Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Upcoming oncology appointment

I see my oncologist on Friday at 9am. That's awfully early for me, as I'm not usually up until around 11am or noon or 3pm or so :). It will be a challenge just being awake for the appointment.

I've been doing some thinking about the appointment. We'd done the bone scan because of the pain in my femur, and I think I'm going to ask for a CT scan of the femur. I don't think I need to ask for other scans, although part of me would like to know whether or not there's cancer growing somewhere else. We'll see what happens.

As I've mentioned before, I have this fear that whatever is going on is all in my head. I still think that I need to push to find out if there is something going on, though. I'm very tired in that way that I've had when the cancer was progressing before. I don't know how to describe it, except to say that it feels like I've been run over by a truck and everything takes too much energy. Every time I've been this tired before, there have been other reasons for this tiredness - I was a student and studying hard, or working too hard, or I've just upped my meds - but this particular tiredness underlies all those "normal" reasons for being tired.

Anyways, I've got to talk to my oncologist about all this. From what other people have said, they feel a lot better when they're on Femara - and I don't feel a lot better. I think I felt a bit better in December, but now I definitely feel worse. So we'll see what happens.

Oh, and I'm not happy with the Physician's Formula foundation that I bought yesterday :( It's not quite the right colour. I think I know of one that is the right colour, but that particular kind was sold out yesterday. So if you want a barely-used Physician's Formula foundation (there's a sponge applicator, but I only gave it a try on my clean skin and didn't cover my whole face) in creamy-beige, the lightest colour, let me know.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

We bought some things today.....

We bought new curling brooms today! One is a Performance Carbon Fiber Handle in pink with a blue head. The other is a Performance Fiberglass Handle in white with a red head. Both handles have a 1" diameter. The carbon fiber broom is lighter so it's easier to sweep with. I'll use it on Fridays and Sundays when I am sweeping. On those days Ian will use the fiberglass broom since he's usually skipping and doesn't need to sweep nearly as much. Ian will use the carbon fiber broom on Thursdays, when he's sweeping. I'm so excited about these new brooms!!!! I can't wait to try them out on Friday. :) :)

In a plug for my favourite cosmetics, Physician's Formula has introduced a line of mineral-based cosmetics for sensitive skin. I'm going to try out their foundation. It turns out that I'm one of the 3% of people who don't match the foundations that are supposed to match 97% of people. Sigh. I hope the Physician's Formula foundation works. I love all of their other products, and would like to love their foundation, too.

BTW, I have posted pictures of the top and skirt that I wore on Saturday here. I look kinda dorky in one of the pictures, but whatever. I look kinda dorky in real life sometimes, too :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bellydancing couldn't be any more fun :)

I really like the way that my instructor is teaching us the various bellydance moves. The studio used to number the moves, but apparently they're not doing that anymore. That's good because I was always forgetting which number was which move :). My instructor also explains things in a very clear and concise way. She's not afraid of her students touching her to figure out what she's doing.

I'm very glad that I'm taking the class with my instructor, although I was a bit hesitant about taking the class with her at first. She had taught half of the last full class I took and that experience wasn't as good - it was her first bellydance teaching experience, she was taking over for someone else who used different vocabulary, and it was all kinda crazy. This experience is much, much better. I feel like I'm learning a lot more, and I feel like I'm actually becoming a better bellydancer.

Oh, and I drove myself to and from Well-fit and to and from bellydance. Yay! It's the first time I've driven since my meds were upped and all the new meds were added. I'm glad that I'm able to drive for short distances, at least. My doctor doesn't want me driving for too long, and he doesn't want me driving on the highway (which I take to mean the 400-series crazy busy highways here in Ontario). At least I can get myself to and from places here in Kitchener-Waterloo by myself. Ian appreciates this, too, because it means that he's not tied to my schedule so much :)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday movies and curling

We saw Pan's Labyrinth today. Both of us thought that it would be all "Alice in Wonderland", but there were only a few parts that were like going down the rabbit hole into an alternate universe. There were certainly fairy-tale structures; our protagonist has three tasks that she has to complete, and she makes a mistake while completing one of them. Also, the movie is very dark, like older fairy tales - there is no Disneyfication here. The majority of the movie takes place in Spain in 1944 just after a civil war in a mill under command of a captain. Pacing-wise, the movie may feel slow, but really, a lot happens in every scene. This movie is subtitled so be prepared for that.

In many ways, I think that the movie is a very deep, multi-connected, multi-textured movie. Watching it is like reading a classic novel with lots and lots of interconnections, where it's exciting to find each one. After watching it, I wanted to figure out all the similarities and differences between the captain and Pan. We talked for quite a while afterward about it, dissecting various parts of it. I wish I could talk more about it here. This is a fantastic movie, and we highly recommend it.

