Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Chemotherapy cycle number 11 and life still goes on

So today I realized that I have not been sharing my life experiences.  To recap, I was diagnosed with breast cancer a week before my birthday. Life was just getting exciting again. I just started my new job using my license as a Radiologic Technologist. My schedule was perfect for my life, the house and kids. I was working part time and still was able to attend college during the day. My girlfriends claims that I'm a professional student and yes I claim it.  I'm already making plans on when to start going back to school to finish my BA after my surgeries.

I go to chemo every Friday with my husband, so I will start with this.  I still drive to the infusion center, it helps me not to think about what is about to happen to me.  I get to focus on the road, traffic, and talk to my husband about what to do or expect for the next couple of days.  We park and go to the lab to draw blood.  Drawing the blood and taking my weight ensures that the chef that puts the chemicals together are the right dosage for my weight and numbers.  I have a better control of my high blood pressure, I have my phone remind me to take my pills every morning.  After taking the blood we walk back over to the infusion center and get checked in to get a chair. The one thing that was giving me anxiety was the saline push giving into my chest to see if I have a good line to my heart.  I finally found some soft peppermint to chew on as they slowly push the saline into the chest valve Then we start all the medicines.  The pepsin to settle my stomach, taxol, and carboal.  I was given benedryll50mg but it made my leg jump around and itch, so they brought the meds down to 25mg.  I don't have the crazy jumpy leg that much but its better.  I used to ativan  so that I can not be aware of the hours that my body was going through.  I stayed focused and talk to others around me and I took no Ativan.  

I usually come straight home and sleep for hours.  Then my body is so heavy and feels weighted down. I have to pee every hour cause I drink water constantly.  I'm suppose to drink about 64 oz per day (some kind of fluid).  This was the first time without the Ativan that I felt like a little bit normal.  I only laid down, after the chemo and had a bowl of soup.  I was able to watch t.v. and mingle with the family.  The next day is usually the worst for me and I felt like it was day 3 or 4 of after chemo.  I still get tired very quick.  So I have to listen to my body.  When Iam tired, or my eyes hurt I will go lay down.  So now I have new problems.  My feet and hands are starting to tinkle more, nose bleeds, and eye infection.  The family had already realized my frustration and calmness had changed.  The steroid from chemo, from the pills at home and now the new antibodies with steroid was all affecting my personality.  My husband has grown to understand when I going through this emotional meltdown and anxiety and he tells me that everything is going to be alright and then we talk about something positive that we are looking forward to doing together.

He really has helped me since my "chemo brain" sneaks up on me.  Chemo brain is the impaired of cognitive things such as I lose my words and I don't multitask like I use to.  You can tell about the first 3 to 4 days after chemo I sleep more, only do one task at a time, and have people around me to remind me or my cozi calendar reminder.

I love it when it about day 5, 6, and 7. I get this surge of energy and I started to drive, run errands, cooking 2 or 3 meals all on one day.  I mean I wake up and cook breakfast for everyone and then two different dinners.  I go grocery shopping and pay bills.  This is the time that I read my Continue Educational Radiology books.  I study my Rosetta Stone (Spanish) and me and my son are learning how to use sign language.

In two weeks I meet with the plastic surgeon.  It has already started to bother me and I'm nervous. I started watching more YouTube video's on double mastectomy cant imagine how I will feel after my whole chest being gone, and then I have to come back every two week and have a fluid pumped into balloon.  I'm just shaking my head.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Conversation with a Friend

I wrote a blog a few days ago about how my 3rd cycle of treatment was going. It was pretty long and in great detail and then I lost it.  So I will start this blog talking about what me and my best friend of over 13 years talked about, that dealt with my breast cancer and family. She called me to see how I was doing.  I was on day 6 of chemo cycle 3 and it was kicking my but a little bit more.  I told her that this treatment is harder than the others.  On day one I was good until I took my first nap and had to get up.  When I rise up and sit on the edge of the bed my heart starts to palliate and it takes a minute to focus.  As I stand up my body feels so heavy and I need to hold the dresser to walk towards the bathroom.  I feel like the gravitational pull is not my friend.  I start to smell things around me that I wish I didn't. She wanted to know everything that I was going through.  I told her that my eye lids feel as through tiny men wear hanging from them and they were very hard to stay open.  Even my face felt weighed down.  My finger nail beds were getting darker.  The worst is the energy.  I have to energy and want to just sleep.

