Well, this is almost a record... the last update was Jan 13th so if I waited until tomorrow, it would be a full month between entries
Ok... let's start with the nasty stuff. Cancer sucks! Chemo sucks! Side affects suck!! There is nothing pretty or fun about battling the beast... on the other hand, one has to always keep in the forefront there's a reason for having to go through all these nasty side affects/toxins. Unfortunately, the chemo toxins do kill off all the good cells (or as many of them as they can kill off and still keep you alive) but the whole reason one does chemo is that the toxins are there to kill off the bad, cancer cells as well. The difference... good cells can regenerate, cancer cells can no regenerate once they have been killed. Of course, cancer cells can be very hardy and don't ALL respond to the chemo, but there's a good chance we can get a whole bunch of them.
So that leads me to this week. I had my first treatment of Irinotecan (Iri for short) which is a new (to me) chemo. It's not a new chemo as far as treatments go, they've been using it for some time and some people respond really well to it. I'm obviously hoping I am going to be one of those people. But, like all chemos, there are side affects that one can expect. Like any drug, they can list the side affects but it doesn't mean everyone is going to get them... just that there is the possibility you might get one or many of them. It was not my lucky week. I started feeling the nausea within hours of getting home. It's kind of hard to explain the nausea, since it is different than when you say have a stomach flu. Chemo nausea can appear to be the same, but it also comes with intestinal pain, and an overall weakness, even though you know you aren't sick with a stomach bug. Now, I did have the confidence that if I was going to get this, the anti-nausea meds I was given were going to work. Oh oh... I wasn't prepared for "they didn't work". So, my wonderful oncologist did keep in touch with me and she upped the anti-nausea meds, not to mention, I have been living on Immodium. One of the meds is a steroid (dexamethasone) which I have to admit, I find to be a wonder drug. I don't know what it is about the steroid's properties but it was the one med that can control the nausea. It didn't get rid of it per se, but controlled it in such a way that I wasn't vomiting and I wasn't in bad pain... just very, very tired (which is weird because the steroid tends to make you hyper). One of the drawbacks of the steroid is that it can (and did with me) cause a headache. So now we are taking meds to combat chemo side affects and meds to combat side affects of the side affects meds. Had this lasted 2-3 days, it would have been nasty but if that's what it means, I'll be out of commission 2-3 days out of every 21, I could handle that. But it was 5 days of total nastiness and today, although I don't feel strong enough to be leaving the apartment, with the help of the steroid and the anti-nausea meds... I am finally feeling more human. But that's 6 days out of 21... not good! The good news (I hope) is that my oncologist is well aware that reacting like this was a possibility and she says that the next treatment on Feb 28, she will be changing my meds and I'll actually be getting some different anti-side affect meds in my IV, so it's put directly into my system. Hey, she's the one who has experience with this and has done me well up to now, so I have no reason to doubt her that the next time will go much easier.
So that was the downer for this week. I thought I had prepared myself, but I was taken by surprise.... I'm just glad I feel much better today. Meanwhile, my dear friend, Kathy, who is also my financial guru and keeps me on track with my little investment portfolio, send me a lovely little flower arrangement which, even though I was feeling like death warmed over, it certainly did pick up my spirits. Isn't this lovely?
In other news, the most marvelous evening on Sunday, January 30th. That was the night of the annual Ovation Awards which is put on every year by Applause Musicals Society. This awards ceremony is to celebrate musical theatre in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Obviously, it is not a dying genre because there were over 52 productions of musicals throughout 2010. That's not 52 performances, but unique individual musical theatre productions put on by various theatre companies throughout the area. It was a wonderful evening of celebrating with fellow musical theatre folk... and ended up being the most wonderful surprise of an evening for me! I was awarded the 2010 Behind the Scenes achievement award which, needless to say, thrilled me to pieces!
As you can see by the look on my face, this was one very happy camper... and what a great boost, knowing I have a bit of a tough road ahead of me. I so love the musical theatre community so it was a real personal honour to me to be acknowledged in this way :)
Well, I'm sure I could dig up some more photos, and if my brain were functioning a bit more, I know I have oodles more to talk about. But alas, I'm having a blank moment and if I wait until I start thinking again, this entry will never get posted
Sooooo... off I go to wait for dinner to cook.... and while waiting, I am going to watch some of the Olympic Anniversary tributes. I can't believe one year ago today, the world came to Vancouver... and what a heck of a 17 day party we had! I'm not sure we need to rehash the Olympics every year... but on the first anniversary, yes, it's kind of nice to remember how Canada was joined together in celebration :)