Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Holiday hub-bub.

I'm sick. Aside from the obvious, I've been fighting a nasty crud that comes and goes. I'm really tired of popping pills and taking care of myself- can someone else wipe my butt for a day or two?

I kid. I think.

So I picked up yet another prescription tonight. This one is only five days. Yay! Hoping it will make me all better, maybe amoxocillin cures cancer. har har.

The holidays went well for the most part- I was happy to see Iris' beaming face when she opened her present from Santa. Though as soon as I turned on the camera to record her opening the first present, she smiled sweetly and said "Happy New Year!" LOL.
Christmas Morning was short-lived at the house because Vera kept throwing up. I was covered in puke by 7:30am. Poor Iris had to wait until Vera and I were cleaned up to open her presents. She was very gracious about it (as long as we put Care Bears on for her while she waited). We ended up taking Vera to the ER because I think she threw up 7 or 8 times. She was very 'flat', not herself and it freaked me out a little. 7 months ago I was in that same ER with vomiting, nausea and dehydration. We all know what came of that. (and If you don't- check the title of the blog) Turns out she had some kind of 24 hour bug and an ear infection. She felt much better by the end of the visit. From my perspective- an ER visit that only results in a prescription is a good one. Though I guess Vera had already spread it to my mother and her family (they're probably vomiting while I write this) during the 30 minutes we were at her house. I think I did wear myself out a bit over the holidays- though I don't FEEL like I really did much. Just running around from house to house to ER to house to house. hmmm.
Well, By Sunday Iris had caught the bug and she and I spent most of the day in bed. If she hadn't been tossing cookies it would have been awesome just being lazy with her. She recovered by evening and was back to HER old self by this morning.
I, on the other hand, didn't get the "pukeys" as Iris calls them, but the sinus, throat crud I've been fighting for weeks continues to drag me down.
I don't think it's even contagious because no one is snotty. The girls WERE a while back- maybe they caught it and beat it and I remain fighting because of the chemo. Who the hell knows?
I did get a bit of a break today (feel horrible saying that because that meant outsourcing my childcare to my mother in law and my sister) and slept for 4 hours. Straight. And I don't foresee having any problem getting to sleep tonight as long as the girls let me.

I'm a little nervous about the next chemo, I'm gonna have to load up on antihistamines the day before since I will be getting the dreaded Oxycilliaplatin. And my bud, Amber will be there to witness the train wreck that may come about. Maybe I should give her medical power of attorney beforehand. I'm HALF kidding.

Well, there it is. Hope you all had a great Christmas. Mine didn't go perfect- but there's a certain beauty to that.
Take care all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm just here for the food.

So evidently if you're doing WELL on chemo- you GAIN weight. Yay me? I really thought (and hoped) my fat ass would shrink with a little chemo assistance. No joy. I will not give REAL numbers, but it's a lot. So in the last year and a few days- here's what my weight has done. I was at my highest weight in a while (due to being PREGNANT) in December of last year. From that point I lost 32 pounds (yay)then spent the month of May NOT eating while getting sick, diagnosed and having surgery- dropped another 20. (that's not the right way to lose weight I know) Then as soon as I could eat again- I gained 15 back over a couple of months. THEN I started Chemo. I have now gained 18 pounds from THAT point.When I got on the scales yesterday I wanted to cry.... Okay- I DID cry. Though I know I'm weepier now than I've ever been in my life, and I never know what will set it off. I sat in the exam room for 30 minutes waiting on the Doc... crying. Blah. Not like blubbery crying, but just leaky eyes. Wahh me. Looking at that HUGE number, it just snowballed. I am to blame for the weight gain. My mouth constantly tastes like chemo and I try to chew gum, but I hate doing it when I am one molar lighter because of a screwup by my orthodontist 16 years ago so I have THAT to think about. So I eat to keep the tase out of my mouth. I am tired and I don't always have heathy options at my fingertips. Waah me. Excuses, excuses- again.Dr. Cawley wrote an order on my medical file "Cancel patient weights forever!!"

That's my record. Dr. Cawley is officially THE coolest Oncologist EVER!

So, while talking to Dr. Cawley we've decided to give the oxcilliplatin another go on the next round. (that's the stuff that sent me into anaphylactic shock on Round 7) But this time, we're gonna prep for it I guess. Sterroids, benadryl, claritin and zantac the day before to ready me for it. I think I'll ask a chemo buddy along for the ride- just in case I fall asleep... OR CAN'T SPEAK!
Gonna be a fun one. Whoever it is should probably bring a camera.

Aside from feeling like a lardass, I'm feeling pretty good- considering. Your good days are the equivalant of an "OK" day before cancer. I'll take them. Though after my weight breakdown, Dr. Cawley decided I should try some Zoloft because chemo suppresses seratonin levels which causes the rollercoaster of emotions. I'm not filling the perscription yet. There's the whole stigma of being on anti-depressants. And being married to a guy who is vehemently against chemical help- doesn't HELP me.

I Digress.

As I've said before- it always seems to be the days I'm rockin' the fannypack that are the rollercoasters.

In a different vein (no pun intended) I took my Iris to see "The Princess and The Frog" Sunday. It was her first Movie Theater experience. She did well. Drank too much and had to pee right before the Princess kisses the frog- but I think we got the concept. It was a CUTE movie. A little dark, but with the good comes the bad right? Then we waited in line to see Santa. And when i say "See Santa" I mean it. Iris got no closer than 10 feet from Jolly Ol' (30 year old) Saint Nick. Kris Kringle looked more like Chris Smith- Public Defender. Oh well. Iris asked me to call Santa to tell him what she'd like on Christmas Day. Bathtime Ariel is what she wanted. I think he said he can swing that. I love Christmas- and it's WAY more fun with a kid that "gets" it. In the car she asked if it was Christmas yet... "No," I said, "It's Christmas SEASON right now. But there is only one Christmas DAY."
"Ohhhh." She said. "Okay! I love Christmas Season. And Baby Jesus's Birthday. Can we make him a cake?"
I love that little girl.

She and Vera are by FAR my True Strength and my Biggest Weakness.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

It's been a pretty uneventful week as far as Cancer goes. Chemo went smoothly, the side effects from the Oxicilliplatin are still lingering, even though it's been 3 weeks. My fingers are a weird numb and cold can still hurt if it's TOO cold.
You know, there isn't a day that I don't think about having cancer and just HOW long I will be here to fight it. Don't get me wrong- this isn't a Mad, Depressed or Vengeful post- really just thinking. I kinda feel like a loner in the crowd sometimes... I know I'm not alone, but it FEELS that way occasionally.
I look around and see people being jovial, seemingly carefree, and I'm momentarily convinced that they don't have serious issues to deal with like I do. BUT then I have to think about how I look to others who may not know MY story. I guess I look carefree to them until they see my port incision scar and even know what it is. I hate that cancer is now a permanent fixture in my life. Not curable. Fight forever. And so I will. I think it's pretty ridiculous that a shitty disease gets to affect me and my loved ones so much when it's not welcomed. Nobody pays attention to the 5 tattoos I've got- and I WANTED them. lol. I guess they're not life-threatening so not "note-worthy."
I accept the diagnosis. I get it. And I am fighting- but admittedly- I get TIRED of doing everything that I "should" do. Drink plenty of water, Eat lots of veggies, not a lot of meat, take your vitamins, exercise, get outside, stay positive, don't eat fast food, watch your weight, meditate, blah, blah, blah.
I would LOVE to do a "No processed foods" diet, however, in reality:
1. I am Not versed enough in the whole thing to pull it off on a constant basis.
2. I'm not Rich enough to do it like I would like to.
3. I'm Not organized enough to pull it off.
4. I'm Not patient enough.
5. I either DON'T manage my time effeciently enough or simply DON'T have the time to do it.
6. I'm not supermom, as much as I'd like to be.

All can be fixed I'm sure.

I need a whole life overhaul really. I can't even keep my kitchen table cleared off of the junk that plagues it... I'm sure there is something Halloween-related in the stack of papers on the corner. How the Hell am I going to get my proverbial shit together enough to orchestrate the perfect diet every day? At the same time, I don't think I want to deny myself yummy food. I know, I know- Everything in Moderation.
I can still want.
And I can still whine a bit and say "It's not fair!" I see thin, healthy women who eat whatever they want and don't have or GET cancer. Men that LIVE on junk food and chain smoke cigarettes, drink cases of beer every week and don't exercise at all... and they don't have cancer, or at least don't get it until they're in their 70's or 80's. WTF?!?!?! I will say with total confidence - I got a shit deal.

