Ovarian Cancer

some hair, starting to care

The question I get most from folks who aren’t able to see me in person is how is your hair?* Although I have nothing to compare the growth to, I can say it sometimes seems like it is growing fast, like each day it seems a little longer-but then I see a photo with me in it, and it doesn’t look like it has grown at all. Right now my hair is soft to the touch [it is quite new to me to have random people want to run their fingers through my hair, but now it seems to happen quite often! ;-)**] It looks like I am going to have a gray patch up front, and after that the gray’s and the darks are fighting it out over the rest of my head. The gray’s seem pretty ornery and wiry and stick out a bit while the darks are softer and more tame. [I was told my hair would be back in 3-6 months after my chemo was done and it has been about 2 1/2 months] So before you know it I will look like myself again and I won’t be reminded of this whole ordeal every time I look in the mirror. Yay for hair!

*after how are you feeling, of course

** I don’t mind . . . and please feel free to massage while your at it! ;-)

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we went to ben [and gabby] leighton’s wedding this weekend which was lovely!

we went to ben [and gabby] leighton’s wedding this weekend which was lovely!

ciao, ciao

Ok, so I’m back. We had such a good time in Italy. We arrived back this week and am I happily exhausted. If you’ve ever or never been, it is both beautiful and hard work at the same time. In Firenze {Florence}, the history, the views, but oh those ancient cobblestone streets and steps, oy!

We climbed to the top of the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore, only 463 steps. There were little windows where you could stop and take in the city. Part of the cat walk is along the inside of the dome and you get to see the frescoes up close.

taking in the view [otherwise known as catching your breath or resting]

taking in the view [otherwise known as catching your breath or resting]

We traveled with friends that were fun and adventurous. We saw ancient art, we saw graffiti art and we ate. A day wasn’t complete without cappuccino, pastries, pasta, pizza, wine and gelato, not always in that order and not necessarily only once a day. There was a lot of walking to do and stairs to climb and we needed fuel. [In case you’ve never been, you will be happy to know that carbs are still cherished in europe, so we ate them joyfully-and often.]

To rest our legs we rented vespas and toured the Chianti classico region for a day! [lunch in Castellina in Chianti]

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A special treat came halfway through the trip when Dana flew in to join us and celebrate her 30th birthday [so of course we went for gelato!] and the next day we headed to Vernazza in Cinque Terre on the Italian Coast. {map]

and then there was the hiking. This is most of the reason people go to Cinque Terre. There are 5 fishing villages that you can “walk” to. [You can take trains and boats as well] Since this trip was planned before I was diagnosed I wasn’t really sure if I was going to be able to do the “walking” when I got there. I told myself I would just take the train and meet them in the next town, but FOMO took over and I decided to give it a try, I mean, how hard could it be???

Wellllllll with stairs and steps that are sometimes narrow, uneven and steep, sometimes I found I had to lean on someone or grab a helping hand or just hold back and rest. I found with resting I could really enjoy the views ;-) I did better and much more than I thought I was going to, not without pain of course but I would have felt the pain of missing out if I didn’t give it a go. [You will be happy to know that when they all hiked back to our village, I took a boat ride, which was lovely.] Truth be told, I would have had a hard time with these hikes with or without ovarian cancer, they are tough because of all the up and down, but they were so gorgeous!

Since I knew I couldn’t hike every day, we came up with other things to do. We took a cooking class and made pesto and gnocchi which was so much fun.

We rented scooters again so Dana could have the experience and then rode the train for some of our transportation.

we made it to all 5 towns while we were there, plus we went north to Levanto to get out of the crowds and loved that too!

