Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Support Group

Today was the first of a new weekly support group for young women with breast cancer. There were 6 of us, ranging in age from 32 to 44. It was great to be face to face with other regular women who are going through the same thing, even if we're all at slightly different stages. I remember how worried I was during the waiting/worrying time before they stage the cancer and determine the treatment post-surgery. That's actually when I had made the call to get into a support group. It made me appreciate that having my treatment plan and knowing what the next few months entail is a good place to be.

It was great to meet someone who has recently completed treatment and looks great (hair and everything!)

I think this support group will be something good for each of us that was there today. I'm already looking forward to our meeting next week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Doing Well

Chemo #4 took a solid 10 days to recover from (really only days 4-8 were really bad - Saturday to Wednesday). I'm fine now and hope to enjoy some nice walks this week, and one more weekend at the lake before chemo again next week. I'm confident I can get ahead of the pain next time and keep it under control. And there was no nausea at all (except a bit from the pain meds). Medication for side effects causes more side effects... sigh.

From other people's tips, it sounds like I will recover much quicker by staying on top of the pain (and be ready for our Toronto friends who are coming to visit with their 3 boys!!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Support Network

I am feeling pretty good this morning. I could never have got through this last week without my support group (especially with Nancy away!) I have had lots of phone calls and e-mails, supportive comments on my blog, my sister brought Friday's dinner and played Scrabble with me Friday and Saturday to help pass the time, and brought my dad over for a visit. My boys have been great - when I broke down crying they called Brad to come home and stayed very close to me. Brad got his mom to come over until he got home. Dave brought Wendy's Frostees for all of us. Barb brought me beautiful fresh fruit. Brad's mom made us lasagne for dinner the next day, baked us a carrot cake, and yesterday morning when Zach got up and said 'mom, is there any cinnamon buns for breakfast' - she actually showed up with cinnamon buns 2 minutes later (total coincidence). And she took both boys to their orthodontist appointments this week. Brad's sister comes by with good advice. My nurse Bonnie who called me back 3 times to check on me. Brad has been wonderful, I know it's hard for him when I feel bad and he can't make it go away, but he's always there for me. Knowing so many people care has really helped pull me through this. THANK YOU!!

Like too many others, I can't/won't ask for help. I found this pic on Renee's blog (she finds the most amazing pictures):

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chemo #4 continued

Today is day 8; I am finally on the upswing. The T3's have me feeling sluggish and a bit dizzy, but I finally got some sleep last night. Brad and I met with the oncologist today and he has put me on something stronger (Percocet - which is acetaminophen and oxycodone) to get me through the rest of this one, and then next time we'll obviously start sooner. Percocet has the same side effects as Tylenol, so I am taking good old Senna-S for that.

I am walking funny (and slowly) because my hips hurt as well as my lower back. Oh and I had to report I had a sore throat (I really didn't want antibiotics because I just have too many different things I'm taking right now). Luckily he said it looks okay and gave me some mouthwash that numbs the area so it won't hurt when I eat.

Last neupogen shot for this round was this morning!

Tomorrow's post will focus on thanking everyone who has helped me get through this one... I couldn't do it without you!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chemo #4 (last Wednesday)

This has turned out to be a very bad one. The first couple of days were okay, but then Friday night my lower back and stomach started to hurt, and the pain got worse all day Saturday, to the point that I couldn't lay down or sit in any way that was comfortable. No sleep Saturday night, which made for a miserable Sunday. I laid on the floor and cried. I was exhausted, at an emotional low, and nothing was helping. I tried Tylenol, Advil, even Robaxacet, nothing put a dent in it.

Monday morning I called the oncology clinic, who suggested stronger pain killers (Tylenol-3's). I took them all day Monday and Monday night (meanwhile the pain was spreading down my legs and into my shoulders). They finally kicked in Tuesday morning. I slept for 3 hours. The nurse called back to check on me, and has assured me she'll work out a plan to get me through this better next time. The neupogen shots make it worse, but at least I only have one more of those to go tomorrow.

We'll see how the rest of the day goes (hopefully a nap and a real sleep tonight)...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Chemo #4 Day 3 (and a cabin update)

Still feeling good, no nausea, just really really tired (but I can deal with that)

Here's some pics of the progress Brad is making at the cabin - it's closed in, new windows on that side, a roof, even a deck... we should be able to go out and stay there next weekend...

here's what it looked like 2 weeks ago

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chemo #4 Day 1

So far so good. I've slept most of the last 24 hours, but no feeling of nausea at all. I had a lot of anxiety going into this one since #3 was so bad, and this one was a new one (Taxotere) with all kinds of new side effects and possible allergic reactions. They are very careful at the hospital, starting it very slowly and monitoring you closely. I also wore big gel mitts on my hands to keep my hands cold to help avoid the nail problems that often come with this. That's all for now. I'm going to go eat something and see how I feel...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chemo #4 is on for Wednesday

I went for my bloodwork and to meet with the oncologist this morning. Everything looks good for Wednesday. This will be a new drug, Docetaxel (aka Taxotere). It also includes taking a steroid (dexamethasone) ahead of time to help prevent nausea, fluid retention and allergic reactions. Of course that has its own side effects (sigh). And I still have to do the 5 neupogen shots after to keep my white blood counts up.

On the bright side, I went for a very nice walk in King's park while waiting for the bloodwork to be processed, and had a lovely lunch with a friend from work after I was done with the appointments.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Having a good week

I had a great visit with our friends at the lake on the weekend, and Brad got a lot of work done on the cottage (with the help of some good friends). I am feeling good, have had a couple of bike rides, and plan to go to the Folk Festival this weekend. Dreading chemo next week but just avoiding thinking about it right now.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Do I Dare... (No Hair)

First is one my mother-in-law made for me

This is another favorite...

I just bought this beautiful one at the street festival ($10!)

This just shows my new daisy necklace from my sister

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Feeling good (8 days post chemo)

Chemo#3 was a tough one (last of the 3xFEC for me, next is 3xDocetaxol). It took 8 days to feel like myself again. Enjoyed a great Canada Day at Osborne Village street festival with my sister and a friend. Bought a new toe ring, and painted a few polka dots on my (and my sister's) nails to match...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Lake

Happy Canada Day (July 1st)!! This day celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867 enactment of the British North America Act of 1867, which united Canada as a single country of 4 provinces (we now have 10 provinces and 3 territories). Back in 1867 is when we started our independence from the United Kingdom. It is celebrated with fireworks, bbq's and street festivals.

With it falling on a Wednesday this year, it's hard to make it into a long weekend, but lots of Winnipeggers head out to 'the lake' for most summer weekends. There are many lakes - huge ones like Lake Winnipeg as well as hundreds of smaller lakes. Brad's mom has a cottage we spend a lot of time at, a 2 1/2 hour drive East from home, into Ontario. (Winnipeg is near the bottom of Manitoba - close to the US border).

Brad wanted to spruce it up a bit to use this summer - he told me he needed 3 weekends to have it ready to go. For those that know my husband and his projects, he's a bit of an optimist (as well as a perfectionist). Here's some pics of the 1st weekend he worked on it (2 weeks ago).

I'll be staying at a friend's place 5km away...