Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Christmas Miracle

I've been meaning to update all of my faithful followers for a week now, but got sucked into the holiday chaos and am just now finding a few free minutes (while it's awesome to be living close to my family again, they sure are busy people!!!)

Last Monday, I had my follow-up MRI to measure the tumor. Pre-chemo, it measured 2.5 x 2.7 cm. My doctor called me last Wednesday to inform me that the unofficial report from the on-call radiologist showed that the MRI came back completely NORMAL!!! There was no evidence of tumor remaining at all! This is the best possible outcome we could have imagined...so great to know that the chemo (as not fun as it has been) really worked! I still have a long road ahead, but am that much closer to being cured!

I've now been without chemo for nearly three weeks, and it has been wonderful. I'm feeling really good, aside from lower energy and these annoying hiccups. I kick off my next cycle of chemo starting next Monday. Everything I've heard/read indicates that Taxol is easier tolerated than the AC I was on...I sure hope my body agrees!

My mother and father in law are visiting us for a week, and arrive on New Year's Eve. I'm looking forward to spending time with them and showing off the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Thank you for all of your positive thoughts and prayers...they are obviously working.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The big 3-0

Today is my 30th birthday. People have been asking me for several months how I feel about turning 30, and until September 1st, I honestly wasn't phased by it. I just saw it as another year to have fun and enjoy my wonderful life...after all, these days, 30 is the new 20.

And then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It changed everything. Instead of being in school on the East Coast to advance in my career, I'm planning my life around chemo treatments and surgeries. Instead of waiting for awhile to have kids (to, again advance in my career...sensing a pattern here?!) I'm hoping and praying every day that I can even have kids.

While I'm so incredibly grateful for all of the gifts that I have in my life, I also hate that I have to go through all of this crap. With that said, I'm much more aware of what a blessing it is that I've made it to 30. Before my diagnosis, every day I woke up was a given...I didn't think twice about it. My birthday is no longer just a special day...it's another day that I'm alive. That's definitely a great reason to celebrate!

Friday, December 11, 2009

No more AC for me, ever!

I finished my last round of A C yesterday. I got six doses...two more than most breast cancer patients and the absolute maximum I can receive in my lifetime (due to its toxicity to the heart.) It's been a tough road, and I'm SO glad to be done!

The great news from my doctor is that I get to wait until after New Years to start my next chemo cycle. This means over three weeks of NO chemo!!!! I get my birthday, Christmas and New Years chemo free!!! I'll start Taxol on January 4th. It is administered weekly for 12 weeks. I still have a lot of chemo ahead of me, but everyone I've talked to says that Taxol is much more easily tolerated than AC. Hopefully they're right!

Thanks for all of your thoughts, support and prayers. They're helping more than you could ever imagine!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No more Flinstones for me!

I finally went to see the doctor about this annoying reverse hiccup/diaphragm issue that I've been having. I described my symptoms, which were like nothing he'd ever heard before. He didn't think it was an issue with my heart, but just to be safe, sent me downstairs for an EKG, chest x-ray and bloodwork.

I amazingly got through all three of those procedures, plus a trip to the pharmacy to pick up a muscle relaxer in just over an hour! I headed back up to see my doctor for the verdict. EKG: normal. Chest x-ray: normal. Bloodwork: high potassium and calcium. Sometimes electrolyte imbalance can cause heart palpitations, so no more Flinstone vitamins for me (I had switched from my grown-up daily vitamin because my stomach couldn't handle it with the chemo.) My doctor doesn't think that's the cause of my weirdness, but who knows. I'm really hoping that the muscle relaxer helps a bit.

Other than that, I've been feeling pretty good, all considering. We went to Brian's staff holiday party at the Admiral's home (beautiful home in Discovery Park in Seattle with amazing views!) I met lots of great people who were sympathetic and supportive of my situation. We went with my sister's family to actually chop down our Christmas tree. This is our first real tree in years...our home smells so piney and delicious! We also met up with some new friends for a beer fest and some fabulous sushi in Seattle. All in all, a very busy, VERY fun weekend!

I have my last round of AC on Thursday! I'm really hoping that the two weeks off I'm supposed to have between then and my first round of Taxol will turn into two and a half weeks so that I get my birthday and Christmas chemo-free. I'm pumped to be almost done with the AC, and very proud of myself for making it through almost six rounds of the stuff...two more rounds than most people get...with a smile on my face.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The fifth round has been a doozy!

I've tolerated my chemo really well overall. It definitely hasn't been as bad as Hollywood has made it out to be. The meds are great at controlling the nausea, so the worst symptoms for me have been fatigue and the icky metallic taste...until last week. Now I get to add this strange hiccup-like sensation that makes it hard to breathe, which happens periodically after I eat something. I am waiting on a phone call back from my doc on the issue, since Nurse Mom told me I needed to call him. Hopefully he can shed some light on this weirdness (and really hopefully it's not heart related...the chemo drug I'm on right now is super toxic to the heart, and I kind of need my ticker to work for awhile!)

I had a fantastic Thanksgiving with my family, and a super relaxing trip up to the mountains over the weekend. The fresh air was just what I needed (okay, the naps were nice, too!) Here's a photo of my husband and me enjoying some snow...