Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Want to See the Inside of My Eyelids

Going to sleep is hardest for me. Once I'm asleep there is no problem but getting there is a great big, fat, honking problem. What a surprise since I have so much to worry about. As you can relate, the best time to worry is right before sleep.
I tried a recommendation from my Grandpa Chris on the liposarcoma support list. He suggested that you picture your happiest moment. In detail. Sights, sounds, feelings. I tried that. I pictured my most content moment on the beach at the Outer Banks collecting sea shells with my parents, children and husband.
No go.
So I prayed the rosary. Each and every bead. No shortcuts.
No go.
Then I remembered the happiest moment was not the Outer Banks but Mom's first visit. When she visited with God and he removed the basket of stones from my chest. I floated free and happier than ever before.
Of course, I immediately came down to write about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two Down How Many to Go?

Today was second chemo day. Mentally it was real hard for me to go back up to Cleveland for another dose. I was just getting my brain back. I was feeling energetic and hopeful. Only to get shot down again.
I did find out that one the medications I was taking caused that manic feeling. I thought it was the Neulasta shot but it was the nausea medicine. Apparently there is a form of many breast cancer patients only receive four cycles. And the side effects will get progressively worse.
Or they could get better and this is really kicking the cancer's but.
I am opting for the last one.

Monday, July 14, 2008

As Expected

I have been listening to my own body. I watched and listened as my hair fell out; mouth became sore; stomach ached and heaved; bones ached; hot flashes; extreme fatigue and other weird occurrences. Each time a new symptom appeared I thought about what chemotherapy is and how it affects your body. Then a revelation hit and I said - "Oh, this is what they meant!"

Chemotherapy is designed to kill off any rapidly reproducing cells - like cancer cells. My type, myxoid round cell liposarcoma, is very aggressive and rapidly reproduces. We are hopeful that the very reason it is so dangerous is the reason it responds to chemotherapy. Unfortunately, I will only know if it works if another does not return. Each symptom that I have experienced is a result from the cell death. The stomach cells are first, hair, mouth, blood, etc. It is as if I can track the chemotherapy moving through my body.

That essentially means that I am finally having a typical reaction. Normal. What a relief. After so many weird reactions, allergies and strange occurrences, it is nice to be typical somewhere.

Next week is my next round. I hope it proceeds like round one. Some people say that symptoms get progressively worse with each round. The docs are giving me an extra week to bounce back since we are not aggressively treating a tumor.

Here I sit -- bald yet feeling strong. I will keep you posted.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bald and Beautiful

Last week when walking with my children, I ran my hands through my hair and felt a clump come out in my hand. The next day I shaved it all off.
What a liberating experience! I think I look pretty good. The hard part is the stares and looks of fear. Oh well, that is their problem.
I tried on a few wigs but they all looked like wigs. And they were very hot. Really hot. Stifling hot. Get the picture.
So I have a few scarves, hats and older wigs. In a few weeks I am meeting with a woman to help style them as part of class called "Wigs and Me." The local cancer support group runs it. I hope it helps.
Overall, the first round of chemo has been fine. There are bumps like mouth sores, weird and painful aches, cravings, queasiness and more. But they are nothing compared to recovery from open heart surgery.
A piece of cake.
Maybe I'll keep this style - it certainly is easy to care for!