Saturday, April 7, 2007

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Hello Bloggy!

Is it Saturday already?? Wow... this week seems to have gone by in a blur! On the one hand, it was a little difficult, being that it was a chemo week, on the other hand, it's Saturday already... where did the week go???

Well, I think I've pulled out of the yuckies of Chemo week #2 now... and any yuckies I might experience for the rest of the weekend should be pretty mild. The last entry was Thursday, and that was a yucky day in that I got hit with the Chemo fatigue. But, I woke up Friday to no fatigue. It takes some getting used to that you can be really yucky one day and totally fine the next day.

So Friday was a good day. Not only that, it was beautiful outside!! The sun was out and the temps were sooo mild! Well, throw on the walking clothes and off Bridget and I went for a morning walkie. We ran into Lynn (neighbour two buildings down) and her gorgeous golden retriever, Tkoh. So the four of us set out walking and talking. A little later in the morning, Bridget and I went for another walkie, it was that nice outside.

In the afternoon, Bridget and I went to Tsawwassen to visit our friends, Stephanie and Tony!! It has been eons since we have been able to go to Tsawwassen (about a 45 min. drive from my place). Steph and I then went to Pt. Roberts, WA (about 10 minutes from her and Tony's house) to play Bingo! Just like the old days!! I love going there... it is such a summer, rural area... not to mention, brings back mega childhood memories for me all the time since that was where we had our family summer cottage. We spent our summers at the summer cottage, crabbing, swimming, playing in the tidal pools, etc. Now I take Bridget there in the summers to play in the tidal pools... and Steph and I go there to play some rural Bingo :)

Hahaha... I also filled the beastie up with gas across the border. Even though it's all Canadians who go there (hence the price of gas is higher than anywhere else in WA), it is still approx. .72/gallon cheaper than on the Canadian side of the border, 5 minutes away. Go figure, eh??

When we got back to their house after Bingo, Tony had made Steph and I a thin crust pizza called a "Margaretha". I have never heard of this kind of pizza before and it is delicious!! I have never had such a thin crust... it is almost like a cracker, but it is a pizza crust. YUM!!

Today, I woke up this morning full of energy! YAYAYAYA!! Back to my old self!! Once again, I threw on the walking clothes, threw on a warm jacket (after all, we don't want to go through another one of those cold attacks) and Bridget and I headed out. It was cloudy and threatening to rain/shower at any time (it never did) and the temperature was sooooo mild!! It was wonderful!! Hahaha... it was so mild that I got too warm wearing that warm coat!! But, walk we did and we went for a nice 1 1/2 mile (18 block) walk. Felt great! When we got home, I started a load of laundry. Haha.. once I got down the two flights of stairs with the laundry, put it in the machine and started it, then went up two flights of stairs back to the apartment, I realized I was tired. So, I crawled into bed with my little schnauzer and the two of us had good quality cuddling/snoozing time. Hahaha.. she was tired from being out visiting last night and running around in the garden and around the pool... she had smells to find and exploring to do because she hadn't been there since the summer either!

Well, I did get my load of laundry done, but stopped at one load. I had other chores I was going to tackle today, but alas... they will have to wait to another day :) Stephen Street called today (waving to Stephen!!!) and we are both waiting to finalize our own weekend plans, so we have decided that the two of us will get together either on Monday... or one evening next week.

Actually, there have been a few phone calls this week. My friend, Debbie Laurie (we have been friends since elementary school) called from Phoenix, AZ. She and her hubby (and kids who are married and on their own) all moved down to AZ some years back. Anywho... we have a plan!! (grin) Since I can't go anywhere while taking these chemo treatments and then the radiation treatments... we are planning on getting together towards the end of August/beginning of September. Well, this is all dependant on the new "8 sessions" of chemo vs the original "12 sessions" of chemo. Originally, the chemo wouldn't end until October... now, if we keep on schedule, it could end in the middle of August!! SOOOOO, if it does, Debbie will fly up to Vancouver, then we will go spend a few days up at Whistler Village, where her brother, Scott, has a condo. It will be a girls' getaway where we have a slumber party for a few days!! Hehehe... and when I'm really feeling better and not having to worry about being close to the docs, I will probably fly down to Phoenix and make myself welcome at her and Mark's house ;)

Hehehe... everyone is doing their various things, it can be hard to keep track of everyone! Don and Steve O are off to Vegas on Tuesday. Jo is in Nanaimo this weekend for Easter. I just talked to Doug K. a little while ago and we got caught up on this week's goings ons... he is in town and lives just across the street from me. So we will do dinner real soon, but we are just waiting out the "tireds" and the holiday festivities :)

Ok... that's about it. Tonight is going to be a quiet night at home and right now, I'm going for a nice hot soak in a bubble bath. I'm also going to be washing my hair... oh so gently (grin).

Have a Happy Easter and hope you find lots of eggs and chocolate!!


