Friday, January 30, 2015

Monday thru Friday thoughts

A lovely friend who has visited me multiple times over the past 6 months came and gave me bone soup and the brand new magazine- Healthy Living Asia magazine! I'm a print published book reviewer now! So exciting. I'm working on reading two books for the next issue... I also was interviewed in the magazine about this cancer journey, honored to be part of a very fascinating/worthy publication. Friends in Hong Kong, look out for this magazine, you'll love it!
Here's a link to see the cover and read about how my wonderful friend created the magazine with a fantastic team of people!

Monday: Tonight I was listening to my beautiful sister sing (lucky me getting to do so) and then I started listening to other music on iTunes. I came across one of my favorite singers- Sting (we share a birthday, folks!) and listened to Seven Days... loved the storytelling of the song. Thought it was appropriate to listen to this when I'm working my way through the next 6 weeks...
Appreciating wearing my own slippers. Day 5 done. 25 is a smaller number... Will see how I'm doing by the end of the week. Was told I shouldn't feel fatigued already. Hmm. Also appreciated learning that my skin was being spared this time since they are aiming for the internal area but I was still allowed to use the Radiagel if I wanted. I said I would for my own mental stability. Nervous about germs at work. My assistant was home today with a fever. Wash, wash, wash those hands... Hand sanitizer galore... Plus some essential oil drops to defend against germs will help too!

Tuesday - Enjoyed taking time for Yoga Nidra this afternoon right before treatment. So kind of a friend to come by and read me through it. I plan to use the audio on my iPhone other days when I feel I need it. Celebrating small successes tonight. First qi gong session where I didn't have any thought or need to sit down. Baby steps of chemo recovery- noted. Radiation day 6 done, appreciating the lack of side effects so far (beyond fatigue) and carefully monitoring myself. One really heartbreaking moment that is weighing on me is learning that a former Oregon Battle of the Books colleague has passed away after dealing with cancer treatments for a really long time... heartbroken for her family. She was an inspiring, touching, kind person who gave her all to anything she committed to. Really loved working with her... so I'll be celebrating her life in my mind for a while ahead...

Wednesday - Got thru the day. Lovely walk with a friend down to treatment. Got thru treatment. Noticed that it had been a week since I've had a bloody nose. Wow. That's another baby step recovery from chemo...

Thursday - Thanks to two friends for walking with me... Another day, enjoyed family time in the evening, especially snuggle time with the kiddo. He and I are really enjoying the novels we're in the middle of... Had another revelation... tried a new toothpaste this past week (Sensodyne) and FINALLY after 4 months I'm not hurting where I have the receding gums... Actually being able to bite into things on both sides of my mouth is a beautiful thing to experience again. Around lunchtime today my heart broke again for an Oregon friend who lost his husband after medical struggles... Sending love his way.

Friday - Treatment number 9 done! Woot. 21 is a smaller number. Thanks to my friend for giving me a ride to treatment... Amazing how much easier it is with someone helping me get to the appointment. Grateful to realize this time, the last two radiation rounds were a blur but this time I'm certain I'm more positive. Shall see how next week goes. Today was dragging along. I know other colleagues were tired today as well. Shall see. Temp, blood pressure, and O2 level checked multiple times this week. I really appreciate knowing each time that I'm "normal". I went to an evening support group at CancerLink. We had an interesting presentation about something called VirtueScope- really appreciated the special ideas and insightful comments shared. It is a card game with different virtues to focus on throughout the year. I just love the perspective. Enjoyed discussions and the cards/depth of virtue ideas... What amused me- people's view of me - card pulled? Resourceful (yes, that's what I've been told...) I'm Pure-Hearted as my foundation for the year and driving force... ok. Dignified was pulled for what supports my pure-hearted foundation... I also appreciated that I share Determined with others - here's the card's explanation of determined: "Single-minded, yet flexible, I keep on moving with love and purpose towards my destination." Interesting to read- was told to post with all the months labeled for the year with a focus each morning to look at the virtue. Then at the end of the year the outcome for me would be Tolerant "maturity to let go of expectations and love to keep on giving." Loved the positive attitudes of those in the group. Had a fascinating conversation with one person from Washington who was diagnosed 15 years ago (stage 4) and told he had 7-9 years to live but has lived well for 15- and we have the same oncologist, grateful for the chat. Was reassuring. VirtueScope link for an online version:

