Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chemo round 6 recovery

Chemo started at 09h00 last Wednesday and I was home at 14h00, straight to bed and I slept to around 18h00. Thursday I spent the whole day in my pyjamas and had a morning and afternoon nap. Nobody can comment that I have not been looking after my dear body. Friday and today I have spend the day lazily at home with plenty of little lie downs and I had a wonderful 12 hour sleep last night. I seem to have a few nights where I sleep really badly (waking many times) followed by a night where I have a good deep sleep (suppose it depends on how deep I looked into the whiskey bottle :) ). The nausea is pretty normal for 3 days post chemo and the bones are aching. The worst ache is in my ankles and my knees. At this stage I have succumbed to cortisone – with the first chemo round I got a prescription which I have not taken until this round - what the hell, my body is so full of drugs an extra one is going to make no difference and if it is eases the aches I am smiling all the way.

I will not be updating the blog for a week… back 7 April again.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chemo 26 March - on track

My neutrophils have just made it into chemo limit. They are 1.69 with the normal range being 2.00 to 7.00, but need to be above 1.5 for chemo to be administered. I am willing to take some bets that I will have a problem again next month…. Who is taking me on??

The Easter week-end was fantastic and looking back I am grateful that the chemo was delayed. Everything always happens for a reason though we often only understand the reason in hindsight. Most of the time I just relaxed at home with DVDs and books to keep me company. The boys went camping for 2 nights, leaving mom at home alone… BLISS !!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


After about an hour wait on Tuesday I finally saw Dr L. We had quite some discussion around the fact that my neutrophils are not recovering. This is caused by repeated cycles of chemo and my body is reacting by going on a “bone marrow strike”. Five days on Medrol (Medrol has many uses in the treatment of cancer. Medrol is most often as a supportive care medication. Medrol is classified as a glucocorticosteroid - and my neutrophils have not recovered at all, so Dr L has extended the medication for another 5 days. My problem is that this is a cortisone type drug and I have a real mental block against them. I can see the daily weight gain which I hope is only water that I will disappear once I am off the drug again. I was really enjoying my new body at the reduced weight! Just for information, this is my fourth round on Medrol, I just seem to need more and more of the drug to stimulate the bone marrow. Dr L is going to reduce the taxol and carboplatin (chemo drugs) by 10% for the coming chemo round thereby hoping that I will not need cell boosting and extension in the schedule. Next round now scheduled for Wed 26 March (pending blood tests Tues 25th).

Wednesday this week I decided to try something new to averted the chemo side effects. I booked myself for an Ozone (pure oxygen) injection at the homeopath/medical doctor. The recommendation is that I must have 10 injections initially and then reduce to one injection before and after each chemo session. The injection today was really painful and I have quite a swollen elbow. I just wonder if the precious air went into my vein or the surrounding tissue… more like it went into the tissue and it feels bruised just like when the IV in the hospital started seeping into my soft tissues. I asked Dr L about this Tuesday and she said it would give me more energy but would not do anything for my blood counts but I still think it is worth a shot. I will wait a day to two to see if I feel better and to see how my arm settles before making the next appointment.

Today the first term of our school year comes to an end. Dylan and Sean will be home for 3.5 weeks again – seems like yesterday when they had their summer school holidays. Colin, my brother, arrives today from the UK for an Easter week-end visit to Cape Town. It is going to be great seeing and sharing with him.
Ian says my site is lacking humour… sorry, but is reflecting what I am feeling at the moment… lots of frustrations and irritability.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Neutrophils still down

I went to collect my medication Friday afternoon and took it as prescribed. I did blood tests again this morning with the oncology clinic phone call to me this afternoon. The neutrophils are still down so I cannot get chemo tomorrow. I will however see my oncologist Dr L tomorrow morning and get another prescription for more intense medication to boost the immune fighters. Chemo is now scheduled for Tues 25 March.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Neutrophils needs boosting

The past week has been busy for me. I have one appointment a day and I start stressing. Hahahahaha It is going to take me a while to settle back into work routine and the stresses that it brings. On the health front I am doing ok with the normal tendency for tiredness. I am scheduled for chemo Tuesday 18th March and for some subconscious reason I went for my blood tests Friday morning rather than Monday morning. By 13h30 Friday the oncology clinic phoned to say that my neutrophils are low (again!) (I could have told them that because I know what I feel like) and they emailed a prescription to me for medication to boost the cells. Need to take a double dose of medication for 5 days and have blood tests again Monday morning.

My hairs started falling out Thursday. The little hairs are about the length of eyelash hairs. Shame… the poor hairs battled to grow with the 6 weeks break in chemo cycle (due to operation) and now they are losing their battle. The loss process is quite unemotional this time round, which is good news.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pieces of my life

On Thursday the agent came back to us with the message that the sellers did not want to accept our offer and reverted with a counter offer that was too high in my mind. Well, old stubborn Alida ‘kicked’ in…. I was not changing the offer to purchase and in essence this is the signal that we should not be buying another home and rather building onto our current home. Deep inside I did feel a bit of disappointment as I was actually looking forward to the renovation project. I shared all the news with Marietjie Thursday evening and she was over the moon that the old Alida is back….Being stubborn and getting excited about a project. As Friday progressed I was mildly surprised that there was not another counter offer as the house has been on the market for months and by Friday evening I was at peace that this deal was not meant to be…. And then during Friday evening we received a text message with the revised counter deal! Slept on it and re-signed the offer to purchase subject to the sale of our current home by 16 April. If this does not happen, then we will be at peace that it was not meant to be. All these home buying activities are helping to keep my mind busy. Tomorrow we are having a ‘show house’ (which means open to the public as a sale item) so we have a fair bit of tidying to do with the assistance of our two teens. Need to make sure that the garden is neat and the home is free of dog hairs.

The past week I have been focusing on picking up of the pieces of my life with a view to get it all going again. I cannot believe it is one week short of 5 months. I have started a very mild exercise program and have been shocked by how the chemo has destroyed my body. Last year I was busy studying an Applied Metaphysics diploma course and still have bits of the last assignment outstanding. This week I have scratched this together and got my mind around completing these by end March. It is feeling good to have a purpose again that is other than fighting the illness.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Eating habits

Quite often I feel like I have been feeling the past week. I just don’t know what to write as the chemo routine is repetitive and the side effects are following the same course. It is now a week past chemo and I am feeling good again. I certainly have my appetite back but that is the one thing I never have a problem with. One so often hears of people who say that they were so busy or so absorbed that they forgot to eat… well, that certainly never happens to me. I am very aware of my stomach and it needs to have food in it! On Monday I started an exercise programme with the blessing of all my docs, with the avoidance of tummy exercises for another 3 weeks. The first session was slow but a first step to rebuilding my body muscle. The target is to exercise 3 times a week. I would like to build up to 5 times a week in my good weeks and then chemo week will be off limits again.

Last Friday Anja popped by for a chat and a drink and as she left she said “you must be so frustrated by the walls of your home that I will not be surprised if you want to buy another house”…. And I said “Guess what…. We have been looking at other houses!!!”. And I do feel frustrated with the walls around me and seeing all the things that needs doing and then this frustrates Ian as all I can talk about is ‘work’ (a four letter word!!!). For the past few weeks Ian and I have been looking at Show Houses on Sunday afternoon…. We have nothing better to do with our time! There has been one house that has really been ‘talking’ to me and we have been back 3 times… It needs a huge amount of work but I can see the potential of a great home and we can probably get the house at a good price and it is in a better area than we are currently. Well, this afternoon we signed an offer to purchase and we have 5 weeks to get a deal on our home. Lets hope the owners accept the deal tonight.