Sunday, May 31, 2009

Breast Cancer Treatment With Chemotherapy

I found this interesting article entitled ... Breast Cancer Treatment with Chemotherapy. I've just touched on some of the many points in the article but if you'd like to read the whole thing, please feel free to follow the link.

For Breast Cancer, chemotherapy can be used in three different ways to fight the disease. Firstly, chemo can be given after surgery and radiation to prevent it from cancer from coming back as there is a chance the cancer may have spread through the lymphatic system. Secondly, chemo may be given to shrink a tumor before it can be surgically removed. And thirdly, chemo is given to metastatic patients to kill cancer cells and help them live longer. This is my category.

There are many common chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer but I've only listed the two that I've been treated with:
I had six treatments of FEC back in 2000 after surgery and radiation. I've lost track of how many treatments I've had of Taxotere since August of 2008.

Generally, cycles of chemo are every 2-4 weeks and but can varies quite a bit. When on FEC my cycle was supposed to be every three weeks but ended up being every four weeks as my white blood cells would not recover in time ... so chemo had to be postponed. With the Taxotere, my cycle is three weeks.

Chemotherapy generally goes in via a vein. My six chemo treatments in 2000 pretty well destroyed or damaged any good IV veins in my left arm therefore in August of 2008 when I started chemo again, a CVC - central line was inserted on my chest wall. That worked for about eight months until I got an infection. Now I have a PICC line in my arm.

There are numerous side effects of chemo. Some of which include; hair loss, fatigue, nausea, weight gain and many more. Side effects vary quite a bit with the chemo you are on and based on my experience are cumulative.

With chemo there are a few danger signs to watch for with the main one being a high fever and chills. This is usually indicative of an infection. My thermometer is always within reaching distance.

With CT scans every six weeks, we can monitor my progress and see how the battle is going. Up to this point, I'd have to say I'm happy with the results ... we are shrinking some of the many tumors and have prevented any others from growing.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Little Off Topic

Just up from what appears to have become a regular morning nap. Now that I'm up, I have a bit more energy.

Being the weekend, I thought I'd go a little bit off topic and post a video that has been kicking around the Internet for a while. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beautiful Day Today

My CT scan when well yesterday. The nurses used the PICC line for the infusion of the dye. No need for another needle poke ... yippee! I'm not sure if anyone else experiences this but I get a bit of diarrhea a few hours after the CT scan or .... maybe the next morning. I'm thinking it may be from drinking two liters of water within 45 minutes. Anyways, it's only mild.

With the help of Adivan, I had another solid sleep last night. And this morning another nap. Boy I sure need that rest.

I'm off to the Cancer Institute to change dressing on the PICC line ....

Hope everyone is having a wonderfully sunny day today!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

CT Scan Today

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. They really do make all this just a little bit easier.

I just wanted to mention that there are many outstanding blogs listed on the right hand side of my blog. Please do try and visit some of these blogs. Most are cancer related and each and every one of them have an individual story. Some have completed treatment and some are in the midst of treatment. All are motivating and inspiring.

I find the support I get from these bloggers is amazing and I hope others do too.

This afternoon, I'm off for a CT scan. I'm not sure when I'll get the results as I don't see my oncologist for almost two weeks ... just before the next chemo cycle.

It's going to be a nice day today and even nicer tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mini Meltdown

Just got back from the Cancer Institute ... from getting my PICC line redressed. It was a bit more eventful than I had hoped.

When the nurse (a different one than my regular one) and I looked at my PICC line we noticed the dressing was all loose and that the line had come out a couple of centimeters. When first inserted, the line goes into your body about 50 or 60 centimeters. I was devastated thinking they would have to remove this PICC line and get another one inserted.

Being this is only day 8 of the cycle, my emotions are still very fragile and it took all I had to hold back the tears.

Well, she said, we'll have to send you to x-ray to see if it is still located properly ... within the chest area. Off I go to x-ray. I step into the room and blam ... I couldn't hold back the tears. The x-ray technical says ... it's only a simple x-ray and you'll be fine.

