Sometimes I Feel Like Bartholomew Cubbins

I have been overwhelmed with kindness from so many people – gifts, cards, and many well-wishes. I truly feel the love and the blessings for healing. I feel wrapped in love as I wrap myself in these many treasures, both physical and word. I can’t even begin to thank you all for everything.

I have received many, many hats – some handmade, some store-bought, some thick, some thin, some shiny, some plain… and each and every one of them has already been perfect for one time or another.

Many of my new hats

I feel a bit like Bartholomew Cubbins, although I don’t wear all my hats at one time. But here’s a little hat fashion video for you:

Warning: this was my first ever attempt at video editing… Lol!

No more hair, but the eyebrows are still there!

So that’s JUST my hats… I’ve also received scarfs, prayer shawls, blankets, gloves, socks, books, cookies and other goodies, bath bombs, and so much more… I couldn’t make a video with all that!

Your gifts, both physical and emotional have lifted my spirits and made this journey a little brighter… and for that I can’t thank you enough!

Thank you from the top of my bald head to the bottom of my heart ❤

Is It a Varied Thrush?

“Although it looks superficially like a robin, the Varied Thrush is far more elusive, usually feeding on the ground among dense thickets.” – (https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/varied-thrush). There’s more than one kind of thrush… there are 10 varieties of thrushes listed in the Audubon guide to North American Birds. Unfortunately, the variety of thrush that I am currently familiar with is the fungal infection on my tongue… Here’s a picture:

This was the day before I called the triage nurse about my white tongue.

I have had the usual thick spit and bad taste in my mouth, and tongue feeling weird because of those factors, but on Monday I noticed that my tongue actually looked coated with slime. I thought it was just related to the thick spit, etc. Tuesday it still looked coated and whitish so I took this picture. Wednesday it still looked white (and maybe a little whiter than this) so I thought I’d better call the triage nurse at NorthStar to make sure she didn’t think it was thrush. Mmmm, yeah, she thought it was thrush. So my oncologist prescribed medicine. Now I have medicinal lozenges that I melt on my tongue 5 times a day for the next 7-14 days – Clotrimazole. the lozenges aren’t too horrible… a slightly minty chalky tablet that’s a little smaller and twice as thick as a dime. Apparently thrush is not uncommon with chemo. Not only does the body have a hard time fighting bacterial and viral infections, but it doesn’t do as well fighting fungal infections either.

In other news… I’m finally feeling pretty good, and was able to work a good part of the day yesterday and today. That third round of chemo took a lot of wind out of my sails with overall fatigue, as well as the usual complaints.

Kevin cooked steak, twice-baked potatoes, and made a salad for supper tonight – it was really good! I might have taken a picture of this feast for you, but I ate it instead 🙂 So here’s a picture of a varied thrush, which is much more attractive than my tongue thrush!

Okay, so it’s actually a drawing of a robin. I saw some beautiful pictures of Varied Thrushes online, but decided I shouldn’t “borrow” other people’s work… copywrite and all… Check out the link in the first paragraph to see a Varied Thrush!

One Week Later…

Remember last post when I guessed that I would be hit harder this 3rd round of chemo than I was the second? Well, I was right. It’s early morning on day 8 of the 3rd round. 5:50 a.m. to be exact. And I’ve been awake for an hour. Probably because I went to bed at 7:45 p.m. Current status: stomach okay, nasty taste in mouth, thick spit, watery eyes, no headache, no body aches, a little shaky/weak.

Yesterday was rough, partly because I didn’t take the Ondansetron (AKA Zofran) in the morning. My reasoning was this: I stopped it by now the last two rounds, and it makes me constipated. I felt gunky (true medical word in my dictionary) during the morning, but it seemed mostly due to fatigue, weakness, and nasty tasting mouth. But as I watched the Rams/Saints game I felt gunkier. Our power went out at half time so I took a little nap… and when I woke from that I was feeling ookie (another fine medical term) in my tummy. I caved and took an Ondansetron… too little too late. I felt ookie in my tummy the rest of the day, and fatigued, and weak, and had a headache. Poor Kevin asked me what I wanted for supper and I just whined… I don’t care.

The good news is that after supper (Raisin Bran with blueberries and protein powder… sounds gross, but it hit the spot) I took a Lorazepam and 2 Tylenol, and went to bed. I slept well! So now I’m awake and feeling decent, stomach-wise, and I’m not going to make that same mistake twice. I’ll be having Ondansetron to start the day, along with my Raisin Bran and some stewed prunes, lol… got to keep the constipation in check!

There’s a reason the doctor prescribes anti-nausea medications.

Halfway Through the First Half – 1/15

Yesterday I had my third chemo treatment. In two weeks I will have my fourth and final treatment with the Adriamycin/Cytoxan combo. Then I will be finished with the first treatments. Two weeks later I will start in with the Taxol (different chemo) treatment… once a week for 12 weeks. Rumor has it that the Taxol doesn’t whup your butt as much as the A/C combo… let’s hope the rumors are true.

What I’ve noticed so far… The first round of A/C combo overall wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. The second round was worse than the first – more fatigue, more constipation, and it took several more days to bounce back. So with that in mind, I’m anticipating that this third round will likely be even a little worse. I’ve tried to be prepared for that by eating my raisin bran and stewed prunes even when my poop has been fine the last few days, and by not committing to anything in particular during this week. Otherwise, it’s one day at a time, with a light at the end of the tunnel.

