Tag Archives: friends

Survivor Guilt

Survivor Guilt. This is such a common phenomenon among those of us who face a serious, life-threatening disease.

I have known so many friends and friends of friends who have passed away of cancer since I was diagnosed. It is a tragic side effect of putting yourself out there, of making friends with others within the cancer community, of sharing your disease and experiences with others.

It never fails that I don’t feel guilty when a friend passes away and I am still here, living and enjoying my life. It is difficult to face their families. In the back of my mind, and sometimes in the front of my mind, I am positive that the family or friends of the one who has gone before us are thinking, “Why are you still here when our loved one is not? Why couldn’t it have been you that succumbed instead of my brother, sister, mom, best friend?”

This is a strange phenomenon that happens to many of us who are fighting for our own lives. I have heard many other people who are battling cancer talk about feeling guilty for still being alive after watching a friend or family member succumb to a similar disease.

Why? I’m not sure what the answer is to that!

How many healthy people do you know that feel guilty because you have cancer? Or because a loved one passed away? They’re sad, of course. But, they aren’t often wondering why it wasn’t them that got diagnosed with the disease or that passed away instead.

Recently, I was at a dear friend’s funeral. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and, sadly, passed away only two months later. He had kids, including one son who has mental challenges who lived with him. It just seemed so darn unfair that this insidious disease had robbed him of his life and his family of their loved one.

I told one of his daughters that I felt guilty that I was here and he wasn’t. She was astounded that I would feel that way. And, she quickly tried to assuage my guilt. While in my mind, all of his family was wondering why it couldn’t have been me who passed on … I’d had my time …, nothing could have been further from the truth.

Healthy people don’t wonder why someone else didn’t die instead of their loved one. They mourn the death of their loved one, but they don’t wish death on someone else instead.

My friend’s daughter told me she wanted me to keep on living, to keep on advocating on behalf of lung cancer patients everywhere. And, most of all, she wanted me to lose the unfounded guilt I was feeling for still being alive.

That’s advice for every person who feels guilty for surviving when someone else did not. Honor the one who passed away by living your own life well. And, whatever you do, don’t add to your burden by feeling guilty for living when someone else didn’t.

 

 

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, Y’all!!

I want to share The Twelve Days of Christmas with you. My friend Rose, her husband Vic, and I went to see the amazing display at the Dallas Arboretum on Wednesday night. If you have followed my blog much, you know that the Arboretum is one of my favorite places to go. I love to go and spend time in the gorgeous, no matter the season.

My beautiful friend Rose. Isn’t her name appropriate? She is definitely as lovely as a rose.

But, it is especially special at Christmas, when you can enjoy the extravagant display of The Twelve Days of Christmas. When I can go with friends, so much the better!!

Despite the popularity of the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, I must confess that I can never remember the lyrics. In case you are like me, I will post them here, along with some photos I took. Truthfully, it is a song I never liked much, but I love the display at the Arboretum. I hope you will too!

Merry Christmas 2017

The Christmas extravaganza at the Dallas Arboretum made its debut in 2014. I keep wondering how much longer it will be displayed. Because I never know if this will be the last year it will be seen, I try to see it with new eyes every time I go. I have shown you pictures in blogs from visits I made to the display in past years.

Ho-Ho-Ho

The $1.6 million display took two years to complete. You will see why when you see some of the detail in the of the exhibition.

Santa Claus made his debut this year (or, at least, it is the first time I have seen him). That’s what is so fascinating about the Arboretum. No matter how often I go, I always find new things to enjoy.

In addition to the twelve 25-foot Victorian-style gazebos that house the Twelve Days of Christmas displays, there are 500,000 lights illuminating the park and a 30-foot tall tree is found in the center of the property.

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Still here!!

Despite best laid plans, it has been a long time since I wrote a post. It isn’t because i have been too ill that I haven’t been here. I have been too busy living life! Praise God for miracles … and thanks to modern day medicine.

I will be getting Opdivo infusion #97 on Monday. Wow!!! It won’t be too long before we get to throw a centennial celebration! I wish i was better at planning parties, because that 100th infusion of immunotherapy will certainly be worthy of celebration!

I am writing this on my tablet. Unfortunately,  i don’t think i have access to many of my photos. The reality is that i haven’t really taken lots of pictures lately. Occasionally,  i pull out my phone to capture a memory, but i haven’t taken my good camera out in search of subjects of interest in quite some time. I need to rectify that one of these days!

Today, we celebrate the anniversary of Divo and Espy, the twin kitties, coming to live with us. They have been the perfect additions to our family. Cotton tries to terrorize them on occasion, but mostly, they ignore her. Divo is named for the drug that is keeping me alive. Espy is short for Esperanza,  Spanish for Hope. I usually have trouble thinking of names for my 4-legged family members, but these two were easy!

Speaking of 4-legged family members, Cotton, an 8-year-old American Eskimo Dog, and Barney, my 7-year-old Sheltie (Shetland Sheep Dog), continue to add joy to my life. The three of us play dog agility together. I credit them with helping keep me alive. They have ensured that i get a lot of exercise and that i have much to focus on besides the fact that I have cancer. They are not just my teammates, by any means, but it has been incredible playing a sport with them.

As for my health, i have suffered a couple of set backs in recent months. At my last scan, i developed a severe allergy to the iodine contrast they give me. I thought i was having some kind of strange and misplaced panic attack as I could not catch my breath. I was really embarrassed that i would be having such a reaction after having many, many scans since my cancer was diagnosed. So, i didn’t tell anyone how I was feeling.

Fortunately,  when i went to the cancer clinic to have my port deaccessed, it was immediately evident that i was having problems. The chemo nurse quickly diagnosed it as an allergic reaction and got benedryl and lots of liquids into me right away.

It was touch and go for an hour or so (i didn’t realize until later how deadly an allergic reaction can be), but i was much better after several hours. I won’t be getting the iodine contrast in the future unless absolutely necessary. Now that we know i have severe reactions to it these days, i will be pre- and post-medicated before i am ever given the solution again. Whew!! That was pretty scary. Thankfully, it was scarier after i was all better and was reading about it than it was when i was actually going through. I had complete faith that the care team had everything under control, and they did!

More recently, my blood test results showed i might have developed moderate kidney disease. I was really scared by those results because i would have to quit Opdivo if one of my organs started failing. I really thought I might have come to the end of the race after beating the odds for the last 4-plus years.

My oncologist told me i needed to increase my electrolytes before my next appointment. We needed to see if my kidneys could be rehydrated and begin functioning properly again. (I never realized they were not functioning as they should. There was no pain, blood, lack of urine production … the only indicators were screwed up levels of creatinine, LD, and eGFR, as shown by my blood tests.)

Several of my friends and my son bounced into action. They know i am a procrastinator. To combat that, they brought me foods that would help raise electrolytes, all kinds of drinks to try, and provided unbelievable support (sometimes in the form of mother-henning me to ensure I was drinking enough to get those kidneys hydrated). I can’t begin to say how grateful I am to have friends and family who really do care and go to great lengths to try to make sure i stay among the living.

My care team, my friends and family, and I were holding our breath as we waited on the blood test results at my next visit (i go every 2 weeks). I was a little nervous since we had had a 3-day Memorial Day agility trial where i had played hard, worked hard, and done plenty of sweating. Had I drunk enough water and Gatorade to keep my kidneys happy?

My oncologist, nurse practitioner, researcher, and I had a small celebration when the results were in. When you go to the doctor every two weeks for four years, the staff become friends. We were all elated to see that my creatinine level was just above what is considered normal. Close enough … and going DOWN, not continuing up!! Whew!!!

Fortunately for me, my friends won’t let me rest on those good results and return to life as it was before. I am still being brought different sports drinks to try and i am strongly encouraged to keep drinking them. I am one lucky girl to have such awesome and caring friends.