I collected myself and went back to daycare where they already had the results of the x-ray. Everything was O.K. ... the line was still intact. I tried to wipe away the tears and collect myself as best I could but when the nurse called me to have the dressing changed, she could see I was holding back the tears. The sweet nurse reassured me everything was fine and just let her know what I wanted her to do and we'll get through this. She said your emotions are high because of the chemo ... just try and relax and it will all be O.K. I needed that.

When we took the dressing apart we noticed that nothing was holding the PICC line down. We had so much cortisone cream and Vaseline soaked gauze in the dressing that made the steristrips ineffective. Today we changed up a few things including adding a 'lock' to secure the line.

I may have to write a book ... PICC Lines for Dummies.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tired .... Tired ... Tired

Last night I made a decision not to go to class. I was just too irritated, tired and unfocused. I ended up going to bed at just after 7:00 pm. I took an Adivan around 7:30. I was sooo tired I can't even tell you. Shortly afterwords, I fell asleep and woke up around 12 hours later. This morning I had breakfast and once again fell asleep for about an hour and a half. I may do the same this afternoon. I'm just so tired.

Yesterday afternoon, I went and had my dry dressing changed on my PICC line. When the nurse took the dressing off, we saw a couple new irritations. The Friday before when she changed my dressing she said she was afraid the PICC line might come out if not secured properly so she may have secured it a bit too tight which caused some new sores. Her concern was that without this little lock 'thingy' we haven't been using ... because my skin is too sensitive, there is a chance my PICC could slip out.

She just reminded me to stay away from yard work. To be honest, I don't do much of anything anymore, so that isn't even a concern. My concern would be that I would inadvertently pick up something that is heavier than I should.

This particular nurse had a great suggestion and that was for me to always book appointments with her instead of a different nurse each time. That way she could see how the area was healing. What a great idea ... I'm all over that one. I no longer have to explain to each nurse all the different adhesives we've tried and yes my skin is that sensitive and so on.

So we are switching to dressing changes every two days and see how that goes.

So in our chit chat, we briefly talked about the Mayo Clinic, going to Mexico for treatment and the 'mashed asparagus' breakfast dinner lunch remedy. I still haven't heard any good reason to change treatments. I think what I'm getting right here right now is the best I can get.

I just received an email regarding a fellow metastatic breast cancer survivor. She passed away today. Thou I'd never met her I was told she was quite the lady ... a real fighter.

May you rest in peace, my fellow pink warrior.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Official .... Spring Has Sprung

Due to the chemo, yesterday was not a very good day for me.

One positive thing is that my sister, on behalf of my mother, dropped off these lovely geranium planters. Aren't they lovely?

Unfortunately, I was feeling pretty bad so our visit was very short.

Later this afternoon, I have my dry dressing change on my PICC line at the hospital. I've canceled my patient support group meeting for today ... and tonight I have class. Not sure if I'm going to even try and make it to half the class. I'm still feeling weak, tired and irritated and need to be home resting.

I'm a bit slow responding to people's emails and phone calls ... I just need to get over a few more of these ugly days.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Just Up From A Nap

Here is my routine ... something to eat, some sleep, something to eat, some sleep.

Thanks everyone for the great advice .... 'rest is best'. It is so simple and yet such an important reminder.

Yesterday I mentioned I struggle a bit with digestion but a prescription of Metoclopramide does a good job resolving that. If you read the linked article it talks about it helping with nausea or vomiting but that is not what I need it for.

What it does for me is get the gastric muscles moving and therefore, moving the food down the intestines. What appears to happen for me is that I'll eat and the food sits above my stomach and in my throat. It's like my stomach refuses to process the food. Anyways, this medication seems to stimulate movement and food digestes.

The only other major side effect I'm experiencing is intense cold chills. So all and all I'm really doing pretty good.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Got Some Better Sleep Last Night

Last night I went to sleep at 9:00 pm and slept solid till about 3:30 in the morning. After that is was a bit choppy but still pretty good.

