Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Boobie Doctor

I met with Dr. Marga Massey down in Salt Lake earlier this month (June), about a week after radiation was done. She is this very wonderful doctor who spends her whole time doing breast cancer reconstructions. She has three hospitals she operates out of, and has five offices around the US she regularly visits so that women from all over the US can have an easier time getting in to meet with her and get a consult. She is really neat, and specializes in doing reconstructions with the patient's own fatty tissue. I've done a LOT of research and asking around, and have decided that this is what I want. So I had a very nice meeting with her. She said she was kind of at a loss on what to do with me because I was so informed on the different options. But I am one of the lucky ones who had chemo first, and not surgery first, so I had plenty of time to decide, and wasn't walking into this meeting a nervous wreck.

I'll post again when I get closer to the surgery date. So I think I may be done posting (or feeling guilty about not posting, heh heh), for a while. Love you all. Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Test Results

So I went in for my Herceptin treatment on the last day of radiation. I asked Dr.Hansen how we would know it was all effective. He had forgotten to have me go in and get an x-ray and blood work done after the final "real" chemo treatment, so he wrote me a prescription (order?) to get that done. I went in a couple days later and quickly got that taken care of.

Dr. Hansen's office called about a week later with the results. The office lady left me a message on my cell phone.

Wanna hear the results?

Are you sure?


No More Cancer!!!! I am officially in remission!!!


That's one message I don't want to erase, ever.  :)

So, as it stands, I keep doing the Herceptin treatments every three weeks until October (so that I've had it for one full year). Then come November or December I can get the first reconstruction sugery done (there are usually three reconstruction surgeries).  I'll have mammograms on the remaining "real" breast every year, probably for the rest of my life. And life will move on...

Time to catch up!

First things first, I have hair again! It is long enough to shampoo, and to feel the wind blowing through it! I can't tell you how happy I was on the day those things happened! It is not long enough to comb yet, but no worries, it has gotten pretty thick since it first came in. It does throw me off a little though when cleaning up...

How? Well, if I find ponytail holders, my habit is to put them in my on hair until I get to the bathroom to put them away (You can imagine just how wacky my hair looked when I was a teenager picking up 5 or 6 big scrunchies). So I pick up a ponytail holder, subconciously know I have hair again, and reach to put it in my hair. I usually stop about halfway through the motion with a look of chagrin. My hair may be one-half to one full inch long, but that is definitely not long enough for a ponytail holder. :)

Nextly, radiation has started, and finished. I was happy when I met with my Radiology Oncologist and she said I would only have 5 weeks of radiation. Whew! Super glad we got rid of that extra week.

Now, what with me being sick, I didn't go back into the surgeon to get the tissue expander expanded anymore. I was satisfied with it, and didn't want any additional pain I could avoid. So I went in to the visit with Dr. Ingersol's office. She is the radiation oncologist. I met with her, and she noticed I had a skin infection starting around the scar on my left lump(which I had kind of noticed but not thought was anything like an infection until maybe the day I went in to see her). Oh, and it hardly seems like a breast anymore. Seeing as how there's a sack of water making it big, there is no nipple, and really, no skin sensation there anymore. I can feel pressure, but that's about it. Anyways, so Dr. Ingersol marked up the lump to make a border around the infection to see if the antibiotics she was prescribing were working. Then she left me with Aaron, one of the radiologists. Now, there are three radiologists in this office, plus the nurse who works with Dr. Ingersol. The nurse's name is Karen. Then we have the radiologists: Aaron, Darren, and Karen. Crazy, huh?!

Anyways Aaron took me to the simulation room, and explained the process, showed me around, and then got to business (all the while keeping up a steady stream of jokes). This room is just like the radiation room, just the machine only takes x-rays, and doesn't shoot cancer-killing radiation. So, you walk into the room, and there is a table laying in front of a large machine that has a short, fat arm sticking out above the table. They put a special board on the table that has a slight incline. It has a resting place for my head, and stirrups for my arms to go into so they meet above my head, with a vertical bar to hold onto. So I lay on the table, and put my arms up, and because there are lymph nodes in the neck/shoulder area, I have to lay looking slightly to the right so they zap just that area, and not my ear too. So he shot a bunch of x-rays, and made marks. When he was all done, he got out a bottle of ink and a needle, and made me 5 "dot" tattoos. I am going to pretend they are interesting, like microscopic sailing ships. Or maybe, I will get another dot close to the first ones, and add a bit smile for smiley faces. The tattoos are to use to line up with the laser-lights that shine out of the ceiling and walls of the radiation rooms.

