Category Archives: chemo

20,000 VIEWS! wow

Wow! 20,000 views… I am amazed everyday at the support I have been shown this past year. In honor of 20,000 views I will copy my very first blog post below. Ohhhh how far we’ve come:)

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INTRO to ME:

So, lets see… where oh where to begin. Should I start with the part where my life falls to pieces and I am part of of the worst misery of my entire life? Better not scare you off too soon. Well, a bit about me. I am a mother of 2 children. Kaylee is almost 10 and Sophie is 4 1/2. I have been married to my husband John 11 years this year. We live in Rolla, MO where my husband works at the hospital as a director. I am a stay at home mom. Clearly God thought I didn’t have nearly enough to do and dropped the biggest bombshell of my life on me.

Hell Has Begun:

Sept. 2012 I had my yearly women’s check up. I had my normal breast exam and so on and all was good. What most wouldn’t know is just a few days later John and I decided to start working on a third child. How fun.lol. Doesn’t seem like work at all. 🙂 Well, months passed and sadly nothing happened. My dreams of telling the good news to everyone at the Christmas table wasn’t going to happen. Dreams shattered…No big deal right? During December while laying in bed I felt a pain in my breast and did a self-exam…and there it was. The start of the longest journey of my life. I called my doctor just to let them know and get a mammogram just to be sure. I knew we were trying for a baby, and it was the smart thing to do.

December 17th 2012 I went and did my mammogram and ultrasound. I curled my hair, wore a nice outfit and was ready to do it, and just get it over with. I go back to the waiting room and all I can notice is how old every other lady was. What the hell was I doing there ? I am fine. This is all just a big mistake…right? I go back into the room and get ready for the booby squishing of a lifetime. So, I drop my top, and it all begins. I look up at the computer screen and there it was…a huge white spot in the middle of the breast. I went NUTS! Crying and crying and crying. I called my husband to meet me at the Breast Center and comfort me. He does just that. We are told a biopsy needs to be done. Sound painful right? Seems like some sort of needle is about to be jabbed into my boob…ouch. Well, we decide to do it. To my surprise they do it right there and then. I don’t even get 5 minutes to collect my thoughts before I need to start making decisions. I lay down while they proceed. It’s not terribly painful…but by no means pleasent. Then the wait begins. Painful and horrible I actually think the wait is the worst part. The night of the 20th I couldn’t wait anymore and called the nurse and left a message crying. I had to know something…anything. Christmas was 5 days away and it was all I could think of. Then it happened. What I thought was the greatest phone call of my life. 5:30pm a nurse calls and says the magic words.The.Test.Is.Negative! Yessssss. I cry and cry and call everyone is crying I didn’t have cancer! Praise the Lord!

No Take Backs:

A few weeks later I realize that my new iphone 5’s voicemail needed to be set up. So I did. 14 voicemails pop up. Many from the doctor’s office. So I call to see what’s going on. I am told something looked funny on the mammogram and it’s best to have a lumpectomy. What??? Why?? I was told it was negative. No take backs! Basic playground rules apply. Well, after being pissed off I realized I better just go ahead and do it for piece of mind. We wern’t pregnant yet, so I might as well.

Surgery, no big deal right? January 10th 2013 I go for my lumpectomy. I’m scared, I’m a bit pissed, I’m everything all at once somehow. I get through the surgery and go home. Not only am I still pissed off… now I’m in pain too. A few days later something happened in our bedroom. It happened with my husband, and sadly it was not fun… …it was sad. As he stood in the bedroom changing my bandages I began to cry. I had a huge scar that I didn’t expect to see. Then he cries, and now I’m hysterical. Something has changed. He’s looking at me like he never has before. He is scared I really am indeed sick.

Positive for what?

January 16th 2013 I am called by a nurse that I need to come in and have them check my incision at 4:30. I say are my results in? And they say…not yet. Okay, no biggie. I’ve waited before, it’s nothing new to me. During the day my mom keeps telling me to make sure John was with me. All I kept saying was “mom it’s just a bandage change, stop worrying.” I drove myself to the doctor and waited for John. I went back, they looked at my incision and John came in. We sat there waiting to see if we could go home or not, and here comes my surgeon. He walks in the patient room, sits on a rolling chair and begins to tell my the lumpectomy came back positive. The next words out of my mouth are “Positive for what?” Cancer he says. That was it. 5:15 on January 16th 2013 ….the entire world stopped. I didn’t hear anything, I didn’t see anything… nothing. Just me looking at John. A few minutes later the blood rushed back to my brain and reality was back. I have CANCER. How the hell did this happen? I am 32 damn years old. What was going on??? The only words I remember are: Aggressive. Mastectomy.& Chemo. He tells me other words, but I don’t remember any of them.

