Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thank You!

It's been a while since I updated my blog, today is yet another rainy day, so I thought I would stop in. I have been cured of cancer for 3 weeks now. I don't like using the term "remission" as it implies that the cancer is now dormant until it wakes up. Cancer is gone, it cannot wake up, it will not come back! I'M CURED :)

The past 3 weeks have been nice. No treatment, no doctor appointments :) I haven't done much, just relaxed, which was much needed after these past 9 months. I'm doing great, my hair are growing. I decide to color them, my poor hair have been through so much, but I found I color that is very close to my natural color. My hair actually look like a fashionable super short cut now. I still can't wait for them to be longer, the next few months will be challenging to let them grow and make them look nice. The boys are doing great, phew, the past 9 months have been pretty rough for them. They're only 5 & 6 (4 & 5 when it all started), it was a lot for them to digest. We're all happy and have quickly put this behind us. Maybe that's why I haven't been here to update, I haven't found the need to blog much lately. We're not doing too much cancer talk either.

Most people that finish cancer treatment are scared. When you're in treatment, you're closely followed by a doctor. When treatment is over, you're on your own. I'm surprised to find myself without fear and at peace with it all. I'm sure that when I go for my next mammogram in the fall there will be bits of anxiety, but I'm feeling very confident that this is all over and that I have no need to worry. It's nice.

There's no way I could have gone through this journey without the help and support of a lot of people. Many thanks are in order.

  • Thank you to my wonderful husband who has been so supportive of me throughout this entire journey. Thank you for loving me no matter what I looked like, with or without hair and a few more scars! Thank you for letting me cry when I needed to. Thank you for helping me take care of the house when I couldn't. Thank you for being a wonderful dad to our children when they needed some stability.
  • Thank you to my children, Jerome & Felix, who throughout their grief, managed to keep loving me, caring for me, cuddling with me. Your love, hugs & kisses is what help me get throughout this and what gave me the strength to beat it. I love you both very dearly.

  • Thank you to both of my moms. One that helped out through chemo and one that helped out through radiation. I couldn't have done it without either one of you.

  • Thank you to my dad who spent of good bit of the winter without my mom, letting her travel every 3 weeks to be here with us.
  • Thank you to my sister. My earring provider to make sure I looked good during this journey. I received many compliments about my earrings over the past few months and every time, it made me think about you.

  • Thank you to my dear friend Chantale who listened to me when I had enough and never told me to shut up ;) Thank you for checking on me, caring about me and loving me. I love you too xxx

  • Thank you to all my friend and family who were there for us. Even though we didn't need much help after all, I appreciated all the offer we received.

  • Thank you to our Church for bringing us meals 3 times a week for 6 months. It was very helpful not having to cook most of our meals. Thank you for everyone prayers, I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that this journey was somewhat easy compared to what it could have been.

  • Thank you to Cathy & Suzanne, my Chemo Angels, that cheered me every week by sending me cards and goodies. You were both wonderful.

  • Thank you to the December Divas at and all the other wonderful ladies that help me and provided support through every step of the journey.

  • Thank you to my fellow bloggers who provided me with extra support and camaraderie. Never did I thought that by starting a blog to keep my friends & family updated, would I meet so many other wonderful cancer fighter to help support one another.

  • Thank you to my wonderful doctors. Dr. Dickson-Whitmer, Dr. Wozniak & Dr. Koprowski, all 3 of them have been wonderful and I truly believe that I have received the best treatment.

  • Thank you to all the assistants, technicians and nurses that helped make this journey an easier one. I haven't been in contact with one that wasn't nice or that I didn't like which is quite amazing in itself, they were all great.

  • Thank you to everyone else I might have forgotten :)

I'm not sure that I will be back. I will miss blogging, this was a first for me, it was fun. I might try to find something else to blog about, but I'm ready to turn the page, so I guess this is it.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Relay For Life

What an emotional event! I took the first lap with Steve and the boys and cried the whole way. It was great to be part of the Survivor group. We didn't stay that long, it was rainning, but hand's up to all those over there that had their tents set-up and ready for the night. I did manage to find my luminaria that Steve's aunt got for me. We didn't stay until they were lit, I bet it's beautiful to see all those little lights in honor or memory of someone. If it wasn't for the rain, I would have stuck around to see them, but I doubt they were able to light them, so we headed back home.

Well, on his way to bed, Jerome came to me, gave me a big hug, started crying and before I could say anything, he told me "Mommy, I'm so happy it's all over!". What a sweet child, what else could I do but to hug him back just as tight, hold him and pour out some more tears of joy with him. Now, Jerome is the one that had the hardest time dealing with my cancer, the numerous doctors appointments and all the side effects. Jerome is also the one who cannot and has NEVER voiced his emotions that way before. It melted my heart.

I Have Officially Survived Cancer :)

I'm officially a Survivor. The last possible tiny cancer cell left in my body was killed at 11:30AM. What a great feeling! Although, I have been crying all day, happy tears. I was so excited and happy to be done with treatment that my eyes got watery before the machine was even done working :)

We'll be heading to the Relay For Life shortly. Hopefully the rain will stop soon.

