Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From Worse To Better

Sometimes it just has to get worse before it gets better.
Our plan was simply to paint the room, but because someone before us didn't do this properly it was a disaster.
Although I like challenges that was just huge waste of time, money as well as some mental health LOL We ended up with five people in three bedrooms, and 2-3 weeks delay, in a very rainy weather that also wasn't helping.

What not to do when removing paint inside the house?
Do not use chemicals. Until you really have to.
I also mean 'green' products, which are in fact so delicate, sometimes too delicate to work!
Harmful chemicals are obviously danger for you (lungs, skin, eyes) but not better at all when it comes to the walls!!!
Two bottles (half of a gallon) @ around $15 + HST and damage you have to repair. No, thank you.

What to do when the paint is not staying in place to be solid base for your new color?
Same you would do with any other surface; use the sand paper.
What stays, will stay, and what is gone is gone. At the same time you'll smooth the surface, so there will be even layer of paint left, with no patches with sharp edges that could cause shadows on your beautiful new color.
For next 2-3 weeks we were scratching and scrubbing, then drying the walls, then repairing the damage with compound then the primer, so the color will be evenly saturated.
Drying was really hard, because of rainy weather, no luck at all LOL but at the end it was worth every hour we've fighting.

Not that I did much if anything at all ;-) After chemo you won't tolerate the smell of any chemicals.
At the end, my little one's room in nautical style will be in blue and cream with red accents and white furniture.
The cream I chose is so beautiful, that on the worse, rainy, grey November day it still looks bright and happily sunny.
There are new challenges with the decor and organization as little one was diagnosed with allergy, but what are the dust mites in the face of cancer ;-) I'm ready. OK, almost ;-)

Oh, my diagnosis...
The bump on my head is 'nothing'. I wasn't able, emotionally, to go to details, to find out what that was exactly. Tumor is responding to treatment (yes, some may be clinically resistant) , what they can still see on the pictures are dead cancer cells.
Performing manual exam my oncologist was almost dancing and practically screaming from excitement.
After 4 cycles of doxorubicin (so called red devil) and cyclophosphamide it is hard to find.
Way to go! For everyone who needs that, I wish the same!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Half-Way Through

They will send you to check, if it's shrinking. It could be clinically resistant after all....
My surgeon, I really trust: "So... why did the oncologist send you to me?"
Me: "???"
My surgeon: "I'll try to call her to find out."
Well, I'm in such uncomfortable situation I'm appreciating not making this worse. I just wonna to be regular patient not requiring any special treatment, please.

One little monkey jumping on the bed
She fell off and bumped her head
Momma called the doctor, and the doctor said
Careful, this monkey might soon be death. 

They had the mri report, that was saying IT is not shrinking, but is no longer in the muscles.
The other thing; they sent me right away to scan and assess the bump on my head.
Everyone was asking when I noticed.
Well ;-) for sure it wasn't there when I had my hair! I don't recall anything that could help me to be more specific.
Now, I will be waiting until Monday for diagnosis.

Other than that: rush here, rush there, everywhere rush, rush!
This chemo has fatal impact on the largest organ: skin.
Combined with alcohol, they like to use to keep everything sterile, it's a disaster.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The four letter word: diet!

I promised to share the experience. Finally I'm back. Hopefully tomorrow won't be agonizing again and I could write more. I guess I'm doing more around the house rather than writing. Good for me ;-)

Between 2nd and 3rd chemo I've seen dietitian.
It appeared I'm doing everything by the book with no book. Instinct I guess.
There it is then, for someone who is looking its way in this tasteless hell. Although I may be not the best example as I wasn't vomiting even once.

It's good to drink and eat, as it's kind of pushing nausea down, back to the stomach.
Small meals, up to 6 a day, eat slowly, do not eat at drink at the same time, avoid odors (big no-no for fish and broccoli!) as well as rich flavor, fatty and spicy food. Dishes with cooked tomatoes are inedible.
To make the story short after chemo you fill like there is toxic waste in your mouth and eating something spicy may bring that taste back even 3 weeks after chemo!
Good news is: the first chemo is usually the worse one. With every next cycle you can try new things.