The next few days of the cycle have me feeling a bit worst than the other.

So for example, today I'm feeling a bit weaker, my stomach is a little upset ... not wanting to digest food. I have a heightened sense of smell. One of the smells that really turns me off is that I can smell myself ... kind of a chemoy smell. Unfortunately, even nicely scented things smell bad.

My plans are to just take it real easy.

Blogging will minimal for the next few days.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ms Goose And The Family Make The Trek To Water

I just can't get enough of Ms Goose. There is now a great video posted of Mr and Ms Goose as they leave their nest and make the long trek to water. It's worth the watch.

Last night, sleep was once again a challenge ... but thank goodness for the laptop, I just turned it on at 3:00 am and visited my favorite blogs.

Early this morning, I headed off to the Cancer Institute and had my dressing changed on the PICC line. The nurses and reception know me by name. I've been there just about every day for the last two weeks. I've started to write the names of the nurses down so that I can remember them. They are so kind ... I'm thinking it's the least I can do.

Well I'm off to work on my school project due on Monday. Today I run out of steroids and the side effects of the chemo will only get worse after today ... so it's best I get as much done as I can while I still have half a brain.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chemo Brain Here

Chemo brain here completely forgot to go to her class last night. I usually get chemo on Tuesdays but because of Monday was a holiday here in Canada, my chemo was on Wednesday. So is my class. I just didn't even think of it until this morning at 4:30 am. Oh well ... too late now.

Sleep was crazy last night ... up from 2:30 am till 5:00 am. The steroids do that to me.

The first thing I did when I got up at 8:00 am was to check on Ms Goose and her ducklings. I made it just in time to see mother goose and her ducklings leave the nest. Mother goose stood up and gently honked and they all waddled away to the side. How cute.

Shortly after that, I examined my PICC line with the Tegaderm dressing and I decided to call the Cancer Institute and have them change it back to dry dressing. I could see it was turning redder and more blotchy.

I wanted to thank my good friend Renee from Circling My Head for sending me some PICC line shower covers. They are plastic bags that have elastics sewn right into each end. I think they will be the cats meow. Renee thank you also for the little gifts you included in the envelope. I really appreciate you sending that out to me.

That should do it for today ...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chemo Today

While I was away the eggs hatched ... Ms Goose . They are too cute!

Instead of bringing my DVD player to chemo, I decided to bring my laptop and share some of the chemo experience with you. It is written as I was sitting getting chemo.

9:55 ... It’s a few minutes before my 10:00 am chemo appointment and all the beds are taken so I’m in a chair. instead. A nice volunteer just came by to offer water and a warm blanket and pillow.

The nurses all look real busy. Mine just came by and said she would be about 5 minutes late starting me. As I look around I see most people are alone getting as they get their treatment but some brought moral support.

A few minutes later, the nurse came by with my file to confirm who I am and to make sure I took my steroids properly this morning. She was about to start administering the anti nausea drug, Zofran via IV when I mentioned that some nurses give me Zofran orally ... so she obliged and gave me a pill.

Again, a few minutes later, she came back with my Docetaxal/Taxotere but before she administered it, she asked for my cancer card and we confirmed my name and prescription on the chemo bag ... four eyes are better than two. We want to make sure I was getting the right thing.

Because I am on a study drug, there is a certain protocol. I have to have my temperature and blood pressure checked before the Docetaxal/Taxotere ... and then before and after the study drug. Due to the fact I had a mastectomy on one side and the PICC line on the other arm, my only option is to take blood pressure on the lower leg. The numbers end up being quite a quite a bit higher then if you take it on the arm.

10:35 ... The nurse administered the Docetaxal/Taxotere. I’m off and running.

As I look around, it’s getting a bit busier ... more people are showing up for moral support. They bring drinks and magazines and whatever they feel would comfort their loved ones. I started chatting with the lady across from me and the one beside me ... both are very positive and uplifting and a pleasure to talk to.

