Archive for September, 2012


Today, week four of 12, went well. It was fast, it only hurt during the actual taxol, and I only really felt the fatigue after. Of course, I think some of the drugs got to me a bit, as I was channeling Katherine Hepburn – accent and all – and thoroughly amusing mom and Tina. Still, after a nap, against many people’s wishes, I went to work to give a presentation.

It was not that I was told to, it was that I wanted to. Folks were happy to cover for me, and always encourage me to do whatever I need to in order to get better. But I love my job. I want to be there, especially when I can share things we’re working on with others. Yes, I wasn’t exactly myself, but I was assured after that I didn’t do or say anything too crazy – although I did announce that having come from chemo, people may want to have their cell phones ready in case I spontaneously did something insane, like in Sex in the City when Samantha had cancer and while speaking tore her wig off and threw it in the audience. Sorry to disappoint by not…

So maybe the whole cautiously optimistic thing is working. If I stay positive and focused on other things like work, I can get through this. Eight more weeks will fly, right?

Read Full Post »

I think you probably know by now that I am an optimist, right? The glass is always half full, there is a reason behind everything, you can choose to be happy and make it happen, it will all work out in the end (somehow). Yes, like everyone else I hit road blocks, get frustrated, procrastinate and even whine (although I hate it) sometimes – and often this blog is where I let it out. It’s the optimist in me, though, that keeps me pushing and determined to just plow through anything (like, uh, cancer) that gets in my way. Why am I saying this? Because I know sometimes I am so determined and driven, that I can be blind to other things that I should take into consideration…

Today was week 3 of 12 weeks of Taxol, the second round of chemo. 25% there as Tara reminded me via text this morning. It went well. I remembered to take all my pre-meds (don’t ever intend to forget those again), they cut the benedryl in half, skipped some of the other onsite premeds, and I didn’t have any reaction during the Taxol. Tina and mom kept me laughing and we visited with someone from Dana-Farber working on a possible news pitch, so it went by really fast.

Then it was off to my final expansion. I’m as big as I will get – in fact, I will be a bit smaller when all is said and done because they make you go a bit bigger with the tissue expanders so that the skin will then relax naturally around the implants, which will be a bit smaller. So that surgery will be on January 2 – figure I will start the new year right: no more chemo, get on with the reconstruction and putting the horrors of this year behind me.

While I did crash for a few hours this afternoon, I am feeling much better. Yes, I am starting to feel some aches and pains and the fatigue, both of which they say will continue to increase each week, but for now all is really good. This drug is so much easier to recover from than the other two – and thank God no real nausea! Even my hair appears to be starting to grow – it’s a centimeter now! 🙂 Hopefully that will keep going and not start falling out again – we will see for sure in about two more weeks. But I have to keep in mind some other things, that aren’t so visible. Like the fact that because I am being treated every week, my blood counts will be down until December, so I need to be very careful. And I’ve been lucky so far with my nails, in that I still have them all but they are getting a bit discolored and hurting a bit, so have to go easy with them so they don’t fall off. Above all, I have to make myself go a bit easier and not push myself as much and as hard as when I was fine…

And that just isn’t easy. I want to stay late at work. I want to go out after work, whether it is for a run, meeting friends or on a date or dinner with Nick. I want to stay up late reading or writing or whatever. I want to run or at least walk the Newport half marathon that I signed up for in February before my diagnosis in March. I just have to remind myself sometimes I shouldn’t do ALL of those things ALL the time. I’ve always been one to burn the candle at both ends. Mom even wrote on the cover of my science book freshman year “all animals need some form of rest or they will die” or something like that – and because I ignored her, shortly after I got mono from sheer exhaustion and spent the next month sick in bed. (Listen to your mother, folks.)

So while I want to do so many things and act normal and not miss a thing, I need to constantly remind myself it’s a balancing act, and I am so sick of being sick, that I don’t want to do anything to elongate it. If I get a fever, I will land in the hospital. If I am sick, they will postpone chemo. And that means I will not be celebrating on Nov. 20. And depending how long I am sick, will be how long this damn thing drags out. And I DO NOT want chemo in 2013. 2013 is going to be MY YEAR and I don;’t want to share it with cancer. I want to be done.

So I will proceed with cautious optimism. I will do what I feel I can, I may push the limits some, but I will try to be smart about it. And I will try to listen to what my body (and my mother) tell me, unlike when I was 14…

I saw this on Facebook and just loved it – all good things to learn and remember…

Read Full Post »

Just a quick update before I fall asleep (again) to let all know I am doing well! Week two of the Taxol went a million times better than week one. While I’m not 100% sure what caused the improvement, I think the heavy meds probably helped! I took (following doctor’s orders) three decadron and an ativan early this morning before heading to Dana-Farber.

Once at the hospital, it took a while to find a new vein to use – the one in my left hand is pretty well gone – last week’s infusion was incredibly painful from my hand down through my arm, so we decided it’s fried from all the A/C. (I don’t have good veins – they are small and I’ve never even been allowed to donate blood, so they aren’t loving this.) We can’t use any in the right arm, since all my lymph nodes were removed in surgery – can’t even have blood pressure cuffs on that arm ever again. (Note to self: must do better protecting that arm…) So after trying a bunch of things like hanging my arm down and making fists, covering it in warm, wet compresses, etc., we found a vein that would do – and it seemed to work well, with minimal pain.

After the labs (all looked good), it was back to Benedryl. Had 50 milligrams again and was not sick – yay! Then more Decadron and Ativan, Prilosec and finally Taxol. Throughout all I was pretty hazy, trying to be an active participant in mom and Tina’s conversation, but I honestly couldn’t tell you too much of what was talked about. Yes, they laughed at me somewhat swaying down the hallway when we were through, commenting on my high, but were also there to catch me when I stumbled, so I’ll forgive them! 😉 The main thing was I made it through without any of the major reactions/side effects, and then went home and pretty much crashed.

But tonight I had my energy back and mom and I even took a brief walk to the Brookline Booksmith, the bookstore around the corner, and was surprised to see a blast from my teen years: Molly Ringwald! What girl didn’t identify with her in at least one of my teen favorites, like Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles (Aw, Jake!) or The Breakfast Club??? So I had to do it – I bought her book and had her sign it.

Now it’s back to work tomorrow, and to bed now so I can say my prayers and thank God for such a good day. Two down, ten to go!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »