3.31.2012

Dehydration and Revisions

Not So Hot post-fluids. Eyebrows were the least of my worries.
At 3:30am Friday morning, I woke up and was certain the Vomit Fairy had found me. Still in quarantine at my mother's house, I was no where near my nausea meds. I wondered if they would even help in the case of the all powerful Fairy.

Apparently bathing in hand sanitizer and cleaning the house top to bottom in bleach was not enough to keep her away.

I laid in bed wishing it away for hours.

My heart was also pounding out of my chest and my resting heart rate was over 100, twice its normal rate. I checked it again around 6:30am and it was still going crazy. I texted Kyle and told him to reschedule my morning booster shot for the afternoon. There was no way I was moving.

When the doctor and nurse got wind of the accelerated heart rate, they wanted to see me. That meant I was moving indeed.

With a great team effort, I got my nausea meds from home, they worked and I was reluctantly on my way to the oncology office again. Again. Again. Again. I have such dread for that place and all it represents.

My heart rate and blood pressure were definitely up and the doctor said it was due to dehydration. I even got an odd sad face and hug from a random nurse when she saw my heart rate. That scared me a little bit. Did she know something I didn't?

Back to that dehydration. There's that little side effect from these booster shots I haven't mentioned. The one that actually had Kyle flip a u-turn as soon as we pulled out of my mother's drive way on the way to the doctor. The one that left me sprinting in her front door. What goes in comes out very suddenly and very quickly if you know what I mean. Not an ideal outcome for someone trying to keep weight on. Though that's a normal side effect from chemotherapy, it's one I had yet to experience until I started getting these Neupogen booster shots. It didn't help that my mother only had 1-ply toilet paper in her bathroom. I had to sneak down to the half bath in the middle of the night and steal the flushable Kandoo wipes she keeps for Merrick. It was my saving grace.

When I went in on Wednesday for what was suppose to be my fifth round, I climbed on the old school sliding scale and noticed the person before me weighed twice as much. That's not saying much considering I'm technically underweight right now. But it left me wondering if that person was getting the same dosage of chemo and boosters as I was. Did my weight have anything to do with how my body tolerating this experience?

The doctor said dosage was given based on height and weight, so I can't blame that.

So Friday I got my third booster and some IV fluids to help with the dehydration. I was still feeling totally craptastic when I went back to quarantine at my mother's house and she made a midnight run for some Imodium. My miserable self slept a solid 11 hours and woke up feeling normal again.

We also walked away with a new plan of action. Next Wednesday I will get my delayed fifth round of Chemo. My white blood counts were nice and high yesterday after that third shot, so I'm good to go for then.

I'll get disconnected from my pump on Friday and will go in on Saturday and get a shot of something called Neulasta. Like Neupogen, it's a white blood cell booster. I think it will have the same side effects, so I'm guessing the Easter bunny is going to be very unenthusiastic this year. He might just dump all those eggs in a pile in the middle of the yard and tell Merrick to go to town.

Though it's not the best possible scenario, I'm going to start getting chemo every three weeks instead of every two weeks. I'm not sure if this will be temporary or permanent, but based on the way my blood counts drop, it may be the way it is. Every two weeks is ideal and most effective, so that definitely leaves me feeling defeated. Before this journey started, my body was so strong and healthy. Now I just feel sickly and weak and out of control.

3.29.2012

The Newly Reinvented

Things are a changin' and a growin' and it's not just because it's Spring.

I'm going to come out and brake a lot of hearts when I tell you I did not graduate with a degree in web design, so don't knock my creation. There was no such thing as the Internet back in the day and some of us had to go to the library to find information in things called books. I can remember popping that disk out of my external disk drive on my PowerBook 100 and walking all the way to the computer lab in the basement of the library to get it printed.

This is the part where my dad starts telling me to be quiet because he had to type all his papers through his post-grad on a typewriter that didn't have auto correct. And then he had to walk through campus in bare feet through the snow because there was no such thing as a car.