Happy Day :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One More :)

I can't believe that tomorrow will be the end of my cancer treatment. That tomorrow I will be able to call myself an official cancer survivor. That is somewhat of a bitter-sweet title, I'm so thankful to have survived this disease, but then again, never in my wildest dreams did I ever thought I would be going through cancer in my lifetime, especially not at the age of 33!

I learn so much over the past few months. The night I found my lump (at 3:30AM I must say!) I cried all night thinking that I was going to die and couldn't keep my children off my mind feeling so sorry for them that they would have to grow up without a mommy. Remember, it was 3:30AM, I wasn't thinking very straight. After very little sleep, I found myself in front of the computer getting information about breast cancer. Very soon, I found out that about 80% of all tumor are non-cancer, so it put myself at ease until I could get a mammogram & ultrasound. The tests showed a cyst I was told but my breast surgeon quickly told me this was no cyst, she had to biopsy the tumor to be on the safe side but she was certain it was nothing and that I should worry. Well, the rest is history. All that was 9 months ago. I have NO idea where those 9 months went. It's all a blur, like a bad dream and I'm finally waking up. I was never in denial that I had cancer, but at the same time, I can't believe I just went through cancer treatment. I barely remember going through chemo! I'm feeling like this didn't happen to me, maybe it's my coping mechanism that erased it from my memory as soon as it happened, I don't know. But what I know is that I am so thankful that I had a cancer that was caught early and that was highly curable. I so thankful to be able to start enjoying life again with a brand new set of eyes.

Back to what I was saying, 9 months ago, I had no idea that so many people were or had been dealing with cancer. I had no idea that cancer is now curable, I always thought of it as a death sentence, hence my crying all night when the tumor was found. I had no idea that cancer treatment were actually not that bad. I might be one of the lucky ones less side effects than the rest, but now that it's over, I can say that it wasn't all that horrible, it wasn't fun, but I was expecting it to be A LOT worse than what it was. I had no idea that there is more and more younger people with cancer. I always thought of cancer as either an elderly disease (80+) or childhood disease like leukemia. Well, there is now a whole lot of ladies dealing with breast cancer in their 30's-40's now. Cancer isn't what is used to be. We shouldn't be scared of cancer anymore.

I probably won't sleep tonight, I'm just way to excited about tomorrow. Radiation at 11:30. At 11:35, I'll be able to put all this behind me :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 7

The boys decided to pop in my weekly picture today. They're so precious :) Still growing, although right now I'm debating about dying my hair or not. The grey is driving me crazy. But I would need to find a natural hair dye as I don't need to put more junk on myself. Still thinking...

The skin under my arm is feeling much better. I was ready to go into the office armed with suggestions on Tuesday, but as I was expecting, it started healing over the weekend. Well, by healing, I mean peeling. As soon as the skin peeled, the pain went away and I was able to start moving my arm again. Phew, that was some pain! Skin is still a little tight, but I'm keeping it moisturized.
The boosts are so easy & quick. The radiation techs drew a big blue circle around my scar, so everyday, they just wiggle the table until the machine hits the circle perfectly. And for the boosts, I only get 1 zap everyday. So instead of being in the office for about 4.5 minutes, I'm there for about 2 minutes everyday. Short & sweet. Well, maybe not sweet!

31 down, 2 to go...

Friday, May 22, 2009

It Hurts!!!!

Here's what my arm pit looks like right now! I decided to make y'all feel bad for me ;) This is so very painful. I found out yesterday from the nurse at the radiation office that after radiation stop, it usually gets worse before getting better. Yikes! I told her everything I had been doing, alternate between Aloe Vera gel, miaderm lotion (which is a radiation cream made by oncologist), Aquaphor and corn starch, then showed her my arm. She went "no, no, no" and gave me a few samples of Xclair cream which should work much better.

I'm still in pain. Moving my arm hurts. I wake up in pain at night. This is NOT fun! To top it, I need to lift my arm a certain way for radiation, which is excruciating right now. Well, as soon as I lifted my arm today, it started getting numb, my entire arm, from shoulder to fingers. And of course, I couldn't move as the machine was in the zapping process. As the pain went away, the numbing went away, but I about had an anxiety attack laying there today. What can I say, I'm really looking forward to this 3 days weekend. Hopefully by Tuesday, my skin will start healing and the pain will go away.

4 more to go...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 6

I don't have much to say today, but here's my weekly hair growth picture. It's getting pretty thick. Nobody believes me, but it's white all over, it looks like I've been baking and put flour all over my hair by accident! Eyelashes are beautiful :)

So far, the boosts don't seem to make me so fatigued. Today was #2, so we'll see. Even though the regular radiations are over, my arm pit is still so red and raw and it's quite painful. I've been alternating between different lotions and applying corn starch as I have been told but it still hurts and wakes me up in the middle of the night. Hopefully, it will start healing soon.

I'm looking forward to Memorial Day weekend. We don't have any special plans, but 3 days off radiations will be great.

27 down, 6 to go...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last Stretch

I can't remember if I explained this already, but I have 33 sessions of radiations to do. The first 25 treat the entire breast. The last 8 are called boost and only treat the tumor location. Yesterday was the last of the 25 radiations. The technicians then took positioned the machine with the boost attachment, took pictures and drew a nice blue circle of the boost area. Over the next 2 weeks, I have to be careful to not wash up the blue drawing as this is what tells them where to aim the machine. I had to keep my arm up in my arm prop the entire time. My arm was getting numb by the time they got done. She did say that they did yesterday what they usually do in 2 days, so I'm glad I didn't have to lay on that table an extra day. I do have to say that I'm glad the first part is over as my arm pit is pretty red and irritated, now it can start healing.

