Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thur Nov 30th

Today is my 5 year anniversary. Yikes I can't imagine what it will feel like to be married for 10 and 20 years when it already seems like we have been together forever, I love it!!
My brother Ethan and his wife Brandy had their baby yesterday morning at 3am via C section. Isis Kason is his name and he was 5lbs 8oz. Tiny baby. I think we are going to try and make it over to visit him today at some point. Last I heard he was in the NICU getting some help breathing but he was 4 weeks early so I guess that is to be expected.
My kids loved the snow yesterday and they all got dressed up and played for a little bit. The twins only lasted about 10 min outside since it was so cold. I don't think it got above 20 here yesterday. BRRRR!! I will put some pictures on my link of them. I love the snow, I don't think it snows near enough.
Yesterday I went in to do my Herceptin in the blizzard yucky weather bright and early. I had a stuffy nose on Tuesday when I went to bed and has developed into a cold, but no sore throat or fever so that is good. When I walked into the office I dropped my new glasses and the lens fell out of them and then I remembered that I forgot to put my Emla cream on my port. DARN!!! I have never forgotten to do that and I knew it was going to hurt.....and it did, bad. I feel like such a baby but my port access point was still sore from being accessed 5 times last week so I think that made it even worse. I won't ever forget to do that again. My blood counts are also very low this week, both red and white which also explains why I have a bit of a cold and am exhausted. Everything else yesterday went by fine and no side effects with the Herceptin so I feel okay besides the cold and not having any energy. But at least I am not hanging over the toilet.
My mom finally got her juicer and I have been having carrot/apple juice a few times a day. It is supposed to be good for your blood, so hopefully that will help. Also still continuing with the essential oil massages. Hopefully between all that I will have better counts next week and keep avoiding taking the Neulasta shots.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tues Nov 28th

I finally decided today that my eyes were watering bad enough to go and get them checked out again. The Opthamologist checked to see if they were draining properly and determined they were blocked. Kinda interesting how they check this. He squirts some dye into your eye, then you blink a few times and blow your nose into a tissue. If they dye can be seen in the tissue under the black light then they are draining properly. So the dye wasn't in my tissue, of course. He suggested that we try and irrigate them to see if that would remove the obstruction. This sounded pretty harmless so I agreed. He started getting out all these swabs and syringes and needles and I was like, "Um, hold on a second, what exactly does this irrigation procedure entail?" He assured me he wouldn't be poking me with needles and that it wouldn't hurt. They put these drops in your eyes to numb the muscles up around your eye so it is easier to work with and then put some numbing medication on a Q-tip swab on stick it on your duct by your nose. Then he goes in there with an instrument that he tries to open up the duct with. It looks like one of those steel instruments then dentist uses to pick at your teeth. The hardest part is keeping your eye wide open while he is digging around in your eye. Then he took the syringe and just places the needle inside the duct and squirts saline into the duct to try and flush away the obstruction. If you can feel the saline running down your nose and throat it was successful. It worked the first time in my left eye but took 3 times in the right. It was really uncomfortable but didn't hurt, which is good I suppose. At least my eyes feel normal now and not watering all over the place. He said if it was going to clog up again it would be at night so hopefully they will stay open. If they block up again he said the best thing to do is wait until after my treatment and try and irrigate them again. If worse comes to worse then I might have to have a surgical procedure to put a stent in my duct to keep it open. He said that can deform the muscle under they eye though and wouldn't recommend doing it unless absolutely necessary. Let's hope to avoid that.
Otherwise I am feeling pretty good. Actually a bit normal, which is nice. Jon and I had a great time this weekend celebrating our anniversary....I can't believe we have been married for 5 years. We went and did some Christmas shopping at Flatiron's and then went and saw A Christmas Carol at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. We have never done anything like that before so it was a lot of fun and a great play. Lots of singing, dancing, and it was funny at parts as well. We also stayed up in Denver overnight without the kids. It was great to be just the 2 of us. My parents and my sister Heater split up my kids and kept them for us. Did I mention it was GREAT!!
Tomorrow I will go in and do my Herceptin infusion and hopefully it will be straight forward and have no problems. My mom's birthday is tomorrow and she is going with me, fun birthday for her, but she insisted. Love you momma, Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving! Well it was a week ago today that I had my first FEC treatment. I am still feeling the nausea side effects and taking the meds to help control it. Definitely isn't as bad as the first few days but it is still there. I am also getting frequent headaches which is a bummer.
I went in on Tuesday for a doctors appointment and Herceptin infusion and saw the nurse practitioner. Mainly just a follow up to how chemo went the previous week. In my opinion to talk about all the ailments I have from chemo that they really can't do anything about and just say, "Yeah, that can happen. Sorry." and then do nothing about. I was feeling sick when I came in so I decided to stay for hydration after Herceptin. They offered to give me something for the nausea through the IV. They gave me Zofran and Decadron that was supposed to help. After that drip was almost done I got this headache behind my eyes and my vision went all fuzzy. The nurse described it as "swimey". Then said "Oh that can happen if they infuse this too fast." Okay so I come in to get help with feeling better and due to the medicine that is suppose to help me feel better and I feel worse?? It seems like any "side effect" that CAN happen WILL happen to me. So needless to say, had the headache and fuzzy vision feeling well into the evening and wouldn't you know it the medicine never did its intended purpose of easing the nausea.
Thanksgiving was quiet compared to a normal "Mondy" Thanksgiving. We went to my parents and were joined by my brother Ethan and his wife Brandy, Jon's parents, and then of course my parents and brother Mason. Mom made a wonderful meal and we were just bums for most of the day. Jon went down to visit our friend Tommy this afternoon that had back surgery yesterday in Denver. He is doing well and hopefully he will be home soon! Jon and I are going to go see A Christmas Carol at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday for our activity for the Diana Price-Fish foundation and then stay overnight for our anniversary in Boulder. We are looking forward to the time alone since we haven't seen much of each other in the last few months. No 5am shopping going on in this house in the morning. Hope everyone doing some shopping tomorrow has fun and gets great deals!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Nov 19th

