The Old Me

I've changed my profile picture to a three year old photo of me before my diagnosis. If I see this picture each time I post something on my blog, I hope it will inspire me to keep up with my diet. I've been a good girl all week! I'll try to post a picture of me with my silvery brown curls soon too. I have to take one first though.

I thought I felt slim so I went out and bought a bathroom scale only to find that I'm about 5 pounds heavier than I thought I'd been when I started dieting last week. At least my clothes are beginning to fit again, which does show progress from whatever I must have weighed last week. A lot of it might have been swelling, which has gone down now that I've stopped chemo. Now it's time to fight the fat!


Aaaaaaaand She's Off!

The phone rang at a little after 11 a.m. on Friday morning, 24 and a half hours after J and I locked our door and headed out to catch the bus to Narita Airport. It was Mom and J confirming J's safe arrival at The Cottage. I passed the news on to an anxious S who then asked if J had access to a fax machine as he had additional homework that had been delivered by a classmate. Some summer vacation these kids get; they have loads of homework and then final exams about a week after they get back to school in September.

The elementary school assigns a little homework to keep the kids in the habit of sitting down and studying for 5 or 10 minutes a day but N sat down and did it all right after she got home from the last day of school on Thursday. A craft project and poster project are all that remain. All the children are expected turn in a list of the books they've read over the summer so I expect we'll be visiting the library a few times to restock.

I don't know if it's chemo brain or not but I have trouble concentrating and get very sleepy after about 20 pages of any book these days so I expect my supply of paperbacks to last all summer before I have to take them to a used book store to exchange for more. Without any treatments now, I get a little anxious about not doing anything to fight cancer so I've started a diet to get down to a less tiring weight. Self prescribed no sugar, low fat, lots of vegetables, lots of water and regular walking is the plan for now. The kids all had to taste my tunafish and tomato salad and there wasn't much left for me for lunch.


Last Chemo

Wooo Hooo!

I've given so many blood samples in the past 6 months that the vein in the crook of my right arm is a little calloused and the technician needed to find a softer spot on the vein a little further down. No problem, I managed to rapidly fill his three test tubes and proceed to my oncologist's waiting area. When the results were in, I was called in to discuss how I've been since the last treatment. I said that I'd been a little more fatigued than before but that it could be from the 40 laps I'd done (overdone!) at the pool last Friday. Today's blood work showed I was on the anaemic side, but not enough to postpone treatment or even need additional medication. I'll be using more spinach and eggplant to see if this does anything. The white blood cell count was at its usual 3800 level, on the low end of normal (3,500 to 9,000) and more than enough to qualify for treatment so he set me up with my IV catheter. I asked about the Factor V Leiden (after finding the right Japanese words for the gene and protein involved) and the possibility of a connection with last year's blood clot due to "genetic resistance to effects of activated protein C" (straight off the internet). He seemed genuinely interested and wrote down what I said and said that he'd add it to the list of things to be tested when the rest of the bloodwork is done. He also scheduled me for a late morning mammogram and a lunchtime ultrasound right after my chemo and got me on the roster for a CT scan on the 25th. Results of these tests will be discussed on the 1st of August when we also talk about hormonal therapy options.

The nurses in the chemo room were their usual pleasant selves today. I brought a bag full for used paperback books that I had already read to pass on to a nurse whose husband is American. She and the other nurses and pharmacist congratulated me on the completion of the treatment and told me to stop in after the oncologist worked out the hormonal therapy routine so they could give me literature and advice too. Then I went down to the basement for my mammograms and ultrasound (breasts, chest in general and around my neck) which were uneventful although I could see the radiated portion was giving the technician a hard time. She marked a few 3 to 5 mm dark spots with her mouse and rechecked a few places more than others. I thought it looked "cloudier" all over than it did in last November's ultrasound. The technician won't discuss any results so I have to wait until August.

I didn't make it back in time to go to the Sayonara lunch party for a Japanese friend who has been co-leading the local English playgroup with another American friend but I did manage to meet them in the park near the station to give her a big good-bye hug. Her husband's job is taking them (her, a soon to be first grader boy and a pre-schooler boy) to the San Diego area in San Bernardino. I wonder where cousin Kathy is these days...



After 10 days of observation with the plastic splint, the dentist has sculpted a porcelain cap onto J's front tooth and she no longer has a jagged smile. L, on the other hand, is missing both front teeth and is enjoying his gappy grin, pushing food out like a pasta press. J will keep the clear plastic splint a while longer (maybe even all summer) but she was able to eat corn on the cob (a gift from a neighbor) today without difficulty.

I've been a little groggy in the afternoon all week long but am not sure if this is from accumulated chemotherapy fatigue or because is just plain hot and humid. A 30 minute nap does wonders. I look forward to the end of treatment and hope the following tests show that I've beat the cancer.