Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mammogram results good, and removed the pump MYSELF!

Before Chemo

Once again, I'm headed to chemo filled with awe and gratitude for the support you show in so many ways. Thank you so sincerely. This can be such an isolating experience and you make it feel so much less so.

This week has been so good that my last chemo feels like ages ago. I'm loving that.

Well, it was a relatively uneventful week, other than the Pats losing, but hey, what a great streak and great team, and besides, being from Pittsburgh, I'm probably still a Steelers fan at heart.

Two significant events that I wanted to share.

First, my mammogram and exam showed no signs of cancer. Whew. I can't believe what a huge weight that is off my mind. Before that, I was going into planning mode for how I would manage two cancers at once. But, once I got rid of that worry, I found that I had alot more energy. I guess I was expending alot of energy just thinking about that. It was great to see my breast surgeon and catch up with her as well. She is truly an angel on earth.

Second, many of you know my little routine: chemo on Tuesday, get the continuous infusion pump, wear it until Thursday, then have it removed.

I've either gone to see my husband at work to have it removed, or gone to MGH to have it removed. But I am actually supposed to be able to do this at home myself. The idea of doing that kind of freaked me out, so, I decided to just drive to MGH and have them do it. I felt a bit lazy and a little bit like I wasn't stepping up to the challenge. If everyone else does it, I should be able to, too. But I stuck with my routine.

To make a long story short, on Thursday, my car wouldn't start and, once we jumped it, wouldn't stay running. By the time I waited for the tow truck, it was too late to call a cab so I HAD to remove the pump myself. No choice. Sometimes those messages from the Universe are more direct than others.

I laid everything out on the bathroom floor, all around me:
- Saline syringe to clear the line
- Heparin syringe to keep the blood from clotting
- Sharps container to dispose of the syringes
- Rubber gloves to protect my skin from any chemo that might leak out -- yikes
- Plastic bags to hold the tubing and infusion machine after I remove it
- the FedEx box to return the machine

I had my nurse on speakerphone giving me instructions and walking me through it, and the kids with a babysitter two floors away because I didn't want them to be anywhere near this.

I got through it with no spills and without throwing up. I was really proud of myself for doing it, and afterward, decided that I will continue to go to the hospital to have it done. It just gives me some emotional distance from all this.

Oh, and they never could find a problem with the car, and it seems to start fine now.

It was great to have a relatively uneventful week. I'll write a bit more after chemo. Whenever I go in for chemo, I feel like a lightweight fighter going into the ring against a heavyweight champ, with only my attitude to help. Kind of like, I know I am going to get pummeled, but I'll give it my best shot and see how it goes.

After Chemo

My blood counts were a mix of good and low. I don't mind so much -- it's asking alot of my body to rebuild itself from chemo over and over. They were good enough that I had chemo on Tuesday. It was relatively uneventful, and nice to have a few visitors while I was there. Coincidentally, one is a friend who is a fellow patient. It's more fun to meet at a good restaurant, but still nice to have friends around.

Wed and Thursday, I wore the pump. Not fun, but it is getting to be routine.

Neuropathy is back, but not horrible this week. (knock wood) Taste buds are definitely affected: Chocolate is tasting gross now.

On Friday, I got my shot to increase my white blood count. I don't know why that part is so traumatic for me, but it is. This time, I didn't have my regular nurse, which throws me off. She was out, and the one I got was a pretty impersonal kind of guy. After I left the office, I knew I couldn't drive so took a nap in the healing garden (this little indoor garden they have) then went home and slept for the rest of the day. I get bummed out that I am missing out on general day-to-day life when I need to sleep, but at least I have the luxury of being able to do that.

That's it for now. Thank you for listening!

Oh, I'll pass along something I heard this week: I hope that every day, you can laugh, cry (or otherwise emote!) and think.

Love, Marie

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