So How am I Doing??

I thought I’d pop on and let you all know how I’m doing.   I know it’s something you all want the answer to but no one wants to ask…so here’s what I can tell you.

On the diet front….I am doing great!  The diet has never been better and never been any easier. A little background for anyone new.  I’m on a low-iodine diet for two weeks as part of my test prep for my thyroid cancer testing.

Here are some of the reasons why I’m doing better this time around…
1-I am only cooking for myself.  There are no childcare kiddos here that I have to feed.  There is no husband here that I have to feed.

In the past, I’ve had to cook meals and do the prep for everyone and after all of that was done, I’d have to figure out what I myself was going to eat.  By then I was tired and had just fruit.  I never ended up eating anything that was a real meal.

2-This time around I took time and prepped some food and put it in the freezer in individual servings.  I made a batch of stuffed green peppers, a batch of chicken and noodles, and a batch of spaghetti with my yard sauce that was safe to eat.  I simply grab one and put it in the refrigerator and when I don’t feel like cooking something new, I eat it.  Easy peasy.

3-I found a website and Facebook group that helps people eat a low iodine diet.  This is the Facebook Group…This is the website.  The website isn’t the easiest to navigate but it’s doable and has needed info.

The people from the website food companies and ask them what type of salt they are using.  If they say NON-iodized, then the food is put on a safe list and people on the diet can eat those products.  For example…my favorite bread is on the list.

Previously when I was on the diet it was no bread unless it was homemade.  Now I don’t have to make bread.  I can just have this with peanut butter-no salt peanut butter or course.

4-There are so many more foods available.  I last did this diet in 2019.  Since then the food industry has gone out in full force making more foods that fits what I need.

I adore a little chocolate after a meal.  It is something I’ve missed when I’ve been on the diet.  No more.  I just pop a few of these.  They are totally legal for me to eat.

There are plant-based or coconut-based products that aren’t too bad.

There are so many more options and I’m appreciating them so much.

Anytime a person can go to the refrigerator and have options, it’s a good day.  That’s how it’s been for me!  Do I love the diet?  NO.  But it’s so much easier this time around.  No complaints from me at all on the diet front.

The oral chemo front…I have some complaints…
Sunday I was a mess.  I’m doing some better now.  That was by far the worst day.

I was warned that it would be hard once I was on both the diet and the oral chemo.  They were right.  I started the low iodine diet on the 22nd.  I listened and drank all I could but Sunday, it got me…and the side effects of the chemo drug are catching up to me too.

These are the most unflattering pictures ever.  I am not posting them for sympathy.  I am posting them because I wish that I had seen pictures so I knew what I could expect when I started oral chemo.

This was not the worst day.  This was Friday.  It got worse Saturday and worse again on Sunday.

I’ve never had good skin but this takes my not-good skin to a whole new level.  My face is SUPER sore.  These blemishes are really deep.  It hurts to wipe my nose.  I’m been getting zips in my lip and hairline.  My face oozes and feels tight.  It hurts in a way like I had a really bad sunburn and I have to move.

My scalp is covered with the same stuff.

Not pretty.

Friday I put a message in for my doctor.  Of course, no response as it was Christmas Eve.  By Sunday I was pretty rough and called Kalissa to see if she had any suggestions.  She told me to try Benedryl.  I didn’t have any.  Karl was traveling and stopped and got some for me.  The Benedryl knocked me out.  I took a nap.  That never happens.

That night I took some again.  I slept well, woke up and my face is not oozing.  It’s sore.  It hurts a lot but it is not as bad as it was.

So I think I’m going to have to stay on a regiment of Benedryl and just plan for naps.  It’s not my ideal but hey…if it keeps me from being in such discomfort over the rash, I’ll take a nap.  I think I’ll try to only take it overnight so I’m not so zonked during the day.  We’ll see.

I can tell I feel a little groggy and slow.  Actually, my brain is a little that way too but nothing terrible.  I had big ambitious plans of getting stuff done while I was off.  That’s not happening.  I write a couple of blog posts, do a couple of things that have to be done and either cross stitch or sew.  Not much else is getting done…and that’s okay.

