Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Black Friday

Chemo tomorrow. This means no blog posts until the sickness calms down. I'm not sure it's any easier now knowing what to expect with each treatment. In someways I think it's tougher...

As He has so far - God will get me through this next very rough week or so. Then I'll be back with bells on.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


All my wonderful cancer fighters out there I need your help! I've lost my sense of taste. Everyday it seems to be getting a little worse. I can no longer taste sweet - chocolate has absolutely no taste and my precious cheesecake tastes like I'm eating a stick of butter. Last night I couldn't taste anything on my supreme pizza except the olives (I hate olives!) and I can still taste sour. Is it possible to reverse this? I'm rinsing with salt water several times a day and brushing my teeth (and tongue) several times a day, too. When I was last at the doctor she confirmed that I do not have thrush again (thank God!)

Advice? Please? I think this is a side effect of Adriamycin (I'm taking TAC, but I believe it's just the Adria that is causing this...I could be wrong)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How I Cope...

Besides being asked how the children are handling my illness (they are great, thanks!), I'm often asked how I seem to cope so well with all this cancer crappola. There are a few days I fall apart, but mostly, I think, I just take each day as it comes. Of course, having a sense of humor helps greatly. After I get a treatment and I'm lying on the bathroom floor enjoying the feel of the cool tile on my face, I think of things that make me laugh. I thought I'd share some examples:
Ok, so here's what happened when we were getting ready to move to Olathe, KS from Topeka...

Our house sold to the first person who looked at it - which was the first week on the market. Tom and I were not prepared for this, so we started working like crazy people to get ready for the move. The worst part of the entire move process was going to be cleaning out our garage. It was an over-sized garage and while we both parked our cars in there, the backside of the garage was wall to wall junk. In Topeka no matter how much trash you put out on trash day the trash men would take it. We decided we had 4 weekends to throw as much of the garage junk away as possible.

I couldn't help much because the garage was just too dusty. But by the time the 3rd weekend rolled around, I realized Tom couldn't finish alone. I donned a dust mask, went out to help finish the nightmare job. As far as I was concerned, everything out there was trash. I paid little attention to what I was tossing quickly away. We worked the entire weekend and got up early on trash day to make sure everything was finally either packed or tossed.

After we finished, and heard the trash men in the neighborhood, Tom decided he had to leave to do some sort of important errands. I peeked out the window to watch the horror expressions of the poor men who were faced with a mountain of junk in front of our house. They took it all; squished it down and went on their way. About 5 or so minutes after the trash truck left I heard the most incredible explosion - it shook the house. Then quiet. Then the sound of firetrucks. I shrugged my shoulders and went about my business in the house...until I saw two very angry looking men walking up to my door.

Crap. They clearly were from the city of Topeka, and I figured they were coming to yell at us for putting too much junk out that past month. Nooooo... that was not why they were there. The conversation went a little something like this:

City Dude: (angry voice) Are you Mrs. Strickland
Me: (trying to decide if I have to answer this honestly or not) Um, yes?
CD: Mrs. Strickland did you throw pool chemicals away today?
Me: (remembering the bottles of pool chemicals Tom had shoved aside, but I tossed without thinking into the trash can.) Hmmm... I'm not sure I did, but my husband - who is not home - might have done that...
CD: Ma'am, you cannot throw something like that into your trash! The bottles opened and once the chemicals hit the water inside the truck they exploded.
Me: (jaw dropped and unable to speak) (at this point I step out of my house and look down the street to where they were pointing) (there was a trash truck being sprayed with water from one of several firetrucks, which was being filmed by many news crew trucks) I... uh... er... umm... whoa... uhhh...
CD: No one was hurt, thankfully, but you have got to be more careful!
Me: Absolutely! I'm so sorry. I didn't know...I mean, my husband didn't know. It was him. Not me. He's not home or he'd tell you he did it. Yep, he did it. Not me. Stop staring at me like that! Fine! It was me! I did it! I exploded a Topeka trash truck! I did it! Me! Me! Me!
CD: Just don't do it again.
Me: You have my word that I will never, ever, ever blow up another Topeka trash truck!**

The following week was our last week in the house and once again we put a pile of junk in front of the house for the trash men to pick up. I carefully peeked out the window when they arrived - I was fearful they would no long take our trash. They took it. But first they grabbed a large hose and sprayed everything down with water before picking it up and throwing it in the truck.

This was the same move in which the moving truck backed into the side of my van and Spike ran away. Moving into a beautiful new neighborhood with a dented up van and running up and down the street screaming for Spike while knocking on doors. We made a great first impression.

My neighbors are amazing. People actually brought us cookies while we were moving in. I want to give a Shout Out to my neighbor/friend Sonya for all that she's done for us since we moved in and especially after finding out I have cancer. I feel blessed to have moved next door to such an awesome family. Thank you!
**I've kept my word and have never again blown up another trash truck. In Topeka.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tried But(t) Failed!

Last Friday I went to the doctor, because I felt it had been far too long since someone inspect my bottom while trying to make casual conversation with me. Actually, I was having bouts of pain returning. I was informed that a fistula and abscess can return once you've had them while you are going through chemo. Imagine my delight. No, really. Imagine. Gah! The Lord blessed me greatly! No sign of a new abscess! The pain I've been feeling is the original wound - it's not healed completely. In fact, the stitches aren't even dissolved. But no sign of infection!

The sporadic rear pain became, once again, a pain in my butt (so to speak.) Because my wound wasn't healed yet, they could not give me my drug trial med AGAIN. Part of the condition when you join the drug trial is that you will not go longer than a certain amount of time without taking the medicine. Because of my butt surgery, I had already missed two doses of the med (my drug trial med has a side effect of not letting wounds heal - therefore I couldn't take it at all until my bottom was all nice and healthy again.) Friday was my last chance to take the med or be kicked out of the program. I just wasn't healed enough, so Dr Young booted me out of the trial with her snake skinned, slingback, pointed toed, stilettos.

This trial was very important to me, as you will remember. For every other kind of breast cancer there is a drug that can be taken to block the hormone that feeds the cancer. Doctors still have no idea why I got breast cancer, because none of the three hormones feed it. There was hope that my trial med would be the drug that would prevent a return. The percentages for my cancer to return elsewhere in my body are far too high for me to think about most days. Now I'm out of the trial. Now I try not to live in fear. Now I turn this over to God completely or go insane. Insane-er? More insane-er?

This Friday is my next chemo treatment. The dread in my body is overwhelming, to say the least. Three treatments done, three to go. I close my eyes, hold my breath, say a prayer and trudge forward. No more lying down and digging my fingernails into the road while I'm being dragged along. I hate chemo, but I love my life.