Monday, March 11, 2013

Week 2

So lots has been going on-getting ready for time off work, getting my hair bleached blonde, trying to recover from chemo #1. I was feeling pretty cruddy the first week after chemo-it seems to have hit a lot harder & faster this time. It could be the different chemo I'm having this time. Regardless, if every time is like that, I don't expect I'll be doing much of anything for the first week afterwards. But the good news is that I won't be working for most of the time! This is my last week at work until probably July.
And my hair has already started falling out. I don't think it's much faster than last time, but I'm definitely going to shave it earlier. My scalp is already hurting, and I don't want to get to the point where I can't sleep (hopefully I'm not already at that point tonight!). So tomorrow I'm planning on going over to my hairdresser's & getting it shaved. It's too bad, bc I really liked the blonde! Ah well.
I'll try to update more while I'm off work! Let me know if you want to do lunch or a movie-especially during regular business hours!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Second verse, same as the first

So here we are again. For those of you who aren't in the know (and I apologize if I haven't been able to reach out to you, individually), my cancer's back a little bit. This has all come up pretty quickly, so that's part of why I haven't reached out & emailed everyone.

So last year, I felt a lump right above my collarbone on the left (same side I had the cancer on - get your lumps checked, people!). Went to my primary care doctor who recommended going to see my oncologist (who was in the middle of moving to the Mayo Clinic!), or my surgeon. When I went to see my surgeon for my regular annual checkup, she recommended a biopsy of the lymph node, which came back positive. Boo. So bad news there. But the good news is, after a bone scan, ct scan, and pet scan, they're pretty sure it hasn't spread anywhere else. So this isn't considered metastatic, but a regional recurrence. Dr. Susan Love is almost dismissive of it in her book, which actually makes me feel a bit better! My new oncologist (who had my old oncologist as her resident back in the day-small world!) wasn't happy that this showed up while I was still on tamoxifen, bc the tamoxifen is supposed to stop any remaining cancer cells from being able to uptake estrogen. So she recommended chemo & radiation and surgery-the whole shebang.

So in the last three weeks, I've had surgery (which was the most painful of my life), a port put back in, and today was my first chemo. I will be taking time off of work this time, too. My tentative last date is March 15th, and I'll be off through June. Possibly a bit into July, but well see how I'm feeling. Then I'll have radiation, then a different hormonal therapy to completely block estrogen production. So hopefully after all this is done, I'll be through with cancer for good.

My mom is putting together a food list, so I can focus on relaxing! If you'd like to do something, and that something might involve feeding me, let me know & I'll put you on the list! Don't worry, some of you are already on it ;-) And let me know if you want to hang out any time, since I won't be working & and all.

So I'll be trying to keep this blog up to date again. Maybe I'll even finally post about the third day of the walk! If I can remember that far back...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 2

Day 2: we walked from camp out into a cold & damp morning, up Bradley Blvd, to Old Georgetown Rd., and over west. We went through Bethesda, which is the point I took my first sweeper shuttle. The leg I took it on was marked as 1.9 miles, but given the time it took the other 2/3 of Team Turtle (and the other 1950 walker talking about it), the leg was actually closer to 3. They corrected it at dinner that night - apparently we walked (er, traveled) close to 23 miles that day - loooooong day! Walking into the rest stop where I picked up the bus was one of the more amusing cheering people - several guys with plastic lawn chairs & a couple of cases of beers - they handed them to those who wanted them (of which I was not one, believe it or not - first off, it was one of the Lite style American beers, and second, I was terrified of getting dehydrated. Also it was pretty early in the day still - hadn't even hit lunch yet!). So I got on the bus & met Jon & Candy at the next stop - had a little sit-down and got a little shut-eye (no, I didn't fall asleep, just shut my eyes). Once Candy & Jon got there, we walked up a lovely street with some beautiful (and I'm sure, expensive) houses. When we hit lunch, we all sat down & noticed lots of people walking around with those foil blankets you see on marathoners at the end of their races. Luckily, I had thought to bring both my sweatshirt and raincoat (talisman against too much rain), as well as a headband to keep my ears warm. After lunch and reapplication of foot blister care, we took off again to parts unknown (because I didn't have a GPS). It was a tough rest of the day, for me, at least. At one point I tried to catch another bus so I could have a longer rest at the next rest stop, but I couldn't find one that would take me to the next rest stop - all the vans at that point were just going back to camp! Eventually I made it to the last rest stop, and waited (for about 30 seconds) for Jon & Candy to show up. After a decent rest (and 2 bathroom breaks), we headed off on the last leg, which was a bit longer than the average leg length - close to 3 miles, I think. Also, it was through a residential neighborhood. I soon realized I was probably not going to make it this whole leg. Not because of my feet, either! I was so diligent about drinking enough water & Gatorade, that my bladder was full to bursting, and being in a residential area, there wasn't anything like a 7-11 to duck into - or even a patch of wood to jump behind a tree. So about a mile, mile and a half (generous) in, a van came by and I jumped out & waved it down while hollering back to my team "Ican'tholditanymoreIreallyhavetogoI'llseeyoubackatcamp!" So we eventually made it back to camp & to the portapotties. And let me tell you, I've never been so happy to see a portapotty. I was really disappointed that I didn't make it that last leg that day. But I suppose I would have been more disappointed if I had been arrested in Potomac for public urination. After availing myself of the facilities, I got a call from my mom - she, my dad, my niece, my dentist & his wife (Old family friends! Not just our dentist!) had come over to cheer us on - and what timing - they pulled up shortly after I did. So I had nice little chat with them. They made a "Go Team Turtle" sign, which they waved at Jon & Candy when they were leaving, neither of whom was quite sure what they saw. Apparently that gave them enough to talk about the last few hundred yards, that they forgot about their feet hurting! That night at dinner some people gave their testimonials, and that was heart-wrenching. One woman's mother had just died a few months before, and another woman talked about her story, which is kind of frightening in its mundanity. She found a lump, got a mammogram, and had to have chemo, surgery, and radiation. After the testimonials at dinner, there was a dance party. I honestly don't know how anyone could have gone! I had to go back to the tent and fall asleep - we had to be up and packed (including packing our tent away) by 8:00 the next morning! I think I was asleep by 9:30.

