Wednesday, July 29, 2015

     Tomorrow is going to be a big day.  I’m going to be undergoing egg retrieval; which will be an invasive, but hopefully, relatively unremarkable procedure.  And then, in about 5 days we will have several tiny embryos ready to be frozen, so that in a few years I can have a child with the person whom I passionately love. 
     I have tried to refrain from teasing Jarrod too much; however, it does seem like his part in all this will be a lot more enjoyable than mine, albeit awkward as hell. 
     We got the final price:  $8,600 out the door, plus $900 in a few years on the other side of the freezer.  I knew that having kids would be expensive, but I've always thought that conception would be the cheap and easy, fun part.

     In other cancer news, I have a start date for chemo: August 6th.  I've also done a lot of shopping... I bought special lotion, special soap, mouthwash, pediatric toothbrushes, disposable plates and plastic utensils (avoiding contamination and metallic tastes) and a hands-free soap dispenser.  Jarrod installed a paper towel holder in the bathroom for more germ-free hand washing.  I bought a few head scarves, which I'm still on the fence about.  I ate sushi one last time, which I will be missing so badly, along with many other raw foods, for six months.  I got a pedicure with the lovely and talented Jess Minnihan, in order to (fingers crossed) ward off infections and keep my toenails from falling off, and also (bonus) pretty toes.  I still need to schedule a haircut… I'm avoiding this one for some reason.  I think maybe it’s more of an admission than any of this other stuff, that this is really happening.  But I know going for a cute little crop job now will make things easier if/when it all starts to fall out.  

   Okay, that's it for now...must get some sleep.  Egg-cavation starts very early see? see what I did there?  Shut-up, I'm hilarious. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hey guys!  

    I had my first surgery… ever.  From this I learned some valuable information:  I bleed more than the average person, I metabolize local anesthesia faster than normal, and I am allergic to the fancy tape they use to dress the incision wound.  The nurse said she would have sworn by my reactions that I was a natural redhead.  Umm..compliment?   Anyway, I now have a port in my chest with a tube that goes into my jugular vein and a catheter pointing toward my heart… so that’s awesome.  Well, actually, it’s pretty great that it will be used to administer chemotherapy and I won’t have every vein in my arms completely sclerosed from repeated stabbings and the frying effects of chemo’s PH, or get any more bruises from people trying to draw blood out of my tiny, baby-veins.  But right now, all I can think is, “Damn, this stab wound hurts”

     Now, for some good news... results of the PET scan are in.  The lump and the lymph nodes in my armpit are the only places that have cancer.  No rogue cancer cells have broken off and set up residence in any other parts of my body. 

     And on the chances of future motherhood front, we went to the fertility folks yesterday and got confirmation from my oncologist that we’ll have enough time to harvest eggs before I start chemo.   I have begun medications in prep for this, which I have to give myself…by way of a needle… in my abdomen… twice a day.  This = A whole new level of respect for my diabetic friends.  The $7,400 price tag feels immense right now, but the odds are high enough that chemo will destroy my eggs, and doing the embryo thing seems worth it to get a shot at the future I’ve always wanted.

     It will be so lovely to take a break from cancer for a bit and enjoy the state fair tomorrow.  Everything fried, in my face. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

     Okay.... First blog post, ever... of all time... and it's about how I have cancer.  Wow, this is bizarre. I guess I should use this first post to catch everyone up to speed.  At some point while touching my breasts (because, let's be honest, everyone wants to) I noticed a lump in my right breast that did not belong there.  And so it was, with great trepidation, that I began on a strange, strange journey.
So far I have had:

• 2 Mammograms
• An Ultrasound
• 3 Core biopsies
• Appointment with my breast surgeon
• One support group meeting
• Appointment with my Oncologist
• Bloodwork
• PET Scan

     Still to come this week- I am having surgery to place a port in my chest to receive IV chemotherapy treatments and make blood draws easier, and I am meeting with a fertility specialist to, hopefully, secure a chance to maybe have a kid or two in the future.

     I was going to share a picture of the lovely bruise I got because the MRI guy missed my teeny-tiny, baby-sized veins when putting in my IV, but I was concerned that you might be eating or something.  Plus, the colors were not nearly as awesome as the bruising from my biopsies. (I bet you'd like to see those...creeper.)

     Anyway... Since meeting with my Oncologist I have a basic idea what my treatment will look like.

Before I start: Try to put a tiny baby in the freezer for a few years, get some more tests, go to the dentist, get a pedicure.


Step 1. In about 2-3 weeks start chemo. Take 6 cycles of chemo = 18 weeks = 5 months with no sushi and probably no hair.

Step 2. Take more imaging.  Go on a 4 weeks healing break.

Step 3. Have surgery.  Hope the cancer has shrunk enough to have breast-conserving surgery and not a total mastectomy.

Step 4. Take a 4-6 week break to recover from surgery.

Step 5. Start radiation therapy 5 days a week for 6-7 weeks.

Step 6.  Continue to receive HER-2 blocker injections every week for the next year, and take an estrogen blocker for the next 5 years.

Step 7. Live.  Be awesome. Probably go to Disneyland.

     So, that's the plan...

     Now, I have to say thank you to all my wonderfully supportive friends, with all their messages, well wishes and pledges on gofundme.  Despite my ever-irreverent tone, this is, in fact, cancer and everything that goes with it.  I am overwhelmed and I am fucking scared.

     And, while nothing can make cancer easier, my friends are making living easier... <3