Thursday, October 30, 2008

Healing Up and Laying Low

Hi all! I have been laying low getting through some stomach/GI issues that have been tough. Slept most of my day away today.

It has been a trying three weeks. But I know my energy will return soon. None of it has anything to do with cancer. One drug reaction, one cold, one flu. But don't worry my counts are up and I am in no danger.

Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 24, 2008

How Cancer taught me that I am so Blessed

I am struggling with something. How to express back to you all, the love, compassion, caring, help, faith, hope, and pure kindness that you all have shown me. I ask for soup, and within a day, I have Evelyn dropping off a massive amount of yummy Lentil (Bug's favorite), and two other soups quietly left at my back door. And many other offers that I had to turn away because of the other soups showing up!

The multitude of gifts the people around me bring is again, deeply touching and awe inspiring. This week, a friend had planned a visit. When she came, I was sick and having a tough time talking. She didn't insist I talk, she instead gave her gifts. Shiatsu, followed up by a guided meditation she teaches in her Yoga classes, and then a simple gift of sliced apples and water beautifully arranged and left at my side for when I was ready. She is my Gentle Wisdom teacher.

I hesitate to give examples because I could write a book, and this is a blog and I don't want to leave any example out. There are the card writers, the listeners, the healers, the artists, the "I think this will help while you rest" giver, the check-in'ers, the ones who treat me like I am "normal", the ones who show up with soup, the ones who do crafts with me, the ones who create laughter, the ones who give money, the ones who give time, the distant healers....

I feel like I know some Secret. And I sit from a place above it all, and look down and see the good and my heart warms and I smile gently and lovingly, hoping to pass all the good around and let it go on and on.

A line from a song comes to mind:
"And human kindness is overflowing...."

Thank you all so much,

P.S. For all you food-givers. Please when you make a pot of soup, keep some for yourselves!! I appreciate the wonderfully large pots of soup, but I want to know YOU are eating well too. Put your oxygen mask on first. Also, if you make a pot of soup/food, I am more than happy to pay for the supplies! Please let me know. I know many of us are experiencing tight financial times. I would be happy to pay for the food costs!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yup, some sort of virus and this cancer thing

Mystery is solved. It is a cold or virus or something invading my space. hehehehe. I know this not because I went to the docs, but because my throat is gunked up and I can't talk. Mystery solved.
So I will call in and let them know because I am suppose to do so. At least that is what the paper the sent home, and the nurses in the chemo unit tell me. The response I get is perplexing. I am not sure why I call in. I think I am way to use to the homespun touch of the naturopathic community. Where being heard is a much of the treatment as the herbal remedies they hand you.

So, I am brewing up some strong tea, and curling up. The sun is shining in my window and like my cat, I plan to curl up in it and rest.

Soup greatly appreciated by anyone willing. But I did find some frozen chicken soup hidden behind the frozen waffles, so I can get through today.

- beautiful pumpkins and squash
- beautiful leaves to ponder while I heal up
- again, my curl up buddy, the cat Tilde
- a 750 piece puzzle

(the picture above is from a few Octobers ago, at an autumn celebration we threw for the kids)

The Flu? Oh boy

Up in the middle of the night. Yup. Not usually a good sign. But before I go any further, Bug is FINE. It is just a bone bruise (ouch) but at least not a fracture, no xray needed. Wew.

Now, why am I up? I won't get into details, but fell asleep very early, woke up an hour ago, spent an hour visiting the loo, feel nauseated, have a red face.

Yes, I called in to the nurse. I have been having breathing troubles too. but that is a long story that will just come off as whiney and complaining and angry. But I have called the doctors office, talked to the nurse, and told them I am having breathing troubles. They said "Take Alleve". (stunned look). Okaaaaaaaaay.

So I took the Alleve. I fell asleep. Still feel ill. Now it is a flu-like. Sigh. I just hope they don't respond like they did yesterday. Or I am going to ask why they tell us to call them over NOT being able to breath freely. Okay, moving into anger. I will aim for CLEAR communication tomorrow (today).

I was rereading a few older posts, and long for that clarity and thrill of small victories. I need to pull that into the present.

