Saturday, December 29, 2012


I went for a shog today (for the non runners out their that is a shuffle jog). It was cold and about 3 minutes into the run I was already tired. However, I toughed it out and made it about 2 miles. It was not pretty, but then again it never is. But, it doesn't matter because I was running! Operation regain fitness (energy level during radiation pending) can begin. GI system is operating at about 80%, chocolate still induces heartburn, but improving. My hair is falling out still (scalp is a little sore), but hey it's the last time. Getting ready for 2013 and a meeting with the medical oncologist and radiation oncologist later in the week. Get to start out the new year by getting my first and only tattoo so that I can get radiation in the right spot every time. Sounds fun. Maybe they can make it a smiley face.

Had this song in my head the entire run, very cliche. I need Bruce and Jon to make a "Born to Shog" version.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

So grateful for the timing of my treatments. Although my GI system hasn't been cooperating (I miss you chocolate) and my hair is falling out again, my energy level is good and I am able to see all the family and friends who are here for these few short days. I am failing miserably at keeping my crankiness in check when I am asked "Feeling ok?" and have taken to answering "Yes, I am fine" with probably too much attitude for anytime of year. I really have no good reason to be cranky either. Sleeping well and able to eat some of the foods I enjoy. However, really enjoying seeing everyone and doing our family holiday traditions. I'll work on toning the Ebeneezerness done today.

Besides that I think its safe to say.....

Update: Here is a post present unwrapping with my new hat:

Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Doug E. Funny

Everyday feeling better. Made it through two days of work and multiple public transportation snafus with sufficient energy. Eating 3 meals a day and snacks. Found that I have to wear a belt with all my pants right now.

Today at work I met one of the nurses who went through the exact same treatment (lumpectomy, exact same chemo, and radiation) that I will. We have e-mailed back and forth and she has shared some resources. She was very helpful with recommendations during chemo. Today when I got in the elevator I noticed a woman with short, but definitely a full head of hair. She noted my bald head and I could see her trying to see my badge. I read her name off her coat (she's kinda a big deal) and just said "Yup, I'm Sara". It was nice to meet her in person, however brief. She finished radiation about 1 month ago and when she got off the elevator she pointed to her head and said "Look! Soon enough yours will be back too." Looking forward to having/regrowing hair in the new year.

My peach fuzz is a little long in spots and I realized the other day that I totally look like the Nicktoon's character Doug. I find that I am often humming the theme song. I don't think it helps that my pajama t-shirt is the same color as his vest. Now where is Skeeter when you need him?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fire Inside

Forward progress! Yesterday I was able to eat food (very, very bland food) and drink water without curling up on the couch after. My GI system has moved on from pain to fire. Fire I can deal with. I knew I was making progress when I took a shower and put on real pants yesterday. Oh, how the definition of a "win" changes on a daily basis. I also felt well enough to get to the post office. Here I found that I would have fit in fine with my pajama pants and was slightly dressed up in jeans at 2:00 pm on a Friday. This little adventure did wipe me out a little bit, but it was a beautiful day out and it was nice to be upright and out and about. I still have some crazy mouth watering at times (my mouth waters so quickly that I kinda drool, and yes it is absolutely as attractive as it sounds), but even that is improving and the baking soda mouthwashes continue to help. The intense metallic taste has settled in, but hey there are ginger chews for that. For now, it's mostly the fire inside.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Revenge of the 4th Infusion!

I know that chemotherapy works by building up in your system. I understand that it makes you feel a little worse each time while it builds up in your system. However, neither of these concepts were in my mind when I determined that when I woke up this I would feel better and be done with Chemo (cue more Barry!).

Foolish girl.

One would have thought by now I would have understood how this process works. I did not go to work today and I will not be going to work tomorrow (chalk up another first, calling in sick!). To say I have heartburn would be the understatement of 2012. Water makes my stomach hurt. Basically, I am currently in a holding pattern: drink water, eat something super bland, curl up on couch and take a nap. Boy, am I glad this is the last cycle. I can't imagine those folks who have had to do this for a year (or even more than 4 cycles). 

This one is worth repeating:

Also, some of my hair has grown back in and it is white. Say what? I've never even had a grey hair. Let's hope this pattern doesn't continue as it will all fall out again by New Years. What a long strange trip this has been.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Victory! Chemo Infusion #4 Complete

Woke up to "We Need a Little Christmas" on the radio and decided to add my Christmas socks to my uniform for Chemo. 7:30 am blood draw was uneventful and my vitals have showed that my blood pressure and heart rate have steadily declined since my first appointment with the oncologist.
10/4 blood pressure 125/84, heart rate 80 beats per minute, a little nervous.
12/10 blood pressure 108/68, heart rate 64 beats per minute, excited to be done.

