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?


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?!


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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  1. Anonymous

     /  March 24, 2015

    Thank you for the email about trials going on for injecting virus to attach to cancer cells, especially for myeloma. Very interesting since that is something they referred to when I visited Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. It’s worth listening to again and again.
    Now to you, what a bummer to have to go through all this, but your sense of humor is contagious. Thank you for that and sure hope you’re much better now. At the end of February (in the Desert on vacation) I went into A-Fib, got a raging chest cold and had a wake-up call about having a stroke so I’m on blood thinners, etc. until I can get back to normal heart rhythm. May have to be zapped. Good thing is that the myeloma and the kidneys have both stayed stable and I shall get back to feeling my new normal (with cancer) soon.

    • Anonymous

       /  March 24, 2015

      Didn’t know all the rules, Michelle. That anonymous is me. Kay McGary

      • cancer4me

         /  March 25, 2015

        No ID necessary, Kay! I can hear your voice through the writing, and subject 😉

    • cancer4me

       /  March 25, 2015

      You’re welcome. I think it is nice when you can hear about a therapy several times from different sources, it helps you zero in on an difficult and illusive therapy choice. I have asked many of my docs about the virus therapy, and I hear mixed reviews, but that’s expected. Mostly, I hear that the use of this treatment depends on the location and origin of the cancer cells, whether it will be successful or not. But nobody is saying it’s poppycock, yet, so that’s promising!

      Oh my goodness, what a frightening and painful experience! Does the A-fib feel like a panic? Do you sleep at night? It’s amazing how quickly one can go into medical emergency, especially with compromised immunity like we have. I felt so vulnerable, so out of control when just a week before I was feeling so strong and energetic. I am very glad that otherwise you are stable. Take care, Kay! You are in my thoughts.


  2. Anonymous

     /  March 24, 2015

    I am so sorry to hear you have the shingles!!! Tommy had them so bad…he could not control the pain and he would cry out in so much pain…it about did me in. Hope the sunshine will shine on you like never before and good days will follow. I am sending you big hugs and lots of love….Robin

    • cancer4me

       /  March 25, 2015

      Oh Robin, I can’t even imagine. What an insecure place to be, not being able to help or take the pain away. I swear nothing I took would touch the pain – but between the medical cannabis and the magnesium powder at bedtime, I could sleep some. I’m sorry to hear Tom had to go through that. Such a complication! May he be in peace wherever he is now!

  3. AWWWW Michelle you are one of life’s sweetest blessings.. My heart aches but you make my lips smile with your attitude and talent – you can complain any time it is a joy to be in you sphere.. i pray it will all get better soon.
    Nancy D

    • cancer4me

       /  March 24, 2015

      Aw, Nancy, you make everything seem like it’s going to be ok. It’s nice to have someone out there like you sending thoughts and prayers, making me feel cozy. I don’t know how you do it 🙂

  4. Michael Tannery

     /  March 21, 2015

    Such an inspiration…thank you for sharing your journey with me!😊 xoxo Michael


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