Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Monday was my first day at work after about a month absence. I'll be honest, I was NOT looking forward to going back. I was worried how "chemo brain" would effect my work and if I was physically(and probably mentally) ready to go back. All things considered, it wasn't that bad. I went in super early to have some quiet time before the ranks started arriving. Everyone was happy to see me and I was eager to get started on some projects. Everything went well and I'm actually glad to be back, using my brain and interacting with people again. It's nice to be able to talk about something other than Cancer and chemotherapy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

March Madness

Well it's that time of year that many folks gather 'round the TV and watch LOTS of college basketball. Basketball is THE state sport here in NC, but it seems like other parts of the country have the March Madness Factor, too. There have been surprises throughout both the men and women's tournaments. None as big as the surprise realizing my darling daughter loves to watch basketball!! I had no idea. I've taken her to a handful of Duke Women's games over the past two years but never watched a game on TV with her. I just assumed she'd be bored or something. Well much to my joy(and probably my dad's too) she really got into the basketball games on TV last night. Once I explained which team we were pulling for(Duke in white) she really paid attention. Asking questions and uttering, "Oh, man!!" if the other team(Temple) scored. She was *so* into the game. We even let her stay up past her bedtime to watch part of the State vs Baylor game. She told me after Duke won that she kept saying to herself, "Duke is going to win. Duke is going to win." So the fact that they did had a lot to do with that..in her mind. Okay, so she doesn't quite have cause and effect down yet, but I like that she was excited about the game and it's outcome.

Tonight was dinner out night, Sofie's choice. Her choice was Fuddrucker's...big surprise! As we were leaving, I noticed Allison Bales (the 6'7" post player for Duke) waiting for her food. I mentioned to Sofie who she was and that she played for Duke. She wanted to tell her that she saw her play ball last night so she and Debra walked over to talk to her. It was very sweet and Sofie was still talking about it as she and Debra drove off. Very cute. I'll definitely have to take her to more games next year.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rain, rain, go away...

'Tis a rainy day here in Durham, NC. Well, I guess we're better off than the NE and all their snow. It's just one of those days that lends itself to making one blue...or in my case *very* blue. I've been weepy all day long. I met my dad for breakfast this morning and when he asked how things were, I burst into tears. Can't say I've done that in a long time...maybe ever. He was very sweet and supportive and handled my tears with grace and dignity. After I regained composure, I chatted with him about the trials and tribulations of life these days. It felt nice to have a real chat with him.

After breakfast, I drove back to Durham in the pouring rain and shed a few tears along the way. Not really sure what's going on. I think my emotions are playing catch-up with me. I think that when you're in treatment, there's that need to plow on through. No time for real emotions. Then, after treatments over, your mind catches up with the rest of you and the real emotions start rearing their ugly(or not so) heads. I've definitely noticed that I'm feeling down these days. I feel distant from my friends and really don't care. I'm just tired and feel like curling up under the covers and sleeping the day away. But I can't do that today.

I promised Sofie a night in the condo. She really needed time away from Debra and Debra needed a night alone, so here I am. Feeling blah and trying to be a good mom to a very spunky girl. Video games have been played, dinner has been made and now we're watching "Barnyard"...the most disturbing animated movie to date because ALL the cows(male and female) have udders!!! Very distressing. It makes Sofie laugh...a lot...so that's all that's important today. Her laughter makes me laugh and that's all good. Even on this rainy cold Friday night.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Taking a break...literally

Monday, I noticed my left wrist was aching. I thought, maybe I'd slept wrong so I ignored it...until I couldn't ignore it anymore. Yesterday, I woke up and my wrist was swollen, I couldn't rotate my hand and my arm hurt all the way up to my shoulder. I don't remember banging it or falling, but there was definitely something going on. So, after having my blood drawn for my weekly labs I walked over to the Orthopedics clinic at Duke for advice. I expected they'd tell me to go to the emergency room. Fortunately, lady luck was on my side and the nurse I spoke with got me right in to see the PA on duty. After a thorough exam and x-rays, it was determined that I either have a stress fracture or some serious soft tissue damage. The stress fracture doesn't show up on an x-ray, so the course of treatment is 2 weeks in a removable splint, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain meds as needed. If there's no change, I'll have an MRI that would show the stress fracture. So, what caused this? Possibly the steroids I took throughout my chemotherapy. Oy!

Typing isn't that easy, so I'm taking a short break from blogging. I'll write more when I'm compelled or my wrist stops hurting.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

*How* are you two related?

Yesterday, I went with Debra to her doctors appointment. I wanted to hear first hand what the next round of treatment was going to look like. As many of you know, we have the same surgeon. He was at a conference, so Debra was seen by one of the fellows. We've been very open about our past relationship and the fact we have a kid. Our nurse, Teri, is wonderful and supportive, as is Dr Valea. I assumed that we were the talk of the department. Those lesbians that both have cancer, we have to be an unusual situation!! So, I was a little surprised when Dr. Lee, the fellow, came in with a very confused look on her face. She actually said, "I'm very confused. Aren't you (pointing to me) a patient of ours?" She then asked, "Are you two related?" Debra quickly said, "Yes." She went on answering Debra's questions about the treatment change, then stopped again and asked, "How are you two related?" She seemed concerned that she was breaching patient/doctor confidentiality. Not sure what was bugging her, but something was. So, in sync, Debra and I said that we're ex-partners and we have a kid. And I added, "We're *that* couple." She didn't laugh, but Teri did. So, I guess, we're not talked about! You have to admit, we have to be a rarity in the Gyn/Onc world!!

