Wednesday, December 31, 2008

15 down, 1 to GO

Today was another wonderful day. I jammed as much as I could in a few hours before I had to go to chemo. I wasn't looking forward to it at all, knowing full well that I will be ill for the next few days. The degree of illness is always a new adventure with each chemo. Last chemo, though I had three wonderful days, I was really really sick right after my session. Lets cross our fingers. The other thing that is never constant, and has no rhyme or reason are my blood counts. My friend Tamara asked me what does it mean to have low counts? Her question made me realize that I may not have explained this. Before each session I have to have my port accessed and they stick a huge freakin' needle into the middle of the port, which doesn't hurt at all. Once they've done that they draw blood and check for my White Blood Cell, Platletts,and another one. I forget right now. So far, all my cancellations have been due to my WBC's being too low. Although for the past month my Plateletts have been very low. Today they were really low, but not low enough to cancel.
Anyhoo, so the blood counts are off of that test. Today for some reason they were 4,800 which is good for right now. Last week they were 3,600. A normal person not going through chemo is around 7-10,000. When they cancel my sessions my counts have been in the low 2,000's.
So, I am done with chemo number 15, and only have one left. I am so excited. I have officially gained 29 pounds. I just stood on the scale, in sheer disbelief. It really did take me a few seconds for me to realize that that was right. I stood there getting my numbers wrong. I just can't believe it. I have been eating super good the past month, and not super good in a bad way. Super good in a egg and toast for breakfast, a sandwhich with a fruit for lunch, bake potato and veggie for dinner. Maybe some chicken, on a few days. But that's it. It must be tons of extra water in my body right now.
I haven't said this because I have been hoping and am still hoping that its just some weird infection that isn't causing phlegm in my lungs. But for exactly a month, when I lay on my side my lungs hurt. And I mean hurt. They hurt so bad that I have to cough and cough. It happens when I sleep, but mostly when I wake up in the morning. All the usual sicky things are not happening to me. Today, after four weeks of me telling my Onc this, and me not coming up with a cold, he ordered me to have a CT scan of my upper chest and abdomen. Last night they hurt so bad (I'm a side sleeper) that it woke me up over and over. He thinks its very strange and says that its almost zero percent that I'd develop cancer in my lungs while I am getting such high doses of chemo. Nevertheless, its a scary thing that is happening and on friday I am getting the scan. We'll see what's going on and at least I can sleep with painful lungs knowing that there isn't anything in there that is hurting them. Maybe its just a strange side effect from the chemo, or the sheer weight of 30 new pounds squishing my little lungs. Which seems to be the culprit, I bet!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Is it true Toto?

I am so cold right now! Its chilly in Seattle. I must say, that I just had another wonderful eventful day. It was the best yet. I even had the energy to kindof push off of stairs as I climbed them once. I had so much fun today, and I know that tomorrow is going to be another good day. Until Chemo. But then, I'll only have one more to go after that.

I just added a few new pictures and I get a little weepy. I am so excited to be almost done. To see the photo with me holding up only 3 fingers, is just too much right now. After Wednesday, I think I can relax into the knowing and the reality that I really am almost done with this horrible, disgusting, self-mutilating, self-loving, self-living, destructive, killing, falling apart, icky-ness, and start healing so that I can do radiation. I am really excited.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Know when to stop

I have learned during this whole thing more about my body and have gotten even more in tune with it. If I push myself on my good days too hard, I always pay for it. The longer this chemo goes on for, the quicker this happens to me. Today was a good day. It started off with some energy. Energy enough to clean the kitchen, and take a break. Do some laundry, and take a break. And then do some paperwork, do some more paperwork, drive to the office and sit and do more paperwork and then I started to go down hill. My neck and ribs have been bothering me and so I drove to my chiropractor. I should have stopped there and gone home after this appointment but I was close to Whole Foods and everything at PCC is making me nauseous so I went there. I was sick walking in and tried to focus on buying food that I will eat and that's good for me.
I am home now laying in bed with a pounding headache and a queazy belly. I didn't finish all that damn paperwork today, so I am hoping tomorrow is a good day so I can get it all done. We sold our house the day before Thanksgiving (can't remember if I already said that) and it closes on January the 8th. I would normally be packing and such but I just cannot do it. I simply do not have it in me to do that. I just have it in me to get all our paperwork in order for the move.
Speaking of paperwork. I have been diligent with keeping every single insurance paperwork and filing it away. I always joke around that my bill is at least up to $400,000 worth of medical costs. Each chemo alone is about $30,000. That's 16 total of just them. Oh, wait, I just did the math on that, that = $480,000 so my costs are way higher than that. If I didn't have kick ass health insurance what would I do? What kind of care would I get? Anyways, that file is really really thick, like about an inch and a half thick. I can't wait till this is all done so I can add everything up and see how ridiculous the charges are.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What a difference

