Thursday, September 23, 2010

From the Chemo Room

We are here in the chemo-room. I am just finishing up my first therapy with no reactions. I'm not looking forward to the weekend and what the side effects will turn out to be, but we are ecstatic that the chemo process has begun and those little cancer cells running around in my bloodstream can finally be put to death!!

Liver Enzymes today were only slightly elevated and have come down even since Monday. Thats good news!!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

09/21/2010

We have not posted for a couple of weeks, mostly due to time constraints and some small problems in our treatment regimen. Thursday I was unable to get Chemotherapy due to elevated liver enzymes. The doctor was not sure why these enzymes were elevated, but Shane and I are sure that it has something to do with all of the Vicodin I was taking to deal with the pain of the expanders doin' what they do: Expanding. Dr. Louh also wanted to ensure that the scar on my left breast is healing to the plastic surgeon's liking before getting started. While I appreciate his looking out for me and be extremely careful before starting the chemo, I am also extremely apprehensive of taking too much time to get started for fear of those little floating cancers that might exist in my blood stream. Friday and Monday I had additional blood work which showed that the enzymes have decreased- although they are not normal yet. I also got the go-ahead from the plastic surgeon to start the chemo. Based on Monday's stats it looks like I will be receiving the full chemo on this Thursday. I never thought I would be so happy to hear someone say that I "GET to have chemotherapy". Regardless, I'm excited to get started on this path and get this cancer out of my body!!!

Sunday's Komen Race for the Cure was amazing. There is something so inspiring about looking around and seeing all of the pink shirts labeled "survivor". The woman who I followed for most of the walk is a 20-year survivor. I noticed that I continue to look for survivors everywhere in my day-to-day life despite the fact that I'm unable to tell them from the non-survivors without their "survivor" t-shirt labels. I'm starting to come to the realization that I'll probably never be able to tell who is a survivor because the word itself means that they have moved on. These "survivors" no longer live in the world of breast cancer. Instead, they live in the world with everyone else - breast cancer free! I cannot wait to finish treatment and hear the worlds that there is no evidence of cancer in my body. I can't wait to take the first step back into the world with Breast Cancer behind me.

On that note, I was particularly inspired by a girl that I met before the walk even began. I have no idea what her name was or where she was from. She, like the rest of us, was donned all in Pink. She had a sign on her back that caught my eye: "Young Survivors: I was Diagnosed at 24". I had to talk to her and find out about her story. She explained that she was diagnosed after her first child just before her 25th birthday. She went through treatment and then had her second child. I had to ask her "how old are you now?". Her reply was 38. THIRTY EIGHT!!!! That's a 14-year young breast cancer survivor!!! I could not have been more inspired. So many women I meet are diagnosed at 50, 60 or later. To see someone who was diagnosed younger than me to go on, have children and put breast cancer behind them was exactly what I needed. Without that survivor shirt I would have never known her story. Every other day of the year she is a woman with a life to live. Sunday, she was a survivor put in the perfect place at the perfect time. I plan to fight everyday to ensure that I can also inspire someone with my survivor story. I can't wait to celebrate my 14 year cancerversary.

Also a huge inspiration to me on Sunday were my amazing friends who came out to walk with Shane and I. THANK YOU SO MUCH for being there, for getting the shirts, for walking in the pouring rain. You mean the world to us!!!

Much love,
Heather & Shane

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

09/14/2010

Yesterday I had surgery to have my port inserted. Everything went as planned. The port is somewhat uncomfortable, mostly the pain is in my neck where the tube was inserted into my vein. The port is directly under the skin in my chest, and will make it easier to administer chemo than a traditional IV. This was one of the scariest parts of the process for me as I have been dreading the port since they first told me about it in early July.
As always, Shane was there by my side throughout the process. I don't know how I would get through the days without such an amazing husband. Chemo will start on Thursday, and then the Komen walk on Sunday. I am hoping to be back to work and somewhat back to normal on Monday!

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Komen walk this weekend.

Much love,
Heather

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

09/08/2010

Before I start anything else, we want to say thank you SO MUCH to those who provided support, food, time, and energy to us as I have been recovering from Surgery. You have been the force that has kept us moving forward and you are appreciated more than you know!

Recovery from surgery has gone really well. The doctors are impressed with my healing, and i'm mostly pain-free now with the exception of the days following expansion. I stopped taking pain-killers over the weekend and plan to only use them as needed after expansions from this point forward.

Some days are harder mentally than others, but we are keeping our heads up in the knowledge that we will soon get through this and will once again get to focus on our future.

Monday, I will have the port inserted into my chest for chemotherapy. Thursday the 16th I start the chemotherapy process. Shane and I are both concerned about what chemotherapy will bring, but hopeful that it will be easier than expected. Shane is planning to take chemo days off to spend with me in the chemo room. I'm thankful that he is willing to be there to stave off the boredom that likely comes from sitting in a sterile room for 3+ hours. The nurse estimated that our first chemotherapy visit will be close to 5 hours long. Then on the 19th we plan to participate in the Race for the Cure!

While next week will likely be the hardest week yet, i'm hoping that I will be released to go back to work the week of the 20th. Getting back into the swing of things is hard sometimes because I don't feel as though things will ever be the same. Even when i'm sure that all the cancer is gone, i've heard there is still a lingering fear and anticipation. I'm hoping that returning to work and getting back into a routine will help to remind me everyday that I have a long and wonderful life ahead of me cancer-free!

Thank you again to everyone who provided the amazing meals during my recovery!