Sunday, November 30, 2008
I can't really report much more than that because its been ... eat, sleep and watch TV ... not much more. My vision is still a bit blurred so reading is not enjoyable.
Tomorrow is the first day of December and I am excited ... Christmas is around the corner.
The temperature right now is 4 degrees Celsius and the forecast looks good. What wonderful weather.
She and I went through very similar cancer treatment back in 2000, and because our treatment was similar, we were able to support each other through not only the treatment but all the thoughts and feelings that go with it. As time progressed and with my recurrences, I feel, she has more than 'been there' for me.
A., thank you for being a kind and considerate friend. You have helped me through some tough times.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
On the bright side, I did end up going to lunch on Friday with a good old friend. She just decided to give me a last minute call and it worked out. She wants to start a blog and would like me to help her get it going. We had a nice chat ... I got out of the house and felt better for it.
I expect one more bad nights sleep and one more bad day and then things should start improving.
I usually don't blog too much during this time because my energy level directly effects my writing. If I'm not feeling well, I don't have much good to say. Oh well, I guess it is all part of it.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I thought it would be easier to do a personal directive later ... in other words, I was too afraid to do it then. Well, eight years later ... and I don't know if it is easier now ... but I have the forms and am ... doing it.
Another lady, who also is struggling with cancer and I have decided to support each other through the process. It always seems easier if you are not the only one.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The other thing I mentioned in the list was lottery tickets And that reminded me that it has been way over a year since I bought a ticket last. Today I decided it was time ... 'quick pick and a plus' ... that is the only one I know. Wish me luck.
For the remainder of the day, I must work on my course that I am taking at college ... the assignment is due tomorrow evening. It is funny, as first, I was so unsure that I could handle taking a course, but ... it has turned out to be extremely helpful. It has given me something to work towards.
Personally, I have found the services they provide extremely helpful. I feel, talking to people who have or are going through cancer is much more helpful than someone who isn't.
I've included some information out of the A Patient Guide from the Cross Cancer Institute.
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer disrupts the lives of patients and their loved ones in a variety of ways. Our multidisciplinary team offers support to patients and their families, serving the full range of their spiritual, psychological, emotional, and social needs throughout their care at the Cross Cancer Institute. You can book an appointment with a social worker, a psychologist, a spiritual counselor, or an art therapist or find out information about our support groups and schedules by phoning 780-643-4303 or 780-643-4304.
Individual service is provided by a psychologist, social worker, art therapist or spiritual counsellor, depending on the nature of the concern presented. Guidance and supportive counselling are frequently the services provided. Individual counseling is available year round.
The Chaplain/Spiritual Counselor responds to patients of all faiths by helping individuals use their resources of faith and spirituality. Support groups, sacramental and prayer intervention are offered. Religious, spiritual and emotional counseling is available by appointment for individuals, couples and families. The Multi Faith Prayer Centre is located by the lobby on Main Level of the Cross Cancer Institute, and is open 24 hours.
Psychologists offer psychological counseling to patients and family members in an effort to reduce emotional distress and to explore coping techniques. Counseling can help deal with special concerns related to cancer and its treatment such as, communication within the family, stress, coping with treatment side-effects, mood changes, quality of life, body image, loneliness, to name just a few concerns.
Social Workers provide information on available resources related to discharge planning, finance, personal affairs, transportation, patient/ visitor accommodation, long-term placement and other non-medical concerns. They can assist with difficult decisions and practical concerns.
Art Therapists offer psychological counseling together with opportunities to clarify and express emotions through creative expression (e.g., drawing or creative writing).
GROUP SUPPORT Group support is available in the Department. Sessions are offered on a scheduled basis during fall, winter and spring. Based upon sufficient enrollment, some of the groups offered are:
- Stress Management and Relaxation Training
- Spouse or Significant Other Support
- Family Support
- Hope/Spiritual Support
- Bereaved Spouse Support
- Grief Support
- Managing Anxiety and Depression with Cognitive Strategies
- Metastatic Cancer Support Group
- Breast Cancer Support Group
- Brain Tumour Patient and Caregiver Support
As an alternative to support groups, patients and family members may enroll in classes with such activities as soapstone carving, painting, fibre arts, quilting, journal writing, sculpting and music. Additionally, one-day Arts in Medicine retreats are offered throughout the year for people with specific types of cancer.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I borrowed a couple of movies from the library, but only watched one because it was 2 hours and 50 minutes. The movie I watched was Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese. I saw the DVD at the supermarket and thought I would borrow it form the library. Well it wasn't quite what I had expected. The scene is set in 1846 not 2008 as I was thinking. The movie is full of blood and guts and gore. I was so distracted by this that I kinda missed the message ... if there was one. But that is only my opinion because the movie won numerous awards ... go figure.
