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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Like Clockwork, The Pain Is Back

Today was day #3...the third day post Taxol chemo treatment.  Just like last time, like clockwork, the bone pain and spasms are back.  It started off mild and has increased throughout the day.  The pain medication is helping...hydrocodone with two Aleve.  It takes the edge off the pain and keeps me from crying like a baby at least.  

It is going on 4 months since I have worked behind the chair at the salon.  I really must find a way to work at least a little when I am able.  Now that I know how the Taxol affects me, I am hoping to plan around the pain and get in a few days at work.  My co-workers and clients have been so good to us.  The salon is having a big "garage sale" on July 11th and 12th with a band at the gazebo and everything.  They have been planning this for a while and want to help us out with our medical expenses.  I am blown away.  The clients and staff have brought things to sell and have worked hard at getting it all together.  It is a humbling experience to have your good health taken away and your ability to make a living be jeopardized.  I am so thankful for the people that God has put in our lives.  He is always faithful.  I know that I could not have taken this much time off without God providing for us through so many wonderful people.  I am so thankful that I have had the time to heal and rest.  It is a little scary knowing I have at least two more surgeries to go through...knowing that I will have to be off even more time.  This is where faith comes in and you have to put all doubts aside.  God is in control.  As the saying goes..."If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it."  

Tomorrow I will go with my family to my sister Susie's house in Rowlett.  My sister has two sons ages 32 and 30.  The oldest, Jason was injured in a softball game the other night.  He was hit in the throat and has suffered injury to his vocal chords, has blood clots, and they are pretty sure he has a fractured bone in his neck. The swelling is too bad right now to determine all the damage.  I am praying that he will be fine.  He has a wonderful wife and three little boys....a beautiful family.  He is a tough one, so I am confident he will heal and make a speedy recovery.  We will be celebrating birthdays tomorrow at Susie's house, two of Jason's sons.  It will be good to see everyone and find out more about how Jason is doing.  I am hoping to be able to keep this pain under control while I am there. Thanks to all for your prayers for my nephew and myself.  As always I love getting your comments and I will post them after I read them.  God Bless everyone!  Until next time my friends...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Taxol #2...Two more chemo sessions left!!!!

Tonight I am enjoying some time with my hubby who just got home from work.  The girls and I went swimming again today.  They have left to spend some time with their dad now.  Yesterday I spent all day at the oncologist office.  Kevin went with me and my friend Vicky came up for a couple of hours.  After she left my friend Pat Quintal came up and kept me entertained.  It is a long day with the Taxol.  I was thankful that I had two friends to hang out with me.  My dear mother-n-law has been there every time thus far, but this week her  granddaughter, Madison, is in town spending the some time with her.  So Kevin, Vicky, and Pat took turns hanging out with me and being there for support.  The day started at 10:00 a.m. First blood work, wait for results, meet with the doctor, and then on to the infusion room.  Since I was feeling a UTI coming on the previous couple of days, I drank a whole liter of cranberry juice and took about 14 "Berry Blend Juice Plus" capsules the day before chemo.  I passed the urinalysis, at least enough to go ahead with the chemo.  My oncologist Dr Krekow discussed with me the excruciating pain I experienced beginning on the third day after the first treatment I received of Taxol.  She said that since I was already hurting by the time I received the Neulasta shot, that getting it probably just aggrevated the situation.  She decided that I should not get it this time.  Even though I don't think I have experienced the typical side effects from the Neulasta, bone pain and muscle pain, this together with the Taxol can be a nasty combination.  The purpose of the Neulasta is to raise the white blood count so I am hoping that my counts will be good next week.  The good news is that right now I am pain free.  I feel pretty normal.  I will wait and see what day number three brings. 

