Monthly Archives: August 2012

#6

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What a wonderful day. Both of my kids accompanied me to my 6th chemo treatment. They are such a blessing to me and they made me laugh. I want them to attend the meeting with the radiologists as well. They remember the answers to the questions I ask. Sometimes my mind is foggy or I am so busy focusing on the next question I don’t listen closely enough the one is he answering. My adult children are a great source of comfort and I lean on their intelligence and memory. Did I mention they get that from their dad? Smiling here. My goal with this 6th treatment is to feel well enough to celebrate Todd’s birthday on Sept 14. My taste buds will just be starting to return by then but mostly I want to be together with my family. Family is so important to me.

The Taxotere was reduced this treatment to help with the neuropathy in the feet. Hopefully, this will not be permanent damage to my feet but there  is a slight possibility it could be permanent. I am also hoping to save my finger nails. Although 7 nails have pools of blood underneath  perhaps they will just grow out over time and not lift and fall off. I am keeping my focus that way.

If I choose radiation then it will take place between my last “hard chemo” and the starting of the infusion of Herceptin. I am told I will be fatigued with the radiation. The treatment will last 6 -8 weeks 5 days a week. I still have to meet with the radiologist to discuss my options.Please pray that I make the right choice for me.

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Follow up on #5

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My sister,Glenda came to stay with me after treatment. As always, she was my solid rock totally taking care of all my needs to the best of her ability. I don’t know how I would get through all of this without her care.

I was able to get my compression garments and I was shocked at how very tight everything was. The lymphodema therapist took one look at my swollen hand/arm and told me they were too tight and to not wear the day sleeve until it could be adjusted. The glove and arm sleeves are made from my own measurements. Either the measurements were not correct or the maker of the garments did not fabricate them correctly. Now they will have to be re-made. The glove is thick and cumbersome but I am told to wear it as much as I can stand. It literally turns the tips of my fingers blue and I cannot wear it for long periods of time. I worry about wearing the glove and trying to work on the computer since the fingers don’t bend or function well with it on. The night sleeve is a bulky quilted fabric that is about 1/2 ” thick. Once I get that lovely thing on my hand and arm I  have to put a compression sleeve over the whole thing. I have not been able to wear the contraption all night long yet. It will take me a little while to get used to sleeping with it. In the morning when I remove the sleeve, my arm looks like a waffle with indentations all over it. There are so many adjustments to get used to.

The intestinal infection has returned with this treatment so I am back on antibiotics once again.

The second toe on each foot is now bruising. I am not certain why this is happening. I was told the drug Taxol could make you lose your fingernails. I take Taxotere instead. However, my fingernails are now bleeding underneath. It started with only one finger but now each one has a small blood particles underneath the nails. I was hoping that I would not lose my nails. Perhaps with only one treatment left, I can still save them.

Although thin, I have some eyelashes and my eyebrows. It is funny but having eyelashes and eyebrows make me feel more feminine. My hair is starting to grow some but it is mostly gray in color. Ethan is hoping it will come in all gray like Paula Deene’s. I smile because he thinks she is just beautiful and no matter what my hair looks like when it returns, he will think I am beautiful too.

I need to make a decision on radiation. The doctor would like to start radiation after my 6th chemo treatment. I am prayerfully seeking guidance on this issue. I do not want radiation for a number of different reasons. The plan is to radiate the areas where I had tumors to prevent a reoccurrence of cancer in those sites. I will have to make an important decision and I want it to be the right choice for me. I will speak with the radiologists to weigh the benefits versus the side effects of radiation and then make my decision. The doctor said this is a gray area for me and I will need to decide how much I want to put my body through. Please pray for total peace about my decision.

 

 

#5 Treatment and Good News

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We received good news today!!!  Get your dancing shoes on!!!  We originally thought Mom would have to go in for continued treatments once a week for the next 52 weeks after the initial 6 treatments–we misunderstood.  After treatment #6, Mom will come in once every three weeks.  And, we can deduct her 18 weeks of current treatment from the 52 weeks.  So, she will only have 34 weeks of treatment left after #6, which means about 12 Herceptin treatments.  May 2013 will be a very happy month for us!

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August 4, 2012

I had a couple of doctor’s visits plus a fitting for compression garments but I was able to work most of the week.  I have lymphedema so I will have some physical therapy to try to combat any further issues. I worked hard at the exercises after surgery and I have great range of motion on the left side. However, so many lymph nodes were removed during my operation that fluid builds up in the surgery site areas and is quite painful. I swell. I will have to wear compression clothing to eliminate the swelling and the pain. My arm and hand will soon wear a compression sleeve and glove both daytime as well as nighttime and a compression camisole will cover my torso. I asked how long I would have to wear these and the answer was, “Probably the rest of your life”. Not exactly the answer I was hoping for but it is the unknown that I have the most difficulty dealing with, the unknown and my own fear. I have a new set of exercises to complete morning and night. Hopefully, we can re-route the fluid buildup to drain where it should.

I have been on antibiotics since surgery and that causes another set of problems. Battling cancer with chemo is rough but the side affects are even tougher. It is hard to keep my emotions in balance with each new infection that erupts. I have been weepy and shed many tears in the privacy of my own home.

Blessings did occur this week. A friend, Kay Dee Gilkey stopped by the office for a quick visit. She was unaware that I am undergoing treatment. Although the visit was brief, the hug was worth a million bucks. I treasured that. Thursday night my friend, Vicky took me out to dinner after work. The food tasted good (my taste buds are returning this week) however, the conversation and company was what I needed. She has re-surfaced in my life after years of absence and we picked up our friendship where we last left off. A music CD from Marcy arrived in the mail and the songs sooth me. My friend, Dolores from Yakima called and we had a wonderfully long telephone visit. Her husband, Tom is undergoing chemo treatments as well so we have much in common and a lot to share. I feel like I have not been much emotional support for my friends, Pam and Jack, Tom and Dolores and Sarah. These families are all battling cancer. Like me, they are fighting this disease with all they have. Though I cannot be with them physically and can and do pray for them often.

I miss my grandsons. It has been weeks since I have seen them. Maxton had his inoculation so I cannot be around him for 3 weeks and Ethan has been sick. As much as I miss them, I cannot risk getting sick with anything else. I am planning in September to get together as a family. I think the last time we were together was when I shaved my head. Ahhhh, only a few more weeks until September. I cannot wait.