Monday, July 28, 2008

Swimming! Swimming! In the swimming pool!

Swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool
When days are hot, When Days are cold , in the swimming pool
Breast stroke, side stroke, fancy diving, too
Don't you wish that you never had
Anything else to do, but...
*A free Bath Bomb to the first 5 people who call
905 627 9379 or come by the store tomorrow( July 29
and sing that song to me*

I figured out that the last time I swam was just before my surgery in Feb. so today was a triumph! I was not allowed to swim in public pools while on chemo because the bacteria levels are too high for a compromised immune system. I am now on day 13 after my last chemo. I am still very tired, and expect to be for some time now, but I decided my immune system should be able to handle the pool.

I managed a veeeery slow 500 metre swim stopping every 2 lengths to catch my breath. I passed most of the old people, but the pregnant one was faster than me! I could only manage mostly breast stroke (can we find a new name for this one???) and some kicking drills My surgery arm is a bit of a hindrance in some strokes though and it will be sore tomorrow.

I was saying to Tim this week that the chemo pain from Taxol, was different from the pain from Neupagen, and they both are different from plain old -I overdid it at Pilates last night -muscle pain.The Chemo pains seem more poisonous to me... anyone else on chemo feel that?? I wonder what will happen moving forward...?

The best parts were.... A) Having the old old old people (who have been in that lane since b4 I was born and think they own the freakin' pool) in the slow lane staring at me wondering why I was there with them. I was armed and ready with the snappy comeback if anyone made a crack at me. Eventually I moved over to the medium lane because the old people could not swim in a straight line!

B) Just b4 the session was over I realized I was going to have no choice but to shower and change in front of people after the swim. I wondered, Do I warn them about the 8 inch mastectomy scar b4 I take my bathing suit off? Do I attempt to hide myself in the corner of the communal shower area? Or Do I just say screw it and shower and change like everything is normal? Well, once I remembered that I also have no pubic hair, I figured a combo of hiding and acting like everything is normal was the only choice. No one flinched thank goodness... but when the woman next to me in the shower started soaping up her big boobs and rubbing them round and round like a porn star in a shower scene (man, how dirty could her boobs be? I asked myself) I reeeeaaally wanted to turn to her with my hands on my hips and yell SHOW OFF! and storm away.

So, here I am sore and tired with my first swim in 6 months, and my first real workout in 4 months ( I managed a few workouts after my first chemo) ready for a mid afternoon nap, but I did it.

I have lots more to tell all y'all about the last few days since chemo ended, and I promise I will soon.

Cheers, N

Friday, July 25, 2008

3 disjointed thoughts

1) What I do not get is why my prosthetic has to be so damned heavy. It hurts my scar, it hurts my shoulder it is stupid! I am an perky A cup so having a pound of rubber on the one side is totally foreign. My prosthetic is an adhesive one (what a riot to have a stick on boob, let me tell ya) but they say it is too soon to wear it that way with such a new scar) Don't even get me started on finding a mastectomy bathing suit for competitive swimming! NOT one of the companies that makes suits for athletes make a mastectomy suit. Somehow doing a triathlon in a Sears or Lands End mastectomy suit will not seem right.

2) Today I had someone ( a total stranger who knows about me through my store I guess) asks me "how are you doing" and I said well chemo finished a week ago so it will be sometime until I feel normal again but today is a good day. She asked again "but you are fine now?" I gave her some answer but it upset me a lot. I was standing there bald, and clearly lopsided in my tank top, a week out of chemo and some stranger wants me to tell them that I am healthy????

WTF???? Yes dear stranger lady, my boob grows back a little each day, just like my hair and those cool doctors cured me with that magic medicine. It was just like a vacation really!

3) It has been one week since chemo finished. This emotional roller coaster is a whole new set of things I did not anticipate. I have no chemo to " look forward" to this coming week. I have no medical appointments, and no tests for another 3 weeks when I start the antibody I have to have for another year. My BF reminded me that since December when i found the lump, nothing has been normal and since I was working my busy season then it meant I had been working 50-60 hours a week for 7 weeks at that point- which of course is not normal. Soooo, that means that my life has been somewhere south of normal for damned close to 10 months.

