Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finally!  Great weather for building a snowman.

Where to start?  I've been thinking about writing for weeks and the time just seems to get away.  I've just completed treatment 19 out of 33 - over halfway finished with radiation!  Other than fatigue and extreme redness/burn, I've been doing well.  You can now see very clearly the fields that they are radiating.  I've been keeping a variety of lotions on the area and have prevented anything too painful at this point.  My only pain this evening is a self-induced twisted ankle.  I rolled it when I missed a step this afternoon and now it is swollen and stiff.  

One of my newest observations is that my eyelashes are growing back, but now my eyebrows are falling out!  I've never been fond of the drawn-on eyebrow look and have never understood why someone would pluck all of their eyebrows just to draw them on.  I have new understanding and empathy...maybe they never had control of losing their eyebrows? 
In the past month I've had an echocardiogram, bone scan and an appointment with the Gynecologist. The Gynecologist told me I would not need a hysterectomy, however after consulting with the Oncologist he called back a few days later to say that yes I would.  I will also have my blood drawn this next week to gather baseline data prior to starting the aromatase inhibitor in January.  I'll go over all of those results with the Oncologist at the beginning of January when I'm about finished with radiation.

I started a detoxification regimen.  I was tired of feeling so crappy, and tired.   In addition to the formula that I blend up and drink each morning, I'm not eating any dairy, gluten, wheat, red meat and a few other things.  It helps that the whole family is now moving in that direction, although not necessarily by choice.  Jared's anemia and allergies to fruit led us to do some follow-up allergy testing.  He has food sensitivities to wheat, gluten, cow milk, coffee and a few other items.  I'm quickly learning a lot about cooking wheat and gluten free.  I've made a few loaves of bread that flopped and purchased a few "yucky" tasting items, but am figuring things out pretty quickly.  Today I made a delicious loaf of bread that served as our dinner - the menu called for french toast with hot cocoa.  I also made some chocolate chip cookies with sea salt that I had a hard time staying out of.  I got a thumbs up from the entire family.  Although trying to switch to gluten and wheat free cooking has been a little bit of a challenge, I think it is contributing to my feeling better.  

I tried hot yoga this week; I went to an hour class at Anchorage Yoga and really liked it.  It was another suggestion by the naturopathic doctor - a way to detox, as chemotherapy drugs will stay in fat cells as long as a year.  I'm trying my best to flush and sweat them out!

My favorite things to do while being at home - spending time with the family and cooking.  I appreciate  all of the prayers, emails, notes and phone calls.   

Cow bells, cow bells - no more cow bells!  At an Aces game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I was originally scheduled for 30 radiation treatments, but found out yesterday that I'd have 33 treatments with my last treatment on January 4.  What is a couple more treatments you ask?  A downer.  I was really hoping to be finished on December 28.  I plan on asking the radiology oncologist what difference those 3 extra treatments will make when I see her next week.  What does the research show?  That's what it is all about.  And if I opt not to do the extra three treatments and I have a recurrence, then I'll always wonder - what if I'd done those last three treatments?   Okay, I'm over it now; I'll be finished with radiation on January 4, 2013.

Yesterday during my radiation appointment, the technicians had me lay on the table, lined up my tattoos and then took multiple x-rays of the areas they planned on radiating.  They also drew lines showing the perimeter of the areas they were treating.  The doctor came in to look at the area and made a minor adjustment which meant that today when I went in, they had to redraw the area on my chest, take a couple of x-rays and have her check the area a second time.  With her confirmation,  they gave me my first treatment.  The machine is quite interesting in that it is located in a room with a metal door about two feet thick and as it rotates around the patient a "window" or collimator adjusts the radiation beam to a flexible shape.  The machine is quiet.  It moves into position and then for 7-15 seconds radiates an area.  It did this seven times radiating basically my right chest wall, lower part of my neck, right armpit, and right side/back.  I immediately followed the treatment with lotion which I'm supposed to do three times a day, but not three hours prior to my treatment.  I've got lanolin, an aloe plant, BioOil, lotion...a little bit of everything to combat the possible damage to my skin.  I'm not to swim, use a hot tub or be in the sun.  The swimming and sun won't be a problem, but I'm bummed I can't use the hot tub.

