Bald Barren And Boobless

An honest and comical reflection of my journey through breast cancer

Tag: Chemotherapy (page 1 of 6)

I Descend Into Toxic Town Hopefully For The Last Time

fatigue
I’m awake at 7 am it’s Sunday morning.  I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.  No church for me today, I lay in bed until 12.  I was going to try and do lunch today with the conference, the VIP’s, but I’m just too tired.

Besides, I need to get ready for the school week ahead.  My local paper is coming for an interview tomorrow.  I’m so exhausted I need to manage my energy or I may get even sicker.  One thing I’ve learned over the past few months is that the more tired I am, the sicker I am.  And this can last for days.

I used to be so proud of how I could push through almost anything.  This illness, and more importantly the treatment, has taught me not to push any more.  I’m sure there will be a great life lesson in this somewhere.

I’m really keen to get through the really dark parts of the chemotherapy so I can truly begin to rebuild.  I’m excited because this time once I get past the really bad part of chemo, I won’t be having another treatment to pull me back down again.  That’s more exciting than I can put into words.

Today I have nausea, toxic hot diarrhoea, (what a pretty picture I am painting for you), headaches, bloating and such pain in my bones.  Oh, plus the heat, this unrelenting heat.

Flatter than a flat thing

Image result for flat affect 252 × 252 - healthtapI wake and I am feeling flatter then a flat thing if you get my drift?  But Lord you are my strength, thank goodness I could not do this without you.  My little list for the day;

  • blood test to make sure I’m ready for chemo tomorrow
  • see the doctor
  • have acupuncture
  • take the dog to the vet
  • driving lesson with Mon
  • preparation for tomorrow
  • breast cancer support group tonight

I’m exhausted just looking at this list.  How on earth did I end up with a day like today?  I think even the idea of staying in bed would have been too much me today.  Well no point whining, it won’t change anything – except make it even harder.

I get through the day, I really don’t know how.  Group was good, is great to be able to share with people that really know what you’re going through.  I made Scotty and Luke’s pumpkin superfood soup for dinner.  OMG!!  It is so good.  I did it with the intention of preparing the most nourishing food for my body in preparation for the onslaught tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my last chemotherapy, I’m so excited but dreading it at the same time.  By bed time I’m so achy I take 2 endone and 2 Valium – surely I will sleep, surely.

My Last Chemotherapy Treatment!!!!

bigstock_road_to_recovery_sign_4438546 I had a slightly better sleep but it’s still broken.  Because my sleep is broken, I feel broken.  But that can’t stop my excitement for today, today is my last chemo.  I’m dreading it but I am also so excited.

 

It’s a really busy morning getting ready for the last chemotherapy plus the training conference that I’m attending today.  I’m trying to get the family ready for Marc and I being away.  I’m also on the phone trying to coordinate my upcoming surgery.  I have the second mastectomy and reconstruction on the 5th May.  I am also trying to have my ovaries removed at the same time.  I’m doing it this way to minimise the amount of general anaesthetic that I have.

There’s a bunch of research that shows just how toxic the anaesthetic is and how it shortens your life.  So far I’m shortened by about 15 years if you go by that theory!!!  Nice huh?  Lucky I was planning to live past 100 anyways……

I’m seeing some specialists next week to discuss the details of upcoming surgeries and work out a plan.  It is very hard to co ordinate to have 2 different surgeons work on you at the same time.

We arrived for the chemo and I need to slow down, I need to get my head in to gear for what’s about to happen.  The mind set you go in to it with is critical.  I need to focus on positive, healing and strength.

Marc and I are in the swing of things now, we have activities to do, the right food too and we also make a video diary as well.  We got some great pics of the staff all protected from the toxic stuff.  I still feel nauseous and I have a fuzzy head, but otherwise I’m okay.  I’m glad to say I will not miss this place.

