Monday, 16 October 2017

Day 18 Third Chemo Round - A Fantastic Day

Throughout the night last night, I was drenched numerous times with night sweats. I had to turn my pillow during the night as it was also soaked. I was worried and wondering if the lymphoma hasn't been pushed back and the tumours didn't shrink in size. The night sweats are one of the telling symptoms of lymphoma. The interrupted sleep caused me to wonder how my day was going to go today.

I had so many plans and things to do before I'm tied up at the hospital all week with the stem cells being collected. I really wanted today to be a great day. When I awoke this morning, I was a little groggy and slow. Hubby and I decided that we would meet for lunch.  As my morning coffee made its way into my system, I started to wake up. In the mornings, I sit on our Lazyboy couch and drink my coffee. I have a "Bread of Life" container beside me on the end table which contains various bible verses. This morning the one I picked said "I am with you as I was with Moses." - Joshua 3:7, NIV  As I read this verse, my anxiety and worries about this week were instantly calmed. God is with me through all that is going to happen this week. He will keep me safe. What a great verse to read first thing in the morning.

I was now energized, maybe with the help of the coffee, to start my day. I drove hubby to work so that I could have our car. I returned home and picked up some music that I've been wanting to return to the church choir room since August. Today I did it. What a joy it was to see the work party of men trimming the trees and bushes around the church property! I was able to exchange greetings with these men who I haven't seen in months. What a lift to my morning already! I continued on into the church and let the secretary know I was going to be upstairs in the choir room. I dropped in to see the secretary on my way out and had a lovely, short visit with her. It had to be short because I needed to get home and get my Neupogen out of the refrigerator in preparation for my last visit to the CBI Health Clinic to get my injections.

Once I was at home and the Neupogen was removed from the refrigerator, I had to wait until it was time to go to the Clinic for the injection. I filled my time by knitting my current sock. When it was time to leave, I put my knitting aside and got ready to go. I also had an errand to run at the bank after my clinic visit. Then I would make my way downtown to hubby's work and go for lunch.

My visit to the CBI Health Clinic was good. The nurse knew this was my last scheduled visit and we had a good visit while she gave me my 2 injections of Neupogen. After my visit, I made contact with my cousin-in-law and firmed up our plans for this afternoon before I started driving to the bank. I made it to the bank and, again, enjoyed my banking errand while I chatted with the teller. I'm happy and my day is going well. It was a little early to head to hubby's work so I returned home and continued knitting before deciding it was time to go for lunch.

I made my way to hubby's work and we walked to our favourite restaurant, Darbar, to enjoy a delicious lunch. What an enjoyable time we had as we ate our favourite food and also chatted with the staff. My morning has gone exceedingly well. It's wonderful to feel this way and know that I'm having a great day before heading to the hospital tomorrow.

I  made plans to visit this afternoon with my cousin-in-law who gave me the "Bread of Life" container last month. We decided that we would get together for tea and then maybe a walk to the local conservation area. I had finished lunch with hubby and I had about an hour before I needed to be at my cousin-in-law's home. I returned home and continued knitting my sock with the calm silence of the house around me.

At the appropriate time, I made my way over to my cousin's house where we enjoyed a cup of tea together. We decided to dress warmly and walk over to the nearby conservation area. We talked and visited while we walked through one of the trails at the conservation area. We walked briskly and then decided it was time to head back to her home. It was a long walk, about one hour total, but it was invigorating and I loved our visit. I haven't had a long walk like that in a long time and I was so pleased that I wasn't totally exhausted by the end. I was very tired but I did not feel ill. I returned home and knitted more on the sock until it was time to go pick up hubby from work.

For dinner tonight, I had pulled out the frozen homemade ravioli and tomato sauce that one of our friends had brought over a couple of weeks ago. When hubby and I got home, we worked together to get it cooked and onto the table. While it was cooking, another good friend of our's dropped by to return my rain gear that he had borrowed to ride to Port Dover with hubby. We knew he was alone for dinner tonight, so we invited him to stay and share the ravioli with us. What a great impromptu dinner. A perfect ending to a fantastic day.

After dinner, I even managed to finish my sock. I have run out of that particular colour of yarn, so this pair of socks will be mine as they will be mismatched.

My day has been so good that all my anxiety about this week has been kept at bay. I'm feeling good about tomorrow. I'm going to bring a couple of books along to read while the stem cells are collected. Hubby is going to sit by my side and work from the hospital room. I will be in the Stem Cell Unit for the whole day. I will go to bed early tonight because I have to be at the Stem Cell Unit for 7:30 a.m.  Hubby has already said we can leave the house early and treat me to an Egg McMuffin and coffee for my breakfast. I'm so spoiled (as it is said with a smile). This was a fantastic day that was full of smiles and a warm heart. I truly believe all my friends' prayers have helped me today.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Day 15 and Day 16 Third Chemo Round - FEAR

Friday, October 13 - Day 15

I awoke on Friday morning and I still had a low grade fever. This meant it was not high enough to go to visit the Emergency Department at the hospital but there was still a fever. Late Friday morning, I had an appointment at the CBI Health Clinic to get my Neupogen shots. While there, I asked the nurse to take my temperature. It was normal. What a relief! I wondered if it was my thermometer acting up so I took my temperature when I got home and yes, it was normal. So I don't know what caused the temperature. I do know that my sinuses are congested in the morning so maybe I'm just coming down with a cold. Hubby was away at Port Dover with his motorcycle celebrating Friday the 13th. I had encouraged him to go but I do know he was worrying about me. I texted him that my temperature was normal and not to worry. I continued to fill my waking hours with reading and knitting. I have finished a pair of Small socks (Ladies size 5,6) and I have now started a pair of Large socks (Ladies size 9,10).

Saturday, October 14 - Day 16

I did not sleep well. I am filled with fear. I have been filled with this fear for many weeks. From the time of diagnosis back in August, I have been dreading this period of time that I'm now entering. I am not sleeping well because of it. I am filling my time with knitting to keep my mind and hands busy so that I don't sink into the dark pit of fear and despair. Way back in August, I was afraid of my chemo sessions because the doctor described them as harsh. The chemo has been worse than it was 5 years ago but I've managed to get through it fairly well. Back in August, I was also very afraid of the stem cell process. Each time I would start to think about it, I would tell myself that I'm getting ahead of where I need to be and I would repeat in my mind, "One breath at a time, one moment at a time, one step at a time."  This helped to push the thoughts of the stem cell collection and high dose chemo to the back of my mind. Well now the stem cell collection process is at hand. I'll be starting it on Tuesday.

I am afraid. Not just anxious. Not just worried. AFRAID!! In an effort to calm myself, I knit. I read. It's not helping now. I am afraid of having the catheter put into my neck so they can collect the stem cells. This will go in on Tuesday. I will be at the Stem Cell Unit all day Tuesday and then come home. I'll do the same thing on Wednesday and Thursday as an outpatient which means I come home each night. Each of these days, I am there from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as they need to collect 2.5 millions stem cells from me.

I feel like I'm on a train that is going full speed and I can't get off. I'm terrified of the high dose chemo that is scheduled for October 26 and 27. At this point, I can still turn off the thoughts of that because it is over a week away. I can still use "one step at a time".

As I deal with this deep fear I'm currently feeling, I continue to pray for peace of mind. I continue to knit to calm myself. But the fear raises its head while I try to sleep. I've been told that I'm brave and courageous. I'm really not. I'm just mundanely going through my day and the process as it is laid out for me. As I go through these days, I struggle with my deep fear of what's coming up.

Hubby did come home from Port Dover. We went out for dinner as there are very few days left that I will be able to do this.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Day 14 Third Chemo Round - Friendly visit and Low Grade Fever

At my urging, my hubby left this morning to join his friend and the two of them ride their motorcycles to Port Dover for tomorrow's Friday The 13th Celebration. Shortly after he left, I went and had my picc line cleaned and also to get my Neupogen injections.

Over the lunch hour, I knitted some more on the socks I'm currently working on for the homeless. I'll drop them off at Kingston Street Mission when I have a few to give them. I was looking forward to seeing a good friend who had offered to help me get my gardens in a small semblance of order. They are over run with weeds. My friend arrived just after lunch. She immediately tackled my vegetable garden which I have left unplanted this year. As she worked in the veggie garden, I started to cut back some of the old grape vines that continue to grow wild in my flowerbed. I also dug out some nasty thistles that were growing in my herb garden. Then I had to sit down for most of the rest of the afternoon. I visited with my friend while she continued to dig out the weeds and turn the soil in my garden by hand with a shovel.

My neighbour behind me called me over to the fence and asked if I would like to borrow his rotortiller. Hubby and I have used it before so I said yes instantly. My friend had a great time using it and was impressed with it. She was also impressed with how good my soil was looking. It has helped that we had a good soaking of rain last weekend and then again yesterday. Once the veggie garden was done, my friend took a well-deserved break with some iced tea in a glass with lots of ice. After a bit, she got up and started on my flowerbed that surrounds my patio. She got all the weeds pulled and the soil smoothed nicely with her hands. I love the smell of dirt and her work brought that smell to the fore.

We both worked together to tidy up the mess of weeds. I had a box that we filled and an extral large industrial sized garbage bag that we also filled. I will get my hubby to deliver it to our municipal composting site. I felt good that I was able to move the bag and the box into the garage. The Neupogen seems to make my heart race and I get out of breath very quickly. I'll be mentioning that to my nurse practitioner when I see her again.

It was late afternoon and close to dinner time when my friend left. What a wonderful afternoon we had together! I wish I was healthier that I could have done more but I really enjoyed her company and was glad I could do some physical work.