Eh, So I gotta do what needs to be done. I'm WORKING on doing the healthy thing. not that I was all junk food before. I tried to do healthy meals for my kids' sake and my own of course before the whole cancer deal even came about. I guess I gotta turn it up a bit and quit making excuses. It's one thing to CHOOSE that lifestyle, it's another to feel like you HAVE to do it.... or die.


I've said it before... Cancer Sucks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Smooth Sailing

Round 8- a breeze. Funny what a difference 2 weeks makes. All my blood work is good. I no longer will get the Oxcilliplatin (or however it's spelled) since that's what my allergic reaction was from. I THOUGHT that they would resume it, but the Nurse Practitioner said "uh, well, we don't want to KILL you." Agreed. Kinda defeats the purpose of getting cancer... har har... I mean, getting Chemo. So, it DOES kind of suck eggs that I won't be getting the chemo that's supposed to be HELPING kill the cancer, but happy day- no more cold sensitivity or numbness in the hands, not a lot of nausea. Silver lining huh? With all the pain in the ass side effects the Oxcilliplatin gave me, I'd still rather do it to combat the cancer than NOT. But what can ya do?
The crap part- I've gained THIRTEEN POUNDS since starting chemo. WTF? The Docs said "oh, that's good." Bullshit, I say. I was fat to begin with, I could have standed to lose weight.
After watching the scale go up a little every time, I am determined to lose at least what I've gained by the end of January. Then more after that.
Another "benefit" to dumping the Oxcilliplatin- I can start jogging again. I won't have to worry about freezing. Though I WILL have to wait until my pinky toe heals. Yowza! After that- I'm gonna get on it. Dunno when I will work it into my day- but I WILL work it into my day. For now, it will be to offset the Christmas food, then after Christmas- .... diet. blech. But It's gotta be done. I will not balloon up to what I once was. I can't stand to see pictures of myself from the chins down.
So there are my goals. I will never wear a bikini again, or even a bathing suit that doesn't have a skirt on it. Maybe a tankini- the bikini for tanks. I just wanna be able to NOT be self concious about my disgusting gut. Still contemplating the tummy tuck. Why not? It will only be the 6th major surgery on my abdomen. What's another one? really. I'm not an extremely vain person- but I do want to look good to myself. And right now- that's not happening. Plus- I've gotta stop looking at pictures of myself in High School. I'll never look like that again. poo.

Enough about that- I'm feeling pretty good today actually. Got some decent sleep last night- picking up Iris from Preschool, then a much deserved nap, then picking up the Birthday girl- (Vera is 1 year old today!) and having some kind of yummy dinner. Trying to think of something good that Vera would appreciate. Though my little chubby-kins loves almost anything!

later all!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Just bloggin for a minute... to bitch. My mouth CONSTANTLY tastes like chemo. How gross.

Done Bitching.

Actually other than that, it's a good day. Busy at work, but that's fine by me. Thinking about Iris' Christmas program tonight. Her first with "school." She's growing up... waaah. I'm making Italian Snowballs (which are Mexican wedding cookies with almond extract added) hoping they turn out right. I'm a horrible baker. Gonna make a bunch so I can send the extra to my buddy in Iraq for Christmas.

Then I've gotta round up a bunch of last minute stuff for Vera's birthday party on Sunday. Baking cupcakes... and I don't even have a present for her yet. SuperMom- That's me. Hardly.

At least she won't hold it against me until she's a teenager and only then if I actually TELL her about it.

Cheers to a busy, but fun, weekend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I am at work right now... not such a great day here. One of my coworkers is in a crap mood, which infects me. Guess I'm not thinking about cancer much, just horked off for no reason really.
So very glad for the new hire they made while I was gone. His first day was my first day back. LOVE HIM. Not in a *Brown chicken Brown cow* kinda way, more like a little brother. I think it's kinda crucial that you have someone to talk to at work that you can enjoy yourself around. That was one of the great beauties of being in the Navy or even working as a waitress. The co-workers. And this new guy is just fun. Yay for fun in the workplace.
On the Cancer front, or Chemo front- side effects are minimal this round because I didn't get the Full Monty of the Oxcilliplatin since it sent me into near anaphylactic shock, I only got about a third of the dose. (got the full dose of all the other junk though) That's the stuff that makes my fingers numb, makes me sensitive to cold, and evidently makes me nauseous too. Though it will be short lived- Chemo again next Monday and I will probably get the full dose this time and so it starts all over.
I gotta admit, my sense of humor weakens with every treatment. Chemo really breaks you down, because it's almost constant (this "break" cleared my head a bit) and when you feel like shit on a CONSTANT basis, ANY amount of humor you had about it, or all the "refreaming" you could do with your situation suddenly becomes rare. Not that I would be mad at anyone making light of it and cheering me up for a bit- it's that i can't really think of anything humorous about it on my own. Just another reason I love the New Guy- he heard me joking about my fannypack and saw that as a signal that HE could make light of it too.... whew! When I told him about not being able to drink cold beverages or use cold water to wash my hands, his response was "That sounds made-up... couldn't you just drink it through your 'drug straw'?" pointing to the tube coming out of my chest. I almost peed my pants. I have since decided to call the tube my "drug straw" that goes into my rockin' fannypack.
I really NEED people like that around me, not people that look at me with pity. I can only be serious so often.

It's exhausting to be serious.

When I do get in the dumps and actually decide to call someone to wallow in my situation, I only need a bit of serious then it is up to that person to slap me in the face to get me out of it or else it will just last longer. I called Aryn (one of my BFFs) one night last week to wallow- to complain about my husband and to cry about having stage 4 cancer and to have side effects and whatever else I could think of. When I started on the cancer whining- she said "Okay, I'll let you talk like that for about another 5 minutes, then you're done. Because this isn't Rachel talking- it's the cancer. And you can't let the cancer talk for you." I wanted to come through the phone..... and hug her.
I don't think I'm atypical from the average cancer patient... or am I? I HONESTLY don't know any other way to deal with this. And as I said before- I don't know that I could do a support group because I'd go in happy and come out crying. Shouldn't it be the opposite?

5 more rounds of chemo and I can get back to being the ME that I know is in here somewhere... But right now, I feel like I've lost my wit- or at least the wit I have on my own- and I'm turning to others for a steady supply of it... or at least turning to others to get me kick-started.

hmmm. This post was supposed to be short. Sorry 'bout that. :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Round 7 Sucked

And that was just yesterday. The center was SOOOO busy- a lot of the Thursday/Friday Chemo patients were there since the center will be closed for Thanksgiving and the day after. So I was there almost an hour before getting my port accessed- and giving a blood draw for labs. Then after meeting with Dr. Cawley (love her BTW) I sat for almost another hour waiting for them to mix my cocktail... er- uh- Chemo. Was feeling like poop already then they give me my pre-meds, Benadryl, Pepcid and Ativan. Woozy. Then I just decided to give into the tired and sleep... I HATE sleeping there because the vinyl chair makes me sweat even more with all the drugs cycling through my body. I wake up in a pool of sweat- ack!

I woke up yesterday in a BAD sweat (and it was actually cold in the room, the way I like it) and was feeling not so happy in my guts and it was difficult to swallow- it was a sharp pain when I did. So I wobble to the bathroom and just sit there, think I fell asleep a couple of times (on the pot.. lol) and had actually THOUGHT of using the nurse call pull cord, but once I mustered up the strength to get up and wash my hands, I made it back to my chair and spaced out for a minute. A girl my sister and I went to school with is a nurse at a close "outpost" of the cancer center was there to get training with chemo bay and she came over to ask how I was feeling... "not good" I think I said. She called to one of the other nurses who just yelled "get the kit!" to another nurse, then went to get my Oncologist. I was the star of the Chemo Bay for about 20 minutes while they pumped some more drugs in to counteract what may have been the beginnings of anaphalyctic shock. Good Times. I felt better, but my head was cloudy and I was slurring my words. I could HEAR myself talking stupid but couldn't do anything about it. Then, in the middle of a sentence, I couldn't think of a word I wanted to say. UGGHHHHHH! Kinda like being locked in someone else's body and having no control over what you do- and being TOTALLY concious of it. And I had like 4 people just watching me- but I kept on talking... should have just shut up to not sound like a druggie. Embarrassing. I TALK for a living and this chemo is just making me dumber by the day. I don't remember being scared about the whole situation- just frustrated. I remember thinking "well, I'll be fine- they'll just trach me- what's another scar and inconvenience?" What a pain in my ass.

