Category Archives: Breast Cancer

Surgery Recovery update: 2/3/2015

Drain came out yesterday! Woohoo! Nurse Amanda explained that it wasn’t necessary for the drain to be in as long as when I had the mastectomy because less tissue was removed/manipulated this time. So glad to have that thing gone. Still having to sleep on my back stinks, but it’s for the best not to mess up my doc’s work, or risk the incisions coming open. We all know how I hate that!!

Yesterday was a good day. I was able to venture out for the first time since surgery. First to see Amanda and have her check out my incisions/take the drain out. Later was an in-store performance by my favorite, Butch Walker. He released his album today but wanted to do a free, 40 minute set of a few songs the day before. I didn’t know until yesterday morning that I was definitely going to be able to go. Asked the nurse if I could drive, and she said as long as I’m not on the pain meds and felt like I could, then yes. I really only drove to Abbe’s house and then she did the rest of the driving. The short amount of standing that I did there was enough. I’m tired today, but it was SO worth it. If he had played on Friday, I would have had to miss and that would have bummed me out so hard.

Today and the rest of my time off, I’m lying low, doing some online training for work, and generally trying to rest. Healing is happening! Fingers crossed this is the last time I have to do this. Sucks that I have to be off work but I’m trying to make the most of it. Usually being home like this brings back memories of those awful 6 months when I was home all the time and depressed. To some it might seem like a nice “staycation” but for me it’s not so much.
XOXO,
Jen

Revision surgery 1/29/2015

jenMy check in time was 11:30 and surgery not until 1:30, so I stayed up til around 1am the day of surgery. I ate dinner around 10:30 and took my last drink just before midnight. Then I passed out. I slept so hard that I didn’t get up for the normal 6am alarm. I woke at 8 in somewhat of a panic because my middle son sometimes needs to be woken up, mostly this year he doesn’t, but I always check. I looked to see where he was (Love Find My Friends app for my kids!) and saw that he had made it to school. Whew! I went back to sleep…this time Mike had to wake me, because it was 10:30 and we needed to leave at 11. He said I had been snoring…a sign of how deeply I was sleeping!

We got to the surgery center at Vanderbilt to check in, then sat and waited. It wasn’t too terribly long, maybe 30 minutes or so until they called my name & took me back to get my vitals, ask all the important questions and get my IV started. One of my favorite parts of the pre-op stuff is putting on this purple paper people cover up (OK, OK, a gown) that hooks up to the most glorious air warming device on the wall. I could sleep at this point because I’m so cozy. Also got a swanky head covering and blue hospital grippy socks. Man, is that attractive or what? 😛

I met with everyone from the surgery team and Dr. Braun came in last.. when he came in it was around 2:30. We discussed all that he was going to do, and he marked all over me with sharpie. Then the nurse that had taken care of me was curious and had all kinds of questions 🙂 I feel good knowing I educated her on the process.

3pm they came in and got my sedation meds going, then wheeled me into the OR. I moved myself onto the table and then they started the process of putting me under. I remember everything (I usually don’t) up until they put the anesthesia into my IV. It was kind of neat… the OR is smaller than I’d imagined. When I woke up, I was very groggy & in pain, but no nausea. I’ve not been sick one time!! They gave me a patch behind my ear, and not having an excess of pain meds has done the trick. My pain level was about a 5-6 when I woke up but once they gave me some more meds, I was down to a 3, and since my vitals were good, they let me go home.

I feel after being through breast surgery 3x now that I’m getting pretty good with making sure I have all the pillows I need either on the couch or in bed. I slept fairly well last night, propped up etc. I usually sleep on my stomach or side, and even though I wasn’t able to last night, I was still comfortable.

I did have to have a drain placed on the left side where he did most of the work…they’re THE WORST, but much-needed. I can deal with a drain if I don’t develop a Seroma.

