Welcome, fellow Cancer Survivors!

Travel with me as I explore previously unknown territory: My body's reactions to Chemotherapy. I am a 28 year old Mother, Wife, and Daughter. I have started this blog in the hopes of coming closer to my true self. May all who pass through here meet with Peace and Grace.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Aftermath...

Hello, to any and all who have been casually or obsessively reading this.

Yes, I am fully aware of the huge gap in dates between this post and my last collection of thoughts.

I have decided not to make excuses, as is my weakness, but to say simply this: I am ready to record my deepest thoughts again. There's something to be said for all the musings that float freely in your head suddenly being thrust onto a screen in front of your eyes. I think thoughts suddenly made tangible is a bit frightening to me at times...

If you are willing to bear with me again as I delve into my psyche, I, perhaps, am also willing to go through with this once more.

It has been since July of 2010 that I have ended Chemotherapy. My hair is growing in thick and healthy, my nails are now strong, and, even though it may prove a bit of an embarrassment to some reading this -- but it is of a very high priority to me -- My bodily functions have returned to nearly normal (THANK HEAVENS!).

I do need to visit the hospital once every three months to perform a CT scan for this next year, until this December, which marks a two year landmark. After that, it is once every 6 months for... well, probably quite some time.

The first CT Scan after my initial termination of Chemotherapy was a relief to be negative. The second CT Scan I have just had this last Wednesday was also negative. It continues to stir up emotions in me, however, and I am not always ready to admit this. Going into this, and, I'm sure, for anyone who has ever thought about the circumstance of Chemotherapy, I told myself that some day, in the conceivable future, I will be over and done with this. This will all be an experience that will loose it's horrific colors in a few years, fading with time and with understanding of my body.

But what do you tell yourself as you go to scan after scan, hoping that the process won't find anything? I am always confident, even though this event still rattles me. I suppose I continue to tell myself that it's only normal to be scared of the outcome, everyone is probably apprehensive going into CT Scans.

I find these procedures always stir up so many emotions in me, and bring to the surface so many things I either ignored and refused to acknowledge.

I've been curious as to how many survivors shut off aspects of themselves completely. Taking blows to the body, inevitably loosing organs that held the disease, and probably various circumstances that brought us uncomfortably close to the realization of death. I think we need to acknowledge at some point this very traumatic occurrence may have shook us and brought us face to face with aspects of ourselves we have always denied.

And I think it's finally safe for me to turn on these aspects again. It's okay to feel this deepest fear and and this experience in my past, and know I shall continue to see all the facets life has to offer me. Even if there may be pain again, even if there may be disappointment or loss.

Only then, I think, can I enjoy everything that I have in life with abandonment...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The story still continues...

Those of you wondering what has happened to me:

I am quite alright, I assure you. I've been taking a lot of time to really look inward, and put Energy In. I think I'm finally ready to share again.

I have just gotten news back from a very Beautiful CT Scan! My body is looking excellent. Truly, the Doctor himself said it looked fantastic. The Chemo must indeed be doing it's job!

I will leave you for now, though. I have just started my second cycle of of Chemo (they will be doing two more such cycles) and I am a bit... well. Stoned. As one would expect.
I am planning to get some darn good sleep tonight, I can tell you that much.

Thanks for all your help so far, and I enjoy the pleasure you have all given me.

I wish you all a good sleep, with or without sedatives.

I would like to say one thing here, as a parting thought. To all my friends, new acquaintances, and companions I have met along my journey: Those of you who have fought cancer or who are in the midst of the fight against cancer, I salute you. I I am amazed by all the courage and the inner strength that you have. Whatever your outcome, whatever your trials, where ever your journey has led you, I know that you can stand back and take a look at what you have accomplished, and know you are strong. It's not putting on a brave face, or being a hero, or showing everyone how much courage you have. It's you, taking your own life into your own hands, molding it into what you need to survive, and pulling on what you know has always been there. I think this is one of the mysteries I have found in my life. I've always been able to tackle this sort of a circumstance, and I will see it through to the end.
I am also so incredibly grateful for literally hundreds of people that support me. You have helped me realize that I am strong, I thank you very much.

And that's my two cents.