So, despite a couple of scares, my life is full. It mostly revolves around activities with my dogs and my agility friends, but i have recently been fortunate enough to be interviewed for several articles that will be coming out soon about lung cancer and immunotherapy. In August, i get to return to Chicago for a summit on immunotherapy. I am looking forward to that! I had a fabulous time when i was there last time. This time, i will have an opportunity to visit with a friend who lives there before i go to the Summit. I am looking forward to both very much.

So, here’s to living life!!!  Cancer is part of it, but certainly not all of it.

A Grateful Heart

It seems strange to be fighting Stage IV lung cancer and still talking about being grateful. But, grateful I am. For so very, very much.

Faith

First and foremost, I am grateful for my faith. Without the knowledge and belief that there was something more, something that comes after this life, I think I would be bereft. Instead, I believe this earth is temporary for us all (a belief all should hold since surely no one disputes that we all die at one point). Heaven is our reward. It is our final home. Imagine the moment in your life when you have felt the most loved and content … now imagine living like that forevermore.

I don’t want to die. I’m not ready to leave my family and my beloved dogs behind. But, when I go, I am going somewhere far superior to here!

 

Family

I am blessed. My family is small, but we all love one another. We don’t get to see our grandchildren any longer, so there are just my mom (who at 85.5 years still plays bridge several times every single week), my brother, my husband, and my son in my immediate family. I also am blessed to have some cousins that I am close to and whose company I enjoy immensely. I think my cancer has brought us closer. It has certainly encouraged us to make the effort to get together. We might not have otherwise actually followed through and done so.

I consider Cotton and Barney a very vital part of my family. They bring me great joy every single day.

 

 

 

Friends

I can be sad, sometimes, because I feel like people I considered friends before I was diagnosed have moved on and left me behind. They remember me on occasion, but mostly, I am in their past. That hurts. But, it makes sense. I would be guilty of doing the same. We can’t be expected to quit living our own lives because someone among us can no longer keep up. But, when you are the someone who can’t keep up, it causes pain. I try to distance myself from Facebook most of the time so that I am less aware of all that is going on that I am no longer included in.

On the plus side, I have made some of the most awesome friends ever since I was diagnosed. I would not have become friends with some of the people if not for the cancer. Some new friends are others who are in this club that no one wants to join. No one except someone else who is fighting cancer can fully understand what it is like. I’m not sure that even someone else with cancer truly understands what a colleague is going through. For instance, I don’t understand people that wallow in self-pity and that concentrate on the problems they face rather than looking at the positives. They are so miserable and unhappy. In my own opinion, they are letting cancer win the battle while they still have life.

It is highly, HIGHLY likely that I will ultimately die from my cancer. (Hopefully, it won’t be real soon.) But, right now, I am alive. I feel pretty darn good. I don’t have the stamina that I probably would if I wasn’t in this fight for my life, but I have a lot of willpower. Where my stamina lets me down, my willpower often takes over. Cancer teaches you, if you will let it, to enjoy every single moment. A flower takes on new beauty. A fragrance is breathed more deeply. The wonders of God (the sky, the mountains, trees, babies… the list is endless) are so very precious and magnificent and appreciated in ways that they never were before. The joy of being with friends (two and four legged) is that much greater because you appreciate that these times may be limited.

 

 

 

Life is different now than it was before I was diagnosed with cancer. There’s an innocence that is lost when you get that diagnosis. You learn you are a whole lot more vulnerable than you realized. It doesn’t just happen to others. Nope, it can and it did happen to you.

But, if I were asked to honestly respond with whether I would change anything about my existence, I think I would say “no.” I have learned so very much about myself and about others on this journey. I don’t think I would trade that.

I learned that I am strong. Much stronger than I ever imagined.
I learned that I am resilient. I can withstand a hard knock.
I learned that happiness comes from within. We spend way too much time looking for happiness in all of the wrong places.
I learned that there are some really fabulous people in this world. And I am blessed to have some of them in my life.
I learned that some people are acquaintances that I enjoy but that I can’t count on. This has been a really hard and painful lesson.
I learned that a kind word, a phone call, a card, any simple gesture can make a day. And, I hope I have learned to be more generous with those gestures myself.

