Yummy Polski Ogorki

Monday, November 30, 2009

Yesterday I craved pickles. I’ve been turned off those babies since I started chemo over a year ago but yesterday was the day. I pulled out a fresh jar and D and I struggled to get it open but once opened, I estimate I had at least five pickles and not the itsy bitsy ones either. They don’t have calories but they do have salt and maybe that’s why I like them so much. Anyways, they were yummy, crunchy and delectable. I think I am good for a day or two now.

This morning I woke up extra early for some reason so I got up had my toast and Xeloda pills. I felt extremely tired and went back to bed for a three hour nap. I feel pretty good now.

It was a quiet weekend so I think that is all for now.

Website...Cancer View Canada

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I’ve had a couple people send me the link to Cancer View Canada and I thought I’d share it with everyone. The website’s goal is to connect people to services, resources and information regarding to cancer. It includes information on prevention, screening, treatment and support.

Over the months I’ve found the whole site to be a good read. One thing I really like is that I can have clinical trials info on breast cancer ... in my area ... emailed to me. And that’s just great.

There is a lot to look at so stop by and have a peak...

My First Public Wheelchair Ride

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yesterday we decided to hit Costco ... D phoned ahead to confirm they had wheel chairs, there’s no way I’d be strong enough to walk all those aisles. I’ve been very apprehensive of being pushed around in a wheel chair, never mind being seen in one. But you know what ... it’s like most things in life ... fear of the unknown ... because the trip ended up being pretty good. I sat in the chair and D pushed me up and down every aisle, we stopped and looked at this and that. It wasn’t a big deal.

I must say D needs some pointers on wheelchair chauffeuring because he’d stop and look at an item and say something like, “have a look at this” and I’d be ahead of him so I’d have to twist my neck to see what he was looking at. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he needed to pull me back to see what he was talking about. I just figured I get some extra neck stretches in for the day.

Costco is an amazing place with a lot of good deals but after seeing the huge line-ups to pay, we ended up leaving without buying a thing. We’ll try again another day.

Stretch and Exercise

Friday, November 27, 2009

Since I started my foot exercises this week I decided to start doing stretches as well. I’ve been stretching my arms and legs and it’s paying off because today I was able to have a look at the bottoms of my feet. I haven’t done that for months and months. This has all become possible because I’m off that horrible Taxotere. My last cycle ended five and half weeks ago and my body is starting recover.

My posture has become atrocious. To correct that, I’ve started sitting in a proper dining room chair while watching TV instead of the cushy living room furniture. I’ve also been pulling my shoulders back when sitting and walking.

My body is starting to release some of the fluid it was hanging on to. My moon shaped face is slowly disappearing. Yesterday, I pulled my belt one notch tighter ... so my chemo belly is going down and I’m back in some of my regular shoes. I’ve really been focusing on having protein at every meal and I think it helps with reducing water retention.

I’m so much more self-motivated now than when I was on Taxotere.

CDC ..Update For Cancer Patients

Thursday, November 26, 2009

From the CDC website...

To help prepare you for the flu this season, CDC answers some of your most important questions about special considerations for cancer patients and survivors for seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu.

Here is their link http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/flu/#1

Exercises and School

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yesterday I put together and started my exercise program for my feet. After doing some of the stretching exercise, I realise that my calves are extremely tight ... likely from the lack of activity on my part for the last eight to ten months. The exercises include ... picking up a tea towel with my toes and rolling my foot over a frozen water bottle. These two seem to benefit me the most when I do them in the morning.

As well as stretching my calves and feet, I’ve also been doing stretching exercises for my arms. Can I tell you ... I am so out of shape. I walk like someone who is 105 years old ... but I’m going to stretch all those weary muscles out and get in better shape. I only hope that Xeloda works because so far it is a very manageable chemotherapy.

Last night in class, we were working in small groups. One of the girls coughed and another said,”Bless you.” Then she said, “Oh bless you is for a sneeze ... what do we say for a cough?” I said, “Hope you don’t give me swine flu.” We all had a good chuckle. Now... there are only three classes left before I graduate.

Posed in the window on a Triumph motorcycle

Toronto is a beautiful city. There's no doubt about it.

