Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some New Drug

When I think back to my last dose of chemo, I was so nauseated! The nausea started very quickly, about eight hours after the dose. And it lingered for two and a half days.  No vomiting, however, which is awesome.

The Physician's Assistant said that there is some fantastic, new, expensive anti-nausea drug that I will have to try at my next dose of Doxorubicin. I wish I had asked her the name of the drug. I could have looked it up in the meantime.

Ah, but I also keep reminding myself that there is a scan on Monday. If the scan results are good, I'll continue with the Doxorubicin and try the new anti-nausea drug. If the scan results are not good, I'll quit the Doxorubicin and switch to something else.  It's a funny mental balancing act, not knowing what is going to happen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home Depot Migraine

Right before taking the first bite of my fabulous $1.50 Home Depot polish sausage lunch yesterday, I saw sparkly lights and realized I had a migraine. I took a Maxalt immediatly, but the migraine must have been going for about 15 to 20 minutes already.

We were able to have lunch and shop and go home -- and then the migraine started all over again. Total bummer.  I am not clear what to do in a case like that. I did not think that I could take another Maxalt for 24 hours, so I just sort of went to bed and suffered. (Since then, I received another copy of the insert from Rite Aid and read that I can take another does after waiting 2 hours. Great news for the future.)

Lou woke me up at 6PM so we could go to dinner with Meredyth and Woody. I felt pretty good by then.  We had a great time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dumela, Mma

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency discs have started arriving via NetFlix. I love the books, love love love the books! Alexander McCall Smith is a genius!  The TV show is very good, and I am enjoying it a lot, but Mma Ramotswe on TV is a little different than Mma Ramotswe in my head.  She seemed more calm, more serene, when I read her.

I am lucky right now. I have some NetFlix discs to watch, my class on Ancient Egypt to watch, and four new books to read:

  • The Woods by Harlan Coban
  • Back Spin by Harlan Coban (Number 4 in the Myron Bolitar Series)
  • Killing Floor by Lee Child
  • The Beach House by Jane Green
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I finally finished Laura Bush's memoir! I am really glad I read it, and I loved most of it.  I admit I sort of skimmed the last quarter of the book. It seemed as though the author ran out of steam, and the last quarter didn't have any emotional impact. It was like, "then I did this, and then I went here, and then I talked to these ladies about this..."  (I hate to say that, because I would not want to dissuade anyone from reading her book.)  So, I'll tell you again, I loved most of this book. It made me laugh. It brought tears to my eyes many times. I even learned a lot.  It just did not end that strongly.  Part of that is probably me!  I really struggle with nonfiction and often rely on an airplane flight to force me to finish a nonfiction book.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heat Wave and Hot Tub

Yesterday I started off with a lot of energy. I was also (if I may say so) really mentally sharp -- and as a result got a lot of tricky work done on my project. Days like that are gifts!

But around lunchtime, I started struggling with exhaustion. It took more and more effort to keep working, till by 2:00PM I knew I needed to quit for the day.

So I headed home, fell asleep, and woke up later feeling a lot better. I think I could have slept for hours longer, but Sam woke me up with a bunch of doggy growly noises. I swear she did it on purpose because it was 5:00PM, time for her dinner. My old puppy school instructor would be disappointed to hear that the first thing I did was get her dinner!

Last night, I had aching ribs and muscle spasms in my neck and back. I definitely remember that from last summer, so I am thinking it must be the Neulasta shot. Tonight, I plan to jump in the hot tub and relax those muscles.

Stinking Fish!

I caught a whiff of something bad yesterday morning outside my car, and I wondered maybe if I had driven over something gross. Nope, turns out that I forgot to bring my leftover salmon filet into the house on Saturday! It sat out in the hot car for days. Man, that is a bad stink. I left all the car windows rolled down last last, and I hope the car is aired out this morning.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Regular Tea

Now that the Decadron regimen is complete, I can drink regular tea this morning! Yum! No wonder I'm a happy person; it does not take much to make me happy.

