Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ever Need Some Motivation?

Wow. it has been a while since I posted.  I guess I don't feel like I have much to report.  I'm still feeling the side effects I mentioned last time, although I might be feeling a little closer to myself each day.  I think I've mentioned a few times that during this process social media has helped me a lot, finding people with your same diagnosis that have beat your cancer is awesome.  It is especially great if you can share the experience with someone else.  The week I had my first DA R-EPOCH treatment, a friend I met through facebook was starting hers in the UK.  During the last 6 months, we've discussed our complaints, hopes, dreams, and vented a little.  She is recovering well, and is happy to report that her hair (eyebrows, eyelashes, hair!) has started growing back in. And... today she goes in for her let's-make-sure-cancer-is-still-gone end of treatment PET scan.  I have mine scheduled for December 27th, and I am very excited about it.  However, as the day gets closer, I am sure I will experience some of the scanxiety my friend is going through.  Because of our chat yesterday, I was thinking about what I do to motivate myself to get through the tough days - and I wanted to share that with you guys...

My dad introduced me to Madonna's music when I was little, and I still love the songs "Lucky Star" and "Material Girl."  Growing up I also loved Alanis Morissette, Shakira, and countless other strong female anthem-type songs.  A song that I have liked since it first came out is the song Strong by Kelly Clarkson.  My husband can tell you how many times he heard me singing "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller, doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone..." on days when I was struggling.   When I first started chemo, I remembered this video and I watched it many times during my treatment.If these kids were able to go through the cancer treatments with a smile, who was I to complain about my own struggles?  Here's a music video of the Seattle Children's Hospital Oncology ward to Kelly Clarkson's song Stronger:

Lately, a new song has popped up that I have also been singing incessantly, it is Katy Perry's ROAR - and I am also sharing my favorite video rendition of that one.

In case you are wondering, yes, my almost two year old daughter knows about these songs, and she likes to ROAR to Katy Perry's song. :)  Hope these help you on days where you might need some motivation.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween! (End of chemo week 4)

Hello friends!

I'm still really tired and in recovery, but I've been able to go out and have some fun.  For anyone else in recovery, the key to enjoying a party you've been looking forward to, or an outing you have been planning on - is to save your energy!  For example, before a Halloween party at my friends' house - that I really didn't want to miss, I made sure to take a nap the two days before and ended up having to take it easy for a couple of days after.  It was worth it to spend a couple of hours celebrating with friends, and seeing the kids playing together.  I'm going to try to keep track of the symptoms below, at least to track how they progress until I feel like myself again.  My husband bought champagne when I had the chemo port removed, but we're waiting to open the bottles until I feel good good, not just a little better.  However, I think I'm doing better every day, so I have a lot to look forward to!

Symptoms - 3 weeks after chemo

  • Neuropathy - The numbness in my arms and legs is getting worse.  My hands, wrists, and arms bother me when driving (I keep changing which arm I use as the dominant one on the wheel, which helps).  Arms are also falling asleep more (when reading, when I wake up, etc).  All the info I had read before on neuropathy and chemo said the pain gets worse before getting better, so I'm hoping this is good news and the pain comes from the nerves recovering.
  • Aches & Pains / Soreness - I'm having some aches on my joints, they feel like Neulasta pain although I assumed that by now the effects would be gone.  We'll keep an eye on it.
  • Mouth Pain - My gums, lips, and generally all my mouth hurt a lot last week and the beginning of this week.  I used the oncology wash to alleviate the pain, but by now it is gone!
  • Taste - Taste is still not back.  However, it seems to get better every day.  Sweets (like chocolate ice cream) don't taste like they should, but I can at least taste sweetness.  Tomato based sauces (like ketchup, marinara sauce, salsa) are still the closest I can get to enjoying the taste of something - so I eat those a lot.  Finally, bread and pasta don't taste like vinegar anymore.
  • Nausea / Motion Sickness - The nausea has gotten better, but still gets triggered by spending a lot of time on the laptop, so I'm being careful.  I seem to still get motion sickness from the car if I try to sit in the back seat.  I think it will be a long time before I try to get on a roller coaster - I've been getting dizzy just by dancing with my little one!
You might be wondering what was my costume?  Well, I decided to take advantage of the Ariel wig I had shown off earlier (Link:Women's Anime Wave Costume Play Wig (Red) ).  My daughter is obsessed with The Little Mermaid, so she dressed as Ariel the mermaid, and I was the Ariel with legs and a blue dress. A little makeup later, and you can't even tell I was sick!  I've been told I should consider this hair-color when my hair finally grows back, what do you think? :)

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31 year old navigating life with husband and almost-2-years-old daughter :)