Sunday, February 28, 2010

Getting Ready for #5

Tomorrow is chemo #5. As usual the anxiety leading up to it is overwhelming. I feel pretty good right now despite a lingering cough and cold. This is an opportunistic infection I acquired because of my chronically low white count. It is hard to fight with a gun that is out of ammo. I am not getting completely better before the next chemo. Each time my counts have been lower before the infusion. They told me this would happen. My body is unable to clear it before the next one.

My friend Rosanne is going to come with me again to help with the cold caps. It is really great to have someone there. It is a long day and I am unable to do the cold caps by myself. Everyone who has helped me has been awesome.

I have taken some decadron to prepare. Tomorrow I will drop Julianna off at babysitting, go get the ice, pack the cooler, blanket, pillow and various other items and get ready to go. When I get there they will put a sharp needle in my chest and draw the blood to see if the counts came up enough for me to be able to handle the chemo. I hope they are ok because I do not want to delay my chemo. The faster I do it the faster it will be over.

So, here we go again. There will only be one more after this. I can't wait. Just as I finish spring should be arriving. I will be thrilled. Thanks everyone for all the support.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Julianna - Better

Julianna is better. I think the whole fever thing was a fluke. It must have been related to the teething because she never developed symptoms of any kind and the fever is gone. I kept her in yesterday, all day, just in case. The doctor told me I could give her one teaspoon of nyquil. I did. What a mistake!! She had an opposite reaction to how it is supposed to work. It happens a lot with babies. It was as if I had given her a dose of rocket fuel. She bounced off the walls all day. That will teach me to give her nyquil and hope for rest (for both of us). There are no shortcuts.

So, she is fine, thank God!! Thanks for all the concern. I love you all!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Julianna is sick

I was at work today and I got a call from my babysitter Katey that Julianna had a temperature of 102.7. I left work and went to the doctor with her. They do not know what is wrong. He checked her ears and throat and cultured her nose and throat and so far it is all normal. He thinks she has something viral. He told me to continue to monitor her and bring her back if anything gets worse. I thought the slight fever was from teething. He said she is teething but it is unlikely the temperature would get so high from that.

Julianna is usually the happiest baby. It is sad to see her so uncomfortable and unhappy. I went in to check her and she is whimpering in her sleep. Poor baby.

I hope she didn't get sick from me. I have a slight cold. No fever though.

I hope whatever she has passes quickly. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Pitchers and Catchers to Spring Training

Pitchers and catchers for the Mets report to spring training today! On December 7th when I started chemo I said, before opening day of baseball I will be finished with chemo. I thought that over and over while I have been going through this. Today spring training starts, so it is getting closer. I do love baseball.

I have made it to work for the last two days. Today is the last day for the week. It is a short week because Monday was Washington's birthday. I am off Fridays. It has been a hard week. I don't feel good and I really don't look good. People have been commenting on it. My friend Colleen said it is because I am so pale and my lips are white. I am sure this will pass.

Julianna is getting her two year old molars. She is pretty cranky and has been running a fever at times. She has been waking up during the night. She is usually a great sleeper so it is not normal for her to wake up. Tylenol is a great drug for babies.

On a brighter note, I have a full head of hair. That really makes a big difference to me. I think if it all fell out it would be the final straw for me. Thanks to everyone for all your help. And, Lets Go Mets!!!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dr. Citron

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I saw Dr. Citron today. I told him that I am starting to feel a little better. I told him that the numbness in my hands is getting really bad. He advised me that there is a good possibility that this may be permanent. He said he is going to reduce my taxotere dose by 10% so I don't lose the function of my hands. He said that is still within the curative range so that shouldn't be a problem but he doesn't want my hands to get worse. They are pretty numb but so far only fine motor skills like buttons are really difficult.

He did my blood counts and said the white count is really bad. He said I also have a viral infection. I do, a cold as usual after chemo. He said I should be extremely fatigued with these counts. I am a bit but I am better then yesterday. He said I should do another neupagen shot. I did and the bone pain is setting in. I guess when you do it two days in a row it acts like the neulasta.

Julianna is in bed. She was very tired from her adventure at Rosanne and Dennis' house. It wore her out to run around with all those big boys. She had a great time and the rest was great for me. I am sitting here now eating imodiums like they are tic tacs, washing them down with gatorade and wishing I could eat real food. A few more days for that I guess. Work tomorrow!

Thanks everyone for the encouragement!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Coming Along

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey. ~Kenji Miyazawa

I am feeling a bit better today. Earlier today I really was having trouble standing up without feeling like I was going to pass out. I am still having the muscle and joint pains, numbness to my hands and feet, facial twitching, taste changes and some GI disturbances. However, I feel it is starting to lift a bit. It really does seem to stay on schedule. I am expecting that it will get a little better tomorrow and each day after, until it is time to do it all again.

