So...thats it...no more chemo.. I'm done. And as you can see from how poorly and swollen I look... its about time!
Nurse Sue found that the port had flipped back...and although I was quite apprehensive... the chemo needle went straight in. There was a problem though... this is me we are talking about so what do you expect. She ran saline through it via a syringe and was expecting blood to come out...no blood. She was expecting to see the saline in the tube go slightly brown but it stayed clear...and there was no tinny taste in my mouth. She asked me to cough hard a few times...no luck. She told me to raise my right arm... nothing. So then she had me stand and do some exercises... throwing my arms back... I must I must I must increase my bust.... seriously? Im one person who dosnt need help in that area and still nothing happened. Finally she had me bending to touch my toes. No one was more surprised than me that I could do it!!. And voila... blood appeared in the syringe tube. So we were good to go. During the treatment I had no other complications and by 1 o'clock I was ready for home with my Neulasta automatic meds dispenser attached to my tummy ready for tomorrow afternoons dose to help my white count. I have three more doses of steroids today and tomorrow and Im done with those too.
So apart from some side effects Im expecting.. and the meeting with Dr Phan in two weeks to discuss maintenance.. part one...and the most aggressive part... is over.. and I am so grateful.
The last six months has been the most scary time of my life. Although I tried not to show it there were times I thought I would never get through and I admit I have cried a couple of times. Not knowing what was coming next was the worse. But I met each challenge head on.. with Faith. Hope and a lot of laughter.
I couldnt have done it without the love of my wonderful family... the encouragement from you my amazing friends and the never ending comfort..reassurance and total kick butt support from my incredibly loving soulmate MrD.
You have all been with me every step of my Journey.. and I will always be grateful. I am so blessed.
So...I saw Dr Phan and it didnt go quite as planned. I feel a bit confused about whats going on but I think we have to move the goalposts a bit. He was his usual cheery self as he bounced into the room with his huuuuuge smile. He said number six right? I said "yes...yay ...done.. dusted.. all finished." He said "What you dont want to see me no more?" I replied " no... but you know what I mean. And ..this port can come out whenever you like now." He looked at me and said "Hold that thought. It's rare for it to flip but lets leave it for now"
He went on to say my blood tests were quite good (quite???) and I was ok for Mondays chemo. Then he said so come back and see him in three weeks and we can discuss treatment options. Options?? He said look at it as maintenance. He said there are a few suggestions and we want to make things easy for you. So we will go over everything with you.. some things you may not like but we can discuss it. The only thing that is off the list is weekly Taxol cos you are allergic (now taxol is the chemo drug that they changed cos it gave me pain). He told me not to worry and concentrate on getting through this next round of treatment and we will have a long chat next time. And that was that.
I was really under the impression that after this last chemo all that was left were blood tests and a scan to make sure that the cancer was all gone and then regular check ups. Thats what we were told last time..but now its seems to be all change. I should have asked more questions but I was a bit taken aback. Sooo is my chemo over? Have they got all the cancer? Is this just to stop it coming back? Im just a bit confused right now (it dosn't take much)... but I will be asking Nurse Sue a lot of questions on Monday...but honestly it could be nothing. But, I am not worried. I have got through the worse... and can definitely cope with what ever is to come.
I just hope I will be well enough to do all the things MrD and I have planned for September
Its been a pretty good week..so far. I've been feeling quite well in the lead up to my last chemo. I have had more energy and have been walking every day... and even passing my goal of 5,000 steps on them. Its quite an achievement considering that on some days I wasnt even reaching 2.000 in the whole day...dragging myself everywhere
Here's a couple of snippets..from the last few days...
My Gorgeous Grandson... Little H... graduated from pre school. Isnt he just the cutest 4 yr old. Look at those dimples. I cant wait to see him again when go back to the Uk next year. Im one proud Nana
My daughter sent a parcel from the Uk....with souvenirs from her engagement party... chocolate...which was so smooth and creamy.. and a coffee mug for MrD.
He really enjoyed his coffee on his way to work at 2.30 in the morning...but look how tired he is. Thank you Dear Daughter...it is success
Hubby and I went to see Damage Inc ...a Metallica tribute band. They were excellent... so if you have the chance to see them... GO! Can you spot MrD in the crowd... its like "Where's Wally" But here's a clue...he's wearing a black shirt.....
I saw my first sunflowers on my walks this week. Time to get out my box of Fall/Autumn decorations out and see whats what. I have some homemade, DIY decor ideas I want to try to for the season.. I will post them if they look good. Boy this year has gone fast.. but it means my treatments are near the end.
Next stop.... Christmas
And on that wonderful thought.... Enjoy the rest of your day
Its been quite a while so this is just a very small post to say Im still here... in more ways than one.
