Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chemo 2 and other things

So we discovered only after I was receiving my second round of chemo that what happened last time isn't normal, and isn't ok to go through. Hmmm.... It was either a bad reaction to a certain medication, or how two were working together. But, hey, I'm very glad to now know that chemo isn't like trying to keep yourself from slipping into a coma and being paralyzed for days on end. I was a little nervous about having to repeat that another 7 times!

We switched one of my drugs (the hardcore one that I had taken twice a day for the first three days) and I tried not to take anything else if I didn't absolutely need it. Don't get me wrong, I still had intense nausea and was pretty miserable, but I definitely didn't feel like I needed to be hospitalized like last time. I'm pretty weak today, not able to walk much further than across a room, and we are on day 5. Every day is definitely better than the last, it's just a little bit of a slow climb.

My hair is mostly gone. It started falling out in big amounts on the 8th, which was when I went and shaved it. After a couple days it all decided to jump out of the follicles and it was pretty intense. I went to have a bath and it just didn't stop coming out. I think that was last Thursday. It was easier having a buzz cut. My head gets cold even when a draft from opening a cupboard hits it. I haven't started wearing the wig my dad bought me because I've been a little too sick, but once I get into the swing of that, I'll be sure to share some funny wig pics. Bald isn't so bad. Unfortunately it's a little tricky to finally look sick. At least when I had a buzzcut people thought I was some girl with something to prove and that was nice. I'd rather have somebody roll their eyes at me than tilt their heads with pity. Gross.

Here's my darling Ian doing his favourite thing at chemo

This is what happened when I touched my head in the bath the other night

* * UPDATE * *

I forgot to mention that I met with my Oncologist again before Chemo even happened and when she measured my tumor and it went from 7cm by 5cm to 5x5! I guess that's a detail you people want to hear? God. Sorry about that one. Anyway, looks like it's responding well to the treatment.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

bald blogging is colder than non bald blogging

hair (less).

December 6th I started to lose a bit of hair.... not on my head, but in other areas (oh boy). Immediately I ran to yank on my hair but the same as always happened, just one or two strands would come out. My head had been insanely sore for about 3 days. Sort of like that pony tail feeling but more severe.

By Dec 8th my hair had moved up to about 30/40 hairs coming out every time I'd curl my hair under my ear or scratch my head. It started to freak me out a little bit so I arranged for a babysitter and Ian and I went to the hairdresser/wig shop to go have my hair pulled out and shaved up. I took all these drugs to avoid a meltdown but it turned out I really didn't need them.

We got there around 5pm and the lady took me into the back to this private room for head shaving for chemo patients. Which is cool and nice of them. She took some time and left the room I think to give me a second. I was antsy for her to come back though and get things over with. She asked me if I wanted to turn the chair away from the mirror so I didn't have to watch but I just asked her to get the frig at it. She shaved me down to a number 2 in about 5 minutes and my Ian sat there grinning. Turns out he thinks I have a cute head. Yeah, that helps. I wasn't too uncomfy to look at myself. It's kind of funny actually. We put on this luscious wig that my lovely dad had gone ahead and put the payment down on and went on our way. But to be honest, I'm a little less self conscious without it. Maybe things will change when my GI Jane hair falls out completely, but for now I'm ok with my head being out.

We walked in the door and June told me that she thought my hair was "so beautiful" and proceeded to rub my head for a while. She told me she like-a my hair like-a daddy's hair. Twins! Rosie just looked at me funny and then went on playing so that wasn't so bad either.

Ian and I went for a walk in the mall and I got stared at plenty, but it was just because people thought I was a chick with something to prove, which was funny, and I really enjoyed that. My bff Emily got me some snazzy hair bands and they're actually cute so that was pretty amazing, because I kind of look like a 12 year old boy.

My hair is coming out faster and I'm leaving hairs all over the place but it's not so bad now that they're so short.

Anyways, that's the story on that part. I know it's not too entertaining.... sorry for that but it's all I've got!

Also, I like Miss Vicky's chips and Micheal C Hall.

Oh yeah here's me in the mirror last night

...And here's my kid choking my other kid in the bathtub to lighten the mood

Thursday, December 2, 2010


(wrote this on day 8, posted it on 10!)

