Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 185 It's been a while...

Here I sit on the sofa watching bad TV...I'm loving it!
It has been busy and stressful, but in good ways most of the time.

August activities were a high school reunion and a visit from one of my best friends who now lives in North Hollywood.  There were street faires, visits from my mom, visits from Stephanie, overnights with girlfriends and the acquisition of Goldie the Westfalia.  The story behind Goldie is very appropriate and fitting.  It was meant to be.

Jeff had been looking for a Westfalia van for weeks.  We were thinking that we were going to have to drive to another state just to find a reasonably priced one.  However one day he just got lucky and found one just on the other side of the river in Washington in the town of Lyle near White Salmon.  The day before Jeff asked me what I thought the Westy would be like.  I said it was going to be perfect, exactly what we were looking for and the price was going to be perfect as well.  We got there and met Gary who was just about the nicest person one could meet.  He showed us what he knew about the van, which wasn't a whole lot because the van had belonged to his mother who had recently passed away.  Gary told us stories about how his mother would love to take the van to different local festivals and how much she loved it.  She lived by herself taking care of herself up until a week before she passed away from cancer.  Gary said that she would love to know that it was going to someone who would love it as much as she did and who would make full use of its amenities.  I then told him about my cancer and how excited we were to go on trips in the van.  Everything was perfect! Just like I had envisioned, focused on and manifested.  The passing of Goldie from that family to ours was simply meant to be.  We love our Westy and treat is as well as we do our own pets.  Goldie does not sit out in the rain, she has her cozy place in our garage.  Jeff made sure of that.  He cleaned and organized the entire garage AND he even cut out a board on the door opening just to make enough space for Goldie to fit inside with her Yakima racks on.  Now that's love!

September was a little more quiet.  Jeff and I went to another Mariners vs Redsox game and it was a blast!  My mom came with us on one of the evening games.  Even though the Mariners didn't win, it was still a blast!

  I had a dentist appointment with the best dentist in the entire world, Dr Perry Jones, DDS in Ballard.  Yes, I drive all the way from Portland just to visit this dentist, that is how awesome he is.  My teeth are looking good he said (he always says that, I guess I have been blessed with good teeth), just a little bit of gum inflamation from the chemo and being so anemic, otherwise perfect teeth so that's good.  Then Clark had to go in for surgery on his other knee.  I saw him blow it out too.  We were on a river somewhere near the ocean and he was walking on uneven rocks and all of the sudden his leg slipped out from under him and then "YELP!" and from that point he was essentially a three legged dog not putting any pressure at all on his injured knee.  Perhaps if he was not such a spastic he would not get into such situations.  He is 7 years old and still acts like a little puppy that knows no rules or when to stop.  Since taking Clark for his surgery we have been pretty much home bound, having to be here with Clark all the time. He has to stay calm, no explosive movements, which is hard for him, so as a result he gets disciplined a lot.  "Clark lay down." "Clark calm down." "NO!" "Sit!" "Stay!" "Calmly Clark!"  it gets really, really old.  My cat hates it.  Clark already dominates the entire house so she doesn't really get much one on one time because Clark always has to have his nose in what is going on afraid that she will get something that he wont.  Plus she doesn't like it when I have to use the stern voice with Clark.  She pretty much just stays in the basement these days while Clark gets the run of the rest of the house.  Poor Pot Pie :(  So anyway, the mutt will not be healed completely for 12 weeks! Yikes!  We are now halfway there, week 6...he gets to go for 10 minute walks this week and every week the time increases by 5 minutes until week 12 when he is healed enough to live "normally" again.

October...ahh I love October!  Not just because my birthday is in October but because of the fall colors, beautiful, beautiful fall colors!  Chilly mornings, warm days, the smell of decaying leaves (love it!).  So most of October was filled with caring for the dog.  I had my friends Tiff and Jay over for my birthday weekend.  It was tons of fun!  We went hiking to Ramona Falls on the Saturday before my birthday and then on my birthday we went to the zoo in Portland.  It was a lot of fun!

