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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bald and the Beautiful

Did lose 10 pounds during initial dx through 2nd chemo. Till recently was only able to eat high carb crap, so no more loss, but no gain either. I need to lose more but am just getting through chemo for now, so not pushing it. Weird, round four and I am HUNGRY now! Had zero appetite before, just did protein drinks. 

I met an angel in the grocery store today. We locked eyes, she being bald and me being bald under a hat. We nodded in unison and recognition. She told me that they gave her 3 years, she had brain cancer, but this was her 7th! Her hair will not grow back over the top of her scars, so she shaves the rest of it. What a beautiful, glowing energy she had, she just radiated joy and health! Her eyes sparkled and she had on lovely earrings and boho clothing. She gave zero F's about anyone not being comfortable with her baldness. She rocked it!

I nearly whipped my own hat off too. I will remember her for a long time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thai food cures it all

Perjeta is my friend, and cutting edge meds. I admit to having Big D, awful at times BUT it was mainly what I was puttin in my talk hole! It can be controlled with diet and meds, right? Still better to have some D than cancer. Now, the first 3x, I also suffered crippling nausea, which sucked like nothing else...BUT. I still would keep Perjeta, as it can also me managed. Full disclosure, not sure my issues were all due to Perjeta, could be any of the other three.

Terrible Tumor Twins, bye bye!

Hell to the Yes! My onco said Perjeta and Herceptin work like magic to shrink the Terrible Tumor Twins. 
I am wondering if they gave me a placebo, as I continue to feel so good! Got a silly costume ready for Halloween chemo, if I am feeling it. F
ound an excellent charity - all volunteer and give financial assistance to all women in need of medical bill assistance. No CEO overhead! The founder had IDC breast cancer but they give funds for any medical needs, such as copays and balances not covered by insurance. Women helping women.....we are awesome!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Well, I don't really have any f&^ks left to give

Liberating to not have to try to be pretty, happy and positive. I am more and more okay with being sad and whatever other emotions come during this process, and not groveling in it, just not hiding it to try and protect others from feeling uncomfortable. Too much energy to keep up appearances, and our real friends get it. Those that cannot handle the reality, well...see ya! Already I am marking off some folks from my circle. Others are closer than ever.

Making breakfast soon, eggs, sausage, potatoes, grits, waffles with blueberry syrup, coffee and juice! What a blessing to enjoy food again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cancer filled and friendly fired

In no time, the treatments take me down to zero. Amidst the shock of the unexpected diagnosis, the immediate and looming physical, emotional and financial horrors, it's not possible for me to entertain even working part-time. 

I am a shell. Damaged. Useless.  

For 25 years I've been a paralegal and I know lots of shit - about the law and procedure to be sure, but also, I'm an excellent assistant. My abilities to conjure are amazing. No situation intimidates me. I type in excess of 100 wpm and rarely make a mistake. I am hyper-organized and fast. Court personnel, opposing counsel and clients love me. 

When I was diagnosed, I had been working for my boss for 6 years. If I survive initially, they've ruined me for future employment anywhere else. Nothing will ever come close.  

They take me aside and tell to me: stop working and get treatment. Give all your energy and thoughts to healing. You will have a job if you want it when you are done. Just go take care of yourself. Working here is not in your best interest if you want to survive. 

And so, without any drama, on August 20, 2014 I leave my office for the last time. The concern on their faces is frightening, so I crack jokes about new boobs and other things I cannot remember. Near my house, I stop to cry at a park.

It's a long while before I make it home. 


Miss my organic red taste for it now. 

I think that this chit has a huge creep factor. It really has begun to creep up on me emotionally, just lately. Am sure it is a delayed normal healthy response to the rush of dx and tx horrors. I barely had time to cry, was in chemo within 7 days.

So...... my tx center does not ring a gong at conclusion....but they assure me they do something. Dayam! I want to BANG that thing in November.

Only a few more to go.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Holding on

The fatigue. I want to stop taking chemo, so much at times. But today is a treasure, a surprise. I woke up hungry and made breakfast! And it tastes great! And smells are not making me dry heave! And a normal bm! It is the little things....