My Julianna is staying at my friend Rosanne and Dennis' house. Rosanne sent me a picture of her sleeping soundly after a busy day. I am sure she is having a great time, but of course I miss her.

Tomorrow I will see Dr. Citron and he will check my blood counts.

Thanks everyone for all the support, prayers, good vibes and help. I am also happy to report that my hair is doing great!!!!!

Julianna sound asleep after her busy day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

MUGA scan, hydration, pulling through

I had my MUGA scan on Tuesday. The doctor said my ejection fraction was pretty good. However, he said it was really hard to do the test because I was having so many PVCs (premature ventricular contractions, essentially an extremely irregular heartbeat). He said it was hard to get an accurate picture of the ventricle because of this. This can be caused by the decadron (steroid). That was the only drug I had in me when I had the episode of shortness of breath.

I made it to work Tuesday. Wednesday I didn't due to the snow. Thursday I was hitting the bottom of the hole already so I didn't make it then either. On Friday I was feeling really bad and called the doctor. They told me to come in. I did and they gave me a liter of normal saline which helped me quite a bit. I asked about the PVCs and they said they are certain it is from the decadron. They will discuss reducing the dose. I am hoping they do. The decadron has tons of side effects and none of them are good.

I know I just have a few more days of this and I will start feeling a bit better. Thanks everyone for all the help and support.

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying… ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chemo Number 4 and Smudge's 6th Birthday

Today was chemo #4. The anticipation was tough as usual. My friend Rosanne came to do the Penguin Cold Caps with me and to offer emotional help. She was great. Rosanne came to my house a bit early so we could go get something to eat. We went to Momma Theresa's and it was awesome. On the way to the car, which was very close to the building, I started getting profound shortness of breath. I though maybe it could be anxiety, even though I have never had anything like that.

When I got to the chemo office she said it is possible that it could be anxiety but that she though it was unlikely. They want me to go for a MUGA scan tomorrow morning to make sure the herceptin is not causing any heart problems. That is an occasional side effect of the herception. The herceptin is a monoclonial antibody that targets the Her2 recepters on the cancer cells, The heart also has naturally occurring Her2 recepters that are beneficial. At times the infusions of herceptin can damage them. If that does occur it is usually reversible once the herceptin is stopped.

While I was gone for the chemo my great friend and neighbor Lori got my prescriptions filled and cleaned my house. My friend Colleen took Julianna. I also received tons of calls and emails offering emotional support. I am very blessed to have such great people in my life.

Today is Smudge's 6th Birthday. He is the best dog in the world. He got a Carvel cake (all vanilla), tons of special bones and treats and a new toy. Lori. Bobby, Rosanne and I sang him a quick Happy Birthday. He is a lucky boy and I am grateful that he is in my life. He brings me great joy and happiness.

Rosanne kneading a cold cap to get it to the proper temperature.
Rosanne wearing a (not so) cold cap.

My awesome chemo nurses.

Me getting the chemo infusions.

Smudge's Carvel cake.

Smudge with Bobby, not so sure he should be on the couch with the cake.

Smudge checking out the cake on Julianna's high chair tray. He knows this as a place where there is tons of food to stealall the time.


I started the decadron (steroids) today. It causes insomnia and I am wide awake. It also causes me to be super hot, flushed and swollen. If anyone's house is too cold give me a call and I will come over and warm it up. Its much cheaper then heating oil. Ha ha. Early tomorrow I will drop Julianna off at my friend Colleen's house. I then have to go to the drug store to get some prescriptions and then I have to go to Roosevelt to get the dry ice. When I can home I have to crush all the dry ice and load the cooler with the cold caps. My friend Rosanne is coming to help me with the cold caps. If we have anytime before the chemo appointment we will try to go to lunch. Tomorrow (today actually) will be a busy day. It is also my dog Smudge's 6th birthday. I hope we have a little time to celebrate.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Getting Ready

Well, I am feeling good!! I am pretty happy about that!!! I am getting ready for chemo #4 on Monday. I start the steroids tomorrow. The side effects from that start pretty quickly so I know that today will be my last good day for awhile. The stress anticipating all that is to come is a little tough. I am going to try to work through the rest of the treatments. I will have to take off on the actual infusion days. I will be off Monday but back to work Tuesday. I am hoping I will be able to make it through the whole week.

Thanks so much for all the support. I am thrilled to say I still have a full head of hair. I appreciate everyone helping with that. It is really great.