11:35 ... The nurse came by with the prescription for the study drug. We are not ready for it but she did want to put on the special filter that comes with it. Apparently, the study drug may have micro solids that sometimes develop. This special filter is attached to the IV line and prevents those little devils from possibly sneaking through.

I’d also have to say I’m starting to feel the effects of the chemo ... just very mild effects ... I can almost taste it, I can almost smell it, I feel it in my head, my eyes are watering just a tiny bit more, my vision is a tiny bit blurred .... very very mild effects.

11:55 ... The nurse took my blood pressure and temperature and we started the study drug. Blood pressure was a bit higher but once again, when it’s on your leg, the numbers are generally higher.

12:20 pm ... The nurse came to redress my PICC. I’ve been on dry dressing since my skin reacted to either the adhesive bandages or to the Chlorhexidine ... about 10 days ago. When she took the dry dressing off, we still had one blister that bleeds every time we remove the dressing and ... there are still some red blotchy spots. We decided to go from dry dressing to an adhesive one and leave the blister uncovered, allowing the air to heal it. The new adhesive cover we are going to try is called a Tegaderm made by 3M. I took a sample in my purse so that I can keep track of what we have tried ... the memory sucks. I scheduled an appointment for Friday to change the dressing ... I'm just to afraid to leave it over the weekend.

At yesterday’s visit with the oncologist, the doctor said ... for week two of the cycle, I’m to tell the nurses that I must have dry dressing for that week. The second week of the cycle is when my skin breaks out at the least bit of irritation. That is when I literally have no white blood cells and cannot handle the any type of adhesive bandage.

1:15 ... The nurse came to take my temperature and blood pressure as my study drug is done. It’s hard to get used to those higher blood pressure numbers.

The nurse came back to flush the IV line with saline to make sure I get every last drop of the drug.

1:25 ... The nurse flushed the PICC line and off I go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oncologist Visit

The visit went well ... looks like I'm good to go for chemo tomorrow. The doctor had a look at my ears. I mentioned my left ear popped when I blew my nose. She said everything looks fine.

I just have to go pick up my meds.

We woke up to snow today but no where near what I expected. The temperatures is 0°C with a few millimeters of snow expected for the day.

Today I'll be busy working on my school work and not much more.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ladies ... Don't Try And Gross Out Your Man

So I'm laying on my stomach in bed and D walks in and I say to him, I'm draining the puss out of the CVC hole in my chest ... and he says ... do you want a puss bowl ... ladies, don't try and gross out your man.

Seriously, it's a bit sore but the puss coming out is very minimal. I'll be taking to the oncologist tomorrow to see if there is a way to speed up healing on that CVC hole. I did received some suggestions from readers which I will asking about ... so thank you for that.

Today I'll be putting together my list of questions and comments for the oncologist and research nurse. It never fails, unless it's written down, I always forget to mention something or ask something that I wanted to.

Last time, I forget to discuss a new side effect of a side effect ... chemo gives me flu like symptoms which means I have full sinuses, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and so on. I end up blowing my nose very often. Now my left ear pops the odd time when I blow my nose. I've always tried to be gentle when blowing because I know there is a chance of damaging my ear drum ... well I think I'm headed in that direction.

Because today is a holiday here in Canada, my appointments are pushed back one day. So oncologist visit tomorrow and chemo on Wednesday.

A week from today, I have to hand in a short case study for my Principles of Management course ... I figure I have good days till Friday.

I better stop procrastinating and get my butt in gear.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Fowl Friends

Well not too much to report so I'll give you an update on my fowl friends ...

Ms Robin - There are a couple of hatchlings.

Ms Goose - nothing yet

Ms Falcon - nothing yet

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend ...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sad Story

Just got back from the cancer institute where I had the dressing changed on my PICC line. Things are healing pretty good.

Last night I watched Farrah's Story ... Farrah Fawcett's struggle with anal cancer. Though she put up a strong fight, it sounds like cancer has gotten the upper hand.

