Today I cried in front of my oncologist. He squirmed. At that point in his day, I believe he would have given me anything that he could have (within reason) to make me feel better.
I received the results from my CT scan that was taken to check for a couple of things:
1. further spreading of the cancer. Waiting to find out if you are dying is really hard.
2. Check my response to chemo. Essentially measuring the tumor and the affected lymph nodes to see if they are growing/spreading.
What we found out is that the cancer seems to be stable. This isn’t great news, but also not bad news.
I really wanted to hear that I had miraculously been cured, or that in the very least I was responding wonderfully and all of the terrible shit that chemo brings has been worth it.
The good news (aside from SURVIVING BREAST CANCER) is that I’m no longer on Doxyrubicn/Cyclophosphamide (chemo drugs), but now I’m on Paclitaxel. For me it means resetting my mind on the type of side effects I might have. Surely nothing can be as bad as it has been.
This weekend is Parent Weekend at UMD. There is a ton of things we have planned. Hockey, sights, restaurants….. I’ll do my best to be up for it and hope to have enough energy to participate.
This has been the worst week by far. All I want to do asleep. Sometimes eat. But really not much more than that. I’m still working full-time, and work isn’t affected much at all. My memory hasn’t been quite as bad this week, but that might be because I’m just not asking as many questions.
It’s amazing to me how just last weekend I felt fairly normal. I was able to hang out, stay up, have a couple glasses of wine, and have a generally good time. It feels like a lifetime ago that I actually felt decent enough to hang out with anyone. However, each day gets a little bit easier.
Four down and four to go!!!!!! I’m telling the truth when I say I can’t believe that there is an end in sight.
My scan is scheduled for the 22nd of this month. I’ll find out then if I can continue chemotherapy for another four rounds. What we are looking for is shrinking of the masses in my lymph nodes throughout my chest wall. Hopefully we got the little muthaclusters! If so, we schedule my double mastectomy. If not, well…. I don’t really know.
Today I asked a lot of questions about side effects after all of this is done (wait. Did you hear that?! AFTER. Meaning when I’ve survived all of THIS (cue Beyoncé, duh!)). Primarily because I’ll be in menopause as estrogen is what is feeding the cancer so it only makes sense to remove that part of the equation.
I enjoy practical questions and responses with my medical team. Something I found out today with the chemotherapy drug I have been taking is that if it were to actually touch my skin, horrifying shit will happen. Because the chemo goes into my port and my blood is flowing 😳 then the drug is diluted enough to only harm the areas as mentioned before.
I’m pretty exhausted this evening. I’m not sure if it’s because of the heat, the chemo, post-birthday bash or the combination of them all, but I am wiped out!
I’m really looking forward to see what it’s like to be a healthy 38-year-old woman. It’ll be a good six months give or take before that’ll happen, but when it comes?
Tonight was the first night that I’ve gone out with my husband for date night since, well…. since cancer.
Brad and I used to have date nights 2-3 times per month give or take. Often just for dinner, but it was enough to re-connect after the work week. Now, we don’t plan much and getting through just a day at a time seems like climbing a mountain first thing in the morning BEFORE coffee.
Tonight was considered my birthday dinner. My amazing neighbors had given me and Brad some gift cards to some of our favorite places in “town”. We were able to find a sitter for the night and decided to get out for the evening. This is the first time celebrating anything since cancer, but also…. without hair. I wore a wig because, well, that’s just easier and begs for a lot less attention. I wanted my first night out to be easy, not full of stares and questioning looks.
It turns out there is a CrossFit competition of sorts happening in St Cloud somewhere. I’m not kidding when I say that 90% of the people that we saw tonight where the most fit people I’ve seen in a very long time. A good percentage of the long-haired people were sporting ponytails and everyone had on some version of spandex (the Kleenex of sport fabric). We had a fun dinner banter as we people watched. At some point, I moved the long wig hair from my chest and stretched a bit. Probably because I had too much curry, and needed to move around. However, when I did, my recent port scar was evident and the table next to me turned to look. There were a few whispers as one of them must’ve known what the port scar was, as the well-known looks of sympathy pointed in my direction.
