Cancer Journal

May 2006

May 1:
(Happy Anniversary, My Love!!!)

David and I celebrated our anniversary this evening by taking the kids with us to the only Japanese restaurant in our city -- Asahi Japanese Steakhouse -- two miles from our home. Andrew calls it "The Fire Restaurant" because the chefs always use fire as part of their cooking "tricks" at the Teppanyaki tables. Fun time and good eats as always! I got one piece of fresh salmon sushi as an appetizer (I gave the other piece to Armani) and chicken and scallops for dinner with steamed rice and a side of hot sake to drink. Yummy!


May 2

I worked out this morning, even though I didn't feel up to it. I've been very good (patting myself on the back) with sticking to my fitness schedule, though I still haven't made it to the gym yet. I will try hitting the gym starting May 15th. This means I'll have a little under two weeks to get into the cardio groove before trying out an hour-long aerobics class. Yikes! I am just now able to complete a low-impact cardio workout! And . . . I can barely make it through my 25-minute DVD Hi-Lo Impact Caribbean Workouts with Shelly McDonald! I'll definitely fill you all in on how I do at my first aerobics class on May 15th!

This evening, we went to the movie theater to watch Ice Age II. HIlarious movie! Andrew loved it and Armani even enjoyed watching the movie with us! Dropped off David and Andrew at home so I could take Armani to do some late-night shopping at our neighborly Wal-Mart (hehe). She just LOVES spending money as soon as she gets it in her hands! Got home around 10:45pm and surf the net until close to 2am because I couldn't fall asleep.


May 3

So now, I'm tired at 11am -- after taking Andrew to his first dental visit, doing some quick grocery shopping and eating lunch. I think I'll nap when I put Andrew down for his own nap.

It's almost been one month since my last chemo treatment ended, and I'm still finding myself on the tired side. My fingers, legs, toes and sometimes feet are still numb -- more numb today than they were at any other time during chemo! And I get these blister-type bumps on my head from time to time -- same kind I was getting toward the very end of chemo, most under my arms or a bit below my bikini line. They're gross and they hurt. I actually have two blisters on the right side of my head. And they hurt even more when I wear a wig because they are right where the wig's elastic hit. Ouchie!

8:12pm - Tired, even after my 3-hour afternoon nap (sigh). I'm sooooo glad that today is my "rest" day from working out with cardio and weights. Think I'm going to hit the sack very shortly.


May 4

It's 9:30 a.m. and I just finished eating breakfast. It's been three weeks and four days since I started dieting and so far, I have lost 5.5 pounds. I would like to see the weight come off a bit faster, so I believe I will start being even more conscious about my daily total caloric intake. Beginning next Mon., 05/08/06 (Andrew's 4th Birthday!), I will start keeping "score" on my Excel spreadsheet.

I'm still very tired these days, and my fingers and toes are as numb as ever. Very hard for me to button up Andrew's shirts and tie shoe laces -- even my own! I'm dreading my workout today, but I'm determined to stick to my fitness schedule -- three days ON, one day OFF, with cardio playing an integral part of my workouts and being done every three ON days. Soon, however, I will increase the amount of time I do cardio -- I'd like to get back to doing 45-minute cardio sessions, but right now, doing 20-25 minutes is enough for me. My energy level isn't quite high enough for me to even THINK of doing 45 minutes of cardio right now! I just am so impatient with myself because I DO want to be able to do 45 minutes of cardio without huffing and puffing. I DO want to be back at 100-105 pounds with a 25" waist again. I DO want to have long hair again. I just want to hurry things up!!! And I know that I'm not being realistic and being too harsh on myself. It's depressing for me some times. "Some days are better than others" (sigh).

I think today will be the day that I clean my refrigerator, inside and out. Not that it's grossly being overtaken by any living creature or anything. Hahahaha! I'm a professed neat freak, probably a little on the OCD side. Everything has a place of its own, more than likely, in alpha order. ;-)


May 5
(Happy Cinco de Mayo!)

