Saturday, August 19

No Really, Rest Please.....

This is what I really look like right now, no filters no make-up.
 And you know what? I love my body. It is so much stronger than I thought it was, it constantly surprises me with it's determination and strength.  I feel like after this is over, I really could do anything. So I know some of you know the dream, but the dream is to get a boat, live on the boat and sail the world, particularly the Southern Indian Ocean. Ok let's backtrack, how did this treatment go?

This new drug is way different that the others. I's much more of a physical thing now than a mental.  I'm not nauseous, which is great, but the inside of my mouth feels like it's been scalded and all my food tastes weird and bitter, even water. I'm having some neuropathy which is random shooting pains all over my body that usually don't happen in the same place twice, which I'm taking advil for and I have a backup bottle of Oxycocet just in case it gets really bad. I take that mostly at night to fully relax. The Doctors give you a few days of a steroid called Dexamethazone to combat all the side effects which is good I guess, but then on the day you run out BAM. The fatigue is insane, I feel like I'm navigating through water. Try telling an active three year old Mummy is slow today...whew. Brian and Jake had movie day Wednesday, and our friend John took Jake in the afternoon on Thursday. Also L took Jake again to her cottage this weekend, which is how I'm able to blog and rest. I have a cheesy novel lined up and I plan on having a nap after my nap. Oh. and then a nap.
Also this taxotere must really be doing something to my cancer because my breast has been hurting in the effected area for two days. That is a good thing, it means it's dying and disintegrating. I am proud to have surprised my oncologist with the shrinking of the mass and the last time I went for an exam, he said he couldn't feel the mass at all, nor could he feel any abnormal lymphnodes so that is excellent. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma doesn't typically respond to Chemo by getting smaller, but mine did. I'm a realist, I think although this is great news, it really will only mean a smaller surgery for me. That's what sucks a bit, cancer can be microscopic and there really is no way yet to test if you are completely clear of it, the Oncologists never deal in absolutes, there is just no way of knowing. This will be my next challenge, when I'm finished all the stuff, the mental task of not worrying about it all the time. I've had all the tests and a genetic test, and so far there is nothing else showing, and I don't have a predisposition for breast cancer. When I have my surgery and radiation and then take Tamaxofen for 5 years (an estrogen blocking drug, as my cancer was estrogen positive and feeds on it), I will have the same chance of getting it in the other breast as any other 44 year old woman does of getting breast cancer in the first place....So it's day by day right now, I can see the end and I'm hoping for the best.

I know I do this at the end every time, but it has been so amazing receiving all the support notes and the cards and messages of love, I really feel it you guys, so thank you. Take care of eachother. J 

P.S. My friend Annie made me a Fuck Cancer mixed tape, you can hear it HERE

Wednesday, August 9

Monday, Monday

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
~Carl Gustav Jung
So yes, I know it's only Wednesday, but I am getting nervous about Monday. Monday, and the next two treatments are with another drug added called Taxotere. 15% of women who are treated with this drug have permanent hair loss (oh joy, another stat to beat) and there is a risk of neuropathy, which is excruciating joint pain and nerve damage, which can range from tingling in the extemities to having trouble doing up buttons or tying shoes etc.. I suppose it is the way of my mental hamster, to worry about the next thing and really, I have had it pretty "good" so far side effect wise so I'm hoping my body does the same thing this time. I have friends bringing frozen and fresh meals that week, and Friday L is taking Jake to her cottage so I can have the weekend to rest and have down time. We have been watching 'Preacher", "The Night Manager", and "iZombie"when I;m down for the count and they have been such good shows to get lost in. Thank god for Netflix too!! I've received some wonderful gifts this last week or two, a gorgeous dress from my Mom, a 3D printed worry stone from Cara, that says Fuck cancer on it and aYoda T shirt that says "Do or do not, there is no try, and a few wonderful cards of love and support. A big thank you to everyone for the support and love, it is so welcome and appreciated. I love you guys!!! send me good thoughts on Monday at 1:30 (10:30 West Coast time) I have wifi while I chemo, so say hi!!! Feeling Up, Feeling Good!