After radiation today, we met with my oncologist.  My blood work looked fine and he was impressed with the amount of hair I was growing and its length.  I guess I'm at the top of the list of cancer patients for hair growth, really.  He then talked to James and I about the next two months.  First, I'll have an electrocardiogram which will be compared with the one I had last February to make sure my heart has not suffered any damage.  I'll need to have a bone density scan in the next couple of weeks.  I'll also meet with the gynecologist by mid December to discuss the hysterectomy.  The oncologist will want the hysterectomy completed immediately following radiation, so that means I'll need to have surgery the first or second week of January.  Following that surgery, I'll begin taking an aromatase inhibiter which prevents estrogen from being produced.  Aromatase inhibiters can increase the risk of bone loss and fractures, thus the previously mentioned bone scan.  When an AI is taken for 5 - 10 years, it  reduces the risk of relapse by half.

Today was a bit overwhelming with all of the information and appointments, but now that I've processed it and prayed about it, I'm planning next week's menu.  Caleb had taken on the menu board and planned this week's meals.  We're pretty much on track and in addition to what is on the menu, I made some delicious rosemary pretzels with rosemary cheese dip.  I've also tried to make sure I stick with daily exercise, as I put on five pounds pretty quickly (and have since taken it back off).  In addition to great family time, exercise and cooking therapy, I've been working on Apple iBooks for each year of Jared and Caleb's life.  After several days, I have two years worth of pictures, artwork and schoolwork scanned in for Jared and one book completed.  Jared is 13 and Caleb is 10...hmmm - I've got a lot left to do!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My first chemotherapy treatment was on May 30 and November 8 was my last.  James calculated that I've had approximately 2.25 gallons of chemicals run through my body over the past six months.  Even so, my blood work looked good this week and has held stable for the past several weeks. 
The absolutely amazing group of nurses who delivered my weekly chemo.  I won't miss chemo, but I'll miss them!

My last chemo nap.  Yea!
This past week I met with the radiology oncologist on Monday and again on Wednesday.   The soonest that she would consider letting me start radiation was a week after my last chemo due to the individual intensity of each treatment.  With that being said, my first radiation will be on Wednesday, November 14 and my last radiation on Friday December 28.  I’ll have Saturdays and Sundays off in addition to Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  

Wednesday’s appointment was a long one with me laid out on the CT scan table for over 30 minutes, hands above my head holding a bar, legs straight and rubber-banded together, top off.  They marked the areas on my right chest wall with metal markers along my scar and points where the drains were located.  They also made bulls-eye marks with sharpie markers and in the center of those marks they gave me a freckle tattoo with one in the middle of my chest, one above my belly button, and one on each side of my chest near where the drains were located. They took two scans and photographs, which will be used when mapping and planning my treatment.  Tuesday, they’ll have me laid out again taking x-rays to confirm the exact location of the radiation. 

Although Thursday was my last chemo treatment, I’ll be back for blood work and an oncology visit on Wednesday.  I’ve met with the naturopath doctor and he has changed my supplements slightly; I’ve had those okayed with the radiology oncologist.  I’ve also picked up some pure lanolin and have an aloe plant on hand to help with any fried skin from radiation.  I’ll continue with acupuncture and massage throughout radiation and will taper it down once I’ve completed my treatment. 