Coming soon (I hope) - Day 3!

Day 1 of the 3-Day Walk

The highest highs & the lowest lows! So the walk went well! It was hard, I got blisters (like I knew I would), but it was a great experience, and I'm so glad I did it.

The local ABC station did a story on the walk, watch the video if you have some time.

Friday morning we got up super-early & my mom drove me & Candy up to Nat's Stadium, where we met up with Fremont, I got checked in, and watched the sun rise with 2,000 of our new co-commiserators, er . . . best friends. After a moving opening ceremony, we were off! Well . . . eventually . . . it was probably 30 or 40 minutes before we managed to get out of the starting gate - they scan everyone out before they go off, and when you get to camp - presumably to make sure they haven't lost someone somewhere along the course! 2 of us decided we immediately needed to use the restrooms. Hey, there was coffee, followed by a long wait, and my mom always said "Don't ever pass up a chance at a restroom." Which would become a sort of theme for the weekend. So off we went, stopping in for a cup of joe & a sausage biscuit at a McD's we walked right past (along with half the crowd). Day 1, we walked from Nat's stadium in SW DC (or is it considered SE? It's right on the dividing line), up north along the mall, where Team Turtle took advantage of a lone port-a-potty on the Mall, alongside the Solar Decathlon houses. First, but not last, nearly bursting bladder of the weekend. We walked past the Washington Monument, up past Union Station, through the tunnel in the Dept of Labor building, through Georgetown, through DuPont Circle and up to lunch at the Scottish Rites temple, notably featured (so I've heard), in the latest Dan Brown novel. After lunch we walked up north, past Dumbarton Oaks, the VP's house, embassy row (brushing up on our flag knowledge), and American University. We then caught a bus that took us to camp, which was at Avenel Park in Potomac, MD, right behind Congressional Country Club. I was diligent about attending to my blisters, so I managed to keep the couple that I got small. The best thing in the world for blisters is Second Skin. It's a hydrogel that you put on your blisters and hot spots. It's the best thing ever - better than my former go-to of moleskin (I still love you, moleskin!). I finished this day a bit discouraged, and not really liking the experience - basically we got back to camp, had to put our tent up & get our luggage, then we went and stood in line for dinner (For. Ev. Er.), then went & stood in line for showers. I don't think I had even gotten into the shower by lights-out time (9pm). They didn't turn the lights off until about 9:30, though.

Next Time: Will I feel better about the situation on day 2? Will my feet hold up? Days 2 & 3 summaries to come!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

One Foot in Front of the Other

I have to get to bed, so this'll be short. Tomorrow's the big day! I start The Walk. Tomorrow is 20 miles. And it starts eeeeaaaarrrrrllllyyyyy. I have to be up in 6 1/2 hours. Wish me luck! And hey, come out & cheer for us! Here's the information on the walk. Somewhere in the middle there is info on the cheering stations. Or come to the closing ceremonies on Sunday! It's on the Mall, so there should be plenty of room! Do send a text message if you think you'll be there! I'll keep an eye out for ya! And cross your fingers for the weather to clear up . . . it's not looking so great at the moment. Sigh! And I started my period and my back hurts. It's like the Perfect Storm! Ah well. See you guys on the flip side. Ciao!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The End of Treatment!

Uh, ok, it's been almost 2 months since my last post. Man, I never was any good keeping a diary, why would a blog be any different? At any rate! My last radiation treatment was August 14th - hooray! The last two weeks were booster shots, just to the area of the scar tissue. And they didn't start with that (and finish with the whole-area shooting) too soon - a had a spot that got all burned & sore, right on my collar bone. The spot is still a bit darker than the rest, but at least it's healed. The whole are got a big peel-y, and now it's mostly regular colored, but the booster-shot area is also still darker. It's slowly lightening up, though. Maybe by next summer it'll all be the same color again! Agh, my chest is a patchwork of colors and scars right now. I really wish the port scar would go away - it still has that pinkish color of a scar that's not a couple years old. Hopefully the scar tissue will loosen or soften up a bit, too - I scratched it accidentally the other day and OW! Grumble grumble.