Prep For Chemo Begins….

get-supportI had a better night’s sleep.  I woke okay with some aches and pains and really tight muscles.  I’m so sorry if it sounds like I’m whinging, but I’m really trying to give you a real picture of what this is like.  Not only for the benefit of someone going through this, but also for the people around that person to know exactly what it’s like.

I think a lot of people are like me and don’t really share with many people what this journey is really like.  A brave face is what they wear everyday.  Whilst this may help people in the short term, in the long-term everyone loses because you don’t get the true support and understanding that you need.

It’s also really unfair on the people in your world who are trying to support you but can’t when they don’t know the truth about your situation.

Today I had a really bad chemo brain.  It is a shocker.  I actually tried to lock the house with the car remote.  I stood there for such a long time pressing the button and wondering why the door would not lock.  When I realised what I was doing I just shook my head and walked away.

The day really slid downhill from there in terms of my brainpower.  I met a friend for coffee and had a  mentoring session that left me feeling more inspired.  After that I took the dog for a walk and some lovely friends from church came and visited.

I got an email from Business Chicks to say that they would like to run an article on my story.  I am really excited about this opportunity.  How awesome to be able to share with other business women about my experience.

How amazing to share my struggles and my story so that they at least can learn from my mistakes.  At the very least, encouraging women to ensure that they have health and income insurance in place.

It’s also Connect Group night tonight.  I am back in your arms Lord, being held in prayer is such as safe and beautiful place.  I begin to take the dexamphetamine again.  It’s time to prepare for the next round of chemo.  Yay!

The dexamphetamines kept me awake until 4:30 AM, as you can imagine I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.  I think tomorrow is going to be a slow day.

Love Moves Mountains

MountShasta-HolyMountainI wake after an average sleep, today I see my Oncologist.  In general my doctor is really happy.  She says my white cells are low, but manageable.  She explains that my body has handled the chemotherapy relatively well.  I put this down to being so meticulous with my diet.

I’ve tried so hard to nourish my body with good food and rest.  I haven’t been perfect at this but I’ve given it a great shot.  Because I’ve handled the chemotherapy so well my doctor thinks we can move my second surgery forward to the end of April, instead of June.  This means I will have my second breast removed and begin the reconstructive process at this time.  I’m also considering having my ovaries removed as the tumours were oestrogen driven.

This afternoon we get more questions from our Insurer about my claim for financial support.  They are questioning whether or not I knew that cancer was present before I put in a claim.  We know this is the insurance companies job to question every aspect, but the idea that they are questioning my integrity really, really hurts.

All I can do is give this to God and believe that He has it in his hands.  Tonight we were with our amazing Connect Group from church.  It was such an amazing and supportive night.  The importance of being surrounded by such positive, uplifting and supportive friends is beyond words.  God you are so gracious and loving it is beyond my words to explain how much you mean to me.  Your Love alone can move mountains.  I am so glad I can share this very big, very ugly, very immoveable mountain with You.

Off To Market

MarketsSo today is day 10 post chemo.  In chemo terms, I am past the worst of this round.  I slept okay again, got up and walked again.  I feel sore but I’m telling myself it’s a good sore.

It’s funny, after you’ve been through so much, had so much surgery, treatment, poking, prodding, poisoning, cutting, burning, slicing, the word sore takes on a whole new meaning.  That’s why something as small as telling myself it’s a good sore is so important.

Today I met my good friend Chris at the markets; we had a really fun day.  I’m exhausted after walking around for a couple of hours.

I bought some beautiful new earrings and a hat to hide my scone head.

It was lovely being out and about in society again.  It’s amazing how you hide yourself away when you go through chronic illness.  My bedroom has become my haven, my safety zone, my escape.  Nothing can hurt me there, no one can laugh and there is no judgment, only rest and comfort.

For anyone else this would have been a small day, but it was a big day for me.  Tonight I’ll have a quiet night at home with my pain and fatigue as my companions.

Still circling in the woods

dark-forestI slept!!! Yay! Marc and my step daughter are off to school early. I am feeling ok but still have this pure acid diarrhoea and fatigue. After I do the school drop off, I have a small rest then am off to the psychologist.