Tonight, I decided to just relax and take it easy. I hadn't taken my temperature since lunch time, so I took my temperature. It was 100.1. I've been monitoring it all evening and it has gone from 99.7 to 100.1 This is a low grade fever. If it goes over 11.4 for over an hour, then I have to go visit the Emergency Department of our local hospital. There is a whole protocol that the staff in Emergency have to follow for me because I'm on high dose Neupogen. I have a "Fever Card" and a stack of papers that I have to take with me if I go to Emergency. So far the temperature hasn't gone up high enough. I am tired. I have noticed that my heart wants to pound and race. I am getting breathless very easily this afternoon and tonight. I have to go to the Health Clinic tomorrow to have my next Neupogen injections. If this fever is still there in the morning, I'll mention it to the nurse and have her take my temperature. I'm off to bed early tonight. Let's pray that the temperature will go down.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Day 13 Third Chemo Round - A Day at the Hospital

This morning I had a very early breakfast. I couldn't have anything to eat or drink after 8:30 a.m. because I was having a CT scan at 11:00 a.m. I had to report to the Stem Cell Unit before going to the Imaging Department for my CT scan. The nurse practioner wanted to check my vital statistics to make sure I'm not running a fever. She also wanted to make sure that I wasn't dehydrated.  Everything went well until I mentioned the side effect of the Neupogen that I felt last night. As soon as I mentioned a racing heart beat and pain in my chest, the nurse practitioner booked me for an ECG. The nurse practitioner was being diligent in checking me over fully. I had 8 vials of blood taken from me. Six of those vials were put into a culture tube to check and see if I have any infections coursing through my body. The nurse was also having problems with my picc line. She was able to flush the line (inject saline into it) but she couldn't get any blood from it. So another kind of medication was injected into me using the picc line and I had to wait for 30 minutes before the nurse could try again to use the picc line to get blood from me.

I was starting to worry that I was going to miss my 11:00 appointment for the CT scan. I arrived at the Stem Cell Unit at 9:15 a.m. The nurse and nurse practitioner managed to get my blood taken out of me for testing before 11 a.m. They had to cancel the ECG machine request. This meant that I had to go back to the Stem Cell Unit after my CT scan in order to have the ECG done. Thank goodness I had the CT scan done with no problems. I then hurried back up to the Stem Cell Unit. After another 15 to 20 minute wait, I finally had the ECG done. I was then free to leave as the ECG was normal.

As I was taking the elevators down to the front entrance of the hospital, I called hubby to come and pick me up. I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and reading a book at his work. When I woke up this morning, I did not expect to spend so much time at the hospital. Thank goodness I had no other appointments to run off to.

Last night, a friend asked me what the Neupogen will do for me. I'm on a high dose of Neupogen. I'm getting the Neupogen injections so that it will stimulate the growth of my stem cells and also release them into my blood stream. Next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I will be an outpatient of the Stem Cell Unit and they will use a dialysis machine to harvest my stem cells from my blood stream. They need to harvest 2.5 million stem cells over three days next week. They will then freeze them and on October 30 all my frozen stem cells will be re-injected into me. I hope this helps you understand the process a little better.

I finished another book today, entitlted "The Guest List" by Fern Michaels. I did a lot of reading while I was waiting for all my appointments. Considering I had to miss some meals and limit my liquid intake, I had a good day.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Day 12 Third Chemo Round - Neupogen side effects

Yesterday (Day 11, Third Chemo Round) was a great day. I was able to eat turkey dinner leftovers without any nausea. This was due to keeping up with the anti-nausea medications. I'm still on two antibiotic medications. One is for the pain and swelling in my left lower arm. The other is one that I have to take along with the Neupogen which I started taking yesterday. I had to go to the CBI Health Clinic (formerly CCAC) to have the high dose Neupogen needles. I had such a good day yesterday that I forgot to blog. That's the sign of a great day!

As I mentioned, I started the Neupogen injections yesterday. This morning I had to go again for the 2 needles. Yesterday the needles were put into the right side of my abdomen. This morning the nurse put the 2 vials into one needle and injected it into my upper right arm. I had a good day and my nausea was under control until this evening. I just have to make sure I keep taking the Olanzapine and the Ondansetron to keep the nausea under control.

Tonight, my body is starting to show the side effects of the high dose Neupogen. My left hip really hurts and the muscle feels weak when I get up from sitting. My right knee is also starting to ache when I walk. This has been my fear leading up to taking the Neupogen. I'm afraid the pain is going to be debilitating. Then I just remind myself that I can take some Tylenol to help ease the pain. I do have anxiety about the side effects of the various medications that I take. I try to hand these worries over to God to carry for me. So far that has helped keep me from being too frazzled. This Neupogen scares me though. So does the thought of having the high dose chemo on Oct. 26 and 27.

Tomorrow I go for my CT scan to see if the tumours have shrunk at least 50 percent. This is the final test that I have to pass in order to have the stem cell transplant. Here's hoping they have shrunk that much already. I do have to go to the hospital early so that the Stem Cell Unit nurse can take my vital signs and give me my Neupogen injections. I'll take advantage of being at the hospital to return some books to my former co-worker and to say hello to some of the volunteers.

Tomorrow will be a busy day.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Day 10 Third Chemo Round - Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was our Canadian Thanksgiving. This is typically a time where we celebrate our blessings and are thankful for the bountiful harvest of the summer vegetables. It is often a time of extended family getting together and enjoying a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Unfortunately, our daughter had to work in her city where she's living. It's 2 hours away. However, we have our son home for the holiday weekend and staying until Wednesday. Hubby and our son put together the turkey dinner celebration today for the three of us. From the time I awoke this morning (6 a.m. in order to take some medications), I was hoping that my nausea would be controlled enough with medications that I could enjoy the turkey dinner.

I love turkey dinners with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables and finished off with pies for dessert. I can never get tired of eating turkey. So I was very vigilant on making sure I was drinking enough liquid, taking my medications with food and on time all day. With some help from my son, I was able to do two loads of laundry and hang it on the line to dry. That activity left me feeling dizzy and weak so I sat down and knitted or watched television.

Hubby made eggs and bacon for breakfast and I was able to eat some of that. I then picked the sage and parsley from my garden to be used in the stuffing that would fill the turkey cavity. It made me feel good to be able to help in some small way with the dinner. I know I made the pies earlier in the week but I like to help with preparing the meal.

We spent the afternoon watching baseball and football on television. I made sure I was on time with all my medications and I made sure I was staying hydrated. I did notice that the cysplatin (chemo drug) is playing havoc with my hearing. I've had some ringing of the ears the last few days. Today my hearing was very muffled. I'm hoping this will not be a permanent hearing loss.

As I reflected on Thanksgiving and our blessings, I was blessed today with some good medications to keep me feeling normal. I was blessed to be strong enough to hang the laundry and sit outside in the morning. I was blessed with the company of my hubby and son. We were very blessed to enjoy a full turkey dinner. As always with turkey, I probably ate too much as I was very, very full when we finished. I was still feeling full when it was time to take the Clindamycin (normally taken with food) so I just took the pill without eating something first. As I continue to count my blessings, I am blessed with the love of family and friends. Sometimes as I go through all this chemo and the side effects, I get grumpy and tired of it all. My hubby and son were my blessings today as they put up with me. We enjoyed our dinner. We really enjoyed the pies with whipped cream.

So I end by saying Happy Thanksgiving and count your blessings at the end of each day. It helps.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Day 9 Third Chemo Round - Juggling Medications, hydration and small meals

Today I felt much better after drinking more than the required 8 glasses today. What a schedule to juggle though. I'm on 4 different medications. Some need to be taken with food. One need lots of water/liquid to be taken. One needs to be taken every 6 hours. One needs to be taken every 8 hours. One needs to be taken between 7 & 8 p.m. at night.

I find this onerous to juggle the medication schedule, getting the required liquid intake and still trying to eat meals with my family when I'm full from the food that needs to be eaten with medication between meals. So I'm eating smaller amounts during the "regular meals" and eating snacks with the medications. This medication schedule also means a disrupted night unless I can time the medication to be taken at midnight and again at 6 a.m.

The nausea didn't raise its ugly head until just after supper. So I took my new anti-nausea medication which is faster acting and hope it will settle my stomach before I head off to bed. The side effect of this new medication is dizziness and drowsiness. This is why it's best to take it in the evening. It is a 12 hour medication though so hopefully it will last the night.

I had some time to myself while hubby and my son did some last minute grocery shopping. I finished the current novel I was reading by Danielle Steele entitled "Blue". This was a book that a friend loaned to me a few weeks ago. I'm not normally a Danielle Steele fan but I did enjoy this book. Tonight, I'll start my next book by Fern Michaels called "The Guest List".

I enjoyed having my son home today. We spent some time together which was really nice. Tomorrow he will help my hubby prepare our turkey dinner. I'm hoping I will be able to enjoy it with them.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Day 8 Third Chemo Round - Dehydration and Chemo

This morning I awoke early and went to have my shower. I got very dizzy and was concerned while in the shower. I quickly did what I had to do and dried myself while sitting on the toilet so I wouldn't fall. This scared me.

I was at the Stem Cell Unit for my chemo by 8:30 a.m. The nurse checked my vital statistics and my blood pressure was very low and my heart rate was at 120 beats per minute. My normal heart rate is usually between 45 and 55 beats per minute. This caused a flurry of activity and the fluids were pumped into me. I took 1.5 Litres of fluid to bring my vital statistics to where the staff were comfortable. I also had my Day 8 chemo of Gemcitabine.

My nausea is what caused the dehydration. Although I never actually got sick, the nauseous feeling discouraged me from eating and drinking. My taste buds have changed again and I'm struggling to find a liquid that I like to drink. Today, I enjoyed some apple cider while I had my chemo and liquids pumped into me. I also like chocolate milk. I'm going to try Schweppes Gingerale with ice (watered down as it melts) and see if that is another option for liquid.

I also have a small infection in my left arm where the IV went in for my very first chemo. That infection had flared up in late August and it showed up again yesterday morning. So I'm back on Clindamycin for 7 days to deal with this. The Practical RN that was assigned to my file also has given me a new anti-nausea drug to see if that will help me more.

As I go into Thanksgiving weekend, I'm on a strict schedule of medications that need to be taken at certain times, some with food, some with lots of water, some with nothing. So I'm back to having a "medicine journal" to try and keep it all tracked and doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

Today wasn't a complete downer though. I had two former co-workers come up to visit with me which helped lift my spirits. I am struggling to accept my regimented life. I just want to be done with all this and eat when I want, what I want, drink when I want, take no medications. However, starting Monday, I will also be taking another medication every morning at the health clinic where my picc line gets cleaned. I want to be able to go to crowded fun places with my hubby and son. I don't like feeling cooped up and penned in. So I'm feeling a little sorry for myself today.

