Friday, February 27, 2009

Some Real Honesty

It's not uncommon for people who have had cancer or something of the like to say, "My life will never be the same. I can see things so much more clearly now" or "I have a whole new appreciation for each day." Well, I recently heard someone say in response, that comments such as those "leave the rest of us to feel like we're shallow in comparison." I thought that was great to hear. Some real honesty that gave me an opportunity to reflect upon.

I don't want to be on a pedestal as a result my insights born of my diagnosis nor do I believe others who have not had a similar experience are more shallow than I am. What's so for me is that the insights I have received as a result of my experience have only provided me personal development or growth in the areas of life where I had the space for growth. In other words, where I needed it and in many areas still do.

For all I know, you may already have learned those lessons in life. Or maybe you haven't. But again, where I have grown as a person is where I've needed it, or to be more precise, where I am committed to growing. We're all in this together. And thank goodness. Your comments, emails, cards, calls and visits have provided me more strength than you know. I can't imagine having done it without you. Really.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I haven't written anything in while because each time I start an entry, it becomes too much for me to complete it. It's come to the point that I can rarely concentrate for long periods of time. And the last two posts I attempted were reflections upon my current state; they're unfinished and in my Drafts Folder because it's just too much to write the type of entry that takes any significant amount of thought.

I experience a significant lack of motivation along with low self-esteem and low energy. Again, I'm clear these are side-effects and not my emotional response to my experience. My current emotional response is more of frustration and feeling a bit beaten down. The closest thing to depression I experience is much less depression and far more a case of the blues, as a result of being frustrated and tired of all of this. Which brings me to my next thought which is, "Thank Heavens I am nearly done" and "Dear God, may I please still be cancer-free following my next scan so I don't have to do this all again because it is really hard?"

And on that note, I'm going to sit on the couch with Beau and watch his favorite morning program.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Responding Quite Well (apparently)

I'm looking out the picture window over the creek and the sun is shining so brightly I can barely stand to look at it [I took the photo after the clouds passed in front of the sun]. But the sound of the rushing water - due to the significant thaw we just had - is quite a soothing sound, which I really appreciate considering how I am feeling right now.

And speaking of how I am far as my side-effects go, on Wednesday, I felt nauseous from about halfway through my treatment until the wee hours of the morning on Thursday. On Thursday, I felt less nauseous and more toxic and lethargic. On Friday, I felt beyond lethargic - I was exhausted.

Oddly, on Thursday, one of my favorite nurses told me I was responding quite well to the treatment, which meant the side-effects I was experiencing were quite minimal. That left me feeling relieved, yet at the same time, my heart really went out to the other folks whose symptoms are worse than mine. Most of my fellow patients are significantly older than I am and it saddens me to imagine what many of them are going through.

Naturally, I asked my nurse what additional symptoms my fellow experience. And guess what? She wouldn't tell me! She reminded me that, in the past, I had manifested the chemo side-effects the day prior or the morning of my treatments and she had no interest in my doing that with any additional symptoms I wasn't even experiencing. And either did I! No argument from me! Thank goodness she had the foresight to keep it to herself. Not every nurse would have responded that way. She's a sharp one - thank goodness.

I am also so grateful for the rides I received to and from the clinic every other week. Sayre, PA is an hour drive each way, not to mention the hours spent sitting with me as I receive the pre-meds and then the infusion. I tried to drive myself a couple of times and that clearly did not work. The pre-meds and the chemo are just too strong. And I can"t imagine Daniela going with me and chasing Beau all over the hospital for five hours - not to mention the days our 11 year old needed to be picked up from school before Daniela and I would have arrived home or the days he stayed home sick from school. And I still can't figure out how people go to work while on chemo, unless they simply don't have such difficult side-effects. Between the nausea, lethargy and chemo-brain I experience, I can't imagine myself at work being anything less than a huge liability!!! And, assuming my post-chemo tests in April come back clear, all of this will be over soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Treatment #10

I will begin my 10th series of treatments on Wednesday February 11th. It's pretty satisfying to know that I will only have two series of treatments remaining once this weeks treatment is complete. I can feel the excitement building in me - knowing it's over soon - and I ain't lookin' forward to anymore chemo. So again, thank goodness that's it's almost over!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And the Winner is...

Wellsphere has just announced the winners of the People's Health Blogger Awards for 2008. They include Best Overall, Blogger's Choice & Best 100.

I haven't even checked out the different blogs because I wanted to let ya'll know about them. It looks like there is some great stuff on there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I accepted an invitation for my blog to be one of the featured blogs on Wellsphere - a website designed to provide more than just an encyclopedia of medical information, but insight into the personal experiences of those managing a cancer diagnosis.

Here's how they describe themselves: health beyond the one-stop encyclopedias of clinical definitions and news [designed] to create a collection of separate web experiences on individuals’ terms, embracing the unique aspects of each health condition and each wellness issue.

And the reason for their existence:

[The] relatively early days of social interactions online [included] gatherings of people who had, or were, going through the same things we were. The advice, counsel and just basic support of people who had “been there,” but were otherwise strangers, had the most profound impact on us all. And the greatest impact was rarely about the science – though we did receive some very good ideas of things to ask our doctors. The real impact was about the “whole person” – we all were not scientific problems seeking chemical answers alone, but folks coping with how to live normal lives when nothing was normal.

I'm impressed.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Less Than Pleasant

This Folfiri (chemo) is odd stuff. This time around, I'm not experiencing a whole lot of physical discomfort nor the feeling of being poisoned. Instead I am feeling depressed. Actually, I should state that differently - feelings of depression are present, and I am clear I am not depressed, but simply under the influence of this less than pleasant drug. I'm doing my best to stand back and observe them objectively - essentially thanking my feelings for sharing and choosing an alternative. It's definitely taking some focus to stay on top of it.

I do have some physical discomfort - in my sinuses. They seem to be dry, which is expected, and as a result they ache. I am going to use the humidifier today and see what kind of results I can get. Right now it feels like I got hit on the nose with a baseball.

Oh well. The Super Bowl is on this evening and I 'm definitely looking forward to it.