Then he took me to get a quick scan done somewhere else in the building, and I was done for the day. I came back a week later to start radiation.

Now, I had 6 areas they started out zapping. Neck/shoulder area from the front, then the back. Then the affected breast from upper/right twice, and the same general area from my left, more shooting straight at my side. Now this arm that is shooting radiation at me has a glass plate with a "+" centered on it. Behind the glass, there are pins that are the approximate size of the fat teeth of a comb, but not tapered. These pins rest right against each other, and there are two sets that meet in the middle. They can move the pins independently and use them to form the different specific shapes that they need to radiate, so I don’t have any overlap in the radiation fields that are right next to each other, and so they don’t zap what they don’t need to. When they would zap my breast from the upper right I could watch the pins move during the zapping, so at least those two zaps got more or a sweeping pattern than a blanket open zap.

Each zap took about 20 seconds. I would come in with my hospital robe and jeans on. The radiologist (whoever it was that day, they all took turns), would hold up a pillowcase (or a piece of fabric about that big) in front of my chest. I would take off my robe, and hold onto the pillowcase while I got onto the table. Once I was on the table with my arms and hands in place, they would fold the pillowcase so it covered the un-affected breast. So I’m all ready, and they move the table with a control to get it pretty close to where I needed to be, and then would nudge the frame I was laying on to get me all lined up with the laser-lights coming out of the walls. They would get me all lined up, and the radiation machine “face” all lined up. They would then turn on a light and mark with a marker the lower end of the neck/shoulder field. I think I was only drawn on more often in high school when I would write all my homework assignments on my hand!

So, they would zap the neck/shoulder top, come in and raise the table and move the radiation machine face around to beneath the table to zap from below. Then come back in and move the table and radiation machine face for the breast zaps. Zap, zap from above right, come in to move the machine face again, and zap, zap the left side. It only took ten minutes, tops. It did take longer on the days my allergies where acting up and I had to cough in the middle of the zapping. I had to fight the reflex to cover my mouth when I coughed. When I did move to cough, they had to come in and re-align me. But they were all very nice about coming in to readjust me when I moved.

So that’s about it for the radiation room. They had a waiting room back in their hallway of the hospital. The waiting room had a restroom and two changing rooms right off of it. They had a tv, and a big puzzle set up, in case you ever had to wait very long. It was one of those harder puzzles. The first day I looked at it, I could find any pieces to match up, and I was so frustrated I wanted to box it all up and start with a different one. After that I readjusted my expectations to be happy if I even placed one if I ever had to wait very long. That made it very much less frustrating.

I met with Dr. Ingersoll once a week. She would check on my progress, and how my skin was reacting. It developed into a pretty bad “sunburn” on the areas that really never saw the sun. I am ever so thankful that has healed up now to just funny looking tan lines. The last week of radiation I started to realize how hard it was getting on my body. I didn’t do much during the day just keep an eye on the kids and play on the computer, so I didn’t notice. Then I took my girls for a walk around our little block. I hadn’t even made it the corner only three houses away, when I felt my legs and arms just telling me how exhausted they were. After that I decided to stop feeling guilty about my computer time until I was done with radiation, and really my body told me it was okay to do more.
And that’s radiation.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Visit from Wonderful Mother-in-law

