Monday, May 7, 2012

This Ain't No Picnic!! & Other Random Musings

Chemo is no walk in the park. It has sure showed me some rough, tough, down in the dumps, feel sorry for myself pity party times. I am thankful to not be ridiculously ill through this time but that does not mean it hasn't been completely shitty and horrible to go through.

Chemo SUCKS!!!! Bottom line!!!!

A list of my latest side effects that have made things not so fun:
• Hot flashes - I am in full blown menopausal-mania fest. One minute I'm wearing a toque to keep my head warm, the next I am fanning myself with a cute hand fan that Mike's Mum got me from Fong's Market in Gibsons. I can imagine this is going to be interesting when the heat kicks in for Summer.
• Exhaustion, aches and pains -  My poor neck and back!
• Thrush - My throat has taken a beating :(
• Nausea - Pretty much from Day 2 until Day 8 now I am dealing with it. Part of this could because I stopped taking melatonin at night (which was supposed to minimize side affects) But NEWS FLASH on melatonin for women!! It has been recently linked to breast cancer (Can we ever win?). Needless to say, I stopped it immediately! You should too!
• Lack of sleep - there are times where I only sleep a few hours each night because of the steroid drugs I am on. I am sooooo tired and all I want is to shut my mind off but it's like I am in an overdrive thinking trance sometimes and I can't seem to shut things down to actually sleep! It's brutal!
• Emotional crap - there are days I wonder if I will ever make it through this. Because at the time I feel like I am in a vortex tunnel with no end in sight. I totally can lose it at times like this. Meaning: I cry a lot. Poor Mike puts up with me like the stoic champ that he is. Have I mentioned his awesomeness?
• Certain food smells and hospital smells are making me sick... even THINKING about certain smells can make me almost sick.
• Weight loss and food aversions - Because of the nausea I feel less like eating for the first week after treatment. I never thought I'd be complaining about losing weight but holy hanna when I actually get my appetite back I am like a pregnant women wanting peanut butter and pickles at the same time and I am longing to scarf down the fattiest and breadiest food just to pack on some pounds!

The food thing SUCKS! Right now a lot of food is making me gag at the thought of it. I can't eat things I love because I will associate them forever with chemo. And I can't eat things I hate because they already make me want to puke. And then the bland boring things are now getting to me as well. Everything I eat regularly is beginning to make me sick when I think of it. And the thing that totally bites about the food thing is that all of the healthy foods I should be eating are completely sicking me out. Like absolutely gross in my mind!!

So unfortunately I have had cravings for things that I shouldn't reeeallly be eating... salty stuff mostly. Salmon jerky, crackers with fromage, pretzels, bagels with herb and garlic cream cheese, all-dressed chips! BAD Ashley!!!! So BAD!!!!

So I am caving here and there. Because it's all I can do to get through. Seriously, before chemo I thought I was gonna rock it and go all raw and green and juice and glow and show chemo who's boss.

It's just sooo much more difficult than that.

I had no idea it was gonna completely F things up this much on the food side of things. No amount of warnings from other fellow breast cancer babe's could have prepared me for it. I was so determined... and now I am learning to just fricking go with it and do whatever I fricking can do to make it through.

I must look at the bright side: Being a vegetarian, at least I haven't caved and sprung for a burger, right? Although there was one night where, had someone put a chicken strip dipped in honey mustard in front of my face, I may have bitten it.

To balance out with these cravings/cavings I have a green smoothie every morning. Chopped kale is snuck in there with some magical algae to make me super women, along with a banana, frozen blueberries and some Vega chocolate protein powder. Lately I am even struggling to get this down but I am making it work. I MUST make THIS work at least!

Again, trying to stay in good spirits: I am almost half way done treatment! After next week's round 4 on May 15th I will be at the half way marker. I'll be done the A/C drugs and then cycle 5 they put me on the T drug. The T drug is supposed to have a different list of side effects... I have heard it doesn't make us as nauseated but people get very very very tired and have flu-like symptoms. The chances of having a longer break in between treatments increases too because it just kicks you down so much.

So I may end up having a 3 week holiday towards the end if T does a number on me. Hoping I handle it well! It's times like these where I can really find myself getting overwhelmed by the timeline... there's still so much to go through and it's hard not to get shadowed by that thought...

But there are some happy things in store that are going to definitely help make things go quicker and provide some distraction. More on this in another post!

In other news... I have had follow ups with Dr. Sunshine and Dr. Van Awesome... Their remarks made me feel good: "Doing excellent!" "Star patient" and "Energy level is above average" 

Yay Me!

Dr. Van Awesome has now permitted me to have baths again! And she doesn't need to see me again until after chemo so that was nice to hear. As for the next stage for the recon on the foob... the nipple shall be made in the Fall once all of my radiation treatment is done and then they tattoo on the rest. A complete new boob just in time for Christmas! Ha... too weird!

Dr. Sunshine gave a break down also for recurrence...which at first made me think good things and now I am not so sure. I think that the worry and fear is just always going to be there. Thankfully I have some great peer support out there with other women who have or are going through what I am. It helps to talk it out.

Back to the numbers... Dr. Sunshine said that if I did nothing... no chemo, no therapy of any kind that there would be a greater than 50% chance of recurrence in the next 10 years.  25%  chance of recurrence after I do chemotherapy. And 12.5% chance of recurrence after I do Tamoxifan for 5 years. Which I am still on the fence about of course. 

Radiation is a whole other ball game. I meet with my radiation oncologist this Friday to determine how much they will recommend and for how long as well as get some answers on how much it will lower my risk. Or increase my risk too for that matter... after all, they do worry that radiation can actually cause cancer to return too. What to do? 

Before I go down that dark hole of "what ifs" and worry myself into a neurotic frenzy I am gonna segway awkwardly into something completely unrelated to cancer in every way!! 

Hooray for randomness!! 

Here are some cool things online and 'in real life' too: 

• This song by Mausi is in my head and may be my 2012 Summer theme song... fun video too!
• Re-sprouting green onions - so easy and simple and you save money. Who doesn't love that?
• Siri on the iPhone 4S entertains me to no end these days. I ask her the silliest questions. It will be good when she finally gets it together and can search in Canada. For now I am amused by her cheekiness. It's like having a friend here on those days when I am solo. Haha... how sad and nerdy am I!? lol
• File this under "Weird Crazy Cat Lady" but I think some of these designs are the shit* ;)
• I have recently discovered the amazingness that is NetFlix - free trials rule!
• This story is old news for some but I thought it was worth sharing mainly because it's quite possibly the coolest looking fort/treehouse I have ever seen. Sadly the guy will probably have to take it down though because he built it on crown land. Doiiy!
This show is so randomly funny and pleasantly entertaining. Thank you Kel for hooking me up with season 1.
• We are supposed to have 2 weeks of amazing glorious sunshine here! Yippee!

That's all for now... I'm gonna go and get me some vitamin D on the back deck :)

Peace out. xo

No comments:

Post a Comment