Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I haven't forgotten Spark or my friends here; I've just been busy, worn out and tired and haven't had a chance to do much of anything online. I haven't even had a chance to read my blog comments, Spark page comments or look at my Spark goodies, but I will as soon as I can.
My mom's funeral was last Wednesday and it was a beautiful service, I think she would have been proud.
I cancelled my chemo last week, and was supposed to have it today, but when they did my lab work, my platelets were too low, only 52, and my hemoglobin dropped again too, down to 8.1. I will be having a blood transfusion Friday.
I have been extra tired again, but I had attributed that to stress and grief, and of course, some sleepless nights since my mom passed.
We are supposed to be getting some nasty weather this weekend, including freezing rain. Since I will surely be stuck at home, I will try then to get caught up on my Spark stuff.
Thank you my friends, for all your love and support.
Sunday, November 09, 2014
I'm too tired and overwhelmed right now to go into all the details, and it's been a long night, but I just had to let my Spark friends know.
My mom died unexpectedly sometime yesterday (Saturday); when she was found in her home, she was already gone, probably from a massive heart attack.
I will post another blog later to explain more.
I'm going to try, if I can, to get some sleep, because I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.
Saturday, November 08, 2014
Some background before I start, if you haven't read my blogs before.
I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2003, I won't go through all the details about my treatment because that is on my Sparkpage. In 2007, it returned, this time to my bones, and it's now stage IV, or metastatic breast cancer. I just found out a few months ago it is starting to spread to my liver too.
It took me several years to come to a place of acceptance with this disease, it's not something that happened overnight. I have had to find acceptance with the truths of this disease in order to find a way to live with it. I have accepted that there is no cure for my disease; to me, that is not giving up, I simply chose not to waste time and energy on what will never be; instead, I focus on trying to live so that I have the best quality of life possible with the time I have left. That does not mean I don't hope for a cure for all cancer one day, I just know that it's not going to happen for me personally. I just focus on what I can do to make myself feel better on THIS day, instead of worrying about the days that are not even here yet. It sounds like a cliche, but I truly have to take it "one day at a time."
The hardest things I have had to find acceptance with is not being physically able to do certain activities I use to enjoy, such as walking for exercise, and gardening. I know that I can't do them for now, but maybe one day, there might be surgery that can be done on my hip enabling me to be more active again, and maybe someday I will be a on a treatment that won't make me so tired. In the meantime, just because I can't garden doesn't mean I can't enjoy a couple of hanging baskets on my porch in the summer, and just because I can't exercise the "traditional' ways doesn't mean I can't find other alternatives, such as chair exercising.
I had to stop working in November 2008; it took me a long time to accept the idea of being ok with not working, and not feeling guilty about it, especially when there are so many people that are judgmental about those who have to live on Social Security Disability.
I've also had to accept living with fatigue and chronic pain, and again, that doesn't mean I am giving up; it means that I have to accept my limits and work around them so that I don't make myself even more exhausted or cause the pain to become worse. It's a work in progress though; I still have to work on the guilt that I am not getting as much done as "other people." And I am harder on myself than I am on others; if I were talking to someone else with my same health issues, I would tell them they have nothing to feel bad or guilty about, so I need to work on showing myself the same kindness I show others.
This does not mean I am one of those "peppy and positive" people either; finding acceptance of my situation does not mean I have to be happy about it. I'm somewhere in between; there are some days when the glass is half full, and others where it is half empty. With having had to start IV chemo again recently, I once again have been finding it a challenge to accept my limitations and find ways of working around them.
One start to that is putting my feelings down in words, (though it's hard to find the right ones) and letting them out. I'm sure I'll look at this blog later and think of a better way I could have said something, or realize that I left something out I should have said. Oh well, I can always blog about that another day!
Thursday, November 06, 2014
While I am a bit frustrated that I am still getting tired easily despite my hemoglobin levels being up, today is one of my better days. I had chemo Thursday and the Neulasta shot Friday, and today is the best I have felt since then.
