Sunday, May 29, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I am so glad to be home.

Yesterday the guys dropped me off at home and left to hit the pharmacy and Chinese takeout restaurant. I went right to sleep.

I probably went down for 3 naps yesterday b4 going to bed at 9. In between naps we watched Star Trek Voyager episodes.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Almost Ready To Go

I am getting my last post-med.  I am on schedule to leave at 2.

It will make me so happy to leave here.

Chemo Started

I passed my neuro check, got my pre-meds, and now the final dose of this chemo has begun.  Yahoo!

Still on schedule to get out of here by 2:00PM.

Oh What a Night

I hardly put any sleep time together last night. Every little thing woke me up.

I'm glad to be finally up now at 5:45. It's just easier sometimes to give up on sleep. Plus, I can nap later, especially when they give me the Compazine.

The doctor is suppoed to come in and give me my neuro check, to make sure that I have not suffered brain toxicity from the chemo. They cannot give me my final dose till that happens.

I won't be able to go to Starbucks till after the chemo.  Oh well.

Just waiting now...

Friday, May 27, 2011

What a Fun Afternoon

Gee I had so much fun this afternoon, it's hard to reconcile it with being in the hospital.

Gul from work came at lunchtime, and she brought excellent Thai food from Yum Yum Thai. There was so much that I'll be having the leftovers for dinners tonight too.

We talked, played Uno, and watched part of the latest Harry Potter movie.

We went down to the cafeteria twice to play cards, before and after my big nap. I won the first couple of games, but we ended up tied at 8 games each. Since this was friendly play, we decided not to go for a tie-breaker.

I had such a great time.  The hours flew by.

After Gul left, I took another nap. The beeping of the IV woke me up, and I sort of feel as though I could nap some more.

But I wanted to record the events of the afternoon before Zofran steals all the details from my memory.

Oh, and Lou called me on his cell phone to report that the stormy weather has knocked out the landline at my house!  So there is no internet at home. That means, when I go home, the only way for me to update this blog is with my phone. The phone company said we might not get the phone back till Thursday!

Early Friday Morning

I was wide awake last night, from the Decadron, and so I took an Ambien so that I could sleep. It worked great, till security phoned at 1:00AM to ask permission for my mother to come up for a visit to room 9230.  Well, I'm nowhere near 9230.  I'm somewhere in 9300, not even 9330, so the security guard messed up multiple numbers when he dialed. Luckily after we cleared up the confusion, I fell right back to sleep.

Till 4:30AM.

I was up for the day at 4:30.  I have been up for an hour, and I have already taken a shower and checked email.

Oooh, I ordered a paper copy of The Millionaire Next Door yesterday since Lou has been raving about it, and Barnes and Noble sent email that says they they have already shipped it.

My plan is to go to Starbucks when they open at 6:00AM. My nurse said she would unhook me from the IV pole for the trip. Cindy and Mike sent me a Starbucks card, and I finally remembered to bring it with me. Thanks, Cindy and Mike!  Lou and I had coffee on you yesterday morning, and I am looking forward to coffee and a scone this morning.

Highlights from yesterday:
  • Got chemo really early at 3:40.
  • Got communion.
  • Watched an hour of the Harry Potter movie.
  • Chatted with Darlene.
  • Chatted with Debbie in Seattle.
  • Exchanged amusing texts with Amelia.
  • Exchanged amusing texts with Tinalynne in Montana.
When I talked to Lou this morning, he mentioned that he is going out to dinner tonight with Mo and Gail.  Lucky Lou!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Dose Done

Wow, the power of the Girl Scout cookie! My first dose of chemo is already done. It ran from 3:40 to 4:40. So that means, if everything happens on schedule, I will be discharged at 2:00PM on Saturday, which is fabulous.

I spent some time sleeping early this afternoon. The Compazine knocks me out.

Lou was reading a technology review magazine.

Darlene just dropped by to chat and to bring Lou home. It is always great to catch up with Darlene. Amazingly, she reported that she has met the people who are buying our old house. We haven't even met them!  The closing will occur on Tuesday. Selling the old house will be a HUGE weight lifted off our shoulders, let me tell you. Because I cannot be there on Tuesday for the closing (because I will feel lousy) Lou and I have already signed all the papers we need to sign.

In The Room

At 10:10AM, my cell buzzed. It was a nurse, instructing me to go to the Admissions Desk immediately because they had a bed for me.

I am in my PJs.

Now let's see how quickly chemo.

