Uphill Climb

I mean to tell you, these past two weeks have been rough.  Chemo this time around is much worse than it was the first three times.  I suppose that makes sense, since the drugs build up in your body, and I did just finish 28 sessions getting french fried before I started chemo this time around.

My veins, which used to be strong and pop up at the drop of a hat, now run and hide when it comes time for chemo and blood word.  When I went on Monday, it felt like the poor woman was digging for gold just to get three small vials.  And I drank a ton of water ahead of time, so I’m really not looking forward to this coming Monday when it is once again time for chemo.  If I had more than two left, I’d opt for the port, but since I only have two sessions left, I just can’t bring myself to have another surgery – even an outpatient one.  So, I’ll make sure to drink a ton of water this weekend before chemo.

And my blood work still shows a compromised immune system and anemia.  It’s better than last week, but still lower than it should be.  I’m not confined to the house this week (thank you Jeebus) but I’m supposed to avoid sick people and people under 12.  Little ones are big old germ breeders.

My hair started coming out again yesterday.  I don’t know why this is bothering me so much.  I mean, I know it will grow back.  I know it will.  But it just seems cruel that I have just gotten to the point where I can wear a pixie cut and now it’s all coming out again.  We are not shaving my head this time unless it gets bad though.  It’s too cold.  More is falling out faster this time.  I see it in the shower, in the sink when I comb in delicately, on my pillow.  And it’s coming out everywhere *ahem*.

I’m tired all the time, and everything I eat makes me queasy, so I’m boosting myself up with protein shakes.  At least this time around I can drink my coffee.  I need my coffee.  Believe me.

I keep thinking – just two more to go.  Six more weeks.  But if it is this bad now, what is it going to be like in 4 weeks when I have my final round?

I know I have to do this.  I know I do.  I need to fight to keep the cancer out of my body.  And in the beginning, I thought the sandwich therapy was an awesome idea.  I’d get a break in between the chemo rounds (but radiation was horrible) and I’d cruise through the last three.  Ha.  So much for cruising.

But on the bright side, I’m working through my yarn stash.  I’ve made a scarf and a pair of socks in the past week, and now I’m working on another pair of socks, and then on to some projects that have been sitting around for a while because of my work schedule.

And, I don’t have to fight so much for my short-term disability this time.  When I called to make my claim, I told them I wanted my case assigned to someone who has worked with cancer cases before.  They listened to me, and now I have someone who is working with me.  I’m currently approved through 2/10 – which gives my doctor plenty of time to get the next docs in instead of having my claim suspend on me in the mean time.  And she listens.  Which is awesome.

And, my nephew and his wife out in Colorado sent me a get well present this week – a stuffed Mickey Mouse wearing an Eagles Jersey and a fleece Eagles blanket.  It was so very sweet of them.  The blanket will be laundered and both it and Mickey will be going with me to my final two chemo rounds.

The good with the bad.  The good with the bad will get me through.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Because, who really wants to hear about cancer all. the. time.

I love to cook.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  It is seriously one of my favorite things to do.  Bob and I almost never go out to eat – even before I got sick.  I’m just too good of a cook, and I love to do it.  And since I’ve been off work (and discovered Pinterest), I’ve been cooking a lot.  A LOT.

I’ve made all sorts of things that have been delicious, and totally not good for us.  I’ve made Swiss Steak (for the first time, and OH MY it came out wonderful), and broccoli chicken alfredo with whole wheat pasta, and I’ve learned how to make all sorts of things with a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, including homemade cheese danish.  That last one I won’t make again.  Not because it was awful, it was actually the best freaking thing I’ve ever put into my mouth.  That’s why.  We ate 24 small danish in three days.  Yikes.

Since I’ve married my husband, I’ve researched and learned more about authentic Mexican cuisine.  I married into a ginormous Mexican family, and my husband has about a thousand aunties who are all kick ass cooks.  They make red chili, tamales, tortillas…all from scratch, and oh how wonderful it is to travel back to Colorado when we can to stuff ourselves with it.  And this little WASP has slowly been watching and learning how to make my husband’s favorite things.

I have mastered tortillas and even have my own press now.  Go me.

I’ve learned how to make green chili, burritos, carne asada….all up to the standards of our Aunties.

The one thing I have been terrified of trying though, is pork tamales.

So many steps.  When my husband’s aunties make them, it’s a labor intensive event involving several people.  Which is part of what I absolutely love.  A kitchen full of 60 and 70-year-old women with their jet black dyed hair and drawn on eyebrows (I love them – I’m not making fun of them) chattering away, with the smell of pork and red chili and tamales steaming.  It’s the ultimate show of love.

So today, Bob and I are going to attempt to make tamales.  I’ve spoken to the two master tamale makers in the family (Auntie Linda and Aunt Fabby) and got their recipes.  I’ve researched on Pinterest and found the recipes there are much the same.  So yesterday, I put a pork shoulder in the crock pot and let that bad boy cook all day.  It’s nice and tender.  When I get done here, I’m going to go soak my corn husks and shred my pork, and then make my red chili.  And then, Bob and I are going to have a little taste of far away family love right here in Baltimore.  We are going to steam us some tamales.  I even made sure to purchase the masa made just for tamales.

I’m so excited.  Every time I do something like this, I feel more and more a part of the wonderful rich family heritage that my husband brought to our relationship.

And it makes me forget, even for a little while, about everything I have in front of me.

Tamales!

