Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Listening to my body....

A Warrior posted this on facebook this morning and it's perfect.  I still have a sore throat and slight fever (although it's better than yesterday!).  Working from home and taking it easy again today.

I've totally got this...


Monday, November 28, 2016

Keeping Calm....

I don't feel the greatest today so am taking Tylenol as frequently as possible and working from home.  I *WILL* get better!  Grrrrrr!  Thanksgiving was fabulous and I've been feeling really good lately so I think this is just a little bump in the road....

I've totally got this...


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ok, this was *DEFINITELY* motivating!

I'm feeling decent for little bursts of time today so decided to make a new model of Bertha. 
Just wanted to see where we are.

Definitely glad I did it! 


I no longer consider her "big"!

I can hold her in one hand now.

She's about the size of a mouse.  A hockey puck. Not as big as a can of sardines!


Ok.  I openly admit my overreaction to "partial response".  ;)  I'll take "partial response" ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!!

Look for yourself....pink is "before".  Beige is "now".  I'll paint "now" once it's dry.

I've totally got this...


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chemo #4 DONE!

Woo hoo!  Chemo #4 is DONE!  BOOM!  It went smooth as silk today, so I can now say I'm 67% done!  Whew!

One of my Warriors (and agility friend) brought me today - Diane.  The nurses LOVED her!  I think we convinced my nurse, Denise, to come watch an AKC trial in December with her daughter.  YAY!

I had a new nurse today, Denise.  I've seen her every visit but she's never been my nurse.  SHE ROCKED IT!  She knew my routine and was super professional.  It could not have gone any smoother.  I am wholeheartedly convinced that these drugs work so well because they are so professionally handled by my Cancer Center.  THEY ARE AWESOME!

Things I've learned since starting this journey:

1.  50 minutes before chemo is the perfect time to apply the lidocaine creme on my port.  I feel, literally, NOTHING when they stick me.  YES!
2.  A combo of Senecot-S and MiraLAX keep my plumbing going after the steroids.  YAY!
3. Chewable Gas-X is better than the tablets and is really helping to calm my active guts.  WHEW!
4.  I'm just going to gain weight with every chemo.  Nothing I can do about it.  At least today it was 3 pounds vs. the usual 4, but more will probably appear tomorrow.  I'll just go with the flow and wear those stairs at work OUT once I'm done with treatments!
5.  Laughing is the absolute BEST medicine in the world.  No doubt about it.  My Chemo College nurse, Kelly, stopped by today and the 3 of us were in hysterics!  It felt SUPER FANTASTIC!  And I know that chemo is better able to do it's job because it arrived in a happy home!  :)

Here's a couple pictures:
Diane looks SO SERIOUS!  
She's showing Denise an agility video of Chase (who was in the van outside).

 Buh Bye Bertha!
 I've totally got this...


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Food for thought...given by Jessica

So Jessica swung by today to tell me Dr. Kritz is *NOT* my Dumbledore.  She thought about it last night and decided he's my Professor Snape.  Hmmmmm.....

Her argument...

Kritz mixes my chemo, aka: potions.  
Snape primarily taught Potions.  

Kritz took care of my Mom.  
Snape was in love with Harry's mom.  

I trust Kritz wholeheartedly.  
Snape's true loyalty was to Harry.  

My addition...

The actor who played Snape was ALAN Rickman...Kritz is ALAN Kritz! 

Ok....I might need to change my mind about Kritz. :)  

I love my team at the Cancer Center!

I've totally got this...


After Chemo Party - TROLLS!

Sissy, Monster and I went to see Trolls tonight.  Second time for me, first time for them.  FUN WAS HAD BY ALL! 

I've got this feeling, inside my bones
It goes electric, wavey when I turn it on..

I got that sunshine in my pocket
Got that good soul in my feet!

Thank you Poppy, Branch, and all the other Trolls!  We found our Happy Place!

I've totally got this...


Day #1 of 2 for Chemo #4 is DONE!

Survived day 1 of Chemo #4.  It was a little harder, but doable.

Nancy was my nurse.  She was a nurse at the Cancer Center when my Mom had NHL and she remembers us well.  VERY thorough in her evaluation of me...got a few tips to help the next few days go smoother.  Also stopped at Publix to pick up Rx's and saw my favorite Pharmacist, Caroline.  She gave me some tips too...so hopefully side effects will be more manageable this time around.  (She's also due in 10 days!  GOOD LUCK CAROLINE!)

Here's some pictures...
New super-fantastic-mo-jo socks from a special Warrior:
 New Peace Sign earrings from my Steady-As-A-Rock-Always-There Warriors, Kileen and Dee:
 Nancy crankin' up the Rituxan!

 This is the drug Big Bertha HATES the most! Rituxan!  BUH BYE BERTHA!
I've totally got this...


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My Professor McGonagall - Jessica

I haven't posted a picture of Jessica yet.  She's Dr. Kritz's assistant.  SHE ROCKS!  She's very down to earth and always has some sort of super fantastic story to tell every time I see her.  Today she had spilled coffee ALL over herself.  Not just on her boots.  Or just her skirt.  No.  It was everywhere.  GO BIG OR GO HOME!

I told her that I thought of her as my Hagrid (from Harry Potter).  She was TOTALLY offended..even though I meant it as a compliment.  Hagrid is the one Harry/Hermoine/Ron go to for comfort.  They totally trust him and he always has super fantastic animals.  To me, he's the warm fuzzy security blanket.  Well, come to find out, Jessica is a cat person.  A CRAZY cat person.  And she wants to be my Professor McGonagall.  OK!  FINE CAT LADY!  McGonagall you are.  And she is cool now that I think about it!  She always listens, watches out for the students and she ROCKS a Witch hat!  Ok, I can see it now.

