Saturday, May 29, 2010

Xeloda Cycle 1, day 2/3

I have had a little nausea which Pramin settled quickly. It is definitely connected with the timing of my eating - wait too long (more than 4 hours) for a meal and the nausea starts. I am watching this now and am finding that even a small snack like a banana helps. It is a hard habit for me to get into - I have avoided snacks most of my adult life.

However I have no taste again, and some foods are actively unpleasant. Last night we went to the opening of an Art Exhibition in which I have a piece. I certainly didn't add to the catering bill - I ate a walnut sized fish cake, then had to find a disposal site for an egg tart as I just couldn't take the taste of the egg filling. That was the extent of my canape consumption!

We did eat when we came home, but I couldn't manage much of the leftover prawn stirfry either - just a couple of prawns and a few spoonfuls of the vegetables and rice. I am losing weight again, but not as quickly as I did in December/January. For me, this is not a bad thing as I am still overweight.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Starting Xeloda

The blood count was OK yesterday so I started my first cycle of Xeloda this morning - 4 500mg tablets in the morning and 3 in the evening for 14 days.

I had an infusion of Avastin - just half an hour, though the wait for the chemo and the necessary flushes of the catheter meant I spent about an hour and a half in the Ivy Suite (clinic).

My oncologist is going to Chicago for a big cancer conference in early June. While he is away I am to have another CT scan which I hope will show some progress in shrinking the tumours. I was not happy to find my CEA has increased. It's now 1000, where it was 500 some weeks ago and 768 last week. The oncologist says that it is not too worrying - the CEA tends to go up and down. I guess it is still better than the 9000 plus of my initial diagnosis.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Food, taste and energy

I have had quite a bit of energy today - enough to drive twice to the Hyundai agents to take and then pick up our car which was having replacement sun visors installed. This was a recall job, so no cost. We also went (with Kevin driving) to Murdoch hospital for my blood test, then to visit another car sales place to try and find out more about a car that won't be released her in WA till July, but which I think I want. I am being quite open about my bucket list - if I want it and we can afford it (either money or time) we'll get it. I also cut out the pieces for a bag I am going to make.

I had enough energy to cook two meals today - fried rice for lunch and sweet and sour for dinner. It was supposed to be sweet and sour pork, but when I got the meat out of the fridge it was actually veal, so that is what I cooked. I think I will have to become a vegetarian - I am finding that I just can't cope with meat. Either it is completely tasteless or else it tastes unpleasant. It was the latter tonight. But I can manage vegetables, even when I have no taste at all. I do have some at the moment. Tonight's sweet and sour sauce was yummy - carrot, green capsicum, mushrooms, onion and cucumber as a base and lots of goodies in the sauce.

I find out tomorrow whether I will start the Xeloda. I have been reading about it - it sounds as if there are are some nasty side effects. I WILL pay lots of attention to my hands and feet.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nearly time for the next treatment

Tomorrow I am to have the blood test that always precedes my visit to the oncologist and any subsequent chemotherapy. I hope it will be OK and that I will be able to resume treatment. I have had a month without any major chemo.

Last week my white blood cell count was too low for me to have the Xeloda I was supposed to start, though I did get a small dose of Avastin. I had had diarrhea pretty constantly for the previous three weeks. It has cleared up this week - I have had three full days with normal bowel movements. I hope this signals a general improvement, including the bone marrow.

Wednesday is the day I will find out. I also expect a booking for my next CT scan will be made. I can't wait to find out what is happening with those suckers in my liver and lungs.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lunch at Helen's

Our daughter invited us for lunch today. It was great food and I was able to eat most of it (all the vegetables and about half of the baked chicken drumstick).

She and her partner have a Staffy puppy and Ruby provided most of the entertainment, chasing toys all around and enthusiastically jumping all over people. All this exertion tired her out, so we were treated to a half hour or so of her asleep in her bed. She woke before we left, though.


Oh, the joys of raising a child - we had forgotten just how much work it is!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Meeting a deadline

This morning I decided to modify my entry for a local art award (details on the other blog). It was basically finished on Thursday and just needed some stapling and a hanging wire. Just as well I hadn't done those.

The refurbishment was finished in time for me to deliver the piece about a quarter of an hour before the deadline of noon. Then I went to the meeting of my group Innovative Stitches at the Embroidery Guild, and apologised for missing the colour workshop which was on today. I did get the notes and a stimulus picture, plus some colour chips, so I have some homework to do.

I am not having as much trouble with my hands as I have been, which I am very thankful for. Tiredness hit me this afternoon, but I have a bit more energy now. Time to think about dinner.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Naughty, but nice

I probably did the wrong thing today - I went to a big Craft Fair. I enjoyed myself and feel inspired to do some different things in my textiles (also to revisit some things I haven't done for a while). I took things slowly and had quite a few sitdowns - see the other blog for details.

