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Fierce

I posted this as my Facebook status last night: "Need to call our health insurer first thing tomorrow, given what I picked up at the PO Box today. Good thing I've got my paper trail. My hope is that the issue can be resolved quickly. I'm using my fightin' mojo for kicking cancer's butt, but I am not above multi-tasking if necessary. Wish me luck. (Thanks!)"

The well-wishes and fightin' mojo came pouring in.

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Fable

There's a life-and-death battle in progress in my laundry room. It's been going on for more than a day and a half now, between (as I can best determine) an American House Spider (Archaearanea tepidariorum) and a Brahminy Blind Snake (a.k.a. Flower Pot Snake, Ramphotyphlops braminus).

Both are likely females (the Brahminy is parthenogenic; there are no males in the species). Both help rid the area of pests. They're what are called beneficial animals.

I was in the middle of my workout Sunday night when M burst into the studio.

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Celebrating the Supermoon

Yesterday was a double-header day. I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon in the morning and my usual blood draw/consult at the cancer center in the afternoon. Errands fell between and around those, including my latest organic veggie pick-up from the local farmers' network.

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Goodbye, A/C. Hello, T!

Today I received my last infusion of Adriamycin/Cytoxan (fourth of four cycles). On average, this is the toughest phase of my treatment. If that is indeed the case with me, I should have pretty smooth sailing ahead, relatively speaking. Later in the month I'll start on Taxol for 12 weekly infusions. Radiation and aromatase inhibitors are farther down the road.

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Milestones

My celebration on Independence Day was somewhat unusual this year. On that day, exactly 100 days after my lumpectomy, the last of my surgical skin fell off.

Rather, my surgical skin from the lumpectomy fell off. My port insertion site continues to heal.

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Sleuthing

This entry is a follow-up to "Trends and Mysteries."

I met with the ARNP at the cancer center yesterday. She immediately linked my two transient and weird side effects to specific meds:

1. My need to concentrate on breathing and swallowing because my pharyngeal (?) muscles seemed sluggish was likely due to Emend (anti-nausea), which works to suppress the gag reflex.

2. My night of racing pulse was likely due to Decadron (steroid). They're going to tweak my dosage on that.

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Trends and Mysteries

On the whole, my side effects continue to decrease, in tandem with some oddities cropping up.

1. I haven't needed as much nap time after my Cycle 3 infusion, compared to the previous two. Napping decreased from 15 to 9 to 8.5 hours.

2. My overnight weight gain after this past chemo was 6 pounds (it had been 5 pounds after Cycles 1 and 2), but my weight returned to baseline in approximately half the time. During that time my appetite was healthy -- average net consumption (total calories minus exercise calories burned) was only 24 calories below maintenance.

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Countdown to Third Infusion

My third chemo infusion comes later this week. So far, so good.

Am very happy to report that my heartburn has resolved, thanks to prescription Prilosec. I no longer need to sleep propped up. Given chemo's effect on the digestive tract, the Prilosec also works to prevent the ulcers that chemo can cause.

Other relatively new side effects include:

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Yes, We Have Too Many Bananas (number-crunching kvetch edition)

The good news is that, on balance, my side effects following my second chemo infusion have been less severe and more short-lived than they had been following my first infusion. Part of the difference is likely due to the fact that my first infusion had also occurred two days after surgery to install my chemo port.

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Chemo Warriors

The first time I walked into the chemo bay on May 8 -- not just to the reception area, but to the lounges themselves to take a seat, I was more than a little nervous. My chemo port was still fresh (and still sore) from having been surgically implanted two days before. I had read up on what to bring in my "chemo bag" here and here, and I had come loaded for bear.

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