But....it's Thanksgiving weekend and I'm thankful that my son has come home for the weekend. I'm thankful that my hubby knows how to cook well. I'm thankful that I got an apple pie made for my hubby and a pumpkin pie made for my son. I did something to add to the meal even though I may not eat much of it. I'm thankful for all my friends and family who continue to pray for me and lift me with their cards and written thoughts. So Happy Thanksgiving and I'll try to focus on my blessings instead of what I can't do or have to do.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Day 7 Third Chemo Round - Another Nauseous Day and Thanksgiving

I had a terrible night of nausea but I can say that I haven't vomited. Today was more of the same. I tried to eat some soup at lunch time so that I would be getting nourishment and hydration, but it didn't sit well.

I did manage to make an apple pie and a pumpkin pie for my family for this weekend's Thanksgiving dinner. I probably did too much because then I was feeling very dizzy and nauseous. I am also probably dehydrated because food and drink is not appealing to me today.

My son comes home tonight for several days to celebrate Thanksgiving. I go in for chemo again tomorrow morning so I expect that I will feel nauseous throughout the weekend and not interested in eating a turkey dinner. That's too bad because I always have looked forward to turkey dinners with all the trimmings. Oh well, I will have to look forward to having my turkey at Christmas time.

Here's praying that I can sleep tonight with less nauseousness.

Day 6 Third Chemo Round - A Nauseous Day

I awoke thinking about our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. I always make the pies. So I made up the pie pastry and then was too dizzy to do anything with it. That's OK because it can sit overnight and I can work with it tomorrow.

Then the nausea hit for for the full day. I laid down for a bit to see if that would help and I had a wonderful phone call from my sister to help pass the time. Then my hubby called from work to check on me. I had my cousin contact me who I haven't heard from in a long time. And then I had a nice visit from a very good friend who just returned from Las Vegas. I had been worried about her so it was good to have a visit even though I was nauseous.

The nausea continues. However, I do feel the enfolding grace of God's love through the support of friends and family. I'm reminded that God does carry me cupped in his hands through all of this.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Day 5 Third Round Chemo - A Hodge Podge Day

Today has been a day of feeling a little nauseous and taste buds being off. I have managed to get through the day without anti-nausea pills. That's a good thing. However, I'm having trouble finding a liquid that I want to drink to stay hydrated. I started off with peppertmint tea this morning. Didn't work. Then I tried the Digestive tea. Didn't work. I tried my Iced Tea. Didn't work. I finally tried my favourite Chai tea late this afternoon. Didn't work.

However, today wasn't a wasted day. I made some quinoa salad for lunch and had some again at dinner time. I had a friend drop by this afternoon for a visit and we wandered around outside looking at my disgraceful flower and vegetable gardens. The weather was beautifully warm and the sun was shining. I did get my laundry washed twice. I'm now past being chemically toxic and so my laundry needed to be washed twice to ride it of the chemicals. I was able to hang it outdoors and it dried quickly.

I tried to knit today but I kept making mistakes and had to rip it all out and start again. Tomorrow will probably be a better day again. I think I'm coming out of the doldrums.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Day 4 Third Chemo Round - Las Vegas, Nausea/Tiredness and Pulmonary Functioning Test

I awoke this morning trying to decide was I nauseous due to hunger or needing anti-nausea medication. Before I could decide, I heard the news about the shootings in Las Vegas. Our very, very good friends are currently in Las Vegas and I was now nauseous with the thought of them being killed or injured.

I went ahead with breakfast and the ensuing medications (prochlorperazine and Dexamethasone). Hubby was on Facebook giving me updates. Our friends were safe but separated. Then they were safe and together in their room. Thank God!!!!

I'm struggling with dry mouth today, tiredness and nausea. On top of this, I have my Pulmonary Functioning Test today. I have to pass it in order to do the stem cell transplant. My mind is impaired due to tiredness and confusion so I needed hubby to come home from work and drive me to my appointment. He also had a previously scheduled appointment nearby but for about 1 hour after mine was done.

I ended up doing the Pulmonary Functioning Test and it seemed to help give me some energy that I was lacking. Not much energy, but a little bit. I had to take some deep breaths and blow out all the air into a tube. I also had to take a deep breath and slowly release the air until my lungs were comletely empty. Then I also had take a deep breath and pant into the tube even after the air was removed and it was a vacuum. Here's hoping that I passed it. It took a total of about 45 minutes.

After the appointment, as we arrived at the foyer of the local outpatient clinic hospital, we met some friends who have also been going through the cancer journey. A short visit with them and we still had some time to spend before hubby's appointment down the road. I had an apple scone and hubby had a cup of coffee. I shared the scone with him and then we went off to his appointment.

Thank goodness I took my book that I have just started called "Blue" by Danielle Steele. As I read in the waiting room, I kept wanting to fall asleep and doze off. Finally hubby came out and we went back to his work so he could catch up. I went to a quiet area to read and I ended up falling asleep for about 45 minutes. Thank goodness I awoke before anyone walked in on me.

I did get a chance to visit with some of hubby's co-workers and then it was time to leave to go home. I kept dozing off in the car. I've continued to feel nauseous off and on and I'm still struggling with dry mouth. I've been using the spray that my sister sent me in her first care package. It seems to help. Dinner sat well but then dry mouth set in again.

I'm off to bed early tonight to see if this will help me. I'm just so glad that our friends are safe and sound.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Day 3 Third Chemo Round - A Quiet Day

I awoke with the nausea feeling in full force. This was at 4:45 a.m. I got up and took at prochlorperaze (anit-nausea supplement pill) and went back to bed. I dozed off and on but the stomach was rumbly. Finally at 7:15 I arose for the day. I did the morning routine of feeding the cat and changing his water. I then put in a load of laundry. Then I had some toast and jam with a small cup of tea. I took my Emend (new anti-nausea medication) and the Dexamethasone (the other prescribed nausea medication) with my breakfast. I hung the laundry out and started another load. All the time the stomach was rumbly. I finished doing the laundry and hung it out and put in another 2 loads to dry in the dryer.

Then I sat and worked on knitting the first sock of the pair I'm making for my sister-in-law. Around 10:00 a.m. my stomach was again griping and nauseous. I have found that if I eat small amounts it helps. So I had another piece of toast to hold me through until lunch. Back to my knitting I went. As I got tired of knitting, I checked in on Facebook and my emails. Then back to the knitting. Around 11:30, I again started feeling a little nauseous and very tired. I had dozed off at the couch for a little bit. So I made an early bite for lunch of an open faced sandwich of cucumber and tomato. This is my attempt to eat small amounts to keep the nausea down but also to make sure my white blood cells counts can be boosted by the choices of food I eat. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables help with that.

After my lunch, I went and laid down for a bit. I intended to read my current book called "Blue" by Danielle Steele that a friend has loaned to me. I didn't even get through a line before I was falling asleep. I closed the book and settled in for a nap. Hubby told me when I awoke that I had been out for 2 hours. I guess I was tired. I felt better after having the nap. I brought in the laundry from the line and the only things that needed to be finished in the dryer were 2 pairs of pants. They were almost completely dry except for the pockets.

The afternoon has continued to be a battle of the nausea and I'm relying on the prochlorperazine to help me with that. I really like the Emend as it works well. Unfortunately, today was the last of the Emend for this part of my chemo. To get me through the afternoon before dinner was served, I had some crackers with the cashew spread I bought a couple of weeks ago. It helped calm the nausea and for supper I enjoyed some barbecued zucchini, a small piece of potato and some carrots. I ate half of the crosscut steak that hubby brought home from the butcher. There is enough leftovers for us to have it all again tomorrow night. Tomorrow I will be going for my Pulmonary Functioning Test as part of the work up to make sure I'm healthy enough for the stem cell transplant.

I expect this evening to be a continuation of today. Intermittent nausea followed by prochlorperazine and me attempting to keep myself hydrated. I am hoping to be able to stay up long enough to watch my favourite series "Outlander".

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Day 2 Third Chemo Round - Starting the Downslide

I awoke this morning feeling very tired and sluggish. I had a small breakfast of toast and jam with a small glass of milk and then my David's Tea digestive blend.  I also had to have my vanilla yogurt to get the 10 Dexamethasone pills down without them coming back up. I have a new drug that has been prescribed for me. It is called Emend. This is to help block inside the brain the impulse for nausea and vomiting. It seemed to work well. Although my appetite is down a little bit, I wasn't feeling nauseous throughout the day.

Hubby had some errands and work things to handle this morning and about mid-morning I had my last fresh peach. I like to slice it up and mix it with some honey but not too much. It adds just a hint of sweetness and it blends with the juices of the peach. This is a snack or dessert from my childhood. When hubby came home, he then cooked up some eggs with mushrooms, some breakfast sausage and some homemade potato hashbrowns. I had some of each but not a lot. I also had my tea and a piece of toast with blueberry/blackberry jam.

After brunch was all cleaned up, hubby and I drove to Lemoine Point and walked through along the trails. It was cool today but I was really feeling cold. I had a t-shirt, hoodie and windbreaker jacket. I needed my hoodie up to cover my ears and keep my head warm. However, I enjoyed the walk but lamented that the trails do not allow us to go to the stone beaches anymore. I understand that this is to protect the fragile landscape from erosion and human abuse. It was nice to see glimpses of Collins Bay and Lake Ontario through the trees during our walk. At this time of year, if it is not too busy and loud on the trails, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of a deer. Not today though. There were lots of people walking with their dogs, joggers and cyclists. It would be too noisy and busy for the deer to come near.

After our walk, we climbed back in the car and headed towards the baseball field where our son used to play. Hubby had read that a game was taking place there this afternoon. We arrived just as a game was ending. We knew one of the umpires and enjoyed catching up with him and what his family is doing. The next game that was about to start did not include one of our home teams and I was feeling the wind and getting cold. I didn't want to get chilled so we left with the intention of coming back at 4 p.m. to watch our home team play. This series of games was apparently part of a new Fall Ball program.

We never did make it back for the 4 p.m. game as I started to go downhill. I had a sandwich to settle my stomach as it was starting to feel queasy. I worked on the sock that I'm currently knitting. Finally I realized I was chilled and feeling tired. I went to lay down for a nap. I was cold so I put the hood up on my hoodie and covered myself with all the covers and duvet. Hubby had to wake me up about 5:30 in order to eat some supper.

