Monday, December 29, 2008

Trying to look forward

As 2009 approaches I am trying to look forward and be hopeful, but how do you have hope when you know this is your last new year’s.

I have also been spending a lot of time in preparations around dying – my will, memorial service planning, talking with hospice etc. I have been doing a pretty good job of holding it together. I still cry everyday, but not outright sobbing. I was looking forward to the holidays and how I wanted to spend my time between friends and family. Then two days before Christmas it hit me – this was going to be my last Christmas. I was at a holiday lunch at work with a gift exchange and I was having a great time. Out of the blue this wave of sadness hit me. I am working on accepting my death, but the realization that this was my last holiday hit me like a ton of bricks and I lost it. My poor co-worker had to deal with me crying in his office and in reality there really were no comforting words to say. He did tell me to concentrate on each day and not what tomorrow will bring. So for the rest of the holidays I focused on enjoying each moment as they happened and tried not think about it.

The small day to day tasks are easy and I don’t constantly question whether or not this is my last time I will experience something, but what about the big things.

So here is the big question. How do I look forward to 2009 knowing that I am dying and this will be my last New Year ’s Eve, nephew’s birthday party, my birthday etc.

I remember when my nephews were younger and I looked forward to witnessing their “firsts” – the first time they crawled, walked, smiled, said my name etc. How do I deal with the “lasts”?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One more day in the life of a cancer fighter

The week started off great. I had a holiday open house on Sunday and a lot of people were able to come. There was a steady stream of friends throughout the day and at no time was there too many so I got to talk to everyone. It was nice being able to eat good food, laugh, swap stories and just enjoy the company of others. I am only sad that many of my cyber friends are too far away to have come.

Unfortunately the good times were short lived. Last week after two rounds of infusion chemotherapy I decided to stop the treatment. This drug regimen was supposed to have fewer side effects, but it seemed just as bad to me. I had bronchitis the first week and thought maybe it was the cold that was causing me to feel so poorly, but the second week was just as bad if not worse. The nausea was horrible and I was unable to work a full day on two days, which for me is a big deal since I love my job.

I also decided I did not want to do any more diagnostic scans. If the scans showed good results I would want to talk myself into more treatments which I don’t want and if the scans were bad I would feel as though the treatments and feeling miserable were for naught.

On Monday I was notified that the trial for the oral chemo was ending and although I was not officially in the study anymore I was still receiving the drugs and unless I had a CT scan that showed there was improvement to the tumors the chemo would be discontinued.

So on Wednesday I had a lung CT. I got the worse news I could – the tumors have grown and a couple more have popped up. I am still reeling from the news. I knew in my heart that the results were not going to be good which is why I did not want to do it in the first place, but I never expected the amount of growth that has happened or new tumors to appear.

On top of it all the fluid in my lungs has been accumulating again, making it harder to breathe and I have been having chest pains. The doctor decided to drain the fluid yesterday. Over 2 liters of nasty cancer cell filled fluid was drained from the left lung and just under 2 liters from the right. I can’t believe I was walking around with over 4 liters of fluid in my lungs. The doctor predicts that the fluid will continue to build up and the procedure to drain the fluid most likely happen on a routine basis to make it easier for me to breathe.

There is no way of knowing how much time I have left, but without a treatment that is working it could be a matter of months. I am all about making this time the best possible – focusing on quality of life and enjoying the little things. However, there are preparations that must be made and things to be organized, many of these things are not pleasant to think about.

The big one is one I started this afternoon. I met with someone from Gilcrest Hospice. Several people have encouraged me to reach out to them sooner rather than later to start the dialogue before it is an urgent situation. The meeting went well. I received a lot of information about how it works and the processes, it was just really hard. I cried for a little bit after she left. I do not want to think about it, I do not want to need it, but I am happy there is a service like that so I can leave this world with dignity and peace. I am going to go visit the facility, but it sounds like I will be able to stay in my own house until they are unable to manage my pain and breathing appropriately.

I still cry all the time and I am trying to accept that I will probably cry everyday for the rest of my life, but in some ways things are getting easier. Yesterday was hard - basically had a really bad day, but I was still able to work and make a difference. I am coming to terms with my mortality and trying to focus on the good things. I am looking forward to seeing my nephews on Christmas day and enjoy the wonderment of the holiday through the eyes of a four year old.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Prayers and Thanksgivings

I got back yesterday from a great visit with my sister. It was so good to see her and my nephews. I laughed a lot with her and my brother in law and loved all the time I spent with my nephews. My older nephew is 18 and the young one is two. I got to play games with the older one and read books to the younger one. I have memories that I will always cherish. I took pictures of me and Tim and also got a video of me reading to my nephew. It was hard coming home and I cried on the plane when I realized that I might not see them again. There I was sitting on an airplane looking like a freak with a mask on and balling my eyes out. I am really glad that I went, not to mention it was the most laid back holiday I have ever had.

Today my church had a prayer service for me. Twenty to thirty friends took time out of their schedules just to pray for me. After a few short prayers and a psalm one of the priests put a chair in the aisle and has me come sit in it facing everyone. She then asked people to share their thoughts, prayers and thanksgivings for and about me. It was kind of hard being put on the spot and having everyone looking at me. Then people started talking and it got really hard. So many people said how I have touched their lives, the lives of their children and other youth. They talked about my dedication to youth and the people affected by cancer. They told funny stories about me and spoke from the heart. Of course I cried. Words of gratitude that I am in their lives, the courage and faith that I have and the lessons I have taught them were shared and they said how lucky they are to have known me. The whole time I thought about how lucky I am to have them in my life. Very few people get an opportunity to hear what people think about them and the good things that come along with it. When I was first approached about the service I thought it was more for others than for me. It would give people a tangible thing to do, but I realized that it was such a gift to me. I got so much out of it listening to everyone. When everyone got up to gather around me and lay their hands on me and pray I felt goose bumps. For months I have been unable to feel God. I have felt abandoned by God and very angry. Today I felt God through all of my friends. It was very special and I am truly honored.

I also finished all my Christmas shopping today. I am completely done. Every year I have the goal of finishing by Thanksgiving. Not only to miss the crowds, but so I can spend Advent preparing for the true reason of Christmas. All I need to do now is wrap presents, decorate the house, do some baking and get ready for the open house and most importantly prepare my heart and mind for Christmas.

I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately so I hope that tonight I will get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow morning is the start of my new chemo regimen. I hope it will not be as bad as before and I can tolerate the side effects.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flying off to see my sister

Turkey Day
Today I am leaving to spend Thanksgiving with my sister in Missouri. I can’t wait to spend time with them. My nephews are 18 and 2 and live too far away for me to see them very often. I am taking a video camera to record me reading a story to my nephew so he has something to remember me by. My brother in law is a goof ball so he is always entertaining, plus I won’t have to fight hard to get all the stuffing and white meat I want.

Chemo
I decided yesterday to start the chemo next week. I could have had it yesterday or this morning, but determined I did not want to spend my holiday feeling like crap.

Prayer Service
My church is having a prayer service on Sunday 11/30 at 12:45 at St. John’s Episocpal Church in Ellicott City. If anyone who is local wants to come, the more the merrier.

Holiday Open House
I am having a holiday open house on 12/14 and I am looking for a few people to help decorate the house for the holidays the weekend of 12/6 & 12/7. Let me know if you are interested.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crazy Week

Well it has been a crazy week full of tests and doctor appointments. I apologize ahead of time for the long post, but it has been quite the long week. Monday I started off my morning with a 7am CT scan down at Hopkins to check to see if the chemo has had any effect on the tumors – primarily the lung. Then I went to the primary care doc and found out I had a staph infection. Monday afternoon I went to acupuncture and then to the support group.

Tuesday morning at 7:30 I saw the oncologist to get my test results back. The tumors in the lungs have not changed in size. Which is good news and bad news – It could mean the chemo is holding the cancer at bay for now (at least in the lung) He confirmed the malignant lymph nodes. Then I went to another doc to have a Thoracentesis (fluid in my lungs drained). The fluid appeared to be consistent with cancer cells and they sent it to be biopsied.

Miraculously on Wednesday I did not have any appointments. We had a “Screw Cancer” Happy Hour for work. We are now doing it once a month in both Columbia and Baltimore City. We only had a few people, but it was a good turn out and at least I got to talk to each of them.

Thursday was a bad day. I think the news was starting to hit me and just was too much to handle. I hate telling everyone the news and watching their face fall as they realize the enormity of the situation. Plus, I was just (still probably am) at my rope’s end of handling this never ending emotional roller coaster. A good friend at work realized how bad I was doing and talked to me for a while and convinced me that I needed to talk to a professional. He drove me to my church and sat with my while I talked to one of my priests. It was good to just vent and cry and let all the feelings hang out without having to try and make sure I was saying the politically correct thing or beating around the bush. With their help I realized that my moods were just all over the place and probably needed to have my medication adjusted. I called the psychiatrist and that afternoon I went to see him and he tweaked my meds. It only took a little arm twisting for me to call the doctor.

Friday morning started by a visit to the Gastroenterologist to get the results of the endoscopy and other tests I had had done. I found out that while they found no tumors or obvious lumps in my stomach the biopsies were malignant for cancer cells in the stomach lining. Joy, Joy, just another place the cancer has invaded. Anyone keeping count of the number of organs in my body now housing cancer? They also confirmed that I have moderate gastroparesis (slow moving of the digestive track) and gastritis (irritation in the stomach) Both of which are adding to the nausea which is always present. They believe the previous chemo and radiation has caused the damage to the stomach. The doctor ordered a bunch more tests, but I have decided I am done with tests. NO MORE NEEDLES or tests that could come back as bad news.

