MOM2ACAT's SparkPeople Blog MOM2ACAT's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Used book sale today This morning, Penny picked me up and we went to the annual AAUW used book sale. The sale didn't officially start til 9am, but when we got there at 8:45am, the doors were open so we went in and a got a little bit of a head start on the crowd. <BR> I found these books; 2 of them have actually been on my "want to read" list for quite some time. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The House Girl by Tara Conklin <BR> The Light Between Oceans b... Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:14:04 EST Wrist pain update and CBC again today Still have not heard from the lymphedema specialist's office yet for an appointment, but as of yesterday, I haven't had any pain in that wrist, and the swelling has gone down a little bit. If they haven't called me by the time I go to the cancer center for my next injection, I will ask them about it, but if the pain returns, instead of waiting, I'll give them a call instead. <BR> <BR> Today I had what is now, at least for the next 2 months, my twice weekly CBC done at the lab of the hospital... Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:48:30 EST Wrist pain and possible lymphodema Since around midday Friday, I have been having a lot of pain in my right wrist. I was hoping maybe it was just pain from overusing it (though I can't think of anything I had done over the past week that was more than my usual activity level, or doing anything like heavy lifting) and I was hoping it was something that would get better with time. But when I mentioned it to the nurse at the cancer center today who was doing my blood draw for my lab work and giving me my Halotestin injection, sh... Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:51:36 EST A couple of busy days, and my CBC today It's been a busy couple of days; yesterday Penny picked me up in the morning yesterday so that I could stop at the bank to make a deposit, and drop off some books that I am donating to the AAUW for their annual used book sale, which is next week (and I am planning to go and check out the sale too), and I did my grocery shopping. <BR> <BR> She picked me up again this morning and we went to the bank so that I could get a safe deposit box for my will/trust and other important documents, then I... Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:39:16 EST Another ER visit and hospital stay I was really hoping to avoid another ER visit and hospital stay, but the hemoglobin took a nosedive again last week. ( I apologize in advance for this being a rather long blog today.) <BR> <BR> I started really feeling it last Thursday; besides the fatigue, I was having insomnia too, and really struggling to get through the days. I wasn't doing anything other than the the basic things (washing the dishes, feeding the kitties and cleaning the litter box, etc.) I really had to do. (And please,... Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:37:36 EST Disappointing hemoglobin count on Monday Monday's hemoglobin count was disappointing; on 2/23 it was 10.9, and on 3/9 it was 10.6. I was really hoping that this week's would be in the "10" range, but it was at 9. That's just enough to make me feel fatigued, but not low enough to qualify for a blood transfusion. <BR> <BR> I also had another Halotestin injection Monday, so I am hoping that soon my counts will start going up instead of down. <BR> <BR> Despite how tired I am during the day, getting to sleep at night is still a problem... Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:37:28 EST Spring is on it's way! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> It finally feels like spring is on the way; we made it into the low 40's today, and the sun is shining and the snow is melting! The whole month of February felt like a deep freeze here in Michigan. I know we are likely to be hit with probably another snow storm or two, but still, winter is nearing it's end. <BR> <BR> My sister gave me a pink fleece lined zip front hoodie jacket for Christmas, I've been waiti... Sun, 8 Mar 2015 16:34:01 EST Monday's hemoglobin count Yesterday, I had my blood counts checked as I do every Monday. My biggest concern is always the hemoglobin count. Last week, it was 10.9 (that was about 4 days after my last blood transfusion), and yesterday, it was 10.6. So overall, that is good, because it usually drops much further than that from week to week. It's too soon to tell though if that is a result of the Halotestin finally working, there may be other factors as to why it did not go down much in the past week. I'll see where that... Tue, 3 Mar 2015 13:10:35 EST Oncologist appointment today I had an appointment with my oncologist this morning. Even though the Halotestin hasn't really made any difference with hemoglobin count yet, he believes it will, given more time, so he is going to keep me on it for now, at least. He said there really isn't anything else he can do to treat the anemia and the fatigue, so I really hope it will kick in and start working like he believes it will. I see him again in 6 weeks, and in the meantime, I will get the injections every 2 weeks and continue... Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:45:07 EST Snowy day, and a long wait for a doctor appointment Even though our winter weather advisory officially started at 4am, (it is set to expire at 7pm) it didn't start to snow here until around 9am, so I did not have any worries that the Dial a Ride buses would be running today. I was picked up at 9:30am for my 10:30am appointment with my internist. I got there a half hour early, but that was ok; I expected I would be, and I always have my Kindle with me when I have to wait anywhere. <BR> <BR> Shortly after I got to the office, the wind started ... Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:39:05 EST It's COLD outside! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was - 24F when I got up around 7:30am, and we were under a wind chill advisory til noon. At least no frozen pipes today! Just a "frozen Shari" LOL. <BR> At this hour, a little before 2pm, it is 8 F. <BR> <BR> With temps that cold, I would not have gone out if I didn't have to, but on Mondays, I have my standing order at the hospital lab to get my blood counts checked. (Still waiting for the report online put i... Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:56:25 EST Another ER visit yesterday, frozen pipes this morning Yesterday morning, I just could not shake that feeling that something was wrong, with the lightheadedness, fatigue, and weakness I was feeling despite sleeping ok the night before. I finally decided around 9:30am to just go to the ER; the way I had been feeling all week, I was sure I'd end up going by the weekend anyway, so I decided to just go instead of waiting at home and worrying. <BR> <BR> I didn't really notice a rapid heart rate this time like I did the last time I went to the ER, but... Fri, 20 Feb 2015 18:32:51 EST Hemoglobin still going down, feeling fatigued and discouraged On Monday, I had my weekly CBC done. As I had been suspecting since last week, my hemoglobin went down some more; down to 8.7, down from the week before which was 10.2. It's very frustrating, because it's at a level where it's making me very tired, but not quite low enough to meet the criteria for a blood transfusion. So, I am trying to hang in there until it's checked again next Monday. I am hoping that I won't feel so bad before then that I have to make another trip to the ER, but I will go... Wed, 18 Feb 2015 10:49:38 EST Signed my will today, new CDs, and winter weather A few weeks ago, I got the process started on getting my will made, something I had been putting off for far too long, but when the status of my cancer changed, I knew I had better get it done sooner rather than later. It's been completed now, and this morning I went to the law office to sign everything. Fortunately, the fees are coming out of my share of my mom's estate, otherwise I could not afford to go through a lawyer for this. <BR> <BR> Most of us, I am sure, don't really want to thin... Fri, 13 Feb 2015 13:40:42 EST This weeks blood counts This morning, I went to the hospital for my weekly standing order to check my blood counts. I was able to get the results online about 2 hours later. My hemoglobin dropped again, but this time it wasn't quite as drastic a drop as it has been the previous weeks. This time, it dropped from 11.2 to 10.2; I was relieved it was not any lower; I had a tough time this weekend with the fatigue so I was very anxious about the lab work this week. I think maybe it was the Halotestin injection (my 2nd on... Mon, 9 Feb 2015 17:04:48 EST My weekend, hemoglobin decrease, and some aggravation today It was a snowy weekend here; we didn't exactly get a blizzard like some parts of the country did, but we were under a winter weather advisory from 7pm Saturday through 6am Sunday; mostly snow and wind here. Not the kind of weather you'd want to venture out in if you didn't have to. <BR> <BR> It snowed all day Sunday; I had to go out twice to move my car for the plow, which means cleaning off enough snow so that I can see (which wasn't too bad as it was light snow, nothing frozen onto the win... Tue, 3 Feb 2015 16:21:13 EST My hemoglobin went up! A quick recap first; when I went to the ER on Sunday, my hemoglobin was 7.2. My CBC was checked again Monday morning, after my blood transfusion, and it was 10.7, a good number after 2 units of blood. Today, I had to go to the lab and get another CBC done. I would have been happy if it stayed the same and it did not go lower than 10.7. <BR> <BR> After I was home a couple of hours, I checked for my report online. I was very surprised to see that my hemoglobin went up to 12! I was not expectin... Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:52:55 EST ER Visit yesterday, and an overnight hospital stay This weekend was pretty rough with the fatigue and the usual symptoms that I have when I am severely anemic. I had hopes that the Halotestin injection I had just had the previous Monday would be kicking in at least keep the hemoglobin from falling, even if it didn't increase it, but I knew by Friday that another blood transfusion would be inevitable. <BR> <BR> Still, I tried to hang in there, and wait until Monday, my scheduled day for my standing order for my weekly CBC. Saturday, I did my ... Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:24:44 EST Book Review: Dying Well; Peace and Possiblities at the End of Life by Ira Byock M.D. The author of this book, Dr. Ira Byock, has dedicated his life as a hospice director to make sure that no one should have to die in pain, or die alone. He is prominent spokesperson for the hospice movement. In this book, he shares the true stories of dying patients, and how important emotional work can be accomplished in the final months, weeks, and even days of life. <BR> <BR> Through the stories of the patients, families and those that are dying that can learn to deal with doctors, how to ... Sun, 25 Jan 2015 09:30:24 EST Frustration with Fatigue and Blood Counts I was disappointed, but not surprised, by the results of the CBC I had done on Monday. My hemoglobin went from 10 when it was checked January 12 (which was a week after my last blood transfusion), down to 8.8 this week. I knew just from the level of fatigue I had been feeling that it would be down, even though I tried to convince myself it was from not sleeping well at night instead. <BR> <BR> Right now, that is low enough to make me tire quickly, but not quite low enough to meet the criter... Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:44:28 EST Started another cancer drug today I went to my oncologist appointment today feeling very anxious after the news I got last week, not knowing what to expect today. I was fully expecting being told that since the drug he talked about trying before was not available, that I would truly be out of options. I was prepared to accept that, but it was the not knowing that was causing me all of the anxiety. But once again, he threw me a curveball, and I don't mean that in a bad way. <BR> <BR> He still wants to try the Halotestin, but ... Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:41:52 EST Won't be starting that drug for the cancer after all First, the good news; my CBC that I had done today shows that my hemoglobin is at 10; this is the first time that it was checked since I had the transfusion last Tuesday. I was relieved to find that out. A friend took me grocery shopping today after I got done at the hospital, and I felt so fatigued by the time I got done, I was worried that maybe my hemoglobin hadn't gone up very much. I checked the lab report online as soon as I got home. I slept ok last night, but didn't sleep well for 2-3... Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:14:13 EST Transfusion went well, feeling so much better! The transfusion went well yesterday, and I am feeling so much better now, but the day started off kind of rough. <BR> <BR> My friend Von picked me up at 6:45am; God Bless her for being willing to go out into the bitter cold so early! Lack of sleep wasn't a problem for me, but I felt so worn out, it took every last bit of energy I had left to get ready to go. If I hadn't had the transfusion scheduled, the way I was feeling, I am sure that at some point, I would have gone to the ER yesterday. ... Wed, 7 Jan 2015 11:21:09 EST Another setback, severely anemic again I've had a setback again with my health because of severe anemia. This past week has been especially hard, with extreme fatigue, a rapid heart rate, and some episodes of shortness of breath. We've been very cold here over the past couple of weeks(today we were under a wind chill advisory from 4am til noon) and the worst episodes of shortness of breath have been when I have been outside. Both Saturday and Sunday mornings I had to clean the snow off my car and move it for the plow, and all I di... Mon, 5 Jan 2015 16:11:51 EST Exercise and Terminal Illness; 2015 Goals I haven't had anyone come right out and ask me this yet, but I'm sure there are people (and I don't mean just here on Spark) that wonder, "Why bother to exercise if you have a terminal illness?" <BR> <BR> Just because you know your life is going to probably shorter than you expected is no reason to stop living. At this point with my cancer, I don't believe that exercise will extend my life, but it can make the quality of the time I have left better. <BR> <BR> Exercise can boost self-confide... Wed, 31 Dec 2014 15:26:47 EST First Christmas without my mom I made it through my first Christmas without my mom, but no matter how old you are, Christmas is just never the same once both of your parents are gone. <BR> <BR> The last few years, after my dad passed away, I always went to church on Christmas Eve with my mom and sister. This year, I went to a family gathering at a cousin's house instead. My sister wasn't able to go because she came down with bronchitis, but I am glad I was able to go. I think it would have been hard being at church that f... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 15:41:55 EST Trying another drug for the cancer I went to my appointment today with my oncologist feeling so sure that he was going to tell me I had no options left, but he decided to try something that is actually a very old treatment for metastatic breast cancer. It's a male hormone called Halotestin, a form of testosterone. Since my cancer is fueled by estrogen, this will counteract that estrogen. It is not a cure, but hopefully it will slow the cancer down. He also thinks it will help with my platelet count. (Which, by the way, went do... Mon, 22 Dec 2014 17:12:10 EST Pain patch did not work for me, bad side effects Rite Aid finally got the pain patch in stock that my PA at the pain clinic wanted me to try, and I picked it up Thursday morning while I was out shopping. My biggest concern was that it would make me feel sleepy, so I thought if I put it on at bedtime, I could sleep through the worst of the side effects. I put it on at 9:30pm Thursday night. <BR> <BR> I really didn't notice it making me drowsy or anything. When I got up yesterday morning, I didn't have the usual pain in my legs and shoulders... Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:08:07 EST Just checking in, I'm doing ok Just checking in to let everyone know I am doing ok, after the news I received on Monday from my oncologist. <BR> <BR> I slept surprisingly well Monday night; I think I was just plain exhausted, from the time I had to get up so early Friday morning to drink the first barium shake for the CT scan, then my anxiety over waiting for my report to be posted online, and once I had that report, waiting and wondering until my appointment later that afternoon to hear what my doctor had to say. I just ... Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:43:16 EST CT scan results; not good news My CT scan that I had on Friday shows that 3 lesions that were on my liver in July have grown a little bit; they are growing slower, but they have grown, and there a few new ones too. The cancer has also now spread to my lungs; those spots are very tiny right now though, and also slow growing. <BR> <BR> I wasn't expecting a "clean" scan, especially since I have had to postpone my chemo for over a month now due to the low platelet counts. (Which, by the way, when my CBC was done this morning,... Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:26:09 EST Another "strike out" with the chemo Once again, chemo has to be postponed because of my platelet count. I was not surprised though; I really did not think that the counts would get up to 100 which is the minimum at which my doctor will allow chemo, since last Wednesday they were at 71, and had only crept up to 75 on Friday. I asked if I could get get my blood counts checked at our local hospital next week instead of having to make the trip to the cancer center when it's not that likely they will be up high enough next week eith... Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:53:00 EST Pain Clinic Appointment Today I had my followup appointment this morning with my PA at the pain clinic, it was scheduled on a day when my doctor was also there, in case anything on the x-rays of my left hip that were done several weeks indicated any problems that could possibly helped with an injection. My x-rays only showed healed bone mets and arthritis, and since the injections I have had for that hip for the past couple of years haven't helped, my PA didn't feel that any would help me today either. Even if they were t... Tue, 9 Dec 2014 13:13:55 EST Friday's Blood Counts Yesterday, I had to go back to the cancer center to have my blood counts checked again. My platelets (which are what has been causing the delay with the chemo) went from 72 on Wednesday to 75 yesterday; hemoglobin from 10.4 to 10.6, and red blood count from 3.5 to 3.6. That didn't sound like an encouraging improvement to me at first, but my nurse told me that it was actually good improvement in just 2 days. My doctor was pleased with it anyway, and I'm glad that my counts went up instead of d... Sat, 6 Dec 2014 10:52:19 EST No chemo for 3rd week in a row/New haircut pic Despite the blood transfusion 2 weeks ago, and not having had chemo for the past 3 weeks, my