Sunday, July 30

Halfway Blues...

Wow. This week was hard. I guess the chemo side effects are cumulative, 'cause DAMMNN. I have been feeling nauseous and exhausted since Monday. Last time it took about 4 days to recover, but not this time, boy howdy. I feel like a sack of unmotivated bloated bald shit. And today (Sunday) I am pissed off and sad all at the same time, which really makes for a lovely day. Some of you know about (and took part in) the type of therapy I did, which is a mix of Gestalt and Primal Scream (perhaps a post for another day?), and I tell you I really feel like going up to the bat and tearing Cancer a new asshole. And then crying the ugly cry so hard I look like the cover of that Hole album where her makeup is running down her face.
SIGH. Ok. I'm ok. It's funny, for the whole week I felt like I didn't have anything I wanted to say and today I am all over the place with the things. I never really thought about it, but it makes sense that I would have a harder time this time around, seeing as how I don't have an immune system now. I've just been feeling like I have an epic hangover that I can't shake. The best thing that has happened this week is our friend L took Jake to her cottage on Friday, so  we got to have a child free couple of days, where I could relax and sleep and eat and let my guard down a bit. I hadn't realized I was doing it but I've been working hard to maintain a "normal" persona around Jake and it's exhausting. I mean I'm not pretending anything, I tell him I'm a little tired today or I'm not feeling well, but I'm trying to keep the worry off my face and give him extra squeezes.
You know what? I'm just sick of it. Sick of the appointments, sick of the fear, the malaise, sick of the blurghy tummy that has now started to bloat and make me feel like a whale. I hate that I hate the heat and the sun. They used to be my friends and now I am hiding and laying low dreaming of white sandy beaches and coconut water and hammocks. like a Moorlock. Yes, I just dated myself there.
And yet. I look in the mirror and the person there is Me. The Me I've known before. The Me that whispers "There, there. You are not alone. You have Me. And We are going to kick this things ass, and go out in the sun and lie in that hammock. Boob or no boob, but not now. Now you have a more important job to do. You can do this. will do this. have to do this."
I've started doing that thing where you look at photos of yourself from years ago and look at the happy on my face and think "She has no idea whats coming" If you had told the 20 year old me I would hook up with an old flame after 20+ years, move across the country, have a baby and then battle cancer I would have laughed at you and jumped back up on my speaker to finish my (shout out to Scandals days).....So yeah, that's me at the halfway point. I hope everyone is having a good week and thank you again for the cards and letters, I love them. This came in the mail last week, it my favorite thing ever.
Take care of yourselves and each other. J.

Thursday, July 20

Oh Helloooo.....