So, like the last day of chemo, I brought in cupcakes for all the radiation nurses, techs, and the the valet parking guys. Hey, they specifically have a sign that says 'no tips' for the valet guys. So cupcakes, it is. Just doing my part to make the world a little fatter . . . .

A week later I went to the beach, which was nice, if only just b/c I was on vacation. I did some hammock sitting & reading, but unfortunately, not as much beaching as I would have liked - I managed to hit probably 8 of the coldest August days in the Outer Banks ever. Also, the rainiest. I did manage to get a couple of training walks in (one about 5 miles - was planning on going longer, and going on the beach (!), but it started to rain, so I was cold, wet, and my ears started hurting), and then another dodgy day I managed to go 7 or 8 miles. My training . . . has not been all it should be. Next week should be interesting . . . . today I'm planning on about a five-miler, and then walking over to Del Ray for the art show, which will be another 3 miles, assuming we walk the whole thing. Tomorrow, we're planning on a big long walk. And then Friday is the start of the 3-day. I still haven't checked in online, b/c I needed a doctor's note saying I was ok to do the walk, which I mailed in a week ago. I guess I'll have to do the last minute check-in thing at Nat's Stadium. There is more info (including cheering stations!) online So if you work near DuPont Circle, come out & cheer on Team Turtle Friday between 8:45 & 11:45! There's also Glover-Archbold Park on Friday, a couple of places in Bethesda on Saturday, and DuPont Circle again on Sunday - as well as the Closing Ceremonies, which are on the mall this year. It will be a sea of pink. Of course, I'm planning on wearing pink, so keep an eye out for my shirt. Or perhaps you'd like to order one yourself.

If you want to donate, it's not too late! Go to my page on the 3-day's website, or (if that link doesn't work), go to, hover the mouse over 'DONATE', then click on 'find a participant', and search for me (as Elizabeth Scott). The right Elizabeth Scott is on Team Turtle & walking the DC walk. Click on me, and then knock yourself out. Hey, you don't need a new car! The kids can fund their own education! Seriously, though - any amount is great! Thanks again! And wish me luck - I'm getting the most serious pedicure I can find next Monday (10/12).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Oh my goodness! I didn't realize it had been quite so long since my last posting! Summer has been going well, if fast! I can't believe we're almost halfway through August already. I am about 5 1/2 weeks through radiation. So just another week and a couple days to go! Radiation is a little boring - certainly a letdown (in a good way!) from chemo. The biggest hassle is just getting to the hospital. Once I'm there, I scan myself in & go change to the robe. Rarely, I have time to sit down and read more than a page or two in the myriad (old) magazines they have there. It would be nice if they were more up-to-date, but hey, I didn't read Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving issue. Or Real Simple's Valentines issue. So it's all new to me! At any rate, they come & get you, then take you into the room, where you take the robe off and lie down, and, for me, with my head to right & left arm up over my head. Then the techs do a bunch of tugging & pushing at you & the sheet to get your tattoos lined up with the lasers. After a couple of minutes, they step out of the room, and you get zapped. Then they come back in, and move the head of the machine around, leave, & zap you from a different angle. Repeat, two more times. After about 10 minutes, you're done. Then you go home and crater. I get so tired in the afternoon! I suspect part of it is the natural desire for a siesta. Oh, the spanish have it right.

So all that description above applied up until Monday. Now, once I'm in the room, all I'm doing is the boost, where they have a metal plate with a cut-out that is shaped like the scar area. They zap you straight on with this for about 10 seconds or so. And that's it! And I'm up & out! Apparently for this part of it, they have to keep outlining me with this paint-pen every day so they can line the plate up. I guess the tattoos are no good for that. So if you see me & you see a big blue line above my neckline, just smile & nod! It'll be gone after next week, when I'm through!

I'm guessing my last day of radiation will be next Friday. It was originally scheduled for Thursday, but I had training for work up in Philadelphia last week. I was supposed to double-up one day, but they had trouble with the machine. I don't think I'll bother doubling-up now, if they don't want me to. I have enough trouble getting out of bed when I get do as it is! You have to have your radiations at least 6 hours apart, so I'd have to be in there before 9am (I know, not that bad), but subject to their schedule. So I'm not going to worry about it! I think. I'll talk to them tomorrow & see what they think.

So here's to 7 more doses! Just a few more! And I'm glad that's about it - I'm starting to get a little bit of irritation - especially on my collarbone. I think that spot really would have gotten to the bad point if I had any more shots to it. I do have a tan-line under my arm, which is funny! It looks like I fell asleep in the sun with a book or something on my arm. And I'm a little disappointed in the hair growth under there! I guess it's stopped, but it took a long time for it to stop! Just in time for radiation to be over! Ah well. Soon . . . the peeling! Just in time for the beach!