Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday, Sept 12th, 2007 - Pumpless :)

Hiya Bloggy,

Yep... I'm finally pumpless for the next 11 days or so. But what a trip this has been this week! Last night (Tuesday), I ended up in St. Paul's Emergency. I was watching Canadian Idol (yayayaya Brian!!) and just before the end of it, I noticed the site where the needle goes into the portacath was leaking. Well, that could only mean one thing... it's leaking chemo because that is what goes from the pump thru the catheter to the portacath via the needle. Well , I did have to watch the ending of Canadian Idol... after all, it has been going on all summer and this was the big FINALE!! :)

Once it was over (10pm), I called Mimi and Nathan who live upstairs and asked if they could drive me to Emergency. I figured that it probably was just not right that the chemo was leaking ;) Even though the pump was going to be coming off today at 1:30pm... that was still over 12 hours away and having the chemo not going where it was suppose to didn't seem like a good idea to me.

Soooo, off we went to Emergency. I told Mimi and Nathan not to bother waiting around with me. After all, we had no idea if I'd be there for 10 minutes or 10 hours. I could always take a taxi home since the hospital is only 7 blocks away :)

Well, I ended up being there 2 1/2 hours... but most of that is sit and wait. The staff were concerned about the leaking chemo but it was obvious that they do not get a lot of chemo patients coming in via Emergency and they had to have doctors look up the drug and figure out what they should do. Heck, I could have told them... lock off the catheter, take the needle out and replace it with a new one, then turn the chemo back on. Hey, I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but that made sense to me ;)

Apparently not to them. They had to look up the drug and see how toxic it was for skin contact. That's all fine and dandy, but meanwhile it is still leaking so if it IS toxic to skin, it's not going to get any better leaving it. Duh!

Anywho... eventually they got an IV nurse to come and unhook me. Then she wanted to rehook me up but couldn't find the portacath which is right under the skin because there was so much build up of fluid (chemo) that the portacath was under all the fluid.

Finally, she found it, put in the new needle/cath and rehooked up my pump. I then had to wait for the Emergency doc to come and check things out. He was very nice and wrote down everything which will go to my GP and Oncologist. I finally was set free and could go home :)

Today, I went to see my GP (Dr. Fay). He pretty much has the same attitude as I do. What's done is done, so will this have any affect on the future treatments or should we be doing anything different? Naaaa... he checked my skin and I am having absolutely no reaction to it having been exposed to the liquid chemo. I beez a tough old bird!! :D The fluid build up of last night is already being absorbed so there is nothing to indicate any problems.

He did give me a prescription for Cipro (antibiotic) which is for my back which had that infection flare up last session when I got so run down and feeling so sick because of the Oxaliplatin... so that will clear that up lickety-split, but I do have to finish off the cycle which is a 7 day supply. But, what the heck... if the chemo leakage was going to cause any problems, the Cipro will prevent any infection.

Soooo, here I am tonight, catching up on the blog and figuring out how to try and update the laptop with information that was on the desktop. Hehehe... I figure, the more I put on the laptop and get it up to date (hahaha... that could take forever!) then you know the desktop will come back all fixed up with everything intact :)

Okey dokey... guess I should wake the little diva schnauzer up and get her outside... hahaha... she likes this working with the laptop in the bedroom... she can sprawl out on the bed and snooze!

ta ta for now!


Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday, September 10th, 2007 - Computer Crash!

Dear Bloggy,

Oh the worst has just happened!! My desktop computer has just up and died. I have no idea if it is the power source (which would be a relatively easy, although not cheap, problem to solve) or if it is something more serious... like the fact it is a 6 year old computer!

Right now I'm on my laptop, but I'm having problems with connecting it to the internet with my home cable hookup. I have no idea what THAT is all about!! Arrrrrgh!!

So this is not turning out to have been the best of days. I did have a fabulous girls' chat with my good friend, Jill... we went for coffee and ended up chatting for 3 hours. Then I had to dash to get hooked up to the chemo pump... but first, Leanne, my nurse had to put me on a 30 minute drip of a solution before she hooked me up to the pump.