I hate to say it so early in the day, so I'll knock on some virtual wood, but today is a good day. I feel good, and my little hummingbird is waking from hibernation. She isn't buzzing yet, but at least the tears I cried yesterday just because I never thought I'd feel her again, are not needing to be shed again today. I woke up and ate some breakfast. I even had the energy to make it myself, and then I drove to my realty office and did a bunch of work.
I am home now just about to eat a potato and some broccoli for lunch. I have to be careful eating too much of the same thing because then I get sick of it and it makes me want to puke. I've been eating lots of broccoli and brussel sprouts lately, and potatoes but I am beginning to not like them. I think today will be the last day to eat them.
I am wearing my new clothes. Ones that aren't tight around the mid-section, arms, or legs. I feel pretty. A feeling I haven't really allowed myself to indulge in the past few months. Its funny how my inner spirit feels one way and then I look in the mirror, and see a totally different person. I guess this is how my Nana might feel.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Size 11 or 8?

Today I woke up feeling good. Thank God! I was really sick all day and into the night last night. Poor D made me a lunch yesterday that made me sick, and I couldn't even go into the kitchen until it was totally discarded and the kitchen was clean. It made me shake to smell it! I called my shopping spree friend Tamara and she was available on the fly, so she came and picked me up. We headed downtown. I have gotten over the whole thing of not wanting to buy "fat" clothes for myself. For one, the pants that I have been wearing, are all tight even though they are sweat pants. And D kept making suggestions that I go shopping, "You look like your always wearing your pajamas." Which I have been, with the exception of the pants Tamara bought me months ago. Months ago when I thought the weight was just going to be around for a few days until my body was able to get rid of all the extra water weight the steroids were causing me to carry.
But..that was a long time ago. The weather has gotten colder, and in deed I am huge now. So I went shopping and had a great time. When I'd get too sick/tired, I'd sit down and Tamara would bring me stuff. I found a great pair of pants that are quite slimming and a few shirts and sweaters.
Now that I am home, I am feeling good again. I can last just a few hours and then I get pretty miserable. I am really excited that today is Saturday and that my next to last chemo is on Wednesday. After Wednesday, I will only have one left!! A weird thing happened, is that one nail that is falling off got a friend yesterday. But the weird thing is that its the same finger just on the other hand. They still don't hurt, but are full of pus. Pretty sick looking.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm so sick

I don't feel good at all right now. Haven't all day. I think I might puke. Ugh!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chemo Today

I had my chemo appointment early today and because of this I got to see many new faces. There were two young girls around my age. One older, and one younger. I wanted to walk up to them and ask, " What kind of cancer do you have?" And ask them about their story. I usually do this if I am by myself. But D was with me and so I didn't. The other reason I didn't is that I couldn't stop crying in there. It started when they were putting in my port. I was so overwhelmed with sadness for everyone in there today. I was sad for them that they were going through this and that we were all in there doing this on Christmas eve instead of out doing Christmassy things. LIke baking cookies, or simple merriment with family. D said he too was feeling really sad in there today.
This is the first chemo that once I was done with my treatment I could barely walk out of exhaustion to the car. Luckily D parked directly outside the Swedish Cancer Institute and so I was okay to walk to the truck.
But once I got home at one, I fell asleep. This sleep was an intensely deep barely could move a bone sleep. I just woke up, three hours later and feel good. When I was in getting my port the nurse in there looked at my fingernail that was coming off. As I was showing it to her, I squeezed it a bit and tons of puss came out from under the nail bed. My doc said just to soak my fingernails, all ten of them in epson salts twice a day for ten minutes. I am going to give it a whirl. At the present moment it doesn't hurt really at all, which i am very thankful for.
I think I feel good enough to try to make a desert for Christmas right now. But then again, I haven't stood up. Well see. I am so exhausted its hard to get excited that I only have two more left, but trust me, I am thrilled!!
Merry Christmas you guys. May this holiday great you with a kind and gentle kiss and hug from a healing wind, may your spirits feel the true spirit of giving and the healing that this act gives your heart, may with this returning of light fill your mind with the fact that all things change and are cyclical and may it remind us all that we are stronger than we ever knew possible, and lastly may you walk tall with the knowing that if you are battling something in life that you are the miracle and the light of the New year where every possibility resides. Blessings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Little Hopes