Please do pardon the gratuitous drug references. But this sort of thing has never been a part of my life, and now I find it interesting to see how it affects me.
Right now, I'm hoping it affects sleep.

Good night!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Second installment of Navalbine:

Well then, I suppose I need to work on my consistency a bit, don't I. I think that would include waking up a bit earlier, though, because I don't really feel like writing at night at the moment.

I can hear Clint gibbering away in his bed, he's still sort of relaxing before the day starts as well. For that reason, I'll probably be a bit brief here, because I know Clint won't be staying in his bed for long...

I think I am a bit relieved that the Chemotherapy is not so nearly frightening as I had expected it to be. A little over a week ago, I was wondering how I would feel a week later, right about now. I am a bit apprehensive, though. They tell me the first few doses aren't so bad, it's the repeated dose after dose that starts to wear the body down. I've got to see this through to the end, but I must admit I'm a little scared to see how my body will be torn down in order to assure Cancer's death.

I've gained a little bit of weight! Well, but first I must admit, the first week caused me to loose about five pounds because nothing really felt that great going past my thick throat. But I feel... well, pretty good at the moment. And I'm drinking a few Instant Carnation Breakfasts all through out the day, as well as several snacks in addition to my routine meals. I really must put this habit to rest, though, of playing catch up after I have lost a few pounds. Today I do plan to talk to my Doctor about what I can do to keep the Nausea a bit more under control.

Another subject I wish to discuss with him is the few side effects I have seen. It's wreaked havoc on my digestive system. And that part of me was just starting to heal rather nicely before all these drugs came into play. Another disconcerting thing is I will have a bit of ringing in my ears from time to time, and I don't know if this is part of it or not, but sometimes I feel a bit dizzy, lightheaded. When I get up from a seated position, or go around a corner too fast, it feels as if my head takes a few seconds to catch up with me. A generally strange feeling.

Well, that's quite enough complaining from me, I should think.

Now, I must go and find something to eat, weigh myself on Wii Fit (Although I will be shocked if I'm any lighter after yesterday's feasting), and get Clint ready for school. And today at One (I don't believe I told you this, even though I put it as the subject of my Post. Silly Me) I will go and get a second installment of one of my Chemicals, called Navalbine.
This one must be administered once a week, a period of six doses. The other one that I am taking is taken in six doses as well, but they will give it to me once every three weeks. I forget it's name, but it's in my paperwork, somewhere.

Also mandatory are a series of lab tests, to see how my immune system has fared.

Okay, then I'm off, I think that's a sufficient update for today.

I thank you all for your love and support! I hope everyone will meet with an excellent day today. Advice for today... Well. Just have a good day. That's all I ask.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Good Day!

Hello my fellow readers:

My apologies, but I have had a rather off weekend. But today, I felt fantastic enough to even putter about the kitchen and make some Pita Bread. Mmmmmmmm I am munching away on some as we speak, and I hope this will help me to regain the few pounds I have lost this past week.

At the moment, I must admit I am rather distracted by bed. I must start posting these blogs in the morning from now on... If I do it too close to bed time, I rarely say all that I wanted to say.

While I feel it is a victory that my body recovers so well from the chemical blasts, I know they will surely do an inventory of how well my immune system has held up. They have told me if it jumps back very well, they will increase the dosage of chemicals. This, I have to admit, is the only way to rally against the cancer cells that have invaded me.

It's interesting how much useless thought I apply to wondering if there is something I am doing that increases the cancer's growth. By not acknowledging it's presence, eating certain things, remaining positive, praying or not praying against it, imagining it disappearing or sitting and worrying that it is there, lurking. I wonder how many other people in my situation, wondering what more they can do to slow the inevitability of this disease, in addition to all that the doctors do every day to help fight it.

What strikes me to my core is that there is no quick fix for this, there never has been. If there was, I do believe it would indeed be a miracle. But I think there is a lot for me to learn in this entire situation. It's a journey I am still very much afraid to take, despite pretending to be so brave and positive. I find it interesting that nearly everyone has told me I am very brave, I am very strong, and I am doing a good job remaining positive. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for saying this to me. Perhaps if you believe this of me, I can believe it, too? I've never seen myself as the strong one, I always find it easier to bend to somebody else, I find the easier path, and I have never had to fight like this to survive.


