Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13 - Round 2, Day 2 & the Opening of Joseph!

Hi Bloggies,

A quick entry (hahaha... is there such a thing in Cheryl's world??). Today is Day 2 of Chemo Round 2. So far, so good... but then, in Round 1 I didn't start feeling the feet until Day 3, so tomorrow will be a biggie day :D Of course, I am running late (read: slow) today... and I really don't have a good excuse other than I'm running late :) But, I'm not too concerned. After all, my hours down at the TUTS office have kind of changed now that we are opening the shows. Instead of being down there from 1-6pm or 7pm, which is pretty standard... I'm now down there until 10:30pm - 11pm, depending on which show is running. Joseph goes until about 10pm, and Singin' goes until about 10:30pm... so give or take half an hour after the curtain comes down.

Tonight is the opening night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We are doing it with a twist which makes it quite different from all the other productions of Joseph someone may have seen before. We are sticking to the story, and of course, the music... but the show is set in the 60s. We have a bunch of hippies helping a bunch of young kids put on a show. Meanwhile, they are missing a "12th brother", so every night a child is selected from the audience and the show is built around including this child as part of the show. It is going to totally make some child's night! They will be a star for the night and integrated into the show, even though they have never been to any rehearsals. Very clever. At intermission, the child will get his/her very own dressing room that the parents can come and visit the child in. The set designer of both Joseph and Singin' in the Rain, has designed/dressed up the dressing room to make it a magical room for any child. It has the mirrors and makeup lights, etc. But there are also shelves full of candy jars, lollipops, etc. And of course, there's a big STAR on the dressing room door :) At the end of the show, the child is actually dressed in a gorgeous "coat of many colours" just like Joseph's... and the child gets to keep that coat as a keepsake of their magical experience when they were part of the Joseph cast and show. As the cast hands the child back over to the parents, it's a very touching moment... which I'll explain after closing night. I don't want to give it away for anyone who is reading this blog and will be coming to the show :)

So tonight is Opening night of Joseph... tomorrow is opening night of Singin' in the Rain :) We shall see how the feet are doing by Thurs... if they are still doing well, then YAYAYAYA!! It means I think I can survive this next 5 rounds of chemo... and still keep up with my theatre activities :)

Ok... must go and get dressed, pack the car with the dog and our dinners, then must go pick up flowers for some of my kids in the show :)

Happy summer!!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday, July 11th, 2010 - Cycle #2 begins on Monday

Hiya bloggies,

Well, it certainly has been an interesting Chemo Cycle #1... not one that I wish to repeat again. At least, not one I wish to repeat with the same intense pain in my heels that I experienced this go round. I'm still amazed that the side affect was that it attacked my heels I (not a known side affect) and that it happened so quickly. I had taken the first pills on the Wednesday night and by the Friday, I was feeling the pain to the point that it was uncomfortable and I knew something was up. My oncologist wasn't sure that what I was experiencing was actually related to the chemo because she figured if I was going to have any side affects, they probably wouldn't show themselves until the third or fourth cycle... not less than two days later. But, sure enough, it was the chemo because the longer I was on it, the more intense the pain became (by about Day 8 I didn't think it could get any more intense, but I was wrong). I did make it thru until Day 14, but on the 14th day, I couldn't even walk around my carpeted apartment without being in tears.

Anywho... as soon as I stopped the chemo, within 24-30 hours, the pain had totally disappeared. That spoke volumes to Sharlene (oncologist). It proved that the pain was definitely caused by the chemo and was probably related to either the dosage or the length of continual time I was on it. If you all remember (if I remembered to log it in the last blog entry) we lowered the dosage from 1650mg twice/day to 1500mg twice/day. Well, we don't want to lower the dosage anymore to the point where it becomes ineffective. That wouldn't make any sense. And my other option at this point, if we decide to stop the oral chemo is to go back on the infusion, which would mean the surgical procedure to install another port in my chest, just below the collarbone. I would then have to go to the Cancer Agency every two weeks and sit in the chemo chair for 4-5 hours while they infuse me with a big old dose of liquid chemo directly into my blood system. I would them be switched over to the portable chemo pump which would be attached by IV to the port and I'd have to wear the chemo pump for 3 days. I am trying to avoid that at all costs. In the summer, it is so inconvenient to wear this pump, which you can't get wet, making showers a real challenge. Even getting dressed is a real challenge because of the IV and pump.

So, we are going to give the oral chemo another try. Only this time we are going to change the scheduling of it. I will be taking my 1500mg twice/day, Monday - Friday this week. Then I'll have the two days on the weekend off for a break. I will then go back on it for Mon - Fri, then be off for a week for recovery. Although that week will actually end up being 9 days because the last pills will be Friday night, then I get Sat/Sun, Mon-Fri, then Sat/Sun off before starting up again on the following Mon. We are hoping that with having the weekends as a break, the pain won't be quite as intense. There's no doubt that there will be pain but with having the 2-day break, it may go away over the weekend, then will hit sometime again when I'm back on the chemo, only to go away for the weekend and the 9 days off will let me have time to regenerate my red/white cells and NOT be in pain :)

What's a girl to do? I obviously have to give it a try and if it's doable, then this is a good thing because it will keep me off the IV version :)

Meanwhile, TUTS opens this week! Oy vey! Both shows are going to be very good but as is always the case the week or so before the shows open, you can cut the tension in the air in the office. People are running around checking and double checking that everything is in place. There is sooooo much to do just before the shows open that we don't have to do once they are up and running. There are glitches to be ironed out, there are invitees for opening night and did we catch those that need to be invited vs those that should never have been on the Opening Night guest list but have been for some years. Tempers are short and I won't even get into the micro-managing that goes on, which I absolutely hate! But opening night(s) happen on Tuesday and Wednesday and once both shows are up and running and once we can hope to have a long run of good weather, everything should calm down and we can just enjoy the summertime experience.

I, of course, will have to play everything by ear on a day to day basis. Like I say, if I can walk with minimal pain, then I will be spending my summer down at TUTS. If there are days where the pain makes it too difficult to walk, then I'll have to stay at home. I'm not sure how many cycles I will end up having to do. We won't be getting a CT scan until probably sometime in Sept/Oct and that CT scan will show us whether or not the chemo is having any effect. If it is, then great we will probably finish the standard 6 cycles. If it isn't, then we will probably have to go on the infusion chemo.

Meanwhile... everyone think wonderful thoughts that the pill form will work... and the sun will be out until August 21st . It can pour with rain on Aug 22nd.... but we need sun and/or dry weather until Aug 21st :)