Monday, March 26, 2012

Random Answers and Ramblings

So, I've been reading through the past several posts and realized that I have some things that I've left unanswered on the blog, or questions that I'd posted as a fear/thought. I thought it might be good now that I'm in the middle of things to look back and answer some of them:

Firstly, my genetic testing came back negative for both breast cancer genes! That was a huge relief. Megan (my sister) and Brielle are now at no increased risk than the general population for having breast cancer in their future. It gave me peace. It also indicates that I am now not at significantly increased risk for getting a separate cancer in my other breast. So, I decided only to do a unilateral mastectomy.

Now as for radiation. I will not have to do radiation after my chemo. Things looked great after surgery, indicating the cancer had not spread and was localized to the breast, so unless something changes radiation is not in my future.

My cancer was officially staged as 2A. Meaning my tumor was between 2-5cm and had not spread to the lymph nodes. Interestingly enough, this doesn't change my chemo treatment, just my prognosis with treatment. I often get the comment, well it was only stage 2. Yes, it was only stage 2 and my prognosis is one of a cure versus remission or prolonging life. For that I am so grateful for. However, it doesn't change the fact that my chemo treatment is just as aggressive if not more so (due to my age and the aggressiveness of my type of cancer) than someone with stage 4 cancer. I go through the same thing. Just an interesting fact.

Um, what else? Trav is handling things a day at a time AND DOING FABULOUS might I add. He is an amazing man and I'm lucky to have him. He is my strength through all of this. Not only that, but he has done an amazing job at fulfilling all of his various roles of caretaker, husband, daddy, student, employee, home janitor, cook, and so much more. The kids have actually handled this quite well. It has been a blessing. They seem to miss me when I'm sick or at work, and they are a little more clingy to Mommy on my good weeks, but overall, they have done amazing. I was nervous if they would recognize me without hair, but they didn't even skip a beat. I'm sure it had to do with the fact that they watched when we did it. In fact now they will pull my hat, scarf, or wig off whenever I get home. They are amazing kiddos. I love them so much.

Overall life is good. I've gone back to work and just take a couple of days off after chemo. It has worked well. I don't mind how I look with a bald head, but I'm just not quite confident enough to flaunt it everywhere. I rarely wear anything when I am at home. In public I prefer to wear a wig, but it is a little uncomfortable as it itches. The scarves are cute and I wear them around Wellsville when we go on walks or when we sit outside. It is fun to change it up. Bald is definitely the most comfortable though. Maybe one day I'll be confident enough to flaunt it. :). I have another chemo treatment on Wednesday. This will be number 3. I'm trying to mentally gear up for it. I still hate it though. At least March has gone by pretty quick so hopefully the next 3 months will go just as fast. I'm ready to move on and be done with all of this.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chemo #2

Meet the Red Devil--my new nemesis!

This time around was easier physically than the last. I tried several new tactics including sea bands, ginger pills, oils, and keeping up on the zofran preventatively. It worked with keeping the nausea under control. I'm still nauseated but it is tolerable. Fatigue is a given as well. The Neulasta shot kicked my butt again even with meds to help.

My hair was falling out everywhere, so we shaved it on March 15th. Thanks to everyone who shaved their heads in support.

The Boys All Shaved and Me "Before"

Cutting a Braid for my Scrapbook

And the Shaving Begins

Almost Done
The Baldies!

After the "Cry"Close Up

Emotionally this round has been trying. Partially due to my lack of hair, and partially due to reality. It isn't fun being sick, having others wait on you. This week cancer took me to a new low. It beat me up inside. I lost sight of hope for awhile. I lost the fight in me. I'm starting to find it again. Thanks for your prayers. I really do feel them.

My friend Amy, who has been through cancer, left me this on my facebook page. It reminds me where to turn and gives me hope.

"When the storms of life beat upon our homes, our hearts and our souls, may we remember and believe the Lord's promise, "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another." (D&C 93:24). May you also remember and believe that "they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)."

Friday, March 9, 2012


This made me laugh so much yesterday. I love these two!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chemo Treatment #1

Chemo SUCKS. It was honestly one of the hardest things I have had to endure. The details aren't pretty. I'm brutally honest. It wasn't one of my finer moments. Proceed if you care to. Otherwise skip to the last paragraph. I'm more of my positive self again there.

Day 1, March 1st: Chemo Day
It was surreal sitting in the recliner watching the "fruit punch" (also appropriately known as the Red Devil) drip into the IV that led to my port and into my body. I didn't feel any different yet. I watched several patients come in, several of which just looked at me and shook their heads. I now know why..... it hit me about 5 hours later. I was so sick. Nauseated to the point of not daring to move without the puke bucket right next to me. It was awful. Thank goodness for a night of sleep. It saved me. I know it was everyone's prayers that made that possible. THANK YOU.

Day 2:
I awoke feeling nauseated, but better. I didn't feel like I was going to puke at any moment. I got kinda ready in order to make it into the cancer center for my Neulasta shot. This shot is to help replenish my white blood cell count. Got home. Laid on the couch. So sick. My Mom and Dad came back up. Thank goodness. I needed them. Trav needed them. They'd be here all weekend. It was so nice to have my Mommy.

Day 3:
Pain. Think flu x10. Achy. I could feel every bone in my body--my shoulder blades, my ribs, my back, arms, legs, skull, EVERYTHING! It was from the shot. It was awful. Nothing helped, except for a foot rub. It took my mind off the pain for a moment. Plus I was still nauseated.

Day 4:
Still achy, still somewhat nauseated, plus now I was getting intestinal cramping. GREAT. We're starting out the other end today. YAY. This will be fun....NOT. And it wasn't. Trust me, it wasn't pretty. Mom and Dad left today. Ate some bread and apples--and actually Rumbi's. It sounded good, and shockingly sat well on my stomach. I was sooo exhausted, I could barely move. I had no strength. Today's word was exhausted. Dad and Trav gave me a blessing. It helped heal my soul.

Day 5:
Today I was disappointed. I'd heard I'd feel better by Day 5. I didn't. Not enough anyway. Still nauseated, still had a fire in my rectum, still had severe intestinal cramping, still didn't want to eat ANYTHING, but so weak that I knew I needed food, sustenance. It is awful to make yourself eat when nothing sounds good. I was also disappointed I hadn't handled chemo better. I am young. I should be able to do better than this right? Today I was disappointed and a little down.

Day 6:
Today progressively got better. I woke feeling nauseous and exhausted again, but it lessened as the day went on. I actually felt like eating something again--Subway. It was a busy day though with a trip to the plastic surgeon at Huntsman, a follow-up with my surgeon in Logan about my chemo port, and a dinner with a women's cancer support group in town. Support is therapeutic. Sleep was too.

Day 7: Today
I feel almost back to myself today. Still dealing with bowel issues and occasionally small bouts of nausea, but otherwise I feel myself.

So, 7 days to feel normal again. Then 7 days later another treatment. That was the hardest part of all of this. Knowing I had to do it again. Not just once, but 7 MORE TIMES. How am I going to do this 7 more times? I'm going to do it one treatment at a time, and hope that what everyone says is correct--that the first treatment is the hardest. I'm going to endure, cause that's all I can do. I'm going to rely on the "angels 'round about me, to bear me up" both heavenly and here on earth. My angels. You are amazing. I couldn't do this without you.