Saturday, December 24, 2016

Another good day…..

I’ve really had another pretty good day.  I’m just still amazed at how good I feel the day after chemo.  I’m sure it probably has to do with this Dexamethasone I take the day before and the day after, plus the pre-medications I take IV before the actual chemo starts.  But for whatever reason, I’m most thankful. 

We went last-minute Christmas shopping today.  What were we thinking???  The traffic was pretty heavy, even though we had a pretty straight shot just down the road.  I wanted to go to Kohl’s.  The parking lot was just full.  Guy let me out at the door and went to find a place to park and just sit in the car and wait for me.  I only had one thing I wanted to get – a little piece of jewelry.  I found it, put it in my cart and decided to look around just a bit.  Then I saw the line to check out  – it was down the length of the store, around the corner, and half-way to the back of the store!!  And I had one tiny item!!  And I didn’t want to spend the rest of my afternoon there!  Then I remembered – there were checkout registers in the jewelry department.  Back across the store to the jewelry counter I zoomed!!!  In about 10 minutes I was out the door. 

Then we went to Walmart.  I know – what was I thinking going to Walmart on Dec. 23rd?????  I forgot when I was there a few days ago to get my Premier Protein drinks.  And I was out.  I had been kind of neglectful of pushing my protein last week, and this particular drink has 34 g of protein per serving – the highest amount you can get in a protein drink.  It was recommended to me by my home health nurse.  It is low in sugar, too.  So many of the protein drinks are high in sugar and give you half to a third of the amount of protein.  It is hard to find in the grocery stores, and if you get it in a drug store, it is very expensive.  Walmart has it very reasonably priced and has all the flavors.  So far I’ve only tried the chocolate, but I wanted something I could drink in the evenings.  They were out of vanilla, so I got chocolate, strawberry, and caramel.  I hope the caramel is not too sweet tasting.  They all have only 1 g of sugar.  My sister said she liked the caramel.  I also had run out of Christmas bows and had a few more gifts to wrap.  So once again, Guy sat in the car while I bucked the inside crowd to get what I needed.  The pharmacy and Christmas supplies were all on the north end.  Then I remembered I needed milk.  Guess where the milk was – yep, on the far opposite end, clear at the back.  I didn’t want to have to stop on the way home at the grocery store just to get a half gallon of milk, so I trekked across the whole store, dodging cart after cart on my mission to get that measly half gallon of milk!  Then back to the express lines to check out.  By the way, the express line is only a fast as the clerk – believe me!  But luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long.  Guy called to tell me where he was parked, and it wasn’t all that long until we were back out into the traffic.  Guy complains and talks CONTANTLY about traffic and drivers the whole time we are in a car driving anywhere – even if there are two or three cars on the road, so you can imagine the constant chatter all the way home.  As we were leaving the parking lot, I said, “How about driving home without talking about the traffic for once – just a challenge to you!”  Do you know, we never got out onto the main road until he just couldn’t help himself!!!  Oh, well……… 😀

Before I went to bed last night I took that pill the oncologist prescribed to help me with the hot flashes.  I should have never looked at the side effects – they scared me to death!  But I was determined to try it.  One of the main ones was drowsiness, so I figured that could only help me.  I actually really slept well.  I think I only turned over twice, and I only had to slightly remove the bedcovers back for just a bit – SOOO much better than the other nights.  And I only had 1-2 hot flashes all morning.  They were mild and didn’t last long.  I would say at this point – after only taking one pill, that the hot flashes have been cut in more than half, are mild, and do not last as long.  They are tolerable.  Whew!!  What relief!

My home health nurse came this morning to discharge me.  She was so excited to see my arm is nearly healed and my leg is doing so well, too.  There is just a tiny little spot on my arm.  I asked if maybe just a Band-Aid could be used.  She put just a little spot of Xeraform on it, then this little piece of Telfa and tape. 

No more big wrap around my hand and arm.  

I feel so free!!!!  While out shopping it hit me - when I go out in public, I have to keep my long sleeve down over this new bandage, or people will think I tried to slit my wrist!!!  😀  She also reduced the amount of bandage over my leg, too – just a couple little spots of Xeraform over the still open areas, with Telfa and tape over them.  There is hardly any drainage coming from those spots now.  I’m so happy with how these are healing!

