Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sinus Issues, Thanksgiving Dinner, and Other Miscellanies...

Well, I seem to be over my infection issues. Praise the Lord! I have a bit of a sinus cold, though, which is unpleasant, but doesn't seem to be getting any worse. I always tell Mark that there's a fine line between medicine helping and hurting in a case like this. On the one hand, the antihistamines, decongestants, and expectorants, help keep my sinuses from draining down the back of my throat (and making it horribly raw) and also from collecting down in my lungs (making me sound like an accordion in serious need of repair.) The first day I woke up with it, my throat was already sore from the mucus (gross!). Ironically, I was seeing my oncologist to talk about my next course of chemo. Just as a quick FYI, I'm due to start it next week on Wednesday, November 17. I will also be having another MUGA scan (heart) early that morning to make sure my heart is still okay for the next round of treatment. This time around it's Taxotere (every 3 weeks) and Herceptin (every week.) I'll be taking the Herceptin for an entire year. The radiation will come once the Taxotere is finished.

Honestly, I'm just anxious to get on with it. This sinus thing is annoying, but so long as I don't develop pneumonia or an ear infection or something worse, I should still be able to get my chemo next week. The Taxotere is nothing worse than what I've already had. It can cause hair loss, though my chemo nurse told me that most breast cancer patients actually start regrowing hair while on it. LOL, I told Mark that I dreamed I had hair the other night. I've been dreaming a lot of weird stuff over the past few days. I think it's the NyQuil. LOL I've taken it all my life, despite the horrific taste. It was my Mama's "go-to" medicine for colds. Of course, these days they've taken the decongestant out of it because of the crazy druggies out there using it to make whatever it is they make with it. I used to be able to find the NyQuil that still had the decongestant at my local drug store, but now they've stopped carrying it altogether. So I have to buy a separate decongestant and take it with the NyQuil. The stuff knocks me flat out. Maybe that's why Mom liked it so much back in the day. LOL

I actually haven't taken anything since this morning because I am a little worried about taking too much medicine when I have a mild cold like this. I got caught in that catch 22 several years ago when I was going to visit my sister, Connie, after she'd been diagnosed with cancer. I didn't want to risk taking the cold I'd had down to her so my Dr. gave me some antibiotics and a prescription decongestant/expectorant. This was back when the asthma was still something of an issue. Anyway, I still remember sitting in the airport trying to keep from coughing up a lung while all the other travelers gave me a wide berth. I kept wanting to tell them it wasn't contagious, but I could barely stop coughing long enough to breathe, much less talk. LOL It took me a few days to finally figure out that the decongestant was drying me out too much, which was in turn making me cough like crazy. I quit taking it, but it still took almost a week & a half for me to fully get over it. So now I'm kinda paranoid about taking too much medicine when I'm sick. I may have to break down and take something, though, because my nose is pretty stuffy and I'm still coughing. This morning the expectorant kicked in and I got some stuff out of my chest, but my throat feels awfully raw from all the coughing. Seriously, I just want to feel half-way decent for a few days! Especially since I'm about to start the new chemo and I don't know how it'll effect me.

The Herceptin is supposed to have almost no side effects. It's targeted to a specific protein within my particular cancer. The one big side effect it does have is potential heart damage. Hence the MUGA scan on Wednesday morning to make sure my heart is still going strong. Ya'll pray about that, please, as the Herceptin is one of the big guns that is supposed to help keep the cancer from coming back down the road. If that scan, or any of the others I'll have routinely throughout the treatment, shows any sign of heart damage, I won't be able to get the Herceptin at all.

Okay, change of topic. So, Mark and I were at the store sometime last week. We'd gone to Kroger because they were selling frozen stuffed peppers for a really cheap price. This is one of Mark's primary meals when I'm sick and not up to cooking. He can cook other things, but this is his quick and easy, toss it in the microwave and scarf it down meal for days he works. So we went to replenish our supplies since I've been so sick lately and he's been eating a lot of them. On our way through the store Mark honed in on the frozen turkeys like a laser guided missile. This is something we go through every single year around Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are TWO of us. Neither of us cares for the dark meat on the Turkey. When his mom was still alive, we'd send all the dark meat to her because it was her favorite. I have tried for years to convince Mark that all we need is a turkey breast. He simply cannot bring himself to buy one, though, because he feels like he's being cheated somehow. I confess to sharing this feeling a bit, especially considering the fact that a turkey breast is at least twice as expensive as a whole turkey and you're getting less meat. Somehow, that just feels wrong.

