Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Easy Chemo

Before you read the informative and hilarious post below, I am asking you to take a moment of your time and vote for me - daily - in the Best Health Blog of the Year Contest. The prize is $1,000.00 and the contest ends the 15th.  I'm going to pull out the cancer card, pull on your heartstrings, and ask for your vote.  If I win, the money goes towards my son's college - he is a junior in high school.   I can't work to put money in my son's college fund anymore, and I have terminal cancer and may not even see him go.   You can see my family by clicking on the video on the upper right of the blog. --> If you watch, you'll see my younger son is very smart, articulate, scientific,  and will do well with college, and your vote will help him achieve. (My older son is smart too, but has finished school.)  

The contest is over on the 15th, and you can vote once a day via either twitter or facebook.  Healthline does not use your information and won't spam you so if you have procrastinated or are afraid of that, please don't be.  Now is the time!  I would be grateful for your vote and also grateful if you would ask your own social networks to vote for me.  If you click on vote, you can see on the top right if your vote registered.  If you get what appears to be a dark screen, just scroll down and see the facebook status box.  Ask your friends to vote and click!  (You can also close the X if you don't want anybody to know you voted, but why would you be ashamed?)   Although the other blogs are deserving as well, I would really like to win for my son.  I love all my readers either way; your support means the world to me.Click below to vote -  then the post: .

best health blogs 2012


Many of us in CancerLand use the term "easy" to describe certain chemos.   "Oh, that's an easy chemo, you'll like that one" I've said to a cancer buddy, without realizing that statement may sound slightly insane to the healthy hipster sitting next to me at the Starbucks.   You normal folks probably don't even realize there are dozens of classes of chemotherapy drugs, all which work in different ways on your cells.

For those of you who haven't followed this blog from the beginning, let me explain and save you about 50,000 words:  if you are a Breast Cancer Stage IV lottery winner, your prize is treatment.



It never stops. There are no "six rounds of chemo and you are done" like with the earlier stages.   Early stage women get a few rounds of adjuvent chemo for the purpose of killing any microscopic cells that may be floating around.  In some of us, that didn't work, and so we end up with unsurvivable cancers.  We get palliative chemo, which means they are no longer trying to cure us, just give us symptom relief, maybe put us into temporary remission, or slow the cancer down and give us a longer life.  If none of that happens with one treatment, and the cancer progresses while on it, than we try something new, but we never stop.

Stage IV breast cancer, like cockroaches, cannot be killed, only controlled with poison, and not for long depending on where the cancer ends up.  Since mine's in the liver, my life expectancy was 3 years, and I've already lived 2.

Not that I'm counting.

If you are newly diagnosed with Stage IV, you may start with the easier hormonals.  It may be in pills or a shot, and they have their own side effects, but they are not chemotherapy. (A lot of people think chemotherapy is anything "chemical" you put in your body but that statement is archaic.)  Chemo drugs are a specific class of drugs that do specific, cytotoxic things.  Eventually, inevitably, that early treatment will fail, as that is the nature of Stage IV breast cancer.

Then it's on to Chemo for Life, which, by the way, would be a great name for a rock band.  You try one until it fails, and you try another until it fails and so on.  I am on my seventh chemo.  You hope that one will work for a time and you can stick with it.  Maybe it'll shrink your tumors enough so you can take a little break that won't be too dangerous and allow your cancer to pop back up like wildflowers in the spring.  But, make no mistake - you will never be off chemo for long.  In Stage IV world, you just keep checking off the chemo list until there are no more to try, and then you look into clinical trials and then you call hospice.

Then your lottery ticket blows into the wind.

Here is a list of the chemos I've been on:  Carboplatin, Taxotere, Taxol, Abraxane, Navelbine, Halavan, and Gemzar.

Ah, but that is not all.  I am on other anti-cancer drugs that are infused but which are not chemotherapy drugs: Herceptin, Zometa and now Perjeta.  Herceptin and Perjeta are for my specific type of cancer, and Zometa is to keep my bones strong.

Sounds like a bunch of comic book characters, doesn't it?

In a windy city, on a desolate planet, Carboplatin came to the rescue, scooping up Ms. Abraxane and the magical Gemzar and flying off to Navelbine in the hopes that the evil Halaven wouldn't find them in their lair.

