Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rough night

Well, last night was rough with kids waking up and me actually getting sick. But we made it through. I slept most of the morning, dreaming I set up playdates for all the kids, and being surprised when I woke up and walked out to have them still here at home! WonderfulHubby was a real trooper with the kids this morning, getting them to get all their chores done. I am still pretty tired, and a little dazed, but have been eating carefully today.
Just a short note today. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

One-third done with Chemo!!

Well, today WonderfulHubby took the day off again to go to chemo with me. I had a great sister-in-law lined up to come to chemo with me, but hubby volunteered to come, and who wouldn't want their eternal companion with 'em, right? And it worked out good for her, she has a busy week!

So we got the Big Kids out the door, then I got ready and walked the Little Kids around the corner to a neighbor's house they love to play at, and WonderfulHubby picked me up and we went to the hospital. When we got in, Nurse Jennifer checked my blood count again. The White blood cells were a little low, but high enough to still get chemo today (if they are too low they will postpone chemo and give you immune boosting shots). But I have to go in tomorrow for a shot, but this one lasts two weeks so I don't have to go in today. And I got permission to use my Lortab leftover from my porta-cath operation when the shot kicks in in two or three days. Nice!

So after the blood test, we waited in a room for Dr. H to come in. He asked me if I thought the tumor had shrunk at all. I said maybe a little... So he pulled out his plastic caliper thingys, telling us it had measured at almost 10 sonometers (about 5 inches, it's like doctor's version of cm) across and top to bottom the time before. He measured the tumor, and told me it was about half the size it was before! Oops, my bad! He did say it was softer and more difficult to find the edges, so maybe that is why I had a harder time, but you'd think I would notice... Oh well, Woohoo!!! So when he said the first visit that the tumor might disappear completely, he wasn't being overly optimistic! Oh and WonderfulHubby remembered to ask how long the tumor had been growing, and he said only about a year or two. So it’s not like it has been there for years and the doctor missed it at my annual screening. There was just no way to tell what it was while pregnant and nursing. Also, looking at a chart in the exam room, my cancer would really be classified a stage II, because it is only in the breast and the lymph node, but they had to call it a stage IIIA because of the size. Lots of boring info, I know. ;)

Let’s see, then into the chemo room. We got there early enough that I found a chair off to the side so WonderfulHubby could sit more out of the way. And no shake spilling this time! When they give me my chemo, they give me a few pre-chemo injections that help with potential side effects. One of them is Benedryl. So after looking through a magazine a bit, I had a nice little nap for about an hour. Then just waiting. We found out the hospital had free wi-fi, so WonderfeulHubby brought the laptop so I could facebook and play my online games (lucky he knows his way around a computer, it took some looking for him to find the wi-fi signal, I woulda had no clue!). It was very nice. WonderfulHubby went out and got us Arby’s for lunch. All in all a good visit.

Last night (Wednesday) I had a Scentsy party. It really helped to keep my mind off the coming chemo treatment. I had one about a year before with the same consultant, and she does one of my friend’s shows (that’s how we met). Well, when she heard I had breast cancer (and go ahead, tell anyone you like. I announced it on the internet, I don’t care ~smile~), she raffled off the cute October jack o’ lantern shaped warmer, and handed me a card with a check on the way out the door. It was pretty good size. I just feel so blessed when things like that happen.

And I had such a great time visiting with all my friends at the Scentsy party. One who had moved up to Ogden came, and I tell you, she is a hoot!!! And a good dear friend I went to high school with came up from South Jordan. And lots of good friends who live close by! It was fun.

Well, I should really go to bed now. Love you all! ;)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Boob Job

Hehehehe, that title makes me laugh. Think about the Plastic Surgeon, she does have a boob job. Hahahahahaha

Anyways, I met with her on Thursday, October 29th. I had a bit of a time finding the actual office I was supposed to go to. There was a sign on the outer door, but once you got in you faced an elevator and stairs going up and stairs going down, with no sign about which floor the office was on. So I guessed, and went down first. No luck. So up I went. The surgeon’s office had sent me a letter with paperwork to fill out and instructions to pick up any mri’s or x-ray I’d had done. This probably applies more to the patients who were coming to her for hand reconstruction (she specializes in both). I had picked all those up from the office, along with the reports for each of them. The office staff scanned in the reports, but didn’t want the rest. Oh, well.

