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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chemo Brain? Is it Real?

It is real. I joke around about it but truthfully it does happen. Cancer survivors have complained of memory changes after treatment yet according to the Mayo Clinic website it is still unclear whether chemotherapy is the cause. While those that have had chemo are complaining of memory troubles or a sort of brain fog, they still score well on cognitive tests. I honestly believe there are times when I seem a little absent minded but that is the extent of it. I don't think I would have issues taking a test. I am pretty good at studying. However don't put me on the spot because I'm likely to freeze. Then again, that's just how I am. I need to work out a math problem on paper, alone without you staring at me. haha I think that's a personal preference.

Still I do forget things that my husband tells me. Is this due to chemo brain or maybe I was not paying attention to him like I should? I am not sure but I do believe chemo brain exists. I think way too many survivors complain of concentration problems for it to not be true. I would much sooner believe I have concentration issues though then memory trouble. I think perhaps I just need to pay more attention and the memory party isn't really so difficult. Does anyone have any memory issues after chemo? Feel free to share them with me if so. I am actually very interested in how other cancer survivors are doing with this.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sometimes Absent Minded and Chemo Fog

I sometimes get awards or tags, which I love but don't have time to do them at that precise moment. So I save the notice I get in my e-mail of the comment it came in. I do this several times and guess what? They are lost in a sea of e-mails. Well I got a tag recently that I did want to do. It was the handwriting one. I cannot remember who sent it! If it was you, let me know. I think this one was particularly fun. I do get absent minded sometimes.

I read about something called "chemo fog or chemo brain". I have no idea if it's really true or not but sometimes I do wonder if the fact that I find it easy to just forget things might not be a prolonged side effect of the chemo. Then again, I just like to have something to blame it on! I don't think the hubby is falling for it.

More on Chemo Fog later....

The Confusion With Doctors Appointments and Thieving Credit Card Companies

It's confusing because not everything I have to get done is with the same doctor! I was scheduled for my regular follow up with my regular doctor. OK. That seems easy enough but then he also scheduled me for a CAT scan and an ECHO. Each of those were with other doctors. So when they called to reschedule my appointment I just assumed the date was rescheduled no trouble. Now that I sit here and ponder it, the more I realize they probably just changed my oncology appointment and not the tests. So I am going to have to call today. I also need to call my credit card company. You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) what they are doing to me. I paid them with a cashier's check. They are saying they didn't get it yet I have the cashed copy of the check. My bank found it and has given it to us and we faxed copies of all the paperwork to them. I have called them. I cannot understand anyone I talk to. I am terrible understanding accents. It's a flaw in myself but knowing that does me no good. I am forwarded from person to person to person on the phone that I can not understand. Then they hung up on me! So I keep e-mailing them from my online account and there only response is that I need to call!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Rare Is It Really?

According to there were about 8,220 cases of Hodgkin's Diagnosed in 2008. Of those 1,350 died. That's so scary to me because while most did NOT die, there were still well over 1,000 that did. It's terrifying but this is cancer. Hodgkin's is definitely rare. Compare 8,220 new cases in the USA last year to 182,460 new cases of breast cancer in 2008. There were 40,480 deaths. Now think of the risks of Hodgkin's in Pregnancy. So very low. I have read the risk of cancer in pregnancy is around 1 in 1000. This is cancer in general during pregnancy. My guess is it's much lower for Hodgkin's. Here is the ironic thing. Not only was I paired up with a woman who had Hodgkin's during her pregnancy through the Pregnant With Cancer Network but I have since found through blogging and Facebook two more women who had the same thing happen. One of them is healthy and well like myself and the other is currently undergoing a stem cell transplant. I have kept up with her procedures through Facebook but you cannot help but ask yourself why? Why is she having such trouble? I pray for her full recovery and that this transplant will cure her eventually. It's hard but honestly if you do the research on this you'll see it happens more often than you think. Oh and both women's babies were born healthy!

Yet I was still a very rare case having had chemo in the first trimester. Ask any specialist, doctor, oncologist, OB/GYN and I am willing to bet they have met not one patient who ever had chemo in the first trimester. I am willing to bet they would believe it could not be done. Yet it can be done and my Gabriella is living proof.