For supper, I had a barbecued chicken thigh with no barbecue sauce, a small amount of plain rice and some salad. This small amount of dinner filled me up. I also had some iced tea to drink. Hubby served up some zucchini loaf for dessert. It was good. However, I started feeling queasy about 6:30 so I took a prochlorperazine (supplemental anti-nausea drug) and hope that will settle my stomach. I'm fighting a small headache which is a side effect of the rituximab. I hesitate to take a tylenol as it will cover up if I start to run a fever. I have to check my temperature at least once a day. I tend to take it every 4 hours because this will be the routine when I am admitted to hospital on October 25.

I expect that all this is the slippery slope downhill. I try not to dwell on the side effects but I do need to be aware so I can counteract them if I'm able to. Otherwise, I just ride the wave and look forward to when I can feel good again. Rest helps too so I have to make sure that I don't stay up too late and that I take naps as needed. I am enjoying a gift that my cousin-in-law gave me on Wednesday. It is a pottery bread that has a hollowed out centre. The bread says "Bread of Life". Inside the hollowed out part are various slips with bible verses on each side of them. I like taking one out once (sometimes twice) a day and reading it. The verse often brings me comfort. Today I did this twice and each time the verse brought me comfort and I felt strengthened knowing I am leaning on God's strength to get me through this ordeal of chemo.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Day 1 Third Chemo Round - Surrounded by Family, Friends and Great Nurses

I had a fairly good night's sleep but I did wake up at 4:00 a.m. and was feeling a little anxious. I really didn't want to go in and have my chemo today. I've been enjoying my great days this past 2 weeks. I found it difficult to get up and out of bed. For breakfast I had a bowl of Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal. However, I put one foot in front of the other today and went in for my chemotherapy. I had to be in the Stem Cell Unit by 7:30 this morning. My vitals (blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature) were taken and my chemo was ordered from the pharmacy. Hubby went down to the Tuck Shop and got me a coffee. I love coffee every morning and in the last week, I've been able to drink it again. This morning will likely be my last coffee for a long time as my taste buds change and make coffee taste like stale cigarette butts. The nurse I had today was fantastic. She made sure that I got my 2 Tylenol tablets and 2 Benadryl caplets into me before starting the chemotherapy. The Tylenol helps with the headaches that are caused by the Rituximab and the Benadryl is to help make sure I don't get hives from the Rituximab. Today, I was given Rituximab, Sodium Chloride (for hydration), Deximethasone, Gemcitebine and Cysplatin. I have been given another kind of medication that will help with controlling the nausea in this round of chemo.

My nurse took good care of me and in chatting with her, I discovered that she lived in the tiny village of Bognor. Bognor was the village close to where my grandparents had their dairy farm. I have fond memories of attending functions at the Community Centre in Bognor. I was introduced to square dances, euchre parties, BBQ's and community parties in this Community Centre. I helped my grandma cater functions there. One of my favourite memories is attending the Annual Pork Chop Barbecue. A company sets up the barbecue and uses smoked pork chops. Once you get your chops on your plate, then you enter the Bognor Community Centre and get the salads and for dessert homemade pies. As a child, we always took a piece of two of my grandma's pies. She was known for having great pies. So today while the chemo was being pumped into me, I enjoyed a walk down memory lane. While my nurse was a young child in Bognor, I was also in Bognor at various functions. What a small world!!

Also this morning, a friend of mine dropped by to visit and happened to be with me when my nurse and I discovered our mutual love of Bognor. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with my friend. It helps the time pass. I also was reading my current book called "The Someday Jar" by Allison Morgan. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Today, because I was in the Stem Cell Unit, a lunch tray was ordered for me. What a nice perk! When it arrived, I was hungry and my taste buds hadn't changed yet. I had Broccoli Cheese soup, a Chicken Salad sandwich, a cup of tea, a carton of milk and a serving of mandarin oranges segments. I didn't like the oranges so I let my hubby have them.

After lunch, I dozed off for a little bit and was abruptly awakened by the loud beeping of my IV pole. I was totally disoriented and my hubby had a bit of a chuckle at my expense. The Benadryl and the Rituximab cause drowsiness. It probably didn't help that I slept very lightly from 4:00-6:00 a.m. I was able to see the humour in seeing me jump awake and not be sure where I was.

I finished my chemo around 2:30 this afternoon. On our way to the car, I stopped into the Gift Shop to see the volunteers that I have worked with as well as the buyer who has become a good friend. While I was in the Gift Shop, I saw my morning counterpart from the Tuck Shop stocking chips in the Gift Shop. She was working way past her normal hours and she was covering for my replacement who was unable to make it into work today. After leaving the Gift Shop, I stopped by the Tuck Shop to visit with my volunteer. She was so happy to see me! My eagle eye saw changes in the Tuck Shop and I had to tell myself, "It's not my problem."  After leaving the Tuck Shop, I dropped by to see my manager briefly and was pleased to see another volunteer that I have worked with. She's also the volunteer Convenor for the Gift and Tuck Shop. Then hubby and I made the long walk to the car. I was feeling fairly good and able to walk briskly.

I had my full supper tonight. I took my Ondansetron (anti-nausea pill) with my supper. As the evening progressed, I started to feel a little queasy. I have put off having the supplemental medication but I finally went for it around 8:15 p.m. I will probably call my mother tonight and then head for an early bedtime. Here's hoping tomorrow will be an "OK" day. I know that I am going to go downhill in the next few days. I have to say that knowing I have friends and family sending me their love, support and prayers, it really helps to lift my spirits when things start to go downhill.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

My Last Good Day before the Third R-GDP chemo

I had another great day today. This is my last day of feeling good for a long time and I decided to fill my day with my favourite things to do. I have been wanting to buy a book at Chapters called "The Brain's Way of Healing" by Dr. Norman Doidge. So I went this morning with my son and bought a paperback copy for myself and one for my cousin-in-law. I thought that she would enjoy reading it. After dropping her book off at her home, my son and I went to Old Navy to buy him a couple of pairs of good pants for when he has placements in the classroom. He's in his last year of his Concurrent Education degree. I enjoyed spending time with him while we were shopping.

After shopping, I had a lovely phone call with my cousin-in-law and then enjoyed making lunch for my son and me. I like having him home and I'm so happy that I was feeling well while he was visiting. We had a quiet afternoon just enjoying each other's company. I spent my afternoon knitting while watching television shows that my son wanted to watch. I started the first sock of a pair that I'm knitting for my sister-in-law. I also walked briskly to the health clinic where they clean and change the dressing for my picc line. I surprised myself by making the walk in 10 minutes. My heart was working but it didn't take very long to settle back down and for my breathing to return to normal. This was just another sign that I'm feeling really healthy at this time.

When hubby came home from work, we went off to a local restaurant that we haven't been to in about 10 years. We had an enjoyable evening and meal. It was full of laughter, reminiscing and conversation. Our time together went too quickly. I always find it hard to say good bye to my children as they leave to go back to their own home. So after dinner, our son finished packing up his car and got on the road to go back home. He should make it home around midnight.

I'm really not looking forward to tomorrow. I don't want to do the chemo. I don't want to feel horrible again. I know that I have to go through all this so that I can enjoy more quality time. I just don't like feeling nauseous. I don't like feeling ill. I'm afraid of being sick again. Anyway, I have to be in the Stem Cell Unit for 7:30 tomorrow morning and I'll probably be there for 6 to 8 hours as the Rituximab, Gemcitabine, Cysplatin and Deximethasone is all pumped into me tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to this but I try not to complain. Complaining about it just makes me feel worse and it doesn't change anything except allow the cancer to steal another day away from me.

I'll do the chemo tomorrow and I'll just think one moment at a time for the next month or so.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

My Son is Visiting

Last night my son arrived home around midnight after a 4 1/2 hour drive. He's in his last year of university and had to attend a meeting last night which is why he arrived home so late. What a wonderful visit I had with him today. He challenged me in debates and discussions regarding some of his reading and studying as he prepared for an upcoming test.

While he studied, I did two loads of laundry and hung it out to dry. We are in the middle of a heat wave which is helping to dry the clothes on the line quickly. I also made some bran muffins in preparation for my next chemo session on Friday. I will be able to bring the muffins for hubby and I to snack on while I'm in the Stem Cell Unit at the hospital for my 6 hours of chemo on Friday. I also thought the bran muffins and the zucchini loaf that I baked yesterday could be used as a nice treat to go along with the tea that I'm serving this afternoon to my hubby's cousin.

I took great pleasure in making lunch for my son today. It was just leftovers from my supper last night which included veggies and some zucchini patties. As I reheated it in the microwave and the aroma of the zucchini patties filled the house, my son was appreciative of the lunch being prepared. It is a small thing but I thoroughly enjoyed being "mom" and making lunch. For myself, I enjoyed a tomato sandwich using tomatoes that my hubby grew in containers throughout the summer. It is a summer treat for me to have a tomato sandwich with lots of mayonnaise, sliced juicy tomatoes, salt, pepper and a couple leaves of lettuce.

After lunch, my hubby's cousin came for afternoon tea. She brought me a beautiful mug with Haida artwork on it. She brought it all the way from British Columbia when she visited there in May. She also gave me a beautiful gift. It is a container in the shape of a loaf of bread and says "Bread of Life" and in the container are various bible verses. So each day, I can take a verse out and read it, meditate/ponder it and replace back into the container. This is a beautiful gift that will be helpful on some of my bad days. My son joined us in sharing a pot of tea and we enjoyed some of my zucchini loaf that I made yesterday as well as the fresh bran muffins I made this morning. What a lovely, warm visit we had with great conversation. The afternoon went by very quickly and then my cousin had to leave. She's such a generous, warm and kind lady!

Hubby had been out of town today for his work. He wasn't sure he was going to be back home in time for dinner. My son and I decided we would like to go to Red Lobster for dinner tonight. I made reservations to include my hubby and sure enough he made it home in time. What a lovely time we had. The food was good and we enjoyed our time together. We came home and then enjoyed some zucchini loaf for dessert.

I've had another great day where I've enjoyed all the little moments that make great memories for the days that I don't feel so well. I just want to fill my good days with lots of the warm little moments that make life worth living. I'm not looking forward to my chemo on Friday but tomorrow I will again live my good day to the absolute fullest.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Another Good Day

I am now in my extra days before I will have my next chemo injection. I am feeling "normal" at this time. I look healthy. My skin has good colour. My energy is good. This morning I took advantage of feeling good and went to my friend's house to visit over a cup of tea. I also had ulterior motives as I wanted to see her new kitchen that is almost finished being installed. We had a lovely visit and the time went by quickly.

