Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hats Off To You...

my friends Kathy and Anne! :) Yesterday afternoon I took the dog pack outside to do their business, and I noticed that there was a package sitting by my garage door. I promptly scooped it up, and a smile spread across my face! It was from an old (as in "dear" not ancient) high school friend that I've recently been back in contact with, thanks to the world of Facebook! I rounded up the pack and headed inside to open it. First, the card. It was without a doubt the cutest Get Well Card that I've ever seen. It's a little medicine cabinet over a sink. The medicine cabinet OPENED! I carefully looked over the contents inside the cabinet (no miracle hair restorer I noticed..oh well) and moved on to the inside. OK...I just HAVE to show it to you, it is that cute!

It is the best feeling in the world to know that friends, whether nearby or faraway (in this case) are thinking of you. You just get a warm feeling inside of you that grows and grows. That's exactly how I felt. Then, on to the gift! Well, in this case it turned out to be gifts...actually three beautiful hats to be exact! And as you know,t a girl in my position can never have TOO many hats! ;) It all depends on the day, the weather, your outfit. Do I need a hat for Walmart or for the Joffrey Ballet? (That HAS been a real situation...and heaven forbid you would show up at the Joffrey wearing a hat you wear to Wally World...see a girl's dilemma?) I repeat, a chemo girl can never have too many head covers. I stand by my old girl scout motto, "I am always prepared!" (Kathy and I were G.S. together in High School! Kathy, remember our trip to Canada and our wide plaid pants that were SO "in?" lol)

Anyway, without further ado (don't you just love that word) I present the newest in fashionable head attire for ME..I'll bet you can't guess which one I like best?! (Come on...everyone has a favorite!)

And remember...I had chemo 48 hours ago* so I know I'm not exactly ready for my close-up Mr. Demille. (If you don't know that phrase you are too young, and need to google it.) And yes, Frankie had to horn in on the action. We all know how needy he is.

*Treatment number far so good...just the usual tiredness and the arm swelling seems to be slowly going down. (it can never happen quick enough for me) I'm off to P.T. this morning, which always makes my arm feel better though.

I hope all of you have a wonderful day...the weekend is right around the corner, so get out and enjoy! (I for one will be ridding the yard of dog "business" since the snow has melted. UGHHH


P.S. Renee and Sarah...when you get a chance, I'd love to have the pics you took when you came to visit me. There will be a Hats Off To You Part II on the blog! :)

P.S.S. I had a commenter named MARY who said that she had read my blog and it helped her on her B.C. journey...Mary, thanks SO much...I am here for you, as we are all here for each other on this bumpy road. Feel free to contact me anytime: I would love to hear from you. xo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

48 hours and counting

until chemo treatment number five. I know this will seem hard to believe, but I am actually looking forward to it. Crazy, I know! WHO looks forward to chemo? I do, because I'm finding that following my treatment, my arm feels pretty darn good and there is very little pain. It seems like the further I get away from my treatment (this darn third week to be specific) my arm starts giving me grief. (and that is a mild understatement) I must pause here to let my daughter Jessica know how much it meant to me to be on the other end of the phone while her teary eyed mom "lost it" while dealing with a painful arm. She happened to call while I was trying to "deal with it" (which wasn't exactly working very well for me) and it did cross my mind to ignore the call. But reality beckoned, and I did need the proverbial shoulder to cry on, and she magically phoned just as I needed it. It was fate, and I am not one to stand in the way of fate. XOXO Jess, is all I can say.

I have also finished reading the amazing book, "Aniti Cancer" by David Servan-Schrieber. I can't recommend this book enough, but I understand that sometimes it's hard to sit down and read a book in a reasonable amount of time. So, let me share a very condensed version of what he has to say with you. He has compiled a list of 20 Anti Cancer Rules, and as he says, they are "rules about what every person needs to know about how they can help avoid cancer - or slow it down if they have it." You can read the list here:

The rules are mostly common sense. Things we have all known for years, but just don't seem to find the time or effort to make a priority. Maybe you might consider "easing" your way into some of them, others are really easy to incorporate into your daily life. I guess it all really boils down to you, and the changes that you feel will make your life better for you.

Have a sunny Sunday if you are lucky enough to live somewhere where there IS sun. The rest of us might consider standing near a light bulb and closing our might just feel like the sun!


P.S. The bruises and scrapes are subsiding and don't look nearly as bad! :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's black and blue...

and red all over? No, not the newspaper (you're old like me if that's the first thing that popped into your head) My leg. It looks worse than it is, but it is pretty bruised. I came home last night after dark. I let the dogs out (so what else is new) and on our way back inside I slipped on the icy driveway and down down I went. I instinctively protected my left arm, because heaven only knows what would happened if I added injury to that...and I landed on the right side of my body from my hip down to my leg, as you can plainly see. I do have to tell you that it was a bit of a "trick" hauling myself up (gimpy left arm, remember) so I kind of lay there for a few minutes, maneuvered myself carefully and pushed off with my right arm. Cubby just stood over me like I was crazy and it looked like she wanted to say, "What the heck are you doing down there?" The rest of the "pack" couldn't care less. lol I made it inside, took a hot shower, downed some advil, and went right to bed. Just a little sore today, so all in all not too bad. Yes, I will be more careful, you don't have to worry!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Everyone should read this book

Anticancer A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber

This book is written by a man that was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 31, he himself a scientist and doctor, and then faced cancer again in the same place a few years later. Sound familiar? I am 3/4 of the way through the book and cannot put it down, for obvious reasons. But, this book is for everyone. Those with cancer, those have had cancer, those that have loved ones and friends with cancer, and those who would like to know the best possible ways to help your own body AVOID getting cancer.

