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October 12, 2009

I had chemo on Thursday this week with Avastin, Abraxane, and Zometa, so that’s the most kinds of poison I get at one time. My red blood cell counts were holding steady, though lower than I’m used to, but the white cell count was down for the first time. That means I’m at increased risk for infection.

I was okay but tired on Friday, but starting Saturday it really slapped me down. Wow. We tried to take a day trip to the ocean but had to turn back partway there in part because I was just too tired to go on. Today I napped most of the day.

Anyway, keep praying I survive the chemo without any damage to various organs. They recently canceled an Avastin study because people were getting heart failure from it. My oncologist is looking into that, meanwhile we stay the course. There’s really no chemo precedent for the type of cancer in the locations I have it, and Avastin has shown promise so I don’t want to just toss it out until we have more information.

I’m getting on the schedule for various scans at the end of the month. The first will be the brain MRI and the next will be a CT of my torso. The goal of both is to see if the treatment so far has been effective and if the cancer is spreading.

Of course, I’m completely terrified by these scans. The cancer patient term for this is “scanxiety.” The last time I had to go in for scan results I couldn’t stop shaking and the news was all bad. So, I’m already starting to get depressed and terrified. I really don’t want to stay in that state for the next few weeks, so pray that I can remove myself from those thoughts and enjoy life.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Mina permalink
    October 12, 2009 3:58 pm

    Sending lots of positive mojo and prayers to you. Thank you again, really, for sharing your life with us as you go through treatment. Miss seeing you at work, especially at the staff meetings (ha ha ha!!) *BIG HUGS*

  2. Kerri permalink
    October 12, 2009 4:56 pm

    Our family is praying that God will grant you peace and that those scans will come back clear!

  3. Colleen permalink
    October 12, 2009 8:19 pm

    We are praying for you. We pray that you have the peace of the Lord and we are praying that your scans will be clear. Jill, our pastor had the following on our bulletin.
    Pray passionately. ” The earnest, (heartfelt,continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available ( dynamic in its working)” Pray specifically. Know specifically what you are believing God for.
    And if you don’t know exactly what to pray, the Holy Spirit is right there to intercede on your behalf.
    Thank you, Jill, for letting us know what to specifically pray for.
    God is always faithful and able to do more than we ask and God’s grace is sufficient for your needs. We hope that you are feeling better. We love you and your family. Colleen and Ed

  4. October 13, 2009 7:54 am

    Lets see, places to go to remove yourself from those thoughts…
    The swingset under the cherry tree, playing Star Trek. Debbie got to pick first, so she was Mr. Spock. That meant I got to be Capt. Kirk. I don’t remember if you were always Dr. McCoy, or if you changed characters to fit the scenario.
    Falling out of the cherry tree onto the swingset (or was it a near miss? And which one of us did the falling?)
    Finding a long-lost easter egg inside the leg of the swingset when we moved it years later. Ewwww!
    Climbing the other cherry tree (it had better climbing branches.) We all had our favorite perch.
    Camping in the yard, and having to run into the house to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Do you remember how it feels to squish a slug between your toes?
    Mike Coberly, the kissing bandit.
    Day trips down Miller Creek. Playing in the big sand pile beside the creek. Stepping on glass and cutting our feet. Catching crawdads, cooking and eating them.
    Playing with the Lyon’s kids and the Lukasik kids.
    Camping at Black Lake. The weekend we caught over 30 fish from the dock. Fishing from a row boat for sun fish in one cove. The difficulty of cleaning perch and crappie (pronounced “croppy” for those who don’t know.) Having row boat races. Daisy sitting in the creek on command.
    Something else to do to keep your mind busy: write the full lyrics to the “Rinsey Soap” song. 🙂
    Love ya!

    • Jill permalink
      October 13, 2009 8:01 am

      lol. Good ideas.

      I remember playing everything but Star Trek. Maybe you guys made me play the Red Shirt person or something ( ).

      I do remember acting out the whole Wizard of Oz movie in the back yard in Arizona. I probably played Toto.

      Rinsey Soap:

      Rinsey Soap is good for you.
      It even cleans your daddy’s shoe.
      One for me….
      And one for you!
      Oh, Rinsey! I love you.

