Friday, July 17, 2009


Recap of treatments 6-10

Treatment 6 found me sick only a day after treatment - just overall feeling lousy. Ended up with sores in my mouth and throat and had to get antifungal to treat it. Also started having ache on right side of stomach - where my gallbladder used to be. The only day I felt decent was Tuesday afternoon.

Treatment 7 was knees swelled up as well as my hands and face. I couldn't walk from one room to another without being out of breath, heart pounding, and sweating profusely. It was strangely similar to a panic attack feeling - remembered that this is how my sister-in-law felt when she had congestive heart failure. Little scary... Ended up getting put on lasix, on top of the hydroclorathiazide (HCTZ) that I already take to get rid of excess water. At least it did the trick and the swelling went down.

Treatment 8 wasn't so bad...similar swelling and heart pounding, but lasix again, helped. Still just feeling the numbness - which goes away, the weird missing the back of my head feeling-which goes away, the difficulty concentrating and dizziness -which goes away. 4th of July weekend...I was able to get out to a couple of parties with Dave on Saturday and then Sunday, Dave and I took Ziggy to the beach, where he had an awesome time digging in the sand. The girls were in Florida with their Aunt Kim.

Treatment 9 was a bit more depressing and difficult, even knowing there was just one more treatment left. Just very nauseaus and headachy all weekend long. Dave and I have been trying to get out and go for walks with Ziggy each evening. That definitely seems to help me, getting some exercise and strength back. I'll need it for when we go to Wildwood and walk the boardwalk. I felt better by Tuesday and took Ziggy over to my friend, Al's, house. Al has 4 dalmations and a husky. The dalmations are all ages 9-12 and the husky is 2. The husky, RJ, was awesome with Ziggy...keeping an eye on him at all times and keeping him in line. It was really very cute. If Ziggy stepped out of line, RJ was right by his side, with his jaws over Ziggy's neck and RJ would growl, and Ziggy would stop. Then they had fun together as well--they would chase each other. When all the big dogs lay down for a snooze, Ziggy followed suit. Ali and Cassie started their choral festival this week at Adelphi. They're staying at Aunt Kim's nearby and Ali is driving the two of them each day. A bit nervewracking for us, but we need to let go a bit-they let us know when they leave and arrive at places to keep us calm.

Treatment 10...YAY! As much as I want to celebrate, there's always this thought in the back of my head...what if this isn't really over? What if I need more treatment???? The next phase of treatment begins with a shot to put me into menopause, followed by a daily regimen of Arimidex to lower my estrogen/progesterone production. Reason for this is that the type of cancer I have had is esgtrogen/progesterone positive. This means that my cancer grows because of those hormones...block the hormones/stop the cancer. It's now Friday and although a bit nauseaus, not too bad so far. We'll be going to see the girls concert later this evening. I'm looking forward to enjoying them sing-it's Ali's last concert with them since the summer between 5th and 6th grade.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

5 Down, 5 to go

Wednesday, June 10th...Halfway there!!! Chemo went really fast today--we got there at 10 and were out at 2. We grabbed some burgers at Bobby Flays after treatment (always craving red meat--I am not a red meat eater normally!). The girls had a voice lesson after school for their July performance (vicd'amore studio recital) and then we headed to the orthopedist for an MRI results follow up. The results showed just some soft tissue/muscle issues and bone bruising on Ali's shoulder and knee. More physical therapy needed. If Cassie is still in pain in a month, she may have to get injections into her lumbar spine area. Hopefully pt will continue and help her. I had major heartburn all afternoon as I dropped Cassie off at soccer and then the girls off at physical therapy. I headed out to Riverhead to pick Dave up at the dealership where he dropped his truck off to get the transmission checked out. Then we headed together to get the girls at physical therapy. We talked with Gary about how much we enjoyed Buttercup. As I arrived home, the pepcid had kicked in and I was no longer feeling the awful heartburn.

Thursday, June 11th... feeling great today, so far... it's only noon.

Round 4

Wednesday, June 3rd...Another chemo down. Girls had physical therapy tonight. At the end, they were talking to Gary about how they babysit, and he said that he needed a dogsitter for the weekend. He and his family were heading out of town for a 90th birthday party. Cassie jumped right in and said, "I'm your girl... I'll watch your dog!" Oh boy oh boy.

Thursday, June 4th...Fuzzy headedness started this afternoon--already???!!! NO fair. Along with this came the right-sided numbness feeling. It's so happens each time, and I know it's a side effect, but it still makes me nervous.

