Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yippee Skippy- I gained weight! Just Call Me Lard-Ass!

Went for IV fluid infusion today and went to get weighed and vitals taken. I have some nasty sores on my feet, so it hurts to walk (sores are side effects of chemo) so the Nurse had me sit in a chair-type scale. I was 99 lbs last week and this scale said 105 lbs.

"no way, I said to the nurse. Weigh me on the regular scale. 105 lbs. I grabbed the nurse and hugged her. "My family will be so happy I gained weight"

I think the social outings this weekend helped me to eat more than usual, and I was a bit more conscious of forcing myself to eat. So, even though food tastes - tasteless" and my mouth still hurts, I DID it. I just have to keep going!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday's Doings

Kate took me to get hydrated at the hospital Saturday morning, then we did some errands. I rested up a bit then went up to Evanston, for the Driscoll girls get-together at Karen LaPato Felix's home in Evanston. What a great evening we had- sooooo easy to be with such a wonderful band of women and their equally delightful husbands!

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Converstaion with God today

I don't want this post to bum anybody out, but it's on my mind so I thought I'd share.

I had a good run of errands today with mom, then took a walk, now that I'm feeling better. Getting dehydrated is more debilitating than I think.

Anyway, on my walk, I had some prayerful talk with God.

"Dear God, I WILL not die from this cancer. No freakin way. I need 20 years, 20 years to see my baby girls on their paths, paths I hope me, Lee and of course YOU, will guide them .

I will not be one of those 5-year survival stats. I DO not want to be a sad story at the end of it all. I need to live, to thrive and figure out YOUR purpose for me though all this. Please give me the time to do it, I will do you proud, just show me the way.

YOU NEED ME to be your soldier, to minister in whatever way you want me to. I ask for this, and it may be selfish, but I promise not to disappoint."


Just a little update on my past week. I was weak and tired last week, so when I went in for my Erbatux infusion, they looked at me and said "Let's just get you hydrated and skip chemo today" What's happenings I'm losing so much liquid through my ileostomy pouch- it leaves me as soon as I drink. So when I was getting an IV, I had a nutritionist comes down. She told me to make a Hydration solution of 1 lite water, 3 tbs of sugar and 1 tsp of salt. Add Crystal lite
if needed. I think it's starting to help. It tastes better than plain water and makes me thirsty so I think I'm drinking more. I also need to pump immodium.

So I went for full chemo on Thursday, with IV hydration on Saturday, plus taking my pump off(the 48-hour folfuri chemo infusion)

Over the weekend, we went to Art & Mindy's house in Mokena for our annual swimming party. It was cold and damp. but the kids managed to make use of the pool. It was soooo great seeing everyone and I did my usual "shopping" in Mindy's Sample closet - she reps several clothing lines. I scored 3 great sweaters for the fall- super cute!

I've got a heavy schedule of Hospital visits this coming week- Chemo, Cat Scan and IV infusions.

Oh and good news, my CRE (tumor marker) blood count went down again from last weeks 11.9 to this weeks. 9.9. That simply means I'm still responding positively to chemo. It doesn't mean that when it gets to ZERO, the tumors are gone. BUT, hopefully after this next Pet Scan, the oncology team will start discussing other target options - do I stay on current chemo regimen? They say they will change the regimen when it stops being affective. So who knows how long.

Have a great weekend


Friday, July 17, 2009

My Support Group Girls- The Best There Is

After just a few sessions with the Women with Cancer Support Group at Wellness House, I am hooked on the strength, passion, drive, determiniation and fight that these lovely women have and share with each other.
This is women at their finest: sharing, supporting, and caring on a level that can't be matched!
I can see how this support group energizes me the day after chemo and puts a spring in my step just for having shared an hour & 1/2 of loving support in our collective fight in the nasty, evil Cancer War.

A Bounty of Blessings - Can you say Martha Stewart?

Another Angel was sent to me and my family in the form of Janice Marion. She flew in from California, took over my mom's kitchen and in 2 days whipped up the following:
  • Roasted Tomatoe Bisque Soup
  • Chicken Veggie Soup
  • Asparagus Soup
  • Potato Cheese Soup
  • Brown Rice
  • Glazed Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Crudites
  • Home Made Ranch Dressing/Dip
  • Chicken and Gravy
  • Noodles
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Deviled Eggs
She cooked and organized all this food into containers for freezing. Thank goodness we bought a deep freezer a few months ago!
What an INCREDIBLE act of love and generosity. Overwhelming to take in and be the recipient of such kindness and generosity.
Janice is the beautiful Blonde among the sea of brunettes!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hmm, not sure how to feel about the news

Went in for myy Erbatux infusion today but also had a blood draw and visit with the Oncologist.

