Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finally - success!

So, after meeting with the psychatrist on Friday and getting homework of relaxation CDs, updating my iPod, and basically her say, "Ang, your mind is strong - you are not losing it. We just need to stop talking about it and let you find your way. You are already on your way. So, let's NOT make another appointment, but if you need to talk you have my number." Wow, I am not crazy (maybe she needs another appointment to really determine that?!?!). Quite frankly, after some of the questions that she asked me I now know I am not the biggest freak show she has ever seen......W-O-W! Anyhoo, all of it worked and I literally SAILED through chemo. With a little more happy drug, the right timing, my iPod, and the one machine that tells me my oxygen and pulse rate, I did it. Pause. Thankful prayer. Pause. Yeah. I have next week off, but have a scan to see where we are with the blood clots. So, yeah. Again, thank you for e v e r y t h i n g, but mainly for loving me through it. Cheers, Ang

Friday, February 18, 2011

Success or Failure?

First, thank you for all your posts, email, inspiring messages, etc. I really appreciate them. More than you know. As for Tuesday, well, it was a success because I did chemo and did it pretty well, however, about 20 minutes after it was done, I took the machines off and was going to to get ready to go. Then, it happened. The shaking was back. Not as intense this time, but still, there was no way of getting out of it. It lasted for about 10 mins, and then they gave me an anti shaking med (I know - that have that?) which promptly made me puke. Not a little - everything from breakfast to that moment. It was kinda funny, I said, "I am going to puke." and they started saying "Let's get you some......" and I was like, "Let's get me a bucket - NOW." and with an "Oh, OKAY!", I tossed all my cookies. My oncologist came up and talked to me. He asked me point blank, "Can you tell me if it is the meds or is this you?" I answered him straight up, "It is me." Pause of effect. Part of me died inside. My mental weakness was RIGHT THERE. Can't run from it, can't laugh it off, can't do anything but deal with it. "Okay, well, I think it is time to call a professional. Are you okay with that?" "Am I going to get out of it?" "No, probably not, cause we have to have you be able to come in here and get treatment." "Well, then, I guess I am okay with it." Okay, now I should say, I have nothing against psychiatrists. What I do not like is having ANOTHER APPOINTMENT that is focused on cancer. Not lunch with my friends, not skiing with my kids, CANCER. Yes, I am mental fried. I thought I would be DONE and in surgery in January, then I got blood clots, then I was hospitalized for an allergic reaction to a drug I have been taking for 3 and a half years, then I got pneumonia and then I got pleurisy. How would anyone feel? Defeated, tired, and generally disappointed. And, now I get to go tell SOMEBODY ELSE how I feel. Terrific. I would rather scrapbook, ski with my boys, vacuum, clean toilets, dust blinds, yep, pretty much ANYTHING other than tell somebody else how I feel. What caught me off guard more than anything was that my oncologist talked to the psychiatrist about me, not just a referral, but a conversation. That means he is concerned. So, my appointment is today. I actually feel a bit sorry for her. She has no idea what is coming, and quite frankly either do I. What I do know is that I am not afraid of chemo anymore, and I can go and shake. I will survive this portion physically and now I need to forgive my mind for letting me down and take care of it and honor it, so that I can kick this again. Perservence - that is the name of the game. As for you all, take care, enjoy the day, and know that I am getting the help I need to go on. Is this my happiest day? No. But there is always tomorrow, next week, next month. I will be okay. Love, Ang

