What you should know before an Oophorectomy

One day after completing 15 rounds of whole brain radiation I went in for my Oophorectomy.  It was an out patient surgery.  My surgeon told me the recovery would be easy.  I shouldn’t be in pain and I should feel ok the next day.  Just take it easy and no heavy lifting.

Here’s what he didn’t tell me.  Don’t lay down after surgery.

I went home and went to bed.  I woke up the next morning in horrible pain.  Not abdominal pain, it was shoulder pain.  The gas that had been used to expand my abdomen during surgery had set up in my shoulder.  I should have slept sitting up in a recliner and I would have felt fine the day after surgery.  I wasn’t told that and I took pain meds and cried with shoulder pain for about five days.  It was bad!  If this surgery is in your future remember that and you should have a fast recovery.  I have four tiny scars from the incisions and they healed within two weeks.

Now for what was hiding in each of my ovaries:

image

That’s a picture of a tumor that was in my ovary.  There was one in each ovary.  This is the largest one (2.0 cm).  How did a tumor this size not show on my scans?   The good news here is that we had it tested and it’s still er/pr+.  That gives me hope that the new medication I’m on can work on my bones and lung.

I go in for new scans next month to see if Faslodex and Ibrance are working.  I’m a little concerned because my tumor marker keeps getting higher every month.  Then in October I will have a new MRI to see what all the brain radiation has accomplished.  Until then I’m staying positive and living every good day to the fullest.  I’m also sleeping a lot.  I don’t know if it’s still exhaustion from radiation or my new treatment plan but there are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone that has messaged, called and came by to share their love.  I even received  care packages from Australia (I ♥️You Emma!) and from Arizona (I ❤️ You Sally!)  You all make my world brighter!

Get out and make some memories!  💕💕

 

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.💕💕

image

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!💕

Back to Cancerland

The past two years have been fantastic.  Zoladex and Femara have served me well, until now.  I ended up in the emergency room on our beach trip with a massive headache.  I was treated for a migraine.  My headache never went away.  I had blood work done at the cancer center when we returned home.  My tumor marker was on the rise.  Scans showed a tumor in my ovary, two on my hip, on my ribs and on my spine. A brain MRI showed it had also metastasized to my brain.

There are no words that can begin to express how devasting this news is to us!  What a change in only three months!  We have cried, screamed and cried some more.  There is nothing left to do but fight this.  My big girl panties are back on. (Thanks to words of wisdom from a dear friend, Anya)

So, what’s next?  Tomorrow I will see a radiation oncologist.  I will find out exactly what the brain scans show and get ready for radiation.  I will be starting a new chemo (Ibrance and Faslodex) next week.  Three weeks on and one week off.  I will be getting xgeva monthly for my bones.  I will also be having surgery to remove my ovaries.  Wow!  This is not what I had planned for this summer!  I will keep you updated.  I’m grateful to have all your support!  You all make my life brighter!💕💕💕

I have so much to share about our Little Pink Houses Of Hope trip.  Life has been crazy!  I will share pictures from our trip soon!

 

Just busy living!

Just busy living!

My mindset lately has been I’m not in chemo so let’s forget this cancer business!  I’m feeling so good!  I don’t even think about cancer until it’s Zoladex day.  We’re still watching a small spot on my left kidney.  I have scans at the end of the month.  My tumor marker is sitting at 21.5.  I’m not worried about my upcoming scans.  I will not put that negative vibe into my universe!  I feel good.  I am good!  I’m so grateful to be able to enjoy this summer with my family! So here’s what I’ve been up to!

Spending time with this little blessing!  I love being a grandma! You all know there was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever live to be a grandma!  I am so in love with this little man!  He is the greatest gift!

image image image

Tubing in Helen, Georgia with Kori and Emily!  I was the babysitter!! So much more fun for me!

imageimage

Tubing in Cherokee N.C. with my guys!

image image image

Dollywood!  I walked around all day with only two pain pills!  Those of you living with stage IV know what a big deal that is!

image imageimage image image

As as I write this it’s Saturday night.  Sunday is our family adventure day.  Who knows what adventure lies ahead for tomorrow!  I’m just excited for another day of feeling good and spending time with my guys!  Get out and make some memories!  They are the only thing that will outlive you!

Please send your prayers to one of the strongest and most inspirational women I know. https://saraelhassani.wordpress.com/   She’s dealing with a lot right now and she is as graceful as ever!  All my love to you guys!!! Your love and prayers make my life a thousand times brighter!

Happy Early Holidays!

image

My Scans came black clean!  I’m still dancing with NED!  I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I feel today!  I was seriously worried!  I am every time I have scans.  Zoladex and Femara seem to be working for me.  My tumor markers are down to 20.  Now I’m going to forget about all this cancer business and enjoy the holidays with my family.  They seem so much more precious these days.  I know life is busy, but stop and take time to enjoy it.  Memories last forever.

