Tranquillity Tonight for Tomorrow

First off my apologies for not updating sooner, bad Diana. Here’s a bit of an update, I wish I had time to write more but Lionel’s begging me to turn out the lights. I have been reflecting and experiencing how Easter changes everything and hope to post more about that soon.

Chemo Cycle 1- My first go at it with each Cancer Fighting Drug (insert kung fu fighting song here). Things went better than I expected. I was a little nauseated and pretty dang tired. Those side effects were easily managed with pills and sleep-- lots of naps. However, the power of my nose has increased by 10fold. I can smell better than a blind and deaf bloodhound tracing a mustard seed. This also means that certain smells cause me to gag and react in a foul way. BLEH! When I was pregnant with Garrett I had a heightened sense of smell as well, so at least it’s not something new to me.

CDay 9 (4/14) my head was extremely tender. As discomforting as it was to massage it, it was also oddly comforting to touch it. This has faded over the past few days, but I am still getting a few itchy fits. I believe there is a link between this side effect and the Bleomycin. I receive this drug with the trusty ol’ pump, Flo.

Flo, has been good to me so far, I bring her home every Monday for a 24 hour dose of the bleomycin or Adriamycin, (depending on the week) By Tuesday afternoon I am ready to get rid of her. She’s nice and all but dang all she does is hang around…..okay sorry but, I’m still sour about the fanny pack.

The steroid Prednisone has come with some unpleasant guests that stay too long. PIMPLES….ahhhhh!! Now not only do I have the haircut of a 13 year old boy I have his skin to go with it. I have been eating like crazy, another side kick of the steroids. My eating has literally been extreme. Take for example the jar of pickles (including juice) that I consumed within 24hours. Can we say craving?

[D’s Note: We are blessed to live in such a caring community. Thank you to the moms of WBMC who have kept Lionel, Garrett and I well fed this past week. We are so grateful for your generosity.]

During my 4 day break from the chemo drugs I took Nupragen (growth factor). This drug works by squeezing the marrow, a spongy tissue in the central cavity of bones that forms blood cells, with full force and fury. Similar to how you ring out a dish sponge after washing dishes with caked on grease and grit. Days 1-3 of this shot were not bad at all, a little pinch and sting and that was that. But day 4 and OWWY my bones hurt. Not all of my bones but my lowerback+Pelvis+Hip bones hurt like @#(*)!@(#!!!!! The best way to describe it is growing pains so intense you cry. I’m going to need something more potent than 2 Tylenol and a heating pad, which made things only slightly comfortable.

Tomorrow I’ll start Chemo Cycle 2 and I’ll get the heavy handed neck crunch by Dr. A tomorrow. When I saw him last week he said the lumps in my neck appear to be slightly smaller. A small success, the sum of many successes big and small are going to amount to being cured!

So here’s how the next 2 weeks will lay out, medically of course….
Mon- 10 pills, 3hr drip, and 24hr pump of chemo drugs
Tue- 10 pills, 90min drip
Wed- 10 pills, 90min drip
Thur-Sunday- 10 pills
Next Mon- 24hr pump, 1 injection of chemo drugs
Next Tue-Fri- growth factor injection
I know the next 2 weeks will be full of life and laughter too. I look forward to the moments that make me smile J.

Tranquility tonight resting for tomorrow
a battle armed by your shield and sword.
Tranquility tonight declaring prayers for tomorrow
for strength, courage and resilience in every breath.
Tranquility tonight full of hope for tomorrow
for change only possible by your grace.

Cday1 DONE! Cday2 DONE!

C day 1 & 2 over with!!

My day started off yesterday very early, I arrived at the hospital at 7am for the placement of a port. The port is where I receive the IV chemo drugs. It’s a pretty nifty device….although the surgery to get it done was not so nifty!!

First the surgery tech had to scrub the whole right side of my neck and chest. This tickled so much I filled the room with uncontrollable laughter! This went on for about 5mins and I was sure I was going to pee my pants. The Tech has never had anyone react that way usually they complain. The laughter stopped there!

I got one dose of pain killers and nurse says to me “okay you’re going to get sleepy, just let yourself go.” I did not feel one bit sleepy, I was still wide awake. I felt them give me local numbing drugs where the port was going to be inserted. This local shot hurt and burned so bad. They did forewarn me. While they placed the port I could feel them poking away at me, slicing me open and putting things in. I kept saying OUCH!! And OHHHH!! And WOOOWWEEE! So they gave me more pain killer in the IV and still nothing, I was wide awake and could feel everything. The Surgeon and the tech were talking away and I put myself right into their conversation. Later I found out I’m the first patient they have ever worked on that was awake, talking and feeling during the whole procedure. The nurse told me they couldn’t give me any more pain meds because my blood pressure was too low….what a crock of shit! Next time I’m demanding more drugs!

What is a port? It’s a small device that connects to a catheter and placed under the skin. The cathader then runs into a blood vessel. When they took the bandages off you can’t even tell that I have anything there. I have 2 cuts where they inserted the thing and then a little hole that the IV needle goes into. When I’m not hooked up to the drugs I can shower and swim and do everything I don’t even have to keep it covered!

This is where my port is placed

This show how the port is used. A neddle is put directly into the port an injects the chemo drugs that then flow through the catheter into my blood stream.

