Friday, August 5, 2011

Worst Blogger EVER!

I am definitely not going to get the blogger of the year award. I am so sorry I am not better at updating this thing. But here goes a rather brief recap of life after chemo.

I think last time we spoke (haha) I was having my estate sale. The sale was huge success I pretty much sold everything I owned and I am now going through the much more fun process of buying all new stuff. Shopping and decorating the new place takes up a lot of my free time these days and I am feeling fantastic so that helps too.

After I got completely out of the old house and into the new place I had surgery. The surgery was way easier than I had expected. I had the surgery on Friday and I was back at work on Tuesday afternoon. The surgeons report was good she removed the lump and was able to get "clear margins". That's a cancer term for...she got all the cancer out :) She also removed four lymph nodes. We didn't know when we went into the surgery how many nodes she would have to remove. Once in the operating room they injected a dye into the area. The dye supposedly showed them where the cancer was spreading. The dye took her to four different nodes so she took all of them out. The nodes were sent to the lab for testing and only two of them tested positive for cancer. So surgery was a success!

Three weeks after surgery I started radiation. The treatment plan is 36 rounds of radiation today I will go in for my 25th treatment only 10 more after today. I go to radiation everyday Mon-Fri and it has really been a breeze. I can hardly even tell that they are doing anything. The last two weeks are usually when the burning and pain sets in so I am just sitting tight to see how bad it is going to be, But I think since I survived chemo this is nothing.

I am feeling really great these days my hair is starting to grow back which is very exciting. It is not growing back fast enough for me though. I think it may have stage fright because I sit and stare it all the time. About a month ago I started "Operation Hair Growth" I have bought herbal drops I rub on my head, all sorts of vitamins I am taking and I use some special biotene shampoo. I don't know if any of it is actually helping but it makes me feel like I am doing something to encourage it.

So now you are all up to date on this cancer journey. I am very excited to get through with the radiation but it also kind of concerns me because that is when the waiting starts. Just waiting for the next scan to see if it has come back. The past 7 and a half months have been spent fighting the cancer and now I try to get back to normal, whatever that is, and pray the cancer doesn't return. The thing that I can remind myself every day is I went through all of this once and it was rough but if I have to do it all over again I can and I will. Let's hope I don't have to but I do find some sort of internal peace with that thought.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Final Chemo Day

Just wanted to update the blog on this my LAST DAY OF CHEMO!!!! I couldn't wait for this day but I have some anxiety because the effects of round five were so hard I am really concerned with how bad this round will be. Also a little concerned because I have my "Estate Sale" tomorrow and Saturday so I am really just hoping I will feel good at least through Saturday night so I can make it through.
Once again I have to send out major thanks to my friends Annette, Robin D, and Rebecca who came and helped me turn my old house into a thrift store. We are going to have the best estate sale ever because these girls helped me price every item and create eye-catching displays. It's amazing what can happen with you put a bunch of professional shoppers in motion.
So if your in the Austin area come check out the sale 3325 Silk Oak Dr, Friday (9a-1p) and Saturday (8a-2p) Rain or shine because the sale is all inside :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

While Natalie is busy fighting the BIG Fight....

Let's help her fight the other one......THE BILLS!

Backstage Design Studio created these epic "F*ck CANCER" t.shirts and Ragschwag has graciously stocked their warehouse and put them on the web for you to easily purchase!

Every last cent is going to those damned 'ole medical bills, so shop for your ENTIRE family + friends + fb friends + twitter followers +.....................  you understand!  :)

If you have any questions, please e me:!

Thanks in advance for your support!


Round Five in the books!