My chemo is going very well and Im coming to the end of my treatments and we are all very optimistic. I have been keeping a diary of events and writing posts but not publishing them. Im not sure why. Fear I suppose. But now the news seems good I will tweak them and post them a couple at a time.. so you can see whats been happening...Hopefully this wont overwhelm you.
So a big thank you for all the messages of love and support. It means a great deal to me
I had such a lovely walk this morning. I stayed out for well over and hour...and only had to stop once....and that was just to take photos. I hope the home owner didn't mind.
I even made it home without being breathless. It was a sign of things to come... and I'm so looking forward to getting back to normal
I enjoyed every second... apart from the crazy Los Angeles traffic. Three times I tried to cross the highway... but no one was taking any notice of the cross way. At least I made it back in one piece. Next time I might take a bloomin' big red flag.... just kidding!
Been feeling much better the last couple of days...not so tired. Apart from a couple of short walks around the block I have spent most of my time at home. I have always been a bit of a Home Bird.. and I love seeing everywhere clean and tidy. Makes me feel more prepared for the next...and final... round of chemo.
So this Friday is my blood tests again.. then Tuesday I see Dr Phan. But... my next chemo has been postponed for a couple of days. Nurse Sue is on Holiday next week... and Dr Phan is on call in another hospital. As I am high risk for adverse reactions to the chemo...and because my port has flipped... they dont want Nurse Rachel struggling... especially to find a vein. So instead of Thursday next week.. my chemo will be on the following Monday.. the 28th. A couple more days wont make any difference to me. In 12 days it will all be over
That light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter and brighter
I love this girl to the moon and back. She calls almost every day and in fact we talk more now than when we lived under the same roof. She worries and fusses and nags and she is constantly reminding me that she is her mothers daughter by the things she says and does.
Once again she putting together a little package for me with goodies and surprises from the U.K.. I'm so grateful... not just for the gifts but because she actually loves me enough to send them... tho sometimes I think she imagines I'm in a third world country.
Yesterday's conversation as she walked around the supermarket..
This journey has not been easy. The terrible pain from the tumour..the surgery.. and the chemo with all its needles and side effects. Not to mention the fear and trepidation about what was to come. But it could have been a lot worse. Without all the love, prayers and support I have received from so many people I dont know where I would be now
Of course my biggest cheerleader has been my wonderful hubby. I waited a long time to find him and all this has happened just over two years into our marriage. He has been with me every step of the way.. praying with me.. comforting me... encouraging me and keeping the laughter going. His faith that I will beat this has been unwavering and if he has been worried.. he has never shown it.
He is always trying to find ways to make me feel better when the side effects hit.. finding ways of keeping me cool, meds to beat the nausea and skin sores... and foods and drinks that I may find palatable and can keep inside me'
He was talking to a lady in the offices where he works about her nephew who had beaten brain cancer. She said there were two types of food I should try. One was a very large strange fruit called a Soursop.....anyone heard of it? No me neither... Its a combination of a strawberry and pineapple with a sour lime taste...and a creamy texture like a banana. It sounds interesting. Its all the flavours I love..and we will look out for some.. but I dont know where we can buy them. And neither did hubby. So he decided to surprise me with the second thing she suggested.... fried chicken and french fries.
Well... he brought a Wendys Chicken bites and fries... so close enough.... and a little something for himself of course. After not eating much for days because of the metallic taste in my mouth...boy was it good. It may have been all the salt... but I could definitely taste them... and I did keep them inside.
And you wonder why I tell him hes my hero.....lol
Maybe next time someone will tell him that Ben and Jerrys is a good option...
Yesterday I was feeling a little better so I thought I would take a short stroll.. just round the block you understand. Well it wasnt the best decision I have ever made. I left at 7.30 so I could escape the sunshine and set off at a cheery pace.
Eight minutes later I arrived at Walmart...and sat in a heap on the seats outside.. totally exhausted and pouring with sweat. My heart felt like it was about to explode out of my chest. What the heck!!
After a little rest..I went inside ..bought some water...and an avocado (not sure why) and decided to continue. So I crossed the street to the "Wienerschnitzel"... and had to rest again. I was absolutely melting. I even had to wring my headscarf out
I gave up... and dragged myself home. The AC..three fans and a cold shower helped...but I was shattered for the rest of the day.
And people wonder why Im so anxious to get my fitness levels back.
Its all very frustrating as I love my walking, being in the sunshine and taking my photos. But..I understand my body has been to hell and back and needs time to heal. I really must stop being so impatient and trying to run before I can walk.... or in my case... walk before I can walk x
Its the familiar round of post chemo side effects I am used to by now. Nausea.. upset stomach.. utter utter exhaustion... and now a new one.. constant sweating. Oooops.. sorry... mum always said ladies dont sweat... they glow. So right now Im glowing like a pig!! Mind you.. that could be because Im a lady of a certain age.. have had a total hysterectomy... or cos Im in California and its nearly 90 outside. The three fans pointing at me arent helping much.