I think my family is edging on being in need of some helping hands this week. I am not up for helping, I just dawned on me their is a box of produce sitting outside. That means I am really out of it. Dishes scatter the countertops. I feel like I am in over my head. It probably isn't as bad as it feels. I just feel foggy and "lost". But I know I get offers for food. And we have had plenty in the freezer from all the food made throughout the first couple of months. We finally went through it all with Zometa week last week.

But I will ask for a new pot of Gluten Free Soup from anyone willing to make it, asap. I am too ill feeling to clean that kitchen and cook, and Jim is overwhelmed with work (and not getting to it because of taking care of me and Bug this week.)

I just see this edging on being "too much". So, I will ask for help.

I felt so good yesterday morning, and then crashed. Hmmmm.

Okay, back off to sleep I go. If I can. Not feeling so hot.

5 am GRATITUDE list
- cuddly cats
- friends I know will help
- my comfy pillow
- healing meditations
- loving my kid
- loving my husband
- Julies voice on the other end of the phoneline
- knowing my kids leg is going to heal easily

Hope you all have a good day,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Updates and Gratitude Lists

I am experiencing some mild mamma's guilt. Last week, Bug came home from school with an ice pack, a swollen lower left leg and a limp. I passed it off, thinking it would bruise, she would be just fine. I was also in the midst of battle the Zometa. Hard breathing, muscle fatigue, and all around TIREDNESS fogged me from seeing my daughter was a little bit more than a boo-boo bear and kiss away from healing. All weekend, we watched her limp, she watched ballet instead of danced, and we were concerned. But tonight she woke up crying from the pain. DUH. I never followed up. Didn't read. It isn't anything big, I suspect a bruised bone. Still, ouch. I could've been icing it, giving her Tylenol, and more compassion. She has been cruising right along, full energy. I am just shocked I let it go so easily. So, I called the nurse line and am waiting to hear back. I won't go in to the ER over this, but we will see the doc tomorrow. Sigh. That is the end of the mamma guilt. If it was life threatening, I would've moved RIGHT away. They would've done very little anyway. Yipes, it took me three days to ice this!!!!!!!! It's okay, we all have our off times.

Speaking of Zometa. I meant to mention the bad side effects from last week to the doc today and forgot. We got sidetracked by my collage work I had brought in. DOH! I need to talk about it. It is effecting my breathing. NOT good. I will call tomorrow. SO much to do.

On a final note, mamma guilt the other way.........I know people read this blog. Yet I see NO gratitude lists. Hmmmmmmmmmm. The Attitude of Gratitude is a spiritual practice that can transform. Go for it. Need some help......

5 reasons I am grateful for:
My work
My family
The weather
The day
A hobby

There are no right or wrong answers.

Don't make me whip out a Haiku assignment!!!!!!! hehehehehe.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Zometa and Getting Behind and Amanda Soule, Oh my!

Hi all! So, this week, as you many of you know, was Zometa week. While the first round was akin to torture, the second like a bad flu, this one was like a small flu, with low grade bone/muscle pain. Enough to make me groggy headed and sleeping for the last two days. I think the Zometa storm is passing. Maybe it is the gorgeous morning sunlight illuminating the golden leaves, or the crisp fall air, but today I feel, once again, so at peace. Slightly effervescent peace. I hope this round with Zometa means that in a few more, I won't feel anything and it will just be doing maintenance work, not dramatically shifting my bone structures.

I am a bit behind on emails and phone calls everyone! The good news brought a lot of good emails and phone calls for "getting together". But the Zometa just made being social impossible. So, if you have sent an email in the last two weeks, I am started to get caught up.

Finally, a GEM, I have to share. This is going to go in my Inspiration Sidebar, although she isn't local, she is about being local. It is crafty, natural, and the exact mood I am in. Visit her blog! It is full of creative inspiration! I order some craft supplies (I need to be doing something while I heal!) and this book for the creative ideas. Very, simply, fun. All of the images in today's blog are hers, and will get you to her website with one simple click!

She has her website chock full of images of her families daily life. Beautifully done! It has also made me want to get my camera out and start adding our photos as well go!!!!!! Although, since this is a blog about healing breast cancer, you may see an IV pole her, and a pill bottle there, you will also see meditation alters, images of the golden light on the fall trees, and a pot of cancer healing cauliflower soup!

