Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bye Bye hair....

So tomorrow is my 4th treatment, and things are going well. I am definitely losing my hair though. It's been slightly annoying because there is hair EVERYWHERE! It's not coming out in clumps, but rather it's thinning out all over. At least I have some hats done that I can wear, because my head is cold! I know that they said it would be, but you don't realize how much heat your hair holds in until it's gone. Ah well. Now I have an excuse to wear funky hats! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Creativity is Flowing

So far things are going very well. We welcomed spring this week, and as such, my allergies are going nuts. My nose hasn't stopped running for two days, and I just don't have the energy to try and catch it. Recently I have been spending a lot of time with yarn. A friend of mine is a portrait photographer and has many newborn clients. She approached me and asked if I could make her some hats and props for her shoots. Well I have gone nuts! I have been crocheting and knitting away and have made some beautiful pieces. I'm really enjoying the individuality of each one and the fact that they are so tiny and cute doesn't hurt either. All this creative work got me thinking about how happy doing something creative makes me, and how happy it makes other people. It's a conversation starter, a frustration release, a sense of accomplishment, a piece of yourself in a tangible object. And then I thought about myself, the cancer patient, and how I was using my creative process to help me work through this tough time. It gives me something to talk about, it gives me my release of frustration, it makes me feel that I actually got something done, and each piece I make has a piece of my heart with in that I can share with others. This is where the idea starts, and as I build it, and think about it, and talk about it, it grows more and more powerful and meaningful. I'm working on a project to join crafting and cancer patients. I have a friend who worked for a non-profit for a while, and he's going to help me with any questions I have. I'm hoping to be able to get things started soon. I can't wait to share my creative outlet with other cancer patients, and hopefully bring them some of the benefits I have experienced. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Treatment 3 - Quick and Painless

My third treatment round has, so far, gone off without a hitch. My Portacath is healed over and no longer sore, and I amazingly still have my hair (so much for all those hats). My dad took me to treatment this time because my lovely husband had a cold and didn't want to infect everyone else there. It was a quiet morning up there, but it was nice to just sit and relax (and try and get some knitting done on my poor grandmother's now very belated Christmas gift). My chemo drugs came up from the lab quickly, and the nurse, Kristen, got me started right away. I'm still totally loving the Portacath. It is so much quicker and easier, not to mention almost completely painless. Things went smoothly and I was done and out in under 4 hours. So far the weekend has been good. I'm feeling good and I've been able to cut down on the extra anti-nausea meds by not taking extra Ativan each day. The nice thing about not taking the extra meds is that I have much more energy (Ativan makes me drowsy), and much less dizziness (the side effect of every single one of the anti-nausea drugs). If this keeps up, I think I'll be quite ok for the next few months. I have one more treatment before my next scan to see how my body is responding to the chemo. My appointments are all scheduled, and I'm ready to find out if I'm actually healing as well as I feel like I am. I really hope that I can stay on the treatment I'm on and not have to switch to a more toxic regimen. For now I'm focusing on how good I'm feeling and how much crafting I'm getting done. Now if only I could focus my attention on organizing my house. Spring is here! Time to clean out the unnecessary and organize the rest. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hats galore!

In preparation for my hair to fall out, I started making myself some hats. I have become addicted to crocheting hats at the moment, however my hair has yet to fall out, so we'll see if I end up needing them all. I actually taught myself how to crochet by watching Youtube videos, and I have really gotten the hang of it now. I'm thinking of starting an organization to benefit cancer patients in which crafters of any kind make handmade items (hats, shawls, scarves, etc.) to give to patients, but also items that could be sold and have proceeds benefit a single patient and/or a cancer cause. It's an idea that's still in prenatal phase, but something I'm working on none-the-less. 
I've still been feeling good. I've been eating like a horse. Everything I had read and heard made me think I was going to have no appetite at all, but I have been totally the opposite. I don't eat a lot at once usually (although tonight at dinner I had quite the spread), but I eat constantly throughout the day. This has been a challenge for me because I'm not used to buying snack food at the grocery store. I now find that I have to keep things in the house that are quick to eat. Fruit is great, also no salt added pretzels and peanut butter crackers. Yogurt is great too, but that takes two hands to eat and sometimes it's just not feasible now that the baby is mobile. (Yes, my nine and a half month old is crawling like crazy, walks along the furniture, and just yesterday, started climbing stairs.) One thing I'm super excited about is some vegetable curry soup that my friend Meredith brought me on Friday. I can't wait to have it. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Treatment Round 2 - the amazing Portacath!

One cycle down, one to go before another scan to see how my body is responding. So far the swelling in my neck has gone down significantly and it's almost back to normal. I was scheduled for my second round of treatment on March 4th, so I had a Portacath put in the day before to make treatments easier. The procedure went well, but left me quite sore. When I went in for treatment the next day, I was worried that it would be uncomfortable to use it. I was very wrong. Even though I was still tender, the needle was small and went in quickly (unlike when they have to try and get an IV in me). My nurse, Chris, was able to put the drugs in quickly and didn't have to slow them down because of vein irritation. Even with the wait for my doctor's approval, I was in and out of treatment in less than 5 hours (it had taken almost 7 the first time). Even though I'm still a bit sore from the surgery, I've been feeling better this round. I still haven't felt like myself for the past few days, but my stomach is not nearly as easily turned. My energy level is super low, but napping seems to help, and some family help with the baby doesn't hurt either. Hopefully this time around I'll be able to visit with some friends and have some play dates for the baby. I think it would be good for her to play with some other babies, not just her loving adult family. 
Tomorrow I have a pulmonary test to see how my lungs are standing up to the medications. Hopefully everything will look good.