29 November 2010

mizery lovez company

Sometimes, even the most chipper of us have a bad day. Sometimes, we have a few bad days in a row. And that is where I am.

This treatment cycle - number four was on November 23 - has been particularly rough. I don’t know if it is because the holidays are upon us and it makes me sad to be sick at this time of year. I don’t know if it is because I’m just getting mentally worn down and sick of being sick. I don’t know if it is because the cumulative effects of my chemo are making it worse as time goes by. I suspect it’s a combination of all three.

So, positive upbeat optimistic defiant funny little me has been, in a word, miserable. How miserable? So freaking miserable that I’m fantasizing about how lovely it would be if I could just puke. I literally close my eyes and remember fondly days of food poisoning when I could just throw up until I felt better. But as I have said many a time, I was blessed(?) with a strong constitution, and therefore:
I. Do. Not. Puke.

Funny story. When this whole process got started, my biggest fear would be that I would in a state of constant vomit. I had nightmares about it. I worried about what I could eat that wouldn’t be too gross when it came back up. And now? F-that. Now, all I wish for is the ability to purge all the bad feelings away. (In retrospect, not a funny story at all.)

But I know this will pass. I will have better days. I will smile and laugh and be happy again. I will enjoy the company of my BFF when she gets here in two days for a visit. And I will, eventually, write another quippy feel-good blog that you will be glad you read!

Until then...

03 November 2010

viewz, reviewz, and number three down the drain

For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure to visit RWF where I’m staying, I would like to share the views from my bedroom windows.

These two are from the windows facing east - when I first got here, the now-bare tree was covered in beautiful yellow and orange leaves. Alas, it is now naked.
This is what I see from the south facing window to the left of my bed.

And this is what I see from the south facing window to the right of my bed. If you look closely, you can just see the ass of my mom’s horse Chakota. For some reason, whenever I try to get her picture from the window, this is the side she gives me.

It was cold the morning I took the pics (in the high 20's) so the windows were a bit fogged up!

I went to Dana-Farber on Tuesday for my 3rd treatment. There was an unexpected change in driver as my cousin Bill is still fighting off something he caught last month, so friends Anne & Jack jumped in at the last minute (thanks again!). Jack, you can do the driving anytime!

I visited with Kelly T, my nurse practitioner. She is very nice and I find her easy to talk to. This time, she handed me a wonderful report that made we well up with tears. I knew I had a good CT scan result, but to see it in writing was again... overwhelming. It was a major decision for me to uproot my life and come here for treatment, and this piece of paper has proved that it was the right thing to do. I am filled with new hope that I WILL WIN!

Here’s another view for you - the view of my doctor’s office. I am ever so thankful that for this go-round, I have not once had to put my feet in any stirrups, or disrobe in any measure. 

I was worried about my counts being high enough to get a treatment. I get blood work every Tuesday, and typically on the 2nd Tuesday after treatment, my Absolute Neutrophil Count (or ANC) is very low. A normal range is between 2000 and 6400. On October 26th, mine had plunged to 160. This mean no contact with people, no crowded places such as stores or movie theaters, and if I did need to go anywhere (for instance, the CT scan I had two days later), I would need to wear a mask. My favorite. It also means that if my counts didn’t go up to an acceptable level by my treatment day, they would have to postpone it. I’m sure you understand that it is important to me that I keep as closely to my schedule as possible, so postponement is not something I would take to with a smile. I was very happy to find that my ANC had bounced up to an unprecidented 7410! Yay!!!

Anne & Jack were free to leave, and I was off to the 10th floor for my infusion. Of course, there would be a wait while they mixed my chemo. In the interim, I had some lunch and listened to the audiobook of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (I’m not quite finished, but I recommend it highly). When they finally took me in, I got a chair in a corner with yet another pleasant view.

I had a new infusion nurse - Tracy. She was keen to get started, as they close at 8pm, my infusion takes about 5.5 hours, and it was closing in on 2pm. This is what my IV pole looks like at the beginning of the process.

I kept myself busy. More of the audiobook, TV, internet, nap. Several trips to the bathroom to pee out the over 3000cc of fluids that are being forced into my body, not including those that I drink of my own accord, plus the soup I had for lunch. I wish sometimes I had a pedometer that would track my steps to and fro the restroom pushing along my IV pole, which by the end of the day looks like I’m really some sort of sci-fi FX puppet hooked to hydraulics.

The day ended early at just before 7pm. I wasn’t as tired as last time, maybe because my counts were so good going in, maybe because I didn’t have a phosphorus deficiency, who knows. Still, I napped most of the way back to RWF and was eager to go to bed. 

So, there you have it. Three treatments down, an AWESOME review of my progress thus far, and several scenic views. 

Until next time...