Friday, March 16, 2018

Shrek The Musical

I feel bad that I didn't mention this earlier but well, we've had a lot going on so...that's life, right?

Alyssa participated in her school's musical this year. She was amazing. She had several roles and a couple of solos. The musical was Shrek.

Alyssa was Blue Bird (she got to pretend to explode on stage.) She was also Humpty Dumpty (she got to sing loud and proud.) She was a Dulok Dancer. She danced and sang so well in an awful yellow wig. And she was one of the Three Blind Mice, backing up Donkey during a song.

She worked so hard, as did the rest of the cast. They started rehearsing in January. They had so many songs to learn, so much choreography, so many lines.

My mom and I helped with costumes (I sort of helped, my mom did most of the work.) And I helped with makeup. That was great fun. Getting to see the behind-the-scenes of this amazing production made me appreciate it that much more.

I am so proud of Alyssa. She's really making the most of her freshman year of high school. She's taking part in so many things, from honors choirs to the musical, to track. She's gone to contest with the band, she's been in pep band, marching band, and just hung out with friends. She's enjoying life and that's what I want for her.

Now...if she could only find a rich benefactor to give her a new phone, her life would be perfect.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

One Week Out From Last Chemo

It's been a week and a day since my last chemo. There are still a few lingering symptoms, which is to be expected. Chemo is a cumulative thing, it gets pumped into your body and does it's damage to both cancer cells and normal cells.

Right this second, my toes are still numb. My fingertips are sort of numb too. My mouth is still really dry. I'm retaining water, which is probably thanks to the steroids more than the chemo, but who really knows? I'm trying to drink A LOT of water in hopes of flushing my system, getting everything out of my kidneys and helping the puffiness in my face, hands and feet.

I'm a lovely specimen of womanhood.

Seriously, though, I think I'm doing pretty well. My sleep is better than it was even a week ago. The numbness should go away. The puffiness should too.

I'm grateful for the chemo. It sucked but it was necessary and I'm so glad there are people out there so much smarter than I am who have been researching this stuff for decades. They are literal life savers.

I vacuumed my house today. I think it's the firs time I've done that since surgery back in early September. Now, before anyone thinks we've been living in filth for the past six-ish months, let me remind you that there is another adult in this house as well as a teenager. They've picked up a lot of the slack when it comes to keeping the filth at a minimum. But it felt good to vacuum to do something to take care of my family.

I get my port out next Friday, March 23rd. This is a huge step in accepting that my cancer fight is almost over. Sure, radiation starts five days after that but again, that's another step in this fight. The sooner we get radiation started, the sooner it will be done.

We're taking steps in the right direction and I'm SO lucky to be able to continue to take these steps. The alternative is all too real and I'm not taking it for granted that I will win this fight. I'm just glad to get to keep fighting.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


We interrupt the regularly scheduled bitch-sessions from this author to bring you a report that the flu, more specifically, Influenza B, has infiltrated the Ordinary household.

Last Wednesday, Olivia woke up with a fever. Obviously, she stayed home from school. She took over the recliner (I'm trying not to be a baby about this) and has actually been there ever since.

She seemed better on Thursday. I kept her home that day anyway because I thought she needed another day to recover from her fever.

The fever was back Friday and so off to Urgent Care we went.

Aside: During all this, Tom wasn't feel so hot himself. His ear hurt and he had the sniffles. But these weren't your typical sniffles, these were Man Sniffles, so he needed to rest often.

I reminded both Liv and Tom on Friday morning that, hey, guess what? While my last chemo had been just three days before, guess what? They'd ACTUALLY given me chemo!!! By Friday I hadn't had even one nap. I know, everyone feels VERY sorry for me, right?

Right. Sure. Okay, then.

So on Friday morning Liv and I headed to Urgent Care. She was sniffle, achy and feverish. I'd given her some Ibuprofen to bring the fever down.

Once we got there, they were pretty quick to see her. The nurse practitioner decided that since I'd just had chemo, a flu test was important. They swabbed O's sinuses (ewww!) and ten minutes later...she was declared positive for influenza B. She was given a prescription for Tamaflu. The NP then asked if I could get a hold of any of my doctors to get a prescription of Tamiflu for myself for prophylactic purposes. She said, "I'm not so much worried about her, I'm more worried about you getting this."

She then offered to write the prescription herself. I took her up on that offer.

As we were leaving Urgent Care to head to Walmart to get my and O's medicines, I called Tom to let him know Liv's diagnosis. He was visiting with J, his older daughter. I kind of thought she needed to know she'd just been exposed to someone who'd been exposed to the flu. Convoluted? Yes, but still necessary.

