Sunday, June 26, 2011

10 Bits of Positivity

My friend, and Crossfit Durham coach, Ashley, asked some of us female Crossfit bloggers to write a post about 10 things we like about ourselves.  The things should be physical traits.  I think the point of the assignment is to not be so hard on ourselves and focus on our positives.  

Given my current condition, this is truly a difficult assignment.  My body as I've known it for my adult life is completely different now.  My physical abilities are different now.  So how do I find 10 things I physically like about myself when my entire being screams MUTANT!

Ok, here goes (in no particular order):

1).  I have the ability to be athletic.  My experience with the MetroDash proved that to me.  This is one of my bigger accomplishments.

2).  I can do a pretty mean handstand.  Took a lot of work, but I got it.

3).  My noggin is pretty.  Even bald.  There is lot to learn about yourself and your facial features when you are bald.  My features are nice.

4).  I do not fear physical discomfort.  I fear the unknown.  I think there is a difference.

6).  I can cook some fab paleo food from no recipe.  I just make stuff up and it usually looks pretty and tastes good.  I have lots of ideas about a cookbook.

7).  I have kicked some terrible habits:  smoking (11 years) and drinking (6 years). These count as physical traits, because they were physically hard to break.  If I could only kick cake...

8).  Even with a few, ahem, extra pounds, I still like my belly button.  I have a lovely belly button ring, and it makes me happy.  When I had to take it out for surgery, I thought it looked weird and sad.  It's not something I show off, just something I know is there.  And I have good memories of getting it done with my BFF.

9). Yikes.  How many more.  I can lift heavy shit.  The heaviness is variable, but I know it's more than most regular jo-Anna blows off the street.

10).  I am surviving a diagnosis of invasive ductal adenocarcinoma, being told I carry a genetic mutation for a high risk for ovarian cancer, being told natural born kids are not in my future, having both breasts cut off, losing my hair and getting Chemo.  I still have so much more to go, but I have perseverance like it was on sale at target.

The other ladies posting their top 10s are awesome ladies that I could write a top 10 for easily.  I suppose that is the point, no?  You are your own worst critic and probably no one else noticed your fat arms but you.

I need to notice #10 and #1 more.

Here are some links to the other top tens:
Beatrice - general soft hearted badass who takes good care of me and reminds me that I am loved
Nelly - all around superstar.  Bootcamped with her forever and so glad she now see's how badass she is
Amy - makes me laugh hard.  Brings me crass cross stitching to taunt the cancer.  Super proud of how hard she works and glad she found Crossfit.  It suits her.
Colleen - I don't know Colleen, but I can tell I'm going to like her.
Lindsay - I can always lift more with Lindsay around.  One time I tried to kill her with my poor spotting abilities and she is still my friend.  That shit is deep.  Plus she sparkles just like me.
Ash - badass of all Crossfit badass girls.  Pretty much who you want to be if you are Crossfitting. And she makes me giggle and act silly.

Chemo Schmemo #2

Friday I had round 2 of my Chemo regimen taxotere +cytoxan. 50% done! Wahoo!

My lovely friend JHO (Jennifer, but I like JHO much better) accompanied me. Thank you JHO, you definitely eased the anxiety and made me laugh.
JHO and Baldie with nice steroid bloat

We started our day at Duke at 8:30am. I went all natural. No foobs, no scarves or hats, just me. And i was feeling good and confident and peaceful and healthy. Such a shame that they knocked me down from that because it was a great feeling.

Anywho, I had my labs drawn to make sure I was well enough for round 2. And then waited to see the nurse practitioner that was covering for my normal one. I don't really like my normal one, I don't feel very cared for with her, but I liked this one. She listened and took my concerns seriously and appreciated my list of questions I had. She had suggestions to help manage my side effects (notes taken by JHO, thanks JHO) and she examined me. My other one didn't even examine me last time. I wish I could switch. Sigh. Maybe next time will be better with the old one.