What I'm saying is I fully appreciate the Internet and thank Al Gore every day for inventing it.

I digress.

In conjunction with Team Colon Cancer Chick taking part in the Twin Cities Get Your Rear in Gear, Sister Woody is turning into the one and only Colon Cancer Chick.

I'm branding myself.

When this whole tumor thing first appeared on the monitor (literally), I couldn't envision myself identifying as someone with cancer or an eventual cancer survivor. Denial may not be a river in Egypt, but it's a river somewhere and I was clearly canoeing down it.

But here I am, working my way miserably through treatment and admitting that I am undeniably one of them, I'm just trying very hard not to look the part. I'm trying to do it as fashionably and fitfully and  normally and healthfully as one can when there are now more days without mascara or eyebrows than days with.

Team Colon Cancer Chick will be my first big marketing campaign so to speak. I'm not out to change the world of cancer, but maybe out to fill in a gap that I found missing when I got diagnosed. And blasting my name and blog address all over some willing participants at an event specifically for colon cancer and running sounds like the perfect place to do it!

After all, I am running with colon cancer, right?

No need to change your bookmarks all you junkies. Sister Woody is alive and well and the original link will always take you to the right place. But in the next few days, the World Wide Web will finally acknowledge coloncancerchick.com and I will be well on my way to world domination my new found raison d'etre!

3.28.2012

Because You Keep Asking

I'm going to follow up my last blog about carrying each other's burdens with a unabashed plug on behalf of an amazing mom who's working hard to carry my burden. Or at least distribute it amongst those can help.

Want to help but don't know how?

Live far, far, far away in Neverland and wondering what you can do?

I'm going to step off my pedestal and be shameless here for the next few paragraphs. Shameless Garth Brooks style!

There is an amazing mom, Megan, who is making it her mission to insure the mommy-less Woody clan has a meal for the first three nights after my treatment every other week. With 7 more treatments, you can do the math. Lord knows I can't!

She's not only organizing moms locally, but has even gotten an out-of-state sponsorship for a meal from another amazing Stroller Striding mama who moved to California last year. What? Carrying my burden all the way in California? Next Friday, she'll pick up that already prepared meal from Save Thyme Gourmet to Go and drop it off at our house.

I'll be home by that night, so there's a very good chance she'll see me without mascara, rocking some greasy hair and will live to tell! I hear photos of my without my eyebrows are going for a good price these days.

She's organizing it all on a great site called Take Them a Meal and is more than happy to coordinate taking us a meal even if you can't. You don't have to be a mom and you don't have to run with a jogger to qualify for this great deal.

Friends and family from all over the country have asked, wished and wanted to help and I am merely providing them with this vessel. Megan's number is on that link and you can feel free to call or text her if you want to sign up or sponsor a night. You can also email her at mewithers424@yahoo.com.

See, I was shameless.

Carrying the Burden

Rarely do I sit in church and take amazing things away from sermons that are completely applicable to my own life. I mean there's always something applicable, but on a Sunday not too long ago, it was completely applicable and I left with food for thought. I also left with Cracker Barrel on the brain, but that's a totally different post.

The general idea was that we are suppose to take up the burdens of our fellow man. And for Christians, it's easy to say "I'll pray for you!" and walk away, keeping the person and their burden at arms length.

It's like a Christian cliche or trendy thing to do.

Not that praying isn't helpful and important if you're the praying type, but often it can be the easy way out. The cop out. A superficial way of making us feel like we're contributing to the cause without actually having to lift a finger or touch someone. Touching people is so dirty, isn't it?

Instead of just offering a superficial word of encouragement, we should see how we can help alleviate the burden, asking how we can help and sometimes just helping without being asked. I know some of you are thinking that you did ask how to help and I rejected you. At the time, I probably felt fine carrying my burden. I'm one of those tough chicks.

