Thursday, December 24, 2009

Upbeat, downbeat and just plain beat

A few months ago, placed Cancer Banter on its list of five "best blogs for cancer patients and survivors." I ordinarily wouldn't mention this, but the description calls Cancer Banter an "upbeat blog."

This is true for the most part, and, believe me, I work at it. From the beginning I've tried to be honest while putting a positive spin on the bleakest of circumstances. Nonetheless, I've never wanted Cancer Banter to be simply upbeat; I want it to be an accurate account of my experiences. If for no other reason, I want to look back and think, "That was a terrible time, but I struggled through."

But now it's been nearly a month since I've written. The upbeat part of me wakes up every morning and thinks, "This is the day that I turn the corner." The downbeat part of me wonders irrationally, "Am I relapsing?" The just plain beat part is sleeping a lot.

I first went to the ETC (City of Hopes emergency room) on December 4 with a 104 degree temperature. I was given steroids and antibiotics through the IV and then sent home with an oral prescription for six and seven days of the same drugs.

Two days later my temp. bounced back to 104, but I felt well as long as I was on the steroids. I saw Dr. Forman two weeks after the visit to the ETC, and my blood counts and temp. were normal.

It's now been two weeks since that visit, and my temperature continues to be a bouncing ball, climbing to as high as 100.8 in the afternoon. My exhaustion level is an 8+ on a scale of 1 to 10.

The upbeat me says to just wait until the next appointment in two weeks, but the downbeat part wants to sound the alarms.

Friend and fellow City of Hope patient Nancy Sakakura (now that's one upbeat gal) made my day on Tuesday when she drove up from Orange County with a special gift: an EOS cap. Even when I saw that the gift was a cap, I didn't guess that it was the coveted EOS one. (When I'm feeling better, I'll take a picture of me with the cap and post.) Special thank you to Heather at EOS Estate Winery, who donated a cap to Nancy and me when Nancy shared my story. Nancy added to the gift by finding the perfect T-shirt from the winery - a nice French fitted tee that says "Live each day" on the front and features the graphic of a wine glass on the back.

Both the cap and the Tee are enough to make me feel . . . upbeat. I can't wait to wear them to my next City of Hope appointment.