Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big Food

Now everyone knows that I love "big food". Big food is when someone has prepared a huge meal with all the best things. For example, I had some friends visit this weekend. One friend brought big food for me: saltfish, dukana, curry chicken, even real tea bush (for bush tea). My other friend cooked: mashed potatoes, baked chicken, mixed veggies, cabbage and corn, and cheesecake. So as you can tell big food to me is anything, it just gotta be good!

But nowadays its such a hassle to eat. I go from feeling ok to feeling extremely hungry, and when you feel too hungry is when you start to feel sick. So then I have to hustle to get food and nausea meds and eat before sickness creeps in...its all such a hassle. So it takes some of the joy out of the big food eating. I've been told that after chemo it gets better so I guess I just need to wait and see. In the interim, please be aware that all my visitors are still required to cook me food or take me out to eat...that has not changed! :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What is Chemo like?

Right now I am at the hospital getting my chemo therapy. Every 2 weeks I get chemotherapy once a week. So as soon as I get here I have to get some blood drawn to see if my counts are high enough for me to have therapy that week. The main counts they care about are the white blood cell counts (what fights off infections in your body). They check other stuff like red blood cells, platelets, and some other random things. If they are looking good then we can proceed to killing some cancer. First I get pre-medicated with some anti-nausea drugs and some other medicines to keep me from getting reactions to the drugs. Then we start it off with Herceptin, which is suppose to be a big breakthrough drug for cancer. Then we keep it coming with the real chemo drugs, first Taxol then CarpoPlatin (or something like that). When its all said and done about 4+ hours have passed as you sit having the medicines pumped into your system. In my case its all pumped into my chest via a Power Port. Trust me, the minor surgery to put in the port is nothing compared to not having to get pricked and prodded on the left arm over and over to try and start an IV!

Chemo isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Some of the side effects are nausea and fatigue, but I will take that if it is killing the cancer! Normally I feel good right after chemo, and then a few days after that is when it can go slightly down hill. What can be really bad is if you get a reaction while the drug is being administered. I have stopped breathing, had the shakes and have felt like I was going to blow up all as reactions to the drugs...but again I am doing a lot better now! I guess the body eventually gets accustom. But to those that have witnessed a reaction they know it is no joke!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Got Gas? I have something just for you!

Being home all day I watch TV and surf the web a lot. Because of that I get to see and read about all kinds of foolish products that are out there...I heard about this one I had to share

Picture this: Romantic evening with your significant other complete with candlelight, champagne and a great meal. Conversation is going good and you feel like the night couldn't get any better. Nothing could go wrong tonight! But then u feel it...that quick movement in the stomach, oh no, it can't be....but it is: GAS. Now what to do, sneak it out praying that its not lethal? Ask to go to the bathroom...and interrupt the vibe of the evening? No worries!

Introducing Subtle Butt disposable gas neutralizers! No more lethal smelling gas! Here is how it works:
  1. Just apply the small square patch to the back of your undergarments where you think your gas hits
  2. Let errrrr rip; cut loose; gas it up; fart away
  3. When you finished wearing it, toss it away...its disposable!

I found this to be so hilarious I had to write about it! The company that makes this stuff "Garment Guard" also makes disposable underarm shields which is their main product. The Subtle Butt product is new.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Questions Questions Questions

Its great to have people that love you and care for you. And I know that I have been blessed with tons of people who are all praying for me to get better and beat this. And I thank God for this. But sometimes people ask alot of questions and I get flash backs of being arrested by the po po. Its like drill sergeant question after question: "how are you?", "how are you feeling?", "what have you been doing?", "when will you be done with treatment?", "did you throw up today?", "what did you eat today?", "what do you do all day?", "how are you feeling emotionally?", "are you getting excersise?", "are you excerscising your mind?"

Sometimes I just want to say enough is enough and I dont have any answers. Sometimes I just feel like not talking about it...maybe thats not the healthy way out but that is how I feel most of the time. The only thing I know is that I wish I was normal and healthy and back to my old routine even though I can hardly remember what my old routine was!

