Archive for June, 2011

“I’m not what I ought to be;Not what I want to be;Not what I am going to be;But I’m thankful I am not what I used to be.” John Wooden

June 28, 2011

I am convinced that I am now have a professional cancer career (temporary of course!). I know the drill and compared to last summer, I think I have this chemo thing figured out. Of course, there are always new challenges that come and go, but most of it is basically the same. I still get teary eyed when I think of my trifecta. I still do cry when the bone pain starts, but I still manage to laugh. I fight every day like I am running a race in every way possible. June gloom or not, I am convinced to make the most of these weeks before I start this “job” again. This is why Alex and I went to the beach yesterday. Yes, I did wear a sweatshirt. Sorry, all you people who are experiencing a sweating summer now. I chose the Montage beach because it has the cleanest toilets and with the June gloom or even in winter, it is usually empty. Alex was such a trooper carrying most of our stuff. We had such a great time even if it was for only a short time. Watching Alex swim in the ocean, I smiled the entire time. I even had a very informative discussion with the lifeguard who explained the tides, currents, swells at this beach as well as current patterns influenced by Antartica, New Zealand, and Alaska. Who knew lifeguards could provide such information? I thanked him for all that he does for everyone at the beach. He answered me with, “that is a first…no one usually thanks me unless it is a MAJOR rescue.” Again, appreciate every encounter you have with people who make an effort, you will be so happy you did.

Another new development is the appreciation of what tastes good to me. I am so happy when I can actually taste the food or when something I try is unexpectedly amazing. We had lunch at the Lumberyard with the family and who knew that grilled romaine lettuce would taste good?! By the same token, if things are not tasting as they seem, it really does ruin the meal. It was a rough couple of days and the ups and downs of this treatment are very annoying.  I do refuse to think of myself as someone who has cancer and ignore most of the ailments that occur. I am reminded daily when I get a call or email from my doctor. I do not ignore the selfish side of cancer. It is the “all about me” disease. This is something I have gotten more used to. I do listen to my body instead of pushing my body to the limits. I can have days in bed not even having the strength to brush my teeth. I just remind myself that this will pass. I appreciate that my body responds to the chemo and I try to treat it right by attempting to move around every day (when I can), eating right, and sleeping when I need to sleep. I have to do this as I have so much to fight for….

What is increasingly entertaining is the raining of the hair! There is nothing like removing your make up with a cotton ball, followed by removing your hair with another cotton ball. I am so happy to have my eyebrows and eyelashes and have tested this by rubbing the cotton ball over these areas and finding no shedding. I am slightly obsessed with the rainfall of hair, but as Jim and I discussed, it will come back eventually. I had to think about the timing of the hair growth. Yes, a hair growth timeline. So, I will finish this chemo in October and should be able to possibly have a  short hair style for my birthday in April? This is all based on my last hair growth, but who knows this could be different. As long as I have hair for our cruise in summer 2012, I will be happy. Who wants to take some wigs to Europe? Just don’t have the room in my luggage for that!

Of course, the job continues as I will go for a blood check on Thursday. I am convinced that this gangsta blood was great. I do have some strange bruises, but nothing like before…I do expect the numbers to go down, but not like before. I am judging this based on walking down the stairs is not like I ran a marathon. I am thinking I will be good to go without more blood. If this isn’t the case, then my body is amazing! That would mean it is acting on the inside like how I project myself on the outside. I see the sun peeking through the clouds and I love that smell…again the smell of summer.

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“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” ~Henry David Thoreau