Then we went down to check in early for treatment. Just in case. Duke merely has suggested appointment times, so it was worth a shot. We took our restaurant pager downstairs and grabbed lunch. Halfway through lunch we got paged! Sweet! Early!

And to "the chair" I went. Had my same nurse, Amy, as last time. She is super nice and caring. I got all hooked up and it was a much easier stick this time because i wasnt so nervous.
That's Amy - she had a cough, so wearing a mask.

So last time I had what they thought was an allergic reaction, so this time I took the 'roids the day before. I was a little nervous that I would have a reaction again or even one that was worse but I knew they would manage it FAST if it happened. Sure enough after they started my taxotere I was drinking my diet coke from lunch and mentioned in passing to JHO that I felt pleghmy. A passer by nurse overheard this and all hell broke loose again. They stopped the drip and added more drugs afraid that this was another reaction. I asked if we could wait and see that I thought it was just my soda, and they weren't going for it. But they agreed to give me only half the benadryl dose so I wouldn't snooze through this one. I still snoozed, but not as long. I'm keeping my comments to myself next time unless I am sure it's something. Sheesh, they must see bad stuff to react like this.
It's really not so bad.

And then I got the cytoxan and was done. Just like that.

On the way out, we stopped by the survivor boutique to look at wigs and what not. They had a few nice ones and MANY that were stuffed in a basket from I think the 70s. I did find one that was nice and normal looking. I was allowed to take one wig and can exchange it two more times if I get tired of it. Plus, I got two beanies and a necklace. Score! Seriously I am set. I need to post and show you all the cool things I've gotten.

Where's the PTA meeting?
I didn't get one of the "real" wig I took.  I will post when I post about wigs.  I ordered some wigs last night through TLC (American Cancer Society site) during a post chemo online spending spree which I think is caused by the 'roids.

JHO took me home around 5:00pm and I felt ok. Tired and a little loopy. I went to target to pick up a prescription. One of my prescriptions is for Zofran, an anti nausea med. It is expensive, but my company makes it so it is free so I wanted to go back and get the brand name, not generic. I think brand is better than generic, I just do. I saw the retail value on my target receipt and it retails at $1143. What the bleep, man? More benefits for working at my company. I have really good benefits.

I also went to petco for some TBoz treats. I noticed that there are stares when you are bald in the real world, but there are many more smiles. Maybe they are pity smiles, but they are smiles nonetheless. I am just waiting for the insensitive teenager comment or the innocent kid comment. I hope those won't hurt, but that's what you get for roaming around all bald and different.

As for how I'm feeling, kind of crappy, not gonna lie. I don't have the steroid high and I have ALOT of nausea and bloating. Boo. And my confident, healthy feeling, it went bye bye. Double boo.

I am having that metallic taste that they told me about and the things that appeal to me right now are anything in the potato or milk family as well as the ginger ale family. The best fix it "meal" has been salty chick fil a fries and chick fil a ice cream. I don't know why. So much for my no sugar challenge, but I gotta be kind to me and that seems to come in the form of the chick fil a "ice dream".

I will leave you with a rhyme that JHO wrote me while I was in the chair (she is kind of famous for these):

On my way to Chemo with J-Ho.
My head is bald, but so is my ass.
Damn, that happened really fast.

I scan my card and then we sit.
Is that me beeping? No. Shit. And so we sit.

Time to see the doctor and sit on the bed.
Hold on, let me first lint roll my head.

The nurse comes in to take my vitals.
She's definitely not graceful like a ballerina at a recital.

She tells me to undress and the doctor is on her way.
I ask her why, but she doesn't that ok?

So let me recap what the doctor said.
No coffee, lots of chocolate, and aloe on my head.

Time for my Chemo, where's the Ativan?
Phlegm in my throat, Benadryl, and off to never never land.

