Bye Felicia, I mean Chemo

After having to skip my Taxol chemotherapy last week due to low blood counts I was pretty bummed out. I was scared that I wasn’t going to get better in time for my my last treatment today or that we would need to push surgery back. So last night I sat in bed, Ambien-less, and thought about what life was going to be like moving forward.  I tried to remember what “normal” felt like. Many breast cancer survivors say that life never goes back to “normal” and that you will always have little things that you will deal with everyday. I’m not going to accept that. I will not let breast cancer rule my life (my four year old already excels at that job). 

Today was emotional. Very emotional. I finished my chemotherapy with no problems or set backs. I will still go back every 3 weeks until July for Herceptin infusions but they will be quick and easy, no side effects. 

​Next is a couple weeks full of many doctors appointments and recovery from chemo. On Monday, November 14th I will have my surgery at Menorah Medical Center. I will be have a double mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection with resconstruction. My lymph nodes were positive for cancer cells when this all started so we are just going to take them out. After we get the pathology back the doctors will decide what the next set will be. Some doctors are saying radiation and some are saying that I may not have to have it. Of course I will be getting multiple opinions from some great doctors.

Just wanted to say thank you to all my friends and family for the continued support. It is amazing to hear from people that I haven’t seen in years. I believe that if you surround yourself with good people that are kind, loving, and compassionate, you really have it all. I am looking forward to the future and spending time with the ones I love. 
And eating lots of great food. 

Giving Back

The ups and downs of chemotherapy are exhausting, just ask my husband. He has been such a trooper through all of this and I truly couldn’t do it without him. This week has been so much better than the last two weeks. Thank god. My tastebuds are slowly coming back and all the really ugly side effects have disappeared. My amazing oncologist and nurse practitioner have switched my chemotherapy to Taxol, which are lower doses and given in weekly treatments. Four more weeks!!! Hopefully these treatments have little to no side effects and I’m able to keep my counts up every week to keep on schedule. My surgery has been set for Monday, November 14th and I’m determined to get to that day so I will fight through the next four weeks. 

As the end of my chemotherapy comes to an end, I would love to do something to help put a smile on other patients going through the same thing. Chemotherapy has been the toughest and most depressing time of my life so far. The loss of my hair has been devastating. My skin is completely dried out and ashy. My nails are turning colors. I have lost so much weight and muscle that I feel weak. It has put me into a depression that I could never imagine. I feel unattractive and embarrassed by the way I look. I know it’s silly but it’s the truth. Hopefully I can help a little bit when it comes to helping someone else going through the same thing. 

As many of you may know, I am a stylist for Stella & Dot. I have put my business on the back burner lately because of my health, family, and my (real) job. I would love to do a little fundraiser/program for the other chemotherapy patients at the KU Cancer Center. We will call it “Sponsor a Pouf” and it is going to be amazing. All I’m asking is for you to buy a pouf from Stella & Dot and I will fill it up with some great goodies. I received some pretty great gifts from everyone during chemotherapy but it was the little things that most people wouldn’t think about that made the difference. Things like a great hand lotion, Chapstick, lemon heads, blush, nail files, lip gloss, and mouthwash. I used all these things on a daily basis. My goal is to sponsor at least 25 poufs and give them to the KU Cancer Center on my last day of treatment in October. I plan on using my commissions from the “Sponsor a Pouf” and our Breast Cancer Awareness Boutique to purchase some fun things to fill the poufs with. The poufs are just $24 and will run you around $32 after shipping and taxes. Just click the link below and at check out select ship to hostess and it will come right to me. Or you can paypal me or if you are in the area, just $27 and I will place a bulk order. 

Our Breast Cancer Awareness Boutique items are available now! I love the rose gold pieces…especially the necklace. It is so simple and classy. You need this piece. These would also make great gifts. 
There are so many women in my life that have been affected by breast and ovarian cancer lately, which is super scary. From now until October 31st, all net proceeds from the Breast Cancer Botique will be donated to Bright Pink by Stella & Dot. Bright Pink is a non profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women (ages 18-45).  

I would love your support. I would love to give some of these woman battling breast cancer a little gift in hopes to make their day just a little better. Shop this link for the poufs and some really great jewelry. 

https://www.stelladot.com/ts/zark6

Quitting is My Option

This will be the opposite of my last post. As I lay here in bed, at six o’clock on a Monday evening, I’m devastated that I don’t feel better this time around. Chemotherapy can make you feel dark and depressed that you literally feel like throwing your hands up and saying “fuck this”. Excuse the f bomb. My fuzzy burnt tongue is back in full force along with all the other side effects that I normally have. And this time peripheral neuropathy decided to make an a appearance. Basically the nerves are being damaged at the tips of my fingers. Seriously. 