Today was a fairly quiet day which was good. I find that I've been taking advantage of having all my good days and filling them with moments that make good memories. It is important that I also have down time or quiet time so that I can recharge my batteries. So this afternoon, I intended to spend my time reading "True Colors" by Kristin Hannah. I'm really enjoying this book and I find it hard to put it down once I start reading it. However, I also wanted to make some zucchini loaves. I have a favourite recipe that I use and I haven't made zucchini loaf in a number of years. I couldn't even remember which cookbook had the recipe. I used to make it all the time when I grew zucchinis. I finally found the recipe. I have two zucchinis so I decided to grate one and use the left over grated zucchini for my supper. I baked my zucchini loaves and then I drizzled a lemon glaze over them. It makes them very moist and tasty.

For supper, I used the rest of the grated zucchini to make zucchini patties that get pan fried in butter. I haven't made these for many years. As I ate my dinner which included the zucchini patties, I was reminded that I really like these. I should make sure I make them more often.

Tonight, I've been reading my book while watching the Blue Jays play in Boston. I also had a lovely visit on the phone with my mom. My son is coming home late tonight but I'll already be in bed so I will see him tomorrow.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Day 21 Second Chemo Round - A Day of Tests

I knew when I awoke this morning that my day was going to be a full one. Last night, I had hubby bring a pork tenderloin up from the freezer so that it would be thawed by this morning. I decided to throw together a marinade and have it soak in the marinade all day. My marinade had some olive oil, red wine, freshly grated ginger, freshly minced garlic, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, oregano, parsley, basil and some of the Pampered Chef's Three Onion Rub. I mixed it all together and then place the tenderloin in a large bowl with the marinade. Every time I walked past the fridge, I opened it up and swirled the marinade over the tenderloin.

I went shopping for some of the items that I will need for when I am admitted to hospital for the stem cell transplant. Then when I dropped them off at home, I again swirled the marinade over the tenderloin. Then off I went to go to my appointments at the hospital.

I had to have a MUGA test which tests and measures the efficiency of your heart function. I was told the test would take 45 minutes. I briskly walked to the hospital from my hubby's work where I parked the car. I want the exercise because I'm trying to keep myself in shape and strong for the upcoming weeks. I arrived at the hospital early so I dropped into the Tuck Shop to drop off some books that I had borrowed from my co-worker. On my way to the Tuck Shop, I met up with another co-worker and had a short but lovely visit with her. It always makes my day when I run into people that I used to work with or see on a regular basis at work. Today I ran into various people and it was nice to see them. With the MUGA test, my blood is taken and then has nuclear radiation added to it and mixed together. After 25 minutes, it was put back inside me so that the x-ray used in the MUGA test can see the blood coursing through my heart and veins. Hubby arrived just as I was about to enter into the x-ray room for the MUGA test. Once I was on the table and the test was beginning, hubby made the comment that "I looked like I was in a panini press. I found that very amusing. The test seemed to take a long time in order to take three images.

After the MUGA test, I had to run up to the stem cell unit in order to have blood taken and tested as part of my pre-chemo regimen.  I was surprised to find that I was also having an EKG. I forgot to tell the nurses and the EKG technician that I have a slow heart rate. Today it was between 45 and 50 beats per minute. The nurse came in and asked if it was normal for me to have a slow heart rate. It is always this low. If I'm revved up, the pulse will jump up to 60 which is high for me. Anyway, my vital signs were all good.

The MUGA test and the EKG test both involved using adhesive pads on me. My skin is very itchy tonight as I have reacted to the adhesive again. My skin continues to react and weep in the picc line location. I have some medicated cream to put on it which soothes it a little but I can't remove the covering on the picc line which is the area which is most irritated and itchy.  Tonight, I have red squares and circles where the pads were put on for the MUGA and EKG tests. I'll put some cream on those spots to keep them under control.

After my hospital visit, I dropped hubby off at work and continued on to finish the shopping for my time when I'm living in the hospital. I had read a short story that had been written by a stem cell patient and was on the stem cell website. The author of the story had some great suggestions on what to bring with you to the hospital. I decided to go out and get what I needed this week while I'm feeling good. I'm not sure if I will have any good days in October before I am admitted to hospital. So everything is ready and it is one less thing I need to worry about. Hopefully, it will help me sleep better as I will have less to worry about.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Day 20 Second Chemo Round - Relaxing, Hot Summer Day

I had a better night's sleep last night. I think I was tired out from my visits with friends on Friday night and yesterday. I did stay up and watch Road House starring Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliott. I love Sam Elliott's voice and I always enjoy watching this movie. It finished about 11:30 last night and I think that helped me sleep through most of the night.

This morning I was tired and not very hungry. However, hubby made me scrambled eggs and some hash browns which I ate with a piece of toast and some marmalade. Then I had some peaches with honey which is a throwback to my childhood. I love the taste of honey and peaches together.  After this breakfast, I had some major anxiety about the upcoming chemo and various tests and drugs leading up to the stem cell transplant. I am terrified of my chemo this Friday and next Friday. I'm also terrified of the "high dose chemo" that I will be undergoing towards the end of October. I know I have to go through all this in order to do the stem cell transplant but just the thought of it all and I start to feel nauseous and go off my food. This morning there were some tears, some anger and just trying to settle myself and pull myself out of the funk. I continue to work on my knitted afghan to help ease the anxiety. The knitting portion is finished. I'm just adding the tassels along the edge. Once the afghan is completely done, I'll start knitting some socks to give to the homeless. I may also make some mitts and hats to give as well. I find the rhythm of knitting soothing and also following a pattern helps keep my mind busy. If it is busy following a pattern, then it can't consume itself with thoughts of the upcoming ordeal.

The weather continues to be summer like and hot, sunny and dry. This afternoon, we hopped into the car and drove to a friend's cottage to spend the afternoon. What a lovely visit we had but, again, I tired quickly and by 4:30 we were on the road to return home. There's nothing like the calm lake lapping against the shore and the chatter of good friends to calm my fears. By the time we came home I was much more settled and back to being myself.

On the ride home, my arm was really itchy where the picc line insertion is. I lifted the gauze wrap and saw some leakage that looked like there may be an infection at the site of the picc line going into my arm. I wasn't overly worried yet as I wasn't running a fever. Once we got back into the city, hubby took me to the CBI Health Clinic where I go to have my picc line cleaned each week. I was just there on Friday. The clinic was actually closed but not locked and one of the nurses was there. I opened the door and walked in and told her what I saw. She had me go into the examination room and unwrapped the gauze wrap. She immediately saw the leakage I had seen. It wasn't an infection but an allergic reaction on my skin from the adhesive on the transparent bandage. My skin had blistered and then the blister broke open and wept. The nurse put some medicated cream onto my skin and then rebandaged the site with a gauze pad and then the small adhesive square bandage. None of the adhesive is now touching my skin. Hopefully it will all heal up well. It's still very itchy tonight.

Tomorrow is another busy day full of appointments and errands. I continue to try to live each day to the absolute fullest especially while I'm feeling good. I would normally start my third round of chemo tomorrow but the schedule has changed since my file was passed over to the stem cell doctor. She is the one that makes the decisions regarding my schedule now. I will have my third round of chemo on Friday. So I'm trying to enjoy these last few days this week as much as I can.


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Day 18 and Day 19 Second Chemo Round

Day 18 - Friday, September 22, 2017

I again had a disrupted night due to worries about the upcoming chemo, tests and costs of medications. However, I was still up around 6:45 a.m. and able to follow hubby on his motorcycle while he delivered it to his mechanic. When we had been on the bike on Sunday, we both heard and felt a "thwap, thwap, thwap" as we drove on a rural road close to home. We thought it was coming from the front tire. However, today, Friday, when hubby was backing the bike out of the garage to take it to his mechanic, he heard the sound coming from the rear tire. As I followed him down the road, I could visually see a bulge on the left side of the rear tire. I flipped on my hazard lights as I realized hubby was only going 25 km/hr down the road. I move the car to "block" the lane and make it more safe for hubby going at such as slow speed. I felt great relief when he finally pulled into the parking lot of the mechanic's shop. Hubby then dropped me off at home and continued on his way to work with our car.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but we have always ever had one car. Today was a sunny, warm day and I did not mind that I would walk to the local CBI Health Clinic to have my picc line cleaned. I made the walk in about 15 minutes. I tried to walk briskly both to and from the clinic in an attempt to get my lungs working and heart working well.

After I had returned home from the clinic, the doorbell rang and a local florist was delivering a lovely collection of various pink and purple flowers. What a beautiful and cheerful vase it is. I always forget how much fresh flowers lift my spirits.

After dinner, a good friend from Cornwall dropped by for a visit. She's in town with some friends and they will do a wine tour tomorrow. I really enjoyed our visit and she brought a beautiful bouquet of Fall coloured flowers from a florist in Cornwall. They really helped to brighten up my living room. After my friend left to return to her hotel, I realized I was very tired and I was in bed early.

Day 19 - Saturday, September 23

I again had a disrupted night's sleep. This time it was due to some muscle spasms that were bothering my back. I got up around 4:00 a.m. for about an hour and completed some more knitting on my afghan project. I returned to my bed and some much needed sleep around 5:30 a.m. I slept through until 7:15 when my cat woke me up by walking up and down my legs. I got up and fed hime and changed his water. I then made lots of coffee as I was still feeling sluggish.

A friend from Ajax came to visit today. What a nice visit we had! She brought many books for me to read and help pass the time. Last year I had mentioned a title of a book that I had regretted giving away. Didn't my friend find the book on a table in a garage sale which were labelled "free"! She brought it along with her today. We enjoyed a delicious lunch along with my hubby and then we went to Baskin & Robbins to buy my favourite ice cream. I was able to get "Baseball Nut" in two 1 litre containers. They'll stay in my freezer and be used sparingly to help soothe my tongue when it gets canker sores. By late afternoon, my friend was on her way to visit another girl (her friend) I knew from university days.

I'm tired tonight and will head to bed shortly. Tomorrow is another busy day. The weather is supposed to be fantastic....hot and sunny. Hubby and I have been invited to a cottage for the afternoon. We'll take advantage of that. I won't be able to go swimming in the lake due to my picc line but perhaps I'll be able to dangle my feet in the water while sitting on the dock. I'll have to remember to bring a floppy hat and my sunscreen.

