A recipe for living with cancer.

Archive for October, 2012

One More!

One more treatment and the tough drugs are done -what more is there to say.
One represents many things: I am one of a kind except perhaps that pesky doppelgänger potentially lurking out there somewhere; there is one earth, one sun, one G-d all debatable, one day at a time, one bite at a time, one Picasso, Rodin etc., one biological Mom and Dad, one heart, one first born child and grandchild, unless multiples, one first pregnancy, one first love, we have one son and one cell that starts cancer.

The one cell divides and divides again and just keeps going. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was one test to find the maniacal cell, one drug to stop its growth, one treatment, one payment, one checkup and one pill to clean it all up?

It would be one-derful as was apple picking with Reviva yesterday, she is one of a kinda.



This last chemo treatment kicked my butt. The weekend was tough I was ridiculously tired, my mouth hurt, it was dry and cracked and no matter what i drank i could not quench my thirst. My tastebuds are shot and everything I ate tasted bland or like sawdust.

I kept thinking of things I really wanted to eat…lox and bagels for Saturday breakfast yum. I went out and bought some, made myself a beautiful sandwich and took a bite. Three weeks ago it tasted good but not now. The only flavor that came through was a fishy slimy sensation and after three bites the lox ended up in the trash and I was disappointed.

Lunch came around and I still had sandwich on the brain, this time a bagel with humus, tomato avocado and maybe some fake bacon. Two bites and I lost the avocado, third bite lost the fake bacon, fourth bite scrape off the humus. Why who knows it just all tasted weird and tastes that ordinarily I would have loved blended together now were just disparate flavors that clashed and didn’t work. Dinner was not much better and Sunday held the same tasteless meals. I panicked and started to think what if I don’t get my Tastebuds back, what if food becomes foreign, what if I just eat to live and not live to eat. I was down in the dumps, dejected, depressed and talked to Tom about my frustration, concerns and feeling lousy in general.

Then Tom brought out the “P” word perspective. He reminded me how after his accident he could not eat anything by mouth for almost 10 months and i fed him through a feeding tube in his stomach. for months after the tube was removed he had to eat slowly, choked and coughed throughout the meal, and still today cannot eat certain foods and still coughs and chokes through much of every meal. I worry constantly he will choke or aspirate food which would not be good. I felt so guilty for about a minute then reminded him that although I may be not going through what he had I still had the right to complain, bitch, moan and worry about what I was going through. He agreed completely but reminded me just to keep everything in perspective!

Funny note: after Tom ‘s accident before we knew he had a tear in his esophagus we kept trying to get him to eat by mouth. Food just did not work so we tried Ensure in every flavor. When the feeding tube was finally inserted I was still in a food by mouth and taste mindset and one day I was filling the feeding bag with a dark chocolate Ensure and said something about it tasting good. Tom said, you do realize Barb that I can’t taste this stuff no matter what flavor it is!!!! We laughed and cried at the same time, everything in perspective.

What Would I Be Doing Today IF I Did Not Have Cancer

I sit exhausted, fingers and hands itchy, dry mouth, finger tips sore but not to sore to type, Sophie at my feet and the sun streaming in the window.  It is a bluebird sky as Josh sees so many mornings in Jackson and the leaves are turning lovely hues of yellow, orange, red and according to Zelda, some even turn blue! I’ve had 60 autumns so far in my life, how lucky I am.  The crisp air the hint of snow to come and the question popped into my head, what would I be doing today if I did not have Cancer.  What a great question.

Would I be out walking the dog, getting ready to teach a class, helping out at the new kitchen of the environmental school, going on an excursion with a friend, a road trip with Cindy, would I be sitting writing on my blog?  This is the second time in my life where I walked to the precipice and jumped and each time something pulled me back from finishing the jump.  The jump was to a new opportunity where I could fulfill myself, do what I love and maybe even make a bit of money.  But each time life stepped in and held something else, something I needed to do, something cajoling me to put off the jump.  Since timing in life is everything one might venture the timing was perfect, neither time did I take the opportunity to accept the job, nor apply for the job I guess I could have, but to what end.    I was not employed either time and I was able to put my full being and strength into the task in front of me.

It may be a moot point even asking what I might be doing today, for if I believe in fate which I do, this is what I would be doing because I do have Cancer and this is my path.   I marvel at women and men who have full-time jobs and manage through chemo treatment. I find their strength and resolve to do it all far beyond my capabilities.  I am not taking care of a family, a job, a home, I am just taking care of me, again, how lucky I am.  I have a wonderful husband and family and friends who even help me take care of me.  I do have Cancer and this is what I am doing today I am surviving.

Two Left-But is it Ever Over?

I have two Taxetere infusions left and although this feels like I am coming to the end I am merely coming to another beginning.  This is the first hurdle and possibly the most difficult but it is by no means the end.  By Thanksgiving my body will start ridding itself of the toxic chemo drugs and I will start to feel better, perhaps even normal, by Christmas they should be out of my system, at least these drugs will be out of my system.  I will still be going back every three weeks for a year to get an infusion of the antibody herceptin whose side effects may be considered nothing when compared to these others.

I will still go every three weeks, get my blood drawn, have an IV put in my arm/hand, and sit for an hour or so while the drug infuses into my body. Will I still have breast cancer? I will sit with other women who are starting the process, losing their hair, throwing up, feeling ill and frightened and alone and we will all still have breast cancer.   I will go for surgery to have tissue removed to ensure no wayward cells are left to infiltrate again and become “invasive”, and there will possibly be radiation to root out those last few microscopic cells that somehow eluded the grasp of the toxic mixes and we will all still have breast cancer.  And then there is the pill I will take for five years to hunt down any estrogen lurking in the recesses of my cells and prevent its explosion, and we will all still have breast cancer.  It may be at bay for years, it may be “gone” but until we know why it happened, what caused it, what triggered it we will all still have breast cancer.    So is it ever over?


Happy Campers picking Ida Reds


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