 Philippians 4:6 NIV
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

A friend sent me this verse this week and I found it so appropriate.  Throughout diagnosis, surgery, and chemotherapy, I have really been at peace knowing that God will see me through this experience - but it has really been thanks to all of the prayers on my behalf that I have truly done so amazingly well.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 10, I had no idea what to expect, but I wouldn't change a thing.  Not that I would want anyone to ever have to go through any type of illness, but it certainly has been a positive change for me and my family, and maybe even my friends.  And I know I'm far from finished, with radiation starting on Wednesday, detox from chemo in January, a hysterectomy soon after and years of medication.  But with my last dose of chemo behind me, I feel blessed.

One of my projects this week:  pickled veggies!

Caleb's hockey team from last year went to Fairbanks to play - the kids taped their sticks in pink and wrote Huffman on the blade to support Caleb.  Awesome kids!!

Having some fun with friends for Halloween.  Jared is wearing black and Caleb is wearing green.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

God has certainly showed me who's in control.  And it is not me!  Not that I really ever thought that I was, but I am strong-willed (not stubborn) and it has taken awhile for it to sink in that I need to take some time off from work.  The past two weeks have really solidified that decision with stresses hitting our family from all different angles.

My cancer treatments are going well - the oncologist said today that he has never encountered anyone doing as well as I have been doing throughout chemo.  My blood work both last week and this week have held steady - thanks to three shots in the rear from James each week.  My liver numbers are elevated, however not so much to change the chemo treatment and the oncologist said that he really doesn't want to do that.  Besides the fatigue, the only new side effects I've noticed are a tremendous amount of spider veins on my legs, which the doctor said is probably due the Paclitaxel - it is hard on the veins, and fuzzy hair on my face.  Did I mention that before?  Sometimes I substitute words and forget things easily.  Another little side effect that I don't attribute to age.

The treatment plan at this point is to finish the final three rounds of chemo over the next three weeks.  The oncologist thought that I could jump right in and start radiation immediately following chemo.  I have an appointment to meet with the radiologist on 11/9, a day after my last chemo.  That should last six and a half weeks and then I'll meet with the oncologist again to discuss follow up treatment which may include Tamoxifen for five years with Lupron shots every three months for two years.  We'll talk with him more about that after radiation.

Not being at school, I don't have as many great kid stories to share, but I do have one that deeply touched me.  Alba and Jessica Brice's son goes to Sand Lake.  Zak insisted that his mom get some pink hockey tape so that he could tape his stick for a game that night.  When his mom did not come home with the right color of pink, she had to call his dad to get pink tape.  Not only did he tape his stick pink, but he wrote Lisa on the blade.  My hope was that he would play well and he did - even though he was playing Caleb's team.  What an inspiration Zak is to all of us.

School Picture
One final update...I emailed the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team after the ceremonial puck drop.  This was the general manager/coach's reply.  It was a pleasant surprise.

First off let start by saying I have you in my thoughts as you battle..I remember you dropping the puck and you cant believe how disappointed I am in Adams behavior.
Being a Principal I can only imagine the thrill of hearing one of your students doing well and the disappointment in hearing one of your students not doing the right thing. That being said my players are a reflection of me,  I cant begin to tell you how deflated I felt reading that this morning.
I can ensure you Adam will be dealt with this morning as I m a huge believer in protecting the culture in our room and our community. I apologigize for Adam making the wrong choice. He is a I kid who is always on the edge and is a constant example of me trying to have patience, again its no excuse and I will deal with Adam 's behavior.
Lisa , please don't hesitate to fire me a line if there is anything I can do, even though you are Alaska Aces fans, I would love to see the boys donning a Wrangler hat next time we are up there...well maybe for there protection not a good idea.
My thoughts are with you and your family...