Time To Show Your Cards:

My mom was already in town, and my dad was coming through Rolla on business and was at my house. I had John drive me home and we barely spoke a word. We had a plan, I take my parents to the bedroom and tell them and he keeps the girls in the living room. I tell my mom and dad to come to our room and the only thing I remember is my dad saying “well, this can’t be good.” I sit them on my bed and say it for the first time ever. Here it is, the end of the card game. All the cards are out and there is only one thing left to do…it’s time to show your cards. I say the words… I.Have.Cancer. They look at me, they look at each other…and then it’s all a blur. I know they said everything inspirational possible… I just don’t remember. I was far away in another world where I didn’t have cancer. So, then it begins. We tell family, and we start to absorb it all.

Bring on the Tests:

We already have an appointment setup with the Oncologist who will decide my fate on the 23rd of January. We even have a surgery date set for the following day the 24th. The days leading up to this is filled with tears, panic, anger, sadness and everything in between. What a mess this was. God, just make it all go away. Please.

The next couple days I have many tests run, but the important one is the Pet Scan. You get inside this long tube and this machine is going to tell you if you are Screwed. Royally Screwed. or Totally Screwed. I did the test, came home and took a hot bath. Through the entire test I had this horrible feeling it was going to light up like a Christmas Tree. Cancer Cancer Everywhere. Well, as I lay in my bath John comes home and tells me finally something positive. The pet scan was clear. It didn’t show the cancer had spread. What does that mean? I don’t really have a clue. But, it sounded good…and about now I would take anything that sounded even slightly positive.

Jan. 21st 2013

Get Prepared!

I wish I could just bury my head in the sand until this is all over… but that’s just not reality. Sadly, the day someone looks at you and tells you that you have cancer doesn’t mean you can stop your life. I soon realized this. It has been 5 days since I was told this news and it’s not getting any better. I just need to buck up and get things done. And that’s what I’m doing. Laundry… cleaning… emailing … mentally preparing… etc. etc. I’m about to have a major surgery with 2 kids and a husband at home, I have to prepare. In preparation I had to send an email to my husband, parents and in-laws. It’s as follows:

What a crazy 4 days it’s been. Thank you to all of you who have helped, and will continue to help. My mind is clear that I want Dr. Voight to do the surgery. I have trusted him before, and I will trust him again. I looked into his eyes and I have to listen to my heart when I saw him look back at me that he will protect me.

John has been hiring pcrmcs physicians for many years now. Every dinner I go to I look at these doctors and tell them how Rolla became my home. How I hated this place, but then how I fell in love with it.

How the Doctors and their families and spouses became our friends. I have to trust my heart and know these same people will keep me safe. Dr. Voight said I just need to start getting some of these things under my belt and behind me…and that’s just what I’ll do.I have to give up control, and that’s not easy for a Sicilian 😉

I will beat cancer and maybe somehow someway along the way I will impact the lives of other women to self-check and save their own lives too.

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Babbling a bit….

Update: So, I haven’t updated in a while because I’ve been having so many feelings running around in my head, I needed some time to sort through them. Some of them are a bit kooky, so bear with me;)

Overall I have felt pretty good. My nerve pain in my legs is enough to drive me nuts, but lets hope that gets better soon. My fingers and toes are still numb from chemo, but I’m slowly getting use to it.

After my pet scan came back clear a huge rush of relief came over me. It was every feeling I had ever felt all swooping in at once. I was so over-joyed to be cancer free, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I started with a yummy margarita… and even got a tattoo to celebrate….but, was I hiding something?

So, if I truly am cancer free, how quickly can I move past this and never say the “c” word again? When would it be likely that my life would go back to the way it was before… or would that ever happen? My paperwork from the Doctors office states my last appt. is June of 2018. That seems like an eternity from now.

I have a retreat in September for young women with breast cancer that I can’t wait to go to. I have so many questions to ask. Most days I have no idea if my thoughts are “normal” or “far from normal.” I need to hear from others who have walked my path and hear how they came out the other end from it.