It is a very moving and sad story and I must admit, I shed a few tears. Though Farrah knows she has terminal cancer, I think she thought she could beat it. As a person with stage 4 cancer, I too have a hard time believing this could kill me ... it is just a very difficult concept to comprehend.

Today is quite warm but heavy snow is predicted for next week. Sheesh!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Yesterday I went in to the hospital to get my PICC redressed, the nurse said I was just a 'princess' when it comes to my skin ... it's just extremely sensitive and needs special care and attention.

While I was talking with her, I asked her and wrote down what they thought I was allergic to ... chlorhexidine gluconate is what it's called.

The nurse thought we would likely go back to the regular dressing tomorrow.... which is today. I'm a bit in nervous about that because it's a long weekend and I'm not convinced my skin can handle it.

I've sort of stopped worrying about my CVC hole ... I'm going to assume it is just very very slow to heal.

Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty good ... since they dropped the dosage on my chemo, two cycles ago, I've started feeling stronger and more normal ... physically and mentally. The side effects are lesser. My ankles are no where near as swollen as they once were, my eyes don't water as much, I have more energy and so on. I actually feel more alive than I have in a long time.

I'm even feeling like going shopping ... which I haven't felt like in months and months.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PICC Line And CVC Issues

Well it's been a week since my allergic reaction to either the adhesives or antiseptic cleaner around my PICC line. I'm still visiting the Cancer hospital daily to get dry dressing on the still open sores. When you're on chemo, things heal at a snails pace. The affected area looks better but no great.

While I was at Daycare, I asked the nurse to look at my CVC hole ... I call it a hole because that is what it is. When the catheter was removed a month ago, the hole left behind never competely healed, closed up, grew over or what ever it is supposed to do. It still looks pretty bad.

Anyways, I asked the nurse to look at it. I told her I think there is a bit of puss that comes out during the night when I lay on that side ... if forms a crust that falls off during the day. It is still a bit tender and red and sore. I am thinking it's gotten a bit worse in the last week or so.

The nurse looked at it and called the charge nurse over to look at it. They both though it didn't look good and that a doctor should look at it. They called my oncologist down to examine it and she said it wasn't too bad ... just get some Polysporin for it. She said to watch my temperature closely ... for signs of infection.

Well here we go again, it was the Easter long weekend I ended up in the hospital with an infection and this weekend is the Victoria long weekend ... what are the odds?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Freezing Cold Here

Well it's -2°C right now ... yik ... and yesterday was freezing cold too ... that wind was blowing at 50 kilometers an hour.

I've been keeping an eye on Ms. Goose and the poor thing is frozen. She has flattened her wings and stuck her beak into her feathers to try and stay warm.

I'm also following a Peregrine Falcon here in Edmonton too. I'll definitely let everyone know when the eggs hatch.

Hope it's warmer where you are ...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Helps Me 'Cope' With Cancer

At yesterday's patient support group the psychologist asked us what we use as a 'coping' strategy ... to help deal with our cancer diagnosis.

My strategy has been to use distraction ... stay busy and don't think about it too much. Some people may call it avoidance or denial but I call it distraction.

In 2000, when I was first diagnosed with cancer, I joined a walking group and eventually traveled to Seattle and walked a marathon ... 43 kilometers/26 miles. I did a lot of walking It was very therapeutic. Oh yes, I knitted and crocheted a lot too ... did I mention a lot.

In 2004, when I had a recurrence, I made a decision to change careers and employers ... and start my path towards getting a Human Resources Diploma. After 27 years, I did change employers ... twice. I was also feverishly working on my diploma when my new diagnosis came in 2008.

In 2008, when I got my metastatic diagnosis ... I must admit I was in shock for a good six months ... not knowing what I should be doing. One thing was for sure, I was going to finish my diploma ... cancer or no cancer. I decided to continue taking courses ... one at a time instead of the two evening courses I was taking before.

I was hoping to take a few months off for treatment and go back to work very part time. Of course, my treatment as been more difficult than first expected.