June 25, 2011

I would rather not think about the wave image since I feel as if I am on a deep sea fishing adventure out in the ocean on a rocking boat. Yesterday, there was not enough oxygen and it was very stinky in the matrix! I was sniffing my candle like a strange person making deep inhaling noises to breathe. It was packed in the matrix. I was wearing my Picasso type shirt bought at the Sawdust Festival last year as I felt like a combination of cubism, blue period, and surrealism. I came with arms full of treats including Ants come marching in cupcakes complete with slices of candy watermelon. Again, I was welcomed like I was someone famous. My only issue was once I got the 411 on the nursing staff, I got those butterflies in the stomach. I got a floater male nurse. As a friend told me, I can almost do my own infusion except for getting the IV started. I was armed with many post-its in a variety of bright neon colors. I decided against the note pinned to my jacket in case I was covered with a blanket. I thought the post-it message was more effective. I could place it on the IV machine, my counter of the pod, my notebook, and anywhere else I thought it would help. I told my floater the whole scoop and he had never heard of such a thing. Too bad, so sad. Follow my post-it or else. Luckily, I was saved by my doctor and he informed the floater to listen to me and my post-its. Of course, the floater started by telling me the first drug with the wrong time. Come on…read the post- its! This just made me go into my super spy mode watching every move and doubting every step. My favorite nurse was maxed out with 6 patients and the other 2 were my least favorite, so the floater was it.

The ants come marching on cupcakes were a big hit even among the patients who could not eat them. They said the cupcake made them smile. One patient did take one and unplugged herself to tell me it was the happiest thing she had seen all week and thanked me about 4 times. I noticed the bouquet of duct tape flowers were still on the counter of the nurses station. They told me these are the best flowers not only because they were made by one of my friends, but they are bright and don’t smell! I was thinking of a magic spell to make the flowers smell just enough to make the chemical plastic smell go away. The anti-nausea meds did not seem to work at all. I started sniffing my IV tubing and thinking that was partially to blame, but the chemical smell was overwhelming. I got the plan or should I say counter plan against this drug eating all my blood cells. I learned my lesson and will not wait until I get the spots which signify major platelet issue.

So, while I was deep sea fishing, I waited for the tumor marker results to come in…they did and I was happy to see that it is going DOWN! Glad to know all the sea sickness and blood issues are all worth it! If I can just do something about the stomach issues that go along with this mess, I would be more comfortable. Oh well…I am still deep sea fishing and hoping that seas will be calm tomorrow. I also hope that sleeping will stop this rocking, but now I have noticed the aches and pains starting-side effect or shot, who knows! I know this will pass and I am thrilled that by next time, I will be in the normal range (according to my doctor) for my tumor marker. I continue to take advantage of every minute that I am feeling better than the rocking boat situation. I made bracelets with my nieces and enjoyed every minute of it until I had to lie down outside, breathe some air, and fall asleep. After the pill kicked in, I enjoyed 2 scenes of Indiana Jones acted out by Alex, Sofia, Max, and Chloe. Chloe had multiple death scenes and was proud of it.  I am still wondering how Chloe who was the Rabbi fit into this Indiana Jones  scene. I must have missed that one!  I managed to eat a salad of all things. Who knows why different things sound good or taste good. I also must say that I am red meat hungry…uh oh, is it the gansta blood or do I need more blood? The finale was the presentation of the art work that the kids did for an early anniversary gift for Grandma and Grandpa. They came out so beautiful thanks to some help from Alex’s art teacher! Now, I am hoping for calm seas all around and really dreaming of going to the San Diego zoo on Sunday. Until then, I will continue to love this June gloom and the sunshine that follows. Hope you are all enjoying your summer! Nothing like the smell of summer. It does have a smell…just try sniffing!

 

“I’m feelin’ okay this mornin’ and you know. We’re on the road to paradise here we go here we go.” David Byrne Talking Heads

June 23, 2011

Of course, I am feeling the sunshine and tomorrow, it starts again. I do have to say that 20% less chemo drug is a recipe for success. Whatever the other recipe was, I will say that it worked, BUT not so special. The worst part about it (yes, of course this goes back to THE HAIR) was that my hair experienced rapid fallout. I would shake my head and it would be raining hair. It was getting a bit disgusting to find short hairs in and on everything I ate and touched. Now, with the new recipe, the hair loss is at a slow shedding. This makes for a lovely appearance of patches of hair like someone was in the middle of shaving my head and forgot to finish. I have no hair above the left ear and a tuft of hair above the right. I have been too busy to actually care enough to fix the design in hoping that this second dose will finish the downpour. I am happy to say that only a few stray hairs on the eyebrows have left the face. This is great because I could not deal with drawing on eyebrows this week. I would have surely rubbed them off during my emotional moments.

