round three

sucked. plain and simple.

AC is the big bad bitch everyone claimed it would be. I am so thankful to have only one more of these infusions, but dreading next Tuesday for sure. It’s a whole new mind game to psych yourself up for these. Acupuncture the day before is saving me.

I ended up back in the ER a week ago Sunday with an eye infection. Blepharitis–which is the nasty older sister to Pink Eye. For most folk, NBD but for cancer patients antibiotics for all! Oh joy. Good thing is my counts were OK so they let me go with oral instead of IV. One of the crappiest parts of this whole thing is that you have to be a hypochondriac. If you sneeze the wrong way, the oncologist wants you to call and tell them. Unfortunately, as life works it always seems that you get sick or something happens after hours. Which leaves them only one place to send you….the ER. A cancer patients worst nightmare. I mean, can you think of a germmier place?? Any investors out there looking for your next business venture……a beautiful comfy 24 hour triage center for cancer patients. No germs, no ER drama, just sweet doctors and nurses giving you the care you need without exposing you to the swine flu.

As life works, as soon as Mama gets better baby bird goes down. Last week was Hollis’ first week of school full time. He joined our bigs at their school and we are SO thrilled. But with new schools comes new germs. Not the best timing for my week of quarantine, but we’re making it work. Dousing myself in sanitizer by the minute.

A special thank you to everyone who has sent me gifts, treats, care packages, cards, flowers, warm cookies and ice cream!, beautiful scarves, and so much more. You really, really know how to put a smile on my face and I feel SO loved and supported. THANK YOU!

xo–e

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b4cd

IMG_8698

 

the story

what everyone wants to know….

April 29, 2016 some gals and I went out (and saw Black Violin–who were amazing btw, do NOT miss them if you have the chance!) I skipped my nightly nursing of Hollis that night as G was on kid duty, and thought nothing of it. The next morning I woke up with a clogged milk duct, a small mass I could feel. I had 100’s of these along my 21 months of nursing Hollis. I spent the next few weeks trying to get it to move through/go away. All my old regular tricks that I had used for years weren’t entirely working, but still……I thought nothing of it. I was only down to nursing twice a day at that point, so I just thought I wasn’t producing enough milk to push the clog through. I spoke with midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, lymph drainage specialist, my chiropractor, educated people at People’s Pharmacy and The Herb Bar and the consensus was….hmm, that’s strange but certainly no need to worry.

I saw my Midwife for my annual well women’s exam in June and we talked about the clog extensively. We both agreed it was nursing related and we would check back in, in 6 months. She urged me to let her know if anything ever changed. Many people have asked if I felt relieved by this information. My answer: I don’t quite know. I wasn’t worried, so there wasn’t anything necessarily to be “relieved” by. I put it out of my mind and forgot about it.

Fast forward 5 months. Having been much more worried about what was going into my kids lunch boxes than what was going on inside my boob, time marched on. I began to notice (because I’m a belly sleeper) that it was not comfortable to lay on that side anymore. Also, I noticed the lump was considerably larger, harder and lumpier. I called my OBGYN office and they called me in a referral to go get an ultrasound.

The morning of the ultrasound was just a normal day. I dropped all my kiddos off at school and went to the imaging center alone. Garrett was out of town, we never thought it was serious or something he should be here for. My Mom even suggested coming up to go with me, and I was all why? no, it’s cool.

When I got checked in back to the ultrasound room I spoke with the tech about the story of the lump and my nursing history. She began her exam. Those of you that have had babies know what happens when something goes wrong on an ultrasound…..they don’t say anything, silence. All you hear is clicking and button pressing, which you know is them stopping to take pictures. She took tons of pictures all around my breast. Tons. I noticed she spent a lot of time up in my arm pit, taking lots of pictures then went over to my neck/clavicle area. More pictures. More silence. My brain was spinning and this is about the time my body went numb. She finished her exam and told me she was going to chat with the doctor and she would be back.

When we were initially chatting during intake she told me that when she left to chat with the doctor it would be very brief and quick. She was gone what seemed like an hour, but I believe was closer to 15-20 minutes. Certainly what I would not call brief or quick. The doctor came back in with her, which is never a good sign. The moment he opened the door, I knew. The look on his face said it all. He could barely even look at me. And here I was, his worst nightmare…..a 34 year old, young, healthy, mother of three small babies. He proceeded to give me another long, SILENT ultrasound. When he finally started talking this is when I officially left my body. All I remember is words like mastectomy, not a candidate for lumpectomy, already spread to numerous lymph nodes, surgeon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then, any questions?