Sorry I haven’t been too quick with this one. I’m getting a lot of emails from people asking how it went and saying they’ve been checking the blog for an update so here it is.

They set me up in a hospital bed with Ian beside me in a comfy chair. There weren’t a lot of people around and the atmosphere wasn’t too scary. The nurse explained to me the two drugs that I’d be receiving. The first bag, the RED one (insane), would take 20 minutes and the second bag, the clear one (phew) would take 40.

She poked me in my port-a-cath and set me up with some saline at first. She gave me some steroids and an anti nausea pill. The pharmacy sent up the chemo shortly after – they have to order it right beforehand so that it’s fresh because I guess it expires quickly – and she attached the red bag.

It was freaky to watch this evil red liquid go into my chest. I still don’t know if I’m cool with chemotherapy to be honest. But we tried to laugh and be silly which we always do, and it passed the time pretty well.

The machine beeped and a different nurse came over and set me up at 30 minutes instead of 40. That kind of sucked that she wanted to rush me, mostly because sometimes it can hurt your sinuses and face if it’s stuffed in you in a shorter time. Of course, my face started burning and really aching so they had to slow it down. My nice nurse came back and checked on us a lot and we were fine.

When it was all over, it was about 3:30. The mean nurse pulled the needle out pretty hard and without supporting the port underneath my skin. It was really stuck in the port and she wasn’t overly gentle, but whatever, I’ve had two babies.

I got a few anti nausea prescriptions (one of them is a pot pill. What the hell) and we went to fill them right away. They told me if I was vomiting and couldn’t keep any pills down that I had to call the 24hr home care to come and give me an anti nausea shot. I never ended up calling. I don’t know why, my social worker is always pointing out that North Americans try to be brave and suffer in silence, I guess it’s kind of true.

I started feeling sick at 6 and by 8 was in full swing with spins and nausea and throwing up and the whole shebang. It was a long night and I had to take sleeping pills to let myself fall asleep.
The morning of day 2 sucked. I couldn’t lift my head, open my eyes or talk. The room was spinning and I was irritable about even answering a question with a nod, because everything was SO difficult to do. I spent the day in bed awake, but probably seemed asleep to Ian whenever he would check on me.
Day 3 was a repeat of day 2. Terrible to wake up and keep feeling like a train has hit you, sleeping through the night didn’t help me feel rested. I had a lot of dizziness that day, and it felt like someone was shaking me around. I started feeling lonely because I couldn’t communicate that I wanted company, and I was pretty bad company because I appeared to be sleeping, but I was feeling a little crazy from laying in a bed that long.
Day 4 5 and 6 came and were almost worse than the first few days. I had this terrible restless pain all throughout my body. It felt like somebody put helium in my bones and I couldn’t be still for too long, but moving at all took almost every bit of energy I had left. I had to jolt my legs or throw my arms up. Poor Ian thought it was crazy for sure, but my body felt like it was going crazy. It was pure physical anxiety. My eyes were open more on these days but I still couldn’t lift my head for much longer than a few minutes.
Day 7 hurt in the same way and my body was going crazy, but I was able to sit up for maybe a half hour at a time and could walk across the room without having to lay down and have a break.
Today is day 8 and I have more energy. My feet still hurt like when you’re tired and you can’t make a tight fist. I have to sit down and breathe a lot, but I can go upstairs and even took a walk tonight, which really shocked me, and I think I’m a little too proud about.

All in all it’s extremely hard and insane to me, but I know that it’s doable. My hair is supposed to fall out on Thursday and after that, everything should just keep moving forward and being the same.
Our spirits are up and we are fully capable of doing this. I appreciate all of your emails and support and yes I am incredibly lucky to have my support system, people have been incredible to us and we really appreciate all of it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Porta Cath (photo warning)

This morning I had a little operation where a porta cath was inserted below my left collarbone. They put the little mechanism under your skin and then there's a little tube that comes from it and goes into a big old vein (which they found from an incision OVER my collarbone).

They'll use this to give me my chemotherapy treatments rather than poking me every time or giving me a pic line (which the kids could yank at). When it isn't being used, it'll just be a lump under my skin, but when it is, they stick the iv needle through the skin and into the porta cath and then feed it in with a tube.

In my photo, it's got the iv in it already because I'll be having my first chemo a week from tomorrow so it'll be all ready for me to get in there. Also, all the hot pink you see is just what they used to clean me before the operation.


