This was a good week overall. A bit of trepidation getting mentally ready for the chemo session. Not sure why there is any trepidation. This has become an almost routine event.

Janet had to work this week, and Devin had to go to his piano lesson. I drove to the hospital for the 10:00AM appointment. Registered. Their systems had been down all morning and they were running behind. The front desk personnel were nice enough but not exactly brimming with information. I did not even ask how long the delay would be. They have never given us a straight answer in the past, why bother now?

They have this system where they give you a pager if you want to wander off. I had to go outside to burp my bag. They gave me a pager. It works only within the hospital. It works well as a system. It does allow you to wander a bit. I got to sit in a different more comfortable lounge. The only downside is the incredible volume the pager is set at. There is no way to shut it off, or lower the volume. Once it goes off, the whole world is alerted.

My pager goes off and I report dutifully to the front desk. They tell me to report to station 12. There is usually a nurse who greets you and takes you to the station. Have I become such a regular already that I get to usher myself in? A bit unnerving.

The Chemo Daycare has a large number of stations, some are beds, some recliners a la Lazy-Boy, and then they have these recliners that turn into beds. Almost flat. Just enough of an incline to be comfortable. The latter is the one I usually get. Station 12 happens to be a bed. I always wondered why some people got beds, and others not. They even two beds in private rooms. Who decides who gets what? I am the lucky one I guess, got a bed and a nurse I like, Jessica. I asked her why I was privileged, and whether we should close the curtain and have some fun. She laughed me off.

I overheard three nurses discussing the shortage of beds. Turns out they have a new patient, a first-timer, who should have a bed. I gave up my bed. Really don’t need it. Are you sure, the nurse asks. No really, I am just as comfortable in a recliner. The fuss they made over this very normal gesture. Love my nurses. They gave me a recliner in a lovely spot. I can sleep or watch the goings on of the daycare.

This is the second chemo session that I have slept through. Once the main drugs are attached to me, I put on my music, get a blanket, and start dozing. If the turn the music high enough, you cannot hear anything at all while quietly going deaf. Magic.

Devin got my a sandwich for lunch. I have no idea when he showed up. Suffice to say that I woke up just as my drug regimen ended. Ate my lunch. The drug regimen, as you consists of three drugs. The firs is Avastin which takes about ten minutes to administer. The second takes about 90 minutes to administer. The third takes 46 hours. I get to go home once the bottle is attached. A nurse comes over and detaches me sometime on Saturday morning. She happened to come early today, which allowed me to take a shower and get on with my day. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Even Chemo is becoming a routine experience. Devin drove me home. He went about his business, I went to bed to rest. Had supper, and was soon back in bed. Had a bit of a restless sleep. My bag kept inflating to dangerous levels. I had to get up and burp the damn thing every hour. Somehow managed to go back to sleep in between. That lasted until about 6 in the morning when the maniacal BooBoo Long Paws decided it was time to play with anything and anyone who was available. Janet got up to get ready for her exercise class, I got up soon after. No point in trying to go back to sleep.

Took a welcome shower. I cannot take a shower while the pins are stuck in me. Basically, from Wednesday to Saturday. You can imagine how anxious I am to have the pins removed early so I can shave and shower. Janet and I went to eh market, and decided to wander along Queen Street to look at furniture. We are desperate for a new couch to replace the one we have that has been decimated by the wonderful Busbee.

Good plans that don’t last long. We went shopping for furniture, and ended up buying clothes for Janet, and a couple of prints for the house. Cheered us up, but no couch. We wandered into a couple of furniture stores, but decided to head home instead. I was starting to lose my energy. It was a very good morning.

My reactions to chemo are a bit confusing, to say the least. I still have my hair, so all baldy jokes are put on hold. It is thinning out every day, but still there. My appetite is amazing, which I am told is due to some steroids that I have been prescribed to handle the nausea that accompanies chemo treatments. And no, I am not bulking up, just always hungry.

I do not have any nausea or other bad effects from the Chemo, except for fatigue. It is continuous and very frustrating. Just the way it is going to be from now on. Not much can be done about it.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for listening.

Last week was bad.

Slept badly in spite of not feeling guilty about it.

A whole bunch of side effects, which we believe to be from Avastin. My skin has felt hot all week. No temperature or nausea or or feeling hot or anything that is usually associated with hot skin. Just very hot skin. Janet keeps kissing my forehead. I am on to her. She is not kissing me out of love, just wants to make sure I do not have temperature. Faker. Though I suppose that is a measure of love.

