Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Days 49-52

Just to catch you up to date:  I was able to go to Church and Sunday School AND go visit with our favorite grandchildren that evening.  On Monday, I was able to go to the office and work until noon.  Tuesday I met with my doctor and began treatment #4.  Today I'll get a "refill" on my chemo pump at noon.  I'm feeling okay; not spectacular, but not crappy yet.  Then this afternoon I'll get a hair shape/trim.. At this point, I have not lost all my hair, but it is thinning.  So I'll get it shaped up a bit.  That should make me feel better.

I am determined to focus on the good and positive and not so much on the negative each day.  I wish the same to you.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Days 46-48

I have come to realize over the past few days how much we take for granted when our health is good.  Just the routine, simple errands and chores that are so common most of the time take on great significance when you haven't felt like doing them for a while.  And what am I talking about, you ask?  Well . . . after being able to work for a few hours Wednesday, I was able to stop at the Post Office to buy stamps and drop by the bank to get some money!!  It was so GOOD to be out and about. 

Then Thursday my son and I drove to Tuscaloosa to see my Mom for the first time since June.  I was determined to start out driving, but took Daniel along to ride shotgun and to take over for me when I got too tired.  HOWEVER . . . I was not only able to drive all the way there, but I drove back home also.  How amazing is that???  And I wish you could have seen my Mom's face when we arrived.  I had called an hour before we got there to give her a warning, because I didn't want to give her a heart attack when she came to the door.  To say that she was happy to see me would be an understatement.  As a Mom [or Dad] you can imagine what it would be like to not be able to see your child [even if she is almost 65] when you know she is sick and having a rough time.  So even though we talk on the phone every day, she just needed to see that I am really okay.  Mission accomplished!

I have been able to buy groceries!  I have enjoyed a totally awesome Alabama win over Arkansas!  I even enjoyed doing a little housework.  Now I am looking forward to going to Sunday School and church in the morning.  I have really missed my church family for the past two weeks!  Then to "put the cherry on top" we will travel to Madison tomorrow evening to get some hugs from my wonderful grandkids!!  It doesn't get any better than that.

My 4th treatment will be Tuesday, but for now I'm just enjoying one day at a time and appreciating being able to do the simple things in life.  Hope you are too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Days 43-45

I am happy to report that I am ME again.  It began Monday and continues today!!  Tuesday, when I met with my wonderful and caring doctor, he and I agreed that I could have an "extra" week to let my body recover to some sort of normalcy.  Yeah!!!  He said that my counts were really good and that it would not be detrimental to take an extra week.

On Monday I received a phone call from a friend/co-worker saying that she would drop by our house that evening.  I was excited to have company - especially since I actually felt like having company.  Anyway . . . she and another of my friend/co-workers arrived at 6:00 with a beautiful box FULL of cards full of humor, good wishes, encouragement, and some gift cards.  It was an unexpected, but greatly appreciated surprise.  Now whenever I feel "down in the dumps" I'll open my box of cards and be lifted and encouraged!!  What a wonderful gift!!

Yesterday, I got a wonderful UPS surprise.  Friends from Tuscaloosa sent me me a great BAMA gift bag!!  I red tote with my initials embroidered on it full of a Roll Tide t-shirt, Bama earrings, two shakers and two houndstooth can holders.  Now I am ready for Saturday!!

So . . . today I went to work for 2.5 hours.  It was so good to see everyone and to get caught up on a few things at the office.  I miss my friends and my job, but everything is being taken care of by the best friends/co-workers anyone could ever have.

And tomorrow . . . my son and I are headed to see my mother in Tuscaloosa.  I haven't seen here since June!!  I'm not telling her ahead of time though, just in case something happens at the last minute.  I'll call her once we are on our way so I won't give her a heart attack when we show up at her front door.  I'm really looking forward to letting her see me and see that I am doing okay.