I also wonder... how many brain cells am I killing? LOL.

Today- I feel kinda okay, so all is well for now. Rockin' the fannypack though- Barf. Wanna see pics?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Short -n- Sweet.

Feeling okay physically- GREAT mentally. Community Night was very nice- Thanks to Mary T, Jan, Mom, Patty, Micki, Mary G, Eva, Amber, Tammy, Ashton and Abby for the effort and support. I am blessed to have so many people that love me.

Jason (the husband) gets paid today... I think we may take the girls out for Hibachi tomorrow night... I've be hankering for some sushi and I know Iris would LOVE the show they put on! Gonna try not to let the fact that the house is an utter mess bother me. I've decided if the house I REALLY like is taken that I'm gonna put the house-hunting on hold till after the holidays. I know we're not going anywhere before Christmas. I'll take lots of pics though because it will for sure be the last Christmas in that house. A little bittersweet.

Not much to tell on the cancer front. Though sometimes that's a good thing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thank you.

Another Wednesday. Symptoms tapering off. Just enough to get comfortable for a few days before that crap they call "Chemo" on Monday.

Today I'm thinking about all the people who've helped me through this up to now- I WANT to name names, but I would inevitably leave someone out and feel terrible about it. I am so thankful for each act- whether it was commenting on my rantings with kind words, sending a card or more, adding me to your prayer list at church, watching my kids while I nap or get chemo treatments, listening to me whine or bitch or going so far as organizing a benefit for me, I am forever grateful that you took the time out of your life to think of me. My family and I are so appreciative of you all. I wouldn't be able to manage day to day life without the help of others. It not only helps me out with managing daily tasks- it means the world to me that I mean something to someone else.

I remember when I was in the Navy, having spent nearly 3 years in Fallon, Nevada, making friends who were like family- I had to leave to transfer to Corpus Christi, Texas. I cried like a baby, not because I had to leave, but because I didn't want to be forgotten. I guess it's a little egotistical to want to be remembered, but it's the truth. I really thought I would just be another Jane to everyone and fade into distant memories where people would say "What was that one girl's name again? Eh, no matter.."

I haven't a clue WHY it matters so much to me. I guess it's just nice to know that I've carved my name into the bathroom stall of the world... "Rachel was here."

Monday, November 16, 2009

A good day- So far

It's Monday, so it's not GREAT, but I got to talk to one of my favorite people on the phone and that ALWAYS brightens my day... no matter how crappy it is.

It's a "down" week, which means no chemo and the side effects have tapered off to "tolerable." I think this cold sensitivity will be the bane of my existence though. The hot water heater is broken here at work, so I've tried to wash my hands in cold water but it's SO cold. So I use the hell outta hand sanitizer. My hands are getting wrecked. Still itchy- but it's only slightly annoying. Still nauseous- but somehow I push through and ALWAYS manage to eat... I ALWAYS manage to eat when I want. LOL. I don't care how nauseous I am, you put pizza in front of me and I will find a way to scarf it down.

My aunt is having a "Community Night" benefit for me this Thursday at our local Wendy's. Bascially a group of people clean tables and work for tips to raise money for a specific charity (which is me this time... I don't know that I'll ever be comfortable with being a charity case) plus they get a portion of the sales for that night. It's nice of the owner to do that- he's actually a cool guy. Even nicer- the people GOING to the thing to do the work. I'm still not sure about what my role is. Do I go and hang out... is that coming across as self-serving? Or do I stay at home on my duff while others do work for me? I'm not at all cool with the latter. It's a fine line. Maybe I'll go incognito... no one will notice the short fella in the corner with Groucho Marx glasses and a a Double D chest... (no matter HOW I try- I can't hide those).

I digress.... It's a good day and I wanted to post it because lately the good days go by so fast, I rarely get to comment on them as they happen. They DO happen folks. And There will be P.L.E.N.T.Y. more when all this shit is said and done. Looking forward to May 2010- Have a feeling thats when things really start looking up. I should be healed from surgery, chemo will just be a bad memory and among other things, Relay For Life will be like a new beginning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It gets rough.

I'm glad I have a blog to vent- but I try to collect my thoughts before sitting down and pouring my heart out. If I'd have gotten online last night- It would have been a mess to say the least.
I can't understand how it is that I inspire anyone. I am not NEAR as strong as people seem to think I am. I whine, cry, get short-tempered, binge eat, starve myself, scream and pout when I'm mad at the world. Not all the time, and I'm certainly not going to go out in public or even out of my house when I'm feeling like doing any of those. So no one really sees that side of me. I don't cry that much, but I could if I thought about it enough. All the side effects are increasing in strength and there are times I wonder if I can do 6 more treatments of this crap. I know I don't have the side effects that most people know of when the word chemo comes up and the side effects are weird. Who the hell would think of a "cold sensitivity" side effect? Sometimes I get the idea that people think I'm faking because one minute I'm good, the next I'm exhausted and bitchy, then I'm good again.

Funny... or SAD thing is, with the cold sensitivity is a "hurt" when taking a first bite of something. You know- when you eat something sour and your jaw aches for a minute? THAT. Only it hurts worse and it's not with sour stuff, it's with EVERYTHING. That pain kicks in on the sides of my face when I cry. So yep- it hurts to cry too. Can't win for losing.

So it's become another "poor me" post. What an inspiration I am.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans' Day! I'm meeting my sister, my dad, my dad's friends and my cousin for lunch at Applebee's today because they are honoring Vets with a free entree'. How very cool!
I haven't had much of a chance to blog since this past weekend to update on my goings-on.
I went to Indiannapolis with Micki (my sister) for the Returning Warrior Workshop.
It was actually a great weekend. Micki and I got a chance to talk without interruption and she rented a Charger... a CANDY APPLE RED Charger. Sa-WEET!
The whole workshop was great- There was so much food that I didn't know where to start. Friday night Micki ran into a shipmate that she was stationed with in Rota, Spain and they got to catch up. The Saturday night we went for drinks and I tied one on like I haven't for a long time. Felt pretty good to have fun without worry. Since becoming a mom it's hard to cut loose because you're constantly worried about your kids, then stack cancer on top of that and it just gets nastier. But I made up my mind that I wasn't going to think about cancer and that I was going to trust that my kids were JUST FINE at home without me for the night.


I really needed it too.

I got to bed about 5:30am and was up about 7:15 to get ready for the last of the workshop (and breakfast). It's been so long since I've had one- but I instantly realized why I don't drink to excess anymore- hangovers suck! But I muddled through.

Things wrapped up about 12:30 and we got outta there about 1:30. A five hour drive later I was home, only to change clothes, kiss my girls hello and goodbye and head off to the Magical Night Of Giving at the Grand Central Mall for my Co-Hosting duties for the radio station. By then I'd caught my second wind and it was all good. needless to say- I crashed pretty hard that night. And my girls slept all night (thanks chicks!) then it was off to work at 5:45am and Chemo at 8:45am. Got outta chemo about 4... but I did take a nap.

My Mother in law kept the girls that night and I FINALLY got to spend some time with them last night. And tonight we go to my aunt's house for a Veterans Day / early Thanksgiving dinner. I kinda like having a packed schedule. As long as there are a couple of down days in there somewhere.

As far as the cancer front goes- May I just say... Chemo sucks on toast. Side effects get worse every time. The cold sensitivity is harsh. Numb fingers and toes, hives, itchy hands, arms and whatever else and nausea. Kinda miserable. But since this was my 6th treatment, I am halfway done. Hoo....... Ray. If all goes as planned, my last treatment will be February 1.
I just hope it can BE done then.

Enough whining today- back to work I go!