8:30 a.m.
So far this morning, I have tons of energy! I've already finished breakfast as well as my cardio workout and weight training! I need to shower and dress so Andrew and I can run some errands. Will write more later this evening.


May 6

Today is Andrew's 4th Birthday Party. Theme: Thomas the Tank Engine, complete with Train Pinata filled with candy. Highlights include 27 kids and adults from the neighborhood as well as David's family and several colleagues with kids. Andrew's "big" gift is a brand new (12" tires) bike with training wheels. He received many toys, mostly Transformers and Thomas the Tank Engine items. Thanks to all of you who came out and celebrated Andrew's birthday!

Went wigless all day today, even in front of all the guests. The backs and sides of my ears are red and irritated, and I'm not quite sure what's causing them to itch.


May 7

I ate most of the remaining birthday cake from yesterday's party -- a total of five small pieces. I'm disappointed at myself for a lack of control, but darn it all! The cake was extremely delicious with a not-so-sweet frosting! At least I didn't include ice cream with each piece of cake. I'll have to do better the next few weeks and try not to include bad sweets to my diet.

I'm breaking out into hives like crazy. My face is red and puffy, and the outside of my ears are raw from scratching them as they itch like hell. I am wondering what is causing this allergic reaction. I haven't eaten any shellfish. I'm allergic to the iodine found in shellfish lobster, shrimp, crab and crawfish -- all were my favorites until St. Patrick's Day 1997 when I went into anhilphalactic shock and was hospitalized (I was near death!). I haven't changed makeup or lotion. The only thing I recently changed were the laundry detergent and dryer sheets from Gain and Bounce, respectively, to All and Downy. OR, my wigs could be the culprit since the wig cap irritates the backs of my ears and the synthetic hair could be irritating my face. I haven't worn a wig since Friday night. I've been taking Benadryl capsules to relieve the itchiness on my face and ears. My poor left ear is about twice its normal size! Ewww! Just call me DUMBO.


May 8
(Happy 4th Birthday Andrew, My Sweet Little "Big" Boy!)

The hives on my face are worse today that it was yesterday. They are mainly on my cheeks and they look very irritated. More Benadryl for me today. Haven't been really hungry today. AND I made it through 5 extra minutes of cardio -- which now totals to 30 minutes! Yay! Soon, I'll be back at 45 minutes of cardio each workout day!!!


May 9

My cheeks are not as itchy as they were the past two days, but they are very "angry" looking -- red and irritated from the hives. My left ear looks better but is still itchy, and my right ear is not bothering me at all. Yet again, more Benadryl (sigh). Ran out of eggs for me to eat this morning, so no soft boiled eggs for breakfast (boo). Rather, I added some protein via Crunchy Peanut Butter to half of my bagel. Haven't had peanut butter in ages that I almost forgot how delicious it is!

As far as post-chemo side effects -- my fingers and toes are still numb, and my feet get numb from time to time, but not as much as they did last month. My fingers are numb from the tips to the second knuckle now as opposed to just he first knuckle last month. They seem to be getting number as the days pass by. My toes are not as numb as they were last month, so perhaps they won't remain numb much longer. My fatigue level seems to come and go. The bald spots on my head are filling in nicely and absolutely can NOT wait till they fill out even more so I can stop wearing wigs.


May 10

Happy 35th Birthday, David!


May 11

Happy 39th Birthday to Me! I still feel like I'm in my 20s! Maybe I'll celebrate my 25th birthday for the next few years. ;-)


May 12

OK, I cheated this morning by weighing myself on the bathroom scale. Five weeks ago, I weighed 153 pounds. This morning, I weighed 145.5 pounds! Yay! I'm losing weight! I also added another ten minutes to my cardio workout today, making my cardio workout time a total of 35 minutes as opposed to 20 minutes during the first four weeks of my workouts. I'd love to be at 120 pounds before the end of June when the kids and I will travel down to Jacksonville, FL to visit my family and long-time friends. I know, it's not a realistic goal, especially because I won't be able to work out for two weeks after surgery for scar revisions next Fri., May 19th. No worries. I'll just be really strict on my diet those two weeks post-op.