Here's a photo of it all healed

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So I'm getting a lot of emails and texts from everyone and I really appreciate all of them, but it's going to be tricky to write back to everyone without putting a bit of a damper on things since I'd be constantly writing about what's going on. So I'll set this up for updates and hopefully it answers everyone's questions. If not, feel free to email or text message Ian and he can let you know what's up.

So late August/early September I found a lump in my boob. Since I was still breastfeeding Rosie, it was a bit before it bothered me. I saw my doctor in Arnprior mid September and she figured it was the same thing but said if it lasted too long and was still freaking me out, to go for an ultrasound. I went on September 27th and 2 hours later my doctor called me to come back to Arnprior, and told me to bring someone with me so I'd understand what she was going to talk to me about. Needless to say, we didn't have a very good sleep that night. The next day we went and she said it didn't look good. It looked like a 2cm mass where I had felt it and a new one a few inches over. On top of that, she was worried that something had shown up in my lymph nodes as well. She sent out urgent requests for an MRI and biopsy and gave me a bunch of pills for sleep and anxiety.

My information was lost twice, but finally, after 2 or 3 weeks, I had a biopsy. It came back positive and I was diagnosed October 20th (I think?). We met with a surgeon days later and he said he would have to remove the whole breast and that I would have to have chemo afterwards. The MRI came another couple days later and when I went back for my last meeting with the surgeon, he told me that it was bigger than he thought (the MRI said about 6 cm on the main lump) and that the best choice would be chemo first. It threw me for a bit of a loop because I had already taken a class on how to take care of myself after surgery and what to expect and stuff. I had put chemo out of my head so that I could just focus on one thing at a time.

I had to leave the Civic and the care of my lovely surgeon, amazing nurse and fantastic social worker for a new team that sucks in comparison. My oncologist measured again and said it was actually 7cm by 5cm. The general is yucky. It's grey and cold and nobody is overly nice or caring. But I don't need to get into that. The point is, it has to happen there, so I'm going to suck it up and do it there.

They have to insert this thing below my collar bone that I think goes directly into a vein so that when I get chemo, they don't have to poke me all the time, and it's a lot more helpful apparently for people with young kids. I will be having 8 rounds of chemo, one every 3 weeks (based on good blood work beforehand) and will go for 24 weeks. The first 4 treatments will be an hour long and the last four will be a bit longer because they will be including a HER2 block (it's a hormone that makes this particular cancer grow). After chemo finishes, I will continue to go to have the HER2 thing for 14 months. Or I guess 13ish by then. But 4 weeks after my last chemotherapy, I will go ahead with the surgery and have mastectomy with lymph node removal as well. Radiation will happen some time after that.

Anyways, hopefully that's enough info for everybody. It's all I know for now. Thanks for all the support and well-wishes.

Friday, July 9, 2010

That's mine, I made that!

So how many is too many anyway?

It's a tricky thing when my husband and I talk about having more children. We have both always said we wanted to have a hundred babies together (realistically, four). Now that we have two, it gets kind of tricky picturing it being any more hectic around here.

Because of a recent visit to our friendly neighbourhood paediatrician, my husband has gotten cold feet. Scary Dr. Robert said that having number 3 will change your life as much as going from zero to one did. Great. His knees are locked.

But what the hell am I saying? I can drink wine again. I can touch my toes, I can spoon in bed without a baby hanging out in between us. I'm so happy. But I just can't picture not ever being pregnant again (or giving birth again.... rewind to May 10 last year at around 11AM and I'd smack myself in the face for that comment). I wish I could look pregnant all the time. I'm thinking of stuffing my shirt from here on in. But if we wait, how long do we wait? June is 2 and a half and Rosie is just over 1 now. Is Lola (YES, IAN, SHE WILL BE ANOTHER GIRL!) going to be a million years younger and feel left out all the time? And right when we get our freedom and we can go on family vacations and stuff, we will start over?

What's right and what's wrong? Can I be like that lady on TLC and just keep popping them out and braiding my hair and not wearing mascara? Today I like that. Tomorrow, I'll want to go buy a bottle of wine and have a smokin hot bath and drink half of it to myself.

oh man .... women ARE confusing! I'm over this post!