The machines, the tubes, and how can we forget the beeping.
Next time I'm wearing earplugs to stop the bleeping beeping.

So many people affected by this disease with a room full getting the magic potion.
One would think it would be sad, but it's a room full of faith,hope,bravery and positive emotions.

All unique in their own special way,
Kicking cancers ass all along the way.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

I'd like to first start out by saying I really think that right now, I have some of the best friends I've had in my entire life.  This time right now in my life, I feel loved and supported.  WOW.  This is a really nice feeling.  Thank you friends.

I don't always know what to say or how to act.  Sometimes I say and do some things I regret.  But I just don't know quite how to be yet.  I feel like an outsider.  I'm someone different now and I've just got to figure it out.  So thank you friends.  Thank you for hanging with me even when I'm a mess or say the wrong things.

Anywho, these really great friends got together and threw me a chemo shower thing.  And IT WAS AWESOME.  People brought me super fun scarves, hats and earrings and in return I let them participate in the cutting of the do (do. I said doodoo).

This is what was coming out that morning.
This was shocking.
It was planned for 16 Jun which was Day 14 from my first treatment.  The doc predicted that my hair would start coming out anytime between Day 10 and 14.  I wanted to have the party far enough out that if I was the 2% that does NOT lose your hair I would know.  But then again if I was the 98% that would lose my hair I would not be losing it at an alarming rate.  The universe was on my side - it was that morning of the party that it started coming out and it was disturbing shocking and terrible.  I was grateful for the cut to come.

The Hostess with 
My hosts, Allison and her husband Scott have a wonderful home and they are just really good people and gracious hosts.  Everything was so nice and thoughtful.  And I felt totally peaceful about it.  Oh who am I kidding, I was nervous as hell.  I am so totally not used to being the center of attention.  But then I took a little happy pill and it was all good.  Happy pills are totally acceptable in these circumstances.

So there were like eighty cajillion friends there that came from long and far.  And they all brought me some lovely lovely gifts.  It was overwhelming.  What did I do to deserve this?
Here is me with hair and with my first present!
Yay presents! :)

So as the presents came, it was decided I would stack the hats and scarves on top of me while I went.  Hilarity ensued.
Bling hats and earrings...

And with every card came a "Dammit" because I was just so overwhelmed with the sentiments and thoughtfulness that I needed to cry a little.  Dammit.

And then the finale.  This makes me laugh a lot.
I have lots of generous, kind and thoughtful friends.

Then I disrobed of all of my gifts and moved on to the big cut.  Allison procured a real life stylist named William from Wavelengths in Durham.  He was awesome.  I didn't know him at all but he made me feel very comfortable.  He kept calling me beautiful.  Allison told me earlier he was really into the experience. 

Here we are getting ready to get started.  He asked what I wanted and I told him a pixie.  Someone had shown him my blog post with the pictures of the pixie cuts.  He said no problem.

Then I asked him if my friends could cut chunks off.  William obliged and was so patient and taught my friends how to cut my hair off.  

P.S.  Do you see how awesome Allison and Scott are that they let me do this in their dining room / kitchen?  There was hair everywhere!  I love them.

OK, back to the cutting.  Here comes my friends rolling up to get in on the action...

This was really fun because it was a really hard thing for me to do and having my friends doing the cutting first really made it much easier on me.  And OMG did I laugh.  I laughed and laughed and laughed.
The sound of chunks of my hair getting cut off was freaky.
But it was all good.  Here's Lindsay going to town.

Gratuitous cute dog shot
Chunks of my hair make good mustaches and unibrows.
Look closely at this photo for a special little surprise.

Then once everyone who wanted one had a turn at chopping a chunk, William got down to business.

He was really good and all of my friends stood around me and told me how good it looked.  I mean this is how I am going to have to have my hair cut from now on.  Instant validation!

Here are some shots of my new do (do, I said doodoo).
Boy was I shocked.  But I really liked it.  But most of all I was just so glad that the very long hair was no longer going to fall out.  Little did I know how traumatizing this short hair falling out was going to be.

