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



Chemo Treatment #3 – Day Three and Four

Sat Sep 08– 2012  Chemo #3 Day Three – Pump Day – Day Four

Like I said in my last post, things are looking better again and I’m off the pity pot.

Yesterday I was able to take my pump off at 11am. My daughter finally got to see me remove the pump. She has had to work the other two removal days. While I was feeling good she took me out to lunch.  I had to get home quickly as the bathroom was calling me quite urgently.

It seems like my schedule is turning into constipation at the beginning of chemo week, then release when pump is removed followed by frequent visits each day the next week. Ok, potty talk is done for this week (as long as things stay normal).

Last night I didn’t take any sleep aides. I seem to wake up more in the middle of the night if I don’t take some Benadryl. I don’t like taking something every night but I like to sleep through the night.

Today is my lazy veg day. I turned on the TV and stayed in bed till almost 11. My daughter came in and watched TV and cuddled up with me. I liked that. I haven’t gotten out of my jammies all day. I haven’t needed to take any Compazine today but I didn’t eat much. Food just doesn’t sound good. I have had cold sensitivity when reaching into fridge. Soda cans are held with my sleeve over my hand. The sensitivity is an almost burning tingle today, but it’s totally manageable as long as I remember.

I missed my niece’s birthday and my daughter’s friend’s open house. Just don’t feel like leaving the house on my day four.

I start back to work on Monday. Getting nervous.

~~ Gayla

Chemo Treatment #3 – Day Two

Thu Sep 06– 2012  Chemo #3 Day Two – Pump Day

In 12 and half hours I will officially be 1/4 of the way through this initial chemo regimen. Tomorrow it will be 8 weeks since diagnosis.

I’m going through a serious pity party tonight. There is nothing different about tonight. My pump day is going well, a little cold sensitivity but nothing unmanageable. I’m just teary and pissy and mad and sad. Tomorrow this will have passed and I’ll be fine until the next time.

It’s times like this I wish I could be a religious person. I wish I could believe in an after life. People think that atheists are in rebellion against the idea of god or the idea of some outside authority. Many atheists I know wish they could believe. It would be a comforting thought, but you can’t make yourself believe in something. You either do or you don’t. And I don’t. 😦

Bah, enough of this. No one wants to listen to me bitch and moan.


~~ Gayla

Asgara Queen of the Needy and Attention Seeking


Chemo Treatment #3 – Day One

Wed Sep 05 – 2012 Chemo #3 Day One – Chemo Lounge

Third session. On Friday morning I will officially be 1/4 of the way through this part of my journey. This is the first time I went by myself.

They tried to draw my blood through the port but it’s being stubborn and they ended up having to stick my antecubital area. That’s the inner elbow for those not in the know. 😛 Good news is my WBC count is up and I don’t need the Neulasta this week. Doc said probably every other week. My platelet count is low, below normal, but not to any dangerous point that the doc would want to watch bleeding closer.

My incision is all but closed and Doc said we would probably start the Avastin in four weeks. So not session 4 but session 5. It has quite the list of side effects. /sigh

Speaking of…

Cold sensitivity is hitting me this session. Why didn’t I have that ice cream LAST night. 😛 I stopped at the gas station to pick up some soda and ice cream ( 🙂 ) and reaching into the cooler really sent my fingers to tingling. Almost painful but not quite. Used a glove to reach into fridge and freezer to put stuff away. Later I used the glove to get the ice cream out and dish it into a small dish. I wanted to see if I would be able to swallow cold items. Some people say it feels like swallowing ground glass. I was able to eat a small amount of ice cream if I let it warm up in my mouth before swallowing. The soda had the bitey glass effect but for some reason I didn’t mind it and drinking the cold soda is still ok. It’s just hard to hold the bottle.

