Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Next Steps for Daryl & I

August 31, 2010

I met with the orthopedic surgeon today and he has given the go-ahead for radiation treatment on my hip. There is a small fracture but no surgery necessary. But I do have to use a cane going forward. And yes, I am already shopping for a stylish one online. :-) I meet with the staff in the radiation department tomorrow morning and will get my full treatment schedule. The radiologist oncologist previously stated that the entire process should take about 4-6 treatments done on a daily basis, so we are only talking about a 1 to 2 1/2 weeks of radiation treatment. My plan is to have radiation each morning before work.

Now that I have the radiation part confirmed I will meet with the oncology department to find out when I can start chemo. So it looks like I will be back in the office starting Tuesday, September 7th.

Daryl update: She is home!!!! She finished the stem cell infusion process and came home from Yale Smilow Cancer Center yesterday, Monday, August 30th. She just has to go back to Yale on Wednesday and Friday and then they turn her back over to her regular oncologist @ The Bennett Cancer Center.

We are both putting one foot in front of the other moving towards our individual finish lines.

I hope this has been Tasty & Informative like Cupcakes & Travel Magazines.

Peace, Love, Joy and Blessings to you and yours!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Lessons to Learn!

August 25, 2010

I am doing very well today! Not much different from yesterday, which I give many THANKS for. My radiologist finally spoke with an orthopedic surgeon, who thinks I might have a small fracture. I have an appointment for next week, 8/31 Tuesday @ 2 PM. We will meet, discuss, access and make a decision regarding palliative radiation treatment. Then back to my oncologist to find out my treatment schedule in regards to chemo.

Moment of Hilarity: The surgeon wants me on crutches - I don't think so since there is, how shall we say it, extra Valerie to pull around. He also suggests the use of a walker - again I don't think so. Not ready for that mode of transportation yet. I will just stay put and use a cane and wheelchair when I need to go outside. Although I don’t really need the wheelchair but it’s easier to use than tell my Mom I am okay and don’t need it. Sometimes I think my Mom thinks my femur and/or hipbone is going to snap in two at the slightest provocation. It won’t and I will stay off of it as much as I can. I promise. Tomorrow I must get out though so I can feel the wind on my face - oops, that sounds so corny but you get the point.

Daryl is doing well. She had a moment with Mom this morning at Yale-New Haven Smilow Cancer Hospital, where she is recuperating from the stem cell transplant. The date of her actual infusion was Thursday, August 19, 2010. She had the procedure then came home and returned to the center everyday for the rest of the week then as previously, scheduled Daryl checked into the hospital where she would receive daily tests.

Daryl said to me today, when the doctors come into her room they always say, “You are doing so well we might as well not stop by.” As some of you know whenever you have surgery or treatment the hospital is required to tell you everything that could possibly go wrong as well as the side effects. Well my sister, Daryl has not experienced one negative side effect nor have any of the negative possibilities played out for her. THANK GOD!!!!!! She says I’m going to keep on keeping on with my recuperating and the doctors can continue to marvel. All right now-

Back to Daryl having her moment today: Mom and Brenda (my other sister) want to fix the moments when they pour out of Daryl whereas I let her have the moment and then we move on. I believe we all have lessons to learn in this life and the current situation certainly lends itself to big time lesson learning for my family! I think Mom and Brenda's lesson might be to realize they can't fix everything. Now I don’t have a medical degree, prescription pad or any patients but that has never stopped me from making proclamations in the past. I’m sure there will be plenty more declarations from me in the future because that’s just the way I am. :-)

My Mom has been staying at Yale with Daryl but she is coming home for the night, which is good because she is a Mama Bear so taking care of her cubs is part of the job description. But we have been watching and making sure, she is not overdoing anything. Sometimes it is best to let her be but other times we do have to tell her to take a break and breathe. She is learning.

I think one of my lessons is to SIT DOWN. I have learned to put myself first in a lot of areas of my life so taking time to rest, rejuvenate and rejoice is second nature to me. But the Creator obviously feels I need to sit down for a little while and despite the fact that I don't know why - I am going to sit my ass down! I will keep my eyes and ears open to see if I can ascertain why I need to SIT DOWN for now.

I hope this post has been Tasty & Informative like Cupcakes & Travel Magazines.

Peace, Love, Blessings & Joy to you and yours.

Monday, August 23, 2010

PS to Change in Treatment

August 23, 2010

PS for 8/21/10 Turns out that I didn't get radiation on Friday, 8/20 - the radiation oncologist wants an orthopedic surgeon to review the x-rays to make sure there is not a teeny, tiny fracture because then the radiation will cause pain and there might have to be surgery - I am crossing my fingers and hoping that is not the case but if it turns out to be then I will do what has to be done. So I am resting, resting, resting, updating this PS and resting some more. I do believe I am supposed to be resting - LOL.

Peace, Love & Blessings to you!

Hope this post has been Tasty & Informative like Cupcakes & Travel Magazines!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Change in Treatment

August 20, 1010

The last few days have seen a little limp I sometimes have turn into a full fledged LIMP. I went to the doctor's yesterday to get my treatment schedule and also got a new x-ray of my hip and found out that while nothing is broken now I am at high risk for a broken hip and/or femur bone so I am going to start radiation TODAY. Dr. T says I should feel no pain by next week - Yow-sah, Yow-sah, Yow-sah! Keep on dancing!

