Saturday, December 17, 2011

cleaning binge

ok, so since the maids were here on thursday, friday i rented a rug doctor.

saturday, my son and i moved furniture, vacuumed (again) and rug doctor'd every room.

until the vacuum decided not to suck anymore. so we got a new one.

a dyson.

i like my vacuum cleaner!

and the rooms are nice and clean, and smell so nice and clean..

now i need son to move his mattress and box spring OFF of my bed so i can go to bed tonight.... cause otherwise, i'm sleeping on the couch, and i'm thinking that's not such a great thing.

but it's nice to have a really clean place, in time for having both my kids home for the holiday.

oh, and my son? got accepted into college today.

it's a good day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

halfway done

this chemo went easier than most of the others. started on time, ended on time, only had to try once to get the IV started........

and then, after i got home, "the maids" (in menomonie falls) arrived.

five of them.

and courtesy of "cleaning for a reason" (.org if you're looking for them), they cleaned my apartment. dusted. vacuumed. kitchen, bathroom. they even went through all the open 12 packs, organized them, took out trash... they were the most lovely people i've met in a long time. (barring my knitting buddies who keep me going week by week)

this was a fabulous experience.

and they're coming back next month to do it again. every month for 4 months total.
i can't say it makes it worth getting cancer...... but boy, it makes it a little easier.

round 2 of chemo - i will not be beat!

i'm already dreading chemo today - even though it's a short shot (only 2 hours or so). first part of round 2 was last week. i was delayed an hour seeing the doctor - he had to admit a patient into the hospital. unfortunately, in his line of work, this happens quite frequently (usually just before my appointment)

then chemo was another hour delayed. not really sure why. no one said. so i was there from 9am until 5pm again. makes for a very long day....

people tell me that i'll get through this with the strength of the people around me. my daughter goes to chemo with me, when she can gt home from college. other than that, the strength of the people around me is my friend lois. she decided i WOULD NOT be going to chemo alone, and you don't argue with lois!

she and i are both less than impressed with the chemo nurses - i had heard such wonderful things about them, expected this to be an experience when they were calming, caring, sharing, and talked me through the whole thing.

what i got was a whole different ball game. i went into the chemo suite the first time, red folder clutched in hand, went to the front desk, older nurse wants to know what i'm there for.

seriously? isn't this the chemo place?

doesn't welcome me, doesn't introduce herself, tells me to take a chair anywhere...... and then ignored us for about the next 45 minutes.

chemo started over an hour late that day, while this nurse started her complaints about how i wasn't in the system, i was on paper, because i'm part of a clinical trial, and she's so overworked because there's only her (there was pretty much only me too, though)....

and the whole day went like that. never told me what drugs she was putting in, or what they were for, or what it might feel like...... still no name tag, still hasn't introduced herself......

then there was that little episode where we were up to the clinical trial drug (avastin) - she comes over and asks how tall i am.... i tell her 5'2, 5'3, depends on how tall i'm standing, and the person measuring me......... she apparently has me down as 5'9".......... and 162 pounds (i weigh about 130 right now)

and this is the person plugging these drugs into my arm? really?

in all, i was there for 8-1/2 hours, till it was after hours, and by her attitude, it was clear she was wanting to go home.... finally at the end i challenged her and asked who she was.

she might have gotten the message, the next time i went, she had name tags one.

and last time, when i saw my doctor and told him that someone needed to talk to that nurse, he told me she wasn't working back there anymore.

in the back corner was a whole stack of what appeared to be DVDs - we had no idea what they were, or were for.... lois went poking around, and apparently there are some mini-DVD players back there too. who knew? no one ever mentioned them to us.

there are 2 baskets there that are for chemo hats...... and again, lois went looking. each basket had 1 very sad looking hat.

by the next time (last week), Lois had marshaled all of her/our knitting/crocheting forces (our knitting group as well as her other groups) and brought a dozen hats to the suite for the baskets. the 2 patients who we saw there were thrilled, and took home a new hat each.

she has at least 2 or 3 more hats to take today.

and ya know? the nurses pretty much ignored the whole thing. not a thank you. not a "wow, that was nice of you"..... nothing.

