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, January 17, 2011

Who'd a Thunk it?

So I noticed this week that each Chemo has brought me a new side effect. This one is not one that effects my daily life but notable none-the-less.
With every Chemo I get a little white ridge in my fingernails. So currently I have a pretty good ripple effect going on. I can see 4 ridges, and I assume that I will have the ridge for my 5th treatment within a week or 2, then for a little while after my final treatment I will have a full set of 6. Weird!

I will also got a picture of the FIRST bruise caused by the IV. I expected A LOT of bruises when this started, since I have been bruising more easily, and often any needle poke would generally cause an extra "artwork" on my arms. My regular Chemo Nurse has been REALLY good and she has managed to get through 4 treatments without even a spot, then they called in a replacement from the other office... for treatment #5 and let me tell you we were not amused. She missed the vein and instead of pulling it out and trying again she did the ever so pleasant "dig around for it until you get it" maneuver. So... I now have a wonderful bruise to show the world. But, at least she did get it IN the vein so that it didn't burn off my arm.

We'll see how blissfully Chemo #6 goes and hope that my "Regular" is there waiting for me!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Surgery, etc.

I have said it before and I will say it again. I Hate Waiting!!!! In the beginning of this whole Cancer business I had a Whole Lot of Hurry Up and Wait! You need this test - but we won't have the results for 3 days. You need to meet with this specialist - but you can't get in until next week... you know the drill. Since I started Chemo I have been in a bit of a holding pattern as far as surgery is concerned. We didn't want to do any surgery until after Chemo was completed, and we wouldn't know how the tumor was responding to the treatment until we were into it and nearly done so we couldn't necessarily plan what kind of surgery we would want until the end either. We waited as long as we could. Today we met with my surgeon and we had a lot of questions... and I think we actually got them all answered, to some extent. At least it was enough to keep me sane. (Or more sane than I was before I went in, since I doubt I will ever be completely sane)
We will likely be going in for surgery the first week of March, unless scheduling conflicts change our plans. It will be a Full/Double Mastectomy as well as the removal of the Lymph Nodes on my right side. We did discuss the possibility of just having the Mastectomy on the affected side, but for my peace of mind, since I have that 'gene mutation of uncertain circumstances' and other reasons we opted to just go ahead with the double mastectomy. After the surgery I will likely be pretty well out of commission for at least a week but could be closer to 2-3 weeks depending on how my body reacts. The hardest part of this process (besides the pain and recovery of course) will be the fact that I will not be able to lift my girls, or anything else 20 lbs or more. And that will be hard on all of us. The girls will likely spend a lot of time with Family during this recovery time, how much, I don't know yet. But, I am sooo thankful that I have a lot of family nearby that can help out. After at least 3 weeks of recovery I will start my Radiation regimen which will likely consist of 5 days per week, for 6 weeks. After a break of about 3 months after radiation I will go in for surgery again to "fix what they broke" :) and I can maybe consider myself done with the ugly stuff by the end of the year. Now if only everything works like clockwork and falls into place exactly as it should be. It can happen! A girl can dream... right?
Soooo we have a little bit of a road map for then next several  months and that makes me feel better. Even though I am not excited about going through ANY of these steps, I am more than happy to get them over with so that I can hopefully not have to deal with them again. The next step is getting Actual dates for these things to start so that I can feel even better.
In the mean time... Chemo #5 is on the 11th and then I only have 1 more left on Feb 1st! I AM ALMOST DONE!!!!! HOORAY!!!! THE END IS IN SIGHT!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Forgetfulness- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Is it "Chemo Brain" or is it something else in my brain that makes me forget how I feel after Chemo? I remember being Pregnant and having those "Happy Prego's" telling me how blissful their Pregnancies were and how they had forgotten any pain or discomfort that they had while Pregnant. I even had people tell me that they didn't remember any pain in a Medication Free Delivery. I don't see how that is even possible. Granted... My Pregnancies were never really pain free at any stage, but when my Epidural failed and I delivered Emma Medication Free I will tell you right now THAT HURT!!! And I will never forget that! Do some people ACTUALLY forget that stuff? Is there something in their brain that blocks out that memory?
Maybe I have that same thing in my brain for Chemo. Somehow I am still surprised when the Fatigue and Pain surfaces after Chemo. Maybe I subconsciously convince myself that each time it will be different and have hopes that different will mean less somehow. Like my body will be more used to it and will be able to handle it better... Some days I think I do, but other days I really wonder.
With this round it seemed to hit me harder at the start and I was knocked out and could likely have slept through a hurricane through my house. I had to take a stronger Anti-Nausea than I had in the past to cope at first as well. But I was really lucky and only had a few days of this and I was conscious by Christmas. Christmas Day was relaxing even though I didn't get any naps. I was able to simply hang out on the couch and watch the kids enjoy the festivities. It was great to have parents come to us to visit and share in the gifts and enjoyment of the holiday and allow me the ability to just lounge around in my jammies. That day also seemed to be "easy" in the Symptoms department. Then a couple days later I got the pain in my neck and back that always comes in because of my Neulasta Shot. Then comes the real "pain in my neck" that is hard to explain. It is a pain that seems to be just below the skin, and is almost like it feels like when you get a burn that is starting to heal, kinda tingly, and tender to to the touch. That doesn't really do it justice, but it is the best I can do. Maybe it is a "you have to be there" kinda thing. :) Once this stage passes it is just general soreness. Walking up a flight of stairs makes my legs feel like I had just run a 5K. Rolling over in bed makes me feel like I had been lifting weights all night. And any Extra exertion I do outside of the regular day to day makes me sore. And I have fairly consistent Hot Flashes. This is the stage I am in right now. I am mostly "normal" for most purposes, but could easily break out in a sweat in the 2 degree weather we have been having, and have to stop half way to where I am going to let my muscles have a little break. But these are minor inconveniences in the long run. And I only have to deal with them for 2 more treatments. I can't wait! So, if I am ever talking to you and you see beads of sweat dripping down my face don't worry I will be as cold as you in a couple minutes.
Even if I am having a "bad day" I actually look forward to going anywhere simply because I make myself feel better than I do. It is something I have done since High School Cross Country. I was told once that something that would help me increase my times as I was starting out is to never let anyone see you walk or see your weakness. So I take the same mentality when I leave the house to either go anywhere, Store, Work or Church. I put on the Brave Face and it makes me stronger than I think I am for those times. And I really am able to ignore any pains or issues for that short time. Sundays I always try to make it a point to get to church for that reason and because I feel like with all the blessings that I have been given by God that as long as I have enough strength to do so, it is the least I can do to spend those hours in church in order "pay it back" somehow.
I guess in some ways, I am glad that in my good weeks I am able to forget some of the issues and live in ignorant bliss for a time. Hopefully after my last treatment I am able to live in that same ignorant bliss for the rest of my life.