I started to tell her about the next set of cycle. The first four was every two weeks of Cyclophosphamide and Doxorubicin hydrochloride.  The next set is cycle 5-8, which consisted of Paclitaxel. This treatment is suppose to be given every 7 days (3 weeks on and 1 week off) for the next 4 months.  The number one thing to be concerned about is infection. This new drug will lower my white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. I did explain that every time I go to the infusion center they check for a multiple of items such as the following: WBC, RBC, hemoglobin, neutrophils, lymphocytes, platelets, BUN, sodium, potassium, and Glom filt rate.

We talked about if I'am just lying around and having people wait on me.  I replied by telling her not at all.  The first few days are really rough and yes I need people to either check on me and to be there to give me fluids.  If it was left to me I would just sleep for the first few days and wake up to only pee.  But my family at home is very supportive.  They check on me every couple of hours and make sure I get lots of fluids.  I don't want to eat because of the whole no taste bud, tongue turning black, making me feel nausea after every meal.

I will try to write more but I can tell that mentally I'am moving slower.  I used to multitask mentally and have things planned out 5 steps ahead of anybody else, but lately I just take my time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My 2nd Chemo cycle of Breast Cancer

I know that I haven't written in a while, but I've been spending a lot of time with my family.  I had to be sure that my boys had their school uniforms, supplies, and I put groceries in the house for the next two weeks.  Both of my boys had summer project that were due on the first day of school. So let me catch you guys up.  The day before my second chemo appointment I decided to have all my hair shaved off.  My husband attempted but he left a lot of patches, claiming that I had different texture of hair going in all directions.  I made an appointment with my hair dresser, and she hooked me up.  I had chemo on August 20.  My uncle E. took me and sat with me during the 3 1/2 hour session. The first 3 to 4 days for me are hard.  I don't like or don't want to eat. I have to constantly drink fluids, seems like every hour on the hour.  I found out that I do like the GNC strawberry protein shakes and the green Naked smoothie drinks.  When I do eat I have hardly any taste sensation from the chemo and the chemo is turning the sides of my tongue black, as well as my finger nail beds. I try to stay cautious when dealing with germs.  The first 7 days after chemo I don't do lanudry, wash dishes, clean bathrooms, or even empty trash can in my house.  The goal for me and my family is: if I don't get sick then we have been doing something correct in the house by keeping me safe and away from germs. In case some of you don't understand, my white blood cell count right after chemo is shot down to about the 50's and a normal neutrophils count is about 1500. My platelet counts are very low and they always ask me did I bruise myself or get hurt, because I can have complications where I will not stop bleeding.

Around day 7 I'am ready to at least walk my block a couple of times.  Instead every morning I walk my son to his bus stop which is actually 1.15 there and 1.15 miles back to the house.  I really enjoy our talks and we take our time, mostly for me.  When I get back home, I'am ready to get my day started.  For example here is a typical good, energized day for me: Walk my son to his bus stop and I walk back home, organize the bills, get in the car and pay some bills, grocery shop, and run little errands for the household like (my son called and needed his gym clothes) so I had to drive to his school 25 mins away, later that day I would cook dinner.  Well the good news from this message is the lump in my breast is going down.

Well unitl next time. (Don't forget I'am not a writter, so don't judge me). Please make comments and ask questions.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Days before 2nd cycle

Just before going into my 2nd cycle of chemo I was feeling great. But let me explain how my 2 weeks went with the first round of  chemo. Day one was good both of the people taking care of me was there.  That made me not feel alone. My husband and Uncle E. are my support group at home.  Day one was good they gave me a liquid form of ativan which made me very sleepy during the whole process.  The 1st three days were ok, so nausea but they gave me different pills to try for that.  Day 4 and 5 I had the chills ready bad. I mean still walking around with a sweatshirt and still cold, but I had to check my temp everyday, which is important. See I cant have a temp higher than 100.4. See they also gave me a special card that helps me to bypass the Emergency Room, if I ever needed it.  But my temp was normal the whole time. I tell you like a new person the next day, I felted so different.  I had energy, just a little bit more than all week. After day  7 I was out the door, being a mother. I was grocery shopping, running errands, helping with school projects, walking outside, I even took a bunch of teenagers to the pool.  No I did not get in the pool, I was enjoying the cool breeze in the shade.  I have to wear sunblock now because of the chemo.  