Now for all you all that asks questions its okay...was just letting out some steam. Keep checking up on me and ask me questions and make sure i'm okay. And thanks for looking out for me and I love you all.

Monday, September 22, 2008

RE: the Devil List

You may have noticed that I have a "devil list" on this blog page. For those that know me you know that I tend to call companies "devils" if they have somehow provided bad service or some other bad experience to myself or my close friends. My memory isn't always the greatest so this list may be missing some of the "devils" that are still out there. As I remember I will continue to add to the list. If you feel strongly that there should be a company added to the list please reply and let me know!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ode to my hair

So you see breast cancer patients and you notice they don't have any hair but you think to yourself, my hair is real strong...it won't fall off. Then you feel some tingling and wonder...what is that? then you notice that you can just pull your hair out...that's not normal. Then it becomes a way to pass time by just playing with your hair as it falls out. Then you see the little coils on the floor and on the bed and everywhere and realize...my hair is really falling out! So at some point you make the decision; you request the trimmers and you do a GI Jane one time. And then its all gone. All that's left is scalp...a lot of scalp indeed.

In time you will grow back hair but for now I must say bye and stay strong till we meet again. And maybe when we meet again you can come back a little softer texture or something...thanks!

How it Happened

I just finished telling someone else the whole story behind how I found out I have cancer. So I decided I should just type it out here and then direct people to read it...much more efficient!

In March of 2008 I had my standard gynecological visit...no new developments out of that meeting. Just your standard check up and clean bill of health. Towards the end of April, while lying on the floor watching TV I realized that one of my breasts didn't feel right. I rolled over to further investigate and I found that the right breast had a sizable lump that I could tell did not belong there. So first thing I did was get a consensus from my girls that indeed this lump was not natural. And of course the answer was a resounding; "you best go get that checked out" So I went back to the Ob/Gyn and had her examine it. She noted that it was very large in size (as i think to myself duh! Stevie wonder can see how big it is) and then she set me up for a mammogram and ultrasound appointment to get the lump checked outn although she thought given my age it would be nothing serious.

The first weekend in May I was in Dayton to help celebrate the graduation of my friend and I held a surprise party at my condo down there complete with food, drinks and a Wii which we played all night long. The next weekend, on May 11 I ran (I always walk this race every year but this was the first time I ran) the Susan G Koman 5K Breast Cancer Race for the Cure. I completed the race in 30.37 minutes.

That next week I began to feel a lot of back pain. I first just said it must be from playing the Wii all weekend or maybe from the run but it never did get better. I went to urgent care for some relief but they prescribed me muscle relaxants and some heavy duty pain killers and said I should not be working so hard at the gym. I tried the pills but they did not work! I had to even cancel a trip to my sister in law's graduation because of the pain. I even went to the ER but they once again declared it back sprain and prescibred more muscle relaxants and pai meds. It was this month I also finalized the sale of my condo in Dayton. So I had to go down there on the 21st to oversee my stuff being moved into storage and sign the paper work for the sale. On the 20th I had the mammogram and then flew down to Ohio that evening. On the 21st after signing the closing papers on the condo and watching the movers pack me up, I apparently got even worse as far as back pain and other symptoms and my friend decided to take me to the emergency room.

At the ER they saw that my labs were abnormal and decided to admit me. Apparently I had hypercalcemia which put my calcium levels at 20 when a normal person's calcium should be at around 9. Now I don't remember everything that was going on after this in the hospital (must have blocked it out) but I am sure Darlene and Aesha and others that were at the hospital with me can comment on whether I was in my sound mind or not! As they worked to get my calcium levels down I mentioned that I had a lump in my breast. They suggested to get a biopsy right away but I directed them to take the entire lump out. Which they did on the 25th of May. So by the 27th of May they were 100% sure that the diagnosis is that I have breast cancer that has metasized (spread) to the bones and liver. Oh and all the back pain? That was due to a fracture in my lower lumber due to my bones being weakened by the cancer.

So after two weeks in the hospital, I was released and stayed by my good friend for another two weeks as I received radiation treatments in my back. Then I moved to Akron, OH to be closer to my brother and started chemo treatments at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. And i'm still here...