Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Trigger Baby

Last night I dreamed I gave birth to Trigger! I was in a hospital room and was having a baby. They told me to push and I was afraid it was going to hurt, but it didn't and also didn't take very long. Next thing I knew I delivered the (human) baby, and they handed it to me. I held it for a while but then was so tired from delivery that I handed it to Miles. Then it was suddenly Trigger and she jumped from his arms onto the floor and ran over to her food bowl. She started eating voraciously, and I thought "She's just a baby, she can't eat regular food!" so I fixed her a bowl of bran cereal with soy milk. She ate a little bit and stopped, so then I hand-fed her soggy bran flakes. It was nice to see her!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beer Mouth

I am lonely. LOML has been gone since Saturday on tour, and won't be back for a couple days still. I'm counting the days! At least Nutsy is on my pillow and Dumb Joe is on my other side. Nutsy, I love you so much little girl! You've gained so much weight lately and it's such a good thing! And when I say "little girl," I don't mean like Trigger "little girl," but a different "little girl" reserved all for you, my little grandma. You're going to live for another 10 years, I just know it!

The cancer experience has been a lot of things. It's taught me a lot. It's made me very sad and very happy. Cancer has been sobering. Cancer has been enlightening. Cancer has brought me and Miles closer in ways I never could have dreamed of. Yet at the same time cancer has been a lonely experience. (No offense to Miles, I know he knows that I'm not talking relative to the two of us.) Tonight I had the opportunity to vent some disappointment to one of a few people I thought might have been interested in my well-beings over the last year (but wasn't). It didn't go well. I'm that much happier that I've moved on from earlier parts of my life. Perhaps people in my peer group are too young or scared to be confronted with a life-threatening disease that isn't theirs. Perhaps they're too preoccupied with their own ups and downs. Perhaps they don't know what to say so they don't say anything. Or perhaps they just don't care. In any event, I AM very grateful for the few friends of mine who do care - I love you so much, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there and being supportive.

Blah blah blah blah, I feel like I'm pooping from the mouth. Who cares?! Maybe it's the 64 oz of beer talking...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I love the smell of wood-burning stove. I also love sleeping with a big old retriever taking up 2/3 of my bed (with her butt right in my face). I love how Joseph protects me at night. I don't love the reason behind the protective urge. I love life. I love the way things are working out. I love how Nutsy's gaining weight. I love shopping for cool stuff and ending up below budget.

Here are a couple random PHOTOS. This is me and Dan back in August in Texas - we swapped haircuts for a day:

This is my 3-pronged alien port. It's gone now, and all that's left behind is the scar and some lumpy scar tissue. I kind of preferred the symmetrical 3-prong guy, but I guess I'm glad he's gone:

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Brief Return to Illness

I had a brief return to the land of the sick this week. I took an antibiotic (Bactrim) on Monday and within hours had an epiphany about what caused my ER trip back in July. I'm allergic to Sulfa drugs. I spent all Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday in bed -- I couldn't stand because of constant muscle cramps in my calves. I am better now, and know better now!

I'm listening to the new Will Johnson/Jason Molina record and it's pretty good.

Things are pretty awesome right now. Looking up in many ways. I love my husband, I love my family, I love my kitties, I love my life. I love Bejeweled Blitz (thanks, Janeball).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

On Being A Cat

Miles just asked me if I would want to be a cat, and I wasn't sure. Miles asked me what the things were that I wouldn't like if I were Nutsy. And I said:

"Getting frustrated because sometimes my owners don't understand what I'm saying ...

and being left alone at home a long time sometimes ...

and losing my sister."

And then Miles pointed out that those were all my human fears in a nutshell, and that made me LOL a whole lot and then cry a little. And I wanted to write it all down so Miles told me to write it in my blog, so here it is.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Missed My 1-Year Diagnosis Anniversary!

October 6 was my 1-year diagnosis anniversary - it slipped by for a day or two before I realized! Yay, what a good sign of how I'm moving on from cancer! Things have been going pretty well. The stomach issues are 95% resolved, and I'm back to eating almost everything (NOM!). Really only what remains are hot flashes and fatigue. Oh, and my period has yet to come back, I hope my menopause is not permanent. The fatigue is really bad right now, especially since I'm back to work F/T. After I get home, I've been going to sleep sometimes at 10 pm, sometimes at 7 pm, etc. It should get better with time though...

Miles & I also had our 1st wedding anniversary! We went to Ruth Chris, which was obviously awesome!! I'm so fortunate to have an insanely wonderful husband, who's been attached to my hip before, throughout, and after this whole crazy cancer ordeal. He makes me stronger, and he makes me a better person. I love you so much, darling!!

Therapy has been eye-opening in a good way. I'm acknowledging anxiety and panic that I've had for years and have tried to ignore. I'm eager to learn ways to move forward and eliminate them from my life.

Nutsy and Joseph are doing well. They had their annual checkup recently. Joseph pooped in the carrier -- of course. But TWICE!! I gave him his annual bath, which was kind of fun. He gives up and lets me wash him without a fight. Then once he's dry, his fur is softer than ever! I miss Trigger so much, I can't believe it's been 9 months. Her passing has helped me realize that with grief... you do move on, and life does go on, and the more time passes the easier it is to remember all the good things without getting too sad. No need to cling to a suffering you can't change...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coming Around

As I sit here multi-tabling these funny little superturbo pushfold 10bb tournies, I probably shouldn't be distracting myself with writing this blog post or thinking about five gratitudes ... but, well, I am. :) Five gratitudes instantly come to mind.
I am...
1. grateful that my stomach is coming around.
2. grateful that my body is coming around.
3. grateful that my husband is the best. (Question: Which husband is the best husband?)
4. grateful that my dentist made me smile a lot today.
5. grateful my awesome parents are coming soon.

I started working full-time again this week. I had two cavities filled yesterday and my teeth cleaned today. I like how clean teeth feel after a good polishing. I made an appointment with a therapist next week. I've never done therapy, so that should be interesting. I watched the stairs door shut behind me when I left work today instead of rushing out. I remembered to breathe when I started to get irritated today, and my annoyance melted away. I am liking mindful Teresa. Or rather, I should say - there is a happiness.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Body The Turtle

In a lot of ways, my body has been slowly, slowly healing. I still have body aches and back/shoulder pains, but they don't prevent me from sleeping anymore. And I still have hot flashes, but they don't always wake me up at 6 am anymore. My biggest nemesis, my stomach, is nowhere near fixed yet. I miraculously had a few days break in the pain. I got so excited to eat that I overdid it. I need to nurture my poor tummy like a fragile flower, and instead I ate Arby's and pizza. Now it's back to hurting again daily. I'm so tired of it, so tired of eating rice and soup. So tired of being confined to the house or at least close by so I can come home and crawl in bed with my heating pad. I'm also so frustrated with the gastroenterologist. He has not called me with the CT-abdomen results, and it was 3 weeks ago!!! I found out from an unrelated doctor that the scan was fine. I guess the ugly truth is that most doctors simply don't care about you, as long as they make money and avoid lawsuits.

