2007 Breast Cancer 3 Day

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Chemo # 5

I had round #5 of chemo on Monday. It is now day 3 and I am doing well. I am drained as usual, but feeling good otherwise. Nausea wasn't much of an issue this time around thankfully. My sense of taste is starting to fade already, but thankfully that recovers quickly.

I have a nice layer of peach fuzz hair coming in. It appears to be dark, but I'm not sure if it is darker than normal. I am happy to see it growing so quickly, but it should start falling out by the middle of next week from this round of chemo. Hopefully since I only have one round of chemo left my hair will recover quickly too.

My plastic surgeon's office called today with a strange request. The secretary asked if I would be willing to talk with a patient getting ready to have a double mastectomy. I said I would, but thought it odd since I am not finished with my reconstruction yet. I can't really give an opinion of Dr. C's work other than what has been done so far. I'm not sure if they want me to talk about reconstruction or the mastectomy process, but I said give the woman my phone number and I'd talk to her if she calls. We'll see if my phone rings.

I'm due back for lab work on Friday. My numbers should still be up--they won't crash until this weekend sometime. I just keep reminding myself 5 more weeks and this will be behind us. I'm not sure when my final reconstruction will take place, but that seems so simple compared to the rest of this process.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Let the Games Begin

Yesterday I had two appointments. I went to see Dr. C for an expansion, but she decided to wait 2 more weeks to let more healing take place. I am just about finished expanding. I will probably have one more and be happy at that size.

I then went to have labs drawn and iron infused. Dr. Q met with me and said it is time to move forward, so I am scheduled to start chemo again Monday morning. Let the games begin...uneasy stomach, hair loss (so long peach fuzz) and the general feeling of YUCK!

I am sad to say that 2 of my 3 favorite nurses are no longer at the infusion center. I am really saddened by this. You come to trust and really enjoy good nurses and it gives me a general sense of unease to have new ones coming in. They don't know my story...my likes, dislikes, moods. I know there may be great nurses coming in behind them, but sadly I already find myself judging that I won't like them as well. Isn't that strange how we become "dependent" on nurses that we like? So my wish now is that MaryAnn will stick with me through the next two chemo treatments. I just love her. She takes such good care of me and you can tell she really loves her cancer patients. She makes the process easier somehow. Thank you MaryAnn!!! I am trying to think of something nice to put together for her as a parting gift at my final chemo. Any ideas would be helpful.

So I now have 6 weeks and counting until I am done with this mess. I still have surgery at some point this summer to remove my expanders and put in the implants, but that will be the final step.

I'm off to start eating everything that tastes good before my senses are lost next week. Blueberry pancakes sound good this morning I think...

Oh and today's Daily Verse...great as always!

“ Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ” (James 1:12)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I'm not so sure it's "me"

I wore my wig to church this morning. The jury is still out on whether I like it. I don't know if it is the cut, color or just that it isn't MY hair that bothers me. I still feel that I am somehow denying my situation by wearing it. It is definitely red which therefore draws attention to it. Those that know me know that I am not an attention seeker, so this is uncomfortable for me. I did have one lady come up and say my hair was a beautiful color, but that wasn't enough to make me sign off on wearing it full-time. We'll see I guess.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Guess what I did?

Well I did it...I bought a wig. I didn't think I would, but here is the thought process.

When I was first diagnosed and knew that my hair would be lost to chemo, I didn't want a wig. I know many cancer patients opt to wear one from the very beginning, but for me wearing a wig meant I was somehow denying I was sick. I have worn headcoverings throughout treatment thus I "look" like a cancer patient. In the last few days it has occurred to me that even though I have 2 chemo treatments left for systemic reasons, I am cancer free due to surgery. I don't want to look like a cancer patient any longer, but my hair growing back is still a long way off. I do have a little peach fuzz coming in, but it will fall victim to chemo drugs shortly. I know I may not wear my wig all of the time, but at least I have that option now. I ordered it from the American Cancer Society's catalog. It seems to do well enough although not having hair for 4 months makes having hair suddenly awkward. It seems big and out there, but it is actually much less hair than I had before chemo claimed it. It is supposed to be light reddish brown, but it is more red than brown. I like it though and Ed said I look beautiful as a redhead so I'm going with it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Introducing our newest family member

Since my baby-making days are over (sadly), we decided to get a new puppy. Granted puppies and babies have many similarities, but they are not the same. I would much prefer a new baby, but that just isn't in our cards. [If you know someone that would like to give us a baby that would be great, thanks.] Ok, back to the puppy...we decided poor Roscoe (our current dog) is just getting to old (11) to deal with Emma. He is tolerant of her, but let's face it there's no love there. The new puppy has been a nice distraction for her. While Roscoe isn't thrilled about having her around just yet, I think you can see the relief on his face already from Emma's constant attention. Here is a photo of our new puppy. Her name is Sadie. She is about 4 months old and a total sweetheart.

Now I just have to figure out how to housebreak a dog and potty train a 2 year old at the same time!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Just a reminder for all the women I love

Warning: Possible guilt may follow, but read it anyway!

You all know that you should be checking yourself each month for lumps. If you didn't do it before I was diagnosed I understand. If you still aren't doing it...SHAME ON YOU! Hello, anybody home up there? Breast cancer is serious business and if caught early can be cured!

