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Chemotherapy

Weekend Wrapup

by Lisa on January 5, 2009

in Asshats, Cancer Sucks

What a rough weekend I had.  It started out with a blood test and ended with a blood transfusion and an asshat.

You know I hate to get all medical because it’s boring but sometimes it’s necessary.  Well, the last time I had chemo my red blood cell count and hemoglobin were low.  My hemoglobin was down to 8.6 so I was given a shot of Procrit.

I scheduled a follow up blood test for last Friday to re-check my blood counts.  Unfortunately, everything dropped a little more.  My hemoglobin went down to 8 so I got another shot of Procrit and was told I need to have a blood transfusion over the weekend.

I found out that part of the reason I’ve been feeling extremely run down and out of breath had to do with my low red blood cell count and low hemoglobin.

The infusion center was booked on Saturday but I got an appointment for Sunday.  I didn’t think anybody did anything on Sundays but there apparently people who need infusions everyday.

My blood transfusion was going to take four hours so my appointment was made for 8 am.  Dude now drives me everywhere because of the painkillers I’m on (it’s illegal to drive while under the influence of what I take) so we had to pack the kids in the car at 7:30 am on Sunday morning.    They had their Nintendo DS’s so they were good to go.

By Sunday, my pain level was at an all time high.  I didn’t get any sleep Saturday night because I was in so much pain.  I finally passed out from exhaustion at around 5:00 am only to have the alarm clock go off at 6:00 am.  One hour of quality sleep is better than nothing, right?

So Dude dropped me off at the hospital so I could get my blood transfusion.  The nurse gave me Benedryl before she started anything.  Once she started the first pint of blood I was out cold.  Had she not taken my blood pressure every 20 minutes I may have actually caught up on some sleep.

Four hours and two pints of blood later I was finished with the blood transfusion and Dude came to pick me up.  Once we got home I started feeling better.  Like a little perkier with less pain.  I made it up the steps without losing my breath at all!

My pain level has come down considerably since I had the transfusion yesterday too.  I slept through the night and I’m feeling like I might make it through today without taking a nap.  Well, maybe I’ll take just a 30 minute nap.

Hopefully my blood counts will be o.k. on Thursday when I go back to the hospital for chemo.  It seems like this could be a vicious cycle though.  Get chemo, have blood counts go down, get blood transfusion, have blood counts go back up, get chemo again.  There’s only so much a body can take, you know?

Maybe that’s the point when I, as my commenter in Understanding, so lovingly put it, “pretend to die”.  To quote Barbara:

So when you get enough gifts and money, will you pretend to die?

I’m sure my family and friends enjoy watching me “pretend” to have cancer.  God, some people are pathetic.

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In Bed Sick

by Lisa on December 23, 2008

in Kool Peeps

I’m writing this from my bed because I’m very, very sick.  I picked up a cold from my daughter last week and that cold quickly turned into bronchitis.  The antibiotic that the doctor gave me yesterday is making sick from both ends of my stomach.  I had to cancel chemotherapy today because I’m too sick to go.

I just wanted to share too much information about how sick I am and to wish all of you a happy holiday season.   Happy Holidays!

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Hair

by Lisa on November 10, 2008

in Cancer Sucks

Although this isn’t one of my favorite pictures of myself, it does show the wildness of my curls on a humid spring day. I took this picture this past May knowing that chemotherapy was approaching and that my hair would be gone.

After my first round of chemotherapy in June, my sister shaved my hair.  I didn’t want to sit around and wait for it to fall out.  I would have felt like a victim had I done that.

My hair started to grow back in over the next few months until I started a new chemo.  I was in the hospital when it started falling out again so a nurse was kind enough to shave it off for me.  Thank God.

Since June I’ve been wearing turbans on a daily basis.  I rarely wear a wig unless I’m going out with family or friends.  I feel as if the wig requires make-up and I rarely have a need for wearing make-up any more because I don’t go out that often.

Lately though, I’ve been missing my hair.  I miss going to the hairstylist.  I miss my Bumble and Bumble hair products even though they cost a fortune and the savings are huge WITHOUT hair.

I actually miss the difference between a GOOD hair day and a BAD hair day.

Maybe it’s the hairstylist that still lives deep down inside of me.  I stopped doing hair in 1993 yet I still keep my license “just in case”.  Just in case of what?  I just don’t know.

Perhaps I’m just craving some normalcy.

However, if I had hair I’d probably just complain about what a pain it is to deal with…like on the humid May day.  I’m never happy.

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I Want To Live

by Lisa on November 5, 2008

in Cancer Sucks

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Anderson

The other night Dude and I had a serious, sit-down talk about my health and what’s going to happen in the future.  He’s been so busy working for fear of losing his job that he hasn’t had much time for me or the girls. It’s not that I blame him for working so hard because I’m afraid he could lose his job too.

