Sunday, January 10, 2016

Update.

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Last week I took this photo on the way home from a part-time day at work. I waited for the second of two pieces of mass transit that get me from the workplace to the apartment. I decided to take a closer look at the progress being made in these two buildings at the Burnside Bridgehead, the eastern end of the Burnside Bridge that crosses the Willamette River. Yes, progress has been made towards completion of both of these buildings because professionals have been at work, much like the progress that has been made in my cancer treatment.

I figured as I sat at my iMac for a few minutes blocking someone I don't want to have access to my Flickr photos that I ought to use this photo to share with you the latest in my health issues. I know that some of you have followed along on Facebook and/or Instagram, which have been much easier to update for me than has been my sweet old friend, the blog. I apologize for leaving some of you in the dark, but for weeks I was too weak to sit here in this chair; I stayed in the recliner, bundled up and setting my reminder to get up and walk frequently to build my strength, then going back to the recliner. I haven't figured out how to post on the blog from the recliner. Anyway, here's what's been happening.

On November 19, I finished the last of the six planned rounds of chemo. Believe you me, that stuff did a job on my fast-growing cells that I needed for my bone marrow to be able to create white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It caused all of my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes to disappear. It took practically every bit of my stamina, no matter if I got a good night's sleep or a good nap. We knew that these things happened by monitoring blood counts and seeing my face and head. Hopefully it also killed every single cancer cell anywhere in my body. We don't know the outcome of that hope yet.

On November 28 a fever of almost 103 degrees sent me to the emergency room and then to be admitted to the cancer ward of the hospital. It turned out that I had a neutropenic fever which means I didn't have enough white blood cells to fight off an infection. I had E coli in my blood, the source of which we never discovered. I had a CT scan on November 29. That scan didn't identify a source for the E coli, but it showed a new mass near where the cancerous one had been removed surgically on June 25. All three of my cancer doctors (surgeon, oncologist, radiologist) feel like it is what is known as a lymphocele, something that shows up when lymph nodes have been removed. Three had been removed on June 25 but had nothing cancerous in them. I stayed in the hospital until December 4 and came home to slowly get better. By December 24, I was able to once again return to work part time, two or three days a week. I'm still at that point now and thankful to be able to do so. I like doing normal, every day stuff!

Next Thursday, January 14, I go to the radiologist for the planning CT that will set my radiation treatments. They begin sometime within two weeks after that appointment. They will go on for five weeks, whole abdomen, then one more week, right side of abdomen. Everyone tells me that radiation will not treat my body as horribly as the chemo did. I certainly hope that turns out to be true with me.

That same CT scan will be used to look at the new mass and find out if any changes have occurred in it. If they have, the entire game plan could change. I will do better in keeping up here so that you won't be left out of the loop.

Thank you for your continued prayers, love, and concern.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

UPDATE and let's say good-bye to these items

UPDATE: The infection I had before and after Halloween succumbed to the antibiotic. The fever that I had lasted for a week, no higher than 101, no lower than 99. Two weeks tomorrow, no fever--hallelujah. My blood counts from last Wednesday alarmed my chemo doctor into postponing Chemo Round Six. I'm glad that he did that although at first I felt awful about it because I wanted to complete all six as we'd planned. Listen to your body, Lynette. Since I could not put on my raincoat without getting out of breath--not enough oxygen going through my muscles--and had so few white blood cells to fight off another infection if I were to get one, I quickly realized that he was right. I've spent the last week sleeping well at night, napping well during the day, walking some inside my building once I could walk inside my apartment without getting out of breath, and getting back an appetite of sorts. Most of all, letting my body correct the blood counts, I prayed, as I added another week in between rounds.

iPhone pix

So, I went this morning and had the blood counts done again. A little while ago I had a phone call saying they were suitable and that I would have chemo tomorrow. Hallelujah! The last round. Whew. Been doing this since July 29.

I want to say good-bye to the flat item you see, the cover for the chemo port which I apply once I've squeezed anesthetic cream from the tube onto it and then stuck the whole thing on my skin with the cream covering the chemo port. I want to say good-bye to the tube, too. I am thankful for both of them because they keep me from feeling much of anything when the chemo nurse inserts the needle through my skin and into my chemo port. I'm not certain yet when I'll be saying good-bye to the chemo port itself, but the little thing embedded below my collarbone is a medical miracle in my book.

I want to say good-bye and thank you to the Zyrtec, the Decadron, and the Ativan, although each of them plays a really important part in getting my body ready to accept as best it can the Taxo, the chemo that messes with my blood pressure and takes almost twice as long to drip into me as it does into the average patient.

There are some fantastic anti-nausea drugs I want to say thank you and good-bye to, but they wouldn't fit into the photo in a pleasing way. Photographer's decision.

I have the chemo follow-up CAT scan on December 13 and the appointment with the chemo doctor to discuss whatever it shows on December 17. I know nothing yet about the radiation timeline.

Thank you for your continued prayers, love, and concern.