Lately I have even been thinking of destiny and what that entails….. and if I screwed with it? Did God have a plan for me and I just messed with it? Or was it my destiny to find my cancer early and spread the word to others to check themselves? As I remember back posting over 200 flyers around my hometown and even starting this blog. Was that my plan?

I did my self breast exams monthly since as far back as I can remember…..and then BAM … cancer. I found a lump in my breast 8 years before i even QUALIFIED for a mammogram. What? I’m only 32, this shouldn’t of even been on my radar. I think that’s why it was such a shock. So, was this all part of the plan? I guess I’ll never really know. What I do know for sure is that WE as women have to take charge of our bodies and take care of ourselves. We are nurturers by nature, but when it comes to our own Doctors appts. and so on, it seems to go on the back burner.

I will never fully know why this happened to me. Was I supposed to be a survivor or was I just extra pro-active… I have no clue.

My dad told me awhile back he had a dream where I was pregnant and it was a little boy. Was that dream my destiny to full fill and the Good Lord knew it?

I guess what I am babbling on about is maybe what I feel is guilt. I had cancer and get to live another day…and some do not. I’m afraid at my Retreat I’ll meet women and get to know them and then the unthinkable may happen…and they will lose there battle. How will I deal with that?

But then again how do I know my cancer is gone for good, and others will one day feel guilt for me?

My mind is all over the place thinking all kind of things. What I do know for sure is I am grateful for every minute I have on Earth. I do know how fragile life really is. Nothing is a guarantee for any of us, cancer or no cancer.

I have no idea what my future holds, but I have to believe in my heart I was left here for a reason.

Hug your family and your kids just a bit tighter tonight… for me:)

Here is a great video: http://youtu.be/ZYNOXRifXKQ

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Pet Scan Results!

NO CANCER FOUND! The greatest feeling in the entire world was finding out the pet scan was clear and no cancer was found. I could cry forever I was so happy. All I did was hug my nurses and my Oncologist over and over again. Now it’s time to celebrate!

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change….

So, tomorrow is the day. My Pet Scan. I lay in a chair very quiet without moving for an hour while they inject me with dye. I have no idea what it is made out of, but I do have to promise not to go to the Airport or the Fort for 48 hours or so after. Then I hop into a huge machine and do the only thing I knew to do last time….pray. The same words over and over again during the whole thing. Please God, have mercy on me.

This time I am looking for a sign that treatment is over… in January I was starring down the barrel of just beginning treatment. Ohhhh how far I’ve come. It’s weird, but even though my treatment is officially over…I still feel about the same. I’m scared. I’m more than scared….I’m petrified. I know what chemo is, and it’s something I never want to do again. Never. It ruined my life, and the after effects are continuing to ruin it. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy…no one deserves that hell.

So, my next update will be a big one….stay tuned. Say a prayer for me if you have time:) XOXOXO

P.S.- this is not my tattoo, just a funny one from the internet 🙂

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Over 18,000 visits

Almost everyday (including today at the bank;) I meet people that say they have visited my website. Many of them say that they saw my flyers up around town, or saw it in the newspaper. Every time I hear this I realize how far I’ve come. I took something that was so incredibly personal and stuck it out there on the internet for all to see. I posted over 220 flyers in Rolla alone that encouraged women to do their breast self-exams each month and visit my site for info. I am thankful for every person that visits my blog and learns a little about me, and maybe even a little about breast cancer. So, to anyone reading this…whether or not we have even ever met, Thank You. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me love and support:)

18,000 visitors since the end of January! wow!

This owl is a recent gift from an amazing nurse, and wonderful friend. She is a life long friend now who I love dearly:)

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Last official appt.

Sorry this is a little late. I’m still recovering from the last chemo and haven’t felt too well. So, this appt. was really important to me. It was the last one that was setup for me for my treatment. I knew I’d still go in once a month or so, but this one was the last OFFICIAL appointment I had. I also wore my “I love My Oncologist” t-shirt and my doctor and nurses totally loved it. My doctor was smiling from ear to ear:)

So, I went with my mom and dad and my uncle Charlie came for support too. My mom, dad, and I went back to talk to my Oncologist and heard nothing but good news. He said he was proud of me and how far I’d come:) I know in my heart he believes, and so do I, that my cancer is indeed gone. But…. I asked for a Pet Scan. The pet scan will show if I have any cancer anywhere in my body. They inject you with dye and you pray to God that nothing shows up.

