Welcome! Read Me!

This blog is created to give you a central location to answer any questions you have about my current and upcoming treatments and reactions. It is also created to help me make Lemonade out of the Lemons I have been given, so I will keep this as positive as I can.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Going into Chemo #3

Well Chemo is tomorrow. It seems like it was longer in between treatments somehow. Maybe it is all of the Holiday festivities. Or maybe it is because Me, Emma and Danielle have been sick the last few days. I dunno. But being sick has brought to light some side effects that I wasn't really expecting, and one that I expected, but not to this magnitude.
I was told before I started Chemo that I would loose my hair. Including my NOSE HAIRS. You don't really think about your nose hairs until they get too long and tickle you when you breathe and making you sneeze, or when they are dangling out of your grandpas nose. LOL But when there are less hairs it doesn't hold in the mucus so much anymore. And when you have a Cold and your nose is running all the time anyways... it REALLY doesn't hold much back! So I am constantly needing to be near a Kleenex Box!
The next thing that has surfaced is something I NEVER thought I would say... I have the same problem as my nose in MY EARS! How weird is that? I mean really?!?!? Runny Ears? Really??? That is a Strange thing.
I am slowly losing some of my eyebrows, but not enough that I look too different yet, and I still have most of my eyelashes as well, so I still feel like I look a little "normal" though I don't expect that to last forever. We'll see if they stick around.
And lastly, there is the strange sensation of a cat licking my bald head. Now that is different too. I am accustomed to this on my hands and even my elbow when they are trying to get my attention and get me to pet them, but the head is all new. That will take me a while to get used to.
On another note. I have been checking things out and was given a great link on the web from my Sister in Law. The Pink Renegades. It has given me a great resource about how to tie scarves and deal with my baldness. Now I can go shopping with a little more information of what I am looking for and how I can tie them when I get them home with some practice. My first trip and try didn't go all that great. :) I will have more time to make it work. On one of her videos there was a song that admittedly made me cry. (but really there are not that many things that don't, and that isn't a HUGE change from before... I get it from my mom) I guess it helped that it was playing as she was having her head shaved, and that brought me back a little. And I always get a little extra emotion the couple days before Chemo for some reason. Maybe the stress of it all or the wonder of what will be different this time... but anyway... it is a song I thought I would share: India.Arie - I Am Not My Hair - ft. Akon

Overall, I think I am holding it together most of the time but we'll see if I still believe that after tomorrow. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How do you say it?

Oh... By The Way... I have Cancer...

I guess I have grown a little bit "comfortable" with my diagnosis. Is this a bad thing? I am not sure... I suppose I am mostly comfortable in the knowledge that most everyone I deal with on a daily basis knows that I have Breast Cancer, and most of them are over the shock. While it is still very real to me and to those around me on a daily basis it has put me in a weird place.
Today I went in to work for the first time since I have become bald. And this is the one place that not everyone I see throughout the day knows of my current status. And I was faced with the questioning looks of people in the halls or bathroom wondering if I am just weird or if I am bald for a reason. (in the building I work that is often a  good question...) Some people would give me that "disapproving over the rim of their glasses" look, while others seemed to give me a "knowing" look as if they either understood or cared. I am not sure which since they were just passing glances, and no words were exchanged. None of these made me uncomfortable since their opinion does not make any difference to how I live my life, but it was hard when one of my co-workers cheerfully asked if I had shaved my head for "Locks-of-Love" (for anyone not familiar, it is the foundation that allows people to donate their hair to make wigs for Cancer patients) I replied with a smile telling him why I had done it. I tried to keep it upbeat, and I think I succeeded, hopefully, but it did cause him the surprise of a lifetime and hopefully he didn't feel bad about his query, there is no way he would have known. I did better on my second encounter of the day. I was on my way out and was shocked by an old friend who I haven't seen in YEARS!!! I was so excited to see her, and I was a lot more comfortable in telling her the reason for my baldness somehow.
I don't like to share the news anymore because it goes back to them being in shock, and I want them to just be familiar. Is there a way I can send some sort of broadcast message to everyone I have ever known that just in case they run into me in the store or anywhere else that they can just not be shocked, and I don't have to tell them the news.
No-one should take this in the wrong way, I am fine with talking about it with anyone who wants to talk, but I am just not a fan of the initial introduction of the topic if I have to do it. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The beat goes on...