Anyway, the whole vs. breast thing is just the start of our issues. Because along with an innate urge to buy a whole turkey Mark also suffers from a driving need to buy the biggest turkey he can find. He simply cannot stop himself. He gets positively depressed if he can't find a turkey well beyond 20 lbs. I am so not joking, here! For years, we have bought turkeys that topped out at 23-25 lbs. So, that night at Kroger he found a giant bird that was over 25 lbs. I could see the drool forming as he leaned over it. I am a more practical person. Well, more practical when it comes to turkey. I like it. I eat it. I'm pretty good at cooking it. But ultimately, I am a ham person. Not fake-o de-boned, machine pressed, ham loaf ham, mind you. That stuff, as far as I'm concerned, should be relegated to the deli and never allowed to leave. What I like is a whole ham. Like Mark and his turkey, I search out the biggest ham I can find and drool over the prospect of eating it. So, we're two of a kind, I suppose. Which is why we come out of every single major holiday with enough turkey, ham or both to feed an army. Actually, Mark lives off the turkey for the days following the holiday. He eats turkey and potato salad for pretty much every meal. The rest of it he can take or leave, but there have been holidays when we didn't actually have any turkey to put in the freezer because he ate every bit of it. LOL

I always wind up putting ham in the freezer. There's probably some in there right now from either last Christmas or maybe this Easter. I can't remember if I fixed a ham for Easter. Anyway, Mark actually didn't buy that turkey. I was amazed at his restraint. He knew we could find them cheaper at Wal-mart, though, so he held off until he got there. Where he bought a 24 pounder that is stuffed into our freezer waiting for me to make room for it in the fridge. It'll take a week for that monster to defrost!

He keeps asking me if I'm going to get a ham and I told him I haven't decided. The way things are going, I'm not likely to feel much like cooking next week. I think I'll just go rummage around in the freezer and see if I can't find some pouches of ham in there. That'll save me quite a bit of work.

I learned from my Mama to make enough food at the holidays to feed an army. This usually includes all kinds of desserts from pies to cakes to candy and cookies at Christmas. I just wish I knew if I was going to have the energy to do it this year. I love cooking, but I haven't been doing much of it lately. I just get tired too quick to do very much. I had to talk Mark through cooking frozen corn last night. LOL He did it, though. along with making mashed potatoes and mac & cheese to go along with the rotisserie chicken we picked up at the store earlier. He even bought gravy in a jar. It was all very good. Before this is all said and done, he might just be a pretty good cook. LOL

Well, I'm tired. My urge to cough is getting annoying, as is the congestion in my nose. Kinda makes my head hurt. I'm going to take some medicine and go lay on my bed. I've got some stuff to read, assuming the NyQuil doesn't knock me out. LOL

I just wanted to do a quick update on where things currently stand. I was really hoping that these last few days before I started my next chemo would be some of my best, but it just isn't working out that way. God's got a plan, though, so I'll just keep on plugging until I get out the other side of this thing.

I should confess that I had something of a rough day this week. I told Mark I was just so tired of feeling sick. But, it didn't last long. Oh, I'm still tired of feeling sick, but my perspective righted itself pretty quick. As I've said so many times before, it can always be worse. For me, I'm just profoundly grateful that I'm not still in the hospital. And though I don't much want to eat, when I do, at least everything tastes normal for now. All in all, I just can't complain too much. I've got too many things to be thankful for.

Oh, and a quick shout out to my big sister, Debi. Thursday was Veteran's Day and she was a Marine (is? I've heard there's no such thing as an ex-Marine. LOL) To her, and our friend Bill (Army, Vietnam Vet), my preacher Hobert (another Marine) and all the others out there who have and continue to put their lives on the line for this country, I thank you and appreciate you and pray for you.

That's it for now. I'm feeling ready for a nap, I think. I'll try to do an update Wednesday to let everyone know how the new chemo goes. God Bless!

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