Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oh My Hair!

So after a week-long Internet Fast, I am back online. Now I start my E-Diet. I will limit how much time I spend online, and how much of that time is wasted. You'll notice I didn't say I wouldn't waste ANY time, just that I will limit it. I think a little wasted time here and there is okay, but I was spending HOURS doing useless things before.
   
One thing I've noticed is that I feel much more focused now. I was creating my own little case of A.D.D., and now I think I am on the road to recovery. I also spent more time working on things that I really needed to finish. My book is further along, with accompanying submission letter. I also spent more time just sitting with my wife, which is a good thing right now.
   
Speaking of LadyBug, we finally had to buzz all her hair off, and I will  NOT be putting that photo on here, but here is one of her wearing the fuzzy hat she wore to church today.


We still have six more treatments to go, so can still use all those prayers coming! More to come!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time for a Change

“Fasting will bring spiritual rebirth to those who cleanse and purify your bodies. The light of the world will illuminate within you when you fast and purify yourself. What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner.” – Mahatma Gandhi


With all of the success I have had with my diet, I decided to try another one. I will begin this diet with a week-long cleansing fast. I will abstain for the next seven days. Not from fat, not from sugar, not from carbs. From the Internet.

That’s right, for the next week, I am on an e-Fast. I will still read e-mail, because I have important messages every day, and as a teacher, I must enter attendance and grades. But I will not be blogging all week. I will not be on Facebook. I will not play Internet games.

I am not quitting. I am not going “Cold Turkey.” I am simply spending a week cleansing and thinking. I will find alternate means of entertainment. I will still carry my cell phone, so can still be reached, but not via those normal channels.

Then, following this Internet Fast, I will be going on an e-Diet. I will cut down the time I spend (or rather, waste), and put that time to more important matters. Who knows what I can accomplish with all that extra time. I will still do FB, I will still do other stuff, but I will try to NOT spend the many HOURS I sometimes find I have passed wasting my energies online!

If I can feel THIS much better watching what I eat, I may find whole new horizons available to me after this Fast!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

So LadyBug had her second chemo treatment on Thursday. She is feeling those flu-like symptoms today, same as last time. She is also feeling a little bone-pain from the shot they give her to boost her marrow. We bought some ginger snaps and ginger-ale to try to help the nausea. 
   
One of the things that is happening right now that she is not very excited about is that her hair is just beginning to fall out. You can't see a difference yet, but she has found quite a few strands on her shirt. She is okay with leg hair falling out, but does not want to lose the rest, especially her eyebrows and eyelashes. She thinks that when it starts falling out quickly, we will just shave her head and be done with it.
   
She is also feeling fatigue, so has not been able to work much, especially since she had that surgery last week. This has meant cutting back in some areas. We haven't gone to a movie since the one the hospital paid for. We have our TV, and we have our DVD's, so we generally stay at home and vegetate, which is okay, since LadyBug really hasn't felt like going out much anyway.
  
We also don't have to worry about eating out much, since I am avoiding the sort of food found in practically EVERY restaurant, and LadyBug can't eat most of what they serve. She has been craving cheeseburgers lately, but we can get one of those just down the street. She needs stuff like that in order to keep her protein levels up.
  
On a personal note, I finally reached the 25 lb. mark! I don't know how long I will stay there, but it was a major point in my diet, so I was excited. I also punched ANOTHER hole in my belt. I can't wear it on that hole yet, because it is just a bit too tight, but it is too loose on the previous hole, so I am stuck in the middle! All in all, this is a strange place I am in. I am used to buying clothes that are BIGGER, so I don't know what to do when my clothes get too small. I still have my smaller clothes, but I am not quite into those sizes yet.
   
I hope all reading this are healthy and happy. Your continued prayers on LadyBug's behalf are felt and appreciated! Thank you all for your support!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

DVT's and Filters and Stents, Oh My!

LadyBug went in on Thursday to have her filter removed. It was more complicated than that, however. First, her blood count could not be too low from the chemo, second, she couldn't have any clotting. Well, one out of two isn't so bad.
   
Her blood count was fine, but the sonogram showed she still had some clotting. This meant a major change in what happened. First, they could not simply remove the filter. They had to replace it. In a different spot. So, they went in and took out the old filter, then place a new one in a slightly different location. Just so you know, it is called a "Vena Cava" Filter. Here is a picture of one:
   
   
After they replaced the filter, they had to deal with the clotting issues. He said there was extensive scarring in her Iliac Vein, some so old she probably didn't even know about it. The main issue with her blood flow out of her leg was caused by May-Thurmer Syndrome, where the Iliac Artery actually crushes the Iliac Vein.
   
   
The Surgeon had to go in and put in stents to keep the vein open.
   
   
Then he went into other parts of her vein where there was either clotting or scarring and performed angioplasty.
   
These procedures opened the vein and finally allow spontaneous blood-flow out of her left leg. He says he need to see her in four to six weeks, then about every six months or so for the next two years, to make sure the stents hold and the vein doesn't collapse again. If this all works, she will be fine. The stents are permanent. If he didn't perform this procedure, she would have swelling in her leg and pain for the rest of her life. I won't put the pictures I found of that on here. Some of you may have just eaten.
   
Speaking of eating, I am now down almost 25 lbs.! I am also fully convinced that it is possible to diet and still enjoy food. AND....I did something yesterday that I have never done before, nor did I ever consider could happen. I went into a shop, stood at the counter, and SAMPLED HOT SAUCES!!!
   
