Wednesday, November 21, 2007

People have asked me

if I am going to continue this blog since I'm no longer on chemo. The answer is: I don't know. The blog was mostly about keeping friends and families up on what was happening with me without having to detail it out individually. It was a time saver. A voice saver.

Other than cancer and chemo, I guess I live a rather bland life. Like most of you, I go to work, work, come home from work, go to the gym or walk the dogs or ride my stationery bicycle or sit in front of the television and veg out. Then I go to bed and read for a few minutes before I fall asleep holding my book. I might wake up with a jolt with my book in my hands or Bob might nudge me and say, "Terri, you're asleep." How he knows, I'm not sure. But usually I am.

I'm a pretty good sleeper I think. At least I fall asleep easily. Lately in menopause, I wake up more frequently, probably because of the hot flashes. But I don't seem to get night sweats anymore. So perhaps I've graduated to the next level.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Bob and I are going to saunter down (or up) the street to a friend's house who throws a Thanksgiving feast every year for misfits like us who have no where to go. It's always a great party. You never know who might be there. Many of them are wacky, which makes the party even more interesting. We can have a few glasses of wine without worrying about driving. When the party ends, we just get on our feet and stagger home.

Friday, we're going to the circus. Barnum and Bailey. I think this might be the first time I've ever gone to a circus. I don't have any memory of ever having been to one. I guess my parents didn't want to take five kids (already a circus) to a circus. Makes sense.

Anway, the answer is I don't know if I'll keep blogging. We'll see. I should do video blogs. They're kind of fun, but they take forever to load.

Friday, November 9, 2007

It is finished.

It's all over but the symptoms!

My anxiety is palpable

I had to walk around the house in circles breathing deeply in and out before I could force myself to walk to the car for my last treatment. Sure, this is the final one, and in two to three weeks, I'm going to be normal, but that doesn't lessen the fear of the symptoms that will surely come.

I didn't take my half Valium, but I probably should. It always calms me down some, but it also makes me ignore the blog. Because the pill makes me feel normal, I don't feel compelled to blog.

I'm sitting in the hall waiting to get my blood drawn. The final stick into my port. Next, I'll visit the doctor and he'll tell me I'm doing great. Congratulate me maybe on making it to the final treatment and let me know what comes next (I hope.) Oops hold on, I'm being called in to get my blood drawn.

OK, that's done. Ouch. The stick hurt a little this time. Probably cause I was sans Valium. The nurse said she always feels like she's driving a nail into somebody's chest when she sticks the needle into the port. Well, that about conjures it I guess.

Next, I see the doctor but I have to wait awhile to make sure the blood work is processed. So I'm looking around the waiting room and I see some of the regulars. An elderly women I went through chemo orientation with. She doesn't remember me, but I have a good memory for faces (not names, unfortunately, but at least I can say Hi to a person I've seen before). There's a lady with a red sequined baseball hat on. She doesn't look like she's lost her hair so maybe it's a fashion statement. I might think so if she didn't have on a royal blue velor sweat suit. There are at least three people in wheelchairs. Wonder why. Theres someone with a mask on. Nobody's really smiling except the woman who just rammed her husband's (or brother or friend's) wheelchair into the side of a chair. And that's more of a crooked, embarrassed smile. Not a happy smile like I should have.

I think I'll upload this later in the day. I'm going to read my Anne Lamott book, Traveling Mercies. It's a St. Helena's book club book and I have to lead the discussion on it. Not quite sure how I'm going to do that; it's sort of a collection of disparate essays. They connect in some ways, but not entirely. It's fantastic though. This will be my second time reading it.

Well, it's 3 p.m.; I've been here since 10:30 and I'm not hooked up to chemo yet. I saw the doctor, who said I wouldn't need another white blood cell shot, but was concerned that my red blood cells were "big." I asked if that meant I had more cancer and he said, "Oh no, it's probably a result of the chemo, but it could mean a vitamin B-12 deficiency." I can live with that. So I was off to get more blood work. I checked in to chemo at about 12:30 and have waited until now to get a pink chair. At least I got most of my book read.

I've taken my nausea medicines, but haven't actually gotten hooked up to my chemo, which takes two hours. I'm ready now. I have to go home and eat nachos and watch a movie. I probably won't get home until 6. Dogs are going to be really hungry. This has taken longer than usual, which probably means I won't get my pump taken out until a little later on Sunday. So the finish line might be later in coming.

I've got my CAT scan appointment Dec. 4 at 7:30. I see the doctor on Dec. 12 and should get the port out shortly after that if my tests all look good. Doc indicated I didn't need another colonoscopy for awhile. He didn't believe it would really show anything. But he said he would "think about it."

So I'm signing off. I'm now hooked up, so I'm going to watch a Netflix movie.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My heart is jumping

for joy. I go to my last, very last chemo treatment tomorrow. I am just so excited that I'll be able to enjoy the holidays, meaning I can taste my food and I'll feel good and I won't have a chemo pump hooked up to me any more.

I will not miss:
My hairy tongue
My runny nose
My tingly fingers
My thinning eyelashes
My unpredictable pooping
Feeling pooped out
Enjoying only sweets
Getting stuck with a two-inch needle in my port
My port

I will miss:
The concern
The nice nurses
The chemo Fridays off (well not off really, but waking up later and reading the newspaper and drinking coffee)
The ability to eat anything I want knowing I'll be sick enough after chemo to loose the few pounds I gain when I'm feeling good
My pants fitting loosely

Tomorrow is the day. The last day. I'm thrilled. The end really did come.

Thank God.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh, I forgot

to show you a photo of what I would have looked like had my hair fallen out and I needed a wig.

For more cowgirl party pictures, click here.


What a great birthday celebration I had in Nashville this past Friday. I scored with some great gifts again. This was really not a landmark birthday. I turned 51. But I think my mother was worried I wouldn't be around for the next birthday, so she thought she would make me feel special. And I did. Two sis-in-laws sponsored the party and my Mom paid for the dinner of ribs, chicken and fixin's. Everybody dressed like a cowboy or cowgirl, and they seemed to really get into it. I did have one nephew and wife come as a redneck cowpoke, but aren't they attractive? (See photo above right.) I actually have a good looking family. Everybody looked pretty darned good in their duds. (Bob is not in many of the photos because he took them.)

It was a terrific weekend in Nashville. The weather was gorgeous. We had a little picnic outside a local winery near my brother's house on Saturday. And Sunday we just lounged around (I skipped church!) and then went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant.

Coming up this Friday is my final chemo treatment. Hallelujah!!! Unless you've been through it, you just can't imagine how thrilled I'm going to be to put an end to all this. (Not a literal end; like I said before, I plan on living quite a few years past my 51st birthday!)

Here's a photo of my four brothers and sisters, my mom and Dad. From left to right: Doug, Jennifer, Daddy, Terri, Becky Jimmy and mom out front. (You can click on the photos to make them a little bigger.)