The Stacey Report

July 26, 2006 (2): More Fundraising Craziness

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 26, 2006

… but this one is for next year. Given that this insane thing is three days away, I’m swamped, we have guests coming, there isn’t enough time to really raise much, and I hate staying up late…

Still, this is pretty cool. Starting in 2001, bloggers around the world have participated in the Blogathon, a yearly, 24-hour blogging marathon. The rules are that for a full day (and yes, all night) bloggers have to post to their blogs at least once every 30 minutes. Good Lord, whatever for? I hear you cry.

Well, to raise money for their favorite charities, that’s why. The sponsorship system works very much like any of these events: you pledge your support for the person who is willing to do one crazy-@ss thing or another, and everybody comes out on top.

Bear this in mind for next year, folks, and don’t put away those wallets just yet, we’ve got some very interesting donation opportunities coming up… (“ooh, what can it be?” “shhh, it’s a secret.” “you never tell me anything.” “well, you can’t keep secrets, that’s why!”)

Oh. I’m sorry. Was that out loud?

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July 26, 2006: The Brief Report

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 26, 2006

Your humble Blogstress begs your pardon as she hurtles full-tilt-boogie toward a deadline!

The short version of the story is this:

Stacey went in for her 6th chemo treatment yesterday and although she was there for SEVEN HOURS everything went very well. This morning she called me to see if I wanted to go blueberry picking with her, which gives you an idea of how she is feeling today. Last treatment, she had a lot of stomach upset right after her visit to the Cafe, this time, not so much. The next few days are up in the sir, though, so we’ll check back in very soon, and present to you the long version of the story.

July 19, 2006: Oh, AND…

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 19, 2006

AND… by request, the report on the final do-rag of choice! Many were called, few chosen, and the final favorite is….

This one!

No, no, no, that’s one of the runners-up in the Craftster.org Kitschy Craft Contest, “Marie Antoinette Headpiece” by Flawedmaude (made of pipe cleaners, feathers, beads, and pom-poms. Too cool!)

Ok, here it is:


This is the “Can’t Fail ‘Scarf'”, designed by the lovely and talented Mary Ann Weiss at CJ Hats. Mary Ann is a five-year survivor of IBC, and designs her hats based on her own experience. The Can’t Fail “Scarf” is really a wrap, the back pre-gathered by elastic. Tie the ties and you’re ready for work or play in this lovely chapeau — it is actually lovely, and very attractive on. Lots of compliments on this one, and it’s perfect for summer because the extra fabric in the back leaves space for ventilation (and looks really nice on.) The price for this hat is amazingly reasonable, shipping is fast, and we also like Mary Ann for another reason, which you will hear about in coming months. For now, please contact her for all your chemo-hat needs, and pass the word along to friends and family!

July 19, 2006: Bounce-Back Week #5

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 19, 2006

I have just been on GT (Google Talk, like IM but from Google so we automatically like it better, right?) with Stacey, and she told me that she is feeling fine right now. The muscle aches, tingling, and digestive upset only lasted a few days, and this medication does not give her nausea, which is a relief. As Stacey said, and I paraphrase, “I’d rather tingle than gack anyday!”

Checkup with TFDB yesterday, along with a Herceptin treatment (these will be every week now, not just in treatment weeks), and a Procrit shot (ouch!). What used to be a quick checkup now takes 3 hours, including checking in, waiting, seeing the nurse, waiting, seeing the doctor, checking in at the treatment center, waiting while they “cook” the drugs (a mysterious process — we’ll have to launch an investigation) getting hooked up, getting the treatment, getting unhooked. This is every time, so the length of the visit is mostly dependent on which chemicals she’s getting. (Next week’s treatment, for example, looks like it’ll be 5 1/2 hours. Yaaaaaawn.)

