Friday, June 29, 2012

Had acupuncture this morning and a blood draw.  Both went well.  My white blood cell count was 4.3 and my panel looked like a healthy person's blood work, except for a low hemoglobin count.  A normal count should be between 12.3 - 15.3.  Before starting chemo, my count was 13.3, after the first round it was 11.3, and today it was 10.4.  Nothing alarming, but I picked up an iron supplement to help give it a boost.  With a low red blood cell count I need to watch for any of the following symptoms:  fatigue, weak, short of breath, increase in my heart rate, dizzy or lightheaded.  I'll try to monitor my activity level - I've got several good books to read, so this is a good excuse.

I've been enjoying feeling good this week and have been doing a few things on my "to do" list.  One goal this week was to make a new recipe each day.  Yesterday I made pretzels - they were delicious.  I also made maple glazed salmon with pineapple salsa.  Yum! 

 Last night and today I made some vitamin waters.  They are delicious, although I might be the only person to drink them. The strawberry, watermelon, rosemary water is "stressless"; the pineapple, ginger, mint water is "digestion"; and the grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange water is "power C".  Great to mix half and half with mineral water to make the pitcher last longer.  After the water is gone, I think I'll use the remains to make a smoothie.

I've got chicken caesar salad with homemade croutons and grilled avocado with melted cheese and hot sauce on the menu for tonight.  I love cooking!  That would be my second career if I could make it happen.  I put together this menu board to help plan meals for the week.  It was super easy to make and the boys will love helping plan meals.  We used to have a night a month where they chose the meal, cooked it for James and I, AND cleaned up.  We haven't done it for awhile and they are quite anxious to start it up.  Jared loves to choose involved recipes; Caleb loves Hamburger Helper.

My next plan of action - I'm going to scan all of Jared and Caleb's tons of school work and saved stuff by year.  Then I'm going to make an Apple iPhoto book for each year and pitch all of the paper work.  Maybe save a few cute projects to frame and add to the collection in my office.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This round of chemo really knocked me out on Thursday and Friday.  I felt miserable both days and had a headache all day Friday.  I was able to relax around the house with ever so helpful boys, and friends who took the kiddos overnight.  By Saturday I started feeling myself again, and was feeling good by Monday.  I had acupuncture Monday and the only request I had for her was to help with my digestive system.  The acupuncture session on Friday did a fabulous job of alleviating my nausea - I didn't even need to take any of the anti-nausea medication after Friday.  My next appointment - a blood draw on Friday to check my white blood cells. 

I have two wonderful boys who are ever so helpful.  Jared has taken over as lawn boy this summer and is doing a fabulous job.  I trim it out and Jared does the rest of the mowing.  Caleb chips in whenever he is asked too.  Scooping Tucker turds is probably their least favorite job.

After a few days off from exercising, we all went for a mountain bike ride through Prospect Heights Trail Head off of Upper O'Malley on Monday.  It was some tough terrain with a little mud, roots, rocks, and running water.  We all made it - something I couldn't have said 18 years ago when James took me for my first mountain bike ride.  Sunday was our 17th Anniversary!  I'm a blessed girl to be married to such a wonderful, supportive man.  It sure makes going through this a lot easier.  We had a great anniversary - church, family time, and friends.

Smiling, because it is all downhill from here!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bug bite?
James and I were in the Infusion Room at 9:30 this morning.  Had the usual 7 anti nausea pills (I think) and 1 IV bag for anti nausea prior to the chemo drugs.  I opted not to take the pill to help me relax, as I was already pretty relaxed with a blood pressure of 85/56.  Treatments went well, I dozed minimally while James and I played Words with Friends and chatted.  I did order some food around noon, however when it finally came I was no longer hungry.  We finished up at 1:00 and went to pick up the boys from a friend's house.  Green Tea Frap on the way, yum! 

James will give me my neulasta shot tomorrow.  I figure I'll make him a nice breakfast, mocha with whipped cream and caramel and then he'll be feeling pretty sweet on me when he delivers a nice shot to the bum.  :)
Really, just dozing for a second.
He'll probably also give me a haircut, a little closer to the scalp since it is all falling out.

I have acupuncture scheduled for two times a week, my next appointment is on Friday.  The Oncologist will check my white blood cells mid treatment on 6/29.  My next blood draw is scheduled for 7/11 and my third treatment for 7/12. 

Just an FYI:  Pee turns red with the chemo drug Adriamycin, but only for a day.  Almost as strange as blue pee after my bilateral mastectomy from the radioisotope tracers. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

White blood cell count up to 5.4!  Red blood cell counts haven't really changed throughout.  I sunburned my head.  I'm trading in my shampoo for sun screen.  My hair really is falling out, although it is hard to tell at less than a cm in length.  Looking forward to acupuncture today.  Round 2 of chemo tomorrow.  James is coming along - this time I'll try to keep him company so he doesn't have to watch me sleep. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thank you for all of the encouragement with the new hairdo.  The boys were at first a little emotional about it, but now say they don't remember what I looked like with long hair (ya, right).  I'm still not used to the shortened morning routine and have not broken the shampoo habit, but I have been sporting the new do without a hat and its nice that you can actually see my earrings without the hair.