Friday afternoon I went to see a new specialist at Hopkins. Actually he was the pulmonologist /oncologist that drained the fluid in my lungs. We had a great discussion about my options and for the first time in a long time I felt like my doctor was finally getting it and hearing me. He told me the cold honest truth and he did not sugar coat it and he told me what the treatment options were and what he would recommend, but he also told me he understood if I chose to do nothing. He confirmed that I could have as little as 2-4 months if I choose to do no treatment (less if I get another pleural effusion or sick), but he suggested a new protocol that could buy me as long as a year. We talked about tests and side effects and surgery, what to expect with the progression of the disease and much more. I will spare you all the details since this already a very long post. But in the end I left the office with a big decision to make – to treat or not to treat. It is very important to me that I spend the rest of my time here on earth on my terms and have the best quality of life. Last month I stopped the infusion chemo because I could just not handle the side effects anymore. So now I have to decide what I can handle and what is just too much.

On Tuesday I decided that I wanted to visit my sister in Missouri before I get any sicker and I arranged that afternoon to go to visit them for thanksgiving. One of my biggest regrets is that I will not be able to watch my nephews grow up and I want to spend as much time with them as I am able.

After the doctor’s appointment I went back to the office and talked to my co-worker who has become quite a sounding board and with whom without I don’t know if I would be fairing as well as I am. We talked for over an hour about my options and my feelings and just the facts of life as they are these days.

Friday night I did not get much sleep. My brain was going a thousand miles a minute and all the options were spinning in my head. Saturday morning I got up and journaled for a while and wrote down the pros and cons of each of the options and I made a decision. I am going to go back on chemo. It is the middle option of the high dose, low dose or no chemo choices. Supposedly the side effects will be less than before. Some nausea, like that is a new thing (did I mentioned I had to run out of church today to vomit?), lethargy, mouth sores, and neuropathy. But in the end I decided I have to try, I can always change my mind and stop at anytime, but I need more time. Not that I feel it would be giving up if I stop treatments, but I feel like I have not played all my cards yet. I have decided against radiation, surgery and the bone marrow biopsy. I am going on meds to help my lungs, kidneys and liver and will continue with the acupuncture.

I feel better after making this decision – very much at peace with it. I know that this is entirely up to me and everyone including my new doctor that will support me in whatever decision I make, but for now I am going to try the chemo. I will call in the morning to find out when I will start – I am sure he will want me to start right away and I am not sure I want to have it done before I go away on Tuesday. Yet another decision to make. I faintly remember when the only decision I had to make each day was what hat matched my outfit, which color socks to wear, or what flavor tea to drink – oh to go back to those days. I hope to have an easier time this week and would like to say no more doctors or visits to the hospital, but I know that will likely happen so maybe I only wish for one visit.

Thanks for taking the time to read this very long post and thanks to all the prayers and love from all. It truly makes a difference.

Oh – I almost forgot – I found out late Friday that the infection is indeed MRSA and they switched my antibiotics and I will be looking like a freak on the airplane wearing a mask.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just another day on the roller coaster

I has been several week since I last updated the blog and quite a bit has been going on. First I decided on Halloween that I was not longer going to get the infusion chemo. I just can’t take the treatment anymore. I get so sick and my quality of life is so poor. I was talking to a friend that morning and I told him I felt like I was peer pressured into taking the infusion chemo and really did not want to do it. He asked me a couple of time why I was going to chemo that afternoon if I was not on board with it. As I was getting my stuff together to go to chemo that afternoon I realized that it is not how I want to live my life. Not having the infusion chemo may shorten my life, but the quality will be better. I am still on the oral regimen and I got a CT scan this morning to see if it is having any effect on the lung tumors.

On October 26th, I found a lump in my right armpit. I was hoping that it was just an irritated hair follicle from shaving and waiting a couple of days for it to go away. Well of course given my luck it did not. I had an ultrasound and mammogram last week that led to a biopsy of two lumps in my armpit and three in my breasts. The good news is the breasts are ok, the bad news is the lymph nodes in the armpit are malignant. Not a good sign. It is rare for ovarian cancer to spread to distant lymph nodes and is a sign of advanced cancer. I have always prided myself on being unique and not following the norm, but this is ridiculous.

As if that is not enough going on I got a cold last week. I was in Austin at the LiveStrong Young Adult Alliance meeting and felt awful. Things did not get any better when I got home. I woke up Saturday morning around 3am having trouble breathing. I thought it was just my asthma and took a couple hits of my inhaler. After I did not get any better I went to the hospital around 11:30. They gave me a breathing treatment and took a chest x-ray. It turns out I have a pleural effusion (fluid in the lungs) and they suspect it is cancer cells. The next step is to drain the fluid and do a biopsy. The survival rate for malignant pleural effusions is average of 5 months after diagnosis. Just to make things a little more difficult one of my biopsy sites from last week is infected. They put me on antibiotics on Saturday at the ER and sent a sample out to be cultured.

I missed my twin nephews 4th birthday party since I spent that afternoon at the ER. I know they did not miss me and I did get to see them, but I really wanted to go.

I went to the doctor today to get it checked and the culture shows that it is staph. The doctor thinks that it is MRSA and they did a nose swab and sent it out to be cultured. They also did a blood tests that may come back sooner, but is not always reliable. She put me on more antibiotics (for a total of three) and we are waiting on the culture results. If it is MRSA, they may put me in the hospital which is not what I want. I try to avoid the hospital as much as possible. It feels like the hits keep on coming. I am waiting to hear when they are going to do the Thoracentesis which needs to be done soon, but the worry is that since I do have Staph and probably MRSA the area is most likely to get infected. My blood count is low and they feel I am very susceptible to infection - like I didn't already know that.

I am feeling very overwhelmed and numb at the moment. I am also very angry that all this is happening and I am not sure how much more I can take. Why does cancer affect so many people? Why Me? What did I do to deserve this?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Radioactive Eggs and Bald Heads

Yesterday was an exciting day. It started with going in for a gastric empting study to measure how fast food is going through my stomach to see if that is contributing to my nausea.

I had to fast for 6 hours which was not a big deal since it was first thing in the morning. Then I had to eat a hard boiled egg that had been somehow infused with radioactive material. This was a little tougher since I was already nauseous. They gave me gloves to handle it and was told to be careful not to get any on the floor or counter. It is kind of scary to be given something to eat that is dangerous to handle.
Then I went into the nuclear medicine room where I laid on a table that had what looked like a scanner above me. The cool thing is they had a computer screen that you could see where the egg was in my stomach (it glowed) and over the 90 minutes I could see it moved through my stomach into my intestines. It was cool and creepy all in one.

I decided on Monday that it was time to shave my head. I did not think I would have a hard time losing my hair this time since I went through it before and I did not really like my short hair, but once it started to fall out it was a different story. It was very hard to see hair on my bed pillow, bathroom floor and on my desk. So yesterday after lunch I went to the barber and got it shaved. It was very cathartic and empowering to take control of the situation. It is a little cold out, but I am just back to wearing my hats - all in all a very busy and exciting day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Time is flying by

I have been very bad about updating my blog lately. There has been so much going on, I have just not found the time to write anything. There is also the fact I have not been sure what to say.

In the last blog entry I talked about how I was struggling with the decision to start treatment and with the knowledge the tumors have grown. I have since decided to go on chemo. I have committed to one month of treatment and will then re-evaluate after tests are performed. I am also seeking a second opinion during this time. I started an oral chemo 3 weeks ago that I take twice a day and I am receiving a infusion cocktail of four chemo drugs every Friday (3-4 weeks on, one week off. They would like to give me 6 cycles of the infusions which would be about 6 months and at least 2 months of the oral chemo.

The last two weekends have not been any fun and I know it will only get worse as the treatments go on. That is one of the reason I am not sure it I want to continue treatment if we do show positive results. The quality of life is just so compromised.

As many of you know I am having trouble with my stomach and it is not just chemo related. I went to the doctor last week and he is running another round of tests to see if we can get to the bottom of this. They think there is damage to the stomach from chemo and radiation but they are not sure and if there is they want to find out how much. I had an ultrasound on Saturday and go in for a gastric emptying study tomorrow and endoscopy next week. The gastric emptying study measures how fast food is moving through my stomach. I will find out more tomorrow what all is involved but from what I know I will eat radioactive eggs and they will take pictures as it is moving through my stomach. I have had more radioactive stuff in the last month I am surprised I am not glowing.

My hair is starting to fall out again. Everyone has been complimenting on it. Saying how cute it is. I hate it. I guess I just do not identify myself with short hair and it takes a lot of work. That said it is very frustrating that every time I run my hand through my hair I get a clump on hair and I found hair on my pillow this morning. I am going to go ahead and have it shaved. I can not take it slowly falling out again. I have an appointment at a local cancer center where stylists come in, but it is not until next week and there is no way I will be able to wait that long. I think I will just go to the hair cuttery tomorrow.

On a good note, last night was the Screw Cancer event. It was a fundraiser for the Ulman Cancer Fund and it was an awesome event. It was nice to see so many people and many of my friends and supporters attended. There were many silent auction items and my friends had a good time bidding. The awesome part is that every item my friends won they gave to me. I am still amazed how generous my friends are.

Work is going great. It is such a rewarding job. No matter how bad a day I have I find I can help someone and that makes feel like I have a purpose. Two weeks ago I had a plumbing problem and then my tooth started hurting (needed a root canal) and I had my first chemo infusion that day. When I came into work I felt like I was going to crying, I could just not handle anything else that day. I received a phone call from a woman whose son was just diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to his liver. She just needed someone to listen to her and to help find resources for them. I hung up the phone 25 minutes later and knew that that was the reason I was alive that day – to help someone else. I have had several other moments like those lately and it is such a good feeling.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just another week

Sorry I have not updated the blog in over a week. It was a busy week with lots of ups and downs. Actually there were a lot of downs, but few ups. Last week the nausea and vomiting got worse. I went to the doctor on Tuesday to check on my incision as well as the oncologist. The surgeon was worried that there was a bowel obstruction of loop of bowel caught in the incision in the abdominal wall. So on Wednesday I had to go back to GBMC for blood work and CT scan. The upside was I did not have to drink barium for this CT, but I did have to drink the vial lemonade flavored contrast shit. Unfortunately the vomiting reared its ugly head and caused me to vomit the first of the contrast. Luckily they did not make me drink the other 2 glasses of it and went ahead with the scan.