One doctor/medical group that does care is Dr. Singh at One Medical Group. Finally, I have found someone/someplace that cares. Too bad they don't have an oncologist...

I've been so tired of being cooped up at and around the house. Today we went to watch the sun rise at Mt. Tam. Then we stopped to take a walk on the beach until my stomach ruined the lovely morning. But we saw this dude!!!!!!!!!!!

He was with a bunch of other dude friends!

He came over to me on the beach and I pet him. Then he whipped around, put his front paws in the water and barked at the ocean. He was so awesome. I love him!

My hair is growing! It's already weird to look at my bald pictures and remember I was completely bald for 6+ months. I really love my hair right now, I think I'll stick with the shaved head for a while. Hah, along with my new head of hair, I've also been blessed with some unwanted facial hair! I think it's the fact that I'm still in menopause and my hormones are all messed up, combined with the fact that all this new hair on my body has never been bleached by the sun. It's not my favorite. But I'll take a mustache over cancer any day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Brain Metastatis Scare

The weekend after my last post I was really sick. My migraine developed a new symptom: every time I moved my eyes around I had a flash of white light and pain in my head. I also had a fever of 102 with chills. On Monday I called my GP for an appointment but they told me to go to the ER instead. I spent 7 hours at the ER. They put me on IV fluids and gave me morphine for the head pain. The ER doctor told us he was afraid it could be a breast cancer recurrence in my brain, and he didn't want me to leave til I had a brain MRI. He also went on to say that if it was brain mets, they would check me into the hospital that night. Miles and I spent the next few hours waiting and thinking there was a good chance I now had Stage IV cancer... that was a lot of fun. But I finally got the MRI and it was normal!!!!!! The ER sent me home with a prescription for Percocet and that was that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


It's 4:40 am and I'm up because I had a caffeine-induced panic attack and couldn't sleep. I took Excedrin+caffeine twice today for a migraine, and didn't consider beforehand that I'm 15 pounds lighter and haven't drank caffeine in months. It obliterated my migraine pain, but made me terribly dizzy and made me freak out.

I've had a difficult many weeks. My abdominal pain started on June 9. It's July 15 and I've had no relief. I've seen my oncologist twice, two GPs, a gastroenterologist, an acupuncturist, and a naturopath. I've done all kinds of tests: blood test, urine test, abdominal ultrasound, an endo/colonoscopy, and right now I'm finishing up poo samples so they can test for parasites. It's been suggested that the pain is anything from gastritis to excess bile to gallbladder disease to post-chemo damage to hypersensitivity reaction. Every doctor has their own opinion, and every doctor says something different. Through trial and error, I've finally found some relatively nutritious things that my stomach can hack, and I limit myself to those things. I'm gonna start some vitamins and supplements suggested by the naturopath to help build up my digestive system. Crossing my fingers...

The last few weeks were full of disappointment with doctors and feelings of being neglected. It culminated this week in a cancer scare...

I've wanted to switch oncologists for a while, especially being post-treatment and now depending on follow-up care for the rest of my life. My current oncologist gives me no guidance at all. For example, when he referred me to a GI doctor for my abdominal pain, he literally said "I'm happy to wash my hands of this..." [insert hand-wiping motion here].

I recently got copies of my records from his office. I saw a letter in my file from my 2nd opinion oncologist to my 2nd opinion surgeon. In the letter from 7 months ago she wrote: "Of note, the bilateral MRI of October 2, 2008, showed a right sided lesion of 1.3 x 2 x 1.8 cm ... an MRI suggesting an unclear abnormality on the right side which will require further follow up ...
The right breast should be followed by MRI and mammogram in 3 to 6 months by her local physician."

What!!!! No one ever mentioned something abnormal on my right side, and I haven't had any follow-up!

The puzzling thing was she mentioned my October 2nd MRI ... yet, my MRI was on October 16th. I immediately hoped she'd made an error, but it seemed weird that she mentioned the abnormality multiple times in the letter.

I contacted my onc who didn't even know I'd had an MRI. My surgeon was supposed to have forwarded my whole file. So I contacted my surgeon, and though he told me early on that he reviewed my MRI images with his radiology department, my file didn't have any report or printouts confirming the right side was clean. He was also supposed to have received the original MRI report, but never followed up. So my onc called the hospital and they couldn't find my MRI in their system! Aaauugggh!!

To make a long story short... both my surgeon and onc finally got my original MRI report and confirmed my right side was clean. The
1.3 x 2 x 1.8 cm lesion the dumb other onc mentioned in the letter was the size of my left cancer. She must have been high when she dictated the letter talking all about my left side cancer and the right side abnormality.

Thank goodness I was on the side of her error that didn't affect my treatment. But it makes me wonder what other mistakes she's made that may have caused someone real grief, rather than just this awesome stress-induced migraine.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Poop Post

Monday I finally saw a Gastroenterologist. My abdominal pain stumped him, and he scheduled me quickly for an endoscopy/colonoscopy on Thursday. I took this stuff called Osmoprep the evening before to prep for the colonoscopy. I took 20 pills with 5 glasses of water in one hour, and then waited for the onslaught. I pooped 15 times that night!!! The next morning I took the remaining 12 pills with 3 glasses of water and the festivities continued.

On Thursday, I arrived at the Endoscopy Center and they prepped me with my IV. The doc sprayed some kind of anaesthetic in my throat and told me to swallow. It was the grossest-tasting liquid ever, and it instantly made my throat numb. It felt so weird, and I thought I couldn't breathe because I couldn't feel my throat. But two breaths later, I was already falling asleep from the sedation. I guess I woke up an hour later, but I don't remember anything -- not the doctor talking to me and Miles, not getting dressed, not leaving the Center, not stopping at Walgreen's, not telling Miles if the doc asked if I was mad at him for the Osmoprep. LOL. When I got home I passed out for four hours, and woke up with a sore throat. I discovered the doc had given us color printout pictures of my stomach and colon, that was pretty cool. Looks like I have erosive gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), possibly caused by bile reflux. He gave me some pills to take. I'm so thankful he didn't see anything worse, yet at the same time I'm thankful that he saw something so maybe I can finally get some relief...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ready to Relax Time Pls

Treatment is done (yay!) and I've been off work for 2 weeks (yay!). But alas, I haven't started relaxing yet. :( For 18 days straight now, every time I eat solid food I have severe abdominal pain for hours. My diet has been reduced to the following items that don't hurt me: soup, fruit smoothies, yogurt, raisin bran and milk, and plain rice. Consequently, I've lost 10 pounds. Though I've been wanting to lose a little weight, I'm not happy it happened this way with the forced diet.

