Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chemo Sucks

Seriously! Chemotherapy sucks. I'm now going through the dreaded days after a chemo treatment again. I've read stories of women who never skipped a beat while going through chemo and radiation. Never missed a day of work. Me? If I'm not whining while lying on the couch, I'm whining with my head in a toilet or trashcan, or I'm whining while my butt is on the toilet.

I don't mean to harp on this subject time and again, but this still seems unreal. How did I end up with breast cancer? I wish God would let me in on my purpose for having this horrid disease. Pity party! Table for 1, please!

Anyway, short post tonight. As you can imagine, I'm too sick and tired to make a post. Pray tomorrow will get better. Most of my day today has been spent asleep. If there is anyway I can continue with this routine, you can rest assured, I will.

Good night and here's praying for a better tomorrow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

F.A.Q. Part 2

These are seriously some of my most emailed questions:

Hi Sheri! You have a beautiful head! I had no idea how perfectly shaped your head was until all your hair fell out. Speaking of your hair falling you just lose just the hair on top of your head?

(this is my most commonly asked question at the moment) The answer is no. I will eventually lose all the hair on my body. While I'm not unhappy about not having to shave my legs for a few months - I find it hard to be that happy because I get in the shower and have no hair to shampoo. You can't imagine how weird it is to get in the shower and lean your head back in the water - you know, like you're going to wash your hair. But there is no hair there. (Habit.) I still use shampoo to wash my scalp though. I wonder about why I do that. Who knows. My next big sad moment will be when my eyebrows and eyelashes fall out.

When you finish chemo, are you going to have radiation?


Why not?

I don't need it. As far as the doctors are concerned, every bit of my cancer was removed when I had my mastectomy. I also didn't have any cancer found in my lymph nodes. Radiation is not needed when there isn't a tumor to blast or no concern that some cancer was left behind. The doctors believe they got all mine. Hey! They've never been wrong before. Trust me...nothing to worry about.

How do you stay so strong through this?

Please feel free to ask me the names of the friends and family I call so that I can scream, cry and whine to them often. These are the people that might raise an eyebrow at how strong I am. I do fall apart. It ain't pretty.

I've heard you talk about a port or port-o-cath several times. What is that?

My port or port-o-cath was surgically put in place at the same time I had my mastectomy. It's in my chest close to my right arm pit area. It feels like a little plastic piece under my skin. The nurses poke a needle into it and clamps it down in order to give me my chemo meds which are fed to me through an IV. They didn't have to give me a port, but it makes life easier on everyone if I do have it. This way I don't have to have an IV put into my arm each treatment. Also, the chemo meds are really harsh and could tear up the veins in my arms. I posted an old picture I took of me with my fingers around my port.

What do you do while getting your chemo?

Nothing much. My main job is to sit there while they feed me the 3 chemo meds plus my drug trial medication one at a time, one after another. Last time I slept for awhile and I texted with friends on my phone. Basically I sit in a chair for 4+ hours doing nothing - so I do exactly what I do when I'm at home, but hooked up to an IV machine.

I feel so helpless to help you. How can I help?

You're perfect. You are reaching out to me and showing you love me. You're thinking about me and praying. I couldn't ask for more than that. Unless you want to come over and clean my toilets. I'll warn you now, though, Jacob seems to have one serious aim issue. What the heck is up with that? It's a huge target and he's close to it!

Can I do a fund raiser for you?

That is sweet and thoughtful, but not necessary. I'm very blessed with very good medical insurance. We have a yearly maximum out of pocket and we are able to cover that. I really thought this through and decided to have my cancer detected in January. Hopefully by the end of this year, this will all be a distant memory. I know you want to help, but really all I need are your prayers.

How soon after you get your chemo treatment do you start getting sick?

Pretty quickly. Couple hours. Last time I was wishing I had taken a barf bag with me for the drive home.

How long are you sick after your treatment?

Last time I was sick about 2 weeks and this third week was me whining about my fissure more than anything else. I feel certain y'all didn't get tired of my complaining about my torn anus.

There is a button and link on your blog now that says Mothers With Cancer. What's that all about?

I am so glad you asked me that! That is a super wonderful website called and they have asked me to be a contributing writer for them. I've not written anything yet, because I've been too busy flipping out these last few days about my next upcoming chemo treatment. But I will get it done and hope you pop over there to read some of the other posts by these fantastic women who, like me, are mothers with or who have had cancer.

I love you!

Yeah, that's not really a question. But I love you, too.

