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Posts tagged ‘cancer’

Let the Madness begin!

My new (and last) Friday normal.Mostly up since about 3:00 am. I just throw on the iPod and catch up on my What you missed in History Class Podcast, then listen to music and drift in and out. I would get up, but I’m usually so tired and feeling so out of sorts that I’m pretty content just laying there.  Today will be a blur of Steroid induced jitters mixed with chemo induced nausea and little naps all day when I can, with hopefully not to much crazy mixed in.

So yesterday was my last chemo Hopefully forever and ever, but I am a both an optimist and a realist and I have to keep in mind that it might not be, just not too soon. Okay? Of course I took pictures. I do most days I just don’t always share them because they all look alike these days. 🙂 If you’re on my facebook, some are repeats. I also added pictures of my sister since she kept posting unflattering pictures of me! (if you want to add me on my Facebook, I am Tracy O Bryan Murray, cause you know you can’t get enough of the excitement that is my life)

 

Waiting room before they call you back and assign you a chair in the chemo room. Nice coffee. Nice People.  This will not be the last time I see this room!

 

This was my view for yesterday. It’s really quite pretty outside of the hospital and it’s all windows so you can stare. Lots of geese flocking overhead.

 

Karma the therapy dog hung out with for a bit. She didn’t really want anything do to with us. She just wanted to sit and let her owner pet her. 

Karma did have beautiful pink toenails.

 

 

I don’t know what color my sisters toenails were.

 

Look away now if you don’t like needles.

 

 

This is what an IV needle looks like if you have a port. I had to hold the camera under my chin to get this, so it’s directly below my collar bone.  usually they put the IV in run the hose up over my shoulder. The tape the little needle pluggy thing over the top as you see, then they usually tape it about four inches up on my shirt or shoulder to keep the hose out of the way. For some reason this nurse ran it down, and then threw the other piece of tape under my shirt, and bra. And if you picture my chest (you know you want to!) you can probably figure out where four or five inches lower hit. It was very disconcerting. It could have been used as a half a set of pastys. When it was time to leave, I took that piece of tape off.

This is my sister. She was on the phone with my niece Hayley. My sister was with me for every chemo appointment except one when I asked her not to come, and my daughter came with me instead. My sister has posted so many unflattering pictures of me on facebook during treatments! Lucky for her she takes decent pictures when she is on this side of the camera.

This is what the last of the chemo meds looked like as they were going into my body. 🙂

 

I fought for years to not go on daily blood pressure meds. Then I ended up on thyroid pills too. Now, these are the pills in my bedroom. I also have bottles in my purse that I carry with me. I will be very very happy when I can get rid of most of these!

 

My son is currently making me Flan.

Chemo Day 2, plus extra pictures!

I see that Ohio is moving into the southern cuisine zone and we have added Boiled Peanuts to our shelves.

I have really spent the week on the couch trying to get everything in me adjusted and tweaked to I can cope with this whole new physiology I have. These three photo’s have  been my view. The beagle leaningon me desperately tyring to convince me that I have misread the clock and it really is dinner time.

 

Mili leaning on me trying to convince me it’s either play or treat time.

 

Sean leaning by me to check and make sure I’m still coherent and don’t need anything.

And now Chemo Day 2!

I go in and check in at the front desk. They check my schedule and make sure I had my blood work done the day before so that I am cleared for Chemo. They check my labs every week. Yesterday I got a copy of all the previous. Then they send me to waiting room to wait for a chemo nurse to come get me and lead me to the scale and a chair. Usually the waiting room has tasty treats but not today.

This was my view this time. I was in a little alcove room with three other people. They all brought a gazillion people with them and were so loud! When I look to the right I see the crash cart, which I hope they dn’t use often, and the medicine locker. There are also two bathrooms close by, which is very important in this area!

This is my view when I look to the left. 🙂 Most of the chemo chairs (they are recliners) have windows on at least one side and it’s a pretty view.

 

Also to the left, my IV stuff.