Ummmm, ya. Yes, I have questions. Only problem is I wasn’t there anymore and all my mind could do was spin.

They sent me one room over to have a mammogram of both my breasts. I have to say, I was extremely underwhelmed by the mammogram. Everyone complains they squish and squash and are extremely painful…..that was not my experience at all. I mean, I wouldn’t sign up for one of these daily but complaining over needing one of these once a year, come on ladies!

They informed me my other breast was clear but we needed to biopsy the tumors in my breast and lymph nodes. Sure, bring it on. My dear friend Taylor had made it up to be with me by that point and she was right by my side, holding my hand, trying to keep a straight face when the doctor was shoving 14 inch long needles and other tools in my body. I have to say, didn’t really feel a thing though.

They told me it would be about 5 days before we got the results back and that was that.

You know the rest of the story……

new life theme song

update

First, GOOD news……we found out on Friday that I am BRCA negative! Long story short, but this means that my cancer is not known to be from a genetic mutation and therefore not hereditary. What this means for me: the doctors won’t be coming after my ovaries when all this is over and we don’t need to worry about my children (and all other blood family relatives). Collective sigh of relief…..

I got super sick this week and have spent the rest of the week building up my strength and trying to gear up for my next infusion coming up on Tuesday. Day 8 after infusion I became violently ill and spent the night on the bathroom floor. My docs are puzzled as to what happened. Seems a bit late for a chemo response. Could have caught a virus or bacteria from leftovers, we will probably never know. With white counts as low as mine (close to zero) things that would cause no one else to get sick, can make me sick. Oh lucky me (insert eye roll). Someone please send Ebola suit, there have got to be some left on eBay from the outbreaks of 2014 out there!

I officially “Britney’d it” last Friday. For all you couples out there struggling, I highly recommend couples head shaving. Much cheaper than counseling too. We spent the evening in our bathroom where both our boys were born, listening to Hollis’s birth playlist with the electric clippers. The experience was actually incredibly empowering! Garrett said to me before we went to sleep that night “you really haven’t lived until you’ve shaved your wife’s head.” I agree babe, I agree. Glad to have this hurdle over. And one cancer silver lining, which I’m always looking for: no leg or armpit shaving! Be jelly gals, very jelly.

We are having a quiet, cold and rainy, one kid weekend over here. Hope you all are snuggling too!

XOXO,

e

the mohawk i never knew i always wanted

chemo day 2

Welcome to my new shiny blog! The bugginess of Caring Bridge was killing my techy hubby, so he spent his Christmas break building this fancy beaut for me! I will continue to use Caring Bridge for the care calendar (found under Ways to Help–Planner) until if and when we find a better solution. My fave thing about Caring Bridge is the comments and love, so please! keep that coming.

Sorry it has been awhile! Turns out chemo does suck and sent me into a 3 day black hole followed by a week of quarantine, all to do it all over again. Yesterday I had my second infusion. I had the same tingling reaction as last time, but was able to just monitor at home and not go into the ER. This time it came on more fast and furious, but meant that it lasted 12 hours instead of 18. Win! No one really knows why it is happening, I am just the “lucky” one I guess. Insert eye roll here. Happy to report my heart is OK though.

Infusion day is counted as day one. Day two, is typically a good day because you still have all the steroids working. Day 3-5 blow. Last time it was the fatigue that hit me the hardest. I thought first trimester pregnancy tired, was bad…ha! Day 7-10 my white blood count got down to almost zero, therefore having NO immune system I was forced to be in quaratine.¬†Which as you can imagine is a joke living with three tiny germ bags. Then you do it all over again.

My hair started falling out in GIANT chunks on Monday. Which Tennyson will tell you the story, or maybe she already has, or maybe she told one of your kids at school this week that Mommy was screaming and punched the bathroom wall and screamed “dammit”. Your dang right I did, T. Sigh. This is a rough one for me. But alas, it’s depressing as hell watching your own hair fall out so Brittney Spears circa 2007 I will be by this weekend I’m sure.

Thank you all SOOOO much for all the love and support. And a special thank you to Headwaters for all the amazing meals and the ridiculously generous donations to Farmhouse Delivery. We are so looking forward to all the local, organic goodies delivered. One million thank you’s!!!

Entering day 3 tomorrow, so back in my hole I will go.

XOXO,

e