Last Chemo Session!!

Yesterday was my last Taxol infusion. The last infusion I hope to EVER HAVE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE- this will be on my prayer list every night now!  My sister and I dropped Gianna off at school that morning, then headed over to Moffitt for my last chemo treatment.  She asked me if I was happy and excited. I really wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be-I kinda wasn’t excited at all! Before you ask what the heck is wrong with me…hear me out.

Having these toxic drugs in my system means that something is actively fighting the little C sucker! I’ve heard of other patients compare it to a safety net and that’s exactly how I feel about it. So aside from the medical treatments that I’m being given to fight this thing. I’ve been slowly making small changes in my nutrition and vitamin intake. More on that later, but I really just want this post to be about how my last treatment went.

I can no longer feel the tumor (but I stopped feeling it 2 weeks into treatment). According to my oncologist this is wonderful news and speaks volumes in terms of me being fully “cured”. I don’t know what it means as far as a recurrence, I would like to think it means my chances are lowered but who knows. I’ll focus on the present for now.  After my labs and seeing the doctor, my sister, Mom and I went into the art room that they have for patients and their families. First of all I LOVE art and this is like my 4th time going in there. It’s very therapeutic which is why they call it, Medicine in Art. My Mom was pretty emotional that day so my sister and I decided she needed some intervention therapy! We made some awesome prayer/wish bracelets. We made one for each person who has been with me the most throughout this whole journey. Those who emotionally and physically where there for me when I needed them even when I said “I’m Ok, I don’t need anything”. If I had time to make more bracelets I would, but I had to keep it to 4. We made a bracelet for my sister, Mom, Dad, and best friend. The bracelet is made up of one bead. The “bead” is a rolled up colored piece of paper and you write a wish on the back of it. The colored pieces of paper are actually paintings by other patients. My Mom and sister each wrote a wish for me on their bracelets. And I wrote a wish to my best friend, Manda and my Dad. I’ll have to post a pic later. My Mom made me my bracelet and in it she wrote me her prayer/wish for me. I think we all got some great therapy out of this art session!

On to the infusion. Luckily I had a room this time, which was awesome because my best friend and hubby were joining the party. My best friend showed up with flowers, balloon and card. I am so blessed to have such an amazing best friend. She deserves her own post-seriously!!  Then Justin came, but unfortunately he had to leave early to pick up Gianna from school. As soon as the nurse unhooked me from the infusion machine for the last time-I was FINALLY EXCITED! Relief and happiness finally came over me. I rang the bell and walked out of there praying that I will never have to go into infusion again.

My Mom and best friend at my last chemo session

My Mom and best friend at my last chemo session

Once home I was greeted by my other amazing friends, Gianna, Justin and Manda’s daughter Kendal. Kendal and Gianna “decorated” for my party. Aren’t they the cutest lil darlings? Look at the details in the pictures…the ribbons, bracelet, etc. Raisins were on the menu too..haha!

The girls decorated part of the house for my celebration. Look on the table-the ribbons and bracelet!

The girls decorated part of the house for my celebration. Look on the table-the ribbons and bracelet!

More of thier decor :-)

Do you notice the cancer ribbons in the picture above. Our girls are so creative :-)!

Of course the occasion called for a toast. My toast was to never go through this again, and I had the same wish for everyone there that night.

 chemo toast

God is so good and through him and my family, I’ve made it past the first round virtually unscathed. Yes, I lost my hair but I managed to keep my eyebrows and eyelashes through it all. My shower time is seriously cut in half! I wish I can say that losing my hair has helped with being on-time,  but honestly it hasn’t. I managed to work full-time and still have energy for my family every evening. My work has been AMAZING and really helped keep the “normal” in my life.  Not to mention it keeps my mind busy.  So now what? Well, the month of September will be filled with our yearly beach trip to Treasure Island (we leave Saturday!), work, family, friends, lots of rest, a party for me on 9/14, a trip to South Carolina for work and who knows what else. My surgery is scheduled for October 2. I will post all about that in the next week or so. Until then, I’m appreciating all the beauty around me, my family, my friends, beautiful sunsets, fresh air, pumpkin everything, strength….I can go on and on……

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Cheers to 2 rounds of chemo down!