On Wednesday night the vomiting continued to get worse and I could tell that I was very dehydrated. After a very rough night I called the doc at 6:30 in the morning and he told me to come into the office and he would most likely admit me for IV fluids.

Thursday around noon I was admitted to the hospital for dehydration and for them to run more tests to see why I could not keep even fluids down. The CT scan and blood work came back normal, at least normal for a cancer patient.

They started me on some pretty strong anti-nausea drugs. The days in the hospital were fairly uneventful. I had a nuclear scan on Friday morning which showed a very normal gall bladder. At least something is my body is normal. Friday they started me on a liquid diet which did not work, but Saturday things improved and I was able to go home on Sunday afternoon.

After being seen by 10 different doctors, residents and interns the diagnosis is chronic peristalsis where as the stomach is not moving the food through very well. It is their speculation that the chemo and radiation has caused damage to the stomach. I am now taking anti-nausea meds before each meal and at bedtime. Mornings are the toughest and when I feel the worst. I have been getting up to take the Reglan then go back to bed for another hour while the meds go through my system.

When I visited the oncologist last week we talked about my treatment plan and my prognosis. We talked about why they put me on Estrogen (by the way the hot flashes are gone). The doctor said they usually do not put cancer patients on Estrogen, but since my prognosis is not good they want me to be comfortable. The doctor said I may have as little as a year to live. Not surprisingly the news did not go over well and I kind of shut down emotionally. I talked to the oncologist yesterday and we discussed my treatment options and what my prognosis would be if I did not do treatment. The good news is I am allowed to go back on the oral chemo starting next week. They also want to start infusion chemo once every three weeks. I have not decided if I am going to do the infusion chemo. It makes me so sick last year and really affects my quality of life. Yesterday the doctor said that if I do not do any treatment I may only have 3-4 months.

It is not like me to take this sitting down and not fight; I am just not sure how much fight I have left. I have committed to the oral chemo for six weeks and take things from there.

I feel bad that I have not been able to work much, but everyone has been great letting me set my own schedule and work from home. My new friends there are also encouraging me to get a second or third opinion. I am feeling pretty emotional these days and have been crying a lot. I feel like so much of this is out of my control and it is very frustrating. I am happy I have a treatment plan for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Joy Joy it is Monday.

I went to the surgeon on Thursday and the incision was indeed infected. He put me on antibiotics, told me to use warm compresses and come back if it opened up and started to ooze. Well the warm compresses helped to reduce the redness and soreness around the incision, but it also caused it to open up and of course all this yucky puss came out. I called the doctor’s office on Friday morning and they told me to come in right away. He opened up the incision to clean it out and packed it with gauze. I have to change the gauze two to three times a day. Let me tell you this has not been fun. While the infection is getting better, the incision is raw and irritated and the gauze adheres to the flesh so every time I have to change it is starts to bleed and of course it hurts. I go back to the doctor tomorrow afternoon. I am not quite sure what he is going to do, I don’t think he will stitch it back up, so maybe I will just have a gaping wound that will eventually heal from the inside out and scar over.

The good news is the doctor said I could go back to work. I went in Thursday afternoon for a couple of hours and tired myself out. Thursday night I had chills and a fever due to the infection and Friday I felt like crap so I was only at work for all of 30 minutes before the doctor told me to come back in. I am working today for a couple of hours, but do plan a nap for the afternoon.

This weekend I took it easy lounging around like a slug and watched movies. The doc put me on estrogen and the hot flashes are slowly decreasing in frequency. Don’t get me wrong, I still wake up in the middle of the night sweating like a pig. Thursday night was the worst. I had chills from the fever and could not get warm one minute and was throwing off my covers the next with a hot flash. Menopause is not fun. I feel bad for making fun of my mom for all these years. I am too young to be experiencing this. This is definitely something I am happy putting off for several years or better yet not experiencing at all.

The nausea continues and is very frustrating. I am not eating a lot and have vomited for the last three days. I have not had much in my system but medicine so it is mostly dry heaves with some bile mixed in for effect. I could not get in with the specialist until October 17th so it looks like I will have three more weeks of nausea.

I will write an update tomorrow after visiting the surgeon and the oncologist.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hot Flashes – Yeesh

It has been a little over a week since surgery. I am feeling pretty good - still a little sore, but I am off the narcotics. One of my incisions looks funny – it is red and feels hot – I am pretty sure it is infected. I called the doctor’s office today and I am going in to see him tomorrow. I think the pain that I am still having is coming from the incision. Hopefully he will put me on antibiotics and then everything will be fine. I am hoping to talk the doctor in to letting me go back to work next week. I can not imagine sitting around for 2 more weeks before given the clear to go back to work.

The one side effect that I am having that I did not expect is hot flashes. I knew they would come, but not so soon. One minute I am cold and the next I am sweating. There seems to be no happy medium. I am too young to be going through menopause. I read on the internet that surgical menopause starts right after surgery and is often worse than regular menopause. The doctor mentioned to my mom that they can start me on hormones. Since I am going back to the doctor early – lets hope that I can start the hormones early too.

I feel bad after making fun of my mom and her hot flashes for years. This is no laughing matter. My co-workers came to visit me today and I had to keep fanning myself with a magazine during the visit. I begged them to send me some work – I am so bored. At least last week I was doped up and slept all the time to be bored. The visit was fun – they had me laughing so hard I had to hold my side it hurt to laugh.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stir Crazy

One week after surgery and I am resting at home. Mom and dad took good care of me last week, but it is nice to be at home in my own bed. Surgery went well. The doctor found quite a bit of scar tissue from a previous surgery that has been causing pain. Hopefully now that it has been removed and the tumors are gone the pain will subside. It is amazing to me that everything was removed through four little incisions. Even though I do not have a big incision, I am still pretty sore. It is hard to move around, but I am hanging in. I seem to nap every couple of hours, but am not taking as much of the pain medication.

Originally I was planning to only be out of work for two weeks, but my discharge papers said four weeks. Not sure what I am supposed to do for three more weeks. I am already stir crazy sitting on the couch not doing anything.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Going under the knife

Today is surgery day. I got a moderately good night sleep and I am only a little stressed. I have complete faith my doctors, I just do not know what they are going to find and I hope it all goes well. I will be staying at my parent’s house until the weekend and will not have access to email or blog. I know – it is the dark ages. I will have my cell phone with me, but will only turn it on occasionally. Thank you to all who have called and emailed good wished and thanks for you prayers. I know that this will all work out.

Catch you on the flip side.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anticlimatic

I just got back from my scan. The ending is very anti climatic compared to the prep. It was entertaining though. I was taken back to a room to change into a gown. Luckily they gave me one to use as a robe so I did not get a back draft. The technician was very nice and only made me take a couple more sips of the disgusting stuff. I then went into the scan room and they hooked me up to an IV for the iodine dye. The most exciting part was when they injected the dye I felt flushed and felt like I was going to pee my pants.

The whole thing took about 20 minutes. The only thing I have to remember it by is a band aid on my arm where they put the IV and the fact that I have to run to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so.

Now I just have to wait for the results and hope that nothing is too bad and they can still go ahead with surgery on Monday. I am ready to get these parts removed.

Yum Yum Barium

Ok the second one is down. I think I started chugging too fast. I got a brain freeze from the coldness. And then I had a big puke. I took a brief break and slowly gulped that rest. Next time I only have to do half of the bottle. My cheerleaders were great. Tessa made posters: CHUG CHUG CHUG, Go Allison, and Yum, Yum, Barium! I think we might be having too much fun with this if that is possible. Hell at least I still have my humor. I wonder what the % of consumption vs. staying is for this stuff. They have to expect some portion of it to come back up. I thought I had finished chugging this bottle and looked down and there was still a sip left, so I like an idiot went back for more.

I had a boyfriend that called me "All or Nothing Alli". My motto is that if it is worth doing, you should do it all the way or not do it at all.

Did I mention I went to the dentist on Monday and broke out into giggles filling out the forms. the first question was Are you in good general health? Another was a list of all medications, but it only gave two slots, the next was list of surgeries. I started listing and quickly ran out of room and wanted to write "see addendum". Just wait until I have to get the actually work down. I am going to request laughing gas - that should really make the experience a riot.

I think I might have officially gone insane.

11:30 One Down 2 to go.

For those of you who have not read this mornings blog, you might want to skip down. I have successfully downed my first bottle of Barium. I had two great cheerleaders and only purged a little twice. I chose not to do it in the bathroom because I thought the toilet would be too tempting - sorta like a self full filling prophecy. It tastes like orange flavored milk. Luckily they told me to put it in the fridge. Have I told you I HATE milk? but at least it was not warm milk. The next chugs are at 12:20 (whole bottle), 12:50 (half bottle) and the remaining half when I get to my appointment. I am a little bummed I won't have my cheering squad with me for the last bit.

I still think I should have gone for the beer bong.

Just another day on the roller coaster!

I went to the doctor yesterday to find out why I am still having so much nausea and vomiting. She thinks it could be one of three things: Irritable Bowel, Gall Bladder attack or my Liver. She took some blood, a urine sample and scheduled me for a pelvic/abdominal CT scan. So today I get to drink three huge bottles of barium. Joy! Joy! As if my life is not exciting enough this morning I will be chugging what is essentially liquid chalk. The people in my office are great and they will be cheering me on with a “Chug, Chug” as I down the vile concoction.