so seriously - if anyone's still reading this, and i haven't bored you to tears, if you were so inclined to make a chemo hat for the baskets for the other patients, it would be wonderfuol. so far, i've been pretty luck, i'm 4 weeks into this, and my hair hasn't fallen out. some people, more knowledgeable than i (and more hairless, might i add) say that if it hssn't fallen out by now, it probably won't.

i won't get rid of the hats and scarves i collected, just yet.

so we'll see. today is the halfway mark. i can do this.

on a happier note, the american cancer society provides a service to people like me, going through cancer treatment. they're sending cleaning ladies to help clean the apartment.

seriously. they're going to clean my apartment.

and they'll be coming once a month for 4 months.

so a huge thank you to the people out there who might have contributed to "cleaning for a reason", and to "the maids" in menomonie falls.... with the help of all of them, my apartment is getting cleaned.

guess i better put away all the knitting projects!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Round 1 Part 2

I guess it was ok - i didn't even blog about it.

I'm done with the first round of chemo - had the balance of it on black friday, and then went shopping.

only bad effects, so far, seem to be that my arm is sore from the IV's of chemicals (may have to let them do it on the right arm next time)... and a bit of queasiness.

not too bad.

1 round down, 3 to go.

It's a Conspiracy

That's the only possible explanation.

I lead a relatively invisible life. really, i do. i didn't evern think anyone ever read my blog.

apparently, i was wrong.

on all counts.

and so many lovely people have stopped by here, or sent me messages.......

and sent me cards.

every day. cards. in the mail.

so if you sent one, you should see it here - and i thank you, for reminding me that people care.

it helps.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chemo - Round 1 Part 1

and ya know? it wasn't so bad. slow, yes. boring, yes.

we got started an hour late, that i was just sitting around, because they had to do all the record keeping for the clinical trial - i qualified, and was randomized into the group that DOES get the additional drug.

an hour of fluids.
then anti-nausea drugs
then gemzar
then cisplatin
then avastin, with more fluids.

by the time i got done, they had pumped 3 liters of fluids into me.
that's in addition to the 2 liters or so that i had been drinking all day, because they keep telling you that you have to drink a LOT of fluids to flush it all out of your system and protect your kidneys.

and in the middle of all these fluids, they give me lasix.

it's a diuretic.

seriously? like i didn't already have to pee every 12 minutes??

but it's ok. so far, i don't feel any different, though we'll see how it goes over the next couple of days.

and i have round 1 part 2 next friday.

with any luck, it'll be as much a non-event as today was..... i hope.

if you count bags of drugs, i'm 3/16's of the way through.

that's not bad.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

act 2 in this surreal play...

ok. 2 days till chemo. 36 hours or so, actually.

thursday morning, i'll show up at the nice oncology alliance, and let them plug me in. saline, to flush the kidneys. some meds to kill the nausea. hopefully, no puking. an hour of cisplatin. that's the heavy metal one. makes everything taste metallic. then 1/2 hour of gemzar. that one's the easy one, or so they tell me.

then, if i'm randomized into that 'arm', another 90 minutes of avastin, to keep the tumors that don't actually exist from growing a circulation (read blood vessels) network.

it'll be late afternoon before i'm done.

and the go home, and go back to work the next day, as though i'm not waiting for my entire body to explode from all the chemicals.

the bills are enough to make you puke.... you get sort of fatalistic about this stuff - the 5 days in the hospital was almost 56 grand. the surgery (as a separate line item) was another 12 grand and change.

daily x-rays, 41 bucks a pop.

shoot, i definitely picked the wrong career path!

but so far, i'm ok. gained back what i lost in the hospital, weight wise.....

prescriptions filled, and ready to be needed. let's hope i don't need 'em!

with me luck, if you're reading this far......

Monday, November 7, 2011

a giftcard for my nook?

I’m entering to win a $100 BN gift card from Cheap e-Reads, my favorite site for FREE and CHEAP nook books! You can enter to win here:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Ok - so today, I had my follow up with the surgeon. I actually started working again this past Monday, but working from home - things like the nearly hour long drive each way are still problematic.

so according to my surgeon - my oxygen levels are at 97-98%, which is quite good. the incisions are healing nicely, which is also good. the remaining lobe of the lung has expanded to nearly the full size already, which is also good.

and there is this ring of metal clips, which are apparently to assist when i get to the radiation for the chest wall involvement.

so all in all, it's all good. he says i'm doing better than many patients at this point in the post-surgical timeline, and it's all good.

and unless i have any issues with the continued healing of the incisions (which can be affected by the chemo), he doesn't need to see me anymore.

next stop, oncologist on the 15th.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Did You Know....

there there is actually a Lung Cancer Awareness month?

it's in November.

