Friday, January 14, 2005

Life as an Invalid

When I was first starting chemo I wanted, in the stupidest way, to be no longer responsible. To be sick, which I imagined mostly as lying languid like some figure in an 18th century romance, watching DVDs from Netflix. Everyone said exhaustion is the worst symptom and I figured, hell, I don't have a day job, how hard can it be to be tired?

Of course, now I'm busy. Not horribly busy, but the schedule seems just as full as it ever was. My vision of Hodgkins as a kind of weird, epic vacation is fading fast. For one thing, I feel better if I'm doing stuff. This seems horribly obvious now, of course. So I exercise--not as hard as I used to because if I work out hard my joints ache. But if I do a light work out, I've got more energy. I'm doing a freelance gig. Not like the days of ilovebees--this one is much less work (at least for me.) A friend of mine and I are trying to get a theater project going. I've got a short story to revise, a book to read for my book club, stories to critique for the two writer's groups which managed to schedule their meetings for the same day. We keep getting invited to friend's houses for dinner.

In other words, life goes on.

I wish I could tell you that now I savor it, but that wore off really fast. It is amazing how quickly it just becomes...well, every day life.

The doctor looked at my chart--this is the end of my second chemo cycle and halfway through as I said yesterday. He ordered a CT Scan to see how it was going before I start cycle three. He can find no evidence of Hodgkins in my neck by palpitation, which is so weird because it was there a week ago. But I have prodded myself bruised in delight and he's right. I still have a lump of scar tissue from the biopsy, but not that cluster of nodes, like tiny wine grapes only hard.

It is amazing how casually oncology orders things like CT Scans. A CT Scan takes fifteen minutes and costs something like $1400 (which in my case is completely paid for by insurance.) But when oncology says jump, the Clinic jumps.

My blood count was nearly the same this time as the last, 1.36 instead of 1.4. But I don't work with the public anymore and Dr. Schnur is so please by the way I am handling the rest of chemo (no real pulmonary or cardio effects, no neuropathy, no real sickness, no sudden disastrous plummet of blood count, no infections, and lots of other 'no's) that he says to keep going.

But I know I'm going to get more fatigue as this goes on, and I haven't completely given up the idea of my fainting couch in from of the DVD player...


Anonymous Anonymous said...


forgive me if you've already learned and blogged all this info already, but i'm here at my co-op right now, and i decided to do a lil research on boosting white blood cell counts for ya.

my co-op's team in HBC (health and body-care) is a think-tank of chinese and alternative medicine practitioners (acupuncture and acupressure mostly), and while additional research is highly advisable when taking advice from anyone wearing a nametag, these aren't your average retail flunkies.

with that in mind, HBC recommends, for any cancer patient, IP-6 - it's an Inositol compound that boosts natural killer activity. Enzymatic Therapy is the brand they advise, but it doesn't come cheap: 14 ounces for $75.99. two HBC workers with pre-cancerous conditions have relied on this one with positive results (though of course, who can say if the product in question was really the "cure." i'm just relaying their advice...)

HBC also recommends Beta-Glucans, which apparently is magnificent at ID'ing tumors and stimulating the macrophagic hoedown. glucans also boosts white blood cell counts, and the defense department has supposedly been concentrating research on glucans for radiation, anthrax, and other lovelies - so we're not talking "preventative medicine" here if the DoD is taking an interest. Life Source is the brand of choice, 60 ct, $37.99.

on a dietary level, they suggested maitaki and reshi mushrooms if you can get your hands on some. beta glucans is apparently isolated from these mushrooms.

anyhoo. just trying to feel like i'm helping you and anyone who might need the info, mostly. do email me if you need more info or if you want to get a line on these products.


January 14, 2005 7:38 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...


I'm on it. Can't hurt to try.

And thanks so much!

January 14, 2005 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i shoulda known. :)


January 15, 2005 8:51 AM  
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I was looking at your posts about cancer stomach and found a good article about the same cancer stomach info too...

God luck with it : )

October 02, 2005 1:57 PM  
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October 06, 2005 1:49 PM  

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