Thursday, January 21, 2010
.... round five week 1
.... the memory is dull this morning and I am having to search hard to connect with what needs to be done... the headache began last night - jaw pain and around the eyes. Took the Tylenol and Advil in an attempt to stave it off... I will need to do this now every 5 hours over the next week. I am having difficulty managing the simple task of getting the kids organized this morning - Max leaves early in the morning to head out to the college on Thursday's and I offered to get their lunches made. What should have taken a few minutes.... it got done with verbal assistance from Mitch. Last night was spent in bed tossing while toasting and cooling off - this forced menopause thing is really a nuisance and I no longer wonder why my mother was so miserable!! Yesterday the nurse came to give me the Neulasta shot and to check my leg wound. The wound has begun to heal and the pain is gone. It has been a month since I hurt my ankle with a simple boot rub and according to the physician - it could take another month for the ulcer to scab and fully heal. The immune system is really compromised with the Docetaxel and I have to be extra careful. The antibiotics will run out in a few days and after that, my system will take a full dump before coming back online. Here is a recap, as best as can be retrieved from the few days I have not been able to blog....
Tuesday 19 January
It is chemo day.... round 2 of the Docetaxel. Today I am accompanied by Eileen and she picks me up early so we can grab a cup of joe after making our way upstairs to pick up the pager - the receptionist lets me know that I should have submitted my appointment stub to them prior to leaving my appointment last week in order to get my next appointment - thank goodness someone at the desk found a carbon copy on my file and made one for me in advance - darn chemo brain!! I run into my Oncologist who is also waiting to fuel up in the line behind me at the Tim Horton's on the bottom floor and I chat for a minute before turning to go with Eileen to find the elevator to head back up to the second floor. Eileen is on oxygen and I tend to forget that I move too fast for her to keep up and she is relieved when the elevator is located and we are back upstairs into comfy seats to wait my turn with the pager snuggled into the front pocket of my jeans. I recognize a familiar face across from us. Mary is the mother of a young 27 year old woman who is going through breast cancer - it is invasive for her and so she is doing chemo and radiation at the same time and Mary lets me know that she is OK but is not coping with the extensive burns to her chest. As we chat, I indicate to her about the sudden onset of menopause and was her daughter experiencing anything like that despite her age... Mary wasn't sure but would ask. I looked around and noticed a lot of people staring in our direction and looked down to discover that someone had dropped 2 open but clean maxi pads on the floor a few steps away from us??!! It has created quite a lot of attention but Mary got up and quickly disposed of them in the garbage a few feet away and when we looked up - there were lots of smiles, some a little red-faced. No worries, Mary, Eileen and I continued with the conversation until my pager went off. See you soon Mary and give my best to your lovely daughter - oh, and please let the yoga class know that I will not be able to attend on Thursday. Nurse Haley is waiting for me in the doorway of the chemo suite and I choose the lazy boy in the airy and naturally lit corner... there are tropical plants all around the chair and lots of light. The IV does not go in so well today and I catch the tears as they course down my face... too many pokes into what is now scar tissue. I have had so many pokes lately that I think I am getting an aversion to any kind of needle. I see the lady I met 3 weeks ago who was in the bed across from me. She is attractive and around the same age as me but as she is shown the chair two away from me, I invite her to choose the one adjacent. She agrees and we smile and introduce myself....what a small world - Megan knows a lot of the same women that I do and we begin to chat. I am wearing make-up and usually do just to rid myself of the horrible black rings under my eyes but I note that she is not wearing any and looks amazing. I take off my cap - it is too hot for me and she removes her head scarf.... so here we are, two bald beautiful 40 somethings, chilling in the chemo suite with no hats and lots of laughs... the beginning of another friendship with a kindred spirit!!
The Benedryl is run in first to avoid any complications from the last visit - this will take 10 minutes with a 30 minute wait until the Docetaxel is run..... this makes my total visit now over 2 1/2 hours as they will do a saline rinse after the medication goes through to try and save my vein from hardening or collapsing. My wrist is burning with pain from the IV being rammed in and is relieved by putting on the heat pad. The frozen mitts and slippers are on and away we go. Eileen has brought her copy of 'Vinyl Cafe' and reads a great short story out loud to me... I start to doze because the benedryl has kicked in and I strain to listen to her read. Megan is busy getting her IV inserted - she is not really crazy about the needles either and looks away. Her husband has joined us and we all converse back and forth... he is really cool and I know if Max had been with me, he would have totally liked his open and candid humor.
I have to use the washroom around the corner in the chemo suite and I recognize a man and his wife I have seen a few times before. They had smiled and we said hello before our appointment today. He turns to say hello - he is reserved with a shy smile and the accent is thick. I ask how is his wife - they are sequestered in a private room off the hallway and I can see she is laying down holding their daughter's hand. He says that she is not well, it is her last chemo but had a reaction that has made her ill but they have given her enough meds to make her feel better... likely the benedryl that I now must take with each Docetaxel. She smiles up at me from her bed as I move steps into the room. Hello I say as I smile down at her beautiful face. I tell her how beautiful she is and that I hope she is feeling better... she answers 'better' and smiles back. I ask if she will do radiation after and she nods. I blow her a kiss and let her know that I will see her soon.