My oncologist tested my blood and I had an abdominal ultrasound, and everything came back normal (whew!). He put me on Prilosec and said it could take 7 days to work, and then pretty much washed his hands of it. 7 days of torture later I saw my GP. She was very kind and understanding, but couldn't really help me and referred me to see a Gastroenterologist. Then came the sucky part where I called a bunch of docs and no one could see me sooner than 2-5 weeks from now. I cried in the middle of the night because I was in pain for the umpteenth time and was so frustrated that no one was taking it seriously enough to want to help me NOW. Luckily, this morning one of the docs called back and squeezed me in for Monday afternoon. I'm so ready to be fixed. I haven't been able to live my normal life! Other than short walks, I haven't left the house for fear of being away from my heating pad and bed if the pain starts. I haven't been able to enjoy a nice outdoor weekday lunch. And though this time off work is for "recovery," I certainly don't feel like that has started yet.

Ok, I'll stop complaining now.

Despite the downer pain... not having to think about work has been amazing. Miles and I have been going on short walks to help with my energy. Our favorite thing is to walk to get a Jamber and drink it in Duboce Dog Park watching all the dudes! Yesterday I saw the most beautiful youngish golden with the silkiest flowy hair. No bulldog, basset or G-Dane sightings yet though. I am hopeful...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Many Celebrations

Happy birthday to me, happy last day of treatment, and happy 6 weeks off work to recover!!!!

My hair and eyebrows are on the mend!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Close to the End

I only have 8 rads left and then treatment is done. This is a good thing. There are some downsides though. I'm worried that when I'm done, work has this expectation that I'm ready to TCB. But in fact, for the 8 months of treatment I've had I'll probably need 8 months to really recover. I'm so tired all the time and achey everywhere and always in some kind of pain or distress. Also, without treatment to distract me, now comes the time to deal with everything on a mental and emotional level. I have felt really wrecked lately. I'm scared to death that I'll recur with mets and life will be cut short. Some days I don't acknowledge that fear, but it doesn't mean it's not there. I guess it's gonna take some time. But how can one not worry when the doc says your aggressive cancer is likely to recur in the first 5 years if it's gonna happen, or when the doc says to wait at least 2 years to have kids in case you do recur? I sure am looking forward to that carefree feeling again someday...

In good news, my eyebrows are growing back. It was not a big deal without them because I'm not particularly vain... but man, seeing them again makes me realize how weird I looked and I'm happy to have them back.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On The Last Leg...

I started radiation treatment last week. Today was 7 of 19 treatments. I go in five days a week for a month. It sounds like a lot to get up and go everyday, but it's really not that bad. It's weird to think about getting that much radiation to my body, even if it's just localized to one area... but I've mostly gotten past the weirdness.

So I go in and lay in a mold created for my upper torso. These green laser lights shine on my body like crosshairs, and the techs push and pull me to line the machine up with the two tiny tattoos on my chest. When it's perfect, they leave the room and talk to me through speakers. A screen in front of me shows my breathing patterns in the form of a wave, and when they tell me to I take a deep breath and hold it between two lines on the screen. That's when the magic happens, and it lasts 10-20 seconds each time. I get one zap from the right and two from the left. It's totally painless, but I'll get some skin irritation soon, like a super intense sunburn.

The first couple days of radiation really bummed me out just like the start of chemo did. Being in a new place getting normally toxic stuff done to my body that I don't totally understand, ugh. Looking around and seeing that I'm surrounded by people over twice my age, ugh. It feels like the other patients look at me like I'm out of place ... but maybe I'm just projecting? I feel I've mostly upbeat so far, with only a few "bad days" throughout this ordeal. I tend to feel like I'm selfish by feeling sorry for myself and wondering "Why me?" I try to remind myself that I have so many things to be grateful for. But sometimes it's really really hard to stay positive. I think I'm allowed those days. But still it kind of makes me feel bad in a different way like I'm being really ungrateful for the great things I do have. So maybe what I'm trying to say is ... maybe I haven't been honest with myself about how hard this has been to come to terms with??

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Miss Cat Party

I miss Cat Party terribly...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chemo is Finished!

I'm finally done with chemo!!!!! My last treatment was on April 23. Here I am celebrating the last 15 minutes of my last infusion:

After my last chemo I still felt pretty awful for a week, had my weekly migraine, etc. Miles and I managed to get away for a one-night mini-celebration in the woods. We had an awesome time! We drank rootbeer and orange soda floats in the jacuzzi bathtub, with a fire going. We ate steaks at the Buckeye, where our waitress asked us "gentleman" if we were ready to order, LOL. We took lots of PHOTOS for our polaroid memoirs album. We enjoyed lots of rejuvenating fresh air, sunshine, and trees. This is one of my favorite photos from the mini-trip, and this might now be my favorite spot in the Bay Area now:

So wowow, I am finally done with chemotherapy! Four and a half months! What a great feeling! My gross, ouchy rash is still hanging on, but getting slowly better. All of my fingernails are still red and purple and yellow, but they'll eventually get better. My head still looks like either a baby elephant, really old man, or Linus, but I'll have hair again soon. My energy level is still at 50%, but I'm hoping someday I'll be 100% again. Chemo was hard, but I'm happy I did it.

I now only have 1/3 left of my treatment plan. The last step is radiation, which starts in two weeks. I'll go in Monday thru Friday for four weeks, for a daily zap of radiation to my left breast. I've already done my planning appointment. They made a mold of my body so that I stay perfectly still each time. They also tattooed two tiny dots on my breast so they know precisely where to point the x-rays. My radiation oncologist is pretty great, we like him very much. I was nervous about radiation and was worried about long-term effects of that much radiation to my body... and he really sat down with us, took his time, and made us feel very comfortable with everything.

My parents were just here for three days, and it was great! I wish we weren't so far away from each other. Though three days went by quickly, we made the best of it. We adventured in Marin and Sonoma, and drove a backroad through redwoods and fog where we were the only people on earth. We had a three-way celebration at Outback in honor of end of chemo, my Dad's birthday, and Mother's Day. I forgive Outback for not having potato soup. We played lots of Liverpool Rummy. I love my parents so much, I'm so thankful to have such amazing and kind and loving parents!

