Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My 1st Treatment

So I had my 1st treatment today and it went off pretty well. Did not get alot of sleep last night and im guessing it was cause I stayed up late cause I was nervous and my mind kept running....."Will it hurt"...."Is my hair just gonna fall off right there in front of everyone"......"Are they gonna push through my port when they access it and kill me"......crazy funny questions like that. Walking in was hard...seeing people who had already began treatment.....they were bald...pale...many looked weak and most of them were older...I knew that I would probably look similar to them soon and the reality of that is always hard to take. But thanks to some upbeat nurses and my awesome mom and brother...I wasn't down for long.

And just like it always does...God's amazing power and love was displayed for me again today. You see just as the nurse was about to access my port....... I looked up and saw my primary doctor, Dr. David England, standing right in front of me and my eyes filled up with tears. In fact as I introduced him to everyone we were all a little teary eyed...but we all manged to pretty much keep it together. You see I had not seen him since he told me I had breast cancer 3 months ago and the moment was bitter sweet. I had forgetten that his wife also had breast cancer and he was there with her for her treatment. I pretty much owe this man my life and I hope everyone out there has a doctor like him and let me tell you why. When I called him 3 months ago and told him about the lump I found.....he made me come in the next day...he didn't ignore it like many doctors would do because of my age....he immediately sent me to have a mammogram. Then instead of letting the pathologist tell me over the phone he called me personally back into his office and told me....because he said he did not want a stranger telling me something so big and it was obvious this was a very painful and hard thing for him to have to do. As soon as he told me he gave me space and time to cry but then after immediately sent me to the head nurse coordinator who is another AMAZING nurse. She cried with me...set up all my appoinments and explained the big things that would soon be coming my was obvious she cared and just what I needed in my time of need. I wish I had taken a picture of us all there together at treatment today...but there was so much going on at the time that I didn't even think about it until afte he was gone. After the initial shock of seeing him wore off he and his wife sat and talked with me and I pretty much did not even notice when the accessed my port with what looked like a huge needle....but really it was nothing and I was one happy camper :) His wife told me she knew things could be worse and her eyes filled up as she told of her friend's child who has a brain tumor and has been through more than she and I combined. With tears in her eyes she said to me "I would do all this ten times over just to make sure that baby didn't have to go through all he is" and I truly believed her. We know that having breast cancer is not the worst thing and we are blessed to have the options that we do. :) Seeing him and getting to talk with them both was truly a blessing for me.....not only did it make me forget about the nurses accessing my port but it also made my heart so happy. God is so good and he surprises us just in time with exactly what we need. :)

Probably the biggest and funniest lesson I learned from today is that Benadryl knocks me out like a small child. lol They give it me to conteract any reaction I might have the chemo drugs.....the second its hits my veins I'm like "Oh yea that stuff knocks me out". Within about 1 hour I was barely coherent. The nurse said I was sleeping so hard she actually came over to make sure I was still breathing lol.....apparently she had no idea who her new patient is...sleeping has never EVER been a problem for me lol Everything took about 6 hours to finish and it went by pretty fast since I was asleep. After we left I went and did a little wig shopping. When I first walked into the store it took me about 15 minutes before I had it in me to actually try one was an emotional moment but one that I new needed to happen and it actually turned out being pretty fun. Afterwards I still felt so energetic that I went for a little jog with my mom and puppy. So all in all the day was great...I'm just pretty tired now but no real complaints. I have an amazing heavenly father who is holding my hand through all of this and revealing new promisese to me everyday. The next few months are going to be hard...I am not blind to that...but I know God's grace will see me through and I will come out in the end of this journey stronger than I began. :)

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Bout to start treatment. :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some of the Girls Out Eating the Night Before I Began Chemo........I am so blessed :)