I’m pretty sure my port is purple!! The hospital gave me all kinds of info on the port and all the pictures show a purple port…so I’m going to go on believing that my port is my favorite color purple! My friends helped me name the port Portia. LOL! I love it!

Chemo Day 1
So after that was all done, I went into the doctor’s office for my first chemo treatment. Dr. A sat with me for a bit first and we talked a little. He told me to stop taking my iron pills because I received an “elephant dose” of iron through IV on Friday. Lionel asked him to repeat himself cause he wasn’t sure at first what he said...”an elephant dose of iron”…LOL…we’re not used to Dr. A making jokes!!!

Then I started on the chemo drip….first I got an anti-nausea med, and then the 1st chemo drug for about an 90mins, then I got a 2nd chemo drug for another 90mins, followed by a 3rd chemo drug that was given to me in a pump to take home. I was on this 3rd drug for 24 hours. The pump is in a little fanny pack I wear around my waist and hooks right into the port in my chest. The nurses showed me how to work the machine and it seems pretty simple. Could this be payback for making fun of my mom for wearing fanny packs while we went on family vacations LOL!! My friends that helped me name Portia also helped me name the pump Flo. So I have 2 new cancer accomplices Portia and Flo! LOL

Chemo was pretty uneventful, I think poor Lionel was bored, but I’m glad he had his PSP to play video games on. I didn’t nap either, the bad programming on tv was way to interesting! LOL, I never get to watch the crap that’s on in the afternoon.

After chemo I went to my mom’s house and she made dinner for me. Then she took me to a Cancer Support group at the hospital. This was my 2nd time going, and it was really important to me to go. I know there are days when cancer is going to get me down and out and have power over me. But yesterday I had the power and I was going to use it to its full advantage!

The one really really really really really really crappy part about yesterday is that Garrett got sick and was throwing up flem at school and daycare. My mom picked him up early from daycare and took him home. I got to see him for a little bit, but then he went to my grandparent’s house so that my aunt could care for him. I wish he could be home with me. I want to care for my sick baby…..but I can’t run the risk of getting sick right now either. This part totally sucks! Gotta be the worst part so far; not being able to take care of my baby. I am tearing up just thinking about it.

Today (4/7) was chemo day 2
This morning I drove to the pharmacy to pick up some meds and then took some lunch home. After I ate lunch the pill taking started I took a total of 10 pills: 1 anti nausea, 6 steroids and 3 chemo pills. This pill count will last for another 6 days and then I get 6 days of a “pill vacation.” My chemo pills come with a laundry list of foods I can’t eat, including chocolate…how in the world am I supposed to stay away from chocolate? That’s crazyness!!!

My dad took me to my chemo treatment this afternoon, it took about another 90mins. Again it was pretty uneventful; I hope ALL treatments and everything else stay this uneventful! Tomorrow is Chemo day 3 and should take another 90mins.

As I walked to the restroom at the dr's office today I ran into Dr. A. I made a funny face at him and he laughed! I'm getting better at getting Dr. A to laugh. I think he could use some more laughter in his life and I'm here to provide it!

A little bit more about my treatments
I’m on BEACOPP and we are starting with 4 aggressive treatments, each treatment takes 2 weeks. I don’t get every drug everyday either. It’s all stretched out. So this week and next week will complete treatment 1, then the following week the cycle will start over starting treatment 2. I don’t get any time off between treatments unless I flunk my blood test and we really don’t want that to happen!

Garrett, Lionel and I had a great family day last Saturday at the Kemah board walk. Here are a few pictures. Enjoy!

Garrett and I with Sharky

The Brown Family

I would like to knock Sponge Bob silly!

Yum Shrimp!

Making fishy faces at each other

Garrett's fishy face

Loving my mohawk!


Tonight I leave you with just a few ramblings that I have been thinking about this week. Peace and Love, D.

It’s All About The Hair
I was driving with the window down and it was nice not to have hair blowing in my face constantly stinging my skin and getting in my eyes. It was also nice not to have to worry about windblown frizzy hair. Hey!! I won't have to worry about frizzy hair from the Houston humidity either. WooHoo!

Earlier this week I was at the mall and for the first time ever the creepy guy, who sells the flat irons for your hair, didn’t ask me to try his not so special flat iron. When I walk through the mall next time will the shoe shine guy offer to shine my head for a quarter?

Mommy’s have a very special gift, we have eyes in the back of our heads. We have a way of watching our little bundles of joy/trouble without really having to see them. Once my head is bald will Garrett go looking for my eyes? Uh-Oh! I better come up with a quick response when he asks “Mami where are your eyes? The eyes in the back of your head? I don’t see them.”

Winds of Cancer
It was very windy today, the trees were swaying one way then the other, traffic lights were jiggling on the lines, and one particular street sign (@ Richmond & Briarpark) was taking a true beating. Now I sit here several hours later and the winds have eased up and then stopped.

Cancer is the wind of the life. It has a way of blowing you in one direction then in another and often in a whirlwind effect. It jiggles your emotions and stability. It can be a true beating. But like the wind the cancer will ease up and eventually stop.

Although my days ahead consist of battling cancer I hope they are not particularly windy.