Monday, April 9, 2012

Finished cookin'!

Sorry - this was started some time ago, and I need to publish SOMETHING. So I will post this stuff, and then try to catch up. Thanks for continuing to check on my posts!

Gees, I have been WAY behind in posting. I completed session #25 of 25 radiation treatments on March 29th. I am really, REALLY happy to have those treatments behind me, to have my days BACK to myself. Almost like you healthy folks...

I encountered another warrior (my cousin paid me a nice compliment and titled me a Cancer Warrior), around session #14 or so. This was a woman who had accompanied her sister to the radiation clinic. We got to chatting over the jigsaw puzzle that is always in a state of assembly/disassembly in the waiting area. She told me some of their family history, including the fact that they carry an inherited mutated breast cancer gene (BRCA1 / BRCA2). These genes, when not mutated, are tumor suppressors. She herself had had a preventative double mastectomy years before this, after she discovered the mutated gene. And her sister DID experience breast cancer (after my new acquaintance had her own surgery). This disease - cancer - is relentless, folks. I have already heard too many people having multiple bouts, metastasizing to other parts of your body, etc. So I am feeling, more and more, that I am taking the best possible route to (hopefully) eradicate this wild bunch of cells. But it ain't easy, even though I am having fewer side effects than many experience.

The day after I was blessed with the daffodils, I toted my now-open floral bunch in to work with me. L wanted me to show them to a worker in another part of this building (office/warehouse space) - a female who "mans" the office for another lessee. She asked if I had raised them (the blooms), and I told her the origin of the bouquet. So she shared with me that she is also a cancer survivor, undergoing surgery for uterine cancer then radiation and chemo, BUT 20 years ago, when she was only 26. AND - another person who was double-attacked: she eventually developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. And has, since that diagnosis, had it go into remission, then recur 6 years after the initial bout. So she is someone that I can relate to - same cancer, and also double-blasted with other health issues. Plus the poor woman has lost her hair THREE times, having chemo with each occurrence of cancer. Yikes!

I had some bouts with diarrhea (always such a pleasant thing to have, or to discuss), but the Saturday and Sunday (31st and April 1st) after my last treatments were the WORST. This is because radiation has a cumulative effect (I am told). But I seem to be on the end of that stuff, so my body is slowly healing. So far, no noticeable skin burns at all. So I'm thinking that I will escape those. And the sex has not become painful, either. They tell me this "burn" (which is what radiation does) will continue to aggravate for weeks after the last treatment. Hoping that I can tolerate any further side effects as well as I did the first 3 chemo sessions.

I have my #4 chemo treatment scheduled for April 23rd. I was hoping for the week before that, but these treatments @ the U of Mn are SO much in demand (how sad is THAT comment?), that the best that could be scheduled was the date I just mentioned.

The hair continues to re-grow. Looks like the stuff on my head is coming back white-ish. But as long as there is Lady Clairol (or whatever brand...), I can handle any color that grows back! Hair on my face continues its return, and eyebrows are filling in again. Eyelashes seem to be ever-so-slowly re-populating, also. I expect the hair in these areas to do a disappearing act once again, when chemo resumes in April. In advance of that treatment, I will celebrate by having that fuzz professionally colored. Yes, I know that this hair will ALSO fall out within 3 weeks or so of beginning my next round of chemo, but dammit -- I want to feel feminine for a little bit. Besides, I have saved a LOT of money in these months where I had NO hair to color. BTW: it takes a very tiny bit of shampoo to lather up my head. I think I could go for MONTHS on a travel-sized bottle of that. Just sayin'.

There were so many loons swimming off the front of L's shore area on Island Lake a week or so ago. At first, we counted 10. And then this grew, as we spotted another bunch to the right of the original batch that we spied. Yup -- 18 of the water birds that are Minnesota's state bird. Love to hear their calls in the spring and summer! A few days after that, we counted (off in the distance a bit) over 40 loons, before we lost count!! Now a pair of them appear to be kinda hangin' around in front of his place. Also spotted a pair of mallards (the mallard with that very beautiful green colored head) in the same general area. And a northern flicker (woodpecker) has been attracted to his yard (on the lake side), seeming to greatly enjoy the plethora of insects it is finding! Interesting to observe that woodpecker "drilling" action, applied to a lawn.

New (additional) kitchen cabinets over the range and refrigerator! L sawed out a horizontal piece of sheetrock, nailed in some cut-to-size two-by-fours between the studs (so the cabinets will have a rock-solid base to be nailed to), and then re-inserted the sheetrock pieces and put an initial coating of tape and "mud" to hold it in place. After several fine-tuning sessions (more mud, painting, and eventual hanging of the new cabinets, the cabinets are awaiting stuffing! Yaaayyyy....

Cold day in Frostbite Falls - temps in the low-30's and wind chills about 10°. Supposed to be in the upper 40's today, but I don't see a chance of THAT happenin'.

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