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Posted 2016-05-09T14:54:00Z

Live blogging Chemo #2 with my Mom for support! What a way to spend Mother's day

Greetings, fabulous people, thank you for all the good wishes as I sit here for Chemo #2...the nurses think it's hysterical that I am "live blogging" my chemo.  Not too many young people in here and I don't think this happens often.  

Great news to report today -- I didn't have a reaction to the Paclitaxel, one of the two chemotherapy drugs I am receiving.  I had a reaction during my first cycle and if it happened again it could mean I would not receive this drug.  And as I said to my oncology nurse, I want all the cancer killing chemicals they will give me!  Two possible reasons why... I changed my regime and took a dose of steroids last night, not just in the morning, as I did last cycle.  And I started on a slow drip rate that was gradually increased during the day, which reduces reaction rates.  Because of the slow drip rate, the Paxil takes four hours to infuse.  Now, at 4pm, I am starting on the Carboplatin, which has fewer side effects and is a much faster drip.  I hope we get all these drugs in my system by 7 pm, when the Chemo center closes.  It's a long day, and my butt is sore.  

Today I used a smaller cold cap and got my hair wet to increase the chill effect, so even though I lost a fair amount of hair last go round, I have high hopes I will lose less hair this time.  My main goal is to keep enough hair to look OK for JJ's wedding (and the pictures that will be around for decades)!!  My oncologist said it's too early to be 100% but it looks good that I can attend his wedding in Anchorage, Alaska on June 4th.  It will be four weeks after treatment #2, so I have an extra week to rest up.  It means delaying Chemo #3 for a week but Dr. A assures me there is no loss in efficacy with a one week delay and she understands why it's so important to go.  I will have blood work a few days before our scheduled flight and it a looks good we will go.  Back to the hair loss: I have decided that each hair represents a dead cancer cell and that makes all the lost hairs easy to let go.  It's a tangible sign of progress.  Enough of the nitty-gritty on my treatment -- let me tell you about our big week. 

My parents arrived 10 days ago and we have been really busy.  Thankfully, they arrived just as I was perking back up so we could make the most of their visit.  We visited all the iconic Oxford sights: St Mary't tower, Radcliff Camera, Sheldonian Theater's famous heads, Ashmolean Muesum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Natural History Museum, Blackwells bookshop, and toured New College (founded in 1379, that cracks me up) and Balliol College.  We had a fabulous day punting on the Cherwell River in Ox.  Possibly best of all, I spent Mother's Day (the US version; we had the UK celebration 6 week ago)  with my Mom.  She took me shopping for dresses to wear to JJ and Nahanni's wedding.  

Farther afield, we went blue bell hunting at Wytham Woods, Oxford's research forest.  A special thanks to Shelly, who drove us and took great family portraits among the flowers.  Shelly has an amazing blog about all things Oxford and beyond, but she had never seen the blue Bells at Wytham, so I was delighted we could give her an excuse to finally check that off her list.  We took the bus to London to visit the Imperial War Museum, Jim's must-see museum.  Bruce drove us to the Cotswolds for a day's walk in Upper and Lower Slaughter, Burton on the Water, and Burford.  We saw lovely stone cottages and many baby lambs.  He also drove to Bletchly Park, site of the amazing effort to crack the German Enigma code.  We were all humbled to see the sparse working condition of great men like Alan Turing.  If you have not watched "The Imitation Game", watch it now.  It was great to have the energy to live large!  When I am feeling tired the rest of this week and really yucky with neuropathy on days 7-10 next week, it will be great to look back and remember how much we did together.  Thanks, Mom and Jim, for making the big trip to support me.  I know you are reluctant travelers and this was a hard trip.  But we made great memories. 

