Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Have gotten away from the internet. I am at my parents place where we have only dial up internet and of course you cut off the telephone when you are online.
So a short note to say my blood work is almost back to normal, normal hemoglobin, normal platelets and the white blood count is holding its own,(still a bit low).
I am still short of breath, but I think the last time it took about 5-6 weeks after chemo for that to go away.
We are going to Kamloops tomorrow where both of our sons live, so some time to catch up with Dylan our older son whom we have not seen since last christmas.
jankenb @ gmail.com
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
We are now 300 miles north of the border (or 500 KM). The temp is 58 degrees (15 degrees celcius), speaking Canadian. The air is crisp and clean and there is highway construction going on everywhere?? Perhaps in preparation for the olympics, all roads leading to Whistler, or Vancouver are being widened or improved, I guess. Spending two days at Whistler was spectacular, I guess I had forgotten (or never really noticed) how incredibly beautiful it really is.
We had a great time going to the farmers market, lots of vendors with very unique items. Last summer (2008) I bought a very beautiful toque (Canadian for wool hat), from a lady who was bald, having just completed chemo for breast cancer. I had bought it to wear at concerts. (little did I know I would be in the market for hats for a different reason soon after that)
I stopped in to see her again this year, and she was fully recovered and said that breast cancer was the best thing that had ever happened to her. She had left her husband and now she was enrolled in college taking textile related courses, meeting with like minded people and having the time of her life. The lady at the booth next to hers was also selling hats, and she said she had been bald the year before the other lady, also chemo for breast cancer. They both made the most beautiful hats, I unfortunately had already spent WAY too much on a merino wool hat from a third hat place before theirs.
We were pretty nervous, to say the least, not knowing where my white blood count was. I got the neupogen on Friday, but it does not always work with just one shot, and I had no way of knowing the blood count was not just continuing to fall.
We got a doctors appt on Monday AM. Interesting cost. I think it is great all Canadians are covered as far as health care, because it was extremely expensive.
To see the doctor and ask for a blood count, was 125 dollars, and to have the very simple blood test was 109 dollars. Paying by cash this visit would have been about half in the US and for the blood test, they bill my insurance about 57 dollars for that.
Not sure if this was just because it was Whistler (one of the most expensive places in Canada) or whether the costs are the same everywhere for foreigners.
ANYWAYS, my white blood count was 2.8 and the ANC was 1600 which was a huge relief, but it seemed still quite low having just had a neupogen shot. Last time my blood count went to 19 the day after neupogen. I contacted Dr Cooks office and they said that the 2.8 was likely where I was at, and that the neupogen had likely worn off by 3 days. So that means I should be fine from here on in. I am now at a level that is still half of what is considered normal, but is adequate for fighting infection.
I will likely try to get one more cbc toward the end of the week to make sure it is still going in the right direction.......towards normal.
I am still short of breath, I guess because I am still anemic. The thing about anemia and your red blood cell count is that as you go to higher elevations, you need a higher red blood cell count as the air is "thinner". I live at sea level, and so can tolerate the lowest blood count there. This is why people who go to climb Mt Everest have to" acclimatize" at base count, or let their blood count come up, prior to ascending to the next level. People who live up in Nepal, would have blood counts much higher than ours.
Ken and I were trying to figure out whether the higher elevations would stimulate my bone marrow, or just tax my system. I guess we will find out.
I think my bone marrow is just slowly recovering. The platelets were down at 40, and gradually have made it up to 152, which is normal.
Well we have just arrived in Williams Lake and one of the first "establishments" we come across is "chemo RV", glad we have someone's yard to camp in whilst here. Who would want to stay in a place called chemo RV?
Love and peace
jankenb @ gmail.com
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Finally on our way to Canada. Been a long week in many ways.
My white blood count was 1.4 on Wednesday when I saw dr Cook with an ANC of 800. I was trying not to go with the Neupogen, however went for one last blood test on Friday, just to verify that my blood count was coming up, and found that it had dropped further. So I went for a neupogen shot before we left. I had a splitting headache all night, so I assume my blood count is going up.
(with the bone marrow in the pelvis seemingly out of commission the other main areas of cell production take over such as the skull, ribs and sternum). Not totally relying on that my sister has set up a doctors appointment for me on Monday, and hopefully I can get a reassuring count then.
I have written my first song in a year, well at least I have laid the main ground work (which is the hardest part in most songs).
It is called" It is so hard to be a good dog". I am sure anyone who knows Chewy will know where the inspiration for this came from. I wrote the music a year ago, and was never happy with the lyrics, and there was something Chewy did yesterday that just looked like a line he would say. Sometimes I wonder if he really tries though :)
So we are very well equipped as we head north. We have antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals, all just in case. We also have something for the headache the neupogen causes and one course of Tamiflu which I will only use if I really need it.
Oh and Ken has a bottle of "bees winter defense" which is the most awful tasting pill, but Ken swears it is going to boost my immune system.
We also have 3 rain coats and 2 downfilled coat.
peace and love
jankenb @ gmail.com
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Just wanted to write a short note to let everyone know that my ct scan was NORMAL.....
and my ca125 is 7 which is exactly where we want it to be. I am thrilled, or should I say WE are thrilled.
I feel I can now think into the distant future without fears that I will "jinx" something.
I never wrote about it, but early August I saw my gynecologist/oncologist in Eugene and had the first of my "followup" exams and it was completely normal. She said at that time that most recurrences occur in the first 2 years, rarely the first 3 years and almost unheard of beyond there.
So I am a third of the way there. Where is there? Well "there" is to be able to clearly say " I won". I clearly feel at this point I have a very strong lead over the "other" team.
I guess I have a tendancy to think in metaphors, I guess perhaps that really helps my song writing. The other day I was thinking about this whole cancer treatment and how it reminded me of a war. There is a "civil" war going on, and all of a sudden, another country comes in with bombers and infantrymen and basically bombs everyone.
Where I am right now, is watching all MY little soldiers getting up, dazed, dusting themselves off, some of them going to the first aid tent for treatment, basically saying "who are those guys?" The cancer soldiers aren't.
I guess now is the time for me to begin my own personal anti cancer treatment, with kindness for my body. Jimmie Buffet has this great song, the name of which escapes me, but one line where the girl is saying to the guy "I treat my body like a temple, you treat yours like a tent". I am going to work on my temple. Organics, turmeric, ginger, and yes I will need to develop a taste for green tea.
Now I have to get through the next week of low blood counts. The white blood count usually reaches its lowest point somewhere around day 21 and then my guess is that it will start to go back up naturally. The reason I say "guess" is that up until now I have not gotten to day 22 without doing something else to knock it back down.
Ken and I are planning on leaving for a month long trip to Canada on day 24, so hoping the counts will rebound quickly.
Love and peace
jankenb @ gmail.com
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009