We took some pictures of my modified curling pants and curling clothes. They're here. The clothes I wore last night are in the laundry right now, but we will take some pictures of me in that outfit on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A night out

We went with some friends to see Sex and the Second City tonight. It was funny :) We all laughed and laughed. The story revolved around a couple who was getting a divorce. It's a musical and was very well done; the songs and music were very good. We'd wondered how it would be, seeing this kind of show in a place where interactivity between the performers and audience was difficult, but they did very well. There were a few improv elements that worked out pretty well, too. I'd recommend the show.

I did some shopping this afternoon because I didn't feel that I had anything to wear, and I managed to get a great top for only $15! The elbow-length sleeves are cut in one with the body of the top. There is a 4" clingy black band at the bottom with matching 2" non-clingy bands on the sleeves. It blouses out over the bottom band and has a nice wide-ish oval neckline. The fabric is a black background with red and cream things on it - it's vaguely Oriental-inspired, I guess. It's not like anything I'd ever tried on before. Anyways, it looks fantastic on me, and it looked great with my black pencil skirt. I think it would look good with black pants, too. I got some cheap but awesome jewelry, too.

We went for dinner at Ellison's Bistro, this new place in Kitchener. It's Caribbean and soul-inspired with a European twist. We had just over an hour for dinner before we had to leave for the show, which should have been enough time for dinner. Unfortunately, the place got very busy just before we arrived (they were about half-full), and there was only the one cook and the one person in the front. We told the person that we had to leave by 7:30pm.... she looked a little worried, but didn't say anything. I guess we should have asked whether there would actually have been time, but I wish she had told us that there wouldn't be enough time.

We waited 1 hour and 15 minutes without receiving our entrees and ended up leaving to make our show. We paid for the drinks we'd had and the appetizers but not the entrees. They kept saying that our food was just about ready but we felt that we had waited too long and we absolutely had to leave. I felt kinda bad about walking out like that - when we walked out, they were actually finally plating our food - but we had to leave to make the show on time.

The food seemed pretty good, but the service is excruciatingly slow. They need more people in the kitchen and the person in the front wasn't very good. She couldn't do more than one thing at a time and she was very linear about the way things were done. She had a queue of tasks and she stuck to that without fail, which was frustrating - as we were trying to pay, she asked if we could wait while she dealt with someone else... well, no, we couldn't because we had to leave. The cook ended up figuring out our bill. We might go back to the restaurant when they've had time to settle in a bit more (or if no one else is there) because the food actually looks good.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A long day waiting at home

So we spent all day waiting for the phone guy to arrive. It turns out that he never had to come in because the problem was definitely on their end. Yep, we knew that - but we waited anyways. They have to switch the line but it was too late to do that by the time he got there. We have a hum on the line now (until they switch the line), but at least we can both make and receive calls. Yay! Connections with the outside world are restored!

Apparently if we have problems after they switch the line, we should call the internet helpline and not the phone helpline. Because our high-speed internet is supplied by our phone company, apparently our telephone line is more complicated and needs a high-speed internet technician to work with it.

I managed to get some more hemming and stuff done, too. My curling pants were too loose on the back waist and they had a tendency to creep downwards. This was bad, because during my rock delivery I would end up showing the skin on my back (and sometimes giving a flash of my undies). I don't have to tell you that this made me a little uncomfortable, do I? :) I fixed the problem by adding elastic to the back waist which tightens the pants there. The end result doesn't look too dorky, and the pants definitely fit better. It's good to get the sewing machine out again.

Oh yeah, and I tried to sleep without the clonazepam last night and had a crappy night's sleep. As much as I don't want to think that I'm addicted to something to help me sleep, well, I'll take the clonazepam tonight. I need my sleep, I really do. I don't think that I can really help heal myself of the cancer unless I'm well-rested.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Doctor's appointment

Today was another one of those big days. I had a brief nap on the way to the doctor's, but aside from that I was awake from 8:15am until 10pm. Of course I had a cup of coffee and a Diet Coke. I'm exhausted now, though.

My doctor is not going to put me on Wellbutrin right now as he doesn't want to put me on too many more drugs, although I will stay on the Cipralex. If I take the Cipralex at night, it doesn't make me as sleepy as if I took it in the morning. Plus I feel better already since I've been taking it - I haven't cried once or been unreasonably angry since I started it, and I've definitely been happier, too. My doctor said that I should try not taking the clonazepam at night to see whether or not I'll end up less tired during the day. I take increased Oxycodone at night which definitely helps me sleep, so maybe I don't also need the clonazepam to help me sleep :).

My doctor is also giving me Celebrex for my back pain. The bone scan showed an area of degeneration on some of my lower vertebrae (L5-S1), and that area hurts a LOT when I wake up after sleeping for 12 or 13 hours. I'd thought that I just had a stiff back because I sleep on my back now, but there's actually damage there that is causing the pain. At least it isn't cancer.

After all that, I managed to hem a skirt I bought in the summer. It's a black pencil skirt and has needed hemming (although I've worn it anyways) since I bought it. It looks even better now :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What happened to our phone?