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chemo Light Take Two

Well, lots has happened since last week. The antibiotics and pain pills stopped working on my pneumonia and pleurisy, so back I went on Friday to get more. Now, I am on TWO antibiotics, but I am feeling much better. This is a slow healing process, and I have dropped out of a lot of things just because I can't get something else. Me and the four walls of the house are very familiar with each other. The weekend was filled with birthday party preparations for Nolan's fourth and Valentine's Day. I move slow but the good news is that I get to keep moving. Those were actual orders from my Doc to my Mother who wanted to strap me down in a bed when she discovered I had pleurisy. Thank God he told her - she would have never believed me! Funny things have happened along the way like when I called the on-call doc at 6am on Friday, told them I was coughing up blood, and they told me that they would have the office call when they opened. So, with my head tilted in confusion, I emailed my oncologist and told him. Within 30 seconds I got a call from him with the question, "What did they tell you?" I omitted the woman name conveniently, but I am pretty sure she won't be doing that again. Grant lost his phone in the house and we found it against all odds because it was on vibrate, after he drilled the kids on where it was, where he left it - on the floor in the pooper. I will never touch that phone again. Anyhoo.....he will LOVE that I posted that, but hey life happens. So, today I am going in for Chemo Light "Take two". Oddly, I am not scared. They had a social worker call me after the last one and it was helpful. I followed up with her this morning with a plan. I plan on having the BP cuff on today, and the oxygen measurer thingy, and oxygen. I can't breath deeply because of the pleurisy, so what the heck. This way, I can check myself and I can actually read this crap even though I have done my darnest to ignore how any of this works. I am taking anti-anxiety meds before I go and I am taking a horoscope that I cut out when I was rediagnosed last summer. It reads..."The unusual solution will work. Understanding evolves to a new level. You could be held back by self-imposed restrictions or by going over a situation in your head again and again." I plan on doing all of this for the next two sessions and then, if I am comfortable I will remove one, then another the next time, etc. I did this another time with cancer related anxiety and my kids. It worked and slowly gave me the confidence with the process again. So, here we go (again).....wish me luck. Loves, Ang

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chemo "Light" - I did it!

Okay, so yesterday did my new regiment of chemo. I call it chemo "light". No pump, just a vitamin and one of my previous two chemos. Theoretically, I was supposed to be able to drive myself, but I didn't. I should have been able to take care of my kids, but my Mom took them and just told me she was (she didn't even ask - I think there is a love affair happening here...). It should have taken twenty mins, we go........after the first push, I started feeling weird. I told the nurse about it and they stopped. I told her that I thought it was in my mind, they took all my vitals and cautiously and politely agreed. My body was fine - heart rate slightly elevated, but BP and oxygen were perfect. They asked me if I had taken my anti anxiety pill and I said no, but I ask my oncologist if I could if I needed to. So, I did and we waited for a bit. They told me that I could stop, just walk away if it was too bad, but just kept looking at the oxygen and BP machines telling myself that my body is fine and I can do this knowing that, if I left, I would never come back. Apparently, my episode two weeks ago affected me more than I thought. I discussed it with the nurse and Elaine. Elaine was sweet, she said, "Now, I don't want to influence you....." and I look at her like, "Hello, I am asking you to..." and she said, "I think you need to get back on the horse again or it will be harder next time." I knew that is what I needed to do......a long time ago, I went dirt biking with my Dad for Father's Day. Yes, dirt biking with an ENGINE - not mountain biking. My Dad doesn't go that way. This was way before cell phones and I feel backward off a slate covered trail. I would say it was cliff like, but not a cliff. I cracked my helmet, knocked myself out, and smashed my elbow badly. My Dad freaked out, but I came to, and he asked me, "Can you do the rest?" I didn't want to, but it was only him and I, what were we going to do? So, I said yes and I got back on the bike and finished the trail off the mountain. When we were done, my demin shirt was soaked with blood from you elbow. My Dad said he was proud of me and that he had a friend (ex-Motocrosser) that refused to finish that very trail. I was 17 and fearless - I could do anything. I am not fearless anymore, but I thought about that and thought, if I can do that, I can do a little push of chemo. I asked to keep the machines on me and I said we need to go. So, very slowly she pushed it in. I was surprised that it went so fast, and then I started to relax.....and the shaking started. I think it was all the adrenaline that it took to get to the Cancer Center and face my fear of reenacting two weeks ago. I shook hard to the point that they gave me atavan (the happy drug). They turned on the oxygen, and let me watch the machines, and I shook. They piled blankets on me. They asked me if this happens to me and I said yes, but at night, and Grant just holds me until it stops. So, Elaine, got close and hugged me hard, until the atavan kicked in, It stopped in about 45 mins and I took a nap. I was feeling much better, but with a headache. I got home great, but 5 mins at home I puked (the one things they told me that I would not do) hard. After, I was exhausted and oddly hungry. So, I ate and napped and went to bed REALLY early. Today I am feeling SOOOOOOO much better - I think I may just be able to do this, but I am taking anti anxiety pill before I leave for the cancer center next time!!! Enjoy the sun, Ang

