Da Hell Happened to you?

Geez!  Last Monday the 20th,  was my final day of radiation. It was by far one of the best days of my life. So surreal. I didn’t know what to do with myself all week! I had been hitting the gym hard and working a lot since I had been feeling better. I did notice last week that I was so tired and felt a little short of breath, but I thought it was due to my increased time in the gym, my diet, and work. Saturday night, we had a big “end of cancer party” which was THE BOMB. Boobie cake, Boob Ice Luge, Jello Shots, and my favorite people. It was an awesome night, but the next morning I was sooooo tired. Part of me thought, man, I just can’t do it like I used to! I was struggling all day.

Sunday night, around 9, I went to go lie down for bed, and I had the most intense sharp pain in my left side. I could not lie flat, I couldn’t stand up straight, couldn’t breathe, felt like I was trying to breathe through a coffee straw and the pain in my side was killerrrrr. I thought maybe I pulled something, maybe I had a cramp, so I went downstairs and tried to lie on the sofa. I could not get comfortable. I just sat there and cried. I thought about driving myself to the hospital in the middle of the night, but then I thought maybe it’s not that bad and I’ll try to wait it out as long as possible. 

Morning came and I still could hardly stand up. It took everything in me to  put on pants and take Matthew to school. After that, I called my radiation oncologist and told him I was having trouble breathing and had a really sharp pain in my left side. He told me to come in ASAP and get a CT Scan. I had a few things I had to do for work, so I stopped by the office first. I was wearing sweatpants and a hoodie and couldn’t have cared less about what I looked like that day. My secretary was like, “how ya doin?” and I said “uh fine, I gotta go to the hospital after I leave here…” She was like, “well, you look okay!” Well, that’s the point! I don’t like people knowing if I’m upset, hurt etc. I always act like everything is fine. If I DO tell you, then it’s probably pretty bad by then, LOL. Anyway,  I went to get a CT Scan. After that, I headed to the hospital to meet with the Radiation Oncologist. He came right in and said, welp, you have blood clots in both your lungs, I’m gonna send you over to doctor Loines (my oncologist). Okay, super! not how I wanted to start my Monday. My first week with no visits to the hospital on the agenda, and here I was, back.again. Ugh.

So I walked on over to Dr. Loines. He greeted me with tears in his eyes. “Oh Amanda. I really did not want to see you today! You didn’t take the tamoxifin did you?” Dr. Loines had perscribed me tamoxifin. Tamoxifin is an estrogen blocker Since my cancer was Estrogen Receptor Positive. To grow and reproduce, breast cancer cells require estrogen. Tamoxifen is an “anti-estrogen” and works by competing with estrogen to bind to estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells. Anyway, the number one side effect of this is blood clots. Dr. Loines had prescribed it to me on Friday, but I had not picked up the perscription yet. I said, “no, not yet…” After a few minutes, I remembered that my mom had blood clots in her lungs when I was younger. I remember her being hosptialized. The doctor asked me if I had a history of blood clots and I said, well not me, but my mom. “Does your mom have Factor V?” Well I don’t know, I was young and wasn’t really paying attention. So I texted her. Yes, she does. Factor V is an inherited blood clotting disorder. I had never been tested for it, but he said it was a huge possibility. I won’t find out the results for a few more weeks. 

So, factor V, my weak immune system, and radiation/chemo equaled the perfect storm. I probably would have gotten the clots sometime in my life, but these 3 factors sure helped the process. So, I said, “well, are there a lot?” “well, after reading the report, yeah, looks there are several. We’re going to have to admit you…” UGH! I do NOT have time for this. I was so upset. So excited to get back in the gym, get back to work, and not spend any more time at the damn hospital.

Before I left, he said, “well, you know what this means? Now we’re going to have to talk about putting you on arimidex… (only other estrogen blocker)”

“ummmm isn’t that for post-menopausal women?”

“yes.”

“sooooo, you’re telling me that I now have to get a hysterectomy?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Well.  What if I just decide to do nothing?”