So, now that the background is done:  what's an Easy Chemo?

1.  An Easy Chemo is one that doesn't have you praying to the porcelain gods, saying hi to Ralph or calling Earl.  It is also one that doesn't force you to take a zillion expensive drugs to prevent those colorful barfing metaphors.  As an example of expensive, the anti-nausea infusion that works best for me, Aloxi, costs $1400 a dose, which by the way, I get weekly.  Or used to, as it became too expensive for my insurance.  Now I get a less effective one called Kytril.   To make up for what Kytril doesn't do, and because my latest chemo seems to cause nausea, I just got a new prescription for an anti-nausea drug called Emend, which has a $50.00 copay - for three pills.


You can do the math better than I can, but 180 oxycontin only costs five bucks.  It seems it's a lot cheaper to control pain than to control puking.

Let's just say that I have cleaned my toilet in preparation.

2.  An Easy Chemo is one in which you get to keep your hair. Healthy people, listen up:  Not all chemos cause hair loss.  In fact, most do not.  If you see somebody who is in cancer treatment and they have their hair, don't assume anything based on that.  Don't imagine that they are feeling good and don't assume they are lying about being in treatment.  You may assume that their hair looks bad because it fell out and grew back in weird, because (ahem) that does happen.  I used to have long, wavy hair.  Now it's short and stick straight except for the back of the neck, where it is not only curly, but looks and feels like a brillo pad. We won't even talk about the color.  The truth is, once you have entered Stage IV World, many chemos you try won't take your hair, but trust me when I say we'll never have long hair again.  Whether it falls out or not,  chemotherapy of any kind is not good for growing hair and it's not likely to grow long and luxurious while we are on it.

And remember, we are always on it.

Here's a funny story, at least funny if you are a morbid cancer patient such as myself.  One of my nurses just told me about a woman she treated who had just died of breast cancer.  She thought I might have known the woman, but was not sure we'd gotten treatment at the same time, and I wasn't remembering her name.  So the nurse described her as "a woman with short spiky hair..."  Um.  That pretty much describes every breast cancer patient in existence. Anyway, I saw her obit in the paper, and I didn't know her,  but I am still sad she died.  She was my age.

An Easy Chemo is one that doesn't make your getting out of bed more difficult than getting your teenage son off facebook.  Cancer makes you tired. Chemo makes you tired. Together they make a tiredness bomb, only one too tired to go off, so it just sort of lays there, fizzling.   Some chemos make you more tired than others.

Cancer tiredness is not like healthy people tiredness.  There is no sleep I can get, no nap I can take, no rest I can do that will refresh me.  I am deeply exhausted, all the time.   I wake up in the morning (noon), make my espresso coffee, and immediately need to sleep for several more hours.   I would sleep all day if it wasn't for ritalin, which I asked for when I started Halaven, a very tiring chemo for me.

Ritalin only allows me to keep my eyes open, it doesn't give me energy to do things.  Sometimes, even nagging my husband is hard.  But if I didn't, he'd think I was already dead.

An Easy Chemo is one that doesn't leave your bones feeling like your dog has chewed them.  Once you are into your third year of straight chemo, as I am, your bones are pretty much always going to ache like a chef scooped the marrow out for his fancy gourmet dish, but it is a matter of degree.  Some chemos can leave your bones aching like you are Rihanna and Chris Brown played the drums on you, while others just leave you with a dull ache like you you have the flu.  The main question is:  One oxy or three?

An Easy Chemo is one that doesn't leave your skin looking like a 13 year old girl whose mom is in denial of her child's puberty and won't buy her any Stridex.  Yes, I am in my 50s and my nickname could be pizza face.

I read an unintentionally hilarious article on Oprah's website by a Hollywood Writer with Cancer about "tips for getting through chemo" that said, "chemo is better than Botox and takes all the toxins out of your skin.  Suddenly your face is as smooth as a baby's butt."

Hah!  No.  It is not better than botox (which, my dear Hollywood writer, puts toxins in your skin, as does chemo) and even without break-outs, my skin is not as smooth as a baby's butt; it's as wrinkled as time, and I bet I've done a thousand times more chemo you. (But probably not as much botox.)  According to her theory, I should look like a fetus's butt.

