CDC Symptom Diary Card

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dating after cancer, complicating

I just had a wonderful date with a guy I met at a hospital here in Seattle.  I was shocked that he asked for my number, but I gave it to him anyway.  We had met one time before when my mom had a prior surgery, so I was familiar with him.  He works there.

He smiled a lot and generates a good "vibe" so I thought, well, what's the worst that can happen?  

We chatted on the phone the other day for about 15 minutes and set a date to meet at a 
casual Mexican food place for dinner.

I am not sure I'm ready for this step in life.  I mean for all practical purposes, I literally have no "date" clothes.  I threw all that away when I moved from California, only so much was gonna fit in my car.  I  needed to make sweat pants a priority.  I can't wear jeans any more, so that was just a waste of trunk space.  Anyway, a girl likes to dress up, even if it's for a taco.  (Actually I had pasole, and it was yummy).

The REAL reason I'm not ready is the obvious, intimacy.  Read no further if you don't want to know about all this, but it's part of life and most healthy people have a partner.  Truth be told, I only want intimacy with the man I marry.  At this point with all I've been through, nothing else is OK.......sigh.

He (J) is cute, funny, adorable and I know that we'd do fairly well for a while.  He's fun, but real, down to earth, has kids, is really responsible....hello?????

But I may have a prophylactic mastectomy in the next year or so.  What if my cancer comes back?  I still have all kinds of icky problems from Chemo, and abdominal pain, etc.  My huge scar.  Do I really want to get all excited about a good guy only to at the end of the day have to say goodbye because of my cancer issues.  I couldn't blame him.  He doesn't seem the type, but he has his wishes, just like everyone else.

He knew I had ovarian cancer before our first date, so I gave him an out right away.  We talked a little about it again, lighthearted discussion, and he still wants to see me again???

He is so sweet.  I want to just take it a day at a time.  I haven't been on a date in over two years.  Yikes!

So.....I don't know, I'm more comfortable with me and God.  God loves me no matter how icky my body is or how much nausea I have or how terrible I look.

People are different.  If I'm dating I want to look pretty and not be feeling bad.  

Well we have a long way to go anyways, cause we haven't spoken about real important stuff like religion and politics yet.  So....really the most important thing is God.  Politics aren't really a barrier, he has a good heart, I can tell.  But I go to church all the time and want someone who is faithful to God.

I pray he is, and I pray he can accept me.  But should it not become more than a friendship, he will be one of my finest male friends here in Seattle.  If he wants that.

I don't know what to do here.  I guess I'll just go along with what God has presented to me and see what happens.  I feel really lucky that I went on a date.  I thought that would never happen again.

PS.  my neuropsyche results are in, just need to get our appointment set.  So I'll be sure to let ya'll know about that.

Peace and Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dogs that can sniff cancer from ABC News

This is an impressive video clip about how dogs can help catch cancer in it's early stages.  I learned about this segment from a teal sister on  Thank you for sharing this with us.  I want all my followers to know more about how man's best friend is truly a life saver.

Peace and Blessings to you all.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Pateeta, may your sweet heart rest in peace

I am writing to say that our dear teal sister, Pateeta, has passed away.  I did not want this day to come.  We knew it would be here.  I am so sad.  Pateeta was such a strong, spirited, fighter. 

She was a rock to us in the ovarian cancer community.

See her blog "Shades of Blue"

Dear God, please keep Pateeta close to your side, keep her warm and safe, happy and well. 
 Rest in Peace Pateeta.  My deepest sympathies to her family.

We love you Pateeta and will miss you dearly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Testing Day

Yesterday I completed another round of cognitive testing with an assistant to a neuropsychiatrist.  I was wiped out, and had to take a nap when I got home.  I was toast for the rest of the evening.

My examiner was friendly, I'll call him "B".  He was a really nice guy, young, hard working, and seemed to know what he was doing.

I had to drive to a new building in downtown Seattle, so of course I got a little lost but made my way.  I parked, walked around a bit not knowing the best entrance because the main doors were locked.  The parking attendant helped me along to the skybridge.  I had to call "B" twice to help me find the me there was no signage.  Anyway, I was nervous, probably a contributor to my rocky start.

The total test time really was about 4 hours.  We went into a "little room" and he asked me a zillion questions.  I was nauseous and had some abdominal pain, the usual.

He did try to make me feel comfortable and explained each section along the way.  He asked me to remember lists of items, meanings of words, to remember story content, re-draw things from memory, put blocks together, do math, and finish sequenced drawings on paper, amongst other things.

I remember from my last round of testing that I thought I did better than I actually did, so I dare not try to predict my outcomes.  I can only say that I know I did better on some parts versus others, but who knows.

I really had a hard time with remembering lists and it wasn't until this morning that I remembered who painted the Sistine Chapel.  I could see the fresco, visualize the other works of Michaelangelo, yet could not remember his name.  That's so darn frustrating.