Here she is...
She asked me "Well, who's Kritz?"  
"Dumbledore, of course."
She responds "ACK!  NOT FAIR!"  

I've totally got this...


Chemo #4 is a GO!

Met w/Dr. Kritz and Jessica today.  I got a "GO" for Chemo #4.  My liver counts are high but I need the chemo so we're going to do it.  I'm going to stop one of my antibiotics...and we might make other adjustments later...depending on how the ol' liver behaves.

I was honest with Dr. Kritz and Jessica about my reaction to "partial response".  "It's either responding or it's not, what the hell does 'partial response' mean"...I think is what I expressed.  As usual, Dr. Kritz put my mind at ease so I'm feeling better now.  :)  

He said he could have treated me much more aggressively and Bertha would have been completely gone by now...but that would have severely impacted my day2day life.  I would have lost my hair. I would have felt so bad I would have been bed ridden.  Odds would have been good that I would catch a potentially life-threatening virus from the outside world. And all sorts of other things.  All bad.  With the treatment that he's giving me, Bertha WILL go away.  It's just going to take at least 6 treatments to get her there.  And maybe some radiation.  But in the meantime, I will be able to enjoy life - run/hike with my dogs, work in my yard, have fun with my Warriors, and still go to my super fantastic job.  

Ok.  I get it.  Patience.  I must be patient.  Ok.  Ok. OK!

And, statistically, Bertha is about half the size that she was!  Here are the actual dimensions:

Originally on 7/15/16:  12.3 X 5.4 X 15cm
Today, 11/15/16:            7.3 X 2.1 X 8.6cm (new model coming soon!)

Chris saw us in the lobby.  She came out and showed us a picture of the nurses at Halloween.  Guess what they dressed as????  HIPPIES!  They ALL had tie dye shirts!  She said they were channeling my spirit!  :)  

It's impossible to be grumpy with all the support I'm getting!

Ok, deep breath.  Chemo #4 here I come!  

I got this from one of my Warriors in Chicago...perfect:
I've totally got this...


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Motivation from one of my Warriors....

I needed this today....

I've totally got this...


CT Scan Results are in: Partial Response

Cancer center called this morning with the results of the CT scan.  Bertha has had a "partial response" to chemo.  Dr. Kritz is pleased with the results so we will continue treatments.

I am VERY happy that she's responding....but will be honest....I was hoping for "total response" so am a little downhearted.  Guess she's gonna be stubborn.  Ok.  Fine.

I will need to fight harder!  

I've totally got this...


CT Scan Done - but there were side effects :(

My CT Scan is over and the people at Raleigh Radiology could not have been more super fantastic!  WOW!  I wore one of my "Buh Bye Bertha" t-shirts and they LOVED it!  See below for the card they gave me as I left.

For the very first CT Scan I ever had years ago, my stomach did NOT like the contrast.  This time the same thing happened.  It kicked me in the butt BIG TIME.  This morning I am finally feeling human again.  Blek!  It was worth it to know how big Bertha is now, so I'm not complaining.  Just looking forward to Tuesday when I meet w/Dr. Kritz to get the results!

This was NOT my friend this time....but that's ok, it did the job.
 Had to drink TWO of these.
 Buh Bye Bertha!!
 On my way to the scan.  Had to drink #2 on the road...
 The Raleigh Radiology ladies ROCKED!  They LOVED my shirt and even let me hold my HOPE heart during the scan.  They said "BYE BYE BERTHA" as they started the scan :)
I held this the entire time!!

I've totally got this...


Monday, November 7, 2016


I'm SOOOOOO ready for my CT Scan tomorrow!  I know deep down in my heart, Big Bertha now looks like this....
I've totally got this...


Sunday, November 6, 2016

CT Scan is Tuesday!

The moment is finally here!  CT Scan time!  WOO HOO!!  I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to see how Big Bertha is responding to chemo!  I made a model of her so I can compare the new results to how big she *WAS*: 

I know she's smaller now.  Dr. Kritz couldn't feel her during my last appointment plus my guts have been VERY MOBILE!  BLEK!  I can feel things moving around in my stomach BIG TIME.  I look down sometimes and see things rippling under my skin.  Yes it's totally gross and it makes me feel blekky, BUT, I'm taking it as a sign that there is more room in my belly now that Big Bertha ain't big no more!  BOOM!

To all my Warriors:  Please send me good thoughts on Tuesday!  


I've totally got this...


Lymphoma Survivors ROCK!

I have been feeling good lately.  YAY!  Was even able to run with my dogs a little bit this weekend, which is always good for my heart and soul.  I read this and thought it worthy of posting here...

"The treatment enveils you in a blanket of hope, fear and quiet desperation, but you continue to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. There are no guarantees, but standing still is the greatest fear of all. Even if you are fortunate enough to reach the survivor stage of the treatment and recovery, the very thought of it all stays in the back of your mind. That is why you feel so deeply for anyone who is still going through this ordeal, anyone who has been there, and for the families of those who did not make it through to the other side. Yet we are still a 'fraternity of hope', a 'reservoir of strength,' and true believers in a brighter tomorrow!" ~P. Morning Bear DĂ©Marks (2012 quote from Lymphoma Survivor)

I've totally got this...