There is a little store in an outdoor shopping center in our state's capital that sells pepper related items, such as hot sauce, barbecue sauces, drink mixes, powders, etc. They have everything you could ever possibly want in that category! AND...they have little plastic spoons, into which they will pour sample after sample into for you. I LOVED the "F'in Hot" Serrano and Garlic Sauce. It was delicious! I bought a bottle (more $$$ than I would care to admit.....), and have used it in two separate meals already. Yummy, even though it does have habanero in it also.
   


I was able to try in the midst of my various samples, a ghost pepper sauce which was unbelievably flavorful! It wasn't very hot, though, so must have been diluted quite a bit. Even so, I plan on going back to this shop as soon as I have some money! If I have very much money when I go, I am sure I will come away with several bottles of the good stuff! And best of all, PEPPERS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEART AND DIGESTION!!!! Life is good!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Preparing Ourselves

In anticipation of LadyBug possibly losing her hair, I decided to take some initiative. I bought some fleece back before Christmas, then just yesterday made her a hat and matching scarf. I had enough material to make two, so here is a picture of mine.

I also thought that with a matching scarf (and a matching husband) she might not feel quite as self-conscious. The picture makes it look purple, but it is really kind of a puky green that LadyBug really liked. And I won't be as embarrassed with her matching me....

Dropping a Few

Lately, I have put a lot on here about LadyBug's cancer. I've come to realize though, that there is another word some people tend to avoid: "diet." I recently visited my doctor to find out why I was having nausea. He sent me for a sonogram that showed I have sludge in my gall bladder. A blood test also showed that though my cholesterol was a little high, my triglycerides were VERY high....496, to be exact! That means a stroke or heart attack in no time.
    
So, I started a diet. One thing I decided early on, though, was that if I was bored with my food, I would choose the stroke. If eating cardboard was the only option, the heart attack would be welcome. Well, let me tell you one of the most overlooked facts of dieting: Chili Peppers have ZERO fat, and ZERO cholesterol, AND ZERO sugar! They are one of the most heart-healthy things you can eat!  Fact number two: Dark Chocolate in small amounts REDUCES cholesterol, AND blood pressure, along with boosting your bodies insulin reception!
   
So I watch fat grams in food, choosing the lowest choice every time. I watch cholesterol and sugar and carbs, too. I will admit that I still don't exercise like I should, which is to say, not at all. But in the last month, I have lost 20 lbs.! Imagine  what I could lose if I was exercising! And the best thing is, I still enjoy my food. I will admit, I don't count sodium. Maybe I should, and maybe I will some day. But I don't salt my food--ever. I do add salsa. I do add Cayenne. But no salt. So I think I probably do okay there.
   
The thing is, I can't take care of LadyBug if I am in a hospital getting my gallbladder out. And I can't take care of her if I am suffering a stroke or whatever. So now I'm dropping pounds. I even punched a new hole in my belt!
   
Only one thing worries me: What do I do when all my clothes are too big?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Red Devil

LadyBug started the first of her chemo sessions today. She recieved almost two hours of intravenous solutions containing Adriamycin--nicknamed the "Red Devil," because of its red color and its horrible side effects--and
Cytoxan. "Cytoxan slows down, or stops the growth of cancer cells." (1) 

  
This was followed by a quick saline drip to clear the lines and clean the port, as well as add some fluid to her system. She should begin feeling the effects of this mix of drugs in about two days. She will have nausea, and fatigue. Within three weeks she will begin losing hair, a little at first, and then in clumps.

After her treatment was done they gave her a shot. I honestly don't remember what the nurse said the shot was, but she said some people get "bone pain" from it. She said if this happens and gets unbearable, to call the doctor. LadyBug said she has already experienced one symptom: The red medicine of Adriamycin causes your urine to turn pink or orange.... I knew you wanted to know that.
  
Her treatments will be based on the two week spread, but they are doing what they call the "Dose Dance." Chemo treatments are normally spread out three weeks apart. In the Dose Dance, they are two weeks apart, but the patient's body will drop in its white blood cell count. This means that while she is doing treatments, LadyBug will be VERY susceptible to infection. It also means that if she contracts an infection, there is no wait before it hits her. We must monitor all of these symptoms carefully. If any symptoms get out of control, we need to get her to the doctor immediately. If her blood count is too low the next time she is supposed to have a treatment, they wait until the following week to do it. This means her "8 week" treatment could just as easily be 12 weeks.
  
After these four treatments, she will begin her sessions with Taxol, the last of the drugs she will receive. "Taxol is made from yew trees. It fights cancer by interfering with cancer cell division. Taxol can be used to treat any stage of breast cancer.... When given in low doses it has mild side effects and is well-tolerated." (2)

I cannot look at this series of treatments as being 20 weeks, 16 weeks, etc. I see that we have two sets of four. And for the harder one, LadyBug is 25% done already. We have three more to go. As long as I look at it that way, it seems much more manageable. Now she just has to decide how long she waits before buzzing off her hair. This is one of the things she is most anxious about. Lucky for us, she has her a wig that her doctor's office supplied for her, along with some hats. Keep her in your prayers!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

LadyBug's New DO!

 LadyBug cut her hair this week. She donated an 11 inch braid to Locks of Love. We figured this way, when she starts losing her hair, she won't miss quite so much!
  
Everyone comments that it looks cute, and makes her look younger, so she is okay, even though she really misses it right now.

She starts chemo this Thursday, so it won't be long now before she starts losing her hair. She's not happy about it, but we will do what is necessary.

Saturday, January 1, 2011