What worked for me, and what the dietitians recommend:
  • Rusks (with jam or plain), white bread called French or Belgian, raisin bread toasts, nesquick cereal they also recommend soda crackers, dry plain cookies
  • Cooked ham (for avoiding strong taste 1/2 ham vacuum packed boiled in water for 15min, remove the foil and leave in the pot to cool down), cottage cheese, feta, yogurt and add from dietitian cheese, deli meats and eggs
  • Mashed potatoes (eureka!) they say also rice and pasta
  • Pear nectar, water with honey, milk to drink
  • Veggies were funny and long list: tomatoes and radishes. Only raw and only two.
  • Fruits; I said 'apple' she asked 'pineapple?' Pineapple is really good, juicy, helping with the taste.
If you have mouth sores (happily not me) lukewarm water with raw honey should help. They recommend soda water witch is not working well with my stomach.

What is important: you have to get enough proteins: 75g per day.
I was eating skim milk powder! Witch I like. 4g per 2 tbsp. Better is only, and I was surprised, peanut butter 4g per 1 tbsp. For the same amount you would have to have 1/2 cup of pudding, yogurt, milk or soy milk.
Other products:
7g proteins you'll find in 1/4 cup of nuts or cottage cheese, 1/3 cup of tofu, 2 tbsp cream cheese, 1/2 cup of dried beans (wonder who would have that one!) or 30g of meat.
6g of proteins is whole egg. I couldn't even look at them for the first month!

Today I'm after my 4th chemo. Yes! I'm half way through!
On the third day after I was able to have regular dinner: mashed potatoes (that is super food after chemo!) with asparagus and sunny side up eggs. No pictures. Everything gone in seconds.
In a meantime I had what I call plebeian pizza, and this I'll show. I expect it to be eastern European invention.

Baked sandwiches or plebeian pizza

cold cuts: ham or sausage (lean, good, smoked, European style sausage)
veggies: tomatoes, onion, but also pepper or dill pickles are nice option

Spread butter over the bread. It has better consistency when baked.
Put some meat, then cheese, and veggies on top. Not too much.
Bake 10-15min @ 160 C.

No cheese will also do. My boys are allergic to dairy products I'm using margarine.
You can make them fancy adding different cheese. Blue or camembert like. Try figs or pears. Different breads... endless possibilities. Perfect for winter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One day at the time

That's what we agreed to with one of the nurses. It appears, you can not predict chemo side effects.
But you can still survive ;-)
This time it was about pain again. Not so excruciating like after 1st chemo, but more prolong.
Yes, it follows the pattern: 1st day so-so although chemo itself didn't go smoothly. Maybe the body is weaker, maybe they tried to give it too fast. Everyone wants to go home on Friday ;-)
You can still eat and move around. The wellbeing, or it's leftover, goes down the drain around 3hours after neulasta shot.
The 4th day is agonizing, and after all pains and aches strike.
Every muscle in the body hurt to the point you can't sit or lie down. The princess and the pea under the mattress LOL
The headaches, bad back pain, arthritic palms and feet, sinuses and stomach. Enough for few people. Even with one side effect still missing: the mouth sores.
It is very interesting...
Once I said 'scoliosis', that on regular basis I can deal with exercising and swimming, and they ordered additional scan to find bone cancer. I said 'arthritis palms' they look for the cancer.
Come on, people! It's not the only disease on the planet. Try to treat patient as one piece.
Remember? You are giving me neulasta. 35% of patients complain for back pain and bone pain as side effect. I'm not different, just because of my condition I may experience it more painful, but it doesn't necessarily means of cancer.
I'm really lucky. My cancer is slow. As for today they didn't even see it spread to the nodes. Although we will know the true after surgery and biopsy.