What I did pick up was blogging ... and truly that has saved my sanity. It has been a great distraction ... it gives me something to do and something to look forward to. I get great support and hopefully I offer support to others.

As you can see, I've always coped with cancer and perhaps with most adversity in my life by taking on new challenges. I just get busy doing something.

Is this a great coping skill? No sure ... but it has worked relatively well for me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Short and Sweet

Just a quick update ...

Just got back from the Cancer Institute for the dressing chance on my PICC. Ran into Audrey from Stage 3! Who, me? and we had lunch. That was great!

In a short while I'm off to a support group meeting and later this evening ... class.

It's a beautiful day out there!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My sister D thought it would be nice to take our 84 year old mom out for lunch for Mother's Day. She thought it would be a nice surprise if both I came and my other sister A came. We choose Saturday over Sunday as it would be less busy. We met at the Muggins restaurant at 11:00 am. As my sister A and I sat in the car ... I said, there they are ... so we ducked in the car not wanting to give away to my mom that we were joining them.

So my sister D and my mom wandered into the restaurant and my sister A and I followed a couple minutes later. As we got there, my sister D and my mom were coming out of the restaurant and going into the bar ... apparently the wait was going to be too long ... that is when my sister D noticed us. We said nothing and we just followed along. We went into the bar and walked a short distance and then my sister D and my mom turned back into us. They were looking for a booth but saw none. My mom glanced at us but it didn't click. We followed my sister D and my mom for a few steps as they decided where to sit ... once again, they turned and looked our way and that is when my mom finally realized who was following them around. She later said, she thought the lady following her looked like her daughter. It was cute.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gorgeous Day Here

After my shower yesterday, I thought I better have a closer look at my PICC line and what I noticed is that under the clear bandages, my skin was red and blistering ... not everywhere ... just in some spots. So off to the Daycare at the Cross Cancer Institute I go. The nurse said, yes, I've had a reaction and felt it was to the antiseptic cleaner used to clean the skin. I disagree. I still think I'm reacting to the adhesive bandages.

With the CVC, on the second week of the cycle, I always had a reaction to the bandages ... my body is at it's weakest and just can't take the adhesive.

Long story short, a daily visit to Daycare for dry dressing changes until it heals. They are also using a cortisone cream to help speed up healing.

It's a gorgeous day here today and the neighborhood is buzzing with activity.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Old-Fashioned Nose Bleed

I had been caring around a restaurant gift certificate for over a year and a half and last night, we decided to take advantage of it. The restaurant was East Side Marios in St Albert just 20 minutes away. We hadn't been to St Albert for a while and were surprised to see there is some major road construction going on ... overpasses and stuff. Change .... change ... change.

The food at the restaurant was good and it was nice to get out and about. We ordered a bit extra and now have a snack for later.

No nose bleed today but yesterday after my nose bleed, D decided to Google 'nose bleeds' to see what he could find. He said, "Did you know there are hundreds of types of nose bleeds?" ... I said .... just look up 'old-fashioned' nose bleed. "Nope. No such thing."

After reading a few comments left on the bottom of the site he turned to me and said .... "It says here you could have a pea or a crayon stuck up your nose. Do you?" ... very funny.

Today I'm feeling pretty good and will likely venture out and about.

Today's Challenge

Well today's challenge is a nose bleed. Yesterday's nose bleed didn't last too long but today ... I woke up with a nose bleed and it's almost 3 hours later and I am struggling to get rid of it. It is not a constant bleed. It stops for short periods but as soon as I move a muscle ... it starts again.

Nose bleeds are one of the side effects of chemo.

Last night's class went well. We all had to get up and introduce ourselves and talk a bit about our experience ... I got up front and realized how little strength I had to project my voice.

You know I feel so jealous of most everyone in the class ... every one looks like they have so much going on ... a life full of 'life'.

I miss work ... which I haven't really talked about much. I miss getting dressed up in the latest fashions, I miss hearing about the latest gossip, I miss juggling all sorts of tasks ... I miss my old self.