I see Dr. Braun a week from Tuesday and can hopefully get the drain out, and stitches. Oh right, I forgot to tell y’all that I have external stitches this time, to help suspend the work he did. I feel like he really knocked it out of the park this time. It’s so hard to get everything right in the first or second surgery. We got the big stuff out-of-the-way, and this is just fine tuning. He gave a great report post-op to Mike which he recorded so I could hear it later. I’m so thankful he did that! He also said that the scarring on my right side would be fixed pretty well if I opted to have nipple reconstruction. Depending on how this revision heals, I may change my mind on not doing nipples. The last 2 times I had surgery, I had wounds for months…so if nothing goes wrong this time then I’ll consider it. You never know how much you’ll miss seeing something as simple as nipples in the mirror until you don’t. I still plan on doing a chest tattoo piece in the future too
I feel like I’m rambling so if you’ve made it this far and my run-on sentences aren’t annoying to you, THANK YOU 🙂 Going to eat my delicious breakfast that Mike made for me. He’s such a good caregiver & husband to me. He makes sure I get my meds on time & writes everything down. He’s keeping the drain log for me as well. I am a lucky woman to have him as my partner in life. I know not everyone has that, so I’m forever grateful!!!

Last infusion 8/5/2104

Today was my last “chemo” (not the bad chemo that makes you sick, but a biotherapy targeted medicine that’s administered like chemo.) I’m all done! No more! We scheduled my port removal surgery for September 8th, which will be the easiest surgery to date. I’ll only be out of work for 2 days for that one. 

I expected today to be a long one at 100 Oaks because I had four appointments scheduled, and there’s usually a long wait especially when I’m to see doctors. First was labs at 8:30, then my medical oncologist at 9am, surgical oncologist at 11, then 11:30 infusion. I was prepared to wait wait wait for everything. Labs were done in a timely fashion (they usually are) but then I got called back within minutes to see my first doctor. It wasn’t even 10am when I was done with her, then they put me in another room (thanks Amanda!) and I got to see Dr. Hooks & was done with her before 10:30. Went back to infusion and got called back, hooked up to my IV & Herceptin started right around 11:10. Amazing. After an hour infusion, I was done. It was a little anticlimactic. We were talking about doing a happy dance because it was my last treatment, but all I wanted to do was hug all of the nurses and tell them goodbye. I hugged my favorite.. Linda. She always sent me cards after she would be in charge of my treatment. She was telling me how this is the beginning of the rest of my life. That because I’ve been through this, I can go through anything.. tears started streaming down my face.. I just couldn’t believe that the day had finally come to be done with every 3 week visits. I’ve “graduated” as they said. I didn’t see Jenny today, she’s the first chemo nurse I had, but it’s ok. I plan to go back and visit now and then. 

After we left infusion, I had to make one more trek down to the Breast Center and get a hug from Cheryl, the receptionist there. When we were going back to the Infusion center, she was busy.. But I couldn’t just leave without a hug. She’s been there the entire time that I have been a patient, and she always remembers my info so I never have to say my name or birthdate or anything. I thanked her for being wonderful and again, the tears started flowing. 

The tears are again flowing as I type this. I just don’t know how to express the feelings I have about this whole process. I know the ones who have been through it get it. I don’t know how to explain to everyone else, but maybe that’s ok. I’m glad that I’ve reached this milestone in my treatment. I’m forever grateful for the care of my doctors, nurses, the friendships I’ve made and the support of you all, my family and friends.

And now.. it’s time to “Get busy living” 

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Post Surgery Update!

So I had the much anticipated implant surgery on Friday morning. Got up early to take a shower, and make sure the boys were getting up and around so they would catch the bus for school after we left. We had to be at the Surgery Center at 6:15 for my 8:15 procedure. As I was to undergo general anesthesia, I had been fasting since midnight. No food, water, candy, gum, nada since midnight. My mom & John flew in late on Thursday night so they could be here for us. Friday morning they met us here at home, then we left for the Outpatient Surgery Center. We all got there and got passes for parking since the Valet wasn’t open until 8am. There was one other patient there having surgery when I was (different surgeon, obviously) and her daughter looked older than me. She looked at me and asked if I was having surgery. I think she was thrown for a loop because of my age. (Yes, I know I look younger than my age, but I’m still too young to have this!)

