Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Creeping Along

Rebound is slow but I'm creeping along.

Fatigue is going to be, as I've mentioned before, a constant companion for some time to come. I still don't have the energy to go for a walk but I'm hoping that changes, and soon! I'm getting to work, at least, which is a huge improvement over last week! (However, it catches up with me regularly. Took another long nap today. Two weeks after chemo and I'm still dragging. Just need to get used to it).

Stomach still giving me mild nudges so I'm sticking with bland food and not much of it. Hurrah for cream of wheat! :)

Blood pressure still low, still off meds. Nice to not be taking any scripts!

Cooler temps moved in... ahhhhhhhh!

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Roller Coaster Dip

Yesterday was a slightly improved day, so it follows that today was a down day. Up and down on the roller coaster. I wanted to go back to bed as soon as I got up. Took mom to the grocery, and by the time we got back and I was unloading the bags, I wanted to sit on the bottom step in the garage and cry. Just very low on energy, drained, and ready to curl up where I was.

Last night I was seriously nauseous for about 4 hours. Don't know what that was about (10 days after chemo??) but it was pretty unpleasant. Eating has been an issue for awhile anyway, and continues to be, but I figure that's par.

I got in a three-hour nap this afternoon but I still feel like I've been beat with a stick.

But tomorrow I'll be back on the top of the roller coaster, hands in the air, ready to ride!

Hopefully, my body will agree!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rebound #4

I'm on my way back out of the trenches. Thursday was pretty bad (possibly one of my worst days), Friday there were signs of improvement, and today I had enough energy to do a load of laundry. That's major progress!

Of course I took a nap this afternoon, too :)

I'm amazed over and over, not only at the physical roller coaster and the paces I get put through with the chemo, but the emotional roller coaster as well.

Part and parcel of the journey.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fool Me Four Times: I'm an Idiot

OK, loyal readers :)

Remember when I said I wouldn't be fooled again? I learned my lesson! I knew what was what! No more surprises!

Yeah, right.

Woke up today feeling pretty darn good, all things considered. Way less dizziness, no nausea, felt like I could go to work and be just fine!

Then, as before, I did a few quiet things, wrote an email. Stood up...

Major dizziness. Weak and wobbly.

Quick blood pressure check: 85/67. (And no, I haven't been taking my high bp meds lately, because it's been too low without them.)

NOT good. And once again, after thinking I'm OK, I feel like crap.

I'm going to work (at least I'll be out of the heat that way) and will wait for the dr.'s office to call me back.

I want to yell and cry and laugh (all of which I did, after calling a friend... thanks for listening, friend!!) :)

Yep, fool me four times. Shame on me.

PM update:

One liter of saline and an Aranesp shot (for low hemoglobin) (that was already scheduled for today) later, I'm still feeling like crap, but at least I feel like fortified crap :)

Oh, and I'm officially off my blood pressure meds. Considering I'm running 100/75 I think I'm good for now. When this chemo wears off my bp may go back up but I certainly don't need any help lowering it right now!

This is one night when I really would have given a lot to not have to fix my own dinner. Usually if I feel bad, I'm not hungry anyway, and making a piece of toast is easy. And when I'm feeling OK, I don't mind fixing dinner. But tonight I had enough of an appetite to want to eat something, but no energy to want to fix it. Salad it was -- got something in my stomach, anyway.

I did treat myself to a home-brewed glass of iced tea. I know I'm supposed to avoid caffeine most of the time but I decided this could be my exception for the week! And it tastes heavenly. Small pleasures... I'll take 'em!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nothing to do with Cancer

It's 93, "feels like" 98.

(Or "RealFeel®" 100, depending on what weather website you use.)

Ah, the sultry Indiana summer nights.... just gotta love 'em!


2 AM and Feeling Worse

I'm sure this is partly heat-related. I've had heat exhaustion (and heat stroke) in the past but not seriously for years and years; still, it's something I've always had to watch and the heat can knock me down as much as the flu. It's 2-something AM, 84 degrees in here (without a good wind, all the fans in the world can only move so much air into a room); I'm hot, sweaty, having intestinal cramps, diarrhea, and generally feeling worse instead of better. Trying to drink more fluids (more! how much more can I drink!) :) and hanging in there until I can get to the dr., out of the heat for a few hours, and get some saline into me.

If my stomach would calm down it would help but I'm doing all I can.


7 AM update.

  • Stomach still upset, didn't sleep much from 2 AM on.
  • Fatigue and dizziness playing havoc with my ability to move around.
  • BUT -- it's down to 78 in my room -- ahhhh.... almost feels nippy :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crawling Along

My sleep:awake ratio has gone from about 5:1 to 2:1 -- vast improvement! (Or else the heat is keeping me from sleeping -- which probably is part of it!).

