jenny's belly

Monday, January 30, 2006


I can't believe I was more sick the week *after* chemo than while I was getting it. Stupid and bizarre.

Speaking of stupid, here's an entertaining story for you which nicely shows how I'm acting lately...

My mom drove me to the grocery store so I could buy more chicken noodle soup. As I'm walking down the cracker isle I notice that the decaf tea I drink at night before I go to sleep is on sale. I know it's normally $3 and change, and see that the sale is 4 for $10. I have absolutely no idea how much that makes each box. I stand there for a few seconds. Nope. Can't do the math. So I just buy one and move along.


I've been doing a lot of staring into space too. I had to get fluids friday and my eyes hurt too much to close so I just stared at my blanket. I don't mean to, but I make my mom kind of nervous during those times.

I'm losing brain cells, people! I can't afford it, I need all the ones I have! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Eating Habits

So in addition to feeling kind of blah lately, I have a new lovely side effect from the chemo: mouth sores. It feels like strep throat. And for some reason, nothing tastes right. Its strange that it took several days for these things to kick in. I starting noticing it on tuesday, which is 2 days after my last chemo.

I tried to eat lunch three times yesterday, which was kind of amusing. I made vegetable soup and found I didn't like it anymore (though I always used to- c'mon, you can't beat the alphabet-shaped noodles). So then I made mac and cheese. Yuck. Mom caught me staring at it. I put that away then tried to finish a yogurt smoothie from the day before. No deal. I think all-in-all I ate a little bit from each and got a decent lunch but I've never done that before.

Then at dinner I didn't like the salad dressing I put on my salad so I got MORE salad and tried a different dressing. Both tasted terrible. And I made mashed potatoes. How bad could those be? Pretty bad, actually. But I forced myself to eat half my piece of chicken, which really was the important part of the meal anyway.

And damn if it isn't time to eat again. (sigh.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another Phase Behind Me

I finished my Cycle 4 chemotherapy on sunday (yay!) and had a follow-up appointment with my nurse yesterday. I'm anemic again, although not too bad. Both white and red blood counts are down, but it's not like they don't know WHY. They gave me a shot of the competitor drug to Procrit. Maybe you've seen their terrible commercials: "I'm ready for my chemotherapy" they say cheerfully. I hate those people.

My uncle Jack sent me the coolest bouquet of flowers yesterday. Isn't it great?

Anyway, I'm doing well. My next chemo starts February 15, and I just have to visit my doctor weekly until then. I think they'll continue to give me the shot, which I just have to deal with. I'm glad there's a reason for me being so tired!

I hope all is well with you, and as always, thank you for your prayers and kind words. They mean the world to me!!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Drugs Rock

I may be full of poison and highly drugged, but I'm feeling pretty good. I had pizza for dinner. Do you believe that?!

I can't believe how normal I feel. I think this is how I'm *supposed* to feel with my type of chemotherapy, which explains why everyone was so shocked when I was really sick.

If you want to know what I think, I'd venture to guess that my body is USED to the 5-FU since I was on it every day for five weeks just a short time ago. And the amount they're giving me, although all at once, is not that different from the amount I'd receive each week.

So I'm still taking a million hard drugs to combat nausea and it seems to be working. I feel just mildly blah and more tired than anything.

It's a miracle! And to celebrate, I'm going to take a shower and not get all worked up at the hair falling out. "Its okay, its okay, its okay..."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Doing well

I have two days of chemotherapy behind me and I'm doing well. They really loaded me up with anti-nausea medicine, all of which makes me really tired. I've been up from my 4-hour nap for a few minutes but I'm ready to go back down. I was surprised to find out from my oncologist yesterday that my white blood cell count is down. It nearly delayed treatment for a week. But other numbers looked okay and so we went forward. I was pleased, delays are a nuisance.

I'm still eating and (pat self on back) I'm doing a really good job drinking enough each day. I've found that sometimes its worth it to skip a meal if it means I can get a lot to drink. And so I have apple and grape juice, gatorade and decaf tea. So far so good. Its nice to see that I am able to get enough liquids into my body to keep it going. I was doing a terrible job at it for awhile there...

Here's hoping this highly-drugged state will continue to work.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Poisoning Tomorrow

Well, tomorrow begins "Cycle 4" for me. A daily dose of chemotherapy through sunday morning. I'm not afraid or even anxious about it. Of course I don't want it to happen, but I'm very resigned to it.

Some of that is because I know I won't be sick tomorrow. It doesn't hit me right away. Rather, it takes a bit of time for the drugs to really hit my system. I might even feel okay Thursday too. Friday, no, but Thursday maybe.

I wish I could describe it in terms of the flu, but its so much worse. I've had chemo and I've had the flu. At this point, I would welcome the flu. It's really harsh punishment and there's nothing natural about it except the body does everything it can think of to get rid of the poison. And I mean everything.

Its the daily infusion of fluids that keeps me out of the hospital. And I've mentioned this before, but the amount of chemotherapy I receive is laughingly small compared to others at any given cancer treatment center. Mine arrives in a needle, not a bag. Or bags. Some people have to sit there for 3, 4 even 6 hours to receive all of their chemo. I'm 10 minutes. It takes longer for me to get my anti-nausea medicine.

