July 19 – I am exhausted! I have an appointment with Therapist Debbie this morning and then I am home to rest. Had my tri-weekly Herceptin treatment and even though “they” say that there are no visible side effects I am always very tired the day of and the day after a treatment. Add that to the tiredness from the radiation and I am truly exhausted. A bit depressed, too, so it is good I am seeing Debbie this morning. Yesterday during treatment I overheard a conversation I wish I hadn’t. You can’t help but overhear, the room is small, there are seven chairs and all of them are filled all of the time. Two ladies began a conversation with one of them asking the other what kind of cancer she had. The one asking is there for a recurrence because I have seen her before and heard her story. She is on her second or third, I can’t exactly remember. Anyway, the new woman, we’ll call her “Blondie” as she had on a long blond wig. Her story was that in 1995 she had breast cancer. A couple of years later she got breast cancer again in the same breast on the chest wall. They treated it with radiation. (Any of this sound familiar??????) Now it has come back again with a vengeance, this time in her brain, bones and lungs. Lordy, didn’t I just get cold all over hearing that! Now I KNOW that I do not have the whole story. Did she have a mastectomy the first time? Did she have chemo, too, the second time or for that matter the first time? Did they radiate all the lymph nodes? Was it caught early? Is there a history of all that in her family? They have made great strides in how they treat breast cancer and all cancers since 1995. On an intellectual level I am aware of what I do not know about her situation. On a gut level – it scares the living daylights out of me! This is what you live with after having cancer. Again, a very good reason not to say to someone who has it or has had it that “Oh, I know you are going to be just fine.” No, you don’t. The doctors don’t and the person with the cancer doesn’t and if they don’t know then you certainly don’t. I know I have said this before but it bears repeating. You CAN say, “Wow, this must be very hard on you.” The first statement tends to trivialize the cancer patient’s condition, the second acknowledges that the situation stinks, which it does. Soapbox Sue signing off!
By the way, Blondie looked okay and was on her way to work when she was through with her chemo! That part was good.
July 20 – Found a new web site that I feel would be of help to a lot of people, not just cancer patients. www.metromedicalonline.com I am going to order a lymphedema glove/gauntlet from them before I fly in August. They have tons of medical supplies for a lot of various conditions.
I have decided I am NOT going to sleep this afternoon. I will rest but I will crochet or do something to keep me awake. I had trouble getting to sleep last night so the afternoon naps must cease. Went for a walk this morning, haven’t done that since I started getting so tired and my legs got shaky. I only walked for a few blocks to see how I did and will increase the distance each day until I am back up to my mile and a half. Have a MUGA scan scheduled in August to see how my heart has made it through all of this and want to be at my best for the test. Told you I was competitive!
We, or rather the electrician, failed the rough electrical inspection on Tuesday. Phooey! Now we have to wait on him to come and correct the items that failed so we can move onward! Windows and doors passed and underground electrical passed so we at least have those out of the way. What a long process this has been. We went for our original hearing in October of 2004 to get permission to build such a large building on our property. Broke ground in April of 2005. Still glad we re doing the pay-as-you-go plan and doing as much as we can ourselves but it does make for a long process. I keep telling myself, “soon, soon……….”
July 21 – Annoying day, but fruitful in the end. I have had a dry cough since the day I ended radiation. After five days I called the doctor just to see if that was normal, if so, how long would it last or if there was something seriously wrong. I am sorry to say that it has taken two more phone calls to finally get an answer today! Today is two weeks since I ended radiation and eight days since my first call about the cough. Seems that the doctor was not alarmed by my symptoms (what does that have to do with it! I was alarmed!) so I guess he saw no real hurry to get back to me. The nurse asked me what I had been taking and I told her nothing since I didn’t know what I had to know what to take! The nurse said that I should take some Robitussin with guaifenesin in the ingredients and if I do not notice any improvement to call them in a week. She said it could be from the treatment irritating the radiated area since they did my chest. Ya’ think???????????? Geez, that part I figured out all by myself! She did say that possibly in six to eight weeks I could develop a condition - I broke in and said “radiation pneumenitis” (I believe I have already talked about that, a lung condition that if you develop it, is with you for life!) and she was surprised I knew about it. I told her that was why I was concerned about the cough. She said it was too early for that to be my problem. Keep your fingers crossed as I am to leave for Houston to teach in eight weeks! Okay, annoyance number one down.