May 14

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! We will be meeting up with David's family at a waterfront seafood restaurant between Mt. Vernon, VA and Southern Maryland -- a happy mid-point for both of our families.

I've really been feeling wonderfully energetic these past few days. I felt so energetic this morning that I completed 50 full minutes of step-aerobics and another 10-15 minutes of abdominal work! Yay! Tomorrow is my "REST" day (3 days on, 1 day off) from workouts, but I think I'll put in at least 30 minutes of a cardio workout on all of my rest days until I get to my goal weight of 105 pounds. And once I reach my goal weight, I will begin to taper off my workouts -- enough to maintain my physique and weight of 105-108 pounds. So that's my long-term fitness plan.


May 17

Stopped by OPIS to get my port flushed. Nice to see Dr. C and the rest of the staff! Andrew was happy to see Dr. C, Nurse Practitioner Dana, Ms. Sherry and the other nurses as well. I'm supposed to get my port flushed every month until they surgically remove the port from below my shoulder which won't be for another five months. I was obviously over a week late in getting my port flushed. While I was there, I decided to re-schedule my CT scan appointment from next Monday, May 22nd to June 5th. I am a bit nervous about the CT results. I can only hope that the scan will prove to be good news -- no cancer recurrence.

I'm feeling more energetic as the days go by, though I was a bit sluggish this morning. It could simply be because I have been taking Benadryl or else it could be post-chemo fatigue. Still followed through with my workout regimen -- 30 min. of cardio followed by 30 minutes of lifting weights and working out my abs.


May 20

Yesterday was Revisional Scar Surgery Day. Today, I feel quite well, though I am taking Percocet for the pain. I guess the anesthesia in the surgery site(s) have worn off since I'm feeling more pain today than yesterday -- nothing I can't handle, really. I do hate the thought of not being able to work out for several weeks, but the doc said that I can start in a couple of weeks, as tolerated.

Armani spent the night with friends last night. David took Andrew to a neighbor's birthday party, so I am at home alone . . . with peace and quiet. Ahhh. I love my family so very much, but a little bit of time without them is indeed a nice, welcome change. I think I'll go upstairs and take a cat nap before my family graces me with their presence.


May 29

What a beautiful day it is today! David and I spent our day outside creating our last planter bed located on the east-facing side of our house. Actually, HE worked on the planter bed while I did some much-needed pruning of all of the plants and shrubs throughout our front and back yards. Armani spent the day at the pool with friends and Andrew did the same. Happy to say that all of us now have major tans going on! Truth be told, I actually have a slight burn on my neck and upper back, but I'm still a lot tanner than I was yeterday! Hehehehe.


May 30

Even though I'm "excused" from working out due to my surgery, I still wish I were able to work out! I feel so guilty just "sitting around!" Docs always say recovery time is always hard to endure because most active patients have to force themselves to rest! I think I'm doing a pretty good job of "resting". However, I will start working-out next week. I'm still a bit sore from surgery, so we'll see what I'm capable of doing with my cardio and weights workout that day.

How are my post-chemo side effects coming along? My fingers, toes and sometimes feet are as numb as ever -- more so than when I was going through chemo treatments. I hate not being able to feel. And I'm still battling fatigue, though I'm not as fatigued as I was last month. So I really believe my energy level is starting to ascend! Yay! My hair is now 3/4" long. It's grown in as black as coal, so I'm going to highlight my hair this evening to make it look closer to my "natural" hair color -- a nice, warm dark brown.

Since I haven't posted a new photo of myself in a while, I think I'll do so right now! I'm wearing my "sophisticated" looking wig in the photo.