Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I was really hoping to get this posted several days ago, but please forgive me for not feeling up to blogging. Last Friday I had chemo #3, which means I am now halfway through this portion of treatment! This one honestly hit me a little harder than the others, but things seem to be on the upswing now.

During the first two treatments I had several hours before I started to feel anything resembling nausea. This time I had about 5 minutes before I needed to take my Compazine! Between taking the medication and eating some dinner it did resolve, but I was nervous for a while. I had a similar episode on Sunday where I really thought I was going to be sick, but luckily that passed as well.

Speaking of the Compazine, I have to say that I hate, hate, hate taking it. It works really well for the nausea, but for the 3 days that I take it my mind feels very cloudy and I get this terrible anxiety. If I am standing all I want to do is sit down, but when I sit and relax all I want to do is be up and moving. Time goes by incredibly slowly, so much so that I literally count down in minutes until I can go to sleep or take a nap. There is a different nausea medication called Zofran that I can start taking 72 hours after chemo and that doesn't give me those side effects, but if I take it too soon I could get a massive headache.

On the subject of naps, they are definitely my friend! The past few weeks I have been experiencing more fatigue and I'm usually pretty exhausted by the end of the day. Since I'm still working full time getting a nap in during the day is out of the question, but this weekend I made up for it by taking two naps. Each day. That's right, I now have a morning nap and an afternoon nap routine. And by Monday night I was still falling asleep on the couch by 8:15!

Tuesday I felt the usual "got hit by a truck" feeling all day. It continues to be my absolute worst day of each treatment cycle. Working on this day is difficult, but luckily not so much so that I have to stay home (I think I really might go crazy if that happens). I had my Neulasta injection yesterday instead of Monday, and I think I might start doing that for the remainder of the treatments. The achiness set in last night and this morning but I no longer even need to take Tylenol to manage it. The thrush and mouth sores once again came like clockwork and the terrible appetite is back as well. The only new, bothersome symptom is numbness in my hands and feet. This happened a few times last week but now seems to be coming and going fairly regularly. I can't complain too much just yet, but it certainly does get annoying. Unfortunately this is one side effect that could linger for quite a while once I stop treatment (potentially a few years even).

There are times when I get ecstatic thinking that I am halfway done, but there are times when the thought of having to go through three more full cycles is really daunting (especially the days where I am feeling like crap). I know that overall I really don't have too much to complain about since I am doing so much better than I ever expected. It seems like such a simple thing, but I have really learned to appreciate the days when I can actually say "I feel good today".

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer" ~Albert Camus
Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 Race for The Cure

Hello everyone!

I am very happy to say that last week went just as predicted. I had all of the same symptoms from cycle 1, but most of them were much easier to tolerate this time around. I think partly because I knew what to expect, and partly because I was able to pre-medicate myself earlier than last time. By Thursday I was honestly feeling pretty normal again. The one symptom that has now surfaced is what most people call "chemo brain". To put it mildly, my short term memory seems to be fried! If I have a thought that I don't write down or put in my phone right away, I won't remember it in 5 minutes. Derek and I both agree that if this is the worst of my side effects so far then I certainly can't complain, but it does get frustrating at times. The fatigue has seemed to start since my last post as well. It is not all-consuming, can't get out of bed in the morning fatigue, but I seem to be getting tired much easier than ever before. There are times when it is worse than others, but so far still very manageable with naps.

Derek and I did the Race for the Cure at the Mall of America today and it was a fantastic experience. We walked with some of his fabulous marketing co-workers and had perfect weather. I put pictures at the end. I started the race with a bright pink wig but it got uncomfortable and was giving me a headache so I switched over to a white hat half way through the race. It was simply amazing to see so many people come together for a common cause, and also to realize that so many people have been affected by this terrible disease in one way or another. Seeing so many women who have been survivors for a long time definitely gives me hope, but seeing so many people walking in honor of loved ones who have died from the disease also keeps me grounded. It just pushes me even harder to live the rest of my life as healthy as I possibly can and makes me so thankful that I have a job that allows me to help encourage others to do the same. After the walk we made our way to the survivor's celebration in the central rotunda. This was truly the most amazing part of the experience for me. Part of me felt like I didn't belong; that I couldn't possibly be considered a breast cancer survivor at only 29 years old. Another part of me felt so empowered standing amongst a special group of women who can truly understand what I am going through right now. Despite my best efforts to control them, tears were definitely shed.

"Promise me you'll always are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know"  ~ Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chemo Round 2

Sorry that I haven't posted anything for the past few weeks. The good news is that the lack of posting on my part is actually a VERY good thing. I am so happy to say that after having a rough first week after chemo round one things continued to get better and better. I really felt absolutely fantastic for the last two weeks of the cycle!

The only new (yet expected) symptom I developed since my last post was the actual loss of my hair. On day 17, like clockwork, my hair started falling out. It happens mostly in the shower and has been a surprisingly slow process. I still have some stray hairs on my head, but I would say 75% of them are now gone. My eyebrows and lashes are very slowly falling out as well, but fortunately at a much slower pace. I am really glad to have that part (mostly) done and overwith, as now I can just focus on counting down the days until my final treatment (81 if anyone else is counting)!

I have my labs checked right before each treatment and so far they are all still ok. My white blood cells were looking excellent (thanks to that really expensive Neulasta injection). My red blood cells are officially low (but not by much). My hemoglobin is on the low end of normal and my platelets have come back up into the normal range.

So far round 2 has been following the exact same pattern as round 1. I had no nausea over the weekend, and started to have some lower body achiness and fatigue today. I was a little nervous that round one was really just a fluke and that I would get really sick this time, but I am really thankful that it wasn't! Knowing that my symptoms will follow a pattern has actually made things much easier for me to handle for physically and emotionally this time. I am able to be much more proactive in terms of symptom control, and I know that I can handle a few rough days if it means I get another two good weeks. The fatigue will most likely start to worsen soon which has me a little nervous, but as long as it comes without the aches and pains I think I can manage to push through it. I also have to start watching my nails for black spots and signs of them falling off (oh yippee).

Thank you all so much for the kind birthday wishes last week. Getting chemo was certainly not how I would have liked to spend my day, but Derek and I tried to make the best of it. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make if it means I get to be around for many more birthdays, and we plan to celebrate a little extra next year in Italy for my 30th birthday!

This weekend Derek and I will be participating in the 20th Annual Susan G Komen Race for the Cure at the Mall of America. I have participated in a few Komen events over the past several years, but needless to say this one will be the most emotional. If you don't have any plans and want to participate you can still sign up, or if you are interested in making a donation you can as well. I will post pictures next week!

Susan G Komen Race for the Cure
Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day