I have to say before I really saw the day light, I felt the sunshine pour in…when my nieces, nephew, and Alex did their rendition of  “we will rock you” in the backyard with plastic rakes as guitars. I had many student encounters (all germ free) which involved needing a hug or telling me that they will miss me over the summer or asking why I don’t work in the office every day because I am so funny. Then, there was the wax museum and all the kids were so amazing. I can still hear one of Alex’s classmates singing a song and playing the ukulele.  It was also the sweet secret girls who left Alex  notes and gifts-so thoughtful and kind. It was just the boost he needed to end this crazy cancer impacted school year. I enjoyed every minute of every day (including watching some crazy parents in the parking lot lose it because they had to park and WALK from their car!). I especially enjoyed my reading to Alex’s class (luckily my Dad help re-vamp my presentation for both boys, girls, and better order for more attention). I even managed to read the toasted marshmallow poem while holding the ipad with the campfire ap. Oh yeah! Also, the Oh the Places You Go on the ipad was nice with sound effects. I was so caught up in all the fun that I did not plan an outfit OR make my note, “if lost, please administer the following drugs at….” that I will attach with a safety pin to my jacket. It was all worth it. The brief conversations with friends I haven’t seen in a while (since I lost 3 weeks on the last crazy chemo) and great moments with other friends new and old are all so important to me. Having my family so close is such a great feeling…I am jealous of all of you who have this every day and all year!!

Summer is here and I made a list of every activity I would like to do during my off weeks. As my very special friend says, it just takes one fun thing. Find your one fun thing every day! Take it from me, it will be worth it and will keep you smiling for hours!

[T]he different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. ~Lewis Carroll

June 20, 2011

I was thinking about the numbers game of cancer. It is all math-every day! Too much meds, not enough meds, tumor markers up and down, blood tests and numbers too high and too low, weight up, weight down…it is enough to make for a good uglification! My visit to the chemo matrix seems so long ago even though it just happened on Thursday. I was welcomed with open arms (almost cheers and clapping) by nurses and staff. They said they always liked when I came for treatment as I am “so funny”, but now with these special treats…they look forward to my visit. Hmmm….I almost look forward to a day without these visits! Some nurses told me that the special treat brought home to a child made up for the fact that they worked so late. Another nurse told me that she brought some sunshine bee cupcakes to her husband who finally smiled this week as he was in the hospital. The strange thing is that many faces have come and gone (done with their treatment) and there was one familiar face who always had treatment in a private room. This woman decided to sit out with the “rest of us” since she announced that everyone was in a good mood. Glad some treats could make the difference!

I was ready with the new plan only I got a bit confused with all the timing and oops, one drug was too fast…no wonder I was confused. Seriously, next time I will be wearing that tag pinned to my jacket, “if found, please administer Aloxi 45 minutes, Carbo 2 hours, etc….”. I did get side tracked when my doctor ran (yes, ran) to my pod to deliver my tumor marker test. I am still confused as to how he got this back so fast (it usually takes all day until about 6pm). It was noon. I could not believe it-my tumor marker went down 50%! It is goin’ down! I asked him if he expected it to fall this much and he just smiled and said, “you are such a trooper”.  Of course, I had to compliment him on his new short haircut for summer and he blushed. Wow! Another number and going in the right direction!! On the blood numbers game, it looks like we are all anticipating that I will need another transfusion. This is also like playing a lottery or even a card game. Stay tuned…but if I get me some mo’ Pomona blood, I will be ready for the BIG time!

In the meantime, I had 3 nurses this time and one of my favorites who gave me some good advice on dealing with all the side effects and what to take when as far as all the extra pills. I am following her recommendations and I do think it is helping, plus the fact that they reduced the chemo amount by 20% or some other formula. I am wearing the full body patch, eating when I can, sleeping a lot, and looking forward to the sunshine. One new LOVE to add to my list, hearing my nieces and nephew say, “I love you Jojo” plus the sound of their laughter! Okay, one more…dark chocolate honeycomb!

Back to the matrix on Thursday, but I will be starting my week making the most of every minute! My prescription for all of you is to make the most of your days!

