Author Archives: puck

Recap of May-Week #3

Mother’s Day was really nice. I was starting to feel good again and being less tired. It was a quiet day filled with the kids playing and my dear husband cooking us food throughout the day. Even had a nice breakfast in bed surprise and felt like Christmas when I got downstairs. This week gauged where I was in relations to pre-cancer. Rightfully, it reminded me when I had to rest.

I was able to enjoy the first part of the week relatively pain free. Then, the lovely phantom pains kicked in followed by more random pains. They are bearable, so, the week continued on relatively normal.

Fatigue was the biggest obstacle, which taken care by frequent naps, was no problem. Otherwise, I was pretty much incoherent by dinner time. (Yes, I did manage some late night communications; how I did it, I don’t recall…)

Blood is still holding steady; always a good sign. Chemo is scheduled for next week and am already feeling the anxiety and excitement. There is also talk of another chemotherapy that’s somewhat the same procedure as a spinal tap. [Future post will tell you all the gory details of my experience with the spinal tap.]

Speaking of incoherent mind, this brain is quickly fading and nervous system is misfiring. It is time for me to sleep the day away…

Prelude to the cancer…

By now, you are wondering “How? Why?”. Looking back, cancer’s been in me since September 2011. I was constantly tired and not feeling myself at times. I was also starting to ache with arthritis-like pains. We took it as part of recovering from pregnancy #2. Our boy was born in June and figured it wouldn’t last too long; I would get my strength back.

However, it aggressively attacked my bones in January. I finally went to the ER in March after spending the day before Costco shopping. (Yes, folks, I was shopping–full load.) I had spent the week prior doing my usual business, running errands, kids and et al. while taking longer and longer breaks in between them and eventually, gasping for every breath I took to get through the day. It was a Tuesday morning when I called my family and asked if they can come and help me. The hospital was close by, but my Self was done. I no longer wanted to deal with it alone; I could no longer help myself.

Hindsight, my family saw something was seriously wrong. No color to my face. I would stop every few steps to catch my breath and they patiently waited for me while I packed myself for ER. My loving husband had also returned home from work that day, even though I had told him things would be fine. (I’m a lousy liar.) At the hospital, things seemed to quickly spiral down to an even more urgent need to tend to me. One nurse who saw me dubbed me, “Hemoglobin 5.” What she and all of us didn’t know, I was really hemoglobin 3.7. (To give you a better sense of where I was at, normal, healthy people run around 11-14.) I had lost alot of blood. The medical staff had a million questions for me and eventually were baffled as to: 1) How I managed to live my life at 3.7, 2) Where/how was I losing the blood and 3) What was the cause of this???

A blood transfusion got me back to my anemic level and by week’s end, a bone marrow biopsy had revealed the true cause of my illness. Stage IV, aggressive B-cell lymphoma. The suspense was over.

April existed for cancer. It became an almost daily visit to some doctor or perform some procedure prior to my chemotherapy regiment. I wanted April to go away. We hit a snag with one of the procedures, the Spinal tap. Migraine headaches are minor compared to spinal headaches. This also bumped up the chemo treatment early and before I knew it, I was headache-free, start of chemotherapy #1 and delayed port insert. I think I had an out-of-body experience by this point. It was fast lane all over again, but with cancer.

Details: Spinal tap hell

This week was a week never to be forgotten. It’s not 9/11 memorial type, but it’s worth noting that no one should endure this pain.

Personally, I enjoy psychology. Human mind intrigues me. The spinal tap headache, did not. It was a procedure to test for possible brain tumor. I really did not care, only the fact I will have a needle in my spine.

Needle + Spine = Epidural + Baby

The reward here was not as tangible as a baby and I did not feel very compelled to do it. We did it for precautionary steps. Prepare for the worst. The side effects of this procedure was “rare” and headaches would be a minor inconvenience. Unfortunately, my recovery time was too short, which led to this nasty obstacle. It turned out to be a major inconvenience, leaving me bedridden for a few days, hidden away in our darken bedroom. My head hurt a lot. My brain itself felt like a deflated ball, at worst, a swooshing goop of jello slowly draining out of my head. Everything bothered me and, like a migraine, I couldn’t stand the light nor any noise the most. Driving around town was utterly miserable.

