Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crisp and Cold Wintry Day

It is crisp and cold here today.  I took a picture of the frost this can see it on the trees, grass, and the top of the gazebo.  (I don't know if you can see it or not in this picture, but those flowers that were magically growing out there in the boxes...yeah, they're dead now.)

The sun is just rising in this picture.  It isn't quite over the treetops yet.  In the distance you can even see some of our mountains.  There are others about 20 miles northeast from us.  (Hey, Tom...aren't you proud of me?  I used directional words like 'north' and 'east' properly in a sentence.  I hope  One of my personal deficiencies is the inability to find my way out of a paper bag with only one hole in it.  Yeah for a GPS!!!!)  These mountains aren't as good as TN mountains but they are still pretty to look at.

It was funny...I took this picture for the blog today and not 10 minutes later, Tom sends me an email and talks about it being cold this morning but that he liked it this way.  We think so much alike.  It has been wet and cold here lately and we don't like that kind of weather.  This feels like Christmas is really on the way.

As I've talked about on the blog before, I have a Boeing Wellness Health 'person' that calls me and discusses ways to relieve stress (meditation was one of their suggestions...I tried it and told them..."Yeah, good luck with that...I can hardly sit still for 5 minutes, what else have you got?").  They hooked me up with a cancer nurse who answers all my questions pertaining to what I am going through right now.  

So, she called me yesterday and we discussed 'Cancer stuff'.  I almost didn't answer the phone because I wasn't in the mood nor did I think she could provide me with any info that I hadn't already researched and figured out but, actually, she was a wealth of information.  She had a good analagy for why chemo seems to hit me harder each time I get another dose.  She said it was like I started out taking chemo with an empty sack.  Then with each dose, 10 lbs of weights are added to the sack.  So, now I am up to 50 lbs of weights that I have to drag around with me.  She also said it takes about 6 months (on average) to recover from chemo.  So, by next July I should be feeling like my old self.  Hope, hope, hope...there is always hope that keeps me going.  8-)

I asked her about the 'smelling weird stuff' problem I have.  I smell chemo everywhere I go, all over the house, and my sense of smell is so heightened that I can't even stand my husband's cleaning solution for his electric razor.  (This currently resides in the garage because it was so nauseating...sorry, honey.)  She explained that not only have I lost all the hair on my head but also in my nose, which filtered out smells, so now I am getting them full force.  I had never thought about losing the hair in my nose...good grief, I never even thought about having hair in my nose before.  That also explains the increased allergies since chemo to some degree probably. 

Anyway, we talked about other stuff too but suffice it to say that she was just a wealth of information.

My cousin Andrea is going to send me some aloe plants.  I didn't even know she was reading the blog and poof, yesterday she posted that she has an entire yard full of aloe.  She lives out west and I don't know if it grows wild or if she just grows it because she likes the plant.  God is always preparing ways to meet needs, isn't he?  I am so blessed in so many ways that I can't even count.  (Thanks, Andrea for helping out!)

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Massages and Stuff

Last  night, Tom was giving me one of his famous massages. (Only famous around here...thank you very much).  (Hey...just my shoulders and neck...this is a G rated blog.)

I'm going " much power in those hands...I feel so relaxed now."

He responds with "Power just like a race car...except I don't have a clue what I did with the key."

Ha HA...funny guy.

He has a fine sense of of the reasons that I married him.  Isn't it funny how we gravitate to people who make us laugh?

Not too much going on here today.  Yesterday was a very hectic, brain taxing, body breaking work day.  I was SO glad when it was over.  The simplest things tax my brain to the max right now.  The good thing about being work busy though is that it takes my personal focus off of the chemo and puts it back out into the world.  That is important right now.  I try to make the only time that I focus on what is going on with me is while writing this blog (It is still a therapeutic outlet according to my health coach so I keep writing in it) or telling Tom about my day in the evening...then I am less self-absorbed and probably less apt to feel as badly as I might if I just sat around and said "Woe is me" all day.  Yeah for work!