Now when I'm able to get up and down the stairs without getting dizzy, I'll feel like I'm looking at the beginning of the end of this last batch of A/C side effects.

A fellow traveler on this journey recently wrote me, "Anyone getting through A/C should get the Purple Heart or the Congressional Medal of Honor..I went through it and I do believe it was like crossing through into the bowels of hell..."

I wouldn't say it's quite that bad, but it's sure not fun, and I'm glad the worst of it is nearly behind me.

Thanks to everyone for compassion, contact, etc., etc. All received with a lot of gratitude!

PM Update:
  • 90 in my room at 7:30 PM. Lovely. Should be down in the mid-80's in here around 3 this morning. And yes, I have fans going. I'm not telling how many :) I hate heat. Winter, hurry!
  • I've gone through 96 ounces of water so far today and I'm still getting dehydrated, so I'm sure I'll get saline tomorrow. And that means I'll be in AC for a few hours. Hurrah!
  • Also pretty dizzy. Hate that. Solution: don't move. (yeah, right!)
  • Black is back under my eyes. The "heroin chic" look that we all aspire to :)
This, too, shall pass. Just feeling crappy while I'm waiting for that to happen. But hangin' in there!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In the Trenches

Down for the time being.

Yesterday wasn't bad but I crashed hard last night. Fatigue gaining on me (slept 16 of the last 19 hours). Nausea controllable, mostly keeping me from eating but that's OK for a few days. Swallowing problem semi-under control so I can keep my fluid intake up. Dizzy, lightheaded, weak. Blood pressure low, so skipping meds today.

My worst days seem to be Sun.-Wed. or so. Hoping to not miss too much work this time around but it's not looking good for tomorrow.

Hot and humid not helping but it could be worse.

When the fatigue hits it's really overwhelming. But I know it's just a question of doing what I can, keeping the dr. informed so they can help where they can, rolling with the punches, and doing what my body tells me it needs.

Which right now is rest, rest, rest. Even when I don't sleep, rest is good.

This will pass, and I'll be on to the next round!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A few chapters this time. I'll try to keep it short!

Chapter One: Chemo 4, Done!

A quick recap: I had my last does of Adriamycin/Cytoxan on Wed. Hurrah!! I have three weeks off (which will take me to the half-way point in my chemo!) and then leap into 12 solid weekly treatments of Taxol and Herceptin. The Herceptin will continue for a year.

That takes me to next fall and surgery, and possibly radiation.

Chapter Two: Side Effects from Chemo 4, So Far

I'm going through fatigue already, also a fair amount of nausea, but that's minor so far, just frequent and uncomfortable. Ginger helps lots, and I have meds for when it gets more pushy. Also getting steroid jitters -- not to where it gives me physical energy, just mental jitters and emotional something-that-I-can't-pin-down, enough to keep me from sleeping at night and add to the fatigue. Today's the last day of steroids so I should crash tomorrow. (I know I've said it before, but how can people stand to deliberately take steroids for long periods of time? Yuck! Can't tell you all the negative ways it makes me feel!)

I also talked to the NP about my trouble swallowing post-chemo; it doesn't last long (3-4 days), but it makes it hard to drink liquids (but not swallow food. Go figure). Anyway, after finding out the reasons for that, I think I have a solution for when it starts (probably Sunday), so that should help. Drinking my usual 96 ounces daily! There wouldn't be enough rest stops on the highway for me right now!

Side note on fatigue:

I found a nice explanation of fatigue: When you're tired from exertion, if you get enough sleep that night, you usually feel better the next day. With fatigue, you feel generally tired all the time and lose interest in people and the things you normally like to do.

Fatigue from treatment can appear suddenly and can be overwhelming. Rest doesn't ease fatigue and it can last for months after treatment ends.

I'm fortunate in that I don't have such strong symptoms all the time. But when I do, it is, indeed, overwhelming. Should be hitting that wall this weekend. The good news is, I know it'll pass!

And the really good news, no more A/C! Onward and upward!

Chapter Three: Woo Hoo! Just Call Me Baldie!

OK, it wasn't planned... but I got in the car yesterday to run errands and get my Neulasta shot, and my scarf was slipping and falling, and I was trying to fix it, and was getting all hot and my head was sweating, and I said, to heck with this! Off came the scarf and off I went! It's not an attractive look, for sure, but I don't care. I'm still me and if people don't like the way I look, too bad.

It feels SO much better than those hot scarves... the weather was just getting to be too warm for them. And it feels very freeing.

Bald is Beautiful! Or at least freeing!!

Chapter 4: PM Update

Ugh. Nausea all day. Controllable but uncomfortable. Can't eat except small amounts of bland, dry food. Oh boy! Haven't had nausea this fast with previous treatments. Well, ginger helps, and if that doesn't, the meds will.

The heat/humidity are going to make it tough to sleep tonight. Indiana summer!