With my last bit of time, I watched a lady as she struggle through her chemo. She was older and had her husband and daughter there for support. She was not looking good and was gagging before they even started the IV. I really felt for her and wished there was something I could do to make it easier for her. It makes me thankful that my treatment was going so well.
The books include: hardcover, softcover, fiction, nonfiction and are priced at $1.00. You can't beat that price.
Monies raised goes to cancer research. Last month they raised something like $996.00.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The oncologist also mentioned I appeared to be very 'puffy'. The steroids are causing me to gain weight or should I say water. They said not to worry, it's just water retention ... I think they are trying to make me feel better. Anyways, the research nurse mentioned water pills and my ears perked up. She suggested I talk to my regular oncologist about it.
Now that chemo is a go, I went over to the pharmacy and picked up my meds. Tonight I start the steroids and so the cycle begins.
Just wanted to share a quick breast cancer story for all my breast friends. As I was waiting for my husband to pick me up from the Cross, I sat down by another lady who was also waiting. We started to chat and she said she had breast cancer 30 years ago and it just came back. I love hearing stories like that ... not that it came back but that it stayed away for so many years.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
- I like reality TV.
- I like going to school and taking courses.
- I prefer non-fiction over fiction.
- I dislike tardy people.
- I enjoy trying new and different items on a menu.
- I like watching poker on TV.
- My favorite vacation spot is Hawaii.
- I really enjoy watching Dr. Phil and Judge Judy.
- My favorite color is fuchsia (pink).
- I like wearing denim.
- I love my PDA.
- I love to snuggle in a cozy blanket.
- I have worked for 30 years.
- I enjoy blogging.
- I enjoy volunteering my time to help others.
- I have held each of the following positions at least once: president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer (all non-profit clubs).
- I love Google and the Internet.
- I have too many purses and shoes.
- I enjoy the changing of the seasons.
- I drink too much coffee.
- I prefer showers over baths.
- I was considered a slow learner in fourth grade.
- I enjoy recycling.
- I enjoy working.
- I love a nice cup of coffee and muffin or danish.
- I like to burn candles when I'm alone.
- I enjoy shopping for clothes.
- I crushed a vertebrae in a ski-dooing accident.
- I'm the youngest of 6 ... 4 sisters and 1 brother.
- I have had bad dreams/nightmares most of my life.
- I hate asking for help.
- Ukrainian was my first language.
- I never go out of the house without make-up.
- I wore braces in my teens.
- I hate house cleaning ... now.
- I used to love house cleaning.
- I chose not to have kids.
- I chose not to get married.
- I legally changed my name at age 18.
- When I was younger, I dreamt of being rich and famous.
- I love looking at and shopping for office supplies.
- I prefer dogs over cats.
- I prefer Coke over Pepsi.
- My most favorite take out is pizza.
- I can operate a power jack and forklift.
- I was on the campaign team of our current Premier.
- I have baked bread.
- I have walked a marathon ... 43 kilometers.
- I dislike taking medication, vitamins or any kind of pills.
- I've never had a manicure or pedicure.
- I wonder if I will reach the age of 50.
- When I was young, I dreamt of living in Europe.
- Now I dream of living in Victoria, BC.
- I wish I had had a vegetable garden.
- I like to knit and crochet.
- I really enjoy RVing.
- I love to sleep.
- I can use chopsticks.
- All my life, I have struggled with keeping a constant weight.
- I buy lottery tickets ... once a year or less.
- I wish I had more of a 'back-bone'.
- I cannot swim ... because I am afraid of the water.
- I enjoy politics.
- I was a Toastmistress and a Toastmaster.
- I still fear public speaking but not nearly as much.
- I wish I would have had a mentor.
- I used to be very gullible.
- My parents were disappointed when I was born, I was supposed to be a boy.
- As a child, I went to Ukrainian Catholic Summer School ... taught by Nuns.
- I love a rainy day.
- I struggle with very dry skin.
- I've been living common-law for about 27 years.
- When I was young I 'tried out' to be a cheerleader for a professional soccer team ... didn't make it.