It was very evident that day in church that cancer and chemo is my burden right now. And I thought back to all the people who have done what they can to help carry some of my burden for me. No one can take it away, but stepping up to take even the simplest thing off my plate is equivalent to helping me carry this load right now.

I think of all the friends that stepped in with childcare when I was going to 2-3 appointments a week at times. There was a crazy, constant shuffle of children to all parts of town and all sorts of hours. These friends know who they are and they helped carry my burden.

My mother-in-law has moved here from Houston to help when she's needed with the kids. She's carrying a huge chunk of my burden.

I think of the friend who brought dinner over during my third treatment, and how nice it was for my mother-in-law to not have to worry about making dinner for several nights when she had her hands full with the kids. She helped carry my burden.

I stopped by a friend's house to pick up colorful Target knee socks that she had amazingly turned into PICC line covers for my arm. As I was thanking her for her work, she told me she was so glad to have finally found a way to help me. With the colorful and fashionable PICC covers, she had helped to carry my burden.

I can't even count all the cards I've gotten in the mail or emails I've received with the most encouraging messages. To know that someone took the time to write a note and send it reminds me when I'm laying in bed at my worst, that someone really is out there thinking of me or praying for me. And that takes away some of my burden.

And now I'm looking at a calendar not just full of treatment dates, but names of mom after mom from Stroller Strides who has signed up to supply us with a meal during those miserable days when I'm in my chemo coma and eating nausea meds like they're candy. Those moms are going to help carry my burden.

I think of the moms with Mom's Gotta Run who managed to raise OVER $2500 for Chris4Life in my honor. Because of that money, they are going to help carry the burden of many being impacting by colon cancer right now.

I think of Shawna, who was inspired enough to train for the half-marathon and run for Team Livestrong. The money she raised will help carry someone's burden.

We are called by God or humanity (for the non-God thumping types) to help our fellow man. Help a brother when he's down because one day you may be down, too. I'm not soliciting for help (yet), but sharing my appreciation to those who have stepped up beside me to help bear this cross. It has not gone unnoticed and this sermon was just a catalyst to helping me put it in to words.

This is a challenge to I'm putting before myself, as this experience has opened my eyes to the effectiveness of such acts. I pray that my eyes are forever opened to the needs of those around me, and my heart forever willing to taking on their burden in any way I can.

Flunky Flunk Flunkerson

Today is was suppose to be treatment number five. Numba five.

Kyle and I got all dolled up and headed in for my four hours in the recliner. I tried my best to suppress the anxiety towards my future battle with nausea and was stoic as I sat in the chair waiting for the nurse to come in with my newly improved blood work. Surely all my vitamin taking and whole food eating and booster shot getting would do the trick!

But much to my surprise, those magical shots last week didn't exactly do their job and my silly little neutrophils continued to drop. Everything else was up, but the neutrophils were down, down, down.

Another shot of Neupogen today, tomorrow and Friday and hopefully I can be back on track next week. Though I appreciate the extra week off, chemo is most useful when delivered on schedule. After we left, they called to say the doctor actually wants to see me next week before my next round. As much as I want to ask him a million questions about future steps we might take, I feel a little like it's being called to the principal's office for bad behavior. Damn that blood for being naughty!

It also means I probably won't be feeling so hot for Easter, so the bunny will be stuffing eggs and getting Easter baskets ready a few days in advance. If I look slightly ill in our Easter photos, you'll know why.

My nurse wasn't too informative, but I did ask if my battle to fend off the stomach flu and cold virus this past weekend may have helped ruin their chances of revival. Maybe they were just too overloaded with those E. coli proteins from the boosters and the strawberry splatter I was cleaning off the hallway walls.

I'm currently sitting in quarantine at my mother's house. Partly because that's the usual plan now after treatment, but mainly because I need to get as far away from the House of Sickness as possible. It's by the grace of God that I escaped unscathed! I also now know that the Neupogen will have me feeling pretty special by mid-afternoon and I will just want to lay on the couch in undisturbed silence. Sick, needy, cuddly babies Four year olds don't let mommies lay on couches in undisturbed silence. Wait, four year olds don't let mommies do anything undisturbed.