Until then, I will enjoy the here and now, and be thankful for the friends and family that are so supportive of me.  Until next time my friends...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Remembering George and "Bearing" the Pain

I hope everyone is doing well.  It is 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening.  I did not swim today because I had to take Landri to registration for a college class she will be taking during her senior year.  I also had to do some things for Presley that needed to be done.  By the end of the day I was tired, but I did make it to Landri's basketball game across town.  Now, Presley is having a friend over to spend the night, and Landri has two friends over.  Actually, the three of them left to go see a late night movie.  I enjoy having the kid's friends over.  I am always glad to know that my kids are having fun with friends.  When I was young, my sister's and I were rarely allowed to have friends over...not even for any length of time.  They weren't even allowed to come inside our house.  We played outside with neighborhood friends but that was it.  My fondest memories growing up were slumber parties at Sara Moon's house, one of my dearest childhood friends.  We slept in the big game room with all the animals her dad had hunted and shot including the ten foot Alaskan grizzly named George.  I wonder where George is today.  He stood tall with his paws up and his mouth open...all teeth showing.  He was pretty scary at times, but we all seemed to warm up to him in no time. After a while, it seemed that George was guarding and protecting us.  It was so much fun! I also enjoyed spending a lot of time over at Cindy Sherrell's house. She was my other childhood buddy.  Without these and many other dear friends, my childhood days wouldn't have had many fun memories.   It is probably because of this that it is really important for me to see my kids making fun memories and being in our home with their friends.  I feel really blessed to be able to give that to them.  Even if they don't realize it, I probably enjoy it even more than they do.  

I continue everyday to fight this ugly battle with triple negative breast cancer.  Thursday will be round number six in the chemo department.  After that is over, only 2 more to go.  I am pretty sure I have a urinary tract infection.  I have been feeling the symptoms since yesterday.  I will call the doctor tomorrow and see about some antibiotics.  I don't want this to delay my chemo as I already have pushed it an extra 3 days longer than the two week "dose dense" schedule.  Somehow I am not really surprised by this infection.  Last week when I had my blood work done, I did not have antibiotics prescribed to me.  This was a first for me during these chemo treatments.  Every other time my white blood count was too low, and antibiotics were prescribed.  I suppose I will be prone to infection for quite sometime.  Too many steroids, too many antibiotics will do that....oh and having your body busy fighting cancer doesn't help either.  All in all, I am good.  I have many people giving me their love and support and I am very thankful.  My husband and kids have been wonderful, and Kevin's parents have been so supportive.  I am truly blessed to have such great family and friends.  I am getting together with my sisters hopefully this weekend.  My two great-nephews are celebrating birthdays and we always go to my sister Susie's house for a swim party in Rowlette.  I am a little scared that the pain from the Taxol will set in that day if not sooner.  If so, I will drug myself with pain medicine and Kevin will get us all there.  At least there will be a pool handy and I will see how getting in the water effects the joint pain while it is happening. If I have the same level of pain I experienced last time, I am going to be looking a lot like a hairless version of George!...if only I could scare it all away...the cancer and the pain.    

Thanks to all my blog followers who are keeping up with me.  I do enjoy reading all your comments.  Please keep sending them and know that I will post them as soon as I read them.  Thanks for all the prayers and support. Until next time my friends...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Swimming, swimming, swimming!

For four days in a row, I have been swimming in someone's pool.  I have had many generous offers of people wanting to share theirs with me.  I has felt so good to be able to move freely with little pain or discomfort and to know that I am getting some exercise, too.  Thank you to everyone!  Spending a lot of time in bed causes muscle atrophy and joint stiffness.  Then on top of that, the bone and muscle pain from the Taxol chemo treatments can make the pain excruciating.  I am feeling much better these days.  Monday was two weeks since my last chemo.   We are trying to get back on a Thursday schedule so I am getting a few extra days of feeling good.  The second Taxol treatment will be this Thursday.  I will say my prayers.

We are still going to the cancer counseling sessions.  We are learning to deal with the idea that all we have is today.  Tomorrow is something hypothetical that may never happen for any of us.  Sure, you set goals and you work towards them.  But you should not spend a minute worrying about tomorrow when your life, your family, your friends, your God-given moments of Today are happening right now!!!! Don't miss them!  How many of us spend so much time worrying about our kids and their futures, or will we have a relationship with them?  Look around you.  What are you missing and passing up right now while you are worrying about tomorrow?  Live your life for today and make sure each day glorifies God.  For he has an eternity waiting for anyone who is ready to accept eternity of days that measure far beyond any we will spend on this earth. Until next time my friends...