I remember in January how scared I was to get in that machine. I had just found a lump in my breast, and this big machine was about to tell me just how fast I found it. Did I catch it early on? Or had it been there for months? I was soon about to find out. I remeber laying in the machine reciting “The Serentity Prayer”over and over and over again in my head. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” I was so scared. I never was more scared in my whole life. This big piece of machinery was about to determine my destiny…. and here we are again. I will most likely be just as emotional the second time around. I just want a clean bill of health. I know this test I didn’t really even need to have…. but then again I don’t think I’ll have peace of mind till it’s done. So….we meet again. It is not scheduled yet, but will be soon.

I also found out at my appt. that my chemo port has to be flushed once a month…and I DO NOT WANT that to happen…ever again. It is so painful. So, after my pet scan I will schedule surgery to have it taken out.

Overall it was a good appointment, but there are still some unknowns. I just want to get past this pet scan and really truly start to put this behind me. Overall since chemo I have felt like total crap. My fingers, toes, and most of my feet are numb. I have been really sick to my stomach, and my nerve pain has never been worse. I just want to start feeling better…and hope it happens soon:(

Thank you again to everyone for all the support. I couldn’t do it without you:) Will update more as soon as I know!

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Updates:)

So, I had my final chemo Wednesday and it is now Saturday night. Well, I feel like total crap. This is all very normal for me now, and lately it’s been taking almost 2 weeks to start feeling better after each chemo. This time I don’t feel the rush to “get better” like I normally do because I don’t have another treatment creeping up on me. Thank Goodness:)

I am getting nervous though. This Wednesday is my last “official” appointment with my Oncologist. He was out of town for my final treatment, so I will be glad to see him. I get blood work done and then….we talk. I have zero idea what he is going to say. I’m not sure if it’s a time to celebrate….a time to reflect….or a time to look into the future. I wish he would walk in the room, throw his papers in the air and say “it’s a miracle… you are cured.” But, I won’t be betting on that. My hope is he’ll use the word “Remission” and let me know how often I need to come back for check ups. I would be comfortable coming back every month or so…but not much more than that. I saw how fast my first lump grew, and never want to be in a position where I have let it go too long.

See that’s the weird thing about all this. I’m not really scared that it will come back. If it does I know there are medicines and treatments that can help fix it. I’m most scared that whatever it is….I won’t catch it in time like I did before. If I hadn’t done my self-exam, and we conceived a baby like we were trying to do…I don’t even want to think of the pickle we would be in. So, I guess I am scared after all. But who with cancer isn’t a little bit scared it will come back?

Now onto some great news I found out this week. 🙂 Through a new friend that was introduced to me over Facebook who had breast cancer, I learned about Women Rock For A Cure. It is a non profit that does a bunch of wonderful things. One great thing is something called Young Survivors Retreat. It is a 4 day retreat in Nashville for women diagnosed with breast cancer under 40 years of age. They do this mainly because only 5% of breast cancer patients are under the age of 40. I was 32. So, they pick 20 or so women and give them an all expense paid trip to Nashville to this retreat. Well the day we were to submit our application and essay I had chemo. And this chemo was a bad one! It was over 6 hours long and I kept trying to fill out the info on my iphone..but I just didn’t have the energy. Later that night I sat in the office all ready to get my essay going to then find out they had closed it because of so many applicants! I sat at the computer crying my eyes out. I emailed them, and sent them a Facebook message explaining everything and to please atleast give me a chance to apply. Well, the next day I was told I was able to email my info and it would be submitted for me.
Well, Friday morning I got an email saying I was chosen to go! Yeah! I have already been in contact with a few other ladies going. When we message each other our stories all sound so much alike it’s scary. I can’t wait to go and learn about all these women.

Anyhow, my legs are throbbing from nerve pain and I need to take a bath… so I will end it here. Like everyday, there are ups and there are downs. This is no different after you are diagnosed with cancer. Each and every day is a gift from God….and I’m not going to waste a single one… cancer or no cancer.

Attached is a picture of a shirt I’ll wear to my appointment on Wednesday. I have really made a connection with my Oncologist and his staff. They were there at my lowest of low’s, and want to be there to celebrate my highest of high’s. He promised to “get me through this.” and indeed he did. That atleast deserves a shirt 😉

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