So yesterday I went to the chemo salon for my second to last chemo treatment - really getting close to the end - The light at the end of this chemo tunnel is coming into view and I like it!
Yesterday my dear friend Robin Schoepf was sweet enough to come visit me with delicious treats from Sweet Dreams Bakery in New Braunfels.  WOW this stuff was amazing - she brought cupcakes, kolaches and monkey bread.  If you don't know about them go check them out if you are in the NB area you will thank me. OH MY it was just what we needed to keep us charged through the entire 8 hours we were there.  They were running behind so it took longer than normal we got there at 9:15 and did not leave until almost 5.  It was so sweet of her to take her whole day to sit with me, definitely made the time pass by faster.  I also had a visit from Pam McElroy she stopped by with do my friends know me or what!
Two other visitors came by while I was propped upon my chemo throne.  One girl from The American Cancer Society who was giving out $50 gas cards to help cancer patients get back and forth to treatment during the high gas price times.  How cool is that?  And as if that wasn't enough behind her came a massage therapist who was donating her time to give hand and feet massages. - "well yes please" was my response.  So the name chemo salon really is fitting.  
Next week May 5th I am meeting with the surgeon so I will have more to update regarding the surgery, which should still be around the second week of June.
On the home front, I will be moving the second weekend of May.  What fabulous timing, huh?!  I found a really cute little duplex just five minutes down the road and I am really looking forward to downsizing.  I am selling everything out of that four bedroom house and starting all over.  I have been in that house for 8 years - I cannot believe it, so I am ready for a change.  This wasn't really the timing I would have chosen, but God has a better plan apparantly, so here I go! 
I am going to move the stuff I want to keep out first, and then have a major estate (haha my "estate") sale for eveything that is left the weekend of May 20-21.  I will be fresh off my last round of chemo, which is scheduled for May 19th but I have a great group of salesgirls who think they can handle it if I can't.   
So thats about all I got right now, should be blogging a little bit more in the coming weeks to keep you in the loop. Thanks again for each and everyone of you and your support, I couldn't do this without you - for real!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just on Auto Pilot

Wow, I knew it had been a while since I posted but I did not know it had been over a month.  Guess time may be moving faster than I thought.  Actually there is not a lot to report so I guess that is good.  I also enjoy life being as "normal" as possible, so I think that may be another reason it has taken me so long to post.  In my old, "normal", pre-cancer life I didn't have a blog to update.  

I made it through round three and round four.  I am home today recovering from round four.  I think I have gotten used to the effects of chemo and have gotten pretty good at managing them.  So that's what I mean by auto-pilot, it has just become my "new" normal life.  But this is not forever only two more rounds, yippee!

The cancer is responding really well to the chemo and the tumor shrinks more and more every day.  Pretty awesome.  During my last doctors appointment Dr H said it is time to get the surgeon involved.  This is great news because that means we are going to start planning the surgery - what a huge milestone!  The surgeon appointment is scheduled for May 5th - Happy Cinco de Mayo.  I think she will schedule some scans and see what she will be dealing with post chemo.  Hopefully we will stay on track to to schedule surgery somewhere around the second week of June. 

I will try to be better about updating even if I don't have much to say.  Thanks again to all of you for your words of encouragement and prayers, these are what get me through the tough days.

Oh and something I do want to mention...I have quite a few people who will be participating in runs or walks and have listed me as one of the people they are honoring.  This is so humbling and I am overwhelmed with emotion when I think about it.  I hope to mention all of them in the order of their events so hopefully some of you will be able to help support them.  Every little bit counts so even if you can spare $5 it will be appreciated. 

My friend Rena McElroy will be walking the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life this Friday. 
This is me and Rena and here is a link to her fundraising page, Thank you Rena, I love you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Feeling Good Days are the Best!

Sorry it's taken a while for me to update.  I have been really busy doing my best to enjoy every moment of my "feeling good" days.  After the last chemo round, I had a good weekend with Susan while she was in town.  Most of the chemo effects held off through the weekend but by Sunday afternoon they struck and didn't really let up until Friday morning. 

