Sunday, November 15, 2015

Surprise visit and riding waves of energy

Another person who can get me to smile at the chemo appointments.
Perhaps it is because of the drug I'm getting now that I can smile more, hmm.
My brain is packed with randomness. So, you've been warned.
It has been a bit of a packed week. But also a week packed with downtime.
On Friday last week I got home and was resting after work. Every day I come home and rest after work. Only way I survive each day, in fact some days I don't last the whole work day unfortunately... I have to leave an hour or so earlier because I was so fatigued. Grateful I have the flexible hour approval with the school district.
Wonderful down time with friends... so grateful.
So last Friday my husband requested I come into the family room. He sounded a little off. I'd chatted with my sister earlier and she was going to work out... Then my husband said my sister was coming over. This puzzled me to no end. He said she had a surprise with her for me... After she arrived, my best friend, Sheli, called and asked if I'd received the essential oil she mailed me. I admitted I hadn't and asked why she was calling. Went to the front door and there she was... with the oil and a hug. I'd won a Sheli lottery, wonderful to have the bonus surprise time with my treasured friend.
Sheli was there in time to go with me to get Nivolumab on Saturday and meet up with my sister and another wonderful friend and go stay in Manzanita, OR... beautiful house and peaceful place to retreat and relax. All organized by my wonderful sister, so grateful.
Then we had a week of work together, including a holiday on Wednesday... Tuesday my son and I were committed to volunteer at Oregon Food Bank and Sheli was kind enough to volunteer with us. I found that over 2 hours there was a little too much physically. Grateful I spoke up and had a chair to sit on. But I was pretty drained at the end. Our Mother-Son book group had finished the book Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix and agreed volunteering at the food bank would be a good concluding activity. I honestly was really tired of carrots, twist ties, and plastic bags by the end, but we all knew that we were doing good.
My husband got sick on Monday... he thought it was food poisoning. I still don't know. I do know on Thursday I was feeling a little nauseaus in the afternoon and wasn't sure if I was sick with some type of flu and my anti-nausea meds that I take twice a day could be covering up symptoms... so we left work early and I went to bed for hours...
Right after Sheli surprised me... happy crying. What a friend.

Sheli dealt with me having energy at times and then being absolutely flat other times. On Wednesday we had special time together and what did we do? Sheli organized me with projects around the house I didn't even realize needed to be done but now I'm just so grateful for all the things she did... Even when I wasn't around she solved little electricity issues we had around the house... and she is not an electrician... AND she helped me with some grants I was writing and working on at school. So grateful for all her amazing support... from afar when she's in Alaska and we're visiting weekly and  when she visited and cared for me last year when I was in the heavy duty chemo rounds in Hong Kong and now... what an amazing friend. So lucky... so lucky. Plus she got to see my family- and she is part of our family and is loved my by parents and sister...
I am really working to be patient with my energy and still finding it challenging to read and follow thru on what I need. I really do know that I cannot just push myself as I did last year. I'm not at that point anymore.
Sheli left Thursday night. Sigh.
Got thru work on Friday and then rested Sat. and Sun. all day. No pushing myself at all. Enjoyed the few glimpses of hours where I did feel stronger and got basic chores and such done. Watched many shows... Kiddo was sick for a little bit on Friday evening so it worked well for the whole family to chill this weekend...
Had an interaction where I met people for the first time, very nice people. When they met me they both did this head tilt that made me wonder... and later when I asked my husband, 'do they know about the cancer?' he said 'yes'... Ahh. The head tilt. Got it. Very nice people, grateful to meet them.

I learned this past week that besides weighing myself daily and checking my temperature, I need to also report any issues I have with my stomach- my Dr. was quite concerned when I called for advice about how to take medicine for constipation if I was having diarrhea. She calmed down and wasn't worried once we talked things out but she also lectured me about how a side effect of Nivolumab is colitis and how she would need to put me on another drug to help with that if I continue to have problems... sigh. Haven't had issues since then... Shall keep close eye on my body. Even though I've felt fatigued, etc. I haven't had a rise in temperature...
I've now had 2 doses of Nivolumab. Every other Saturday is when I get it which is helpful... I also see my doctor around 5 days before... It is interesting that I get double on the blood tests for the chemo. Things add up, as I've said before, I feel like oncologists are secretly vampires...

So. Here's to a week of wonderful friendship time, good resting time, family time, good support, volunteering, working and more. Sheli called me "unstoppable" but honestly, I'm just riding those waves and trying to be really wise about what I can actually do.

Thanks as always for journeying with me...


  1. You are an amazing woman, Debbie. And what a gift to have a friendship like yours and Sheli's!

    1. Thank you Susan... :) I'm grateful to have all my friendships.... lucky me...

  2. What wonderful family and friends you have Debbie. Nothing is too much trouble for them but then it works the other way round too doesn't it? Remember when you spent time awake at night solving the problem of my broken glasses?? Love and hugs. x Gill x

    1. True, will miss our trips, happy you get to do Thailand this year! :)

  3. In order to have such an amazing friendship you have to be an amazing friend! Love the entry and 'brain randomness' Hugs!

  4. Gosh, that Sheli is a dream!! But it seems she feels the same way about you. : ) Thank goodness for good friends like that who you don't need to entertain 24/7 and take you as you are. Love them!

    1. She's amazing... :) Thank goodness for friends...

  5. Your stamina and grit just amazes me.

  6. How wonderful to have such a dear sister-friend like Sheli in your life--in addition to the wonderful family that surrounds you. Hang in there, Ms. Debbie..and be kind to yourself....sending hugs your way....

    1. Being kind to myself. Many hugs your way Trudy...