Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

Chemo #2 update

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Well, everyone was right that the second chemo session was easier than the first…after feeling overwhelmed, and like I’d been hit by a truck, 4-5 days later I was much better. Now I’ve almost got an appetite and haven’t needed anti-nausea medication for a couple days. So I’ve got 2 weeks of “freedom” until my next one. Hoping that #3 is OK too.

Treatment update

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Next Friday (May 1) I’ll be getting a port put in my arm so that chemo can be done directly into a vein into my chest (the arm port has a tube threaded through a vein into a larger vein in my chest) to avoid the burning pain that accompanies putting chemo (especially Adriamiacyn) into a peripheral, smaller, vein. Then immediately after that it is time to get back on the chemo train.

I’m just sort of getting things figured out, and most of what I have (hopefully) figured out is that it shouldn’t be this bad next time. Much of the doubling over in pain that happened this week was I now believe the result of my unfortunately timed period and the fight between my uterus and the chemo for possession of my body. At least that is my hope. Tonight, after taking much pain pills, I did eat a normal meal (the yummy, yummy pasta with chicken, green beans, and lots of cheese) and even a few bites of Jeremy’s birthday cake – I always want chocolate with my period. And no stomach pain or diarrhea! Hooray! So perhaps without the battle in my mid-section, I’ll experience the more normal progression of chemo, 2-4 days of bone pain and congestion and moderate nausea, and then a few more days of minor nausea, and then some semblance of a normal life with fatigue until the next chemo.

I’ll keep you posted! BTW, when I had my blood test (CBC) on day 10 of my chemo cycle, which was this past Monday, everything looked normal, my white blood cells were fine. So this cycle at least, I’m not in imminent danger of illness/infection or anything too yucky. In fact, except for this intestinal/uterine cramping, I feel pretty good, if more tired than usual.

Cancer Staging and Hair Donation

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

The good news is that the final determination of my cancer stage was made, and it is Stage 1, one of the most treatable. Hooray. But still everyone recommends chemotherapy, because of my genetic predisposition towards breast cancer (I carry my family’s mutation in the BRCA 1 gene, one of many genes that can increase your risk of cancer). So I’m headed into 18 weeks of chemo, once every 3 weeks, starting next week, probably April 9 or 10. We’re still figuring out the schedule, as I have to have about 5 different tests first (including my third pregnancy test in the last month…to quote several nurses, “if you have a uterus, we have to test you.”)

I’ve been home from the hospital for 2 weeks now, and doing really pretty well. I’m trying to walk a mile or so every day, and stretching out my arms. Still can’t lift more than 5 pounds for a few weeks, which makes caring for Evan difficult, but have had lots of help from family and friends (especially Carole & Liza!). My mom somehow magically taught Evan to go to sleep in the stroller for naps…used to be if he was tired he would scream until I took him out and held him, now if he’s tired during the day I say “do you want to get in the stroller and take a nap?” and he says “yea, yea” and climbs in and goes to sleep. Amazing. Liza carried him around for hours when I was in the hospital, as did my sister when she visited this weekend, so they probably wished he learned this earlier!

Every day is a new challenge and new accomplishment…one day I found that I put my own seatbelt on without even noticing when my mom was about to come around to my side of the car to help buckle me in! Today the big deal was that I could put brush my own hair and put a barrette in!

I’m planning to donate my hair to Beautiful Lengths soon (starting chemo next week) which is a charity that makes real hair wigs for women with cancer who can’t afford them. Though I don’t plan on wearing one myself, can’t imagine anything worse in Colorado’s summer heat, but I can understand women who can’t stand the baldness, my sister Inga was one of them! I had planned this for months, as a gift in Inga’s memory. I had measured that I could donate a foot of hair and still have shoulder length hair, so now I’ll probably do even more. Stay tuned to learn more if you or anyone you know has at least an 8 inch ponytail to donate, I’m trying to get a local salon to donate free haircuts (possibly April 20th) to anyone who wants to donate their hair.

And thank you so much to all the wonderful donors of food, it has been a miracle to have a healthy delicious dinner waiting for us (especially when my mom and I drove home after 5 hours in the blizzard last week trying to make it to a doctor’s appointment in Denver!).

Surgery Scheduled

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

So today we met with the surgeon, Dr. Stephanie Miller, who we both immediately liked (who wouldn’t love a surgeon who debates the environmental merits of throwaway paper gowns versus washing cloth gowns!). She was able to rearrange her schedule and get us in for this coming Monday, March 16th. Which seems sudden, but really is good timing…we wanted to go soon, and the only other time her schedule and the plastic surgeon’s schedules met up was in April. So here we go.

On a positive note, the breast MRI I did yesterday didn’t show any tumors except the one I felt (and a little tiny one next to it that we had seen on the ultrasound). First positive thing we have heard in a while.

Dr. Miller doesn’t mince words, and she said that I’d be in pain for a while with the reconstruction, and that I’d look weird for a while too. Good to have the warning, I’d rather not be taken unawares. The plastic surgeon is much more of a “give the patient what they want” sort of guy, which is of course his role, he was much more glib about recovery. But with both of them on my team, I feel like I’ll get everything I need.

So the basics are: surgery March 16th at 3PM at Rose Medical Center in Denver. I should be going home on the 17th or 18th, and will not be able to lift anything over 5 pounds for a month or so. They’ll be checking the lymph nodes for any spread of cancer, so the mantra is “no positive nodes.”