After all this set up, I had my weekly appointment with my radiation oncologist. He's a great doctor, very chatty and fun. To be sure they're all doing the same types of follow-up, I asked him if I needed to do any types of body scan when radiations are over to be sure all cancer is gone and his answer was "No, as far as I'm concerned, you're cure!". I thought I would mess with him some and told him that since I'm cure, I don't need to come back for the boosts, right? It feels great to be finally there. The end of treatment looked so far away last year, it's here, finally!

Neither my breast surgeon nor my medical oncologist see a need for PET scans or other types of scan. They're all in agreement that follow-ups are the best ways to find a recurrence. So, 4 weeks after my last radiation, I need to go back to my radiation oncologist. In July, I go back to my medical oncologist and in October, my breast surgeon and so on. Every 3 months for the next 2 years (maybe 3, can't remember), I will alternate seeing these doctors, with a mammogram very 6 months.

Today, I had my first of 8 boosts. 7 more treatments and I'M DONE :)I'm scheduled to be completely Cancer Free on May 29th, 2009.

On May 29th, 2009, the American Cancer Society is hosting a Relay For Life here. The Opening Ceremony start at 6PM with the Survivor Lap where all types of cancer survivors will walk the first lap. Now, I don't know how I personally believes in those types of fundraisers, I must be honest. A lot of money gets donated, but also lot of money is spent to be able to hold such events and I don't know how much money ends up to the real cause. But... I think for me, it's a great way to be able to celebrate the end of this journey to be able to walk that lap on the day of my last radiation treatment, and it also is a great way to raise Cancer Awareness in a community. Cancer no longer hits ONLY older folks, more and more younger people get cancer now days, and younger people need to be aware of cancer so that it can be detected early and cured. This definitely has been a wake-up call for me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 6

It has been exactly 4 weeks since my hair have been growing. I can't wait for them to be long enough for a haircut, those white hair are driving me CRAZY! Believe it or not, I'm finally self-conscious about my hair! Luckily, I found a very cute straw hat that also protects my head from getting a sunburn. Sun is getting hot! Eyelashes are coming in fast now, I'm finally able to put on mascara. Life is good ;)

Now, I don't know what is going on, but I've been an emotional wreck for the past few days. I'm not sure if my hormones are going back to normal, could also be the fact that this whole nightmare is finally coming to an end, I don't know but phew... Fatigue is also sinking in, maybe it was just yesterday, but I've been keeping busy for the past few weeks. I found that keeping busy was preventing me from being fatigued, well, I think it finally caught up with me. The boys spent the day & night with Mom-Mom so I was able to get some rest. And since we didn't have any children here last night, Steve and I went on a date. We went out to our favorite Italian restaurant, it was great. It had been so long since we had gone out just the two of us.
Getting ready for number #23, then 10 to go...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 5

I'm having a pretty uneventful life right now. My hair are still growing and they're growing quite fast although right now, I'm feeling like a chia pet!

As far as radiation goes, it's not so bad. Nausea is done, funky taste in my mouth hasn't happened yet this week so those lovely side effects look like they might be things of the past. We'll see... Fatigue seems to hit as soon as I leave the building, but then it's like a roller coaster with highs & low of fatigue. Overall, it's not so bad, but I'm doing my share of yawning. I have never yamned that much in my life before. My skin isn't too bad either, it's definately getting red, but right now it's still pink. I can cleary see the entire area being radiated, I'll spare you thye picture ;)

Luckily, I get a break on weekends and we've been trying to have fun with the kids. Last weekend, we took them skating with friends, they had a great time. It's nice to be able to slowly get back to normal life after all this.

17 down, 16 to go... Half way there :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 4

My hair are finally growing :) I have really enjoyed washing my hair over the past few days, the shampoo now foams on my head, it's all so soft and it's great! Isn't funny the things you take for granted that become so enjoyable when they are returned to you? They're probably about 1/4" tall right now, I can't take my hand off my head, it feels like the softest stuffed animal you can't stop touching. I know, I'm obsessed with my hair right now, but hey, they've been missing for 4 months. It will still be at least 2-3 years for them to be back to where it was before this whole mess started, but right now, I'll take anything, even as short as it is right now, it's hair and I'm HAPPY :) My eyelashes are also slowly coming back, I have baby eyelashes right now, they're about 1/8".

As far as radiation goes, this week isn't so bad. We've been on the go since Monday, maybe that's what helped with the fatigue? I don't know, but what I know is that I won't be able to keep up like this for the next 4 weeks.

We've also decided to cut sugar from our diet. That should be a tricky one, I love my chocolate! Sugar just isn't healthy for you, so I'm trying to bring more fruits in the house to satisfy our sweet tooth and eat less process sugar.

13 down, 20 to go...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 3

My hair are growing, they're all white (mostly), but at least they're growing and done falling :) My eyelashes are near gone!