 

They feed me. But only until noon. Last time I didn’t eat much because I was scared of how I would react to the chemo. They also had almost nothing vegetarian. Today the nice lady had cream of mushroom soup that was like nectar. I was SO hungry! Then she told me I could get off menu stuff for lunch! I got an egg salad sandwich on my quest to rebuild my faltering protein. (oops, gotta remember to eat protein when radiation is killing your cells and you don’t’ eat meat, poultry or fish!)

The view in front of me. I was there about an hour (in which much excitement happend regarding blood pressure and bad veins and stuff which we’ll discuss some other time) when my sister showed up. She had planned to stop over before work but her boss said oh just take the day off and spend an exciting time at the hospital! So she did. Mostly she communicates telepathically with me about the loud people and cleans up the mess I make around me.

 

This is what my lunch looked like after radiation. I don’t know why, but radiation makes me hungry. I don’t mean a little hungry, I mean like shove food in my mouth like I’m at a feeding trough hungry. My brain wants the flavors in my mouth. Even though things are starting to taste odder and odder. I will be on the 50% who gains weight during chemo.

 

I became obsessed with watching the bubbles in my IV line go into my arm. This part of the day was the actual chemo meds going into my arm. This is probably the last time you will see an IV on my arm. I am having vein problems. They hurt, alot, during the IV’s. Last chemo I ended up with painful lumps in my right arm and I have some sort of weird bruising along the vein line. Very sore. This time they moved it to my other arm and it’s much worse. It hurt almost the entire time. like a burning, and pinching and cramping. They are scheduling me to get a port stuck in my chest. Yay.

Today I have my check in with my radiologist doc. I need to have a stern talk with him because when I went into Radiation on Wednesday they let me know that they were going to completely remap and recalibrate because the radiation doctor and redone my orders. Now instead of 19 zaps, I get four. I will tell you that I feel a whole heck of a lot better physically after just two doses at the four, but I really want to know why, and we need to discuss maybe telling me in advance about any changes.

I am dizzy!   Weee…..that seems to be my only ongoing full time side effect. I’m dizzy a lot. You know, I don’t think I ever mentioned that to anyone before. I think I will today. Today is my crazy day because of the steroids and the chemo day before. My brain doesn’t function correctly and I can’t really trust my own decisions. Very odd to know that logically but not be able to stop it. Thank goodness I can work at night and weekends and that the guys at the office are taking care of things during my small psychotic breaks. And thank goodness my family is just used to my craziness. I do now completely understand why people take off a couple of months.

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It took me longer to run spell check and fix the errors on this than it did to type it.

 

 

 

Too tired for Pictures!

Silly me.  I really did think it was the chemo that would knock me on my ass, but apparently it’s the radiation.

I went to work this morning, even got there bright and early, got lots done, went to radiation instead of lunch, went back to work, for about two hours.  And then I just just tanked. BAM. Drove home in a fog, hit the bed in five minutes and took a nap.

And now I’m so far behind that this is it for my catch up. 🙂

 

Have a good night!

 

 

Things and stuff..

Today I offended someone with a slightly too full of biting wit email. Then I felt bad. I have to be careful with emailing people because I do so enjoy writing sometimes. Not at work, I’m very careful and work and try to stay very unfunny. Humor is too relative. One persons joke is anothers insult or law suit worthy offense!

I made a nice lady in my office cry.  She came into my office to check on me because we’ve been out of the office so much. I told her about my upcoming radiation/chemo and this is when I found out a friend of hers recently died from ovarian cancer. We had a nice talk though. Her friend was very very private and she didn’t share any of her experiences. I think it left my visitor a little confused and befuddled. I told her she can come ask me anything, anytime and I’ll tell her what I’m feeling or experiencing. I think we all have figured out that I’m not shy about these things. It shouldn’t be a mystery. It’s not some sort of Scarlet C that needs to be hidden and not talked about it. I’m sorry, I know it’s scary, it is for me too, but things that we don’t talk about develop a power of their own that they really don’t deserve to have.

