|My sister, my mom & me right before my mom started chemo|
These are her words..
I am going to try to capture a tough time in my life for my friend. So here goes if I leave anything out feel free to add it. I went in for a routine mammo. A few days later I received the call they wanted to look closer. I went in for an ultrasound and they confirmed there was something suspicious. I went back for a needle biopsy. On June 7th, 2007 I got the dreaded phone call that they had good news and bad news. The good being that the left side showed no signs of cancer but the right side did. I already knew that. I felt it that woman's intuition. I just knew. Okay so treatment would be surgery, chemo and radiation. Surgery first. But because of previous heart problems we new had to clear my heart. All the while the tumor was GROWING. Next came the bone scan to make sure the cancer did'nt spread to my bones. All clear. Heart tests treadmill, nuclear dye all turned out that my heart was strong enough for anesthesia. August 13th, 2007 was the surgery date. They got the tumor out and got clean surgical margins. Now anyone that has ever been diagnosed knows how scary this step is. The lymph nodes turned out to be negative. That was great news. Sigh of relief. A port is planted into my chest that they will draw blood out of and then add all the chemo through to kill the cancer cells.However the fun is just beginning. My world at this point was very black and I can't even explain how negative I felt. But one foot forward. Here we go. Surgery is over now to just get past the pain. Next step was GammaWest. Internal beam radiation. 10 treatments. Just 10. However as I was sitting up one day shortly after surgery. POP!! The doctor assured us that the odds of that balloon that was inside my breast popping was slim. We met at the hospital the next morning and yes my balloon had indeed popped. We are in trouble now. With out that balloon I can no longer have 10 radiation treatments. Now we are facing external beam which is going to be a lot longer. So back into the surgical room we go hoping to remove the balloon and insert a new one. The first one coming out hurt but not too bad. Going back in was a different story. However. I looked at my surgeon and felt total trust. He could do it. He could get this situated again so that I could just have internal radiation. Back to GammaWest to be re-evaluated. It looks like Dr Wilson did it. It's going to work. Into a small vault I went. I had the balloon at the tumor site. A cable that came out of my side that they hooked a machine up to. They sealed me inside a vault only big enough for my hospital bed and the radiation. I could feel it pulse into my body. There was a small monitor that they watched me on. The whole time I am locked away. ALONE. 10 treatments. I am exhausted physically. I made it. I became friends there. It was sad to say goodbye but we are now on to the next phase of treatment. CHEMOTHERAPY. Before the chemo drips into my blood and poisons my body I want my long hair cut so that I can donate it to locks of love. We pull it into a pony tail and Rex cut it off. Tears of sadness. My hair has been a part of me for years. Now I am off on a new journey without it. Skye and Sunny cut their beautiful long hair off. I can say the support was appreciated but as a Mommy I loved their long hair and I would give anything if they didn't have to experience this. All in all 106 inches of hair was donated on my behalf. Rex shaved his head. Ty was the smart one who said no way!!! Chemo is scary. Unknown chemicals are going to drip into my body now. I am scared. Terrified is more like it. All of the drugs are on the IV pole. A needle is placed into my port and the drip begins. They are watching closely now. Closely because now they are watching to make sure I don't have a reaction to the chemicals dripping into my blood. Anti drugs are placed into the blood stream to make sure I don't have any reactions. I feel pretty good. The last thing to happen is the neulasta shot. This is a bone marrow booster. I am done. I feel pretty good. Tired but I have been feeling tired since radiation. D Says later I feel it. The neulasta shot hurts. I am achy. I hurt so bad. This is the result of my body boosting the bone marrow. Flu like achy. My doctor puts me on pain medication. It helps some. Not a lot but some. I question the chemo because I don't feel horrible. I feel okay. Football practice is starting. Ty really really needs this outlet. I have a great friend Chris who drives us to his practice every day. I am sitting in a lawn chair the sun is shining. I am watching my son. Best of days. I reach up and run my hands through my hair. OMG I can't see my hand for the hair covering it. My hair is falling out. So much hair it is unbelievable. It looked like a cat was killed for the fur. I am sitting in the sunshine with tears. It is really happening. I am losing my hair. This I knew was coming but it is unbelievable grief. I come home and call my beautiful daughter Skye. She came right over and we shaved what was left. I start feeling better. Time for round 2. Here we go again. Chemo. Neulasta. Pain Meds. Chemo. Neulasta. Pain Meds. I get weaker and weaker. I am trying to not complain but my world is pretty darn black now. I don't see any light. In fact now I am facing my own mortality. Now I need you to know my final wishes just in case I don't make it through this. No one wants to listen. But you have to I may not live through this and you need to know. Wigs. I hate them. Hats I look like a cancer patient. Scarves, no not me. Ski caps?? It's winter I live in Utah. I can do this. Many a night Rex took Ty night skiing and my great friend Chris drove me up to the mountain so that I could sit and watch them come down. What a great time that was. My mouth is on fire. I can't eat anything. The doctor perscribes a mouth wash that causes my whole mouth to go numb. It helps. Everything I eat or drink tastes like sour milk. Yuk I can't drink anything. The dr. stresses I either stay hydrated or I go to the hospital. My choice. I can't drink. Somehow I manage to get enough fluids in that he is happy. I don't have to go to the hospital for IV's. Every 3 weeks more chemo. About 5 hours in the recliner watching the chemo drip drip drip. Finally 18 weeks later the chemo is finished. 6 rounds of chemo. Now I still have to finish herceptin therapy. This is a specialized treatment I have to continue for one full year. Chemo was every 3 weeks but herception is weekly. Finally the day comes. I am finished. I have lost the hair on my body but the most devasting for me was my eyelashes. Oh how I cried when I was putting on my mascara and it kept hitting my eyelid. Then I realized my eyelashes were gone. Now I am a basket case now no matter how I tried to hide my baldness I looked sick. I couldn't put on false eyelashes. Now I looked sick. Now I look like a cancer patient. Now I looked sick. I could no longer hide the fact that I looked sick. I have cancer. Now I can die. I had good days and I had bad days. I didn't go anywhere anyone knew me. I didn't step foot into my store until the day I went back to work one year later. On the day I was sitting there waiting for Ty to get out of school I was looking in the mirror and realized I had tiny new eyelashes growing. I called Sunny ecstatic. I had great friends. Cami sent me a jar with awesome memories that everyone added. I was supposed to read one a day on bad days. I must confess I had a bad day and read the whole jar all at once. Then I cried. I realized I had great friends. I had someone to love me through it. As I healed and and moved one step forward I realize I have scars. I have emotional scars. I can't begin to describe diagnosis, treatment and cure. I have physical scars. Where they performed the lumpectomy and where my port once was. I had decided to keep my port forever. What if the cancer returns. A friend Stephen told me no you can't live your life like it is coming back. Move forward. Have it removed and walk into the light. How right he was. I still have the scar and the port in a little plastic bag as a reminder. I walk forward into the light. I have great friends and family who walked that path with me. Thank You. I will forever have a special bond with you my friends. Thank You for loving me through it. There you have it. I still take tamoxifen. I have to take it for 5 years. Hopefully at the end of that path I will still be cancer free. Today I walk in the Relay for Life. Okay I walked it before but now I walk that survivor lap with friends who have fought the same battle cancer. Then my caregivers walk the other way to meet me. It is an emotional lap. The first year I couldn't walk it. I didn't make it through this story without a lot of tears. My wish is that no one will ever hear the words You have cancer ever again.