Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My 35th Birthday~April 22, 2006

I almost forgot to write about my birthday on Saturday! I turned 35 on April 22, 2006 at 1:47pm. I still feel the same as I did before Saturday. Before I was diagnosed with cancer I thought it was a big deal to turn 35 this year and I actually thought I was getting old. When you get a cancer diagnosis at 34 you no longer feel old. You realize how young you really are and how much more time you should be on this earth. I have a long way to go and I have lots to do. I might not know exactly what I have to do but I know whatever I need to do, its definitely not done yet. God has plans for me and I plan on fulfilling them, whatever he wants me to do.

We had some chocolate cake that my husband bought on the way home from work on Saturday. My kids had to blow out the candles 3 times, they were too cute. I was happy that I was able to enjoy a piece of cake without throwing it up or feeling nauseaus. There will be lots more birthdays for me to celebrate and lots of chocolate cake to eat. I am sure of it.

First Geneticist Appointment

I had my 1st appointment with the geneticist yesterday and I still have a headache from all the questions they asked! Its an entire history of your families illnesses and what they died of and all the details you cant imagine. Good thing my Mom wrote a bunch of stuff down for me to bring with me but even that was confusing. They tell you that 10% of all cancer diagnoses are due to genetics. When you look at it on a pie chart it doesnt look so bad but I am always in the small percentage of people that have problems. I had problems that only 1% of women get when they are pregnant so I hate percentages or hearing about them. There are 2 more appointments to go and they take blood during the 2nd appointment and then discuss your results at the last one. I am more worried about my children carrying the gene than me.

Since the last treatment I havent felt well at all. I havent vomited but the nausea and headaches are driving me mad. The anti-nausea medicine tends to cause the headaches so its a viscious cycle. The meds that you have to take for the week after a treatment cause all kinds of side effects but I guess feeling the way I do with the meds is better than feeling sick without them.

On another note my son is not liking my bald head. He keeps telling me to "buy more hair". He just doesnt like my bald head and to tell you the truth, neither do I. My daughter thinks its a riot when I take off my scarf or wig to reveal my "Telly Savalas" head. I am glad that she can laugh about it and not get upset. I am slowly losing my eyebrows and soon they'll be gone. I also have some false eyelashes waiting in the wings for when I lose my eyelashes.

My Mom is continuing to raise money for the AVON WALK that she is doing in October. Her initial goal was $1800 and then she raised it to $2400. Now, to date, she has raised over $5000 and wants to go over $8000. I give her lots of credit because I dont know if I could raise that much money. She couldnt do it without the generousity and kindness of all the people that have given to her already. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My 3rd Chemotherapy Treatment~4/20/06

This third treatment was not as bad as the 1st but worse than the second. I feel extremely nauseaus but am dealing with is as each hour goes by. Hopefully it will subside after a few days. Tomorrow is my 35th birthday and I am hoping that I can have a peice of cake. I'll force myself to eat the cake if I have to damn it!

I had some issues getting home right after my treatment yesterday and I think that the delay in doing so is part of the reason I feel like crap. We got hung up because not only did the insurance company give me a problem with getting the Neulasta the pharmacy gave me a hard time also. Granted we had to go to another pharmacy than we usually go to but they didnt try to go out of their way to help me and I was so distraught over the fact that I needed this shot within a certain time frame that I started to cry right in the pharmacy. All I kept thinking of is those stupid commercials that show how much this particular pharmacy goes out of their way to help people. What a load of sh*t that it. CVS sucks and I have had so many bad experiences with them that I can freely say it without feeling badly about it. I felt so sick that I didnt care who was there and who saw the lady with the scarf on her head crying. Maybe that will make them realize that there are a**holes in charge of deciding what meds we can get and cant get. It makes me so angry. DH had to go all the way down to the Dr's office to pick up a dose so he could administer it by lunchtime when it was due. Damn insurance wanted me to wait 72 hours! What good is that going to do me, I need it within 24 hours of my chemo.

The blood tests that I had before the chemo showed that my Hematocrit (RBC's) are low and I will be needing Procrit the next time I go in for a treatment which is scheduled for May 4th. That will be my last AC treatment and then I start Taxol. We are almost to the half way mark with the chemo and also 75% done with the AC!! Thats something to be proud of I think

I sat next to a lovely elderly lady while I was getting my treatment and she was getting hers. She told me that 26 years ago she had breast cancer and they did a bilateral mastectomy with lymph node removal. She said that at least 4 were positive for cancer. She elected at the time to NOT have further treatment and she lived 26 years. She recently had a car accident where they had to do some CAT scans and MRI's and found cancer in her brain and spinal cord that spread from the BC. She is being treated now for that and she is a true inspiration to me. While she was talking to me she welled up with tears in her eyes saying that both me and my DH had a great attitude and that was half the battle. I hope I get to see her again but she usually comes on Fridays for her treatments and I go on Thursday's. What a sweet lady and I wont forget her.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Feeling of Normalcy

The day before yesterday I decided to wear my wig out for the 1st time since losing all my hair. My sister came up to my house to help me out and spend time with the kids. Instead of tying a bandana around my head I said to myself, "Lets try this wig, I paid enough for it and I might as well use it!" So that's what I did. I followed all of Mr. Paris' instructions so that it would not fall off or move one bit. We went to McDonald's (the kids wanted it, I know, but they're kids what can I say?) and then we decided to check out the sales at Kohl's. I absolutely love that store. You can walk in there with $100 and come out with a sh*t load of awesome stuff. I also love the fact that its right down the road from me. I could walk there if I wanted to. Its just that I would have to lug all the bags BACK home! LOL.

