Monday, November 18, 2013

Halfway there!

It has been waaaaay too long since I have updated anyone on my progress.  I finished the first 4 Chemotherapy treatments.  So let's back up a bit........I had my first chemo treatment on September 24th.  I was rather nervous, not knowing how I would feel when done.  I go to the Roswell site in Amherst.  The staff there is phenomenal!  My nurse explained from how they would access my medi-port to every medication they would give me to every side effect I could experience.  Very knowledgeable and kind!  They administered a couple of steroids first which are for long term nausea relief, then I would get my chemo, Adriamycin and Cytoxan.  I would usually feel like a zombie when we would leave.  The following couple of days I would have to take steroids for nausea and they would pretty much make me feel like the energizer bunny, but would change my taste buds so that everything tasted like paste.  So chemo is every other Tuesday, total of 8 treatments.  I get a Neulasta injection the Thursday's following chemo.  The injection tells my bones to make cells.  I get achy, but I haven't gotten sick with a fever and my blood work always looks great when I go for my next treatment.
So I'm done with the first 4.  Tomorrow I will start a different kind of chemo, Taxol.  I will again go every other Tuesday and get Neulasta the Thursday following.  Not sure what to expect, but the nurses tell me a lot of women tolerate the Taxol much better then the first 4.  I really hope so.  I would usually get very weak by the weekends following treatment.  Sometimes it would be an effort just to get up to go to the bathroom.  My legs would fell like jello and my body ached so bad.  Not to mention the chemo brain you get.  Short term memory is very limited and sometimes you feel like you are sleeping with your eyes open.
I lost all the hair on my head.  Still have my eyebrows and eyelashes.  I'm not complaining.  You should see the pile of hats and scarves I have to pick from each day!  I enjoy accessorizing!

The last thing I want to mention today is about all the wonderful support I have been receiving.  The ladies at work surprised me one day by streaking their hair with pink coloring.  They hang inspirational signs up for encouragement and daily they check in on me!  I couldn't ask for more supportive work mates and friends.  My friend Shana and her boys participated in a Making Strides walk for Team Jes.  The cards, gifts, phone calls, it leaves me speechless.  I truly believe that the love and positive encouragement I receive is what keeps me going and keeps me thinking positive.  There are days I feel so crappy that I just want to give up, I close my eyes and picture all my friends and family and know that I don't want to miss a minute of my life.  It is just too fantastic to miss!

Till next time.....

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Surgery was August 19th and I haven't posted at all to let my readers know how things went and are continuing to go....sorry.
Surgery went well, I was pretty out of it and got sick when we finally returned home.  Gary panicked a little, called Roswell and got me some nausea medication to help.  I'm glad he did.  It helped a lot and I was actually able to sleep for 6 hours.  By the next morning I was able to eat and drink.  Tuesday I slept a lot and just relaxed.  By Wednesday I was able to shower and finally looked at the incision.  It is about 5 inches wide and extends into my armpit area.  The incision itself wasn't painful, just sticky from the dermabond.  The entire breast and armpit is what is most uncomfortable.  It is still difficult to raise my right arm and it feels tight.  I am to do exercises daily to reduce the rigidness.
Monday the 26th we returned for a follow up with the surgeon.  Fabulous lady I must say.  She said that the pathology report showed she got all of it!  Phew, what a relief!  I was definitely not going to be happy if they had to go back in!  It didn't spread into the lymph nodes either, another great discovery!  BUT....I still need chemo and radiation.  The cancer was a moderate stage 2 and because of my age I have to continue with the original plan.  Which I am trying to look on the bright side, this should take care of any cancer cells that are lingering somewhere in my body so hopefully I can live the rest of my life cancer free.
We go back to Roswell on the 11th of September to meet with both the radiation and chemo teams to discuss treatment.
I have to say, my husband and I live in an amazing community.  The Fire Company's Ladies Auxiliary made meals for us each day.  Local friends made meals, sent cards, helped with the kids and kept my husband sane.  Our family sent lots of love and support as well in many ways.  Not to mention my wonderful work family who have just been fabulous right from the beginning.  I am very blessed to have such an amazing support group!!!!
Kids go back to school Tuesday and I return to work.  Very excited to get back in the swing of things and to see everyone.  I am still pretty sore and probably will be for at least another month, but I promised my husband I would take it easy!
That is all I have to report at this time...I hope all my readers are doing well and if not, know this is a place to drop your lemons and receive some Lemon-AID in return!
Take care!!!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Plan....