It's essence brightly burned an unidentified, distinguished colour this third of October, despite the title of the extraordinary event which takes place. Nuit Blanche is an "all night contemporary art-thing" sprawled across the wide girth of the city, rocking its shit from sundown until dawn.

Originating in Paris, the concept quickly caught fire and spread around the globe to art-avaricious insomniacs alike. Toronto swallowed it without chewing and banged it's fork on the table for more. Celebrating the fourth year of a wondrous pastiche of ephemeral brainchildren on display for the city to soak in and do with as seen fit. Art installations from technology-based mediums to live performance pieces are born and die together. It's a night I always look forward to.

This year, I was fortunate to be a part of a project for the beginning of the evening until two in the morning. Although, it wasn't exactly easy for me. I posed as a model for racy life-drawing sessions for my first time clad in attire attributing the Suicide Girls/Fight Club photo shoot. We froze both for artists, and sight-seeing pedestrians of the night. In my favourite pair of baggy DKNY blue jeans, bare feet, black nail polish, lathered in oil, with an old orange Brownies bandanna, fake tats, a lip ring...and that's it. To accent the aesthetic were two experienced spontaneous Shibari rope-riggers creating designs around our exposed torsos throughout the evening.

I'm a burlesque dancer, very much because of my love to entertain. I adore the human form. It is by far one of the most mind-blowing creations next to underwater caverns, beehives, chocolate and jazz music. I love to celebrate my shape in the midst of an awkward scene between Batman and Robin, after their love has been unmasked and Marvin Gaye's vocals swell onstage.

However, standing still in tableau half-naked without pasties in front of a crowd of discerning individuals even pushes my level of comfort. Some say the line grows very fine, and my judgement a tad pedantic, but whatever I feel is personal and defined by my own rules; I believe in that. In fact, I'm quite shy. My persona is a supa skank, and she loves every minute of it. It comes from a place inside of me, but like any character, it is an embellished extension of a mere aspect of myself. Without theatrics, I feel much more exposed.

I took it as a gracious opportunity to embrace what my Momma gave me, and go full force. It is, after all the body I have until the day I pass. I was astonished by the exhilarating energy, bravery, composure and charisma exhibited by the other six models I posed with. They are a force to be reckoned with, all extremely magnetic in their own right. They helped give me the courage to bare my girls. Some of them being very 'supportive' of my feelings, and cupping them for me from behind en pose, as well as other simulated sex/domination configurations. Woo-eee!

It was a liberating marker for me, and I'm thrilled I overcame the challenge.

The night, of course, did not skip out on cracked out madmen. As I posed in the window on a Triumph motorcycle, a man who did not blink, or look at me when he talked (and who stood way too close), asked me if my temp-tattoo of a python was the mark of the beast, due to having my own dark predator inside me. Trust me, he really didn't want to find out. Then he said he forgot his clothes pins at home... Yeah. Right. That was the savviest pick-up since someone asked me if these were my real eyes. I just sat there and looked mysterious while security escorted him out.

Susie Caboose is Burlesque Against Breast Cancer's Canadian correspondant. She's based in Toronto and for more info, go to: http://www.myspace.com/susie_caboose

BABC lovelies in punk rock video shocker!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The lovely girls from Femme Ferale were early supporters of BABC, opening the first show in Notting Hill with their routine to The Clash's 'Career Opportunities', a song very synonymous to the area. here they are in the video for 'I Dread The Night' by Gallows. British hardcore punk at it's finest.

Picture by Tania Glyde. For more on Femme Ferale, go to: http://www.femme-ferale.com

Aunt Maren

My aunt Maren first suffered from breast cancer when she was in her early thirties.
She had recently been through a painful divorce and was a busy doctor with two small boys, who went to stay with their dad and his new wife whilst my aunt received treatment.

I never met my uncle, but there aren't many stories that paint him in a good light.
Family rumour has it that he never wanted a wife who was as successful as he was. Although they met in medical school, he preferred a woman who'd stay at home rather than go out and have a career. So he started sleeping with his secretary, ultimately leading to my aunt seeking a divorce.

During her stay in hospital it was touch and go. She underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy and my uncle asked his boys to start calling his new wife "mum".

I don't know if they did. Both of my cousins are older than me so I was just a little girl myself, but it shocked me when I heard this story years later that it was just assumed that cancer meant a predictable death.

