Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yay Halloween!

Today was crazy/good!

The kids at school are always a little crazy for Halloween. They are so excited about dressing up and candy and their class parties and then our concerts that their little heads seem they will BURST from excitement!

Everyone did so well at the nursing home and bank and the parents seemed to really love the songs.

After school I ran home and baked some snickerdoodles for our friend's Halloween party. We hung out with everyone, ate some good food and took the kid's trick or treating to a few houses around the neighborhood. 

It was really nice.

Did I mention who I went as this year??

Mary Poppins!

I have been showing my student's the movie in class so they would know who I was. It seemed to be a big hit this year.

Only 1 more week till my LAST CHEMO!

Can you tell I'm excited?? I am afraid I may have pushed myself too hard this weekend because Monday at school I was so sick. I had to go home early and just sleep the rest of the day and try not to think about food. Tuesday though I felt a lot better and I got through today without any problems!

I have parent/teacher conferences Thursday night and Friday and then a whole weekend off with DAN!

We do have to rake some leaves, but we are also going to try out a few bakeries around town to see who could do a dessert bar for my birthday party.

That's right! A DESSERT BAR! Have I told you yet about how awesome my 30th birthday/no mo' chemo party is going to be?! We got Laser Tag, Karaoke, food, dessert bar, signature cocktail....The works!

I am very excited about it already even though it isn't till December. It will be a month after my last chemo and the longest I will have gone without doing chemo, so the perfect time to celebrate!

I already picked out my purple outfit for next Wednesday as well as a cool new nail polish. 
Oh yeah!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chemo #7- DONE!

We are so close right now I can taste it!

The downer attitude I had last week has slowly faded away. We are no longer concerned about me getting sick from Dan or feeling awful because Rowland upped my Vinblastin dose. 

By Wednesday of this week I was feeling back to normal and felt great over this past weekend.

Dan and I enjoyed our weekend together and did all kinds of fun things. 

When we went in for chemo today I felt like such a veteran of all this. All the nurses and doctors know us and say hi. We know what to bring now to entertain us for the 6+ hours that we are there. And now we get to tell everyone we only have 1 treatment left!

When Rowland saw us today he was pretty happy with my liver counts and could live with my white blood cell count. We took that to mean I was within the normal range for my white blood cells even though I didn't get a booster shot last time. 

Also since Dan didn't get me sick we figured I must have not bottomed out on my white blood cells like I have before.

When we went back to the infusion room though the nurses were in a tizzy. They didn't like my numbers at all and couldn't understand why Rowland wasn't ordering a booster shot for this time or how come I was even getting treatment. 


I really didn't want to put off treatment since that would change my plan to finish on November 7th so we held our breath as they went back and forth with Rowland about the plan.

In the end Rowland won and I got my treatment, again with no booster. The reasoning behind it is that the booster shot would interfere with the chemo treatment so Rowland really doesn't want to use it unless he completely has to.

Which is just fine with us. We don't want to ever step through the infusion suite door again. We know we will have to stop by and see Rowland every 3 months for awhile, but never stepping into the chemotherapy room again would be awesome.

Dan won't miss it either.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pink, Pink, Everywhere

The email I just received has pushed me over the edge.

Panera just sent me an email about their "Pink Ribbon Bagel".

Aren't there other cancers out there?!?!

I know Hodgkin's Lymphoma is not very common, but I haven't met anyone who hasn't known someone that has had it.

But everywhere I look everyone is promoting pink. If it brings more attention to cancer in general, then great. However, it isn't the only cancer that affects women. 
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women but it isn't the most deadly.Actually lung cancer is the most deadly cancer to women. Skin cancer is the most common overall. 

Dan agrees.

Maybe breast cancer is so popular  because boobs are cool. Everyone likes them. Half the population has them. September was Hodgkin's Lymphoma month. And yet no NFL players were wearing purple shoes. I didn't get any emails from Panera about their Purple Ribbon Bagel.

Right now, with how I am feeling, I would love for everyone to show their support for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  If you read my blog (obviously right, since you are reading this) will you wear purple to support Hodgkins? 

How about on my last treatment day, November 7th? I would love to get a photo or a text or an email with you showing off your purple. And if you would let me I will post the pics on my blog and spread the word about Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And maybe next September when this is all over with and worries are far from our minds we can wear purple again and bring more awareness to not just pink, but cancer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Better and Worse

So the better things:

I have my energy back (mostly) and while I don't LOVE food at the moment, I at least like it.
The horrible heartburn and burning tongue have gone away. 

School has been great, the kids are so looking forward to our annual Halloween concert. It's our first concert of the year, but it is just the younger grades so it's is usually ridiculously cute.
The kids dress up and go to the town's nursing home and local bank, sing their songs and get lots of candy. It is great practice for singing in front of an audience and makes a great first concert for the little Kindergartners.

And the worse things:

Dan has a full blown cold. Boo! He has taken to sleeping on the couch so he doesn't cough all over me at night. So far, knock on wood, I haven't felt like I was catching anything.

I called my fertility doctor yesterday to get the low down on our next step. I figured we would get started before Christmas with tests, ultrasounds and getting this show on the road! 

Unfortunately she doesn't want to see me till March. 

Womp womp.

She wants me to stay on birth control till the first of the year to make sure all the chemo is out of my system and then wait for that to get out of my system before we do tests.