This week's treatment hit me a little harder than the prior treatment. Though the same has been true, that the evenings are worse than the days. And some times I am just counting down the minutes before I can take my medication again. Once I can, I am usually fine other than being tired, but at least I feel a little better.
My week has been filled with good visits for me, from my "Merry Maid" Neighbors, to my Sister and Parents as well as the wonderful friends and neighbors who have stopped by to watch the kiddo's or bring in some food it has been a busy one.
We started Katelynn in her Online Preschool (UPSTART) and she is loving it. It did take the back seat for a few days when I didn't feel up to it, but now that she has started it, I am not sure there will be a day that she will miss it. She Loves it. She loves Learning and it has Music with it too and that is definitely a bonus!! Emma is even getting into it. They are both going to be singing the songs pretty soon.
Alex is working on the Candy so we are ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Two batches of Peanut Brittle are done without a hitch. The nougat not so much. We had thermometer issues (If anyone was in my house yesterday and smelled the burnt sugar smell that is why) and we lost that batch. We have a new Thermometer now and there is still time to try that one again thank heavens because I think there would be a riot if we didn't do nougat. :)
My Head is creating somewhat of a Conundrum. It is either Hot or Cold and nothing in between. It seems the insulation of hair was able to help regulate this temperature far better than anything else I have found so far. When I lay down for bed generally my head is cold, but the second I put on a hat or something it is immediately hot. At the same time I still have some "prickelies" of hair that has not yet fallen out and it acts a little bit like Velcro on my pillow and I don't like to roll my head over as it scrubs along, so I really would like a head cover that solves that issue. My Mother in Law is making me a couple sleep caps, and hopefully I will be able to try them tonight. If that doesn't work I may look into a Chillow. Something will work. :) But if you see me in all my Baldness Glory, just know I am having a Hot Head moment, and don't be surprised if that changes by the minute.
And one last quick note about the baldness. It is a weird sensation to take a shower routine that has been the same for YEARS and cut out something so major as Shampoo and Conditioner. I stand in the shower wondering what I should do now because that 5 minute section has been removed... Then I get out and I still feel like I need to wrap my head all turban-like to keep the water from dripping off my hair onto my clothes. I did put away all of my brushes and most of my hair products so my sink is much less cluttered than it was a few weeks ago (to my husbands delight) but I still feel like I should need to do something there. I am sure I will get used to this free time and use it wisely instead of standing in a dumbfounded stupor waiting for something to change, but for the moment it is just a little weird. :)

This post is a little random, but I guess that is what happens when I am up before 6 am on a Sunday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bad Hair Days Go Bu-Bye!

I am done with Bad hair days for a while! Hooray!!!!
Over the last couple of days I have been losing at least half of the hair that was left on my head (not to say that was a lot by now) so I broke down and decided to just have it shaved off. Alex gave me a little bit of courage by doing his first! He just wanted to be less maintenance than me first. LOL. This is always the "fight" at our house, who can be done fixing their hair fastest... He has always won... So I let him win one more day, this morning, and now it is my turn to win for a while. He will have to put in some upkeep to his, and mine will be all clear pretty soon.
It is nice though because the last couple of days and the amount of hair I had lost I looked sick. Now I just feel renewed and refreshed! I no longer have to worry about touching my head and ending up with a handful of hair coming. This is a wonderful day!
On another Very positive note! While I was busy getting my new doo Cheryl (MY HERO) has been busy potty training my cute little Emma!! She is wearing big girl Panties and is so excited! So we have both been big girls today! I cannot be more thrilled!!