I decided today would be a day of distractions. I figure I may as well value my health while I still have it. It's hard for me to make myself just sit and enjoy every moment. I'm making it through, bit by bit, I know. I have been so used to dwelling on things from the past, as well as planning a happy future. But constantly thinking of the future makes me heartsick, because I don't know exactly what it will be. True, no one ever knows what exactly comes to them down the road, it may be something completely unexpected. For the longest time, I did try and tie all my expectations neatly into a little box, and that comforted me, thinking that things would always remain the same.

I think this is what I must learn: There is comfort in change. There's a vast amount of knowledge to be had, and it will come from places you could not have imagined before, and you may have never seen them if you were unable to change and accept that nothing is permanent; there will be many things opening up that will usher in a new age.

Well, that's probably enough rambling from me.

I think I shall go brush my teeth and go to bed, I had a very good and exhausting day today.

And you, my readers, realize where you are now and make the most of it. Understand that your life changes, and hopefully, you as well.

And all this (HAH!) without drugs.

Let's hope my words aren't the symptoms of Anti-Nausea medication withdrawal... *ahem* ... well.

I wish you all well...

Pleasant dreams!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just before bed.


I'm noticing, as I'm reading through my older posts that every once in a while I leave a word or two out in each sentence. Do pardon me, this is entirely unintentional. I believe this is a mistake I've made when I was entirely, well, sober. As things progress, I hope to remain able each day to record a good part of my day.

Which brings me to another point. Yesterday's blog was written while I was under heavy influence. And tonight, I fear, I have just taken another dosage of Anti-Nausea medication, which makes me rather drowsy. *Ahem* Reading over yesterday's post, it was a trifle... um, blunt, I suppose. I think my readers will have to face that fact that I'll be probably a bit more meandering and intrusive when I'm stoned. Again, a thousand pardons, but, like I've been saying, read on if you dare. I wish this to be an open book to all of my thoughts and feelings for these sessions of Chemotherapy.

So then.

One fascinating side effect of the Chemo is a very heightened sense of smell. Which adds greatly to the nausea, I would say. It does strike me as very interesting to be able to smell all the candies in their individual baggies at Wal-Mart, and when someone across the room opens their mouth to speak, I can smell every aspect of their breath. Mind you, I would not have said I had any sense of smell before this all started. I'd be the last to pick out smells of any kind. Usually, the only smells I can smell is food I have held up to my nose or the occasional very strong fragrant candle that I have to nearly insert into my nostril before I can smell it.

But now, imagine if you will, walking through the busy isles of Winco. To your right are big piles of dog food on sale, at your left are countless bakery goods, sweet and savory. Numerous milling shoppers who are chewing gum, wearing a faint amount or a monstrous quantity of cologne assail me. All these smells send so many disturbing signals through my brain at once, it shall be a journey in itself for me to get used to this new sensation.

On the other side of this is just one single smell that I can allow myself to be completely enveloped in. Oddly enough, I found myself highly interested in a slowly heating skillet that had just a spritz of Pam in it. It may sound like a very mundane thing, but I found there were very many complex, flavors, if you will, in that single smell mingled with the iron of the skillet and the heating elements of the stove burner.

And I was not so very nearly stoned this morning, when I smelled that, either.

Probably enough obsessiveness of that subject, I think.

So, I shall bring this to a close. One day, I wish to write a lot more, but I find myself very drained, lately. I slept a lot during the daylight yesterday, which always disorients me. It seems I closed my eyes several times, and was confused to find it later in the day, but not feeling any more rested.

I have a lot of thoughts always milling about in my head, and I shall have plenty of time in the future to address many of these thoughts. I think there are many frightening as well as uplifting sentiments so many people in my situation are feeling. These sorts of problems can make people so different, and can mold them into something stronger and victorious, and yet have crushed so many others into devastating pieces. This, I truly believe, is the real reason I want to write, and to express all of my feelings. There's so much to say that is so hard to put into words, but I intend to give them voice. For myself, and for all the survivors that have never expressed them, and for all that we have lost and never will be able to tell their story.

And now, I really must say, I wish to leave you, my readers.
Bed is calling, but I wanted to hang out with Clint for a little while longer. I figured he and I should time our bed times to be about the same. We both get in a bit of play time together before we both crash. Well... He doesn't so much crash when he goes to bed, but gibber away in his room until he's tired. Silly Monkey...

