2007 Breast Cancer 3 Day

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm Still Alive

After seeing my oncologist on Thursday, we decided that it was best for me to put my treatment on hold for a few days. I will start my chemo pills again on April 24 at a lower dosage. Hopefully this lower dosage will not produce such severe side effects this next time around. In the meantime, I am recovering from the 9 days worth of pills I did take. I have now been without them for 1 week. Most of my symptoms are gone except for a few residual mouth sores. I still can't eat my normal menu, but it has improved from the air and water I was able to consume for a few days there.

Today I had my second Avastin treatment. It didn't cause me any problems last time. I am hopeful this round will be uneventful as well. I am a bit nervous to start my chemo pills again this weekend. I am just now starting to feel "better" (and I use that word loosely). It's all about finding the right balance of medications. I know I won't be able to go through this without side effects, but if we can them down to a minimum that would be great. Thanks.

So that is the latest news in the world of breast cancer. I hope to come to you again soon with a much happier report. They've all been a bit dark and sad lately, but you know what....that's been my life with cancer lately.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Body Says NO

Nine days was apparently my limit. If you've been following along you know that I've had some side effects from day one. I reached my limit Sunday night. In the spirit of being real and sharing what it's like to live life with cancer, I want to share the full details. However, since I know many of you in real life I will try to be delicate and not share so much that seeing you out socially will cause an awkward moment for us. :)

My mouth has finally fully erupted in open, bloody sores. They are throughout my mouth and down my throat. This is also indicative of what is going on with my other soft membranes--mainly my intestines. If I have open, bloody sores in my mouth then I have them in my intestines as well. I received proof of that after going to the restroom Sunday morning. I won't get anymore graphic then that, but let's just say it was alarming.

My feet have now also developed blisters on the soles. They are large about the size of quarters and are on the balls of my feet at the moment. My hands are running a bit behind my feet, but I think they are headed in the same direction. I am also starting to have nose bleeds.

So with all of that coming to a head Sunday night, I decided to not take my chemo pills yesterday morning and call my oncologist. He agreed for me to stop them until he sees me on Thursday. We will look at my lab work, review the results of the bone scan I had yesterday and then decide how to proceed. I'm happy for the reprieve. This poor little body is in pretty bad shape right now.

On a good note though, my liver pain is much less. Side effects=killing cancer...hopefully.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

One Week Down

I now have one week of chemotherapy behind me. I also have one week of chemotherapy ahead of me still. The side effects haven't been so bad. I developed my first mouth sore yesterday. It's about the size of a dime and is on the inside of my bottom lip. Pretty miserable. I am a bit nervous knowing I still have a week of pills to take, but so far it has all been managable. The drug I am on sometimes causes Hand-Foot Syndrome. It is basically where the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands become extremely sensitive. They become red and inflamed and can even break out with blisters. I do have the beginning stages of this. My hands and feet are bright red. The best way to describe it is like a really bad sunburn. This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to walk around on that sunburn and use my hands for everything that I do. It's pretty uncomfortable. On a happy note though, I am having less pain in my liver. I am extremely hopeful that this medicine with all it's nasty side effects is actually doing it's job and killing the cancer in my body.

Life around the house is still running a little out of sync. I haven't found the balance between resting and living. While I would love to lay in bed all day, I have kids, a husband, and a house that need me. Many people want to help out and I appreciate that, but the reality is that this is my new life. I will always be on some kind of treatment. I will always been dealing with side effects and let's face it, I'll probably never feel "normal" again. So I have to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get on with it. Some days will be hard and I'll probably spend them in bed, but most days I just have to get up and live.

Thanks to everyone for the awesome show of support. I appreciate your cards, gifts and prayers so very much. I'll keep you posted as we go into this next week of chemo. Pray that the side effects are tolerable and that this medicine is doing it's job.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Treatment Continues and Life Goes On

Friday I had my first infusion of Avastin. While the potential list of scary side effects is long, the reality it most people aren't even aware they've received the drug. Thankfully I seem to be in that group. Other than feeling a little run down Friday night, it was business as usual around here.

Dad and Becky have been here this weekend. The girls have been BUSY!! There has been major Easter egg hunting every day. Lots of candy consumed. The girls are so pleased. Pops and Grammy ROCK!

I also started my chemotherapy pills on Saturday morning. I have now had 1.5 days worth and seem to be feeling okay. I am a little nauseated, but I already was before due to my liver being enlarged. I have noticed that my taste buds have already started changing. This was a problem when I took chemo the first time. I lost my sense of taste for weeks at a time. Let me tell you, it sure takes the fun out of eating. I made pot roast and all that goes with it for Easter dinner today and banana pudding for dessert and couldn't taste most of it. What I did taste seemed super salty to me (though everyone assured me it wasn't). So needless to say, even if I felt like eating...what's the point? There's no fun in it if you can't taste it!!

So all in all, I am feeling good so far. I still have 12 more days of pills though, so I reserve the right to withdraw that statement! :)

Thanks for all of the cards, gifts, prayers and support. It means so very much to us all!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Treatment Begins

I am home from my first infusion of Zometa. I won't have any side effects from this drug as it is just used to strengthen my bones. This infusion did require the nurse to access my port for the first time since it was placed in my chest last week. Having been through this before, I knew to ask my doctor for a prescription for numbing cream last week. I applied my cream as directed and didn't even feel the LARGE needle as it was poked into my chest. However, I did end up crying. Today was my "welcome to reality" moment. The first time I had cancer I had this moment as we shaved my head on the backporch. The moment that cancer became my reality. Today it was as she put the needle in my chest. This is my life. This is my new normal.

On another note, we also got back the pathology report today. This sneaky little cancer has mutated. I've been taking medicine for the last 4 years because my cancer fed on estrogen. Well come to find out, the cancer mutated and no longer feeds on estrogen. This is how the cancer has grown and spread. I've had nothing in my body fighting it off. So I am now what is called triple negative.

estrogen receptor negative (ER-)
progesterone receptor negative (PR-)
Her2 negative

This doesn't change my treatment plan. I will still be receiving Zometa for my bones, Avastin to cut off the blood supply to the tumors and chemotherapy in pill form (Xeloda). Basically being triple negative just means that we don't have the hormone therapy options like we did before.

My doctor seems to think the treatment will actually be less harsh than the first time around. Nausea should be minimal. I should keep my hair. I won't have the horrible weeks due to low blood counts therefore no shots in the stomach. I hesitate to say I'm looking forward to this treatment, but if is is half as easy as he makes it out to be---I'VE GOT THIS!!

So tomorrow I will have my first Avastin infusion and my chemo pills should arrive via UPS as well. I also have a follow-up with my surgeon tomorrow to remove stitches in my neck and around my port.

In the world of cancer, it's been a good day.