So it turns out that we have no phone service.

I'd been a little surprised over the last week or so that there were never messages on the answering machine, because we usually get calls from telemarketers and stuff, but I didn't really think anything of it. Then today the person from Genetic Counseling called my work phone because she couldn't get through to our home phone. To callers, the phone seemed to ring once and then click a few times and hang up.

At that time, I was able to call the phone company on our phone. They're sending someone out on Friday - they could have sent someone tomorrow, but we won't be home most of the day. They told me that if it turned out to be our fault somehow, we would be charged $75-$100, and tried to offer us some insurance that costs $7/month. We refused the insurance, of course, because we don't think that this is our problem, and why would we pay an extra $7/month for something that we almost certainly don't need.

Later on, a technician called and said that our line seemed fine. He reiterated the fact that if the problem is our fault, we'll pay $75-$100. Whatever. When we got home, the phone didn't work at all. Kinda makes you wonder if the technician screwed up the line even more than it was already messed up, doesn't it?

Anyways, I see the Genetic Counselor on February 5 . Apparently there are a couple of refinements to the tests that I'd had done before, so we're going to go ahead and do the more refined tests. Chances are that they still won't show anything, but I think it's worth it to do the tests.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Support groups

With the help of two cups of coffee, I managed to get up at 10am and stay awake all day. That's really something! I don't expect to repeat this feat tomorrow, of course :)

There are a lot of things that suck about having stage IV breast cancer. One of them is going to support groups with people who have lower stages of breast cancer. Don't get me wrong; many of the people with lower stages of breast cancer are wonderful and supportive and positively touch the lives around them.

But sometimes the non-stage IV people end up scared by us "metsters", as we call ourselves, and so don't want to come to the same meetings. Or sometimes when someone new finds out they have mets, the non-metsters freak out and threaten to leave. Sigh.

I love support groups and I belong to a variety of them. But it's hard having stage IV breast cancer and feeling like you're the boogeyman, like you're the one that embodies their worst fears. I understand why these people react the way they do (because they're scared) - but it still hurts.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Lots of activitiy today

I got to do both Well-fit and bellydancing today. I needed a nap between the two activities (after having got up at 12:30pm). Thankfully, I don't seem to have too much pain during either bellydance or Well-fit. I'm exhausted now, of course. If Heroes weren't back on the air, then I would be in bed now.

It turns out that my bellydance class will be doing a recital towards the end of the term - probably on my birthday, March 31. If the recital is on that day, then I won't be able to take part as we'll be in Las Vegas. That's kinda sucks, because I would have liked to be in the recital; I like performing, even if I'm not that good at it. I'll still practice as though I were going to take part in the recital, though. That will make the class interesting.

I'm still very much liking the bellydance class. We're learning new techniques and, more importantly, old techniques in new ways. This will help me gain a strong ground in the fundamentals. Yay!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A little sleep, and a big day

I was up (comparatively) early today - I managed to get up at 11:15am. That's much earlier than the last few days :) First we watched Lucky Number Slevin. It's great! We both really liked it. It's got a lot of funny bits and a lot of puzzles - nothing is quite what it seems, which makes for a fantastic, spellbinding movie. We'd highly recommend this one as it's quite entertaining. I also especially liked the wall coverings everywhere.

We spent a few hours at a baby shower for one of my dragonboat teammates - she had a son a couple of months ago. He was very cute - but then, he slept the whole time we were there :)

I didn't hold the baby, because I'm not ready for that, but I did look at it. I didn't even cry afterward, which is a big step. You may recall that the last time I saw a baby, I was very, very upset. I guess that since I was less upset, I must either be getting better or the antidepressants are working. Either way, it's a step in the right direction.

When we got back to Waterloo, I curled. We'll be curling on Sunday nights. Normally we'll only curl 6 ends, which is manageable for me, but tonight we curled 7 which was a bit much. I ended up pretty exhausted afterwards. Now I'm worried that I won't be able to do both Well-fit and bellydance tomorrow - that it'll be too much for me. I'll just have to wait and see tomorrow.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Even more sleep

So I fell asleep at about 10:30pm last night and Ian woke me at midnight to take my pills. I read for a few minutes, but was definitely asleep by 12:30am.

Then I slept until 3pm today. I hadn't expected to sleep that long - 16 hours - but I did. After about five hours of being awake, I started getting sleepy again :( Now I'm just about ready to go to bed again.

We watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. It was ok. It was very, very gory - where the original movie only suggested the chainsaw's entry point into the victims, this one showed both the entry and exit points. It's definitely not something to watch unless you want a lot of gore and blood. I'd recommend the move, although we both felt that the remake was better.

We hoped to stay up to watch Lucky Number Slevin, but I don't know whether or not I'll make it for another two hours. I rather think I won't be able to stay awake that long. So we'll most likely start it now and then watch the rest tomorrow.