It’s Frickin Freezing Here Y’all

BRRRRR….it’s 25 degrees here in north-eastern MD, and it feels like -4.  If I have to be stuck at home I guess this is the week for it.  My feet are freezing.  FREEZING.  My poor husband…he’s going to have to deal with me putting them on his bare legs later to warm them up.  MWAHHAHAHAHAHA

Yes, I’m still stuck at home.  Hopefully this weekend I’ll have enough of an immune system to venture to the grocery store because our cupboard is bare.  Of course, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow night – but we’re only supposed to get less than two inches, so I’m not scared.  We have enough food to get through the weekend, but the toilet paper may be another story.

And, because I know you come here to read all about my vagina (hahahahahahaha)…it’s much better.  The cream the doctor prescribed is wonderful, and I can now go potty without screaming in pain and sobbing for five minutes (yes, it was that bad – no I am not exaggerating).

I’m also letting go some this time around on short-term.  Last time, I was checking my emails once a day, and trying to “work” even though I was not supposed to.  This time, I just now got around to signing on to my work email.  I had 297.  I’ve been out of work for 9 days.  That is 33 emails a day.  I deleted them all (well, almost all of them – some were some requests from my boss about updating my work from home schedule and some were potential job openings that met my criteria – a few in Colorado, which I’m seriously looking into).  I have my “out of office” on, but people still find the need to copy me on shit.  I’m not going to bust my hump worrying about it this time.  Just not gonna.

I finished knitting one of two in my new pairs of socks.  I took a break between the first and the second to knit a quick scarf made out of some beautiful yarn that was made of recycled sari silk.  I did a thin, long scarf that I can wear with my business attire when I go back to work.  It came out gorgeous.  I’ve had that yarn over a year wondering what to do with it.  Alas, since being out on short-term, I’ve been spending time on Pinterest and watching What Not To Wear, and I’m determined to go back to work much more stylish.  I am 40, and when I go back, I’m going to be fabulous.  🙂

Not much else going on here.  Tired of these four walls.  Looking forward to going to the grocery store soon.  How sad is that?

Some Relief Is On Its Way

I broke down today and called my radiation oncologist to tell them about my burning vag (don’t you love coming to this blog?  VAG VAG VAG).  They told me to take half a tab of the oxycodone every 4 hours and he prescribed some lidocaine ointment (yay) to deaden the area.  It is a common side effect from the radiation and likened it to a sunburn, only worse.

Yeah – no one really sets out to sunburn their hooha, now do they?

Also called the oncologist’s office today to find out if they were faxing my paperwork to MetLife.  They are faxing it today (thank goodness).  Not ready for another fight with them.  While she was on the phone with me though, she told me my white cell count is a bit too low, as is my red cell count (hence the holy shit I’m tired and the migraines) and I’m housebound this week.  Not allowed outside contact due to the flu bug going around.  Bob is going to pick up my script for me later.

I am finally feeling a bit better from the chemo this week.  Beth (the NP) told me this time around was going to be worse, so I prepared myself for worse.  They weren’t lying.  You wouldn’t figure that chemo would last in your system for a couple of months, but I guess it does.  And adding more to it, on top of the radiation, well, honestly, I’m just wiped.

So, I’ll sit my quarantined self on the sofa with my knitting needles and the new pair of socks I’m working on (I don’t know what it is about knitting socks, but it’s almost cathartic in it’s ability to put me in a zen state).

And I’ll count down until I’m done.

Two more to go.

Feeling a Wee Bit Better (No Pun Intended)

I’m finally feeling better from chemo last week.  I had a low grade migraine for six days and it finally went away last night.  My nether regions are still sore and painful but the ointment they gave me for burns is starting to help.  My joints are achey and sore, but better.  In fact, I feel good enough today to knit.

I went to Labcorp this morning for my weekly blood work.  I will never go to that Labcorp again.  I hate them, but they are tied into the UMMC computer system so the doctor gets my results today.  The girls in Havre de Grace were surly and had no system at all to calling people back.  They were taking people out of order, and grumpy, and even though I told the girl who took my blood that I am a hard stick now, she still dug around.  I told her in no uncertain terms that the needle wasn’t to enter my arm until she found a vein, and if she couldn’t find one, then either get a supervisor or someone else.  She found a vein (in the arm I had chemo in last week which is still sore) but stuck the needle in too far, couldn’t get a draw, and then had to fish around for a minute until she finally found one.  I was not pleased.  She asked me to fill out a survey.  I did, and won’t return to that one.  I will drive the extra 15 minutes to the one in Bel Air.  I hate feeling like a pin cushion.

What’s weird is that my veins used to stand up and sing before I got diagnosed.  Chemo is hard on your veins.  Really hard.  I’ve only had four treatments and mine are already saying, “Nope, no more, don’t want.”  I could get a port, but it’s outpatient surgery and well, I’m over being cut on.  I have two more chemos left, so it hardly seems worth it.  I’ll have to deal with the digging.

Today, I’m going to enjoy some quiet time with me and my knitting needles.  I have a bajillion WIPs (Works-In-Progress) but I’m feeling like knitting on some socks.  So, it’s time to add to my WIP pile.  🙂

 

I Stand Corrected

The worst part of radiation was not the constant nauseau.

It’s the burned Hooha.

Owie.

First week after chemo is over.  It’s been a miserable week.  I’ve felt like crap, and my joints are screaming (worst part of the chemo for me is the way it inflames my arthritis) and to top it off, I’ve been dealing with a lesion on my vag left over from the internal radiation.  Makes peeing an adventure in torture.

Had a few breakdowns – not gonna lie.  Found myself sobbing last night.

My poor husband.  He just wants me to be better.  And he’s saying all the things he should.  But honestly, I’m kind of over all of this.  We can be done now.  I’ll finish my treatments, because I’m not a quitter, but I’m ready to be done all this shit.

KTHNXBAI