Anywho - William and I hugged it out and I'm pretty sure that he will have some new clients.  I mean did I mention he DONATED his time and talent.  Good Karma coming your way William.  I sent him a thank you and he said "your welcome, my queen".  Umm, don't you want to be called beautiful and a queen when getting your hair did?  I do.  I didn't know it before, but now I do.
The One.  The Only.  William.

If you are reading this blog and have the big C and about to do chemo or just started chemo, I highly recommend you throw yourself a little partay.  It was super fun and all of the love and support made the terribleness SOOOOO much easier.

And, I got some really nice scarves, hats and earrings that conservative me may never have picked out.  And I love them!

My happy fun shortcut lasted a total of 5 days.  It was just coming out so fast and it was everywhere and gross and sad and I couldn't make it stop no matter how many times I pulled it out or washed it or scrubbed it.  It got to the point where I just wanted it off!  Pronto!  So I called up my good pal Mischa and she came over and buzzed it.  Here is the before and after.  Boy this was a tough day - many many hard real sad tears.  The crying where you make funny noises and you just can't help it.  Son of a bitch.  Effing cancer.
Had a scarf on all day and had just revealed to Misch.
Many tears were shed.  Look at my male pattern baldness.
Can you see the relief in my face?  Oh man.  It was great.
I think Misch was relieved too.
So now I'm just hanging out bald.  I have tiny hair but really even today pretty much the whole top is gone.  And its flaky.  Ewww.  And my scalp hurts.  It hurts like I've kept a pony tail in for days or weeks! Its actually been feeling like this since before the party.

I haven't really left the house bald except to the wig place (more on that another time).  I tried to go to the crossfit with a scarf or bald and I just couldn't do it.  I'll get there though.  I mean, I have a pretty nice little noggin!  I think I just need to get used to it.

Treatment #2 is tomorrow.  I REALLY don't want to do it because I know it is going to make me sick.  I'm just now feeling better.  I Crossfitted 2 times last week and everything!  Will try to meet my pal LF at the gym to Crossfit on Saturday, but I may be overestimating my abilities for that day.  But I do love to be at CFDurham on Saturdays.

I have so many other things I want to blog about - my crossfitting experience, the free stuff I have gotten because I'm fighting the cancer, the wig shopping and acupuncture (WOAH this is pretty cool stuff) and my no sugar challenge.  Some fellow blogger girls and I will even be posting self love posts soon.

I'm glad I got this no hair one out in the universe though.  Whew.  It was a doozy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011's still there!

So my hair is holding on strong.  Yesterday was the first day on average it can start to come out.  My leg and armpit hairs are growing much slower though.  That is not a bad thing.

From what I have read, the most disturbing part of chemo is when large clumps of hair come out in your hand.  Or are on the pillow when you wake up.  Or are on the floor around your house.  I would have to say that I would find this disturbing.  So people recommend cutting your hair short to avoid the drama.  I was going to shave mine - and have the mohawk for a bit.  However, my doc wants me to leave at least an inch.  They worry that you could nick yourself and risk infection with a shave.  So I am going to go for this:

My friends are throwing me a little party on Thursday.  Kind of a shower of sorts where people bring scarves and hats and earrings and what not.  In return, I will be cutting off my hair for them.  My lovely host (pal Alison) has found a real life hair stylist that will do the honors.  But maybe I'll let each person cut a chunk off.  How often is it that you get to cut your friends hair?  In chunks?

