Monday, April 28, 2014

Getting ready

I may be feeling a tiny bit stressed now that our trip is only a week and a half away. At least we've booked hotels so we have places to stay! I've also booked us tickets for Titus Andronicus at the Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London and for the Vikings exhibit at the British Museum. And, err, that's all we've booked.

I suspect we'll be playing a lot of the trip by ear and figuring out what we want to do in each city once we get tehre. There's so much to do that there's no way we'll be able to do everything; like our trip to Atlantic Canada, our trip to the UK will be a "tasting" trip. We'll hit some highlights and and get a feel for the different areas but we can't see anything in depth.

In other news, I saw my oncologist on Friday. My CA 15-3 tumour markers are down to 32!! I didn't expect anything else but it's always nice to see that my tumour markers are behaving.

I also spoke to my oncologist about delaying my denosumab injection until we get back from our trip so that we don't have to worry about carrying the denosumab vial, needles, and sharps container with us. She was completely fine with that. Quite frankly, I'm happy to have a slight break from the denosumab because I'm still tired after the Twinrix-denosumab one-two punch.

Since those two last injections, I've been developing really big and painful blister rash things underneath my patches. They're like pimples but they don't have oil in them and when clothing rubs across them it feels like needles are being poked into and scraped across my skin. I'm wondering if my immune system is still a bit overloaded and that's why the reaction. If so, it's just as well to hold off the denosumab for a couple of weeks.

I've also been really tired for the last little while. I've been having to get up early every other day to give Gozer her allergy shot and that's wearing on me. I have a few things that I need to do before we go and I don't want to overdo things or burn myself out before our trip. As long as I keep myself grounded and get enough rest I think I'll be ok. I want to enjoy our trip to the fullest, after all.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Not much is happening here

So not much of anything has been happening here. We leave for the UK in three weeks and I've still got a lot of things I need to do before we leave. I've done some things, like order a new compression sleeve and gauntlet because mine are quite ratty and aren't quite right, but I still need to get the tests that I committed to my family doctor that I'd do booked and done before we leave. I'm running out of days and I'm not feeling well.

At least this is a long weekend and I can rest. The denosumab must take up a lot of my immune system because anything else that uses it knocks me flat. We had our Twinrix boosters on Wednesday (which knocked me out Wednesday afternoon) and then I had my denosumab yesterday which was a double whammy to my immune system and left me exhausted and feeling unwell all day. I'm still not feeling my best and am taking it very easy today. That denosumab is a miracle drug but it does have its drawbacks.

Gozer is still getting her allergy shots. Giving her the higher amounts of the serum isn't as easy as the smaller amounts because I think she notices them a bit more. It'll be easier once we get to the maintenance serum because then she only gets 0.5mL which is a relatively small amount that she doesn't really notice.

And that's all I have... it's been pretty boring here. Boring is good, though, because it means that I'm not freaking out about how much I have to do in the next few weeks.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Gozer gets shots

Allergy shots, that is.

Gozer finally had her first allergy shot today, and I'm the one who gave it to her! We'd tried to start the shots a couple of weeks ago but then the vet was going to be away and he wanted to be there to oversee Gozer, so we delayed until This past Thursday, which is when the vet recommended that we start. 

But then when I put the schedule into the calendar I noticed that her weekly maintenance shots would be on Sundays and that's just not convenient for Ian's parents (who will be looking after Gozer when we're away) or for us if we needed a vet to do it. I asked the vet if we could shift the maintenance injections to the next day and the vet said no, so I rescheduled the first appointment for Saturday.

The vet was pretty upset with me for changing the appointment focus on Thursday but it worked out well anyways, I think. I was able to spend time learning how to give the injections with saline which I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. It turns out that giving this kind of injection is really easy once you're shown how to do it. The first time I tried with saline, with the vet there, I completely messed it up because she didn't tell me how to hold the syringe or anything.  Once the technician went through it step-by-step I had a much easier time.

