Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Oct 29th

This week I have started to deal with some of the "fun" side effects of my chemo drug taxotere. I woke up on Thursday and felt like all my fingernails were bruised, like I slammed each of them in a door but didn't have the bruises to prove it. Very strange. My nurse told me that this was one of the side effects of the medication and that my fingernails can turn black/blue and even fall off. Good times..... Let's hope that part doesn't actually happen. Having them constantly hurt is bad enough. It is hard to grab things, pick things up and even zip up my pants. So that I thought that was pretty crappy until I woke up yesterday morning with this rash between my fingers. It is dark red and looks like I took a skinny curling iron and burned myself between all my fingers where my fingers meet my hands. It feels like that too, which sucks because there aren't many things that you can put on burns to relieve that heat, burning pain. The side effects sheet from the doctor says that usually comes a few days after chemo and then goes away within a few days. Lucky me that my treatments are once a week so that probably won't ever go away. I would much rather feel nauseous all the time then have constant pain on my fingernails and hands. Too bad I don't get to pick.
I had some people over to help me out last week with kids and the house since Jon has been out of town. It was so nice of people to come help me cook, clean and look after my little munchkins. I just told Jon today that one full day of being at home isn't enough. He has been getting home on Friday afternoon and leaving again for work late Sunday afternoon. At least he has a pretty good job and we have those awesome medical benefits.
Thursday chemo went pretty standard. I had a late appointment so my mom and I were able to go see my girlfriend Abbey's baby up at Poudre Valley Hospital since the cancer center is right across the street. I hadn't been able to get down to see him with not having Jon around this last week. He is doing pretty well and is expected to come home tomorrow. Good news for mom and baby! It is amazing how you forget how tiny those babies are. Oh Thursday was the day it snowed in the morning too! I love the snow so that was a nice addition to the week. Boy it came and went fast though. I was able to see both Lanie and Karen at chemo this week so that was fun. I think they both do their treatments only every other week so I don't always see them. I also saw another gal there that I haven't gotten to know over the past 2 months named Claude. She is French and is so sweet. She also had breast cancer and is doing some kind of clinical trial so is still at the doctors office on a regular basis. She had brought me all sorts of scarves and hats. I wore one this weekend that she gave me that is really pretty and have a picture of it on my pictures link. Still the same story with the remainder of the day on Thursday. Really tired and not a lot of energy. Jon's parents were able to stay with me and kids until dinner and then my mom came over to babysit :-) from dinner until bedtime.
Friday my friend Courtnee came over to help out with things around the house and also another girlfriend Heather from high school came over with her daughter Jaycee to visit for a bit in the morning. That was fun because I haven't seen Heather in such a long time. Jon was home on Friday afternoon and we all went to a "trunk-or-treat" at my church. The kids all dressed up in their Halloween costumes and then they go trick or treating in the parking lot of the church to everyone's cars. It was pretty fun. The twins were tinkerbell and peter pan and Olivia was a fairy with wings and a wand (that was the important part she kept reminding me that she wanted wings and a wand).
I had signed up to be a part of a foundation in Denver for cancer patients called Diana Price-Fish. They help cancer patients "enjoy life" by funding them to do one fun activity a month of their choice. I just got off the waiting list this month so was able to take advantage of that this weekend. They paid for Jon and I to go out to eat at the Melting Pot in Fort Collins. Jon and I had gone to the one in Louisville for his birthday a few years ago and really enjoyed it so I thought that would be fun. We went with some of our good friends Tommy and Sherri Chapman and had such a good time just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. It is such a laid back dinner and took us about 3 hours so you are not at all rushed. It was fun.
Today hasn't been too bad. I felt well enough to go to a little bit of church this morning so that was nice and have just been relaxing this afternoon. My mom is making us dinner tonight so I don't have to worry about that since Jon is on his way out the door again this afternoon. I will post our Halloween pictures of the kids on the link as well.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Oct 22nd

I am glad today is almost over. It started early, my friend Abbey had her baby boy Christian Powell last night at McKee here in town and they had to take the baby up to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins because he wasn't breathing well enough. I got up and went to hang out with Abbey this morning at 7 and have had a headache since the moment I woke up. Good news is that baby and mom are both looking much better this evening. I have been taking my anti nausea meds all day and they seem to be keeping things mostly under control, which is good. They just make me tired, but I guess I would rather be tired than vomiting. I was feeling well enough to go to church though so that was nice. There was a really beautiful musical number performed, Be Still my soul. I just love hearing music at church and singing the hymns. It is great soul-food. It is a bummer to not be able to sit all the way through my church meetings but it is nice to be able to go to the first part every once in awhile.
My neighbor Cindy also brought be some pretty ribbon to hang up all the hand stamped cards I have been getting, but by the time I hung up over 30 cards you could barely see the ribbon. They are hung over my bathroom mirror.