So my treatment will be finally finished mid-June just in time for my 29th birthday. Then what? Then things go back to "normal"? To some extent, I suppose. I'm scared of a few particular things happening post-treatment. First, I'm nervous that since I won't be seeing doctors every week, I'll be constantly worried about the cancer coming back. I feel like I might worry incessantly about every little bump or pain or ache in my body. To overcome this, I feel like I need to become more in tune with my body to learn what warrants worry and what doesn't. But, in absence of any bumps, pains or aches, I'm nervous that I'll still worry myself sick with the "what if"s of a future recurrence or metastasis. To overcome that, I'll just need to try to be more mindful of the present, rather than worry about the future. I don't think that's impossible, just difficult. The last big thing I'm worried about is I'm afraid of settling back into pre-cancer "normal" life. I honestly don't want that back. Well, one thing I've lost is my feeling of carefree-ness. I would like to have that back, and I think the way to do it is through mindfulness. But that's not what I'm talking about. Cancer has changed me a lot. It's made me better at prioritizing life and the things in it. It's helped me not sweat the small stuff and has helped me to de-stress my life a lot ... stuff like traffic, petty work issues, inconsiderate people, paying for expensive haircuts, silly disagreements or arguments with Miles ... it's easy to avoid getting wrapped up in those things now and focus on more important stuff. I also see that work doesn't have to be "just work," and I'm interested in finding something I'm passionate about, and making it happen. Cancer has affected me positively in that I see life with clear eyes, and I'm grateful for that. I'm worried that after active treatment, it could be easy to slip back into old ways and feelings, and I don't want that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Bad, The Worst and The Annoying

I was unblinded in the clinical trial last Thursday and found out that I have been getting the Avastin. I hope this is a good thing. We're happy I ended up on it because the decision to do the trial was so difficult... once we made it, it would have been a bummer to find out I was on the placebo. I recently read a study that indicated Avastin in early-stage cancer might actually contribute to metastasis. But that was just one study. And really, what's worrying about it now going to do? ... I've already gotten a full course of it.

I cannot WAIT for Taxol to be done. Most people say that Taxol is more manageable than Adriamycin/Cytoxan... but it's been the opposite for me. AC put me in a haze for a whole week, but mostly I was just tired and I slept a lot, and sleeping was easy. I was fortunate to not have much nausea. On the other hand, Taxol started being miserable after the first 4 weeks, and it's gotten worse each week. I cringe at the thought that I still have to go through two more cycles...

The Bad: I cannot sleep, I have not gotten a solid night's sleep in many weeks. Before this I had never had any sleep problems, and maybe that makes it more frustrating for me now. Mainly it's the hot flashes that wake me up every couple hours. My typical sleep goes: wake up at 4 am, wake up at 6:30 am, wake up at 7:30 am, wake up at 8:30 am, etc. What is it about 6 to 8 a.m. that causes so many hot flashes???

The Worst: A few Thursday Taxol treatments in, I started having predictable headaches starting Saturday night or Sunday. I think they're migraines. They last 48 to 72 hours, I'm mildly nauseous the whole time, Tylenol and Advil don't do anything, Vicodin makes me vomit, my whole body aches, I can't sleep well enough to sleep through them, and so I usually just spend a couple days writhing around in bed. I finally started feeling decent just hours ago from this week's, which was a really bad one. :(

The Annoying: I have an allergic rash on my hands, arm and face. Most of my fingernails are getting brown and dying underneath & they're really tender so I can't do simple things like open a sodacan. My pinkie toenails are tender, so it hurts to walk around in shoes. My fingertips are a little numb all the time. Most food tastes like cardboard. Unless it's really spicy, in which case it completely burns my tongue... but I endure it, because I'd rather have tasty and painful over not having an appetite at all because there's no flavor. I keep getting a lesion in the corner where my lips meet. Every time I blow my nose it comes out bloody. I get hot flashes when I'm awake too. My eyelashes are starting to grow back and they're stubble right now, so each time I close my eyes they poke the other eyelid and it's annoying.

I know I'm being a total downer right now. I can't wait til chemo is over. There is a woman I deal with at work who apparently thinks this is a vacation for me, and it upsets me. When I talk to her on Wednesdays, she says "You're so lucky! You get to have a 4 day weekend while the rest of us have to work a couple more days!" The first time she said it, I balked and exclaimed that it was NOT a vacation, and reminded her that I'm having poisons put in my body. She laughed and said she was just trying to be lighthearted by teasing me. So I let it slide. Then the following Wednesday she said the exact same thing!!! Ugh!!

Only two more treatments, hooray! Then I get to see my parents for a couple days, I cannot wait! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How Many Biopsies Will I Have In My Life?

Only 3 more left! Last week's treatment itself went okay. I had developed a weird and gross rash on my right hand. The nurses were concerned and made me see a doc to make sure it was okay to do treatment, which got me a little worried. The nurses and onc both thought it was shingles, and then the onc mentioned something about viral meningitis, which really got me nervous, etc etc. In the end, they went forward with the treatment. Afterwards I saw a dermatologist, who told me it definitely wasn't shingles, and said he wasn't that worried so that was good. But he wanted a skin biopsy to analyze what it was. Now, I've obviously been through worse pain, but it was kind of funny because all of the sudden my hand was getting poked, cut up and stitched. Also, though I logically knew it was for a different reason ... it was hard to hear "biopsy" and not immediately think "CANCER!" for a split second. In the meantime, the rash has gotten a little better with topical cream, whew.

I think I've also figured out that the headaches I get every Sun/Mon are migraines. Who knew? Last week's was the worst - I spent 3 days in bed and barfed each day.

Next treatment I get unblinded and find out if I've been getting Avastin or not. Not really sure what I'm hoping for...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Only Four Mour!

I finished Taxol #8 yesterday, only four more to go!! I can't believe I am so close to finishing chemotherapy, it's been a long time. I've been bald for 3 months already, wow. We finally got around to taking some chemo photos.

How many more hours left?!

Here is where the needle goes into the port in my chest:

This is the opposite of how chemo normally makes me feel:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Voted Best Couple

Oh yeah... one of my awesome chemo nurses (John) told me and Miles: "The yearbook committee met, and you guys were voted cutest couple!" And a couple weeks prior a different awesome nurse pointed out this cute elderly couple who mentioned that they loved seeing the two of us together. Both very nice compliments that made me smile. :) I have blessed with a lucky and wonderful life!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Taxol #6 and #7 Done

I'm done with Taxols #6 and #7. I've been getting terrible headaches like clockwork on Sundays for a few weeks now, and they last for a couple days, ouch! Otherwise, I'm just glad to be heading down the homestretch right now... only 5 moar chemos!

