Friday, July 30, 2010

Great Day

I'm having a great day. My twin sister was here for a visit. She brought me home from the Lake and took me to chemo this past Wednesday. It has been great having her here and spending time with you. We did manicures and pedicures together yesterday. Today we ate breakfast together and then took Tundra, my Siberian husky, for a walk. It feels great to have the energy to go for a walk. It was a nice morning and wasn't too hot or humid. I know Tundra really enjoyed the walk too. I'm glad I have this energy today and for the weekend because I start my last cycle of chemo on Monday. This means that by next Friday I'll be down for the count again. I'm not looking forward to next week, but I know it is the beginning of the end. I can't wait to get all this over with and get back to a normal routine of living. I'm looking forward to getting back to work also. I had my pre-employment physical, drug test, and got my photo ID badge made this past week. So, if everything goes as planned I should be on schedule for starting orientation on August 16th. Yeah!!

My blood counts were on the low side on Weds. So, I was instructed to try to stay away from public places, i.e. restaurants, grocery stores, snotty kids. This is all because I am at a greater risk of getting sick. So, I'm putting off going to the grocery store till tomorrow. I hope my counts come up. They warned that if they didn't come up by Monday, they may need to delay my next cycle of chemo. I don't want a delay because this will then delay me getting back to work. I want everything to stay smooth. So, prayer request would be to pray my counts come up and I can receive chemo as scheduled on Monday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Support Group

I went to a support group meeting today in Roanoke. The group is called Whispering Hope and is for women battling ovarian cancer. We met at the Golden Corral where there is a meeting room named in memory of a ovarian cancer patient. It is also reassuring because a lot of the nursing staff from the infusion center and physicians office participate in the group as well. The staff is a great support system and they express great love and care for the patients they serve. I also greatly enjoyed meeting the other ladies who are patients. We may all have different types and stages of our cancer, but we are all fighting a similar battle. It doesn't make what chemo meds your on or what your regimen is, we all have to deal with side effects. It doesn't matter what side effects we get, but I can assure you that it isn't a pleasant experience. It is also encouraging because the group has a great Christian faith basis. Some of the ladies may also be recommending local churches to try. It was a good night and I look forward to getting to know the ladies better and continue to encourage each other as we fight.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Setting goals in life is a great thing. You have a sense of pride and accomplishment when you set a goal and work towards meeting it. While I have been feeling ill, I have set little goals for each day. These goals have been as simple as just getting out of bed and changing my clothes on bad days. To goals of going out to the store on days I'm feeling better. Each time I accomplish one of these small goals, I feel better. Setting theses little goals has also spurred me on to thinking about setting some longer term goals after chemo is over.

First off, I want to feel healthier. I've decided to set the goal to make myself physically healthier after chemo. This includes eating better and being more active. I'd like to fulfill this goal by participating in the Relay for Life within one year of finishing chemo. This goal is also 2 fold because I would like to be healthier before being a mother. Which leads to goal #2. I'd like to have had a child or be pregnant within one year of finishing chemo.

This adventure of health problems started with the scare of possibly losing my ability to ever have children by the possibility of losing my ovaries. (If you don't have the parts, you can't have a child.) This has led me to realize how much I truly want to be a mother and to be able to have a family with my husband. If God is willing to give us the opportunity to have a child, we would feel most blessed. It will continue to be a prayer of ours.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Starting to feel better

I guess I'm starting to feel better today. I'm still exhausted. But...
I did get out of bed. Clean my bedroom, including vacuuming. Take a shower. Walk outside to the mailbox. Help split green beans for dinner (I wonder if I'll be able to eat any of them). Took care of some paperwork. Granite, most of these activities were separated with a period of rest. But, I still did it!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bad Days

In an effort to express what I'm going through in a manner that won't gross out everyone, I have developed a couple definitions to explain my last few days.
Bad Day = going only from bed to bathroom
Very Bad Day = going only from bed to bathroom, repeat pattern over and over
To put this in better perspective, my bathroom is a mere 4 shuffle steps from my bed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cycle 2, Day 3- Halfway point

I'm feeling more of the chemo side effects today. The reflux is back with a vengeance. It doesn't burn like acid reflux. It just refluxes and makes my chest hurt and then I feel nauseous. However, it's not really nausea. I guess it is sorta hard to explain the sensation. I slept through most of chemo today and then came home to have another 2-3 hour nap. Plus, I'll probably head to bed early too. My appetite is going to. I try to eat when I can and I always eat what I want. It sure gives me an appreciation for food. Most of you who know me, know I like to eat. This chemo experience has given me a new appreciation for food. I'm not used to MAKING myself eat.

On a good note, my dad pointed out that today is officially my halfway point!! Yippee!! I'm halfway finished. I'm very thankful to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I give major props to other chemo patients who fight everyday without know when their last day will be. I feel like it is a blessing knowing when my last day is. I will truly celebrate with much thanksgiving on that day.

