It's October 2015

It's October 2015
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fight, Fight, Fight!

Just a quick update to say that last week I tolerated the low dose of Xeloda very well. One side effect, hand and foot syndrome, is somewhat inevitable. Last week my feet felt like I was walking on hot sand and my toes were blistered. My hands got very dry and started to peel. I constantly slather on Udderly Smooth and Bag Balm, both recommended on any Xeloda related website, and I'm still experiencing this but it could always be a lot worse (think back three or four weeks ago). This week I'm Xeloda free and happy to report my feet feel just fine. Other than that I just experienced some fatigue. 

Today I went to the oncologist for my bi-weekly check up and to have my blood drawn. I got on the scale and he said, I see you're getting back to your fighting weight! Ugh, what woman every wants to hear THAT? Last time I heard something similar, a male friend said, Now, don't take this the wrong way, but it looks like you put on weight but it looks good on you. I think there was a backhanded compliment in there, but ladies, you KNOW I went home and torched the dress I was wearing. This time however, I'll take it. My appetite is good and I'm eating healthy cancer fighting foods despite what the doc says (Stop driving yourself crazy; go ahead and eat some McDonald's. He doesn't know me very well.). I met with nutritionist Stefanie Sacks yesterday who reviewed my health history and is coming back with some healthy meal ideas for both when I'm on and off chemotherapy. Anyone have a Vitamix they care to unload on me?

As prescribed by my onc, starting Monday I will increase the Xeloda dose by one pill. For seven days I'll take three pills in the AM (up from two) and two in the evening. Then I'm Xeloda free for seven days after which I'll probably go for a chest X-ray to see if there's any noticeable change. My cough has definitely subsided so something must be going right! 

Keeping in the "fighting spirit" I wanted to share a text I received today from a childhood friend with whom I only socialize about once a year, yet whenever I see him, it's as if I see him every day. I was so touched by this. He said, Yeah you are def a warrior and i know u will kick ass again. Sorry that this is a recurring battle it should be just once and done which is bad enough- but u will knock that C down again and again if necessary. you got the right support weapons that have your back. I will plan to come by to rub your shoulders, wring a cold wet towel down your neck, stop the cut above your eye, plug your nostrils with cotton, put your mouth piece back in after you spit in the spitoon and then slap you on the ass to get back in the ring to bite the c's ear off.

I'm wondering, should I turn in my Wonder Woman costume for Rocky's satin robe? 

That's all for now, folks. Hope everyone is reading this somewhere warm and cozy. I must admit I've allowed myself to take a lot more cabs these days to escape the cold and I think I'm even playing the cancer card with myself. Heck, it's worth it. 

Love to all,

Liz
Carvel cake from my family's Queen for The Day b'day celeb last Sunday...

Can you guess what I wished for?

A bracelet my friend Cecilia sent to me from Sweden. Who needs diamonds?
(Sandy, I don't really mean that :)


Have your cake and eat it too.... 
A sweet idea from a friend's daughter to help raise money for Breast Cancer research and treatment: 

CUPCAKES VS. CANCER

Hello All, 

I've committed to participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. 39.3 miles people!  This is way more than anything I've done at the gym. It's a big commitment, one that will require me to spend the next several months training and fundraising. But breast cancer is a big disease, one that still affects far too many people, and I'm determined to do everything I can to help put an end to it.

I CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT YOUR HELP! Though I'm required to raise at least $1,800 to walk in the event, I hope to raise much more! I hope that I can count on your support.

So to start off the New Year, I will bake you a dozen Mooncake Cupcakes for a donation of $35 or more.  Delicious and light, my mooncake cupcakes are frosted with red bean buttercream, vanilla cake, a red bean surprise center and edible chocolate pocky chopsticks.

If you're in the Manhattan, Queens or Greenwich, CT area,
I'll be delivering February 8th, 9th and 10th.

To make a donation by credit card and receive your cupcakes, or any donation at all,
please visit my personal page at:

Or contact me if you are interested in paying in cash or check.

I hope, together, we can have our cake and eat it too!

Love you all,

XiaoHwa Sydney Ng

Monday, January 14, 2013

Birthdays Are For The Living

The last time I wrote, I was excited to report I experienced hunger pangs. Well, let me tell you, I've come a long way, baby. 

When Sandy and I left the on-call-o-gist's office last Thursday, I turned to him and said, You know, I think I'm going to be able to rally on Saturday for my birthday. We need to make some dinner plans. Sandy asked me what I was craving and I told him that what I really wanted was some bolognese. With that, we both looked at one another and simultaneously said, Sfoglia. 

Sfoglia is this rustic Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side. I'm almost nervous to tell you about it because it's already hard enough to get a reservation.  I learned about this little gem while flying back from visiting Dad in FL on a Jet Blue flight. Sitting next to me was this fabulous woman poring over newspapers while laughing at me laughing at The Office. We got to chatting, one thing led to another and Maury told me she does the PR for this great restaurant and I ought to go. Little did I know when we'd land I'd turn on my phone to hear a message, Come to the hospital now, Mom's about to have brain surgery, but that's another story. After Mom recovered I made a point to check out the famous bolognese at Sfoglia and I was sold! 

