Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27 update

Good Evening!  Today was my trip to see Dr. Gupta to find out the results of my MRI.  I won't lie, I was a bit nervous waiting for the results.  Dr. Gupta finally came in and told me the MRI was clear!  Praise the Lord!  I know with all the prayers I have been getting, God had his hand in this!  

Since the MRI was clear, I got to start chemo today.  It was very exciting to finally get down to doing something.  Before we started, Angie asked him about what Stage of cancer I was in.  He said since I haven't had surgery yet, it was hard to tell.  Since the cancer hasn't spread, I could be considered Stage I but without seeing the lymph nodes, it was hard to tell.  He also said the was about a 30% chance of when they go to do the mastectomy, the cancer might be gone.  He did say it was an aggressive form of cancer.  The type of chemo they are giving me is aggressive.

So the chemo they have me on is ACT.  It takes about an 1 1/2 hours to administer.  While it was being administered, I got a class in chemo therapy and all the possible side effects (Barb did a wonderful job).  My hair will fall out in about 18 to 20 days.  They said it should come back darker and curler (no more grey, Woo Hoo!)  And then they listed to all the other possible side effects.  I won't bore you with those.  It is like I told Mom, basically, if anything weird happens, call the doctor.  They also gave me a lot of good nausea drugs.  Mom isn't too keen on having me take Ativan (which is only as a last resort).  I will let her explain to you why. :) 

We have also elected not to do a port at this time.  My veins look really good, so they are going to do it via IV. (If it doesn't work, we will do the port)  Because of this, my chemo treatments are going to be on Mondays from now on.  That way I can get the necessary blood work on Friday or Saturday and my vein have a chance to heal.  I will also have a shot on Tuesday to help my white blood count.  I will have 8 treatments all together.  My next chemo will be May 14.  My last chemo treatment is August 6. (yes you read that right)

Before I left, I got to pick out this fleece blanket.  

It was donated in memory of Jim Hodson.  The tag says "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade".  I really like that sentiment.

After the treatment, Mom and I went to lunch and did some shopping for some supplies I might need.  
One of the things I purchased was this hat.  Gotta be prepared. 

When I got back home, I was kinda tired.  I was also a little nauseated, but the drugs worked very well. So I will spend the rest of the weekend relaxing.  I think I deserve that.

Thank you again for all the prayers that were lifted up in my behalf.  God answered them.  Please keep them coming.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25 update.

Today was my MRI.  I got up at 4 am to get ready.  Luckily I am a morning person.  We got to the hospital at 6:30am.  As we were walking up there, we didn't see any lights on.  We wondered if they were open.  They were.  :)  They had me fill out the standard forms and then get changed for the MRI.  Before they started, they had a paper for me to go over.  I was kinda puzzled about this.  Evidently on the consent form for the contrast they were going to give me, I signed the line to decline it instead of ok-ing it.  We got the right line signed and proceeded to the test.  I guess I am not the morning person I thought I was. :D

The test went fine.  Again it was noisy.  The nice thing was they let me get up and stretch periodically through the test.  That helped a lot.  The tech was very impressed with how I did.  She said I was very cooperative.  I can't help but think all the prayers I have been getting was what did the trick.

The tech said the doctor should have the results possibly sometime this afternoon.  I assume I will get the results on Friday when I go see Dr. Gupta.  Please continue to pray for good results.

I again want to thank everyone who has been praying for me.  I know I couldn't have made it this far without it.  God is good and I know he hears our prayers.  I definitely feel God's peace around me.

