Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Sunny Thoughts and the Cancer Shadow

I know I seem to keep dropping off the face of Blogland, but I am still here, ticking along. It's much like how I've dealt with that infinite number of unsent thank you notes; I find that I have so very much going through my mind and so very much to say that I end up writing nothing at all. That is definitely the easiest way to deal with my myriad of crazy thoughts...just ignore them. Sadly, that doesn't make them go away, and so here I am, back at the ol' blog, typing them out for the world to see.

Currently I am recovering from my third round of Cisplatin and Gemcitabine. Nasty, nasty, nasty stuff, especially the Cisplatin. How do I know the Cisplatin is the worst? Because I have one week with only the Gemcitabine and that week is actually tolerable. The week following the Cis/Gem infusion, however, is one long, queasy, foul tasting, weak week. It's not called Sickplatin for nothing.

Of course, if it does its job, then bring it on...if not, then I've seriously wasted some precious time in the worst possible way. And that, of course, is the double edged sword of chemotherapy.

I'm still struggling with the emotional side of all of this. There are days when I feel fabulous and hopeful and those days are beautiful.

For example, about a week and a half ago a small miracle occurred here in Northwest Arkansas. Within about a six hour time span we received 2 feet of the most perfect snow I think I've ever seen. I felt like I'd gone back in time, and thus proceeded to wallow in some wonderful flashbacks of my days in Colorado, when I was young and vibrant and my life was in front of me. Endless possibilities (which did NOT include cancer, or any other debilitating illness, for that matter).

I LOVED that snow. I inhaled it, touched it, walked in it, listened to it, gazed at it, photographed it, and shoveled it as often as I could. I felt like it was a gift from God sent just for me. All those others who complained about sorry.  It was MY gift. One last big snow! (Not meaning to be morbid here - cancer or not, the chances of me seeing another snow like that are pretty slim.) I even enjoyed the 15 below morning temp and managed a (very brief) walk during that early hour. (I don't know which was the bigger miracle - the snow and flash freeze temps, or the fact that it reached the 70s the following week.)  

Our pool in the midst of the storm.
Notice the dog's potty path to the right? That came in handy in this deep stuff.

Day 1: The snow stopped so we headed out. My girl's always game for a w-a-l-k.

Day 2:  7:00 am and 15 below. And no, I don't live in Wisconsin.
Sunrise and still 15 below.

Cold and early on Carley Road

For some reason she thought she should walk on the sidewalk.

I found another walking buddy.

Obviously, some kiddos in my neighborhood
could use more practice at this. 

I was immensely grateful that the miracle snow occurred during one of my good weeks. If it had come this week, I may not have noticed.

This past week is night compared to the prior week's day. That happy snow seems ages ago. As I type this, I must say I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. This week I have had two big choices in my life: the sofa or the bed. At the moment, I'm upright on the sofa. Whoop to that.

Now, I know that this will come to an end. If all goes as the last two rounds, in a couple of days I should be up and around and feeling more like myself.  So, yes, this will come to another end and I will have an all too brief reprieve when I can play catch-up on life.

But, as bad as all that seems, there is something that is concerning me even more.

As is the case with many women who have been diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer (at least according to the TNBC forums I've been reading), we tend to be Queens of False Alarm and somewhat hypochondriatic. Since TNBC, more often than hormone positive breast cancers, tends to quickly metastasize to other areas of the body, this is understandable. If you knew that your chances of developing bone, liver, lung, or brain cancer in the next few months were extremely high, wouldn't you be a bit nervous about those odd everyday aches and pains?

Well that's been me for the past few days. On top of feeling like I've had the life sucked out of me, I've been fighting one heckuva pain in my right hip. Since I have scoliosis, back pain is not an uncommon occurrence for me, but this is something new and different and, yes, painful. I am praying it's nothing...brought on by too much sitting or something equally dull. I'd happily take arthritis or bursitis or something that won't kill me, please. But each time I sit or stand or roll over in bed and feel that shooting pain, I am frightened.

So please pray that this pain is nothing. Pray that I am slightly crazy and am overreacting.

I will visit the oncologist this Tuesday and, of course, will mention this to him. I am already scheduled for chest, abdominal, and pelvic CT scans on March 1, so I guess we will find out after that. It would make me happier than 2 feet of snow to know I have been the Queen of False Alarms.


  1. Oh, Patti, I just wish I could bring you a big container of Nutella, hug you, and make things all better. We were just wondering about you in the teacher's lounge the other day. School is just not the same without you. I will continue to pray that the nasty chemo stuff is doing its job. And I will pray about this newest pain...I don't think I can pray for more snow for you though. :)

  2. Patty, I think about you all the time. I'm so happy for an update! I will pray for the best results from your upcoming scans.

  3. Praying for sunny days and no alarms - false or otherwise!