That is probably the toughest part of all this ... loosing the strong vibrant person I once was. I know once I get off the chemo, I'll regain some of that back but to be honest ... this is my third time with cancer and each time it robs you a bit ... each time it takes away a little more of that innocence.

It sounds like I'm a bit melancholy ... well I'm not really. It's just something that I think of often but don't often mention.

Well looks like my nose bleed may have stopped. I'm going to try and get dressed now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yes I'm A Bit Crazy

Yesterday I went to get my PICC line redressed and the nurse said .... I don't every think I've seen you looking so bad. Yes I was feeling very drained and plain old pooped.

My friend and fellow blogger Renee left a comment on my blog saying ... Until the taxotere effects lasted 7 days and then I would restart. That is so true, it takes a minimum of 7 days from chemo day before one starts feeling normalish.

On Monday and Tuesday afternoon, I took 1/3 of an Adivan and laid down for a nap. It worked wonderfully. I may do the same today. I need to get caught up my sleep/rest in a big way.

I registered for another college course ... Principles of Management. Yes I'm a bit crazy.

Looking at my organizer, the months of May and June are lining up to be very busy months. I'm nervous but excited. Summer is here ... it's always a busy time.

Off for a nap and then class tonight ...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Full Night's Sleep ... Yippie!

I am so moved by the support I have received in the last few days ... I cannot even tell you. I repeat this cycle every three weeks and I often think that the followers, especially, the long time followers are getting tired of hearing me talk about the same stuff or the same bad few days I experience each month.

What I have since realized is that there are new cancer patients coming on board all the time and by repeating it ... I'm hoping new survivors will gain from the information.

Last night I took an Adivan which allowed me to have the first full night's sleep since a week ago Monday ... that was when I started the steroids.

Sleep this past week as been horrid .... broken up, intense dreams, stopped breathing, snoring and so on.

This morning I'm struggling with a nose bleed. Once we get that under control, I think I'll be feeling well enough to get a few things done.

My plans for the day are to go to the Cancer Institute and have the PICC Line redressed. Shortly after that, I have my appointment with my psychologist.

Once again, thanks to everyone for their loving comments ... they are so important to me. I really value my followers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Webcam: Canada Goose Nest Near Edmonton

A little off topic ....

Apparently we have a webcam on a Canada Goose nest near Edmonton.

Ms Goose sitting on her nest.

Follow her on Twitter for the lastest updates.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today Is Better

Yesterday was rough, today is better and tomorrow will be much better.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Feeling Irritated

As with each cycle ... today and tomorrow are the worst days. Thou with the reduced dosage of Taxotere, the side effects are lesser than say a couple of months ago.

I'm feeling irritated and moody and my head is not clear. I just don't really know what I want to do at any particular time.

My goal is to get through the next couple of days as quickly as possible.

That is all for today ...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tricks Of The Trade

As people start the treatment for cancer and especially, chemotherapy, one starts pretty 'green' and what I mean about that is there is a lot to learn about the drugs and how your individual body deals with them. I know when I first started with the Taxotere in August, I had to figure out what caused what side effects. Chemo had its side effects but so did the steroids and the anti-nausea pills.

Zofran the anti-nausea .... caused me terrible constipation. The first chemo cycle, I was constipated for 4 days ... that caused just about more grief than the chemo did. I had terrible head aches, back pain and frustration. It didn't take me long to learn I had to take something to help me along. What I found worked best was a couple Senekot S pills on Thursday night and a couple more on Sunday night of the first week. Even with the Senekot S, constipation is very uncomfortable and a pain in the you know what.

My prescription says to take 6 Zofran pills each cycle but have been cutting back for the last 3-4 cycles because I do not have nausea. Against doctors order, I now take 3 pills per cycle. This may not be for everyone but it works for me. Because of that, I have cut back the Senekot S to Thursday night only.

By the way, I have also tried Metamucil, bran bars, diet (fruit and veggies), juice and lots of water but nothing really worked. Again, every one's body is different and everyone has to figure out what works for them.