This is just another ride on the roller coaster of medical crap. If there is a problem I might not be able to have surgery on Monday. Can’t they just go in and take out everything I don’t need….gall bladder, spleen, appendix anything that can get inflamed and is not essential to my daily life. For that matter, they should take out half my liver, one of my kidneys and go ahead take out the pancreas while they are at it. I feel like every time I see a glimmer of sunlight through the clouds the storm comes my way. UGH Just picture me as that cartoon with the storm hover over my head while the weather is perfect elsewhere. How much more am I supposed to handle? I mean – I am just as game as another to endure some hardship, but I think I am at my quota for at least this year.

The irony of today is they order the CT scan for nausea and vomiting and they give me something to drink that is sure to make me puke. What the *&^%.

She asked if I have been under any undue stress. What kind of question is that? Stress – me – no. It has been a walk in the park these past couple of weeks, getting my head around surgery and hearing the latest test results. I normally find my doctor to be bright and understanding and maybe she just had a moment of stupidity – but come on. If you looked in Wikipedia right now under stress my picture would be there.

On top of today’s adventure I am really looking forward to Sunday. I have to do bowel prep for the surgery which means a day of liquid diet, some more disgusting liquid to pour down my throat and some major time in the bathroom.

On a lighter note – my chemo ridden brain was finally able to remember that the cleaning lady comes today and I remembered to pick up the house and clean out the sink. Usually I forget and she probably rolls her eyes when she sees all the clutter on the tables and floors. One month when I had just returned from Aruba I had sorted all my laundry on the living room floor. Heaven knows what she thought when she had to pick up my underwear and put it on the couch so she could vacuum. She is a saint. She will probably faint of shock when she sees the place.

Normally I love amusement rides especially roller coasters but this one is going through the haunted house.

PS - It could be worse. I could be sitting hours of design meetings at T. Rowe.

Monday, September 8, 2008

War on Cancer Videos

Well it is 4am again and I can't sleep. I did have a deep sleep from 12-3:30, it is just not enough. Today (yesterday really) was a good day. I woke up to the beautiful weather and went to church and there was a little fair going on. It was great to see everyone even though I shared my news to a couple of people all in all the time spent talking to people was joyous.

I went for a bike ride yesterday afternoon with a new friend and co-worker. It was not much of a ride. I need a break twice and all we did was a short loop around a shopping center. It felt so good to feel the wind blow across my face and know that it was my own legs that was projecting me through. There was a couple time where my legs burned and my chest burned, which is just pathetic considering the lack of distance we rode. But the factor of the matter is that I got on my bike and rode. I had been psyching up to ride the Booty ride this weekend and even though it was cancelled due to rain I decided come hell or high water I was going to ride and that is what I did.

After the brief ride, we got smoothies and talked. It felt good to talk about everything that was going on and to get a fresh perspective on things.

Now on to the most important part of the post. Thursday morning I walked into the office and there was a new little flip video camera on my desk and an email requesting that I make a 1 minute video about the way on cancer to support the upcoming cancer bill. It just so happened that night I was going to a stupid cancer happy hour in DC so I took the camera and and asked other fighters and survivors what they thought about cancer.

Friday morning I took the camera back to work, plugged it into the computer and we had great clips. With assistance of Brian (new co-worker) we edited the video and mixed a movie. We great not just one video, but two. What a fund way to spend your Friday morning. I love this job. It was great to focus on something more important then what was going on in my life.
So here is my debut of write, director, cameraman and co-producer of the War on Cancer for the Ulman Cancer Fund. Please check them out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-L_u6dsVBQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8307O2GYf8

Friday, September 5, 2008

Not Great News

I went to the doctor yesterday to get the news about my CT scans and blood work and the news is not good. The cancer is back. The tumors in the lungs have grown in size after previously shrinking. In addition there are more tumors in the lung and the tumor in the liver has also grown in size. The blood work showed that the liver function is down.

They have moved surgery up to September 15th, a mere week away. After surgery I will have to go back on chemo.

I am having major mood swing. If I keep busy and don’t think about it I am fine even laughing, but as soon as I start to think about it I get overwhelmed with the fear and anger.

This is so not fair. I do not want to do this again. I feel like I was just getting my life back together. I knew in my heart on Tuesday went I went for the scan that the cancer was back, I am not sure how but I felt it in my gut.

How much more am I supposed to take???? What did I do to deserve this??? I was just getting used to having hair again….Why me??

I don't want to have cancer anymore. I don't want to be sick anymore. How am I supposed to work fulltime and go through treatment again. I just started this great new job.

Cancer Sucks!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hump Day

Medical Update
I went to my pre-op appointment this morning for my hysterectomy later this month. I am not sure why, but I am getting very nervous about the surgery. I know the surgery is the right thing to do and it will be a relief to get the tumors out of my body and I should be able to get some much needed pain relief. It is scheduled for September 29th. It is being done laparoscopically and is outpatient if you can believe it. I was a little worried about being sent home after surgery, but the doctor said that if I am nauseous (when am I not) or in a lot of pain they will keep me for the night.

Yesterday I had a CT scan to check on the status of the tumors. I could not get any information out of the radiologist except that there are still tumors in my lung, kidney and liver, ovaries and uterus. I feel like my body is riddled with cancer. It is not great news, but the real test will be tomorrow when I go to the oncologist to find out if they have changed size. I have been very worried about this for some reason, so please send prayers and good thoughts my way.

Love the Job!!!
Work is great. I love it here. It is a little slow right now, but I know that will change and I will be very busy. I have no doubts that it was the right thing to switch jobs. Everyone here is so nice and I have already met some great contacts and have learned about a lot of resources in just a week.

Booty Ride
This weekend is the 24 hours of Booty bike ride. Right now we are watching the weather forecast since hurricane Hanna is heading in our direction. I am hoping that the forecast is wrong or she will shift courses and we will have wonderful weather. I have not been able to get as much time on the bike preparing for the ride as I would like due to chemo. I did go for a ride the other day, but I am having so technically difficulties so I had to cut it short. Today I am going to take in the bike and get a tune up.

If it does not rain on Saturday and you have some extra time; please come out to the Gateway business park to cheer me on. My goal is 10 laps, the loop is 2.6 miles. Based on my short ride on Sunday, I may only be able to do one lap at a time, but I do have 24 hours to do it. for more information check out http://www.24hoursofbooty.org/

Screw Cancer

The Ulman Cancer Fund is having a fundraiser next month. It is called Screw Cancer and it is going to be a great night to toast life. The event is October 26th at Trapeze Restaurant in Fulton MD. Tickets are $75. I hope that you can join me and celebrate my health. I really thought that cancer was going to win the war last spring, but now I am kicking its butt and I believe I will continue to come out on top. For more information and buy tickets go to: http://www.ulmanfund.org/ScrewCancer/

New Blog
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults has a new blog and this week I wrote the posting. Check it out - http://ulmanfund.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 1, 2008

Feeling like crap

It is 5am I can’t sleep, in pain, vomiting and itching from a thousand mosquito bites. The pain that was a dull ache decided to come back in sharp nail biting pain yesterday and it is driving me crazy. I have tried pain pills, meditation and deep breathing and nothing is helping. On top of it all I am nauseous and vomiting. I talked to the doctor on Thursday and we thought that my morning meds were causing the nausea, so we discontinued one and switching the others to the evening. So now instead of be sick mid morning, I am sick all night.

Basically it is the middle of the night and I am miserable. There are so many good things going on, but all I can focus on is how bad I am feeling. This sucks.

I feel so alone when I feel like this. I went to church today and cried through the whole service. I am in major need of a hug.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Finally we have rain.

It was such a glorious sound through the window last night when the rain started. I could almost hear my garden rejoice for joy. It is not fun to drive or walk in, but it is so needed.

I am enjoying my new commute; it is only 5-7 minutes. I am so close I can go home for lunch or run errands if I choose. I do miss being downtown a little, but a lay in bed this morning and listened to the traffic report I was so happy I did not have to drive into the city.

Work is good. I am easily adjusting to the 9-5 hours, love sleeping in an extra hour. I am trying very hard to eat healthy. A friend came over last night and brought me dinner. We ate our salads and enjoyed each other’s company while catching up. I am back on the meals ministry. I am still so tired from chemo and I am trying to build up my strength for the surgery. The meals are much appreciated to ensure that I am eating well and have lots of energy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Latest Happenings

Sorry I have not updated the blog recently, I decided I was officially off work last week and chose to spend little time on the computer.

Last week was great. I was technically unemployed. I mainly chilled out and relaxed, but was able to get some things done around the house. I got everything checked off my list except for washing the windows. Gee I wonder why I procrastinated on that one!

On Friday I had my last chemo. They changed my anti-nausea drug this week and it made a huge difference. It doesn’t seem fair that just when the chemo is ending we figured how to manage one of the big side effects. The good news is I was queasy, but never actually got sick. This made for a much nicer weekend.

On Sunday I had trouble sleeping and woke up at 3am. Since I could not get back to sleep I decided to get up and go help out at the Iron Girl Triathlon at Centennial Park. It was amazing to see all the women athletes. I got to talk to many of the women that competed with Team Fight for the Ulman Fund and I am more inspired then ever to run a 5K next spring

Yesterday was my first day at the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. I really enjoyed being in the office with everyone. I am lucky to already know most of my co-workers. I am slowly digging out the piles of resources and brochures that awaited me in my cubicle. I have learned so much already just by reviewing the resources as I was filing.

I am still a bit nervous about the job and all that I have to learn, but I am very excited about it.