Think I got my meds right. Skipping the gross melting oral Zofran and take the other pill, and it works great for nausea. Then every other night, take one Imodium. And eat nothing that will set me off. And drinking tons of water and diluted fruit juice with ice. Also, taking my probiotic. Think its's the right combo. Also, always have a tiny bit of carbs in my tummy. After chemo, am doing a diet overhaul.

But, have Neulasta aches today so am medicating. If I can just hold on.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Suck it Cancer!

Ice sucking does prevent mouth sores. Very hard last few days and just....blech. I worry about progression and things I have zero control over. Dark places to be, but remember, the light is there, we can do it 2 more times! I napped today and give into the need for sleep whenever I can. It seems to help. 

I get caught up in why me and anger thinking and it is useless, but at times hard to stop. Must remember: Be kind to yourself. Halloween ghoulies we are, my next tx is on Halloween. How fucking fitting. Thinking of dressing up as a freaky bald clown or a zombie, neither of which will require much makeup. Dressing up would be a big FU to cancer! Suck it, IDC! Hmmmm...maybe I will.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gut puncher aka chemo #4

Meh, Food tastes crappy already and feels like I have been punched in the guts. Was so hopeful to escape this time from the nasty stuff. Maybe better tomorrow? My mood is very low too, depressed as all hell. Think it is just hard sometimes, to keep being positive. so draining. So for tonight I won't try. 

I wonder if the key lime pie will taste good. time like the present! Then Melatonin and I give up. 

Day after Chemo #4

Day after #4, not restful sleep last night but okay. Going to grocery store with Mikey soon, it is always an adventure! Am making 2 things this week, veggie beef soup and shepherds pie. Hope I can eat it too, but poor Mikester feel like I am neglecting him so want to try and cook normal. Cereal this morning was tasty cheerios. Already have all the BRAT diet stuff......feeling very fatigued, need a nap soon. 

Loads of free kindle books downloaded, I shamelessy confess to liking apocalyptic fiction with zombies. It is such an escape, and silly. And it feels fitting somehow, feel zombie like so much of the time! Be assured though, their diet is a turn off...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Liver enzymes

Liver enzymes, another new term for me to learn. 

Mine are up from 40 to 100, PA says not super bad and chemo will go forward tomorrow. Asked if I was drinking alcohol, but I gave it up July 29. Voicemail, have not talked to her yet.... So, is it from Taxotere? Damnit!! As long as they are watching I suppose it will be okay. Been lucky so far without major issues. This may affect my ability to take tylenol after neulasta though, frig! I will ask her tomorrow. 

Eating mexican food as my last meal before #4 tomorrow! Back to BRAT diet after, sighs.

Scanners and the eye of the tiger

No pet scan for me, just MRIs of thorax and abdomen, and bone scan, and the MRI where they inject you beforehand and your boobs are hanging out.

I just began a probiotic for GI issues, it has really helped me. I have only had Big D issues, no C. Reduces bloating and pain, keeps things together. When can I say 
I am a survivor? That word is very powerful and I want to use it. 

I have to take a Xanax before chemo, it helps. My friend stopped by last night and gifted me with lovely things, including a leopard print baseball cap!! It is quite bodacious and I am wearing it to tomorrow's tx.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dumb comments

The dumb comments. I only got as far as saying my cancer is ER positive before a friend dove into a monologue about using estrogen cream on her ladybits due to a UTI, and then asking me if she was going to get cancer from it! Uhmmm, really? I thought we were talking about me. Then she just keeps on talking about herself, the excruciating details of her drama filled escapades. Always all about her......funny how I never noticed before dx. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014-Just like Lady and the Tramp....

I never know what will repulse me so end up dragging my aching body to the store every few days, and buying whatever does not make me dry heave at that particular moment. Trying to eat more fruit and veg this round. I hate refined carbs and processed food, and have been forced to eat them nearly to exclusion. Four more good days before next chemo, I can eat whatever I want now! Going to enjoy spaghetti with sauce, jalapeno cheese, milk with cereal, pizza, yum! 

Wonder if my hair will grow back after chemo, when I will be on perjeta and herceptin alone for 6 months? Am starting to miss it. Mourning my breasts too--they are REALLY getting surgically removed and they are trying to kill me. It is going to get very intense real soon and I am not sure I can joke my way through that, like I have been doing so far.