As it happens, Maren recovered and got her sons back and returning to her successful hospital career soon after. She always seemed a strong (almost stern) woman to me. Someone who didn't suffer fools gladly and didn't like bullshitters.

She was a tough cookie. So it came as a surprise when the cancer returned, almost thirty years after she'd been given the all-clear. It was really discovered by accident, when the hospital where she worked tested a new medical scanner. It showed up multiple lumps throughout her body: lungs, spine, lymph nodes...

Thankfully they'd caught it early. She wasn't having any discomfort at that stage and went back into treatment right away. Both of her sons were adults now: the younger one married to a lovely woman from the Philippines, the older one successful in a career as a city planner.

We celebrated her sixtieth birthday at the same time as her thirty year anniversary at the hospital - she was well-liked and respected, and friends and family from all over the world gathered to celebrate, eat and sing.

Maren wore a cool wig to cover her head, it looked almost better than her old hairstyle. She seemed to have boundless energy and a catchingly positive attitude towards her treatment.

Cancer wouldn't beat her, it had tried before and beaten a retreat instead!

She seemed to have left behind some of her toughness, and instead concentrated on having a good time with everyone who'd travelled to her party from around the globe.

The next time I saw her, for a fleeting visit with my mum (her younger sister) she had dispensed with the wig and wore a colourful headscarf instead. Maren served us a tasty home made soup and we laughed along with her daughter-in-law about strange foods people like to eat in the Philippines. We chatted and listened to classical music. I was still convinced the treatment was working and it would only be a matter of time until Maren got her energy back, but she seemed to be in pain and did things around the house a lot slower than usual.

I think it was a great comfort to her to have her daughter-in-laws support and company as she was going in and out of hospital for treatment.

In the spring, I flew back to Germany for a job. Maren was in a hospice by then, and I was unable to go and see her. My flights were booked at inconvenient times which wouldn't allow me to stay an extra day and make the journey and my elder cousin's work commitments didn't leave him any time to drive me there. My younger cousin was in Asia for work.

So I called her up instead. They were showing the new Pope on the television. I spent my evenings having dinner alone and it was nice talking to a relative. All the energy seemed to have gone from her voice however. She sounded weak and feeble, not like the strong, fearsome woman I was used to. Her breathing was laboured and I chatted on to try and take her mind off her pain-filled day, but I felt awful that I wouldn't be able to go and visit.

I got the impression she didn't really want me to. I know she had friends who came and supported her, but she was a very different person now from the together woman we had all known and respected. I ran out of things to say, it all seemed so meaningless.

"I love you, Maren" I told her before we said goodbye, and we hung up. I had never told her this before, and it's not something members of my family say to each other often. It was the last time I spoke to her.

Back in London, I was looking forward to a visit from my mum and sister a few weeks later - it was the day before my 28th birthday. My phone rang and it was my aunt Cathy, my mum's youngest sister.

"Maren has died" she told me, and I greeted my mother and sister in a strangely detached way. I wanted to be happy that they'd arrived but I needed to tell them the sad news.

"Come on in," I told them and had them sit down in my kitchen before I could say the words. I'd never had to tell someone about the death of their sister before, and I cried along with my mum.

Although this is a story with a sad ending, I think it is a hugely inspiring one at the same time. My aunt brought up her two boys herself. She beat cancer in the first round and saw her sons grow up and become respected adults. She now has two gorgeous grandsons who have never met her, but they are all still very much part of my family. My aunt's picture has pride of place in my grandma's front room, right next to my grandad's picture who died the previous summer, aged ninety.

Maren made the most of the years given to her, she still had a full life although she didn't live to ninety years of age. She was a successful doctor who treated many patients and touched the lives of so many people, all in the thirty years between her first and second diagnosis. Her toughness and positive attitude to life helped her recover the first time around, I am sure of it.

I loved her very much.

Sienna Lewis is the author of the new book, 'The Intimate Adventures of an Office Girl', out now in paperback. You can follow her further adventures over at http://www.siennaslovers.blog.co.uk

Sore and Stiff Feet

The bottom of my left foot continues to be sore and stiff ... to the point where walking isn’t fun. I pulled out the yellow pages and looked up orthotics clinics and gave a few of them a call. One said I need a referral from a doctor. I also called a chiropractor. He also said I should check with my oncologist to make sure there isn’t any cancer in my foot that may be causing this issue. He would be willing to work with me after I talk with my Onc.

