Monday, April 22, 2013


It’s been so long since I’ve actually sat down to write.  It used to be so easy – lately it just weighs on my mind as an unpleasant chore that I must do – like cleaning out the pantry.  I think I need to dust all the cobwebs from my brain!  Even though I know it’s only a temporary “Funk” - I hate this feeling!  Writers often get a kink in their train of thought, or an impromptu beaver dam in their word stream. I seem to have run smack into a pit of quicksand.  

Maybe if I just try to tell you what’s been going on in my life – and in my brain – these past few weeks, we’ll both understand this “Funk.” 
The last treatment I wrote about was #2.  All went very much according to schedule.  The side effects eased off around day 7 and I had 2 weeks of relative normalcy.  My labs were good and I seemed to be pretty stable.  Notice, though, that I didn’t write during this “good” time.  I think the quicksand was beginning to surround me but I hadn’t realized it yet. 
Time for Treatment #3 – again all went well, for the first week.  I did seem to have a little more shortness of breath and a little more fatigue, but chemo drugs are cumulative and so are their side effects.  I was exhausted all the time and my usual 7 days of YUK turned into 2 weeks – then the labs began to slide.  Between unusual nausea and the big “D,” I was getting dehydrated.  My hemoglobin had dropped significantly and my platelets were a third of what they had been a week before.  Thanks to the quick thinking and fast work of one of my special guardian angels,  I suddenly found myself on the receiving end of 2 units of blood.  This wasn’t my first transfusion in the past 4 ½ years, but for some reason it took me by surprise and made me a little uncomfortable. 
Later that day, I had my scheduled appointment with my oncologist.  The cancer antigen numbers were going down and the aggressive cancer growth of February had receded significantly.  These were very good signs and I was grateful for them, but there were things on my mind that I couldn’t shake.  He asked if I wanted to go on with the next 3 treatments and I said, “Of course!”  But something was nagging at me. 
Two days later I woke up to – guess what??? - shingles!  This was more than a little unexpected since  I had been vaccinated for the shingles last year.  I knew I was a prime candidate – childhood chickenpox, a lifelong history of fever blisters, and a stress level that was approaching nuclear magnitude.  I thought I had taken care of that threat.  Thankfully I recognized them and contacted my guardian angel nurses who immediately ordered the appropriate medications.  My next treatment, however, was cancelled.  Chemo and shingles, even small patches of them, do not play well together.
Simultaneously, my husband was dealing with a bout of bursitis in his hip.  A very cautious and observant orthopedic surgeon picked up a shadow on one of his x-rays and strongly suggested that we pursue it.  Next followed a CT scan, which showed a bone island – most likely benign, but best to be cautious, especially with his history of prostate cancer.  Then came the Full Body Bone Scan – results of which were guaranteed by the hospital radiology department within 24 hours.  Yeah, sure!  6 anxious, uneasy, jumpy days later the phone rang.  My husband’s guardian angel nurse (he has a really great one named “D”) had come in early that morning, seen the report on the fax, and called before we left for my Treatment #4.  She knew it would make our day – All was fine!!! Thank God!!!
So, last Tuesday I had #4 – but I know things are changing.  I no longer believe that I can “control” everything, which really ticks me off!  The side effects now seem to pop up whenever and wherever they please.  I no longer believe that on Sunday of week 1, the worst has passed.  That’s been proven very untrue.  I no longer believe that each day for the next 2+ weeks will get better and better.  While the drugs are building up in my system and wreaking their havoc – plus inflicting carnage on my live-in homicidal cancer maniac – I have no idea what will come next. 
The true irony of this is that friends and family and neighbors keep telling me how wonderful I look.  There are still many days that I feel absolutely wonderful.  What I don’t understand is how my body can be such a liar.  Three times now, during remissions, while I was feeling perfectly fine – or as fine as could be expected after numerous surgeries and 24+ chemotherapy treatments – my doctor has informed me that a recurrence has begun.  So while I was going about my business of getting well and healthy – or so I thought – blood tests and scans showed that my resident cancer was still out to kill me. 
 This session at the keyboard seems to have been very therapeutic for me.  I may have discovered the cause of my “Funk.”  If  I can’t trust my own body any longer, I’m not sure what to think or feel.  I’ve been fighting so long and all the while giving sideways glances at the calendar.  I know the projected life expectancy of someone with my Stage of Ovarian Cancer and I see the days and    months slipping away.  My brain knows that nothing is carved in stone – miracles happen every day.  I just have to get my heart and soul on board.  I need to climb out of my self-inflicted pit of quicksand (and self-pity) and start climbing that mountain called “Living With Cancer.”  Funny thing is that I thought I was living it all along. Not only has my body been lying to me, so has my brain.  Okay, that’s enough then!  I’m starting The Climb!  Stay tuned for the re-birth of Positive Thinking.  


The Phoenix will rise again to live, laugh, and survive!