I give you one task. Create your own GRATITUDE LIST and please post in the comments section!

MY GRATITUDE LIST for a Saturday morning:
- golden sunlight filtering through golden leaves
- blueberry pancakes my hubby made
- my hubby and daughter letting ME sleep in!!!!!
- my cute cat
- a warm home
- the OFF button on the TV
- puzzles
- a stack folk craft magazines from Miss Direction
- Lorenna McKennitt's new CD for winter

Blessings and love,

Friday, October 17, 2008

Art Bras For Breast Cancer!!!!!!!!!

So, folks, don't do hypnotherapy that is devised to make you feel fresh and alert at midnight. It just makes you feel fresh and midnight. lol!

However, I will take this opportunity to post a few of my favorite pics from the ArtBra Auction. Many of you have asked did they all sell? How much was raised? I am not sure right now, people are being notified and checks are being mailed, etc. I think we will know soon.

What I do know. People rock. Most people rock. Many people who came, I didn't know personally! many people who donated bras, I didn't know personally. PEOPLE CARE. We just need to start talking to each other again, and we can find that out very easily. That is a unexpected blessing of this journey. I get to find this out.

For your viewing pleasure....a small sample of the 40 bras donated for the auction!!!!!!

the birds nests

ANYONE can join in on the fun...and the guys really did enjoy modeling a few pieces!

pinwheels for those cool breezes!

for those who need some
holiday countdown help?

Miss Direction took us to the Northwest with a FireFaery friend.

Jennifer Seaman did stand up comedy!

And the lady of the night, Kendyl, who spearheaded this amazing night!!!!!

There were many, many more! But for now, that is a taste of the action!

(self appointed goddess of healing empowerment)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zometa Dancing

So, friends, just a quick note. I am dancing with Zometa this week. Yesterday was weird. Not nearly as bad as the first Zometa round, that felt akin to torture. But it did get my brain all muddled and fuzzy and it felt like gravity grew stronger. So I slept and woke up and slept some more. Today is better, but I feel like my writing will wandering around, like a cat lost in the woods trying to find it's way home.

I will write soon and share some Art Bra Auction pictures and celebrate healing.

For today...quick gratitude list - in no particular order, and by no means complete:

1- Miss Direction
2- Ruby Q
3- Kendylicious
4- Genevegan and her man
5- the Lady on Bus #5
6- lemon/ginger tea
7- pumpkin patches
8- NPR
9- split pea soup
10- jigaw puzzles for a muddled mind

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chemo Crash Post Followup

So, awhile back, I added a dashboard to this blog that would allow me to see what kind of traffic was coming through this site. I did it to make sure I wasn't writing to the abyss. hehehehe. It tells me all kinds of good information (BUT IT DOES NOT TELL ME WHO IS COMING, ONLY THE CITY FROM WHICH I GET HITS). I did find out that the number one google search that brings people to this site (and the number 1 on the google list) is the post below. Since I know this now, I have added, to the original post, follow up information. I thought I repost that entry here, so that everyone could see the follow up.

If you have read the original post, please take the time to read the additional information in italics. That is my blog entry for the day. It has important information I want to get out there.
Read on....italics below....


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Post Chemo Crash Day 2

So, after talking to my oncologist, Taxol can hit 36 hours after the administration and take about 24 hours to pass/peak. That peak hit yesterday afternoon around 4:00. Dear God. But it was good to know it would pass that peak point and not stay there forever.

Today, joints hurt I didn't even know I had! Someone please get the license plate number of the truck that hit me?

While I feel, I think, the worst I have ever felt in my life, it is indeed passing. Wew. It helps to Zen into it and pray. It is the only way at some points.

And this is the "easy" stuff. I have so much empathy for the harder hitting chemo drugs and the people who take them. They deserve a badge of courage.

The worst for this week is over. Now recoup. And learn. Learn how to rest, eat, and do the dance around the chemo days to make the post days go easier. My oncologist said that is the way it goes. You experience it, then adapt. Much like life.

