LIVESTRONG:

And in June 2013 we are back in the revolving door of doctors, this time for my heart. So the focus has shifted, BUT... I continue to THANK YOU for your prayers, love & support. I receive them with open & loving arms. My wish is that I will gain strength from you, will provide strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.


LIVESTRONG: I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. WE WILL WIN!

Have you or your loved one had their annual mammogram? PLEASE, don't put it off. Speaking from experience, I highly recommend monthly self exam as well.

WARNING:
Contents may be uplifting, sad, funny, scary, downright depressing ~ THAT IS CANCER .... at it's best, at its worst.

PLEASE ~ Feel free to share this blog with anyone who is interested to learn about my journey. While I welcome their support, I hope that by sharing this experience freely to the universe I may help to support others by breaking down some of the barriers and fear associated with breast cancer and the treatment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Perfect Day & 2nd Chemo Tomorrow

Today was busy, productive, and FUN, and all with Sarah!!! I've been having a bunch of fun the last few days. Guess it is my way of gearing up for getting all that armament on tomorrow for the the battle I will undertake.

We started off with the blood draw and then appointment with Dr. Anderson, my Oncologist. Sarah had not yet been to one of my appointments with me, and I really enjoyed her company. Besides, I think it helped to quel any fears she may have had about my treatments. AND, I got to show off another one of my beautiful daughters to everyone!!!

Something I seem to notice at Redwood Regional Cancer Center ~ it is a somber place for sure. Not the staff, but the patients, of course. I've yet to see someone there much younger than me, which I suppose is because they would most likely be treated at UCSF instead, and those hear are mostly quite older and well into their treatments. So a lot of hats are visible, people in walker, wheelchairs, etc. I have to kind of tone down my cheeriness as I am not quite to where they are yet. Everyone once in a while I seem someone like me -- with hair. I wonder, is there there first consultation, their first blood draw, their first infusion??? I've not found many of the patients to be chatty during infusion; but then, I've only had one so far. (Be patient, dear Debbie, you are new to this club and people are just getting to know you).

Today was busy, productive, and FUN, and all with Sarah!!! I've been having a bunch of fun the last few days. Guess it is my way of gearing up for getting all that armament on tomorrow for the the battle I will undertake.

We started off with the blood draw and then appointment with Dr. Anderson, my Oncologist. Sarah had not yet been to one of my appointments with me, and I really enjoyed her company. Besides, I think it helped to quel any fears she may have had about my treatments. AND, I got to show off another one of my beautiful daughters to everyone!!!

Something I seem to notice at Redwood Regional Cancer Center ~ it is a somber place for sure. Not the staff, but the patients, of course. I've yet to see someone there much younger than me, which I suppose is because they would most likely be treated at UCSF instead, and those hear are mostly quite older and well into their treatments. So a lot of hats are visible, people in walker, wheelchairs, etc. I have to kind of tone down my cheeriness as I am not quite to where they are yet. Everyone once in a while I seem someone like me -- with hair. I wonder, is there there first consultation, their first blood draw, their first infusion??? I've not found many of the patients to be chatty during infusion; but then, I've only had one so far. (Be patient, dear Debbie, you are new to this club and people are just getting to know you).

As I arrive each time, I pay my copay when seeing a doctor, and am giving a long list of questions, the same each time....have i been sick, vomited, headaches, constipation... etc. Today I finally "get" to check yes on some. But the most exciting thing is that the receptionist tells me I do not need to pay a copay any longer if I have met my deductible. She comments that she has not experienced anyone meeting here deductible so soon in a new year. This has a good and bad connotation; but I focus on the good of it all.

Sarah and I are early, as they have been good to instill this in me already, asking that we arrive 15 minutes earlier than each scheduled appointment. So now I'm to the point where I'm not sure if the time they give me is the scheduled time, or the 15-minutes-early time.

(Fourth Grade Hat; Pattern by Abby Franquemont)
Anyway, we sit and knit on our hat projects while we wait in the waiting room. My entrelac hat pattern (Fourth Grade) is coming along nicely, and I no longer need to peak at the pattern.  I think I will finish it tonight. Sarah has shared with me a beautiful Cairn hat she is knitting from a Ysolda pattern. And it is for ME! :-)


The waiting room has several people in it. One thing you notice in a "Cancer Center" is most people do not come alone. There is almost always one friend who comes along to the appointment with a patient, sometimes more. This is encouraged and welcomed. For one, you need more than two ears to really hear everything that is said in one of these appointments. The information is new to most of us it is overwhelming, and there is a lot to absorb. So 4 to 6 ears pick up much more information than just two ears that are usually in the throws of denial and confusion.

In a few minutes we are called and brought back to the infusion room where Maria greets us. Maria is the first nurse I met there when they were checking the veins in my arms to see if a Port was warranted. As she draws blood from my nifty Power Port (I still think it is cool this device is under my skin and other than the little bump it makes just above my breast, you would never know I am a Power Woman) she asks that I be sure to tell the doctor how difficult it was to find my veins during the Port Install procedure. She wants him to know that this was truly warranted in my case. Be sides, doesn't he know I need my arms to knit during this shit! Maria is surprised I do not want any numbing before she accesses my port  ~ Remember, I am Powerful! The blood draw takes just a few moments. 