Friday, November 6, 2009


ACK!!! So now I'm having side effects of the Avastin they've added to the cocktail. Some hives and redness/tenderness on my hands. What a pain in the colon!
Looks like I'm picking up some benadryl before heading home today. I also have to stop at the store to buy a pair of pants... because for some reason I've packed away my only nice pair of black slacks. The attire for this weekend in Indiannapolis is business casual. It's an Iraq War Veteran's workshop- I'm going with Micki (my sister who was in Iraq from Sep '07 to April '08). I think I'll be a bit emotional because I love servicemembers- it's kind of a brother-sisterhood. Plus, I'm a bit jealous that I couldn't get the same deal out of MY military experience as many others had.- that's a whole other blog for when I'm old and crusty.
I was talking to a friend on the phone last night about if I wanted to re-enlist... that was quickly squished. I seriously doubt the Navy would take me now- with stage 4 cancer.
And another daydream eats it.

Cancer Sucks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back at Work

And actually happy about it. I dig my job. In case u didn't know- I work for a local radio station as a co-host of the morning show. Our call letters are WNUS ( and we aren't streaming yet- but hopefully will be by 2010 sometime.
I am a little slower on the wit since chemo, so I'm hoping the listening audience won't notice too much. I'm just not as sharp as I was- I FEEL dumb. Stupid chemo. ugh.
It's hard to tell just what will happen next week. I'll be rockin' the fannypack Tuesday and Wednesday, and THAT's when I'm at my dumbest. We shall see. Too bad youall can't tune in for the train wreck that could potentially be. Maybe our ratings will spike just because people wanna hear the next stupid thing to come outta my mouth.. LOL.
Though I've still gotta fall back into the routine (it HAS been 6 months after all) it kinda feels like I never left. My office looks exactly like when I left (yikes!) except for the big 'ol bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk.
I'm EXTRA glad no one is treating me different. I would take total issue with that- I hate the head tilt followed by "You Okay?" I know it's out of concern, but believe me- if I wasn't okay- You'd probably know it already.

So- happy day today. The little things keep me going ...

Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm really not a copycat...

I just realized within the last few days that Fran Drescher has a book AND a website "Cancer Schmancer." Now I feel like a goober. Though I guess great minds think alike. I'm just a little slower on the uptake.

So- What I thought was original and witty just loks like a cheap knock-off. Oh Well.

Think I'll pick up the book. :P

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sorry it's been a while.....

I've been crazy busy and my mind is a blur most days. It actually is today- yet I blog on. So please excuse me if I come off a little dumb. The first few days after chemo suck the most. The "sick" is tolerable for a while then it kinda breaks you down after a while.
The side effects get stronger with every treatment. The cold sensitivity is a pain in the ass- Waiting for the hot water to come out of the faucet after using the bathroom. and when you use the bathroom as much as I do- it gets ANNOYING doing that every time.
So I dunno if I've posted it before, but the chemo treatment I'm on is FOLFOX- it's the "cocktail" of drugs I get every other Monday. We've added Avastin to the cocktail and with that come more side effects, many like the side effects of other drugs- it just increases the likelieness of me HAVING those side effects or increases the side effects. uugghh. I didn't really have the nausea with the first 3 rounds in August, but it's a fixture now. SOMEHOW I still find the abitlity to eat. LOL... There's not much that keeps me from eating. Could be why I have cancer but everyone is so amazed that I don't look gaunt and sallow- instead, I am "filled out" and chunky. Then people say "oh, I think it's better if you start out that way." Don't get me wrong- I'm totally NOT offended. I promise. The truth is never offensive to me.
I was rockin' the fannypack yesterday on the way home from chemo- I had to stop by Kroger for necessities and a woman stared at the bandage on my chest with the tube running to my awesome fashion accessory on my hip. THEN she looked a few more times and went to her phone and CALLED someone about it. I heard her talking about it. LOL. I wanted to say "Why don't you just ask me about it and I will be happy to inform you."
On a previous trip to Kroger, the checkout lady (mid forties I think) simply said "Okay, I'm nosey, what's going on there?" and points to my bandage. HOW REFRESHING! Honestly. I think it made my day.
I'm putting the tube inside my shirt anymore... at least when I drop off and pick up Iris from preschool... it's a little freaky for the kids. At the same time though- I think it's good for kids to be exposed to that (but It's not my place to do it for other kids- that's up to the parents) and hope that if a kid asks his or her parent what's going on with me, that the parent will tell them. It is, after all, reality. And it's not way scary like the evening news.
So my status as of today- tired, nauseous, jittery, in general good spirits and kicking cancer's ass.

That's up for change at any given moment. :)

p.s. I start back to work next Monday... a little angst there. I will be blogging more when I go back. It's actually part of the job. MUhahahaha!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Follow Up

Saw my man today. Actually, my surgeon- but he's "The Man"- for my follow up appointment. His exact words... "The chemo seems to be working. It's still a very serious situation, but not hopeless." Yay for "not hopeless." I love his no nonsense candor. I got my stiches out so it's not QUITE as uncomfortable. My next surgery won't be until Feb, and that will be a repeat of what I just had. So onward with the chemo. (I was supposed to have chemo this past Monday but there was a little mixup and it's only been 3 weeks since surgery, so chemo actually resumes this coming Monday) Since I won't have any surgeries for a while I get to add Avastin to the chemo cocktail- which to me is a good thing. The harder I can go at it, the better. And the pain in the ass side effects are a temporary small price to pay for coming out ahead.

AND>>> As if having the rarest of Appendix Cancers wasn't enough- I had blood sent off to Colorado (I think) for genetic testing to find out exactly WHAT strain of DNA this came from so my family can have testing done on that strain to check for their possible pre-disposition for getting the same cancer... The lab called my Oncology office 3 times and said they have never seen anything like what I've got. All results were inconclusive and they were stumped. So I'm thinking they should be paying ME for the blood so they can play with it and learn.
I AM the Diamond In The Rough.
"Lucky" me. It would figure.

Regardless, my girls (and the rest of my family if I have anything to say about it) will be getting screened as soon as they turn 18. I will leave it up to them- but I will also push having an elective appendectomy. If the appendix is not there, there is little chance (though still possible) that they will get Appendix Cancer.

Grrr. I fight on.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Heart or Head.

I think I've recovered well from surgery. I get a little sore at the incision site, but staples come out on Tuesday- Yay! however, Chemo starts on Monday- boo.

I'm waxing philosophical tonight.

