Ah, this has been a week of minor annoying side effects...Still I am grateful they are minor. More annoying than anything else. Trying to look at the positives. I am less blotchy but have picked up itchy watery eyes and runny nose, apparently common in taxotere treatment. Ah well...trying some claritin and eye drops to see if it helps. No eyelashes makes it all pretty wierd to deal with...nothing to stop anything and not terribly sexy, but we're shooting for the prize here so I'll deal. I am finding it a bit surreal how accustomed I have become to chemo and all it's quirks. Strange...BUT Only two treatments to go before my mastectomy surgery the end of April. Still not a set date yet, so I may or may not be at comicon but what should be will be. Then, with a few zaps of radiation (and maybe a few cool resulting superpowers) I will be done. 
For reals.
Thank frog :)

We're in winters last final hurrah of a cold snap right now. With the wind on saturday it's supposed to get  to -51 (not the -64 initially predicted) so J and I have stocked up on things and plan to hibernate all weekend. I am NOT going out in that. We just finished a giant 1000 piece puzzle of a wizard over the last few weeks, so we plan to crack out a smaller one to keep us amused. That and some good movies and tea and we'll be snug little bugs all weekend.
Have a good weekend all.

Oh goody

I have a new side effect - giant blotchy red spots on my face.
Oh goody.
They don't itch or bother me at all...they just look rediculous.
The bald thing I can wear a hat for...this is just...charming...
Yup, I'm so sexy at the moment :)

Gentlemen we can rebuild him...

I have decided a way to begin rebuilding my muscles.  Every morning I will do the following this week before breakfast. Next week I will do it twice thru. Then maybe change the pushups to burpees. Then in chemo week I'll just do what I can and get back to it when my body permits. 

10 squats
10 lunges right leg
10 squats
10 pushups
10 lunges left leg
10 squats
10 pushups 
10 side lunges, both sides
20 bicycle crunches

It's so odd after what I could do before. My legs were shaking after doing this this morning. I can only do pushups from my knees. Yes... I am weak, and can feel it in my legs already, but will be strong again. Functional strength. It sounds wierd to say but I need to be back in touch with my body again and what it can do. Even if it's just a little bit.

I also picked up a yoga DVD which I am curious to try a few times a week during chemo week when I can do less. My doc suggested yoga to help with the aches so I will try that and see if it helps. I think just stretching and moving will make a difference. My doc told me, and it turns out to be true, that the more I move the less crappy I feel even when I don't feel well. I have been more active this round taking walks whenever I can and feel much better overall compared to last round. I am convinced going out dancing helped...on many levels. Truth is, This is something I need to do to feel like I am not giving up too much to sickness. Because some days it's easy to start in on pity party here alone at home all day. This helps me fight that with something concrete beyond a "some day I'll be better", for the odd day when I just don't quite believe treatment will ever finish.

Tomorrow I meet with my surgeon to talk about my next step after chemo. Nervous....oh yes...but I want to know what my options are and what tests I need to move forward. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dying to know if I can go to Comicon the end of April or of I'll be in survery recovery instead. It's the first step in figuring out how I get back to my life again. 

Every Day

I'd like to introduce you to my Dad. This is a favourite recent picture I have of he and I :)
Why? Well, I've been thinking about him today.
I am lucky enough to have a family full of support and love through everything I have gone through in my life. They aren't perfect, but I know they are always there for me when I need them, and with my treatment it has been a real godsend. My Dad has had a tough few years after losing my Mum, but the last year or so he has really come back to himself and the sparkle and joy in his eyes has returned....just in time for him to worry about me and my health.
But even in this, my Dad has been his wonderful self. Dad is one of those simple guys who can fix anything and is always ready to help other people when he can with a smile and a laugh. He taught me well to speak my mind clearly and be respectful and use the gifts I have to help others. He spent his work life as a teacher and educator and now he is a putterer and general handyman of all sorts up north where he lives, tinkering with friend's cabins and helping them fix and build things in their homes. After a lifetime of helping people, he has recovered to himself after losing mum through the help and support of all of the friends and people he has helped over the years. 

Thing is, some people are unable to deal with sickness and grief and pull away. I've seen it. It hurts at times, but I can understand it on some levels...sometimes the pain of other losses comes back and it's too much to put yourself out there again. I've run into it after being diagnosed. Yet to me,  love is all of that and more...because I've seen it lived out in my Dad. :)

I am still smiling today after a phone call from my dad this morning. Nothing big, just a little call to check on me and say hi. The thing is...since I was diagnosed he calls me every day. Every. Day. To say hello. See how I am. Tell me his day and wish me well. Talk or pray with me. Just let me know I'm thought of and loved.

And so I want to pass on to you this little thought in my head this morning: Never underestimate the power of a smile or a word or any small gesture you may do to others. Sometimes just the smallest little thing can make the difference in someone's day in ways you will never know or understand.