 The zoo is actually not bad at all, it was actually one of my favorites as far as zoos go.  The animals had nice habitats (most of them) and just the general lay out of the zoo was very people friendly.  I bonded with the black bear and one other animal that for the life of me I can't remember right now (I know it was some kind of cat though).  I made curtains for my dining room.  I had to make some because Clark kept freaking out every time he saw our neighbors cat on the fence.  Once again, altering life for the dog :)  I'm not complaining though, it was fun to make the curtains.  I do however wish our new neighbors were a little more considerate of the people around them.  They have at least 3 cats that spend more time in our yard and on our front porch than they do at their own home.  I can't even let my cat go out in our yard because they are not nice cats, they are always fighting with the other cats in the hood.  And forget letting Clark out to pee without a leash, he bolts for the cats which is not good as he could re-injure his leg and that would get really spendy.  Stupid neighbors!

Now it is November, where does the time go?  I am going to visit my dad next week for 9 days in Tennessee!  It will be fun!  We are going to go to North Carolina to a place where we can dig for rubies and diamonds!  I am sure we will also stay close to home and hunt arrowheads, most likely go fishing on a river and spend the rest of the time visiting family.  The rest of the family does not know I am coming yet, it is going to be a surprise...of course unless they have read this and then I guess it will not be a surprise anymore....

In the meantime all of these activities are filled in with trips to the naturopath for IV therapy,  weekly trips to the oncologist for checkups and chemotherapy, trips to the acupuncturist, some yoga, mornings spent vomiting, days spent being run down and tired on the sofa, days of high energy when we play disc golf and go hiking or surfing or camping.

I have been feeling pretty good.  There are mornings when it takes me until noon just to feel human.  Days I don't have an appetite or when food just doesn't sound appealing at all.  I have been holding a steady weight at about 126lbs and all the vitals are good.  Right now I am battling anemia, low white and red blood cells and low platelets.  My oncologist has decreased the amount of chemo drugs I get to accommodate for that.  I have chemo every week, two weeks on and one week off...on my weeks off (like right now) I go to the naturopath for IV therapy full of vitamins and glutathione to decrease all the negative effects of the chemotherapy.  I have hot flashes constantly that usually keep me from sleeping most nights.  Skip my acupuncturist is a godsend though.  One visit with him usually keeps me hot flash free for at least 3 or 4 days.  I usually visit him on a weekly basis so that I can sleep.  He also helps my appetite and my liver pain.  Acupuncture is awesome!  Highly recommended for everyone if you have not tried it for your certain condition you should.  It really works, but it usually takes a few times.  The visits are usually expensive but you can find a community clinic that has sliding scale fees ($15-$30) through the Community Acupuncture Network (CAN).  Google it and you can find a clinic in your area.

All in all I am doing very well.  Everyone tells me that I look good (my eyes, complexion, etc) so at least I know it is not all in my head :)  I tell everyone that if it wasn't for the chemo I would feel better than I have in at least 15 years.  Right now I am just battling and dealing with all the side effects of the chemotherapy.  Im not complaining though, it could be much, much worse, right?

OH! Almost forgot! I had my 3rd CT scan back in September.   Drum roll please.............
Tumors have shrunk!  In some cases there are some small ones that were there before and are NOT there now!  The really big ones used to connect but now they are separate and smaller!  Don't get me wrong, the liver is still lit up like a Christmas tree at the White House but it is going away at least.  My oncologist said that "it is a slow growing disease that is also slow to go away".  He is very pleased with our progress and so am I.  I will have another CT scan in December (every 3 months) and who knows, maybe they will be gone...

There are two popular questions among my friends and family and they are
"How long do you have to get chemo" and "How often do you get chemo"
Here are the answers as far as I know...
I will most likely get chemo until either my body cannot handle it anymore or until the tumors are gone, and as far as the frequency of chemotherapy I go on Thursdays usually, two weeks on with one week off and on my week off I go see my naturopath on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Keeps a girl busy, and tired.  I love my nurses though, they take exceptional care of me, as if I were their own daughter.  I am in good hands.

Got to run now, time for my IV full of golden goodness :) and a visit with my other mama Lynda.  You all take good care of yourself, read those labels...If you cannot pronounce it don't eat it!  Toss that icky shampoo and conditioner and makeup and invest in some good chemical free stuff.  Get rid of those chemicals under your sink and substitute with natures own natural disinfectants and cleaners.  If you don't do it for yourself at least do it for your children, family or pets as what you do also affects their health too, it might not show up now or ever, or it may show up when you are 38 and in the prime of your life.  Just do it for the sake of love.

Much love and light to you all!

The Cancer Assassin