      That was to the tune of some other commercial. I wish I could remember the product. It might be on You Tube or something.

      • October 13, 2009 8:31 am

        To the tune of Fascination:
        “It was Rinsey Sooooap, I know; that made my body so dirt wouldn’t show; it was Rinsey Soap that made him propose!”
        But now I’m thinking we had more than one turn for Rinsey Soap.
        I didn’t remember the Wizard of Oz, but I do remember making that movie where we did everything in reverse to set a table. We threw table setting pieces off into the lawn area at Grandma and Grandpa’s condo in Glendale, AZ, and when we played the movie back in reverse, it appeared we were catching them from the air and setting the table. Their neighbor, John Pennant-Jones did the filming.
        Do you remember “the Boshens”? Tee hee. Those were fun Christmases.
        Oh, here’s a good one: going to the horse races after Mass on Sundays at Paradise Downs — we could get in free after the 7th race! Sometimes Grandma would let us place a bet. I remember one race was just a quarter mile, and the gate was full of tiny quarter horses, and one really huge red horse. You bet on the red, and it finished WAY ahead of the pack. I was peeved. But I’m not competitive or anything. 🙂

      • Jill permalink
        October 13, 2009 8:39 am

        That’s right. We made more than one Rinsey Soap commercial. The one you’re thinking of was to the tune of “Fascination.” Maybe we missed our calling as soap manufacturers/marketers.

        Big horse = long legs. Simple!

        Good memories. Thanks!

  5. mom permalink
    October 13, 2009 7:57 am

    You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when clouds are gray, always have, you never will know, dear Jill, how much I love you, so I pray, please God, heal Jill and leave my sunshine here for longer days. Bless you my dear Jill.

  6. Sandi permalink
    October 13, 2009 3:37 pm

    Hi Jill! I just wanted to take some time to let you know that I’m thinking of you and reading your blog. I miss talking to you. Your blog is great!!
    I don’t like being put inside a small hole in any machine and told to close your eyes and believe that you’re somewhere else. Yeah, right!

    Let me know if I can help you or your family out.

  7. Lisa permalink
    October 13, 2009 5:38 pm

    Ahhh… deepest felt prayers and healing white light coming your way. Not totally on topic, but my Dad also has the scans this week. I’m trying to hold strong in the windstorm myself.

    I love John Denver’s song, which is fitting as we had our first snow today.

    Please know I continue to pray, believe in prayer and know how lucky I am to read of your life. Blessings.

    Wishing I had something funny to say…. something distracting, but either way, I want you to know you are heard and cared about!

  8. Mame permalink
    October 13, 2009 8:50 pm

    Hi Jill,
    Prayers for clear scans.

  9. Resa permalink
    October 14, 2009 12:46 am

    You know, I think you ought to allow the depression and fear to come to you, for a time. Tell yourself to give it an hour, a day, or whatever, but absolutely no more than that. There’s a reason we feel depressed and fearful, and I am not so sure it’s a good idea to try and stuff it just because we don’t want to feel it.

    So, maybe giving yourself permission to feel that way would be a way to validate it and then make it possible to move past it more easily. Have a good cry, feel a healthy portion of self-pity, lay about depressed and miserable, and then end it. Tell yourself no more for the rest of the week or next two weeks, whatever length of time you think you can handle. Coinciding these self pity days might be better on the days your feeling crappy from chemo anyway, so two birds with one big ol’ rock!

    After losing Grady, I learned to let those emotions come to me when they come, to fully feel them at that time, and then move forward. After awhile, I found I could ‘put off’ some of the strong ones to a more comfortable and appropriate time and place for me that didn’t include the dairy aisle at the grocery store. 😉 I think avoiding them all together just makes them worse in the long run and so does letting them take you over.

    Just a thought.

  10. October 14, 2009 9:29 am

    Praying very much.


  11. Mame permalink
    October 14, 2009 12:18 pm

    Hey Jill, just checking in to see how you’re feeling today.