I know this scar on my arm is really ugly, but you know, I’m just not into beauty these days – wasn’t really thinking of entering any beauty pageants in my near future anyway!  I’m more into healing and surviving.  I’m going to look at this scar and use it as my badge of courage and testimony of what the Lord has brought me through.  No one will see that one on my thigh anyway since I do NOT wear shorts in the summer.  And the one on my head – well, hopefully some day, my hair will cover most of it.  And if it doesn’t, well there is just another badge of courage and survival.

I was telling my home health nurse about the miserable hot flashes that started after I started the chemo.  She felt like it was due to the chemo, rather than being off the HRT medication that long.  It was just too coincidental.  She said the same thing happened to her mother when she took chemo.  I really do feel like that is the case, too.  I told her about the medication that my doctor prescribed for the hot flashes and my concern about all the side effects.  She assured me that this was a common drug that was prescribed for this, so I felt better after talking to her – especially after experiencing the positive benefits of it today.

I’ve remained fairly shaky feeling most of the day, kind of feeling like my blood sugar is low, but eating doesn’t particularly relieve it – not shaky to the point that it kept me from being up and around and out shopping.  But it is one thing that I’ve not experienced this much.  I’m thinking it is the Dexamethasone or the Decadron they give right before the chemo.  Those are steroids, and I think they give those around the chemo time to help you feel better because they just put all that “poison” into you.  They do cause me to feel a little “hyped”, and I’m sure that’s why I seem to have the energy I do.  I have to be careful that I don’t do more than I really should because I have this “false” sense of well-being.  Am I making sense??  This is just my theory.  I’m going to ask the chemo nurse next time why they do give these steroids.

Well, I just stopped and Googled steroids and chemo therapy.  Here is what I found:
“Using steroids in cancer treatment
There are a number of ways steroids can help during cancer treatment. They include
Most people who have steroids as part of cancer treatment only need to take them for a few days or weeks (short term).”
“Common types of steroids used in cancer treatment are: hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone and prednisolone. Steroids can be used: as part of your treatment to help destroy cancer cells and make chemotherapy more effective. to help reduce an allergic reaction to certain chemotherapy drugs.”
So now, I think I understand it better.  I only take 2 in the morning and 2 at night the day before and the day after the chemo infusion, so I’m sure it has something to do with enhancing the chemo medication.

Hey, I just realized that I’ve set here the whole time I’ve been writing this, and I’ve not had one hot flash!  Last night was a whole different story.  This is GREAT!!

I think last night I did a good bit of rambling and skipping all over the place while writing that blog!  Flight of ideas!  😀  I guess that is what happens when you write your blog the day of chemo, and the “loopy” drugs are still in your system a bit.  😀  Or maybe that’s just the way I write sometimes! 😀  If I don’t write it when I think of it, it gets lost these days.

Tomorrow, the boys come back from their mom’s for Christmas Eve.  They will stay the night and then go back for Christmas day.  We always open gifts Christmas Eve at our house, and they always open Christmas morning at their mom’s.  Then when Jeannine arrives on the 28th, we’ll have Christmas with her and the girls.  She wanted to be here to go to my chemo treatment with me on the 29th.  They will be here a whole week while they are out of school.  I’m really looking forward to seeing her again. If I still have my hair, I think I may have her trim it up to just below my ears. I haven’t had it trimmed for so long, and I think it will be more manageable if it is a little shorter.  Right now, when I go out and put my hats on, it all seems to work its way toward the front and get in my face for some reason.  Long hair is easier to care for than short hair, but there seems to be a length where it becomes more work, and I think mine is at that more work stage right now.  That probably makes no sense to anyone but me!  😀  Oh, well……

Today, I had periods of time when I just felt SO blessed!  I got the sweetest card from a former coworker, Mary Streetman, in Alabama, and it blessed my heart SO much!  You know, when you get a card in the mail that someone took the time, money, and effort to buy, wrote a wonderful note in it, put a stamp on it and put it in the mailbox, you cannot imagine what that means to the person on the other end.  And I have received so many from others, too,  it just blesses my heart beyond measure!!!  Until you are the recipient of those, you just have no idea how much they mean.  I’ve never been a big card-sender, but I can tell you, in the future, I will change my ways, because I know how much it means to that other person.

I just can’t get over the ways the Lord continues to bless my life!!  I know every day cannot be a mountain top experience, but I’m sure enjoying the ones I’m having right now!

And as always…….I remain in His hands…….

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