Soon I'll be asleep again..... yummy sleep.... I hope that I'm able to sleep a normal number of hours one of these days, because this sleeping the clock almost around leaves very little time for doing things that are fun.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A little bit more sleep

I woke up at noon and managed to stay awake until about 10:30pm. That's pretty good :)

I managed to get out and go curling tonight. That was fun, even though I wasn't very good. I'd read that the medications that I'm taking might interfere with my balance, but I don't think that that was the problem; I think that it was more that I'd forgotten how to curl. Oh well.

After that we went out to dinner with some friends..... and now I'm tired. I think it's bedtime, even though I have to be up at midnight to take my clodronate.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sleep, sleep, and more sleep

I don't know if it was because I did too much yesterday, or because of the additional oxycodone I have to take before bed, or because of the clonazepam I have to take before bed, but I sure did sleep a lot last night and today. I mean a lot. I got up at 2pm, had a half-hour nap just before 5pm, and then slept for another two hours between 6 and 8 pm. And I'm still tired.

Obviously I can't live like this forever - I hope that things settle down and that I start sleeping for more normal amount of time soon. I see my family doctor next week, so if I'm still sleeping practically around the clock, I'll talk to him then.

One of the areas that showed up on my bone scan as degenerative is the joint between my L5 and S1 vertebrae. Interestingly enough, it's that area (right above the tailbone) that hurts when I wake up in the morning. It isn't mets pain; I've just assumed that I'm been sleeping funny since I now sleep on my back for most of the night. When I wake up in the morning I can barely move. I will need to talk to my doctor about this as well.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A grand day out

Today was filled with adventures. We started the day at my doctor's.

I got to see my actual bone scan report today. Both lesions on the sternum now show up on the scan, where only the larger one showed up last time, and the larger lesion is even larger than it was before. So there has been some progression there, which we already figured based on the escalating pain levels. Apparently I also have some normal degeneration in my shoulder and between a couple of vertebrae as well, which I suppose isn't unusual. There was nothing at all seen on the femur :(

My doctor does believe that there's something there in my femur, at least, and that I'm not just crying wolf about the pain. He's not going to chase after it with scans and stuff, though; we'll just get the pain under control. So he's upped my painkiller usage a little bit.

My doctor and I also talked about my mental health today. I don't think I'm depressed right now, but depression is definitely coming to pay me a visit - I can see it just down the road. So he's starting me on Cipralex. Also, since the pain is worse at night and I have some anxiety issues, he's starting me on clonazepam; I'll start with 0.5mg at bedtime and can work my way up to 1.5mg. That should help me sleep, which is good. Even though I'm sleeping better than I have in a long time, I'm still not sleeping well at all. I'll see my doctor again next week to see how things are going.

After we got back from the doctor's, I went to my Well-fit session followed by my young women's group today. There were fewer people than usual at the young women's group, probably because of the cold. There were two new people, though, and there was a lot more discussion than usual. I'm glad I went. I always feel a lot better after going to that group. They talk about stuff that is relevant to a young woman with cancer - like me - and some of the people there even had metastatic cancer - like me. There is some comfort in knowing that I'm not alone.

We went and played games at a friend's house after my young women's group. Actually, we were only able to get through one game: Citadels. It was still fun, though, and I enjoyed myself very much. I like spending time with that bunch - they're fun to play boardgames with. The only downside is that I work with many of them (when I'm working) and so I both miss working and get all tense even thinking about going back to work. Fortunately, we don't talk shop very often during games :)

Now, finally, we're home. Time for sleep.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I am a hermit

You'd think that I would actually leave the house, wouldn't you? Well, not yet. I'm feeling a bit like a hermit, that's for sure. I didn't feel well enough to go to my spirituality and healing group, so I stayed home. I'm still really tired and a little weak. I'm not sleeping all that well, either - or at least, I can't sleep for more than 8 hours in a row. Then I wake up because my shoulders or back hurt. I suspect that this is the Femara joint pain that I was worried about. I wake up and hobble around like an old lady for a half-hour or so, after which I feel better.

I see my family doctor tomorrow, and then we'll come back right away for Ian's office hour and my Well-fit. I'm definitely going to that tomorrow. I've also got my young women's support group tomorrow evening and we're playing games after that. So I guess I'm making up for my hermit-like tendencies with a very busy and very long (but almost all fun) day tomorrow :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Snow day!

We got some snow last night and woke up to a freezing rain warning today, so the schools (and hence the University) were closed. So we stayed in and wasted time all day :) Someone sent us a link to the Secret Life of the Brain, so we looked at the pictures there for a while - some of it I'd seen before, but some was new, and it was all interesting.

