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Friday, July 4, 2014

Cancer Journal #4: Nausea, head pain & stomachaches – oh my!

I have no idea where to begin.

I’m just tired. No, not tired of fighting. I’m physically tired… unendingly so. I would have thought I’d be used to feeling tired or wore out, but with new meds mixing around inside of me I’ve reached an entirely new level of tired.

That’s neither here nor there, I suppose. But it is the first thing that came to mind. I think I have no idea where to begin because I am tired.

When I last updated you I believe I was telling you about my trip to Nashville where I’d begin the transplant process. I arrived in Tennessee, did all of my testing and was sent back home because my myeloma levels are too high. The doctor there wants the count to be less than 10% and I’m at 21% right now. Although everyone is different I was highly frustrated by that decision because another woman (same age, race, diagnosis) was at 20% and they kept her to proceed with the process. I understand everyone’s medical case is different; that’s just an observation.

So here I am. This week I started a different, stronger chemotherapy. It’s only been a few days and the nausea has already increased and things I normally love have been added to my new yuck list. Imagine what it would be like if I weren’t on anti-nausea meds. One of the side effects is a low-grade fever that is often accompanied by chills. Funny, in a non-humorous way.

Each cycle of meds is 28 days long. I’ll spend 21 days on the meds and get a week off before starting the second cycle. (I’ve had about seven cycles on the other drugs.) What I’m hoping for is my numbers will be good by the end of the 21-day cycle and I’ll get ready to go right back to Tennessee for the transplant. If not, I’ll continue on for another cycle and repeat tests to check again.
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The biggest thing that occurred this week is my nurse said enough is enough, and it’s time for me to get a port. I knew it was coming, but I was hoping to hold out until it was time for transplant. Unfortunately my three veins that are the only ones available for drawing blood, etc., have had it. They are scarred, unhappy and not healing between sticks. On Tuesday, she (my nurse) spent a good 10 to 15 minutes investigating my arms and hands to see if there was somewhere else to put a needle for the IV. She left the line in for the next day (I have treatment twice a week now), but it wouldn’t give a blood return so I had to get stuck again in the other arm. Par for the course of a cancer fighter.

I think I’d like to have a turkey burger for dinner, but I’m not sure the energy is there to prepare it. If not, I’ll have some oatmeal and something else breakfast-cy and call it an eve. As long as I remember to eat. I have not been feeling too hungry and was amazed when earlier today my stomach growled so loudly. I’d never heard that before. In order to help keep the headaches at bay I have to pay attention to eating.

I hope I have written this clearly because I am having a bit of fibro fog, which make my focus sorta Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Thanks for reading. Writing about my cancer journey really helps me and hopefully it’ll help others as well.

If you feel led, please donate to my cancer journey. Every donation helps tremendously during this fight.
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Father & son outings from birth to manhood and beyond

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative there is a fatherhood problem in the United States. One out of every three families in the United States is missing a father influence. If your family has a dad around then appreciate and take advantage of your situation. From birth to adulthood, fathers can bond with their sons in many different ways. The outings and adventures need to be age appropriate, promoting the distinct developmental opportunities that can happen between a father and son of that age.

Ages Birth to 4

Babies love to be held. Flesh-to-flesh contact is an important aspect of healthy human development. Using devices like baby carriers lets any activity become an outing. Of course, this works for any gender, but at this age the father is being trained more than the child. This is dad’s time to get used to the idea of a child. Mothers have nine months to carry a child and develop the rhythms of parenthood. For a participatory father who wants to be the male influence in his son’s life, using carriers and backpacks lets a baseball game, a trip to the library, or a walk in the park become an outing.

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