Then the tall nurse with the long dark hair, (the one who does not work in the infusion room, takes us into the exam room where Sarah and I chat, go over my notes on questions for the doctor, and knit some more. The nurse takes my BP, pulse and temp, and everything is great. She comments on our knitting and suggests that each hat looks very complex. Like me, so many years ago, she played with knitting for a bit but got frustrated and distracted by family and other. responsibilities Sarah and I assure her that although the knitting does look complex, mainly because the patterns are so cute, they are not all that difficult. I'm sure she does not believe us. When she leaves we wait a bit for Dr. Ian Anderson to arrive.

Dr. Anderson is a quiet man who does not seem to become alarmed by much. He is oh so calm; seems to be a sweet gentle man. I like him! He is good for me!! He tells me that my blood counts are all perfect and we are ready for chemo tomorrow. He goes over the check list I completed when I arrived and asks a few more questions. He asks if I have any rashes. Wouldn't you know that a few bumps popped up just this morning on the inside of my left knee and they are itchy. So after discussing this and showing him the area, he says we will need to keep an eye on this to be sure it is not shingles. At this point, there is not enough of a rash to warrant it, but we will check it the next two days when I return for chemo and the Neulasta shot. If it gets worse, I am to let him know right away as they will want to get me on an anti-viral drug. (My face is kind of breaking out right now, too which rarely happens, so I'll need to mention this next time I see him as I did not do so today.)

The appointment went well and we learned more about my other treatments. Dr. Anderson will do a breast exam ever other chemo treatment. This is to see that the size of the tumors have not grown. He said that is actually hard to determine this through scans as the tumor is usually taken over by scar tissue when the cancer recedes. It will only be in surgery that they will know if the lumps are malignant or scar tissue. But the exam will tell if anything is getting bigger. We also learned that surgery is best if followed 3 weeks after chemo ends, depending on how I am feeling at that time. At latest, surgery should follow 6-8 weeks after last chemo so as not to allow that weany cancer to start taking a hold again. Then soon there after it would most likely be followed by 6 weeks of radiation.

Now mind you, all this happened from 10:15 to 11:30am this morning and now the fun begins.

I've been meaning to make a stop at the Wednesday morning Santa Rosa Farmer's Market for some time. It seems I keep making trips past the fairgrounds on Wednesday mornings and see all the stalls, but cannot stop due to an appointment or other commitment. But today..... We head right back over there after my oncology appointment. The bags are now full of lovely cancer-fighting mushrooms to smother in a lovely Brookfarm egg omelet, blood oranges, kale and greens for juicing, sand of course some humus and chips.

Then we head West to Sebastopol to check out a new yarn store, West County Fiber Emporium, and have a nice time looking around and visiting with the shop owner. Sandie. She is carrying some Brookfarm yarns in her store!  :-)

Sarah at SEA Thai in Petaluma



So now we are hungry. And all I can think of is the restaurant that Tina and Nancy and I visited a couple of weeks back, Sea Thai. Sarah and I had a lovely lunch of Pad Thai, deep fried portobello mushrooms, and bok choi. Everything is so delicious, and we continue to visit and just enjoy each others company.






 Our last stop in our long day is a stop at the Seed Bank in Petaluma. Oh my, I am going to get a garden started soon, but there are thousands of seed packs and I cannot decide on anything. I do want to get some greens growing for juicing, but need to give it all some thought before taking the next step. Sarah will be telling Chris about the composting class they are having tomorrow night. So she and I browse around for 30 minutes or so, pick up a couple of catalogs, and a gift for Mark. He is now the proud owner of Poultry Breeds, a complete compedium of every poultry breed you could imagine, complete with beautiful photos and everything you could ever want to know. he will love this as he has really gotten into his chickens over the last 4 months or so.


So, that is our fun day outing. We are home, tired and worn out. But oh so happy. Now it is on to a nice dinner and restful night before tomorrow -- my second chemo treatment. Time to blast the smitherings out of those cancer cells again. I AM EXCITED!!!

Hugs, Debbie... aka the cancer warrior; soon to be survivor 


LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!






 

4 comments:

  1. Debbie, it sounds and looks like Sarah and you had a wonderful day together. I love your hat! Are you making it for anyone in particular? I checked out the Ysolda pattern, Cairn, that Sarah is making you...how lovely. What colors is she using?

    You have such a positive attitude....you go girl! You are always in my prayers.~Michelle

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  2. Deb,
    if you do end up with Shingles....a common and unfortunate side effect of the Chemo I hear....I have some great sav (spelling?) that my Chinese Dr. in Oakland gave me for my shingles last Fall. I will share it with you if you want to try it???
    Mike

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  3. Michelle, The hat is for me! :-)
    Sarah is making the Cairn hat out of a beautiful burgundy rose color for the inside of the waffle shape, and the rest and ribbing is a muted teal color. They are gorgeous together!

    Mike, I think I have thwarted the shingles so far, luckily. Looks like it was just a little rash. Whew, she says while brushing her hand over her forehead.

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  4. I am so excited to be with you tomorrow! I can barely stand it!!!

    Much love, Donna

    ReplyDelete

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Debbie