The reason I included a chiropractor is because I had great success in the past. I don’t go for the ‘bone cracking’ per say but I go because some do the active release technique which is like a deep massage stretching action. Years ago, they resolved tendinitis in my right arm after my mastectomy and planter fasciitis which I developed from walking marathons.

I just searched YouTube and found a video on foot stretching exercises that are similar to what we did when we trained for walking marathons. With any luck, I’ll have stretched out some of this stiffness/soreness before I see my Onc in a couple of weeks.

Pain Relief from breast cancer surgery. How do you cope?

For women that have always been active one of the hardest things to cope with is not being as strong physically as you were before BC surgery.

On the other hand there are women that have never been very active so they don't always recognize their lack of strength after surgery.

To date, beginning is June 2006, I have had a total of eight surgeries. I am hopefully going to have my final fix-up surgery Dec 17th. This is to replace the partial implant that shifted dramatically on my left side. I still may back out. The thought of another surgery and that lovely JP drain in me again is something that scares me.

So, once I have the okay to start moving and being active again the stretching begin.

There are so many women that end up with frozen shoulder and limited range of motion after BC surgery. The way to avoid this is gentle stretching move, where you use as much range of motion as you can.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Stretch several times daily. It only takes a few minutes at a time.

2. Use good deep breathing. This will help you relax and expand your chest.

3. Pilates basic mat exercise for your upper body use a lot of range of motion.

4. Don't forget to stretch both side and your neck, upper back and shoulders.

5. Use a soft squeeze ball to regain the strength in your hand.

These are only a few ideas.

What did you do to regain your strength after surgery? I would love to hear from you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Xeloda Cycle Two - Day Seven

Monday, November 23, 2009

The side effects I seem to be experiencing from the Xeloda so far are cramps and diarrhea, neuropathy and hand/foot syndrome symptoms.

The stomach issues seem to have settled down a bit. I’m learning that I have to be ever so careful of what I eat and drink otherwise my stomach tends to rebel. The oncologist prescribed Metoclopramide but even that doesn’t always do the trick. After I laid down in bed last Saturday night, I was struggling with stomach cramps. I had already taken Metoclopramide but it didn’t quite do the trick. I then took an Ativan and that seemed to settle me and my stomach down. I guess the trick is to relax the mind and the body will follow.

For the past year, I’ve been calling my feet and hands issues ‘hand and foot syndrome’ when I should have been including the word ‘neuropathy’. I’m just now beginning to realize there is a difference between neuropathy and hand/foot syndrome.

Neuropathy is nerve damage and causes tingling, numbness, and a pins-and-needles type of feeling where as hand-foot syndrome is where the palms of the hands and soles of the feet become red, swollen, cracked and painful (tenderness, tingling, burning) and the skin may peel, blister, or develop sores. These two side effects appear to be very similar.

Melissa Etheridge - I Run For Life (Live)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Molly Mall Walker

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yesterday D and I spent some time walking around the mall. It was nice to get out see it all decorated up with Christmas lights.

Tho I felt good most of the day, later in the day I struggled with diarrhea. I’m not sure if was caused by my gulping down too much water or the fact that I had too much yummy potato salad.
My stomach continues to be upset.

My other grumble for the day is that after walking so much yesterday, the ball of my left foot which has been slightly sore is now very sore.

The lesson learned is.... everything in moderation.

Second Cup Group

Friday, November 20, 2009

Yesterday I had coffee with the ‘Living with Cancer’ group which I’ll start calling the Second Cup group.

Three of us met and we talked for three hours ... wow and that went by quick. One of the ladies has a central line (CVC) like I used to have. I asked her if she experienced any irritation around the site. She said yes. She used chlorhexidine wipes to clean the area plus she used a saline spray afterwards to rinse it off a bit. She said if she missed the saline spray then when she pulled the bandages off, her skin would come off too. That sounded familiar. I then told her about my experience ... that I had developed an allergic reaction to the chlorhexidine. Her eyes got big ... I think it all made sense to her.

I wanted to thank C for giving two hats to me. She no longer has a need for them. I was excited because you know how it is ... a bald chick can’t have too many hats.

We made plans to meet again next week.

