Friday, January 16, 2009

Geoff Says I'm Back

I've been feeling so good lately. I've even been experimenting with dairy and chicken and I'm back to normal. I discovered that Aimee thought I was always going to have to be on my colitis diet and would never eat with the family ever again!!!! OY!! So I'm making sure to remember to keep the kids better updated. I didn't realize I'd been lax in doing that.

About my blood counts after chemo this time: I still sometimes feel like sitting down after I go up the stairs in my house and my walks are more like strolls yet I still get sweaty. But my energy and my mood is up. My doctor is pleased with my counts and my acupuncturist told me that my counts this time were normal for a chemo patient. So I'm finally a normal chemo patient!

Anyway, I've been feeling so well that I was wondering if I'd take on new clients. I had this thought after my therapist friend Stefanie told me that they'll all start calling after the new year. A couple days ago I had the first new client call and that call was particularly meaningful to me.

This woman was referred by her insurance company - 99% of my clients are referred by their insurance company. That wasn't unusual. What was unusual was that she was a depressed mom with a toddler. This was the first time since I've been starting to see clients regularly that an insurance company referred me someone who was my ideal target audience. Happy New Year, Allison!

Now some of you will understand why that was meaningful to me. Especially my old friend Joe who was one of my co-therapists when I was an intern...oh my...could it be 20 - 25 years ago? He showed me the ropes when I first started at that internship. And we had our hands full with the incredibly insensitive supervisor.

Well, the really miraculous thing is I hadn't seen or talked to Joe for 20 years when I went looking for someone to help me restart my therapy business. I found an ad in a therapy magazine for a marketing class and discovered it was Joe's - he now lived in Michigan! So the first time I started working with clients as an intern, he got me up to speed and now this 2nd time I was starting my practice again, he got me going. He helped me figure out who my target audience was - what type of client I really wanted to help. I created a website and I learned how to market online with google adwords and I began leading a workshop for moms.

Unfortunately, we finally came to the conclusion after awhile that this target audience didn't have the money or the time or the impetus to get help for themselves. So I did what my therapist friends, Stefanie and Doris told me to do years ago: I got on the insurance company lists. I also figured, if moms have working husbands who have insurance, they'd be more likely to get help if the insurance company paid for it!

So here I am after 4 months on the insurance company lists, getting my first mom! I was thrilled and she was ok with my condition (having to skip a week out of every 3 for awhile) and so I am seeing her on Sunday.

Now you all know why Geoff says I'm back. After saying that to me I told him that I woke up with a headache this morning and he says that's a sign - the old me is back! Luckily the headache went away when I got out of bed. Now that's not the old me that's back but a new me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Can't Go Out in Public

So I got my blood count today and even though I'm doing better than last time, I still can't go out in public places. The following are the counts from before this last chemo, and then today - one week later, and how that compares to one week after chemo last time.

White Blood Cell(K/uL)
Standard Range 4.0-11.0 K/uL
before chemo 3.1
after (today) 1.6
last time .9

Standard Range 150-400 K/uL
before chemo 342
after (today) 130
last time 102

Standard Range 2.0-8.0 K/uL
before chemo 1.9
after (today) .9
last time .5

I can tell the difference between last time and this time since I have more energy than last time and I didn't feel like having Geoff drive me to get the blood draw. I drove myself there and to acupuncture afterward.

Still it's kind of a drag because there's a city council meeting I'd love to go to at 3pm today. Oh well. I'll hear what happened without having to be there - though I would have loved to speak and let them know that yet another person from Westlake is fighting cancer - though it may have absolutely nothing to do with the cell phone towers right next door. There is also a huge pole of them that I can see from my home and 3 of us on this block (that I know of) have been or are in the cancer fight. Though the towers down the hill from my home may have absolutely nothing to do with the cancer on this block.

For those of you not in S.C., the city council is considering putting a 1,000 foot buffer between further cell tower placement and elementary schools. Yay!

Can't wait to find out how it goes since I participated in helping this issue get to this point. I'm proud of myself and the other parents I worked with on this! The danger of cell phone radiation is still considered "controversial" and so I am so proud of our county superintendents and now our city council members who are taking the precautionary stance for the sake of children. (Despite a federal law prohibiting them from challenging placement of these towers based on health reasons.) Unfortunately, they are planning to allow those two existing towers next to Westlake and the ones next to all the other schools to remain - it's just new towers that they are considering banning next to schools.

If you were wondering, my computer's wired up to the wall (no wireless internet), my home phones are wired to the wall and my cell phone is off unless I need to use it in an emergency. It's hard to catch me when I'm not home but I get along just fine! Imagine! Jason just got his first cell phone for emergencies at age 14.

So yes, I have been quite fanatical about this issue. Hasn't helped me health-wise obviously! And now that I'm fighting this dreaded disease, I probably glow in the dark from all of the radiation my body's endured from CT scans! But I'm going to live for awhile longer thanks to the treatment I am receiving. Can't control everything!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Chemo This Easy?

Wow...this chemo has been so easy. Yes, I had a few days of body pain and not wanting to get out of bed. But I could get out of bed and I was able to make all my own meals - except for one dinner where I had Geoff bake me a sweet potato and I mashed some tofu in it. I had a bit of nausea but mostly just not feeling like eating. I still don't want to eat but I am able to. Forcing water and food isn't anywhere near as bad as I have had to force before.

So I took a shower today and will take Aimee to school tomorrow morning and drop her off (because Geoff has to go early to PCS with Jason). I still don't want to go out and get around lots of people just because I'm worried about my immune system and feel kind of low energy. Tuesday I will go in to get my blood checked and that will be the test for whether this amount of chemo is right for me.

I've also been taking some immune building & colitis resolving Chinese herbs. This was the first chemo I've done where I could actually take the herbs regularly without them interfering with food and water intake. So maybe that's also what is helping me feel so good this time or just being off those antibiotics. Or maybe I've just been through such hell that I really don't know what chemo is supposed to be like normally and what I've gone through before makes what I went through this time seem like such a piece of cake.

If this is what it's supposed to be like, then it's incredibly doable.

And I do still feel a difference in the lump so I guess all along I've just needed less than the normal person. I kinda knew that before the very first chemo I got but didn't have the strength of conviction to demand it. Everything was all so scary and overwhelming for me in the beginning.

Now I'm a seasoned pro.