3.27.2012

Of All Weeks

This last week was not the week for sickness to enter our lives. And not just any sickness, the sickness I fear most.

Hot Date.
I got the shot to boost my white blood cell count on Wednesday and Thursday, finally felt well enough for a hot date night with my man candy on Friday night and we ended our romantic evening with Merrick getting a visit from the vomit fairy. We're all about the romance here and I'm all about cleaning up puke while wearing skinny jeans and wedges!

The cocktail kept under the sink for weekends such as this!
So a weekend meant for boosting my immunity the artificial way started with me boosting it the legitimate way. Nothing like cleaning up recycled strawberries everywhere but in the bowl I provided, holding a cold ridden toddler who was wheezing his way through the night, sleeping next to a husband with a Man Cold and finally wrapping up the weekend with some random toddler vomit on Monday morning.

The toddler vomit session was a one hit wonder and is being blamed on too much mucus dripping down to the belly. Thankful for that, as I don't think those silly little neutrophils could have survived another round of the stomach flu.

It's less than 24 hours before my fifth treatment and I've managed to somehow survive it all, despite the over usage my magic vomit cleaning cocktail, loading vomit covered towels, blankets, pillows and clothes into the washing machine for hours on end and spending many a good hour holding a sickly baby.

Lachlan chose a highly inappropriate time to vomit. For starters, he was sitting on couch. The very couch that had already been blessed by Merrick's strawberries a few nights before. I also happened to be walking out the door for a routine follow up with my surgeon that morning. With some slight and immediate logistical shuffling, Merrick ended up going with me to the doctor and Memaw stayed on high alert for round two.

This is when I am grateful that I've been keeping our easy-to-pick new couch covered in a sheet. That sheet made the damage minimal and makes me think it's still possible to return this couch I already loathe.

"And this is where your poop comes out. Poop, poop, poop, poop."
Merrick enjoyed being my escort to the surgeon's appointment. My inquisitive scientist had to understand exactly why he was throwing up and where it all came from. Thank you The Gas We Pass, for without you and your diagrams, we would have been lost on Sunday night when the train of digestive questions started chugging out of Merrick's mouth.

While at my appointment with my colorectal surgeon, he was thrilled to see this poster and proceeded to explain it to me. There's nothing quite like being educated by a 4 year old, but we are merely blank slates without their infinite knowledge. Without his degree-worthy information of our digestive system, I'd be lost. Where's my sigmoid colon again?

He also loved that he could use the opportunity to say things like "poop" and "fart" outside of the bathroom. We're really working on the "potty words only in the potty" movement. No pun intended when I just said "movement."
 
The Man Cold:

3.21.2012

Epic Fail

I guess sitting on the couch watching Antique Roadshow and eating my tarty vitamin Cs like a roll of Sweet Tarts isn't working.


Today was my day!

As predicted last week by the PA, my white blood counts would be low enough this week to warrant a booster shot. But much to my misinterpretation, the shot will not be delaying treatment.

This is good in that I'll at least be awake for Easter.

This is bad in that I won't get an extra week on my wellness vacation.

This is good in that chemo works best when delivered without delay.

This is bad in that I still don't feel 100%, so my 8 glorious days are turning out to be 8 7 6 glorious days.

The shot, Neuprogen, is a white cell booster and standard practice to get those suckers to perk up. If only it perked other things up. Specifically, it motivates those neurophils I blogged about a few weeks ago to get out of bed and stop being so lazy. Silly neurophils, thinking chemo is a good reason for them not to do their job.

My PICC nurse warned me yesterday of potential bone pain, and my oncology nurse told me today that I could expect to feel like I have the flu. Or mad cow disease maybe? I'm suppose to warm them if I'm allergic to drugs that contain the E. coli bacteria before receiving the shot. Because we all know if we're allergic to E. coli, right?