My first "FEC" treatment was this last Thursday. My fingernails are still continuing to bruise and my eyes are still constantly watering. (Both from the Taxotere) We went in at 8:30 and were done by about noon. I had read on some message boards that the Cytoxin medicine can give you a headache if it is infused too fast so I had asked the nurses about it. She said that if it gave me a headache this time they would slow it down next time. Of course I did get the headache...Lucky me. I didn't have to have Benedryl during this treatment so I did get to stay awake and read and relax for the treatment. That was nice to be able to visit and read.
I got to know another gal at chemo this week named Elisa. I had remembered her from being featured in the Poudre Valley Hospital newsletter back in August when I was first diagnosed. She was taking the same medicine I was prescribed to take (Herceptin) and her name is very similar to mine. I had seen her a few times in passing but never been able to visit with her before. She has a little boy named Will that is just over a year old. I am hoping to get to know her better through the next few weeks.
We left at about noon and I was doing fine except for the headache. I figured I better get in a good meal before the sick feeling set in. Oh course we headed to Lone Star and filled up. Mom got me home by about 1:30 or so and took Olivia for the afternoon. Jon's parents had the twins during the morning and I was able to rest some since they were sleeping when I got home. By about 4pm the nausea was in full effect. I felt like a pharmacy by the end of the afternoon. Tylonol for headaches, sudafed for the Cytoxin headache, Emmend for nausea that morning, compozine for nausea that afternoon, etc, etc. All that water too....I felt like I was going to float away. My mom had picked up the essential oils from the gal she met in Fort Collins and she offered to have us over Thursday to go through the Rain Drop massage and demonstrate so my mom could do it on me. I was feeling pretty rough about even getting in the car, but we made it over there and were able to go through the massage. It was pretty relaxing and I actually felt better afterwards. Mom said that she could see my back getting red from all the toxins that were being released. The lavender oil has seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping me relaxed at night to sleep. When I got home Jon could barley stand to stand by me though and I was ordered to immediately take a shower. Pretty potent smell.
Friday I woke up feeling terrible. I sat in bed for about an hour after I took my medicine. I got up and went in for my hydration appointment at 9:30. My friend Courtnee came over and watched the twins and did my laundry. I felt a little better after I did hydration, but still not great. Jon's aunt Clara and uncle Jon came up from Littleton and picked up Olivia for the weekend after she got out of preschool. They took her to do all sorts of fun things this weekend and she had a blast being spoiled and being the center of attention. She came home today with a bunch of chapsticks (her obsession), body lotion, Areil pajamas and an Ariel toy from the Disney store. All of which she wants to carry around with her and not put down. I just spent the rest of the day Friday laying around feeling yucky. Mom came over again on Friday to do another massage and then Jon rented some movies to watch on Friday night, but I only made it through about the first 10 min before falling asleep.
Saturday Jon was hard at work trying to get some more things done on the basement. Jon's parents were kind enough to take the twins for the day and I went to get my eyes checked and do hydration at the hospital. My oncology nurse told me not to get my eyes checked while doing chemo because the prescription would probably change, but with my eyes watering so much I can't stand to wear my contacts anymore with all the rubbing I am doing to my eyes. I haven't had new glasses for almost 4 years so I broke down and made an eye appointment on Saturday morning and got new glasses. My sister Heather came with me and then went to hydration with me at Poudre Valley Hospital since the oncology office isn't open on the weekend. It was fun to spend some time with her because we don't see each other that often. Again I felt some what better after hydration but nothing to write home about. When we got back to my parent's house my Dad decided that he was going to shave his head. He told me he would shave it when I started my FEC treatment becasue it is supposed to all fall out and stay out until I am done with this treatment. I will be a cue-ball in a week or so, so I am told. Heather buzzed dad's head and mustache and then Dad buzzed my hair again. I will put the pictures on my snapfish album. I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at my parent's house watching Mom and Heather make her famous chocolates. Yummy. Not too much help this year though. Jon and his buddy Vernon have been able to get about 3/4 of the basement framed. It is exciting to see it all coming together. Lazy Sunday night as well. Our friends Desi and Aislinn came over to hang out for awhile and we went to bed early in the middle of watching a movie.
This morning I felt a little better than yesterday but still not great. Mostly bummed around all morning waiting for yet another hydration appointment at the hospital. Dad took me this morning. I didn't really feel any better or worse after doing it today though so next time I will probably only go in for 2 hydration days. I haven't really felt like I am on the verge of being sick since Friday, I just feel overall yucky and have an upset tummy. I did the ginger oil this evening on my feet and it did seem to help a little. I am off to take a shower and go to bed. Nothing else to exciting to report....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Weds Nov 15th