Breast Cancer Support Group Coffee

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yesterday I met the breast cancer ladies for coffee. As I drove to the mall, I felt so joyful ....to be feeling so good on such a beautiful sunny day. We have been having some unseasonaly warm weather here lately.

In the mall parkade, I found a parking spot against a wall that was slightly wider than the rest.  I like that because I find my vision is a bit poorer and I lack some confidence when driving in poorly lit areas. My walk to the mall was a bit faster than normal and easier ... and that made me smile.

We had a nice visit and before we knew it was time to go. I stopped at a shoe store to look at slippers for the house. I wasn’t convinced they were what I was looking for so I decided I’d do some more research. I may stop at an orthopaedic shoe store and get some professional advice.

Remembering To Drink Water

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

As per the oncologist, I have to drink more water during the day to help flush the Xeloda out of my system. How am I going to remember to drink eight glasses of water when I can't remember what I did five minutes ago?

Well I read about this little trick. It said to put a tiny container and eight pennies by the kitchen sink ... as I drink a glass of water I toss a penny into the container. With any luck, by the end of the day, there should be eight pennies in the container. The next day just empty the container and start all over. I've actually used this little trick before and it has worked for me.

Well I'm off to drink another glass of water ... hopefully; I won't get distracted on the way there.

Living With Cancer Support Group

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I just got back from our last ‘Living with Cancer Support Group’ for this year. For our last meeting, we had a nutritionist from the clinic come and answer any questions we may have had regarding diet and cancer. I found her information very helpful. Even though I’ve read or heard a lot of this before ... it’s a great reminder to get back on track with a proper diet.

The nutritionist brought a variety of samples of meal replacements for us to try. I grabbed a sample of Boost fruit flavored beverage and Boost pudding plus a new product also put out by Nestle called Resource 2.0 which is a high calorie drink. I’m going to try them another day as I have class tonight and don’t want to risk an upset stomach.

Blood Work And Oncologist Visit

Monday, November 16, 2009

I just got back from the clinic. My time there was a bit long because the lab was running behind. We didn’t have all the results of all my blood work back but we had enough for the oncologist to send me to the pharmacist for my Xeloda pills.

In my visit with the oncologist, I brought forward a couple issues. The first issue being that I have a crackling kind of sound coming out of my lungs. It occurs in the evening when I’m laying down to go to bed. It’s not a new side effect but it is definitely more noticeable. I also mentioned I was coughing more and had some signs of shortness of breath. The other side effect I mentioned was the swelling of my feet. She didn’t seem too concerned and said we’d keep an eye on both issues.

I also asked her about taking the Xeloda pills. The prescription says I should take the pills twice a day ... so my question was ... should I set an alarm for 6:00 am? She said no ... just take them when I wake up in the morning and then in the evening with my supper. The one thing I was reminded to do that I wasn’t doing was to drink lots of water. She said we need to flush the Xeloda out of my system ... especially my kidneys.

That is about all I remember for now.

Cancer Survivor Inspiration

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lunch And A Flu Shot For Dessert

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yesterday I had a nice lunch with a couple of old girl friends. I received flowers and a bear from one and my other friend paid for lunch. It was nice to meet with these gals. We had worked together in a previous job so there was no lack of conversation ... lots of news to get caught up on.

Then ... I went for my H1N1 shot. I walk in and am six deep for two nurses. Oh I thought ... I should be outa here in half an hour.... not! One woman had a young boy who didn’t want his shot and after 15 minutes the nurse said something to the effect of.... “Are we giving the shot or not?” The nurse instructed the mother how to hold the boy’s arms and legs and the deed was done.

Then there was the lady who was in wheel chair and on oxygen. She got her H1N1 shot and panicked. She started hyperventilating and screaming that she had intense pain in her back. She said call an ambulance. The two nurses called for a supervisor and all three calmed her down. She eventually left with no side effects.

Can I tell you ... I was ready to make a dash for it as this was turning into a gong show. Finally my number was called. Yahoo. I told the nurse that I thought they all were amazing. It took about 45 minutes to get through three people and then 15 to get through three more.

Anyways, because I had my regular flu shot in my left arm and I have lymphedema in my right arm, I had to get this shot in my thigh. I didn’t even feel it, but I can I tell you ... today I am limping. Ouch it is sore.