I currently still feel crappy, so I'm just going to feel even crappier thanks to a dose of E. coli derived proteins. Perhaps I need to come up with a "crappy" chart like the pain charts they have in the hospital so the world can know where I am on my crappy scale.


Or better yet, Hyperbole and a Half's version:

So I'm crappy. I got a crappy shot. I'm going to get the same crappy shot tomorrow. And in a week, I'll be feeling craptastic after my fifth round of chemo.



3.19.2012

Coming in Fourth

My boy toy could not keep up with his commitment to be with me for every treatment thanks to a meeting, so my mother filled in. I think she appreciated the people watching offered by the infusion room more than he does. Men just don't appreciate good people watching these days. She especially enjoyed my two trips to the bathroom when I was able to bless all the little ol' men in my alcove with my red jeans. They were watching the jeans. She was watching them.

Boosting troop morale
Apparently they were a hit for the prostate cancer crowd. Glad I could do something to help the cause. Sometimes it pays to be the youngest person in the room by decades.

This was by far the "easiest" round in that I stayed on top of the nausea meds like white on rice and I managed to get out of bed for a few hours during my 48 "chemo coma." Normally, opening my eyes is a challenge all its own. It's almost like I have the light sensitivity of a migraine minus the actual migraine. Not sure why it was "easier," but I can assure you it wasn't for a lack of dosage!

I got the dosage talk from my oncologist's physician's assistant (PA) on Wednesday. The good doctor understandably likes to give his younger patients the "full dose" of chemo because we "can handle it." Understandable and fair. Apparently because I am a young buck (or doe), I need to suck it up and deal with the misery. Not that I was asking for some relief. I'm all about the pain!

Party in my arm!
As miserable as this experience is in so many ways, I don't want to finish my treatment with any regrets that I didn't do all I could to keep The Enemy from coming back. There's no doubt that it's a possibility, but I want to know that I did all I could to shrink my chances.

With that said, I may be skipping a week in the near future in an attempt to get my blood counts up. As expected, I keep dropping and may be nominated for a booster shot this Wednesday when I go in for my CBC (complete blood count). If I get a booster, I can't get another round of chemo within the week. I can't remember if that had something directly to do with the shot or if they just like to give your body an extra week to get those blood counts up.

When I see how low my numbers are, I'm shocked considering how normal I feel during my 8 glorious days. My front line of defense is dismal, yet I've survived fevers from both boys and a two week run of a viral infection from each in recent weeks.

Frankly, as eager as I am to get this over with, I would welcome an extra week of feeling normal. Currently I seem to be under the chemo spell of misery (to some degree) for 6 days. 6 down. 8 up. That's explains the long silence on the blog. Do the math and hopefully tomorrow means day 1 of greatness.

Pump disconnecting hipsters.
The first 48 hours are obviously the worse, and then I continue to battle the nausea, fatigue and weird things my hands do for another 4 days. Yes, you may have seen me dress shopping at Nordstom yesterday, but I can assure you I came home and slept, pounded some goat cheese and crackers for dinner and then lay limp on the couch for the rest of the evening.

I think some of my amazing running mommy friends can relate to me laying limp on the couch, as many ran the Shamrock Half Marathon yesterday. And wouldn't you know I woke up, stuffed some nausea pills in my pocket, grabbed some tissues for that bloody snot and went to cheer them on. I should have tons of amazing photos to show you, but with the cold ocean air, my hands shriveled up into useless knobs and I was forced to take photos with my one working knuckle. Thank you neuropathy and cold sensitivity. You're the evil step-sisters I never wanted!

Mere yards from the Atlantic.
I did manage to rock some green toes and green jeans for the occasion, so I was at least partly festive. But all good things must come to an end and after 3 hours of standing on the sidelines and observing some post-race keg stands celebrating from these accomplished moms (of which I could not participate thanks to the cold sensitivity making anything cold feel like the death grip of a million little men in my throat.), I hit my wall and made haste for the nearest exit. Leave it to me to over extend myself.