My sister calls me the other day and starts talking about getting an aloe plant to treat my breast after the radiation therapy each time.  I had already gotten something bottled from Walmart that said it was 100% Aloe but she says that doesn't work.  I'm thinking..."I'm never gonna find a REAL aloe plant at this time of year..."  I'm spazzing out in my head because it's only about 8 weeks until I start that.  In her no nonsense fashion she just states that they'll take care of it for me...(She is such a take charge person).  She says it won't be any problem to find one at all.  It's funny  how the littlest thing seems like a mountain that can't be moved (to me) but others just think, "No biggee."  I appreciate her help with this one because I would just use the bottled stuff and if I hurt...o well...too much trouble to get a real plant.  (Which definitely isn't like the 'normal'  I really hope she is right and it isn't a big deal to get it.  I had already looked at a ton of stores around here and did not find a plant and I didn't think of ordering online because I figured it would be dead by the time it got here (or dead after I TOUCHED IT - [Reference blog entry "New Life When You Least Expect it"] to understand this statement...HA!).  I am sure that she is way more resourceful than I am right now. 

Hope everyone out there is having a great day!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Dark and gloomy outside...warm and happy inside.  8-)

Almost sounds like something to eat, huh?

Nah...just the difference between the outside world and my disposition.

I am feeling like a conquerer today.  Yeah, I still have that nagging nausea and a slight temp, but my energy levels are returning and I'm all showered and clean and feeling happy inside.  God is so GOOD to me...and I don't even deserve it. 

We are now in day 6 after chemo.  I am feeling hopeful that I will feel good enough in a week to do it all over again.

In retrospect...Taxotere drags you down for a longer time but AC hits you harder at the beginning and then tapers off quicker.  (I guess if I were to give an analogy, Taxotere would be like being beaten up in the ring for 5 rounds and AC would be a knockout in the first round.)  Hard to say which one is preferred.  I like that the AC doesn't make me a mean chemo drunk or give me the emotional draining that I got from Taxotere but I hate that I am disabled for about 3 days after the steroids wear off.  I am very much a self sufficient person and hated to depend on Tom so much for EVERYTHING for those three days (and I DO mean everything).  But he was there for me and I salute his ability to take care of me.  There wasn't a single need that went unmet.

I was really thankful that this was the Thanksgiving holidays and I didn't have to try to work until Monday.  I  think next time it will probably cost me two sick days instead of just one on the chemo day.

Just wanted to share today's Max Lucado with you's a good one.  I never feel worthy of what God has done for is a wonderful reminder that while I may constantly strive for perfection (and Lord knows that I do and never achieve it), I don't have to be perfect and why....  8-)

"Cleansing Blood

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7, KNJV

The blood of Christ does not cover your sins, conceal your sins, postpone your sins, or diminish your sins.  It takes away your sins, once and for all time.

Jesus allows your mistakes to be lost in His perfection."

Such a statement of HOPE!  8-)

Monday, November 29, 2010


We were sitting in the living room watching TV and Tom hears Shadow going spastic in the dining room window.  (For anyone that hasn't been following this blog...Shadow is a very fat nine year old cat that is part of our family.)  We get up and look outside and there is a young cat (less than a year but more than 6 months I would guess) sitting outside the dining room window trying to get to Shadow.   Shadow is very interested in her but we aren't sure if it is "I like you" interest or "Get off my turf" interest.  So I go to the front door and the kitten is standing there and tries to come in when I open the door.

Obviously, this isn't a feral cat.

When I open the door a little wider, she just prances in like she owns the place.

"Well", I think, "we'll see how this goes."   We needed some new entertainment, anyway.

The cat is a very pretty and clean gray striped female.  I'm thinking that two female cats in one house probably won't go over so well. 

The kitten is walking around the living room as if she owns it and Shadow (of course...the BIG CHICKEN) is hiding behind the couch and growling.  I thought, "Too funny...she was all over that kitten when the window was between them but put them in the same room and she is 20 pounds of a cowering 'fraidy' cat."

I wish I had thought to get a picture.  But alas...chemo brain didn't even think of it.