After my 2nd chemo treatment all I wanted to do was go for a walk. Justin had to go to the store so I told him to go and them come back to pick me up. I once roamed these sidewalks as a care free college students and damn it-those where one of the best times in my life. During college I loved being outside and finding my own quite haven to study. Although Moffitt sits on somewhat of “unknown” territory to me. This girl, knows that if you keep walking, eventually this campus will lead you to some water, fountains, and some shaded benches. I found it of course. Right in between the Psychology and Natural & Environmental Sciences buidlings. Us Public Relations/Mass Comm students NEVER had to venture this far West on campus. Lol! Right now, I’m staring at a body of water with ugly ducks and a fountain shooting up probably just as gross water-yet, I think its the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all week. I’m officially 25% done with my chemo treatments! My hair started falling out 3 days ago, so this weekend its coming off- all of it. Honestly seeing my hair fall out in clumps isn’t as traumatic as everyone said it would be. I guess I prepared myself as it being the most horrible experience through this all. Now, if my eyelashes start coming off, then that may be a whole different story! This picture featured is one of my new wigs. I call it my Brit Brit hair 🙂

As I’m sitting here I can’t help but reflect on the side effects that I’ve been so blessed with these past 2 weeks:

Bone pain from Nuelasta: Easy peasy rememdey is Vicodin and Claritin
Dry skin, or rashe
Fatigue
Hair loss
Constipation (lasted only 3 days thank God!)
Flu-like symptoms, including Sinus pain
My face broke out during week 2-I honestly don’t remember the last time my face looked like this-maybe middle school??? I made Justin go to the store and get me good ole’ Clearasil. With some diligence, I must say it’s working!

Random things: Before taking a Tylenol or Advil I must take my temperature and make sure its under 100.5. Why? B/c temperature may = infection = no bueno. My low immune system did get the best of me this round, but I’m going to do everything possible to keep it in check this time around. My aunt bought me the NutriBlast which has been AMAZING and I recommend it to everyone! It makes disgusting veggies taste like a fruit smoothie. So far my favorite concoction is : Spinach, bananas, mango and blueberries! Yum! You can even through in some chia seeds for the ultimate immune ass kicker.

Cheers to 2 rounds of chemo down!

What gets you through the first week of chemo? Here’s my list:

Love-from family, friends and even just acquaintances

My daughters laughter and smile

My husbands “matter of fact” attitude

My sisters heart, smile and strong attitude-stronger than mine

Mom’s meals

Dad’s words of wisdom

Praying to God

Positive thinking from fabulous friends such as  http://craftybeerrunner.com/ and http://mariabrennansart.blogspot.com/?wref=bif 

Co-workers who extend a genuine helping hand

Lorazapam & Vicodin & Nausea meds

Girlfriends who don’t listen to you when you say “ I don’t want company”

A great haircut involving,  a few 4-packs of cheap wine and veggie straws

Music

My blog

Encouraging messages from you all

Determination & knowing that there is something greater on the other end.

The Treatment Plan

This post will be short and sour. I promise I find some rainbows in the days to follow. Friday comes and we sit down with Dr. Kiluk. I have Stage IIB Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, PR-, ER- Her-, with a nuclear grade of 3. So what do all these things mean? Basically  it means that hormone therapy will not work for me since this tumor is negative in all three categories (PR,ER,HER). I have what is called Triple Negative Breast Cancer-it accounts for 15% of breast cancer. Leave it to me to not be in the norm-it was never my style anyway.  Unfortunately, I can’t take a magic pill and the tumor will slowly disappear. As it stands right now, I have 4 months of chemo, followed by surgery, followed by radiation and somewhere in there a new set boobs. However, the PET Scan & MRI results showed that the cancer has not spread! Thank you Lord Jesus!

Dr. Kiluk describes it as a marathon and I just came around the first mile.