Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Friday, March 25, 2011


Wow, I didn't know I could feel this tired. I swear it wasn't this bad during the chemo. Or maybe it was and I've just forgotten. You know, Chemo Brain and all. Then again, I guess it's possible, and probably more likely, that I'm just feeling the cumulative effects of the chemo and the radiation. Whatever the cause, I am flat out worn out ALL the time. Let me give you an example.

I went Wednesday to get my herceptin before my radiation. I also saw the oncologist before the herceptin. I was tired when I got there, but by the time it was all over and we got home, I was feeling dead on my feet. So I laid down and I didn't get up until the following day. I think it wound up being something like fourteen hours. Mark kept coming in to check on me, but all I wanted was to sleep. I didn't get up to eat or anything else other than a trip or two to the bathroom.

So, you'd think that all that sleep would leave me feeling fresh as a daisy, or at the very least feeling anything but tired. It didn't, however. Last night I expected to feel good enough to get some stuff done, like loading the dishwasher, maybe folding a few clothes, little things like that. Instead I found myself heading to bed around nine, I think it was. I didn't actually sleep much, but I just couldn't find the energy to get back up. I did manage to drag myself into the kitchen this morning to finally load the dishwasher and I fixed a quick breakfast for Mark and myself. By the time I'd finished my toast, though, I was ready to fall over. I left Mark watching TV and went back to bed. He joined me sometime later, though I don't remember it. He reads his Bible before going to sleep and I usually notice him turn on his light, but not today.

I was back up by ten and out of bed by ten-thirty so I could be ready to leave by eleven and in Madison for more radiation at eleven-thirty. Right now I'm seriously contemplating taking a nap.

My breast doesn't look much different after another week of treatments, but it feels different. I notice my clothes irritating it some, like the skin is slightly sunburned and anything even remotely rough hurts a little. And I'm starting to have trouble laying on that side because putting pressure on it hurts a little. And I still have fifteen treatments to go. Three more weeks. I go Monday to get a CT for them to map out precisely how they're going to do the final seven "boost" treatments.

I also got the results of my last MUGA scan from the oncologist when I saw him on Wednesday. The first one I had done before any of the chemo was a baseline scan and my heart was functioning at 61%, which sounds kinda off to me, but is actually above normal. (Anything over .5, or 50% is considered normal.) The second scan I had done three months later, after starting chemo, the function had dropped to 59%, still no cause for concern. This time it was down to 55% and he's starting to worry just a little. Well, worry is probably too strong a word. He wants to keep a close eye on it. He says we're going to do the next scan early, in just 2 months. If it's dropped again, then we'll decide what to do next. He said we might try stopping the herceptin for a while, then do another scan to see if the function improves. If it does, we'll start the herceptin back up. Or maybe we'll just drop it altogether. Either way, it's something we have to keep an eye on.

It kinda worried Mark, I know. He's taken to double checking that I'm not having any chest pains or anything, which I'm not. He's also posited the theory that my decreasing heart function might be adding to my fatigue, which makes sense to me, but we haven't run it past any of the doctors, yet.

I've also had a persistent cough for a while now, and that isn't helping me feel any better. I think it's due to my allergies. Though it's turned back off cold now, it was so warm there for several days that we were opening the windows and even sleeping with the bedroom window open a few nights. I was coughing before all this, but it seemed to get worse during the warm spell. I told the radiologist on Wednesday that I've been noticing increased allergy symptoms for a while now. They seem to be getting worse with each passing season. For a while there I wasn't having any issues at all. I'm thinking now, though, that I might wind up having to go back on the allergy injections. It's just one more thing to work out, though I'm waiting until the radiation is over because it's just too difficult to go to Madison in the morning, then turn around and head off to Florence on the same day. Frankly, I'm too tired to even think about it. I had to cancel my six month appointment with my allergist because of the radiation. I haven't rescheduled it, yet, but I need to.

Gosh, it seems like I am constantly making notes to myself these days about things I need to remember to do! At least I did manage to get our tax stuff to the accountant last week. Now, If I can just get through the next three weeks without falling flat on my face from fatigue, I'll be good!

The tech did tell me to expect it to take a couple of months after I finish the radiation before I started feeling more normal. Still, I'm looking forward to the end of this next three weeks because at least then I can start getting better each day instead of feeling worse. And I'm really, really hoping that it all winds up before I break out with blisters from the radiation. Just three more weeks. I can't wait.

On a side note, I've been so happy to see the first blooms of spring. We've got bunches of daffodils (Buttercups to us Southerners) blooming all over the place around here. I really wish I could get out there and cut some to put in a vase, but as much as I'd like to, I just can't seem to drag myself down the driveway to do it. For some inexplicable reason, my forsythia has chosen not to bloom this year. Well, it has one lonely little yellow flower, but that's it. I do have some hyacinths blooming, though. And everyone else's forsythias are blooming like mad, along with the Jane magnolias and Bradford pears. Mark bought a bunch of bulbs the other day at the store, though we haven't gotten them planted, yet. He really likes dahlias. I like anything that blooms. It's really going to drive me nuts if I'm too fatigued this year to get out there and take pictures of all the flowers! Just in case, here are just a couple of my favorite shots from previous springs.
 A lovely, bright yellow buttercup!
 It's kinda hard to see here, but I love the way the petals of this narcissus are actually iridescent.
My forsythia when it actually does bloom for me.
 I have always loved hyacinths. My mother grew them at the corner of our house and to this day, their sweet smell reminds me of her.
 A curved row of buttercups that sits behind one of the beehives.
This is one of my favorite shots. I was aiming at the narcissus in the center of the shot, but realized later that it looks like my little cow is sniffing one of the others. Mark's parents gave me the cow one year for Christmas. I kept it in the house for years, not wanting to see it get worn by the elements. 

I'm pushing spring a little this year, tired of the gray of winter, I guess. I use shots like these, and countless others to brighten up my computer. They're my wallpaper on my home screen and they rotate every few hours so I don't get tired of looking at the same one all the time. They're on my iPad, too. And my cell phone, come to think of it. Makes me smile every time I see the lovely colors and flowers. It also reminds me of just how awesome God is. He didn't have to make flowers. I suppose He made them for His own enjoyment, but I also suppose He knew we'd love them, too. No matter how tired I feel, seeing the flowers always makes me smile and perks me up just a bit. Isn't He great!

They're talking actual accumulating snow on Sunday! Yikes!

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