So, I will blog more in the next few days, but I am not sleeping well and my feet and hands are all goofy and tingly from the Taxol. I am off to try and sleep.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I am a poet! ;p

‘Twas the night before chemo and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse
The steroids I set by the bedside with care
Praying that sleep might happen near there.

The night before chemo I like things all clean
From low energy ‘n-sore legs the house is a scene!
The kitchen is messy, the laundry a heap
When the steroids kick in, I'll clean and I'll sweep!

Tomorrow is Taxol I think with a shudder,
So glad that this drug is better than the others
The nausea! The mouth sores! The headaches! Oh my!
With Taxol I just need a wheelchair to get by

My stomach is yucky, all tied up in knots
I'll never get used to the pills and the shots
The doctors, they mean well but what do they know?
They should try it sometime, now that'd be some show!

Here's prune juice and flax seeds and bran flakes for you
I do hope this mixture will allow you to poo
If not then drink water and go to bed in tears
Don't worry your patients have been doin' this for years!

On barfyness, on tiredness, on painful fingernails
No side effect can take the wind from my sails
I'm bald and I'm fat, but what do I care?
I look in the mirror and it's ME standing there

This cancer it scares me but the end is in sight
Treatment's soon over and all will be right
I hope so, I pray so, I dream it will be
‘cause chemo is a nightmare I don't care to repeat!

Hot Flashes? Or Cramps??

So today's plan is to go and yell at my doctors for not making it clear that my "chemopause' (chemically induced menopause) may be permanent and that they should have told a woman of childbearing age that this could be the case... the funny thing? I think I am getting menstrual cramps... not sure, it has been months since I got them last... but I think the timing is freakin' hilarious. I hope I start my period right when I am scolding them for being such insenitive asses!
I am off to the poking and prodding part of my week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


As I sit here having a hot flash, exhausted from a sleepless night I would like to to peel off my chemo riddled shell and fly away to eat a fresh picnic in a meadow somewhere in the body I used to know.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dumb Cancer Comment of the week

In my store last week, my pretty upscale fragrance and soap boutique this woman comes up to me at the back of the store and says:
"I hope you did that on purpose!"

I stared at her thinking.... what on purpose? cut my boob off? or my hair? which dumb question are you asking me lady?

I politely replied What? My hair? No, I am in chemo....

I wanted to say "yes, and next week my store will be filled with skulls and beds of nails and my swastika tattoo will be on above my right ear!" and stick my tongue out at her.

the closer I get to tomorrow the better I feel

Day 6 of treatment 7 ( Taxol #3) and I am better today than I was yesterday, and yesterday I was better than the day before that.
This Taxol tx was a nightmare(ish). Still nothing compared to the AC tx's but a nightmare is a nightmare.

So, Sunday (day 4) is my worst day. Ton's of pain, pain in everything south of my eyeballs. NO, I am not kidding, my teeth hurt, my finger tips hurt, my ab muscles hurt- and the shooting pains?!!!!! They were everywhere.
I was barely awake and the phone rang, it was my sister ( hey, if I blog is not for venting than what is?)
calling for the first time in weeks. She still wins the sibling race for calling though. My big brother( who mom forgot to tell us about for 20 years, but is in our lives now) was here for a week after my surgery and helped a lot with mom's living with cancer and her death last year. He called the day he got home in Feb and has not called since. he does not even know I am in chemo. Normally he does not call often, it doesn't bug me "normally"

My little sister is a single mom like me. Unlike me she has a full time job with benefits. I am (happily) self employed and I have no child support(he left the country and cannot be found) or benefits at all( and if you read this blog you know how expensive being sick has been for me) she is too lazy/ scared etc(whatever!) to do the work to get her ex to pay his share, and complains about it all the time. She will receive a bunch of money this year from mom's estate. In very simple terms she got cash, I got a house. We both are very very lucky as far as I am concerned. I hung up on her on Sunday when she had the balls to complain about money and that she had to take extra summer work .... She is a teacher and has the summer off but is choosing to work to make MORE money??