I have widdled down to a whopping 115lbs today so my main goal was to get something in my stomach. My smoothie I made for breakfast made me want to vomit half way through choking it down. At lunch I knew I would really have to force myself, like really force. I ordered a side salad from the place next door to work and really prepared myself to eat it. After 2 pieces of cucumber and 3 bites of lettuce I ran to the restroom because I was going to vomit. Does urgent care put in feeding tubes because that is my next step?

My heart breaks that I can’t play with my little girls. I can’t help with homework. I can’t go outside with them. I can’t even eat with them. I want to stop chemo. I know it’s not the best answer to all of this but the way I see it, I’ve had enough. Surgery is already scheduled so why can’t we move it up and get this shit out of my body? I know radiation is 4 weeks after so why not? I don’t need your “doctors know best” lecture about how I feel so please stop. My fear right now is that I will go in for chemo in 2 weeks and all my levels will be so jacked up and I’ll weigh 110lbs that they push chemo back a week or two. Then everything is pushed back. My worst fear. 

So I did speak with my oncologists office today to let them know that things were bad. They are going to stop the taxotere that I have been getting and switch me to taxol. I feel like this is good news but that’s what I said last time and nothing has changed. The more research I do on it tells me that it is a better decision for me. I will not get my hopes up. I going to try and make it through the next 2 weeks without being a negative nancy but no promises. 
And because of chemo brain, I am highly unorganized and can’t seem to remember if I have sent you a thank you card. I had a list going but I think I threw it away. So, I’m working on more thank you cards so please know I’m working on it. I found 4 cards in a purse that I never mailed this morning. Awesome. 

My grammar sucks by the way, I’m lazy. 

#imsohungry

So I’m two weeks post chemotherapy and still am struggling to get better. This round as been the absolute worse by far. I had the brilliant idea of self medicating starting the day of the treatment in hopes of staying ahead of the side effects. Nope. Failed. Only I would get every side effect that each drug could give me. So basically I have been popping Ambien, Imodium, Hydrocodone, and various other pain pills. I’m frustrated with my treatment plan and honestly believe that I’m receiving too much chemotherapy. The treatment and after effects are getting worse each time and have begun interfere with my ability to stay positive. I want to quit. I want to get a second opinion. I want this to be over. 

One of my main battles is my taste and appetite, or lack there of. My mouth feels as though it was torched and then wrapped in a fuzzy sweater. Gross. Both food and drink tastes awful and I just force enough down to stay alive. My weight is dropped to 118lbs which is pretty close to what I weighed in high school. It’s feels super strange and not in a good way. All I dream about is food. I want pasta from Osteria Il Centro.  I want a Winsteds cheeseburger with crispy onion rings. I want a slab of ribs from Gates BBQ. Seriously, I just think about eating all day. 

This week will hopefully be a game changer. I have my first MRI scan since I have been diagnosed and hopefully it will come back tumor free and the lymph nodes clear. My hope is to have a clean scan and then get the amount of chemotherapy reduced for my next treatment. I’m scared to death to have my next treatment, especially if they don’t change it. I feel like I set up to fail on the dosage that I am on and that it will make things worse. I also meet with my breast surgeon this week to go over my surgery. Hopefully the surgeon will have some words of encouragement to help me get through the next couple months. I pray that I have the strength to make it through the rest of my chemo without any major hiccups. I pray that my family stays strong. I pray that I can eat at the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. 

Half Way Point (chemo stage)

Last week was amazing. I felt great, I could taste food and drink, and I even got back to my Pilates class. It is such a relief to feel somewhat normal for a week. The first two weeks after a chemotherapy treatment are the worst of the worst but I know I will feel better the third week. I still have no appetite so I just force feed myself all week so I could get my weight back up. 

So yesterday was my third treatment, also known as half way done!!! Everything went as planned and after meeting with my doctors we decided to just start pre-medicating so hopefully I would get so sick like last time. Goal is to stay hydrated. 

Today was my oldest daughters first day of Kindergarten so it was a BIG day. Super exciting stuff happening in the Roberts house this week. My youngest is still at her preschool so nothing new for her. 

 

I looking forward to October 18th, my last day of chemotherapy. Finally I am seeing an end to all this madness. My surgery has been scheduled for November 15th and then the hard part is done. Other good news, my taste buds should be back in full effect by Thanksgiving. Best time of the year. Now let’s just pray that I can get through the next two weeks without going under 120lbs and no major complications.