I will not bore you with all of the details but the majority of this round I was plagued with insomnia, which just compounded the complete exhaustion that the chemo causes already .  I didn't sleep for three days because the five day time release steroid they gave me before they administered my chemo.  Not only did it keep me awake, it made me ravenous.  I was constantly hungry, but the chemo zaps your taste buds so I kept eating things and they had absolutely NO flavor.  I ate an apple and it was literally like eating styrofoam.  So strange and annoying.  By Thursday my taste buds had begun to work a little so I went to Chuys and order the spiciest green chile sauce they had, I broke out in a sweat eating it but it I still could only barely taste it. 

Everyone asks was round two easier then round one and the answer is absolutely not.  It was completely different and way worse.  But once again when the storm passed I felt like a million dollars.  Since then I have felt so great I have been going non-stop.  I have completely filled my "feeling good days" schedule with happy hours and dinners and have even been back to working out. 

Just trying to fit in as much as can I between now and March 17th when I go back for round 3 - Happy St Patrick's Day to me!  I have moved my chemo day to Thursday so I can get the Nuelesta shot on Friday instead of having to wait over the weekend.  This should hopefully cut down the time I feel bad by about two days.  I think I have it all figured out but I am sure it going to throw me for some kind of loop just to keep me on my toes.

So after the next round I will be halfway through :)  It seems like it has been six months but it has only been six weeks.  Where is that fast forward button???  But I am hanging in there pretty well.  That is easy for me to say on days like to day when I feel so good.  I am getting the hang of the wigs and the hats and the hair (or lack of it) has seriously become no big deal - I NEVER thought I would say that.  This whole process does make you realize what is really important and hair is the least of my worries.

Oh I almost forgot the best news of all is the tumor is melting away a little more and more everyday.  Every time I go in it gets smaller and smaller so all of this is working, that makes it all worth it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

All About the Hair

So I am sitting in the "chemo salon" (just heard a woman call it that so I am stealing it) and I decided this would be a good time to update the blog.  This has been an eventful week.  I have been feeling fantastic since about Wednesday of last week.  So it has been approximately 10 days of good, maybe the pattern will be...have chemo feel like poop for 10 days and then feel fantastic for 10 days.  We will see after this round. 

My friend Susan, who I have known since college came in town to visit, from Jacksonville, FL on Wednesday. We have had a couple of great days.  She is getting to enjoy the super exciting chemo salon today too, she hasn't gotten to see a lot of Austin but we have a view of the skyline from the salon - see it really is a pretty fancy place.  I am so thankful to her for coming.  I continue to be humbled and amazed at the amount of love and support I have.  I am so very blessed.

Skyline view - look way in the distance it is there.

Me in my salon chair

Last Friday which was day 14 after my first round of chemo I went in to see my super fabulous hairstylist Michael Nix-Tipton.  Michael has done my hair for about 9 years and he has always said I would experiment with anything when it came to color - he would die my hair purple and I could handle it - but when we started talking about cutting length that's when I freak out a bit.  So everyone was wondering how I was going to handle this appointment - me included.  Everyone says your hair starts falling out around day 13-14 so Michael and I decided we would cut it short so 1) It would be a good transition to ease me into being bald and 2) it would give me a cute new do to look forward to when my hair starts growing back. 

Now me and short hair do not have a good history.  When I was a kid my mom always gave me the "Dorothy Hamill Cut" for those of you who are not familiar, here is a photo of her (I did not put the heart around it but I thought this picture was ironic since I have not an ounce of love for this do)
I have never had short hair since.  I was traumatized by the Dorothy Hammill cut, deep seeded emotional trauma.  The kind a therapist would have field day with.   I can still hear Mom's voice when she told the hairstylist "Give her the Dorothy Hammill Cut".  UGH!
When I was in high school, My mom had a wall of photos of me at all different ages from birth to present and my friends would come over and look at all the photos and when they got to one specific one they would always say, "Who is that little boy?" - ummmm that was me when mom forgot it was picture day at school.  I had on a white t-shirt and brown corduroy pants, holding a bible, with the Dorothy Hammill Cut.  SCARRED FOR LIFE!

