Saturday, February 21, 2009

Party review...

Well, my "End of Chemo" party was tonight. My mom and I got there about 6:15pm and sat down. At 6:30pm, it was a like a bus pulled up with the guests. People swarmed in. Thinking back to who was there, I think the final count was about 80 people. I had several different groups represented... Pitt alums, Arlington softball teammates, neighbors, family, ex-dates (no...not the biggest group, people!), coworkers, cancer support group members, improv troupe members, etc.

Because so many people attended, I spent the entire first couple of hours greeting everyone. I missed out on much of the food and I didn't see one basket in the Pitt game. I constantly felt like I was ignoring everyone as I tried to dart around and get to see everyone at least a little. If I missed you...SORRY! It was amazing to see that many people out to support me.

And I did not cry once! (It was my party, so I could have cried had I wanted to.) I cried earlier in the day, so I was good.

Earlier in the day, #2 North Carolina lost their basketball game. So, I knew Pitt had a shot at number one tonight. We just needed #1 Oklahoma to lose. Midway through that game, Oklahoma lost their best player. It was a sign. As the final seconds ticked away in Okla's loss, the song randomly playing in the bar was Gloria Gaynor's "I will Survive." How appropriate was that?

Back in January, Pittsburgh became #1 for the first time ever on the day the doctor told me that I could end chemo. They became #1 again the day I celebrated the end of chemo. They did it for me...I know they did! :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's all good...

My first CT scan since not being on chemo was conducted on Tuesday. Today I found out the results. No signs of cancer. :-) Now I can be at my party this weekend and not worry about anything. It's such a good feeling!

I also received a prescription for my pill form of chemo that I will do for two years. The pill form is called "chemo-lite." There should not be many side effects. I took the script to the drug store today and the pharmacist spent 15 minutes on the computer. She finally came back to me and said, "I thought it wasn't going through insurance, but it is. Your co-pay is still $1100. Wow. A co-pay of $1100 for a two month supply of pills! Luckily, my insurance cuts me off at $4500 for the year and the rest is free!

On a different note... This made me tear up:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The CAT scan ritual...

Today I had another CAT scan. I'll find out the results tomorrow when I meet with my oncologist. I can't remember if I posted my CAT scan ritual in a previous post. Oh well, I'll risk posted it again. When I arrive at the hospital to drink barium, I stuff my nose with tissue so I can't taste as much. Then I chug as much of the barium that I can. I immediately gargle with Gatorade and pop a piece of chewing gum in my mouth. I usually have to repeat this 4-6 times to down the entire batch of barium. Today was no different.

Then I am required to wait about 30 minutes as it works its way through my bowels. Once in the CAT scan machine today, they scanned me. The second scan came after some contrast dye was injected in my vein. That gave me the warm feeling (like peeing your pants). The tech then said something new. "You're digestive system worked too quickly. I need you to drink some more barium. But since the previous scans were just conducted with you in this position, you can't move." I had to drink barium while laying flat on my back. Try drinking ANYTHING while on your back and your head level! Now try it with chalky crap! My god, did I gag.

I haven't had that much fun since Disney World!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How dry I am...

This past Tuesday was the first day I can remember in 14 months where I didn't cry at all. Wow, that sounds amazing. Crying every day for 14 months! Who does that? People on chemo.

The first couple of months, they were sad tears dealing with the unknown. Then the tears turned to hopeful. Later, they turned to happy. And the drugs didn't help. I would cry walking to the mailbox. Just happy that I could make that walk and was still here.

When you go through something like this, it consumes your every thought. Now that I'm back at work, my mind is occupied with other things. I think that is why I skipped my crying on Tuesday. I just didn't think about it at all.

I guess that's a sign of becoming normal again. I realize there will be more tears coming. I can think of two occasions: my party next week and the first time I take the mound for softball this spring. I'll probably leave a mud puddle on the softball field. :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cancer Tree...

I was diagnosed the week before Christmas in 2007. All of my decorations were already up when I heard the news. After Christmas, I started taking them down and I got really sad. (Chemo does that. Well, chemo and not knowing if you are going to die.) So, I kept a tree up and lit. It was a 4-foot tree with only white lights and it was lit usually 'round the clock. Over the months, the strands of lights started to burn out. I saw a few string go out as I was watching TV.

As Christmas of 2008 arrived, four stands were out and only one remained. As you know, my chemo treatments were every two weeks. My last treatment turned out to be 19 December 2008. If we assume that each round of chemo does its work for two weeks, that means the chemo stopped working on 2 January 2009. That is the exact day the last strand of lights went out. :'-)