I stopped into work after chemo today and spent several hours visiting and talking about some of the changes that we’re going to put in place. Both for my testing purposes and the actual layout of our workspace. I got to meet our new intern and visit with several old co-workers. I will be attempting to head back to work next Monday. Everyone is being great and it seems like they will be more than willing to work around my … um .. deficits. I was so worried that they would realize they didn’t need me during this enforced 8 weeks off, but in reality it seems they DO need me and my job is waiting. Piles and Piles from my job are waiting. 😛

~~ Gayla

Chemo Treatment #2 – Day Five

Sun Aug 26 – 2012 Chemo #2 Day Five– Second Day Off

I know, it isn’t the 26th and I didn’t post yesterday, sorry.  Yesterday I was just vegging most of the day. Didn’t feel bad but didn’t feel good. I did go out to eat with Em and we were going to go grocery shopping but after eating I just wanted to go back home. By 8:30 I was looking at the clock wondering if it was too early to just go to bed.

This morning I woke up feeling ok. I took my Colace right away and went into the living room. The pill got stuck down in my throat and started melting. Not only did it taste HORRIBLE it burned and I couldn’t get it up or down. Finally I couldn’t take it and started getting sick. Throwing up did get the pill out but my throat still burned and the taste of bile in my mouth just makes you want to throw up some more. This is the first time I actually got sick since the first day after surgery.

I couldn’t even think of trying to take a Compazine…too worried it wouldn’t go down either. A bowl of cereal helped calm my stomach and my throat.

After everything calmed down I went to my son’s house to pick up his dog to take her to the dog park.  It was getting hot but we still did the walk around the park then sat in the shade. She was content to just explore around the apple trees out of the sun. We were there for over an hour and a half then went to the dog wash because she was one stinky pup and seriously needed a bath. After I took her home and got to see the grandbaby I ended up doing my grocery shopping.

I really think I overdid it today. Just too much walking. Came home and got into my jammies and vegged.

My legs ache and I don’t know if its just a normal ache that I wouldn’t think twice about before, if it’s from all the walking I did today, or if it’s from the Neulasta. Flu like aches and pains in the bigger bones are some of the possible side-effects. It’s hard to say anymore. I think twice about every little ache and pain I feel. Is it just normal 52 year old aches, is it cancer, is it chemo, is it the Neulasta? Every normal ache, pain, or sick feeling is not “normal” anymore. There is always that voice in the back of your head making you question everything.


Chemo Treatment #2 – Day Four

Sat Aug 25– 2012 Chemo #2 Day Four– First Day Off

First full day off the pump. Like last cycle, I’ve been vaguely nauseated most of the day and some constipation issues continue. I took a Compazine this morning and as long as I keep something in my stomach I’m not too bad. Ginger ale is my friend.

Today I had to get a Neulasta shot. My blood counts were low on Wed so I need the shot to help my bone marrow work harder. The good part of this is that my friend Posy came to pick me up and take me to the hospital. The weird part is that I had to actually check in to the hospital and be assigned a room on the orthopedic floor. Sitting in the room waiting for the meds to be called up from the pharmacy took 20 minutes. The shot took 20 seconds. All that and we then just leave and go home.

One tiny milestone today; I took the bandaids off of my raw spots. They have healed nicely. I wish I could say the same about my incision. The one small open spot makes me slightly ill just thinking about it and accidentally touching it in the shower really makes me ill. I see the doctor at my next chemo appointment and I’m going to ask him about it.

Today is the 6 week anniversary of my surgery.


Chemo Treatment #2 – Day Three

Fri Aug 24– 2012 Chemo #2 Day Three– Pump Day

Pump came off today. Like last session I was feeling a bit nauseated this morning. A Compazine   helped. I’ve been able to eat pretty normally today though I did drink a ginger ale this afternoon to keep my stomach settled.

I took the pump off around 1230 today. The onc nurses said I don’t have to wait for it to beep, just take it off at 1230. I hate the taste in my mouth when I’m pushing the saline solution into the port. Very metallic.

I ended up napping this afternoon. I’m not sure whether I’m really tired or just bored. Since I was feeling great yesterday I’m thinking it is real fatigue due to the chemo. After my nap my daughter took me shopping with her. Now I’m just plain tired. :-p

The constipation seems to be back also. Well I have my Miralax and Colace and raisin bran and … We’ll get it sorted out just like last time.

Hopefully I’m not feeling too icky tomorrow as I have to drive myself to the hospital to get my Neulasta shot.

~~ Gayla

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