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I wonder what life will be like when I don't

wake up in the middle of the night and figure out that the pain that is been in my right lung isn't right anymore and getting worse. I wonder what it will be like to not be able to figure out that it can wait until morning, but know that when I call the oncologist on-call they will say, "Yeah, you need to come in today." I wonder what life will be like when you have to wait in the ER. I wonder what life will be like when you are not escorted immediately back, by-pass triage, and get to "go ahead" of others. I wonder what life will be like when I am not sick. Long and short.......I either have pneumonia (which they are treating me for) or part of my right lung is dying and scaring over which is apparently very painful, as experienced, and they sent me home with pain meds and antibiotics. That was how I spent most of my Superbowl Sunday - in the ER. I am grateful for living my life everyday to the fullest with friends and family and that this happened BEFORE the big game. Loves, Ang

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A dialogue with my oncologist

Last week my oncologist said, that I should take the rest of the week off, and we would talk about what to do next on Tuesday, Feb 1st. I translated this after knowing him a while to, "Let me think about what the heck just happened, come up with your options, and I will give you your marching orders on Feb. 1st." With this translation in my head, I made sure that he knew that we needed more low level pill form chemo.....that my body was tired and since we were just waiting to get to surgery could we do a maintenance chemo rather then a double barrel shotgun chemo? So, I arrived yesterday and I had no orders for blood work. I went back to check with his office and the nurse said, "Nope, it is just a dialogue appointment." Wha?????? I have never had a dialogue about chemo. I was even convinced that he didn't know that the "di" part of that word meant "more than one person". So, I wait for my appointment, and yes, I took an anti anxiety pill 45 mins prior to my appointment. They called me back and then it, apparently, I shook the entire office last week. "How are you?" "You sure got our attention last week." "You scared me - don't do that again!" O-K-A-Y. I will work on that. My oncologist comes in and sits down. I say, "Okay, what is the plan Stan." His name is Hank, but like messing with him. He said, "I don't know, we are going to talk about it." Apparently, he does know what the "di" part of that word is. CRAP - I should have prepared for this and I blurt out - Zelota (pill form chemo)! He said, "We can do that, but I think that is too toxic for your system and we don't need to do something that strong." Wow - okay, what are we doing know? Going from double barrel shot gun to water pistol? He continues, "The way I see it is that we have three options and you can choose one.....1. It appears that you had an allergic reaction to one of the premeds. It is not one that I usually see an allergic reaction too, and your body naturally has the same thing as the drug, so you probably are allergic to something that they do to it in preparing it. So, option one is that we can totally rework your premeds and continue on your normal chemo. Pan across the room and that is when the tears start rolling down my face. No sobbing, no hard breathing, just multiple tears. I close my eyes and lean back. He continues, "And based on that response, I think we should go to option two." "Just give me a minute." I reply. He waits, gives me a hug, and asked when I am ready. "Okay, ready." "Number two is to do your idea, but I think that is too much for you right now." I am thinking, really, but you didn't think option 1 was too much?!?!??! BTW - love/hate relationships with oncologist are normal. "And then option 3, where you come in once a week. I see you then you go up and I only give you Folfox and Lukivorin (sp) (two of my three chemos). No 5FU (which is the pump I have on for two days). It would be about 20 minutes of chemo once a week (rather than 5 hours), and no pump for two days. You will probably not get sick, you can drive yourself, three weeks on, one week off. No premeds." "You want option 3 at this point and I agree. I can probably do it, but not without anti anxiety meds." I say. "That is fine." he replies. "Okay." defeated, but knowing that in the scheme of things I have nothing to feel bad about. I need a drink - I mean like a real drink at 11:30 in the morning. After a lot of hugs and supportive talk, I get myself together and ask when we start. I offer Thursday or Friday, but he says no, let's do Tuesdays. I am like, "I am trying to save them from me and give them a break", but he likes Tuesday for multiple reasons. He doesn't outline it, but I kinda think it was something like, I would have the same team that "saved" me last week, they know the drill, and if I do that again, I have all week to recover until the weekend. Tuesday it is. I get all rescheduled and I leave. I call Grant and tell him that I am going to the bar. Now that he has an office downtown and only one partner and one part time employee, he says, "I will go with you." So, I eat lunch and have a Manhattan. Grant has a beer and listens to all of it and says, "Ang, in the scheme of things...." "I know, I KNOW, but I want to feel sorry for myself for 24 hours. I love you." "I love you too." My 24 hours is up right now......... Loves, Ang