Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I go in Wednesday December 28th for ROUND TWO of chemotherapy. The standard out-patient infusion followed by a 46-hour take home pump to be removed on Friday the 30th. whi-hew.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Side-Effects Pretty Minimal

I'm glad to report the chemotherapy side-effects are pretty minimal at the moment. The worst part of my day today was after lunch, my system felt a little toxic and I was fatigued for a bit. That seems to be the theme for this first round of chemo - feeling nauseous after I eat.

I'm thrilled I didn't have chemo just this past Wednesday because I would likely have been miserable on Christmas Eve. My next systemic treatment is Wednesday December 28th - Friday December 30th. It looks like this New Year's Eve will be a quiet one for me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Last Few Days

Well, Wednesday I went home from the hospital with a pump inside of a fanny-pack hanging form my hip. It had 5-FU chemotherapy in it and pumped continuously through Friday at 1:30 PM (a 46-hour drip). On Thursday, I sat around the kitchen table with friends and we played our guitars. It felt great to be out.

And when I woke up Friday morning, I didn't want to get out of bed. The toxins felt heavy running through my body and once I did get up and ate some food, the nausea revealed itself. However, once I got moving I felt a little better. I got to the hospital, they unhooked the pump and then gave me my Neulasta shot (aka Pegfilgrastim). Neulasta is an e coli based pharmaceutical designed to stimulate white blood cell growth. The side-effect is pain in the bones, similar to flu symptom type aches. I felt them for about 24-36 hours after the shot. Reason being is because it's the bones that create the white blood cells and as since the Neulasta causes an serious increase in production, it actually hurts. I took Tylenol for it as recommended. It seemed like using a Dixie cup of water to put out a camp fire.

So, I returned home from the hospital on Friday, only to feel nauseated again. I spent the afternoon laying on the couch occasionally stoking the fire in the wood stove, a nice feature when feeling a bit gloomy. Late afternoon, a friend came by with dinner and talked with me until I was started falling asleep. On Saturday I woke up to the sound of my friend's voice. Again, the toxins felt heavy running through my body. The only difference between this day and the previous was the nausea didn't wait around for me to eat something and and my bones were aching from the Neulasta shot. My friend put some water on the stove for tea and we talked while I got acclimated, unfortunately, to feeling like hell.

My folks came by on Saturday afternoon and spent the day with us. We had a nice day together and went for a walk down the street to see the neighborhood waterfall in hopes that some movement might help me feel better. A little later in the afternoon the nausea got bad so I took an anti-nausea med. Thank goodness my folks were here when I did. The stuff knocked me out cold, which is not workable when I'm caring for my little boy. So on Monday, I will put in a call to the doctors office and ask them to do what the insurance company requires so I can be prescribed the next best anti-nausea med on the list (the insurance companies like to put their customers on the less expensive medications first, then work them up the ladder as needed).

This morning I still felt nauseous but seemed to move through it a little easier. The poisoned feeling was still pretty strong as well. Once the afternoon came, we went to a friends house for a play date, where I could just rest quietly on the couch and watch football and move through the waves of nausea. The little guy having friends (he loves) to play with while I rest easy really makes a huge difference. And my being around friends I love, happy to be with me while I'm not feeling well, definitely makes a huge difference for me.

I'm feeling significantly better this evening. Perhaps round one of chemotherapy will wrap up tonight.

Friday, December 16, 2011

With Deep Gratitude

108 Sun Salutation Benefit

I am honored to say Fine Spirit Studio is hosting a 108 Sun Salutation Benefit in my honor on the morning of Sunday December 18th. $20 is the suggested donation. Know that if you attend, you are not required to do all 108 Sun Salutations, but instead to do what works for you. Yoga is the intention and the space is limited, so in order to not distract, it's requested that conversation happen in the room at the front entrance where it won't be a distraction to the other participants. I am very grateful to Diane Fine and Fine Spirit Studios. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

First Systemic Chemotherapy Treatment

Today was my first Folfox chemotherapy treatment at Cayuga Medical Center. I feel a bit "off" but certainly not sick. It feels more like a light hangover. The staff at CMC went above and beyond what I expected and made the time there a real joy, not to mention the generosity they provided by tolerating my twisted sense of humor!

As we left and were walking outside, the cold air hit my hands and felt like freezing cold water dripping onto my skin. And this evening when I took a sip of room temperature water, it felt like ice water running down my throat. These are both examples of the treatment side-effects, to be anticipated for the next 7-months. In the mean time, I have an electric pump, attached to my hip, slowly pumping chemo into my veins. It will be removed on Friday afternoon. I'm uncertain what the side-effects will be like by then. I suppose I'll drive off that bridge when I get to it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

They're Here!

Well, on Wednesday I noticed the lack or taste in my mouth, which is the best way I can describe the one of the symptoms I experienced during my previous chemotherapy experience. It's an experience that leaves me wanting to put a piece of candy in my mouth to cover up the bad taste, which again is more like a lack of taste. Then there's also an experience of tightness behind my eyes and in my nose. Both the mouth and the sinuses are soft, mucous membrane tissues and thus effected when the body is being administered chemo, medicine that kills rapidly developing cells. And as anticipated by my oncologist and her staff, the sensations are minimal, and certainly nothing compared to the side-effects I experienced in 2007 & 2008.

That being said, I've been anticipating the upcoming systemic treatment, wondering how my body will feel on December 14th and the weeks to follow, once I start the systemic chemotherapy treatment. Initially, I stopped scheduling any coaching sessions and planned on scheduling no musical performances. And then a friend supported me in distinguishing how I had put the cart before the horse. Once I noticed that, I scheduled coaching sessions and I'm in the process of booking a couple gigs if there are available dates where I prefer to perform.

However,  I noticed I was still doing it, if not with scheduling my life, at least with my general attitude about "how it's going to go." The reality is I really don't know how it's going to go, so my intention is a pleasant and joyful experience of each moment. Should life circumstances show up otherwise, I'll manage that when the time comes. But either way, the side-effects have started.