“Amanda, I couldn’t let you do that. You wouldn’t want to do that.”

“ummmkay. Well, we can talk about this another day. Too much to process today. How long will I be in the hospital?”

“maybe a day or 2.”

So now, I have blood clots in both my lungs, am being admitted to hospital one week after I finished my treatment, and I just found out I have to get a hysterectomy. Lovely.They started me on blood thinners right away, lovenox, which is a shot I have to give myself in my stomach twice a day for a month. That night was, rough. I was in so much pain, and nothing, I mean nothing helped. They gave me vicodin, percocet, morphine, dilaudid, you name it. I just remember sitting in that room alone in the middle of the night crying. The nurse came in and asked what was wrong, and I said, I really don’t want to sound like a pill seeker or something, but nothing is helping me and I don’t know what else to do. It was worse than childbirth. 

The next morning, my blood pressure was like 80/40 for about 24 hours, so they sent me to ICU. I had a fever, low bp, and at this point, on percocet every 4 hours which barely worked. Well now, I had pneumonia, along with the clots because I couldn’t take a deep breath and the fluid was just sitting in my lungs. Just call me the hot mess express. They sent me for another CT scan. I hadn’t had a percocet but I didn’t think it would be that bad. I forgot I had to lie flat to get the CT. Well, again, worst pain in my life, cried like a baby, and I don’t cry. CT results showed there was still clotting on the right, left was worse, fluid on the bottom left lung and some blood on my liver? “Did you fall recently or have some trauma to your right side?” “ummmm, not that I remember, and wouldn’t the pain be on my right side if that were the case?” So bizarre. No idea what happened or how that happened. It wasn’t enough for them to be concerned about because my blood counts were not dropping significantly. My blood pressure didn’t really get back to normal until Friday, and the pain in my side finally subsided around that time also. I was on like 50 antibiotics and finally discharged on Saturday afternoon. Gonna have to take it easy for a while, which I really don’t want to do, but right now I can’t even walk to the mailbox without being short of breath. I don’t even know what to think, I feel like I am watching someone else’s movie.

I am not a particularly spiritual person, but lately I have been thinking that maybe life really doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Maybe I am strong enough to go through this, so someone else doesn’t have to because they just, can’t? I dunno. I had a lot of time to sit and reflect this week, when I wasn’t hopped up on pain meds. I don’t know why things happen the way they do, but there has to be some method to the madness.

I had such an outpouring of love and support, messages, gifts, visits etc from some awesome people in my life. Some people I never thought  I’d hear from. I was so thankful for the encouragement.

I’ll leave you with this. I am still trying to come to the realization that just because I would do something for someone, does not mean that they would do the same for me, regardless of the circumstances. 

Life is messy. Everyone has their own problems. Everyone deals with things in their own way.

Shit happens. I get it.

But the words we say, or in some cases, don’t say, stick around long after the moment has passed. 

Be kind. 

Have some compassion. 

Try not to be an asshole.

And don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.

 

Love and Light,

Panda
 

 

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Been a while!

What up!

Man, it has been a while since my last post! Things have been cray round here. I finished up my last chemo on December 1. What a great feeling that was. Lemme tell ya! I sure hope I never have to do that again. I will say that after my last treatment, I got a little emotional. It was a mixture of sadness, happiness and relief. I just remember getting in my car and crying. That was it. I was done. I never thought that day would come! The nurses that work in the cancer center are really some of the most caring, compassionate people I have ever met. I think being around them for so long, I really started to enjoy their company and looked forward to seeing them on Thursdays. I know, weird. I almost felt bad that it was my last treatment, since some of the patients in there will have to continue doing chemo for a lot longer than me.

