MRI Results and A New Treatment Plan

What a week!  I’m exhausted, mentally and physically.  I had an IV steroid treatment last week to reduce the swelling in my head.  I was then put on an oral steroid that I am taking two times a day.  I’m not a fan of steroids.  I hate not feeling like myself.  They make me irritable and nauseous.  They make my blood glucose out of control.  They have relieved my headache, but I have decided I’d rather deal with a headache.  I quit taking the steroids yesterday.  Today I slept until 1 p.m. and I’m feeling a little better.

I saw my radiology oncologist, Dr. Smather’s, last week.  I really love her!  We went over the results of my Brain MRI.   She is confident that this is something we caught early and can control.  There are tiny spots all over the cerebellum (the back of my brain).  It’s almost as if someone has taken a Clorox bottle and sprayed it on my brain from behind.  Because these spots are scattered our course of treatment will be WBR (whole brain radiation).  I have always known I didn’t want to do WBR.  However, this is the plan.  This is what I will do.  My youngest son is 13.  I cannot discount any treatment.   I will do whatever I have to for the chance to see him graduate high school.  So, here’s the plan…

15 days of WBR starting this Thursday.  The following Friday I will leave radiation and then go over to the hospital to have my ovaries removed.  While all this is happening I will also be adjusting to the new chemo I will be starting this week.  When WBR is completed we will do a new MRI and decide if we can do targeted radiation to the tumor behind my eye or if we will gamma knife it.  Geez!   I believe this is going to be a hard month!! (understatement of the year!)

My doctors are confident, as am I.  I have so much left to do and so many more memories to make!  I am hopeful that this is just a temporary setback.

Thank you all for your love and support.  I will do my best to keep you updated.💕💕

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Here’s a picture of my Javiee and I on our latest road trip.  I’m focusing on a family cruise when this mess is over!  Take time to make memories!💕

Happy New Year To Me!

A year ago today my Javiee and I were standing in a parking lot hugging and crying. We had just been told I had breast cancer. This has been the hardest year of our lives! I’m so grateful to have made it through this year! Happy New Year to me! May I have many more!

5 weeks after chemo…

I’m five weeks out of chemo and my hair is slowly coming back in.  For the past three weeks my Javiee has called me his little Cocoliso.  

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That’s a picture of Cocoliso.  He says I now have to much hair to be called Cocoliso.

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Here’s a picture of my hair! Not the long blonde mane that I’m used to but it’s a start!

 

My last post was on the horrible hot flashes that the Tamoxifen was causing.  I have to say it has gotten so much better!  I’ve been taking it for four weeks now.  The first two weeks were horrible!  I guess my body has adjusted to it well.  I’m only having a couple of hot flashes a day now.  So much easier to deal with!  It’s still scary for me to think that I’m only battling this cancer with a tiny pill.  After so many rounds of chemo this pill seems like nothing!  I go back to my oncologist this Friday for blood work.  Then I’ll know how well it’s working.  Fingers crossed!

 The leg cramps that came with Taxol are still really bad.  I’m taking pain meds daily to deal with them.  Good news is they work and I am enjoying my days!  I can’t say that life is back to normal.  I can say I’m beginning to find my “new” normal and I’m thankful for everyday that I have!  

 

Last round of Taxol today!

I go in for my last round of Taxol this morning!  It’s hard to believe I’ve made it through 16 rounds of chemo!  After four rounds of AC I didn’t feel like celebrating because I knew there was more chemo coming.  Today I celebrate!  This has not been easy, but I did it!  I will have a new PET scan next week and the results will decide my future treatment plan.  I’m not going to worry about that today.  It’s been a long six months!  Today I celebrate!!

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One more round of Taxol to go!