This morning, Shadow had about 1000 other visitors.  One of the things that I found odd and beautiful when we first moved here was that early in the morning, in the fall, absolutely FLOCKS of birds gather in one place and talk to each other.  I have no idea what type of birds these are, but from Oct - Dec, you will, at some time, see literally thousands of them congregating in a group of trees.  It is as though they are migrating and they all stop to rest.  I used to see them out where I worked (just when I would arrive at work) but this morning, they were all in our backyard perching in the trees along the property line.  Shadow (of course) spied them and sat totally entertained for the 10 minutes or so that they were resting.  It was kind of like the scene from the old movie "The Birds" which I think was an Alfred Hitchcock directed thriller where all these birds were gathering and attacking humans.  EXCEPT, when they gather here and I see them, it always leaves me with a peaceful feeling instead of the scared feeling you get in the movie. 8-)

Of course, again...I didn't think to get a picture. 

Back to the kitten though...

She obviously belonged to someone because when it came time for her to go back outside (which was within a couple of minutes of entering since Shadow was saying quite vehemently, "Get that Cat off of my turf!"), Tom was able to pick her up and put her gently back outside. 

A couple of hours later, the neighbors came by with the cat wanting to know if she was ours.  (I guess we are the cat people in the neighborhood.  Everyone else has dogs and they all like to use our yard...go figure.  No leash law where we live in AL...can you believe that?  Well, it IS Alabama.)  We assured them that she wasn't ours.  8-) 

That's about all that is going on here...hope everyone is having a great day today!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


The past 44 hours have been challenging. 

OK, I'm done with the blog...that sums it up.  (Just kidding but (really) unless you want to read a lot of whining, close out the blog now.)

I was a little tired when I went to get my Neulasta shot two days ago but when I got back, I was totally drained.  So, I did the only thing any self-serving person would do...I went to bed.  That was around 11:30 am on Friday.  When Tom got home, around 4:30, I made myself get out of bed and spend some time with him and eat.  Then I went back to bed and stayed until this morning.  (about 32 hours later) 

Yesterday, I couldn't walk without help.  Today, I'm walking very well.  My BP was 98/47 this morning which is a bit low even for me but since I am up and moving around then I'm not too worried about it being low.  (AND I'm playing Farmville and blogging again...that's a good sign I'm on the mend since I could have cared LESS about any computer business for about 44 hours.) 

Tom did a great job taking care of me yesterday...he washed the chemo out of my sheets, helped me through the showering business, fed me, made sure I drank water, took my vitals, and even called the nurse on duty when he was concerned about my temp and lethargy. 

Of course, yesterday, I was saying, "I'm not doing this again.  Are they TRYING to kill me?  Sure seems like breast cancer would be better than this."  Today, I am thinking I will do it again since it is really just a couple of days of really BAD business and it DIDN'T kill me.  Today, I feel like I did on Taxotere...just tired and beaten down. 

I am very thankful that I didn't have to work for the last 4 days.  It would have been impossible.  I have even considered going on short term disability to get through this since my company offers it but today would be the "Monday" on my next treatment and I could probably work through this tiredness and nausea.  My next treatment will be on the 9th and then I get to do this the day before Christmas.  O JOY.  8-)

Okay...another thing to be thankful for...I have not had bone pain from the Neulasta shot this time.  I think my white count was low enough this time for it to have made a difference.   You may remember from much earlier blogs that they gave me the Neulasta shot with the first Taxotere chemo and I had terrible bone pain.  (After that, I told them I would not be taking the Neulasta with any more of the Taxotere treatments which they agreed to but made me understand that I have no choice on the AC Chemo.)  I looked back at my white counts prior to the shot and they were actually already high (probably because I had just had surgery to put the port in and I'm sure my body saw that port as a foreign body and sent white blood cells in to the they were already producing in full force.) and this time, they were actually borderline low when I got the AC Chemo.  WHO KNOWS...all I know is that the pain is absent and I'm very happy about that.

One final thing, Tom has confirmed that I am not a mean chemo drunk on AC chemo.   Nor am I particularly emotional...just wiped out.  The mess around the bedroom that I continued to generate didn't bother me either which is pretty amazing.  (Being as OCD about clean as I am...) 

Well, I'm going to go lay down for a while since I have now expended what energy I had stored up and then later today I need to wrap the Christmas presents to send off to people as soon as I have some more stored up.

I hope everyone is having a great day....mine is certainly better than yesterday.  8-)