If you read Debra's blog, you know they've changed her treatment. This treatment is more frequent, so I'm sure her body will get tired. I worry how this will be for Sofie. She's been such a trooper through all of this. Even when she's at her brattiest, she always comes back to that wonderful compassionate kid that she is. Sofie continues to let us know that she's looking forward to the time she gets to stay at the condo again. I struggle with this a bit. I struggle with wanting to take care of her and Debra, knowing Debra wants to spend as much time with Sofie as possible(but also knowing she needs a break!) So I will do a balancing act of having Sofie with me and helping with Sofie at Debra's. I just want Debra to have the best opportunity to fight this battle and give her all the support she needs.

Today has been "flu-like symptom" day. The Neulasta increase my white blood count, but while it's doing that, it messes with my bone marrow. I started feeling achy on Monday night coming home from picking B up at the airport. Yesterday was a little worse, but last night I felt as if my mid-section was an accordian stretched too much. I've slept most of the day and popping Tylenol like crazy. I expect I'll feel better by weeks end. Then I'll finally feel like I'm on the road to recovery.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Restless night

No matter how much I tried to meditate, be mindful or just sleep last night, my mind wouldn't stop. I thought my mind might slow down post treatment. It seems to have gotten more cluttered and less focused.

I started on my journey to sleep around 10p last night. I felt exhausted and I had taken some pain medicine for dealing with the body aches I have post chemo. I sat the timer on my TV(as I do often) and felt for sure I'd be asleep by the time Brother's and Sister's and the TV went off. Oh, how wrong I was. At some point, my very tired mind became engaged in the show, so I watched that. My mind raced as I was trying to settle down. *Every* time I turned off the TV and laid there quietly, my mind raced and I just thought/worried about the future.

I continue to work on being mindful and stopping all the head chatter and accepting whatever the future holds. Last night was an example of how difficult this can be for me. I didn't fall asleep until well after 4a. At 8a, I woke up feeling as if I slept all night. No naps today!! I have to stop the spinning mind and focus on life and how wonderful it is. I just finished treatment and need to focus on the greatness of that! I'll add no "buts" to this, just know they continue to creep into my thoughts.

Peace, love and long life for everyone is what I want my mind to be filled with.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Extraordinary Care? Try the ER...NOT!!

Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) has a new add campaign about "Extraordinary Care. Extraordinary People." As a current patient being treated for Cancer, I couldn't agree more. However, as a friend who went with another friend to the ER last night, I couldn't agree less. I let this other friend write about her experience, but know, I was appalled with the service given there. We were there from 6p until 4am!!!

To say I'm exhausted...big understatement!!


On another note, Snake, our daughter formally known as Sofie, was the cutest snake for Book Character Day at her Elementary School today. She's recently started asking groups, like church and school to call her Snake. Debra jokes it'll be her gang name...oh please don't let that be so!! I'm still amazed that she's soooooooo into snakes, almost 3 years after she acquired Snakey, the snake that began it all!

For today's event she had originally wanted to be Pongo, who she was last year. We encouraged something different and suggested some different characters. Last year, I picked up some books in Minneapolis that were kids books with snake characters. Her favorite is a book entitled, Snake: His Story about a snake that could hear and he foiled some bank robbers by over hearing their conversation! She loves that book and below are pics of her being Snake.

Debra did a great job on the decorations and make-up. Below is a closeup of the shirt front and arms. The back had green scales. I'll try to find a picture of that, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Life as I know it ... at 3a March 1st, 2007

Currently, it's 3am. I've had a few hours sleep and now I'm wide awake...steroids will do that to you every time!! I also get contemplative post treatment. It may be the drugs or it may just be the down time I have that allows my head to spin and the thoughts to swirl about. Thinking about life and the future.

Life should be looking up for me. I've just completed a long and winding road of Cancer treatments. The surgery that started out as benign, then THE diagnosis, radiation and chemotherapy all in the midst of Debra wrapping up her own treatment and journey. Or so we thought. This is where life has thrown an unexpected curve ball our way.

So, while I should be feeling extremely happy about the end of my treatment, I'm really starting to feel sad about what's going on with Debra. There are so many unknowns. And all I really want her to do is get better and live a long life raising Sofie and Sofie having two moms. I want to stop crying every time I think about the other option. I want to stop thinking about the other option. I want to be supportive and not selfish. I just want all the fucking cancer to GO AWAY!!!!!

Ah, life as I know it. This is Jamie being bitter about something she has no control over. I'm not losing my mind, just letting the thoughts roll out through my fingertips.