This has been a pretty boring week. Chances are the next 5 weeks will be pretty boring as well. Here's the sum up of my weekdays:

8:30AM Breakfast

9 AM Home school with Jerome

10:30AM Hop in the shower, get dressed and pretty-up my face (AKA make-up ;)

11 AM Fix lunch for the kids (alternate between PB & cheese sandwich) & rush out the door

11:15 AM Drop them off with Daddy for lunch

11:30 AM Radiations

11:45 AM Pick the kids up from lunch with Daddy (they think it's great by the way)
12 PM Back home and waiting for my energy to be drained by the minute :(

6 PM Dinner & rest for the rest of the evening.

Did y'all notice how nothing happens between noon & 6PM? That's the radiations working it's wonders of taking every little bit of energy I have! I'm still capable of doing stuff, but have no desire to do so since I can't move fast enough! Just making a grilled cheese for lunch takes about 15 minutes.

I'm seriously finding radiations to be harder to deal with than chemo. With chemo, I would get a relief between each treatment. With radiations, the only relief I get is on weekends. It's pretty draining and I'm not even supposed to be feeling it yet!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 2

It's looking a lot like my first picture on April Fool's, look who got fooled ;) The only difference would be the thinner eyebrows and the nearly gone eye lashes.

Today was my second radiation treatment. So far, so good. The radiation technicians are both very sweet ladies, it will this stretch much easier.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1 down, 32 to go!

A lot happened over the past few days! On Easter morning, I decided to give myself a quick buzz. My hair were falling again and it was starting to look quite bad. The quick buzz made for a much cleaner look for Easter. My hair also became so brittle, that it started poking my head when it was trying to sleep and it became so uncomfortable that I ended shaving it completely again yesterday morning. My eyebrows are now thinner than they ever were, and my eyelashes, well, they're really going. I'm not quite sure what happened. Well, I know, I've been on chemo, but it is just so odd since it was growing and growing. This has been quite upsetting, I think I've embraced being bald long enough, I was ready for my hair to grow, it was almost 1/4" long! And sure enough, it's already growing back!

Other than that, I had my port removed yesterday morning. I am so thankful for the makers of Xanax, or that procedure would have been quite horrible. It was done under local anesthesia only so I was wide awake (well, not quite because of the help of Xanax!) thought the entire procedure. First, my surgeon injected the local anesthesia all around the port. Let me say that she injected A LOT to make sure I was completely numb. Well, all that liquid had to go somewhere. When she cut my skin open, it squirted all over my face! Thankfully, my eyes were closed since Xanax was working it's wonders and I was quite relaxed, almost falling asleep. Then, as the nurses are wiping my face, she proceeded to reassure me that "Don't worry, it's not blood!" Now, the problem with ports, is that they get comfortable in your body so the tissues starts growing around it, she had to cut around, pull and twist, cut some more, pull, twist, pull, twist, then it finally came out. As she was doing all this, she was talking with the nurses saying that mine was one of those that doesn't want to come out! I didn't feel anything, but all this pushing, pulling, twisting was quite uncomfortable. She stitched everything back and I was done. I no longer have a HUGE bump sticking out of my chest, I now have a small dent left by the port. I'm sure it will look normal again at some point. And Jerome was quite happy to see it gone.

I was supposed to go for my 3-month follow-up this Thursday, instead she did the follow-up after the procedure to save me a trip to the office. Everything still looks normal. Next follow-up with her is in 6 month when I will be due back for another mammogram.

After getting the port out, I went for my simulation for the radiation. Pretty much, I layed on the table, they set-up the equipment and took a bunch of picture to make sure that the radiation were going to hit the right areas. It was very quick and thankfully, the technicians seems very nice. It was a long day, we got home and slept for 3-hours!

I started my actual radiation this morning. I brought the boys over to Steve's work with a lunch, they were thrilled to hangout with daddy. Then headed over for my radiation, which was very quick and went back to pick them up and we still had a few minutes before Steve had to go back in. This schedule looks like it will work. On our way back home, I asked the kids if they had a good time and if they wanted to eat lunch with their dad every day for the next 2 months and I got a very cheerful "YES". This should definitely be easier on them. So, 1 down, 32 to go...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Well, Well, Well...

After posting my update yesterday, my head became very sensitive. My scalp had been sensitive this time around but last night, it started hurting. It didn't feel right, so I tried pulling on my itty bitty hair that had grown 1/8" tall in the past week, and sure enough, it stayed in my hand! My hair had been slowly growing after chemo #2 and it was finally to the point where it was getting thick and uniform all over my head. For some odd reasons, 18 days after my LAST chemo, my hair decided to tell me "Just kidding! We're not really going to grow". I was really planning on not shaving my head anymore, but it HURTS! Just in time for Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 1

I took a picture of my week old hair yesterday, I just didn't get around to update the blog. It's definitely growing and getting thicker. I can't still see a lot of white hair because I'm looking for them, but most people wouldn't see them. I might be able to get a cute haircut this summer. Of course, it will be a short short haircut, but better that than nothing! It's actually growing rather fast.

Well, now that I think about it, my eyebrows are both growing & thinning at the same time. What already fell off is growing back, but what didn't fall yet is slowly falling. My eyelashes are going through the same process. Hopefully, it will keep with the growing & thinning schedule at the same time.

