Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cycling On

I am reaching the end of cycle 2 and am feeling quite good today.  I woke up craving a hamburger which Paul suggested was not a good idea.  Sometimes when I feel good I think I want to eat certain things that turn out to make me feel sick in the long run.  And it is pretty clear that how I experience tastes has changed.  I tried eating a small ice cream bar last night and it did not taste like it normally does.  I do not have the metallic taste in my mouth that some get but something has changed.

We are trying to follow Paul's urologist's suggestion to get away for a short trip at the end of each of my cycles.  So this time we are heading off to San Diego on Monday to Paradise Point for two days before cycle 3 starts again on Thursday.  Unfortunately rain is forecast for Monday.  But it was also forecast for today and it is quite sunny out so maybe we will get lucky.  I am curious to see how I do in the car.  I seem to have more susceptibility to motion sickness these days which of course is exacerbated by the long trips to the hospital on infusion days.  I wonder if it is a form of anticipatory nausea in that I have associated being nauseated with driving in the car.

I have been ranting a bit this week, since my life has so little activity, about NBC's coverage of the Olympics.  In 1984 we went to England during the summer Olympics which were held in LA.  We thought the city would be a mess so we planned to get out before we got entangled in one massive sig-alert.  As it turned out, the city functioned fine.  We on the other hand were treated to BBC's coverage of the Olympics which was more comprehensive and live than any American television coverage.  Since we had jet lag we were able to watch events live and uneditorialized, without constant focus on American athletes.

This time, the winter Olympics are in Vancouver which is the same time zone as LA.  However, NBC is delaying its broadcasts here for prime time.  So on a number of occasions I have seen the winners of events posted on the internet or in news alerts to my emails hours before it is shown here on TV.  Most frustrating was the Men's final in figure skating.  Evan Lysacek trains nearby in El Segundo at the rink where my daughter once skated as a child and worked a few years ago before moving to SF.  We like Evan-- for his skill, his work ethic, his looks (let's face it) and his poise.  I found out he had won 3 hours before NBC showed us the event.  BAH!  And since I knew he had won, I left on my DVR to record the program but discovered later that the DVR cut off in the middle of Plushenko's program. Therefore not only did I miss Plushenko's performance on the ice,  I did not get to see his apparently abrupt departure from the kiss and cry after he learned he had not won the gold.  I have been able to see some of Lysacek's interviews where the commentators tried to bait him into badmouthing Plushenko.  He really did take the high road showing how well he is advised and how smart he is to follow that advice.  Hopefully he does not turn out to be like Tiger Woods and Kobe,  brilliant athletes who looked like nice guys but turned out to be something so very different.  We need athlete heroes who are genuinely good hard working people without any huge hidden character flaws.  Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rolling along

I am now in day 11 of cycle 2 so my paranoia is in full swing despite this lovely southern California Valentine's Day.  I still feel the effects of the last chemo infusion on day 8, which unfortunately led to my worst night ever so far in terms of sickness.  But now I am also worried about infection since I am at the bottom of my white cell count cycle.

 Otherwise I feel pretty good.  My head still has a little fuzz which keeps falling out daily.  I am eating a bit better.  Smells seem to bother me more this cycle than the first.  Anything anyone cooks in the house becomes an instant source of nausea.  The cooked fish was the worst.  At a friend's suggestion, we have ordered an air purifier to see if it will help.

We also finally replaced our old leaky overflowing master bathroom toilet with a new, water saving ADA approved toilet acceptable to the beefy boys.  Unfortunately for me, as I discovered the other day, the toilet is too high for my stubby little legs which dangle and shake during uncomfortable moments.  We have however found a workaround--a foot rest from Relax the Back.

This cycle has not been quite the same as the first.  The main overall difference is that I seem to have had more time during the infusions when I felt okay, then to rebound to feeling much worse than I remember feeling during cycle 1.  I cannot be sure that I did not feel as bad during cycle 1 since the bad times tend to run together and diminish in intensity as time passes.  My nurse the other day remembered that I was quite sick during one of the early days of cycle 1 which mercifully did not register in my memory.

The rollercoaster ride continues.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Today

I decided to get the rest of my hair shaved off this morning.  I will need to start wearing hats and scarves now so here is my first "scarf" for my new lack of 'do.

Losing my hair has been fairly upsetting but I could not live with the hairs all over my pillow,  particularly when some of them wound up in my mouth.  Hair is really not that tasty.  So I went to Supercuts with my daughter as support.  It took me a while to convince the hair stylist to shave it all off.  She wanted to leave some hair even though my hair was already quite short. I am sure that reflects our belief that women should have hair no matter what. I told her that the hair was falling out anyway which she had trouble believing until I explain I was undergoing chemo.

The first thing I noticed is how cold it is without hair.  I put on a red hat but found this head cover in the car so decided to sport it instead.  Gotta laugh or I'll cry.

Yesterday one of my colleagues,  who is also a member of the cancer club, confided that losing her hair was the worst part for her.  I don't know if she was saying that because I was feeling so bad about losing mine but it was very consoling.  I have felt very vain because the hair loss is such a big deal to me.  It was the first thing that made me cry when I talked to the doctor about what the chemo would be like.  I am relieved that someone else viewed it as a big deal and since I do not think of this particular colleague as vain at all, I felt validated in my own feelings of helplessness and loss.  So I am not vain, just mourning the loss of my close friends on my head that kept me warm and happy.