I know we don't always remember to check. I wasn't intentionally checking when I found my lump, but here is something to help. I came across a website through another blog that will email you a monthly reminder to "Check Your Boobies". Now I know that this sort of thing doesn't work for everyone, but if even one woman uses this and remembers to do a self exam then it is worth mentioning.


I love you all and don't want you to go through this experience with cancer.


Thursday, March 09, 2006


Dr. E just called me with WONDERFUL news! After sitting down with the pathologist it has been determined that my margins were clear after all. The chemotherapy shrunk my tumor down to 4mm and all the cancer should be contained in the mastectomy tissue. I'm not sure where the error in information occurred and at this point I'm not going to dwell on it. I am just so pleased that it appears I truly am cancer free! I will not need radiation according to Dr. E., but I will have the remaining chemo treatments for systemic purposes.

I just can't be happier. Praise the Lord that He is good all the time. My sweet friend Bridget reminded me of that in her comment on yesterday's post. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful group of Christian women surrounding me--some of which I have never even met in person.

Thank you to EVERYONE for lifting me and my family up in prayer. The Lord is answering them each and every moment. He loves us and hears us when we cry out to Him. Isn't He amazing?

I'll update as I know more.

In HIS precious hands,

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Two Steps Forward = Two Steps Back

Yesterday we had several doctor appointments. We met with my surgeon, Dr E., to get my pathology reports. He was rather vague though and we didn't really come away feeling like we knew anything. I knew Dr. Q. would give us a full explanation though so I wasn't worried.

We then met with Dr. C for another expansion session and she also removed my remaining two drains. For the record, drain removal is just one step shy of torture! Oh my goodness, I couldn't believe how much it hurt. I think it was the worst part of this process. Thankfully it only hurt when she pulled them out, but after about five minutes I couldn't even tell she had done it. I am very happy to be free of the drains. They were quite annoying and very uncomfortable. I go back in next Tuesday for another expansion session. Dr. C is pleased with the results so far and I am filling out nicely. At this point when I'm dressed you can't tell that I ever had surgery. I still look pretty mangled underneath my clothes, but that is healing nicely too.

We then went to Dr. Q's office so I could have lab work and my iron infusion. I also received a Procrit shot in the stomach. Man I sure haven't missed those. After that was all finished we met with Dr. Q for the new attack plan. I was prepared to hear that I was going to have to take the remaining 2 chemo sessions for good measure, but that wasn't what came out of his mouth.

My pathology shows that cancer cells were found very close to the surgical margins. When they remove cancerous tissue they also remove good tissue around it. The good tissue is called your margins. Well in my case since all the tissue was removed my margins go all the way to my skin. What this means is that cancer cells were found close to the skin in my breast which was a bit of a shock for all parties involved. My surgeon has requested the pathologist do a deeper study of the tissue to see what exactly we are dealing with. So basically I went in yesterday believing I was cancer free to now being practically back to square one. I have cancer in my breast still (in theory) so we have to attack it. I will definitely have more chemo and now they are even discussing radiation for localized treatment. Since there is no longer a tumor to focus on we are literally trying to kill the proverbial needle in a haystack. Needless to say I am devastated. I totally had not prepared myself to hear this. I am still trying to wrap my mind around it this morning. We are now waiting for the new pathology to determine our next move. As soon as we know, you'll know. Until then please pray that we can kill these cells and that we can get our lives back to normal. I have felt so healthy the last few weeks not having had chemo now for a month. It is so hard to know that I have to go back into the pool of chemical waste and swim around for a while and come out feeling bad all the while "hoping" that we are killing this damn cancer.

Again I have to say how appropriate the daily verse is today. The Lord always shows Himself and reminds me to keep my faith in Him. There is a greater purpose for all of this. I may not see it now, but He knows why I am going through this valley.

“ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. ” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Friday, March 03, 2006

We Wanna Pump....You Up!

Ok, so we aren't pumping up my muscles but we might as well be.

I went in for my first "expansion" yesterday. Dr. C found the port on the expanders using a small magnet and then made a mark with her pen. She then numbed the area with a lidocane injection. I didn't feel this though because there isn't much sensation left in the breast tissue due to nerve damage from the mastectomies (this is normal by the way). Dr. C then inserted another needle into the port and filled the expanders with 100cc of saline on each side. I am a little more "filled out" but still have a few more expansions to do before I look normal again. The procedure didn't hurt, but the pressure on my chest muscles after she was finished was uncomfortable. It felt like I had a serious chest workout at the gym--just a lot of muscle soreness. I still have 2 drains coming out of me, but those should come out soon. They are mostly annoying to work around and slightly uncomfortable since they pull on the few stiches that hold them in place. I'm not looking forward to the actual removal since that is rather unpleasant, but will be happy to be free of them.

I am scheduled to go back in on Tuesday for several appointments. I have a meeting with my surgeon to hopefully get my pathology reports. I am also scheduled to have another expansion and hopefully get my remaining two drains removed. I then will go over to Dr. Q's office to have lab work done and another infusion of iron. I may or may not find out about remaining chemo treatments, but I will post when I know more.