We finally bought the shower head you keep hearing about. Drove out into the hinterland that is the Greater Toronto Area, a store run by Iranians. This is as fun as it gets. The better part is making our way to an Iranian store called Tavazo to buy Iranian nuts and stuff. The best pistachios are the ones from Iran. There is no argument there. NONE! We bought a bunch of those, and mixed nuts which include a generous helping of Iranian raisins, and dried mulberries.

My father used to eat the raisins to thin his blood. I have no idea if it worked or not, or how much of these things you have to consume, but he swore by them. Not an issue for me, his swearing by them, I love those raisins. Love raisins in general, but those are particularly good. We lived in Iran between 1963 and 1965. I remember going to the country where we were offered fresh mulberries. These are nothing like the ones that fall off trees here. First of all, I remember these trees as being huge. Whether that was a reflection of my short height, I am not sure. The workers would place huge white sheets at the foot of the tree. A bunch would then climb into the tree and start shaking it releasing all the mulberries. These are almost white in colour, and very sticky. And delicious. You had to eat them with a spoon. It was love at first taste.

We buy the fruit here in a dry state. Not as delicious, but a wonderful second best. They tend to dry up, which is easily rectified with a slice of apple added to the dried mulberries. Keep the lot in a plastic for a couple of days, and you get wonderful moist mulberries. Unless you are my brother who appears to like them dry. No understanding people.

Back to me, which is what this is all about.

The past week was marred by periods of extreme exhaustion, poor humour, and a general feeling of being fed up with the whole thing. Judy tells me I have to brace myself for about 18 months of this sort of stuff. Counting the months down to month 19. We have just finished month 1. Sigh.

We went for dinner at Judy and Arlin’s house on Saturday night. I sent most of the time lying on the couch, and we were there for only 2 hours. Sunday was like a breath of fresh air. Not sure how this all happens. Dying one night, up and at them the next morning. But there we were taking a drive to the country to see Ann and Frank who fed us a fabulous lunch and apple pie. Ann is an amazing cook and baker. I drove out there, and more importantly, felt up to driving back. The trip takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Not too shabby.

I am seeing Dr. Kennedy, my surgeon, this afternoon. I am expecting a clean bill of health, specially after the positiveness of Dr. Hedley. You can read all about the amazing Dr. Hedley here. She better not say anything about my hair. Yes, it is still all there. Though my scalp is sensitive to the touch, and I am shedding some hair, but no clumps coming out yet. I am still thinking of having a party at my hairdresser’s. I should maybe talk to him before sending out any invitations.

I tested a new bag this weekend. I will reserve that for its own post. It deserves it. Strange technology, this bag thing. Harder than it looks at first sight. Or second.

Talked to a lot of people over the past few days, all of whom are reticent to commenting on this blog. Apparently, some current commentators are just to insightful. But that is the whole point of the comments. Some insight, some humour. No observation is too slight.

I am glad I am doing better as we head into chemo week. I was dreading going into it feeling the way I did on Saturday.

Felling strong and mighty.

Hair mostly intact.

Onward and upwards.

avastin, avastin
what art thou

you come in a plastic bag
invading my heart
poisoning my body
weakening my spirit

racing through my body
wrecking ball that you are
stopping blood vessels from forming
killing cancer cells

yet here we are
eight days later
reeling from your invasion
exhausted from your tentacles

sleeping or awake
not feeling like much
going through the motions
dealing with your pain

avastin, avastin
what art thou

Surprise! We get Avastin today. Dr. Hedley feels that enough time has gone by for me to have healed. Damn the creation of blood vessels. Full steam ahead.

We searched the web for the side effects of Avastin. It includes just about anything that is not included with the other drugs. name it, and it is a side effect. All of it includes an emergency visit to your doctor or the emergency room.

Chemo Brain is setting in. What do you want for dinner, she says. That takes way too much thinking. I literally sat there looking at Janet wondering why she is asking me that question. What do I want? The answer stopped at the question. Too much. You decide, Whatever you make is fine.

Chemo Tired is also setting in. Cannot be helped. I have to stay awake since my brother is coming in tonight. He should be here in a couple of hours. Chemo tired just means you put your head down and snooze whenever and where ever.

The Avastin was a bit of a surprise. I thought they might put it off till after the CT-Scan. It threw me for a loop. Again the unexpected. The surprise move. The unknown. A bit silly really after all this time. Yeah 2 months and a bit make for all this time. Still, we are becoming veterans. The nurses are beginning to know us. A club.

Went in for blood work in the morning so we would have the latest possible results. Missing chemo last week upset janet and Judith a lot. Ruth put a positive spin on it. Imagine what havoc the chemo is wreaking on the cancer cells if it has that knd of effect on the white blood cells. Not sure I understand the correlation, but it pacified Janet. Good thing.