So, WonderfulHubby went back to work, and his mom came to stay. I had one day in between when I had the kids to myself. But the older kids had short day at school that day, so I wasn't left to wrestle the younglings all by myself.
So WonderfulMIL arrived Saturday afternoon. She and I stayed home from church on Sunday (and watched Twilight, hehehehehe). Monday and Tuesday, after the big kids went to school and we started to go through what she had brought to watch, read and crochet, I was starting to feel a little guilty about having her miss work to just come play with me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed having her visit, and all the brother-in-laws and their families coming by to say hello, too. But I didn't feel like I really needed her there and was "waisting" her vacation time. Then Tuesday night I woke up sick. Like hours sitting on the toilet waiting for the flood to end so I can go back to bed and get some sleep. And not just diarrhea, but nausea too. For me, it's usually just diarrhea, and I can eat whatever, so that was different (not that I usually get up in the middle of the night to eat, but actually wanting to drink some water would have been nice). Then the throwing up started. This crap was more intensive than most of my chemo-related sickness! WonderfulMIL got the older kids off to school and WonderfulHubby got himself off to work. At that point I was just trying to crawl back into bed so I could sleep it off. When it became obvious that wasn't going to happen, I called my family practice doctor and left a message to see what I should do. I waited a bit longer, then called the main clinic line and made an appointment with whoever in the clinic had an opening, which was luckily not too far off. WonderfulMIL loaded the little kids in the van, and we took them to our neighbor. Then she drove me to the hospital (the clinic is in the basement). There wasn't any close parking, so she dropped me off at a door, parked, and then came and met up with me. Luckily there was a bench there I could sit on. I had my bucket with me, just in case. We walked together as far as the next main entrance, where we stopped so I could get a wheelchair. I would have not made it without it, believe you me!
When we got to the clinic and were checking in, my doctor's nurse saw me and said she had just tried to call my house, and that my regular doctor, Dr. Gochnour, would squeeze me into his schedule if I just wanted to wait about 15 minutes longer than what my appointment was for the other doctor. I happily took that suggestion, and sat in a room with WonderfulMIL with the lights dimmed, occasionally dry heaving, and crying (I cry when I am tired).
side note: Now, I don't know if I have before sung the praises of this clinic. We started going there from a recommendation from a friend before I got pregnant with Oldest Boy. We have seen nurses come and go, and staff change duties, and the location change. I have never been to a place where I felt better taken care of. Dr. Gochnour has delivered all of my babies. If I had ever REALLY needed to get a hold of him, I knew which office worker I could call who would place me on hold for 10 minutes until he walked by so she could snag him to answer my concern (and in my defense I only did this 3 times in the last 10 years). They all quickly heard I had cancer after I kinda announced it when I went in to get the flu shot in the fall (I was asking whether that made me considered to have a compromised immune system, even though I hadn't started chemo yet). So whenever I came in, whether for me or the kids, they all asked how I was doing, and just made me feel, well, looked after. So if anyone in the Ogden area is looking for a doctors office, drop me a line, and I will give you their number. Now, not to say they are perfect, there are still times we have to wait, and Dr. Gochnour is usually booked out a couple of weeks, but really that's to be expected, and it's not anything worth complaining about.
end side note
One of the nurses, upon hearing me dry heave, came in and offered to get me a drink of water so at least I would have something to throw up. She brought it to me, and I don't think I threw up after that, and it was nice to have something to sip (see! nice people!). Dr. Gochnour came in, and we talked about what was going on, and he said he recommended me getting admitted to stay overnight in the hospital. It was that, or just go get a transfusion of IV fluids. So I got wheeled upstairs and admitted. We called WonderfulHubby to let him know what was going on, and he left work early. We called my mom, and she came and got the kids from the neighbor to spend the night at her house, stopping at my house to pack them overnight clothes and wait for the big kids to get home from school.
In my room, they came to draw blood to run tests on. The intern that was on call for my clinic had left instructions to do blood draws and start and IV through my veins, and not my porta-cath. He was concerned especially about doing the blood draws through it, not wanting to break it. After having the lymph nodes removed in my left arm, they can no longer do any poking or pricking on that side, so my right arm was the lucky pincushion. I was dehydrated, and they got a couple of good starts, to get the blood they needed for the tests, but then the vein would collapse when they tried to get the IV started. So I asked the nurses to ask the intern (resident?, I forget what they call them, he's almost a doctor), if we could do the IV through the porta-cath. He agreed, and gave them orders (because it has to be official, not because he was being bossy) to do it that way. I got some anti-nausea meds, and a shot in my tummy to keep my blood from clotting. (Apparently I got to skip that shot when I was in for my mastectomy because my blood was still thin from chemo.) I don't think I threw up anymore after that, though I did still have diarrhea for a couple of days. To illustrate how dehydrated I had become so quickly, they emptied a whole bag of IV fluids into me before I had to pee again. Very dehydrated.
Well, that is pretty much the whole story. WonderfulHubby brought lunch for him and his mom, which they kindly ate in the hallway because it smelled so horrible to me at that point. They went home late that night, I slept very little that night because I just knew as soon as I fell asleep the nurse or CNA would be in to check something and wake me up. I was feeling pretty much better by the next morning, and got released a bit before noon. My sweet mom kept the kids overnight the next night too. And maybe the next one too, I forget. Anyways, I got better, and had a lot of help, and was very thankful my WonderfulMIL was there that week.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Less Borg-Like, more Gumby-ish