Friday, October 3, 2014

October 3, 2014-Rads and me, part one

Was told right away that I need radiation too and am dreading it. However, I am not so scared any more and sort of want them to zap the crap out of any remaining bad cells. I think that chemo and surgery may be the worst of it. 

Finally said the words "I have breast cancer" out loud. It still seems unreal. My counselor says it takes at least ONE YEAR to accept the dx, and so we have had no time to adjust. Unable to rally when I am feeling horrid. Remembering chemo will be over soon and on to the next phase, which is sure to suck in different ways. So. Trying to look past chemo but truly do dread the remainder of it. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October 4, 2014-Cupcakes, fried chicken

I have so much trouble 2 weeks post chemo. Most things repulse me, except of course for cupcakes, cake, and fried chicken. My onco said just go ahead and eat what I want right now but try not to gain any weight. I am overweight now by about 30 pounds. A gal in my support club posted about Cap'n Crunch, and that sounded so darn good-I have a box in the pantry ha ha. The only other thing I can eat post chemo is potatoes. So tired of them! Mashed, fried, tater tots, baked, boiled. Beginning to hate them.

I am walking every night and that really feels good. No eye problems for me yet.

Oh, radiation.  I've been reading the boards and it doesn't sound too horrible. It really sounds a lot less horrible than chemo! We can do this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Perjeta and Me, a Love Hate relationship

Let's get the awkward part out of the way. My love affair with Perjeta was brief, intense, lifesaving and ruinous. By the end, I will be broken in body and spirit, and longing for more. How will I survive without it, this powerful thing? Its properties are magical, immediate and astonishing. It will transform me. But like all transformations, there will be pain, unraveling and ugliness.

We are introduced by Drs. Nora and Silver on a hot day in August. I only know its proper name and do no due diligence and let it inside me with no idea of its horrifically beautiful force. Within 4 days, it has taken me over. My body is no longer my own.

The tumors, multi-focal, begin to die. The feeling is like electrical zaps, but does not exactly hurt. Intuitively I realize that something magnificent is occurring in my body. I rejoice because I know this is good. It's worth it, the nausea, the fatigue, the feeling of being overcome with poison. It cannot get worse, right? Then the diarrhea begins.

And diarrhea is in no way sufficient to describe the experience.

There is about a 10 second interval between urge and purge. There is no warning, no cramps, no time. Unlike normal bowel function, there is no freaking way to control this tide. Any attempt to clench my sphincter is laughable, and meets with embarrassing failure. My hallway will get lots of Clorox mopping, and lots of clothes tossed out. Perjeta may be a cancer assassin but it will make you shit yourself, your car, and vast portions of your home during the process. Soon I am calling myself Olympic shitting champion! I call out my accomplishments to my husband during the worst times, as I white-knuckle the bowl and shudder in relief. "And.......there she goes! She has eaten nothing for days, yet look at the river of crap! And the trajectories! The splattering! She's going for the gold!"

My husband, poor bastard, humors me by shouting back sick encouragement, then tosses in some air freshener. It repeats this way after each treatment, for months. So by the time we part ways, Perjeta and I have loved, hurt and healed each other. I cannot ever forget the time we spent together.

So......remember. Ride the Perjeta wave, if it is offered. It is like that roller coaster you are in awe of, yet terrified by. Expect thrills and terror, and to lose a part of yourself. But maybe if you and I are lucky, it will leave us with a little bit of something to remember in old age.

Now all I need is a flying house

experiencing extreme highs and lows mentally. How about 12 days out from my third chemo now, and finally feel human. I did not anticipate such drastic and ongoing digestive issues, just thought I would be tired! The never ending nausea is the worst. Nothing they prescribe, or any home remedies totally remove it, it still lingers, torturing me. Today it finally seems to be relenting and at least the Big D is under control. I miss the halcyon days of my prior excellent health.

I'm dreading the rest of my chemo but then I try and feel my tumors - and cannot find them!. I picture them like the wicked witch in Oz...skittering around to quickly, green and black and full of evil, with a winged monkey tossed in here and there. And perjeta is the rain! "I'm meeeeelltiiiiiiiiiiing.." Herceptin then is Glinda the Good Witch, and every wave of her wand (infusion) spreads glittery good health to me and glowing death to tumors and confused cells!

I watched that movie waaaaay too much as a child.