I am so appreciative and thankful for all of the prayers and support.  James and I could not manage without it, and these mere words can't really express how much it has meant to us.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We had an exciting evening Tuesday, October 9.  I was asked to do the ceremonial puck drop for the Alaska Aces Paint the Rink Pink game against the Las Vegas Wranglers.  There were so many things about the night that made it remarkable.  One of them was the behind the scenes work by James to get many family and friends to attend the event.  Even though I'm the one with Cancer, he is truly the one carrying the majority of the stress:  caring for me and worrying about me; taking care for the kids and getting them to school and hockey; and taking care of all of the routine chores around the house, not to mention the stress of his work.  I have many dear friends who remind me how important family is and to put the stress of life and work on the back burner.  I'm fortunate that my staff understand that and have been supportive.  Next week I plan on working half days Monday - Wednesday and then take Thursday and Friday off.

The night held some surprises as well.  As we were waiting, we were able to get a family picture with Scott Gomez prior to the game.  James had a conversation with him regarding the lockout.  He is so kind to his fans.  We're hoping the NHL lockout ends soon so we can watch him play.  After our picture with Scott, the boys and I headed out on the ice for the National Anthem and then the red carpet.  Things on our end went off without a hitch, however #17 from the Wranglers had other things in mind.  He refused to back up when the photographer gave him several motions to do so because he was blocking me and Jared, and then he said, "I dont' take orders very f____ well."  The Aces player looked at him like, you've got to be kidding me dude - have some class.  He did not.  I wish I would have had the nerve to throw him out of the face off circle!
Family photo with Scott Gomez!

After the ceremonial puck drop, we headed up to watch the game and received a warm welcome and surprise from Caleb's hockey team.  When the doors to the elevator opened, there they were - the Mighty Moose Squirt B team and coaches each holding a rose which was then given to me.  I was overwhelmed.  They are an amazing group of kids, parents, and coaches and we are blessed that Caleb is skating with them this year.  Jared's team is another amazing group of kids and families.  They are skating with special hockey jerseys for the month of October.  Each jersey has the name of a family member or friend on the back - Jared is wearing Lisa Huffman.  Like the pink hair?

With all of the support, it makes it easy to forget how tired I am and all of the other horrible aspects of cancer.  A few I forgot to mention last week, I have a continual bloody nose that fortunately doesn't run, my mind is fuzzy, and with my hair coming back - I've got peach fuzz hair for side burns!  Now doesn't that just make you laugh.  I did Google it and it is one of the side effects of chemo.  Some women suggest shaving, others using cream hair removal, others say it will go away with time and some use electrolysis.  I'm going to give it some time.  I'll keep you posted.  

One final video clip...Port access:

And a final note.  I received this note from a student this week.  With all of the challenges with my job and life, there are also many blessings.  Kids, family, and friends are definitely at the top!  I thank God every day for each and every one of you.  Much love, Lisa

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This past week was a bit challenging, but I was thankful that James was off and able to take care of me and everything else around the house.  I experienced some intense hip pain last weekend and was hoping it wasn't due to the Nuprogen shots.  It lasted for an evening and was gone by mid morning Monday.  I haven't experienced any further joint pains and the doctor said that it usually occurs in the smaller joints so I am optimistic that I just tweaked something and all is well.  I still have some annoying nasal congestion, but at least it is out of my lungs.  

With the continual rain and wind, we had a bit of excitement when our trampoline took flight - James tried to stop it but ended up having to run.  I spotted him through the kitchen window running across the lawn.  The boys and I quickly joined him and we ended up disassembling the final pieces without getting too drenched.  

Chemo went well on Thursday, however I was much more tired than usual.  I went to bed at 8:00 Wednesday night, slept after chemo on Thursday, and went to bed early Thursday night as well.  I've been trying to drink lots of fluids, but can't seem to drink enough.  Tell tale signs - dry skin and lips, although it is that time of year.  My counts were stable this week with my white count at 4.2, red at 12.4, and neutrophils at 2.8.  The number which measures my liver function was elevated, so no alcohol.  I don't drink much, but will miss a glass of red wine with dinner.  With the elevated number, the doctor will watch my blood work closely to see if my chemo medications need to be altered.  