We waited until it was my turn to get registered and then I got called back for the pre-op tests. Small urine sample (good thing, I hadn’t had much to drink and used the bathroom before going to the Center!), BP and vitals taken, all the questions asked that needed answering. Undress and get into the lovely paper gown with the hole for the warm air tube to keep me warm 😀 They call it “Bair Paws”.. lovely invention, I tell ya! After I was all prepped and IV inserted, Mike, Mom & John were allowed to join me in the pre-op room. Hard not to have flashbacks to the first surgery. Somewhat emotional but kept those in check mostly. Had visits from the anesthesiology team, nurses and finally my Plastic Surgeon made his arrival and was able to mark me up (right after John took that as his cue to leave :p) and get me ready to go.

Said bye to Mike and Mom, then they wheeled me across the hall to the operating room. This time I do remember entering the OR (I fell asleep before this time last time because it was a much longer distance at the other surgery center) I remember getting into the room and getting some instruction but before they could move me to the Operating Table, I must have gone to sleep because before I knew it, I was waking up to people talking to me and it was all over with. The surgery took about 90 minutes as they expected it would, and I woke up with a surgical camisole in place to support my new implants. The new implants are much more comfortable as promised. Doctor Braun was able to get rid of the wound scar but he had to cut what looks like a smiley face on that side (Happy boobie!) and used the same vertical incision on my right to access that one.

I experienced some nausea post op due to anesthesia, which is never fun, but by Monday morning was feeling good enough to come off the pain pills and just take Ibuprofen. My soreness is very minimal, if any. I’m on restrictions not to use my arms excessively in the first week, not to lift more than 5 lbs (a bag of sugar), not to lay on my stomach for 4 weeks, not to have direct contact with my breasts for 4 weeks. No excessive exercise for 4-6 weeks. Had to wait 72 hours before I took my first shower. But the best part? No drains this time, and no steri-strips. The incisions seem to be healing normally which is a relief. I see Dr. Braun again on the 22nd, and look forward to hearing what he has to say about my recovery and what to do next. He did have to do some scar tissue removal and “sculpting” on my left side, and hopefully in time the implants will settle in and be symmetrical. I’m trying to be patient. I don’t expect perfection, but I do want to feel as normal — It’s such a tricky word anymore–as much like my old self as possible. There, that’s more like it.

I was able to come home by 12:30 that day and spent the rest of the time relaxing and being waited on.

Saturday afternoon was Tyler’s prom and I was able to get out to the park and take pictures of he and his date before they went. That was nice to be able to do that at least. I got some good shots and the fresh air on a beautiful day did wonders. I even wore one of my new dresses!

The biggest part of surgery recovery that’s hard for me is not being active. Especially after being home for 6 months after my last surgery and going through chemo, I like to get out of the house. I need to take this time to let myself be lazy, not overdo anything, and to enjoy the time “off” so that when it’s time to return to work, I’m really good & ready.

Thank you for all the good thoughts, vibes, prayers, love and light you all have sent me. I feel and appreciate it ALL.

XOXO,
Jen

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Surgery, Work, Anxiety and all the things.

In less than a week I will be having my surgery to get implants in, tissue expanders OUT! Can I have an AMEN? I’ve appreciated the look of the tissue expanders under the clothes to make me feel “normal” again (what ever does that mean anymore?)

To say I’m nervous would be an understatement though. I have anxiety about surgery. I had a bilateral mastectomy last July, and after that had some edge necrosis that needed debridement, creating a wound that didn’t fully close up until just a couple of weeks ago. Chemo not only slowed that process down, it completely stopped it…even reversed the healing of that wound. This surgery is happening not a minute too soon, although I am still anxious about it because my first one was 7 1/2 hours with everything they had to do, and the recovery slow and painful. The tissue expanders are HARD. They are uncomfortable. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have “real” boobs. I mourn the loss of my nipples. I want to feel normal again.