She told me her and the team, including st Shoup, my surgeon looked at my PET Scans and determined that surgery on my liver is NOT an option. The tumors are all over the liver, not concentrated in one area, which, if they tried to cut out the tumors, would leave me with no liver and I am not a candidate for a liver transplant.

So, needless to say, I am bummed that that is off the table. Dr. Lo said there are other options to reduce those tumors non-surgically- radiation and I guess some other targeted procedures. After the next scan, in a month, they will review and look at options.

Not sure if I consider this a setback or bad news because I don't yet know how the other "options" compare to surgery- success wise. It feels "bad" to me at the moment, but I need more information that will give me hope.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

An Unexpected Gift Coming My Way

My godparent's son, Michael Marion and his wife Janice, are especially near & dear to my parents. Janice called my Dad yesterday and said "I'm coming to Chicago Monday thru Wednesday to take care of Peggy, you and Barb take a break"

Jancie and Mike's son, just went through a horrible year of recovery and rehab due to being hit by a Drunk Driver. Michael is doing great, and just got married a few weeks ago. You can see his journey at Caringbridge.com. Michael Marion.

Janice and Michael are 2 of the most beautiful, loving, giving people you'd ever meet. To have them in your lives is a true blessing, I am sure. So here I am, on the receiving end of a gift of love via my parents and their relationship with Michael and Janice, and of course, their Mom, Laura, a most dear friend of my Mom's. I don't have a lot a would need Janice to do, but she's a FANTASTIC cook, which will be a big benefit to Lee and the Girls!!!

The gifts and love just keep raining down on me, I only ask how God wants me to pay it forward!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Keep My Mind on the Prize

Cycle 7 of full chemo yesterday. Even though I go every week for chemo, they count the Cycles for the full cocktail of drugs I get every other week.

I was very week and fainty yesterday - any exertion made my heart race. Turns out I was a tad dehydrated (too much iced tea? doesn't caffine dehydrate?), so they gave me a bag a fluids before deciding if I can get chemo too. The fluid really helped perk me up and Lee said I looked better- a bit cadevery and gaunt was my morning look.

Bad news- I dropped more weight. That is BAD. I ate 2 corned beef sandwiches this week and thought that would help. Shit, I didn't have as many milkshakes and was eating a brothy soup for meals, so my calories dropped. I need to figure out how I'm going to get 2500 calories in me a day to gain weight. My Mom is on my ass, I better not piss off Babs!!!

Going to Wellness House for Support Group then lunch at Neiman Marcus for a French Dip sammy with cheese. I think I'll go to Williams Sonoma to see if they have any good jarred gravies - I van pour that slop on noodles to help slide down. Who'd think that Cancer is all about Food for me.

Speaking of cancer, my CRE, tumor marker, blood indicator went down again to 13.9, down from 19.9 a few weeks ago. YEAH!!!! Keep shrinking you bastards!

The Doctor mentioned that Radiation to my rectum may be a possibility. Treatment to be done before any surery to resect the liver. Women at the support group say radiation is easier to take than chemo. To me it seems it would be the opposite. But what do I know.

That's it for now- thanks for your continual support and love and prayers, I am in GOOD HANDS my angels!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Unexpected- Hair Loss

Wow. I wasn't expecting this. The Doctors said I probably wouldn't lose my hair because of the drugs I'm on.

My hair is definitely "thinner" since being on chemo. What was a visual shocker to me yesterday was the hair in the sink after I dried my hair. I thought it was Colleen's or Michaela's hair- but No, theirs is Long and Curly. These hairs were 2-3 inches and straight.

It didn't register that it was MY hair until later in the evening when I brushed my hair.

Damn, It's Mine!

