News flash – chemo sucks

Have I been putting my head in the sand and ignoring the cancer world? A little bit. I felt so good going into chemo and all of the sick involved always brings me so far down. I kept thinking that at least I only have one more, but when I’m throwing up it’s just hard to think positively. I didn’t work out all week and ate crap. Another reason not to feel good. I went to my first spinning class with a friend last night which was great. How out of shape am I? Super out of shape. But, you’ve got to start somewhere so at least I’m starting. It occurred to me halfway through class that at least I was sweating out some of the chemo. Always a good thing. I am craving healthier/vegetarian foods but I don’t know where to start with a lot of them. Need to find some good recipes.

I have been feeling rather isolated which pretty much always happens with chemo week. I see survivors with their groups of survivor friends and can’t help but wonder where my survivor friends are. I just haven’t made those connections like I thought I would. I do have some great survivor friends in other states who I can always call, but it’s not like seeing someone face to face. I have one local friend who I am actually going to see this morning which gives me a lot of hope and I feel a great connection with. I know it will take time, it’s just hard to never see anyone my age at the infusion center or in the support group. I know it will come.

Eric has started his new job which he loves. I am trying to let go of my anger about what happened and just focus on the positive. Our new benefits kick in the first of the month so all new deductibles are headed our way. Eric also had to take a pay cut for this new position, but we knew benefits were the most important thing and felt this was worth it. He is doing side work to supplement, but it’s just hard knowing the bills are going to stack up anew and our budget to pay them is a good bit less. But we will make it work somehow. Being alive to pay the bills is the most important thing.

My chest is feeling decent. The spacers are more comfortable, just feel very heavy and tight. Going into all this, I didn’t understand how I would be able to not wear a bra and thought that was such a bonus. What they don’t tell you is that it feels like you have a bra on constantly. A rather tight and restrictive one that you can’t take off. I don’t see it as such a bonus anymore. I’ve been told the silicone will be better, but that the feeling never really goes away. The little stitch on my port is flipping killing me. Since the spacers are higher than my breasts were before, it is actually underneath my port now pushing it further into my skin. The port feels fine and at first it was tight enough that it held the stitch down and it didn’t hurt, but that only lasted a couple weeks. Since then it’s been poking my skin with a decent amount of pressure from the expander and it is pretty much constantly hurting. The other day it was hurting so bad that I had a headache and couldn’t move my shoulder without feeling like I was being stabbed. I finally realized that I was wearing a tighter shirt than normal and the pressure from the shirt was causing the pain to be so much worse. It took a full day for it to feel better. I am hopeful that the doctor can take the port out soon after chemo is over and I won’t have to wait for September.

I read a few other blogs and try to keep up with some people in a similar situation as mine. This morning I read one and realized I had missed her surgery. Reading her comments brought back so many memories. She has also been told that she did not have the response to chemo that they expected and was given a 20% chance of recurrence. She is having a hard time with this of course. It’s hard for those of us in it to see 80% as a positive even though logically we know that’s a pretty high number. Once you are in this, 20% seems like the high number. It is sobering. It makes things so much more real and scary. I don’t know what my number is. I haven’t asked. I am afraid to. She at least had some response to the chemo where I had none. Would my number be worse? I don’t think I want to go down that rabbit hole. Really, what good does knowing do me? I think anything they tell me will be at best an educated guess. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. The only thing I can do is try to prevent it. Diet, exercise, maintain a proper weight. Things we all aspire to, except now I have a much more important reason to do them.

Somebody really needs to get a handle on this disease. We don’t get the research because my category is only 5% of those affected by breast cancer. 5%. So we don’t get the massive amounts of research. But while we are the minority, we are important. We are the wives and mothers with little ones to take care of. Our cancers are far more aggressive than the “typical” breast cancer. The doctors have repeatedly told me that they treat it as a separate disease yet for the vast majority, it does not get separate research. I have yet to figure out how I can help, but I will figure out a way.

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2 Responses to News flash – chemo sucks

  1. Barrett says:

    Hey Jen,
    For your recipes, go to http://www.food52.com, excellent website with LOTS of options and ideas. I love it!

  2. Rick says:

    My Prayers are with you. I barely made it through chemo mentally and physically.

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