But...I must say.. Im big enough to deal with it and this time Im coping ok... (dont speak so soon woman!!). I can cope with the dragging myself around...its a good excuse to ignore housework and watch Netflix. I can cope not having any head or facial sores this time. I can cope with the fact that the metallic taste in my mouth is starting to go so I can taste my ice coffee again, I can even cope with the fact that my hair is growing back at quite a rate...even if it is mostly grey. Pass the bottle...and I dont mean wine.
And I can definitely cope with the fact that in a couple of weeks this will all be over.
After yesterdays chemo session I was a bit deflated to think that I may have four more treatments.. But MrD and I had a long talk last night about our visit to Dr Phans on Tuesday and we really think that it will just be the one. When he bounded into the room, Dr Phan asked "what cycle are we on now?"..and I said five. He replied " wow thats gone fast". I said yes one more...and MrD said "and we never have to see you again...in a good way". Dr Phan laughed and said "we have to do blood work and you have a scan to make sure we have it all..then I see you every three months to start with then that increases to 6 months...just to monitor it dosnt come back. But I think everything will be good" So no mention of more treatments. So I think we are ok. By mid September it will all be over.
So today Im feeling pretty good..no side effects yet..but Im taking it easy. I dont want to risk knocking this automatic medicine injection device that will give me my Neulasta, which stimulates the growth of white blood cells and decreases the risk of infection. Once it goes in I will scoot around the house and get things done before hubby gets home.
Meantime I'm making plans. Im getting my life back.so that means Im getting back on track with my weight loss..fitness.. and planning a trip back to the Uk next year. The doc said the steroids have caused a lot of my weight gain...tho I think my food choices havent helped. But a lot of the puffiness in my face should should start going after a few weeks of stopping taking them. That will be so good. It took me a year to lose almost 100lb..so hopefully by I see family again I will have lost the weight I have gained and a bit more. But more importantly.. I will be healthy again. Walking without being breathless and my chest pounding will be a big thing.
And the biggest thing of all.. I will be around a long time to enjoy my life and be here for the people I love. My story will continue
Todays episode comes to you courtesy of the number 5 (flash back to Sesame Street)..and the letter O (as in Oh Bugger!!) . Five.... because its my fifth treatment. Five because thats the number of eyelashes left on one eye...that I attempted to put mascara on (what was I thinking?) And five.. because thats the number of attempts it took to try and get the needle into my porta cath...again! If I look in pain. tired and sore in my photo its because I was.
The first attempt seemed to go in ok... but it stung like hell when the saline went in,,Thats not supposed to happen...so she took it out and it bled. She tried it again. but the area was full of saline which spurted out and pushed the needle out too. Something was not right, An ice pack was applied to numb the area. And they tried again...three times. Nurse Sue couldnt work out what was happening and on touching the port.. which remember is under the skin and behind a scar.. all she could feel was the metal.
After the fifth time.. I suggested they use my arm veins... which seem ok...So they did that and the needle went straight in
What has happened they think... is that the port has flipped...possibly due to all strain from the vomiting and retching I have been going through. At the top of the port there is a spongy area the needle goes through...and they cant feel it. So the needle was going in..catching the metal edge and sliding so not going into the port at all. And boy was it sore.So after the surgery..and money to put it in...it may be redundant. Next time Im going to ask they use my arm straight away
Its only for one more time...right? Nurse Sue delivered another blow. She's under the impression that when they changed the mes...I went back to the beginning...and I have another 4 treatments.. But Dr Phan hasnt told us that..so fingers crossed when we see him again it will be only one. Boy I hope so.
But today is over and Im home now with my feet up. I feel a bit drained but ok. The Neulasta needle is attached to my tummy ready for the automatic injection tomorrow afternoon..and my steroids are ready to take. Just waiting for any side effects to kick in so the sick bowl is near!
Look!!! My hair is growing back and its so soft and fluffy...like a babies!! There's a few grey ones there but I couldn't be happier. No more bald spots. Please excuse the scabby scalp.. they will either disappear or be covered with my luscious long locks. Of course.. MrD tried to be funny and asked me how I was going to wear my hair today.. Gotta love that guy
Anyway.. I had a meeting with Dr Phan yesterday and Im good to go for chemo number 5 tomorrow (Thursday). So I'm taking the extra steroids and drinking loads of water. Let's just hope they find the port first time...and fingers crossed the chemo dosnt make my hair come out again.