Of course I think I have a pea head.  I'm afraid I will have this tiny pea had on a large body.  Stupid weight gain doesn't help.  Anywho - I have never had hair this short.  Maybe I'll love it??!!  Last short hair cut I had was a bowl.  Here is evidence of that disaster:
That's me in the middle.  With my bowl.  Circa 1995?
I couldn't crop out my friends Shae and Shane.
Sorry - you made the blog unintentionally.  Hope you don't mind.
Oh yeah, yesterday was my first day back to work - physically in the office at least.  Except for one very insensitive comment, everyone was great and supportive.  The morning was a little rocky - didn't feel great, but it got better as the day went.  Had my bag packed for the gym after work, but just didn't have any energy left.  I think if I want to get back to exercising, it might have to be in the morning.  :(

Today I will have my very first acupuncture treatment.  I hate needles.  But I have an open mind and hope that it can help me physically and emotionally.

I am actually looking forward to having short hair now - it will be fun to have something new!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Team Melinda!!!

Blog friends, I attended the 15th Annual Triangle Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure Saturday.  It.  Was.  Awesome.

For those of you unaware, here is some info on Susan G. Komen.  Its a great fundraising event for breast cancer.  And what is so great about it is that the donations stay local.  75% go to local programs and 25% goes to research conducted at some of our local institutions (Duke, UNC, Rex).

Here in the triangle this event started 15 years ago with 2500 participants.  Saturday, over 25,000 people attended and so far an estimated 1.8 Million has been raised.  HOW COOL IS THAT?

My participation started when my friend Kristen asked if some folks at Crossfit Durham could form a team to support me.  Someone recently told me that people look for opportunities to do something for you and when an opportunity presents itself, you need to let them seize the opportunity.  It ends up helping both you and the other person.  So I let CFD seize this opportunity and Team Melinda was formed.  They even had special shirts made that said Team Melinda.
Team Melinda!!!
Team Melinda ended up with about 25 members and we raised $5490 as of today.  I just think this is so awesome.  That is about 54 mammograms that we paid for to put it into perspective.  Early detection is so important to me - so that is super duper awesome.

The event itself is a 5K.  Some of my team did the competitive 5K and some did the recreational 5K.  Some of my badass team did both.  We met there under the instruction of the best team captain ever (Kristen).  How we found each other among 25,000 people is entirely because of her (and my friend Amy's mad navigation skills).  When I came up and saw my team, I lost it.  Boohoo'd all over the place.  Still, when I think of my friends helping me in this way - fundraising, showing up, wearing the tshirt, walking with me...well, I just get so freaking emotional. I guess maybe I am not used to being cared for in this way and it just feels good.  And I don't know how to process this.  So I cry.  But this was just the start of it.

We started the walk and seeing the sea of supporters and all of my team made tears come.  Talking to my friends during the walk after being so reclusive for so long made tears come.  Thinking about life going on made tears come.

That's me at the start.  All teary.
That's Kristen on the right.
Anywho - I walked the recreational 5K. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do it because my legs were hurting and weak from the treatment.  I think I did pretty good considering I had just had chemo a week or so ago (this is what Kristen kept reminding me of when I thought I should not be winded or slow).  It was the most exercise I had done in about 3 months.  It felt good.  Maybe this breaks the exercise seal so to speak and I can get back to the gym.  Next year I will run the 5K.  I will!

I went all flat chested and out there.  I figured if there was anywhere in the world where it was OK to be flat and proud it was at a breast cancer event.  I think this helped me get past any embarrassment.  I mean, it is what it is at this point.  At least until the foobs come in (they've been ordered!!!).

Texas Superwoman
Here is the hat I wore - I ordered it during one of my steroid induced insomnia nights.  I think it's awesome.  I am superwoman.

Here we are at the end of the walk.  Team Melinda!!!
Alison, Jonathan, Kristen, Nelly, Anna
Lindsay, Tracy, Amy and Katie
So when the walk was over we walked around to see all of the info and get some swag. I got some pretty cool stuff.  My favorite thing was this educational tool:
The keychain has 4 circles representing the sizes of tumors found.  The smallest is the average size found by a second mammogram.  The largest is the average size found on accident.  The largest is about an inch and a half wide and represents the size of tumor I found.  So this is accurate.  I just think the visual is so powerful.  I should have put something in the picture to show scale.  Typically an inch is knuckle to knuckle...there is a visual.