Otherwise, I haven't been doing too much except sleeping off the headaches, working when I'm able to, spending time with the LOML, trying to be more mindful at online poker, petting Nutsy and Joseph, and drinking Sunkist floats. Despite the cancer and chemo right now ... I have a wonderful life!

Miles and I spent a really nice Saturday in Santa Cruz, hanging with his Dad and the dogs and the sunshine and the fresh air:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Taxol #4 and #5 Done

I completed Taxol #4 last week and Taxol #5 yesterday. The #4 infusion went awfully. I had an ocular migraine, and maybe a real migraine too? I felt like poop during the whole thing. And then the Sunday following infusion I felt sick & worse than I had in weeks. Luckily, yesterday's #5 was a breeze! I felt fine and dozed off at the end of it because of the Benadryl, but then I came home and didn't even need to nap (which was a first). Each chemo brings me one more week closer to being done!

Lately I have been in pretty good spirits. I spent a couple of weeks back constantly worrying about recurring to Stage IV even though I am just a Stage I right now. It's immensely scary to think that although my lymph nodes got the all-clear, that my cancer may have unleashed some cells into my bloodstream that could travel to any organ of my body and latch on and start growing. All without me knowing or anyone being able to detect them before it was too late! I mean, that is some seriously scary stuff. But what I have realized (and have to realize in order to stay sane) is that worrying does no good. First of all, stats say that this is an unlikely event for a Stage I. So if I worry and worry for the rest of my long life and nothing happens, I will have wasted a lot of time and energy on unnecessary negativity. And second of all, if it did happen, worrying right now would not prepare me for how to really deal with it. So it's easier said than done, but I just have to stop worrying about it. Not looking at the Metastatic forums on YSC is a good first step, LOL. YSC is a website called Young Survival Coalition, dedicated to bringing together us young gals with this cancer that normally affects women at a much later age. On one hand, the message boards have a ton of useful information and the women there are a great source of information and support. On the other hand, I have to remember that I'm going to read a lot of scary things on message boards, simply for the fact that someone going through problems/issues is more likely to post than someone who is all-clear, years out of diagnosis, doing great and no longer thinking about cancer. Sometimes it's hard to keep that in perspective.

Anyhow, cancer is scary. It has changed our life. My perspective on life and the things in it has completely topsy-turvied. Does it sound weird to say that I am very grateful for that? Once treatment is done, I hope that I'm able to move forward with my "new" life, and not let myself become paralyzed with fear of recurrence.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Vet

I'm taking Nutsy to the vet for an overdue checkup soon, and it's making me sad. I brought out Trigger's cat carrier for the first time since. Well, it's not specifically her carrier... but it had a piece of masking tape with her name on it from a long time ago, and I haven't used it for any of the other kitties in a while. So yeah, I guess it was her carrier. :( Nutsy came over and sniffed the carrier thoroughly. She clearly smelled Trigger, it was ve sad.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Halfway Thru Chemo

I'm halfway thru chemo, wheeee! Time has gone really fast, I think it's because the first 2 months of AC put me in a perma-fog. Now things are better. I had Taxol #3 yesterday, it was the best of my treatments so far. I got Benadryl pills instead of in the IV, so I didn't get all wonky. Also, the waiting room was empty so we got a chair quickly, and we got to sit in a private room in the back with the sun shining in. Miles and I played Gin Rummy and made-up card tricks, and the time went fast. Instead of finishing after 5 pm like we predicted, we got out of there around 3:30! And I even felt good enough to stop and eat lunch on the way home. I crashed for a few hours when we got home though, like usual.

I've been feeling pretty good lately. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Menopause Sucks!

The sample inhaler medication (Advair) that the pulmonologist gave me is scary and evil. Besides having some weird "black box warning label" and a huge list of awful side effects which he failed to mention... I can't sleep whatsoever when I take it. I took it for 3 days, and for 3 days I saw the sun come up. Unfortunately, it seemed to help my breathing, and now that I stopped taking it the shortness of breath is back. I'm not sure what to do. I hate doctors. Except for my beloved Dr. Awesome.

I'm also having menopausal hot flashes, mostly when I'm trying to sleep. Note to self: don't ever go into menopause because it sucks! There is a good chance that after I'm done with chemo and my body readjusts, my period will come back. I sure hope so. And if not, then well, at least we have the frozen embryos! Weird!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Eel-Cats and Turtle-Cats

I had Taxol #2 today. It went so-so. They gave me 50mg of Benadryl in my IV, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It made me feel so weird and loopy... I felt super drunk but even more. I couldn't speak and was afraid to drink water because I thought I would drop the cup. It was really weird and I didn't like it. But the Taxol itself went alright. I came home and slept for a few hours. Oh yeah, when we were leaving chemo, the nurse told us that an older couple commented to her that they saw Miles and I in the waiting room and thought we were such a vibrant young couple so much in love. Aww, that was really nice to hear.

Last night I had a bizarre dream. There was a fishtank in my brother's room with a giant yellow eel. The eel started came out of the water and morphed into a sopping wet cat. It ran out of the room and went to prowl the house. A few minutes later it came over and jumped in my lap and started purring. I thought it was Trigger come back to me and started talking to it, and soon realized it was definitely not Trigger. Then it was hanging out on the bed with me and Joseph. Joseph did a little somersault and the weird cat copied him, and then morphed into Joseph-color. I pet it some more and discovered a zipper on its back. I unzipped the cat and it just had pillow stuffing inside. In the meantime, my Mom had called The Wall Street Journal to do a story about the cat. Then all of the sudden Trigger was on the bed with us as well. She locked eyes with me and looked so sad. I started crying and told her I missed her so much, but that she didn't belong here anymore and that she needed to go back even though I didn't want her to. We talked for a while, and then she was gone. The Wall Street Journal showed up, but zipper cat had disappeared. The end. I know it's boring to read other people's dreams, so mostly this is for my benefit so I'll remember this awesome dream.

During my chemo nap I also had a weird dream. I was at a dinner party and we were playing a game. I correctly figured out that the poker hand of 9s full of 10s represented The Cure's "Pictures of You." I know, it doesn't make any sense.

I also uploaded some PHOTOS from my camera today.

Here is the cat party that happened the day before Trigger passed. I'm glad all three got to spend a little last cuddle time together:

Me on the plane with a nasty cold. Miles made me wear a facemask so I didn't get even sicker:

Steak & chicken tenders in-room dining!

After I woke up from my chemo nap I was still kind of loopy and had this bright idea:

I like this one a lot:

My bald head:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Today I saw a lung specialist to see why I'm having such awful bouts of shortness of breath. Because it's so sporadic, he thinks I may have asthma. Awesome, more health problems! Just kidding. If it really is asthma I'm thankful because there are so many worse things I envisioned causing it. But still... asthma? That was weird to hear. So he gave me a couple of inhalers to try for two weeks to see if they help my attacks. I'm very glad someone's finally trying to do something about it, because my oncologist has been so unhelpful.