I called this post "Heart or Head" because sometimes I don't trust my judgement. I rarely EVER make the right decision between the two. It's not always the BEST idea to follow your head. Someone very close to me made ALL her decisions with her head and as of now she is STILL alone. But really, HOW do you know which is the best route to take?
Since time is of the essence to me anymore- because I haven't a clue how much of it I've got- it seems so crucial now that I make the right decisions. I haven't been very good at it really.
I am being obscure because it's not about the situation, it's about the compass I posess. Is it slightly off or has it been pointing North all along and my life is in the direction it is supposed to be and I'm too dumb to see it. I can't help but think there is something BIG and WONDERFUL waiting for me on the other side of a right decision.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Hello again.
It's been some time since I've updated- but to say the least, I've been a bit busy. One week ago today I had the IPHP chemo surgery. The Doc said it went very well and that he believes that the IV chemo and IPHP chemo will do wonders. It sounds promising so I will rest my hat on that for now.
My days went like this: Friday- Nerves, surgery (hell, I "dropped out" before even hitting the operating room. Those drugs are amazing) then waking as I was being wheeled into my home for a few days. I was groggy for the night- falling asleep just about every 10 minutes... just enough time to hit my morphine pump. Jason spent the night... snoring.
Saturday- talk to the Resident on staff who tells me that there are "too many nodules to count" and that this cancer is not cureable. Which, by right, is truth but it didn't tell me much in the way of if this chemo is going to do me any good. I freak a bit and start planning my funeral, then realize. This is a resident. Not the surgeon who did the LAST surgery. So yeah- it looks bad to him, but it's all relative. What looks bad to him may not look bad to someone who's seen it at it's worst (which would be back in May). That aside, I try to bargain with him about getting the NG tube out of my nose because I was ready to SCREAM with it in. He was going to take it out but my LAST run in with NG tubes didn't go so hot when I had complications from last surgery and nurse Ratchet tried putting an NG tube in while I was awake. I tell him I would like it out early on Sunday. Please, Please, Please. Jason heads home, I got up for a walk and Micki comes to spend the night. She sleeps horribly, but is warm because of the awesome Snuggie I bought her.
Sunday- Mom and Dad come up for a visit. All goes well and Dr. Resident comes by (which is nice because is IS good looking) and I get the NG tube out right before Mom, Dad and Micki leave. Hip Hip Hooray! I start cruising the halls. Which seems ballsy after major abdominal surgery but it's the best thing you can do to get things moving and to get home quickly.
Monday- I've been asked at least 6 times by now if I've farted. And sadly, no I hadn't. It's a BIG thing with these surgeries. "Did you pass gas?" NOOOOOOO! This has probably been the LONGEST I've ever gone without farting. Ask my friends and anyone who went to boot camp with me. So we wait. I wasn't hungry anywway. I did get to have some clear liquids by the evening because my stomach growled. "Belly Sounds" is what they call them and I had a bunch, just nothing to show for it. Dr Arnold (my surgeon) comes by to visit fo the first time after surgery and I am out on "walkabout." I become bitchy and want to know if he's going to be there at all because I didn't know he'd been there at all. I talk to his nurse in his office and she tells me I will see him on Weds because he's out Tues. That's fine, just let me know!
Tuesday- still on liquids. And let me tell you, a breakfast of Sprite, jello, beef broth (ack!) and Apple juice will put some hair on your arms. I didn't eat it. Okay, I had the apple juice but the beef broth needed a little something... like BREAD, or MASHED POTATOES. Blech!!! No farts, but I did poop, a couple of times actually. It was like I set the world's record for the 400m dash. Suddenly the cute PCA nurse (was a Guy) wanted to know exactly WHEN I pooped. So I made up a time, because I personally don't keep tabs on stuff like that. So for my poop- I got a treat. More clear liquids.
Wednesday- I have my clear breakfast and walk around most of the day.. with a few stops at my room for vitals and a nap here and there. I FINALLY see my surgeon (whom, for the record, I DO like- he just seems to really like his weekends) and ask the questions I wanted to ask. Actually I didn't get to ask that many because he answers them before I even spit them out. He has a smile on his face when he tells me he thinks this is all going "Very Well" that I'm responding great to the IV chemo and therefore should do likewise with the IPHP chemo. I get to start on solids.. so For an afternoon snack..... A frostee from Wendy's HOORAY!.. Only I'd forgotten about my pain meds. As I was eating the Frostee and coughing because the cold makes me do that, I realize I'm in EXCRUCIATING PAIN!!!!!!! I was due pain meds at 3pm and it was 4:30 and I'm coughing after major abdominal surgery. Things do not go well for me for about an hour and a half. I did get some of the REALLY good stuff and took a nap. Much better. Then I had a lovely dinner of steamed carrots and potatoes and some actually yummy roast beef. For real. I can tell you after this day- I did fart. You can set your woes aside now.
Thursday- Early in the AM, I get a visit from Dr. Chipper Lady and I get the all clear to come home. Then i wait 3 hours for my dad to get there to pick me up.
The rest is history.
I am home now and still VERY hurt-y. Sore and a bit whiny. If you've ever watched a liposuction and thought to yourself "oh my goodness, you would be SO SORE after that surgery." it kind of feels like you think THAT would- only a little worse. But I'm glad to be home and I've got a little more wind in my sails to start the next 9 rounds of chemo.
Billions of thanks to all of you who've sent prayers, kind thoughts and positive thinking my way. Please continue to do so as I KICK CANCER'S ASS.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

not much to tell

At this point there isn't much on the cancer front to tell. Surgery is next week. I'm enjoying being able to drink COLD liquids and I'm keeping up with the girls better. That will all change soon though.I do enjoy the fact that they will tell me not to lift my own child because she exceeds the weight restrictions. That will probably last for maybe a day when I get home.

Speaking of homes... I've started ACTIVELY looking for a new house (new to me that is) and desperately want to be in THE house by Christmas. I think THE house was snatched up at the beginning of my search. Oh well- there are others. I just have a feeling of urgency to get out of this little house and into a real one that we can fit into better.I looked at one today and SO wish it was "finished" but no go. Love the location,loved the price, loved the space but needed way more done to it than I can take on rightnow.
Hoping the other one I've got my eye on looks good on the inside and drops in price. I can totally handle buying new windows. gimme gimme gimme.

I will be updaing from the hospital since I can do facebook on my phone. Though my notes may be off because I'll be using a phone keypad for typing.... AND I'll be on Morphine! Yay for Morphine!In the meantime, pray for my surgeon, Dr Arnold, to have a steady hand and a good eye (two good ones=even better) to remove ALL the cancerous nodules in my abdominal cavity.

And please keep your fingers crossed for me that recovery is easier with this surgery than it was the last.I will keep you all posted when there is anything to tell. In the meantime- wish me luck and good bidding for my dream home. I think once that endeavor is done, it will be a HUGE stress reliever.

Take care all!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Just wanted to say....

Thanks to all who follow the blog. It's mostly just a re-hash of what I put on Facebook, but I never think to check the comments section. I seriously JUST read the comments and want to say thanks to everyone who leaves any at all. It is nice to know I've got a cheering section.

Keeping a sense of humor is not always easy- but I think it's a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. necessary. When the inside gets dark- keeping it light on the outside seems to seep inward. Sometimes it gets VERY dark... and to tell the truth, I want to beat this and will if it's possible, but in all reality (I can say this here because I have no relatives following this blog) the outlook isn't so great. Survival rates for the few who have been followed- suck. This is stage four cancer, not two or three. And this cancer is so rare that drug companies don't do any drug testing or research for it because it's not cost effective. This is not a popular cancer so it's abandoned and treated like a general colon cancer in the hopes that it does the trick.
I'm an optimist.... but I'm no dummy. The odds are stacked against me. I used to picture having grandchildren or touring Europe after my girls have gone to college. That is all faded. I try to live for the now. I soak up every silly thing Iris says or does, I cherish every smile I get out of Vera, I am only a little iritated when I have to get up with one or the other in the middle of the night, I stand in the doorways of their rooms and want to bawl because I am so afraid that I will be nothing but pictures in an album to them because they won't remember me. I'm afraid that they will simply refer to me as "Rachel" because they can't recall calling me "Mommy."

Iris has a hard time grasping what's going on. She knows there is something amiss, and knows that I go to the doctor a lot and that the hospital is where mommy gets better. May was bad, she and Vera were both shuffled around as I was stuck in a friggin' hospital bed- totally at the mercy of fate. Now Iris gets seperation anxiety before I leave her even just for an hour or so. I tell her "Mommy always comes back" so she knows I'm not leaving her forever. And hopefully when the day comes that I do leave her forever, she'll be old enough to understand. I know I'm not dying from cancer tomorrow or even in 6 months, but Father Time has me in a stranglehold. I've got an overwhelming sense of urgency to get my affairs in order, to get into a "real house" ASAP (I've been wanting to move for over a year) and to make sure those around me know my wishes. There is so much I want to do and see before leaving and there just aren't enough resources to do them, and even if I had the resources to do those things- would I? It is a wicked trade-off to go do something greedy when I could be spending that precious time with my daughters.
I guess I've got a lot of guilt. (yes, I do go to counseling) My sister tells me to let it go- but she's not a mom. I feel guilty because I've put everyone on edge, possibly making my 3 year old nuerotic because she's SO concerned ANY time she hears of someone being sick, I've had to shuffle my girls off NUMEROUS times to get treatment, to recover from treatment, to just sleep and so on, I've imposed on others to watch the girls, those other people in the meantime are sick with worry about me and it goes on and on.
What a mess.


I guess with the Comedy comes the Tragedy. It happens. Now I'm good for a few days. Thanks for "listening."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

..and so the story goes...

It's been an eventful week, (in no particular order) signing up Iris for preschool (starts on Tues!!) watching Belpre lose it's pants to Warren, going to a friend's birthday party/mock funeral ( :-O), getting chemo and taking my sister for her colonoscopy. The doc found two polyps during the colonoscopy and removed them- they were benign- HOORAY! I was honestly terrified for her- Things haven't been going well for the females in my family this summer. Now, if I can just get my SIXTY YEAR OLD FATHER to get his colonoscopy since he's never had one and is 10 years past due! (If you know him- give him grief about it) Actually, to think about it- i can think of a couple of cousins (Amy and Jimmy) who should get their colons on the big screen too. (I MEAN IT)Hey- Colonoscopies for EVERYONE!!!! Do it for fun!I am on the upswing from my last round of chemo- and GLAD of it. how irritating it is to not be able to drink anything cold. grrr. And THAT is just the small annoyance if it.

