Last of the toxic waste dump days–hopefully

The past two days I think have been the worst of my bad days.  Thank God that was the last of my AC treatments.  I feel like death warmed over.  I start Taxol in two weeks.  I’ll have 12 weeks of that, but my doctor and nurses said the AC is supposed to be the worst of it so I’m hoping the Taxol will be smoother sailing.

Decoding Annie Parker – Austin Premiere, Tuesday, Sept. 3rd from 6:30-9:30p, The Marchesa Hall & Theatre


Click here to purchase tickets:

The Austin Premiere of Decoding Annie Parker brought to you by the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas.  This inspirational and informative evening will include a cocktail reception and Q&A panel discussion with the film’s screenwriter and director, Steve Bernstein.


Based on true events, this irreverent and heartwarming film tells the story of two women demonstrating extreme bravery as they individually challenge established beliefs about breast cancer.  Annie Parker (Samantha Morton) is on intimate terms with the disease, having watched both her mother and sister succumb to it. When she herself is diagnosed and believing her disease is hereditary, she struggles to hold her family together while displaying remarkable will and spirit in the face of immeasurable odds.  The film is also the story of Dr. Mary-Claire King, played by Helen Hunt, the Berkeley-based geneticist who struggled for funding and support from disbelieving colleagues until her discovery of the BRCA1 gene and its link to hereditary breast cancer forever changed the understanding of the disease.  Director Steven Bernstein’s feature film deftly balances the seriousness of the situation with an all-too-human response – unpredictable demonstrations of grace and unexpected expressions of humor and wit even during the darkest of experiences.  Featuring stellar performances by Morton, Hunt, and an outstanding supporting cast (Aaron Paul, Rashida Jones, Richard Schriff, Bradley Whitford, and Maggie Grace), Decoding Annie Parker pays tribute to one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century and the people forever changed in its wake.

Last of the AC and the dead armadillo

Today is my last treatment of Adriamycin + Cytoxan.  Yay!  I have another excellent nurse, Pat.  However, it’s been super busy today at TxOnc so I’ve been here most of the day (since 9:30a and it’s now almost 2:00p.  Still have another hour at least).  Will likely go home and crash from here.  I’ll return in two weeks to start 12 weeks of Taxol.

In other news, I found a dead armadillo in my backyard this morning.  Had my dogs killed it?  Had they been playing with its dead carcass?  Did they eat any of it?  It was way to gross to examine more thoroughly, the flies were swarming and it had such a non-lovely smell to boot.  I tossed it over the fence with a shovel, but it was still kinda freaking me out so I called my vet’s office.  They said they didn’t think I had anything to worry about.  Rabbies?  Leprosy?  No.  If my dogs killed it, it was probably a good thing.  They said it likely dug under the fence somewhere and that an armadillo will tear up your yard.  Not that my dogs hadn’t already done a good job of that.  They said my pups should be fine.  Oh good, so they won’t turn into killer, zombie dogs?  What a relief! :-)

Come to think of it, the other night both Mo and Greta came in a little worse for wear.  Greta with scrapes above and below her right eye and Mo with a small, bloody spot on his side.  Oh, right.  Yes, I’m having a flashing lightbulb over head moment.  I thought maybe they had just played too rough.

Now it all makes sense.  My beasts are sweethearts, but I wouldn’t put killing an armadillo past them.  One day I came home and Mo was playing with a dead squirrel.  Another time Greta tried to tear the gutter drain off the side of the house to get to a trapped squirrel.  She succeeded but the squirrel got away.

They love to torment the squirrels.  The squirrels probably torment them too–Devious, little suckers.  One squirrel got stuck on the very tip top of one of my cedar trees screaming its head off until I called them to come inside.  Guess that squirrel’s plan backfired.  Greta was already half way up the tree.

Another time they killed a harmless tarantula.  I tried to stop them but it was too late.  I gently picked it up and the poor thing was still twitching, and then it died.


Made it through another strong workout last night at the YMCA.  Another woman in the class stated to me how astonished she was that I was taking the fitness class while going through chemo treatments, let alone functioning at a “normal” level.  She stated she was in the hospital virtually bedridden during her chemo (3 months worth).  She had another type of cancer though.  Not to say the chemo I’m on isn’t intense (it is), but I don’t know what chemo she was prescribed.  As I stated, I certainly do have my bad days; however, I do seem to be fairing better than most.

I’m told the chemos I’m on are traditional standards.  My doctors and nurses are thrilled at my lack of side effects (so far) and even more so that all my blood work is better than to be expected.  My dentist was even impressed that I had no de-mineralization, mouth sores or gum problems (aside from the normal wear and tear of aging).  He has been setting appts to follow me through treatment.  Even prescribed an oral rinse in the event of mouth sores.  He rocks!  I’ve been going to Chimney Corners Dentistry (Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Lindley) since I was a teenager.  When you find a good dentist (or dentists in my case), hair stylist and/or PCP, you hold on to them!

I really didn’t feel up to going to the fitness class yesterday afternoon, but I gathered a second wind and decided I needed to do it after communicating with several PRCowgirls who provided much needed feedback and support.  I’m trying to refocus so I can push myself over the hurddles and make it to my goal of surgery at year-end.  This is a difficult task as I need to be under a certain BMI to have the recon procedure I want and right now I’m no where close to that.

You’ll notice I’ve added a number of inspirational quotes to the sidebar of my blog.  They are personal reminders to support me in my “fight” but feel free to peruse.

I’m currently still struggling with my diet and fitness commitments, but I’ve made MAJOR changes so far and will continue to do so!  I’ve decided I need to praise myself for the simple fact I’m doing all this through chemo.  That is a feat in itself!  As I told the woman last night, it does really help though, mentally and physically.

I will persevere!

A newly found friend from Pink Ribbon Cowgirls just sent me this awesome quote that she said helped her through chemo:

                 “I am responsible.  Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening,
                 I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life.
                 Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life.
                 I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can
                 choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself.”
                                    ~ Walter Anderson

Perfect timing as I’ve been having very emotionally heavy days lately.  I feel like I need to tattoo this on my forearm or something–or not.  Maybe I’ll just add it to the sidebar of this blog. ;-)  

As Bridget Jones would say, “I will persevere!”