Someone else sent us this link to the Funny Farm puzzle game. I don't recommend that you play Funny Farm because it's extremely addictive and extremely fun. I kid you not. I managed to distract Ian away from Final Fantasy III by playing this game, and he's taken to it quite strongly. He is playing it right now, as a matter of fact. We have wasted more of our day playing this game than any other game today. Note that the server is a bit on the overloaded side, so please be gentle with it if you do decide to play. Ian will be really mad if we can't play because someone reading this crashed the server, but the game is really too fun not to share :)

I had planned to go to bellydancing tonight. However, I'm still not feeling my best and the roads don't look good, so I ended up not going. Yes, I know that there are people out there who drive in weather like this, but I don't like to be one of them. We don't have snow tires and don't plan to get them for this car since it's a lease. Without snow tires we don't have the traction or control we need to be safest out on the roads today :( Staying in was best - I don't think we're getting any more freezing rain, so the roads should be in much better shape tomorrow.

Besides, staying in meant that we could play more Funny Farm. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A fun relaxing Sunday

Today we watched Thank You for Smoking. It's a satirical comedy about a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. Part of the impact from this movie comes from the lobbyist's 12-year-old son, who of course tries to emulate his dad in every way. The situation with his son is sort of tragic, but funny, too. I especially liked the movie sets; anything related to the tobacco industry was decorated in shades of brown. This technique was quite effective. We'd recommend this movie if you're in the mood for some intellectual comedy.

I'm starting to feel a bit better after being sick, although I'm still very tired. I think that even though the antibiotics are helping, I won't go to Well-fit tomorrow. Aside from being tired, I'm worried that I might still be infectious, and I don't want to take the chance of making someone ill - there are chemo patients there, after all. I expect to be able to go to my spirituality and healing group on Tuesday and my Well-fit on Wednesday.

My increased pain meds are definitely giving me a reduction in pain - yay! However, with the increased pain meds comes lots of uncontrollable hiccups. They get worse whenever I've increase my painkillers, and they show up after I eat. Yeah, they're as fun as you think they are :) When we rented the movies the other day I had the hiccups, and the guy helping us could barely stifle his giggles. Ian tried to make up some story about how the guy was laughing at something else, but I knew it wasn't true.

Oh, the joys of having cancer. The fun never seems to end :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Weekend movies

Well, it's the weekend, and we like to see movies on the weekend. We got to see two today (there'll be another one tomorrow).

First, we saw Children of Men. It is an awesome, chilling, and haunting post-apocalyptic movie. I'd heard that this movie is a movie for guys that women will like (basically, an action movie crossed with The Handmaid's Tale), and it's true. The movie is set in 2027; in 2009 women stopped being able to conceive. No babies have been born since 2009, and with nothing left to lose and nothing to look forward to, the world has essentially destroyed itself. Clive Owen does a fine job as the protagonist. He's very believable.

The view of the future presented in the movie is realistic and scary. I wish you'd all seen it so that I could talk more about the things that touched me deeply. I will say this: the concentration camps (well, they're more like ghettoes, really) in the movie sent chills up my back. The camps are at once futuristic, echo the camps and ghettoes of Hitler's Germany, and show an eventual conclusion to the post-9/11 world (two words say it all: Homeland Security). The cinematography is fantastic - the camera is basically a handheld, and so the action feels very real. We both highly recommend this movie. It's very, very good. Go see it!

Later on, we watched Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. We liked this movie a lot, too, but for different reasons. It's quite funny :) This one made us laugh a lot - Will Ferrell is awesome, as always, and the story is actually quite entertaining. Yeah, the characters are slightly one-dimensional but I'd expect nothing else. There is both physical comedy (although I don't think that anyone got a blow to the crotch, so it may not be THAT funny :) ) and word-play comedy, so it's funny on multiple levels. The racing is pretty good, too. So if you like funny movies, you should see this one.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bone scan results

My family doctor's office called today. My bone scan is clear; there is no activity in my femur. Sigh.

As Ian pointed out, the bone scan shows bone growth and bone death, so it's possible that whatever is hurting is neither of those. It's also possible that whatever is there is too small for the scans to pick up, because they don't pick up anything that is less than about 0.5cm. It's also possible that the pain is somehow in the muscles. I don't think it's in the muscle, but I guess it could be - I feel like I have to poke past the muscle to make it hurt, and that it hurts more deeply than the muscle.

Of course it's also possible that the pain is all in my head, but I poked around the leg and made it hurt again so I'm pretty sure that the pain is there. :)

I'll see my family doctor next week to figure out what we can do about this. I hope that he requests a CT scan or an MRI - either of those should show what's going on, if there is anything that's there. Both of them certainly show more detail than a bone scan, which should be helpful.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A big day

I saw my family doctor today because I wanted to talk to him about a few things.

For the last month or so I've had a LOT of abdominal pain and nausea after I eat. This usually happens after I eat breakfast but can happen after any meal. It has been bad enough that on some days, all I can do is curl up and try to sleep. My doctor thinks that I might have an ulcer or maybe gastritis. Oh joy. He's given me Nexium.... as if I don't take enough pills in one day :). I really, really hope that the Nexium works. I don't like having to go back to bed after I eat because my tummy hurts. It's also hard to make myself eat if I know my tummy will hurt afterwards.

