Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I met with a Diabetes Educator today. Since I am a type II diabetic, have not been exactly eating right, and I am on steroids (which messes with my sugar), and because food is not my favorite subject right now, my oncologist thought that I could use a little help.

The good news is I really don't have to worry about what I eat right now as long as I eat. So I eat what I can tolerate. Being on chemo, I should be eating high protein and increasing my caloric intake but that does not always work especially when nothing sounds or tastes good.

I did find out that all those cooking shows that I have been watching on Food TV have paid off. I have learned a lot - thanks to Emeril, Rachel Ray, Giada and others. I have started to incorporate a healthier eating style when I do feel well enough to eat, which is usually the week before chemo. I am a real label reader, I use fresh herbs, tons of garlic and have added more fish to my diet. But, I gotta tell y'all, I love my pasta. So, I have switched to a high protein pasta which tastes really good. When this is all over and I can eat again, I will be ready. Or, I might go crazy and OD on chocolate!

Seriously, this is a life style change for me. Cancer was a wake up call. I know that I have to exercise (yuck) and eat right. My goal is to get off the diabetic medicine and control my diabetes with diet and exercise, and to live another 30 years or so. Before I can get breast reconstruction, my doctor wants me to lose 40 pounds. When I succeed, I will probably go off several of my medications that are weight driven. I can remember when I could eat anything, weigh 110 pounds and never worry about gaining - the good old days - before I hit 40. I know that I will never see 110 pounds again, except in my dreams, but that's OK. 140 sounds just right to me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

OK, since the last time I wrote, I had my third chemo treatment. My usual buddy, Jane, was not well so her husband, my dear friend went to chemo with me. Now John is not Jane but he is a great guy and like a brother to me - we fight all the time! He stayed with me and only left a few times to take phone calls.

My heart went out to a woman who was also going through chemo. Her right arm was so swollen and she was in such pain - all I could do was lower my head and pray for her. Of course, John, went over to her and talked to her trying to give her comfort - but that's John. He has so much compassion for his fellow man.

Well, for some reason the steroids kicked in and I did not sleep for about 48 hours. I was definitely weaker and more tired this time around. I was in bed from the Friday after my chemo until the following Thursday - I could not function; all I wanted to do was sleep. The bad part was, I did not eat that much because it was too much of an effort to fix myself anything. And, what I did eat went right through me. When I finally felt well enough to eat, I ate too much and made myself sick. I was very close to being anemic last time and I was told that I would be by my next treatment. Yippee, I can hardly wait. :(

Anyway, I am over all that and actually feeling better. Of course, it's a week before my next treatment so naturally I feel good.

I will try and get more pictures taken for the blog - even a bald one. Hey, on me bald is cute!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

First, I apologize for the length of time between updates. I will try and do better in the future. I had my first chemo treatment on January 4th. I must say that I was apprehensive not knowing what to expect. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate needles and the thought of having a needle the size of a spike (just kidding) stuck in my chest was causing me some anxious moments. Let me tell you, I would rather have a needle in the same place (port) than to have them searching for a vein every time. It really wasn't bad at all - a slight stick and I was all ready to go.

I have to tell you that Dr. Holladay, my oncologist, is such a sweetheart and has so much compassion. I feel like I am in the best hands with my treatments. And, that goes for the rest of his staff; what wonderful, caring people.

Anyway, they took me into this large room filled with recliners and a view of a pond with a fountain. There should be some pictures in my blog of my first treatment. Well, they got me all hooked up and started me with an antibiotic, anti-nausea, and a steroid. Then came the three chemo medicines. The infusion took about four hours and I don't know why, but I kept waiting for something to happen - what I don't know. I think my biggest fear was I would start projectile vomiting or something.

Actually, I felt pretty good after the treatment - too good. I started thinking that steroids are my friend. Now I know why athletes take them. I was superwoman for about 48 hours - could not sleep, and I think I could have dismantled my house and put it back together again. One thing steroids do is mess with your sugar and mine went sky high. When I came down, I came down hard - steroids are not my friend.

I went back the second day to get a shot to make my body produce marrow so my white blood cell count would not drop. Side effects can start anywhere from 10 hours to seven days after; mine started 7 days after with the most intense bone pain and lasted two days.

I did have some nausea - no vomiting (Thank You God), everything I ate went through me (I have lost 19 pounds), and heart burn is a constant. I have found that I cannot eat burritos (LOL) even though they were good going down, tomatoes and peanut butter give me serious heart burn. I dream about food and watch food TV - I know all the chef's and have most of their recipes because someday I will be able to eat again.

Twelve days after my first treatment I noticed hair in my comb and the thirteenth day I watched as hair came out in handfuls and went down the shower drain. So, on the fourteenth day I went to see my hairdresser and had her buzz me. Now I'm flat, bald and hungry all the time. But, I don't worry about bad hair days.

My second chemo treatment I expected the same pattern. Imagine my surprise when I wasn't superwoman. In fact, I asked the doctor if they forgot to give me the steroid. Apparently, once the chemo builds up in your system the steroid doesn't react the same.

One thing I have noticed is that I am more tired this time around. Half way through this last 21 day interval, I was sitting by myself late one night and I just wanted to be with my mom. Sometimes, only a mom can understand and make you feel better. I cried because I just wanted her to hold me and tell me it was OK.

Guess what? I got this cute wig and boobs! They (boobs) feel like the real thing and will do me until I have the breast reconstruction. Do you know how nice it is at the end of the day to take off your hair and your boobs?

Anyway, life goes on and I try to make the best of this and know in my heart that I will come through - but for the grace of God go I.

I think that anyone who has cancer, walks the journey a little differently. For myself, I try to stay positive, to see the humor in the whole situation and keep my faith in God. One last thing, you all have touched my heart as no one else could with your prayers, support, and just listening to me when I need to babble. Thank you and I love you all.