I can't express how happy I am right now to have a few good days before having the 4th treatment.  This is a scary and "uncomfortable" adventure that I am on, but I am so blessed to have my family, my church family and my Calhoun family.  They keep me enveloped in love and encouragement.  I couldn't ask for more.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 39-42

Here I sit at the computer.  Which means I am not in church.  Again.  That's two weeks in a row I have not felt like getting ready to go to church.  I feel like a limp dish rag [a very old analogy/saying].  Using hindsight, I should have rested more yesterday so I could have energy for today.  Who knew that getting groceries in the morning and cheering for Bama last night could deplete my energy??  Guess I'll know better next time.  At least Bama won.

Over the past few days I have gotten some better.  My mouth is almost completely healed, which means that I can eat a better variety of foods!  Now if the food would just taste as good as I want it to that would be great!!  The worst part now is the weakness.  I would compare it to being on a roller coaster.  One minute I feel pretty good, then the bottom drops out and I barely can function.  It's just crazy!!!!

Thanks to those of you who left comments last time.  I enjoy your encouraging words.  A special thanks to a friend of Dana's who sent me some amazing cookies that were created especially for people on chemo.  How cool is that!!!

I am supposed to have my 4th treatment Tuesday.  I am going to ask the doctor if I could postpone it for one more week so my body could heal a little more and I could feel "good" for a few days.  Also, I would love to be able to visit my mother.  She is 86, lives by herself in Tuscaloosa, and is quite concerned about me.  I haven't been able to go visit in a few months so I think it would do us both good to have a face-to-face.  Hopefully, that will work out.

Wishing each of you a wonderful week!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Days 37-38

Today is Wednesday, Day 38 since this journey began.  At CCI yesterday, the doctor said that he is worried about me.  I seem to have lost my positive spirit.  I agree!!  I am worried about me, but I am trying to hold on to my positive spirit.  It is very difficult.  By this time [the week after treatment], I usually feel pretty good.  Not 100%, but good.  I would be driving a little and managing to run some errands.  Not this time.  Apparently three chemo treatments cause quite a toll on a person's body.  I am still weak and my mouth is better, but I am still not able to eat much.  If this sounds like a pity party, I don't mean for it to be.  I am just being honest about  how I feel.  When I go next week for treatment 4, the doctor said he might give me an extra week off so my body can recoup.  That's sounds really good to me.

I am trying to remain positive and am counting my blessings today.  Thanks to each of you who reads this for your prayers and encouragement.  I know some of you check the blog, but don't leave a comment.  I would really like to see some comments this time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 31-36

I'm back!  I promised Dana that I would keep the blog updated for a couple of weeks, because her schedule is a little overwhelming.  So we'll see how well I do.

I'm going to be honest.  This has been a crappy week!  I have felt worse than ever, no energy, no appetite, mouth sores, and low blood pressure.  When the doctor said he was going to make me feel lousy - he meant it.  It has been difficult to be very positive these past few days and I actually had a panic attack the other night just thinking about having to go back for the 4th treatment!  I am praying for some "good" days when I feel like ME and can eat whatever sounds good.  I don't mean to sound so negative, but that IS how I feel.  And that makes me mad because I am the "glass half full" person in our family.  I am the encourager.  I am the one who says "It could always be worse!"   I am the one who cheers everyone on when they fall down.  Apparently, it is more difficult when you try to do it for yourself.

I do know that I could feel worse.  I do know that I will make it through.  I do know that my days will get better.  I just want to feel good NOW!!!!!

The one bright spot in the past few days was when Dana and Bradleigh came Saturday night and stayed until Sunday afternoon.  My daughter, as you all know, is quite an amazing care giver.  I texted her Saturday morning and asked if she could come buy our groceries, because I just was not going to be able to.  Not only did she buy our groceries, but she put everything up, cleaned my kitchen, told me that everything would be okay, listened to me complain, and then spent the night.  Miss Bradleigh was an added blessing.  She is such a joy to me and her Poppa!

Tomorrow I go for lab work.  I will tell them how I have felt and they will try to "make it better."  Stay tuned for further updates.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 30

Today was a hook up day for mom.
Fun times.