I have decided from the get go of this whole cancer thing to not dwell on future possibilities and to be in the present moment as much as possible. And more than any other time in my life I have been able to do this. This practice allows the possibilities to come through the thought process, acknowledge them and then let them go. One of those things is, Will I loose my fingernails? In this place of non-dwelling there is hope. Hope of coarse that whatever the random fear is, won't happen. Out of my 10 fingernails, only two have not turned black and blue and disgusting looking. Luckily all of them have stopped being numb and absolutely painful at the same time. But this morning one of the two that wasn't black and blue was numb and tonight it came right up off the nail bed. Not painful at all, although I didn't tug on it. It is still connected to the cuticle area, so I know have it securely wrapped with a bandage.
In the time that I realized indeed another one of those fears has manifested, I had to get sad. It is so disappointing and a bit crushing to my spirit to have my body that I cared for so tenderly for so many years literally falling apart. I feel the sadness for my fingernails in my solar plexus for some reason. Its a bit heavy there right now. Chemo got moved from my traditional afternoon appointment time to the morning, 9 am tomorrow. I agreed, and now wish I didn't. I would've like those extra five feel good hours. Christmas is going to be absolutely uneventful. I was going to cook a traditional Norwegian meal, but its just too much this year. I am exhausted and were going to rest. I feel really emotional that I have chemo tomorrow and that it's snowy and Christmas and I feel that this holiday is just breezing past us. I feel the spirit of Christmas, I've been singing all my favorite carols and such. It's just totally different this year. I can't put my finger on it other than it feels like Heather is gone some where else.
I ran into my yoga teacher today as I sat up at my real estate office for a bit this afternoon. I've known her since I was 17, so that's 16 years later. It was nice to see her today. She said oh, your such a Pitta and the chemo is so Pitta. Well, yes. I am, and it is, and maybe that is why its so incredibly difficult for me. But really, who is chemo not difficult on. Soon, soon, it will be all done. s

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weeping Eyes

I went to the eye doctor today. He said that everything is fine, he thinks. He flushed my tear ducts with a huge freakin' needle. The way you do this is the doctor puts in numbing eye drops (but you still can feel, maybe its just the pressure I felt) and with a huge needle when you're wide awake he sticks it into your lower tear duct and flushes some kind of fluid in there. It clears open the duct and drains to the back of your throat/nose. D was in the room with us just talking away and I was in such a panic telling myself, don't move, don't move, just breathe. Luckily the doctor asked him to stop talking while he was doing this. I couldn't talk and before I knew it it was all over.
He is one of the nicest doctors I get to work with through all this cancer stuff. His appointment today burst my heart open again with hope and I am no longer worried that my life is going to be full of tissue and tears. If you think about it, it is one thing to have an emotional upset in your home. But if you are bald, and walking down the street dabbing your eyes, it looks like you're crying when you're not.
So, I am thrilled that the doc thinks everything will be fine. He said that the next few weeks we just need to keep the ducts open while doing the chemo. And then about six months after treatment my eyes should be back to normal.
I am feeling really good today. Not sick to my stomach at all. Here is a link to a picture so you can check out the anatomy of the eye.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bed Sores?

I have been laying in bed so much that I have a few little bed sores developing on my rump. I need to do a little more laying on my side I think. Seattle is getting hit hard with snow. This is the tenth snow day, and its still coming down. I have been feeling really good the past few days, but not good enough to try to go out in the snow. A really sweet neighbor dropped off a couple really cool hats yesterday. I can't wait to go outside and use them. I just made a yummy veggie curry and coconut dish, its so good. D and I have decided to forgo any Christmas celebrating this year. His mom isn't coming now because of the roads and I'd love to go down to Seaside to be with my family but the roads are too bad, and I'll be too sick as the Christmas Eve is my next chemo. I was going to make a traditional Norwegian christmas dinner (D's half Norwegian) but its just too much this year. He doesn't want to help cook, so I'm not going to knock myself out. I'm not even going to make cookies.
Each year I make cookies for about two weeks, and I give them away to everyone. But not this year. I feel badly for all the people that are stuck in all the airports because of the crazy weather we have. My Dad said that Seaside got nine inches of snow the past few days. I have never seen that much snow on the coast. That's insane!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Where to start