Final Chemo Weekend Begins

Lou and I are sitting pretty at Starbucks in Duke University Hospital, waiting for the phone call to tell us that there is a bed available for me up on the 9300 Ward.

It has been a busy day already. We got up wicked early, at 5:00AM, so that we could go for a walk before Mo picked us up at 7:00AM. We got to the clinic before 8:00AM, where I had blood drawn for labs, peed in a cup, and talked to my oncologist's Physician's Assistant.

So now we're settled in at the corner table at Starbucks. Lou is listening to The Millionaire Next Door, which he has been raving about. He's actually using his new Android Fascinate cell phone to listen to this book. I am so jealous of Lou's cool new phone! I have to wait till July to upgrade.

Lou is drinking a Grande Americano, and I am drinking a yummy Frappucino.

The line is out the door!  Luckily there was nobody in line when we got here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Got No Complaints

I am feeling great this morning. I have no complaints! I am sleeping well, too.

Lou and I sat out of the back deck this morning, listening to the birds and watching the sprinklers while we ate breakfast. There was one goose that just would not shut up! The sky is really blue and clear, but I think it might rain later on. Samantha spends a lot of her time on the back deck, so we are taking our cue from her. Really, I think I would do well to emulate my Golden Retriever. She has such a peaceful outlook on life.

I am really loooking forward to getting in to the office today. It was a drag not being able to get in at all last week.

So, I expect to feel great for the next week and a half...  then I go in for Chemo Weekend 6, the final chemo weekend for Ifosfamide. That will be a cause for celebration. Although, the nurses on the 9300 ward are so sweet; they make the chemo weekend as pleasant as possible.

Every time I think about the possibility of cryoablation, I get really happy. It might not happen for months though. Definitely we have to wait for the next CT Scan, which will be in June. And then we might decide to wait for the next scan after that, which would be August. That would give me time to bounce back from chemo.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Three Migraines in Two Days

Jeepers, it was crazy.  Three migraines in two days.

The first one was Wednesday morning.  I had already been loggeed on to work for awhile when I noticed the blank spots that are the earliest warning for me that there is a migraine coming. I took Maxalt really fast, was useless for awhile, but then was able to work on Wedneday afternoon as if nothing had happened.

Then on Thursday morning, I saw blank spots again. I took the Maxalt, but it did not work quite as well.  I could not read, watch TV, or sleep.  I just hung around in the dark sort of complaining. Lou stayed away. The migraine lifted -- only to return as another migraine in the afternoon!  And that one was bad. I ended up taking Excedrin Migraine finally, and that helped a lot.  But I was useless all day. 

I did weed a flower bed briefly, but bending over sort of hurt my head.

So all day today I have been watching for another migraine. None has come, thank God!

I worked for 2.5 hours this morning, and then Lou and I went out to the bank, Home Depot, and then Dalat for lunch.  I had awesome pho!  There is no way I am dehydrated. (Someone suggested that the migraines might be caused by dehydration, so today for lunch I ate Vietnamese soup.)

Right now, I am finally back. Maybe I should take a nap before I log on, though. Yes, I am going to nap -- or at least try to -- because I don't want to do anything that will start another migraine.

Tomorrow we have tickets to see HAIR at the DPAC!  Neither one of us has seen it.  It's sort of funny that I will be seeing HAIR when I have none.

(This post might seem vaguely familiar to some of you.  Something happened to Blogspot this week, and my last post was lost.  So I just tried to quickly recreate adn update it.  That post was all about migraines, too.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Migraines Wednesday and Thursday Morning

Jeepers, two days in a row I get a migraine.

Yesterday I caught it really early and took the Maxalt early enough so that the migraine was minor and I actually worked all afternoon.

But today the migraine was a bit more advanced before I caught it. So now I have more of a migraine.  Bummer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is That My Phone Ringing?

My cell phone has been in my pocketbook since we got back from Duke, and a couple of times yesterday, I thought I heard it ringing.  OK, I know I heard it ringing. I just couldn't get to it. Nor apparently can I check voicemail. (But I have kept on top of email.)

There has been no nausea this time, which is super awesome.

My main problem has been complete exhaustion, the kind where you're crashed on the couch and hear your phone ringing but can't be bothered to budge.

I have slept a lot more this time than in the past. I think that is good, because as a result, I have not been argumentative or miserable. When I start to feel bad, I go right to sleep. After about an hour, I wake up feeling fine. This is way better than last time around, when I tried to stay up, when I tried to push through the exhaustion, and I ended up being unpleasant to be around.

