Monday, July 06, 2015


A little update...

...just in case I haven't talked to some of you. Since my last post, I've undergone five out of my six prescribed chemotherapy treatments: this means that I have only ONE more to go! So far all has gone very well, I think. I've had no nausea, and no serious side-effects with which to deal, and for this I am grateful. I've lost nearly every hair on my body, and that's a bit disconcerting. I have some neuropathy in my finger tips and more in my toes, but that may or may not be permanent: we'll just have to wait and see. I am quite tired most of the time, but all in all I have no complaints. My employers continue to be amazingly supportive, my co-workers, too, my family and friends do all they can to make me feel good.
I am MOST blessed!

This is how chemo works, in my case: I show up at the cancer center at around 8:00 am for blood work.  I check in, get a lovely plastic bracelet, and step onto the scales. They draw blood from my port, which is a very satisfactory method for doing this. Then, I wait while the blood tests are run, and sometimes I see my medical oncologist.  
Once the tests are back, the doctor and nurses adjust the chemicals as needed for my weight, for alleviation of any side-effects, and for the greatest possible efficacy. I am given a tiny paper cup of various pills for nausea and other possible problems, a saline drip is begun, and, eventually, the chemical drip is started. The first drug takes at least four hours to administer, longer if I have a reaction to the preservatives in it. That has only occurred two out of five times, but when it does, I press my little button, the nurses rush in to give me assistance and I feel better fairly quickly. If this happens, the drip has to be slowed and can take much, much longer.
When the first chemical is depleted, a second is administered. That one takes about an hour, and when it is completed, my port is flushed, the connecting device is removed, I get a little Band-Aid, and I go home! The chemo treatments have taken from six to ten hours. The next two days I have two little pills to take each morning, and I return to the hospital the day after chemo for a shot which forces my body to replace some of the white blood cells that were depleted by the chemicals. Three weeks later, I go back and do it all over again. The whole thing is mind-numbingly boring, and I do a lot of sleeping during my treatments.
For each visit I have had a little room all to myself, with a fairly comfortable reclining chair, a television, breakfast and lunch made to my order if I want it and delivered from the hospital cafeteria, a selection of beverages and snacks, and warm blankets and pillows if I need them. The nurses are without rival, every single one of them. I cannot imagine the sad stories they would have to tell about their service in the cancer center, and still they are pleasant, cheerful, sympathetic, and very, very skilled at their jobs. I cannot ever thank them or praise them enough.
I am allowed to have company during treatment, and indeed I have seen a great many folks in their chairs with friends and family of all ages gathered 'round, but I find that I do better if I'm alone without having to attempt to entertain folks, and as I have not been ill, I can easily drive myself to and from treatments. Since I have not slept well in years, the rest is most welcome.

Enough of that stuff? :- ) I think so, too! That's pretty much it for now. Watch for me wearing my assortment of scarves and other headwraps. My hair is coming back, but very oddly: I have sparse white or very light blonde hair that is about 3/4" long, and very dark, short stubble. I hope it evens out as it grows!

I had a lovely treat earlier in the summer: I was invited to spend a weekend at my cousin's cottage on a small, nearby lake. It was a rainy weekend, so there was little activity on the water. I slept, and knitted, and rested, and looked at the water, and felt entirely replenished at the end of it. I was also fortunate to meet a friend of my cousin's while there, a husband and wife who are quite famous in children's literature. What an honor! We are hoping to go back for another weekend of rest and recuperation after my final chemo treatment.

Why yes, I have been knitting:

Many Hands pattern, finished, but this unfinished photo shows the lovely stitches best
A mystery sock that I think I forgot to post when it was finished
"Alohomora" pattern for my friend Pat K, and there are not many for whom I would knit in purple! 
A pair for the Husbeast, to keep him warm in the winter
"Braiding sweetgrass" pattern, for me!
Simple ribbed socks for my lifelong friend, Phil
Ripples on the Water
I am feeling very well, really, compared to many I've seen in treatment. Thank you for your continued well wishes and hugs:
I love you all!