2007 Breast Cancer 3 Day

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Not enough spinach in my diet apparently

I had labs today and wasn't anticipating anything different, but just when you think you have a handle on chemo it throws you for a loop. It isn't a big loop mind you, but it is yet one more thing on my to do list. As you may remember my hemoglobin was low last week. I took my normal 2 shots plus a third (Procrit) to help boost my red blood cells. I also started taking iron supplements. Today's bloodwork revealed that my hemoglobin is still low so they want to start supplementing me with IV iron once a week. I didn't have time to sit for it today, so I will be going back in tomorrow for the hour long infusion. It isn't really a big deal just an inconvenience. My already hour long lab appointment twice a week will be extended on one of those days for this infusion. I can only imagine what IV iron will do to my system. The supplements haven't bothered me thankfully, but I doubt I'll be so lucky with infused iron. Wish me luck!

My next round of chemo is on Tuesday. It will be round 4 of 6. I am happy to be coming into the second half of these treatments. The first 3 flew by quickly, but for some reason the thought of 3 more seems like an eternity. I am hoping the next 3 go as smoothly as the last round.

We still don't have any information about the ultrasound, but I'm not worried about it. Dr. Q has a plan and I trust him. I mean really we know it is practically gone and that surgery is somewhere in the future--what more can he say. He'll fill us in when he's ready. Until then we just take it day by day and try to enjoy living life on my good days. I'm sick of thinking about cancer, talking about cancer and trying to convince everyone I feel fine. I guess people want me to be moping around looking pale and tragic, so I'm sorry to disappoint them. I feel fine--please BELIEVE me.

I'm off to do some laundry. I'll post more tomorrow.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Elmer Fudd Rides Again

I realized the other day that I haven't yet posted a photo of me BALD. I have "the haircut" on here, but a buzz-cut and bald look very different. I donned my new breast cancer awareness shirt (thank you Robin!) and posed for a quick photo. I admit the buzz-cut had me looking very Sinead O'Connor, but come on, this is very Elmer Fudd!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Still no news

No ultrasound results yet...you'll know when we know.

I had labs Monday, but surprisingly my numbers hadn't tanked yet. A reprieve from the stomach shots was nice. Tuesday I began to run a fever. This seems to be my pattern as my count falls lower. I had labs yesterday and my white count was .9, but my hemoglobin was really low which is a first. What do they do to fix that you ask? What else--stick me in the gut with one more shot. Yep, I took three yesterday and will be heading back in for more today. Thankfully they really have become routine and aren't a big deal anymore. I also have to start taking an iron supplement to help boost my hemoglobin. They warned me that it will make me constipated. Of course it will--because being bald and a pin cushion isn't bad enough! It just gets better and better.

I'm feeling well considering I have no immune system and hardly any red blood cells. I have one mouth sore that showed up two days ago, but it isn't giving me much grief thankfully. Sleep is still a labored endeavor. The chemo makes my mind race so falling asleep has been difficult. I have a prescription for Lunesta, but I don't care for it. I didn't feel much difference the few times I've used it. When I really need to sleep I've been taking one of my nausea meds that knocks me out, so I'm managing. It's okay though because we're half way there--3 chemos down, 3 to go.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

P.S. I just read the daily verse on my blog today. It's always inspiring to me that you hear from Him just when you need it if you'll only listen.

“ Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. ” (James 1:2-3)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Same story...different day

I know many of you think that since I haven't posted lately I must not be feeling well. Not so--I just don't have anything interesting to say. This last round of chemo has been a fairly easy one. My nausea medications are doing their jobs and I am feeling well. I am getting ready to go into the low white count phase which will make me tired, but otherwise I will feel good. I have lab work tomorrow and will be low so I'll have my stomach shots as usual. They are really quite routine now and it is strange what becomes "normal" when you have cancer. I should have my numbers back up by Wednesday.

We are still waiting for the ultrasound results. Dr. Q said my mammogram came back normal. Don't get excited just yet--if you remember my initial mammogram was "normal" too. Apparently my cancer doesn't show up well except via ultrasound. We hopefully will have those results soon. We know the chemo is doing it's job as you can't feel my tumor any longer. Now we are just trying to determine when surgery will be scheduled. I will meet with the surgeon as well as plastic surgeon soon to discuss "the plan".

This week will also be great because my dear sweet Robin will be arriving from Virginia on Wednesday! We haven't seen each other since June 2001! Oh how I've missed her and can't wait to spend a few days together. I can't believe so much time has passed since we've seen one another, but it will be like we were just together yesterday. We have always had that kind of friendship and I love her for it.

Thanks for all the continued love and support. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Half Way Point

Today I went in for my 3rd round of chemo. It was business as usual with nothing new to report. I am feeling good right now which is a pleasant surprise. I was already feeling sick by this time the last round. I know it will be short lived though and I should be feeling bad by morning if not some time in the middle of the night.

I had a mammogram and ultrasound done yesterday, but results are still pending of course. I'm not sure when we will get them, but Dr. Q's office is good about staying on top of things and keeping us informed. I'll report more when I know it.

