Lincoln County News
February 3, 2000

"LifeLines" My journal about living with cancer

by Sandy Labaree

This journal submission describes my readers and helpers rallying to my cause. It seems that colds and flu and taken their toll of us and I appreciate the kind support of my devoted readers. Thank you all for including me in your thoughts!

January 22, 2000: My helper list continues to dwindle as my friends come down with the colds and the flu. Fortunately, my nurse helper friend, Jane, found a nurse who is a reader of my column and has been anxious to meet me. She will be able to give a few hours a week. Another friend of mine and fellow cancer patient, Claudia, has found an RN who would also be able to help a few hours a week. I have decided that this will be the course of action I will have to take.

The month of February has been extremely difficult for me to fill in my helpers, as it has been a prime time for vacations. I have lost six full time helpers and now have six left, of which some are able to work only 2-4 hours a day. Ben and I are trying to work his schedule around the best use of our helpers' time.

Also, I am starting my OT and PT exercises with the CHANS nursing care workers. I have begun to use my exercises to strengthen my upper body and lower body muscles. This has been quite a challenge as I learn to use muscles that haven't been used in a long time. I find it easiest to do my exercises on my bed. Most are isometric and there are a series of repetitions that function to strengthen all parts of my body. I have also ordered a special motorized lift/recliner chair which will help me get into and out of the chair with ease.

Dr. Tom calls me today and gives me the results of yesterday's tests. They show that my white count is good, my platelet counts are hanging in there well, but my hematocrit could be higher. Tom suggests I have a 2 unit blood infusion this coming Tuesday. This comes rather as a surprise as I had been feeling quite well.

January 25, 2000: The positive results of my tests today are exciting. First, my blood counts are good with a high WBC count, a high platelet count, a hematocrit which was better than expected. Surprisingly, I feel better long before my infusions are over, and Ben said I went from looking gray to pink! Also, x-rays show no air behind my abdominal wall and lung areas.

Though I have been very tired, I have been trying to take little naps in the afternoon This is not my normal routine, but perhaps I am restoring my old energy supplies. I also had a little set-back this week. My sister, Mary Ann, was going to fly up for a visit and I was looking forward to her quick two day stay. Now she has had a change in work and flight schedules and costs will be prohibitive. I will wait until another time and perhaps late in February we'll celebrate a little Valentine's Party. My parents are still planning a flight up from NJ to Portland. I hope it comes about, but it is so dependent on weather. This time of year is so shaky when it comes to weather.

Mary Ann Canfield also feels the crunch of weather as her relatives also fly or drive up from New Jersey. It is hard when our relatives live so many miles away. An 8 hour trip is quite a long one, and when you add a snowstorm to that it seems to take forever!

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