platelets dropped more, from 87 last week to 71 today, so I could not have chemo again today for the 3rd week in a row. My hemoglobin dropped too, from 12.7 to 10.4 today; the hemoglobin isn't low enough for a transfusion, but my doctor is concerned about why that and the platelets have both dropped that much in just a week. I didn't talk to him today, because he was not at the cancer center today, bu... Wed, 3 Dec 2014 17:54:13 EST Haircut today/Hair Loss and Chemo My hair started shedding from the chemo almost 3 weeks ago. I knew before I started the chemo that hair loss was very likely, but I kept my hair shoulder length for as long as I could. I know I was just putting off the inevitable by not getting it cut sooner, but I had to wait until I felt I was ready. <BR> <BR> The last time I wore my hair down was for my mom's funeral; since then, I've been wearing in it a ponytail because I couldn't do much of anything else with it, and over that past cou... Mon, 1 Dec 2014 17:40:04 EST A Productive Sunday I took advantage of the warmer temps this morning, (it was 49F when I got up around 8am) and the fact that pretty much all of the snow melted overnight and finally got the outdoor furniture put away in the shed for the winter, all except a small bistro set ( a table and 2 chairs) which I cover with a tarp because they will not fit in the shed. Also took down my wind chimes for the winter, filled the bird feeders, and put out a new suet cake. <BR> <BR> I missed my workout today, but at least... Sun, 30 Nov 2014 19:09:07 EST Getting back on track with exercise, and catching up on Spark stuff With not feeling very good due to lack of proper sleep and stress since my mom's passing 3 weeks ago, being busy with all the "practical" stuff that goes along with losing a parent, and being anemic from chemo again, my "Sparking" has been sadly neglected, and my exercising too. <BR> <BR> Today, after missing 20 days in a row, I "got back on the horse" as they say and did a 25 minute chair workout today; it felt good, and it was not as hard to get back into it as I was expecting. <BR> <BR> ... Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:13:10 EST No chemo again this week, and oncologist appointment Chemo was a no go today; my platelets are still too low. Last week before the transfusion, they were at 52. Today they were 87, but my oncologist won't do chemo if they are under 100. So the plan now is just to wait until Wednesday to check my blood counts again, and then if the platelets are up high enough, I'll have chemo then. <BR> <BR> My hair is still shedding; it's not coming out in clumps or anything like that, but it is looking thinner, the time is coming soon when I will have to get... Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:32:34 EST Poem: A Mother's Crown I found this poem online before we met with the pastor to plan my mom's memorial service; I don't know who the author is, but it just fit with who my mom was and how she lived her life. I knew I wasn't feeling strong enough to read it, so a friend in our church congregation read it during the service. <BR> <BR> A Mother’s Crown <BR> <BR> Heaven lit up with a mighty presence, <BR> as the Angels all looked down. <BR> Today the Lord was placing the jewels <BR> Into my mother’s crown. <BR> <BR... Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:27:32 EST I have not forgotten all of you! I haven't forgotten Spark or my friends here; I've just been busy, worn out and tired and haven't had a chance to do much of anything online. I haven't even had a chance to read my blog comments, Spark page comments or look at my Spark goodies, but I will as soon as I can. <BR> <BR> My mom's funeral was last Wednesday and it was a beautiful service, I think she would have been proud. <BR> <BR> I cancelled my chemo last week, and was supposed to have it today, but when they did my lab work, ... Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:57:13 EST My mom is gone I'm too tired and overwhelmed right now to go into all the details, and it's been a long night, but I just had to let my Spark friends know. <BR> <BR> My mom died unexpectedly sometime yesterday (Saturday); when she was found in her home, she was already gone, probably from a massive heart attack. <BR> I will post another blog later to explain more. <BR> <BR> I'm going to try, if I can, to get some sleep, because I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. Sun, 9 Nov 2014 00:54:32 EST Acceptance vs. Giving Up Some background before I start, if you haven't read my blogs before. <BR> I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2003, I won't go through all the details about my treatment because that is on my Sparkpage. In 2007, it returned, this time to my bones, and it's now stage IV, or metastatic breast cancer. I just found out a few months ago it is starting to spread to my liver too. <BR> <BR> It took me several years to come to a place of acceptance with this disease, it's not something tha... Sat, 8 Nov 2014 13:33:38 EST My week off from chemo so far While I am a bit frustrated that I am still getting tired easily despite my hemoglobin levels being up, today is one of my better days. I had chemo Thursday and the Neulasta shot Friday, and today is the best I have felt since then. <BR> <BR> I was expecting to have some bad bone pain from the Neulasta shot, but it actually turned out to be very mild. I still had my chronic pain in my left hip and left shoulder to deal with, but the Neulasta did not make that any worse. <BR> <BR> I've had a... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 14:28:43 EST The Ups and Downs of My Weekend Before I begin, I want to thank everyone for the supportive comments left on my Spark page and blogs, and the goodies. I want you all to know they are all taken to heart and appreciated! <BR> <BR> Friday night, I ended up taking my nausea and migraine meds at bedtime. Even though I had just had my Neulasta shot that day, I don't think those were side effects of it. I had already had a headache starting that day before I even had the shot, triggered by the change in weather and the front movi... Sun, 2 Nov 2014 12:54:26 EST 2nd Halaven today and 1st Neulasta shot I had the 2nd Halaven chemo yesterday. A bit of good news on the hemoglobin counts; last week after the transfusion it was 10.8; I was hoping it would stay the same, or at least not go down very much. But to my surprise, it actually went up, to 11.3, that made me happy! <BR> <BR> I asked for a prescription for a sleep aid, and they were going to give me Ambien; however, it could not be called in that day because it was one my doctor had to approve first, and he had left early that day. I was... Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:50:49 EST As ready as I'll ever be................. ..........for my 2nd Halaven chemo tomorrow. Since yesterday, I've tried to make the most of having a couple of days of feeling better while at the same continuing to pace myself so that I do not overdo it. It's not so much the fatigue that is the problem right now, it's being able to stay on my feet with the pain and weakness in my left hip and knee. <BR> <BR> Speaking of which, I did read my hip x-ray report online and there doesn't seem to be anything very helpful in it; it just shows art... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:30:34 EST Slowly building myself back up As I posted in my last blog, Friday was a bit of a tough day with barely any sleep the night before because of the steroid they gave me with the chemo. I thought I was going to be ready for an early bedtime Friday night, but I did not start feeling sleepy enough to go to bed til around 11pm. I think I fell asleep sometime around midnight, and I slept about 6-7 hours before waking up again. Even though it wasn't a full night of sleep, I felt a lot better Saturday. <BR> <BR> I probably would h... Sun, 26 Oct 2014 14:56:31 EST First Halaven Chemo Yesterday First, I will share some good news. My hemoglobin level before I had the blood transfusion Wednesday was 7.0; when I had my CBC done yesterday, it was up to 10.8, that is a huge improvement for me! My heart rate was down too, Wednesday while I was there, it never went below 100; yesterday, the first reading was 87. <BR> <BR> My good friend Connie drove me yesterday. It had been awhile since we had seen each other, so the time went by quickly while we talked and got caught up. <BR> <BR> The ... Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:20:29 EST Feeling better this morning First of all, I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support! <BR> <BR> It was a long day yesterday getting my blood transfusion, and at the cancer center, they give Benadryl as a premed. It was just a low dose, but I am sensitive to it, so I wasn't feeling very good from that. It made me tired, but at the same time kind of wired too so that I couldn't sleep. I couldn't concentrate much on reading so I watched TV most of the time while I was there. I was kind of bummed about not feelin... Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:52:32 EST No chemo today, hemoglobin too low Once I got the the cancer center, and in the infusion area, my nurse drew my blood for labs and got me started on fluids. It was about an hour wait for the labs to get back, and because my hemoglobin was only 7.0, they could not do my chemo today. <BR> My oncologist was called, and he wants me to have a blood transfusion first, which I will get tomorrow, then I will have my chemo on Thursday instead. <BR> <BR> I'm not really surprised my hemoglobin was low, I was having symptoms of being ane... Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:12:31 EST