Monday, February 29, 2016

It's almost March!

Like, tomorrow. Tomorrow, it will be March.

I have no idea where this month has gone!

Oh, wait. Yes, I do.

This month has gone to... chemo. I've been hanging out in bed, flat on my back (because something has changed inside of me and I can't lie on my right side anymore... the broken rib banned me from my left side in the fall, but the right side is a recent change, so it still makes me crazy on a regular (read: nightly) basis). And I've gone to acupuncture and the cancer shrink. And to Jo's for dinner once this month, and went to Logan's with my Crossmen the night before I did chemo again.

Oh, and Maggie was baptized. I left my house the weekend of her baptism. ... But, uh... that's about it.

So much for this "mild, with very few side effects" chemo that I've been on for the last two rounds. Ha!

I mean, this second round has been ABOUT A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER than the first round was. I had fevers and pain that I've NEVER had on anything else, and the nausea... oh my gosh, it was brutal. Homsi changed my premeds on this last round (flipped Zofran out and replaced it with Emend). Best move he's ever made in his professional life, I'm pretty sure, because I could control the nausea in that first week after the infusion... not something I could do with the first round. The pain is still... bad. (I mean, you guys. It's crazy.) And the fatigue is still... all consuming. But I upped my (don't worry... it's all legal) drug usage at the end of that first round, which has helped me sleep through the night. Being able to sleep has made a world of difference with the residual pain. So, it's still not awesome. I'm basically never NOT in pain these days. I don't love it, but the last two weeks have been monumentally better than the three before that were, so... I'm hoping this chemo is working, now that I don't think it's out to actually kill me with abdominal pain anymore.

(I like to think that the pain is the cancer dying. ... It may be a lie that I tell myself, but I don't care. I can't get it to go away, so my coping mechanism is to think that I have this new, special, pain inside of me because that's the tumor(s) last stranglehold. We'll see.)

Which brings me to... this is scan week.

Yes, I just had chemo two weeks ago. Yes, tomorrow is Day 14. ... And yes, we're flying to Texas tomorrow. On Day 14. To have a scan done on Day 15.

This was not my idea, fyi. Because this chemo is "mild, with very few side effects", Dr. Z wanted me to come at the end of my second cycle so we could know it it's working asap. (My gut feeling? She's pregnant and is due in March. I'm pretty sure I'm traveling now, so I'll be able to see her before she goes out for maternity leave. I think she's cramming as much in as she can before that baby comes. And I love her, so... whatever. Also, this will keep me on track to have chemo next week, so I'll stay in a true 21 day cycle and not go a full 21 days without any chemo in my system... like I did between the chemo I did in Nov & Dec and starting this at the end of January.)

Steve and I are flying out tomorrow morning. All of the tests and the follow-up/results appointments are on Wednesday. (Should a real winner of a day. ... Insert eye roll here. ... I'm tired, just thinking about it!) So, I'll post something Wednesday afternoon/evening with an update on whether or not this cocktail is doing something.

It's a little trippy to be doing medical travel with someone who isn't Judy, but... it was brutal to be there without him in December, and I'm not doing that again. So, he's coming. And I'm glad.

Come back in 48-72, and I'll have an update (and probably some awesome tumor pics from my scan... who doesn't love those?) on what's coming next.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My special "extra dairy" diet

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not losing weight for fun. Or to "feel better". Or on purpose, on any level.

In fact, I'm intentionally making efforts not to lose much more weight.

I have a fairly limited diet (I can only eat what I can digest, after all), but I am here to tell you that I throw calories and fat at everything I can.

Case in point, would you look at how I basically frosted this burrito with sour cream?

Mmmmmmm.... That would be a smashed black bean & cheese burrito with five packets of Mild Sauce (I may or may not stockpile Taco Bell sauces for my own personal use) and about half a cup of full fat sour cream. Delish!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy anniversary to chemo and me

February 4th is...

February 4, 2015 was the day I started chemo. 

Happy freakin' anniversary!

Last night, for kicks, I did the math: 466 hours. That's how many hours I've spent hooked up to a chemo drip in the last year. (And I took just over a six month break.)

It hasn't always (or... uhm... ever, frankly) been fun, but I'm still here. 

The good news? The damage to my nails from the first four rounds has almost grown out. Another month or two, and the soft and flaky part of my previously super human nails will have grown out. Woot!

The not-so-good news? This is what my skin looks like, 10 days into this new regimen. 

And that's WITH copious amounts of super expensive lotion, applied daily. My body is falling apart. Literally. 

The last twelve months have been doozies. Chemo's turned my life on edge in a way that I couldn't have possibly prepared myself for. It's been an unspeakably difficult year, but I'm grateful for modern medicine. Even as I spend our anniversary in bed with a heating pad on a broken rib, I am grateful for multiple doctors and several chemotherapies that have been successful in other patients with my diagnosis. 

Hope springs eternal that this time next year, February 4th will be chemo-free for me. That my nails and my hair and my skin will be restored, and that some version of this drug that I hate with my whole soul will have, at the very least, stopped the growth of the tumor that is currently trying to kill my body. (I mean, I'd take total eradication in a heartbeat, but... I'd also be pleased as punch if it would just stop getting worse.)