Mom and I went in to do chemo education for the 2nd round of treatment yesterday morning. I will be starting my first "FEC" treatment tomorrow, followed by hydration days on Friday and Saturday. They will start me on new anti nausea medication called Emend. With these 3 new meds one has a risk of significantly lowering the white blood count and one has a risk of lowering the red blood count. They have shots that I will be given if either of these things happen and they don't sound fun so I am hoping to avoid that. Mostly this round will just make me much sicker for longer. With the first round I would have a bad day or two and with this one is sounds like I will have a horrible day or two and then be sick for a week. They want me to try and drink a gallon of water a day the day prior to treatment, the day of treatment, and the day after. Drink, drink, drink! I will still go in every week on Wednesday to do my herceptin infusions but then only do the FEC treatment every 3 weeks. The doctor is still not sure about my options for surgery. She wants to visit with the surgeon before they make any recommendations. This is still a big issue weighing on my mind with what the right decision is for me. I am still considering all my options and weighing the pros and cons for each. One step at a time I suppose.
I also had another EKG yesterday to make sure that the herceptin isn't doing any damage to my cardiac muscle. It looks like everything is going fine in that department. I have been using the lavender oil to try and help me relax at night and sleep instead of my ambien. It seems to work fairly well unless I really can't turn my mind off. Well, off to drink some more water!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Nov 10th

I had an appointment this morning to have my ultrasound and mamogram done again at 9:30. They were really busy this morning so there was about 2 hours of waiting and about 15 min of actual tests done. Lucky Jon got to wait in the waiting room the whole time. He always says "This is the only business that can get away with making people wait as long as they do. Doctors and the DMV." More good news though. They can see where they left the clip in the tumor but cannot see a tumor there any longer. The clip was a tiny piece of metal that they left in my tissue when doing the biopsy. They can no longer see margins according to the radiologist. I am not sure where this leaves me as far as surgery so I will have to see what they say next time I see the doctor. My hand rash if feeling a little better. Still very itchy and peeling but not as painful. My fingernails are still hurting a significant amount but hopefully that will improve soon.
Jon and I also had to take the twins in to get their second booster for the flu shot today. Jon also had to get his flu shot. Olivia had hers yesterday and I told her she didn't have to get shots again until kindergarten and she has been reminding me all day that she doesn't want to go to kindergarten.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thurs Nov 9th