Well! My heart is singing today that for sure! I had my regular bloodwork/ check in appointments today and the Doctor told me I'm responding exceptionally well to the chemo and that the mass in my breast is definitely smaller. FUCKIN A BUBBA. Initially I didn't have much hope for the cancer to shrink at all, as the surgeon had said my type of cancer doesn't usually respond to chemo in that way, but hey, someone had to prove them wrong right? As always in the week before the next treatment, I have been feeling really good. The sun and I are in a constant battle and I over did it the other day by going a little farther than i usually go, to take Jake up to Riverdale farm to meet some friends and then had to navigate the the walk home in scorching high noon type heat. I couldn't cool down and I was bleary and sweaty and nauseous. Oh well. Lesson learned.
It's funny, since my diagnosis, a few people have come forward to apologize for not reaching out right away, or not really responding to all of this. What I have to say about that is this: I love each and every one of you. Just because I'm going through something and decided to share, does not mean you have to do anything. Doing what you want to do or can do is just fine, even if it means you sit on your bed and have a cry for me but don't tell me, or decide there's to much going on for you right now and a heart text is all you've got. I'm not expecting anything. I just wanted to blog so that you guys wouldn't worry and you would know when I wasn't feeling great so that if you wanted to you could reach out at the right time.And also read about the good days! like this one!!
So. I'm almost halfway. I know I keep chanting this mantra, but it's keeping me going. This whole shrinking tumor thing is a bit of a game changer in my mind though. It could mean a less hardcore surgery/reconstruction later. It makes me feel like I chose the right path, like there's a point to doing all this. There are still things to be watchful for, neuropathy for one. That is nerve damage from the Taxotere, which consists of aching and pain, numbness and tingling in fingers and toes. The Doctor says I have a 50/60 percent chance of developing this, and that it is usually mild and manageable. The other ladies in my support group say, hydrate insanely, have good pain killers, rest and eat. So I'm going to work on that. I don't have as much fear about any of it right now, simply because of my check up results today. I feel a teeny bit teflon. (knock on wood, sacrafice a small animal, spit out some rum) and I feel that because my body had been so good so far, that I wont have any serious problems down the road. Here's hoping. Thank you again for all of the love. My next treatment is Monday the 24th at 1:30 if you want to say hi! Take care of eachother. J

Sunday, July 16

Almost Halfway....

Well this past week or so has been an lovely blur of cottages and summer fun. I didn’t have too much trouble with the sun, this time around I wore enough sunscreen that had I actually become a vampire, I would have survived.  A very large hat is really the thing. So even though I looked like a pasty redneck (the large hat is a Canada day special, straw cowboy hat replete with red trim ), I won. I even went for a swim in the lake and it was glorious. Until I jumped in the water, I hadn’t realized how precious I was treating myself, I unfurled in the waves like a long lost mermaid and instantly my body felt good. I swam and dove and splashed and most of all laughed in joy. I’m still me. Th only draw back to all of this lovely distraction, is now I only have 10 days until my next treatment. I get nauseous  just thinking about going back into the hospital and sitting in that chair. I now have an adverse reaction to the smell of alcohol wipes from giving myself all the injections of neupogen, but I’m becoming a pro at it! I have had some of the bone aching this time around as well, but not until the last three injections and Aleve + heating pad seems to do the trick. My hair continues to disappear, I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes, but my armpits are smooth, and, *cough*, down there is thinning out as well.
When we get home I’m going to shave my head right down to the skin as it is patchy stubble and, I am thinking of getting a Henna Crown!. This salon in Toronto that does hair and henna parties, does a special treatment for ladies who suffer from alopecia or are in treatment for cancer and have lost their hair, it’s beautiful. The young woman will come to your house or visit you in the hospital and spend an hour and a half with you decorating your bald scalp with beautiful Lotus designs or Peonies or Buddhist symbols, whatever you choose. It lasts about 10 days...
     Ok time for the mental check in. I’ve been much better since my last blog post and that few dark days I had. I feel optimistic again, and I recognize, now that I’ve done this twice, that that is how it goes. You go for your treatment, you feel like shit, you wonder how the fuck your going to get through however many more you have, you go dark, you feel better, you eat some really yummy food, you feel better, you have hope.
It's funny, I've recently had this this thought that pregnancy really prepared me for chemo. Weird right? I had a really easy pregnancy, besides some heartburn and some hip tendon aches at night, I really sailed right through. But I did not like being pregnant. It felt really strange to have something inside of me that was alive. I had nausea most days until about 1pm, in my first trimester, so I learned how to assuage it and how to function. dealing with the unknown on a daily basis in regards to my body became the norm, and that's how I feel right now. I don't like what's happening to me, but I have no choice. I feel calm about it. I've had to gather strength from this part of me before, the deep part of me, the primal protective part. It's strong, it's not going to let me fail. I've got this....
Thank you to everyone for reading, thank you for sending cards and treats, they really help. One week to go until I AM HALFWAY!!! Monday July 24th 1:30. Wish me luck. Love you guys. J