So for today, my super-chemo-ninja-badge looks something like this:

The following info was added Oct. 14th as a FOLLOW UP. I see from my dashboard to this site, that the number one referral from goggle to this blog is if people search for "Chemo Crash." I top this the list. So I would like to add the following information - in case you don't read beyond this one entry.

It turns out that I had an allergic reaction to Taxol. (see here for that entry) Which explains why it was such a hard crash afterwards. I know a dear friend of mine, on Taxol, who had VERY little issues with Taxol. So please, one of the most important things to know with chemo - is that EVERYBODY REACTS DIFFERENTLY. If you are having a nasty ride, I would HIGHLY recommend two things:

1) Finding a good acupunsturist who works with chemo patients. This alone will control side effects. I have seen this again and again. Anyone I know who lived FAR beyond their life expectancy did two things, found peace everyday, and did acupuncture. I had more people refer me to acupuncturists "their other friend who survived cancer", than any other CAM medicine.

2) Try hypnotherapy. I have a personal hypnotherapist, and I have a CD (see sidebar). Within hypnotherapy, we have created a control board, that allows me to create dials as needed. Pain? I create a nob and turn the number from 8 to 7, to 6, to 5 etc. White blood cells dropping? I create a nob, and turn it from 4.0 to 6.5. Just a quick note, my white blood cells have NEVER dropped below 4.1!!! And usually average 6.0 with peaks in the 7's!!!!!!!!!

If you are about to embark on your journey with Taxol, please do not EXPECT this horrible side effect reaction. It is highly unlikely. It was probably the allergy to the base the put Taxol in that did the harm. (see that blog entry here) But, again, please look into Alternative Therapies to help control side effects!!! My reaction was an allergy to the base they put Taxol drugs in to administer them.

This leads me to one last note on Taxol. I ended up switching from Taxol to Arbraxane. Abraxane has the same drugs in it as Taxol, but the base they put it in is different. It is some sort of human protein or something, so it is not foreign to the human body and has very little side effects. HOWEVER, the cost....went from around $30,000 on Taxol, to $50,000 for the Abraxane. EACH AND EVERY TIME I GET IT. NOT OVERALL!!!!! EACH DOSE!!!!!! This point always stuns people. I think I see their minds go >boom!<. Yes, each dose costs $50,000. Now, for all of you freaking out, Insurance give In network a huge discount, and we only pay %10 after that til we hit our overall cap. Until our cap is reached, it costs up $1,600 EACH DOSE. Now, it is hard to read the insurance forms and bills, but I believe that is just for Abraxane and not including the premeds I get each time. But I am not sure.

But you should know, it takes a serious life threatening reaction to get put on Abraxane because of the expense. So, "regular" side effects won't get the switch. I am sorry if you are having a rougher ride, but don't expect to pay for the Abraxane out of pocket.

Okay, off to rest.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Do You Know How Amazing You Are

Do you all know how amazing you all are? How beautiful people can be? In the midst of this "financial crisis", people are still generous, with their love, hope, creativity, money, time, etc.

I just returned from the Art Bra Auction, the brainchild of my friend Kendyl and with the help of many. Do you know, complete strangers donated AMAZING works of art. Dear friends and their families did so as well. I am just so the creativity I saw, and the generosity, and the goodwill.

I have to detach a bit. To know this, in the end, was to harness healing energy, and monetary support, for little ole me...well, that much good energy is can humble you. To enjoy it, I had to not let myself really let it sink in it was for me (us - my family).

For those who missed, NO GUILT, but oh, you missed a good time. I will put pictures up. And the overwhelming donation of bras...there are still some to be taken home. There were wool ones, knitted ones, copper ones, ceramic ones, belly dancing ones, ones with toy soldiers, camouflage and pink ribbons, hand embroidered NW ones, flower ones, etc etc. Woah.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I met some new faces, that brought me happiness. Some old friends I haven't seen in awhile came....

it is all so good.

And just so people know. Our medical bills situation is working out slowly. We still have more than we can pay, but with the fundraisers, people pointing me in the direction of places that help, etc, we are wading our way through. With my health improving, it looks like work will be in my future, and that will reallllllllllly help.