I won't be doing IV chemo until October because I'm waiting for the IPHP/Surgical Chemo. Yippeee... i KNOW you can fel my excitement. Ahhh- the pleasures of a catheder AND an NG tube. If only I could make the feeling last forever. A necessary evil I know. I might as well be out with it- I will probably have to have a total hysterectomy in the near future because the "seeding" of the cancer has landed on my "mommy parts" and taken up residence. It's also take up residence in MANY other places- the doc is scheduling 4 hours for the surgery. It's going to be like pulling weeds I guess... hunt, cut, hunt, cut, hunt, cut and so on until all the little cancer nodules are properly "plucked." After that is the scraping of my liver to get the nasties off the surface, and then a GOOOOOOOD washin' down. I wonder if I'll feel Lemony Fresh after the whole thing? or will I be too drugged up to notice. I totally vote "Too drugged up to notice."

You know- the first couple of times in the hospital I was a little sheepsh when asking for the hard drugs for pain because I didn't want anyone thinking I was a druggie- now- I simply don't care. They're not going to give me more than I'm allowed and it's for actual, legitimate PAIN. So BRING IT ON!!! It's not a contest to see who can take the most pain. Nobody gets a stinkin' medal because they didn't take ALL pain meds they were allowed and "sucked it up." Anyway-

I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks without the chemo and it's side effects- although, I'd rather just do it and have it done than add another month on to when the treatment will be over. We're looking at February now instead of January. Nothing says "Happy Valentines Day" like intestinal distress, nausea and fatigue.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Prognosis: Unknown

I have a date!!!!Okay, okay so it's with a doctor and he's going to be cutting me open. September 18 is "go day" for the IPHP chemo surgery. Doc Arnold will be debulking the little tumors that are plaguing my abdomen still. then he's going to give my insides a gooooooooood scrub down with some super-heated chemotherapy. sounds like fun!!! You KNOW you wanna do it!

Anyway- Round 3 is Monday. I finally got a chance to sit with the Nurse Practitioner and ask some REAL questions.... you know- the ones that you can't ask when family is around because they don't want me thinking the worst. I don't think the worst- but I DO want to know what to be ready for. Officially though- there is no prognosis because this cancer is so rare that there is NO accurate information on survival rates. Since it IS Stage 4- it's not cureable, but we can kick it's ass into remission and that's what I'm hoping for. Every piece of information about my situation online says "very poor" prognosis... but I will be the poster girl for surviving Signet Ring Cell Adenocarcinoma. To hell with the naysayers. If I have to do a thousand surgeries- so be it.

As far as how I am feeling... I won't say I'm great because it simply isn't true. I'm okay. There are a few nasty side effects but it gets better about day 8.We'll know with this surgery if things are looking better or worse or the same and re-evaluate from there. The great thing is- I've got Doctors who are aggressive with treatment and friends and family who will be right there fighting with me.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Round 2 Tomorrow

I go for another round of chemo tomorrow. Hoping this time it goes a little smoother. It's really just boring. And I'm gonna have to have a little chat with the old lady that takes forever in the bathroom (an seems to have the same "schedule" I do) because there i only one women's toilet right there and when this chick needs to go- SHE NEEDS TO GO!!
I have also learned my lesson aobut watching Kathy Lee Gifford and Hota or whatever her name is... I will only watch it for the train wreck that it is... and critique accordingly.
My hair is thinning.. at least it's falling out a lot. I cut it shorter because it was just EVERYWHERE!!! In my daughter's hands, on the couch, in the drain, in my FOOD- ACK!!!! I figure I will be shaving the noggin soon... maybe within the month. All in all everything is okay. I thing I am getting "used" to the idea of having cancer... but will never understand how those around me feel. Because it sounds weird, but I know how much I like people.. you know? Certain people... you like them alot and care about them and would do anything for them... I sincerely just never thought anyone (except for my family) felt that way about me. It sounds kind of dumb because I know I feel that way about other people, so why wouldn't someone feel that way about me? I dunno. I really just kind of saw myself as a "Toadie" or a Jane Schmoe that no one really gave much thought to after the end of a conversation. I still feel that way. That's why I am always amazed to know how much others have done for me- Like Amber and the Crew... and to see people friend me... especially ones that aren't in "the know" about my situation. I'm always giddy when someone says they were looking for me online. I feel like Sally Field.... not as in Sybil... but as in "You like me, you really like me!!!!"
I'm plotting my comeback already... while I take a breather. My "pay-it-forward" is in it's infant stages right now but I'm working on it.

Yesterday we had Iris' 3rd birthday party though her actually birth DAY is Aug 14. A Yo Gabba Gabba theme. Her cake ROCKED!! My friend Amy made it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I never knew

I had so many friends.

The benefit last night was crazy! Crazy Fun that is. Amber (Little) Guthrie was the ringleader of the whole thing. She was amazing! She put so much work into it that it HAD to be a success. I really don't know if there are stronger, more appropriate words than THANK YOU for all she's done- and for all the work, time, money and effort others put into the whole thing.
It blows me away that so many that I went to elementary school with came out to help... people I haven't seen in at least 15 years or people I see in passing once a year or so come out of the woodwork to help. I will forever be paying forward all the good deeds afforded me. I so hope I am the person that everyone believes deserved such kindness.
Why is it that cancer is easier for me to accept than charity? I think it's because I don't feel worthy of all the kindness. I don't feel like I've made that much of a mark on anything, let alone anyone other than my children I guess. I always just figured myself a regular "Jane" just getting by. But last night it hit home... or just slapped me in the face. One person said "We all grew up together- we're like brothers and sisters. We just haven't seen each other for a long time." And my heart just melted. I'd ALWAYS felt that way- I just really didn't think anyone else did- or felt that way about me at least.
It is easy for me to hold back tears of pain, but tears of gratitude seem to flow like the Amazon. I just can't say Thank You enough.
I want to thank everyone individually- but I would surely leave someone out and I would feel terrible if I did. Let's just say- you know who you are.
Thank you all so very much. It means the world to me that you think I am so deserving. I will do everything in my power to pass it on forever.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Round 1... done

I got the chemo today- it actually didn't take as long as I thought it would, but I'm still hooked up to one that I have to carry in a not-so-fashionable Fanny Pack until Wednesday..... I would point and laught at myself. >:) I guess there was a problem with the input part of the port- the needle would take blood but not push the meds in so they had to re-stick the port (right on my incision from putting the port in) and re-stick it again in the same spot. Admittedly... I cried. It was more aggravating than painful, but they had to push around on the incision to find the port markers on my already tender chest. Ther nurses were really apologetic about it so I'm not mad at them... it's the stupid cancer that pisses me off. If I didn't have it, I wouldn't have to worry about them sticking my port. (does that sound dirty?)
I am not sick from the chemo today. I was just tired. I took a nap there and watched Kathy Lee Gifford and friend make idiots of themselves on TV. WHO PAYS THOSE 2 TO HAVE A SHOW??? OMG I could do SOOO much better.. grrrrr. Give me HALF of what they make and I'll give you a better show 10 times over!! arrrggh!
I'm feeling one of the side effects from one of the meds- cold sensitivity. I feel minty fresh. That's the only way to describe it. If you've ever chewed spearmint or peppermint gum and then drank cold water you know what I'm talking about. I can't drink Iced or real cold drinks nor can I handle cold anything without gloves or else it feels like a cold burn.
I also talked to the Nurse Practitioner about genetic something or other. Evidently it's a DNA mutation of a couple of genes which caused this. So I have to get further testing to confirm it and to be able to find the same mutation in my girls and other blood family if they have it.

To Recap: I have a DNA mutation and Cold is now my weakness. Shouldn't I have Mutant Powers now????
Should be something like Pyro Powers- to start fires, since cold is my weakness... Or maybe I could just be a hairless catwoman. I'm sure they don't like the cold either.

