martes, agosto 22, 2006

Chemo Cycle #2

Hey everybody! We sure like reading the comments and the emails!

Monday August 7 was chemo cycle #2. L* usually wakes up in the wee hours of the morning. Monday she woke up around 4:30 or so, but since we’d had our alarm set for 5:00, we decided to just stay up. No coffee for L* on chemo mornings. She had some lovely oatmeal with raisins and butter and brown sugar. I had my yogurt & granola.

The first thing we do when we get to MUMC is go to the first floor lab to get L*s blood drawn (2 vials) When we went 3 weeks ago, we were running late and there were already people waiting. This Monday, though, we found they’d changed their hours to open half an hour earlier. Thus it was empty and we were in and out quickly, if not painlessly.

Then it was up to the breast center on the second floor to check in with L*s nurse-practitioner. She was waiting for the labs from the blood work, and when they came in, she said they were perfect. Hemoglobin is very strong, so no anemia, although L* has been pretty fatigued the whole 3 weeks.

Then up to the fifth floor for the chemotherapy infusion itself. We got one of the “cool” nurses---*Nya, who wears a “Cancer Sucks“ and has blue and green and pink in her blonde hair. She also knows her limits. Alas, she stabbed Luz twice with the needle--the second time near a bone and a nerve and said ”let me know if the pain is too much to bear“ and it was. Rather than stubbornly poking around in there, she called for reinforcements and the other nurse got it in. They were commenting on L*’s tiny little veins. One of the things they did was have L* soak her arm in a sink full of running warm water. Which, as one might suspect, sent her off to the bathroom.

New nausea medications this time--Emend (a pill) and Aloxi (an iv injection). L* was very mellow after that. Made for a longer day, though, because the Aloxi has to be in L*s system for an hour before they start the chemo meds.

When we get home, we clip L*’s hair very close to the scalp, because the hair is falling out constantly. (Reminds me of when we take the cats to the vet, and it’s like they’re just ejecting hair as an escape mechanism)

Tuesday (August 8) we were back at MUMC for the Neulasta injection. That went really fast and we were soon back at home again.

L* had a lot of visitors during the week. All the homegirls were in town for the conference and Miche, JC and V*V* came by on Monday and MLei on Tuesday.

Wednesday night her temperature starting going up towards the 101 point, but this time we fixed her cool drinks and she had a cool bath, and it went down enough that we were able to just go to bed. Wednesday and Friday were both pretty low days. In fact on Wednesday, L* was too tired to move around or even talk. (Ktrion at first though L* was mad at her, but then finally realized that ”it’s not all about me!“)

We were hoping to go the the Femme conference and see D*bz and StaC, but we end up staying quietly at home instead.

Saturday L*’s parents came for a visit and brought soups and treats. Fideos. yum.

It seemed pretty quiet after all the company of the week before.

L* is suffering from itchy and painful bumps on her scalp. on Thursday we get an electric razor and shave her head. On Friday she finally gets an appointment with the NP at MUMC to look at it.

Watermelon juice is our favored treat!

Ktrion is trying to get in her daily walk, to the Farmer Joe’s market in the Dimond district. She also has found great recreation at the Target in north Berkeley, where she hangs out picking clothes out for L* in the boys section, then brings them home, then goes back the next day to return them.

Friday (August 18) we drove to the foggy city twice! L* has an am appointment at MUMC, where she prescribed an antibiotic gel for the scalp condition (folliculitis--an infection of the hair follicle. not uncommon among chemo patients, but needs to be treated, since the immune system is compromised).

L* has a late afternoon appointment with her acupuncturist. So either we hang out in the foggy city for four hours (!) or go home in between. We decide on the latter, and when we get home, we do all the prep work for dinner and pick up L*’s prescription for her gel for her scalp. we spend nearly 2 hours (!) a the acupuncturist office: L* falls into a deep sleep with the needles in her, and Ktrion, in the lobby, finishes off the L*’s prayer shawl.

Saturday (8/19) we head up to Sebastopol to spend some time with all of L*’s familly.

For L*, taking all of her herbal decoctions, and supplements is like a full time job! This next week she’s up to 4 scoops twice a day of the ”spring wind“ concoction, and supposed to take the chinese mushroom spores twice a day (we’re only up to once a day so far).

martes, agosto 08, 2006

Weekend Update

Last weekend we were in a Foggy Place, for my absolute favorite conference: Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.

We were a bit nervous about going away for the weekend, but a) we would be staying with L*’s parents, so we would be able to get plenty of rest and not be worn out by all the activities, b) many of our friends from all over would be attending and we could use the love and c) Ktrion had made a commitment to present six months ago. Oh, and d) this is the last few days before chemo treatment #2, so this is when L* is supposed to be feeling pretty good.

It was really nice to see people. We really cut back on what we could attend, but went to one really great panel. Ktrion’s presentation was well-received.

L*s parents made us halibut and mashed potatoes the first night, and black bean tostadas the second night (YUM!)

L* started losing her hair earlier in the week. It was bothering her quite a bit because (In no particular order): it itches; it makes a mess over all her clothes; she was feeling like her face is "funny-looking" and now there's even more emphasis on her face.

Her friend and colleague C* gave her some little soft hats to wear, and we've ordered her a couple more. She hates the idea of hats (let’s not even talk about wigs) and of losing her hair. She got it cut short about a month ago, and we used the clippers (#3) on it again 2 weeks ago. Thursday night we clipped it again before out trip (#2 clippers) and when we got back on Sunday we took it all the way down with a #1/2.

Based on the advice of Ktrion’s sister, we got her a bunch of doo-rags, which are very comfortable (and comforting) to wear under hats or scarves. The fabric head wrap is also working out well, L* likes it because her head is being embraced and she knows her sesos won’t fall out.

Now that the hair is mostly gone, L* no longer feels weird about being bald.

miércoles, agosto 02, 2006

Baby Baby Baby

Baby *zia has arrived!

Such a little sweetie!!

Just got email from Mama El Paso that Mama Espy and Baby *Zia are safe at home.

(We sent the blanket, the hats, and a really cute yoga outfit last week)

Congratulations Familia!