreo cookies are a must when on the chemo diet. YUMMMM

#7 You don’t have to cook– when you don’t feel good, you don’t feel like eating and when you don’t feel like eating, you don’t want to cook. People bring you food! And if people don’t bring you food, your husband orders take out. He’ll let you order anything you want since he wants you to eat. Side note– Dari Barn doesn’t deliver. :(

#6 Too tired to clean– this can also be a down side especially if your family is like mine. As long as there is a path way from the kitchen thru the living room to the bathroom/bedrooms Jarl thinks the house is clean. I am teaching Chris s-l-o-w-l-y how to do laundry and clean. He’s such a good boy.

#5 You get new hair and insurance pays for it!! Not that I don’t like the hair that God gave me, but lately (ok for several years) it’s had natural highlights that I really don’t like. And it never does what I want it to do. Now I can have some fun with scarves and my ‘cranial prothesis”. I can’t decided while wearing the scarves if I’m a gypsy or a pirate. I like my new hoop earrings I wear with them so I can do both. I don’t think I’d care much for a eye patch. I have hard enough time seeing as it is.

#4 You get an attitude of I don’t care what anyone thinks! At least I don’t. It’s kind of freeing. I can say whatever I want and who’s going to say anything? See #10. And I can do whatever I want and I don’t care– like karoeking (I hate that word). I didn’t care if I sucked at singing or not. I just did it. Did I suck??

#3- You get a great parking spot at work. Now usually I don’t mind walking a short distance from the car to the building, but this year we’re under construction and if you come in late you park waaaaayyy south of the building- like almost to Searsboro! Those suckers are gonna freeze this winter walking north to the building. Not me, my parking spot is right outside the door and right inside is the door to my bay and right inside that door is my cubical.

#2 You find out how awesome your co-workers are- I have the bestest. Vera, Lois, Brandy, Shannon and LaDonna. My boss Dara is pretty great too.

And the #1 reason cancer has a silver lining– People you don’t know pray for you! That is the bestest silver lining! People have told me they have put me on their church’s prayer chain and I’m in awe.
So there’s the top ten silver linings of cancer. Oh there are some big downs to having it but you know what, I’m NEVER gonna list them because they’re not worth it!!!