I thought having cancer with young kids was going to be horrible. Seconds after being diagnosed, before even leaving the exam room I began worrying about the kids. Who would take care of the kids while I was in the hospital? How long until I’m able to pick them up after surgery, how do I explain this to them, are my kids at a higher risk of having to endure this as adults…so many worries, so much to figure out.
Much to my surprise, having cancer with little kids may be a blessing in disguise. Kids allow you to find humor in all situations. A common side effect of Chemo is mouth ulcers. Unfortunately, I got them a week after my first treatment. I was walking out of my room and about to start the morning complaining about how much my mouth hurts. I planed on telling anyone who wanted to listen about how my tongue is inflamed and even talking hurts. These lovely mouth ulcers rub the side of my teeth when I talk now that my tongue is inflamed. Just as I was about to complain, I was interrupted by a very excited 3 yr old who watched the polar express for the first time last night. She said, “mommy mommy, let’s get on a train today and go to the norF pole.” I smile and see the excitement on her face and the hope in her eyes. Before I say anything, she says, that’s an idea, huh? Santa will be so happy.” I had to explain that we couldn’t go because it was too far away…sadly she said, “Ok, maybe later.”
Today my head is tingling like I have used peppermint shampoo or something. They say it does that before your hair falls out. Feels weird but I guess not having hair has it's up side. I no longer have to spend 45 minutes washing, blow drying and styling my hair. It is weird when you know all these things are going to happen and you are just waiting to see how the meds affect you and what will happen first. Everyday I wake up wondering what will change today. Chemo so far has not been too bad. I know it will get worse before it is over but being positive and finding humor in life rather than letting the negative getting to me helps a lot.
i am tired today, starting to have a couple hot flashes and my cheeks are flush...besides that i am doing well. the dr.'s say days 7-10 should be my weakest time since my immune system will be at it's lowest point. good thing i finished my shopping this morning and got most of it wrapped. riley was with me and helped me find gifts for kiss mass. i brought her to see santa and we were about 1 block away when she saw him. he was outside walking around. riley spotted him and she planted both feet down, sat back as if she were going to sit on the ground and refused to go any closer. she was yelling, "no mom i don't like santa, i don't want to see him." everyone looked over at us and needless to say we didn't visit santa. once we were back in the car she asked to call santa's mom. she said she wanted santa's mom to tell him not to scare her. apparently, she doesn't like that he says, "ho ho ho" either. she wants him to stop saying that so loudly. we won't be seeing anymore of santa this holiday season...
chemo #1 so far so good...but i know not so good days are ahead. today it took about 2 hours. i was happy to get in and out so fast. kelly and sonya (my mother n law) went with me. the nurses were really nice. i have been a little sick to my stomach but not too bad. i was able to take riley to her first dentist appt (she did so well and listened and no tears). later i went for a 2 mile walk. it felt better than i thought. i just cant shake this terrible head ache. tomorrow i have to get a shot to boost my white blood count...in the stomach-ouch! they say i will feel my worst 10 days after treatment since my counts will be so low. such a bummer because i wanted to do after xmas shopping. i hope my side effects are mild. riley cried when i left because she couldn't go with me. she likes boo boos and has gone to all my appts. yes, even the ones kelly didnt want to attend. she is the strongest little 3 yr old. she held my hand when they removed the drain tubes and stitches and then told me not to cry. it distracted me and made me laugh.
i think I am going to write a book about having cancer in yuma. seriously, this town is trying to cause me to have a break down. friday they called to tell me they thought i could be pregnant and needed to confirm with blood work. needless to say i was a mess. more so than when they said i had cancer. i was given a urine test pre surgery and it said i was pregnant. they tested the urine again and it was negative. i was not aware of the testing results so i was clueless and shocked when the oncologist called. i had no idea there might be a concern. after the lab work, they confirmed i was not pregnant. looks like we are on for chemo monday but my heart hasn't stopped racing all day.
this time around i am healing MUCH better. i had my mug test monday which was the last thing i needed to take care of before chemo. they withdraw 3 large tubes of blood and mix it with radio active material, bake it 20 minutes and inject it back into my vein and watch it flow through my heart while i am hooked up to an EKG and under some weird machine. it allows doctors to see how well the heart functions as a pump and will serve as a guide for future tests. i also had my pre chemo appt. with the nurse to educate me on side effects and what to expect. there are too many things to list but here are a few things that caught my attention. one med is so toxic if it gets outside the vein (it is in a shot form) it will eat my skin and i will need a skin graph right away. my hair will fall out with in the first 14 days...eyebrows and eyelashes soon follow....a lot of nausea.....another med will eat the wall of my bladder if i do not urinate as soon as i feel the urge...another causes mouth sores, nails to peel or fall off.....another can cause permanent heart damage which is why i went for the mug test . i will have this test every 8 weeks....SCARY not to mention i will be in menopause while i am in chemo (hello hot flashes) and then i will take meds to keep me there for the next 5 years to prevent my body from making estrogen. i think i will have nightmares now.
if you dont want TMI skip to the next paragraph. after my appts i went to hospice to see about getting a bra and the gel inserts. they didn't have much of a selection so she gave me a pair of inserts that were a close match but they don't really stay put if you know what i mean. i thought i would try them out and wear them to the store. i had a v neck shirt on...not a good idea. i leaned over to get something and the prosthesis was falling out of my bra. funny, but not good. so i went to another place in town where they were going to fit me and order the correct size but the lady that worked in that position no longer works for the company. they offered me a man who was trained to fill in....uh, no thanks. he was trained to cover for the lady but i don't think he ever actually "fit" someone for breast prosthesis before because he looked as scared and i did when they volunteered him for the job. i just said no thanks. for some reason i can't bring myself to allow a strange hairy dude "fit" me for my breast prosthesis. that would be weird so i just gave them my number and said call me when you hire a woman.
i got 1/2 my stitches out today and the healing is looking great (as great as it can look). the rest come out on friday :). all that stuff grosses me out but it was painless. i will be cleared for chemo starting on the 14th.