But more important than any of this is the fact that Floyd Somebody just won back the yellow jersey! Go Floyd! Floyd, apparently, “is an American rider in the Tour de France. He just won back the yellow jersey, which is worn by the overall race leader, on a very difficult mountain stage. That sets him up well for winning the whole thing, though there are 2 more difficult mountain stages and a time trial ahead of him.” Uh…ok.

Stacey is following all of this very closely (while I, clearly, am clueless) so if anyone would like to step in to discuss this with her, please do. My only question was, do they wash the yellow jersey before they give it back to him? I mean, these guys have to be sweating buckets, that can’t make passing around one t-shirt very sanitary, right? Not to mention, PU! Stacey said that there’s a guy in a van who follows the race around and he makes a new shirt every day. He’s got a whole pile of plain yellows, and he customizes them with the advertisements for that day’s particular winner, which is why there’s about 1/2 hour between the end of the race and the winner’s appearance. I called her a fibbah, but she swears it’s true.

July SIXTEENTH, 2006: (Psssst!)

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 16, 2006

(See, I know that you’re reading, and you know that you’re reading, but in order for Stacey to know that you’re reading–and thereby reap the full psychological benefit of your reading–you gotta leave some comments. The only comment I’ve had lately is from some SMART ALEC being SASSY about the typo in the date of the last entry. It was actually the 14th, not the 24th. Happy now, “anonymous”? Hmmph.

(Anyway, leave some comments, wouldja? They don’t have to be brilliant, although, y’know, extra points if they are. They could just be along the lines of “Oh ho ho, that Stacey’s Sister, what a laff riot!” or something. “Have fun at the Cafe tomrrow, we’ll be thinking of you.” “Give ’em hell, dude!” “Hey, there’s something in your teeth…” Stuff like that. Deal? Awesome.)

July 24, 2006: All right, all right!

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 14, 2006

Oy vey!

Apparently, it is extremely important that I print a retraction of my previous statement that Stacey has gained back all the weight she lost. Be it known, then, that Stacey is still down 15-20 lbs from where she started.

There.

Also, as the hormonal craziness continues to mess with her system, other side-effects have appeared from the Taxol. There is some digestive difficulty, of the “right quick” variety, and she reports some muscle pains, basically from the knees down. She says it’s not interfering with her movement or extremely painful, just annoying.

Also she has not gained back all the weight she lost. She is down 15-20 pounds. Just in case anyone missed that.

July 12, 2006: Chemo Treatment #5

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 12, 2006

So, don’t get me wrong. The Chemo Cafe is a lovely place, delightful ambiance, great service. But eight hours is a little too long to spend anywhere except the bed, and yep, you guessed it, that’s how long Stacey was there.

Actually, the entire treatment sucked up around 20 hours, because she had to start the pre-meds the night before. The main course of this treatment was Taxol, a very nasty but helpful antitumor drug, which requires two doses of steroids, one the night before and one in the morning. The steroids come in 4 mg pills, and you have to take 20mg per dose, so that’s five pills. Question: why do they not come in 20 mg pills? Answer: we do not know.

The Cafe treatments start with intravenous Benadryl, which they give you because some people have an allergic reaction to Taxol (incredible, I know, but true). The Benadryl comes in three or four little bags. (Question: Why does it not come in one big bag? Answer: we do not know.) Then on to the Taxol, which takes three hours (drip, drip, drip) then the Herceptin, which takes one hour (drip). The chemical name for Herceptin, by the way, is Trastuzumab, which would be a great name for a band. Or an intergalactic bad guy.

Getting more Herceptin is a good thing: this is the drug that TFDB started Stacey with before the chemo proper. She reacted very well to it, which is to say that the tumor shrank and the swelling went down and she wasn’t deathly ill. So why hasn’t she been getting it all along? According to Stacey: “Apparently, they don’t give the Herceptin with the Adriamycin because it causes cardio badstuffiness, which we don’t want, but it’s ok to give with the Taxol.” Rock on! After the chemo, she’ll also be getting more Tamoxifen, which is also given for hormone-positive cancers. The idea is that hormones tell these cancers to keep growing,and they listen extra hard because they have all these handy receptor sites all over them. The drugs look like hormones, so they fit into the receptor sites, but they don’t act like hormones: instead of telling the tumor “Grow, grow!” they say “Shut up! Roll over! Die!” which is a much better thing to say.

