So it occurred to me in an odd, rambling way (which is how things tend to occur to me) that cancer treatments are in many ways all about keeping the wolf at the gate away or at least on the other side of the gate. I'll get to why that particular image occurred to me in a moment. But this week, as I think we're all clear on now, has been all about dealing with the side effects of the chemotherapy, which is all about keeping the cancer-wolf on the other side of the gate. There was the white blood cell count crash. That's mostly under control. I have some energy back, my temperature has returned to normal but still tends to creep up slightly right around the 4th hour after I've taken Tylenol and I've still got to avoid being around crowds or sick people. I have three more days of antibiotics. And I'm just not a good sick person. Unless it's completely obvious I'm sick (see Monday), I tend to forget. So today I forgot the antibiotics and the wolf started licking it's chops. I took them with dinner. The antibiotics, not the wolf. I also took a nap at work for the first time. I have a little fold up mattress, blankie and pillow stashed away. And since I had two long meetings with new clients I knew my energy would be zapped if I didn't nap. So between meetings I closed my door, closed my blinds (I'm on the first floor) and took a nap. I thought I'd feel pretty silly, but I was too busy sleeping.
Then there is the hair. It did get up with me this morning, much to my surprise (and it got up with me after my nap, but don't think I wasn't worried about that!). It's still falling out but it's taking its sweet time. I'd say less came out today than yesterday. And I can't really find any bald patches. At the same time, I can't really go on not blow-drying or styling it. So the big dilemma--shave or not tomorrow night? It's a tricky one.
Then there's the mouth problems. I have no taste buds anymore. Well, I do, but they are mostly programed to "under the car hood" and "dirt." Of course, this doesn't stop me from eating. It just means I eat a little of everything trying to find something that tastes good. Then I try to remind myself that I'm supposed to eat for nutrition not taste. Then I laugh at myself. Then I berate myself. Also, now my gums and mouth in general are so tender the Sonic toothbrush is a no-go and I have to use an extra-soft bristle brush. I was already using special toothpaste and mouthwash designed for dry mouth and to increase bacteria fighting. It's called Biotine and it was recommended by my dental hygienist when I went in for my final cleaning until after chemo (right. that's another thing you can't do during chemo). The mouthwash in particular is very soothing. So now I am completely a special needs dental care person. I brush my teeth completely differently than you do. I also take a lot more Tylenol. (And chemo. Well, except for a few of you, my fellow cancer journey-ers.)
So how did I arrive at the Wolf at the Gate image? Well, when Chris got home from work today he found a little surprise at our gate. No, not a baby wolf with a note from its mother to please care for it. I know that's what you were thinking. It was a bag with two bottles of Cakebread Chardonnay! There was a card that explained that apparently Seamus has co-horts and he imposed on one of them enough that said secret friend went out and granted Chris's wish for some Cakebread Chardonnay. The card is mysteriously unsigned and only identifies the giver as a secret friend of Seamus's. Well, that hardly narrows the field! Seamus has thousands of friends. And he's very good at getting people to do his bidding. Very, very good. My first thought was Bob & Helga Wolf. They're wine people, they're very generous, and I thought the writing looked familiar. But I don't know. At any rate the "Wolf at the Gate" popped into my head and the blog post was born. A huge thank you to Seamus's secret friend who dropped off the Cakebread (and don't think I didn't review each and every card I've received trying to compare handwriting...I'm no expert is all I can say). I also got 2lbs of See's candy in the mail from a client in Washington. Here's an irony--I don't usually eat chocolate. It made me sick as a child so I never had a taste for it. But I had a piece of the See's candy....and it tasted good!! Apparently my world is just flopped upside down.
Some other fun (probably only to me) updates. 12 countries have now lit up on the blog Google map: US, Canada, England, France, Germany, Indonesia, Lebanon, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and South Africa! (Thanks Bevin for checking in from South Africa and becoming a blog follower. And gosh yes we hope to be wine tasting in Cape Town with you and Delein when all "this" is over!)
There are also 30 states (well, 29 states and DC) checked in. We're doing well. Wisconsin, Montana and North Dakota remain hopelessly out of touch, as does Nevada of all places. Is no one going to Vegas anymore? No, actually, they aren't.
On a final note--there is a new poll over to the right. It's time to answer Chris's question. Who is the break-out star of this blog?? Vote early, Vote often.