Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halfway to the finish line

What a relief that we're done with the red devil, the Adriamycin and Cytoxan. Even though last time I forgot to take my Neulasta shot, which causes your body to produce a surge of white blood cells since the chemo destorys them, the day after last chemo. My body apparently recovered on its own. My white blood cell count was actually higher than the last time I received therapy and took the shot. Now that this stint is done, I can't stand to see any bright red liquids. If you come at me with red Gatorade, Kool Aid or grenadine colored drink, I might commence puking like Regan from the Exorcist. The image of the Adriamycin being slowly pushed into an IV into my arm, haunts me.

Happy Halloween.

Even though Halloween has been rescheduled to Friday due to Hurricane Sandy, we have a lot to celebrate. We lost power for nearly 24 hours, but there was no damage here at the Beyer residence. The kids were going stir crazy, hence we we're going insane. Yet all of the food and breast milk kept well. We were prepared enough. Through my everyday pain from chemotherapy, physical limitations and more pain due to the mastectomy and having an expander in the right side, I still remember what I'm grateful for what I have. I refuse to let the "have not's" consume me especially through times of natural disaster. Other folks weren't so lucky to be left unscathed. Well wishes and safe thoughts to every one out there who has been affected by this tremendous Frankenstorm.

This upcoming Monday, we move on to Taxol for four treatments. It's a long infusion, 240 minutes. We will be at UPenn all day. If anyone is bored and wants to hang out, let me know or I will be forced to spend the whole day with my husband.

I'm nervous about the Taxol. Although I hear that some people don't experience side effects as bad as the AC, I have heard about other women's allergic reactions during infusion. This isn't the usual hives or sneezing. We're talking about anaphylactic shock. Certainly that's one of my greatest fears. Let's hope that I don't have as many side effects. Right now my list of issues is staggering besides battling a sinus infection, coughing, cold thing. Fingers crossed, the show will go on next Monday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Case of the Mondays

A week and a half ago was chemo treatment 3/8. 3 out of 4 Acdromycin/Cytoxan treatments, the bad ass infusions. Only one more AC, and then Taxol four times. Chemo sucks. At the thought of it, I get nauseous.

On that last chemo Monday the first nurse couldn't find a vein. I'll learn to stop someone before they stick me if they say something negative about my veins like, "You have slim pickens." Next time I know. It's questionable if my veins are going to make it until the end before I need a port. Perhaps those physical therapy exercises will come in handy to pump them up. They can only stick the left side since the cancer was in the right, and they removed a lymph node a week after the diagnosis for dissection. I didn't want the commitment of a port, but your veins start to retract once you start pumping them with these infusions. The thought of this isn't very pleasing. I have a bruise where they got me last week. That can't be good.

The battle with side effects is driving me nuts. At this point, the hair loss is nothing. The medicine destroys fast growing cells such as cancer, but the whole GI tract from mouth to the bottom can be wreaked in havoc. You will be spared the gruesome details, but let it be known that it's been painful, uncomfortable, and almost unbearable. I was crawling out of my own skin on Monday, the other day. It doesn't help that I contracted a stomach bug for two days of living hell.

Nail growth is at a stand still. They're soft and peeling at the ends. My thumbs are beginning to turn black at the base of the nail. I keep them painted in hopes that no one will see and preserving what's left. They're soft and tender, and they keep on creeping shorter and shorter each day. Gone are the days of strong, long pregnancy nails.

Thankfully I haven't lost taste like most people do. The diet hasn't been my top priority. My body is so uncomfortable that I find solace in food. Eating something that tastes good gives me comfort and a moment of happiness when my body isn't feeling so hot. Green, raw foods don't bring me to that happy place. I thought I would be spared the mouth sores, but I just discovered two in my mouth minutes ago. This could effect the taste, and this could be bad.

It's weird when your mind doesn't sync with your body. You have a list of errands, a thousand things to do because you have a baby and a preschooler, but you're too nauseous to accomplish them. You want to go to work because you love what you, have a list of clients to tattoo, and need to make money to help support your family, but you can't leave the bathroom. Your baby is crying, your son wants lunch and your so unbelievably itchy that you want to scream the F word as loud as you can. Welcome to my world.

Then a good day will come. I woke up and did 1000 things because the baby actually slept 9 consecutive hours so that means I got 8. The chemo fog had lifted so I cleaned, ran around doing errands, cooked dinner for friends, and went to my son's parent teacher night. True happiness and genuine smiles were spread across my face because I was at the bottom of a swamp only two days ago. I can appreciate a day like today because I felt so.... normal.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hair today, Gone tomorrow

We did it. My little friend, Regan, and wonderful hairstylist, Audrey, buzzed the rest of my hair off. Talon had his done first, and then Josh did his afterwards. We spared Joslyn from the shaving party since she already has a short cut. We all match. It was a nice "head shaving party". What a relief since it's been killing me. When you lose your hair from chemo, it hurts. This started happening to me on Sunday. The little kamikaze hairs jumped ship and we're slowly slipping out of the follicules. There was an urge to run my fingers through it to pull it out. It was worse than having a healing, itchy tattoo with flakes of skin coming off of it. It was beyond a tingling, tickling sensation. Now I look like I'm ready for boot camp.

My hair is so thick that no one said they noticed I was losing it, but I can. Normally you wouldn't be able to see my scalp… ever. Not even in a part on my head. That's how much hair I usually have. Now it's Friday, and it's still coming out with a vengeance. It's getting patchy and noticeable so yesterday I got a wig from Martino Cartier Salon in Washington Township, NJ. You might remember that I wrote about him before in a previous blog. He was on Tabitha's Salon Takeover. He started the Friends are by your Side charity that gives hair services, wigs, and extensions to cancer patients. There are approximately 500 participating salon's around the country. He thinks there should be more, and so do I. If you own a salon and want to participate, please go to the link for more information. I love the wig. It's so natural, and now I can rock a feminine look if I want to .

In more hair news, Audrey, the stylist that shaved my head, is running a fundraiser to benefit our family at the salon she works at in Philadelphia called Volume Hair Studio in Rittenhouse Square. She's doing PINK hair extensions in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the proceeds will help to pay off our debt incurred from medical bills and other expenses due to the breast cancer surgery and treatment. Please call ahead to book your appointments She books up fast especially during the weekends.