Meanwhile her kids have to be away from her all summer so she can have MORE money???

I counseled her through being beat up by her 6 figure income husband, I counseled her through mom's dying (when she bothered to show up to see mom), I helped her budget her way to getting out and getting on her own 2 feet etc etc. She has not shown up here once, not to see me, not to take my kid, not for anything.... but she "thinks about me all the time"

My brother, my sister and some of my best friends have been mostly absent during my whole illness and although no one is surprised it does not take the sting away.

Isn't it all too bad? Just once I wish the selfish ones could see themselves for what they are and how they hurt people around them... because I am convinced most of them have no clue.

My quote of the day...

“Natural menopause is a fender bender, whereas medical or surgical menopause is like hitting a brick wall at sixty miles an hour. ”
I heartily concur!!!!!

Hot flashes suck!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bomb the boats, feed the fish!

I hate the cancer centre!!!!
Yes, the lovely, caring Juravinski bullshit Cancer Centre.... is a godforsaken hell hole in my opinion.
After 3 hours in the place and dealing with farce after farce of communication nighmares I am finally home. No one told me the heart scan would take an hour, so my plan to have lunch in between the appointments did not happen. So I did not get to eat.
2 weeks ago my new nurse suggested my pending heart scan be set on the same day as my bloodwork for convenience. It seemed to be forgotten that the heart scan needed 2 needles and bloodwork needed another, and tomorrow for chemo I need another. That means 4 needles in one arm in less than 24 hours. Because of the lymphadema (arm swelling from the fact that they removed lymph nodes) risks on my surgery side, I cannot have needles there. 2 more chemos to go and I am NOT getting a port(a surgical insertion of a needle entry point that makes it easier for the nurses to draw blood and give IV's)

I waited for an hour to see the doctor and reminded the nurse that we had 5 minutes to get my prescriptions in to the pharmacy and they looked at me like I had screwed something up.... then I asked the Nurse about the menopause symptoms, and told them that I had to find out about "chemo induced menopause" on the internet, and that they should have told me.... I asked if I (41years old) should expect this to be temporary which i assumed was the case... they said NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not only did they not bother to tell me these symptoms might happen, but now I find out that this may be it for me! Did it not occur to them that this may be important news? Having a child after 40 is certainly not unheard of- no one asked me if I had considered having more kids... Again I ask... Did it not occur to them that this was important news?????
So, as I was being raced out the door to the upstairs pharmacy, the Doctor stuck his head in to say " everything ok? Do we need to talk about anything this week...?"
I told him I was upset with the menopause issue and asked about another prescription that they forgot to mention he said we can talk about it next week and raced upstairs to get in the pharmacy before they closed.
Perhaps the hospital scheduling fairies should not schedule 4:15 appointments that involve prescriptions to be filled by 5pm HMMM???
Oh, right... they don't care about my arm with 4 needles in 24 hours, nor do they care about the end of my childbearing options, why-ever would they care about the fact that I might not get my pre chemo prescriptions the night before chemo???
So, at the pharamacy I slipped in just before they slammed the door in my face and got told that my drug card was not working and I had to pay for my steroids in cash.
So, the annoying visit from the nurse yesterday that is supposed to keep my drug card activated clearly was a total waste of time. So tomorrow, from the chemo chair I will have to have Tim and the social workers fight with the pharmacy so I can get the drug card issue fixed and get my white blood cell booster(neupagen) that is $3000 per month and not covered by OHIP.
Can you see this being a fun day???
So, defeated and upset I left the place to find that the elevators to the parking lot were not working. So I slowly climbed the 4 stories to my car(glad I am not 80, or that it was not a chemo day) and got in, out of breath from the stairs and burst into tears. I have cried often through this cancer ordeal but this one was one of the worst episodes. I called Tim, calmed down and drove home, stopping for a bagel (not great for the weight loss, I know but I was hungry)on the way.
Did I mention... I HATE the Cancer Centre?