On the 8th day someone open the door to the store when I was buying gas.
And I had to have it! Tim Hortons half-and-half. I hope more chocolate in coffee means less caffeine. 
What a beautiful day. Day 8 and 9... until winter I guess ;-) or rather next chemo LOL

Fall in Ottawa
Perfect day for feeding ducks.
So exciting!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Month

It struck me how little I knew about breast cancer, symptoms, awareness. Anything!
I'm pretty sure, the pink ribbons where not there on the mushrooms packaging foil last year. But still I was like blind in the darkness. Not that the light would matter ;-)

Anyway, right now everyone is talking about breast cancer. I'll be happy to talk or rather write too. But really I wish they would talk a lot about all symptoms in high school.
Starting October 1st on the news, through The View, The Talk, Ellen's show, Marilyn's, Dr. Oz, and those I understand: woman to woman or professional talk. But I've seen the subject even at Anderson Cooper's.
The mushrooms, romaine hearts, yogurt, milk... you name it. And I love it!
What I love the most is dancing for cancer research. This is what I'd like you to see.
It started with McGill University, which I've seen on news. The sponsor is paying (donating, you name it ;-)) to research for every view of the video.
There is a dance competition. The winner will donate $10,000 to the charity of their choice.
The contestants
Please, watch, choose, and write your lovely comment what you like about the idea.

Waiting is pair of pink earrings. Silver and 4mm Swarovski bicone beads in fuchsia, some beading wire to connect.

I wish to mail them to the winner in 2-3 weeks, before my forth chemo. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being Grateful

That was my favorite holiday last Monday; Thanksgiving Day.
The weather was better than perfect! I even have half naked dude on the pictures, but not even close to handsome to show the world LOL
My husband is always making perfect turkey. I was able to bake my pear and cranberries crumble! Good food and friends. Guess last holiday until next summer.

Ottawa, Mooney's Bay and perfect weather.

Today I'm even more thankful as I realized it is Wednesday. I just found one more day before third chemo! That's what I need the most; time. I'm so slow! And have to rest most of the time. Crazy!

There will be first giveaway on my blog. Possibly, last before I'm well again.
If you want pink earrings watch me ;-)
It won't be so free, I'll ask you watch something and have opinion.
The detailed information will be posted really soon. It has to be before next chemo, which is on Friday. And I have to make the earrings!

I'd like also to write about wigs (until I remember ;-)) dietician and diet and last: never ending story which is my picc line. It actually can end. My oncologist gave up, the nurses picc team is thinking if they still may have solution. The wound nurse didn't see me yet, so maybe there is a chance. And there is something I'd like to bake... I need more time or energy. One will do ;-)

Giveaway contest starts Thursday around 2pm EDT.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Einstein needed

or going to school.

Little one is getting ready with mom
11:15 there is lunch on the table. We chat while he is eating and I prepare his snack for school.
When he is done, he goes to the bathroom, and I prepare his clothes.
Yes, usually I let him stay in his pajamas for 1,5-2 hours. This way I'm sure his clothes will stay clean. No jam sandwiches flying down ;-)
If he is in good mood he will have 10-15 minutes left to talk about school (and yes! After mom he is talkative!)  or play a little bit more. It can even be computer.

Waiting ready for the school bus

Little one is getting ready with Dad
11:40 Dad appears with fear in his eyes.
Cereal is served, but with no time there is no chatting rule. Then Dad is seating and feeding a baby to be sure there is no chatting and they can make it.
They run to the bathroom where Dad is brushing baby's teeth and the bedroom, where Dad can dress the baby.
Now it's about 3 min left before school bus comes.
- Dad, I'd like to take that blue car to school.
- What blue car?
I look with my eyes wide open at Dad kneeling down and pulling the box with hundred fifty eight cars. Of course, there is no toys policy at school.
- No, not this one. The ooother one. One of favorite games, I have to agree.
- I said blue.
- And...
There is no 'and' or 'end'.
I scream.
Not for ice cream.
Dad stands up straight and rushes to the door.
I assume, he knew what was the scream about. Even had no time to be specific LOL

Slowly we are getting back on track.