But all this shall pass!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Live Long and Prosper!

Yes, a bit of humor and Trek geekiness* hit me while I was doing my usual chemo self-portrait today. I was dealing with a dichotomy: dreading the treatment (it may be like last time, it may be worse); and yet wanting to get through it (or rather, get through the next 10-12 days). Trying to accept the conflicting feelings, I suddenly saw my four fingers in the mirror and knew what I had to do!

Live long and prosper! A good slogan for anyone...

Today went fine, as treatment day always does. Tomorrow should be OK, too. After that, who knows! I anticipate I'll be wiped out over the weekend and for some days after, as always. With any luck it won't be any worse than last time, but whatever it is, I'll get through it.

The good news is... this is my last Adriamycin/Cytoxin! I start 12 weeks of Taxol and Herceptin on July 8. Herceptin for a year but that'll be nothing after what I've already had.

More minor good news... although my nails have stopped growing, they don't expect them to fall out, and I'm on some OTC meds to help make sure they don't when I start on Taxol.

Going to go read until I fall asleep and see what tomorrow brings! Thanks, as always (but I can never say it enough) to everyone who's stayed in touch through email and calls and sent me warm thoughts for today and every day. It helps, and it means the world to me.

Live long and prosper!

*If you're about to point out that my hand is facing the wrong way for the proper Vulcan salute, and that my thumb is in the wrong place, you're geekier than I am! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Constant Companion

Fatigue has become my constant companion. Some days I feel semi-lively for about half the day; some days I drag all day. Fortunately, my mind and spirits stay pretty lively most days, even if my body is tired.

All of it is something I can work through, more or less. It's not something that sleep helps, although sometimes resting for a short while (reading, whatever -- just not moving around and not doing anything that requires a lot of concentration or mental energy) helps me get at least a little boost back. Yesterday I just couldn't get energy going and I canceled plans to meet with a friend. But I can at least get up and go to work and that's good!

My biggest complaint about the constant fatigue is that by late afternoon/early evening, when I usually walk, I'm often too tired. Getting out in the woods, in the fresh air, and moving (even if slowly), is something that helps keep me grounded, so it's fairly important to me. Really important to me. And since fatigue is supposed to be a long-term side effect (at least until I'm done with the Taxol and probably for some weeks or months after that ends, or so I'm told), I have to find ways to work with it.

That is, as soon as I get through the next A/C blast! One thing at a time...

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I'm on the countdown to my last A/C treatment -- then three weeks off, then I begin Taxol. That will continue until sometime in the fall.

I'm still dealing with fatigue and lightheadedness but it's not anything that I can't function with, so I do.

(Or, to get rid of the double negatives: It's something I can function with, so I do). :)

Time to get caught up on work, chores, errands, etc., before I get zapped again. I'm getting a walk in about every other day, when I have the late-afternoon energy to get out.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Walk! I Went for a Walk!

I finally made it out for a walk, about 45 minutes worth of sweat and mosquitoes and humidity.

It was wonderful to be out again.


Can't remember the last time I enjoyed a hot, muggy walk so much. My ankle was fine, I got some good walking in, enjoyed the birds, the breeze, and most of all, feeling like a relatively normal person. Or at least more like me.

I'm still not back 100% but am much better, for which I'm very grateful.

Seem to alternate one day better, one day with a bit of backslide -- we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

The overall trend is positive.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rebound Time!

Eeeee ha! I'm back in the saddle!

Not running at full speed, but definitely on the go again.

No time to post, too much to do :)

See ya!

(OK, I'm a little tired today... but so much better that I'm not complaining. I'm taking it easy but still plan to walk later today!)

PM update: low energy today, got laundry done but never got up the "omph" to go for a walk. Soon!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fool Me Once, OK; Fool Me Twice... OK. But Not Three Times!

I woke up this morning and felt... gosh, not bad!

Well, I've been down that road twice this week, only to find out, as I moved around, that I was lightheaded, etc., and landed back in the oncologist's office for fluids. And felt like heck.

Not gonna fool me a third time!

So I got up slowly, took my time seeing just how my body was reacting.

I'll be durned.

Right on cue, the second Saturday after treatment (just like the first two treatments), I really do feel better.

I'm not going to start marathon training today, but I'm really, really happy to feel so much better. May still be some roller coaster stuff but I finally feel like I'm in the clear and on my way to several days of feeling good!

I might get that weekend walk in after all!

Happy dance!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Woke up this morning with the robins and felt... OK! It was early so I took my time getting going, enjoyed the cool air and the early morning bird song.

About the time I started getting ready for work, guess what.

Lightheaded again. And the leg wobbles, which were gone after several days of weakness, are back.

I'm not as bad as Wednesday, but still, not good, and my blood pressure is low at a time when it's normally a bit on the high side (first thing in the AM before I take my bp pill). So, at 9 I'll call the dr. and probably go back for more saline.