I don’t want any more healing issues. I’m sick of bacitracin ointment and gauze and tape. I’m sick of skin irritation due to bandages and tape. To say I have PCSD (Post Cancer Stress Disorder) would be accurate. I’ve since returned to work and work stress has sent me into anxiety overload. The stress was rare though and I’ve since relocated to a better fitting salon for me. I’ve had feelings of wondering if I jumped back into work too quickly, trying to gain some sense of normalcy in my life again. Then being expected to be “normal” all the time when I’m clearly still recouping from a stressful 6-9 months? It’s all just too much sometimes and tears want to spring up just typing this. I should seek therapy. Bless my husband…he’s heard it all and even felt it directed at him although it’s never intentional. He’s still madly in love with me and not running for the hills. Yay for patient loving men! I’ve felt like a raving lunatic at times. Pretty sure I’m blaming Tamoxifen for that one. Oh yeah, and the fact that I’m a cancer patient but I “Look so good.. handling it so well…taking it like a champ…am an inspiration…staying so positive…” Sure I am upbeat and happy but I am not perfect and I lose my cool sometimes, especially when people act like nothing should be wrong with me and why are you acting so strange? Please be patient with me, y’all. Cancer is hell and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. In fact, if my worst enemy had cancer I’d cry with her too because I know what she’d be facing. (Just kidding, I don’t have enemies!)

I do have an appointment on the 10th to see my Primary Care doc, and I will be talking to her about all the feelings and the anxiety. She knows about some of it though. I was supposed to see her last month but that appointment got canceled due to weather. My surgery is the very next day, at 6am. It should be a 90 minute procedure, in and out. Wham, bam thank you ma’am and I should be good as new (not really) and ready to go home that day.

Let’s hope and pray for no surprises this time around, shall we?
XOXO,
Jen

A New Normal

It’s been just under 2 months since I returned to work & life is beginning to feel like a new normal again. I go for my 3rd Herceptin only infusion & visit with my medical oncologist tomorrow. I was supposed to have the wound on my left side stitched up about 3 weeks ago, but it was healing on its own so we postponed that. Now it’s VERY VERY small & will be closed within a few days. I’m glad I opted against that procedure. I love seeing all that new pink skin that’s grown there! Hopefully tomorrow I can show Amanda & can schedule surgery for my implants…. FINALLY! This process has been a long one.

My hair is returning! I have been buzzing it to a 0 guard though because it is still thickening up. The thin spot at my crown isn’t noticeable now so hopefully I can just let it BE for awhile. Yesterday was the first day I worked with NO HAT! Everyone just thinks I have a buzz cut unless I tell them why. I know I’m one of the “lucky” ones in that regard, I can totally pull off the buzzed/bald look & it’s nice. I do miss doing funky things to my hair sometimes, but the no maintenance thing is awesome. My eyelashes are thickening up again and I’ll have to wax my eyebrows soon too. Now if the leg hair would just stay away.. hehe.

Last weekend (Feb 26-Mar 2) was the first weekend I traveled since my cancer journey started. I flew up to Minneapolis to be with my family for my brother’s wedding & then “girls weekend” with my mom, sister & stepsister for Mom’s birthday. It was TONS of fun & I really needed the family fix. Not everyone was able to make it, but I enjoyed the time spent with the ones that could. Mike stayed home & held the fort down. (I LOVE HIM.)

Before I left, I went by the Pretty In Pink boutique and purchased a compression sleeve for my arm on the side that I had lymph nodes removed. It’s to wear when I fly or exercise, as a prevention measure against lymphedema. I fell on my arm on Valentine’s Day and had a huge (though heart shaped!)  bruise on that side.. never had any lymphedema so I’m being really cautious now about that. Better safe than sorry. The compression sleeve is kind of a pain to put on/wear & it’s not the most attractive thing in the world but hey, neither is a big swollen arm. I’ll take precautions any day.

I have been working working working except when we have traveled to Crossville (Mike’s mom’s bday) and last weekend. This weekend coming up I’m finally getting a couple days off (without having to ask for them!) and Jess & Carter will be here to visit. I’m excited, and hope the weather is as gorgeous as it was this past weekend.

That’s all for now!