Friday, June 5th...Dave took off today for a golf tournament to benefit Relay for Life and Lupus Walk. It got rained out by torrential downpours and rescheduled for August. I felt lousy today and while I lounged around on the couch, Dave went into the garden in his rainsuit and planted all of the vegetables I bought yesterday. We left around 5 to go pick up Gary's dog, Buttercup. She was great in the car, while we waited at Walgreens Drive Thru, Dave 'taught her to drive'. Then after getting me settled in back home, he took Ali for her senior portraits this evening. After, Ali was off to go babysit with Amy. We hung out with Buttercup--who is an awesome little Jack Russell (not hyper at all, though).

Saturday, June 6th...My mom took me for hydration, while Ali picked up Cassie and brought her to Deer Park to go practice for a singing gig they have in July. We met up at Bobby Flay's Burger Palace. The girls headed out from there to go food shopping for Relay for Life at Pat-Med. After returning home, Buttercup and I chilled out together and napped most of the afternoon away. The girls and I headed out to Relay around 5:45, dropping Cassie at soccer tryouts. I went to the survivors dinner with Ali and met up with Maureen and Marie , with Dave joining us after he got out of work. I walked the surviviors and the first lap of the Relay, and then retreated to Maureen and Maries site until around 9, when Dave took me home. Buttercup and I spent a cuddly night together. She joined me each time I got up to go to the bathroom and settled in right next to my side when I retreated to bed. I'm really getting attached to this little dog.

Sunday, June 7th...Ali came in at 6 am and went right to bed. Dave texted and told me he and Cassie were joining the Mantoura's and Kawko's for breakfast at Island Grill. Cassie slept for about an hour and then was off to soccer at 9 am. Buttercup joined Dave and I at the soccer field. Cassie played a few minutes of each half--her back and legs were hurting from all the walking the night before/ and lack of sleep. Her team won their game though 5-2! Buttercup was a hit with parents from both teams. Kayla's little sister Emma was thrilled with her as well. Dave somehow, working on adreneline maybe, opened the pool. I slept most of the afternoon away, fighting tingly head, arms and legs, as well as nausea. We went to the movies to see Night At The Museum 2 -- Dave slept through the movie. Buttercup joined us to sleep.

Monday, June 8th...Enjoyed my day with my new pal Buttercup, napping on and off, and was getting sadder by the minute that we had to return her this afternoon. We brought her back at 4 and I actually cried in the car after leaving her. Cassie quickly texted Dave, telling him that we need to get a dog. Dave and I attended the Tri-M induction this evening. Cassie was being inducted into this music honor society. The girls went out with their friends to Applebees afterward and Dave and I returned to our dogless house. It seemed empty without Buttercup there. :(

Tuesday, June 9th...Back onto steroids!!! Jackie Manno brought lunch over and her baby, Gia. I had to pick Cassie up from school--she wasn't feeling well--lack of sleep the other day caught up with her. I went to 'Look Good, Feel Better' sponsored by the American Cancer Society. They went over tips for makeup and wig care, and gave me a tote bag full of makeup from many different manufacturers. The best part was showing how to pencil in eyebrows when they start to thin, and tips for eyelashes as well. I learned that I've been putting on mascara incorrectly all these years, and blush has been in the wrong place. Go figure! From here, Dave and I picked up Cassie and went to the PTG (Players Theatrical Group) Awards Ceremony. Ali got an award for her performance in Seussical and she performed 'Take Me for Who I Am' from Rent, with her friend Ashley. We enjoyed the performances, and ceremony, and then the girls were off to Friendly's to celebrate.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekly Update

I think by keeping this blog, it helps me to see patterns in how I feel after each treatment. I am reassured, by looking over my notes, that there are some 'normal' things that consistantly happen each treatment. One of those is this weird numb-head feeling. I actually psych myself out and go through the 'stroke' tests to make sure I'm just fine (stick out tongue, smile, say a simple sentence...).