We had snow last night.  Not a lot.  My neighbor came and cleaned the driveway and walks for me.  What a treat!  I’m so blessed to have neighbors, friends, and all of you cheering me on.  I’m hanging in there and every day takes me one day closer to finding out if this all is working.

Many thanks for the thoughts and prayers that are sent my way.

My doctor responded back to a message I sent.  I was to take a picture of myself and send it to them.  Apparently, I have a bad case of lesions from the oral cancer drug.  I am to stop taking it for a day or two or three until I feel like the rash is a little more controlled.
They prescribed:
Oral steroid
Topical steroid

I am super thankful that we can do something about it.  It was really hard to wear a mask as it rubbed my face but a girl has to do what a girl has to do to get her meds.  I’m on the mend…yahoo!!

38 thoughts on “So How am I Doing??”

  1. Oh my Jo,
    You truly look so miserable. I hope the pain will subside and this will quickly be your cure. I’m sorry you have to go through so much pain. Praying you’ll quickly mend and be back to your happy self. I’m glad you have family close by to help and awesome neighbors who reach out to you. I’ve been looking for those fruit pieces you wanted from Dollar Tree. Our town is finally getting their own store in about two weeks. I’m praying they’ll sell them so I can ship some off to you. Take care and God Bless you during your down time. Pray for you daily.

      1. Judith Fairchild

        Jo, I’m not sure that with lesions that my suggestions will work with Chemo lesions.. but I had zits into my 30’s. I finally called my mom to ask what she did to keep her face so pretty. She said she splashed water as hot as she could stand on it until she could feel her pores had opened then she splashed cool water all without touching her face. I tried it and it worked for my zit face. Also pat dry with soft paper towels so it doesn’t spread the zits.
        Praying for you and your family’s health and well being. So glad your diet is going better.

  2. Jo, You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. You are such a strong woman and you have an incredible family. Keep that positive attitude and take good care of yourself.

  3. Hi, I am sorry you have to deal with this on top of the diet and isolation. I am thankful you are able to get relief from new meds. You are in my prayers.

  4. Oh Jo, I’m so glad you’re sharing. My sister, with whom I’m trying to have a real relationship, has had breast cancer for a few years now. It attached to her sternum and is inoperable. She’s been doing some sort of oral chemo to keep it in check and it’s now on a round of radiation in an attempt to shrink it. At least that’s what she says. She tells me next to nothing. I know I can’t compare your journeys, but hearing you explain at least gives me a glimmer of what she may be facing. It’s very hard. She needs Jesus. Thanks for your openness. Blessings

    1. Carla, Your comments made me cry — for your sister whom I don’t even know — because you wrote “She needs Jesus.” Yes, yes, yes.

  5. Oh Jo ! I so wish there were things I could do to help you feel better! If knowing you are always in my prayers helps then be sure of that.

  6. Jo, thank you for taking the time to write an update. I’m glad you’ve got a food plan and some great items this time around. I remember how restricted you were the last time around.

    Take good care. Praying for you.

  7. Margaret in North Texas

    So glad the Benedryl gives you some relief! Naps are ok too, take when necessary, Good idea on your food prep. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. It’s hard to remember you are in the treatment phase and its ok to slow a bit.

  8. Glad to hear the diet is tolerable. Trying new products is a new journey. Good luck with the skin. I’ve had bad hives before and can sympathize. Plug on.

  9. Jo, I think of you often & pray for you often. God will bless you with strength & His peace. I’m so thankful for your family, friends, neighbors, all blog readers & your medical team. Thank you for sharing this journey. You are very loved. ⭐

  10. You still have such a good attitude, first telling about the good of the low iodine diet, then telling the side effects of the chemo. I cannot imagine what it’s really like going through the extreme discomfort and pain you have. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Thank you for giving us an update. I think a lot of us were worried but didn’t want to burden you with one more thing as sometimes one more things is one thing too much. So sorry you are having those issues with the chemo. I pray that the additional meds eases the side effects and that the remaining days of this process is smoother for you.