I was really tempted to come home and go back to bed.  But I was afraid I wouldn't wake up to go work at noon. This evening may be really interesting at work. :D

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23 update

Today Mom and I learned all about genes. We went to Indy today to have my genetic counseling session. Being the perpetual early people we are, we arrived 1 hour early.  After a nice wait, they explained to us why it was important to find out if I have the breast cancer gene. It's mainly because I am so young and finding out if I have it will determine my treatment. Also, having the breast cancer gene also increases your risk of ovarian cancer. Already having had one ovary removed, this would be good for me to know. They then took down all the information about my family tree. I honestly had flashbacks of high school biology. :)

After they were done with the counseling session, they asked me if I wanted to go ahead and take the test. Because of the reasons above and the fact that there are some unknown branches on my family tree, I decided to go ahead and take it. I had the choice of having a blood test or a swab of my mouth. I asked if one was more effective than the other and they said both were effective. So I opted for the mouth swab. (I didn't want to get stuck again). So I had to swish Scope in my mouth and spit it in a tube. You don't know how hard that is to do when your mother is sitting right next to you giggling. :)

So as long as the insurance pays for the test, I will find out the results in 1 1/2 to 2 weeks.

I do encourage anybody reading this, if you have children, gather your family's medical history.  And if you have elderly parents or grandparents, get them to tell you what they know.  I know Mom always said her mother always told her that people never talked about that kind of thing.   Well, I am speaking from experience, it is important to know.

After we were done, we stopped in Tipton to eat at the Pizza Shack.  While there I noted that gas was $3.58 a gallon.  I should have filled up while I was there.

Next up is the MRI on my skull and spine on Wednesday morning.  Please pray that the test come back to say it's nothing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Sunday!

My very good Twitter friend Julie shared the following song with me.  It was such a blessing to me (thanks Julie) so I thought I would share it with everybody else.  This is going to be my prayer through all of this.

I hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20 update

I went to Dr. Gupta's office today thinking I would start my chemo treatments.  Well that didn't happen.  My CT scan came good good (he said I had good looking organs).  The bone scan was the problem.  There is a shadow on my skull and spine and they want to make sure just what they are.  It is very possible that they are nothing.  They don't want to start treatment until they know for sure because the chemo could alter the results of the tests.

So I have a MRI schedule for 7 am Wednesday morning (Oh Joy!)  I then go see Dr. Gupta again on Friday April 27.

When I got back home, I had to call down to Indy to reschedule my ultrasound on my breasts.  When I called I find out that not only was I scheduled an ultrasound but also a biopsy.  They neglected to tell me that when I first scheduled the appointment.

Needless to say, I am a bit deflated.  But I am considering this just a bump in my road to recovery .  God is still in control and WILL  get me through this.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19 Update

I had my CT and Bone Scan yesterday (April 18).  Prior to the CT scan, I had to drink some contrast.  It didn't taste bad at all. (Praise the Lord).  It reminded me of Gatorade, which I don't mind. (Mom HATES Gatorade)  Once I got to the hospital, they gave me a cup and wanted me to drink some more water.  It's a wonder my blabber didn't pop. :)

The CT scan was very quick.  The IV went in easily. (Best one I have had so far)  It went very quickly.  While they still had the IV in, the gave me the injection I needed for the bone scan.

4 hours later, I went in for the bone scan.  They had told me to keep hydrated during the 4 hours to keep the radioactive stuff going through my body.  So I drank A LOT.   First thing they had me do before the bone scan, go to the bathroom.  (That struck me funny).  Anyway, the bone scan wasn't scary at all.  I was a tad intimidated when they laid me down on the table and strapped me to the table.  It's a good thing I am not claustrophobic.  The camera was right in my face.  (Good thing they didn't have the McClain that was in the waiting room in this machine.  She would have freaked)  Luckily once the pictures of my head were done, they pulled me out of the machine.  I got scanned from my head to my toes.  The tech was kind enough to tell me I did have some curvature of the spine. (the least of my worries at the moment).

Both the CT and the Bone scan techs asked why I was having these done.  I told them I was just diagnosed with breast cancer.  They both said I would probably see them periodically in the future.

Today, I get to go to Plainfield for a library roundtable.  It's nice to be going somewhere that is not a doctor's appointment. :D

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17 Update

I didn't think I would have much to update until I had the CT and Bone scans tomorrow.  I did meet with administration yesterday morning.  I have 6 months of sick leave (pays not to be sick very much) plus I can use the library's sick leave bank it comes to that (which I don't think it will).  That is one thing I won't have to worry about. 