We bought some outfits for the kids (very cute), pajamas for ourselves (Rainbow Bright for my sister and Elmo and Sesame Street for me-yeah we're just big kids at heart and my son loves to look at all the characters and name them), accent rugs for the kitchen and the great room, Blue's Clues bubble blowers for the kids, a pretty outfit for me (not sure if I will wear it today or not, depends on my mood), and some miscellaneous items I cant remember. I still only spent a little over $100, how great is that?!!! What can I say, the little things excite me. My sister forgot the gift card I gave her at home but still spent the money. There is always a sale going on at this place.

Anyway, I walked about my usual way and not one person looked at me funny or stared in a weird way like they were doing the last time I was out wearing one of my bandanas. I was being ignored and I liked it! Normalcy as I would call it. I got a feeling of being normal again. The wig looks so real that no one would be able to tell its not unless they themselves are a trained professional with wigs or are literally right on top of me inspecting my head!

Don't get me wrong when I say that it felt good to 'blend in' with the crowd. I am normally a very loud and extroverted person but there are times in our lives where we just don't want the attention and want to blend in. Right now, this is that time. I know that people say that they feel "liberated" when they go out in public with their bald head and that's wonderful. I give them all the credit in the world. Look at Melissa Etheridge a few years ago at some music award show, she performed without her hair. She had just finished chemo and was proud to show it off, like a badge of honor. I guess that's what it is really. I am not ready to do that but maybe someday I will have the courage to go out in public with my cue ball head.

I received my delivery of scarves from Israel yesterday. I tried all kinds of ways to wear them and they are just gorgeous. They are so comfortable and light on my head that I know when I am not wearing my wig, I will be wearing these scarves. I might even order more because who says you need a bald head to wear them? Right?

Today is EASTER SUNDAY and Christ is risen! God Bless you all and have a Blessed Sunday with your families. I am going to my Mom's house for the 1st time since February. I cant believe I haven't been down there in such a long time. I guess time is flying by and I don't even realize it. That's a good thing for me!

Here is a picture of me wearing my wig:
My Wigtastic Wig!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Losing my Hair-17 days post 1st chemo treatment

The hair that is falling from my head is more than just falling out its coming out in fist fulls and clumps. They are clogging the drain in my shower and there is hair everywhere like pollen being spread by the wind of spring. I went outside to get rid of some of the clumps and to donate the hairs to the birds who I am sure can use it for their nests. I thank God that I buzzed it to a 1/4" because I know that I would not be able to deal with it if it was longer than this. My husband offered to buzz it all the way down but I cant do that because my scalp hurts and doing that would aggrevate it further.

I thought I was prepared for my hair loss but I wasnt prepared for the shock that comes with it coming out. No one can prepare you for that. I know that my hair was just one of my physical features but it was one that I was very proud of and had for a very long time. It made me different from many other women my age because it was very curly and long by todays standards and past my waist. My goal was to grow it past my behind and it had been growing for about 5 years before I was diagnosed with cancer. It was 31" when I cut it to my shoulders. I then went shorter to my chin and then further up behind my ears. When I buzzed it last week I thought that would be the worse of it but this is. When I thought about the worse possible thing that could happen to me I thought about the people who would lose their hair to chemo and think that had to be the worst. I hoped that would never be me. Today, I feel like I am in a nightmare and cant wake up because it is me going through chemo and losing my hair. I guess there can be much worse things that can be happening but right now I cant think of any.

It seems very shallow of me to post this here in my blog but since it is affecting me in this way I thought it was important enough to write about. Maybe when its all out and I can wear my wig properly I will feel better? I can only hope this to be true so I can feel some sense of normalcy again. I feel like I have no identity, like its being washed away with the hair thats going down the drain and flying off in the breezes of spring. I know I am the same person deep down but I dont feel that way and I am longing for the person I was before all this happened to me. My Mom says that this will make me a better person and I will come out a better person after its all over. Maybe I dont want to be a better person. Maybe I just want to be the same person I was before all these things happened to me. I dont want to be a different person, I just want the old one back.

Friday, April 07, 2006

My 2nd Chemotherapy Treatment~April 6, 2006

I had treatment #2 Adriamycin/Cytoxan Treatment yesterday and feel much better today than I did after the 1st treatment 2 weeks ago. I am so encouraged by this and I can only say that all the prayers, positive thoughts and caring notes of encouragement from family & friends are responsible for making me better. I also started saying the prayer of Jabez everyday which I mentioned along with the link a few posts above this one.