Since chemo on Thursday, I have had to totally avoid all caffeine, because the Decadron hypes me up enough without any help. If I have any caffeine, then I feel unpleasantly speedy. And Lou has to say, "Please stop talking for a while," in the nicest possible way.

But today I am back with my regular tea. I am sitting here in my dark office, drinking a huge mug o' tea. No email to speak of this morning, except for a few shipping notifications from my online shopping insomnia binge the other night ;^)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Early Mornings

There is something sort of great about waking up early in the morning. Today Lou and I went out to Brig's for breakfast and then did the grocery shopping for the week -- and got home by 10:30AM.

The rest of the day is sort of dragging, though. I cleaned the guest room closet because George and Rich and Lisa are coming in the next couple of weeks... and I scooped dog poop in the backyard. But overall I am tired and unmotivated. Good thing there is no ironing left to do.

I haven't had a good time the last couple of days. There has been a lot of nausea, but no vomiting at all. I phoned the "oncologist on call" at Duke yesterday because I had been taking the max of everything (Decadron, Zofran, and Compazine) and I was still nauseated. So she said to take an extra Decadron. That worked wonders! And today I am feeling no nausea. Yahoo!

I am really looking forward to August 2 (scan) and August 4 (results) to see if this stuff is working.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Email From The Golf Course

Dr R sent email from either the beach or the golf course saying that I ought to get the Neulasta shot, so I went to Duke on Friday and got it. The shot itself took 5 seconds. The entire journey and wait was 2 hours. Not bad, but I was wiped out when I got home. I bounced back after lunch, worked some more, and then crashed again.

I am glad I got the shot, grateful that I have good insurance, but maybe a little nervous because I rememebr from last summer it made me feel as though I had the flu.

Plus I have this constant headache, which might be from the Zofran, because the bottle has a sticker that says, "Might cause headache."  It was NOT the power of suggestion either -- I had the headache long before I noticed the sticker.

Ugh, and the Decadron woke me up at 3:00AM.  I tried to go back to sleep but got more and more restless till I just got up at 3:25AM. (Did not want to wake up Lou!) I have been shopping online since then, visited my neighbor's PartyLite Candle web site, spent some time at Barnes and Noble too. Now I think I 'll just watch TV for awhile and iron the backlog of Lou's t shirts.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Is My Cup Half Full or...

Is my cup half full or is my cup ready to be dumped out because there is a fruit fly swimming in my beverage?

Translation:  Was yesterday's dose of Doxorubicin my half way point, or was it my last dose? 

I'll have a CT Scan on August 2, and then on August 4 Dr R will tell me if this chemo is working.  By working, I mean the cancer either stayed the same or shrank. If it is working, we continue on with the next three doses. If it is not working, we quit Doxorubicin and come up with a new plan.

Yesterday went okay.

My neutrafils count was low, at the actual cutoff point for whether they would give me chemo. (Neutrafils, which I might be spelling wrong, is one of the components of white blood cell count and is responsible for fighting off bacteria.)  I asked about a Neulasta shot, and the PA said we ought to wait and see if it drops further. It was funny, Lou and I were like, why wait?! So she will email Dr R at the beach and ask him what he thinks. I hope to hear today.

I was very surprised to feel nausea yesterday. Previously, I have felt no nausea on the first day. With the drugs they give me in the IV, I really shouldn't feel nausea on the first day. So I was in complete denial for hours as the mild nausea sat in my throat. "I think I feel mildly nauseated, but that's not possible."

By 8:00PM, the nausea was a little stronger, and I realized I really was nauseated and took a Compazine, hoping that it would also help me sleep. It seemed to take a long time for the nausea to go away and a long time to fall asleep. But eventually it worked.

When I woke up this morning, I did not feel nauseated. Today I start taking Decadron, which really helps to keep the nausea way. I am also going to take Zofran too. That is what I did last time, to keep the nausea from starting. Since it already started yesterday, then I think I really need it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thumbs Up

My fingernails have been a disaster for months and months.

