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Ramblings from a Southern liberal, Boomer, single parent, grandmother, reunited birthmother, cancer survivor, pop-culture observer, retired teacher

Most dramatic lymphoma posts are from June 2002 - February 2003 archives.

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

--Theodore Roethke


Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Monday, August 12, 2002  

I'm just now posting because I've been busy today. After treatment, Mother and I went to eat lunch. Then I had a reflexology appointment, came home and had a few phone calls, then to Kroger, and back home for more phone calls. For some reason I felt better last week and today after treatment than later in the week. Maybe that won't be the case this time. I'm expecting a good week.

I had the 4-hour infusion of Rituxan today, and it went well. I had none of the side effects and problems like shaking, chills, and shortness of breath. Dr. Spigel said I would get a shot of Neulasta as part of treatment because my white blood count is low (3800 today/normal is 5000 and mine was 7600 last week). This is typical for chemo since it can't tell the difference between cancer cells and normal ones and gets some of those too. That's why the hair loss and other problems because hair follicles are fast-dividing as well as mouth, digestive, and other cells like that. The shot should help with the fever since it was mostly because of tumor breakdown but also the lower white blood cells.

Dr. Spigel was glad I called the office and was on top of everything. He asked if I told them when my treatment was and what I was taking because some of his partners' patients he talked to when he was on call didn't know. I told him I gave a background so they'd know what they were dealing with. They are really good there about explaining everything and giving brochures and hand-outs about the meds, so I was prepared. Of course, I ask questions too.

He changed his mind about the type of treatment because he said he thought this would be easier on me. I had the chemo by itself and the Rituxan by itself to see how I tolerated them, I think, since next time I'll have all of them at the same time. I've decided not to get too invested in the plan since it might change. Some of it might depend on my blood counts and other factors. Oh, one of the onc nurses said I probably wouldn't lose my hair unless I'm one of those people who is sensitive to medication. Well, that would be me. The next couple of weeks should let me know what that verdict will be. I hope it stays.

What they did today was give me Decadron again in the saline solution, Tylenol, and then Benadryl by IV which I thought would make me sleepy but no! That was to prevent allergic reactions. Next was the Rituxan which they began slowly and monitored me closely. As I tolerated it each half hour, they increased the speed of the drip. I sweated for about 3 hours of the 4. The nurse said it was probably my fever breaking, but it definitely went on until I was drenched and smelled mediciney.

To lower my fever and reduce the swelling, Dr. Spigel wrote me a prescription for (ready for this? we know ... what can I say?), yes, Prednisone! It's the smallest dose I've had so far, so maybe it won't be too bad.

Anyway, today went well, and I'm feeling relatively good right now. I'll try to keep this up from now on.

9:09:00 PM

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