- I don't like tattoos.
- I supported a strike and walked a picket line.
- I have no sense of direction ... none.
- I struggle with left and right.
- I love banana bread.
- I like 60's music.
- My shoe size is 9.
- I secretly want to own a Barbie.
- I would like to own a Blackberry some day.
- I love white linen.
- I've been told numerous times by numerous individuals that I am 'too nice'.
- Allergies tend to bother me mostly in the Spring.
- I like to fold laundry but not put it away.
- I wear glasses to see far.
- My favorite perfume is Estee Lauder ... Private Collection.
- I hate drama queens or .... kings.
- I tend to avoid conflict.
- I like getting flowers.
- My favorite restaurant is The Sawmill.
- I love wool sweaters, socks and blankets.
- I wish I had traveled more when I was younger.
- I have too many mechanical pencils.
- I love down fill vests.
- I like to live simply.
- I think it is important for a person to work.
- I hate greedy people.
- Whee! I made it ... I love chocolate!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Once every couple of weeks the ladies get together and share some stories and share some laughs. This has continued since 2001 and has created a nice support system. Some of us had returned to work for a short time, some for a longer time but the meetings continued with whoever could attend. Special thanks should be given to J. for offering her home to the 'Summer' and 'Christmas' get-togethers. She has opened up her home to the group even though she has continued to struggle with lymphoedema in her right arm, from her fingers up to her shoulder.
One of the more humorous parts of the get-togethers is that we have a mascot. Sometimes we try very hard not to a acknowledge that because it can be a bit embarrassing. The looks we get at the coffee shops are priceless. People think we are a little ... should I say ... kooky. I've attached a photo of our fine friend.
His name is Aristotle (Ari for short) ... after the great philosopher of course. He makes for great conversation and generally puts a smile on people's faces.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My blogging can be found at .... Daria - Blog for a Cure ... Cancer Sucks.
- because it takes your life, way too soon
- because it monopolizes your life
- because your life revolves around Docetaxel, Dexamethasone, Zofran & Metoclopramide
- because it changes the way people look at you
- because it hurts the people you care for
- because the fear shakes you to your very core
- because it forces you to think about personal directives, wills, and funerals
- because it changes who you are
- oh yes .... did I mention the fear
Monday, November 17, 2008
Long story short, I took a couple of Tylenol today. Headache is still lingering but feels more like a full-head then a headache.
Today, I spent some time surfing the net. I've signed up with some on-line support groups. Prior to being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I would have never thought to share personal (medical) information with others. But now, I'm feeling, what the heck ... at this stage of the game, I think it is important for me to find the support I need.
In a prior blog, I mentioned I had called the Canadian Cancer Society and asked to be set up with a 'peer' support person. We had spoken on the phone 3 times and decided that things were going well for me and I no longer needed 'peer' support. Should that change ... they said I can re-connect at any time. That is good to know.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This blog is my small attempt to offer others a look at some other sides of me that I would generally not allow them to see. Good or bad. I try and be honest with the writing but ... to be honest, I can see I still try and 'sugar-coat' things. This is something I will continue to work on. It's a work in progress.
This quote inspired me to write today:
hiding who we are, and ask
other strangers, hiding who they are, to love us.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Father, Daughter Battle Breast Cancer Together - click here
Thursday, November 13, 2008
From this day forward, my sleep should be O.K. until the next cycle of chemo.
All my life, sleep has been more than important to me. I have always needed more sleep then everyone else. Many times I would rather crawl into bed then go anywhere or do anything. People have always tried to convince me that it is only in my head and you really only need a few hours sleep. "You are waisting your life away .... sleeping it away." I tried my darnedest to be 'up and Adam' but it has always been a struggle. I sometimes look back and think, maybe that was a sign or signal .... that I am not and never was a healthy person.
One thing is for sure, I sure like the winter for sleeping. Dark early in the evening and dark when I wake up.
... guess I should have been a bear.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I enjoyed reading John Grisham and The Summons was good. I'm going to blame it on 'chemo brain' (why not), I forgot that I had read The Celestine Prophecy years ago, so I skimmed through it this time and reviewed the nine key insights. Regarding Comrades and Strangers, Behind the Closed Doors of North Korea, the title is self-explanatory.
I like to ready a variety of books. I have a basket full of books that I still need to get at. Nice people always seem to be giving me more books to read ... I'm loving it.