I am finally done and I bid farewell to Megan and promise to find her on facebook - ahhh, another facebook addict!! When I get home, she has already put in a friend request and a note to me. I am looking forward to getting together with her really soon. I am hoping she will come to Wellspring with me. See you soon Bella Megan. Eileen and I go to the pharmacy to wait for the prescription I am to pick up. The Victory Program (Amgen - the company that produces the Neulasta) has picked up the costs that are not carried by my insurance company and I am relieved... I do note however that the cost of the shot is a few hundred dollars cheaper than just a few weeks ago??!! The woman and her husband ring the bell on their way out of the chemo suite - it signifies the last chemo and those in close proximity start to clap including myself and Eileen. The woman and her husband see us and smile broadly as he grasps her hand to leave... I blow her another kiss and smile.
Nick P. shows up mid-afternoon with tonight's dinner. It is a wonderful stew that the kids gobble up with the bread he has brought to soak up the juices!! Yum. Did I mention the lovely coffee pastry with a chocolate center - it was divine and the kids gobbled that up super fast. Thank you so much for your wonderful words of encouragement, the hugs and best wishes and of course the smiles!!
Wednesday 21 January
I am not sleeping and make my way downstairs where I pick up the hat I have been knitting for William... his is the fourth hat that I will have made for my family - it actually helps the brain to function by keeping it busy and the kids love the funky multi-colored wool. It is finished before he starts school and proudly pops it on his head as he heads out the door... later he will tell me that someone teased him because the hat has dark purple in it - William let's the kid know that his mother has made it for him and that she has cancer.... the kid quiets down and apologizes to him. Later, one of Will's friends asks if I can make him one.... :)
I am putting away paperwork and paying bills today because the brain is getting worse and I cannot remember where I put things and must write down notes as reminders. Tax season is coming up and I am trying to organize the slips so that we can get ours done as soon as possible. My long term disability has started and the cheque has been put into the account early much to my relief. It is a once a month payment and I must bear that in mind for next month when all my bills come in before the money. I am good with my money and am frugal to a fault when it comes to paying all bills and not carrying a balance.
I am not feeling overly well and spend the afternoon on the couch cat-napping. I do not get much sleep - the steroids tend to stall that department but today is the last day for taking those. I have heart burn but not as bad as when I went through the FEC.
Janice Mills has come to bring a fantastic spinach quiche - I have been craving eggs all day and amazed to find my wish come true!! The salad was a total hit as well. Thank you so much Janice and thank you for being such a great gal.... I wish I had gotten to know you better before all this happened - you are really very wonderful and thank you for everything.
Thursday 21st January
Not feeling great.... it is the 48 hour mark and I am feeling it in my head and my chest... the bone pain is setting in and I will take it easy today. I am knitting my funky wool hat to keep my head occupied. The hat has taken all day to produce and I will be gifting it to Eryn... it is in keeping with the one I made for Will.
Tonight is difficult emotionally... Miss Lydia slips into the tub with me and we put in a few bath bombs and laugh about silly things... she sees my scars and starts to talk about my cancer and the treatment I have just had. She knows that I am in pain and gently washes my arms and comes in close for a nuzzle. I am tired and sore and need to get out of the bath... my head is foggy and I ask her to read to me. She climbs in beside me and reads aloud then prompts me to read the book to her... she needs me to just be there for her and I read it as I cuddle with her. My knees are in a great deal of pain and is shifting through my shins. My arms will soon be aching and the only comfort I have is laying on my back with my knees supported by my body pillow. Lydia and I talk about her missing eye glasses - a student in her class has taken them from her desk and is having difficulty finding them after taking them home with her. We will have to wait a few more days to see if they can be located but I cannot afford to replace these brand new glasses.... I had to do that last year when mine went missing and then mysteriously showed up weeks later after I had purchased a replacement pair..... we will wait patiently...
Lydia wants to talk about death... mine and hers and how she doesn't want to ever die and how come we all have to die?? Is it possible to live forever? Will I get to see her grow up? Will I meet her children? Will Oma and Grandad see her grow up to adult hood? What happens to us when we go? Will I be able to see her when I die? Can I stay with her forever? The tears start and I hope the dark room doesn't give away the emotions that I am having a hard time controlling... she asks me if I am crying and as I turn to her I see that both of us are. She reaches out her little hand and I clasp it in mine - a lifeline to a daughter I love more than anything and who I worry about how she is doing.... so little and so much worry. Max knows to leave us alone and kisses us both good night and heads off to sleep in the spare bed in Mitchel's room. We cuddle in close still holding hands long into the night. I do not sleep - a combination of the steroids and pain is making it uncomfortable. I love you always, forever and a day, Mommy.
I worry about my children and I know that the week after chemo is always the toughest on all of us... they are unsure of what to do but come in to see me often to give reassurance and kisses - that has always been my job but now they are taking on that role and watching over me. I am so very lucky. xoxoxox
Thank you to Anne LaRoque for dinner tonight.... not a lick of it left!! You are always so busy and I appreciate the time and effort you put into everything you do!
Thank you to the supper club for once again coming out this week to assist with my family... it makes life so much easier. Thank you to Ray Cabak for the lovely card - it was wonderful seeing you on Saturday and of course at the cancer clinic where you volunteer your time helping out!!