Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Back to Square One

I finally met up with my new Oncologist, Dr. Taub.  I like him much better.  He is very clear with what his treatment plan.  He is aggressive and he is clear about what he can do, and what he can't do.

I say we are back to square one, because Dr. Taub is starting a new chemo routine of high dose chemo given once every three weeks.  It is cancer specific, and attacks the malignant cells, but not the healthy cells. 

Dr. Taub didn't hesitate to up my pain medicines, and finally my pain is pretty much under control.  There's not much we can do for the nerve pain, but I am going to start a combination of B vitamins that is suppose to help.

I am having an access port put in this week.  For those who aren't familiar with ports, this is a semi-permanent way to give fluids and draw lab specimens, etc, without having to look for a vein every time you need access.  It goes through a large vein into the heart.  This is how I will get my chemo without burning up all my veins.  After I finish chemo, they can take it out.

I thought the other Oncologist, Dr. Zafar, was radiating both my pelvis and the tumor.  Guess what, not so. She was just radiating the pelvis. We will probably start radiating the tumor pretty soon, because Dr. Taub was a wee bit irritated that she didn't do that.

I asked Dr. Taub if I could travel, because I really, really want to go home.  He says travel is very risky and he doesn't recommend it.  I may go anyway.  

We have figured out a way that Juan can travel without me, between treatments.  That makes him happy, because he is super homesick.

It seems that after a rocky start things are finally coming together.  

 I am blessed.







Monday, March 13, 2017

I am in the process of setting up a Go Fund Me Account. This is particularly difficult for me, as I was reared in an old Southern family with more pride than anything else, and  Macho Man was reared in the same mindset.

Cancer is a very expensive disease, especially when you are on a fixed income.  My insurance  is paying most of the bills, but the co-pays and the other incidental costs are eating us alive.

I hope I don't offend anyone with this plea.  I promise you all the monies I raise will be used wisely.  I thank you if you contribute.  I understand if you don't.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Living normal

This weekend we had a taste of normal life.  Fun life.  Life without stress or tears, or medicine, or anything but living and laughing.

Elisa came home from work Friday ready to go shopping, and they were having a great sale on dresses at Ross, so off we went.  I came home with one new blouse, four new dresses, a Capri length jumpsuit, and two pair of shoes.  I feel like a fashion queen!

Saturday Macho Man decided to take me out for a long drive.  I put on one of my new outfits, and off we went to see if the Aruba Beach Cafe was still open and still the fun it was twenty years ago.  It was and it is.

On the way I decided my new outfit needed a little bling, so when we spotted another Ross, in we went.  The first thing I spotted was a hat that matched one of the colors in my dress.  Gotta have that hat! And a tassel necklace and earrings.



Now, off to Aruba Beach, where the Reggae was playing and people were dancing, eating, and having fun.  We weren't dancing, but we sure were eating and having fun. 

The food was great.  MM had coconut shrimp. I had a seafood quesadilla that was to die for. We shared an order of baked escargot that came with a heavenly loaf of French bread fresh from the oven, crispy outside and perfect inside.  Yum!

We took the long way home and got to Elisa's just in time to join her with Paul's family for some cookout! It was wonderful.

Today, we went down the road to a local Sunday farmer's market, where we picked up some beautiful produce.

Normal people, doing the things normal people do.

I am blessed.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Loss of self image

 One of the things we struggle with as humans is self image.  We work on that until we find a place we're comfortable.  My self image is that of  a strong, independent, self-confident woman, ready to take on the world.  Boy, is it taking a beating.

I can no longer walk without a walker.  I cannot get into the shower without help, and someone has to stand by to make sure I don't fall.  I have had to learn to perform bodily functions in front of strangers, and have those strangers clean up after them.  Macho Man has to help me dress.

Last night, I fell.  That shouldn't be a big deal.  In the past, I would have gotten up, dusted off, and been glad nobody saw me.  Last night was different.

I literally "fell and I couldn't get up".  Macho Man couldn't get me up because I fell up against the door and got wedged between the door and the dresser.  I was really helpless.

I ended up crawling on the floor like a baby until I could get to the bed, get up on my knees, and launch myself onto the bed on my belly.  How embarrassing!

