Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fall is Falling Finally

Two weeks after my first treatment. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had been coached that I would be so sick. Well? So far the only thing that has blind-sided me was constipation from the medicines that were added to my treatment. Man! I was not prepared for that! Concrete. Anyway, after doing what I had to do and getting on a regimen of Metamucil, I am fine.

I have another week before my next treatment. My plan is to get my lab done the day before so that there won't have to be such a waiting time for lab results before the treatment starts. I plan to ask if I can also do that ahead of time before my followup visits. It doesn't make sense to sit and wait for seemingly hours just to hear "you're fine," or not, especially if you are sick.

My lab was good my first week after treatment. They had kinda expected it not to be. I was told, "Well, it'll probably drop this time." Aha. To be warned is to be forearmed. Since my appetite has not been affected, I have kind of made a project of researching the foods I need daily to keep my iron level as stable as possible.

Also, we were told that my hair would start falling out two weeks to the day. That is today. Dare I look in the mirror? I know people are different, but the suspense is there. I do have my wig poised and ready for when we go out. I am not a baseball cap kind of person and I don't think I would look cute shiny-bald as one lady at the clinic looks.

Since the weather has cooled dramatically, I have started walking as much daily as possible around the garden track. The temp was 58 this morning at 8. September can be cruelly hot, but this respite is welcome.

So, with few problems, watching diet, exercise, so much to be thankful for. I am trying to focus on the "goodies" that are there daily. This morning, I saw several hummingbirds at the feeders and other blooming vegetation. This must be the peak season before they migrate. Also, the Jerusalem artichokes are blooming en mass. I hope J can get a good picture of them so I can post them. They are gorgeous not only where they are, but J enjoys picking a few along with some late roses for the bouquet he enjoys fixing for me. How sweet and how pretty. I wish I knew the name of the "cane" that blooms in September. It is breathtaking. I hope J can get a picture of that today. The 4 o'clocks are in full bloom. Some people think them pests, but I don't. They just do their thing without a lot of coaxing.

We had planted greens. They are up, but we fear the fall bugs are invading. J is fighting back. I need to feed them with Miracle Gro so they will go ahead and grow big leaves while they are still tender. I so hope I can can them this time. Our spring crop was a bust. We planted late squash, and right now they look healthy. Our cantaloupe crop has amazed us. There might have been three plants in that one hill, but we have had probably 20-something melons from that one hill. At today's prices, what a happy surprise.

If I remain feeling okay the next few months, I hope we can begin preparing the garden for the winter and have it as ready for spring planting as we did this time. What a work saver. The leaves we scattered have not only served to keep moisture in but kept grass under great control. My plan is to have a spring garden.

Besides keeping up with household obligations, I have done substitute transcription for a friend who has had health problems of her own for a few days. This was for the speed demon surgeon who doesn't or won't realize what a pain it is to hear each little syllable that can make a huge difference in how a word turns out. It's not a place for guessing. Said friend is scheduled for an upper endoscopy tomorrow and was testing the waters to see if I can cover for her again so soon. I probably will. That's my small way to help her.

This cool morning beckons, so on with the walking shoes and sweater (what a concept) and on to the track. Looking forward to whatever new is blooming this morning.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Lot of Water......

I think with the amount of rain we have had precluding my walks in the garden, that I am losing out on keeping up with events. The other day, we picked the last of the tomatoes that were still good and made juice. Then on Monday, I was cruising what I thought was the last of the veggies and spied a new crop, albeit small, of green beans, some of them shelly. I couldn't bear the thoughts of them going to waste and not knowing if I would be feeling like handling them later, I picked enough for 6 quarts of mixed snaps and shellies. I was thinking that amount would be fairly easy to handle, but got a long phone call and then came dinner, so there were the beans to prep and can. It was getting close to 11 or 12 when I finished. The only consideration there was that my chemotherapy was to start the next morning, Tuesday. Well. I am glad to have the beans to replenish what we have eaten and shared.

I don't think I have mentioned that I got my VAD implanted Friday afternoon. That went well, and I had no after effects, i.e., pain from the procedure. So my first chemotherapy therapy was scheduled for Tuesday. I am getting Adriamycin at three-week intervals for about four months. I suppose that the information I was given applied to the average person. I had been told that I would be given an anti-nausea medicine and some other meds that would prevent nausea, etc., and that I would sleep through the procedure. Guess again. The meds didn't faze me, was an interesting session, and J sat with me and we chatted through the entire procedure which lasted approximately an hour. We had lunch out, did some shopping for the food I would need in case I did develop nausea/vomiting. We later had a nap, and feeling well, I prepared dinner after having prepared to not feel like doing that. That was yesterday. During the night I developed a slight headache from a self-diagnosed sinus problem. Checked my temp, and that was normal.

I was all prepared to face today of possible nausea and had my pills, water and crackers by the bed. We had agreed this would be much like morning sickness with pregnancy. Been there--done that. So, I started my regimen of above plan, then regular small snacks, timely meals, and aside from just not feeling ravenous probably from the anti-nausea meds, I have done very well today. I have toyed with the idea of not taking the pill tomorrow because it does affect my general feeling of well being; however, I will be compliant. If I did not do that and fell very ill, it would be my fault.

Wouldn't I be lucky if after all the warnings I have had about what could happen, I was on the lower part of the average and sailed through. The part I most likely will not sail through will be hair loss starting in two weeks. I am prepared for that, though. I have purchased my wig and probably will get a short pixie cut soon so that there won't be such a dramatic change and could start wearing the wig when I go out and not feel so conspicious. I am not a baseball cap person at my age.

My next sequential chemo treatments, 4 months each, will most likely be Taxotere, and lastly Cytoxan, finishing those about a year from now. I understand that breaking these down sequentially will not be so stressful for me. For that, I will be glad. I am told that the Adriamycin is the roughest of the three and is appropriately named "the red devil." I will go back in a week for lab work to see how I am tolerating things. We are lucky to live about a mile from the hospital, and J can stay with me if he chooses or run errands or whatever. My guess is he will be right there with me. I think many of the people on treatment when I was there did succumb to the sedative given before the treatment started, because I saw one person slack-jawed, snoozing, and hoping J would have the grace to prop my mouth if I started that. I must have willed myself to stay awake! I didn't snooze, it just didn't affect me that way.

Today I have mostly goofed off. We had received a book from a publisher that we didn't want, so we drove to the post office across town and returned that. That was the extent of our running about today. We had scattered showers today and probably will have them again tomorrow as the remnants of Hurricane Fay, so that has made staying inside well received.

Enough of this. I'm waiting to hear Sarah Palin's address and then to bed.