But wait.  A pre-born baby butt is pretty wrinkly so I guess I do.

Even worse, there are some chemos that cause "hand and foot syndrome" in which the skin on the soles of your feet and palms become red, peeling, and very painful (because the toxic chemo leaks from your capillaries into your skin, Ms. Hollywood Writer).  In the worst case, your hands and feet become almost unusable, which would be absolutely horrible if we weren't so tired we didn't really do anything anyway.

An Easy Chemo leaves your fingernails alone.  By that I don't mean you can actually grow them strong, or put polish or gel on them with any hopes of it lasting or anything, that is just dreaming too big.  My nails are weak, easily broken, and now ridged.  I only put polish on for very special occasions and hope it lasts a couple of hours before chipping off and taking half my nails with it.  But, a good chemo won't leave your fingernails turning black and falling off into your salad.  Fortunately, that usually only happens with early stagers, as they tend to be more gentle in dosing with us palliative care folks - but not always.

An Easy Chemo doesn't kill your blood.  All chemos will affect your white count, lowering it and leaving you as open to infection as Beyonce's legs on Super Bowl Sunday,  but some lower it less than others.  Some require the dreaded colony stimulator drug such as Leukine or Neulasta to keep you with an immune system.  Drugs, by the way, I will no longer take, even if that limits my chemo choices. Some chemos though, don't mess with your blood too much. For me, those were Abraxane and Halavan.

A few chemos will also affect your red count, leaving you dangerously anemic and necessitating a blood transfusion (Navelbine for me).  I know that's considered A Bad Thing, but I loved having a blood transfusion and dream of the day I can have one again.  It was seriously energizing, like crack for cancer patients.

An Easy Chemo doesn't cause neuropathy.  Some chemos cause nerve changes and some don't.  You can feel it almost immediately - your fingertips and toes suddenly feel more sensitive, or like they are burned or tingling.  Sometimes it goes away and sometimes it does not.  A good remedy is l-glutamine but you need to be able to put the dissolved powder into full glass of water and drink it four to six times a day, and I no longer can do that.  I sip water, but can't do large glasses or put a lot large amounts of anything in my stomach as it hurts too much.

An Easy Chemo doesn't make you constipated.   Just kidding.  All chemos make you constipated.

An Easy Chemo doesn't cause heartburn.  Some chemos can cause your esophagus to feel like it is made from a burning hot poker that was dipped into the fiery pits of hell.  Some can cause you to puke acid in the middle of the night while you are sound asleep, waking you in a terrible way as well as leaving your upper intestinal track burned.  No, I am not kidding.  Heartburn can be dealt with using medication, but many of those medications (specifically proton pump inhibitors like Tagamet) can't be taken by a person who had c-diff.  Like me.   So if Tums doesn't cure it, I'm SOL.

So, back to Starbucks.  You might think that when I say something was an "Easy Chemo" that I mean none of these side effects appear.   You couldn't be more wrong. An Easy Chemo might only give you 3 or 4 of them. It is up to you to decide which 3 or 4 make for your own personalized Easy Chemo.  For me, ones that don't mess with my blood,  give me heartburn or intense nausea, or cause me to lose my hair are the Easy Chemos.

I'm currently on Gemzar.  It is not an easy chemo.  I have hair but I am nauseated, have major gastro problems, it wreaks havoc with my blood,  and can barely stay awake even with double-doses of ritalin.

I wrote some chemo survival tips when I was newly diagnosed.   I stand by those tips, but it is really only for those who are doing adjuvent, curative chemo for early stage cancer, as I was then.  I'm too sick to follow any of those tips now.   For those of us on palliative chemo, it is an entirely different ball game, with different rules.  Well, really one rule:

Do it or die.

If you are Stage IV, here is hoping that whatever chemo you may be put on is an Easy Chemo.  More importantly, here's hoping that it puts you into remission, even for a little while.
Now, if you liked this post, or even if you didn't - please vote!


  1. Ann, I am a BCO member and I am newly diagnosed with DCIS. I have been reading your blog since July when I went there looking for answers because I was scared. I went to the Stage 4 threads and I read some things you had written and saw the link to your blog. I have been reading it ever since.