Well, as I said before, the surgery went well. Recovery was moving along without too much pain, thanks to the Lortab. Then the second week, about Tuesday (March 15) or Wednesday, the Lortab stopped working. Very painful. But then On a whim the next Monday (March 22) I decided to take 3 Ibuprofen, and it worked!!!  So I used those for a few days until the pain dropped off again this weekend, and I only get random stabbings of pain, which I figure Ibuprofen wouldn't help much for anyways, and I just take them at night.

So on the 22nd I went in for a check-up with the plastic surgeon, hoping she would remove the drain. But it was still putting out too much fluid. She said to come back Friday and one of the nurses on her staff could remove it as long as it was only putting out below 30 ml a day. It got down that low, and so they took it out!!!!  I was forewarned, and took a good dose of over-the-counter pain pills so I could drive myself (because WonderfulHubby had to go to work that day), and the pain wasn't as bad as I expected. That afternoon I also went to Physical Therapy. I was warned that physical therapy might hurt a lot too as they stretched me, but I am a limber person. The Physical Therapist said her husband was limber like me and she called said he was like a gumby person. It was funny as she measured the movement of my good arm so she could see how far the affected arm would need to move. The good arm could relax into positions upto 30 degrees past "normal." Wahahaha, I like being a little abnormal. lol  So my affected arm is really close to normal range, but not quite there. So she gave me a list of stretches to do and a pulley thing to hook on a door so I can slowly get me affected arm up to where it needs to be.  Other than that, the physical therapist extended my "don't pick up the kids" rule for another 3 weeks. Grrr. I mean, I can pick them up with my good arm, so that'll get it done most of the time, but I can't carry Little Girl into bed when she falls asleep.

So Friday was a good, productive day. WonderfufHubby has Monday off, and then he's back to work. But his mom has come down to visit and help this coming week. I am excited, we get along very well. And she is the sewing queen! So I am hoping she can help me with a couple of projects I haven't gotten too.

Well, that's all for now. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Well, I am back home and enjoying having my little sister around playing with my older kids and keeping me entertained.  My wonderful mom took the two little kids to stay at her house overnight a couple of nights, so that they would not overly love me for a couple of days. I have found that percocet makes me itchy, so Lortab it is. I have a drain, so I am slightly more Borg-like. And my arm is stiff and feels a little funny. But the doctors and the paperwork they gave me said to start using my arm for light-duty stuff right away. The paperwork mentioned doing my hair. I laughed about that. Then I brushed out my sister's hair.
I have to wait until the drains come out to really shower. grrrr. but that's okay, because I am still swollen, so I am not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. It's a good thing I have books and movies and tv shows and stuff like that. I am still really tired, but I can take a nap whenever I want to, as long as I can get comfy. Thank goodness for all of these wonderful people in my life!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Surgery Update

Surgery was yesterday morning. The first part of the surgery was the mastectomy. It took about 1.5 hours. The surgery went well. The surgeon was pleased with how things looked and went.

The second part of the surgery was inserting a tissue expander in preparation for reconstruction in the future. That took about 1 hour. Once again, the surgeon was pleased with how things went.

She has what is called a "drain." It is a tube that is connected to a little "bulb" that fluid collects in. She will have this for a few weeks to keep fluid from building up in the surgery site.

She spent about 1 hour in the recovery room and was then brought to her regular hospital room. She was hurting, but they were giving her medications. She ate a bowl of chicken soup and was nibbling on a few other dishes. I left at about 8:00 to be home with the kids.

Thanks for all the prayers and support.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chemo Side-effects are reducing!

