Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Love the feeling of feeling good!

Crazy how you dont appreciate a normal stomach, until you regularly feel like shit. 
Week ago today was chemo, so I think its safe to say Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 are pretty miserable... but then I slowly start to come back by the time the weekend rolls around.  I'd consider this managable!

Poor Cody has been working all day, coming home, making dinner, cleaning after dinner, and resting by about 930pm.  Poor Cody.  Those treatment weeks are going to be rough on him for a while.  Luckily, he doesnt have to try hard on making dinner... cause for me it all tastes like crap.  But i'm making it up to him by cleaning, and making dinner, and making him coffee in the morning EVERYDAY i'm functional.

Status update: (before visit with ONC next week)

Hair - Started falling/thinning out.  Slowly though, which makes me believe I may not lose it all.
Overall health - Feeling normal today!  Good day!  Got bloodwork done yesterday to check on WBC.  (White bloodcell Count)  Will determine my next treatment, and whether or not I need that Nuprogen shot.
Lymphoma Symptoms - Progressing.  Starting to get night sweats.  But apparently, thats to be expected.  Still itchy, still exhausted easily.  No other swollen lymph nodes that I know of.  (official doctor update next week)

Lets all think positive thoughts for Katie this week!  I'm hoping for progress! treatment effectiveness!  good test results! and a quick and painless week next week!

Time to clean, vacumm!!! (my hair is everywhere, quite gross) disinfect everything, run some errands, and keep trying for my goal to drink a GALLON of water a day, need good veins next week!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My coffee tastes like S***

Ah, one of the many lovely side effects... everything tastes like crap. 

Well, I actually take that back... Last night.. Cody made me White Wine & Herb Chicken with spinach salad and rice,  and it tasted fine.. but my coffee this morning?  Bleh.  Bleh.  FRUSTRATION.  Maybe I should avoid buying Starbucks whole bean coffee, cause we all know they burn their coffee when they roast it... as its not roasted here in CO.

But I'm a girl that knows coffee.  Espresso.  yum!  I'm very picky.  But when no matter what I do, how much I pay, it all tastes like crap.  Being the negative nancy I am this morning.  Maybe it was the bible thumpers that knocked on my door reading me passages out of the bible while roxy tries to get out, i'm in my pjs looking far from happy.  lol.  "what do you think it takes to make the world happy?  are you depressed?"

Excuse me?  I have cancer.  But i'm not going to tell you that...  Cause you're just going around knocking on peoples doors in my apartment complex... which you probably dont have a permit for.  Spreading the word of god whether we want to hear it or not.

Thats my venting for the day.  Actually still staying positive.  Reasons to be happy today:
-Not EVERYTHING tastes like crap
-No hair loss yet, as I was told to expect it by now.
-Sunny Day!
-Feel ok enough to clean up the apartment today.
-I accidently clocked Cody in the face with my engagement ring this morning.  Made me laugh.  Dont worry, he didnt bleed.
-Nice to close the door in those peoples faces.  Wheres your permit to solicit here? GO AWAY.
-Sarah is pregnant! I'm gonna be an Auntie!  A badass Aunt Katie to say the least. ;)

Pic of Sarah and Bro in Law Chris.  Expectant mom and dad.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Update! From everyones favorite Katie.

Whew.  Just came back from Chemo2.  Or the END of cycle 1.
That makes 1 down, 5 to go!  Though the end is FAR from close....  its still in sight. ;)

This time around, I get to fully experience the effects of the treatment.  My first treatment was difficult, as I was going through withdraw of quitting smoking, so any effects I experience (dry mouth, sore jaw, headaches, heartburn, irritability) could be the chemo, could be nicotine withdraw.  But, i'm going over 2 weeks strong without a cigarette!  Not as hard as I thought.  Though under these circumstances, it makes it easier.   Damn C.  Wish it were pregnancy that made me quit.  Oh well.  Guess the Damn C has a silver lining in some aspects.

I feel ok today, got home and immediately wanted to take a nap.  Slept for a couple hours, helped bring back some energy.  UNFORTUNATELY, docky doc is concerned about my white blood cell count (guess I shouldnt have had those few beers while camping, but its camping! and I compensated with water and electrolytes the next day!).  Have to go in next week for another lab.  So i'm gonna veggie, water, and excercise it up this week to give my immune system a lil' nudge in the right direction.  Fingers crossed!

Cody and I decided to downgrade to a 1bedroom apartment, help cut back on expenses since i'm not working until this is all over.  The leasing office people are being so helpful.  Though we cant get out of our lease, they are waiving some big-time fees to get us to a smaller place, with less rent.  So we should be able to manage through the next 6months until i'm back on my feet.  Codys been doing better than ever through all of this.  He's my best supporter.  Even when he comes home, and i'm far from happy... he still manages, and keeps a smile on my face.  Me smiling keeps him smiling.  AND he came with me today!  He and SARAH came with me today. 


My view of the treatment area...

And my view of Downtown Denver from the 12th floor of the hospital!  Nice.....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cigarette FREE

Never thought i'd have the will power to do it.
But my cravings are becoming less and less frequent, and not as miserable!