So dah-lings keep keeping me in your prayers - and make sure to laugh at least once a day!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chemo Brain and the DMV!

August 14, 2010

Why did I get up, get dressed, drive to the DMV- in the next town - stand in one line and then another before I realized my license was NOT expired!!!! That is such a chemo brain move and I have NOT even had my first treatment. Good Lord - Oh, the adventures I will have!

The last time I was at the DMV the entire process was so smooth. Not today though, no today the place like a freaking zoo - people unsure which line to get in, including me. I stood in one line and then realized I was supposed to be in another line only to realize that I was actually in the correct line the first time. Then Daryl called me and asked if I was in DMV hell? I told her yes but I was surprised because my last experience at the good old DMV had been a good one. We chit-chatted for a few minutes about how our Mother aka Babs had complained about the DMV a few weeks earlier when she had to register my Dad's car. He doesn't know it but he will be paying for that misadventure sometime soon.

Then my little voice told me to check my license. So I did. Then I GASPED because the expiration date on my license says 2014! I told Daryl and the next thing I heard was her from the belly-no-holds-barred laugh. All I could say was: Well that's 30 minutes I'm never getting back.

I got out of line, left the building and walked to my car. All the while Daryl is saying: Valerie you are so CRAZY, No you didn't drive to Norwalk and your license is valid, Why did you think your license had expired? Why didn't you check your license before you left? And she was still laughing while asking all those questions. I could only say to her - Girl I AM crazy and this is CRAZY. But that's okay.

I also said: For whatever reason I am supposed to be here in this line at this moment. I believe in things happening for a reason. So for whatever reason I was supposed to spend some time at the DMV this Saturday morning, which also happens to be my cousin Kim Cherie Etheridge Jarvis' Birthday! Birthday shout-out to Kim!!!!!

The adventures I will have. The last time I had chemo I was 36 and now I am 48 so just regular aging coupled with the brain fog you get when on chemo will lead to some great adventures this time around. The adventures I will have. And rest assured I will share them with you. When I can remember.

Paranoia Moment: As you can see, I blocked out my Driver License number, address and birthday. I can't let anyone get my info, steal my identity and go shopping on me. NOT going to happen.

I hope this has been Tasty & Informative like Cupcakes & Travel Magazines!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Keep The Faith Baby!

August 8, 2010

It's been a while since I last posted. Forgive me. But you know life can get in the way sometimes. And that's okay. I'm rather proud of my ability to cope with life's little surprises. I am a 11 year breast cancer survivor and damn proud of it. Unfortunately my baby sister, Daryl has joined the cancer club. She is currently undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma and doing well, outside of wanting the whole damn episode to be done and over with, which is a very normal reaction to cancer treatment. She just completed the harvesting of her stem cells at Yale Smilow Cancer Hospital. What could have been a 1 or 2 day process actually stretched into a 4 day experience but they were able to harvest almost 10 million of her stem cells for her transplant that will take place in about 2 weeks.

And to complicate matters I found out on Tuesday, August 3rd that I have had a relapse with my cancer. But my doctor has assured me that I will be just fine. I was hoping he would be able to just change my medicine like he did when I had an earlier relapse 2 years after I completed my chemo treatment in 1999. But no of course not. Seems some stubborn cancer cells have migrated to my ribs and lungs: 4 lesions in all involving 2 ribs and a small area on each lung, each measuring no more than 1 inch as per my doctor.

Dr. T wants to zap these stray cells before they get their own blood supply. So he has prescribed a targeted chemo drug, that did not exist back in 1999, coupled with a traditional chemo drug and then a change in my daily medicine. I do trust this man and his ability to heal me along with the Creator so I am going with what he has prescribed. Just like I have for the last 12 years. What a Blessing he has been to me, my family and friends. He has a quiet strength about him that allows me to put this relapse in perspective.

I do realize how Blessed I am to have a relapse in 2010, a time when there are medicines on the market that did not exist when I was first diagnosed in 1998. I do realize how Blessed I am to have family, friends and friends of friends who are collectively praying for me and my healing. I do realize how Blessed I am that humor is such a big part of my life because laughter heals. But, even with all those realizations I did scream in my head: I WANT MY NEW MEDICINE! NO CHEMO!

It has actually become a running joke in my immediate family. I know I have to go through the process of having chemo so I will do it and move on. Yes I will do it and move on. I am Blessed beyond words. I will not mentally rush the process, although I know that will be easier said than done on some days. On those days I will not berate myself for feeling that way that day. I will forgive myself. I will be kind to myself.

I do believe for a reason unknown to me that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing at this moment in time. I welcome your thoughts, prayers, good vibes and well wishes. Know that I am Keeping the Faith! Know that I am still planning vacations. Know that I am still adding places to my trips-to-take list. Know that I am still enjoying my cupcakes. Know that I am steadily working on my creative thesis aka my novel so I will receive my MFA in Creative Writing in January 2011. Know that I am going to be just fine. Know that LIFE IS GOOD!

I hope this has been tasty and informative like Cupcakes & Travel Magazines!