The Gem/Tax chemo last summer made them really thick, with ridges. I didn't think that was very nice. Then the clinical trial drug really messed up my nails. They became paper thin, flexible, and easy to tear.  Yikes.  I tried to keep them trimmed because any small rough spot could catch on something and become a tear, and any length could get banged and cause a big break. I also tried painting them with clear, tough polishes but that didn't seem to help. (Maybe I did not put on enough coats.)

Well, I am thrilled to report that my thumbs seem to be bouncing back. The nails on my thumbs are no longer completely bendy and paper thin.  They are like normal.

Now I just have to wait for my other digits to catch up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's In The Car

This time around being bald, I could not face the wig. So I have been wearing baseball caps -- and a couple of times, scarves. It seems to be working out fine. I'm really comfortable, which is all that matters this time around.

Last time around, it mattered a lot to hide the fact that I was getting chemo. That was what the wig was about. This time, I don't care about hiding it. (I think the fact that it is going pretty well has something to do with not needing to hide it. I am not nearly as messed up this time.)

The funny thing is, my car is filled with baseball caps. I wear a cap all day but take it off when I get into the car to go home. Then I forget it in the car. Lo, there are now at least six caps in the car! Pretty soon they'll all be in the car, and I won't have to decide which one to wear till I get to the parking lot at work in the morning.

I do need a white cap, though.  Or I need to go to the fabric store and get some white fabric for a scarf. Maybe a cool eyelet so my head could breathe... This time of year, I am wearing a lot of outfits that would look best with white headgear.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lots of Fun

I had so much fun this weekend! Here we are at Chas and Darlene's house, after a cookout and swimming in their awesome pool.

At the same party, we also got to celebrate a huge vistory for our friend Mo and his dog Chloe. At an agility competition in Charlotte this weekend, Chloe won a MACH (Master Agility Championship), which means she has accumulated an amazing 750 points for wins over her career as an agility competitor! This accomplishment took 4 years of hard work.

Here is Mo holding a cake that says, Congratulations Mo and Chloe.

We had a great time hanging out at Chas and Darlene's house. Around 9PM, though, I really crashed. I was suddenly exhausted and we split. So we missed the neighborhood fireworks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Something To Look Forward To


That is my name spelled out in hieroglyphs that I found on the web!

Lou and I have booked a trip to Egypt for next April. I have wanted to see the pyramids for years and years, but I didn't think that Egypt was a safe place to go. Turns out that Egypt is very tourist friendly and safe. Plus, the dollar is strong there.

I know that I already told you about how we booked a Celebrity cruise for October 2011 that had two days in Egypt, and that was exciting enough. (We are cancelling that cruise!)

On Father's Day, we went to a play with Nick and Sharon, and in the playbill, there was an advertisement for a Deluxe Egyptian Adventure. As we waited for the play to start, we read through the itinerary and were completely blown away. It's a 10 day trip, starting and ending in a 5 star Cairo hotel, but the entire middle is a cruise on the Nile on the M/S Jasmin! So... instead of two days in Eqgypt and HOURS on a bus we get eight days in Egypt and very little time on a bus!  (The travel agent said that bus rides are 30 minutes or less at each stop on the Nile. Gosh, I hate being trapped on a bus.)

This tour will benefit the NC State Arts Program. It is run by The Travel Guys of Raleigh.  Here is the official trip link in case you are interested in joining us!

Here is a random link that I found that shows the boat we'll be on, on the Nile:

If you decide to join us, tell The Travel Guys we sent you so we can get $50 off our price!  ;^)   We sent in all our paperwork yesterday.  We signed up for travel insurance, just in case we have to cancel.

Egypt seems like the kind of place where you want to know a little something before you go. Sort of like Rome. You have to know something in order to maximize your enjoyment. So I sent away for a Teaching Company course on ancient Egypt. It's a series of 48 lectures on DVD, and we have already watched six of them. It's awesome. I just wish I also had the CD version so I could listen again to each lecture in the car, to reinforce it.