I will certainly have to polish off my self-image. How do I learn to let others help me? How can I reclaim my confidence, when I'm always afraid I'm going to fail in some way?

Fortunately, I have a good network of family and friends.  It won't be easy, but it is doable.

I am blessed!




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

8 Days a Week

Well, I just got out of the hospital after eight long days.   Again, it wasn't the doctors who saved me, it was the great NURSING STAFF.  

The good news is, I have a good, strong heart.  The bad news is, I have suspicious nodules in my lungs, consistent with spread of the cancer.  

I have a new Oncologist.  I hope he is going to be more aggressive.  I meet him in the next week.  I also have a Pulmonary man, a Cardiologist, and the same old Urologist.

Dr. Sherman decided he couldn't march through Georgia, nor burn me, so he is still trying to drown me.  A gallon of water per day.  A GALLON.  Try drinking that.

It was eight days of torture.  Every test known to man, and a few they made up.  I had one incidence where the RT overdosed me on broncho-dilators, and I couldn't breath.

Then I had the grandmother of all panic attacks.   I couldn't breathe.  It felt like a strap around my chest, pulled tight.  The nurse was trying her best to reposition me, talk me down, whatever, when in pops cheerful Dr. Sherman.  He says, "How are you doing today? Are you drinking a gallon of water a day?....."  the nurse is saying, "She's having difficulty breathing!"  I'm trying to say, "I can't breathe!".. Without breaking a sweat, OR taking out his stethoscope, he says, "Oh, I'll come back tomorrow and fuss about the water."  Who WAS that man?

After deciding that yes, the patient IS having a panic attack, the nurse decides to get an order for a sedative.  So he, yes "he", gives me a 1 mg tablet of Ativan.  That's all it took to knock me out for the next 24 hours.  To the point, Macho Man said he didn't think he would ever get to see me awake  again.  It was crazy.  I was talking out of my head, to people who weren't there.  I don't want anymore Ativan, ever.

Well, at least it is under control for now.  I feel good.  The pain is gone.  I can get dressed, with help.  I can drink REAL COFFEE.  I have great friends and family.

I am blessed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Other Things

Some days things happen that make you think angels DO exist.  Like today, when I was feeling pretty low after having a big spasm of pain after therapy.  Like feeling really down, with a pity party in full swing.  And taking a nap, and waking up about 6P when UPS showed up with a dozen chocolate covered strawberries.  

Wonderful fresh, ripe strawberries, four covered in white chocolate and sprinkles; four awash with thick, rich dark chocolate with nuts; and four drenched in milk chocolate with crunchies.  Twelve luscious, succulent, sexy strawberries that explode with sinful flavor and juiciness.  

And no card.

UPDATE:  Now I know who sent them.  It will remain a secret
  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Today Was a Good Day

Today was a good day.  No, it was a wonderful day! Today I did nothing "medical".  Today, I was normal. Today I felt like a real female.  And it was the little things that did it.

My wonderful daughter thought it would be great to have a girly day, so we decided to get a haircut and have a pedicure, and also get eyebrows waxed.  There was just one problem, which we discovered on the way out the door.  Victoria took her car to work, and the scooter was in her car.

Macho Man to the rescue!  He took a couple of measurements and discovered that the wheelchair would fit in Elisa's car, and so would the walker.  Of course, he had to go with us to provide muscle.  So off we went.

First stop was at the hair salon.  The owner, Dennis, decided to do my hair.  I told him short and spiky so that when I start losing it, it won't be such a shock.  Well, he went to work.  Now I don't want to say it's TOO short, but it's pretty close to being a buzz cut.  That's okay, I like it!

Next stop, the nail salon, where we signed in for our pedis.  Oh, how wonderful!!!  What a great massage to my feet and legs.  How wonderful to be petted and pampered!  I may have been in a wheelchair when we left, but I was dancing on air.

I had a day of very little pain.  A day where I was treated like a woman.  A day where my sweet hubby sat in two different beauty salons, him a macho Latino, waiting for me so I could be pampered.  A day where my wonderful daughter and I could laugh and giggle like normal mothers and daughters.  A wonderful, blessed day!

I am blessed.