Bad Right Breast

I've Always Hated My Right Breast!

Treatment After Christmas Vacation December 29, 2011

Filed under: cancer — Bad Right Breast @ 8:40 am

Treatment after Christmas Vacation

Yesterday, was chemo#4, the day after we returned from holiday in Louisiana. So if you’re asking yourself if I actually scheduled my chemo treatment around our christmas vacation, the answer is yes. Haven’t we met?

I didn’t blog because I finally uploaded pictures since September to Facebook, and worked on my 100+ work emails collected while away. And we didn’t do a meal list because of the hectic holidays & the fact we’re mostly covered by visiting with friends & family.

As for chemo#4, I’m being extremely diligent about medication & nutrition. Medication – eating Tums every 3-4 hours to prevent the massive heartburn, taking an anti-nausea pill at the slightest queasy stomach, etc. Nutrition – small portions (i.e. listening to Graham when he says that I’ve had enough), no tomatoes or peppers for the first five days (to aid in anti-heartburn), high proteins (to aid in healthy cell regrowth), high ruffage & fat-free (to aid in digestion). And as always, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – to force flushing of the system, so to speak.

I hope everyone’s holidays went and are still going along smoothly. Here’s to going into 2012 with a more educated mind, a warm heart and a healthier body. May all of your wishes during this time be fulfilled, and may you all find the enlightenment you’re needing & searching for.

All my love,
Laurie

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Chemo Treatment 3 of 6 December 27, 2011

Filed under: cancer — Bad Right Breast @ 8:35 am

day 1, wed – finished in 1/2 the time since I haven’t had any side effects during infusion. went to the office for a little bit then to home to start resting up!

day 2, thurs – 1/2 day at the office while I have energy, but I feel the exhaustion setting in at 11am, but I have to wait to get to the hospital for my immunity boost injection. I go home right afterwards at 2pm to sleep. Starting to feel the achiness, and nausea sets in. Thank goodness for medication. A dear friend delivers dinner.

day3, fri – morning meeting at the office, leave by 11am. At home, I can’t move. I start to feel abdominal pains, and exhaustion. I take the codine and regelin to ease, but simply need to wait it out. Another dear friend delivers dinner.

day 4, sat – exhaustion, achiness, exhaustion, soreness, exhaustion, achiness. Feel good in the morning, so make the family blueberry pancakes which are actually great for me to eat. But I must get out. Twins have a playmate’s birthday party and it’s good to get out and sit amongst friends. We go home, and I a little chinese food (which, no matter how much soy sauce, still can’t taste) and then try to get through the night of constipation (due to chemo and codine), achiness and stomach pains.

day 5, sun – feel good in the morning. I go grocery shopping in the morning, but have it all delivered. It feels good to walk and stretch my body. I go home and crash. Another birthday party in the evening, which we all enjoy. But once we’re home and I get the girls settled for the night, the achiness and pain sets in. It’s a tough night, but I get through.

day 6, mon – Still feeling abdominal pain, plus one of the girls have a fever. I stay home with her and we both sleep it out. But by the time the night comes, my head is pounding with congestion, and I have to do everything I can not to get a fever. Another dear friend delivers dinner. Once the girls are asleep, I nasal wash, take a hot eucalyptus, rub myself with mentholatum, put hydrogen poroxide drops into my ears, and snuggle into bed. Once the hubby gets home, he rubs my head with Tiger Balm, and puts mentholatum on my feet. I sleep all night long.

day 7, tues – I wake still feeling the sinus headache, but check my temperature (every four hours) and ensure that it doesn’t go above 100 degrees (in which I’d have to get to the hospital ASAP). I nasal wash in the morning, and feel better. I get a decongestant (not Advil, no blood thinners), and go to work. My head still aches, and whenever I bend down or put my head lower than my heart my head fills like it’ll explode! I leave work early, and take it easy at home. A dear friend from afar ordered dinner for us. Hubby gets home and takes care of the girls. I do my nightly detox – eucalyptus bath, nasal wash, drops in ears, mentholatum rub and snuggle in.

day 8, wed – I wake feeling much, much better!!!!! Fighting chemo and a cold! Now, that’s exhausting! Off to work!

day 9, thu – feel well enough to attend the festival holiday party!

day 10, fri – feel completely normal. We take the girls to see Cathy Rigby in PETER PAN at Madison Square Garden, and it’s completely amazing!!!!

day 11, sat through day 15, wed – all is well, and if you couldn’t see my bald head you’d think I was completely healthy!