Thursday evening my heart was beating irregularly and it continued into Friday.  James contacted our nurse which resulted in an EKG Friday afternoon after acupuncture.  It was a short snapshot which showed that everything was fine with my heart.  I was told that it was probably due to stress, to slow down and take some time off work. I'm going to work Monday and then take the rest of this coming week off.  At least I won't go in to school - I'll still work a few hours from home each day.  

I love kids - while in the lunch room at school this past week, a fourth grader named James said, "Mrs. Huffman, your hair is growing!"  I asked him what color he thought it was.  He replied that he thought it was the same color it was before.  The boy next to him interjected that no, he thought it was gray.  James looked a bit saddened by the boy's comment.  The next morning I came into my office and found the following note and three 4-leaf clovers.  I don't know that they are helping my hair grow, but they sure made me smile.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

This morning we woke to a beautiful blanket of snow covering Anchorage.  We weren't prepared.  Snowblower is in the shed, lawnmower is in the garage, and lots of other summer/winter items need to be swapped.  Our strategy, wait to see if it melts and then get a move on it.  Jared had a team 5k run this morning and Caleb had hockey practice.  Hockey doesn't stop for a little snow - six inches at our house.  

I'm so thankful to be at the halfway mark of this 12 weeks of chemo.  This past week was marked by a cold that moved into my chest, so I am taking antibiotics for 5 days.  My acupuncturist also did cupping to help with my chest and cough.  It seemed to help, but left some interesting marks on my back.  (No, it isn't my wedding dress - it is a cami I wore beneath my suit jacket.)   I'm still trying to eat foods to improve my qi and I took last week off from working out just to sleep.  It felt good, but now I think I'll try to thrown in a few walks or workouts this week.
My counts were all similar to last week's counts and seem to have stabilized a little low, but high enough to have my treatments.  James will continue giving me shots for three days after each chemo treatment to keep my counts up.  I was "dry as a bone" according to my oncology nurse and was given the bonus bag of fluids via IV.  It could be the result of hot flashes, loss of heat through my bald head, or just not drinking enough fluids.   
The day of chemo still pretty much wipes we out.  I'm thankful for wonderful friends who have brought by food on Thursday so we don't have to cook.  After sleeping all day, it has been a treat to wake up to a wonderful meal.  I haven't felt any nausea to speak of, however occasionally the smell of someone's food can turn my stomach.  The day following chemo has been difficult emotionally.  I'm not sure if it is the Paclitaxel or menopause, but it is typically a very sad day for me.  Each day following Friday improves.  
Although I probably work too much, I do love my job.  I was visiting classrooms this past week and stopped in a kindergarten class.  I was kneeling down talking to a little girl on my right about a picture she was drawing when the little boy on my left said, "Mrs. Huffman!  Your hair is growing!" Then he gave me a quick rub on the top of my head.  The little girl behind him asked if she could rub my head too - of course.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You never really realize how much you love something until it is gone.  We had to put our wonderful St. Bernard down yesterday due to severe hip dysplasia.  Tucker couldn't get up and walk, and when he tried, his hips gave out from under him.  He was in a lot of pain.  James and I took him to the vet while the boys were at school, and although we all knew it was going to happen, it has been a difficult week.  Not only is it difficult because I miss Tucker, but it is so difficult to listen to the heartache when your child talks about how much they love and miss their dog, how they miss vacuuming up Tucker hair, scooping Tucker poop, and how Tucker was supposed to be there until they moved out of the house.  He was only 4 1/2 years old.  Those of you who know James and I well, know what a change we had to make to welcome that furry friend into our home - dog hair and slobber is not something that either of us tolerate well.  I will miss walking downstairs each morning to a warm welcome from Tucker; our morning walks; the head shake with fur flying everywhere; the slobbery dog dish; the muddy paws from his water hole; and feeding him carrots, apples, and peanut butter treats.