Otherwise, it has been a uneventful week. Chemo side effects are almost done/gone. Although my head is somewhat sensitive to touch and my back still hurts when I stand up too long doing housework, isn't that a shame ;)

I'm really looking forward to getting my port out on Monday morning.

That's about it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools!

Chemo is over, it's time for my hair to start growing again. What better day than April Fools to be bald one last time! So I gave myself one last shave today. My head was half covered with white hair anyway. When the hairs start growing, they come out white, it's the dead part of the hair that was stucked inside coming out first. I think I might have already shaved most of those white hair. I hope! I'll post pictures as my hair start growing. I'm not expecting to stay bald very long as my hair usually grow fast.

We met with the radiation oncologist on Monday. The one question I had for him was to explain to me the need for radiation again. I did just go through 4 months of chemo so why radiations? His quick & easy answer is that chemo targets cells that travels in your blood stream, it is to prevent a recurrence or metastasis (spreading of cancer) while radiation works best on tissue. Since the tumor was found in the breast, they are radiating the breast tissues to be sure that no cancer cells are left and my last 8 treatments will be on the tumor location. After explaining all this, he went over all the possible side effects, which most doesn't typically happens he says. Mostly, I'm looking at getting a very sensitive and dry skin in the radiated area. As far as fatigue goes, he says that patient coming out of chemo don't usually complain about fatigue much. I am still not allowed to take any vitamins or supplements, I have to stay away from antioxidants he says, just like with chemo. But... I am allowed to start loosing all the weight I gained from chemo :) With radiations, side effects ARE cumulative, so any side effects I get will be getting worse and worse until it's over!

After we met with him, I had a CT simulation. CT simulation is the most accurate process to localize, define and reconstruct, in 3D, a patients' tumor. The process identifies the tumor along with the normal tissue surrounding it, allowing the radiation oncologist to design a treatment plan unique to each patients' anatomy. It's enables the radiation therapist to map the resulting treatment coordinates with a high degree of accuracy. During that process, I ended up with 3 permanent tattoos. I'm not happy about those! They're bigger than I was expecting. One is really tiny, would have been great if the other 2 were that size. And to top it, they're black. But, 2 on the side, 1 in the middle, no one besides me should ever see them. I still plan on having them removed when it's all over, he says I can.

I start radiation on April 13th. For the following 7 weeks, Monday-Friday, I will get my radiations at 11:30AM. Each sessions will last about 5-10 minutes with most of the time spent on setting up everything, the actual radiations last about 30-45 seconds I was told. It's less than 5 minutes from Steve's work, so the kids will be having lunch with their dad while I get my treatments. I think it will be fun for them to hand out with dad and it might make those 7 weeks go faster.

My oncologist did promise that I was NOT going to glow in the dark ;)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I guess this is my newest side effect for this round. I haven't slept in 3 days! I thought for sure I would sleep good tonight, but I gave up after tossing in bed for 2.5 hours WIDE awake so here I am at 3:30AM blogging. I tried counting sheeps to no avail, I figured it only works if you're sleepy to start with. I'm exhausted, but not sleepy. Tomorrow should be fun ;)

Yesterday, I turned 34! I had a great birthday. I finished chemo the day before, how couldn't it have been a great birthday. My mom (who has been such a blessing, flying here to help out with each treatment) cooked me a yummy meal that I was able to enjoy and the boys made me a birthday cake. They iced it and decorated it themselves while I was in chemo on Monday, and took great pleasure in hiding it in the house to surprise me. They're sweet boys. I also received TONS of birthday cards through the chemo angels organization. At first, I wasn't sure how I was feeling about having my last treatment the day before my birthday, I thought for sure it would ruin my birthday. I am now seeing it with different eyes, it couldn't have been a best time to finish treatment! My Mother-in-law also threw me a pajama party for my birthday. She had a great idea to host it before my chemo so that I would fully enjoy myself, which I did. She also had a lady come over and give me a wonderful facial, it was so nice to be able to relax. So, what do you all think? Aren't I a pretty girl ;)

Otherwise, so far so good. I'm dealing with my usual fatigue but not much else. Some back pain. Now if I could only sleep. How can one be so exhausted and no sleep...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Done With Chemo :)

Today is a great day, I'm officially done with chemo :) Now if I could only feel it! For some reasons, I've been coming out of the past few chemos feeling drugged up, so being a little blah right now, it's difficult to get excited over this. I still have to deal with the side effects for the next week, but at least NO MORE needles. I have an extreme fear of needles, for some reasons, my body seems to like having issues that requires LOTS of them, so I'm quite glad this is over. And my taste buds... I've given up on them. They're not so bad (I shouldn't talk so quickly, I did just have a treatment!) but some buds are still completely missing in action.

The next few weeks will be busy. Next Monday, I meet with my radiation oncologist to discuss radiation treatment and I need a CT Scan to check where my organs are (heart, liver & such) to make sure that they do not get hit by the radiation. I also will be getting tattoos, who would have thought that one day I would be bald with tattoos! They will be tiny tattoos that should (if they do them right) look like beauty marks, again, for them to know where to aim the radiation every time I go in.