Port Placement

So last wednesday I had my port surgery...which went very well. The doctors had a hard time finding my veins.  There was this Chinese lady  trying to put my IV in and I told her before she started I had bad veins that roll.  But for some reason everytime I tell the doctor that they don't seem to belive me till they see it for themselves.  So I just sat back and watched it happen.  After the 1st time she couldn't get it in she says "Everytime I numb your vein it dissappear"...I"m yea...they ROLL!!! Now while the nurse is playing in my arm the anesthesiologist is trying to ask me questions and stuff and after about 30 seconds of her trying to talk while the nurse is still playing in my arm I look at her and say "Ok can we do the questions after she finds my vein cause I am not listening at all to what your saying or the questions ur asking" lol.  She's like "oh yea yea sure".  If you have ever tried to hold a serious conversation with someone while another person has a needle in ur arm....its a serious skill and one I quickly learned I was not good at. lol. 
So she FINALLY finds my vein after what seems like an eternity and I begin grilling the anesthesiologist about whether I'm gonna be "all the way" to sleep and she says not totally.  So if you know me you know my big concern is "Am I gonna feel anything and Is it going to hurt?".  One I asked that the nursing that was previously playing in my arm replies "Oh you be sleep...we give you Michael Jackson drugs except you wake up".  I laughed but I'm still thinkin  great....just great.....they just used Michael Jackson as a comparison to me...and in case we all dont' know....he's DEAD!! lol At the time it was pretty funny and I took it with a grain of salt.   So right after this I look up and see my nurse Dan...who I wasn't too sure was a "REAL" nurse...he looked a little suspicious...I'm just shooting something into my IV...which in about 30 seconds I realized was Fentanl and Versad.  If you have never had this...ur missing out cause its awesome lol.  I was loopy and felt like I couldn't stop talking (which is nothing new for  me) within about a minute. 
So pretty much when it was over I kind of understood why Michael Jackson took this stuff to sleep cause I was asleep one minute and the next minute I was awake but I felt like I had slept good....I mean I was still groggy but nothing compared to how I was when I had my first surgery.
Also, I learned a very good leason this matter how much u "Think" u want one Chick Fil-A milkshakes are NEVER a good idea right after surgery.......I learned that very quickly.  All in all the surgery went well.  I was pretty sore for the 1st few days but the soreness has worn off.   However, my port is a huge reminder of the cancer I have and sometimes I find it hard to look at in the mirror.  It's what I call a "cancer marker" kind of like loosing your hair.  Its something that everyone can see....I can sometimes not hide it under my shirt when I go out and it can even been seen in many of my regular shirt.  I have also tried on many of my summer shirts and my bathing suits and its very visible.  Coming to the realization that not only am I about to go through chemo but realizing that I now had a "cancer marker" and I was probably gonna get some looks when I go out because my port is visible is honestly pretty hard to take.  I am a girl and looks are important to me to a certain extent.  But I stepped back and looked at this situation and realized maybe I was being too self consumed....I mean is all I think about is a person's outward appearance...espcially my own? I have always said its what on the inside that counts and now when it came down to it....I acted no better than those I had preached to.   I am human and I admit outward appearance is important to me but  I feel more and more lately like maybe God is really using this to show me that "its not all about how you look". God can use even the smallest of situations to teach us things and I can feel him doing that with me now.  I just pray I come out stronger because of it. 
Later on it occurs to me.....  How many people spend their whole lives with visible markings, handicapps, etc. that make other people want to stare at them.  For example, one of the kids I have babysat for since I was 18 is in a wheel chair.  Seems every where we go people stare at her and as they have gotten older I have seen how it affects her brothers and sisters as well as her.  We go to the mall and people stop and stare or just stand there and look....many times I have held back tears and words as I tell her "people are staring like that because they dont' understand".  How many times I must have said that......because then it was so easy for me to say because I wasn't the one being looked at.  But now many years later, in a situation I never thought I would be in, here I stand getting just a taste of how she must feel and I must say it's an eye opening and humbling experience.
    During all this I have been doing a study on faithfullness. The study I"m doing  has focused alot on Abraham and his faithfullness to God.  He was so faithful and trusting in God no matter what that at one point he was willing to go as far as to sacrifice his own son (which of course we know he didn't). But how many times have I said I trust in God' faithfulness to pull me through this situation....and then when it still came down to it...I was weak and I found it hard to let go of the things I knew and go the way God wanted me to.  God obviously thinks I'm strong enough to handle all this...I just have to believe that to but I have to trust in him and seek him to help me daily see the joy in it all.  I have found that through the many trial of people in the bible.....after it was all said and done those that were faithful to God in the hard time were actually stronger in God when it was all over and I hope I can say that when this is all over.    Hebrews 11:8-19 lists nine qualities of Abraham's life of faithfulness.  In verse 8 you see Abraham followed God even though he did not know where God was leading.  Faith follows God through the mists of uncertain circumstances and times such as these. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pay It Forward

I wanted to share a story of what happened to me today at my local walmart. My mother and I went in to get a few things and like most people we ended up getting more than we thought we would. I was pooring the raining and I'm talking about the flooding. We were loading our groceries into our car when a man and his son passed by and I heard the man say to his son....before I knew what was happening this man and his son were grabbing the bag out of our cart and loading them in the car. I'm just gonna say that I had to pick my lip up off the concrete. I dont' think in my 24 years on this earth I have ever had anyone help me with my groceries for the sheer sake of just helping me. I was dumb founded and if it hadn't been raining I would have loved to have shook this man's hand and told him thank you and what a great dad he was. He was not only telling his son how he should be but he was showing him and I thought it was just amazing. I just wanted to share this because its something I rarely see and it made me think how many times I probably pass up someone who needs a little help with something because I'm too caught up in my own life. I have thought about it since it happened this morning and I felt like this man's simple example showed how we as christians should treat each other and how we should do for each other for the sheer sake of wanting to help someone.
I admit many times at work when I walk out of the pharmacy I see people looking lost down the aisles and while I know most of the store since I have worked there so long...many times I put my head down and keep walking. But now I'm gonna make a real effort to look and help people just because they need it because one man did it for me today and it totally made my day and was just another example of how God speak to us and uses us through service to others. It also reminded me of the movie "Pay It Forward". One kind act can spark a movement that would have us all helping each other. Just thought this was a great story to share :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Next Step