Speaking of which, she slept great last night. I do know she has GERD but it never used to wake her up so much. Then I realized another molar is poking through so I am thinking it could have been teething waking her up. I gave her some Motrin last night and she slept like a baby! haha Whoever invented that phrase never had a baby!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Being the Caregiver

I know while I was sick it was really hard on my husband. At that particular time it was hard for me to understand just how hard. I was sick and feeling the pain. I couldn't breathe and my thoughts were literally consumed by it. After I began to get better I suddenly realized just how hard it is to be the caregiver. I cannot imagine the worry and fear going through the mind of someone who thinks they may lose their spouse. He compared it to that of one of my children. He asked how worried I was about them when they get sick and then asked now how much do you think I worried about you? Well I think that was really what made it hit home for me. You see, I never thought of myself as someone who needed care or protecting. I never felt like I needed to be kept safe. I have always taken care of the kids and the home. I didn't need anyone to take care of me. Suddenly I needed someone to do everything for me. He encouraged me to eat and gave me pep talks pretty much daily. I have written about it before but it really is something you never forget. I think about it sometimes. I think about it at moments like this picture I snapped last night. Hubby dozed off on the couch while holding Gabbi and she dozed too. I grabbed my cell phone and snapped this as quick as I could. It means so much more to me than a dad and baby sleeping but rather our little miracle baby and how he nursed me back to health and helped me through the cancer to get her here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Removed the No Follow Code on My Blog and Silent Reflux

I have wondered about it for ages but was afraid of messing up anything on my template. After much reading and research I realized it was actually pretty easy. Not only that but I added a top commenters widget! From what I gather it spreads the linky love. I love my readers and commenters so here is my way of paying you back. So, leave me comments. It does make my day to read them.

I received a comment on my last post about Silent Reflux and I am just positive that is what Gabriella has and always has. It can cause a certain spasm that I think she gets only rarely but it does happen. I am trying to remember how to spell this. Laryngospams? I am reading this and I think this is what on occasion happens when this reflux creeps up on her. It seems like Zantac is the way to go. We are starting with this and I need to make some changes food wise. She has the milk allergy which I hear can go hand in hand with reflux. So I am just going to really study the things that make it worse because I hate reflux! I cannot imagine dealing it with like she does. The soy milk she drinks absolutely makes it worse than anything else she eats. So I have been seriously cutting back on that. Otherwise we'll see how it goes. I appreciate the comments and I am so glad that now I really feel like I can help Gabriella and hopefully she'll outgrow this reflux soon.

Acid Reflux? GERD?

I believe Gabriella has some bad acid reflux. I mean to the point of possibly being GERD. She seems for the most part ok during the day. Since she was born she has had issues with occasional bouts of frequent swallowing/liquid sounds in her throat. It was worse when laying on her back. I actually elevated her to change her diapers. I switched her to soy formula at 3 weeks because of stomach issues and later she was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. We are supposed to have tests this week to see if she is still allergic. The thing is she has issues at night. She will wake up and when she wakes up you see her swallowing a lot. Nothing is coming out but she is swallowing and seems uncomfortable. I hold her upright and she'll fall back to sleep pretty quick. The doctor has put her on Zantac. She's been on it now for about 2 weeks but she's still occasionally waking up with this problem. She has seen the doc twice and he believes it is GERD. She is 16 months. I'd really like her to outgrow this. I feel sorry for her and can almost feel the acid in my throat. Poor baby! I haven't dealt with acid like this in any of my other children. I guess I'd love some hints, tips and advice from any parent who has dealt with this. Does this sound like reflux? It does seem worse after bottles. Yes she is still taking a bottle but I am cutting back hardcore. She takes smaller bottles and I am trying to not let her have much to drink near bedtime. I admit it's been difficult because she fusses. I would love to have some information on how to handle this from a mom who has been there. Or a dad!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Yet Another Birthday Party and An Escape Artist

My oldest daughter wanted a separate birthday bash from her sister Mikayla. If you'll remember they share the same birthday. Really 12 years old and 9 years old are not that far apart but when you are a little girl it's such a huge difference. Lexi is my oldest and she wanted to do a big party so we let her have a few friends over. They sang karaoke, listened to music, played some basketball outside and had cake. It went well! Here are a few pics of the fun day.

Sing it Lexi!

The Girls

We had some good singers!

Hubby on Guitar!

She can play! She's learning.

It was a great day. Lexi got herself all dolled up for the special occasion.

Now what about this escape artist? Gabriella is trying to get out of her playpen. She has a Dora Backpack toy which she stands on. She then tries to raise her leg over the side. I was lucky enough to snap a shot of the possible escape.

Thinking about it.

Smooches from Mom

The leg is raised.

And now the leg is resting on the side. Not bad!