Update on all the thangs

I’ve been back at work now for 2 weeks. I started a job working at Great Clips (love the company, have worked for them before) in Green Hills here in Nashville. It’s been quite the adjustment going from being at home all the time during the day to working 35 hours a week, but I have been feeling like myself again after finishing chemo, and since we aren’t sure when the next surgery will be, I felt it was time to get back in the game. The guy called me an hour after I applied, and I interviewed and accepted the job the very next day. My first day was January 25th. It was perfect timing for a lot of reasons.

My schedule is not set but I do know in advance when I’ll work. Sometimes I open and work 9-3/4 (or like yesterday until 5) and sometimes I work a mid or closing shift. I’ve been working the last 2 weekends, both Saturday and Sunday. It’s a given that when working in a salon like this that Saturdays are a norm. However, since we are open Sunday too, I think I prefer working those days. Most don’t want to work on Sunday whereas I’d love to have Saturday off to go do fun things with my husband & boys. Sundays are good days to work because I can make $1 more an hour. So I told my manager that I don’t mind working weekends and I can do both days but I don’t want to do that every weekend. If you need me to work a weekend day I prefer Sunday vs. Saturday. Hopefully the schedule will ease up a bit. My manager and the staff there are all pretty cool, so I’m sure it will work out great. Like I said, it’s just an adjustment for me. The salon is trying to rebuild after a “meh” year in 2013, so I am committed to helping them do that however I can. I do believe I work for the best Great Clips in Nashville as far as clientele and staff.. the numbers just need to reflect that! And they will.

Yesterday was probably my best shift that I’ve worked as far as feeling in the groove with the salon operations and my work *at the same.damn.time!* (running joke Mike & I have) I felt like I made great connections with the customers, my haircut times didn’t stink & I even sold some product. It was an 8 hour shift so when I felt like I needed a break, I clocked out for one. Usually on a 6 hour shift I don’t and it doesn’t even faze me. I can eat or drink during slow times usually but yesterday I really needed to take a load off for 30 minutes off the clock, eat my lunch, and just chill. It helped.

I’m continuing with my infusions every 3 weeks. The last one will be August 5th. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep my port in after that, but it doesn’t really bother me, so if they recommend keeping it longer, that’s OK by me. I love having that available for them to access for blood draws and thangs. I have good veins, but if I had them stuck every 3 weeks like I do now, they would probably not stay in great condition.

The boys have been great.. Tyler is taking part in a research study through Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital on sleep patterns, cortisol and melatonin levels in autistic kids. (Obviously he’s part of the study where they get data from non-autistic kids) He signed up to do it himself and we met with one of the women leading the study last week. This week he’s been wearing the watch they gave him that monitors activity and sleep (like my fitbit!), keeping a diary of when he’s sleeping and when he showers or swims because that’s when the watch has to come off. He also has been taking spit samples every morning and evening just when he wakes, and before he brushes his teeth. I have to deliver those to the Children’s Hospital on Monday along with the first watch from this week. The second watch he put on this morning and will wear through the remainder of the month. He’s doing so well keeping up with it himself! Of course the initial reason he signed up to do this was for the cash, but he told the lady last week that once he read about the study, it all sounded very interesting to him. He makes me proud! He’s still interested in becoming an Anesthesiologist and we’ve been talking a good bit about college prep. It’s so crazy to think that I have a kid starting his Senior year THIS fall. Just wow.

Hunter is in the stage of freshman year where he’s deciding which Academy he will go into. Nashville Metro Schools offers this program and I think it’s really cool because It gets kids thinking about career paths. Every student studies the same core subjects, but the Academies are for their elective courses, and those are categorized by what will serve their career path best. Hunter chose to go into the Art, Design & Communication Academy, and I think that is a perfect fit for him. He’s also joining the Debate club at school. Kid LOVES to argue, and loves to be right. A lot of times he is right, and it’s kind of annoying (I too, love to be right so we butt heads sometimes) I love this kid. He’s probably the most challenging of my three personality wise, but his strong will & determination will definitely take him far in life. He’s so creative too.. he could go into Law, acting, web & logo design, or whatever the heck he wants! I know every parent says this about their kid, but because of his determination, I know that he can (and will) do whatever he sets his mind to. Steering him in the right direction to where he can flourish is the trick. He seems to be going in a good direction, so this momma is happy.

