Tag Archives: blessed

Apr. 10.

Chemo Comes To An End


***fires off confetti cannon***

I have not posted this chemo cycle like I have done the others … one post per day, because I didn’t want to post a series of DONE posts. Which at the moment is how I feel. DONE.

Done with the monthly trips to kill off the bad blood cells. Done with sitting in a chair for hours on end waiting for the drugs to drip into my system. Done with being a pack mule carrying all the stuff to keep me occupied during those hours. Done with feeling myself swell up like a balloon from water retention. And OH SO READY to get my life back to some semblance of normal.

But as much as I’d love to celebrate (and I will because what is each step forward on life’s journey without a bit of celebration) the END of cancer in my body, I cannot. I will celebrate the end of this round of chemo. I will patiently await for the results of the tests that will determine how effective the chemo has been at ridding me of the bad abnormalities they found in my blood system. But the truth of the matter is, however much I want to say done with cancer, it is not done with me.

This is step 2 along my journey with cancer at best (and may there be many more steps, because as long as I’m stepping, I’m living.) The types of cancer I have, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small cell non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, are not curable (today), so I will be living with them for a while—may it be a long while. Fortunately, they, by themselves, are not aggressive, and can be managed mostly through monitoring my blood values. As long as I keep up with the monitoring we’ll know how things stand and I’ll be able to take my life back. If the counts get out of whack, then we’ll whack back with some drugs and put them back where they should be.

So for me, this is done with chemo, for now. I don’t know whether I will need chemo again in the future, so I don’t want to be categoric about never needing it again. I might. I don’t know. But for now, let the dance party begin. I am done with this cycle of chemo, and that is enough to celebrate. What happens in the future will happen. And I’ll deal with it, just as I have dealt with this episode. Head on, flinching only when necessary.

The truth is that in looking at the grand design of my life (that which I can see at any rate) since I had to go through chemo—this was good timing. Since I had to do it. I have kept busy. Things have been changing on the writing side of life for the better, and things are getting ready to break open there, so better now than later to be isolated from the rest of the world. I need my energy back because I have so much to accomplish … I’m ready to spread my wings and soar.

The balloons in the post header are for the celebration. It’s time to relaunch my life.

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Feb. 19.

The Blahs Hit

The photo for today involves fog because right now I’m feeling a bit foggy. Today I was focused on the day job and got a lot accomplished. The problem is that when I was done with the day, I suddenly realized I wasn’t feeling all that great. Nauseous, tired, and completely unmotivated to work on anything—even this post. HA!

But then I realized one beautiful thing … I’ve been going through chemo for 4 months now, and tonight I’m more nauseous than I’ve been the entire time … and it’s manageable. I was able to have something to eat (nothing fancy, a helping of mashed potatoes) and I have not become one with the great porcelain bowl. And I’m starting to feel a tad better. Not great, but not as lousy as I was before.

I saw my doctor yesterday and she mildly chastised me for not sharing all my symptoms with her. (Ironically, yesterday I felt great.) And I told her my journey was so relatively light, I don’t really think of the negative symptoms as negative. Yes, after every chemo session I go through a few days of turning into a gas factory … I take the anti-nausea medications she prescribed and keep it in check. Yes, every treatment cycle means I’ll retain water like a camel and it takes a couple weeks to get back to normal. Yes, the injection to boost my white count gives me a headache and backaches, sometimes more severe than others, but these are known side effects, and none of it is beyond my ability to deal with. Yes, I get tired after the treatments, but I’m encouraged by how much better my energy is getting in between treatments.

So the bottom line is, I don’t talk about feeling poorly because I really haven’t had a bad time of it. I know many others who have had a much rougher time, so I feel blessed. But since I am not feeling the swiftest tonight, I am not working on things (other than this post) will probably watch a movie or read a little and get some rest. Oh, and I absolutely attribute my ability to stay well to keeping myself isolated most of the time, and being diligent about wearing a surgical mask when having to go out in public at any time.

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Feb. 11.

Cycle 4, Day 1 – Chemo

My Status: A little fuzzy around the edges
Mood: Good

I feel like there should be a warning at the beginning of this post …

****WARNING**** Mind explosion in progress.

In a nation focused on the freezing weather, the nice market boost based on the words of new Fed chief, Yellin, and the controversy surrounding whether Blake Griffin actually smacked Justin Bieber in Starbucks, or (more seriously) the death of Shirley Temple Black, my update about how chemo went is small potatoes. But I’m going to give it anyway. 😉

Tuesday’s are my loooooong day, but at least I was able to start my day earlier than normal so we weren’t making our way home at six o’clock. There is just something psychologically daunting about having been sitting in a chair all day and to not be finished by five. Last time I found myself staring at the drip and timing the next one. Not really a healthy mental place to be when I could have been focusing on getting something done. Anyway, starting early helped tremendously because there was still daylight on the drive home. However, first thing sitting in the chair, I was antsy. Could not get comfortable and couldn’t sit still. My fault, entirely. Last night, for some silly reason I can’t even remember, I decided not to use my bed of nails, even though I knew my lower back was having problems. I paid the price for that decision today. Since I couldn’t concentrate on what I had intended to do, I started a movie and things settled down.

Today became a reminder for how truly blessed I am in my journey. I have people who care, people who are willing to drive me to and/or from the treatments, people who are praying for me and my recovery. And I’m blessed in some aspects with my particular diagnosis and resulting treatments because while there have been one or two bumps along the way, my journey so far has been relatively smooth (and I’d really like it to stay that way).

