Monday, May 20, 2013

Last Round of the Red Stuff!

 Today was the last day of AC chemo!  I had to capture the last push of that nasty, life-saving poison!


I found out that, unknowingly, I have been over-dosing on my anti-nausea meds (not my fault, believe it or not).  There's a good chance that was contributing to my extreme mental fog.  I can't blame it all on that though.  I haven't taken Zofran for several days and today after my series of naps, thought I could make a trip to Target to pick up the over the counter steroids that I caved and asked for and then to Cub for some basics and a Red Box rental. While at Cub I remembered that I had forgotten to stop at the pharmacy.  Back to Target.  While at Target, I remembered that I forgot to go to go to Red Box.  Back to Cub.  Ended up with four movies.  Don't ask.  After all that driving I had to get gas. Wow. Gas prices. That is all.


Then I jumped back in the car to get back to my mom and Ella.  So I drove to my mom's house.  Then I remembered they were at my house.  Rick is out of town for work tonight, so my mom locked me in before she left.  She is a very smart lady.

Chemo was nice and smooth today.  The infusion center got new chairs.  They are heated, massaging recliners. Very, very nice. Kara came with me today and kept me talking way too much!!  She is always so entertaining!  


The chemo nurse must have overheard Kara and I's conversations ( it was pretty quiet today, the whole room probably heard us) because when she came in to push the Adriamycin and then later to hang the Cytoxin, she prayed that it would find the remaining cancer cells and attack them and miss the healthy cells.  I loved that!  She was new, I really liked her.   I always get excited when I hear people are praying for me.  At church on Sunday, at that usually awkward greeting time, I "met" somebody that I've known of for years, but our paths have honestly never crossed.  I knew her name so I was able to use it.  She asked my name. Then she asked what my last name was.  I saw something click, and then she responded with excitement, "I've been praying for you!!"  I tried so hard not to cry, but can't get over that people who have never met me are praying for me!!  

And then there is the Hill Family and company in Tennessee that is letting God use them in a God-sized answer to prayers.  Part of my heart has always been in Tennessee. Uncle Stan and Aunt Bunny live there. Everybody should have an Uncle Stan and Aunt Bunny in their live!  So does my cousin, Kevin, who has the coolest life.  He's a fireman turned air-traffic controller and the sweetest man-boy there is.  He will always be the boy that let me give him a makeover! He didn't stand a chance with a sister and three female cousins at holidays!  Get this, he just got back from a week long soccer tournament for air traffic controllers in Ireland!  So does Laura.  You know that friend (that is also family) that you don't get to see. Ever. But you pray for and think about all the time?  And when you do talk and finally get together, not a moment has passed? That's Laura.  I really hate that we live so far apart.  We were in each others weddings (Happy Anniversary Michael and Laura! Grateful that I was able to be a part of it!  Great memories! I pray that God continues to strengthen your marriage as you look to Him for all things and blesses you and your family as you have so richly blessed us!) and just don't get to see each other enough now that we're all grow up!  So sweet, sweet Laura married into the Hill family.  They have a family business.  They have used that business to bless our family.  I told Michael that a cancer diagnosis, double mastectomy, going bald and living in constant nausea and fatigue for days on end (combined) haven't reduced me to the puddle of tears that this generosity has!  So now, more so than ever, part of my heart stays in Tennessee with my family and now my cousins family! Want to know the kicker?  I've only met the Hill family once.  At a wedding. Yes. God is that good.  


Time for bed.  Remind me to tell you about God's next assignment for me!  It's a good one!  


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Encouragement Just When Needed

This last round of chemo kicked. My. Butt.  The nausea started sooner than it had during the first two treatments and lasted a whole lot longer.  I appreciated that Zofran could be taken every four hours and I took full advantage of that.  The fatigue also lasted longer.  This was extremely frustrating and I had to constantly remind myself that its okay to not be uber productive, my priority is getting better, I need to take care of myself...blah,blah, blah.  Doesn't make it any easier.  But it's true.  

Sunday was the Race for the Cure.  It was a little bit of an emotional day.  But it was mostly just a fun day!  Team Melissa was a huge encouragement!  How did I get such great friends?!  


 God knew I needed a little pick me up.  Enter Wednesday mornings!  This group of women encourages me so much, loves on me so much and gets me smiling so I can't stop!  Today was no different!  We had brunch.  The food was amazing.  Seriously so good.  A carbivore's paradise!  Then they had to go and give me a quilt. A homemade quilt.  Each fabric perfect for this season of my life.  The best part?! They signed it.  I didn't read it  until I got home later, which was good since I didn't put on my waterproof mascara this morning.  The words of love and encouragement were so refreshing.  As I think about finishing my last round of AC chemo on Monday, it's one more phase done, but there is so much to come and knowing these women will be there to support me, love me and encourage me through the times when I just don't want to do it anymore is a great antidote to chemo!

A couple of you have asked how to order thirty-one bags....go to
Then click on My Parties on the top of the page.  Then click on the May Fundraising Event.  There you go!  I love the large utility totes for just about everything.  The deal for the month is spend $31 and get 1/2 off thermal bags.  I'll be using mine for the fresh market thermal....great for Trader Joes!  

Thanks to those of you that have dropped off stuff for the garage sale.  If anyone else has things left over from their Woodbury garage sales and want to get it off our hands, bring in on down!