  12. Jo, I am so sorry you are going through this. I am wondering if Aloe Vera gel (kept in frig would be good) would help your face feel better…so glad that you got some help from the doctor, but we can all tell you aren’t feeling well at all. We’ll all be praying for good news when you have your scan after this diet. You have five kids and nine grands that need you to stick around! Hope that your family will all be well so that you can see everyone soon…so thankful Karl is there for you! He is great! (I am a big Karl fan!)

  13. Cheryl in St. Paul

    Well,, that looks incredibly miserable. I’m praying that the new scripts will help you beyond your wildest hopes. You have so man6 prayer warriors lifting you daily.if you feel too overwhelmed to pray, that’s okay. We’ve got you covered!

  14. Thank you for showing us what the oral chemo can do. Many of us will go through it or know someone who will. I’m thinking that maybe cold aloe might help, or even just anything cold. Taking a nap is fine, it’s not forever. We are all thinking kind thoughts toward your recovery. Hang in there.

  15. Hi Jo- I’m sorry you’ve had to go through having those lesions – it looks like it hurts for sure. I’m really praying that the treatment works for you. Try to stay positive! Thanks for posting about how you’re doing – I’m sure your honest statements and pictures will help others going through the same issues.

  16. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Praying that you will get through this quickly and back on the regime…and that it works to the point where you won’t have to do this ever again!!!

  17. Jo, you have my sympathy on how this is going for you. Your face looks miserable and to have it in your hair also, oh my! I’m so glad that you some relief (thank you Karl) and that the doctor called you back with a plan. There is much to be glad about, more food options this time, having to cook for one, and getting to take naps are just a few. I’m in Osage at my moms and so glad that it snowed us in for one more day together, we head home to TN in the morning. We shall say some prayers for you and some comfort in the days ahead as we pass the miles. Yea for the kindness shown by your neighbor, what a gem.

  18. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Hope you rash heals up quickly. I’m really happy the diet is so much better this time around. You don’t have too much longer to diet! Keep on hanging in there!

  19. Praying the misery you’ve been going through goes away quickly and that treatment works! Looks so painful. And I know personally how the sores in mouth feel. Thanks for the update–like everyone else, wondering -after your daughter said you weren’t feeling great. Rest and hopefully you can “go with the flo” –hang in there!

  20. The answer about aloe vera in the refrigerator is a good one. That is what the doctors told me to use when I had radiation burns from breast cancer treatment. Thinking of you and praying for a speedy recovery. I really appreciate your updates and I love following along with your creative endeavors.

  21. It is very reassuring to hear from you. I guess I just want to let you know that you and your family are in my prayers! Naps are a good thing! I was never good at napping as I continually fight my night owl tendencies and sleeping during the day made bedtime later. But since I’ve been dealing with a chronic but tolerable health challenge, I am always glad when it’s nap time for the grands. It’s a great way to sneak a few winks while rocking the infants.

    May God bless you and your family with all you stand in need of.

  22. Just sending prayers. Everyone reacts differently so it’s hard to predict. As Erma Bombeck used to say sometimes life just stinks.

  23. Thank you for taking the time and effort to write this blog post, Jo. You’ve answered the questions we were all wanting to ask, but didn’t want to bother you with, knowing you’d be having some difficult days. I hope the meds help to ease the discomfort. I’m glad Karl is nearby. Sending much love to you.

  24. Jo you are such an inspiration! I enjoy your blog, hearing your stories, all that you have going on. I am Praying for you daily! I know people from all over the world are praying for you to get through this tough time! I’m sending hugs and best wishes from Norther Virginia!❤️

  25. I’m happy to hear that your dd was able to recommend something to make the lesions and pain a bit less. I know brain fog and it certainly is hard.
    Fortunately, the doctor was also able to recommend something for you and i reality was pretty surprised you did so well with the side effects.
    Keeping you i my thoughts and prayers throughout this whole thing. Thank you so much for keeping up with your blog to let us know how you are.
    Love and prayers

  26. Thanks for sharing – we’ve all been wondering how you’re doing!
    MANY good thoughts, virtual hugs, prayers, and positivity being sent…

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