“Every second counts ’cause there is no second try, so live like you’re never living twice. Don’t take the free ride in your own life.” Chad Robert Kroeger

June 15, 2011

I have said this before, but this cancer job is definitely lacking in some real vacation time! There is no vacation from this job. Yesterday, I spent my morning getting an MRI of the boobs because I really needed to know that one body part is “safe” or should I say 2 body parts. My only issue became my “track” marks on my arms along with various bruises. After the technician asked me what happened, I gave her the WHOLE story (abridged form) with emphasis on my trifecta which usually is a show stopper. She held my hand and looked very seriously into my eyes and said, “I promise you I will take good care of you.” She spent extra time finding the right vein and it didn’t hurt a bit. She explained about the banging and noise. I thought I was used to it, but somehow the position of lying on your stomach created this sense of movement which almost caused me to be sea sick. I closed my eyes and started to visualize any relaxing beach scene and tried to avoid images of Alex because I would start to cry and then, move and then this whole process would have to start over. She placed headphones on my head with some strange harp, bird caws, synthesized voice screeching noise combined with a visual of little gnomes flying with wings. Okay, what was in this IV? It was only supposed to be contrast. No, I did not taste the metallic taste. It could be possibly that I have no taste or that the only taste I have is metallic. I tried to ignore this whining harp music and avoided the gnome images. I started counting backwards from 100. This was still not working and the banging seemed louder and louder, so I started counting the banging in groups of 20. My thought was that 3 groups of 20 would possibly be a minute. How long could this last? Finally, the bird calls, harp playing ended and so did the MRI. I thanked the technician for the no pain IV. She gave me a giant hug and I thanked her again. I am all about thanking people. Everyone who makes a difference to me, I make the effort to thank. So, I talked to my book fair rep who makes a huge difference in helping our book fair a big success. She has worked forever for Scholastic and takes pride in what she does. I appreciate her efforts. So, I make another effort to complete a comment card for Hoag with all the nurses who made a difference to me and all the other patients including all my wonderful dates of service for my blood tests, blood transfusions.

I have always been about letting people know they are appreciated. In every job since I worked at internships in high school to my career to my volunteering, you have to let people know you appreciate their help. Now, it is more important to me than ever. It is important to tell those who care, those who love you, those random acts of kindness…thanks. I have learned my lesson over and over with this cancer job that if I do not say what I want today either I forget (seriously) or just not have the energy to express what I want to say. My other lesson learned is to not waste my energy on the people who are the EVs or the Debby Downers or just plain ole’ negative. Now, I am not talking about those people who have their priorities messed up as they can provide some entertainment. You know the big issues: going to Nordstrom or getting a pedicure (nothing is wrong with that, but it should not be a crisis or a problem) OR marshmallows versus marshmallow fluff OR Krispy Kreme versus Entenmann’s donuts in a box. I have learned more to laugh at this and would love to give anyone of these crisis creatures an hour in my cancer job with definitely no overtime pay and no double time pay and NO holidays off! They just need a readjustment to value what is real and what is important. It is definitely important to get rid of the dead wood in your life. It floats and that is about it…time for it to go, go, gone.

So, I have to find an outfit for Thursday. I am not prepared mentally or even physically. There will be a new plan which has to be better than the last plan. I reviewed all the list of drugs with Jim and took more notes. I also added to my LOVE list. This was just a random thought list with no order.

LOVE List

1.ALL MY FAMILY

2. talking

3. pencils and pens

4. cooking shows

5. friends old and new

6. baking

7.  connecting with people even strangers

8. Living in So Cal

9. My wedding ring

10. Travels any place

11. Club Med days and stories!

12. All my jobs

13. Art history

14. Shema and Hebrew

15. star gazers and unique rose colors

16. Ocean, Beach

17. Listening to my Dad’s stories

18. Talking to my Mom

19. Hearing laughter

20. Music (except harp playing bird noises!)

REMEMBER, every second counts!