It’s not often that I can go a few minutes without thinking about cancer. I mean, my head was super itchy because of the wig, I don’t feel that great still, and it was the first time I’ve been out for pleasure since my diagnosis.
Brad and I had the chance to talk about my upcoming chemo (really fun dinner conversation), our upcoming weekend with family, and mostly just breathed slowly, enjoyed our beers and took in the beautiful weather.
First grade and second grade began today for the Littles. Somehow, I feel like my life is standing still but everyone else is moving forward. I feel trapped in this diagnosis. I feel unable to look into the future too far or make plans not knowing what I’ll feel like that day or that week or that month.
Today was just kind of a shit day. Usually my second week after chemo I feel like a rockstar. Over-the-top with energy and happiness. This week I have a cold and I feel like I’m dying. I feel mad because I only have six more days before my next treatment and I have a cold. A bad one. I spent a short bit of time at the ER today because if it, but only as a precaution. I had a slight fever and needed to rule out infection.
I should feel pretty lucky since I haven’t been sick much aside from the side effects of treatment (which, don’t get me wrong, can be really debilitating). My labs come back like a normal healthy person every week(!!!!!), so for sure, I’m doing something right. Today? I feel like shit. Feeling like shit always leads to me feeling angry. I hate when anything gets my way or slows me down, so if I’m sick I feel weak, like I need to ask for help when I wouldn’t normally need it.
Tonight I spent about an hour searching for an item that I still haven’t found. I know I had it a couple of weeks ago. I picture talking to Brad about it and mentioning some small detail that didn’t matter. However, now I NEED this item and I’ve searched everywhere. Can’t find it. So now I’m even more angry. But only at myself. Chemo makes me forget things all the time. If I don’t write it down, I will forget an entire conversation.
So, here I sit, in my car, looking for the item and feeling sorry for myself. Tomorrow will be a better day. It has to be. After a little sleep and a fresh brain, it’s bound to be a great day ahead!
Awhile ago, when my prognosis and treatment plan were much different, we sat down and did a little planning. Mostly in the financial realm, but also in making sure my living will was filed and understood and memberships that weren’t needed were cancelled or postponed. During this process, I also froze my gym membership since I had definitive surgery dates set. Obviously with the change in prognosis that surgery date was canceled as well. Being that it was summer, I have been able to stay pretty active without the membership.
Since my early to mid-20s I’ve been an active person. Training for different races, competing in duathlons. I love to be active. I think I’ve maintained my gym membership the entire time I’ve been in Foley, devoting quite a bit of time there especially on the weekends. However, my membership changed over to the town that I work in since I would find myself working out there before work more days then I was finding myself at the local gym. It’s the same franchise, so it’s understandable that if im going to be working out at one facility more than the other my membership should be paid to the one i use the most.
After chemotherapy this week, yesterday might’ve been my worst day, so today when I started to feel better I really wanted to be active. I called the gym and asked them to un-freeze ( perhaps thaw?) my membership so I could work out today. Let me tell you how that went.
I waited a good hour so that I wouldn’t be walking up to the door and not have my key card work. That has happened before, but not since I’ve been bald. In this circumstance, it seems like all eyes are on me all the time. Only when I’m not wearing a wig, but then when I’m wearing a wig I feel like I can’t concentrate on anything else but the wig on my head and how itchy or hot it is (or if it’s crooked, or if people are looking at my roots and wondering what the hell the ball of shit is sitting on top of my head., you know? Casual stuff).
So after waiting patiently to be sure that my key card would work, boldly not wearing a wig like a stupid idiot to the gym since why the hell would you do that? That’s just dumb. And wearing one of my “chemo beanies” (FML), I brace myself, walked to the door, tried my key card, didn’t work. You know that sign at the door of the gym that says, “Never Open the Door for ANYONE under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!”? Every single rule follower was there today. Every single one.
Mission aborted. Humiliation ensues. Walking the neighborhood commences.