29 October 2010


What’s so special about 36?

1. It’s a perfect square
2. It is the number of inches in a yard
3. It is the number of gallons of beer in a standard UK beer barrel
4. It is the atomic number of Krypton
5. It is a perfect score on the ACT


most importantly...

6. It is the average percent reduction in tumor size that I have had after just two treatments!!!!!!!

Let me say it again:

After just two treatments, my tumors have reduced in size an average of 36%!

Which makes for a very happy Linda :)

13 October 2010

little rabbit foo foo and a big number two too

hare today, goon tomorrow

Here’s a little history of my hair:

Weeks before my first treatment way back in 2008, I got a short easy haircut.

I didn’t cut my hair after that (except for one trim) for two years. This is how long it got.

The day I was re-diagnosed and learned that yes, this time I would lose my hair, I cut most of it off.

Two weeks after my first chemo, Tom got a 20-year payback and gave me a righteous mohawk! By far, my favortite look ever! So much so, that it deserves two pictures!

Sadly, only three days after Mohawk Day, my hair started to fall out. So MT Bee shaved it off. And now, it’s really falling out. I am bald. My eyebrows are following suit, and soom my eyelashes will go.

Great start to an awesome Uncle Fester Halloween costume - now where did I put that lightbulb?

Good side to losing all your hair:
No matter how cold it is, no need to blow-dry after a shower
Bad hair day? Not for me!
No pesky shaving
Gray roots? What roots?
Hats are kinda cute

the longezt number two of my life

Now for the nitty-gritty of this posting - I had my 2nd treatment yesterday. Before I say anything about it, let me just give a giant SHOUT OUT to MO Leo for driving and taking my mom to visit Gloucester so she wouldn’t have to sit next to me the whole boring long time.

And how long of a day was it? We left RWF at 6:45 am. Arrived at Dana-Farber at 9:00. The day was schedule to go as follows:
9:15 - blood work and urine sample
10:00 - see ARPN and Research Nurse
11:00 - Begin Infusion

Did it happen that way? Not at all.

I got in to get my blood work pretty quickly. Paula, the nurse that does the blood draws, was nice enough to let me go pee in a cup first because I had been drinking Gatorade the whole way and I knew to hold it until I had cup in hand. There are bathrooms scattered all around the floor, but the first four I went to were occupied. The 5th was open! I rushed in, unscrewed the cap off the pee cup, and in my haste dropped it in the toilet! Crap!!! Not only did I have to pick it up out of the [clean, unused] toilet, but by this time I really gotta go. I had to wash my hands (making me have to go more) and go back to Paula to get a new cup. I practically ran back to that same bathroom to find - someone was in there. I raced around and the next one I tried was open. Filled the cup. Breathed a sigh of relief. Aaaaaaah. She got my blood. Off to see the ARPN.

Got in to the ARPN pretty much on time. It was around 10-ish. It was my first time meeting the ARPN and she was very nice. We went over all my side effects, the most pronounced of which is the leg pain. She gave me some new prescriptions for that and talked about other strategies if those don’t work out. This would be so much easier if I would just say yes to the narcotics, but none for me, thanks. The Research Nurse was there too who is also very nice.

Dexamethazone is a steroid that I have to take in advance of chemo to help counter some of the side effects that I might experience. Up until this time, I had always gotten it via IV. And let me tell you - I love the stuff!! I feel like I could climb a mountain after getting it. Or run a marathon. I’m awake, I’m alive, I’m talking talking talking. BUT this time, I was taking Dex in pill form: 20 mg the night before, 20 mg as I was leaving in the morning. So while I’m sitting with the ARPN, I notice that the Dex is starting to kick in. I was talking. And talking. And, oh yes, more talking. I couldn’t stop. She’s trying to listen to me breathe, I’m talking. She listening to my heartbeat, I’m talking. I’m filling out my study-required life survey, I’m talking. Thankfully, they are patient and seem to like me :)

Next I was off to the 10th floor. Last time, I had to go get re-weighed and height checked up there because the chemo drugs are given based on body mass. I was expecting this again, so Mom went up with me while MO Leo waited for us in the cafeteria. We sat and sat and sat. Finally, Mom went down to sit with MO Leo and I was still waiting waiting waiting. Finally, I asked the lady at the desk if it was much longer and she said they only recheck your weight and height the first time, and I was next in line for chemo. But I was hungry! I wanted to go eat too! It was now 11:30. I called down to Mom to see if she could bring me up a bacon sandwich on dry toast. And then my Research Nurse came to tell me my phosphorus was low and they can’t do the chemo until it is at an acceptable level. She had me take two pills and come back for blood work in an hour. (If that doesn’t work, we’ll try two more pills and more blood work in an hour, and if that still doesn’t work, you’ll have to come back Friday.) I took the pills, and went down to the cafeteria.

My bacon sandwich was wonderful. But I was still hungry (another side effect of the Dex.) So I got a shrimp California roll and a Red Machine Naked Smoothie. At 12:40, I went upstairs to have my blood checked. The results would take 30 minutes at least. It was the day after a holiday and things are a bit backed up. They gave me a pager so I’d know when they got the results. I did some work on my netbook (thanks, Jeff) and some facebooking and then - beep beep beep beep beep. Good news! I was sufficiently phosphorescent to get my chemo!!! (Was I really that excited?) It was just about 2:00 when I was all hooked up and fluids were dripping.

My first infusion took almost 8 hours. This one needed to go a bit more quickly because the 10th floor closes at 8pm. That gave us 6 hours to work with. When you get there, they put your name on a board with you Estimated Departure Time. Mine was the latest. It went a little quicker because I wasn’t getting IV Dex, and my Avastin was 60 minutes this time instead of 90. Plus, she overlapped some of the hydration. So I actually left the 10th floor at 7:30! During those hours, I crocheted a little, watch TV, played on my netbook, but mostly I slept. When it was time to go, I was beat. I felt like when I was a kid waiting for the Monorail to leave the Magic Kingdom, practically asleep standing up and having to lean against my Mom to keep moving forward. What a difference from last time when I was all amped up to drive myself home!

I had a little nausea in the car, which could be the cumulative effects of the chemo, but could also be carsickness. Either way, I took a Compazine and tried to sleep. We got home at 9:45, just in time to miss the Goo Goo Dolls, but not the eliminations on DWTS. (Why am I always missing the Goo Goo Dolls?!?)

And now, I will take it easy. Rest and stay hydrated and rest and eat well and rest.

Thanks for reading my blog - it makes me feel like I am not alone in this battle when I consider that you are all part of my army ♥

Until next time...