It’s Monday and I’m feeling good!  I did round 11 of Taxol Friday.  I go in this Friday for round 12, the last one!   I remember the day my oncologist told me I was going to do 12 rounds of Taxol.  I was devastated!  Twelve more weeks of chemo!  How was I going to make it through that!?  Well, I did it!  One more round to go!  The inner strength you find when dealing with something like cancer is amazing!  The strength and love that the people in your life give you is also amazing.  I couldn’t have made it through this part of my journey without all the support I’ve had.  I have to say thank you to my sweet Javiee for taking such good care of me.  For working all day and coming home to make me yummy dinners and yucky juices!  For telling me I’m beautiful when I just don’t feel beautiful!  He is always there for me, he’s my rock and I couldn’t do this without him!  My kiddos have also been so strong.  How unfair is it that they have to deal with this!!  They also give me strength.  I fight for them!  To all my family that came a thousand miles to visit me ( Daddy, Joyce, Laura, Betty, Diane, Danny & Patsy) Thank you!  It was so good to have company, even when I was feeling my worst!  To all my family at Denny’s,  Arvin’s and Noah’s Ark, you guys have made this horrible time so much easier for us!  For that my family thanks you!  We love you all!  Then there’s my mama who has been with me every step of the way.  She took so much time off work to be at my many appointments.  I couldn’t imagine having done this without her!  I am thankful to have such a great support system!  I am a long  way from home, so I know a lot of you can’t visit and you follow me on my blog or my facebook.  Thank you guys for all your support!  It means so much!  You encourage me daily!

As far as my treatment goes, I will do my last round of Taxol this Friday.  The following week I will have another PET scan.  That will show us if the past five months of chemo has gotten this cancer under control.  The results of the PET scan will decide my future treatment plan.  For now, I’m just praying for good scans!

On a happy note, my son, Kori, turned 21 this week!  21!  He’s making me old!  Happy Birthday Kori!  I love you with all my heart!

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That’s my oldest, Kori.  Happy Birthday Kori!  I love you!!!

 

Death and Denial

As I had expected round eight of Taxol had me in the bed most of the weekend with horrible pain in my legs.  After a while I just get tired of watching Netflix.  It’s then that I turn to my iPad  to see what’s going on with my fellow bloggers.  Their posts bring a break from my boredom.  Leave it to me to come across the post that takes me to the place I try not to go.  It was titled Death and Denial on the Cancer Ward:  Refusing to accept reality can be shattering to family.  Here’s the link,  http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/09/14/death-and-denial-on-the-cancer-ward/

It was disturbing to me as a mother.  Initially when I was told I had stage 4 breast cancer I thought I was on my death bed.  My local thrift store benefitted greatly from my despair.  I went through my closet and got rid of almost everything.  It’s practically empty now.  My thought was, how hard would it be for my family to have to go through my things and get rid of them.  I couldn’t imagine, so I did it myself.  I cleaned out my kitchen, all those cute little Tupperware molds that my husband would have no use for are now gone.  The little useless nick nacks that I had sitting around are also gone.  It was a devastating time for me.  The shock of a stage 4 diagnosis is crippling.

Once my treatment began and I had spoken to other women who where living with stage 4 breast cancer my attitude changed.  I realized this cancer wasn’t going to kill me immediately.  It’s true, I will probably die from breast cancer and maybe I won’t live to see 50.  But for now I am living and I feel good.

I was honest with my children from the start.  I told them I had stage 4 breast cancer and that they say it’s treatable but not curable.  My youngest, T.J. is 10.  He has type 1 diabetes and takes insulin daily.  I told him my cancer was in a way like his diabetes, I would always be on some type of treatment for it. Now I wonder if that was the wrong thing to say.  It’s hard to think about dying and leaving your loved ones behind.  I’m 39 and I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to go through my twenties without having my mother around.  I have noticed myself trying to make my little one more self sufficient.  I have always been so overprotective.  Last year if he would have asked to walk  to his friends house alone I would have said no.  Friday I said yes, but call me when you get there.  I guess in the back of my mind there is the thought that maybe I won’t be there to protect him and maybe it’s time I let him be more independent.  It’s so hard to think that way!

My Javiee and I had a discussion about this last night.  He hates to see me cry.  Last night we cried together.  He can’t fathom the idea of me not being here.  He says he has faith that God will get us through this and give us our time together.  As for me, I have faith, too.  I have been through a lot in my 39 years and now I am truly happy.  My life is good! I feel so good!  I’m going with that!  If there comes a time when things are looking bleak I will be honest with my children.  In the meantime, I will treasure my days with them and work on making them independent individuals.  I guess that’s what we should all be doing anyway.

 

TGIF??? No…For me it’s more like Taxol…Round 8!

Friday again, chemo day.  TGIF doesn’t pertain to me anymore!  It’s more like TGIM!  By Monday I’m usually over the bone pain and leg cramps that seem to get worse with each round of Taxol.  No, Friday is not what it used to be!