I was just contemplating where to start my post, and I looked down at my mouse pad on my laptop, and there is a sign of the times. An eye lash, small like one from my lower lids. I don't have many left down there right now. My tear duct surgery I think didn't work. I am feeling really discouraged the past few days. I have been in bed for days now, trying to get strong. Just walking down to the kitchen to get water is a big deal. Sometimes I'll lay in bed till I am out of my mind thirsty and then I'll muster the strength to get some. But back to the damn tear ducts. I am wiping them constantly and as I type my right one needs to be wiped as its getting blurry, of coarse I'll wipe the left one as well. Sure enough, both had big tears in 'em. I see my eye doctor on Tuesday for another follow up. I am going to ask him to tell me if it worked. Its been almost a month now and I'd think I wouldn't have to be wiping my eyes constantly. I have nightmares during my waking day dreams of being that lady that has to have a tissue with me constantly. I don't and can't be that woman. I'm an active girl. I keep holding onto the fact that he told me that 90% of the surgeries work. So...they're still healing! Right? Well see on Tuesday.
I had a good day finally today. I was not sick to my stomach once.
I'm still not eating that much. Which leads me to yesterday. D and I took a walk in our six inches of snow that blanketed our streets. When we were out I had him take a picture of me. When we got home I asked to see it. Holy Shit. I am so fat right now. My once thin face with high check bones is now one round face with absolutely no facial detail. I was so sad for a while. I just keep going back to being thankful that my Onc told me I'd probably gain 20 pounds, and I am glad I spoke to other thin survivors whom told me they gained 20 pounds during treatment. So, I have a rolly polly face right now and its hard to look in the mirror.
Speaking of mirror. I look in the mirror but generally just look in my eyes and notice the wrinkles that are etched under my eyes now (they were not there when I got diagnosed). I think all this wiping away of tears is causing wrinkles!!
I have a new favorite TV show. The secret millionaire. To end on a happy note. This show I would hope is invoking in Americans across the (gotta wipe my eyes again) country to help others in whatever capacity one can. Before Breast Cancer, I thought about volunteering at schools to teach kids to read. But I never followed through because I let it not be a priority. I let Heather and her busy life be a priority. Since I was diagnosed I have had a burning desire and prayer of how I can best help those with cancer, when I am done with my treatment. There are so many ways, and believe me.. I lay in bed thinking of this many hours a day. I have a few good ideas, and I can't wait to start giving back.
If everyone of us helped give back in some way, that truely touched others hearts, it would change America. Canada, France, wherever you live. It would change the world. It would put the love out there and our hearts would have a chance to connect with others in a "real" way. This show makes me cry, but everything, and I mean everything makes me cry right now. OH! I've turned into one of those, criers! It makes me laugh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Off to chemo

Well...today number three. Tomorrow, I can say, "Just two more!" I have been pretty weak all week. I went grocery shopping, stopped by my office, and got really sick just being out. My eyes are still flowing with tears. I am getting really sick of it. And starting to worry that the surgery didn't "take". I worry about snowboarding for instance. With gloves on, goggles on, and the cold weather, it would be very difficult to wipe my eyes so I can see to snow board!
I am afraid my counts are super low again, and he might cancel my chemo today. But maybe not, it seems I am always wrong about these things. Food is all together gross right now. The idea of eating just makes me sick to my stomach. I usually wake up starving and have what I am going to make for breakfast fixed up in my mind before I get out of bed. The past few days, I can't eat until around 10 and then its a small amount before I start getting sick. Right now I have eggs boiling, that sounds good for lunch.
D is taking me to chemo today. I will post a picture later if I feel up to it. I want pic's of the last three with me getting the chemo and me holding up my fingers. The count down is on!!

