Wednesday, September 28, 2011

play it again Sam, or...Once more, with Feeling.....

BLING from a long lost
High School friend.
I'm on my third week in the 2nd cycle of Chemo, and Monday started off promising, I had energy, I didn't feel queasy and lightheaded and I got some errands run and dinner cooked but by Monday night, my throat was sore, my glands were swollen and I was running a temp of 99.6.  Not enough to call the doctor but enough to make me feel crappy.  So it's been going on and off for three days now.  Same thing happened last cycle right around this same time, and the nurse at the Cancer Center told me it was probably a virus, no big deal.  This sort of stuff is what really gets me down.  No big deal translates into; "It's not life or death",  which is, um, comforting?...BUT still makes trying to cope with all the other stuff pretty darn hard. I spend the first 10 days telling myself I just need to get through the first 10 days, then I will start to feel better and then, this....with another round of Chemo facing me at the end of it all.  It wears me down.

Additionally, I think I am fighting off a urinary tract infection. Luckily I keep uristat pills on hand all the time.  It hasn't gotten bad enough to call the doctor so I'm just self medicating and trying to drink a lot of water with lemon juice to flush it out.  My girl K from ME gave me a tip about D-Mannose, which is supposed to be a natural remedy for UTIs.  I may have to drag myself out to Harvest Health to check it out.   Cytoxan, one of the Chemo drugs in this round, irritates the bladder, which can lead to cystitis, basically an incurable condition that feels like a bladder infection - something I'm vigorously trying to avoid.

ok.... got the bitchy chemo stuff out of the way...on to happier things!

My Seestor and me at Race for the Cure 
This past week was busy for me, lots of things going on.  Saturday was Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.  Team Lou Lou raised almost $3000 so far!  There were a total of 6000 people there- it was a tad overwhelming.  I ended up doing the 1 mile community walk with my son, oldest step-daughter and my BIL and his wife (who was knitting on a cable knit hat for me the entire time!).
That took a lot out of me, so I'm glad I didn't try to do the whole 5K. It was very cool though, and I definitely want to do it again next year, and do the whole thing.  My seestor and her girls are plotting some dazzalicious team outfits that I'm trying not too think to hard about.  I'm expecting sequins, feathers, tutus, capes, tiaras or a combination of all. we'll see what happens.....

Sunday, my girl K from work had her baby shower, and I didn't want to miss that for anything! I got to see my best girls from work plus oooh and ahhh at all the cute baby stuff, which I also love to do. I knit up a cute little baby hat in MSU Spartan colors so little baby H has appropriate attire for game days or any other day.  Here's a snap of the hat pattern, modeled by my ridiculously cute little niece, Ellie...The one I made for baby H was dark green, heather grey and sage green stripes with manly i-cord tassels instead of girlie tassles.

Inspired by it's cuteness on baldy babies,  I worked all day Friday to make a grown up version in  pink and grey stripes for my bald head to wear on race day. But, in my usual way of just winging it, it turned out ridiculously tall and poorly fitted, and I didn't have the time or heart to try and make it right at 8pm the night before.  I'm on my second rip back and it still isn't right.  I will need to rip back once again and try to turn it into another little baldy beanie and then go back to Ravelry and find a real pattern if I want a fancy hat.

Now that the weather has turned a bit chillier, I'm finding my one warm hat is not sufficient and CERTAINLY not appropriate to be seen in public.  I really was loathe to wear it to the race, but lacking any other warm options, I had no choice. A friend of my seestor made a polar fleece pink ribbon scrunchy turban for me.  It is really warm, but a tad bit too big to wear on my bald head right now- I'm wearing it OVER my other hat in this snap. I'm channeling my inner GURU (tho hubs says I look like a creepy pedophile...?!) I'm wrapped in a Pink and Sparkly wool shawl, compliments of my Indian friend S, who sent it to me from Houston. Plus don't forget the pink feather boa --a REQUIREMENT for Race day, of course--- from my girl S in Indy. Trust me...this was a pretty mild look for the event.  I almost wish I had skipped the race entirely, and just spent the time taking pictures of all the outrageous and fabulous outfits that I saw there.