Thank you Kami! Thank You Angie!!! Thank You Cheryl!!

The first cut is the worst. (Not really, but it was a fun pic.)

Loving the Comb-Over look
Rockin it with the Mohawk
No more Bad Hair Days!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chemo Day: Episode 2

Can you believe it has been 3 weeks since Chemo Day 1? I sure can't! In some ways it feels like it has gone way too fast, but in other ways it feels like it has been dragging. Yes, I am mostly insane. :) I was hoping to be Bald by the time I was coming back for treatment, and I was basically looking forward to that being a milestone, but it didn't happen that way. I still have hair... as sparse as it has ever been for sure, but here nonetheless. I do plan on fixing that problem pretty soon though. Alex came home from work with a new haircut. So I can't let him be bald and me still have hair! So I think I will try to shave it all off as soon as I can get in.
Today was mostly work in the morning and I was able to do that un-interrupted because the girls were already on their way to Grandma T's when I woke up. Jolynne was able to come and pick me up and take me to Treatment. I am sure that the people in the Treatment room thought that we were a little insane. (not that it is true or anything) It was like we were 15 again, back in Mr Dowdle's History class.
This treatment was not same-old same-old though. I am not sure what is different about this treatment and the last one, but I had an allergic reaction to the Taxotere. It basically felt like everything closed at the neck. I couldn't breathe and it felt like no blood was moving in by head. It just felt like my lungs and head were going to explode. I truly felt like the cartoons that have their head turn bright read and get bigger and bigger until it pops, but I didn't make it to the popping stage. At least I stayed awake through it. Even if I didn't feel like I was really "there". The nurses are great though. I think I maybe had about 90 seconds that I wasn't breathing or at least felt like I wasn't. She disconnected the Chemo and flushed with an IV bag and gave me a quick dose of Benadryl and steroids to help counter the effects, and within a couple of minutes I was pretty close to back to normal just a little heaviness in my chest. She continued to give me the bag of IV until I was feeling more normal, then was able to get back to the treatment without any more issues.
Since I had an extra dose of the steroids it made me REALLY hungry. So once treatment was over we went to IHOP for some lunch. I love girl time! Even if I do have to have Chemo first. LOL Thanks Jo for coming with me to Chemo! It was much better to have you sitting there with me during my drama! I think I ate enough at lunch that I haven't needed dinner yet. :) Over all it was a great day with a little scary part in the middle. I even got some dishes done.