You might also remember that I've been thinking about increasing my pain meds. Well, my doctor is going to do that. He's having me take two of my 40mg Oxycodone pills every 6 hours, and I have a prescription for 80mg Oxycodone when I'm finished the pills I have. So no driving for a little while, until the amount of Oxycodone I take is stable again. He says that I have to be pain free (both in my tummy and in my mets). I've been far from pain-free for quite some time. If I have pain next week, I have to go back to see him.

It was a very busy doctor's appointment. Usually he only wants each patient to talk about one or two issues.... and I wasn't finished yet :) I asked him about my voice and my scratchy throat, and it turns out that I have some kind of infection. Yes. Not only might I have an ulcer, and I've got pain from my mets, but I have an infection. Some would say that I'm a mess :) The infection is probably the reason why I feel so crappy and tired. He's given me Clavulin to take 3 times a day for 10 days. I hope that this antibiotic doesn't make my tummy hurt.

Finally, my doctor got a copy of my xrays from last week and they didn't show anything. That means that if I have a new met in my femur, it's small enough to not show up on xray. This is good, because it means that even if I have a new met, my leg isn't in danger of breaking. Of course it could be that the problem isn't a met at all.... we'll see. They couldn't get the bone scan results because that department wasn't answering its phone. I'll get those results some other time.

And that's it :) At least I know why I've felt pretty awful for the last little while. I must say that I'm pretty tired and cranky now. I'm afraid that I was quite mean and cranky with the pharmacist when I picked up all the prescriptions. I know I shouldn't have been, but, well, I'm not always nice. Especially when I find out that I might have an ulcer, that I have an infection, and that the first scans don't support my claim that something is wrong with my leg, all in one day. I hope tomorrow is better.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ways to waste time

I woke up this morning with no voice. I don't know where it's gone - I can still talk, but my voice is all funny. I have no idea how this happened. I was really tired again, too, so I ended up sleeping for a good portion of the day.

When I wasn't sleeping, tidying up, or making dinner, I was playing Final Fantasy III for the DS :) I wouldn't have thought that I'd like a video game, but, well, I do like this one. I'd bought it for Ian for his birthday, and you know how important it is to give someone something that you want yourself :) I'm enjoying the game - I finished the first quest pretty well on my own, although Ian helped me at the very beginning, and I'm still playing. Final Fantasy III is a role-playing game (RPG) where I am a group of characters that embarks on quests and battles all sorts of monster. I don't have to worry about rolling any dice or anything, like I would if I was playing an in-person RPG, which is an advantage of playing a computer RPG. The graphics of this game are good, and the gameplay seems fun to me. I think Ian likes it, too, so it must be a pretty good game. It also gives me something to do in my spare time when I don't feel like doing anything productive :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Making more stuff

My spirituality and healing group has started up again. All we did today was catch up with everyone - several of us had eventful Christmases. They had wanted to see my purse, and everyone there said that I should sell it (or one like it). They seem to think that I could get $300 for that purse. Honestly, I don't think that I could get that much for a purse like that - that's a crazy amount. Ok, yeah, if I could sell them to some expensive high-end store, maybe I could get some crazy price like that, but the purse I made doesn't have good enough construction to be sold for that much. I'd hope that I could get maybe $100 for a purse like that on etsy, maybe.

I have thought that it might be fun to make other purses and try to sell them, because I did enjoy the work - once I figured out how to do it, of course. Selling to a high-end store would mean that I'd need more than one of them; in fact, I'd need at least a few, and I wouldn't want the pressure of having to make all of them. If I ever make another purse, then I'd want to do it for fun, not because I have to.

That said, I might try and start doing some design work.... for fun :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

New adventures

I had my first bellydancing class of this session; there will be 12 sessions altogether. The classes are much more structured than they used to be. In fact, they actually have a curriculum now. There will not be a performance this term, so we can focus on our technique, which is something I thought I needed. It's going to be great! :) I must take my painkillers before I go, though (I forgot today). I had been a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to bellydance again, but it doesn't seem to be a problem for me. Yay!

We also booked our Las Vegas trip today. As it happens, I will be there for my birthday :) We leave on the evening of March 28 and return on April 2. We decided to stay at Bally's. If I have to do treatments of one kind or another around then, they will simply have to work around my travel schedule. Other cancer patients get that luxury, and I think I deserve it, too :)

I'm very excited, both about bellydancing again and about our trip. I'm really looking forward to going someplace I've never been before. :)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Trip planning

I think I've mentioned before that we're going to go to Las Vegas for my birthday. "For my birthday" is a pretty loose term - we're hoping to go sometime in March or April. Regardless of when we go, the trip will be our birthday present to me. We're starting to plan the trip now because there are some airfare sales on the go - and, well, we like to plan in advance. Today we bought some books about Las Vegas and some post-it flags that I can use to mark the things I want to see.

