Friday, December 29, 2006

Fri Dec 29th

For those of you not around Colorado we are receiving our 2nd huge snow storm in the last week. The airport is closed yet again and we are snowed into the house to enjoy each other's company...or better yet misery :-) It is supposed to snow until Sunday morning. We are counting down the min to nap time at the moment.

There were a few people that were asking me about my port, so I thought I would take a picture of it....

It is on my left side between my shoulder and my chest. The scar is from where they had to cut to insert it under my skin. It looks like a pop bottle cap sitting under the skin and then they just poke the needle in the middle of it each time. The line goes up into my neck and feeds into one of the major arteries that goes to my heart. So there is the scoop on that.

I went to chemo on Wednesday with my sisters Toni and Amy and also my mom. We saw the nurse practitioner Lisa and she had said that another option for surgery would be to go in and have the radiologist place clips in my breast around the perimeter of where the tumor was first discovered. Then they would go in a remove that whole area and examine it under the microscope to see if there were any remaining microscopic cancer cells left. This was another option if I wanted to do a breast conservation surgery. Seeing as how I am not all that well endowed in the first place going in a taking a mass out that was 4 cm by 3 cm would leave me not very well proportioned between the left and right side. She also explained that they usually will not consider doing reconstruction if you are doing a lumpectomy. After hearing that news I had decided that I would probably still go with a mastectomy on the right side.

Both Amy and Toni stayed with me through treatment and mom went and got all of us Red Robin for lunch. Treatment last most of the afternoon and by the time I got home at 5pm or so I was feeling pretty horrible. I spent the rest of the night in bed or hanging over the toilet.

Thursday I went to hydration (just to get fluids) with my sister Toni and her husband Doug. This usually helps you to stay better hydrated and feeling better overall.
Dr. Medgyese came in to speak with me during my hydration time on Thursday. She said after hearing my thoughts on the new line of thinking for surgery she had contacted some of her colleagues at MD Anderson and came up with a new option since that last one wasn't as cosmetically acceptable. Since I already have a clip that was placed in the center of the tumor when the biopsy was done they will take that clip and have the radiologist attach a wire to it so the surgeon will be able to locate it easily. They will then take a lump out of the breast about a centimeter in diameter and look at that under the microscope. If it is clear of microscopic cancer seed cells that is the end of the surgery. If there are still cancer cells in there they will go ahead and do a mastectomy while I am still in the OR. Either way they will also be doing an auxiliary lymph node dissection of an area under my arm. I feel pretty comfortable with this new line of thinking in that I might be able to conserve my breast and not have to worry about multiple reconstructive surgeries more than a year away. I will still have to do radiation after surgery no matter what option is done.

I still felt pretty horrible for the rest of the day on Thursday as well. This treatment is proving to be the hardest as far as nausea goes. Good news is that I got to skip doing the Neulasta shot this time. I am still feeling really nauseous even this morning. I called the doctor to skip my hydration this morning since it would probably be more trouble than it was worth to try to get out to the doctor. The merry maids did make it to my house this morning so that was a good thing, at least we don't have to worry about getting the house put together. Here is a cute picture of Jon and I at his parents house for Christmas.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Tues Dec 26th

I am feeling pretty close to normal which is a good sign that another Chemo is just around the corner. (Darn) I have had the worst cramps I have ever experienced the last few days which has been my only complaint. I guess that is what I get when I haven't had "that time of the month" in about 3 months and then get it again. So looking forward to another round of chemo on Wednesday and then hydration on Thursday and Friday.
I received some bad news on Sunday about someone I see at Chemo every now and again. Randy was 16 and diagnosed with leukemia and then found out last month that he had relasped and could do nothing else to treat his cancer. He passed away on Saturday night. He was always so happy. It is so sad that he was so young and his life was claimed by this horrible disease. I wish his family peace during this time.
It was a white Christmas this year and that is pretty exciting. Haven't had one of those in a few years. I have really enjoyed that it feels like winter outside. We had someone do the 12 days of Christmas for us this year which was pretty fun. For those of you unfamiliar with this someone leaves little goodies for you on your door starting with 12 days before Christmas every night that correlates with the song the 12 days of Christmas. The kids had a fun time looking outside to see what was left at the door.
My sister Toni and her husband Doug were still able to make it here on Friday from Salt Lake and it has been fun to have all my brothers and sisters here. Doug shaved his head for me a few days before they got here. They were going to shave their dog Buddy's head too. That would have been hilarious. Toni is taking a leave of absence from work to help me out for the next month. She will stay through the 25th of January and my last bad treatment will be the 17th so that will be a huge help for me. What a great sister!