So the past two weeks have been really crazy. To start off I want to update everyone on the status of my next step in treatment. I went last week to see my oncologist who seems really awesome. He actually had cancer when he was 16 so I feel like he understands alot more than most because he has been there. I walked into my first room and these nurses said "Gotta get some blood" and I told her "I thought we were done with all that"...she said "Oh that's just what you thought....we just getting started" lol. It always helps nurses and staff to joke with...I mean if we can't laugh we'd never get through any of this.
Then we went into the conference room to wait on the oncologist. And here is what we found out......

these are the names of the three drugs I will be taking. I will be taking Taxotere and Carboplatin together once every 3 weeks for about 4 and a 1/2 months. Then I will finish out the year taking Herceptin. Herceptin is pretty much considered the new miracle drug and has increased cure rates in breast cancer patient with a positive Her 2 New receptors by 50%. Now here comes the hard part......Taxotere and Carboplatin will make my hair fall out the doctor says and there is no way around that. He told me I had about two weeks before it would start to fall out. To say that at that moment my heart didn't skip a beat and I didn't have to swallow my tears would be a lie. The truth is it was one of the harder moments for me because I thought to myself I can loose it right here and right now in front of everyone or I can push forward and know that this is just the means to an end. I am woman and as a woman our hair is one our trade marks. How do u just tell someone that's all gonna be gone in a matter of a few weeks? This might sound weird but hair is just like can be gone in a matter of minutes. However, we only have one life and I can always grow new hair. I had thought about my hair coming out almost since I got diagnosed and now I thought "God why me.....I never hardly go anywhere without doing something to my hair and now suddenly you think its gonna be ok if its all gone"....but I think this will truly be God's test for me to show me that I am am his child and I am beautiful bald or with lots of hair.I wont' lie and say it won't be hard but I have chosen to make the decision to be as positive as I can about this.....and if my hair is long enough I am going to try and give it to locks of love before it comes out.
So back to other parts of treatment. We did discuss the side effects of chemo and that was another hard part. Everyone reacts differently to chemo and the truth is you wont' know exactly how you will feel until you receive treatment. However, to sit and listen to all the "possible" side effects of treatment is still a little overwhelming. We talk about the drugs putting me into menopause for a while and I swear my head about spun around like the kind in "The Exorcist" lol. I mean seriously I asked the doctor "Could we just skip the chemo" lol. He gave a slight grin and said "I wish".

I have thought many time since then about just skipping chemo and radiation all together. And of course everyone freaks out when I say that but I feel great right now...I'm working and going to the gym. Now the doctors want to inject me with all these toxic drugs that are gonna make me feel like poo poo for months. Seriously....let's not lie and say everyone would just be like "Okay Cool!" LOL. I have researched this alot and looking up things on cancer online can do two things 1.) Make you more informed that you were before you looked this stuff up and 2.) Make most scared than you were when 4 years old and you had to sleep by urself in a big kid bed in the DARK! lol. People talk about their experience online and some of them are horrible and very scary. However, I was reminded once AGAIN this week that everyone's experience is different and that maybe I had looked up enough online. I am trying to educate myself as much as possible on all the meds I will be on and I know I will most likely begin treatment as scheduled. So my surgery to have my port placed is for next Wednesday 1/20 and then my treatment is scheduled to begin on the following Wednesday 1/27. Though I may be scared I know I am guided by the one who gave it all for me and he is bigger than this battle or any other I may ever face in my life.


Thursday, January 7, 2010


So Update I got my drain out yesterday and I feel soo AMAZING...without it in I can hardly explain it. I have even caught myself jerking b/c I think it is still in. But I am asking for every one's prayers for the coming week. Although the drain is out there is still a chance that my body is still not ready drain on its own without the lymph nodes that were removed. If this is the case and fluid builds up in my arm I will have to have my arm aspirated, which requires needles and we all know how much I HATE needles lol. But God is faithful and I am trusting in him to carry me through. :)
Tonight I walked out with my puppy into the snow and to say I felt different just playing in the snow would be an understatement. I was so happy because for the first time in a while and I did not have to worry about not moving any certain way and pulling my drain out; I did not feel sick and I was so thankful and almost teary eyed just playing in the snow...just being able to play worry free, pain free,in the snow. That might sound weird but for those who have and are going through trials where you see how hard life can be and then you finally get a break from it...the craziest and simplest things mean more than you can even describe. This morning before I took a shower I called my surgeon's nurse and asked if i could take the bandage off that covered where the drain was in and she told me yes. I then asked "Sooo I"m not gonna fill with water am I?"...she laughed and replied no your not going to fill with water. I mean I do have a little hole in my side so I had to check lol.
Please be in continued prayer that my body will adjust to not having my lymph nodes and begin to drain any fluid that comes through my arm on its own. Also, just wanted to ask for continued prayer for Channing's uncle Timmy as he will soon begin treatment for his colon cancer. I would also like to share another prayer request for two special twins, Ethan and Addison Raby. They were born pre-mature and while they have a long road ahead of them they have two amazing parents who are fighting right along with them and they all need our prayer, this is the link to their blog The continued love and support from family and friend humbles me beyond words. God has truly blessed me more than I deserve :)
Psalm 105:1 "Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness Let the whole world know what he has done"