My string of days where I'm feeling great is continuing.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Day 17 Second Chemo Round - General Anxiety and My Allergy Test

I didn't sleep well last night. I awoke at 1:00 with some anxiety. I was worrying about the upcoming chemo round which will take place next Friday, September 29. I was also worrying about the neupogen that will stimulate the release of the stem cells into my blood stream to help the doctor successfully collect 2.5 million stems cells from me for transplant. However, neupogen has side effects that don't look like very much fun. I handle and soothe my anxiety by reading, knitting and doing Sudokus and Crosswords. So there I was at 3:00-4:30 this morning knitting away on my afghan. The rhythmic act of knitting and following the pattern keep my mind occupied and soothed. I went back to bed at 4:30 because I was cold and tired. I never did go back to sleep and found that I was dragging and tired by late afternoon today. Thank goodness I didn't have much to do today.

I had my Penicillin allergy test this morning at 9:30. The various tests went until 11:30. I passed them all. They all showed negative to be me being allergic to penicillin. So this meant I had to return to the Allergy Clinic at 1:30 this afternoon to continue the test. I was there from 1:30-3:30 this afternoon. The final verdict is that I am not allergic to penicillin. This is good news as it give Dr. Bhella (my stem cell doctor) another tool to help fight infections if I have any in the stem cell process.

Between 11:30 this morning and 1:30 this afternoon, I walked down to our Farmer's Market and bought some fresh vegetables. On my walk back to hubby's office, I ran into a friend and it was good to briefly catch up with each other. It was getting hot out and I continued on my way to hubby's office. I left the fresh produce in his office while we then walked to a local restaurant for lunch.

After I was finished at the Allergy Clinic this afternoon, hubby came and picked me up. I dropped him off at work and continued on my way home to put the fresh produce away. Then I drove back to his work to pick him up. Our plan was to go grocery shopping together tonight. After dinner, I realized that I have run out of energy and so I sent hubby on his way with the grocery list. It will be an early night for me as I need to catch up on my sleep. When I'm overtired, I start to feel nauseous again. It's important for me to feel rested and not over do things. Hence, hubby is on his own with the groceries tonight.

I must say that I ran into a volunteer at the Hotel Dieu that used to work with me in the Tuck Shop at KGH. She still volunteers there but I don't see her very often since I'm on sick leave. It was nice to see her this morning.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Day 16 Second Round Chemo - Stem Cell Transplant Experience

I had trouble sleeping last night because I started thinking about the drug, neupogen, that will help to stimulate my stem cells. I was wondering what kind of side effects it will cause and also if it is covered by OHIP. So this morning I started searching the internet for answers. Then I remembered that the stem cell website at our hospital had links to peer and mentor resources. Here is the link to one of those first hand stories that I found very helpful.
https://www.kgh.on.ca/sites/default/files/files/subsite-basic-page/final_version_mlb_stem_cell_essay.pdf

I spent my morning looking for answers and also dealing with some other scheduling questions regarding some upcoming tests. Tomorrow, I will be going to have an allergy test to confirm or refute whether I am allergic to penicillin. 27 years ago, I had a reaction to a drug called "pondocillin" which included a rash. In order to treat any upcoming infections, we need to know if I'm allergic to all penicillin. So I have the test in the morning.

Today, I decided to make a roast chicken using my homemade rub. It was a late decision and I knew the chicken wouldn't be thawed fully in time. I was correct. By mid afternoon, it was partially thawed enough that I could rub the chicken and loosen the skin to slip some rub directly on the meat of the breast and the legs. I was also able to shake some rub into the cavity. I then decided to make dirty mashed potatoes (with skin on), my favourite turnip casserole and some green beans for hubby who doesn't like turnip. While the chicken was cooking, I was looking forward to deglazing the pan and making gravy that would have the flavour of the rub. I also had a really nice visit on the phone this afternoon with my cousin while my chicken was cooking.

I spent the rest of my time, today, working on my afghan. I'm hoping it can be finished by the time I am admitted into hospital for the stem cell transplant. My hope is that during the hospitalization, I will be able to make multiple pairs of socks for the homeless in Kingston. There is a group called "Kingston Street Mission" which runs a drop-in for people 16 years and older. They provide free clothes, hot beverages and have volunteers on site 7 nights a week from 8:00 p.m. to Midnight. They are open from the end of October through to the end of April every year. I will be able to drop off the completed knitted socks to them for distribution. My hope is that the knitted socks will help keep the homeless people a little warmer during these cold months.

Anyway, by the time I had supper on the table tonight, it was 5:30 p.m. I have to admit that I was very, very pleased with the meal. The gravy was so tasty. When hubby came home from work, his comment was "It smells like Texas in here."  Hubby decided to do the clean up from supper while I continued to knit my afghan.

After it was all cleaned up, we went for a brisk walk. I'm trying to make sure that my heart, lungs and kidneys are all good and healthy so that I can pass the upcoming tests. On Monday, I have a MUGA test which is a test using a radioactive tracer (called a radionuclide) and a special camera to take pictures of your heart as it pumps blood. The test measures how well your heart pumps with every heartbeat. Our walk was brisk enough that I was a little out of breath and my heart was definitely pumping hard. I think everything is healthy because it doesn't take long for my heart to return to normal.

Today was another great day. I love feeling normal and I'm enjoying being able to create in the kitchen. Life is good!

Day 15 Second Chemo Round - Feeling Normal

This morning I had a dentist appointment in order to get x-rays done. This was my first appointment in a long list of appointments in preparation for the stem cell transplant. So I can now I have my first "test" checked off the list. Everything is healthy in my mouth and I'm ready for the next test which will be on Thursday.

After the dentist appointment, hubby had an appointment set up for the lawyer. In preparation for "just in case", we are updating our wills. Just in case, we are on The Goldwing and something happens. Or just in case....

As hubby was driving me home around 11 a.m., I started feeling a little nauseous. I wondered about that and realized that I had missed my breakfast. So when I got home, I had a very early lunch of Mr. Noodles. I love Mr. Noodles and I don't have them very often. I figured this would hold me over with a small snack in the afternoon until dinner time. I was looking forward to our planned steak dinner.

Early afternoon, a good friend came over to visit. She and her husband had actually delivered frozen meals to hubby's office several weeks ago and I still had her cooler and ice packs. So it gave us a reason to visit so that I could return her cooler. Of course, she blessed me with some fresh zucchini, green beans, turnip and garlic from her garden! She also included some mini baked chocolate zucchini loaves. So I shared a couple of my favourite recipes with her. We enjoyed a lovely visit with some Masala Chai tea from Multituli Coffee (aka North Roast Coffee). What a great visit we had! It went by much too quickly as time always does when I'm with her.

For dinner, hubby barbecued some steaks and baked potatoes. I made broccoli and green beans with garlic butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese as our side. I also did up some sauteed onion rings to go with the steak. It was soooooooo goooooood!!!! I convinced hubby to go for a brisk walk to help my lungs and heart get in shape for the stem cell transplant tests that I have to do.

Once we got home, I called my aunt and uncle to chat. I'm hoping that they will come for a visit with my cousin at some point in October when I hope I'm feeling good. I watched a part of the Blue Jays game but then quickly tired and went off to bed. It was a great day and I was feeling "normal" with good energy.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Day 14 Second Chemo Round - Another Good Day

I must start off with a huge apology to a local coffee company that we support. Last week, my hubby went into North Roast Coffee to buy our freshly roasted coffee beans. We have been supporting this local wholesale/retail operation since they first started out in a small location well over 10 years ago. The staff have seen my children grow up. They have been there and supportive as I went through my lymphoma diagnosis and treatment five years ago. So last week, when hubby went in to buy our coffee beans, he mentioned my relapsed lymphoma. I immediately received an email from the employee he talked to. There was something there for either us to pick up or they could deliver it. I got hubby to drop by and pick it up. He brought home a lovely gift basket with a beautiful origami swan included inside it. I love using local, unique businesses because we do get to know them as individual people as well.

Today was another good day. I had my annual ophthalmologist appointment today. I started seeing this doctor about 5 years ago. The suspicion has always been that the issue that was noticed on my eyeball could have been the lymphoma from 5 years ago. I was very curious to know whether there was any change to that spot this year. Or was there another new spot that had developed. The only thing about this appointment that I don't like each year is that the doctor needs to put dilating drops in my eyes which makes me useless for most of the day. I was pleased to hear that there were no changes. The spot on my eyeball has actually aged and has pigment growing into it. There were no new spots. This was wonderful news to me.

So the rest of the day was spent enjoying the current Nora Roberts book that I'm reading. I had a lovely visit on the phone with a good friend who is going to come around and visit me tomorrow afternoon. Overall, today was a good day spent relaxing and resting. I have a couple of appointments tomorrow morning, so sometimes it is good to have a quiet day.

Day 13 Second Chemo Round - Another Great Sunday....Until 8 p.m.

I awoke this morning refreshed and ready for a great day. My knee is a little stiff but much better. The first thing I did was launder a  load of towels and sheets. I have always derived great pleasure from my laundry flapping on the laundry line. I like the orderly look of them neatly hung and the warm sun and breeze making them flap and remove all the wrinkles. So after enjoying this task, hubby and I went out for breakfast. We decided to spend the rest of the day out on the Honda Goldwing. It was supposed to be a hot one but our jackets have lots of air flow panels which keeps us cool as we fly along the highway. Today we decided to take Highway 2 East until......This means until we decided to turn around and head back home.  Or until we stop for a snack. Or until we find a geocache. Basically, it means until we tire and need to come home.

We packed a small lunch bag with water for hubby, Raspberry Iced Tea for me and 2 apples and 2 oranges. We intended to be home in time for dinner and this was packed to keep us hydrated and our bellies from being knawingly empty. Off we went on the bike for a very enjoyable ride. Dowtown Kingston was busy with tourists. Gananoque was also surprisingly busy with tourists and cottgers. Being this was the third Sunday in September, I thought that the "summer trade" would have slowed down. As we continued out of Gananoque along Highway 2 East, I thoroughly enjoyed riding through the countryside. I truly believe I am a country girl at heart. I have always lived in the city except for a 9 year stint where hubby and I had our first house located in the country. I loved it there. As a little girl, my grandparents had a small dairy farm in the Owen Sound area. I loved visiting the farm and spending a week every summer there. Many a long weekend was also spent visiting with my grandparents and my cousins. Many, many fond memories are associated with that farm and being in a country community. So as we sped long Highway 2, I was thoroughly enjoying not just the scenery but also the smells. The smell of a dairy farm is associated with really good, warm memories. When I visit my broyther's dairy farm, I always love the smell of cattle, fresh hay, straw and even the milking parlour smell.