Now excuse me while I watch the finale of Parenthood (sob)... I still love that show... Will probably watch the finale a few times before letting go...
Thanks for journeying with me.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Four of Thirty Treatments Done

Supplements ready to be sorted.
Got thru the week. Can feel a little of the treatment effects so far but nothing painful. My oncologist warned me that I probably will be dealing with lack of appetite and acid reflux soon... shall see if that turns out to be the case. Staying positive as I can but also keenly aware of side effects. I started using Radiagel on my skin where I think the radiation is hitting- that was my mistake last time- forgetting to take care of my skin from the beginning.

Had to sort my supplements/medicine and couldn't believe it took 45 minutes. Glad to have them sorted for now. I take a lot of supplements and additionally Chinese herbal medicine...

I have another tattoo now- another little itty bitty dot on my left side so the radiation technicians can quickly know if I'm positioned properly. So I have a total of 3 tattoos now, sure they're dots but that's as much as I have the guts to deal with... :)
So I've been pretty fatigued this weekend, not sure if it is from being tired from work or side effect from radiation. I listened to my body though. Took naps, enjoyed family time, saw a movie, enjoyed date night time with my husband, and got to work on my blog for a little bit- happy to now be prepped for most of February. Gave myself permission to be brief on some posts...

Saw my oncologist on Saturday and he pulled yet another rabbit out of the hat. This time he told me that I might not get the other two chemo treatments right after radiation. He might wait until after I'm back from visiting the US for Spring Break... he kindly said that it would make it less of a burden while I'm on my trip... I just want to take care of what needs to be done. So... shall see. He said it depended on my reactions to radiation and if I didn't lose weight, timing, etc.

The visualization and breathing practice is helping me get thru radiation. Also my wonderful sister's special memory blog posts are picking me up each day and enjoying going back in time mentally with her...  Grateful for coworkers for giving me rides and walking with me to radiation... also grateful for those who have told me that they'll give me rides and walk with me- so kind... I certainly find that the help gets me to treatment. I also am thankful that when I walk into the clinic a little early I sometimes can get treatment a little sooner... Glad that I don't have to go on the weekends, that'd be abysmal. Thanks to all who have been commenting online, emailing me, etc... really is a lift.

Well... thanks for journeying with me... will likely be quiet this week unless something strikes me for writing...

Can appreciate wearing a hat.
Especially over wearing a wig. Tired of wigs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Counting Day By Day

I can't believe I'm at this radiation thing again. (That goes through my head a LOT lately.)
Day 2 done. 28 more to go.
I realized I've forgotten so many things from the last two rounds of radiation. Here's what I've forgotten and now remember...
1. the gross brown flip flops I have to wear to the treatment room (not fond of the baby blue hospital outfit either)
2. the blue cloud lights above the CT Tomotherapy machine
3. the piped in music, usually flute, during the treatment
4. the only in Chinese tv screen packed with news in the waiting room
5. Blood pressure/temp check- weekly thing there

Yes. That's enough for now. I don't love this experience one iota but I'll deal.

Asking for help- always a hard thing for me but this time I talked with some of my lovely colleagues who have cars and asked for a ride to the hospital so that I don't have to exhaust myself every day... appreciated the ride today, made it much more positive to transition to radiation and then head home.

As for the treatment, I was relieved yesterday to read about the plan to spare my skin where I was treated previously. Don't know if this is too much to share but here's two documents they gave me a copy of- one lists the regions at risk during this radiation (oy) and the other is the radiation areas... I had (really) a conversation with the radiation as it went in me during both treatments and also my tumor. Told them about where things were going, how complications were unnecessary and the tumor can let go and depart... Similar to talking to the cancer cells and telling them to give up and die during my chemo treatments...

I know I'll just be tired presently during the next few weeks and then the burn will become apparent. I'm quite concerned with possible side effects, they weigh heavily- fistula, heart, lung damage, etc... Hopefully that won't even be an issue. I am happy that I can wear a hat into treatment each time. I did not feel comfortable and was cold when I initially got tests done...