    Your honesty is refreshing in a world filled with "puppies and rainbows" which is clearly not your world. What shines through when I read your blog is that while you are realistic and honest, it is not without hope. I know that some think you are a hard ass. I don't think that fwiw. I think you are doing the best you can with the cards that you were dealt and I admire you.

    I keep you in my prayers and since I saw the video of you with your family, you have become more "real" to me than ever. I know that you haven't been participating on the BCO discussion boards lately due to a few people who upset you. Most people there seem to miss you more than not. I wish you would come back, but alas it is your decision and if they made you uncomfortable or pissed off, so be it.

    I have been voting for you every day and bumping the thread when I can so people see it. I want that son of yours to have that money. He seems like a good kid and I feel that your blog deserves to win so I will continue to vote for you. I will also continue to pray for you and for your comfort as I know that is all you can get now.

    May God (or the Goddess) bless you now and always. Keep writing - you have a lot to say.


    1. Hi Joyce! I like puppies and rainbows! LOL. :) I don't participate in BCO anymore because it is not my mission in life to upset people. Everybody should have a place of comfort and if my presence denies somebody that, as apparently it does, I don't need to be there. I have my facebook page where I can go to get support when I need it, and it has been invaluable for me. So I hope you will join me there, just click on the facebook box on the right hand column of this page to "like" me and be taken there. I try to post interesting/funny/inspirational things every day and talk to everybody.

      Thank you for voting for me, I really appreciate it and need it! Tell your friends. My son is not a good kid - he is a GREAT kid. He is living under the hardest of circumstances and doing it with such grace that it tears me up to see. He has maintained straight As in all honors classes with this cloud hanging over his head, and he is also funny and has a lot of interests and friends. He is thriving where others would not be and I am prouder than he could ever know.

      I'm really sorry for your diagnosis. I hope you are doing well with your treatment and recovery.


  2. For people voting: Check the position of where But Doctor, I Hate Pink is!! I got the shock of my day today when I voted for the 1st place blog (like I always do) and I looked and Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior came up! They're now in 1st! I voted again for Ann but what a waste!

    1. Good tip! I have been alternating between 1 and 2 all day. I had been #1 for so long that people aren't paying attention, so make sure you vote for But Doctor I Hate Pink!

  3. I couldn't say anything better than Joyce. Blessings. (And I've been trying to vote every day. )

    1. Thanks for voting! Tell your friends, because I'm the underdog!

  4. Ditto Moonflwr and Joyce

  5. Oh, this is a great post! I'm going to link on my blog if you don't mind. I've had Gemzar - it's not an easy drug for sure. My latest chemo was Avastin and Topotecan and my nurses had the audacity to tell me they were easy ones. They may not have been like my taxol/cistplatin cocktail, but not sure I'd call them easy either.

    This is my first time posting - I'm a 37 year old mom with stage 3c ovarian cancer. Been undergoing treatment for almost 2 years now, but am currently on a little chemo holiday while we "wait and see" what my little cancer pieces left are going to do. So far they've done nothing (with and without chemo).

    I don't know if saying I've "enjoyed" your blog is really quite the right word because so much of it is hard to read because I relate so well, but I applaud you for your honesty and will continue to read and hope for all the best for you. And I'll vote!

    1. I'm really sorry for your diagnosis. My best "cancer" blogger friend had ovarian too. We were like sisters, she wrote The Carcinista Blog which I still have linked to my page. She died almost 2 years ago, it's still hard to imagine. I want to email her sometimes and I can't. She wrote about Pink October from a Teal point of view here a few years ago, her name was Sarah Feather. She was the only guest blogger I've ever allowed.

      Here's hoping your chemo holiday is a nice break for you and your cancer pieces behave themselves. None of my chemos have worked either and the more treatment you get, the more resistant you get, at least with breast. I hope it's different with Ovarian. I have TDM1 coming next as soon as the FDA approves it, and that will hopefully help.

      Gemzar is horrible! I heard it was an Easy Chemo too but it is the worst one I've gotten. I'm so sick all the time I can't do anything but sit here.

