Cancer Journal

Sept. 2006

Sept. 1
Joy. I have MAJOR bruising on my left arm, just at the crook of my elbow. It spans about 3 inches vertically and 1/2 an inch wide. The bruise looks like my son took a black magic marker and decided to color on my arm. This is where the renal lab woman made her first attempt to get blood from me prior to the CT woman twice attempting to administer the contrast dye (iodine) before finally puncturing my right hand.

I hate getting blood work, not because I'm afraid of needles, but because I know from much experience -- especially last year when I was first diagnosed with cancer -- that my veins are extremely small and they "roll." It is a Godsend when I have someone capable of getting blood from me on the SECOND attempt; an absolute MIRACLE when successful on the first attempt!!


Sept. 5
Today is Andrew's first day at Montessori school. He is so excited to be a "big boy" going to school for the first time!! I just know he'll enjoy school activities and making new friends!

Yep, sure enough! When I picked him up from school today, he thanked me for letting him go to school today and said,
" . . . can you take me back to school tomorrow too, Mommy?" How sweet is that?!

I am not supposed to work-out 24 hours prior to the PET scan scheduled for tomorrow. Therefore, I decided to work out earlier this morning so as to be outside that time period. Took it easy, though, and only did half of my leg workout and jogged/sprinted for 2.5 miles on the treadmill.


Sept. 7
The bruise on my arm has finally turned the color of eggplant purple, though it is tender to the touch. I'm fine. Just look like an abuse victim.

Another four-hour roundtrip drive to NNMC this morning for a PET scan at 11am. Woke up at 5:30am so I could have breakfast -- my strawberry whey protein drink with extra crunchy peanut butter on a toasted whole wheat bagel and a cup of french vanilla coffee -- before my four-hour fasting started. Left the house at 8:30. Got there around 10:15. Checked my blood sugar level and also had a pregnancy test before being shot up with radiation.

Once the radiation was in my system, I had to lie down and "rest" for 45 minutes. No reading, no talking -- else the radiation would head up to my brain more than anywhere else that it needed to settle. I actually fell asleep, so the 45 minutes went by quickly.

Another 45 minutes for "pictures" in the tunnel. Results should be in the computer system within 2-3 days. Hopefully, Dr. Z will call me sometime next week to discuss the results of this PET scan and the CT scan I had last week. If both scans are clear, then I will be able to schedule an appointment to get my port removed. Yay!

Got home around 2:30pm. Not a bad drive at all, really. Extremely fatigued from the drive and perhaps from waking up so early this morning. However, I decided to hit the gym to finish up my leg and shoulder workout from yesterday and put in some more time on the treadmill. Also tried the stair climber for the first time, and my glutes are really feeling it now. Spent 10 minutes walking the stairs at a slow pace and got up to 30 floors. Not bad, I guess, after a leg workout and a 2-mile run -- and on my first try at this cool contraption!


Sept. 8
It's 3am and I can't sleep. Actually, I went to bed at 8pm last night and got up around 2am. Now I'm wide awake. I've GOT to get back to bed or I'll be useless the rest of today! And I MUST go to the gym after I take Andrew to school this morning. Plus, David and I are going to a wine-tasting dinner tonight. I'm going to be hurtin'!

Speaking of hurting, I'm really sore right now. My glutes -- I can really feel them. My quads -- wow. Hahaha. Still gotta hit the gym this morning and force myself to work through this pain. Not a BAD pain . . . but pain, nonetheless. I've been stuck at this particular weight for two weeks now. Gotta shift gears and keep on losing pounds!

I've lost enough weight now to be down by six clothes sizes! Four more clothes sizes to lose = 30 pounds till I hit my goal weight. To be honest with you, I'd be very happy to lose even 20 more pounds at this point. Should I make it a goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of next month? That would be a very tough goal, but it's doable! Been there, done that -- but that was well over a decade ago, back when I was a youngin'! Hahaha!


Sept. 11
Great news! Dr. Z called me earlier this morning to discuss the results of both my PET and CT scans and all is clear! My port is scheduled to be surgically removed tomorrow at 10am. No more monthly port flushes. But I just realized, it also means quarterly blood work done through my arm. The OPIS nurses are pretty good at getting my blood on the first try. I can only hope that they continue to do so throughout the remainder of my quarterly appointments.

Since I know I won't be able to do any exercises relating to my upper body for a week or so after my surgery tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and work out both my upper AND lower body parts along with a 30-min jog (over two miles). Therefore, I can just do cardio the rest of the week if I'm up to it.

My sinuses are bothering me today, though not as badly as Saturday when I felt like a MACK truck ran me over -- body aches, sinus pressure around my eyes, and coughs caused by post nasal drip. Ugh. Called my doctor's office, and the nurse recommended I try 800mg dosages of Ibuprofen every 8 hours to alleviate my body and facial pain, Actifed to assist with congestion, warm compresses for my eyes/nose, and to keep my head elevated while lying down or sleeping. I have to say the warm compresses are really nice. My cough seems to be a bit worse, though. Part of sinus drainage which is really gross. Otherwise, I'm fine (smirk).

Thinking of the 9/11 victims, their families, and heroes on this fifth anniversary.


Sept. 22

My port was surgically removed last Tues., Sept. 12th under local anesthesia so I could drive myself home. The previous scar was also removed and revised to make it look better. Dermabond was placed over the outer stitches, and it's now starting to disintegrate. Once the new scar heals, it should almost be invisible. Yay!

Trained with Rebecca just this past Tues. (19th) morning and was excited to try new exercises with her. I'd always been afraid to try deadlifts because I was scared of injuring my back if done improperly -- until Rebecca showed me how to do them with proper form. That one exercise alone killed my hamstrings the following day, and I have to say -- I love it! New ab exercises with weight resistance is awesome too. I can't wait to try out the whole routine by myself next week.

I reached my running goal of 3 miles yesterday! Ran it at 36 min. & 25 sec. Also worked out my upper body for the first time since my port was removed, and I'm feeling great!

Just got back from the gym and hit 3 miles again, this time at 35 min. & 36 sec.!!! My next goal is to be able to run 5 miles, and I know that I'll reach the goal in no time. I have to say that I've never considered myself a runner. The most I ever ran was an outdoor run of 3 miles, but in 45+ minutes. This past April, when I started working out soon after all of my chemo treatments were done, it took me 30 minutes just to do a mile, and I was hurtin'! Now, I can run a mile quite easily on the treadmill and I can really tell that my energy level has increased dramatically since the chemo treatments. I'm so happy to be living life again!!!

I had a whey protein shake and a half a whole wheat bagel with a spread of crunchy peanut butter before I hit the treadmill this morning. I'm now having my morning snack of another protein shake and sliced apple. Not sure what I'll have yet for lunch -- perhaps sardines over mixed greens (no dressing) or else terriyaki chicken tenderloin strips and a small sweet potato. I'm now down to 132 pounds from the lousy 153 pounds in April and still have 27 pounds to go. The past couple of weeks, my weight just wouldn't budge at 135, so I decided to eat a little more. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it worked! Your body goes into starvation mode and holds on to fat if you don't eat enough. Now, I'm going to cut back on my calories and add an extra day of cardio to my workout plan. Let's see how far I get by the end of October.


Sept. 28
Trained with Rebecca today and learned a whole new routine for upper body via circuits! But I think I strained my left knee while doing some lateral moves. Better take it easy the next couple of days and see if it gets any better -- or worse -- before I start thinking about running again. :-(


Sept. 30
OK, my knee feels MUCH better today. Yay! Will start running again on Monday.