Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Graphing Shelly

I know I haven't written in a bit. I'll tidily sum up the last chemo experience with the word "suckass." I experienced the mother of all allergic reactions to the steroid Solumedrol (sp?), and it kept me in the hospital from Wed night - Fri morning. PTTH. So no, we still don't know what I'm allergic to. We'll try again tonight, as I go in for my next round. Shelly the lab rat. This product was tested on humans.

What's funny is that, at the time of the reaction and just after, I envisioned an elaborate blog post detailing the experience of an allergic reaction to chemo. After all, it's quite a strange, remarkable event (the convulsive "rigors", the kidney pain, the feeling of the drugs, the freaked-out nurses, my own response to intense pain, etc.) and perhaps you would find it all interesting (in a looking-at-a-car-crash -type way). But I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to put thoughts to keypad, since the whole experience is rather all-consuming, tedious, and exhausting. Annoying, generally. Why dwell. And more to the point, there's a LOT more going on in my life than just the treatment of this disease. I sometimes feel like it's inaccurate to junk up my blog with only cancer tales. Even though I started the blog specifically to keep folks in the loop about my cancer treatment. But it's not really an accurate reflection of my life, and the topic is certainly not one of my interests. Imagine if you were writing a 2-year+ blog on a difficult topic which bored you. The Russian Revolution, perhaps. The evolution of time pieces. Mathematical physics. Classical sanskrit. Cancer.

If you deconstructed "Shelly" into a pie chart, the "cancer" section would be just a sliver. An evil, ever-present, significant, but nonetheless small sliver. Part of your life, like a bad relative you wish would go away. (I don't have any bad relatives, but I know I'm in the minority there.)

Take the last few days, for instance. A lot has happened to me other than cancer/chemo thoughts: My sister gave birth to a gorgeous, perfect son about 36 hours ago. We made an offer on a house today. Among many other things. And on that note-- to all my friends: I have been a CRAPPY correspondant lately. I know I haven't returned your emails/calls. I'm sorry. Expect to hear from me soon.

Off to the hospital shortly. Today's Leap Year, so I think that means things are going to be unusal (in an awesome, once-in-every-four-years-only! -kind of way. Like a half-off sale on iPads.)

And PS--once I get over this next chemo round, I promise to write about other subjects. I'm taking requests for topics now. I like a challenge.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Super Laura

I just wanted to give a shout-out to my sister Laura. She is amazing.

She is managing their new restaurant, Little Water Cantina. Last night, for Valentine's Day, we stopped in for an awesome meal. She was taking orders, bringing food, chatting with patrons, filling glasses.

And: *She's got less than 3 weeks til her baby is due.*

She's enormous! And she stays up on her feet til the wee hours every night. Then spends her morning doing taxes, payroll, and other stuff I can't even imagine. She works 6 days a week.

She's amazing.

She could go into labor any time. And you know, I'll be at the hospital, too, so that will be really convenient for us both. The Fabulous Baker girls! Keeping Swedish Hospital in business since '06. (TM)


Turning back into a pumpkin

Maybe I've been surrounded by kids too long, but I always liken this day (chemo day) to Cinderella at midnight, when all the magic fades and gritty reality returns.  (If you still aren't with me, her coach turns back into its "pre-magic" form: a pumpkin).

For the past few days, I've felt happy, hopeful, full of energy and a lust for life. But oh man... if you could have seen me a two Saturdays ago.

A few hours after my last cheerful post, I had ANOTHER allergic reaction to my chemo regimen. (ps- "regimen" is the word I most often misspell. I have to look it up EVERY damned time. What's your word?)

Another allergy. To what? Not Avastin. Not oxalliplatnin. Not solumedrol. What the heck am I reacting to? Now they think it's the decadron (a steroid). This is 'process of elimination' in its meanest manifestation. Shelly the Lab Rat. Let's give it another try, ol' girl, and see what your body does this time.

Allergic reaction. It sounds so benign, doesn't it. AH-CHOO! Sniffle, sniffle. Oh, the pollen. Cat hair! Itchity itch!

But when you're reacting to chemo, it's a little more intense. In my case, it's hardcore kidney pain. It goes up the back, down the legs, and then it wraps around the front. It's like having back labor, for those of you who've given birth to a sunny-side-up baby.

So they load you up with morphine. After a bit, you're ok again. Dopey and cheerful. You go home, loaded up with a pack of chemo that will continue infusing for 46 more hours. Then you sort of crash from all the morphine. And THEN you get to start the chemo experience.

I felt so rotten that weekend (Super Bowl weekend) that I --
What are the words for it.

Trust me: it was rough. I couldn't even muster a blog post. I was in a dark place.

But. I got better! I always do. I feel FANTASTIC today. And now I'm headed back in. The clock is striking midnight. As long as I don't have another allergic reaction, it'll be dandy: Neil and me, Swedish Hospital, free milkshakes and Netflix. Facebook and online shopping.

Cross your fingers for me. See you on the other side!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today is Thursday, February 2nd.

I'm comin' atcha live from a Swedish Hospital chemo chair. I am back in the out-patient clinic for my bi-weekly chemos (vs. an overnight hospital stay), so I'm one happy girl today. Which, I suppose, is technically a little ironic, considering I'm going to spend the next 12 hours getting chemotherapy. But what can I say? I feel happy. Neil's out getting us waffles. It's sunny. I like chatting with the nurses. We've got all the Apple technology necessary to sustain us for 12 hours (one iPad, 2 iPhones, one MacBook Pro). Plus our Kauai guidebook, for our upcoming March vacay, sans kids. 

Hope you are all feeling as happy as I am today. If not, get your act together! Let's make this otherwise unremarkable day interesting. 

Please feel free to entertain me by writing (either below, or via an email) a short summary of what you have planned for today, as I did above. I'll post them here. Even if they are boring. Do it now.  xo