For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October update...

On the way back from the beach on Sept 28, I was very nauseous.  We stopped at Sonic for lunch, which is usually not the best place to go when you're nauseous, but our options were limited since we were traveling and needed to make it home in time for my doctor appointment.  I ordered a chili cheese dog, of all things.  For some reason, it was the only thing on the menu that appealed to me even though I'd never eaten a chili cheese dog in all my life before then.  After I ate, the nausea subsided and I didn't give it another thought. 

That evening after my doctor appointment, the nausea returned. The next morning, it was pretty bad, so I took 1/2 of a phenergan, thinking that maybe it would be enough to get rid of the nausea without making me need a nap. It didn't help the nausea and it did make me sleepy, so I had a pretty miserable day at the office.  That evening as I was driving home, I was feeling sick again, but I noticed that I was having upper abdominal pain rather than nausea. When I got home, Katie said, "Mama, my stomach hurts really bad." I thought to myself, "Oh good. That means I just have that virus that's going around."  By bedtime, Roger was also complaining of nausea.

Friday on the way to work, I was having severe pain, so I thought maybe I should call the doctor.  My oncologist doesn't have office hours on Fridays and the nurse practitioner was leaving at noon and had a full schedule until then, but I really thought I just had a virus, so I wasn't concerned about not being seen.  The pain continued sporadically through the weekend. The most annoying part was being awakened by pain in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep. I took phenergan two nights just to get back to sleep, but I wasn't really comfortable taking it for pain rather than nausea. 

The following week, I started getting concerned because Roger and Katie's symptoms subsided within 24 hours while mine lingered.  Roger kept telling me to call the doctor, and I kept saying it was probably nothing and besides, I don't have time to go to the doctor because it's fall tax season (Individual tax extensions expired on October 17.)  By Friday, I decided maybe I should call before the weekend.  So I called and got an appointment with the nurse practitioner.  She said that abdominal pain can be a side effect of Tasigna that occurs between one and six months and usually goes away within a few weeks. But she took bloodwork to check my liver and kidney function and arranged an ultrasound for Monday morning to make sure there was no organ involvement.  I had a follow up appointment on October 18, and all the tests were normal. The pain went away within a couple of days after the initial appointment, just like the NP said it might. I hope that's one side effect that doesn't return!

I had a couple weeks of being tired and feeling run-down the last half of September, but the first two weeks of October were great.  I worked 33 hours the first week and 47 the second week, both of which were more than I had worked in a week since tax season.  Maybe the stress of fall tax season boosted my adrenaline, but whatever it was, I'll take it!  By Friday evening (the 14th), I could feel the cancer fog rolling in.  It was getting worse on Saturday, but I tried fighting it off by finishing purging my closet, which I had started about six weeks earlier. 

That evening, Roger, Rebekah, Katie, and I went to Raleigh to participate in the annual Light the Night walk.  Rachel had planned to go, but she was offered a babysitting job that evening.  When we checked in, Roger, Rebekah, and Katie got supporter T-shirts and I got a survivor T-shirt.  Food was provided by sponsors of the event, including Panera Bread, Starbucks, and a few others. After we ate, we visited the photo area to have a team picture taken. Then we picked up our balloons - red for supporters, white for patients and survivors, and gold for those who were walking in memory of a loved one. The walk started after dark and the balloons had battery powered lights in them.  Deborah Morgan, a local news anchor, was the emcee for the event. We saw her standing along the side of the road during the walk, so I was able to get my picture taken with her. There were nearly 3,000 walkers this year.  Our team raised $595.  Thank you to all who donated or bought candy bars from us.  The money raised by the Light the Night walks is used for research of new and better treatments for blood cancers. I am thankful that I was able to participate in the walk and that I felt good for it.

By Sunday, the fog was in full force and I stopped fighting it.  This past week was pretty rough and I think I only worked about 15 hours. 

On Friday, Katie and I were at Classical Conversations (a tutorial program for homeschoolers), and in spite of wearing a tank top, sweater, jeans, knee socks, and a jacket, I was shaking because I was so cold.  Then my head started feeling funny - I wasn't quite dizzy, not quite light-headed, but not quite right either.  I looked around and realized that everyone else had taken off their sweaters and no-one else appeared to be cold.  I went outside and sat in the sun for awhile to try to get warm. After CC, I checked my personal and work email, made a smoothie for a quick infusion of vitamins, then went to bed for the rest of the afternoon.

I really hate days when I can't do what I plan and want to do. But there's a big difference between normal tired and cancer fatigue.  When I'm normal-tired, I can drink a cup of coffee or get a good night's sleep and it goes away.  But when I have cancer fatigue, I will sit in front of the computer trying to work, but accomplish nothing. I will look around my house and see things that need done, but I can't muster up enough energy to do anything about it. It takes longer to get moving in the mornings, and I have a short window of just a couple hours in which I can accomplish anything that requires mental exertion.  I have always worked when I've had the flu, sinus infections, headaches, whatever... but this cancer thing kicks. my. butt. 

Today was a good day.  I dropped Katie off at her dance lesson this morning and then went to Walmart to pick up a couple things because Walmart is about a 2 minute drive from the dance studio.  This afternoon we went to a beautiful outdoor wedding of a young couple from our church. Rachel and Rebekah left the reception a little early to go play Capture the Flag with the youth group at church.  We thought we were going to a party this evening, and I admit I wasn't really looking forward to it because I'm getting tired.  But Roger checked his calendar and realized that party is not until next week, so we will be able to have a quiet evening at home. I'm going  to work a little while to finish up something that I started on Thursday, then read for awhile.