I actually think the OCD side of me....has actually found a "routine" with this chemo stuff. Might just be ME... Being the control freak that I am....trying to control what simply cannot be controlled. Whatever the case....I think I've got it down. :)
I get the treatment on a Friday.... cram about a week's worth of "quality time" with my loves into Friday night and Saturday til about mid-afternoon when the fading starts. Become "medicated mommy" that sends me to sleep til about Wednesday-ish! MAKE myself get back into the "land of the living" Thursday and Friday. This, of course, assuming I finally have all the meds tweaked into working well for me. Friday and Saturday I feel pretty decent. I force myself to work at least a day and a half or so just so I will have enough of a paycheck for gas money! Week 1 -- ya basically feel like crap because of the chemo side effects. Week 2....which starts Sunday-ish....is the week that makes ya feel like crap because of low blood counts. Different KIND of "feel like crap" but you get the idea.
Week 2: Sunday starts the low-grade fever. JUST enough to make have the chills and aches and wanna be in bed. And the dreaded mouth sores. Lordy. Mashed potatoes and soft serve ice cream. There consists my meals. I talk with a lisp and hate for ANYONE to look at my mouth. Swollen gums and lips.....Ya don't need collogen....just chemo! :) I'm no medical expert....but I've seen a direct correlation with the mouth sores becoming almost immediately better with rising counts. So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I get the shots to boost those. Luckily, I can expect my mouth to only be REALLY bad for the "mashed tater diet" a day or 2. Thursday I get a normal day! Well....Cancer normal....but normal. And here we are full circle....back to Friday for the next Round. Good news is on Week 2, I'm getting to work most every day. Knock on wood.
Met w/Dr. Sneed today. He seemed proud of my progress. After a peak, he wasn't happy with my mouth pain.....even made the comment that we'd "delay treatment" Friday if it wasn't better. Not on your LIFE! With all due respect....Delaying treatment is not an option. I'll be getting my prayer warriors on that....pronto! He reviewed my records.....just to refresh himself...after all I don't think I'm his only patient....:) I didn't panic...but did notice....he once again, in reading aloud to himself....said "your cancer is triple negative....that is the part we surely don't like...." Dangit. My counts once again bottomed almost completely out. So I'll be back the next three days for Neupogen shots. No suprise there.
Since this week's treatment is the 4th and final dose of the Adriacytoxin.....aka "The Red Devil".....we did briefly talk about the final four rounds of Taxol....or Taxotere. While no chemo is "a walk in the park"....he said that would be a good description of it in comparison to what I've been getting. Yay! Hope I can take that to the bank. He said that maybe some achy-ness the first day or so and then tingling in hands and feet. But that should be it. Could this be some light at the end of the preverbial tunnel?? :) I've googled about it....and sometimes they prescribe steriods with it....Lord I hope not...the last thing I wanna do is gain weight!
I love the staff there. "Staff" seems cold. They are simply awesome. Oncology is a calling folks. They fact that I feel special means they are doing their job well. They make this journey so much easier. They genuinely care when they ask how I'm feeling. And are concerned when they see I'm fighting to smile. I pray each day that they are blessed as much as they have blessed me. While I look forward to the day that I can truly stop in and visit on the way to Park Plaza.....I know I will have forever friends there.
Well Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield officially sucks in my book.....since they have officially denied my claims due to "Pre-Exisiting" condition. My team of doctors and I are appealling my claims and I'm fighting. But my energy to "fight" them is low. So please pray for us. However, the good Lord stepped in....as always the good Lord does....and through the help of financial aid officers at Baptist, I was able to qualify for a Medicaid spend-down that pays secondary to my insurance. Its not based on income, its based upon the fact that I have breast cancer. Its all so new, and I've not received an explanation of benefits yet to know exactly what that means, limits, etc......but I do know, that I didn't have to write a check at the doc today that would have bounced to high heavens! Funny, I received the card, and it's already expired. Approval is based upon 3 month periods. So I've already started the ball rolling for the next three months. Prayers much needed and appreciated.
My kids are doing awesome and still as wonderful as ever. My Sam is gonna make some young lady a good husband. He can do laundry, vacuum, change sheets, even cook a little! Syd is teaching him well! :) Oh joy. What I love about him most....is that even at 15, he climbs into the recliner with me.....or in my bed with me....for snuggle time with mom. Those moments.....I cherish. Syd is flittering here and there. She is my social bug. I'm so grateful that her entire summer isn't a total loss due to this crummy cancer.