Then, April 13th, I'm finally getting my port-a-cath out. I can't wait to get it out! Besides being an eye sore when I wear half the clothing I own, it does hurt when it accidentally gets banged by a sweet child that is only trying to hug his mommy. Although, I'm quite panicked over the removal part of the process, no anesthesia! I will be wide awake with a little bit of numbing agent. I'm really hoping for a strong sedative, or at least the permission to take a Xanax before the procedure. I just don't do well being awake doing any procedure.

Then... after my port-a-cath removal on the 13th, I should be heading out to my first radiation treatment. We should have the exact date I start radiation next week, but I was told 3 weeks after last chemo.

I was planning on taking a picture during my first chemo, but I was way to panicked and angry to even want to do it at the time. We did take a picture of my last one though, so here's what I looked like for 3 hours every 3 weeks! Glad it's done :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feeling Better

We're finally feeling better in our house. I still have a nasty cough from the bronchitis but it really isn't that bad. Jerome on the other hand got the weirdest side effect from his infection. He woke with cramps in both calf after his Sunday afternoon nap. The poor child couldn't walk, he was in so much pain. Yesterday, since he started walking again, we skipped the doctors. He walked all afternoon at Longwood Gardens, the we hopped in the car and by the time we got home, it had started again. I finally took him in this morning only to find out that this weird thing happens, rarely did the doctor say, that during an viral infection, muscles cramp and make it almost impossible to walk. He says that he's seen much worse cases than Jerome's, still should be between 4 to 7 days before he fully recovers and can start walking again. The poor child can barely walk without making faces or at least walking real funny! I feel bad for him, but I was sure glad to find out it wasn't anything serious. Never seen anything like this before!

These are our newest family pictures. We were overdue, it had been more than two years since our last ones.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rough Week

Right after skipping the Neulasta shot, I started getting sick. Low grade fever and small cough. Then the kids started getting sick as well. I spent all week on the couch, the extreme fatigue of the chemo topped with a nasty cold & fever was just not going to get me up for any reason. Well, Jerome got a 104F fever last night, still high in the morning so we took him to the clinic. Since we were going to wait for him, I thought, I might as well get Felix and myself checked. Turns out Jerome has an ear infection, Felix has strep and I have an ear infection topped with a bronchitis and pharyngitis. Fun! So we're all on antibiotics and I still have 2 weeks to get better before next round. I wish we could have all enjoyed the nice day today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Shot Today :)

I can skip the Neulasta shot! WOOHOO!!!!

I just called my oncologist office to check if I can redo my blood work today, but because I did chemo yesterday, she said no, too late, my blood count is already out of whack! But she re-checked my counts, talked to a few people and she said I'm OK to skip, my counts are OK, there was some kind of mix up. I haven't needed it so far and blood work was done 4 days prior to chemo. She said we'll try it this time and next round, I'll get my lab done on that Monday morning. I'm so glad since it looks like this round will be a rougher one. Woke up to nausea this morning and some other intestinal problems :( Trying the nausea pills right now, I'm not sure it's doing much.

With that said, I'm not quite sure how low my counts are so I still need to be extremely careful about getting any types of infection. While my counts are normal, I believe they're on the low end of normal. We're still in full blown FLU Season!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day :)

We woke up to 6 inches of snow this morning. The kids were thrilled and couldn't wait to head outside. We ate breakfast, dressed them warm, grabbed our crazy carpets and headed out to have some Winter fun sledding. We came back in for some hot cocoa then rushed out to chemo. Hot cocoa was nicer ;)

It's quite empty in here today, they're still open but lots of cancellation. I'm going to quit complaining, we just found out that the man sitting across from me is in for 10 months of chemo! Plus he has to take it home for 5 days after each rounds. Yeah, I'm done complaining!

Only 1 round to go! There IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Although the bad news is that I will need to come back tomorrow to take the Neulasta shot. My White Blood Count didn't come back to high, high enough for chemo but without the shot, I might land myself in the ER if I get an infection. I'm not too happy about it, had I done my blood work today instead of Thursday, I might have been able to do without. I'm in for some severe joint & bone pains over the next few days. Oh well....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone that called or emailed to check on me due to my previous update. I feel loved :) This is very quick, but I wanted to make sure you all knew that I am feeling much better now. While I don't get that down too often, it does happen. And when it happens, I just tell myself that I'm entitled to and usually by the next day, I'm all happy again. Ready to tackle round #5 on Monday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Today isn't such a great day. I'm tired! If you don't want to read about someone complaining, you might as well stop reading ;)

  • I'm tired, just plain tired and exhausted from the lack of sleep. I haven't really had a good night of sleep since I started chemo
  • I'm tired of dealing with cancer & chemo, and there's still radiations to come
  • I'm tired of dealing with a child that can't handle this situation by showing it in forms of tantrums & moodiness. I have had enough too, my patience & understanding is running low right now
  • I'm tired of my taste buds acting funny or just plain being gone. I want to taste & enjoy my food again
  • I'm tired of all the little aches & pains. I can't even empty my dishwasher without my hip starting to hurt or stand up for too long before my hip hurts
  • I'm tired of my constant bloody nose
  • I'm tired of the lymphedema in my foot. After 3.5 years, I FINALLY had it under control. My foot is back to being huge, maybe worst than it was before. The skin is tight, uncomfortable and it hurts
  • I'm tired of the fatigue
  • I'm tired of not having energy or desire to do much
  • I'm tired of gaining weight with every treatment due to the steroid. I've gained almost 5 lbs with each round of chemo, my clothes don't fit and I'm about ready to spend the next few months in sweat pants! I'm really being careful right now, I've cut down on my comfort milk shakes but the steroids are still doing their trick and I'm getting bigger by the minute :(
  • I'm tired of being stucked in my house, having to be careful about being near people JUST in case I get a bad infection. What a worse time to go through chemo than a bad Flu Season!
  • I'm tired of being a germ freak, this isn't me
  • I'm tired of not knowing what to expect, each treatment has acted differently so far
  • I'm tired of being poked by needles