When I finally met up with her, she had a laptop in the exam room to type in her notes as she went. Interesting approach, but hey whatever works. So she started out talking about using silicone implants instead of saline because it feels more realistic, not hard, like the saline does. And they are using new silicone implants that are more like the consistency or gummy bears. So if they do rupture, they might bulge a bit, but will not send silicone worms all over your insides like the old silicone implants would. In the booklets I had picked up about breast reconstruction, they had much linger paragraphs on other options, like the tummy tuck/boob job. She said she can do that too, but it is a longer recovery for the tummy part. But, she said that she will be there for the mastectomy to insert the tissue expander, and we don’t have to decide on what exactly we want until radiation is all done. So that’s good to know. I guess I can stop letting myself over eat to make sure I have a good amount of tissue to reconstruct with. Darn it. Hehehehe

Any questions, let me know, I am just all typed out this morning… :)

Genetic Test

Starting the last week of October, I still hadn’t heard the results of the BRCA test the geneticist ordered for me. I called Wanda, the Breast Cancer Care coordinator, and she hadn’t seen the results, but said she would ask the geneticist when she came in on Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon, I hadn’t heard yet, so I called every doctor on my list to see if they had gotten the results. I wanted to know right away because I had my visit with the plastic Surgeon late Thursday morning, and I wanted to be able to tell her if it would be a single mastectomy or a double. No one had any news, and the geneticist hadn’t answered her phone when I called.

But Thursday morning when I got home from getting my shot, the geneticist called me! She had the results; my cancer was not a genetic form of breast cancer. So, my family is not as high of risk, and they will only need to do a single mastectomy. She was very nice about answering questions, and said she would send me a letter with the results and to call her back if there are any more questions.

So far, everyone who has worked with me has been very nice. No gruff doctors or nurses who are too busy, everyone is friendly and willing to answer any questions and I am just thankful! I know it would be hard to work all day with people who are dealing with cancer, and they all just have kept their upbeat attitudes. What a great team they have at my hospital!

Shots, shot and more shots

Hi Y'all. ;P

On Monday (October 26th) I went in to get my blood cell counts checked. I took Little Boy and Little Girl in with me after the two Big Kids got off to school. I kept them entertained by looking for pictures of kittens and babies and such in the magazines from the waiting room. In a "Readers Digest" we found a cartoon of a lady stuck in a clamp next to an article about stress. Little Boy kept going back to look at the picture and asking why she was getting squished. I told him someone just drew the picture that way. A few minutes later, he said he would GET the man who was squishing that lady. He's a cutie. Little Girl wanted to see the baby and animal pictures. She likes to coo and pet the pictures. They kept me and the other patients who were waiting quite entertained.

Anyways, simple finger prick to get a little blood that the Nurse (Jennifer) collects in a little tube then holds it up to a metal tube that comes down out of a big machine on the counter, which sucks it up. It whirrs and then prints out a paper with my blood counts on them. The White Blood cell count was a little low, so she went to show the Doctor. When she came back she said the doctor wanted me to have an immune boosting shot that day and Tuesday, and then would check my levels again on Wednesday morning. The shot just goes in my upper arm. It stings a little, but not for long, like a tetanus shot would. Shoot, when was the last time I got one of those? Oh, well… no more immunizations for me for a while…

The shot stimulates my bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. The main side effect is that it makes my bones ache. The first night it wasn’t so bad, but Tuesday I had a hard time falling asleep. And sometimes in the morning, or when I got up from laying down, my lower back would kind of give me a quick jolt of pain, but just a quick thing, and then it would calm down.

When I went back in on Wednesday, my white blood cell count was up, but where I have kids with runny noses already, they wanted to continue the shots through Thursday, and then check again on Friday.

The nurse was always way nice with the kids, the first day when we had to wait longer, she gave them each a package of fruit snacks. The other days they could get a sucker out of the basket they kept by the door. On Friday we had a longer wait in the waiting area, and the desk next door had a basket of candy out for Halloween. So they each got one of those, and our front desk ladies had a coloring book and crayons they could use. Little boy can really get into coloring, and loves it when I will sit and color with him (which I did). Little Girl would color, or wander or try and get in his way. She is a sister, after all. ;) When Nurse Jennifer called me back to check my count, Little Girl saw a couple of little Halloween bag on the counter. Nurse Jennifer had put together a goodie bag for each of them! The kids were so excited. And was excited because the doctors said my white blood cell count was high enough I didn’t have to get another shot! Whew!