Presently, I am getting waves of nausea and am extremely weak at the moment but I am more encouraged than I was after the 1st treatment when I felt so bad I wanted to die and couldnt physically leave the confines of my bathroom. I also attribute the way I feel to a new medication I am taking for the nausea and also because my DH bought me QUEAZ-AWAY Travelers Wristbands to elleviate nausea through the use of pressure points. They are also sold under the name SEA BANDS. I am keeoing them on for the following 5-6 days so I continue feeling better as the days pass. Today I also have to get my Nuelasta shot hubby has to give me. I am worried that I am going to have the same reaction with the severe kidney pain like I did the last time. The pain specialist that is seeing me right now adjusted the meds and told me to get on top of the pain before its too hard to control. I totally agree and thats what I plan on do.

Its also encouraging that I am able (at the moment ) to type here. Last time I couldnt even focus long enough to type a sentence. Maybe if I feel well enough I can make it to the Easter Egg Hunt at the park down the road this weekend. My Mom is going to be taking the kids with my husband so that should be fun.

To my LHC friends, thanks again for all your kindness, I wish I can repay you all in some way but please know that you are all special to me especially during this extremely difficult time in my life.

My 3rd AC treatment is scheduled for April 20th, 2006, 2 days prior to my 35th birthday. At least after that one I will be 75% done with the Adriamyin & Cytoxan. After that we move on to 4 rounds of Taxol which I heard has its own side effects unique unto itself.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

God Heals

God Heals

Remember when you heard the words -
and your mind went blank - you were in another world
God heals
Remember in your darkest hours -
when all that surrounds you is pain and sorrow
God heals
Remember friends' prayers - your family's encouragement
- glimmers of hope from everyday angels
God heals
Quiet...you can hear Him now -
always there - yet never this close
God heals
It's just another day -
yet everything has changed - and you hear yourself say
God heals
Birds are singing -
the sky is a beautiful blue - flowers are blooming...
God heals
Truths that you knew as a child -
awakened again with new understanding
God heals
Remember when others can't -
that life is a gift - each day to treasure
God Has Healed

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Prayer of Jabez

My Aunt brought me a book today that I am finding facinating. Its called:
The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson The prayer that they speak of is a simple one and it goes like this:

Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil.
~Prayer of Jabez

Here is the website that talks about it:
The Prayer of Jabez

I am going to start praying it every day.

An Emergency Room Visit~3/31/06

Its beautiful outside right now and I am sitting in bed with my windows open in my bedroom to air it out. I am not sure as to what the temperature is but it must be in the 60's at least. (I just checked the weather channnel and its 57) My cat (the baby, crazy orange one) immediately jumped onto the windowsill to watch the birds. He would love to go outside but I dont allow that. I dont live on a farm and there is way too much trouble he would get in plus my other cat who is 12 has always been an indoor and I dont want to deal with him if he wants to go out to.

Last night was absolutely insane. I had been having back/flank pain in both kidney areas for the past couple of days and was dealing with it like an after effect of the chemo. Last night the pain was unbearable. I was at the point of passing out it was so bad. I called the oncologist (mine wasnt on call but another one my DH works with was on and she's sweet) to see what it could be or what I could do to alleviate the pain. I had already taken my pain meds (which are heavy duty) with no relief. Now I was beginning to worry because I couldnt even stand. The Dr called back immediately and asked me all kinds of questions. She told me that I need to go to the ER and get evaluated and to treat the pain because I couldnt do that at home. My Mom was already in her room snoring away so I snuck in there and told her where we were going and to listen for the kids. Thank God she was there otherwise we would have had to wait at least 30 minutes for someone to get here. We left immediately for the hospital.

At the hospital they triaged me and put me into a room right away. I saw a Dr within 30 minutes of my arriving and the 1st thing he did was take a ton of blood and urine and treat my pain. I took 2mg of Dilaudid to relieve it and I was able to lay in one position without actually being in pain. The blood results came back in 45 minutes and were surprisingly good. My counts were in normal range showing no signs of infection, dehydration or anemia, which is excellent being 7 days post chemo. Besides the major pain, I seemed to be in good shape! The Dr said that the likelyhood of it being stones was low due to the fact that the pain was on both sides and not just one. He suggested a CAT scan to evaluate further but said I would have to drink the gastro crap and have the IV dye. It wasnt worth it to me to go through all that when the blood results were negative. I didnt want another CAT scan either, it was now almost 2am, and DH had to be back at the hospital at 7am. Poor guy fell asleep in the recliner in the exam room, I felt so bad for him. The Dr said that one of the side effects of the Cytoxan was lower back/flank pain. In my opinion there is a definite relationship between the pain and the poison I am taking, I agree wholeheartedly. They sent me home with the new pain medicine and told me to call my oncologist in the morning. DH is going to talk to one of them at work today but since there is no other obvious signs they really cant do more than give me comfort measures and see what happens.

When we arrived back home it was almost 3am and my son woke up crying but thankfully went back to bed right away after a diaper change. I, unfortunately did not get to sleep for more than 30 minutes and woke up constantly. Maybe I will get a nap sometime today but right now there's to much beautiful birdsong outside my window to do that. I am watching a woodpecker go to town on a tree right outside my window.