Thursday, May 28...Feeling good all day. Lots of energy from lack of sleep again! Worked on cleaning and shining my wood floors-they look fabulous thanks to 'Orange-glo 4 in 1 wood floor shine'. At 11, my mom and I went to Tara's for lunch and then I drove over to Fortunato Breast Center for my 6-month checkup and new 'map' of the area. The doctor had written me a script for a mammogram. After the mammo, I was told to wait while the doc on call looked over my pics. When the tech came back, she told me the doc wanted to do a sonogram, just to get a good baseline for what things look like now (post-surgery and radiation). Funny, how panic sets in--my brain must have instantly linked back to my October experience---sure they just want to get a basline--what aren't they telling me. After texting Dave and Theresa (she knows all too well--and assured me that it's protocol for her now), I felt better. As I wrote to Dave, "What's the worst they can tell me, I have cancer?"

...Took the girls to the allergist this afternoon. After checking them over, he agreed that they have spring allergies and gave them tons of scripts for allergy meds and new inhaler, for Ali.
...The allergist is across the street from Mama Lombardi's. The garlic wafting over made us head there for dinner--we just ate in the take out area of the restaurant. Food is starting to taste weird again.
...Ali went home and got ready for her class trip to Philadelphia and Hershey. I dropped her of at Kate's house so she could sleep over there and Diana would take her to school in the morning.

Friday, May 29. Feeling good again, but just a little nauseaus. Finished the floors and rearranged the living room a bit. I decided not to take the Zofran to see if it made my head feel any better. I was able to drive to Dr. Dacosta's for my 2 pm appointment, and I felt just fine--just nauseaus. Dr. DaCosta said, when I come in for hydration on Saturday morning, he'll order Aloxi (anti-nausea i.v. drug). The Aloxi should help with the nausea for 48-72 hours afterward.
... From the doctor, I headed south to meet up with Cassie for her All State solo. I stopped at 7-11 on the way, to get some Gatorade and a roll for me (nausea) and a tea for Cassie. Her solo went well and we headed home--me feeling a bit woozy and ready to lay down for a stretch.
....Friend, Deirdre and her husband, Bill, dropped by with some awesome pasta in a pink sauce with sundried tomatoes. It really hit the spot for the three of us (Ali still on trip).

Saturday, May 30. Dave got up bright and early to bring Cassie up to the high school at 6 am. Her class trip to Dorney Park was underway. Mom took me for hydration and Aloxi at 9:30 and we got out of there at noon. I was craving a burger, so we headed over to The Good Steer for lunch. I was feeling a bit dizzy and nauseaus, but it felt good to be out and about for a little while. I spent the day doing laundry and then resting. Dave called in to Medford Pastaria for dinner and picked up each of the girls from their trips.

Sunday, May 31. Still battling some nausea, I was not about to give in to take the Zofran, and risk the chance of a mind-blowing headache. We went to our friend's son, Alex's, Eagle Scout Award Ceremony/Brunch. What a proud moment for their family, and a great achievement for Alex. I tried as best I could to focus on the ceremony, but my mind just drifts around so much. Even watching sitcoms--I could watch a bunch of them and not tell you what any one of them was about.
...Went home around 3 and slept until 5:30. It was a great nap, but I woke with a weird feeling, like the back of my head was missing. It was numb--I had to touch it to make sure it was really still there. Cassie went out with Eric to go see Terminator--first time out with a guy who drives. THAT was a bit nerverwracking! He seems like a really nice young man though.

Monday, June 1. Nausea continues, but my head is clear enough to move around and get some things done. Today, I worked on cleaning up the countertop by the sink in our kitchen. This is the one where all of the mail gets thrown, and it was highly neglected for a long time. It was fulfilling to get it done. I also worked on a couple of long overdue photo albums. Neck and lower back spasms have begun again--nothing too horrible, just annoying. Looking back, I notice this happened last Monday as well.
...Cassie scored a 98 on her AllState solo. YAY! This is a great score and I am so proud of her for unleashing her voice! I went out around 3:30 to go get Dave's Aunt Mary a birthday present and picked up some pants and shirts for Dave as well. After leaving Kohl's, I felt a bit dizzy and nauseaus and picked up a plain cheeseburger and McDonald's sweet tea. Dave called over to Aunt Mary's to make sure she'd be home for us to stop over for her birthday. She said she had picked up a cake in case anyone came over. I think last year, we celebrated at Dave's parents house?
...Girls went to their music gala at 6, and Dave and I headed to --of all places-- Burger King. I wanted a burger again--I ate a Whopper and it really hit the spot. We went to Aunt Mary's and chatted with her friend Sheila, Sheila's daughter Lisa and grandaughter as well as Kim and Mr. and Mrs. Z.