And then there’s Austin. My schedule and craziness has not allowed me time to FaceTime or text with him lately and I hate it. I miss him so much, I just want him HERE. He’s doing well in school and still playing the tuba there, so I think he’s happy. I know he wants to move back to TN though. We are wanting to move closer to Mike’s work (closer to everything in town too) so are on the hunt for a 4 bedroom apartment or house if we can find one in our range. It can even be 3 bedrooms, if the one bedroom is large enough for Hunter & Austin to share.

This weekend should be fun. We are heading to our annual adult cabin getaway with friends. This time closer than Gatlinburg. I can’t wait! Then Monday, Leah (one of my Traniac friends from Australia!) will be here & we are having breakfast with Karen & Abbe. I’m glad I finally get to meet her. There’s a Train cruise next weekend that I can’t go on, and she’s touring Nash & Memphis before heading to FL to get on the boat with a bunch more of our friends. I’m jealous, but know the opportunity will most likely happen again next year. This year just isn’t good timing for me for that.

That’s enough of an update this time around. TTFN!

Life with cancer: Reality vs Fairy Tales

I just read this blog today from another breast cancer warrior. I could have written parts of this post, although my writing is not as eloquent as hers. I recently told one of my “Breasties” on Twitter that I used to think I’d just go through the surgery & treatment my oncology team wants me to, then I’ll be “past this” and move on. To a degree that is still true, but I’m not so naïve to think that after 2014 I’ll simply be “done” with cancer. I will always be some form of a cancer patient. I’m currently going through treatment. Once I’m done with treatment I’ll still have to have regular monitoring for years & years to come. I do hope to be cancer free for a long time, like my grandmother and my aunt. But I’ve met too many Stage IV patients who were in my exact same shoes years ago. They also “caught it early”, but are now fighting to stay alive as long as they can, and with a good quality of life. It’s not fair, and it’s silly for me to think that “it’ll never be me.” I’m not all doom and gloom about it, but I also used think that with the high risk in my family it’d probably still never happen to me. However, I was unlucky and it happened to me. It would be terribly insulting to my Breasties to say , “I’m done guys! No more cancer!”

Positive thinking is nice & is so necessary. I AM a positive person most of the time, but plenty of people who are positive, hopeful & do all the right things still die from cancer. Don’t be ignorant when talking to a cancer patient. Once their treatment is over, the initial worry might be over.. FOR YOU. For cancer patients, recurrence is a very real threat that may not always be right in our face but is always lurking in the back of our minds. Just be kind and mindful of the things you say. That’s all 🙂
XOXO

Fun weekend & round 5 happened

I had an excellent weekend with friends. Got to go to a couple concerts & hang out with my Train buddies. Moose who is the bassist for FDJ & works for Train turned us onto his band. They’re great! All very nice guys too. We hung out & chatted after both shows with the band & their wives & gfs. Very good times! I also got to see the last 2 gigs for The Hollywood Kills before the lead singer Jonathon moves off to L.A. (Bummer!) the guitar player and backup vocalist, Brent is taking over though and he did a couple songs singing lead. I was impressed. I was able to talk to Brent after the show & tell him how awesome I think they are. I’ll definitely still be supporting them in the future.

So even though I couldn’t have chemo last week, it worked out that I didn’t have to miss seeing my peeps and doing one of my favorite things: hearing live music.

One more round to go. Just one more! I went yesterday at 8am for my labs, and since I saw my doc last week to report how round 4 went, I didn’t need to see her again this week. Around 9:30 I looked on my personal health account online & could see the labs were back… And my platelets were up to 78,000! That’s not a normally good number, but it meant I could receive chemo. *Happy dance*

It took awhile to get called back, I think another hour. Even after that there was a lot of waiting, due to being short staffed & having to manually push chemo for a patient ahead of me. The nurse kept apologizing but Mike & I just said we were happy I was getting chemo today & didn’t have to go home. She wanted to cry she was so thankful for our patience & our good attitudes. She kissed my cheek & hugged Mike.