Monday, June 14, 2010

Easing the Pain and Family

  It has been one week since my 5th chemo session, my first one with the drug Taxol.  After 5 days of excruciating bone pain, it finally started tapering off.  The pain is still there in my legs, especially my knees.  It is uncomfortable when I walk, even across the room.  However, the pain is finally at a manageable level.  When I went to get blood work done today, I asked for some new pain meds...something other than the Hyrdocodone.  They put me on Mobic 15mg which is an arthritis medication that you take once daily.  I took it about 1 1/2 hours ago and so far the pain is still there.  The pharmacist said you take one a day everyday and you don't miss a dose.  Because of this, I am hoping that it has some type of accumulative effect.  Otherwise, it is not going to be enough two days after my next treatment when the real pain sets in my bones.  I hate to sound negative about it, but I went all day without any pain medication and it was manageable.  So if it is not kicking this pain, I am concerned that the really troublesome pain that will come two days after treatment will be again unbearable.  I will stay positive and give it a week before I make any real judgments.  

I am craving being in the water.  I really want to be in a pool.  It just sounds good, the idea of being able to move freely.  I know it would be good for me, but unfortunately we don't have a pool.  I am going to check out some local health clubs which have pools.  I really don't want to "join" something right now because of the fact that I have many days when I really am not able to drive.  Today was the first day I have driven in about two weeks.  I had my blood work done and for the first time since I started treatments all was good and in normal ranges.  Good news!  No antibiotics this round...YIPPIE!  

The girls are enjoying their summer and spending time with friends.  Presley is loving going over to Erin's, my niece's house.  She loves helping taking care of the babies and Cale.  Cale is two and the twin babies are nine months old I believe.  They are so cute.  Their names are Hayes and Elliott and she LOVES to be around them all.  It is a good distraction for her.  A lot better than seeing mom in pain or drugged up on pain medication I am sure. Landri and Taylor are like Mutt and Jeff together and seem to be having fun.  Kevin, of course, is still taking on so much that I am unable to do and taking great care of me (and Charlie the German Shepherd of course)!  Ricky, my little Yorkie, lays right by my side on the bed.  We have reached a new deeper level in our relationship...LOL!  Oh, I can't forget Bailey, the Persian cat who makes me smile at the mere sight of his face.  He was my hubby's cat before we married and he had to have a "nose job" when he was little.  Since then, he has one tooth and his tongue that hangs out all the time.  So this is my family, my strength and my reason for...

 A big thank you goes out to everyone who has sent me your words of encouragement.  It really means a lot to me to read all your comments.  Please keep praying for more pain relief for me...and for my family, peace, strength, and courage.  Until next time my friends...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Pain of Taxol

Well my last post bragged about a day with no feelings or thoughts of cancer.  I received my first Taxol treatment on Monday, and thought I was in the clear.  I had a great day Monday and Tuesday.  However, Wednesday morning I began to experience some arthritic-like joint and bone pain.  I racked  it up to the weather and thunderstorms.  By the afternoon I was in excruciating pain in every bone and joint of my body.  The only place that wasn't hurting was my chest, probably due to the fact that my mastectomy severed so many nerves. Internally, I was also hurting.  I was having spasms in my lower abdomen.  I felt like I was having uterine spasms similar to those that a woman has during the "after pains" of childbirth while breastfeeding.  It wasn't long before I could not walk.  Kevin had a call in to the doctor's office.  I thought that something was terribly wrong.  Before the treatment, I was told that the Taxol was so much better than the Adriamycin and Cytoxan as far as tolerating it.  They said some people experience neuropathy in the fingers and toes, or flu-like symptoms with some aches and pains.  What I was experiencing and still am, is disabling all over pain.  The doctor's office did call back and they told me to take my Hydrocodone with two Alieve.  It did work...and I was on Cloud 9.  I was so glad to not feel that pain anymore.   I felt so much better.  Unfortunately, as soon as the pain medication wore off, the pain was back.  The problem is, I am very sensitive to the Hydrocodone.  It nauseates me and causes vomiting if I take more than 2-3 in a day.  Today is Saturday, the fourth day of this unbearable pain.  The really weird thing is that with the pain comes what seems to be the physical shifting of my joints.  My ankles, knees, and shoulders start "popping".  My bones feel weak and my knees give out from underneath me.  I saw a commercial from "the scooter store" and was envious of the elderly lady that could move around her house with the ease of a button in her motorized wheelchair. A thought I tried to suppress, but couldn't.  I have felt like I am getting a taste of what it feels like to grow old and lose your health and mobility...all at way too young of an age.  I will pray that  these side effects will be temporary as they should be.  I told Kevin that I was afraid of the fact that with every treatment the side effects are supposed to increase.  I have read about many cases where this pain last for months or even years after treatments are over.  I hope anyone reading this that is facing these treatments understands that I believe that my reaction to this Taxol is one of the extreme, and I have to assume it will get better.  This is treatment for is not supposed to be easy.  I have a whole new appreciation for the ease of mobility, one that I don't have at the moment.  I also have a whole new respect for people who deal with chronic pain.  I hope the next post that I put up will bring better news.  Your prayers are appreciated as always.  I love reading your comments.  I have my comment moderation option on and I will post your comments as I read them in order to prevent spam comments from posting on the blog.  Until next time my friends...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fifth Chemo Rround--This Time With Taxol

