Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New treatment

Low white blood cells and burning hands helped the doctor decide I needed a week off from chemo.

Two weeks letter my white blood cells were better but my hands still had problems.

"We'll change the treatment."

Her proposal instead of seven more taxols I would get three. Than I would get a mega dose of another drug that equalled the 4 Taxols. Bettter for my hands, but it would leave me more tired and perhaps with muscle pain.

For an earlier finish, I said, yes, yes, yes.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A hard week

Even if I often write about my treatment for cancer in a light vein, it doesn't mean I don't take it seriously.

This was not the best week.

Between my low white blood cell count, my burning hands and bloody noses, I did get a one-week reprieve from my next dose of taxol. And yes, I did miss the time with the wonderful nursing staff. And it will delay the finish and my reward of time in Argel├Ęs as well.

I also felt really, really tired all week long.

I had to keep chanting my positive list.
  • Great hospital
  • Excellent affordable medical system
  • Great nurses
  • Great doctors
  • Not metastasized
  • Preventative
  • Loving husband to support me 
  • I have everything I need including food, shelter
  • No one is dropping bombs on me
  • I've come a long way since the lumps were found in early June
  • I can see the end of chemo
  • I've done radiation before
Maybe it helped. By Saturday I was able to do a writing workshop and then go to lunch with my husband to a place that was new to him, not new to me. Chez Cousine has a limited menu but good and profiteroles for dessert.

Seven more treatments.  

I can do this.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Looking out the restaurant window.

"Now you understand," my former colleague and current friend said. We were with our respective spouses in a Nyon, Switzerland restaurant.

The NGO we are retired from had about 100 employees of about 50 nationalities. He and I were the only two natural Americans. Until 9/11 our communications were the usual good-mornings-have-a- nice-day type.g

On 9/11 I had brought up CNN to check out the news just after the second plane hit the WTC. I rushed into his office where we followed events.

We discovered we were of like minds on so much, both activists that regularly contacted congress on issues of importance to us. We marched against the war at Bern demonstration along with my daughter and other friends.

We were also of like minds to become Swiss so we could actively participate in the society where we lived as full citizens.

And then we supported each other thru the horrible, painful experience of renouncing our American nationality when direct and indirect attacks by our government made it impossible for us to have the financial security we needed.

Even after I retired, we would meet from time to time to catch up on news, world affairs, writing and other topics. Yesterday was one of those times and it gave me a chance to introduce my new husband who fit perfectly with my friend and his wife.

After our meal we went back to their flat for ice cream. The word lanky could have been invented for my friend. And he is bald.

I said, "The thing that surprised me about being bald, is how cold my head gets. I sometimes wear a hat to bed."

He laughed. "Now you understand," he said. "And sometimes I wear a hat even in the house."

It is another bond.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fighting Cancer, an allegory

TAXOLA rides her horse Energy in drops of the cancer-fighting drug stopping at the vital organs in search of a bad cancer cell.

So far she has found nothing. She is frustrated.

The she sees a group of white blood cells having a tea party.

She is furious. She and Energy are working so hard. The cells are loafing. Without thinking which type of cells they are (neutrophil, eosinophil or any of the other types), she lashes out.

Her sword destroys many of them, but some escape.

Taxola leaves the scene and she and Energy plod on to the liver, the bones on their quest.

She mustn’t give up. For the next seven weeks she will get new liquid to carry her and Energy around the body, but those white blood cells better begin doing their job too. The woman, her client, is getting tired of being tired.