~ chemo #5 ~ postponed again…

This morning I went for the usual pre chemo blood work and received a call within 2 hours. My neutrophils have dropped again to a very low level. So I am postponed another week. Next week I will have blood work again and see the doctor to evaluate before we decide to proceed with treatment. 

For the next week I will stay home and not have any visitors. This is the time I will be reaching out to friends to shop and deliver for me. 

Please send positive thoughts my way. 

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂

~ gratitude and the geek in me…

Over the last few months being grateful for the little things is something I think of daily. In a world where we can pay to ‘enhance’ almost any part of ourselves, I look at myself and appreciate simply having eyebrows, eyelashes, finger nails and fuzzy hair on my head. My eyes are clear and shiny and the large black bags I carried under my eyes since January are gone. I think it’s great that I have an appetite and have gained 5 pounds! How often do you hear a woman say that? On days that my energy is up I do a little exercise and have started attending a weekly yoga class. Some days I do more restful things like read and knit socks. It’s all good!

I am so grateful for family and friends that continue to support me in so many ways. Little surprises continue to arrive in the mail and add sparkle to my days. I have the best neighbour in the world! She does so much to help me around my yard and even removes dead mice from the traps in the basement. Yes I am wimpy about mice, even when they are dead they are just creepy! Vodka is not doing his job as a cat. 

All along the geek in me has been fascinated with my body’s response to this adventure. Since I began to feel ill in January I have listened to my body and acknowledged emotional and physical feelings, good and bad. I am amazed that in the midst of treatment my skin is clear and my frown lines have relaxed. I have more energy than I thought I would, based on what the doctors tell you to expect. Having said that, on days that my body tells me to rest, I listen, drop everything and take a nap. What I notice most are the markers left by chemo #1, most noticeable was the hair loss at exactly two weeks after initial treatment. As time has gone on I notice the zebra stripe in my eyebrows, the individual hairs have a clear spot and then a change in texture. This is where they break off or become thicker while new hair continue to grow. I take this as an opportunity to repair over plucked eyebrows. My eyelashes seem confused, while I still have eyelashes they are shorter and thinner with a few old long lashes remaining. I find it so interesting to observe these changes. I have always been body aware and more than ever appreciate my health and the little things about my body that people so often take for granted.

I believe that I am in the healing phase. In my mind the wild blueberry is gone and cells are repairing. In the last few weeks my hair has begun to grow back, I take this as a sign that I am becoming healthier and my immune system is strengthening. I also take Vodka’s behaviour as a good sign. Prior to my being ill he used to always jump or crawl onto my chest to snuggle when I am lying on the sofa. For the last few months he has sat beside me, and made a habit of walking around my body. Well, a few days ago he crawled onto my chest to snuggle like he used to. I think he senses that my health is better. 

I continue to think positive thoughts and visualize returning to my natural state of health. As I head into chemo #5 this Wednesday I will be visualizing myself healthy, happy and enjoying life…likely in Italy. 😉

I sparkle on…one day at a time.  🙂

~ chemo #5 ~ postponed…

My treatment has been postponed because my neutrophil level has dropped since Tuesday. With Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday I am likely looking at the week of October 19 for the next treatment. Such is life, my body isn’t ready so I will relax, read and continue knitting socks. 

I am not surprised that my body is not ready, I feel tired and it seems like I just had the last treatment. This is the first time my energy level feels noticeably low…time for more positive thinking and more sparkles!! Maybe even a turkey dinner this weekend 🙂

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂

~ chemo #5 – the waiting game again…

The time between treatments seems to fly by. I just start to feel better and it is time to have blood analysis and a check up with the doctor again. Today was that day and as usual my neutrophil level is low again. This time I am to go in early on Thursday and have my blood tested again, if the levels are good we proceed with treatment otherwise it will be rescheduled for next week. 

It is a little defeating each time this happens. I am mentally prepared for the appointments as scheduled and then I wait. I would almost prefer just to be rescheduled and then I can rest longer. Oh well, this is the way it goes and being these are the last two treatments…I remain positive and will get through this!!

I spoke too soon about feeling good after the last treatment, I had a rough week and ended up feeling quite poorly. Each round I feel like I have learned how to handle the side effects better and then I am surprised by how they can drag me down. Oh the things we take for granted about how our bodies function. Regardless I remain optimistic that I can handle the yucky days and I still laugh and smile. I always have hope. 

I am excited that my hair has begun to grow back. Now my head is covered in hair that is a variety of lengths and it is quite thick.  To me it all looks translucent and glistens like a baby chick in the sunlight. It’s a great look on me. ha! 

I sparkle on…one day at a time.    🙂

~ chemo #4 – the warm and fuzzy one…

This round has gone quite well, side effects are still raging but I feel that I am managing them better. I won’t say I feel great since the cumulative effect of chemotherapy is taking a toll on my poor digestive system. I am sure that I can heal my body after all this is done. 

The weather has become cool with the arrival of fall and my house is much cooler at night. Each of the last three nights I have woken up to a sweet act of kindness. Without disturbing me at all, Vodka places himself on top of my pillow and wraps his furry body around my fuzzy head. He must think I am cold without the usual fur on my head.  😉 

It has been interesting to observe Vodka’s behave since I have been ill. For a large cat with an even bigger personality he has been incredibly intuitive and gentle. He no longer walks across my body when I am lying down, but rather curls up beside me whenever he can. On treatment days he notices that I am not quite myself and comes to sit quietly with me. He is the best little buddy.

Sometimes unconditional furry love is the best medicine.  

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂

~ chemo #4 is on as scheduled…

It seems to be my pattern that the results from the blood analysis show low levels, but they are good enough to proceed. So tomorrow I will put on my superwoman shirt and think good thoughts. As usual I am all over the place today getting ready for the days ahead. 

Since receiving the results from the CT scan I have also learned that the final PET scan will be about 6 weeks after the 6th session of chemo. Somewhere between now and then I will speak with a radiation specialist about the pros and cons of radiation therapy. I told my doctor the final size of the mass with be that of a wild blueberry and there will be no need for radiation. She smiled and said whatever works for you. What can I say, I handle this experience my way and it’s working for me!!

Wish me luck that #4 goes well.  

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂

~ the halfway happy dance…

Today I received the results of the CT scan I had earlier this week to measure the halfway progress. The news is very exciting! Even the words the doctor used to describe the progress convey excitement at my body’s response to the treatment. “There has been a dramatic response with a significant decrease in size of the mass.” In May the mass measured 7.8 x 5.7 x 8.3 cm …the size Now is 5.1 x 4.7 x 1.6cm !!!!  WooHoo!!!  

I told my doctor it was the size of a mandarin, even better a small mandarin!!!! 😉

This is fantastic news heading into chemo #4 next week. 

I sparkle on…one day at a time.    🙂