Number two is having to call the cable company, again, to come out and re-wire for my high speed internet and the new TV’s correctly! Even I can see that it is not what I asked for! I was prepared for a fight but the guy was very calm and polite and just burst my indignant bubble! They should be here next Thursday to correct the potential problems. I do not want to have them poking around behind my new drywall! Since Roland the Electrician has yet to show his face to correct his errors I guess we have plenty of time! Still slightly annoyed at these things. Why cannot people just do it right the first time!
Actually there is a third annoyance but it falls under the heading of “Helpful Hints.” This is a “Helpful Hint” you really should not do! I like fake greenery for places that do not receive enough light. I was cleaning the bathroom and noticed the greenery there looked a bit dusty. I read that to clean fake flowers you place them in a garbage bag with corn meal and shake them hard and the corn meal will clean off all the dust. NOT! I did that and what did I get? Fake greenery now covered in sticky corn meal that made quite a nice adhesion to the dust already on the leaves. And………….it stuck to the bottoms of all the leaves that were not dusty in the first place so I had a bigger mess that when I started! And……………now everything was all whitish/yellowish from the corn meal! Had to take the whole mess outside and use the hose! That was really annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe Annoying Anita has come to visit me for awhile! Oh yea. Sort of seems that Complaining Clara and Whiny Whitney might possibly be joining her!
No nap today! Hopefully Napless Nellie has arrived! Yesterday I didn’t nap either but I did have to rest for an hour. I don’t think I will have to even do that today! Told you I would give myself two weeks! I am taking it easy. I walked this morning, came home and edged the sidewalk, then have been working inside all day but at a slower pace than normal.
A neighbor came over last night and was “petting” my hair as we talked about how I was doing until I said, “It feels like petting a cat, doesn’t it?” and she snatched her hand away! We both started to laugh. Actually I do have a short haired grey cat and we do look and feel somewhat similar these days! Still no where near ready to go out in public but at least my head is covered. Continues to thicken up but not growing in length very much. Had to shave under my right arm! Four little hairs. First time in nine months! Right armpit still clear but I imagine that is from the radiation. I was putting Fiery Fiona away in the closet (they all hang from hangers in there) and noticed bits of paper stuck in her down by the roots. How long has that been there and where in the world did they come from??????????? One disadvantage to not being able to feel the hair. At least it wasn’t a bird’s nest or a bug!
July 25 – Waiting for the electrical inspector – again. Today will be very quiet. I am feeling worn out! Yesterday I was up at 5:30, went for my walk but only did half of it because I could tell I was too weak/weary to do the full mile and a half so I came on home. Got the electricians set up, got ready, went for my massage, came home and fixed lunch for myself and the electricians (why do I feel the need to feed everyone?) and this time I was dressed up with full make-up and wig and looked like someone who should be entertaining! Cleaned up after lunch, the electricians left and I collapsed in the recliner. I suddenly felt so tired that it hurt! I knew I was really tired as I was freezing! Curled up with the lovely lap afghan my friend made for me and slept for awhile, woke up but still had no energy to speak of so I just sat there and watched TV. Too tired to even crochet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So much for Napless Nellie! Cough is better but not gone. Have gone through a bottle of the cough syrup!
I worked out in my yard/garden over the weekend and was tired from that but just a regular tired not this junk. I must admit I did push a bit so maybe I had better stop the “pushing” for a while and when I feel at all tired to stop then. Aaaarrrrrgggghhhh! I want this tiredness to go away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate being so tired!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, oh, I sense that She Who Cannot Be Pleased is trying to gain access! I should be saying that I am so glad I am able to be working in my garden at all two weeks after radiation has ended and that I am grateful to be alive and all of that happy, positive stuff - yeah, yeah, yeah – and I am, but…………I am so tired of being tired! That’s the facts! Negative Nora is here, I see. Right now I like her better than Positive Pollyanna!
