Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shopping and a New Look

Those that know me know that I love to shop and get a good deal. Normally I always score big at sales and end up with some pretty good pieces. Since being in Ohio I haven't really gotten out to go shopping and scoping out for sales like I use to when I had my transportation close by. Well this weekend my good friends came up for the weekend so Auntie and I got time to go out and explore and let me tell you I was loving it like a fat kid loves cake. For one, I had been saving up all my coupons just waiting for a chance to hit them up all at once. Also, with the big 3-0 birthday coming up I have been trying to see what "fantanbulous" outfits I can find for the celebration. Well I think I stayed pretty much in budget with my finds. But one purchase that I really like and didn't even plan to get was the "new look" aka HAIR! I now have a new look and I am thinking that I like it!

When your body is going through so much its like sometimes these outwardly changes can also be overwhelming because it is like the actual physical reminders of your sickness....your bald because of treatment...clothes don't fit the same because of drastic body changes...because of treatment. Its a lot to take in. And I will tell you all this; I am still trying to get accustom to this new very oddly sized 4/6/8 body that I have now that does not have any hips or bum. It is very odd to me and odd to dress and who knows when I will get use to that! I know that I will have to start exercising to stop the steroids gutt from getting out of hand...that will help the situation a little at least. That and not eating ice cream every single night!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The MRI revisited

One of the first blogs I have ever written is about the horrid MRI machine. Which still ranks as one of the most absolute evil machines that was ever designed! Since that initial encounter, I have had a few MRI sessions, much shorter than that first 2.5 hr one and I have found a way to manage. It is all about finding that mental spot to hide in and just wait out all the noise until you can once again free yourself from the grip of the devil machine! Ok. Well today I had a full spine MRI. I had been feeling like my back is getting "achier" and I want to make sure that the bones are not starting to act crazy. Well somehow, throughout the barrage of tests and other events that I have been battling recently, I must have forgot that a full spine MRI is like a 2 HOUR MRI. Something that I would have wanted to mentally prepare for! Well I wasn't prepared so hence I had to fight the battle of Gail vs. the sounds/attack of the MRI. I am still around to write this blog so you know I got through...but boy oh boy that junk is no joke. I started with a good plan: slow calm breathing, eyes closed, birthday celebration options on mind: all things to keep the breathing stable, the mind steady and the body totally still. For most of the time it worked. But when you just loose a smidget of concentration you can through off your entire focus and then its a matter of trying not to panic in that small space...which is really hard to do! You don't want to move and then have to retake pictures...that just extends the torture, but you don't want to have a panic attack in there either. Once again to another test I can just say Praise God its over and keep it moving!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A week down and still around

So I have a week under my plate with the new treatment and I am still around to talk about it! LOL. I must say that on the first day of new treatment I think I was just waiting around for the end to come...most of it all being mental. But again through God's help...and with Auntie here I got through it. Sometimes you think you are taking things all in stride and thinking man I got this under control and all you have to do is focus and have a plan and it will all work out. But sometimes you are just not prepared and it just hits all at once and its all you can do to just hold on for that moment and not just go completely in the deep end. I think I freaked out people a little when I told them that I wasn't really doing well because they are so use to me being fine and just going with the flow. Everyone has their ups and downs and its something that we may not be prepared for but its something that we know will happen and when it does just pray through it and wait for it to pass. And having some anti-anxiety pills accessible isn't a bad idea either! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

After the shock is gone its been 3 days since the first dosage of new treatment and I am still alive to tell the story. Now the actually swallowing of the pills isn't bad. I mean how many pills have we all taken over time...I mean can anything touch cod liver oil tablets if you don't drink enough water with them? Yuck! But that first night, I think the overall situation just hit me all at once and with that came jitters, anxiety, panic all at once. All I can say is that it was ROUGH. Those of you who know me know that I can sleep anywhere at anytime no matter what the surroundings. But that first night had me up all night with 10 minute intervals of rest. Its hard to describe the feelings but I guess it was close to feeling like going ever that feels. Now don't go calling the medics for me now please. I am ok...just giving you all a taste of what it was like. But as I say, God is good and he didn't keep me in that space. Yesterday was a great day and today is to. So once again its a matter of trying to enjoy the good times and black out the others!! And I think we all have noticed how fast time is flying by. I think that is to our benefit so that we can get through each day. So make sure that you are maximizing your days and making them count.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Shipment is in

