Not so nice changes

After I have had such a nice week off chemo and doing what I like best, I had to return to my 6th cycle of chemo. To ordinary folks that means 18  of those cocktails. That day was uneventful, aside the toxins.

I woke up 2 nights later to use the bathroom. I usually go in the dark, since I know my way so well. This time, I felt strange and thought it was my eyesight and the dark. I turned the light on and the whole room was spinning. Like a BAD drunk. But, I had to go and bumped against the wall and could barely get there. Back in bed, it continued. I tried placing my foot on the floor and sat up but this got worse. Little, black spot, cold and clammy and I thought I’d pass out.

Was getting anxious and freaking out a bit. Who do you call, at this ungodly hour? It was 1:00 o’ clock. Went mentally through the list of my friends, who had assured me that I could call ANYTIME but they all lived a distance away and I thought I needed someone fast.

So. I called my nice neighbor, Nancy. Asked her if she would come over. She was here fast, in nightgown. Sat on the other side of the bed and rubbed my back . I was getting nauseous as well but took some hash oil and that worked in a few, miracilous minutes. At least no vomiting the bed.

She asked, ‘what do you want to do? ‘  I said, I didn’t know but we could call Doc’s office here and night operator would know how to get ahold of one.

Luckily, my old doc was on night shift and therefor I did not have to explain all the way back to Adam and Eve.  Although, he said, he could not determine over the phone what this episode was. I should come to ER. This ‘could be Vertigo’ OR this ‘could be a tumor on my brain!!’ Great choices in the middle of the night to be told! ( I tallied up the several thousands of dollars this would cost.) I said, NO, I think I’ll wait till morning and come in. If I pass out, my neighbors will drag me to ER.

Nancy stayed with me all night. I told her to try to get some sleep, I would wake her if something happens. The hash oil put me to sleep as well. Woke early and though I was still dizzy, it was not as much. At 8:00 A.M I got a call from doc’s office with appointment.

I went (different doc) and they took Vitals (bloodpressure, pulse and finger stick to see how blood thinners work. He had no clue as to what to contribute this episode to. “Probably from chemo’, he said and that was that.

I hung around on my couch pretty much all day. Was listless, fatigued and still off kilter. Tried to figure out, as so many times, what could have happened and why? Well, I don’t have the answer either.

Went on with my business. Tried to clean house a bit, had to go shopping, cook something. Every time I go to the store, prices have gone up. A few tomatos are $3.99 (Do they really think that one cent difference to $4.00, makes us buy with joy??)

Cameron came Monday eve to take me to chemo Tuesday. I was a bit anxious as CA 125 blood test was on the plan. (To measure cancer marker.) I packed my ‘chemo bag with bottled water, a few yoghurts and cherries and 2 pieces of coffee cake. I can’t leave to eat and I can’t eat what they offer. Salad and an awful potatoe bisque.

I was kidding with receptionis as I had not received the usual ‘reminder to come’ call. I said, Chris didn’t call but I came anyway. They said laughing, they were happy to see me. Lab tech came and we filled 4 vials of blood. (I’m thinking, each week that much, wonder what to eat/drink to replendish? Beets came to mind.)

Then visit with Oncologist and retelling of episode. She also thinks, it’s an accumulative effect of the chemo. I said, I think I reached my tether with chemo and I hopefully could stop and CA 125 would be in normal range!  She said, will you kill me if it isn’t? I said NO, that’s against the law and I want to go to Europe NOT jail.

Then we went to the infusion room and hooked up for my cocktails. Cameron went outside to work and calls.

After a little while I saw Oncologist come in and holding a piece of paper. I looked at her and said, YES? what is it? She shook her head slightly and for a second a cold hand twisted my heart. IT WENT UP!! I felt a little betrayed by my body! Ok. Ok. I said, 8 points is not that much. We all know that this is not an exact science and other factors could have contributed. Change in diet, which has me upset since all the ‘healthful foods are almost off the table. Because of the vitamin K and blood clotting factor. Also, taking Warfarin. I’m disappoined but this will not change my plans. Instead of waiting to the end of chemo (which we anticipated by having a good number) to have a CT scan to see what the tumor is doing, she scheduled a CT scan right away and as soon as they call with appointment, I’ll have that to contend with.

Cameron came back in and saw the expression on my face. He hugged me and said, this is just a temporary, little set back. We’ll do this too.

I had sent a message to my support group, my TEAL sisters and immediately the comments and loving support poured in as was the same with my FB friends. Nothing from some family members but it seems they have a different priority.

My good friend Bonnie came with food. We had decided on a baked potatoe with all the trimmings, since this is what I’m allowed to eat. Had a good visit and talked this new thing over. It’s so good to have good friends.