I didnt want cancer to be the reason I quit.  But its definitely a good reason, as I could have caved already.  I'm excited to have my apartment smoke free.  No cigarettes or ashtrays around, no temptation.  I feel empowered.  I've accomplished something i've been wanting to do for years now.  Never thought high school, peer pressure, alcohol, drugs would lead to a 5 year battle of quitting these nasty habits.

Been 4 days now.  Not one cigarette!

Happy as can be.  :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cycle 1 - Not too bad!

Yep. Day 1.
Cycle 1 - Treatment 1 of 2

Not too bad actually. I get to sit in a nice recliner chair, bring a portable dvd player, my laptop (free wifi!) or take a nap... so many options. My brother Bobby came for my first treatment. He's the best at keeping me giggly and happy.

In more detail, I am getting ABVD
A-Adriamycin --- This is the drug that causes hair loss.
B- Bleomycin --- An Antineoplastic used to treat certain cancers.
V-Vinblastine --- An Antineoplatic used to treat certain cancers.
D- Dacarbazine --- This one everyone dreads. It causes burning while getting the med thru an IV. This is why some doctors use Infusion Cathaders (surgically put under skin of chest or arm to reduce irritation or burning)

This nice cocktail of drugs is what a majority of Oncologists use to treat Hodgkins Lymphoma. (Depending on your age, weight, etc...)

After the Chemo today, I feel fine! Normal. No Nasuea. Had some fresh carrots a tall glass of water and a sandwich. Still feel fine! I assume side effects will show their true colors upon more treatments.

My family has been doing great helping me deal with hair loss. My brother and my dad are going to shave their heads with me once I start to notice a great deal of hair falling out. At the Oncology office, women are walking around bald, with a smile on their face. Gives me the courage to look past the hair loss, and forward to getting through these treatments. Luckily, I'm going through this at the end of the year. No summer swim suits, shorts, tanks and heat to deal with. More cute beanies, wraps, hoods, and snow! I'll probably end up getting a wig. Just one though. Doubt i'll wear it often, too itchy I hear. My off weeks perfectly scheduled to land on holidays! Thanksgiving, Christmas, NYE. Awesome.. By that time, I should only have 1 cycle left before I should be in remission. FEBRUARY FEBRUARY FEBRUARY!!!!!!!

I cut my hair way short the other day... I've NEVER had it this short before... Thoughts?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Meeting my Oncologist

Talk about nerves. Knowing i'm going in to find out what stage the disease is in.
My oncologist was quite intimidating at first. I just wanted to leave before the consult was over. She is very straight forward, a tough cookie. After the exam, and the bone marrow biopsy (uh.. ouch! ouch! OUCH!) she turned out to be exactly what I wanted. Funny, does well keeping my mind straight and keeping me informed (whether I liked the truth or not).

It was definitely a lot of information to take in for the first day. Got a dvd on "what to expect" instead of a class because monday is labor day. (and Codys birthday!) The facilities were nice. They showed me where I would hang out while getting the chemo, and even told me the best spot to get! It overlooks downtown denver, as the oncology offices are on the 12th floor. FANTASTIC view.

It still hurts where the bone marrow biopsy was done. I spent most of the remainder of my day relaxing. Hopefully the pain will subside in time to celebrate Codys birthday.

I was told i'm in stage 2A. Meaning the cancer remains above my diaphram, has only affected a few lymph nodes, and not too worrysome of symptoms. (itching, exhaustion) I will begin 6 cycles of treatment over the next 6 months. (or once every two weeks) I get my first chemo on Tuesday, so shortly we will see how the drug affects me. Until then, I'll probably cut my hair short. And cut down on washing it to about twice a week.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another day, another test

Went in for the PET Scan today. Learned the ultimate lesson, which you all should know...

If you have to fast before a doctors appointment, dont schedule your appointment in the afternoon! Soooo hungry.
It wasnt too bad though. They injected radioactive glucose (sounds scary, i know) and you have to wait around for an hour for the stuff to do its thing. I was pleasantly surprised to find that during that hour of waiting, you get to lounge in an awesome recliner, and watch cable! :) Then you hop into a CAT Scan machine and it scans you for about 20minutes. Pretty long 20minutes it seemed. Then I got a goodie bag with snacks and a bottle of water (they must come across hungry patients often).
I get the stitches out from the surgery, and my first meeting with the oncologist is friday morning.

They want to immediatly start treatment, and do the bone marrow biopsy. I think its safe to say that NO ONE looks forward to those. Sedative please!

First Entry

Hello everyone! I have decided to start a blog, as it may be the best way to share my thoughts and progress with family and friends after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

It all started about a year ago when I noticed an odd lump on the bottom right side of my neck. Being young and hating doctors visits, I decided to ignore it. After a good 8 months, no change in size.. doesnt move, and is becoming bothersome. I scheduled a visit with my primary, could be anything. She refers me to have an ultrasound. Again, inconclusive. Go in for a CT Scan with the dye injected, this is where they refer me to Head/Neck Specialists. Cody came with me to meet with the doctor and what a horrible experience. The fine needle aspiriation is terrifying and painful. The results came back a few days later as "worrysome". No details, just worrysome.

They immediatley schedule me to have the mass removed so it can be examined under a microscope. This is the surgery site and stitches... not too upclose. (ew)

Sure enough... Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was diagnosed with the disease August 31, 2009.