I suppose I shouldn’t be smiling if I am going to be a bad ass biker chick, but hey I am in Italy!!! [we are not far from the mountains of  Carrara  as I am sitting on these steps in this ancient village]

I suppose I shouldn’t be smiling if I am going to be a bad ass biker chick, but hey I am in Italy!!! [we are not far from the mountains of Carrara as I am sitting on these steps in this ancient village]

Eating award winning 2nd pizza dinner after 1st pizza dinner wasn’t great. Also pictured are our morning bowls of coffee

heading back to Vernazza here and then one day in Firenze and then home, which I won’t get into because it will tire you out! As you know I would have preferred taking this trip a few months later to have more time to recover, but I am so glad I went, it was nice to get off my butt and make these wonderful memories. Ciao, Ciao amici miei 💋

heading back to Vernazza here and then one day in Firenze and then home, which I won’t get into because it will tire you out! As you know I would have preferred taking this trip a few months later to have more time to recover, but I am so glad I went, it was nice to get off my butt and make these wonderful memories. Ciao, Ciao amici miei 💋

my new normal

life is starting to get back to my new normal. Still have same ole same ole aches but they are letting up a bit and for that I am very thankful. My hair is coming in slowly but now there are some dark sprouts joining the white ones. Only time will tell which will be more dominant and if curls will overtake the straight locks. [they are straight now because they are not even an 1/8" long ;-)]

I just want to be able to move forward with life but these doctors keep reeling me back in because they are worried about this and that. I know that is a good thing but I guess I thought I was just done. I am coming to the realization for the next 5 years at least I am not done and I need to do as they say and go for the blood work, have the CT scans, see the specialists and whatever else they want to make sure the cancer doesn't rear it's ugly head somewhere else. I think once I am feeling 100% it will be easier, but right now, not so much. It can be a bit stressful.

On the bright side though, before my diagnosis we had planned a trip to Italy [Firenze 6 days, Cinque Terre 4 days] to celebrate our friends anniversary and Dana's 30!!! birthday!!!. Physically, it isn't exactly how I would have wanted to go on a big trip but I am adaptable and it is what it is, and I am going. Don't worry I have no problem sitting down and resting when I need to. If you have been around me you know I am not that proud. Well we leave before the crack of dawn so I must be off but wanted to say thanks again for your continued support, it means the world to me! Ciao and Grazie!

This week trying to build some strength for my trip. Gary sticking close by thinking that I like obstacles and challenges.

This week trying to build some strength for my trip. Gary sticking close by thinking that I like obstacles and challenges.

40 days out

So its been 40 days since my last chemo treatment and for the most part all is well. I won't go into what isn't because I am the first one to say how sick of I am of hearing about it [and feeling it], so I imagine you are too. Instead lets talk about my hair, or lack of it. People say to me well now we will find out what color your hair really is? I think to myself, well I could just tell you, but hey, ok.

As I showed you a couple of weeks ago I was was photographed as a 40 something yr old blonde [or pictured with some anyhow], but it turns out instead of being a blonde, I am all platinum. My nice friends say well you don't know, they still might . . . [it is nice to have optimistic friends, however misguided] 

I took this picture today to show you how far my hair has come. The oncologist says it take 3-6 months for your hair to come back in. This is a little over a month. Looks like it will be perfect timing for the cooler weather!

I know, I know I look like an old man in this photo. I cropped in close so I wouldn't have to photoshop my face since it is so close, but I wanted you to see my new sprouts. Not a lot of hair and not brunette or blonde but hey it's something.  I had an art opening Friday night at  Harumi Yoga+ Holistic Healing House . This was something planned a year and a half ago. I said yes then because I had a lot of paintings already finished that I thought would work for the space. I had help to hang the show so I went forward with it and all went well. For being so far out I had a lot of people coming through which was really nice. I even sold a little piece to a fellow artist and FB friend [we had never met in person] who also happens to be going through chemo right now. So new friends, olds friend, short friends, tall friends [heels, really ;-)] Good time had by all. The teachers at the studio seemed very happy to have the paintings to enjoy for the next 2 months.  Myself and my legs couldn't have been happier that it was only 2 hours! We went home and collapsed. Dave has been so very helpful through all of this!  wishing all my jewish aummie's a happy and HEALTHY new year! May it be sweet and may it be peaceful. L'shana tova! 😘  hope you had a good weekend!