Jon and I went to our friend's the Morby's on Friday to do Fondue night with Heath and Alyssa Morby, Aislinn and Desi Valdez, and Mike and Michelle Sims. We have done it a few times in the past and is becoming a fun event to have every few months. On Saturday we went out to eat with all the "adults" in my family to the Outback. It was nice to have a night with the adults and leave the kiddos at home. Jon and I were also able to escape to a movie afterwards which was a bonus. I love being able to go on a "date night" with just the two of us.
On Sunday we spent the afternoon with Jon's parents and the kids over in Windsor. Presents were of course a big hit with the kids. A CD/Tape player for Olivia, doll and stroller for Alex, and a little people farm for Cody. They also got a play tent for all of them. We had a nice time visiting and exchanging gifts and are so glad they live close by. We made it home fairly early which was a good thing since the twins skipped their nap and we were all exhausted. Jon and I were in bed and asleep before 10 which is unheard of under this roof.
Christmas day we got up and headed straight for my parents house. Santa knew we were going over there so he dropped off all of our stockings over there...(pretty smart guy, less for mom to keep track of Christmas morning) Like I mentioned earlier all of my siblings and their spouses and families were at my parents house this year so we had a house - full. It was awesome. 13 adults and 10 kids. I loved it. Presents everywhere and all sorts of commotion. I can't think of anywhere else in the world I would have rather been. My sister Toni had bought these "bald wigs" for everyone and we took a family picture with all the baldies....

How funny is that?? I thought it was great. Again, presents were a big hit on Christmas day. Lego's, movies, barbies, clothes. Good times. We all just hung out around the house for most of the day and then I went to see a movie with my mom and sisters, The Holiday. It was defiantly a chick flick, but I thought it was pretty good. If your into chick flicks :-)

Today I just hung out around the house trying to get all sorts of little things done around the house before I feel like bologna for the next week. My sister Amy came over and helped me take down my Christmas tree and go through some baby clothes that I wanted to get out of storage. Yeah, lots to pass on or take to good will and get out of my basement. Also nice to have my house back to normal. My sister Toni and her husband Doug took Olivia and my other nephew Cole sledding this morning. This has become one of her favorite things and has already been twice with Toni since she has been here. Jon installed my Christmas present in my car (some IPod remote thing). Looks pretty cool and I am excited to use it.
I just can't believe how lucky I am to have such an awesome and supportive family and a great husband. I don't know where I would be without them. I can't believe that he still thinks I am cute with no fingernails or hair, what is he thinking?? Okay, I put lots more pictures on my link from last month so feel free to check those out, mostly of my cute kids :-)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wed Dec 20th

BRRR! It's a blizzard out there! I went this morning to do my Herceptin at the cancer center and it was windy but not very much snow was on the ground. By the time we left around 9:45 it was coming down hard. Olivia had her Christmas sing-a-long program at school this morning which was pretty cute and entertaining. About 40 or 50 three and four year old jingling their hand bells and singing a variety of Christmas and kids songs. They even did sign language for twinkle twinkle little star. Pretty cute. My mom, sister Amy, and myself tried to go shopping this afternoon but when we got to Penny's they were closing at 2pm due to the snow. When we left there it took about 45 min to get home from Fort Collins and decided we better stay at home for the rest of the day. Jon went out with his friend Desi and played in the Jeep pulling people out of the snow that were stuck and being your typical boys. I am sure they had the time of their lives. I am feeling fairly normal, which is nice. Other than my fingernails being extreamly tender and having a stuffy nose at night I feel okay. I think we are going to be snowed in for the rest of the week. Our house has huge snow drifts all around it. I think I will be a white Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Dec 15th

It's been a week since my Neulasta shot and I am still noticing the lower back pain. At least Ibuprofen does the trick, I no longer have to take the pain pills for it. I am doing pretty well otherwise. If I am careful and eat the second I get hungry I don't get sick to my stomach. I haven't had to take my nausea meds since Wednesday. Still feel pretty low on energy though and that is hard to deal with. My middle fingernails are now starting to come off as well as my thumbs. Yuck is all I have to say about that.
I went into do my Herceptin on Wednesday and that only took about an hour which is a nice switch from being there several hours on the regular treatment days. I also went down to the airport with my Mom and Dad to pick up my sister Amy and her kids. It was great to be able to see them.

