Difficult day

One of the hardest days we have faced as a family yet. My hair started to fall out Thanksgiving. Noticed it as I was taking a shower and looked down at the wad of hair on the drain. I immediately thought “those darned girls!” My daughters love to color and treat their hair and with Mary being pregnant a little hair loss is typical. I bend over to pick it up when, to my horror…it was MY hair!

Got through Thanksgiving with minimal shedding (blamed the dogs if anyone noticed). By today I was a wreck. It was falling out in wads. Perry offered to shave my head and just get it over with. In all honesty…we both sobbed as he did it. It was not easy for him!

Here I am pre-shaving (thanks for mentioning the hair was flipping out, Perry!):

Here I am with head shaved:

And with the glorious bandanna:

I do have a really neat wig that my dad and Carol got for me 11 years ago. I need to get it “reconditioned” before I wear it! Looks like my Lhasa apso on a bad hair day right now!

Thanksgiving and Hair – what a combination!

Thanksgiving was the best ever!! OK, one thing would have made it better: if dad and Carol had been there. But, they were with family out-of-town and I know they missed us dearly :o)

What was I thankful for? A ton of things but let me just throw out a few of them because I need to!

  • My hair didn’t fall out during dinner (yes, it started to fall out yesterday – day 14 of chemo)
  • My family rocks! I am the luckiest person in the world! The love and support is amazing! That especially includes Perry and the kids. 
  • I have the best friends in the whole world! I can’t even begin to mention specifics because there are too many of them. You all know who you are! Each and every person who has sent me messages, cards, gifts, food, love and even drool have filled my heart! 
  • Even though I find myself in the middle of a cancer journey – life is good. For that I am thankful! OK, so the hair is falling out. Happens to the best of us! OK, so I;m tired! Take a nap!! It really is okay!
  • I am also thankful for my job, boss and co-workers. How did I get so lucky?? OK, I do have my step mom to thank for that! I am surrounded every day by love, support and humor! And boy do I need that humor! And that incloudes the kids at the school!

I love each and everyone of you!! Yes, feeling a bit emotional today. The hair loss has me a bit thrown for a loop. NOT ready for this.

Pictures from Turkey Day!! Of course my camera battery died so I only got a couple photos. Darn! I LOVE Holiday Family around-the-table pictures!

Aunt Rita and her friend, Don
Joe, Perry, Don, Rita & Mary Beth (friend Ashley in foreground)

Baby Shower

We are so blessed to have the friends we do! Lisa T hosted a shower for Mary Beth today at her home – Melissa J did a great job getting it organized! Renata, Barb, Patty, Dina, Julie, myself and Lisa T were in attendance. It was a blast! Played a couple really fun games – and that comes from the anti-game-at-showers person! Lisa came up with some GREAT ideas! The mean was fabulous! Delicious sloppy Joes, Julies’s famous cheesey potatoes and all the fixin’s. The cake was so good I could have eaten it all (and did manage to snag a bit of Mary’s). She got some really wonderful gifts AND a literal Suburban load of baby stuff from Melissa’s sister! THANK YOU ALL! Here are a couple pictures!

Here is Mary Beth!

Playing “Decorate the Onesie” Game!

Check this out! A beautiful design made just for baby Cailin by our dear friends Ed & Renata!

One week later

Well, its Thursday….one week after the first chemo. I haven’t been the blogging queen – just not quite up to par. The first few days the nausea was manageable with the meds but it was there. Kind of like getting off a ride at the amusement park and needing a brief moment to catch your breath and balance.

I did end up with a sinus infection. Monday at work was rough – I just didn’t feel well but wrote it off to the chemo. On Tuesday it started to hit me that I felt as if I had a sinus infection. The pressure, head ache, teeth hurting…called Dr. Garino’s office and they got me Z-Pack (antibiotic). I started it Tuesday so his is the 3rd day. I definately feel better…. but still slightly blechy.

So, in a nut shell….hair still attached, nausea really getting better (in fact I only take my Zofran at night now), still hungrier than a Hippo (so no fear of me withering away anytime soon)….and the fatigue is amazing! Hits me like a brink wall around noon. But, I am blessed to have a great family who really understands that when I get home from work I need to get to bed! OK, so maybe I’m blessed with a family smart enough to keep their mouths shut whether they understand or no! :o)

Hope you have a good Thursday!

I now have chemo brain

Well, I am happy to announce I haven’t gotten it by the nausea! So far. Went in to the clinic for my injection of Neulasta this afternoon (just gotta love the side effect of bone pain). They said the arthritis in my back (which is apparently getting worse according to the CT Scan) might flare up. Oh goodie! BUT – I can call them if I need any good drugs. :o)

The only real issues right now is the fact I have to set my alarm for 1 AM to take my Zofran. Needed the Vicodin for my darned port. Kind of sore! I guess the fact they accessed it the day after it was inserted may have had something to do with that! Today they called in Ativan so I can try to get some sleep and for the break through nausea they said can still happen within the next couple days. Drinking tons of water and Ginger Ale.