I was expecting to have some bad bone pain from the Neulasta shot, but it actually turned out to be very mild. I still had my chronic pain in my left hip and left shoulder to deal with, but the Neulasta did not make that any worse.
I've had a fast heartbeat for a few years now; my oncologist actually had a cardiologist check it out about 2 years ago, and everything with my heart was normal. Both the cardiologist and my oncologist said that they are not sure why, but often people who have had a lot of chemo have an elevated heart rate. I've just learned to live with it. The Neulasta shot made it a little faster for a few days though. The worst days of it were Sunday and Monday, but by Monday night it started to calm down. I will mention it my oncologist next time I see him; maybe there is a medication I can take for it for a few days after each shot. In the meantime, I try not to worry about it because that makes it worse. During the worst episodes I just sit down and try to relax and read or watch TV to try to distract myself.
I still made it to the monthly lunch out with some of my former coworkers Monday; while I enjoyed visiting with everyone, I was kind of relieved when it time to leave. I also had to get my blood counts checked, but since this is my week off from chemo, I was able to get it done at our local hospital. I checked my results online later in the afternoon and my hemoglobin was 11.8, so it actually went up a little bit again! That was a relief to have it confirmed that I am doing ok as far as the blood counts go. They will be checked again when I have chemo on the 12th.
I think the reason why I get tired so easily right now is from the chemo itself; chemo unfortunately kills some of the good cells as well as the bad ones, and I believe that my body is just using extra energy to try to heal the good ones. All I can do is what I have been doing all along; take it one day at a time, make the most of my good days and accept that I need to slow down more on the bad days, and to always pace myself.
Sunday, November 02, 2014
Before I begin, I want to thank everyone for the supportive comments left on my Spark page and blogs, and the goodies. I want you all to know they are all taken to heart and appreciated!
Friday night, I ended up taking my nausea and migraine meds at bedtime. Even though I had just had my Neulasta shot that day, I don't think those were side effects of it. I had already had a headache starting that day before I even had the shot, triggered by the change in weather and the front moving through. Those meds made me nice and sleepy though, and I was able to get a good night of sleep, and felt much better yesterday morning.
One of the bad side effects of Neulasta is bone pain, and because of past experience with a similar drug I had to take years ago, Neupogen, with which I had very bad bone pain after each injection, I was expecting to really be hurting the day after the Neulasta shot, but I only had some very mild achy-ness in my bones. It could be that the steroids from the chemo was helping with that too, because the daily chronic pain I have in my left hip and shoulder was also better yesterday. I was careful to pace myself and not overdo it, but I did the laundry yesterday and also a chair workout, and felt well enough to caught up on some of the online surveys I do to earn Amazon gift cards and other rewards.
Around 7pm, the wicked post chemo heartburn started in again. I'm not sure why it is that the worst of it is always 2 days post chemo and not sooner, but it's following the same pattern as it did when I had the first Halaven two weeks ago. And as I have said before, there is not much I can do but wait it out. I am already on medication for GERD, I know how to eat with it, and I have the head of my bed raised up a few inches. The best I can do is just distract myself from it by trying to relax and watching TV or reading, which I did; I read for 2 hours at bedtime til I was sleepy enough to go to sleep.
Today, I can tell that the steroids from the chemo have worn off. Hip and shoulder are really hurting today, and I am feeling very moody and irritable; good thing I am not around people today; though I do pity Timmy and Kallie, LOL!, but I know my kitties love me no matter what.
I know that as they say, "this too shall pass"; I'm just mainly resting and relaxing, and I decided it would be best not to try a workout today; with my pain level today, and the mood I am in, I know my heart would not be in it. I know tomorrow will better, by then, the steroids will be all out of my system and I will feel more like myself again. I also have the monthly lunch out with some of the ladies I use to work with tomorrow to look forward too, which will be a nice way to start off this week off from chemo. I have a whole 10 days now before the cycle of the chemo/steroids/Neulasta starts all over again.
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