 

Catching Up

Surprise!

So … I am one of those people who do not go to the doctor. Ever. It just isn’t something I’m willing to do. For any reason.

But, one fateful day in October 2012, I decided it was time to go for a physical. Why? Because I kept getting bigger and bigger and I was just certain that I had thyroid issues. I am very active – I have two wonderful dogs (you’ll hear lots more about them!) that I do agility with. I was in class three nights a week and most weekends would find me at agility trials where I not only ran my dogs, but also worked in the rings throughout the day. Nevertheless, my stomach grew and grew and grew and I finally was fed up with it. So, I found a doctor that took my insurance and waited for a new patient appointment to become available.

I chose my doctor based on her name — Dr. Donna Casey — because she (1) had a good ranking with Blue Cross-Blue Shield, (2) took my ChampVA insurance, and (3) shared the same name as a friend with whom I worked.  Best decision I have made in a long, long time was making an appointment with Dr. Casey.

When I arrived at her office at the end of October, she asked some questions and then did an exam. I nearly forgot to mention a knot I had found on my collarbone … but she had discovered it already anyway. Since I was a former smoker, she had already asked me if I wanted to have lung x-rays. Since I had quit 4-5 years previously, I thought it might be a good idea to see how much damage I had done over the years. After she discovered several knots around my collarbone, she suggested a CT scan might be in order. Her office made an appointment for me to have the scans that same day.

The scans were not clear like I expected them to be. When Dr. Casey called, she said they showed that I have emphysema, which for some reason really didn’t bother me much, and that there was some other activity that we needed to look at further. Believe it or not, I was far more concerned with what my thyroid test said – I was still far more concerned about the weight gain than errant cell activity. That changed some when the doctor started talking about having biopsies or a PET scan. I had no earthly idea what a PET scan was, but a little research revealed that a positron emission tomography is a test that is primarily used to diagnose (1) heart disease, (2) dementia, (3) epilepsy, or (4) cancer.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that Dr. Casey was worried that I had some form of cancer. If you can hope for a kind of cancer, I hoped it would be some sort of lymphoma. What I absolutely didn’t want it to be was lung cancer – especially since my dad died from lung cancer at only 49 years of age back in the mid-70’s. But, we don’t always get what we want.

After the PET scan was done and interpreted, Dr. Casey called with the the bad news. I had lung cancer. She had already made me an appointment with an oncologist for the next day.

It was Dr. Lalan Wilfong at Texas Oncology who got to tell me and my husband Robert that I had stage 4 lung cancer. There was a spot in the left lung, a great deal of involvement of lymph nodes in the lungs, and tumors in the lymph nodes at my collarbone on the right side. It is inoperable. And, there is too much involvement for radiation. Our only option: chemotherapy.

Chemo #1
Things moved quickly once the cancer was diagnosed. It is a fast-moving cancer so the quicker chemo could begin, the quicker we could try to halt its progress. The average lifespan for people with this lung cancer is only 1-1/2 years. I’m only 59 years old and I have a lot of living I still plan to do so I surely do hope to beat those terrible odds.

I pranced into chemo for the first time – ready to go! Let’s get “lit up” and start fighting back against this insidious, but oh-so-silent, disease. It took most of the day by the time we visited with the doctor, got insurance straight, and got the actual chemo. (It may mean something to some people to know which drugs I am getting: carboplatin, pemetrexed, and avastin. The chemo nurse told me they were the latest, the best, and very expensive. I have no idea!) We did a short video of me getting ready to start the chemo. I was going to do a documentary. Maybe I still can via this blog.




My 82-year-old mom and my husband Robert accompanied me to my treatment. Mom sat through the whole thing. Robert doesn’t sit well so he comes and goes throughout the experience. The infusion room was an interesting place – there were all ages of people sitting in the chairs getting chemo. Some people had hair; some didn’t. Some used ports and others, like me, got their treatments intravenously. Surprisingly, the vast majority of people receiving chemo were women. What’s up with that?