May each and every one of you find your true voice. It may frighten you, and you may not want to hear it. Undertake this journey, ask many questions, and listen to what it has to say. Find the "You" that has been so deeply suppressed.

And perhaps, my lucky readers, my next posting shall be when I'm sober. Just might be. Hmm... But I wouldn't bet on it.

Foraging for Breakfast...

Which is not an easy task. Actually, for the moment, I'd love more than anything not to talk about food. My Ant-Nausea medications seem to be helping somewhat, but I did have to call in for a bit of back up. Yesterday, my banana didn't make it all the way down; I was none to pleased to find myself in that state.

I did manage to get some dinner down, and this morning, I also got around to a bit to eat. I need to break it all down into munchies though. A full out meal seems a bit impossible. And where is my brain this morning? I found myself wandering around this morning wearing one slipper because I forgot to go and look for the second one. And while I set myself up with a small serving of cottage cheese I dazed off a bit and found Clint had grabbed another spoon and was helping himself to it before I could get to it.

I seem to remember saying I didn't want to talk about food, now... Hmmm...

Oh, that's right, I remember what I wanted to say. I'm very flattered by the wide range of readers that I have, I very happy you are appreciative of my daily updates. Thanks for your support, I shall try to continue recording my journey as I progress through the treatments.

I did not wake up so much... Depressed today, just tired and annoyed that my stomach still feels in a bit of a lurch. And I need to remind myself to continue to drink lots and lots of water, but even water tastes a bit weird at the moment.

Well... I have decided to cut this blog a little bit short.
I really don't know what the day will bring, all I know is I feel like lying in bed for a bit. I hear a hyper monkey downstairs squeaking as he creates only god knows what on some over sized poster paper I got him. Thank goodness Julie is here to keep him from trying to create something monstrous while I sleep. It's hard to say what lurks in his little mind.

I bid you adieu for the moment. Going to sleep.

Sleep sounds great.

Drugged... Sleepy... Partially Nauseated, but finally passing bowel movements (Oops... Sorry, that's probably way too much information).

I wish you all a good day, and I also hope you yourself can find some time to relax.

Take care, everyone.

Evie.... Out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life... Begins.

Ahhhhh numbness in fingers, and a general odd feeling up to my elbows. I hope this doesn't last very long?
They did say this was a side effect, and on the video, they were saying one should report this immediately, as this could progress and possibly become permanent. Illnesses like Diabetes could make things compounded. Since I am not a Diabetic, I'm hoping this is a side effect that can be managed pretty well. Let's go and do some research, shall we?

And of course, a general sense of queasiness has set in. I'm chewing on a bit of ginger as I'm typing, and I plan to have a nice bland bowl of Oatmeal for breakfast. I'm hoping to kind of go about my business as usual, before fatigue is expected to set in. Clint has two therapies here, at St. Luke's Elk's Rehab, in about half an hour. And I was really hoping to go to a second Support Group meeting today. Then there's a Chemo class this afternoon.

I'll just be listening to my body, and have my phone on hand to signal Julie if I would like to pull out and be at home instead. My rationale is I would like to remain active and living usually while I still feel like it. Fatigue? I feel generally... Tipsy, I think (Hah! This is kind of a normal feeling for me, though, I can't tell you the last time in the past few months that I've felt actually very stable).

It is a very odd feeling to know that I've just dumped quite a few chemicals into the body. Today, I plan to look for some books that are general knowledge on Chemotherapy, but I've heard that the science is constantly changing, and even some of the newer books' information are out of date. I've got a big notebook that I've been jotting down questions in, I think I'll go and pester my nurses.

Well, I've decided to go and try breakfast. Wish me luck, for I don't really want to have it come back up again. Here's hoping I can accomplish all I set out to do today.

May you all find peace and happiness today; I thank you for reading! I'm hoping I can maintain my Good Spirits and Hope... Hehehe, and that this blog doesn't turn into a Whiny list of symptoms. Butttttttt more than likely, I'm going to just write how I feel. And so far, we haven't fallen into the dumps at all. Let's up it remains that way...

Here's to my Sanity!