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thursday, April 5, 2007 -- Yucky Day

Hiya Bloggy,

Well, today is Thursday, so I was not surprised that today was a Yucky Chemo day. That's what happened the first week where, once we had stopped the chemo and the pump came off on Wednesday afternoon, Thursday was a yucky day. Sure enough, last night was fine until I went to bed, then I started to feel just slightly queasy and tired, I guess, because I was ready for sleep by 11pm.

Well, I woke up this morning and you could have pushed me over with a feather. Talk about weirdness! I now know why people now say it's hard to describe what the chemo yuck is like. It's a combination of feeling flu-like and an out of body experience. I was very dizzy and out of sorts today, as well, you just feel like everything is such an effort. I did take myself out for breakfast this morning... to get outside and out of the apartment. I took my book and had a very pleasant breakfast at the corner cafe down the street from me. But getting there and back, took all my energy.

I did take Bridget out this morning and then again this afternoon. All told, I did manage to do 18 blocks (1 1/2 miles) between the morning/afternoon walks and going out for breakfast. But these were not energetic walks by any stretch of the imagination. It was just a matter of moving and being out in the fresh air.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day! I THINK the first Friday was kind of yucky, but better than Thursday, so hopefully tomorrow will be an easier day... then we'll be back to normal (she says hopefully) by Saturday.

But hey... we all knew there would be good days and bad days... we just keep telling ourselves there will be more good days than bad days :)



Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 -- Weird Side Affects

Hiya Bloggy!

Am going to put an early entry in today because I am heading out in about half an hour to go to Steve and Don's to watch American Idol (the bane of our existence) and the results of Dancing With The Stars. It's come to this... reality shows as entertainment??? I never thought I'd see the day that this is what us friends will resort to ;)

Anywho... today was an interesting day. This morning I took Bridget out for her morning constitution walkie. It was about 7am and a gorgeous morning!! Sun was out and although it was very chilly, there wasn't even a whisper of a breeze in the air. Becautiful walking morning. But alas... I got one block away from home and my fingertips (which were in nice warm woolen gloves) started tingling... and then tingling and hurting (sort of like when you get really cold hands out in the snow, then you warm them up under warm water ... ouch!). I wasn't surprised with this tingling because it is one of the side affects of the Oxaliplatin drug. But then I started getting tingling in my legs. My landlord's wife, Denise, came around the corner with her little dog and when I tried to talk to her, my throat felt the cold air and constricted. Then my tongue and gums started tingling and getting thick. My breathing went shallow because breathing in cold air did this to the vocal chords. My voice went to a whisper, so I told Denise I believe I'm having a reaction to the cold air because of the drug. So she walked me and Bridget home and as soon as we got out of the cold outside air... Voila! Everything came back to normal! Like I say, I was prepared for the sensitivity to cold, but I really had no idea what it would do to the breathing and voice! Weird!!!

Anywho... that little episode changed my morning plans. I was going to walk Bridget up to the groomer's (8 blocks away) since it was such a beautiful morning, then I'd walk another block and go see my GP since I haven't chatted with him for awhile. But, after the cold episode, I figured it probably wouldn't be a good idea to walk that far in the cold if I had a problem within 1 block ;) So, I took the car... dropped her off then went to see the Doc.

I told him about the episode and he said that it doesn't surprise him... he's heard some get these reactions. But, I'm to use common sense... if I go out and it ends up being too cold, then turn around and go in where it's warm. Luckily, we are heading into spring and summer so that should help a lot.

Anywho... it was much warmer by this time, so here I am walking around the Streets of the West End in a long coat, a scarf and wool gloves (grin). Others are walking around in t-shirts and walking shorts!! HAHAHAHA!!!

But, it was worth it.. I did some errands, went home and had a nap, then hopped back into the car and went to pick the newly groomed Bridget. Hahaha... here are her Before and After pictures:

Hahaha... the first picture is the rainy walk into Stanley Park. Check out the poor, neglected schnauzer. Now, everyone keeps saying they really like her in the long hair and yes, it is very cute, especially when she can't see from under her hair. But alas, it is very fine hair, hence gets matted very easily, and that's not comfortable for the little diva. So, we try and keep her grooming up. I was very remiss this past couple of months. Her last grooming was at the beginning of December. Normally I like to get her groomed every 8 weeks. So we have made an appt. for May 23rd so we don't forget to get her done again.

Hahaha... because of her mats, we had to go real short this time. It's still a little chilly out, so normally I wouldn't get her cut this short until June... but, what the heck!! And when we came back from the groomers around 5pm, we went out for a 1 mile walk and she was fine. I thought for sure, just having all that hair off, she'd be chilly, but not my little bundle of beans. She was so glad to be home and realize I wasn't abandoning her for life... so going around the familiar neighbourhood was fine with her :)

Meanwhile... time for me to get a move on! Gotta head out to the Boyz' condo. Must see how Sanjaya gets away with another bad night of singing (grin)!

Ciao for now!


Monday, April 2, 2007

Monday, April 2nd, 2007 - Chemo #2

Hiya Bloggy!

