Archive for February, 2009


February 22, 2009


I mean it. Yuck.

This evening is the worst I’ve felt since chemo started. I have been sleeping most of the day, my bone and muscle pain has been down most of the day actually, but this evening is starting to edge up; I’m feeling some tingling and numbness in my extremities, my left hand in particular (peripheral neuropathy); my head is aching terribly, I’m having mouth sores start to develop (that was a regular thing with the Adriamyacin, only had this once before with Taxol); my mouth tastes terrible, and anything I eat tastes terrible; smells are really getting to me, I’m feeling dehydrated, and I keep swinging between feeling chilled and having hot flashes; my stomach is nauseous, enough so that I thought I was going to puke earlier, but the feeling passed; and there’s intimations that all is not well on the intestinal front.

Let’s see – oh, yeah, and my chest is hurting again. I’m not having any problems breathing, but I know if I call the doctor tomorrow, he’s going to want me to go to the emergency room. It’s probably just because I slept wrong, since my neck and shoulder on the same side feel tight and sore, so I’m going to try to stretch some to see if that helps. If it gets worse, of course I’ll call the doctor, but I’m *really* sick of having to go the emergency room for anything that might possibly be a pulmonary embolism. If it really were, I’d probably be dead by now!

So, wah. That’s where I’m at right now. Time for more drugs. Hooray for anti-nausea medication ;-} I may take some sleeping pills, too, just to see if I sleep better tonight than I did last night – the first couple hours were good, but then I lay awake for another couple hours, and then I got up and finished knitting the second sleeve on my current knitting project. Fell back asleep in the recliner, got another 3 hours of sleep there; took a long nap this afternoon, then again this evening. If I weren’t feeling so crappy right now, I feel as if I could sleep another 9 or 10 hours.

But the good news is that I’m halfway through the chemo. Only two more months to go! Woot!


February 19, 2009

Well, not really a lot to report on myself – same ‘ole chemo problems, different day (actually, most days, but at least I’m getting in a variety).

Robin is doing fine, we saw the vet last Friday, and he (the vet) talked to us for about 45 minutes about whether there was anything we *should* be doing – short of having massive neurological testing, including MRIs and CT scans, we probably aren’t going to find out anything unless he has another “seizure”. The vet suggested that this could have been a “focal motor seizure”, as opposed to a grand mal seizure – the difference being that the focal motor seizure is a disturbance that affects just a small portion of the brain, in Robin’s case it would be a portion of his motor center, because it was just his hind legs, nothing else; whereas a grand mal is a disturbance that locks up the whole brain.

At any rate, it could have been a one-off thing, or if it repeats, we may be able to track down a cause. The vet mentioned that a certain number of dogs develop epilepsy as they age, so it could be the onset of a type of epilepsy, or epilepsy that hasn’t developed fully. He also brought up brain tumors, either benign or malignant, but said that it is unusual to see them develop in a dog as young as Robin.

On Tuesday evening, we did end up taking Robin to Dove Lewis for a totally different issue. Our dippity-do-dawg has the habit of bouncing and barking, and sometimes running after, the cats when their collars jingle. He also has the bad habit of doing this while he’s eating (I think the cats jingle on purpose when he’s eating, and their nefarious plan nearly worked). So Tuesday evening, he did the bounce-and-bark while he had a mouthful of food, and managed to inhale a piece of food. He’s done this before, and usually after a bit of coughing and dry retching, he’s fine. But Tuesday night, he started vomiting, and continued to cough and retch every time he walked around. Finally I called Dove Lewis, knowing they were going to say “bring him in”, and sure enough, they did.

At least he puked and coughed in front of one of the techs, so they could tell something was really going on.

It was pretty busy there – most of the animals seemed to be in for nothing major, although at least one dog was in crisis. However, the doctors got Robin in and checked him over – couldn’t find anything in his trachea or esophagus, or behind his soft palate, but his esophagus was highly irritated and dilated. Got sent home with some soothing medication (I swear, it has a name that includes “sucra” in it, so maybe it is a placebo. But don’t placebos work by faking out the *patient*, not the caregiver? I mean, the dog doesn’t care whether it’s really medication).

