Friday, March 25, 2011

Round 5, Post Chemo Day 2 and Hanging in there

I am happy to say that I have been out of bed all day.  Even went for a descent walk, not as long as usual but still a considerable distance.  My symptoms are present but too a much lesser degree.  Nausea is just knocking on the back door and being well controlled with meds.  The bowels are not normal but they are at least moving ever so slowing.  The debilitating bone aches is just making me feel a bit weak and shaky but no horrific pain.  I definitely have an overall fatigue, but that can be cured with a nap.  (And who doesn't want a nap from time to time?)  I can contribute the improvement in symptoms to several factors: 1) I really tried to work on my attitude this time around, 2) homeopathic supplements suggested by MerriAnn to help with symptoms I had complained about in the past, and 3) my oncologist made a decision to lower my Taxol dose due to the significant neuropathy I've been experiencing since day 1 of Round 1.  There is a chance that it is not reversible so he decided to lower the chemo dose.  Personally, I think it should have been lowered on the last round but am happy we are on the same page now with this round.  I am thinking very positive that the next few days will stay consistent with today and or even improve.  Keep the good thoughts coming. Thank you, Denise

Monday, March 21, 2011


I bought this Rocky movie banner some time ago at a theater in Stockton who was getting rid of their banners they used to promote certain movies.  I bought it as an inspiration of my athletic challenges I take on such as the marathons and the triathlon.  Little did I know that it would help to inspire me to get through and complete chemotherapy.  After the last round I remembered I had the banner and told Mom I wanted to hang it up.  It has led to a complete reorganization of my room over the past few weeks.  The banner is now hanging as you can see and I am preparing to face Round 5 of chemo.  As I've mentioned before I am ready to be an anomaly of chemo and have a better and better experience with each round rather than the reverse.  This last round WAS better, although, still quite the challenge, but once I bounced back my energy continued to improve the past week or so.  I haven't needed to take a nap since the week following chemo.  I am stocked with more herbs that MerriAnn has recommended to help with the symptoms and I have the meditations to listen to while the chemo is being infused and a positive attitude again that things will be better.  I have my pre-chemo appointment and lab work tomorrow with my oncologist, chemo all day on Wednesday, and a post recovery appointment with MerriAnn on Thursday.  Please keep sending the strong will and positive thoughts my way. THANK YOU ALWAYS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Improving each day. Continued cramping and bowel issues and started some new herbs recommended by my energy healer/nutritionist to help with this.

Yesterday, Friday, I visited my workplace and visited with staff.  It was great to see everyone and get re-connected.

During the next week or so I'm open for healthy visitors or anyone who would like to join Oliver and myself for a walk through the vineyards and orchards.  (Bring shoes that you don't mind getting dirty.)  Visitors via phone are also welcome.

Enjoying the sunshine, Denise

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Finally feeling better post Round 4

Well Round 4 wasn't as bad as the last round but still was plenty miserable and bed confining.  The bowel issues continue to be the most threatening of symptoms.  Add to that the hours and days of intestinal cramping the worsening neuropathy, aching bones and nausea/vomiting and I just don't have much drive or desire to willingly go through this two more times.  It simply amazes me how much torture the medical community can dish out and still consider it "treatment" and convince a person it is what they need to survive, when all along all it feels like their doing is killing you.  I hate to sound so negative but I'm writing on my first good day in the past week so my attitude is still in the process of being adjusted upwards.  Oliver is very good medicine for that, as always.
My mom is also adding the one picture of me in my wig to the post today.  It was taken when we visited Darla in Monterey and went to the Aquarium.  We will also attempt a walk today, which I haven't been able to muster the past couple of days.
Thank you to everyone for your support; I promise there will a more upbeat post to come in the next few days.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

The latest photo addition is one of three areas where Denise has posted some of the wonderful cards she has received.

Yesterday, the Infusion Center injected a blood thinner into her shoulder port.  After allowing two  hours to process, the port was successfully cleared of any clots and is now fully operational.  A big yeh! for this.  If the port didn't clear then another radiology surgical procedure would be scheduled.

Denise has been strong and doing well with Wednesday's chemo therapy.  The constipation caused by the chemo has kicked in and causing sleepless nights and abdominal discomfort.

The beautiful weather has been great for walking and lifting the spirits.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011-Chemo Round 4

Well today was round 4 of chemo and unfortunately it was without event.  The nurses could not get a withdraw of blood out of my chest port and therefore it could not be used to administer the chemo.  This meant that they had to start an IV (usually not a good experience for me, especially after using chemo).  I was rather adamant and told them they had only one try.  My friend Susan, the charge nurse, got it on the first try on the underside of my wrist (very painful IV site).  I was able to do my meditation while getting the chemo and held the chemo bag in my hands before it was started to try to blend our energies (I know this is very far out there for you Western Medicine people, but these are very small measures in order to prevent some very uncomfortable side effects). 
After chemo I had to go to Radiology for chest x-ray to see if the port is still in place.  They debated whether to do a dye contrast to check for a clot but decided against it.  Susan believes the port is probably kinked where it goes around my collar bone.   I have to do back tomorrow for TPA treatment. This is a medicine they use to try to dissolve a blood clot if one is in there.  They will administer a small amount of the TPA to fill up the catheter and leave it sitting in there for two hours. Then they will extract the TPA and hope that it looks bloody indicated it dissolved a clot and then my blood should flow freely from the port. If this does not work than I have to go under the knife again and have the port surgically repaired. 
I addition to my port fun tomorrow I meet with MerriAnn, my energy healer.  So she is going to be working on eliminating some of the side effects (having bowel issues already, only hours after finishing chemo), and teaching another healing meditation.  
I hope I have energy to post tomorrow and hope that it is all good news for you.  Even if I am unable to post I'll have mom post so you all know how things turned out. 
And for all of you waiting for the pic with the wig it should be coming soon!
Thank you again for all you support and your encouraging blogs you are sending back to me.  They don't go unnoticed.  While I'm in a moment a gratitude I'd like to send a shout out to Jacqueline who, of course, was at chemo again today;  Kathy Walker and Jeannie Putz for sending greeting cards at least weekly and Paula for making me oodles of hats ( I think 7 or 8 in total).  Everyone has been so good to me and I love that you are all in my life!!!!! :)

Dr. Oliver