Experiences

ER

May 31st, 2019

Mood: Scared 😟

I went to the ER at about 4:30am this morning. This chest pain is something I have never felt before, very intense, very scary. I don’t remember all of the details clearly but they started with a EKG. I have had a CT, blood tests, EKGs and everything is normal. They are trying to figure it out. The cardiologist will be seeing me next, doing a stress test.

***Update***
I am back home now. After all of the scans, EKGs, a CT, x-ray, etc, all coming back negative, they determined that my pain was caused by the chemo drugs. I am having my 2nd treatment next Thursday so we will talk to my oncologist and see if any changes need to be made.

Feelings

Bloodwork

May 30th, 2019

Mood: Hopeful 😌

I am still feeling good! I went to my oncologists office this morning for bloodwork. A few things are high and a few are low, but nothing to keep me there to see the nurse.

I am still not used to the short hair but I won’t have it for long after my treatment next week. There is no telling when my hair will start to fall out but it will, there is no avoiding it.

Thoughts

Random Thought

May 25th, 2019

Random thought of the day…it is really hard to drink 1/2 of my body weight, in ounces mostly water, every day! It is an essential task while going through chemo so I am figuring it out. My Fitbit app is helping me keep track so that has been awesome!

I am still feeling good today so that is a huge plus! Have a great holiday weekend everyone! 💕

Experiences

1st Chemo Treatment

May 23rd, 2019

Mood: Hopeful 😌

My first chemo treatment went well today. We met with the PA for the first time and she was great! We had a few questions and she took the time to answer all of them for us. We also met with my oncologist who is amazing! He had the results of my Echocardiogram from last week and I have a very strong and healthy heart, so he was very happy about that.

My doctor walked us back to the treatment room which had 32 chairs in it and there were only a few that were unoccupied at 10:30 in the morning….we were shocked! They put me in a back corner which was fine with me because as soon as I sat down and saw the machine next to me I started to cry. It was another overwhelming moment were I realized what they were about to put into my body and it is very scary. Matt was there by my side and held my hand while I cried telling me that it will be OK.

My nurse came over and was yet another amazing member of the Center for Cancer Care team. She gave me a steroid, 2 anti nausea meds and fluids first. She chit-chatted with us while she injected the Adriamycin, there were 2 syringes, and she had to administer the drug very slowly to ensure that the medication was going into my artery that the port is hooked up to. Then she hooked up the Cytoxan which took another hour to give to me through my port from a drip bag. So all on all my treatment lasted for 2 1/2 hours so not too bad.

Once the treatment was over my nurse installed the Neulasta box which will automatically inject me with medicine tomorrow at about 4:15. It takes 45 minutes for this process and then it will beep at me and flash a light letting me know it is done. Once it is done I take it off and throw it away. Having this medicine in this form is wonderful because it keeps me from having to go back to my oncologists the day after treatment. Plus I am very relieved to say that I was able to get it for free which is amazing considering it costs between $5000 & $ 7000 per injection…by the time I am done with chemo I will have had 16 if them!

So here I am feeling fine 8 hours later….no side effects at all! We will see what happens during the next few days but everyone on my team is very positive that I will do just fine. 😁

Experiences

Next Steps

May 17th, 2019

Mood: Anxious 😏

Quick update…I saw my surgeon on Wednesday and he said that everything looks great concerning my surgery site. We scheduled the surgery to install my port for chemo which will be done today, Friday. It is a quick 30 minute surgery and it sounds like it is very routine, so I am not having as much anxiety about it as I did with the first surgery, which was much longer and far more difficult.

I had an Echocardiogram on Thursday and the results will be back either tomorrow or Monday. I am not expecting anything out of the ordinary in the results. The tech said that when I held my breath for her the chambers in my heart were opening big and strong and closing normally. It was pretty cool to see and hear my heart beating on the screen.

Thoughts

Health Directive

May 14th, 2019

Mood: Exhausted 😩

Another night of thinking about things….

I am thinking that it would be smart to call the hospital tomorrow and ask about a health directive, whatever is required in GA. I would ask my Dad but I don’t want to scare him with the fact that I am thinking about it.