Chemo did get cancelled. I am back in bed now. My blood counts are so low that he said if they get any lower I could end up in the hospital. So...now I will be done January 7th. I am so bummed. I begged, I mean begged him to give it to me. Will see if this week ends up being a good week. Last break I had was such a disappointment that I am not getting my hopes up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Almost done

My body is really starting to feel like it was before the last break. The toxins, I think are the cause. Who knows. I woke up not feeling well and was sick to my stomach all day. I had my handy Zofran medicine that kind of made me feel better. I layed in bed till noon and painted my fingernails a dark red. It took two coats to cover up the black and blue, but they look really pretty. Its so weird to have pretty nails right now. I am so far from feeling pretty, or wanting to feel pretty.
D's birthday is today. I made an incredible meal. A pork tenderloin: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/the-next-food-network-star/pork-tenderloin-with-prosciutto-sage-and-asiago-cheese-recipe/index.html, and brussel sprouts with prosciutto , mashed potatoes, and then a carrot cake. It was a lot of fun. He is laying next to me moaning, as he ate way too much.
I didn't really eat that much today, my stomach is too messed up right now.
The other very exciting thing is that my sister Wendy found out that she is pregnant today. I am so excited for her and for me! I get to be an Auntie!! Its a little painful as we had always hoped to be pregnant together, and maybe on her next pregnancy we can get to have that experience together.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gearing up

I feel good today, phew! Yesterday, I remembered how my whole life I used to go up any kind of stair. I always, always skipped one and lept to the one above. It was always a fun little thing I did. I can't even remember the last time I had the energy to do that. There is no way I could do that now. I get out of breath simply making the bed now. I sit down, afterwards and feel my heart just thumping away. I only have three more weeks, and after wednesday, only two more treatments left. I can't wait. I am in a little time bubble now, and will be done with it soon. I can't wait. I spoke with a fellow survivor today, and she told me that she worked out the whole time she did radiation. I really liked that she told me that because I've heard so many daunting stories lately of how hard other's rads have been.
I am going to try to go to the gym everyday before my radiation, and then go to the appointment and then go home and go to sleep. Or maybe I won't be really tired, and I'll be okay. I'll just have to wait and see. But regardless, I can't wait to start working out again. At this point just being on a treadmill and walking will be a work out. My back will be happy about that.
Tomorrow is D's birthday and I am hoping to drive to the store to get his cake ingrediants. It is really snowy here, and in West Seattle the streets are really bad. D told me I'm not allowed to drive today, but its pretty sunny and the streets look like they are drying up. And I have a cake to make!! He loves carrot cake so that is what it'll be.
I love baking!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Still sick

I have had a fever all weekend long. This morning I woke up and barely got dressed. It had snowed outside and I really wanted to walk up to the bakery and drink hot cocoa. D didn't think we should go, but I really wanted to get out of bed, out of the house, and celebrate the winter wonderland. We have a few big hills to walk up to get up to the bakery and I just couldn't do it. I got almost there and had to sit in a squatting position for a few minutes and couldn't stand back up without feeling like I was going to get sick and faint. D was pissed at me because I pushed myself too hard. And I was pissed that I just couldn't get to the bakery. I am so sick of laying around and I really really wanted to be with other people and watch them enjoying the winter day.
So, back we went home and I've been in bed with a fever off and on all day. I guess I must be trying to fight some kind of bug off since the fever has lasted for so many days. I will call my Oncologist tomorrow and just let the nurses know I've been sick all weekend.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Oh. Yesterday and today were hell. Late afternoon yesterday I got a fever, and it kept climbing and stayed at 99.6 for ten hours. It was horrible. I took my nauseau med's but they didn't help and I felt like I was going to puke, severely the whole time until finally in the evening I did. I feel asleep and woke up all sweaty, thankful that my fever had broke. I've been in bed all day, its now 4:30 and I can't wait until tomorrow. I am hoping that I feel better then. I am so sick of being sick and not feeling good. D is being great, getting me popscicles and listening to me moan. This sucks.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Falling out

Today is not such a great day. It started out full of energy, and I even gave a massage finally. It didn't hurt in the slightest (yippee) my fingers really are getting better. After that I showed a client a home and by then I was wiped out and came home and took a nap. It's so windy outside I don't want to run to the grocery and I don't feel that great.
About four days ago now, I noticed in the morning on my white pillow case that it was covered with hair. I have been really loving the ego booster fact that my hair was coming in. But I think its falling out. My pillow every morning since then has been covered and I can pull it out in little pinches all over my head. Oh, well. It was nice while it lasted.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For those of you without cancer..