The Stage 4b diagnosis has weighed in more lately for me. Not sure why beyond that conversation I had with my radiologist. Metastatic cancer isn't something that just gets cured or goes away. This is  something I plan defy the odds of and survive thriving, especially with alternative practices- working on food choices and mental health practices...

Presently I do feel a little more than a shadow of myself with energy fluctuating, barely any eyebrows or eyelashes, and that question every day of how long I'll wear the wig... or be willing to go to work with my head exposed. Hair is growing out a little bit but meh... I'll wait for a while since I'm quite cold without something on my head presently... bet when it starts getting hot/humid here in Hong Kong again I'll think differently.
Was lectured today, once again, about wearing a mask, especially at school since kids are germy... Hmm. My poor immune system with this radiation giving it a pounding...

I dealt with an upsetting financial situation and was happy to have it resolved the next day. I am grateful I know how to advocate.... but also thoroughly grateful to the people I called who had more power than me to speak up and settle things that needed settling. I am concerned that what I dealt with is common practice and other patients are taken advantage of as well... hope my speaking up might change practices and help others.

So... there's my reflection.
Shall quiet down for a little while... thanks for journeying with me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Roller coaster day

Prepare. This is a ranting one. Not so happy, positive.
Well. Apparently, one good way to make me cry and continue making me cry is to starve me for half a day and then request that I pay exorbitant fees on my own immediately. When I clarify such a request, tell me that if I don't agree to pay I can postpone all tests and treatment until I do agree to pay... that'll do me in.
The new receptionist at the clinic said, "Oh I feel so sorry for you." - My response? "Don't use pity on me, that isn't helpful and it makes me angry at you. I don't want to be angry please." She said, "Oh, I know." - do not tell a cancer patient that you feel sorry for them. Should be a lesson day 1 with someone dealing with them all day at a clinic...
I'm a bit of a nutcase when I don't have food consistently through a day. I'm quite good at feeding myself. Even through chemotherapy, I've eaten. Less some days but overall, I've never missed a meal or snack. So, when I got a call this morning that I had to fast before a CT exam this afternoon, I was surprised... wasn't told about this on Friday. I also forgot completely about the needle in the arm contrast that I had to have during the CT exam. *Think I would have handled it better if they'd told me info when I received the appointment paperwork on Friday. *Radiologist cancelled the MRI, said that my PET scan from December and the CT scan would be enough.
Apparently, another really good way to make me cry is to come at me with a needle and request to put it in the hand I've had chemo treatment in. That did me in quite nicely. He put it elsewhere.
Finally, another good way to make me cry is to be a kind sweet lab technician who knew me during the past two treatments who pats me on the shoulder and tells me to relax... yup. That'll do me in... Oh, and having to interact with my radiologist? Just icing on the cake. Him asking me to sign a release and specifically checking if I'm "comfortable" with the statement? No. I'm not comfortable with you telling me all the side effects and risks in a statement, not comfortable at all thank you. But I am willing to sign what I need to for treatment...
Today, the morning was lovely enough on an empty stomach... got to teach, run a battle of the books meeting with my students, and deal with paperwork and budgeting... but this afternoon at the hospital completely blew. From the moment I walked in until I dealt with further complications with billing at checkout. Glad to be home. Glad to have someone to call about the extra fees that I find questionable that I had to pay a portion of today... Glad to have time with my wonderful husband to vent before the kiddo got home. Glad I had food to eat...
I'm thoroughly embarrassed with how I handled today. I do not like emotional outbursts. I do not like crying. I barely ever have experiences like this. I now need a rest, feel like a little kid who needs a nap after a temper tantrum.
Tomorrow I begin official treatment at 4:30pm. Blech. I've asked that my husband be there for this first treatment in case there are further surprises and billing stressors. I'm ridiculously emotional this third round. Feel like I'm experiencing a smidge of what people experience with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, because going back into that tube for the CT scan today made me sob a little. Thinking of what I can distract my brain with for the 30 treatments ahead. Knew this would be hard. Knew it would suck. Sigh.   *Thank you to my beautiful sister for her plan to share special stories each day of treatment... quite touched, there's one thing to think about!
Talk about a roller coaster. Up down, up down... Glad I teach all day tomorrow. Love classes and am excited about what we're doing in the library.
Thanks for journeying with me...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hoping and wishing with cranes and more