After really talking to Matt, I understand that he has had the same thoughts about the cancer killing me, as I have. It could come back at any time or there could be cells as my oncologist explained that are too small to detect. I am starting chemo soon and I have a positive outlook but I can’t help but notice that nothing has gone as planned since all of this started.

I want to take steps now, if I can, to make things easier for Matt should something happen to me or if I end up in the hospital.

Heavy stuff, but things I need to think about if not act on some time soon.

Experiences

Cut & Donated Hair

May 11th, 2019

Mood: Sad 😭

I had my hair cut today…..8 inches taken off. It was enough to donate so that made me feel good that I could do that for someone, but it was an understandably traumatic experience. I know that when my hair starts falling out later I will be happy that I took this step but it it doesn’t feel that way right now.

Experiences

Goodies

May 8th, 2019

Mood: Hopeful 😌

Matt & I went to my appointment for “chemo teaching” at my oncologists office today.

Our first stop was meeting with a nurse at my oncologists office. We went over some information concerning my chemo treatment and she gave Matt & I a lot of good information about what drugs I can take along with what will be prescribed to help me be more comfortable during my 20 weeks of treatment. She also talked to me about eating before treatment and diet/exercise after each treatment.

Our next stop was in the financial office to discuss what drugs are covered and which ones are not. I was expecting some big numbers but not quite what she told us. She is seeing what she can do and I am getting some additional information from the hospital but it looks like my chemo treatment could cost us as much as $45k, yes you did read that right….sigh… Before we left her office she gave us a bag of goodies, all things to help with my transition from now to going through chemo….soft slipper socks, lots of lip balms and various natural products for me to use like soap and deodorant. I am very impressed with the quality of the items and it was a completely unexpected gift.

Once we were done in the financial office we went to the Center for Cancer Care which is a resource office in the same building where the Breast Center is along with my oncologist and surgeon. We met with the on-site rep for the American Cancer Society and she gave us a packet of information along with another bag of goodies that included a blanket, colored pencils, a small pencil sharpener and a cool spiral book that has a calendar, lots of inspirational messages and a few pictures to color. She even had wigs in her office but I have already purchased a few. As we were leaving we checked the basket of knit hats in the waiting area that has always been empty when I have been there before, but they had about 6 of them this time. The knit hats are made by members of a local church and it was really touching to be able to pick one out to bring home.

Other than the financial part, it was a good visit that just reconfirmed with me that Gwinnett Medical Center, my doctors and their staff all care about my journey and making sure that I get through this. There are so many little things that they do that are so huge to me and I appreciate it so much!

Experiences

Drains & Chemo Plan

May 3rd, 2019

Mood: Normal 😌

Today was a good day….I went to my surgeons office and had the 2nd drain and stitches removed….yay!! I am healing well and I will have another follow up appointment soon. I will also go back to my surgeon to have him put my port in for chemo.

I also went to see my oncologist and he gave me my plan for chemo. I will start chemo on May 23rd, the day after our 15th wedding anniversary. I will have 2 drugs for 4 treatments every other week for 2 months and then 1 drug for 12 treatments once a week for 12 weeks. My last treatment will be on October 3rd, with my reconstruction surgery sometime soon after that.

So why so much chemo?? Because the 18 lymph nodes that were removed during my surgery were all cancer, so there is a concern that I most likely do have tiny microscopic cancer cells in other locations in my body that are too small to show up on an ultrasound. It is not worth taking the chance to leave anything behind so I am going to have the most aggressive treatment and I am fine with that….I trust my doctors to get me past this.

My oncologist said that I shouldn’t have any problems with this treatment plan other than not feeling well at the beginning for several days after, but it is a double dose of drugs and that is why I will only go in every other week for that portion of treatment. He also said that the anti-nausea meds have come a long way in the last few years so my discomfort should be minimal especially with them giving me a dose of them when I go in for treatment as well as having a prescription at home.

At some point during my chemo treatment I will meet with my radiologist to go over the plan for my radiation treatment which will be after my reconstruction surgery.

Whew…..still a long road that could even keep us in GA for Christmas but we are all excited about the plan and Matt and I are very pleased with my doctors.