I’m sorry to go MIA, but I’ve managed to keep myself very busy with treatment and my new job at Evergreen High School. Yes, that’s right, I am very proud to report that I not only managed to work while beginning chemo treatments, but I also landed the teaching job of my dreams! Go Cougars!
As for the boob, she’s had her ups and downs. More ups, I’m happy to report, than downs.
- Although chemo really hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be, it is progressively getting worse. The last couple of treatments were exhausting but manageable. I am lucky that, so far (everyone knock on some freakin’ wood right now!), my only really major symptoms are fatigue and hair loss. I got pretty bad headaches from the anti-nausea medication, but that went away the minute I stopped taking it, and I haven’t really been nauseous. So, I’m just bald all of the time and in bed a lot of the time. When my symptoms are at their peak, they feel like a really bad flu combined with a pretty nasty handover minus the fun of the night before. Totally not fair.
- I am realizing that this is going to be a long journey. Now that the fuzzy excitement of diagnosis and treatment planning have waned, I am now slowly realizing exactly what’s in store. Yay for finishing 11 weeks of chemo treatments, but boo for having 13 more weeks and a couple of major surgeries to go. I’ll get more into the whole surgery thing in another post. Needless to say, it’s kind of starting to freak me out.
- As the summer approaches, and my friends and family make plans, I am experiencing a little bit of self-pity as I realize that I cannot do a lot of the things that I like to do in the summer. I am also, on the flip-side, recognizing how many really cool things I usually do in the summer, and I can’t wait to do them again when this is all over!
- The number-one boob up: The tumor is SHRINKING! I meet with my oncologist after each cycle, and per his exams, he says that the nasty thing’s shrunk almost in half. Go Halaven! I will have an MRI next week after my last Halaven treatment this Friday to confirm this. Then, I get three weeks off (heck freakin’ yes!) before I start AC (major bummer!).
- Sure, being bald and tired is a downer, but not having some of the other common side effects of chemo is something to be happy about. No mouth sores, nausea, etc. I guess that I do get achy and have a funky taste in my mouth at times, but that’s only for the first couple of days after treatment. All of the symptoms other than fatigue go away pretty quickly. And, even that, lessens as the week goes on.
- Aside from not being able to climb any 14ers or backpack for miles, I really can still do a lot of the things that I love. I can hike, but it’s more like a slow walk, which is pretty enjoyable. I found a cancer survivor hiking group that I hope to join up with soon. From their pictures online, most of them are also bald, and they all wear great sunhats, which I too will sport. I can also camp, but now I get to sit in a sweet camping chair or lie in a hammock more often than usual, which is also just fine with me. Although my endurance isn’t as high, I did some gardening last weekend. And, not to brag but to totally brag, I’ve managed to workout more often than I had before this whole cancer ordeal. I can’t completely keep up, but I am now more motivated than ever to attend step and Pilates classes at my gym. The ladies in the classes are fantastic and give me incredible encouragement and support. One even knits me soft and adorable hats. So, again, I can’t really complain.
- Yes, the road ahead is long, and surgery is incredibly scary to think about, but I do get a boob job on my insurance, which can’t be a completely horrible thing. More on the “complimentary” boob job later.
- I’ve spent a lot of time with my amazing friends and family who have truly stepped up with tremendous amounts of support. I love all of my visitors. Please don’t stop reaching out; I tend to be the most quiet when I am feeling the worst, which is when I know that I need you the most. Please know that I’ll rarely turn down a visit, so ignore my apologies and excuses when it comes to a messy house or fairly embarrassing appearance (spending days at a time in pajamas isn’t always the most flattering of things), and please continue to invite yourselves over. The deck is beautiful this time of year, and it now has some lovely flowers on it for us to enjoy. To entice you further, though it doesn’t always sound good to me, Rayan typically keeps the fridge stocked with cold beer for anyone who’d like one, and he has a fantastic collection of classy koozies that you are welcome to use.
I hope to be more active with my boob blog now that school’s out. Look for posts on surgery, and please let me know if you have any advice or recommendations.