FUNdriaiser 11/6

Finally I have a quiet time that I can post about this event. I haven't wanted to post while the girls were here and awake so they don't have to see me Cry... even if they are happy tears, I don't want them to worry.
The day started out just like any other day... Hair falling out argued with myself to know if I should wear a hat or show off my shedding locks. I opted for showing off my thinning hair, but brought a hat just in case. I brought my camera in the hopes to get a good record of how things went. I was so overwhelmed by the response and the sheer mass of the crowds at times that I only managed to get a few pictures. I had been so excited for this event, but had the uncertainty of how many people would come. All of my most Extreme numbers in my head prior to coming were absolutely blown out of the water! I can't even fathom how that was even possible. In addition to the people that I saw there were anonymous donations that were delivered prior to the party even starting. This made me cry immediately after seeing them. Peoples kindness amazes me. I absolutely burst into grateful tears when I read the note about the "Christmas Jar" that I received. This family had been saving up through the year to donate their funds to a cause and chose my cause to donate to, even though it wasn't Christmas yet. It is a wonderful feeling! And there was enough in there to pay for the first wave of bills from the Labs that I got this week! Perfect! Then there was the one guy who just dropped by a donation without wanting to be named. If either you are reading this, You know who you are, and I am eternally grateful to you! Your hearts are very kind and you will be blessed in the days to come for your caring! I was already overwhelmed at that moment before the event even started as there were already as many donations at that point than I had any hopes of getting through most of event. And the kindness just kept on coming! Words of encouragement from people who has watched another loved one go through the same thing. Words of support offering their time and shoulders. And the wonderful people continuing to keep a smile on my face even when I wanted to go and hide to cry in my gratitude! Seeing all of my friends and neighbors getting the Sparkle on head to toe was just awesome and it did exactly as the name implies. It made it FUN.
There were appointments and walk-in's for the Tinsel Hair and it seemed never ending, and the Glitter Toes was first come first served and the waiting list was ever growing. I wish I could take some of the sore away from Kami and Cindy from being in the same place doing the same thing 30+ times through about 6+ hours with very minimal breaks or even snacks. I am forever grateful to them for sacrificing their comfort for a time to help out a friend and Neighbor! Wonderful!! And all the yummy baked goodness that was donated for the bake sale was wonderful! The donation of the Massage from April! How great is that!?! For Corrine who helped get everyone their Sentcy, always on her feet too. It seemed every time I looked that corner was busy! It was just wonderful! And then there was Angie keeping everything flowing. I am amazed at the promotion the event had! I think the only thing she didn't do is hire a plane to advertise it through the sky! You guys are so Wonderful! I don't think there is a way I can ever repay you guys for all that you have done. Just know that I am here for you whenever you need me (when I am on level 1) :) I enjoyed meeting New Neighbors and friends and family of my current neighbors. It is absolutely amazing!
My family is Eternally grateful, and my clunky words can never express the feelings in my heart to do it any justice. But just know that I have shed enough happy tears since the day the event was announced up to the current day to fill a couple bath tubs! I love you girls. You are all wonderful! And I appreciate all the hubbies who took over mommy duty (even though the U game was on) to allow this to happen.

Love and Hugs to everyone who was there, and anyone who donated even a penny. It is all going to help! Even if you only donated a Smile it was worth you coming in! You made my day!! And every time I see a gal with Glittery Hair and Toes I feel the love and support. It gives me a Warm Fuzzy! :)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

And a million more times! THANK YOU!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well... Here it goes... Literally...

It won't be long now! I just took off the hat I had worn most of the evening and ran my fingers through my hair and it looks like it won't be too much longer before it is gone. I am excited to be getting to this phase, as the same time I hope my head is not a funky shape or that it doesn't have some crazy birthmark I didn't know about. LOL!!!
Bald Is Beautiful! And Hats and Scarves will be my new fashion statement.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Pink Ribbons

October 1st began Breast Cancer awareness month. It also was the start of my stress. I had just had a Biopsy the day before for something that "concerned" the Dr's in the lump that I had found in my breast. It was that weekend that I HATED every commercial, and every football game that everyone was wearing Pink. I was Angry at the thought that I could possibly have Breast Cancer. I had to turn away from all of the Pink Hype that is abundant in October. Then on October 4th when it was confirmed that it was Cancer I was Mad to have joined the Pink "club" without a choice. I spent a lot more time avoiding any of the "Pink" ad's and I didn't want to watch Football with Alex because all the players were wearing Pink and the announcers had to consistently remind me of the Cancer. I know it isn't their fault that I was Diagnosed in October, but I was not happy about the diagnosis and at the time, the awareness was not making me happy.
Once my Pity Party was over I was actually Excited that it was October. (I am not normally this 'wishy-washy. At least I don't think I am...) Because it was October, people were Aware of Breast Cancer more in the month and it didn't seem so "weird" to talk about it. Additionally, Facebook and the rest of the Internet was Bombarded with links to information and other resources for me to look at. It gave me a way to share awareness with my friends and family and get them some of those same resources to help them understand my Cancer as well.
While I still have a bit of a Love/Hate relationship with October, as I am not sure I will ever be HAPPY about my diagnosis, I would rather have skipped this step, but at the same time I really think that the timing may have been Perfect. I can pick up Pink Ribbon items and I have the most incredible "Pink" Friends! So now that October is done and I am looking back, I might be sad that October has passed. I will keep sharing my own information throughout my own process, but I will be sad that I will actually have to Search for it a little more than I have gotten used to.