My rule of thumb with any sickness befallen to me was to wait 3 days. It should go away in 3 days. I was sadly mistaken. It was 4 days of constant, unimaginable pain. I thought I was going insane. I was told that the brain can only handle one pain at a time with the body. There were more than one pain going on neck up; The skin became uncomfortable, the skull was hurting, brain like jello, the eyes burned to see any light and ears were pounding with pressure.

In the end, I was admitted to the hospital to remedy it. It was a quick procedure. Another needle in the spine, draw blood from a vein, put some blood back into the spine and viola! Headache be gone! The doctor kept asking if I was feeling alright and all I could do was whiplash my head in excitement. Amazing! A drop of my blood fixes psychosis.

Duly noted.

Funny things on the way to hair loss

Like David Letterman has his Top 10 list of whatever, this is my list of funny things that happen on the way to hair loss:

  • I grab for my hairband whenever I see it or think I should put my hair up.
  • I wash my face carefully so I don’t wet my hair/line.
  • Since there’s less competition up there, some of the stubs have grown 1/2″ tall!
  • I was told I have the classic man’s hair loss pattern. [Perhaps it’s universal?]
  • I was asked if I had dyed my hair recently. [The stubs look lighter.]

So there you have it. It’s not much. But I’m sure more will come as I travel through this adventurous journey. 😛

Almost Normal Today

I have to say, today was the first I have ever felt like a normal person. I was able to have a day where I almost did everything I would have done before cancer.  I was pretty darn excited. There were a couple of times I had to catch my breath, but it was okay. I was able to rest as well which was very nice, thanks to my dear husband. My blood draw got moved to today in case I ever need a transfusion, it’s all done within the work week. Random note: This medical facility reminds me of college. It’s busy as a beehive Monday through Thursday. Friday? Ghost town. How silly is that. 😛

I also got good news of my blood still being stable: Hemoglobin 9 and my platelets still look lovely! Can’t ask for more. 🙂 If my energy is like it is today, this week will be a good week for me to catch up on the things I had missed the last couple of months. Yikes! If I’m really daring, I may try to plan our meals again… O.0

Today. Was a good day. 😀

Recap of May-Week #2

Simply put, it was all about pain management and the limits of the week after chemotherapy. One has to resolve in understanding it’s recovery week. I, for one, have no concept of that. Well, children have no concept of that either. This week’s doctor’s visit was the first time I even comprehended what was being said. (I had questions!) I now have to remind myself that these nasty pains I experience days #5-7 are from the Neulesta shots. Yes, I wait almost a week before I am in a bugger of a pain. In addition, I felt like Superwoman on day #2 and continued to carry on my motherly duties days #3-4. w00t! A new lesson in pain management. I was given the choice of continuing these shots or wait longer to administer if my body decides to be lazy. We shall see come next treatment.

With this 2nd treatment, I am hoping to finally find that delicate balance between the unknown and having a darn routine/schedule. As some of you know, I’m a particular person. I work hard to keep our lifestyle. 🙂 It just seems there are still a lot of new that I would like some of my old back. Frustration almost ran rampant here.

I am already looking forward to the next treatment. In some ways, I’m like my doctor–anxious to see what data/results comes out of my body. I know he probably has a thesis/article all planned out for this. His excitement showed a bit more this past appointment. There were good news as well. My platelets have gone completely back to normal. I don’t know how they work exactly, but he informed me the last blood drawn showed numbers exceeding his expectations. 🙂 🙂  Perhaps with the next treatment, I can update you all real time! 😀

By week’s end, I was able to do things like I would. Our house was filled with children’s screams and laughter for an impromptu play date. I had a really great time hanging out with my epic friend and her kids and we sushi binge! I am still here, feeling great tonight after having an incredibly beautiful Mother’s Day given to me by my ever so loving husband and crazy kids. 😛