Ella has her Spring Fling gymnastics meet this weekend.  She has been working so hard and we are so proud of her!  Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

3 down, 1 to go

I'm about to slip into my chemo coma for the next several days!  Chemo on Monday was the quickest in and out yet.  My labs are still staying in the range for "normal" women, and the doctors are encouraged by that.  This was my third out of four treatments for this first phase with the the AC drugs (Adriamycin and Cytoxin).  After the fourth AC treatment on May 20th, I will start two new drugs, TH (Taxol and Herceptin) on a weekly basis for 12 weeks.  The TH drugs aren't as harsh as the AC so I won't have to "recover from chemo".  Looking forward to that!  Especially considering that my short term disability will be up in June and I'll have to start working again. Not really looking forward to that.  Hoping that my new chemo brain is a result of the AC and my mind will start to clear!

I did find out that my cancer was categorized as Stage 3 breast cancer.  I might have heard that before, but am not retaining information as well as I'd like! I was always hoping for Stage 2, but I'm sure the size of the tumor pushed it over the edge!

I also found out that I haven't been taking the standard 3 day post chemo oral steroids for nausea. I get the steroid through an IV at chemo, but that's it for steroids for me.  I dragged my friend Jill along with me to this treatment and she was as entertained as I was every time I was asked if I needed a refill for the steroids I have not been taking!  So I guess it's a really good thing that I'm able to keep the nausea under control with just the Zofran.  I chalk it up to all your prayers!  Keep 'em coming.  Especially for the remainder of the week as I drift in and out of consciousness!

Sunday is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and I'm hoping to be alert enough to cheer on those running on Team Melissa and possibly even do the walk with Ella.  I keep being told what an amazing and emotional time it will be, and I'm looking forward to it!  

Thanking God for all my friends and family and prayer warriors committed to helping me get through this.  I couldn't do it without you!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Almost Normal

The last week and a half has been so much fun. I was able to resume almost all of my normal activities and while for just a brief amount of time, I felt like a normal person. I was able to drive Ella to school and pick her up and even go on a field trip with her class. I was able to meet friends for lunch and go to Target all by myself. I was able to go to church and see my Wednesday morning women and go to small group. All of these things were followed by naps, but they still happened. Small victories! During all of these things, I got to wear my new hair! Those closest to me knew it was a wig, but some were quite surprised to find out it was a wig! I finally got it to be just how I wanted it. It's my dream color and I love the cut, it's actually comfortable now that my five o'clock stubble is falling out. Getting ready for the day is so quick and easy, I may just consider shaving my head when my hair starts to grow back and keep wearing the wig. It takes Rick longer to get ready in the morning now!

I'm going to enjoy my last day of normal before my next chemo treatment Monday. Tomorrow. In my post-chemo fatigue when I can't focus to read and don't have energy to get out of bed, I started watching a TV show that I quit following a while ago. Yay for Netflix! One of the characters on the show had breast cancer. So in a matter of a few episodes, she was diagnosed, had surgery, had chemo and was declared cancer free and celebrated with a trip to Hawaii. Never have I been so frustrated with TV. Well, except for the time that I was watching TV in junior high and didn't like the writers take on a scene, so I threw a spoon at the screen. But in this situation they made the whole process seem so quick, and it really isn't. I feel like I should be half way through everything now. I'm only halfway through the first phase. There's another 12 weeks, another six weeks and then forty weeks! And then a six month wait. As much as I want this time to fly by, I know that when this is over, Ella will be 7 and in first grade and I'll want time to slow down. Their fictitious TV trip to Hawaii was also rubbing salt in my wound! In a few short weeks, Rick and I will be celebrating ten years of wedded bliss. We pretty much met and started our relationship in Hawaii and went back three years later for our honeymoon. The plan had always been to go back for our tenth anniversary. That won't be happening this year. We're postponing the trip a year and will combine celebrations; end of chemo and eleven years of happily ever after. So the moral of this story: don't believe everything you see on TV!

During this short break, I've also discovered that chemo brain is a real thing. My mind is not quite as sharp as it once was. Funny how many of the same side effects of chemo are so similar to those of pregnancy, but I don't get a baby as a prize at the end! Not much to report, just wanted to pop in and say hi! You all have been so encouraging to my family and me. I need it. I really don't want to go to chemo tomorrow. There will be feet dragging and maybe a little pouting!

Two things before I go:

1. Jodi wanted me to let you know that she has extended her thirty-one bags fundraiser into May so we can get some of the new prints and take advantage of the May special. If you're needing to add to your bag/purse habit, here's what you need to know:

"Thirty-One Gifts Fundraiser for Melissa!! It's the NEW Summer catalog, complete with New prints and items. All perfect for your summer outings, that will carry you through the fall!
Please log onto my site and order right on Melissa's Fundraiser.
I had so much fun in April I decided to do it again, and reach the goal I wanted for her!!
In case you are not familiar, with the fundraiser. There is a lovely young lady at my church that is going through Chemo for breast cancer. I wanted to help her and her family out by doing a fundraiser. BUY LOTS!! It's all going to Melissa!" The special this month is 50% off any thermal with every $31 you spend.

I have received several bags as gifts and LOVE them! My favorites are the three that live in my car, the one that comes to chemo with me and the one that organizes my Wednesday mornings.

2. Rick's family and my neighbor are planning a garage sale to help us out. So if you're in the area and have stuff that you want to donate to the cause, you can call Linda @ 651.459.0700 or Sophia @ 612.961.0445 or you can shoot me an e-mail (melissa.borner@gmaildotcom) and I can let you know where to drop off. The garage sale will be June 7th 8-5 and June 8th 8-3 at Rick's parents house. 8601 Lamar Avenue S in Cottage Grove.