In my awake time,s I have read half of A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson.  (Thanks for the recommendation, Christy, I am enjoying it.)

I also watched some movies: The King's Speech, Stakeout, Heaven Can Wait (with Don Ameche), and Curly Top (with Shirley Temple).

This morning, right now, my head is clear and my energy is high. My plan is to work for 2 hours, sleep, lunch, and then work for another two hours this afternoon. It sounds arduous, right? Ha!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good News

Yesterday's consultation with Dr C went really well.  He talked to us for about 30 minutes.

He explained all about both cyroablation and radiofrequency ablation (RFA). They are both serious procedures; neither one sounds like a walk in the park. For example, he uses conscious sedation for both because during the first part when he is inserting the needle probles into the tumors, he needs the patient to hold their breath at certain times, so that the tumor is not a moving target.  Yikes!

It turns out that I might be a better candidate for cryoablation (freezing) than RFA (heating), because most of the lung tumors are located along the periphery where all the nerves are.

With RFA, more of the surrounding normal tissue is destroyed. With cryoablation, less of the surrounding normal tissue is destroyed; that is, when the cold wears off, the normal tissue wakes back up. When the tumor is on the periphery, it is better to use cryoablation to save the nerves, so you don't end up with areas of numbness along the ribs. (I already have enough numbness down my leg from the CyberKnife, ha ha.)

Anyway, Dr C is going to talk to Dr R to come up with a plan. There is no rush, because all the lung tumors are really small.

This was great news. I had a great day yesterday. Of course, I slept alot.

Monday, May 9, 2011

John's Driving This Morning

John next door is driving Lou and me to Duke for my appointment with Dr C to talk about radio frequency ablation. I might have been able to drive there, but I wouldn't have enough steam to get us home.

I am looking forward to hearing whether I am a candidate for RFA. That would just be the first hurdle though. Next we have to get BCBS to pay for it.

I think that I will be okay no matter what I hear today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Home and Napping

I am home!

We got home some time after 9:00PM last night. It was great to be able to pet Sam.

I woke up today at 5:30AM, and felt okay. I have gone down for two naps so far. I'm feeling fine, then I get wonky and need to sleep for likean hour and then I am fine again. So right now I am in a fine window, and Lou is heating up soup for lunch.

We've walked a bunch of TV, and I did a load of laundry, all my PJs from the hospital. I always wash those PJs right away, like they have the stink of the hospital on them and I can't wait to get 'em clean.

I tried to call my Mom to wish her a Happy Mother's Day, but the call went to voicemail so I left a message.

That is all I have for now.  No nausea!  Yippee!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I just had lunch. My entree was mac-n-cheese, and it was surprisingly good.  Yesterday's lunch was pretty gross, beef stew on rice, supposedly.  So I wasn't expecting much today.

Lou is actually bringing me a roast beef sandwich from home, which now I will probably eat for dinner.

Today has been fine.

I woke up at 4:00AM because someone took blood.  I was wide awake till 6:30, and I slept till 8:30.  I have gone for several walks and even sat outside in the sun for 30 minutes looking at cartoons from France in 1954.  Sort of funny, sort of strange.  There is a shelf of random books in the Patient and family room here, some strange treasures.

Lou should be arriving here any minute.  Joe and Peg drove him.

Tonight at 8:45 Pat and Carl will drive us home.

Can't wait to be done!  Definitely killed some cancer this weekend.


The frantic beeping of my IV just woke me up.

I glanced at the clock, and in the dark I thought it was 6:10AM.  I was so relieved that the night was over. But then I turned on the light and saw that is was actually 2:30AM. Lots of night left to try to sleep through.

The thing beeped for long enough to really wake me up. I used the call button to let them know about it, and then I did something a little snarky. I opened my door to share the beeping with the world. I figured that would make someone come faster.

Some other nurse popped in and shut off the beeping and said it would be okay for another 30 or 40 minutes, that there was enough left in the saline bag ttill then, but then it would beep again.  She left before I could point out that I would just have fallen asleep again when the beeping resumed, and that was less a than ideal plan.

But luckily my real nurse popped in with a huge fresh bag of saline. She apologized for not sneaking in to change it before it woke me up. She had actually also snuck in at 1:00AM to hang my second doze of Mezna, and even turned on a light, and I never even stirred.  Nice!

Okay now I think I am sleepy enough to try to go back to sleep. Lets hope I make it through till 6:00AM this time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Little Birdie Told Me

Carolyn and John arrived at about noon to keep me company for a couple of hours.