We were able to go for a Father's Day bike ride tonight.  It was absolutely beautiful, a good uphill workout, and the view was worth it. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yesterday was an interesting day.  I went in for my second neupogena shot and due to concerns with the amount of blood flow I had, the Gynecologist asked that I be sent to the ER.  After a blood draw and the ER doctor and Gynecologist having consulted, I was free to go home with James, Jared and Caleb.  My white blood cells were up to 1.2 and my red blood cells had only dropped a minimal amount.

Later in the evening, I decided to address the issue of the excess hair in my brush in the morning.  James and I called in an expert, Rona (our friend from down the street AND my Oncology nurse), to help with the cutting for Locks of Love.  We had fun and Rona had real talent.  Watch this~

Today I had my third and final neupogena shot and other than some aches in my bones, I feel great.  We're all washing our hands lots and have pretty much hung out around the house to avoid crowds of germy and sick people.  Unfortunately, James had to go back to work today; its just me and the boys hanging out for a week.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I had a mid-treatment blood count check and my white blood cell count was a wee bit low at 0.2 (normal is 5 - 15) which prompted the doctor to order a white blood cell booster shot.  Today I received one shot to the buttocks (the prime fatty spot on my body), and I'll receive another shot Tuesday and a final shot on Wednesday.  The doctor will give me the booster shot with my next treatment to head this off from happening next round.  He mentioned I may experience a few side effects - flu like fever and aches, but acupuncture should help with those.  I have acupuncture tomorrow and Friday.  I also need to stay away from crowds and sick people for the next two days since my white blood count is so low.

All of my other blood-work looked great.  He thought that I was doing quite well and it may be in part to the supplements and acupuncture.  I started my menstrual cycle and James was quite the husband and went to get tampons at the store and a Green Tea Frap!  I'm flooding through everything - they removed my hormone IUD in April since my cancer is Er and Pr positive.  The OBGYN said I'd have to deal with that issue after chemo and radiation, but can't use anything with hormones.  Positive side effect to chemo is that it should put a stop to my cycle with the next treatment. 

My next appointment will be on 6/19 to check my blood count and then 6/20 for my next treatment.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Before the Alaska Run for Women.
Part of "Team Lisa Huffman"

Lisa and James after the race.
My time

This morning I ran the Alaska Run for Women in the timed 5 mile.  James was there to support me along with "Team Lisa Huffman" - some wonderful friends from Inlet View.  Last year's race had more than 7,300 participants and more than 350 survivors.  It is an amazing event and it was great to see so many familiar faces running, walking, and cheering.  I was very happy with my time of 39 minutes and 53 seconds since I haven't been exercising consistently since surgery in April.  Results were just emailed - I placed 166th out of 1,921 runners, 22nd in my age group, and 16th out of the survivors.

Friday, June 8, 2012

We had a fabulous trip to Homer.  The weather was beautiful and seas were calm.  It felt great to be out in the fresh sea air with the family catching halibut.  We caught our fair share of 20-25 pounders and came home with enough to start the season.  Reeling in what I thought was a pretty big one, turned out to be only another 20 pounder.  The reeling action felt good on my arms though. 

Acupuncture today for the first time.  The acupuncturist stuck two needles in my lower legs, three on my stomach, one on each forearm, two in my right ear, and one between my eyebrows.  I didn't even feel the needles, so I just laid there relaxing to music with dimmed lights for about thirty minutes.  This afternoon I've felt great.  I'm scheduled to go twice a week and she'll address issues with digestion, fatigue, nausea, and anything else that arises.  I highly recommend trying it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Alaska Run for Women is on Saturday, June 9.  James and I will be running the 5 mile with the support of many family and friends.  Teri Norton has put together a team (Team Lisa Huffman) if you'd like to join us.  If you've already registered and would like to join the team, she asked that you email her:  and she'll get you on the team. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Days 3 and 4 - not so much fun.  I felt downright rotten last night and today.  A little nausea, fatigue, and melancholy kind of night and day.  I did finally pull up my bootstraps and head out to Costco and Fred Meyers with James in the afternoon.  That will get you feeling better.  Not Costco and Fred Meyers, but spending some time with James.  By the time we got back to the house, I felt somewhat myself and was able to help cook dinner, and eat with our friend Carl.   I've gotten the best support and advice from friends - thank you.  So, tomorrow we're going to venture out for a few days fishing trip to Homer instead of sitting around waiting for my hair to fall out!