It was fairly unremarkable to receive chemo. I didn’t feel good or bad during the infusion. I felt just fine when it was over. There is really no need for me to have accompaniment – other than it makes those who sit with you feel better that you’re not alone. I’m such a loner that it honestly wouldn’t bother me to sit there and play on my tablet or phone or just rest, but that’s not how it is going to be.

Pregnant?

Not really, but you would think so based on my appetite since I have started chemo. I don’t want soup or bland foods. Oh no!! I want Mexican food or chicken fried steak or roast beef and mashed potatoes. And, whatever it is that my mind gleans on that day, I nearly obsess over it! My poor husband has been such a trouper as we go from one thing to the next, satisfying my latest cravings. Yeah, I’m not losing much weight as I undergo chemo. That belly is still at least as large as it was before. That makes me sad.

Well, the day of chemo and the first day thereafter, I felt just fine. I popped up out of bed on the day after, walked my dogs like I always do and got ready and went to work. I was full of pep and energy until around noon. At that time, fatigue set in. I left the office a little early and came home. I had really hoped to go to agility practice that night, but I was way too tired for that.

I missed the next couple of days at work (Thursday and Friday). I was in bed the entire time. No eating. No drinking. Just sleeping. With my Sheltie, my Barney boy, cuddled right up beside me the entire time. I loved having him lay right up against my body. It was like I could nearly feel the heat of his body pulling cancer out of me. Of course, there’s me… Worrying that if his body is pulling the cancer out of me, I sure hope it is not pulling it INTO him! That would never do.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t get to agility practice that first week after chemo. I had the desire, but I sure did not have the get-up-and-go needed. But, when I got up on Saturday morning, I was determined to go to class. I did not feel good enough to go, but I got dressed and off we went. Robert went too, in case I couldn’t drive home.

It took everything I had to run those courses that day, but Barney and Cotton each got a couple of runs around the agility field. It was as exhilarating as it was exhausting. If you haven’t had chemo, there is no way to understand the fatigue that sets in. I could literally barely drag myself and Cotton and Barney to the car after I threw in the towel on practice.

Robert drove us home. We nearly made it home before I got sick, but he had to pull over and let me throw up. We got home and I had diarrhea. But, after that, I felt good again.

The next couple of weeks went fine. Unless I overdid it at work. Which I was sometimes prone to do. One Friday I so overworked my tired body that I was nearly dead in my tracks. Robert and I went to eat in Rockwall and I could barely make myself eat. Still, I drove home. And fell asleep while waiting on a turn arrow. Thank goodness Robert was in the car with me and could wake me up! I was really only dozing, but it wouldn’t have taken much for me to go into a full-fledged sleep right there in the turn lane! That’s tired!

Since it was December, a lot of our agility classes were canceled due to the holidays. We managed to make a couple of Saturday DAWG classes and one Thursday class at Dallas Dog Sports. The dogs and I had a blast at all of the classes – I do love agility! And so do they! It is great exercise and such a fun way to play with my beloved dogs. And, the people – you just won’t meet finer.

My attitude has remained positive. I am not really afraid. I usually don’t feel like it isn’t fair that I have cancer. (Who smoked? Me! Not that I think I deserve to be sick, but I guess my attitude is more like, “Why not me?”) Sometimes when everyone starts talking about their trial results and I have been too ill or tired to go, I am sad that I didn’t get to go play with my dogs and friends, too. The competitive side of me hates to see us fall behind in earning those qualifying scores and titles. But really? If that’s all life is, I think I may need to be re-examining my values a bit.

Some Surprises

Being diagnosed with cancer brings some interesting insights into who your friends are. People who you thought were your good friends and that you would have done (and did) a lot for are not necessarily those that are there for you. And, then there are those that you liked but didn’t consider close friends who are more than there for you – who are willing to do anything and everything for you. Sort of makes you pause and say a little prayer of gratitude – for the insight and for the wonderful, wonderful friends who are there for you not just when you can do for them, but when you can’t. Those who remember you even if you are not physically where they are. Those who understand that it is hard NOT to be able to do the same things as they enjoy when you, too, enjoy it so much. Yep, I’m getting a bit maudlin so I believe we will move on from here!!! Wallowing in self-pity is ugly, no matter who is doing it. I have no patience for it – from myself or anyone else.