I know, I know I look like an old man in this photo. I cropped in close so I wouldn't have to photoshop my face since it is so close, but I wanted you to see my new sprouts. Not a lot of hair and not brunette or blonde but hey it's something.

I had an art opening Friday night at Harumi Yoga+ Holistic Healing House. This was something planned a year and a half ago. I said yes then because I had a lot of paintings already finished that I thought would work for the space. I had help to hang the show so I went forward with it and all went well. For being so far out I had a lot of people coming through which was really nice. I even sold a little piece to a fellow artist and FB friend [we had never met in person] who also happens to be going through chemo right now. So new friends, olds friend, short friends, tall friends [heels, really ;-)] Good time had by all. The teachers at the studio seemed very happy to have the paintings to enjoy for the next 2 months.

Myself and my legs couldn't have been happier that it was only 2 hours! We went home and collapsed. Dave has been so very helpful through all of this!

wishing all my jewish aummie's a happy and HEALTHY new year! May it be sweet and may it be peaceful. L'shana tova! 😘

hope you had a good weekend!

opening my heART

You may have heard me say I am probably not going to do another solo art show again. Well a year and a half ago I said that I would, and that time is now. Of course the timing is lousy but it has pushed me to get off my sofa and figure out what I was going to put in the show. This is not all new work [and that is why I said yes to it] but I do have a couple new pieces. It has been nice to be painting even if it was only for short intervals because of fatigue or dizziness. The image in the promo is rather large, don't ask. Friends said wouldn't it be easier to paint something small, even lap size? no doubt . . . not sure why I didn't think of that.

I rarely paint with teal, I usually move towards a more turquoisy or yellowy color but that green kept moving into my palate so I decided to go with it. I figured that I must need to just get ovarian cancer out of my mind and my system so maybe this life size challenge will help me do it. 

So anyhow, I have been laboring away this labor day weekend and in the evening going to dinner parties which has been lovely. I am still pretty damn tired all the time but trying as hard as I might to get back to my normal life. I basically just need to take a lot of breaks to sit down [dizzy] and rest [legs still hurt] and catch my breath [my lung capacity sucks!] 

So glad it's September and I am feeling better than I was [and glad to have August behind me]. Starting to feel a little cool air in the mornings and evenings and that is enough to make any Arizonian happy!

Hope you all are having a good weekend and enjoying this day off! Come up and see me next friday if you are around!

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3 weeks out

I can tell from the amount of texts and calls that I have been getting that my curious peeps out there are wondering how I am doing. I guess I haven't written because I was hoping to say everything was back to normal when I wrote back to you and I have just learned that might be a little while yet.

Tuesday I had a follow up visit with my oncologist. As I sat in the waiting room happy about being done, seeing some of my infusion neighbors made that hard knowing that for some, this chemo crap continues on.  I had my blood work done and then some more waiting around for my turn with the doctor.  We discussed how I am feeling [not great, still fatigue easily, still pain but now mostly in my legs] Luckily the nausea seems to have passed for the most part and just have some lightheadedness left. She thought I was doing very well, and explained that the timeline in my bald little head might be a little off. Turns out it may take months [possibly up to six of them to feel as I did before all this started]

I have been going for blood work every week since my surgery and so we discussed those results and fluctuations. She was concerned that my tumor markers were still too high for having gone through surgery and chemo and she wants to see me back in a month instead of three. She ordered a CT scan which I had done on thursday but still don't have the results. This blood test is the one screening we have for ovarian cancer and the one that I told you was so unreliable, so we were trying not to worry. In the meantime, after much reading and listening to podcasts about cancer and diet, I had cut meat out of my diet. I am not cooking it at home and so we are eating mostly plant proteins and just trying to be healthier in general. [have not cut out fish or eggs but are going easy] The good news in all of this is that the results from this weeks CA-125 [tumor markers] test came back and my levels finally dropped! So we are all very happy. Was it the vegetarian diet? Of course I can't be certain, but there is a lot of evidence to say that animal proteins feed cancer cells so I myself and not going to question or take any chances at this point in my life. Plus I am finding that coming up with complete vegetarian meals is interesting and tasty. I have also learned that plants do have protein and there is too much hype about how much protein one needs in a day. Dave even says he feels better, lighter and has more energy. I can't really judge that for myself right now but I am eating well and looking forward to having more energy, sooooonnn!