  Yesterday was a chemo day.  My first round of chemo with the drug Taxol, my fifth round of chemo total. This drug's main side effects are neuropathy in the fingers and toes, restless leg syndrome, possibly some nausea, and a list of many others.  Overall though, it is not supposed to be as bad as the Cytoxan and Adriamycin regimens.   First of all, Taxol is just one drug instead of two so that helps a lot.  It was a very long day in the infusion room.  We arrived at the oncology center at 9:20 and left at about 4p.m.  This of course included the blood draw, weigh in, and talk with the doctor.  The night before I had to take two steroid pills, and the next morning two more.   Then before the actual chemo drugs were administered through my port, I got a bag of the same steroids.  Reading up on the drug, I found out there was a woman Olympian who was disqualified for using the exact same drug.  Well, I can tell you that this round 1 of Taxol so far was a success.  I feel almost normal.  I am sure the vacation helped as well.

So today was a rare and wonderful day.  I rested well last night.  I did experience the restless leg syndrome so I got up and walked around, did some stair stepping out on the curb in the dark, took a Lorazepam (similar to Valium, treats anti-nausea and anti-anxiety) and that seemed to do the trick.  I slept well and woke up feeling rested.  I met my friend Vicky and Carolyn for lunch, and then later the girls took me to experience a new frozen yogurt place.  We had a girls outing, and I enjoyed it.  The day felt so good and normal that by 4:45 my doctors office was calling asking me why I did not come in for my Neulasta shot.  Whoops!  I am I actually forgot I had cancer.  What a wonderful gift!  So tomorrow I will go in first thing in the morning and get the shot.  By the way, I did do some research on what my insurance company pays for this shot.  It is approximately $8250.00 per shot.  Gee....I hope they did not mix it ahead of time!  Frankly, I am not even sure this shot is working on me.  It is supposed to make your bones produce more white blood cells when your count gets low.  Every week exactly one week after my chemo I go in for blood work.  And every other week my white counts are too low and I have to go on an antibiotic to protect me from infection.  Isn't that what the shot is supposed to do?  Oh well, I am just following doctor's orders so to speak.  I am hopeful that this chemo will continue to not be as bad.  If I have more good days like this I will be really happy.  I am still juicing and today I had a salad for lunch.  I am craving healthy foods which is good.  I will continue to fight this battle with triple negative breast cancer with everything I have got.  Thanks for leaving your comments and sharing this blog with your friends at home or your friends on Facebook.  Until next time my friends...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Battling The Shark

I have just spent five days with my husband, girls, and Taylor, one of Landri's friends.  We left Monday and drove to Rockport, Texas for some fishing and fun.  My scheduled chemo day was Thursday, but we moved it to the following Monday to enjoy the trip.  Since I am half-way through the chemo I decided a few days extra would be o.k.  I start the new rounds of Taxol on Monday.  I am not looking forward to it, but who would be?  It is not supposed to be as "sickening" as the Adriamycin and CytoxanSo since I have cheated and got a few extra days without chemo, I feel good.  Most chemo schedules are every three weeks.  My cancer being Triple Negative Breast Cancer is aggressive.  Therefore, my chemo treatments are considered "dose dense", which means I get them every 2 weeks instead of three. 