      Thanks for your votes and your reading. I really appreciate it. You can link to anything you want - of course! *hugs*

  6. Dear Ann- As I drug myself out of bed this morning having not slept at all (steroids again), feeling pretty darn sorry for myself, once again you made me laugh. The laughs are pretty few and far between these days...so thank you. Big hugs! KsGal from HER2

    1. Yeah! I am glad it made you laugh. :) Thank you. See you on the HER2 boards especially when TDM1 comes out as my doctor has said he'll give it to me right away.

  7. Hi Ann, I love your blog and your comments as cool breeze. I am stage V, stable at the moment (only bones). I'm looking at my wonderfull nails:oddly flat, stil crumbling,rigged . At least the colour changed to yellow, the black and slimy green didn't appeal to me,covered it with shades of blue.The oncology department thinks i'm hip, no, the other colours don't cover the stains (I'm 57).
    I agree with the do it or die policy> I'm on herceptin zometa and letrozol, could be worse exemestan maid me depressed: I started crying buying underwear or plugs , but only before noon, than I would be ok. It also started of some kind of rheumatism in my hands.Letrozol stopped this and also finished the neuropathy in my hands which I had for 2 years, So never a dull moment with the SE. I live in the Netherlands close to Germany where I recieve treatment.

    1. I have a friend on letrazole and she is having a rough time on that.

      Glad you are up before noon! I can't quite manage that one. Maybe I should set an alarm for 10:00 and put a ritalin by the bed, then maybe I could get up. :)

      Love to hear from my sisters in other countries. I bet you are hip. :)

  8. Thanks Ann - this really cheered me up! And it is all so true!

    I'm stage IV and after a year off work have managed to go back 3 days a week so far. Manage to do my work just fine - then the minute I get home and the 2 days in between I just doze all the time. I find it impossible to stay awake! And yet on a working day I manage great. Strange eh?

    I'm also on letrozole now and zometa. Finished 1st chemo before Xmas and hair just starting to come back. Grey and fluffy so far!

    Have voted today and at the last check you re back on top. Think its going to be a race to the wire.

    Take care and best wishes from England :)

    1. I remember when I was still working and on half days. It was soooooo hard to get up and dressed, but once I was at work I was fine. I crashed as soon as I got home. Unfortunately, I had to quit as I couldn't work half days forever and I knew I'd never be able to get up at 5:00 am. again. I miss working though and I recommend that you do it as long as you are able! I think it keeps you going! Sitting around the house is not a good thing.

      Hope the letrazole goes easy on you and lasts a long time.

  9. Great post Ann---I voted and have voted every day. I love your blog--I find it honest and refreshing. I had Stage 2 along with a side of cervical cancer--and I had adjuvant chemo---I remember those days of Emend. I didn't have it at first and spent the first chemo wrapped around the toilet. Cheering you on from Canada.

    1. Thanks for your votes, I appreciate it! Yeah, I am not sure I'll be taking that much Emend at that cost, we'll see. I have college to pay for and at $17.00 a pill....I'll just stick with zofran and compezine.

  10. Girls, I have researched all these drugs and gemzar is known as the "red devil". Both my sisters were on it and it is horrible. I get so angry with these drug companies being able to charge what they do. Some have been on the market so long they could be termed "generic" and cost $4. I don't have cancer yet, just waiting for my turn since five sisters have and two are gone.

  11. Hi Ann! Thank you so much for this post... not only was I laughing but I was also reading it to my husband in an attempt to prove that I'm not just a whiner. I especially can relate to the cancer fatigue. I try to describe this new level of fatigue to my people and I'm always afraid they are thinking I just need to take a nap. Your description was so fitting... I'm now hopeful that this will get better if/when I am able to stop with my chemo and it isn't really just "the new me." Keep up the great writing... we need you!

  12. I was diagnosed with Stage 1A, Grade 2 Breast Cancer, mixed tumors of IDC and ILC in January 2012. Bilateral Mastectomy with Immediate Reconstruction followed by 6 sessions of CMF cocktail. I was told it was an easy chemo. Then I got side effects that the oncology nurses and doctors have never seen before. About the only side effect I did not get was nausea, although I received Aloxi and always took a little Compazine/Benadryl/Trazadone combo when I got home from chemo.

    I have been told I am lucky I got an easy cancer. I have been told I am lucky I don't have to get mammograms anymore. I was told I am lucky my insurance covered my "boob job." The only thing I feel lucky about is that I am currently in remission.

