Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I got some wild, wild life

Good evening people of the internet. A few bits of news to catch you all up on, and ongoing adventures to follow.

I had another brain MRI last week and received the results on Friday. All good news. First off - no new tumors! Woot!! Secondly, the large tumor on my occipital lobe has stabilized and there is still no evidence of the other three small tumors. So it looks like the radiation did its job. Of course there will still be MRIs every three months just because.

Had my first EEG this past Friday as well. Trying to decide if I need to stay on the anti-seizure medication I've been on since my "episode" back at the end of September. Sounds like the neurologist wants to keep me on it for now. But I will be meeting with him again next month to talk more about it. Despite staying awake all night in order to be able to sleep on demand for the EEG, I failed to fall asleep on demand. Though I was falling asleep at the beginning until they woke me up with flashing lights and breathing exercises and a very uncomfortable lump of towel for a pillow. Ah well. Appears they got what they needed for the scan anyway.

On the chemo front... fifth session for this round is in process. Monday was infusion and I've still got this pump on. I haven't named this one because I've been too busy packing many, many bags. My toleration is okay this time around. Pretty loopy on Monday, but peppy enough today to be productive.

So what am I packing for? Most of you already know the answer to this - the great Pennsic War. Two weeks of camping in a medieval pavilion in the hills of Pennsylvania with more than 10,000 other SCA folks. As this is my only camping event for this year, I'm just that much extra stoked about it this time around. I've got a half filled car and am currently surrounded by almost enough bags and baskets in my room to fill the rest of it. Not much left to do except play Tetris with it all tomorrow. First time packing for this event in the new Subaru and I'm hoping it all fits.

When I return in two and a half weeks from my vacation, I'll have the last chemo session for this round. Probably first of September for my next PET scan to determine whether we take a break or continue with more chemo. Obviously I will keep you informed as that all comes to pass. Until then, I hope everyone finds some joy in these coming weeks. And for those of you headed to Pennsic, I look forward to seeing you very soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wait... What?

You are probably expecting some information about my MRI. But I am here to tell you that I was entirely wrong about my own schedule. We will just blame it on the chemo brain and continue to pretend that I'm not getting older and just forgetting stuff.

So... I *did* have a brain thing scheduled for last week. But it was just a meeting with the neurologist to discuss keeping me on or taking me off the anti-seizure medication I have been on since my "episode" that led us to the first MRI that found the brain tumors. As I was alone when I passed out last September, no one can know if I actually had a seizure or just passed out. I've reduced the dosage and they are uncertain if I am now taking enough, or if it is even needed since I have had no other episodes or vertigo or issues with my head. I'm scheduled for an EEG (both awake and sleeping) at the end of next week. Which will be when I also get the results from my next MRI which is this coming Monday. And yes, I even just double checked my schedule so I don't fib again.

Before then, however, we have a new chemo pump (Margaret). Yesterday was chemo session number four - only two more to go for this round. My best girl was with me again and made sure I was properly fed, watered, entertained and safely deposited back home to sleep like crazy. Other than a woozy head and a rumbly tummy yesterday, my toleration this round is very good. I ate a whole dinner last night and even three meals today. My hydration levels are fantastic as my many, many middle of the night potty breaks made clear. I have reached that point where I am completely tired of this weight hanging off my shoulder and counting the hours until tomorrow afternoon when I'll be free of this infernal device. Margaret, you're a bit of a pain in the ass; properly named. As this is the poem by your namesake that led me to your naming.

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

Between all the medical stuff I was able to get in some more excellent family time and some wonderful catching up with my aunt from Texas. There were a couple of solid days hanging out with some of my girls. And this weekend I was honored to attend an "adventure" wedding of some dear friends. Bride-napping, spell casting, art, spontaneity, flash mob, a serenade, kidnapping, a pirate battle, harmony, toasts, vows, dancing, and smiles from face to face everywhere. Such a memorable day with many amazing people. And *after* all that, I even got to visit a museum and get some of my photography on. Whew!

This is why I am excited to wake up every day. Even on the tough days when I am literally weighed down by my disease. There seems to be some possible happiness around most every corner. I am always seeking it. Turn your face to the light my friends... be it the warm sun, the growing moon, or the love-light around you... seek the happy, or create it with your smile.

Friday, July 1, 2016

C'mon, take on me

On Wednesday I jumped back into the middle of my current chemo round. This is/was number three of the six sessions. My portacath was being cantankerous and it took 2 1/2 hours to get a blood return before we could start the infusion. And of course it was a day when I forgot to put lidocaine on the port, so they punched through *three* different times with needles trying to get things going. Ugh. After two rounds of tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) to break up the build up of blood clot(s) at the port entry, we finally got a very strong blood return and there was much rejoicing. Immediately tempered by the recognition that we could go through with the day's poisoning. It's a strange world to live in sometimes.

I've been feeling pretty fantastic during this 5 1/2 week break from the chemo. I hadn't realized how slowly it had drained me over the seven months I'd been solidly on chemo. And I figured this week's session would either be tolerated very well, or would hit me like a ton of bricks. I am happy to report that it has mostly been the former. Though today has been all about the sleeping.

This makes us halfway through this (hopefully last for a while) round. And I expect to be finishing up in mid-August.

In the meanwhile between last post and this one I've been, per usual, a very busy gal. Got a lovely visit in with family both near and far and, most excitedly, got to spend several days at the beach in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. First time in the Atlantic Ocean and it was glorious. Met a whole crew of new people, hunted for shells on the beach, poker, karaoke, late night wave watching, dolphins (!), plenty of pool and hot tub time, and a luxurious two-day drive back to Michigan. Best vacation I've had in a while.

Today I will go and have Catherine (current pump) removed in a couple of hours and then head right back to my sister's place to visit some more far-flung visiting family. And next week will be another brain MRI. I'll have the results at the end of the week, and will be certain to make another update at that point. Until then, I hope y'all are enjoying the glorious summer days.