I was given the go ahead to do whatever I feel I can, soooo this weekend I helped throw/went to my first party. It was to celebrate a good friends birthday, it was suppose to be a happy hour but went on for many hours, I didn't crawl into bed until 12:30, which I would have considered very late even in my healthiest of days. Saturday I did not move from the couch and I am back there now writing to you. [but it was worth it!]

so although the week started out with some unknown stressors, it has ended with some relief with the tumor markers going down and my red and white blood cells in normal range finally. So it is good news all around, I just have to CONTINUE to be patient! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend.

here I am friday night as a 40 something year old blonde!

here I am friday night as a 40 something year old blonde!

melon head

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I just wanted to let you all know I am starting to feel a little better which makes me happy. Like I told you last week this nausea was bumming me out, but I feel like I am turning the corner with it. The other stuff like pain is easier to deal with. But the real reason I am here is to tell you how awesome people are, well you probably know that because you are my people, but just today I got beautiful sunflowers from a neighbor and then this gorgeous watermelon from my friends garden. I LOVE watermelon and this was a very nice gift since she didn't have that many [so I feel honored]. I also received a little painting this week from an artist friend, dinner mailed to me, a friend who won't let me pay for lunch until I have hair and someone needlepointed me a fuck cancer picture, how great is that! So of course having cancer sucks, but I would be lying if I didn't say hearing from all of you hasn't been a nice way to get me through all this.  Also, I might have gone through my whole life not knowing that I had a stork bite on the back of my head/neck, so theres that!

wishing you [and me] a good week ahead!

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yay?, it's august?

hi, again, I wish I could say I just got back from running a marathon, but I will likely never utter those words. Instead, I am struggling to walk to the bathroom and do everyday things that we normally take for granted.

but I do feel fortunate that this is going to end for me soon.

I know you want to hear how I am doing. Although I really don’t have anything new to add except the symptoms/side effects seem to have come on sooner than past treatments which isn’t fun. I am also having more nausea this time which is also no fun.

A lot of very nice people have been asking after me, I just wanted to assure you all that I am doing ok. It is a one day at a time kind of thing and I am planning on each day get easier and just want to thank you again for your concern.

thank you for every card, post, message, call, text, meal, and positive thought. You have helped allow me to deal with all this with optimism and positivity. Having your strength and encouragement behind me gives me the daily support I need. I want you to know I appreciate all your support even if I don't always get back to you or thank you properly for the nice things you've done.

hope you all have a nice sunday and are able to keep cool!

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things I did today

took a bunch of pills and powders

wasn't recognized by my yard guy of 20 years [I guess it's true we all look alike]

painted until I was tired [not very long]

rested and read about neuropathy and why my fingers and toes are still tingly/prickily and painful [answer: chemo]

ate

face timed with a far away friend :-)

painted a little more

rested and snacked [did I tell you crying is back]

read some more, this time about why my legs still hurt [answer: chemo]

laying here thinking about soaking in the pool before dinner if I can get up the energy. I Invited Jake over for dinner. He is moving to California soon to start his doctorate program in psychology and so I want to cook while I can. I know I won't feel like cooking after my next round of chemo so I don't want him to leave town without a home cooked meal! [Next chemo is tuesday the 31st and is said to be the last one, so yay for that]

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Nope, Dana isn't still here, she was really only here for 48 hours but I thought I would share this picture with you.