“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right ” The Beatles

June 12, 2011

I think I have turned the corner, but it is a slow walk around the corner for sure! I made so many new friends at the upgraded closet at Hoag. Hoag gets extra points for their wonderful volunteers. I even had a teenager (no lie) ask me if I wanted something to drink or eat! I was asked almost every 10 minutes if I needed ice, blankets, something to read, cookies, or even an offer to get me lunch! Now, there are these unfortunate closet areas at Hoag if you are having a short infusion and they are worse than the ole’ stinky closet in UCLA, but if you are having a staycation infusion/transfusion you get an upgrade! Even in those small closet areas (still missing oxygen), they had a variety of trashy magazines and continual offers of drinks and snacks. On one day (think it was Saturday) when I was in the closet area, I asked if one of the IV machines was a margarita machine. It looked more high tech than the one they had at UCLA, so I was convinced it had to dispense something better than chemo! These volunteers are also very in tune with the patient look of “leave me alone” or “let’s chat”. Of course, I always have that look of please talk to me. So, I made a lot of friends with all the nurses, plus I brought the average age down about 40 years. I also was wearing less giant diamonds than the ladies in the closet area. On my discovery of my red count being so low which required a major dose of blood, I told them my priority to see Alex’s Gold Rush performance. The nurses told me that they are all about family and making memories. It sounded kind of depressing when they said that, but I just focused on what I needed to do to come back in the morning instead of almost spending the night. I watched Alex’s performance which made me smile and at the same time almost cry with  joy of seeing those kids and seeing my friends. Of course, I almost fell asleep and held onto Jim to keep me propped up. I definitely felt about 90 years old. Getting dressed was a major activity and brushing my teeth seemed like I ran a marathon. I looked at my pale face trying to cover it up with makeup until Alex told me I looked sunburned. I looked sick and again, I hate being reminded of the fact that I am being treated for cancer. As my hair was raining on my face and neck, I decided that this rainfall better end soon. Of course, I am back to pre-puberty times and an easy summer without shaving. I definitely was hanging on by a thread, but I tried to not to show it.

Off to my blood party for the day on Wednesday! I dressed in a lot of red even with my red flats as someone noticed and asked if I was expecting spillage. I was greeted by my new friendly nurses (most have kids either in 4th or 5th grade). They walked me to the upgrade room since I was going to be there for about 7 hours. I got the blue plate special or was it the “red” plate of 2 bags o’blood. I was welcomed by 2 gentlemen who told me they weren’t dead yet and told me they loved my shoes. Then, they told me I looked about 30. This was going to be a fun day! The nurses were concerned with the boisterous activity and asked if I wanted to move to the ladies area. Ooh, no way! All I could hear from that area was a lot of whining, moaning, why me, and complaining. No thank you! I stayed in the party area with my new boyfriends. One has stomach cancer and booked authors on book tours. He knew every book that I was either reading or read in the last year! The other one, Dana Point was on a maintenance chemo for lymphoma. He bikes every day all the way to Sunset Beach! I was definitely in the right place. They told me about what they ate and how they wanted to win the most congenial award for chemo, but Jim told them that I would be tough to beat. I think they could beat me, but after a while they were sleeping, so who knows if I really won?! I was being pumped up with Pomona blood that they kept telling me I was a “gansta”. By the way, the upgraded room has such large floor to ceiling windows and you can sense the ocean breeze as you see the palm trees swaying in the wind. They also had fancy chairs and a TV! The nurses had a GIGANTIC station that was 4 times the size of any of the ones at UCLA.  Almost every nurse was there to treat the whole person and not just administer chemo. This was definitely the nurse kingdom without a doctor in sight which was something that I do like about UCLA. After a while, my boyfriends left me as I was getting my 2 for 1 special. The whole blood thing was making me sick to watch and I decided NOT to drink by blueberry smoothie. It was too red, too blue, too blood like…yech! I stuck with the ginger ale delivered every 5 minutes by a volunteer and the cookie pushers were really wanting me to take a dozen Lorne Doone cookies.

The next day, I went for a re-check hoping for no more blood. I did avoid most of the EVs, so I doubted that they stole my new blood. My blood was almost normal, so I was FREE! I am still not quite myself and my doctor has phoned me several times to ask me if I am eating, moving, resting, and getting ready for next week. It is nice to have so many cheerleaders. I have to tell you again how much I appreciate all your great cards, emails, calls, and messages. I even received an email from my new boyfriend. He sent me this photo of these clouds shaped like angels. He saw this the day he was diagnosed and said to me that everyone could use an angel. I know I have many and it is nice to be reminded of all the love that surrounds me. I am reminded of the rule I should follow more often…do what you can today and it is not what you used to do, but what you CAN do now! Please make the most of your day and know that I think about all of you…every day!

