Daddy Daughter Date: Both on Chemo

by Christie Perkins

Now I can think of a bazillion fun date ideas for a daddy daughter date: dress up in goofy clothes and answer questions about what color of toothbrush you use- I can’t even remember most of the time… the bristles are white with little finger thingers. I know that much. Or go to Wingers (same taste buds fare well here), or get up in the middle of the night to hear the sonic boom, or “watch” the cloud infested solar eclipse from the ER room.

Or you could always hook up at the cancer center and go get chemo together. How’s that for a date? A daddy daughter date with chemo. Now doesn’t that sound fun?

Now sometimes you get to choose the date, but sometimes the date just chooses you. It so happens that Dad and I get to do chemo on the same day. Yes. Dad has to do chemo too. Dad has some uncommon kidney disease that causes blood clots (which they believed caused his stroke a couple of weeks ago). They have found that chemo will put it in remission. So he has 4 rounds of chemo that will help put it in remission.

Quick Cap: Dad’s been having lots of health problems over the last 6 months. There’s been a lot of doctors shaking their heads as to what to do. He’s been in and out of the ER and hospital earning mega points on his medical valued customer standing.

Someone forgot to tell him there’s no rewards points. So since I know he’s reading this- um Dad, there’s no reward points. Continue reading

IV Chemo Strikes Again. (A Grumpy Post.)

by Christie Perkins

Three weeks ago my blood work showed that my tumor markers tripled in just a 2 month time period. We knew where my next treatments were heading (IV chemo. Yuck.) but we needed to take a cat scan first. Cat scan revealed the secrets of the blood work and that’s when I started watering my flowerpots with my eyes.

Hey. We’ve been on a drought restriction so sometimes you just gotta get creative. Except I think I drowned a few pots (ok, ok… I really didn’t but it would have been a really good idea. Why do all the good ideas come later?).

So the new news of more cancer growth on the spine and multiple spreading spots on my liver is hard to take. Magic potion number 9 wasn’t quite right for me. Above all, the thing that bothers me most is that I can’t quite catch my own grip on this news.

Stop crying girl.

Continue reading

Cancer and Magic Potion Number 9

by Christie Perkins

I gasped a little. Maybe I shouldn’t have. It’s silly to gasp when something is exactly what you want it to be. Perfect bloodwork. Yeah. I mean, really, who doesn’t want replenished white armored army warriors for bloodwork? You see, I was climbing back out from under my neutropenic plunk and my white blood cells and neutrophils were normalizing. I was gaining my fighting power back.

Again.

Each time I take my Ibrance pills my blood goes scuba diving.

But my gasp was not an element of birthday party surprise, it was credited to the boogie man lurking in the dark surprise. You see, the recovery from my last neutropenic plunk only meant one clear thing: If my white blood cells and neutrophils are up that means I have to start my new chemo pill. My current medication isn’t giving me the kapow I need.

So a new pill means new side effects, new adjustments, and reestablishing my new norm. Ugh.

Over the last 8 months my doctor has continuously dropped my current chemo pill dosing to avoid my blood levels from crashing. Each month we hope the new dosing will level out my fighting power but with each month I skid on the bottom before I get to the end of the cycle. It takes a while to get me normalized before trying the new reduced dosing. My clearance chemo isn’t quite cutting it.

And in the process my tumors have been getting hungry and beefing up. Continue reading

Easter: Power Over Death and a Ray of Sunshine

by Christie Perkins

Power over death. What an incredible gift.

The true meaning of Easter is much more significant than it has ever been for me. Stage 4 cancer has given me this valuable insight and appreciation of the resurrection.

The Savior took upon Him our pains and afflictions and broke the bands of death.

 

The Bands of Death

Now I don’t know about you but when you are handed a slip of paper that foretells your death ticket: non-curable stage 4 cancer the bands of death take on a whole new meaning.

Suddenly “beginning with the end in mind” is incorporated into everything you do. The heavy burden of death challenges how you spend time, how you interact with others, what you think about, and how you spend your money.

It’s a blessing and a curse. Continue reading

The Redbox Bunny Miracle

by Christie Perkins

I swear it was sitting right there.

The rush of the night had me winging the hairdo (yikes) and flinging the overdue redbox in the van. Well, actually I had my kiddo take care of the redbox. I had to return it because we were already late.

Last year we had this horrible habit of returning redbox rentals several days later. I made a new goal and commitment to make better use of my money. We would return movies the next night. And things were going well with that until…

Until, I don’t know what.

You know those moments when the redbox grins at you from the corner of the room and you gasp. Oh no! We haven’t returned that yet?

So we do that responsibility shift game. I ask my husband to take it on his way to work. Later that day he remembers he forgot to take it- so he texts me and asks me to take it in. And… I’m not sure what happens but I forget to take it. And before we know it my bank account it draining from a redbox rental.