All I know is I'm smiling already and I haven't even had breakfast :)

Thanks Doc

I am learning to not be so stubborn and listen to my doctor more. The week after chemo I don't sleep well from all the junk in my system and it can be frustrating (since normally I can sleep anywhere at any time). I had been given lorazepam to help me sleep along with my collection of  other side effect drugs, but given that even non-drowsy cold meds make me conk out and drool I have been leery of taking any sleep aids because I hate feeling sedated and groggy the next day. Plus, I don't like to take medication unless I absolutely have to...I'm odd that way. I have a high pain tolerance and like to be in touch with my body to a certain degree to not overmedicate...and with all this stuff they give me for chemo my overmedicate bells are ringing off the hook :)
Me? Stubborn? Nah... ;)

At my prechemo visit after he noticed my worsening sleep issues noted in my treatment diary my doc really pushed me to try even half a pill to help me sleep - he felt with these new side effects having a good night's sleep might help me face up to them with a clearer stronger mind and body.

So I listened...and he was right. These last two nights I have slept SO much better and am waking clear headed feeling ready to face the day.  Ready for the aches to come. I'm in such a better frame of mind with 8 hours of sleep instead of a wishy washy 2.

Thanks Doc :)

Wuv day

Happy love day everyone :)
Sorry I've been away a while. I've been busy just doing *stuff* :)

I have just gotten back from my most recent poison dose and am relaxing up at home feeling great after a nice walk in the snow. Tonight, since I still feel so great, J and I are going out to see a great DJ who is in from Vancouver (Timothy Wisdom. Funky stuff). Since the emetics they have me on for the next few days make me all jittery and feeling fabulous and I can't sleep I figure we might as well have a nice evening before the side effects kick in in a day or so. After today I will be a good little hermit and we will have a weekend of relaxing up at home. Since I now know this new chemo has me feeling OK for the first few days before the crash and burn I'm taking advantage of it.

The last week has been nice. I felt great so I got a lot done around home, worked on my craft room, baked up some killer bread and enjoyed a few days of tasting food and having my energy back.

The last chemo since the side effects were a lot more intense. I admit, despite my best shiny efforts, I had a pity party sometimes and since I wasn't nauseous I ate a lot as I tend to to self-medicate. Add in the nasty taste I have in my mouth when my taste is gone (like salty moldy bread...blech...even water tastes gross) I had a real incentive to always have something in my mouth to get rid of the taste. Let me just say - when you can't be active this is really not so good of a business plan for maintaining a healthy weight. My doc asked me to keep an eye on my eating so I don't continue to gain 6 Lb this 3 weeks post next chemo too. Fat carries estrogen in the body, which is bad for my tumour, so the better I can maintain the weight the better I will respond to treatments. The idea is to do what you can but not overdo it...a bit here and there is fine, but the further I go forward, the further I have to go back. Part of it is water weight form the steroids but really - time to stop. I really just went nuts. And I have no desire to go further and have to buy new pants so I have lots of fruits and veggies and sugar free lemon candies for when the weird taste drives me crazy and will try much more this time to not just say "I feel like crap so I am just gonna eat whatever I want to today" to try to cheer myself up with late night snacks and hot mint milk. Now that I know what I'm in for my moods and nerves will be a lot easier to deal with through this next round, so I'm more confident I can keep it together a little better. THAT is my february goal. Minimise further expansion.

One amazing activity I had this last week was to be able to attend a Look Good Feel Better session put on by the cancer centre. I and a guest (I took my lovely SIL) get to meet with beauticians and get a giant bag of free beauty kit and be taught how to look after your skin and do coverup makeup for chemo issues...I now know how to make it look like I have eyelashes and eyebrows and even out my dry skin -for a non-makeupy person such as my myself it was cool to be able to learn a few tricks to look all a bit more purty and stuff when the mood strikes. There was a session about selecting and caring for wigs and hats and how to tie headscarves and we even got a few free hats. I loves me a free hat.

So yeah...things are good here. Hope you all have a good love day and a lovely weekend. :)

And back out the other side

Well then.
Hullo :)
I am glad to say that other than tiredness I am nearly back to normal. I am tired, still have the odd twinge, my mouth still aches and I have random odd tingles in the palms of my hands, but definitely better. I am not going to say it was fun, but now I know what I am in for the last 3 treatments...and bitch, please, we can do this thing :)

Sadly my tastebuds are shot, but what can ya do? Now that my mouth isn't so sensitive I am focusing on healthy and interesting textures instead. Certain acidic foods tastes nasty and burn, but for the most part I can still eat whatever I want which is nice. I am relying on J to let me know if things taste OK and plan to just work on healthiness.

Now I want to focus on what I *can* do and not on the negative. I have had my share of wallowing for a while and intend to make the best of what I can when I can. This is a Journey I have been given to walk and I want to learn from it. I firmly believe all things happen for a reason. Right now who the hell knows, but if there is something i need to learn...I don't want to miss the whispers and sparkles of the little things in every day. I have already learned so much about myself through all this...and I am sure there is more to come.

I have come up with schemes for the coming week to keep focused. Yes, riding my bike, but also getting out. Out to see some friends and remember my life outside my home and outside the big C. That and spending time in my mad scientist closet/craft room in the basement sorting it out and getting ready to make something. Don't know what'll come to me as it always does. I had hoped to build the stained glass window for my Dad that my mum designed but the little nicks and scratches I get when I work with glass are a bad idea until I finish chemo. Instead I have some other schemes in my head that are forming and will come out when they are ready. Add to that the pair of arm warmers I am knitting to match the hat I just finished (which is a bit big but still fits-woot!) and I think I will be fine the next while to keep busy as energy permits.

It's the little things. All of them make life grand. Even the crummy ones. Now that I have come out the other side of my treatment back into the light I don't want to miss a thing :)