So I'll be getting my poison about 1:30 tomorrow, and I'm ready. Ready to be done with it all!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Getting Ready

I slept all day yesterday, just as predicted. I had a nice day today with my mom, though. We got pedicures and went to see Casanova, which was a very good movie if you like that sort of thing (which I do).

I'm trying to get myself psyched up for chemo to start on wednesday. The chemo hits my body and does terrible damage. Some people can take it and not get sick at all. Especially the type and amount that I receive. Unfortunately, it really gets me.

But the next two weeks will be equally tough on my mother, my caretaker. She has to drive me in and out of the hospital each day for five days, and sit by my chair while they give me fluids and poison and meds and whatever else they find lying about the place. She's house-bound if I'm house-bound. And believe me, I'll be house-bound. Its really a very thankless role. I don't know how she keeps going, but then again, there are days when I don't know how I keep going either. But caretaker is tough. You have to maintain the positive attitude and energy. You can't get sick or be down. You can't get tired. And the caretaker still has laundry and vacuuming and has to make dinner...

So my thanks not just to my mom (whom I'll never be able to properly thank) but to ALL the caretakers past and present. Thanks for being there and being strong for us. We couldn't do it without you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Good Day in the City

So The Hartford finally approved my claim. It turns out they agree that my cancer was not a pre-existing condition. Duh. Yeah, I've had it a long time but waited to have it treated so I could pull an insurance scam. GENIOUS!

I immediately put the check in my account. Here's hoping it doesn't bounce.

I had a busy day today. I met with Dr. Stoffel, my wonderful gastroenterologist. She told me to completely stop drinking soda. Even flat soda. D'oh. But I earlier lived on ginger ale for its fine nausea-assisting properties. What am I supposed to do now?

I'm having a bad day with food today in that I feel full but have really eaten nothing. My mom and I had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. If you've never gone, please do yourself the favor. Their menu is the biggest one I've ever seen. I went to my office after lunch and it was great to see familiar smiling faces. I was definitely on an adrenaline rush. HI! GREAT TO SEE YOU! I really do feel pretty good now though, so it was a good time for a visit. And being there, well, I felt quite normal. Like I haven't been gone for 6 months and I should sit down at my desk and get to work. A good feeling. I need that reminder every so often: THERE IS AN END TO CANCER TREATMENT. LIFE WILL RESUME.

So it was a busy day, as I said. I'm sure I'll crash tomorrow, but I'm very glad I was active today. Crash tomorrow, who am I kidding. I'm crashing now. :)

Monday, January 09, 2006


I'm tired but feeling much better. I had a lovely nap today. I just don't know how I could get through without one. Actually I *can* go a day or two without a nap but then my exhaustion starts to show on my face. You know I have actually been so pale not even my lips have had color. Frankly, it's creepy. And its happened a lot.

I still don't do much around the house. I'm quite a vegetable. A vegetable in pjs. But I just can't do anything of use, or even to entertain myself. I almost did some card-making today and got as far as pulling out some papers that looked nice together... and then I put them away and took a nap.

And this evening I got out my cross-stitch as if I was going to work on it. Not so much.

I have a doctor's appointment on wednesday and I'm going to go into the office for the first time in a looong time. It will be really nice. I've seen the office building from my chemo chair several times. And I know when the time comes I'm going to be all excited to start back at work but about 2:00pm I'll be looking for a place to nap. Paul, can I sleep under my desk?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

On the Road Again

I drove today for the first time in weeks. It's strangely liberating. I think it's because I was able to reclaim a bit of independance. It's nice to make my own meals and take care of myself. Frankly it's nice to feel good enough to WANT to do those things for myself.

My hair doesn't hurt as much and my skin isn't as sensitive. The doctors are pleased that I've kept my weight stable for two weeks, and I find I'm actually eating like a normal person again. I had pizza for dinner last night, for example. I've stopped living on jello, as I did during chemo/radiation.

I hope to see some of my friends during this break before chemo starts again Jan 18. Since I'm feeling better and able to drive the only problem is being really tired. If I plan well, even that isn't an issue. So, we'll see... :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Goodbye 05

I'm very glad to see 2005 go. All I remember about it is getting a new job and then finding out I had cancer. It wasn't a banner year.

I'm feeling okay today if a little lost. Dr. Crazy was visiting but went home yesterday, as did my brother. His financee left this morning. So the house is quiet and I have nothing I *have* to do like I did before Christmas (make cookies, wrap presents, etc etc). I have to write my thank you cards still but I hope to get those done and out of the way today.

Naptime is still important but I discovered I really can go all day without one. I took several naps on NYE and was able to stay up to midnight to kick the old year out.

I'm definitely eating better and more often, which is a very good thing. I probably can eat three times a day now, or pretty close to it. I can actually eat a bagel in one sitting. I'm completely amazed my stomach can hold that much food, but it can! But, if I eat a bagel I'm full for the rest of the day.

I have the energy to make my own meals again--finally. I don't do anything fancy, but can cook soup or make a grilled cheese sandwich... But I don't have energy to do anything requiring a lot of energy. I should clean up my parents' office because I've slowly turned it into a bomb site but I just *can't*. And I can do cross stitch for a little while but I still can't read a book (what's up with that?).

Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful end of 2005 and I wish you a happy new year!