I've decided that I'll want to see pretty much everything in the Bellagio (the conservatory, glass ceiling, shopping, etc), and we're definitely going to take a day trip to the Grand Canyon. There's lots more that I want to see in the city, too. We will see some shows - in particular, we hope to see O, Zumanity, and Penn and Teller.

We're also in the process of picking out a hotel. We want to stay on the Strip in a nice but not extravagant place, so we're figuring out what will work best for us. As much as I want to see the things in the Bellagio, I doubt we'll stay there as it's quite expensive. I'm working on a spreadsheet to help me collect all the data - how geeky of me. I must say, this planning is some fun - I'm so excited! :)

We've also got a book on Scotland; when the Las Vegas trip is all planned and booked, I'll go through that and mark all the things I want to see there. From that, we'll figure out an itinerary. I don't know when we're going to do that trip, but I expect it'll be in the late summer or early fall.

I'm starting to feel much, much better now. I don't know if I did have something or if I was just exhausted; either way, I feel way better. Yay! :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A movie day

I got to sleep and sleep and sleep today :) It was very nice. I still feel weak and tired, but at least I got to get some really good rest.

When I wasn't sleeping, we watched more movies. We've been on a horror-movie streak, and that continued today. We started off with The Descent. I really liked this movie, not only because it was about a group of six women :). The story - women go spelunking in an unexplored set of caves and meet up with some creatures that live there - was pretty good. The climbing in the movie looked very real, too. The sets were also very well done. It really looked like they were in a cave system - rocks can quite frequently look like styrofoam in movies, but they looked real in this one. It was also a very spooky movie. I don't want to give away the plot, but some aspects were quite scary and made me jump. We liked this one and would recommend it. There is quite a bit of gore, though, so be prepared.

Later on, we watched Dog Soldiers, directed by Neil Marshall, the same fellow that directed "The Descent". It was pretty good, too. I've heard it called a very scary movie, and it was kinda scary. I had trouble paying attention during the military parts (my mind shuts off), but if you wait it gets even better. It also didn't just have helpless people, like they usually do in a horror movie, which was nice. Overall, it was quite good. We would recommend this movie, too. Again, it's a pretty gory movie in parts.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Too long of a day

The bone scan was pretty uneventful today. The way a bone scan works is they inject you with a radioactive tracer that settles in bones. You go away, drink a ton of water or juice, and come back after two or three hours. Then they run what is basically a huge Geiger counter over you to get an image of how the tracer is taken up. Mets can appear as either more or less take-up of the tracer.

The only part I didn't like today was that the tracer really hurt when it was injected. They have to use my right arm, and I had eight rounds of chemo in that vein back in 2000-2001 so that vein is really scarred up. The needle they use to do the injection is pretty big, too (they can use a smaller needle to draw blood). I can't have anything injected into my left arm because it's already got mild lymphedema. The injection doesn't usually hurt, though - today was an anomaly - and the scan itself is painless.

So anyways, the scan went ok. I don't know if they saw anything. They did do close-up scans of my sternum to compare against the last time and my leg since it's the area of concern this time. I also had an xray done of my pelvis and leg. From a distance, the xrays looked normal, but I guess that doesn't mean anything. I don't know when I'll get my results. My fear now is that the scans won't show anything, and they'll think that I'm crying wolf. I'm quite sure that the pain exists and that it's in the bone.... but there is always a doubtful voice in me that says "There's nothing really wrong with me. It's all in my head. I'm making this up." I guess I'm worried that my pain won't be validated. Yeah, I know, it's silly, but there it is.

This evening we watched The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (the original). It is clearly a groundbreaking slasher film, and I can see how people might have found it scary at the time. The soundtrack is certainly scary. Seen today, however, it's less scary. The acting was less sure in the original, I think. I think I liked the remake better. I also thought that House of 1000 Corpses, which has a similar storyline, was much, much scarier - not to mention gorier, but even without the gore it would be a very scary film. We'd hoped to watch The Descent as well tonight, but since Ian's currently watching the documentary of the making of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", we'll watch the other movie tomorrow.

I'm still feeling awful. I feel like I've been run over by a truck - everything takes up too much energy. Even the thought of having to go upstairs and sort laundry is overwhelming. My eyes are slowly getting better, but the one is still quite red and they're both itchy (no, I haven't been scratching at them). I just want to crawl into bed and sleep. I've made Ian promise not to wake me tomorrow - he usually gets me up around 12:30pm if I don't get up before them - because I just need to sleep. I remember I used to end up feeling this way about once or twice a year, and the only "cure" was to sleep almost non-stop for a couple of days. I'm looking forward to not having to do anything at all this weekend.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tests tomorrow

So my bone scan and xray are booked for tomorrow afternoon. I wasn't expecting to get in so soon, but I'm happy that I'll get the tests over with. I guess things must be different now that I'm a patient of my oncologist with confirmed mets. I have no idea when I'll get the results, of course. I don't even know what we'll do with the results, if they're cancer. Will we do radiation and continue with the hormonal (Femara)? Will we try a different hormonal? Will we try chemo? I just don't know. And if it isn't cancer, what is it? I could use that crystal ball now, please.