Guess what? I went out in public on Saturday with my own hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jen and I were going to Home Depot and the grocery store and after my shower I wondered what my Nero hair would look like if I put gel in it. By itself it will only do the Nero thing. So in went the heavy duty sports gel and then I pulled on the cow licks and sprayed them with Mega Freeze Hair Spray so they couldn’t move and I thought, “Not bad.” When Jen came over I made a grand entrance and she agreed I looked okay to go out and about. Believe me, she would tell me if I looked bad! We both were on the lookout for anyone staring at me behind my back but there were no incidents. No one commented at all, good or bad. You know I am vain and I enjoy the nice comments the wigs bring! I thought about doing it again yesterday but I was seeing too many people I know and I am just not quite ready yet. Besides my massage lady gets in there and messes my hair up dreadfully as she is working on my neck and back of my head and she would destroy my Mega Freeze Hair Spray (if her hands didn’t stick together first from all the gel and spray!) But guess what again? I think I like the grey!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is very shiny and multi-colored from silver down to dark brown and does indeed resemble an animal pelt! New persona – Real Hair Silver Fox Serena! All fluffed out and spiky I was quite pleased with the color effect! I guess if I want to be red I can always slap on a wig! Hmmmmmmmmmnnnnnnnnnnn………………..
Skin is all clear. You would never know I had radiation in any of the areas so that part is very good. Slight itch once in a while. That Biafine cream is fantastic stuff! Did I tell you the nurse told me that in France they use it like we use Vaseline? I am still using it morning and night as the skin still feels a bit rough. Still have to avoid the sun until next July and now have to cover the whole radiated area with sunblock when I do go out, even in the early morning. Still have the lovely hat and shirt although I wear the shirt only if I am in the sun as it is sooooooooo hot out right now. We had some friends over Sunday and I was out in my “outfit” and they could see me glowing in that dreadful shirt from the end of the street. Their words were that I was quite colorful! One of them is a fisherman and I have promised him the shirt come next July, then he can be “colorful” out on the water when he is fishing!
Not much else happening. Getting ready for my first trip out in a while. I will be gone for two weeks when I go but am only teaching for three days, the rest is visiting. That will be nice. I get to see my grandkids again and have to be ready to jump on the trampoline with my grandson so I must be rested!
July 27 – Another call in to the radiation doctor. Still have that cough, have had it now for three weeks and part of my exhaustion is from coughing so much! Let’s see how long it takes them to call me back this time! Still having to rest in the afternoon and maybe a bit of a nap but that is lessening. I walked my full mile and a half this morning, coughing all the way!
I had a meeting here yesterday and was going to just wear Real Hair Silver Fox Serena but she would not cooperate at all and I just looked like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket! Lightening Lulu is not exactly the look I was after! Fiery Fiona came to the rescue!
August 1 – Well, still no word from the radiation oncologist about my cough! Five days ago! I am very disappointed in that office. I decided to treat myself over the weekend since no one called back and I took two Mucinex (they are guaifenesin) tablets every twelve hours and the cough has much improved. Today is Tuesday and if I am not just about all better by tonight I will call my Primary Care doctor and get him involved. I hate to do that as this is my first week of no doctor appointments or construction workers here in a very long time! I have not experienced this kind of treatment before and am at a loss as to the cavalier attitude of that whole office. Yesterday was my first day for a while without having to have a nap. Hopefully that continues.
Photo of the Week – Well, I don’t know where my brain was last update but that photo was not Jazzy Jasmin! Last update was Trendy Teresa! Now, I knew that so why did I call her the wrong name?????????? So, this photo is of the real Jazzy Jasmin! She is dark with a red patch of hair right at the crown. Doesn’t show up quite as much here. I really have to be in the right light to see the red really well. She is kind of hot so I haven’t been wearing her as much lately. Oh, oh! I just noticed a bit of Real Hair Silver Fox Serena peeking out on the left side!
Margot a.k.a. Perky Polly Keeper of the Perky Twins, Soapbox Sue, Annoying Anita, Complaining Clara, Whiny Whitney, Napless Nellie, Real Hair Silver Fox Serena, Fiery Fiona, Negative Nora, She Who Cannot Be Pleased, Positive Pollyanna, Lightening Lulu
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