Thursday, October 16, 2008

challenging vs. brighter

THE CHALLENGING SIDE:

it's 7:41am and i've been awake for at least an hour. the itching and hot flashes have driven me from my bed and to this keyboard. i often get hot flashes, day and night, as if i'm standing on a hot, humid subway platform and then stepping onto an air conditioned train, over and over again so it becomes an exercise on pulling on a jacket or throwing off the covers.

then there's the itching, a side effect of chemo.
it's everywhere, and i mean everywhere, but luckily it's not constant. "hmm, that's unusual.", said my oncologist. the best he has to offer is benadryl, which makes me sleepy and sluggish, so i need to suck it up until the end of november with the assistance of acupuncture. it's a nerve thing and not a dry skin thing, so unfortunately no slathering of lotion will help. scratching makes my skin burn and brings no relief, so as much as i want to scratch away like a dog with pulgas, my version of fleas are being fought off with distractions of the mind, which work most of the time.

i've noticed that i get grouchy when i have medical appointments. last week, there was the flu shot, blood work and urinalysis, a visit with the oncologist (pelvic exam), and this week there was a sonogram of my liver because apparently some enzyme level is high. i get the results today when my doctor comes by during my chemo (round 4 out of 6!). i also got a letter from medicaid saying that in regard to my application, they need more information. they received an altered version of some form and need an unaltered version. blah blah blah. sigh. these are the times when i wish i lived in a cabin on a mountain top...

also, i'm down to 1 1/2 eyebrows. my right one is slowly leaving me, one hair at a time.

THE BRIGHTER SIDE:

i have support systems in place for mind and body. (this is in addition to the leagues of people in the world, friends, family, and complete strangers, who think of me and make me strong.) yesterday, was a triple play of Team Sandra at work: acupuncture, therapy, support group. and there was a movie thrown in as well (Man on Wire. go see it!) i was so happy just to have the endurance to spend a whole day in the city. i was out and about like all the other crazed new yorkers around me. i felt normal!

it's also been homecoming week here. two old friends who have known me since the dawn of time, malia and erin, flew from california and colorado respectively, mainly to see me. erin brought old photos and notes from grade school and high school that made us laugh like hyenas. it was fantastic. the day they left was the day my old friend kevin arrived, so ej and i had a really nice visit with both kevin and his sister, kristin. our parents went to high school together along with erin's, and it's the same high school that the three of us attended as well, (mater dei. go monarchs.), so it feels like a bond beyond our friendship. i like that.

other happy pastimes have been books (The Life of Pi - the ending really took me by surprise, and currently The Secret Life of Bees - found it on my bookshelf and am quite enjoying it. apparently any title with "life" in it i'll read), netflix (the brit series "manor house" - thumbs up, and just began "flight of the conchords" - another thumbs up), and, of course, food.

i should also add that i haven't had to shave or pluck for many weeks now. and i'm saving money on all the hair products i don't have to buy. showers are quicker. i've met excellent people that i probably would not have met otherwise. my mama's home cooking is being made right here in my kitchen. and obama is ahead in the polls. i really can't complain. so i won't.

4 comments:

Erin said...

Hang in there, girlie! You are the best and I love you dearly...your smile is sunshine so chase those grouchy days away :)

Shane said...

I'm thinking of the time you came out to cheer me on in the NYC Marathon...and how later in that marathon the crowds kept me going when the going got tough. Well, I suppose you're running your own marathon of sorts here Sandra and the way you're tackling it is nothing short of awe inspiring.

That said, when the going gets tough, just imagine yourself running the NYC Marathon and imagine the rest of us out there cheering you on, one footfall at a time. Before you know it you'll find yourself crossing the finish line in Central Park to find a big old plate of pasta, a gallon of Gatorade and Mayor Bloomberg there waitin' for ya'. Hmn. Well..you get the idea. Keep on truckin' Lady.

sheldon said...

I think eyebrows are overrated. Who needs them! I remember many days when my Grandmother drew them on her forehead. The color never quite matched her...and on the subject of eyebrows, I've been developing a problem in the past year...it seems that I have one piece of eyebrow hair that grows four times as long as the others. Every time I pull it, it comes back longer. In two years I should be able to create a comb-over and cover my bald spot.
...I'm sorry, apparently I have some issues. See, we definitely need to go for a walk and talk about this!

Kris said...

4 down and just 2 chemos to go - hooray! Benadryl wired me for sound, giving me sympathy for all those hyperactive kids I taught over the years. You are a miracle and a bright spot in the world, bald head and all! I'm so glad that you can savor the good in life even when the itching and departing eyebrows give you pause. And just think, in a matter of months you'll be emarking on the return of the hair adventure! Hugs for you and hi to your mama.