Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Good scan

The scan results were good. My oncologist was very pleased. Everything has shrunken, or stayed the same. And there isn't much there, total. Considering the fact that I've had to cut back on my chemo at times in the last few months, sometimes missing parts of my doses due to reactions, that's a good result. It could have gone the other way, but it didn't. Also, he's adding back Avastan, which should help even more. I haven't gotten that drug in months.

THE ANXIETY OF IT ALL! Good Lord. How much can a human handle? Eleanor Roosevelt said, (aren't I always quoting her?):

"A woman is like a tea bag. You can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."

I often live my life inside a burning hot thermos, so I get to test this idea often. I'm usually fairly steely, reinforced by something inside I can't really identify. But today, my tea bag ripped open, with loose tea floating everywhere. As I waited in that beige room for my doctor to deliver the results, the anxiety was difficult for me to handle. Rapid breathing. Pulse racing. Uncontrollable fidgeting. Then I started to cry. A bad result would have crushed me, and the anticipation of hearing the news was doing me in.

But I got good news. P-H-E-W.

So now I'm sitting in the hospital room with Neil, waiting for my chemo to start. He wants to watch a show with me, so I've gotta end this now.  Let's hope for a drama-free chemo.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy birthday, little Rhodes

Today my beloved son turns four. To celebrate, I'm going to get a CT scan at 1:45.

It's a day full of emotion: Joy, at watching him eye his pile of gifts. Wonder, as I listen to his increasingly complicated sentences and thoughts form. Hope, that I'll get to know him when he's twice this age, and that I'll be able to marvel over him and treasure him still. Which leads us to: Dread, that the scans may show new cancer growth. Terror, at times. (Why has my liver area been sore this last month-ish? My Onc tells me it could be "new tumor growth". Gasp. But, to be fair, I did a bunch of cartwheels on a breezy cliff in Hawaii, and my cartwheely muscles haven't been used in a while... maybe it's not liver pain, but muscle pain?) Consternation, that I have to wonder constantly if I'm improving, or if something unseen and evil is again flourishing underneath my skin. Seriously-- imagine having that worry, 24/7, and knowing there's a good chance it's true. And at the same time, be sure to go out and live life to the fullest! It's a fine and jagged line I walk.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: GOD, I love being alive. If it were a matter of will, I'd live to be 117.

Tomorrow, I will do chemo again. I'm not trying to sound dramatic here, but chemo without anti-nausea meds is positively medieval. Kelly, a stellar chemo nurse, assured me that that's how they did it "in the old days". It's a spirit-breaker. You'll just have to trust me on this one.

Sometimes, the most grounding advice I can give myself is this reminder: The one thing I can control is my attitude. Today I will focus on my son. On our exciting and ongoing house hunt. (that other one I mentioned a while back-- we didn't go with it-- not enough storage. Too small of a yard). On the fact that there's no reason to worry yet, and that all this hard chemo work I've done for over 7 months now CANNOT be for nothing. Hell, I may even get GREAT news. Wow, I'm talking myself into a better mood as you and I speak. Thanks for listening, you've helped improve my mood greatly.

I'll let you know when I hear something. Then, I'll tell you about our awesome Kauai trip. Talk soon. -S

Friday, March 16, 2012


Part 1: written two days ago, Wednesday, just before I went into chemo:

"What a great week. So much fun with friends and family lately. Nights out sans kids! Lunch dates! Cousin time! Girlfriends! Long personal emails and even letters! Neil and I are just generally feeling really glad about life.

I have chemo this afternoon (cue the Darth Vadar entrance music), and golly, I'm ready to make it THE BEST CHEMO EVER. I may get those last 4 words tattooed on my neck.

Here's the drill this week:  In an effort to figure out the cause of these allergic reactions, my doctor is going to withhold my long-acting anti-nausea meds. Perhaps THEY are the culprit. So, just chemo, no anti-barf medicine.

Now let's think about this. If anti-nausea drugs ARE the culprit, I'll get to enjoy a regular old chemo. No shaking. No pain. No falls in the hospital! (Long story---let's just say my hindquarters are still purplish-yellow, which should look neat in Hawaii next week.) However, I will also get to experience a nausea like I've never known.

And, if the drugs aren't the culprit, it'll be another night of Satan visiting my hospital room.

Either way, the next few days will be "really something!"


Mother hell. How did I muster those exclamation points? Who was that chirpy girl scout who hacked into my blog? How could that perky female possibly inhabit the same tattered shell of a human as this pasty, queasy, misanthrope who writes you now?

To bring you up to speed: I don't think I had an allergic reaction this time. But it still felt icky. Pain meds required. When the dust settles, we'll figure out what happened.

A lesson: getting chemo without anti-nausea drugs WILL make you barf your brains out. All over your bed, floors, etc. The silver lining is the hospital staff cleans it all up for you. And then, you get to go home and have no desire to touch food for days. This may be the most effective yet difficult crash diet for Kauai ever invented.

Don't worry. The girl scout will return. She always does.

I actually really miss her.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012



I believe that people who dread birthdays are missing the point entirely.

xo, S

Friday, March 2, 2012

Same stuff, different day

Once again. Another allergic reaction to chemo this week. More shakes, more pain. Pain. Ha. That's one word for it. More morphine. My oncologist is "thoroughly stumped".

Looking forward to getting this 5FU medicine pump unhooked from my chest on Saturday and life flowing back into my limbs. Til then, don't much feel like writing. Just a quick update.