Other than that, I’ve got my third February chemo tomorrow, then a two-week break. I’m ready for a break.


February 10, 2009

Oddly enough, this week seems like more of a struggle than last week. Perhaps it’s because I’ve started my second month of chemo; or maybe it’s just that I’ve started my second month of chemo before I’ve really recovered from the pneumonia.

Admittedly, it hasn’t been too bad a case of pneumonia, but I’ve been so tired, and feel pretty much as bad this week as I did last week.

I had a couple things I really needed to be *in* the office to do, and so commuted in yesterday and today; I’m having warning signs that the mid-week switch from one intestinal catastrophe (hint: “The Big C” is not Cancer in this scenario) to another is heading my way, so I’ll probably end up working from home for the rest of the week. Around my next chemo on Friday, of course.

As of last Friday, the doctor said that I’m currently not immune compromised; probably by this Friday, my White Blood Cell count will be down (leukopenia), but even that is not enough to make me immune compromised – it’s only when the type of white blood cells called neutrophils falls below 1000/mm3 (normal is 1800/mm3) that I need to worry about catching stuff. So pretty much after my next chemo round I’ll probably want to stay away from sickies and crowded places like the train.

I’m also having quite a lot of bone pain again – the doctor had recommended Glutamine, and I thought it was to help with this, but he said to take it for the first three days after chemo. Looking it up on the Internets, however, that it may not really have to anything to do with that (Glutamine). All I know is that I wasn’t having so much bone/muscle pain while I was taking it, and today it got worse. I’m going to start taking it again, to see if it helps.

We’ve got an appointment with the vet on Friday to discuss further diagnostics on Robin – he’s been fine ever since, but I want to make sure we’re not missing anything.

Other than that, life is going on, and we like it that way ;-}


February 4, 2009

Update on me: nothing much different – more tired, more pain in my left lung, but no fever or coughing. The pain is due to accumulation of fluid, but I believe that the antibiotic is causing more activity in the lung, thus more fluid, so it probably isn’t a bad sign. If it continues to get worse (it’s still at a fairly low level in spite of the increase), I will, of course, call the doctor.

And my feet feel sweaty. Go figure.

Update on Robin: His various blood and lab tests came back mostly normal – there are a couple things that are off. His cholesterol is 561 (normal is 324 or below), and one of his thyroid numbers (I think it is the T4) is at 4.2, normally 4 or lower. The vet is processing another thyroid test – if he turns out to be hypothyroid, that could explain the high cholesterol (this is a dog who has *never* been given people food, and is actually on a weight control diet (thus less fat) already). The vet seemed to think that it might explain the problem with his hind end, although he seemed dubious about that.

He doesn’t think it was a seizure of any kind.

So until we get the next test back, we don’t really know if there are more diagnostics in the works or if we will end up treating him for hypothyroidism, and waiting to see if the problem recurs.

And that’s about all I know (or feel capable of knowing, right now, at least). Time for another nap.


February 3, 2009

Well, it’s only Tuesday, but already we’ve had more drama than necessary this week.

Last Thursday, I realized that I was coming down with a cold, so worked from home on Friday, and tried to take it pretty easy on the weekend. I already had plans for Saturday morning (a class on learning how to use my new sewing machine’s spiffy functions, which are indeed way cool), so I went to that.

Then on Sunday Carrie, James, Brian, and I went to brunch at Petite Provence on Division, which, not so coincidentally, just happens to be next to my most favorite bead store ever, Beads at Dusti Creek. So of course, we sent the boys home and spent a couple hours browsing and chatting – I really went to visit the ladies, because I haven’t been in for a long time, and miss seeing everyone. Sweet Calla was there, but sadly, nearly everyone else except for Eric, and most importantly Beau, were not. But we had a great visit with Calla, and Carrie found some great stuff for a new project.

