The rest of 2011

Posted: February 5, 2012 in Breast Cancer
Tags: , , , ,

I had an amazing summer.  After not having been camping in my mountains with my horse in two years, we got to go not once, but twice.  And the second time was at my very favorite spot.  Sitting in those woods, smelling the pines, listening to the birds, feeling the magic in the air around me, I knew I had to stay here for at least one more summer.  My response to the chemo began to slow.  Now, in most oncology offices, that doesn’t mean you change anything.  You just stick with it until your disease begins to spread again.  Then you switch drugs.  That is, unless you have been put on  a “chemo break” because your body needs a rest from the assault.  My oncologist knows I don’t much care for that approach.  To me, if a drug is no longer killing your cancer, why keep pumping it into your body, making you sicker and making the cancer more resistant and harder to kill?  So when the results slowed, we stopped the chemo in July and I came off my IV nutrition as well.

I had gained weight up to 126 pounds and that was just about where I wanted to be.  I was also hoping that, by stopping the IV nutrition, my non-existent appetite might return.  Not so much.  My brother, who had been here last April, returned for a “do-over” in September and we had a beautiful fall week together.  We hiked all over these mountains and saw some incredible beauty!  I honestly didn’t know I could do it.  Let me be clear.  I wasn’t exactly setting records … well, maybe for how few steps one could take before stopping to breathe.  We were at 9500′ elevation, I might add.  So, every five steps or so, I was huffing and puffing, but it was so worth it!

My appetite was still crap and I was beginning to lose weight again.  After September, I was going to start exercising and building some muscle, but now with weight coming off, I was scared to burn even one extra calorie because I still couldn’t eat more than about 1000 calories a day.  And that wasn’t really eating.  That was drinking.  And let me tell you about the product that is my lifeline to this day.  (Time out for a word from our sponsors cuz this is gonna sound like paid advertising!)  Honest to God, this stuff has saved my life.  It’s like Ensure or Boost, but it is organic and doesn’t have all the crap in it.  It is called Orgain and comes in three flavors.  IMO, the only one worth drinking is the chocolate, but it has whole foods in it and tastes great! I know, I know … you’ve heard that before.  But remember, you’re talking to someone to whom nothing tastes good.  And this rocks.  It has Omega 3s, 16 grams of whey protein, a vegetable blend, a fruit blend … an entire meal replacement to the tune of 275 calories per beverage.  Comes in a little thing kind of like a juice box.  Easily transportable and highly recommended.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

We planned a trip in October to Maui … a celebration of the miracle I had been given.  It was wonderful and it was beautiful, but it was not a good time for me.  I began to feel a decline coming on.  I couldn’t eat again and I was getting gastro distress more often.  When in Hawaii, it’s awesome to indulge in all the island flavors, but even the fruits and seafood didn’t do it.  I did do a lot of smoothies because I could add protein to them easily.  But we did manage to do quite a bit of snorkeling and even took a helicopter tour of the rain forest side of Maui.  It was lovely.  Just wish I had felt better.

Our daughter moved back home right before Thanksgiving.  Then the holidays were upon us and Christmas was the most wonderful I have had in such a long time!  I was so surrounded by love … it was just one of the best ever.

Just look at this chemo-thinned hair!


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