Yesterday I spoke with a friend that is on a similar journey as I, but his cancer treatment is much more compact and brutal. We shared some hard things that only a Survivor really gets. And he said something to me that I felt that I should share once again, I know I have in earlier posts, but I thought it might be helpful to those of you that are reading this that have never had cancer and are helping take care of us along our journey. And for those of you that have not been affected by this disease, I think this could be helpful to you as well.
It is very easy in life to think you know yourself well enough to know how you will be in any one circumstance. I think we all would like to think that we know how we'd be if we got a limb cut-off, or if we lost our sight suddenly, or if we...you get the idea. But really none of us know how we would be. I can tell you that the hardest part of this journey for me was dealing with family and loved ones in my life judge me and hold me up to standards that they thought and knew that they'd react like. It was the most painful part of this journey. When all you need is love, and all you need is someone to tell you, " I have absolutely no idea what you are going through and I am not going to pretend that I do. I am here for you. I am here to listen to you." But instead, what I got was judgement from a few, and I had to gently explain myself in a time when I did not have the energy to do so. And honestly should not have been put in that position. My one prayer is to forgive these folks so that I can move on. But it is taking time.
So my suggestion is for those of you in the new role of being a friend to someone in this journey, is simple. Just listen. Don't tell them that you think you'd do something different then they are doing. Because I'll tell you what. I would have never in a million years thought I would do some of the things I have had to do, and I mean HAD to do, to get through this. Everything, was striped from me. Cancer strips every idea you once you thought you had, every memory that is attached to a feeling, ev-er-y-thing is gone. And it is up to the Survivor to get through their journey so that they can Survive. It is our journey, and our's alone.
My friend and I laughed yesterday that we watch so much TV. I rattled off the shows and times, and he said, "I'm right there with you."
When I first got diagnosed, D and I were trying to be positive and he said," Now you can learn to do the things you've wanted to learn." I thought, "Great idea. I can learn to knit." But when it came down to it, its either I am totally in the present moment. And in the present moment, you hurt, you feel really really sick, you're body is not your own, and you lay there feeling in the moment how it is to be really truely sick. And months go by, and it is too brutal to be present 24 hours a day. And really, truely alone with only your mind and your sick, sometimes hurting self, on tons of med's (which is so foreign to me).
So, I have chosen to give my mind a break, and my heart, and my flu like constant a break, to not think and watch lots of TV. I don't want to read right now, I don't want to do anything on those bad days. I want to disappear and laugh, and I get to laugh when I watch Ellen Degeneres. So, please, hold the judgements. You really have no idea what is is like to try to get through a experience like this, unless you've been there. And a bit of advice for you care-givers:
The most helpful thing you can do, is get the support you need so that you can be the support needed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting better