Well, lunchtime is over – back to work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sick of vomiting

This chemo thing is really getting me down. I thought the worst of the vomiting was over on Monday, but it reared it ugly head again this morning. I guess my tummy does not like my morning tea, but this is really getting old. I guess I got spoiled being off chemo for 2 months after having it for the almost 10 months. I am trying to get excited about my new job, but it is kind of hard when I feel like crap.

I keep telling myself I only have two weeks left and then things will get better. I can survive two more weeks, right? At least I hope so.

Leaving work is bittersweet. I am looking forward to my new job, but I will miss everyone here and there is comfort in the known. Please keep me in your thoughts as I transition in this new phase of my life and try to deal with chemo at the same time.

Friday, August 8, 2008

One more week

So I have one more week at work and then a week off before my new job. I am getting very excited about it.

The only other thing going on is that I am feeling the effects of the chemo. I seem to be nauseous all the time and I am very tired. I have had to take naps every day after work and I still go to bed before ten. I have not had much energy after work to make dinner, so I might see if I can start the meals from church again. Hopefully, that will entice me to eat more.

I have chemo this afternoon, but I am hoping to try and relax this weekend. I have a pool party to go to with lots of goldens, which will be nice. It is supposed to be great weather this weekend, so maybe I can take some naps in the hammock.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Update 8/5/08

It is official, I signed the paperwork – I will be starting at the Ulman Cancer Fund on August 25th. I am very excited and can’t wait to start work.

Now the bad news – I started chemo again last Friday. I will have it weekly for the rest of August and then I have a four week break to rest for Surgery on September 29th. Chemo wiped me out this weekend and yesterday. I was nauseous and tired, but at least I did not vomit.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Journeys

The last year has been a hard one for me and it not quite over, but I received my miracle. I am doing great and I have already lived longer than my prognosis. I will probably always live with cancer inside of my, but I have learned to accept it and trying to accept the limitations, but I have also found some joys. I will be having surgery in September and will have one more round of chemo. There is finally an end in sight. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the real me and who I want to be. I have done a lot of soul searching and have found a lot of inner strength. As this part of my journey ends, I am ready for another one.

After much consideration, I have accepted a job at the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults as the Intake and Resource Coordinator. I will be fielding calls and emails from cancer patients, survivors and family members; providing them with information, resources and lending an ear. I am very excited about this position. It is a new journey in my life and one that I feel follows my heart and God’s plan for me. It is a risk leaving T. Rowe Price and its security, but sometimes you have to take a risk.

A friend gave me these quotes today:

Follow your heart down the 'journey of life'.
Your mission in life is not to be without problems - your mission is to get excited about something(s).
"Always do more than you are paid for, and one day you will be paid for more than you do.
"You don't work for your boss - you work for YOURSELF!
Your life will only work when you take full responsibility for your CHOICES.
And your CHOICE of VOCATION is top of the list.

"Work is love made visible."- Kahlil Gibran.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vacation

It is the third day of vacation. It is nice during the day when I can sit on the beach, relax and nap. However, twelve people can get on each others nerves very easily. My mom is driving me crazy, but I get that is the norm with family vacations. We went to the boardwalk and rode the rides yesterday. It was great riding the roller coaster with my 17 year old nephew. It was the first roller coast we ever went on 7 years ago. I am exhausted just hanging around my nephews. I wish I had more energy, but hey I am at the beach and on vacation. It could be much much worse.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Go’in down to the ocean, Hon

Tomorrow I leave for a week at the ocean with my family. My sister came in from Missouri with her family, so there will be 12 of us including the little kids. I am looking forward to it, but I have my hesitations. My parents bicker a lot, and while it can be funny it can also be very annoying. It won’t be the same as relaxing on the beach in Aruba, but I will be able to sit on the beach and read. I may even make a sand castle or too. I am going to try and get up every day and go for a walk or a run, this will be nice to get a little quiet time in.

Well, I best get to packing. I am not taking my laptop, so this will be the last entry until I get back.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Life is getting Normal

Not sure if I can believe it, but life is getting back to normal. Except for pain and still being tired, the days are filled with normal stuff like work, chores, laundry, dishes and all that includes. I am no longer getting meals delivered and as much as I miss the delicious meals, I am doing ok cooking my own meals. I am trying to pack lunch everyday and I am eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and quesadillas for dinner, but at least it is nutritional and I am eating.

I went for a walk/run the yesterday. I am walking for 9 minutes and running for 1 minute. After 30 minutes I thought I was going to melt and drop right there on the path, but I did the entire 30 minutes. I am getting there – 5K here I come.

The next step is to getting my bike together, find a bike pump and go for rides to get ready for the Booty ride.

I went back to the pain specialist/surgeon last week and had another nerve block. It is amazing how much it helps – almost instantly. It only takes 15 minutes to start and it can last a couple days. We decided when we do the surgery we will cut the affected nerves at the same time. He is planning to do the surgery laporscopically. It is outpatient and the recovery should only be two weeks. It looks like that will happen in late September.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Missing in action

Sorry it has been so long since I updated the blog. Not much going on. The pain level has increased and the new medication is making me exhausted and hungry all the time. I am trying so hard to lose weight so having cravings all the time is not helping. I am working on my walking – hope to start running in two weeks, at least for a little bit. I need to get my bike serviced so I can start preparing for the Booty ride.

Have not heard anything about the date for surgery yet; I am a little anxious about that. I want to get a date so I can plan for it. I also want to be recovered in time for the Booty ride.

When I talked to the doctor last week about the surgery, I forgot to ask about the recover and whether it is outpatient. I go to the doc today for another pain/nerve block and will ask then. Hopefully I can also get a date for the surgery. That is it for now – nothing very exciting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting into shape

I have decided that now that I am feeling better that it is time to get into shape. I have two goals. The first one is that I am participating in a 24 hour bike relay. I have joined a team from the Ulman Cancer Fund. The ride is on September 6-7. The bike ride is called the 24 hours of booty.

http://www.24hoursofbooty.org/site/TR/Bike/General?px=1023743&pg=personal&fr_id=1051&et=IybIfRrCbwzF-qxagoCKUQ..&s_tafId=1086

It started in North Carolina on what is called the Booty loop. The money that I fundraise goes to LiveStrong (Lance Armstrong Foundation) and The Ulman Cancer Fund. Two very worthy causes, my fundraising goal is only $500. Thanks to those that are already supporting me.

I have not gotten on my bike in over a year and it is going to take some effort to get back on the horse so to speak, but I have the entire summer.

My other goal is to run a 5K by next June. I am not a runner and have not run since high school, but I have been trying to walk and I figure if I work hard enough I will be able to do it. I just have to remember baby steps.

On the medical front, I met with the doctor yester day and I am going to have a hysterectomy this summer. The doctors have conferred and they feel I am strong enough and it is the next step in my recovery. I am actually ok with this and think it is a good idea.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back to earth…..and to work

The trip home was very eventful. The flight on Saturday night was cancelled due to the thunderstorms and we ended up spending the night in the Newark airport. We were re-booked onto a flight into Dulles Sunday afternoon. So the good news is we got home safe, the bad news is our bags did not make it back with us. After arriving at Dulles we were told our bags were at BWI. My parents drove us up to the Baltimore airport and we discovered that only one of Sara’s suitcases was there and the other had not left Newark yet. Yesterday one on my bags was delivered to my house, but the other one was sent to Sara’s. As of last night we did not know where Sara’s other bag was, but it was delivered to her this morning and mine is in transit to my house as I write this.

The good news about not getting your bags with you right away is you do not have to unpack and there is no laundry to do. But I hope that my other bag is home when I get there, because I am running out of clean underwear.

The trip was incredible and we had so much fun…..but now I am back at work. Yesterday it was rough having to put on real shoes and get up early. Today is hard just being inside and sitting in desk chair. Getting back to the real world is tough….

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rain Delay

Sadly our trip has come to an end or is almost. We are currently sitting in the Continental’s Presidents Club due to a rain delay. Our Flight was supposed to leave at 8:20pm is now scheduled to leave at 10:58pm. At least we are not scheduled to be on the plane that was hit by lightning while landing here in Newark. Let’s hope the storm lets up soon.. It looks pretty bad out there so I am not sure the flight will be taking off at all. The good news is because we are flying First Class we get to wait out the time in a plush environment with free internet.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sunsets and More

Last night we watched a spectacular sunset. We then we went to dinner that had table top grills. It is not unlike a Japanese steak house, but you grill the food yourself. It was very good and a lot of fun. We met a nice couple from Mechanicsburg, PA. I have been surprised how many people we have met from MD and PA.

After dinner we went to the casino and Sara struck the jackpot at the slots and won $200. All in all a very good night. I am still going to bed pretty early. Last night I hit the sack around 10pm. Sara stayed out a little later and took in the night life. I just don’t have enough energy for that.

This morning we went to our last visit to the spa. Like the others it was fantastic. The start out by offering you champagne or wine, then soak you feet in hot water before taking you to the room. Today we had the Aruba Diva massage which included essential oils. Sara and I were in the same room this time and at the end we both just wanted to fall asleep we were so relaxed.

I can’t believe this is our last day in Aruba. It has been a wonderful vacation. I wish I was feeling stronger and did not have any pain, but I have enjoyed the trip immensely. Now it is time for a nap….

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Oops - forgot to blog

I realized while I was sitting by the pool that it has been several days since I updated the blog. Time does fly when you are having fun. Here is a recount of the last few days.

Monday: Monday we took it easy and went to the spa in the morning and then went to town in the afternoon. The massage was great and wandering around town buying souvenirs was fun too.

Tuesday: We got up early and staked out a spot on the beach with a thatched umbrella and took it easy. In the afternoon we joined the pool activities and tye-dyed shirts. Tuesday night we went on a sunset sail. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating and it was overcast so we did not get to see the sun set, but the sail was great. The wind was strong and I got soaked sitting on the front deck when a huge wave washed up.