So honored and proud and amazed at the moms who managed to raise OVER $2500 for Chris4Life Colon Cancer Fund and Shawna who raised $775 for Team Livestrong (Team Livestrong raised over $134,000 for this race!!!). The more I read about these and countless other organizations focused on helping families on the cancer journey, the more proud I am of every dollar raised and the difference I KNOW it's going to make in someone's life.

Team Mom's Gotta Run in the wee hours before the Shamrock start.

3.12.2012

Bloody Hell You Bloody Boogers

Another plate of side effects coming right up!

This one isn't shocking considering I had a bit of a bloody nose with both pregnancies. And with chemo, there's a bit of blood thinning that can lead to cuts being bloodier or bruises looking horrendously violent. Good thing I'm not even remotely klutzy!
I really am trying to be gross and show off Kyle's wax job at the same time.
My definition of a bloody nose is not a full on nose bleed as I've never had one of those.

My version is bloody snot and bloody tissues. Lots of bloody tissues. You won't find me jumping up in the middle of 30 Rock and running to the bathroom holding my nose. No head between the knees or tipping my head back or whatever you do to stop that crazy massacre of the sinuses.

It takes several tissues and baby wipes to get my schnoz cleaned out several times a day. And I know better than to start cleaning up the mess before I get out of bed. That means no fingers in the nose without a tissue or it's going to come out ugly.

Everyone picks their nose, so stop acting like you don't. Nobody is "holier than thou" in the booger department. It's what you do with them that counts.

It's become so frequent that I check the mirror before walking out the door to see if a little stealth drippage is trying to make its way out in time to embarrass me at preschool pick-up. Today I caught it trying to sneak out and took a photo, because a blog is far more fun with photos, right?

You can flatter me later on my amazing pores. They are compliments of the Biore Pore Strips. Still a personal favorite after all these years.

And if I don't have a mirror handy, I have Merrick. He apparently stares up my nostrils so intently all the time that he usually points it out before I notice.

3.11.2012

Bonding

Merrick has wanted to do this for a long time. And yesterday we found ourselves at the right place, with the right number of responsible adults and the right amount of cash between us.

I was the only grown up who didn't have a good excuse when Merrick asked someone to do it with him. He already knows that everything in life is more fun when you do it with friends! Another life lesson on his long journey to being a frat boy.

It ended up being some good mother-son bonding and I continued to cement my future as one of the "fun moms." I just don't plan on consuming a giant naughty cinnamon roll from Bergey's right before I jump again. Excuse me while I belch. Kyle now believes me when I saw I don't do roller coasters because, belch, they make me sick.

Man, I look so tall here. I'm about half-an-inch shy of petite, so let me enjoy finally being 5'9".
This boy is ready for launch!
Bounce, boy, bounce!
He will be Kyle's fearless roller coaster riding buddy in about 5 more inches.
He's crazy. I was screaming like a little school girl when she launched me this high.
Basking in my tall moment.

3.10.2012

Run Because You CAN

Nike nailed it with "Just Do It!"

Beth nailed it with "Shut Up and Run!"

I nailed it as my own personal motivational speaker when I finally started running again after surgery. It was hard on the ol' ego to go out and struggle to run only 2 miles. Not only struggle, but see that I'd added almost 2 minutes to my pace.

I came home a beaten women. In 2 months had I lost that much of my edge?

But then I reminded myself of what I'd been through over the last 2 months. My body had been used and abused and cut open. It had been beaten up and left on the side of the road, stripped of parts. My insides were waging a battle against the evil enemy and I had no clue.

When I went out to run again, I had to channel my own inspirational mantra and use it on myself.  I had to remind myself that I was running because I CAN. I remembered the weeks of laying in bed and writing "CAN'T." It may not be my fastest or easiest or my best or my happiest, but I was doing it and it got easier and faster.