I have been pretty darn free of pain in my fingers this whole past week. My fingernails continue to get a nice dark purple, but they don't hurt anymore. So....My bored to death little self gets to start doing massage again. I am giving myself a few days, to get better from today's chemo that I have. I think they got better because I had a break of chemo and my body was able to process all the toxins. I am hoping that they don't start hurting again after todays treatment. But we'll see. So, I am hoping that by Sunday I'll be able to do a few before my next chemo.
My nose started bleeding again yesterday, it was nice to have a few weeks break of this. That break I had, though it didn't feel like one, did give me a break from some body side effects, which was worth the break. I am feeling really good today, and am going to go to my real estate office and hang out for a few hours, before I have to go to my eye follow up appointment and then chemo. I get to be at the doctor's offices for about seven hours today. Lots of fun.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I jumped over a hurdle yesterday, one that I've been scared to do, but I did it. I went to my first yoga class that cancerlifeline(.org) offers. It was in West Seattle at the 8 limbs studio. I was scared to feel my pain, my sadness, to be silent and listen to my heart, my feelings, my spirit. My spirit that doesn't change, that hasn't changed, that no one or nothing can change, my resilient self, and be with her. And I knew there was a lot of grieving in this place. Before I went I spoke with my friend Gen, and I said something about me being changed, a different person. And she said tentatively, not really, you're still the same. And I am. And I am not. There is the new normal, or the new me, that Survivors speak of. And I agree. And yesterday in yoga, I got to disagree too. I'll get to that moment in a second..But first
I had to walk in to the class. Up three flights of stairs, I was tired by the time I got up there. I was the only one there for a few minutes and was worried the class was not going to happen. But then the teacher came. As I introduced myself and she asked questions about my journey, I told her that I hadn't wanted to be in touch with myself since I was diagnosed. And I was going to probably cry a lot through the class. She told me that was totally fine, and to do whatever I needed to do. Some people even sleep, she said.
Sure enough, as I layed on my mat (my own mat that was being newly christened) in a room of other women that all had had cancer or were care-givers. We have all been affected by cancer. And I just bawled. I sobbed. I breathed, and sobbed. I dabbed my tears, and sobbed some more. "Heather, there you are." There you are sweet one. I was so sad. I have gone through so much, in such a little amount of time. So, we did a relaxation technique and the gentle yoga made my muscles quiver and shake as they remembered that they are supposed to be long and lean, not taught and bound. Opening, my muscles, my heart, my soul, my child in me, my scared adult, my fear, my love, my future, my present.
The one thing that drove me a little crazy was that the teacher through the entire class spoke, and she spoke of being present, and not thinking in the future. And this probably was helpful for the care givers in the class. But to me, I thought, how could a Survivor get through what we have to get through if she isn't living in the present. My yoga class was a world of difference for this one reason. I think I have really learned and gotten closer to reaching the idea of being in the present. I wanted to tell the teacher this. To tell her that she was putting fear in the room by talking about not being in the future and not worrying about the future. But I didn't. Her words got me out of the present, and so I was able to stop crying, and I just pretended that I was in a room with someone that was trying to brain wash me and I wasn't listening to her anymore. I just sank deeper into my own breath and my own stretching.
As my little body moved with the ebb and flow of my breath, I found that the fear that resided in the idea that I've heard over and over, that I will be a different person, I decided that was a bunch of balony. I am not a different person. I am still Heather, just a Heather that has grown into a deeper place of spiritual deepness. One that has had to learn to open when I didn't think I could open anymore, and be still when I didn't think I could ever be that still, and I got to grab tightly to Heathers hand yesterday. Soon, before I know it, I will be up and running again.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The weekend

Our weekend flew past us, like they always do. The insane swelling went down by Sunday. Thank God. Just walking really gave me an understanding for what it might be like to be over weight, and not want to walk because its so hard to walk. I was out of breath just walking up the stairs to our master bedroom. It took so much more energy to get up those darn stairs! I have my cute little knees back, and I can see my ankles, and life is good.
Yesterday, D needed some guitar strings so we drove to Fremont. I didn't feel well yesterday, the flu thing, so I stayed in the car. I noticed we were parked across the street from the Flying Apron Bakery and caffeine seems to give the flu symptoms a jolt, so I walked over there and got a latte. I sat out on bench and enjoyed the winter day. I sat there and remembered all the memories I've had, in Fremont. Shopping, eating, strolling after dinner to get gelato, a special day newly in love w/ D, and I couldn't help but sit there and cry. I am so emotional lately its crazy. I, someone who prided myself in the fact that I wasn't one of those people. A crier. Well, shit, I am a crier in full force now.
Of coarse when the tears start swelling, then you cry about everything else too. I wasn't sobbing, I was in public, but I had a nice river flowing down my little checks. I was just so sad that I am dealing with this. Not why me, this time. But fuck, its ME! And, shit this sucks. My little body hurts. I am so sick of feeling sick. Everyday, sick. I am so sick of it. I am sick of being sad and wishing for the day that its over. I am exhausted, and I felt sad for the exhaustion.
I thought of healthier days, and christmases in the future that I will be so thankful for a healthy busy life. A life that doesn't revolve around doctor's appointments, and one full of exercise again. I mean, I actually dream of exercising, this is how much I miss it!
D came, and we started home. I kept crying, and telling him how I felt. I asked him to drive through downtown so I could see the Macy's star and the other city lights. It sure is a beautiful star. By the time we were done with that the tears and the pitty party were over. We came home, and I felt much better and we just watched a couple of movies, and one tear jerker, Hallmark Movie on TV.
A dark thing happened to my family this past week. One that I don't really want to talk about, but that I am going to anyway because there is a point to it. My older sister's suicidal ex-husband, finally got his wish when he took his life this past week. I have been really sad for him. Sad that he didn't get the help he needed, and that makes me super sad. He was a really good man, just sick. Suicide is a strange thing. Its also funny timing, he gave his life away when I am fighting for mine. And the thought I have on this is: if he got cancer, would he have been stoked because he wouldn't have had to kill himself, because the cancer would. Or would he have been faced with the fact that he would die, and not want to die, and push through? To life. We are all born into this world with our struggles. And cancer is helping me to understand the depth of my personal struggle isn't any less than your's. Its all the same. I just wonder if John had the chance to face death if he would have in turn fought for life. Was his death a cry for help, or was he really done? I'll never get to talk to him about this and that makes me sad. I will miss him. Please no comments about this. Thanks..: )