Just thought I would share the good news! I can now enjoy chocolate again, because the metallic taste in my mouth is greatly reduced. It's still there, but not enough to be very bothersome, and food is beginning to taste more and more normal. When that taste is strong, chocolate really tastes horrible. But, starting last night, ahhhhhh, it was wonderful again. ;)
Also, no more bloody nose! Just a few days ago, a bloody nose was a common and frequent occurance. Not huge ones, usually, but I definitely would have to carry a tissue. Now, not at all! Now I just need to get rid of this little sinus infection, and I'll be ready to go! Yippee!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Met with the Surgeon

So yesterday I met with my surgeon. Here's the plan. He will remove my affected breast, and all of the lymph nodes in the armpit next to it. Then the boob doctor will come in and place a tissue expander. This will stretch the skin to get it to the size I want. Then she will close up, leaving some drains in place for fluid build-up. The drains sound kinda creepy, huh?
At first I was very upset when my surgeon told me he would be removing all of my lymph nodes. My chemo doctor had said that the surgeon probably wouldn't have to remove all of them. But apparently there is no test or anything the can do while in surgery to see which exact lymph nodes need to be removed, and it is just safer to remove them all. So after I got all done being upset about that, and worried that I would develop Lymphedema, I talked to some friends, and found out that Lymphedema is not a guaranteed thing, nor does it stay for life if you happen to develop it. It kinda comes and goes like strep throat can. So that is a big sigh of relief, and I won't worry about it anymore.
I still need to decide what size I want to be when all is said and done. Do I go with my breastfeeding size (which is hard to find bras for in the regular stores, but will balance out my gut better), or regular me (which is a good size too, but not as big and fun, though I will fit into button-up shirts better). The insurance will cover "adjusting" the unaffected breast to match, so I can go either way I want. But I won't get that surgery until about 6 months after the radiation is completed, so that the skin will be all healed up and acting normally by the time we need to bother it with the surgery.
Fun stuff, huh?! It is really different/interesting/frusterating/fun trying to decide what size I want my boobies to be. I guess I'll look pretty normal no matter what. So, here's to deciding. (Cheers!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Last Chemo!

Hello all. Here is my report on my last real Chemo. It is over and done with! Woohoo! The doctor said I was clinically considered to be in remission. So that is great! WonderfulHubby came with me to the appointment, and was very supportive as I fell asleep for the first hour or so. ;)  One of my friends who works in the hospital stopped by to say hello, and brought me some yummy brownies. She had thrown a party for me the night before with a few friends to help keep my mind off the appointment. It was very fun, just a small gathering of friends to gab and laugh with.
So the chemo (on Friday) went well, and I went in the next day for my Newlasta (sp?) immune booster shot. My oldest Daughter was baptized on Saturday (it also happened to be her 8th birthday!). My parents had brought my Grandpa to the baptism, driving him the three to four hours it takes to get from his house to ours. It was so very nice to see him, and all of the other family that were able to make it. I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost at the service, and helped her change after WonderfulHubby baptized her. I was pretty tired by then, and my inspired Sister-in-Law had offered to arrange a get-together for the family afterward, so I was abl to come home and lay down in piece, and my daughter was able to celebrate her birthday and baptism with her family.
So that night I got sick once, but it wasn't too horribly bad. And that was it, as far as getting sick goes. I had been so nervous because the previous treatment was so hard on me, and I was so very sick, but this time around, I was still very tired, and somewhat nauseated, but not sick. Thank Goodness!
And that is pretty much the story. We have scheduled my Mastectomy (just the affected side will be removed) for March 8th.  Not looking forward to that, but am not as nervous about it as I was the last chemo treatment (yet). Thank you all for your support. Sorry if this entry is a little scattered, but well, hopefully you understand all that I was trying to express.  :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