So back to Day 14, my hair had been look especially fantastic for the past week of course, but I had gotten myself psyched up for "the appointment".  I had a few tears on the way there but for the most part I was ready.  When I arrived the receptionist poured me a glass of wine - that on top of the two margaritas I had a lunch were providing the perfect amount of liquid courage to get into Michael's chair. 

He cut a fabulous do.  It really is cute, not anything I would ever choose for myself but I like it better than I could ever have imagined.  It is the easiest thing ever.  My normal one hour, getting ready routine, was cut down to about 15 minutes.  Very nice!  Michael hates this picture of him but I had to put him in here so you can see him, bless his heart he was staring directly into the sun.  He is such a sweetheart, I adore him :)

So now here we are at Day 21 and my 2nd round of chemo and my cute new haircut is slowly but surely falling out - in CLUMPS.   What a mess.  Yesterday we were walking down the street between two downtown buildings when a big wind came up and created a wind tunnel.  I just knew by the time we reached the end of the block I was going to be bald.  Wouldn't that have been a sight to the people driving by?  I have decided I am glad it hung on it this long (a whole week!) but I am ready to move on to one more milestone and shave it off.  So today when I leave the "chemo salon" I will head for the hair salon and I will have Michael shave it all off - just one more step and I think I am ready, I hope :)  Then we are heading hat shopping, wigs, hats, scarfs, who knows what I will be wearing next time you see me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I think I have mentioned before that I get real discombobulated (is that a real word? I think it is, yep just googled it, it is...meaning "to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate") when things go against my planned schedule or the way I thought things would happen.  Well the past seven days have discombobulated the heck out of me.  I have researched and talked to people who have gone through chemo and I thought I was going into this thing with a really good sense of what was going to happen.  In my mind, and from what I had heard, you have a chemo treatment and somewhere within the next three to five days you feel like crap.  Maybe differing degrees of crap, but overall crap and then it is over until your next treatment.  Ummmmmm not the case for me.  Once again defying the norm...Go Natalie. 
So I got through Hellacious Weekend #1 after my treatment on Friday and then by Tuesday I was feeling good, thinking the storm had passed and I was good until the next treatment.  I was told that I needed to get a shot the day after chemo to boost my bone marrow and increase my WBC's (White Blood Cells).  That sounded easy enough.  So on the Monday following chemo I went back in to get the Neulesta shot got the shot and really didn't think much more about it.  They told me it may give me some back pain and/or joint pain but it normally is only bad in older people.  So I didn't really worry.  Tuesday and Wednesday went well, I was little more tired than normal but still feeling much better in comparison to the weekend so I was A-ok.  Then starting Thursday night I was all of a sudden absolutely wiped out again and feeling really weird.  Woke up Friday morning feeling really bad dehydrated and just "off", really unexplainable.  I already had an appointment Friday morning to go in and get my blood tested to check my levels (I will do this every Friday because it is seven days after my treatment) so I was hoping they could shed some light on this.  As I checked in at the desk the receptionist says, "How are you feeling?"
"Not so good, I responded.
"You had your first treatment last week right?  What day is today?" she said.
"Seven" I said.
"Oh yeah seven is tough one." she said.
WHAT????? <Insert more discombobulation here> No one ever has mentioned Day Seven being tough, What the heck??? More surprises...great!
Are there more of these special number days I should be warned about???
When I go in to see the Nurse Practitioner she goes over my blood levels.  A normal WBC count is somewhere between 4.8-10.4 I am at a 1.4, no wonder I have absolutely NO energy.  She explains how the shot they gave me on Monday should increase this count and I should start feeling better, it normally takes five to ten days to kick in.  I am only on day four so it should have me back to normal levels by Sunday. 
So pretty much just wait it out...great. 
I started to get to feeling a little better Friday afternoon and even made it out to happy hour.  It's amazing how I can rally for a happy hour when "needed". It was great to go have drinks and feel somewhat normal for a couple hours.  I met Robin, Robin, John, Shannon and Jessica at the W.  The Departed was having their first show at the new ACL venue and all of them were going.  I wish I could have made the show but the two hours of happy hour wore me out enough.  I think my late night concert days are going to have to be reserved for the third weekend after chemo.  Planning on testing that one out this weekend I will let you know how it goes.
That night I was lucky enough to get a visit from the joint and back pain that "usually is only bad in the older people".  The back pain was so bad I thought it was probably similar to labor contractions.  I couldn't even lay down in the bed, much less sleep it was a terrible night and an even worse weekend.  All weekend I had sharp stabbing pains in my knees, my hips, and my back.  I bet that is what arthritis feels like, so painful.  I took ibuprofen, vicodin, nothing even touched the pain.  I was bed ridden ALL weekend, way worse then the weekend before.  But by Sunday evening it had passed, I lived through another storm, Thank you Lord. 
So here we are at Wednesday and I have actually felt "normal" today and yesterday.  I hope (fingers crossed) I am now past all the ailments until the next treatment Feb 25th.  Let's all hope for 10 days of no more discombobulation :)
My next big hurdle is the hair loss.  It is supposed to happen around day fourteen so that will be Friday.  I have an appointment with Michael, my hairdresser, on Friday to cut the majority of it off so I can donate it.  He is also going to play with it and give me some cute "short" do so I have something to look forward to when it starts growing back and I am thinking it may just be time to shave it after that.  This part is going to be rough.  I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Blizzard of 2011