Then my friend Alison and I went to go listen to the opening ceremony and we happened upon the survivor parade.  This was the most powerful part of the whole thing.
Less than one year to 30+ years - left to right
To see all of these women who have survived...from less than one year all the way to over 30 years...well, it was just moving.  It allowed me in a very powerful visual way, to see my future.  Allowed me to know I have a future.  Life goes on.  Happy times are ahead.  I think this is called hope. :)

The tears just came and came and came.  And come now as I type.  Just powerful stuff.

My Team Melinda just let me cry and hugged me and rubbed my back and told me it was OK.  I have the best friends.  I am very lucky girl.

In summary - Race for the Cure is a keeper.  Know someone with breast cancer?  Take them to this.  Have breast cancer?  Go to this.  And listen and look around.  Don't just go to do a 5K.  Get the message and see the hope.

Thank you to all of the generous donations.  You can still donate! You can do so here.  It's a great cause!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Well, I'm Scared

I guess I have just realized that this is what I am feeling.

My momma left me yesterday.

I have strange things going on with my legs.

I have to have 3 more rounds of this with the potential for the legs to get worse.

My scalp is starting to hurt.

Many tears have appeared.

I have tried comforting with food like I did before and it makes me want to hurl.

I am scared.

Effing cancer.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dear Abby wisdom

Mom was reading the paper this morning and came across this dear Abby letter. I thought I would share it with you.

DEAR ABBY: My wife is a cancer survivor who is doing well. When a friend or relative learns she had cancer, a common response is, "Yeah, I knew someone who had the same kind of cancer. It was awful. It came back six months later and he/she died an agonizing, terrible death."
Abby, it's hard to remain polite around such thoughtless, moronic individuals when they blurt out something like this in my wife's presence. I can't imagine the fear she must experience hearing such remarks. Can you offer an effective retort? -- BAFFLED BY THE IGNORANCE

DEAR BAFFLED: Remarks such as you have described usually are made when people don't know what to say, so they blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. A polite response would be, "Thanks for your concern. My wife is doing great."

Of course the appropriate thing for friends and relatives to say would be, "I'm so glad you're better -- I care about you and I was worried." To raise the subject of someone who died from the disease is inappropriate and extremely insensitive. There's an old Portuguese proverb: Never mention a rope in the house of a man who has been hanged. It definitely applies here.


Of course I can understand that people don't know what to say to me about my cancer. Just tell me I'm sorry it's sucking and I hope it sucks less soon. Then tell me I love you and don't care that you might need to tell me that it sucks. Then take me to the movies. :)

And for me, the rope mentioned above, is recurrence. I just think that it is inevidible that my cancer will come back and I just can't stand thinking about that. Having to go through this all over again. Please no please no! So every time I read or hear about someone's cancer coming back, I think of this process and how hard it is and sometimes about dying and that is just really hard.

Love to you all any many thanks for the kind words, calls, messages thoughts...Please don't confuse this post with ingratitude.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Man Down

I had my first chemotherapy infusion on Friday, 3 Jun. I received Taxotere and Cytoxan.

I don't feel much like writing, but wanted to update everyone as best as I could.  There probably won't be any humor or fun pictures.

I arrived around 8:30am and had labs drawn and saw Dr. Blackwell's nurse practitioner.  I'm not really sure why I don't see Dr. Blackwell - that was disappointing especially on this big day.  I had lots of questions answered earlier so it was a quick visit.  Plus Mom and I went to a chemotherapy orientation class (free at Duke) the day before.  This class was awesome and they gave me lots of info on what to expect.

Anywho - grabbed a restaurant pager and waited for them to call me to the treatment room.  The treatment room is packed - not much privacy.  Just circles of treatment chairs surrounded by a few private beds.