“We are the champions – my friends, And we’ll keep on fighting – till the end – We are the champions – We are the champions. No time for losers ‘Cause we are the champions – of the world – ” Freddie Mercury

June 9, 2011

Just a quick post to let you know that the EVs stole my red blood cells. Okay, maybe not, but it has been a crazy couple of days with more stories tomorrow. I was back at Hoag for 2 for 1 special. I got 2 bags of blood from Pomona (that is where the blood came from), and the nurses had different opinions. I was either getting gansta’ blood or cow girl, stud blood. Either way, it seemed like a move in the right direction. I have to go tomorrow to see if all worked out. They tell me that I will not feel better for a couple of days. All I know is walking to the car was not as if I ran a marathon, so that seemed good. I met a lot of new people in this semi-VIP closet and one of my new “boyfriends” said it perfectly, “cancer makes you appreciate all the simple and small things”.  A cup of iced ginger ale with a warm blanket…what could be better? Okay, my bed with my comfy sheets. Off to sleep and dream of something other than the color red.

“Gimme head with hair, long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen…” Broadway Musical Hair

June 6, 2011

I lost that “lovin feeling” for sure as I felt that familiar “hair hurts” pain. Come on…just a teeny break. I am still purple all over and thinking of wrapping myself in bubble wrap to prevent misuse of my new platelets. On Saturday, I was trying to remember what this feeling in my scalp was…oh yes, it is the “raining hair” pain. Jim reminded me that this would happen, but I was in my imaginary world that it would not happen until end of June. Then again, the new chemo was not supposed to mess up my blood counts-OOPS! As I itch my little short hairs on my head, I see those cute hairs fall off. I was so close to having the great reveal of my cute short very short hair cut. Oh well, I will say that it will be a nice cool summer. Of course, I did not notice any missing leg hairs or armpit hairs. Knowing my luck, those will most likely over grow to forest length as well as a new growth of a tuft in my ears?!  I lost my groove for sure as I am at a whole new level of tired.

Yesterday, when Jim and Alex took me to the beach and I was like a dog with it’s head out the window (had I known about the future hair loss I would not have risked the few hairs blowing off my head) breathing the ocean air. I felt like howling, but instead I cried just a little bit. There is no doubt about it, but this really sucks. I had to tell Alex that my hair was falling out again. He gave me a hug and said it is too bad since I was almost okay to not wear my wig. He also asked about the eyebrows and I was told that they will not go, but we will see. He said he hopes my eyebrows stay since it is a lot of work to draw them on correctly.  This is the part that I love/hate.  I tried so hard to not be THAT mom, the one with cancer, but I am reminded too often these past weeks that I am THAT mom. Luckily for me, I have some big time planner friends and my mom who is the ultimate planner. She helped me focus on all the fun things I want to do during my next break after chemo. I do not plan on getting another transfusion and definitely will be ahead of the nausea game.

Of course, this week I need to get my blood taken to see if my body is producing platelets or enough platelets and if my white count is coming up. You all know that I don’t do well in hibernation mode unless there are a lot of EVs around the town. It seems like it is going to be a nice day, so I will walk to my backyard in hopes for some quiet outdoor time. I keep telling myself, 1 down, 5 to go….

Did the EVs (Emotional Vampires) actually steal my platelets?

June 4, 2011

I should have been more in tune with the hard facts of the EVs. Having an ongoing bloody nose for a week, I was ignoring the first clue or was this just bait to lure the EVs out of hiding? After feeling very strange, I decided to take some action by seeing an ENT who decided to vacuum my throat and nose to help with this nosebleed issue? I told him that I did not need any further vacuuming to cause any vomiting as my food coach was on assignment to ensure I consumed every bite. This vacuuming would defeat all this hard work, so instead he decided to cauterize my nose. I will have you note that I made it to the flag ceremony to honor my friend and give my speech without any major word mistakes in front of over 750 students. Unfortunately, Alex missed this presentation since he was a victim himself to the student who came to school and vomited not once, but twice at school. Alex was fine the next day, but I could not risk getting any additional ailments.