I also have the darned cytoxin head ache. It’s the same as I had last time. Feels like a major sinus head ache that Benadryl doesn’t touch. BUT – if this is the worst of it so far that is AOK!

Next chemo is set for December 3rd.

1st Round of Chemo Done!

The appointment started at 1:15. After the preliminary paperwork and explainations the Dexamethasone (steroid) was administered via IV. From now on I’ll take it orally the day before, the of chemo and the day after. This is to ward off the potential allergic reaction to the taxotere and to help with nausea.

I then had the taxotere infusion which took about an hour. Followed by the Cytoxin which was 65 minutes.

During the dripping :o) I read a bit, looked over the information on the meds I was getting and chatted with the chemo nurses. Very nice folks there!

I was off at about 4:40. I have to go on tomorrow for an injection of Neulasta which is a white blood cell booster. Mary and I stopped to pick  up my meds (Zofran is the most important for nausea control). Took it right away.

I’ll write more tomorrow or whenever I feel better. One of the side effects I had gotten from the cytoxin last time was a strange tingly head ache and some sinus stuff. Feeling that now. I’m pretty tired as well. I know I need to get some rest and stay hydrated to avoid the urka gurkas! LOL More to come!

1 down 3 to go!

Port is in and chemo begins

Yesterday afternoon I had a same-day surgery procedure to have my port inserted. It is technically called a Groshong Catheter. If you want to read more you can checck out this web site as well:  “Your port advantage.”

The procedure was about 40 minutes loing and I was pretty heavily sedated (kind of nice) but awake. Very easy recovery. Thanks to Sally S we had pizza for dinner! Thank goodness because I was STARVING!!

Today it feels like I have a heavy weight pulling down on my shoulder/arm on the side the port was put it. The Vicodin help! LOL

In about 1 hour and 45 minutes I’ll be at the clinic getting ready for my first chemo. Taxotere and Cytoxin. Cassie brought be all the episodes of season 1 through 5 of “House” to watch during the 3 hour time it takes for the meds to drip in. I have tomorrow off so I can gage how I’m going to repond for future treatments.

Talk yo you all later!!

CT Scan

It took all of 5 minutes to do! Pretty painless. OK, totally painless. The only gross part was the barium I had to drink. Of course the dye they inject was weird! Made me feel a bit sick to my stomach.

I’ve spent the last few days feeling like I was going to throw up (and eventually did). In the end it was the test itself making me sick. Just the thought of it. I feel pretty good now! Results are what should possibly bother me…but that part doesn’t! I suspect I’ll get results fairly soon!

Already and update!

Wow! Talk about quick! The oncology nurse (Gail) already called and let me know I will NOT be having Herceptin…that means I’ll have the 4 rounds of chemo totally 12 weeks. I’m a little disappointed that I do not qualify for the Heceptin…it would have reduced my risk of another cancer even more…but it is as it is and it WON’T be a year long!

Saw The Oncologist today

I met with my Oncologist this afternoon. Dr. Garino. I love her! Beautiful Italian accent (I think). She took a lot of time with me and explained everything so I understood what was to come. Even though I’ve had my pathology report I decided to not look into it too closely in fear of driving myself nuts needing answers sooner than I could get them. With that said….there are a few suprises.

#1:  This is a NEW priamary cancer. Just my luck! I was hoping it was a recurrence. Who the heck wants ANOTHER cancer? But – it isn’t a metastatic cancer so THAT part is good!

#2:  Although the two tumors (which again is rare) were smaller than the original (which was 2.6 cm) they are still big enough to indicate chemo (one was 1.7 cm and the other 1.8). 1 cm is the “cut off” so to speak.

#3:  Both tumors are ER/PR positive which is good! Although grade 3 having them ER/PR positive means they are “easier” to treat. Last time I was basically negative for both.

#4:  Her2Neu is another test they run on the tumors and basically meaures the expression of certain hormones or chemicals or whatever. One tumor was negative bt the other is “2+” which means MAYBE I am a candidate for Herceptin – a ground breaking chemo drug that has really changed bc in the last 5 years. We are waiting for a clarification on the results to determine IF I can have it or not.

What this all means….after a slew of tests this week (MUGA scan and CT scan as well as the placement of a port) I will begin chemo on Thursday, November 12 at 1:15 pm. It’s a three hour infusuion. For sure I’ll have Taxotere and Cytoxin. Herceptin might be added dependent on the results of the Her2Neu results. If no Herceptin I’ll have a total of 4 rounds of the T/C meds once every three weeks. If I do have the Herceptin it’ll be the T/C + H once every three weeks for 6 rounds followed by Herceptin itself every three weeks for a total of a year. Hmmm….long time!

So, in a nutshell things just might suck for a bit! BUT – I have so many people behind me and a great group of folks I work with willing to help me as they can. We’ll just take it one day at a time!