Well my first day of chemo could not have started any better, an inch of snow in Austin, Texas which pretty much paralyzes the entire city.  I had spoken to the nurse at Texas Oncology the day before during that fabulous "chemo class" and she had assured if the weather got bad and they were not going to be open they would call at 6:30AM.  Well around 8am Mom and I left my house and slowly headed up Mopac toward the office.  At about 8:20 a nurse calls and says they do not have lab techs so they are rescheduling all appointments.  I explained we were almost there and it makes no sense for us to turn around so we will just come and wait.  We made it to the building with only one terrifying..."oh S*&T we are going to slide into this ditch" moment.
After we waited a little while they finally got us going.  They accessed the port that I had had "installed", earlier in the week, without any incidence.  I was relieved.  I don't know what I why I was so scared of that part but I was.  They started by giving me a steroid and then an anti-nausea medicine before they started any of the chemo drugs. 
The Taxotere was administered VERY slowly to be sure I didn't have any allergic reactions.  Thankfully I did not.  The Taxotere took four hours total.  They said next time it should go a little faster since they know now that I will not have a reaction.  Adriamycin AKA "The Red Devil" was the next drug.  It is called the Red Devil because it is bright red.  It also make you pee red for a few hours after its administered.  Something they DO warn you about  - good to know!  That little devil just took about 15 minutes which seemed like a couple of seconds compared to the Taxotere.   The Cytoxan was the final drug and that one did not give me a headache like it could have and only lasted a little over an hour. 
We were done and headed home by around 3:45 so it was a long day but I did not get sick and felt fine when we left to go home.  That did not last very long.  Around 7:30 or so the nausea set in and it really took me by surprise.  Everyone had told me it would be two or three days before I felt the effects but lucky me, I got it same day - yipee!  I think the anti-nausea medicine they gave me before the treatment started probably needs to be changed next time so that will not happen. 
Over the course of the weekend I was able to get the nausea under control with the medicine they had given me, but I was EXHAUSTED. The word exhausted doesn't really adequately explain how tired I felt.  It was unlike anything I have ever felt before.  I slept most of the day Saturday, I was able to eat and actually got out to meet "The Robins" and Lucy for dinner on Saturday night.  It seemed like after sleeping all day 5pm-8pm was a good time for me.  I actually would feel like I could get out for a bit, even though everything took a huge effort.  Even climbing the stairs was a chore.  Sunday was pretty much the same I stayed in bed all day then got up long enough to go over and watch the first half of the Superbowl with Randy, Brooke and Baby Izzy.  I stayed home Monday because I was pretty sure if I could make it through getting ready for work I would most certainly fall asleep at my desk or while driving to the office.  But finally about 3:30 on Monday I got a "wave" of feeling great.  It was just like the storm had passed.  I almost felt euphoric after feeling so bad.  It was really weird, I think if it wasn't so cold I could have gone for a run, I felt THAT good.  I know strange but true.
So the first round is behind me - hooray, and I have an idea of what my "pattern" will be.  The doctor said your symptoms will usually follow the same pattern so now I know what I am dealing with.  Only five more hellacious weekends to go :)
Also, I cannot end this blog without thanking each and everyone of you who called and texted and prayed for me during this first treatment.  I am constantly amazed by the outpouring of love and support, I am so very blessed.  A VERY special thanks goes out to Annette who braved the blizzard and came and sat with me and Mom during chemo.  It is a very long and day and not even a bit of which is exciting and Annette sat with us for most of the day after braving the elements to get there.  That girl is good people :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cancer "Class"???

