Tag Archives: chemotherapy

Moving is such a ….joy


I’m taking this weekend to get as much stuff packed as I can. My new employer doesn’t pay moving costs so I’m only taking what I can fit in my Oldsmobile, and what I can mail. The rest is going to a yard sale. I’m taking a break now and thought I would write a few words to update those of you who are following along.

It’s packy-packy weekend. I can’t believe I can fit this much junque into such a small room — I rent a room in a house — but so far it’s going OK. I need to get some stuff washed so I can pack it. I’m using space bags for everything that will compress. I’ve also gotten rid of a lot of clothes that I never wear and probably never will wear.

Good time for purging material possessions that no longer serve a useful purpose (I don’t consider taking up space to be a useful purpose!)

I’m feeling well, too! This is Day 12 after my last (and final!) chemo June 24. I’ll get my port out this week Tuesday. That will be nice. It’s an in-office procedure (I hope my surgeon puts me in “twilight” because I’ve been on the edge of panic and having serious panic attacks for a while). Next Monday is my final blood draw; I see the oncologist for the last time on Tuesday, and at that time, she’ll release me into the wild.

The following week, I leave for my new job.

It will take me four days and three nights to get there. I’m not usually this organized when it comes to making a trip, but I’m having to consider that I probably will not be feeling 100% yet, so I have my route planned highway by highway, and even hour by hour. I don’t know how long I’ll last before I have to stop for the night, but based on my current stamina level, I’m figuring about 9 hours. So I know approximately where I’ll stop and what AAA rated motels are along the route in that general area. I already have reservations in Billings, Montana. I did that, first, so I can get the AAA discount, and second, because the next most affordable place to stop is Rapid City, South Dakota, which is several more hours out and that would put me well over my 10 hour limit. I told my Dad on the phone last night and he thought it was funny that suddenly, in my middle age, I’m planning trips down to hour and making motel reservations. That is so not like me! But I do feel more comfortable knowing the route and knowing that I won’t be pushing harder than I should.

If I need to take longer, I can; I’ve given myself several days of “wiggle room.” I don’t really have to be in Kentucky until the 15th, although the department would like me to be there on August 1, if I can make it. I’m leaving here July 20, so I figure I can probably get there in plenty of time.

On the personal front, I think my SO is mad at me because my instant messaging system went down yesterday, signed me off, and I was off line all day — and didn’t know it. He’s not around, himself, today.

I think that depression has finally lifted. If I knew that all it would take was a bottle of Hogue Late Harvest White Riesling, I would have bought some sooner. As it is, I might go get another bottle tonight after I’ve done all the packing I can for the night.

To be honest, I think that conversation with my Dad on Friday didn’t hurt, either!


Last Chemo Treatment (taxotere) 6/24


Let’s have a virtual block party!

It’s pot luck, bring your favorite food, and also share what you are celebrating, and/or just celebrate with me!

I’ll bring the cake.

I just had my LAST chemo treatment. Forever and ever. The cancer is officially GONE. They gave me a shot to boost my RBCs; the nurse told me it was a $3,000 shot (Good Grief!) but the insurance will cover it. My CBCs were in the pits last week (the 16th) but apparently were up enough for me to do some cleaning last weekend. I cleaned out my faculty office except for a few things I couldn’t carry and will need to go back for.

I feel great! (so far, but we’ll see what happens by Friday). I slept fairly well last night, the insomnia wasn’t so bad. I just took a couple of atavans and I fell back asleep. I don’t know what I’d do without that Atavan. I should get it refilled while I’m out today.

The porta-cath comes out on July 8. (Don’t click if you have a weak stomach). I think it will come out in the doctor’s office.

My last visit with my oncologist is on July 15, at which time she will release me.

On the weekend of July 20 (or thereabouts) I will leave for The Midwest, then on the first weekend of August or thereabouts I will leave for Jellyville, to begin my new job as a Visiting Professor.

We’re having a RL potluck for me here at the house –a combo Cancer Free, Birthday, and Good Luck at the New Job — and y’all are invited.


Block party! Everyone’s invited!

Second paclitaxel (Taxol) treatment


I just got back from my second paclitaxel treatment (5/20/08). My oncologist was there and she checked me over, listened to my lungs, looked at my hideous rash, listened to my description of my symptoms.

She is especially concerned about the numb fingertips and toes. The numbness has remained steady since it started, a day or two after my first treatment. She said if the numbness remains constant or gets worse, she is going to switch me to taxotere, in the hope that it will decrease these symptoms. She said that when the numbness does this, often it becomes permanent.

She gave me Prednisone for the rash, which is blood red right now, although it’s not spreading. After my second treatment, which includes anti-allergy meds in the mix, the oncology nurses said it looked like the rash had begun to clear up, especially on my face and chest. Perhaps the steroids will work.

Right now I’m feeling sleepy, so after I finish this, I will probably take a nap turn on the tv and watch through my closed eyelids, like my Dad does after a long day.

I’ll post a page about taxotere.

Update 5/29/08

My fingertips are still tingling and somewhat numb, and the feeling has spread almost to the first knuckle. It seems like it was worse yesterday, or maybe I was just typing more.

Yesterday and today I’ve had some digestive issues and my guy and I were joking last night on IM about my becoming an Olympic hurler, if they ever have the Chemo Patient Hurling into Trash Can competition. I am so glad I have a solid plastic trash can (with a moisture proof liner). That’s probably TMI, but if you’re in chemo, or you know someone who is, you know what I mean. Sometimes the nausea just gets the best of you. So when you have the hurling and …that other problem… you have to remember to keep the fluids in. And if one more cashier comments on the number of bottles of vitamin water I’ve purchased…!  Water here tastes so bad and feels slimy just plain, so I add about a shot of vitamin water and it’s almost drinkable.

My Weekend of Pain lasted almost a week this time. It was of longer duration than the first time, but the pain wasn’t as bad. You’ll recall, after my first Taxol treatment, I had incredible nerve pain at the base of my spine, radiating down my legs. This time, it was mostly joint pain (which would disguise it from the Neulasta shot pain, except that I know the difference) in my hips, knees and ankles. Neulasta pain is mainly in the tops of my pelvis and the balls of my femora.  That pain began last Thursday (5/22) and gradually tapered off yesterday (5/28). Late yesterday and continuing today, I’m still scary weak (can’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time, otherwise my knees and ankles hurt and I feel like I’ll pass out) and I still get stabbing pains in my ankles. That is so weird. Oh, and I’m out of breath just from walking down the hall to the bathroom and back.

We had our first serious thunderstorm of the season late yesterday. We get very few thunderstorms here. It passed to the north of Cowboy Outpost, and my windows face north, so I watched it go by for about an hour. Cheap entertainment.

I haven’t heard from a number of the job apps I still have out. Some of them don’t close until Monday (6/1) so I need to be patient, but I also still haven’t heard anything from the job with the interview in New England, exactly a month ago. I put a call in to human resources but they haven’t called back (if she doesn’t within the next hour, she won’t today.)