I felt like my last treatment was kind of uneventful. When it was over, nobody really said anything, and I just kinda, walked out. I dunno what I was expecting, a band, a circus, maybe some balloons or something? haha. My awesome neighbors did have balloons and gifts for me when I got home, which also made me cry! Anyway, I donated a bell to the cancer center that mounts on the wall (nautical theme of course), so that when people finish their treatment, they ring the bell! I brought it to the nurses last week and they were so happy. My doctor is getting a plaque made, with a poem I found online called “Ringing Out”. The poem reads: “Ring this bell, 3 times well, it’s toll to clearly say, My treatments are done, Its course has run, and I am on my way!” Don’t ya just love it?! Anyway, when the plaque comes in, I will take a picture so you all can see it 🙂

It has been almost 6 weeks since my last chemo treatment and I have never felt better. I am finally starting to feel back to my old self again, especially in terms of energy and strength. I started Radiation Therapy on January 4th. I go 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Treatment only takes about 20 minutes. Today was my 6th treatment. I have 24 more to go! So far, no negative effects from the radiation, in fact, I can’t feel anything during the treatment. The first day, I did notice my skin was a little sensitive, but other than that, everything is fine. My doctor told me the 5th and 6th week will be the worst, in terms of fatigue and skin irritation/burns.

With chemo being over, and my hair starting to grow back, I really have adopted an IDGAF attitude. If you don’t know what that means, google it 🙂 For a while there, I wouldn’t leave home without my “weave”. Lately, I have been going to the doctor without it, and most recently to the gym without it. That is a big step for me, forreals. It is too sweaty, and frankly, uncomfortable. Really, the only reason I had been wearing it was to not freak anyone out because I had never NOT worn it. Nobody wants to see the cancer girl without her wig. LOL. Well, guess what. I have accepted the fuzz, so ya better get used to it. Soon I’ll be lookin’ like GI Jane up in here!

no-hair

Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start. One thing is for sure in my case, nothing can be worse than last year!

XOXO,

Panda

 

Keepin’ it Real…

Evening Friends,

I am finally free and feeling better. Those 4 days in the Hospital were pretty boring and really made me appreciate the outside world! I was supposed to have chemo last Thursday, but obviously that got delayed because of my blood counts. I am scheduled to have my 6th round this Thursday. They switched me to a new drug called Taxol. This will be the second treatment with this drug. It seems to be a lot less intense than the other 2 drugs I was receiving, especially with the nausea. It still makes me tired, and I have noticed some neuropathy in my hands and feet, which honestly kind of makes me nervous because I don’t want it to get worse or last forever. No feeling in your feet is scary. I have somehow managed to hang on to my eyebrows, but I noticed this last time my eyelashes are slowly fading away. I suppose I need to look into eyelash extensions or fake lashes.

I had been feeling completely fine emotionally, but I’ll admit I’ve been having a bit of a time lately. I’m not sure why, but the past few days I have been feeling super bummed about not having hair or boobs. Yesterday I was out having some drinks and I couldnt help but notice all the women around me, dressed in their cute fall outfits with their hair in messy buns. I can’t really do that anymore, and I guess it made me jealous. There I was in gym clothes, because I feel like I have to wear the hat all the time. I cant really wear a hat with my cute “going out” clothes. I feel like nothing looks good on me anymore, and my entire wardrobe is useless because things just dont fit or look the same. I dont feel pretty lately and I really miss my hair. I am tired of the wigs. I want to be able to put it up in a messy bun, or wear it another way besides a hat and a side braid. I loved my hair. I had been fine about it until now. I only have 3 treatments left, and I think I’m just over it. It is really hard to feel confident and feel like yourself when everything you are wearing is fake.

It’s also really hard to go through something like this alone, at my age. Sure there are girls out there that have gone through the same thing, but nobody that I know personally or that lives nearby. I can talk about it until I’m blue in the face to my friends and family, but nobody really gets it because they havent been through it. It’s not like this is something that people can realate to because 99% of people that I’m friends with have no clue what its like to be me right now, and that sucks. Everyone has been so supportive and listenend to me vent, but I almost hate to talk about it because it’s so frustrating to me. I want my hair back, I want my boobs back, I want to feel like me again. I am sure this ship will sail and I will get out of my funk, but I also felt like it was important for me to write this tonight so that you guys realize that I do have my moments, and this is one of them. Gotta keep it real or don’t keep it, right?

