MRI DAY – WHAT ARE THOSE STRANGE SOUNDS?

Here we are at Thanksgiving! The weather in Portland, Oregon is pleasantly overcast, mild and dry. I am ALL KINDS OF EXCITED for Thanksgiving weekend’s activities! Seeing the long-lost extended family at dinner tomorrow, then catching up with friends on the weekend, should be enough for the sick lady! Lately, the cache of social activities is pretty anemic, so bring on the holidays!

Matt spent today happily at work in the yard making improvements, building and organizing, his favorite things to do. I had an MRI. And let me tell you about that!

mri-colorectal-cancerIn spite of dropping cancer tumor markers, there is ever more to worry about. Beyond recent CT and blood tests Dr. Look requested that I do an MRI to “get some further definition”, because of a few new, unusual spots in my liver. Although he did not show concern, I decided I’d better go ahead with it. So, we’ll see what those are when the results come back in a few days.

Today was the MRI. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the nice thing is they use no radiation, but magnetic fields and radiowaves to create the image of my liver! My, how well-documented my body will be after all this.

It was surprisingly easy, when compared to the prep for other more miserable exams. There was a 4-hour fast before the exam, I could wear my street clothes (sans any kind of metal). I was a little nervous that there was some metal implant I’d forgotten about from one of my previous procedures, and I thought back… no, I was ready. An IV was placed in my arm and headphones on for music (I chose the news), the contrast solution was injected and I listened as the live vocal prompts interrupted the news broadcast and the table slid in and out of the tube with me on it. What a crazy experience! It took an hour or so for a sequence of inhale-hold exercises while the MRI machine wailed an impressive variety of short electronic boops and beeps.

Besides that, today there is still some lingering muscle and mental fatigue and an occasional upset stomach. If it gets empty, it gets upset. I’ve noticed something since being on chemotherapy. Taste for food tends to rotate in phases. One problem with chemo is it damages taste buds and skews the flavor of foods. Foods that were my favorite before (like, everything) now make me nauseous just to think about. Not only that, the association of how food tasted while on chemo can haunt a patient long after chemo is finished. So, I guess if I was going to diet, now would be the time because I won’t know what I’m missing!

ON THAT NOTE, HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE! May it be a day to relax, reflect and be grateful.

CHEMO IV

Round IV of Chemo – the lead up and follow up.

11/4/14 Tuesday

I’m anticipating the next chemo round coming up later this week. I feel very good. Not 100%, but I can do anything I need to, I can and want to exercise, I’m productive, and I’m eating healthy portions! On the other hand, I notice less energy, fatigue more easily, phantom nausea 1ce/day or so, and I’m very foggy (losing train of thought in conversations, etc). Photography is coming along as a new hobby. Even though I am fond of my images, I am still trigger shy about ordering any prints. My mind tells me that as soon as they get blown up to actual art piece size, they will turn hideous compared to what’s on my computer screen. But that’s just paranoia.

Marijuana legalized today. This is very good omen for all the dispensaries out there!

11/6/14 Thursday

Chemo Day, Round IV

Yesterday Matt and I used as a fun day! Starting with a noon-time movie at Lloyd Cinema with dear friend Frank, we saw a great movie called “St. Vincent”. Casting was excellent (starring Bill Murray), story excellent, great humor, drama, relationships and unpredictable. I love a good movie, period. Then Matt & I drove Frank downtown, and he left to do his errands, and Matt & I walked around downtown admiring the energy, buying coffees, watching and chatting with people on the street corners. Then on to dinner with my parents. We took a walk after dinner in my old neighborhood to the park to play on some fun, new playground equipment. It was really a wonderful, relaxed day, with little thought for the Chemo session the next morning.

At the chemo session I got my vitals tested and port prepped and visited my oncologist. He could already tell me the results of the blood test, and blood cell counts look low, but safe, so we could continue with chemo. We discussed the changes in the IV to avoid the nausea for this round. He cautioned that at this point (round 4) my bone marrow is getting fatigued and is not producing blood cells, red or white, as quickly as before. This will affect my immunity, so I must be extra cautious about germs in public places. I also learned from my nurse that my exuberant attempts to gain weight when I feel well and hungry are not all necessary, and this is because the IV’s I’m given are chock full of calories to help boost my energy and tolerance of the medicine. No wonder I am gaining weight instead of losing it! …Foiled again!!

11/7/14 Friday

Community Acupuncture Day! I was a bit slow this morning, the day after chemo day. Nausea started last night, but fortunately I was able to get ahead of it with a few vial puffs of the medical marijuana vaporizer pen. It makes my lungs hurt and tastes horrible, but then there wasn’t a nausea problem. Until the toke, I was kind of a waste upstairs in bed. I ate a lovely meal that Matt cooked, and we watched a really good vampire movie. An aside: Aside from the vampire theme, which I’m guessing by now everyone is tired of (at least, I can speak for myself), this movie starred some wonderful, yet lesser known, actors. The movie was surprisingly thrilling, suspenseful and sweet with good relationships; another good one! (Called, “Let Me In”). Because of a vampire/witch novel gifted to me by Bonnie Bennett, a long-time, dear family friend, I could catch Matt up on the background of vampires and witches as I knew it, which gave the movie more depth and understanding. Matt was really pleased that I knew about vampires.

Today I had acupuncture, and I felt very relaxed while there. Afterward, I learned from Dr. Look’s office that my cancer marker is down since last month. A drop from 48 to 19.2 points, so it’s dropped over half in a month! The combination of the chemo, the medical marijuana oil, the nutrient support IV therapy, the cancer-fighting supplements, all must be working! High five! Do you hear that, Mary in New York?

I feel good today, spunky, energetic, yet not up to normal. I came home from the grocery store and did some cleaning, made pancakes (for lunch. Funny cravings during times of crisis!), Matt walked in for a short visit and remarked on the aroma of food and how much he loves that and loves me. I spent some time weeding in the garden for some fresh air. Now I am writing in bed with a cup of strong tea.

No nausea to complain of to this point, but then there’s always tomorrow…

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