I have been finding this really helpful just to make sure I am supporting my self along this journey. People have told me that I should be feeling lost of grieving or, hopeless etc. I have not really felt any of these things that intensely, so I am just checking in and ensuring I am giving myself whatever I need.

I am craving the quick fix sugar again, this has to stop, I know how bad it is for me and how it makes me feel. I still think this is because I am so freaking tired all the time.

After my appointment I rested, did my errands and appointments and needed to return to bed. This frustrates me a little but I cannot argue. I am sure this fatigue will continue at least until chemotherapy finishes which is still 6 weeks and then goodness knows how long recovery from that and further surgery will be??

I have eaten so much sugary crap today it is awful. I’m like an addict looking for a hit, but nothing works. This needs to stop; I know I am not helping myself. I feel so bad physically regardless so I know it is not helping.

I have decided that tomorrow I m going to have 2 green whole veg and fruit smoothies each day, breakfast and lunch. I am also aiming to stop sugar completely.  I was sugar free before chemo, not any more 🙁

I may have leaped too far, raised my expectations too much. Welcome to my black and white world. Just the other day I was giving myself a leave pass, now I have circled back the other way. Wowser, are you as confused as I am. I suppose this is what happens when you openly share your thoughts on a daily basis.

I am just so desperate to feel better I don’t know what else to do. So I go from extreme to extreme. Balance is the key, how do I find it?? Kindness and self-compassion is also the key, am I doing this?? The extreme guilt I feel tells me “No.”

So starting tomorrow I will aim to have 2 smoothies each day and I will share a recipe.

Kylie’s Green Healing Smoothie

Handful of kale,

Handful of baby spinach

2 tsp Vital greens

30g Protein powder  (I usually use chocolate flavour)

¼ cup blueberries

ice

1 tbsp cacao powder

Wizz away in the nutribullet (or a strong blender) and enjoy.  Lets see how I go hey? Wish me luck.

I’m not through the woods yet

valley of the shadowI woke early with really bad diarrhea, sorry to be blunt but it feels like pure acid it’s so painful. However, I did sleep through, which is a blessing.

I am so flat again today; flatter than a flat thing. I have acupuncture today, I am wondering how on earth I will get there when I am graced with a cancellation by my therapist. Small mercies……..

So back in my bed I am, it is humid, sticky and pouring with rain. I don’t know if you have, like me, prayed for those days when you can stay in bed in the rain instead of working.

Well here I lay, in bed, with it pouring with rain, not working, and it is not such a party guys L Funny how you wish for things, sometimes long for things but they are rarely in reality how they appear in our minds.

Apparently, there is a case review of my insurance claim in Melbourne today. I am tense about it; we really need the financial help. It is so expensive even with private health insurance; every single procedure has a big gap. The only exception is the hospital stays and chemo. The advantage of Private health is being able to access treatment faster with the Doctor of my choice.

The other addition is because I am doing medical and complimentary it is really expensive. For example, I pay $110 for acupuncture each time and get $19 back from my fund (and only for 6 sessions). I need this treatment to cope with the chemotherapy, it has made such a difference for me so far, so we are paying for it.

I feel deeply for those who aren’t able to have this choice. Although we are doing it we are going backwards financially. I still need to keep the business running even though I am not working, so there are ongoing monthly expenses with no income. It is such a hard choice, health or finances?

I am angry that I am forced into this space or deciding what is the priority. But I realise this happens to people every single day……

We fall into that typical gap, we have private insurance, we have a mortgage, our kids are in private school, we pay maximum tax. We fall into that category that does not receive help and also pays the most tax.

Yes it is our choice to send our kids to a good school and to have a mortgage. I don’t know how other families do it when they earn less, don’t have insurance and are at the mercy of government help.

This is all too much for my poor toxic brain to comprehend; I need sleep. Puppy school first. It’s hard but helpful. We have a puppy that is a handful, that was not in the brochure. Lucky for her she is too cute. Now I fall into bed, I am praying for sleep.