5 Down, 1 to Go!

Well, I had chemo on Thursday, January 14th. I forgot to schedule it when I was in before, so I had a later starting time, Noon. But I had a good friend come up and go with me. I dropped my kids off at the usual sitter (Thank you!), and we both drove our cars over to the hospital because she was going to have to leave before I was all done. Which was okay, if I have someone to distract me the first little bit, the rest is no big deal. I had a batch of cookies that the daughter of one of WonderfulHubby's coworker's made for me to pass around, and they were a big hit with everyone that had them. The Doctor did his exam, and said the denser area is much smaller, and that he wouldn't be surprised if I was in remission by the time I had surgery. (WOW!!! YAY!!!!!)
My dear friend went and got lunch for us after I was hooked up in the chemo room, and I fell asleep for about an hour. They give me benedryl as part of the pre-chemo meds, and IV benedryl can really knock you out! When I woke up we had a great visit for the rest of the time. She was so sweet and had brought a game to play and dvds to watch, but I was content to just chat with her. I mean, how often do I get a chance to talk to a friend for that long with no kids interrupting or the phone battery dying?
I drove myself home when I was done, and WonderfulHubby had gathered the kiddos from their various playdates and gotten them started on homework. A neighbor brought over dinner, which was totally devoured by the kids, super yummy! (I really do need to collect all these recipes that people make for us and post them here.... I'll have to make a note somewhere I will see it)
Now for the bad news, ickiness set in the very next day. Yup, no day of reprieve like usual, right into the stomach problems. Luckily WonderfulHubby had a four day weekend (again, thank goodness he is a school teacher!), and was there to pick up the slack. Littlest Boy also had stomach issues starting that night, so he and I must have given it to each other or something. I was worried about him on Saturday because he really wasn't holding anything down, but then we tried gatorade, and that worked. I called the on-call doctor for our family doc, and he said I could also give him benedryl, that it would help his tummy settle too! Crazy, huh?! But we didn't bother because he came out of it okay. Me, I was still sick and exhausted Saturday and Sunday. Monday I was starting to feel a little less nauseated, but very tired and nothing sounded good yet. So I called my mom to come help out Tuesday.
So Monday night while WonderfulHubby was out running errands and picking up dinner, a nice neighbor brought by some soup and potato casserole that his wife had made. I had not bought soup before this go around, and it was so glorious to have something light, but filling that I could test my tummy out on. And it tasted good too. Really, just wonderful, thoughtful people out there! Oh, and dinner was brought to us Saturday and Sunday, too. Now this happens every time, the nice ladies in my church make arrangements for dinner to be brought in for two nights after chemo. I don't know if I mention every entry these individual meals, but they are all so great! I mean, I can't enjoy them at the time, usually, but I can hardly wait until my tummy settles down so I can!
And today, my mom came up. I was feeling pretty much all back to normal, so felt a little guilty at first. But it is always nice to have my mom around. And when I needed to take a 3 hour nap after lunch, there were no worries. Maybe that's why I'm up at almost Midnight posting this, but still it was a great nap!
So now, just to troop on through until the next treatment. I tell you, I hate these treatments. Each one gets worse, and even just thinking about the chemo room makes me a little nauseated (not that I ever got sick in there, but still). I will be SO glad when this is done. We will still have to do the Mastectomy, and then radiation, and then easy chemo (should have no side effects, just one medicine) to finish up a full 12 months. And somewhere in there reconstruction (woohoo! Got to keep my eyes on the prize!). But I think the yickiest is over, though recovery from the surgery will not be fun, at least I should be able to eat just fine! Okay, now it's off to bed with me! Good night!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week after Chemo

So I had a great Christmas, no worries. The next morning youngest Girl fussed on and off for quite a while in the morning (she usually wakes right up). I brought her in bed with us, but she still didn't settle. My mommy-sense was tingling, so I got her out of bed and walked into the bathroom in time for her to throw up in there. It had been all night, so there wasn't much mess. But I knew this didn't bode well for me. She only threw up one more time a little later, but again, not much of a mess.
I went in to the hospital for my booster shot (the nice Doctor came in on a Saturday so he could give me my immune booster shot, wasn't that so nice?!). WonderfulHubby stayed home with the kids because I was still feeling well enough to go by myself, and we didn't want to take the little one anywhere when she might toss her cookies again.
When I got home, I took a nap. When I woke up, I was starting to feel sick, and really, it all went downhill from there. I didn't keep track of when I took my regular anti-nausea medicine (I can take it every 6 hours), and couldn't find the samples the doctor gave me initially. I ended up getting pretty sick that night, running to the bathroom a few times. I slept a lot, ate hardly anything (this was a bummer because dinner that night was pizza a very nice lady from church ordered for us and it smelled SO good, but it wasn't to be for me, everyone else enjoyed it), and got sick occaisionally. I kept better track of my medicine, and was slightly less sick the next day,Sunday, but still very tired. My mom came up to take care of me, in case I needed it, while WonderfulHubby and the kids went to church. We visited, and then I napped. WonderfulHubby dropped the kids off and ran back to church to take care of his responsibilities there. My mom stayed and helped with the kids until he got back. I felt a little better that night, but got sick again Sunday night/Monday morning. This was the stomach bug that wouldn't die! I was so glad WonderfulHubby had the whole week between Christmas and New Years off (there are a few benefits to him being a teacher), so that I could sleep and recover without worrying about who to call to help with the kids. Now don't get me wrong, I have a long list of wonderful people who have helped and have offered to help, but I know the holidays are a busy time and I didn't want anyone to have to change their plans to watch my kids or feel bad for having to say no. Anyways, it went just fine. By the time New Years Day rolled around I was done with tiredness, nausea and excess gas, which really was the most lingering problem. I wonder if chemo has killed off all the good bacteria in my tummy. Luckily, yogurt seems to help.
And today, I was feeling well enough, I went to church with everyone else.
Happy New Year!