I gave Sandy Maury's card and said, Maury'll make it happen and she did. We got a private room upstairs where we enjoyed a four course meal with a few friends (PLEASE NOTE, THIS ROOM IS SMALL AND THIS WAS LAST MINUTE. IF I COULD I'D'VE INVITED EVERYONE!) and instead of blowing out a candle in my birthday cake, I blew out a candle in my bolognese. Now THIS is living!! The wine flowed, the conversation flowed and the night was simply magical.

The following day, Sandy and I first left the Barbie Dream House at 3pm and went on a little shopping spree. Thanks to Dad, I bought myself a mini-iPad (funny, I just made a typo, iDad) not because I need it, but because I wanted it. (I now have four Apple devises in varying sizes.) Our next stop was Best Buy to look at TV's. Sandy not only hooked me up with gigunda smart TV and sound system to replace the old relics in my armoire, but who knew my new little iPad can basically run this TV and I think even a small country. More living!! (If you consider sitting on a couch watching movies on a big screen living. I do.)

Next stop, the diner, where I got an hour of QT with my friends Gina and Clinton who showered me with love, a homemade birthday card (made with paper and magic markers supplied by the diner) and Levaine's cookies (that's a plug for another entry, but net net, one bite and you've died and gone to heaven). Still more living!! We then went home, I made a long over due phone call, watched the Globes and Downton Abbey and conked out by 1AM. Considering I was so exhausted Friday night that I thought I wouldn't make it out Saturday, this was one helluva birthday. 

Now it's Monday, I'm 46 years old and happy and I have to start popping these friggin' pills again. I took pills 1 and 2 of my 2nd cycle this AM after breakfast. I'm feeling fine, though awfully tired, but I cannot blame the Xeloda for that. My feet are starting to blister and I can blame the Xeloda for that. After work, thanks to Mom, I visited Dr. Wu my new acupuncturist and that was definitely an experience. According to the Chinese calendar I am a "horse" (and I am going out with a monkey),  which is apparently a good sign but with it brings metal and the two key organs on which I need to focus are my kidneys and lungs. Dr. Wu spoke with me for about 45 minutes and then put about 25-30 needles in one arm, both legs and my abdominal area, and one sent a crazy electric shock through my foot. I conked out for 30 minutes and left with an appointment for next week and directions on how to keep my chi flowing. 

So here I sit, typing away, ready to take pills 3 and 4 and retire for the night. But I do not fret because it's these magical, poisonous, toxic pills that are going to help me keep on living. I will take my friend, Zulma's advice and say a prayer each time before swallowing them.

Happy birthday to me and thanks to each of you for really being the best present anyone can ask for. Just when I thought I couldn't get anymore weepy, here I weep, wondering how someone can have so much love in her life. 

I am eternally grateful.

Peace,

Liz

Birthday bolognese!






Thursday, January 10, 2013

The X-Factor Part Duex

I'm going to get straight to the point tonight. I'm so sleepy, still catching up from being down. 

I saw Dr. Brunckhorst today. The long and the short of it is that I will try the Xeloda again. If you remember, even if you don't, I was originally prescribed 4 pills AM/3 pills PM for 14 days on and then seven days off. My stomach was feeling the effects by day eight but I called the doc on day 10 at which point I stopped. We then know what happened for five days after. 


This time I will try 2 pills AM/2 pills PM for only seven days on and seven days off. So essentially, everything's been cut in half and we'll see how I tolerate it. If OK, then perhaps I increase it by one more pill and so forth and so on. As I quoted the doc in an earlier post, 10 people can be on this drug and 10 people will have different Rx's.



My next day to begin treatment is this Monday, January 14th. Let's all cross fingers, toes, cross-your-heart-bras, etc. 

In the meantime, on Sunday when I was struggling with extreme nausea, I spoke with my friend, Mayu, who is a doctor whose specialty is palliative care. I asked for any cures she might have and we discussed what medications I was taking, etc. I told her I felt bad about calling my doctor every day including Saturday and Sunday. She said, don't worry, oncologists know to expect to always receive calls. So I said, Well, then they should be called On-call-ogists. She paused for a moment and then, AHA! I shared that with my Oncallogist Brunckhorst today and he got a kick out of it and said he wished he heard it this weekend because his phone was ringing non-stop. 

So that's my chuckle for the day. Reminder: Laughter is therapy!!

I also leave you with this video of an excellent prank that has gone viral today.

Love,

Funnybone Belson

http://gawker.com/5974529/this-invisible-drive+thru-customer-prank-is-simple-brilliant

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chicken Soup is Good For The Soul (c)

WOW, what a day! I'm like a new person.

No, I didn't have a day at the spa. No, I didn't climb a huge mountain. No, I didn't see a new episode of the Graham Norton Show (sadly, I've watched all of those). Nope, today I went to work (made it til 4:00PM) and ate chicken soup!

