Friday, October 26, 2007

The unpredictabililty of it all

Today as I sat at my make-up mirror getting ready to go get my bi-monthly chemo treatment, I noticed blood running out of my left nostril. Why is this happening now? Right before my treatment. I have dealt with the blood in the past, but over the last few weeks, I have had no problem with it. It's the unpredictability of chemo that unravels me. Well, not exactly unravels, but contributes to uncertainty and floundering.

For example, lately I can't predict whether the chemo is going to make me sick on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or not at all. Will I be tired, practically unable to move, and too sapped to go to the gym or will I feel fine and breeze through my work day and my workout? I just don't know and I just can't predict.

If I knew exactly what was going to transpire after chemo, I could prepare for it, but it's always different it seems. So there is no heading symptoms off at the pass. You just wait for them to happen and deal with them as they come.

Perhaps that's a good life lesson. Don't worry about what has not yet happened. Deal with it as it comes.

Is that even possible?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What a birthday

Wow! I racked up. I've got to come up with a disease to contract for my next birthday. This was terrific. Bob bought me, in addition to the $50 box of Fannie Mae candies, a VIDEOCAMERA. Zowie. I asked for one for Christmas, but I didn't think I'd get it for my birthday! Now, I'll have to learn how to use it, and especially how to edit what I take. I think that's the most important part of taking videos.

Also, Jennifer got me the cutest sign. Since pictures speak louder than words (really?), I'll just show it to you. Amazing that she found something like this. I just can't believe it.

Mom sent me a check; money is always handy. And Becky and Jana sent me a box of really weird stuff mixed in with good stuff, like two cowgirl shirts and a fleece jacket and a CD by Emmylou Harris called Cowgirl's Prayer that I listened to on the way to work. It's fantastic. Also, a book by Mitch Albom, the Five People You Meet in Heaven. I wonder if she's trying to tell me something.

I got lots of e-cards and some real cards too! (Thanks Susan and Michelle.)

So, not a bad haul at all. (That rhymes too.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy birthday to me

Great day so far. Bob woke me up with a wrapped present. [He didn't wrap it but it was wrapped!] A big box of Fannie Mae chocolates. Yum. I hadn't told him that I was so starved for sweets (chocolate) that I had to break into the Halloween candy. If I told him that, it would disappear. So now, after I eat a meal that usually tastes metallic, I can wash that taste right away with a piece of Fanne Mae. That rhymed.

So I brought cookies to work this morning to celebrate my birthday. I wanted to bring Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes and Snowballs, but the store didn't have them so I had to settle for Oreos and Nutter Butters. When I got here there were two presents on my desk from Kate. And a really funny card. (Eva gave me another funny card, both of them sing; one had the Chicken Dance song and Eva's had a country song on it.)

One of Kate's presents was a Cowgirl calendar that I had in fact investigated on the Web yesterday. I almost bought the exact same one. Another was a book, Final Exits, an encyclopedia about the way people die. I'm very interested in strange deaths and wanted to write a book like that myself. Now, I guess I'll have to change tacks, and write a children's book. Maybe called Everyone Dies (like Everyone Poops.)

Then, a little while letter Beth brought in two boxes of assorted bagels for my birthday and after lunch Mary brought in some more treats. So we're all groaning around here. It's been a great day.

I have three boxes waiting for me at home to open and whatever Bob got me. I don't even have a clue about what he got me. I'm going to stop and get some Thai food on the way home so he doesn't have to cook and I don't have to wash dishes. So that's my report for now.

More later.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cancer is lucrative

My birthday is coming up (Oct. 17) and cancer seems to be paying off. My brother is sending me a present from Shepler's (see photo at top left of this blog). My mom is throwing me a party in Nashville where everybody has to dress up like a cowboy (or girl). Well, she arranged it, my sister-in-laws are doing all the work I think. Bob says he's bought be a lot of presents. Jennifer sent me a big box in the mail (which I won't open until my birthday). And I just now in the mail today received a package from Becky. Wow, I think people feel kind of sorry for me and so are getting me gifts. Of course, Phyllis' e-vite invitation did say bring gifts to the party, but I don't require them. Really I don't. But I don't mind them either. I bet I get a bunch of new cowgirl stuff. That's great!