That’s a picture of my tree!  Tis the season at my house.  Happy Holidays!  I love you all!

Life is Good!

We are settled in and happy in North Carolina. Things have fallen into place and I am feeling so good! My Javiee found a job that he loves and T.J. has adjusted well in his new school. He has Aspergers so transition can be hard for him. Not only did he make it through his first month of school, he is student of the month!! I am so proud of him and so happy to still be here for him! I don’t take these moments for granted!! Time for a picture!!
image
That’s me (proud mommy!) and my little T.J.(he’s not that little anymore!).

It’s so good to be close to family and have all my kiddos together!! Time for another picture!
image
That’s my crew! I am so blessed!

As far as breast cancer goes, I’m feeling really good! I still take pain meds for my joint pain and I still can’t feel my fingers. That’s really all I’m dealing with right now so I’m not complaining! I go back to my oncologist this Friday. I’ll find out then if my tumor marker is still down. I will have new scans done next month. No matter how I feel scans still scare me!

My birthday is October 17th. I’m getting my tattoo then. I will do a reconstruction update when that’s finished. I have my design and I’m so excited to get it! Dr. Swelstad I haven’t forgotten about you! I will share my pictures soon! 🙂

I have to end with an updated picture of my Javiee and I. I feel so lucky to have him in my life! I couldn’t imagine having gone through this past year without him! He’s my treasure!
image

Thank you all for your support. I know I’ve said it before, but you all mean the world to me!

One more picture!!
image

I’m going to be a grandma!! I honestly didn’t think I would live to see a grand baby! Life is good! 🙂

My New treatment plan begins today.

I know it’s been a few weeks!  I took a trip South to visit family and look at houses.  I’m home now and about to start a new chapter on the cancer front.  

Unfortunately, Tamoxifen didn’t work for me.  My tumor marker seems to be rising about 40 points a month.  I’m in the 180’s now.  Today I go for my first Zoladex injection.  I’m not looking forward to it!  That hollow needle looks painful!  If it works I should be going through menopause very soon.  Geez! Can a girl catch a break?  Next week I will start taking Femara and I will continue to get Xgeva and Zoladex shots every four weeks.  I am praying this brings my tumor marker back down.  If not I’ll be back in that chemo chair way sooner than I had hoped!  

Image

Here’s a picture of the Zoladex injection.  

I’ve gotten so many messages since I’ve been away and I’m reading them now.  Most are wondering about my reconstruction.  I will tell you I am healed and so very happy with the results!  I will do a post on it this week.

 

Just a little update

Image

 

Monday I go in for my final reconstruction surgery!  Any surgery makes me a little nervous, but I’m ready to get it over with.  I’ll post some pictures of the expansion process this weekend.  The difference with just the expanders is amazing!

My tumor marker is at 108.  That’s not good, but I’m not overly concerned about it right now.  Last week I went down with the flu.  That was three days after my blood work.  I’m hoping that could have made my number higher.  Either way, I’m not going to waste my time worrying about it.  I go in for a bone scan and a CT scan on the 30th.  That’s going to be a long day! I start at 9 am with an injection for the bone scan.  At 9:20 I get my yummy drink for the CT scan.  My CT scan is scheduled for 10:20 and the bone scan is scheduled for 1:00.  Now that’s a day to look forward to!  I have an appointment with my oncologist on the 31st at 3:45.  That’s when I’ll get the results.  Fingers crossed!

Farewell Tamoxifen, I wish we could have been friends longer!

As much as I hated the hot flashes and weight gain that Tamoxifen caused (yes, I’m going to blame the weight gain on tamoxifen..lol!) They were things I could deal with to keep my cancer at bay.  I was being positive and hoping I would be lucky and have a five year relationship with that pill!  No luck there!  My tumor marker has risen to 108.  Not good!  That means Tamoxifen is no longer working for me.  I had a PET scan a few weeks ago and it looked good. Now I’m scheduled for a bone scan and a CAT scan.  The results will tell us what’s next.

I have to say I’m devastated!  This is not the way I wanted to start a new year!  You know when your about to have a baby and you go through this “nesting phase”?  That’s the only way I know how to describe what I’m feeling.  We had been planning on moving closer to home (Georgia is where we’re from, Colorado is home right now).  Now I feel a certain urgency to move and get settled in closer to home.    Financially, this past year has drained us.  We can’t just up and move tomorrow.  I have one more surgery this month.  Once I recover it’s back to work I go whether I feel like it or not.  I think moving and getting everyone adjusted will give me peace in my heart.

Now, don’t take what I just said the wrong way!  I feel really good.  I have no pain and I’m full of energy.  I’m praying for good test results and I still have my positive attitude.  I just think getting my family closer to home and settled in will let me relax and fight this without worrying if they will be ok if something goes wrong.  Cancer is a b***h!  What more can I say?!

On the bright side, my oldest, Kori, got engaged this week!  I’m so happy for him!  The joys of being a mother!