So I picked up the package of my new treatments today...delivered to the apartment. So I got a good hard look at my "horse pills" that I will be taking and divided them up into my cute pill containers so I don't forget a day. On face value nothing major, I mean they are just pills like the many others I take and have taken in the past. But then you read some of the reading material that comes along with it that have such wonderful descriptions on side effects and "do's" and "don'ts" and it gets you to thinking, just what all comes along with taking these meds. But the point is the good outweighs the bad right? So no matter what the goal is to stop the cancer however possible.

So now its time to pray and man up to prepare to begin the new regimen in the morning. I think I have read enough online blogs and postings on these meds to know to have some Imodium ready for possible diarrhea and lotion for the possible "hand/foot syndrome" But still, the unknown is still scary and its hard to face.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Super Duper Cancer

Met with the doctor so have alot more detail on what is really going on. So as you know, I recently had whole brain radiation and I had the scans on March 20th to see the progress...and the progress was good. Only like 2 tumors were left and they were smaller. Well I got the report of my emergency brain MRI on Friday and in under a month those tumors have already started to grow again and now there is cancer in the fluid around the lining of part of the brain. So it seems that I am not a candidate to have breaks from chemo or any type of therapy! It seems that this cancer needs to be battled at all times.

So now I am looking at a new type of chemo combination which is all pill form: Tykerb and Xeloda. Tykerb is similar to the Herceptin that I was taking and Xeloda is the actual chemo therapy. Tykerb will be 5 pills in the morning once a day on an empty stomach. And then Xeloda is about 1/2 hour after that after a meal in the morning and then again in the afternoon after a meal...3 pills each time. The biggest side effects I am looking at are diarrhea and this thing called hand and foot syndrome where its like your hands and feet to itch and burn and can get really red and painful if left uncontrolled. So time for prayer on side effects and just good tolerance of these drugs. Its late so before my great grammar skills start to hit the toilet I will call it an evening and continue with the post later!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The're Baaaaaackkk

Hi Everyone! So I left you with some good news less than a month ago. I so thought that I would just continue with postings about my bald head and me looking forward to moving back to DE and a step towards "normal". But God's plans are not ours so I have to take it as he dishes it out and know that he will provide the strength for me to get through it.

Recently, maybe the last week to two weeks I had been experiencing some headaches and like a heavy feeling in my head when I get up. Thinking that it was just me jumping out the bed to fast I was trying to think that its nothing. However, I am not the one to just get headaches. So in the spirit of full disclosure I called my nurse and explained my feelings. And of course the ordered an emergency brain MRI. Well I did the MRI this morning and got the call back this afternoon. Once I heard it was my oncologist on the phone I figured it was bad news. So we know from the last MRI that there were 3 small spots left in the brain but they were smaller. Well it looks like they have gotten a little bigger. But that is the least...the bad news is that there is new growth/new stuff growing along the lining of the brain. I don't know where this came from but it took us all of by surprise...including the doctor. So here I am almost a year into this journey and facing chemo in the face once again.

I meet with the doc on Monday but I know that she will be proposing some new chemo where it is oral tablets taken every day. On one hand I am thinking that maybe because its different chemo, it won't be as toxic as my last chemo run. But also I think back to the young lady who is my age in the support group I attend who was on these chemo meds and it tore her stomach up (major diarrhea) to the point that they took her off the meds. Now I know that everyone's journey is different, but its just food for thought. Those that have been on chemo, knows how it is to be on it and how horrible you can feel. And after being on a break from all that, just the thought of coming back is as much scary as it is depressing. But as Jahaziel says in 2 Chronicles 20:15 "...Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's" That's where Yolonda Adams got the song from! :) Easily said but very hard in practice!