I'd like to think that I'm doing well, but the stress this past week took a toll, making it more difficult to keep the tears from flowing.  My counts dropped before Thursday's chemo treatment so I'll need to continue the Neuprogen shots for three days following each chemo treatment.  The good new is that the doctor thinks I'm doing extremely well and inquired about acupuncture so that he could refer others in treatment.  He also said that I wouldn't need a blood draw or doctor visit for three weeks.  And hair?  I have hair growing on top of my head!  I'm not sure if I should let it grow or keep it trimmed.  Wondering if it will stay with this type of chemo treatment and if it will stay when I start radiation.  I have an acupuncture appointment on Monday and will see the naturopath on Friday, with chemo on Thursday as usual.

Knowing that stress can be a leading health problem, I'm trying to keep the stress from work from invading my recovery.  I'm thankful that I'll have a substitute once a week to help my assistant principal.  And I'm thankful for my husband, family and friends that keep me grounded, remind me to take care of myself, and show me they care in so many thoughtful ways.  Thank you...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Yesterday was my third round of Paclitaxel.  Three down and nine to go.

The staff at ANMC is fabulous.  Since the beginning of this journey, I've been so impressed with the staff, nurses, and doctors.  The dread that I get every week having to go to the infusion room quickly changes when I see the staff.  They know the right things to say and do.  It must be a challenging job, but they all do it with such ease and care.

My acupuncturist is amazing as well, and she too is part of the ANMC system.  She knows exactly what is ailing me and is able to place needles so strategically.  She always asks how I'm doing, and like a kid asked what their day at school was like, I answer, "Fine."  She probes with specific questions about my mood, or stress, or pain, and she's always right about the ailment I hadn't thought to mention.  Amazing!

This weekend I'm going to try to eat foods to help my Qi.  I play Qi in words with friends all the time, but didn't even really understand what it was.  Qi is the energy in our bodies, and mine is lacking.

The other thing lacking in our house is healthy bodies.  Caleb had been sick with a chest cold for several weeks, then Jared got the germ, and now James is sick.  We couldn't decide who should wear a mask last night, so we both wore it to bed.  I'm not sure how long it actually stayed on after I fell asleep, and if I fell asleep before James, I'm not sure if he kept his on.  :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

July 26!  I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted.  Believe me, I've thought about it.  My last round of AC was on August 1.  I had the typical week of not feeling well and had I posted then, you would have heard more about the negatives of cancer and chemo.  I try not to dwell on those things, or even ponder them, as they will pass.  I might not even be honest about all of the affects it has on me.  What good would it do?

It has been a little harder more recently to keep up the pace.  I went back to work on July 26 and have hit the ground running ever since.  Working ten to twelve hour days, seven days a week was difficult when I was healthy - now it is pretty much impossible.  Beyond all of the side effects, I think the inability to maintain the family, house, and work schedule is the hardest for me.  That's what brings tears to my eyes, not my hair falling out.

But, I am over half way done with chemo.  I had my first round of Paclitaxel last Thursday, August 23.  I'm scheduled for 12 treatments, one every Thursday until November 8.  My blood count has been low, but high enough not to delay treatments.  Today's white count was 1.8 and red count was 10.2.  A little lower than last week's 2.9 and 11.6.  My absolute neutrophils were 1.9 last week and 1.8 this week.  After this week's treatments, I'll probably need to resume neuprogen shots to boost my count since they continue to drop.  Other than a headache the day after treatment and increasing fatigue, I haven't experienced any of the other side effects.  Things to watch for with this drug:  allergic reaction, lower blood counts, neuropathy, joint and muscle pain, heart problems, vomitting, diarrhea and constipation.  Hmmm...

Speaking of allergic reaction, when they did the first Paclitaxel infusion last week, a nurse watched me closely, along with James, to make sure I didn't have a reaction.  They had a kit ready to go - just in case.  I did leave staggering, as always, but thankfully had no reaction.  After getting home, I slept for four hours.  That's the plan tomorrow - infusion at 8:00am until 11:30 and then home to sleep.