Yesterday, I visited the Gilda's Club Clubhouse in Lowell and was 'orientated'.  Now I can go to support meetings and other happenings there. This clubhouse was funded by the Pink Arrow Pride II event and shares the old victorian house in town with the Lowell Senior Neighbors.   They also have the big clubhouse in downtown GR, but it is at least a 30 minute drive downtown, so I wanted to check out the haps locally first.  I found out there are a few other women in the support group with breast cancer, so it may be a good place for me to meet some of my community who know what this crap is all about.  I have an awesome support group, but I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many friends.  This entire journey so far, I've tried to dedicate to taking risks and opportunities that I would have avoided in the past, and one of them is putting myself out there in order to meet new people.  You never know what lessons they may have to teach you.  I couldn't make the support meeting last night as my son is headed off to 5th grade camp today, and I wanted to make sure I had time to get any last minute packing done.

Today is a free day, I'm still running a low grade temp, my glands feel like a swallowed some golf balls, and I've once again gotten an itchy rash on my neck and wrists.....what the cabbage, dude?!

It is a grey day, so I think I may try to lay low today and maybe start watching LOST episodes on Netflix, since I missed the hooplah when it was actually running on network TV.  Hubs has a cold or something, so he is feeling pretty mopey as well. I'm telling you, it is a regular laugh riot at our house this week.

Tomorrow, I meet with the plastic surgeon for a follow up.  At this point in time, I want nothing to do with him- I don't want one more needle, scalpel or anesthetic anywhere near me!  But I do want to talk about how long after chemo do I need to wait to do the reconstruction and what I can expect it to look like and feel like. I can't even bear to think that I will have Robo-boob for at least another 6 months, and I'm very worried that the pain and discomfort that I have in my pec will not subside even after the expander comes out and the new boob is in.  It makes me wonder if it will be worth going through 2 or 3 more surgeries-definitely NOT what I was contemplating when I envisioned new boobs for my birthday!

Wow...that is a lot of stuff going on, and I thought I didn't have enough to write about!

There are so many cool little things happening in my life right now, sometimes they get lost in the murky waters of this giant pool of suck.  I got the cool sparkly ring,  pictured at the top of this post, last week from my girl M in CA....a long lost high school art class chum.  My neighbor friend came over last week to help me prep my garden veggies for the freezer so that they didn't all turn into slime in my fridge from lack of effort, energy or appetite. Then she did my dishes and cleaned up my kitchen!  I had 5 friends call me last week to see how I was doing...even though I didn't get to talk with all of them, the fact that I know they are out there and thinking about me helps so much. Another friend of mine, whose twins are friends with my son, dropped off a bag of groceries for me, with juice, protein powder and peppermint candies to make sure I get through my queasies well nourished.  Additionally, I got a wad of gift cards to Meijer as part of the Lowell Community Support program, another program funded by our Lowell Pink Arrow Pride organization.  Lastly, I spoke with a professional fine art photographer, a woman who was in hubs Yoga teacher training class, and she is putting together a collection to showcase the strength of cancer survivors and wants to include me in the photos.  I'm a little nervous about it, since I'm horribly unphotogenic, but I love the idea and want to be involved in the effort.

These last few weeks have been really bad for me, the chemo's disruption of my hormones add to my already addled psyche and the stress of dealing with illness, sleep deprivation and the daily grind just pile up until I feel totally overwhelmed.  It helps to remember that there are people out there who are thinking of me, friends and strangers alike, who donate their time, money, talent, and energy to show that I'm really not alone in this journey I'm on.  I'm so thankful to all of them.



  1. You inspire me! I love all the pics, you look GREAT!

  2. hey lady, it sucks that there is so much crap piling up but regardless of that it is wonderful to see how people around you are helping, coming together, sharing the love, sharing the responsibilities as well. it all balances out the negative aspects of treatment. yeah it blows - fully and completely that chemo makes you feel like you are not your usual self but that is only temporary. hopefully the crappy blah feeling will be substituted by a happy "look at me glow with health and joy" feeling and life will seem easy and breezy again. try not to get to down about things and squeeze hugs in from family and friends anytime you can - statistically speaking if you get more than 12 hugs a day you will be happier and your system will stay stronger fighting off negativity - no i did not make that up, read it in some reputable journal or something. you have friends and distant supporters who are there for you when and if you need us, hell we are here even if you don't so at the very least we are shinning all of that support on you right now. Hope you feel it. -Liz@ihadcancer


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