Herceptin is a weekly treatment, weekly meaning forever. This is not a huge price to pay for forever, especially as it seems to be having a wonderful effect on Stacey’s complexion! Hey, life hands you lemons…

Notes from the checkup with TFDB: Stacey’s blood pressure is up a bit, probably an effect of the steroids. Nothing to worry about at this point: TFDJ (The Fabulous Dr. Johnson, Stacey’s primary care doc) has always gone by Stacey’s “normal” as opposed to the world’s “normal,” which indicates just how fabulous she is.

Also, Dr. Browne checked Stacey’s liver and found no swelling, which is nice, and of course all of the blood tests have shown totally normal liver function. No Neulasta this time (so that’s minus one needle stick) because most women don’t have trouble with their white blood cell count with this batch of drugs, and Stacey’s has been high right along, so they will just be tracking it and see how it goes.

So far, Stacey has been feeling ok after this treatment. She felt a little queasy right after; when I saw her yesterday, she was weary but working on the laptop her company gave her. A few days ago she decided to shave her remaining hair, and is pretty happy she did. The little bit that was left kept crawling out from under her head wraps and bothering her, and that’s just adding insult to injury, no? Also, after the initial nausea-induced weight loss, she did figure out what she could eat without gacking, and has gained back what she lost. A mixed blessing, possibly, but this is probably not the greatest time to get skinny.

We’ve had a report from friend and co-worker Denise (also getting treatment right now) that her first Taxol treatment was unevenful, but later she started getting muscle aches and tingling in her fingertips and… uh… toetips? Anyway, we shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, her hip continues to improve, and her gait is less fancy (less side-to-side required.)

One bit of completely random but interesting information: when I was looking up the drug names on Wikipedia, I noticed that on the Taxol page, the link for Monroe E. Wall showed up on my screen in red type instead of blue. For the non-Internet-addicted among us, I will explain that a red link is a “visited” link, which means that at some point in the past I visited the page for Monroe E. Wall. Now, I’m sure that Monroe was a fine gentleman, and I’m grateful that he helped to isolate the compound for Taxol, but I am mystified as to why I should have visited the page about him…

Ok, that’s not actually very interesting. Forget I mentioned it.

July 7, 2006: Bouncing… slowly…

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 7, 2006

It took a little longer this week, but Stacey is feeling more human now. Yesterday she was out in the garden, ministering to the tomatoes and trying to find time to put some cucumber seeds in. She had a follow-up with TFDB on Wednesday: the white blood cells look good, and she got another shot of the lovely Procrit for iron.

In other news… her eyebrows are looking suspiciously thin. The hormone treatments seem to be affecting her body in unpredictable ways … just little spots of trouble. Ladies, you know what I mean. Gentlemen, talk amongst yourselves.

She’s talking a big game, “Oh, I want ice cream,” “Ooh, I want Kentucky Fried Chicken,” but I happen to know that Stacey’s actual diet is astonishingly healthy. Evidence? I told her I had frozen some strawberry pops for her without sugar (cancer, apparently, loooves sugar) and she was all over it. Also I saw her gnawing on a bundle of kale in the supermarket. She didn’t see me, but I saw her! Dude! You’re supposed to pay for that first!

Next week is the fifth treatment, and they switch drugs. I’ll get the lowdown on what she’ll be getting, but apparently, the effects are different. Less nausea, but more of other unpleasant things, like the last of the hair falling out and possible nerve damage in her fingertips! Hey, the fun never ends. Oh, and also killing all the cancer cells dead dead DEAD. I forgot that part.

I said DEAD!!

(There. Take that, you rotten little creeps.)

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on July 1, 2006

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