Through this process, I have been trying to not go into "librarian mode" and try and research everything myself.  Well yesterday, I was getting a bit nervous about the bone scan.  I knew I was going to get an injection but I wasn't sure where.  I did some research and they will give it to me in a vein.  (unless they are giving me something different)  I felt better after reading that.

Then today came around.  At lunch I got a call from Dr. Schmidt's office. They were calling to tell me the results of my MRI.  I have 2 spots in one breast and 3 in the other that they want to do an ultrasound on.  (They told me which breast had which spots but for the life of me I couldn't tell you which one had which)  They did say the lymph nodes looked good (WOO HOO!)  They also said I had an hemangioma on my chest wall that I needed to get checked again in 6 months.  I asked her if I should be worried about this and she said no.  So when I go back to work, I went into librarian mode again and researched what that was.  Evidently, a hemangioma is an abnormal collection of blood vessels (Who'd have thunk it, me abnormal :D).  It doesn't appear to be anything to be worry about.  Mom made the comment that her and Daddy didn't put me together very well.  I told her that I was going to sue for shoddy workmanship. :D

So I am scheduled for my ultra sound on Friday April 27 at 12:30 pm.  That's all I know right now.  Of course the day isn't over yet.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13 update

Today I went for my first visit with my oncologist, Dr. Gupta.  I like him a lot!  He has a terrific sense of humor (which those of you who know me well know this pleases me) and is very positive.  Mom said he reminded her of Raj on The Big Bang Theory (she and I are big fans of that show. :D) He scheduled me for a CT scan and a bone scan on Wednesday April 18.  Then I go back to Dr. Gupta's office on Friday, April 20.  This is when I will probably start my chemo treatments.  He said they will probably be one every couple of weeks for possibly 8 weeks.  That is still tentative depending on the results of my scans and the MRI I had yesterday.

He stressed that he wanted me to keep my life as normal as possible during the chemo process.  If I feel like doing something, do it.  If I feel like taking a nap, take a nap.  I know my body.  He also said not to dwell on the possible side effects of the chemo.  They are what COULD happen, but they don't for every patient.   And if I dwell on them, they will probably happen.  But I should just be positive and deal with it if they do.   He also gave me permission to give everybody a hard time.  So people better watch out, doctor's orders.  So I am going to try and work as much as my body will allow me to.

I then had to go get some more blood work done.  I am beginning to think I going to be a human pin cushion.  :D

Through this whole process I am seeing God's hand in things.  I did want to share one of those instances.  We have a sick leave bank at the library.   If you would like, you can donate 8 hours of sick leave time to the bank and anybody who has had to take a lot of time off due to illness can use the hours in the bank when they run out of their own sick leave.  The date to sign up for the next year is in December.  Well this past December, I had forgotten to sign up for it.  Heather, our Administrative Assistant, called me up and said she noticed I hadn't signed up for it and she knew I had in past so she wanted to make sure I did.  I got the form in.  Looking back, I know God knew what I was facing this year.  I praise God that he nudged Heather to call me (when she really didn't have to) and I thank Heather for listening to that nudging.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12 update

I got to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to Indy today for my MRI and to get my stitches out.  Mom was pleasantly surprised when I let her drive my car down there.  See miracles do happen. :D  I have never had an MRI before so I really didn't know what to expect.  I have heard horror stories of people freaking out while having them.  Luckily I am not claustrophobic so I wasn't really worried about that.  I was kinda worried because I woke up with a scratchy throat (which I promise to tell Dr. Gupta tomorrow if I still have it) so I was afraid that I would cough during the procedure.

The procedure itself was pretty easy.  I had to get an IV which didn't thrill me but it wasn't bad.  I laid on my stomach for the procedure.  Luckily I didn't cough (or move).  I think laying on my stomach helped with the drainage.  I did get a cramp in my shoulder before it was done but as long as I didn't think about it it was ok.  I did find out that MRI's are extremely noisy.  But they gave me ear plugs so that made it ok.  The thought did cross my mind that "Great, not only will I glow in the dark, I am going to be deaf too" :D

After the MRI, I went up to Dr. Schmidt's office to get my stitch out.  What I didn't realize was it was in fact 1 big stitch.  The nurse just had me raise up my shirt, take off my bra and she just slipped that stitch right out of there.  Didn't hurt a bit.  I still have to watch my lifting for a bit but the most exciting news is, I don't have to wear my bra to bed tonight.  WOO HOO!   I know I am easily excited but wearing a bra to bed was beginning to drive me nuts.  And I am going to rejoice in every bit of good news I get no matter how small.