I'm also feeling pretty icky. My eye was red last night, and I woke up at 4am unable to open it - it was glued shut in that eye-infection sort of way. Yes, it's the return of the eye infection. The other eye is showing signs of being infected, too. Sigh. My throat is also a little scratchy and my ears feel funny, like they're filled with cotton and need draining, but I'm hearing perfectly normally. My nose is alternately too dry and sensitive or runny. I don't know what I have, but I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with something. I managed to sleep some this morning and this afternoon, and I'm pretty much ready for bed now. I'm sure the sleep will help - although the prospect of doing the scans tomorrow while being sick is less than thrilling.

It might be better if Ian and I were sick with the same thing. He is doing much, much better - he went into school for an hour or so today and was able to drive himself, and we were able to walk to the nearby store. He thinks that he'll be on solid foods tomorrow. At least, he certainly craves something more solid than Jello :)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I wish I could know some of the future

I talked to my oncology nurse today. They're very busy, of course, being the new year, but she was very nice to me. I told them that I think I have a new site of metastasis in my leg, and I wondered if we could do a bone scan before I see the oncologist in February. I also said that I was aware that it could be other things, like referred pain from Femara, but that the pain is very similar to the sternal mets. She and her assistant asked me a bunch of questions - I think they were trying to make sure that I wasn't just blindly freaking out about a new pain. Since I've had the pain for about 5 weeks, it's like the pain in my sternum, and it's not in the muscle, it could be a new met.

They seemed satisfied with my answers. They're going to schedule an xray and a bone scan for as soon as possible. I expect that "as soon as possible" means something like "in the next couple of weeks" as opposed to "in the next couple of days", which is fine. I just wanted to have the results ready when I see the oncologist.

I also had dinner with some friends I used to work with. They were encouraging me to come back to work - they claim to have missed me there :) Part of me would really like to go back, but I'm scared to. I really want to be sure that I'm stable, both emotionally and cancer-wise, before I go back. I just don't feel that stable right now. The last thing I want is to go back and to find out that the cancer has spread a lot (or that I'm a basket case - let's be fair here; I have been more emotionally stable in previous times) and I have to go off work again. What if I wasn't eligible for long-term disability again?

I could use a crystal ball now, please. One that could truthfully answer questions put to it would be perfect. Will I ever go back to work? Is the thing in my leg more mets?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mostly relaxing

There were a few things on my Christmas list that I didn't get - namely slippers and a new housecoat - and so we went out to get those today. I did love everything that I got for Christmas - I always appreciate people's thoughtfulness in getting me stuff - but I do need slippers (I don't have any), and my robe doesn't absorb water well enough. We got both items on sale, and while they don't match, they're very comfortable :)

There's nothing worth watching on tv tonight, so we decided to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the remake). It's ok, I guess. I haven't seen the original yet, so I don't know if the remake is better or worse, but I guess it's a pretty good horror movie. It's got lots of suspenseful moments and hot girls. Those are the things that make horror movies worth watching, right? :)

Unfortunately, Ian hasn't been feeling well this evening :( I was feeling kind of ill earlier, too, so we think that we ate something that didn't agree with us sometime over the last couple of days. As soon as he feels well enough to be alone for a few minutes, I'll go to the store and get him some ginger ale, popsicles, and other yummy things people on a clear fluid-only diet can eat. I hope he's feeling better soon.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

We watched Mission: Impossible III last night and the last half or so of Robin Hood: Men in Tights with our friends. MI3 was ok, I guess. It had a lot of action and a pretty weak story, which is what I'd expect. Men in Tights is pretty funny, of course - but then, Mel Brooks' movies tend to be pretty funny. The most important part of last night was spending it with our friends, which we did :)

Later on this afternoon we watched Dixie Chicks: Shut up and Sing, which is about the controversy surrounding Natalie Maines' anti-Bush comments in 2003. The prof in one of the classes I was taking then was very caught up in the anti-war movement of the time - he's an American citizen - and I remember him telling us all that he had gone out and bought every Dixie Chicks album, and that we should too. He felt that their remarks were perfect and very apt. Anyways, the movie is pretty good. It does a good job of showing the solidarity the three women have (they stood together with Natalie through the controversy) as well as Natalie's outspokenness. It showed them in each of their roles - wife, mother, and band member - making them more real. Their kids are all very cute :)

The sisters in the band also used in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to have children. Apparently each time a woman tries IVF or donates eggs, she has to inject herself with a lot of hormones. These comparatively new technologies enable lots of women who otherwise couldn't to have children. However, I'll bet that they find the hormone-sensitive cancer rates are higher amongst women who've had these medical procedures. How sad would that be?