Labs looked good again today too! No need for blood transfusions! Hematocrit was still a little low, but ok low. Kidney and liver function still normal.  Blood sugar remained high, 137 mg/dl, but no need for insulin or anything. Another win.

Starting weight was 144 lbs, down to 142 lbs. Once I get my heartburn under control I will be all set. The oncologist is switching my heartburn medication to help with this to a much stronger medication. I am hopeful to maybe go more than 2 days in the next 3 weeks without a constant burning in my stomach.

No human pin cushion today! I told the MD about the 5 sticks last time and they brought the IV nurse down to put my IV nurse. She had it in and running in under 30 seconds. It was glorious. I was up and running in no time! No problems with infusions (besides my tiny bladder having me drag the IV pole to the bathroom 3 times, but progress has been made my Mother doesn't follow me to the bathroom anymore).

Everyone was on the lookout for the bear today. The volunteers recognized me by it. Also, all the nurses didn't realize that my shirt says F*ck Cancer until today. They all absolutely loved it and congratulated me on the final infusion. I will see them all tomorrow for the dreaded Nuelasta shot, but light is at the end of the tunnel. Today's infusions flew by time wise. I spent the whole time writing out Christmas cards. I mean really if there was ever a place to be thankful for the upcoming year, I'm pretty sure it's in the infusion room.

Only thing that didn't go my way was waiting for my new prescription. They didn't remember I was waiting for it, even though it was partially filled after the doctor called it up. It took 35 minutes. We got over it and I sang this (yes I am aware I technically still have a rough 3 weeks ahead of me. I'll follow up with the medical oncologist and make sure all my labs look good 1/3/13 and have an appointment to get set up in radiation oncology on the same day):

And now onto celebrate with what else, but mashed potatoes. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Chemo Countdown is on!

Monday is the last infusion and Tuesday is the last feeling like crap inducing Neulasta shot! 3 weeks from now I should feel relatively normal. They say it will take 2-3 months for my taste to return to normal.

Feeling pretty good (besides continuous heartburn at this point). Went for a run during the week, worked the entire week and didn't get lost in the hospital. However, did forget one of my colleagues names. But, really who hasn't done that? Looking forward to a weekend full of friends (and revealing the bald look to many), cookie swapping (without other people touching my food-I have learned) and family.

I am a wee bit excited to close the chapter on the 2nd phase of treatment. 3 more weeks! Then on to being microwave daily.....more on that later. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear Santa, Please Bring me Nose Hair for Christmas

Yes, this year I am asking for the return of my nose hair. At first I thought, losing my nose hair sounds great. However, what it really is is annoying. Any slight change of temperature and my nose is running. It's very pretty. While sitting on the couch watching tv, walking or running outside, my nose is running. Depending on what isle of the grocery store I am in depends on how fast my nose is running. I make sure that every pocket that I have is stocked with tissues. I am trying really hard not to be that guy who "sniffs" constantly all day long. {However, in terms of side affects lost hair and some taste changes I am feel pretty lucky}

Weekend goals were accomplished. I was able to stay up past 8 pm and see some friends (even if I was only able to stay for 30 minutes). I was able to go running too! It's still not pretty and my legs were super super tight, but I ran for 18 minutes. Love it.

Chemo Brain
Guess what? This has been proven as a real condition. A sampling of women with breast cancer who had chemo for 6 months or longer had brain scans through out chemotherapy. Actual changes to the brains were found. Many of the symptoms were decreased attention, difficulty remember name, dates or events, and get lost more easily. It's referred to as "mild cognitive dysfunction". Many people have asked if I have had any of these side effects. I have had some slight difficulty concentrating (I can't seem to get through an article longer than 2 pages right now) and some difficulty finding the right word. However, these could also be from my new sleep pattern.  I would adamantly say that I haven't had really any chemo brain. Well, that is until Friday afternoon. See what happened was I ran down to check in on a patient in the SICU (which is one floor below where my office is) and when I cam back to the main corridor I stopped dead in my tracks. I had no idea how to get back to my office. Then I started to panic a little. And then I just read the GIANT sign in front of me that told me exactly where I was. I made my way back to my office and shared a good laugh with my colleagues about it. So yes, I have had at least 15 seconds of chemo brain.