I think it has been a while since I wrote, seems like centuries to me.
I went down for my first chemo infusion last Friday. It was January 20th.
I didn't want to go, I felt too week, not strong enough and all of a sudden I was scared. I really didn't have a choice, so we headed down to 13th and Wolf, to Methodist, there was no room for me at Jeff. This was s smaller infusion center, only 10 chairs, not so busy.
I was trying not to cry all the way down and as they infusioned me. They keep asking if I was scared and yes I was. This is a new infusion of drugs, a little different from last time with all sorts of nice side effect. I came home with my pump for two more days and they came to unhook me on Sunday. At that point I was already in bed since Friday, sick as a dog, couldn't keep anything down, just laying in bed feeling sick every second.
By Wednesday, I woke up feeling a little bit hungry, first sign in 5 days, I ate a little but still stayed in bed for the day.
It was about 4 o'clock or so, Clint and I were both in my bedroom, Tina was bringing the boys for a 10 minute visit, as they came into the room, Clint saw my face change completely.
He came to me directly and asked my name, I could not tell him, he kept asking who he was, I could not tell him. Little did I know it but I was having a stroke. He was getting dressed as I lay down in bed, he wanted me to go to the hospital but all I wanted was to be in bed, but I could not talk.
He got me to emergency at Riddle, they took me immediately, I could not have been more thankful for the care I received. My name, the season, my birthday, what year was it (I said 1969!) the doctor just said squeeze my hand like it was 1969. I had a battery of test, all night long.
The next day the neurologist came and spoke with us in the hospital. I did have a stroke, I was there in plenty of time and I have almost every thought back, some words are hard to remember. For some reason they showed me a sign of a cactus, for the life of me I kept saying, you find them in Arizona, but couldn't name them, I think I need to have a cactus in my Voodoo room now!
They kept me until around 3 pm that day and sent me home.
I had my appointment with the oncologist today.
He can't explain it to me, they say some people who have cancer, are more prone to strokes but he said it was not the kind I had.
Who knows? but I can tell you it was the scariest thing I could have gone through. Today I feel tired but a little better. The doctor told me today (kidding, I hope or maybe not) that I was a challenging patient.
I get my second infusion a week from today. I'll take my aspirin every day and at night I ask myself who I am, just in case.
This road has taken so many turns, and the missing of my Dad.
I get so many emails and cards and support and food, I thank each and every one of you. Clint and I have so much to be thankful for, all the love and prayers. We thank you, for your kindness, your sweetness, your prayers and show of support for me as we go through this once again.
Once moment in time. Right now.
(By the way, this took way too long to write, I apologize for any mistake!)
A tiny street in Rome, the thought of Italy keeps me going!
I have to say that these past few weeks have been filled with anxiety, tears, fears, uncertainty, reluctance, despair, hope, almost every feeling imaginable.
A few weeks ago, I went to my oncologist complaining of persistent symptoms, nausea, bad taste in my mouth, the inability to keep food down, uncontrollable tears, great fatigue.
His answer to me, other than suggesting I take Lexapro for my depression was to have me go back on chemo. This news I met with the urge to throw up. I was in a weakened state and could not even imagine going through this again. I am thinner than I have ever been ~hellva diet!
He ordered an MRI, which I had on Saturday morning.
He called me on Monday night and told me the news was not good.
He wants me on chemo right away, no asking, this time he was telling me. The remaining part of the tumor that the operation did not get more than doubled in size and took with it, as clusters, all the then "little spots surrounding it".
They are little no longer. In the course of 5 short weeks this tumor is bigger and faster growing than any I've had. It is on the war path.
Although the news still made me sick to my stomach and brought fast and furious tears to my eyes, I realized my choices were limited. Do I want to live? Damn YES!!!!!!!
So I begin another regiment of chemo, starting tomorrow morning down at JEFF.
This second line of defense, as they call it will switch out some drugs for others. Not too sure of all the side effects, I have to tell you, I am almost afraid to look at the info sheets.
I will take one day at a time, get through that and then go on.
I had my screams and crying, now I will go on.
I have the blessings of so much love from family and friends and I know I will not go this alone.
He promises me that I will be better by early summer, this behind me. I respond well to chemo, he says and they will do more scans in a few months time. He is confident and that helps me.
Clint and I have been downtown almost every day this week, we have seen so many doctors, been given choices down the road, but for now they want to stop it in it's tracks, I can understand that.
I am grateful for all your thoughts and prayer, I cannot do this alone, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am strong, I can do this, one moment at a time.
There is a saying that I have heard through the course of my life.
Whenever I asked Clint to do something that was quite literally impossible, he would say to me~
"What do you want me to do, stand on my head and spit wooden nickles?"
When I asked him what this meant, he told me he really didn't know but to me it was doing something that was quite impossible to do.
So this thought comes to mind as I go through this really difficult time in my life.
What am I expecting? how can I get through this? can I do it by myself? with no help?
I realized this week that it was like spitting wooden nickles, it is impossible to get through this myself. I need a little help.