I've been complaining a lot lately, so I'd like to talk about something nice: what an awesome, caring, handsome, funny, and understanding husband (+ best friend/LOML/caretaker) I have! Even though it's been a few months, it's still so new to say "husband," I love it! Miles has always been an amazing dude, and so clearly the one for me. But since my diagnosis he's really gone above and beyond as the most caring husband ever. He hangs out with me during my long hours in the chemo chair. He preemptively plans his schedule to make sure he's there if he thinks I might be feeling ill or needing him. He makes me awesome healthy smoothies in the morning. He cheers me up when I make the mistake of reading the "Rememberance Board" on YSC. He brightens up my miserable work days with a LOML text. Remember when I used to count the number of days in a row we'd been together (because after our first date we never spent a day apart)? Well, it's been four years now!!! And I'm still thanking my lucky stars! I love, lurve, luff, luv you, Miles, you are the LOML!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

So Sick and Tired

I'm sick and tired. I've had a full-blown cold for 2 weeks now. It feels like it's finally (hopefully?) easing up a little bit. It just sucks that my body isn't able to fight it off like normal. Just another great benefit of chemo! Just kidding. Chemo is hard, but I know it's doing wonders for my "long-run," which is what really matters. I don't really have much to say. Just plugging away, trying to keep my energy and spirits up. Trying to wear the Buddha half-smile, which helps.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chemo #5 Done

This morning was Chemo Round #5. I started Taxol today. It took forever -- they had to pump me full of pre-meds, and the Taxol itself had to go in slowly because of potential allergic reactions. All in all though, I feel better post-Taxol than I felt post-AC. I came home and slept for a few hours, and I'm still thoroughly wiped out. But I don't feel the fogginess that came with AC, I'm very thankful for this. Taxol may still give me some new side effects... but we'll see.

My Taxol treatment will be weekly for the next 12 weeks. Knowing that we wouldn't really be able to make plans and go anywhere for the next 12 weeks, Miles and I got away for a couple days right before Taxol. It was not a good idea. I was sick with a cold or something, and with my weak immune system I just got sicker while we were away. Luckily I feel like I'm slowly on the mend now. And still, it was nice to get away from the daily cancer/treatment grind for a short time.

It's hard not to get depressed every now and then. I read stories about Stage 1 girls who suddenly metastasize to Stage 4 because their cancer spread undetected through the bloodstream. It's definitely scary. I have to continuously tell myself that worrying about it does me absolutely no good. Miles makes a good point when he reminds me that worrying about it now will certainly not prepare me for it if it ever were to happen, and if it never happens I will just have wasted that time worrying. I also have to remember that for every devastating cancer story, there is an equally uplifting cancer survival story. I also have to remember that there are so many things that we do have to be thankful for right now. The fact that it hadn't spread to my lymph nodes. The fact that my tumor was relatively small, less than 2 cm. The fact that I'm officially Stage 1 right now. The fact that my lumpectomy got clear margins, meaning they effectively removed the entire cancerous tumor. The fact that chemo has a very high chance of eliminating anything remaining or anything potentially dangerous to me in the future. The fact that radiation will increase my chances as well by obliterating any microscopic bits that may (but likely not) remain in my breast. The fact that I've found the love of my life, and he stands beside me every second of this little life hiccup. There are so countless things to be thankful for. Still, I guess it's only human that I occasionally freak-out and worry. I will certainly benefit from learning how to better live in the moment, which is something I'm striving for.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeling Foggy

I'm finally coming out of the chemo fog from my last Thursday's treatment. I can't believe I've already been doing chemo for 1.5 months, it seems like time has gone by really fast but has been generally meaningless. A lot of feeling under-par and not fully able to enjoy any free time I've had. There's been a lot of sleeping and a lot of watching The Wire. I'll start Taxol at my next treatment, and hopefully that will be easier on my body and constitution, I guess we'll see...

I've been putting off picking up Trigger's remains for a while, but today Miles and I finally went to bring what's left of her former vessel home. It made me very sad and happy at the same time. I can't believe it's been 3 weeks without her. What an awesome kitty cat she was -- the best.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chemo #4 Done

Yay, Chemo #4 is done! That was my last round of AC. Now after a two-week rest, it will be on to Taxol weekly for 12 weeks. Today's AC infusion went much better than the last. They gave me Benadryl, Ativan and Tylenol before they even started my drugs... and that mostly just knocked me out. No allergic reaction, no immediate nausea. I am so thankful. Then I came home and slept for 5 hours right away.

Lately the worst for me has been shortness of breath that constantly comes and goes. Sometimes it's so bad that I start to panic because I can't breathe, and sometimes when it's particularly bad at night I can't sleep until I've downed a bunch of liquid mentholated cold medicine. My onc was not very helpful today in talking about it, and instead just referred me to see a lung specialist to make sure my lungs are functioning normally. Hopefully everything is okay. My clinical trial guy thinks it might be a side effect of Avastin, if it turns out I'm on it. All I hope is that the lung problems go away as soon as chemo is done.

My dad was here for a couple of days, that was really awesome. Then he and my mom drove back to Texas. It is weird not having my mom in town, she was such a vital part of "my team," but now that things are in sort of a groove & we're not out in the unknown anymore, it's alright.

It's been 2.5 weeks since Trigger. It's getting easier, but not a day goes by that I don't think about her. When I come home and walk through the dark hallway, I almost miss having to look for stray poops to avoid, and it makes me sad. I hope wherever she is, she knows I miss and love her dearly. I think she does...

Friday, January 16, 2009

No Title

Chemo #3 has been the worst so far. It's 8 days later, and I'm still completely fatigued. I had whole body aches from the Neulasta for a couple days, and I think the Neulasta is also causing shortness of breath which always seems to get worse at night. I'm also having a bad bout of insomnia, which obviously doesn't help with the fatigue. Overall I just feel pretty crappy and useless, and I've had instances of "chemo brain" as well. I'm looking forward to next Thursday being my 4th and last round of AC.

Last night I dreamed about Trigger for the first time. She came walking towards me and I noticed that her eyes were all messed up -- they looked cloudy, with cataracts, and bloody. I started freaking out, and then saw that one of her front paws was bloody and limping. Then I suddenly remembered that Trigger was dead and realized it was just a dream. But I stayed in the dream, and her eyes and paw were then fine. And I hugged and kissed and petted and loved her, and spent some time with Trigger, and told her how much I missed her. It was really nice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chemo #3 Done

As much as I want to keep my 100 Trigger Things at the top of my blog, I guess I should keep blogging about cancer stuff since that's what I started for. Day by day it's getting a tiny bit easier without Trigger, but I continue to miss her so much. I love reading over the 100+ things I wrote, I love remembering all the little things that I'm afraid of forgetting...