For real I have a hard time reading.  I can play around on the computer for long bits of time, my eyes get tired.  Reading a book though is different, for some reason.  I get real tired, can't stay focused.

Anyway, "B" seemed proficient enough and let me take a break when I needed it.  He's probably given this test so many times, he's memorized it by now. 

I think I was given the WAIS-III, because I saw part of the cover of the testing manual off the side of his computer.

So what will this matter in the long run?  I think it's really important because maybe patients on chemo may need to be more proactive with mental exercises as part of their treatment, IF that's even possible.

I remember being so drugged out I couldn't concentrate on TV, now that's bad.  Feeling like an observer, like other people are talking, but I'm not really there.  "wa wa wa" kind of thing, all the time.  I had just no excitement.

The only emotion I remember while on chemo is fear.  Real true fear.  Fear of people breaking in the house, fear of other people dying, fear of the shower head, fear of everything.

Now that fear is gone, but I still worry about other people more than normal.

If the rest of my life consists of me as who I am with huge holes in my memory, then OK.  I am alive. 

How will I be able to work though if I have a really bad memory or can't process information correctly?  That's the rub.

I remember the other day for the first time in two years I drove around an extra 20 minutes to listen some CDs and sing in my car.  I LOVE music and am really just now starting to enjoy it again.  I want to have a little place of my own, blast music, sing along, dance in the kitchen, and just laugh. 

I have to believe that I will make it and earn enough to live my own life again, I just have to.

Sigh.  So there is a lot riding on this test.  I pray the outcome is that my defecits can be mended or at least compensated for somehow. 

If I have two years or five years, I want those years to be meaningful.  I feel engaged in life now.  I feel ready, even though I still need 12 hours of sleep per day, I'm more awake and more energized. 

I will post my results...........not sure when I'll get them.

Well, this is Easter week.  Always a trying time for me.  I feel the pain of Jesus so deeply and although the ultimate joy will be his resurrection, the week of Easter seems to always bring me a real challenge.  Always has, like a car accident or losign a job.  So I pray this year I am free of any additional pain.

I thank you God for my family, friends, doctors and the opportunities before me.  I pray that my mom has good news this week, that my niece regains her inner joy and that my family stays strong and healthy.  I pray each of you feel God's love each and every day.

God's Peace and Blessings to you all.


Monday, April 11, 2011

CA 125 and chemobrain

Well, to start off with the good news, I received copies of my labs and my CA125 is 8!  I am so so so happy, I almost feel bad about.  There are so many OC sisters struggling right now with rising levels, recurrences, and in the midst of treatment, and I don't want to gloat.  I just want to mention it so that you all can see that there is hope a year after chemo ends.  Thank you God.

Although there is no guarantee that my level will stay low, I FEEL stronger and more confident that now is the time for me to do something that will make a difference.  I have some fundraisning and awareness ideas for the Seattle area, and I'm awaiting the completion of some brainstorming sessions before I share. I've spoken with a local cancer support group and am awaiting their response. I can't do it alone, but I think my ideas are unique and valuable opportunities for the Seattle area.

Chemobrain is one of three enemies right now. 
Chemobrain, abdominal MAYHEM and rheumatoid arthritis are always crashing my party.

As you know I received bad news on my aptitude testing.  I am scheduled to see a neuropsyciatrist next week (or is it neuropsychologist) for a major battery of testing.  We'll see.

They are trying to figure out why there was such a descrepency between my verbal and math and abstract thinking.  Do I really want to know how mushy my brain is?  Or is this the start of something good?  I think overall if I know my strengths and weakness, I won't start down the wrong road when it comes to work.  AND, I can target my mental rehabilitation better.

My testing also shows I want to remain isolated.  The only thing is, a big huge reason I want to stay away from crowds is that I have a weak immune system. I think that detail is not clarified in the psychological testing, so it looks like I am a complete hermit.  I tend to be a homebody, but I did used to have a life before my chronically weak immune system reared it's ugly head.  Oh well, what can I do?

My WBC/and neutrophils are currently below normal, so I am susceptible to bacteria and viruses.  THAT is why I don't go out much.  I'll try to explain that to the tester, but we'll see.

He said that there's nothing more I can do to prepare for it, just be ready.  To tell you the truth, I'm nervous.

I know I have memory problems.  I forget things all the time, and as I've said before, my personality is different.  I feel almost like a child, weird.  I just want to PLAY.

Can I get a job where I play all day??????  Ha, that would be true joy. 

I was so happy to go to church last evening and have an opportunity to pray deeply for my family, friends, doctors, OC sisters and other friends with cancer who are in pain.  I pray for you every day.

Thanks for taking time to check in.  I'll send a note about how the testing session goes.  I haven't a clue as to when I'll get the results.

By the way, after the testing, Dept of Voc Rehab plans to put me in a community based job setting to see how I actually do at "work".  Nervous about that too, but I need it. 

Peace and God's Blessings to you.