Every time I climb on the elliptical, step on to the treadmill, walk out the door with my Garmin or lay down on my yoga mat, I remind myself that there are drugs running through my body that are telling me I CAN'T and I SHOULDN'T and I WON'T.

But my body and my mind are stronger than those drugs and I will show them who runs this show.

Mostly. Kinda.

Well, at least for 8 glorious days every other week. I know I don't have this same attitude toward life during the craptastic days of the chemo coma, so I'm going to harness that infectious perkiness now!

It doesn't matter how far, how hard, how easy, how unmotivated, how much you're not feeling it. You do it because you CAN and you know when it's over you'll feel all the greater for it.

There. That's better.

I just pep talked myself into my running clothes.

I try to do a lot of things every day with my new "because I CAN" attitude. It works wonders.

3.09.2012

35

Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
With almost 500 reviews and 4 out of 5 stars on Sephora, I think I have a winner!

Actually, I know I have a winner. I've used hydroquinone before compliments of my dermatologist and it worked wonders. The catch was that I got pregnant again and those silly spots came right back. I also don't need a tiny tube of prescription cream for a few spots. I need a tub that I can smear all over the upper quarter of my body.

I've been super committed to hats and sunscreen and bronzer for a while. That's the catch. Once you start, you've got to protect the progress you've made. And I need to make progress so I can stop using concealer like it's foundation.

3.08.2012

Dreading with a View

After several gym attempts, Lachlan made it known to everyone in the child care center that he was not a gym rat, especially during nap time. Couple that with all the haunting visions I keep having of sweaty old men cruising the weight rack and rotting plums fermenting on the treadmill and it was pretty easy for me to throw in the towel.

Dear Gym, 
Thanks for the not-so-free trial. Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries.
Love,
Sarah
PS-Can I have naming rights to the plum beer you're brewing in the cup holder on that treadmill?

I also knew I had a back up plan, albeit one without child care. But at least I had a plan!

And this one had a view.

May I introduce you to my secret place. Why yes, that is the ocean.


I hadn't been back to this place since I joined Stroller Strides, and it hadn't changed. Perhaps because it hardly gets used. The people that have access to it probably have this very equipment in their lovely homes, so why bother coming here?

I'm rarely receptive to second chances, because I'm hard core like that. But the treadmill needed one and I needed the treadmill.

To the laymen, this just looks like gym equipment. But to the expert, you've already called my bluff. That's no treadmill, it's an elliptical. My second attempt lasted 5 minutes before I hopped over to this baby. But in an act of complete redemption, the third time was the charm when I made it 3 miles.

The secret to treadmill running I've discovered is competition running buddies. On a Sunday not too long ago, I returned to that gym (whose membership I've still yet to cancel) and found that as soon as that chick trying to show me up my running buddy jumped on the 'mill next to me, I had the threatening motivation inspiration to keep going.

Moral of the story. Treadmills suck unless it's a race to see who's more badass you're running with friends.

The Price is Right

Can you really put a price on life?

Better yet, how expensive can it really be to sit in a Lay-Z-Boy for 4 hours and read about Taylor Swift's newest pair of shoes?

Swallow that sip of coffee you just took, because it can be pricey!

I hadn't even had my morning cup-o-tea when I opened yesterday's mail from my insurance provider. It was an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), which you might know as the letter explaining what your insurance has been billed for, what they will cover, what their negotiated rates with your provider are and for how much you ultimately will be billed. For me, it's like the warning signal of mail to come.

Though my deductible is higher than average, I easily met it early on this year with CT scans, blood work, genetic testing and that colonoscopy. Actually, I think I met it with just that $3000 genetic testing. Otherwise I might have spit out some four letter words along with that cup-a-tea when I saw this.

And that's just my first treatment. I'm going to get 11 more EOBs just like this.

Grateful for insurance. Never again will I complain about my high premium or even higher deductible.

3.06.2012

Round Three

This is how round three started. It was all flowers and unicorns and Frappuccinos dripping from trees.