Christmas Eve Chemo

You know what, I started this entry on Christmas Eve, the same day I got chemo. Darn if life doesn't get distracting...
 A wonderful friend who only has one little boy (right around 2 yrs old), watched all my kids for me today. I am so thankful, I didn't even ask. I explained my predicament of asking someone to watch my kids one night (I mean, who wants to mess with someone's Christmas Eve Plans?) and she offered the next morning. The kids were pretty good about going, so that was a big relief.
I stayed up very late the night before Christmas Eve wrapping presents. ~ A side not about this. THANK YOU! We had people who helped with Christmas in various ways, and a lot of anonymous donations. So what was going to be a small, but sufficient Christmas, turned into a large outpouring of love from other people. I just can't say thank you enough.
Anyways, so happily wrapping presents, up until 1:30 am last night (partly because I am easily sidetracked or paused to decide exactly who which gift should go to or how to wrap the odd shaped presents, and partly because it just seemed to take forever to get the kids settles in bed. This made for a tired mommy when the kids started waking up around 5:45 (Little Boy!!! He wakes up hungry, but he will happily take a banana to eat while he watches Sesame Street.) WonderfulHubby and I took turns getting up with them until Little Girl got up, and I just knew she wouldn't let me hide back in bed. But it was good to get up. I laid on the couch for a bit, then started washing dishes.
I wanted to make a treat to take with me to chemo, but it just didn't work out. But I did get a shower, which I don't always make time for, but really enjoy. So we got every fed and out the door to my friend's house, and then off to the hospital. I got a little weepy on my way in, just thinking about the idea of having chemo today, and the things I didn't get done that I wanted too. But WonderfulHubby was supportive, and I was okay by the time we got in the door.
The office ladies said it was a slow day, and I got right in with Nurse Jennifer to do the blood check. Everything was fine, so in to wait for The Doctor. During the examination he said it was remarkable, that if he didn't know where the lump had been before, he wouldn't be able to pinpoint it. He stepped out and had his Nurse Practitioner come in to see if she could tell which breast it had been in (she hasn't examined me before).  She said she could tell, but merely because it was thicker than the other one, and that anyone who hadn't examined so many breasts probably wouldn't be able to tell. The Doctor said that on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not remarkable at all) my results were a 10! Nice! And then we asked about the Lymphedema. See if they remove all or most of the Lymph nodes by my arm, I would develop lymphedema. I would have to take special care of this arm for the rest of my life, with special exercises, etc. But The Doctor said where the cancer was responding so well to the chemo, the surgeons would not likely have to remove very many lymph nodes at all. The surgeons would just use a dye to determine which nodes would need to be removed, and that it wouldn't be a big deal. This was a HUGE relief. The lymphedema seemed like a bigger deal to live with than new boobs and frequent mammograms. We also spoke to him about doing a double mastectomy. He said that it was up to me, but if I were his wife, he would say to just get the one done. Where I do not have a genetic inclination towards cancer, the chances of me developing another primary cancer site in the other breast was only 1% per year, and with the close monitoring of it, any developing cancer would never get anywhere close to as big as what this cancer had been, and would be much easier to deal with. So, I am taking his advice and only doing the one side. This saves me from the few months of being chestless between the mastectomy and the reconstruction, however long the radiation takes (should only be a couple of months). That is a relief.
So we did Chemo, I was the last one to leave, but the nurse didn't mind, and we went home and had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas. Yay!