Today was the best I have felt in a very long time. I went grocery shopping and unloaded the bags all myself! Then I cooked a yummy quiche and went to a ladies night out at church. It is 11 p.m. and I am still going strong! It felt good to laugh and meet new friends. Three different people at different points in the day told me I sounded normal…I sometimes forget about cancer and chemo and it feels great.
My son Keith has the flu so I am praying that I won’t catch it from him. I’m staying as far away as possible.
I had no nosebleeds today so I know somebody out there is praying hard for me! Thank you! Even the swelling in my arm is down. I am praising God for every small sign that He is touching me through the power of praying friends and family members.
My day started with a cup of coffee, and then I sat down at the computer when suddenly a gush of a nose bleed started. Thankfully, right then, my neighbor knocked at the door to walk my dog. I opened the door, wads of Kleenex in hand, and she took the dog and the leash and I managed to get to the couch to lay down. I thought I had gotten past these by sleeping with the humidifier for the past several nights. Apparently not.
I had my Herceptin infusion today, which my friend Deb drove me to. I spoke with an oncologist about the nose bleeds, and also pointed out that my left forearm is sore and swollen. She referred me to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor for the nose bleeds (which could take several days to get an appintment for), and then after my infusion she had me go to see the doctor who installed my port. Evidently the nose bleeds are the least of my concerns right now. Wasting no time, Dr. Cho personally walked me to ultrasound and had me seen right away for my arm, which they fear may have a blood clot in it. The unltrasound took over an hour. They were very thorough, scanning from my elbow to my heart, along the path of the port, having me make a fist, then relax, testing the flow. I am waiting to hear from the radiologist now. It could take a day or so before the results are back. (UPDATE Thursday 2/05/09: The doctor called – it is not a clot – only restricted blood flow as a result of the catheter coming from the port – a complication that is common. )I asked what they do if there is a blood clot and they told me that they put patients on blood thinners for that. I thought, GREAT! More nose bleeds!
As with each week, I met some more chemo patients today. One lady, younger than me, in stage 4 breast cancer, which had already gone to her lung and bone. He lungs appear clear now but they are treating the bone cancer . As you would expect in a room filled with women who have lost their hair, HAIR (or the lack thereof) seemed to be the topic of the day. She was showing us her new brown baby soft hair growth, and we all gazed longingly for the day when that would be us….She showed us her old driver’s license with her formerly blonde hair. How interesting! When they all learned that the hair under my ball cap was not mine, they were shocked! They couldn’t believe how real it looked and wanted to know how they could get one too! We exchanged web site links, and chatted for the three hours we were together. Comrads in battle, each in our own fight.
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This is the saying on the wall of my oncologist’s office : BALD IS BEAUTIFUL. I am trying to embrace it but it just isn’t working for me. I was asked the other day if now that my hair has been gone a few weeks, am I getting use to it? No, I said. I will never get use to it and I just don’t like looking in the mirror at myself. Perhaps STRENGTH is beautiful, or COURAGE is beautiful, but baldness, nope. Baldness is the new “in” look for only one segment of our population and that would be MEN! It is a masculine “look”, if you ask me, and so I am having to redefine myself with things other than what I look like on the outside when I see myself for who I truly am. People try and comfort me with things like, it is only temporary, or it will grow back (yeah like 3 inches a year!) Gee! I can look like a Marine in about 6 months from now! Yippy! Wigs all summer? Gonna be one hot summer. To top it off, my eyelashes and eyebrows are thinning this week. This changes your appearance significantly. Trust me. Like a dandelion whose seeds have all but blown off, it no longer appears the same. Do I sound like I am having a pity party over this? Maybe I am. It is only now just beginning to set in all that I have lost and I am going through somewhat of a grieving process about it. I’m told that is normal. It is necessary before moving forward in a positive direction. A direction that leads towards accceptance, but I have a hard time believing I will ever really accept this part. According to the Kubler-Ross model, anger is the second of five stages of grieving. Somewhere in there, before acceptance, comes depression – boy I hope I don’t have to go THERE! One comfort I find in all of this is that God loves me just the way I am. He made me. He knows my heart. He has no opinions about my appearance. He is spirit. He sees my spirit.
Samuel 16:7 says: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance (even if that man is just myself) , but the LORD looks at the heart.”
He is renewing my inner image to be more in line with His image. Compassionate, patient, joyful…I hope these radiate right through my bald head!
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Breakfast at iHop, a long afternoon nap, and dinner at P.F. Chengs with great friends! What more could make a better day? I am feeling pretty good and energy is coming back. I have had several slow to stop nose bleeds, a result of dry air plus low platlet count, but I borrowed a humidifier and hope that will help things. Tomorrow is the Super Bowl so we are looking forward to chicken wings and home made soup. Glad my taste has returned! For every pound I lose the week following chemo, I tend to more than make up for in the weeks after! (Not a great weight loss plan if you ask me.)
<——-Please click on the flag to read how
you can support Curtis’ girlfriends Avon Walk for me May 2 – 3
here in Washington D.C. Go Rachael! And Thank You!