    Sending positive thoughts, energy and sunshine. 🙂

  12. Dawn permalink
    October 16, 2009 9:03 am

    Hi Jill! The other day, I was in the waiting room at my doctor’s office reading a Readers Digest and lo and behold there was an article on breast cancer (well, it IS breast cancer awareness month, right?). They mentioned that they are doing great things with the triple negative breast cancer research. I wish I had had more time to read further, but it caught my eye and sounded encouraging. I know you are giving it everything you’ve got, and with all the support you are receiving from family and friends, you are going to beat this thing.

    I think Resa had some very insightful suggestions for you in dealing with depression. My daughter was very depressed while she was going through chemo, so the doctor put her on anti-depressants for the duration. They made a HUGE difference for her.

    Your mom’s song, “You are my Sunshine” brought me to tears. I used to sing it to my kids all the time when they were little.

    Feel better Sunshine! I miss you at work and think of you every day!

  13. Jill permalink
    October 16, 2009 12:47 pm

    Thanks to everyone for the kind words and prayers. They’re very important and encouraging to me.

    Also, thanks for watching out for new treatments. This is me raining on everyone else’s parade again (my parade has already been rained on). I tried to get in on a study of the PARP inhibitors, but they are currently studying only patients who have the BRAC1 or BRAC2 genetic mutation. I don’t have either genetic mutation. So, consider me quadruple negative. In this case four negatives don’t make two positives. There’s some talk about testing PARP inhibitors for those of us without the genetic mutation, but given the slow nature of these studies that might be a few years down the road. Sometimes they have such good results that they end a study early and release the drug for general use, so you can add that to your prayer list.

  14. Lisa permalink
    October 17, 2009 2:25 pm

    Continued prayers!

    You have cancer.. you can’t rain on anyone’s parade.. just a thought. I think if you can process it in the moment and in spurts, like Resa suggested that is wonderful.

    Unfortunately I know I do not process emotions like that nor can I. My Dad’s medications for depression were upped during his chemo and it has helped him ‘grasp’ more of what is occurring and have a life. I wish that more of that kind of stuff were offered to those undergoing life changing diseases/disabilities. I am sure I could have used a medication while dealing with Pearce’s stuff, but no one asked and no one offered. I pushed it for my Dad as I saw how drastically his outlook had changed.

    He is really embracing it all right now and makes me really ponder my own outlook on life often.. his latest hobby is a recumbent bike and he goes tooling around with safety flags..

    All of that to say, continued good thoughts and prayers. I really do pray each time I see a pink item and saw many ‘funny’ ones this week.

  15. Cristina permalink
    October 19, 2009 11:56 am

    More pink news to distract from “scanxiety”:
    In the cafeteria at work, they’ve switched the white chocolate in the double-chocolate chip cookies to pink M&Ms. They’re messing with chocolate? Now they’ve gone too far!!!!
    Last night I read a headline about fashion designers in Canada making dresses out of pink toilet paper in honor of breast awareness month. (I’m still not sure I read it correctly either, but I’ll post the link when I find it.)

    I hope the scans will show good news.

  16. Colleen permalink
    October 19, 2009 6:53 pm

    Jill, Thank you for your memories of Meggie and her view of life and eternity. I too remember many conversations with Meggie and her taking my face in her hands when we were saying our goodbyes, as we always seem to live far away, and her looking into my eyes and saying, ” You know this might be our last goodbye” and then she would say, ” Now I don’t want you to be sad and know that I love you very much.” My mom turned 80 on October 14th and she has been saying things like this for quite some time ( always preparing us), however, she and my dad enjoy life to the fullest and we want you to know that we are praying for your healing and will be praying for you tomorrow and the days ahead while you wait for your results. God bless you.
    Love, Colleen and Ed

  17. Bonnie Foxley permalink
    October 21, 2009 4:24 pm

    I read this entry this afternoon and hope and pray you survived today’s scan. It does not sound like a pleasant experience. We continue to pray for you all and send our love.

    Bryan and Bonnie

  18. October 21, 2009 7:53 pm

    I would take a scan anything over a knife with blood involved. MRI good; CatScan not so good; but they seem to be using all the amo they have for you today and the research is hot on the scent of something BIG…..stand by.

    Love and prayers and hugs and kissy faces to you.
    Aunt Pat

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