Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 129 - late night blogging

 I confess; I was just about to jump in bed when I realized I hadn't blogged yet today. My public awaits! I postponed bed to update you because today was an interesting day.

The morning was occupied largely with reading of "Beautiful Swimmers" a book about "Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay." One of the volunteers here gave it to me and the Chesapeake Bay has been important to lots of people who are important to me so I thought I'd better read it. I've also been reading "What have you lost?" a book of poems. In the first section, people seemed to have lost their younger selves. In the second section, people seem to have lost their countries of origin. People who have lost their countries of origin are not so relentless about balancing up what they've lost and recovered as the people who wrote primarily about lost youth. It is unclear to me what this might mean. We'll see what people lose next.

As for activities, last night was not my favorite night. I like to go to be at 8:30 or so and at 8:15 my nurse came in and asked if anyone had told me I was moving rooms. I said, "Yes, you just did about two seconds ago." When I came, the nurses kindly put me in the biggest room, but evidently there was a very large patient whose need for the largest room (and the largest bathroom--it makes me tear up to think how nice it was) was greater than mine. The patient who was in the room prior to me discharged at 8 pm and housekeeping could not get the room done until 10:30. I could not stay up until 10:30 so the nurses rolled me into my new room and carried all my stuff in for me. It was very sweet and silly. Then at 0230, my stomach which had not been the happiest for about a week (won't go into TMI details) thought it would take this opportunity to start barfing. I had declined (as I always do) any anti-barf meds (technically called anti-emetics) because I don't (ahem, didn't) need them and they give such unpleasant side effects sometimes. I declined them again at 0230 because I felt pretty good after barfing. Then about thirty minutes later, I started again. This time I accepted the meds. I don't really know if I needed them or not, but I was not interested in more barfing. I had more chemo this morning with no problems and no anti-emetics so that is good, maybe it's all settled out. I hope so for sure! It's funny because my main emotion when I was barfing was that I was really mad because I had made it through way more than half of treatment without any barfing and now! I was starting. I think it was a combination of pre-chemo stomach virus or something, mushrooms for dinner and chemo.

The interesting thing for me, however, was that about twenty minutes after I barfed the second time, my nurse came in with zofran and my eyedrops (which have to be given every six hours; could they please be more inconvenient?) I really really didn't want to do my eyedrops; it felt like such an imposition. I recognized this in the light of morning as a little excessive, and even at the time I was able to reason myself to there is no better time than now to do it, just do it, but it took a lot of concentration on my part not to whine. However, my eyes are still beautifully white (the cytarabine gives people a similar rash on their conjunctivae to what it did to my stomach. Remember that?) so they are doing their job--onerous as they are. It was just really interesting; after barfing and being messed with once I didn't want the eyedrops. I occurred to me just this second that I wonder if I would have responded better to eyedrops first (maybe because I had the strength in me for one intervention) and then zofran (because that was the intervention I wanted). Hmmm. Might be an applicable thought in other areas of my life, too.

After barfing, eyedrops, zofran and then morning sudoku, general goofing around and Beautiful Swimmer, Eva came to visit me. We went for a 2 mile walk and I noticed that going uphill while chatting was doing me in more than going uphill while not chatting did the day before when I walked alone. (My hgb is still only 9.6--a little low.) At first, I was puzzled about why Eva was stopped at the tops of little hills and seemed to be waiting for me to walk down first, then I figured out that she was being very tactful because I was breathing hard.

Stefan, Terry and I had talked the other night about anxiety in cancer survivors and I wondered if there were studies of meditation in anxiety reduction among cancer survivors and there were some. My assessment is that the older ones are not that great and don't show a difference, but the newer ones are better conducted and seem to be somewhat positive for the few limited cancers that have been studied. It is very hard to believe that learning to meditate and practicing meditation would not decrease anxiety in cancer survivors (or really almost anyone). I would love to see the Norris Cotton offering meditation courses. Another modality I know nothing about that seems to have some positive results is called "mindful movement."

After that, it was time for bed and I'll likely be asleep by 9:00. Not too bad.

For me, tomorrow I'll hope for improved GI function. For you, whichever bodily system is giving you the most troubles, I hope improves a bit tomorrow. If you are so lucky that none of your systems is troubling you, I will hope that are able to appreciate tomorrow just how lucky you are. Maybe you already appreciate how lucky you are that you have a perfectly functioning body? I am not sure what I might hope for you for tomorrow. A really good cup of coffee?

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