Wednesday: We went to the butterfly farm. It was awesome to see all the butterflies, so many pretty colors. I took lots of pictures and posted them. I did not feel real well yesterday and took a nap for a while in the room and had another massage. That helped refresh me and we sat on the beach for the rest of the afternoon. The nightly show was water ballet – it was cool to watch the synchronized swimming. I could never do that.

Thursday: Today we went back into town for some more sightseeing and shopping. We came back and relaxed by the pool. We played bingo and then took a nap in the sun. It was such a wonderful day. Tonight we are going to watch the sunset before we go to dinner.

Time is going by quickly and we only have one more full day before we have to go back home. It really has been a great trip

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tour of the Island

Today turned out to be a great day. I did not feel that well this morning. No, I did not drink too much last night. Today was a much warmer day, although it is nothing compared to what you all are experiencing. After being in the sun for about 2 hours, I sat in the lobby for a while and read. It is covered, but still open to the breeze so it was very nice.

This afternoon we went on a jeep tour. It was pretty cool to see different parts of the island and to hear the history. The best part and worst part of the tour was the natural pool. It was the worst, because the dirt road was full of ruts and was very bumpy. I knew it was going to be bumpy, but it got very rough a couple times and I was taken airborne. The natural pool was spectacular. It is surrounded by rocks and filled with beautiful fish. There are 88 steps that can be a little steep to get down to the pool, but once we were there the whole trip was worth it. The water temp was perfect, the pool calm and the snorkeling was great. Since the snorkeling the other day turned out to be a bust for me, it was very nice to have some good snorkeling.

I was not so sure how I was going to do with the steps on the way up, but I did remarkably well. It felt great to come back to the resort, get a drink and take a shower. Yes, I got the drink first; a girl has got to have her priorities set.

Well we are starving and off to diner. I will download today’s pictures later. Miss you all, but having a great time.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sleepy Sunny Day

I think Sara is a little amazed how much I can sleep. Last night I was exhausted and went to bed early. After sleeping for 10 hours we went to the beach all day. Since we got a lot of sun yesterday we sat under a thatched umbrella. It was nice to sit outside looking at the beach and be in the shade at the same time. I spend the day reading and napping. Such is the life. Our toughest decision today was whether to go to the beach or the pool. If I am not careful, I am going to get spoiled.

We went to the bar today and I found a new favorite drink – It is called a “Brown Lady”, but if a girl asks for it, it is called a “Brown Man”. It is a mudslide with coconut and very refreshing.

Tonight we are dining at one of the special restaurants at an adjoining resort. It is reported to have great food. I have not decided if I am going to be a curly red-head or blonde tonight. Last night I was a red-head, but the night before a blonde. It is fun to be able to have a new “look” everyday.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day three update

It is our third day in Aruba and I am relaxing and resting a lot, and having lots of fun. Last night we had dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in the resort. The waiter laughed at me when I ordered two desserts, but we are on vacation. When we ordered coffee and Baileys he talked us into a special surprise drink instead. You sure could taste the alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, I was very good today and did not drink until at 2pm. Considering the bars open at 11am, I think that is an accomplishment. We went on the snorkeling happy hour sail this afternoon. The view was breathtaking and the water temp was perfect. The only problem I had was the water was very rough and I am just not strong enough to swim against the current very long, so I only snorkeled for a while and then went and laid on the deck of the catamaran.

We went to the casino the last two nights. Sara is up $13.00, I am down $30.00. Oh well, someone has to lose right?

Tonight we are going over to the sister resort to eat and walk around. I don’t think it will be a late night for either of us. The day on the boat has worn us out, even if I did take two naps today.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ahhhh……Aruba

We arrived in Aruba yesterday afternoon and I can say that if the rest of the trip is like the last 24 hours, we will be in heaven. The trip here was uneventful, unless you call first class an event. It was nice, especially being able to recline the seat almost the whole way back. It will be hard to fly in coach again.

We have a nice room overlooking the ocean. Yesterday afternoon we went to the beach…..what a beautiful beach. I will take some pictures and try to post them. The water was refreshing, a little cold at first, but we warmed to it. It is so blue. It feels a little weird to look down and see your feet.

I was a little queasy this morning after breakfast. I think it had more to do with the heavy food than the pink panthers I had yesterday. :)

We booked some excursions for next week and this afternoon we are going to the spa. It is absolutely beautiful here and we are having a great time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

This day can’t go fast enough!

I have one more day before my trip. I am almost all packed and have way too much energy and way to anxious to be at work. The day seems to be dragging on slowly. I got up this morning and got our boarding passes and even made my bed before work. I have never packed this early for a trip and almost never make my bed and certainly not before work unless my mom is coming over.

I went to the doctor this morning and he said that I am glowing with happiness. I went to the travel agent yesterday and picked up all the travel documents and I packed them with my passport in my carry on bag. The only thing I need to do is make a copy of my passport before I leave just in case.

I still can’t believe that someone gave me this trip, it is so exciting. This person(s) is truly wonderful.

I guess I should get back to work. I have to leave for an early lunch to get my first pain block today. Hopefully it will help and I will feel good on the trip.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Countdown: 2 days

The trip is only 2 days away and I think I have everything I need. I received a beach bag of goodies tonight with flip flops, underwater camera, sun block, sunglasses, hat, scarves and more. What a great gift. I continue to be so blessed by my friends. I have all my clothes laid out and brace and I even ironed. I know that is a shock for many of you, but I guess I figure if I am going to do this trip right, I am going to do it all out. Sara and I are so excited, we talked many times over the weekend about the packing, what types of things we will do, etc. I wish we were leaving tomorrow, but two more days of work. I think we can make it through. I will try to post an update on Tuesday before I leave, but if I do not get a chance, thanks to you that are making this trip happen. I am taking my laptop with me and will try to update the blog often and download pictures.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Whew…..whirlwind couple of days.

A lot of things have happened in the last couple of days and I have been so busy I have not had time to update the blog.

Friday – I went to the oncologist and got some great news. The tumors have shrunk – Woo-hoo!!!! Finally some good news from the doctors! I am officially off chemo for 6 weeks and will have another scan at the end of that time and if the tumors have not grown again I will have another 6 weeks off. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Not to get out of chronological order but yesterday I went to a pain specialist and I will be starting nerve blocks for the pain next week for 5 weeks. We are hoping it will take away a good bit of the pain, which will be a nice relief. These start next Tuesday before I leave on my trip.

Saturday to Monday – I went on a parish weekend with my church to Orkney Springs VA. At first I was not sure I wanted to go and then another family asked me to go and paid for me. I had a great time. It was nice to catch up with so many people and it was very relaxing. I took lots of naps (after each meal) and got some knitting done. It was the perfect precursor to the trip.

Wednesday – I went to the Sheryl Crow concert. I took a friend that just graduated from high school. It was the first concert she attended. We had decent seats about 30 rows back to the left of the stage. Then a friend showed up and offered us better seats that they were able to get through the band. The seats were in row K and right in the center. It was awesome. She played a mixture of new and old songs and of course my favorite: Soak up the Sun.

The only bad thing that has happened that is a pain is I have a cold. I thought first it was allergies, but it is obviously a cold and I am pretty congested. I am going to get plenty of rest so I am all better in time for my trip.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Amazing Angels

I continue to be amazed by the giving nature of so many people in my life. As you all know my trip is fast approaching – only two more weeks. The plans are really coming together and we are getting very excited. Last week the travel agent informed me that we are flying first class! Since we leave at 6:10 am we decided to stay at a hotel near the airport Tuesday night so we don’t have to worry about getting picked up at 4:30 in the morning. When I talked to the travel agent she told me that my “benefactors” were also picking up the hotel room, which we did not expect. In addition, we have signed up for a Snorkeling Sunset Sail which is also being paid for. Their generosity is overwhelming. Yesterday the travel agent called with more good news, and I could not imagine anything more than we have already been given, but someone has given $200 each for both Sara and I to go to the spa while we are in Aruba. Can you imagine such a gift?

I am still getting wonderful meals provided by the church twice a week. It is such a relief to come home from work or treatment to not have to worry about fixing dinner. My “angels” are truly amazing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Crisis Averted

As I am preparing for my trip, I could not find my passport. I started getting very stressed and ripped apart my home office yesterday looking for it. Finally when I could not find it I looked on the web to see how to get a replacement passport. I ran to the mall and got passport photos taken and then realized that there is not enough time to go directly through the Department of State and I would need to go to an third party agency and pay through the nose. Last night I could not sleep and kept tossing and turning aver whether or not I would get a new passport in time. Somewhere in the middle of night I had an epiphany of where the passport might be. Well, I have great news I found it!!!!! I am so relieved, now I can get on with the other preparations for the trip. Only 16 days left.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I have hair

It is true it is growing. For the last couple of months it will grow a little stubble, but then it would fall out again. It has been about a weeks worth of growth and have about 1/8 inch. I talked to the doctors about it last week and they said stranger things have happened. I hope that it sticks around this time and continues to grow.

I have been thinking a lot about my diagnosis this week and I have decided it is all BS. In January they told me 6 months. Well it has been 5 months so far and I am doing well. I am determined to beat this one more time. Third time is a charm and I want to survive this - bad prognosis or not. I am tired all the time from chemo and feel like I could sleep 20 hours a day, but I think that is to be expected with how hard my body is working. Everyone says I look good and have good color. I guess I am starting to feel hopeful. I went to the pulminologist on Wednesday and she said my lungs sound great.