I know they will always brighten my day when I get up and look at the sea of pink well wishes above my mirror every morning!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Oct 20

Another week over and done with. I just finished my 7th treatment. I have a total of 16 treatments because the last 3 months I only go every 3 weeks. So next week will be my 1/2 way point as far as the # of treatments. Everything went well yesterday. I saw the nurse practitioner Lisa and she could still feel a denser area but couldn't define any margins of the tumor still.

I also received my DNA test results already yesterday. I have tested negative for both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene. This is good news, but leaves me wondering what is the cause for the cancer. Why did I develop this if I don't have the gene? The answer? Nobody knows....Man that is so frustrating! Where I had a plan of action if I tested positive for the gene, the plan is now unclear as far as what surgery I will end up having. My oncologist and surgeon probably won't make those recommendations until I am completely finished with chemotherapy. Even if they say I only need to have a lumpectomy, do I have a mastectomy in hopes of not getting again anyway? They say that I fall back into the general population as far as chances of getting it again 6 to 11%, but hey if I had it once and had bad luck....... I guess it is just hard because the answers aren't black and white. But, nonetheless this is good news for me, my sisters, my mother, and my daughters.

Moving right along...Chemo went well on Thursday. One poke and my port was accessed on the first time. Judy has her touch back! Did I mention I love my oncology nurse. She is so sweet. I can say that my chemo days are getting harder and harder on this new taxotere. I wasn't so much tired where I had to take a nap I just had no energy to do anything. I sat on the couch the whole afternoon and my wonderful neighbor Ann offered to come down and play with the kids. I couldn't even lift my arm up without thinking, Man this stupid arm weighs a ton. I was completely worthless. It feels so bizarre to not have any energy to do anything. I will just know that I always need a babysitter all day on Thursday for me and the kids.

Jon is back for the weekend from Laramie. Yeah! My hero! I don't know how single moms do it! The week has gone by pretty quickly. I ordered a wig awhile ago that came in on Monday but the color was more gray than blonde so we are sending it back. My neighbor Cindy belongs to an online stamping group called spilt coast stampers. She had posted something about me on her site and I have received all sorts of cute hand stamped cards in the mail. They are so pretty. It has been nice to have my mailbox filled with pink cards and well wishes. Cindy is going to make me some garland or something to hang on my wall to display them. Thanks to all those ladies that sent me a card. I love them.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mon Oct 16th

I decided to go ahead and shave my head on Saturday. One of our friends Tim, said that he would shave his head with me when I decided to do it so we went over there on Saturday morning to do it. Of course I took some pictures and there are posted on the snapfish link on the side of the page. It is so weird to feel a razor on your head. I still keep feeling my head and thinking, it just isn't natural to feel the top of your head and touch skin instead of hair. It still didn't solve the itching problem though, I guess my scalp is just really sensitive.
Jon shaved his head on Friday and my girlfriend Alyssa's husband Heath shaved his head on Saturday afternoon. We should start a skin-head gang.
As pattern would have it I felt yucky again yesterday. I have had a headache for the last 2 days and was sick to my stomach for most the day yesterday. I just feel low on energy all the time. I try to still get out and do stuff to feel normal, even though I don't feel good. It helps to keep busy with other things to take my mind off not feeling well. I almost feel pregnant again. I have to eat something every few hours and you just never know how you are going to be feeling from one min to the next.
Jon is working nights again this week up in Laramie and I think he will plan on staying up there for most of the week. My twins club meeting is tonight with a speaker from the Susan G. Kolman foundation. Like I said before if anyone is interested in coming it is open to everyone. Just give me a call or email me and I can give you more information if you are interested.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thurs Oct 12