Hugs to you all and thanks for all the good wishes,



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Comments (16)

  • James Cavins
    James Cavins

    Michelle, I am so proud to be your father. You are an amazing person! Love you dearly. You have given your mother and me two priceless weeks. We are very grateful and happy to have made this trip.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mary Ellen Tiffany
    Mary Ellen Tiffany

    Michelle I think the way you reframed the loss of a strand of hair is brilliant. It goes along with everything I admire about you. Your strong sense of determination and perseverance. You can do this! So glad too that it looks positive for the trip to anchorage. I remember how lovely your wedding was and I am sure you will look fabulous in your new dress for JJ's. Sending many hugs ME

    4 years ago · Reply
  • EvelynCavins

    If that's the case I hope you are bald tomorrow Love you so much Mom

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Gordon Fox
    Gordon Fox

    I'm happy to hear that you're doing so well. Sending good thoughts . . . .

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Cherie mignone
    Cherie mignone

    Hi Michelle, Cortisone in the evening, what a good idea to fix the following day and what a relief that you can continue the multiple drug approach! Recently, I learned about the peritoneal wash approach to ovarian cancer, sometimes used right after surgery, and sometimes after months of chemo such as yours. Sloan Kettering:, describes the procedure, requirements, etc. Something that might be useful for you in the future. Not to be a dummy, but what is "punting" ? xox, Cherie

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Leslie Kenny
    Leslie Kenny

    What wonderful photos, Michelle! And I love your thinking of each hair lost as another cancer cell killed -- those cancer cells don't stand a chance because you are starting with a very full head of hair;p

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mollie Sheely
    Mollie Sheely

    I'm so glad you had a great visit with Evelyn and Jim and very impressed that you haven't seemed to let this cancer slow you are amazing! The photos are beautiful and you look great! I am so glad you are making plans to go to JJ's wedding...I wish we could be there to celebrate with you. Hugs to you!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Susan Olmsted
    Susan Olmsted

    I am just hoping I get to see you at Jjs wedding! My theory is that each step you take is a cancer crusher Love Suz

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Jessie Altstatt
    Jessie Altstatt

    Blue Bells! Punting! What gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing. I am glad that you are in such an interesting place with day trip destinations close at hand. Hope this 2nd round of chemo continues smoothly. Sending you good thoughts from cold and gray Santa Barbara. Jessie

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Patsy Hogue
    Patsy Hogue

    Great photos and wonderful update Michelle! You are one incredible young woman. Love and blessings to you. And kick that cancer's butt!!!!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Carol Genetti
    Carol Genetti

    Love this post! You look radiant in the photos and your positive energy shines through your eyes as well as every word. Whatever you are doing, keep it up! Lots of love from Santa Barbara (May grey)!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Mick McCarthy
    Mick McCarthy

    Oxford! - that looks just spiffing! My brother and his wife have just moved to Oxford (well, just outside Oxford - Stanton Harcourt). Thanks for the updates. Best wishes with the rest of round 2. Lots of love from us all in drizzly and cold Melbourne. MK&O

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Temmo Korisheli
    Temmo Korisheli

    Sigh... Oxford! So dreamy. Sounds like you've really steeped yourselves in it!

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Carolyn Walton
    Carolyn Walton

    We've been in touch with Bob and Sally and hoping we'll be able to see you when they come. Glad you've had such a good time with your Mum. Love to you and Bruce xxx

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Patty Tunnicliffe
    Patty Tunnicliffe

    Again, thanks so much for posting this. Great to hear that the second round went better, and I think the pictures of you show you looking fabulous! Great that you were able to enjoy the time with your Dad and Mom, I know they have been so happy to be there with you and Bruce. Keep your great outlook and fighting spirit alive . . . you are blessed to be young and tough. We hold you all in our prayers . . . and, we stand with you dear.

    4 years ago · Reply
  • Satie Airame
    Satie Airame

    I love the photo of you among blue bells at Wytham Woods and the photo of Bruce and Jim punting on the Cherwill with the Botanic Garden glass house in the background (left)! That particular glass house had the world's largest lemon (fruit, not tree) when I visited in March! I will post a picture to the other part of this blog. I hope the side effects of chemo #2 are minimal. Your perspective on hair makes sense. I wish you and Bruce and your parents safe journeys to Alaska to celebrate with JJ and Nahanni. Please send pictures of you in the new dress! We are sending our love from Santa Barbara! Satie

    4 years ago · Reply