In the last couple of weeks I started thinking about the future. I spent a lot of time in the garden planting flowers. I put in quite a few perennials. I don’t know what this all means, but maybe I will get more time at least, but as I said in my speech on Tuesday, I live for each day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beautiful Sunny Day

Yesterday was a great day. The LIVESTRONG day was awesome. We would have liked to have more people attend, but I believe that those that attended got a lot out of it. I was really nervous about my speech and appreciate all those who helped me with it or just helped me calm down on Monday night. Although, I did not memorize it and read from the paper, I think the speech went really well. It was nice to learn more about LIVESTRONG and the Lance Armstrong foundation as well as area resources. I got pumped up with all the support that is out there.

Speaking of support, I am constantly amazed by the support I get through my friends and especially through St. John’s. I am so blessed to have so many people that care and I want to express my gratitude to my latest benefactor. You know who you are and I thank you for the financial support. The medical expenses and past debt can be daunting and I appreciate your gift.

Only 21 days till Aruba. Sara called me the other day to tell me the temperature in Aruba at most times. We are both getting very excited. I went shopping and bought some clothes that actually fit. This is good and bad. It is nice to have some new clothes that look good and that I am not uncomfortable in, yet now I am not really motivated to lose weight and I have been embracing my gluttony with brownies and ice cream with lots of fudge sauce.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rainy Monday


Even though it is raining, today is a much better day than Friday. As many of you have commented, I was really was having a bad day. My eye is getting better. The antibiotic must be working. It is not swollen anymore and it does not hurt. I go to the eye doctor on Wednesday. I am pretty sure he is going to lance the sty.

Tomorrow is LIVEstrong day. I was asked to say a few words, but I have absolutely no idea what to say. I better figure it out pretty soon, or else I will be winging it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

In a bad mood :(

Well it is official. I have an infected Sty in my eye. Let me tell you this is a painful thing and it is really pissing me off. I am so sick of these additional problems that creep up, it makes me angry. Aren’t I going through enough with the chemo induced nausea and exhaustion? I am starving in the mornings, but don’t want to eat anything because my stomach is too queasy. I am tired all the time, but having trouble sleeping without waking up. I can’t seem to get comfortable. I have mouth sores because of the chemo and my tongue is sensitive to food, heat and cold. I know this is a bitch session, but I think I deserve it. I am fed up. I deserve a break. I know my trip is a silver lining and something to look forward to, but today sucks.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

One thing or another

I am not feeling queasy this morning, but now my eye is bothering me. Yesterday, my left eye started burning me and would hurt if I rubbed my eye. Today it is much worse and somewhat red, swollen and painful. I am going to the doctor this afternoon. I am hoping it is just allergies, but I am afraid it is pink eye. That is the last thing I need. Geez - If it is not one thing it is another. Keep your fingers crossed that it is just allergies and not anything worse.

Last night Jen came over and I did a mini fashion show of my swimsuits for the trip and the new clothes I bought. Just think - four weeks from today I will be sitting on a beach :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Countdown to the trip!!!

I am getting so excited about my trip. This month can’t go fast enough in my world. Sara and I have talked about the excursions we want to take and after talking to others who have gone to Aruba we are thinking about a Jeep tour around the island and a Happy Hour Snorkeling Sail. Thinking about the trip and the fun that we will have is almost making up for the queasiness I feel everyday. The good news is that chemo will stop next week until I get back. I have one more infusion chemo and the pill is 6 weeks on / 6 weeks off. The timing is working perfectly. I have hung up a count down to the trip on my cubicle at work. Only 4 weeks from today, I will be sitting on a beach with my biggest worry being what drink I will order next!!!

I have been very tired lately and have been asleep by 9:30 that last few nights. Course I am not sitting back and taking it easy. I am trying to work full-time, although I worked a couple half days this week. I also have been doing some gardening. My house looks atrocious and I really need to pick up the clutter and put away my laundry. It is convenient to have the laundry basket right by the bed when I get dressed, but it makes more sense to put stuff away. I feel like I am being lazy, but in reality I am not taking it easy enough.

LiveStrong Day - Come and Join me!

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman Proclaims
May 13 LIVESTRONG™ Howard County

Wear Yellow & Join Us on May 13 at 11 AM
at the Lakefront in Downtown Columbia

LIVESTRONG™ Howard County Activities:
· Remarks by County Executive Ken Ulman and others
· Raffle: Autographed Lance Armstrong memorabilia and more!
· LIVE music
· Box lunch special available at Clyde's & Tomato Palace
· With a $10 donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation you will receive a coupon to Clyde's or Tomato Palace for 20% off from May 12 - May 18, 2008.

To participate in LIVESTRONG™ Howard County:
· Sign-up (contact Tessa Goldscher - tessa@ulmanfund.org or 410-964-0202 x103)
· Wear yellow - take a picture and email it to tessa@ulmanfund.org
· Attend lunchtime lakefront gathering - pick up your LIVESTRONG™ wristband & hear about the progress we're making in the fight against cancer!
· Make a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation in support of LIVESTRONG™ Howard County.

More about LIVESTRONG™ Howard County

WHAT: Wear yellow and gather around Columbia's Lakefront in support of those affected by cancer. Join the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, to show support and raise awareness.

Bring your lunch or visit a participating restaurant and enjoy live music.

LIVESTRONG™ Howard County will support LIVESTRONG™ Day, the Lance Armstrong Foundation's (LAF) one-day initiative to unite people affected by cancer and raise awareness and funds for the cancer fight.

On May 13, more than 500 LIVESTRONG™ Day events will take place in communities across the country to raise awareness and funds to support the fight against cancer.

Learn more about LIVESTRONG™ Howard County.

WHERE: Columbia Lakefront (Lake Kittamaquandi)

WHEN: Tuesday, May 13, 2008, at 11:00 AM

WHO: Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, County Executive Ken Ulman, Young Adult Cancer Survivors, and local businesses and organizations

WHY: Unacceptable gaps exist between what we know about preventing, screening for and treating cancer and what we do. These gaps in action are responsible for 180,000 of the 560,000 lives we lose to cancer each year. United we will make cancer a national priority and end needless death and suffering from the disease.

About the Lance Armstrong Foundation
The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) unites people through programs and experiences to empower cancer survivors to live life on their own terms and to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer. The LAF focuses on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors. Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the LAF has raised more than $250 million for the fight against cancer. Join 60 million LIVESTRONG wristband wearers and help make cancer a national priority. Unite and fight cancer at LIVESTRONG.org.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Crazy Weekend.

This was a crazy weekend. Saturday I left my house at 7:30am and did not get home for the day until 10:00pm.

It started out patronizing my mom’s garden club plant sale in Ellicott City. Here is a run down of my schedule for Saturday.

Saturday
6:30 Got out of bed (couldn’t sleep any more)
7:30 Left house
8:00 Garden Cub Plant Sale
9:00 Helped set up for St John’s plant sale
10:15 Back to Garden Club plant sale to deliver Mom some plants from the St John plant sale.
10:30 Visited a friend, another visit to Plant Sale and went to store
12:30 Drove to Baltimore City to visit another friend to see his new house
2:30 Drove home
3:00 Plant flowers in the back yard
4:30 Went back to the Beekman’s to see the prom gathering and helped serve dinner
10:00 Finally got back home
11:00 Went to Sleep

Sunday was more laid back. I was exhausted and paid for my active day on Saturday. I took a nap in my hammock after church and got my first sunburn on my head. I was a little chilly in the shade so I turned around and had my upper body in the sun. I was wearing a knitted hat that I made. The stitch is very loose. I love the hat because it provides cover to the head but has lots of air holes. Well, I found out that those air holes also allow sun in. I have a nice checkerboard design on one side of my forehead and head of really pale skin and sunburn. It is definitely a sight to see. After my nap I spend some time in the garden. Even though I wore a hat, my face got some sun and I have a very red nose this morning.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The good and the bad evens out!

These last couple of weeks has been hard on me. The new chemo regimen is getting to me a little; it makes me very tired and queasy. The problem is I never know when it is going to hit. I had my IV chemo last Thursday on top of the oral chemo and it hit me like a wall on Saturday night. Go figure, usually I react much quicker. Last night I was in bed at 7:30 and asleep by 8:15. I woke up for a while at 10pm, but I went back to sleep and slept until 6am.

I took Tuesday and Wednesday off as FMLA days, to go to a bunch of appointments. On Tuesday when I had some free time I decided to run some errands. When I was leaving Target, I misjudged a turn and hit a curb and blew a tire. As soon as I hit the curb, I thought to myself I was lucky a tire did not blow, but once I got a couple miles down the road I quickly realized I was wrong. I was able to make it to the mall parking lot by Sears and get it fixed. Three hours and $179.00 later, I headed home exhausted. Again I am a magnet for the forces of negativity.

There is a silver lining to this story. Last week a good friend came over all excited about something and wanted to know if there were things I wanted to do. I know she was referring to a “bucket list” (as in the movie), but we both hate that term. She told me that there was somebody that contacted her and wants to send me away on a trip all expenses paid. I can go anywhere in the world that Continental airlines flies. I was blown away. Why would anyone do something so nice and generous for me? Jen told me the people want to remain anonymous because they want this trip to be all about me. I feel very un-deserving to receive such a gift, but I am trying to be a better care receiver.

I am having a ball working with the travel agent to plan the trip. We have it narrowed down to Hawaii, Bermuda or Aruba. I think I am leaning towards an all inclusive resort in Aruba. This is bringing a whole new set of activities up. We are going in early June (my friend Sara from college is going with me) and I realized I am going to need a bathing suit and all the trappings that go with a tropical vacation. I can’t wait to go. I definitely need a break where my biggest worry of the day is where are we going to eat and do we sit by the pool or on the beach. I guess that although a bunch of pain in the ass things have happened in the last couple of months, not to mention being sick that there is a lot of good in the world too!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Counting my blessings

The last couple of days have been hard ones. I have not been feeling very good and have felt kind of down. Saturday was a girl’s day and it was a good day. I had lunch with two great friends and then one friend and I went to the spa for hot stone massages and facials. I planned in an afternoon nap and then went to another friend’s house for the evening. Unfortunately, soon after I got to there I started to feel poorly. Laura (who drove me) could tell after a while that I was getting tired and we went home around 9pm.