 

Facing exhaustion head on

arguing BCI slept better, excellent start! Although I feel so empty, the tank is not only empty but there is both dust and cobwebs in there. I have nothing in my calendar or diary today so bed seems like an awesome option.

I am really fighting with myself.  I am craving carbs, I have noticed I do this whenever I feel so low in energy, it is such a hard thing to fight. I have no fight in me for a start so pasta, bread, sugar all of those wicked quick surge, bad for me foods are all I want 🙁

I have decided to just go with the flow during chemo, it is hard enough getting through each day without placing some unrealistic expectation on myself to eat things my body is repelling. I am eating well when I can and supplementing each day so I will get through it.  Funny it took me 3 months to work out I should just go with the flow.

So as you can imagine, today is not a great food day. I am self-medicating so to speak but not in a good way. The pain I have in my knees and hips is simply ridiculous. I don’t know what to do with myself.  I am craving comfort food like a puppy craves a warm hug.

I’m battling those horrid thoughts of metastases in my bones with the aching. I know it’s a head game, but gosh it’s hard.  Watching my Mum go through bone cancer, knowing I have the same disease, having such aching in my bones and joints, it really does mess with me.

I got a lovely heart lifting surprise today with a soft knock at the door waking me from a deep toxic sleep.  When I open my front door, there is a beautiful bunch of flowers from my 4N family. These guys are the best. 4N is a small business networking group I have been a member of for 12 months.  If you have never heard of them before check them out here.

I remember when I was first diagnosed I was called and asked what could they do? They offered to make phone calls, any paperwork, client calls. I was blown away. Apart from a few very close friends, no one else offered this and it meant so much to me.

In my efforts to be somewhat productive, I made a list of jobs I needed to get done. Funny, when I say needed, it is to fill this weird sense of showing my value.  I have already confessed to how bad I feel and that I am going wight he flow yet I am cleaning things????  Don’t worry if you are confused too join the club with me.

So today I cleaned the plastics / storage container cupboard and also the pots and pans cupboard.  Such a small job really, but so exhausting for me. I do feel better consciously for doing so but physically I am back on the mattress, nothing to give.

So after a rest, making dinner for the family, I am back in bed, exhausted needing sleep. I pray that I can sleep tonight and I am thankful, so thankful that tomorrow is a new day.

 

Talks of Reconstruction begin

reconsrtuction imageI had a pretty awful sleep again, I was awake from 1am to 430am. How is a human meant to cope on so little sleep? Marc let me sleep in and then we saw the plastic surgeon together.

He said that we should be all good for reconstructive surgery in mid to late May. So 6 weeks after I finish chemo, I can have the other mastectomy and reconstruction can begin.  I am excited, but trepidations abound about further surgery. Just the idea of going backwards physically again makes me feel anxious. But I need to do it.

I cannot leave the other breast and wait for it to turn against me too. This happened with my Mum and my sister.  After cancer in one side it returned in the other a few years later.  I just cannot rest knowing this could be my future too.  I asked the surgeon for the simplest surgery possible, he recommended the implant surgery. One scar, 2.5 hour surgery. The expanders will be in for anywhere from 6-12 months. This is to expand the chest muscle and force me to grow more skin to accommodate an implant.

He says that with a recovery on track I may be able to return to work after August. That would be before the removal of the implants but he said the implant switch over with the expanders can be a day surgery if I like.

So much to consider, I am keen to try and get back to work asap, but also keeping in mind that a full recovery now is best. Being self employed has its bonuses but its complications also. I only get paid when I work and its hard to work reduced hours and make a good income. May need to rethink a few things about how I do business.

I am so tired today and also in a lot of pain. Nausea, heat, horrible indigestion are all I experience today. I get home and go back to bed. So much to consider, so many decisions, none of which need to me made today.

Time to rest my sweet, time to rest. Rest is thy best medicine.

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