 I did feel pretty good on the trip.  I laid back during most of the driving because I still get car sick easy, especially now.  We went on a big fishing boat with probably 40 people.  That was definitely a mistake on my part.  I was sick the whole time, but the girls and Kevin had a blast.  Landri won the contest for the biggest catch.  She caught a 37 inch shark.  There was a girl that caught an even bigger shark, but she had not entered the contest so it did not count.  However, my hubby decided he had to pick it up and have his picture made with it.  As I watched the battle between this girl and this big shark, it reminded me of battling cancer.  When she first hooked it and knew it was a shark, everyone gathered round her.  There were screams of shock amongst the people that stood at her side.  She fought hard for a while, but she was not strong enough.  Her husband took over and helped her with her fight. She needed his strength.  Turns out you don't "reel" in a big shark like that all the way.  You have to leave it in the water.  Then, the professional came in with his spear-like hook thing and a big net.  It took a couple of people, all the while the girl was still hanging on to the line doing the best she could.  With the help of others, the shark was brought on to the boat.  It was still flopping and fighting, but it was out of its element, so it was struggling.  Finally, the big "fisherman" dude picked up the shark by its tail and reared back and slammed him on the deck a couple of times.  The shark was knocked out cold.  I thought at first that this was a little harsh, but since he was only about 4 feet from me, I was glad he did it.  You see, I was laying across a wooden bench fighting my own battle with sea sickness and could barely move.  The shark was put in the tank on the boat.  This was like a water trough.  There was no lid or anything on it.  I could not help but think "I hope that thing doesn't wake up...I hope he is out for good."  Later, the shark did wake up and he began flailing around in the shallow water of the tank.  The water only covered the bottom half of the shark.  The shark was so confined that he finally gave up and eventually died.  This battle with the shark gave me hope and reminded me to never give up.  It told me that I am to use the help that others offer, and let the professionals do their part.  In the end, you must fight harder than the shark....the cancer.  Get your body healthy, feed it right and take the cancer out of its "element".  It was amazing to see this "scary" fish being taken down.  It took a lot of people's help, but the girl finally beat the shark.  Eventually, when the boat returned to shore, I overcame my sea-sickness.  In the end, we came home with a total of six sharks....all cleaned and packaged in neat little fillets.  

On the way home, we decided to stop in Salado, Texas, one of my favorite places.  It is a tiny historical town that was built around a spring-fed stream.  We made a rest stop there and on the way out stopped at Horsefeathers, my favorite little shop.  On the way out of that shop Presley saw a cute little store behind it called The Pink Pony.  I told her we could go inside, and Kevin and the girls went to the car.  We weren't in there for long when Kevin came through the door with another man at his side.  He said this man wanted to meet me.  When Kevin was out in the car, this man came to the window and knocked on it.  He had seen me in the store and he asked Kevin if I had breast cancer.  An easy guess considering I am bald and boobless, but I can understand wanting to be sure.  He had a gift for me, a candle...and he wanted to give it to me personally.  It turns out, this man's wife was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer.  We talked for a bit and I gave him one of my blog cards to give his wife.  Kevin gave him his number, knowing that as a husband it helps to have someone to talk to who understands what you are going through.  Was this all a coincidence?  No.  Sometimes God takes us off our path and on to a new one for a reason.  But it is hard for that to happen when so many times we insist on doing the driving.  We must let go and trust.  We must allow God behind the wheel of our life.  Trust me, he is a much better driver.  Please become a follower by clicking "follow" to the right of the page.  Don't forget I love reading your comments.  I have had some of the most amazing comments from people who have given me much hope and inspiration.  And even the smallest of comments and words lets me know you are out there.  I truly look forward to reading what you have to say.  Until next time my friends...