Posts Tagged ‘julie martin

19
Aug
10

who’s telling whom what?

We went in to see Dr. Medici today expecting to tell him that I was quitting chemo; instead, he surprised us by saying that another chemo would probably do more harm than good. I’d figured on having to convince him, and he thought he’d have to convince me.  So, no chemo for me.

Also I had fluid build-up in my abdomen again (ascites, pronounced ah-sigh-tees) & had 3.5 litres drawn off (when I was in the hospital, they only got 2.1 litres).

All for now,

17
Aug
10

how are *you* doing?

I’ve been out of touch for so long, and wondering how my friends are doing. E-mail (home, not work) is best, or a comment on this blog.

We see the oncologist on Thursday (way too early) to decide when to resume chemo. I’ll let you know what we decide.

16
Aug
10

energy, no mobility

I’m slowly regaining energy, but my mobility is still gone south. Walker, wheelchair, recliner, bed; with occasional dinner table activity.

14
Aug
10

not much new

still weak and exhausted, two-finger typing = no new blog post.

11
Aug
10

Not Much Energy

Now that I’m home, I’m resting and sleeping a lot; even though it seems as if there’s all the time in the world to post, most of my time is spent either doing the above or trying to build back some strength. It goes so fast (the strength), and doesn’t ever come back all the way.

Congrats to Kristin on her new little boy; congrats to my dad for turning 90. Namaste to all.

12
Jul
10

. . . and Fuzzy on Top

If you compare it to the couple weeks *before* I started the anti-depressant, I’ve been pretty busy:

Cousins Greg and Jeanette came for a “just chatting” visit on a Sunday.

July 4th we went to our neighbor’s, Sharon and Gary, for Independence Day and had a fantastic feed. All four dogs were there and were generally quite calm about the fireworks.

Last Wednesday we had dinner at the Harborside with our friends Shawn and Hope. They’ve always got dozens of funny stories to tell.

Last Thursday Cathy came to visit, and took a picture of me nodding off as she was talking to me. She swears my mouth was not open!

The common ground that all these items have is that I was feeling better emotionally, and my stamina is returning, but that I was totally wiped out at the end.

But with a couple little tweaks in the meds, I think we finally have a winning combination. Too bad I’m scheduled to start chemo tomorrow just when I’m starting to feel good. We’ll find out if the “happy” drugs can hold up their end against the chemo.

In other news, I was scheduled to go to a memorial service for my aunt that died. A couple days before the memorial, I got hit by some sort of intestinal bug that lingered for another couple days after. Brian went and said it was a lovely service.

And a couple nights ago I had a fall. I’ve been using my library steps to climb into bed (but I slide off the bed directly to the ground). This is working pretty well, for the most part. I always pause to see where the dog is before I slide off, and he usually is already up and moving by the time I stop to look. I’m not sure what went wrong this time – all I know is that I must have stepped down on the bottom step, because I felt myself slip and had no way to catch myself. As a result I have a bruised toe that was just healing from having lost the nail (chemo-related); and bruised shin, thigh, and hip on my left side. Ouch!

I will report on the start of chemo – there is a chance that he and I may disagree and we’d delay it for another brief while; I’m quite intent on improving the quality of my chemo life, and he’s all yelling “Treat! Treat! Treat!” We’ll see who’s got the greater will power.

08
Jul
10

I Picked up the Phone.

It. . . it was beautiful, man; it really took me back to about a month ago, which was like the last time I picked up the phone. So groovy!

And there was a person on the end of it; but not just any person, a person who hadn’t given up on me.

No guarantees about picking up the phone in the future, but I have to say that the anti-depressant appears to be doing its job.

People have been noticing the change in my voice and tone; I laughed at one of Brian’s jokes for the first time in weeks (and no, it wasn’t because they were so bad before that. . .); I got up and met him at the garage door today, which freaked out both him and the dog, it’d been so long.

Thank you to everyone who has persisted, e-mailed, visited, loved.