Then I had to come home to the disaster of the desktop computer. I'm fit to be tied! It's not like I have the money to run out and buy a new computer... and even if I did, that wouldn't solve the problem of all the information that is on the crashed desktop being needed to put on a new computer. ARrrrrgh!

Well, I guess tomorrow I'm going to have to figure out how I'm going to get the sick desktop to the Mac Hospital and see what they have to say about it.... then take it from there.

Meanwhile, the laptop will only work in the bedroom by hooking up to Nathan and Mimi's internet connection since they are upstairs and Nathan had originally given my laptop permission for using his wireless.

Can it get any more complicated than this??


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007 -- Glorious Fall!

Hiya Bloggy,

Ya, ya... I just sat down to do an update and I realize I better take Bridget out for her last constitution of the day. She looked at me earlier as if I should jump at her beck and call but I ignored her, so she went to bed ;) She is not going to be a happy camper when I go to wake her up to take her out. Be right back.

.... 15 minutes later....

Ok, I'm back, but cracking up!! Bridget just seems to run my life and she has no idea the power she has over me. I called her from the living room, but got no response (what an obedient doggy... NOT!). So, I got her leash from the back of the door while slipping into my shoes... and again I called her. Nothing. So I went to the bedroom door and this just cracked me up! No wonder she wasn't coming when called.... she was very comfortable where she was, thank you very much!!

Hahahaha... well, I just couldn't let her have the last word so I told her to get her little butt out of bed and let's go outside. I also made her do two big stretches before I put the leash on... just because she's so darn cute and gets away with far too much :)

Ok... now where was I??

Oh right... I think the last blog entry was a short one because I was really not feeling well last weekend. That was one nasty chemo week where, I was still feeling horrible by the weekend. I actually ended up feeling ill right through until that Sunday (Sep 2) night. This past week has been MUCH MUCH better... although, I have noticed how much easier I get tired.

Well... the ongoing saga/journey of chemo vs cancer. It turns out that the reason I was so sick last weekend was because of the "accumulative effect". All things considered, I've been handling the chemo pretty darn well, and much better than a lot of others have. The reason for this is, apparently, I have very healthy bone marrow. It's the bone marrow that regenerates the red and white cells that the chemo kills off. The chemo is used to kill off any bad cancer cells, but chemo doesn't know a cancer cell from a red blood cell from a white blood cell... so it kills them all off. If your red/white blood cell count gets too low, then you feel horrible... the lower the count the worse you feel. The majority of us just take our red/white blood cell count for granted... after all, it's not as if they do anything to us to warn us that they are important. But they are extremely important! It's the white blood cells that are the fighter cells and they are the ones that fight off infections. So if you have never had an infection, then your white cell count is at a healthy level and is taking care of you. If you have had an infection, then the speed of your recovery will depend on the health of your white cell count.

Sure enough... I was down for a couple of days (4 1/2 to be exact), which meant my fighter cells were low... so yep, you guessed it. I came down with an infection. I have this chronic lower back cyst that flares up now and again (gee, usually when I'm burnt out and tired... hmmmm). It hasn't flared up for about 2 years but as soon as I was down for the count, the infection moved in. Grrrrr!

But... the good news.... the bone marrow replaced the dead cells and I'm back up to scruff again... and those white blood cells are now taking care of the infection, so all will be good in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile... back at the ranch. I had an appt. to see my oncologist, Dr. Sharleen Gill on Friday. I so admired her and she is one of my all time heroes! Of course, I had to have my blood work done. I have to have it done before every chemo session. The results of the blood tests determine whether we can proceed with the next chemo session. Once again, I passed with flying colours. I would love to have known what my results would have been last weekend when I was so sick... probably pretty darn low! Anywho... eeek.... Dr. Gill said that my blood work shows that my system is pretty darn strong and she would like to add an extra 2 chemo sessions to my plan. Here I thought I was down to the last 2 sessions (total of 10) and now she wants to go the full 12. She says a lot of people don't get past 6 or 8, but I have held strong through the 8 I've had and she thinks I can make it through all 12. Since this particular type of cancer has a high risk of returning, she wants to bombard me with as much chemo as my system can tolerate.