Not Fair. I want my mutant powers NOW!!!

Of course it would suck if i was supposed to be "Appendix Girl!!!" Because I no longer have one. That would be my luck.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Now that the dressing is off

AAACK!! Why did the doc need to put that stupid incision right in the middle of my chest? I thought he'd put it to the side-ish. Now I've got an incision at the base of my neck and one for all to see the second I wear a V-neck shirt.
Is it too soon to whine about being cut-up?


Well, after sitting in the hospital for 3-1/2 hours I finally got my port in. Hoo-Ray. I am SORE! I feel like Frankenstein because I'm paranoid to move my neck. (insert yummy sound here MMMMMMM!) I don't think I was this sore after my big surgery. I didn't realize how much I moved my neck and used those muscles. uughh.I got some good pain meds, but they only go so far. Maybe it just FEELS bad because of the idea of the port and not the actual thing. hmmmI've got bandages on my neck and chest- those suckers are coming off first thing tomorrow.So, it's not much to tell. It's just there. But it's an update none-the-less.Hope everyone is well!Until next time..............................

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Appendiceal Cancer it is..

I talked with my family doctor last night... yes- she gave me her home phone number- how wonderful is SHE? I am very sure not to abuse it though :)
After all the appointments and so on at OSUMC, they've called it Colon Cancer... but to be more exact- my doc said all the pathology signs point to the appendix. That is IS Appendiceal Cancer. (still in the Colorectal Cancer "family") I guess it's just for conversation's sake because it's still Signet Ring Cell Adenocarcinoma which is DISMAL if you look at the numbers. (I have to remember to NOT look at the numbers- they are from 11 YEARS AGO!!!) Does it REALLY matter where it came from? Does it matter if a serial killer is from Chicago or A SUBURB of Chicago... For my own sanity- I'll say Appendiceal Cancer though. I was so tired and aggravated at reading all this crap about colon cancer being "the most preventable cancer if you just eat right- no animal fat and TONS of veggies and take care of yourself and exercise and blah, blah, blah." It's all over the literature you read AFTER you are diagnosed with colon cancer. I don't believe it- but that little jerk that sits in the back of my head (Mr. Self- Doubt) kept saying "oooh, you know you wouldn't have colon cancer if you would have just been a vegetarian. ha ha- YOUR fault!!" I hate that guy. So with it technically being appendiceal cancer I can slap him in the face and shut him up.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Only days to go

I am admittedly apprehensive about getting this port put in. ugh. Well, that and a thousand other things. I started a journal when this whole rollercoaster pulled out of the station... but have only put a couple of entries in it since.. and one was just bitching about Jason. i think I can get my thoughts out faster by typing- but then I just look like a bad mom cause I'm on the computer. If I took the same amount of time out to write in an actual journal it wouldn't look as bad. WTH?
I don't know what I'm going to do this Friday after surgery. Do I bring the girls home? Because I'm just shipping them off to Grams' house on Monday. I feel bad that the girls are getting shuffled around. Poor Iris is getting weary of it and this is just the beginning. Vera is reaching the attachment phase and wants Mommy- but I am not going to be able to tend to her like she needs to be. it pisses me off. Stupid effin' cancer.
I hope we can make it to good 'ol Coolville Founder's Day festivities, I haven't been since I dated Tim Linton... now THAT'S a blast from the past. I think we were too coll to actually enjoy it. It's a lot different when you've got kids- rather being a teen with "better things to do." Like making out. tee-hee.
So I'm going for a pedicure tomorrow- lucky pedicure lady. Pity her that she's gotta deal with my feet. blech!! I do wash them...
I'm hoping to be able to get around well after chemo, but I'm not counting on it. I will start jogging again when I can. Want to get skinny because I'm healthy not because I'm sick. arrgh!!

It's just nice

Friday, July 17, 2009 at 11:03am Edit Note Delete
To go into work, that is. I set my alarm for 5am and hit snooze until it just didn't go off anymore. At 6am I drag my butt outta bed and tell Jason that I'm going into work (he didn't believe me). I COULD HAVE tried to sleep in- but sometimes when you have little ones- trying to sleep in is more frustrating than just waking up and knocking the dust off and getting the day started.Going to work was a little "me" time that didn't consist of laundry, shower, Doctor's appointment, driving to the doctor's appointment, getting stuck with needles, drinking some nastyfluids for a CT scan, getting a CT scan and so on. (I WILL get a pedicure soon!) It just felt nice to be back at work even if it was just for one morning. I've worked since I was 16- it's hard to NOT work. Don't get me wrong, I love the time with my girls, but there's something secure in working. I hope they don't figure out that they can manage just fine without me... I will be out of a job when I can come back permanently. As treatment gets closer it gets more real... not like it WASN'T real... it's just weird to be on the other side of the "Cancer Stories." We'd done St Jude radiothons at the station and I'd listened to the sad stories and cried for those kids and families but I cry less being on this side. I only cry when I think of leaving my girls.2 days after my diagnosis I was getting my hair cut and I was sitting next to a girl that was getting her hair dyed for prom. She was getting "firey" colors and it was so cool and funky. Just like I would have done mine when I was in high school. I got misty-eyed thinking I might not see my girls graduate. I can handle pretty much everything else. That's why I TRY to be understanding when my parents get emotional talking about my situation. I can't imagine if it was one of my girls going through this. It's my silver lining- that it's not one of them. A guy I work with has a little girl that is a week younger than Iris and she was diagnosed with cancer last year. She had a lung removed in Jan and just finished chemo. So when I feel bad for myself, I just look at that situation and re-think.I joke a lot about MY situation, it IS serious- but humor is how I cope. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am an emotional person- so it's either laugh a lot or cry constantly. I choose to laugh... most the time.Well, just to go over the timeline... I get my port put in next friday, then chemo on the 27th and every other monday after that until the nd of august when I do the IPHP chemo (I've heard that it's nickname is "Shake and Bake" :P ) and then IV chemo every other Monday after that for 4-6 weeks then another IPHP chemo, then more IV chemo every other monday for a grand total of 6 months.Watch out for my Relay for Life team next spring.. Rachel's Renegades? That's a little more tame than what I had originally had picked out... gotta keep it "G" Rated. If all the people actually come that said they would- it will be quite a team. We'll rule the school!!Again, thanks for all the well wishes that continue to pour in. I do appreciate each and every one of you.Take it easy.until next time.........................................

Tick Tock

SO I will start this off with a bit of sarcasm. Joy that I will be getting port put "instsalled" in a week and joy that I will start chemo on July 27. I mean it's all good that it is in motion but I can't say I'm gonna jomp in excitement for what lies ahead of me in the next 6 months. I wish I had some words of wit but am totally tapped out after arguing with a certain husband.... didn't anyone tell him he's not supposed to fight with a cancer patient??? Guess he didn't get the memo that once you get cancer- you are always right in spousal disagreements. I will fax that to him the first chance I get.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Here's what I know at the moment

