Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It has been a great week. I have felt great and my energy level is almost normal.

John had his campaign kick-off at Sage Bakery. We got to talk to a lot of old friends and supporters. The next night we attended Relay for Life for the first time. Seeing friends and patients all fighting cancer together on the track as we lined up for the Survivors Lap was incredibly uplifting and inspiring. The cheers and applause from the supporting crowd even more so. I won't miss that event in the future.

The summer has finally come and I have been able to spend much of every day outside in the yard weeding and making other changes to the landscape. We drove to Grangeville for the Idaho County Democrat's picnic and pie auction Sunday and came home with two pies and a beautiful mosaic trivet. The group has adopted John as one of their own as they haven't been able to get a Dem into the legislature. The weather was ideal, a glorious warm day with brilliant blue sky and a few fluffy cumulus clouds. We watched a group of preteens having a prolonged water fight at the park.

Why do I have dandruff despite having essentially no hair on my scalp??? Is that fair? The lack of leg hair is a plus, however.

Yesterday I started round 3 of chemotherapy with Taxol. I'm now waiting for the IP cis-plat and have already eaten my ice cream sandwich. Ready for the rotisserie and feeling optimistic.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yesterday I spent the morning traveling through the Sahara with Michael Palin, following camels and Jeeps, in the company of Tuaregs and other nomads. Despite the great distraction I felt restless, uncomfortable and still very weak. I finally gave in to John's urging and call my doctor (imagine that!). Lab work showed I was still low in potassium and newly low in magnesium. Newly fortified with mag ox pills and and an increase in those huge potassium pills I awoke today feeling much better. It is not clear that a few doses of electrolytes really made that much difference, but in combination with the waning of the cis-plat side effects it surely seemed to. The restlessness was from the compazine (for nausea) which I had been taking regularly.

Today I spent outside in the yard, weeding and deadheading and supervising shrub reduction. I call our yard a profusion but John says there are just lots of weeds. It was sunny and breezy, a perfect afternoon. Lola (canine) enjoyed the chance to endlessly chase a tennis ball.

I went wigless today. John had to remind me to wear a hat outdoors for the sake of my naked head. Actually I feel like a little boy who just got his summer haircut. It is an odd sensation to rest my head against a chair and feel the little hairs object if I move the wrong way.

Finally, dinner was of note. Yellow new potatoes with butter and parsley, garlic and balsamic vinegar pork chops and broccoli. A great end to a nice day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Low potassium is terrible. And potassium pills are huge and hard and liable to cause nausea. However, for all of you Idaho folks, guess what vegetable leads in potassium content? That's right, the potato. Bananas are nowhere near as high. John has been feeding me potato chips and fried potatoes since I returned home from the last round of chemo. I'm a little bit less wimpy today. Plus I was able to eat a huge plate of spaghetti for lunch. Mmmmm.

For any one who has to do this rotisserie thing in the future, it is possible to eat an ice cream sandwich while rolling from side to side.

I had the urge the other day to whip off my wig and compare my shaved head with Pastor Josh's. At that point I think his hair was longer than mine, though. I wonder if these sudden urges are a side effect of something?

Finally, on discharge the nurses urged me to eat a heart healthy diet. That's hard to do as I should not eat or peel thin skinned raw fruits or vegetables when my white count is low. As before during this week I crave pasta with spaghetti sauce and barbecue ribs!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Love came to me in many ways this week. There were smiling faces at my door at the hospital, the gentle touches of my nurses, my hand held in friendship and prayer. There were Rosie's ribs, pasta salad, tomato soup and sauteed chicken with pilaf and carrots. And chocolate chip cookies. Love came in the mail from friends, on the cell phone from distant family and in John's kiss on my cheek. How lucky I am. Thanks to you all.

Today is a "weak" day, not unexpected after my first cycle of treatment. I may stop down for lab work tomorrow to see if I need another potassium infusion. Otherwise I feel pretty well and have little nausea or pain. My pile of already read books is growing steadily and I've just started Netflix. I have found my two pound weight and in the next few days plan to start strengthening my arms.

Meanwhile , I enjoy the scent of the petunias as I step out the front door and try to ignore the weeds.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer may be here. The rain was BORING. Plus we now have gullies in the driveway.

This week has gone well. The IV Taxol given at the cancer center resulted in no apparent problems. It was nice to be able to go home afterwards. The following day I received the IP Cis-plat and had less pain than before. No iv pain meds needed. Plus I ran in to a number of people I knew who were visiting family and friends elsewhere in the hospital. And, Elizabeth clipped my remaining hair making me very happy. The next day I was home but slept through most of it. Food tastes funny again but most of the nausea has gone.

John had responsibilities at the Democratic State Convention so he arranged for several lovely people to keep me company and bring me food. He'll be back briefly today, then leave tomorrow for McCall and another meeting. Likely story!!!
I can't thank everyone enough for the calls and blog comments as well as the visits and food.

Lola and Sigi have been guarding my recliner, especially around their meal times.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Having been chastised by several family members, I return to blog again!

John and I traveled to Boise over the time my white count was at its nadir. I really missed sharp cheese and thin skinned fruit, both of which I was supposed to avoid. I didn't miss cleaning up after the dog.

While in Boise there was one wonderful almost-summer day when we took a bike ride. On the same day we visited Caitlin at work in the Meridian city hall. Later had a delicious dinner with Caitlin in downtown Boise. It was also the last day I appeared in public with my own hair. I had been waking up lying in a pool of loose hair; it was time to shop for a wig. Angels in you Corner is a shop for women with hair loss for any reason. Under the supervision of a cute 15 month old girl, one of the owners picked out 8 or 10 wigs for me to try. It was hard to decide. Then I tried on one that made me smile. So I left with a spiky wig and a soft cap to wear at night.

We returned home Saturday in time for John to play in the Gina Quesenberry golf tournament, proceeds to benefit women with breast cancer. His team came in first! Meanwhile my rapidly thinning hair made me look sicker than I feel. Today I wore the wig for the first time and immediately felt healthier and happier. Mom had offered to buy me a wig. I wasn't sure I wanted one. Mom was right (darn it).

I got to be the caregiver today as John had his third colonoscopy. His dad died of colon cancer and John has had polyps (including some today). The prep made him feel terrible. He felt much better after some soup and whole grain bread when he got home from the procedure.

Today is day 21, tomorrow day 1 of the second course of chemotherapy.