I have also purchased some ovarian cancer awareness t-shirts this week. I got 2 for myself and I ordered one for my mom. If anyone is interested, please feel free to let me know. I'd be happy to order one for you or point you to the website where I ordered them. I feel like I want to proudly exclaim that I am an ovarian cancer survivor. Many people in the public who see me when I'm out and about assume I have breast cancer. I believe this is because breast cancer is well know. Not many people are aware of ovarian cancer. It is rarer and most women aren't diagnosed until it is in later stages because the symptoms are vague. I had an even rarer form of ovarian cancer that effects younger people and has better survival rates. On a side note, I found a cute mini pin to wear on my lab coat when I go back to work. It says "Cute Bald Chick Fighting Cancer" with a cartoon picture of a woman wearing scrubs and a bald head.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cycle 2, Day 1

Today was a long day at the infusion center at Carilion. My nurse Janice checked me in and changed my dressing that covers my PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) first. The PICC had a white cap that needs to be removed to draw blood work for my labs. Otherwise, I will get an inaccurate result. The white cap was unable to be removed 2 weeks ago because of all the sticky goo from the dressing. If it is unable to be removed, it could be a cleanliness issue. However, Janice got it off!! This small detail is a huge answer to prayer. If she couldn't have removed it then they would have to draw blood work from somewhere else with a sharp needle the 'ol fashion way'. Plus, we might have needed to looking into other options for cleanliness. But, now we don't have to consider any of those options. YEAH!!

Then we went to the infusion center. There is more privacy here with each patient getting a divided room with a draw curtain door. Each 'room' has a great window view, private TV, infusion chair that opens flat (for napping), and chairs for any accompanying family or friends. Then started the waiting. They waited to get all the chemo patients checked in before starting any of the infusions, including my premedications and fluids. I also received my Bleomycin today with the other 2 chemo meds. So, it was a very long day. We were there at 8am and left at 4pm.

I'm feeling ok. I can taste the metallic taste coming back already. Yuck! I can feel the reflux being a little worse than yesterday. My biggest complaint is the fatigue. I slept for several hours during the infusion and I'm still exhausted now. All I want to do is go to bed. It'll be an early night tonight.

Otherwise, I've ordered some nice T-shirts. In case anyone is curious, ovarian cancer is represented by the color Teal. Similar to how breast cancer is the famous pink ribbon. So, I encourage all to wear teal in honor of ovarian cancer support.


My regular followers will notice my new badge. I have received an award as one of the top Physician Assistant Medical Blogs. I didn't really win anything except the recognition that I'm doing a good job blogging and the privilege to display the badge. I thought it was a nice gift. I didn't realize I was doing anything all that great, except sharing my mind, heart, and experiences with my friends and family.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eve of Cycle 2 Day 1

I start the first day of my second cycle tomorrow. It is also my first infusion day at the Carilion facility.
I guess it is good that I sorta know what to expect since I've done this once before. However, I'm not sure if my body may respond a little differently. I'm expecting it may be a little worse this time since my second and third cycles will be so close together. I expect the toxicity to be more since there won't be as much "off" time between the cycles. I feel the reflux, nausea, and anxiety getting worse just thinking about it.
My parents are here staying with Jon and me. Jon is working; so I need my parents to drive me back and forth to chemo. I'm very thankful for them and their help.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Date Night

My chemo was delayed till next week to give the insurance company time to get my new policy and paperwork approved for my 2nd and 3rd cycles to be paid for at Carilion. I've had a good week. I've looked at furniture, bought things for the house, and settled in nicely. I've made some nice meals for my husband. So, tonight after a nice week, we decided to have a date night. Jon brought me a nice bouquet of flowers after he finished work. Then he took me to a nice Brazilian restaurant called Carlos. The food was wonderful. It was so nice to eat a delicious meal before I start my 2nd cycle of chemo on Monday. I'm just now getting over the reflux just in time for it to start all over again. I won't be eating any yummy sea bass for the next 4 weeks. After next weeks chemo, I'll be fighting to eat anything again.

For tonight, it was great to be out with my husband. Feeling pretty and good and having great company again. It was nice and romantic and a great way to celebrate before starting cycle 2. Thanks honey. I love you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Meeting Carilion

Yesterday I met my new primary care physician. He is a nice young family practice physician. He liked to talk. However, I was a bit disappointed that he didn't touch me. He obviously noticed I'm a cancer patient (I think the lack of hair gave it away). He commented that he didn't want to touch me...'because of the sick patients I have seen today'. Meanwhile, I'm thinking "My white count is good and I feel fine." Either way, he gave me my prescriptions for my as needed medicines. Thanks to chemo, I'm now taking a bunch of different medicines to help me with the side effects.

I met my new oncologist today. His office is in a very nice new building where Carilion has been doing new development. The facilities are very nice. The doctor himself knows this type of malignancy. However, it still felt cold there. The people were nice. But, they don't know me. I don't know them. It just felt different from St. Mary's. I miss St. Mary's. So much so that it made me cry today. St. Mary's made me feel like home. I had family there. Carilion makes me feel like a patient and I feel like they rush through as if healthcare were more of a business and not as patient oriented. Hopefully the feeling will go away with time and as I become more familiar with them.

I just miss home.