After spending my morning at NorthStar yesterday, I came home, ate a little lunch (peanut butter toast) and napped until late afternoon. The dogs woke me up as they alerted us to the presence of the UPS driver (yay a package from Creative Memories), and a few minutes later the USPS driver (YAY a package from my Tacoma Pals!!!) What wonderful treats to receive on treatment day. You Tacoma Cardiology peeps are my new favorites, and I’ll have to do a photo shoot to show off all the wonderful “keeping the baldy warm” presents that you sent!! Later…

Now it’s the end of the day after treatment, which I spent watching TV and napping, and eating, and putting drops in my eyes which are watery and irritated today. I even read a real book for a while. No nausea, YAY! I’ll share one bald picture, that I took yesterday. But that’s all the pictures for today. Not much energy today.

Most days I wear my red hat that my sister knit for me because it’s super soft and it keeps this bald head warm. Thank you Mom and Dad for the nicely shaped head.

Fatigue

1/10/2019 — I think one of the hardest side-effects of the chemo is fatigue. And it’s interesting what brings it on. In the first days after treatment it’s always there. But then I start off my mornings feeling pretty good, and tire as the day goes on. Last cycle of treatment I felt relatively little fatigue for the second week… just at the end of the day (after 7 or 8 pm) most days. This cycle it’s been a little longer getting to this point. In fact yesterday (Wednesday) was really the first day that I had an almost full day of feeling pretty good.

This fatigue is a weariness that washes over me… exhaustion. And it’s not just a physical tiredness, but a mental exhaustion too. Don’t ask me what I want to eat. Don’t ask me to make any decisions at all. My brain and my body just want to rest.

I have been surprised by what brings on the fatigue. Activity, like walking around the block with Kevin doesn’t seem make it worse, and sometimes even seems a little better. But stress can definitely trigger it. We had the furnace people here on Tuesday, and they were here for several hours. Rosie and Charlie stayed in the bedroom (because they have bad manners) but they barked and barked and barked. By the time the furnace people left I was exhausted, because the dogs were stressing me out. I didn’t expect that stress would cause more fatigue than, say, a hard workout at boot camp used to do. And it can blindside me…. I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay, I am suddenly completely Exhausted!

So tomorrow we are going to become the proud owners of new furnace/AC units. Aren’t we lucky? Our old furnace/AC units were just that, old (and fatigued, haha). 25 years old to be exact. And it turns out that the something-or-other on the motor of the furnace is unfixable and the something pipe has a crack in it. It currently still is producing heat, don’t worry, but it must be replaced. To be proactive, the dogs get to go to doggy daycare tomorrow all day while the HVAC people install all the stuff… and since our house may be without heat for part of the day I will go to my quiet office away from home, at least for part of the day. I am doing what I can to anticipate and avoid stress.

Kevin has been working hard to clear out the furnace room so there is enough space for the HVAC people to do the install tomorrow. Goodbye old furnace!

And Now, a Break for Supper…

(1/7/2019) This is mostly going to be a photo post. Kevin loves to cook. And he likes to experiment with new recipes. And, although he does NOT like to watch The Great British Baking Show (he doesn’t like the competition)… He has found the GBBS Masterclass episodes that are just Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry showing how to cook the technical challenges. Then he looks up the recipe and bakes it.

I am soooo lucky!

Tonight’s Masterclass marvel was Turkey, Cranberry, and Stuffing Chelsea Buns! Oh. My. Goodness. Kevin used chicken instead of turkey, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. Oh, and then we had leftover gravy, so put some of that on top after they came out of the oven. Thank goodness I am feeling a lot better today, and have an appetite, because these were delicious. I’ll let the pictures do the rest:

So there are our Chelsea Buns – it’s like Thanksgiving all over again! Did I mention that there was extra dough that he made into cinnamon rolls? Sigh …

Steven Has Competition!

As you may have seen, I have a buzzed head now! The hair that’s left is maybe 1/16th of an inch long… just enough to catch on every hat that I put on. Kevin thinks I should just take a razor to my head and shave it clean. But I’m pretty sure I would cut myself, so I’m not going that route! Just for fun I experimented with a piece of duct tape, and what do you know… it pulls off the rest of the hair. I only tried it in one little spot, so I still have stubble all over my head. I’m waffling on whether I should go for it, all over, with the duct tape, lol!

You’ve already met Steven, my brown wig. Well, now Steven has competition! Teresa gave me a Joy outfit and wig for Christmas. If you have seen the Pixar movie Inside Out then you know who Joy is. She is bubbly, joyful, wears a bright yellow dress and has a mop of blue hair. Her picture is at the bottom of this post. Finally yesterday I took pics of me with Steven and with Joy. I’ve got to admit, I think I still like bald Janet best!

In other news – I worked almost a full day on Friday, then was exhausted the rest of the evening. Whether it was because I had worked so long, or because evenings are just not as good for me, I don’t know. But I really, really took it easy yesterday. Watched a lot of TV and napped mostly. I am achy around my shoulders, neck, back – this happened at about the same time two weeks ago too, and is likely a side-effect of the Neulasta. Evening fatigue has been almost overwhelming the last two nights and I’ve gone to bed by 8pm both nights. Also I am constipated (probably a side effect of the Ondansetron and the Dexamethasone). If you see me on Facebook at 4 a.m. it’s probably because I’m sitting on the throne hoping to poop. (TMI?) BUT I’d still rather be constipated than have diarrhea! And I know that during the last chemo cycle the constipation peaked right around now and eased as the next week went by. The happy news is that I feel good in the mornings (like now), and I anticipate that from now until next treatment I will start feeling better and better.

So here’s a picture of Joy… and even though I don’t look exactly like her when I wear her wig, I put this Pixar picture of Joy as my background on my laptop because that spirit of Joy and Delight makes me happy!

Joy!