It seems the more I dig about this stupid ass cancer (pun intended) the less I know. Signet Ring Cell Adenocarcinoma affects .10% (notice the point?) of colon cancer patients... if that. (I'm gonna call it Colon cancer with Appendecial cancer tendencies just to annoy anyone who really doesn't care about me personally- but just wants to have that token "friend with cancer") My surgeon says he sees maybe 2 cases a year. I just gotta be different you know? I was UNDERWHELMED with the oncologist I saw last week. We'll Call her Dr. K... if you're ever in need of an oncologist- contact me and I will give you her real name so you can avoid her. She was inching towards the door as I was asking questions... I guess i was taking up too much of her time asking dumb questions about my inconvenient cancer. Thankfully, I will not be seeing her again- I will be going to Dr. Cawley in Marietta. I'm actually anxious to meet her because I've heard nothing but RAVE reviews about her. So here's the skinny: I will be meeting with Dr. C to schedule IV chemo treatments until IPHP chemo surgery is optimal. Since I had the right hemicolectomy I should be waiting at least 3 months post-op before doing IPHP chemo to avoid complications and setbacks. (IPHP is also known as HIPEC.. if you wanna know more- ) Then more IV chemo for a few weeks until the second round of IPHP 4-6 weeks after the first. Then more IV chemo.I gotta say that though we may have gotten off to a rough start- Dr. A (my surgeon) is a kick ass guy. He doesn't pussy-foot around anything and wants to tackle my cancer with guns blazing rather than a "wait and see" approach like Dr. K was suggesting. If she had cancer I doubt she'd be okay with a wait and see attitude then. grrrrr.So now- I wait for the 15th when I visit Dr. Cawley. It's almost like waiting for Christmas... what will suprise me next? Hopefully a wonderful suprise like candy or a pony instead of the "Waiting for the Day after Halloween" suprise where your front door has been spray painted with some obscenity that only makes sense if you're a 15 year old. Then it's just sad.. not because your front door is vandalized, but because you realize that you're an old fogie. GET OFF MY LAWN YOU DAMN KIDS!!!!I digress....I only know a bit more than I did yesterday, but I'm happy with Dr. A and his take caharge attitude. He seems to "get" the sense of urgency that I have.I don't know what the IV chemo will do to me, but I'll tell everyone right now- the SECOND my hair falls out in clumps, It's ALL coming off. I think I can rock a bald head... and I've always wanted to find out just WHAT my melon really looks like. No wigs for me- scarves, maybe... hats, maybe. But hell- if it's hot outside, it will just be SPF 45. ;)I want to add and stress that all the support, prayers, thoughts and well wishes I've gotten over the last 2 months has been overwhelming. I can't begin to thank everyone properly- so I "Pay It Forward" with you all in my heart. And I will continue to do so as long as I'm on this Earth- which will hopefully be a VERY long time. Remember to give your loved ones hugs and kisses... and NEVER miss a chance to tell them you love them with all your heart.Lata!Rachel

Cancer Schmancer

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:04pm Edit Note Delete
3 weeks after my colon resection surgery I met with my surgeon and the oncologist. The surgeon told me I'm healing well and that the incision looks good. He removed the right half of my colon, my appendix, 18 lymph nodes and my omentum fat... uh, yeah and the tumor that was about the size of a baseball. It's definitely stage 4 cancer because it traveled outside the colon to the fat, 8 of the 18 lymph nodes and to the inner abdominal wall. The name of the beast is "Signet Ring Cell Mucinous Adenocarnimoma" yeah- say that 3 times fast. That's the status report. I had to edit to add- "No, I do not have a colostomy bag, all is functioning as it should." I know a lot of you are curious, but didn't want to ask. :oPBasically since the cancer got out of the colon it's likely spread microscopically to other organs in the same vicinity. Those microscopic cancers can't be seen (duh) to be removed so I will be doing chemo- but not the IV chemo that's "systematic" that is the standard. I'll be undergoing an IP (intra peritonial) treatment where they put a catheter into your abdomen and wash your "innards" with chemo. Supposedly it's more effective for what I've got going on. That will be done next month after I've healed from the surgery. Then again probably in September. It's prety harsh so it's only done every other month 2 or 3 times- if it's not effective, then I'm going to have to do the IV I go back in 2 weeks for a CT scan, then the following week I meet with the surgeon again and the oncologist again and the geneticist (sp?) to see if this is likey to be passed on to my girls. (cross your fingers that it's a big fat no) Then sometime after that I do the IP therapy. ugh- it's another night or 2 in the hospital (it's a good thing I like those people;).What the docs say is that this particular cancer is hard to fight and is not cureable- but it can be montored and fought now that we know it's there.I know there are plenty of stories about people given a certain timeframe to live and have beaten the odds. My story will be no different. I can kick even the "unkickable" asses. Though I've only been in 2 real fights in my life... I did kick their asses- muhahahahaI don't plan on going anywhere A.N.Y.T.I.M.E. soon, so get used to it.Thanks all for the continued kind thoughts and prayers!I will update when there is any more to tell!Right now, Iris is at Micki's house (for those of you not in the know- Micki is my great sister/chauffer) and Vera is at Mom's getting her 6 month nakey portraits tonight. I can't wait to see them, but for now- I'm feeling pretty tired (busy day) so I will take it easy tonight so I can be recharged to hang with the girlies tomorrow.Take care everyone- make sure you never miss a chance to tell your loved ones what they mean to you! NEVER!(((((Hugs)))))Rachel


Monday, May 25, 2009 at 8:34pm Edit Note Delete
Ugh- Day five. They are still waiting for my insides to get with the program if you know what I mean. That seems to be all the doctors want to know.I still haven't seen the surgeon who actually performed my resection. I SHOULD see him tomorrow- along with the Oncologist. I may have to have a blood transfusion because my hemoglobin levels haven't been anywhere near where they should be. The "on Call" doctors for the weekend haven't had the balls to make a call one way or the other. I can't wait to have an actual DOCTOR taking my case and acting on it.(from what I've heard- the On Duty doctors don't like making decisions for other doctor's patients.. like they're stepping on toes)I've been stuck more times than I can count- for IVs, blood draw, for heparin shots and so on. Most of the time it takes 3 or more sticks to get an IV started. Rolling, tiny veins is what they say. I guess I should get used to that- chemo will be a hayride..The incision on my belly is about 4 inches long-- they left my bellybutton alone, kinda.. but they said they went in between my ab muscles to dig around. No wonder I feel like I went 10 rounds with Rocky Balboa.I want to find out how soon I can start chemo since they told me that they found more nodules on the inside of my abdomen wall... and that they biopsied some of them, but there were a lot- too many to cut out so they left them in the hopes that chemo will kill them. The silver lining being that there wasn't any sign that the cancer had spread to my lungs or liver which is supposedly where the "Signet Cell Adenocarcinoma" likes to go after wrecking the first organ it gets a hold of.I can't help but think/feel like I'm just rotting from the inside out. And I am seriously on about tomorrow. That's when test results should be back and from the sounds of it- it isn't good. NO test results for the past 2 weeks have been anywhere near good.. more like the other end of the spectrum.I just want some friggin' GOOD news for a change- Maybe tomorrow is my day. This shit's gotta turn around sometime.

It's 5am

Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 5:00am Edit Note Delete
I've been up since 3. Micki spent the night in the room with me. Have I said I still don't know if it's sunk in? It's been 2+ weeks since the onset of symptoms that sent me to the hospital. I had a colon resection where they took half of my colon and sewed my small intestine to what's left of my colon. And now Not only do I have Colon Cancer.. it's possibly stage 4 Colon Cancer, and it may be what they call "Signet Ring Cell" cancer that is considered more aggressive and very hard to treat. Basically the Doc came in yesterday and told me that most people with that type of cancer don't live more than 5 years after diagnosis.What a crock of shit. I'm going to fight with every OUNCE of me. I have 2 beautiful girls that will be my strength. I had never discounted the possibility of getting cancer- I just never thought I would be only 33 and fighting for my life. I'm just going to come out and say it... Why me? This is stupid ridiculous. Like I said before- I don't even know that I can just cry about it because it's not real to me. It's gotta hit me a some point, but I'm mad more than anything right now.I will do all that's in my power to stay here so I can be a Mommy. It's going to be a long road- but there's nothing that would make me give up for even a second.

nowhere to go but up

Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 3:09am Edit Note Delete
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Basically that's what stage 4 is...i guess. I am simply pissed. of course I'm mad as hell. That's one stage of coping.... Hell yes I'm mad.the grief comes and goes. mostly just when I think that I might not get to see my girls go to prom. Screw that I'm going to fight with every ounce of energy I've got.

waiting is the hardest part

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 7:55am Edit Note Delete
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Let me first say that most everyone here at OSU Medical Center is great. BUT I came in 2 and had surgery... major surgery to remove cancer and to see what stage it was in. The surgeon evidently came out to tell Jason some stuff and Jason didn't take any kind of notes. He thinks the doctor said he got the tumor and some fatty tissue that the cancer may have seeped into. but at the same time Jason swears the doctor told him it was stage 4 cancer. > which is a very bad prognosis. jason COULD HAVE educated himself a little about cancer... ha says "stage four" like it's nbd. I have no idea what's going on. Mostly because I haven't even SEEN my surgeon. I thought I'd see him on his rounds this morning - nothing. I'm pissed that I've got tons of questions and no one to answer them And that Jason can't really remember what the surgeon told him. so I've been up since 4am thinking SOMEONE would be in to tell me about the CANCER they removed from my body.arrrgh!!