Coffee, School And The H1N1 Shot

Friday, November 13, 2009

Yesterday I met with C from the Living with Cancer support group. We’ve been meeting at Second Cup because the coffee shop has a few of these nice soft leather chairs to sit in. The tricky part is making sure no one else is sitting there. So far we’ve only had to wait a few minutes before the chairs become available. C and I had a really nice chat and before we knew it ... two hours had passed and it was time to leave.

Later in the afternoon, I spent time working on my school group project. It is due on December 1 with only a couple more classes after that to bring this course to an end. It really is going quick.

Today I’m off to lunch with a friend and then the H1N1 shot. My oncologist said I should get my shot the Friday before I see her... and today is that day. What are the odds ... Alberta Health Services opened up the shot to my category and age group the only day I can get my injection for this cycle? Love it when a plan comes together.

Swollen Feet

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today I thought I’d talk about my swollen feet. My swelling problem has gone up and done since I started chemo in August of 2008. At one point when I was on full dosage of Taxotere, my ankles were swollen to the point that I had to cut the sides of my socks because the elastic at the ankle was too tight. Then as we decreased the Taxotere dosage, the swelling went down to the point that I thought was almost normal. I started wearing some of my nicer tighter fitting shoes.

About a month ago I notice that my left foot started swelling ... back I go to my looser shoes. Shortly after that I started Xeloda and noticed my right foot started to swell  Feeling a bit frustrated ... last night I jumped on the internet and searched other people’s experiences. Looks like Xeloda can cause swelling of the feet ... darn it ... to the point that I may have to buy bigger shoes. It was also recommended I purchase insoles to help protect the bottoms of my feet. So my short-term plan is to go back to my runners until the swelling gets too much and then I’m going to shop for new shoes.

In the next few days I’m going to go look for some indoor shoes. At one of my oncologist visits the doctor recommended I wear good shoes indoors and outdoors. What she meant by that was that my toes need to be well covered and protected. Why? Because the hand/foot syndrome has given me poor feeling in my feet and there is a tendency for me to whack them into corners of furniture, walls and such. If I’m not careful I could really do some damage to my feet.

Remembrance Day Song

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Living with Cancer Support Group

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This morning I was at the Living with Cancer support group meeting. This particular group is quite small but has a good representation of a varying cancers and stages of cancer. Personally I find these groups very therapeutic. I feel reenergized and more positive after I attend one of these meetings. We have one more session left and that will be it till next year.

A couple of weeks ago I collected contact information from the group members so that we could make plans to get together outside the formal setting. So last Thursday we met for coffee at a Second Cup. We plan to do the same this week. It’s nice to get together and be able to talk ‘cancer’.

Drew Carey And The Million Dollar Challenge

Monday, November 9, 2009

Drew Carey will give 1 million dollars to LIVESTRONG if he gets 1 million followers on Twitter by December 31st, 2009. And if he doesn’t get a million he will prorate it to however many followers he has by the end of the year.

Cool eh!

Xeloda Side Effects - Cycle One

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I sure want to thank everyone who has left comments and sent emails on their experience with Xeloda. I have a bit more confidence taking it now that I have an idea what to watch for when it comes to too much Xeloda.

One of the side effects the oncologist told me to watch for was red swollen hands and feet. She said if my palms become red and swollen to the point I can’t see the creases, I need to call the triage nurse immediately. I’ve already experienced the redness on my hands and feet. I see it first thing in the morning. It’s like I got sunburn on the palms of my hands and bottoms of my feet.

I’ve only got this evening and tomorrows Xeloda to take and then I’ll be done with 14 days of pills. After that I have one week with no pills which will end my first three week cycle.

How Am I Feeling?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Well I’ve been feeling mildly nauseated and a little headachy. My head feels full and sound seems to be amplified. It’s like I’m hypersensitive to stimulus. Unfortunately this makes me easily agitated.

Last week I said my coughing had improved ... well that was short lived because I’ve been coughing a bit more. I think the fluid around my lungs must be getting worse because I’m also experiencing some shortness of breath.

As far as fatigue goes ... it’s not too bad but I have been sleeping like 10 hours a night.

All in all, I feel ‘grumpy’ in the mornings and better in the afternoons.