It's that day again.....Buddy Check 9 day. Remember to do your buddy check ladies and for more information click the link on the side bar of the blog.
Well good new today finally. I saw Dr. Medgyesy today before chemo. She is still not able to see feel the tumor during an exam. She said that given the light of the situation with the chemo doing what it was meant to do, shrink the tumor, and that currently is doing more harm then help, I am officially done doing the Taxotere. Last week was my last Taxotere treatment. Today I only had to do Herceptin. This is the drug that I will have to continue to have infused once a week for a year. But good news with this one is that there are no side effects, so today I had the best Thursday I have had in months. Dr. Medgyesy said that with the combination of my fingernails still being so sore I can barely use my hands without being in pain, the rash still peeling away the skin on my hands, and the horrible taste I continually have in my mouth that it isn't any benefit to keep forging ahead. She said that if for some reason the tumor hadn't responded as well as it did they might consider continuing but since it had done its job, we are good to go. Or not go I guess :-)
At this point we are moving our plan ahead by 3 weeks. I am scheduled to go in and have an ultrasound and Mammogram tomorrow morning, Chemo education on Tuesday morning, an Echocardiogram Tuesday afternoon, and start my FEC treatment on Thursday. The ultrasound and mammogram will check our progress, and echocardiogram will make sure that the taxotere hasn't had any bad effects on my heart. Chemo education is to go over all the "new" set of problems this new treatment will bring about.
The FEC treatment is a combination of the drugs 5FU, Epirubicin, and Cytoxin. I will have to continue the herceptin on a weekly basis but the FEC treatment will on be given every 3 weeks for 3 months. So far I have heard that it makes you very nauseaus so they pre medicate you with those anti nausea drugs. Also on this treatment I have to go in for "hydration" days the day after infusion and then also the 3rd day. This is to run hydration through my system and also to keep on eye on my CBC (complete blood count). If my counts go too low then I might have to do shots of neulasta, which we are hoping not to do. I have heard from many people that they cause SEVERE bone pain. The purpose of the shot is to produce more white blood cells. So that means on the 3rd week I go in for 3 days in a row. Since I don't really want to go to the hospital on the "hydration" days I decided to move my chemo day to Wednesday so I can go to my regular doc's office to do all my treatments. So far the only other thing about this new treatment that I have heard is to expect to be sick for about a week and feel fine for 2 weeks. No other word on surgery at this point.
My mom has also been doing so research about using essential oils to treat some symptoms like nausea, fatigue, etc. She has connected with a lady in Fort Collins that had a son with leukemia and tried the oils for various things. We are willing to try anything that might make the journey easier.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday Nov 6th

Hi all. I made it out to the doctor today. I saw the Nurse Practitioner Amy Wing. She put me on a daily prescription of Prednisone to see if that "lightens" it up some. It won't go away until I am done with the Taxotere, but it shouldn't be this bad. I took that this afternoon and so far there isn't too much of a change. I tried using some Benedryl cream this afternoon which did provide a little relief of the burning on a temporary 30 min basis. But hey, I will take what I can get. Also the "metallic mouth" is in full effect. I constantly have this awful metal taste in my mouth now along with all my food tasting funny. I have been trying to chew gum or be drinking something but the second I don't have anything in my mouth the yucky taste is very apparent. Hopefully this taste thing will also go away with the Taxotere.
My friend Sheri came over today to help me out with the kids today and mom was over for the evening. It looks like some ladies from church are going to come help me out during the next 2 mornings with Jon's parents any my mom helping me in the evening and afternoon. Thanks for the help everyone. Hopefully by tomorrow evening it will let up some.
I just discovered this new song on the blog by KT Tunstall, suddenly I see. Isn't it a feel good song? I think so...That's why I chose it at least. Just wanted to give everyone an update on stuff from my horrible day yesterday. Love you all!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sun Nov 5th

Okay, I'm just going to have to say this has been the worst 24 hours since I shaved my head. I think I have cried about a thousand times today. Ever since posting yesterday my hands have gotten a million times worse. I look like I have a flesh eating virus all over my poor hands. The dark red rash is now between all my fingers and has spread down onto my wrist and on the sides of my palms. Every time I move my fingers and hands I am in agony. I feel like my skin is too small for my hands and that every time I move my hands it is just pulling the skin tighter and tighter. I can't touch anything, put my hands under water, pick up my kids, rub my hands against anything........I tried to sleep last night with my hands out of the covers so they didn't rub on the sheets but then froze my arms off. I can't win. And the darn thing itches to boot. As if I haven't had enough itching during my pregnancies to last a life time and then some. (for those of you who didn't know I had some unheard of liver condition with my pregnancies call Cholestasis of pregnancy that made me unbelievably itchy. I think it is a horrible way of torture!!) I will definitely be on the phone with the doc in the morning to see if this can at all be settled down. I can't even describe how frustrated I am. I can't do ANYTHING with my hands. I guess I might need to learn how to do things with my toes??
I made it through about 45 min of church (crying most of the time) before going home with mom. Olivia was sitting with her friend Isabella on the floor on our row at church trying to explain why her mom was crying. "She is just sad because her hair keeps falling out and now her hands really hurt, but we can keep coloring together." AHH!! So matter of fact, that one.
Pretty much the rest of the day I proved to be pretty worthless. Jon left for Laramie this evening so we went over to my mom's for dinner and to hang out. My brother Ethan and his wife Brandy were over for dinner and helped get the kids bathed and ready for bed and my other brother Mason kept them entertained. I only had to manage getting them back out of the car at home and getting them into bed. Thank goodness. I am also off to take my Ambien and try and sleep off all my frustrations of today. Hopefully doctor Medgyesy will have some sort of a fix for me in the morning.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sat Nov 4th