My friends....old and new.....are incredible. Saturday, I was able to see some old high school buddies! Newport's American Legion team was playing in the State Tournament at Bryant. I was able to dig out something "orange" in my closet and go!
The Class of '89 was represented! :) It was so nice to have a piece of home come to me! Was a wonderful afternoon!
I still continue to get cards, gifts, emails, texts, facebook messages, calls......every day. Friends who step up in any way possible. Its overwhelming. As horrible as "cancer" is....I've never in my life felt more blessed. Funny how God works!
Gayle Sulik, in a post
called "The Battle They Don't Want to See" makes such a great point. "Most have a vision of breast cancer that is too often
sugar-coated with platitudes, sassy t-shirts, fun-filled fundraising galas. For
some, this reality is too much to bear. But until we as a society are willing
to see cancer for what it is, our capacity to support the diagnosed will always
I'm not sure I totally agree with her statement, but I do understand and see why many would feel that way. "Pink" has never really been my color! ha Very few, including myself who was once a care-giver for someone with cancer....REALLY know what it is like. I have never felt more ugly....than I do right now. I rarely pass a mirror without feeling disgusted. Its like a constant reminder of my on deterioration. Even worse....most days, I don't even care. Then there are days, like the last few......when I felt compelled to dig through pics on FB to find ones of me "with hair" to post to my profile. I had struggled for months to lose weight to look and feel better. Little did I know that diet saved my life.....we hope. Anyway...while scrolling through pics....I found a couple from our cruise this past spring break, in which I was wearing one of those sassy "breast cancer" t-shirts....with the words..."Don't Stop Believin".....Little did I know, that a couple of weeks later...I'd have to put my words into action.
Which brings me to the funny stuff people DO say......Warning: Im in a smarty-pants kind of mood! :) PLEASE know I'm just in a mood.....AND its all in fun......:)) I might just take that show on the road. These have ALL been said to me....true story!!! I've been making a list....thought I'd share!
"But you're cancer free, right?" .......I don't know, am I? Maybe at the moment.....we'll see. Geesh.
After posting pics of my bald head....... "Did you shave your head?" uh.....duh!
"At least your bosses work with you"........Yep...they do. When I work....they pay me! haha
(I have WONDERFUL bosses.....but usually this falls in a "how am I gonna pay my bills?" convo...
"Why'd you have a double if ya only had it in one?" Um.....didn't wanna be lopsided? duh!!
"My grandfather's mother's sister's cousin's daughter" had that red devil stuff. I know what you're going through!" Ok....that makes you an expert! hahaha
"Ive read that such-n-such in your diet will keep cancer at bay!" Well, you should definately eat some then! I think I'll stick to ANY thing that doesn't make me puke right now.
"My aunt died a year ago with that same kind of cancer....." Gee, thanks.
Lady at Gordmans....."Oh you really have cancer? I'll give you 20% off!"
Me......"Can my friend who took me to chemo get the discount too???" bwahahahaha.....she did!!
"I feel awful today too....my allergies are KILLING me this year." Ok...you win! hehehe
"Everything happens for a reason." Ok.....and my REASON for getting cancer is??? I wanna punch you in the nose right now. :)
"I'm so impressed by your courage!" Actually, be impressed that I'm really good at hiding how scared "shitless" (sorry!) I am!
"Its just a bump in the road" Ok....three surgeries in 10 days....one of which took BOTH my breasts, and insurance company that won't pay, 8 rounds of extremely agressive chemo, feeling crappy every day, being a single mom without a steady paycheck.....is NOT a bump in the road. It's kind of a mountain.
"Is your cancer the bad kind?" Um....is there a good kind? hahahaha.....If I'm still here in 10 years, I'll let ya know! :)
"I'd come visit you....but my stumped my big toe....Might get ya sick".... Ok. Whatever. You don't wanna visit. No excuses needed! :)
"Just think! You'll get new boobs!" I liked my old ones just fine. .....
From an employee at work who speaks little English.... "Is Terri ok now that she cut her boobies off? Is she gonna die?" I couldn't hold back my laughter as I responded....."not today!"
Ok....I'll stop now before I TOTALLY tick off anyone who has ever talked to me! :) I'm just joking. I have the most precious friends in the world. I wouldn't trade my support system for ANY on the planet. I rely on humor to get me through lots of moments. I thank the Lord everyday for those He has placed in my life. God is good!
Please don't forget -- Save the Date for Team Terri! :) Go ahead! Sign up! :)
"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future." Proverbs 31:25