Sunday, December 23, 2007

Now What?


It's our first real day off, since Bobby worked yesterday. I'm wide awake and up anyway. Go figure. I had a leg cramp to be fair and putting my boots on and getting out to walk it off was the only way to get relief. Much better now.

I'm sitting here eating some luscious fruit from my sister in California - ripe pear and a sweet perfect orange. I've been doing a lot of junk food lately so she has really done me a great service here(thanks Debbie!). Yesterday we talked on the phone for an hour and a half and used our web cams. It is just so cool to be able to see your sister 3000 miles away in this modern age. Getting my PC to talk to her Mac sucks though - we tried lots of things and finally we just talk on the phone and use Yahoo for the camera. We're okay though with free long distance as long as the phone batteries don't die :^p

She had me open my other Christmas present. It was a
The Wizard of Oz music box that plays "King of the Forest". It's one of our favorite and most quoted scenes where Lion sings about Courage.

Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!

What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage!

What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage!

What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage!

What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!

What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot?
What have they got that I ain't got?

Dorothy, Tinman and Scarecrow: Courage!

You can say that again! Huh?


Friday, December 21, 2007

Day 33 - Stick a Fork in me - I'm DONE !

7 weeks.

33 treatments.

I'm very fatigued physically - but mentally I'm so psyched that Radiation is over. No more 5:30 alarm and driving to Hopkins Monday through Friday. Woooooo Hooooo!

It'll take a few weeks for the fatigue to back off, then the steroid taper down as the effects of this final push of radiation (it was increased and focused this week) wears off. Then it's follow up with a higher dose of just my oral chemo five days at a time later.

I can handle that.

I've been blessed by good fortune throughout this.
Bobby's employer granted him the time so he and I could do this without outside help. When we unexpectedly did need help my sister moved in for nearly a week and kept me on schedule. I was spared the need for IV chemotherapy, a much more difficult road. I had a good drug that obliterated the nausea associated with my oral chemotherapy. My blood counts have been stable and I've had no major reactions to my treatments. We have good medical and prescription insurance. Except for my initial introduction into the radiation process, my contact with all medical professionals has been exceedingly smooth, competent, attentive and pleasant.

Go to The Johns Hopkins Hospital if you have cancer.

My Surgeon - Dr Alessandro Olivi
Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology
Director of Neurosurgical Oncology

- The Scarecrow - my brain - who started me on this journey by convincing me I just found out I had a brain tumor.

My Radiation Oncologist - Dr Lawrence Kleinberg
Associate Professor Radiation Oncology, Molecular Radiation Sciences, Oncology, Neurological Surgery
Co-Director Steriotactic Radiosurgery
- The Tinman - my heart - who turned from shy guy to the one I always wanted to hear telling me I'm doing so well.

My Neuro Oncologist - Dr Stuart Grossman
Professor of Oncology, Medicine and Neurosurgery
- The Lion - my courage - who convinced me taking a drug proven for a related tumor but not starting research on my type of tumor until 6 months was right for me.

Cancer affected my family big time in 2005. My road had been a piece of cake in comparison so far. I believe they had a hand in that.

My mother passed away in November of 2006 at home with us. Immediately I felt a strong urge to take care of my own neglected medical issues. The signs from her were personal, specific and at times quite overwhelming. Or seemingly coincidence. Like being disconnected from a clueless customer service rep then calling a different representative who knew exactly what to do. God is busy. He knew I'd trust my Mom.

Thanks Mom.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 31 - 2 more days!

Two. A peace sign. That's what I held up right after treatment today. It made my therapist Kim laugh. She's my favorite and the one who started me on this journey. I'm so psyched to be done with this. And ready for phase two.

And Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

4 more. . . but who's counting?

My appt with my Radiologist was canceled today - he's away. This was a surprise. I hope he's okay because another physician is going to do my last appointment tomorrow instead :( I needed to speak with somebody about some increased brain swelling symptoms today though and saw my usual Oncology Fellow. He upped my steroid again. I should be back on an even keel by Wednesday hopefully. I've put on 10 pounds - probably fluid cause my radiation mask was tight today.

Tomorrow I have my last visit with my Chemo nurse and make appointments for follow up with my Oncologist now.

Life goes on :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day 29 - 5 to go

Gee I'm sorry I've been absent. My sister called me today and reminded me that I've been leaving folks hanging.

I'm fine. Really. My husband and I have had other interesting stuff not related to me going on for two weeks and hunkered down to ourselves for a while.

My hair stopped falling out. I'm a surry with a fringe on top, well top and right - which makes my hats a little lopsided. I still need that trim. My bangs came in, but I haven't messed with them much - hat on/off on therapy days messes 'em up and they need a trim before I wear them I think. I'll set that up later.

My blood counts are superb. Great White counts - no immunodeficient/infection worries. Great Red counts/Hemoglobin/Hematocrit/Platelets. Everything is "within normal limits" as we say in the medical field. Cool.

My face blew up like a big round moon two weeks ago, but that is because of the steroids. It'll go away after the effects of the radiation/brain swelling go away and I stop them. Hopefully I'll begin to regain the function I've enjoyed off and on since the surgery :) It comes and goes - but it's still there.

One of the guys in front of me Graduated on Thursday. He was late. They said he didn't want to come in. I have no idea what was up with that. I have enjoyed the folks I have met there. Helped a new guy get started - but I will not miss going every day. I plan to celebrate Friday. I may bake brownies for everybody. Yeah. Brownies.

I do get bushed. Just showering and dressing can wipe me out. I don't take naps - I rest. I tend to shut down quickly - and recover just as fast. The end of the week is roughest as the fifth day in a row of radiation draws near.

::speaking of which::

Did I mention I only have one more week? That means I'll be done before Christmas. Thanks Santa.