I love student friends... such beautiful people. I know I've touched many children through the years but they've been darn impacting and special to me as well.
Yesterday I received a very large, light box. It was decorated outside with loving messages and stickers. I opened it and was astounded. Cranes. 1000. Cranes. A wish created and given to me by former students and parents from my old school in Oregon. Wow. I am overwhelmed. (If the beautiful people who made this are reading- thank you, thank you, thank you.)
It is said that friends or loved ones fold 1000 paper cranes to wish a person recovery or a wish for a long life... I have read and taught about the beautiful story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. This book has inspired so many people through the years.

I feel a wish granted, you know? When do you feel that blessed and lucky? I'm so touched. There have been people who have taken action and reached out with words, time, gifts, energy, and so much more since last August (and many before with my other two cancer battles) and I'm feeling darn lucky and loved. I even received beautiful threaded cranes before from parents at my present school...

A few years ago I featured a former student who is running a program called Cranes of Hope in Oregon on my Styling Librarian blog. She's so inspiring. She is still collecting cranes from the mail, through workshops and more and delivering the cranes to oncology centers around Portland and Beaverton and giving hope to children and adults going through cancer treatment. Patients pick up a crane each time they go for treatment. Here's my blog feature from 2013 - featured in June, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer that fall...:
I've thought about Niasha's mission, focus, and beautiful actions through the years and even just last week was thinking that I should be keeping my hands busy by making cranes I could send to her and even lead a crane making workshop with students during lunch in the library. Never considered being the recipient...  And then I receive this gorgeous box of cranes. What a gift.  **Please consider following Niasha on Facebook- Cranes of Hope and making cranes for her. It's a powerful mission she's accomplishing with many supporters... See links and such on the blog post above.

Today I brought my son to Sunday school and a former student (I helped there for first two years in Hong Kong but resigned this year since I had operations/chemo+ and no clue what I could handle) came over to me. "Debbie. I would like to help. I have the healing touch. Have you heard of Reiki?" (So my former students heard about this round, I kept things very quiet with the other two...) I said "That's very sweet, thank you. Yes I have heard of it..." For the whole community service she had her hands on my shoulders sharing her energy and hope with me. Beautiful. Touched. So sweet. And I did feel warmth, energy and was quite grateful. A 12 year old sharing her energy...

So. I'm ending the weekend a little tired after being out most of the day today visiting with friends, hanging out with my son, shopping at bookstores, launching a new book program for kids here in Hong Kong... but so invigorated and restored at the same time... Work/CT/MRI tomorrow. Will push through. I have a good audiobook to help me with the walks to the hospital along with a lovely friend who has offered to walk with me on some days... again, touched.

Thanks for journeying with me all...

Friday, January 16, 2015

No Sat Chemo Wow! Getting thru the week

This week.
I was ambitious about.
Mon-Thurs - some activity every evening.
I have my doubts.
Shall see.
I'm not feeling fantastic.
I'm not feeling enthusiastic.
In fact... I feel a little crappy.
My right ear feels a little full, like my tube is full of liquid.
I have a headache.
I also have a shoulder ache.
I now understand (once again) what fellow cancer people feel when having pain and wondering if it could be cancer spreading.
I try to be positive.
Some days just...

So... that was Monday night.
Now it is Wednesday. Ear is still iffy, headache eased up Tuesday, shoulder ache eased up as well.
I was grumpy for a while today because I was feeling pressure to hear from my doctor to discuss some insurance issues when I tried to explain them to a kind receptionist who didn't completely understand me... but it turns out that she really did understand and my oncologist really helped us with one huge worry and made it much less worrisome with some paperwork adjustments I suggested. (Phew.) I'm so grateful... now to see if things get sorted out properly... nothing is ever guaranteed...

Now... Friday afternoon...
This week was a blur with four evening activities. First one- qi gong- fantastic as always. Second one - librarians meeting - good to catch up and see colleagues, wonderful people plus learned about some resources that were new-to-me. Third one was a CanSurvive cancer support group meeting with a presentor talking about foot massage/reflexology- fascinating, glad I went. Fourth one was my critique writing group- always grateful for time together and feedback on my writing... keeps me focused through the month on editing and writing more ideas down.

