Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Taking a Break from "The Ellen Show"

I am taking a break from "The Ellen Show". It is not really Ellen's fault. There is no way that she could have known the reaction I would have to her show content. In fact, what she did more than likely had a profound impact on the family to which it was aimed. It was a very nice thing to do. As one voice in her television audience though, I was disappointed.

Ellen had an audience member on Monday that was an inspiration. A cancer survivor of a rare type of cancer, she and this woman's children created a "bucket list" of random, spontaneous tasks that as a family, they completed. The cancer survivor explained how the list kept her going when times were tough. She had my complete attention. I listened intently as she explained that completing items such has renting an ice cream truck and handing out ice cream on her birthday was memorable and rewarding. Driving through a drive through to order french fries was a highlight. Meeting President Obama ranked top of the list.

I was inspired. I wanted to make my own bucket list. The woman's smile gave me hope. If she can do it, so can I. I thought about how I have a rare type of cancer (stage 4) and do not know how much time I have but that maybe I should be more like this woman and make the best of it.

After watching the rest of the story, I was saddened to learn that this woman's time had expired. What? My heart sank. And then I got mad. Knowing the end, why would Ellen put that on her show? I realize it was done as a tribute to someone Ellen truly admired and she would have no way of knowing how it would make another cancer survivor feel. Not that I can speak for all cancer survivors'.

I always thought of "The Ellen Show" as "safe". Watching day after day, sometimes it was the only time of day that I smiled or laughed out loud. When I watch her show, I want the energy to dance. I do not have it...but I actually want it. For those who have not battled this disease, wanting to dance is half the battle. Heck, I do not want to eat half of the time.

So what do I do now? Take a break. Watch "Dr. Phil". Though, I am not quite sure how long I will be able to take some of the dark topics that he discusses on his show.

Ellen, I am disappointed. This entry is my best effort at dealing with my feelings. And trust me when I say I am not really mad.....I just took one step forward....and ten steps back. I think. Maybe that is a bit too dramatic. I am still here. My cancer is still shrinking. I still have hope. I am the lucky one. I just need to take break from watching "The Ellen Show" for a little while.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Scan Results Moving in the Right Direction!"

"Your scan results are moving in the right direction!", says Dr. Boles to me on Friday night. I was getting ready to attend the opera with my mom when Dr. Boles called and now I felt like celebrating. Actually seeing Dr. Boles yesterday, we learned that it seems that many of my tumors have shrunk by as much as one centimeter. There is one tumor in my lung that has grown a bit, but because of the number of tumors I have, Dr. Boles was not too concerned by one tumor growing. CHEMO IS WORKING! Despite, my inconsistency in being able to complete my treatments.

I did have chemo yesterday, however. Once the steroid kicked in, I was wired. I felt the best I have felt in ages. I was wired. It did not help my sleep last night, mind you. In the end, it was worth it. I have learned to appreciate special moments where I do feel good. Even if I am attached to an I.V. pole. My mom and I had fun joking around and watching Pawn Stars on the History Channel.

Today, I do not feel so hot. My chemo dose was lowered. However, this is my third time receiving this chemo and treatments are cumulative. I do not anticipate feeling good for at least the rest of the week.

On another note, my son has walking pneumonia. He is sitting on the couch next to me as I type this. It is kind of nice to have company, although I can barely take care of myself. Steve has promised to come home early today. I can make it until then. I better go get him some cough medicine now.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

CT Scans Today

Today, I had CT scans of everything from my neck to my belly button. It was pretty much uneventful, though they were unable to use my port because they did not have documentation of my port's type. They started an IV instead. So, back I go to Kaiser to obtain some sort of documentation. I hope it is something that UCSD can indicate in my chart and not something that I have to carry with me.
Scan results come Monday at my doctor's appointment with Dr. Boles. I have some pain that I am concerned about, praying it is not indicative of disease progression. I am hopeful but do not have my hopes up due to the location of said pain.

Other than that, I had a nice day today. I spent some time out in the sunshine, lunching at the Western Barbecue with Madison. It put me in a really nice frame mind, a much needed diversion after my scans of the morning. Tomorrow, I am going to an early movie with my cousin and to the opera with my mom. The Opera is a comedy, Don Pasquale. I am really looking forward to time with my mom and the opera looks fantastic. More diversions that are much needed as I await scan results.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Upcoming Scans and A Golf Tournament

The golf tournament was this past weekend. It was amazing. More than 200 people showed up to dinner. It raised more than $20,000 net. We are honored and overwhelmed. And donations continue to trickle in. Beyond the fundraising, the love in the room warmed my heart and gives me strength. It is really hard to explain, but this event could have passed for our wedding. People from all arenas of our lives in one beautifully decorated room. Hugs were abound and even a few tears, we felt like we won the lottery, in more ways than one.

So, on Monday, I went to Moores Cancer Care Center with the expectation of receiving chemotherapy only to find out that my platelet count was still too low. We also had an appointment with my doctor where we decided that I would have scans this week to make sure the chemo is working. Chemo just takes so much out of me that we felt it might be worth it to complete the scans before going through another round of the debilitating process. The scan is tomorrow morning.

A good piece of news; my liver chemistry panels are showing improvement. Normal range is 40-135. Mine was 810 in January. On Monday, it was 310. So maybe the chemo is working?

On the flip side, I am having more pain than usual. I think what I thought was nausea is actually pain in my stomach. My right side hurts from my liver and under my arm from the irritated lymph node on my right side. For these reasons, the scans make me nervous. But at least we will know.

And when we better bet I am going to draw from the strength I gained through the golf tournament. See how that works?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Roller Coaster

This morning I could not even get out of bed to see my kids off to school. A new low.

Ten minutes later, friends were at my door to remind me how much fun we used to have together. Organized the week before, I actually had forgotten that morning, excited as I was to see the girls. Lack of sleep from the night before had overpowered any planned schedule memorized in my head for that day.

The girls left and I went back to sleep. It is the perfect pajama day. The skies are grey; the air outside is cold. I forgot to take my pills or do anything to take care of myself until 11:30. It was almost like I was asleep all morning until then. I got myself some lunch and texted my brother to see if he and Kelly were bringing Jed over for a visit.

They did and I enjoyed their visit very much. Jed, now 13 lbs., smiled at me when I played with him. At three months, he is just starting to grab toys and put them in his mouth. He is "talking" a lot too. Every moment I spend with him is a gift. Every moment I spend with Darin and Kelly is a gift. They go back to Portland on Monday. The thought of them leaving makes me sad but the fact that they visited for such an extended period is truly special.

So now, I am alone again awaiting Madison's return from school. Her smile will brighten the room. Her laugh will make my heart skip a beat. My tiredness will diminish. Steve and Harrison will be home shortly as well. Darin and Kelly may return tonight to eat dinner with us. I hope they do.

Looking forward to the golf tournament this weekend. So much love is being put into its planning and from those who are attending. I am both honored and overwhelmed. Mostly honored. It is sure to be a high point on my weekly emotional roller coaster.