December 2014

Lets see… it has been a hectic year.

My son graduated Basic Combat Training for the National Guard at Fort Jackson in April; got his American citizenship; went to Fort Lee for his AIT; graduated from that in July. He is now back in Kansas, and planning to get a job close to his girlfriend’s school.

My daughter moved in with me last December; graduated high school in May (she had finished in December); started at Niagara College (Culinary Management) in September; moved in with her boyfriend in October. She is doing well in school, I am very proud of her progress.

My mother got her own place in June; has been volunteering a great deal and seems to be doing very well.

Anthony and I adopted (well, fostering to adopt) another dog, Lisa; our oldest cat, Hiss, passed away in October; I fostered 4 kittens in November, and decided to keep 2 of them (a boy, Goober and a girl, Gabby; siblings, black short hair); moved half way through December and I am getting ready to go on a trip January 2nd.

Oh! Mustn’t forget that I started a new chemotherapy treatment at the end of May, then 5 minutes into my 2nd treatment (June) I went into anaphylactic shock, was unresponsive (code blue) and spent the next two days in ICU. That was interesting! I couldn’t continue with that therapy, which is unfortunate, because the ONE treatment I completed did wonders. Who knows, it may have gotten rid of the cancer if I was able to do the entire schedule of treatment. So the cancer is still in me and we will be discussing the next step in January. This time is has moved to below the diaphragm, which I believe takes it to another level, because it is now in a new part of my body. It has always been in the left axilla (neck and underarm on the left side); and in my lungs. This time is was seen in my pancreas, spleen and possibly liver.

Well, I am still keeping a positive outlook and hoping for the best. Lets look forward to 2015 and see what it will bring.

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time to go BALD

OK, So here I am again, at the end of the 1st round of this particular Chemotherapy Regime. This regime is called COPP (cyclophosphamide, oncovin, procarbazine and prednisone).It is an older regime used for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is the first time I am doing this one. I have done various others… some of which were study regimes.
Last night, I took my elastic out of my hair, as I normally do to get ready for bed. As I did this, a fair amount of hair came with the elastic. I started stroking my hair, not running my fingers through it, just stroking it… and more hair was coming out. More and more hair, just by stroking my hair. When I ran my fingers through my hair there was that much more coming out… I ended up with a handful of hair, before I stopped. I am quite sure that I could have gone on for so much longer, continually pulling hair out, with little to no effort.
This morning, I was pushing my hair back from my face, as usual, to put it back into the elastic… AGAIN, I come away with a lot of hair… It kept coming out… I created a pile of hair that was larger than the little packet of tea cookies that I get from the volunteers when I’m in for my chemo.

I have asked Anthony to pick up a clipper set, so that I can shave my head this evening. I am hoping that my hair is long enough that I can donate it to the Locks of Love (or other such program). I will be putting an elastic in my hair (pony tail), then clipping as close to the scalp as possible, to make use of as much of the hair as possible… it takes a LOT of hair to make one wig.

I do not need, require or want a wig, but I understand that it is a very emotional thing for others. THIS is why I donate the hair that I have… and hey, if I’m losing it, I might as well make use of it!

I will update this post either this evening or tomorrow, with pictures of the before and after…. stay tuned….

Relay for Life vs My Chemo Life

Sigh

Last night was the 1st Relay for Life event in Mississauga for this year (next one is in 2 weeks).
I accidentally got onto the Committee for Relay for Life, in charge of running the Smart Shop at the Living Arts Centre event (last night); with only a month to prepare. They pretty much start preparing right after the event, for the next year’s event… MOST of the work was done, and it was agreed that since I came in last minute, that I wouldn’t do a silent auction. At the beginning of this week, I get an email, telling that a participant was bringing me a gift certificate for guitar Lessons, for the silent auction!!! Oh MY! I scrambled, and pulled together 2 gifts from stuff my sister had donated for a prize pack, plus three items I had sitting around, that I had crocheted. For a total of 6 items for our “last minute” Silent Auction. OMG! can you believe that the only two items that got bids were two of the items I crocheted! I am so pleased with this. Everyone loved my items, but I resisted the urge to pass out my business cards. I did not want to make it about my products, this is an event to raise money for Cancer Research & Cancer patient programs. I did give two business cards out, but they were to friends. I brought some, so that IF I was asked for one, I could give it.

Now, this past Monday (May 31st), I started chemo — not to battle the cancer, but to control the symptoms, which have been causing more havoc than the cancer itself. Friday morning, I woke at about 4:30am in some major pain. There was shooting/stabbing pain in my hips & upper thighs, as well as (less severe) in my right shoulder. As I moved around, I felt pain in my lower back as well. Laying on either side increased the pain, as well as on my back. Laying on my stomach wasn’t so bad, except that I can’t sleep fully on my belly, I lean to one side or the other, which was still increasing the pain. I would fall back to sleep briefly, but waken shortly in pain. I took some over the counter meds, but they did not help. So around 9:30 am, I took some prescription meds and eventually felt better. Then I was able to take the OTC meds to maintain the pain control.
This morning I woke up in the same way, although much later, as I didn’t get to bed until after 4am (was at Relay from 3pm to 3:30am).

So, I will talk to my doctor on Wednesday, when  I have an appointment scheduled. There’s no sense trying to get in sooner, cause I likely won’t be able to get in, and going to a walk in clinic or Emerg, is just a waste of time and patience.

I feel great about the role I payed in last night’s Relay for Life event. My daughter & I will be volunteering at the next one (in two weeks). And I look forward to (hopefully) being better prepared to run the Smart Shop next year, as I will be able to get an earlier start on the preparation.

[note: even though I indicate that I got on the committee ‘accidentally’, I by no means meant that I didn’t want to, I just hadn’t planned it to happen the way that it did, ha ha… but I loved it, and look forward to continuing]