Anyway, that was my 5 emotional minutes for today, now back to bein’ gangsta. Thanks for all the support, well wishes, gifts, cards, etc. I really appreciate it. For those of you that ordered a Panda shirt, I will get them out to you this week.

XOXO ,

Panda

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Flowers, No Fruits, No Friends!

Panda’s in the Slammer! Well, okay, not really but that’s what it feels like! I’ll explain. Last Thursday, I went to get my blood drawn like I do every week, and was on my merry way. On the way home, someone from the hospital called me and asked, “Amanda, are you feeling okay?” … “Um yes? Is this a trick question?” … “Your White Blood Cell Count is almost zero. I’m going to need you to come in on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this weekend to get a shot of Neuopogen to try and boost your WBC count.” Okay, no problem. So on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I went and got the shot like they told me. Sunday night, I woke up soaked in sweat at 2am. I remember my doctor saying, “If you ever have a temperature above 100.9, I need you to call me.” I went downstairs and took my temperature. It was 102. Ugh. Okay, I’ll take some tylenol and this will all be good by the morning. I woke up around 7 and it was still around 101. Shit. Now I gotta call the damn doctor, and you know what that means. Hours of sitting around waiting for them to figure out what to do with me. I called around 8 and they asked me to come in.

When I got to the Cancer Center, the lady at the front says, “ma’am I’m gonna need you to wear a mask…” Perfect. I already was wearing sweatpants and a hoodie because for some reason nature decided it needed to be 54 degrees on Monday after the hurricane. I also was having one of those “this is the best I can do days” so I didn’t even wear a wig or makeup, just a hat. Screw it, ain’t nobody got time for that. I feel like shit, this is what you get today peeps. I Probably scared the hell out of the poor teenage boys in the waiting room when I went to get my x ray of my chest. They looked at me like I had 5 heads. This is real life brotato chips, get used to it. So there I am, sweats, a hoodie, a hat, and a mask, sitting in the waiting room forevs. They took me back and drew my blood, took a urine sample, did a chest x ray, and oh my god how could I forget about the new “flu test”. The nurse shows me this white long q tip looking thing, and it has this  red mark near the end of it. She says, “I’m gonna need to get it to this red line, so do you wanna do it or would you like me to? ” I looked at it and thought surely she meant just the inch that was sticking out from the other end needed to go up my nose. Seemed simple enough… You go ahead, I said. Holy. Crap. It was the other end she started from, and it basically went from my nostril to my throat. Had to be a foot long. Blah! I don’t know how people do that stupid human trick with the piece of spaghetti because that hurt like a mother! Anyway, it all came back negative, no flu, no strep, just a “virus”. Oh, and I now have zero White Blood Cells and zero neutrophils. Don’t ask me what neutrophils are, I just know they are a type of White Blood Cells that are apparently very important, and everyone was freaking the F out. “well Amanda, now we are going to have to admit you to the hospital…” Almost like, now look what you did. The way it was presented to me by this “nurse” or “PA” or whatever she is was horrible. She made me feel like I did something wrong and was making me feel bad about it. I have been so happy with my care here, but she really rubbed me the wrong way. While I was waiting for my results to come back, (after being there for 5 hours with a fever and sore throat in some crappy chair) she comes and sits across from me and says, “Amanda, did you come in for your neupogen shot on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this weekend?”  At that point, I was sweaty, tired, hungry and super irritable. I’m sorry, are you kidding me? No, I just sat on my ass and wanted it to get worse. “uh, Yes, Yes I sure did.” I was so upset I just started crying. Why would you even ask me that, especially in such a condescending tone, and 2, I know you can look it up on the computer and see that I was here, and 3. Why in the hell would I not? You’re right, I just wanted to suffer and have zero WBC. I did what you asked, came in 3 days in a row, DURING A HURRICANE, and it still didn’t help my count. I am sorry that I got a virus. She is not my favorite. She talks to me like a child, questions me, and makes me feel like this is MY fault. Over her. I have never seen her before this weekend and I hope to never have to again.