Went in this morning. They took my blood. Left the thumb tack in my chest. Now we wait for the results. My white blood cell count which had taken a dive over the past four weeks has rebounded to 3.9. The number means we are safe for chemo. Had o wait two hours to be let in. Left the club room at 5:00. Late. Dark outside.

A bit nauseous. Nothing my amazing pills won’t solve. But only if it is nausea. Have a hard time telling.

This too shall pass. We will survive and move on.

No chemo last week. I now have the pleasure f an extended good week. This makes up for the days H1N1 stole from me.

I went to the blood clinic as usual last Wednesday after the Art Therapy session. Devin had to be at work by 3:00. We decided to give the clinic a try. We wold leave if they were too busy. The process from parking the car, giving blood, and getting back to the car was 20 minutes. This included a chat with the lovely nurse who, it turns out, has breast cancer. We had a long conversation. Very cool.

She left the pin and tubes in my Porta-Cath, just like the previous time. This is truly the best way to give blood.

I picked up Janet at her office the next day and we made our way to the PMH Chem Daycare. As lovely a name for this activity as any. We asked whether there would be a delay or not. Time enough for us to get a cup of something and do whatever else. The gentleman behind the counter let us know that we had about an hour because my drugs were not ready yet.

We went to Starbucks and had coffee (Janet), and tea (me). Took our time, talked and had a great rest. Finally made our way back. A nurse was waiting for us. Turns out my blood cell counts were too low for chemo. More specifically, my white cell count was low. Something to do with my Neutrophil count being too low. No one seemed particularly alarmed in any way. Not a big deal. Happens all the time. Nothing to be done but wait for the count to go back up. Could happen any time. I have been given a reprieve until next week, which is this week since I am writing this on Monday morning.

The chemo schedule had to be changed since we are now out a week. My last session will take place on December 23. Merry Christmas.

The complications that arise from this move are interesting. For starters, I have to take these pills an hour before going in to get the chemo. It really is not a big deal. The pills are tiny. There are seven of them. The pharmacy releases the pills the week of the chemo. I cannot purchase all the pills I need for the remaining chemo sessions. I guess they feel I might overdose on them or something. I have now taken the pills that were due for this session, so we have to get a new prescription.

Next week is going to be a busy week. Seeing the oncologist, and the surgeon, and getting a CT-Scan done to review the State of the Union. The surgeon will probably give the go-ahead for the Avastin treatment. I have to read up on its side effects.

My brother is coming for a visit this Thursday. My sister is coming for the day on Sunday. All good. Looking forward to seeing my brother. He gets to see the baby bottle. I am looking forward to the visits. I think it will help cope with the treatment. I had very few issues last time, mostly tired. But having my family here will help. Specially if Fetneh bakes me a banana cream pie!

I am keeping busy. Driving a lot more. The weekend was very tiring. I don’t think I ate enough, in fact I know I did not. We went to Ginger’s to look at showers fixtures. All the showers we saw have these huge round plates that cover the wall and hold the spigot that turns the water on and off. The ones that have a small discreet plate, done tastefully and with respect to the rest of the room are in the $7000 price range. You read right. Don’t get me wrong, I love a shower as much as the next person, but $7,000 for a shower fixture?

We next went to Elte to look at furniture. Janet wants to ge rid of all our furniture and start over. Elte is huge. They have carpets and furniture. No appliances or anything. They are way too good to carry that sort of pedestrian stuff. We saw a couple of pieces we like. The first was perfect for our living room until you sat on the couch. It has to be the most uncomfortable $11,000 couch on the world. Almost as if they went out of their way to make it so. Not that we are about to shell that sort of money for a couch, but why so uncomfortable?

Cut a long story short, we got home around four, and I was pretty much done in. Took a nap. Made some rice for dinner. Sharon Singer came by for a visit. We had a great time. One thing you have to understand about me is that I talk very fast. I loved watching Sharon as she cocked her head to one side and concentrated really hard to understand what I was saying. My brother says I would have to repeat everything when I was a child because no one understood a word I was saying. So little has changed.

I am getting out more these days. Driving. I am going to see Steve this morning to fix three computers. We cannot afford to be without them, so they have to be fixed and returned right away. He is good about that sort of stuff. Looking forward to seeing him again. This is the best. Life returning to some semblance of normalcy. May sound boring to you, but it is heaven in my books.

The jury is out on the sleep resolution taken last night. Having said that, I slept quite well, if sporadically. But in the new spirit of any sleep is a good sleep, I accepted the vagaries of the night and woke up at some point in the morning in fine spirits. This boded well for [...]

© 2010 I Have Cancer Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha