Sunday, November 29, 2009

Side Effects....

Started losing some hair yesterday. Sad day. ALso,GI effects taking place, too. I couldn't get to church as a result. Having family here is a blessing for me. They are such a great support!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chemo and Radiation... and Thanksgiving!

Just finished radiation #6 and chemo #2 (Taxol). The chemo doesn't seem to bother me so much as the stuff I took last year. I AM GLAD!! It is sunshiny outside, too. What more could I ask for? McDonald's and a chocolate shake? Got that, too! Yum.

I am thankful for my parents who've come up to take care of me every day... And For my family. I know that they're most important!!

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I am a sleepy girl....

I've been taking the anti-nausea medications. THey make me really sleepy. I'd rather sleep right now than be nauseated, though. It's a combination of the radiation on my head and the chemo that I started on Tuesday or WEdnesday. I'm not sure when right now.... sigh......

We went to Kyle's school on Thursday (that day is right) to see his Life SKills classroom and Mrs. C He was absolutely thrilled to be there and everyone was glad to see him, too! I'm glad we went:) We also took my Daddy out to dinner that night at the Great Wall Chinese Buffet. I was in heaven with all the yummy food and everyone else had a great time, too. It's fun to see Kyle pile up the crab legs and fish and delicacies that we don't have around home.

Mom and I went to a luncheon today - a potluck - my favorite! But, I ate too much and we had to leave a bit early. I finished reading Dan Brown's newest book "The Lost Symbol." The author doesn't know how to end a book... he kept on going and going and going trying to redeem himself from revealing so much about the Masons, I suppose. Anyway, I was glad to have something to read for a change. It's the first novel I've read this Fall. Now I need something new.... any ideas?

My mother=in-law and sister-in-law are coming tomorrow to sit with me while Mom goes to Church. What a sweet idea! I went to Sacrament Meeting last week, then came home to rest. THis time I'll be at home with my stomach doing its thing. Oh, wait, I forgot. I've been keeping up a mantra: I feel great, I feel fine. I feel great, I feel fine....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scary Photos - view with caution!!!!!

Got my cables together and uploaded my photos.....

So, one of these is my head from 2 1/2 weeks ago... can you guess which?

I did chemo today - they can give Taxol while at the same time doing radiation, so I did that, along with a cocktail of benadryl, aluxi (sp?- a powerful anti-nausea), steroids (I am definitely bloated and looking like the good-year blimp lately!) and zanax. I also got zometa - bone juice. It took from 9:30am until 2:30 to do that. I had to "do labs" - give blood; visit with the doctor and then two hours of chemo. I didn't get radiation in today because their machines weren't working. I'm kinda glad, cuz I was so worn out after being on the other side of the building all day.

Back when I broke my arm and they put the rod down inside it at KGH:

Arm full of plastic iv stuff ready for brain surgery.....

There are more photos, but now the internet won't let me upload them.... these Really are scary photos!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Tattoos

Went to two doctor appointments today. I start chemo next week in addition to the radiation. I had the forms made today for next week's radiation - a mesh mask for my head and they added tattoos to my right arm and pelvis for those areas. I guess I'll be beautifully covered with dots (got tattoos for the breast area when they did it last year). Larry and Kurt - the radiation guys - same as last time sent me through the CT scan a few times and had me all marked up. Guess I'm ready!

Went to Albertsons today - got to ride around in their little electric cart and get some of their specials. That's two places I've been now that weren't doctor's offices! Yippee!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Radiation on Monday

Went to Dr Rege today. She is anxious to get started on radiation. Dr Klarnet's anxious to start chemo - they're wanting to do both at the same time, but Dr Rege said she's not ever done radiation on the brain while the patient was receiving chemo. She wants me to check and make sure tomorrow when I go to Dr Klarnet's office. I have re-read Rochell's blog from last year when she found out the cancer had gone to her brain. The similarities are remarkable. Being on steroids, taking zometa...

Mom and I were right on when it came to knowing they should do the MRI on my left hip. Turns out there's cancer in both hips as well as the sacrum and arm and brain. So, they will radiate all those places. I shed a few tears. Mom, too. After the radiation I may get a second opinion from UW. Just so we know what's out there. That's what Dr. Rege suggested.

I had Max get some bath mats for the tub so I won't slip. I'm paranoid now about falling and breaking a hip. My hip has felt just like my arm did before it broke. Mom and I were laughing tonight and decided that I need a "lift chair" hung from the ceiling that swings me through the house!

Yesterday, Mom and I went to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers meeting. I give the lessons once a month. I missed last month as I was having the rod put in my arm, but I realized that as I entered the church it was the first non-medical place (besides home) that I've been in over 7 weeks! They gave me a lovely framed certificate for being their lesson leader, too. I think I'm spoiled!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unexpected Sampler Program

I joyfully announce that the STAPLES are GONE! My head is FREE! There is still some pressure going on, but the doctor said it's a delayed response - my brain saying, "hey, sometime ago there was this tumor pressing around in here...." I even took some pain medication a minute ago, so I might feel better yet!

There was a full-page ad in the Sunday paper about Kadlec's neurosurgeons yesterday. It shows some doctors in full regalia. Says they can do anything from back surgery to brain surgery..... I figure that since I participated in an "Unexpected Sampler Program," I am qualified to comment on it:

Yes! The surgeons are very good and especially competent! Dr. Brian O'Grady and assistants did a phenomenal job. However, due to the pain involved, I regretfully do not recommend the back surgery, insertion of chemo port, broken arm and brain surgery all in the same month! (Or, as Marcia asked me last week, "Do you feel like someone took a bat to you?")

If you add a week's time, you can add these procedures:
5 MRI's, a bone scan, a pet scan, a CT scan and several x-rays.

Oh, and we asked about the extra staples on the left side of my head - he said that it was when my head was fastened in a vice and I moved and it got cut, so they put some staples there. I saved the staples, by the way. Though I felt like a Zulu warrior with rings up my neck, They're not as large as I had imagined. The ones in my back were much bigger.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bowling Ball Head...

It's been a week since my last surgery. I feel like I'm carrying around a bowling ball for my head. It is frequently swollen. Well, it FEELS swollen and lumpy. I've written in my journal a few times that: My other head doesn't hurt! Surely there is another head up there.

Dr. O'Grady already told us he'd leave the one cancer there to be radiated, another "satellite" piece ended up getting left as well, as it wasn't wise to go up that high. He said that a part of the bone was eaten away by the cancer and that there was a cyst that drained completely when removed.

I came to in the recovery room with a large turban on my head. It pinched my head very tight. He came and cut that off Saturday morning. That pain is gone. I just have to try to position my head so it doesn't rest against the 22 staples (23 if you count the one way out in left field!) I was pretty nauseated after the surgery and they kept trying to get morphine down me, but I was throwing it all up. Then I had to have a CT scan done of my head - they schedule these in the middle of the night!! I threw up some more for them. I love the bags they have - I made sure I always carried one around.

Then, I thought to tell them that when I was going through chemo, I was prescribed phenergren and kytril. They used the first drug quite a lot for me in the next couple days and the nausea went away. But, they also kept trying to get morphine down me. yuck. The oxycodone thing helped more than anything else.

The ICU was really noisy. They have the nurses' stations right outside your door with all the delivery and doctors and etc. And machines... beeep beeeeeeep beeeeep. I was so glad to get home! But, the nurse didn't want to release me straight from ICU, even though the doctor ordered it. She had several concerns she had to check with him on - more nausea, high blood pressure. In the end, she had to let me go! aha! free woman!

I am just a bit blue wishing that some part of me worked really well - something I could show off: I can wave my left hand! "hi" Can't waggle my right one very well, though I keep on trying - need some physical therapy on it. My left hip is getting an MRI on Saturday - to see if it needs radiation therapy. With so many doctor's fingers in the pie, they've all pointed at each other on this one, but Mom and I are adamant: take a look! So Dr. Klarnet (with whom I did have an appointment on Tues.) prescribed it.

Max is getting good at showering me and shaving my legs! ha ha ha I appreciate his help. And daddy massaged my legs and shoulder the other day. Mama keeps the Essiac tea going....

I just can't believe the generosity of those who bring us meals and wishes. Thank you so very very much!