Super. So. How long? “At least a few days…” Define “a few”… Oh, like 5. Perfect. Things I don’t have time for. That. So here I am, Day 3. What have I been doing all this time you ask? Well, I have been watching a lot of Reality TV, Breaking Bad, Baseball… The best part of all this? No Flowers, No fresh Fruits and No Friends. Well not really no friends, but No Visitors. I am in Protective Isolation, AKA Prison. LOL. No, it’s not that bad, but the poor nurses have to suit up like they’re in a nuclear war, then throw it away when they leave the room, and suit up when they come back in. I feel bad asking for more than one thing because I know they’ll have to suit up again. haha. Because my WBC count is so low, I can’t be exposed to any outside germs. On Monday, I did have a high fever still and a really bad sore throat. Counts were still low. Tuesday, WBC count came up a bit, but the neutrophil count was still 0. Today, both are up a bit, and the fever is gone. I am hopeful that I will be out of here by Friday. I feel fine today, so it’s a bit frustrating for me, but I am trying my best to keep myself occupied and move around. I did some air squats and some lunges earlier after the doctor came in (didn’t want her to catch me doing anything haha). Hope the nurses appreciate my ghetto rap mix I’ve been playin’, because I’m starting to go a little crazy and might make a music video or 2!

Anyway, I’ll just be here! Feel free to drop off some food for me at the nurses station. Pumpkin anything would be fine. hehe just kidding… *unless you gonna do it 😉 *

 

isoXOXO,

Panda Kitty Cat

Deep Thoughts by Kitty Panda Cat

Hey Panda Bears!

My approach with this blog has been to write when I feel compelled to write. Today is one of those days. The past couple weeks have been very interesting. I had my 3rd Round of Chemo on September 1st, and it kicked. my. ass. I met with the doctor beforehand as usual, and he asked me how the steroid was treating me. I was like, uh, what? We had talked about giving me a steroid after treatment to help with inflammation and recovery, but somehow it was never prescribed to me, so the first 2 treatments I went without it. Thinking that it would make me feel better, I asked him to give it to me this time. Big freakin mistake. I felt the worst ever the night of my treatment, and the same on Saturday and Sunday. A week later I was still pretty nauseous and the smell of any and everything made me want to vomit. Even driving myself in the car made me sick. My throat and body was so swollen, I felt like the Michelin Man. All I wanted to do was sleep forever, and I couldn’t even do that, because the second I lied down, I would have a hot flash and wake up soaked. The good news is, I feel better now! But of course, Round 4 is also this Thursday. I will be politely declining the steroid this time around. I was fine without it for the first 2 treatments, and I think I can power through considering I didn’t see any benefit whatsoever from it. After Thursday, I will be halfway through!! 4 Treatments left and I will be switching to a different drug, which I am sure will have its own bag of tricks!

In the past week, a few of my close friends have been dealing with some pretty heavy issues. It seemed like anything terrible that could happen in the world, was happening last Friday. I have been thinking a lot about why things happen the way they happen. Is it to teach us a lesson? To make us more seasoned and maybe someday in the future be able to give advice, be strong and be there for someone else? I have always thought that everything happens for a reason. Good or bad. There is something to be learned from it. Sometimes I think, maybe what is happening to me is to teach me a lesson about being more compassionate, understanding, and less judgmental. Maybe it is to make me reevaluate my life and the people in it. Since I have been diagnosed, I have had a total change in perspective about life in general. Little things that used to stress me out or bother me, are not even an issue for me anymore. I have no patience for negativity. If you are going to bring me down or complain, you can take it somewhere else, because I honestly do not care to hear it. Life really is too short. Just like your body is a direct reflection of what you put in it, the same can be said about your mind. Your thoughts can destroy you, or they can make you feel better. Take control of your life, your thoughts, and the people in it.

I have also been thinking a lot about people and why they are the way they are. I think maybe people are who they are based on the things they have seen or experienced in their lives and also are a direct reflection of the people they surround themselves with.  You can’t blame someone who is mean, or negative, or selfish, if that is all they know. Not everyone lives the same life, so maybe they have not experienced anything that would make them nice, or positive, selfless, yet. It’s not their fault, thats what makes everyone different. I always try to see things from other people’s point of view. The other day I was walking through the grocery store and I saw a lady who was, well let’s just say, not exactly put together. She looked like she had a pretty rough day. The old Amanda would be like, wow, she’s a hot mess. This time I thought to myself, I wonder what is happening in her life to make her come to the store like that. For all I know, she could be going through some serious stuff and the best she could do was just physically make it to the store. I know I felt that way last week. I didn’t care what I looked like, I felt like shit, but I did know that I needed some damn sherbet from Food Lion and everyone could suck it. haha.

Let’s all just chill, be kind, and be a little more considerate. Everything is going to be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, well then it’s not the end!

XOXO,

Panda

 

 

 

 

 

No Boobs, No Hair, No Problem

Good Morning Sunshines!! It is another beautiful day on the Crystal Coast. I have been busy, yet successful the past couple of weeks so I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. I feel like I have so much to tell you guys! Here goes.

Last Monday, the one thing that I was hoping wouldn’t happen, happened. I woke up, took a shower, and went to straighten my hair. I always shed a lot when I brush it, but this time was different. It was coming out in clumps. I took a deep breath, collected myself and put it all in a pile in the sink when I was done. It was two huge handfuls of hair. I took a picture, and sent it to a few of my friends and said, I NEED TO GET A HAIRCUT…TODAY! My plan was to salvage as much of my real hair as possible. The next appointment I could find was the following day. So Tuesday, I went and got my haircut. I thought for sure this would be the most traumatic thing ever for me, but I was calm and cool. Freeing almost. When I sat down in the chair, this lady next to me was like, “you’re cutting all that off? Why would you do that?!” I didn’t say anything, I just smiled. My hairdresser turned to her and said, “she is going through chemo right now and wants to save her hair.” I actually felt bad for her for a second, because she didn’t know, and I could tell she was embarrassed. She came to me later and said, “I am so sorry, I definitely stuck my foot in my mouth and I just wanted to tell you how brave you are.”

Things like this have been happening a lot more lately. As you know I am a Realtor, so my first impression is important when meeting new clients. Last week, I showed some houses to my clients on Monday, and had my long hair. Met them again Wednesday and had my haircut. Then I had to meet them again yesterday and I had my wig on. They were so confused so finally I had to tell them. I don’t like bringing it up unless I have to, because I don’t want people to feel bad or feel sorry for me or treat me differently. Frankly, after my chemo on Thursdays, I feel 100% back to my old self by Monday.

Last week it was still falling out all over the place, but I tried to pretend like it was fine. Eventually it drove me crazy and I knew I had to do something. Me, being the procrastinator that I am, put it off until the last minute, so now, I had nothing besides a hat and some scarves, but no wig. I was very anti-wig for a long time, thinking, I will be fine, I’m still myself, I am still Amanda, hair or no hair. Well, I changed my mind. I wanted a wig. I found an awesome one online but the earliest it could be delivered was Tuesday. So, because I am so impatient, I went to check out the Wig Store in Jacksonville. My standards were not very high because, um, it’s … a wig store…in downtown Jacksonville. If you have never been here, you should know that Jacksonville isn’t exactly a booming metropolis. I walked in and was pleasantly surprised. There had to be at least 100 wigs in all colors and styles. In my head I was like my poor, poor wallet. Online, a real human hair wig costs at LEAST 1200 bucks. Most are more like $1800 and up. That is insane to me, considering I am not going to be wearing it more than a year. So, I walked in and said, uh, I need a wig. Like today. I told them about my situation and the staff was so helpful and considerate.

