Monday, June 22, 2009

Everything Plus the Kitchen Sink/Back in Battle Mode/D*#*m

Hey, everyone! Well, as you can see, I struggled with what to name this post. There were a few other variations on the last effort I could have listed and I'm not a person that uses bad language - ever, but like Janaya likes to point out to me fairly often, there are just some instances when nothing but a well delivered, deeply felt curse word is all that will do.

More chemo. :>(

We met with Dr. Lang at 10:30 this morning and got one of the two remaining drains removed. Luckily, it was the one that was causing me a lot of discomfort. I still have one drain left, but we're hoping it may be able to come out by Friday. She is very happy with how I've done and says my incisions look amazing - something only a surgeon could really truly appreciate. Actually, though, I am pleased, too. It is still very weird to look in the mirror at my chest, but not revolting. Just different. I won't have to see her for six months unless, as she says, I have any nodes or other things come up that I'd like her to check out. Sorry Dr. Lang, I love you, but am not planning on giving you any repeat business if I can help it. :>)

My appointment with Dr. Livingston wasn't until 3:30, so Joe, Pam, and I went to Paradise Bakery for lunch and then to the Degracia Studio. He is the artist that does those well known Indian works. After that, there was just time to stop for Cold Stone and then back to the Cancer Center.

I knew right away Dr. Livingston seemed more serious than he usually does. You might remember a couple of months ago I wrote about the radiologist who explained to me about the cancer cells that survive chemo being the hardy ones that are hard to get rid of. Well, those are the ones that made it out of my breast and into the lymph nodes. Dr. Lang removed the lymph nodes she could find, but there are others under the chest wall muscle that aren't removed during surgery and Dr. Livingston says we could assume that there is a good chance that they have some cancer cells in them.

So, here is the plan of attack:

- Meet with the radiologist tomorrow and hopefully, if my drain comes out by Friday, start radiation on Monday. Radiation usually lasts about six and a half weeks, Monday through Friday.
-Take an oral chemo drug called Xeloda which will potentiate the effect of the radiation as well as work on its own against the cancer cells.
-Go back to see Dr. Livingston in eight weeks when I've finished radiation and he will increase the Xeloda dose and put me on one of two other chemo drugs which will be once a week through my port. I will be on this chemo for twelve weeks.
-Start a drug called Zometa which helps prevent bone metastasis, through my port once a month for six months and then every three months for three years.

A little overwhelming to say the least, but at least I know they are doing everything possible to help me beat this disease.

Both doctors agreed I will be able and should return to work. My principal, Sheila, wants me to come back. I've signed my contract for next year already. And, I am not whole without teaching in my life. Dr. Livingsgton said the hardest part will be fatigue, but I think I get more physically and emotionally tired being home, missing being at school than I will actually teaching.

So, that is the plan. Part of me wants to crawl into my bed and just cry, but a much bigger part is glad I have a doctor who is treating me so aggressively and I really want to do my part. Too many tears and negative energy can not possibly help.

I also wanted to say thank you to all of my wonderful friends who have delivered dinners all this past week. Amazing dinners. Five star restaurant dinners. My weight today was up two pounds from last week! :>) Knowing I'm going back on chemo, this is awesome. It was so nice at the end of each day to not have to even think about what we were going to make for dinner or to clean up. Thank you all!

Closing with a picture I had Joe take of me just now in the backyard. A new hat I bought at the Cancer Center gift shop. I have completely abandoned wearing my wig. It is like wearing a wool cap in the middle of the Sahara desert. I guess with more chemo coming up I'm going to have to be resigned to being bald a while longer. Darn. I hate being bald. Anyway, I loved this hat and wanted to end my post with something happy.

Love you all tons!


ZueZQue said...

Where's George Carlin when we need him?


Hugs and Kisses Martha. Wish I was closer. Let your emotions out, and then prepare for the next round in the ring. You are an incredible person!! Love you, Sue

velvet brick said...

I'll take care of the bad language for you, girlfriend!! And Janaya is wise - sometimes there is no other word for the situation but one of the 'choice' ones!! ; )

Well, I must say, that your doctors are creating a full line of attack and defense for you in this game...a med to prevent bone matasisis??!! That's wonderful that a med even exist!(sorry about the spelling of that) I love how they are so thorough with you!

Knowledge is power, Martha - and you have so much knowledge about this disease, treatment courses, what to expect - that all makes you even more POWERFUL than before!

We are so excited that you are coming back to school - we have missed you and I know how much of a void it has been in your world to not be back in the classroom. If you need anything, you let me know and it's done. We are all there to help you in any way we can.

As for the new look, I absolutely love it!! I LOVE THE HAT!! And your smile is worth a million hairs! You look beautiful, dear lady. Simply beautiful! You beam with grace, strength, dignity, courage and humor. I learn from you, Martha.

I'm feeling a need to head 'south of the border', if you catch my drift. Let's plan a date - and wear your sombrero!! : ))

P.S. - don't throw out the wigs!! We still need to play 'beauty salon' ...remember?? : ))

Dottie said...

Dear Martha,

Honestly, I don't know what to say.
My heart aches for you because we all wanted you to be beyond those exhausting chemo treatments. On the positive side, it looks like your doctors still have lots of tricks in their bags and are so aggressively pursuing many innovative, cutting-edge treatments to tackle this "monster" once and for all!! And, of course, the biggest thing in your corner is that this disease has NO IDEA who it picked on--namely WONDER WOMAN (aka Martha Hitzel!!!)!!!!!! It will be in for the biggest fight it has ever seen!!!! And we all will be right there beside you, Martha, supporting you--laughing, praying, crying with you--every step of the way!!

The most exciting news is that you will be back at school! We've missed you SO much! You are SUCH an outstanding and remarkable teacher, Martha!! You not only instill the love of learning in your students but you touch kids lives in incredible ways that last a lifetime!! You DO change lives!!

Maybe we all need to get together to have a little brainstorming session on how and what we can do to support you and help you preserve and conserve your energy while you are at school. WE ALL WANT TO HELP, MARTHA!!!!!!!!

Well, dear friend, this doctor's appointment threw us an unexpected curve but we're going to get through this one together too!!!

Lots of love, Wonder Woman!!

Jim said...

Hey Warrior Woman-
Love you,
love the hat,
hate that you have to still fight this D*#*m fight,
but you are just a wonder.

How blessed are your friends,family, and students to have you in all our lives.
see you soon,

elizabeth Brabec said...

You can't fool me with those symbols inbetween the letters. I know you meant dum. Well, you're being encouraged to go back to the career love of your life, teaching at Gil El., which will keep the focus on the right "desktops". Oh, in your rooms it's "tabletops." As you know we're supportive and helpful with the manual stuff. So many lesson plans of dreams to direct those readers and writers will be in force soooon. Yippee!!!
You will be wearing many hats!!!
Gotta stay undercover. My PINK HAT is mine to wear on all our travels. Now I'll go hit a hole in one...JUST FOR YOU.
Keep smiling!!!I'll keep prayin!!!
Love, Ann