Today as we rode, I also was enjoying looking at the various flower gardens and getting creative ideas for my own yard. These will be ideas that will have to be implemented next year in 2018. I came up with ideas for unique bird houses and a unique new flowerbed that I may plant next Spring. I am a musical person and so some of these ideas include reusing old instruments, old bicycles and raised flowerbeds. As our ride continued, I realized that we had already arrived on the outskirts of Brockville. I was completely invigorated by the ride and couldn't stop smiling.

As we came around a curve and down a hill, there were two very old cemeteries on either side of the road. Hubby slowed the bike down, put on his left signal and pulled into one of the cemeteries. As a passenger, I've learned to just go where the bike takes me. I've learned to sit on the back and wait for hubby to say "OK, you can get off now." So that's what he said and off I hopped. He decided it was time for a break and a snack as we had been riding for 2 hours already. We found some rocks under the shady trees and settled down with our drinks and apples.

Due to the chemotherapy, I have to stay out of the sun. I realized that I forgot my ball cap that says "Life is good". I forgot to put it in the bike. My hair is thin enough on top that I was concerned my scalp may burn. Then I realized that I had one of my head coverings that doubles as a neck protector from the velcro of my jacket. So I pulled it up and voila....my head was covered and wouldn't get sunburned.  We were enjoying our snacks, when I asked hubby if he had his cell phone. Was there any geocaches in this cemetery? He went to the bike and checked. Yes! There are three geocaches in this area. One in this particular cemetery and two located in the cemetery across the road.

After our thirst was quenched and our apples were finished, we put the lunch bag back in the bike, locked it up and went hunting for geocaches. What a nice walk it was! The geocaches were all found in nice shady areas but the mosquitoes were voracious! I love finding geocaches in the cemeteries because I always take time to check out the various headstones and get a sense of peace, serenity and history. I have to say that trying to cross Highway 2 to get to the other cemetery was a gamble. These cemeteries were located in a valley and at this area, Highway 2 was a 4 lane throughway. Hubby and I had to run across the four lanes to make it safely to the other side. My left knee was not a happy camper when I forced it to run. But again, the cemetery was so old and peaceful. Our snack/geocaching break was very enjoyable.

Once we returned to The Goldwing, we decided it was time to head back home. I still had to get laundry off the line and it was going to be supper time by the time we got back home. Again, I totally enjoyed the return ride. This time as we drove through Gananoque, you could see the cottagers and made an exodus. Now it was just the locals out and about finishing up the last of their errands. Gananoque reminds me of Meaford, Ontario and Sauble Beach, Ontario as well as any other summer tourist destination. These little towns seem to just empty out during the Fall and Winter. Many businesses rely on the Spring and Summer influx of cottagers and tourists to fill their businesses and provide enough income to carry them through the lean off season.

On the outskirts of Kingston, I heard the thwap and felt the uneveness of a flat tire. Hubby pulled into a service station with an air compressor and sure enough, our front tire was very low. We filled it with air and made our way home. Hubby will have to get "The Wing" into the mechanic sometime this week to get this looked at. I would like to hope today was not my last ride for the season. Once we got home, I took the laundry off the line and then sat with hubby on the patio and enjoyed a cold Coca-Cola out of a glass bottle. Nothing tastes as good as that! Then while hubby cut the grass in the backyard, I reheated some leftovers for supper.

After supper was cleared up, I asked hubby if he would like to go out for an ice cream cone. I have a new side effect of the chemo that is showing up. Every time I have seen any nurses or doctors, they always ask me if I have any mouth sores. Well, for the last few days, I've had a tender tongue back near my lower right molars. There appears to be the beginnings of a canker sore. Of course, ice cream will halp to soothe it. I have discovered Baskin Robbins seasonal flavour called "Baseball Nut". It is vanilla with black raspberry ribbon and pecans in it. I love it!! Of course, as soon as I mention going for ice cream, hubby is very willing to go. Just before we left, my mom called and I enjoyed a nice conversation with her. When I mentioned we were going to go for ice cream, she was in a hurry to get off the phone. I guess it was already 7:00 and she thought the store might close. So off hubby and I went to enjoy our ice cream. I was not disappointed. I will be disappointed when that flavour is discontinued for the season.

Hubby and I were looking forward to ending this wonderful day by watching my favourite series "Outlander". We arrived home and it was about 8 p.m. My brother called and it was perfect timing as I had time to talk to him and then it would be time for my show. While sitting in "The Man Cave" and talking to my brother, I saw a mouse drop from the ceiling and hit the floor with a thump. It was across the room from me but I guess I screamed into the phone. I don't remember doing that. I do remember running out the door and upstairs. Hubby was left to look after the mouse that was in our house!!!! My brother, meanwhile, was true to form and was killing himself laughing on the other end of the phone.I guess even my sister-in-law who was not sitting beside me brother could hear my screech through the phone. My brother and I chatted a little longer but then he let me go. Hubby caught and dispatched the mouse. I took off to a friend's house around the corner. No way was I staying in the house with mice!!!! Hubby set up traps and assured me it was safe to come home. We did enjoy "Outlander" but I was jumpy and nervous. I did not sleep well. More traps are going to bought and set up. Our house is NOT going to be a mouse hotel. Our cat is going to be given rations until he catches these things and gets them out of our house. Time for Frodo (our cat) to earn his meals.

The saga continues.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Day 12 Second Chemo Round - A Great, Full Day

I'm posting this late because I had such a great day in the land of the living yesterday. I went from morning right through to bedtime and fell asleep immediately.  After my fall on Friday, I was afraid my weekend hopes and activities were going to be curtailed due to a bad left knee. However, on Friday, I iced the knee as much as possible in the late afternoon and evening. Friday evening (Day 11) when I hobbled off to bed, I could hardly put weight on the left knee. I was convinced that yesterday, I would be using one crutch to hobble around. However, a good night's sleep was the miracle cure-all. During the middle of the night, I got up to make a washroom run and the knee was able to take 80% of my weight. Woo Hoo!  Hope abounds.

So our plan for yesterday was to run some errands, visit the "Shop Local Showcase", visit with some friends and then have another couple over in the late afternoon. Hubby and I have always tried to use/shop local business establishments. Franchise chains will pretty much always have business. Before it was trendy to do so, we have always in our married life tried to support local entrepreneurs through their services and/or products. We always find that the customer service is much higher and we have always liked the uniqueness of a local business. So when we saw an advertisement earlier this week at the side of the road informing us of the "Shop Local Showcase", we decided that it would be one of the things we really wanted to do yesterday. I was afraid that my knee wouldn't hold up as it was in a local hotel conference room and also in the parking lot. This meant a lot of walking on floors that have concrete underneath the carpet. Not good cushioning for a bad knee. However, my knee held up but was very tired and starting to ache when we were finished the rounds of the showcase. I purchased a couple of items which included a lavender/oatmeal bath balm from a company called "Farmacy" where the lady makes her own bath/body ointments from her garden. The smell of the lavender bath balm is to die for. I will save it to use when I'm having a kind of day that needs a real pick me up and relaxation time. Perhaps after all this current health crisis is finished and I can enjoy a leisurely soak with a nice glass of cold, white wine and a good book. My reward to myself for enduring this current ordeal.

The other item I bought was from a business called "Caju Winds". They use imported cashews (only because in our climate, we can't grow them) to make organic, vegan and gluten free cashew spreads. At their booth, we sampled their Dill Flavoured Spread and their Garlic Flavoured Spread. The Dill spread was very good. I opted to try the Garlic spread afterwards and it was to die for!! So I bought a jar. I'll be definitely keeping their business card and using their business again.

As hubby and I were finishing up our visit to the showcase, I was starting to feel faint and a little nauseous. This concerned me because at this point in the cycle, I normally am feeling better. After checking the time, I realized that we had "missed" lunch and it was already heading into the early afternoon. We were running late as we had planned to visit our friends and their son in the early afternoon. We were also planning on taking the motorcycle out to go visit them. I mentioned to hubby, "I really need to get some lunch now."  So off we went to A&W for a teenburger and a small root beer for me. It was so good! We quickly dropped off our showcase "stuff" (business cards, brochures, purchased items) at home and then back into the car we went to visit our friends.

What a lovely visit we had. We had seen these friends in the summer when hubby and I knew that the cancer had returned but we couldn't say anything because we needed to know what kind of lymphoma it was and the treatment options. This was my first time seeing them together as a couple since the diagnosis. It was a lovely summer afternoon spent by the pool (in the shade for me) enjoying drinks (pop for me because alcohol hurts my mouth) and snack foods. The afternoon sped away and I realized that although I didn't know what time it was, I was starting to really tire. I had also hoped to have another couple of friends over in the late afternoon. I mentioned to hubby that I was quickly tiring and so we wrapped up our lovely visit and headed home.

As soon as I got home, I headed for bed and a quick nap. It was already 5:00 in the afternoon/evening. We made plans to have our other friends drop by about 7:00. This would give me time to rest and recharge my batteries. It helped and we again enjoyed a great visit and shared some of the cashew spread on crackers. My friend is willing to help me shave my head when that time comes that my head is really patchy. I trust her to be honest, as I know she will be, and help me decide it's time. The time is not right just yet. My hair has thinned a lot to what I'm used to as my normal hair, but my friend said it just looks "normal" to other people. So I still have my red hair although it is thinner and looks like it is layered and a little "flatter" than it used to be. I'm glad I changed my hairstyle to a shorter cut way back in March or April. Perhaps I did that subconsciously at the time. Perhaps I knew deep inside that the lymphoma had returned but I wasn't consciously acknowledging it yet.

So yesterday, Day 12, was a fantastic but tiring day. Life is worth living. As I once told a complete stranger back in June, "Don't let the cancer steal one more day than it needs to. Live life to the absolute fullest!"

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Day 11 Second Chemo Round - Appetite is back!

I awoke without having to use any anti-nausea medication this morning. I was craving a big breakfast so I made a poached egg on toast with a second piece of  toast with butter and jam. Even coffee didn't taste like cigarette butts today so I was able to indulge in 2 cups of coffee! What a grand start to my day. This is going to be a perfect day.

