Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Yikes, Another Month Gone?

Hmm, I said I was going to do better about updating this blog. Well at least it hasn't been six weeks! So, what is my excuse this time? I really don't know. I have actually tried to analyze that myself. Perhaps I was just enjoying the break from treatment and lab work and doctor visits and such. Of course I was traveling also as I spent one of the past weeks in McAllen, Texas, teaching a class -- which went very well, by the way.

So, what has been happening? Well I got some great news yesterday -- NO MORE CHEMO at the very least until the beginning of next year, and perhaps even longer. I wasn't sure what to expect as my neck nodes are starting to return, although not as large as they were before, and I have been much more tired lately. I almost never get through an early evening without falling asleep in my chair a couple of times and most Saturdays consist of a couple of naps, even after nine to twelve hours sleep!

My blood work looked better than I was expecting and I think better than my doctor was expecting. My platelets did drop below 100 again, darn. But the rest didn't look too bad. I am only slightly anemic and I thought it would show more just based on how tired I am. Five areas were out of normal, but not too far. I won't go back for more blood work until January 2, and then will see the doctor the next week. Christmas without chemo is a very good thing!

I did have a strange rash that developed that had my doctor quite concerned. My legs started itching last Wednesday and got progressively worse. By Sunday afternoon, I had a rash up and down both legs, around my waist, on the back of my shoulders and it was starting down my arms. I would wake up in the night scratching and going nuts. I was taking Benadryl pills and putting Benadryl cream on it that helped some. Monday my ankles and feet were very red and splotchy. My oncology doctor wanted me to get into the dermatologist right away. He said if I couldn't get in to call him and he would make it happen. Well, I got in this morning. But, just like going to the dentist, it was MUCH better this morning. My feet and ankles were still red, but they never did itch. The rest of the rash was fading. The dermatologist wasn't sure what it was, but thought it was a skin infection. The redness on my feet wasn't actually a rash like I thought, but leaking capillaries under the skin. She said that was in reaction to the infection. She gave me a couple of prescriptions and is having me change my bath soap to an antibacterial gentle soap. I have a huge tub of prescription cream to stop the itching. It is always something.

Trivia fact from Wikipedia:

The total length of capillaries in an average adult human is approximately 42,000 km (25,000 miles), which if laid out in full would encircle the entire equator of planet Earth with some 1000 miles to spare. And you thought you wouldn't learn anything here today!

Both my daughters are having some medical problems too. Cindy will be having a surgical procedure later this week and Cheri is dealing with some things that could be a possible tumor. However, the doctor is taking an approach with medication to see if things get better. She won't have another ultrasound until January to see if whatever it is has shrunk. Rather worrisome for Mom and Dad. Her medication hasn't been allowing her to sleep well for the last couple of weeks and that is very frustrating for her.

Yesterday was the final day for all the repairs at the house -- hooray! And we even had a water softener installed last night. My dermatologist was pleased to hear that.

I hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed time with family and friends and that you took the time to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. No matter what our circumstances, there is much for which we can give thanks. As the old hymn says, "Count your many blessings and see what God has done." I have to remind myself of that occasionally when I start to feel sorry for myself. We can get ourselves really bogged down in negativity if we let ourselves go. Nothing wrong with a little pity party once in a while, but that party can't go on for hours on end. The neighbors will start to complain if you let that happen!