I have no idea if it'll just keep slowly falling out or come out in clumps. Will it just keep thinning, slowly over the long course of my Chemotherapy? Should I just shave my head now and get it over with? If I'm gonna be thin and patchy, I probably should shave it. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

One more thing to add to the Fugly Stick of Cancer : Face and chest rash, sores on fingers and soles of feet, numbness in fingers/hand, diarreah, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, brain fog, mouth sores, loss of taste, skin as dry as a sandpapered alligator. Makes me want to break out in Maria's "I feel Pretty" from West Side story. Shit

I'm actually scheduled to get my haircut today, I was going to go shorter, for easier maintenance and less bed-head. Now I'm not so sure.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rash Relief and CornBeef

Rash: My scabby eyelids and red angry rash has subsided considerably. In fact, it's the best my skin has looked in months. I no longer scare small children when out in public! I don't know if it's because I had a week off from Chemo OR the ointments the dermatologist prescribed. Perhaps a combo of both? Do I dare try and put makeup on or is that pushing it? For someone who loves wearing eye makeup, and who had a 6-month stint as a Lancome Beauty Advisor (ha!) it sure is different being sans make up 24/u7 for the last 4 months. Not that I wore it like Tammy Faye Baker, but I did like to feel "put together" as they say. Ah well, another vanity that must be put aside in the face of more important things like kicking cancer in the Ass!

Food - still a challenge to get the calories in to gain weight. BUT, I had Mom take me to the Prairie Cafe for my chicken noodle soup (not very calorie laden) and I also ate a Cornbeef sammy - almost the entire thing. I dunked it in the soup to make it soft and easy to swallow. My Mom- who is on my ass to eat - was very proud. I purposely called her to take me to lunch so she could witness!

Stumpy and the Magical Poo-Pouch: No embarrassing blow-outs like in the beginning of this cancer crap, but it is annoying to constantly be AWARE of the weight of a full bag hanging off your stomach and in your undies. Also, the new flanges I have - the disks that stick to my stomach and the bag is attached to - are SUPER adhesive. I had a hell of a time trying to take it off the other night. The 'No-sting" adhesive removers burned the ever-loving snot out of my skin. I swear, the disks have super glue on them - it took a half hour and hot rags to loosen the gluey hold on my stomach..OUCH!!!!

Gratitudes: I am grateful for my rash relief, the calories I was able to eat today and as always, my amazing huge loving circle of friends, family and strangers who continue to heal me through prayer, support and service. My neighbor Susan can use a couple prayers for her healing: she had a double mastectomy last week and is now home recuperating. She looks great, they caught the breast cancer early and may even be able to avoid chemo. I hope I can be of service to her during her journey.

XOXO Peggy

Friday, July 3, 2009


Saw a dermatologist yesterday who loaded me up with 3 different ointments to attack the Fugly Rash. In just one day, the ugly scaly ick is retreating. YAY!

Dr. Vaitala also did a body check for suspicious moles and ended up biopsying a mole on my left breast and one on my lower back, above my hip. Hopefully, nothing to fret. I was a big old' Baby anticipating the shots to numb the area. I'm so used to and SICK of getting poked every week for Chemo, that more sticking and potential pain just pissed me off. Anyhoo, the needle and the biopsy didn't hurt at all, I kvetched for nothing. YAY!

I went to the Wellness House after the dermatologist. There is a Women's Support group that meets on Thursdays. It's an informal meeting of women with cancer. We just talk, give each other tips on eating, managing side effects, good hospitals vs bad ones, good Oncologists vs bad ones etc.. I've only been there twice thus far, but I can see it as a vital healing element to my journey: women are so good at bonding and talking and putting it out there, such a lifeline. It also energizes me to see these beautiful, mostly bald women talk with such strength and courage. I'm hoping to get stronger and bolder and drive there myself. My Mom had been taking me. I get tired mid-day, and don't trust myself doing a lot of driving yet.

My girls are going up to Stoughton, WI today to stay with Aunt Desi, Lee's sister. They really want to get out of town and get a break from Chemo Mom!
Sunday Lee needs to take me to Fry's Computer Warehouse to get a much-needed replacement PC for the family. Ours is about dead with viruses and other such nonsense.

Happy July 4th Weekend. As Always, my Gratitude to all of my Praying Angels, you have no idea how it heals me !


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Erbatux Sux- Ugly Stick

So this is what a Chemo Rash looks like. Red, raised, angry, itchy, hot, ugly.

I went for my erbatux Chemo today and also saw Dr. Lo, to see if she can recommend anything about this rash. She gave me the day off of Chemo today, since this cycle was for erbatux, the cause of the rash. I'm going to a dermatologist early tomorrow morning, hoping they have experience with chemo rashes and some relief!

I KNOW I'm going to be one ugly chemo girl for a long time- that's the price you pay in side effects. I am on the road to accepting that - Hell, as long as Chemo SHRINKS the tumors and keeps any other evil from spreading, I can do it.

So, even though the rash is a BOO, a break from weekly chemo is definitley a YAY!!!