Tag Archives: garden

Second Chemo Vacation

Ah! Here we are at the end of my second chemo vacay, and I confess that I’m not looking forward to Tuesday.

My Buttercups are in bloom!

My Buttercups are in bloom!

This week has been delightful. Coming into it, I had no constipation issues to recover from, giving me a couple of extra days of “no symptoms.” I start to get tired towards late afternoon, but I have decent energy reserves in the morning and after lunch. My hair loss continues — and I continue to be annoyed that it’s the hair on top of my head that’s falling out and not the postmenopausal hair above my lip.

5-30-15 Geraniums

With two cycles of Gemma Chemo treatments out of the way, I can make observations on my quality of life during chemo. Chemo Week starts on a Tuesday, and I wake up feeling mostly ready for the battle. Wednesday, I’m under the influence of the steroids I got in my Chemo Cocktail on Tuesday. If I have anything that requires physical labor, this is the day to get it done. Midway through Thursday the steroids start to wear off and by dinnertime I’m yawning. Friday seems to be my crash and burn day — I feel “blah” with very little energy. Saturday and Sunday get better and by Monday I start to feel like there’s more to life then snoozing on the recliner. Repeat for two more weeks and then it’s vacation time.

Regarding bowel movements (because you know I can’t do a blog post without mentioning poop), I’ve found that if I’m proactive by drinking my Phillips at bedtime on Tuesday, then Wednesday is not so “hard” (get it?) to manage. I’ve also found that I do better if at least one of my meals (usually dinner) is a large salad (for fiber content). I’m still fine-tuning the dosage amounts for the Phillips and the stool softeners. Yeah, I know it’s gross. But who else is going to tell you the truth about this if not me?

Me and Mr. Phillips. It's a beautiful relationship!

Me and Mr. Phillips. It’s a beautiful relationship!

AltoidesNearly every day, by mid afternoon, I get a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t know how to describe it. I understand that some chemo therapies give the patient a metallic taste —  but that’s not what I get. It’s just something nasty on the back of my tongue, at my jaw. Brushing my teeth helps, but it’s not a cure. Eating lots of Altoids helps — but then anything I consume afterwards has a peppermint flavor. I’m deducing that it has to do with my digestion — since it’s not there first thing in the morning, appearing after I’ve had a couple of meals — and I’m hoping that it’s due to the chemo and not due to the parts of my digestive system that were removed back in February. I guess I’ll find out in September when I’m done with chemo.

I have trouble sleeping during my chemo weeks. I wake up two or three times during the night (which adds to my feeling of exhaustion). These last few days of chemo vacation, I’ve slept right through to 6:30 AM. I’ll be going into Chemo Cycle 3 feeling somewhat rested, as if I really did take a vacation from work.

My roses are blooming

My roses are blooming

I had a red rash on my hips around the third week of Chemo Cycle 1, and ended up with a red rash on my left leg around the third week of Chemo Cycle 2. The Oncologist has classified both of these as allergic reactions (but not an allergy to Gemma Chemo). After nearly a week of vacation, the Red Rash Scrounge is nearly all gone, though my left ankle and foot are still a bit swollen. I’m a little anxious to see what kind of rash develops during Cycle 3. And where it will be located.

I’ve started wearing compression stockings, after two of my doctors made the recommendation. So now, when I go out of the house, I have on my compression stockings, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat. I’m dressing like an old lady to protect my skin from the sun. And because I’m always a little tired, I tend to walk slower than my usual fast gait. This is something I need to address, because I don’t feel like an old lady. I’m going to experiment with turning my slower gait into a cougar-like slink.

5-30-15 yellow rose


In spite of all this sh*t, I find I’m smiling more. There is nothing wonderful about chemo, but there is something wonderful about being forced to slow down. My flower beds look beautiful. I have a lovely camping cot on the patio where I take naps in the afternoon. I’m spending time with my friends. I’m having a great time just relaxing and going with the flow. I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to simply enjoy living in the moment.

My patio cot

My patio cot

The view from my patio cot.

The view from my patio cot.

Dinner with my pals!

Dinner with my pals!

Yep. Something good coming out of something bad.


Live Blogging from the Chemo Chair: Cycle 1.3

Here I am again, in the chemo chair.

This past week has been a mixed bag of ups and downs.

On Wednesday, I once again had an Energizer Bunny energy level. Turns out, there is a steroid component in my chemo cocktail. So I took advantage of it.

Back in January, just before the sh*t hit the fan, there was a day when the weather cooperated to allow me to take down all the Christmas lights I had put up outside. And they’ve been sitting in various piles in the garage, tangled with the extension cords, waiting to be put away.  It took me most of the day, but my garage is now clean and the lights and extension cords are all untangled and put away. Heaven! I was really tired when it was done, but the positive emotional boost I got from accomplishing the task was more than worth it.

I seem to have achieved some control of the constipation devil through timely use of Mr Phillips magic elixir — only had to use it once, but it worked!

Thursday and Friday were blah days — no other way to describe them. I felt crappy.

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I almost felt normal. I even had the energy to mow our little stretch of patio grass and to make a stab at cleaning up some of my flower beds — it was overcast enough that I got away without putting on sunscreen. So, 3 good days out of 7. I can deal with this.

The Viking hat didn’t feel right for Knollwood.

Today, my pal Cindy is my partner in crime. We did a field trip to one of my favorite greenhouses, Knollwood, and spent the morning looking at plants and planning flower beds.



Í Cindy

I’m inspired! This summer, I want to build some fairy gardens. And make some mixed pots of coleus. And work on my rock garden — with succulents! So much to do! So much sunlight to avoid!

Escargot Begonia

Escargot Begonia — Loving the curly leaves!



fairy garden

A fairy garden








Next, we had a lovely lunch at Mimi’s Cafe, which for some reason always reminds me of opera. I had French Pot Roast which is described as:

Mimi’s Beef Bourguignon of braised beef with carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions in a red wine shallot sauce over mashed potatoes.

French Pot Roast

YUM! (Except for the pearl onions).


Omigosh! It was good! And my appetite cooperated because I ate every bite — except for the pearl onions. Those got pushed to the side.

We arrived early for my appointment at Club Chemo –but that was OK, they had a chair available. We had an interesting moment as my Chemo Nurse was trying to stick my port with the power needle — my port “floated.” But my Chemo Nurse is a clever one! She was able to manipulate my port to where she had already inserted the power needle through my skin, to make the connection. But this makes me speculate — what if my port decided to go on a little journey under my skin? How far away could it “float?” This needs more investigation.

“Chemo Tuesday” is starting to feel like a normal thing. They recognize me (could be the Viking hat?) when I walk in. Sort of like when Norm walks into Cheers and everyone shouts out “NORM!” except they’re shouting out “BEV!” That Viking hat makes certain that everybody knows my name.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.