Now I shall get me some lunch and go back to work.  Got to get prepared for my doctor's appointment tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Unexpected Journey

I decided today to resurrect my blog.  I have been and am going to be going through a lot and I wanted a place where I could document it and have a place where I can post updates for those of you who care about  me (which I am finding out is a huge number.)

To catch those of you up that don't know what is going on,  the first part of March while I was putting on my pj's, I found a lump on my breast.   I called the doctor immediately the next morning.  I got in that morning.  Dr. Pfeifer immediately sent me to get a mammogram and ultra sound.  The ultra sound indicated  not 1 but 2 suspicious spots.  So she sent me down to see Dr. Schmidt in Indianapolis.  When he did my exam he found an additional spot that was suspicious.  So on March 30, I had a biopsy.   

Waiting for the results was not fun.  It's not that I was anxious for the results.  I knew regardless of the outcome, God was in control and I would be fine.   But the fact is, I am not good at waiting.  It drives me nuts.  I have a new appreciation for women who have had children.  If I had to wait 9 months for something, I would go crazy.  I am just the type of person that has to know what is going on.

The wait ended Monday night.  I was getting ready to watch Castle and the phone rang.  It was Dr. Schmidt with the results.  All 3 spots were cancer.  He then set up an appointment to see him the next day at 4pm.  

I am not going to lie, it through me for a loop.  I think I knew they were cancer, I just had hoped that it might have been 1 or 2 of the spots.  I wasn't figuring on all three.  I had my "weepy" time.  I am thankful for my Mom and best friend Edie for being there to talk too.

I debated on whether on not to go to work the next morning.  I am so glad I did.  I work with the most supportive bunch of people.  They let me talk, cry and prayed with me.  Knowing I had such a big support system praying for me helped me during the wait time to see the doctor.  We sure felt God's peace.

The meeting with the doctor was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders.  I do have a very aggressive form of cancer.  But Dr. Schmidt said I am in the middle between very good cancer and very bad cancer.   (I do lean a little to the bad side, but it's still in the middle)  I have some "biomarkers" that are very good and some "biomarkers" that are bad.   There is a risk of this spreading to the lungs, liver and bone.  Because of this, he wants to do chemo and hormonal therapy first.  After I get done with that, I will be having a mastectomy. They will be checking out the other breast and if there is a great risk of me getting it there, I will be having that one off too.  After the mastectomy, I will be having radiation.  I told Mom I am going to glow in the dark after this.  :)

Another interesting fact I learned at this meeting, my dad's cancer has absolutely nothing to do with this.  Most kidney cancers (which was what he had) are caused by chemicals.  Since there is no history of breast cancer in our family and I am so young (Woo hoo 43 is young!) they are going to send me to a specialist to see if I have the breast cancer gene.

Today, I did some blood work and had a chest x ray.  Tomorrow I go down to Indy to have an MRI (at lunch this evening the insurance co called to try and get me to get a cheaper one.  That's not happening) and get my stitches out.  Friday, I see my oncologist, Dr. Gupta here in Kokomo.  

Needless to say, my head is spinning.  Just to give you an indication how much, I was at work a couple of hours today before I realized I have my shirt on backwards. :D  But I have a lot to praise God about.  I am going to have a hard road ahead of me, but I have a light at the end of the tunnel.   I have the best Mom and sister in law a girl can have. (my brother isn't half bad either :D)  I have the best friends anybody could have.  My church  and workplace have been so supportive.  The outpouring of love from my Twitter buddies all over the country has just blown me away (you guys rock and I am going to meet all of you in person some day)  And above all I am so glad Jesus is my savior.  I know I have a long hard road journey ahead, but I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

I will try my best to keep this blog updated.   Yank my chain if I don't.