I mentioned yesterday that I had some appointments today. Unfortunately, my morning appointment had to be cancelled, but I was still able to get information from another source and make progress on the project that I'm working on.  Hubby and I decided that we would meet for lunch at Darbar Indian Cuisine, our favourite Indian restaurant in town. We have not been able to have lunch together there since January 2016. What a treat it was!

After lunch, I was feeling a little tired so I returned home and rested for about an hour before I had to go and have my weekly picc line cleaning. Just as I was trying to get out the door to the appointment, I saw a mouse in the house!! EWWWWWWW!!!!! I hate mice!!! I've been fortunate that my hubby has always had to deal with these when we used to live in the country. But now I had to deal with this on my own. Hubby was at work. I have to leave to go to my appointment. But I can't leave this rodent in my house. It was in a corner by the front door hidden by my hubby's motorcycle boots. I went to move the boot tray and the mouse ran towards me. YIKES!!!!

Now, I'm not a short person. I'm tall. I should not be afraid of this tiny rodent. But I am. When the mouse ran towards me, I jumped back and tripped over my hubby's office shoes. I fell and felt the deep inside part of my left knee explode with pain. But I can't indulge in the pain because there is a mouse!!! Thank goodness it went back to the corner. I crawled up to a standing position and took my hubby's office shoe to try to smack the mouse and kill it. The toe was too big to get to the mouse. So I thought, "OK, I need to herd this rodent out the front door and out of my house." Good logic, I thought. Nope. The mouse didn't cooperate. I ended up bashing it but it was still alive. I took hubby's other office shoe and decided to use the two shoes like tongs and flip the mouse out of the house.

Finally it worked! And the mouse died enroute. It twitched and laid still. I probably gave it a heart attack. So I left it on the front porch and went off to my appointment.

I texted hubby and realized, that yes, I shouldn't leave the mouse on the front porch for hubby to deal with. So when I got home, I took a shovel and scraped the carcass across the driveway and into my flowerbed.

But now, I have a very sore knee. Bummer! Because hubby and I were considering going for a good walk along one of the nature trails over the weekend. Not happening now. Here's hoping that I can at least climb onto the motorcycle and we can go for a ride and take advantage of the upswing time of the chemo cycle. Meanwhile, ice packs have been applied to the knee to keep the swelling down.

What a day!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Day 10 Second Chemo Round - Feeling a bit better

I had a really good night's sleep. I have to wake up every 4 to 6 hours to take the anti-nausea medication, prochlorperazine.  Last night, I woke up at 12 midnight and then slept through until 5:30 a.m. The good night's sleep made me feel less nauseous today. I'm also assuming that I'm coming out of the doldrums of this particular chemo round.

I was able to concentrate on my knitting today. I was able to read and enjoy the book today. I even did a little bit of clean up in my flower bed by my patio. Then I was tired so I had to stop.  I went for a short nap and had a very odd dream.  In my dream, I was a ghost and watching my son graduate from university. I was able to wave at him and being so tall, I, for once, could stand out in front of everyone and get a great view of the graduation. I wasn't blocking anyone. It was a weird dream. It did not leave me feeling odd though.

When I got up, I noticed that my avocados were starting to get a little too soft. I had some frozen shrimp in the freezer so I googled recipes for shrimp and avocados. I was thinking in terms of maybe a salad but a recipe caught my attention for shrimp and avocado pasta. The link to the site is http://www.kevinandamanda.com/shrimp-avocado-pasta/

I added freshly chopped sage from my garden and I substituted red onion for shallots.  The resulting dinner tonight was very good and there is enough left that we can have it for dinner tomorrow too. After dinner, we went to the mall to buy a battery for my thermometer so that I can get accurate readings if I have a fever or not. While at the mall, I ran into a former student/friend who I haven't seen in months and months. It really made my day to see her and her family. We enjoyed a nice chat and caught up with each other.

After getting the battery replaced in my thermometer, hubby and I decided to treat ourselves to an ice cream cone. Did it ever taste good!!! We ran into a couple of other people that we knew but the mall was not very busy at all.

I feel good about today. I feel like I accomplished some things. I'm tired but I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I have a couple of appointments but I'm hoping that I can do some more gardening. I use gloves so there is no way that I can get an infection or cut.

Day 9 Second Chemo Round - A Long and Boring Day

My days are stretching out in front of me and I'm beginning to wonder how I will fill them. My energy isn't great and I'm supposed to keep myself from germs. Yesterday, Day 9, I decided that I would at least vacuum the house with my new vacuum cleaner. You know that your life is slow when a new vacuum gets you excited. It's a Dyson canister style vacuum. My concern is that all the parts are made of plastic. I wonder how long it will be before it breaks. Oh well. It sucked up the dirt very nicely. I left the emptying of the canister to hubby to do when he got home from work.

Our neighbour's daughter is also going through a cancer regimen of chemo, then surgery, then radiation. Today there was a party taking place in the afternoon. I'm hoping they were celebrating the end of her chemo regimen or perhaps a CT scan result that was some good news. As I heard the laughter, I was happy for their daughter but I was really feeling out of sorts for myself. Pity party time was happening and that is not who I normally am.  While the party was in full swing (both the happy party and the pity party), some flowers were delivered to my door. Normally, that would give me a big lift. However, today, it didn't. I noticed that the roses were already starting to wilt.

Enough, enough, enough....I said to myself. Stop this moping! I picked up my afghan and thought I can be productive and work on it. As I started knitting, I realized that I think my afghan that I'm working on now smells of the "chemical me". Ugh!!!! I want to finish this afghan so that I can make socks for the homeless as the cold weather is approaching.  I was also struggling to make sure I got my 8 glasses of liquid into me today.

Finally, I put the knitting down, I went outside to the patio and tried to read. I just could not settle and was restless. While outside, the phone rang inside and I didn't hear it. It was my husband's cousin. A chat with her would have been really nice and maybe pulled me from my doldrums. Alas, this was not to be as I missed the call.

However, I did return her call and had a wonderful visit with her about an hour later. It was the lift I needed!! Hubby came home for dinner and then we went for a short drive to give me a different view of scenery.  After the drive, I went straight to bed. I was tired.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Day 8 Second Chemo Round - All New Timelines

Wow!!! That's all I can say in hindsight. I had my consultation with Dr. Bhella, the Stem Cell Doctor, this morning. My file has been officially transferred over to her for the duration of the treatments. I will no longer go to the Chemo Lab for my chemotherapy treatments. They will take place in the Stem Cell Unit.

There are some various tests that I must undergo before the confirmation of this whole new timeline, but I don't expect to fail any of these tests. These are done to ensure that I am healthy enough to undergo the stem cell treatment. The stem cell transplant treatment gives me a 50-50 chance of putting this lymphoma into remission. I'll take those odds.

So according to the new schedule, my next chemotherapy treatment is set for September 29 and October 6.  Then there will be numerous days of preparation for the stem cell transplant which tentatively is booked for October 30. At that point, I will be in hospital for 3 to 4 weeks. According to this new timetable, I will be home in time for Christmas.

There was a lot of information to gather and understand at this morning's appointment. I now have a tentative timeline which is moving very, very quickly. I am feeling much better today. I need to remember to take snacks and drinks with me to these long appointments otherwise I start to feel nauseous again.

Hubby spoiled me on the way home by picking up an Egg McMuffin and a milk for me to eat once I got home. Egg McMuffins are my guilty pleasure and always have been. I haven't had one in a long time so this tasted wonderful and was a great reward for the last couple of days of suffering.

Tonight, I decided to make supper for hubby. I was "Suzie Homemaker" and had it on the table as he walked in the door. It was leftover BBQ chicken with some roasted veggies which I drizzled a homemade sauce over.  I used the rest of the apple cider maple salad dressing from the other day and added Balsamic Vinaigrette, honey, rosemary and oregano. I heated it up and then poured it over the veggies when they came out of the oven. Hubby thought it was a hit and a keeper recipe. That says something when he's talking veggies as he really is a meat & potatoes kind of guy.

So today was a good day with lots of stimulating information. Part of me wonders about the speed of how things are progressing in treatment. Is it because I'm worse off than I thought? Oh well....it doesn't really matter now. We're off and running!!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Day 7 Second Chemo Round - Not Quite Myself

I awoke this morning feeling tired and fuzzy headed. It has been difficult to type and communicate today. I've just wanted to sleep all day. However, today was my scheduled chemo for the normal Day 8.  Hubby went to work for the morning while I tried to stay up but ended up going back to bed.

We had to be at the Cancer Clinic for 12 Noon to have my blood taken and tested to make sure the levels were OK for going ahead with the chemo which was scheduled for 2:00 p.m.  My blood was taken and then we had a long wait for the chemo appointment. My blood levels were good enough to continue. I had my crossword book and the current book that I'm reading with me to help pass the time. My problem was that I couldn't concentrate enough to do it. I kept nodding off and falling asleep while doing the crossword.

I was partially zoned out when friends of our's came by as they also had an appointment at the Cancer Clinic.  It took me a few moments to come to and recognize them. How nice to see them and they accepted me as I was today! They continued on their way to their own appointment after a brief visit. I continued to zone in and out and then I heard my name called.

I followed the nurse in and set myself up in the lazyboy style chair for my chemo. I put my legs up and closed my eyes after I was all hooked up. When I opened my eyes, there was a volunteer who has become a friend. She came by specifically to see me. What a lift to my spirits! She could tell I was not myself but she was so understanding. What a beautiful gift to come and visit me while I underwent the chemo.

I discovered the reason I was zoning in and out today. I was dehydrated again and my blood pressure was low. So at the end of my chemo session, the nurse was able to pump a saline solution into me to help hydrate me. It helped to raise my blood pressure.

I went for a nap again when I got home from the Cancer Clinic. However, I was able to enjoy my dinner which was the ribs that my hubby had brought home from the Kingston Craftbeer & Ribfest yesterday. The ribs were fantastic!! I had them with a salad to help keep my white blood cell counts up.

I'm still fuzzy headed but I'm able to watch the Blue Jays game and type this post. Here's hoping that my digestive tea starts to taste good again. It seems to have been affected by my taste buds this time around. If I could enjoy drinking it again, then I could stay hydrated. Tomorrow's another day.