On the bright side I can say after this round I have 4 more to go!  Does that mean after 4 more rounds I am done with chemo?  Your guess is as good as mine.  This cancer inside of me seems to be the deciding factor.  For now my tumor markers are down and that gives me hope  that my Fridays in the chemo chair will soon come to an end.

I had a lady come up to me this week at Natural Grocers.  I wonder how she knew I had cancer, could it have been my bald head or my lack of boobs??  She told me to stay strong.  She battled cancer two years ago and there would come a day when I would wake up and not think of cancer.  I thanked her for her kind words.  After all, she was only trying to be an inspiration to me.  Little did she know,  I’m stage 4 and not a day will go by when the thought of cancer is not lingering in the air.  I had an emotional breakdown once we made it to the car. How nice would it be to actually entertain the thought of not having to think of cancer!?   Unfortunately, that is not a luxury you have when your stage 4.

On a happy note…I had pizza this week!   My Javiee is the best!  You all know my diet is very strict!  Javiee found the perfect pizza recipe.  Of course he didn’t use white flour, it had 2 grams of sugar in it!  He used wheat flour and made his sauce from scratch.  It was yummy!!  I am a lucky woman to have such a great man to help me through this!  I am blessed!

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Here’s a picture of my pizza!

Smile…Life is Good!

Smile…Life is Good!.   Click this link for a video I made for my family.  They are the best!

I have round six of Taxol today.  Six more to go after this one!  So far the side effect that I’m dealing with the most is leg cramps.  My knees and ankles hurt so bad!  Right now I’m taking pain meds in the morning and I’m able to enjoy my days with T.J.  I hope it stays this way for the rest of the treatments.  I can handle this!  It’s good to be able to take a pill and forget about all this cancer business for the week. Then Friday comes, chemo day, and I am once again reminded of how sick they say I am.  Good thing is I don’t feel sick, so we are enjoying the summer!   We even went rafting down the Colorado River this week.  Good times!

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27…. My new favorite number!!!

I have spent the last four Fridays in the chemo chair getting my weekly dose of Taxol.  I finished reading The Giver, highly recommended by my little T.J.   I finally caught Mrs. Mary in The Candy Crush Saga and I beat my daughter Kristen’s high score in Dots.  Eight more Fridays to go! 

Taxol has been much easier on me than the AC.  I come home from treatment dizzy and tired. I sleep the night away and wake up feeling good.  I don’t know how long this will last, but I’m enjoying it!  

Good news!!!  My tumor marker is 27!  Can I tell you how happy I was to hear that number?! Happy…Happy…Happy! 

 

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Chemo begins again…

I enjoyed my two week break from chemo!  It was nice to feel like my old self for a little while!  Javiee and I went with T.J. on his class field trip to Ouray.  Good times, oh how I treasure them!!  I was a little nervous about going to the hot springs.  It was my first time out in a swim suit with no boobs and no hair!  A friend of mine, Trish, told me to just own it. What good advice!  (Thanks Trish!). Own it.  That’s all I can do.  Cancer has taken enough of me.  I can’t let it keep me from doing things with my little one because I’m worried about what other people will think!  How liberating!  I think it’s the first time I put on a swim suit without worrying about that little pooch in my tummy!  Why do we care about those things anyway??  It’s the moments and the memories that matter.  Cancer has a way of opening your eyes to everything.  If there’s one thing you can take from what I’m going through, take that.  Enjoy every moment and make memories with your family that will outlast you!

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That’s me and T.J. at the mine in Ouray.

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That’s me with my Javiee. I’m still so swollen from chemo, but he loves this picture.

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Ouray, Colorado

On another note, I started chemo again Friday.  I had my first of 12 rounds of Taxol.  I will be doing Taxol every Friday throughout the summer.  I looked at the calendar yesterday.  I will finish chemo one week before T.J. goes back to school.  I hope the side effects are minimal so I can enjoy the summer with him!  The first round went really good!  I was really dizzy after it.  I came home and slept the rest of the day.  I woke up Saturday feeling good and I still feel good today! I’ve heard Taxol is a lot easier to deal with than the AC was.  So far that seems to be the case!  Praying all 12 rounds are like this!