Gozer doesn't seem to have any adverse effects from the allergy shot. Interestingly, there are apparently two approaches to allergy shots: front-loading and ramping-up. In the front-loading approach, the injections start with high doses of the serum and then taper down and the ramping-up approach starts low and builds. Well, the vet thought that we were getting a front-loading type and that Gozer would need more supervision after the first couple of injections instead of the kind we're getting. Had they checked the email I sent with the dermatologist's information, they'd have known this and we wouldn't have had to wait two weeks to start the injections. Not that it matters in the long run that we waited two weeks to start the injections; when you're doing something for a lifetime, starting two weeks here or there doesn't make much of a difference.

Hopefully the next injections will go just as well and they'll help. Gozer has been panting more often as we've been walking out in the new spring weather. It isn't hot out - maybe 17C, max - so I figure maybe she's having trouble with the molds and stuff that are being uncovered once (almost) all the snow melted.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Doctor's appointment last week

Last week I saw my family doctor. I hadn't actually done my bloodwork or pelvic ultrasound or bone density scan before going but I'd already rebooked the appointment twice and I decided I really needed to just go. I did commit to getting all this stuff done before we go to the UK (I've mentioned that, right? My sister is getting married there in May so we're going to the wedding and will be doing some sightseeing as well).

The main thing we talked about was my antidepressant dose reduction. I'm at 10mg/day and I've been at this level for a while. I've noticed that I have more moods now than I did before, although there's nothing I can't mange. I definitely feel different than I used to before; I feel more human now and less fuzzy-headed.

My doctor commented that my affect was completely different than it's been in past visits. I was smiling and clearly happy, making eye contact, being engaged with him, and generally seeming pleasant and happy. Well, except for the fiddling that I was doing with my scarf - but I've always fiddled. It's one of the reasons that I used to smoke; smoking gave me something to do with my fiddly hands.

Anyways, my family doctor is very happy with the progress I've made and how well I'm doing now. He says that I'm not to try to decrease my antidepressant any further. He's concerned that if I decrease the antidepressant further, I might end up not doing well and it'll be harder to get back to this level. It's always easier to stay ahead of something like that than it is to keep ahead of it. It's the same with physical pain.

I'm ok with staying at this level; I'd known from the get-go that I might not be able to wean myself off of them entirely. And I have noticed a change in the way I feel at this level compared to the previous ones.  I feel normal right now but I have this sense that there's a fine line between this and me not doing well. So I'd rather stay at the level where I'm at.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Jeans 'n Classics show

Thursday night we went to see "One Vision - The Music of Queen" by Jeans 'n Classics. Jeans 'n Classics fuses a local orchestra or symphony and a rock band (and sometimes a local chorus group) to play the music of an artist or band. The music has been rearranged for  the fuller orchestral sound.

It was a very interesting show. I think of Queen's music as having a very full sound and I thought it would sound great played by an orchestra. I was right; the music did sound good. It wasn't a brilliant adaptation and the arrangement didn't add anything special to the music or enhance it in any way but it was still interesting to listen to and we both enjoyed it.

One thing that was super-awesome was that one of the backup singers was Rique Franks who voices the announcements on Showcase and Showcase Diva. She gave us a demonstration: "The following program contains sax and violins and viewer discretion is advised." Ha ha :)

The only complaint we had was about the lead singer. He tried to get the crowd riled up but the crowd wasn't all that interested in being riled up and he didn't really seem to get that. It was like he has a schtick that he had to run through no matter what - and that schtick needs to be updated. He also had a rather annoying tendency to spin his mike stand around which was visually disruptive. We could have overlooked all of that but he really didn't have the vocal chops to "do" Freddie Mercury. Occasionally the timbre of his voice was right but it didn't have the range and his diction and pacing were completely off.

While we mostly enjoyed the show, we much preferred the Classic Albums Live show that we saw a couple of months ago. Jeans 'n Classics was fun and all but Classic Albums Live provided a better introduction to the music and the musicians were able to both play the music note-perfect and enhance the music with the choices they made.

I might think about seeing a Jeans n' Classics show again, but not with this lead singer. And if I had to choose between the two shows, I'd pick Classic Albums Live.