Yesterday I had Chemo Round #3. The actual infusion went the worst of them all so far. I got the weird ocular migraine from the Decadron, and it lasted about 15 minutes. It kind of looks like this, only more sparkly and shimmering:

Then I got my Avastin (or placebo). Then came the Cytoxan, which gave me a really gnarly sinus headache. Last came my Adriamycin push. About halfway through I started feeling super nauseous, and the nurse also suddenly stopped pushing because she noticed some red spots appearing on my forehead. She said she'd only ever seen an allergic reaction to Adriamycin once before, so she was a little worried. She stopped and gave me a Benadryl and Lorazepam. Those helped my allergic reactions, but not the nauseousness. After about 30 minutes of feeling like barfing, it finally subsided a little, so she finished off the rest of the drug. I finally went home, ate some food, and went to bed for 18 hours.

Oh, and my pleurisy finally, finally went away on it's own. My oncologist thinks it may have happened as a bad reaction to Neulasta, which is a drug I inject myself with the day after chemo that is supposed to boost my white blood cells. I am about to give myself this round's Neulasta injection in about 5 minutes. I'm nervous that it will cause the pleurisy again, but here goes, I guess...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

100 Things I Love About Trigger

Here is a list of awesome memories and things I will miss about Trigger:

1. Our awesome cuddle and talking session the night before she passed.
2. How comfortable and content she seemed as she passed.
3. How she pawed at her food bowl to get a piece of food to flip into her water bowl.
4. How she sat in front of her water bowl for an hour alternately staring at and licking at the piece of food she managed to put in it.
5. How she flopped in front of heater until she got too hot, then walked over to the middle of the living room and flopped down with her paws stretched out.
6. How she laid against my chest long-ways so I could scratch her belly.
7. How eager and anticipatory she stepped around as I got into bed, waiting for me to settle down so she could climb on my chest.
8. How she climbed up and laid on my chest facing me within seconds of me laying down for bed.
9. How she barked for food.
10. How she barked back at me everytime I blew on the top of her head.
11. How she cringed everytime my mom said "bad girl" to her.
12. How she head-butted my face when I was giving her pets.
13. How her belly swung back and forth when she ran to me back in her heavy days.
14. How she started purring if her eyes locked in with mine.
15. How she hesitated at the edge of the bathroom because she knew the linoleum would be cold on her paws, but would come in anyways to hang out with me.
16. How grumpy she was to all the vet assistants, yet they loved her anyways.
17. How she curled up in a ball in deep sleep and covered her eyes with her paws.
18. How she tolerated Dumbjoseph's company.
19. How she was always the dominant one everytime Nutsy or Dumbjoseph picked a fight with her.
20. How she always stole the fabric softener sheet when I came home with clean laundry.
21. How she always laid on top of the clean clothes after I took the fabric softener away from her.
22. How she always wanted pets but never demanded them.
23. How she ran into the bedroom in the middle of the night with the aluminum ball in her mouth meowing out of control, then hopped up on the bed for congratulatory pets.
24. How she loved to drink water from the bathroom sink.
25. How she sat on the bathroom sink while I brushed my teeth even though she hated the smell of toothpaste.
26. How she closed her eyes and cringed when I pet her head while brushing my teeth, but would endure it because she wanted pets.
27. How she let me rest my head on her belly to listen to her purrs.
28. How she flipped over dramatically during head pets in order to get her belly rubbed.
29. How she always came to me when I was feeling bad because she could tell.
30. How she took back the recliner as "her spot" after a year of letting Dumbjoseph have it.
31. How she came running from anywhere in the house when she heard me tapping the top of the cat food can.
How she head-butted my face when I was giving her pets. (This one deserved a 2nd mention.)
33. How she lifted her head to greet my mouth when I leaned down to kiss her.
34. How she always spit out the water we tried to give her during medicine time.
35. How she buried her head in my arm every time we were at the vet (except the last time).
36. How she greeted me at the door when I came home.
37. How she and Nutsy would have lick sessions that always ended in a fight.
38. How she growled at Dumbjoseph every time he tried to straddle her.
39. How she peered over the side of the bathtub to say hello when I was taking a bath.
40. How she sat on the toilet or the sink during my showers.
41. How she sat patiently on the floor by the bed waiting for me to wake up and feed her.
42. How she liked it when I pet her in "basketball head" style.
43. How she was curious about what was outside the front door, but never tried to venture out because she knew she wasn't supposed to.
44. How sometimes when she brought the aluminum foil ball, she would fetch five times in a row til she got tired and flopped down.
45. How she liked being patted (not petted) hard on the butt.
46. How she
stuck her butt up in the air for more pats or pets.
47. How quickly she welcomed Miles as her other beloved human.
48. How she loved all kinds of orange junk food (Doritos, Cheetos, etc.)
49. How she loved fronch fries.
50. How brazen she became in her grandma years about stealing fronch fries from my plate.
51. How I heard her purr particularly louder when I spoke lovingly to her.
52. How she patiently let me take her IV bandages off her paw (even though I saw her nip at one of the nurses who tried).
53. How she looks like a turkey in the lion-cut picture I have of her.
54. How she always managed to find the patch of sunshine on the floor.
55. How I always knew what her multitude of meows meant.
56. How she was the sweetest creature I will ever know.
57. How her second favorite spot was the nook of my lap, with both of her paws stretched out over it.
58. How she had this habit of looking down and away when I wanted to take a photo of her.
59. How dirty her butt got in her heavy days when she couldn't reach it to clean it.
60. How clean her butt got in her later days when she could reach it again.
61. How good of a mother she would have been if given the chance.
62. How she was a "rare" female all-orange tabby.
63. How she loved the plush brown blanket, and liked it when I wrapped it around her.
64. How she stepped tentatively on the bathroom sink when there were puddles of water.
65. How she was never the snuggler with Nutsy or Dumbjoseph, but always the happy snugglee.
66. How she used to lay so cute with her paws stretched out underneath my radiator in the studio apartment.
67. How much she loved getting combed with the flea comb.
68. How she always came to see mama when I called her.
69. How for a long time she calmly came to get her subQ injections like she knew it was helping her.
70. How she squinted her sleepy eyes, but still tried to look up at us when we came in the back door and turned on the light when she'd been sleeping on the bed.
71. How she had some white whiskers and some black whiskers.
72. How soft her fur got when she was hydrated after giving her subQ fluids.
73. How some of her little kitty nipples had dark spots on them.
74. How big and expressive her beautiful eyes were.
75. How as she got older she got dark pigment spots on her gums.
76. How she mysteriously broke her tail but somehow retained movement in it without pain.
77. How she loved it when I scratched her chest.
78. How I could get her to flip over and give me her belly when I started scratching underneath her.
79. The little orange stripes on her forehead.
80. How she weighed a whopping 17 pounds at her heaviest, and how sad it was when she was down to 6 pounds at her sickest.
81. How she ran away in fear if I picked up a chair to move it.
82. How she taught Dumbjoseph to speak.
83. How before she passed on, she told Dumbjoseph he needed to be more of a lapcat.
84. How cute but sad her two little shaved IV paws were towards the end.
85. How she couldn't quite get her bearings inside the cat carrier when the cone was on her head.
86. How excited she was to see my mom and I when we visited her in the incubator the first time she got sick and stayed overnight.
87. How much she loved Miles and I with all her little girl heart.
88. How I had to request the groomers to "panty shave" her behind when she was heavy.
89. How disapproving of Dumbjoseph she was to start, which eventually turned into a grumpy grandma tolerance of a boisterous teenager.
90. How I could hear her purring from far away sometimes.
91. How she and her sister started as kittens in a country home in Texas before I brought them home.
92. How kitty-drunk she was on sedatives their first night in California after flying from Texas.
93. How she nommed my finger sometimes when Miles gave her intense butt scratches.
94. How she nommed and made weird chewing sounds for no reason sometimes, while staring off into space.
95. How she loved shoes, especially brand new ones or really dirty ones.
96. How she trusted me 100% of the time.
97. How cute she looked when she closed her eyes and looked so content when I scratched under her chin.
98. How she loved getting scratched under her paws where she couldn't reach.
99. How the tips of her ears got rough and scratchy as she got older.
99a. How she rubbed her cheeks on the edge of small fry laptop.
99b. How she loved laying on remote controls and cellphones.
99c. How she lazily chomped at a dangling piece of string without lifting a paw.
99d. How much she loved chicken flavor baby food when she was sick.
99e. How she loved curling up on the couch in the free spot between me and Miles.
99f. How she used to always get excited when I crumpled up a new foil ball before it became Dumbjoseph's thing.
99g. How she passed on to Dumbjoseph that he should hang out in the bathroom during my shower.
99h. How she let Nutsy drape her limbs over her during cuddle time.
99i. How much she meant to Nutsy because I can tell Nutsy is looking for her and sad now.
99j. How eagerly and ruthlessly she nommed up all the kitty treats.
99k. How sometimes she just sat in front of my face while I played poker on desktop, not in the way or anything, just sat there while I absent-mindedly nuzzled her.
99l. How she and Nutsy had an anxiety-laden meow exchange when I was giving Trigger her last bath.
99m. The intense feeling of her nuzzling my hand while I was meditating that one time.
100. How she was the awesomest, most gentle, sweetest, most understanding, cutest, and most darling kitty I will ever know. No kitty could ever replace her, and I will remember Trigger forever.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Bond With Trigger