"A little birdie told me that you needed this," Carolyn announced as she handed me a grocery sack.

Mystified, I peered inside and found York Peppermint Pattis!  Two different kinds!  Now I do not have to ration them anymore, which is a huge relief because if turns out that a half is not always as good as a whole.

We had a great time, and they stayed till 3:00PM. I warned them that my memory is so bad, the next time I see them I probably won't remember this awesome visit unless they remind me. So it seemed like a good idea to capture their YPP generosity on the blog!  And to take this opportunity to thank the Little Birdie too.

First they watched me eat my strangely unsatisfactory hospital lunch, and then we wento down to the cafeteria so they could have lunch. I got a little tub of potato salad in the cafeteria, which redeemed my entire lunch experience.

It seems like we talked about everything under the sun. I had a really good time.

It helped that I was not tired.  Doane and Marge dropped by after 9:00PM last night, but I was so tired from the Campazine and Zophran I could hardly talk.  I really appreciated the visit though.  It's not every friend ON CRUTCHES who makes such a big effort like Doane to come see a person.  And I never see enough of Marge.

Rationing My York Peppermint Patties

If you have been reading this blog, you know that during chemo I am a delicate flower who gets nauseated when the nurse flushes my port with saline.

Last chemo weekend, I discovered that if I put a mini York Peppermint Patty in my mouth, then not only do I not get nauseated, I can't even tell if the flush has occuured yet. (For every other candy I tried, I could still taste the awful flush underneath whatever fruity flavor I was trying, which usually stopped the nausea from catching hold.)

Anyway, I might not have enough mini YPPs to get me through the weekend!  I have six and a half left. I started using only a half yesterday when I realized there was a shortage. Amazingly, a half works just as good, but I do have to time it correctly, because a half melts away faster than a whole.

Another way that I am conserving YPPs is that if they come to take my blood, I ask them to stick me in the arm instead of using my port. The lady who did it last night was totally awesome; i hardly felt the needle at all.

So I have to go shopping for a new bag of YPP before Chemo Weekend 6.  Somebody remind me...

I slept really well last night, despite being woken up numerous times. I just kept falling right back to sleep. And it was a good rest, because today I am cheerful and optimistic again.  (Yesterday I was experiencing some self pity and reluctance to receive chemotherapy.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Long Wait

We just got to my hospital room 10 minutes ago!

We arrived just before 8:00AM and saw the doctor early, but then the nurse warned us that it might be HOURS before we got a room. She suggested we hop a bus and go to the American Tobacco District!  That really made me nervous about how long we were going to have to wait. It is not inconcievable that we might never get a room and have to come back tomorrow.

Lou always has good ideas. He suggested that I log on to work. That would make the hours fly by. So we headed to Starbucks for the tasty beverages and comfy seats.  I worked for just over two hours. Then Lou and I went to The Commons for a liesurely lunch. (The Commons is a nicer buffet restaurant here at Duke.)

After lunch, Lou suggested that we head up tp the ward to get an idea of when I might get a room. I wasn't in love with the idea because I didn't want to make a pest of myself, but I went along with the idea because he is almost always right. Luckily, a room was being vacated at that moment, and since I was there I got bumped to the top of the list! 

So now we're getting settled in and wondering when chemo will start. Everything hinges on when chemo starts on day one.  It doesn't look good though. It's already so late.

I have to admit that waiting around all this time unsettled me. I had time to think about how much I do not enjoy chemo.  (As if anyone does.)  But I am happy to report that after I get through this Chemo Weekend, there is only one left.  Then I am done.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's Not Time Already?!

Everyone, including me, is surprised that it's time already for another chemo weekend.  Three weeks just flies by, especially when I am feeling good.

I am back on the old schedule: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

This is the fifth dose.  Only one more to go after this one!  Yahoo!

I have my Girl Scout cookies ready. I am bringing an extra box this time for Dr R's nurse who never gets nuthin from nobody.

We have had super good luck the last couple of times, where I have gotten the first dose of chemo so early that I am out really early on the last day. Cross your fingers for me that the same thing happens this time. My appointment with Dr R is very early, 8:00AM, so I have a good chance of getting a room and getting the chemo going quick.

This time I am not bringing my fluffy pink slippers because they are just too comfy and flexy. Instead, I need my old stiff Lands End slippers so I can walk laps around the elevator tower when I am bored.

I don't expect to be bored because Carolyn and John are coming to visit me on Friday, to keep me company.