I find that I don’t mind people being concerned about me, and I don’t mind them giving me gentle advice; “make sure you rest when you need to” “try to eat small meals frequently” “don’t push yourself too hard” but I start to get uppity when people say something and then push push push it at you. It’s almost as if they want me to be weak and are offended that I am going to try and not just curl up in my bed for a couple of months. Maybe I won’t be able to. Maybe in three days I’ll find that I can’t eat or move or drive and all I want to do is sleep. But geesh…let me try to stay strong and be me.  Bastards. (I realized yesterday that I really don’t swear nearly enough anymore!)

Tomorrow will probably be the last day that I “do” my hair. I will stop blow drying it, and brushing it harshly and instead treat it with love & respect and gentleness in hopes that it decides to remain on my head! It will be odd to go au’ natural on a daily basis.

I was trying to logic my way through my fears of chemo and yesterday I realized that mostly what I’m afraid of is vomiting. I am a queasy kind of person to begin with so if anyone is going to throw up, it will be me. So then I tried to figure out why I was afraid of it. I realized that a part of me thinks if I’m vomiting they will have to stop, or it won’t work as well. Once I realized that, I could explain calmly to myself that it wasn’t true.  It will still work exactly the same. So, now I’m good. If I vomit, I vomit.  Just don’t stand to close. I do however promise not to take pictures of that! (shock)

 

 I had my dry run radiation treatment today. Supposed to be the whole process except they don’t turn on the machine.  Except I didn’t. I got there and I was not on the schedule. Something went wrong and I was no longer scheduled for the dry run. She said they will do it tomorrow, and then turn it on. So I said okay, then I’ll see you tomorrow at 10:30 am for the chemo and she said, no it’s scheduled for 10:00 am.  So out of the two phone calls I got last week scheduling chemo & radiation, they were both wrong.  I do not believe this is an auspicious beginning!

At least I get my own parking space.

 

To reward myself for this debaucle I am having Jimmy Johns for lunch.  #13 Veggie Sub, on Wheat bread. Minus Lettuce & Mayo. Add extra cucumbers, tomato and dijon mustard. Num!

Pictures cleaned off of my phone.

When I work from home this is what I see all day. She loves it when I’m in bed working.

 

This is what our big dog looked like after 10 minutes at the vet. She exhausted herself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the colors of Fall in Ohio.

 

Lunch is done! Back to work.

Cures for “I am feeling Sad”

I was feeling a little rough this morning. I wrote cancer poetry in my head from 4am to 5am. I now picture cancer as red. It looks like the creatures from The Village.

 

This morning eBags let me know that bags were 25% off today so they were trying to cheer me up. Then I did something I don’t normally do and when my husband, and then later my son, asked me how I was feeling I told them I was feeling kind of sad.

My husband did the Bluto dance. (from Animal House, not Popeye) then let me discuss my love of purses. I love to just look at Anuschka bags. I would never buy one,but they are beautiful. Then he went to work on my iTunes library and cleaned it all up for me.

When I told my son I was feeling sad he told me to install the Steam program. It’s a site filled with games! I love games.

I am feeling better now.

 

Oh, and as a public service announcement, Phyllo dough, spinach & feta pie does not reheat well for breakfast.

 

 

Come Saturday Morning..

Good Morning,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Did you get everything accomplished that you wanted to? It’s hard to find time isn’t it? I seem to have developed a new sense of time. It goes by so very quickly. The last couple of weeks I felt like I was doing a count-down. The end point being the day that I start radiation & chemo. I know that it will have to take over my life for a couple of months, it will take precedence over every other single thing. While I was working in Texas I got the phone call from my radiation group letting me know radiation treatments would start next week. I was disappointed because I was hoping for one more week to get things taken care of. Then thirty minutes later the chemo group called to say my chemo would start on the same day. I had an unexpected reaction. It felt like someone slugged me in the stomach. The rest of the day it was as if I was re-playing the day that I was diagnosed. I don’t know why. I felt bad for the rest of the people with me.