Today I finished off the projects at work that I'm pleased with- good to have progress. Then I took a walk down to the hospital after school and walked into the radiation section, reintroduced myself, and asked what was going on with appointments and treatment plans. They told me that I was scheduled for Monday. Asked about when and was asked to wait... waited for 20 minutes and now know Mon. afternoon I have not only a lovely CT scan but also a fantastic MRI scan... blech. Has to happen with both to prepare for radiation treatment. Hoping I can have afternoon treatments but know that depends on availability, etc. Shall see...

My acupuncturist told me about this cream that should help with radiation burns:

Hooray for the weekend. So happy and grateful to have my first official Saturday free of chemo treatment. Sure, radiation is coming up but it feels good to see a light at the end of this tunnel.
Need some resting time. Catching up with family time.
Thanks for journeying with me.
Ickiest my nails have ever been: green, blue, yellow dead but they are growing out...
I couldn't stop messing with them with the polish off, so now I keep applying blue polish.
Discovered with a friend Innisfree nail polish that doesn't stink terribly, feels slightly better/healthier to use it.
Darn chemo, really got me this past month with my eyebrows and eyelashes falling out pretty drastically (I'm getting good at drawing in my eyebrows I think) and the tips of fingers and toes tingling/pain- besides the dying nails...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

#16 check!!! Mentally preparing for radiation.

So ready to get going. Don't I look thrilled?
My poor skin... and eyebrows/eyelashes...
anticipating them growing back sooner than
later and skin returning to 41 year old self vs. 13 year old self.
I am so very happy and relieved to have #16 chemo session, round 4 session four DONE DONE DONE. Seriously. Next week I have the week off of treatment til Friday when I go into the hospital to get a new radiation "cast" and get a CAT scan done. Not fun. Third time, same place but at least they call me Debbie vs Deborah. Seriously, that really goes far with me. I really like the techs there. They are kind, patient, and try to communicate with me. I will have to see them for 6 weeks this time. Blech. I'll probably start the following Monday on the 19th, shall see. Depends on many factors. Hoping I can have an afternoon slot.
I have such high hopes about recovering from chemo for a little while... healthier nails and skin over a month's time, hair hopefully starts growing out more, etc... Let's not think about side effects from radiation for now, ok? I still have memories of burned skin and internal pain that aren't helpful for the present moment but I certainly have stuff to put on it and pain medication from past experience.
Sure, I have 2 more rounds of chemo to do in 7 weeks but they aren't every week, only twice... with 3 weeks in between. I can bear up and handle it...
I talked with my doctor today about a sore in my mouth (upper jaw, not at the tooth area but up further) that has been hurting quite a bit for 2 months. I've treated it with mouth wash and oil pulling twice a day so it is bearable. He checked it out and told me that I have a receding gumline up there which is a side effect of chemo. You can see the bone a tiny bit. LOVELY. That'll cost some money to fix and be painful sometime in the future... For now, no infection so "rinse rinse rinse" as he said. Not smart to deal with this with a dentist for the time being since I still have chemo coming and healing isn't good while on chemo for anything in the mouth.
I also broached the topic of going to a different radiologist since I think mine isn't such a wonderful human nor do I have as much confidence in him after his statement that chemotherapy doesn't work with my type of cancer. My oncologist talked me down off the ledge with his kind words. He said many things: "We don't want to go off course, I know this is what you need right now." "He is just covering himself." "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." "We've seen the test results, the chemotherapy has worked and you need radiation next." "He's best at what he does and has already taken care of you twice." Hmm. So, I'm getting over anger (I know it isn't healthy anyways) and refocusing on the fact that I don't have to see the radiologist much at all over this course of treatment even though it is 6 weeks. Once he analyzes and sets things up, it is up to the tech people there. And I like and trust them. A lot.
My son and I chatted about the radiation treatment and I asked him if he wanted to wait at the hospital sometimes on days he would normally ride the bus home with me after an after-school activity. He bluntly answered that he'd prefer to not be at the hospital. Love my kiddo. So glad that he communicates his comforts. (Grateful I have other ways for him to get home as well.)
The last round of chemo today was only one drug but getting it in initially wasn't fun. (Yes, when is chemo fun anyways? NEVER.) The nurse started on my left hand and couldn't get the needle in the vein properly (OW OW OW to a needle being twisted, turned and tipped while in my wrist) then she switched to the right hand, phew... no bruising afterwards from either. I really appreciate the nurse, she felt terrible that I was in any pain and so sweet... good to finish off this round with her, gentlest touch and great chatter as well.
My lovely friend who came to my treatment today was able to distract me well and we discussed our libraries, books, lesson ideas, life, etc... felt inspired and happy, plus we got to a bookstore which is a happy place for both of us.
Appreciated the work week. Projects and thinking and teaching and more. Told my acupuncturist on Thursday that I taught 7 classes that day and he was so puzzled. "I thought you were a librarian..." My response: "I'm a TEACHER librarian, I teach about literacy, the research process, and technology. I teach full time at a primary school with 700 students and enjoy every minute..." He asked further questions, nice to educate another person about teacher librarians and move them beyond the book reading/loaning, bon bon eating librarian assumption...
Other distractions recently...
Last weekend my family went and saw The Hobbit 3- enjoyed and good to finish the trilogy. This weekend we went to see The Night at the Museum 3- enjoyed but heart-broken thinking about seeing Robin Williams in one of his last roles.