When Tom got home, he decided he should be seen by a doctor too. He ended up coming home with a steroid (join the club, Dude!), an antibiotic can Tamiflu too. While he was at Urgent Care, he asked if he could get a prescription of Tamiflu for Alyssa, just to cover the whole family.

They said they really needed to see her before giving a prescription. She had a performance of her school's musical that night, so she and I raced to town the next day between a band performance and musical performance. She's now on a ten-day regimen of Tamilfu too.

Olivia is on the mend, my cough is getting better, Tom's ear is clearing up and Alyssa is over her snit over having to take medicine when she's not even sick. All's well that ends well, right?


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How's My Hair Wednesday - Day 1

Today is Day 1 after chemo. I'm going to take weekly pictures of my hair growth and post them. I hope it will be fun for all to see how my hair grows now the the poison of chemo is no longer being pumped into my body. goes. The state of my hair on Day 1 after chemo:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I headed into chemo today thinking it was my next to last chemo.

I counted wrong. Today was my last chemo.

I'm not complaining. This is a great thing. I'm done. I did it.

Sure, I have radiation next, but one chapter of this fight against cancer is done. We get to move on to the next.

I just thought it would be a bigger deal. Or rather, I'd planned to make it a bigger deal. I was going to take donuts to the nurses and staff at the cancer center next week. I mean, I guess I still could. And I might. But it was going to a celebration.

Instead, it was just another chemo. Except, it wasn't. It was my last.

I met Dr. Z. They're scheduling my port removal to take place before I start radiation. That's a big deal too. He explained that with my chances of the cancer coming back now reduced to six percent, it makes much more sense to remove the port. The negative aspects of keeping it are greater than the chances of needing it. He explained that to keep it means I'd have to have it flushed every six week, there is a chance of infection, there's the risk of blood clots...yeah, lots of negatives. I actually didn't need to be convinced. I'll be glad to have it removed.

Today was a day of lasts.

Last chemo, last port access, last weigh-in with the chemo nurses (I was scolded a bit for losing 7 pounds from last week to this...I don't want to talk about it.)

Last time sitting in that chemo chair, last batch of steroids (Yay!!) Tonight will hopefully be my last night of steroid insomnia. My face can finally, probably slowly, lose it's steroid puffiness. My feet can lost their numbness.

I have about three weeks off before starting radiation. That will be nice. A few weeks to let the chemo work its way out of my system, a chance to maybe start feeling like myself again.

Than the next chapter starts. Bring it on. I'm ready to continue to this fight all the way to victory.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Heart Healthy Lifestyle

I didn't realize how quickly those three words "Heart Healthy Lifestyle" could send me into a spiral of self-loathing and shame.

I met with the radiologist today to discuss the radiation that will start about three weeks after my last chemo. I can go over all that was discussed later.

Right now I'm so wrapped up in his mention that after treatment I need to try and follow a heart healthy lifestyle. Not only will it help my heart in case there is damage from the radiation but it will also lower the chances of the cancer coming back. The chemo and the radiation will have already lowered it to less than 10% but did you know that fatties like me have a higher risk of developing triple negative breast cancer than non-fatties?

Today was the first time since my diagnosis that I felt like maybe, hell, probably this whole cancer thing is my fault. Never once have I thought that until today. And now I can't stop thinking about it.

See, I'm horrible about self-control. I don't like heart healthy foods. Protein is not my favorite thing. I could live on carbs...except, wait, obviously I can't since apparently my love of carbs and my gigantically fat body is why I got cancer in the first place.

I am also really bad about portion control. I tend to eat until I'm miserable. I know. Lovely. I'm a model of gross.

I don't enjoy exercise. It doesn't make me feel better, not physically nor emotionally. I know a lot of people get a lot of satisfaction out of working out. Good for them. I do not. I hate to breathe hard. I hate to sweat. I don't feel better, more energized after working out.

No wonder I'm fat and cancerous.

I know this is all a bunch of self-indulgent whining. I KNOW this. And yet it's what is going through my head right now. I can't help it and I'm trying to get it out because it's poison. I know it isn't helping that I feel like this. I know the fact that Tom made me a stupid sandwich this afternoon and that sandwich made me sad is so stupid. I ate the damn thing, though. I did tell him that I won't be eating dinner since I ate that fucking sandwich.

He tried to make me feel better by reminding me that tomorrow, March 1st, he's going on a diet. He wants to lose 15 pounds.

I told him, as gently as possible, "Sweetie. I love you very much. But you wanting to lose 15 pounds is not comparable AT ALL to my NEEDING to lose at least 50. So please, don't."

That man can stop eating bread and ice cream for a week and lose 15 pounds.

I can stop eating bread (I don't actually at that much bread) and GAIN weight.

Heart healthy lifestyle. What the hell does that even mean? I guess I have some googling to do. Damn it.