Well on the eve of my first day of chemo I had to attend Chemo Class, yes they call it a class.  Now I don't know about you but the word "class" always makes my stomach turn.  Was I supposed to study?  Is there going to be a test?  Do I have to pass or they don't give me the chemo.  Geez I don't need this kind of pressure right now.
I think this is the absolute worst title they could give this thing.  I mean shouldn't they make it sound like somewhere you wanted to go...Like "Chemo Pre-Party" everybody likes a good pre-party.  And it sounds like that is just the beginning, it's party before the party.  They already call your chemo drugs your chemo cocktail, so they really should keep up that "fun" lingo. 
"Class" actually ended up being nothing like a class at all, except that I got to watch a movie at the end.  I was the only one in the class, apparently they do not have an issue with overcrowding.  I got to sit down with a financial counselor who gave me the "this is what insurance pays and this is what they don't pay" lesson which is always a fun one.  Then I had a nurse give me a tour of the infusion room.  It is a bright an cheery room with 32 recliners and about 20 tv's.  They have a kitchen and lots of food and drinks available and they said lots of restaurants deliver.  Obviously a lot of eating goes on during chemo.  Those chemo cocktails must give you the munchies.
They said I would be there for five to six hours.  My chemo cocktail is three different drugs and each is administered separately.  The first one will be Taxotere and this one will take the longest.  This one runs a large risk of allergic reactions, doesn't that sound fabulous.  The way it works is they slowly give it to me and wait to see if I have an allergic reaction.  If I do they stop and give me Benedryl or something to combat the reaction then they give it to me again.  They said eventually my body will be able to take it but it may take a few fun!  So this drug could take two - three hours.
The next drug is Adriamycin it is a pretty quick one, it should only take about 15 mins.  Then they end up with Cytoxan which could take an hour or may take two.  It gives some people migraine headaches so they have to administer is really slow if this happens.
After they explain the process they ran down the list of about a million different side effects I could experience.  None of these sounded fun, I will spare you the details of all of these.
So tomorrow is the big day.  8:45 is when I start so if you have a break in your day and have the chance send a little prayer my way, I could sure use it.  I am really looking forward to getting the first one done so then there will only be five more :) 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Official

Today is the day, the official start of my life as a cancer patient.  Since December 7th I have been in the planning phase, with the cat scan, pet scans, blood work, PEM scans and the multitude of doctors appointments.  But that was just planning, as of today the battle begins and my life will never be the same.  Yesterday was my last day as a "normal person", today I got the port installed, Friday the chemo starts, and in two weeks I lose my hair.  From this day forward I will always be a cancer patient.  I WILL BE a survivor at the end of this, but a cancer patient just the same, for the rest of my life.  Even when the port is removed the scar will remain as a reminder of this battle.  I wonder if there will ever be a day I don't think about it.  I wonder if ten years from now I will have an entire day where there is no mention of cancer or there is nothing that sparks a memory of my cancer and right before I go to bed I get undressed and the scar is there to remind me.  I wonder...will I hate the scar, will I love the scar, will it be like a battle scar and give me strength....I wonder.
I am a different person today than I was yesterday, February 1, 2011 it all changed, I have changed.  The training and planning is over, it's time to fight.  Just like a NASCAR race, the engines revving the gun fires and here we go......