The first wig the hairdresser pulled down was this awesome brunette wig. I was like done, this is me. Love it. How much? This one is 29 50. Oh… I said. I thought he meant two thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars. LOL No. 29 dollars and fifty cents. OH MY GOD. It’s about to be on in the wig store! I walked out with 10 wigs, and 10 wig heads. All colors. I went a little crazy, but when else in my life am I going to get to walk around wearing whatever I want and people not think Im mental? Totally taking advantage of this whole thing. After I was done shopping, I noticed there was a salon in the back. “While I’m here, can you just buzz it?” The hairdresser was like, uhhh sure! Are you sure?! Yes. Please. It’s driving me crazy. So she buzzed it. Right there in the store. I’ll spare you the photo of that, because I have the littlest cone head ever! Kinda scary. I put on the brunette wig (we’ll call her Kitty- my other nickname) and had her style it for me, and just like that, I walked right out with my new look. Well, one of 10. Hehe. Matthew is obsessed with the pink one, wants me to wear it all the time and says I look like Katy Perry. haha. I told him that can be my weekend wig. After all this is over, I plan on donating these to the Cancer Center at the hospital because they definitely need some options up in there!

Chemo Round 2 was Thursday. Same story, nothing new besides it took FOREVER. I got there at noon and did not leave until after 7. My port was clogged with protein or something, so they had to flush it, and that took a couple hours. I thought maybe I damaged it weightlifting, which by the way, Saturday after my chemo I competed in a weightlifting meet. It was really fun, and kind of scary bc I had my hair cut short. I felt really good strength wise, and hit pretty much the same numbers I always hit on a good week. Anyway back to Thursday. Luckily I had one of my bffs with me, and we both had work to do and the olympics were on, so we had fun with it. I even said, isn’t this kinda like a vacation? LOL 7 hours in peace with no kids was kind of nice. I felt a little nauseous and tired this weekend, so I just kinda took it easy. By Monday, I felt great again. Hopefully this is how things will always go.

The nurses at the Cancer Center are really great. All different personalities and really make me feel comfortable. Speaking of nurses, I asked again about the whole alcohol and caffeine thing. You can tell where my priorities are. haha. I told her last time I was in, the nurse told me no caffeine or beer for a week after the treatment. She was like ummm, let me guess who told you that. Apparently the nurse that told me I couldn’t have caffeine or drink beer is super holistic and very uh, granola, if you will. Which is fine, I wish I could be more like that. But the whole idea was just her opinion, not something that would actually effect the results of the chemotherapy. So, here I am, drinking my coffee in my pink wig this morning. YAY!

 

Well, time to take Matthew to the skate park. Maybe I’ll be Katy Perry today, I feel like I could get away with it there 🙂

XOXO,

Kitty Panda Cat

Feelin’… Fine??

cropped-img_51071.jpgHey Party Peeps!

I’ve been waiting a while to write this post because I wanted to see how I felt after my first chemo treatment, but the truth is, I feel great! As you know, last Thursday was my first of 8 Chemotherapy sessions. The night before, and the morning of, I felt…well, confident. I wasn’t nervous, scared or anxious, I was honestly more excited to get started. I feel like I have been talking about it for so long, I just wanted to get the first treatment over with so I would know how I would feel and what it would be like. I met with my Doctor before the treatment, and he seemed a little confused as to why I was in such a good mood. “How are you feeling?… How are you DOING?” he said. My response was, “Great, lets do this thing!” Poor guy didn’t know what to think!

The room where the treatment is done is a little, well, depressing. They try to make it nice, and each patient has their own section with a recliner, TV, and I even got a “window seat” *fancy*, although my view was directly in front of the “EMERGENCY” sign outside, which I found a bit amusing. They connected my port to an IV, and gave me all kinds of anti nausea medicine and fluids before I started my first dose of Adrimycin. The nurse referred to this as “red death”. Oh yeah, sign me up! She could not administer this via an IV, she had to do it by hand because it is so potent and has to be done at a certain pace. Another nurse delivered it, and you would think it was the hope diamond the way they treated this drug. Checked my name and birthday a million times, made me say what the name of the drug was and why I was receiving it. Kinda crazy.