I have actually worked at maintaining a bright and cheerful attitude and I don’t dwell on being sick or require (or ask) that anyone else feels sorry for me. What I want to is to still be able to laugh and have a great time and for no one to feel uncomfortable around me because I have cancer and I may be dying.

Truthfully, we’re all dying with every breath we take. Some of us may have fewer breaths to take. If that’s me – well, I want the breaths I have to count!!!! I want to have fun and enjoy what life has to offer. Otherwise, why bother to go on living?

On the other hand, I do expect that people show a little respect for my weakened condition. The chemo makes me very susceptible to disease. If you are sick, please do not knowingly share my breathing space. You feel bad when you are fighting an infection or the flu; I could end up in the hospital or worse if I catch it. If you know you are going to be somewhere that I was planning to go, just let me know you are not feeling well, but are going to be wherever. I can and will stay home so that you can keep your plans.

Off of that soapbox and back to my surprising friends. Some of my friends have just been remarkable and deserve special recognition. It is scary to start recognizing people because inevitably, I will leave someone out and the very last thing I would ever want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. Because I appreciate the friends who have offered to do things and been rebuffed by me and the friends who post little “I’m thinking about you” or “You are in my prayers” comments on Facebook. Those reminders that people care mean all of the world to me. So, so special.

Sally from work just can’t do enough. She brings us food, food, food and so much love and concern. Sally and another friend from work, Cindy, are my chemo angels. They bought me a wonderful bag, pjs that I wear every night, socks, lotions, lip creams, the list goes on and on and on.

My friend Ann too has been there for me. Getting up early to walk with me so I don’t have to walk by myself, bringing me good food to eat, willing to do anything and everything.

Charlene brought me a warm, cozy jacket, socks, a blanket – so many things – even goodies for the dogs – wow! Just so much thoughtfulness. I often wonder if I would be so generous and thoughtful if it was them instead of me. It causes me to really think and reflect on that because I now know personally just how much small gestures mean – even a relatively simple “how are you doing” post on Facebook.

Get Well from Run As One Agility

Last but far from least – I just have to recognize Ed and Run as One Agility. I was signed up to do an agility trial but had to cancel because I was just not in good enough shape to go after chemo. Ed took a picture of me and my dogs and had everyone at the trial sign it. Framed it and brought it all the way over to me. It hangs in an honored spot in my house. I hadn’t cried much over my diagnosis (then or since), but I certainly did cry when I opened the package. Wow. I’ll have to get a picture of it posted here.

 

And, then there are my agility friends who will be with me on Sunday, Jan 6, at the Run as One trial. Some of them signed up for the first time ever for a NADAC trial so that they could be there to support Run as One since they supported me and to be there with me. What can you say??? What can I say? It is overwhelming and so very special.

Chemo #2

The three weeks between chemo treatments dragged in some ways but sped by in others. In some ways, you want to keep those chemicals flowing in your body. The cancer is pretty rampant in my body and if the chemo can stop it in its tracks, then lets keep the chemicals there!!! On the other hand, it is just about the time that you start feeling pretty good for a good portion of the day that the time to “get lit up” returns.

I’d been told that every successive treatment is worse – the impact is cumulative. That makes sense. Each treatment takes you down more and more. Knowing how I felt during the worst times after Chemo #1 surely does not make me look forward to experiencing that again, but on a grander scale. I was upbeat, but not quite so bouncy when I returned to Texas Oncology on December 27 for my second treatment.

I had blood tests and a brief visit with Dr. Wilfong before going back to the infusion room. My blood tests came back great. It is so ironic that I am so extremely healthy except that I have this terrible disease that wants to kill me off sooner rather than later. My blood pressure is fine. My blood sugars are great. The only pills I take are folic acid (for some reason it is needed due to the chemo) and Vitamin D3 pills. I give myself a monthly B-12 shot. My first-ever mammogram came back completely clear; the first pap test in over 10 years was clear … I am very nearly the picture of health.