I didn't know that, either.

and apparently, the governor made it official in my state 2 years ago.

Please take the time to make this official in your state as well?

while I appreciate the efforts of the Susan G Komen foundation, and everything they do to raise Breast Cancer awareness....... Lung Cancer needs a cure, too.

thank you.

2 days and counting

ok, we're on the final run-down, i guess - i'm so ready to have this over with.

work - all transitioned. what a lovely bunch of people. i've only been there 8 months... yesterday, i told my manager that if it was ok with her, i thought i'd work from home today (instead of in the office) - i was already working from home tomorrow... and she agreed. honestly, it's getting a little tough to be all cheerful and sunny, as though this is no big deal.....

next thing i know, she's inviting me out to lunch (and i thought i was in trouble for something and thought her timing really sucked) - then i hear other people talking about lunch........

turns out, i screwed up everyone's plans. they had planned on all taking me out to lunch today - and i messed it up by working from home. so they (in less than an hour) got the ENTIRE DIGITAL DEPARTMENT out for lunch at this restaurant......

i wanted to cry, when i realized it was for me. seriously? my last job, they would have blamed me for getting cancer, and then fired me as soon as they could without getting sued.

so i have all the legal papers ready. done. all that's left is getting the bill from the lawyer, and paying it. yeah....... another bill.

pretty much everything here is as much as i can do - mostly cleaned and straightened up... the last knitting project that i need to send out is done and blocking, i'll run that to the post office tomorrow....

got the special shower scrub stuff, need to do that tomorrow night and thursday morning.....

still have to get typed and cross-matched, i can do that today or tomorrow - and they give me my lovely hospital bracelet... probably do that today and get that over with

tomorrow pick up stepmom at the airport...... i have no idea how to thank her for what she's doing - i mean, she isn't my mom, i'm not her kid...... except she is, and i am. and without hesitation, she agreed to come here and deal with the fall out from this mess that, with certainty, i caused by being a smoker.

i have no idea how you thank someone for coming to take charge in crisis like this. she didn't need this, she didn't deserve to have this handed to her.... and she volunteered for it. amazing.

and thursday is it. plug in the IV, put me to sleep, wake me up when it's over, folks. seriously - let's get this over with - the waiting is the worst part.... it's like when you get told "go to your room and wait till your father gets home" - so you sit there, dreading it, and making it even worse in your head.......

ah well..... 2 more days. by this time on thursday, i'll be getting ready to leave for the hospital, to put it all into their hands, and be done.

wish me luck!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

This is very strange

I've really procrastinated with this one. i've debated is this a good idea, bad idea, it won't matter because no one actually reads my blog........

so this is really for me. if you're there, reading this, you're welcome along for the ride. but i am doing this one for me.

i have cancer. lung cancer, to be precise.

and in 5 days, i'm going to go have surgery, and they're going to remove a lobe of my lung, in the hopes that they will remove all the cancer.

i don't know if i'll be having chemotherapy or not. at this moment, if it is offered, i'm inclined to go through it - if there's even 1 cancer cell that is there, and isn't dead, i could go through this again and again.

and i'm scared.

it's all pretty surreal.... i actually feel as fine as i ever do....... i look the same, feel the same, gained some weight that does not make me happy......

and then they tell me i have cancer.

it's all so weird.

so if anyone is reading this? quit smoking. quit today. i quit 20 days ago, 2 days after they diagnosed me.

oh, and one more thing?

just breathe

Friday, September 16, 2011

Enter to Win a Nook Simple Touch Reader!

I’m entering to win a Nook Simple Touch Reader from Cheap e-Reads, my favorite site for FREE and CHEAP nook books! You can enter to win here:

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Memory of my Mother

Helen Paula Finke Schlesinger Leblang
10/12/1930 - 1/8/2011
rest in peace, Mom