Archive | January 2010

Another Day, Another Doctor

Well today I saw the allergist, and can now add another to the long list of professionals treating me since cancer stepped in.  She was very nice and fit me into her busy schedule, even though I accidentally showed up 3 1/2 hours EARLY for my appointment (seems I got the chemo brain blunders again!) She wanted to keep the pile of photos I brought in to share with her colleagues.  Some of them were pretty “extraordinary”,  and had I not known it really had happened to me, I would have thought those pictures were photo shopped myself!

She is running a bunch of blood tests to check categories in my immune system. She is also testing other things like liver enzymes, red blood cell counts (anemic 3 months ago) , protein levels (which were low in October) and in about two weeks we should have an idea of where we can go from here.  In the meantime she has prescribed an Epi-pen (self injecting epinephrine syringe) and showed me how to use it and practice with a sample practice pen for use when the coughing episodes return causing potential airway constriction.  She also put me on a daily allergy medication in hopes that maybe I will see a reduction in frequency of reactions.

Tim & Koryn -touring Washington D.C. MLK Day January 18, 2010

I’ll see my other doctors in 2 weeks for follow ups, although nothing remarkable there to discuss.

Today was 60 degrees, a nice change from our cold and wintry blues!

I took a walk with the dog and hope to get some more walking in soon as I prepare for the 40 miles walk May 1-2. It’s going to be here before we know it! To view Curtis’ Avon Walk page you can go to He thanks you, as do I , for all your support!

Not funny anymore (or is it?)

January 20, 2010

Yesterday I had one of the worst allergy attacks thus far. I woke up and felt like my eye was swollen. Well, it was. I hadn’t even eaten breakfast or taken any medications. In fact, I don’t take medications at all anymore, well, except for Tylenol now and then. SO this time I couldn’t even link it to THAT. Within 2 hours I looked like an absolute FREAK and couldn’t leave my house for fear of scaring little children! Not even to take a walk! I think I even scared the dog! I scared myself looking in the mirror!

January 20, 2010

I called the allergist and he told me to go ahead and take the Atarax, which is kind of like Benadryl.  He told me that he didn’t think they would be doing any skin testing on me next week anyways, and that this doesn’t sound like a typical food allergy (which is what they normally test for). But by the time I made that call, I had been in full BLOWN angio edema for several hours and the Atarax did nothing except make me very sleepy. (I almost missed American Idol because I fell asleep on the couch! Now we CAN’T have THAT happening!! 🙂 ) So I am hoping to get some answers next week as to how to prevent this from going “full blown” (pardon the pun) again! They already tested me for the C-1 deficiency which I didn’t show to have, so maybe there are other immune disorders that they can test for. If anyone has ever heard of anything like this happening to patients who have been through chemotherapy I would love to hear from you!

I guess that having a sense of humor about it all can help ease the situation, and as with everything in this life, I am learning that laughing is better than crying about things that are not life threatening.  Besides, I have such great friends & family, and they’ve been through so much with me. This is one we won’t soon forget!

This entry was posted on January 22, 2010. 5 Comments

New Year, New Issues

I just had to show off my new BANGS!

Chemo can do strange things ot the body months and even years later, I am learning!

The port removal site  on my arm developed a red, prickly and itchy rash about a day or two after surgery and is still there one week later. Seems I have developed a hypersensitivity to different substances now that chemo has compromised,  or rather – “confused”, my immune system.  Other allergic reactions have been occuring for the past 8 months to include angio adema, a swelling of my face and lips, as well. (Yes, this is really me and not NOT Angelina Jolie!) And no, it isn’t funny!  (Stop laughing!)  This lip swelling has actually happened to me at least 8 different times and I have now linked it to the use of Ibuprofen as well as some foods. I have been taking Ibuprofen my whole life and never had this happen before!  It is quite embarassing! The scariest reactions have been those where my throat begins to seize up and I can’t stop coughing.  This happened last week at lunch with some friends after eating Indian food. I took an oral allergy medication and it subsided shortly thereafter, but I still went home with the left side of my face swelled and the lower right lip swelled up!  I see an allergy specialist later this month to see what can be done about these.  Nothing seems to be helping the rash stop itching so I guess I have to just wait it out. (?)

I saw the oncologist for my one month follow up today. He has referred me for some spinal x-rays to see what could be the cause of my back pain and numbness in my upper spine. This has gone on for well over 6 weeks now so I thought I’d better mentiion it to him. He said if the films don’t show anything but the problem persists he will order an MRI. I asked him if I am being paranoid, and he said every former cancer patient is paranoid but with good reason. So he assured me he will always exhaust all possibilities before assuming that it is really nothing. As we know all too well, it can sometimes be “something”. Rarely, but sometimes.

The snow from 3 weeks ago is still on the ground here, but the sun decided to come out today, and the temperatures went above 38 degrees so I took the opportunity to enjoy a very long one hour walk as I have really got to start preparing for my Avon Walk! Just less than 4 months to go! Curtis is now actively soliciting donations for his walk. You can read his Avon Walk Page by going HERE . He leaves today to go back to college after a nice long month home.  Kyle left last week to go back for his last semester, so things just got much quieter around here. And Keith got word this week that he has been accepted into James Madison University (in Harrisonberg, Virginia where Kyle attends) in the fall, so we will be just one child away from a truly “empty nest”.

Ouch! I feel old!

Being “de” ported

Update 1-7-10 * Owie! My arm is very sore. The port removal went well, but it was surgery so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it hurts now. Bandages can come off  Friday.  Full activities can resume in about a week.

Tomorrow is the big deportation!  The day I get my medi-port removed!  Before beginning chemotherapy last year, I had to have a port surgically inserted into my left , above the elbow on the underside, where the infusion needle could access my veins all year.  At one point someone came up to me this year and said, “You know you have a big bruise on your arm?!” But that is the only time anybody really noticed it and I had to explain.   Now that I have finished treatment, it is time to have that taken out.  A lot of people who undergo chemo, have theirs inserted

Port under skin

on the chest, but my hospital does things a little differently and places it in the arm, especially of breast cancer patients, since this leaves one less scar on the chest, and is virtually undetectable when my arm hangs at my side.  (The scar from my MRSA infection on the right arm is much worse and farther forward and quite noticeable, actually.)  But I am glad to put this stage of things behind me and to move forward.  Unfortunately, they do not put me to sleep for this procedure, and use only a local anesthetic in the surgical suite, so needless to say, I’m just going to be glad when it is all over! (Apparently putting it in takes longer and more manipulating than taking it out.) They will access the same small one inch incision site you see running horizontally my arm, and after removal, will simple stitch me up and send me on my way.  I’ll let you know if it is an easy as they make it sound!

My left arm with port installed under the skin

Happy 2010!

A few words of wisdom were given to me this first day of 2010.  I thought I would pass them along to you!  My personal favorites are numbers 1,  8,  18,  25,  33   Enjoy!

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone for everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

This entry was posted on January 2, 2010. 3 Comments