After much thought and anguish and many many tears I decided to take the Lexapro. To help me through this, to get me back to me. I will continue my routine of writing, walking, stretching and eating healthy too.
I also decided against another 7 months of Chemo. I am in too weak a state right now, it could only do harm in my eyes, not help me. The mere thought of chemo makes me ill.
As I spoke to my oncologist yesterday, he agreed with what I wanted to do but also ordered another MRI for this week and an appointment with yet another Doctor, a radiation oncologist, my team of doctors grow by the minute. I will follow his suggestions and keep up with my Cancer, do what I have to do to manage it but also keeping my well being in mind too.
I feel at peace with my decision and this morning is the first morning I woke up almost feeling like myself again.
I am determined to make 2012 a good year no matter what. I intend to live my life moment by moment and try not to look too far ahead, enjoy all that I have and keep my family close.
I've had so much support from friends and clients through email, phone calls and cards and notes, each and everyone on has helped me with my decisions, your stories and support help me everyday and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
There is no better feeling in the world than to know you are not alone, that people are there for you and have gone before you and can understand what I am going through because they have been there themselves. It is the tide that carries me though everyday.
I thank God for the Guardian Angels in my life. I know my Dad is one of them too. He is there for me, helping me through this, guiding me along. His wisdom comes to me daily.
So I am on the road to recovery, no doubt it will be a long and winding road but I have help and guidance and love and support. I am lucky, I am blessed and I am grateful.
I've been spiraling downward. These past weeks have been very tough. No matter that each morning I say to myself~"today will be a good day" my days were filled with sleep, tears and hopelessness. This is not me, I couldn't get out of bed, I had no desire to do anything. I trudged through whatever chores I had and got to the point where I just could not do anything at all. My symptoms were real. I have a queasy tummy and feel I can get sick at any minute. I have a bad taste in my mouth, I had to force myself to drink even water. I've lost over 10 pounds these past weeks. My exhaustion was overwhelming. I was so so tired. Even after more then 12 to 14 hours sleep I could crawl back into bed.
This week everything came to a point where all I was doing was crying in bed, both Clint and I were scared. I called the doctors, was this the Cancer? what was happening to me?
My surgeon and all his staff was on vacation, his nurse called me back and talked to me for a few minutes, her suggestion was that I was depressed and I should get my regular Doctor to give me a prescription for Lexapro, an anti depressant.
My oncologist called back and asked to see me the next day.
I dragged myself out of bed and went to see him. He, too felt depression had a big part in what I was feeling, he gave me the script for Lexapro along with other medications to help with the symptoms. He also said something that not only scared the hell out of me but made me want to get sick right there and then.
"I want to put you on another 7 months of chemo". He feels that some of the symptoms are related to the Cancer and that I would feel better on chemo.
I couldn't believe my ears, feel better on Chemo??!! I am feeling weak and down and I cannot imagine going on a 7 month duration of something that makes me weaker and more fragile. He told me it was up to me and made a follow up appointment for this Friday.
I am overwhelmed, overwhelmed with sadness and grief and hopelessness and tears. This is not me. what happened? how did I get to this point? what can I do to change this around?
I took the lexapro for 3 days an then decided I can't do this, this is not who I am. I need to make changes in my life to turn this around. I need to make a list of the things I know will make me feel better and try to do as much as I can each and every day.
I sat at my desk and wrote that list. Write, Meditate, Stretch, Walk, Eat Fruit, Heal, be Kind to me, give myself the time to grieve, the time to heal.
Each day I open my eyes and though I just want to stay in bed, I get up, I write, something I have been neglecting lately, I meditate, I do a few yoga poses -the ones I know, I bundle up and walk with my face towards the sun. I nibble on fruit, I drink water, I get a massage. I lay down when I can't stand up anymore. I am trying with all my heart to change this around, without drugs, without pills, without chemo, but with hope.
This is not easy, but I take one moment at a time, hoping that each day I will feel a little better.
I have such love and support surrounding me and I am grateful for it all. There are angels in my life who are there to help me and I thank you, I can't do this alone.
So I have hope for this year~2012, hope that I will pull myself up, that I will get through this tough time, that I can come back to myself and smile and laugh again, and get out of bed!
I wish you love and peace and health this new year, I wish you moments filled with family and those that are dear to you. I wish you moments of time, each special, each magical.
I am an optimistic and happy person.. I would rather see life as exciting and challenging and enjoy every minute than dwell on the negative .. I love to cook and have my family around .. big family dinners and celebrations are always held in my home.. I have a huge table 10 feet long ..filled with food and family.. I have learned many of my mom's old recipes and try to recreate many of the dishes I grew up with .. I am teaching my grandsons to cook .. they love it! I have a wonderful,happy, loving relationship with my husband. He supports me in everything I do and is my biggest fan and taste tester.. he loves all things Italian too!
I love to cook, write, eat and laugh .. I wrote a cookbook in 2004.. the title? LIVE,LAUGH,COOK! what else!