We are go for chemo

I got the call this afternoon – we are go for chemo on Tuesday at 8:30am. I got pulled for group 1. This is good and bad I guess. Good because it is the “standard of care”, the same drugs I would get if I wasn’t in the trial. They are completely proven. “Safe.” It’s bad because there is a little disappointment about not getting to use the exciting drugs that they are getting such good results with. But, regardless it is starting and that is a good thing. The tumor grew 1/2 a centimeter in a couple weeks, so starting chemo is really the most critical point. The only hold up at this point is getting the insurance approval. It feels like my whole life is insurance at this point.

How do I feel? That is the question of the decade for me. Here’s a run down:

Physically I am getting better. My port is not hurting as much – I think pounding the ibuprofen and keeping the ice rotation has helped with the inflammation. My good friend who is a nurse explained to me that the skin is basically adhered to the muscle so they had to rip it off to make a “pocket” for the port. I can understand why that would cause some swelling. And why I hurt. Working out at the gym makes us sore so I would expect this to be a lot worse. I took the bandage off this morning and got my first look at it. First of all, I figured out that the gauze was actually a pressure bandage so it felt a lot better without that. Secondly, it’s smaller than I expected, it really does look like a doorbell in there. My biopsy sites are healing, when I took a shower this morning and tried to get all the orange stuff off me from surgery, a lot of the spots wouldn’t come off and then I realized it’s all the yellowing from the bruises healing. Let me tell you, between all the holes, steri strips and yellow bruising – it is sexy time in there. Here’s a pic of the port – it’s the bump under the strips. The upper incision is where they fed the line over my collarbone which you can totally feel and is more than a little creepy.

20120823-202620.jpg

I figured out how to do pictures, pretty cool, huh? I will go back and insert some from my tests if you want to check them out too.

Emotionally I think I’m just still in denial. People keep telling me I’m strong but I don’t feel that way – I just feel like the only control I can have is in doing what needs to get done. If the doctor says I need 6 tests, I will bust them out in a couple days. I’m just trying to focus on the next thing and make it happen. That’s really all I can do. I was surprised to find out that several of the moms asked about me after dropping the kids off at school. I know I just got out of surgery but I just thought there was so much going on that I would kind of blend in. I’m going to have to get used to that, but it’s just a weird feeling to know I stand out already. I do feel like it’s important for people to know what is going on. That cancer really can come out of the blue and change anyone’s life. Finding out that the other biopsies were clean and nothing showed up on the PET Scan is huge. I feel so much relief to know it hasn’t spread and they caught it early. I feel like I can take whatever I need to do to kill it. I can help others by teaching them how important exams are. And do exams laying down ladies! My tumor is all the way back against my chest wall – and it compresses between two ribs when you push on it so I can’t feel it unless I’m laying down. Be thorough. Be consistent. Take it seriously. I feel like I can help people do that. I still don’t really feel like things are REAL. Maybe they will feel that way soon or maybe I’ll just stay numb through the treatments. Maybe that would be better. I don’t know. The days are so blurred together I can’t remember when I did what so I’m really glad I started blogging to have a record of everything. I’m sleeping better but I’m sure that has something to do with taking narcotics for pain. Eating is about the same – I ate a small granola bar for breakfast and split a burger with mom for lunch. I’m not hungry at all but I will eat something before bed. That’s a pretty good day for me food-wise. I really don’t feel like I’m starving myself, my stomach doesn’t growl and I don’t feel hungry. The good news is after all the fluid, I was back up to 160. I’m trying to stay in a good place because I’ve heard the chemo they are giving me will make me lose weight so I don’t want to go into it already down. I am going to celebrate eating dinner by having some pie afterwards. 🙂

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3 Responses to We are go for chemo

  1. Leigh says:

    So relieved to hear that it hasn’t spread. You can beat this! You’re taking all the right steps and have a really great attitude. I think that it’s a gift that you’re being all business about your treatment. Praying for you and sending love and light!

  2. Brandi says:

    Hi Jenn,

    One of my friends forwarded your blog to me and in some ways it was like reading my own story. I am 36 and I was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 24th. I have a 5 (almost 6 year old) and a 3 year old. I read your entire blog yesterday 🙂 I had A LOT of the same feelings that you express in your blog. I went the surgery route first and had a left modified radical mastectomy on the 2nd. I’m recovering now and have my first oncology appointment next Tuesday. If you want to talk more feel free to e-mail me. I think you are in Colorado and I am too! Hang in there!

  3. Robin Redman says:

    Hi Jenn,

    Your port looks great! I have seen(and injected) to much worse. I really hope that you are not in much pain. “better living thru chemistry” is my motto. Please control the pain, so you have energy for your family…ok…maybe not energy, but tolerance! You sound amazing, I hope we run into you in Arvada. You truly are an amazing person!

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