Wednesday, July 29, 2020

One of those days....

In early March when my counts really dropped I turned over responsibility as the primary dog walker to other family members since I was not suppose to pick up the poop (with a bag). In the last few weeks, my family has gotten busier, and my counts have gotten enough better that Lilly and I have ventured out on our now.

Lilly is only about 20 pounds so she is small and does not walk too fast or too far - so she and I are good companions. Yesterday, was one of those busy mornings for my family so Lilly and I were on our own. By comparison to the last few weeks it was a bit cooler here yesterday and we excitedly headed out for our morning walk with a few letters to drop in the mailbox on our route.

We got about halfway through our walk and I realized - in a panic - that I no longer had our door key in my hand. I thought for a minute to make sure I remembered locking the door on my way out and I definitely did. We turned around and retraced our steps and did an extra search around the mailbox and the poop stop with no luck. I made sure the key was not in the bag with the poop - yuck - and figured that I must have accidentally dropped it in the mailbox.

Luckily Chad and Margaret were home and while Chad did not see my text to let us in, Margaret answered her phone and we at least were not locked out. I called the post office to see if they could check the box for me. The nice part of being in a smaller city was the kind post office worker I spoke with offered to come meet me at the collection box with the key in about 30 minutes. I met up with her and there were just 4 letters in the box and no key.... my heart sank. I felt bad this nice lady had come out to help me and the key was not there. Then I wondered should I get the locked re-keyed? Yes, probably because over the last 5 years a lot of people have had keys to our house, but I really wanted to find it and not have yesterday be the lock re-keying day. So I started retracing our steps again and by the poop spot, after much searching, I found it in the mulch  - huge relief!

Now, this is unfortunately not my first chemo brain incident. I regularly do not remember having read books or watched shows, and once I turned on water to boil in a pot only for Chad to discover several minutes later that there was no water in the pot. Note - do not pick me as your partner in a trivia game right now!!

I am trying to play word games, I'm ready a lot and I'm dabbling in the free online classes (and I'm taking the quizzes) just to keep my brain working. I know the fog will clear [post treatment and my family is extremely patient but I can really be a clue bird and mix things up these days.

Everyone is off to the races here this morning so hopefully Lilly and I have a less eventful walk than yesterday. I am going to put the key on a lanyard around my neck and hopefully make it less drop proof!!

Bone marrow biopsy on Monday was fine as those things go. I won't get the results for a couple weeks. I have been struggling with a really bad chemo induced cough that sounds like it will probably get worse versus better over the next few months, otherwise all is good here.

Thursday, July 23, 2020


I've always been a runner and no matter the length of the race having people cheer you on makes a huge difference. When I get tired if I have people cheering for me it always makes me dig a bit deeper and push to go faster to get across the finish line.

With treatment, having friends and family support me also is so helpful to give me a boost to get me through the tough stretches. When I am down and doubting having people around me that have hope and are rooting for me really does help lift me up.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me get through the awful watch and wait phase, the terror of starting chemo during a global pandemic and the first half of treatment with all the unknowns of how my body would react to new chemo meds. You have all been confident that I could do this even when I was not as sure. I've wondered how many times I get to make it through treatment successfully before my number is up but you all have not wavered in your faith of me. Thank you for pushing me to believe I could do this and helping me do it!

Now that I am halfway through I am feeling like I've got this. My counts are rising, I am bouncing back a bit faster with each treatment and I am cautiously optimistic that the bone marrow biopsy next Monday will show that this round of treatment is working.  Thank you all for reminding me I could do this and giving me hope when I was not feeling hopeful! I could not ask for better friends and family!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Signs of Summer

While this summer has been anything but normal there are definitely still some unmistakable signs of summer. Our pool is open (with the appropriate precautions e.g., need to have a reservation, can only swim with family members, locker rooms are closed, etc.), it is brutally hot and humid, neighbors are hanging out on their porches and mosquitoes are biting.

I am missing a summer vacation though. I know a lot of people are doing them to rented houses on lakes, or to see family but since I have to be back at the doctor every Monday and given my weak immune system it is just not practical this year. One of my daughter's asked why I wanted to go on vacation because "wouldn't I do the same things I am doing at home?"... which is nap, read, go for walks. Yes, probably but there is something about the change of scenery and venue that I am missing. (I would also like to not have to cook, unpack the dishwasher or do laundry for a week but that is for another year...)

I am really living just two weeks out and am struggling to think, or plan, further out than that. My labs this week were good which was exciting. My platelets have been normal for a month and my hemoglobin (just barely) broke through to the normal range. My white blood cells are better but still not great but everything is moving in the right direction.

After this coming Monday I will be halfway through and then can count down the treatments. A week later I will have a halfway point bone marrow biopsy to get a better look at how effective this round of treatment has been. Hopefully it is very low so the next three months of treatment can stalk any remaining stray cancer cells. I felt like I started to feel a bit better this time the only new downside has been rashes which sound like they are coming from the drugs having less cancer cells to attack (annoying but a good sign....).