You must think I lead a very uneventful life but let me tell you, after being bedridden for five days and existing on nothing but toxins, Imodium, Saltines and ginger tea*, this was huge!! Weak and tired I dragged my sorry arse into work and was met with a variety of comments including, Hey, are you alright? And, Liz, you look beat up, you should go home! OK, one co-worker said I looked as lovely as ever to which I replied, Now I know you're lying.

After putting out fires for a few hours it was time to head home. On the way out I told my boss, I have a hunger pang!! This meant nothing to him. He said, so, go eat something. Durrr. I was hungry! HUNGRY! This was such a great sign! Anyway, Mom said she wanted to come by...I just want to look at you.... I'll watch you nap. Who can resist? And, it's her b'day tomorrow. We both fessed up we hadn't done anything for one another's b'days this year as we've been wrapped up in the X Factor. So she came by and I ordered in some good ol' fashioned chicken soup with a few potatoes and carrots. Yummmmmmmm....the elixer of the sick gods. It was heavenly and if not for my mom telling me to be careful, I would've demolished the whole container. Shortly after my brother and his wife stopped by with some provisions (e.g. Gatorade) and we caught up with this n that with a few 100 Seinfeld jokes in between.

After they left, I made another batch of ginger tea, spoke to my Shmoopy and now I'm doing my daily homework prescribed by the Integrative Healing Coach I met yesterday (remember, writing makes me happy) before retiring to bed.

Believe it or not, this has been the highlight of 2013 for me, and I'm glad to be able to share it with you!

Remember to stop and smell the roses!

Love,

eLiz.

PS. Sandy told me how to make this tea. Boil four c. of water. Cut a 2" piece of ginger, thinly slice it and toss in water; let it simmer for 20 minutes. Strain ginger. Let cool. Add a tad of honey to taste to one c. This tea is soothing and invigorating and great for nausea should you need it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

War of The Roses


Well, it seems that the X factor has won this fight. It literally and figuratively knocked the $%@+ out of me and this week has been nothing --in the immortal words of one Colonel Sherman Potter-- but H-E-double hockey sticks. This coming Thursday I will meet with my oncologist to discuss other options instead of trying a lower dose of the Xeloda because it appears I'm one of the few who cannot tolerate it. What awaits makes me cringe and I refuse at the moment to look back at my notes to figure it out.

I met with an integrative cancer specialist Kelly Ann Turner who stressed, amongst other things, the importance of finding joy, laughter and calm in my life. This all sounds so trite, but really, do we all stop to smell the roses every day? I think most of us in a harried city such as NYC just walk past them. Part of what does bring me happiness is writing so you might be getting more frequent boob blog updates. 

Pause. 

Phone rings. 

Do I dare engage "Skytel Paging?"

I do.

Hi,  this is whomever from the Breast Cancer Advocacy Program and, ...Yes, I know who you are, I am a survivor, and I'm going through a rough time.... Yes, ma'am, I know how you feel, but.... But whomever, thanks for calling, I already donate*--....Yes, um, ma'am, .....Good night, Whomever....

It's these trivial things which will clutter your inbox even more now. But it's part of the cure, ok? 

People, try and find some time to laugh every day. It really does help the immune system. We are walking around with the weight of the world on our shoulders. Most of us, anyway. Those flowers, they're life. Check them out. They're there to remind us that there is beauty on this planet.  You can try and fight it, but why bother? And hey, it's free therapy!

I'm trying to keep a stiff upper lip, and as always--here comes another trite saying--your thoughts, prayers, outreach, have all been healing and so appreciated. I've never felt so low in my life, but love, love, love, love is all you need.

I will keep you posted about my next visit and what's to follow. 

With Love and Joy and all that other stuff....

LizB.

PS If Skytel calls you, don't say I didn't warn you!
*I don't. I don't trust these groups calling me.

PPS Just after I closed the computer, I opened two birthday cards and had to share them with you. I can't help but think there's a real theme here!! (And bless Whitney's heart for whiting out a Mother's Day card. Only SHE can do that with class.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chemo. One Size Does Not Fit All.

Happy New Year one and all!

Many of you have been asking me how I'm feeling on the Xeloda. The answer is, kind of crappy but it could always be worse. I'm experiencing a lot of nausea and stomach issues. I spoke with my doc who told me to stop taking it until the next cycle's scheduled to begin. My usual cycle is 2x/day for 14 days, off for seven days, then start again. Today would've been day 10 of 14. I'll refrain from taking any more until Monday, January 14th and the dose will be cut. To quote the dr, "You can have 10 patients on Xeloda and  you'll have 10 different schedules for them." Unfortunately it's not a perfect science, but rather more like trial and error to see what each person can tolerate.

I'm doing my best to remain positive but right now all I can think of is toast.

Wow, this is the most boring entry I've ever written.

I guess they cannot all be winners!

xoxox

P.S. Check out the Boob Blog on "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines!" http://wonderwomendoc.com/blog/ My friend Kelcey, a true Wonder Woman, thought Twin Peeks was Wonder Woman worthy of her film's site. I'm quite flattered!