Monday, October 25, 2010

My State of Mind These Last Few Days

How am I feeling these days? In a word - happy. In love with life!

When I look back at the last few months, I see just how much my physical symptoms and side effects impacted my sense of well-being.

First, beginning around my birthday in July, I had an "inflammatory flare" in my left armpit due to the t-cell infusions and Herceptin. This inflammation caused a lot of pain and I ended up on pain pills for several weeks. So, I either felt pain, or some slight nausea and dizziness and fatigue from the pain meds.

Then, I had withdrawal symptoms from the pain meds - about late August.

Then, I ended up with an open skin wound. Got the news of disease progression and discussions with doctors about next steps. The whole area is still swollen and somewhat painful, not as bad as in July/August.

Then, I ended up with an infection in the wound and it started to grow. Fever, chills, and/or nausea/fatigue from the antibiotics. That was late September into early October. More discussions about what was going on - worry that I'd be hospitalized, worried if I should start treatment while still fighting an infection, placement of the P.A.S. port, starting a new treatment, learning about side effects.

Whew. A LOT was going on. In one sense, it was like I was a ball in a pinball machine, bouncing from one symptom and side effect to the next.

But now? Now, I am settling into a kind of routine again. Side effects are predictable. Side effects are doable - just fatigue and hair loss. My work is going well - when I'm there. I have a plan of sorts. I know what will happen in the next few months. There's evidence that the treatment is working. Mount Herminator is now a witch's cauldron. I don't have to lift my arm up constantly anymore. I can sleep on my left side again.

My heart, my soul, my mind - all feel lighter; I feel happier. A big weight has lifted. I guess because for the first time since I found out that the cancer had gone into my left lung 18 months ago, I am finally responding to treatment (t-cell therapy combined with Abraxane).

I wish to give a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me over the past six or so months. From my family who takes care of me daily, to my chauffeurs to Seattle and in Seattle, to the people who donated funds so I can make the trips, to my medical team who takes care of me, to my friends who keep me amused and entertained, to all the many people who keep me in their thoughts, prayers, who send me blessings and positive energy and little gifts. Thank you all! I have a huge wonderful support system and I can't thank you enough. Because, you see, you help me. I am doing so well because of you.

Cancer's on the run, baby. Time to celebrate!


Shannon said...

I think, Deanna, that because of the positive attitude and strength that "glows" from you,...we, your friends and community are able to try and match that. I, for one, am blessed to be part of this process. We all have our own stories, battles "herminators"....but it is only in the face of seeing such an amazing and powerful person battle and win, that we are able to counter our own evils and move on. Keep up the good work, lean on us when you need to, share your journey and live life as it should be lived...with joy and courage!

Dee said...

Hi Shannon,
You are too sweet. I am glad you are part of my life . . . And if I need help, I will surely let you know! Thank you!

Joanna said...

If I went back and looked through all your old posts during your last few challenging months, I'll bet I would never read one word of self pity. You are an amazingly strong person and I admire you very much. I am so glad that things are getting better.

Dee said...

Hi Joanna, Well, I think yu might be right. I may not have had much self-pity, but there was certainly a lot of worry and uncertainty and confusion and pain . . . it is nice to be in a place where I'm happy! : )