Another treatment down, 3 more to go on Taxotere and then I will start my new medications. I am still having the same side effects as last week, only worse. The rash has spread to more of my hands and is now starting to blister in the really red spots. It both itches and hurts and there isn't anything that I can topically put on it to make it go away. They just say whatever helps relieve the itching/hurting like hydrocortisone or lotion I could try. Since it is systemic there isn't anything that will help a whole lot. The doctor did give me a steroid to try and take both the day before and after treatment to see if that would help with the pain in my fingernails. They are also starting to get the dark lines in some of them. Luckily they aren't black yet, only light purple I would say. I guess that is a little better today but not much. It still hurts to grab things, rub things, etc. I try to keep the kids in clothes that don't have buttons and complicated things like that. I guess it is a good thing that these things didn't start happening until the last few weeks and hasn't been going on all along. My hair has been steadily growing but it really sparse in the front and thin. They expect that it will fall out again with my new treatments after Thanksgiving. The nurse said that if I try and keep it buzzed a little bit longer it shouldn't be as itchy. The itching head has let up some, it really doesn't bother me to much unless I have a hat or something on my head for a long period of time. Thursday after treatment we came home and mom made a really good steak and potato dinner (one of my favorites) and I was welcomed with yet another great side effect which I am going to call the "cardboard effect". I think your taste buds start to shut down or something because more and more everything starts to taste bland. I can't eat anything more spicy than medium salsa without my mouth being on fire either. What a bummer this is!! So my biggest complaint for the week would have to be my red and blistering rash....
A few weeks ago my work had put together a fundraiser for me during the last weeks of breast cancer awareness month. It will be nice to have that money to put away towards all my medical expenses for the next year or so. Thank you to everyone that contributed to that and I hope that you know how much I love and miss everyone at the US Reports family!! You guys are the best.
This week my friend Shari came over to hang out on Monday and help out with the kids and house. Jon was home for a bit in the afternoon to do a "parts run" from Laramie, so we went out to get a pedicure in the afternoon. My friend Sarah had gotten me a gift certificate awhile back to go get one at a new place in Loveland. It was awesome. Olivia got to dress up for Halloween on Monday at preschool and was excited to go and visit the "grandmas and grandpas" at Sierra Vista nursing home. For Halloween I took the kids to my friend Jenn's work at Skyline medical complex in Loveland and they got to trick or treat to the medical offices there. It was really nice because it was inside and we were able to stay warm. Then Jenn and I took the kids to McDonald's for dinner and to play. I was so tired from all that walking around it was nice to get home and not have to worry about making and picking up dinner. My friend Alyssa's husband Heath came over and took Olivia trick or treating with their girls Darrian and Braxton so I didn't have to take the twins out. On Wednesday while Olivia was at preschool my friend Aislynn and I went out to do some shopping at Old Navy. Somebody had anonymously sent me a gift card to do some "self indulgence" (thanks!!) I got a few warm pretty sweaters for the winter. I also picked up my wig on Wednesday afternoon. It is a medium brown color and to my shoulders. I will take some pictures of it this week sometime and post them, I haven't gotten to it yet. It is funny to feel long hair on my head again, but it will be nice to wear to feel "normal" again every once in awhile. Thursday was treatment day and nothing to out of the ordinary. One poke, Judy is back in the saddle :-) , and everything by the book. In and out of there and then mom and I went to lunch at Red Robin. Yum, gotta love Red Robin. I guess anytime I am not having to do the preparation and clean up that is a good thing. :-) My wonderful In-laws stayed with me for the afternoon to tend the twins while I laid in bed totally worthless for pretty much the rest of the day. My parents came over to do dinner and the kids that evening. What would I do without everyone's help?? Thank goodness they are all so close and able to help me out with the kids, and me too! Jon and I were able to go out to eat at the Egg and I with the twins the other day. We went to go pay our bill and someone at the restaurant paid our bill and gave the waitress a note to give to me that said "A good deed had been done today in loving memory of my mother. Good luck to you ~ a friend" Of course I was in tears the rest of the time there and the whole way home. It is unreal to think about all the many women that this disease has impacted. I am so thankful that we live in an age where it isn't something that has to be hidden and ashamed of and that I am able to draw off family, friends, Heavenly Father and support groups for all I need.