Showing posts from January, 2016

Feeling "Normal"

I feel the most "normal"/"relatively energetic"/"my best" in the mornings, after I finally climb out of bed and get moving a little.  This morning had me crying over cleaning the stovetop, because and it was a "normal" activity, and well, I was doing it!  Well, I also teared up while watching a scene in a Hallmark Movie Channel movie when the guy who spent the previous four years of his life thinking he ruined so many lives found out how many lives he touched, just by teaching a young girl to read (she in turn taught others, etc).  Both of these instances, I believe, are because one of the side effects of one of my medications, but I digress....  So, I get done what I can (I can unload and load the dishwasher, for instance, but I am no longer able to put the pots away in the drawer below the stove; I couldn't straighten up the last two times, so....) and I rest when I must.  The problem is, my mind doesn't seem to want to rest.  I'll…

Maintenance Infusion? What's That?

In my post the other day (It's Not All Pretty Pink Ribbons), I mentioned the medications that I'm on now that chemo and surgery are over.  Not only was I a little remiss in my description (thank you, ladies, for pointing out my error), when I corrected it, it still seems a little fuzzy.  Let me try to clear it up here.

In conjunction with my chemo medication, I was also given Herceptin (transtuzumab) and Perjeta (pertuzumab).  Now that chemo is over, I still am on Herceptin and Perjeta.  I will be taking these meds (every three weeks, via infusion) for the rest of my life, or until they stop working and we need to try something else.  Here's a good way of explaining what they do, from

"Herceptin works by attaching itself to the HER2 receptors on the surface of breast cancer cells and blocking them from receiving growth signals. By blocking the signals, Herceptin can slow or stop the growth of the breast cancer." Also, from


Notes From the Infusion Chair

Yesterday I had my regularly scheduled appointment with my oncologist, and maintenance infusion number 6.  It was an incredibly long day.  They always seem to be long and tiring, these appointment days.  My first appointment was at 9:30am, which means leaving the house at 7:30am to allow for traffic.  On a good day, not at rush hour, it should take under an hour to get to Georgetown from my house.  It has, though, taken two hours to get there, in bad rush hour traffic.  Yesterday, we (Jimmy, my wonderful  husband, drives me) left just before 7:30 and dropped our 14 year old son off at school on our way.  Traffic was normal for rush hour, and we parked at just about 9:00am.  They called me back right away, took vital signs as normal, then we wait.  Sometimes it's a short wait, sometimes it seems to take forever.  While we wait, we pass the time chatting and/or playing games on our phones.  Inevitably, my mind wanders.  It still seems surreal that I'm here.  I sit in the waitin…

It's Not All Pretty Pink Ribbons

Here is the link to my caringbridge page on this subject:
It's Not All Pretty Pink Ribbons

Click there and read that first, then come back here.  I have a few things to elaborate on.

Let me start by saying, I love pink.  Someone gives me something pink, and to me it's a caring gesture; it shows that person cares about me.  I wear the necklaces and bracelets.  I use the coffee mugs and water bottles, and the badge holder.  I write in the journal with the pink pen.  My husband wears a pink shirt when he takes me to my medical appointments.  I use the shawl and the blankets.  The candle sits on my nightstand for when I'm feeling a little nauseous.  Whenever I use one of these items, I think of the person who gave them to me with warmth.  When I see someone out in public wearing a pink ribbon, there's an instant sense of comradery.  Most of the times, we stop and chat, tell our stories to each other.

Breast cancer is portrayed with pink ribbons, pink wigs, pink tutus, pink …

Being Careful What We Say

A friend posed the question on her facebook page, asking if anyone had made a New Year's Resolution. I almost responded with, "To stay alive! ;)" but then remembered that not everyone would take it tongue in cheek. Some would chuckle (maybe her and some of our mutual friends), but I'm sure someone would say, "Holy Crap!  I can't believe she said that!"  So, I didn't post, not wanting to turn her uplifting post in to something morbid. This brings to mind a few things cancer patients (or any chronically ill person, really) struggle with/adjust to.
Humor -- We have to have it. Sometimes we laugh at the most off the wall things. Sometimes people think, "Oh, my gosh, I can't believe he/she thinks that is in the least bit funny!" Sometimes we have to laugh about it, or we'll spend all of our time crying about it.  Here's an example of this that has nothing to do with my cancer:  When my sister died, we had gone through years of …

Why I Was Happy to Wake Up This Morning ... and Other Superstitions

Take a look at January's calendar.  See how the 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th are all lined up in a neat little column?  Get this -- My dad died on January 26, 2000 at the age of 68.  My mom died five years later, on January 12, 2005, also at the age of 68.  My sister died three years later (eight years after dad), on January 19, 2008.  See where I'm going here?  We really think my sister picked that day, exactly one week in between the two.  Since then, January 5th has been worrisome to me, but not like this year.  In addition to the dates, this year is eight years after my sister died.  That coupled with my diagnosis and, well ... I hope you don't think I'm off my rocker, but I was a little worried about yesterday.  I was feeling pretty well yesterday, so I wasn't overly worried, but it was still there, in the back of my mind.  So, I may die one year on January 5th, but this is not that year.  :)

Superstitious?  Maybe.  Some of you might think -- "You purport you…

Happy New Year!

The other title to the post could be "Stop Wishing Time Away!"

"I can't wait until Friday!"
"I can't wait until my birthday!"
"I can't wait until Halloween!"
"Christmas isn't here yet?!  Counting down the days!"

Then there's the ball drop on New Year's Eve with the ten second countdown.

We're constantly looking forward to the next event.

Along the same vein, how often do we say things like, "One day, we'll...."
"One day, we'll take that trip we've been wanting to take."
"One day, we'll go visit those relatives/friends we've been meaning to see."
"One day...."

For me, the older I get, the faster time passes.  I sure wish it would slow down. 

In 2015, my eldest son graduated from high school. As he walked down from the stage back to his seat, I saw the image of him from his preschool graduation juxtaposing on the real-life image, flashing back and forth.  My lit…