I had been monitoring the tumors on my neck and felt like they were smaller. Yeah, so small that I could no longer feel them! But, sometimes hope can play tricks on you so I wasn’t counting on the accuracy of my self-exams.

Great news! Dr. Wilfong couldn’t feel those tumors either! In fact, the first chemo treatment shrank them to the point that they cannot be felt. Maybe they are gone altogether. I sure do hope so! Even more, I hope that those masses of tumors in the lymph nodes in my lungs have responded in kind. Now THAT would be the absolute best news I have had in a long, long time.

So, knowing that the chemotherapy is working, I returned to the infusion room with Mom and Robert and lots of other women (and only a few men again). I had a great chemo nurse this time – I wasn’t fond of the first one. Neither of them have been all that forthcoming, but at least this one was friendlier and she definitely knew how to get an IV going without hurting you.

My chemo nurse commented on how soft my skin is. I have extremely dry skin and use lots of lotion. If you want some of the best skin cream around, you can make it yourself for a very low price. It works! Go to the local Family Dollar store and buy their brand of baby lotion, Vitamin E cream, and petroleum jelly. Mix it all together and slather it on after showers or whenever. Despite having the petroleum jelly in it, it is not greasy. (Here’s the recipe.)

After the chemo treatment was complete, Mom, Robert and I went to eat at El Fenix and then Robert and I came on home. As with the first treatment, I felt fine the remainder of the day and was okay on the next day as well. Even on the third day I managed to vacuum all of the downstairs and do a little bit of dusting (not nearly enough). I didn’t deep clean by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact that I could clean at all was remarkable to me (especially when you consider how much I hate to clean house).

But, the end arrived for feeling fine. The next couple of days were terrible.

Barney, the great comforter

I was so nauseated. The nausea pills didn’t work at all so I quit taking them. I didn’t want to eat or drink. I could drink ginger ale but nothing else. And it wouldn’t necessarily stay down. I stayed on the loveseat with my precious Barney right with me – usually on top of me.

 

I felt dehydrated but the thought of drinking anything made me queasy. I could eat on occasion… One friend posted on Facebook how she was going to have tomato soup and grilled cheese – comfort food – that’s what I fixed for myself too. Doesn’t necessarily sound like food for a queasy stomach, but it tasted good!

I kept a pot right beside me so that I didn’t have to try to make it to the bathroom or kitchen. I hate being sick. H-A-T-E it! I start wondering if this is really worth it. Being this sick is just no fun at all.

And then one day, not so many days later, you wake up and you’re back among the living! It feels so good to feel good again!!! You’re so glad that you feel good again that your first inclination is to overdo it. Which sets you back ever so slightly. It has been great having chemo during Christmas vacation – I haven’t had to worry about calling in sick or anything. On the other hand, I hate that my entire Christmas vacation has been nearly “wasted” with trying to feel better. Sometimes, I guess you just can’t make me happy!!! 🙂 I know I am dreading the holidays drawing to an end. But that is not something new. Even when I wasn’t sick, I dreaded giving up my free time and returning to work.

So, here it is, Thursday – one week since I had my last treatment. I feel pretty good, though I did take a long nap today and haven’t exerted myself much (at all). I was wishing we had agility class tonight but I don’t think we do. I sure do plan to be at class on Saturday. And, on Sunday, Cotton and Barney and I get to go to Terrell to play agility at the Run as One NADAC trial. I am so excited!! I signed up for 7 runs and I sincerely doubt that I’ll be up to that many runs. I imagine that I’ll be too slow to make time – NADAC times are very fast – but I bet I have a blast. It has been over a month since I have been to a trial. I hope I can do it!

This catches us up. I’m going to try to keep this updated on a fairly regular basis. Even if no one reads it, it will be a great journal for me! I’ll try to make it more interesting with more pictures and stuff when I start updating it regularly.