Monday, June 30, 2008


Today, aside from feeling tired I feel almost normal.
I hesitate to say it, but I do. The last few days have been almost easy.
I am going to do some gardening and some napping in the new lounge chair in the garden. I will write more later, I promise.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fatty Fatty Fat Fat Fat!!!!!!!

So, on the new chemo called taxol that I started on with the last round I sleep a lot less, have a ton more energy and far fewer side effects than the last chemo cocktail I was on... The painful finger tips and insanely sore back and legs seem to be a happy trade off for the mouth sores and digestion issues from before.

Yeah me!
Buuut.... now all the things I had no choice to avoid- a messy house, piles of unfinished paperwork, 10 -15lbs of weight gain....
The vain part of me is most upset about the weight gain. I have been eating as well as I can, but with the steroids, the chemo and the lack of activity I have gained weight faster than I could have if I had planned it intentionally. If I had known I would have had eggs benedict for breakfast, snacked on donuts and had pasta for dinner every day and at least had fun gaining this much this fast!!!
In 2001 when I was growing my business into a full time job and my son and I moved in with my mom I got fat for the first time in my life. I quit waitressing, quit smoking and sat at a computer building the business and unsuccessfully internet dating. In 2002 I woke up and realized I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life... That summer I worked hard to lose the weight and I went from a size 12 back to a size 6-8 and have stayed that way ever since.
Last week I took my summer clothes out, and could not do anything up.
If having cancer was not depressing enough, if feeling crappy all the time was not hard enough ... I have to deal with this? Is this God's idea of teaching me something?
If so, I don't get it!
As you know I feel pretty gross physically from all the chemo side effects. Everyday someone tells me I look good(and yes, EVERY time I want to punch them!) So let's analyze that shall we? I look good? as opposed to what? Looking like I could die any day now? Well, one reason my face looks good is that the chemo flushes my face with colour, puffiness, and fat... so I don't look pale and I have no wrinkles. Bald with puffy red cheeks may be a good look for a newborn but...
Oh, and the fact that I run a skin and makeup store, so I am an expert at fixing and hiding flaws on my face... and no one sees me on my worst days because I don't come out of the darned house!

Anyway, so clearly the first set off chemo drugs had me so knocked on my ass with side effects and exhaustion that I did not notice how much my body was changing. Now I have noticed I am annoyed.

Don't be surprised if you see me around town on my fun new bike, or using my son's new nordic walking poles trying to work some of the weight and frustration off. I guess, I am ultimately thankful that I have this newfound energy to even consider working out.
I have chemo #6 tomorrow, so we will see if I am right about the energy levels staying up...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

By request

Someone who is a regular on my blog comment list has asked me to tell about how I found my cancer so here is the story...
One night in late December I was getting undressed and accidentally hit myself in the left breast and felt something that was not right. I investigated and found a lump. I tried to express from my nipple(I used to have a hormone imbalance that made me produce milk, long b4 I breastfed my son, so it was a knee jerk reaction to finding the lump).
I found I could express blood. Without a second going by I was on the internet looking up info about the blood and called my girlfriend in Chicago and called Tim. I can't recall which order I did this in, but this is what I did. Tim and I agreed that I would call the doctor ASAP in the morning.
After dropping Luke off I was about to call the doctor and Tim called and said "why don't you just go straight there" So, I went to the doctors office, burst into tears in the waiting room and got put into a room to wait until the doc arrived. An intern saw me, and then the doc. Everyone agreed it was likely a cyst, but the blood was a concern, so they scheduled an ultrasound( I am too young to have mammograms yet) It took all the way through Xmas until early Jan for me to get an ultrasound, and within 15 minutes of getting the ultrasound they had me into mammogram and biopsy.
4 (or more, I was pretty upset by this point) biopsies later I felt like I had been mauled by a tiger and got sent home to wait for a week until the following Friday.
A week later I had heard nothing so I assumed things were ok and had a great weekend.
On the Monday I had my appt with the doc for follow up and had to take Luke with me as he was ill. As soon as I saw my doctor's face in the waiting room I knew I was wrong about being ok. We left Luke in the waiting room and he told me that the biopsies were positive, there were 3 lumps in my left breast, and something in the lymph area. I cried and was totally shocked when he said mastectomy was the best option over lumpectomy, and after then a few minutes I composed myself and collected my son to go to Tim's house and tell him.
The rest of the story is pretty easy.... specialists, surgery, recovery and chemo...
I will likely write later today about this new chemo.
It is no more fun than the last, but I am awake more.
I am off to plant a few things in the garden b4 I have to go to work, which I am dreading today, as my back is really really sore all the time from the new chemo..