Canadian Cancer Society - Join The Fight - Visit FIGHTBACK.CA

Friday, November 6, 2009


Keeping Busy

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yesterday afternoon we had our Breast Cancer support group coffee. As always, it’s nice to get together with the ladies. Everyone seems to be doing well.

I came home and feverishly worked on my school project. It is a group project ... so there are three of us working together. My task was to create a survey for a group of employees. We are analysing training for a company’s department. Last night I emailed the first draft to my partners ... hopefully, with a little fine tuning, it will be what we need. I’ve still got a cover letter and letter of agreement to put together. Normally, this isn’t something I’d like to be doing but it keeps my mind occupied so I’m OK with it.

With regards to the new chemo, Xeloda, I’m still feeling pretty good. I’ve had a couple of bouts of diarrhea. I’m hoping it’s because I added some dairy products back into my diet. I’m eliminating those immediately. My other challenge is eating first thing in the morning and then later in the evening. Xeloda has to be taken with food twice a day.

Maybe I could ask the Xeloda blogger followers how you handled taking the pills. Did you take those 12 hours apart ... if not, how many hours apart? What time do you take the pills? What type of food do you eat when you take your pills? I don’t digest well late in the evening and therefore am looking for something simple to eat when I take my pills ... any suggestions?

Virtual Flowers

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Michelle, a fellow breast cancer survivor sent me some flowers via email. Please stop by her site, Michelle's Next Phase and send her some 'positive vibrations'.

Xeloda Week 2

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Well the good news is that I still don’t have any real side effects of the Xeloda. I’ve been feeling pretty good.

I just got back from the ‘Living with Cancer’ support group and later today I have my class.

My mind is a bit blank so I think that is all for now.

The Spirit Jump Story

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Breast Cancer and exercise

The thought of exercising when you are already feeling tired and sick can be daunting. So the way to start is a little at a time, even 5 mintues can make a difference.

Many people think that you have to exercise at least 30 minutes to receive the benefits. Not true! It has been proven through repeated studies that any exercise is better than none and that you can breakup exercise throughout the day and still reap the rewards.

Breast Cancer patients and survivors need to keep their bodies moving. Yes, we need our rest but sometimes too much rest and not enough movement can make you even more tired. Think back to times when you were down with a cold or flu. You might have stayed in bed for a day or two, then when you got up the first few times your heart started beating fast from this tiny exertion. This is because you hadn't been moving around.

Studies prove that after only 72 hours the body starts deconditioning. So it is important to move if only a 5 or 10 minutes several times a day.

This doesn't mean you have to go out on a power walk. All you need to do is some range of motion gentle stretching and or some isometric stretching along with good breathing.

Chemothreapy caused me to breath shallowly. So just taking in good slow, (deep as I could) breath was an exercise in itself for me at time. Other times I might be able to go for a walk. Each day is different, so you have to take it one day at a time.

Once you start moving you will feel the benefits which will hopefully keep you focused on taking care of yourself by moving your body.

Check out the videos on www.confidentclothingcompany.com to see some of the simple exercises you can do without the need of a gym.

Official Burlesque Against Breast Cancer Brighton Portraits Oct 2009 by Stan Keetley

Monday, November 2, 2009

Marilyn Slightly

The Flirtinis

Honour Mission

Miss Brazen

Bella De Jac

British Heart

Honey Moon

The Flirtinis

Therese La Tease

Bea DeVile and Bella De Jac

British Heart

Bea DeVile

Miss Rose Thorne

Bea DeVile, Marilyn Slightly and Bella De Jac

Race To End Women's Cancer Marathon In Washington, D.C.

I’ve been asked to help promote the Race to End Women's Cancer Marathon that will take in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, November 8, 2009, at 7:00 am.

Here is the 31 second PSA.

Family Time

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yesterday we were over at my sister A and her husband's place for lunch. Her daughter was in from out of town and we wanted to make sure and get a visit in. We ended up having a nice lunch and spending most of the afternoon together.

This morning, it was off to breakfast with my other sister D and my mom. I brought my chemo pills along so I could take them at the restaurant ... still not quite used to the idea of taking chemo by pill. As far as side effects go, I’m doing real well ... in fact I have none to speak of. Of course I know that could change any day but I'm happily appreciating each day I have no ill effects.

Just woke up from a nap so I think that’s all for now ...