Cancer Journal

June 2006

June 2
After several delays throughout the year, David finally left for the Middle East about 2pm today and will be back sometime in early August. He has been very busy heading this project and will continue to remain busy while he's out there sweating buckets from the 130-degree heat, flying over the desert landscape.

Thank goodness the kids and I will be quite busy starting next week when my best friend Kelly and her family visits with us. After that, on the weekend of June 16th, the kids and I will then travel to Strausburg, PA for a Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine with my parents-in-law, brother/sister-in-law. The weekend after, the kids and I leave for my hometown of Jacksonville, FL to visit with my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, Kelly and her family, and also some childhood friends as well as friends from our last duty station in Hawaii. Andrew and I will stay there for about 2-3 weeks, but Armani will remain for the rest of the summer, bouncing between Jacksonville and Miami. School doesn't start until the end of August anyway, so she has plenty of time to enjoy summer fun in FL.

All of these activities should make time seem to pass by quickly. Before I know it, David will be home. Yay!


June 4

My fingers and toes are still very numb and it remains difficult for me to handle detailed tasks. It's hard for me to get out of bed first thing in the morning and take my first couple of steps because sometimes, my feet are totally numb and I can't feel the floor beneath me, causing me to stumble like a bumbling drunk. Hahaha! My hair is growing like a weed, thank goodness. I can finally brush my hair to the side with a baby brush and dab some gel on it to keep it in place. Strangers have complimented me on my short "haircut", but I tell them it's not a haircut. LOL. I think I'll just say "thanks" the next time around so as not to embarass anyone.

I get my first CT scan tomorrow morning at 9:30. I am scheduled to get CT scans and colonoscopies on a yearly basis. Don't know for how long though. I'll let you know the results of my scan as soon as I find out. According to one of my online cancer buds who's been cancer free now for over a year, this first scan will serve as a baseline.


June 5

I thought I was getting a CAT scan, but turns out I got a PET scan. According to the nurse, the differences between the two procedures -- the CAT shows location; the PET shows function -- what "it" is doing, if and how it'is growing/spreading. Prepping for the PET scan was the worst part of the whole procedure. I had to drink this white, chalky substance (Barium) that came in a plastic bottle that reminded me of an old-fashioned glass milk bottle. I actually had to drink a bottle and a half! Then, I had to be shot with I-don't-know-what -- I'm thinking it's dye or more barium. Unfortunately for me, the nurse failed after two tries and decided to call for OPIS assistance. Ms. Chris shows up, tries my hand but the vein blows. OUCH! Then she went for my port which went without a hitch. And I also got my monthly flush as well since she was able to access my port! Then I had to wait for 45 minutes for the chemicals to go down into my colon area.

Prior to going through the chamber, the nurse and I were surprised by a photographer who needed to take a photo of us for an ad in the Southern Maryland's This is Living magazine and a local newspaper. Once I get my copy through the mail, I scan and post the photo here on my site. ANYWAY . . . I had to lie still for 30 minutes. Not bad, since I think I dozed off. Should take a few days before my oncologist gets the results of my scan.

Immediately after the PET scan, around 11:15-ish, I drove about a mile north to eat at Wendy's. I was FAMISHED at this point since I couldn't eat breakfast this morning due to the PET scan. Then, off I went to my next appointment -- normally a 2.5 hour drive (one way!) with the DC traffic (I made it in a little over an hour today!) -- a follow-up visit for my revisional surgery from two weeks ago. Everything seems to look fine, but more fine-tuning needs to be done some time in August. Maybe I can get my port removed at the same time if I'm lucky. We'll see.


June 8

First day back at the gym, and I'm feeling GREAT! The girl at the front desk didn't recognize me when I said hello to her as I walked past her to get to the treadmill. I did intervals of running, jogging, and walking at an incline of 8% for a total of 30 minutes before hitting the Smith Machine for squats, doing leg extensions and lying hamstring curls. As I walked back past the front desk, I re-introduced myself to the girl and she then remembered me. She asked if I had moved away for a period, and I told her I had battled cancer during my time away from the gym. She cheerily welcomed me back to the gym, and I tell ya, I felt great to be back!!!

Got home at 6:15am and did a medium-paced walk around the neighborhood with my friend Kelly who is visiting me from FL. We walked for 45 min. with our youngest in strollers, running back to the house for the last two minutes. I feel FANTASTIC!

It's now 10:45 a.m. and before I hit the shower, I need to do some ab work, so I'll catch you all later.


June 11

Kelly and the kids left at 5 O'Clock this morning to pick up Dan at Dulles airport before heading back home to Jacksonville, FL. The spent time at Ocean City with the boys getting home yesterday and Armani arriving sometime this evening (I hope!). I woke up at 4:20am to have one last cup of coffee with my "bestest" friend in the world. I was sad to see her leave. I always have so much fun with her no matter what we do or where we are!!! Oh well . . . I'll see her again in about two weeks when the kids and I head down to Jax for summer vacation.

My fingers "feel" very swollen, even though they don't look it and I actually can't feel anything because they're numb. Chemo really did a number on my nerves. I only hope I regain the feeling in my fingers and feet soon.

I'm extremely exhausted today. Stayed up till midnight chatting with Kelly, and then I could not fall asleep so I gave myself a manicure and pedicure and didn't go to sleep until around 2am.

My weight has stagnated, going between 142 and 143, depending on what I ate the night before. I wasn't focused on my fitness regimen nor on my diet this past week -- indulging in a dessert of tiramisu, Grey Goose Martinis, hush puppies, onion rings, and even a Cheeseburger Happy Meal! Yech! Hahaha! But I'll get back on track starting tomorrow.


June 12

Back on track with food and exercise, as I planned. However, I hardly ate anything today -- I actually forgot to eat lunch! -- which is NOT a good thing. It's 5:40 p.m. at this very moment, and I've only consumed 440 calories! I'd like to see that number between 1,200 and 1,500 by this evening, so I think I'll make a protein shake right now . . .


June 21

I finally remembered to call my oncologist to get the results of my June 5th PET scan. So far, so good! Yay!

Last weekend, the kids and I met up with my in-laws and traveled up to Pennsylvania. Our main reason for the trip was to visit the Strasburg Railway where the "Day Out With Thomas" event was being held. During our mini-vacation, we rode the Strasburg (45 min. round trip)-- even ate lunch in the diner car! -- and of course, we rode Thomas the Tank Engine (20 min. round trip). We were also able to visit the Amish Village, eat at an Amish restaurant where everything that was homemade comfort food was listed on the menu. I'll definitely post some photos from our trip!

This past week, I have been horrible at keeping up with my exercise regimen. I am gearing up for our trip to FL this Fri., so I've been too busy wrapping up things around the house, scheduling appointments, planning on what to pack, etc. I have been trying to be strict with my diet, but it's been hard for me to do so, especially during our trip to PA last weekend. Once I get to Jax, I will get back on my exercise schedule as there is a community gym directly across the street from my parents' place. And of course, I'll do my best to stick to a fairly clean diet, though I know I will have to give my parents' cooking a taste whenever I am offered my favorite eats! And it doesn't help that Dad's a professional chef and Mom is also a terrific cook! Look out, treadmill! Lord knows I'm going to be seeing that contraption more often than I care to admit while staying at my parents' place!