Meanwhile, I'll head to work. I worked yesterday and paid the price the rest of the day, and perhaps that's why I'm feeling lightheaded again today, so maybe I should be staying home, but I can't afford to miss any more hours than I've already missed this week. I'll move slowly, won't run up and down the stairs any more than I have to, and will stay seated at my computer as much as I can.

Overall, though, I see a trend in the right direction, and have very strong hopes to get out for a walk this weekend! My ankle is about 98% healed so I'm ready to give it a good test!

Just waiting for the rest of my body to agree.

PM update:

a tad dehydrated, hemoglobin is pretty low, and the dr.'s office hinted that perhaps I'm "doing too much." Yeah, working all of 6 hours this week and resting a lot is definitely overdoing! :) Anyway, got more saline, I'm stable, and just need to give the chemo more time to wear off. Because I guess 10 days wasn't enough this time. So, patience, patience, patience. My mind is ready to rock and roll but my body just isn't there yet.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Day Closer to Feeling Better

Short update:

Got a liter of saline yesterday; got reminded that this is a hard chemo, to listen to my body, and rest, rest, rest (like I'm doing much else!); and was also told by a couple of different nurses that when my immune system hits the skids about day 7 after chemo, I'm probably going to feel my worst. Thus explaining my decline all week and my really horrible and worst day yesterday.

I'm still pretty tired and my stomach still doesn't feel normal, but so far (knock on wood!), no dizziness today; if there is I just go back for more saline. The chemo is competing hard with my best efforts to stay hydrated and all I can do is the best I can do.

I should be on the upswing now, though! I hope!

So that's it in a nutshell. Aiming for work today, at least a few hours. And lots of sleep. I take it when I can get it and when I'm awake, I'm awake; my sleep patterns are all wonkers but that's OK.

Thanks for your warm and compassionate messages -- they always boost my spirits!

One day closer to my rebound!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Pardon my French, but gosh darn it!! I woke up this morning and felt... better. Not great, not normal, not even good. But better.

Then I started moving around. Dizziness. Got worse the longer I was up. Blood pressure: about 90/70, pulse around 115. Not good.


Chemo ain't no sugar pill. For those who have asked, here are details on just what these poisons can do to your body: adriamycin and cytoxin.

Have the guts to read those? Not pretty, huh. Not fun to go through, either, let me assure you. And yes, of course they list all possible side effects, and most people only get some.

But you only have to get some to feel like you've been beat down with a brick. And the most common ones are the ones that are really difficult to deal with.

Being in the trenches isn't for sissies.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for my oncologist to call. Probably dehydration, and an hour or two of saline and I'll be better. And yes, I've been trying to drink lots of water, but this happened last time, too (without the dizziness) and dehydration is always something I've been sensitive to.

But it's scary to have the dizziness. The fatigue and nausea, I understood. The dizziness is just scary.

I'll get through it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A/C Treatment 3, Day 6

5 PM

Sorta progress: I took out my trash all the way to the garage and didn't feel like I had to lean on the wall all the way! Woo hoo! I think that might be good news. Sitting and reading, etc., even feels a little better -- until this afternoon, it did feel like a challenge, but now it's more like something I can enjoy for short periods of time. Hurrah!

Sorta not progress: appetite is gone, gone, gone. Not nausea so much as food has just totally lost its appeal and the idea of putting anything into my stomach is somewhat to very repulsive. Before this afternoon I was somewhat interested in food, just varied in my ability to tolerate it. Now my stomach says no!

At least I was able to eat some chicken broth and soda crackers earlier.

This, too, shall pass... and I'll be back kickin' in no time! (Hey, the spirit is mostly strong, even if the flesh is taking a break for a few days!).

AM Report:

Side effects for today:

Nausea (yep, it's back!) & no appetite (-8 pounds since last Wed.)
Physical fatigue & weakness
Throat infection (from lowered blood counts)
Mild muscle aches throughout body, back spasms
Some coughing

As unpleasant as those are, I know they'll pass. What bothers me most is the damage the adriamycin causes to my heart muscle. Very scary.

Last night we were treated to tornado warnings and about 6-7 hours of thunderstorms. Didn't help with sleep much but it finally died down after midnight some time.

Planned to try work today but getting up the stairs is still difficult (not to mention, nausea makes me want to stay low and quiet!) so I guess I'll give myself one more day off. Energy should start coming back soon!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday: Zonk!

Slept 14 hours last night. Some Neulasta aches but not bad. Nausea, mostly past? Hope so. Very weak and wobbly but hanging on. Skipping work today. I'm glad there are walls to lean against as I move around :)

Could be a whole lot worse, just not used to feeling this wiped out, and I want my energy back! It'll come.... this, too, shall pass....