I felt better 24 hours later, and even better 48 hour later. That seems to be my pattern it takes me two days. My time speed up though has now turned extreme! It’s like a weird Dr. Who thing. I don’t want to waste a second doing things that can be put off. I want to do the things that I might not feel up to doing instead. Today though someone else needs to be taken care of first. My big dog has horrible ear infections so off to the vet this morning to get her ears cleaned. Then home to shower, (don’t ever bother showering before your dog goes to the vet if she is big and a scaredy cat) and then off to the movies and the grocery store.  We are going to see the new Brad Pitt football movie. We both want to see the new Seth Rogen, Joseph-Gorden Leavitt movie but I’m thinking I may have to wait for the DVD. I think it may be too much for me. I may change my mind because it really looks good!

Have I told you how wonderful my family is? Everyone has been concerned and caring and trying to help. My husband has been fantastic. He gives me whatever I want, and takes care of me. My son is concerned and caring and attentive. My daughter is my rock. I know she will always react exactly as I need her to. My sister is perfect, you all know how I feel about my sister. She is my best friend.

I have stories & pictures from Texas. Sadly, they are all on my other computer!

Go do something nice for yourself today.

Best Regards,

Tracy

 

Courtesy of Brad:

Picture of an inbred cat.

 

 

Tough day today. I had my Radiation simulation. It involves a lot of barium, and IV dye in the back of the hand and CAT scan and Xrays and sharpies, and tattoo’s and exams and horrible things.  Really all around unpleasant. I think I have a mad crush on my new Doctor though.  That’s awkward. He’s a little cutie and so nice! Well worth the chemo and radiation to see him weekly. I came home after lunch to work from my desk on the couch. Just sore and creepy feeling.

It sounds like it may all start before the 1st which puts a damper on my quick trip to Iowa to look in on the call center we use.  I dunno. We’ll see. They’re going to try to schedule all of my treatments in the afternoon so I can work in the morning and then go back to work after treatments on the days I feel good.

I had a very brief conversation with someone today that made me go arm myself with facts about my choice to do chemo & radiation. In clinical trials, women (cause not a whole lotta men get cervical cancer) who had radiation therapy in tandem with Chemotherapy using Cisplatin had almost double the survival rate as women who had only radiation.  My doctor is THE doctor for gynecological cancers in this region.  I have to trust him. And my Radiologist Doc aside from being nice to hang out with is apparently some sort of genius, so between the two of them, I gotta go with it.

It’s tough. The reoccurence rate for my particular spread and type is unfortunately quite high. I guess I kind of assume I’ll be dealing with this again. I just hope it’s a long time from now and show’s up in as inoccuous a spot as possible. Is that weird for other people to hear? After the two weeks worth of investigation and biopsies when I found out how much worse than they originally thought, i I just accepted that this is probably the thing that I will someday die from. I just don’t plan on it being anytime soon. Of course we all know what happens to the best laid plans.

Wow..that’s really not a giggly type of post today is it.  I told you! Tough day today. An hour laying in a CAT scan machine is really enough to. at least temporarily, take the fun out of anything.

 

I bought my husband an iPod touch. He really seems to like it.  That makes me happy. It’ll be nice for long waiting room sits. He can hop on the free wifi and read sports to his hearts content while listening to his loud depressing music. His is bettter than mine. It has the camera. I should have wiped mine and swapped.

Enough drivel. 

 

Wait!!! Sometimes I want to apologize for talking about this incessantly, but then I think that if I didn’t have a place to talk about it, a place to make it less internal, I would just curl up in a ball and give up. It’s not that I’m looking for sympathy, or for people to tell me how wonderful and brave I am, it’s just that I need to type out the things I am thinking and feeling. It’s my release. I can take these things from my brain and paint a picture in my little lavender square here and then I’ve gotten it out, and it belongs here now.  So for those of you who stop by regularly, please don’t feel like you have to be encourging and strong, I’m okay. Really. I just need to get things out.  Maybe I’ll make this the end paragraph on all my blogs so I don’t feel the need to keep saying it over and over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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