THE TEMPEST

We all experienced a mix of rain and sun here in Portland, Oregon, but my rain was a tempest of illnesses that hit all at once.

Well, I guess I get my comeuppance for having so many “good days” during this cancer process. Why? Because of the phenomenal weather this year and last, and the “feel good” days, as though I’m a thief making off with gold since the diagnosis of metastatic liver cancer last August.

Because I am immunodeficient following three very successful chemo treatments and resulting low red and white blood counts, it should not be surprising, yet is very discouraging, to have contracted three new illnesses at the same time. Each comes with its own misery, and altogether it overwhelms my usual optimism. I’ve earned pouting rights. So, let’s get to it!

Which came first? The sinus infection or shingles?

They both began around the same time two weeks ago. The sinus infection is very painful in the part right behind my forehead. Because, Dear Reader, you and I know each other pretty well, I will tell you this: The shingles is ghastly. I look like my butt is molding.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Velcro-lined slippers

Velcro-lined slippers

I’ve had neuropathy for a long time now, and is positively making my feet puffy, numb and hypersensitive. It’s like wearing nice, cushy slippers lined with Velcro.

Did you get your flu shot?

Finally, a pretty violent flu took over all else with all classic flu symptoms, but intensified by the other ailments. I don’t get flu shots unless I need ’em. ‘Cause if I don’t my immunodeficient butt get spanked with the flu. There were lots of muscle spasms and pain, twitches, tremors, chills, dizziness, projectile vomiting and foggy brain.

I want to complain so badly (and I have), but really, what can you do?

medication-supplements

Taking the nighttime regimen.
Photograph courtesy Matt

Whine and moan! As soon as you realize you are getting sick, you can’t just halt life and choose a different direction to avoid the illness, you can only sit and wait for the sick train to move in and then submit to it. Medicate? Well, yes, there are remedies, or at least relief meds that will take the misery down a notch or two, such as a flu shot, oh, wait, that didn’t really work for ANYBODY this year. In normal health, I refuse medications and supplements. Boy have I succumbed to that rap! Everyone who gets sick has to go through it, fully.

I am pretty good at taking care of my sick body, even before cancer. I have a knack for it. Because I believe the body’s immunity is really pretty amazing, I believe in supporting it every day. Thus, I’ve studied nutrition and fitness for years out of interest. Not that it gives me any real advantages because even if I follow a pretty strict health protocol, I still have to go through any illness I do get, fully.

The good news: I’m no longer at death’s door. Friday I was more vertical. Today, Saturday, I feel in good humor and know the worst is behind me. The neuropathy is getting better. When I couldn’t keep anything down for three days, I had to stop all meds, including anti-neuropathy supplements for a while. Even ginger beer, a known nausea remedy, failed me. I was malnourished and dehydrated – perfect conditions for an illness to go from zero to sixty in no time flat. I got up to over 103 degree temp, now down to… what? 93 degrees F? Ugh, really? Am I dead? I’m the last to know, always!! HA! Let’s try that again… That’s better. 98.2, more normal.

The sinus infection was really silent, but at its worst I had a headache of shooting pains which refused to submit to all pain relievers I could tolerate taking, for 3 days. I don’t know what migraines are like, I’ve never had one. That’s how I imagine them to feel, but do not want to offend any chronic migraine sufferers. No sleep and debilitating pain with no control. Kind of like that? I don’t know. Can I amputate my head? Please?

Shingles, I’m getting test results back early next week, but treating them now, started as a sore, painful spot on my nether regions, then spread up to my gluteus maximus, now is making it’s way toward my brain!! Not really, but spots are appearing on my back, neck and arm, all on the left side. And the welts are swollen and massively sore because I sit on them!! Can I get a butt transplant?!

boneless_chicken_ranch

I was NOT IN A GOOD MOOD, as my husband will attest! I laid in bed like a boneless chicken. Matt felt so helpless, as did I, but I was just too miserable to care about anything!

I know this is a very self-indulgent post, and I’m sorry for that. I don’t ever complain, so I am taking the stage. I guess I had to celebrate this occasion with a long rant. Since yesterday I am feeling so much better. I’m quite fatigued, and possibly contagious, so I’m going back to my nest for a few more days.

So I will close with a little entertainment: The Eurythmics’ “Here Comes The Rain Again”. It’s such a timeless song, and Annie Lennox is my muse.

Banishing the Tempest! Yay for recuperation!!

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ROUND 9 OF 12

Finishing up chemo round 9 of 12.

nutritional_iv_therapy

Nutritional IV Therapy

The chemo pump came off yesterday. Round 9 of 12 means that I am half way through the post-op “just-in-case” chemo.

Today I feel slowed down a bit, and a few other discomforts like neuropathy in my feet and hands, and a new rash, but nowhere you can see! I will be low energy for a few days as the medicine works its way through the system, then expect to feel pretty good after that. I’ve been able to cook, clean, help Matt with the taxes, plant some seeds for the greenhouse, and repot a few new plants from the nursery in celebration of spring! Always mood brightening activities for a sunny day!

One week off!

At the beginning of the week in my oncology meeting, Dr. Look noted my low blood count numbers and postponed my next chemo treatment by one week. By that time, my marrow will have caught up on blood cell production, and I should make it cleanly through the subsequent treatments. Apparently, this is about the time most patients on this same regimen need a break for the same reason. While I am thankful for this move, I’m also eager to get the dang things done! But there you go, so I will enjoy the extra chemo-free week.

The gratitude!

All in all, I am very thankful for treatments to be going so smoothly, that I have rather mild side effects and a lot of energy in between treatments. I owe this mainly to two things: the wonderful support of my friends and family! Yahoo! The lovely calls and comments on social media fill my energy and healing reservoir up! Also, my nutritional IV therapy which I get from my naturopathic oncologist, Dr. Panutich, a few days prior to my chemo treatments. The link is a Dr. Oz article, it is cautionary, and rightfully so, however I feel I have a good reason to be using nutritional IVs. Without these, I doubt I would be upright, and I certainly won’t feel so energetic in between chemotherapies. This is no placebo, this therapy works reliably for my condition.

The nutrients mixed in with this IV, as it is explained to me, are minerals and amino acids which protect healthy cells in the body and agitate the cancer cells for more vulnerability to the chemo treatments. Prior to surgery, the cancer tumor markers in my blood samples responded strongly to the chemo and other therapies I am doing. The IV is formulated based on the side effects I experienced with the previous treatment, such as nausea, neuropathy, fatigue, etc.

The rest is pure mysterious magic! That’s the update, and thanks to great friends and family connections!

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