Well we went to Roswell on Thursday and met with our breast surgeon.  I would have to say we talked for about an hour about treatment.  The specifics of the pathology report are this...I have what is called invasive ductal carcinoma...grade 3...stage 2.  Which means, the cancer is in my milk duct and the invasive part means it is attacking the cells outside of the milk duct.  The grade and stage are all determined by size, growth rate and various other things.  It reminds me of those multiple choice question quizzes you used to take in magazines; if you circled A you get 1 point, B 2 points, and so on.

So the plan on August 19th, time to be determined, they will go in and take out the cancer and the lymph nodes that is draining it.  At that time they will inject a dye that will show them specifically which lymph nodes those are.  They will send them to the lab to be tested right then and there.  If it has invaded the lymph nodes they will remove them all, if not just the ones that are draining the cancer.  SO...this means, if all looks well, I come home after surgery, if they remove them all, I will stay over night and have a drain under my armpit.....that sounds FUN!  LOL.

Doctor said it could take 4-6 weeks to complete recover, I'm saying no more then 3...I need to get back to work.  After that I will need to go for Chemo.  Right now they are telling me it will be a pretty high dose, but the pathology of the cancer will determine that as well.  I am voting for a port.  I really am not thrilled about being stuck each time I go.  I bruise pretty easily and I don't have the greatest veins.  This will make it easier and less frustrating for myself and the administer.

AFTER the Chemo comes radiation.  I have my mind set that it will be more of an annoyance then painful.  Radiation is an everyday treatment.  Let's hope old man winter isn't too grumpy this year either.  Hate driving in that crap.  I'm so spoiled that I live and work in the same town.

SO by the time all is said and done I should be posting "Cancer Free" a year from now.  That isn't too bad, right?  It will be a rough road, but Team JB can do it!

Well off to get ready for a family reunion....can't wait!

Thanks for the support and love!  Keep the Lemon-aid flowing!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Still positive!

I received so much positive feedback after the first post that I decided to definitely continue posting!  Thank you everyone!

Thursday I went for an MRI.  They wanted to make sure the mammogram and ultrasound showed everything that needed to be addressed.  They called later on to let me know that it came back showing no other tumors then the 2 they originally found.  Other good news that I received that day was a letter regarding my biopsy and one tumor is malignant the other is benign.  Gary wants them to remove both tumors, we shall find out Thursday.  I also received a packet in the mail from Roswell.  Reading it actually made me feel pretty relaxed about going there.  Of course there is a lot of paperwork to fill out and a family history part too.  Gary and I also had the conversation about filling out a Health Care Proxy, which prompted discussion about our Will.  Next step is an appointment with an Attorney to handle all of that.  I don't anticipate those items being needed until I'm at least 80, but at least it is peace of mind.
Kids are still doing well, actually the entire mood of the house has been very happy and upbeat lately.  YAY!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A day in the life.....

This is my first post and to be honest I'm not quite sure what to write.  I created this blog to have a place to post things about my life in hopes of inspiring others or just letting people know that they aren't alone and to not be ashamed of who they are.

I struggle with many things; being over-weight, anxiety, depression and the newest discovery, breast cancer.

It will be a week tomorrow that I received the call from my doctor.  I was in shock.  I don't think my heart-rate returned to normal until later on that afternoon.  Work was a blur, I mean who really can work after receiving news like that.  I needed support and fast.  Thankfully I work with some wonderful ladies and one in particular was there when I received the call and continued to support me through the remainder of the day.  She was truly an angel.

Lots of things go through your mind, especially the word 'cancer' over and over and over again.  It really is difficult to absorb.  By the time I got home I was numb.  I called my family and had to decide how we were going to tell our children.  At first we decided to just wait until we went to the oncologist and heard what the plan of attack was going to be.  That didn't happen.  I ended up telling my boys yesterday.  2 out of the 3 took it pretty well.  My oldest did not.  He is truly 13 going on 30.  He and I have been through a lot together over the years and he struggles with his own issues, ADHD.

So what is the next step?  I'm not sure.  We meet with the oncologist next week at Roswell and I'm sure all of our questions will be answered.  Do I think the worst?  I try not to.  I stay focused on the battle ahead and I know I have all the love and support any person could possibly ask for.  I have 3 amazing boys and one fabulous husband that need me, a lot!  That is what keeps me positive.

I plan on writing daily, giving all that read this a little more insight to me and my life.  In the mean time, feel free to comment.

When life hands you lemons they say you are supposed to make lemon-ade.  This is my version, helping others with their lemons is my way of making 'lemon-aid'.  Take care until next time.