I have decided to regroup and circle the waggons. I will renew my efforts and eat as closely healthy as I can. I KNOW this makes a difference. I have proven it before. This is just a little ‘hiccup’. I have 4 weeks before the next CA 125 and hopefully can walk as leg and foot feel better. Some may think that this sounds like ‘Denial’ but  I asure you, it’s not. Coincidentally, I saw a man on T.V. who said, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING THAT YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO’ , as he levitated several feet off the ground. The MIND is more powerful than anything. We just have to learn to harness more of it. “You can think yourself well and you can think yourself sick.” I will do what I can.


Hot days and cool cooking

The continued heat makes everything harder to do. There is a certain inertia, when you step outside and a hot slap assaults your face. No rain since May. I am going walking early in the morning while it’s cooler.

Last Tuesday, was chemo day and a friend drove me to Grand Junction, so Cameron can have some days ‘off’. I was so sure, that the scheduling nurse had made a mistake, I called her over to ask what happened to July 9th? I didn’t want to get it all confused and somehow miss having a chemo. She and another nurse checked and it was my ‘chemo brain’ that had lost an entire visit there.

While I was waiting in the lobby of the cancer center to sign in, a woman spoke to me. ‘Excuse me,’ she said, ‘where did you get that shirt?’ At first, I was bit puzzled because this is an old shirt, white with two colorful parrots painted onto the right front. ‘Oh, my niece painted them a long time ago. She’s very talented’, I said smiling. 

She really liked that shirt. A man was sitting across from her and a younger one opposite. She asked me, what I was doing there? Waiting on someone? I told her, no, I’m waiting on chemo. She said, you are too cheerful to have chemo. Ohhh, I said, ‘not always.’ But, I can decide, each time with which degree of fear, dislike, etc. I approach this treatment. I then told her of the lifestyle changes I had made. I told them about walking the Camino de Santiago. I really had their attention then. She told me, that her husband also was just diagnosed with colon cancer.They were there to find out all the hard stuff. Stage, treatment, possible surgery, etc. They looked like they been hit. Which, of course they were.

Before too long, they were called to their oncologist’s appointment. I quickly tore a bank deposit slip (had my adress, phone number on it) and told them, that if I could help in any way, to call.

Meanwhile, it was the 4th of July celebration, which I was invited, first by the neighbors and then later that afternoon, at a friend’s house. Ate hot dogs, a burger, beans, and 6 salad leaves (because of the Vitamin K thing.) Then, they talked me into a slice of home made apple pie. At first, I was steadfast and said, ‘no thanks, I think I quit while I’m ahead.’ Well, that didn’t last long when I heard all these happy sighs. So, I did eat a slice… with whipped cream and a dollop of ice cream. My Goodness. Nausea hit like a well aimed arrow and I ran for the bathroom. Luckily, I had my hash oil pen and immmediately took some deep puffs. After a few, I coud feel the nausea receding. Just like someone threw a soft blanket over it. A little shaky but otherwise restored, I went back to the kitchen. I tell you for sure… Pure Magic’. I was upset with myself for eating like that. I had not had a hot dog in over three years. I had not eaten as much in long time.’ If you dance, you got to pay the Piper’.

Yesteray, I was invited to a concert, given by a very talented Bob Milner. Plays some ‘mean’ piano tunes. From Blues, to rag time to Boogie-Woogie. Had us snap fingers and tap toes. Nice break in an otherwise boring Sunday.

Came home and sat back with a good movie, when the phone rang it was the son of the people I’d met at the cancer center. He told me, that theye were now ready to change lifestyle and would I consider coming to Grand Junction and show them how to do this. Of course, I said, I would be delighted. (Of course, they will pay me.) He told me, that his parents (as well as he) really liked my positive outlook inspite of the C world. His father could really benefit to be around me, especially since this was my 2nd time around, dancing with the ’emperor of all maladies’. I told him that having cancer was not automatically a death sentence. It is a definite change in ones life but we have a choice how to react.

We decided on Saturday. Sure hope my car will not be expensive to fix as I first, drive to Telluride to visit and bring (frozen) dinners to Cameron and hopefully go up into the mountains and see those awesome wild flowers. ( I really want to see Cameron singing Karaoke.)

I am thrilled to be able to ‘cook’ and teach about healthier lifestyle, so at least bump up the Immune system to have a fighting chance.

I am still struggling on finding something to eat which does not throw off the ‘Cumadin’ blood thinning med. Can’t eat too many greens. Can’t eat too much fruit which contains K. I never even thought about ‘K’ and now it absolutely controls my life.

I am excited to design menus for my new friends. I love having a ‘purpose’. And, just in time, my leg feels much better to where I can stand, walk for more than 30 min. Life is good.