Hello everyone! Sincere apologies that it has been so long since we have updated the blog. Things seem to be getting back to normal (at least for these couple of weeks) and with work and school back in full swing it has been hard to find spare time for anything beyond Dancing with the Stars and Jersey Shore (no judgements, please)!
The chemo side effects were mostly present for the first 7 days. Day 5 was definitely the worst. I didn't have a lot of nausea because the nurses provided me with plenty of steroids and other medicines to ensure that I didn't spend any time on the bathroom floor leaning over the toilet. I'm thankful for this - I'm not sure the expanders could handle the heaving! Most of the side effects I had were soreness all over (like the flu), hard to swallow, sore throat, and generally a swollen feeling all over my body. The fatigue was overwhelming at times - but manageable because my amazing husband was more than willing to let me spend hours on the couch snuggled with Kennedy. I will be the first to admit that I slept through most of the Boise State, Oregon State game that Saturday - so you know I must have been really tired.
The Thursday following chemo I started to feel normal again and have felt really good since. Last Thursday I had my catchup dose of Herceptin. Unfortunately, they had a really hard time getting the port to work so I got poked multiple times. Finally, they laid me back and were able to get a good connection. I was able to get my herceptin with no issues (THANK YOU DR. SLAMON). I also met with my oncologist who put me on some antibiotics for what he thinks is a staph infection. I went in to meet with him with the sincere belief that the cancer had spread. He did not agree with my analysis of the situation - going as far as to laugh at me when I told him I was sure the lump on the back of my head was metastasized breast cancer. I'm sure this is not the last time he will see me with concerns of the cancer spreading. Hopefully each time he will laugh at me as confidently.
I get chemo again this Thursday. I never thought I would say this, but I absolutely cannot wait to get hooked up and get those chemicals moving. There is nothing harder than waiting around to get the "medicine" you need to kill that cancer. In my mind, the longer we wait, the better chance the cancer has. If it were my choice, I would have chemo daily.
In addition to the cancer-fighting-properties, chemo has brought on some other changes, some expected and some not. Unfortunately, with the administration of tons of steroids to keep my from getting sick, comes the appetite of an 800lb Gorilla. I can take care of a foot-long Sub and remain hungry enough afterward to eat a bowl of cereal or dinner within an hour or two. This lasts about 5 days after chemo and seems to slowly fade away the further away from the steroids I get. In two days, I'm pretty sure I took in more than 10,000 calories. Dropping too much weight during chemo will not be a problem for me. The steroids have also caused an insane acne outbreak all over my head and face. I feel like I've rewound my life back to high school: no boobs, massive mood swings, and lots of acne! Hair has also recently become a topic of concern. This morning I found my first bald spot. Not that I wasn't expecting its arrival: I have been cleaning the hair out of the shower drain for days now, and changing my pillow case nightly to avoid "hair in my face". There is usually hair in my food, always hair on my shoulder, and hugging someone usually results in me picking strands of my hair off their shirt before I walk away. I am prolonging the inevitable shaving. I've heard so many times from people who have gone through chemo that they didn't lose their hair or that it just thinned. I was rather hopeful I would be one of these women who walked around with a full head of hair throughout the process, however, it has become apparent this week that hats and scarfs are soon to become my best friend. One women on a breast cancer message board actually laughed at that thought of not losing your hair while on Taxol....I guess it was wishful thinking!!
Anyway, I'll probably take to the razor Thursday or Friday night after chemotherapy - at that point I know I'm far enough in that there is no turning back. I'm leery about posting pictures because I'm not quite sure how this noggin' is going to look without a rug - but we'll see what I decide.
We love you all and thank you for your support and encouragement. More updates to come!!
Heather & Shane