When they called me back around 11:30a I sat in the treatment chair and my nurse was super nice, Amy.  I knew I would like her - she was down home and funny.  But then I started crying.  I don't know why.  I guess I was just scared.  Kind of like the day of the surgery.  Everything was fine until it was about to go down.

Because of my mastectomy and lymph node removals, I can't have blood drawn, IV stuck, blood pressure taken, etc on my left side for the rest of my life.  So they had to use my right arm.  This arm's veins like to hide when I get scared, which I was.  So it was a hard stick.

They shot me up with premeds, anti-nausea and steroids as well as fluids.  They also gave me some happy medicine.  Then the taxotere came.  All was going well I thought and was just talking with my pharmacist and nurse (there really wasn't any downtime yet) and then they asked me how I was feeling.  I said I felt like I had a lump in my throat.  Then they asked if my back hurt - it did a little.  Then all hell broke loose and everyone started moving really fast and doing stuff and adding stuff to my IV.  Turns out these are signs of an allergic reaction to the taxotere.  So they stopped the taxotere and dumped a crap ton of benadryl in my IV and maybe some steroids and then restarted the taxotere slowly.

They suggested I move to a bed.  So I did.  And then I snoozed.  And then they added the cytoxan and it was over.

I was bummed that I missed the experience.  I wanted to be present and aware, but between the stress, the happy medicine and crap ton of benadryl, I really don't know what happened.

That was it.  Chemo #1 was over.  Except for the allergic reaction, it was non-eventful and nothing to write home about.  It didn't hurt, I couldn't taste it, I couldn't smell it, I didn't feel anything.

So Mom and I left around 4:30 I think.  It was a long day and we were both exhausted.  We ate some dinner - don't recall not being able to eat - and went to be early.

The next day, I felt pretty OK.  Definitely had nausea and some fatigue, but was actually feeling like getting out a little.  Despite a very bright red rash on my face and neck, Mom and I went to the mall.

Did you know Nordstrom's sells foobs?  Well they do.  They have fitters and will bill your insurance and everything.  So while I was feeling OK, Mom and I went and had me fitted for my fake boobs.  This story is best left for another post - hilarity ensued.

Anywho - I am now fading and will wrap this up with how I am feeling.

Nausea has been present, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  My appetite waxes and wanes but I seem to be leaning towards preferring salty bland items (think pretzels and mashed potatoes).  I guess this is good because this would be a time that cupcakes would totally be acceptable comfort.  Ewww.  Typing that just made me feel a little nauseous.  Things I like to drink, like my fizzy water doesn't taste quite right either which is a shame.  The nutritionists recommend a high protein diet so I am trying to make sure and get some protein in.

I have SERIOUS heartburn.  And this is really annoying and painful.  My hoo-ha hurts - like a bladder infection which is all of that poison hanging out in my bladder.

Sleep did not happen the 2nd and 3rd nights because I was still taking steroids.  Luckily, I am done taking the roids and I was able to sleep last night.  Sleep is good when it comes.

Fatigue is a real whammy.  I don't know if I really am fatigued or if I haven't slept enough or I'm not eating enough or what.  But wow.  I don't feel like doing crap.

Finally, the worst side effect so far is pain.  I was not expecting this at all.  My legs, from my knees down hurt and are kind of weak.  Painful like stretching would help but it doesn't.  Like kicking and flailing would help, but it doesn't.  Like cutting them off would help - I think it would.  I can't seem to figure out how to treat this side effect.  The doc thinks it is peripheral neuropathy from the taxotere, but from all of my reading this is usually in your hands and feet.  So who knows.  I just know it hurts and today taking a shower I thought I was going to have to sit down.

I am not complaining.  I know people have it so much worse than I do.  But holy hannah, it is not fun.  I really don't know how people work through this or go through it alone.

Mom leaves me (again) tomorrow.  Sigh.