What I love about Dr. Gill is she is so understanding and compassionate. When she heard that I was the sickest I had been last weekend, she said that my body is probably giving us the message that it has had enough of one of the chemos. Since the Oxaliplatin (the one I get by sitting in the chemo chair for 4 hours) is the one that is known to have given me problems (super sensitivity to the cold, headaches, lightheadedness, dizzy, unstable balance, etc) she says that this week we will NOT do the Oxaliplatin. So, I will have a 3 week break from the Oxaliplatin (Yippppeeee!!!) I will be hooked up to the portable pump tomorrow for 46 hours... but I'm expecting to ace that and for the next 2 weeks I should feel fine!! YIPPPEEEE!! I'm so looking forward to 2 weeks where I don't have any days where I feel like death warmed over :)

So that's it for my update on the chemo treatments.

Now... what else? Hmmm... the other week I went to a tap dance demonstration put on by students of a friend of mine, Jennifer Bishop. I LOVE tap and I think it's great that more and more people are taking classes just for the fun of it! And what a pleasant surprise!! About 20 years ago, I had a best friend named Teryl Rothery. We were inseparable! I don't know what happened but I think we just got involved in different interests and then, before you knew it... we had gone our separate ways. She went on to being in film and radio. There's a series that is shot here in Vancouver called Stargate... which she has an ongoing character in. I'm not a science fiction kind of gal, so I haven't watched the show. Anywho... the long and short of it is we have reconnected and I'm so happy about that. Here are a couple of pictures from the tap demonstration... not that they give the reader too much... you had to be there :)

The second picture is kind of dark so I'm not sure you can see too well... depends on your monitor. But in both pictures, Teryl is the second from the left and Jennifer is the second from the right. Ahhhh... now if only my feet would heal enough so I could take one of these classes just for fun. Of course, I would have to take a real beginner's class (grin). Way back in my younger days, I did take tap classes from Valerie Easton (for you Vancouver Theatre buffs). I have since forgotten everything I ever learned, plus I never did put it to any use. Meanwhile, Valerie has gone on to have had a family and now has two extremely talented daughters and she now choreographs for the Arts Club and Royal City Musical Theatre (just to name two).

Nothing too exciting happened this week... well, I did go out for lunch and had a lovely time. But for the most part, I kept this week free of commitments because I wasn't sure how I'd be feeling.

Oh wait... no, there was something very exciting! I was getting depressed because my hair was driving me crazy. Greg, wizard that he is, has been doing a fabulous job with keeping it cut and cut in such a way that any thin areas have been hidden. But I have not been able to get it coloured because chemo and hair colour chemicals can clash. But the mousy gray and mousy whatever the colour was that came out only made me more and more depressed. The chemo also completely dries out one's hair, so I had this frizzy dried out mess.

Soooo... I took myself off to Ego, a hair salon that specializes in Aveda products. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Aveda products... they are fabulous, although pricey! They use 97% natural product and only 3% chemicals in their hair colours. Anywho, Jody heard my tale of woe and he took me under his wing. I came out of the salon with a gorgeous, natural colour... and healthy hair!! I LOVE JODY!! :D Here's a picture, but it doesn't really do me or the hair justice. I'll try to get another one taken soon.

Look!!! NO gray!!! No frizz!!!

Well, that's about it. Hahahaha... today I went to London Drugs because once again my printer was complaining about an empty ink cartridge, so I picked up a set of them. Hahahaha... look at this car that was parked outside the store. I have seen it driving around before and it isn't advertising anything, I think it's just someone's private hobby. Amazing about all the detail!

Notice the water fountain on this last picture. Unbelievable!

Well, I'm going to leave you all with those images. Tomorrow is another chemo day, but I'm expecting it to be an easy one (famous last words!) I don't have anything too exciting planned for this week since I try to keep chemo weeks relatively free. I'll be meeting Jill for coffee tomorrow morning before I head off to the Cancer Agency in the afternoon... otherwise, I am pretty free this week, which is a first!

Again... if anyone is on Facebook... look me up and let's connect. I love Facebook!!!!