Sunday, September 30, 2007

How do I feel now?

I Upon arriving home from chemo on Friday, I lost my Snickers Bar. Perhaps not the best choice if nausea is a worry, but it really wasn't when I left there. I felt strong and happy that I had won the fear battle. Alas, I got increasingly more nauseated on the drive home, walked into the house, and felt this feeling that I haven't felt in years. I tried to remember what to do when you have to vomit. I was out of practice. Running to the toilet was not coming to mind. Bucket was for some reason, and since I was in the kitchen, I quickly rifled through the pots in the cabinet and chose the spaghetti pot. Then, I took it outside and proceeded to use it on the deck, I think becasue Dennis was still outside but not real sure of my thought process on that one. Unmistakeable nutty, chocolatey....

I took an anti-nausea/sedative pill that evening and was dead to the world. Dennis was having phone converstations right next to me and I can't remember him being on the phone. I woke up the next day alert and feeling a ton better. No nausea, but the doc said to take another pill in the morning and so I did and wound up back in stupidville for hours. This is the same drug I liked so much while I was having chemo, but I hated now for how useless it made me. Dennis got me out of the house while still a bit doped to walk Sadie and that help the effects wear off completely. I still have a little nausea now and again, but I'd rather deal with being a little uncomfortable than out of my mind, thank you. And no, just because I'm not using them doesn't mean anyone else can :) More after the surgery on Tuesday to put the port in.

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Hi, hello. It's me - the butt-kicking soon-to-be cancer survivor. I like the sound of that. Thanks sis for setting up this blog and making it super easy to do. I don't know if I'll be as good at it as Dennis, but one way or another my stoy will get told.

As you know, last Friday was my first day at Camp Chemo. We are calling it that becasue we packed up cards, books, blankets, photos, stuffed animals, and movies like we were going to a fun-filled day at camp. The place where I am being treated is in Brunswick, a good hour and fifteen minutes from home. We started out late of course as we fielded phone calls from everyone wishing us well. The drive started out well, but as I got closer to the exit I started panicking. I got very quiet and nervous - so nervous that my teeth were chattering. It was as if I was going out on stage in front of millions of people. Dennis parked the car and I followed him reluctantly into the building. I didn't want to do this. I didn't feel ready, but I had to begin so I'd know. He held the door for me and urged me into the room. I took a deep breath and went to check in. A beautiful bouquet of flowers was waiting for me at the front desk. They were from Mom and Bill. Oh,no. It was taking all I had to concentrate on being brave. Their sweet, unaticipated gesture broke my concentration and I felt like sobbing, but they were going to call me back there at any moment. I took deep breaths to stop this wave of emotion. Once we started the routine of height, weight, temp, etc. my mind was busy again.

One of the first things Mikee, my RN, did for me once the IV was in place was to administer a sedative. My anxiety was blatant. If I looked stoned in the photos Dennis posted, it's because I was. The first drug was a long-lasting anti-nausea. The next four drugs were the ABVD. Three of them were "pushed", meaning manually injected slowly via syringe. Those went fast. The last drug was a two hour drip. We watched a movie called "Puffy Chair". Then it was over, just like that. I felt nothing but sedated the whole time and my vein held up beautifully (but my IV arm is a bit sore now). Whew! Now the scary unknown is much more known. I can't rest on my laurels though becasue each treatment can be different. Now comes the uncertainty of what my days in between will be like.

In the begining

Hello all,

Candace feels pretty normal this morning and is out with her mom and Bill (step dad) shoe shopping for an upcoming wedding.

I thought I would write a quick note to bring everyone up to speed on Candace's condition as some of you may not know the whole story. I should have posted this first but I was so excited to put Camp Chemo picks up that I forgot you might not have the whole story.

In late June or early July Candace noticed some lumps in her neck and thought that they were stiff muscles and would go away in time. She then noticed swelling under her arms and felt it was time to go to the doctor (if she could find one taking new patients). She found a doctor in Waldoboro named Dr. Love (no joke) who, along with his wife Dr. Webb, MD (also no joke) felt Candace should see a surgeon. Off she went to Damariscotta to meet with Dr. Miller for a fine needle aspiration biopsy. The results were found to be inconclusive so it was off to the hospital for a surgical procedure to remove a part of a lymph node under her arm. The results from this test came back positive for Hodgkin's disease, a very treatable type of lymphoma.

Next came more tests to find how far the cancer had progressed (called staging). It was not a fun time for Candace. If you want to find out how un-fun just ask her. It was determined that she was at stage IIA. The A means that she is displaying no symptoms (other than the swelling).

Candace then interviewed oncologists at different cancer centers before settling on Dr. Trudi Chase from the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine in Brunswick.

For a layman's version of the staging levels, a brief overview of Hodgkin's and to look the site of the center that is treating Candace go to

Check out my first post to look at pics of the Chemo lounge.. I will be posting more photos of the facility and the great staff in the future.

Be well,

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The First Day at CAMP CHEMO

Candace had her first chemo treatment yesterday and she is doing GREAT! She was a tad bit sick last night but we went on a long walk with Sadie this morning and she had a big lunch and dinner and feels normal. Lets hope this is how it will be the whole time she is in chemo. She says she is not ready to post yet but I thought I would show off some pics from her first day at what will be known from now on as CAMP CHEMO.

The stuffed animal is a gift from the private collection of Ava Demer, the Daughter of Sara Gray and James Demer. The Blanket is grudgingly on loan from Sadie the dog. Music is Amilie courtesy of Melanie Kuchinski Rodriguez.