Then, the phone calls started coming in! I need to go to the hospital, need to stay overnight, need a platelet transfusion stat. Oh great, as I look at my body, I could have paid attention to the lovely bruises along my arms, legs, back, chest (?), and butt??? Oh well, I attempted to remain calm and try to focus on alternatives of staying overnight. Luckily for my team of doctors and one local doctor who has privileges at Hoag, I was able to go to the Hoag Transfusion center next to the hospital. This was ideal! So, off we went to the lovely ocean view, oxygen filled, transfusion center. I had 3 nurses and was sitting in an upgraded room (or what I would consider an upgrade). Alex was given gifts from the nurses and I was beginning to think he would like me to stay overnight just for the gifts. I got my platelets which when I arrived were 9 and the norm is 150. The platelets were from Northern Cal, but I requested So Cal (just kidding). I left with the promise that I would return for a re-check today. I was next to an older couple who argued (cursing) about whether it was Saturday or Sunday. I did not bother yelling back telling them it was Friday. Then, there were the lovely moaning and groaning sounds, but I put on my headphones and just waited for the platelets to do the work. In the meantime, doctors were calling and checking on me. My platelets are 42 and I made a promise for no sword fighting, knife using, shaving, or any other dangerous activities. Knowing my coordination, I will remain close to home with walking slowly and carefully to avoid any injuries. So, I am unsure if the EVs did steal my platelets since I was not bothered by their ongoing efforts to drain my positivity. On that note, enjoy the sunshine as I am almost seeing some now.

“Nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong attitude.” –Thomas Jefferson

June 1, 2011

Love this quote!! I am finally seeing the fog lift and no worries, it is safe for me to drive (down the hill). It was a challenging weekend with Alex asking me when will I feel better every hour on the hour. On Sunday, I felt like I was Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy while Jim and Alex drove me to Dana Point for some ocean air. Alex ran his practice 5k (oops, we had a bit of mathematical challenge and he ran 4.5 miles). After the run, I decided either based on some sweet memories of a friend in Dana Point dining on cheese and fruit or was it memories of trips to Europe? Either way, I ate the entire fruit and cheese tray with Alex’s help on the bread. Was it the Gouda memories with Sue and Caspar? Who knows, but it worked! My first real food. I was convinced that I would not implode after all the fruit!

It took every bit of everything to get myself going for Alex’s 5k.  I got by with a little help from my friends! As I was gripping my can of ginger ale and trying to avoid all vomiting runners at the finish line, I thought I couldn’t do it, but then saw Alex’s face coming around the corner as if he was just running 1 mile. I held my sign up (compliments of a creative friend) and tried to scream a hoarse scream, but he kept running even after the finish line. I could not have been prouder. He ran back to me and kept saying, “I did it, I did it!”. I felt like saying, “I did it too!”, but kept that to myself. We celebrated with a lunch in Laguna Beach which I ate and surprised myself. I even walked a bit on the beach! There is nothing like the ocean air. Then, nap time came and I passed out. In my dream, I was walking down and up to school.

In reality, I walked down the hill like an old lady, but I did it! I needed a ride to get back home, but all Alex cared about was that “we” were walking to school. I still don’t know why my nose keeps bleeding and my voice is now hoarser than hoarse. I am beginning to see the light and am really confused with tomorrow being Wednesday. I don’t like losing days. My next goal is Alex’s choir concert tomorrow and then, Open House. I will go to bed early and rest in between. I can only think of the immediate here and now. I am reminded of the reality when walking up the stairs seems like I ran a 5k, but I am also reminded that this will pass. If I think of these treatments in pairs, I can say to myself, one down, 5 to go. It seems pretty doable. Much better than 10 more, right?!

I am still on the picking of wrong words and I guess I can go with the ole’ excuse of chemo brain. I just hope most of the fog clears by Friday for the flag ceremony at school. Speaking in front of 750 students, I would rather not say some inappropriate words. I think I will avoid the words pennies, defamation, and any other potential danger words. Until then, more sleep and more eating….remember to appreciate the now!!