My husband and I recently watched other movies, recommend both: (Title links just bring you to IMDB info page.)
First: a witty French flick, hilarious lines, we both laughed aloud and recommend... there was one flaw we thought but were able to look past it **Not for faint of heart at cultural misunderstandings and jokes, watch the trailer... we appreciated every bit but some people could be offended:

Second: What If - romantic drama- enjoyed it but a little cliche at the end... overall we enjoyed this one. I personally loved the art and animation connections.

So, there are two random movie recommendations... Hope everyone is having a wonderful beginning to their new year. Thanks for journeying with me...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Radiation Plans plus Pacing

I love being back at school. I do not love the morning wake up. It is wonderful to see students again, colleagues, and have the chance to tackle projects... It is fun to teach and my colleages haven't pushed with expectations (thank goodness)- I'm teaching classes and appreciating a little work time here and there to do cataloging and projects.

We made a big decision that I shared on my other blog but not here yet... we are going to move back to Oregon in July. This is a very positive decision even though we are going to miss so many friends, connections, life here in Hong Kong... We know that without this third cancer diagnosis we'd be in a different place... but we're happy and excited about the changes, especially my son.

Now that I know we're headed home, I'm addressing all the projects around the library that have been put off. I want there to be a smooth transition with my replacement stepping in to that gorgeous setting without anything piled up...

Today my husband and I went to see the very negative radiologist. My husband has actually forgotten about meeting him before, I think this is because neither of us want to remember conversations with him, the most blunt person I've ever experienced... and I'm pretty darn blunt. I disliked all my past appointments with him but one thing is for sure, once I met with him, I felt confident that avoiding the local hospital was a good idea. This round of radiation is risky and worrisome and I do not want to risk my life in any way. The local hospital oncologist told my husband and I that he didn't think the radiologists would even be willing to radiate the area that needs treatment...

So. Radiation is next. This Saturday is my final (for now- 2 later) chemo treatment, just one drug, getting thru them. Not pushing myself. No fainting, a few moments of tiredness where I realized I needed to slow down but overall, getting thru work and home life. I'm taking advantage of elevators at work. Not walking the stairs as much. Walking up stairs tires me out more than anything else.
Radiation plan- much more money than past two experiences. This time the radiologist wants to go for six weeks of treatment. 30 LONG days...
Here's what he shared:
I have a connective tissue disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, that has created issues in the past. The first round of radiation for cervical cancer had to be ended early because of this. The second round for breast cancer wasn't shortened at all though... He's concerned with my ability to successfully get through this round since it is 6 weeks long, 5 days a week... and there could be "nasty reaction" to radiation since it could compromise my heart, lungs, esophagus, trachea, spinal cord... there could be significant side effects, especially my lungs since the radiation will be going through it. The area I'll have radiated is called the mediastinum... He said with the 6 weeks it would be 5400 radiation dose, normally the 6 weeks is a 6000 radiation dose but because of my connective tissue disorder he wants to be careful and do less.
Side effects he listed at this time are: fatigue, possible damage to important areas of body like heart and lungs, appetite decrease... I can work throughout the treatment though... the hospital is down the street from my school. For the last two rounds I walked for 14 minutes (timed it to a "t") checked in, had radiation, walked up to the other area outside the hospital where either I'd take a bus home - drops me off right near our apartment- or take a taxi if there isn't a terribly long line... Shall see how I do for this round.