Especially Brian.

05
Jul
10

Disambiguating

Looking at the last two paragraphs on my post “The Silence of Cancer:”

“Also, Nurse Serenatia called today, and told me what I already knew – it’s going to take months to get back my energy to where it was – months I don’t have.

Thus ends the homily on depression for June 23, 2010.”

Begin disambiguation:

Apparently some people are taking the “months I don’t” phrase as meaning that it has been determined somehow that either the disease is a lot further along and I will die soon; or perhaps that I’ve made a choice to discontinue treatmeant, which will bring on death sooner.

Neither is the intended meaning: I just meant that I don’t have time to get my energy back before I start chemo again.

End disambiguation.

Tomorrow, finally a post on a more cheery note!

23
Jun
10

The Silence of the Cancer

On my little break from chemo, please don’t be surprised that I am being so quiet – only a little blogging, no phone calls or e-mails. Now that I’ve had time to quit wallowing in the cancer and its treatment, I’m wallowing in my depression. My normal depressive behavior is to do just that – withdraw and keep my feelings to myself.

Fortunately for me, I’ve got Brian here to help keep me sane.

I met with my counselor, Counselor Troi, today, and she took a lot of notes, with the end result that she doesn’t know how I’ve managed to go so long without an anti-depressant. So tomorrow I start one (sorry, the name escapes, me).

The bad news about that is that it’s going to physically depress me for a couple weeks – i.e., low energy, etc. Right in time to just about the time Dr. Medici wants me to start chemo again.

So how am I going to know if it’s working?

Also, Nurse Serenatia called today, and told me what I already knew – it’s going to take months to get back my energy to where it was – months I don’t have.

Thus ends the homily on depression for June 23, 2010.

19
Jun
10

Meeting with Dr. Medici

Well, the meeting went pretty much as I expected, although having been forewarned by my call to the triage nurse last week, Dr. Medici strode right in and took charge.

Basically, he agreed that the toxicity had reached a very high point and it was time to scale back – I think he was hoping I’d agree to a lesser dose, but I was having none of that.

Our agreed-on plan, then, is that I will call him each week to let him know how I’m feeling, and when I’m ready for my next chemo. At that point, we’ll decide on the drug and the dose, and see how it goes.

My goal, that I expressed to him is not to make sure I live as long as possible. It is to enjoy the amount of life I have left with Brian. If the quality of life is good, then maybe it’ll be a long time. If not, then it is what it is.

Right now I’ve got a minimum of 2 weeks before I have to decide, since Dr. M. is out of town through 4th of July.

19
Jun
10

Sadness

Little did we know as we turned back south at Salishan last Saturday, that my Aunt Pat lay in the hospital just a few miles north.

The drive itself was exhausting me, and I didn’t want to have an unnannounced visit that would end up being very short  because of the state I was in, so I decided that the next time we came I’d make sure it was when I was feeling better.

Sigh. All the plans of mice and men most surely do go awry.

Aunt Pat died Tuesday night. I’ll miss her.

16
Jun
10

A little beach party

Brian and I headed off to Newport on Thursday afternoon. It was pouring rain when we left, but down to overcast when we arrived. We settled in for the night, watching Happy Feet, and I went to bed early, as is my wont these days.

The next couple days were pretty days, Friday clearing up to be sunny but a little cool. Although I spent most of the day either resting or sleeping, we did make it out to dinner. We watched Shrek as our evening entertainment.

And on Sunday, once again I spent the morning resting or napping, but then suggested we go for a little drive up the 101, a drive being about what I thought I could handle. We drove up to just past Salishan, and turned around. Coming back down, Brian pointed out that I hadn’t eaten much that day, so we stopped at Tidal Raves. We’ve eaten dinner there before, and it was extremely good, so I was a little disappointed in my razor clams. But the floor show made up for it by having 3 Orcas playing just outside the windows.

