Tuesday, July 23, 2013

8 down, 4 to go

I'm doing better, only three treatments in between posts this time!  My mom and dad both got a chance to be my chemo buddy.  I couldn't believe they hadn't been yet, other than to drop off or pick up Ella.  My friend, Kristen, was also able to join me for a treatment. 

I'm a third of the way through this phase of chemo.  4 treatments of Taxol and Herceptin left to go!
My hemoglobin is stuck and won't be moving until treatment is finished in spite of me eating more red meat and taking iron supplements and every other tip I've found on the internet! So I still get tired very easily.  That doesn't make it easy to work.  At the end of my two day work week last week, I came home and slept for about a day and a half.  And that's when I realized that as much as I wanted to be able to be able to return to life as normal, it's not normal. I can't do it all. I feel like a broken record, but I really think I've got it this time.  

In other news, my eyebrows and eyelashes are thinning drastically.  Thank you, taxol!  What I do find interesting, however, is the fact that the hair on my head is starting to grow back.  That was one of the first things Rick noticed when he came back from his trip to New Orleans with the youth group from our church.  He never noticed when I got three to four four inch trims back in the day, but he notices an eighth of an inch of hair growth!  

I've made it eight weeks into this TH round of chemo with very limited side effects.  This week the nausea decided to come back along with the neuropathy (tingling hands and feet) that is common with this treatment.  I was getting regular headaches for a while, but I think that is more closely related to the weather we've been having and dehydration!

While Rick was out of town, my sister, Jamie, drove up from Missouri to help me! She also joined me on an overwhelming informational seeking, fact finding meeting with a genetic counselor.  The meeting was very helpful and I learned a lot.  Until we got to the part where she said that if I test positive for one of the BRCA genes, there could be a hysterectomy in my very near future.  That's when I zoned out again and was trying to figure out what a group of letters on the wall right over her shoulder stood for.  Jamie was able to fill me in on the rest later.  Brittany was amazing and was able to get some blood on the first try...I was very excited!  So now we wait.  I'll find out in a couple weeks what the results are.  The likelihood of me being positive for the BRCA genes is pretty slim, but it's hard to tell since my extended is so heavily male and neither one of my parents have sisters, so the hereditary-ness is harder to  follow.  They are doing a panel of tests.  One is looking for a gene mutation that may have started with me.  That would make sense to me...I am the only one in my immediate with green eyes and while everyone else has an A+ blood type,  I am A-.  Although I'm told that has nothing to do with price of gas in Pittsburgh.  One other test they are doing is for another hereditary gene that would make me, or my sisters, predisposed to colon and ovarian cancer.  I don't really want to get a colonoscopy every other year for the rest of my life. Jamie also joined us for an event with other families dealing with cancer at a water park.  I think it was good for Ella to see other kids with their bald-headed moms, or moms with wigs. I am getting really good at spotting wigs now.  Just today at work I spotted three.  I still get lots of compliments on mine.  Although the humidity has not been nice to it.  This is new for me.  My hair was never affected by the humidity. I now have a deep empathy for those of you that are frizz prone.  I feel your pain. 

God is still continuing to show up in ways that leave me speechless.  A generous gift from a stranger...strength to get through long days at work...insurance issues being worked out...my friends STILL supporting my family and me with meals.  I don't think you realize how helpful the meals are to us.  It's more than just cooking, back when I thought I was Super Woman, I did some cooking. It's the planning and grocery shopping and energy that goes into it.  My priority is on letting my body rest as much as I can so it can finish fighting the cancer and rebuild after the chemo. Oh, and working so I still have I insurance to cover all this!  I was just starting to feel sorry for myself and frustrated that most everyone else gets to have great summers while I can never stray too far from the every Monday chemo chair.  But just one look at the meal schedule (thanks for the heads up, Mom) and I was so encouraged.  I am beyond blessed to have such a strong group of people supporting me through this season.  Thank you!