I had a white blood cell booster shot this morning. Doc didn't say my count was down, just that he wanted me to have the shot. So, I got it. This time it's making my bones feel 30 years older. And chemo has gotten to me a little yesterday and today. Not terribly. But I've been tired, and food tastes AWFUL. I can just barely stand to eat it today. I have not been hungry since this past treatment. Feeling hungry made me feel kind of normal. I liked it.

I know I only have two more treatments, but it's starting to get to me. I really want this to be over. I don't even care if I get fat now. I just want to be hungry and I want everything to taste good. I want to feel like I have energy. I want my fingers and tongue to quit burning.

I want to be normal again. Please, please, please.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm hungry all the time

Just like old times. I don't understand it. I haven't been hungry since I started chemo in June. (Except when I skipped a week in Germany.) So this is all odd to me. It's almost like life is getting back to normal even though I have three more treatments to go. I can't say I like to be hungry all the time. Because only sweets taste good. And that's fattening. I haven't gotten my taste buds back. I still can't taste anything (especially if it's bland). I know when I'm eating peanut butter because I can sort of smell and taste it. But the fuzziness on my tongue is still there, so food (except for sweet stuff) kind of gags me out. I don't know how to explain it, really.

It's odd. I suppose women who have been pregnant might be able to understand it. I've heard some foods gagged them so much that they could never return to eating them.

The problem with being hungry is that I EAT, despite not being able to taste. Yesterday, sin of all sins, I went to McDonald's and ordered the fish sandwich combo (comes with a drink and fries). I was very excited to be hungry enough to eat it. But I had to force it down finally because something about it irked me. Even the fries (which everyone loves) got to me in the end. The only thing that satisfied was the coke (because it was sweet).

So even though I am hungry, I'm not enjoying the food I eat and I'm gaining weight! Today I weighed a pound more than yesterday and yesterday I weighed a pound more than the day before.

Why is it that pounds are so slow to come off and so fast to go on. I wish Einstein were still alive and I'd ask him. I bet he would have an answer.

I'm listening to Charlotte's Web for my book on tape right now. It's charming. Can't remember if I ever even read it. Probably. Before that was Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers (fun! especially when the reader is great) and before that Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I highly recommend this book for everybody. Absolutely delightful. At home, I'm reading Only Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins. Now that one is tough. Very hippie like. Should have been an adult in the 60s to enjoy that one. But I was a kid. Oh yeah, and for my book club at church I'm reading The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg. A good book that delineates the difference between earlier (distasteful) and emerging (more open minded) Christians. At least that's my take so far.

And that's that for now. Tomorrow is chemo. Joy.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A miracle has occurred

I haven't had any bad symptoms after this last chemo. I mean, really, nothing to speak of. Not nauseated; not tired. And my white blood cell count was even down. I got the shot Monday (this is Thursday) and have had no ill effects as a result of the shot either. (I was to expect some achy-ness of the bones).

Mary, our new marketing person here, prayed for me while she was in Paris at Chappelle Notre-Dame de la Medaille Miraculeuse (or Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal). She also brought me a medal to keep with me at all times.

The story goes (loosely) that in the 1830s Sister Catherine (born Zoe Labouré to a middle-class farming family in Burgundy on May 2, 1806) saw three apparitions of the Virgin Mary. In one instance, the Blessed Virgin told her that graces would be poured out on those who prayed at the altar of the chapel. In another, Mary showed St. Catherine a design for the Miraculous Medal (which I hold). On one side of the medal is an image of Mary, surrounded by the prayer, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you." On the other side is the letter "M" with a cross over two hearts, one circled by a crown of thorns, the other pierced with a sword.

Those who carry the medal (me) will receive grace in abundance (especially if they wear it around their necks).

The third apparition was on December 30, 1830. (almost my mother's birthday, but not the year). Catherine was meditating in the chapel when she saw a vision of the medal behind the altar with rays shooting out of it and heard, "These rays are the symbol of the graces that the Blessed Virgin obtains for those who ask them of her."

So perhaps because of Mary's prayer (and others!) I received the grace of no symptoms during this treatment. And maybe because I hold the medal, I'll round the next three treatments with ease and slide into home base free not only of cancer, but of chemo's miserable side effects.

(Sorry for the baseball metaphors; the Cubs are in the playoffs.)