I'm hooooome! Today was Chemo Session #2 and it went very smoothly, not that I was expecting any different. Since I am now an experienced Chemo patient (grin) with ONE treatment under my belt, I now knew what to expect for my #2 treatment... and there were no surprises :)

Today's nurse was Petra, and what a doll she was!! I swear all the staff are wonderful, but Petra has the cutest giggle and the best sense of humour, so I knew we were in for a good time. When I first got there and she hooked me up, there were two other gals there. They were getting treatments for Breast Cancer, so there treatments were only an hour long. Too bad, because they were really nice and I could see spending a really enjoyable 3-4 hours with them, but alas, they were able to go long before I was. BUT, no problem! Who should come in but Mr. Clark... the elderly gentleman who was in the room with me when I had my first treatment! He is such a sweetie and when he left last time, he made a point of stopping and saying how much he enjoyed my friends (Steve and Jo) and I... that we made the time just fly by with our teasing and joking. Well, here we were again, sharing our chemo time (grin).

Here's a picture of Mr. Clark and I. Hmmm... I guess it never dawned on me that maybe some people don't like having their pictures taken with strangers (chuckle)... I can be sooo bossy! "Hey you, get in this picture!! I have to add some pictures to my chemo journey journal and my friends are bound to be getting tired of seeing pictures of just me... so up you get! Jo... take a picture!" (grin) Needless to say, Mr. Clark was more than happy to be in a picture and once again, he said he can't get over how I can make a 4 hour chemo afternoon FUN! "Do you have fun everywhere you go??" Uh, hmmm... let me think on that and get back to you!" Hahahaha... I didn't want to say, "Yes... and you should have seen how much fun we had at the hospital when I was actually sick!" (grin).

Ok... now how can I put up a picture of Mr. Clark and myself and not a picture with our now, most favourite nurse, Petra??

Here are the three of us after Mr. Clark and I have both finished our treatments and are ready to go home. Petra has hooked us both up to our portapumps which will be now dispersing the 5FU chemo drug for the next 46 hours. Hahahaha... when it dawned on us that the acronym FU could have another meaning, WELL, we ran with it, which caused us all to be silly and laughing. I'm sure the other chemo rooms were wondering what the heck was going on in our room and why the frivolity!?!?

Anywho, for Chemo #3, I am to bring the Blockus game for 4, plus Jo and Steve have to come and we will keep our fingers crossed that Mr. Clark is there in the same room... because we have promised him that if he's there we will teach him how to play and the four of us will fight and yell at each other and have a great time (grin).

Now... as for the side affects this time... veddy innerestin'!! On Friday, when I had told Dr. Gill's associate oncologist that the only side affects that I had noticed were 1) the nasty headache, 2) the closing of the throat if I attempted to drink a cold beverage and 3) the nausea on Day 4, 5 and 6. Since prescription Tylenol #3 with codeine wasn't touching the headache, but Oxycodone did, he gave me a prescription for more Oxycodone to have on hand should the headache reappear. He asked if I got any tingling in my fingers or feet, which would then indicate a super sensitivity to cold, but no, I hadn't.

So this week, sure enough, the headache started shortly after I left the Cancer Agency, so I didn't wait for it to get out of hand. I took an Oxycodone with 2 extra strength Tylenols. The headache is still there in the background, but not nearly as strong as it was the first time. Yes, the throat closes with anything even resembling a cold beverage. BUT, this week when I was outside, the tingling in the fingers arrived... first on the right hand, then about 5 minutes later, on the left hand. I touched the window of my car which was cold because it was outside, but not freezing by any stretch of the imagination (it was 48F outside). Holy Moly!! Just touching the "cool" window shot pain into the fingers... it's like being frostbitten and the cold is so cold it feels like your exposed skin is burning! Once I got inside and my fingers warmed up, then the tingling disappeared. BUT, when I took some frozen yogurt out of the freezer, OUCH!!! My fingers couldn't carry the cold container!! Not only that, when I had some of the frozen yogurt, my gums, roof of my mouth and tongue went numb and froze. I did NOT have this last week so it's quite obvious that cold ANYTHING is going to be a problem, for the fingers as well as the throat, tongue, gums and roof of my mouth.

But, that's about it for now... other than the headache that is trying it's darndest to break through the Oxycodone, I feel just fine... and will continue to feel fine until probably about Thurs. The home care nurse will come to my apartment Wednesday, around dinner to unhook the Portapump with the 5FU chemo, which will be finished by then. So it will be Thurs/Fri that I start feeling the effects of the chemo with possibly the nausea (I stop taking the anti-nausea steroid on Wed when the chemo stops).

Sooooo... as if this entry was not long enough, here is a story I just love, that my friend Chet from San Diego had sent in a group email. I had read this story a few years ago but now it means so much more to me... not to mention, explains my whole belief in "Life is all about choices".


John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it!

You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you ! do it?"

He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood.

I choose to be in a good mood."

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life! . I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

He continued, "..the paramedics were great.
They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

You have two choices now:

01. Delete this

02. Copy, Paste and Forward it to the people you care about.

You know the choice I made. Instead of forwarding it on in email, I have posted it here for all of you to read.

Ciao for now!