A few days before the next chemo treatment me and my Uncle E. came up with a plan to push super antioxidants, iron, probiotics, fruits, and veggies. So we do that.  He made awesome green shakes and smoothies in the morning for me.  Lunch or dinner I would have a salad. Yes my taste buds in the beginning was not helping me, but I know that pizza and chocolate pudding is a life saver for me, for now.  Day 12, it started, my hair was coming out in clumps from not on top of my hair. Im just being honest for the people who really need to know. Then day 13 I was srcatching my hair gently and a patch came out. All I could do was take a deep breath.  

That is enough for now...until later.

(Remember I'm not a writer so please dont judge the flow of my content like that, this is meant to be infomative as I go through this process).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Today is the day

I didn't receive much sleep last night, as I was worried about my results.  I keep everything on the down low just between me and my husband.  He went to work that day and I started cooking breakfast for my boys. Then the phone rang, it was a Doctor from the Breast center and he put it to me boldly, I'am sorry to inform you that the the test results revealed that you have stage  2B breast cancer, I was floored.  What does this really mean? We have made an appointment for you to come in and meet with our team so we can get started on treating you.

The next day I meet my Breast team and they were so nice the whole way.  They spoke with me gently and slow and explained things to me in not using really big words.  I felt important and informed.  I meet later that week with my oncologist and we discussed the treament plan.  I also meet with a gentic counslor to consult me on getting blood test done to see if a specific gene ran in my family.  It was called the BRACA test.  The next day I called my father who I have not spoken to in months.  I said hello and he started the conversation with oh hi we just buried your Auntie.  She passed away from ovarian cancer.  And there might be somthing wrong with his prostate. So since we were talking about cancer in the family I proceeded to tell him what was going on with me.  He broke down immediatlly and gave me contact information to another auntie that went through this.  I spoke with my aunt and she explained to me how the mutatuted BRACA 2 gene runs in our family.  She had a double mastocomy. I also learned that BRACA 2 up the chances for ovarian cancer and that our ovareiey need to come out before the age of 40.  Knowing all this information was and still is over whelming.

What would be your thought right now?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

July is finally here and its time for our family vacation along with my Uncle Erik and his two beautiful twins girls age 13.  My sons ages are 15 and 12.  We have so much planned out for the next two week.  I started placing our agenda in my cozi reminder, its an app on my phone and computer that helps keep the family together.  Off the subject of a moment this app helps you to schedule an appointment with the time, date, hours, notes, and a reminder clock. You have the options of letting other members that you choose to know about the event also.  You can send a grocery list to other family members phones and even see at a glance what events are coming up later this week. It has a contact list, to do list for yourself or others, and a place to journal with added pics for your pleasure.

Back to the summer vacation... Our first stop was Kings Dominion in VA.  We planned this trip right.  All the bags and Ford Flex was ready and packed and with a cooler full of snack, from cookies, chips, water, juice, fresh fruits, sandwich meat and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was Wednesday, July 8, 2015, the weather was perfect, the sun was not scorning and the breeze was perfect all day.  We walked over 9k step according to my walking meter.  We had such a good time that us old folks had to take Motrin as soon as we got into the truck to ride home.  We started to feel it in our necks and backs, lol.

That weekend we went to the movies and saw the Minions in 3D, this kids enjoyed it, but I think I saw to many commercial and it spoiled it for me. Hey it was good and I laugh a few times but for some odd reason a feel asleep also.

Later that night is when my whole life took a change.  I was massaging my breast which is natural to do.  I found a lump. Well its the weekend so i cant call the doctor until Monday to make an appointment to get it checked out.  So all weekend yes i was worried, because I knew for a fact that, that lump was not there last month. 

Monday morning my husband and I go to the doctor and after being examined she told me that day to get a mammogram and sonogram.  After receiving theses two test I was headed to my car, but my Dr. ask me to come back in and told me she already schedule an appointment with the breast center at Anne Arundel Medical Center in two days for a biopsy.  Wednesday morning was the biopsy.  They numbered the area and took tissue out from the lump and noticed that a near by lymph node looked odd and the biopsied that one also.  They put clips back into the lump and lymph node to gaged on future pictures where they have been or if new one crop up.  After the procedure I was jitter and shaking (from the epinephrine). I went home wondering what will the test reveil.  All my paperwork was sent stat and just like that the next day I got an answer.
Starting over again.  On August 10, 2015 I will start my blog up once again.  I have been hit with a life changing event and that is what we will call it, just an event.  Like all other obstacles we will let  God, family, and friends help us get through this also.  To help this blog become better please included comments likes and dislike, even questions that you might have or want answered.  Please come along with me and my journey and i hope to show, improve, and/or discovery something more within you too.