If you go to the on-line article ... at the bottom of the page you will get a complete list of side effects but I will give you a list of side effects that I feel I have experienced to date:
* increased appetite
* trouble sleeping
* upset stomach
* excess fluid or swelling in the face, hands, or feet
* weight gain
* feeling dizzy
* mood swings
* muscle weakness
* feeling restless
* feeling depressed or anxious
* bone or muscle pain
* vision changes
There I feel better sharing because it might explain some of my behavior whether face-to-face, on the phone or when I'm blogging. My thoughts and ideas can definitely be affected by the meds I'm taking. There, I've said it and feel better. Darn Catholic upbringing.
The SnowBall is a charity cocktail party for the Alberta Cancer Foundation in its sixth year of fundraising. Funds are raised through ticket sales and donations, and through a silent auction and raffle at the event. This year’s SnowBall will be held at the Sutton Place Hotel. Guest will enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a special musical performance by the Revtones, all for a great cause.
When: November 20, 2008, 7PM-Midnight
Where: The Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton, 10235-101 St.
Please visit the website for more details.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.— Lt.-Col. John McCrae
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Some of the other books I'm reading include ... my neighbors son who is about 14 also borrowed me a couple of children's books. I thought is was very sweet. The books are by Eoin Colfer and mix fiction and fantasy ... dealing with fairies, goblins, elfs, gnomes and more. This wouldn't be something I would generally pick up and read but I found them enjoyable. The books are Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl, The Artic Incident.
I like to have a few books on the go ... a least one fiction and one non-fiction. For non-fiction, I'm reading The World Is My Home Memoir by James A. Mitchner. It is a thick book and I may be a while reading it. It is a book I bought years ago but never read.
My stash of books ready to be read is pretty good. Once again, I had some books at home that I bought years ago but just never got around to reading and now is the time. Secondly, the Cross Cancer Institue has a book sale once a month or so ... that sells soft and hard cover books for $1.00. You can't beat that price. I picked up about 5 more books. Which reminds me, if you do have books that you no longer need, and live in Edmonton, please drop them off at the Cross Cancer Institute as the books are sold and funds raised goes to cancer research.
Friday, November 7, 2008
This afternoon I spent time reading. I noticed the effects of the steroids is causing my vision to blur ... which means my reading will be limited for about a week until I get back to normal. Yesterday I spoke of a twitching eye ... today I have the shakes ... my hands. Unfortunately, the steroids are not an option and I must take them all.
My research nurse called today to discuss the next treatment and we briefly talked about how I was feeling. She asked if I thought the symptoms were getting easier because my body is getting used to the chemo. I agreed and said it might also be that I am drinking more water, eating better, resting more, etc then the first few cycles. It is hard to pin-point what it is but whatever it is ... I'm happier.
The only symptom that really gets me is the bad sleeps. I have woken up around 2:00 am or 3:00 am and have been up for hours. Generally falling asleep for short periods (1/2 hour) or falling asleep after being awake for a couple of hours. I end up feeling pretty good in the morning but I know it is due to the drugs. Tonight I finish my meds and tomorrow my energy level will go into the sewer. I generally don't blog too much during this part of the cycle because .... with a low energy level comes major mood swings. Sometimes the thoughts get very negative. I know I only have to get through a couple of days and nights and I start feeling better once again.
Next week, my schedule is purposely limited because the second week after treatment is where the fatigue is the greatest.
Well I do still have a bunch of energy and am going to take advantage of it ... fun stuff like laundry and ironing. I must say I enjoy it .... doing stuff. Makes me feel healthy and normal.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The movies I watched on my portable DVD player ... Oceans Eleven and Oceans Twelve ... were great. I would highly recommend them.
I feel great today because, as usual, I am pumped on steroids. In fact my left eye lid is twitching right now and will likely do that off and on for about 8 days.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tomorrow is chemo day. I have my meds ready to go. I have my portable DVD player all charged up. The movies I borrowed from the public library are ... Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve. Generally two movies does it but I have extras for the times when chemo ends up being 4 or 5 hours long ... for whatever reason.
This past weekend I spent time surfing the net for other cancer blogs. I added a couple to the list of blogs I follow. It is interesting to see how other people deal with this awful disease.
Needless to say, it was an emotionally draining weekend ... waiting for the results of my scans ... my neck and shoulders still ache from the stress and .... reading some of the blogs ... brings the reality home.
As one lady wrote in her blog ... the day before chemo ... see you on the other side.