P.S. Mad props to my cousin Valerie H. for bringing me the most perfect butt tube to sit on. I could actually sit up today without screaming in pain. She brought me other wonderful stuff, but that tube gave me such great comfort, I thought she deserved a shout out. More mad props go out to my dad who was the one who could figure out how to blow up that idiot thing. Val and I looked pretty stupid. It was tougher to blow up than you think, ok?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thank You

I'm often times at a loss for words. How many different ways are there to say thank you? I'm back to say it again. In the mail I received a handful of gift cards from different restaurants in the area. The ones I just received came from a group of people called "The North America Sheri Fan Club". I had no idea there was such a thing. I would so totally join that club. And they know all my favorite places to eat. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I've had plants and scarves and hats and cookies and fresh baked breads and meals and cash and gift cards from so many people. All of it has been appreciated so much. Every get well card that I've received is hanging on ribbons in my hallway. I love seeing them everyday and being reminded of all the people out there that care so much. Those are just the cards that have come in the mail. The emails* I get on a daily basis boggles my mind. At some point I lost the fight in trying to return each email I was sent. I've gotten so far behind and am overwhelmed in trying to get caught up that I've just given up. I still read my emails (I LOVE reading my emails everyday and yes, I've saved them all) everyday and am shocked that I still get so many. I love them all. I love receiving them and reading how so many are praying for me. *new email address =

My day consists of checking my emails and my facebook emails, checking for comments on my blog, writing in my blog and reading my fellow cancer warriors' blogs. These women whose blogs I follow everyday are my support group. They leave me comments to ensure I keep up the good fight. I also find strength from reading their blogs. I pour my coffee in the morning, sit down and get caught up on everyone's cancer journey. My plan is always to go back at some point during the day and leave comments on their posts. I don't. I've no real excuse. There are days I finish reading and I've written my blog and I'm tired of cancer. Just don't want to deal with anymore cancer. Maybe that's why I've shut down on email responses too.

Suddenly my whole life has become cancer. Not just my life, but my family's life. I know Allison and Jacob get asked time and again how their mom is doing. Their teachers ask; parents of their friends ask; their friends ask! Even my children can't escape it. Besides people asking me how I'm doing, the most commonly asked question is how are the kids dealing with this. If they are upset, they are hiding it well. They seem fine. Both just brought home their report cards and both are still straight A students. They aren't acting out at school. My prayers for my children to deal with this in stride have been answered so far.

Today it was important for me that I tell everyone thank you, because I realized how crappy I've been at letting everyone know how much I appreciate them. I appreciate the gifts, kind words and mostly the prayers. Yesterday a fellow cancer fighter whose blog I loved - I found out her journey came to an end. I was devastated for many reasons. Selfishly a person fighting cancer never wants to hear about someone dying from cancer. But mostly I was sad that I never told her how much I loved her writing. She was one of those whose blog I followed, but never commented on. My heart and prayers go out to her husband and young son. She was a delight, and her death doesn't make sense to me. I'll miss her words greatly.

Does seem silly that I hadn't learned by now how short and unexpected life can be. I vow to make sure all the people I love, respect and hold dear in my life know I love, respect and hold them dear. I say thank you to Manda for opening my eyes. I loved you when you were just didn't know it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'll Bring the Whine

I want one day without pain. One day that I don't wake up and and my first thought is that I have cancer. There is a never ending list of things that need to be done and I am just now feeling like I'm physically able to do them. You know how depressing it is to know that in just a few days I've got to have chemo pumped into my body again?

It's the pain that is wearing me out right now. Honestly, if it weren't for the stomach and rear end pain, I'd be fine. My bottom hurts pretty much all the time now due to my lovely fissure and screwed up digestive system. I told Dr. Young I was willing to finish chemo before scampering off to get my fissure fixed. I'm really questioning that now. In a matter of a few days my diarrhea is going to get much, much worse. I know with that will come the peel-me-off-the-ceiling fissure pain.

On a brighter note, my energy level is up somewhat. Or it is when I'm not downing so dang many pain pills. Trust me, I know what you are thinking - I'm worried about becoming addicted to the silly things, too! If anyone has any advice to help me get through the pain without the use of percocet and oxymorphone, I am more than willing to listen. I can't sit or lie down in any comfortable fashion anymore. Hours sitting in a hot bath and the ointment just ain't cutting it anymore.

Anywho! With my new found somewhat energy I did get out of the house on Sunday. We went out to eat and then I did a very slow stroll through the mall. I wanted to get out of the house, but I was scared. This was going to be my first outing without hair. I wanted to wear one of my wigs, but I will confess to not liking them very much. I find them hot and itchy. As my scalp gets more used to not having hair, I might be better able to tolerate the wigs. Right now my favorite thing is scarves. They are lightweight, soft, and pretty (wow, did anyone else notice I just described myself?)

So, I went out to eat wearing a scarf on my bald head and my fear came true. I did get stared at. It was a little shocking to look around and see people quickly looking down; to see people staring at me out of the corner of my eye; to see a husband and wife looking over at me and whispering. It's very clear that I have cancer. I look like a cancer girl now. I was uncomfortable (until my big ol plate of ribs came, then I really didn't care about all those people anymore.) I did try to get inside the mind of the people I caught looking. One woman in particular seemed unable to stop looking at me. I finally put myself in her place and saw her sitting there with two young children just as I was. She was probably about the same age as me and perhaps she was staring at a woman that could have easily been her.

I told this to a friend and they said everyone was staring because of my unbelievable beauty. I like that idea better.