I know if your white blood cell count is low you should avoid crowds, so I hope I haven't done myself a disservice. However, I feel less tired this evening than I have for some days, and I haven't had any diarrhea for the last two days. I will be sure to take my temperature regularly though.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Into a holding pattern

Not such good news today.

My white blood count is low again, so the Xeloda is delayed for a week in hopes it will improve. I did get a low dose of Avastin though - with a full one supposed to happen next week. Also, the oncologist is going to the US for a conference at the end of the month, so my next CT scan won't be scheduled till he is back. I am disappointed - I want to find out what is happening to the tumours.

I am having problems with the Clexane injections - I have lumps at almost every injection site and some of them bleed for a while. One bled for nearly 24 hours while we were away. The actual injection (not the needle insertion) is sometimes quite painful. I told the oncologist, but he didn't seem to think it was a problem. Yet another reason for anticipating the CT scan - I hope it will show the pulmonary embolisms have dissolved or at least reduced.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I have been really lax in updating both my blogs.

Since we got back from Queensland I have been feeling really tired and I have had quite a lot of diarrhea. It hasn't stopped me from working on textiles (I got my pieces finished for the Craft Fair) and going to meetings though!

Tomorrow I will have a blood test prior to my oncologist appointment on Wednesday. This will be to establish the Xeloda regime I am due to start. I am assuming I will have the two weeks on, one week off routine, but I haven't been told anything as yet. After the appointment with the oncologist I am to have an infusion of Avastin. This will only take half an hour, so we should be out of the hospital in a couple of hours, rather than the five or six the last chemo treatments took.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Back Home

We arrived home from Brisbane last night after eight days. We had a good time and did lots of enjoyable touristy things, though our activities were sometimes restricted when I got too tired or the diarrhea too insistent. The finger tingling was almost non-existent while we were away (probably because it was much warmer weather, though I did have a bit of foot and leg tingling). It was back today, though reasonably mild.

Today has been a good day. I have had had plenty of energy and done lots of things. If I were still on the previous regimen it would have been a chemo day, but I have a week's extra holiday. This morning I washed all the dirty clothes from our trip, then went to a meeting of a sewing club. In the afternoon I went to another gathering. I have done a little shopping to replenish our food supplies, and made dinner - tuna patties. Nice, but almost tasteless, though I enjoyed the tomatoes and lettuce in the salad.

I have tackled my email and reduced it from 250 waiting messages to 45. Hooray for the delete button. Tomorrow I am planning to finish some textile pieces I am committed to have finished for the big Craft Fair next week.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Someone is looking after me

I am really tired and have had a bit of trouble with diarrhea, but I have thoroughly enjoyed our holiday so far. The tiredness is due to the amount of walking I have done.

An incredible thing happened today and I have written about it on my other blog.

Tomorrow is the reunion. The resort where we are staying is an easy stroll from the venue, so we are planning on walking there. We will taxi back if necessary.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Brisbane Day 1, Cycle 9 Day 6

We have been in Brisbane nearly 24 hours and we are “suitably impressed”. We are staying in a hotel in the CBD only about 200 metres from the major shopping precinct which we have visited 3 times today – for breakfast, for lunch and to buy an umbrella (unfortunately it is showery, so we have tried to keep under shelter).

This is probably more walking than I have done in months. I have needed lots of sit downs, but have managed quite well. There are lots of lovely colonial buildings here. One of the most impressive is the Old Treasury Building, which is now a casino. We are thinking we might venture into it one evening – probably not tonight, though.

Another lovely building is City Hall. It is closed for renovations at the moment, but the fa├žade is lovely. It is interesting that Brisbane has a City Hall when all the other capital cities have Town Halls.


More rain is forecast for tomorrow, so we are planning on visiting South Bank where there are lots of museums, so we won’t have too much umbrella time.

We are both struck by how much smoking goes on. There are people standing outside every building with cigarettes in hand, though it seems to be banned in indoor areas. Smoking seems much more prevalent than at home in Perth on the other side of the continent (3709 km or 2503 miles according to the display on the plane’s information display as we landed).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

BAD Hands

I have had really bad tingling in my hands today - so intense that it was painful to use my fingers for anything - not just cold things. Not to mention that they were clumsy and I found it hard to use any tools - except a spoon for my breakfast cereal. It lasted till noon, but is getting better now.

We are leaving for Queensland tomorrow and I have a long list of things to do. One of them was to clear out the vegie drawer in the fridge. The vegetables would not be too great 9 days from now. Despite the problems with my hands I have done it.

I cooked up some leek and potato soup which we have eaten part of for lunch, a HUGE mixed mixed vegetable and barley soup and a tomato and onion sauce. I am waiting for them to cool down so I can package them in plastic storage containers for freezing. There are also some roasted pumpkin pieces in the oven. I was going to make a soup from them too, but I will just freeze them as they are. They can become a soup some time in the future. I feel so virtuous that I didn't just dump all the vegetables in the compost tumbler - there were a lot of peelings and bad bits that did end up there.

Now I have to tackle the packing, though that isn't too urgent. We don't leave till 11 am tomorrow.