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.