I took some pictures today with my wonderful chemo nurse Judy and some other ladies that I have met at chemo. They are uploaded onto my snapfish album that has a link on the side bar of the blog. The ladies are both younger and in their 30s so easier for me to relate to and all of us are bald. :-) Their names are Karen and Lanie. Lanie is going through breast cancer for her 2nd time and found out that she is BRCA positive. She is such an upbeat and positive person. I have only known her a few weeks, but what an example she is to me already. They are both an awesome resource to me with all sorts of answers to my questions about surgery, side effects, and what to expect.
I went to chemo today at 8:30am this morning and it started out a little rough. I put Lidacain cream over my port before every treatment so I don't feel the poke of the needle when the access my port. My nurse Judy, who I love, had trouble this morning accessing it. She has always accessed it on the first try at all my other chemo sessions. It was moving around or something but being difficult. Mind you I couldn't feel most of it but she stuck me about 6 times before she decided to have someone else try it. One of the other nurses Ann come over and had me sit a different way and got it on the first time. When I looked down my skin over my port looked like a pin cushion, literally. I think Judy felt worse about it then me, poor girl. I suppose everyone is entitled to a bad day everyone once in awhile. (As long as your patient is numb, that is) Everything else seemed to go by the book, which is fine with me. We were actually home before 1, which was a nice change. Thursdays I suppose are going to turn out to be hard days as well. This one was much like last week. I got home and was just so tired I could barely put one leg in front of the other. When I laid down I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, which is just not me. I always sit in bed for at least 30 min before I can fall asleep. When I left chemo my port was hurting and has been really hurting for the rest of the day. I took a long nap this afternoon and still woke up with zero energy and the regular heartburn. I have been pretty worthless for the whole day. Luckily Jon's parents took Olivia on a trip to the mall while I slept it off with the twins and then my mom came back to make dinner and help with the kids this evening. My head is still VERY itchy and is always red from scratching it all the time. I think I am going to take a bic to it this weekend since it is still falling out anyway. Well off to bed!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mon Oct 9th

Hey Ladies! It is buddy check 9 day. Be sure to do your monthly self exam today or tomorrow. I heard the race for the cure here in Denver set the record for the 3 year in a row for the largest race in the country raising more than 3 million dollars. I did the sleep in for the cure since I wasn't allowed to be out in the crowds but I heard it was an awesome experience. I put a link on the side bar to the 9 news story, it was a good one. You can just click on the picture on the story that looks like a video camera to see the actual story on the news if you have high speed internet. I would love to hear about it from anyone that participated. Email me!!
My twins club this month is having a speaker come from Susan G. Kolman for our general meeting. It will be held on Monday October 16th at 7pm at Mountain Veiw Presbyterian Church. The church is about 2 blocks south of 29th street on Garfield in Loveland. If anyone is interested in coming they are opening the meeting up to the community and feel free to contact me.

It's funny how many people stop and stare and point at you when your bald. I am starting to get used to it and point back or wave. My usual smarty pants attitude I suppose. I have mostly just been out without hats or scarves on because my head is still really itchy and it is just uncomfortable to have something else on it. I guess it just is what it is. I think it is just hard because it is the realization that I am sick, that there is something wrong with me, and that I still have a long road ahead of me. And I think it is the same for my friends and family too, that see me like this. No matter how good of an attitude I have it is still there and it is a crappy reminder every day.
Sunday was still my hard day again. The nausea wasn't too bad yesterday but I had really bad heartburn which isn't any better. Just a sharp pain in my chest all afternoon. Otherwise just still pretty low on energy. The oncologist recommended all of us getting the flu shots done so I will be trying to take me and kids in to get those this week sometime. Jon is back to working nights and is working in Laramie to boot so the company got him a hotel room up there for the week. With the weather and all I feel much better about him staying up there and not driving 287 in the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully my kids will be on their best behavior for me for the week, otherwise we are in for a long week.
Don't forget that it is buddy check 9 day!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thurs Oct 5th

Finally a good day of chemo! I went in a saw Dr. Medgyesy this morning before chemo. I still have noticed that the tumor is shrinking and becoming less defined. She said the same thing after my examination today. She even tried to measure it with the measuring tape and said that the margins are so hard to find, she isn't even able to measure it with the tape measure any longer. Awesome news! I did my chemo after the appointment and was again heavily premedicated with the Benedryl and slept alot of the time there. I had no reactions to medications today so everything went smoothly and we were only there until about 1pm, which was a nice switch from all day. Mom and I went out to eat at Lone Star in Fort Collins afterwards and I saw some people I used to work with there, Lauren and Marcus. It was nice to be able to visit with friends I haven't seen for awhile. Lauren and a large group of people that I worked with at Lone Star are going to be running the race for the cure for me on Sunday. There are also some moms from my twins club that are running the race. Everyone is so supportive and I couldn't be more grateful for my family and friends during this time. The lord has truly blessed me with the best of the best for a support group.
The one bad thing about the rest of the day is that I have just felt so worn out. I got home and napped for a few hours and the whole rest of the night I haven't even had the energy to do anything. I feel like a zombie. We had our home teachers over this evening also. It was nice to be able to hear a spiritual message since I haven't been able to go to church for about a month. Our home teachers are Steve West and Karl Olander. For those of you who don't know Karl, he is deaf. Olivia just loves him. She knows how to sign his name and has been pretending to sign with Steve when they were here tonight. She always likes to find him at church and say hi to him. Karl gave me this quote that he found today that I thought was neat and I would share:

Good Morning, this is heavenly father. I will be handling all your problems today, so have a good day.

And you guys all do the same!!