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.  :)