I know! Lovely update! I'm just plain physically and emotionally exhausted right now. Maybe it's because I would already be done with chemo if I only had to do 4 treatments versus 6? I don't know, I really should just sit in front of a chick flick and get a good cry!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nose Drips!

You don't really know how useful your nose hair are until you start loosing them! My nose is just dripping all the time, quite annoying.

This past treatment has been fairly easy as far as side effects, although I have been overly more tired. I haven't been sleeping well since chemo started. I typically wake up either sweating or freezing. I wake up a lot & toss a lot. I'm really looking forward to a good night of sleep when this is all over.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Angels

Back in November, I heard of this organization called Chemo Angels. Once I found out when I would be starting chemo, I filled their applications and I was quickly matched with 2 Angels, Suzanne & Cathy. I am so thankful for both of them, they have been mailing me cards, cheerful notes and small goodies. Both have been a real blessing to me. It's the small things in life :)

Once treatment is over and that I can move on with my life, I do plan on becoming someone's Angel. I think it's a great program. If you have some extra time and would like to make someone smile, sign up and become someone's Angel. If you don't have time, there's other ways you can help out Chemo Angels.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Disturbed Taste Buds

My taste buds are acting up! The Saturday after chemo, they're always acting up. Well, this time around, for a change, they went crazy on Friday and worse than they've ever been. I can't eat meat, any meat! It just taste horrible, so yesterday, I had Lipton soup for lunch and Kraft Dinner for dinner. That was my gourmet day ;) It's slowly getting better so I should be able to being back to eating normal in a couple of days.

Other my my taste buds, this week seems to be going well.

We're now half through the school year with Jerome. The books I've been using is divided in 10 sessions. Jerome took the test for the 5th session this morning. He's doing great and we're so proud of him. He will be 6 in April and he can already read in English & in French! I'm impressed, he's getting better everyday. Felix is patiently waiting for his turn to start school, we'll start working on his reading soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Clear Bone Scan :)

My bone scan came back completely normal, so that was wonderful news this week.

I'm sorry I didn't update with this result sooner but this round knocked me good! I got really sick from the bone scan, didn't know it could cause that! Then the fatigue stuck around until Friday this time. Otherwise, it has been fairly easy so far.

We did get to go on a date yesterday from Valentine's Day, our first one since chemo started. But thanks to my crummy taste buds, we skipped the restaurant and ended bowling. My poor joints told me 2 games was enough and we had to call it quits so we finished our date over a yummy McDonald Sundae :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Half Way Through Chemo :)

Today was my 4th round. I'm officially half way through my chemo. Let's see what kind of fun side effects I get this time around ;) The chemo room wasn't too full today, it was nice not too see so many faces, although, more younger folks which was a little sad.
I went to my "before chemo check-up" last Tuesday, a little too early. My oncologist said that my White Blood Count (WBC) was too low for chemo, but since I had 6 more days to go, to just re-do the lab work before chemo and it should be fine, but he was considering giving me the Neulasta shot that helps boost your WBC to prevent infections when you hit your lowest point. So far, I had done without, it has bad side effects and I don't want to put more chemicals into my body that what is necessary. I re-did the lab works today and my counts are back to normal, he did visit me to my lovely chemo chair to ask if I wanted to take the shot, my WBC had dropped to 600 (normal is 4,300 to 10,800 - mine is usually +/- 9000). I chose against it given my counts are back to normal and he was OK with my decision. Hadn't I gone that early for my check-up, we wouldn't have known it had dropped so low, it probably does every round. I'm glad to know that little piece of information, White Blood Cells are what helps you fight an infection, which means when I'm going through my nadir where they're at their lowest (day 5-14) I really do need to be careful about being around sick people, it is Flu Season after all!

Now, something is up with my back! I started getting this back pain on my shoulder blade the day after my last chemo, so it's been 3 weeks. I tried a muscle relaxer and it didn't help at all. I've pulled muscles before, I've had several knots in my back before, doesn't feel like that. I had an X-Ray of my shoulder blade last week and it came back clear. He had me panicked for a bit, I found out he was looking for metastasis (cancer spreading) to my bones! Of course, I understand they need to put specific codes for insurance purposes and his suspicions are low, but better safe than sorry. I still need to have a bone scan tomorrow to be on the safe side but we're expecting it to come back clear as well. Although, the pain is still there and I'm not sure what else to do? Could be a torn muscle, tendon? Could be lymphedema? I guess we'll wait for the result of the bone scan for now.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cleaning For a Reason

I heard of this great foundation on a message board Cleaning For a Reason, they offer free cleaning services on a monthly basis to cancer patient. They came this past Monday and scrubbed my entire house from top to bottom in an hour. They're quick! And my house smelled so clean and looked great for about 2-3 hours until the kids started making a mess again ;) They'll be coming here once a month for 4 months, which will be very helpful since I'm usually back to my normal self on the 3rd week of the cycle.