I was reminded about the differences in diagnosis when I learned this morning of a very good friend who went to the ER because of a cough and has been diagnosed with lung cancer. And a reminder from my chemo nurse when she shared that she had to take her father for a lung biopsy tomorrow—and her father is not listening to the doctors, but dismissing them as being over zealous in their testing. And the reminder of how my journey have been relatively good came from a patient who I’d had chemo with before … she arrived to find out she may not be able to have chemo today, but would definitely be checking into the hospital for the next 4-5 days because of some negative test results.

In some ways the reminder of the journey itself hit harder because I watched her face and saw the reaction to learning she had a serious issue going on that had to be dealt with in the immediate future. I remembered my reaction to being told to go home, chemo wasn’t happening that week. How much worse to be told you’d be going directly to the hospital next door? Fortunately, she was able to have chemo prior to going next door to the hospital, but it was definitely a blow to her.

At the end of the day it was me, the other patient, and the chemo nurse chatting. And the other patient said something that made me count another blessing—the worst part of her journey was the exhaustion and she wished she could have my energy. I’ve been tired, I have worked through exhaustion, but I have been fortunate enough to have more energy on a regular basis than most of the chemo patients I’ve come into contact with. Okay, for starters, I really don’t sit still well and never have, so she was seeing me at the end of a day where I’d been in the chair for eight hours already. But the truth is that I have not had many of the exhausted days where the act of opening your eyelids should be greeted with trumpets blaring and confetti falling. I am more tired than normal for me, and my ability to focus on things has been severely depleted (like starting this post thinking I need to make tea, reminded myself 3 times before I realized I had half a cup at my elbow ready to drink—okay, that may just be chemo muzziness settling in). But I also know things could be a LOT worse. I’m thankful they aren’t.

Now I need to grab my HOT tea (finally made a fresh mug) and see what I can get done before getting up and doing the chemo thing all over again. I loved the picture for this post because today I felt a little like a kitten in a pot … not really happy with being confined, but not able to run away either. Besides, the kitten is too stinkin’ cute not to post.

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Nov. 28.

Being Curly and Blessed

My Status: Feeling Good
Mood: Fabulous

BushWomanThis may be a short post (but knowing me, it won’t be 😀 ) A few days ago, I talked about getting my hair chopped off because it has become quite bushy and out of control, and for those who have not yet met me in person, I have a ton of hair. I have been waiting to get it cut because I needed to know whether I was going to add pink to it … and since I won’t be, I decided it could all get cut off and then I’ll grow it out again. This picture doesn’t quite do it justice as far as showing the out-of-controlness that has taken over my head. For once it was behaving, but it does show some of the waves I have in my hair, as well as the fact that I take terrible pictures of myself. Oh, you can also see my puffy eyes—my eyes are small, but they are not that small. Allergies have been trying to take up residence and I am battling them back as best I can. They are NOT welcome here.


CurlySueThe picture at the top of this piece speaks to me about the leaves of change. The fall has always been an exciting time of change. And this fall has been no different. The old things fall away to make room for those things new. For me, the cutting of my hair is symbolic of the changes going on. I needed at the very least a trim, but the idea to go short took hold for several reasons. The root of which is that I do like to do different things with my hair, and since it’s not the best idea to color it for awhile, I wanted to do something, and going short gives me a different versatility than when shoulder length or to my waist. And here’s the best thing of all … it’ll grow back if I want it to. My hair is a change I can control (or at least have the illusion of control) when right now so many things in my body are not within my control. AND it was a blast getting it cut. If I can’t have fun with this, then what is the point?

The stylist knew I had a strong wave in my hair, but she was surprised by the amount of curl that came out. She had so much fun playing with it while cutting it. I’ve dealt with it’s stubborn curliness for too many years to be surprised. Wearing it long does help to tame it a bit, so now it’ll have the chance to live life on the wild side. 🙂 And believe it or not, the long hair helped to hide some of the eye puffiness. (I should not be allowed to try taking self-portraits, but I wanted to post the before and after pics)

All in all, it was a good day. I worked this morning and accomplished a few things… always good. Then I had my hair cut and picked up the girls (my dogs, Phoenix and Elsa) from the groomers. Next Denny and I watched REDS 2 and laughed throughout. I have made the sweet potatoes (my contribution to tomorrow’s feast) and my mother arrived safely at her destination despite holiday traffic and suspect weather forecasts.

It is now Thanksgiving … and I have so MUCH to be thankful for, so here goes. I’m Thankful for:

  • My family—I love them so much and they are there for me when I need them. From immediate to extended, I do count on them. And my pups are always there for me (and a part of my family) and when I’m down, they curl up beside me and I feel better.
  • Friends—I have been blessed in the friends I have. I marvel almost every day over the people in my life and how supportive and caring they are. I hope I am as good a friend to them.
  • The writing community—although I count so many of you as friends, I wanted to express my thankfulness for having a community I can reach out to when celebrating the good things, and to help me over the stump when things aren’t going as well. For the most part, I see writers helping writers, and I love that.
  • My Characters—Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am … a little off-center, but they help me tell the stories that will have an impact.
  • My day job—I am thankful to have a workplace and work that fulfills me in addition to allowing me to earn a paycheck. It helps me so much, especially right now, to have a job to focus on when I can’t focus on other things.
  • My doctors—They will see me through this bump in the road and help make me stronger on the other side of it.
  • For Chemotherapy—While it may make me feel sick, I am so thankful science has developed drugs that will help my sick body become better. Several years ago this would not have been possible. In fact, several years ago, I wouldn’t have even known I was sick and we wouldn’t know that something needed to be done. I’d just continue to feel unwell and that something was vaguely wrong.
  • For being alive—I have always been thankful for each and every day I’ve been given. Most days are good ones, and as long as I can say that, I will continue to feel blessed.

There are so many more things I’m thankful for, but I simply cannot list them all. I have been blessed by all I have been given and hope that I pass those blessings along to others. That is my goal in life.


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