Thursday, June 5, 2008

if drinking water hurts, then something is not right!

So, it is almost 3:30 am the night b4 chemo #5.
This chemo is a new drug regime for the next 4 treatments leading me to mid July.
I get a pile of steroids to take the night b4 and I am wired and wide awake.
This week won the prize for people saying the stupidest things to me in the store about my cancer. "Congratulations!" she came in and said... I said "for what?" she said " I hear you are doing well on chemo!". So, at this point I am gobsmacked, speechless... stupified... Congratulations? she has to be kidding.... here I am bloated, bald, with one boob, having no idea whether the treatments are working or not, whether the cancer has spread or not(not even my doctors know this right now)and I get Congratulations for doing WELL on chemo??? She even 'High fived' me for goodness sake. God help me keep my composure and not hit her back somewhere less socially acceptable I kept saying to myself.

So, tonight I am going to tell you the truth about chemo so you can decide whether I am "..doing well on chemo" or not. Beware, I have been mad about this for days and am awake in the middle of the night so this may be more honesty than you can take.
I think I have told you that there are no side effects on the official list that I have not had since this all started. Almost every side effect has some medication associated with it, I will leave it up to you to keep score on the number of meds I take.

1) Mouth and Throat sores- the inside of my mouth is constantly inflamed with painful sores. Some days a drink of water hurts to swallow. Think about that for a minute!? My throat regularly has sores in it that close it swollen shut so I cannot swallow. Last week a pill got stuck in my throat and would not go down for 5 minutes. I could not spit it up, I could not swallow it, I just had to try not to panic and hope it went down on it's own... fun huh?

2) Food, Digestion and the funny taste in my mouth- I can only eat things that don't hurt my mouth sores. My mouth has a horrible metally/ ash tray taste in it all the time so food tastes crappy. Almost everything gives me painful gastric reflux and burning indigestion. The first 5 days after chemo I take anti nausea pills like candy to keep from throwing up. The anti nausea meds have their own side effects. Even with a diet high in fibre and fluids I get horrible digestive issues from them. This leads to another set of side effects.

3) All things associated with the bathroom- Looking in the mirror sucks! I am bald, bloated and overweight(gaining 10lbs and 2 dress sizes is not normal in 2 months) I experience mind numbingly painful, tears streaming down my face, worse than childbirth constipation from the anti nausea meds. It hurts to pee from some other issues(see Menopausal symptoms)Brushing my teeth hurts(see mouth sores)All in all I hate the bathroom....

4) Menopausal symptoms- Temporary we hope, but I have them all.
Bed soaking night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes, loss of menses... go ahead look up menopause.. I have all the symptoms.

5) Exhaustion- last week I had one day when I slept for 20 hours! Some days it is only 3 naps in the daytime, but I have to sleep a lot! Climbing stairs hurts my legs and makes me out of breath- really I assume this is what being 80 feels like!

6) and on and on... joint pain,dry eyes, brittle finger nails, too much sleeping, wide awake on steroids, loss of appetite, can only consume liquids somedays etc etc...
I could go on forever.. but I think you get the point.
Chemo knocks me on my ass with hard core tiredness and side effects for roughly 10 days per month. I work 12 days a month( with side effects the whole time). I am in the hospital for 4 days a month for treatments and appointments. You do the math. A little work at the store and a lot of work getting healthy is more than a full time job!
So, now do you think I am "..doing well on chemo!"????????

and tomorrow,this new drug will give me all new side effects to learn how to go to war with...
God only knows what happens then.
G'night all!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

too tired

I was planning to write today but got nuts at the store. I have been working alone for 2 days and I am exhausted. We have a huge festival this weekend and I have chemo the day b4 so it will be one hell of a week.
I will write tomorrow I promise.