Some of this.
A thick issue of this.
Tiffany, how DID you know I love orange so much?
Oh, and that. I get nauseated just looking at the photo.
And a little bit more of this.
Oh, look who's already hiding in the cave!
 And this is how round three finished up.

The inside of my eyelids. Yes, they have an app for that.
It was craptastic. I've contacted Merriam-Webster again and they say they're going to consider my annual request to add craptastic to the dictionary so I don't keep getting spell checked and I can finally use it in Scrabble. You know, the version where you play with 10 tiles? That's the only word that rolled around in my head as I rolled over in bed 925 times over the 4 days that I spent there with my eyes closed and the misery racing.

I've decided that when this is all done, I will not identify myself as a cancer survivor, but a chemo survivor. This is the real battle for me. Physically, emotionally, mentally. There is no part of one's body and soul that chemo does don't touch and I really struggled this round with the idea of having to go through it nine more times.

I know I have it "good" in that I'm in the best possible situation with my "preventative" chemo. I see others in their recliners who look sick and beaten down and at their lowest. But when you're laying in bed for days on end, feeling nothing but craptastic, nausea a constant companion and missing out on life, it starts to get to you. Just a little.

It's now Tuesday, and as was the case with my last round, this is the first day that I feel normal.  No nausea. No desire to crawl back in bed despite the 4:45am wake up call from the crib. Just normal. 8 days of glorious normal ahead!

Neutrophils

That stellar blood work is starting to show signs of weakness. The troops are starting to fatigue!

I'm under threat of pharmaceutical intervention as one particular number drops. Because what my body needs is more drugs, right? Fight drugs with drugs! It's a win-win for Big Pharma! In my attempts to get it up the au natural way, I'm popping the pills and eating my veggies! I just can't get enough of those tasty orange-shaped gummy candies vitamin Cs!

From the powerful research I've been doing Googling, I've read that a shot may be my only hope. But I've also read that more vitamin B-6, B-12, folate, eggs, greens and 2 cups of green tea a day may help. Sister-in-law and vitamin expert Tressa has recommended some vitamin B-1 and I am actively seeking any other suggestions.

The problem is mother nature may not be able to fight the mighty power of the evil chemo! It's clearly kicking my butt up and down the street.

So I may meet with failure tomorrow when I go in for my next CBC (complete blood count), and I may have to take the walk of shame over to the shot clinic (a little alcove where you can get all sorts of fun shots to boost your numbers), but I will keep trying to fight this flunk on my own.


Neutrophils are the most common type of white blood cells. They are the first on the scene of an accident and eat up pathogens (naughty germs). Once they eat them, they explode into a "net of fibers" that can then trap other bacteria like a spider web. And when one lives in the preschool cesspool petri dish of germs, they need all the Spider-man web shooting power they can get.

3.05.2012

Providence

This is how God speaks to me.


Go to Target AND get free Starbucks? Yes, Lord!

I'm Toxic Like That

Pump, pump, pump it through my veins.
The chemo has left the building.

Well, I left the building and the chemo came with me in more ways than one. There's the European Man Purse and then there's my toxic body.

Apparently it's at its peak in my system for 72 hours after I disconnect, so exchanging of bodily fluids is not safe if you know what I mean. And I know you know I was referring to all that necking that Kyle and I do. We're like teenagers. Don't act surprised. I know you were all wondering.

It's perfectly fine to pump this stuff into my body, but should it find itself on my kitchen floor, it's considered a hazardous material and we should create a 5 mile radius and call OSHA. Anyone who has lived with an infant is well versed in biohazard clean up, so I think we can handle it.

After my first infusion, this hazmat bag came home with us on the off chance my pump leaked. I'm sure it only happens to people who have kids that grab and pull at tubing or are really kluzty and trip while walking around their own house. Good thing I've just been staying in bed the whole time. No harm can come there!

They should send home a similar kit with newborns. You'd need them in bulk!
Good thing Kyle passed all his OSHA safety test last week so he can put on his hard hat and take care of this property.