Sunday was a pretty drive home, but, let’s say it all together, I slept pretty much most of the way. All in all, though, it was about spending some loving time with Brian, who gave me massages and took care of me. I just wish I could return the favor.

13
Jun
10

A Little Work Party

Last Wednesday, my friend Leah had arranged a little work-folks get-together. She came and picked me up, and then dropped me off at the door of Rock Bottom Brewery, where we met with Carrie W., Jenny, Kristin, Shi-Yi, and Wendy. Brian met us there, also, not only to say “Hi”, but as my ride home.

I enjoyed seeing and chatting with everyone, although I was pretty much wiped out after a little overp an hour. Thank you for coming, everyone who could make it; and I’m sorry some of you were either sick or had other plans already – hopefully we’ll be able to visit sometime soon.

Unless the doctor changes my chemo regimen soon, I may be completely limited to home visits, as my energy levels are so low that I sleep all night, and most of the day also. There is an open invitation to come visit, as long as it is arranged in advance; and with the caveat to please call before coming in case I’m having a bad day.

08
Jun
10

Husbands and Friends

I was still wallowing in my misery come the weekend, because one week goes just like another.

I did have some relief – my friend Sue came to visit on Thursday, and it was so good to see her. I met her in my first support group – you remember, the one where I actually was helping support, not just being supported. She was having her surgery on the Tuesday after my Friday surgery and was very worried about it. I got dressed on that Tuesday, and had Brian drive me over there while she was in pre-op so I could show her my dressings, and how quickly I was up and around. She told me once that my doing that helped her get through her surgery easier emotionally.

Her coming to visit me when I was so down was sort of the equivalent for me.

A couple friends who had planned to come by on Friday had to cancel, but we’ve rescheduled for later – as it turned out, Friday was a very physically down day for me, and I really needed to sleep, so it worked out for both of us.

By Saturday I was back into full tailspin mode again, just seeming to be unable to shake all the nasty fatigue and pain – I can lessen the pain using the pain killers, but that ups the fatigue and inability to focus, and what is a good balance one day isn’t the same the next.

Brian is becoming hyperaware of my moods (for me, sometimes it seems there’s only one, which is down; but he sees variations). He said “I’m going to call Cathy and see if she can come for a visit on Monday.” I knew then he was worried, because he was calling in the big guns.

He tried to get me to go see Prince of Persia both Saturday and Sunday, but I just physically couldn’t come up with the energy.

Monday morning, I was taking it easy expecting Cathy’s arrival around noon or so, but emotionally I was worked up to a peak again. I finally called the doctor’s office to talk to the triage nurse, and tell her I couldn’t go on this way. I mean, I had 4 months of taxol/avastin treatment, and even with the pneumonia, I never felt this bad. Heather told me that there are lots of things we can do in terms of taking breaks from chemo, from lowering the dose to changing drugs, but that this level of toxicity isn’t normal, and nobody should be trying to deal with it. As I was talking to her I realized that I’d always just answered questions about what side-effects I was having, but never really told them, except for the pain, how hard they were to deal with. Also, she said abraxane is one of the hardest drugs in the chemo regimen – I just figured that since it was similar to taxol that I must just be getting wimpier than I was when I had taxol.

Heather told me that she would make sure the doctor knew we’d had this conversation, but that I had to make sure that I talked to him about it when I saw him on next Tuesday. After I hung up, I started crying and just couldn’t stop.

By the time Cathy got to the house, I was down to just sniffles, but as soon as she got a look at me, she asked “Are you OK?”

“Oh, my nose is just runny. . . . . . and I’ve been crying.”

She just opened her arms and held me until I quit crying. Again.

Everything else we talked about was secondary to that and the goodbye hug she gave me. Sometimes, touch is the only healer.

06
Jun
10

Oh yeah . . .

Did I leave off baldness?

I can’t believe I forgot baldness.

And dried-out mucous membranes.

And fingernails that look like something off Frankenstein’s monster.




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