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Seeing it in person, kinda hit me. Here we go. No turning back now. It took the nurse about 15 minutes to administer the drug. After that, they gave me the second drug, cyclophosphamide. This one was an IV, and took about 45 minutes. The doctor told me I would feel great Thursday, and then Friday night, start to feel like I was coming down with something. Saturday and Sunday would be the worst days. After my treatment was over, I was starving, so I got my favorite thing, wings and cheese fries! I think this may have been a poor choice, because Thursday night I felt so sick. The thought of a wing, or any sort of cooked meat still makes me nauseous 😦 Hope I didn’t ruin that for myself, but homegirl was hungry! Friday I woke up and felt great. They gave me 2 different anti-nausea medications, and I had been taking them religiously every 6 hours. This was my main concern because I thought for sure I would feel sick. If you know me, you know that I have to drive everywhere because I get so car sick, even being a passenger for more than 15 minutes. And forget about me sitting in the backseat, ever. That ain’t happening.

OH! One more thing about Thursday. After my treatment was over, I was so excited to leave and I just wanted a beer. I casually said to the nurse, “Uh, I guess this is a dumb question but is it okay if I have a beer?” “ummm, actually you probably shouldn’t have beer or caffeine for about a week after your treatments, it can effect the chemo drug’s ability to attack the cancer cells…” Im sorry… WHAT? This was never mentioned in any of our meetings with any nurse or doctor. Not only can I not have beer, but I can’t have coffee? Mama can’t have that. I tried to trick myself all week with decaf, but that failed miserably. Now I’m thinking Im so tired because I haven’t had coffee in a week! Thursday can’t get here soon enough. And Beer. Well, everyone knows how I feel about beer!

Sorry, Squirrel! Anyway, Friday night, I still still felt great, so naturally, I went to the gym. Duh. Had an awesome dinner at a friends house that night thinking, okay, Saturday, Saturday, I’m gonna feel like crap. Well, Saturday came and went, and still felt great. Sunday, same thing, even went to the beach all day for Sunday Funday with my favorites. Here we are on Wednesday, and although I do feel a little less energetic, I still feel the same as before the treatment. The one thing I will say is, everything tastes like metal now! They did mention that this would be a side effect. Pretty much everything I eat tastes the same.

Another thing I forgot to mention in my original post was about how this effects my “fertility”. About a month ago, I met with a Fertility Specialist at UNC Chapel Hill. Patients who undergo chemotherapy are at a high risk of basically losing all or most of their eggs. I had three choices: in vitro, harvesting my eggs, or taking this shot once a month that basically puts me in menopause during chemo and “puts my eggs to sleep” so that they are not as effected by the chemotherapy. Based on the cost, and where I am in my life, I opted for the shot. I am not sure I want to have more children at this point, but I certainly would like the option. It is crazy to me how expensive fertility treatments are, and definitely makes you appreciate being healthy and able to even have the option to have children naturally.

I picked the shot up at the pharmacy, and 375 dollars and a shot in the ass later, I am in menopause! I had my nurse friend Summer give me the shot here at my house. Piece of cake. I hadn’t noticed any side effects until I went to work this morning and was literally sweating buckets. I looked at my friend Kacey and said, is it hot in here? Then it hit me, HA! I’m having a hot flash! So funny. Could not stop laughing. That is like, a real thing, and it hits you out of nowhere! haha. I’m an old lady trapped in a 30 year olds body. Respect. Seriously. Luckily I’m always sweaty and live my life in “activewear”,  so maybe nobody will notice, LOL.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now. Still haven’t cut my hair, not ready to say goodbye to the locks just yet. Sorry to leave you guys hanging for so long, I was just waiting for the big suck to hit me. So far, nothing. I am also trying to not be naive to the thought that this was just the first round, and things could get worse after more treatments. Next treatment is August 18th. Thank you all so much for all of your kind words and thoughts, texts and phone calls. I truly have the best support system eva! Love you guys!!

XOXO

Panda