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PennyK

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Member since: Sat Dec 18, 2004, 11:43 PM
Number of posts: 1,438

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I'm moving over here from the Cancer group

I've been experiencing anxiety and depression. It's come and gone away twice so far. I can't explain the first time, The second time, it seemed to be caused by a blood pressure med, Amlodipine. I was able to stop it, and I started to feel good almost immediately.
Then, about three weeks later, the feelings returned.

I should mention that I've been through full treatment for breast cancer, and even though I finished full chemo a year ago, I had to continue one chemo drug, Herceptin, for a full year (which ended in August). I'm still experiencing some of chemo's side effects (hair and nails are still crappy).

I made an appointment to see my PCP for next Tuesday. I have some Xanax, and I'm using it, as little as I can, to get me through until we can figure out what else could work for me. I'm trying breathing and what little bits of exercise I can do to help me for now.

Frustrating to feel so down! I'm usually a cheerful person and even through chemo, I never got that depressed. I was planning a trip for later this month, but now I feel so unhappy it just doesn't seem like a good idea.

Hair help

I have hereditary thin hair. It's naturally curly, really African-American frizzy! But since chemo, the regrowth has been typical: very fine and softly curly. I completed full chemotherapy almost a year ago, but had to take Herceptin for a full year, which I completed in April. It's so sparse! I used to be able to disguise it with my curls, but not now. In fact, I'm using a keratin powder to hide my scalp.
Someone suggested I try taking Biotin. I've been reading about it and it does seem to help some people. Can anybody offer me advice? have you tried it and if so, did it help?

Mood and what affects it

You know I've been through a lot, thanks to many complications and side effects of treatment.
Well, I've been depressed and anxious for weeks...and then, suddenly, a few days ago, my sadness lifted. I could feel it happening -- just like a cloud lifting -- and I've been trying to peg it to something or other, but I can't. I felt so good that I almost started to cry!
And although I wouldn't say I'm singing all day long, the depression that I experienced is mostly gone.

It's been several months since I finished my year of Herceptin, and two months since I stopped taking Xarelto, but neither of those seems to point to depression. It could well be that I'm finally done with treatment (although I now have to deal with what seems to be some form of arthritis), except for reconstruction, and that I can do this fall or winter.

I'd appreciate any insights anyone can offer me, because I'd love to understand why I suddenly feel so much better, and how to KEEP feeling this way.

What do we feast upon, saturday July 1

I don't see Cher here, so I'll start:
we're having snacks for dinner. Fresh guacamole and blue corn chips, devilled eggs, cucumber-scallion salad, and I bought some teriyaki chicken salad at the Green Turtle market, and we're watching an episode of The Great Briitish Baking Show.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

I'm having it for a chest wound. My surgery area got infected after a hematoma went bad.
So today was my first treatment. No skin lotion, cream, or makeup, no metal. They have you put on cotton scrubs. You lie on the "bed' and slide into the chamber, which looks like a giant incubator. It's comfy, somewhat chilly, and you can watch TV or a movie. My ears clogged and unclogged several times, but no biggie. It was supposed to last for two hours, but felt like twice that long. And I'm scheduled for 40 of these! They often shorten it, depending on how well you heal.
Certainly better than chemo or radiation, but boring. If only you could read in there.

New pots and pans and changing my cooking habits

I'm guilty. Guilty of a lifetime of mistreating my cookware.
I like to cook with a fork, and I have been guilty of ruining non-stick pots and pans by stirring and poking food with a plain old metal fork, and using metal utensils.
My daughter just visited and chastized me for my bad habits. She introduced me to cooking tongs! I had just bought a lovely new saute/braising pan, and then I decided to start out fresh with new cookware since most of what I have is in terrible shape. I am a cheapskate, so I ordered a budget Calphalon set (non-stick, anodized aluminum). I especially like that they all can go into the oven....and I did find a non-stick-safe cooking fork to use with them!
I will keep one or two of the older frying pans for use with higher heats, but I'm hoping to finally turn over a new leaf and treat my new pots and pans with love.

Gosford Park

We just watched all of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime and weren't quite ready to say goodbye, so it looked like Gosford Park would be our best bet to recapture the mood. It actually cost us $3.99, even with Prime, but wow! it was worth it.

It was difficult to listen to; the sound levels were very uneven, and we stopped about 2/3 of the way through, planning to pick it up the next afternoon (you only get it for 24 hours). When we got back in, it seemed easier to listen to, and we finished -- or almost finished -- you get the one playthrough. I stopped it as the credits began, and we started it again, to get some clarification on what had been confusing at first.

Well worth it. A great movie with an unbelievable cast. I felt very smug in that I figured out at least part of the solution to the murder mystery. Hats off to Robert Altman, Julian Fellowes, and Bob Balaban.

Up next will be "Doctor Thorne," Julian Fellowes' new take of Trollope.

Getting on with Life as well as I can

After a very nice but short visit from my sister and mother, my older daughter came to stay for two months -- she is a nomad for now, and has no permanent home. It's been a lot of fun...this is the most time I've spent with her since before college, and she's 31 now.
We colored each other's hair; it was great getting rid of my "new" gray.
And we've been cooking up a storm! Daniele recently added fish back to her long-term vegetarian diet, so we've had mahi-mahi, salmon, and shrimp.
We are in the depths of a Downton Abbey marathon, and I'm also sewing her some custom clothes. I'm really going to miss her after this visit, but she has California next and then Paris with her boyfriend. This young lady knows how to live!
Meanwhile, I have three more Herceptin treatments, and then on to reconstruction surgery. I am going to ask my oncologist if I can start seeing my chiropractor again -- I just want to be careful because of the blood clot near my port -- but it might really help with the hip pain that he says is osteoarthritis. If I can get past that, I can start exercising again, or at least walking more than I can now.

Thanks for the hearts!

I needed a smile today! I'm sure my hearts came from fellow cancer-posters here.
I burned my hand last night while cooking (I was cooking bacon in the oven, and I foolishly tried to move the baking sheet with one hand -- it tilted). It looks and feels fine tonight, but it was truly painful, for a long time, last night. I think I did all the right things (cool water, basically) and my radiation cream came in very handy. I was sure I'd be in agony once the pain meds wore off, but nada -- I slept like a baby and there is zero pain today.
I seem to be a little "off" from the excitement, so today will be a no-drama-whatsoever day (I hope).

Doing better

I suddenly realized that my hip joint, which has been troubling me for months, has stopped hurting. It's sore (like residual from a bruise), but way better. I also am not getting the random cramps much. These must have been aftereffects of my chemo...which I know I'm not done with because most of a toenail fell off this week. BUT my tastebuds are at around 95%. And just five Herceptins to go.

My mother, who I haven't seen since my cancer adventure started, is coming to visit next week. It's actually the first time she's coming to see my since I moved to Florida from New York eight years ago (of course I usually go back at least once a year). She was full-time caring for my very sick father...then she fell and messed herself up but good. Well, Dad passed about six months ago, and she is just now in good enough shape to come down and see what a nice house we have here. I found a recipe for a Blackout Cake, a specialty of Ebingers, THE Brooklyn bakery of old, and I am going to surprise her with it!
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