Otherwise, this cycle has been treating me OK. Not too many funky side effect this time around (so far!). I did get a new rash, but it left as quickly as it came. I am definitely going through a chemo induced menopause with all the hot flashes that comes with it. At first I thought it was great ;) But then I realized that it's only temporary, when chemo is over, due to my age, my body will be acting normal again, meaning I'll be going through menopause twice. Not so great.

The boys seem to be handling it better now. We're getting less tantrums over nothing. Jerome was the worst for this, he's doing better. They're back with their skating classes which they love, I think it's helpful to them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3 down, 3 to go :)

I'll be technically half way there the day before my next treatment which is scheduled for February 9th, just in time to get me in top shape for Valentine's Day ;)

So far, I'm dealing with the usual fatigue. My taste didn't fully leave this time but it's off a little. Some joint pain. Could be better, could be worst!

I did manage to enjoy my weekend before this chemo, which was a nice change to be feeling well enough for a bit. I did get sworn in as a US citizen this past Friday, I will be uploading a picture once I'm on the right computer.

Off to bed, just a quick update to tell y'all I'm OK :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Though Weekend

My rash did clear. Phew! And I'll skip the rest of the weekend as it just went downhill and y'all really don't want the details ;) With that said, it is Monday and it is a new week. I'm feeling much better and looking forward to a week with no side effects. Not much to say but I wanted to update you on my rash situation.

I picked up my wig when I went in the office last week. I finally got around to take a picture. I like it, but I still don't know how I feel about it. It's not that comfortable, it's hot, tight and itchy! And that's a nice wig, the cheaper ones are worse! I'll have to try her out and see. But they're tricky, can't really wear it around the house, well, not in the kitchen. I have to be careful with heat, so no cooking, steam, microwaves or dishwasher near it or it will melt. Hummm... there's an idea, if I wear the wig, I can't cook or clean ;) But seriously, around the house I mostly go bald unless my head gets cold. Take this as a warning if you stop by without calling first, you might just be surprised!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Rash!

Yep, that's what I have, a rash! I went in their office this morning then the oncology nurse took a look at my rash, started pushing buttons on her computer telling she was prescribing me some medicine and that it should clear out soon. So I asked her what it was, to which she answered "Oh I don't know, you'd have to see a dermatologist for that!" Isn't wonderful to go the the doctor and to be given pills, and strong ones that is (steroids!) for something that they don't know what it is! She gave me an anti-itch pill and the steroid to clear the rash. If it doesn't clear, then I should see a dermatologist.

The moral of the story is, if I get a rash with my next round, I'll go straight to the dermatologist ;)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lovely Side Effects :)

Here's my new favorite head cover. Felix does NOT like it. Oh well!

This 2nd treatment (TX) had been much easier than the first round. Although my taste didn't fully come back yet, what's back didn't leave again. I have been able to taste my food and I can finally taste chocolate again :) Still no nausea. No joint pain this time around. I did get the fatigue last week, I was exhausted for a couple of days. So tired that talking on the phone was asking a lot out of me! I even had a 12-hour night of sleep! But by Saturday, I was about back to normal.

Now, I'm saying HAD been much easier, because I've developed this rash on my head. Until today, I thought it was folliculitis, an infection of your hair follicules. I've tried just about all the little OTC creams out there, hydro cortisone, benadryl, neosporin. It's not working and now the rash is spreading elsewhere but it looks different, so I'm thinking I might be dealing with 2 different types of rashes. I didn't get any sleep last night, Steve said the bed was shaking all night from me scratching. Looks like I was scratching & sleeping at the same time. It itches so bad, it's horrible. I made an appointment in the morning so that they can take a good look at it and prescribe the right medication. I'm currently in my nadir (the period where my body is at it's weakest) so it might have something to do with a low blood count. Will see.

Other than that, I passed my citizenship test on Monday. I was quite amazed at the fact that they only asked me 4 questions, asked to read 1 sentence and asked to write 1 sentence! I was expecting it to be a little more challenging. My application has been approved and I have to go back next Friday, the 16th, to be sworn in and receive my certificate of citizenship. Then no more dealing with immigration!

The boys were quite happy to resume schooling today. They missed doing school work during their Christmas vacations.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Amazingly, I managed to stay up to see the New Year last night. I really didn't think I was going to be able to do so. 2009 has to be better, right? 2009 will be the year my body is cancer free :)

This week has been OK so far. My side effects are slightly different than the first time. The taste didn't leave, but it's not coming back more, just stable right now, but I'm happy with stable. Although, I have no appetite or desire to eat, nothing looks appealing and I might be feeling slightly nauseated. Not much, just a slightly upset tummy. My major problem this time around would be the fatigue, my energy is ALL gone, much worst than last time.

Well well... I wanted to write an update, but I'm already getting tired, so I guess it will have to stop here! Resting and waiting for the fatigue to go away...

Happy New Year everyone :)