On a more thought provoking note, I heard a sermon on the radio today that really put into words the way I feel about my situation. So many people say I'm brave or that they don't know how I do this day after day. As many of you know my faith is strong and I believe the Lord doesn't make mistakes and that He has a plan for my life. The description today was that we are put on the earth to do God's work. Living our life is our job for God--living it reflecting His image to the world by our actions and beliefs. We all have PURPOSE in this life--to minister to the lost in what ever means we are capable. So many people believe that means you have to walk up and "sell" Jesus to the unsaved, but it doesn't have to be that direct. We all minister in different ways and some of them can be quite subtle. I believe my cancer is part of my purpose. I have to walk through this experience reflecting my faith in the Lord so that others can see it and believe and hopefully that belief will lead to salvation. When you are doing the Lord's work it isn't hard to "be brave" or "be strong". When you are functioning inside His purpose you can tolerate so much more because you are living for something bigger than yourself. I admit I am human and do have my bad days. I don't want other cancer patients reading this believing I am some superhero or that even having faith takes all the pain away. I also don't want anyone to feel that they are somehow falling short because they aren't coping as well. Cancer is HARD, but knowing that the Lord has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11) makes CANCER an easier cross to bear. I am hopefully ministering to someone out there whether it be family or an unknown reader. If someone is touched and grows closer to the Lord because of my situation then it all hasn't been in vain. I don't know if I did the sermon justice in that description, but that is what I took away from it.

Here's a link to the sermon if you're interested. Just click on it.
If you are reading this today (Tuesday) click on Today's Alternative to listen to the broadcast. If you are listening any time after today it will be in the archives for January 10, but unfortunately you won't be able to hear the entire sermon. I really enjoy Tony Evans' sermons. I always find them inspirational and sometimes convicting. I recommend you look up when he airs on the radio in your area and listen.

I go back to disconnect tomorrow morning from my chemo pump. I'm winding down for the night, but I will update again tomorrow. My love to everyone!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Business as usual

Yesterday I had lab work as usual and it came back normal. This is my "good week" where I feel good and my body is getting back to normal. All this in time to do it all over again next week. Chemo is scheduled for Tuesday the 10th. This will be round 3 of 6 so I'm half way there!

We met with Dr. Q also and he is very confident that the chemo is doing it's job. We will be setting up a mammogram and ultrasound to review the tumor size. I will complete this next round of chemo and then we will meet with the surgeon to discuss whether it's time to schedule surgery. At this point when it happens is irrelevant to me. I'm just ready to get on with it and have this cancer business behind me. Well actually I guess it will never be behind me as I will always be on the look-out for new cancer in my body, but at least I won't have this chemo mess to deal with and all the doctor's appointments once this cancer is destroyed.

On a brighter note we are getting ready to buy a new camper. Russ and Holly bought our pop-up while they were here in December, so we will be upgrading to a trailer. The pop-up was nice, but we are ready for the convenience of pull up and park camping. Not having the hassle of putting up the camper and unloading and setting up everything will be nice. I think we will be able to accomplish our goal of camping once a month having a self-contained trailer. You can go rain or shine and on the spur of the moment much easier. We're excited and are ready to go camping again! Our trip to the Tetons in August was our last outing and that's just to long!

I'm back to the hospital on Friday for more lab work, but results should be the same. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Edited to add that the mouth sores are healed and thankfully the insomnia has passed. I'm still not sleeping well however so Dr. Q gave me a prescription for Lunesta which is a light sleeping pill. I haven't tried it yet, but hopefully it won't make me a zombie.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Window of My Mind

I tend to think of myself as a bit of a loner, but not necessarily by choice. I think it is more a product of my circumstances as a child with facial disfigurement. I was the kid that played by myself on the playground, was picked last for kickball teams (well really you aren't picked...that team is stuck with you when you're the last one), and as a teen was the girl that all the guys "just wanted to be friends with". That sort of experience sets a person up to rely on themselves and not get to emotionally invested in people. I don't say all of that to summon sad feelings, guilt, or even pity, it's just how it is. Everyone has their own set of baggage they haul around through life--that just happens to be mine. I set this stage to go on to say that I find for the most part I have overcome my baggage and live my life loving and trusting my family and friends. It is however still a concentrated effort/choice to put myself out there and expose myself to a possible emotionally hurtful experience. I came to the realization today though that as I choose to put myself out there emotionally and rely on others I am often disappointed which sends me back into myself wondering why I bothered in the first place. I don't think my expectations are unrealistic, yet I find myself shaking my head asking "Is what I'm asking that hard to do?". I won't recount the why or who of this scenario to protect the not so innocent, but as unhealthy as it may be I'm just going to rely on me (and my dear sweet Ed) from now on and keep my emotional wounds to a minimum. I am a private person by nature and to put this out into the universe isn't something I would normally do, but somehow it seems appropriate today. Please don't pick my brain for details as I won't reveal them just consider this a glance through the window of my mind and feel like you might know me a little better for having read this...or maybe you just realized you don't know me at all.