The author also tells you how with MINIMAL changes to your current diet you can create an atmosphere in your own bodies that will not allow cancer cells to flourish, or better yet, be given an opportunity to grow in the first place. He also provides, in detail, cancer fighting foods that area readily available to all of us, and everything is scientifically backed up with current research. Why would anyone not want to follow his advice?!! The book is truly an eye opener.

I am busily putting sticky notes throughout the book, and I know that I will be returning to read and re-read often. The few lines that I keep returning to again and again remind me that there are others who know how I feel, the author being one of them. Which is why, when I read the words below, written by Dr. Servan-Schrieber, I thought it would be "easiest" to steal his words to try and express my own feelings on dealing with all of this a second time. I hope he doesn't mind.

"Finding out you have cancer is a shock. You feel betrayed by life and by your own body. But finding out that you've had a relapse is crushing. It's as if you've suddenly discovered that the monster you thought you'd distanced was still there. It had gone on tracking you in the shadows and wound up catching you again."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not walking around on a daily basis with doom and gloom. On the contrary, this book has confirmed what you and I have already known...your psychological state can greatly influence the way your body deals with disease. There are studies that have shown a direct link between a person's mental state and the development of cancer. This gives new meaning to the phrase, "Don't Worry Be Happy."

Do yourself, your family, and your friends a favor, and read this book.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hi Gang

and a Happy Superbowl Day to you! I'm hardly what you would call a "football fan," in fact, I'm not a fan at all. But I know some of you are going to be watching the big game today and attending have a wonderful time! I will probably be switching back and forth from the FOOD CHANNEL just to check in on the Superbowl commercials. If I am lucky, there will be a marathon of baking shows. So much for my interest in the game.

I haven't blogged for about a week, so I thought I had better check in. Things have been going fairly well and that is a good thing. I've only had a few "bad" days and I just deal with them as they come. It's usually for a short amount of time that I feel lousy, and I just let it run its course . (so if you call me and I don't answer...I'm not avoiding you..I'm just "sleeping it off.")

I'm continuing to receive physical therapy about twice a week for my arm and shoulder. It is helping tremendously! Marilyn, my physical therapist is just wonderful, and when I don't see her, I'm at home trying my best to do my exercises. My left arm is not as swollen anymore thanks to the miracle of drugs! (Repeat after me, "CHEMO IS A VERY GOOD THING!" However, my arm is extremely weak and I am also doing strengthening exercises with Marilyn.
Last week I actually hit myself in the nose. (nooo not on purpose!) Ok, picture this...Me, on my back on the. P.T. table. Marilyn standing to my left, holding my left arm up at a 90 degree angle.
(any of my students that are reading KNOW what that angle looks like because I taught it to you) She is supporting my arm somewhere between my shoulder and elbow (not really sure because I don't have much feeling up there) with one hand and her other hand is holding the lower part of my arm near the wrist. She let go of my wrist and asked me to "hold it." I did. For about five seconds. Before either of us knew it, my lower arm flopped over like a dead fish and it landed right on my nose! OUCH! (lol I told you it was weak) Both of us were so surprised and we burst out laughing. There's not much humor in physical therapy, but this definitely qualified as humorous. (I might not have called it funny if I had given myself a bloody nose...yeah..I probably would still be laughing) Anyway, you now see the need for strengthening my lower arm. I'm sure you're asking yourself about now why it is weak. Well, let's just use the old "domino effect" theory because that's what it is. The cancer cause enlarged lymph nodes, the lymph nodes that I have left were working over time to handle lymph fluid movement, they couldn't handle it anymore so lymph fluid didn't move, hence swelling in arm from fluid, fluid build up affects muscles and surrounding tissue, affected muscle movement causes your arm to flop like a dead fish and you nearly give yourself a bloody nose. Get the picture? Honestly, it IS getting better little by little, and I am working hard to get back to normal. I have a feeling however, that my old "normal" is not going to be my "new" normal, but that's ok. There are worse things to have than a gimpy arm, as we all know.

On the horizon for me will be chemo #5, one week from this Tuesday, # 6, three weeks after that, followed by another scan. But, let's not get too ahead of ourselves. I also want to tell you about a new B.C. support group that I've been attending, but that will have to be for another post. I've also been reading (so what else is new) a FABULOUS book called Anticancer that is a real eye opener, and one I think that everyone should read. I'll tell you more about that as well.

So have a SUPER Superbowl day, and as always, thanks for checking in on me! :)