And I didn’t love the movie that much to start with. Continue reading

Avoid Shirking Work

by Christie Perkins

In the winter we get a home grown ice skating rink by my front door. Thank you north facing lot. You do have to bring your own ice skates but if you want to do pirouettes or figure 8’s the entertainment is basically free. Well, unless you slip and have to wear permanent doughnuts to all future gathering places.

Anyway.

So you know how you most people are inclined to believe what they find on the internet? Well. Well, I found a piece of information that I thought would be a fabulous idea for de-greasing the ice rink. It’s called ashes.

Yeah. Wood burning ashes. I decided it would be a great idea to cut the work. You know, the “easy” way out. That’s what I thought it would do anyway. Continue reading

Finding Peace in Impossible Circumstances

by Christie Perkins

My medical records now have a new permanent line: liver metastases. We wondered if we could just cut out the new tumors in the liver but the doctor says that it won’t do any good because with stage 4 cancer there are just cancer cells everywhere. We don’t ever really get rid of it we just try and keep it from spreading.

Oh yeah. That’s right.

Little factoid here: Breast cancer that has metastasized (stage 4 cancer) loves to travel to the bones, the ovaries, the brain, and the liver. I’ve eliminated the ovaries (neener-neener can’t catch me), checked the brain, and am already hosting a party in the bones, and now it’s in the liver.

But, don’t you stress now.

(We are trying to keep the cancer tourists from hearing about this new premium prime location- so shhhh! Don’t mention it.) It’s true, it’s not exactly the best news but the way I see it- they are just a few wimpy spots anyway. But the thing I can’t quite shake is the peace. Yeah, the peace. No matter what, it won’t leave me.

I like it. Continue reading

The Power of Pains

by Christie Perkins

Tears at bedtime are not all that uncommon. It’s because there is pain. Hunger pains that is. These hunger pains become the outrageous Water Meter Reader.

And it’s not me crying… it’s my little guy.

Now I’ve learned a thing or two about pain in my cancer journey. Most of the time I’m feeling alright but there are times when I understand good old physical pain. Mostly it is in my hip (prime vacation tumor location). I can admit tho, that most of the time I feel quite normal. In fact I feel great!

But, in the reconstruction phase of my cancer journey there have been moments of intense pain (I’ll save that for another post), so I could relate to this little hunger pain.

Yet, I’m not very compassionate.

I’m not compassionate because I’ve slaved in the kitchen a-fixin’ the meal and all I get is a squeal- “I don’t like it,” he says. Continue reading

How I Landed My Brain MRI; New Findings

by Christie PErkiNS

This all started with my “trip” to¬† in Home Depot. I was just checking out lights. Luckily it was just my husband, me, and my random eyewitness that was on the aisle.

The floor was incredibly flat and smooth, not slick even a niche. Then poof! I dropped from eyesight. It’s like a magic trick. You know how tricks like this work: you see it, but you don’t.

How in the world can you fall on that? “That,” meaning nothing. I question my trick.

But, since my eyewitness was mentally documenting my fall and my husband had that quizzical look on his face I decided to fool them again. I pretended nothing happened. But the cock-eyed looks from the gents on the aisle made me splash out a smile, a chuckle, and a shrug.

Lets just forget that… moving along.

A couple of days later I’m in the granite store and we do a repeat trick. Wow. Fabulous moments going on here. Always getting the same quizzical look and silent words reverberate loud and clear in my ear…

What in the world?

My finale is always the same though: a smile, oops eyes, and a shrug. And the next several days I continue to fall when I walk. I trip on a thin cardboard box, the end of the broom- the straw fluffy-puff end, not the handle.

People begin booking my stunts. Continue reading

Organizing Tip: 100 Item Dash

by Christie Perkins

So I wake up every morning greeted by the mod podge dumpings just beyond the foot of my bed. Some of it is new stuff that needs new places, some of it old. Hello! The pile is a little more chipper than I am at it’s rude awakening.

Ta-dah!

Hey, I say then run away. I like you and all but my spaces are small, you look comfortable there next to the wall. But, it’s about time I combat my inner brawl.

You (pile of things) have out-stayed your welcome. I keep feeding you more and more things because… because, well, you look hungry. Yeah, that’s it. You eat everything that anyone feeds you, rejecting no offers (Dude! even dilapidated Christmas bows and useless empty boxes that stow… this pile just grows and grows!). You suck my energy then expect me to pick up after you. You are sleeping at the foot of my bed, and though you don’t snore your drooling all over the place. I like you. I do. I just need my own space of sunshine and grace.

And then the solution to the problem I got: you just need your own-grown name-plot spot.

Well. There’s a sunrise moment if you’ve never seen one. (And since I would rather close my eyes to it, it festered like an oozy zit… ok, I’ll stop this rhyming fit.)

Maybe. Continue reading