I am looking [hoping] forward to a productive week. I still owe library dues… >,<

Recap of Apr/May 2012 week

Sorry, horrible title. I’m not quite imaginative–just yet. This week was a lot of hurry up and wait moments. Blood transfusion happened on Thursday. Chemotherapy on Friday. Living a normal life on Saturday. 3 days of jam-packed, fun-filled, adrenaline rush and hey! can we have anymore adjectives added here!!! (Phew, found the funny bone though.)  Perhaps my thoughts of a cancer patient being completely bed-ridden for days on end is at odds.  But I must say, the body does let you know when rest is a must and the sudden “breakthrough pains” are no fun either. I am taking my pills like a good girl should, though I look forward to the days where there’s less of them. It’s a regiment I do not like doing.

Anyways, a funny thing happened on the way of hair loss. I was shedding beyond the pets in the house. That was up to Wednesday. Shed no more I am come Thursday morning. Video to be posted soon.

Well, time to stuff my face with some protein since that’s been my biggest challenge. Actually, eating in general has been a challenge. Worse than being pregnant. And I unfortunately still crave sushi (a big no no for me right now). Even though I have carte blanche in eating whatever, I find my self eating like Tweety Bird. If you have a suggestion, please, let me know. I haven’t tried too many shakes, so, that’s my fault. 😛

Thank You’s and Acknowledgements

I haven’t publicly said this and I should now. Acknowledgement to those who have been detrimental in my onset of a roller coaster ride:

  • My dear husband – Overnight, he became a fulltime stay-at-home Dad and a fulltime employee at the same time. Talk about a horrible promotion. Without him, I would be that bed-ridden cancer patient who believes nothing. You are my everything.
  • My children – They are unfortunately having to grow up a little bit faster without my help. The sibling bond has never been stronger. Without them, my life would be empty of their craziness and laughter.
  • My best friend – She has been unconditional with herself the first day we met (and it was not pleasant, mind you). Wiser beyond her age. Without her, I would never have understood what Family really is.
  • My sister-in-law – I have a sister! How rocking is that? It’s my dream come true. Without her, well, without her is just not cool. 🙂
  • My mom – Well, she’s mom. She rescues her children. And I’m grateful.
  • My brothers – Thank you for being there for me when I was rarely there for you.
  • My Y mommas – You accepted me for who I am and always there when I needed to vent my nonsense. Without you ladies, I would already be on the 5 o’clock news!
  • My husband’s office mates & manager – Thank you for making our lives easier with awesome meals! It beats the standby chicken nuggets. 😀 We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and unconditional support.
  • My nurse advocate – I’m thankful I didn’t turn down this great resource. Thank you for giving me the confidence in this journey.
  • You all – There are a lot of you and I want to thank you for your out pour of prayers, support and hooking us up with yummy meals and desserts, and taking care of our kids when we were on our many medical visits.

🙂 Thank You! 🙂

[Lack of] Preparing for Chemo #2

Since this whole thing started, I can hardly remember a day where I felt normal. This week seems to be an even bigger blur than last. Keeping up with eating, hydrating, rest and doing all the normal stuff is even harder than just keeping up with the normal stuff.  The end of this week is when chemo starts up again. Is my body ready for it? Probably not. Mentally ready? I can hardly wait.

Presumably, my blood transfusion should occur before chemo. But with most things in my life, I have little obstacles. You see, I have special blood. They call it antibodies. I have enough to make it a bit more difficult to find; not too hard, just takes a bit more time. While waiting for this, we can see the difference in the way I think (which becomes lacking) and the things I do (more like, I don’t do). Writing this entry is hard. Grammar and logic guides me little and I may ramble on like a grumpy old folk. Not having a full tank of blood can become fascinating.

Hopefully, I get to be topped off today and not wait any longer. I’d like to spend the next couple of days like a functioning citizen, crack a few jokes and jam all the protein I can before the next battle.  Oh, and this hair shedding business…no joke from the doctor when he said, “On Day 16, you [start to] lose your hair.”

I want my blood soon.