Friday, December 5, 2008

Swollen legs

Last night my legs started feeling really weird and hard to move. I noticed that they were getting swollen. Well this morning I woke up and by mid-morning my ankles were almost the size of my calfs. My knees were huge and I could barely walk. I called my doctor and I'm on a dieuretic pill for six days. Hopefully it does the trick. I am laying in bed with my legs up and am laughing and crying off and on. I just can't believe that I keep getting all these weird side effects that don't happen all the time, but seem to happen to me. I am laughing right now. It is really weird to look at my legs. They don't even look like their mine.
Other than that, I had a pretty good day. Off to watch more TV. And dream of the not so distant future of the day that I will be done with this hell.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Aweome Day

I think I had such a great "feeling" day because my blood counts are so good. Not super "normal" good, but good for getting chemo. I had a full day of real estate. I went to two listing appointments and I did tons of errands and I feel great. Yippee!!! I am hoping that I wake up feeling good. I had a great chemo yesterday. A fellow TN sister brought me. She is 8 years out, and it was/is so encouraging being around a fellow survivor. We just yapped and yapped together and understood what each other were saying. She suggested that in the book I am going to write to have a chapter in there about husbands and how it is for them. I think this is a great idea. I haven't talked in detail in this blog about D's journey and how its been good or bad for me. But I think the book will be a great place to do that, and to interview other husbands and wives.

Today is just a short post. But I'm doing good, feel awesome, and am so thankful for this day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Comic Relief

I was reading the article in Women's Health magazine on Cancer and found a few new sights. One of them that I really liked is Planetcancer.org. I found a list of funnies and thought I'd share it.

Top 10 Worst Responses If Someone Tells You They Have Cancer

10 Other than that, how's it going?
9 This isn't going to affect my career, is it?
8 I guess there's no need to quit smoking now.
7 There are easier ways to build character, you know.
6 Oh, my aunt/cousin/grandfather died of that same cancer!
5 Be sure to wear clean underwear.
4 Just think of all the money you'll save on shampoo.
3 Cancer...is that before or after Aquarius?
2 Yeah, right, whatever.
1 It's always about you, isn't it?

I am going to ad a new one:

Why aren't you happier? You're only a stage 1!

Monday, December 1, 2008

What I miss

I miss having hair. My mother in law left a couple magazines that show all the hippest wares and do's of the season. I haven't looked at one of those magazines since the waiting room the day of my initial biopsy. Way back in May. Well. I haven't wanted to dress up in any of my fun clothes. When we were getting ready to put our house on the market, I packed away all my products for my hair and all shampoos of various scents and claims of what they do for my hair. I miss my hair. Right now, I sortof miss dressing up. But the fact is is that I have gained so much weight, I cannot fit into any of my fun clothes. And I refuse to go buy a new chemo wardrobe.
I knew I wasn't going to be allowed to get a pedicure or manicure during treatment (because of the high risk of getting an infection) and so I went and got my last french pedi and manicure in June. I have not touched my toes in months. They still look cute. Luckily they haven't gone through what my fingernails are going through. But I miss the indulgence and the self-loving of getting a pedicure. I see getting them as one of the few things I do for just myself. I miss that.
My eyes are healing from the surgery. My reddish right eye is healing. It isn't red anymore, and the skin is now coming off like it a sunburn would. They still weep a little. The doctor said it will take a while for them to totally start working correctly again. But it is already 90% better. The surgery was lightening like fast. I was in and out of the hospital within an hour and 1/2. No pain, just groggy from the surgery.

I can't wait till I feel better. I am so sick of this. Another chemo friend, that just finished wrote and said how i am feeling is how she felt. The week after her last chemo she felt like she had the flu too. I wish I didn't have that darn break now, because it wasn't a break. I never got to feel like Tigger.