This is my own story of life with advanced ovarian cancer. I do not offer medical advice, and my treatment decisions are my own. Please talk to your physician or healer and gain as much information as you can about this dreadful disease called cancer. Remember, knowledge is Power!

Tuesday, May 25

Another Graduation

You'd think I would've been ready this morning, having been up since 3am all jacked up on steroids, hot flashing and having a major anxiety attack. I had to go outside and sit on my patio for awhile to cool off and try to get my Zen on with some Xanax and herbal remedies. I had to take another batch of steroids at 6am in prep for chemo today. MY LAST CHEMO. FOREVER, DAMN IT!

So we took dog out (Rico did), got the kid up and to school (Rico did) while I dawdled in the shower, lollygagged getting dressed, and generally stalled for as long as I could before getting out the door for the 25 mile drive. Wait! I need to draw my eyebrows in! I need to use the bathroom! Where are my lucky blue Chucks?? Is my iTouch charged up? Wait! I gotta put Lidocaine on my port! Is it time for another Xanax yet? Check the A/C. Make sure the windows are closed. Fill the dog bowls. Switch the laundry to the dryer and start another load.

We finally hit the road (when he gently dragged me out the door) and here I am at Club Chemo with 9 other women today, all of us at various stages in our treatment. Today, being my last treatment (the 2nd time around) I've got the Graduation Ribbon on my IV pole. Here, patients sign the ribbon after the last chemo. There are 3 ribbons that hang on the wall, all filled with prayers, jokes, signatures and love notes to the Oncology Team. Every part of every ribbon is signed, all the way down each of the 12 strands of 4 foot tail. This one is a brand new ribbon and I'm the first to sign it. I think I've just earned a B.S. Degree in Chemotherapy.
Another oncology office has them ring The Bell, and another place plops a tiara on your head, wraps a feather boa around your neck, presents you with a dried giant fake bouquet and tells you "Now, take your Walk!", like you're Miss America or something. I like that. Finishing chemo is a big deal.

I'm so glad this is almost over. I need a break from chemo in the worst way. In 4 weeks I can have he PET scan. Now, it's just a waiting game again. Limbo Land. I'm gonna just spend the next month eliminating this toxic shit from my body, then hopefully all those dreadful side effect will abandon ship. I can't wait to get off all these meds. Will it even be possible?

What will the PET scan show? Will my labs be good? Will he have to go in and look around again? Will I be able to go back to work? What if....? These questions, and more will be answered next month, and I AIN'T GOING THERE TIL I GET THERE.

For my graduation speech I'd like to say:
It's been a long, strange trip, Cancer.
I've worked very hard over the last year
to get the best of you.
So far, I've kicked your ass. TWICE, bitch!
You better stay down! I'm warning you!

Wednesday, May 19

A Product Endorsement By Pateeta

Are you tired of trying to vomit into those flimsy plastic emesis basins? Or how about those airline barf bags? Even worse, horking out your car window while driving? Believe me, I can drive and hork simultaneously with the best of them, but I'm here today to introduce you to the latest in Barf Bag technology! Say goodbye to the traditional barf basin/bucket/bag and get your face into one of these!

My local hospital carries these Eme-Bags; they hang on the walls in a canister like a Dixie cup dispenser and you just grasp and pull and voila! You have what looks like a giant blue female condom! But I must say, I was sold on it after only one use! (the barf bag, not the condom).

You will not believe how versatile and convenient these babies are. They come in a fun color, are light, disposable, collapsible and totally portable. No more blowing chunks on your friend's leg or into the closest garbage can at the bike rally when you have one of these on hand. Small enough to fit in your purse or pocket. Keep one on your nightstand and you don't even have to get out of bed for those midnight puke sessions! And Boy Howdy, they sure can hold a lot. At least 40 oz! I believe it could even hold a lung if you happened to hork one up. Just look at the design and craftsmanship that went into these bad boys! Check out the handy measurements marked out for you. You'll never have to wonder again just how much your stomach holds. And hey, you can always use it for measuring when your kid breaks your favorite Pyrex measuring cup. I'm sure you can find DOZENS of fabulous uses for it!

So at your next chemo appointment or ER visit, be sure to ask for.... no, DEMAND the Eme-Bag! You'll be so glad you did. And get some spares.

Maybe later I'll tell you how I used it in my car this week. While driving with the top down during rush hour traffic. Maybe not.

Monday, May 17

Crab Ass Wendy Whiner

I have just had my next-to-last chemo. My CA-125 is back up to 20 from 12. I try not to get hung up on the numbers- it's still totally within the "normal" range (less than 35) but I'm not liking the spike. I have so much going on with side effects- all separate things that, by themselves, are irksome, distressing, painful or intolerable- all together are really fucking me up.

These days, everything I do (or want to do) requires deep consideration. With all the meds I'm taking, I have to be very careful. Should I take Xanax for anxiety, or narcotics for pain? Can't take 'em both, or even close to when I go to bed. Ambien or Seroquel to sleep? Ambien doesn't work for long and Seroquel is supposed to help with "sleep anxiety" and hot flashes. It's not helping. My Prozac was upped to 60mg a day to help with the hot flashes. That's a lot of Prozac. And it's not helping.

Chemo plays HELL with your GI tract, starting with your mouth. Bleeding gums, mouth sores- fuck that. Got some new mouthwash- it's called Magic Mouthwash, and the pharmacy actually had to compound it for me. It's got a LOT of Lidocaine in it, some antibiotic, antacid and something else. I have to make sure I've eaten first because I'm a total mush mouth after using it.

When it comes to eating, I have to consider what will taste the best when throw it up. Or if it's even gonna pass through. Gross, right? All my cancer/chemo buds know exactly what I'm talkin' about. Laxatives? Sure. Bring 'em on. They're not working. When I need to take a Vicodin after using the bathroom: I AM NOT HAPPY CRAPPER.

I even got some anti-nausea patches called Sancuso. Good shit, Maynard. Especially when they STICK like they're supposed to. They last for 5 days, and in combination with Zofran, Compazine and some steroids, they work great. But I've had 2 patches fall off after 1 day (yes, I put them on right- I'm not a total dipshit).

The sinus thing is driving me crazy. It's been dripping for a year since I started chemo- apparently because my nose hairs are gone, and bleeding and scabbing for about 6 months. It's not going away and feels like it's going deeper.

Thanks for lettin' me share my list of woes. Doesn't make it any better, but maybe y'all know something I don't about fixing them (besides stopping chemo and all meds). I see a lot of doctors now, but see an ENT and a GI doc in my future. Fuck.

Herbals, anyone?

Monday, May 10

The countdown begins... (again)

Only 3 more chemo infusions to go. I'm getting #1 right now. I had to call out my cheer leading squad to help me through this next month. When I did chemo last year, the last month was the worst/hardest/had more side effects. 4 weeks after the last chemo I'll get the PET scan and see what we see.

I'm so tired of all this. Thank you to my docs, nurses, girls, friends, family, and everyone else that prays for me, distracts me, makes me laugh, brings me chocolate, and helps me find my Zen. Thank you. I love you all.