I’m on a stash diet this year – I have enough beads, fabric for quilting, and yarn for knitting to last me for way more than a year (at least at my present level of output), so I’m only going to work from items in my stock. Of course, if I don’t have any findings, or need batting for a quilt, or don’t have the right set of needles for a knitting project, I will do what I have to do to make sure I don’t have a pile of UFOs on hand, but otherwise, NO purchasing new beads, fabric, yarn.

At any rate, I made it out of Dusti’s without actually buying anything, and oddly enough, without the usual “Oh, but just think what I could make with *this*, and it won’t be here the next time I come back, so. . .” temptation. It was fun to look at stuff, and I definitely saw things I would like to make projects with, but I didn’t even have to talk myself out of anything. Weird.

Of course, that might be because I wasn’t feeling up to par – my cold and left-over chemo side-effects from the last infusion on the 23rd had me pretty tired, and after I got home, I lay down for a two-hour nap. I had no problem sleeping Sunday night, either.

I woke up Monday morning to a pain in my calf, which lasted for a few minutes; and before that pain passed, my left lung all of a sudden felt like it was being compressed, and I felt like I was breathing through cotton. I could feel mild pain in my back underneath my shoulder blade. When I stood up I was a bit light-headed. Crap. These are similar symptoms to what I felt when I had my pulmonary embolism.

I called the oncologist, and, as I expected, he sent me to the ER. It was very busy, so probably the first hour was spent in the waiting room, although they did give me an EKG while I waited (sounds sort of like a service for the busy professional – EKGs and ultrasounds WHILE YOU WAIT!). Once I was in a room, they drew some blood and hooked me up to an IV. Annoyingly, they had to poke me in the arm rather than use my port, because the contrast agent they use for CT angiograms cannot be put through the kind of port I have. Apparently there is something called a “power port” that is specifically designed for taking that kind of abuse (hey – if a bloody plastic apparatus can’t take it, how are my precious organic VEINS supposed to handle it, huh?).

Another 4-1/2 hours and one CT scan later, the doctor told us that I had pneumonia. Brian and I looked at each other, pumped our fists, and yelled “woo hoo!” – pretty sad when having pneumonia is a good thing, but ya gotta admit that it is *much* better than a pulmonary embolism.

Even more exciting is that this means we don’t have to take me off the Avastin. It can cause bleeding problems (either clots or hemorrhaging in extreme cases), so if I’d had a PE, we would have had to stop it.

Finally got home (via Dairy Queen for my first meal of the day, and a consolation Heath Bar Blizzard) around 5 p.m., had a nap, read, went to bed. I’m on antibiotics for two weeks, and the doctor says I can go back to work by Friday. Of course, Friday is supposed to my next chemo, so I have a call in to the oncologist to find out if that’s still a go or not. I *really* do not want to delay the chemo. I want to get it over with!

I woke up around 2:30 a.m. this morning with an upset stomach and a killer headache. I got up at 3, had some broth and crackers, and sat in my recliner reading until 4. Since my stomach was better, but my head was still killing me, I decided to nap in the recliner for a while rather than go back to bed and risk waking Brian with my restlessness.

Around 7:30, Robin, who had been sleeping behind my recliner, started thrashing around, woke me up from a fairly sound sleep. I jumped out of the chair and went around to see what was the problem – he couldn’t stand up, his hind legs weren’t working. I calmed him down, ran my hands over his back and hind legs, but didn’t seem to have any pain reaction. Got him on his front legs, then lifted him onto his hind legs, and he was able to walk but not steadily – his rear legs kept collapsing. I got him over onto the carpet, and sat with him for a while, calming him down again, then tried standing him up again. It looked like it was mostly his right rear leg that was the problem.

I woke Brian up, who took him to the vet – they didn’t have an open appointment until 3 p.m. this afternoon, so Robin will be there all day. Since Brian has to go in to a client’s site this afternoon, hopefully our neighbor will be able to pick Robin up.

So that’s been my fun couple days so far. Woo hoo!

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February 2009

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