Thursday was busy here at my house. I had my sister and her kids over, so all the kids had a great time being able to play with their cousins and Amy helped me do some stuff around the house that I wanted to get done. I had my friend Angela stop by for awhile with her baby Madison who I haven't seen in quite awhile so it was great to be able to visit with her and catch up. Also my brother Ethan and his wife Brandy and their new baby Isis stopped by for a bit. They are adjusting well to being new parents. Brandy has talked with her doctors more about her options and they are thinking that they will have to remove her kidney, the tumor growing on the kidney, and also part of her spleen after the first of the year. They will not know much more about it until after it is removed and a biopsy is performed. In the afternoon Olivia and Cole made gingerbread cookies and had a good time decorating them. We all had a big family dinner at my parent's house last night with all my brothers and sisters that are here. Toni is the only one were missing and her and Doug will be here next Friday. We are all so excited to see them!

One of my friends from my twins club here in town emailed me this morning and sent me some pictures of her twin boys, Will and DJ. They both shaved their heads for me yesterday. Their mom was telling them about my progress after reading my blog and they said they wanted to shave their heads to help me. They are so cute!! Thanks boys, I put your name on the groupies list.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Dec 11

I am not on the ball this month! Buddy check 9 day was on Saturday so don't forget to do your monthly self breast exam this month. There is a link to 9 news on the side bar for those that want more information about the self breast exam.
The bone pain is still ever present. I feel like I was hit by a train. My lower back (pelvis) is still the most uncomfortable but my ribs, shoulder blades, and bottom of my skull all hurt also. The nausea still comes in waves but it hasn't been constant. The nurse said that the bone pain can last up to 6 days so hopefully we are getting into the last few days.
On Saturday we had Jon's aunt and uncle John and Clara over for the afternoon to exchange gifts. They brought us a yummy honey baked ham for dinner and we really enjoyed getting the time to visit. My sister Amy and her kids are flying into Denver on Wednesday and will be here for a few weeks. We are so excited to see her.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Dec 8

It seems like an eternity since my last post....My cold is now gone, finally, and the mouth sore is almost gone. Along with both my pointer fingernails I should add. I am guessing by the way my nails look I will loose at least 4 others if not more. B-E-A-utiful. (Bruce Almighty quote for those of you that missed the joke:-) As long as we are on the subject of things falling off my hair is also falling out again. I haven't had to shave my legs or armpits all week and I am down to a few sporadic eyebrows. My lashes are still hanging on at this point. At least this time it isn't a big deal, being as though it is almost non-existent any-who. From what I am told I should expect to but a cue ball head for the next little bit, no more of this super short hair, we are going for no hair and a shiny head. BRRR is all I have to say this time of year.
Wednesday I went in for my "FEC Chemo Cocktail" as us chemo regulars refer to it as. I was able to avoid my cytoxin headache this time by having that medication infused slower so that was one good point. My port still is tender and hurt somewhat to be accessed even though I had my emla cream on it so I opted to leave it "tapped" to go in for hydration on both Thursday and today. I wonder if that stupid thing will ever not bother me?? The downside to Chemo was my blood counts White count is at 3.5 and Red count is at 4.05. Since normal range for white starts at 4.1 I had to plan on taking the dreaded Neulasta shot the following day. Darn it! They give my body time to take on the Chemo for a day before the cells start reproducing and then give me the Neulasta shot the next day to start producing more White cells. My Red counts were down also but they didn't seem to be as worried about them. The rest of the Chemo process was fairly non eventful.
I also had an appointment with Dr. Medgeyesy yesterday. I just love her. I can't help but think I won the lottery in being led to this woman. She still wants to consult with my surgeon Dr. Chiavetta more about my options for surgery but would recommend me still doing a mastectomy on the right side. Due to not enough evidence of the way a tumor shrinks they are not sure if microscopic cancer seed cells would still be laying on the outer edges of where the tumor started out. She explained that if I were 60 and we were finding this she would feel that going in and trying to do a lumpectomy in the area where the breast clip is currently located along with a partial removal of lymph nodes under my arm would be a possibility and get me through another 20 years. Since I am so young she said if it were her she would elect to do the mastectomy. From her explanation of the "shrinking" process I feel pretty confident in saying that I concur with her opinion. (another movie line from catch me if you can) I still have questions about whether or not it is a good idea to go ahead and do a bilateral mastectomy since I still do I have a somewhat higher probability of getting cancer again on the left side but need to get some other questions answered from my surgeon, plastic surgeon, and also insurance company first and foremost. This crap ain't free :-) You are always having to get permission from someone unfortunately. I feel a little more clear about the path we are headed down for surgery but not any less anxious about it.
The rest of my day on Wednesday was pretty rough. Lots of nausea, but no throwing up. Thursday I went in and did hydration in the morning with Jon and Olivia. Olivia has been asking since day one when she gets to go to the doctor with me and since this way hydration and takes just over an hour and Dad came with us I thought it would be a good day for her to go. She brought her "church bag" and read books and colored with dad. She got to meet the nurses at the office and also hang out with Lanie and Karin again. Yesterday was Karin's last day of chemo, and Lanie finished her chemo about 2 weeks ago. YOU GO GIRLS!! Of course we took some pictures and I posted them up on the snapfish link on the side of the page that says "Eliza's Pictures". I also had to get that Neulasta shot yesterday. Olivia said "Don't worry I will hold your hand mom." Which she soon regretted when I was squeezing all her fingers together. Whoops. Those shots hurt though, darn it. I think she had a good time with her dad there to entertain her and I knew her curiosity was getting the best of her wondering what I did at the doctor's office all the time. Thursday was more of the same experiencing heavy nausea but no throwing up and my pelvis started to hurt. My mom did the oils on my feet and I was so relaxed I went right to bed a little after 9pm. Unfortunately my son was up about 6 times between the hours of 2am and 4:30am. What a weirdo. He kept waking up screaming like he was having bad dreams and then he decided that he had a cough, so I had to get up and get him cough medicine. Then I think he was just mad that he was awake and couldn't get up and play so he just sat in bed and yelled until he fell back to sleep. That left me laying in bed awake on and off trying to keep from laying on the "tapped" port and then having Jon roll into bed at about 5:30 or so. This working nights bologna is not the fun route to go.
Hydration again today at 10:30 coupled with a serious dose of Ativan (for nausea). The Merry Maids came by to do my bathrooms and kitchen, which has been a godsend. I get 2 certificates a month to use at participating providers for Hope Lives! a support group in Fort Collins and I use both of them for cleaning my house. I love it. It takes so much energy to do that kind of stuff and it's so nice to leave and come home to a clean house. I also started taking my pain meds for bone pain this afternoon. The pelvis pain is well underway. I was warned this would probably be the first to start to ache since it is such a large bone.
I have to say thanks to everyone that helped us out this week from dinners, to watching kids, doing laundry, wrapping my Christmas presents, running kids around, and calling to check in. You guys are awesome, and I wouldn't be able to do make it without and you!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mon Dec 5th