We finally got to go home around 3:30 (after more hugs from the nurse) although I wanted to check out the Ulta store first. I actually still have a good bit of eyelashes & was overdue for new mascara. Spent a little more for a tube by Benefit called “They’re real!” I love it so far. Got a couple individual eyeshadows that I’ve been running out of in my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette & a face primer. It was a nice pick me up, shopping for makeup. Especially didn’t feel guilty about it because all was replenishing things I use daily.

Today I’ve only been out of bed to use the bathroom. Mike wanted to stay home with me to be sure I took my meds, drank water & ate good food. Breakfast in bed was a mushroom, cheese & spinach omelet with a side of strawberries. Delicious.

I’m feeling zapped physically but my mood is good. While everyone is talking of prepping for the holiday feasts, I’m focusing on relaxing & healing. We were so kindly invited to share Thanksgiving with a friend’s family tomorrow. It’s really nice to have friends here that will think of us in times like these & say hey… don’t worry about cooking, just come share our food & company. (Thank you, Jenn!)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday tomorrow with family & friends. Missing my family that are scattered all over the country. Love you all.

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4 down, 2 to go.

Had round 4 of chemo yesterday.. 4 down, just 2 more to go! 6 short weeks and I’ll be done with this portion of my journey.

Mike had that SharePoint 2013 Upgrade over the weekend at work, and a health assessment as well as his flu shot appointment at work yesterday morning, so he biked in to work as usual, but then biked over to 100 Oaks in time for my oncologist appointment and then for my infusion. It worked out perfectly, because I had to wait (as is expected by now) to see Dr. Mayer, so he wasn’t late for anything and got to miss out on all the waiting.

The visit with Dr. Mayer went well, she was happy to see my blood results looking good. My white blood count wasn’t even below normal range, which was nice. I know I felt better this round than I had the last 2 rounds. My taste buds weren’t even doing the funky thing they normally do. I considered that a gift!

I finally got into infusion at about 1:00 (only 2 hours later than the time I was supposed to but only waited at infusion to be called back for 20-30 minutes as opposed to 2 1/2 hours last time.) Anyway, once I got back and got my pre-meds going, chemo finally started around 1:30. We were done with my chemo in 2 hours, then another 30 minutes for the Herceptin. We were both so sleepy that we fell asleep during my last infusion. I only woke up because I had to use the bathroom, and woke Mike up in the process because we had fallen asleep holding hands (awww) I am so very thankful for this man I married. I see women coming in for treatment alone and it makes me sad. He always wants to be there with me for treatment especially, and I tell him “thank you for being here with me” every time we go. His response is always, “Of course, baby!” Words just can’t express my gratitude for him. Although I do try daily to show it to him 🙂

We finally got home a bit after 5pm and had dinner. Mike and I were both so tired that after dinner we just zoned out with TV and kindle.

I started reading a book the night before last. It’s called “Breast Left Unsaid” and written by Jude Callirgos (@judecallirgos on Twitter) We met on Twitter after I did a search for “Breast Cancer” which I do now and then, and followed. She followed back and we have chatted a few times on there. Her book is only 2.99 for Kindle edition so I quickly grabbed it. She was first diagnosed 6 years ago with stage 2B DCIS but it had also started to invade her breast a tiny bit and also her lymph nodes. I’m not yet done with the book, so I don’t know how she is now stage 4 but she is. Reading her book and all the pain she’s been through, the multitude of tests and painful procedures, the emotions (which I can so strongly relate to) has brought tears to my eyes many times, but it also has validated me so much in my decision to just be rid of my natural born breasts from the onset. The what ifs of doing a lumpectomy (especially with my family history) scared me. There is still no guarantee regarding recurrence chances, but I believe my docs and I have the best plan in place for heading this nasty disease off at the pass.

Anyhoo.. day 1 of Round 4 has been tiresome thus far. I woke up feeling DRAINED. Like total crap. Mike got me some more water, I took my meds and went back to sleep. The boys got off to school just fine without me having to leave the bed, which was a bonus. I got up around 10:45 and had some toast, but it’s not sustaining me.  I’m going to scrounge for some lunch now.