I do plan to put up songs that a friend of mine recorded (and a few I recorded on my own) to offer in turn for a donation through this blog. THAT will be my gift back to you. All the songs will be either spiritual chants I have learned, or songs/lullabies I wrote for my daughter. We are working on the technical aspects of getting the posted to download with each donation.

Again..............woah.........sooooooo amazing (huge smile)

Love right back to all of you who came tonight,

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peaceful Yummy Purrrrrrr

I am just reveling in the warmth of healing. Like a cat, in a patch of sunlight. So I feel quiet.

Had a great chat with a friend over tea yesterday. Peaceful.

Had a early morning walk with Bug today, collecting leaves, catching up. Sun was out. Purrr. And NO pain, WE WALKED together. Precious, cherished time.

Chemo has tired me, and the last two days I danced with its side effects, but still, Peace.

Yummmmmmy precious peace.

Next week is a Zometa week. So anyone wanting to be "on standby" let me know. hopefully, third time is the charm. I know the CraftyDabbler is out there. Would you like to have a day of knitting and tea? Maybe introduce me to spinning?

I hope you all have a least one moment in this hectic transitional time of pure, purrrrrring Peace.

Monday, October 6, 2008

From holding my Wew!

So, everyone who has called, and not gotten back an answer for a week. I apologize. Had some stomach issues earlier in the week, and then, I had the PET/CT to check on what was going on inside (see last post). I have been quiet. Wound up like a ball of yarn and holding my breath. I realized Sunday and had subtly closed myself off from the world and was just ....waiting.... would this be some shrunk, and some grew? Was that NEW pain a NEW tumor....was the back pain because it is was growing...or because I have been USING it more because they are GONE?

Good news! First Pet scans/CT are back, and it looks
realllllllllllllllllllly good! The doc started off with a huge smile
and said "These scans looks amazing!" and went on to say that in ALL
area, there has been (in the words of the scan doc who wrote the
report) "dramatic decrease in size" of all the sites! No bones tumors,
lymphs nodes to "scarce traces in a couple", the breast ones are only
very small traces, and the liver has dropped dramatically (one went
from 28 mm to 11) with ALL showing significant decreases. The spleen
is not looking like a cancercous tumor, but a benign one. In light of
all the others "dramatic" decrease, and not change or metabolic
activity, this small 2mm site appears benign. WEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That means at at least 3 months more chemo to keep pushing them down
into a remission state that is as small as possible. If things keep
going so well, she is open to not going on with chemo but changing
over to a hormonal therapy & Herceptin. I expressed the desire not to
beat my body down and keep it as strong as possible and use hormones
and Herceptin and natural therapies. WEW.

Is that the light at the end of tunnel!

Still will be doing chemo every week for another three months. So the
hard part isn't over yet, but at least we know is it ROCKING, and
telling these cancer cells they don't belong here. It is amazing. Even
the ones in the liver that are there are so no metabolic activity!

Can you say, I am a happy happy girl!

Even the stoic doc, was all smiles and.... HUGGED ME!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Darn, that time and its wings!

Sorry everyone, I didn't realize that I had let the time fly this week. Yes, the PET/CT scan was done on Thursday. I was nice and radioactive once again. I don't have test results back yet. That is okay, I want a chance to check in with my body and see what it says.

I did some BIG work today with my acupuncturist/ND. I won't go into details. Even for me, it is too private to share. But I will say a LOT of energy moved out of my lungs and I could feel the air move through my left lung again. Now, I before you go a freakin' out....I had this feeling BEFORE, and the scan were clear. I have to reassure myself of this.

So when I listen, my spleen is inflamed, my liver to a lesser degree is inflamed, my left hip bones, where you sit, ouch, and the vertbra between my shoulders has become so painful, I plan to talk about solutions.

It is out of the breasts as far as not being able to feel any tumors. Strangely enough, there is a hallow where the big one once was. Weird. Maybe lingering in a lymph node. But I feel very clear. My liver and spleen are unhappy, but I don't think that means worse off, just handling it all and having a time of it.

The "official" opinion comes on Monday and I will let you all know what transpires.

For now, I have to put my dear one to bed.

Love to you all!