Well another day another side effect.......I am finally getting over my cold but now I am dealing with mouth sores. I am one on the very end of my tongue that is killing me. It is about the size of a pea which as far as mouth sores go is the size of a crater. I have decided that sores on your tongue and especially at the tip of your tongue might be the worse place to have them. You don't realize how much your darn tongue moves around for talking, eating, picking your teeth, etc. I also have a permanent retainer on the back of my bottom teeth that it conveniently rubs against all the time. I wish I could just bite it off. Needless to say I have been dealing with this sore being extremely painful for 3 days now. I am using the Ambesol numbing gel about every 45 min. I think the package says use 4 times a day.....I guess I may be overdosing??? Oh well, whatever works I guess is what I am going to go with. In the meantime my meals have been restricted to pretty much nothing besides ensure, carrot/apple juice, and anything else REALLY soft.
Also my bruising fingernails have now shown signs of falling off. Both my pointer fingers are working their way to about 1/2 way hanging on and the other ones aren't far behind that. Nice.... So I guess those dreams of keeping my fingernails are also going to be shattered. They don't really hurt, they are just tender. But they look awful. I am going to start wearing hats and gloves both. There isn't much that is fun about this unfortunately. I guess the whole idea of having a horrible week and then 2 good weeks is not realistic. For now I will have to say a horrible week and then 2 mediocre weeks.
I am already due to have my next FEC treatment this Wednesday so back to my nasty week without having very much normalcy since my previous treatment. DANG!! We put out all our Christmas decorations yesterday and put up our Christmas tree. I just love this time of year. I have been listening to Christmas songs every change I get and I love the smell of the tree in the house. I could do without the pine needles but I suppose that is just a part of it unless you want to break down and buy a fake tree. (which Jon refuses to do) Maybe I can get one on an after Christmas sale.
We also found out today that my sister-in-law Brandy that just had the baby still hasn't been released from the hospital due to her high blood pressure. She had the baby last Tuesday. Yesterday they decided to run some tests and have found that her kidney is 4 larger than normal. They will be doing some blood work and other tests to find out what exactly is going on later today. Let's hope that she is alright, adjusting to having a new baby is enough to deal with.