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Watch out Octomom

The surgery today went really well for the egg retrieval.  After about three weeks of treatments they were able to harvest 25 total eggs.  When we left the hospital the embryologist thought there were 18 eggs that were of the quality they needed to freeze.  This evening they called and said that changed after we left and they were only able to freeze 14 of those.  But I am still thrilled with that.  Even if I never have to use those eggs, it is amazing piece of mind that they are there.  I am so glad I did it, it was a rough last week but completely worth it. 
I also have to thank the Livestrong organization for their support.  Lance Armstrong's ex-wife started a foundation called Fertile Hope or Sharing Hope that is a division of the Livestrong organization.  Sharing Hope is an initiative dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.  Sharing Hope covered almost half of the costs of my medications, treatments, and surgery.  The staff of Sharing Hope and Texas Fertility Center were amazing during the entire process. 
Now I have a couple of days to recover before another surgery on Tuesday to insert the port.  Will update more after that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shots and tears and tears and shots....

I was really hoping that I would be getting in bed early tonight so I would be ready for an early surgery tomorrow morning to retrieve these eggs, but that is not happening.  Those little suckers decided to slow down a little so the surgery got moved from tomorrow to Saturday.  One day doesn't seem like that big of deal, but right now changes to my schedule really throw me for a loop.  I have had a rough time the past few days.  This process has taken its toll.  I have to give to myself three shots a day, which I have gotten really good at, I have to say, but all of the hormones have made me an emotional wreck.  I cannot imagine how people with fertility problems go though this over and over again.  I usually think I am pretty strong but this has kicked my butt.
But thankfully on Saturday this process will be over and I can move on to the next stop on the cancer journey - chemotherapy!  Tuesday I will have another surgery to get the port inserted.  The port is a small medical appliance that is inserted in the upper chest, just below the collar bone.  The port is what they will administer the chemo through.  Should be a relatively easy surgery and then Friday will be the first round of chemo.  My friend Shashon is coming in town to be with me for this first round, it will be great to have her here.
I will update more after Saturday's surgery.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back to Reality

Sorry it has taken me so long to update, there has not been a whole lot going on to write about but that's all about to change.  I had a great trip to Steamboat and thought that I would be depressed when I got back but I really felt just the opposite.  I think I am tired of talking about what is going to happen, I am just ready to get on with it. 
Since I got back home, I have been going through fertility treatments in preparation for the egg retrieval that will happen next week, probably next Friday or Saturday.  It has been a very emotional process, the hormones have made me a little bit of a basket case, along with the reality of it all.  I have mastered the art of giving myself shots, which I never imagined I could do.  The doctor says everything looks good so far, I have eight follicles kicking - woo hoo! I have another sonogram Sunday morning and at that time we will know which day the surgery will be.  After this egg retrieval is complete it looks like this will be a 6-7 month journey.
Chemo will start Friday, Feb 4th  and will continue every 3 weeks for 6 sessions.  After chemo is done I will recover and prepare for surgery which should be around 3 weeks later.  Hopefully the chemo will melt the tumor and make the surgery easier.  They will remove the lump or what is left of it and the lymph nodes that are affected.  At this point we know that there is one lymph node that will be removed but they may have to remove others when they actually get in there.
After surgery I will have radiation to "mop up" anything that may have been missed.  Radiation is everyday Mon-Friday for 6-7 weeks.  So hopefully I will be done and cancer-free by football season :)  I am always excited about football season but this year is a whole new story. 
So I should be updating more frequently now as we get this ball rolling.  Thanks for following my journey and I hope you all have a great weekend!