I'll be working part time from here on out taking sick leave every Thursday and Friday until the end of my treatments.  Although I still keep up with work at home, the doctor has advised that I need to reduce my work load.

Speaking of work, I love my job.  The honesty of kids and the joy they bring to a challenging job.  I've heard things that make me smile each day.  "Mrs. Huffman, why did you shave your head?"  "Mrs. Huffman, are you supporting cancer?"  "Mrs. Huffman, are you okay?"  "I don't remember what you looked like last year." (Then I showed the student my id badge from last year.)  "You're the first bald principal I've ever met!"  "You look nice without hair."  "We made this for you." (As a group of fourth grade girls handed me a lei made of clover flowers.)

Next time I won't wait so long to post and you won't have to read so much!  Here are a few pictures taken over the past month.  Thank you for your prayers.

A beautiful bike ride up powerline pass from the parking lot at Flat Top.

The office staff asked me to Take it Off.
A fun hat.
Lovely head wrap.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One of the lessons God's been teaching me through this process is to keep my priorities straight:  to cherish my family and friends, to enjoy each moment and live in the moment, and to take care of myself.  It is easy for me to get caught up in the business of work and day to day routines.  As I head back to work today, I know that I need to avoid falling into that trap.

Fatigue has been the predominant side effect I've noticed most.  There are some funny things like "prickly" hair stubble on my head and inconsistent bowel movements, but fatigue is the hardest for me to deal with.  I don't rest well.  I stopped by the Oncology department to ask if they thought I should do a blood check - they told me it wasn't necessary, fatigue is a part of the game.  I am still taking my supplements and going to acupuncture.

I had an appointment with the naturopathic doctor today who thinks I am doing well - no joint pain, no mouth sores, no neuropathy - lots of things to celebrate (and I'm not being sarcastic).  After reviewing the supplement list, he asked me if I minded adding one more pill and I paused before answering.  He picked up on my lack of enthusiasm, but explained the benefits of taking alpha lipoic acid and I was on board.  I left with a updated list of supplements as my chemo regiment will be changing after the fourth treatment on Wednesday. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer with family and friends - what a blessing each and every one of you are to me.  We just finished another trip to Homer with James' brother and even though there were some rough seas, we were finally able to get out and fish, enjoy the scenery and have fun. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

It has been a fabulous week with family visiting from Kansas City, MO.  We were able to enjoy the outdoors including hiking Flat Top; mountain biking (for the boys) and Saturday Market for the rest of us; and a trip to Homer and Seldovia to fish for halibut.  My energy level has stayed pretty good with lots of help from family and friends.

45 Pounder
Double hook-up
Fishing out of Seldovia was a lot of fun with calm seas and plenty of fish.  Our largest fish was about 45 pounds but most were around 20 pounds.  We kept the fatties and threw the rest back.  Everybody caught fish - we even caught a few rays and cod.  The halibut were fun to watch as they followed up their hooked buddies in schools.  I was even able to lean over the boat and gaff an unhooked halibut.

My blood work Wednesday was good showing my red count had climbed to 12.2 and my white blood cells were at 6.4; everything else looked good.  With that being said, I had chemo Thursday morning and followed the usual routine: 7 anti nausea pills, hook up to the medi port, steroid iv, anti nausea iv, Adriamycin iv, Cytoxan iv, and a final flush.  Everything went well and I had some great company and a fabulous nurse who kept me smiling and laughing for 3 hours.  I was pretty tired, so came home and slept for over 3 hours, but was able to enjoy some deep fried halibut for dinner. 

Looking forward to acupuncture today so she can address the nausea that woke me up last night.  I'm still taking all of my supplements which seem to be helping a great deal.  I did start my menstrual cycle Tuesday, however the flow was only heavy one day and night so that's an improvement.  Wednesday night I woke up covered in sweat - so maybe menopause started and that was my first hot flash.  But probably not.