This has been quite a week. First of all, Owen and I recorded a podcast. This reminds me of NPR’s StoryCorps – a weekly favorite of mine. The podcast is a short one that packs alot of insight and emotion. He gives his perspective of being a child whose parent is diagnosed with cancer. He went through this at age 9 and now again at age 22. He really wants his fellow children of cancer patients to know – you are going to be OK and that you will find great comfort from people caring. People will show their caring in many ways and it is ok to be vulnerable to that caring. It helps you in your journey.
And I have spent the week focusing on my energy level and continue to eat well and take walks. I have found that watering the plants can be enough to make me need a 2 hour nap. The lack of energy is so surprising to me and the need to nap such a welcome relief.
Finally, it was great to see the team at Timeless win the Red Nose contest on social media. MJ2 did a great job raising awareness and money for children’s hunger.
My next podcast will come out tomorrow. I have not had enough energy to record in the last few weeks.
Life continues – and milestones are celebrated. Owen graduated from University of Arkansas on May 11. We were together as a family – and with our extended Arkansas family that took such great care of Owen during his time in Fayetteville. It is hard to believe how quickly the time passes. Maeve finished her first year at University of Vermont. Maeve and Owen are home for the time being – both with work lined up and time available for me. With the help of a friend, as most things happen these days, Maeve was able to get her tonsils out yesterday. Since this past fall she has had almost a constant sore throat. As I am ending this second round of chemo, she and I are enjoying simultaneous recuperation.
Chemo round 2 started the Monday after we returned from Arkansas. I slept most of the time in the infusion room due to fatigue from the travel. I was grateful to be able to enjoy the graduation, a few dinners out, and morning walks to get a cup of chai in Fayettechill at Owen’s favorite hangout.
Thankfully, my memory of chemotherapy in 2005 is somewhat akin to going through childbirth. Something you remember as unpleasant – the memory of discomfort is less than the reality.. While I am still taking a platinum based chemotherapy agent due to the long nature of my time without evidence of disease, a second (different) drug has been added. I remember being fatigued in 2005 – I did not recall the unremitting nausea, lack of taste, and days long periods of not being able to do much more than walk around the house and the yard. The good news is that napping comes easy and spring is in full glory here in Ohio.
A friend came by last week and added annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables to our gardens around the house. Each morning I wake up, I take a moment of gratitude for this special gift and something I surely could not have done for myself this year.
While Memorial Day celebrations occur this weekend, I hope to have the energy to have a few friends stop by – feel free to consider yourself invited if you are in the area. Chemo round 3 begins on Tuesday morning – and then there will be 9 rounds left.
I am grateful this morning to feel good enough to be up as the sun rises and enjoy the singing of the birds. Have a great day and enjoy the special gifts today brings.
So this is what I learned this round of chemotherapy. I am going to call the week of chemo: Netflix and Naps. I watched the full series of Billions as well as finished Homeland – I had only seen through season 3. I know – they are really Showtime Series but I thought Netflix and Naps was a good name for the week. Three naps in one day was the usual need. I don’t remember being as wiped out the last time from chemotherapy and certainly not for as long. Food tastes funky and not appealing at all. The good news is, by the beginning of week 2 – the week off of chemo – my taste has returned and yesterday I was able to walk to the voting booth and home.
If you have a favorite series on Netflix, Amazon Prime or any of the other services – please comment~ there are 11 more weeks of chemo. The good news is: having time to nap was on my list of items I wanted to attend to in 2018 – and I am getting after it!
Enjoy the podcast today – Episode #6 is dedicated to the large clan of Roshetkos, in Cleveland and now around the world. We have a great tradition of large Sunday dinner gatherings in my extended family. Here are Jackie and Liz Roemer visiting last week for a Cinco de Mayo meal – they are the daughters of my cousin, Mary Roemer, you will hear on the podcast. Of course, they brought the party with them! Additionally in the photo collage – my cousins at a more recent family gathering and the last time I was together with all of my siblings.
