Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Beginning of a New Stage in Treatment

Let's see, it's been a couple of weeks since I posted an update as there really hasn't been much to post about.  On September 13th, Jim and I flew out to Phoenix for a much needed vacation.  It was planned about a year ago, but the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  We had a wonderful time.  It was nice and hot, we saw great scenery, had prickly pear ice cream, and just relaxed.  The best part was that there were no doctor appointments and we could almost forget about the cancer for the week.

Last week, I had my colonoscopy to make sure that the issues that I have been having with my colitis weren't anything major.  Thankfully they aren't and it is really seeming like the addition of a new med is helping.  I've only been on it since Saturday and I am seeing major improvement.  Most importantly, the searing pain that I've been in has lessened considerably.

So that brings us to today and the start of chemo.  I'm not feeling stressed about it per se, but my emotions are a bit off, if that makes any sense.  I have to be at the hospital at 8:30 for blood work and then I meet with the Physicians Assistant.  I'm a little concerned about meeting with her.  I've only dealt with PAs twice, and the first time was a really bad experience filled with some not quite accurate information, so I'm still a bit apprehensive about their abilities.  I guess, that just like there are doctors that aren't good, you'll have the same with PAs and I need to quit judging them all by the one.

After the two appointments (and they are scheduled back to back), I start my chemo.  It seems that they do the first chemo very slowly, so I will be there all day.  Thankfully Jim will be with me.  We'll also need to be kept separate from the rest of the patients.  For some reason, people think that bringing animals in to hospitals is a good thing.  Unfortunately, for someone that is majorly allergic to dogs, this can be very dangerous.  But, I'm beginning to think that people don't think logically anymore when it comes to animals.  Okay, rant over about that :)

So that's all that is going on.  I'll post about how chemo went in the next couple of days.  I'm a bit curious as to how my body will react.

Oh and for those of you following Bloom County, I am one of those neanderthals that put two spaces after a period when I type.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Appointments, Appointments, Appointments

Well, I finally have almost all of my pre-chemo appointments made, and one after chemo one as well.

On top of the cancer, I also deal with ulcerative colitis, and I've been having some issues lately with that, so a colonoscopy has been scheduled before my chemo.  If they need to do anything additional it will have to be coordinated for a time when my white blood cell counts are up.  Radiation Oncology will now happen after my first chemo, just by a day, but that's fine as any radiation would be after I'm done with chemo.  All that's left to do is schedule my echo and get blood drawn.  I also need to make an appointment for a wig.  We went last night, but I didn't like the place.  They didn't seem to listen to me, never asked my preference, and completely ignored Jim.

Chemo will start on September 30th.  The first treatment is 7 hours long.  We will need to have plenty of books to read :)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Plastic Surgery and Oncology

post signatureIt's taken me a bit to write this post.  First, I just needed time to process both doctor appointments - it's one thing to have an idea of something happening - it's another to be told that it would happen.  And second, I needed to have time to sit and put this all into words.

Jim and I met with the plastic surgeon to discuss my options with regards to plastic surgery.  Basically, the two options that I was considering was something called a DIEP Flap surgery and reconstruction using implants.  The DIEP Flap surgery would have used fat from my abdomen, but, for a number of reasons, we decided that it wasn't the best option.  So at this point we're planning on a two stage reconstruction using implants.  I will have my mastectomy and then a tissue expander will be put in.  The way that it was described to me is that it's almost like a saline filled balloon and I'll go every one to two weeks to have more saline injected into it until it is the size that we want.  Then I will have a second surgery to have the permanent implant put in as well as surgery on the remaining breast so that they look the same.

It was a bit odd, I had a somewhat major meltdown after we left the surgeon's office.  I'm not quite sure why, but I was a wreck.  Yet another reason that I was glad that Jim went with me.

However, none of that will happen now until February. In meeting with the oncologist - who is great - it was decided that I needed to be treated for being HER2 positive.  The treatment is started along with a round of chemo.  I will go every three weeks, for 6 infusions, so about 18 weeks.  After that, I will continue going in every three weeks for a year for the HER2 drug.  It's an antibody, not a chemo drug, and it doesn't have the same side effects of chemo.

While I knew that it was a possibility, it did take some time to process, and an evening of, I guess you could call it, grieving.  We have a few things to get squared away first, like seeing my GI doc, before I start the chemo.  We're shooting for me starting the first of October.  While I'm thankful that I only have to do one round of chemo, it's still chemo, with all of the nastiness that comes with it.  And, that has me pretty freaked out.  I'm good most of the time, but if I let my brain dwell on it, I get freaked.

Today Jim and I serve in the cafe for our second service, so we went to church last night.  The final song that we did is called "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)."  Man, did the Lord really use that song to quiet my soul and fill me with peace - and courage.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


We had the appointment with the plastic surgeon on Tuesday and the oncologist on Wednesday.  I'm still trying to process everything.  I'm also allowing myself to take my time and let the emotions run their course instead of trying to push them down.  Thankfully, I not only have a wonderful support system in Jim, my family and my friends, but I have a wonderful Lord who I can cry out to.  He has proven so faithful to give me the peace and the strength that I need through this, and I know that He will continue to do so.

So for today, I am resting in Him, crying out to Him, and bugging Jim at work as much as I need to.

I'll post an update on the treatment plan at a later date, when I'm more up to it.