When he’s working extra long hours it’s hard on the girls.  They have to rely on me to help them with everything and lately I haven’t felt up to the job.

My biggest fear is that something will happen to me and Dude will be so wrapped up in his job that he’ll forget that they need him.  But, I’m not ready to go anywhere yet.  I want to be here for my daughters as long as humanly possible.

See, part of me had given up hope.  I have been preparing myself to die.  Given that chemo hasn’t been working I saw it as a realistic expectation…not a very positive one though.  I’ve felt so lousy that I’ve wanted to die.

I don’t want to die…no matter how much pain I’m in.  I still have a list of things I want to get to complete.  I have to believe there is a chemo that will work.   Others may have given up on me already, but I’m not done…not by a long shot.

I can survive this round of chemotherapy.  I’ve done this six times before.  It’s temporary and in a few days I can start to rebound back on my feet.  I can do this.

I can do anything if I want to live.

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A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election. ~Bill Vaughan

I went to chemotherapy yesterday and thankfully my blood levels were passable.

This morning I woke up feeling a little, well a lot queasy but I wasn’t going to let that deter me from getting out and voting.  I felt so excited that Election Day was FINALLY here, almost as excited as Christmas morning!

Dude drove Teenie to school this morning because we made 20 Whoopie Pies yesterday for her class.  Yes, that’s what I do when I come home from chemo…make Whoopie Pies for five hours.  I didn’t get to taste them but they looked disgustingly sweet.

On his way home from taking Teenie to school, Dude swung by the polls to see how crowded it was.  He flew home.  He walked in the door and said “Let’s Go!”  So, I threw on my sneakers and out the door we went.

By the time we got down to the polls there was a long line and I thought I was going to lose it.  Thankfully it went by fast, like 15 minutes.  It didn’t matter to me because I was going to vote no matter what!

Then it was my turn.  The curtain closed behind me.  And there was my candidate…the one I’ve been waiting to cast my vote for for months.  FINALLY, I was able to cast my vote for Barack Obama.  I think I may have squeed.   Dude also cast his vote for Obama.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be a part of such a huge election.  If you are registered to vote, get out there and do it!  I did!

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Thank You

by Lisa on November 2, 2008

in Cancer Sucks

I’ve attempted to write replies to everyone and some of them got through my outbox before I discovered a glitch.  Yes, after writing 50 or more replies they bounced backed to me because of my email server.  Feeling ill and in pain I just couldn’t deal with it.

So, it’s not that I don’t appreciate your comments, because I value each and every one of them (even the occasional bizarre).

I’ve reached a point in my illness where I don’t know if I can always respond to comments like I always have in the past.  A lot of times I write a post, publish it and turn the computer off.  Then I’m on the couch with a warm blanket and a fluffy pillow for the rest of the day.

There’s usually lots of hot tea and bad T.V. involved as well.

So, tomorrow, Monday, starts Chemo #3, Round 2 if all of my blood counts are agreeable.  I imagine they are questionable.

I’m also seeing a radiologist for possible radiation of some of my tumors.  This won’t make anything other than my level of pain better.  This will not help with the cancer.

That’s how much pain I’m in.

Now you can understand the need for the couch all day.

Now you can also understand why I can’t respond to comments all of the time….but you should know they keep me going on my worst days.

Thank you.

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Close But No Cigar

by Lisa on October 16, 2008

in Cancer Sucks, Dude

I’ve been very ill as a result of this new chemotherapy.  This is the first time since Sunday that I’ve sat up longer than ten minutes.  I’m ready to lay back down but I’m determined to feel better.

I was surprised to find this post and I want to publicly thank Ezra for his efforts.

Even more shocking to me is the fact that the Phillies are going to the World Series.  I’m no sports fan but I can tell you what I know about Philadephia sports teams having lived here all my life.  They are all about close but no cigar.

There is nothing worse or more passionate than a Philadelphia sports fan…trust me I know because I live with one.

Dude is an avid Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies fan.  He’s lost some sleep in the past few weeks watching baseball games.  Last night he woke me up with his screaming.  I think I should punish him by screaming at him if he tries to take a nap today.

In the meantime, I’m going back to bed.

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Seven months ago I wrote a post that broke my heart to write and I feel like this is no different.  In fact seven months ago I swore that this blog wouldn’t turn into a cancer blog but cancer has taken over my life.  It’s effected every single facet of my life and so it’s also taken over my blog.

I really wish I didn’t have to tell you this.  I wish I had better news but the truth is that I’m not responding to chemotherapy.  It seems I’ve been fighting  a losing battle.

Next week my doctor will try a third type of chemotherapy.  He’s not sure if it will work.

Please don’t tell me you are sorry because I just can’t handle that right now.  Like I asked you seven months ago, I’d like to ask you now…what are you grateful for?  I’m grateful that I’m still here.

So, let’s talk about gratitude today, O.K.?

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