Our latest podcast, featuring Staci Musselman, is published and posted here on the right. Notice that big smile – a year ago, she was diagnosed with cancer and made the journey a celebration. Listen to how she took the moment to frame it in a way that made her journey joyful – and added joy to the lives of her friends and family. My first chemo was on Monday. I have had a couple of quiet days and not much of an appetite. Yesterday was a blueberry day – cause that was all that tasted good! Not enough blueberries were eaten to look like Violet Beauregarde of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! I am immensely grateful for the outpouring of support from my family, friends and work. One treatment down, 11 to go – one month behind me and six in front of me. Maybe there is a song here somewhere? Next week is Owen’s graduation and we are all looking forward to being together as a family for this wonderful celebration. I am lining up at least one favorite thing to do between each chemotherapy session so there is more to mark off than just another treatment. I have a friend’s wedding, a big meeting with my entrepreneur friends, another wedding for a cousin, and I wish I could say some overseas travel – think I will wait until all treatments are done for that. As my cousin Charlie shared with me: Chose Happiness. It really is the easier choice. Have a great day everyone – from wherever you are reading this in the world!
Last week I had my first outing to the Dublin Rotary meeting. I feel good enough to walk three miles per day – some times in segments and then mostly I need a nap after that. Next week I start chemo and that will go every other week for six months. I will let you know more, when I know more – other than I have great support. Both Maeve and Owen will be home for the summer. At the Dublin Rotary meeting, a presentation was given on the new library in Dublin. I am co chair, with Cid Rhomberg, for the Dublin Library Capital Campaign. The new library has broken ground and the capital campaign is about to begin. Libraries have played a big role in my life, from the time I was little and walked to the library with my siblings and neighbors throughout the summer – through medical school and residency. I love libraries and I love books! Dublin’s initial library was made for a community of 3,800 people – our community will be over 45,000 by the time the new library is complete. In our community, 30% of the children arrive to kindergarten not being on track to learn to read. All of the new library updates and buildings have had capital campaigns to go along with civic funding. Libraries provide the resources to be the great equalizer in our community and keep our community strong. Feel free to donate to the new library campaign here: https://foundation.columbuslibrary.org/dublin
Had a good mile walk yesterday with Rory in the very cold weather. Today the sun is out. I saw my favorite dentist, Dr. Ford, and got my teeth cleaned before I start chemo and have to worry about being immunocompromised. A great day for a walk today. My next podcast, Episode #3, is up and my dear friend Amy is my guest. If you are struggling how to help someone in need – she seems to know the answers! (You can listen to it here on my blog, or subscribe to the links listed in the sidebar.)
Great news – I am up to walking 2 miles per day. Feeling good when doing this – although a nap is required when I am finished. Even though today was rainy, an umbrella was all that was needed to make the walk happen. Tomorrow – a bit more bundling is required as our temperatures begin to dip. Chris was able to get away and coach in Louisville this weekend and my great friend Amy went back to Hilton Head, so I was solo for about 36 hours. Several friends visited – bringing knowledge, food, gifts and love. The love is the best part. Knowledge about trying to save hair follicles was the second best part. We will have a podcast on this. Suffice it to say – saving hair follicles while going through chemo is HARD WORK. Good thing I know: 1. I have a cute bald head 2. Botox does work during chemo 3. Silkpeels are a great way to help skin both on my face and my head look good during chemo. Today I started my scar regimen: TNS Recovery Complex followed by scar recovery. These great products were not around after my last surgery. I have seen many wounds recover with minimal scarring with just these two products. The staples come out at the end of the week and I am looking forward to that. Should be a good week and keep podcast ideas coming. The rain will continue most of the week – but with an umbrella, I will keep the walks up.
I have spent the past few days eating, drinking water, resting and walking. Doesn’t sound like much – but some days it can be exhausting. I am grateful for all the kind words and flowers that were sent. I spent Monday recording new podcasts – and the next one will be out later today. Never one to miss a moment, I wrote down everything that was an advancement in my care since my last stay in 2005. Pretty Amazing!