So it will be March before we can go in for tests to make sure my body hasn't shut down the baby making factory (sorry).

So some better and some worse.

I am looking forward to this weekend though. Dan will be home the whole weekend. We have NO PLANS! I know! I know! 

So we are going to do all kinds of fun things like get coffee Saturday morning and maybe visit some animal shelters (yay!) and then Sunday we will make a ton of really bad-for-you-food and watch football! 

So I am very excited about that and we will work on looking forward to all the great things coming to us in 2013.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not such smooth sailing

The chemo this time hasn't been as nice as before. 

I felt ok Thursday and Friday, though extra tired. Saturday I had some trouble with nausea, heartburn, the usual. Just more so than usual. 

Today has been long. I haven't wanted to do much and I haven't been hungry at all. Mostly laying on the couch with Dan worrying over me. 

It definitely isn't as bad as the first chemo though and for that we are thankful.

Dan has a little bit of a sore throat so of course we are both freaking out that he is going to get me sick. But at this point, there isn't a lot we can do and there is no point worrying about it. I'll keep my room at school sanitary and hope that I still have enough of an immune system to fight off what Dan has.

November 7th is still my day. It is still the day I keep in my mind when I don't feel well and when I tell myself I just want this to be over. 

As my dad always says, you can do anything for 4 weeks.

And I have to say thank you to everyone for your emails, notes and prayers. It has been great to have such support surrounding us, and I feel I can never thank everyone enough. But I will try.

Another cake I made! I was pretty proud of this one. It was chocolate
with swiss meringue buttercream icing. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Everyday I'm Strugglin'

I had treatment number six today. Only 2 left!

Dr. Rowland increased the vinblastin (the "V" in ABVD) to 75% since I have been handling the chemo so well. It has been at 50% since my first chemo. We are also not doing a white blood cell booster this time. My counts have been really good, even high at times, so we are going to see how I do without the booster. Needless to say I am a little nervous since we are getting really close to having the same treatment I did for my 1st chemo. You remember the first chemo. It went HORRIBLY! So I am hoping to keep up my liquids and cross my fingers that I will still feel well. Struggling with my desire to be cancer free and not put any more freakin' chemicals in my body!

Dan made meme.

Dan and I love listening to This American Life and this past weekend featured part of a stand up bit by comedian Tig Notaro.  Tig was recently diagnosed with some pretty vicious breast cancer.  She also lost her mother and she walked on stage to talk about it.  Aside from being courageous she very eloquently summarized all the emotions you find in cancer.

It is tense, uncomfortable, and if you're honest with yourself it is also funny.  Laughing while crying is an interesting life experience. We have done a lot that too during this whole journey.
Here is a link where you can listen to an excerpt of her bit.
Just click on Act One and it will begin to play.

If you want to hear her entire set Louis CK is selling it on his personal site.  It's only $5.

Ok, now I'm done with my little PSA.

We will not have a CT scan until 6 months after chemo is over. Having to wait 6 months before my first scan to make sure the cancer hasn't come back seems long. I also would not be able to have a scan while pregnant  Sigh. 

If the IVF had worked I would be busy planning a nursery or painting furniture for the new nursery. I wouldn't think twice about getting pregnant right after chemo either since we would have had an egg on ice ready to go. Instead of looking forward to that though I have to question when my body will ever be ready to have kids. Have I hit menopause? Is it too late? We are still worried about whether or not I have started menopause due to the chemo. We can do some tests as soon as I am done with chemo. Even if I have already started menopause it is sometimes reversible later on.

I am also struggling with the excitement of having only 2 treatments left and the weariness I feel about it all. I hate everything. My chemo clothes, my chemo bag, my lack of hair. Tired of being bald, tired of being tired, tired of feeling weaker and weaker. Tired of not being able to drink a glass of wine (we are too worried about my liver), tired of feeling unnaturally hungry at times (damn anti-nausea drugs), tired of how manic I feel (steroids). I'm sure Dan is tired of me being a crazy, bald lady with weird food cravings too.

Though maybe not as bald as before???

I am trying to look forward to things to keep my mind off of these last few weeks of chemo. Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday/no'mo'chemo party. 

Those are all fun things I can look forward too.

We had a great time this weekend too. Wisconsin was great, the weather was perfect and it was so pretty with the fall colors.

Sunset and windmills

It was great to see our friends and hangout. It was also great to hangout with Dan since he has been so busy with gigs. He is luckily a little less busy in October and November, but we do like it when he is busy because this is what he does. Being married to a musician is a lot of fun and a whole bunch of long nights. More for him than me, but I always like having him home. 

Turns out that chemo is actually really boring

A recent study showed that a majority of side effects experienced by chemotherapy patients are actually attributed to boredom and not the toxicity levels caused by the medications.

Some of these side effects may involve house shopping, clothes shopping, and puppy shopping.

After about 40 minutes of waiting Julia and I shared a brief quibble over the pros and cons of a house for sale. Being the logical man I am, I decided to end the conversation with this gem:

Me: "We're not even house shopping anyway."

Julia: "I have to look at something Dan. Either puppies or houses."

Me: "Houses."

Julia: "Puppies it is!"

Me: .......

Julia: :-D

Number six today. Only two more after this.