I have a special bond with Trigger that I don't necessarily have with my other cats. Sometimes we just laid and stared at each other, communicating warmth just between our eyes. It may sound dumb to some people, but I always knew that I knew her in a deeper way, like she was an ancient friend that I'd known for longer than her time.

The last month of her life she fought so hard to stay alive. Her red blood cell count was repeatedly down to 5%, when the vets were telling us that as low as 10% was "incompatible with life." Her energy level that last month was probably only at 50%, so her quality of life was probably only at half. She didn't move around much and spent most of her time laying on the couch or the bed with us, sleeping or purring. But she didn't run around, she didn't play with Dumbjoseph, she didn't run into the bedroom in the middle of the night with her aluminum foil ball in her mouth meowing like crazy, and she didn't jump up to the sink to hang out with me when I brushed my teeth.

The night before her passing, she was laying comfy on her favorite blanket on the couch and was really responsive to me for the first time in a while. I laid down with her and we talked for twenty minutes. It was such a meaningful bit of time and I will cherish it forever. I spoke to her and she spoke back to me with her eyes. I told her how much I loved her and told her I knew how hard she's been fighting to stay alive. I told her I wished she could stay with me forever, and that I knew she wished she could too. But I also told her I knew she was tired, and that she didn't have to stick around for me if she was tired of fighting. I told her that if her body could no longer go on, that I understood and wouldn't love her any less and instead would love her forever no matter what. We really bonded that night, and I will never forget it. I am so thankful we got to share that time together. I covered her with her favorite blanket and left her purring on the couch that night.

The next morning I woke up to find her a complete mess. She had puked and peed on the couch, and pooped on the floor and there was blood in it. She was dirty and curled up on the floor -- motionless and completely unresponsive. That was the first time she'd ever gotten sick on the couch, always before she'd had the strength to jump down to the floor first. I knew this time was bad. I believe in my heart that she & I understood each other the night before, and this next day she was telling me it was time to go.

It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But in the end, I don't think it could have been any more perfect or beautiful. When it happened, we didn't feel any fear or tension from her. Instead, she purred right up to the last second, and died with her head cradled in my hand. I couldn't have asked for anything more than to make her feel comfortable and loved during that instant. I miss her so much, and I'm sure she misses me. But I believe that our bond remains, and that I'll always be connected to her energy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Love You, Trigger...

Today Miles and I had to say goodbye to the kitty cat love of my life, Trigger. I've had her since she was a kitten in 1996. She spent her last moments laying across both of our laps, purring. As she passed, she had her head laying cradled in my hand, and through our loving pets she showed no fear or nervousness. It was all I could have hoped for for her.

I already miss her so much. Here is a photo tribute to her:

I love you so much, little girl. I will always remember you. Goodbye, sweetheart Trigger.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! An unexpected gift I received this year was pleurisy! An infection of the membrane surrounding my lungs, alright, just what I wanted! At least now I know what this shooting pain in my shoulder/neck is. The question now is how do I get rid of it?! My surgeon and oncologist have been trying to figure out what the underlying cause is. I've had a chest x-ray and a CT-angiogram. The chest x-ray looked normal, which ruled out any lung puncture or pneumonia (maybe?). I'm still waiting to hear back about the angiogram, but I'm hoping that no news is good news for any blood clots in my lungs. At this point I don't really care what is causing it, I just want it to stop. Unfortunately, treating it is a matter of treating the underlying cause, so I am still back to square one...

My hair is done falling out for now, and it's finally uniform. There are some hanger-ons all over, so now I look like a fuzzy elephant more than a serious cancer patient. I happily discovered most of my underarm hair is gone.