    I have many lasting side effects from my "easy" chemo like migraines, lens opacity in my left eye that will likely become a cataract, necrosis in my left knee (partial knee replacement in May), nueropathy, nails fell off, toenails still dark and painful and many more.

    Thank you for writing your blog. It was one of the first blogs I found and started reading after my surgery. I have listed your blog on mine and I have been voting and I will ask for friends and followers (I only have a few but every vote counts) to vote for you as well.

  13. Ann, Just wanted you to know that I've asked the people who have been voting for Early Onset Alzheimer's blog to also vote for your blog. I want you to win first Place! I've noticed that several of them have voted this morning since they posted it back to my Facebook along with where they voted for my Early Onset Alzheimer's blog.

    1. Linda, that is about the most generous thing I've ever heard of. I don't know what to say. I'll let my friends know, maybe they can do the same. *hugs*

  14. I have voted for you too, as I find your blog refreshingly open and candid. I am not stage IV, but I am HER2+ so many of your comments resonate with me. I am grateful for your introducing Soul Pancake videos to me, especially the Last Days series. Those, including yours, are very inspiring to me. I have not yet begun chemotherapy, but I really appreciate your honesty about what to expect. I will be on andriamycin, cytoxin, taxol and then herceptin, of course. Please know how important your blog is to so many people and my thoughts are with you and your family.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Hey Ann,
    I am about to start Gemzar on Monday. When I was first diagnosed at stage3c when I was 29 they put me on the "hard" stuff like Taxol, Taxotere, Adrimyacin and Cytoxin. I coded once in the hospital and then pretty much lived there for the next six months. I have been fine for the last year and a half but now they say I'm stage 4 metastatic bc in my liver and all my abdominal lymph nodes. At first I wasn't even going to do chemo because I don't want to go through all that rot again but my oncologist finally talked me into it by convincing me it was going to be an "easy" chemo. Now I don't know if I want to try. Either way she said it won't change the outcome just possibly give me a little more time. I'm not sure if I want more time though if it's going to be spent like that again.

    1. Ginnie, I am not going to try to convince you to try Gemzar......wait, yes I might. You see, Gemzar, for almost everybody, IS an easy chemo. I have been in the infusion room for 3 years and I see people get Gemzar and go about their daily lives and say they barely know they are on anything.

      Here's the thing: I don't know if I'm having problems now because of Gemzar or because my cancer is making me symptomatic or because I am on my 7th chemo and everything is going to cause me problems now.

      I have upper right pain like I've been kicked in the side, and liver cancer doesn't hurt until it stretches the lining of the liver. Each time I take a breathe, I can feel the pain in the liver now. It also can cause nausea and itching, which I have. So, it might be the Gemzar but might be the cancer. I don't want to scare people and say I'm having end-stage cancer symptoms, but that might be what it is.

      You had such a terrible experience that I know you are nervous. From everything I've heard, Adrimyacin and Cytoxin are NOT easy chemos. Adrimyacin (Doxorubicin) is called the "Red Devil" because it's so harsh. They didn't give me that one because in conjuction with herceptin, it can cause heart problems.

      I know I can't say "if I were you" because I didn't have the frightening experience you had. But, I would trust your doctor about the Gemzar and not a blogger. They have far more experience than I do. I only know what I have been through and doctors know what their thousands of patients go through. And, there is nothing that forces you to stay on it if you don't like it.

      It sounds like you had a very unusual experience that I doubt would happen again, but I understand your fear. I'm just as fearful of c-diff. That was the worst experience of my life and I would not want to repeat it and so I know you feel that way about chemo.

      Just remember, not all chemos do the same thing. And, if it works, you might end up living a few extra years without the bad side effects.

      Nobody could blame you if you wanted to let nature take its course. Many people decide to do that. At some point, I imagine I will have to say 'I've had enough." But I am not there yet as I have a family and life I want to live, even a diminished one. I'm hoping you aren't there yet either.

      I want to make sure that everybody out there, not just Ginnie, knows I am just a blogger. I am sharing my experience and what I have gone through. I have no medical expertise. Because I went through something, that doesn't mean the next person will have the same experience or go through the same thing. So you always - always, should make your decisions based on your doctor's recommendation.