It seemed so unfair to me that I had an evening to spend with a great group of people and I was not feeling good. Saturday night was a rough one and I did not sleep very well. I got up for church on Sunday because I was going to help usher. I felt like crap and ended up only staying around 20 minutes at the church and came home to bed.

I spent the afternoon at a friend’s house planning their garden. After a trip to Home Depot to look at plants and a quick trip by my parents house I was exhausted and in need of another nap. I napped before and after dinner at the Beekman’s house and then came home and slept all night.

On Monday I went to work, but felt pretty crappy and left work around 11am. After almost falling asleep at the wheel on the drive home, I took yet another nap and then worked from home the rest of the day.

Today (Tuesday) I worked a full day, but came home and slept for 2 hours. That is the only reason I am still awake at 11pm. It is unbelievable to me how tired I am. My back is still killing me so I am taking the pain meds, but I can’t take them at work or I am too loopy. I am starting to feel the side effects for the new medication. I feel like I have the flu, achy, tired, chills, sweats, and of course I am nauseous. Apparently the side effects can mimic the symptoms of the flu. I do not have a fever, but my mouth has been bothering me again. My tongue is extra sensitive and my throat is sore when I eat, but okay if I just have liquids. In fact I am extra thirsty. I feel as though I have no energy and am sleeping all the time, while life passes me by and I don’t want to miss any moment of life.

I was sitting here tonight feeling sorry for myself. I guess I still am since I bitched for 5 paragraphs about how crappy the last couple of days are. But tonight, I also realized how blessed I am to have so many great people in my life. I would not even be able to name them all, but tonight alone 3 great people dropped off things for me and I talked to two others that were checking in on me. Yesterday another friend dropped off some groceries and I talked to two others. Since Friday night, I have seen or talked to at least 25 friends that I am so lucky to have in my life. Each one brings different things to me, whether it is tangible items, help or just laughter and smiles.

Tonight I started a section in my gratitude journal for people. I have been writing down all the things that I thankful for like chicken soup, flannel sheets, heated throw blankets, knitted hats, ginger snaps and much more, but I find that I even though I pray and thank God for all my friends I have not listed them out, so tonight I have started. I am making a list of all the angels that are in my life each day that call, visit, or just make me smile. Thank you to all my angels and God bless you for being in my life, you make such a big difference, bring me great happiness and peace. I would not be able to do this without each of you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mid day / Mid Night

I am finding that the hardest time for is Middle of the Day 1-3pm and Middle of the Night. In the afternoon I seem to crash after lunch. I miss my afternoon naps. Conversely, I find myself waking up between 1am – 3am. Last night I was unable to get back to sleep so I surfed the web some, knitted and tried to tire out my brain to be able to get back to sleep.

It seems weird to me that 12 hours apart I have such different energy levels. I would really like to switch them so I am awake in the afternoon and sleeping soundly at night. It does not seem like it is so much to ask. The new medication makes me a little restless and I find I am not content sitting around, but rarely have the energy to do anything else.

Wow – It seems like I am really in a bitchy mood today.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
Updated 4/15/08 9pm

I thought I was done whining for the day, but apparently there are greater forces at work. This afternoon I left work 30 minutes early to get a blood test and then I on my home I was rear ended. So I guess being in an accident warrants a little more whining for the day. I am sore already, my neck, back and shoulder hurt. It is just not what I needed in my life right now. Another pain in the ass (or neck) thing to deal with. Not just the physical pain, but taking my car in to get fixed, etc, etc. I am really believing that negative forces are at work around me. Well, enough for now. I promise this is the last on my bitching for the day. I am going to take my pain meds and muscle relaxer and go to bed. Let’s hope that tomorrow is a better day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

When the spirit moves you.

Last week was a hard week for me. It was the second week I was back to full time at work and I started a new oral chemo that is experimental. I did not feel too many side effects in the beginning of the week except being tired, but once Thursday came I was achy, tired, the nausea started and basically felt like crap. I think I was asleep by 9pm most nights and slept for 12 hours straight on Saturday/Sunday.

Sunday night my church had a service for people that have been affected by Cancer, whether it is having cancer, being a survivor, or known someone who has lost the battle. I realized I fit into all three categories. There were cards for parishioners to fill out and name love ones who has/had cancer.

I was not sure that I was going to have the strength to stay through the whole service and I started crying before the service even started. I did remember my tissues this week. Luckily I had two great friends that sat right next to me and held my hand when I needed support. I sobbed through most the service and at sometimes uncontrollably, but I have learned that it is ok to cry in front of others, especially at church. They had a laying on of hands for healing and we filled a cross with flowers.

Singing is one of my favorite activities and singing at church has always made me happy and feel closer to god. I think it is totally unfair that almost every church song makes me cry. I try to sing them and often just break down in tears. It almost feels like the one thing I can do is taken away.

It was during the prayers when they spoke the names of everyone on the cards that were submitted when I really fell apart. When I heard my name I was just consumed with peace, sadness and anger all at the same time. How great that people were praying for me, but why should they, why can I not get my miracle? It was when they spoke the names for all who have died that I really lost it. I do not want to be on that list the next time they have this service. I have so many more things I want to do and most importantly more lessons I need to learn before I am ready to be an angel. It is just not fair

The amazing thing is I was so upset during the service, but when I left and went to my sister’s house to celebrate her birthday I felt and incredible sense of peace. That peace has continued overnight and I have not felt sick at all today. Maybe the prayers helped, maybe if I have a positive spirit and get plenty of sleep the pain and emotional turmoil will not get to me. Maybe I will get my miracle, even if it is just a miracle of more time. I am not going to get my hopes up too much, but it feels to be feeling good and not feel like the cancer cloud is looming overhead defining my every moment.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Well Enough for Treatment

It looks like I have finally kicked the bronchitis. It hung around for 6 weeks. I am feeling better now and I just passed my blood test. It is official, I start my new chemo next Monday and then a week later I go back to my normal chemo routine. I am not sure how I feel about it. It is important to get back on treatment, but I enjoyed feeling better last weekend and not really looking forward to feeling like crap again. It seems weird that last week I was praying to get better so I could start chemo again. Something is very wrong with that.

I am having a few ladies over on Friday for some wine and laughter. I am trying to tell myself that the house does not need to be perfect or even vacuumed and I don’t need to go out of my way to cook stuff, but the old me wants things to be perfect. The point of ladies night is to just chill out with friends, relax and have fun. We have it at my house so I don’t have to travel and there are always someone that pitches in cleaning up or rather cleans up everything and makes me sit. I think I like the impromptu parties better because I don’t have time to stress about it.

Tonight is physical therapy and tomorrow I am going to see Camelot at the Hippodrome. A friend gave me tickets and I am really looking forward to it, plus I have a very cute escort. I will probably be exhausted on Saturday, but that is what weekends are for right?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Great weekend :)

I think I have finally beaten this sickness (knock on wood). I am feeling great this weekend and went out both Friday and Saturday. It was great. I also have plans for today.

It has been so frustrating feeling so poorly and not being able to do anything about it except rest. I have either been out of work completely or part-time since February 19th. This is the most time I have missed from work ever, including my surgery in July.

Friday I left work at 3:30 and I just was not ready to go home. I told myself I would flip a coin and if it came up heads I would go to over to Peter’s Pub for one beer. The problem was by the time I found a coin (and did get heads) I was already in the car and halfway 3 floors down in the parking garage. My next excuse was if I found a parking spot on the 2nd or 3rd floor I would park and go. Well as luck would have it I found one on the 2nd floor close to the stair that leads to Peter’s. I guess the moon and stars were aligned and I was supposed to get a beer.

I know the bartender at Peter’s so I did not feel funny going to a bar by myself. Although I did call a friend of mine, but he was too busy buying paint for his new house. I struck up a couple conversations with my bar mates and talked to a couple co-workers and staying a lot longer than planed. Four hours, 4 beers and a shot of Irish whiskey and plans for lunch on Sunday I left the bar and drove home. I had two offers to see bands that night in Fell’s point and in Northern Baltimore. By the time I got home, got some food, I realized there was no way I would make the 8:30 show. I was still debating about going to the 10:00. At 9:30 I flipped another coin and yet again got heads so I was getting ready to go our when a friend called on her way home and I convinced her to go out with me. The bar was cool and the music was alright. Unfortunately the main band did not come on until 11:45 and I was quickly getting tired. I stayed until 12:30 and headed home.

Wow that is a lot of words for less than 12 hours. I went to a meeting the other day and the word of the day was loquacious. I would say that describes me well. On Saturday I went to acupuncture and then chauffeured my sister around going to Costco and BJ’s. We filled up my SUV with Diapers and food items, mostly for her. By the time I drover her home and unloaded the car it was 5:30 and I was pooped. I took a quick nap and then went to dinner and a movie with a friend. Wow another late night out. I have not done that in ages. I was tired, but boy it felt good.

Today I came into work for a couple hours to set up my new cubicle. I moved from the 5th to the 14th floor over the weekend. I am going for sushi at 12:30pm. I have a couple of hours of work to do and then I am having Sunday night dinner at a friend’s. They promised southern fried chicken. Yum, let’s see if that is on the menu tonight. I would love to try and get a nap in before dinner, but will have to see how lunch and getting some work done goes.

Since tomorrow is my first day back to work full-time I need to make sure I get a good night’s rest. I will be talking to the doctor tomorrow and there is a good chance I will be starting chemo this week. Since this new chemo is experimental, we are not sure of the side effects so this may be my last really good weekend for a while.