day 16, thur – travel day to New Orleans. I wrap my right arm, the one with the 24 removed lymph nodes, with an ace bandage during the flight in order to prevent swelling. However, the 3.5 hour flight still causes swelling, and towards the end I’m the crazy lady holding her arm in the air & massaging it madly. It’s sore for several hours after we land and returns to normal soon after. The plane ride was fine, and couldn’t expect any more germs on an airplane than exists on the New York subway. However the second twin gets the first twins’ fever and we work over the next 3 days on fighting the virus. it works!

day 17, fri – we go for a boat ride on the bayou!

day 18, sat – Christmas Eve, and see old friends at mass. I wear my wig for the first time, so as to not draw anymore attention than need be. I realize that it actually helps mask me like I never thought! No one is looking, and that’s strange for south Louisiana! It itches a bit, but other than that, completely works.

day 19, sun – Christmas Day, couldn’t have asked for more.

day 20, mon – Large family get together in Baton Rouge, and it’s great to see the extended family.

day 21, tues – travel day back to NYC. Since the flight is an hour shorter due to tailwind, there is no swelling in the arm, just a little soreness. We get home, unpack and I prepare for treatment #4!

 

LIFE WITH CHEMO… December 12, 2011

Filed under: cancer — Bad Right Breast @ 11:55 pm

… can sometimes seem like normal. For just a second, then something like the sores on my tongue, a peek at my reflection in a passing store window, the deep sighs that help me catch my breath – they all remind me. There are times I use my cancer card, in fact as often as I can. To grab a seat on the subway, to get out of helping with thanksgiving dinner, to get out of doing dishes. But for the most part, I try to do everything I can, as if life were normal. But there are times I can’t. I can’t make it to the Beijing Dance Co’s performance at Lincoln Center because I wore myself out on Thanksgiving. I can’t go to the closing night of the solo festival I labored on all year long, because it’s the weekend after a treatment & I’m knocked on my ass. I can’t go to a late night avant garde show with my best friends because anything after 9pm is considered bedtime.

Then there’s the actual care of one’s self. Imagine the concept? See, while on chemo it’s hard for your body to heal. In any possible way, it’s hard to heal. A paper cut here, a bite of the tongue there. It all adds up. I think of people whose lives are changed by a diagnosis in which they must make a drastic change to their lifestyle, overnight and for the rest of their lives. Like the bubble boy, allergic to everything. Or those with severe asthma that must keep everthing pristine. I imagine it, and, as silly as it sounds, am thankful that I just have cancer. That this is only temporary and I hold onto that.

When I eat, I need to ensure that the food isn’t too hot. I already burnt my tongue on the first day of chemo by the first sip of hot soup. That was 6 weeks ago & it just now feels like it’s on the verge of healing. There have been other, shall we say, mouth incidents. A few ulcers, or whatever they are inside your mouth, have popped up. You know, those little sores that randomly appear, bother the hell out of you when they’re there, and then majically disappear. Well, imagine that they don’t. So instead of becoming obsessed with them, which is easy to do, I do anything to find a little relief, and sometimes if I’m lucky, a little remedy. I chew on gum or suck on a throat lozenge whenever possible. It helps to keep the mouth & throat well lubricated. When I brush my teeth I have to be extra careful not to brush my gums too hard. When I floss I have to make sure I don’t break any skin. Then rinsing with mouthwash is extremely painful, especially on my raw tongue but I know it’s doing its job of disenfecting. And in the worse case scenario, I rinse with baking soda, salt & lukewarm water, which is about as nasty as it can get.

When my husband and twins come down with colds, I become obsessed with hand washing, whenever I touch anything, use the bathroom, touch a door handle. Hand sanitizer becomes my friend. I start to feel like an OCD person who’s fearful of germs & can’t imagine the life. It’s tiring. See the slightest illness or fever can send me to the hospital for days, and on the verge of pheumonia. So I nasal wash the girls at night in the tub, and do it to myself, but not too hard. I can’t pop a vessel. When I blow my nose, I have to do it gently.

And now that I’m washing and cleaning my hands every 10 minutes throughout the day, they are extremely dry. So after each cleansing, I must moisterize. If not, I’ll get a small cut here and there, never knowing where exactly it came from. And when I find it, I have to watch over it carefully until it’s fully healed, ensuring that it doesn’t become infected.

When I cook I have to be careful during each step. I idioitically put my hand in the skillet to adjust the bacon, just like I normallly would. Sounds stupid I know but it never hurt me before. But now, I can feel the heat before my finger touches down and I wake up, as if in a daze, and remind myself I’m on chemo.