      Your doctor knows what happened to you before. Adrimyacin is hard on the heart which maybe is what cause you to code. Gemzar is not hard on the heart. But only your doctor can answer those questions for you so don't listen to me - listen to your doctor. Tell your doctor your fears, make sure you understand what made you code, why he thinks it won't happen again, what will happen if you refuse chemo - and then make an informed decision.

      Please let me know what you decide to do, okay?

    2. I will definitely let you know. I am probably going to go ahead and do at least one cycle of it and see how it goes. I am getting a new port on Monday (they took my old one out when I finished chemo the first time) and then get the first round. I will see how it goes for that first month and then make a decision.
      Thanks for all your blogging! I direct people toward it because the way you describe things is so amusing and honest. It makes it easier for me to share stuff with my family and friends.

  17. Ann,

    I found your blog when I was Googling liver resection info... I'm still "catching up", but I wanted to tell you that you ROCK! I also voted for you! I don't have Breast Cancer--I have another type of cancer and am having liver resection next Thursday. Not a cure (there is none) but can give me more time, which is what we all hope for and I hope for you! Keep up the good fight! I'm definitely going to keep reading your blog. Good luck with the contest. I hope you WIN!

  18. I've been voting for you and I so hope you win!! I think if we win ;-) I'll be doing a dance in front of my computer!

  19. Congratulations Ann, it looks like you won!!!!!

  20. CONGRATULATIONS ANN! We have been pulling and voting for you on BCO. Stop by and give us a shout out. Missing you there. Scuttlers

  21. Ann, you won! Yay! of course that was only fair since you have the most incredible blog and family! I know TONS of ladies from BCO were voting for you, because,with the exception of a few hurtful people you are so loved[and missed] over there I am SOOOOOO happy for you. I just spoke to bobby and he agreed that we need to donate a bit to your sons scholarship program tommorrow. i'm hoping enough will join me so that we can double that grand quickly.


  22. Hello Ann,

    I see that you won the well deserved prize. Congratulations! I just discovered your blog because it was forwarded to me by a member of my metastaitc cancer support group. I need to take a moment here and recommend a support group to anyone who has cancer. I think they are a piece of what is keeping me alive. But about you - I wanted to tell you what a breath of fresh air your writing is. Thank God someone is being humorous about cancer. You have a gift and I thank you for sharing it with us. I wish I could write to you without having it published on this page but there it is. I started opening up my heart more when I was diagnosed and that includes sharing on the web. My love (besides my children, husband, friends and cat) is photography and I wanted to express what I was going through with that medium. So I wanted to share that with you. I think the URL will appear at the end of this post but here it is in case it doesn't: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mycancerjourney/. So much of what you have said about living with stage 4 cancer resonates with me, and I am sure it does with other sate 4 survivors. Thank you.

  23. Just saw your blog for the first time. It is nice to "meet" you. Just wanted to let you know that I probably will quote the part where you talk about being tired in my blog, as I am always trying to figure out ways to explain "tired" to others who have not had their own personal experience with cancer.

    There are a lot of good points you make, and you have been through a lot. I almost hesitate to mention something - as you may have already tried it - but...if you haven't, it might be worth considering (or maybe it will be of some benefit to someone who might be reading this, if not you). Do you know about sea bands?

    I got one after my first week of chemo. I could not believe how different I felt between treatment 1 and treatment 2. I thought the oncologist had done something different the second week. But I was told that that was not the case.

    I went from not being able to get out of bed for two days, and needing to sleep for fear of being nauseous, to being able to get up and even eat. What a WORLD of difference. At one point I also had to get on Gemzar, and thankfully I never once threw up.

    I am so happy for you winning that prize. I am guessing it would be pretty bittersweet.

  24. Hi, I saw your post on TSTO, I've been a lurker on there for a couple of months. I lost someone close to me on July 30th to breast Cancer and my Mom to lung cancer on October 29th. Thank you for sharing your journey. I wish my lived ones had...
    Wishing you the best and sending hugs from Seattle.
    ( username Baylensmom on TSTO)

  25. Congratulations Ann, you are the winner!!!!!


Thank you for commenting. If the post is over 14 days old, the comment will be moderated and will approved later. This is a spam prevention technique - but I love to hear from you!