My oncologist wanted to possibly have more radiated beyond the tumor which surprised me quite a bit. (supraclavicular regions) It was something new. The radiologist didn't want to do this due to my connective tissue disorder, I'll be checking with my oncologist when I see him on Saturday about this. It would be radiating my neck area on both sides... Hmm.

Here's some of the quotes from the radiologist I took down:
"We are trying to reduce the chance of cancer spreading.... Although, the chance of it spreading in your current diagnosis is high.... The objective of treatment is to control cancer and maintain your quality of life.... Chemo isn't curative for cervical cancer.... There is no cure for your stage of cancer..."

Gee thanks, thrilled to meet with you. Great for my attitude... and my husband's... not. Wasn't looking for a cure, moved beyond that word a long while ago...

I know my husband and I are both focused on the tumor at hand. Reducing it, getting rid of it. I know there are cancer cells bouncing around in my body. Obviously. They showed up in my lung for goodness sake. I also know that I'm trying my best to stay positive and have healthy practices with preventative practices as well...
That's what I have to share today.

Enjoying the week at work... tired... glad I had qi gong last night with friends, learned a few new exercises that will be useful. Think my instructor is fantastic.
Thanks for keeping up on the journey with me, know I've been a little more quiet but honestly embracing my time at work and treasuring my time at home as well. Balancing in writing and journaling when I feel like doing so...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

No place like home...

Happy New Year! I wrote this on Facebook the other day, thought repeating it here would be good:

New Year Words: This past year has been packed with many words. Above all? Gratitude. I'm so grateful for family support, for friendships I'm lucky enough to have around the world, and ever so thankful and grateful for all who have been doing their generous part in lifting me and my family up over the past six months from play dates to running a fundraiser to sending me positive messages to visiting us all the way over here in Hong Kong to hanging out during treatments to visits on my low days to Skypes that lift me and so many more supportive actions. I know and feel the love and support. Gratitude. Sure there are other wonderful words I could touch on but that one encapsulates my feelings. Looking ahead to a new year full of treatments and healing and changes for me... So much to appreciate and enjoy every day. Here's to a Happy New Year to all my friends and family, much health and peace and fun your way- and many wonderful book experiences as well!

Very happy to discover a new series through Pemberly Digital called The March Letters. I loved reading Little Women multiple times as a child and appreciate a modern day interpretation of them on The March Family Letters:

I had my appointment this morning (hard since with flight delays we didn't get home til midnight- YAWN) and got two doses. One more next week and done with chemo drugs for a little while... then two more doses at higher amounts with three weeks in between...

I have an appointment scheduled to see my radiologist this week. My oncologist surprised me (he never ceases to do this) by saying that I do not need a break at all for recovery that I should go right into radiation treatment right after next week's dose. Sigh but accepting. I'm not fond at all of this radiologist. Voiced my concerns with my oncologist about having radiation so close to the past treatment site and he said that this round is different as the radiation is going to a specific targeted area internally and they will focus on the tumor and also sparing the skin. That's a first. Shall see what the radiologist actually says. He's blunt but not quite in a kind way that I appreciate but at least I'll certainly learn everything he's thinking at once.

My face had a major high school looking breakout while I was in the Philippines, got topical ointment from doctor for it, hope it works!

Enjoyed the trip and break from chemo. Happy and grateful I was allowed to go. Had fun with family and friends. I'll blog about the trip every Sunday for a little while over at The Styling Librarian.

Thanks for journeying with me, looking forward to work and routines... Shall see about sleep and health and being careful as well.