December 3, 2019 - Insomnia Chemo Nights are for the Young at Heart
Once again, I am sitting in our hotel room “trying” to type quietly as Jamie sleeps soundly. 100%, I have given up sleeping on Chemo Mondays. It’s amazing, once you come to terms with an all-nighter, it can be quite enjoyable, quite productive. It reminds me of my “Younger” years.
Multi-tasking at its finest. I have paid bills, reviewed social media, reviewed SAP workflows awaiting my attention, and now am turning my attention to writing my latest post. And, I’m doing ALL of this while streaming a lovely show called Younger.
I am late to this game in discovering this sweet gem. It is a show produced and airs on TVLand (who in the heck watches TVLand??, seriously no offense to those that do). You can also catch it on Hulu. I am currently in the middle of season 3 of 6 seasons. Season 7 has been approved and is landing in 2020. Have you seen it? It is on your radar? If not, you should check it out. In all honesty, this may speak more loudly to the fans of Sex and the City and Melrose Place, but boy is it guilty fun. And I must give thanks to Jackie and Millie, as they are the ones who put this my queue. Once again, they came through…they are both responsible for my current obsession with Outlander.
For those not familiar with Younger, “it is about Liza, a 40 year-old woman, played by Sutton Foster, who passed herself off as a millennial in order to land her dream job in publishing. Though she was able to successfully hide her true age at first, cracks began to form in her plan, and she realized her secret hurt those closest to her. Through her professional and personal ups and downs, Liza learns that truth is actually better than fiction.” The supporting cast rounds out this show perfectly, with a delightful Hillary Duff and a juicy Peter Hermann. It is produced by Darren Star, from Sex and City and Melrose Place fame – so campy!! Sigh!....I digress.
So, before we get back to Chemo Monday, I would like to spend a few minutes on cabin week. Jamie, Mason, and I spent last week in Blue Ridge, GA celebrating Thanksgiving with family. The week was restful and needed. It was the perfect respite for me to get ready for chemo week 7. It was the perfect respite for those taking care of me and my family during this time. Many wonderful memories were made. Mason wanted me to share a special one. Here it goes:
Hiking was the popular activity for the group (minus me, which can be blamed on chemo fatigue). During a short walk where we met a neighbor, we learned that the cabin we rented was very near a copper mine from the 1800’s that was owned by a Civil War Veteran, Nathaniel Mangum, Col of Higdon Home Guard. Nathaniel came from a prominent pioneering family from Atlanta, Georgia. He was a son of Rev. James Mangum and husband of Mary S. Leek Connally. After Nathaniel acquired an education, he became a school teacher and then ultimately became a lawyer and a judge. He expanded his interests and became interested in copper mining in Fannin County. Nathaniel owned thousands of acres is Fannin County, near Blue Ridge and Higdon, Georgia where he ran the Mount Pisgah Copper Mine. It is urban legend that he only accepted gold for his copper, not Confederate money. His copper mine attracted attention, but not always the right attention. Unfortunately, during the Civil War, on March 20, 1864, he was killed during a robbery at his home by deserters from the army, who were, in fact, outlaws. He is buried in a lone grave on top of Mt. Pisgah in Fannin County. A proper stone was set for his grave in 1997.
My adventurous crew not only hiked about 300 ft to the top of the mountain to pay their respects at his grave site, but they also hiked down the mountain and even longer distance to find the copper mine and find it they did. Mason was so excited! Mason thought it was soooo cool. He loved putting his boy scouting skills to work!
In addition to hiking and relaxing during the week, we had the added bonus of spending time with good friends who also own cabins and lake houses in the North Ga. Mountains. It filled my heart to see the Campbell’s and the Carson’s.
And this brings me back to Chemo Monday. Today marked the 7th infusion of 8. I am almost done! I AM looking forward to crossing the finish line, but I am not looking forward to the remainder of the week. As I have mentioned previously, this chemo cocktail of Steroids (sleepless Monday nights), Benadryl (sleepy Monday days), and Taxol (painful weekdays filled with bone pain and neuropathy). However, my oncologist prescribed a secondary med for neuropathy to take with the Percocet to manage the pain. If this works, I should be able to sleep through the pain. It should help make up for my insomnia.
Earlier today during chemo, I was blessed with 2 dear friends, Suzanne and Annie, stopping by and visiting with me during my infusion. Not only does it make me happy, but it also gives Jamie a break and allows him to work without worrying about me. It was a crazy crowded day at the Atlanta Cancer Care Center. The center was closed last Thursday and Friday for the holidays, so we had more than a full house today. Many of the chemo chairs turned multiple times. Since my infusion drips last around 5 hours, I get to see and experience it all. Warning, it can bring out the worst in cancer/chemo jokes: I asked my infusion nurse, “What happened, did they have a Cancer sale on Black Friday?” Just kidding…just kidding, but she did chuckle. It is not lost on me or her the sobering numbers of people like me fighting this fight. It is depressing. However, you must find humor around you, if not you would stumble over tears.
Tomorrow is a busy day for Jamie and me. I have preventative physical therapy with a Lymphedema nurse. I do NOT have Lymphedema, but it is important to get ahead of it and watch for it. My Aunt Barbara, who died of Breast Cancer when I was little, suffered greatly with lymphedema. I have been assured that it is not hereditary, but it doesn’t hurt to be proactive. If interested, you can read more about Lymphedema from the Mayo Clinic. Just click the link.
We also meet with my Doctor of Radiation Oncology tomorrow afternoon. This is where we will discuss phase II of my treatment, which is radiation. It appears to be necessary since three of the seven lymph nodes removed during my mastectomy were cancerous. Tomorrow we will understand the length and magnitude of the radiation treatment. Stay tuned, as I will provide an update later this week. The post will likely land over the weekend due to the drug induced state that I will be experiencing the remainder of the week. Yea for me! After the doctor's visit, I am looking forward to driving (well riding) home. Jamie would never let me drive, "as-if". I am looking forward to hugging Jackie and Rick and thanking them for taking care of Mason. I am looking forward to being under the same roof with Mason, giving him a hug and a kiss goodnight. And, I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. Whether we are traveling in time to the Civil War or watching a show that allows us to imagine "re-living" a younger decade; Older or Younger: nothing beats sleeping in your own bed.
Stay Young at Heart! Life is Too Short!
Disclaimer: This post has not be edited or reviewed by Jamie, so all gratuitous oversharing and embarrassment is mine and mine alone.