Last week when mom scared everyone to death at the cancer center by almost passing out and needing to be rehydrated...again, her oncologist told her that he might give her a week off so her body could catch up.

Today was the day to decide...and the decision was to stick with the original time line but to reduce the chemo by 15%. Mom's already feeling not so great, but she's being a good girl and taking her meds. Hopefully she'll rest well tonight.

We're also really REALLY hoping she doesn't get any more mouth sores.
They are not fun. Trust me. I know.
I've been there and even though I was only 8, it is not something I'll ever EVER forget. I could barely open my mouth wide enough to fit a baby spoon. I ate a lot of pudding during those times. And having to rinse my mouth out...*shudder*...just horrible.
Knowing that Mom has had a mouth sore makes me want to weep. I just keep praying that this dose of chemo will be kinder to the healthy parts of her body. Kick the cancer's butt...leave the good part alone.

Wonder when someone will invent smarter chemo...?

Days 24-29

Hi, it's me again.
I'm just picking up right where Mom left off...

This most recent off week wasn't as kind to Mom as the first one.
She never really felt great, or strong enough to get back to work like she had hoped. She did go in for a couple of hours last Friday, but that was about it.
She did seem to start feeling better over the weekend. The kids and I were invited over to their place for a Labor Day cookout. (Steve is away on So off we went to grandmother's house!

We had a really great visit. Mom seemed a little tired, but pretty much back to normal.
She grilled, made dessert, played puzzles and bingo with the kids, sang silly songs if the mood struck her, laughed at my really really lame joke, made sure I took a nap...she was mom.

And it was awesome!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tag Team Blogging

Hi, everyone.  I've been tagged!  This is Dana's Mom, also known as Sandra.  My daughter, who began this endeavor, envisioned this as a joint project that both of us would keep updated.  So, since she is being her usual busy self, she suggested that it is my turn to update.

I'm too lazy to number the days, so I will simply update for the week of August 21-27.  That was the week of my second round of chemo.  After working all day Monday, the 22nd, I was eager [maybe that's a little strong] . . . I was ready to get the second round over with.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was about the same as the first time; but this time I knew what to expect and that seemed to make it easier.  I still felt like a truck had run over me, backed up, and ran over me again, but it was okay. 

The week of August 28-September 2 has brought a new "side effect" - a sore mouth, which I did not have before.  It brought back memories of when Dana was having chemo [30 years ago] and she would have ulcers all in her mouth and down her throat.  She was miserable and so were we.  It is so difficult to see your child suffer and not be able to "make it all better."  At Children's Hospital, she was given something called "Magic Mouth Wash" which would numb her mouth and throat so that she could eat a little.  Want to guess what I was given?  You're right!  Magic Mouth Wash.  By the time I got it, my mouth was so much better that I haven't had to use it yet.  But at least I have it for when I do.

Also, when I went for lab work on Tuesday, the 30th, I almost passed out.  I scared them so bad we bypassed the doctor and they took me by wheelchair straight to the infusion room for fluids.  Seems as though I was dehydrated again.  At first they weren't going to give me the iron they said I needed, but once I started to feel better after the fluids, they agreed to go ahead with the iron.  I was at CCI {Clearview Cancer Center} from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  I was disappointed to find out that the iron wouldn't work instantly, but I was assured that in a few days I would feel soooooo much better. 

I was hoping that I would be able to work some this week, but so far I haven't quite felt like it.  The doctor told me to be my own judge about that aspect.  So, I am being optimistic that I can go in for at least a couple of hours in the morning.  I really need to do that for my own mental health.  As my children will confirm, I am not a good "stay at home mom."  I love my family, but I love my job too. 

I didn't mean for this to be a lengthy epistle, but I wanted to tell everyone who reads this what an amazing adventure [or journey, as Dana calls it] this continues to be.  I have been overwhelmed by the prayers, words of encouragement, cards, and offers of help that I have received.  I am very blessed.