But there are times when I feel daring, as if i say, I’ve got cancer, how much worse can it get? Being a New Yorker, one always tempts fate, but when I’m on my uphill, I’m Evil Kinevil. I race for the subway door and stick my foot in as I stare down the conductor letting her know that I’m only going in one direction. Or crossing the street, jaywalking really and doing it in front of a cop car. C’mon, arrest me. Or especially when I bike, weaving in and out of cars as I make my way crosstown. I know it’s wrong, and even stupid. I know that I must be even more careful now then ever before. But it’s at these times that, just for a moment, I feel like I’m my old self. Before cancer. Before a label that will forever put me into a category and group that no one could ever possibly wish for.

So as I go through chemo, I strive to keep life as normal as possible. If not for me, then for Graham and the girls. The girls do ask if someone is bringing us dinner on certain nights, and they’ve learned that it’s when mommy has had chemo. Sophie is asking for me to tell her the story about my boobs less and less. They don’t even think twice about my bald head. But they know they can’t kiss me on the lips anymore, so I’m finding them more and more wanting to kiss my cheeks or even my head. They’ve mastered covering themselves when they cough, but still want to jump on mommy at the most inconvenient moments. How do you say no to a 3 year old’s love? You can’t. And when they’re sick, you can’t turn your back. Even if it means you could wind up in the ER. So I also become obsessed with checking my temperature every 4 hours when the girls are sick, to ensure it doesn’t go above 99 degrees. The docters cringe when I tell them that the girls have been sick, but what do you do? Not care for your kid? Not hold her when all she needs is mommy’s comfort? Tell me one mother who wouldn’t.

So the answer is that life on chemo sucks. You feel achy, exhausted, and sometimes painful. Nutrition is the key. Eating the right things – before, during and after chemo. What’s even more ridiculous is by the time I master it, I’ll be done, and crossing all fingers, hopefully for good.

 

Chemo #2 of 6 December 6, 2011

Filed under: cancer — Bad Right Breast @ 11:55 pm

day1, wed – a bit tired after treatment but I stop by the office anyways for a couple of hours.

day2, thur – I have tons of work to do so I push through & work a full day, at night I’m worn out and am thankful for the dinner brought over by a friend.

day3, fri – still tired, but in order to not fall behind at work I push through one last time. I feel the exhaustion take over & when I get home, I completely pass out.

day4, sat – I can barely move. I bring the girls to a playdate, thankful for friends who will watch over them for 8 hours. I rest & feel better. My eyes are bigger than my stomach and I eat what I want. Not a good idea. That night I puke. I realize I didn’t heed any of my nutrition advice that I did the first time around and am now paying the price. At least I now know what I shouldn’t do.

day5, sun – I take it easy, on both my body & mind.

Day 6, mon – I feel better & pace myself. Full work day & go straight home.

Day 7, tues – good day, work, visit with best friends & home. Rest as much as possible

Day 8, wed – slow work day, bring the girls to the rehearsal of the Camp Broadway kids for Macys, dinner then trip to Macys to write their letters to Santa.

Day 9, Thanksgiving – good day, but sad that I’m missing out on drinking. I never realized how much I enjoyed drinking on turkey day until I couldn’t. I throw the football around & feel good.

Day 10, fri – start holiday decorating, visit with best friends – LSU FOOTBALL!

Day 11, sat – grocery shopping, playground with the girls, and visit with best friends.

Day 12, sun – relax and clean the house, dinner out with the girls (friends not twins)

Day 13, mon through Day 17, fri – All is as well as can be. Energy good. Appetite good. Work full days, but still pace myself & am able to keep up with the family at night. I bike to work on Day 16, Thursday, and make it home in 45min! Feeling great!

Day 18, sat – Do as many chores before the holidays as possible! Full on grocery shopping, cook a large batch of red beans and rice to eat and last the week (start eating lots of protein in preparation of treatment #3), clean house.
Day 19, sun – another day of chores! 10 loads of laundry, cook another large meal (meatballs!) to eat and freeze, clean house, organize office, and buy & decorate the christmas tree! Ready for my downhill to start.

Day 20, mon – good day at work. The girls’ rug for their room comes in so I cook dinner and clean out their room to place it. Becomes more of a complete sanitizing of their room, and wonder why the hell did I start this at the end of my day!

Day 21, tues – feeling great. good day at work, good evening with the girls, and their desks come in. so of course, I’m intent on putting them together before tomorrow’s treatment when I’ll be out of commission for another 1.5 weeks. Take my steriods.