Friday, February 23, 2007

Steroids - They're Not Just for Athletes Anymore

Apologies again for not posting more often, but I felt pretty crummy this past week - mostly fatigue and pain, mostly in my left thigh which made it hard to walk. I've also had a cold, queasiness/nausea, insomnia, digestive issues, headaches, and chemo brain which makes it hard to concentrate or focus sometimes. That in turn makes me frustrated and irritable, but I tell myself to take it slower. I had chemo yesterday, and I got the attendant steroids beforehand which has made the pain in my leg better and given me more energy. So I'm feeling better today just in time for my first bowling night in the new league. Both Dr. Bergen and Dr. Oldroyd have told me it's okay to bowl.

I took some Provigil last Monday afternoon to help with fatigue and I didn't got to sleep until 7am the next morning. (I watched three movies, two HBO specials on prostitutes, and did three Kakuro puzzles.) I had an appointment Tuesday with the radiation oncologist, so I got about one hour of sleep the night before, but lately I've been sleeping very soundly, even with the steroids yesterday. Dr. Oldroyd said my last bone scan showed no more cancer in my bones, so we are very happy about that.

I had chemo a week ago today and then again yesterday. Last Friday, my blood work was pretty good, hemoglobin at 12, but two liver enzymes a bit elevated. I only had Gemzar last week. CA19-9 tumor marker back up to 2900+. last week, but down to 2346 this week. Yesterday, I had Gemzar and Avastin, plus an Aranesp shot - my hemoglobin fell to 11.3. Only one liver enzyme was elevated. My weight and blood pressure have been good at all check-ups.

Last Friday, we went to see Norbitt on the way home in Montrose. We called Art & Brenda Fox and they met us at the theater. We went to Garlic Mike's in Montrose afterwards and it was very good. Norbitt was pretty good, and I love Eddie Murphy movies where he does multiple rolls. Coming to American and The Nutty Professor were better in my opinion. (I laughed so hard at the opening scene of The Nutty Professor that I sucked down a Milk-Dud and I thought Robert was going to have to do the Heimlich on me.) If you have seen the previews for Norbitt, you know that Norbitt's wife is a very big girl. She often accuses Norbitt of moving the seat forward in her car as she honks the horn with her boobs. Last Saturday, long-legged Robert drove my car after short-legged me. He accused me of moving the seat up, imitating Norbitt's wife. I replied, "Okay, Robert, let's see you honk the horn with those man titties."

I don't have to have chemo next week. Dr. Bergen wants to give me a break from Gemzar. I will continue to take Xeloda as long as my feet and hands aren't swelling too much.

Every time we go to Grand Junction, we usually see at least one bald eagle along the way either along the river in Ridgway or up near Colona on the Ouray-Montrose county line. Last week we saw a bunch prairie dogs up near Grand Junction. Last Saturday, we went to Ridgway to the pharmacy and saw a sheep sleeping on a picnic table at a house near Ridgway. The ground was full of snow and I'm sure the the brown table was warm from the sun.

Chemo Brain - I asked Dr. Bergen last Friday if there really was such a thing as Chemo Brain. He said yes there is, and it is his fault for giving it to me. He thought there might be a clinical trial I could get into with regard to chemo brain, but it was closed. He said I could take ginko if I wanted. I took one last Saturday, but it didn't seem to do anything. Then I noticed that bottle was about 3 years beyond it's expiration date. I got a new bottle and will try again next time it comes up.

Fatigue - I mentioned before the Provigil which I will probably try again at half dose and only take in the morning. There's a clinical trial to test Provigil in helping with fatigue from chemo, but I had already taken some samples that I got earlier in the year, so I am not eligible for that trial. But any of you cancer patients out there suffering from chemo fatigue, ask your oncologist about it or go online to

Pain/Headaches - I've been taking Ibuprofen which seems to help, but I can only take so much of it. I also take Oxycodone which can make you extremely constipated. I'd forgotten to take the stool softeners with it, and I'll never do that again. (If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we make a toilet that accommodates the largest human turd?) When I have chemo and get steroids, it reduces the pain I have in various places - thighs, shoulders, abdomen, headache, back of neck.

Queasiness/Nausea - Mostly, I am just queasy, but sometimes it feels like it's going to get worse. I've been taking Kytril. I also take Prilosec which seems to help as well.

We rented two movies at Blockbuster and watched Babel the other night which was quite good. I watched most of Half Nelson and Ryan Gosling is very deserving of his best actor nomination. Of course, we'll be watching the Oscars on Sunday night. I am hooked on American Idol. The girls are way better than the guys this year. I think Lakisha will take it - what a voice.

I sometimes feel like two different people - the girl on steroids and the woman who can hardly get out of bed. I asked Robert if he felt like he was married to two different women, and he replied, "At least."

Just up here in Colorado, both of me still enjoying life.

Sincerely, Caroline

P.S. To stream my radio show on the internet, go to I do not know how to use this yet, but I'll find out. I should be doing my show this Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00 pm Mountain Time. Sometimes I run a few minutes late to the station.

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