I am stronger and feeling so much better since the brain radiation finished in December. With the current chemo plan, which hasn’t changed since my last post (Lynparza along with the IV Carboplatin), I have really bad and debilitating headaches. Nausea is also a big issue. The current cycle is 2 weeks (1st week I do the Lynparza pills and one day of IV Carboplatin. The second week it’s just the IV treatment followed by a 2 week break). As of this current cycle headaches and nausea is much improved!
I had a period of really bad anxiety and depression but that has passed and I rarely have super down days (at least recently). Since I had a relatively non-emotional personality in the past, emotions can be hard for me to deal with. Hard for me and Steve, plus friends and family who try their darnedest to keep in touch and provide emotional support. Happy, carefree days are most certainly in the past, but I am hopeful that the more years I gain the more freedom we feel. When you are diagnosed with early stage cancer, there is an end in sight and you are able to count down the days of treatment, surgery, etc. With stage 4, it’s treatment for the rest of my life and the effectiveness of the current treatment plans that never ends. The three of us went to breakfast on Sunday and the waitress said, “Can I ask you a question?” “Sure,” I said. “Did you beat it?” At first, I didn’t fully hear her question and she repeated “Did you beat it?” I think both Steve and I took deep breaths at the same time and I said, “I’m actually not going to beat it, I am going to live with it.” She didn’t know how to respond and started sharing a family history on her step side of the family. She wished me luck as we were leaving. It didn’t damper the day, it is what it is!! I am having scans soon to see where we are. I am really hoping and praying for a sign of decrease in cancer especially in the lymph nodes but even a stable status quo would be ok at this point - NO Growth!
The past few months have definitely been the best since last April. In fact, we attended an annual event for a great non-profit (Believe Big) that we attend for Pushing Pink Elephants Inc. each year. I remember last April being in so much pain at this event. Pain that was coming from the cancer in my spine that we didn’t know was there yet. This year at the event I was almost pain free thanks to pain management, surgeries, and radiation. I even wore heals for the 1st time in a year. I paid for it later that night and the next day. My lower back wasn’t super happy with my decision, but it was a fun night to be dressed up and fancy and I had a fun time.
I still do not feel like I have adjusted to being home full time. Work was so much a part of my every day that a year later I still feel like a fish out of water. I so appreciate the time I have to rest when I need to and the extra time I get with family and friends that I didn’t have before. But I miss the routine, co-workers, projects, and the daily interaction with others. I miss the old “normal” day to day. The stay-at-home mom bit wasn’t in my plans and it’s a blessing, but when you don’t feel good and have to pick up your energetic 6-year old from school it can be hard. Mornings can be a struggle sometimes as well. It kind of feels like morning sickness or all-day sickness like I experienced with pregnancy. It’s just hard to know how the day will progress when I open my eyes in the morning. We have our bad, good, great, and amazing days, it’s just hard to know how the day will unfold. Steve’s morning questions are “How did you sleep?” and “Do you feel ok?”
I got to celebrate the big 37 on April 14th. It was a truly beautiful Saturday and we took a short trip to the beach to celebrate. It was nice to get away with Steve and Char and enjoy a good weekend of sun and fun. I always said that if I hit 40 and stayed cancer free I was going to have a huge party. That ship has sailed, but you better believe 40 will still be a big celebration with friends and family in a few years. I have the hope of stability and “stable” cancer!!
So things are going ok! Better than they have been in the last six months. I am not gaining weight, so I am pretty thin, but not losing anymore so that’s definitely a positive. I am getting stronger and able to do most of the things I was unable to do back in December and January after brain radiation. The biggest issue right now is getting through chemo without the side effects. I also have some pain and swelling in my left arm (humerus bone that was a fracture risk and was treated with radiation as the 1st option to rid the bone of cancer). So far, we are not sure the cause or how we will treat it going forward, but it is quite painful. Char bumps it on a daily basis. My hair is coming back from brain radiation. So far chemo’s are not causing hair loss so hopefully in a few months I have some hair growth.
Sometimes posting a Facebook post is easier for me to quickly share updates with friends and family. Here are two posts since I last updated this blog! Thanks for reading, keeping in touch, praying, and thinking about us! We love all of you and ask for continued prayers as we get ready for summer!
I found this blog today which pretty much sums up almost the last year of my life. Each day is different in terms of if it’s a good feeling day or a bad one. Every morning we assess and there are many days (like this week and last) where I stay in bed and Steve drops Char off at school or days when the mornings are good, but the afternoons are bad and someone has to pick Char up. Chemo is so hard on your body and with no end in sight for treatments you don't see the ending (I so took for granted that chemo countdown I did back in 2012). Scans put the fear of God in you and each symptom has you thinking of progression. Even good scans give you pause when you feel something isn't right because you are having symptoms or feel something is just not right in your gut (that was my day yesterday). It’s a hard road to go down for the rest or your life. Thanks for everyone's continued prayers, texts and love!!!
Shine brightly, live happily and smile!!! Xoxo
Chemo day! Two types of chemo for some double hitting cancer kicking power. So far it seems to be working at reducing lymph node involvement so we may have finally found the chemo that will work for me.