Tuesday...Back to the steroids! Not as energetic as usual though. Could I be getting used to them? Spent the morning cleaning out kitchen cabinets under the counter where I worked yesterday. Reorganized and rearranged for more efficiency--we'll see how long it lasts! Nausea is gone and I'm onto the steroid hunger! Planning on getting out and about--getting to Sam's, bank, district office, etc.
...Cassie has a lumbar mri scheduled for 3 this afternoon and tomorrow's chemo is at 10. Yippee--round 4 coming up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another day, another chemo

Steroids wake me up at night! It happened last Wednesday and now it's happened again. I am wide awake at 3 am!!! The day before, the day of, and the day after chemo, I take Decadron--a steroid--2 pills in the am and 2 pills at dinner. I had trouble falling asleep Tuesday nights around midnight. Then, I was up at 1:00 for a bathroom break, then wide awake at 3am. Tossed and turned and tried to fall back asleep for about an hour. Got out of bed at 4:15 and finished reading 'The Shack'. What a great book--have to revisit it again, though--way too much thinking involved.

So this past week was interesting.
Chemo on Wednesday, May 20th. 9:15-2:30. Went home and planted flowers with Dave. Ate dinner at home on our 19th wedding anniversary, and then went to the concert that the girls were in.

Thursday, May 21. Feeling very energetic all day, started to get tired at night. Was able to take Ali for her knee mri and dropped off music for the accompanyist for Cassie's AllState solo and bring the girls to physical therapy at 7/7:15.

Friday, May 22. Girls were off. Less energetic, pretty nauseous all day. Went for rehydration at 2:15 and didn't get out until 5. Felt a bit better then and went to pick up my new wig afterward. Ali headed out to Steff's grandma's for the night.

Saturday, May 23. Dave brought Ali, Mary and Steff out to Calverton to lay flags on the gravesites of soldiers for 'Operation SOS' (a club that Ali belongs to in school). I was feeling pretty tired and had a wicked headache and nausea. After they returned home, Ali, Cassie, Steff and Dave and I headed for his sister, Kim's, house. Dave took the girls to the air show and I stayed back with his parents to help prep for the barbeque. I felt somewhat productive, cutting tomatoes, onions, cheese. Then around 4 pm, we ate--red meat has never tasted sooooo good before! I went to lay down after that and woke up around 7. I had a good 3 hours of feeling quite wonderful, and then the fatigue, headache, and nausea kicked back in. It was a rough drive home.

Sunday, May 24. Slept most of the day away with a headache and nausea. It's amazing how much I can sleep! and then sleep some more. Found out today that Blue Gatorade is KEY! We went over to Debbie and Jay's (neighbors of Jeff and Theresa's) for a barbeque/dinner around 6. Cassie's new 'boy' interest joined us. He followed us there in his car, so he could head straight home afterward, since he lives halfway between us and them. He was a good sport about meeting all of us for the first time, on such a huge scale of people. It turns out that he already knows my brother in law, Jeff, and our friend Tom, because his dad worked for the same company as they do. Pretty small world. Oh, and Dave also fit him and his sister for shoes when they were younger. Only issue is that he's 19 and she's only 16. We left around 10 and I had a great night sleep.

Monday, May 25. Slept most of the day away with a headache, and nausea. I was able to get little things done on a small scale: laundry, bathtub cleaning. Each time I would finish a project, I would lay down for a while. We grilled up some burgers for dinner (Cassie went to Nikole's for a BBQ) and sat outside for the first time this season. I was feeling a bit blue, beginning to wonder if I would have any 'feeling somewhat good days', wondering how to make it through the next 8 weeks of treatment. Will the toxins gradually build up and I'll feel worse???

Tuesday, May 26. Began steroid again, in preparation for chemo on Weds. What a great, productive day I had. Steroids are wonderful...during the day that is! I was able to get ironing done without having to take a nap! I got bills paid, finished up laundry, went to Sam's and Stop and Shop, picked up a present for my mother-in-law at Kohl's and went to a parent meeting for Ali's class trip this weekend. Then, at 7, we all went to my in-laws for my mother-in-law's birthday party. Bed at 11, wide awake at 3 am again!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ali's Junior Prom

The night before Cassie's Sweet 16, Ali had her Junior Prom. She was one of the nominees for Homecoming Court, which was such an honor out of 700+ students, she was one of 6 girls to be nominated!

Above are some pictures of her all dressed up for the evening. Click on the picture to see a larger image.