Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Getting Ready for Number Four

I talked last week about going back to work. I think I’ve been premature. At times I think I’m ready and I am bored and want to be at work but at other times I get nervous about future chemo treatments. I know that the effects can be cumulative. I already feel I won’t be able to put in my full hours during chemo week. If I stay out a few more weeks I will have LTD to fall back on when I can’t work. That will help me until the end of chemo. Hopefully, things will be better by then and I can come back to work full time and feel good about it.

It was a big decision and I stressed over it all week but I can’t in good conscience give up the LTD option.

******** WARNING TMI PARAGRAPH *************************************

Last week I worked three days and was terribly constipated the entire time. I won’t go into too much detail about fixing the issue, just say I used every laxative at my disposal for several days and in the end my fix involved a rubber glove and a soaped finger. After things were fixed I felt like I was anally compromised by a Mack truck.. from the inside out.


I did have some really annoying cold sensitivity off and on at the beginning of last week but it has disappeared this week.

I have chemo number four tomorrow. When it’s done I’m 1/3 of the way through. YIPPIE.

I want to talk to the onc’s office about cimetidine, which is basically Tagamet. There are studies that show that this can inhibit in vivo growth of human colon cancer. Melatonin is another supplement I want to discuss. Again there have been some studies that show that it can induce cell death in cancer cells.

The last thing I wish to discuss with the doc is cannabidiol or CBD.  Studies have found that CBD, a nonpsychoactive component of the marijuana plant, is a potent inhibitor of breast cancer cell proliferation, metastasis, and tumor growth (along with other metastatic cancers).  Unfortunately, Wisconsin is not a medical marijuana state and CBD is still considered part of a schedule 1 drug and is not legal for use even though it is nonpsychoactive. Please click on the first link in this paragraph for the pertinent information.

One thing I did want to share with any readers I have is a predictive tool found on Memorial Sloane Kettering’s site. MSK is one of the top cancer centers in the country. This tool is called a Nomogram. I fill in the information from my pathology and surgery reports (one item I’m not sure about) and this tool is meant to show probabilities of being disease-free five and ten years after surgery based on the information I fill in. This is not probabilities of mortality, it is probabilities of recurrence.

If I assume the one item I’m not sure about is positive, I show a 1 in 3 chance of being disease free still in five years and a 1 in 4 chance of making it to ten years disease free. If I assume the item I’m not sure about is negative then my numbers jump to 1 in 2 for five years free and 1 in 3 for ten years. These are all odds of being found NED (no evidence of disease) that I will gladly take.  Mayo’s Adjuvant Tools give different but better numbers.

For anyone wanting to play around with my numbers, I am 52, tumor was in sigmoid colon, my CEA was 90 but tool only allows a high of 64, TNM stage was T3, differentiation was moderate, I had 0 positive nodes out of 7, there was perineural invasion and I’m assuming positive on vascular involvement, and I am in chemo after surgery.


Asgara Queen of Confused


Back to Work

Well I did it. I made it through my first day back at work. In fact I made it through nine hours back at work.

Yesterday, day five of chemo week, I had more energy and was feeling pretty good other than cold sensitivity.

I tried to go to bed early so I could make sure to get to work in time for the Monday morning meeting. Of course, I had difficulty sleeping. I ended up getting up before my alarm and took my time getting ready. I was feeling ok until I pulled into the parking lot. Then nerves hit big time and the tears started welling up. I did manage to keep them at bay until walking into the office. They had signs all over my work station welcoming me back. I saw them and lost it. Walking down for coffee with one of my wonderful co-workers I was worried I’d scare the students as I was walking down the hall crying. 🙂

The day went pretty fast and judging from the virtual pile of work I guess they DO need me. It took me a bit to get back into the swing of things but I think I will be feeling more confident by the end of the week. It will be a bit of a juggling act to cover my hours during my chemo weeks. I am only 30 hours a week but half of every other week I don’t know how many hours I’ll be able to get in. I’m hoping I can get in some extra hours on my off weeks to hold over and cover the on weeks. I’m working on some plans with my boss.

I had a long informative meeting with hour HR benefits manager. She gave me several options for now and the future and I have this week to decide just what direction I want to go. One of the options involved not actually coming back to work until the middle of October to get my 90 continuous 90 days in for future use of long term disability. This is not an option I think is viable. I am going a bit crazy being off and I know my team is short staffed even when I am at work. Unfortunately if down the road I need to take time off again I will have to start my 90 days all over again, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I will say everyone at work is being very helpful and caring. I love my job.

~~ Gayla


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